Sunday, 27 December 2015

In everything give thanks!

In everything give thanks!
(Thomas Watson, "All Things for Good")

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

See what cause the saints have to be frequent in the work of thanksgiving! In this, Christians are defective; though they are much in supplication — yet they are little in thanksgiving. The apostle says, "In everything give thanks!" 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Why so? Because God makes everything work together for our good. We thank the physician, though he gives us a bitter medicine which makes us nauseated — because it is to make us well. We thank any man who does us a good turn; and shall we not be thankful to God — who makes everything work for good to us?

God loves a thankful Christian! Job thanked God when He took all away: "The Lord hath taken away — blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job 1:21). Many will thank God when He gives; Job thanks Him when He takes away, because he knew that God would work good out of it.

We read of saints with harps in their hands — an emblem of praise (Revelation 14:2). Yet we meet many Christians who have tears in their eyes, and complaints in their mouths! But there are few with their harps in their hands — who praise God in affliction.

To be thankful in affliction — is a work peculiar to a saint.
Every bird can sing in spring — but few birds will sing in the dead of winter!
Everyone, almost, can be thankful in prosperity — but a true saint can be thankful in adversity!

Well may we, in the worst that befalls us — have a psalm of thankfulness, because God works all things for our good. Oh, be much in giving thanks to God!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas Bible Club

On Monday 21st of December we held our first Christmas Bible Club  between 10.00 am  and 1.00 pm for children from 4-11 years of age. Invitations were hand delivered to the doors of all around the Mary Cave Centre, Manselton Swansea along with Trinitarian Bible Society calendars by members of the Church.

Activities included the singing of Christmas carols, learning of a Christmas verse, listening to the Christmas story followed by refreshments before continuing with craft activities and indoor games.

We are grateful to the Lord for answered prayer in that we saw new faces in attendance.Also that all the children were so appreciative of everything that we had prepared for them.

We were very encouraged and grateful for all who gave of their time and talents and reminded that "we must not  despise the day of small things".

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Samson's riddle unriddled!

Samson's riddle unriddled!
(Charles Spurgeon)

"Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done. And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well. And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion. And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating" Judges 14:5-9

Conflicts come to us when we are least prepared for them. Samson was walking in the vineyards of Timnath, thinking of anything but lions, and "Suddenly," says the Scripture, "a young lion came roaring toward him!" Fresh and furious, a young lion is the worst kind of beast that a man can meet with. Let us expect, as followers of Christ, to meet with strong temptations, fierce persecutions, and severe trials, which will lead to stern conflicts.

What a type we have here of our Divine Lord and Master, Jesus, the conqueror of death and Hell. He has destroyed the lion that roared upon us and upon Him. To me, the comparison seems wonderfully apt and suggestive. I see our triumphant Lord laden with sweetness, holding it forth to all His brethren — that we may have our lives sweetened and our hearts filled with joy.

All this is clear to the eye of faith, which unriddles the riddle. Alas, when under deep depression, the mind forgets all this, and is only conscious of its unutterable misery — the man sees the lion, but not the honey in its carcass. But faith finds honey in the lion!

 "This riddle may be an emblem of those sweet blessings of grace which come to the people of Christ through His having destroyed Satan the roaring lion, and all his works." (John Gill)

"This riddle may be viewed as referring to the blessed results of affliction to the Lord's children." (Arthur Pink)

"Temptations, when we meet them at first, are as the lion that roared upon Samson. But if we overcome them, the next time we see them, we shall find a nest of honey within them!" (John Bunyan)

Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Bible is like a sealed book!

The Bible is like a sealed book!
(George Everard, "Christian Living!" 1881)

"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." Psalm 119:18 

To very many, both learned and unlearned, the Bible is like a sealed book! They see the words, but they do not discern the meaning. Or if they understand something of the meaning, they do not feel its mighty power. It does not convince them of their sin — nor does it help them to know and love the Saviour. And why is this? Because the veil is upon their heart.

Reader, be sure you never neglect to pray whenever you take the Bible in your hand. It is only in this way that you will find real profit and comfort in reading it. Pray that you may understand whatever you read.

If you read there of one who committed sin — then pray that the grace of God may preserve you, that you may never fall into the same snare.

If you read of any one who exercised any particular grace, as faith, or repentance, or love, or patience, or obedience — then pray that the Spirit may plant the same grace in your heart.

If you read any solemn warning or threatening — then pray that the curse or punishment spoken of may never light on you.

If you read any gracious promise — then pray that God may make good the promise to you.

If you read anything of Christ, as the Good Shepherd, as the High Priest — then turn in prayer to Him, and ask Him to guide and guard you, to make you and keep you as one of His sheep, to bear your name before the Father, and to intercede on your behalf.

There is no part of Scripture that you cannot in some way turn into prayer — and the more you do so, the more you will find it like a well of living water. You will never fail to find help and refreshment from it.

Reader, may you learn to prize God's precious Word, and to find it food and drink to your soul. The Bible is the only book that tells us...
  about the way of salvation,
  of Christ and His cross,
  of the gift of the Holy Spirit,
  of the new life, and
  the blessed hope of everlasting life.

May it be yours to use the book aright, to meditate therein, and as you read to grow in the knowledge of Christ Jesus your Lord.

The Bible is like a sealed book!

The Bible is like a sealed book!
(George Everard, "Christian Living!" 1881)

"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." Psalm 119:18 

To very many, both learned and unlearned, the Bible is like a sealed book! They see the words, but they do not discern the meaning. Or if they understand something of the meaning, they do not feel its mighty power. It does not convince them of their sin — nor does it help them to know and love the Saviour. And why is this? Because the veil is upon their heart.

Reader, be sure you never neglect to pray whenever you take the Bible in your hand. It is only in this way that you will find real profit and comfort in reading it. Pray that you may understand whatever you read.

If you read there of one who committed sin — then pray that the grace of God may preserve you, that you may never fall into the same snare.

If you read of any one who exercised any particular grace, as faith, or repentance, or love, or patience, or obedience — then pray that the Spirit may plant the same grace in your heart.

If you read any solemn warning or threatening — then pray that the curse or punishment spoken of may never light on you.

If you read any gracious promise — then pray that God may make good the promise to you.

If you read anything of Christ, as the Good Shepherd, as the High Priest — then turn in prayer to Him, and ask Him to guide and guard you, to make you and keep you as one of His sheep, to bear your name before the Father, and to intercede on your behalf.

There is no part of Scripture that you cannot in some way turn into prayer — and the more you do so, the more you will find it like a well of living water. You will never fail to find help and refreshment from it.

Reader, may you learn to prize God's precious Word, and to find it food and drink to your soul. The Bible is the only book that tells us...
  about the way of salvation,
  of Christ and His cross,
  of the gift of the Holy Spirit,
  of the new life, and
  the blessed hope of everlasting life.

May it be yours to use the book aright, to meditate therein, and as you read to grow in the knowledge of Christ Jesus your Lord.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

If I had a little bucket of water

If I had a little bucket of water

(George Everard, "Christian Living!" 1881)

1. I must use life well, because every moment of it is so precious. The minutes and hours of life are like the gold-dust which the goldsmith so carefully gathers together that none be lost. "I have lost a day!" was the sorrowful lament of one who had learned the real value of time. Life is very precious, and I dare not and will not throw any of it away!

2. I must also use life well, because it will soon be over. "The time is short!" 1 Corinthians 7:29. My days and years will soon be spent, and I cannot recall them. My life is but a shadow — it is but a vapour, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. Even if I am spared to the full age of man, compared with the long life awaiting me hereafter — my life here is but as a moment. "Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. " Psalm 39:5. 

Let me endeavour then to remember how soon life will be gone, and be very careful to use well each precious moment.

If I had a little bucket of water, and no more could be obtained — how carefully would I watch that none of it ran to waste. Each drop I would reckon of great value. Such is my life. It is all I have. I must therefore lose none. I must squander none. "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Psalm 90:12 

3. I must use life well, because it is very uncertain. I may have far less than I think. I may be looking forward to years to come — and yet I may have but a few months or weeks or days to live!

