Grace Gems Collection

Grace Gems Collection 2002

Grace Gems Collection 2002
–1–

The text has been revised for contemporary readers.
Sovereign Grace Treasures http://www.lulu.com/gracetreasures
2006
–2–

Our purpose is to humble the pride of man, to exalt the grace of God in salvation, and to promote real holiness in heart in life.
Our objective is to set before the Christian pilgrim some reflections which may prove challenging, consolatory and encouraging—as he journeys up from this bleak, arid, wilderness world, leaning on his Beloved.
May God’s blessing attend a humble effort to minister comfort to the downcast, strength to the weak, and courage to those who have set their faces towards their glorious eternal home.
The editors
Please visit us at http://www.GraceGems.org. Join our free Grace Gems mailing list to receive a daily devotional quote!
–3–

–4–

HANGING UPON A RICH, ALMIGHTY SAVIOR!
Octavius Winslow
The holiest of Christians have to acknowledge that they are but poor, empty sinners at best; hanging upon a rich, almighty Savior, and saved alone by His free and sovereign grace.
6
LEVITY OF SPIRIT
Mary Winslow, “Heaven Opened”
Watch against levity of spirit.
It grieves the Holy Spirit in you, and dishonors God.
“But the end of all things is at hand: be therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” 1 Peter 4:7
THE FLESH!
Octavius Winslow, “No Condemnation in Christ Jesus”
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” That is, it is nothing more than carnal and corrupt. It is originally corrupt, and corrupt it remains until it perishes.
“For those who are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh.” The flesh here refers to the fallen and carnal state of the unrenewed man. He lives after the flesh, and his whole life is in accordance with the dictates of
6
–5–

the flesh. All the objects of attraction, the desires and pursuits of the carnal mind, are corrupt and worldly.
A fleshly or corrupt mind must act agreeably with its own nature; and so acting, must be supremely engrossed with the things of the flesh.
We are thus taken to the very root of all the depravity and crime which afflicts and degrades our common nature.
It is not so much the outbreak of sin; the wretchedness and woe which, working upwards, floats upon the surface of society; that presents the most true view of man’s fallen condition; as the fact, that the root of all iniquity dwells in his nature; and that, when he hates God, and opposes His government, and violates His laws, and injures his fellow creatures, it is not an accident of his nature.
It is the working out of an original and natural principle; it is the development of an innate and deep corruption, coursing its way upward, from the concealed depths of his nature to the surface of his life.
Man bears about with him an original principle of evil.
The religious perceptions of such an unregenerate mind must be crude and obscure, for they are the perceptions of a darkened understanding. Though their ritual may be sound, its rites may be scriptural, its forms may be solemn, its offerings may be costly, it is still the sacrifice of the dead offered to a living God!
They know Him intellectually, historically, speculatively, notionally, and this is the extent of their
knowledge of God.
6
–6–

THE SPIRIT!
Octavius Winslow, “No Condemnation in Christ Jesus”
“For those who are after the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5
What, reader, is the habitual and supreme bent of your mind?
Is it that which is spiritual, or that which is carnal?
You have your mind either set upon the things of the flesh, or upon the things of the Spirit.
You are either born again from above, or are groveling in things below.
You are either sanctified, or you are unholy.
You are for the Lord, or you are against Him.
You are either Satan’s slave, or Christ’s freeman. Which?
You inquire, “How may I know that I am of the Spirit?”
We answer, by your producing the fruits of the Spirit— a broken heart for sin;
a felt conviction of the hidden plague;
a humble and a contrite spirit;
an utter rejection of a human righteousness;
a simple, believing reception of the Lord Jesus; and a breathing after Divine conformity.
These are evidences of a renewed and sanctified state.
If these are yours in any degree, then you are of the
Spirit.
6
–7–

POISONOUS WEEDS IN THE CHURCH!
Mary Winslow, “Heaven Opened”
It is high time we awake out of sleep, and aim to live more for eternity, to live more for God, and to God.
With this world and its opinions and maxims, we, as believers, have nothing to do, for they are contrary to God’s Word.
And as it respects mere professing Christians, we had better keep away from them, for they are as poisonous weeds in the Church, infecting, in some way or other, all around them, and must, and will be, rooted out in due time.
These are the very bane of the Church!
May God, in mercy, lessen the number daily!
MORE SCARCE AND PRECIOUS THAN A BAR OF GOLD!
Octavius Winslow, “The Glory of the Redeemer”
“Behold, the days come,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” Amos 8:11
Already has this famine of the true word of God commenced!
How few, forming their ministry upon the apostolic model, can affirm with Paul, “My speech and my preaching are not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power!”
How few, disdaining artificial embellishment, and scorning the applause of men won by a vain show of intellect and eloquence, preach that simple truth of
6
–8–

which Jesus is the Author, the Substance, the Glory, the Power, and the End; purely, boldly, faithfully, affectionately, uncompromisingly!
How few who honestly and heartily desire to lift up their Lord and Master; themselves lost behind the glory of His person and the splendors of His cross!
How sadly, how painfully, is the Lord Jesus Christ kept in the background! How is His glory obscured, His beauty veiled, His honor withheld!
“The time will come, when a faithful minister of the Gospel will be more scarce and precious than a bar of
gold!” John Owen
6
SOLEMN WORDS TO MINISTERS!
Mary Winslow, “Heaven Opened”
Do not speak peace to a poor soul before God has spoken it.
The murder of souls is the most dire of all murders!
Hold in memory Ezekiel 33:7-8, “So you, son of man, I have set you a watchman to the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I tell the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you don’t speak to warn the wicked from his way; that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand.”
I wish that every man who considers he has been called of the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel had this whole chapter written upon his heart. In your preaching separate the precious from the vile, and be ready at a moment’s warning to give an account of your stewardship. Great is your responsibility! Oh, be
–9–

faithful over a few things, that you may have a “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
I heard a clergyman in your neighborhood say, “All that we have to do is to keep the people quiet.” This man was never called of the Holy Spirit to preach Christ’s Gospel. Satan is only too pleased with such. This is just as the Deceiver would have it. He would keep the people quiet in their own sins, and say, “There is no danger; it is time enough yet, for you are good enough, and have done no evil; at any rate, you are no worse than others. Peace, peace!”
6
ROMANS 8:28
Octavius Winslow, “No Condemnation in Christ Jesus”
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
It is palpably clear and emphatically true that all that occurs in the Lord’s government of His people conspires for, and works out, and results in, their highest happiness, their greatest good.
The gloomiest and most painful circumstances in the history of the child of God, without a solitary exception, are all conspiring, and all working together, for his real and permanent good.
The painful and inexplicable dispensations, which at the present moment may be thickening and deepening around your path, are but so many problems in God’s government, which He is working out to their certain, satisfactory, and happy results.
And when the good thus embosomed in the lowering cloud of some crushing providence, accomplishes its
–10–

benevolent and heaven sent mission, then trial will expand its dark pinions and fly away; and sorrow will roll up its somber drapery and disappear.
All things under the government of an infinitely great, all wise, righteous, and beneficent Lord God, work together for good. What that good may be, the shape it may assume, the complexion it may wear, the end to which it may be subservient, we cannot tell. To our dim view it may appear an evil, but to God’s far seeing eye it is a positive good.
Oh, truth most divine!
Oh, words most consolatory!
How many whose eye traces this page, it may be whose tears bedew it, whose sighs breathe over it, whose prayers hallow it, may be wading in deep waters, may be drinking bitter cups, and are ready to exclaim: “All these things are against me!”
Oh no, beloved of God, all these things are for you! Do not be afraid!
Christ restrains the flood upon whose heaving bosom He serenely sits. Christ controls the waters, whose sounding waves obey the mandate of His voice.
Christ’s cloudy chariot is paved with love! Then, fear not!
Your Father grasps the helm of your storm tossed bark, and through cloud and tempest will steer it safely to the port of endless rest.
Will it not be a good, if your present adversity results in….
the dethronement of some worshiped idol; the endearing of Christ to your soul;
–11–

the closer conformity of your mind to God’s image; the purification of your heart;
your more thorough fitness for heaven?
Will it not be a real good if it terminates in….
a revival of God’s work within you;
stirring you up to more prayer;
enlarging your heart to all who love the same Savior; stimulating you to increased activity….
for the conversion of sinners,
for the diffusion of the truth, and for the glory of God?
Oh yes! good, real good, permanent good must result from all the Divine dispensations in your history.
Bitter repentance shall end in the experienced sweetness of Christ’s love.
The festering wound shall but elicit the healing balm.
The overpowering burden shall but bring you to the tranquil rest.
The storm shall but quicken your footsteps to the Hiding place.
The north wind and the south wind shall breathe together over your garden, and the spices shall flow out.
In a little while; oh, how soon! you shall pass away from earth to heaven, and in its clearer, serener light shall read the truth, often read with tears before, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
6
–12–

WORTH TEN THOUSAND WORLDS!
Mary Winslow, “Heaven Opened”
What a mercy that there are better things in store for us than this poor world could give!
Who that knows the truth experimentally would wish to live in this base world one moment longer than he could help it.
But what must that place be which infinite love has prepared for us!
“In My Father’s house are many mansions. I am going to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, you may be also.”
Does it not appear as though Jesus could not enjoy heaven itself to the full if all His redeemed ones were not there?
“Father, I desire that they also whom you have given Me be with Me where I am, that they may see My glory.”
To be with Jesus! One moment of this is worth ten
thousand worlds!
6
YOUR BURDEN IS ON HIS SHOULDER!
Octavius Winslow, “No Condemnation in Christ Jesus”
“It is Christ who died, yes rather, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Romans 8:34
Jesus, amid the honors and splendors to which God has highly exalted Him, still remembers his brethren in bonds, and makes intercession for them.
It is an individual, an anticipative, and a present intercession.
–13–

It embraces all the personal needs of each believer, it precedes each temptation and each trial, and at the moment that the sympathy and the prayers of the Savior are the most called for, and are felt to be the most soothing, it bears the saint and his sorrow on its bosom before the throne!
Just at a crisis of his history, at a juncture, perhaps, the most critical in his life; and when the heart, oppressed with its emotions, cannot breathe a prayer, Jesus is remembering him, sympathizing with him, and interceding for him!
Oh, who can fully describe the blessings that flow through the intercession of the Son of God?
The love,
the sympathy,
the forethought,
the concern,
the minute interest in all our concerns— are blessings beyond description!
Tried, tempted believer! Jesus makes intercession for you!
Your case is not unknown to Him! Your sorrow is not hidden from Him! Your name is on His heart!
Your burden is on His shoulder!
“Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25
6
–14–

WHAT IS YOUR SORROW?
Octavius Winslow, “The Holy Spirit”
What is your sorrow?
Has the hand of death smitten?
Is the beloved one removed?
Has the desire of your eyes been taken away with a stroke?
But who has done it?
Jesus has done it. Death was only His messenger. Your Jesus has done it. The Lord has taken away.
And what has He removed? Your wife? Ah, Jesus has all the tenderness that your wife ever had. Hers was only a drop from the ocean that is in His heart.
Is it your husband? Jesus is better to you than ten husbands.
Is it your parent, your child, your friend, your all of earthly bliss? Is the cistern broken? Is the earthen vessel dashed to pieces? Are all your streams dry? Jesus is still enough. He has not taken Himself from you, and never, never will.
Take your bereaved, stricken and bleeding heart to Him, and rest it upon His, once bereaved, stricken and bleeding, too; for He knows how to bind up the broken heart, to heal the wounded spirit and to comfort those who mourn.
What is your sorrow?
Has health failed you?
Has property forsaken you?
Have friends turned against you? Are you tried in your circumstances? Perplexed in your path?
–15–

Are providences thickening and darkening around you?
Are you anticipating seasons of approaching trial? Are you walking in darkness, having no light?
Simply go to Jesus. He is an ever-open door; a tender, loving faithful Friend, ever near. He is a Brother born for your adversity. His grace and sympathy are sufficient for you.
Go to Him in every trial, cast upon Him every burden, take the infirmity, the corruption, the cross as it arises, simply and immediately to Jesus!
Jesus is your loving and confiding Brother and Friend, to go to at all times and under all circumstances.
POVERTY, WRETCHEDNESS, AND WOE!
Mary Winslow, “Heaven Opened”
We need Jesus!
We cannot do without Him!
We must have Him, for He is our joy, our exceeding joy, our life, and our all.
Without Him, the world and all it calls good, is poverty, wretchedness, and woe!
With Him, a wilderness is a paradise, a cottage a palace, and the lowliest spot of earth a little heaven below!
A LOST, MISERABLE AND HATEFUL SINNER!
John Newton
No man ever did, or ever will feel himself to be a lost, miserable and hateful sinner, unless he be powerfully and supernaturally convinced by the Spirit of God.
6
6
6
–16–

VIEWING HELL FROM HEAVEN?
Jonathan Edwards
Can the believing husband in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving wife in Hell? Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell? Can the loving wife in Heaven be happy with her unbelieving husband in Hell? I tell you, yes! Such will be their sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish their bliss.
6
LOVE SUFFERING, AND BLEEDING, AND EXPIRING!
Octavius Winslow, “No Condemnation in Christ Jesus”
The love of Christ! Such a precious theme!
Of it can we ever weary? Never!
Its greatness can we ever know? Never!
Its plenitude can we fully contain? Never!
Its depths cannot be fathomed, its dimensions cannot be measured!
It passes knowledge!
All that Jesus did for His people was but the unfolding and expression of His love.
Traveling to Bethlehem; I see love incarnate!
Tracking His steps as He went about doing good; I see love laboring!
Visiting the house of Bethany; I see love sympathizing! Standing by the grave of Lazarus; I see love weeping.
Entering the gloomy precincts of Gethsemane; I see love sorrowing!
–17–

Passing on to Calvary; I see love suffering, and bleeding, and expiring!
The whole scene of His life is but an unfolding of the deep, and awesome, and precious mystery of redeeming
love!
6
THE STUDY OF PROPHECY?
Mary Winslow, “Heaven Opened”
As to the subject of the study of prophecy, I would remark that, we should keep in mind the truth that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy;” and that the prophecies should be studied with a view of knowing more of Him; His personal glory, salvation, and kingdom. There is great danger of being led away from the ‘spirit of prophecy.’
The writings of the prophets would possess no meaning, charm, or attraction did they not all testify of Jesus.
“Of Him give all the prophets witness.”
They….
predict His advent,
describe His death,
foretell His triumph, and portray His kingdom and glory.
The suffering and victorious Messiah is the central object of their magnificent picture!
In the study of the prophets there is great danger of being carried away with some favorite prophetical scheme which, perhaps, we rather bring to, than take from, their inspired writings. And this is allowed a too absorbing study and attention, to the exclusion of more vital and momentous subjects.
–18–

May we not be liable to lose, in a too exclusive and engrossing study of the prophetical writings, much of that lowliness of mind, close intimacy with the progress of the kingdom of God within us, and communion with God Himself, which constitute the life and spirit of experimental religion?
6
A FICTITIOUS GOD!
Octavius Winslow, “No Condemnation in Christ Jesus”
“The carnal mind is enmity against God.” Romans 8:7
How completely this declaration sweeps away all the fancied reverence and admiration for God which floats before the imagination of the carnal mind in its profound slumber! The carnal mind may own its belief in the existence of a god. But what god? Plainly not the God of the Bible; but a deity of its imagination.
The god of whom he has thus been dreaming, is not the God of Scripture, but the god of his own creation!
He is not the holy God whom the Bible makes known; of whom Jesus is the living and visible embodiment; but an imaginary being clothed with attributes, and administering a government harmonizing with the corrupt tastes and sinful propensities of his carnal mind.
Away with your religion of nature, of sentiment, of poetry!
The god whom you profess to adore and worship is not the God manifested in Christ, whose justice and holiness, whose wisdom and truth, are blended and harmonized with grace and love in the cross of Calvary.
“He who hates Me hates My Father also.” John 15:23 Of what value is your fancied admiration of God’s
–19–

character, while yet hating, despising, and rejecting the Son, who is the “radiance of God’s glory, the very image of His substance”?
Your heart is a stranger to holiness, and your mind to peace, while prostrate before a deity of your own imagination; a fictitious god!
There is nothing in your creed; nothing in your vague, shadowy, unreal conception of deity, to fix your thoughts, to soothe your spirit, to allay your fears, to awaken your affections, and to inspire your hope. Your altar is reared, and your incense is offered, but it is to the “unknown god.”
6
AND WHAT IS HIS RELIGION BUT VANITY?
Octavius Winslow, “No Condemnation in Christ Jesus”
“We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing, ends in nothing.”
Man’s origin, the earth; his birth, degenerate; his rank, a bauble; his wealth, but glittering dust; his pomp, an empty pageant; his beauty, a fading flower; his pursuits, an infant’s play; his honors, vexations of spirit; his joys, fleeting as a cloud; his life, transient as a vapor; his final home, a grave.
Truly, “vanity” is inscribed in legible characters on each ‘created’ good.
“Surely man in his best estate is altogether vanity.”
And what is his religion but vanity? His native holiness, a vain conceit; his natural light, Egyptian darkness; his human wisdom, egregious folly; his religions forms, and rites, and duties, “a vain show in the flesh;” his most gorgeous righteousness, filthy rags.
6
–20–

A GOD TO HIMSELF?
Octavius Winslow, “The Holy Spirit”
The unsaved man is a god to himself, and he has many other gods as well.
Whether it be self-righteousness, self-gratification, the world,
wealth,
family—
in whatever form it appears, “other lords have dominion over him,” to the exclusion of the one true and living God.
The nature of the human mind is such that it must love and worship some object supremely.
In his state of innocence, Jehovah was the one and supreme object of the creature’s love and adoration.
Seduced from that state of simple and supreme affection by the tempter’s promise that, if they ate of the fruit of the tree forbidden by God, “they should be as gods;” in one moment they threw off their allegiance to Jehovah, renounced Him as the object of their supreme love, the center of their holiest affections, and became gods to themselves!
The temple was ruined, the altar was thrown down, the pure flame was extinguished, God departed and “other lords” entered and took possession of the soul.
But what a change does grace produce! It repairs the temple,
rebuilds the altar,
rekindles the flame and
brings God back to man!
–21–

Christ is now the supreme object of…. his love,
his adoration and
his worship.
The idol self has been cast down, self-righteousness renounced, and self-exaltation crucified.
The affections, released from their false deity and renewed by the Spirit, now turn to and take up their rest in God.
How glorious does Jesus now appear!
Truly it is a new God the soul is brought to know and love! Never did it see in Him….
such beauty, such excellence, such blessedness
as it now sees.
All other glory fades and dies before the surpassing glory of….
His character,
His attributes,
His government, and His law.
God says, “You are Mine.” The soul responds, “You are my God! Other lords have had dominion over me, but henceforth, You only will I serve, You only will I love. My soul follows hard after You; Your right hand upholds me.”
The regenerate soul possesses and acknowledges a new Savior. How glorious, suitable and precious is Jesus to him now! Not so formerly. Then he had his saviors, his “refuges of lies,” his many fatal confidences. Jesus was to him as “a root out of a dry ground, having no form nor loveliness.” It may be that he denied His deity,
–22–

rejected His atonement, scorned His grace and slighted His pardon and His love.
Christ is all to him now! He adores Him as the “mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace.”
Oh, how surpassingly glorious, inimitably lovely and unutterably precious is Jesus to a renewed soul!
Truly a new Savior!
“Other lords” he has renounced.
“Refuges of lies” he has turned his back upon. “False Christs” he no longer follows.
He has found another and a better Savior; Jesus, the mighty God, the Redeemer of sinners!
All is ‘new’ to his recovered sight!
A new world of glory has floated before his mind! Jesus the Lamb is the light and glory thereof.
Never did he suppose there was…. such beauty in His person,
such love in His heart,
such perfection in His work, such power and
such willingness to save.
That blood which was trampled under foot is now precious.
That righteousness which was scorned is now glorious.
That name which was reviled is now as music to the soul, even “a name that is above every name.”
6
–23–

A GOD TO HIMSELF? (part 2) Octavius Winslow, “The Holy Spirit”
“The carnal mind is enmity against God;” that enmity showing itself in a thousand ways, principally in its seeking to dethrone God.
From his affections he has dethroned Him. “Who is the Lord God, that I should obey Him?”
To eject Him from the throne of His moral government in the universe is the great and constant aim of the carnal mind.
If this is not so, why this perpetual war against God; against His being, His law, His will, His supreme authority to govern and reign? Why this refusal to acknowledge and obey Him?
Oh, there is no mystery in the case!
Man has revolted from God and, having thrown off all allegiance to Him as his Sovereign, he seeks to be a god to himself.
Self is to him what Jehovah once was; the object of supreme delight.
Having cast out God, he moves in a circle of which he himself is the center.
All he does is from self, and for self.
From this all the lines diverge, and to this they all again
return.
6
–24–

INFINITE!
by Matthew Mead
Alas! it is an infinite righteousness that must satisfy for our sins, for it is an infinite God that is offended by us. If ever your sin be pardoned, it is infinite mercy that must pardon it; if ever you be reconciled to God, it is infinite merit must do it; if ever your heart be changed, and your soul renewed, it is infinite power must effect it; and if ever your soul escape hell, and be saved at last, it is infinite grace must save it.
6
OH, THE ENMITY OF THE CARNAL MIND!
Octavius Winslow, “The Holy Spirit”
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God…” Romans 8:7
Enmity against God, O awful thought!
Enmity to the best of beings, the dearest of friends!
Enmity to Him whose nature and whose name is love!
Enmity to Him who is holy, yes, holiness itself!
Enmity to Him who is good, yes, goodness itself!
Enmity to Him who is true, yes, truth itself!
Enmity to Him, outside of whom nothing is good, nothing holy, nothing true!
Enmity to Him, who gave His Son to die for sinners! Enmity to Him who died for His enemies!
Enmity to Jesus who thus died; who ‘flew on wings of love’ to the rescue and the redemption of fallen man; who took the place, bore the sins, endured the curse; who gave His life, His obedience, all He could give—
–25–

Himself! All this for the poor, the vile, the worthless; He suffered, bled and died!
All this for sinners, for rebels, for enemies!
Was not this enough?
Could He have done more?
Son of God, is it for this they hate You, despise You, reject You?
Oh, the enmity of the carnal mind!
6
NATURE!
Octavius Winslow, “The Nature and Necessity of Experimental Religion”
The spiritual mind, fond of soaring through nature in quest of new proofs of God’s existence, and fresh emblems of His wisdom, power and goodness, exults in the thought that it is his Father’s domain he treads!
He feels that God, his God, is there.
And the sweet consciousness of His all pervading presence, and the impress of His great perfections which everywhere meets his eye, overwhelm his renewed soul with wonder, love, and praise.
O the delight of looking abroad upon nature, under a sense of pardoning, filial love in the soul when enabled to exclaim, “this God is my God!”
“The heavens declare the glory of God. The expanse shows His handiwork. Day after day they pour forth speech, and night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their voice has gone out through all the earth, their words to the end of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4
6
–26–

DWARFISH CHRISTIANS!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Foundation Work”
Alas! much has been done of late to promote the production of dwarfish Christians. Poor, sickly believers turn the church into an hospital, rather than an army. Oh, to have a church built up with the deep godliness of people who know the Lord in their very hearts, and will seek to follow the Lamb wherever He goes!
6
IT IS A FREE GRACE SALVATION!
Mary Winslow, “Heaven Opened”
Whatever others may say, I am sure there was nothing good in me to draw the Savior’s love.
“I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion upon whom I will have compassion.”
Here is the cause!
Chosen in Christ before the world began; given to Christ in the councils of eternity; called; justified; and in due time glorified when the work of sanctification shall be complete.
This is the glorious mystery which keeps the poor believing sinner low at the feet of Jesus!
Boasting is here excluded!
A sinner saved, fully and eternally saved through the all sufficient merit and atoning blood of Christ the Lord.
It is a free grace salvation!
Without money, without price!
No other would have saved such a sinner as me!
–27–

If there had been anything necessary in me, I would have been lost to all eternity!
It is a free grace salvation!
6
THE HIDING PLACE!
by John Andre
Hail sovereign love which first began This scheme to rescue fallen man! Hail sovereign, free, eternal grace Which gave my soul a hiding place!
Against the God Who ruled the sky I fought with hand uplifted high; Despised the mention of His grace Too proud to seek a hiding place!
Enwrapt in thick Egyptian night,
And fond of darkness more than light, Madly I ran the sinful race,
Secure without a hiding place.
But thus the Eternal counsel ran: “Almighty love, arrest that man!” I felt the arrows of distress,
And found I had no hiding place!
Indignant Justice stood in view,
To Sinai’s fiery mount I flew!
But Justice cried with frowning face, “This mountain is no hiding place!”
Ere long a heavenly voice I heard, And mercy’s angel soon appeared, He led me on with gentle pace
To Jesus as my hiding place!
Should sevenfold storms of thunder roll, And shake this earth from pole to pole;
–28–

No thunderbolt shall daunt my face With Jesus as my hiding place!
A few more rolling suns at most, Shall land me safe on Canaan’s coast. Where I shall sing the song of grace, And see my glorious hiding place!
6
THE FURNACE!
Octavius Winslow, “The Sanctification of the Spirit”
Are you a child of affliction?
Ah! how many whose eye falls on this question shall say, “I am the man that has seen affliction!”
This is the path along which all the Lord’s people are led, and in this path, thorny though it be, they pluck some of their choicest flowers, and find some of their sweetest fruits.
God’s people are, “chosen in the furnace of affliction.” The furnace is needed.
The furnace is needed to consume the dross and the tin which adhere so closely to the precious ore.
The furnace is needed….
to burn up the chaff that mingles with the precious
grain,
to purify the heart,
to refine the affections,
to chasten the soul,
to wean it from this poor, empty world, to draw it from the creature, and
to center it in God.
O the blessed effects of the furnace! Who can fully unfold them?
–29–

That must be blessed indeed….
which makes sin more exceedingly sinful,
which weans and draws away from earth,
which endears Jesus and His precious blood and
righteousness,
and which makes the soul a “partaker of His holiness.”
“He will sit and judge like a refiner of silver, watching closely as the dross is burned away. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold or silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.” Malachi 3:3
6
THIS IS MY INFIRMITY
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“This is my infirmity.” Psalm 77:10
The infirmities of the believer are as varied as they are
numerous.
Some are weak in faith, and are always questioning their interest in Christ.
Some, superficial in knowledge, and shallow in experience, are ever exposed to the crudities of error and to the assaults of temptation.
Some are slow travelers in the divine life, and are always in the rear; while yet others are often ready to halt altogether.
Then there are others who groan beneath the burden of bodily infirmity, exerting a morbid influence upon their spiritual experience.
A nervous temperament;
a state of perpetual depression and despondency; the constant corrodings of mental disquietude; physical ailment;
imaginary forebodings;
–30–

a facile yielding to temptation;
petulance of spirit;
unguardedness of speech;
gloomy interpretations of providence;
an eye that only views the dark hues of the cloud, the
somber shadings of the picture.
Ah! from this dismal catalogue how many, making their
selection, may exclaim, “This is my infirmity.”
But be that infirmity what it may, let it endear to our hearts the grace and sympathy of Him who for our sake was encompassed with infirmity, that He might have compassion upon those who are alike begirt.
All the fullness of grace that is in Jesus is for that single infirmity over which you sigh!
HOW POOR AND UNSATISFYING…
Mary Winslow, “Heaven Opened”
How poor and unsatisfying are all things here; even the best and the loveliest!
Oh, to walk more intimately with Him, to live above the world, and hold the creature with a looser hand, taking God’s Word as our guiding light; our unfailing spring of comfort.
God has eternally provided such a magnificent and holy heaven for us above, that He is jealous lest we should set our hearts too fondly and closely upon the attractions of earth.
Therefore it is that He withers our gourds and breaks our cisterns; only to dislodge us here, and lead us to seek those things which are above, where Christ our treasure is.
6
6
–31–

INFINITE WISDOM HAS APPOINTED THE WHOLE!
Mary Winslow, “Heaven Opened”
My heart feels for you, my dear friend, in your deep, deep trial. This present world is a world of sadness; but when we think of that world which is to come, into which sorrow never enters, and how soon we may be there, we may well “rejoice in tribulation.” Our “light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
In all your sorrows, pour out your heart to the Man of sorrows.
He will bow down His ear and listen to all you say, and will either remove or moderate your trial, and give you strength to bear it.
Even this bitter draught He has given you to drink shall result both in your good and His own glory.
Remember, not a sparrow falls upon the ground with- out His guidance, and that the very hairs of your head are all numbered. How much more has this trying event been ordered and arranged by Him who loves you!
Infinite wisdom has appointed the whole!
Never doubt that He loves you when He the most deeply afflicts.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle on you.” Isa. 43:2
May He lift up upon you the light of His countenance, drawing you nearer to Himself, that you may see what a tender, loving heart He has for you, and how deeply and tenderly and considerately He cares for you, as if there
–32–

were not another poor sorrowful one to care for on the face of the whole earth! 6
CRUSH THIS FEARFUL, POWERFUL FOE!
Octavius Winslow, “The Holy Spirit”
“For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is
the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4 Faith then is the conquering grace!
Faith gives the victory!
Faith crushes this tremendous foe!
And how does faith overcome the world? By leading the believer to the cross of Jesus! True faith deals with its great object, Jesus.
It goes to Him in the conflict.
It goes to Him when hard pressed. It goes to Him in its weakness.
It goes to Him in deep distress.
On Him it leans, and through Him it always obtains the victory.
Of the martyrs it is recorded that they “overcame through the blood of the Lamb!”
Paul employs similar language in describing his victory: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14
It is faith in Christ that gives us the victory!
How could a feeble saint, with no strength or wisdom in himself, overcome so powerful and subtle an enemy as the world without supernatural aid?
–33–

He never could!
Look at the world! There are its ten thousand temptations….
its temptations of pleasure, its temptations of ambition, its temptations of wealth, its false religion,
its temporizing policy, its hollow friendship, its empty show,
its gay deceptions,
its ten thousand arts to ensnare, beguile, allure and charm.
Oh, how could one poor weak believer ever crush this fearful, powerful foe but as he is “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus”?
The cross of Christ gives him the victory!
Christ has already conquered the world, and faith in His blood will enable the feeblest soul to exclaim, while the enemy lies subdued at His feet, “Thanks be unto God, who always causes me to triumph in Christ.”
Reader! have you obtained the victory over the world, or has the world obtained the victory over you? One of the two is certain; either you are warring against it, or you are its passive and resistless victim; either you are “born of God,” and “have overcome the world,” or you are yet unregenerate, and the world has overcome you.
On whose side is the victory?
Perhaps you profess faith in the Lord Jesus, yet love the world, and conform to….
its maxims, its policy,
its principles,
–34–

its fashions,
its dress,
its amusements,
even its very religion—for the world has its hollow forms of religion.
Is it so?
Then hear what the Word of the Lord says to you. “Don’t love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love isn’t in him.” 1 John 2:15.
A solemn declaration for you, you who profess faith in Christ, and who are still lovers of the world!
You cannot love God, and love the world at the same time!
Do not be deceived!
The outward garb of religion will not save you!
The mere name, the empty lamp; these will avail you nothing when you come to die.
If the world has never been ejected from your heart, if you have never been crucified to it, then the love of God is not there; if the love of God is absent, then you are a stranger to the new birth.
6
THE CHRISTIAN JOURNEY
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
Life is a journey, often a short one, and always uncertain. But there is another journey.
The believer is traveling through a waste howling wilderness, to another and a glorious region, where ineffable delight and happiness await us.
–35–

The road is narrow, the entrance strait, so strait that thousands miss it and perish in the wilderness. But true believers, under the teaching and convoy of the Holy Spirit, find it and walk in it.
The King, in His infinite love and compassion, has made a hedge about them, separating and defending them from the many beasts of prey that lurk around them; and although they hear their howlings and behold their threatenings, they are safe from their power.
But their strongest foe is within themselves; a heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. From this there is no escape but by constant watchfulness, and earnest cries to their best Friend and Guide for protection.
Were it not for this faithful Guide, how often, discouraged by reason of the way, would they turn back! But He….
watches over them by night and by day, strengthens them when weak,
upholds them when falling,
encourages them when cast down, defends them when attacked,
provides for them when in need,
leads them by living streams, and
causes them there to lie down in pleasant pastures,
and on sunny banks.
And as they advance they obtain brighter views of the good land they are nearing, and they long to see the King in His beauty, and the land that is yet very far off, and to meet those that have already arrived on that happy shore.
6
–36–

SELF DIES!
Octavius Winslow,
“The Lights and Shadows of Spiritual Life”
Self is the first citadel of the soul against which Grace directs its battery.
Self-righteousness, self-trust, self-glorifying, must yield to the humbling, emptying power of the Spirit.
Self must be mortally wounded before Christ lives in us. The two sovereigns cannot reign at the same time and upon the same throne.
Self-righteousness, self-glorifying, self-seeking, must fall when Christ enters triumphantly to set up His kingdom, to erect His throne, and to subjugate all the powers and faculties of the soul to His own holy and gracious supremacy.
Oh what vigilance it demands, lest this wretched Self in us obtain a partial, or even a momentary, ascendancy!
The two principles; Self and Grace, are in deadly antagonism the one to the other in the regenerate.
In proportion as Christ lives in us, Self dies!
6
GRACE DENIAL?
Octavius Winslow, “The Glory of the Redeemer”
Be cautious of grace denial.
You will need much holy wisdom here, lest you overlook the work of the Spirit within you.
You have thought, it may be, of the glory that Christ receives from….
brilliant genius, and
profound talent, and
splendid gifts, and
–37–

glowing zeal, and
costly sacrifices, and even extensive usefulness.
But have you ever thought of the glory, the far greater, richer glory, that flows to Him from….
the contrite spirit,
the broken heart,
the lowly mind,
the humble walk;
the tear of godly repentance that falls when seen by no
human eye;
the sigh of godly sorrow that is breathed when heard
by no human ear;
the sin abhorrence;
the self loathing;
the deep sense of vileness, and poverty, and infirmity
that takes you to Jesus with the prayer: “Lord, here I am; I have brought to You….
my rebellious will,
my wandering heart,
my worldly affections,
my peculiar infirmity,
my besetting and constantly overpowering sin.
Receive me graciously, put forth the mighty power of Your grace in my soul, and subdue all, and rule all, and subjugate all to Yourself! Will it not be for Your glory, the glory of Your great name…..
if this strong corruption were subdued by Your grace; if this powerful sin were nailed to Your cross;
if this temper so volatile,
if this heart so impure,
if these affections so truant, if this mind so dark,
if these desires so earthly,
if these pursuits so carnal, if these aims so selfish,
–38–

were all entirely renewed by Your Spirit, sanctified by Your grace, and made each to reflect Your image? Yes, Lord, it would be for Your glory, through time and through eternity.”
6
LET YOUR DAILY HISTORY
Octavius Winslow, “The Glory of the Redeemer”
Take….
every corruption to His sanctifying grace;
every burden to His omnipotent arm;
every sorrow to His sympathizing heart;
every need to His overflowing fullness;
every wound to His healing hand;
every sin to His cleansing blood; and
every deformity to His all covering righteousness.
Live upon Jesus for spiritual supplies; live upon Him for temporal supplies.
Go to Him in dark providences, that you may be kept from sinking; go to Him in bright providences, that you may be kept from falling.
Go to Him when the path is rough, that you may walk in it contentedly; go to Him when the path is smooth, that you may walk in it surely.
Let your daily history be a traveling to Jesus empty, and a coming from Jesus filled. Taking to Him….
the corruption, as it is discovered; the guilt, as it rises;
the grief, as it is felt;
the trial, as it is experienced;
the wound, as it is received.
6
–39–

TRUE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
Octavius Winslow, “The Glory of the Redeemer”
There may be an undue, idolatrous, if not superstitious, attachment to, and reverence for, Christian ministers by churches and by individuals, the existence and growing extent of which demand a prompt and effectual check. The office of the Christian ministry is strangely misunderstood at the present time. By one part of the professing Church, the Christian minister is all but deified, and exalted into the place of God; so that multitudes, in the blindness of their superstitious attachment, worship him as God.
Seek to divest your mind of all unscriptural, super- stitious, and idolatrous views and feelings in reference to the nature and powers of the Christian ministry.
Remember it is but a human instrumentality, possessing no essential, inalienable grace or holiness of its own.
True Christian ministry disclaims all superstitious reverence, and rejects all idolatrous attachment and worship from the creature.
But the evil against which many of the Lord’s people need to be tenderly cautioned is that of undue exalting of, and the setting of the affections upon, the pastor. A Church may so vaunt itself of the talents, the gifts, the attainments, the popularity, and even the success of its pastor, as greatly to detract from the glory of God, grieve the Spirit, and seriously injure both itself and the object of its adulation.
How keenly is the spiritual mind pained by the humili- ating spectacle of ‘man worship’ which sometimes meets the eye! What applauding of human eloquence; what burning of incense at the shrine of human intellect and
–40–

genius; what vain boasting of profound learning, and brilliant talent, and popular gifts; while the infinitely weightier attributes of a holy, powerful, and useful min- istry, are lightly esteemed, if not totally dispensed with!
The evils which arise from this vain glorying in ‘men,’ and this undue admiration of, and exclusive attachment to, a particular order of ministerial character and fitness, are many and various.
The pastor should be received gratefully, as the Lord’s messenger, and esteemed very highly in love for his work’s sake. Yet hold him infinitely subordinate to Christ, and with a loose and gentle grasp.
Cherish a devout and grateful spirit for the precious and invaluable gift of a holy, affectionate, and useful minister; but rest not in him short of Jesus. Give to him his proper place in your affections and thoughts: a place infinitely beneath the adorable Son of God, God’s “unspeakable gift.”
6
CHEER UP!
Octavius Winslow, “The Glory of the Redeemer”
Child of God, are you fallen? Jesus bids you take hold of His strength.
Are you burdened? Jesus bids you cast that burden on His arm.
Are you wearied? Jesus bids you recline on Him for rest.
Does the world persecute you? Do your fellow Christians misunderstand and wrong you? Jesus bids you take refuge within the hallowed sanctuary of His own pierced and loving heart.
Do you need grace? Jesus bids you sink your empty
–41–

vessel beneath the depths of His ocean fullness, and draw freely more grace.
Whatever corruptions distress you,
whatever temptations assail you,
whatever adversity grieves you,
whatever cloud darkens you,
whatever necessity presses upon you—
as the watchful Shepherd, as the tender Brother, as the faithful Friend, as the great High Priest, Jesus bids you draw near, and repose in His love.
Oh, Jesus has a capacious bosom! There is room, there is a chamber in that heart for you, my Christian reader!
Do not think your lot is desolate, and lonely, and friendless.
Do not think that all have forsaken you, and that in sadness and in solitude you are threading your way through an intricate desert.
There is One….
who loves you,
who thinks of you,
who has His eye upon you,
and is at this moment guiding, upholding, and caring for you; that one is Jesus!
Oh that you could but look into His heart, and see how Jesus loves you; oh that you could but hear Him say, so gently, so earnestly, “Abide in My love!”
Cheer up! You are in Christ’s heart, and Christ is in your heart.
You are not alone—your God, even your Father, is with you.
Your Shepherd guides you; the Comforter spreads around you His wings, and heaven is bright before you.
–42–

Soon you will be there!
The pilgrim will soon repose his weary limbs;
the voyager will soon be moored in his harbor of rest; the warrior will soon put off his armor, and shout his song of triumph.
Then look up!
Christ is yours, God is yours, heaven is yours! If God is for you, who can be against you?
And if you find disappointment in ‘created good,’ it will but endear Jesus; and if you know more of the inward plague, it will but drive you to the atoning blood; and if you have storms and tempests, they will but shorten the voyage, and waft you the quicker to glory!
Cheer up!
“You did run well; who hindered you?” Galatians 5:7
To the reader conscious of secret declension in his soul,
we propose the same searching and tender inquiry. You did run well; who hindered you?
What stumbling block has fallen in your way? What has impeded your onward course?
What has…
enfeebled your faith,
chilled your love,
drawn your heart from Jesus, and
lured you back to the weak and beggarly elements of a
poor world?
6
IS IT WINTER WITH YOUR SOUL?
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
–43–

You set out fair; for a time you did run well; your zeal, and love, and humility gave promise of a useful life, of a glorious race, and of a successful competition for the prize; but something has hindered you.
What is it?
Is it….
the world,
creature love, covetousness,
ambition,
presumptuous sin, unmortified corruption, the old leaven unpurged?
Search it out!
Rest not until it be discovered.
Your declension is secret, perhaps the cause is secret; some spiritual duty secretly neglected, or some known sin secretly indulged. Search it out, and bring it to light.
You are not as you once were.
Your soul has lost ground;
the divine life has declined;
the fruit of the Spirit has withered;
the heart has lost its softness,
the conscience has lost its tenderness, the mind has lost its lowliness,
the throne of grace has lost its sweetness, the cross of Jesus has lost its attraction.
Oh, how sad and melancholy the change that has passed over you!
And have you not the consciousness of it in your soul? Where is the blessedness you spoke of?
–44–

Where is the sunlit countenance of a reconciled Father? Where are the rich moments spent before the cross?
Where are the hallowed seasons of communion in the closet, shut in with God?
Where is the voice of the turtledove, the singing of birds, the green pastures where you did feed, the still waters on whose banks you did repose?
Is it all gone?
Is it winter with your soul?
Ah! yes; your soul is made to feel that it is an evil and a bitter thing to depart from the living God.
ALAS! HOW WE FORGET!
Octavius Winslow, “No Condemnation in Christ Jesus”
Alas! how we forget that we are but strangers and pilgrims on the earth; that we are journeying to our eternal home, and will soon be there!
6
THE BEST SERMONS!
Spurgeon, “Christ the Glory of His People”
The best sermons are the sermons which are most full of Christ.
A sermon without Christ….
it is an awful, a horrible thing;
it is an empty well;
it is a cloud without rain;
it is a tree twice dead, plucked by the roots.
It is an abominable thing to give men stones for bread, and scorpions for eggs, and yet they do so who preach not Jesus.
6
–45–

A sermon without Christ! As well talk of a loaf of bread without any flour in it. How can it feed the soul?
Men die and perish because Christ is not there, and yet His glorious gospel is the easiest thing to preach, and the sweetest thing to preach; there is most variety in it, there is more attractiveness in it than in all the world besides!
6
ARISE, MY LOVE, MY FAIR ONE, AND COME AWAY
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
This world is not, and never was intended to be, our rest. It is a wilderness we are passing through, and shame, shame to us, that we so often want to sit down amid its weeds and briars, and amuse ourselves with the trifles of a fallen world lying in the wicked one. All here is polluted and tainted by sin; therefore does Christ say, “Arise, My love, My fair one, and come away.”
6
GOD IS MY SHEPHERD
From the writings of Mary Winslow
God is my Shepherd, and all my concerns are in His hands. Blessed, forever blessed, be His dear and holy name, who has looked with everlasting mercy on such a poor, vile sinner as me; and encouraged me with such sweet manifestations of His love, to trust my soul and all my interests in His hands!
6
CROWNS!
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
Oh, what is all the grandeur, wealth, and honor of this fleeting world, compared with the glory that awaits the
–46–

believer in Jesus? Kings and queens pass away, and leave their crowns; but the Christian goes to his, and wears it through eternity, ever bright, ever pure!
6
AWAY, YOU SONS OF ANTICHRIST!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Putting Away of Sin”
There is not a word anywhere in Scripture about any renewed and repeated sacrifice by Christ. The Romanists tell us that they continue to present the sacrifice of Christ in the unbloody sacrifice of the mass. But this is a mere invention of their priests! Away, you sons of Antichrist!
6
WHAT A PLACE MUST THAT BE!
from the writings of Mary Winslow
Let us keep our eye and our hearts upon our blessed home.
Earth is but a stage erected as our passage to the place Jesus has gone to prepare for us.
What a place must that be! which Infinite power and love has engaged to provide!
Oh, let us not lose sight of heaven for a moment.
How prone are we to allow our minds and hearts (treacherous hearts!) to become entangled with the baubles of a dying world. No wonder Christ exhorted us to watch and pray.
Heaven is our home; our happy home. We are but strangers and pilgrims here. Try and realize it.
–47–

Let us keep ourselves ready to enter with Him to the marriage supper of the Lamb. In a little while, and we shall see Him, not as the ‘Man of sorrows,’ but the ‘King in His beauty.’
Then let us fight against earth and all its false attractions, for it passes away.
BELOVED, SOON, O HOW SOON!
Octavius Winslow,
“Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul”
All that now loads the heart with care, and wrings it with sorrow; all that dims the eye with tears, and renders the day anxious and the night sleepless, will be as though it had never been!
Emerging from…. the entanglement, the dreariness, the solitude,
the loneliness, and
the temptations of the wilderness,
you shall enter upon your everlasting rest, your unfading inheritance, where there is….
no sorrow,
no declension,
no sin, no sunset,
no twilight,
no evening shadows, no midnight darkness,
but all is one perfect, cloudless, eternal day, for JESUS is the joy, the light, and the glory thereof!
“Now to Him who is able to keep them from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory in great joy, to God our Savior,
6
–48–

who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25
THE INFINITE OCEAN OF CHRIST’S LOVE!
Octavius Winslow, “The Sympathy of Christ”
The mind has often been sensible of a feeling of awe as we have stood upon the shore, and gazed upon the vast expanse of the ocean. With a similar, yet far transcend- ing emotion, we approach the infinite ocean of Christ’s love!
Like the eternity of God, we cannot fathom where His love begins, or where it terminates.
There is no other solution to the marvelous mysteries of His Incarnation and Sacrificial Death but this— Christ has loved us.
Love originated all, explains all, illustrates all. Love is the interpreter of every Divine mystery.
There is not a circumstance of our Lord’s history which is not another form or manifestation of love.
His incarnation is love stooping. His sympathy is love weeping.
His compassion is love supporting. His grace is love acting.
His teaching is the voice of love. His silence is the repose of love. His patience is the restraint of love. His obedience is the labor of love. His suffering is the travail of love. His cross is the altar of love.
His death is the burnt offering of love.
His resurrection is the triumph of love.
His ascension into heaven is the enthronement of love.
6
–49–

His sitting down at the right hand of God is the intercession of love.
Such is the deep, the vast, the boundless ocean of Christ’s love! The soul muses in silent awe as it gazes upon this fathomless, limitless sea!
Nothing short of a divine love could or would have borne our sins, and the punishment of our sins. The weight of the one, and the terribleness of the other, would have crushed and annihilated a mere ‘created’ affection. There existed no love but the love of Jesus equal to the work of salvation.
Who was willing, who was able, to bear that heavy load, to endure that overwhelming curse, but Jesus?
Oh, think, beloved reader, what the love of Christ has done and suffered for you….
the burden it bore,
the sorrow it felt,
the humiliation it underwent,
the insults,
the ignominy,
the privation through which it traveled; its groans, its sighs,
its tears,
its darkness,
how inconceivably it agonized,
how freely it bled, how voluntarily it died, the sins it has pardoned,
the guilt it has cleansed,
the declensions it has restored,
the backslidings it has healed,
the sorrows it has soothed,
the patience it has exercised,
the gentleness it has exhibited,
–50–

and then ask, could any other but the love of Jesus have done all this, and endured all this?
Such is the love of Christ!
To have saved us upon such terms—a stoop so low, a humiliation so profound, a labor so immense, mental anguish so acute, bodily suffering so agonizing, a death so ignominious—was ever love like this?
Was it ever equaled? Where shall we find its parallel?
Love less divine, less strong, less gentle, could never have won your heart, uprooted your enmity, tore you from your idols; enthroning Christ, all of Christ, Christ only, Christ supremely, Christ forever!
The love of Christ will be the wonder, the study, and the song of all pure, holy intelligences through eternity!
Beloved, nothing shall take the love of Christ from you, or separate you from it. It does not ebb with the ebbing of your feelings; it does not chill with the chill of your affections; it does not change with the changing scenes and circumstances of your life.
The love of Christ has depths we cannot sound, heights we cannot explore, an infinite fullness and freeness tiding over all the sins, infirmities, and sorrows of its blessed and favored objects.
Seek to know this love of Christ, though it is so vast that it ‘passes knowledge.’ Infinite though it is, you may experience its reality, taste its sweetness, and be influenced by its all commanding, all constraining power.
Do not limit your heart experience of Christ’s love, for it is infinite in its nature, and boundless in its extent.
As yet, how many of us stand but upon the shore of this ocean! How little do we know, experimentally, of the love of Christ in our souls!
–51–

Bring your heart with….
its profoundest emptiness,
its most startling discovery of sin, its lowest frame,
its deepest sorrow,
and sink it into the depths of the Savior’s love!
That infinite sea will flow over all, erase all, absorb all, and your soul shall swim and sport amid its gentle waves, exclaiming in your joy and transport, “Oh, the depths!”
The Lord direct your heart into the love of God! Just as it is…
hard, cold, fickle, sinful, sad and sorrowful.
Christ’s love touching your hard heart, will dissolve it!
Christ’s love touching your cold heart, will warm it!
Christ’s love touching your sinful heart, will purify it!
Christ’s love touching your sorrowful heart, will soothe it!
Christ’s love touching your wandering heart, will draw it back to Himself.
Only bring your heart to Christ’s love!
Believe that He loves you, and just as love begets love, so the simple belief in the love of Jesus will inspire you with a reflected, responsive affection; and your soul, like the flower, will burst from its captivity, and bloom, and, soaring in life, liberty, and beauty, will float in the
–52–

sunbeams of Gods full, free, and eternal love; and, in a little while, will find itself in heaven, where all is love!
“Blessed Jesus! Your love, like Your agonies, is an unknown and unfathomable depth! It passes knowledge. Let it rise and expand before me, until it fills the entire scope of my soul’s vision; occupies every niche of my heart; and bears me onward by its all commanding, all constraining influence, in the path of a holy loving obedience and surrender.”
“…to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God.”
Ephes. 3:19
6
HOW EMPTYING, HUMBLING, AND ABASING!
Octavius Winslow, “The Glory of the Redeemer”
Cultivate frequent and devout contemplations of the glory of Christ. Immense will be the benefit accruing to your soul. The mind thus preoccupied, filled, and expanded, will be enabled to present a stronger resistance to the ever advancing and insidious encroachments of the world.
No place will be found for vain thoughts, and no desire or time for carnal enjoyments.
Oh, how crucifying and sanctifying are clear views of the glory of Emmanuel!
How emptying, humbling, and abasing!
With the patriarch, we then exclaim, “I abhor myself, and
repent in dust and ashes.”
And with the prophet, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, My eyes have seen the King.”
–53–

