Favorite Quotes
 

1. THE SCRIPTURES

The Golden Key! The Golden Thread!

(Octavius Winslow) LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

Jesus is the one great theme both of the Old Testament and the New. The whole Bible is designed to testify of Christ, "The Scriptures point to Me!" John 5:39

In Christ the Messiah, in Jesus the Savior, in the Son of God the Redeemer, all the truths of the Bible center.

To Him all the types and shadows point!

Of Him all the prophecies give witness!

All the glory of the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, culminates at the cross of Christ!

The Bible would be an inexplicable mystery apart from Christ, who unfolds and explains it all.

He is the golden Key which unlocks the divine treasury of Scriptural revelation!

Until He is seen, the Bible is, in a sense, a great mystery. But when He is found, it is a glorious revelation.
Every mystery is opened,
every enigma is explained,
every discrepancy is harmonized, and
every truth and page, sentence and word, is quickened with a life and glowing with a light flowing down from the throne of the Eternal God.

Christ is the substance of the Gospel.
  All its divine doctrines,
  all its holy precepts,
  all its gracious instructions,
  all its precious promises,
  all its glorious hopes,
meet, center, and fill up their entire compass in Jesus!

He is the Alpha and the Omega of the Bible, from the first verse in Genesis, to the last verse in Revelation.

Oh, study the Scriptures of truth with a view of learning Christ.

Do not study the Bible as a mere history.
Do not read it as a mere poem.
Do not search it as a book of science.
It is all that, but infinitely more.
The Bible is the Book of Jesus!
It is a Revelation of Christ!

Christ is the golden thread which runs through the whole!

Blessed Lord Jesus! I will read and study and dig into the Scriptures, to find and learn more of You!
You, Immanuel, are the fragrance of this divine box of precious ointment.
You are the beauteous gem sparkling in this divine cabinet.
You are the Tree of life planted in the center of this divine garden.
You are the Ocean whose stream quickens and nourishes all who draw water out of this divine well of salvation.
The Bible is all about You!

 

2. MEDITATION

The choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian! Play Audio!  Download Audio

Thomas Manton: "What is the reason that there is so much preaching, and so little practice? For lack of meditation. The end of study is information, and the end of meditation is practice, or kindling of the affections. The end of study is to hoard up truth. The end of meditation is to lay it forth in holy conduct. To hear sermons and not to meditate upon them, is unfruitful. We may hear and hear, but it is like putting a thing into a bag with holes!"

Thomas Brooks: "It is not the bee's touching of the flower which gathers honey, but her abiding for a time upon the flower which draws out the sweet. Just so, it is not he who reads most, but he who meditates most, who will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian!"

William Bridge: "Meditation will keep your hearts and souls from sinful thoughts. When the vessel is full, you can put in no more. If the heart is full of sinful thoughts, then there is no room for holy and heavenly thoughts. If the heart is full of holy and heavenly thoughts by meditation, then there is no room for evil and sinful thoughts."

William Plumer: "Without meditation, grace never thrives, prayer is languid, praise is dull, and religious duties are unprofitable. It is easier to hear a year of sermons, than to spend an hour in close, devout, profitable thoughts on divine things."

George Mueller: "It often astonishes me that I did not see the importance of meditation upon Scripture earlier in my Christian life. We must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our hearts. The most important thing I do, is to read the Word of God and to meditate on it. Thus my heart is comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved and instructed."

Thomas Watson: "The reason we come away so cold from reading the Word, is because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation. Without meditation, the truths which we know will never affect our hearts. As a hammer drives a nail to the head, so meditation drives a truth to the heart! Read before you meditate. Reading furnishes with matter—it is the oil which feeds the lamp of meditation. Be sure your meditations are founded upon Scripture. Reading without meditation is barren and unfruitful; meditation without reading is dangerous."

Charles Spurgeon: "Some people like to read so many chapters every day. I would not dissuade them from the practice, but I would rather let my soul soak in half a dozen verses all day, than rinse my hand in several chapters. Oh, to be bathed in a text of Scripture, and to let it be sucked up into your very soul, till it saturates your heart! Set your heart upon God's Word! Let your whole nature be plunged into it as a cloth into a dye!

William Bridge:
"By meditation, your knowledge is raised.
 By meditation, your memory is strengthened.
 By meditation, your hearts are warmed.
 By meditation, you will be freed from sinful thoughts.
 By meditation, your hearts will be tuned to every duty.
 By meditation, you will grow in grace.
 By meditation, you will fill up all the chinks and crevices of your lives, and know how to spend your spare time profitably.
 By meditation, you will draw good out of evil.
 By meditation, you will converse with God, and enjoy God."

Philip Henry: "It is easier to walk six miles to hear a sermon, than to spend one quarter of an hour in meditating upon it when I come home."

Arthur Pink: "Meditation upon the Word of God is one of the most important of all the means of grace and growth in spirituality, yes there can be no true progress in vital and practical godliness without it. Meditation on Divine things is not optional but obligatory, for it is something which God has commanded us to attend unto."

"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." Joshua 1:8

"But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates day and night." Psalm 1:2

"I meditate on Your precepts, and consider Your ways." Psalm 119:15

"Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long." Psalm 119:97

"My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your promises." Psalm 119:148

 

3. GOD'S NATURE

Who is regulating affairs on this earth today, God, or the Devil?

(Arthur Pink, "The Sovereignty of God")  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

Who is regulating affairs on this earth today, God, or the Devil?

That God reigns supreme in Heaven, is generally conceded; but that He reigns supreme over this earth, is almost universally denied, if not directly, then indirectly. More and more men are relegating God to the background in their philosophizing and theorizing.

Take the material realm. Not only is it denied that God created everything by personal and direct action, but few believe that He has any immediate concern in regulating the works of His own hands. Everything is supposed to be ordered according to the impersonal and abstract "laws of Nature". Thus is the Creator banished from His own creation! Therefore we need not be surprised that men, in their degrading conceptions, exclude Him from the realm of human affairs.

Throughout Christendom, with an almost negligible exception, the theory is held that man is "a free agent", and therefore, man is the master of his fortunes and the determiner of his destiny.

Who is regulating affairs on this earth today, God, or the Devil?

What do the Scriptures say? If we believe their plain and positive declarations, no room is left for uncertainty. They affirm, again and again . . .
  that God is on the throne of His universe;
  that the scepter is in His hands;
  that He is directing all things "after the counsel of His own will". Ephesians 1:11

The Scriptures affirm, not only that God created all things, but also that God is ruling and reigning over all the works of His hands. They affirm . . .
  that God is the Almighty,
  that His will is irreversible,
  that He is absolute sovereign in every realm of all His vast dominions.

And surely it must be so. Only two alternatives are possible:
  God must either rule, or be ruled;
  God must either sway, or be swayed;
  God must either accomplish His own will, or be thwarted by His creatures.

Accepting the fact that He is the "Most High God", the only Potentate and King of kings, vested with perfect wisdom and illimitable power, the conclusion is irresistible, that He must be God in fact, as well as in name!

It is in view of what we have briefly referred to above that we say, present-day conditions call loudly for a new examination and new presentation of God's omnipotence, God's sufficiency, and God's sovereignty. From every pulpit in the land it needs to be thundered forth, that God still reigns! What is needed now, as never before, is a full, positive, constructive setting forth of the Godhood of God. Drastic diseases call for drastic remedies. We know of nothing which is more calculated to infuse spiritual vigor into our souls, than a scriptural apprehension of the full character of God!

"Our God is in Heaven! He does whatever He pleases!" Psalm 115:3

"The LORD does whatever pleases Him throughout all Heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths!" Psalm 135:6

"All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of Heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: What have you done?" Daniel 4:35

"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns!" Revelation 19:6

 

4. THE LOVELINESS OF JESUS

Christ Exalted!  Play Audio!  Download Audio 

(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)

If we look at the comparisons which are made use of by the Holy Spirit to set Christ forth, we behold something more of His loveliness.

He is compared to a MOTHER, and is said to have more than a mother's tenderness, kindness and care.
His concern for His people is constant,
He never loses sight of them for a moment, and
He pledges His Word that He will never forget them!

He is the CITY of REFUGE, with . . .
  the broad and clear road,
  the gates wide open, and
  the hearty welcome awaiting every sinner who approaches to escape the threatened vengeance!

He is the STRONGHOLD, which emboldens, supplies and secures all the prisoners of hope.

He is the ROCK, which shades, shelters and refreshes the weary traveler.

He is the DAY-STAR, which betokens brighter scenes, and guides the vessel of mercy across the boisterous deep, to the haven of perfect redemption and safety.

He is the SUN of RIGHTEOUSNESS, whose rising . . .
  cheers the benighted pilgrim,
  makes glad the weary citizen of Heaven, and
  produces moral beauty and fruitfulness in our world.

He is the APPLE-TREE among the trees of the forest . . .
  whose blossoms are beautiful,
  whose shade is refreshing, and
  whose fruit is sweet to the taste.

He is the BREAD of LIFE, which came down from Heaven . . .
  satisfying the hungry,
  strengthening the weak, and
  giving life unto the world.

He is the BRAZEN SERPENT, which heals easily, instantly and perfectly, all who look to Him by faith.

He is the WATER of SALVATION, which . . .
  cleanses the filthy,
  refreshes the weary, and
  makes glad the city of God.

He is the only WAY, which leads from sin, condemnation and wrath, to life, holiness, and Heaven!

He is the HEAD, which thinks, plans and contrives for the welfare of the whole of His mystical body.

He is the DOOR, which admits to . . .
  the pastures of Divine truth,
  the privileges of His Church below,
  and His Father's glorious presence!

He is the FOUNDATION on which all must build for eternity, and which alone is able to support our hopes and sustain our souls, amidst the wreck of matter and the crash of worlds!

He is the CORNER-STONE, which unites, beautifies and strengthens the whole building of divine mercy.

He is the TEMPLE, where God . . .
  meets with us,
  accepts us, and
  imparts His blessing to us.

He is the ALTAR, which sanctifies both the gift and the giver.

He is the VINE, which communicates lifenourishment and fruitfulness to all its branches.

He is the ROSE of SHARON and the LILY of the VALLEY, fragrant, lovely, attractive, perfuming and unequaled in beauty and grace!

He is the FORERUNNER, who is gone before His flock . . .
  removing the obstacles,
  marking out the road, and
  ready to receive them as they finish their course.

He is the FRIEND . . .
  who loves at all times,
  whose mind never changes,
  whose love never cools, and
  who never neglects a friend in distress.

He is the greatestbest and most glorious GIFT of GOD, including, securing, and conferring every good thing upon those who sincerely receive Him.

He is the KINSMAN . . .
  who redeems the forfeited inheritance,
  who ransoms all His poor relatives from slavery,
  and whose name is held in renown.

He is the LAMB of GOD, who took up, expiated and forever put away, the sins of all who trust in Him.

He is the MESSENGER of the COVENANT, who . . .
  brings good news from God,
  carries all our requests to God, and
  ever stands as a Mediator between us and God.

He is the PEARL of GREAT PRICE, or the priceless pearl, which . . .
  all who sincerely seek, find;
  all who find, may claim; and
  all who possess, are enriched forever!

He is the PHYSICIAN, who . . .
  heals all spiritual disorders,
  restores every patient to perfect health,
  and bestows medicine and care freely.

He is the RANSOM, which . . .
  procured our release,
  ensures our liberty, and
  preserves us from going down into the pit!

He is the RIGHTEOUSNESS, which . . .
  justifies us from all charges,
  entitles us to eternal life, and
  enables us to lift up our heads with boldness in God's presence.

He is the TRUTH, which . . .
  enlightens the mind,
  purifies the heart, and
  regulates the life.

He is the FIRE, which . . .
  purges our dross,
  brightens our graces, and
  cleanses our consciences from works which deserve death.

He is the SHEPHERD, who . . .
  knows every sheep,
  watches over the whole flock, and
  never loses a lamb, by disease, accident or beast of prey.

He is the CAPTAIN of SALVATION, who . . .
  collects His soldiers,
  disciplines His troops, and
  leads them forth to certain victory over sin, the world and the devil.

He is the LADDER, by which we . . .
  rise from this earth,
  lose sight of carnal things, and
  ascend to the presence of God!

He is the SURETY . . .
  who engaged for us in the everlasting covenant,
  who is held responsible for our salvation,
  who has pledged to set us before His father's throne forever.

He is the WALL of FIRE, which surroundsenlightens and infallibly protects, all His redeemed people!

He is the chief among ten thousand, and the ALTOGETHER LOVELY ONE!

Precious Lord Jesus, allow me . . .
  to know You more fully,
  to trust You more heartily,
  to serve You more diligently,
  to enjoy You more frequently,
  to imitate You more closely,
  to exalt You more highly, and
  to show forth Your salvation from day to day!

Your love, is my Heaven,
Your presence, is my delight, and
Your service, is the joy of my heart!

Let me daily . . .
  walk with You,
  work for You, and
  bring glory to You!

Oh, send Your Spirit to my poor heart . . .
  to exalt You,
  to honor You,
  to endear You to my soul!

Use me to bring . . .
  lost sinners to Your cross,
  believers to Your throne of grace,
  backsliders to the path of obedience.

Be my . . .
  strength in life,
  solace in death, and
  eternal portion beyond the grave!

 

5. THE LOVE OF JESUS

Wonder, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth!  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

(James Smith, "The Love of Christ! The Fullness, Freeness, and Immutability of the Savior's Grace Displayed!")

"I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love!
 
With unfailing love, I have drawn you to Myself!" Jeremiah 31:3

The love of Christ is unending; it is not a passion of His humanity, but a perfection of His divinity. He has always existed, and He has always loved His people. His people . . .
  always had a place in His thoughts,
  have ever been before His eye,
  and have always been loved by Him!

He has loved them ever since He knew them, and He knew them from eternity! His love ran through the boundless ages of eternity past, and fixed upon poor sinners who were to appear during the existence of time; and having fixed upon them, His love maintains its unfailing hold!

When He created the earth, spread abroad the Heavens, and gave His decree to the sea, His love was fixed upon His people! Their welfare, in connection with His Father's glory, was the object which He sought in all things.

Wonder, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth! That Jesus should have fixed His love upon such poor, depraved, insignificant creatures, and that from eternity past!

When we meditate upon eternity past, we can say in reference to the most distant periods, "My Savior loved me then! He loved me from all eternity!" Glorious truth! He always has loved me, and He always will love me! He loved me . . .
  before angels existed,
  before devils appeared,
  before sin was committed!

He loved me, when the Godhead dwelt all alone!
O the depths!
Astonishing mystery!
It seems too good to be true!
But God has said it, and my soul shall rejoice in it and praise Him for it!

His love to me is as eternal as His nature, without beginning of days, or end of years.
From His love, as from a mighty ocean, flows . . .
  all the acts of His power,
  all the displays of His benevolence,
  all the manifestations of His grace,
  and all the provisions of His gospel.

It is sweet to silently meditate upon the thought of such a vile and insignificant creature as I am, that Jehovah-Jesus not only thought of me, but eternally loved me with all the strength of His Deity! He so loved me, as to be willing, when it became necessary, to take my nature, and to save me by His humiliation, sufferings, and death!

 

6. The HOLY SPIRIT and the believer

The work of the Holy Spirit

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

I love to meditate on the work of the Holy Spirit to whom we are so much indebted, and from whom we receive such great and invaluable blessings. To Him, I feel that I am indebted for every good thought, and for every good work. How wonderful His patience, that He should bear with me so long; and how wonderful His loving-kindness, that He should confer on me so much! O that I was more deeply sensible of my obligations!

It was the Holy Spirit who quickened me when I was dead in trespasses and sins . . .
  imparting a new life,
  infusing new thoughts, and
  producing new desires in my soul.

Having quickened me, He conquered me, subduing . . .
  the enmity of my heart,
  the obstinacy of my will,
  the worldliness of my affections,
and bringing every thought into subjection to the obedience of Christ.

Having quickened and conquered me, He comforted me, assuring me of a saving interest in . . .
  the love of God,
  the perfect work of Jesus,
  the precious promises of the Word, and
  the eternal rest which remains for the people of God.

Having quickenedconquered, and comforted me, He sanctified me by . . .
  separating me from the world, and
  setting me apart for my Redeemer's glory and praise.

As my Sanctifier, He became my Guide . . .
  
leading me into the truth,
  conducting me out of the paths of danger,
  and directing me into the everlasting way.

Not only my guide, but He became my Guard . . .
  preserving me from danger,
  protecting me from foes, and
  becoming a wall of fire round about me.

Whenever I wander, He reproves me; when I willfully go astray, He corrects me, and makes me smart for my folly.

The work He began so long ago, He carries on; nor will He withdraw His hand from it, until it is perfected and I am fully fitted for glory.

Reader, what do you experimentally know of the work of the Holy Spirit?
Has He quickened you?
Has He conquered you?
Does He comfort you?

Are you sanctified by His presence, power, and operation in your heart?
Does He . . .
  guide you by His counsel,
  guard you by His power, and
  correct you for your follies?

The work of the Spirit within us, is as necessary as the work of Jesus for us! For if the atonement of Christ entitles us to glory, it is the work of the Holy Spirit that prepares us to possess and enjoy it. We must be washed, justified, and sanctified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God, or we cannot be saved!