I remember a woman who said that some day she would begin to attend our village church. She was in middle age, and had lived a sadly wicked and abandoned life. She thought that she had time enough and to spare, to think of more serious subjects. She did indeed soon afterwards come to our village church — but how did she come? She was carried in a casket on men's shoulders, and then left in the silent grave. Only six weeks had passed since the day she promised that some day she would begin a new life. "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Proverbs 27:1 

So I trust my life will not be a wasted one. And though I can do but little compared with many others, I trust that He will say to me at last: "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Matthew 25:23 

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16

Sunday, 29 November 2015


(John MacDuff, "The Words of Jesus")

"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8

Here is Heaven! This promise of Jesus represents the future state of the glorified to consist not in locality — but in character; the essence of its bliss is the full vision and fruition of God! Our attention is called away from all vague and indefinite theories about the circumstantials of future happiness. The one grand object of contemplation, the "glory which excels" — is the sight of God Himself! The one grand practical lesson enforced on His people, is the cultivation of that purity of heart, without which none could see, or (even could we suppose it possible to be admitted to see Him) none could enjoy God!

What will Heaven be — but the entire surrender of the soul to Him, without any bias to evil, without the fear of corruption within, echoing to temptation without; every thought brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; no contrariety to His mind; all in blessed unison with His will! And the whole being, impregnated with holiness:
the intellect — purified and ennobled, consecrating all its powers to His service;
the memory — a holy repository of pure and hallowed recollections;
the affections — without one competing rival, purged from all the dross of earthliness;
the love of God — the one supreme animating passion;
the glory of God — the motive principle interfused through every thought, feeling, and action of the life immortal!
In one word, the heart a clear fountain — no sediment to dim its purity!

Yes, this is Heaven: purity of heart — and "God all in all!" Much, doubtless, there may and will be of a subordinate kind, to intensify the bliss of the redeemed: communion with saints and angels; re-admission into the society of death-divided friends. But all these will fade before the great central glory: "and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:3. They shall see His face!

Believers have been aptly called 'sunflowers' — turning their faces as the sunflower, towards the Sun of Righteousness; and hanging their leaves in sadness and sorrow — when that Sun is away. It will be in Heaven, that the emblem is complete. There, every flower in the heavenly garden will be turned God-wards, bathing its tints of loveliness in the all-excelling glory of God! Reader, may it be yours, to know all the marvels contained in these few glowing words, "we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3:2, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." Psalm 17:15

"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 1 John 3:3

Saturday, 21 November 2015

The key of Death is in the Saviour’s hands!

The key of Death is in the Saviour’s hands!
(James Buchanan, "Comfort in Affliction" 1837)

"Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Revelation 1:17-18

When it is affirmed that Jesus holds "the key of DEATH," it is plainly implied that none can pass out of this present world without His appointment. And, more generally, that He is lord of the living not less than of the dead, and has a thorough control over everything that can in any way affect the lives of men. An absolute power over death, necessarily presupposes a corresponding power over life and its affairs. And it is by the exercise of His providence in sustaining life — that He fulfils His purpose as to the time and mode of their departure hence.

Has the Redeemer the keys of death? Then this should mitigate the anxiety which often preys upon the mind when we look forward into futurity, and contemplate the prospect of our own death. We should remember, that as the Redeemer alone has the keys of death — nothing can happen to send us forth from the world before the time which He has appointed for our departure. Neither man nor devils can abridge the term of probation assigned to us by our gracious Master. Nor, until He is pleased to call us away, shall any power on earth or in Hell prevail against us. The Redeemer is possessed of absolute power over the course of our lives on earth — and over the time and manner of our departure out of the world.

No accident, no hostile violence, no insidious snare, no dark conspiracy — can touch our life — but by His command. And surely, when we reflect on the numerous dangers to which human life is exposed — the frailty of our frame — the diseases to which it is subject — our constant exposure to fatal accidents — the malice of open or concealed enemies — it must be consolatory to know, that the key of Death is in the Saviour’s hands, and that, come what may, we cannot be forced out of the world, until He opens the door and bids us to come to Him.

More especially, when we are visited with disease, and threatened with a speedy termination of life — the Saviour’s power over the keys of death should repress or assuage those violent anxieties as to the probability of death or of recovery — and those disquieting speculations as to the outcome of disease, and the mode of its treatment. For disease cannot kill, nor can medicine cure — without the appointment of Him who holds in His own hands the keys of life and of death! And if He has fixed the outcome of this disease — then why should we be anxious? If death is in our cup — that cup has been put into our hands at the time fixed by unerring wisdom and infinite love!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

I will be with you!

I will be with you! 
(Winslow, "The Man of God Divinely Prospered") 

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:" Isaiah 43:2-3

Jesus is with us....
  to counsel our perplexities,
  to guide our feet,
  to supply our need,
  to deliver us from the power of our enemies,
  to keep us from all evil, and
  to bring us home to glory!

To have Jehovah with us is....
  to be encircled by every divine perfection;
  to be encompassed by a wall of fire which no foe can penetrate;
  to dwell in the munition of rocks;
  to have our bread and our water sure;
  to have ever at our side a flowing spring in drought;
  to have the shadow of a great rock in the heat;
  to have a table in the wilderness;
  to have the divine cloud and fire safely conducting our journey homeward.

Precious presence of the Lord! It is....
  a shield of adamant,
  a garden of delights,
  a tower of strength,
  a portion of heaven come down to earth.

Child of God! Jesus is with you in all your history!

Let faith deal with this truth in all its battles and its trials. You may seem and feel at times alone. The sun may withdraw itself, and the stars of night may be draped in cloud.  Dark, and dreary, and lonesome may be your way. Nevertheless, let faith, whose most brilliant achievements are when it is the most opposed to sense, grapple with thus truth. "I am kept, guided, watched over, encircled by the Unseen God. The Lord is with me, and I will endure as seeing Him who is invisible."

Sunday, 8 November 2015

It is utterly impossible!

It is utterly impossible!
(Octavius Winslow, 1852)

It has been the distinctive aim, and the sincere desire of my ministry — to make known and to endear the Saviour to your hearts.

Oh, how worthy is He...
  of your most exalted conceptions,
  of your most implicit confidence,
  of your most self-denying service,
  of your most fervent love!

When He could give you no more — and the fathomless depths of His love, and the boundless resources of His grace, would not be satisfied by giving you less — He gave you Himself!

Robed in your nature,
oppressed with your sorrows,
laden with your curse,
wounded for your transgressions,
and slain for your sins —
He gave His entire self for you!

His redeeming work now finished — He is perpetually engaged in meting out blessings to His people, from the exhaustless treasures of His love! He constantly woos your affection — invites your grief — and bids you to come with your daily trials to His sympathy, and with your hourly guilt to His blood. You cannot in your drafts upon Christ's fullness, be too covetous; nor in your expectations of supply, be too extravagant! You may fail, as, alas! the most of us do, in making too little of Christ — but you cannot fail, in making too much of Him!

It is utterly impossible to know Christ, and not become inspired with a desire...
  to love Him supremely,
  to serve Him devotedly,
  to resemble Him closely,
  to glorify Him faithfully here,
  and to enjoy Him fully hereafter!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Come out from them and be separate!

Come out from them and be separate!
(Arthur Pink)

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind," Romans 12:2

Men of the world form their opinions of the gospel, from what they observe in its professors. There is nothing more dangerous and injurious, than when professors of religion conform to the world so far that no clear distinction can be observed between them and the worldling.

It is sometimes alleged by professors who thus accommodate themselves to the fashions and amusements of the world, that they hope by this means to render religion attractive. But this is a weak pretext, for such conformity always tends to confirm the ungodly in their carelessness. When they see professors at the theatre, or in the ballroom, their conclusion is that there is no reality in Christianity.

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:17-18

It is their Father's hand that chastens them!

It is their Father's hand that chastens them!
(J.C. Ryle)

We live in such a beauteous and pleasant world — we are so surrounded with so much that is smiling and mirthful — that if we were not often obliged to taste of sickness or trial or disappointments — we would soon forget our heavenly home and pitch our tents permanently in this Sodom.

Therefore it is that God's people pass through great tribulations; therefore it is they are often called upon to suffer the sting of affliction and anxiety — or weep over the grave of those whom they have loved as their own soul.

It is their Father's hand that chastens them! It is thus He weans their affection from things below, and fixes them on Himself. It is thus He trains them for eternity, and cuts the threads that bind their truant hearts to earth one by one.