And with the apostle, “But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Oh, then, aim to get your mind filled with enlarged and yet expanding views of the glory of the Redeemer.
Let it, in all the discoveries it affords of the Divine mind and majesty, be the one subject of your thoughts, the one theme of your conversation.
Place no limit to your knowledge of Christ.
Ever consider that you have but read the preface to the volume; you have but touched the fringe of the sea. Stretching far away beyond you, are undiscovered beauties, and precious views, and sparkling glories, each encouraging your advance, inviting your research, and asking the homage of your faith, the tribute of your love, and the dedication of your life.
Go forward, then!
The glories that yet must be revealed to you in a growing knowledge of Jesus, what imagination can conceive, what pen can describe them?
“You shall see greater things than these,” is the promise that bids you advance.
Jesus stands ready to unveil all the beauties of His person, and to admit you into the very arcade of His love. There is not a chamber of His heart that He will not throw open to you; not a blessing that He will not bestow upon you; not a glory that He will not show to you.
You shall see greater things than you have yet seen: greater depths of sin in your fallen nature shall be revealed; deeper sense of the cleansing efficacy of the atoning blood shall be felt; clearer views of your acceptance in the Beloved; greater discoveries of God’s
–54–

love; and greater depths of grace and glory in Jesus shall be enjoyed. Your communion with God shall be closer, and more the fruit of adopting love in your heart; your feet shall be as hinds’ feet, and you shall walk on your high places. Your “peace shall flow as a river, and your righteousness as the waves of the sea.”
Sorrow shall wound you less deeply; affliction shall press you less heavily; tribulation shall affect you less keenly; all this, and infinitely more, will result from your deeper knowledge of Jesus.
Ah, wonder not that the heaving, panting, thirsting soul of the apostle exclaimed, “Yes most assuredly, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ….that I may know Him,” Philip. 3:8,10
6
THE HAPPY SECRET OF RETAINING OUR MERCIES!
Octavius Winslow, “The Glory of the Redeemer”
The happy secret of retaining our mercies is to receive and enjoy Christ in them; to turn every blessing bestowed into an occasion of knowing, and loving, and enjoying more of Jesus; apart from whom, poor indeed were the most costly blessing.
Blessed indeed would our blessings then be!
Leading our affections up to God; giving us a deeper insight into a Father’s love; laying us lower in the dust at His feet; filling the spirit with secret contrition and tender brokenness, the heart with adoring love, the mouth with grateful praise; endearing the channel through which it descends, and the mercy seat at which it was sought and given; encouraged and stimulated by
–55–

the gift, to devote person, time, influence, and property, more simply and unreservedly, to the glory of God; then should we keep a longer possession of our sanctified blessing, nor fear the thought, nor shrink from the prospect of its removal; or, if removed, we should be quite satisfied to have God alone as our portion and our all.
6
THE TYRANT OF THE SOUL!
Octavius Winslow, “The Glory of the Redeemer”
“What a wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of the body of this death?” Romans 7:24
Oh, what a cumbrance is this body of sin!
Its corruptions, its infirmities, its weaknesses, its ailments,
its diseases,
all conspire to render it the tyrant of the soul, if grace does not keep it under and bring it into subjection as its slave.
How often, when the mind would pursue its favorite study, the wearied and overtasked body enfeebles it!
How often, when the spirit would expatiate and soar in its contemplations of and in its communings with God, the inferior nature detains it by its weight, or occupies it with its needs!
How often, when the soul thirsts for Divine knowledge, and the heart pants for holiness, its highest aspirations and its strongest efforts are discouraged and thwarted by the clinging infirmities of a corrupt and suffering humanity!
–56–

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord, Jesus Christ; who will change the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory…..” Philip. 3:20-21
Then, oh then, shall we be perfectly like Christ.
“But we know that, when He is revealed, we will be like
Him; for we will see Him just as He is.” 1 John 3:2
Like Him in the spotless purity of the mind, like Him in
the perfect beauty of the body.
Transporting thought!
6
THIS LITTLE IDOL?
Octavius Winslow, “The Sympathy of Christ”
To affirm, as the Scriptures of truth positively do, that mankind is originally and totally depraved, is but to portray it with every feature of its pristine nobleness, purity, and excellence utterly spoiled!
Mankind has become the living embodiment, the acting impersonation, the very incarnation of fallen SELF-love; SELF-love in the form of complete SELFishness.
The original Center of the soul forsaken, man had become a center to himSELF.
The god he worshiped, was the deification of SELF.
The religion he professed, was the adoration of SELF.
The powers he cultivated were consecrated to SELF.
His whole existence was one act of service and devotion to SELF.
The Divine Center abandoned, He knew no other god, acknowledged no other sufficiency, recognized no other end than himSELF.
–57–

Every faculty and thought, every affection and action, was made to contribute to the cloud of incense which rose as in one dense column before this little idol, SELF.
SELF the first; SELF the last; SELF all in all!
And is it not so now?
SELF, in some shape, is still the Deity of the natural man!
SELFishness is still the universal sin of our nature, exhibited in one or more of its thousand modifications, its endless forms.
All are in pursuit either of wealth, or ambition, or pleasure, or honor, or gratification under the ‘law of SELFishness.’
SELF is the only recognized principle and rule of action which regulates the conduct of the great majority of our depraved species.
The indictment is heavy, the picture is dark, the sin is awful, we admit; but it is borne out by daily obser- vation and frequent experience, and by the faithful, unerring Word of God, “All men seek their own.”
What, we ask, is all this….
this SELF exaltism?
this egotism?
this envy and jealousy?
this attempt to supplant others in esteem, influence,
and power?
this prodigality and love of worldly show? this eager chase of wealth?
this covetousness and penuriousness? this love of ease and sloth?
this niggardly dole of charity?
–58–

this cruel, heartless, grinding oppression? this growing sensuality and crime?
What, we ask, is all this, and a thousand times more, but the one appalling, cancerous sin of SELFishness existing in the very heart of depravity, and sending its fatal poison along all the fibers of human society?
6
WE RESOLVE THAT THE MURDERERS SHALL DIE!
from Dagg’s “Manual of Theology”
It may be profitable to linger yet a little time at the cross, that we may again survey its glory, and feel its soul-subduing power.
In the cross of Christ, all the divine perfections are gloriously and harmoniously displayed. Infinite love, inviolable truth, and inflexible justice are all seen, in their brightest and most beautifully mingled colors. The heavens declare the glory of God; but the glory of the cross outshines the wonders of the skies. God’s moral perfections are here displayed, which are the highest glory of His character.
The cross of Christ is our only hope of life everlasting. On Him who hangs there, our iniquities were laid, and from His wounds flows the blood that cleanses from all sin. Our faith views the bleeding victim, and peacefully relies on the great atoning sacrifice. It views mercy streaming from the cross; and to the cross it comes to obtain every needed blessing.
In the cross, the believer finds the strongest motive to holiness. As we stand before it, and view the exhibition of the Savior’s love, we resolve to live to Him who died for us.
The world ceases to charm.
–59–

We become crucified to the world, and the world crucified to us.
Sin appears infinitely hateful. We regard it as the accursed thing which caused the death of our beloved Lord; and we grow strong in the purpose to wage against it an exterminating war. By all the Savior’s agonies, we vow to have no peace with it forever.
The cross is the place for penitential tears.
We look on Him whom we have pierced, and mourn.
Our hearts bleed at the sight of the bleeding sufferer, murdered by our sins; and we resolve that the murderers shall die!
The cross is a holy place, where we learn to be like Christ, to hate sin as He hated it, and to delight in the law of God which was in His heart.
In the presence of the cross, we feel that omnipotent grace has hold of our heart; and we surrender to dying love. The doctrine of the cross needs no other demonstration of its divine origin, than its power to sanctify the heart, and bring it into willing and joyful subjection to Christ.
6
WE MUST NOT EXPECT MUCH IN THIS BASE WORLD
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
All our richest blessings are to come. This world is but a preparatory state. We are disciplining and preparing for the glorious inheritance above. But how often, through wretched unbelief, we seem to wish to have our all here. And although, from bitter experience, we feel and acknowledge that this poor world is polluted, and it is not our rest, yet more or less we go on, often repining, because we cannot have things just as we
–60–

wish. Oh, to leave ourselves in a loving, tender Father’s hands! He knows what we need, and what we ought to have, and will deny us no good thing. But He must judge for us, who are but as babes, who cannot judge for ourselves.
6
THE DIAMONDS OF HEAVEN!
by Spurgeon
“Behold, he prays.” Acts 9:11 Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven.
The moment Saul began to pray the Lord heard him. Here is comfort for the distressed, but praying soul. Oftentimes a poor brokenhearted one bends his knee, but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears; yet that groan has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music; that tear has been caught by God and treasured in the lachrymatory of heaven. “You put my tears into your bottle,” implies that they are caught as they flow.
The suppliant, whose fears prevent his words, will be well understood by the Most High. He may only look up with misty eye; but “prayer is the falling of a tear.”
Tears are the diamonds of heaven!
Sighs are a part of the music of Jehovah’s court, and are numbered with “the most sublime strains that reach the majesty on high.”
Think not that your prayer, however weak or trembling, will be unregarded.
Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it. “He forgets not the cry of the humble.” True, He regards not high looks and lofty words; He cares not for the pomp and pageantry of kings; He listens not to the
–61–

swell of martial music; He regards not the triumph and pride of man; but wherever there is a heart big with sorrow, or a lip quivering with agony, or a deep groan, or a penitential sigh, the heart of Jehovah is open; He marks it down in the registry of His memory. He puts our prayers, like rose leaves, between the pages of His book of remembrance, and when the volume is opened at last, there shall be a precious fragrance springing up therefrom.
6
OH LOVELY POSTURE!
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“But if we discerned ourselves, we wouldn’t be judged.” 1 Corinthians 11:31
Self-condemnation averts God’s condemnation.
When a penitent sinner truly, humbly, graciously sits in judgment upon himself, the Lord will never sit in judgment upon him.
The penitent publican, who stood afar off, wrapped in the spirit of self-condemnation, retired from His presence a justified man.
The proud, self-righteous Pharisee, who marched boldly to the altar and justified himself, went forth from God’s presence a condemned man.
When God sees a penitent sinner arraigning, judging, condemning, loathing himself, He exclaims, “I do not condemn you; go and sin no more.” He who judges and condemns himself upon God’s footstool, shall be acquitted and absolved from God’s throne.
The Lord give unto us this secret spirit of self-judgment.
Such was Job’s, when in deep contrition he declared, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
–62–

Such was David’s, when he penitentially confessed, “Against You, You only have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.”
Such was Peter’s, when he vehemently exclaimed, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
Such was Isaiah’s, when he plaintively cried, “Woe is me, for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.”
Such was the publican’s, when he humbly prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
Oh lovely posture!
Oh sacred spirit of self-abhorrence, of self- condemnation!
The Holy Spirit works it in the heart, and this stamps it as so precious, so salutary, and so safe. The great day of the Lord will unveil blessings passing all thought, and glories passing all imagination, to the soul who beneath the cross lies prostrate, in the spirit of self- condemnation.
The judgment day of the self-condemning soul is on this side of eternity! While the judgment day of the self-justifying soul is on the other side of eternity!
And oh, how terrible will that judgment be!
6
HE HAS GUIDED OUR FEET THERE!
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
Broad is the road to destruction, and many go therein; narrow is the road that leads to glory, and there are few, comparatively, who find it, happy few! And, oh, what a mercy that He has guided our feet there!
Our souls and bodies ought to be devoted to Him, to glorify Him for His distinguishing grace! For what are
–63–

we more than others, that He should fix His everlasting love upon us while we were dead in trespasses and in sins?
Blessed be God, who passes by so many, and who has deigned to look upon us who were lying as others, dead in sin. Infinite in sovereignty, infinite in goodness, infinite in power! Why He passes by some and calls others is only known to Himself.
But He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy.
Blessed, forever blessed, be His adored name!
Oh, for grace to serve Him better, and to love Him more!
6
THE SIGHTS AND SHOWS OF THIS PERISHING WORLD!
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
I wonder what business a man, declaring himself sent of God to lead poor sinners to Christ, has to do with the sights and shows of this perishing world!
How can he exhort his flock to live above the world and all its vanities, while he himself is going after them?
I cannot understand some Christians, and they do not understand me. I may be wrong; but when I read, “Come out from among them, and be separate;” “Do not love not the world, nor the things that are in the world;” and many other such solemn exhortations, I realize the way a believer in Christ should live, and have only to regret I so often wander from it myself.
Oh, how the world, with all its cares, crowds upon the poor pilgrim, even in his most solemn moments!
6
–64–

THE WORLD AND ITS NOTHINGS!
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
The world and its ‘nothings’ are often a sad snare to God’s saints.
Oh that by faith we may overcome it all, and keep close to Jesus!
We are not of the world.
Let us try and not attend to its gewgaws!
Keep a more steadfast, unwavering eye upon Christ. He has gone a little before us, and stands beckoning us to follow.
Live for eternity!
Let go your hold upon the world!
Receive this exhortation from an aged pilgrim, who, as she nears the solemn scenes of eternity, and more realizes the inexpressible joys that await us there, is anxious that all the believers who are traveling the same road might have their hearts and minds more disentangled from earth and earthly things, and themselves unreservedly given to Christ.
Let us aim in all things to follow Him who, despising this world’s show, left us an example how we should walk. Dearest Jesus! help Your pilgrims to live more like pilgrims, above a poor dying world, and more in full view of the glory that awaits them when they shall see You face to face!
Have your lamp trimmed and brightly burning, for every day and every hour brings us nearer and nearer to
our home!
6
–65–

A DEADLY SNARE, A FATAL ROCK!
Octavius Winslow, “The Sympathy of Christ”
The world is great cause of apostasy from a religious profession. It is a deadly snare, a fatal rock to many a towering professor. Its seductions are so powerful, its disguise so successful, its pleas so plausible, its eddies so numerous, its vortex so powerful and absorbing, few who profess to have come out of and to have renounced it forever, escape from its entire enthrallment, and hold on their Christian course of daily dying to its fascination and power.
Oh, what a snare to the Christian profession is the ungodly world! And is there not, at the present moment, cause for alarm at the growing encroachment of the world upon the professing Church of Christ?
We verily think so.
What means this….
eager pursuit of wealth,
this love of display,
this extravagance of living,
this conformity to the world in a hundred different ways, so conspicuous and so increasing among Christian professors?
Wherein, but in an outward profession, do these avowed disciples of the Crucified differ from the unregenerate, ungodly, world around them?
If these are true disciples of Christ, where are we to look for the worldlings?
If these are worldlings, where are we to look for the true followers of Christ?
The Church in its worldly conformity, looks so like the world, and the world in its religious forms, looks so
–66–

like the Church, we are at times embarrassed where to look for the one or for the other. But this amalgamation
must not be!
6
THE LIGHT, FRIVOLOUS, FROTHY LITERATURE OF THE DAY!
Octavius Winslow, “The Precious Things of God”
Christian, guard against the light, frivolous, frothy literature of the day. It will lessen your conviction of what is true; it will depreciate the value of what is divine; it will impair your taste for what is spiritual; and it will bring poverty, barrenness, and death into your soul.
God speaks to you from every paragraph and sentence of this Holy Book. It is His voice that we hear, His signature that we behold, His ineffable glory, which, the more it is viewed in this bright mirror, may the more powerfully command our wonder and praise.
Oh that power might come down upon us from the Spirit of truth and grace, and beams from the Sun of righteousness break in upon our minds as we contemplate the intrinsic glories of the Bible! Let the truth and weight of these revelations sink deep into your ears.
Christian, you should have a thousand fold deeper interest in the Bible than in any other, or all other books. This Book offers to you that which most you need, that which is infinitely more to you than all other things—glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life.
We cannot but look upon the prevailing indifference with which the Word of God is regarded, as one of the evils over which we are loudly called to mourn.
–67–

You send the Bible to the ignorant and destitute, you carry it to every cottage and waft it to every country, and thanks to God that you do so. But to what extent is it studied in your churches, read in your families, taught to your children?
There is no surer evidence of living without God, than living without intimate communion with the Bible.
GOD’S PROMISES!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Three Precious Things” “…He has granted to us His precious and exceedingly great
promises…” 2 Peter 1:4
God’s promises are precious because they tell of exceedingly great and precious things. We have promises in the Bible which time would fail us to repeat, which for breadth and length are immeasurable.
They deal with every great thing which the soul can need….
promises of pardoned sin, promises of sanctification, promises of teaching, promises of guidance, promises of upholding, promises of ennobling, promises of progress, promises of consolation, and promises of perfection.
In this blessed book you have….
promises of the daily bread of earth; promises of the bread of life from heaven; promises for time;
promises for eternity.
6
–68–

You have so many promises, that all the conditions and positions of the believer are met. I sometimes liken the promises to the locksmith’s great bunch of keys, which he brings when you have lost the key of your treasure chest, and cannot unlock it. He feels pretty sure that out of all the keys upon the ring some one or other will fit, and he tries them with patient industry. At last! yes! that is it, he has moved the bolt, and you can get at your treasures!
There is always a promise in the volume of inspiration suitable to your present case.
Make the Lord’s promises your delight and your counselors, and they will befriend you at every turn.
Search the Scriptures, and you shall meet with a promise which will be so applicable to you as to appear to have been written after your trouble had occurred! So exactly will it apply, that you will be compelled to marvel at the wonderful tenderness and suitableness of it.
As if the tailor had measured you from head to foot, so exactly shall the garment of the promise befit you.
The promises are precious in themselves…. from their suitability to us,
from their coming from God,
from their being immutable,
from their being sure of performance, and
from their containing wrapped up within themselves
all that the children of God can ever need.
6
THE ASSEMBLAGE OF GRACES FOUND ONLY IN JESUS
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “How God Condemned Sin”
Such are the assemblage of graces found only in Jesus, each sparkling with peerless luster, and all blending
–69–

with such exquisite gracefulness that we are at once moved with awe and touched with love as we contemplate Him.
Such majesty, yet such meekness in His demeanor. Such solemnity, yet such tenderness in His speech. So impartial in judgment, yet so forgiving in temper. So full of zeal, yet so equally full of patience.
So keen to detect malice, yet so slow to resent it. Such a wise mentor, yet such a gentle sympathizing
friend.
Jesus was perfectly innocent, harmless, gentle, meek, loving, tender.
All His words were love.
All His actions were kindness.
We would never commit a sin, if we would but first say to ourselves, “Would Jesus have done this?”
ALAS! HOW WE FORGET….
Octavius Winslow, “No Condemnation in Christ Jesus”
Alas! how we forget….
that we are but strangers and pilgrims on the earth; that we are journeying to our home; and
that we will soon be there!
6
THE SOLUTION OF YOUR DIFFICULTY!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Method and Music, or The Art of Holy and Happy Living”
We should do all under the sanction of the Lord Jesus as our example. It is an admirable course for us all to pursue, if when we find ourselves in circumstances of perplexity we ask ourselves the question, “What would
6
–70–

Jesus have done if He were in my circumstances?” The answer to that question is the solution of your difficulty. Whatever He would have done it will be safe enough for you to do.
Alas! my brethren, the current holiness of the church falls far below the scriptural standard!
The royal rule for a Christian is not what is fashionable, for we are not to be conformed to this world; nor what is gainful, for the pursuit of gain would lead us to run greedily in the way of Balaam for reward; nor that which is generally prescribed in society, for full often the prescriptions of society are antagonistic to the teachings of Christ; nor even the conduct of professors is such as we could safely follow.
A safe example is to be found nowhere but in the life of Jesus Christ Himself! Even the holiest of men are only to be followed so far as they follow Christ, but no further.
My brethren, how calm will your hearts be, how serenely will you face your afflictions if you can feel, “I have done nothing but what my Master did before me; I have sought to tread in the footprints of His pilgrimage!”
6
A HEAP OF OSTENTATIOUS SERVICE!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Martha and Mary”
There is a considerable tendency among Christian people, in serving Christ, to aim at making a fair show in the flesh.
Among professing Christians, there is a desire to build church buildings notable for their architecture and beauty. We must have no more barns! Our meeting houses must exhibit our improving taste! If possible,
–71–

our chapels must be correctly Gothic or sternly classical in all their details, both without and within!
As to the service, we must cultivate the musical and the tasteful. We must not be barely decent, but aim at the sublime and beautiful.
Our public worship, it is thought, should be impressive if not imposing. Care should be taken that the music and singing be conformed to the best rules of the art, and the preaching eloquent and attractive.
Brethren, there is something better to be aimed at than the outward and the external.
We judge no man, yet we fear the tendency is to imagine that mere externals are precious in the Master’s sight.
Jesus counts it a very small matter whether your church building is a cathedral or a barn!
To the Savior it is small concern whether you have organs or whether you have not; or whether you sing after the choicest rules of psalmody or not. Jesus looks at your hearts, and if these ascend to Him, He accepts the praise.
Jesus would be better pleased with a grain of love, than with a heap of ostentatious service!
All that you can give to Christ in any shape or form will not be so dear to Him as…
the offering of your fervent love; the clinging of your humble faith; the reverence of your adoring souls.
Do not neglect the spiritual for the sake of the external; or else you will be throwing away gold to gather to yourself iron; you will be pulling down the palaces of marble that you may build for yourselves hovels of clay.
6
–72–

A FILTHY, STINKING BAG OF WORMS!
by Martin Luther
I desire above all things that my name should be concealed, and that none be called by the name of Lutheran; but of Christian. What is Luther? My doctrine is not mine, but Christ’s. I was not crucified for any. How comes it to pass, that I, who am but a filthy, stinking bag of worms; that any of the sons of God should be denominated from my name? Away with these schismatical names! Let us be denominated from Christ, from whom alone we have our doctrine.
6
“Every Christian family ought to be, as it were, a little church consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by His rules.”—Jonathan Edwards 6
VEGETATING IN SELFISHNESS?
Octavius Winslow, “The Sympathy of Christ”
Every believer, however limited and veiled from human eye his sphere of life, will create a public sentiment respecting his individual self. His relations, his friends, his neighbors, will form their opinion of his character, doings, and life.
Few pass through life incognito to eternity!
Few slide through society unseen, unnoticed, unfelt.
Each individual Christian should especially live for an object. He should so live as to make his talents, influ- ence, and example tell upon the present and eternal well being of all with whom He comes in contact.
“No man lives to himself.” As a light, He is to shine!
–73–

As salt, He is to influence!
As a witness, He is to testify for Christ.
In a world like this, where there is…. so much evil to correct,
so much temptation to resist,
so much sorrow to soothe,
so much need to supply,
so much misery to counteract, so much ignorance to instruct, so much good to be done,
none need be all the day idle, dreaming away existence, vegetating in selfishness, not living for man or laboring for God.
Oh, be an earnest, active Christian! Be up and doing!
Life is too real, too solemn, too responsible, for sluggishness, inactivity, and selfishness!
We are gliding down the stream onward to eternity!
Shall we spend our fleeting moments in grasping at the floating straw, when for every moment and act of our present course we shall soon be cited at Christ’s bar for scrutiny and judgment?
Souls are perishing!
Ignorance of the gospel is prevailing! Iniquity is abounding!
Satan is unslumbering!
Death plies its scythe, and the grave yawns each moment, and an eternity of bliss or of woe is gathering at every stroke of the pendulum, deathless beings to its bosom!
Shall we not, then, be active and earnest in a world like
this?
6
–74–

BAPTIZED DEAD HEADS?
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Method and Music, or the Art of Holy and Happy Living”
Too many church members do very little for Jesus!
It is frightfully true that numbers of professors are just so many baptized dead heads! They are of no use. They are not working. Perhaps grumbling is the only sign of life they have. But they are neither giving of their sub- stance nor laying out any other talents in the cause of Christ.
6
CHANGEFUL AND CHEQUERED
Octavius Winslow
“I will sing of lovingkindness and justice. To You, O Lord, I
will sing praises.” Psalm 101:1
The believer’s life is changeful and chequered. The path along which he is retracing his steps back to paradise is paved with stones of variegated hues. And yet, painfully diversified as are often the events in his history, that very diversity is as essential to the symmetry and completeness of his Christian character as are different shades of coloring to the perfection of a picture, or as opposite notes in music are to the creation of harmony.
6
HOW CAN YOU SAVE SOULS WITHOUT A COMMITTEE?
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Martha and Mary”
The idea of sending out a missionary with a few dollars in hand is set down in many quarters as absurd. How can you save souls without a committee? Don’t you know that without a committee you can do nothing?
–75–

O for apostolic simplicity, going everywhere preaching the word, and consecrating the labor of every believer to soul winning! The power of deep piety is the one essential qualification for holy work.
6
WITHOUT A BOTTOM?
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Away with Fear”
“Look,” said the ambassador of France to the Spanish ambassador as he took him into the French king’s treasury, “Look at my master’s gold; how rich he is!”
The Spanish ambassador took his walking stick and began to thrust it down into the bags and into the money chest.
“What do you do that for?” said the Frenchman. “I want to see if there is a bottom to it,” said he.
“Oh!” said the French ambassador, “of course there is a bottom.”
“Ah!” said the Spaniard, “my master’s treasury has no bottom, for he has all the mines of Mexico and Peru.”
Now, what the Spaniard said boastfully, we may say truthfully. The treasury of our God is without a bottom, it is fathomless!
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with
Christ.” Romans 8:17
A MOTHER MAY FORGET
by Mary Winslow
Oh, how faintly do we realize the wondrous blessings that await us; the fullness of joy, and the pleasures that are at God’s right hand!
6
–76–

Would that we lived up to them!
This passing world engrosses too much our thoughts and time, that we forget the Lord is caring for us, ordering all our concerns in such a way as that we need be anxious for nothing; and all we have to do is to rest upon Him as little helpless children would do upon the tenderest mother.
A mother may forget, yet He will not forget us!
6
MR. EVANS?
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
I never knew a man who seemed to find his way to one’s heart as Mr. Evans does in his preaching. He arrests your attention, instructs your mind, and captivates your heart. Oh, what a precious gospel we hear; doctrinal, practical, and experimental religion beautifully blended!
6
LAY YOUR HEAD ON HIS BOSOM, AND DISCLOSE YOUR DEEPEST SORROW
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“Surely He has borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows.” Isaiah 53:4
In order to the perfection of His character as the High Priest of His people, as the Brother born for adversity, in order to be “touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” He must Himself suffer. He must know from painful experience what sorrow meant; what a wounded spirit and a broken bleeding heart, a burdened and a beclouded mind, were. In this school He must be taught, and disciplined, and trained; He must “learn
–77–

obedience by the things which He suffered;” He must be made “perfect through sufferings.”
And oh, how deeply has He been taught, and how thoroughly has He been trained, and how well has He learned thus to sympathize with a suffering Church!
You have gone, it may be, with your trouble to your earthly friend; you have unfolded your tale of woe, have unveiled every feeling and emotion. But, ah! how have the vacant countenance, the wandering eye, the listless air, the cold response, told you that your friend, with all his love, could not enter into your case! The care that darkened your brow had never shaded his; the sorrow that lacerated your heart had never touched his; the cup you were drinking he had never tasted.
What was lacking?
Sympathy, growing out of an identity of circumstance.
You have gone to another; He has trod that path before you, He has passed through that very trouble, His spirit has been accustomed to grief, His heart schooled in trial, sorrow in some of its acutest forms has been His companion; and now He is prepared to bend upon you a melting eye, to lend an attentive ear and a feeling heart, and to say, “Brother, I have known all, I have felt all, I have passed through all; I can sympathize with all.”
That Friend of friends, that Brother of brothers, is Jesus.
He has gone before you; He has left a fragrance on the brim of that very cup of sorrow you are now drinking. He has bedewed with tears and left the traces of His blood on that very path along which you are now walking. He has been taught in that very school in which you are now learning.
–78–

Then what encouragement to take your case, in the sweet simplicity of faith, and lay it before the Lord! To go and tell Jesus, confessing to Him, and over Him, the sin which has called forth the chastisement, and then the grief which that chastisement has occasioned.
What a wonderful High Priest is Jesus!
As the bleeding Sacrifice, you may lay your hand of faith upon His head, and acknowledge your deepest guilt.
And, as the merciful Priest, you may lay your head on His bosom, and disclose your deepest sorrow.
O my precious Savior! must You sink to this deep humiliation, and endure this bitter suffering, in order to enter into my lonely sorrow!
6
WEEP NOT! GRIEVE NOT! FEAR NOT! TREMBLE NOT!
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“There remains, then, a rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9
Not yet come to the heavenly rest, we still are approaching it, and, oh ecstatic thought! We shall reach it at last!
Are you bereaved? Weep not! Earth has one tie the less, and heaven has one tie more!
Are you impoverished of earthly substance? Grieve not! Your imperishable treasure is in heaven!
Are you sailing over dark and stormy waters? Fear not! The rising flood but lifts your ark the higher and nearer the mount of perfect safety and endless rest!
Are you battling with disease, conscious that life is ebbing and eternity is nearing? Tremble not! There is
–79–

light and music in your lonely and shaded chamber; the dawn and the chimings of your heavenly home!
“I am going home! Transporting thought! True, I leave an earthly one, all so sweet and attractive, but I exchange it for a heavenly one infinitely brighter, more sacred and precious. I am going to Jesus! to the Church Triumphant! to Apostles, Prophets, and Martyrs! to my dear saved ones who line the shore on the other side, prepared to welcome me there. Death, from which I have so often recoiled, is but the triumphal arch through which I pass into ‘my Father’s house.’ Oh, how bright a risen Christ has made it!”
6
OUR SINS!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Putting Away of Sin” “He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do
away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Hebrews 9:26
Our sins trail their horrid length athwart many years.
Our sins are aggravated, they are ‘piled up’ sins.
Our sins are against light and knowledge, against conscience, against vows and resolution.
Our sins are sins repeated after we had tasted of their bitterness.
Our sins are foul sins, sins it may be of the sort which bring the blush to the cheek.
Our sins made us toss on our beds as we remembered them with dread, and yet sins that we returned to as the dog returns to its vomit.
Oh! our monster sins, our horrible sins, our damnable sins!
Hell itself cannot put our sins away! There are the devil
–80–

and his angels for whom hell was made, for whom the fire was first kindled, and its pit first digged; but they are as great sinners after these six thousand years as they were when first they were cast down from heaven!
And so those lost ones whose spirits have been in hell since the time of Noah’s flood, they are still sinners, and after all the ages of suffering they have endured, not a sin less is upon them now than there was at first!
Ah, dreadful thought!
If you are ever cast into hell, though ages on ages may lapse, and the wrath of God be poured out upon you to the uttermost, there will never be the destruction of a single sin or particle of a sin by it all.
Sin cannot be put away until the penalty is borne to the end, and that can never be by finite man.
What a work was here, then, for the only begotten Son of God to do! Speak of the labors of Hercules! they were nothing compared with the labors of Emmanuel. Speak of miracles! to tread the sea, to hush the billows, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, these are all bright stars, but their light is hidden when compared with this miracle of miracles, when the Sun of Christ’s righteousness arises with healing beneath His wings, and thick clouds of our sins are put away by Him!
All the sins of His people were made to meet in one tremendous mass. On the cross, Jesus endured the penalty due for all the sin of His people! He put away our sins, the whole mass, the whole mountainous mass of the sin of all those for whom He stood as a substitute, and for whom He suffered the penalty. Our sins were completely put away, everlastingly put away!
All of our sins, of every size, shape, form, hue, degree, or fashion, are altogether gone! Crimson sins, black
–81–

sins, crying sins, every sort of iniquity from your childhood until now, and right on till you enter into the rest of the Beloved, they were all taken and laid upon Christ, and He made an end of them all when He offered up His great expiatory sacrifice! He has put away sin as a whole for His chosen ones!
“To Him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by His blood; and He made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Rev. 1:5-6
6
WE WOULD RATHER BE INFIDELS THAN
CHRISTIANS!
from Spurgeon’s sermon “Method and Music, or the Art of Holy and Happy Living”
Some professors’ lives dishonor the Christian religion.
The world observes them and says, “Are these Christians, these covetous, quarrelsome, domineering, or boastful people? If so, we would rather be infidels than Christians!”
Oh, you caricatures of godliness! How dreadful will be your punishment if you die in your present state! Repent of your sin, and ask of God grace to make your profession sincere.
And if you will not do this, at least be honest enough to give up your false profession, for you do but degrade it.
Why must you pretend to serve Christ?
What do you gain by your hypocrisy?
If you must serve mammon and the devil, serve them!
6
–82–

THE GREATEST RELIGIOUS DECEPTION THIS WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN!
by Don Fortner
We are living in perilous times!
We are living in the midst of the greatest religious apostasy ever known. Freewill, works religion is the greatest religious deception this world has ever known. This man centered, man exalting, man pleasing; God debasing, God hating religion seems to engulf the entire world and all religious sects. The world, for the most part, has accepted the doctrines of antichrist.
Any religion that is man centered; any religion that has for its foundation man’s will, man’s works, or man’s rights; any religion that promotes the honor, dignity, and pride of man; any religion that pampers and cultivates self righteousness, self esteem, and self worth is antichrist.
These are indeed perilous times!
“For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables.” 2 Tim. 4:3-4
“Then will the lawless one be revealed, whom the Lord will kill with the breath of His mouth, and bring to nothing by the brightness of His coming; even he whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deception of wickedness for those who are being lost, because they didn’t receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Because of this, God sends them a working of error, that they should believe a lie;
–83–

that they all might be judged who didn’t believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thess. 2:8-12
6
O MAN, PLUNGE INTO THIS RIVER!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Precious, Honorable, Beloved”
“I have loved you.” Isaiah 43:4 Come, heir of heaven, listen a moment.
God has loved you eternally. Before the stars began to shine, and before the sun knew his place and poured forth his oceans of light, God loved you in particular!
He has loved you actively and effectually, giving the unspeakable gift of His Only Begotten Son for you! He has given you everything in Him; a boundless ocean of love!
He has loved you supremely, better than the angels.
He has loved you unchangeably, never less, and never more. In all your sin the same; in all your sorrow still the same.
He has loved you immeasurably. You can never know the heights and depths of your God’s love to you.
O man, plunge into this river!
If you have hitherto gone wading into it up to the ankles, now get heart-high into it! Yes, commit yourself to the fathomless stream, and swim in it as in a sea of bliss!
“I have loved you.”
Let that dwell richly in your heart, and ring out celestial music for your comfort and delight!
6
–84–

IS JESUS INCREASINGLY PRECIOUS TO YOU?
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
I am often grieved in meeting some, professing godliness, who seem to be standing still in the same place for years, and know no more of God than at the first. Is Jesus increasingly precious to you?
6
VERY PRECIOUS!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Three Precious Things”
“Unto you therefore which believe, He is precious.” 1 Peter 2:7 Jesus Christ is most precious to every believer.
O that I had power to speak of His preciousness as it ought to be spoken of! He is worthy of an angelic speaker to tell out all His worth!
He is essentially precious. He possesses an intrinsic worth. He must be precious who is infinite God.
To every sinner who feels his sin, Christ is precious. To every child of God who is saved, the Savior must forever be fairest among the fair.
To every heir of heaven who has experienced the sweetness of His saving grace, Christ must appear to be “the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely One.” Had not been for our Savior dying on the cross, we would forever have been cast into hell.
Christ is so precious that He cannot be bought. If a man should give all the substance of his house to purchase an interest in Christ, it would be utterly condemned. Rich men might gather together all their goodly things; yes, India might be exhausted of its wealth, Peru drained of its silver, and California of its
–85–

gold; but no part nor lot in Christ could be bought, even with sapphires and diamonds!
He gives Himself away right freely, according to the riches of His grace, but He is utterly unpurchasable, for He is so precious that He cannot even be priced!
A whole world can never weigh against Him, any more than a single grain of dust would weigh against the universe.
Christ is so precious because He is immeasurable! There is no measuring line with which to form a unit for calculation with which to measure Him; He is infinite, and finite judgments will never be able to comprehend His unutterable value!
He is God’s unspeakable gift. Heaven itself is nothing as compared with Him, and if a man had to wade breast deep through a thousand hells to come to Christ, it were well worth the venture, if at the last he might but say, “My Beloved is mine, and I am His.”
Jesus is so precious that He cannot be matched! There is none like Him! The fairest of the fair are unlovely and deformed when compared with Him!
You shall find none that can be compared to Him, even if you ransack time and space!
Miss Him as your Savior, and you have lost the only salvation possible! Gain Him, and you will need no other. Jesus is our “wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and redemption.”
He is all your souls can want!
If heaven and earth were sold, you could not match Christ in any market!
–86–

If you search eternity, and ransack immensity, there shall never be found one fit to be second to Him, He is so precious.
Jesus is precious to us, because He cannot be lost. All the precious things in this world are losable. The jewels may be stolen, the house may be broken into by the thief, and the treasure may be taken away. But Christ is such a jewel that even Satan himself can never rob the soul of Him when once it has Him.
Is not Jesus a priceless, precious jewel, since He cannot be lost!
Though men have tried to focus all the heat of persecution upon the Christian, they have never been able to separate him from the love of Christ; and though earth and hell have stirred up their malice, and the furnace has been heated seven times hotter, and the child of God has been tossed into it, and apparently deserted to the fury of his enemies, yet never in a single case has the precious gem of Christ Jesus in the heart been destroyed!
See the preciousness, then, of Christ; the intrinsic preciousness, the essential preciousness—
He cannot be bought! He cannot be priced! He cannot be matched! He cannot be lost!
He cannot be destroyed!
Happy and rich beyond expression are they who can truly say, “Yes, He is very precious to us who believe!”
6
–87–

HELL IS FULL OF THE DIVINE HOLINESS!
Octavius Winslow, “Grace and Truth”
Hell is full of the Divine holiness; holiness in the manifestation of justice; holiness in its most glorious exercise.
How fearfully are the lost now learning this truth!
Think it not a trifling matter, unconverted reader, to look into the bottomless pit, and to know that there is but a step and you are there! You walk to the end of the treacherous plank, and you are gone!
O solemn thought! but one step between you and the quenchless flame! but one step between you and endless torment!
Throughout eternity the lost soul will be testifying to this truth: “God is holy; I was a sinner; I rejected His salvation, I turned my back upon His gospel, I despised His Son, I hated God Himself, I lived in my sins, I loved my sins, I died in my sins, and now I am lost! to all eternity lost! And God is righteous in my condemnation!”
6
LIKE A VIPER TO THE HEART!
Jonathan Edwards,
“Safety, Fullness, and Sweet Refreshment in Christ”
The unregenerate man loves sin.
Sin is his delight.
He hides sin as a sweet morsel under his tongue. But sin is the most evil and odious thing.
Sin is most mischievous and fatal.
Sin is the most mortal poison.
–88–

There is hell in sin.
Sin above all things….
hazards life,
endangers the soul,
exposes to the loss of all happiness, subjects to the suffering of all misery, and brings the wrath of God.
All men have this dreadful evil hanging about them, cleaving fast to the soul, and ruling over it, and keeping it in possession, and under absolute command.
Sin hangs like a viper to the heart! Sin captivates as a lion does his prey!
The filthiness of sin and its evil nature, is an offense to a holy, gracious, and glorious God.
But yet there are multitudes, who are not sensible of their misery. They are in such a sleep that they are not very disturbed in this condition, it is not very burdensome to them.
They are so sottish that they do not know what their state is, nor what is likely to become of them.
I SEE WHAT A VIPER IT IS!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “How God Condemned Sin”
The Christian is at enmity against the sin which caused the suffering of Christ.
“What, did sin make my beloved Redeemer suffer? Then away with it! It must be a foul, vile thing, to put such a blessed One as Him to death! I will not tolerate it! Revenge! Bring out the gallows, and let sin be hanged thereon! The dearest idol I have known, bring out the hammer and the axe, and let it be broken in
6
–89–

pieces. The fondest transgression I have ever nurtured in my bosom, I see what a viper it is, and I shake it into the fire; away with it.” 6
THE HEART!
George Swinnock
The heart is the great workshop where all sin is produced before it is exposed to open view.
The heart is the mint where evil thoughts are coined, before they are current in our words and actions: “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts.” The heart is the nest in which those hornets breed.
The heart is the source of sinful words as well as sinful thoughts. They were in the heart before they were ever on the tongue. Every sinner conceives at the heart what he brings forth at the mouth. The heart is the vessel of poisonous liquor, the tongue is but the tap to let it out: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
The heart is the forge also where all our evil works, as well as words, are hammered out: “Out of the heart proceed murders, thefts, and adulteries, and fornications.” You will say that murders and thefts are hand sins, and that adulteries and fornication belong to the eye and outward parts of the body; but alas! the heart is the womb wherein they are conceived and bred. The outward parts are but the midwives to deliver the mother of those monsters, and to bring them into the world; “An evil man, out of the evil treasure in his heart, brings forth evil things.”
There is no sin but it is dressed in the drawing room of the heart, before it appears on the stage of the life.
–90–

It is vain to go about a holy life until the heart be made holy.
The pulse of the hand beats well or ill, according to the state of the heart and the inward vital parts.
A FAIR SHOW IN THE FLESH!
George Swinnock
There are several things which may help to make the life fair in the eyes of men; but nothing will make it amiable in the eyes of God, unless the heart be changed and renewed.
Indeed, all the medicines that can be applied, though they may cover sin, they can never cure the corruptions and diseases of the soul.
Some insects lie in a deep sleep all the winter. They stir not, make no noise, and one would think them dead. But when the weather alters, and the sun shines, they revive and show themselves. So though lusts may seem dead in an unregenerate man, they are only laid asleep, and when opportunity comes, they will reveal themselves.
Shame may hide sin, but it will not heal sin. Corruption often lies secret in the heart, when shame hinders it from breaking out in scabs and blotches in the life.
Fear may do somewhat to curb a corrupt nature, but it cannot cure it. The bear dares hardly touch his desired honey for fear of the stinging of the bees. The dog refrains from the food on the table, not because he does not like it, but because he is afraid of the cudgel. Many leave some sin in their outward actions, for fear they should starve if they kept it; yet are still fond of their sin.
6
–91–

This inward love of sin is indeed its life, and that which is most dangerous and deadly to the soul.
Sin reigning in the heart, is oftentimes more hurtful than when it rages in the life. Such civil people go to hell without much disturbance, being asleep in sin. They are so far from being awaked that they are many times praised and commended.
Example, custom, and education, may also help a man to make a fair show in the flesh. They may prune and lop sin, but never rip it up by the roots. All that these can do, is to make a man like a grave, green and flourishing on the surface and outside, when within there is nothing but rottenness and corruption.
If the chief fault were not in the vital parts, then outward applications might be effectual. When the fault is in the foundation of a house, it cannot be mended by plastering or painting.
6
SPIRITUAL CHANGE
N. L. DeMoss
Spiritual change flows out of an intimate relationship with Jesus.
We want to please those we love, and we are grieved when we offend them. The more we love Jesus, the greater will be our motivation to obey Him and to make the choices that please Him.
The ultimate issue in life is what or whom we worship.
The process of true change takes place as we are weaned from our love and worship of self, pleasure, and this world; and our hearts become wholly devoted to Christ.
6
–92–

THE HARD THINGS
N. L. DeMoss
Once we agree with God that we exist for His pleasure and His glory, we can accept whatever comes into our lives as part of His sovereign will and purpose. We will not resent, resist, or reject the hard things, but embrace them as friends, sovereignly designed by God to make us more like Jesus and to bring glory to Himself.
6
CHRIST MUST BE ALL!
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
We cannot keep our eye too exclusively or too intently fixed on Jesus.
All salvation is in Him.
All salvation proceeds from Him. All salvation leads to Him.
And for the assurance and comfort of our salvation we are to repose believingly and entirely on Him.
Christ must be all!
Christ the beginning; Christ the center; and Christ the end.
Oh sweet truth to you who are sensible of your poverty, vileness, and insufficiency, and of the ten thousand flaws and failures of which, perhaps, no one is cognizant but God and your own soul!
Oh, to turn and rest in Christ— a full Christ;
a loving Christ;
a tender Christ—
–93–

whose heart’s love never chills, from whose eye darts no reproof, from whose lips breathes no sentence of condemnation!
Christ must be all!
6
THE INFINITE BECOMES AN INFANT!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Negotiations for Peace”
Jesus Christ, the infinite King of kings and Lord of lords, stooped to be an infant! He who sustains all things was laid upon a woman’s breast!
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son. They shall call His name Immanuel;” which is, being interpreted, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23
O love Him! With all your hearts cherish and honor of the incarnate God, Immanuel.
THE GREAT ARTIST’S CHISEL!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Tender Pity of the Lord”
Jesus taught the disciples humility by His humility. He taught them gentleness by His gentleness.
He did not point out their defects in words.
He did not dwell upon their errors, but He rather let them see their own spots by His purity, their own defects by His perfection.
Oh, the marvelous tenderness of Christ, who so paternally pitied those who feared Him!
Remember that your brethren and sisters in Christ, with whom you find so much fault, are God’s elect. And if He chose them, why do you reject them?
6
–94–

They are bought with Christ’s blood, and if He thought them worth so much, why do you think so little of them?
Recollect, too, that with all their badness there are some good points in them in which they excel you.
They do not know so much, but perhaps they act better than you.
It may be that they are more faulty in pride, but perhaps they excel you in generosity.
Or if perhaps one man is a little quick in temper, yet he is more zealous than you.
Look at the bright side of your brother, and the black side of yourself, instead of reversing the order as many do.
The drift of this lesson is this—as your heavenly Father has pity on you, have pity on one another.
Jesus, the Compassionate One, covers our sins with the mantle of His love!
Be as tender towards those who sin as the Master was.
He remembers that we are dust; remember this of others.
I will not find fault with you, my friend, if I can help it, because you will be one day without fault before the throne of God!
If God will so soon remove your faults, why should I take note of them?
I will not peevishly complain of the ‘rough stone;’ for I see it is under the Great Artist’s chisel, and I will tarry till I see the beauty which He brings out of it.
6
–95–

THE WAY TO ESCAPE FROM THE POWER OF SIN
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Way”
Christ is the way to escape from the power of sin.
The great object of a penitent soul is to get away from the tyranny and slavery of evil habits and of corrupt desires.
The saints in glory overcame through the blood of the Lamb, and there is no other way of overcoming. The precious blood of atonement wherever sprinkled kills sin, and he that lives in the full belief of it will be purified from sinful habits.
It is living under a sense of divine love as manifest in Christ; it is living with the full conviction of pardon through the blood that brings to us freedom from the reigning power of sin.
There is no way to get the likeness of Christ, except by learning of His love. You imitate Christ, and so become like Him. You commune with Christ, and as you talk with Him, His character sacredly operates upon yourself, and you are changed from glory to glory, as by the image of the Lord.
The moment we forget Christ, and then seek after personal sanctification, we are trying to get to our journey’s end by declining to tread the road to it.
It is impossible to grow in grace except by abiding evermore at the foot of the cross.
BITTER SPIRITED CHRISTIANS?
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Ripe Fruit”
As we grow in grace, we are sure to grow in charity, sympathy, and love. We shall, as we ripen in grace, have
6
–96–

greater sweetness towards our fellow Christians. Bitter spirited Christians may know a great deal, but they are immature.
Those who are quick to censure may be very acute in judgment, but they are as yet very immature in heart.
He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more.
He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it.
When our virtues become more mature, we shall not be more tolerant of evil; but we shall be more tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms.
6
WE TRAVEL THROUGH THIS INTRICATE WILDERNESS
by Mary Winslow
It is only by constantly looking to Christ that we can get joy and comfort.
Thus, looking to Jesus and going to Jesus, we travel through this intricate wilderness comfortably and safely to our home in heaven. 6
FEEDING SHEEP OR AMUSING GOATS?
by Charles Spurgeon (edited)
An evil is in the ‘professed’ camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years
–97–

this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments!
The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!
My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.’
No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they confronted them? The ‘concert’ has no martyr roll.
Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? “You are the salt of the world,” not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow.
Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him,” I do not hear Him say, ‘Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a
–98–

pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!’
No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!
In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the ‘gospel of amusement.’ Their message is, “Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them… Don’t touch their filthy things…” Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.
After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, ‘Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are.’
No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. They had no time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down; that is the only difference from today’s church.
Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!
The need of the hour for today’s ministry is earnest spirituality joined with Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.
–99–

Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to
apostolic methods!
6
AVOID LIGHT, TRIFLING PROFESSORS OF RELIGION
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
Avoid light, trifling professors of religion; their influence will be as poison to your souls. I am convinced that much communion with lukewarm professors does great injury to the believer. Oh, avoid such! Light and trifling conversation acts as a poison to the life of God in the soul. It grieves the Spirit, and He withdraws His sensible influence.
6
O YOU VAINGLORIOUS CHURCHES!
from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“A Most Needful Prayer Concerning the Holy Spirit”
“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6
Everybody may be saying, “How wondrously that church flourishes! What power! What influence! What numbers!”
And suddenly some radical evil which had been eating out the very soul of the church may come to its issue, and then in a moment all the apparent prosperity will subside, and the Philistines will rejoice.
When the Spirit of God departs from a church, what remains is but its old records, ancient creeds, title deeds, traditions, histories and memories.
The great power of the church does not lie in the power of her organizations. You may have good schemes for
–100–

work, wisely arranged and managed, but they will be a failure without the divine energy.
Too often excellent methods are rigidly adhered to, and confidently relied upon, and yet without the Holy Spirit they are sheer folly.
Formal routine satisfies many.
Souls are not saved by systems, but by the Spirit.
Organizations without the Holy Spirit are windmills without wind.
Methods and arrangements without grace are lamps without oil.
Even the most scriptural forms of church government and effort, are null and void without the “power from on high.”
Nor does the strength of a church lie in her wealth. Money avails nothing to a church devoid of grace; it does but increase the evil which is corrupting within.
O you vainglorious churches, you may gild your domes, you may make your pillars of alabaster, and cover your altars with precious stones, you may clothe your priests in scarlet and in fair white linen, you may make your ceremonies imposing, your processions gorgeous, and your music enchanting, but all this avails nothing if the Spirit of God is gone; all that remains to you is as sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal.
Nor does the strength of a church lie in her numbers. What is a large church without the Lord’s presence, but a mass of chaff to be scattered with a whirlwind, or to rot on the threshing floor?
Nor does the strength of a church lie in her doctrines. The Laodicean church did not hold false doctrines, yet she was nauseous to the Lord.
–101–

Truth may be held in unrighteousness. Orthodox churches may become lifeless corpses.
“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6
THE HELL FIRE CLUB?
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Means for Restoring the Banished”
Mr. Thorpe was a member of an ‘infidel’ club. In those days infidelity was more blasphemous than now. This infidel society took the name of the “Hell Fire Club.” Among their amusements was that of holding imitations of religious services, and exhibiting mimicries of popular ministers.
Thorpe went to hear George Whitfield preach, that he might caricature him before his profane associates. He listened to Whitfield so carefully that he caught his tones and his manner, and somewhat of his doctrines.
When the “Hell Fire Club” met to see his caricature of Whitfield, Thorpe opened the Bible that he might take a text to preach from it after the manner of Whitfield. His eye fell on the passage, “Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” As he spoke upon that text he was carried beyond himself, lost all thought of mockery, spoke as one in earnest, and was the means of his own conversion!
He was carried by the force of truth beyond his own intention, like one who would play in a river, and is swept away by its current.
Even the scoffer may be reached by the arrows of truth! Scripture has often been the sole means in the hands of its divine Author of converting the soul.
6
–102–

“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
(After his amazing conversion, Thorpe became a noted preacher of the gospel.) 6
O SINNER!
by Jonathan Edwards, edited
O sinner! The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked. His wrath towards you burns like fire. He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire. He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in His sight. You are ten thousand times more abominable in His eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.
O sinner! You have offended Him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but His hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment.
O sinner! It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you were allowed to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up.
O sinner! There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking His pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending His solemn worship.
–103–

