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