 

7. ELECTION & PREDESTINATION

O the wonders couched in electing love!

(James Smith, "God's Special Treasure" 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"For you are a holy people who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure!" Deuteronomy 7:6

God highly prizes His people. Yes, it is impossible to say how highly He prizes them. Those are wondrous words, "For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own special treasure!" Psalm 135:4

Did the shepherd prize his flock? God calls His people, "His flock, His beautiful flock."

Does the miser prize his wealth? God says of His people, "You shall be a special treasure unto Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine."

Does the prince prize his jewels? God says of His people, "They shall be Mine, in that day when I make up My jewels!"

Does the bridegroom prize his beloved and dearly purchased bride? It is written, "As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you!"

Does the reigning monarch prize his crown? God has said, "You shall be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God."

What wondrous love, such expressions as these represent!
How precious must the Lord's people be to Him!
Truly they are His special treasure!

God chose them to be special unto Himself.
He chose them out from among others.
He chose them in preference to others.

He chose them out from others, on purpose that they may be a special people unto Himself. And in so doing, He acted FREELY. It was not on account of anything He saw in them, or on account of anything He expected from them; but in the exercise of His most free and holy sovereignty, He chose them to participate in the glory of His Son!

In choosing them, He acted also DELIBERATELY. It was no hasty choice.
His thoughts had been eternally filled with them.
His heart had been eternally set upon them.
Therefore He chose them in Christ before the foundation of the world!

In choosing them, He acted WISELY, as He really desired to have them. For each one of them is ready to confess that if God had not chosen them, that they would never have chosen Him! The nature regulates the choice; and as our nature is carnal and impure, we would never have chosen God who is spiritual and holy.

His choice was just an early expression of His LOVE. The love which chose them, would do anything for them, and give anything to them! Therefore God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for them all; and in so doing, gave them the assurance that He will also freely give them all things in Christ.

O the wonders couched in electing love!

This act of choosing such creatures as we are, to be a special people unto Himself, displays . . .
  such grace,
  such condescension,
  such infinite wisdom and love!

God's election says, "The Lord loves you!" Loves us! Yes, and with a love that is eternal, immutable, sovereign, infinite, and free! All the love of God is lavished upon us as His special people in Christ. Oh, those wondrous words of Jesus, "You have loved them, even as You have loved Me!" John 17:23

But few among the worldly wise,
But few of nobler race,
Obtain the favor of Your eyes,
Almighty King of grace!

 

8. CREATION

In that time before all time!

(Charles Spurgeon, 1864)  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

Meditate, dear friends, upon the whole range of God's works in Creation and Providence.

There was a period when God dwelt alone, and creatures were not. In that time before all time, when there was no day but "the Ancient of Days," when matter and created mind were alike unborn, and even space was not, God, the great I AM, was as perfectglorious, and as blessed as He is now.

There was no sun, and yet Jehovah dwelt in ineffable light.
There was no earth, and yet His throne stood fast and firm.
There were no heavens, and yet His glory was unbounded.

God inhabited eternity in the infinite majesty and happiness of His self-contained greatness. If the Lord, thus abiding in solemn solitude, should choose to create anything, the first thought and idea must come from Him, for there was no other to think or suggest. All things must be of Him in design. With whom can He take counsel? Who shall instruct Him? There existed no other to come into His council-chamber, even if such an assistance could be supposable with the Most High.

In the beginning of His way, before His works of old, eternal wisdom brought forth from its own mind the perfect plan of future creations, and every line and mark therein must clearly have been of the Lord alone.

He ordained the pathway of every planet, and fixed the abode of every star.
He poured forth the sweet influences of the Pleiades, and girt Orion with its bands.
He appointed the bounds of the sea, and settled the course of the winds.
As to the earth, the Lord alone planned its foundations, and stretched His line upon it.

He formed in His own mind, the mold of all His creatures, and found for them a dwelling and a service. He appointed the degree of strength with which He would endow each creature, settled its months of life, its hour of death, its coming and its going.

Divine wisdom mapped this earth, its flowing rivers and foaming seas, the towering mountains, and the laughing valleys. The divine Architect fixed the gates of the morning, and the doors of the shadow of death.

Nothing could have been suggested by any other, for there was no other to suggest. It was in His power to have made a universe very different from this, if He had so pleased. That He has made it what it is, must have been merely because in His wisdom and prudence, He saw fit to do so.

"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being!" Revelation 4:11

 

9. PROVIDENCE

Chance, accident, luck, or Divine Providence!  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

Charles Spurgeon: "God's Providence not only extends to mankind in general, and to the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, and the innumerable fish in the sea, but also to every atom of matter in the universe!"

Don Fortner: Divine providence is the accomplishment in time, of God's sovereign and eternal decree. Providence is God bringing to pass in time (sovereignly, absolutely, and perfectly) all that He purposed in eternity.

Nothing in the universe happens by luck, chance, fortune, accident, or by blind fate. Everything that comes to pass in time, was purposed by our God in eternity, and is brought to pass by His wise, adorable, holy Providence.

Providence is God's government of His universe. If we have a proper view of God's Providence, we will see the hand of God and the heart of God in everything, in all the experiences of our lives. Believers ascribe their sorrows and afflictions to the hand of their heavenly Father's wise and good Providence.

God's Providence is always executed in the wisest manner possible. We are often unable to see and understand the reasons and causes for specific events in our lives, in the lives of others, or in the happenings of the world. But our lack of understanding does not prevent us from believing God. We bow to His will, which is evident in His works of Providence, and say, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"

The God of Providence rules all things well. How we ought to trust Him! Ever remember, our heavenly Father is God all wise, good, and omnipotent. He is too wise to err, too good to do wrong, and too strong to fail.

In His wisdom and power, God cares for, preserves and sustains and upholds, rules and directs, and governs all creatures, all actions, and all things, from the largest star in the galaxy to the smallest sparrow in a tree, for His own glory and the good of His redeemed people.

Charles Spurgeon: "Blessed is that man who is done with chance, who never speaks of luck, but believes that from the least, even to the greatest, all things are ordained by the Lord. We dare not leave out the least event! The creeping of an aphid upon a rosebud is as surely arranged by the decree of Providence, as the march of a pestilence through a nation! Believe this, for if the least thing is omitted from the supreme government, so may the next be, and the next, until nothing is left in the divine hands."

J.C. Ryle: "There is no such thing as chance, luck or accident in the Christian journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are working together for the believer's good!"

Matthew Henry: "God who feeds the sparrows, will not starve His saints! God controls all the concerns of His people, even of those that are most insignificant, and least regarded. This is an encouragement to live in a continual dependence upon God's providential care! If God numbers our hairs, much more does He number our heads. He takes care of our lives, our needs, our concerns, and our souls. God's universal providence extends itself to all creatures, and to all their actions, even the smallest and most insignificant!"

Charles Spurgeon: "Providence may be seen as the finger of God, not merely in those events which shake nations and are duly emblazoned on the page of history, but in little incidents of common life. Yes, in the motion of a grain of dust, the trembling of a dew-drop, the flight of a swallow, or the movements of a fish!"

Charles Spurgeon: "We talk of God's providence when we have hairbreadth escapes. But are they not quite as much divine providences, when we are preserved from danger?"

Charles Spurgeon: "It is most important for us to learn that the smallest trifles are as much arranged by the God of Providence, as the most momentous events! He who counts the stars, has also numbered the hairs of our heads. Our lives and deaths are predestined, but so, also, are our sitting down and our rising up."

Berkhof: "Scripture everywhere teaches that even the most insignificant details of life are of divine ordering!"

Charles Spurgeon: "The best remedy for affliction, is sweet submission to God's providence. What can't be cured, must be endured!"

J.C. Ryle: "If God has given His Son to die for us, let us beware of doubting His kindness and love in any painful providence of our daily life."

Charles Spurgeon: "Divine Providence is a downy pillow for an aching head, and a blessed salve for the sharpest pain. He who can feel that his times are in the hand of God, need not tremble at anything that is in the hand of man!"

Charles Spurgeon: "God's Providence not only extends to mankind in general, and to the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, and the innumerable fish in the sea, but also to every atom of matter in the universe!"

Don Fortner: Divine providence is the accomplishment in time, of God's sovereign and eternal decree. Providence is God bringing to pass in time (sovereignly, absolutely, and perfectly) all that He purposed in eternity.

Nothing in the universe happens by luck, chance, fortune, accident, or by blind fate. Everything that comes to pass in time, was purposed by our God in eternity, and is brought to pass by His wise, adorable, holy Providence.

Providence is God's government of His universe. If we have a proper view of God's Providence, we will see the hand of God and the heart of God in everything, in all the experiences of our lives. Believers ascribe their sorrows and afflictions to the hand of their heavenly Father's wise and good Providence.

God's Providence is always executed in the wisest manner possible. We are often unable to see and understand the reasons and causes for specific events in our lives, in the lives of others, or in the happenings of the world. But our lack of understanding does not prevent us from believing God. We bow to His will, which is evident in His works of Providence, and say, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"

The God of Providence rules all things well. How we ought to trust Him! Ever remember, our heavenly Father is God all wise, good, and omnipotent. He is too wise to err, too good to do wrong, and too strong to fail.

In His wisdom and power, God cares for, preserves and sustains and upholds, rules and directs, and governs all creatures, all actions, and all things, from the largest star in the galaxy to the smallest sparrow in a tree, for His own glory and the good of His redeemed people.

Charles Spurgeon: "Blessed is that man who is done with chance, who never speaks of luck, but believes that from the least, even to the greatest, all things are ordained by the Lord. We dare not leave out the least event! The creeping of an aphid upon a rosebud is as surely arranged by the decree of Providence, as the march of a pestilence through a nation! Believe this, for if the least thing is omitted from the supreme government, so may the next be, and the next, until nothing is left in the divine hands."

J.C. Ryle: "There is no such thing as chance, luck or accident in the Christian journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are working together for the believer's good!"

Matthew Henry: "God who feeds the sparrows, will not starve His saints! God controls all the concerns of His people, even of those that are most insignificant, and least regarded. This is an encouragement to live in a continual dependence upon God's providential care! If God numbers our hairs, much more does He number our heads. He takes care of our lives, our needs, our concerns, and our souls. God's universal providence extends itself to all creatures, and to all their actions, even the smallest and most insignificant!"

Charles Spurgeon: "Providence may be seen as the finger of God, not merely in those events which shake nations and are duly emblazoned on the page of history, but in little incidents of common life. Yes, in the motion of a grain of dust, the trembling of a dew-drop, the flight of a swallow, or the movements of a fish!"

Charles Spurgeon: "We talk of God's providence when we have hairbreadth escapes. But are they not quite as much divine providences, when we are preserved from danger?"

Charles Spurgeon: "It is most important for us to learn that the smallest trifles are as much arranged by the God of Providence, as the most momentous events! He who counts the stars, has also numbered the hairs of our heads. Our lives and deaths are predestined, but so, also, are our sitting down and our rising up."

Berkhof: "Scripture everywhere teaches that even the most insignificant details of life are of divine ordering!"

Charles Spurgeon: "The best remedy for affliction, is sweet submission to God's providence. What can't be cured, must be endured!"

J.C. Ryle: "If God has given His Son to die for us, let us beware of doubting His kindness and love in any painful providence of our daily life."

Charles Spurgeon: "Divine Providence is a downy pillow for an aching head, and a blessed salve for the sharpest pain. He who can feel that his times are in the hand of God, need not tremble at anything that is in the hand of man!"

 

10. TOTAL DEPRAVITY

Sin's enormity!

(Arthur Pink) LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

"Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!" Jeremiah 44:4

If we took a survey of everything on the earth, we could find nothing so vile as sin. The basest and most contemptible thing in this world, has some degree of worth in it, as being the workmanship of God. But sin and its foul streams have not the least part of worth in them. Sin is wholly evil without the least mixture of good, it is vileness in the abstract.

Sin's heinousness appears in its author: "The one who practices sin is of the Devil; for the Devil has sinned from the beginning." Sin is the Devil's trade, and he practices it incessantly!

Sin's enormity is seen in what it has done to man: it has completely ruined his nature and brought him under the eternal curse of God!

Sin is the source of all our miseries. All evil and wretchedness are its fruits. There is . . .
  no distress of the mind,
  no anguish of the heart,
  no pain of the body
, but is due to sin!
All the miseries which mankind groans under, are to be ascribed to sin!

Sin is the cause of all divine punishments: "Your ways and your doings have brought these things upon you. This is your punishment." Had there been no sin, there would have been . . .
  no wars,
  no calamities,
  no prisons,
  no hospitals,
  no insane asylums,
  no cemeteries
  no eternal Hell!
Yet who lays these things to heart?

"The deceitfulness of sin!" Sin assumes many garbs. When it appears in its nakedness, it is seen as a black and misshapen monster! How God Himself views it, may be learned from the various similitudes used by the Holy Spirit to set forth its ugliness and loathsomeness. Sin is likened to the scum of a seething pot in which is a detestable carcass, and to a dead and rotting body!

There is a far greater malignity in sin than is commonly supposed, even by the majority of church members. Men regard sin as an infirmity, and term it a human frailty or hereditary weakness. The majority regard sin as a mere trifle.

Tens of thousands of religionists see so little filth in sin, that they imagine a few tears will wash away its stain. They perceive so little criminality in it, that they persuade themselves that a few good works will make full reparation for it.

All comparisons fail to set forth the horrible malignity in that abominable thing which God hates. We can say nothing more evil of sin, than to term it what it is!

 

11. SALVATION

Paul's subject!

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

Paul was . . .
  an extraordinary man,
  called to an extraordinary office, and
  being sent to perform an extraordinary work,
  he chose an extraordinary subject.

He knew history,
he was acquainted with philosophy, and
he was well versed in tradition.

There were . . .
  few subjects that he could not handle,
  few themes that he could not discuss,
  few congregations that he could not interest.

But he made the conversion of sinners the object of his life,
and he chose Christ crucified to be the subject of his ministry!
No matter where he went, he took his subject with him.
No matter whom he addressed, he directed their attention to this point.

He knew what man required, and what man preferred; but it made no matter to him. As he wrote to the Corinthians, so he always acted, "Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles; but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God!" 1 Corinthians 1:22-24

Paul's subject then, was Christ Crucified!  Paul chose this subject, and he had good reasons for doing so!

First, it is a most comprehensive subject,
for it is the center where . . .
  time and eternity,
  God and man,
  sin and holiness,
  life and death, meet!

It is the theater where God . . .
  displays His perfections,
  unfolds His purposes,
  maintains His rights,
  confounds His foes, and
  secures His glory!

It is the instrument by which . . .
  death is destroyed,
  sin is conquered,
  rebels are reconciled,
  saints are sanctified, and
  heaven is opened!

It is an object which . . .
  confounds reason,
  astonishes angels,
  attracts sinners,
  imparts holiness, and
  furnishes matter for endless praise!

Second, it is the most honored subject.
It tunes the harps of heaven.
It fills the sweetest songs on earth.

It is that by which the Holy Spirit works . . .
  in the conversion of sinners,
  in the consolation of saints,
  in the sanctification of believers, and
  in the establishment of the church of God.

By the preaching of Christ crucified . . .
  the oracles of the heathen were silenced,
  the altars of the heathen were cast down, and
  the temples of the heathen were transformed into houses of prayer.

By the preaching of the cross . . .
  society is elevated,
  nations are honored, and
  millions are snatched from Hell!

Third, it is a subject that is intensely hated!
Devils 
hate it, and try to prevent its publication.
Erroneous men hate it, and try to substitute something of their own for it.
And just in proportion as men are influenced by the prince of darkness, or yield to the pride of their own fallen natures, will they hate the doctrine of the cross!

But all Christians love it,
all the ministers of Christ glory in it,
all poor perishing sinners need it!

The more we know of God's nature and government, the more we see of man's natural state and condition. And the more we feel of our own weakness and depravity, the more shall we prize and value the doctrine of the cross!

Christ, and Him crucified shall be . . .
  the subject of my ministry,
  the theme of my songs,
  the joy of my heart, and
  the foundation of my everlasting hope!

O my soul,
  look 
to Jesus, as crucified for your sins,
  think 
of Jesus, as dying in your stead,
  speak 
of Jesus, as full of grace and love!

Christians! WHAT do we preach?
We are ALL preachers, and we preach daily!
But do we preach Christ?
Do we speak of Him with our tongues?
Do we write of Him with our pens?
Do we honor Him with our lives?
Is Christ and His glory, the grand end and aim of our life?

WHY do we preach Christ?
Is it out of love to Him?
Is it that we may do good to souls?
Is it that we may please God?

Christ crucified should be preached by every Christian.
Christ crucified should be preached in all companies.
Christ crucified should be preached every day.

Beloved,
  if we would save souls from death,
  if we would rescue sinners from eternal misery,
  if we would make believers happy,
  if we would cover Satan with shame,
  if we would deprive death of its sting, and
  if we would make the road to glory plain,
we must preach Christ crucified;
we must exercise faith in Christ crucified;
and we must daily meditate on Christ crucified!

May Christ and His cross be all my theme!
May Christ and His cross be all my hope!
May Christ and His cross be all my joy!