O sinner! Yes, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.
O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in!
O sinner! It is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over, in the hand of that God whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell.
O sinner! You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder. And you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment!
6
TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL? OR A DEVIL?
“I marvel that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel; and there isn’t another gospel. Only there are some who trouble you, and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any gospel other than that which we preached to you, let him be cursed.” Galatians 1:6-9
I recently received a well intentioned email expressing concern that the TV show, “Touched by an Angel” will be discontinued for using the word ‘God’ in every program.
I for one, am pleased that “Touched by an Angel” will be discontinued. In my opinion, it is one of the worst
–104–

shows on TV, if not the worst! For it has deceived multitudes of people into thinking that if they are ‘good’ and somehow believe in ‘God’ or ‘angels’ or ‘the supernatural’ they will get to heaven at last.
The show is a master deception of Satan, in that it preaches a false God, and a false salvation. My lost friends just love the show, because it makes them think they are going to heaven (while they continue to reject Jesus and His way of salvation!)
The show does not teach salvation by faith in Christ, but “salvation by moralism.” But the Scripture is clear: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
Jesus and His substitutionary work to die in the place of sinners are not mentioned on the show. Nothing is said about sin or hell.
Yes, perhaps they do mention ‘God’ in every episode, but not the holy God of Scripture! The God they portray is a feeble grandfather type who forgives and loves everyone. Everyone goes to heaven; nobody goes to hell. How contrary is this to the teaching of Scripture: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” John 14:6
Perhaps the show could be more accurately titled, “Touched by a Devil.”
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as Christ’s apostles. And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 2 Cor. 11:13-15
6
–105–

THE DEVIL’S DELUSION?
Arthur Pink, “Satan and His Gospel”
“Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in those who perish; in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers through hiding the light of the Gospel of Christ, and he does this by substituting his own gospel. Appropriately is he designated “the old serpent, he who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.” Rev. 12:9.
In merely appealing to “the best that is within man,” and in simply exhorting him to “lead a nobler life,” there is afforded a general platform upon which those of every shade of opinion can unite and proclaim this common message.
In contradistinction to the Gospel of Christ, the gospel of Satan teaches salvation by works. It inculcates justification before God on the ground of human merits. Its motto is, “Be good and do good.” But it fails to recognize that in the flesh there dwells no good thing. Its various ramifications and organizations are manifold. Temperance, Reform Movements, Christian Social Leagues, Ethical Culture Societies, Peace Congresses are all employed (perhaps unconsciously) in proclaiming this gospel of Satan—salvation by works.
The gospel of Satan propagates the principles of self sacrifice, charity and benevolence; and teaches us to live for the good of others, and to be kind to all. It appeals strongly to the carnal mind and is popular with the masses, because it ignores the solemn facts that by nature man is a fallen creature, alienated from the life
–106–

of God, and dead in trespasses and sins, and that his only hope lies in being born again.
The gospel of Satan is a bloodless gospel, and presents a crossless Christ!
The apostles of Satan are not saloon keepers and white slave traffickers; but are for the most part ordained ministers. Thousands of those who occupy our modern pulpits are no longer engaged in presenting the Gospel, but have turned aside from the Truth and have given heed unto fables. Instead of magnifying the enormity of sin and setting forth its eternal consequences, they minimize it by declaring that sin is merely ignorance or the absence of good. Instead of warning their hearers to “flee from the wrath to come” they make God a liar by declaring that He is too loving and merciful to send any of His own creatures to eternal torment.
Their message may sound very plausible and their aim appear very praiseworthy, yet we read of them, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as Christ’s apostles. And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 2 Cor. 11:13-15
In Proverbs 14:12 we read, “There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death.” This “way” which ends in “death” is the Devil’s Delusion; the gospel of Satan; a way of salvation by human attainment. It is a way which “seems right,” that is to say, it is presented in such a plausible way that it appeals to the natural man. It is set forth in such a subtle and attractive manner, that it commends itself to the intelligence of its hearers.
By virtue of the fact that it appropriates to itself religious terminology, sometimes appeals to the Bible
–107–

for its support (whenever this suits its purpose), holds up before men lofty ideals, and is proclaimed by those who have graduated from our theological institutions, countless multitudes are decoyed and deceived by it!
When the ‘Father of Lies’ enters the pulpit, it is not his custom to flatly deny the fundamental truths of Christianity, rather does he tacitly acknowledge them, and then proceed to give an erroneous interpretation and a false application. For example: he would not be so foolish as to boldly announce his disbelief in a personal God; he takes His existence for granted and then gives a false description of His character. He announces that God is the spiritual Father of all men, when the Scriptures plainly tell us that we are “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:26). Further, he declares that God is far too merciful to ever send any member of the human race to Hell, when God Himself has said, “And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.” Rev. 20:15
There will be many in the Lake of Fire who lived life with good intentions, honest resolutions and exalted ideals; those who were just in their dealings, fair in their transactions and charitable in all their ways; men who prided themselves in their integrity, but who sought to justify themselves before God by their own righteousness; men who were moral, merciful and magnanimous; but who never saw themselves as guilty, lost, hell-deserving sinners needing a Savior.
The Devil’s Delusion is that we can be saved by our own works, and justified by our own deeds. “He saved us, not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to His mercy, He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5
–108–

“That no advantage may be gained over us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” 2 Cor. 2:11
NEHUSHTAN?
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Iconoclast”
There still exists the very common idolatry of superstitious reverence of buildings. It is thought that inside certain walls God is more peculiarly present than outside, where the trees are growing and the birds singing.
Our forefathers protested against this by never calling their buildings, ‘churches.’ They knew they could not be; they knew that ‘churches’ were companies of faithful men and women. They called the places of their usual worship “meeting houses;” that is what they were, and nothing more.
The veneration of…. buildings,
pulpits,
altars,
pews, cushions, tables, candlesticks, organs, cups,
plates, etc.,
is sheer idolatry.
Our sires also stood out against another idolatry which still survives in England; namely, the observing of days and months.
Certain days are set apart as holy, and observed with great reverence by those calling themselves Christians.
6
–109–

They have like Israel of old, when under legal bondage, new moons, and appointed feasts, for which they claim great respect, but to which none whatever is due.
Our sires said, “This is not of Scripture, therefore it is of man, therefore it is will worship, and idolatrous!”
And they showed their contempt of “the command- ments of men” by an open disregard of holy days. And we shall do well in this respect and in all others to maintain their pure testimony.
Whenever we see ‘superstition’ in any shape, we must not flatter the folly, but according to our ability act the iconoclast’s part and denounce it.
There is much idol breaking for Christians to do!
“[Hezekiah] removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah: and he broke in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made; for to those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it; and he called it Nehushtan. He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel.” 2 Kings 18:4-5
Away with your idolized brazen serpent! away with it! Go into the temple of your hearts, and use the hammer
a little there!
6
LIKE A ROCK!
from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“The Two Builders and Their Houses”
The sound Christian is like a rock, if he is thrown into the pool of false doctrine, he may be wetted by it, but he does not receive it into his inner self. Whereas the unsound professor is like a sponge, he sucks it all in greedily, and retains what he absorbs.
6
–110–

THE UNCONQUERABLE KING!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Unconquerable King”
“His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand….” Daniel 4:34-35
There was a time when the creatures were not.
They came from God as vessels from the potter’s wheel.
They all depend upon Him for continuance, as the streamlet on the fountain from where it flows. And if it were His will they all would melt away as the foam upon the water!
All that now exists, if so it had pleased God to ordain, might have been as transient as a sunbeam, and have vanished as speedily as the rainbow from the cloud.
Everything sprang from God, and still depends upon the necessity of His divine decree.
God is the only independent being.
We creatures must find food with which to repair the daily wear of the body. We are dependent upon light and heat, and innumerable external agencies, and above all and primarily, dependent upon the outgoings of His divine power towards us.
Only the I AM is self sufficient and all sufficient!
He was as glorious before He made the world as He is now. He was as great, as blessed, as divine in all His attributes before sun and moon and stars leaped into existence, as He is now.
And if He should blot all out, as a man erases the writing of his pencil, or as a potter breaks the vessel he
–111–

has made, He would be none the less the supreme and ever blessed God.
God is the only immutable being. Immutability is an attribute of God only.
All created things were once new, but they are waxing old, they will become older still.
But the Lord has no time, He dwells in eternity.
There is no moment of ‘beginning’ with the Eternal God, no ‘starting point’ from which to calculate His age. From of old He was the Ancient of Days, “from everlasting to everlasting You are God.”
Let your mind retreat as far as its capacities will allow into the remote past of old eternity, and there it finds Jehovah alone in the fullness of His glory!
Then let the same thought flash forward into the far off future, as far as unbridled imagination can bear it, and there it beholds the Eternal; unchanged, unchangeable. He works changes and effects changes, but He Himself abides the same.
God is the only invulnerable being.
There is no conceivable force that can ever wound, injure, or destroy Him!
If we were profane enough to imagine the Lord to be vulnerable, where is the bow and where the arrow that could reach Him on His throne? What javelin shall pierce Jehovah’s buckler?
Let all the nations of the earth rise and rage against God; how shall they reach His throne? They cannot even shake His footstool.
If all the angels of heaven should rebel against the Great King, and their squadrons should advance in serried
–112–

ranks to besiege the palace of the Most High, He has but to will it, and they would wither as autumn leaves! Reserved in chains of darkness, the opponents of His power would forever become mementos of His wrath!
None can touch Him!
The God whom we serve reigns as The Unconquerable King!
He has unlimited sovereignty over all His creatures!
Let us who delight in the living God bow down before Him, and humbly worship Him, as the God in whom we live and move, and have our being.
6
THE UNCONQUERABLE KING! (part 2) from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Unconquerable King”
Events appear to fly at random like the dust in the whirlwind; but it is not so.
The rule of the Omnipotent God extends over all things at all times!
Nothing is left to its own chance, but in wisdom all things are governed.
He is reigning amid all the calamities which sweep the globe, as much as He shall be in the halcyon days of peace.
Never is His throne vacant! Never is His scepter laid aside!
Jehovah is always King, and shall be King forever and forever!
This unconquerable King sits securely on His throne!
–113–

There is no doctrine to the advanced Christian which contains such a deep sea of delight as this.
The Lord reigns!
The Lord is King forever and ever!
Why, then all is well.
Oh, happy subjects, who have such a throne to look to!
Oh, blessed children, who have such a King to be your Father!
“His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand…” Daniel 4:34-35
6
WHY AN INFINITELY GRACIOUS GOD PERMITTED SIN AND SUFFERING TO ENTER THE UNIVERSE
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Spur”
A young convert, after finding peace with God, was heard to say, “I rejoice that I was a lost sinner.”
Strange matter to be glad about, you will say, for of all things it is most to be deplored; but here was her reason: “Because God’s infinite grace, and mercy, and wisdom, and all His attributes, are glorified in me as they never could have been had I not been a sinner and had I not been lost.”
God has allowed moral and physical evil to come into this world to cause His infinite wisdom, grace, power, and all His other attributes, to be the better seen by the whole intelligent universe.
–114–

Sin, somehow or other, desperate evil as it is, will be overruled to display God’s goodness.
Were there no sin there had been no Savior;
if no death, no resurrection;
if no fall, no new covenant;
if no rebellious race, no incarnation, no Calvary, no ascension, no second advent.
Though we do not know, and perhaps shall never know the deepest reason why an infinitely gracious God permitted sin and suffering to enter the universe, yet we may at least be encouraged this practical thought— God will be glorified in the overcoming of evil and its consequences.
6
A HIGH ESTEEM OF YOURSELF?
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Ripe Fruit”
You are not mature if you have a high esteem of yourself. He who boasts in himself is but a babe in Christ, if indeed he be in Christ at all.
Young Christians may think much of themselves. Growing Christians think themselves nothing.
Mature Christians know that they are less than nothing.
The more holy we are, the more we mourn our infirmities, and the humbler is our estimate of ourselves.
“Although I am less than the least of all God’s people…” Ephesians 3:8
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:156
–115–

THESE HALF-HEARTED PILGRIMS?
Octavius Winslow, “The Sympathy of Christ”
Many ‘religious professors’ backslide from ‘the way’ after a while.
Wearied with the practice of self-denial; tired of bearing the cross after Jesus; restless beneath His yoke; impatient of His burden; they slacken in the race, halt in the journey, and eventually altogether relinquish their profession.
Such individuals never counted the cost of true com- mitment to Christ. They did not take into consideration the self-denial demanded; the battle with sin involved; the crucifixion to the world required; and when these things came upon them, these half-hearted pilgrims swerved from their profession, and returned to the sins they professed to have renounced, and to the world they professed to have abandoned, and walked no more with Jesus.
“From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” John 6:66
TRIALS ARE NECESSARY TO WEAN US FROM THE WORLD
by Octavius Winslow
When we grow wanton, or worldly, or proud, how does sickness or some other affliction humble us.
Perhaps nothing possesses so detaching, so divorcing an effect in the experience of the Christian as affliction.
The world is a great snare to the child of God! Its rank is a snare;
its possessions are a snare;
its honors are a snare;
6
–116–

its enterprises are a snare;
the very duties and engagements of daily life are a snare to one whose heart would desire to be more frequently and exclusively where Jesus, its treasure is.
Oh, how the things that are seen veil the things that are not seen! How do temporal things banish from our thought and affections and desires, the things that are eternal!
God in His wisdom and mercy, sends us trials….
to detach us from earth;
to lessen our worldly mindedness;
to more deeply convince us how empty and insuffi-
cient are all created things.
He chastens us to intensify our affection for spiritual things, and to bring our souls nearer to Himself.
Oh….
when the heart is chastened and subdued by sorrow, when the soul is smitten and humbled by adversity, when death bereaves,
or sickness invades,
or resources narrow,
or calamity in one of its many crushing forms lands
heavily upon us—
how solemn, how earnest, how distinct is the voice of our ascended Redeemer, “Set your affections on things above, not on things of the earth. I am your Treasure, your Portion, your All. I have stricken, and wounded and laid you low; but I will comfort, heal, and raise you up again. You will soon be with Me in glory. Let this trial detach the world from you, wean you from your idols, and transfer your affections to Me.”
6
–117–

A MELANCHOLY SPECTACLE!
Mary Winslow, “Heaven Opened”
It is no common journey we are upon.
Every step of the way is important, and fraught with the deepest interest. God the Father is watching every trembling step we take. God the Son tenderly and graciously enters into all our difficulties, discourage- ments, and conflicts. God the Holy Spirit instructs and leads us onward, whispering words of comfort, and imparting new life and energy to our minds, by leading us constantly to the Fountain of living waters.
It is a melancholy spectacle to see many who seemed to run well for a season, slacken in the race, and after- wards grow weary, and turn back, and walk no more with Jesus.
It is to the flesh so self-denying a way, and its pleasures and joys so entirely internal, apart from anything external and visible, that the mere nominal Christian, the religious formalist, soon wearies, turns back, and finds that he was not a true pilgrim.
6
PERHAPS HE WILL SMITE YOU!
from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“The Pilgrim’s Grateful Recollections”
“You shall consider in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.” Deuteronomy 8:5
I can truly say of everything I have ever tasted in this world of God’s mercy, (and my path has been remark- ably strewn with divine lovingkindness), I feel more grateful to God for the bodily pain I have suffered, and for all the trials of diverse sorts I have endured, than I do for anything else.
–118–

I am sure I have derived more real benefit, and perma- nent strength, and growth in grace, and every precious thing, from the furnace of affliction, than I have ever derived from prosperity.
I know not how to quite express my meaning, but even depression of spirit and deep sadness have a peculiar charm within them, which laughter in vain may emulate.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted!
Ponder and consider the much gratitude you owe to God for His chastening rod. Dwell much in your heart upon what God evidently regards as one of His distinguishing blessings. Do not lightly pass over what God would have you consider. Count the cross and the rod to be doubly worthy of your deepest thought.
“Hear the rod and Him who has appointed it.”
Remember that whenever you are chastened, you are not chastened as a slave master smites his victim, nor as a judge orders the criminal to be lashed; but as a man chastens his son, so are you chastened.
Your chastisement is a sign of sonship, it is a token of love! It is intended for your good.
Accept it, therefore, in the spirit of sonship, and “Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, neither faint when you are corrected by Him.”
It is the Lord your God who chastens you!
If He were not your God He might let you alone!
If He had not chosen you to be His own, He would not take such care of you!
If He had not given Himself to be your treasure, He might not be so diligent in weaning you from all other treasures!
–119–

But because you are His, He will withdraw your love away from this poor world.
Perhaps He will take one child after another from you, that all the love that was lavished on the children might flow towards Himself.
Perhaps He will leave you a widow, that the love that ran in the channel of a husband may run altogether to Himself.
Perhaps He will take away your riches, that the conso- lation you derived from them may be all derived from Him.
Perhaps He will smite you, and then lay you on His own bosom, faint and helpless, that you may derive a strength and a joy from close and near fellowship with Himself, which you would never have had, if it had not been that these other joys were removed.
Bless God for your chastenings!
Let the sweetest note of your music be to Him who, as a loving father, chastens His children for their good.
THE SWEETER MORSEL FOR THE WORM?
from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“The Profit of Godliness in the Life to Come”
How many live for that poor body of theirs which so soon must moulder back to the dust!
To dress,
to adorn themselves,
to catch the glance of the admirer’s eye,
to satisfy public taste,
to follow fashion,
surely an object in life more frivolous never engrossed an immortal soul.
6
–120–

It seems as strange as if an angel should be gathering daisies or blowing soap bubbles!
An immortal spirit living…. to dress the body,
to paint the face,
to dye the hair,
to display a ribbon,
to show off a pin;
is this the pursuit of an immortal?
Yet tens of thousands live for little else!
As for earth’s most lovely ones, how do time, and death, and the worm together, make havoc of them!
Take up yonder skull, just upturned by the sexton’s careless spade, and take it to the yonder beauty, and tell her, though she paint an inch thick, to this complexion she must come at last! All her dressing shall end in a shroud, and all her makeup and her dainty ornaments shall only make her the sweeter morsel for the worm!
Beloved friends, there is another life beyond this fleeting existence! Why then, do you waste your time and degrade your souls with these frivolities?
“But godliness has value for all things, having the promise of the life which is now, and of that which is to
come.” 1 Tim. 4:8
6
THE PURSUIT OF WORLDLY THINGS…
from Matthew Mead’s book, “The Almost Christian”
The pursuit of worldly things is unnecessary. Silver and gold are not necessary. We may be happy without them.
The pursuit of worldly things is unsubstantial. The things of this world are more shadow than substance.
–121–

Pleasure, honor and profit comprise all things in this world, and therefore are the carnal man’s trinity!
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”
If this is all that is in the world, then it is nothing.
What is pleasure but a dream and cheat? What is honor but opinion?
What is profit but a bubble?
The things of this world have no substance in them, though foolish carnal men call them substance.
The pursuit of worldly things is unsafe. The gain of worldly things is always with difficulty, but seldom with safety. The soul is often hazarded in the over eager pursuit of worldly things.
Myriads pawn, and lose, and damn their precious souls eternally, for a little silver and gold, which are but the dross and garbage of the earth!
The pursuit of worldly things is uncertain. Men make great ventures for the world, but it is all uncertain. They sow much, yet reap nothing.
As the things of the world are uncertain in the getting, they are uncertain in the keeping.
If men do not undo us, moths may.
If robbery does not undo us, rust may.
If rust does not undo us, fire may.
All earthly treasures may succumb to fire.
Solomon paints the world as with wings: “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”
Oh, how uncertain are all worldly things!
–122–

The pursuit of worldly things is perishing. All this world’s goods are passing away.
Perishing pleasures. Perishing honors. Perishing profits. Perishing comforts.
“Riches are not forever,” says Job.
What pains do children take to scrape and roll the snow together to make a snowman. But soon after it is done, the heat of the sun dissolves it, and it comes to nothing.
The greatest treasures of worldly people are but snowmen! When death and judgment come, they melt away, and come to nothing!
The pursuit of worldly things….
6
TOYS! SPORTS AND GAMES FOR CHILDREN!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Spur”
“I must work the works of Him who sent me, while it is day.
The night is coming, when no one can work.” John 9:4
Some men are spending their time in making money. That is the main object of their lives. They would be as usefully employed probably if they spent all their lives in collecting pins or cherry stones!
Whether a man lives to accumulate gold coins or rusty nails, his life will be equally groveling, and end in the same disappointment.
Money making, or fame making, or power getting, are mere toys, mere sports and games for children!
I once heard of a clergyman who often went hunting, and when he was reproved, he replied that he never went hunting when he was on duty. But he was asked, “When is a clergyman off duty?” And so with the
–123–

Christian, when is he off duty? He ought to be always about his Father’s business, ready for anything and everything that may glorify God.
We have a high calling of God in Christ Jesus, and this must have the supremacy! Poor or rich, healthy or sick, honored or disgraced, we must glorify God. This is necessity; all else may be, this must be!
Our time in which to serve the Lord on earth is very short. If we would glorify God, we must do it now.
We resolve, sternly resolve, and desperately determine, that we will not throw away our lives on trifling objects, but by us God’s work must and shall be done; each man will do his own share, God helping him.
May the ever-blessed Holy Spirit give us power and grace to turn our resolves into acts.
THE BIBLE IS INACTIVE, INOPERATIVE; A MERE DEAD LETTER!
Octavius Winslow, “The Glory of the Redeemer”
“Our gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance.”
1 Thessalonians 1:5
Unaccompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is inactive, inoperative; a mere dead letter!
Apart from the Spirit, it cannot quicken, nor sanctify, nor comfort. It may be read constantly, and searched deeply, and known accurately, and understood partially, and quoted appropriately. Yet, left to its own unassisted power, ‘it comes but in word only,’ producing no hallowing, no abiding, no saving results.
6
6
–124–

“HE HAS DONE ALL THINGS WELL.”
Octavius Winslow, “The Sympathy of Christ”
Yes, from first to last, from our cradle to our grave, from the earliest pang of sin’s conviction to the last thrill of sin’s forgiveness, from earth to heaven; this will be our testimony in all the way the Lord our God has led us in the wilderness: “He has done all things well.”
In providence and in grace,
in every truth of His Word,
in every lesson of His love,
in every stroke of His rod,
in every sunbeam that has shone,
in every cloud that has shaded,
in every element that has sweetened,
in every ingredient that has embittered,
in all that has been mysterious, inscrutable, painful,
and humiliating;
in all that He gave,
in all that He took away,
this testimony is His just due, and this our grateful acknowledgment through time and through eternity: “He has done all things well.”
Has He converted us through grace by a way we had thought the most improbable? Has He torn up all our earthly hopes by the roots? Has He thwarted our schemes, frustrated our plans, disappointed our expectations? Has He taught us in schools most trying, by a discipline most severe, and lessons most humbling to our nature? Has He withered our strength by sickness, reduced us to poverty by loss, crushed our heart by bereavement?
And have we been tempted to exclaim, “All these things are against me?” Ah! no! faith will yet obtain the
–125–

ascendancy, and sweetly sing: “I know in all things that befell, My Jesus has done all things well.”
Beloved, it must be so, for Jesus can do nothing wrong. Study the way of His providence and grace with the microscopic eye of faith, view them in every light, examine them in their minutest detail, as you would the petal of a flower, or the wing of an insect; and, oh, what wonders, what beauty, what marvelous adaptation would you observe in all the varied dealings with you of your glorious Lord!
I’ll sing of Jesus crucified,
The Lamb of God who bled and died,
A healing balm, a crimson tide,
Flowed from His head, His feet, His side! Above the rest this note shall swell,
‘My Jesus has done all things well.’
He sought me in the wilderness,
And found me there in deep distress;
He changed and washed this heart of mine, And filled me with His love Divine!
Above the rest this note shall swell,
‘My Jesus has done all things well.’
For what the Lord has done for me, For boundless grace so rich and free, For all His mercies that are past,
I’ll praise Him while my life shall last! Above the rest this note shall swell, ‘My Jesus has done all things well.’
When sorrow’s waves around me roll, His promises my mind console; When earth and hell my soul assail, His grace and mercy never fail.
Above the rest this note shall swell, ‘My Jesus has done all things well.’
–126–

When death shall steal upon my frame, To damp and quench the vital flame, I’ll look into my Savior’s breast,
And there recline and sweetly rest. Above the rest this note shall swell, ‘My Jesus has done all things well.’
And when we join the ransomed throng, To chant the sweet immortal song,
With tuneful heart, and voice, and tongue, We’ll roll the lofty note along!
Above the rest this note shall swell, ‘My Jesus has done all things well.’
To Him who washed us in His blood, And made us kings and priests to God; Hosanna we will ever sing,
And make the heavenly arches ring! Above the rest this note shall swell, ‘My Jesus has done all things well.’
6
WHAT WRETCHED WORK!
by Mary Winslow
What wretched work it is to depend upon ‘the creature,’ who changes and varies in all its feelings, purposes, and affections every moment!
But our best, dearest, and only Friend changes not. He cannot change, because He is God.
A God, too, all sufficient and almighty.
Such is your Friend and mine.
So never be cast down.
If He has given His Son for us, will He withhold any other good thing?
–127–

He knows the end from the beginning.
We know nothing beyond the present moment.
If left to ourselves, we would destroy ourselves; but He has promised to provide, and to care for, and to preserve us, even to the end.
6
THE HAPPINESS OF THE BELIEVER?
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
If the religion of Christ does not make us happy, nothing else will. But the happiness of the believer is very different from that of the world. It arises from a sublimer source, and shuts out unbecoming levity and mirth.
The highest state of enjoyment here below, which can arise from a believing view of Him who was pierced for our sins and wounded for our transgressions, will ever be accompanied with the humble and contrite heart; a deep sense of our rebellion before conversion, and of our ingratitude and unprofitableness since.
So here is joy, yet mixed with sorrow.
This is happiness the world knows nothing of.
Be assured I am happy, and do rejoice in God, while I often have occasion to sigh at what I feel within, and at what I behold around me.
6
THE GRAND DUTY OF THE BELIEVER!
Octavius Winslow, “The Glory of the Redeemer”
The grand duty of the believer is to live above the world. He is not of the world, even as Christ was not of it.
–128–

The very name of a Christian implies his crucifixion to the world. In his profession, his joys, his pursuits, his hopes, he seems to say, with the soaring eagle, “I was born on the earth, but I live in the sky.”
But we require powerful motives to influence us to this. We are moved by motive, and the religion of Jesus is preeminently a religion of motive. The certain and speedy coming of Christ to glorify His Church, oh, what a motive is here!
Were you to rise in the morning impressed with this truth, how sweetly would it carry you through your day! How effectually would it….
dim the luster of the world’s pomp,
deaden its joys, soothe your sorrows,
dry your tears, lighten your burdens,
reconcile you to poverty, to crosses, to losses—
yes, to whatever your Lord ordains!
You would feel, “What have I to do with the world’s vanities, its smiles, and its glories? I am waiting, expecting, looking, hoping, praying, for that blessed hope, the appearing of my Redeemer.”
Oh what an eminent Christian would you be! What a burning and shining light!
What vigorous faith, what lively hope, what fervent love, what a holy living for God, for Christ, and for eternity, would henceforth distinguish you!
Belief in the Lord’s coming reduces all worldly glory into the emptiness and nothingness; and gives the believer a holy elevation above all sublunary enjoyments.
Surely, if our affections were supremely fixed on Jesus; were He to us the “chief among ten thousand;” and did we really feel in our hearts the sentiment which our
–129–

lips so often utter, “Whom have I in heaven but You? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides You;” the return of our Lord would be to us a matter of most delightsome expectation and joyous desire.
6
ORNAMENTAL CHRISTIANS?
from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“The Master’s Profession; The Disciples’ Pursuit”
In all our churches there is a very large proportion of idle people. I hope they are saved; the Lord knows whether they are or not. But whatever else they are saved from, certainly they are not saved from laziness.
We seem to get some people who are but half converted. I hope their hearts are converted, as their hands do no work.
Albeit, there are some portions of the body which may be said to be ornamental; it is equally true that they also have some distinct service; there is not one of them put there to do nothing.
Some Christians seem to imagine that they are ornaments, for certainly they are of no use. They think that their whole duty consists in taking their seat, filling up their place, and listening with more or less attention to the sermons that are preached.
As to the idea of everybody doing something for Christ, and the exhortation as good soldiers of the cross not to shirk their duty; these people say that it is sheer madness.
Sleepy souls, they presently become victims of their own infatuation. As men who habituate themselves to take opium, they grow soporific.
Then their Christianity becomes like a dream.
–130–

The apathy of the church, which has lasted so long, is truly disheartening. With many a deep drawn sigh do we bewail it. O that we could get the church to awake!
6
DIVINE SYMPATHY
by John MacDuff
“I know their sorrows.” Exodus 3:7
Man cannot say so. There are many sensitive fibers in the soul the best and most tender human sympathy cannot touch.
But the Prince of Sufferers, He who led the way in the path of sorrow, “knows our frame.”
When crushing bereavement lies like ice on the heart, when the dearest earthly friend cannot enter into the peculiarities of our grief, Jesus can, Jesus does!
He who once bore my sins also carried my sorrows. That eye, now on the throne, was once dim with weeping!
I can think in all my afflictions, “He was afflicted,” in all my tears, “Jesus wept.”
“I know their sorrows!”
He may seem at times thus to forget and forsake us; leaving us to utter the plaintive cry, “Has God forgotten to be gracious,” when all the while He is bending over us in the most tender love.
He often allows our needs to attain their extremity, that He may stretch forth His supporting hand, and reveal the plenitude of His grace!
“The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.”
And “knowing” our sorrows, is a guarantee that none
will be sent but what He sees to be needful. “I will not,” –131–

says He, “make a full end of you, but I will correct you in measure.” Jer. 30:11.
All He sends is precisely meted out; wisely apportioned.
There is nothing accidental or fortuitous; no unneeded thorn; no superfluous pang.
He “puts our tears in a bottle.” Psalm 56:8.
Each one is counted, drop by drop, tear by tear, they are
sacred things among the treasures of God!
Suffering believer, the iron may have entered deeply into your soul; yet rejoice! Great is your honor; you are partaker with Christ in His sufferings. Jesus, a sorrowing, sympathizing Jesus, “knows” your aching pangs and burning tears, and He will “come down to deliver you!”
6
HE HAS A BOTTLE FOR THAT TEAR!
Octavius Winslow, “The Holy Spirit”
“For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15
It is the humble broken heart that forms the true temple of the Holy Spirit. He only dwells here.
It may be a temple despised by man, but God prepares and chooses it for His abode.
The proud and haughty spirit of self-righteous man may overlook it as valueless; the tear that falls in silence, the sigh that is breathed in secret, the heart
–132–

that mourns over sin may be thought little of by the passer by, but with God it is of “great price.”
He has a bottle for that tear, a record for that sigh, and that mourning is music in His ear.
SUCH A FATHER IS OURS!
Octavius Winslow, “Soul Heights and Soul Depths”
How sweet and assuring is the trust of a child in a parent’s love, care, and protection.
Such a Father is ours!
We may trust in His forgiveness, to cancel our greatest sins.
We may trust in His wisdom, to guide our most intricate perplexity.
We may trust in His power, to raise up from the lowest depth.
We may trust in His love, to soothe our profoundest grief.
We may trust in His resources, to supply our every need.
Let your condition be ever so extreme; human friendship disappointing you, earthly supplies failing you, human sympathy refused you, and dark despair enthroned grimly and coldly upon your heart; there yet is hope in God!
The Lord has….
withered this fleshly arm,
dried up that creature spring, and blown upon this worldly hope,
that you might be shut up to Him alone.
6
–133–

Never was He so near as at this moment, when human help is far; never so loving, and compassionate, as now, when human love has failed!
Such a Father is ours!
6
SYMPATHY!
Octavius Winslow, “The Sympathy of Christ”
“Jesus wept.” John 11:35
The Creator of all worlds, the Author of all beings, the Upholder of the universe, raining tears of human woe and sympathy upon a grave!
Oh, there lives not a being in the universe who can enter into our bereavements with the sympathy, the support, and the soothing of Christ!
They were tears of sympathy.
His heart was not only touched with a sense of His own personal affliction, but it was also touched, deeply touched, with sympathy for the sorrow of others.
He wept because the mourning sisters wept. He mingled His tears with theirs.
This is true sympathy, “weeping with those that weep,” making their sorrow our own. How really our Lord does this with His people. So completely is He our Surety, that He takes our sins and infirmities, our trials and sorrows upon Himself, as if they were all and entirely His own. Our sins were so completely laid upon Him, that not one remains charged to the account of those who believe in Jesus.
And our present griefs are so entirely absorbed in Him, that, softened by His love, soothed by His sympathy, supported by His grace; trial is welcome, affliction is
–134–

sweet, and the rod of a Father’s chastening, buds and blossoms into delectable fruit.
Bereaved mourner! the sympathy of Christ is yours!
The Savior who wept at the gave of Bethany, now shares your grief and joins your tears.
Deem not your sorrow is isolated, or that your tears are forbidden or unseen. You have a merciful and faithful High Priest who is touched with your present calamity.
There exists no sympathy….. so real,
so intelligent,
so deep,
so tender,
so sanctifying
as Christ’s sympathy.
And if your heavenly Father has seen it wise and good to remove from you the spring of human pity, it is but that He may draw you closer beneath the wing of Jesus’ compassion, presence, and love.
O child of sorrow! will not this suffice, that you possess Christ’s sympathy, immeasurable and exhaustless as the ocean, exquisite and changeless as His being? Yield your heart to His rich compassion!
Will Jesus be regardless of what I feel, and the sorrows under which I groan? Oh no! The sigh that bursts in secret from my heart is not secret to Him; the tear that is my food day and night, and drops unperceived and unknown, is known and remembered by Him!
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” Psalm 56:8
6
–135–

YOU SELL THEM TO BE SLAVES TO SATAN!
by Richard Baxter, edited
Parents! It is in your hands to do your children the greatest kindness, or cruelty, in all the world!
Help them to know God and to be saved, and you do more for them than if you helped them to be lords or princes.
If you neglect their souls, and breed them in ignorance, worldliness, ungodliness, and sin; you betray them to the devil, the enemy of souls, even as truly as if you sold them to him!
You sell them to be slaves to Satan!
You betray them to him that will deceive them and abuse them in this life, and torment them in the next!
THE ONLY EFFECTUAL MEANS FOR REFORMING MANKIND?
by John Newton
The Gospel of Christ, the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, is the only effectual means for reforming mankind.
To the man who possesses and knows the use of this grand, this wonderful machine, if I may be allowed the comparison, what is otherwise impossible becomes easy.
The Gospel removes difficulties insurmountable to human power. It causes the blind to see, the deaf to hear; it softens the heart of stone, and raises the dead in trespasses and sins to a life of righteousness.
No force but that of the Gospel is sufficient to remove the mountainous load of guilt from an awakened
6
–136–

conscience, to calm the violence of tumultuous passions, to raise an earthly soul from groveling in the mire of sensuality or avarice to a spiritual and divine life, a life of communion with God.
No system but the Gospel can communicate motives, encouragements, and prospects, sufficient to withstand and counteract all the snares and temptations with which the spirit of this world, by its frowns or its smiles, will endeavor either to intimidate or to bribe us from the path of duty.
But the Gospel, rightly understood and cordially embraced, will inspire the slothful with energy and the fearful with courage. It will make the miser generous, melt the grouch into kindness, tame the raging tiger in the breast, and, in a word, expand the narrow selfish heart and fill it with a spirit of love to God, cheerful unreserved obedience to His will, and benevolence to mankind.
6
YOU SPIT INTO THE VERY FACE OF GOD!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Essence of the Gospel”
Do you not see, O unbeliever, how the matter stands? The infinite Lord of mercy, that you might not perish, has devised a wondrous way of salvation, which has astonished cherubim and seraphim, and made heaven ring with song; and this you utterly reject!
When you imagine that your church goings and good works will save you, you set a low estimate upon what Jesus did. These very actions of yours, which you think to be good, are setting up an Antichrist in opposition to Him, upon which He looks with abhorrence.
God says He will save by Christ, and in no other way!
–137–

And so long as you seek salvation another way, you do as it were, spit into the very face of God by the insolence of your self-righteousness!
That God should send a Savior, His one and only Son, the Lord of heaven and earth; and that He should come with testimony of love, the love of God to sinners, and seal that testimony with His blood; and that men should refuse to believe in Him, is the most monstrous iniquity that could be imagined!
O sinner! Will you spurn almighty love? Can you turn away from boundless mercy?
You must be infinitely wicked, you must be enormously, monstrously, diabolically at enmity with God, or else surely a blessing so precious you would not slight, a plan of mercy so adapted to your condition you could not have the impertinence to reject.
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who disobeys the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36
Solemn words! Hear them and tremble! This is no idle threat!
The Lord has power to fulfill His sentence. What power have you to resist it?
Who is there that can help you to withstand Him?
You are utterly in His hands, you cannot break prison and escape. If you climbed up to heaven He is there; if you dived to hell He is there; the whole universe is but one great prison for an enemy of God!
You cannot escape Him, neither can you resist Him. If your bones were granite and your heart were steel, His fires would melt down your spirit. Against Him you can
–138–

no more stand than the chaff against the fire, or the dust against the whirlwind.
O that you would feel this and desist from your insane rebellion!
O unbeliever! God is angry with you now. This statement is no invention of mine, it is written by the pen of inspiration that “God is angry with the wicked every day: if he turn not, He will whet His sword: He has bent His bow, and made it ready.”
God is more angry with some of you than He is with some already in hell!
An angry God holds you over the gulf of hell; justice demands that you fall into it, and it is nothing but His mercy that keeps you out of it. He has but to will it, and before the clock shall tick again, you who are condemned already would be forever where the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched!
God’s wrath, though it has not come on you yet, is like a stream that is dammed up. Every moment it gathers force, every hour it is swelling the dyke. Each day, and each moment of each day in which you remain an unbeliever, you are treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath when the measure of your iniquity is full.
How earnestly would I persuade you to escape from condemnation!
It is not within the power of thought to conceive what God’s wrath is! No language, even though it should make both the ears to tingle, can ever fully express it.
I am not one of those who would so delude your poor souls, O unbelievers, as to make you think it a light thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
O turn! turn! turn! Why will you die?
–139–

Oh, why do you stand out against Jesus, and pull down upon your heads the wrath of an angry God?
“I will think about it,” says one. Think about it! You will think yourself into hell before long.
LIKE SWINE IN THEIR STY?
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Compassion for Souls”
Is it our object in life merely to live comfortably?
Are we such brute beasts that comfort is all we care for; like swine in their sty?
No, brethren! let us recall to our memories the tens of thousands of our race who are passing constantly into eternity!
Look at them!
Do not close those eyes!
Does the horror of the vision make your eyeballs ache? Then look until your heart aches too!
Look down into hell a moment; open wide the door; listen, and listen yet again. You say you cannot, it sickens your soul. Let it be sickened!
It is a matter of fact that in this congregation many are going down to hell; that in this city there are multitudes who are hastening as certainly to perdition as time is hastening to eternity.
Hell is no dream, no fiction of a fevered brain!
Since assuredly there is a dreadful hell, do not shut your eyes to it. Come and look, come and look, till your hearts break at the sight. Hear the groans of spirits who are feeling the sure consequences of sin, where sin’s cure will never avail them.
6
–140–

You tell me I preach dreadful things. Yes, but they are needed, they are needed! Have we done all that it is possible for us to do for the unconverted around us? Can you say, “If a soul perishes, I, at least, will have done all in my power to reclaim it.”
Were there ever such sleepy people as ourselves?
O dear friend, if you love Jesus, burst the bonds of timidity, or it may be of laziness; snap all fetters, and from this day feel that you cannot bear to think of the ruin of a soul, and must seek its salvation.
6
IMMANUEL’S LAND!
by Gene Fedele, edited
What can be more delightful for the weary pilgrim who is hastening to his heavenly mansion than to meditate on the unspeakable wonders of his future home beyond the skies?
There is much of Immanuel’s Land to engage our hearts in sacred contemplation even while we sojourn and toil in this world as strangers and pilgrims.
Heaven is the most cheering and attractive occupation to which we may set our hearts. Yet I wonder why many of us fail to avail ourselves of the enjoyment and spiritual strength afforded in such a holy pursuit.
Could it be that the allurements of the world keep us from recognizing how near we are to the unseen, supernatural, and eternal state? Instead of dwelling on the world to come, do we choose to become subjects of the mere momentary pleasures of time?
We do well to examine ourselves, with judgment day honesty, that we may check the affections of our heart.
It is the influence of the future, heavenly realities
–141–

exercised in our hearts and lives which gives vitality and beauty to our religion. It reveals genuine piety as our aim in contrast to the passing pleasures of this fleeting earth. It affords light along the path of life’s dark trials and points to the realms of bliss, where there shall be no more tears and sorrow is banished forevermore!
The glorious rest that remains for our earth-wearied souls; the sweet consolation of the redeemed in glory; the unending fellowship of that precious society of saints; the incalculable riches laid up in store for us to receive on that glorious day; are all facets of Immanuel’s Land prepared before the world began, that we might set an adoring eye towards the one object of our affections, Christ Jesus our Lord!
Let us, therefore, ‘set our affections on things above’ and fix our hearts steadfastly upon the heavenly joys and glory of Immanuel’s Land!
O Christ He is the fountain,
The deep sweet well of love.
The ‘streams’ on earth I’ve tasted, More deep I’ll drink above.
There to an ocean’s fullness, His mercy does expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth,
In Immanuel’s land.
O I am my Beloved’s,
And my Beloved is mine. He brings a poor vile sinner, Into His house of wine.
I stand upon His merit,
I know no other stand.
Not e’en where glory dwelleth, In Immanuel’s land.
–142–

The bride eyes not her garment, But her dear Bridegroom’s face. I will not gaze at glory,
But on the King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth,
But on His pierced hands,
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel’s land!—Anne Ross Cousin
6
I SHALL LIE PROSTRATE AT HIS FEET!
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
In heaven I will see my own most precious Redeemer, enthroned in all His glory, His countenance radiant with ineffable love, and a welcome beaming from every feature!
So shall I behold Him who loved me with an everlasting love and landed me at last in the kingdom of glory!
The redeemed shall all be encircling the throne, and basking in the full sunshine of the Redeemer’s countenance; while I shall lie prostrate at His feet in wondering joy and adoring love at the matchless grace that brought me there! 6
IMMUTABILITY
John MacDuff, “The Bow in the Clouds”
“For I, the Lord, don’t change; therefore you, sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6
The unchangeableness of God.
What an anchor for a storm-tossed sea! Change is our portion here!
–143–

Scenes are altering. Joys are fading.
Friends! some of them are removed at a distance; others have gone to their ‘long home.’
Who, amid these checkered experiences, does not sigh for something permanent, stable, enduring?
The vessel has again and again slipped its earthly moor- ings. We long for some secure and sheltered harbor.
“I, the Lord, don’t change!” Heart and flesh may faint; yes, do faint and fail.
But there is an unfainting, unfailing, unvarying God. All the changes in the world around cannot affect Him.
Our own fitfulness cannot alter Him. When we are depressed, downcast, fluctuating; our treacherous hearts turning aside “like a broken bow,” He does not change.
“God who cannot lie,” is the superscription on His eternal throne; and inscribed on all His dealings.
“I, the Lord, don’t change!” This forms a blessed guarantee that nothing can befall me but what is for my good. I cannot doubt His faithfulness. I dare not arraign the rectitude of His dispensations. It is ‘covenant love’ which is now darkening my earthly horizon. This hour He is the same as when He “spared not His own Son!”
Oh, instead of wondering at my trials, let me rather wonder that He has borne with me so long! It is because of the Lord’s unchanging mercies that I am not consumed. Had He been man, changeful, vacillating, as myself, long before now would He have spurned me away, and consigned me to the doom of the cumberer.
“I, the Lord, don’t change!”6 –144–

I AM A WAYWARD FOOLISH CHILD
Elizabeth Prentiss, “Stepping Heavenward”
I am a wayward foolish child. But God loves me!
I have disobeyed and grieved Him ten thousand times. But He loves me!
All this time, while I was caring for nobody but myself and fancying He must almost hate me, He was loving and pitying me.
I knelt down to pray, and all my wasted, childish wicked life came and stared me in the face. I looked at it and said with tears of joy, “But He loves me!”
Never in my life did I feel so rested, so quieted, so sorrowful and yet so satisfied.
MR. COX’S MUSEUM?
by John Newton, August 1772
I think I received some instruction where I little expected it—I mean, at Mr. Cox’s Museum. The efforts of his ingenuity amazed me, while at the same time I was struck with their insignificance.
His fine things were curious beyond all I had any idea of; and yet what are they better than toys and amusements, suited to the taste of children! And notwithstanding the variety of their motions, they were all destitute of life.
There is unspeakably more wisdom and creativity in the mechanism of a butterfly or a bee, that flies unnoticed in the fields, than in all Mr. Cox’s contraptions put together!
6
–145–

But the works of God are disregarded, while the feeble imitations of them which men can produce gain universal applause.
If you and I could make self-moving dragons and elephants, what would it profit us?
God has given us in His Word a greater treasure than all that we ever beheld with our eyes, and a hope which shall flourish when the earth and all its works shall be burnt up. What will all the fine things of men’s device be worth in that day?
6
FOOL, MONSTER, BEAST OR DEVIL?
by John Newton, author of “Amazing Grace”
There is indeed a difference among men, but it is owing to the restraints of Divine Providence, without which earth would be the very image of hell. Education and self interest, fear and shame, human laws, and the secret power of God over the mind, combine to form many characters that are ‘externally decent and respectable.’ And even the most abandoned are under a restraint which prevents them from manifesting a thousandth part of the wickedness which is in their hearts.
But the heart itself is universally deceitful, and desperately wicked!
Man, with all his boasted understanding and attainments, is a fool; so long as he is destitute of the saving grace of God. His conduct, as to his most important concerns, is more absurd and inconsistent then that of the lowest idiot.
Man is a fool.
–146–

The most admired philosophers, legislators, logicians, orators, and artists, are as destitute as infants of that knowledge which alone deserves the name of true wisdom. Professing themselves to be wise they became fools.
There is no fool like the sinner, who prefers the toys of earth to the happiness of heaven, who is held in bondage by the customs of the world, and is more afraid of the breath of man, then the wrath of God.
Man in his fallen state is a monster; a vile, base, stupid, obstinate, and mischievous creature; no words can fully describe him. With respect to his affections and pursuits, he is degraded far below the beasts!
Man in his natural state is a beast, yes, below the beasts that perish. In two things he strongly resembles them: in looking no higher then to sensual gratifications, and in that selfishness of spirit which prompts him to propose himself and his own interest as his proper and highest end.
But in many respects he sinks sadly beneath them. Men are worse than beasts in their obstinacy; they will not be warned. If a beast escapes from a trap he will be cautious how he goes near it again, and in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird. But man, though he is often reproved, hardens his neck; he rushes upon his ruin with his eyes open, and can defy God to His face, and dare damnation.
And as for the malignity and wickedness of his will, he can be compared to nothing so properly as the devil. Man resembles Satan in pride; this stupid, weak creature values himself upon his wisdom, power, and virtue, and will talk of being saved by his good works.
I have drawn but a sketch, a few outlines of the picture of fallen man. To give an exact copy of him, to charge
–147–

every feature with its full aggravation of horror, and to paint him as he is, would be impossible.
Fallen men take different courses, but all are traveling down to the pit; and, unless sovereign mercy interpose, will soon sink to rise no more.
But Jesus is mighty to save. His grace can pardon the most aggravated offenses, and subdue the most inveterate habits of sin. 6
IT GUSHES FROM HIS HEART!
Octavius Winslow, “The Holy Spirit”
“Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for timely help.” Hebrews 4:16
Why is it called a throne of grace?
Because a God of grace sits upon it, and the scepter of grace is held out from it, and all the favors bestowed there are the blessings of grace.
This is just the throne we need!
We are….
the poor, the needy, the helpless, the vile,
the sinful, the unworthy.
We have nothing to bring but our deep wretchedness and poverty, nothing but our complaints, our miseries, our crosses, our groanings, our sighs and tears.
But it is the throne of grace! For just such is it erected.
–148–

It is set up in a world of woe, in the midst of the wilderness, in the very land of the enemy, in the valley of tears!
It is a God of grace who sits upon it, and all the blessings He dispenses from it are the gifts of grace. Pardon, justification, adoption, peace, comfort, light, direction—all, all is of grace!
No worth or worthiness in the creature extracts these blessings; no price he may bring purchases them; no tears or complainings or misery move the heart of God to compassion—all is of grace.
God is so full of compassion, and love, and mercy, He does not need to be moved to pour it forth. It gushes from His heart as from a full and overflowing fountain, and flows into the bosom of the poor, the lowly, the humble and the contrite; enriching, comforting and sanctifying their souls.
Therefore whatever your case, you may come.
If it is a throne of grace (as indeed it is) then why not come? To keep away from the throne of grace because of unfitness and unpreparedness to approach it, is to alter its character from a throne of grace to a throne of merit.
Why, stand a long way off?
If the poor, the penniless, the disconsolate and the guilty are welcome here, if this throne is crowded by such; why make yourself an exception?
Why not come too?
What is your case? What is your sorrow? What is your burden?
Ah! perhaps you can disclose it to no earthly ear. You can tell it to God only. Then take it to Him.
–149–

Let me tell you for your encouragement that God has His secret audience chamber, where He will meet you alone, and where no eye shall see you and no ear shall hear you but His, where you may open all your heart, and reveal your real case, and pour all your secrets into His ear!
Precious encouragement!
The throne of grace is for the needy!
What a blessing then is the throne of grace!
It is for those who are in need, those to whom all other doors are closed, with whom all other resources have failed, who have nowhere else to look, nowhere else to fly.
To such is the throne of grace always open. Behold, then, the throne of grace, and draw near! You are welcome.
Come with your cross,
come with your infirmity,
come with your guilt,
come with your need,
come with your wounded spirit,
come with your broken heart,
come and welcome to the throne of grace!
Come without price,
come without worthiness,
come without preparation,
come without fitness,
come in a bad state of mind,
come with a hard heart,
come and welcome to the throne of grace!
6
–150–

IT IS A WONDER GOD DOES NOT KICK US OUT OF HIS PRESENCE!
Thomas Watson, “The Happiness of Drawing near to God”
“But it is good for me to draw near to God.” Psalm 73:28 To draw near to God is our honor.
It is counted an honor to converse with noble personages. What high dignity is it, that the great God will allow sinful dust to draw near to Him!
Surely the apostle did speak of it with a holy boasting, “Our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus.” As if he had said, we do not walk with peasants of the world; we are of the royal blood of Heaven! we live above other men!
That the King of kings will hold forth a golden scepter to us, invite and welcome us into His presence, and bid us draw near—this is no small favor!
“Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented, gathered themselves to him; and he became captain over them.” 1 Sam. 22:2.
So that we who are distressed and in debt, may draw near to God; and that He will not only be our captain, but our husband. Isaiah 54:5.
What transcendent dignity is this!
It is a wonder God does not kick us out of His presence!
But that we should be admitted to see the King’s face and that He should send us dainties from His own table, is an honor more fit for angels than men!
6
–151–

THE HUMBLE HEART!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Rest, Rest”
“Take My yoke on you, and learn from Me, for I am humble and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
The humble heart says, “Not my will, but Yours be done. All I ask is that God is glorified in me. Rich, poor, sick, or in health, it is all the same to me. If God, the great One, has the glory, what does it matter where such a little one as I am may be placed?”
The humble heart does not seek after great things for himself; he has learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
If he is poor, “Never mind,” says the humble heart, “I never aspired to be rich. I never desired to shine among the great ones of this earth.”
If he is denied honor, the humble heart says, “I never asked for earthly glory, I seek not my own honor, but the honor of Him who sent me. Why should I be honored, a poor worm like me? If nobody speaks a good word of me, that is fine. If only Jesus says, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant,’ that is enough for me.”
And if the humble heart has little worldly pleasure, he says, “This is not my place for pleasure, I deserve eternal pain, and if I do not have pleasures here I shall have them hereafter. I am well content to bide my time.”
Our blessed Lord was always of that humble heart. He did not strive, nor cry out, nor cause His voice to be heard in the streets. The baubles of empire had no charm for Him. Had fame offered to sound her trumpet for none but Him he would have cared not one whit for the offer. The kingdoms of this world and the glory thereof were offered Him, and He repelled the tempter.
–152–

