(Choice devotional selections from
the works of John Angell James)


One gracious purpose of mercy!

"And we know that God causes everything to work
 together for the good of those who love Him
, and are
 called according to His purpose for them." Romans 8:28

Providence is God's government of the universe.

Providence is that mighty scheme . . .
  which commenced before time was born;
  which embraces the annals of other worlds besides ours;
  which includes the history of angels, men, and devils.

Providence comprises the whole range of events which
have taken place from the formation of the first creature,
to the last moment of time—with all the tendencies,
reasons, connections, and results of things.

Providence encompasses the separate existence of
each individual, with the continuation and influence
of the whole, in one harmonious scheme.

We are puzzled at almost every step, at the deep,
unfathomable mysteries of Providence!

How often is Jehovah, in His dealings with us, a God
who hides Himself! How often does He wrap Himself in
clouds, and pursue His path upon the waters, where we
can neither see His goings, nor trace His footsteps!
How many of His dispensations are inexplicable, and
of His judgments how many are unfathomable by the
short line of our reason!

But whatever we don't know now, we shall know hereafter.
The crooked will be made straight, the clouds of darkness
will be scattered, and all His conduct towards us placed in
the broad day-light of eternity.
We shall see how all the varying, and numerous, and
seemingly opposite events of our history, were combined
into one gracious purpose of mercy, which was most
perfectly wise in all its combinations.

Delightful, most delightful, will it be to retrace our winding
and often gloomy course, and discern at each change and
turning, the reason of the occurrence and the wisdom of God.
Delightful will it be to discern the influence which all our
temporal circumstances, all our disappointments, losses,
and perplexities, had upon our permanent and celestial
happiness. How much of divine wisdom, power, goodness,
and faithfulness, will our short and simple history present,
and what rapturous fervor will the discovery give to the
song of praise which we shall utter before the throne of
God and the Lamb!

All the misery

Sin is, in itself, an evil of enormous magnitude.
As committed against a Being whom we are under
infinite obligation to love, and serve, and glorify,
it must partake of infinite degrees of demerit.
Sin introduces the reign of confusion and misery.

All the misery which either is or ever will be
on earth, or in hell—is the result of sin.

Sin is the greatest evil—the only evil in the universe.

Sin is the opposite, and the enemy to God. Sin is
the contrast of all that is pure and glorious in His
divine attributes and ineffably beautiful perfections;
and as such it is that which he cannot but hate with
a perfect hatred.

Sin is the contrary of holiness, and thus the enemy
of happiness.

The secret of happiness

"I have learned to be content whatever the
 circumstances. I know what it is to be in need,
 and I know what it is to have plenty. I have
 learned the secret of being content in any and
 every situation, whether well fed or hungry,
 whether living in plenty or in need." Phil. 4:11-12

We should labor to be content with such things as
we have. Contentment is the secret of happiness,
whether we have much or little. The man who makes
up his mind to enjoy what he has, is quite as happy
as he who is possessed of twice as much.

Our evil temper

If we are as angry and revengeful, as proud and envious,
as selfish and unkind—as we were before our supposed
—we may be assured that it is but a supposed

It does not matter that we go regularly to worship. It
does not matter that we strongly feel under sermons.
It does not matter that we have happy frames and
feelings—for a heart under the predominant influence
of petulant passions can no more have undergone the
change of the new birth, than one that is filled with a
prevailing lecherousness.

And where the heart is renewed, and the badness of
the temper is not constant, but only occasional—is not
prevailing, but only prominent—it is, in so far as it
prevails, a sad blot on real piety.

We must bring our mind under the influence of redeeming
grace—we must ascend the hill of Calvary, and gaze upon
that scene of love
, until our cold hearts melt, our hard
hearts soften, and all the cruel selfishness of our nature
relaxes into gentleness. The example of the meek and
lowly Jesus must be contemplated, admired, and copied.
And especially after all, must we breathe forth internal
longings for the influence of the Holy Spirit, who alone
can subdue our evil temper.

A cold, heartless and uninfluential religion!

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom
 all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have
 a faith that can move mountains, but have not
, I am nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:2

Many conclude that they are true Christians, because
of the clearness of their views, and their attainments
in biblical knowledge. They have a singular zeal for the
truth, and are great sticklers for the doctrines of grace.
They look upon all, besides a few of their own class,
as mere babes in knowledge. They themselves are the
eagles who soar to the sun, and bask in its beams!
While the rest of mankind are the moles that burrow,
and the bats that flutter in the dark!

Doctrine is everything to them! Clear views of the gospel
are their great desire. Puffed up with pride, selfish,
unkind, irritable, censorious, malicious
—they manifest
a total lack of that humility and kindness which are the
prominent features of true Christianity.

Let it be known, however, that clear views of Scripture are
of themselves no evidence of true religion. A professor of
religion be an enemy to God in his soul—with an evangelical
creed upon his tongue!

Their religion begins and ends in . . .
  adopting a form of sound words for their creed,
  approving an evangelical ministry,
  admiring the popular champions of the truth,
  and joining in the criticism of error.

As to any spirituality of mind; any heavenliness of affection;
any Christian love; any vital, elevating influence of those
very doctrines to which they profess to be attached—they
are as destitute as the greatest worldling! And like him, they
are perhaps as selfish, revengeful, implacable, and unkind!

This is the religion but too common in our churches—a cold,
heartless and uninfluential religion
—a sort of lunar light,
which reflects the beams of the sun, but not its warmth!

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom
 all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have
 a faith that can move mountains—but have
 not love
, I am nothing!" 1 Corinthians 13:2

"Whoever does not love does not know God,
 because God is love." 1 John 4:8


The most crowded avenue to the bottomless pit!

will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we
not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive
out demons and perform many miracles?" Then I will
tell them plainly, "I never knew you! Depart from
Me, you evildoers!"  Matthew 7:22-23

Delusion on the nature of true piety prevails to
a truly appalling extent! Millions are in error as
to the real condition of their souls, and think
that they are journeying to celestial bliss; when
in reality they are traveling to perdition!

Oh fearful mistake!

Oh fatal delusion!

What terrible disappointment awaits them!

What horror, and anguish, and despair, will take
eternal possession of their souls, in that moment of
truth, when instead of awaking from the sleep of
death amid the glories of the heavenly city—they
shall lift up their eyes, "being in torment!"

No pen can describe the overwhelming anguish of
such a disappointment! The imagination shrinks with
amazement and horror, from the contemplation of her
own faint sketch of the unendurable scene!

Millions of souls are irrecoverably lost by self-deception!

Delusion is the most crowded avenue to the bottomless pit!

Self-delusion is the 'common infatuation', the 'epidemic
blindness', which has fallen upon multitudes!

We are to pity them

The most perfect benevolence to men, is that which,
instead of looking with complacency on their errors,
warns them of their danger, and admonishes them
to escape. It is no matter that they think they are
right—this only makes their case the more alarming;
and to act towards them as if we thought their
mistaken views of no consequence, is only to
confirm their delusion, and to aid their destruction!

It is true we are neither to despise them nor persecute
them—we are neither to oppress nor ridicule them—we
are neither to look upon them with haughty scorn, nor
with callous indifference. But while we set ourselves
against their errors, we are to pity them with sincere
compassion, and to labor for their conversion with
unselfish kindness. We are to bear with unruffled
meekness all their provoking sarcasms; and to sustain,
with deep humility, the consciousness of our clearer
perceptions; and to convince them, that with the
steadiest resistance of their principles, we unite
the tenderest concern for their welfare.

Why is the life of the church so feeble?

Why are spirituality of mind, and heavenliness
of affection so low? Why have we such a race
of worldly-minded professors? Why?

The private reading and study of the Scriptures are
sadly neglected! Men are strangers to their Bibles!
The Bible was never more widely circulated—but at
the same time, never less devoutly read. Where are
the men and the women to whom the Bible is a book
of daily study and delight in the closet—to whom its
words are "sweeter than honey or the honeycomb,
and more desired than their necessary food?" The
magazine, the review, and the newspaper, and the
last new novel or tale, have so far pushed out the

Floating to perdition on the stream of delusion!

