Grace Gems Collection

Grace Gems Collection 2004

Grace Gems Collection 2004
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The text has been revised for contemporary readers.
2006 Sovereign Grace Treasures
http://www.lulu.com/gracetreasures
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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!
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UNTRIED, UNTRODDEN, AND UNKNOWN
Octavius Winslow, “The Untrodden Path” 1860
“You have not passed this way before.” Joshua 3:4
How solemn is the reflection that with a new cycle of time, commences a new and untrodden path with each traveler to Zion.
New events in his history will transpire;
new scenes in the panorama of life will unfold; new phases of character will develop;
new temptations will assail;
new duties will devolve;
new trials will be experienced;
new sorrows will be felt;
new friendships will be formed;
new mercies will be bestowed.
How truly may it be said of the pilgrim, journeying through the wilderness to his eternal home, as he stands upon the threshold of this untried period of his existence, pondering the unknown and uncertain future, “You have not passed this way before.”
But there is another thought inexpressibly soothing. Untried, untrodden, and unknown as that new path may be, each step is mapped and arranged, and provided for in the everlasting and unchangeable covenant of God. To Him who leads us, who accepts us in the Son of His love, who knows the end from the beginning, it is no new, or uncertain, or hidden way.
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We thank Him that, while He wisely and kindly veils all the future from our reach; all that future—its minutest event—is as transparent and visible to Him as the past.
Our Shepherd knows the windings along which He skillfully, gently, and safely leads His flock. Oh! it is a thought replete with strong consolation, and well calculated to gird us for the coming year—the Lord knows and has ordained each step of the untrodden path upon which I am about to enter!
The infinite forethought, wisdom, and goodness which have marked each line of our new path have also provided for its every necessity….
each exigency in the new year has been anticipated; each need will bring its appropriate and adequate supply; each perplexity will have its guidance;
each sorrow its comfort;
each temptation its shield;
each cloud its light;
each affliction will suggest its lesson;
each correction will impart its teaching;
each mercy will convey its message of love.
The promise will be fulfilled to the letter, “As your day so
shall your strength be.”
THIS IS A HARD SAYING! WHO CAN HEAR IT?
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of John”
“This is a hard saying! Who can hear it?” John 6:60
Murmurs and complaints of this kind are very common. It must never surprise us to hear them. They have been, they are, they will be, as long as the world stands.
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To some Christ’s sayings appear hard to understand. To others they appear hard to believe. And to others, harder still to obey.
It is just one of the many ways in which the natural corruption of man shows itself. So long as the heart is naturally….
proud,
worldly,
unbelieving, and
fond of self-indulgence and sin,
so long there will never be lacking people who will say of Christian doctrines and precepts, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Fallen man, in interpreting the Bible, has an unhappy aptitude for turning food into poison.
There is a melancholic anxiety in fallen man to put a carnal sense on Scriptural expressions, wherever he possibly can.
He struggles hard to make religion a matter…. of forms and ceremonies;
of doing and performing;
of sacraments and ordinances;
of sense and of sight.
He secretly dislikes that system of Christianity which makes the state of the heart the principal thing.
There is a tendency in many minds to attach an excessive importance to the outward and visible parts of religion. They seem to think that the sum and substance of Christianity consists in public ceremonies and forms, in appeals to the eye and ear, and bodily excitement.
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HAVE WE NOT LEANED UPON A THOUSAND THINGS?
J. C. Philpot, “The Laborer’s Rest” 1845
“Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?” Song 8:5
Have we not leaned upon a thousand things? And what have they proved? Broken reeds that have run into our hands, and pierced us!
Our own strength and resolutions; the world and the church; sinners and saints; friends and enemies—have they not all proved, more or less, broken reeds? The more we have leaned upon them, like a man leaning upon a sword, the more have they pierced our souls!
The Lord Himself has to wean us…. from leaning on the world, from leaning on friends,
from leaning on enemies,
from leaning on self,
in order to bring us to lean upon Himself.
And every prop He will remove, sooner or later, that we may lean wholly and solely upon Him.