No doubt such chastening is grievous for the time, but still it brings many a hidden grace to light, and cuts down many a secret seed of evil. We shall see those who have suffered most, shining among the brightest stars in the assembly of Heaven. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;" 2 Corinthians 4:17

The purest gold is that which has been longest in the refiner's furnace.

The brightest diamond is often that which has required the most grinding and polishing.

The saints are men who have come out of great tribulation — they are never left to perish in it.

The last night of weeping will soon be spent,
the last wave of trouble will have rolled over us, and
then we shall have a peace that passes all understanding!
We shall be at home forever with the Lord!

"Wherefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4:18

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The great mistake made by most of the Lord's people!

The great mistake made by most of the Lord's people!
(Arthur Pink, "The Doctrine of Sanctification" 1937)

"And ye are complete in him” Colossians 2:10

The poor Christian, conscious of his weakness, his ignorance, his poverty, his vileness — is sorely tempted to be envious of others, for they seem to have "more than heart could wish" — while the longings of his heart are denied him, and that which he pursues so eagerly continues to elude his grasp.

God's children are oppressed, sorely oppressed . . .
  by their indwelling corruptions,
  by their innumerable failures,
  by the hidings of the Lord's face,
  by the accusations of Satan,
  over the workings of unbelief,
  over the coldness of their hearts,
  over the insincerity of their prayers,
  over their vain imaginations.
The great mistake made by most of the Lord's people is in hoping to discover in themselves, that which is to be found in Christ alone.

"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:" 1 Corinthians 1:30

The gospel of Christ admits of no compromise!

The gospel of Christ admits of no compromise!
(Jared Waterbury, "Advice to a Young Christian on the Importance of Aiming at an Elevated Standard of Piety")

"So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33 

The gospel of Christ admits of no compromise. It demands our ALL. If it required less, it would be unworthy of its great author and finisher. I rejoice that it requires ALL — this is its glory. When we are brought to yield to its claims, and give up ALL — then, and not until then, will it throw around us its arms of mercy.

And do we talk about self-denial? Do we say, "It is hard to give up ALL!" I am ashamed to use such language — and ashamed to hear it used.

What did Christ give up for us? Let that question blot out "self-denial" from the Christian's vocabulary. When you think the Gospel makes severe requisitions by requiring ALL — go up to Mount Calvary and weep over such suggestions. See the blood of your Immanuel so freely gushing from a heart that never exercised towards you any emotion but love — love unspeakable — love unsought — and love for the guilty vile! Go hide your head in shame and penitence at such a thought.

It is a glorious privilege, my friend, to give up ALL to Christ. The soul that feels the constraining influence of His love, asks not how little may be given consistently with obtaining the heavenly reward — asks not for the lowest standard of discipleship. It burns with an ardent desire to devote ALL, and to aim at perfect "conformity to His death."

Determine, by the grace of God, that you will forsake all, and follow Christ. Do not, like Peter, follow Him afar off — but, like Mary, sit at His nail-pierced feet — like the beloved disciple John, rest upon His sweet bosom.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Our Everlasting Song!

Our Everlasting Song! 
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon, "CHRIST—PERFECT THROUGH SUFFERINGS"

In Christ's Soul there was an exceeding heaviness even unto death, and an agony which no tongue can tell, for we have found no words in which to speak of it. We believe that this agony was commensurate with the agonies of the lost in hell- not the same agony, but an equivalent for it; and remember, not the equivalent for the agony of one, but an Equivalent for the Hells of All That Innumerable Host Whose Sins He Bore, Condensed into One Black Draught to Be Drained in A Few Hours.
The miseries of an eternity without an end, miseries caused by a God infinitely angry because of an awful rebellion, and these miseries multiplied by the millions for whom the man Christ Jesus stood as covenant head. What a draught was that, men and brethren! Well might it stagger even him!

And yet he drained that cup, drained it to its utmost dregs not a drop was left. For you, my soul, no flames of hell; for Christ the Paschal-lamb has been roasted in that fire! For you, my soul, no torments of the damned, for Christ has been condemned in your stead! For you, my spirit, no desertion of your God, for He was forsaken of God for you! It is done, it is finished, and by your sufferings, Jesus, you have become perfect as the expiation of your people's sins.

Do, my brethren, remember that your sins are perfectly expiated. Do not let them trouble you as to punishment; the punishment is gone. Sins cannot lie in two places at one time- they were put on Christ, and they cannot be on you. In fact, your sins are not to be found- the scapegoat has gone, and your sins will never be found again. Your sins, if they were searched for, could not be discovered. Not even by the piercing eye of God can a single blemish be found in you!

Oh! how we will sing, how we will chant his praise when we get to heaven! This shall be the highest note- that we owe ALL to that bright one, that Lamb in the midst of the throne. We will tell it over, and over, and over again, and find it an inexhaustible theme for melodious joy and song that He became man, that He sweat great drops of blood, that He died, that He rose again.

While the angels are singing "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" we will bid them stop the song a moment, while we say, "He whom you thus adore was once covered with bloody sweat." As we cast our crowns at his feet, we will say, "And He was once despised and rejected of men." Lifting up our eyes and saluting Him as God over all, blessed for ever, we will remember the reed, the sponge, the vinegar, and the nails; and as we come to Him and have fellowship with him, and He shall lead us beside the living fountains of water, we will remember the black brook of Kedron of which he drank, and the awful depths of the grave into which He descended.

Amid all the splendors of heaven, we shall never forget His agony, and misery. And  when we sing the loudest sonnets of God's love, and power, and grace, we will sing this after all, and before all, and above all- that Jesus the Son of God died for US, and this shall be Our Everlasting Song — "He loved us and gave himself for us, and we have washed our robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb!"

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Sweet subject!

Sweet subject!
(The following is an excerpt from the diary of James Smith)

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Hebrews 7:25

April 19, 1857.
I have today been preaching on the intercession of Jesus. Sweet subject! Our great High Priest appears in the presence of God — for us! He pleads our cause, and will carry it against all our foes. He sends the Comforter — to teach, sanctify, and console us. He employs Providence — to guide, guard, and provide for us. He will never rest until He introduces us to His Father, "as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish — but holy and without fault!"


(James Smith, "The Voice of Mercy in the House of Affliction!" 1855)

Salvation is...
the greatest blessing that God can bestow;
deliverance from the greatest misery;
exaltation to the greatest happiness;
the greatest change in man's state and character which can possibly be effected;
the greatest display of the love, wisdom, grace, and power of God!

Salvation is the very blessing that you need. The blessing which you must receive — or be eternally undone!

Salvation is a blessing for the PRESENT, for it is deliverance...
  from the guilt of sin — which makes you miserable;
  from the power of sin — which makes you unholy; and
  from the love of sin — which proves you to be God's enemy.

Salvation is a blessing for the FUTURE: it secures to you safety and happiness in time — and glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life when time shall be no more!

Salvation is a blessing which comprehends every other blessing.
If the man is saved — then all good things are his.
If the man is lost — then nothing good is his.
To be saved, is...
  for the soul to be restored to a right relationship to God;
  to be put in possession of unsearchable wealth;
  to be raised to the highest honour; and
  to be entitled to eternal glory!

No word is as sweet as salvation — as no word is as dreadful as its opposite, damnation! Reader, there is no intermediate state between these two extremes.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

He will not spoil them!

He will not spoil them!
(Letters of John Newton)

"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:" 1Peter 1:6 

The Lord loves His children, and is very indulgent to them so far as they can safely bear it — but He will not spoil them! Their sin-sickness requires strong medicines, some of which are very unpalatable. And when our case calls for such, no short-sighted entreaties of ours will excuse us from taking what He prepares for our good.

It is comforting to know that every dose is prepared by His own hand, and not one is administered in vain, nor is it repeated any oftener than is needful to answer His purposed end. Until then, no other hand can remove the affliction which He lays upon us. When His merciful design is answered, He will relieve us Himself; and in the mean time He will so moderate the operation, or increase our ability to bear it — that we shall not be overpowered by it.

Afflictions are useful, and in a degree necessary, to keep alive in us a conviction of the vanity and unsatisfying nature of the present world and all its enjoyments; to remind us that this poor world is not our rest; and to call our thoughts upward, where our true treasure is, and where our hearts ought to be.

When things go on much to our wish, our hearts are too prone to say, "It is good be here!" Thus the Lord, by pain, sickness, and disappointments, by breaking our cisterns and withering our gourds — weakens our attachment to this world, and makes the thought of leaving it more desirable.

Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise physician prescribes, because we need them; and He proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires.

It is true, without a single exception, that all His paths are mercy and truth to those who fear Him. The Lord afflicts us for our good — but it is always a thousand times less than we deserve!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

If My people

If My people
(Daniel Webster, 1772-1852)

If we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together — no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us, that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity!

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

My pardon cost Him that!

My pardon cost Him that!
(Archibald Brown, "Who is a Pardoning God Like Thee?" Stepney Green Tabernacle)

"Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins 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! "with 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,
  honoured 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 Saviour’s wounds!

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

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The last pang, and groan, and tear!

The last pang, and groan, and tear!
(John Angell James, "Afflictions")

The Christian looks to the end of afflictions! The end may sometimes come in this world. In reference to this, the utmost that the believer can be sure of, is that afflictions will end in God's time.

They may last for his whole life.
The sickness which afflicts his body may be unto death!
The trial which beclouds and distresses his spirits — may be his lot for life!
The loss which he has sustained may be irreparable — and he may go down to the grave in poverty.
But on the other hand, they may not! God may be bringing him "through fire and through water, to bring him out into a wealthy place."

The Christian leaves this in the hand of God, and endeavours to maintain a hope which shall save him from despondency — checked at the same time by a reverence that guards him from unwarranted presumption.

But if the end of the trial does not come in this world — it will come in the next world — when they will not only forever cease, but leave an eternal blessing behind! "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;" Four things are set forth in these passages:

  1. Our afflictions will have a termination! This is sweet. They are to end — they are not to last forever! The last pang, and groan, and tear are at hand — and how near the Christian never knows!

  2. Our afflictions are not to end like those of the brute creation — in the grave merely — but in Heaven! The last pang, and groan, and tear are to usher in that blessed state of which it is so beautifully said, "For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Heaven shall terminate all the afflictions of the righteous!

  3. Heaven is so glorious, that the first view of its scenes, and the first moment of its enjoyment — shall make amends for the longest life of the most protracted and intense sufferings!

  4. The sufferings of our earthly pilgrimage — will enhance and increase the felicities of Heaven!
Their submissive endurance;
the graces which they call into exercise;
the sanctification which they promote;
the heavenly temper which they cultivate —
will be the means of ripening the spirit, and making it fit for its eternal inheritance!

Every tear that is shed,
every groan that is heaved,
every loss that is sustained,
every moment of suffering that is endured,
every disappointment that is experienced, which is borne with patience, with resignation, with unwearied holiness — will not only be followed with millions of ages of ineffable felicity — but will prepare the soul for its enjoyment, and add something to its weight and its luster!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

The best means to mortify sin!

The best means to mortify sin!

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

"Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, 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 Saviour — 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.

Friday, 4 September 2015

What can mortal man give to his God?

What can mortal man give to his God? 
(Archibald Brown, "What shall I give Him?" 1870)

"What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?"

"What shall I render to the Lord?" Here is a question far easier asked, than answered. I confess that in studying this subject, when I asked my soul this question, and then tried faithfully to answer it, I found myself completely bewildered. I found I had all the desire in the world to render something. But what?

Think for a moment of the possessions of God. What can mortal man give to his God? How can the treasury of the Creator — be enriched by the gifts of the creature? The thought of our God's infinite wealth, makes the question of our text appear next door to an impertinence. Listen but to His own words, "I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof." Psalm 50:9-12

The golden veins of the everlasting hills are His, and the hidden treasures of the vast deep belong to Him. Lift up your eyes on high some starry night, and behold the bespangled skies — every glittering speck you see is a rolling world, and every world is the result of His handiwork. The heavens are but His jewel-case!

Now say believer, what you will lay at the feet of Him who can place His hand upon Heaven, Earth, and Hell, and say, "All is Mine!"

But apart from the possessions of our God, there is another insuperable difficulty to answering the question, and that is our own poverty. It is total poverty talking making a gift to infinite wealth. Ransack your memory, run over your accounts, find out what you possess. What is the sum total? Nothing! Nothing!! Nothing!!! We are miserable bankrupts, not worth a jot. The very bread we eat is the bread of divine charity — and the breath we draw is lent to us. It is utter emptiness, talking of giving to the perfection of fullness. It is the beggar rendering to the benefactor!

If we were able to give Him anything — it would be but rendering to Him what is already His own. What do we have, that we have not first received from God? "For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” 1 Chronicles 29:14

The heart's gratitude is all the saint can give in return for divine mercies that are fresh with every hour, and as numerous as the seconds in the day.

But if thanksgiving is good, remember thanks-living is better; therefore let your whole life join in the harmony! Live for Him who died for you! The highest praise that mortal saint can give, is the praise that vents itself in the exclamation, "For me, to live is Christ!"

Give Him your love. Nothing testifies to gratitude so much. Indeed, where love is lacking, no true praise can exist. Do not be afraid of loving Him too much. Do not fear being thought a fanatic, or considered an enthusiast. If you could love Him to a flaming passion — you would not love Him half enough. Give Him your love — He asks for it, and will pardon its weakness.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

To an angel's eye, it must be the ugliest thing on earth!

To an angel's eye, it must be the ugliest thing on earth!
(Archibald Brown, "The Pioneer of Destruction!" 1869, Stepney Green Tabernacle)

"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18

Chrysostom has aptly called pride "the mother of Hell" — for Hell with all its horrors is its hideous offspring!

Had there been no treacherous pride, there would have been no bottomless pit! Perdition was prepared for the Devil and his angels — and pride prepared the Devil and his angels for perdition! We need fear no language we can possibly use being too strong to denounce pride, for as Aristotle says, "Pride comprehends all vice!"

Is drunkenness to be condemned with unmeasured severity? Then let pride be equally so, for it is nothing less than a spiritual drunkenness. Pride flies as wine to the brain, and produces the same result. No wretched drunkard reeling along the road is a more pitiable or disgusting sight, than the man who is intoxicated into idiocy with the alcohol of his own accursed pride!

May the most unsparing language be employed in the denunciation of the sin of idolatry? Then let it be equally strong in the condemnation of pride, for they are one in essence. The proud man is simply one who bends the knee and worships a more hateful idol than can ever be found in the whole catalogue of heathendom; and its name is "Self!"

God loathes pride, for "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord" Proverbs 16:5. To an angel's eye, it must be the ugliest thing on earth! And the saint, often deploring it, hates it with a perfect hatred.

But although universally condemned — it is too generally harboured. It is easy work to find a thousand excuses for the particular species of pride we possess, which is almost always, according to our own estimate, "only proper pride."

It is the minister's imperative duty to cry out against particular sins, and lay the axe at the root of special iniquities. I want this evening, by God's help, to strike a blow at the deadly root of pride. I have no doubt many things I may say will be considered too severe. I cannot help it if they are. The language of my text is strong and unvarnished enough; the truth it contains is put in the most uncomplimentary mode, and I would be a traitor were I to attempt to smooth it down. My work is to declare that "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."

Sunday, 23 August 2015

If we were directing the affairs of our own lives!

If we were directing the affairs of our own lives!
(J.R. Miller, "The Lesson of Love" 1903)

We often think we could do better if we were directing the affairs of our own lives. We think we could get more happiness and greater good out of life if things were in our hands. We would at once eliminate all that is painful and unpleasant in our lot. We would have only prosperities, with no adversities; only joys, with no sorrows. We would exclude all pain and trouble from our life. Our days would all be sunny, with blue skies and no clouds or storms. Our paths would all be soft and easy, and strewn with flowers without thorns or any rough places. Would we not be happier if we could direct our own affairs, and leave out the painful, the bitter, the adverse, and the sorrowful?

So most of us would probably say at first, before we have thought of the question deeply and looked on to the end. But really the greatest misfortune that could come to us in this world would be to have the direction of the affairs, and the shaping of the experiences of our lives, put into our own hands!
We have no wisdom to know what is best for ourselves. Today is not all of life — there is a long future, perhaps many years in this world, and then immortality hereafter. What would give us greatest pleasure today — might work us harm in days to come. Present gratification might cost us untold loss and hurt in the future.

We want pleasure, plenty, and prosperity — but perhaps we need pain, self-denial, and the giving up of things that we greatly prize.