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the
 kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My
 Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day,
 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in
 Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from
 Me, you evildoers!'" Matthew 7:21-23.

This is really one of the most alarming passages of Holy Writ,
as showing how far people may go in self-deception, and how
perseveringly they may continue in it—even to death, and
through it, up to the very judgment seat of Christ!

I am truly alarmed and terrified at the thought of this state
of things, when multitudes are going down to the pit with a
lie in their right hand—floating to perdition on the stream
of delusion!

There are many paths to perdition in the broad way, some
of which are more cleanly and some more foul, yet they all
lead to the same end. And they shall as certainly arrive at
hell, who tread the cleanlier paths of a "refined hypocrisy",
as those who track through the mire and dirt of the
grossest abominations.

Under the most searching ministry, and the most alarming
sermons—a fatal delusion sends multitudes to perdition!

How dreadful will be the disappointment and remorse of the
hypocrite, when death, which closes his eyes to all the scenes
of earth, shall open them to those of the bottomless pit!

What horror, and surprise, and overwhelming disappointment
seize him who, when he expects to arise from the bed of death,
to the felicities of heaven—sinks from it to the miseries of hell!

Oh, the indescribable, overwhelming astonishment, consternation,
and horror of the hypocrite, who wakes up amid the scenes of the
bottomless pit! It is not for language to set forth nor imagination
to conceive the torment that will in a moment come over the
miserable soul, whose first words in eternity will be, "I am lost,
lost, lost, forever! I am in hell." The wretched spirit will look
through the vista of millions of ages, and see no glimmering
spark of this to relieve its present sense of unutterable woe!

"The hope of the hypocrite shall perish!" Job 8:13

Because He first loved us

"We love Him, because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

The work of the Holy Spirit is not only to reveal God's
love to us—but to produce in us love to God in return.

Wherever the Holy Spirit really gives a clear view and
deep sense of God's love to us, He, by the same operation
of His grace, subdues the enmity of the carnal mind, and
produces a genuine and supreme love to God.


"Nothing impure will ever enter it." Rev. 21:27

What is heaven?

Heaven is a state where we shall see Christ as He
is, and be like Him. It is the region of moral purity.

Its inhabitants are holy—
  the holy Father,
  the holy Savior,
  the holy Spirit,
  holy angels,
  holy men.

Its occupations are holy—the service of God—the
song of cherubim and seraphim, crying "Holy, Holy,
Holy, Lord God Almighty!"—and all other things in
harmony with this sacred employment and felicity.

Every contemplation of this holy heavenly state,
tends to assimilate the soul to its likeness. While . . .
  gazing upon it,
  delighting in it,
  longing for it,
we grow in resemblance to it! The soul of the
believer turned heavenwards, becomes heavenly!

"Everyone who has this hope in him purifies
, just as Christ is pure." 1 John 3:3

The model of Christian holiness

The model of Christian holiness is Christ.

Christ . . .
  as the man of sorrows,
  as exposed to temptation,
  as subject to affliction,
  as the servant of God,
  as the Son learning obedience
    by the things which He suffered,
  as separate from sin and sinners,
    though dwelling in the midst of them.

Here is our model—the infinite, eternal, almighty
God, exhibited in the form of the perfect man,
presented in dimensions the eye can comprehend.

Christ, the divine man, the model man, must be
before us, and our eye must be ever upon our copy
and our page.

The ultimate object of redeeming mercy

"All who believe this will keep themselves
 pure, just as Christ is pure." 1 John 3:3.

Every view we can take of the work of redemption,
shows its connection with holiness.

The Father has "chosen us before the foundation
of the world, that we might be holy."

The Son did not die merely to save us from hell,
and bring us to heaven—but to "redeem us from
all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar
people, zealous for good works."

The Spirit is given to "create us anew unto good works."

If we are called, it is "with a holy calling."

If we are afflicted, it is that we might
"be partakers of God's holiness."

If we possess the Scriptures, it is "that
we might be sanctified by the truth."

Holiness is the image of God, stamped upon man's
soul at his creation—which Satan marred, when his
malignity could not reach the divine original.

And to restore us to holiness, is the ultimate object
of redeeming mercy

What would justification be without holiness—but
like throwing a vestment of purple and gold over a
leprous body?

What is heaven—but the region, the home, the
very center of holiness?

Take away holiness from an angel, and he becomes
a devil. Add holiness to the nature of a devil, and he
becomes an angel.

Were a man without holiness to enter heaven, its
blessed inhabitants would run from him with horror
and alarm—as we would run from a person with the

Without holiness, a soul in heaven would be like a
nauseated man at a feast. He would desire nothing,
taste nothing, relish nothing.

How insignificant, trivial, and paltry!

"This world is fading away, along with everything
 it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will
 live forever." 1 John 2:17

How insignificant, trivial, and paltry, are the
objects of worldly desire and expectation!

What are wealth, rank, fame, pleasure—compared
with the glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life,
which the believer looks for beyond the grave?

They are all of the earth, earthly—this is heavenly.

They are human—this divine.

They are transient—this everlasting.

They are unsatisfying, leaving the soul a void
unfilled—this replenishing its vast capacity.

They are fleeting, shadowy, and precarious
—this absolutely certain.

They are but the children's toys which leave
the poor, craving soul, exclaiming, "Who will
show us any good?"


Why are Christians so worldly?

This soft, extravagant, luxurious slothfulness—this
ease-loving disposition—is the bane of the present
generation of professing Christians!

The robustness of spiritual strength,
the hardihood of Christian courage,
the self-sacrificing disposition of ardent love,
the cross-bearing temper of ever-enduring self-denial
—where are they?

The church is reposing too much in the lap of
the world—or drowsily reclining on her bosom!

Why are Christians so worldly? Why have the scenes and
circumstances of earth, so powerful an influence over us?

Why? Just because our desires and expectations of the
eternal realities and infinite possessions of heaven are
so little thought of—and so little cherished! Were the mind
kept in contemplation of these realities, and the soul more
frequently regaled with foretastes of the heavenly food and
feast—it could not be content to feed on the ashes and
husks of this world!

Did we but consider what heaven is—and how near; did we
but really let our contemplation more steadily fix upon it;
did we but redeem a little more time from secular pursuits
and domestic or social pleasures, to meditate upon it; did
we really and firmly believe all that is told us of it; did we
but inflame our desires after it, and enlarge our expectations
of it; did we but get a foresight and foretaste of its vast, rich,
and imperishable delights—how much would our regard to this
present world be diminished! How would the 'lights of earth'
twinkle and pale, and all but go out—before the beams of the
more excellent glory! What we have to do, then, is to get a
more lively hope of our eternal home! "For God has reserved
a priceless inheritance for His children! It is kept in heaven
for you—pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change
and decay!" 1 Peter 1:4

We can't even imagine!

"For God has reserved a priceless inheritance
 for His children! It is kept in heaven for you—
 pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of
 change and decay!" 1 Peter 1:4

There is in that one word "heaven," a balm
for every wound, a cordial for every fear!

To know that there is a heaven to come, and
that it is mine, is a consolation to be felt—
though not capable of being fully described.

"Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children,
 and we can't even imagine what we will be like
 when Christ returns. But we do know that when
 He comes we will be like Him, for we will see
 Him as He really is!" 1 John 3:2


To lift the soul above the predominant influence
of things seen and temporal, and bring it within
the attraction of things unseen and eternal, is
the work of Omnipotence alone!


With this hope

What privations may we not endure, what
afflictions may we not bear, when we can say,
"God is my Father,
 Christ is my Savior,
 salvation is my portion,
 heaven is my home!"

This Christian hope has carried consolation into
the darkest recesses of human woe, the lowest
depths of poverty and need.

With this hope, we may live in happiness and die
in peace. It is a jewel worth infinitely more than
all the gems which have ever blazed on beauty
or royalty. The man who can rejoice in saying he
is a Christian in reality, need not sigh over
anything else that he is not.