Cross of Jesus! Jesus crucified!
To you would I look in life, and all its troubles!
To you would I look in death, and all its pangs!
To you would I look in glory, when filled with all its joys!

"God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ!"

 

13. REGENERATION and EFFECTUAL CALLING

"Regeneration is a change wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the understanding, will and affections of a sinner; which is the commencement of a new kind of life, and which gives another direction to his judgment, desires, pursuits, and conduct."

The new birth!

(William Nicholson, "The Character and Dignity of Christians" 1862)  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

"You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and abiding Word of God!" 1 Peter 1:23

No one is born a Christian. No one comes into the world with a pure heart.

The new birth is not effected by baptism, yet some have wickedly declared that we are regenerated by baptism, made children of God, and heirs of the kingdom of Heaven. A person may be baptized in infancy, or in riper years, and yet like Simon Magus, remain "in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity!" Acts 8:23

The new birth is not merely external, nor does it consist in mere religious duties. Some people have been preserved from immoralities, yet they too must be born again.
A man may perform a multitude of religious duties, and yet have an unholy heart.
He may be honest and fair in his dealings, and yet be an enemy to God.
He may be of a generous disposition to others, and yet not of a gracious disposition.
He may be able to say with the young ruler, "All these things have I kept from my youth up," and yet lack the one thing needful.

The new birth is not merely a profession of faith. Not all who profess Christ, possess Him.

The new birth is a change wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit in the understanding, will, and affections of a sinner, which is the commencement of a new kind of life; and which gives another direction to his judgment, desires, pursuits, and conduct.

This new birth is a divine change. Thus He who gave man his physical being at first, can alone create him in Christ Jesus unto good works. He alone can enstamp His own image, and make us partakers of a Divine nature. To give life to the dead, and to bring a clean thing out of an unclean, is the work of Omnipotence, and the effect of sovereign grace! "Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God!" John 1:13 

This new birth is an inward and invisible change.
The understanding is enlightened,
the judgment is informed,
the affections and desires are purified,
the will is subdued, and subjected to the will of God,
the soul is turned from the love of the world and the creature, to the great Creator and His service.
Regeneration cleanses the corrupt fountain of the heart, and demolishes the strongholds of Satan. It is a change . . .
  from heart wickedness, to heart holiness,
  from enmity to God, to love to God,
  from the image of Satan, to the image of God.

This new birth is a universal change, extending to the heart and life. Not only the mind, but the man is renewed. The tree is made good, and its fruit is good. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

He who is born again, gives evidence that he has passed from death to life. It is visible in his conduct, the observer of him perceives the change. How different now, from what he once was!

The following are the principal evidences of regeneration:
(1) Hatred to sin.
(2) Victory over the world.
(3) Brotherly love.
(4) Delight in spiritual duties.
(5) A life of holiness.
(6) Self-loathing, and constant faith in the sacrifice of Christ.
(7) Sincere love to Christ.

 

14. REPENTANCE

"Repentance is the tear of love, dropping from the eye of faith, when it fixes on Christ crucified!" Gorham Abbott 

A holy antipathy against sin!

(Thomas Watson, "Doctrine of Repentance")  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

There is no better sign of true repentance, than a holy antipathy against sin.
Sound repentance begins in love to God, and ends in the hatred of sin.

How may true hatred of sin be known?

1. When a man's HEART is set against sin. Not only does the tongue protest against sin, but the heart abhors it. However lovely sin is painted, we find it odious, just as we abhor the picture of one whom we mortally hate, even though it may be well drawn.

Suppose a dish is finely cooked, yet if a man has an antipathy against the food, he will not eat it. Just so, let the devil cook and dress sin with pleasure and profit, yet a true penitent has a secret abhorrence of it, is disgusted by it, and will not meddle with it.

2. True hatred of sin is UNIVERSAL. There is a dislike of sin not only in the judgment, but in the will and affections. Many a one is convinced that sin is a vile thing, and in his judgment has an aversion to it, yet he tastes sweetness in it, and has a secret delight in it. Here is a disliking of sin in the judgment, and an embracing of it in the affections! Whereas in true repentance, the hatred of sin is in all the faculties, not only in the mind, but chiefly in the will. "I do the very thing I hate!" Romans 7:15. Paul was not free from sin, yet his will was against it.

3. He who truly hates one sin, HATES ALL SINS. He who hates a serpent, hates all serpents. "I hate every false way!" (Psalm 119:104). Hypocrites will hate some sins which mar their credit. But a true convert hates all sins, gainful sins, besetting sins, the very stirrings of corruption.

4. A holy heart detests sin for its INTRINSIC POLLUTION. Sin leaves a stain upon the soul. A regenerate person abhors sin not only for the curse, but for the contagion. He hates this serpent not only for its sting, but for its poison. He hates sin not only for Hell, but as Hell.

Those who have no antipathy against sin, are strangers to gospel repentance. Sin is in them, as poison in a serpent, which, being natural to it, affords delight. How far are they from repentance who, instead of hating sin, love sin! To the godly, sin is as a thorn in the eye; to the wicked, sin is as a crown on the head! "They actually rejoice in doing evil!" (Jeremiah 11:15).

Loving of sin is worse than committing it. What is it which makes a swine love to tumble in the mire? Its love of filth. O how many there are, who love the forbidden fruit! They love their sin, and hate holiness.

There should be a deadly antipathy between the heart and sin. What is there in sin, which may make a penitent hate it?

Sin is the accursed thing, the most deformed monster! Look upon the origin of sin, from whence it comes. It fetches its pedigree from Hell: "He who commits sin is of the devil!" (1 John 3:8). Sin is the devil's special work. How hateful is it to be doing that which is the special work of the devil, indeed, that which makes men into devils!

 

15. SAVING FAITH

"Pastors cannot do a greater disservice to people, than to convince those who are bound for Hell, that they are on their way to Heaven."

Stuffed Christians!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Life's Ever-Springing Well")  Play Audio!  Download

"We are all Christians."
"Why, we belong to a Christian nation, are we not born Christians?"
"Surely we must be all right, we have always attended our parish church, is not that enough?"
"Our parents were always godly; we were born into the church, were we not? Did they not take us up in their arms when we were little, and make us members of Christ? What more do we lack?"

This is the common talk.

There is no Christian practice, there is no Christian habit, but what has been, or will be before long, imitated by people who have no vital godliness whatever.

A man may appear much like a Christian, and yet possess no vital godliness!

Walk through the British Museum, and you will see all the orders of animals standing in their various places, and exhibiting themselves with the utmost possible propriety. Every creature, whether bird, beast, or fish, remains in the particular glass case allotted to it. But you all know well enough that these are not the living creatures, but only the outward forms of them. Yet in what do they differ? Certainly in nothing which you could readily see, for the well-stuffed animal is precisely like what the living animal would have been. Yet you know well enough that there is a secret inward something lacking, which, when it has once departed, you cannot restore.

So in the churches of Christ, many professors are not living believers, but stuffed believers, stuffed Christians!

There is all the external of religion, everything that you could desire, and they behave with a great deal of propriety, too. They all keep their places, and there is no outward difference between them and the living, except upon that vital point: they lack spiritual life. This is the essential distinction, spiritual life is absent.

It is almost painful to watch little children when some little pet of theirs has died, how they can hardly realize the difference between death and life!

Your little boy's bird moped for awhile upon its perch, and at last dropped down in the cage. You remember how the little boy tried to set it up, and gave it seed, and filled its glass with water, and was quite surprised to think that birdie would not open his little eye upon his friend as it did before, and would not take its seed, nor drink its water!

Ah, you finally had to tell the poor boy that a mysterious something had gone from his little birdie, and would not come back again.

There is just such a spiritual difference between the mere professor, and the genuine Christian.

There is an invisible, but most real, indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the absence or the presence of which makes all the difference between the lost sinner and the saint.

John 6:63, "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing!"

 

16. JUSTIFICATION

My pardon cost Him that! 

(Archibald Brown, "Who is a Pardoning God Like Thee?") Play Audio!  Download

"Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever, but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us. You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea!" Micah 7:18-19

Before God could forgive a sinner in accordance with His infinite holiness and perfect justice, think what had to be done, sacrificed, and suffered! Measure God's pardon, by the obstacles His pardoning love overcame, and then you can form some idea of its intensity.

God has fathomed His love and pity in one text, "God SO loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." That little word "so" contains more than Heaven or earth can describe. In it, is the heart of God; in it, is the depth of pardoning love. O think for a minute what that pardon cost, which now makes your soul sing for joy. You received it freely enough, because Another paid the price; but what was that price?

It cost Jesus a price no lip can tell, and no heart conceive! See Him tied to yonder pillar, mark that awful scourge as it falls again and again upon His quivering flesh; note how deep the thongs cut, drawing blood at every stroke! Your pardon cost that! "By His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

Follow Him in that weary walk to Calvary, linger by Him as fever courses through His veins, while head and hands and feet all drip with gore! Stay by Him until His sacred head falls upon the bosom, and His great heart breaks with anguish. And then looking up into that ashen countenance, say "My pardon cost Him that!" Yes, no pardon could ever have come to guilty man, if an atonement had not been made that . . .
  satisfied divine justice,
  honored the law, and
  magnified the holiness of God.

It is sweet work to trace the ruby stream of forgiving love; and mark how it would flow on until it reached the sinner, yes, even though it flowed along the channel of a Savior's wounds!

  Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
  Who has grace so rich and free?

 

17. PRESERVATION & PERSEVERANCE

The almighty power which sustains the stars in their orbits, is equally necessary to carry me home to Heaven. John Newton

 continual supply of grace, comfort, and strength!

(William Mason, "The One Thing Needful to Make Poor Sinners Rich, and Miserable Sinners Happy" 1773)

LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

"I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20

That the believer may live cheerfully and comfortably, he is exhorted to the free and constant use of Christ.

O consider: Christ is given to us, to be enjoyed by us!

He is the bread of life, we are to feed upon Him daily.

He is the water of life, which our souls are to drink of constantly.

He is our righteousness, we are to put Him on continually.

So then, we not only have a precious Christ, but we are also to use Him, and enjoy His preciousness! He is not only a well of salvation, but we must draw water out of it with joy, and drink of it to the refreshing of our souls!

Deeply consider, that without this inward enjoyment of Christ, you cannot be . . .
  happy in your soul,
  comfortable in your walk,
  nor holy in your life.

We must live by faith upon Christ, so as to derive a continual supply of grace, comfort, and strength from Him! "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20

 

18. DEATH

"All men think all men are mortal, but themselves!"

Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both!

(William Nicholson, "Approaching Mortality!" 1862) LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

"Only a few years will pass, before I go on the journey of no return." Job 16:22

Death is a great journey, it is the last journey we shall ever take!

The sun rises daily, and we think little of it. Just so, the frequency and commonness of death, causes it to be little thought of. Every day, men go to their long home, and the mourners go about the street.

While death is gloomy and melancholy to the man of pleasure, to the man overwhelmed with business, and to the devotee of mammon, it is nevertheless sometimes regarded as a welcome messenger by the afflicted, and those who possess a good hope through grace, Job 19:25.

Death is full of solemn import.

What is death?
It is forever leaving the present scene of existence;
it is the cessation of existence here on earth:
  the lungs no longer heave;
  the heart stops beating;
  the blood ceases to flow and congeals;
  the tongue is silent;
  the hand forgets its skill;
  the whole body becomes motionless, pale, and ghastly!

Death is the separation of body and soul.

Death is the dissolution of every relative and social tie, however tender and endeared.

Death is the cessation of all human pursuits, and the relinquishment of all human possessions.

Death is a journey that must be performed alone.

Death is a journey that must be taken by all. "Death has passed upon all men, for all have sinned." Romans 5:12. It is in the grave, where the rich and the poor meet together; kings as well as subjects, philosophers as well as fools.

A century removes all the inhabitants of the globe to the silent grave.
All who now live, in one hundred years to come, will be no more!

Death is unavoidable!

Death is an established fact, by God's inviolable decree:
  "Dust you are, and to dust you shall return!"
  "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment!"

Death is a fact characterized by the greatest uncertainty.

Great God! Amid what a mass of perils do we live! A grain may suffocate; a crumb may stop the springs of life! A breath, a cough, a sigh, may prostrate all our vital powers, and fit us for the worms! So various, too, the texture of our bodies, so fine the mechanism, so complex the structure, that every motion has its risk! And all our hours, our very moments, are beset with hazards, perils, fears, and ambushed ills!

What then is life? A bubble that is blown for death to burst!!!

"Man knows not his time when his hour may come" etc., Ecclesiastes 9:12. "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes!" James 4:14.

Death may invade us at a period apparently the most unlikely, when we are not at all prepared for it.

It may come in the spring of life, and mar its strength and vigor and beauty, etc. "One man dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease, his body well nourished, his bones rich with marrow. Another man dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good. Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both!" Job 21:23-26

Death may come . . .
  to the place of business,
  to the hall of pleasure,
  to the couch of sensual indulgence, etc., etc.

It may come suddenly, in a moment, or it may come by protracted disease.

"And I'll say to myself: 'You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry!'
But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'" Luke 12:19-20

Death is an event followed by vastly solemn results.
To the individual himself, death . . .
  ends his probation,
  is the departure of his soul into eternity,
  is the apprehension of it either by demons, or angels,
  is the transmission of it to Heaven, or to perdition.

"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side.
 The rich man also died and was buried. In Hell, where he was in torment . . ." Luke 16:22-23

Death ends all the conflicts and trials and sorrows of the righteous.
Death is the commencement of all the woes of the wicked.

Death is a journey from which there will be no return. "But now he is dead; can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." 2 Samuel 12:23.
In vain we linger by the corpse; the countenance will no more smile upon us.
In vain we go to the grave; it is deaf to our cries, it will not give back its trust.

"But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. As water disappears from the sea or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, so man lies down and does not rise." Job 14

The fact of death should awaken the soul to reflection. In the midst of danger, we have been sleeping. While the darts of mortality are flying around us, we are calculating on future pleasures, pursuits, plans, life, etc., etc. "It is high time to awake out of sleep!"

Death may come as a thief in the night! Do not be taken by surprise when the Bridegroom comes. When the chariots of God come down, and Christ says, by death, "Come up hither!", be ready!

The fact of death should animate the saint. "Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." He shall soon be free from sin and suffering, soon see God and Heaven, and realize the glorious raptures of eternity!

Death teaches the value of the Gospel, which is the sovereign remedy for death, "Our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!" 2 Timothy 1:10

 

19. Heaven & Future Glory

"One sight of the glorified Christ, will fill our hearts and dry up all our tears" John Newton

There we will see His face,
And never, never sin;
And from the rivers of His grace,
Drink endless pleasures in!

Treasures and pleasures!

(Thomas Watson, "God is His People's Great Reward!")  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"I am your exceeding great reward." Genesis 15:1

God Himself is His people's reward! In what way is God the reward of His people?

God is a satisfying reward. God is a whole ocean of blessedness, so that the soul, while it is bathing in it, cries out in a divine ecstasy, "I have enough!" Here is fullness, but no excess. Psalm 17:15, "I shall be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness." That is, when I awake out of the sleep of death, having my soul embellished with the illustrious beams of Your glory, I shall be satisfied. In God there is not only sufficiency, but redundancy; not only the fullness of the vessel, but the fullness of the fountain! In God, this Ark of blessedness, are all good things to be found. Therefore Jacob, having God for his reward, could say, "I have enough!" or, as it is in the original, "I have all!" Genesis 33:11. God is all marrow and fatness. He is such an plenteous reward as exceeds our very faith. If the Queen of Sheba's heart fainted when she saw all King Solomon's glory, what would it have done to have beheld the astonishing and magnificent reward which God bestows upon His favorites!

God is a suitable reward. The soul, being spiritual, must have something comparable and suitable to make it happy, and that is God. Light is no more suitable to the eye, nor melody to the ear, than God is to the soul. He pours spiritual blessings into the soul, Ephesians 1:3. He . . .
  enriches it with grace,
  feasts it with His love, and
  crowns it with heavenly glory!

God is a pleasant reward. He is the quintessence of delight! He is all beauty and love! To be feeding upon thoughts of God is delicious. Psalm 104:34, "My meditation on Him shall be sweet." It is delightful to the bee to suck the flower. Just so, by holy musing, to suck out some of the sweetness in God, carries a secret delight in it. To have a prospect of God only by faith is pleasant. 1 Peter 1:8, "In whom believing, you rejoice." Then what will the joy of vision be, when we shall have a clear, personal sight of Him, and be laid in the bosom of divine love! What a delicious reward will God be in Heaven! This will be better felt, than expressed. The godly, entering upon their celestial reward, are said to enter into the joy of their Lord, Matthew 25:21. Oh, amazing! The saints enter into God's own joy! They have not only the joy which God bestows, but the joy which God enjoys!

God is a transcendent reward. The artist, going to paint the picture of Helena, not being able to draw her beauty, drew her face covered with a veil. Just so, when we speak of God's excellencies, we must draw a veil. He is so super-eminent a reward, that we cannot set Him forth in all His luster and magnificence. Put the whole world in scale with Him, and it is as if you should weigh a feather compared to a mountain of gold. God is far better than all other things put together! He is better than the world, and better than Heaven! He is the original cause of all good things. Nothing is sweet without Him. He perfumes and sanctifies our comforts!