He was gentle, unobtrusive, self-denying; hence He treated His burden of poverty and shame as a light thing, “He endured the cross, despising the shame.”
If we once learn Christ’s humble heart we shall find
rest for our souls.
6
PERHAPS IN THE TIME OF OUR HUMILIATION
Elizabeth Prentiss, “Thoughts Concerning the King”
God never places us in any position in which we cannot grow. We may imagine that He does. We may fear we are so impeded by fretting petty cares that we are gaining nothing; but when we are not sending any branches upward, we may be sending roots downward.
Perhaps in the time of our humiliation, when everything seems a failure, we are making the best kind of progress. Look on and look up! Lay hold on Christ with both your poor, empty hands. Let Him do with you what seems good to Him. Though He slay you, still trust in Him, and I dare in His name to promise you a sweeter, better life than you could have ever known, had He left you to drink of the full dangerous cups of unmingled prosperity.
6
THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST!
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
How wonderful is God in all His great and gracious dealings with His children. He places us, as soon as the spiritual eye is opened, in His school.
First, the infant school; and then onward and upward, from class to class, losing no opportunity of spiritual instruction. Many hard lessons have we to learn and to
–153–

relearn. But, oh, the unwearied patience and tenderness of our Teacher!
Some of His children are slow learners, dull scholars, and require the discipline of the rod to stimulate them to more earnestness, attention, and submission.
Some imagine they have arrived at the end of their education, and sit down at their ease; but presently they are called upon to solve some hard problem, and they find that they know less than they thought, and for their boasting are sent back to a lower class, and made to commence where they first began.
Such is the school of Christ.
“Lord, teach me more and more of Yourself; and of my own poverty, misery, and weakness. And oh, unfold to my longing eyes and heart what there is in Yourself to supply all my need; and in Your loving, willing heart, to do all for me, and all in me, to fit me for Your service here, and for your presence hereafter! Sanctify abundantly all Your varying dispensations to the welfare and prosperity of my soul, and increase in me every gift and grace of Your Spirit, that I may show forth Your praise, and walk humbly and closely with You. You know what a poor, worthless worm I am, and how utterly unworthy of the least mercy from Your merciful hands; but You love to bestow Your favors upon the poor and needy, such as me, most precious Lord. You have been a good and gracious, sin pardoning God to my soul, and a very present help in every time of trouble. I feel my dependence on You more than
ever. Without You I can do nothing. Helpless as an infant I hang upon You, to do all for me and all in me.”
6
–154–

GOD’S ARROWS!
John MacDuff, “The Heart Wounded”
“For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, my spirit drinks up their poison. The terrors of God set themselves in array against me.” Job 6:4
There is the blanched arrow of sickness; the rusted arrow of poverty; the lacerating arrow of bereavement, stained and saturated with tears, and feathered from our own bosoms.
Yet, blessed be God, these are often arrows which wound only to heal; or rather, which, from the wounds they create, send the bleeding, panting, thirsting soul to seek the waters of comfort in God Himself.
Suffering one! be thankful for your wounds!
But for these arrows you might have been, at this moment, sleeping on the mountain heights of self- righteousness, or worldliness, or sin, with no thought of your soul.
Affliction, worldly calamity, and bereavement are sent to drive you nearer to your God.
Has an arrow from the quiver of God wounded your heart? Are you, in your agony, seeking rest and finding none? Do you have a gnawing feeling of dissatisfaction with all ‘created things,’ and an undefined longing for a solace they cannot give?
Yes for your gaping, bleeding wound there is “balm in Gilead, and a Physician there.”
Thirsty, faint, forlorn, wounded, weary one; go to Jesus! He is all that you need, all that you require, in sickness and health, in joy and in sorrow, in life and in death, in time and through eternity!
6
–155–

THE REASON FOR CHASTISEMENT
by John MacDuff, edited
“For the Lord disciplines those He loves.” Hebrews 12:6
What! God loves me when He is discharging His quiver upon me, emptying me from vessel to vessel, causing the sun of my earthly joys to set in clouds?
Yes! O afflicted one, tossed with tempest; He chastens you because He loves you!
This trial comes from His own tender, loving hand; from His own tender, unchanging heart!
Are you laid on a sickbed; are sorrowful months and wearisome nights appointed unto you? Let this be the pillow on which your aching head reclines—It is because He loves me!
Is it bereavement that has crushed your heart and desolated your dwelling? He appointed that chamber of death, because He loves you!
As it is the suffering child of the family which claims a mother’s deepest affections and most tender solicitude; so have you at this moment allured to your side the most tender love and solicitude of your heavenly Father.
He loved you into this sorrow, and will love you through it!
There is nothing capricious in His dealings.
LOVE is the reason of all He does. There is no drop of wrath in that bitter cup you are called to drink.
Believer! rejoice in the thought that the rod, the chastening rod, is in the hands of the living, loving Savior, who died for you!
Tribulation is the King’s Highway and yet that highway is paved with love.
–156–

As some flowers before shedding their fragrance require to be crushed, so does your God think it suitable to bruise you.
As some birds are said to sing their sweetest notes when the thorn pierces their bosom, so does He appoint affliction to lacerate, that you may be driven to the wing, singing, in your upward soaring, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed!”
Be it ours to say, “Lord, I will love You not only despite Your rod, but because of your rod. I will rush into the very arms that are chastening me!”
6
Grovel in the dust to gather pebbles? Is it not strange that we can for one moment lose sight of heaven, and the increasing glory; and grovel in the dust to gather pebbles, for the pleasure of throwing them afterwards away?—Mary Winslow’s, “Life in Jesus”
6
TO FREE, SOVEREIGN, BOUNDLESS LOVE, BE ALL THE PRAISE!
Thomas Reade, “Christian Obedience”
The great design of Christ’s coming into the world, was to save sinners; to save them from their sins; from this present evil world; and from the wrath to come.
Were we deeply sensible of our deserts, as sinners, we would be overwhelmed at the sight of our mercies, so freely and abundantly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ.
To free, sovereign, boundless love, be all the praise!
6
–157–

WHAT A POOR, UNCERTAIN, DYING WORLD IS THIS!
by John Newton
What a wilderness in itself! How dark, how desolate, without the light of the Gospel and knowledge of Jesus! It does not appear so to us in a state of nature, because we are then in a state of enchantment, the magical lantern blinding us with a grand delusion.
It is a great mercy to be undeceived in time; and though our gay dreams are at an end, and we awake to everything that is disgustful and dismaying, yet we see a highway through the wilderness, an infallible guide at hand to conduct us through; and we can discern, beyond the limits of the wilderness, a better land, where we shall be at rest and at home.
What will the difficulties we met by the way then signify? The remembrance of them will only remain to heighten our sense of the love, care, and power of our Savior and Leader. O how shall we then admire, adore, and praise Him, when He shall condescend to unfold to us the beauty, propriety, and harmony of the whole train of His dispensations towards us, and give us a clear retrospect of all the way and all the turns of our pilgrimage!
In the meanwhile, the best method of adorning our profession, and of enjoying peace in our souls, is simply to trust Him, and absolutely to commit ourselves and our all to His management.
By casting our burdens upon Him, our spirits become light and cheerful; we are freed from a thousand anxieties and inquietudes, which are wearisome to our minds, and which with respect to events, are needless for us, yes, useless.
–158–

But though it may be easy to speak of this trust, and it appears to our judgment perfectly right and reasonable, the actual attainment is a great thing; and especially so to trust the Lord, not by fits and starts, surrendering one day and retracting the next, but to abide by our surrender, and go habitually trusting through all the changes we meet, knowing that His love, purpose, and promise are unchangeable.
Some little faintings perhaps none are freed from; but I believe a power of trusting the Lord in good measure at all times, and living quietly under the shadow of His wing, is what the promise warrants us to expect, if we seek it by diligent prayer; if not all at once, yet by a gradual increase.
May it be your experience and mine!
6
THE GARMENT OF DECENCY?
Thomas Reade, “On Love”
Formality and hypocrisy are two powerful and successful agents of Satan. The enemy of souls is not very anxious whether men travel to hell by the road of profaneness or false profession. The latter, being more creditable, is generally the most frequented.
Gross vice startles the conscience; while the garment of ‘decency’ thrown over the general conduct, quiets the mind, and makes the deluded sinner more easy in his sins.
“Blessed Lord, save me from the delusions of Satan, and the deceitfulness of my own heart. Let me know myself. Guard me against self-deception, self-love, and vainglory. Make me humble, simple, and sincere.”
6
–159–

TINSEL AND TOYS?
by Mary Winslow
When we turn from earth and gaze upon the glorious prospect that is before us; when we see what rich provision is made in the gospel for such poor sinners as we are; when we see Jesus at the right hand of God waiting to receive us home; when we realize that but a very few steps we have to take and then we are done with time, and a vast eternity burst upon us with all its solemn and glorious realities; oh, how does the world, with all its tinsel and toys, its emptiness and nothingness, sink into the dust beneath our feet!
The present world is but….. weariness, disappointment, and vexation of spirit.
Take it in whatever form you may, it brings its troubles
and its sorrows.
6
THE ENVIED SPOT, THE IMAGINARY PARADISE?
from Thomas Reade, “On True Happiness”
There is one important truth which cannot be too deeply engraved on the heart, that TO BE HOLY IS TO BE HAPPY. This truth, being once admitted, accounts for the misery of thousands who are in search of happiness. They mistake its real nature, and the way which leads to it. They thirst, indeed, for the refreshing stream, but find it not; because their minds being unholy, they cannot discern (nor even relish, if they could discern) the true felicity of man.
Where, then, is this sacred treasure to be found?
–160–

What shall we answer to the thousands who inquire, “Who shall show us any good?” The blessed Gospel reveals the important secret. While worldly minds are toiling through the valley of life to reach the envied spot, the imaginary paradise of affluence, where happiness is supposed to dwell; the humble Christian, living day by day on Christ by faith, enjoys the real blessing in every situation and condition of life.
Riches cannot confer happiness. Grace can, and does.
Herein is the goodness of God strikingly manifested, that true happiness is not the result of human wisdom, power or grandeur. The poor may enjoy it, while the most wealthy are destitute of it. The illiterate may discern its excellence, while the wisest philosophers may be blind to its beauty.
We see this continually verified.
The rich rejecting the true riches; the wise of this world despising the true wisdom; the men, who are struggling after happiness, refusing that Gospel which alone can make them happy.
And why is this?
Because man is naturally blind to the things of God, and his own true interest, until enlightened by the Spirit of God. Truly, man by nature is dead in trespasses and sins.
He is alive indeed to evil, and active in the pursuit of earthly good; but towards God he is dead. His heart has no impulsive feeling of love and gratitude. His will has no holy bias in childlike simplicity and obedience to his great Creator.
He is averse from God.
–161–

The carnal mind has not only no desires towards God but is rooted in enmity against Him. This is the true state of man by nature. He is up in arms against his Maker. Hence he is an object of deserved condem- nation. His natural conscience testifies indeed against him. But he breaks through all restraints, and sins with awful determination.
6
THE CHRISTIAN AND THE WORLD?
by Octavius Winslow
The Christian may be compared to an individual who has thrown off allegiance to his king, has disowned his country, and refuses obedience to its laws; yet continues to dwell in the land he has renounced.
The grace of God has called us out of the world; yet the providence of God has sent us into the world. We may, therefore, expect nothing but hostility from the god of this world, and hatred from the world itself.
The world will never forgive the act by which we…. broke from its thraldom,
renounced its sway,
relinquished its pleasures, and
resigned its friendships.
6
INBRED SIN?
Thomas Reade, “On Unbelief”
It is also a melancholy truth, that unbelief is not wholly eradicated from the hearts of believers.
Those who are in the habit of observing the secret movement of their own spirit, will soon perceive how this subtle evil lies at the bottom of all their languor in
–162–

devotion; their inertness of duty; their dullness in spiritual perception, and their declensions from the ways of God.
This acquaintance with our own heart will lead us to the continued exercise of watchfulness and prayer, through the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit.
A consciousness of inbred sin will cause us to distrust ourselves, to look continually unto Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
This salutary fear, implanted in the heart through the covenant love of God, alone can keep us from falling.
We shall walk over the slippery paths of this sinful world with safety, when we tread with cautious step, “leaning upon our beloved.”
This knowledge of our inbred sin, when taught by the Spirit of truth, in connection with the remedy provided to remove it, even the atoning blood of Jesus, causes the soul who receives it….
to sink deep in self abasement;
to rise high in heavenly affections;
to renounce the vanities of the world; and
to grow in a daily fitness for the inheritance of the
saints in light.
“Blessed Savior! You who came down from the throne of glory to die for poor perishing sinners, save me from the deadly sin of unbelief. Enable me to rely upon You with the simplicity of a little child. On You may I repose my soul, for You did bear my sins in Your own body on the tree. Lord save me from self-righteousness; from the love of the world; from pride of heart; from fleshly indulgence. Keep me near to Yourself. Wash me daily in Your cleansing blood from every contracted defilement. Clothe me with the robe of righteousness, with the garment of salvation. Cause me to rejoice in
–163–

You; to live in the light of Your countenance; to taste that You are gracious; and to glorify You by a growing conformity to Your mind and will.”
6
“The more I see of Jesus, the more He opens to me His loving heart, the deeper is my sorrow for sin. I lie down in the dust of His feet closer than ever I did before. I can truly say I abhor myself in dust and ashes before Him. My heart seems ready to melt into contrition in view of the ten thousand thousand sins, willful and aggravating, that I have committed against Him, who loved me with an everlasting love, and with loving kindness drew me to Himself.”—Mary Winslow
6
THE ONLY SOURCE OF COMFORT; THE ONLY SPRING OF JOY
Thomas Reade, “On Peace”
The world may appear smiling and happy, but its appearances are deceitful.
This is a world of sin and trouble.
Here, thorns and thistles grow around us—painful emblems of the human heart, and of the sad change which passed on Adam at the fall.
Everything here in this world is fickle and changing.
If I rest my hopes upon an earthly friend, death removes the prop, and I fall, and mourn, and weep.
If I place my confidence in riches, they fly away as an eagle towards heaven, and leave me to regret the folly of my covetous desires.
If I build upon the breath of fame, it dies away, or changes into scorn or slander.
–164–

If I repose upon the rosy couch of earthly comforts, however lawful and endearing, these lovely flowers will quickly fade, and leave me nothing but the thorns.
Jesus is the only source of comfort; the only spring of joy.
6
THE MONSTER PRIDE!
Thomas Reade, “On Humility”
Pride and vanity cannot thrive at the foot of the cross. It is only when we remove from this holy ground, that they shoot out their pestiferous branches in awful luxuriance.
True humility loves the sacred mount of Calvary, on which the lowly Savior bowed His head and died!
There, repentance sheds the contrite tear. There, faith views with joy the great atonement.
There, love glows with fervent desires to the Friend of sinners.
Man is naturally a proud, selfish creature.
He tries indeed to appear humble and unselfish, but the monster Pride is easily seen through the thin veil of false humility, which is thrown over its frightful visage; while Self assumes a thousand forms to escape detection.
It is only when the divine Spirit puts forth His new creating power, through the instrumentality of the everlasting Gospel, that the proud selfish sinner becomes the lowly follower of the Lamb.
Humility is, then, the work of grace.
“Oh! Spirit of holiness, open my blind eyes to see the wonders of Your grace. Quicken my dead soul to feel its
–165–

sacred influence. Make me truly humble in heart, emptied of every self-exalting thought, which would oppose the freeness of Your love. Mold my whole soul into the lowliness and meekness of Jesus. Preserve me from the subtle influence of pride and vainglory. Keep me ever low in my own eyes. Root out every sinful, selfish principle; and give me a single eye which aims at nothing but Your glory.”6
CRUEL BONDAGE!
Octavius Winslow, “No Condemnation in Christ Jesus”
The world holds all its devotees in cruel bondage!
It enslaves….
the intellect by its opinions,
the heart by its pleasures,
the imagination by its promises, the soul by its religion.6
TRUE FAITH!
Thomas Reade, “On Faith”
True faith is not a mere passive impression, or an inoperative notion. It is a holy principle wrought in the soul by the Spirit of God, producing gracious habits, holy affections, filial reverence, and obedience.
True faith is seated in the heart, influencing and purifying the whole inner man.
True faith unites the soul to Christ, as the branch to the vine. It draws virtue from Him, whereby the believer is rendered fruitful in every good work. The sweet fruits of the Spirit appear and abound in rich luxuriance on these favored branches, to the glory of God.
–166–

True faith feeds upon Christ continually, as the true bread which came down from heaven, of which, whoever eats shall live forever.
True faith works by love to God, His people, and His Word. It evidences its vitality by its fruits.
True faith purifies the heart from sin, waging war against all internal and external evil.
True faith overcomes the world, both when it smiles and when it frowns.
True faith views the glorious land of promise as its own, and triumphs over all intervening difficulties and dangers which bestrew its path to Heaven.
True faith makes the believer confident, yet watchful; bold, yet cautious; aspiring, yet humble.
He is confident, since the promises of God are kindly given him to rest upon; watchful, since he feels the deceitfulness of his rebellious heart. Bold, since the honor of the Savior demands his confession; cautious, lest he should be only gratifying a proud spirit; aspiring after that honor which comes from God only; yet humble, since he remembers his own vileness and utter unworthiness of the least of the divine mercies.
If it be asked, how can faith effect such wonders? The reply is, because faith is the gift of God, and the power of God. The believer, abiding in Christ, and deriving continual supplies of grace and strength out of His fullness, becomes mighty through this power which works in him mightily. He is strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, to fight the good fight of faith, and to lay hold on eternal life.
Weak and helpless in himself, he is strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus his Lord and finally obtains the palm of victory through the blood of the Lamb.
–167–

Thus, faith in Christ leads it to all true holiness. Such is the faith of God’s elect; a faith which is
according to godliness. 6
HOW TERRIBLE IT WILL BE
Thomas Reade, “On Unbelief”
“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion… Who lie on beds of ivory, And stretch themselves on their couches, And eat the lambs out of the flock, And the calves out of the midst of the stall; Who strum on the strings of a harp; Who invent for themselves instruments of music, like David; Who drink wine in bowls, And anoint themselves with the best oils; But they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.” Amos 6:1, 4-6
But oh! what an awful change ensues, when death strikes the fatal blow!
Instead of beds of ivory and couches of luxurious ease, they lie down on the lake that burns with fire and brimstone!
Instead of bacchanalian songs and the melody of sweet music, they hear and join in the dreadful concert, composed of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth!
Instead of the delicious wine poured with profusion into their golden bowls, they crave in vain for a drop of water to cool their flaming tongues!
How terrible it will be!
Oh! that men were wise; that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
6
–168–

WHAT COULD MOVE HIS HEART TOWARDS US?
Mary Winslow, “Heaven Opened”
We were traveling the broad road to eternal woe when Jesus met us and turned our feet into the narrow road that leads to eternal life.
What could move His heart towards us?
It was love; love from everlasting, and love to everlasting. And it is that same love that still watches over us day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment.
And although we often loathe ourselves, His love never varies. Is it not surprising that He can love us while we hate ourselves?
But such is our Jesus.
He is ours, and we are His.
6
MANY UNRULY AND VAIN TALKERS?
Thomas Reade, “Two Common Errors”
Many professing Christians are more ready to argue a point in theology, than to crucify a beloved lust.
Those who are much acquainted with the religious world, will find many theological disputants, but few self-denying followers of Jesus.
The apostle was compelled to say in his day: “there are many unruly and vain talkers.”
Such characters have been found in every age of the church, to the annoyance of the humble Christian.
The Bible is not given to us for disputation, but for edification; and its doctrines are designed to have a practical tendency on the mind and heart.
–169–

It is no small craftiness of Satan to engage the mind about nonessentials, and to beget among Christians a spirit of strife and contention.
6
PLEASURES!
Thomas Reade, “The Thorns in the Parable”
“That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.” Luke 8:14
Few Christians seem to consider that even lawful pleasures, when too eagerly pursued, become sources of pain, by secretly alienating the heart from God.
Hence we have need to guard against giving too much of our mind and time to those pursuits which may insensibly draw us off from private devotion and the daily duties of social life.
Lawful things are not always beneficial; and, if abused or used to excess, they become injurious.
Society is pleasant; yet it becomes a snare, if it leads us from our secret chamber by its incessant attractions, and thus make us strangers to God and our own hearts.
We are everywhere surrounded with danger.
Each pleasure has its poison, and each sweet its snare.
And yet, how fleeting!
Worldly delights resemble the rose, which droops almost as soon as gathered.
Oh! then, let us be upon our guard, against delusive pleasures, which, by their smiling face and winning form, would steal away our hearts, and rob us of eternal glory.
–170–

Worldly pleasures, like Solomon’s many wives, entice the soul to idolatrous attachments and departure from God.
How insipid are the boasted pleasures of the world, when compared with the soul-reviving delights, which a God of mercy has provided for the enjoyment of Christian pilgrims!
6
VARNISH OVER THE OLD ADAM?
Thomas Reade, “On Watchfulness”
While we are in an unrenewed state, we are under the dominion of sin. We naturally love it, and are captivated by it; for our heart is only evil continually.
Common prudence and worldly interest, as well as natural conscience, may prevent an unconverted man from committing many crimes which would outrage society.
The fear of punishment and the dread of public infamy may operate to the prevention of those evils, which would bring a man under the lash of the violated laws of his country.
The certain consequence of disease and poverty attendant on some vices, proves a partial check to their commission; though, alas! too weak to arrest the general torrent of licentiousness.
Thus, by the constant operation of these inferior motives, and through the goodness of a restraining providence, we are happily preserved from that inundation of iniquity, which would otherwise destroy the fabric of society.
There are, it is true, many of amiable character to be found, even among those who are hostile to the spirit of the Gospel, who may be considered as ornaments in
–171–

the midst of surrounding depravity and pollution. Polite education and civilized society can varnish over the old Adam.
But these amiable worldlings reject, as fanatical, those unwelcome declarations of Scripture, which assert the radical corruption of our nature, and the absolute necessity of being born again of the Spirit.
In the midst of all this boasted morality; this vaunted amiability of temper; this studious endeavor to appear honorable in the eyes of each other; we perceive….
no filial fear of God;
no hatred of sin;
no delight in holiness;
no cordial reception of the blessed Jesus as the only
Savior from guilt and pollution;
no self-abhorrence;
no watchfulness against the sins of the heart;
no deadness to the vanities and smiles of the world.
Under every garb, the carnal mind is enmity against God.
6
MISERABLE WHILE IN QUEST OF HAPPINESS?
Thomas Reade, “The Thorns in the Parable”
Man has a natural thirst after happiness; but, being blinded through the fall, and having all his appetites vitiated, he is continually seeking that from the world, which can only be found in God.
Fallen man, like Cain of old, is a fugitive.
He is ever flying from the presence of his Creator, who is the source and center of true felicity.
He is daily committing two evils: “They have forsaken Me, the spring of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13
–172–

Hence he is miserable while in quest of happiness.
He drinks of the intoxicating wine of carnal gratification; revels for a time in sensual pleasure; and if he awakens to sober recollection, feels a thousand stings, which too often drive him to despair and death.
6
PROUD?
Thomas Reade, “The Cautions and Warnings of Scripture”
How prone we are to be proud, although we have nothing to be proud of! Our hearts are strongly inclined to pride, which is the very essence of the fall. Pride cast angels out of heaven, and man out of paradise. Pride fights against the mercy of God; bars the sinner’s heart against the Savior; and hurries the proud rebel down the precipice of desperation into the burning gulf of hell!
Self-dependence and carnal security are those fatal props by which thousands are upheld through the delusions of Satan, until they drop into everlasting misery.
“Blessed Jesus! clothe me with humility; destroy this baneful root of pride out of my heart; and make me meek and lowly; resigned to all Your wise disposals, however painful they may be.”
6
THE CHRISTIAN PILGRIM
Thomas Reade, “The Two Ways”
The Christian pilgrim has to journey to the heavenly Canaan, through the wilderness of this world; there- fore, like the Israelites of old, his soul is sometimes discouraged because of the difficulty of the way.
The world frowns! Satan assaults!
–173–

Providences darken! Corruptions harass!
All these things produce, for a season, much discouragement. Like Peter, he looks at the raging waves, instead of the omnipotent Savior; and then he begins to sink into despondency, and would be overwhelmed in the depths of mental affliction, did not the compassionate Jesus stretch out His hand of mercy, and uphold him by His mighty power.
Thus, to every humble pilgrim, strength is imparted; realizing views of the faithfulness of Emmanuel are granted; and he is made to rise superior to every discouragement, and to walk, with increasing alacrity and joy, along the narrow way which leads unto life eternal.
6
NATURALLY BLIND
Thomas Reade, “On Christian Privilege”
Man is naturally blind to his real condition, as a guilty, condemned sinner. Enjoying the pleasures of time, he never inquires after those of eternity.
Satisfied with earth, he feels no desire for heaven, except as it presents to his mind an exemption from pain and suffering.
All men naturally prefer ease to pain. Hence heaven on this account is preferable to hell. Such is the estimate which wretched fallen man forms of heavenly bliss!
Ignorant of himself, and ignorant of God, he is led captive by Satan at his will, until Sovereign Grace redeems him out of the hand of the enemy.
6
–174–

THE ROAD TO HELL
Thomas Reade, “The Cautions and Warnings of Scripture”
The love of the world is a whirlpool down which millions are carried into perdition.
Carnal ease and sensual indulgence form the road to hell.
6
UNWHOLESOME TALK
Thomas Reade, “On Christian Conversation”
“Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for building up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Eph. 4:29
We ought never to speak unfavorably, not even by insinuation, of absent people, except when duty positively requires it; and even then, there should be a marked and sincere regret that the occasion calls for such an exposure of character.
We must guard against attributing wrong motives to the actions of others, even when appearances might favor such a conclusion; remembering that God alone knows the heart. Who are we, that we should judge our brother?
We should avoid everything that borders upon flatter- ing adulation, especially towards those who are present; knowing how pernicious praise is to a fallen creature, and how few are able to withstand its influence. This does not exclude a proper commen- dation, or a suitable encouragement, when dictated by Christian simplicity and prudence.
We must not indulge in those exaggerations, those strong hyperboles, those embellished representations, which seem to give force to conversation, but which actually destroy its delicacy and beauty. This mode of
–175–

speaking, by stretching out too far, touches upon the confines of falsehood.
Truth appears most beautiful in its own native simplicity.
Christian conversation is marked by love, humility, and purity.
Love leads us to converse with delight on all subjects connected with the glory of God and the good of man.
Humility draws a veil over her own graces, and delicately reveals the excellencies of others. It frankly confesses her own faults, and carefully conceals the failings of others.
Purity, like the refreshing rose, sheds a fragrance peculiarly its own over our whole conversation; and, like that lovely flower, leaves its reviving scent when we are gone.
How different from the conversation of the wicked, whose throat is compared in Scripture to an open sepulcher; loathsome and offensive, disgusting and pestilential.
“I tell you that every idle word that men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37
“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3
6
FIENDS AT HOME
Thomas Reade, “Following the Lord Fully”
No truth can do us any personal good, but as it influences and purifies our heart and life.
What can we think of those professors, who, while they appear saints abroad, are fiends at home?
–176–

Can it be a matter of surprise, that they should feel no real satisfaction either in religion or in the world?
They profess so much religion, as to render them the objects of the world’s derision; and yet, they possess too little of its power to enable them to taste the sweets of genuine piety.
Hence, they grow morose in their temper, and uncharitable in their spirit. They are quick sighted in discovering the mote in a brother’s eye, while utter strangers to the beam in their own.
They are spots and blemishes in the visible church!
6
THIS DISCLOSURE IS REVOLTING TO OUR PRIDE!
Thomas Reade, “Inadequate Views of Human Nature”
We see many dancing along in thoughtless gaiety, and sporting on the brink of perdition. But this lightness of spirit is transient; sorrow soon darkens the glare of human happiness, and leaves the soul in sad dejection and despair.
The world is full of mourning, lamentation, and woe. This picture may be gloomy, yet it is true.
Sin has defaced the moral excellence of man; yes, more, has converted him into whatever is base, polluted, and depraved.
All his faculties and powers are now employed as weapons against his Maker; and the very plan of mercy, whereby alone he can be restored to holiness, happiness, and heaven, is opposed, neglected, or despised.
And yet we talk….
of moral excellence in a fallen creature;
of goodness in a heart which is desperately wicked;
–177–

of amiable qualities in a mind at enmity against God; of strength in a helpless worm;
of wisdom in a soul beclouded in all its powers.
Strange inconsistency!
The Word of God condemns such a motley character, and pronounces a woe on that which the world so much admires.
It is no uncommon thing to hear people talk about their good hearts and good intentions—when love to God, and a desire to please Him, are utter strangers to their soul.
These ‘self-admiring people’ consider as libelous every attempt to tear away the mask, and to expose the native vileness of the inner man.
Thus, pride, vanity, ‘self love’, and unbelief; the deadly roots from where all sin springs, conspire to keep us in a state of bondage, and enveloped in the mist of error.
It is quite compatible with the vanity of our fallen nature, to extol, as the highest excellence, those benevolent and patriotic feelings which often exist in a heart totally alienated from God.
But the Bible acknowledges no real virtue, except that which arises from the regenerating work of grace upon the soul.
An attentive reader of that Holy Book must be struck with the faithful delineations which it gives of the human heart. Man is there represented as he appears in the sight of God, when divested of all his meretricious ornaments.
The Scripture has concluded all under sin. In this state, grace at first finds the sinner. By nature, there is….
no movement of the soul towards God; no affection for Him;
–178–

no trust in Him;
no obedience to Him.
What we call virtues, will be found, when analyzed, to be mere selfish principles; and human applause to be the secret spring of many a splendid action.
This disclosure is revolting to our pride! But proud man must be humbled!
IN THIS DEPLORABLE CONDITION?
Thomas Reade, “On the Design of the Gospel”
What a dreadful change sin has made in man!
His heart, once the abode of peace and every heavenly disposition, is now….
the cage of every unclean and hateful bird; a den of wild beasts;
a nest of vipers;
a loathsome sepulcher.
In this deplorable condition grace finds us, and from this state of wretchedness grace redeems us!
CAST YOUR CARE UPON HIM WHO CARES FOR YOU!
Thomas Reade, “Divine Sovereignty”
There is something peculiarly soothing to the heart of a pious Christian; to know that He who rules over all worlds, in whose hands are the destinies of nations, and who guides the minutest concerns of families and individuals, is his Father and his Friend.
The more we know of God, of His power, wisdom, love, faithfulness, and truth; the more we shall bow before
6
6
–179–

His throne in humble adoration, and filial confidence and love.
To know God in Christ; to know Him as our God; is to possess all the sources and secrets of true peace, in the midst of surrounding storms and tempests.
This knowledge will raise us above the agitated elements of the world, and place us in that pure region where the soul can breathe more freely, and expand her powers more fully.
Faith views with admiration the perfections of Jehovah.
Hope rests the fulfillment of her expectations on these perfections.
Love delights in them, and gradually assimilates the soul to them; while patience calmly waits, under every changing dispensation, for that abundant harvest of rich blessings, which the God of truth has promised, and which His faithfulness will perform.
Cast your care upon Him who cares for you; and, under every trying event, be still, and know that He is God.
LORD JESUS, MAKE ME…
Thomas Reade, “On the Immensity of God”
Lord Jesus, make me…
humble, while I meditate on Your humility; loving, while I think upon Your love;
holy, while I dwell upon Your purity;
just, while I contemplate Your righteousness; merciful, while I behold Your grace;
joyful, while I review Your everlasting covenant.
Oh! fill my heart with gratitude, and my mouth with praise. To You, blessed Jesus, do I look. Remove all
6
–180–

spiritual darkness from my mind; all spiritual deadness from my heart.
Cause me….
to know You as my Savior;
to follow You as my leader;
to love You as my friend;
to trust in You as my atonement;
to be found in You as my righteousness;
to feed on You as the living bread;
to walk in You as the way to the Father; and to dwell with You in heaven forever.
Oh! my God, when I contemplate Your sovereign will, which, from eternity, in highest wisdom, consulted my welfare, I am lost in astonishment!
When I reflect upon Your omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence; upon Your infinite holiness, inviolable justice, and unerring wisdom; upon Your faithfulness, and truth; Your everlasting love, Your sovereign grace, and Your patience; how am I filled with awe and dread!
Yet faith can contemplate this bright display of uncreated excellence, and rejoice in the infinite perfections as exhibited and harmonized in Jesus, the incarnate Word. Here I behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord. Oh! that while beholding, I may be transformed into the lovely image of the Savior, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
6
SIN!
Thomas Reade, “On Insensibility to Eternal Things”
Sin is a daring rebellion against the Majesty of heaven; and would if it were possible, pluck the Eternal God from His throne!
–181–

Every particle of sin contains an infinity of evil, and deserves everlasting damnation!
Sin transformed the angels of light into demons of darkness. Sin rendered the happy pair in Eden wretched outcasts in a world of woe. Sin was the cause of the universal deluge, and the fiery overthrow of the cities of the plain. Sin has ever marked its steps by misery and blood.
Pride, malice, envy, murmuring, uncleanness, and every abomination hateful to a holy God, and destructive to our wretched race, spring from this poisonous root.
But, Oh! my soul, if you would view sin in darkest colors and most terrible effects….
Go to Bethlehem, and ask, “Why did the King of heaven become infant of days? Why was He who fills all space, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger?”
Go to Gethsemane, and ask, “Why did the incarnate God agonize, and sweat great drops of blood?”
Go to Calvary, and ask, “Why did the innocent suffer such indignities? Why was the guiltless condemned to die? Why did the Lord of glory hang on the accursed tree? Why did the Lord of life condescend to pour out His soul unto death?”
Let this view of sin, and of a sin bearing Savior humble you in His presence; and empty you of pride and vainglory.
Let it, at the same time, fill you with gratitude to God, for having provided such a remedy against the evils of the fall.
Sin, even your sin, nailed, pierced, and agonized the Lord of glory! Oh! then, hate sin, and avoid it as you would tremble to plunge a spear into your Savior’s
–182–

bosom; as you would shudder to trample under foot
His sacred blood.
6
TRUE FAITH!
Thomas Reade, “On Unbelief”
True faith is lively, operative, and fruitful.
True faith works by love, that sacred spring which sets all the wheels of obedience in motion.
True faith purifies the heart, by uniting the soul to Jesus, and drawing from Him through the Spirit, continual supplies of grace and strength, to mortify sin, and walk in the ways of holy obedience.
True faith overcomes the world, by raising the believer above its vanities and follies; by enabling him to renounce its pomps and honors; and to live as a pilgrim and stranger upon earth.
True faith realizes the invisible glories of heaven, and thus becomes the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
6
OH! DIVINE REDEEMER
Thomas Reade, “On the Blessedness of a New Heart”
Oh! divine Redeemer, out of whose inexhaustible fullness I would daily draw a rich supply of grace into my needy soul, be pleased to impart unto me an undivided heart; that to please You, may be my greatest happiness, and to promote Your glory my highest honor. Preserve me from false motives, from a double mind, and a divided heart. Keep me entirely to Yourself, and enable me to crucify every lust, which would tempt my heart from You. Enable me by Your grace to walk in one uniform
–183–

path of holy, childlike obedience. When tempted to turn aside to the right hand or to the left, may I keep steadily Your way, until brought before Your throne, I see Your face, behold Your smile, and fall in ecstasy at Your feet, lost in wonder, love, and praise.
6
HE BEHOLDS THE IDOL IN ITS NATURAL DEFORMITY
Thomas Reade, “On Conversion”
The converted sinner daily feeds upon Christ by faith, and daily derives strength from this gracious source of blessedness.
He feels his own weakness, and experiences the power of Jesus. He loathes himself and truly loves his Savior, in whose righteousness he appears all lovely in the eyes of his heavenly Father.
As a pilgrim, he journeys onwards under the guidance of that Holy Spirit who dwells in him as in a temple, and who has promised to keep him by His mighty power through faith unto salvation.
The world fascinates no longer. The mask falls from its face, and he beholds the idol in its natural deformity.
He sees….
the emptiness of human applause; the madness of ambition;
the deceitfulness of riches;
the folly of extravagance.
Everything beneath the sun assumes its true character while he views it through the medium of God’s holy Word.
The converted sinner lives by faith; he longs for heaven; he desires to be daily conformed to Jesus, and to glorify Him more, whether it be by life or death.
–184–

To him, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Such is the character of the converted sinner. Oh, how precious, how divine, how rare a character!
HOW ASTONISHING THE SIGHT!
David Harsha, “The Crucifixion”
Emmanuel, God in our nature, suffering by the hands of those whom He came to redeem; wearing the piercing crown of thorns, and bleeding for sinners! He whose throne is in the heavens, and who is exalted far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, stooping to such torture!
This is certainly a sight which, if seriously beheld, is calculated to make the deepest impression on our hearts.
Oh, let us draw near, and with the eye of faith, ‘behold the Man.’ Behold the face of Him, who is fairer than the children of men, crimsoned with blood; see His sacred head bowed in agony amid the shouts of derision, and the cries of, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
Let us look steadily and earnestly on our suffering Savior, until He becomes unspeakably precious to our souls; until His love is abundantly shed abroad in our hearts; until in the blissful light of heaven we behold Him in the midst of the throne, as the Lamb who was slain, and join in the unending song of the church triumphant; a song sweeter than angels sing: “All praise to Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding His blood for us. Give to Him everlasting glory! He rules forever and ever! Amen!”
There is no sight so purifying and elevating to the soul operated upon by the gracious influences of the Holy
6
–185–

Spirit, as that of a suffering Savior voluntarily taking upon Himself the burden of our guilt, and making atonement for our sins.
May this sight never fade from our view during our passage through life; may it refresh our souls in the hour of death!
Oh, what heavenly peace flows down to the faithful beholders of the Man Christ Jesus, wearing the thorny crown, and the purple robe!
How astonishing the sight!
‘See! from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down: Did ever such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?’
6
THE GREAT SYMPATHIZER
David Harsha, “The Savior’s Ministry”
‘Jesus wept.’ John 11:35
The Son of God, the Creator of the universe, the Lord
of glory in tears! Amazing sight!
How plainly do those tears show the tenderness of Jesus! And how animating for the mourner in Zion to think that the heart of Jesus, now that He reigns in glory, is still full of sympathy, and full of love for His suffering disciples in this valley of tears!
Oh, this is a sweet, a delightful thought!
Weeping believer, you whose tears are flowing, come to Jesus for sympathy, and tell Him all your grief.
–186–

He has words of comfort for you; precious promises. He can console you as none else can.
He is the same in all ages; the same yesterday, today, and forever. The eye that dropped its tears at the tomb of Lazarus, will be fixed upon you in all the scenes of anguish through which you may be called to pass, before reaching the bright world of everlasting joy.
Remember that He who is now seated on the throne of heaven, radiant in celestial glory, was once afflicted on earth, that He might know how to sympathize with you in the hour your unutterable anguish.
Oh, rejoice that you have so sympathizing a Friend, who is ready to mitigate your grief, and to conduct you to those happy mansions, where God shall wipe away all tears from the eye.
Who can tell how great is the sympathy of the Son of God, who came from the bosom of the Father; from the unapproachable splendor of Heaven; to bear our infir- mities, to lighten our burdens, to wipe the tears from our eyes, and to turn our sorrows into everlasting joys?
Always view Jesus as the great Sympathizer of His disciples; and in the time of your keenest anguish, look to Him for compassion and relief.
He will regard your cries of misery.
Yes, He whose heart felt and bled for sinners, will speak soothingly to you, and give you a foretaste of heaven, even in a world of tribulation.
Oh, the ineffable compassion of our blessed Redeemer!
In seasons of devout retirement let us often muse on these affecting words: “Jesus wept!”
6
–187–

LET ME NOT GROVEL HERE BELOW
Thomas Reade, “On the Deceitfulness of the Heart”
Blessed Jesus! You who are the kind Physician of souls, heal this fatal distemper of my fallen nature—an earthly mind. Spiritualize my affections; elevate my views; enlarge my heart. Fill my soul with Your own self. Let me not grovel here below, fond of the perishing vanities of time. Wean my heart from the transitory enjoyments of sense, and fix my affections upon Yourself, the eternal unchanging source of good.
6
THE IDOL, SELF, FALLS PROSTRATE BEFORE JESUS CHRIST!
Thomas Reade, “On Conversion”
When the Savior was born into the world, there was no room for Him in the inn. Just so it is with our depraved hearts.
Satan puts on the threefold hindrances of unbelief, pride, and prejudice.
Inbred sin, afraid of losing its darling gratifications, opposes every effort to admit so kind a Friend.
The flesh pleads hard for self-indulgence.
The world spreads its painted baubles, its deceitful riches, its empty honors, its intoxicating pleasures; and thus the sinner is held in vassalage to the powers of darkness.
Is, then, the heart forever barred against the Prince of peace? Forever barred it would be, did not Sovereign Grace, by its almighty power, drive out the strong man armed, crucify each rebellious lust, and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ!
–188–

When grace opens the sinner’s heart, all the powers of the soul are made willing to admit the conquering Savior, and to acknowledge Him to be the Lord.
Old favorite sins now become hateful. Darling lusts appear like inbred vipers. Satan is beheld in all his horrors.
Vice in perceived its true deformity. The world loses its charms.
Heaven opens on the enraptured eye of faith. Holiness captivates the heart by its celestial beauties. Jesus is beheld with rising admiration, and becomes
each day more precious to the soul.
Such is the wonderful change wrought in the conver- sion of a sinner, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Unbelief gives way to faith;
pride gives way to humility;
anger gives way to meekness; impatience gives way to resignation; hatred gives way to love, and
sin gives way to universal holiness.
The idol, SELF, falls prostrate before Jesus Christ; and nothing is extolled, or trusted in, or pleaded before the throne of God, but the precious blood and righteousness of Emmanuel.
6
LOW LIFES
Octavius Winslow, “Soul Heights and Soul Depths”
The highest life of an unregenerate man is, in a spiritual sense, but a low life!
He lives in the depths of sin and selfishness, of enmity against God, and of ruin against his own being.
–189–

Take the most intellectual pursuit, the most refined enjoyment; be it science, or art, or music; viewed as bounded only by the present life, as ending in self, having no relation to the higher interests of the soul, the claims of eternity, and the glory of God—how low the life!
In the strong language of inspiration, “He feeds on ashes,” “feeds on wind.”
Is this life worthy of a rational, responsible, immortal being? Is it worthy of one soon to confront death, judgment, and eternity? soon to appear at Christ’s bar, to give an account of a stewardship of intellect, and of rank, and of wealth, and of time, and of influence?
Is this the life you are living, my reader?
Is this the mere existence in which you vegetate?
Don’t you know that, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to give account of the deeds done in the body”? That “everyone must give account of himself to God”?
Rise to a higher life, a nobler purpose, a more glorious end!
But conversion reverses this sad picture.
When the soul is ‘born again,’ it emerges from its lower life, and ascends into a new, a divine, a heavenly life; a life from God, and for God; a life in Christ, and by Christ, and with Christ; a life best described by the language of one who lived it fully, lived it nobly, lived it until crowned with a martyr’s diadem; “For me to live is Christ.”
Oh, upon what a ‘high place’ does the soul born from above now walk! Truly, it is a new birth, a re-creation! Old things have passed away, and God’s Spirit has
–190–

made all things in that life new. How revolutionized the whole soul!
It has awakened as from a dream, a trance, a death, and finds itself in a new world of thought and feeling, of life, holiness, and love!
It never really lived until now. Oh the blessedness of now truly living, and of living for God!
HE CAME!
David Harsha, “The Incarnation of Christ”
The grand design of the Savior’s coming from heaven to earth, was for the purpose of saving sinners.
He came that we might find in Him a hiding place from the storm and tempest of divine wrath, which is ready to break over an ungodly world.
He came to break the chains of sin.
He came to bruise Satan under our feet.
He came to open the prison doors, and to confer on us the glorious liberty of the children of God.
He came to enrich our impoverished souls with all spiritual and heavenly blessings.
He came to lead us beside the still waters of divine grace. He came to implant holy desires in our hearts.
He came to elevate our affections above a vain and perishing world.
He came to clothe us with the garments of salvation.
He came to give unto us who mourn in Zion, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
6
–191–

He came to feed us with living bread. He came to open for us a fountain of immortal life.
He came to pour out His Spirit upon us.
He came to guide us to the shores of Emmanuel’s land.
He came to receive us to mansions of everlasting joy and glory in heaven.
He came to confer endless happiness upon myriads of our guilty race, who might justly have been left to reap the fruit of their transgression with the fallen angels, in the regions of eternal darkness and despair.
Who can tell what it is to be delivered from the thraldom of sin, and the fearful realities of hell; to be reinstated in the favor and love of God; and to be crowned with the imperishable diadem of beauty and glory through those infinite ages of bliss, which roll beyond the grave!
All that our blessed Savior did on earth was to accomplish this great work of redemption; to glorify His Heavenly Father in the salvation of precious, immortal souls. He never failed to make this the grand design of His high mission. For this very object He became a man of sorrows.
For US Jesus visited earth, and trod the thorny path of life, until He endured the excruciating death of the Cross!
Where, in the wide universe of God, can be found an instance of love so marvelous as that which Christ displayed, when He left the throne of heavenly glory, and the songs of seraphim and cherubim, to be cradled in the manger of Bethlehem and become a man of sorrows?
How truly amazing!
6
–192–

AN UNFAILING SPRING OF JOY AND CONSOLATION!
David Harsha, “A Guide to the Savior”
“O Lord, You have searched me, and You know me. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You perceive my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You hem me in behind and before. You laid Your hand on me. This knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty. I can’t attain it.” Psalm 139:1-6
Jesus has a perfect knowledge of every event that is transpiring in the remotest part of His mighty empire. Heaven, earth, and hell, are all unveiled before Him. His eyes, which are as a flame of fire, are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. He knows perfectly well what is the present inclination of our minds; whether our hearts are absorbed with the empty pleasures of earth, or whether we love Him supremely.
This is an unfailing spring of joy and consolation for the real Christian. How inspiring to feel that we have a Savior who knows all our needs; whose eye is ever upon us for good; whose ear is always opened to our petitions. ‘For the eyes of the Lord watch over the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers.’
Come then, you afflicted, tempest tossed child of earth, and lay all your sorrows before an omniscient and compassionate Savior!
Make all your desires known to Him.
He has….
a willing ear to hear you,
a willing heart to love you, a willing hand to save you!
–193–

“O Omniscient Savior, we beseech You to watch over us amid all the scenes of earth. We are still on the ‘ocean of life,’ exposed to its storms and its tempests; but while the waves dash on every side of us, may we see Your glorious Form on the troubled sea; may we hear Your animating voice, ‘Be of good cheer; it is I; do not be afraid.’ May we rejoice in the belief that You know all things, and are intimately acquainted with all our ways. Guide us with Your counsel. Show us the path of life. Be our guiding Star until we reach the harbor of eternal rest. Be very near us in all the wanderings of our earthly pilgrimage.”6
PITYING LOVE
by John MacDuff
“Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those
who fear Him.” Ps. 103:13 “Abba, Father!” is a Gospel word.
A father bending over the sick bed of his weak or dying child; a mother pressing, in tender solitude, an infant sufferer to her bosom. These are the earthly pictures of God. “As a father pities.” “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you!”
When tempted in our season of overwhelming sorrow to say, “Never has there been so dark a cloud, never a heart so stripped and desolate as mine,” let this thought hush every murmur, “It is your Father’s good pleasure!”
The love and pity of the most tender parent is but a dim shadow compared to the pitying love of God.
If your heavenly Father’s smile has for a moment been exchanged for the chastening rod; be assured there is some deep necessity for the altered discipline.
–194–

If there be unutterable yearnings in the soul of the earthly parent as the lancet is applied to the body of his child; infinitely more is it so with your covenant God as He subjects you to those deep wounds of heart!
Finite wisdom has no place in His ordinations.
An earthly father may err; is always erring. But “as for God His way is perfect.”
This is the explanation of His every dealing with you: “Your heavenly Father knows you have need of all these things!”
Trust His heart when you cannot trace His ways. With- out one misgiving commit your way to Him. While now bending your head like a bulrush; your heart breaking with sorrow; remember His pitying eye is upon you. Be it yours, even through blinding tears, to say, “Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure!”
6
THE MOST INTERESTING, PROFITABLE, AND ELEVATING THEME
David Harsha, “A Guide to the Savior”
The most interesting, profitable, and elevating theme that can be presented for the contemplation of the Christian on his way to immortality, is the Person and glory of the Savior; the nature and excellences of His divine perfections; and the various relations He sustains to His people. In vain will we search for another theme which possesses such irresistible charms for the truly pious.
The excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus in His person and work! How captivating a subject! With what pleasure should we dwell upon it!
6
–195–

TRUE CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP
Octavius Winslow,
“The Sensitiveness of Christ to Suffering”
“He said to all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
True Christian discipleship demands an uncompromis- ing avowal of attachment to Christ, and of adherence to His truth.
The offense of the cross has not ceased!
A real decision for the Redeemer cannot exist without some sacrifice, demanded and made, as a term of discipleship.
May the Lord to give you grace henceforth, ‘Caleb-like,’ wholly and unreservedly to follow Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
We read of the first disciples of the Lord, “And they forsook all and followed Him.”
The solemn confession of Christ you have made before the world pledges you to the offense, the shame, the crucifixion, and the self-denial of the cross of Jesus.
You have bound that cross around your heart!
You have identified yourself with…. its reproach and its boast,
its defeats and its victories,
its humiliation and its glory.
Onward you must bear it….
through flood and flame,
through good and through evil report, glorying in its doctrine,
enduring its crucifixion,
until the Master bids you exchange your sword for a scepter, your cross for a crown, which His own hands
–196–

will place upon your head!
Blessed, thrice blessed, you who, when that blessed moment arrives, will be enabled calmly, exultantly to exclaim, “For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteous- ness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved His appearing.” 2 Tim. 4:6-8.
6
THE WORLD’S RELIGION
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Hidden Manna”
Blessed are they who go to their Lord outside the camp, leaving the world’s religion as well as its sin, in obedience to that sacred call: “Therefore, ‘Come out from among them, And be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you. I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor. 6:17-18
6
IT IS NOT WORTH A STRAW!
by Mary Winslow
Do not be concerned with all the tinsel glory of this empty, unsatisfying world. It is not worth a straw when compared with what awaits us!
What an unsatisfying world this is, to have our all in! How trifling does everything appear which is not in some way connected with God’s glory. Look upon all you now see or admire as passing away, yourself passing away with it.
–197–