A mighty power and impulse

"No, dear friends, I am still not all I should be, but I am
 focusing all my energies on this one thing
 the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain
 to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which
 God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven."
     Philip. 3:13-14

The Christian's mind must be made up to this. His thinking
must be somewhat as the following—"My purpose is fixed,
and nothing on earth shall shake it, to reach heaven at last.
My plan is laid, and nothing shall alter it. I see that all the
richest possessions on earth—everything that can gratify
taste, ambition, avarice, or appetite—is but the small dust
of the balance to me. I am for heaven! God helping me, no
sacrifice, no self-denial, no hardship, no suffering, shall hold
me back. I am resolutely surrendered, irrevocably committed,
indissolubly bound to that object. Ridicule shall not turn me
aside; persecution shall not terrify me; wealth shall not
seduce me; pleasure shall not allure me. I am for heaven,
and none of these things attract or move me! I will forego
everything, and sacrifice everything that stands in the way
of everlasting glory!"

Ah! This is what is needed in the great bulk of Christian
professors—this absolute determination to reach heaven at
last! But how few of them have deliberately, determinedly
brought their minds to this intelligent, ever-operative
purpose! How comparatively rare, is the sight of a man,
who seems to have heaven in his eye, his heart, his hope,
as the great object of desire, pursuit, and expectation!

Look at the conduct of professing Christians, and see how
different it is from this. They have resolutions—but these
are of the earth, earthly! They have their fixed purposes
—but how far below the skies do they reach! They have
their plans—but they appertain to the present world!

Let no man deceive himself here! None will reach heaven
—but as the result of fixed, deliberate, practical and
persevering determination. It is the view of heaven's
glories, the expectation of eternal life alone—which will
lead to such a heroic resolution. It must, indeed, be a
mighty power and impulse
, which will induce a man
to surrender his whole life, and all that it contains,
for the possession of its object!


There is nothing so beautiful as a humble Christian!

How soon may we, from the highest pinnacle
of earthly comfort, be plunged into the lowest
extremity of woe and distress!

I did many things which I see now to be wrong—
and left undone many things I now see to be right.

Little events form our future destinies!

Reason will lead us to take care, that the objects of
our hope are worth the pains we take to possess them.
It is for a lamentation to see on what worthless objects,
multitudes are exhausting their energies. What miserable
inflame their desires and raise their expectations!


Money, money, money

"What is the great end of my existence? I find myself in
a world where innumerable objects present themselves
to my notice, each soliciting my heart, and each claiming
to be most worthy of its supreme regard. I have faculties
of mind capable of high pursuits. I perceive, by universal
experience, that my stay in this world will be very short,
for I am only a stranger and a sojourner here upon earth,
as all my fathers were; and as I am anxious not to go out
of the world without answering the end for which I came
into it, I would wish to know the chief purpose for which
I exist!"

Such a reflection is what every person should make—but
which very few do make. Would they fritter away their
lives as they do, on the most contemptible trifles
—if they
seriously inquired for what purpose their lives were given?

RICHES, with peculiar boldness, assert their claims to be
"the one thing needful," and multitudes practically confess
the justice of the demand. Hence, there is no deity whose
worshipers are more numerous than Mammon. We see many
all round us who are obviously making this world the exclusive
object of their solicitude. Wealth is with them the main chance.
For this they rise early, and sit up late, eat the bread of anxiety,
and drink the water of affliction. This is their language, "I care
for nothing if I may but succeed in business, and acquire property.
I will endure any fatigue, make any sacrifice, suffer any privation,
so that I at last may realize a fortune!" It is perfectly evident
that beyond this they have neither a wish nor an object. Money,
money, money
, is their chief good, and the highest end of their
existence. God, the soul, salvation, heaven, hell, are as much
forgotten as if they were mere fables, and all the energies and
anxieties of their soul are concentrated in wealth.

Can riches then substantiate their claims to be the chief end
of man? What, when it is so doubtful whether, after all our
endeavors, we shall possess them? When the possession
of them contributes so little to our real felicity? When their
continuance is so uncertain? When their duration so short?
When their influence upon our eternal destiny worse than

Will any reasonable creature have the folly to assert that
the chief end for which God sent him into this world is . . .
  to amass property,
  to build a splendid house, and
  to store it with furniture equally splendid,
  to wear costly clothes,
  to feed on rich food,
  to live in affluence, and
  to die rich?

What a sad parting will that be!

Do riches bring all the pleasures which they promise?

It is a very true remark, that a man's happiness is not
in proportion to his wealth.

"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
 for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of
 his possessions
." Luke 12:15

Many act as if they denied the truth of the sentiment. Do
you think that all rich men are happy, and that all poor men
are miserable? As to mere animal enjoyment, does the
affluent man receive a larger share than his poor neighbor?
Whose head aches less, for the costly plume that waves on
the brow? Whose body enjoys the glow of health more for
the rich velvet which enwraps it, or the lace which adorns it?
Whose sleep is sounder because it is enjoyed on a softer bed?
Whose palate is more pleased because it is fed with many
dishes instead of one, and in silver settings? Whose heart
is more free from pain because of the diamond which sparkles
there? Do riches insure health, keep off disease? Nothing of
the kind! Numerous servants, splendid clothes, rich furniture,
luxurious living, add very little to a man's happiness! We may
say of these things as Pliny did of the pyramids of Egypt,
"They are only proud proclamations of that wealth and
abundance—which their possessor knew not how to use!"

Great wealth certainly gives a man many anxieties. 'What
shall I do?' is a question often asked by affluence, as well
as by poverty. There is nothing in earthly things suited as
a portion to the desires of the human mind. The soul of man
needs something better for its provision than wealth. It is
on this account, partly, that our Lord brands the rich man in
the gospel for a fool, who, when he surveyed his treasures,
said to his soul, "You have goods laid up for many years in
store; eat, drink, and be merry."

When the rich man he leaves the present world, his riches
do not go with him beyond the grave. What a sad parting
will that be
, when he leaves all his treasures behind in this
world, and enter upon another state of existence, where he
cannot take a penny, and where it would be useless if he
could take all of his wealth. Then the miserable spirit, like
a shipwrecked merchant, thrown on some strange coast after
the loss of all his property, shall be cast on the shore of
eternity, without one single comfort to relieve its pressing
and everlasting necessities.

Vile thieves!

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as fools
 but as wise, redeeming the time, because the
 days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16

Unprofitable reading is another consumer of time which
must be avoided. Worldly amusements, and parties of
pleasure, are also injurious. I do not by this mean to
condemn the occasional communion of friends in the
social circle, where the civilities of life are given and
received, the ties of friendship strengthened, and the
mind recreated, without any injury being done to the
spiritual or moral interests.

But the theater, the card-table, the billiard-room,
are all to be avoided as vile thieves, which steal
our time and hurt our souls!

Rivaling the butterfly and the peacock!

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as fools
 but as wise, redeeming the time, because the
 days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16

Redeem time from the vain pursuits of personal
adornment and dress! It is shocking to think how
much precious time is wasted at the mirror, in the
silly ambition of rivaling the butterfly and the
What a reproach to a rational creature,
is it to neglect the improvement of the soul—for
the adornings of the body! This is like painting the
outside of a house, while the interior is left to be
dark, damp, disheveled, and filthy!


A bubble that rises, and shines, and bursts!

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as fools
 but as wise, redeeming the time, because the
 days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16

Paul implies that a man can give no greater proof
of folly, nor more effectually act the part of a fool,
than to waste his time. While on the other hand,
a just appreciation and right improvement of time
are among the brightest displays of true wisdom.

We must value time correctly, and improve it diligently.

Time is the most precious thing in the world. God
distributes time miserly—by the moment—and He
never promises us another moment! We are to highly
value, and diligently to improve the present moment,
by the consideration that for anything we know—it
may be the last.

Time, when once gone, never returns. Where is
A moment once lost—is lost forever!

We should never forget that our time is among the talents
for which we must give account at the judgment of God.
Time will be required with a strictness proportionate to
its value. Let us tremble at this idea, as well we may.
We must be tried not only for what we have done—but
for what we neglected to do. Not only for the hours spent
in sin—but for those wasted in idleness. Let us beware
of wasting time.