God being an infinite reward, there can be no defect or scantiness in it. There is no lack in that which is infinite. Some may ask, "Is God sufficient for every individual saint?" Yes! If the sun, which is but a finite creature, disperses its light to the universe, then much more God, who is infinite, distributes glory to the whole number of the elect. As every person enjoys the whole sun to himself, so every believer possesses the whole God to himself. The Lord has land enough to give all His heirs. Throw a thousand buckets into the sea, and there is water enough in the sea to fill them. Just so, though there are millions of saints and angels, there is enough in God to fill them. God is an infinite reward, and though He is continually giving out of His fullness to others, yet He has not the less. His glory is imparted, not impaired. It is a distribution, without a diminution.

God is an honorable reward. Honor is the height of men's ambition. Aristotle calls it the greatest of blessings. What greater dignity than to be taken up into communion with the God of glory, and to possess a kingdom with Him, bespangled with light, and seated with Christ upon His throne, above all the visible orbs!

God is an everlasting reward. Mortality is the flaw of all earthly things. But God is an eternal reward. Eternity cannot be measured by years nor ages. Eternity makes glory, weighty. Psalm 48:14, "This God is our God forever and ever!" Oh, saints of God, your praying and repenting are but for a while, but your reward is forever! As long as God is God, He will be rewarding you! Hosea 2:19, "I will betroth you unto Me forever." God marries Himself to His people, and this admits of no divorce. God's love for His elect is as unchangeable as His love for Christ! "God is my portion forever!" Psalm 73:26. This portion cannot be spent, because it is infinite; nor can it be lost, because it is eternal.

In God are treasures which can never be emptied, and pleasures which can never be ended!

"You have made known to me the path of life. You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!" Psalm 16:11

 

20. HELL & DAMNATION

"There is a dreadful Hell,
 And everlasting pains;
 There sinners must with devils dwell,
 In darkness, fire and chains!"

The infernal dungeon of Hell!

(John Bunyan)  Watch VIDEO  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!" Matthew 25:41

Those in the infernal dungeon of Hell, will undergo a VARIETY of torments. Those who are most afflicted upon earth, have seldom any more than one malady at a time. But should they have the plague, the gout, the stone, and fever all at one time, how miserable would they think themselves! Yet all that is but like the biting of a flea, compared to those intolerable, pungent pains which those in Hell endure! There, they have all the loathed variety of Hell to grapple with:
  the unquenchable fire to burn them;
  a lake of burning brimstone ever choking them;
  eternal chains 
to bind them;
  utter darkness 
to affright them, and
  a worm of conscience which gnaws upon them eternally!
Any one of these is worse to bear, than all the torments which mankind ever felt on earth!

But the torments in Hell are also UNIVERSAL, afflicting each part of the body and soul, which renders what they suffer, most insufferable! In those illnesses which men are seized with on earth, though some parts are afflicted, other parts are free. But in Hell, each member of the soul and body is continually tormented:

  The eye is tormented with the sight of the devils, who appear in all the horrid and black shapes which sin can give them!

  The ear is tormented with the loud yellings and continual outcries of the damned.

  The nostrils are smothered with sulphurous flames.

  The tongue is covered with burning blisters.

  The the whole body is rolled in flames of liquid fire!

  The imagination is tormented with the thoughts of what a Heaven has been lost.

  The memory is tormented with reflecting on those opportunities they had of being saved.

  The mind is tormented with considering how vainly precious time has been wasted.

  The understanding is tormented with the thoughts of of present pains, and future sorrows, which are to last forever!

  The conscience is tormented with a continual gnawing worm.

Another thing which makes the misery of Hell so dreadful, is the EXTREMITY of the torments. The fire which burns is so violent that all the water in the sea can never quench it! The pains suffered are so extreme, that it is impossible they should be known by any, but those who feel them!

Another part of Hell's misery is the CEASELESSNESS of the torments. As various, as universal, and as extremely violent as they are, they are continual, also. Nor have they the least rest from them. If there were any relaxation, it might be some allay. But what makes this condition so deplorable, is that there is no easing of the torments! "They will go away into eternal punishment!" Matthew 25:46

The COMPANY they have there, is another element of their misery. Tormenting devils and tormented souls are all the company! Dreadful shrieks and howlings, under the fierceness of pain, and fearful blasphemies, is all the conversation!

The PLACE in which they suffer is another thing which increases the sufferings. Hell is the epitome of all misery,
  a prison,
  a dungeon,
  a bottomless pit,
  a lake of fire and brimstone,
  a furnace of fire which burns to eternity,
  the blackness of darkness forever!

The cruelty of our TORMENTORS is another thing which adds to the torments. The tormentors are devils, in whom there is no pity. Being tormented themselves, they take pleasure in tormenting others.

But that which makes these sufferings most grievous, is that they shall ALWAYS be so, these most intolerable sufferings shall last to all eternity. 'Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire!" will perpetually sound in the ears of the damned! The miserable situation they are in, shall be forever!

 

21. COMFORT

Christ's sympathy!

(Octavius Winslow, "The Tears of Christ") Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Jesus wept!" John 11:35

The Creator of all worlds, the Author of all beings, the Upholder of the universe, raining tears of human woe and sympathy upon a grave!

Oh, there lives not a being in the universe who can enter into our bereavements with the sympathy, the support, and the soothing of Christ!

They were tears of sympathy. His heart was touched, deeply touched, with sympathy for the sorrow of others. He wept because the mourning sisters wept. He mingled His tears with theirs.

This is true sympathy, "weeping with those who weep," making their sorrow our own. How really our Lord does this with His people. So completely is He our Surety, that He takes our sins and infirmities, our trials and sorrows upon Himself, as if they were all and entirely His own. Our sins were so completely laid upon Him, that not one remains charged to the account of those who believe in Jesus.

Our present griefs are so entirely absorbed in Him, that,
  softened by His love,
  soothed by His sympathy,
  supported by His grace,
the trial is welcome,
the affliction is sweet, and
the rod of a Father's chastening, buds and blossoms into delectable fruit.

Bereaved mourner, the sympathy of Christ is yours! The same Savior who wept at the grave of Bethany, now shares your grief. Do not imagine that your sorrow is isolated, or that your tears are forbidden or unseen. You have a merciful and faithful High Priest who is touched with your present calamity.

There exists no sympathy . . . 
  so real,
  so perceptive,
  so deep,
  so tender,
  so sanctifying,
as Christ's sympathy.

If your heavenly Father has seen it wise and good to remove from you the spring of human pity, it is but that He may draw you closer beneath the wing of Jesus' compassion, presence and love.

O child of sorrow, will not this suffice, that you possess Christ's sympathy, as immeasurable and exhaustless as the ocean, as exquisite and changeless as His being! Yield your heart to His rich compassion!

Will Jesus be regardless of what I feel, and the sorrows under which I groan? Oh no! The sigh that bursts in secret from my heart is not secret to Him; the tear that is my food day and night and drops unperceived and unknown, is known and remembered by Him!

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses!" Hebrews 4:14-15

"You keep track of all my sorrows.
 You have collected all my tears in Your bottle!
 You have recorded each one in Your book!"
 Psalm 56:8

 

22. COMMITMENT & ZEAL

Made for frivolities?

(Charles Spurgeon, "The One Thing Needful")  Play Audio!  Download

Were you made only to be a machine for digging holes, laying bricks, or cutting out pieces of wood? Were you created only to stand at a counter and measure or weigh out goods? Do you think your God made you for that and that only?

Is this the chief end of man: to earn so many dollars a week, and try to make ends meet?

Is that all immortal men were made for?

As a man with a soul, capable of thought and judgment, and not a mere animal like a dog, nor a machine like a steam engine; can you stand up and look at yourself, and say, "I believe I am perfectly fulfilling my destiny"?

God has made man that he may glorify Him, and whatever else man accomplishes, if he attains not to this end, his life is a disastrous failure!

Others are lovers of pleasure. They are merry as the birds, their life is as the flight of a butterfly, which lightly floats from flower to flower, according to its own sweet will.

It cannot be that an immortal spirit was made for frivolities, spending all its time on the playthings of the world!

So great a thing as an immortal soul could not have been made by God, with no higher object than to spend itself upon trifles as light as air.

Oh, pause a while, you careless, godless one!
There is something more than the fool's laugh.
All things are not a comedy.
Death and Heaven and Hell are serious, and should not life be?

The charms of music, the merriment of the mirthful assembly, the beauties of art, and the delights of banqueting; there must be something more for you than these. Something more must be required of you than that you should waste your precious time from morn to night upon nothing but to please yourself!

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him!" 1 John 2:15

 

23. EVANGELISM

Noah's Ark!

(Edward Griffin, "Noah's Ark")  Play Audio! Download Audio VIDEO

"HE wiped out every living thing that was on the surface of the ground, from mankind to livestock, to creatures that crawl, to the birds of the sky, and they were wiped off the earth! Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark!" Genesis 7:23

Finally, the frightful morning began! The heavens gathered blackness. Angry tempests conflicted in the skies. The lightnings flashed over the world! Word was spread, that Noah and his family had entered into the ark. The ungodly then began to fear!

Before long, floods of water poured from the sky. Some now began to turn their eyes towards the ark; others stood doubting; others still dared to scoff!

The waters go on to increase. The rivers fill, and start to overflow. The waters begin to rise in the streets. Some flee into their houses; others, more intimidated, hasten to the hills! Others are now convinced, and with dreadful fright, are seen wading towards the ark!

The fountains of the great deep are now broken up! The waters rise more rapidly, and begin to rush with impetuous force. With difficulty they stand against the stream. They struggle for their lives to reach the ark! Thousands come, some wading, some swimming, some sinking, some hanging onto the ark with the grasp of death, all screaming for admission!

But it is too late! Time was, when the ark was open and they might have entered in, but that time is past! Where are now those tongues which derided the enormous vessel and the man who built it? Now what do you think of him, who for more than a century has borne the character of a fool and madman! They would give a thousand worlds, to be in his condition now!

Those nearest to the ark, cry and plead for admission, but in vain! The waters roar! The ark is lifted up! They sink and are seen no more!

By this time, every wretch on earth is thoroughly convinced. Hear their cries from the tops of the houses, which are answered by wails from those on the hills. See the multitudes who have fled to the mountains. How like frightened sheep they crowd together! Now the waters, roaring and foaming, have reached their feet! They flee up to the highest ridge, but the floods pursue them there! Some are able to climb the lofty oaks, and the waves overtake them there! They flee to the highest branches, and for a moment have time to reflect on their former madness: "How could I disbelieve the Lord's prophet? Where is now the ark which I scorned? Where am I going? O eternity! eternity! What a dreadful God have I despised!" On the topmost bough, the impetuous torrent sweeps them away! Their hold is broken, and they sink to rise no more!

The ark floats by, and sails over the heads of the revilers and persecutors! Only that blessed family in the ark are safe!

The same terrors will seize an unbelieving world when Jesus comes again! "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and swept them all away! That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man!" Matthew 24:37-39

 

24. FAMILY

"Children are better whipt, than damned!" Cotton Mather

Sow a thought, and reap an act;
sow an act, and reap a habit;
sow a habit, and reap a character;
sow a character, and reap a destiny!

The sweetest and most sacred spot on earth!

(Charles Orr, "Christianity in Home Life") LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

Nowhere is Christianity more beautifully displayed, than in the home. It changes the home of wickedness, strife, and contention, into a peaceful and delightful Eden. It converts the home of the wicked, into a palace. It drives away discontentment, uneasiness, fear, and darkness, and showers contentment, peace, and sunlight into every heart.

Christianity in home life, makes all . . .
love and kindness between brothers and sisters;
love and dutifulness between parents and children;
love, peace, harmony, honesty, and faithfulness between husband and wife.

Christianity makes a home, a Heaven! A Christian home where all is love and tenderness and devotion, is the sweetest and most sacred spot on earth! A home where Christianity is crowned a queen in every heart, is an Eden. The heart of God is filled with delight as He looks down upon such a home! His presence dwells there, and causes this home to be a beautiful oasis in this wilderness world of sin.

Alas, that such homes are so few! Sin destroys the happiness of man and makes many a home, a hotbed of contention, strife, and confusion!

When the husband and wife are kind, loving, and gentle toward each other; when she in her weakness feels her dependence upon him, and lovingly, trustingly looks unto him as her defense; and he in his strength and delight enfolds her in his strong arms of protection with a feeling of responsibility to nourish and cherish her, then they can testify that they have a Heaven in their home!

Unless we have attained unto such a life, we have not attained to Bible Christianity, nor to domestic joy and happiness.

 

25. LOVE TO JESUS

Delighting in God!  Play Audio!  Download Audio

(James Smith, "The Believer's Companion in Seasons of Affliction and Trouble" 1842)

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart!" Psalm 37:4

Delighting in worldly things, effectually prevents our delighting in God. Therefore it is often the case, that the Lord strips us of these things, or incapacitates us to enjoy them, in order to bring us back to delight in Himself.

He delights in His people, and He desires that His people to delight in Him. In order to accomplish this, He has revealed Himself in the most amiable characters, as . . .
  a Husband;
  a Friend;
  a Brother;
  a Savior;
  a Shepherd, and so forth ,
all on purpose to endear Himself to us!

Surely if our hearts were right, we would delight in Him on account of . . .
  His glorious perfections;
  His unalterable love;
  the perfect atonement made for our sins;
  the promises made for our comfort and encouragement;
  the gift of the Holy Spirit;
  the communion we are urged to hold with Himself;
  and the glorious paradise of blessedness set before us, where we shall forever . . .
    view the unfolding of His glories,
    enjoy the riches of His grace, and
    drink of the river of His pleasures!

Sick Christian, Jesus bids you to delight in Him!
Delight in Him as your Savior, Friend, and Brother!
Delight in His person and glories!
Delight in His perfect work!
Delight in His glorious fullness!
Delight in your salvation in Him, union to Him, and claim upon Him.
Oh, delight in Jesus!
You will have no permanent peace or solid satisfaction, but as you delight in Him, and rejoice in Him, saying, "You are my portion, O Lord!"

He who delights in God has the desires of His heart, because they are in accordance with the purpose, promise, and pleasure of God.

The mind is thrown into the mold of God's mind, and the soul cries from its inmost recesses, "Not my will, but may Your will be done!" Its pleasures are spiritual, permanent, and satisfactory. The desire for earthly things becomes very contracted, a little of the things of this poor world will satisfy a soul that is delighting in Jehovah.

Delighting in God always produces resignation and holy contentment. Whatever they have, they enjoy it as the undeserved gift of God; and they feel obligated and thankful for all. They would rather be conformed to God's will, than have their own will. They know that His appointments are best, because they are infinitely wise, holy, and gracious. They can say, "I trust in You, O Lord, for You are my God! My times are in Your hand!" They find that godliness with contentment is great gain; and say with one of old, "The little that a righteous man has, is better than the riches of many wicked!" "Better a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with turmoil."

The presence, the promise, and the smile of God, are to them inestimably valuable; but other things are not so important. They seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all other necessary things are added unto them. They live at the fountain, when all the streams are dried up! They delight in God, when creatures fade and wither!

O Lord! I would delight in Thee,
And on Your care depend;
To You in every trouble flee,
My best, my only Friend!

No good in creatures can be found,
But may be found in Thee;
I must have all things and abound,
While God is God to me!

 

26. LOVING OTHERS

"Love towards God cannot exist without charity towards our neighbor." William Ames

A lamb with a wolf's head!

(J.A. James, "Christian Fellowship" 1822) LISTEN to audio! Download audio

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart" Matthew 11:29

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5

Christians should excel in the manifestation of Christ's character. The mind which was in Jesus, should be in them. They should consider His character as a model of their own; and be conspicuous for their . . .
  poverty of spirit,
  meekness,
  gentleness,
  and love.

It is matter of surprise and regret, that many people seem to think that Christianity has nothing to do with character! And that provided they are free from gross sins, and have lively feelings in devotional exercises, they may be as petulant, irritable, and implacable as they please! This is a dreadful error, and has done great mischief to the cause of God!

A sour, ill-natured Christian is like a lamb with a wolf's head; or like a dove with a vulture's beak!

If there be any one word which above all others should describe a Christian's character, it is that which represents his divine Father; and as it is said, that 'God is love', so should it be also affirmed, that a Christian is love, love embodied, an incarnation of love! His words, his conduct, his very looks, should be so many expressions of love!

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us!" Ephesians 4:32-5:2

 

27. OBEDIENCE

Is this pleasing to God?

(James Smith, "The Proper Aim of a Christian's Life" 1856)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living.
 Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus, to do this more and more!" 1 Thessalonians 4:1

In every place,
in every circumstance,
in every undertaking,
the Christian should ask, "Is this pleasing to God?"

God is pleased or displeased . . .
  with every thought we think,
  with every word we speak,
  with every action we perform,
  with every emotion we feel.

Perhaps we do not sufficiently realize this. We think, speak, feel, and act, without ever considering whether we are pleasing God, or not. But this ought not to be, for He . . .
  gave us our being,
  redeemed us from sin and damnation,
  called us by His grace, and
  has blessed us with innumerable and interminable blessings,
and all that we may glorify Him! And how can we glorify Him, but by habitually aiming to please Him? If we forget or lose sight of this, we forget and lose sight of the principal end of our being, and well-being.