This world is a waste land, a howling desert!
Oh, that we did but consider it as such, and expect nothing in it, but thorns and thistles; looking unceasingly, with the anticipation of holy joy, to the period when He shall say to us, “Come away, My love, My fair one, enter into the joy of your Lord!”
6
THE WEATHER?
William Law
He who complains of the weather, complains of the God who ordained the weather!
SUBMIT TO THE APPOINTMENTS OF OUR MAKER!
by John Newton, author of Amazing Grace
How highly does it become us, both as creatures and as sinners, to submit to the appointments of our Maker! and how necessary is it to our peace!
This great attainment is too often unthought of and overlooked; we are prone to fix our attention upon the second causes and immediate instruments of events; forgetting whatever befalls us is according to His purpose, and therefore must be right and seasonable in itself, and shall in the issue be productive of good.
From hence arise impatience, resentment, and secret repinings, which are not only sinful but tormenting; whereas if all things are in His hand, if the very hairs of our head are numbered, if every event, great and small are under the direction of His providence and purpose; and if He has a wise, holy, and gracious end in view, to which everything that happens is subordinate and subservient; then we have nothing to do, but with
6
–198–

patience and humility to follow as He leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue.
The path of present duty is marked out; and the concerns of the next and every succeeding hour are in His hands.
How happy are they who can resign all to Him, see His hands in every dispensation, and believe that He chooses better for them then they possibly could for themselves!
6
HERE IS MY HEART, MY POOR HEART
Mary Winslow, from her diary
Inexpressibly precious Jesus, Savior of sinners, Redeemer of my never dying soul, my best and dearest Friend, here is my heart, my poor heart; take it just as it is, and make it all that You would have it to be; cast it into Your mold, and let it receive and reflect Your image.
6
UNWORTHY OF AN IDIOT!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “More and More”
“I will praise You more and more.” Psalm 71:14
The world has their songs. They are, many of them, so
absurd and meaningless as to be unworthy of an idiot.
I would insult an idiot if I would suppose that such songs as people sing nowadays would really be agree- able to him. Yet these things will be sung by men, and places will be thronged to listen to hear the stuff. Let us sing the songs of Zion as cheerful as they sing the songs of Sodom.
Let us drown the howling nonsense of Gomorrah with the melodies of the New Jerusalem.
–199–

May you march like pilgrims towards heaven, singing, all the way. “I will praise You more and more.”
BRING YOUR WOUNDED HEART!
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?”
Jeremiah 8:22
There is!
The physician is Jesus, the balm is His own most precious blood.
He binds up the broken heart, He heals the wounded spirit.
All the skill, all the efficacy, all the tenderness and crucial sympathy needed for the office meet and center in Him in the highest degree.
Here then, disconsolate soul, bring your wounded heart!
Bring it simply to Jesus.
One touch of His hand will heal the wound.
One whisper of His voice will hush the tempest.
One drop of His blood will remove the guilt.
Nothing but a faith’s application to Him will do for your soul now.
Your case is beyond the skill of all other physicians. Your wound is too deep for all other remedies.
Do not let the freeness of the remedy keep you away. The cost is “without money, and without price.”
The ground on which the healing is bestowed is….
6
–200–

not worthiness on the part of the applicant, not merit of the creature,
not tears,
not convictions,
not faith.
Oh no! It is all of grace!
It is all God’s free gift, irrespective of any worth or worthiness in man.
Your only motive to come to Christ is your very sinfulness.
The reason why you go to Him is that….
your heart is broken, and that He only can bind it up; your spirit is wounded, and that He only can heal it; your conscience is burdened, and that He only can lighten it.
It is enough for Christ….
that you are covered with guilt;
that you have no plea that springs from yourself;
that you have no money to bring in your hand, but have
spent your all upon physicians, yet instead of getting
better you only grow worse;
that you have wasted your substance in riotous living,
and now are insolvent;
and that you really feel a drawing towards Him, a
longing for Him;
that you ask, you seek, you crave, you earnestly implore
His compassion; that is enough for Him.
His heart yearns!
His love is moved!
His hand is stretched out!
Come and welcome to Jesus, come!
6
–201–

CHRIST OR MOSES?
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Fourfold Treasure”
Let Jesus always be the motive for your sanctification.
Is it not a strange thing that some professors should look to Christ alone for pardon and justification, and run away to Moses when they desire sanctification?
How then should we urge the child of God to holiness?
Should it not be in this way: “You are God’s child; walk worthy of Him who is your Father. His love to you will never cease. He cannot cast you away; He is faithful and never changes, therefore love Him in return.”
This is a motive fit for the child of the free woman, and it moves his heart. The child of the bondwoman is driven by the whip, but the child of the free woman is drawn by cords of love.
“The love of Christ constrains us.”
Not fear of hell, but love of Christ. Not fear that God will cast us away, for that He cannot do, but the joy that we are saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation constrains us to cling to Him with all our heart and soul, forever and ever.
Rest assured, if motives fetched from the gospel will not kill sin, motives fetched from the law never will.
If you cannot be purged at Calvary, you certainly cannot be cleansed at Sinai.
If “the water and the blood, from the riven side which flowed,” are not sufficient to purify you; no blood of bulls or of goats—I mean, no argument from the Jewish law, will ever furnish motives sufficiently strong to cast out sin.
Let your reasons for being holy be found in Christ, for
–202–

He is made of God unto you sanctification!
I have ever found that the more entirely I lean upon my Lord, the more conscious I am of my own emptiness and unworthiness. And the more completely I rest my whole salvation upon the grace of God in Christ Jesus, the more carefully do I walk in my daily life.
“He that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure.” Jesus, the Savior, saves us from our sins, and is made of God to us “sanctification.”
All that you can possibly want, O Christian, is in Christ! You cannot conceive a need which Jesus does
not supply!
6
THEY GO ON STUMBLING IN THE DARK?
Thomas Reade, “On Perverted Views of the Gospel”
Oh the pride and blindness of the human heart!
People, in general, have awfully low conceptions of true religion. They neither understand its nature, nor desire to understand it.
When we look into the ‘nominally Christian’ world, it would almost seem as if the great bulk of professing Christians thought nothing about the holy design of the gospel, or of their own responsibility respecting it.
Such ‘self deceivers’ love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. Of divine truth, they are “willingly ignorant.”
Their views are alarmingly erroneous, on a subject of all others the most important. Taking their own wisdom for their guide, they go on stumbling in the dark, until either Sovereign Grace makes them wise unto salvation, or Infinite Justice allows them to reap
–203–

the fruit of their own folly, in “the blackness of
darkness forever.”
6
THERE IS A ‘BOASTING BUMP’ ON ALL OUR HEADS?
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Fourfold Treasure”
How foolish are those who are proud of the beauty of their bodies—worms’ food at the best!
How foolish are they who are proud of their wisdom! The wisdom of which a man is proud, is but folly in a thin disguise.
How foolish are those who are vain of their wealth! He must be a poor man who can think much of gold. He must be a beggar indeed who counts a piece of dirt a treasure!
Those who know Christ, always value these things at their right estimate, and that is low indeed.
If any boasting; and I suppose it is natural to us to boast; there is a ‘boasting bump’ on all our heads; let us boast in the Lord.
O men, O angels, O cherubim, O seraphim, boast in Jesus Christ! Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption is He, therefore you may boast and boast, and boast again!
You will never exaggerate. You cannot exceed His worth, or reach the tenth of it. You can never go beyond the truth, you do not even reach beyond the skirts of His garments.
So glorious is He that all the angels’ harps cannot sound forth half His glory. So blessed is Christ that the orchestra of the countless multitudes of the redeemed, though it continue forever and forever its pealing
–204–

music, can never reach to the majesty of His name or the glory of His work.
“Give unto the Lord, O you mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due
unto His name.”
6
A CUP OF LOVE
by John MacDuff
Affliction has always been God’s peculiar method of dealing with His own people.
It is because He loves them He chastises them. ‘I have chosen you,’ says He, ‘in the furnace of affliction.’
Was it not needed? Has not the world been becoming too much to you; engrossing your affections, alienating your love, dimming your view of ‘the better country’?
Ah! commune with your own heart, and say, was not this affliction (terrible though it be) the very discipline I required?
Less would not have done to wean you from the poor nothings of earth. You were lulled in a guilty self- security. You were living in a state of awful forgetful- ness of God, insensible of His mercies, unmindful of His goodness, taking your blessings as matters of course; a secret atheism!
Dear Reader! if this is a truthful picture of your heart, I ask you; was it not kindness, unspeakable kindness in your covenant God to bring back your truant, wandering, treacherous heart, and fix once more your traitor affections on Himself as their only satisfying portion?
“Your Heavenly Father never thought this world’s painted glory a gift worthy of you, and therefore He has taken out the best thing it had in your sight, that He
–205–

might Himself fill the heart He had wounded with Himself.” (Evans).
The threads of life were weaved into too bright a cord; God had to snap them. The loved one you are now mourning was a clay idol.
He had to break it in pieces. He had to drag it from the usurped throne that He might resume that throne Himself.
He gave you prosperity but you could not or would not use it for His glory. It was a curse to you! He would not allow you to be left alone, to settle in the downy nest of self ease and forgetfulness.
He has roused you on the wing, and pointed your upward soarings to their only true resting place, in His own everlasting presence, and friendship, and love.
Your wayward heart was throwing out its tendrils on every side and rooting them down to earth. He had to unroot them; to wrench these groveling affections from the things that are of ‘earth, earthy,’ and fasten them on Himself as their all in all.
Child of God! there is not one drop of wrath in the bitter cup you are now drinking. He took all that was bitter out of it, and left it a cup of love!
Seek to exercise simple faith in the wisdom of God’s dealings, the unswerving rectitude of His dispensations. He does all well. Nothing can come wrong to you, that comes from His hand. He has dealt tenderly, wisely and lovingly, with you.
Confide where you cannot understand. Trust where you cannot trace. Repress all guilty murmurings. Check all rebellious thoughts.
The Refiner of silver sits by the furnace of His own
–206–

lighting, tempering its heat; regulating the fury of the flames; quenching the violence of the fires; designing all, ALL not to consume and destroy; but to purify, brighten, refine! Glorify God in the fires.
Think often of heaven! Every day is bringing you nearer that home of joy! Nearer to Him who is now standing with the hoarded treasures of eternity in His hand, and the hoarded love of eternity in His heart!
How will one brief moment there, banish in everlasting oblivion, all the pangs and sorrows of this present valley of weeping!
Soon the last ripple of sorrow will be heard murmuring on the other side of Jordan, and then every vestige of its sound will die away, and that forever! Entering the triumphal arch of Heaven, you will read in living characters the history of a sinless, sorrowless future: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eye; 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.” Rev. 21:4.
6
OH ENCOURAGING TRUTH!
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“I the Lord search the heart.” Jeremiah 17:10 Solemn as is this view of the Divine character, the
believing mind finds in it sweet and hallowed repose.
What more consolatory truth in some of the most trying positions of a child of God than this—the Lord knows the heart.
The world condemns, and the saints may wrongly judge, but God knows the heart.
–207–

And to those who have been led into deep discoveries of their heart’s hidden evil, to whom have been made startling and distressing unveilings, how precious is this character of God, “He that searches the heart!”
Is there a single recess of our hearts we would veil from His penetrating glance? Is there a corruption we would hide from His view? Is there an evil of which we would have Him ignorant?
Oh no! Mournful and humiliating as is the spectacle, we would throw open every door, and uplift every window, and invite and urge His scrutiny and inspection, making no concealments, and indulging in no reserves, and framing no excuses when dealing with the great Searcher of hearts, exclaiming, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
And while the Lord is thus acquainted with the evil of our hearts, He most graciously conceals that evil from the eyes of others. He seems to say, by His benevolent conduct, “I see My child’s infirmity.” Then, covering it with His hand, exclaims, “but no other eye shall see it, but My own!” Oh, the touching tenderness, the loving kindness of our God! Knowing, as He does, all the evil of our nature, He yet veils that evil from human eye, that others may not despise us as we often despise ourselves. Who but God could know it? Who but God would conceal it?
And how blessed, too, to remember that while God knows all the evil, He is as intimately acquainted with all the good that is in the hearts of His people!
He knows all that His Spirit has implanted; all that His grace has wrought.
Oh encouraging truth!
–208–

That spark of love, faint and flickering;
that pulsation of life, low and tremulous;
that touch of faith, feeble and hesitating;
that groan, that sigh;
that low thought of self that leads a man to seek the
shade;
that self-abasement that places his mouth in the
dust—
oh, not one of these sacred emotions is unseen, unnoticed by God! His eye ever rests with infinite complaisance and delight on His own image in the renewed soul.
6
THE GIVER AND THE TAKER
by John MacDuff
“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the
name of the Lord.” Job 1:21
Noble posture this; to kneel and to adore! To see no hand but ONE! Sabeans; Fire; Whirlwind; Sword—are all overlooked. The Patriarch recognizes alone “The Lord” who gave and “The Lord” who has taken.
What is the cause of so much depression, needless sorrow, unchristian murmuring in our hours of trial? It is a refusal to hear His voice; His own loving voice, mingling with the accents of the severest storm; “It is I!”
“Is there evil in the city, and the Lord has not done it?”
Is there a bitter drop in the cup, and the Lord has not mingled it? He loves His people too well to intrust their interest to any other.
We are but clay in the hand of the Potter; vessels in the hand of the Refiner of silver.
He metes out our portion.
–209–

He appoints the bounds of our habitation.
“The Lord God prepared the gourd.”
“The Lord God prepared the worm.”
He is the Author alike of mercies and sorrows, of comforts and crosses.
He breathes into our nostrils the breath of life; and it is at His summons the spirit returns “to the God who gave it!”
Oh, that we would seek to regard our own lives and the lives of those dear to us as a loan. God, as the Great Proprietor, who, when He sees fit, can revoke the grant or curtail the lease He gave!
All mercies are…. by Him bestowed; by Him continued; by Him withheld.
And how often does He take away, that He may Himself enter the vacuum of the heart and fill it with His own ineffable presence and love!
No loss can compensate for the lack of Him, but He can compensate for all losses. Let us trust His love and faithfulness as a taking, as well as a giving God. Faith, resting on the promise, can exult, “Even so, Father, for it seems good in Your sight!”
6
IT IS THE WRATH OF THE LAMB!
Octavius Winslow, “The Sympathy of Christ”
“The sky was removed as a scroll when it is rolled up. Every mountain and island were moved out of their places. The kings of the earth, the princes, the commanding officers, the rich, the strong, and every slave and freeman, hid themselves in the
–210–

caves and in the rocks of the mountains. They told the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of His wrath has come; and who is able to stand?” Rev. 6:14-17
The wrath of the Lamb! What is it? Who can describe, who can fathom, who can stand before it?
It can only be conceived or estimated by….
the glory from which He descended,
the humiliation to which He stooped,
the sufferings which He endured, and
the sacrifice which He offered in order to save sinners.
It is the wrath of Incarnate Deity!
It is the wrath of Him who sorrowed in Gethsemane!
It is the wrath of Him who bled on Calvary!
It is the wrath of Him who gave His life a ransom for many!
It is the wrath of Him who pardons the guiltiest! It is the wrath of Him who reclaims the vilest!
It is the wrath of Him who saves to the uttermost!
It is the wrath of Him who holds out His hand all day long to poor, lost sinners, rushing past it in scorn and madness to swift destruction, choosing death rather than life!
It is the wrath of the Lamb!
Unconverted reader! the judgment is approaching, the great white throne will descend, the books will be opened, the dead will be raised, and all, all will confront this gracious or this angered Lamb of God.
From His presence there will be no escape.
–211–

Every eye shall see Him.
The mountains will not hide you, the rocks will not shelter you, the grave will not retain you,
the sea will not entomb you,
but when the trumpet of the archangel sounds, at that bar you must stand, and by that Lamb you must be judged. It is the wrath of the Lamb!
6
THE MOST TRIVIAL ACT
Elizabeth Prentiss, “Stepping Heavenward”
God notices the most trivial act; accepts the poorest, most threadbare little service; listens to the coldest, feeblest petition; and gathers up with parental fondness all our fragmentary desires and attempts to serve Him. Oh, if we could only begin to conceive how He loves us, what different creatures we would be!
6
THERE GOES JOHN BRADFORD!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Moab Is My Washpot”
When we read in the newspaper a sad case of lasciviousness, or any other breach of the laws of God and man, if we were aforetime guilty of the like sin, and have now been renewed in heart, it will make us blush; it will humble us, and cause us to admire the power and sovereignty of divine grace.
Now the blush of repentance, the shamefacedness of humility, and the tear of gratitude, are three helpful things, and all tend under God’s grace to set us purging out the old leaven.
Remember, O believer, that there is no wretch upon earth so bad, but what you were once his equal in
–212–

alienation from God and death in sin!
In outward acts there may have been much difference, but in the inner man how little!
The seed of all the sin which you see in him, lies in your corrupt nature, and needs only a fit season to bring forth and bud.
You were once in that fire of sin, in which he is consumed by his passions. You have been plucked as a brand from the burning, else you would be there still.
Yonder is a prodigal, all bespattered from head to foot. But we also once were plunged into the ditch, until our own clothes abhorred us; and we would be sinking in the mire even now, if the mighty hand of grace had not lifted us up from the horrible pit, and washed us in the Savior’s blood.
We were “heirs of wrath even as others.”
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Our sins may be different, but we were all without exception, shaped in iniquity.
The old nature so remains in us, that, if we were to be deserted by God, we should even yet become such as the ungodly are. Need I quote to you the speech of John Bradford, one of the godliest of men? When he saw a wretch taken out to be hanged, the tears were in his eyes, and when they asked him why, he said, “There goes John Bradford, but for the grace of God.”
Ah, and when we see a prodigal plunging into excess of riot, there goes the best among us, if we are not preserved in Christ Jesus.
Ay, and when the damned go down to hell, there must I go, unless the same grace which restrains me now from
–213–

sin, shall uphold me to my last day; and keep me from
falling.
6
THE OLD MAN IS NOT SENT TO THE HOSPITAL
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Fourfold Treasure”
If any man is in Christ, he is not an old creature mended up. He is a new creature. “Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”
That which becomes holy in us is the new life. The old nature never changes into a holy thing.
The old man is not sent to the hospital to be healed, but to the cross to be crucified.
The old nature is not transformed and improved, but doomed to die and to be buried.
MADAM BUBBLE WE HAVE SEEN WITH HER MASK OFF, AND ARE NOT TO BE
FASCINATED BY SO UGLY A WITCH!
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Moab Is My Washpot”
You can be very certain that unconverted and ungodly people are not solidly happy.
What roaring boys they sometimes are! How vociferous are their songs! How merry their dances! How hilarious their laughter! You would think that there were no happier people to be found under the sun. But as, on many a face, beauty is produced by art rather than by nature; and a little paint creates a transient loveliness; so, often the mirth of this world is a painted thing, a base imitation, not so deep even as the skin.
6
–214–

Ungodly men know nothing of heart joy; they are strangers to the deep, serene happiness which is the portion of believers. Their joy comes and goes with the hour. See them when the feast is over. Mark them when alone; they are ready to die with boredom. They want to kill time, as if they had a surplus of it and would be glad to dispose of the superfluity.
A man’s face must be very ugly when he never cares to look at it, and a man’s state must be very bad indeed in when he is ashamed to know what it is. And yet in the case of tens of thousands of people, who say they are very happy, there is a worm inside the apple; and you may be sure it is so, for they dare not examine into matters.
Ungodly men at bottom are unhappy men.
“The way of transgressors is hard.” “There is no peace, says my God, to the wicked.”
When I read of aching hearts, and hear that great worldling, who had all the world could give him, sum it all up with this sentence, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,” does not my heart say at once, “Oh, empty world, you tempt me in vain, for I see through the cheat.”
Madam Bubble we have seen with her mask off, and are not to be fascinated by so ugly a witch!
We follow not after yonder green meadows and flowing brooks, because they are not real, and are only a mirage mocking the traveler.
Why should we pursue a bubble or chase the wind? We no longer spend our money for that which is not bread.
6
–215–

Indifference, worldly mindedness, formality, and hypocrisy, render the mere nominal professors of Christianity barren as the sand; and tend more to check the spread of the Gospel, than all the united attacks of its most hostile foes.—Thomas Reade, “On the Two Great Instruments”
6
IN EVERY THORN AND THISTLE
Thomas Reade, “Christian Experience”
In every thorn and thistle we may read the fall of man. Had man never sinned, he would never have suffered. No thorns or thistles would have sprung up beneath his feet. Now, they cover the earth, as perpetual emblems of man’s misery, and of God’s displeasure.
6
A NEW IMPULSE? A NOBLER BENT?
Hannah More, “Christianity an Internal Principle”
The Holy Spirit operates on the human character to produce a new heart and a new life. By this operation the affections and faculties of the man receive a new impulse….
his dark understanding is illuminated, his rebellious will is subdued,
his irregular desires are rectified;
his judgment is informed,
his imagination is chastised,
his inclinations are sanctified;
his hopes and fears are directed to their true and
adequate end.
Heaven becomes the object of his hopes, and eternal separation from God the object of his fears.
–216–

His love of the world is transformed into the love of God. The lower faculties are pressed into the new service. The senses have a higher direction. The whole internal frame and constitution receive a nobler bent….
the intents and purposes of the mind, a sublimer aim; his aspirations, a loftier flight;
his vacillating desires find a fixed object;
his vagrant purposes a settled home;
his disappointed heart a certain refuge.
That heart, no longer the worshiper of the world, is struggling to become its conqueror.
6
RELIGION, PREACHERS, AND SERMONS?
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
When Christians meet together, do they not talk too much about religion, preachers, and sermons? I cannot but think, that if they communed less about religion, and more of Jesus, it would give a higher tone of spirituality to their conversation, and prove more refreshing to the soul. He would then oftener draw near, and make Himself one in their midst, and talk with them by the way.
6
HIS OWN FATHER!
David Harsha, “The Crucifixion”
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”
He drinks the bitter cup of God’s wrath due to sin. The powers of darkness fiercely assail Him. He enjoys no sensible communion with Heaven. It is the gloomiest period in His whole life.
But at length His agony is so piercing that He is constrained to utter the most touching words of grief.
–217–

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” His Father; His own Father; in whose bosom He had lain from eternity; His Father, by whom He was always beloved; has withdrawn the light of His countenance from Him; and from His cross arises a most piercing and agonizing cry.
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” Oh, how mysterious, how solemn, how affecting is this cry! It is the most doleful that ever came from the lips of Christ during His sorrowful sojourn from the manger to the cross.
Ah! why does He hang on yonder cross, uttering with ‘strong crying and tears’ these doleful words? It was not the nails which pierced His hands and feet, nor the agony of a crucifixion, that caused this mournful cry.
He was now offering Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world. As our Surety He suffered all that divine justice required to bring the sinner back to God and to glory. Here is the great mystery of Godliness—the Father bruises the Son, and puts Him to grief for our sakes; and all those cries, and tears, and groans of Him, whom the Father appointed to accomplish our salvation, were for us. On His shoulders was laid the enormous load of human guilt.
Oh, what can we render to our Divine Savior for His amazing and unparalleled love to us?
IN A FEW YEARS?
by Thomas Chalmers
In a few years our heads will be laid in the cold grave, and the green turf will cover us. The children who come after us will tread upon our graves. They will weep for us a few days. They will talk of us a few
6
–218–

months. They will remember us a few years. Then our memory shall disappear from the face of the earth, and not a tongue shall be found to recall it.
“Oh that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would consider their latter end!” Deut. 32:29
UNVEILED MYSTERIES
John MacDuff, “The Rainbow in the Clouds”
“You don’t know what I am doing now, but you will understand later.” John 13:7
Much is baffling and perplexing to us in God’s present dealings. “What!” we are often ready to exclaim, “could not the cup have been less bitter; the trial less severe; the road less dreary?”
“Hush your misgivings,” says a gracious God; “Do not arraign the rectitude of My dispensations. You shall yet see all revealed and made bright in the mirror of eternity!”
“What I am doing”—it is all My doing, My appointment.
You have partial view of these dealings; they are seen by the eye of sense through a dim and distorted medium. You can see nothing but plans crossed, and gourds laid low, and “beautiful rods” broken. But I see the end from the beginning.
“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” “Later you will understand!”
An earthly father does not baffle the ear of his small child with hard sayings and involved problems. He waits for the manhood of being and then unfolds all.
So it is with God!
6
–219–

We are now in our infancy; children lisping in earthly infancy a knowledge of His ways. We shall learn the “deep things of God” in the manhood of eternity!
Christ now often shows Himself only “behind the lattice,” a glimpse and He is gone! But the day is coming when we shall “see Him as He is!” when every dark hieroglyphic in the Roll of Providence will be interpreted and expounded!
It is unfair to criticize the half finished picture; to censure or condemn the half developed plan. God’s plans are here in embryo. But a flood of light will break upon us from the sapphire throne; “In your light, O God! we shall see light.” The “need be,” muffled as a secret now, will be confided to us then, and become luminous with love.
Perhaps we may not have to wait until eternity for the realization of this promise. We may experience its fulfillment here. We frequently find, even in this present world, mysterious dispensations issuing in unlooked-for blessings.
Jacob would never have seen Joseph had he not parted with Benjamin. Often the believer never would have seen the true Joseph had he not been called on to part with his best beloved!
His language at the time is that of the patriarch, “I am indeed bereaved!” “All these things are against me!” But the things he imagined to be so adverse, have proved the means of leading him to see the heavenly King “in His beauty” before he dies.
Much is sent to “humble us and to prove us.”
It may not do us good now, but it is promised to do so “at our latter end.”
I shall not dictate to my God what His way should be.
–220–

The patient does not dictate to the physician. He does not reject and refuse the prescription because it is nauseous; he knows it is for his good, and takes it on trust.
It is for faith to repose in whatever God appoints.
Let me not wrong His love or dishonor His faithfulness by supposing that there is one needless or redundant drop in the bitter cup which His loving wisdom has mingled. “You don’t know what I am doing now, but you will understand later.” John 13:7
6
CONCEIVE OF THE RAPID AND GLORIOUS CHANGE!
David Harsha, “The Crucifixion”
How full of mercy is the Redeemer of mankind; in His own death saving the dying malefactor!
While nailed to the accursed tree, enduring the most indescribable suffering both of body and soul, He turns His gracious eye to the penitent thief, and addresses to him these cheering words, “I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
What more animating words could have been spoken by the Savior to one whose past life was stained with sin, and who was now punished for his transgression, and about to appear before the Judge of heaven and earth!
Today you shall pass with Me through the gates of Paradise.
Today you shall drink wine with Me in My Father’s kingdom, and eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life, which grows in the midst of Paradise.
Today you shall enjoy the most blissful and intimate communion with Me in those heavenly mansions which are irradiated by the glory of God and the Lamb.
–221–

Wondrous grace indeed!
How glorious the transition to that poor dying thief, reclaimed by sovereign grace!
Little did he think, when that last morning of his life dawned, that the day of his wretched execution was to end in such happiness; that the storm of angry elements of the morning would be changed into so blessed an evening’s calm.
Conceive of the rapid and glorious change!
In the morning nailed to the cruel cross; in the evening wearing a golden crown!
In the morning cast out as too vile for earth; in the evening welcomed into the highest heaven!
In the morning blaspheming a dying Savior; in the evening with that Savior in Paradise!
In the morning pierced with sorrows more bitter than the nails in his hands and feet; in the evening ceasing from care and pain, and enjoying a peaceful rest!
In the morning surrounded by angry foes, in whose curses he joined; in the evening received among angels and the spirits of the just, joining in the chorus of the redeemed!
In the morning on earth; in the evening in heaven!
In the morning on the borders of hell; in the evening caught up to Paradise.
How marvelous, how matchless, the richness of Divine grace! Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin! Precious fountain of redeeming blood!
How many thousands, once as vile as the dying thief, have since washed their robes in this blood of the
–222–

Lamb; thousands who are now with Christ in Paradise. Yes, with Christ beholding His surpassing glory; now tasting of the immortal fruit of the Tree of Life; now standing before the throne, and joining in all the sweet, and melodious, and transporting songs of the heavenly temple!
6
“Blessed Jesus, may our hearts glow with seraphic love to You, our Savior, when we think of Your amazing compassion for sinners, which led You to forsake the bosom of the Father, and the adoration of the heavenly host, for the manger of Bethlehem, and the cross of Calvary!”—David Harsha, “A Guide to the Savior”
6
EVERY UNRENEWED MAN HATES GOD?
David Harsha, “The Death of Christ”
Every unrenewed man hates God, the most excellent and glorious Being; the Fountain of all light, and life, and felicity; the eternal King.
Man does not love to think of the nature of that Being who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and who cannot look on iniquity. God is not in all his thoughts.
The language of depraved hearts to God is, “Go away. We want no part of You and Your ways. Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey Him?”
How astonishing that man should be filled with such inveterate enmity against his blessed Creator; that he should hate His holy and righteous law; and slight the only remedy for all our spiritual disease, the Gospel of His Son!
How astonishing that man should delight in that which is impure and odious in the sight of heaven; love the
–223–

heavy burden of sin; and take pleasure in provoking God to anger by all kinds of wicked works!
Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! This is what the Lord says: “The children I raised and cared for have rebelled against Me!” Isaiah 1:2
“Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 2:12
A HORRIBLE AND SHOCKING THING IS DONE!
J. C. Ryle, “Calvary”
I know no greater proof of man’s depravity than the fact that thousands of so-called Christians see nothing lovely in the cross.
Well may our hearts be called stony,
well may the eyes of our mind be called blind,
well may our whole nature be called diseased,
well may we all be called dead, when the cross of Christ is heard of, and yet neglected.
Surely we may take up the words of the prophet, and say, “Hear, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth: A horrible and shocking thing is done!” Christ was crucified for sinners, and yet many Christians live as if He was never crucified at all!
Would I know how exceedingly sinful and abominable sin is in the sight of God?
Shall I turn to the history of the flood, and read how sin drowned the world?
Shall I go to and mark what sin brought on Sodom and Gomorrah?
No! I can find a clearer proof still, I look at what happened on Calvary.
6
–224–

There I see that sin is so black and damnable that nothing but the blood of God’s own Son can wash it away.
There I see that sin has so separated me from my holy Maker that all the angels in heaven could never have made peace between us; nothing could reconcile us, short of the death of Christ.
Ah, if I listened to the wretched talk of proud men I might sometimes imagine sin was not so very sinful; but I cannot think little of sin when I look at Calvary.
I find no balm for a sore conscience and a troubled heart like the sight of Jesus dying for me on the accursed tree. There I see that a full payment has been made for all my enormous debts.
I feel sure that there is a way to heaven for the very vilest of men, when I look at the cross.
Would I find strong reasons for being a holy man? I will look at Calvary and the crucifixion.
There I see that Jesus gave Himself for me, not only to redeem me from iniquity, but also to purify me. He bore my sins in His own body on the tree, that I being dead unto sin should live unto righteousness.
Ah, reader, there is nothing so sanctifying as a clear view of the cross of Christ! It crucifies the world unto us, and us unto the world. How can we love sin when we remember that because of our sins Jesus died?
Would I learn how to be contented and cheerful under all the cares and anxieties of life? What school shall I go to? How shall I attain this state of mind most easily? Shall I look at the sovereignty of God, the wisdom of God, the providence of God, the love of God? It is well to do so. But I have a better argument still.
–225–

I will look at Calvary and the crucifixion. I feel that He who spared not His only begotten Son but delivered Him up to die for me, will surely with Him give me all things that I really need.
He who endured that pain for my soul, will surely not withhold from me anything that is really good.
He who has done the greater things for me, will doubtless do the lesser things also.
He who gave His own blood to procure me a home, will unquestionably supply me with all that is really profitable for me by the way.
Ah, reader, there is no school for learning contentment that can be compared with Calvary and the foot of the
cross!
“Salvation is of the Lord.”
Salvation is but the unfolding of the boundless grace of
God to lost, vile, and hell-deserving sinners.
All the religions of men, and their name is “legion,” are based upon the principle of human merit.
All are founded upon some imagined good and power in the creature, the effect of which is totally to set aside the Atonement of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul.
In fact, the doctrine of creature merit is the fatal element of man’s religion, the moral poison of his soul; the remedy for which is only found in a believing reception and heartfelt experience of the free grace salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
6
THE DOCTRINE OF CREATURE MERIT?
Octavius Winslow, “Our God”
–226–

The whole plan of salvation is based upon free grace, or, in other words, God’s unpurchased favor to sinners.
This idea, of course, repudiates and ignores all worth and worthiness whatever on the part of the creature, man.
Human merit, therefore, is entirely excluded as an element entering into our salvation; the whole scheme, from first to last, being by grace.
Christ died, not for saints, but for sinners.
He receives, not the worthy, but the unworthy. He came to heal, not the whole, but the sick.
He came to call, not the righteous, but sinners, to
repentance!
Salvation, from first to last, is of free grace!
THE INEXHAUSTIBLE TREASURES OF HIS GRACE!
Octavius Winslow, “Our God”
“And my God will meet all your needs according to His
glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 Bring your perplexities to God, and He will guide them. Bring your needs to God, and He will supply them. Bring your mountains to God, and He will level them. Bring your sins to God, and He will forgive them.
Bring your sorrows, trials, and temptations to God, and He will sustain you under, and will bring you through them, to the praise and glory of His great Name, as the “God of all grace.”
Your supplies may be exhausted, but not His fullness.
Your need may press, but there is no pressure on His sufficiency.
6
–227–

Your power may be limited, but His is illimitable. Your grace may be shallow, but His is fathomless.
And you may ask, “From where will my next supply come?” while, at the moment that the anxious question is trembling upon your lip, the supply that is to silence it is laid up in the inexhaustible treasures of His grace, and will be sent just at the moment that will awaken in you the sweetest song, and yield to Him the richest glory.
6
AN EXPERIMENTAL CHRISTIAN
Octavius Winslow, “Our God”
The religion of the true believer is experimental; it is the religion of the heart. He has no dealings with an unknown, imaginary God.
He does not know God from the hearing of the ear, or from the reading of books, or from the religious conversation of others merely; but He knows Him from personal acquaintance, from heartfelt experience, from close and constant dealings.
There has been a manifestation of God in Christ to his soul, and with Job he can say, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You.”
And with the converted Samaritans, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:42
Oh to be a true, an experimental Christian!
The religion of the ear, or of the eye, or of the imagination, or of the intellect, will not, and cannot bring the soul to heaven!
–228–

The abodes of endless woe are peopled with souls who went down to its regions of despair with no better religion than this!
Oh, give me….
the humility of the publican,
the trembling faith of the diseased woman, the flowing tears of the penitent Magdalene, the last petition of the dying thief,
rather than the most intellectual religion or the most gorgeous ceremonial that the mind ever invented, or
the eye ever beheld.
6
LIFE IS LIKE A PAINTED DREAM?
Octavius Winslow, “Our God”
“For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our
guide even to the end.” Psalm 48:14 “The world passes away.”
Everything here in this present world is changing.
“Life is like a painted dream, Like the rapid summer stream, Like the fleeting meteor’s ray, Like the shortest winter’s day, Like the fitful breeze that sighs, Like the waning flame that dies, Darting, dazzling on the eye, Fading in eternity.”
A rope of sand, a spider’s web, a silken thread, a passing shadow, an ebbing wave, are the most fitting and expressive emblems of all things belonging to this present time’s state.
The homes that sheltered us in childhood we leave. The land which gave us birth we leave. The loved ones who
–229–

encircled our hearths pass away. The friends of early years depart. And the world that was so sunny, and life that was so sweet, is all beclouded and embittered; the whole scenery of existence changed into wintry gloom.
Such are the saddening, depressing effects of life’s vicissitudes.
But in the midst of all, “This God is our God FOREVER AND EVER!”
All beings change but God. All things change but heaven. The evolutions of time revolve, the events of earth go onward, but He upon whom all things hang, and by whom all events are shaped and controlled, moves not. “I, the Lord, do not change.”
Our affairs may alter. Our circumstances may change. Our relations and friends may depart one by one. Our souls in a single day pass through many fluctuations of spiritual feeling.
But He who chose us to be His own, and who has kept us to the present moment, is our covenant God and Father forever and ever, and will never throw us off and cast us away.
6
THE BUZZING OF A FLY
Octavius Winslow, “Our God”
Look at that flower! It toils not, it spins not—and why? Because your Heavenly Father clothes it.
Look at that bird! Leaping from bow to bow, springing from hill to valley, sparkling with beauty, gushing with song, and wild with ecstatic delight! It has not a thought or care of its own—and why? Because God thinks and cares for it.
Oh, you of little faith! Why do you hesitate….
–230–

to trust all your personal interests,
to confide all your worldly affairs,
to disclose all your temporal needs and sorrows in
prayer to God?
He is not too high for your lowest need, nor too great for your smallest care. “If the buzzing of a fly troubles me,” says John Newton, “I may take it to God.” This is not mere sentiment. It is the practical embodiment of a principle of experimental religion most honoring to God and sanctifying to us—the principle of faith, which….
acknowledges God in all our ways, sees God in everything, and
takes everything, the smallest, to God.
THE EMPTY, OILLESS, FLAMELESS LAMP
Octavius Winslow, “Our God”
See to it that your religious knowledge is not borrowed from a Church, or from a minister, or from a creed, but is derived directly and only from Christ.
Let your knowledge of Christ, your faith in Christ, your love to Christ, your obedience to Christ, be the test and the measure of the light that is in you.
Is there not a great danger of borrowing our religious thoughts, sentiments, and phraseology, from others?
And was not this the case with the foolish virgins in the parable, when they exclaimed, “Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.” Matt. 25:8
Oh, it is of the utmost importance that our religious light is not a borrowed or false light.
See that your religion is your own; the personal, vital experience of your own heart.
6
–231–

It is easy; nothing easier, more deceptive or fatal; than to make a religious profession, adopt a religious ceremonial, imitate the experience, and quote the language of others.
A borrowed or a counterfeit religion is of all religions, the most ensnaring and dangerous.
Do not go to the grave clad in the religious habiliments of others; but robed in Christ’s true and joyous garments of salvation, “girded with the golden girdle” of truth, holiness, and love.
Bear not to death’s gate the empty, oilless, flameless lamp of a mere religious profession.
THE WRATH OF GOD LET LOOSE UPON HIS SON!
Octavius Winslow, “Our God”
Divine holiness is best exhibited in the cross of Jesus.
Not hell itself, dreadful and eternal as is its suffering: the undying worm, the unquenchable fire, the smoke of the torment that goes up forever and ever; affords such a solemn and impressive spectacle of the holiness and justice of God in the punishment of sin, as is presented in the death of God’s beloved Son.
An eminent Puritan writer thus strikingly puts it: “Not all the vials of judgment that have or shall be poured out upon this wicked world, nor the flaming furnace of a sinner’s conscience, nor the irrevocable sentence pronounced against the rebellious devils, nor the groans of the damned creatures, give such a demonstration of God’s hatred of sin, as the wrath of God let loose upon His Son!”
Never did Divine holiness appear more beautiful and lovely than at the time our Savior’s countenance was
6
–232–

most marred in the midst of His dying groans.
This Himself acknowledges in that penitential psalm, when God turned His smiling face away from Him, and thrust His sharp knife into His heart, which forced that terrible cry from Him, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me, so far from the words of My groaning? …Yet You are enthroned as the Holy One.” Ps. 22:1-2
Such an impressive view of God’s holiness the angels in heaven never before beheld; not even when they saw the nonelect spirits hurled from the heights of glory down to the bottomless pit, to be reserved in chains of darkness and woe forever!
Jesus was the innocent One dying for the guilty ones, the holy One dying for the sinful ones.
Divine justice, in its mission of judgment, as it swept by the cross, found the Son of God impaled upon its wood beneath the sins and the curse of His people. Upon Him its judgment fell, on His soul its wrath was poured, in His heart its flaming sword was plunged; and thus, from Him, justice exacted the full penalty of man’s transgression; the last farthing of the great debt. Go to the cross, then, my reader, and learn the holiness of God.
Contemplate….
the dignity of Christ;
His preciousness to His Father’s heart; the sinlessness of His nature.
And then behold….
the sorrow of His soul, the torture of His body, the tragedy of His death, the abasement,
the ignominy,
the humiliation,
–233–

into the fathomless depths of which the whole transaction plunged our incarnate God! And let me ask, standing, as you are, before this unparalleled spectacle, “Can you cherish low views of God’s holiness, or light views of your own sinfulness?”
6
THE LEAVEN OF PRIDE
Thomas Reade, “Christian Experience”
The leaven of pride is not wholly eradicated, even in the bosom of the humble Christian.
There are seasons when it works with painful violence; and then, the darkness of our minds, and the deadness of our hearts, indicate that the Holy Spirit is grieved, and that Satan has gained an advantage over us.
Spiritual pride is a subtle evil. It slides into our prayers, and entwines itself about our praise. It spoils our best duties, and creates that fondness for human approbation, which puffs up the heart, and steals it away from God.
6
PAINTED BUBBLES
Thomas Reade, “Christian Experience”
“And to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that
you may be filled to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19 What are all the vanities of this world, but painted
bubbles, when compared with this eternal treasure?
Is there not then cause for apprehension, lest, while we profess much love for Christ, our hearts should cleave unto the dust?
Are we not in danger of making a home of this world, and of setting up our rest here, as if this wilderness
–234–

were the promised Canaan, rather than the road through which we have to pass to get to it?
THE DIVINE CHEMISTRY
Thomas Reade, “Christian Experience”
It cannot be too deeply impressed on our consciences, that love to Jesus is the spring of holy obedience.
This is the Divine Chemistry which turns all into gold.
A ‘cup of cold water’ given from this principle shall not lose its reward; while the most costly sacrifice is worthless, if it does not spring from love to Jesus.
6
OUR HOUSEHOLD GODS?
Thomas Reade, “Christian Experience”
Whatever draws away the heart from God, is an idol in His sight.
Our domestic ease, our family comforts, too often become our household gods, at whose shrine we sacrifice the claims of Christ.
6
A HIGH CHRISTIAN ATTAINMENT?
Thomas Reade, “Christian Experience”
To be in the world, and yet not of the world; to use it for our temporal necessities, and yet not to abuse it for carnal purposes, is a high Christian attainment.
May we be graciously delivered from a worldly spirit, which can assume a thousand forms to allure and to deceive.
6
–235–

The tinseled Christian may gain the admiration of those who regard the outward appearance, but he will never be approved of by Him who looks at the heart.
O! may we never substitute…. knowledge for grace, profession for principle, words for practice,
nor zeal for love.
6
THIS WORLD?
Thomas Reade, “Christian Experience”
“Do not be conformed to this world.” Romans 12:2
The very admonition implies the danger of worldly conformity, and the proneness of the heart to earthly things.
Who can say that he is always raised above the undue influence of terrestrial objects; that he is daily passing, as it were, upon tiptoe, across this world of vanity?
Alas! alas! we too often sink into the mire of earthly mindedness, and have our thoughts absorbed amid the trifles of a day!
But what can this world profit us?
This world can neither secure us against temporal evils, nor save us from eternal misery.
This world cannot, for a single moment, prolong our existence here, or make that existence peaceful and happy.
This world is often a clog, but never a help in moments of spiritual distress.
And yet, we love this world, though, by its deceitful smile, it robs us of our peace, entangles us in its
–236–

snares; and would, if left under its power, eventually destroy our souls.
This world would no longer sway our affections, did we daily reflect how quickly it is passing away!
The heavenly mindedness and contempt of this world which shone so brightly in the lives of the first Christians may well cause us to blush.
These devoted followers of a crucified Redeemer did not study those arts of splendor which have overspread this world.
When the honor of their Divine Master required the sacrifice, they could trample under foot, those profits and pleasures which ensnare and enslave mankind.
They looked upon the delights and advantages of this world, as things not worthy to arrest their affections in their journey homeward. Their spirits breathed in too pure an air, to be caught with the delusive charms of this lower world. It was their continual regard to dwell within the prospect of eternity.
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and embraced them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13
6
DO ANY STARTLE AT THIS PLAIN ASSERTION?
Thomas Reade, “Christian Experience”
In the early Christian Church religion did not consist in talking finely, but in living well.
We, alas! are not now what these primitive Christians were—burning and shining lights.
The lamentation of the prophet is sadly too descriptive
–237–

of our state: “Our silver has become dross, and our wine is mixed with water.”
The world has tainted the Church by its unhallowed admixture.
Where is the simplicity, the self-denial, the zeal, the entire devotedness of these first Christians to be found?
Certainly not among the great mass of religious professors.
Long continued prosperity has induced a spirit of slumber.
Without any breach of that charity which hopes all things, we are compelled to declare this painful truth— that thousands who are moral, and regular in all the outward duties and decencies of religion, are still as far distant from the spirit and practice, the principles and feelings, of the true believer, as the East is from the West.
Do any startle at this plain assertion?
Where, we would ask, is…. their deep contrition, their sincere repentance, their hatred of sin,
their application to the Savior,
their love to His name,
their delight in His service,
their attachment to Him,
their self-denying obedience,
their renunciation of the world,
their patience under suffering for the Gospel’s sake?
Where, in short, is the new creature in Christ Jesus to be seen in them? It has no existence.
–238–

They have a name to live, being called Christians, and professing to believe in Jesus, but they are dead.
The general truths of the Gospel may dwell in their understandings, but they have no abiding place in their hearts.
The Apostle has well described the character of these nominal Christians: “they profess that they know God, but in works deny Him. They have the form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.”
These are the people who, frequenting the house of God, sneer at ‘conscientious piety.’ Yet, they have full confidence in the mercy of God, and deem it most uncharitable, even to breathe a hint that they are in danger of eternal perdition.
6
ALL THE MYSTERIES OF PROVIDENCE
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“Now we see through a glass darkly (in a riddle), but then face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
The position which the Christian shall occupy in eternity will be most favorable to a full and clear comprehension of all the mysteries of the earthly journey.
The “clouds and darkness,” emblems in our history of “obscurity and distress,” which now envelope God’s throne, and enshroud His government of the saints, will have passed away; the mist and fog will have vanished, and, breathing a purer atmosphere, and canopied by a brighter sky, the glorified saint will then see every object, circumstance, incident, and step, with an eye unobscured by a vapor, and unmoistened by a tear.
And what shall we know? All the mysteries of
–239–

providence. Things which had made us greatly grieve, will then be seen to have been causes of the greatest joy. Clouds of threatening, which appeared to us charged with the agent of destruction, will then unveil, and reveal the love which they embosomed and concealed.
Oh, what a perfect, harmonious, and glorious whole, will all His doings in providence appear, from first to last; to the undimmed eye, the ravished gaze of His white-robed, palm-bearing Church!
6
LIFT UP YOUR HEADS, YOU POOR, YOU NEEDY, YOU DISCONSOLATE!
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
What a gospel is this for a poor sinner! It speaks…. of pardon,
of acceptance,
of peace,
of full redemption here, and unspeakable glory hereafter!
It proclaims….
a Savior to the lost;
a Redeemer to the captive; a Surety to the insolvent;
a Physician to the sick;
a Friend to the needy;
an Advocate to the criminal.
All that a….
‘self ruined’
‘sin accused’
‘law condemned’ ‘justice threatened’
–240–

‘broken hearted’ sinner needs, this “glorious gospel of the blessed God” provides.
It reveals….
to the self ruined sinner One in whom is his help; to the sin accused One who can take away all sin; to the law condemned One who saves from all
condemnation;
to the justice threatened One who is a hiding place
from the wind, and a covert from the tempest;
to the broken hearted One who binds up and heals.
That One is Jesus! O name…. ever dear,
ever sweet,
ever precious,
ever fragrant,
ever healing to the poor in spirit!
All you can possibly need is treasured up in Christ!
You have….
no cross but Christ can bear it,
no sorrow but Christ can alleviate it, no corruption but Christ can subdue it, no guilt but Christ can remove it,
no sin but Christ can pardon it,
no need but Christ can supply it.
Lift up your heads, you poor, you needy, you disconsolate!
Lift up your heads and rejoice that Christ is all to you….
all you need in this valley of tears,
all you need in the deepest sorrow,
all you need under the heaviest affliction, all you need in sickness,
all you will need in the hour of death and all you will need in the day of judgment!
–241–

What more can you want? What more do you desire? A Father who loves you as the apple of His eye! A full Savior to whom to go, moment by moment! And a blessed indwelling, sanctifying, comforting Spirit! “Yes, happy are those who have it like this! Happy indeed are those whose God is the Lord.”
6
SELF
by F. B. Meyer
When by the grace of God we have been delivered from grosser forms of sin, we are still liable to the subtle working of SELF in our holiest and loveliest hours.
SELF poisons our motives.
SELF breathes decay on our fairest fruit bearing.
SELF whispers seductive flatteries into our pleased ears.
SELF turns the heart from its holy purpose.
SELF aims at personal advantage, acquiring the praise and commendation of men. Or in some other way it aims at self-aggrandizement.
6
HIS ICY HAND
by David Harsha
“One generation goes, and another generation comes….” Ecclesiastes 1:4
We are all standing on the shores of time, and before us stretches the unfathomable ocean of eternity.
To this vast abyss the millions of earth’s inhabitants are fast hastening. Every day that closes, every hour that passes, every moment that flies, is bringing us nearer
–242–

to it. On its mighty surface every human being must soon embark.
The grave is the home appointed for all living. Everything passes away.
A great and mighty river, for ages and centuries, has been rolling on, and sweeping away all that ever lived, to the vast abyss of eternity.
From that unknown country none return.
On that devouring ocean, which has swallowed up everything, no vestige appears of the things that were.
Death is the messenger that conducts us into the invisible world; and this messenger may be very near us.
One step more, and his icy hand may be laid upon us…. to remove us from our dearest friends on earth,
to dissolve all the attachments of life,
to hide from us all earthly scenes, and
to open to our view the solemn realities of an eternal world.
Standing on the Rock of Ages, the believer can look down into the ‘gloomy mansion of the grave’ with composure and even with triumph.
How blessed then to have the arms of Jesus, the Conqueror of death, upholding our shrinking souls, shielding us from all alarm, sweetening our passage through the dark valley, and conducting us safely through every tempest, and through every billow, into the promised rest above!
To the Christian, death is an unspeakable advantage, as it is the passage from the wilderness of this world, to the heavenly Canaan.
Death is the entrance to our Father’s house, in which
–243–

are the ‘many mansions’ of glory.
Death delivers him from all the evils incident to humanity.
Death terminates his period of discipline, toil, trial, and conflict.
Death brings him into a state of perfect holiness and happiness before the throne of God in the highest heavens.
Death is numbered among the treasures of a Christian.
Death is his great gain. The last day of his life is to him the opening of immortality.
As soon as death terminates the believer’s existence on earth, he enters upon the inheritance of all those exceeding great and precious promises which the Word of God holds forth to him.
He passes at once from the darkness of earth to the light and glory of the celestial world.
He puts off the mortal body, for the home of God, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
He exchanges this valley of tears and death, for a world from whose blissful mansions all sorrow flees away, and where there shall be no more death.
“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down; when we die and leave these bodies; we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God Himself and not by human hands.” 2 Cor. 5:1
He departs to be with Christ; and oh, what sincere follower of the adorable Redeemer, who is now enthroned amid heaven’s ineffable glories, would not rather be absent from the body, to be present with Him!
–244–