It might stir us up to diligence in the improvement of our
time, to think how much of it has been already misspent.
What days, and weeks, and months, and years, have
already been utterly wasted, or exhausted upon trifles
totally unworthy of them. They are gone, and nothing
remains of them but the guilt of having wasted them.
We cannot call them back if we would. Let us learn to
value more highly, and to use more kindly, those days
which remain.

How much of our time is already gone—and how little
may be yet to come? The sands of our hour-glass may
be almost out! Death may be at the door!

When you begin a day, you don't know that you shall end it!
When you lie down, you don't know that you shall rise up!
When you leave your house, you don't know that you shall
ever return!

For what is your life? it is even as a vapor that appears for
a little while and then vanishes! Life is a bubble that rises,
and shines, and bursts!
We know not in any one period of
our existence—but that it may be the last. Surely, surely,
we should then improve our time, when we may be holding,
for anything we know, the last portion of it in our hands!

You are immortal creatures, and must live forever in torment
or in bliss! And certainly you cannot be forming a right
estimate of the value of time, nor be rightly employing it,
if the soul be forgotten, salvation neglected, and eternity
left out of consideration!

How like an angel does she appear!

When a young lady, instead of
frittering away her time in . . .
  frivolous pursuits,
  parties of pleasure,
  personal decorations,
  or scenes of vanity,
employs her hours in . . .
  visiting the cottages of the poor,
  alleviating the sorrows of the wretched,
  reading Scripture to the sick,
how like an angel does she appear!

Be frugal in your personal expenditure—that you
may have the more to do good with. Waste not
that upon unnecessary luxuries of dress or living
—which thousands and millions need for necessities
and pious instruction.

The noblest transformation of property is not
into personal jewels, or splendid household
furniture, or costly equipages—but into . . .
  clothing for the naked,
  food for the hungry,
  medicine for the sick,
  knowledge for the ignorant,
  holiness for the wicked,
  salvation for the lost!

I exhort, therefore, that you do all the good you
can, both to the souls and bodies of your fellow
creatures—for this end you were born into the world!


Amusements, in the usual acceptance of the word, are
but the miserable expedients resorted to by the ignorant
and unsanctified mind of man for happiness; the ineffectual
efforts to restore that peace which man lost by the fall,
and which nothing but true piety can bring back to the
human bosom. In departing from God, the soul of man
strayed from the pasture to the wilderness, and now is
ever sorrowfully exclaiming, as she wanders on—'who
will show us any good?' To relieve her sense of need,
and satisfy her cravings, she is directed to amusements.
But they prove only to be like the flowers of the desert,
which, with all their beauty, do not satisfy.

are but expedients to make men happy
without piety. The mere husks, which those who are
destitute of the bread which comes down from heaven,
crave after, and feed upon—and which are rejected by
those who have their appetite satisfied with this
celestial manna.

Do no go to the polluting sources of worldly amusement
for consolation.

It is the return of the soul to God through faith in Jesus
Christ which can alone give true and satisfying delight.

But there are some who will reply, "I have no taste for
true piety—what amusements do you recommend to me?"

None at all. What! that man talk of amusement, who,
by his own confession, is under the curse of heaven's
eternal law, and the wrath of heaven's incensed King?

AMUSEMENT! What! for the poor wretch who is on the
brink of perdition, the verge of hell, and may the next
hour be lifting up his eyes in torment, and calling for
a drop of water to cool his parched tongue!

Diversion! What! for him who is every moment exposed
to that sentence, "Depart from me, accursed one, into
everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!"

What! going on to that place where the worm dies not,
and the fire is never quenched; where there is weeping
and wailing, and gnashing of teeth—and calling for
Oh monstrous absurdity!

We have heard of prisoners dancing in their chains. But
who ever heard of a poor creature asking for amusements
on his way to the place of execution? This is your case.
While you have no taste for true piety, you are certainly
under sentence of eternal wrath. You are every day
traveling to execution. Yet you are asking for amusements!

And what will be your reflections in the world of despair,
to recollect that the season of hope was employed by you,
not in seeking the salvation of the soul, and everlasting
happiness—but in mere idle diversions, which were
destroying you at the very time they amused you!

Then will you learn that you voluntarily relinquished the
fullness of joy which God's presence affords, and the
eternal pleasures which are to be found at his right
hand—for the joy of fools, which as Solomon truly says,
is but as "the crackling of thorns beneath the pot."

Before you think of amusement—seek for true piety!

Nothing is more bewitching than the love of gambling.
The winner having tasted the sweets of gain, is led
forward by the hope of still greater gain. While the
loser plunges deeper and deeper into ruin, with the
delusive expectation of retrieving his lost fortune.
How many have ruined themselves and their families
forever by this mad passion! How many have thrown
down the cards or dice, only to take up the pistol or
the poison—and have rushed, with all their crimes
about them, from the gambling-table to the fiery
lake of hell!

Time is precious. Its fragments, like those of diamonds,
are too valuable to be lost.

How many parents are accessory to the murder of
their children's souls!
Blood-guiltiness rests upon
their conscience, and the curses of their own offspring
will be upon them through eternity!


A spring of comfort whose waters never fail

Genuine piety comforts the mind, with the assurance of
an all-wise, all-pervading Providence—so minute in its
superintendence and control, that not a sparrow falls
to the ground without the knowledge of our heavenly
Father; a superintendence which is excluded from no
point of space, no moment of time, and overlooks not
the lowest creature in existence.

"And we know that God causes everything to work
 together for the good of those who love God and
 are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Nothing that imagination could conceive is more truly
consolatory than this—to be assured that all things,
however painful at the time, not excepting . . .
  the failure of our favorite plans,
  the disappointment of our fondest hopes,
  the loss of our dearest comforts,
shall be overruled by infinite wisdom, for the
promotion of our ultimate good. This is a
spring of comfort whose waters never fail

A balm for every wound, a cordial for every care

Some of the benefits of affliction, are that it . . .
  crucifies the world,
  mortifies sin,
  quickens prayer,
  extracts the balmy sweets of the promises,
  endears the Savior.

And to crown all, affliction directs the mind to that
glorious state where the days of our mourning shall
be ended—that happy country where God shall wipe
every tear from our eyes, and there shall be no
more sorrow or crying.

Nothing so composes the mind, and helps it to
bear the load of trouble which God may lay upon
it—as the near prospect of its termination.

In that one word, HEAVEN, genuine piety provides
a balm for every wound, a cordial for every care.

In the prospect of eternity, with heaven spreading out
its ineffable glories, and hell uncovering its dreadful
horrors—the only question which a rational creature
should allow himself to ask is, "What is necessary to
avoid the torments of the one—and secure the
felicities of the other?"

Splendid baubles!

A desire after happiness is inseparable from the human mind.
It is the natural and healthy craving of our spirit; an appetite
which we have neither the will nor the power to destroy, and
for which all mankind are busily employed in making provision.
This is as natural, as for birds to fly, or fish to swim.

For this the scholar and the philosopher, who think happiness
consists in knowledge, pore over their books—light the midnight
lamp, and keep frequent vigils, when the world around them is
asleep. The worldling, with whom happiness and wealth are
kindred terms—worships daily at the shrine of Mammon, and
offers earnest prayers for the golden shower. The voluptuary
gratifies every craving sense, rejoices in the midnight revel,
renders himself vile—and yet tells you he is in the chase of
happiness. The ambitious man, conceiving that the 'great
essential' hangs in rich clusters from the throne, consumes
one half of his life, and embitters the other half—in climbing
the giddy elevation of royalty.

All these, however, have confessed their disappointment;
and have retired from the stage exclaiming, in reference to
happiness, as Brutus, just before he stabbed himself, did
in reference to virtue, "I have pursued you everywhere,
and found you nothing but a name."

This, however, is a mistake; for both virtue and happiness
are glorious realities—and if they are not found, it is merely
because they are not sought from the right sources.