For instance, the manner in which I employ my spare time, the amount of time I give to  recreation or entertainment. Many Christians seem never to think whether the way in which they spend their time, is pleasing to God or not. If they did, would they ever go to some entertainments, or indulge in certain pleasures? Would the world have so much of their time, and the prayer-closet so little? How much time is wasted in frivolous ways, which are neither conducive to the health of the body, nor calculated to promote the spirituality of the mind.

Also, how many squander their money on dress, ornaments, or delicacies for the body, who never relieve the poor, or contribute to establish God's cause in the world. Or if they do so at all, it is not in due proportion to their means. The pence are given to the Lord, the pounds are spent in the gratification of SELF!

If, when I am going to lay out money in ornaments or dress, or indulgences for the table, I was to ask, "Is this pleasing to God?", would it not check my lavish expenditure? Would it not often change the course in which my money flows?

"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way." Colossians 1:10

My object in everything I do, should be to please God. The one grand end of my life, the grand thing I am to aim at, is to please my Heavenly Father. I have . . .
  nothing to dread, but His frown;
  nothing to fear, but His displeasure;
  nothing to seek, but His approbation.
If my Heavenly Father is pleased with me, it is enough.

What a comfort it is to know that my God is easily pleased; that it is not the amount of what I do, but the motive from which I do it, which He looks at! He is pleased with my poorest performances, with my most imperfect services, with only a cup of cold water given to one of His children, if my object is to please Him!

In everything I do, I should ask, "Is this pleasing to God?" If so, all is well.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God!" 1 Corinthians 10:31. This is the rule, and we should walk by it.

 

28. PERSECUTION

If we were more like Christ!

(Charles Spurgeon)  Play Audio!  Download

"It is enough for the disciple that he be like his master." Matthew 10:25

When our Lord was on earth, what was the treatment He received? Were His claims acknowledged, His instructions followed, and His perfections worshiped, by those whom He came to bless? No; "He was despised and rejected of men." Outside the camp was His place; cross-bearing was His occupation.

Did the world yield him solace and rest? "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has no where to lay His head." This inhospitable world afforded Him no shelter: it cast Him out and crucified him.

If you are a follower of Jesus, and maintain a consistent, Christ-like walk and conversation, you must expect the same treatment from the world.

They will treat you as they treated the Savior, they will despise you. Do not dream not that worldlings will admire you; or that the more holy and the more Christ-like you are, the more peaceably people will act towards you.

They prized not the polished gem, how should they value the jewel in the rough?

"If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call those of His household?"

If we were more like Christ, we would be more hated by His enemies!

It is a sad dishonor to a child of God to be the world's favorite. It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout, "Well done!" to the Christian man. When the unrighteous give him their approbation, he should begin to look to his character, and wonder whether he has not been doing wrong.

Let us be true to our Master, and have no friendship with a blind and base world which scorns and rejects Him. Far be it from us to seek a coronet of honor, where our Lord found a crown of thorns!

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.John 15:18

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted!" 2 Timothy 3:12

 

29. PRAYER

"Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Spirit, for such things as God has promised." John Bunyan

"Read a little, then pray and meditate much." John Wesley

The Christian and Prayer

(Charles Spurgeon)

If any of you should ask me for the epitome of the Christian life, I would say that it is in one word, prayer.

The habit of private prayer, and the constant practice of heart-communion with God, are the surest indicators of the work of the Holy spirit upon the soul.

The more a man loves God and becomes more like Jesus, the more delight he takes in heart communion with God.

All of our libraries and our studies are mere emptiness, compared with our prayer closets.

We grow in Christlikeness, in private prayer.

Prayer is the true gauge of spiritual health.

I have now concentrated all my prayers into one, and that one prayer is this: that I may die to self, and live wholly to Him.

He who has the key of prayer can open Heaven! Yes, he has access to the heart of God!

Nothing brings such leanness into a Christian's soul, as lack of prayer.

A prayerless soul, is a Christless soul. Prayer is . . .
  the lisping of the believing infant,
  the shout of the fighting believer,
  the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus.

A Christian's vigor, happiness, growth and usefulness, all depend upon prayer.

Prayer is the autograph of the Holy Spirit upon the renewed heart.

Prayer is the indispensable mark of the true child of God.

I would rather teach one man to pray, than ten men to preach! Nine times out of ten, spiritual declension from God begins in the neglect of private prayer.

Prayer with the heart, is the heart of prayer.

We make more real advance in the divine life in an hour of sincere prayer, than we do in a month of sermon-hearing!

 

30. PRIDE & HUMILITY

The most lovely Christian

(William Dyer, "Christ's Famous Titles") Play Audio  Download Audio

"Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart." Matthew 11:29

Learn humility, from Christ's humility.

For lack of humility, some angels became devils.
Proud sinners are fit companions, for none but proud devils.

When men glory in their pride, God stains the pride of their glory. "The Lord Almighty planned it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to humble all who are renowned on the earth." Isaiah 23:9

The most lowly Christian, is the most lovely Christian.
A believer is like a vessel in the sea: the more it fills, the more it sinks.

None live so humble on earth, as those who live highest in Heaven. See how one of the best of saints looks upon himself as one of the least of saints, "Unto me who am less than the least of all saints," said the great Paul in Ephesians 3:8

The most holy men, are always the most lowly men.

Where humility is the corner-stone, there piety is the top-stone.

The coat of humility, should always be worn on the back of Christianity.
"Clothe yourselves with humility." 1 Peter 5:5

God Almighty has two houses in which He dwells: His city-house, and His country-house.
His city-house is the Heaven of heavens; and
His country-house is the humble and lowly heart.
Isaiah 57:15, "I dwell in the high and holy place," that is, in Heaven, God's city-house; "and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit," that is God's country-house.

Humility is a Bethel for God's dwelling-place.
Pride is a Babel for the devil's residence.

If you do not keep pride out of your soul, and your soul out of pride, pride will keep your soul out of Heaven.

I will not say, that a poor man is never proud, but I will say, that a proud man is never godly.
James 4:16, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
The face of piety, shines brightest through the mask of humility.

"Clothe yourselves with humility." Of all garments, humility best fits Christians and best adorns their profession.

A Christian should look with one eye upon God's grace, to keep him thankful;
and with the other eye upon himself, to keep him mournful.

When you begin to grow proud of your glistening feathers, look down upon your black feet.
[Dyer is here alluding to the fact that most white-feathered swans have black skin underneath. Hence we should not be proud of our outwardly pure appearance, while our hearts are desperately wicked.]

Revelation 4:10, "The twenty-four elders fall down before the throne, and cast down their crowns before Him who sits on the throne." The only way of keeping our crowns on our heads, is the casting them down at Christ's feet.

Alas, sirs, what are you proud of?
Are you proud . . .
  of your riches,
  of your honors,
  of your relations,
  of your beauty,
  of your strength?
Alas, alas! these are poor base things to boast in.
Oh, go to the graves of those who have died before you. Are not their bones scattered, their eyes rotted, their flesh consumed, their mouth corrupted. Where now are their ruddy lips, their lovely cheeks, their fluent tongue, their sparkling eyes, their flowing hair? Are they not all gone, as a dream!

And where will you be before long?

And will you be proud of these things?

"I hate pride and arrogance." Proverbs 8:13

"He is able to humble those who walk in pride." Daniel 4:37

 

31. TEMPTATION

The Trojan horse!

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")  Play Audio  Download Audio

"Deliver us from evil." Matthew 6:13

In this petition we pray to be delivered from the evil of our heart, that it may not entice us to sin.

The heart is the poisoned fountain, from whence all actual sins flow. "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness." Mark 7:21-22

The cause of all evil lies in a man's own bosom, all sin begins at the heart! Lust is first conceived in the heart, and then it is mid-wifed into the world. Whence comes rash anger? The heart sets the tongue on fire. The heart is the shop where all sin is contrived and hammered out.

The heart is the greatest seducer, "Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust." James 1:14. The devil could not hurt us, if our own hearts did not give consent. All that he can do is to lay the bait, but it is our fault to swallow it! How needful, therefore, is this prayer, "Deliver us from the evil of our hearts!"

It was Augustine's prayer, "Lord, deliver me from that evil man, myself!"

Beware of the bosom traitor, the flesh. The heart of a man is the Trojan horse, out of which comes a whole army of lusts! O let us pray to be delivered from the lusts and deceits of our own heart! "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life!" Proverbs 4:23

 

32. TRIALS, AFFLICTIONS, and CHASTISEMENTS

Could we look into the lake of fire!

(John MacDuff, "The Footsteps of Jesus" 1856)  Play Audio  Download Audio

"Why should any living man complain?" Lamentations 3:39

Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards. We are not therefore to think that any strange thing has happened to us, if sorrow, in any of its multifarious forms, befalls us here on earth.

"If you endure chastening," says the apostle, "God deals with you as with sons." But HOW should we endure it?

It should be done in an inquiring spirit. We ought to be anxious to know the cause of the painful visitation. With the patriarch of old, our language should be, "Show me why You contend with me?"

It should be done also in a prayerful spirit, "Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray."

And it should be done especially in a submissive spirit. We should not merely feel the 'chastening rod', but kiss it! Instead of cherishing any feelings of murmuring and rebellion under the afflictive dispensations of God's providence, we should humble ourselves under His mighty hand, that He may exalt us in due time. And how many considerations are there, which should induce and promote such a submissive spirit towards affliction!

1. If we compare our sufferings, with our deserts, shall we not find abundant reason to banish every complaint, and hush every murmur into silence?

Should we complain of our light and momentary trouble, when we deserve to be tormented in hell forever?

Should we complain of the chastisements of a gracious Father, when we have rendered ourselves obnoxious to the sentence of a holy and angry Judge?

Should we complain that God sits by us as a refiner to purify us, when He might be a consuming fire to destroy us?

Should we complain that we have to pass under the rod of His love, when we might have been set up as a "mark for the arrows of His indignation, and His terrors be arrayed against us?"

Could we look into the lake of fire, and have a sight of the wretched beings who are there writhing in deathless agonies, we would then thank God for the most miserable condition on earth, if it were only sweetened with the hope of escaping that place of eternal torment!

2. Let us think, again, of the many mercies of which we have been, and still continue to be, the subjects. "And shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" Should we not receive our afflictions from the Divine hand with similar feelings? Should we forget our blessings, which are so many; and dwell upon our crosses, which are so few?

3. It would be well also for us to compare our sufferings, with what others have had to endure. The people of God have been, in all ages, a suffering people; and many of them could say with special emphasis, "I am the man who has seen affliction!"

Look at the godly man, Job. In a single day he was cast down from the highest pinnacle of prosperity, to the lowest depths of adversity! In the morning, he was the richest man in all the East, and with patriarchal dignity he looked around upon the joyous circle of seven sons and three daughters. But in the evening, he found himself without flock, or herd, or child!

O what are our troubles, compared with his? And did he murmur? No, he adored the hand that smote him! Prostrate in the dust he exclaimed, "I came naked from my mother's womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!"

But let us turn from the servant, to the Master, and consider Him. What was His condition during His earthly sojourn? He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; notwithstanding His infinite dignity and unsullied purity! Our sufferings are only partial, but He suffered in every way. Ours are only occasional, but His sufferings were uninterrupted, they accompanied Him from the manger to the cross! What He endured, especially during the closing scenes of His memorable career, passes all comprehension! Hear His heart-rending cry, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death!" "And being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

O shall we compare our sufferings, with His? To do so would be to weigh a mote against a mountain! If we desire to bear our trials with submission, let us think much, then, of what the Savior endured for us!
Would you, Christian, wish to fare better than Him?

Jesus Christ was a man of sorrows, and are you not to even taste the bitter cup?
He was acquainted with grief, and would you be a stranger to it?
Would you have nothing but ease, where He had nothing but trouble?
Would you have nothing but honor, where He had nothing but disgrace?
Would you reign with Him hereafter, and not suffer with Him here?
O say, then, with Him, "The cup which My Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?" And as you drink your cup, O, think of His! Well may we say,

"How bitter that cup, no heart can conceive,
 Which He drank quite up, that sinners might live;
 His way was much rougher and darker than mine,
 Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall I repine?"

"Now let our pains be all forgot,
 Our hearts no more repine;
 Our sufferings are not worth a thought,
 When, Lord, compared with Thine!"

4. Another consideration that should produce a spirit of submission is, that our sorrows are not to last forever. Your deliverance from sorrow is as sure as the purpose, the promise, the covenant, the oath of God can render it! And not merely is it certain, but it is near! A few weeks, or months, or years more, and all will be peace and quietness and bliss forever!

5. And, it must be added Christian, that your end will be unspeakably glorious. "God will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever!" There will be no shattered frame, no emaciated countenance, no furrowed cheek, no faltering voice, in those blessed regions! There every eye shall sparkle with delight, every countenance will beam with ineffable satisfaction, every pulse will beat high with immortality, and every frame will be able to sustain without weariness, an eternal weight of glory!

O child of sorrow, think of these things! Be anxious to feel their hallowing influence, that resignation may have her perfect work, and that no murmuring spirit may be indulged in, even for a moment!

 

32. WORLDLINESS

"The spirit of the world is eating out the very heart and life of true godliness" George Everard

"Refined worldliness is the present snare of the Church of God" Horatius Bonar

Are we Christians, or are we worldlings?

(Horatius Bonar, "Self-Denial Christianity")  Play Audio  Download Audio

"Woe to those who are at ease in Zion!" Amos 6:1

What do we say to . . .
  our self-indulgence,
  our spiritual sloth,
  our love of ease,
  our avoidance of hardship,
  our luxury,
  our pampering of the body,
  our costly feasts,
  our silken couches,
  our brilliant furniture,
  our gay attire,
  our expensive jewelry,
  our idle mirth,
  our voluptuous music,
  our jovial tables, loaded with every variety of rich viands?

Are we Christians, or are we worldlings?

Where is the self-denial of the New Testament days?

Where is the separation from a self-pleasing luxurious world? Where is the cross, the true badge of discipleship, to be seen, except in useless religious ornaments for the body, or worse than useless decorations for the sanctuary?

"Woe to those who are at ease in Zion!" Is not this the description of multitudes who name the name of Christ? They may not be "living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry." But even where these are absent, there is 'high living', luxury of the table or the wardrobe, in conformity to this present evil world.

"At ease in Zion!" Yes! there is the shrinking . . .
  from hard service;
  from spending and being spent;
  from toil and burden-bearing and conflict;
  from self-sacrifice and noble service;
for the Master's sake.

There is conformity to the world, instead of conformity to Christ!
There is a laying down of the cross, instead of a taking up of the cross.
Or there is a lining of the cross with velvet, lest it should gall our shoulders as we carry it!
Or there is an adorning of the cross, that it may suite the taste and the manners of our refined and intellectual age.

Anything but the bare, rugged and simple cross!

We think that we can make the strait gate wider, and the narrow way broader, so as to be able to walk more comfortably to the heavenly kingdom. We try to prove that modern enlightenment has so refined 'the world and its pleasures', that we may safely drink the poisoned cup, and give ourselves up to the inebriation of the siren song.

"At ease in Zion!" Even when the walls of our city are besieged, and the citadel is being stormed!

Instead of grasping our weapons, we lie down upon our couches!

Instead of the armor, we put on the silken robe!

We are cowards, when we should be brave!

We are faint-hearted, when we should be bold!

We are lukewarm, when we should be fervent!

We are cold, when we should be full of zeal!

We compromise and shuffle and make excuses, when we should lift up our voice like a trumpet! We pare down truth, or palliate error, or extenuate sin, in order to placate the world, or suit the spirit of the age, or 'unify' the Church.

Learn self-denying Christianity. Not the form or name, but the living thing.

Let us renounce the lazy, luxurious, self-pleasing, fashionable religion of the present day!

self-indulgent religion has nothing in common with the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; or with that cross of ours which He has commanded us to take up and carry after Him, renouncing ease and denying self.

Our time,
our abilities,
our money,
our strength,
are all to be laid upon the altar.

"Woe to those who are at ease in Zion!" Amos 6:1

 

33. CHURCH LIFE

"Scriptures teach that all things in the church should be pure, simple, and removed as far as possible from the elements and pomps of this world!" Richard Cox

"The church of Christ is a common hospital, wherein all are in some measure sick of some spiritual disease or another. Therefore we should all have have cause to exercise mutual kindness and humility." Richard Sibbes

"That very church which the world likes best, is sure to be that which God most abhors!" Spurgeon


Feeding Sheep, or Amusing Goats?

Archibald Brown, "The Devil's Mission of Amusement" 1889  LISTEN to audio! Download audio

An evil is in the 'professed' camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments!

The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel'.

No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they confronted them? The 'concert' has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? "You are the salt of the world", not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow.

Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When "many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him," I do not hear Him say, 'Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!'

No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!

In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the 'gospel of amusement'. Their message is, "Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them... Don't touch their filthy things..." Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, 'Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are'.

No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. They had no time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down; that is the only difference from today's church.

Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God's link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!

The need of the hour for today's ministry is earnest spirituality joined with Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods!

 

34. THE SCRIPTURES

The mariner's chart as he sails the sea of life!