In the hour of death Christ will be your refuge. His everlasting arms will be underneath you. His rod and staff will comfort you.
He will be with you until the last; and you shall awake amid the unutterable splendors of heaven, to be forever with the Savior in mansions of light and felicity.
It is the glory of the Christian religion thus to raise the soul above the fear of death. With him all is calm and serene; for his sins are forgiven. He has peace within; joy beams in his countenance. His soul is delighted with joyful prospects beyond the grave. He is filled with strong consolation. The sweet thought of going to his heavenly home now occupies his mind, elevating his views, and cheering his spirit. He thinks of the glories of his final rest; its fullness of joy; its blessed inhabitants; its delightful employments; its never ending pleasures. He feels, that while earth is passing from his view, the portals of those blessed mansions of light are opening for his entrance, and he knows, that in yonder home of the redeemed he will die no more.
My heavenly home is bright and fair; Nor pain, nor death can enter there. Its glittering towers the sun outshine, That heavenly mansion shall be mine!
My Father’s house is built on high, Far, far above the starry sky,
When from this earthly prison free, That heavenly mansion mine shall be!
While here a stranger far from home, Affliction’s waves may round me foam; And though like Lazarus, sick and poor, My heavenly mansion is secure!
–245–

Let others seek a home below,
Which flames devour, or waves o’erflow, Be mine the happier lot to own,
A heavenly mansion near the throne!
Then fail this earth, let stars decline, And sun and moon refuse to shine; All nature sink and cease to be,
This heavenly mansion stands for me!
6
WHAT A TREASURE!
Thomas Reade, “Christian Experience”
What a treasure is the Word of God!
Here we have….
Light, to dissipate our darkness;
Truth, to guide us amid the mazes of error; Consolations, to gladden us in a world of misery.
The Bible is….
the Revelation of our Father’s love;
the Expression of Jehovah’s grace to sinners;
the Depository of heavenly blessings;
the Charter of our highest privileges;
the Religion of true Christians;
the Glory of our churches; the Poor Man’s Friend.
Everything sublime in conception, and tender in expression, it is to be found in the sacred Scriptures. The Eternal Jehovah has there revealed Himself as….
clothed with majesty and honor; glorious in holiness,
fearful in praises,
doing wonders;
of purer eyes than to behold iniquity;
in whose sight the heavens are not clean.
–246–

In the scred Scriptures, He has manifested forth His glory, as mighty to save; forgiving iniquity, trans- gression, and sin. In that blessed volume, Mercy is seen to arrest the arm of Justice, and all the tenderness of the Father is displayed in the person of the Son. Love breathes throughout its sacred pages.
6
THE JEWELS OF GOD
John MacDuff, “The Night Watches”
“And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels!” Malachi 3:17
“MY JEWELS!” (margin, My special treasure!)
Of what favored creatures does Jehovah thus speak? Is it of seraphs? Is it of angels?
Methinks, at such a title, even they would take the dust of abasement, and veiling their faces, cry, “Unclean! unclean!”
But, marvel of marvels! It is redeemed sinners of the earth; the fallen children of men; once rude, unshapely stones, lying in “the horrible pit and the miry clay,” amid the rubbish of corruption, who are thus sought out by grace, purchased by love, and destined through eternity to be set as jewels in the crown of the eternal Savior!
A jewel in Immanuel’s crown!
Not only raised from the ash heap to be set among princes; but to gem through eternity the Forehead that for me was once wreathed with thorns!
“And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels!” Malachi 3:17
6
–247–

THE CHOOSING PLACE
John MacDuff, “The Rainbow in the Clouds”
“I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10
The furnace of affliction!
It is God’s meeting place with His people. “I have chosen you,” says He, “in the furnace of affliction. I will keep you there, until the purifying process is complete; and if need be, in a ‘chariot of fire’ I will carry you to heaven!”
Some fires are for destruction, but this is for purification. He, the Refiner, is sitting by the furnace regulating the flames, tempering the heat; not the least filing of the gold but what is precious to Him! The bush is burning with fire, but He is in the middle of it; a living God in a bush; a living Savior in the furnace!
And has this not been the method of His dealing with His faithful people in every age?
First, trial; then blessing.
First, difficulties; then, deliverances.
First, Egyptian plagues, darkness, brick kilns, the Red Sea, forty years of desert privations; then Canaan!
First, the burning fiery furnace; then the vision of “one like the Son of God!”
Or, as with Elijah on Carmel, the answer is first by fire, and then by rain.
First, the fiery trial, then the gentle descent of the Spirit’s influences, coming down like “rain upon the mown grass, and as showers that water the earth.”
Believer! be it yours to ask, “are my trials sanctified?”
–248–

Are they making me holier, purer, better, more meek, more gentle, more heavenly minded, more Savior-like?
Seek to “glorify God in the fires.”
Patience is a grace which the angels cannot manifest.
Patience is a flower of earth; it blooms not in Paradise; it requires tribulation for its exercise; it is nurtured only amid wind, and hail, and storm.
By patient, unmurmuring submission, remember, you, a poor sinner, can thus magnify God in a way the loftiest angelic natures cannot do!
His design is to purge away your dross, to bring you forth from the furnace reflecting His own image, and fitted for glory!
Those intended for great usefulness are much in the refining pot.
“His children have found suffering times happy times. They never have such nearness to their Father, such holy freedom with Him, and such heavenly refreshment with Him, as under the cross!”
6
MY CHILD
Joseph Alleine, “The Gospel in a Map”
My child, lo, I give Myself to you, and all things with Myself.
I will be all to you that you can wish. I will be a FRIEND to you. My secrets shall be with you, and you shall have free access to Me, and liberty to pour out all your heart into My bosom.
I am the everlasting Father, and I will be a FATHER to you. Behold, I receive you not as a servant, but as a son to abide in My house forever. Whatever love or care
–249–

children may look for from their father, that you may expect from Me, and so much more since I am wiser, greater, and better than any earthly parents. If earthly fathers will give good things to their children, much more will I give to you. If such cannot forget their children, much less will I forget you. What would My children have? Your Father’s heart, His house, His care, His ear, His bread, and His rod? These shall all be yours.
You shall have My fatherly affection. My heart I share with you. My tenderest love I bestow upon you. You shall have My fatherly compassion. As a father pities his children, so will I pity you. I will consider your frame, and not be extreme to mark what is done amiss by you, but will cover all with the mantle of My excusing love. I will be your Comforter in your solitude, your Counselor in your distress.
I will be a PHYSICIAN to you. I will heal your backslidings and cure all your diseases. Fear not, for never did a soul miscarry that left itself in My hands, and would follow My prescriptions.
I will be a SHEPHERD to you. Do not be afraid of evil tidings, for I am with you. My rod and My staff shall comfort you. You shall not lack, for I will feed you; you shall not wander or be lost, for I will restore you. I will cause you to lie down in green pastures, and will lead you beside the still waters. I will gather you with My arm, carry you in My bosom, and will lead you softly. I will bind up that which was broken, and strengthen you when sick. I will watch over My flock by night. My own eyes shall keep a perpetual watch by night and by day. The Keeper of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps, nor withdraws His eyes from the righteous. I will guide you with My eye. I will never trust you out of My sight.
I will be a HUSBAND to you. In lovingkindness and
–250–

mercy I will betroth you unto Myself forever. I will embrace your interest, and will be as one with you, and you with Me. You shall be for Me and not for another; and I also will be for you. Though I found you as a helpless infant, exposed in its own blood, all your unworthiness did not discourage Me. Lo, I have looked upon you, and put My loveliness upon you. Moreover, I swear unto you, and enter into covenant with you, and you shall be Mine. Behold, I do here solemnly, in My marriage covenant, give away Myself to you, and with Myself all things. I will be an everlasting portion to you. Now lift up your eyes to the east, to the west, to the north, and to the south. Have you not a worthy portion, a goodly heritage?
Can you fathom your riches or count your own happiness? Can you grasp immensity, reach omnipotence, or comprehend eternity? All this is yours! I will set open all My treasures to you, and will keep back nothing from you.
I will be a never-failing fountain of joy, peace, and bliss unto you! I will be your God, your Father, and your Friend as long as I have My being. I have made My everlasting choice in electing you. Fear not, for the eternal God is your refuge, and underneath you are the everlasting arms. My unsearchable riches shall be yours. Though all should forsake you, yet will I not forsake you!
I am your rock and your fortress, your deliverer, your strength, the horn of your salvation, and your high tower.
I am God Almighty, your almighty Protector, your almighty Benefactor! My fullness is your treasure. My house is your home. You may come as freely to My store as to your own cupboard. You may have your hand as freely in My treasures as in your own purses.
–251–

You cannot ask too much; you cannot look for too much from Me. I will give you (or will be Myself to you instead of) all comforts. You shall have children, or I will be better to you than ten children. You shall have riches, or I will be more to you than all riches.
Can you put out the lamp of heaven, or empty the boundless ocean with your hands? Why, the sun shall be dark and the sea dry before the Father of lights, the Fountain of mercies shall be exhausted. And My infiniteness shall be the extent of your inheritance! I am your inheritance, which no line can measure, no arithmetic can value, and no surveyor can describe.
But all this is but a taste of what I have prepared.
You must have but smiles and hints now, and be content with glimpses and glances here. But you shall be shortly taken up into your Father’s bosom and live forever in the fullest views of His glory!
The day of your death shall be the birthday of your
glories!
“Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return.” Genesis 3:19
Death strikes with unsparing and indiscriminate hand.
However fair, and beautiful, and vigorous, nothing can shield it from decay. The head that is crowned with honor must lie low. The eye that beams with sensibility and intelligence must become dim. The tongue shall become mute that moves with powerful and melting persuasion. The warm and throbbing heart shall become still and cold as marble.
6
WE SICKEN, AND DIE, AND MOULDER AWAY IN THE GRAVE
Gardiner Spring, “Death and Heaven”
–252–

Wherever we cast our eyes, we see all that is most permanent hastening to decay. Disease springs up in every climate; death multiplies his victims under every sky, and reigns over every age of time.
We sicken, and die, and moulder away in the grave.
With all his capacity for great and noble achievement, man has never been able to rescue a single victim from the ‘King of Terrors.’
Death’s arrows are sharp. His hand is unerring and ruthless.
The giant stalks unseen, and throughout all the vast arena of his conflicts, none can resist, or evade his ravages.
We may weep.
We may tremble.
But we cannot escape his fury.
PREPARE TO MEET THE MONSTER!
David Harsha, “Thoughts on the Love of Christ”
This young lady had been confined to a bed of severe suffering for one year. At last her soul was ripened for glory. The time came that she must die and her death- bed was a scene of triumph. Christ was very precious to her; and His love was wonderfully manifested to her soul. She often exclaimed, “My beloved is mine, and I am His.”
The following are among her last words.
To her distant brother she thus dictated a letter. “Dear brother, I know not whether I shall meet you again on earth; but I hope to meet you in heaven, where we shall be forever singing the praises of God; where the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, shall feed us, and lead us unto living fountains of waters, and where God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes.”
6
–253–

To her father, who said to her, “I fear I must lose you;” she replied, “Your loss will be my gain! I have a building from God, a house, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” And again when he said, “I think you will fall asleep in Jesus;” she responded, “It will be a happy change!”
She exclaimed in a transport of joy, “Oh! I would not give up Christ for all the world!”
Her earthly course being nearly finished, she opened her eyes, which were soon to be closed in death, and in the language of strong, unshaken faith, exclaimed with Job, “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see Him for myself. Yes, I will see Him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!”
Once she broke out into a rapture and exclaimed, “O, to be ever with the Lord, what a happy change!”
Her faith remained firm unto the end, and her hope and confidence unshaken to the last. Her sky was clear and serene, her mind calm and composed, and thus she fell asleep in Jesus, and entered into the joy of her Lord.
A few days before this young lady died, she requested the following lines to be read at her funeral.
To my young companions:
“My youthful mates, both small and great, Stand here, and you shall see,
An awful sight, which is a type
Of what you soon will be!
I used to appear once fresh and fair Among the youthful crowd;
But now behold me dead and cold, Wrapped in a sable shroud!
–254–

My cheeks once red, like roses spread, My sparkling eyes so gay;
But now you see how ’tis with me,
A lifeless lump of clay!
When you are dressed in all your best, In ‘fashion’ so complete,
You soon must be as you see me, Wrapped in a shrouding sheet!
Ah, youth beware, and do prepare
To meet the monster, death!
For He may come when you are young, And steal away your breath!
When you unto your frolics go, Remember what I say;
In a short time, though in your prime, You may be called away!
Now I am gone, I can’t return; No more of me you’ll see;
But it is true that all of you, Must shortly follow me!
When you unto my grave do go, That gloomy place to see,
I say to you who stand and view, Prepare to follow me!”
What an awful thing it is to die without salvation by Christ, without a saving interest in Him; and yet millions live without God, and without hope in the world. And millions more die in the same awful condition, and plunge into a dark and miserable eternity!
“Let me die like the righteous; let my life end like theirs.” Numbers 23:10 6
–255–

OUR TRUE, ABIDING HOME.
David Harsha, “The Savior’s Ascension”
Heaven is now our true, abiding home.
While on earth we are strangers and pilgrims, far from our final rest. And while such is our condition here, should we not often think of our heavenly home? Should not heaven attract us more and more as we journey through life?
Shall we still cleave to earth, since Christ has obtained eternal salvation for us, and passed into the heavens to prepare a way for our entrance into those unending joys in the presence of God?
Oh, let our best affections be placed on those spiritual and divine things above.
Let the noblest aspirations of our minds be after a more intimate knowledge of Jesus.
Let us look beyond this valley of tears and keep our eyes fixed on that better country where the Savior ever reigns in glorious majesty; where the fountains of bliss ever flow; where the tree of life ever spreads its delightful shade, and yields its immortal fruits; where all is unending joy, and love, and peace, and felicity!
Let our hearts be more and more disentangled from the cares and temptations of the present life; let us live in the world as those who are not of it; as those whose treasure is in heaven, and whose hearts are there also.
The nearer a Christian comes to heaven the less he loves or esteems this present world.
May our affections rise heavenward, endeavoring to bring the realities of future, eternal things more vividly before our minds, and to realize our interest in them.
–256–

O my soul, rise above these earthly scenes; and, on the wings of faith, soar to the realms of the blessed, where Jesus is enthroned in unspeakable glory, reigning as my life, my hope, and my treasure!
Blessed Jesus, we beseech You to show us Your glory, and to raise our hearts, our hopes, and our desires, to that blessed world to which You have ascended. O may our souls be daily rising, in holy thought, towards our home where the ransomed of the Lord shall forever obtain joy and gladness. May our thoughts become heavenly, and our hearts be attuned to those songs with which the arches of heaven shall resound to all eternity! O my Savior, wean my heart from earth, and enable me to place my affection on things above.
6
OH, THIS IS HEAVEN, THE HEAVEN OF HEAVEN!
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
Fellowship with God is the highest, purest, sweetest mercy a saint of God can have on earth. Yes, it is the highest, purest, sweetest bliss the saints of God can have in heaven.
What is the enjoyment of heaven?
Not merely…. exemption from trial; freedom from sorrow; rest from toil;
release from conflict.
Oh no! it is the presence; the full unclouded presence of our Father there.
To be with Christ;
to behold His glory; to gaze upon His face;
–257–

to hear His voice;
to feel the throbbings of His bosom;
to bask in the effulgence of His presence; Oh, this is heaven, the heaven of heaven!
6
ABOVE THE DECAYING OBJECTS AROUND HIM?
David Harsha, “Wanderings of a Pilgrim”
No man begins the journey to the heavenly home, until by the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit, his soul is attracted to Christ, the Living Way, the Truth, and the Life.
At that happy hour when the heart is opened, and the understanding enlightened to discern spiritual things, the Savior’s love is the first to beam in mild, sweet, constraining influence upon the soul of the renewed man.
He wonders that he was not able before to discern the beauty, the excellence and glory of Immanuel. Now, Jesus appears to him as the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely. Now, he is ready to exclaim, “My beloved is mine, and I am His. Whom have I in heaven but You? There is none upon earth that I desire besides You!”
Thus enlightened by divine grace, the pilgrim turns from the City of Destruction, to the Heavenly Mansions.
He leaves the crowded road which leads to eternal dark- ness and woe, and enters on the narrow pathway that conducts the weary traveler to realms of light and bliss.
His views are now elevated above the decaying objects around him. His affections are placed upon things above. He contemplates with rapturous delight the bleeding glories of Immanuel, and the shining abode of Zion’s pilgrims in the celestial kingdom.
–258–

He has become a spiritually minded man.
He lives and walks by faith in the Son of God.
Though in the world, he is no longer of it; but belongs to the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
As an heir of glory, as a traveler to the skies, as an expectant of eternal bliss, he looks above and beyond the troublesome scenes of a fleeting pilgrimage.
He enjoys the charming and sublime prospect beyond the precincts of time! He beholds in that brighter world, an ocean of glory, without a shore, and without a storm!
As the Christian pursues his journey with his eye fixed on the solemn realities of eternity, earth and sublunary grandeur appear to him as transitory as the morning cloud and early morning dew, compared with those immeasurable ages of bliss, which roll before his transported vision.
He who has been constrained, by the Savior’s love, to begin the blessed journey from the wilderness of this world to the heavenly Canaan, will delight to meditate on the riches and glory of his Father’s house, in the pure, unclouded realms of eternal day.
6
NOT OUR HOME?
David Harsha, “Immanuel’s Land”
“For we don’t have here an enduring city, but we seek that
which is to come.” Hebrews 13:14 We are strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
This present world is not our home.
We are coming up from the wilderness with our faces Zionward; we are traveling to the celestial city!
–259–

Our path is rough; but the Savior sustains us.
Our pilgrimage lies through a wilderness, but faith cheers us with a view of the glorious rest of the redeemed in our Father’s house; in mansions of blessedness.
Let this consideration animate us amid the conflicts of life. In a little while we shall obtain a joyous entrance into the rest above. The storms of life’s ocean will soon carry us into the haven of peace, where there is no trouble.
The language of inspiration is, “Arise, and depart! For this is not your resting place, Because of uncleanness that destroys, Even with a grievous destruction.” Micah 2:10
Your Savior, pilgrim Christian, has prepared for you a nobler rest than this polluted world.
In His Father’s house are many spacious mansions, where your happy spirit, after tasting the bitter cup of life’s sorrow, shall rest in eternal blessedness!
6
THE HAPPY HOME?
David Harsha, “Thoughts on the Love of Christ”
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
Christ has manifested most amazing love to believers, in preparing for their eternal abode, mansions of glory, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Heaven is a prepared place for believers; prepared by Christ in His infinite love.
–260–

The love of Christ will make heaven a glorious, happy abode indeed. Oh! what a happy home will heaven be! There all the redeemed shall finally assemble, to spend one eternal day in the glorious presence of Emmanuel.
Who can fully describe the joys of the Christian’s happy home? Feeble mortals could not comprehend the description if it should be given.
What human mind can conceive of the unspeakable blessedness which awaits the child of God in that upper and better world, his happy home!
Dear believer, to know what heaven really is, you must put off mortality. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Do you not long for the approach of that joyful day, which will introduce you into the mansions of glory, and bring you to your endless, happy home?
How short is the space that lies between you and glory!
The map of heaven is laid wide open for your inspection.
Often obtain a glimpse of the happy land. Be always looking heavenward and homeward. Let heaven be always in your eye, and the earth under your feet, and in a little while….
God shall wipe away all tears;
you will reach your journey’s end; then faith shall be turned into vision; hope, into fruition;
and you will be fully satisfied with the goodness of God’s house.
As you now survey the glories of your happy home, does not your heart exult at the prospect?
–261–

Christian, heaven is your only true home.
Here on earth, you have no continuing city nor place of abode. The divine command is, “Arise, and depart; for this is not your rest.”
“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.”
God has provided a better home for you, than this polluted world!
O, remember that you are a stranger and pilgrim on earth.
Let your course be onward in the Christian’s journey. Quicken your pace on the road to glory.
Your happy home will soon be in possession!
Reader, are you pressing upward to the Christian’s happy home? Is heaven the home which you expect to reach? Do you long to arrive at those everlasting mansions in the sky?
Then let the hope of eternal glory elevate your affections above all sublunary objects!
Christian, soon shall the interposing veil of mortality be drawn aside, and you will behold the glories of that land which no mortal pen can now describe.
But is heaven soon to be your happy home? Are you there to reign with Jesus, in the realms of everlasting day? there to behold the uncreated glory of Emmanuel?
Then how trifling should the transient concerns of earth appear to you! You should smile at “the frowns of time.”
The angry tempest will soon be over. The swelling waves of life’s ocean will soon rise no more. You will soon have reached the desired haven of eternal rest, the blessed shores of immortality, the happy home—and
–262–

that home will more than compensate for all the toil of the way!
Live with your happy home always in view.
Let the glories of a coming eternity revive your drooping spirits, amid life’s trials and life’s conflicts.
The road to glory is but a short one. A moment but intervenes, and then eternal ages commence to roll away. After this present brief moment has passed, you will enter upon a state of endless felicity!
Arrived at your happy home, you will take up an everlasting song of praise; you will celebrate the victories of redeeming love, through one unending day!
You shall stand a monument of God’s love, and mercy, and grace! You shall be made a pillar in His glorious temple above, where there shall be no more going out.
You shall live with Christ, and praise Him throughout the endless ages of eternity! You shall behold Emmanuel in His unveiled glory. You shall praise Him for that unbounded love, which has obtained for you immortal bliss!
O, Christian! the love of Christ has procured that unfailing wreath of glory, which will one day be entwined around your brow; that radiant diadem which you will forever wear.
The love of Christ has prepared a happy home for your reception, when this sublunary scene shall have vanished from your mortal vision.
All the happiness you enjoy in time; all the glory that will crown you through eternity, flow from the love of Christ.
You quickly glide over the narrow stream of time; until you find yourself sailing on the vast unbounded ocean of eternity!
–263–

Come, Christian, survey the happy land, your everlasting home. Life is fast hastening away. The oscillating tides of time are bearing you onward and homeward. Every wave of life’s tempestuous ocean is only wafting you to the happy shores of a blessed eternity!
Then look beyond this poor dying world!
Look at that eternal home which Christ has prepared for you! View the celestial city, irradiated by the glory of God and the Lamb! See the pearly gates, the golden streets, the shining inhabitants of the New Jerusalem!
The glory of God will enlighten that city of everlasting habitation, which the love of Christ has prepared.
What a blessed habitation has Christ prepared for believers!
What a glorious inheritance has He promised them!
Come, my soul, and survey it!
O my soul, rise and soar aloft to the heavenly Canaan!
Mount up as upon eagles’ wings, and behold the king in His beauty, and the land that is afar off!
Leave the world to those who seek their pleasures and happiness in its perishing enjoyments, and set your affections on things above!
How the world recedes from your view, as you obtain a glimpse of the heavenly land!
The short lived pleasures of earth, and the transient show of sublunary magnificence, no longer fascinate the mind, as it gains a heavenly view of the Christian’s endless happy home, the glories of which baffle all description!
Blessed Jesus! Spiritualize my affections; elevate my views to the world of glory. Wean my heart from the fleeting
–264–

enjoyments of this mortal life, this perishing earth.
Reader! look beyond this sublunary scene of changing mortality. Soar aloft on the wings of faith, and roam in imagination through the myriads of ages that lie beyond the precincts of time.
And in those regions of immortality, may you realize the joys of endless life, of an immortal existence, and of an inheritance before which the splendor of a thousand worlds fades; which will endure when this earth and all her terrestrial glory shall have passed away, and when the sun shall have cast his last rays, and the stars have set in endless night!
“Now to Him who is able to keep them from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory in great joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25
6
THE MOST AMAZING, MOST AFFECTING, MOST MELTING SIGHT THAT MORTALS EVER WITNESSED!
David Harsha, “Thoughts on the Love of Christ”
In the death of Christ, we behold the most astonishing exhibition of divine love that has ever been manifested to a lost world.
Such love as is here displayed, is without a precedent; without a parallel in the annals of time or in the records of eternity.
To behold the Son of God, the Maker of worlds, bowing His head on the cross, and yielding up His immaculate soul amid the agonies of death, is the most amazing, the most affecting, the most melting sight that mortals ever witnessed!
–265–

Around the Cross of Christ there shine the most resplen- dent rays of divine love that ever beamed from the Sun of Righteousness; that ever emanated from the Deity.
O, my soul, look and wonder!
Behold your Savior bleeding on the cross; bleeding from every pore, that your sins might be washed away in the flowing stream!
See Him pouring out His soul unto death, for your salvation! Is not this a manifestation of unparalleled love to you?
Christ’s suffering and dying for us is a great mystery, a mystery of unfathomable love!
How vehement was the love of Christ, that led Him to endure death in its most terrible form, even the death of the cross! “Love is strong as death; the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it.”
Such is the love of Christ.
All the waters of affliction and suffering; all the billows of divine wrath that rolled over our blessed Redeemer, were not sufficient to quench the ardency of that love which He felt for a dying world of sinners!
6
WHAT A SIGHT!
David Harsha, “Christ Crucified”
The death of Christ was the most affecting and solemn scene ever presented to the view of men or angels.
What a sight! to see Christ on the cross bleeding for sinners!
How astonishing! to see the King of glory, whom all the
–266–

angels of heaven worship and adore, bow His head in death!
Earth never before witnessed such a sight! Heaven never before looked upon such a scene. O my soul, draw near and contemplate it.
Look towards Calvary with the cross erected in your view, and behold the Son of God nailed to the accursed tree, His blessed hands, and side and feet pierced, His blood streaming from every pore, until pallid death sits upon His heavenly brow, and He cries, “Father, into your hands I commend My spirit.”
6
WHY?
David Harsha, “Christ Crucified”
Why does the Lord of life and glory suffer?
Why does He endure that piercing agony and that bloody sweat in gloomy Gethsemane?
Why is He condemned to the death of Calvary?
Look at the crucified Jesus!
Why does He hang on that bloody cross?
Why are those blessed hands and feet nailed to the accursed tree?
Why is that dear side pierced with the soldier’s spear?
Why does the immaculate Lamb of God thus bleed?
Ah! believing sinner, it is for you!
For you, Christ endured that indescribable agony in Gethsemane, and those excruciating pains on Calvary.
For you, the blood trickles down those pale cheeks, and streams from that pierced side.
–267–

For you, the Son of God endures the hidings of His Father’s face, until He is led to exclaim in the bitterness of His soul, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
For you, His last breath is drawn, and His last cry uttered, “It is finished.”
O could you but see with faith’s vision, what Christ has done for you, surely your whole heart would burn with love to such a Savior, who, to ransom your precious soul from eternal woe, shed His own blood! That precious blood was poured out to cleanse you from the guilt of sin.
Sin, then, was the cause of the sufferings and death of God’s dear Son. Ah! sinner, you have slain the innocent Lamb of God. You have caused those wounds on Immanuel’s glorious person.
Your sins pierced Him to the very heart!
6
LOOK AT THE KING IN HIS BEAUTY!
David Harsha, “Wanderings of a Pilgrim”
“Your eyes will see the King in His beauty and view a land
that stretches afar.” Isaiah 33:17 Contemplate your blessed Redeemer, seated on His
great white throne, encircled with heavenly glory.
Look at the King in His beauty! It is the sight of a glorified Savior that will make the heaven of the believer.
Endeavor now, by the eye of faith, to behold the Lord Jesus in all His matchless beauty and excellence.
Contemplate….
His glorious character; His infinite mercy;
–268–

His unparalleled condescension, and His boundless love.
There is enough in Jesus to employ the soul in rapturous meditation through a vast eternity!
His excellence, His goodness, and His love can never be fathomed!
O keep your eye fixed on this adorable Savior, while you sojourn in this valley of tears; and in a little while you shall see Him as He is; face to face, and ascribe to Him unceasing praise! 6
THE WORLD WILL LOSE ITS CHARMS!
David Harsha, “Christ, and Him Crucified”
“But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Gal. 6:14
There is nothing so animating to the Christian as a sight of Calvary.
How despicable does the world appear in his view, when he obtains a glimpse of that cross on which his Savior died!
Everything else loses its luster when, by the eye of faith, the cross of Christ is seen.
“A sight of Jesus on the cross,
Makes all this world appear as dross.”
In this wicked world, the Christian thirsts for God, and pants to reach the mansions of glory.
The Christian looks beyond this dying world to his eternal home in glory. The cross of Jesus enables him to soar on high, and leave the world behind him. He looks
–269–

forward to the glory that is to be revealed in him. He sets his affections on things above.
Oh, keep gazing on a crucified Savior, and the world will lose its charms!
We overcome the world through the cross.
It is a sight of the cross of Christ that weans the affections from sublunary objects, and centers them on heavenly and divine things.
6
NO ‘REVERENCE’ IS DUE TO ME!
by Charles Spurgeon
I very much demur to the designation, “To the Rever- end C. H. Spurgeon,” for no ‘reverence’ is due to me!
Assuredly, ‘Reverend’ and ‘sinner’ make a curious combination. And as I know I am the second, I repudiate the first.
To me, it is surprising that such a flattering title should have been invented, and more amazing still, that good men should be found who are angry if this title be not duly given to them.
“It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere.” Deut. 13:4
“…. so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always.” Deut. 14:23
“…. revere this glorious and awesome name: the Lord your God.” Deut. 28:58
“…. revere Him, all you descendants of Israel!” Ps. 22:23 “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the
world revere Him.” Psalm 33:8
“…. holy and reverend is His name.” Ps. 111:9
–270–

“I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere Him.” Eccles. 3:14
“Who should not revere You, O King of the nations? This is Your due.” Jeremiah 10:7
MISCALCULATION?
Hannah More, “Cultivation of a Devotional Spirit”
Miscalculation of the relative value of things is one of the greatest errors of our spiritual life.
We estimate them in an inverse proportion to their value, as well as to their duration.
We lavish earnest and durable thoughts on things so trifling that they deserve little regard, so temporary that they “perish with the using;” while we bestow only slight attention on things of infinite worth; only transient thoughts on things of eternal duration.
6
OUR PROPER ENJOYMENT OF EVERY EARTHLY BLESSING?
Hannah More, “The Love of God”
There are three requirements to our proper enjoyment of every earthly blessing which God bestows on us:

  1. A thankful reflection on the goodness of the giver. 2. A deep sense of the unworthiness of the receiver.
  2. A sober recollection of the precarious tenure by which we hold it.
    The first would make us grateful, the second humble,
    the last moderate.
    6
    6
    –271–

Who can describe the miseries of a lost soul, when the door of the bottomless pit has closed upon it forever?— David Harsha, “Come to the Savior”
6
THE TENDERNESS OF GOD
John MacDuff, “The Night Watches”
“He will feed His flock like a shepherd, He will gather the lambs in His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and will gently lead those who have their young.” Isaiah 40:11
How soothing, in the hour of sorrow, or bereavement, or death, to have the countenance and sympathy of a tender earthly friend. Reader, these words tell you of One nearer, dearer, tenderer still; the Friend that never fails—a tender God!
By how many endearing epithets does Jesus exhibit the tenderness of His relation to His people.
Does a shepherd watch tenderly over his flock? “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
Does a father exercise fondest solicitude towards his children? “I will be a Father unto you.”
Does a mother’s love exceed all other earthly types of affection. “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you.”
Is the ‘apple of the eye’ (the pupil) the most sensitive part of the most delicate bodily organ? He guards His people “as the apple of His eye!”
“He will not break the bruised reed.”
When the Shepherd and Guardian of Souls finds the sinner, like a lost sheep, stumbling on the dark mountains, how tenderly He deals with him! There is
–272–

no look of wrath; no word of upbraiding. In silent love “He lays him on His shoulders rejoicing!”
Reader, are you mourning over…
the weakness of your faith;
the coldness of your love;
your manifold spiritual declensions?
Fear not. He knows your frame! He will give ‘feeble faith’ tender dealing. He will “carry” in His arms those that are unable to walk, and will conduct the burdened ones through a path less rough and rugged than others.
When “the lion” or “the bear” comes, you may trust the true David, the tenderest of Shepherds!
Are you suffering from outward trial?
Confide in the tenderness of your God’s dealings with you. The strokes of His rod are gentle strokes; the needed discipline of a father yearning over his children the very moment He is chastising them. The gentlest earthly parent may speak a harsh word at times; it may be, needlessly harsh. But not so God. He may seem, like Joseph to his brethren, to ‘speak roughly;’ but all the while there is love in His heart.
The ‘pruning knife’ will not be used unnecessarily. It will never cut too deeply.
The ‘furnace’ will not burn more fiercely than is absolutely required. A tender God is seated by it, tempering the fury of its flames.
And what, believer, is the secret of all this tenderness? “There is a Man upon the Throne!” Jesus, the God Man Mediator; combining with the might of Godhead, the tenderness of spotless humanity.
Is your heart crushed with sorrow? so was His!
–273–

Are your eyes dimmed with tears? so were His! “Jesus wept!” Bethany’s Chief Mourner still wears ‘the Brother’s heart’ in glory!
Others may be unable to enter into the depths of your trial—Jesus can; Jesus does!
With such a tender God…. caring for me,
providing for me,
watching my path by day, and guarding my couch by night,
“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8
SELF VAULTED INTO THE VACANT THRONE?
Octavius Winslow, “Midnight Harmonies”
“Looking unto Jesus.” Hebrews 12:2
We must look away from ourselves. SELF is, perhaps, the most common and insidious object that comes between the eye of the soul and Jesus.
When God was ejected from the heart of man, self vaulted into the vacant throne, and has ever since maintained a supremacy.
We must look from righteous self; from all works of righteousness which we can perform, from our almsgivings, from our charities, from our religious observances, our fastings, and prayers, and sacraments; from all the works of the law by which we are seeking to be justified; from all our efforts to make ourselves better, and thus to do something to commend ourselves to the Divine notice, and to propitiate the Divine regard.
From all this we must look, if we rightly look unto Jesus to be saved by His righteousness, and by His alone.
6
–274–

“I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with Him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith.”
6
THE WRETCHED WORM OF THE EARTH?
Thomas Reade, “The Evil of Pride”
“God resists the proud.” James 4:6
Pride rules and governs the hearts of natural men. It is
continually in operation.
Pride militates against the soul-humbling doctrines of the Gospel.
Salvation by grace, through faith in the blood of Christ, is most offensive to the pride of the natural man.
The idea of being wholly indebted to another for admission into the kingdom of heaven, is extremely disgusting to self love.
Such an idea is rejected with disdain by every heart, unhumbled and untaught by the Spirit of God.
Fallen man needs to have some share in the great work of salvation, to have something whereof to boast.
But God has declared that this shall not be.
No flesh shall boast in His presence.
Oh! what cursed pride dwells in the heart of man!
–275–

But what will become of proud looks, and proud pretensions, when Christ shall sit on the throne of His glory, and render unto every man according to his works?
Then will the contrite soul, who, while on earth was trodden down by the foot of pride, be exalted to the heights of glory!
Then will the proud sinner, once admired and applauded, be hurled into the depths of hell.
The wretched worm of the earth, inflated with pride, will sink into endless woe!
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
THROW THE CREATURE DOWN IN THE DUST!
by J. C. Philpot
Man’s religion is to build up the creature.
God’s religion is throw the creature down in the dust of self abasement, and to glorify Christ.
THIS HUMILIATING DOCTRINE?
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
Are any saved?
It is through the grace of God; through the love of a dying Savior, through the operation of the Holy Spirit producing faith in their hearts to lay hold of, and delight in, the ever precious Jesus.
Have you received this gift of grace, a saving faith in the adorable Redeemer? Then, cease not, O my soul, to extol the Giver of such sovereign mercy.
6
6
–276–

Why should the Sovereign of the universe condescend to visit you? Why should He pour this oil of grace, this unction from the Holy One, on you? Why convert you into a vessel of mercy fitted for the Master’s use, while thousands around you are vessels of wrath, fitted to destruction?
Why is this?
Amazement seizes on my mind!
Love and praise should fill my heart!
O why is this?
Because He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy!
I must resolve all into…
the sovereign will,
the electing love,
the free grace of the Great Jehovah!
“I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.” Jer. 31:3
Many reject this blessed truth.
The pride of man cannot bear this humiliating doctrine, so subversive of human merit.
But what are its genuine effects?
It…
humbles the sinner, exalts the Savior, and promotes holiness.
That doctrine must be true, which places Christ on His throne, and the creature in the dust; which opposes the evil of sin, and delights in holiness.
6
–277–

NO CHANCE!
John MacDuff, “The Night Watches”
“The Lord does whatever pleases Him throughout all heaven
and earth, and on the seas and in their depths.” Ps. 135:6 How blessed that elementary truth: “The Lord reigns!”
To know that there is no chance or accident with God; that He decrees…
the fall of a sparrow;
the destruction of an atom; the annihilation of a world!
The Almighty is not like Baal, “asleep.” “He that keeps Israel” can never for a moment “slumber.”
Man proposes; but God disposes.
“You, Lord have done it,” is the history of every event, past, present and to come.
His purposes none can change. His counsels none can resist.
Believer, how cheering to know that all that befalls you is thus ordered in the eternal purpose of a Covenant God! Every minute circumstance of your lot; appointing the bounds of your habitation; meting out every drop in the cup of life; arranging what by you is called its “vicissitudes;” decreeing all its trials; and at last, as the great Proprietor of life, revoking the lease of existence when its allotted term has expired!
How it should keep the mind from its guilty proneness to brood and fret over second causes, were this grand but simple truth ever realized: that all that befalls us are integral parts in a stupendous plan of wisdom; that there is no crossing or thwarting the designs and dealings of God.
–278–

“He does all things well.”
“Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases
Him.” Psalm 115:3
6
A MORE VILE AND UNLOVELY THING?
Octavius Winslow, “Midnight Harmonies”
There exists not upon earth a more vile and unlovely thing, in the self-searching view of the true believer, than his own heart.
From every other human eye that bosom is deeply, impenetrably veiled. All that is within is known only to itself. What those chambers of abomination are, God will not permit another creature to know.
But oh, how dark, how loathsome, how unholy to him “who knows the plague of his own heart!”
Believer! Jesus loves that heart of yours! He purchased it with His own heart’s blood, agonies, and tears!
With all its indwelling evil and self-loathing, God sees its struggles, watches its conflict, and marks its sincerity. He has His finger upon its pulse, He feels every beat, records every throb. Not a feeling thrills it, not an emotion agitates it, not a sorrow shades it, not a sin wounds it, not a thought passes through it, of which He is not cognizant.
6
HAPPY SICKNESS?
David Harsha, “Thoughts on the Love of Christ”
Affliction comes upon all.
None are exempt from the sufferings incident to our fallen nature. The young, the old, the rich and the poor,
–279–

alike feel the withering touch of affliction and of sorrow. Disease invades the strongest constitution, and affliction prostrates the mightiest energy. Often those in the prime and vigor of life are laid down on the bed of sickness, and made to feel that they are dying creatures. How true it is, that “How frail is humanity! How short is life, and how full of trouble!” Job 14:1
The children of God are not exempted from the afflictions of this life; but it is their blessed consolation to know that they have a Friend to sympathize with them in all their sorrows and sufferings, while in this mortal state.
Yes, Jesus is that friend, who watches over their sick beds, and consoles their desponding spirits amid the frailty of sinking nature.
Oh! how often does the blessed Jesus wonderfully manifest His love to His afflicted ones! How often does He whisper words of peace and love and consolation in their ears! How often, in the manifestation of His love, do their souls overflow with joy, even when their bodies are racked with severe pain!
All the afflictions of the children of God are designed for their good. They come from a kind heavenly Father, from a God of love; and one of their designs is their purification and sanctification.
Afflictions make us fit for glory; they enable us to obtain a correct view of the vanity of terrestrial happiness; they tend, through grace, to fix our souls on Him, in whom alone we can find true happiness and immortal joys.
Happy sickness, that leads the soul to Jesus, the only source of blessedness! Afflictions, then, promote our spiritual welfare, and are ordered for our good.
6
–280–

LEVEL CLAY IDOLS
by John MacDuff
“My presence shall go with you, and I will give
you rest.” Ex. 33:14 Moses asked to be shown “the way.”
Here is the answer: The way is not shown; but better than this, God says, “Trust Me, I will go with you!”
Afflicted one! hear the voice addressing you from the cloudy pillar. It is a wilderness promise which God speaks to His spiritual Israel still. He who led His people of old “like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron,” will manifest towards you the same Shepherd love.
The way may be very different from what we could have wished; what we would have chosen.
But the choice is in better hands!
He had His own wise and righteous ends in every erratic turning in it.
Who can look back on the past leadings of God without gratitude and thankfulness? When His sheep have been conducted to the rougher parts of the wilderness, He, their Shepherd, has “gone before them. When their fleece was torn, and footsore and weary, He has borne them in His arms. His presence has lightened every cross and sweetened every care.
Let us trust Him for an unknown and checkered future.
Other companionships we cherished may have failed us, but One who is better than the best, goes before us in His gracious pillar cloud.
With Him for our portion, take what He will away, we must be happy; we can rise above the loss of the earthly
–281–

gift, in the consciousness of the nobler possession and heritage we enjoy in the Great Bestower.
He may have seen fit to level clay idols, that He, the “All Satisfying” might reign paramount and supreme. He will not allow us to raise havens on earth, and to write upon them, “This is my rest.”
But “Fear not,” He seems to say, “You are not left without a friend or without solace on the way home. Pilgrim in a pilgrim land! My presence shall go with you. In all your dark and cloudy days; in your hours of faintness and depression; in sadness; in life and in death! And when the journey is ended, the Pillar needed no more, I will give you rest.”
The pledge of Grace will be followed with the fruition of Glory!
“My presence shall go with you, and I will give you
rest.” Ex. 33:14
6
WHAT TRASH DOES IT APPEAR!
by Mary Winslow
What a brittle thing is all the glory, wealth, and honor of this vain world! How empty, and what trash does it appear! And yet men sell their souls to grasp it, and at last pass away from it and find it all a phantom. How unceasing is Satan in forever bringing it before our eyes, in some form or other! What is all the pomp and wealth and rank of this poor fleeting world, in contrast with the glory that shall soon be revealed in all those who love His appearing?6
–282–

A WORLDLY SPIRIT?
Hannah More, “Periodical Religion”
Do not consider a worldly spirit as a little infirmity; as a natural, and therefore a pardonable weakness; as a trifling error, which will be overlooked for the sake of our many good qualities.
A worldly spirit is, in fact, the essence of our other faults, the temper that stands between us and our salvation, the spirit which is in direct opposition to the Spirit of God.
Individual sins may more easily be cured, but a worldly spirit is the principle of all spiritual disease.
A worldly spirit, where it is rooted and cherished, runs through the whole character, insinuates itself in all we say, and think, and do. It is this which makes us so dead in religion, so averse to spiritual things, so forgetful of God, so unmindful of eternity.
6
DRINKING BITTER CUPS
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“We know that all things work together for good.” Romans 8:28
All things under the government of an infinitely great, all wise, righteous, and beneficent God, work together for good.
What that good may be, the shape it may assume, the complexion it may wear, the end to which it may be subservient, we cannot tell.
To our dim view it may appear an evil, but to God’s far seeing eye it is a positive good.
–283–

His glory is secured by it, and that end accomplished, we are sure it must be good.
Oh truth most divine!
Oh words most consolatory!
How many whose eye traces this page, it may be whose tears bedew it, whose sighs breathe over it, whose prayers hallow it, may be wading in deep waters, may be drinking bitter cups, and are ready to exclaim, “All these things are against me!”
Oh no, beloved of God, all these things are for you! “The Lord sits upon the flood.”
“The voice of the Lord is upon the waters.”
“He makes the clouds His chariot.”
Be not then afraid.
Calmly stay your faith on this divinely assured truth, that “all things work together for good to those who love God.”
Will it not be a good, if your present adversity results…. in the dethronement of some worshiped idol;
in the endearing of Christ to your soul;
in the closer conformity of your mind to God’s image; in the purification of your heart;
in your more thorough fitness for heaven; in a revival of God’s work within you;
in stirring you up to more prayer?
Oh yes! good, real good, permanent good must result from all the Divine dispensations in your history.
Bitter repentance shall end in the experienced sweetness of Christ’s love.
The festering wound shall but elicit the healing balm.
–284–

The overpowering burden shall but bring you to the tranquil rest.
The storm shall but quicken your footsteps to the ‘hiding place.’
In a little while, oh, how soon! you shall pass away from earth to heaven, and in its clearer, serener light shall read the truth, often read with tears before, “All things work together for good to those who love God.”
6
PILGRIMS AND STRANGERS
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
We are hastening fast through time.
Time is short, and eternity, with all its solemn realities, is before us.
What is our life? How uncertain!
And yet is it not awfully true that poor wretched man rushes heedlessly on, thoughtless of what awaits him in an endless eternity? We are traveling fast through this wilderness world, and soon shall pass away.
Let us, then, feel more like pilgrims and strangers here. Let us not seek our rest where our precious Jesus had no place to lay His head.
Oh, for ten thousand worlds would I not have my portion here in this wilderness!
Let us rejoice more in the prospect of that glorious inheritance prepared for us above, where He is who has loved us unto the death.6
–285–

INTOXICATING TO THE UNREGENERATE HEART
Horatius Bonar, “Bible Thoughts & Themes” “…Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might
deliver us out of this present evil age.” Galatians 1:4
This world is evil, yet it is fair to look upon, with…. its pleasures,
its gaieties,
its riches,
its glories,
its pomps,
its glitter,
its songs,
its magnificent palaces, its gorgeous array.
This world is intoxicating to the unregenerate heart.
This world’s religion is decked out in its beauty of temple, picture, statue, and image of every kind.
The world’s wisdom is seen in… its astronomy,
its natural science,
its mechanical arts,
its architecture,
its skill in ornament,
with all fascinations for the natural man, all stimulants for the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.
All natural knowledge, natural beauty, natural progress, are here; intellect, power, greatness, pomp, splendor. All are here in the world.
We loved this present evil world, and delighted in its vanities. It was the home of our hearts.
–286–

But God called us out of this evil world. With His own almighty voice He called us. We could not but obey. It was irresistible. Hence He made us willing in the day of His power.
6
UNQUENCHABLE!
Horatius Bonar, “The Love That Passes Knowledge” “Many waters cannot quench love; neither can rivers
drown it.” Song of Solomon 8:7
Let us take this verse as descriptive of the love of
Christ, the “love that passes knowledge.”
Nothing in heaven, or earth, or hell is able to extinguish or cool the love of Christ; the one love whose dimensions are beyond all measure! It is unquenchable!

  1. The waters of SHAME AND SUFFERING sought to quench and drown it. They would have hindered its outflowing, and come (like Peter) between the Savior and the cross; but this love refused to be arrested on its way to Calvary; it would not be either quenched or drowned. Herein was love! It overleaped all the barriers in its way. Its fire would not be quenched, its life would not be drowned!
  2. The waters of DEATH sought to quench it. Their waves and billows went over Him. The grave sought to cool or quench it; but it proved itself stronger than death. Neither death nor the grave could alter or weaken it. It came out of both as strong as before. Love defied death, and overcame it!
  3. The waters of OUR UNWORTHINESS could not quench nor drown love. In general we find love drawing to the lovable; and when anything unseemly occurs,
    –287–

withdrawing from its object. Not so here. All our unfitness and unlovableness could not quench nor drown His love. It clung to the unlovely, and refused to be torn away!