We shrink from suffering, from sacrifice, from struggle — but perhaps these are the very experiences which will do the most good for us, which will best mature our Christian graces, which will fit us for the largest service to God and man.

We should always remember that the object of living in this present world, is not merely . . .
  to have unlimited pleasure and comfort,
  to get along with the least trouble,
  to gather the most we can of the world's treasures,
  to win the brightest fame.
We are here to grow into the beauty of Christ, and to do the portion of God's will that belongs to us!

There is something wonderfully inspiring in the thought, that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives, for each life. We do not come drifting into this world — and do not drift through it like waves on the ocean. We are sent from God, each one of us with a divine plan for his life — something God wants us to do, some place He wants us to fill. All through our lives, we are in the hands of God, who chooses our place and orders our circumstances, and makes all things work together for our good — and His glory.

It is the highest honour that could be conferred upon us, to occupy such a place in the thought of God. We cannot doubt that His way for us is better than ours — since He is infinitely wiser than we are, and loves us so. It may be painful and hard — but in the pain and the hardness, there is blessing.

Of course we may not know all the reasons there are in the divine mind, for the pains and sufferings that come into our lives, or what God's design for us in these trials is. Yet without discovering any reasons at all, however, we may still trust God, who loves us with an infinite love — and whose wisdom also is infinite!

When we get to heaven, we shall know that God has made no mistake in anything He has done for us, however He may have broken into our plans — and spoiled our pleasant dreams!

It should be reason for measureless gratitude, that our lives are not in our own poor foolish hands — but in the hands of our infinitely wise and loving Father!

"My times are in thy hand" Psalm 31:15

Saturday, 15 August 2015

The divine magnet that draws with irresistible force, hearts of steel!

The divine magnet that draws with irresistible force, hearts of steel!
(Archibald Brown, "My Banner!" December 5th, 1869)

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." John 12:32 

Whenever and wherever Christ is lifted up, then His power to attract is made plain. The elect of God, drawn by a power they have no ability or will to resist, take their places beneath the cross. The uplifting of Christ crucified, is God's chosen means to draw to Himself His elect, yet hidden people. The cross is the divine magnet that draws with irresistible force, hearts of steel. So mighty is its magnetic power, that it attracts those on whom all other means have failed.

We had often been compelled to take our stand before Mount Sinai. But though its lightnings flashed into our very eyes, and its thunders crashed right over head, our heart remained as hard as rock — yes, pride seemed more rampant in that dread storm than ever — we felt we might be broken — but we resolved we would never bend.

There have been moments when Hell argued with us, and all its sentences were written in glowing flame! There were moments when eternal damnation forced itself upon our thoughts, and made us dread the death that never dies. But though our knees shook with fright, our flinty hearts remained unmelted.

Sinai and Hell both failed. So also did Heaven, for though we read of its glories, and heard tell of its joys, and sometimes had a languid desire at last to find our way there — we still remained unattracted, and revelled in the vain world.

But when a bleeding Saviour hanging on a tree met our sight, then not only were our eyes riveted — but an unseen hand touched every heart-string. We looked — and looked — and looked again — and felt that as we looked, we were being drawn with silken cords nearer, yet nearer still, until we found ourselves as penitents at His blessed feet!

Beautifully has John Newton described this sweet experience as his own:

"In evil long I took delight,
 Unawed by shame or fear;
Until a new object struck my sight,
 And stopped my wild career!

I saw One hanging on a tree,
 In agonies and blood.
He fixed His languid eyes on me,
 As near His cross I stood.

Sure never til my dying breath,
 Can I forget that look!
It seemed to charge me with His death,
 Though not a word He spoke.

A second look He gave, which said,
 I freely all forgive;
This blood is for your ransom paid,
 I die, that you may live!"

Sunday, 9 August 2015

He is both Teacher and Lesson, Guide and Way!

He is both Teacher and Lesson, Guide and Way!
(Matthew Henry)

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:29-30 

We are here invited to Christ as . . .
  our Priest, to be saved by Him,
  our Prince, to be ruled by Him, and
  our Prophet, to be taught by Him.

First, we must come to Christ as our Rest, and repose ourselves in Him.

Second, we must come to Him as our Ruler, and submit ourselves in Him, 'Take My yoke upon you.' This must go along with the former, for Christ is exalted to be both a Prince and a Saviour (Acts 5:31), 'a priest upon his throne' (Zechariah 6:13). The rest He promises is a release from the drudgery of sin — not from the service of God. Christ has a yoke for our necks — as well as a crown for our heads; and this yoke He requires that we should take upon us.

Third, we must come to Him as our Teacher, and set ourselves to learn of Him. We must learn of Him to be 'meek and lowly,' and to mortify our pride and passion, which render us so unlike to Him. We must so learn of Christ, for He is both Teacher and Lesson, Guide and Way.

Christ's garden!

Christ's garden!
(Charles Spurgeon)

"I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse." Song of Solomon 5:1 

The heart of the believer is Christ's garden. He bought it with His precious blood, and He enters it and claims it as His own.

A garden implies separation. It is not the open common; it is not a wilderness — it is walled around, or hedged in. Would that we could see the wall of separation between the church and the world made broader and stronger. It makes one sad to hear Christians saying, "Well, there is no harm in this; there is no harm in that," thus getting as near to the world as possible. Grace is at a low ebb in that soul which can even raise the question of how far it may go in worldly conformity.

A garden is a place of beauty, it far surpasses the wild uncultivated lands. The genuine Christian must seek to be more excellent in his life than the best moralist, because Christ's garden ought to produce the best flowers in all the world. Even the best is poor, compared with Christ's deservings; let us not put Him off with withering and dwarf plants. The rarest, richest, choicest lilies and roses ought to bloom in the place which Jesus calls His garden.

The garden is a place of growth. The saints are not to remain undeveloped, always mere buds and blossoms. We should grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Growth should be rapid where Jesus is the Gardener, and the Holy Spirit the dew from above.

A garden is a place of retirement. So the Lord Jesus Christ would have us reserve our souls as a place in which He can manifest Himself, as He does not unto the world. O that Christians were more retired, that they kept their hearts more closely shut up for Christ! We often worry and trouble ourselves, like Martha, with much serving — so that we have not the room for Christ that Mary had, and do not sit at His feet as we should. May the Lord grant the sweet showers of His grace to water His garden this day.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

No hissing serpent!

No hissing serpent!
(Thomas Boston, "Human Nature in its Fourfold State")

Believers shall be made completely happy in the kingdom of Heaven. They shall be fully freed from sin, which of all evils, is the worst.

They shall be free from all temptation to sin. Satan can have no access to tempt them any more, by himself, or by his agents. No hissing serpent can come into the paradise above! No snare or trap can be laid there, to catch the feet of the saints. They may walk there without fear, for they can be in no hazard in the promised land. They shall be set beyond the possibility of sinning, for they shall be confirmed in holiness.

The guilt and the reigning power of sin are then taken away. The corrupt nature will be fully removed, and no vestiges of it left in their souls. Their nature shall be altogether pure and sinless.

There shall be no darkness in their minds; but the understanding will be as a globe of pure and unmixed light.

There shall not be the least aversion to good, nor the least inclination to evil, in their wills. They will be brought to a perfect conformity to the will of God--blessed with angelic purity, and fixed therein.

Their affections shall not be liable to the least disorder or irregularity. They will get such a fixed habit of purity, as they can never lose. They will be so refined from all earthly dross, as never more to savor of anything but of Heaven.

Their graces shall then be fully perfected.
There will be no more ground for complaints . . .
  of weakness of grace,
  or of an evil heart,
  or a corrupt nature.

And they shall be freed from all the effects of sin: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4

In Heaven they find the completion and satisfaction of all their desires--having the full enjoyment of God, and uninterrupted communion with Him. In the heavenly Canaan, Immanuel's land--nothing is lacking to complete the happiness of the inhabitants. This is the holy and happy country--blessed with a perpetual spring, and which yields all things for necessity, convenience, and delight!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

It is His groans, His tears, His cries--which best tell what Hell means!