SUPERABOUNDING GRACE
J. C. Philpot, “The Superaboundings of Grace over the Aboundings of Sin” 1862
“But where sin abounded, grace did abound much more exceedingly.” Romans 5:20
What are all the gilded toys of time compared with the solemn, weighty realities of eternity!
But, alas! what wretches are we when left to sin, self, and Satan! How unable to withstand the faintest breath of temptation! How bent upon backsliding!
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Who can fathom the depths of the human heart?
Oh, what but grace, superabounding grace, can either suit or save such wretches?
“But where sin abounded, grace did abound much more exceedingly.” Romans 5:20
UNLESS UPHELD BY A HEAVENLY ARM
Henry Law, “Psalms” 1878
“Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live.” Psalm 119:116
Our natural strength is utter feebleness.
Unless upheld by a heavenly arm, we cannot but fall.
A SIN THAT EATS LIKE A CANKER!
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Mark” 1857
“Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went away to the chief priests, that he might deliver Him to them.” Mark 14:10
See what lengths a man may go in a false profession of religion! It is impossible to conceive a more striking proof of this painful truth, than the history of Judas Iscariot. If ever there was a man who at one time looked like a true disciple of Christ, and bade fair to reach heaven, that man was Judas. He was chosen by the Lord Jesus Himself to be an apostle. He was privileged to be a companion of the Messiah, and an eyewitness of His mighty works, throughout His earthly ministry. He was an associate of Peter, James and John. He was sent forth to preach the kingdom of God, and to work miracles in Christ’s name. He was regarded by all the eleven apostles as one of
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themselves. He was so like his fellow disciples, that they did not suspect him of being a traitor.
And yet this very man turns out at last….
a false-hearted child of the devil;
departs entirely from the faith;
assists our Lord’s deadliest enemies,
and leaves the world with a worse reputation than
anyone since the days of Cain!
Never was there….
such a fall,
such an apostasy,
such a miserable end to a fair beginning, such a total eclipse of a soul!
And how can this amazing conduct of Judas be accounted for? There is only one answer to that question. “The love of money” was the cause of this unhappy man’s ruin. That same groveling covetousness, which enslaved the heart of Balaam, and brought on Gehazi a leprosy, was the destruction of Iscariot’s soul. The Holy Spirit declares plainly “he was a thief.” And his case stands before the world as an eternal comment on the solemn words, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”
Let us learn from this melancholy history of Judas, to be “clothed with humility,” and to be content with nothing short of the grace of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
Knowledge,
gifts,
profession, privileges,
church membership, power of preaching, praying, and
talking about religion,
are all useless things, if our hearts are not converted.
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They will not deliver us from hell.
Above all, let us remember our Lord’s caution, to “beware of covetousness.” It is a sin that eats like a canker, and once admitted into our hearts, may lead us finally into every wickedness.
Let us pray to be “content with such things as we have.” The possession of money is not the one thing needful. Riches entail great peril on the souls of those who have them. The true Christian ought to be far more afraid of being rich than of being poor.
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THE REFUGE!
by Newman Hall
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my rock, in whom I will take refuge. My shield and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.” Psalm 18:2
The desert is dreary. The way is long.
Heavily burdened, a weary traveler slowly drags onward his wounded feet.
Faint by reason of the fiery blaze which smites him from the unclouded sky and the scorching sand, he eagerly looks around for shelter. He pants for even the muddiest pool where he may quench his raging thirst.
In such “a weary land,” how welcome “the shadow of a great rock,” and the clear, cool fountain gushing up within its rugged clefts! But where can such a refuge be found for the soul; weary with wandering, crushed by care, groaning under guilt? Where can….
its burden be taken off,
its sorrows soothed,
its mighty thirst assuaged?
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“A man shall be as a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as streams of water in a dry place, as the shade of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:2
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WHAT WE WERE, AND WHAT WE NOW ARE!
From the letters of Mary Winslow
My heart is often overwhelmed at the thought of His avowing such a worthless worm as myself as one of His sheep for whom He shed His precious blood. Dear friend, let us never for a moment forget what we were, and what we now are!