(Arthur Pink) LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

The Bible is a book which calls not so much for the exertion of our intellect, as it does for the exercise of our affectionsconscience and will. God has given His Word to us not for our entertainment, but for our education, to make known what He requires from us. It is to be . . .
  the traveler's guide as he journeys through the maze of this world,
  and the mariner's chart as he sails the sea of life.

Therefore, whenever we open the Bible, the all-important consideration for each of us to keep before him is: "What is here for me today? What bearing does the passage now before me have upon my present case and circumstances, what warning, what encouragement, what information? What instruction is there . . .
  to direct me in the management of my business,
  to guide me in the ordering of my domestic and social affairs,
  to promote a closer walking with God?"

I should see myself addressed in every precept, and included in every promise.

But it is greatly to be feared that, through failure to appropriate God's Word unto our own case and circumstances, there is much Bible reading and study which is of little or no real benefit to the soul.

Nothing else will . . .
  secure us from the pollutions of this world,
  deliver from the temptations of Satan, and
  be so effectual a preservative from sin ,
as the Word of God received into our affections. "The law of his God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide" (Psalm 37:31) can only be said of the one who has made personal appropriation of the Word, and is able to say with the Psalmist, "Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (119:11).

Just so long as the Word is . . .
  actually working in us,
  influencing us in a practical way,
  loved and revered by us,
  and stirs the conscience ,
are we kept from falling into open sin!

And only as we personally go out and daily gather our portion of manna, and feed upon the same, will there be strength provided for the performing of duty and the bringing forth of fruit to the glory of God.

 

35. GOD'S NATURE

The god of popular Christianity!

(Milburn Cockrell, "The Master of the World!") LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth! Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might!" 1 Chronicles 29:11-12
 
In these days of man-centered religion, verses like these have been ignored. The pulpits of our land preach . . .
  a defeated God,
  a disappointed Christ and
  a defenseless Holy Spirit.
Man has been deified, and God dethroned.
God has been relegated to the background.

The God most people believe in has benevolent intentions, yet He is unable to carry them out. He wants to bless men, but they will not let Him. The average church-goer thinks Satan has gained the upper hand, and that God is to be pitied rather than worshiped. The god of popular Christianity has a weak smile and a halo!

To suppose in the slightest that God has failed, or that He has been defeated, is the height of foolishness and the depth of impiety! The religious world needs to get God off the charity list!

The Bible knows nothing of a defeated, disappointed, and defenseless God. The God of the Bible is the "Almighty God" (Genesis 17:1) Who has all power in Heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). With Him nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37) or too hard (Jeremiah 32:17). His eternal purpose is being worked out. Everything is going according to His plan, and all things are under His control.

The God of the Bible is the Supreme Being in the universe! He is the most High, higher than the highest. He has no superiors and no equals. 
God is God.
 He does . . .
  as 
He pleases,
  only as He pleases,
  always as He pleases.

"He is in one mind, and who can turn Him? What His soul desires, even that He does" (Job 23:13). Agreeing with this is Psalm 115:3: "But our God is in the heavens: He has done whatever He has pleased." As the Master of the World He declares: "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure!" (Isaiah 46:10)

God is the Supreme Being and the Sovereign of the universe. He exercises His power . . .
  as He wills,
  when He wills,
  where He wills.
"All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing. But He does according to His will in the host of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth. No one can ward off His hand or say to Him: What have You done?" (Daniel 4:35)

God governs all His creatures and their actions. The events that take place on earth do not take place by chance, or fate, or luck. The so-called accidents are not even incidents with the Master of the World. He numbered the hairs of our head and noted the sparrow's fall in eternity past by His "determinate counsel and foreknowledge" (Acts 2:23).

The Master of the World set the bounds of our habitation on earth. The number of our months is with Him, and our days are appointed!

God is holding the helm of the universe, and regulating all events. The Master of the World "works all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11). It is God's eternal right to do all His pleasure. He is not accountable to any of His creatures. Job 33:13 declares: "He gives no account of any of His matters."

God controls all things, or nothing.
He must either rule, or be ruled.
He must either sway, or be swayed.
He must either accomplish His will, or be thwarted by His creatures.
He is not obligated to leave the affairs of this world to be governed by accident, chance, or the will of sinful men.

If we admit that God absolutely governs all things according to the counsel of His own will, then we admit that He has determined what shall and what shall not transpire in time and eternity. To deny His universal control of all things, is to deny His eternal power and Godhead. If He has the power and wisdom to determine all events, then He can cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

 

36. THE LOVELINESS OF JESUS

In one vast blaze of unobscured glory!

(John MacDuff, "The Promised Land" 1859) LISTEN to audio! Download audio

"Your eyes shall see the King in His beauty!" 
Isaiah 33:17

To see the Savior as He is, in the splendors of His glorified humanity, is the highest and most attractive view which is given of the Heavenly world.

To see Him as He was, when He tabernacled here below, was a high privilege, one which prophets, and kings, and righteous men of old, ardently desired. But to behold Him . . .
  clothed with majesty divine,
  exalted above all blessing and praise,
  the object of celestial adoration,
  with all the heavenly hosts prostrate before His throne
—that will be a blessed sight indeed!

Between the view that is enjoyed of the Redeemer's glory on earth, and that which is realized by the redeemed in Heaven, there is a threefold distinction:

In the first place, His glory as seen here, is dark and obscure, but in Heaven it is clear and unclouded. The apostle speaks of our beholding Him now imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror. It is by means of certain indistinct mediums, such as the representations of His word and ordinances; but He will be seen above, face to face!

In the second place, His glory is beheld here, only in separate parts and portions. The things recorded of Him in the sacred writings are studied one by one, and, by comparing them together, we form a general estimate of His character. In some passages, we have an account of His person; in others, of His offices; in others, of His love or mercy. And it is by collecting these scattered fragments together, that our knowledge of Him is now obtained.

So it was with the spouse in the book of Canticles. She examined every part of His person by itself:
 His head was as fine gold;
 His cheeks were as a bed of spices;
 His lips were like lilies dropping sweet-smelling myrrh;
 His countenance was as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
And after having glanced at these several particulars, she comes to the conclusion that, "He is the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely!"

It is thus that the Savior is seen here on earth; but how will it be in Heaven? We shall see Him all at once, complete and entire, in one vast blaze of unobscured glory!

And, in the third place, the view we have of Christ on earth is only in occasional glances. There are seasons in the experience of every believer when he has to say with Job, "Behold I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him!" Or in the language of the prophet, "Truly, you are a God who hides Yourself!"

But, precious truth! the vision in Heaven will be perpetual; it will be altogether unbroken and undisturbed. "Your sun shall no more go down, neither shall your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended!"

Blessed Jesus! reveal Yourself even now, according to Your promise, to my waiting soul; be it mine to enter in some feeble measure, into the feelings of Your disciples of old, when they said, "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth!" And, refreshedquickenedtransformed by the sight, may I be daily looking for, and hastening unto, the coming of that day when Your own prayer, offered on the night of Your great agony, shall be fully answered: "Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory, the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world!" Then shall I know how great Your beauty is, and what it is to be eternally enraptured with Your charms!

 

37. THE LOVE OF JESUS

An ocean of consolation!

(James Smith, "Gleams of Grace" 1860)  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ!" 2 Corinthians 1:5

There is great consolation in Christ's unvarying love. The love of Jesus is always the same. It never ebbs, but flows on in one continuous stream. His love is . . .
  as ancient as eternity,
  as strong as omnipotence, and
  as unchangeable as His nature.

Creature love may fail, and creatures who love us today, may hate us tomorrow, but as Jesus ever lives, so Jesus ever loves. In His . . .
  covenant engagements,
  perfect sin-atoning work,
  tender sympathy,
  constant care,
  prevalent intercession,
  precious Word, and
  unvarying love
—there is an ocean of consolation!

Jesus is . . .
  our Substitute, restoring that which sin took away;
  our Surety, paying all the debts we would contract;
  our Shepherd, taking charge of our persons . . .
    to nourish them,
    to preserve them, and
    to set them before His Father's face forever.

His obedience is our righteousness.
His blood is our ransom price.
His death is our life.

There is consolation in Christ's tender and constant care, which extends . . .
  to all our circumstances,
  to all that concerns us,
  even to the very hairs of our heads!
He cares for . . .
  our needs, to supply them,
  our holy desires, to grant them,
  our eternal salvation, to secure it.

There is always consolation in Christ. Whatever may be our outward circumstances, and they may be very trying . . .
  in poverty and pain,
  under losses and crosses,
  however tempted or tried ,
there is still consolation in Christ!

Creatures may prove crosses,
ordinances may be like wells without water,
providence may frown,
the meal barrel may be empty,
and the brook may dry up ,
but there is still consolation in Christ.

Though . . .
harassed with doubts,
tormented with fears,
tortured with temptations,
shrouded in darkness, and
drinking the wine of astonishment
—there is still consolation in Christ!

All within may be discouraging, disheartening, and depressing ,
  our evidences may be lost,
  our fears may be great,
  our convictions may be painful,
  and our terrors may be dreadful ,
but there is still consolation in Christ.

Our immediate prospects may be dark . . .
  all going out, and nothing coming in,
  all losses, and no gains,
  disease may be working in our body,
  old age may be creeping upon us,
  our business may be failing,
  claims upon us may be increasing,
  our families may be increasingly trying
—but there is still consolation in Christ!

Yes, though the crops fail,
though provisions give out,
though resources are cut off, and
poverty stares us in the face, let things be as bad as they may, and threaten to be ever so much worse, there is still consolation in Christ.

Yes, when all without us is dark, and all within us dreary;
when friends are removed, and enemies increase;
when with Jacob we are ready to look around and before us, and say, "All these things are against me!" There is still consolation in Christ!

As there is always consolation in Christ, we should learn . . .
  to know and love Christ,
  to know and love Him well,
  to know and love Him experimentally,
  to know and love Him in His person, offices, and work,
  to know and love Him in His relations, characters, and love,
  to know and love Him as our unchanging source of supply, comfort, and peace.

We should trust Christ at all times and in all circumstances.
However our experiences may vary, He is ever the same!
His Word is like the great mountains!
His heart is an ocean of love!
His faithfulness reaches to the very Heavens!

He is our strength, and we must look to Him to strengthen us.
He is our wisdom, and we must look to Him to counsel us.
He is our righteousness, and we must look to Him to justify us.
He is all in all to us, and therefore we must . . .
  look to Him for all,
  go to Him with all, and
  expect Him to bring us through all.

 

38. The HOLY SPIRIT and the believer

We soon grow dull, cold, lifeless, and inactive!

(James Smith, "The Great Comforter" 1858)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"It is the Spirit who quickens; the flesh profits nothing." John 6:63

All real religion begins with the quickening of the Spirit.
When we experience this . . .
  we begin to breathe after spiritual things,
  we open our eyes in a new world,
  we hunger and thirst after righteousness,
  and at length taste that the Lord is gracious.
We then have . . .
  new thoughts,
  new desires,
  new hopes,
  new fears,
  new joys, and
  new sorrows.
The eye fixes on Christ,
the heart goes out to Christ, and
the chief desire of the soul is to be like Christ.

The Spirit not only quickens us at first, but all through life we need and are dependent on the Spirit's quickening. He quickens us to pray, and He quickens us in prayer. It is His quickening which puts . . .
  life into our graces,
  energy into our prayers,
  confidence into our expectations, and
  enables us to resist Satan, steadfast in the faith.

If His quickening power is withheld, we soon grow dull, cold, lifeless, and inactive!
We have . . .
  no power in prayer,
  no enjoyment in ordinances,
  no liberty in speaking to the saints,
  nor profit in reading God's Word.
Every duty becomes a task,
every privilege becomes a burden,
and every cross appears insupportable!

While under the quickening operation of the Spirit, we can do all things; but without His quickening we can do nothing.

Often, very often, have we to cry out from bitter experience, "My soul cleaves unto the dust; quicken me according unto Your Word!" Psalm 119:25

Quickening Spirit, daily quicken my soul!

 

39. ELECTION & PREDESTINATION

Angels damned! Men saved!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Election and Holiness")  Play Audio!  Download

God has chosen to Himself a people whom no man can number, out of the children of Adam, out of the fallen and apostate race who sprang from the loins of a rebellious man. Now, this is a wonder of wonders, when we come to consider that the Heaven, even the Heaven of heavens, is the Lord's.

If God must have a chosen race, why did He not select one from the majestic orders of angels, or from the flaming cherubim and seraphim who stand around His throne? Why was not Gabriel fixed upon? Why was he not so constituted that from his loins there might spring a mighty race of angels, and why were not these chosen by God from before the foundations of the world!

What could there be in man, a creature lower than the angels, that God should select him rather than the angelic spirits?
Why were not the cherubim and seraphim given to Christ?
Why did He not assume angels' nature, and take them into union with Himself? An angelic body might be more in keeping with the person of Deity, than a body of weak and suffering flesh and blood. There were something congruous if He had said unto the angels: "You shall be My sons."

But, no! though all these were His own, He passes by the hierarchy of angels, and stoops to man! He takes up an apostate worm, and says unto him, "You shall be My son!" and to myriads of the same race He cries, "you shall be My sons and daughters, by a covenant forever."

"But," says one, "It seems that God intended to choose a fallen people that He might in them show forth His grace. Now, the angels of course would be unsuitable for this, since they have not fallen." I reply, there ARE angels that have fallen; there were angels that kept not their first estate, but fell from their dignity. And how is it that these are consigned to blackness of darkness for ever? Answer me, you that deny God's sovereignty, and hate His election: how is it that angels are condemned to everlasting fire, while to you, the children of Adam, the gospel of Christ is freely preached?

The only answer that can possibly be given is this: God wills to do it. He has a right to do as He pleases with His own mercy. Romans 9:15, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy; and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion."

Angels deserve no mercy, neither do we deserve mercy. Nevertheless, He gave it to us, and He denied it themThey are bound in chains, reserved for everlasting fire to the last great day, but we are saved.

Why, if there were any reason to move God in His creatures, He would certainly have chosen devils rather than men. Had the angels been reclaimed, they could have glorified God more than we; they could have sang His praises louder than we can, clogged as we are with flesh and blood. But passing by the greater, He chose the lesser, that He might show forth His sovereignty, which is the brightest jewel in the crown of His divinity!

Our Arminian antagonists always leave the fallen angels out of the question, for it is not convenient to them to recollect this ancient instance of election. They call it unjust, that God should choose one man and not another. By what reasoning can this be unjust, when they will admit that it was righteous enough in God to choose one race, the race of men; and leave another race, the race of angels, to be sunk into misery on account of sin?

Brethren, let us be done with arraigning God at our poor fallible judgment seat! God is good and does righteousness. Whatever He does we may know to be right, whether we can see the righteousness or not.

God's Election is marvelous indeed! God had unlimited power in creation. Now, if He willed to make a people who would be His favorites, who would be united to the person of His Son, and who would reign with Him, why did He not make a new race?

When Adam sinned, it would have been easy enough to strike the earth out of existence. He had but to speak and this round earth would have been dissolved, as the bubble dies into the wave that bears it.

There would have been no trace of Adam's sin left; the whole might have died away and have been forgotten forever!

But no! Instead of making a new people, a pure people who could not sin; instead of taking to Himself creatures that were pure, unsullied, without spot, He takes a depraved and fallen people and lifts these up, and that, too, by costly means, by the death of His own Son, and by the work of His own Spirit; that these must be the jewels in His crown to reflect His glory for ever!

Oh, singular choice! Oh, inexplicable Election! My soul is lost in your depths, and I can only pause and cry: "Oh, the goodness, oh the mercy, oh the sovereignty of God's grace!"

Now, when you think that God has chosen YOU, you may well pause and say in the language of that hymn,
"Pause, my soul! adore, and wonder!
 Ask: O why such love to ME?"

Kings passed by, and beggars chosen!
Wise men left, but fools made to know the wonders of His redeeming love!
Publicans and harlots sweetly compelled to come to the feast of mercy; while proud religious people are allowed to trust in their own righteousness, and perish in their vain boastings!

God's choice will ever seem in the eyes of unrenewed men, to be a very strange one. He has passed over those whom we would have selected; and He has chosen those who thought themselves the least likely ever to taste of His grace!

Before your sovereignty I bow, great God, and acknowledge that You do as you wish, and that You give no account of Your matters.

"Our God is in Heaven; He does whatever He pleases!" Psalm 115:3

 

40. CREATION

The immensity of the Creator's dominions!

(Rufus Wheelwright Clark, "Heaven and its Scriptural Emblems" 1853)
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"His dominion is an everlasting dominion!"
 Daniel 4:34

"The LORD has established His throne in Heaven, and His kingdom rules over all!" Psalm 103:19

God is a sovereign of absolute and unlimited dominion! Reason and revelation both teach us that God's government and authority are coextensive with His rational creation. His government reaches to the remotest bounds of the habitable universe!

Every angel in Heaven,
every inhabitant of earth,
the millions of beings that people the worlds that are above and around us ,
are all subjects of His divine authority.

We speak of God's government as coextensive with His moral kingdom; but this language, obviously, fails to convey to our minds adequate conceptions either of the government or of the kingdom over which it is established; for modern science has thrown open to us an extent of empire that is beyond the grasp of the mightiest and loftiest of human intellects.