  1. The waters of OUR LONG REJECTION sought to quench it. After the gospel had showed us that personal unworthiness could not arrest the love of Christ, we continued to reject Him and His love. Yet His love surmounted this unbelief, and survived this rejection. In spite of all it remained unquenched!
  2. The waters of OUR DAILY INCONSISTENCY sought to quench it. Even after we have believed, we are constantly coming short. Ah! what inconsistencies, coldness, backslidings, lukewarmness, doubtings, worldliness, and such like, are daily flowing over this love to quench its fire and drown its life! Yet it survives all; it remains unquenched and unquenchable!
    All these infinite evils in us are like “waters,” “many waters;” like “floods;” torrents of sin, waves and billows of evil; all constantly laboring to quench and drown the love of Christ! And truly they would have annihilated any other love; any love less than divine. But the love of Christ is unchangeable and everlasting!
    His love is invincible, and irresistible as death; it is a jealous love, unyielding and inexorable as the grave! All earth and heaven together would be ineffectual to cool or quench His mighty love!
    The love of Christ truly passes knowledge. It is infinite like Himself. It emerges out of every storm or flood. It survives all our unworthiness, and unbelief, and rejection!
    Here, then, is the love of Christ! Its breadth, length, height, and depth, are absolutely immeasurable!
    6
    –288–

BOLD, UNBLUSHING AUDACITY!
Horatius Bonar, “Divine Love and Human Rejection of It”
“I listened and heard, but they didn’t speak aright: no man repents him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? everyone turns to his course, as a horse that rushes headlong in the battle.” Jeremiah 8:6
Man is blind, madly blind, both to his danger and to his sin. Furiously he plunges on in evil,
from sin to sin,
from lust to lust,
defying God,
braving His anger, ridiculing His threats, scoffing at His judgments, rushing against His sword, mocking at His hell.
How much recklessness there is among us! Recklessness in….
sin,
crime, self-indulgence, pleasure,
lust.
Utter defiance of God! Bold, unblushing audacity, which nothing will daunt; which mocks at….
judgments, sorrows, trials, sermons,
and plunges on in evil, treasuring up wrath against the
day of wrath!
6
–289–

UNSPEAKABLY DREADFUL
Horatius Bonar, “The Secret of Deliverance from Evil”
God’s estimate of sin is unspeakably dreadful: “It is the abominable thing which I hate;
it is an evil that I cannot bear;
it cast the angels out of heaven;
it ruined the world;
it brought the deluge;
it drew down the fire and brimstone; it slew My Son;
it will yet set the world on fire;
it will kindle hell.”
6
THE PESTILENCE? THE FAMINE? THE EARTHQUAKE? THE LIGHTNING? THE STORM? THE SHIPWRECK?
THE OVERTHROW OF KINGDOMS AND KINGS?
Horatius Bonar,
“Man’s Misconceptions of the Works of God”
“By His mighty acts He governs the people.” Job 36:31
His purpose comes in contact with earth and its dwellers; not generally and by means of laws, but directly and minutely. His will, His voice, His hand, His arm, all come into contact with this world, as well as with all other worlds, the creations of His power.
He has not left them alone.
He sustains and rules as truly as He creates them. Not for a moment does He let go His hold.
He is the governor among the nations. He rules by His power forever.
His eyes behold the nations. He does according to His will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants
–290–

of the earth.
It is with no distant, unheeding God that we have to do; but with that God who fixes the bounds of our habita- tion, who counts our hairs, who feeds the ravens, notes a sparrow’s death, and clothes the lilies of the field.
God governs the people by means of the changes of nature. We use “nature” for lack of a better word—we mean earth and sky with all their motions, and alternations, and transformations, great and small, all “natural phenomena” as they are called.
These phenomena, or appearances, appear to us common things; by some ascribed to “chance,” by others to “laws of nature.”
Here they are ascribed directly to God.
They are…
His voice by which He speaks to us; His finger by which He touches us; His rod by which He corrects us; His sword, by which He smites us.
It seems to be the thought of many, that in none of these can we or ought we to recognize, directly and specially, the interposition of God; that it is fanaticism to interpret them so as to make them special messen- gers of God to us. But the words before us are very explicit, “By His mighty acts He governs the people.”
The things by which He is here said to govern the people, are the common things of the day and year; the rain, the clouds, the lightning, and such like. He uses these as His voice in…
warning,
or commanding, or chastising,
or comforting.
–291–

These common things do not come by chance, or at random, or by dead law, but go out from God as His messengers. Thus everything has a divine meaning and a heavenly voice. Let us listen and interpret and understand.
Summer speaks to us with its green fields and fragrant gardens; winter speaks to us with its ice and snow and frost. By these God governs the people—
the pestilence, the famine,
the earthquake, the lightning, the storm,
the shipwreck,
the overthrow of kingdoms and kings.
Each of these has a special message to the nations; and to each of us. Let us see God drawing near to us in them; showing His care and love, manifesting an unwearied concern for our welfare.
Woe to us if we either misinterpret them, or refuse to interpret them at all.
The common daily changes of personal or family life, all speak in the same way. Not only the sweeping calamity that carries off its hundreds, but the sickness, the pain, or the gentle indisposition—these have a voice to us.
He who has an ear, let him hear!
We disjoin God from creation, and so see nothing in it of divine life and power.
We disjoin God from the changes of creation, and so find no meaning in these.
We disjoin God from the beautiful or the terrible, and so realize nothing in them which overawes, or attracts, or purifies, or comforts.
–292–

We have so learned to separate between God and the ‘works of God,’ that we seem to imagine that they contradict each other. The fair sky, and the clear stream, and the green hills, all speak of divine goodness.
This separation of God from His works is one of the awful features of human unbelief.
How much more of Him should we know, were we to interpret His works aright, and hear His voice in each, whether in love or discipline.
“By His mighty acts He governs the people.” Job 36:31
6
THE SPIRIT
David Harsha, “The Savior’s Ascension”
The Spirit is given to supply the Savior’s absence, and to apply to our souls the redemption finished on Calvary. It is His blessed work to glorify Jesus; to testify of Him.
Through His power we are renewed; sanctified; filled ‘with all joy and peace in believing,’ and ‘abound in hope’ of a blissful immortality.
The Spirit reveals the Savior to our souls in a manner that renders Him exceedingly precious in our estimation. He shows us….
His excellence;
the perfections of His divine nature, as the brightness
of the Father’s glory;
His power, as the Creator of all things; His wisdom;
His immutability;
His eternity.
The Spirit exhibits to us….
the amazing love of Jesus to sinners;
–293–

the wonders of His incarnation;
the amiableness of His life on earth;
the spotless purity of His character;
the unparalleled sufferings of His life;
the fruits of His death, resurrection, ascension, and
intercession.
The Spirit shows us His suitableness to our needs as sinners; points us to Calvary, and whispers in our ears the cheering truth that we have redemption through the blood of Jesus, even the forgiveness of sins.
The Spirit comforts us amid all the tribulations of earth, by assuring us that our trials are light and momentary, by perfecting His strength in our weakness, by bringing to our remembrance the many precious words of the Lord Jesus, by communicating to us the things of God, by lifting our hearts above the world, and by pointing us to a home of rest and glory beyond the skies; where tribulation, and anguish, and death, never come.
Yes, by His divine power thus operating on our minds, He enables us to look far beyond the present; to direct faith’s far-reaching eye to our Father’s house, and the fountains of immortal life, flowing through those ‘sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,’ the sight of which makes us long to be there, that we may see Jesus as He is, and taste His goodness on the shores of the promised land.
6
INCREDULITY AND STUPIDITY
Krummacher
The incredulity and stupidity of the natural man, with regard to supernatural and divine things, has no
bounds!
6
–294–

RELIGIOUS DELIRIUM, SPIRITUAL CHLOROFORM, RELIGIOUS INEBRIATION
Horatius Bonar, “Human Remedies”
“It happened, when the evil spirit from God was on Saul, that David took the harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” 1 Samuel 16:23
Here is music, religious music; the music of the harp, the harp of David. This is soothing but it does not reach the seat of the disease.
It is…
something human,
something external,
something materialistic,
something earthly,
something that man can originate and apply.
It is effectual to a certain extent; it drives away the tormenting spirit, and restores temporary tranquility; thus possibly deceiving its victim.
In like manner we find the human spirit afflicted in every age, sometimes more and sometimes less.
And in all such cases man steps in with his human and external contrivances. I do not refer to the grosser forms of dispelling gloom—drunkenness and profligacy, in which men seek to drown their sense of need, and make up for the absence of God.
I refer to the refined remedies—those of art, science, music, gaiety, by which men try to minister to a diseased mind.
What is Romanism and Ritualism, but a repetition of Saul’s minstrelsy?
–295–

The soul needs soothing. It is vexed and fretted with the world. Its conscience is not at ease. It is troubled and weary.
It betakes itself to religious forms, something for the eye and ear; to chants, and vestments, and postures, and performances, sweet sounds and fair sights, sentimental and pictorial religion, which is but a refined form of worldliness.
By these the natural man is soothed, the spirit tranquilized; the man is brought to believe that a cure has been wrought, because his gloom has been alleviated by these religious spectacles, these exhibitions which suit the unregenerate soul so well.
They but drug the soul, filling it with a sort of religious delirium. They are human sedatives, not divine medicines! They result in a partial and temporary cure.
It is said that the evil spirit departed, but not that the Holy Spirit returned. Saul’s trouble was alleviated, but not removed. The disease was still there! The results of David’s harp were only superficial.
So is it with the sinner still. There are many external remedies, which act like spiritual chloroform upon the soul. They soothe, and calm, and please, but that is all. They do not reach below the surface, nor touch the deep-seated malady within.
Men try rites, sacraments, pictures, music, dresses, and the varied attractions of ecclesiastical ornament; but these leave the spirit unfilled, and its wounds unhealed. They cannot regenerate, or quicken, or heal, or fill with the Holy Spirit.
They may keep up the self-satisfaction and self- delusion of the soul, but that is all. They do not fill, they merely hide our emptiness.
–296–

Our age is full of such contrivances, literary and religious, all got up for the purpose of soothing the troubled spirits of man….
excitement,
gaiety,
balls,
theaters,
operas,
concerts, ecclesiastical music, dresses, performances.
What are all these but man’s remedies for casting out the evil spirit and healing the soul’s hurt without having recourse to God’s one remedy?
These pleasant sights and sounds may soothe the imprisoned soul, but what of that? They do not bring it nearer to God, they do not work repentance, or produce faith, or fix the eye on the true Cross. They leave the soul still without God, and without reconciliation.
The religion thus produced is…. hollow,
fitful,
superficial,
sentimental.
It will not save nor sanctify. It may produce a sort of religious inebriation, but not that which God calls godliness, not that which apostles pointed out as a holy life, a walk with God.
6
–297–

FIG LEAVES
Horatius Bonar, “The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence”
“Both of their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” Genesis 3:7
They are alone, yet they are ashamed.
They are in Paradise, yet they are ashamed. It is conscience that is making them blush.
It not only makes cowards of them, but it works shame and confusion of face. They are ashamed of themselves; of their nakedness; of their recent doings. They cannot look one another in the face after their disobedience and recriminations against one another. They cannot look up to God now. The feeling of happy innocence is gone.
They must be covered.
This is their feeling, the dictate of conscience. The eye must not see them, either of God or man. The light must not shine on them; the eye of the sun must not look on them; and the fair flowers and trees of Paradise must not see their shame. They love darkness rather than light. Covering is what they seek; covering from every eye.
Thus, shame and guilt are inseparable.
“I must be covered,” is the sinner’s first feeling; from the eye of God and man, even from my own. They cannot look on me, nor I on them! Thus far they are right. But now they go wrong.
Man thinks he can cover himself.
He knows not the greatness of the evil; he does not calculate on the penetration of the all seeing eye. He
–298–

sets to work and makes himself a covering, and he says this will do.
What sin is, or what the sinner needs, or what God requires, he has no idea of.
Each sinner has his own way of covering himself.
He weaves his own web, whatever may be the substance of which it is composed. He wishes to be his own coverer, the maker of his own clothing. He thinks he can do it himself. He has no idea that it is utterly beyond his power. He trusts to the skill of his own hands to provide the dress that shall hide his shame from the eye of God and man. He thinks it an easy thing to deal with shame, and fear, and conviction, and conscience. He will not believe that these can only be dealt with by God. This is the last thing that he will admit.
He will try a thousand plans before accepting this. He will make and try on many kinds or sets of clothing before betaking himself to that which God has made.
The unbelieving man’s whole religious life is a series of plans and efforts for stitching a clothing for himself, with which to appear before God and before men; no, with which he hopes to appear before the judgment.
It is with this manmade, this self made clothing, this earth made, or priest made, or church made religion, that he robes himself; with this he soothes conscience; with this he quiets fear; with this he removes the feeling of guilty shame. He can do all that is needful himself, or at the most with a little help from God.
Man thinks he can cover himself with fig leaves. He supposes that what will hide his shame from his own eye will hide it from God; that even such a frail covering as the foliage of the fig tree will do. He has no
–299–

thought of anything beyond this. The fig leaf will do, he thinks. What more do I need?
But he is mistaken; the fig leaf will not do, broad and green as it may be. But why will it not do?
It is man’s device, not God’s. That which covers sin, and renders the sinner fit to draw near, must be of God, not of man. God only has the right, God only can, prescribe to man how he is to draw near.
What then is ‘ritualism’ but a religion of fig leaves?
It is simply for the body, not the soul. It does not relieve the conscience, or satisfy the guilty spirit, or cover the whole man. It is utterly insufficient. It could not remove one fear, or quiet one pang of remorse, or make the man feel tranquil in the presence of God.
Man’s devices for covering sin are useless. They may be easy or difficult; cheap or costly; still they are vain. They profit nothing. The covering is narrower than a man can wrap himself in.
Man’s devices for covering sin are innumerable. Good deeds, long prayers, fervent feelings, self mortifications and penances; church attendance, rites, ceremonies, religious performances; such are man’s ways for approaching God, his coverings for a sinful soul. They are all fig leaves!
Man’s devices for covering sin all turn upon something which he himself has to do, not on what God has done. Man misses the main point of importance.
Man’s devices for covering sin assume that God is such a one as himself. He can conceal himself from his fellow man; therefore he thinks he can cover himself, so that God shall not see him. That which conceals him from a human eye, he supposes will conceal him from a divine.
–300–

Man’s devices for covering sin all trifle with sin. They do not fathom its depths of malignity in God’s sight. They assume that it will be easily forgiven and forgotten. They overlook its evil, its hatefulness, its eternal deserving of woe.
What are fig leaves as a protection against the wrath of God, or the flames of hell!
LIKE A CANKER!
Thomas Reade, “The Desire of More”
“Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Ephesians 5:5
The love of money insinuates itself into every heart, under every form.
A day is fast approaching, when it will be clearly seen, whether Christ or Mammon has swayed our affections.
Covetousness, in the language of Scripture, is the desire of having more. If we are habitually desirous of riches, for their own sake, we are, in the estimation of God, covetous people, idolaters, the servants of mammon. Our station may be exalted; our profession of religion may be outwardly strict, but still our destruction is sure.
There are, perhaps, few sins which assume so plausible an appearance; and for which so many excuses are made as for that of covetousness. And hence it is that we have need to guard so much the citadel of the heart.
Covetousness, or the desire of more, eating, like a canker, upon the vitals of our religion, is the crying evil of both the Church and of the world.
6
–301–

What advantage did Achan, Gehazi, Judas, and Ananias and Sapphira, gain by their desire for more? They reaped shame and death; and now stand as beacons in the word of God to warn us against their soul- destroying sin.
“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits his own self?” Luke 9:25
WARS, PESTILENCES, EARTHQUAKES
from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Now, and Then”
“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
When we get to heaven, we shall understand the reasons of many of God’s Providential dealings. We shall there discover that….
wars that devastate nations,
and pestilences that fill graves,
and earthquakes that make cities tremble,
are, after all, necessary cogs in the great wheel of the divine machinery; and He who sits upon the throne at this moment, and rules supremely every creature that is either in heaven, or earth, or hell, will there make it manifest to us that His government was right.
It must come out right in the long run; it must be well. Every part and portion must work together with a unity of design to promote God’s glory and the saint’s good. We shall see it then! And we shall lift up our song with new zest and joy, as fresh displays of the wisdom and goodness of God, whose ways are past finding out, are unfolded to our admiring view.
6
6
–302–

DISTURBING THE HORNET’S NEST
Krummacher, “The Suffering Savior”
The world feels that the teachings of Christ…. destroy their false peace,
condemn their carnality, and
demand the sacrifice of their idols.
Hence they are averse to, and incensed against Him.
The Christian religion disturbs the hornet’s nest, tears away the plasters and coverings from secret wounds, and awakens conscience, which had been rendered lethargic by a variety of magic potions.
Hence their hatred and animosity to it.
6
THE SOONER WE REACH THIS CONCLUSION OURSELVES
William Plumer, “Job’s Trials and Mercies”
How vain are all merely earthly possessions! How unstable is popular favor! How uncertain are riches! How soon our pleasures may be followed by pains! Solomon thoroughly experienced the world. His sober inspired judgment was that all was vanity. The sooner we reach this conclusion ourselves, the wiser shall we be.
6
The soul cannot thrive without… spiritual meditation, retirement, secret prayer, and a devout study of the Holy Scriptures.—Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
6
–303–

“PEACE! PEACE!”
Krummacher, “Elijah the Tishbite”
Man is from his birth a degenerate being, blind and naked, alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in him, and a willing servant of sin.
He neither knows Christ, nor feels his need of Him.
He cries, “Peace! Peace!” to himself and to others, “when there is no peace.”
Erroneous ideas of God and of himself lull him into
carnal security.
6
THE FLAME OF VAINGLORY
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
It is comparatively easy to live in the form of godliness….
to attend the service of the sanctuary, to pray in private and in the family, to read the Scriptures,
to associate with religious people,
to talk about religion, and to give alms to the poor.
These duties can be performed, yet the heart may not be right with God.
Experience affords abundant proof that all this may be done….
from a principle of self-righteousness; from a principle of vainglory;
from a desire to be seen of men,
and to obtain a name.
To ascertain my real character, I must look into the heart. Do I labor to perform these outward duties with
–304–

a single eye to the favor and glory of God?
The flame of vainglory, which is kindled by the pride of fallen nature, is fanned and increased by the sugges- tions of Satan, and kept alive by the praises of men. Oh! how difficult it is, to keep down this unhallowed fire!
Even when we think it is quenched, it is still smolder- ing beneath the embers, ready to burst forth at the least blast of Satan’s temptations.
6
THE WORST ENEMY I HAVE
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
Strange to tell; yet, no less strange than true, the worst enemy I have is MYSELF!
I may flee from other enemies, but from this I cannot escape.
Wherever I go, SELF still is there.
The inbred evil travels with me.
I may cross mighty oceans, traverse extensive deserts, plunge into the deepest recesses of the tangled forest, or the caverned earth, yet, in the profoundest solitude, SELF is there!
None but the true believer knows the dreadful conflicts between the flesh and the Spirit.
His cry is; “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I flee away and be at rest!”
But soon he feels the vanity of this wish; for even if could he fly on eagle’s wings to the earth’s remotest bounds, he would carry with him all the evil he deplores.
He therefore prays for present grace and strength, for present power to conquer sin, and glorify his Savior in
–305–

the place divine wisdom has appointed for him. Lord Jesus, You alone can enable me…
to vanquish the powers of darkness,
to overcome the corruptions of my heart, to crucify the lustings of the flesh.
LORD! SMITE MY ROCKY HEART!
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
Adorable Jesus! I acknowledge my vileness, my worthlessness, my ingratitude. With shame and confusion of face I look up unto You, O bleeding Lamb, for having slighted Your goodness, and Your loving kindness towards me.
Take away this earthliness from my mind; this coldness from my heart; this insensibility to the things of God. Preserve me from a secret alienation of heart; from a growing lukewarmness.
You are the Rock of Ages, the everlasting Strength. Endue me with power from on high to overcome all my indwelling corruptions, which, like a thick cloud, intervene between my soul and You, the Sun of Righteousness; and thus prevent the rays of Your consolation from gladdening my heart, and making me to abound in the fruits of righteousness.
To whom can I look, to whom can I go, but unto You, O Friend of sinners. Lord, at Your sweet call, I come for pardon, peace, and holiness.
Lord! I am sorely grieved, that I love You so little; that my affections move so slowly towards you.
Stir up my languid desires.
Inflame my cold affections.
Set my whole soul on fire with holy love.
6
–306–

How painful, that I should be so little affected by the agony and bloody sweat, the cross and passion, of my suffering Redeemer.
Why is not my soul all on fire, when I think of Your love? Why is it not melted into tears, when I think of my dying Savior?
Am I harder than the rock in Horeb?
Am I colder than the northern ice?
Lord! smite my rocky heart with the rod of Your loving kindness; dissolve my frozen affections, by the melting beams of Your grace.
O! blessed Jesus! I praise You for such infinite love, such abounding grace to the chief of sinners!
A RARE PLANT
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
Many wear the garb of sanctity.
Outward profession has grown profusely, but true piety, is still, as it ever was, a rare plant.
It grows not in nature’s soil. It is an exotic.
Our defiling, chilling world, is little congenial to its growth.
But He who plants it in the prepared ground of the heart is Almighty. He waters it by His Spirit, casts upon it the warm beams of His love, and renders it fruitful to His glory.
6
6
–307–

WHILE JOURNEYING THROUGH THIS WILDERNESS OF TROUBLES
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
Everything here below is fleeting and transitory.
While journeying through this wilderness of troubles, few verdant spots are to be found, on which the weary traveler can repose.
The earth lies under the curse.
Thorns and thistles cover the ground. Storms and tempests agitate the air. Disease and death dissolve the dearest ties.
Everything around me bespeaks the Fall, and testifies that this is not my rest. Why, then, should my foolish heart repose itself on any creature comfort? Have I still to learn that all of this world, is less than nothing, and vanity?
“Oh! blessed Jesus, reveal Yourself to my heart; soften, melt, and renew it. Consume all the dross which it contains, and transform it, wholly, after Your image; that, while surrounded by evils of every name, and sorrows of every kind, which abound in this rebellious, dying world, I may enjoy the light of Your countenance, and the purifying influence of Your love. Fill me with Your love; satiate my soul with Your goodness; and make me an everlasting trophy of Your grace.”
6
A MORE PITIABLE SIGHT
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
A more pitiable sight cannot be seen, than a man sunk in poverty and disease, and, at the same time, sunk in the depths of sin.
–308–

He has nothing but wretchedness here, and nothing but torment in the world to come!
Oh! that the spirit of grace may lead every such child of woe to that Friend of sinners, whose blood cleanses from all sin, and whose love can rescue the vilest who flee unto Him.
6
THE MORALIST, THE FORMALIST, THE WORLDLING, AND THE SENSUALIST
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
The enmity of the carnal mind is ever directed against the work of Christ.
The moralist, the formalist, the worldling, and the sensualist, are alike opposed to the humbling, purifying doctrines of the Cross.
Holiness is offensive to the unrenewed mind.
The more spiritual any religious exercise or book is, the more it is disliked. Give some truly scriptural volume to a lover of the world, and how will he receive it? After glancing his eyes over a few of its pages, he will lay it down with a contemptuous smile. He will pity the enthusiast who wrote it, and the enthusiast who admires it.
Give him some newly launched novel, some work replete with wit and humor, and he will devour its contents, even though it requires the midnight oil to finish it. Here, all his heart is engaged, all his passions are excited, imagination adds wings to his flight, and, soaring into the realms of fancy, into the fairy land of unreal life, he sinks into his slumbers, regardless whether he awake in time or in eternity!
6
–309–

A DOUBLE RELISH
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
There is something extremely delightful in enjoying the blessings of Providence, not only as pleasant in themselves, but as the gifts of covenant love. This gives a double relish to all the innocent enjoyments of life.
6
THE PRUNING KNIFE
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
To the true believer, afflictions are blessings in disguise. Every trial is intended for my good.
My foolish heart would be too much attached to earth if the spade were not inserted to loosen the fibers, and disengage the root, that when transplanted, I may bear a richer fruit in the Paradise above.
My heavenly Father, whose love and wisdom are infinite, knows exactly what I need, and how much suffering is needed to promote the spirituality of my mind.
Shall I then complain at His dispensations of love? A murmuring spirit increases every evil.
It doubles the affliction.
It adds a sting to sorrow.
If our hearts are in heaven, the trials of earth will be light and momentary, for love can sweeten every care, and lighten every cross.
A Savior’s love disarms affliction of its sting.
Oh! that we may learn wisdom by every dispensation of Providence; and yield more fruit by every application of the pruning knife!
–310–

The divine husbandman prunes every branch in Christ, that it may bring forth more fruit.
THE WORLD’S TRINITY
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
Everything to which we give the heart, becomes our idol.
Pleasure, wealth, and power, form the world’s trinity! Before these idols they bow down in adoration.
All their thoughts, time, and talents are employed in their service. No sacrifice is deemed too great to obtain possession of these vanities.
Alas! thousands who call themselves Christians, who have been baptized in the name of Christ, and who make a nominal profession of Christianity, worship these idols which Satan has set up!
6
ALL THESE FOES AND FEARS?
J. C. Philpot, “King Of Kings”
We daily and hourly feel the workings of…. mighty sins,
raging lusts,
powerful temptations,
besetting evils,
against the least and feeblest of which we have no strength. But as the eye of faith views our blessed Lord at the right hand of the Father, we are led by the power of His grace to look unto Him, hang upon Him, and seek help from Him.
Trials in providence, afflictions in the family,
6
–311–

sickness and infirmities in the body,
crooked things in the church,
opposition and persecution from the world,
a vile, unbelieving heart, which we can neither sanctify
nor subdue,
a rough and rugged path, increasing in difficulty as we
journey onward,
doubts, fears, and misgivings in our own bosom, inward slips and falls,
wanderings,
startings aside,
hourly backslidings from the strait and narrow path, jealous enemies watching for our halting,
with no eye to pity, nor arm to help.
How all these foes and fears make us feel our need of an enthroned King, Head, and Husband, whose tender heart is soft to pity, whose mighty arm is strong to relieve!
6
SEDUCTIVE SCENES OF GIDDINESS AND MIRTH?
Stephen Tyng, “Christ is All”
The true Christian is no longer devoted to this perishing world! There was a time, when the pleasures of the world attracted him, and he loved them. The seductive scenes of giddiness and mirth invited his affections, and he yielded to their influence.
He now recalls, with shame, the low and groveling disposition which made him stoop to such pursuits.
The enchantments of the world once seemed to him of vast importance and worth. He did not think of the inevitable end of such things. The danger of the everlasting ruin of his soul never caused him to hesitate in his vain pursuit.
–312–

And yet, while he loved the pleasures, and eagerly sought the gains of this world; the trouble which they required in the obtaining, their cares and losses, the uncertainty which attended their possession, the emptiness which came after their enjoyment, constant- ly harassed him, and more than counterbalanced all the gains the world could give.
He now sees the exceeding folly of this futile system of life.
He is ashamed to think that he had ever been such a slave, and risked his eternal soul for that which he knew must eventually leave him and perish.
6
WONDER, O HEAVENS, AND BE ASTONISHED, O EARTH!
Octavius Winslow’s “Evening Thoughts” “Most assuredly I tell you, whatever you may ask of the
Father in My name, He will give it to you.” John 16:23
That God should have erected in this lower world a throne of grace, a mercy-seat around which may gather, in clustering and welcome multitudes—
the helpless, the burdened, the friendless, the vile,
the guilty,
the deeply necessitous— that no poor comer….
be his poverty ever so great, be his burden ever so heavy, or be his case ever so desperate,
should meet with the refusal of a hearing or a welcome, does greatly develop and magnify the riches of….
–313–

His grace,
His wisdom, and His love to sinners.
What a God our God must be, thus to have appointed a meeting-place, an audience-chamber, for those upon whom all other doors were closed!
But more than this—that He should have appointed Jesus as the door of approach to that throne—that He should have given His only-begotten and well beloved Son to be the “new and living way” of access, thus removing all obstruction in the path of the soul’s coming, both on the part of Himself, and on the part of the sinner; that the door should be a crucified Savior — the wounds of the Son of God—that through blood, and that blood, the blood of the incarnate Deity, the guilty should approach—wonder, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth!
Shall we say even more than this?
For there is a yet lower depth in this love and condescension of God—that He should have sent His Spirit into the heart, the Author of prayer….
inditing the petition;
breathing in the soul;
implanting the desire convincing of the existing
necessity;
unfolding the character of God; working faith in the heart; and drawing it up to God through Jesus;
seems the very perfection of His wisdom, benevolence, and grace! Wonder, O heavens, and be astonished, O
earth!
6
–314–

THE WEDDING FEAST!
Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”
“Let us rejoice and be exceedingly glad, and let us give the glory to Him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7
Jesus sustains no relation to His Church more expressive than this. From all eternity He betrothed her to Himself. He asked her at the hands of her Father, and the Father gave her to Him. He entered into a covenant that she should be His. The conditions of that covenant were great, but not too great for His love to undertake. They were that He should….
assume her nature,
discharge her legal obligations, endure her punishment,
repair her ruin, and
bring her to glory!
He undertook all, and He accomplished all—because He loved her!
The love of Jesus to His Church, is the love of the most tender husband. It is….
single, constant, affectionate, matchless, wonderful.
Jesus….
sympathizes with her, nourishes her, provides for her, clothes her,
watches over her, and
indulges her with the most intimate and endearing communion.
–315–

The Lord Jesus will come in the clouds of heaven, and this will be the occasion of His public wedding of His Church. Her present union to Him is secret and unknown—invisible to the world. But He will appear, openly and visibly to take her to Himself; and before His Father and the holy angels He will solemnize her eternal union.
Oh what a time of splendor and of rejoicing will that be! Arrayed in His nuptial robes, Jesus will descend to make her His own; and she, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” will go forth to meet Him. Then will be heard the song of angels, “Let us be glad and rejoice and honor Him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and His bride has prepared herself.” Yes! “Blessed are they who are called unto the wedding feast of the Lamb.”
6
EXTREMELY DEROGATORY TO HUMAN PRIDE?
Stephen Tyng, “Christ is All”
Sin has entirely perverted the nature of man.
The carnal mind is opposed to God in its…. judgments,
tastes,
desires, and
pursuits.
God demands that guilty man….
sacrifice his own imaginary independence, renounce his own fancied excellence, and acknowledge his personal unworthiness,
before he can be received into the family of God.
Such demands seem extremely derogatory to human pride. And for this reason, multitudes reject all the offers of the Gospel, and treat with contempt those
–316–

who yield to the invitations which they themselves despise, and submit to the motives which they renounce, as deluded and degraded people.
6
THE OTHERS, WHERE ARE THEY?
Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”
“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have
compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Romans 9:15
Here is the Sovereign! How like Himself He speaks! He carries forward His gracious purposes of infinite wisdom and love—chooses or rejects—reveals or withholds, “working all things after the counsel of His own will,” and “giving no account,” either to angels or to men, “of any of His matters.”
Is the reader a child of God? Who and what made you to differ? You have been taken out of your family, your kindred, your friends, your companions. From this circle you alone have been selected, called, and made a child of grace, an heir of glory.
The others, where are they? Still dead in trespasses and sin!
The others, where are they? Living in the world, and to the world—
lovers of pleasure, lovers of self, lovers of sin, hating God, rejecting Christ.
The others, where are they? Bursting through every restraint, and bending their footsteps down to the doom of the lost!
The others, where are they? Gone, many of them, into eternity; past the confines of mercy, “in hell lifting up their eyes, being in torments.”
–317–

And what are you?
A sinner saved by grace;
a sinner chosen and called;
pardoned and justified;
washed and clothed;
adopted and sanctified;
brought to the foot of the cross; constrained to welcome Jesus,
to take up His cross, and to follow Him.
Oh the electing love of God!
Oh the distinguishing grace of Jesus!
Oh the sovereign operation of the Eternal Spirit!
Bow down to the sovereignty of His will—silently wonder, and adore Him who says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Oh precious truth!
It stains the pride of human merit!
It lays the axe at the root of self!
It empties and humbles and abases!
It ascribes all the praise, honor, and glory of salvation,
to the Triune God!
“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Romans 9:15
WHY SHOULD YOU REMAIN IN THE HOG PENS?
Jared Waterbury, “Who are the Happy?”
In comparison to the Christian’s joy, the groveling pleasures of the world are empty and unsatisfying.
Why should you remain in the hog pens?
Why attempt to fill yourself with husks, when there is food enough to spare in your Father’s house?
6
6
–318–

THIS MAN RECEIVES SINNERS!
Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”
“Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming close to Him to hear Him. The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.’” Luke 15:1-2
The beings whom Jesus sought out, and drew around Him, were….
the burdened, the bowed down, the disconsolate, the poor,
the friendless, the helpless,
the ignorant,
the weary.
He loved to lavish upon such the fullness of His benevolent heart, and to exert upon such the skill of His wonder working power.
Earth’s weary sons repaired to His outstretched arms for shelter, and the world’s ignorant and despised clustered around His feet, to be taught and blessed.
Sinners of every character, and the disconsolate of every grade, attracted by His renown, pressed upon Him from every side. “This man receives sinners” was the character and the mission by which He was known.
It was new and strange.
Uttered by the lip of the proud and disdainful Pharisee, it was an epithet of reproach, and an expression of ridicule.
But upon the ear of the poor and wretched outcast, the sons and daughters of sorrow, ignorance, and woe, it
–319–

fell with sweet music. It passed from lip to lip, it echoed from shore to shore, “This man receives sinners!”
It found its way into the abodes of misery and poverty; it penetrated the dungeon of the prisoner and the cell of the maniac; and it kindled a celestial light in the solitary dwelling of the widow and the orphan, the unpitied and the friendless.
Thousands came, faint, weary, and sad; and sat down beneath His shadow; and thousands more since then have pressed to their wounded hearts the balsam that exuded from His bleeding body, and have been healed.
“This man receives sinners, and eats with them!”
6
THEATERS?
F. W. Krummacher (1796–1868)
“Therefore, ‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you.’” 2 Corinthians 6:17
There are some things which are inconsistent with Christian character. What are the theaters, as they are now a days conducted, but the rallying points of every kind of worldly delusion and falsehood, where sin itself is glorified.
What are they, but the propaganda of self-deception, pride and vanity; temples dedicated to sensuality; decoys of Satan, beset with snares; places from where everything really holy is derided, or at best, desecrated and depreciated.
The reigning spirit of such places is frivolity, materialism, and unbelief.
Participation in the pleasures of the unenlightened world proceeds from a carnal inclination, and a secret
–320–

attachment to the pleasures of sin.
Can a Christian be in his place at such resorts?
Away with that insipid Christianity of modern times, which is made compatible with all things; that covertly returns to the world for the enjoyment of every fleshly gratification.
6
WHAT A CLUSTER OF SWEET HOPES!
Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”
“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.” Revelation 21:4
What a cluster of sweet hopes is here! What a collection of bright beams, throwing, in focal power, their splendor over that cloudless day! Heaven will be a state of perfect freedom from all sorrow!
Child of sorrow! Sick ones dear to Christ! Bereaved mourners! Hear these precious words, and let music break from your lips! God will dry your tears! As the mother comforts her sorrowing one, so God will comfort His. Yes, child of grief, there will be no more weeping then; for, oh, ecstatic thought! “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
And “there shall be no more death.” No more rending asunder of affection’s close and tender ties; no more separations from the hearts we love; the mourners no more go about the streets—for death is now swallowed up in victory!
“Neither sorrow, nor crying.” Grief cannot find existence or place in an atmosphere of such bliss. No frustrated plans, no bitter disappointments, no withered hopes,
–321–

no corroding cares, there mingle with the deep sea of bliss, now pouring its tide of joyousness over the soul!
“Neither shall there be any more pain.” Children of suffering, hear this! There will be no more pain racking the frame, torturing the limbs, and sending its influence through the system, until every nerve and fiber quivers with an indescribable agony. “The former things are passed away.”
It will be a day of perfect freedom from all sins. Ah! this methinks will be the brightest and sweetest of all the joys of heaven. The Canaanite will no more dwell in the land. Inbred corruption will be done away; the conflict within us will have ceased; no evil heart will betray into inconsistencies and sorrows; not a cloud of guilt will tarnish the unsullied purity of the soul. You holy ones of God! weeping, mourning over indwelling and outbreaking sin, the last sigh you heave will be a glad adieu to pollution; to be tormented with it no more, to be free from it forever!
“I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness.” This
is heaven indeed!
6
HE GAVE HIS ENTIRE SELF FOR US!
Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”
It is utterly impossible to savingly know Jesus, 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.
And oh, how worthy is the Savior…. of our most exalted conceptions;
–322–

of our most implicit confidence; of our most self-denying service; of our most fervent love!
When He could give us no more; and the fathomless depths of His love and the boundless resources of His grace would not be satisfied by giving us less; He gave us Himself!
Robed in our nature,
laden with our curse,
oppressed with our sorrows, wounded for our transgressions, and slain for our sins,
He gave His entire self for us!
6
YOUR INHERITANCE?
Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”
“He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be My son.” Revelation 21:7
How vast, how illimitable, then, the inheritance of the saints, inheriting “all things!” This is a beautiful idea of heaven; it is a lovely picture, on which the eye of faith delights to dwell.
The earthly heir looks at his inheritance, surveys it, walks through it, luxuriates amidst its beauties, and anticipates its full possession.
The heir of glory has his inheritance too—it is heaven! He looks to it, he longs for it; and soon the Savior will come in personal glory, and institute him into its full and eternal possession! 6
–323–

YOUR WEEPING, ACHING, LANGUID HEAD!
Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”
“I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine.” Song 6:3
O yes! you have but one beloved of your heart, dear believer! He is all the universe to you; heaven would be no heaven without Him; and with His presence here, earth seems often like the opening portal of heaven!
He loved you,
He labored for you,
He died for you,
He rose for you,
He lives and intercedes for you in glory!
All that is lovely is in Him.
And where would you lean in sorrow but upon the bosom of your Beloved? Christ’s heart is a human heart, a sinless heart, a tender heart; a heart once the home of sorrow, once stricken with grief; once an aching, bleeding, mournful heart. Thus disciplined and trained, Jesus knows how to pity and to support those who are sorrowful and solitary. He loves….
to chase grief from the spirit, to bind up the broken heart,
to staunch the bleeding wound, to dry the weeping eye,
to comfort all who mourn.
It is His delight to visit you in the dark night season of your sorrow, and to come to you walking upon the tempestuous billows of your grief, breathing music and diffusing calmness over your scene of sadness and gloom.
When other bosoms are closed to your sorrow, when the fiery darts of Satan fly thick around you, and the
–324–

world frowns, and the saints are cold, and your path is sad and desolate; then….
lean upon the love,
lean upon the grace,
lean upon the faithfulness,
lean upon the tender sympathy of Jesus.
That bosom will always unveil to welcome you!
It will ever be an refuge to receive you, and a home to shelter you.
Never….
will its love cool,
nor its tenderness lessen,
nor its sympathy be exhausted,
nor its pulse of affection cease to beat.
You may have grieved it a thousand times over, you may have pierced it through and through, again and again; yet returning to its deathless love, penitent and lowly, sorrowful and humble; you may lay within it your weeping, aching, languid head….
depositing every burden,
reposing every sorrow, and
breathing every sigh upon the heart of Jesus.
THE UNSAVED MAN. THE SAVED MAN.
Stephen Tyng, “Christ is All”
The unsaved man sees no beauty or attraction in Jesus. He has not felt His pardoning love. He has not tasted His transforming grace, therefore he knows nothing of the exceeding excellence of Jesus.
The saved man is entirely satisfied with Jesus as his eternal portion. He finds in the knowledge and love Jesus, in the enjoyment of His presence and the
6
–325–

contemplation of His glory, that which meets all his desires, and fulfills all his expectations.
The enjoyments which Jesus gives him, renders the baubles of this world, in all their shapes, exceedingly
trifling and worthless.
6
LIFE’S HOURS?
Jared Waterbury, “Who are the Happy?”
Life’s hours are too precious to allow them to be consumed with the fleeting vanities of this world.
WHO WILL SHOW US ANY GOOD?
Horatius Bonar, “The Two Cries and the Two Answers”
“Many are asking, “Who will show us any good?” Psalm 4:6

  1. This is the cry of EMPTINESS. They feel that there is something lacking. They were not made for this perpet- ual hunger and thirst. They are empty, and therefore they cry. They are poor and needy; but find no supply.
  2. This is the cry of WEARINESS. They who utter it are seeking rest, but finding none; they labor and are heavy laden. They would sincerely rest, but know not how or where. UNREST! This is their portion. Unrest here— sad prelude of the eternal unrest, the never-ending weariness.
  3. This is the cry of DARKNESS. All is darkness and blindness. They grope about, not knowing which way to look, or to turn; and they cry, ‘Show us something; for our eyes are blind; we have tried in vain to see.’
  4. This is the cry of HELPLESSNESS. They have tried many expedients; tried to create good for themselves,
    6
    –326–

or to get it from others; but in vain. They find themselves helpless.

  1. This is the cry of EARNESTNESS. It comes forth often amid bitter tears and groans. Men are bent on being happy; they would do or give anything for happiness. They are mistaken, yet in earnest. They would take any good, if they could get it.
  2. This is the cry of DESPAIR. Who, who, who? They have tried everyone, everything. All in vain. They are emptier, hungrier, thirstier, sadder than at first.
  3. This is a LOUD AND UNIVERSAL cry. Many. Yes, the whole world. It is Esau’s loud and bitter cry reverberating through the earth. It is the cry of the many, not of the few. The world is unhappy. It has no rest. It is thirsty, and knows not where to drink; it is hungry, and knows not where to find bread. It weeps, and knows not how to get its tears dried! Every man walks in a vain show; going about asking, Who will show us any good?
    O, how long will you love vanity? How long will you doat upon this vain world, and worship it as your idol? How long will you treat its broken cisterns as if they were the fountains of living water? Oh, love not the world! What will its good things profit in the day of the Lord? Will its pleasures cheer a deathbed, or brighten the gloom of the grave? What is the ballroom when “its flowers are fled, its garlands dead?” What can the music and the dance do for you when sickness comes, or the last trumpet sounds? Will that gay dress of yours do for a shroud?
    How will these “revelings and banquetings” appear to you in the retrospect of time, still more in the retrospect of eternity? What will you think of your “idle words,” your “foolish talking and jesting,” your “filthy
    –327–

communication,” your riotous mirth, your luxurious feasting, when you stand confronted with the last enemy, or before the Judge of all? You have gone from scene to scene, from gaiety to gaiety, from party to party, from vanity to vanity, from novel to novel, from ball to ball, in the dreary emptiness of your poor aching hearts, crying, “Who will show us any good?” and when the end comes, what is your gain? Is it heaven, or is it hell? Is it joy, or is it woe?
6
SUCH LOVE CANNOT BE DESCRIBED!
Joel Headley, “Jesus Christ”
Christ’s love to man was superhuman, divine. Neglect,
abuse,
scorn,
rejection of His offered blessings,
fiendish thirst for His blood,
could not lessen its gentle force nor silence its tender appeals.
His whole object is to win hearts.
Acts of personal kindness in the relief of suffering; sympathy with the distressed;
loving words to the fearful;
cheering promises to the despairing;
offers of peace, pardon, and fullness of joy, and eternal blessedness to the believing;
make up His life, and form the substance of His message.
He confronts poor, sinful man with every motive, and addresses him with every form of appeal, to enkindle within him love and trust.
Whether alone on the mountaintop bowed in prayer, or
–328–

in the presence of corrupt, degraded women, the same divine purity invests Him.
Unchanged by circumstances, unmoved by danger, and never excited by the temptations, or passions, or ambitions of men, He, though moving in their midst, is as completely separate from them as heaven from earth.
Love, overwhelming, inexpressible love, is the only chain that binds Him to the world in which He lives.
His character exhibits the most striking contrasts, and qualities apparently the most opposite and contradictory, and yet it is a perfect, harmonious whole. With unbounded courage without rashness, was joined perfect meekness without loss of dignity. Of heroic firmness under every trial, He yet weeps at the grave of His friend. Filling us with awe as He stands amid the glories of the transfiguration today; He wins our confidence tomorrow by taking little children in His arms and blessing them.
The Creator of man, He yet allows wicked man to spit upon Him; and, at last, offers up His life to save him.
In love, He heals the sick, raises the dead, and comforts the weary and sorrowful. In love, He exclaims over the city about to crucify Him, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! how often would I have gathered your children, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not.”
It is His incomprehensible, infinite love, that, when life was ebbing fast away, could look on His murderers, and say, in tones that will thrill the heart to the end of time, no, through eternity, “Father, forgive them.”
Such love cannot be described! It can only be felt by a
penitent, loving heart.
6
–329–

FOR YOU!
Stephen Tyng, “Christ is All”
The love of God to guilty man is a love that passes knowledge. Its riches are unsearchable; and its extent past finding out.
For you, the heavens have bowed their glory.
For you, the Lord of life has descended to the earth.
For you, the Son of God became the Son of man; and the possessor of a heavenly throne has been made the victim of an earthly cross.
For you, this mysterious traveler upon the earth, was humbled and bruised, has agonized and died.
For you….
purity was tempted, innocence suffers, kindness is despised, majesty is crushed,
and all the dignity and glory of Immanuel is covered with shame.
Jesus did all this just to redeem you from inevitable condemnation; to save your perishing soul from an everlasting punishment in hell.
6
ONE FIERY TRIAL?
Octavius Winslow, “The God of Comfort”
One fiery trial, sanctified by the grace of the Holy Spirit, has done more to break up the crusted ground of the heart, to penetrate beneath the surface, to dissect, and winnow, and separate, than a lifetime of reading and hearing could have done.
–330–

Oh, what secret sins have been detected, what carelessness of walk has been revealed, what spiritual and unsuspected declension of soul has been discovered, all leading to deep self loathing, and to the laying the mouth in the dust before God!
6
THE ATROCITIES OF JOSHUA?
Joel Headley, “Sacred Heroes”
“They utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, both young and old, and ox, and sheep, and donkey, with the edge of the sword.” Joshua 6:21
It is needless to go into a defense of what some call the atrocities of Joshua, in slaying women and children as well as warriors; in short, making a clean sweep of the inhabitants.
The Lord ordered it, and that is enough.
We may be sure that, whether He obliterates a nation by war, or blots out the entire race with a flood, He has good reasons for it, although He may not choose to give them.
The extinction of one race by another, and the occupation of its land, is one of the common things in the history of the world. And whether it is done by the swift process of the sword, or by gradual abrasion, or the introduction of disease and vice, the principle and the fact remain the same.
The Lord ordered it, and that is enough.
“You are My battle-ax and weapons of war: and with you will I break in pieces the nations; and with you will I destroy kingdoms.” Jeremiah 51:20
6
–331–

THE DEADLIEST ENEMY OF HOLINESS?
Jared Waterbury, “Who are the Happy?”
How can a Christian expect to be happy, if he takes to his bosom the deadliest enemy of holiness, the world?
How can he expect that his soul will be filled with heavenly joys, when he is filling it with the groveling pleasures of this world?6
QUAFF THE MUDDY AND TURBULENT STREAMS OF EARTH?
Jared Waterbury, “Who are the Happy?”
True piety makes the heart sick of all inferior pleasures. It has henceforth lost, in a great measure, its relish for the low and transient delights of the sensual and frivolous.
After having tasted of so pure a fountain, why, indeed, should it turn back to quaff the muddy and turbulent streams of earth?
Why, after a glimpse of celestial glories, should it be intoxicated by the artificial and unsatisfying round of this world’s vain amusements?
6
WHAT ARE THE EPHEMERAL DISTINCTIONS OF EARTH?
Jared Waterbury, “Who are the Happy?”
The Christian sees others successfully pursuing and attaining the wealth and honors of this world.
But he must remember, that while the worldling is receiving his good things in this life, God is preparing something better for him.
–332–

It has pleased God, for the good of His people, and in love to their souls, to appoint most of them a lowly lot in life. He has thus exempted them from the ‘deceitfulness of riches,’ and from many of the corroding cares of this world.
After all, what are the ephemeral distinctions of earth, when the Christian is expecting, after a few revolving suns, to wear a brighter crown than the jeweled toy that rests upon an earthly brow, and to inherit a kingdom richer in resources than all the kingdoms of the world?
All will be well at last!
The bright shores of heaven will be reached in safety, and the redeemed shall forget all its sorrows in the enjoyment of everlasting rest!
6
THE HOPE OF THE HYPOCRITE?
Horatius Bonar, “Gain and Loss for Eternity”
“For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he has gained, when God takes away his soul?” Job 27:8
The hypocrite has indeed a “hope.”
He has a hope of being saved; or, at least, of not being lost.
He has a hope of going to heaven; or, at least, of not going to hell.
But his hope is not “the good hope through grace.” It is…. a self originated hope;
an unscriptural hope;
a groundless hope;
an unreasonable hope;
a fallacious hope;
a hope that perishes at death.
–333–

Thus the hope of the hypocrite leaves him at death; and all is loss—utter, infinite, irreparable, eternal loss!
For him there is no morning, but only night; night without a star, or even a meteor gleam.
His losses cannot be enumerated or estimated, they are so many and so terrible.

  1. He loses HIS SOUL. The soul that is the special and supreme loss. The loss of that which cannot die is great beyond measure. He who has lost his soul is poor indeed. Yet in the case of the ungodly man that fearful loss is incurred. He loses his soul! Not that the soul perishes or is annihilated. That would be some relief to the poor doomed victim of sin. The soul is lost, but cannot die. The loss of the soul consists in eternal condemnation and ruin. All is gone for which the soul existed. It exists now only for woe. Life is now become worse than death, for the soul is lost—lost in darkness, woe, anguish, and an endless hell—lost from God, and goodness, and blessedness, and from all holy beings forever and ever!
  2. He loses HEAVEN. The future state and place of blessedness has many names—a kingdom, a city, an inheritance, a new heaven. All of these are names of joy. “Heaven” is a noble and glorious name, embodying in it all that is excellent, and divine, and perfect. Its joy is perfect, its light is perfect, its holiness is perfect. Its songs are perfect, its service is perfect. It is day without night, it is the blessing without the curse. All this is lost to the hypocrite. What a loss must a lost heaven be! To be shut out from such a kingdom, dispossessed of such an inheritance—no, made the heir of such sorrow and darkness—how infinitely woeful! Think, O man, amid all your losses, past or prospective, what a
    –334–

lost heaven must be! A lost kingdom, a lost city, a lost inheritance! Who can measure such a loss?