Crowns are splendid baubles, gold is sordid dust, and all
the gratifications of sense but vanity and vexation of spirit,
when weighed against the splendid blessings of true piety!


The greatest deceiver in the world!

The detection of deceit, if not a pleasant employment,
is certainly a profitable one. My object is to expose the
greatest deceiver in the world
, whose design is to cheat
you, my dear children, not of your property, nor of your
liberty, nor of your life—but of what is infinitely dearer
than all these—the salvation of your immortal soul!

His success has been frightful, beyond description! Earth
is full of his wiles! Hell is full of his spoils. Millions of lost
souls bewail his success in the bottomless pit, as the
smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever!

Who is this impostor, and what is his name?

Is it the false prophet of Mecca? No!

Is it the spirit of paganism? No!

Is it the ploys of infidelity? No!

It is the human heart—in its deep devices and
endless machinations!

"The human heart is deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked! Who really knows how bad it is?"
    Jeremiah 17:9

This self-deception prevails to a most alarming extent in
the business of personal piety. The 'road to destruction'
is crowded with travelers, who vainly suppose that they
are walking in the path of life, and whose 'dreams of
happiness' nothing will disturb—but the dreadful reality
of eternal misery!


The narrow gate

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and
 broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many
 enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the
 road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Mt. 7:13-14

Our Lord has most explicitly taught us, that the entrance
to the path of life is attended with difficulty—and is not to
be accomplished without effort. Into that road, we are not
borne by the pressure of the thronging multitude, nor the
force of natural inclination. No broad and flowery avenue
attracts the eye; no siren songs of worldly pleasure allure
the ear.

"Strive to enter in at the narrow gate—for many will seek
to enter in, and shall not be able." This implies that there
are obstructions to be removed, and difficulties to be

The fundamental and universal obstruction with which
everyone has to contend, is the darkness and depravity
brought upon human nature by the fall; and the indulged
sensuality, prejudice and enmity of the carnal mind.

He will strive to be like Him

The true believer has a willingness to obey God in all
things. There must be . . .
  a distinct acknowledgment of God's right to govern us;
  an unreserved surrender of our heart and life to His authority;
  a habitual desire to do what He has enjoined,
  a habitual desire to avoid what He has forbidden.

Where there is this desire to please God, this reluctance to
offend God—he will read with constancy and attention the
sacred volume, which is written for the express purpose of
teaching us how to obey and please the Lord. Finding there
innumerable injunctions against all kinds of immorality and
sin, and as many commands to practice every personal,
relative, and social duty—the true Christian will be
zealous for all good works.

Remembering that Jesus Christ his example,
he will strive to be like Him . . .
  in purity,
  in spirituality,
  in submission to the will of God,
  in devotedness to the divine glory.

Nor will he forget to imitate the beautiful meekness,
humility, and kindness of Jesus.

Saving faith never fails to produce love to Jesus,
which transforms the believer into His image.

The moral condition of the world is too bad for description.
If it is ever to be improved—it must be done by Christians.
Genuine piety is the only real reformer of mankind.


Alas! alas!

"Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for
 both the present life and the life to come." 1 Tim. 4:8

My children, true godliness will save you from much
present danger and trouble, promote your temporal
interests, prepare you for the darkest scenes of
adversity, comfort you on a dying bed, and finally
conduct you to everlasting glory!

The lack of true piety will ensure misery on earth,
and be followed with eternal torments in hell!

What then, my children, are all worldly acquirements
and possessions, without true piety? What are the
accomplishments of taste, the elegancies of wealth,
the wreaths of fame? Authentic genius, a vigorous
understanding, a well-stored mind, and all this
adorned by the most amiable temper and most
pleasing demeanor, will neither comfort under the
trials of life, nor save their lovely possessor from the
worm which never dies and the fire which is never
quenched! Alas! alas! that such estimable qualities
should all perish for lack of that piety which alone
can give immortality and perfection to the
excellences of the human character!

No wonder that their children go astray!

It is a melancholy fact, that there are many families with
professing Christian parents, where scarcely the semblance
of domestic piety or instruction is to be found, where . . .
  no family altar is seen,
  no family prayer is heard,
  no parental admonition is delivered!

What! this cruel, wicked, ruinous neglect of their children's
immortal interests in the families of professors! Monstrous
Shocking dereliction of principle! No wonder
that their children go astray!
Some of the most profligate
young people that I know, have issued from such households.
Their prejudices against true religion are greater than those
of the children of avowed worldlings!

Inconsistent, hypocritical, negligent professors of religion,
frequently excite in their children, an unconquerable aversion
and disgust against true piety—which seems to produce in
them a determination to place themselves at the furthest
possible remove from its influence.

Oh! this is a cold and selfish world!

Scattering the seeds of poison and death!

"One sinner destroys much good." Ecclesiastes 9:18

To do good is God-like. To do evil is devil-like. And
we are all imitating God or Satan—accordingly as we
are leading a holy or a sinful life.

"One sinner destroys much good." He not only does
not do good himself—but he destroys good in others!
Instead of doing good, he does only evil. He not only
leaves unassisted all the great means and instruments
for improving and blessing the world, and has no share
in all that is being done for the spiritual and eternal
welfare of mankind; but he opposes it, and seeks to
perpetuate and extend the reign of sin, and the
kingdom of Satan! He . . .
  corrupts by his principles,
  seduces by his example, and
  leads others astray by his persuasions!

He is ever scattering the seeds of poison and
in his path!

Who can imagine, I again say, how many miserable
specters await his arrival in hell—or follow him there
to be his tormentors—in revenge for his having been
their tempter!

True religion happily saves all who possess it from this
mischief—it makes a man an instrument of good, and not
of evil—to his fellow creatures. True religion renders him . . .
  a blessing—and not a curse;
  a savior—and not a destroyer;
  a physician to heal—and not a murderer to destroy!

He lives to do good . . .
  good of the noblest and most lasting kind,
  good to the soul,
  good to distant nations,
  good to the world,
  good to unborn generations,
  good for eternity!

He is a benefactor to his race—a philanthropist of the
noblest order! By a godly example, he adorns true
religion, and recommends it to others, who, attracted
by the beauties of holiness as they are reflected from
his character—are led to imitate his conduct.

God's eye!

"By the fear of the Lord, men depart from evil."
    Proverbs 16:6

True religion will implant in your hearts a regard to
the authority and presence of God. This veneration
for God comes in to aid the exercise of love for holiness.

By the fear of God, I do not mean a slavish and tormenting
dread of the Divine Being, which haunts the mind like an
ever-present spectre—that is superstition, not true religion.

But I mean a fear springing out of affection, the fear of
a child dreading to offend the father whom he loves. What
a restraint  from sin is there in that child's mind! He may
be absent from his father; but love keeps him from doing
what his father disapproves.

So it is with true religion; it is love to God, and love
originates fear. He who is thus blessed with the love
and fear of God is armed as with a shield of triple brass,
against sin. The temptation comes with all its seductive
force—but it is repelled with the indignant question—
"How shall I do this wickedness, and sin against God?"

And this awesome Being is felt to be everywhere!

Yes, God is in every place. Heaven and the earth are
full of his presence. A person once dreamed that the
sky was one vast eye of God
, ever looking down
upon him. He could never get out of the sight of this
tremendous eye
, he could never look up but this
solemn eye was gazing upon him. The moral of this
fearful dream is a fact. God's eye is always, and
everywhere, upon us!

Who could sin, if he saw God in a bodily form looking
upon him? Young man, could you go to the theater, or
to still worse places, if you saw this vast and searching
, with piercing looks, fixed upon you? Impossible! "No!"
you would say, "I must wait until that eye is gone, or
closed, or averted." But it is never gone, never closed,
never averted! This the pious man knows, and therefore
says, "O God, You see me!"

Would you sin, if your father were present? Would you
enter the haunt of vice if he stood at the door, looking
in your face, and saying, "My son, if sinners entice you,
consent not; my son, do not walk in the way with them
—turn your foot from their path!" You could not so insult
and grieve your good father's heart. But though your earthly
father is not there—your heavenly Father is. Your father's
eye does not see you—but God's eye does! This the pious
person believes and feels—and turns away from sin!