With the aid of telescopic power, we discover that immensity is crowded with worlds and systems, of which, before, we had no knowledge; and that this earth, instead of being the central portion of God's dominions, to which all that is visible in the heavens is tributary and secondary, is, in fact, but one amid myriads of worlds, which vastly surpass it in magnificence and splendor! We discover that the universe is of such an extent that this earth, with its islands, continents and oceans, is but a speck, a speck, the loss of which would be no more felt than the removal of a single grain of sand from the sea-shore!

In our attempts to comprehend the extent of this empire, we are not only utterly baffled, but we perceive it stretching away, in every direction, towards a mysterious infinity! And the impression is made upon the mind, that it is absolutely boundless!

The idea has been advanced, that it may be the Creator's design to excite the wonder, and sustain the adoration, of His subjects, by views of the magnitude of a kingdom, the boundaries of which no finite mind will ever reach!

An eloquent writer has said that there may be "an impenetrable barrier, beyond which no power, either of eye or of telescope, shall ever carry us; that, on the other side, there is a height, and depth, and length, and breadth, to which the whole of this concave and visible firmament dwindles into the insignificance of an atom! And though all which the mind of man can take in, or his imagination grasp at, were swept away, there might still remain as ample a field, over which the Divinity might expatiate, and which He might have peopled with innumerable worlds! Though this earth were to be burned up, though the trumpet of its dissolution were sounded, though yon sky were to pass away as a scroll, and every visible glory which the finger of Divinity has inscribed on it were to be put out forever, an event so awful to us, and to every world in our vicinity, by which so many suns would be extinguished, and so many varied scenes of life and of population would rush into forgetfulness, what is it in the high scale of the Almighty's workmanship?, a mere shred, which, though scattered into nothing, would leave the universe of God one entire scene of greatness and of majesty!"

Such is the immensity of the Creator's dominions, an immensity so vast that the solitude created by the destruction of all that is visible would be but a minuscule point, to the infinite mind of God.

If the innumerable galaxies consist of clusters of stars, and those stars swell to the magnitude of brilliant suns, and those suns present themselves to our view as the central orbs of vast planetary systems, that are filled with an innumerable population, then what must be the grandeur of that divine government, which spreads its protecting shield over so vast an empire, and requires the homage and services of the countless myriads of its inhabitants!

What must be the attributes of that monarch, who, while presiding over such a kingdom, and taking within his comprehensive grasp the interests of various ranks of intelligences, as numerous, perhaps, as the worlds around us, and at the same time can notice . . .
  every thought that enters my mind,
  every motive that influences my conduct, and
  every circumstance that contributes to form my character,
  and decide my destiny!
An administration thus universal, and embodying the eternal principles of rightjustice and benevolence, must be in the highest degree powerful and glorious!

But who can describe, or even conceive of the glory of this divine government, that throws its luster upon every world, and fills immensity with its splendors!

When its grand purposes shall have been accomplished, the sublime spectacle will be presented of a universe crowded with loyal and adoring subjects. From every world will ascend, to the infinite Sovereign, anthems of praise, and the incense of holy worship. Every planet will glitter with temples, whose lofty architecture, and splendid proportions, and costly decorations, will indicate the prevalence of devotion, and the homage that is rendered to the supreme divine Governor!

"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns!" Revelation 19:6

 

41. PROVIDENCE

EARTHQUAKE!

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(Charles Wesley, "The Cause and Cure of Earthquakes" 1750)

"Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations He has brought on the earth!" Psalm 46:8

Of all the judgments which the righteous God inflicts on sinners here in this world, the most dreadful and destructive is an earthquake. This He has lately brought on our part of the earth, and thereby alarmed our fears, and bid us to "prepare to meet our God!" 

Earthquakes are the works of the Lord, and He alone brings this destruction upon the earth. That God is Himself the Author of earthquakes, and sin the moral cause of earthquakes, (whatever the natural cause may be,) cannot be denied by any who believe the Scriptures. Earthquakes are set forth by the inspired writers, as God's proper judicial act for the punishment of sin.

"He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in His anger. He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble!" Job 9:5-6 

"He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they pour out smoke!" Psalm 104:32 

"Then the earth shook and quaked, the foundations of the mountains trembled; they shook because He burned with anger!" Psalm 18:7

"In His presence the mountains quake, and the hills melt away; the earth trembles, and its people are destroyed. Who can stand before His fierce anger? Who can survive His burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and the mountains crumble to dust in His presence!" Nahum 1:5-6 

Sin is the cause of God's anger, earthquakes the effect of His anger!

"I will bring disaster on the world, and their own iniquity, on the wicked. I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant, and will humble the pride of the ruthless. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of His burning anger." Isaiah 13:11, 13

"See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; He will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants! The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is thoroughly shaken!" Isaiah 24:1, 19 

And again, "The Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire!" Isaiah 29:6

Nothing can be more express than these Scripture testimonies, which determine both the cause and author of this terrible calamity. We cannot conceive that the universe would have been disturbed by these furious disasters, before sin entered. Therefore reason, as well as Scripture, sufficiently assure us that earthquakes are God's works of judgment, the proper effect and punishment of sin.

Nothing can be so affecting as this judgment of an earthquake, when it comes unexpectedly as a thief in the night, when there is no time to flee, or method to escape, or possibility to resist; when no sanctuary or refuge remains; when the earth opens suddenly, and becomes the grave of whole families, towns, and cities, either sending out a flood of waters to drown them, or vomiting out flames of fire to consume them, or closing over them; when parents and children, husbands and wives, and all people, without distinction, in the midst of health, and peace, and business, are buried in a common ruin, and pass all together into the eternal world; and there is only the difference of a few hours or minutes between a famous city, and none at all!

Now, if war is a terrible evil, then how much more an earthquake, which, in the midst of peace, brings a worse evil than the extremity of war! 

If a raging pestilence is dreadful, which sweeps away thousands in a day, and ten thousands in a night; if a consuming fire is an amazing judgment, then how much more astonishing is an earthquake, whereby houses, and inhabitants, towns, and cities, and countries, are all destroyed at one stroke in a few minutes!

For a man to feel the earth, which hangs upon nothing, (as some vast ball in the midst of a thin air,) totter under him, must fill him with astonishing fright and confusion!

History informs us of the fearful effects of earthquakes in all ages; where you may see . . .
  rocks torn in pieces;
  mountains not cast down only, but removed;
  hills raised, not out of valleys only, but out of seas;
  fires breaking out of waters;
  stones and cinders belched up;
  rivers changed;
  seas dislodged;
  earth opening;
  towns swallowed up; and
  many such-like hideous events!

Of all divine judgments, there is none more horrid, more inescapable, than an earthquake! For where can we think to escape danger, if the most solid thing in all the world shakes!

With what horror are men struck when they hear the earth groan, and feel it trembling beneath them; when houses are loosened from their foundations; when the roofs fall upon their heads, and the pavement sinks under their feet!

In other evils there is some way to escape; but an earthquake encloses what it overthrows, and wages war with whole provinces; and sometimes leaves nothing behind it to inform posterity of its outrages.
More insolent than the fire, which spares rocks;
more cruel than the conqueror, who leaves walls;
more greedy than the sea, which vomits up shipwrecks
—the earthquake swallows and devours whatever it overturns!

Therefore, fear God, even that God who can in a moment cast both body and soul into Hell! 

When God makes the mountains tremble, and the earth shake, shall not our hearts be moved? "Should you not fear Me?" declares the Lord. "Should you not tremble in My presence?" Jeremiah 5:22

Will you not fear Him, who can open the windows of heaven above, or break up the fountains of the deep below, and pour forth whole floods of vengeance when He pleases!

Will you not fear Him, who can "rain upon the wicked, snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest!" Psalm 11:6

Will you not fear Him, who can kindle those earthquakes in the caverns of the earth, and make them force their way to the destruction of towns, cities, and countries!

Will you not fear Him, who can thus suddenly turn a fruitful land into a barren wilderness, an amazing spectacle of desolation and ruin!

O that His fear might this moment fall upon all you who read these words; constraining every one of you to cry out, "My flesh trembles in fear of You, and I am afraid of Your judgments!" Psalm 119:120
 

O that all might see that His hand is now lifted up, as in act to strike! It is stretched out still, and He shakes His rod over a guilty land, a people fitted for destruction!

God will never lack ways and means to punish impenitent sinners. He has a thousand other judgments in reserve; and if the earth should not open its mouth, yet you shall surely at last be swallowed up in the bottomless pit of Hell! Truly, "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!" Hebrews 10:31

If the earth just now were to open its mouth and swallow you up, what would become of you? Where would you be?

 

42. TOTAL DEPRAVITY

The Scriptural view of sin!

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Joseph Alleine: O miserable man, what a deformed monster has sin made you! God made you "little lower than the angels"—but sin has made you little better than the devils!

 

Jacob Squire: There is a certain infiniteness in sin, because it is against an infinite God, which therefore brings a punishment of infinite duration, because it cannot be atoned for by finite creatures.

 

Thomas Brooks: Did God leave us to act according to our sinful natures—we would all be incarnate devils, and this world would be an absolute Hell!

There is no little sin—because there is no little God to sin against.

 

Jonathan Edwards: You contribute nothing to your salvation—but the sin which made it necessary!

Never did God so manifest His hatred of sin, as in the death and suffering of His only begotten Son.

 

John Flavel: Christ is not sweet—until sin is made bitter to us!

If God should damn you to all eternity—your eternal sufferings could not satisfy for the evil that is in one vain thought! O the depth of the evil of sin!

 

Charles Hodge: Original sin is the only rational solution of the undeniable fact of the deep, universal and early manifested sinfulness of men in all ages, of every class, and in every part of the world.

 

J.A. James: The torments of the bottomless pit are not so dreadful a demonstration of God's hatred of sin, as the agonies of the cross!

 

Christopher Love: Sin is worse than Hell, because sin made Hell to be Hell.

 

Thomas Manton: Sin is sweet in commission, but bitter in its wages!

The more affected we are with our sinful misery—the fitter we are for Christ's marvelous mercy.

 

William Mason: Sin digs graves for bodies, and kindles Hell for souls!

A man can never leave sin thoroughly, until he loathes it heartily.

Go to Golgotha, and see what sin did there!

Christ did not die for sin, that we might live in sin.

The sins of the wicked anger Christ, the sins of His people grieve Him.

 

John Newton: The more vile we are in our own eyes—the more precious Christ will be to us!

Sin cannot be hated for itself—until we have seen the malignity of it in Christ's sufferings!

 

John Owen: The seed of every sin—is in every heart!

Christ's blood is the great sovereign remedy for sin-sick souls!

I do not understand how a man can be a true believer—in whom sin is not the greatest burden, sorrow and trouble!

 

William Price: We drown our sins in the Red Sea of Christ's blood!

 

J.C. Ryle: Christ is never fully valued, until sin is clearly seen.

 

William Sibbes: The depths of our misery—can never fall below the depths of God's mercy!

Sin is not so sweet in the committing of it—as it is bitter in the reckoning of it.

It is evident that our conversion is sound—when we loathe and hate sin from the heart.

 

Charles Spurgeon: If Christ has died for me—then I cannot trifle with the sin which killed my best Friend!

What sin is worth being damned for?

If you have lived like the wicked—then you will die like the wicked, and be damned like the wicked!

Look to the cross, and hate your sin—for sin nailed your Well-Beloved to the cruel tree!

Sin is self-damnation!

As salt tinges every drop in the ocean—so does sin affect every atom of man's nature!

There is no cure for the love of sin—like the blood of Christ!

 

Thomas Watson:

Sin has . . .
  the devil for its father,
  shame for its companion, and
  death and damnation for its wages!

 

 

43. SALVATION

Your portrait!

(James Smith, "The Physician!" 1855)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Those who are whole do not need a physician, but those who are sick!" Matthew 9:12

The world is one vast hospital. Jesus is the only physician in it; He has healed thousands, He will heal thousands more. But multitudes reject Him; they imagine they can do without Him; they think that they are whole, and therefore do not need a physician.

Sin is the disease of the soul. The sinner's state, is a diseased state. He is sick, mortally sick. His sickness is hereditary. He inherited it from his parents. He brought it into the world with him. That is true of all which was spoken by David of himself, "Behold I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me!"

Sin is increased by wicked habits. We go astray from the womb, speaking lies. We contract the habit of sinning, so that to sin becomes as natural to us, as to breathe.

The disease of sin is contagious. We contaminate others, and others increase our sickness. "Bad company corrupts good character."

The progress of this disease is constant, it spreads daily, almost insensibly, and especially from neglect.

Sin produces great weakness, so that the sinner cannot of himself, do anything really good.

Sin not only makes us weak, but stupid, so that we become careless and foolish. We are dying of disease, but are unconcerned about it! There is a skillful physician at hand, but we refuse to apply to Him!

Sin has destroyed all our moral beauty, and left us loathsome, unsightly, and wretched! It produces innumerable and horrendous pains, and surrounds us with sorrows, cares, and woes!

Sin brings us to death, not only separating the body from the soul, but separating the soul from God!

Sin is the forerunner of eternal and unmitigated weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth!

There is no sickness like sin, yet this disease is universal. All are sick! "Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one!" Romans 3:9-12

This disease affects every part of man, "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot, even unto the head, there is no soundness in it, only wounds and bruises and putrefying sores!" Isaiah 1:5, 6.

Man is one mass of moral disease!
 Every power and faculty is disordered. All the elements of destruction are within himself. He deeply needs a physician, for he is dreadfully sick, so sick, that there is but a step between him and damnation!

My dear reader, this is your state! The Holy Spirit has given your portrait in the passages you have just read.
Can you recognize the likeness? If not, your eye is diseased!
Do you feel alarmed at the representation? If not, your conscience is diseased!
Are you determined at once to apply to the physician? If not, your heart is diseased!

The plague spot is upon you! You are very far advanced in a moral and spiritual cancer, which is secretly hurrying you to eternal death and damnation! O may the Lord . . .
open your eyes, that you may see your dreadful state;
enlighten your conscience, that you may be alarmed at your condition;
and quicken your soul, that you may flee to Jesus and receive health, healing, and everlasting soundness from His hands!

Jesus is the best physician. His work is to heal souls. He is every way qualified for His work.

He is a wise and skillful physician. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Him, and He employs them for the good of souls. He has been employed in healing sinners for six thousand years. His skill has never been baffled, nor has one patient died under His hand yet!

He is a kind and tender physician. Not one harsh word is ever spoken by Him, to a poor broken-hearted sinner; nor does He ever refuse to attend to any case. His kindness is such, that He weeps with those who weep! And His tenderness is so great, that it is said in reference to all His patients, "In all their afflictions, He is afflicted."

He is a friendly and faithful physician. There is nothing forbidding or austere in His manner, nor does He ever deceive. Friendship has erected her throne in His heart, and built her mansion in His bosom; and He is ever faithful to His Word, and to the poor sick sinner who applies to Him.

He is a willing and accessible physician. Willing to heal anyone who is willing to be healed by Him; and to go anywhere to perform His miracles of mercy. As when applied to of old, He said "I will come and heal him!" Just so now! He stoops to the beggar in the dust, and visits the needy on the dunghill. He is always ready at hand. You need no messenger to send and fetch Him, He is within hearing! He is nearer than anyone else, He can hear the softest whisper of the heart!

He is the great physician, no one can be compared to Him for qualifications or success.

He is the good physician, no one beside Him can be found, who so kindly, so freely, and so effectually heals every applicant! His blood is the true balm of Gilead.

It is not only His work, but His delight to heal sin-sick souls! And He heals them all freely, certainly, and perfectly! 

His terms are, "No Money! No Price!" Those whom He restores to health, will enjoy health forever. He makes every one of His patients immortal, and surrounds them with all that can make them holy and happy forever!

 

44. REGENERATION & EFFECTUAL CALLING

The difference between the godly and the ungodly

(James Meikle, "The Traveler" June 14, 1758)  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

There is a wide difference in both principle and practice, between the the godly and the ungodly.

The affections of the godly are spiritually refined, and their desires are exalted.
The inclinations of the ungodly are corrupt, and their desires are groveling.

Sin has but a tottering standing, and a momentary abode, in the godly.
But sin has fixed its throne, and taken up its eternal residence, in the ungodly.

In the godly, grace and sin struggle for sovereignty.
In the ungodly, sin domineers and there is no struggle.

The godly is deeply concerned about the world to come.
The ungodly has no concern about eternal realities.

The speech of the godly is seasoned with grace.
The discourse of the ungodly is insipid and vain.

The godly has his hope fixed on God.
The ungodly has no fear of God before his eyes.

The godly use the world without abusing it.
The ungodly, in using the world, abuse both themselves and it.

The godly sees God in his daily life, and rejoices in Him with his whole heart.
The ungodly says in his practice: "There is no God!" and wishes in his heart that there were no God.

The godly adores the Creator above all else.
The ungodly worships the creature more than the Creator.

The godly uses God's name with profoundest reverence, and departs from iniquity.
The ungodly profanes God's name with impudence, and adds iniquity to sin.

The godly redeems his time.
The ungodly trifles away his time.

The godly studies his duty in obedience to all God's precepts.
The ungodly shakes himself loose from every command of God.

The godly forgives his foes.
The ungodly lays a snare for his foes.

The godly commits it to God to avenge wrongs done to him.
The ungodly, fiery and tumultuous, seeks revenge.