  1. He loses CHRIST. Yes, Christ is lost, and this is the heaviest loss of all. None like it, so infinite and so irreparable. This is the loss of losses, the woe of woes. A lost Christ! What can equal that! This is the loss of the hypocrite. This loss is indeed unutterable. Men do not see this, or think of it. Yet it shall one day be felt.
    In hell it shall be realized as the loss of losses; that which makes the place of woe so unutterably woeful. “I might have had Christ,” will the lost sinner say, “but I would not have Him, and now He is gone forever; I cannot have Him now. Instead of Christ, I have Satan; instead of heaven, hell.”
    Consider your losses, O you ungodly! They are unspeakable and eternal. Look at them now, and prevent them.
    There is some little compensation now for such losses, in the world’s pleasure, or lust, or wealth. There shall be no compensation then. It will be unmingled woe, a cup of undiluted, unsweetened gall and wormwood.
    What a disappointment to you who have been hoping and hoping! To lie down with a false hope, and go up to the Judge expecting to be received!
    How dreadful the agony of such a disappointment!
    “For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he has gained, when God takes away his soul?” Job 27:8
    It is not too late.
    Your soul is not lost, heaven is not yet lost, Christ is not yet lost. All may yet be won! The gate stands wide
    open; go in, go in!
    6
    –335–

FOR YOU, A VILE SINNER, A REBEL WORM!
David Harsha, “Christ Crucified”
Ponder the amazing love exhibited in the death of Christ. Would you see the highest manifestation of eternal love?
Then contemplate Christ crucified. Here is the grand exhibition of infinite love.
In the crucifixion of the glorious Redeemer, the brightest love that ever shone on earth is displayed.
What boundless love is seen here!
The infinite love of Christ, shining in all its glory!
What but infinite love brought Him from the height of bliss, to the depths of sufferings, from the throne of heaven to the cross of Calvary!
What but infinite love made Him a suffering man, and a dying Savior!
What but infinite love made Him hasten to Jerusalem, to suffer for sinners!
What but infinite love led Him to Gethsemane, to endure those agonies for sinners, where His blessed form was covered with bloody sweat!
What but infinite love nailed Him to the cross, there to bleed and die for sinners!
“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” But oh! the greatest wonder in the universe is, that “while we were yet SINNERS, Christ died for us!”
Think of this, wonder at it, be amazed at it!
Christ, the glorious Son of God, dying for you, a vile sinner, a rebel worm!
–336–

O admire that love which pitied you in your lost condition, visited your world, and raised you from the depths of sin and suffering, to become an heir of eternal life, and of eternal glory!
How vast is this love! The all-surpassing love of a dying Savior! Your breadths and lengths have never been compassed by a human thought; your depths never fathomed by a created intelligence; your heights never scanned by a seraph’s gaze!
Stupendous love!
What a theme! the dying love of the crucified Son of God!
Well may angels desire to dwell on this mystery!
Well may saints be enraptured with this profound subject!
What heart is so obdurate as not to be melted by its touching exhibition, or so benighted as not to be dazzled by its glory!
How wonderful! That He who kindled up the stars of heaven, should take upon Him our nature, and die in our room and stead!
Amazing love!
This is the wonder of wonders, the unsearchable riches of Christ!
Truly, the love of Christ passes knowledge!
Those, and those alone, who have stood by the cross and viewed Immanuel in agonies and death, bleeding and dying for their sins; and have felt that healing balm applied to their diseased souls; have seen all their sins washed away with the blood of God, their ransom paid, and their pardon sealed, will realize the following very appropriate and beautiful lines—
–337–

“In evil long I took delight, Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight, And stopped my wild career.
I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agony and blood,
Who fixed His languid eyes on me, As near His cross I stood.
Surely, never to my latest breath,
Can I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with His death, Though not a word He spoke.
My conscience felt and owned the guilt, And plunged me in despair,
I saw my sins His blood had spilt,
And helped to nail Him there.
Alas! I knew not what I did,
But now my tears are vain;
Where shall my trembling soul be hid For I the Lord have slain.
A second look He gave, which said, ‘I freely all forgive;
This blood is for your ransom paid; I die that you may live.’
Thus, while His death my sin displays In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too!
With pleasing grief and mournful joy, My spirit now is filled;
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I killed.”—John Newton
6
–338–

FREQUENT MINGLING WITH THE PROFESSING CHURCH?
Stephen Tyng, “Christ is All”
The professing church is characterized by a worldly, covetous and frivolous spirit; which is manifested by distressing acts of inconsistency and folly.
Far too often, when the true Christian associates with those within the professed communion of the followers of Christ, he is met with a low standard of personal piety.
Frequent mingling with the professing church very rarely promotes, and far more frequently hinders, the growth of grace in the true Christian’s heart.
Much experience of this impediment to holiness, compels him to retreat, as often as possible, from the professing church, to seek for strength and refreshment at home, in secret with his Lord.
6
IT IS ALL MERCY!
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
It is profitable to consider what I deserve, and what I enjoy, to awaken self abasement, and gratitude.
If the righteous Lord were to deal with me according to my deservings, I would at this moment be under the rack of excruciating pain; or, under the pressure of most abject poverty; thus feeling the foretaste of eternal woe.
If thus dealt with in strictest justice, Death would receive his commission to hurl my affrighted soul into the gulf of endless misery, there to remain an everlasting monument of the vengeance of a holy God.
–339–

All short of this is mercy!
Do I enjoy a portion of health? It is all mercy!
Am I undergoing a sanctified affliction? It is all mercy!
Do I partake of the bounties of Providence? It is all mercy!
Do I possess dear, affectionate friends? It is all mercy! Do I experience the love of God in Christ, pardoning
my sins, and purifying my heart?
Oh! this is mercy beyond the power of language to praise or to express!
Rejoice in such a Savior, who snatched you as a brand
out of the burning!
6
ARE YOU AS A BRUISED FLOWER?
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
It is in times of soul abasement, that the love, tenderness, and grace of the Holy Spirit are better known.
As a Comforter, as a Revealer of Jesus, we are, perhaps, more fully led into an acquaintance with the work of the Spirit in seasons of soul abasement than at any other time. The mode and time of His divine manifestation are thus beautifully predicted: “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.” Psalm 72:6
Observe the gentleness, the silence, and the sovereignty of His operation—“He shall come down like rain.” How characteristic of the blessed Spirit’s grace!
Then mark the occasion on which He descends. It is at the time of the soul’s deep prostration….
–340–

the waving grass is mowed, the lovely flower is laid low, the fruitful stem is broken,
that which was beautiful, fragrant, and precious is cut down….
the fairest first to fade, the loveliest first to die, the fondest first to depart.
Then, when the blessing is gone, and the spirit is bowed, when the heart is broken, the mind is dejected, and the world seems clad in wintry desolation and gloom, the Holy Spirit, in all the softening, reviving, comforting, and refreshing influence of His grace, descends, speaks of the beauty of Jesus, leads to the grace of Jesus, lifts the bowed soul, and reposes it on the bosom of Jesus!
Precious and priceless, then, beloved, are the seasons of a believer’s humiliation. They tell….
of the soul’s emptiness,
of Christ’s fullness;
of the creature’s insufficiency, of Christ’s all sufficiency;
of the world’s poverty,
of Christ’s affluence.
They create….
a necessity which Jesus supplies, a void which Jesus fills,
a sorrow which Jesus soothes,
a desire which Jesus satisfies.
They endear the cross of the incarnate God,
they reveal the hidden glory of Christ’s humiliation, they sweeten prayer,
they lift the soul to God.
Are you as a bruised flower?
–341–

Are you as a broken stem?
Does some heavy trial now bow you in the dust?
Oh never, perhaps, were you so truly beautiful; never did your grace send forth such fragrance, or your prayers ascend with so sweet an odor; never did faith, and hope, and love develop their hidden glories so richly, so fully as now!
In the eyes of a wounded, a bruised, and a humbled Christ, you were never more lovely, and never more precious to His heart than now….
pierced by His hand,
smitten by His rod,
humbled by His chastisement,
laid low at His feet,
condemning yourself,
justifying Him,
taking to yourself all the shame, and ascribing to Him all the glory!
6
THESE CANAANITES!
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
“They could not drive out the Canaanites who continued
to live there.” Joshua 17:12
Sin is ever abhorrent to a holy God, and distressing to a renewed mind. Can the believer, then, derive any benefit from the sin which he hates, and against which he hourly combats?
These Canaanites in the land, though grievous to the spirit of a true Israelite, as thorns are to his flesh, may be overruled by Infinite Love to teach him many lessons.
These Canaanites remind him of his former condition,
–342–

of the rock from where he was hewn, and of the hole of the pit from where he was dug; of his natural depravity, wretchedness, and misery, that so, he may loathe himself in his own sight.
These Canaanites constrain him to acknowledge the grace of God in saving him, when he had nothing to expect but fiery indignation and judgment without mercy.
These Canaanites make him distrust himself, through the constant experience of his own weakness in resisting the world, the flesh, and the devil.
These Canaanites cause him to trust altogether in the divine power of his Savior, from the repeated victories which he obtains over indwelling sin, by looking with a single eye to Jesus, the Captain of his salvation.
These Canaanites bring into exercise the graces of faith and patience, courage and self-denial, watchfulness and prayer. The weapons of his warfare are not allowed to rust, having daily to fight the good fight of faith.
These Canaanites make him value the blood and righteousness of Christ, which rise in value, in propor- tion to the true and saving knowledge which he acquires of himself. Thus, the more he is convinced of his sins and imperfections, the more earnestly does he seek after a better righteousness to justify him in the sight of God, even the spotless righteousness of Jesus Christ.
These Canaanites make him long more ardently for the rest which remains for the people of God; for that pure world, where sorrow cannot enter, where indwelling sin will never harass the soul, but where he will forever behold his adorable Redeemer, and be made like Him, when he shall see Him as He is.
6
–343–

HAVE WE NOT MANY ORPAHS?
Horatius Bonar, “The Kiss of the Backslider”
“They lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed
her mother-in-law, but Ruth joined with her.” Ruth 1:14
Orpah was not prepared to leave Moab.
The ties between her and it were still unbroken, though for a time a little loosened. Moab was still Moab to her, the home of her kindred, the center of her affections, the dwelling place of her gods.
Thus millions are not ready to leave the world, though often in some measure broken from it.
They cling to their old haunts of…. vanity,
foolishness,
pleasure,
lust, or literature.
They cannot think of forsaking these.
No, they soothe their consciences with the argument that it would not be right to break off from all these. To them the world is still the world; attractive and excellent. They cannot think of crucifying it, or themselves to it. They have been born in it, lived in it, their friends are in it; why should they leave it?
Their hearts are still here, their treasure is here; and they linger in it, though at times they feel the necessity of leaving it.
What would life be to them without the novel or the ballroom, the theater, the gay assembly, the banquet, the revel, the folly, the wine cup, and the song?
For the sake of Moab, Orpah was willing to part with Naomi. She was not without longings after Naomi and
–344–

her city, and her kindred, and her God. But her old longings and ties kept her back, and in the end prevailed. Yet she wished to part in peace, to bid a decent farewell to her mother in law. She kissed that she might not cleave. Her kiss was a farewell; a farewell to Naomi, her land, and her God.
Have we not many Orpahs?
They would sincerely have both Israel and Moab. They would rather not part with either.
Their heart is divided.
They would sincerely cast in their lot with God’s people, and obtain their inheritance.
They are not scoffers,
they are not openly godless,
they are not reckless pleasure seekers,
but half-and-half Christians, or rather not so much.
They would be religious up to a certain point; to the point when a choice must be made; and then their heart speaks out.
They give up Christ, and turn back to the world. Yet they do so quietly, as it were, and kindly.
They kiss at parting; but will that kiss avail them?
Will God accept the kiss as an excuse for turning back, or as a substitute for the wholehearted service which He desires?
God will not accept the divided heart. He abhors vacillation and compromise.
If you prefer Moab, go dwell there! Enjoy its pleasures, and worship its gods!
If you choose Israel, pitch your tent there, and take
Jehovah for your all.
6
–345–

A CANKER INTO THE VERY CORE OF YOUR SPIRITUALITY!
Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but
be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
Heavenly-mindedness can only be maintained by the strictest vigilance. It is a delicate and fragile flower, susceptible of every variation of the spiritual atmosphere. Guard against that which checks its growth.
Many are not aware how much…. great joviality,
light conversation,
foolish jesting,
novel reading,
carnal music,
unfit the heart for communion with God, and lessen the tone of its spirituality.
Close communion with mere nominal religious professors is particularly to be avoided. Much more injury to spiritual-mindedness accrues from intimate friendship with such, than from those who assert no pretensions to a religious character; as with the one we are apt to be less on our guard than the other.
Avoid the world’s amusements; they will eat as a canker into the very core of your spirituality!
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world” is a prohibition which should never be absent from the eye of a traveler to the heavenly city.
Are not heaven’s attractions many and powerful?
How rich is heaven! Why, then, should not our thoughts be there? Oh! shall not our hearts be more
–346–

where our most precious treasure is, where our holiest and dearest hopes center, and where we ourselves shall
shortly be?
6
TRIALS AND DISCOMFORTS?
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts” “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who
are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
How strong the consolation flowing from this truth to the believer in Jesus! ‘No condemnation’ is the ground of all comfort to the suffering Christian.
God may afflict you, but He will never condemn you. Chastisements are not judgments.
Afflictions are not condemnations.
Sickness, bereavement, and poverty, you can welcome and patiently bear. The fiery trials which purify our faith have not a spark in them of that “unquenchable fire” that will consume the condemned hereafter.
Oh, what are the trials and discomforts of this present world, if at last we are kept out of hell!
And oh, what are the riches, and honors, and comforts of this life, if at last we are shut out of heaven!
At the bottom of that cup of sinful pleasure which sparkles in the worldling’s hand, and which with such zest and glee he quaffs, there lies eternal condemnation. The death-worm feeds at the root of all his good.
But at the bottom of this cup of sorrow, now trembling and dark in the hand of the suffering Christian, bitter and forbidding as it is, there is no condemnation; eternal glory is at the root of all his evil.
–347–

Christian, your whole life ought to be a sweetly-tuned psalm, a continual anthem of thanksgiving and praise, pouring forth its swelling notes to the God of your salvation; since beyond the cloudy scene of your present pilgrimage there unveils the light and bliss of celestial glory, on whose portal you read as you pass within—No Condemnation!
6
A WORLDLY CHRISTIANITY?
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“Do not be conformed to this world.” Romans 12:2
Professor of the gospel! guard against the world; it is your undoing! Watch against conformity to it….
in your dress,
in your mode of living,
in the education of your children,
in the principles, motives, and policy that govern you.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by…. any known inconsistency of conduct, any sinful conformity to the world, any inordinate pursuit of….
its wealth,
its honors,
its pleasures,
its friendships, and its great things.
Pray against the sin of covetousness, that canker worm that feeds at the root of so many souls!
Pray against the love of dress, that sin that diverts the mind of so many professors from the simplicity of Christ, and takes the eye off from the true adornment!
Pray against a thirst for light and trifling reading, that
–348–

strange and sinful inconsistency of so many, the certain tendency of which is to starve the life of God in the soul, to engender a distaste for spiritual nourishment, for the Word of God, for holy meditation, and for Divine communion and fellowship. Yes, pray against the spirit of worldly, sinful conformity in everything!
Reader! are you a professing Christian? Then guard against a worldly Christianity—a Christianity that wears a fair exterior, so far as it is composed of church attendance, but which excludes from it the cross of the meek and lowly Lamb of God—a Christianity which loves the world and the things of the world, “makes a fair show in the flesh,” speaks well of Christ, and yet betrays Him with a kiss. Oh, awful state! oh, fearful deception! oh, fatal delusion!
The world is the sworn enemy of your Savior; let it not be your friend. No; come out of it, and be separate.
SOFTENING?
Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”
“For God has made my heart faint. The Almighty has
terrified me.” Job 23:16
The hour of affliction is the hour of softening…. the hardness of the heart yields,
the callousness of the spirit gives way,
the affections become tender,
conscience is more susceptible.
The hour of softening is the season of holy abstraction, of meditation, of prayer, of withdrawment from the world and from creature delights, while the soul is more closely shut in with God.
The heart, now emptied, humbled, and softened is
6
–349–

prepared for the work of the Spirit; and what an impression is then made! What discoveries of God’s love to the soul! What enlarged views….
of the personal glory of Christ,
of the infinite perfection of His work,
of the preciousness of the atoning sacrifice, of the hatefulness of sin, and
of the beauty of holiness!
6
LOW VIEWS OF YOURSELF?
Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”
What are you to yourself? worthless?
vile?
empty?
What is Jesus to you? precious?
lovely?
all your salvation? all your desire?
What is sin to you?
the most hateful thing in the world?
What is holiness to you? most lovely?
most longed for?
What is the throne of grace to you? the most attractive spot?
What is the cross to you?
the sweetest resting place in the universe?
What is God to you? your God?
your Father?
–350–

the spring of all your joys?
the fountainhead of all your bliss?
the center where your affections meet?
Is it so? Then you are a child of God!
Those low views of yourself…. that brokenness,
that inward mourning,
that secret confession,
that longing for…. more spirituality, more grace,
more devotedness, more love,
does but prove the existence, reality, and growth of God’s work within you.
Cheer up, precious soul!
That soul never perished, that felt itself to be vile, and
Jesus to be precious!
6
HEROD’S BIRTHDAY BALL?
Horatius Bonar, “Herod’s Ballroom”
“But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatever she should ask. She, being put forward by her mother, said, ‘Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptizer.’ The king was grieved, but for the sake of his oaths, and of those who sat at the table with him, he commanded it to be given, and he sent and beheaded John in the prison. His head was brought on a platter, and given to the young lady: and she brought it to her mother.” Matthew 14:6-11
–351–

Herod’s birthday ball was a high and royal festival. Pomp, splendor, luxury, and lust were all gathered there. In the midst of the song, and the glitter, and the mirth, there was one troubled conscience, that of Herod—one trembling man, Herod. His soul was ill at ease, though surrounded with all that the world could give to banish care.
His course of sin had been begun and persevered in. He was braving out his crimes; and like worldly men in such circumstances, he rushes into gaiety to drown his troubles and terrors. The pleasures of the feast and the ballroom, the song and the dance—these are welcomed to induce forgetfulness, and “minister to a mind diseased.”
In how many cases do men fly to the ball, the theater, the card-table, the tavern, the riotous party, not simply for pleasure’s sake, and to “taste life’s glad moments,” but to drown care, to smother conscience, to efface convictions, to laugh away the impressions of the last sermon, to soothe an uneasy mind, to relieve the burden, or pluck out the sting of conscious guilt! O slaughter-houses of souls! O slaughter-houses, reeking with blood!
O lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and pride of life, when will you cease to intoxicate, and lead men captive at your will? O God-forgetting gaiety! O dazzling worldliness! O glittering halls of midnight, when, when will you cease to be resorted to by the sons of men to “heal the hurt” of the human soul, to still its throb and heartache, and to medicate the immedicable wound?
It is a gay scene. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life are there. All that can minister to these are there. Herod is there, feeding on lust, drinking in pleasure, stupefying conscience. The fair
–352–

daughter is there, in all the splendor of gay wantonness. And the vile mother is there, lascivious and revengeful. And the courtiers are there, in pomp and glitter. Music and mirth are there. The dance and the song are there. No note of gloom, no indication of trouble. What a scene of mirth and revelry!
These scenes of royal vanity are instructive; for they present the world in its most fascinating aspects. All that regal state, and princely beauty, and wealth, and gold, and silver, and gems, and tapestry, and blazing lamps can do, to make this world fair, is in such scenes and haunts. These balls are the most seductive specimens of pure worldliness that can be found. Surely the god of this world knows how to enchant both ear and eye. In an assembly like this, the natural man is at home. Here the unregenerate heart gets scope to the full.
It was during that ball that the murder of John was plotted and consummated; that a drunken, lustful king, urged on by two women, perpetrated that foul deed. Such are the haunts of pleasure! Such are the masquerades of time. Lust is let loose; revenge rises up; murder rages; conscience is smothered; the floor of the ballroom is spotted with blood; the dancers may slip their feet in it, but the dance goes on. Such was the coarse worldliness of old days. But is the ‘refined worldliness’ of modern times less fatal to the soul? The ball is finished, and John lies dead in prison. What a picture of gaiety! What a specimen of ballroom revelry! And this is pleasure! This is the world’s joy!
Of the chief actors in this ballroom murder, nothing more is said. They pass to the judgment-seat, there to receive sentence for lust, rage, revenge, and murder. They have sent John before them to the presence of his Judge to receive his reward.
–353–

The day of recompense is coming!
O gaieties of earth! Feasts, and revelings, and banquetings, how often have you slain both body and soul! Men call you innocent amusements, harmless pleasures; but can you be harmless, can you be innocent, when you steal away the soul from God, when you nurse the worst lusts of humanity, when you smother conscience, when you shut out Jesus, when the floors on which your votaries dance off their immortal felicity, are red with the blood of souls!
6
BOUGHT WITH A HIGH PRICE!
Spurgeon, “Bought with a Price”
“For you were bought with a price.” 1 Corinthians 6:20 Refresh in your souls a sense of the fact that you are
“bought with a price.”
There in the midnight hour, amid the olives of Gethsemane, kneels Immanuel the Son of God; He groans, He pleads in prayer, He wrestles. See the beady drops stand on His brow, drops of sweat, but not of such sweat as pours from men when they earn the bread of life, but the sweat of Him who is procuring life itself for us. It is blood! It is crimson blood! Great gouts of it are falling to the ground! O soul, your Savior speaks to you from out Gethsemane at this hour, and He says: “Here and thus I bought you with a price.” Come, stand and view Him in the agony of the olive garden, and understand at what a cost He procured your deliverance.
Track Him in all His path of shame and sorrow until you see Him at Gabbatha. Mark how they bind His hands and fasten Him to the whipping-post. See, they bring the scourges and the cruel Roman whips; they
–354–

tear His flesh; the ploughers make deep furrows on His blessed body, and the blood gushes forth in streams, while rivulets from His temples, where the crown of thorns has pierced them, join to swell the purple stream. From beneath the scourges He speaks to you with accents soft and low, and He says, “My child, it is here and thus I bought you with a price.”
But see Him on the cross itself when the consummation of all has come. His hands and feet are fountains of blood, His soul is full of anguish even to heartbreak; and there, before the soldier pierces with a spear His side, bowing down He whispers to you and to me, “It was here and thus, I bought you with a price.”
O by Gethsemane, by Gabbatha, by Golgotha, by every sacred name collected with the passion of our Lord; by sponge and vinegar, and nail and spear, and everything that enlarged the pain and increased the anguish of His death, I implore you, my beloved brethren, to remember that you were “bought with a price,” and “are not your own.”
6
THE LIFE-BUOY?
Spurgeon, “Christ Is All”
Whatever trials you have, my dear brother, Christ is all in all to meet them.
Are you poor? He will make you rich in your poverty by His consoling presence.
Are you sick? He will make your bed in your sickness, and so will make your sick-bed better than the walks of health.
Are you persecuted? Be it for His sake, and you may even leap for joy.
–355–

Are you oppressed? Remember how He also was oppressed and afflicted; and you will have fellowship with Him in His sufferings.
Amidst all the vicissitudes of this present life, Christ is all that the believer needs to bear him up, and bear him through. No wave can sink the man who clings to this life-buoy; he shall swim to glory on it!
Jesus is all I need. Jesus is….
the living water to quench my thirst, the heavenly bread to satisfy my hunger, the snow-white robe to cover me,
the sure refuge,
the happy home of my soul,
my food and my medicine,
my solace and my song,
my light and my delight.
The believer can say, “Christ is mine.” No emperor is half as rich as the beggar that has Christ. He who has Christ, being a pauper, has all things. And he who has not Christ, possessing a thousand worlds, possesses nothing for real happiness and joy.
Oh, the blessedness of the man who can say, “Christ is mine!”
IT ENTWINES HIM WITH ITS DEADLY WINDINGS?
Sprague, “Lectures to Young People,” revised
How insidious is sin! People are beguiled by sin, and do not think of the danger until it is too late to avert it!
From small and almost imperceptible beginnings, sin gradually makes its way, until it reduces the whole person to its mastery, and brings into captivity every affection and faculty of the soul!
–356–

Sin first throws out the bait of ‘pleasure’ and then flatters its victim onto forbidden ground. Then it makes him the willing captive of temptation. Sin does not give up until its dupe is fast bound in the chains of eternal death!
Sin, in its very nature, is deceitful. It is a stranger to all open and honest dealings. Its very element is the region of….
false appearances, lying promises, and fatal snares!
When sin shows itself to its unwary victim, it puts on a smiling countenance, and makes fair pretentions, and takes care to conceal its hideous features, until, like a serpent, it entwines him with its deadly windings, and renders his escape impossible, and consigns his soul to destruction!
6
THE GOSPEL
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
The gospel is the master-work of Jehovah, presenting the greatest display of His manifold wisdom, and the most costly exhibition of the riches of His grace. In constructing it He would seem to have summoned to His aid all the resources of His own infinity—
His fathomless wisdom, His boundless love,
His illimitable grace, His infinite power,
His spotless holiness,
all contributed their glory, and conspired to present it to the universe as the most consummate piece of Divine workmanship!
–357–

The revelations it makes, the facts it records, the doctrines it propounds, the effects is produces, proclaim it to be the “glorious gospel of the blessed God.”
We live encircled by shadows…. our friends are shadows,
our comforts are shadows,
our supports are shadows,
our pursuits are shadows, and
we ourselves are shadows passing away.
But in the precious gospel we have substance, we have reality, we have that which remains with us when all other things disappear, leaving the soul desolate, the heart bleeding, and the spirit bowed in sorrow to the dust.
But the gospel….
guides our perplexities, mitigates our griefs, sanctifies our sorrows, heals our wounds, dries our tears,
because it leads us to…. the love,
the tenderness,
the sympathy,
the grace of Jesus.
The gospel….
reveals Jesus,
speaks mainly of Jesus, leads simply to Jesus,
and this makes it “glad tidings of great joy,” to a poor, lost, ruined, tried, and tempted sinner!
6
–358–

SLEEPING SOUNDLY?
Horatius Bonar, “True Vigils”
The world at large is…. thoroughly careless;
sleeping soundly;
dreaming its dreams of vanity; enjoying….
sin, vanity, luxury, pleasure, gaiety.
Awake! sleep no more! Awake, lest the flash of God’s avenging sword be the first thing that awakens you!
NO OIL?
Horatius Bonar, “Religion Without the Holy Spirit” “Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps,
took no oil with them.” Matthew 25:3
This parable has many sides and aspects. It is prophetical; it is also practical. It suits all ages, but especially the last days. It suits the world, but especially the church of God. It is searching and sifting. It is also quickening and comforting. It suits us well in these days of profession, fashionable religion and religiousness.
It is a parable for the church. It comes in to the inner circle of Christian profession, and sifts it, divides it.
There are points of likeness between the two classes. They get the same name, virgins;
they wear the same dress;
they are on the same errand;
6
–359–

they both have lamps;
they both slumber and sleep.
They have thus many features in common.
The peril of mere externalism is that which our Lord points out here. This externalism may not always be hypocrisy, but it is imitation. It is not the flower in its natural color and growth, but painted, artificial. Let us watch against an artificial life, and an artificial religion. What does it profit now? What will it profit in the day of wrath? The name, the dress, the lamp, the outward show, will all go for nothing in that day of universal discovery and detection.
Though in most respects they were all alike, yet there was a difference. It was within; it was imperceptible from without; it could only be discovered when the bridegroom came. Up until then all were completely similar. Only then the deficiency came out in the foolish. Then was it seen who were wise, and who were foolish. That day is the day of certain and unerring detection. It is the day of weighing in the balances! It is the separation of the false from the true.
The difference was confined to a single point—the lack of oil. The oil is the Holy Spirit. Thus a man may be very like a Christian, and yet not be one. He may come very near the kingdom, and yet not enter in. He may have all the outward features of a Christian, and yet be lacking in the main one. He may have the complete dress of the saint, and yet not be one.
He may have a good life, a sound creed, a strict profession; he may be one who says and does many excellent things; he may be a subscriber to all the religious societies in the land, a member of all their committees, or a speaker at all their meetings, and supporter of all their plans; he may profess to be
–360–

looking for Christ’s coming, and going forth to meet the bridegroom, yet not necessarily a Christian!
He may lack the oil, the Holy Spirit.
A religion without the Holy Spirit profits nothing.
There is the religion…. of the intellect,
of the sense,
of the imagination,
of the flesh,
of the creed,
of the liturgy,
of the catechism, of nature,
of poetry,
of sentiment, of mysticism, of humanity.
But what are these without the Spirit?
Christianity without Christ, what would that be?
Worship without God, what would that be?
So religion without the Holy Spirit, what would that be?
6
SO DEPLORABLE A STATE!
Spurgeon, “Job’s Regret and Our Own”
Many pastors have grown ‘professional’ in their service, and preach like automatons, wound up for a sermon, to run down when the discourse is over.
They have little more care for the souls of men than if they were so much dirt!
Too many pastors are fascinated with…. technical trifles about words,
–361–

fancies of speculation, or fopperies of oratory.
God forgive us if we have fallen into so deplorable a
state!
Oh, could we always analyze the ‘embittered cup,’ how astonished should we be to find that in the bitterest draught that ever touched our lips, the principal ingredient was love!
Love saw the discipline needful.
Love selected the chastisement sent.
Love appointed the instrument by which it should
come.
Love arranged the circumstances by which it should
take place.
Love fixed the time when it should transpire.
Love heard the sigh.
Love saw the tear.
Love marked the anguish.
Love never for one moment withdrew its beaming eye
from the sufferer.
Alas! how much is this truth overlooked by the disciplined and suffering believer!
Think, suffering child of God, of the many consoling, alleviating, and soothing circumstances connected with your chastisement. Think of….
the many divine supports, the precious promises, the tenderness of God, the gentleness of Christ,
6
THE CHASTENING OF LOVE!
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
–362–

and all this will demonstrate to you that this is the chastening of love!
Welcome your trials; they are sent by your Father. Welcome the stroke of His rod; it is a Parent smiting.
Welcome whatever detaches you from earth, and wings your spirit heavenward.
Welcome the furnace that consumes the dross and the tin, and brings out the precious gold and silver, to reflect in your soul, even now, the dawnings of future glory.
Oh! be submissive, meek, and quiet, under God’s chastening and afflicting hand!
AS THOUGH IT HAD NEVER BEEN!
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
Child of God, soon, oh, how soon! all that now loads your heart with care, and wrings it with sorrow; all that dims your eye with tears, and renders the day anxious and the night sleepless; will be as though it had never been!
Emerging from…. the entanglement, the dreariness, the solitude,
the loneliness and
the temptations of the wilderness,
you shall enter upon your everlasting rest, your unfading inheritance, where there is….
no sorrow,
no declension, no sin,
no sunset,
6
–363–

no twilight,
no evening shadows, no midnight darkness,
but all is one perfect, cloudless, eternal day; for Jesus is the joy, the light, and the glory thereof.
SUPERSTITIOUS REGARD FOR TIMES AND SEASONS?
Spurgeon, “Joy Born at Bethlehem,” December 24, 1871
We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons.
Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas. First, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English. And, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.
Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Savior’s birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred. Probably the fact is that the ‘holy days’ were arranged to fit in with heathen festivals. We venture to assert, that if there be any day in the year, of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Savior was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December.
There are those who, on December 25th, will pretend to exhibit joy in the remembrance of our Savior’s birth, but they will not seek their pleasure in the Savior. Joy in Immanuel would be a poor sort of mirth to them. In this country, too often, if one were unaware of the name, one might believe the Christmas festival to be a feast of Bacchus, certainly not a commemoration of the Divine birth.
6
–364–

Since it is lawful, and even laudable, to meditate upon the incarnation of the Lord upon any day in the year, it cannot be in the power of other men’s superstitions to render such a meditation improper for today. Regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.6
MADE FOR FRIVOLITIES?
Spurgeon, “The One Thing Needful”
Were you made only to be a machine for digging holes, laying bricks, or cutting out pieces of wood? Were you created only to stand at a counter and measure or weigh out goods? Do you think your God made you for that and that only?
Is this the chief end of man? to earn so many dollars a week, and try to make ends meet?
Is that all immortal men were made for?
As a man with a soul, capable of thought and judgment, and not a mere animal like a dog, nor a machine like a steam engine; can you stand up and look at yourself, and say, “I believe I am perfectly fulfilling my destiny”?
God has made man that he may glorify Him; and whatever else man accomplishes, if he attains not to this end, his life is a disastrous failure.
Others are lovers of pleasure. They are merry as the birds, their life is as the flight of a butterfly, which lightly floats from flower to flower, according to its own sweet will.
It cannot be that an immortal spirit was made for frivolities; spending all its time on the playthings of the world.
–365–

So great a thing as an immortal soul could not have been made by God, with no higher object than to spend itself upon trifles as light as air.
Oh, pause a while, you careless, godless one! There is something more than the fool’s laugh. All things are not a comedy. Death and heaven and hell are serious; and should not life be?
The charms of music, the merriment of the gay assembly, the beauties of art, and the delights of banqueting; there must be something more for you than these; and something more must be required of you than that you should waste your precious time from morn to night upon nothing but to please yourself!
6
LONG, HABITUAL, AND UNINTERRUPTED MERCIES?
Hannah More, “Prayer”
That sun that has shone unremittingly from the day is a stupendous exertion of God’s power, an astonishing exhibition of omnipotence.
In adoring the providence of God, we are apt to be struck with what is new and out of the usual course, while we too much overlook long, habitual, and uninterrupted mercies.
But common mercies, if less striking, are more valuable, because we have them always.
The ordinary blessings of life are overlooked for the very reason for which they ought to be most prized; because they are most uniformly bestowed.
They are most essential to our being; and when once they are withdrawn, we begin to find that they are also most essential to our comfort.
–366–

Nothing raises the price of a blessing like its removal, whereas it was its continuance which should have taught us its value.
We prefer novelties to awaken our gratitude, not considering that it is the duration of the common mercies which enhances their value.
We desire fresh excitements.
We consider mercies long enjoyed as things to be taken for granted, as things to which we have a sort of presumptive claim; as if God had no right to withdraw what He has once bestowed, as if He were obliged to continue what He has once been pleased to confer.
6
MODERN MANUFACTURERS OF GODS?
Spurgeon, “Joy in God”
Many are very busy trying to construct a god for themselves, such as they think God ought to be.
And it generally turns out that they fashion a god like themselves, for that saying of the psalmist concerning idols and ‘idol makers’ is still true, “And those who make them are just like them, as are all who trust in them.” Psalm 135:18
These modern manufacturers of gods make them blind because they are themselves blind, and deaf because they are deaf, and dead because they are spiritually dead.
Some quarrel with God as a Sovereign, and no doctrine makes them grind their teeth like the glorious truth of divine sovereignty.
They profess to want a god, but….
he must not be on a throne;
he must not be King;
he must not be absolute and universal Monarch.
–367–

He must do as His creatures tell Him, not as He Himself wills. Their effeminate deity is not worthy to be known by the name of God!
6
PRECIOUS FRUITS OF SANCTIFIED AFFLICTION?
by Newman Hall
“It was good for me that I have been afflicted.”
One of the precious fruits of sanctified affliction is humility. If pride is the Christian’s greatest foe, any- thing that rebukes it is our great friend.
Pride in our ‘strength’ is rebuked by infirmity. Pride in our ‘beauty’ is rebuked by disease. Pride in our ‘wealth’ is rebuked by losses. Pride in our ‘fame’ is rebuked by slander.
“It was good for me that I have been afflicted.”
6
THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Spurgeon, “The Sun of Righteousness” “But to you who fear My name shall the sun of
righteousness arise with healing in its wings.” Malachi 4:2 The golden tressed sun is the most glorious object in
creation; and in Jesus the fullness of glory dwells.
The sun is at the same time the most influential of existences, acting upon the whole world; and truly our Lord is, in the deepest sense, of this great world both eye and soul. He with benignant ray sheds beauty, life, and joy from above.
The sun is, moreover, the most abiding of creatures; and therein it is also a type of Him who remains from
–368–

generation to generation, and is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
The ‘king of day’ is so vast and so bright that the human eye cannot bear to gaze upon Him. We delight in His beams, but we would be blinded should we continue to peer into His face. Even yet more brilliant is our Lord by nature, for as God He is a consuming fire, but He deigns to smile upon us with milder beams as our brother and Redeemer.
Jesus, like the sun, is….
the center and soul of all things,
the fullness of all good,
the lamp that lights us,
the fire that warms us,
the magnet that guides and controls us.
Jesus is the source and fountain of all…. life,
beauty, fruitfulness, and strength.
Jesus is….
the fosterer of tender herbs of penitence,
the quickener of the vital sap of grace,
the ripener of fruits of holiness, and
the life of everything that grows within the garden of
the Lord.
Whereas to adore the sun would be idolatry; it is treason not to worship ardently the divine Sun of righteousness.
As the sun is the center, so is Christ to His people.
As the sun is the great source of power, so is Christ to His people.
–369–

As the sun is the fountain from which light, life, and heat perpetually flow, so is the Savior to His people.
As the sun is the fructifier by which fruits multiply and ripen, so is Christ to His people.
Enthrone Jesus as the central sun of your hearts. Bask in His beams, and let Him rule your entire being; enlightening your understanding; warming your hearts; filling all your powers, passions, and faculties with the fullness of His presence. Come and lay your souls beneath His divine influence.
Come, plunge into this sea of sweetness, dive deep into this abyss of happiness!6
WHAT A PILLOW ON WHICH TO REST YOUR ACHING HEAD!
John MacDuff, “The Faithful Promiser”
“Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need
be, you are in heaviness through many trials.” 1 Peter 1:6
“If need be!” Three gracious words!
Not one of all my tears has been shed for nothing! Not one stroke of the rod has been unneeded, or that might have been spared!
Your heavenly Father loves you too much, and too tenderly, to bestow harsher correction than your case requires!
Is it loss of health, or loss of wealth, or loss of beloved friends? Be still! there was a needs be!
We are no judges of what that “needs be” is; often through aching hearts we are forced to exclaim, “Your judgments are a great deep!”
But God here pledges Himself, that there will not be
–370–

one unnecessary thorn in the believer’s crown of suffering!
No burden too heavy will be laid on him.
No sacrifice too great exacted from him.
God will “temper the wind to the shorn lamb.”
Whenever the “need be” has accomplished its end, then….
the rod is removed;
the chastisement suspended; the furnace quenched.
“If need be!” Oh! what a pillow on which to rest your aching head! that there is not a drop in all your bitter cup but what a God of love saw to be absolutely necessary!
Will you not trust His heart, even though you cannot trace the mystery of His dealings?
Do not be too curious to prying into the “Why it is?” or “How it is?” but satisfied that “So it is,” and, therefore,
that all must be well!
6
ARE YOU A CICERONIAN?
Spurgeon, “Joy Born at Bethlehem”
Perhaps you know the legend, or perhaps true history of the awakening of Augustine. He dreamed that he died, and went to the gates of heaven, and the keeper of the gates said to him, “Who are you?” And he answered, “I am a Christian.” But the porter replied, “No, you are not a Christian, you are a Ciceronian, for your thoughts and studies were most of all directed to the works of Cicero and the classics, and you neglected the teaching of Jesus. We judge men here by that which most engrossed their thoughts, and you are judged not
–371–

to be a Christian but a Ciceronian.”
When Augustine awoke, he put aside the classics which he had studied, and the eloquence at which he had aimed, and he said, “I will be a Christian and a theolo- gian;” and from that time he devoted his thoughts to the word of God, and his pen and his tongue to the instruction of others in the truth.
Oh I would not have it said of any of you, “Well, he may be somewhat Christian, but he is far more a keen money-getting tradesman.” I would not have it said, “Well, he may be a believer in Christ, but he is a good deal more a politician.”
Perhaps he is a Christian, but he is most at home when he is talking about science, farming, engineering, horses, mining, navigation, or pleasure taking.
No, no, you will never know the fullness of the joy which Jesus brings to the soul, unless under the power of the Holy Spirit you take the Lord your Master to be your All in all, and make Him the fountain of your intensest delight.
6
A DEADLY ENEMY!
Sprague, “Lectures on Revivals of Religion”
Beware of the world!
Everyone who has made much progress in the Christian life, has been taught by his own experience that the world is a deadly enemy to the believer’s growth in grace.
The cares of the world are exceedingly apt to mar the Christian character.
But there are, in addition…. the pleasures of the world,
–372–

the honors of the world,
the riches of the world;
all of which in turn seize hold of the heart with a mighty grasp.
Sometimes the world laughs and scoffs at the Christian, and tries to persuade him that he is giving himself to fanaticism and folly.
Sometimes it flatters and caresses him, and by its artful blandishments, seeks to draw him aside from the plain path of duty.
Indeed the world will assume any form, or turn into anything, to draw the Christian away from God and from duty.
How important then that you be on guard against this dangerous enemy! Beware especially against the levities and amusements of the world; for this is the point at which you are most in danger.
6
WEANED AND DIVORCED FROM CREATURE HELP!
Octavius Winslow, “Waiting and Watching”
It is sweet to lean upon one we love, hanging upon his arm for support, and reclining upon his bosom for sympathy; one on whose wisdom we can unhesitatingly rely, in whose love we can confidently repose.
Transfer this thought to God! How unutterable the blessedness, how vast the privilege, and how happy the result of waiting upon Him who stands to us in the relation of our Father and Redeemer; our Brother and Friend; waiting the movement of His pillar of cloud; waiting the supply of His inexhaustible providence; waiting the comfort of His unchanging love; waiting for the fulfillment of the word of promise upon which He
–373–

has caused our soul to hope! “My soul waits on the Lord.”
There does not exist a more privileged and holy con- dition of the soul than that of being entirely cast upon God. When the created arm fails to sustain, and the human heart to love; when earthly props give way, and affection and sympathy have fled their last asylum; when the barrel of meal is well near exhausted, and the cruse of oil distills its last drop; oh then to exclaim, “My soul, wait only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.” This is a privilege indeed, a privilege eclipsing all others!
Oh count it the richest experience of the divine life when, thus weaned and divorced from creature help, you are brought to wait only on the Lord, exclaiming, “Now I have no prop, no supply, no sympathy, no comfort, but that which I find in Jehovah. I am shut up to Infinity alone; my help comes from the Lord.”
The gracious soul hangs in faith upon God….
upon the veracity of God to fulfill His promise;
upon the power of God to help him in difficulty;
upon the wisdom of God to counsel him in perplexity; upon the love of God to shield him in danger;
upon the Omniscience of God to guide him with His
eye; and
upon the Omnipresence of God to cheer him with
His presence, at all times and in all places, his Sun and his Shield.
Oh have faith in God! The moment the soul can believingly repose upon Him, it ceases to be the sport of every wind and wave of circumstance and doubt, and drops its anchor on the firm and immovable bedrock of DIVINITY!
6
–374–

I AM GOING TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU
John MacDuff, “The Words of Jesus”
“I am going to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also.” John 14:2-3
What a wondrous thought!
Jesus is now busied in Heaven in His people’s behalf! He can find no abode in all His wide dominions, befitting as a permanent dwelling for His ransomed ones.
He says, “I will make a new heavens and a new earth. I will found a special kingdom. I will rear eternal mansions expressly for those I have redeemed with My blood!”
Orphaned pilgrims, dry your tears! Soon the sighs of a groaning and burdened creation will be heard no more. Soon He will come again, to receive those who followed Him in His cross, to be everlasting partakers with Him in His crown!
6
A RELIGIOUS MAN?
Horatius Bonar, “The Doom of the Double Hearted”
“He took up his parable and said… “Let me die the death of the righteous, let my last end be like his!” Numbers 23:7, 10
“Forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of wrong-doing.” 2 Peter 2:15
Balaam is a specimen of multitudes in these last days. An educated and intelligent man, shrewd and quick seeing, of respectable character, high in favor with the rich and great, a religious man, too, after a fashion.
–375–

But he is fond of the world, fond of money, fond of preferment; one that would not let his religion stand in the way of his advancement; who could pocket all scruples if he could pocket a little gold along with them; hollow of heart, but with a acceptable outside.
His worldly interests are the main thing to him.
He would rather not risk offending God, but yet he would not like to lose Balak’s rewards and honors. He would rather not take up his cross, nor deny himself, nor forsake all for his God.
So is it with multitudes among us.
They want as much religion as they imagine will save them from hell; not an atom more!
The world is their real God.
Gold is their idol.
It is in mammon’s temple that they worship.
Love God with all their heart? They don’t so much as understand the meaning of such a thing.
Sacrifice riches, place, honor, friends to Christ? They scoff at the thing as madness.
Don’t trifle with religion.
Don’t mock God.
Love not the world.
Be religious in your inmost soul.
Don’t mistake sentimentalism for religion; or a good character for the new birth.
This world OR the world to come, that is the alternative; not this world AND the world to come.
Christ must be all, or nothing.
–376–

No middle ground; no half discipleship; no compromise. The friendship of the world is enmity with God.
Come out and be separate.
6
IMMANUEL’S LAND!
from D. A. Harsha’s book, “The Heavenly Token” (1856)
“I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
How full of consolation are the Holy Scriptures! They animate the Christian in his pilgrimage on earth; they point out the way of salvation through a crucified Jesus; they lead the ransomed sinner to the gates of the celestial city, and seat him amid the untold and inconceivable glories of Paradise! The Scriptures urge us to set our affections on the glories of the Christian’s eternal home. To those in whose hearts Christ is formed the hope of glory, how beautiful, how tender, how soul-reviving is the language of inspiration! It is written, “If you then are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
In compliance with the sacred command we shall endeavor, through divine assistance, to raise our thoughts to those scenes of bliss which the redeemed perpetually enjoy before the throne of God and the Lamb. We shall contemplate the place itself, where all the precious flock of Christ are to dwell through an endless day. In connection with this we shall notice a few of the powerful attractions of that blessed abode.
Heaven is a place as well as a state. Among the last words of our Redeemer before He left this valley of tears, we find this cheering declaration and promise, “I
–377–

go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” Precious words from a loving Friend! But follow Him to the land of promise. Christ has now gone to prepare that place for us! O what a place will Jesus prepare for His dear children! What a place will infinite love make! How attractive will it be! Well may we confess our utter inability to portray the regions of glory, and exclaim with an enraptured Apostle, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Language fails to describe the beauties of Immanuel’s land, and the human mind to conceive its blessedness. “All the glories of kingdoms, all the beauties of gardens, all the splendor of palaces, yes all the riches of creation, form but a faint sketch of the sublime original.” We cannot know what heaven really is until we enter into ‘the holy place’ and sit down under the shadow of the tree of life in the midst of the Paradise of God. Then shall we see in the light of glory that it is a happy region; a happy home indeed.
Heaven is a holy place where the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, unveils His glorious per- fections in full effulgence. In that blessed place, the Lamb of God, the Savior of sinners, dwells in His glori- fied humanity. There triumphant saints are gathered home to Christ. There they are made pillars in the temple of God and go no more out. There the host of heaven dwell in the blissful presence of the King of glory.
This blessed place should attract us. We should look beyond this present fleeting world. We should endeavor to raise our eyes to Canaan’s happy shores, and obtain a glimpse of those everlasting hills from where our help comes from. Let the Christian ascend the mount of
–378–

meditation, and by the help of God’s Word, survey those fair regions which lie beyond the Jordan of death.
“My soul, on Pisgah’s mount ascend, Where Moses once admiring stood. There view the promised land extend Beyond the swelling Jordan’s flood.”
What glorious prospects are presented to the Christian pilgrim when he, by faith, gazes on the heights of Mount Zion above! There stands the New Jerusalem, the city of our God, in dazzling glory. Through its golden streets the river of life rolls its bright waters; and on the banks of that crystal stream, grows luxuriantly the tree of life, loaded with the richest fruits. To those fountains of immortality the Lamb conducts His white-robed followers, and in tasting of joys the purest and noblest in feasting on the banquet of redeeming love, the saints spend the ages of glory.
On those ‘walls of jasper’ and ‘streets of gold’ the sunbeams are always shining; but no earthly sun illuminates the celestial city. The glory of God enlightens it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. Our Heavenly Father is there, and His glory is manifested there. Jesus our elder Brother is there and He is the center of heavenly attraction; of heavenly glory.
Heaven is a chosen spot; selected by Christ; prepared from the foundation of the world for the eternal abode of the righteous. To the heirs of immortality, Christ will at last pronounce this joyful invitation, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Thus a place is already prepared for the redeemed; a place rendered infinitely attractive by a display of divine power, wisdom, goodness, and love. The beauty of heaven should attract us. It is a place of perpetual
–379–

loveliness; a kingdom of unfading glory. The earthly Canaan had many attractions, but what was that to the heavenly? It is the Canaan above that is so glorious! It is that ‘pleasant land and goodly heritage’ which stretches beyond the swellings of Jordan, that is so attractive to the Christian. Every child of God longs to reach those bright shores of a purer climate, where everlasting glory bursts upon the weary pilgrim!
Respecting the earthly Canaan, Moses’ prayer was, ‘I pray you, let me go over and see that good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.’ How much more should every Christian earnestly strive and pray that ‘an entrance may be administered unto him abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.’
The earthly Paradise was a charming spot, where grew every tree that was pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden; and there issued a crystal stream to water the lovely region, and to fertilize a blooming world. How delightful to have dwelt in such a home as this. But Immanuel’s land, the everlasting home of God’s children, shines far more glorious than ever shone the earthly Paradise.
How consoling to think that every child of God shall finally be brought to that celestial world, to gaze with wondering eyes on its untold glories! What gratitude do we owe to God for providing such an inheritance for us! To Him we should continually raise our hearts in grateful songs of praise. We should call upon our souls and all that is within us to bless His holy name. We should exclaim with the Apostle, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fades not
–380–

away; reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Under many pleasing views, heaven is attractively set forth by the sacred writers. To accommodate their descriptions to our capacities they adopt various emblems, drawn from sublunary scenes. These figurative expressions but faintly exhibit the glory of the land of immortality. But they will suffice us for the present. Indeed, in our present state of existence, we could not possibly bear the full effulgence of that glory, which will burst upon the ransomed soul when mortality is swallowed up in life.

  1. Heaven is represented as a country, “a better country.” Of the Patriarchs it is said that they ‘sought a country,’ that they ‘desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.’ Heaven is that ‘pleasant land’ to which all Christian pilgrims are traveling. We are now in a wilderness world, where the winds of adversity blow upon us, and the tempests of sorrow sweep along our pathway. But this present world is not our home. Our march is heavenward, to the glorious land. Guided by the Captain of our salvation, we are coming up from the wilderness, and our feet shall soon stand on the glorious mount of God. Our conversation is in heaven, our future inheritance lies there, and we are looking on it as our eternal home. No wonder then that it should appear so attractive in our eyes. No wonder that we should long to behold the good land which is afar off.
    All true believers desire that ‘better country.’ They feel that they are strangers and pilgrims here. They look beyond this present world to those regions of perpetual delight where they expect to spend countless ages. The
    –381–

hope of salvation animates them in every earthly trial, and the promises of God’s Word elevate their view above this crumbling world. Their hearts overflow with joy unspeakable, and full of glory, when they are assured of the blessed truth that their eyes shall see the King of heaven in His beauty, and the celestial Canaan in its glory!
Heaven is a promised land. We are journeying unto the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give you.’ God’s Word is true. Every saint that has lived on earth shall be brought to this heavenly world, where Jesus reigns in all His glory. Cheer up then, you drooping saints! View that happy world where your Savior reigns, and where you are shortly to reign with Him!

  1. Heaven is described as a glorious city, a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. But who can perfectly paint the splendor of that city, whose light is the glory of God? ‘Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion.’ Where will you begin to enumerate the attractions of that celestial city, the abode of the redeemed? Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. We can gain but a glimpse of its glories now, in the light of God’s Word, but they will be seen and told through all eternity. With the eye of faith let us now view the city of our God, the New Jerusalem, set on Zion’s holy hill.
    How dazzling does it appear. Its walls of jasper, its gates of pearls, its streets of gold, the city itself ‘of pure gold like unto clear glass.’ When the splendor of ‘that great city, the holy Jerusalem,’ was manifested to the beloved John, rapt in heavenly vision on the isle of Patmos, he describes it as ‘having the glory of God, and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like
    –382–

unto clear glass. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every gate was of one pearl. The street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.’ How brightly shines the heavenly Jerusalem, irradiated by the glory of God! No city on earth ever shone like this!
Nineveh and Babylon, ‘the glory of kingdoms,’ were once splendid cities; but that City of Light, whose foundations were laid before earth rose from chaos; whose builder and maker is God Himself, far outshines them all in unutterable splendor. Yes, and when all earthly cities shall have been buried in everlasting ruin, when this terrestrial globe shall have passed away in one awful conflagration, the celestial city of Zion shall shine in eternal glory, while ransomed sinners walk on golden streets!
Let the Christian pilgrim who has set out from the city of Destruction to the city of Immanuel, often contemplate his glorious home. Attracted by its glory, let him look into it, and long to be among its shining inhabitants, who sound on golden harps the praises of redeeming love. Standing at the gates of the celestial city, let him gaze, with John Bunyan, on its splendor, as those pearly gates are opened wide to admit the transfigured pilgrims. “Now just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and behold the city shone like the sun; the streets, also, were paved with gold, and in them walked many men with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps to sing praises with. There were of those who had wings; and they answered one another without intermission, saying, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.’ And after that, they shut up the gates; which when I had seen, I wished myself among them.”
Of that city of glory, John declares, “I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the
–383–

temple of it.” There was a temple in the earthly Jerusalem, but there is none in the heavenly. Nor is any required there. Sweet, intimate communion with God and the Lamb will be enjoyed there without a medium. The glorious manifestation of the divine presence will forever dispense with the use of all means of communication between God and His people. Here we worship Him in earthly temples, by the means which He has appointed; but there we shall dwell in His immediate presence, and drink at the Fountain of Life!
The celestial city is so gloriously illuminated by the effulgence of God that it has no need of a natural luminary to shine in it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. The divine presence sheds such a radiance there that it lights up all heaven in everlasting glory. Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, shines there; and in His light we shall see light. Truly light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun. But no light is so sweet as this, and no sun so pleasant to behold as the Sun of Righteousness shining in His meridian splendor! In that celestial city, there shall be no night. Eternal day beams with unclouded splendor in the city of Immanuel. No natural or moral darkness shall ever overspread the landscape of glory. “Your sun shall no more go down, neither shall your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended.”
But look again at that celestial city. Emanating from God’s eternal throne, the river of life flows through its midst. “And he showed me a pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb.” The heavenly Jerusalem is enriched with ‘the river of God, which is full of water.’ This is the stream
–384–

that makes Immanuel’s land to bloom with immortal joys. This is the river of pleasure; the river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the most High. There, the inhabitants of Zion may bathe in the pure fountains of immortality, ‘close by the throne of God,’ and drink freely of those swelling streams of purest joy which flow through the realms of glory.
In the city of our God is the tree of life, of whose delicious fruit the saints eat, and under whose ambrosial bowers, they dwell in eternal repose, and celestial bliss. “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve kinds of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
There is much in the heavenly Jerusalem to attract you; many crowns of glory; many mansions of bliss; many songs of praise; much that the eye has never seen, the ear never heard, nor the human mind never conceived. Strive then to obtain an interest in Jesus, that you may ‘have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.’ How cheering is the promise of the Savior, “To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God!” Then fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, and you will come off more than a conqueror through Him who loved you and gave Himself for you.

  1. Heaven is represented as a glorious building, the building of God, the future happy home of the Christian. “For we know,” says the Apostle, “that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Confident of reaching this blessed home, the believer is enabled to exclaim
    –385–

with the Psalmist, “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Heaven is the eternal Father’s house, in which are many mansions; the home of the redeemed, where congregated nations sing the song of Moses and the Lamb.
When Christ would comfort His sorrowful disciples He sets forth heaven under the endearing emblem of a home; a Father’s house, adorned with many spacious mansions. “In My Father’s house, says the Savior, are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.” There is something peculiarly attractive in this description of heaven. How sweet is even an earthly home; but how endeared will be that home above, where we shall meet with our Heavenly Father, with our elder Brother, with our dear Christian friends, who went to glory before us; with the whole household of faith! In that house not made with hands, there are ‘many mansions’ for our enjoyment. There is ample room and provision for all God’s children in the upper sanctuary, everything to render them happy, unspeakably happy through all eternity!
May the reader so live in the faith of the gospel, that when his clay tabernacle is ready to crumble into dust, his immortal spirit, guided by the angels of God, may take its joyful flight to the mansions of glory, and dwell forever in those realms of bliss, where beauty smiles eternally, and pleasure never dies!
6
–386–

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s