"O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything
about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know
my every thought when far away. You chart the path ahead
of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you
know where I am. You know what I am going to say even
before I say it, Lord. You both precede and follow me. You
place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is
too wonderful for me, too great for me to know! I can never
escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your
presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down
to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the wings
of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there
your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me
to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light
are both alike to you. You watched me as I was being formed
in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the
womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life
was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before
a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts
about me, O God! They are innumerable!" Psalm 139.

Bias against the gospel

"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence
 of the intelligent I will frustrate." 1 Corinthians 1:19

Man has an intellectual bias against the gospel, because
it humbles the arrogance of his pride of intellect. He also
has a moral bias against the gospel, because it would
check the indulgence of his sinful passions.

"Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness
 instead of light because their deeds were evil." John 3:19

While looking on his breathless corpse!

To a godly parent, the profligate conduct of a child
is the bitterest disappointment of all. To see a young
man who has been piously educated, and brought up
in the fear of God—so far forgetting the instructions,
prayers and examples of his father, and the tears and
affectionate entreaties of his mother—as to "walk in
the counsel of the ungodly, to stand in the way of
sinners, and sit in the seat of the scornful"—to see
him forming bad associations, indulging his evil
propensities, wandering off, like the prodigal, into
the paths of vice and profligacy, the slave of lust
and wine
—how distressfully disappointing is all this!

Unhappy parents! who have been called to endure
this trial!

"Oh," says the Christian parent, "has it come to this
—that all my solicitude, my prayers, my tears for my
son—end in his profligacy! That all my desires and
expectations that he would become a child of God,
terminate in his being a prodigal! All my hopes of
his being a servant of Christ—disappointed in my
seeing him a slave of Satan! How carefully have I
watched him, how diligently have I instructed him,
how earnestly have I prayed for him! And are all my
prayers and tears as water spilt upon the ground? I
have been laboring in vain, and spending my strength
for nothing, yes, worse than in vain! My every instruction,
correction, and reproof, has aggravated his guilt here—
and will increase his misery hereafter! So that while,
in intention I was acting the most kind and tender
part, I was, in the result, only treasuring up for my
son, wrath against the day of wrath. Alas, alas!
Woe is me! O my son, my son!

How tenfold more dreadful are these reflections if the
son has died in his sins—a case by no means uncommon.
How painful are the father's tears that his child has fallen
into a state of everlasting ruin! "Oh," will the afflicted
parent say, "how comparatively light would be my sorrows,
if, while looking on his breathless corpse, and mourning
the disappointment of my hopes as to the present life, I
could look forward to the world of glory, and see the branch
of my family, which is cut off from earth, transplanted there
and flourishing there. Joy would then mingle with my paternal
sorrows, and praises with my tears. But alas! I have reason
to fear that it was cut down
that it might be cast into
everlasting burnings!

Your journey to eternity!

"They confessed that they were strangers
 and pilgrims here on earth
." Heb. 11:13

Christian! Your earthly sojourn is a pilgrimage to heaven!

Look up to that better country which is above and
beyond the boundaries of earth and time—the home
of the holy, the good, and the blessed . . .
  where there shall be no more death, or sorrow, or crying;
  where there shall be no more pain;
  where fears, anxieties and labors have no place;
  where the turmoils and the strifes of life are unknown;
  where the wicked cease from troubling;
  where the weary are at rest;
  where temptation will be over;
  where the conflict will cease.

Blessed country! May it be your chief concern to
travel to that joyful and glorious land.

From this present world you must depart. No
choice is left you. The hour of departure draws
on—but whether it will be in youth, in manhood,
or in old age, is known only to God.

Shall there be no preparation for your eternal home?
Shall there be no thoughtfulness or concern given to
your journey to eternity?

There are but two places of abode beyond the
grave—heaven and hell. To one or the other you
must soon depart! Which? Which?

Lifestyle evangelism

Let your piety be neither ostentatiously displayed,
nor timidly concealed. At first it would be well to
say little about the gospel to others—until you have
gained their confidence and affection. Let there be
no bustling and meddlesome zeal, nothing like
parading your piety, and proclaiming your
intention to convert everyone.

Your light must shine before others—by your good
works! Your piety must be seen in all its loveliness
and consistency—before it is heard! Be known as the
humble, meek, and gentle follower of the Lamb—the
friend of everyone—the enemy of none.

Take especial care that your conduct be uniformly
consistent. When it is known—and known it ought to
be—that you are a Christian, you will be watched by
the malignant eyes
of those who wait for your failing,
and whose ingenuity will be taxed to lay snares for your
feet. One wrong step will destroy all your influence!
By defacing the beauty and impairing the strength of
your example, you will subject not only yourself—but
Christianity, to the suspicion of hypocrisy.

On the high road to poverty!

"He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever
 loves wine and oil will never be rich." Proverbs 21:17

Never were truer words uttered. The man who is bent
upon what is called "enjoying himself," who will have
his mirthful companions, his amusements, and his
frequent seasons of recreation. The man who is fond
of parties, entertainments, the gaming table, the ball
room, the concert, and the theater—is on the high
road to poverty
in this world—and to hell in the next!

Let the lover of pleasure read the history of Sampson
in the Old Testament—and of the Prodigal in the New

Beauty is the production of God, and, as one of His
gifts, is, like every other, to be considered good in
itself, and to be received with thankfulness. But how
often does it prove a snare to its possessor—and a
temptation to others!


How could I ever do such a wicked thing?

"Godliness has value for all things, holding promise
 for both the present life and the life to come." 1 Tim. 4:8

True piety is the parent of every virtue which is
either useful to man, or pleasing to God.

Sincere, heartfelt and very decided piety is necessary
to prepare for those sudden, violent, and unexpected
temptations which often beset the young traveler on
life's eventful journey.

There are temptations so strong, so violent, so
fascinating to our corrupt natures—that all other
restraints but those of true piety will be swept
away before them, like cobwebs or chaff by the
force of a tempest.

"How could I ever do such a wicked thing? It
 would be a great sin against God." Genesis 39:9

Instructive, entertaining, and interesting

The Bible is the most instructive, entertaining,
and interesting
volume in the world—uniting, as
it does, every species of writing, every variety of
subject, and every style of composition. Much of
the Bible is historical and biographical. It is a
gallery of portraits, both of good and bad men;
some merely sketched in outline; some showing
part of the figure only, and some drawn at full
length. This makes the Scriptures at once
interesting and instructive.

We see SIN in living shapes—depraved, leprous,
beastly, diabolical—and learn to hate it.

We see HOLINESS, fair and beautiful, though by
no means perfectly angelical and heavenly—and
we are by such examples taught to love it, and
helped to acquire it.


Piety and morality

Saving faith is intended to produce two results—love to
God and love to man. In other words piety and morality.

Remember this, for it is of vast importance that you should
remember it. Penitence, faith, inward holiness, devoutness,
heavenliness, are all parts of saving faith, without which
the fairest morality, and most beautiful amiability, are, in
the sight of God, worth nothing, and will be found totally
unavailing to salvation.

There may be much general amiability and morality,
without an atom of genuine piety!

The amiable profligate!

Of all the characters on earth that are dangerous
to you, and should be shunned by you, the amiable
is the one most to be dreaded. The man
of kind disposition, insinuating address, polished
manners, sparkling wit, and keen humor—but of
bad principles or bad conduct—is the most seductive
agent of the Wicked One for the ruin of youth!

He has the fascination of the eye of the basilisk (a
legendary reptile with fatal breath and glance); he
has the glossy and beautifully variegated skin of the
serpent, concealing the fang and the venom; he is the
golden chalice that contains the poisonous draught;
or, to reach the climax, he is Satan transformed
into a personification of polished and attractive
Of such men beware!