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THE WEATHER
Henry Law, “Psalms” 1878
“Who causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth; Who makes lightnings with the rain; Who brings forth the wind out of His treasuries.” Psalm 135:7
The wild elements seem to unenlightened observation to act capriciously and without control. But His power holds them fast bound in His hands.
No clouds arise,
no lightning flashes,
no rain descends,
no wind blows furiously,
but in accordance with His sovereign will.
Let us bless God for His unbounded rule.
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IT CHANGES THE TASTES
Hannah More, “Christianity, a Practical Principle”
The finest ‘theory’ never yet carried any man to heaven.
Christianity is not a religion of ‘notions which occupy the mind’ without filling the heart. Such a religion is not that which Christ came to teach mankind.
All the doctrines of the Gospel are practical principles.
The Word of God was not written that Christians might merely obtain right views and possess just notions.
Christianity is something more than…. mere correctness of intellect, justness of thought, and
exactness of judgment.
It is a life giving principle.
It must be infused into the life as well as govern in the understanding. It must regulate the will as well as direct the creed. It must not only cast the opinions into a right frame, but the heart into a new mold.
Christianity is a transforming as well as a penetrating principle. It changes the tastes, gives activity to the inclina- tions, and, together with a new heart, produces a new life.
In principles,
in tempers,
in fervent desires,
in holy endeavors,
consists the very essence of Christian duty.
We cannot be said to be real Christians until Christianity becomes our animating motive, our predominating principle and pursuit; as much as worldly things are the predominating motive, principle, and pursuit of worldly men.
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THE GATE OF DEATH AND THE GATE OF GLORY ARE ONE!
John MacDuff, “Meditations on the Glories of Heaven”
“TODAY you will be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 The same moment in which I close my eyes on a world
of sin and suffering, I open them in glory!
The gate of death and the gate of glory are one!
The uncaged spirit will all at once fly upwards to nestle in the golden eaves of Heaven!
Let me look forward, then, with bounding heart, to the hour of death, as the hour of my entrance into endless bliss; the birthday of eternity!
Oh, if there was “joy in heaven among the angels of God” at the hour of conversion, what will it be at the hour of glorification!
If God the Father even on earth has joy in seeing His returning prodigal; what will it be when He welcomes him to his everlasting home!
“He will rejoice over him with joy; He will rest in His love; He will rejoice over him with singing!” Zeph. 3:17.
The Redeemer utters His intercessory prayer over the deathbed on earth, “Father, I will that this one whom You have given Me be with Me where I am, to behold My glory.”
The prayer is heard; the angels are sent down; and, swift as lightning leaps from the cloud, THAT HOUR, and forever, he is “with Jesus in paradise!”
“TODAY you will be with Me in paradise.”
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THE WAY IN WHICH THE SPIRIT OF GOD WORKS
J. C. Philpot, “Spiritual Times and Seasons” 1841
As pride rises, it must be broken down.
As self-righteousness starts up, it must be brought low.
As the wisdom of the creature exalts itself against the wisdom of God, it must be laid prostrate.
The way in which the Spirit of God works is to lay the creature low, by bringing it into nothingness, and crushing it into self-abasement and self-loathing, so as to press out of it everything on which the creature can depend.
Like a surgeon, who will run his lancet into the abscess, and let out the gory matter, in order to effect a thorough cure; so the Spirit of the Lord thrusting His sharp sword into the heart, lets out the inward corruption, and never heals the wound until He has thoroughly probed it.
And when He has laid bare the heart, He heals it by pouring in the balmy blood of Jesus, as that which, by its application, cleanses from all sin.
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THE SILKWORM
Spurgeon, “The Deep-seated Character of Sin”
Nothing is more pleasing to human nature than the attempt to do something by which it may merit salvation at the hand of God.
Man is much like a silkworm—he is a spinner and weaver by nature.
A robe of righteousness is wrought out for him, but he will not have it. He will spin for himself, and like the
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silkworm, he spins, and spins, and he only spins himself a shroud.