It is His groans, His tears, His cries--which  best tell what Hell means!
(Archibald Brown, "The Scriptural Doctrine of Hell!" 1878)

"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:" 2 Peter 2:4-9

It is now customary to describe the views of future punishment held by most of us, as 'medieval', and to declare that our ideas are mainly gleaned from pictures to be found in old galleries. I suppose I have seen about as many of the old masters in the galleries of Europe as most--but I must acknowledge I have never yet seen any picture from hand of a medieval artist half so dreadful as some of the descriptions that fell from our Lord's lips!

'Medieval' is it, to speak about weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth? These words came not from the lips of any mortal man. They fell from the same lips that said, 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' Neither Paul, nor Peter, nor any of the apostles, ever uttered such words as leaped from the lips of the Man of Sorrows. Christ's descriptions of Hell are the most fearful that we have! It is the lips of infinite love that speak of being cut asunder, and about burning with the fire that is never quenched!

O brethren, if you want to measure the deep horrors of the lost--you must measure them by the cross of Christ! It is His groans, His tears, His cries--which  best tell what Hell means! Your breaking heart, Lord Jesus--Your flowing blood--Your death-cry of 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'--these are the things that say to me more than anything else, 'There is a dreadful judgement to come upon the sinner for his sins!'

He who . . .
  hurled the angels from Heaven to Hell,
  and drowned the ancient world,
  and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah--
has still power to smite! Oh, do not rouse my God to anger. Will you count His patience to be indifference? Because He still lengthens out the time of grace, will you presume on it? 'Escape for your life! Flee from the wrath to come!'

Saturday, 4 July 2015

The nest was destroyed, and the poor bird lay bleeding and exposed!

The nest was destroyed, and the poor bird lay bleeding and exposed! 
(James Smith, "The Pastor's Evening Visit")

"Then I said, I shall die in my nest," Job 29:18

Job's nest was very comfortable--and appeared to be very secure. It was on high--and not to be easily reached. He knew that death could reach it--but he thought that nothing else would disturb it.

His conduct was consistent, his conscience was quiet; God was his Father, and providence was his friend.

"Then I said, I shall die in my nest,"

But, alas! Suddenly a 'storm' arose--the nest was destroyed, and the poor bird lay bleeding and exposed!

No earthly nest is out of danger! Temporal comforts are only lent to us. The higher the tree in which we build--the more exposed to the whirlwind and the storm!

Here on earth--we have no continuing city. In one moment--our fine nest may be devastated! Let us therefore endeavour to leave our matters fully with the Lord--and learn to be content with His appointments.

We must die. But when, and where, and how--should be left with the Lord.

Five minutes after death--it will matter very little whether we died on a bed of down, in a luxurious mansion, and surrounded by kind friends--OR as a poor diseased beggar, dying alone in squalor!

Present comforts may all leave us, and our soft nest may be scattered to the winds--but nothing can disturb our salvation and future glory!

"These all died in faith, ... and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." Hebrews 11:13

"But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." Hebrews 11:16


Lost sinners should be afraid! They have . . . .
  an angry God above them,
  a guilty conscience within them,
  and a yawning Hell below them!
(Matthew Henry)

 As men cherish young plants at first, and fence them about to keep them from hurt, but when they are grown, they remove them, and then leave them to the wind and weather, so God besets His children first with props of inward comforts, but afterwards exposes them to storms and winds, because they are better able to bear it. Therefore let no man think himself the better because he is free from troubles. It is because God sees him not fit to bear greater.
(Richard Sibbes)

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Glorify God in the fire!

Glorify God in the fire!
(George Whitefield)

"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."
 John 15:2

"Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10

Fire not only burns and purges, but it separates one thing from another.

God Almighty knows that we are often purged more in one hour by a good sound trial — than by a thousand manifestations of His love. It is a fine thing to come purified, to come pardoned out of the furnace of affliction. The furnace is intended to purge us to separate the precious from the vile, the chaff from the wheat. And God, in order to do this, is pleased to put us into one fire after another.

There are some roads which are finely paved and smooth — but the King's road to Heaven is strewed with crosses and afflictions!

My brethren, we need to be purged! How apt are we to want to go to Heaven upon a featherbed. But many go lying upon beds of pain and languishing, which is the King's highway there.

God will not put us into the fire — if there was not something to be purged away. The grand thing, is to learn to glorify God in the fire.

We glorify God in the fire, when we quietly endure it as a chastisement, and when we bear it patiently. It is a dreadful thing when we are saying with Cain, "My punishment is greater than I can bear!" But the language of a soul that glorifies God in the fire is this, "Shall I, Lord, shall I a sinful man, complain for the punishment of my sins?"

We glorify God in the fire, when, though we feel pain and anguish, we at the same time say, "Lord, we deserve this and ten thousands times more!"

We glorify God in the fire also, when we are really and fully persuaded that God will put us in the furnace only for our good, and His own glory.

We glorify God in the fire when we say, "Lord don't let the fire go out until it has purged away all my dross!"

We glorify God in the fire when the soul can say, "Here I am, my God, do with me as seems good in Your sight! I know that I shall not have one unnecessary stroke!"

We glorify God in the fire when we are not grumbling, but humbly submitting to His will. When that awful message was brought to Eli, what does he say? "It is the LORD; let Him do what seems good to Him." Let my children be killed, whatever is done, it is the Lord's doing!

We glorify God in the fire when we rejoice in Him — when we can thank God for striking us — when we can thank Him for whipping us!

Happy are you who have got into Christ's fire!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Are you not put to shame by every little bird that sits upon the bough and sings, though it has not two grains of barley in all the world?

Are you not put to shame by every little bird that sits upon the bough and sings, though it has not two grains of barley in all the world?
(Charles Spurgeon, "A Good Start!")
Matthew 6:25-32

Undue anxiety is very common among the unsaved--I suppose they cannot help it. Yet Christians must help it; for the Lord's precept is plain and binding: "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Fretful anxiety is forbidden to the Christian!

It is needless. "Behold the fowls of the air:" said Christ: "for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" If you have a Father in Heaven to care for you--are you not put to shame by every little bird that sits upon the bough and sings, though it has not two grains of barley in all the world? God takes charge of the birds of the air, and thus they live exempt from anxious care--why do not we?

Our Lord also taught that such anxiety is useless as well as needless; for, with all our care, we cannot add a single hour to our life!

Can we do anything else by fretful care? What if the farmer deplores that there is no rain? Do his fears unstop the bottles of Heaven? Or if the merchant sighs because the wind detains his ship laden with goods--will his complainings turn the gale to another quarter?

We do not better ourselves a bit, by all our fretting and fuming. It would be infinitely wiser to do our best--and then casts our care upon our God!

Prudence is wisdom--for it adapts means to ends.
But anxiety is folly--for it groans and worries, and accomplishes nothing!

Besides, according to our Saviour, anxiety about worldly things is heathenish:   "(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." They have no God and no providence--and therefore they try to be a providence to themselves. Let the heir of Heaven act a nobler part than the mere man of the world--who has his portion in this life, and lives without God and without hope.

Our distrust of our God is both childish and dishonouring. I was driven through the streets one day by a friend in a four-wheeled carriage, and he, being a good driver, must needs drive into narrow places, where it seemed to me that we would be crushed by the vans and omnibuses. I shrank back in my timidity, and expressed my unwise alarms so freely, that with a smile he laid the reins in my hand, and said, "If you cannot trust me--would you like to drive yourself?" From that ambition I was wholly free, and I assured him that he might drive as he liked, rather than make me the charioteer!

Surely, the great God might well put the same proposal to those who are complaining of His providence. If we cannot trust Him--could we manage better ourselves?

If we are Christians, let us believe in our God, and leave the governance of the great world to the Lord God, our heavenly Father, who will surely cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Comfort for Suffering Saints!

Comfort for Suffering Saints!
(Jerome Zanchius, 1516-1590)

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son," Romans 8:28-29 

The sovereignty of God is a comfort for suffering saints, acting to remove anxiety. How sweet must the following considerations be to a distressed believer!
1. There most certainly exists an almighty, all-wise and infinitely gracious God (Hebrews 11:6).

2. His love for His elect people is immutable; He never repents of it nor withdraws it (Jeremiah 31:3).

3. Whatever comes to pass in time, is the result of His sovereign will from everlasting (1 Corinthians 8:6).

4. Consequently my afflictions are a part of His sovereign will, and are all ordered in number, weight, and measure (Psalm 22:24).

5. The very hairs of my head (every one) are counted by Him; nor can a single hair fall to the ground but in consequence of His wise determination (Luke 12:7).