Incurable propensity to idolatry

"Ephraim is joined to idols!" Hosea 4:17

A strange and almost incurable propensity to idolatry
had ever been evinced by the Israelitish race, obviously
springing from that depravity of their nature which made
them long for deities congenial to their own corrupted
taste. The spirituality and purity of the true God offended
them. They could not be content with a religion of which
faith was the great principle of action—but coveted objects
of worship which could be presented to the senses, and
which would be tolerant of their vices.

Such is the power of example, especially when it agrees
with our corrupt inclinations, that the Jews, notwithstanding
the revelation they had received from God, and the care He
took to preserve them from the abominations of the
surrounding nations, often forsook the worship of Jehovah
for idols, or attempted to incorporate idolatry with Judaism.
Ahab, one of the wickedest of their monarchs, had married
Jezebel, the daughter of the king of the Zidonians, by whom
Baal was worshiped. Through the influence of this wicked
, the worship of Baal was diffused to an enormous
extent in the kingdom of Israel.

The virtuous woman

"She will do him good and not harm, all the
 days of her life." Proverbs 31:12

The virtuous woman will will be inventive,
ingenious, and laborious to promote his
comfort, his health, and his interest.

She will smooth by her sweet words his brow,
when wrinkled with care.

She will hush the sigh that misfortune extorts
from his bosom.

She will answer with gentleness the sharp words
that in moments of irritation drop from his lips,
and will do all this, not by fits and starts when
in congenial moods, but continually.

To sum up all

And now, to sum up all, consider—

A mother's charge—an immortal creature.

A mother's duty—to train him up for God,
  heaven and eternity.

A mother's dignity—to educate the family
  of the Almighty Creator of the universe.

A mother's difficulty—to raise a fallen sinful
  creature to holiness and virtue.

A mother's encouragement—the promise of Divine
  grace to assist her in her momentous duties.

A mother's relief—to bear the burden of her
  cares to God in prayer.

A mother's hope—to meet her child in glory
  everlasting, and spend eternal ages of delight
  with him before the throne of God and the Lamb!

This inward spring of grace in the soul

"Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty
 again, but whoever drinks the water I give him
 will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him
 will become in him a spring of water, welling
 up to eternal life!" John 4:13-14

True religion is a new, a spiritual, a divine, a
heavenly life
—the life of God in the soul of man!

While the pleasures of the world—the lust of the
flesh, the pride of life, and the lust of the eyes,
are but as drops which inflame rather than allay
the thirst of the natural man after true happiness,
or at best leave him unsatisfied; the grace of Christ
in renewing and sanctifying the soul, leads it to the
true fountain of bliss, and compels it in the fullness
of satisfaction, to exclaim, "I have found it; I have
found it!"

And this source of happiness is not far off, for it is
within and not outside its possessor. It will become
in him a spring of water! He carries the spring about
with him as an abundant, an unfailing source, a
constant supply—a well ever accessible and never
dry—a spring whose sparkling and gushing ebullitions
shall be ever bubbling up, and forming an ever-living
fountain that flows at all seasons of the year, in heat
or cold, and in all the circumstances of the weather,
whether foul or fair, wet or dry. True religion always
lives, always shows its beauties—and amid all
changes of external circumstances.

This inward spring of grace in the soul is represented
as rising higher and higher, and never stopping until it
reaches eternal life; swelling into a stream which refreshes
others in its course to eternity, making all around it fruitful
and pleasant; just like a river flowing through a country
which irrigates the land and covers it on every hand with
fertility and beauty!

Is this descriptive of your religion?

Do you know anything of this . . .
  indwelling of the Spirit of God?
  inward supply from a divine source of sanctity and bliss?
  holy ebullition of sanctified feeling?
  rising up of an inward principle to a divine source?

Do you know anything of this something . . .
  godlike, which aspires to God,
  heavenly, which aspires to heaven,
  eternal, which rests not until it has reached the eternal?

The Christian life is a state of . . .
  intense desire,
  deep solicitude,
  of strenuous, unwearied action,
  of constant progress.

The most attractive of all female graces

"And I want women to be modest in their appearance.
 They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and
 not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix
 their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive
 clothes." 1 Timothy 2:9

Modesty is the most attractive of all female graces.
What is intelligence without it, but bolder impudence;
or beauty but a more seductive snare?

Modesty is a woman's ornament, investing all her
other excellences with additional charms—the blush
of purity upon the cheek of beauty. It is her power,
by which she subdues every heart that is worth
the conquest.

Chastity is the robe which every woman should
wear, and modesty is the golden clasp that keeps
it upon her, and the fringe that adorns it.

A bad disposition

"Be kind and compassionate to one another,
 forgiving each other." Ephesians 4:32

There is a saying, that "disposition is everything."
This is going too far, since it is not to be doubted
good disposition is sometimes associated with bad
principle. While on the other hand, there are many
high-principled and noble-minded individuals, who
are troubled, equally to their own annoyance and
that of their friends, with infirmities of disposition.

Still, though not everything, good disposition is a
great thing. Reason and religion may do much, and
in myriads of instances have done much, to correct
and improve a naturally bad disposition.

A bad disposition will torment you through life. With
this you will carry your own curse with you everywhere.

A bad disposition will multiply your enemies, and
alienate your friends.

A bad disposition will becloud your reason and
benumb your religion.

A bad disposition will embitter your comforts
and envenom your trials.

A bad disposition will make you unhappy at home,
and secure you distress when away from home.

A bad disposition will give you wretchedness at the time,
and conscious guilt and painful reflections afterwards.

A bad disposition will deprive your days of peace
and your nights of sleep.

In short, a bad disposition will be to the soul what a
chronic and painful disease is to the body—a constant
source of uneasiness and distress, with this difference,
that whereas the one brings its own consolation with
it to the Christian, the other brings nothing but
punishment and shame.

How is a mother's heart grieved to see her daughters,
after all the pains she has taken to form their pious
character, more taken up with fashion, company, and
gaiety—than with eternal realities! And their father, how
is he distressed to see his counsels unheeded, his prayers
unanswered, and they whom he had hoped to lead to God,
far more fond of the fleeting mirthful vanities of the world!


Young women!

Young women! Deeply ponder, that character for life
is usually formed in youth. It is the golden season of
life, and to none more truly and eminently so than to
the young woman. Her leisure, her freedom from care,
and her protected situation, give her the opportunity
for this, which it is her wisdom and her duty to consider,
embrace, and improve.

Set out in life with a deep conviction of the momentous
consequence of self-discipline. Let your mind, your heart,
your conscience, be the chief object of your solicitude.

Lay the basis of all your excellences in true religion . . .
  the religion of the heart,
  the religion of penitence,
  faith in Christ,
  love to God,
  a holy and heavenly mind.
No character can be well-constructed, safe,
complete, beautiful, or useful, without this.

Cultivate a thoughtful, reflective turn of mind. Look
beneath the surface of things; beyond their present
aspect to their future consequences. Be somewhat
meditative, and learn to restrain your words and
feelings, by a rigid self-control. Pay most anxious
attention to your temper, and acquire as much as
possible its perfect command. More women are
rendered miserable, and render others miserable,
by neglect of this, than perhaps from any other
cause whatever. Let meekness of disposition
and gentleness of manner be a constant study.

These are woman's amiabilities, which fit her
for her future situation far better than the bold,
imposing, and obtrusive airs of those who
mistake the secret of woman's influence.

Contentment and patience;
self-denial and submission;
humility and subordination;
prudence and discretion,
are all virtues, the seeds of which should be
sown by you in early youth, that their rich ripe
fruits might be gathered in future life.

Benevolence of heart, and kindness of disposition,
must be among your foremost studies, the most
prominent objects of your pursuit and most laborious
endeavors; for they are the virtues which in their
maturity are to form excellence in Christian character,
and constitute you the fit companion for a husband.

Make worldly accomplishments subordinate to more
substantial excellences. And as matters of mental
taste are to be less thought of, than the state of
the heart and the formation of moral character,
so let especially bodily adornments be in low
estimation compared with those of the mind.