The godly loves purity in all things.
The ungodly wallows in impurity.

The godly is content with his condition.
The ungodly covets all the day long.

The godly is pure in heart.
The heart of the ungodly is like a cage full of unclean beasts.

The godly walks at liberty in the ways of God.
The ungodly is the servant and slave of sin.

The Holy Spirit rules in the heart of the godly.
Satan rules in the heart of the ungodly.

The godly has his citizenship in Heaven.
The ungodly has his citizenship in Hell.

As there is such a wide difference in their principles and practices, so also, in their eternal destinies.
God is faithful, He has promised felicity to the pious, and threatened vengeance to the wicked.
"The wicked is thrust out in his wickedness; but the righteous has hope in his death." Proverbs 14:32

The godly are under the blessing of God's love.
The ungodly are under the curse of God's justice.

The godly with joy, draw water out of the wells of salvation.
The ungodly shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

To the godly, pertain all the exceeding great and precious promises.
To the ungodly, pertain all the threatenings of God.

Heaven shall be the palace of the godly!
Hell shall be the prison of the ungodly!

While the godly shall dwell through eternity with God,
the ungodly shall be driven away into everlasting darkness!

Thus, the righteous and wicked are separated in their life, and divided in their death.
They are divided . . .

  in their principles,
  in their practices,
  in their choices,
  in their joys,
  in their thoughts,
  in their company,
  in their speech,
  in their fears,
  in their expectations,
  in their death, and
  through eternity itself!

 

45. REPENTANCE

The best means to mortify sin!  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:5

While a darling sin lives and keeps the throne in the heart, grace and holiness will be kept exceeding weak and low. But when your darling sin is dethroned and slain by the power and the sword of the Spirit, grace and holiness will quickly grow stronger and stronger, and rise higher and higher.

When a man has eaten poison, nothing will make him thrive, until he has vomited up the poison. Beloved sins are the poison of the soul, and until these are vomited up, and cast out by sound repentance, and the exercise of faith in the blood of Christ, the soul will never thrive in grace and holiness!

If ever you would attain to higher degrees of holiness, then fall with all your might upon subduing and crucifying your most raging corruptions, and your most darling lusts!

Oh do not think that your golden and your silver idols will lay down their weapons, and yield the battle, and lie at your feet, and let you trample them to death, without striking a blow! Oh remember that besetting-sins will do all they can to keep their ground, and therefore you must arise with all your strength against them, and crush them to powder, and burn them to ashes!

Oh deal with your most enraged lusts, as the Philistines dealt with Samson, pluck out their eyes, and force them to grind in the mill of mortification, until their strength is utterly consumed and wasted.

I have read of five men, who being asked what was the best means to mortify sin, gave these answers:

Said the first, "The best means to mortify sin, is to meditate on the terrors of death."

Said the second, "The best means to mortify sin, is to meditate on the solemnity of judgment-day."

Said the third, "The best means to mortify sin, is to meditate on the joys of Heaven."

Said the fourth, "The best means to mortify sin, is to meditate on the torments of Hell."

Said the fifth, "The best means to mortify sin, is to meditate on the death and sufferings of Christ."

Doubtless the last man hit the nail on the head! The daily sight of a bleeding, groaning, dying Savior, is the only thing which will subdue and mortify darling sins!

O friends! Never leave looking up to a crucified Christ, until virtue flows from Him to the crucifying of those special besetting sins which do most obstruct and hinder the growth of grace and holiness in the soul.

 

46. SAVING FAITH

I am not what I once used to be!

(J.C. Ryle, "Are you regenerate?")  Play Audio!  Download

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without
 which no man shall see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14

The regenerate man is a holy man. He endeavors . . .
  to live according to God's will,
  to do the things that please God,
  to avoid the things that God hates.

His aim and desire is to love God with heart and soul, and mind and strength, and to love his neighbor as himself. His wish is to be continually looking to Christ as his Example, as well as his Savior; and to show himself Christ's friend, by obeying whatever He commands.

No doubt he is not perfect. None will tell you that sooner than himself. He groans under the burden of indwelling corruption cleaving to him. He finds an evil principle within him constantly warring against grace, and trying to draw him away from God. Yet, in spite of all short-comings, the average bent and bias of . . .
  his ways is holy;
  his doings holy;
  his tastes holy
  and his habits holy.

In spite of all his swerving and turning aside, like a ship going against a contrary wind, the general course of his life is in one direction, toward God and for God. He will generally be able to say, with old John Newton, "I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be in another world. But still, I am not what I once used to be! By the grace of God, I am what I am!"

"Let none conclude that they have no grace, because they have many imperfections in their obedience. Your grace may be very weak and imperfect, and yet you may be truly born again, and be a genuine son of God and heir of heaven." (Ezekiel Hopkins, 1670)

 

47. JUSTIFICATION

Your spots and blots!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ")  Play Audio!  Download

"The Lord our righteousness." Jeremiah 23:6

"They are without fault before the throne of God!" Revelation 14:5

Weak hearts are apt to sit down troubled and discouraged, when they look upon that body of sin which is in them, and those imperfections which attend their best services. They are ready to say, "We shall one day perish by the strength of our lusts, or by the defects of our services!"

Oh but to strengthen them against all discouragements, they  should remember this, that they stand before God, clothed with the righteousness of their Savior. "They are without fault before the throne of God." Revelation 14:5

So in Canticles 4:7, "All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you." There is no flaw in God's account. God looks upon weak saints in the Son of His love, and sees them all lovely.

Ah, poor souls! you are apt to look upon your spots and blots, and to cry out with the leper not only "Unclean! Unclean!" but "Undone! Undone!"

Well, forever remember this, that you stand before God in the righteousness of Christ; upon which account you always appear before the throne of God without fault; where you are all lovely, and where there is no flaw in you.

"They are without fault before the throne of God." 
Revelation 14:5

 

48. PRESERVATION & PERSEVERANCE

I am a perverse and unruly patient!

(Letters of John Newton) LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

I am bound to speak well of my Physician; He treats me with great tenderness, and bids me in due time to expect a perfect cure. I know too much of Him (though I know but little) to doubt either His skill or His promise.

It is true, I have suffered sad relapses since I have been under His care. Yet I confess that the fault has not been His, but my own! I am a perverse and unruly patient! I have too often neglected His prescriptions, and broken the regimen He appoints me to observe. This perverseness, joined to the exceeding obstinacy of my disorders, would have caused me to be turned out as an incurable long ago, had I been under any other hand but His! Indeed, there is none like Him! When I have brought myself very low, He has still helped me. Blessed be His name, I am yet kept alive only by means of His perfect care.

Though His medicines are all beneficial, they are not all pleasant. Now and then He gives me a pleasant cordial; but I have many severe disorders, in which there is a needs-be for my frequently taking His bitter and unpalatable medicines!

We sometimes see published in the newspapers, acknowledgments of cures received. Methinks, if I were to publish my own case, that it would run something like this:
"I, John Newton, have long labored under a multitude of grievous disorders:
    a fever of ungoverned passions,
    a cancer of pride,
    a frenzy of wild imaginations,
    a severe lethargy, and
    a deadly stroke!
In this deplorable situation, I suffered many things from many physicians, spent every penny I had, yet only grew worse and worse!
In this condition, Jesus, the Physician of souls, found me when I sought Him not. He undertook my recovery freely, without money and without price, these are His terms with all His patients! My fever is now abated, my senses are restored, my faculties are enlivened! In a word, I am a new man! And from His ability, His promise, and the experience of what He has already done, I have the fullest assurance that He will infallibly and perfectly heal me; and that I shall live forever as a monument of His power and grace!"

 

49. DEATH
 

Ever gliding down the stream of time into the ocean of eternity!

(William Nicholson, "Prayer for Divine Mercy!" 1862) LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

"We are consumed by Your anger and terrified by Your indignation.
 You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence!" Psalm 90:7-8

Man is here recognized as a sinner in his relationship to . . .
  the Divine Being,
  his Creator,
  his Benefactor,
  his Governor and Lawgiver.
By his "iniquities" and his "secret sins," he is represented as a transgressor of that law which is "holy, just, and good." Man has . . .
  resisted God's authority,
  despised His counsels, and
  followed the devices of his own corrupt heart.
Having acted thus, he is exposed to the Divine displeasure, and to the penalty denounced against rebellious men, "We are consumed by Your anger and terrified by Your indignation!"

Man is . . .
  guilty, and needs pardon;
  condemned, and needs justification;
  impure, and needs righteousness and holiness;
  a wanderer, an outcast, and needs reconciliation and adoption;
  an heir of wrath, exposed to eternal perdition, and needs salvation and a title to Heaven.

Man is frail and mortal. This is the state of all, and it is the fruit of sin.
Look at your frail, decaying body . . .
  how it sickens and languishes;
  how it is pained and agonized;
  how its bloom and its strength depart;
  how it withers and dies, and "says to corruption, you are my father; and to the worm, you are my mother!" Job 17:14. All this has been produced by sin.

Most affecting representations of man's frailty and mortality are given by Moses in the context of Psalm 90. His life is a dying one, "You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning, though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered!" verses 5-6

Man is destined to return to dust, "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you will return." Genesis 3:19. "Remember Him, before . . . the dust returns to the ground it came from." Ecclesiastes 12:6-7

"You carry them away as with a flood", ever gliding down the stream of time into the ocean of eternity! The flood of mortality is ever flowing, and man is carried away with it, carried with it surely and irresistibly.

Time passes unobserved by men (they are as asleep, verse 5), as it does with people asleep, and dreaming of happiness and security, and when it is over, it is as nothing!

Man's life is short and transient, "The length of our days is seventy years or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away!" Psalm 90:10

Man resembles the "grass," which in the morning grows up and flourishes in its beautiful greenness, but which in the evening is cut down, and instantly withers, changes its color, and loses all its beauty. So it will be with man, "You always overpower them, and they pass from the scene. You disfigure them in death and send them away!" Job 14:20

Come, then, O man, and behold your picture! 
You are a sinner, and perdition is your prospect, the blackness of darkness forever! You are "like grass." This is the emblem of your life, and of all your works! "Grass!" Not the strong and enduring tree of the forest; not even the shrub, but "grass," which flourishes in the morning, and by evening it is dry and withered.

"All the glory of man," all that beautifies and adorns his life, all that is beauty to the eye, or gives pleasure to the senses, is still more frail; it does not endure the life of the short-lived plant, which arrays itself in its beauty. "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall." 1 Peter 1:24

How short-lived is the glory of your physical nature! Youth, beauty, strength, intellect, energy, are fast failing you! The wind of sickness, or cares, or toil, or old age, will pass over them, and they will be entirely gone! A frost shall lay the flower in the dust, or a blight may leave its withered remains to shiver on the stem; just so, with frail man!

Observe the flowers which remind us most of the bloom of Eden, and which shed their delightful fragrance on the path of life:
  the happy social hearth;
  the friendships founded on virtue;
  the hallowed domestic relationships;
  the fellowship of saints.
Separation by death changes all these scenes; loneliness and solitude follow.

Behold the cemeteries around you; they cover the generations of short-lived men.

Like the herbage of the season, life and death have trodden in each other's footsteps, and the career of each goes on. Death is at the heels of life, cutting down its present plans, and sternly trampling into dust its constant but vain creations. "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall." 1 Peter 1:24

"It is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment!" Hebrews 9:27

 

50. HEAVEN & FUTURE GLORY

HEAVEN!

(James Smith, "Heaven!" 1858)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!" Psalm 16:11

HEAVEN! What is it?
It is . . .
  God's residence,
  the Savior's home,
  our Father's house,
  a paradise of pleasure,
  a temple of worship, and
  the residence of perfect purity and peace!

There . . .
  God unveils His glory,
  the Savior exhibits His charms,
  the angels perform their service, and
  the saints are entirely happy with their God.

In Heaven . . .
  sin is banished,
  holiness is perfected,
  life is a continual feast, and
  mortality is swallowed up in life!

From Heaven . . .
  all pain is banished,
  all enemies are excluded, and
  all causes of sorrow are shut out!

In Heaven . . .
  all our prayers are answered,
  all our desires are gratified, and
  all our needs are supplied.
There is no weeping, wailing or wishing there.

In Heaven . . .
  our knowledge will be perfect,
  our happiness will be abiding,
  our pleasures will be ever new.

In Heaven we shall . . .
  see Jesus,
  be with Jesus, and
  be like Jesus, forever!

HEAVEN! Who are there?
All tried and tempted followers of Jesus are there.
All doubting and fearing disciples of Jesus are there.
All poor and despised believers are there.
Multitudes, who felt totally unworthy of such glory, and feared they would never reach the place, are there.

All who were chosen by the Father,
all who were redeemed by the Son, and
all who were sanctified by the Holy Spirit, are there.

HEAVEN! What do they enjoy there? Who can answer this question, but one who has been there; and he would need a new language to state, and new figures to represent the enjoyments of Heaven. They enjoy rest from their pains, and a full supply of all their needs. They enjoy perfect satisfaction, a fullness of joy, and pleasure forevermore. They . . .
  see all that they believed,
  realize all that they hoped for,
  and possess all that they loved.

They have . . .
  health, without sickness;
  pleasure, without pain;
  and holiness, without sin.

Every sense is gratified, every power is pleasurably employed, and they are perfectly and perpetually happy!

O Heaven, in you there is . . .
  no tempting devil,
  no ensnaring world,
  no indwelling corruption,
  no doubts, fears, or misgivings!
  And best of all, there is no sin!

O Heaven, in you I shall . . .
  see my God,
  possess my Savior, and
  enjoy the fullness of the Holy Spirit!

O my God, in Heaven I shall be satisfied, for I shall be with You, serving and enjoying You without weariness or cessation!

HEAVEN! Who will yet get to Heaven? Who? Ah, perhaps many we little think of! We shall miss many whom we expected to find there, and find many whom we never expected would reach that glorious place!

Who will go to Heaven?
That poor man who is striving against sin, mourning over corruption, and loathing himself before God.
That poor woman, who sighs because she sins, pants for perfect holiness, and clings to the cross of Jesus.
Do you see that poor soul on his knees, confessing his transgressions, pleading for pardon, and seeking grace to sanctify his nature, he will go to Heaven.
Do you see that lowly Christian who is visiting the sick, pointing sufferers to the cross, and trying to alleviate human woe, out of love to Jesus, he will go to Heaven.
Do you see that Sunday School teacher, who, after a hard week's work, is regularly in his class, speaking loving words in tender tones, to win the little ones for the Savior, he will go to Heaven.
Do you see that preacher who exalts Christ in his ministry, honors the gospel in his life, and travails in birth for souls, he will go to Heaven.

Heaven will be peopled by all who believe in Jesus, love the brethren, and worship God in Spirit and in truth. There will be a numberless multitude there, all . . .
  deeply indebted to free mercy,
  washed in the Savior's blood,
  and sanctified by the Spirit's grace!

Reader, there is a way, but only one way to Heaven! Only those found in that way will ever reach it! You yourself, may be within an hour or two of either Heaven or Hell! Do you know which? If called away suddenly, to which would you go? You have a Heaven to obtain, or a Hell to endure, to all eternity! Which shall it be? O that you were wise, that you properly realized this, that you would consider your latter end!

Heaven with all its glories, or Hell with all its horrors, must be your eternal portion! If you despise the Savior, make light of the Gospel, and neglect God's great salvation, then Hell, an eternal Hell, with all its unspeakable horrors, is your portion!

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him!" 1 Corinthians 2:9

 

51. HELL & DAMNATION

This is the 'hell' of Hell

(Samuel Davies, "The Resurrection of Damnation") Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come out; those who have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation!" John 5:28-29

Alas! Multitudes shall come forth from their graves, not to the resurrection of life, but to the resurrection of damnation! What terror is in the words!

See them bursting into life from their subterranean dungeons! Horror throbs through every vein, and glares wildly and furiously in their eyes. Every joint trembles and every countenance looks downcast and gloomy! Now they see that tremendous Day of which they were warned in vain, and shudder at those terrors of which they once made light. They now experientially know the grand business of the Day and the dreadful purpose for which they are roused from their slumbers in the grave:
 to be tried,
 to be convicted,
 to be condemned, and
 to be dragged away to execution!

"And they will go away into eternal punishment!" (Matthew 25:46) They must go away into the bottomless pit! There they are confined in chains of darkness, and cast into the burning lake of fire and brimstone forever and ever!

In that dreadful word "forever" lies the epitome of torment! This is the 'hell' of Hell. If they might be but released from suffering, though it were by annihilation after they have wept away ten thousand millions of ages in extremity of pain, it would be some mitigation, some encouragement. But, alas! When as many millions of ages are passed as the stars of heaven, or the sands on the seashore, or the atoms of dust in this huge earthly globe, their punishment is as far from an end, as when the sentence was first pronounced upon them!

FOREVER! There is no exhausting of that word! When it is affixed to the highest degree of misery, the terror of the sound is utterly insupportable!

 

52. COMFORT

A Bag, a Book, and a Bottle!

(Don Fortner)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

God takes great care to comfort His people in their many trials and sorrows in this world. One of the goals which He commands His preachers to have, is the comfort of His people. He says, "Comfort, comfort My people." Here are three things described in the Word of God that should be of great comfort to every believer.