6. Hence my afflictions and distresses are not the result of chance, accident, or a fortuitous combination of circumstances (Psalm 56:8).

7. They are the providential accomplishment of God's eternal purpose (Romans 8:28), and are designed to answer some wise and gracious ends (James 5:10-11).

8. Nor shall my affliction continue a moment longer than God sees fit (2 Corinthians 7:6-7).

9. He who brought the affliction to me — has promised to support me under it and to carry me through it (Psalm 34:15-17).

10. All shall, most assuredly, work together for His glory and my good.

11. Therefore, "Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?" (John 18:11).

However keenly afflictions might wound us on their first access — yet, under the impression of such animating views, we should quickly come to ourselves again, and the arrows of affliction, would, in great measure lose their sharpness.

Christians need nothing but absolute resignation to God's wise and gracious Providence, to render them perfectly happy in every possible circumstance. And absolute resignation can only flow from an absolute belief of, and an absolute acquiescence in, God's absolute Providence, founded on His absolute predestination (1 Thessalonians 1:2-4).

Saturday, 6 June 2015

The antidote for fear!

The antidote for fear!
(Alexander Smellie, "The Secret Place" 1907)

"Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine." Isaiah 43:1

God is intensely desirous to rid me of my needless fears. Does He not give me reason after reason for peacefulness, calmness and hope?

1. "Fear not," He says, "for I have redeemed thee."
What a work it was!
What a price it demanded!
What a sorrow it involved!
It meant the surrender and sacrifice of His Son, His Only-Begotten, His Well-Beloved. It meant for the King of Glory, to be born in a lowly stable, with the ox and donkey and camel. After a life of suffering, it meant a stark and dreadful Cross on the Hill of Shame!

A Scottish professor, who retained to the last a childlike heart, speaking to his students one day about the atoning sacrifice of Calvary, said, with the tears running down his cheeks, "Ay, ay, do you know what it was? Do you know what it was? It was damnation — and He took it lovingly!"

It was my damnation — and He took it lovingly! And since God gave all this for me — then how can He ever abandon me? Let my heart be confident and strong.

2. There is His understanding of my case. "Fear not," He continues, "I have called thee by thy name." He has such multitudes to remember, and yet He knows me individually and intimately! The stars lie along the face of the sky like bright unnumbered dust; but He knows star from star. The flowers spring up in battalions; but not a single flower is "born to blush unseen" — He knows it, and rejoices in it. There are billions of people in the world today, and I cannot grasp the tremendous aggregate; but He is familiar with each beating soul.

Just so, He comprehends . . .
  my special needs and circumstances,
  my overbearing duties,
  my sore temptations,
  my herculean difficulties,
  my subtle and persevering foes.
Should I not be strong and courageous, when the Lord of Heaven has such perfect acquaintance with me?

3. And there is His ownership of my soul. "Fear not," He commands once more, "thou art Mine." In a sense I was always His possession; but since He purchased me with Christ's blood, I am among . . .
  His jewels,
  His trophies,
  His special possessions,
  His redeemed children!

Why should I be afraid? I am Christ's redeemed child, and He owns and keeps me!hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16:11

Saturday, 30 May 2015

We shall see Him as He is!

We shall see Him as He is!

(Thomas Boston, "Human Nature in its Fourfold State")

"We shall see Him as He is!" 1 John 3:2

Then we shall behold Him who died for us, that we might live forever more; whose matchless love made Him swim through the Red Sea of God's wrath, to make a path in the midst of it for us, by which we might pass safely to our heavenly Canaan. Then we shall see what a glorious one He is, who suffered all this for us! Then shall we be more able to understand, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is.

When we shall fully realize that the waters of wrath which He was plunged into, are the wells of salvation from whence we draw all our joy; that we have received the cup of salvation, in exchange for the cup of wrath which He drank — how will our hearts leap within us, burn with seraphic love, as Heaven resounds with our songs of salvation!

We shall eternally, without interruption, feast our eyes upon Him — and be ever viewing His glorious perfections! In Him shall we see everything desirable — and nothing but what is desirable. We shall look into the heart of God, and there see the love He bore to us from all eternity, and the love and goodness He will bear to us forever more.

We who are heirs of God, the great heritage — shall then enter into a full possession of our inheritance; and the Lord will open His treasures of goodness unto us, that our enjoyment may be full. We shall not be stinted to any measure — but the enjoyment shall go as far as our enlarged capacities can reach. We shall be fully satisfied, and perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of divine goodness.

Our love to the Lord, being purified from the dross of self-love, shall be most pure. We will be all love, when we come to the full enjoyment of God in Heaven, by intuitive and experimental knowledge of Him, by full participation in the divine goodness.

The enjoyment of God and the Lamb will be ever fresh and new to us, through the ages of eternity; for we shall drink of living fountains of waters, where new waters are continually springing up in abundance. Our joy shall be pure and unmixed, without any dregs of sorrow; solid and everlasting, without interruption. We shall swim forever in an ocean of joy — where we shall see nothing but joy wherever we turn our eyes. The presence and enjoyment of God and the Lamb will satisfy us with pleasures for evermore; and will afford us everlasting delight!

"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16:11

Saturday, 23 May 2015

God takes a safe course with His children!

God takes a safe course with His children!

(Richard Sibbes, 1577-1635)

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Whatever is truly good for God's children — they shall have it, for all is theirs to further them to Heaven. Therefore . . .
  if poverty is good for them — they shall have it;
  if disgrace is good for them — they shall have it;
  if crosses are good for them — they shall have them;
  if misery is good for them — they shall have it;
for God makes all things work together for the good of His redeemed people.

God takes a safe course with His children — that they may not be condemned with the world.
He permits the world to condemn them — that they may not love the world.
The world hates them — that they may not love the world.
That they may be crucified to it — the world is to be crucified to them.
Because He will not allow them to perish with the world — He sends them afflictions in and by the world. Therefore they meet with such crosses and abuses and wrongs in the world.

God afflicts us outwardly — that we may be more humble inwardly.
He humbles us and makes us poor — that we may be more poor in spirit.
When God designs to humble us — we should labor through grace to abase ourselves and mortify pride.

God's providence is often mysterious — yet He is just and righteous in all that He does. Therefore when any difficult thing befalls us for which we can see no reason, yet we must reverence the Lord and adore His counsels and submit to Him who is infinitely more good and wise than we.

Glory follows afflictions — as the spring follows the winter. For the winter prepares the earth for the spring — so do sanctified afflictions prepare the soul for glory.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

The unchangeable method of God!

The unchangeable method of God!

(Matthew Mead, "The Almost Christian" 1661)

"I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:32. That is — such as see themselves as sinners, and thereby in a lost condition.

God will have the soul truly sensible of the bitterness of sin — before it shall taste the sweetness of mercy. The plough of conviction must go deep, and make deep furrows in the heart, before God will sow the precious seed of grace there — so that it may have depth of earth to grow in.

This is the unchangeable method of God in bestowing grace — to begin with conviction of sin.
  First to show man his sin — then his Savior;
  first his danger — then his Redeemer;
  first his wound — then his cure;
  first his own vileness — then Christ's righteousness.

The sinner must see the worthlessness and vileness of his own righteousness — before he can be saved by Christ's righteousness. The Israelites are first stung with the fiery serpents — and then the brazen serpent is set up to heal them.

We must see the leprosy of our righteousness, and be brought to cry out, "Unclean, unclean!" We must mourn for Him whom we have pierced — and then He sets open for us "a fountain to cleanse us from all sin and impurity." Zechariah 12:10, 13:1

Be convinced of the evil of sin — the filthy and heinous nature of it. Sin is the greatest evil in the world —
  it wrongs God;
  it wounds Christ;
  it grieves the Holy Spirit;
  it damns a precious soul!
All other evils cannot be compared with this. Though to DO sin is the worst work — yet to SEE sin is the best sight!

Sin discovered in its vileness — makes Christ to be desired in His fullness!

Alas! it is Christ's infinite righteousness which must atone for our sins — for it is an infinite God whom we have sinned against!

If ever your sin is pardoned — it is Christ's infinite mercy which must pardon it!

If ever you are reconciled to God — it is Christ's infinite merit which must do it!

If ever your heart is changed — it is Christ's infinite power which must effect it!