To prepare you to carry out the duties of your future
mission with ease to yourself, with satisfaction to a
husband, and comfort to a household, pay attention
to the minor virtues—punctuality, love of order, and
efficiency. These are all of immense importance, the
lack of them in the female head of a family, must
necessarily fill the home with confusion, and the
hearts of its inhabitants with sadness. Set out in life
with a deep conviction of the importance of habits, and
a constant recollection that habits for life are formed in
youth and that these habits, if not acquired then, are
likely never to be.

Aim at universal excellence. Do little things well. Avoid
with extreme dread a loose, slovenly, and careless way
of doing anything proper to be done.

Young women, your whole future life will illustrate and
confirm the truth and propriety of this advice, either by
the comfort and usefulness which will result from your
attending to it—or by the miseries which you will endure
yourself and inflict on others, if you allow it to sink into

Home, sweet home

HOME is the proper sphere of woman's action and influence!

There are few terms in the language around which cluster so
many blissful associations as that delight of every English
heart—the word HOME.

The paradise of love.

The nursery of virtue.

The garden of enjoyment.

The temple of harmony.

The circle of all tender relationships.

The playground of childhood.

The dwelling of adulthood.

The retreat of old age.

HOME is where health loves to enjoy its pleasures,
wealth to revel in its luxuries, and poverty bears its
rigors—where best sickness can endure its pains, and
dissolving nature expire—which throws its spell over
those who are within its charmed circle, and even
sends its attractions across oceans and continents,
drawing to itself the thoughts and wishes of the man
who wanders from it, to the opposite end on the globe
—this, home, sweet home—is the sphere of wedded
woman's mission!

Is it any hardship upon woman, any depreciation of her
importance, to place her sphere of action and influence
there? Is it to assign her a circle of influence unworthy
of herself, to call her to preside over that little home?

Shall we estimate the importance of such a scene of action?
Shall we tell of the varied and momentous interests which
are included in that circle? Shall we speak of the happiness
of a husband, whose bliss, to so considerable an extent, is
created by herself—and which involves her own happiness;
or the character and future well-being for both worlds of her

It is the privilege of the woman . . .
to make one such home a seat of holiness and happiness;
to fill one such sphere with an influence so sweet and sacred;
to throw the fascination of wedded delight and of maternal
influence over one such home; to irradiate so many faces
with delight; to fill so many hearts with contentment, and
to prepare so many characters for their future part in life!

One of the most hallowed, lovely, and beautiful sights in our
world—is a woman at home discharging in all the meekness
of wisdom, the various duties of wife and mother, with an
order that nothing is allowed to disturb; a patience which
nothing can exhaust; an affection which is never ruffled;
and a perseverance that no difficulties can interrupt, nor
any disappointments arrest!

Satan's baits!

Bring up your children with low notions of the
importance of riches and worldly show, and
of the power which these things have either
to give respectability to the character, or to
procure happiness.

Do not let them hear you magnify the value of
wealth by your words—nor see you do it by your
actions. Avoid a servile attention to the rich and
great—do not point to them as the individuals
most to be admired and envied. Do not have an
undue solicitude about grandeur of abode, or
furniture. From the time that they are capable
of receiving an idea, or an impression, teach
them it is godly character that constitutes true

Remind them of the danger of riches, and that
they are Satan's baits to tempt men to love the
world—and lose their souls!

Not that you should produce a cynical disposition
towards either riches or the rich; much less repress
industry, and foster indolence. No—but encourage
them to consider and seek wealth, rather as a
means of usefulness, than a source of personal

It is indeed a fearsome thing to be a parent

On parents it depends in a great measure
what their children are to be . . .
  miserable or happy in themselves,
  a comfort or a curse to their relationships,
  an ornament or a deformity to society,
  a fiend or a seraph in eternity!

It is indeed a fearsome thing to be a parent,
and is enough to awaken the anxious, trembling
enquiry in every heart, "Lord, who is sufficient
for these things?"

Conducting their children to the bottomless pit!

A graceless parent is a most dreadful character! Oh!
to see the father and mother of a expanding family,
with a crowd of young immortals growing up around
them, and teaching worldliness to their offspring,
and leading them to perdition, by the power of their
own example!

A sheep leading her twin lambs into the den
of a hungry tiger would be a shocking sight!
But to see parents conducting their children
to the bottomless pit
, is most horrible!!

He who has most piety

A good Christian cannot be a bad husband,
or father. He who has most piety, will shine
most in all the relationships of life.

A bible placed between man and wife as  . . .
  the basis of their union,
  the rule of their conduct,
  and the model of their temper, will . . .
make up many a difference,
comfort them under many a cross,
guide them in many a strait,
support them in their last sad parting from each other,
and reunite them in eternal glory!

To make her holy

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the
church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy."
  Ephesians 5:25-26

In a Christian marriage, there should be the exercise of
a constant reciprocal solicitude, watchfulness, and care,
in reference to their spiritual and eternal welfare. One
of the ends which every true believer should propose to
himself, on entering the marriage state, is to secure one
faithful friend, at least, who will be a helpmate for him
in reference to the eternal world, assist him in the great
business of his soul's salvation, and that will pray for him
and with him; one that will affectionately tell him of his
sins and his defects; one that will stimulate and draw him
by the power of a holy example, and the sweet force of
persuasive words; one that will warn him in temptation,
comfort him in dejection, and in every way assist him in
his pilgrimage to the skies. The highest end of the marital
state is lost, if it be not rendered helpful to our piety.

Do we converse with each other as we ought on the high
themes of redemption by Christ, and eternal salvation?
Do we study each other's dispositions, snares, troubles,
decays in piety—that we may apply suitable remedies? Do
we exhort one another daily, lest we should be hardened
through the deceitfulness of sin? Do we practice faithfulness
without censoriousness; and administer praise without flattery?

Do we encourage one another to the most quickening and
edifying means of grace, and recommend the perusal of
such instructive and improving books as we have found
beneficial to ourselves? Do we mutually lay open the state
of our minds on the subject of personal piety, and state
our perplexities, our joys, our fears, our sorrows?

Alas, alas! who must not blush at their neglects in these
particulars? And yet such neglect is as criminal as it is
common. Fleeing from the wrath to come—and yet not
doing all we can to aid each other's escape! Contending
side by side for the crown of glory, honor, immortality,
and eternal life—and yet not doing all we can to ensure
each other's success!

Is this love?

Is this the tenderness of marital affection?

Love is patient and kind.

"Love is patient and kind." 1 Corinthians 13:4

For this love there is both need and room in every relation
of life. Wherever sin or imperfection exists, there is scope
for the patience of love. There is no perfection upon earth.
Lovers, it is true, often fancy they have found it; but the
more sober judgment of husbands and wives generally
corrects the mistake; and first impressions of this kind,
usually pass away with first love.

We should all enter the married state, remembering that
we are about to be united to a sinful person—and it is not
two 'angels' that have met together, but two 'sinful people',
from whom must be expected much weakness and selfishness.

We must expect some imperfection in our spouse. Remembering
that we ourselves have no small share of sinfulness, which calls
for the forbearance of the other party—we should exercise the
patience that we ask from them. Where both have infirmities,
and they are so constantly together, innumerable occasions
will be furbished, which, if they do not produce a permanent
suppression of love, lead to its temporary interruption. Many
things we should overlook, others we should pass by with
an unprovoked mind, and in all things most carefully avoid
even what at first may seem to be an innocent disputation.

Love does not forbid, but actually demands that we should
mutually point out the faults of our spouses; but this should
be done in all the meekness of wisdom united with all the
tenderness of love, lest we only increase the evil we intend
to remove, or substitute a greater one in its place. Justice,
as well as wisdom, requires that in every case, we set the
good qualities against the bad ones, and in most cases we
shall find some redeeming excellencies, which, if they do not
reconcile us to the failings we deplore, should at least teach
us to bear them with patience. And the more we contemplate
these better aspects of the character, the brighter will they
appear—for it is an indubitable fact, that while faults diminish,
virtues magnify in proportion as they are steadily contemplated.

As to bitterness of speech, and harshness of conduct—this
is so utterly disgraceful, that it scarcely needs be mentioned
even by way of cautioning against it.