If ever your soul escapes Hell, and is saved at last — it is Christ's infinite grace which must save it!

"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.." Luke 19:10

Sunday, 3 May 2015

God's love-letter!

God's love-letter!
(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

The Scripture is God's love-letter to men. 

Here the lamb may wade — and here the elephant may swim!

The blessed Scriptures are of infinite worth and value! 
Here you may find . . .
  a remedy for every disease,
  a balm for every wound,
  a plaster for every sore,
  milk for babes,
  meat for strong men,
  comfort for the afflicted, 
  support for the tempted, 
  solace for the distressed, 
  ease for the wearied,
  a staff to support the feeble,
  a sword to defend the weak. 

The holy Scriptures are . . .
  the map of God's mercy — and man's misery, 
  the touchstone of truth,
  the shop of remedies against all maladies,
  the hammer of vices,
  the treasury of virtues,
  the exposer of all sensual and worldly vanities,
  the balance of equity,
  the most perfect rule of all justice and honesty.

Ah, friends, no book befits your hands like the Bible!

The Bible is the best preacher. 
This book, this preacher will preach to you . . . 
  in your shops,
  in your chambers,
  in your closets, 
  yes, in your own bosoms!
This book will preach to you at home and abroad; 
it will preach to you in all companies; and it will 
preach to you in all conditions. 

By this book you must live.
By this book you must die. 
By this book you shall be judged in the great day! 
By this book you shall be saved — or by this book you shall be damned! 

Oh, therefore . . .
  love this book above all other books, 
  prize this book above all other books,
  read this book before all other books, 
  study this book more than all other books! 
For he who reads much — and understands nothing,
is like him who hunts much — and catches nothing!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The wisest arithmetic!

The wisest arithmetic!

(Alexander Smellie, "The Secret Place" 1907)

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Psalm 90:12 

I number my days aright, when I feel their fewness. To the imagination of the young, life seems long. They catch no echo of "the roar of the waves of eternity, as they dash on the shores of time" — so far away those shores appear to be. But the farther I advance in age, the more swiftly and imperceptibly the hours and weeks and years steal on. At the outset of the voyage, I mark my progress by the objects on the river-banks: trees, houses, towering hills. But, later, I have left the river, and am on the trackless sea; and the sea remorselessly impels me on. Soon I shall hear the cry, "Land ahead!" and my voyage of life will be finished and past!

I number my days aright, when I recall their uncertainty. Often they are abruptly broken, before they have attained their bound. "Lord, spare the green — and take the ripe," is a cry often sounded. But the cry is not always answered, and the child as well as the parent is laid in the churchyard grave.

Let me remember how brittle my years are — and let me seize hold upon eternal realities which cannot be shaken.

I number my days aright, also, if I compare them with the unchangeableness of God. The world  watches the generations come and go. But God is without beginning, and the millenniums have left Him unhurt by the tooth of time. How paltry my fourscore winters seem, in the light of His unending ages! Yes! but let me turn to Him. Let me cast myself on the Everlasting Arms — and the enduringness of my God will pass into my frailty and littleness.

And I number my days aright, if I think of them in relation to the limitless future. In one sense, I am easily robbed of them; in another sense, my years will come to no conclusion at all. As short as they are, they prelude an unimaginable, deathless existence. Now I am laying the foundations of an eternal palace — or of an eternal prison, from which I shall never leave. Now I am moulding for myself a king's unfading crown — or a criminal's inexorable chain. And since such momentous outcomes hang on the slender thread of my fleeting days, let me live as one about to migrate to the eternal world, and let me be diligent in my Father's business.

This is, indeed, the wisest arithmetic!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Sin's enormity!

Sin's enormity!
(Arthur Pink)

"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: "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth 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: “Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness”. 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!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Thomas Watson choice quotes on Scripture

Thomas Watson choice quotes on Scripture
(Thomas Watson)

The lines of Scripture are more valuable than mines of gold!

God's Word is the star which directs us to Heaven!

Scripture is the field where "the Pearl of great price" is hidden.

The Scriptures are the richest jewels that Christ has left.

The Word is so full of goodness, justice, and sanctity, that it could be breathed from none but God. It bears His very image. It has no errata in it. It is a beam of the Sun of Righteousness. It is a crystal stream, flowing from the Fountain of Life. It commends to us whatever is "just, lovely, and noble."

This "sword of the Spirit" cuts down vice!

Out of this tower of Scripture — is thrown down a millstone upon the head of sin!

The Scripture is the Royal Law, which commands not only the actions — but the affections.

Where is such holiness to be found — as is dug from this Sacred Mine? Who could be its author — but God Himself?

God's Word is the judge of controversies — and the rock of infallibility!
All truth must be brought to the touchstone of Scripture.

This blessed Book will fill the head with knowledge — and the heart with grace!

 God wrote the two tables with His own fingers.
If God took pains to write — well may we take pains to read!

The Scripture is a rock of diamonds — a chain of pearls adorning the Christian, and glorifying God.

The Scriptures are profitable for all things.
Is the believer cast down? Here are "comforts to delight the soul!"
Is he assaulted by Satan? Here is "the sword of the Spirit" to resist him.

The Scripture is the chart, by which the believer sails to eternity!

The Scripture is the Christian's Sundial, by which he sets his life!

The Scripture is the Christian's Balance, in which he weighs his actions!

The Scripture is the Christian's Map, by which he daily walks!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

What a believer would do — if he could

What a believer would do — if he could
(Letters of John Newton)

"For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." Galatians 5:17

This is a humbling but an accurate account of a Christian's attainments in the present life, and is equally applicable to the strongest and to the weakest. The weakest need not say less — the strongest will hardly venture to say more. 

The Lord has given His people a desire aiming at great things — but they cannot do as they would. Their best desires are weak and ineffectual, not absolutely so — but in comparison with the noble mark at which they aim. So that while they have great cause to be thankful for the desire He has given them, and for the degree in which it is answered — they have equal reason to be ashamed and abased under a sense of their continual defects and the evil mixtures which taint and debase their best endeavours! 

It would be easy to make out a long list of particulars, which a believer would do if he could — but in which, from first to last, he finds a mortifying inability. Permit me to mention a few, which I need not transcribe from books, for they are always present to my mind.

He would willingly enjoy God in prayer. He knows that prayer is his duty; but he considers it likewise as his greatest honor and privilege. In this light he can recommend it to others, and can tell them of the wonderful condescension of the great God, who humbles Himself and opens His gracious ear to the supplications of sinful worms upon earth! The believer can bid others to expect a pleasure in waiting upon the Lord, different in kind and greater in degree than all that the world can afford. By prayer he can say: "You have liberty to cast all your cares upon Him who cares for you. By one hour's intimate access to the throne of grace — you may acquire more true spiritual knowledge and comfort, than by a week's converse with the best of men, or the most studious perusal of many books." And in this light he would consider it and improve it for himself. 

But, alas; how seldom can he do as he would! How often does he find this privilege to be a mere task, which he would be glad of a just excuse to omit! and the chief pleasure he derives from the performance — is to think that his task is finished! He has been drawing near to God with his lips — while his heart was far from Him. Surely this is not doing as he would, when (to borrow the expression of an old woman here,) he is dragged before God like a slave, and comes away like a thief!

Though we aim at this good — evil is present with us!

Alas! how vain is man in his best estate! How much weakness and inconsistency, even in those whose hearts are right with the Lord! What reason have we to confess that we are unworthy, unprofitable servants!

It were easy to enlarge in this way — would paper and time permit. But, blessed be God, we are not under the law — but under grace! And even these distressing effects of the remnants of indwelling sin are overruled for good. By these experiences — the believer is weaned more from SELF, and taught more highly to prize and more absolutely to rely on Him, who is our Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption! The more vile we are in our own eyes — the more precious He will be to us! A deep repeated sense of the evil of our hearts — is necessary to preclude all boasting, and to make us willing to give the whole glory of our salvation where it is due!

Again, a sense of these evils will (when hardly anything else can do it) reconcile us to the thoughts of DEATH! Yes, they make us desirous to depart — that we may sin no more; since we find depravity so deep-rooted in our nature, that, like the leprous house, the whole fabric must be taken down before we can be freed from its defilement! 

Then, and not until then — we shall be able to do the thing that we would! When we see Jesus — we shall be transformed into His image, and be done with sin and sorrow forever!