All the righteousness that a sinner can make will only be a shroud in which to wrap up his soul, his destroyed soul, for God will cast him away who relies upon his works.
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THE GOOD SHEPHERD
J. C. Ryle
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd; I know My own, and I’m known by My own.” John 10:11,14
Like a Good Shepherd, Christ knows all His believing people….
their names,
their families,
their dwelling places, their circumstances, their private history, their experience, their trials;
with all these things Jesus is perfectly acquainted. There is not a thing about the least and lowest of them with which He is not familiar. The children of this world may not know Christians, and may count their lives folly; but the Good Shepherd knows them thoroughly, and, wonderful to say, though He knows them, does not despise them.
Like a Good Shepherd, Christ cares tenderly for all His believing people. He provides for all their needs in the wilderness of this world, and leads them by the right way to a city of habitation. He bears patiently with their many weaknesses and infirmities, and does not cast
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them off because they are wayward, erring, sick, footsore, or lame. He guards and protects them against all their enemies; and of those that the Father has given Him He will be found at last to have lost none.
Like a Good Shepherd, Christ lays down His life for the sheep. He did it once for all, when He was crucified for them. When He saw that nothing could deliver them from hell and the devil, but His blood, He willingly made His soul an offering for their sins. The merit of that death He is now presenting before the Father’s throne. The sheep are saved forever, because the Good Shepherd died for them.
This is indeed a love that passes knowledge!
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THE SOVEREIGN RULER OF THE WORLD!
Jonathan Edwards, “The Final Judgment”
Wicked men question the very existence of God, who takes care of the world, who orders the affairs of it, and judges in it. And therefore they cast off the fear of God. Yet at the conclusion of the world He shall make His dominion visible to all, so that even those who have denied Him shall find, that God is their supreme Lord, and Lord of the whole world! The blasphemies of the ungodly will be forever put to silence.
God is the sovereign ruler of the world!
He governs the sun, moon, and stars. He governs even the motes of dust which fly in the air. Not a hair of our heads falls to the ground without our heavenly Father.
God also governs the brute creatures. By His providence, He orders, according to His own decrees, all events concerning those creatures.
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And rational creatures are subject to His government. All their actions, and all events relating to them, are being ordered by superior providence, according to absolute decrees, so that no event that relates to them ever happens without the disposal of God, according to His own decrees.
God exercises the most sovereign dominion over the earth. He reigns and does all things according to His own will, ordering all events as seems good to Himself.
God is the sovereign ruler of the world!
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THE IDOL SELF MUST BE DETHRONED!
Thomas Reade, “Christian Experience”
Those who understand the nature of the Gospel, and live under its power, can enter into its blessed design. All its doctrines, precepts, and promises, are calculated….
to abase the pride of man, to exalt the glory of Christ, to reveal….
the malignity of sin, the beauty of holiness, the vanity of the world, the bliss of heaven;
to show the sinner his utter helplessness, to reveal to Jesus an all sufficient Savior.
Pride wants its share of merit in the work of redemption, but Truth levels the proud pretension in the dust.
Proud man must be humbled, the idol SELF must be
dethroned!
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THE HEART OF GOD’S CHILD
J. C. Philpot, “The Heir of Heaven Walking in Darkness, and the Heir of Hell Walking in Light”
There is much….
presumption,
pride,
hypocrisy,
deceit,
delusion,
formality,
superstition and self-righteousness
to be purged out of the heart of God’s child.
But all these things….
keep him low,
mar his pride,
crush his self-righteousness,
cut the locks of his presumption,
stain his self-conceit,
stop his boasting,
preserve him from despising others,
make him take the lowest place,
teach him to esteem others better than himself, drive him to earnest prayer,
fit him as an object of mercy,
break to pieces his free will, and
lay him low at the feet of the Redeemer, as one to be saved by
sovereign grace alone!
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THE BELIEVER’S CHIEF TROUBLES
J. C. Philpot, “The Golden Chain of Tribulation and Love”
As earth is but a valley of tears, the Christian has many tribulations in common with the world. Family troubles were the lot of Job, Abraham, Jacob and David. Sickness
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befell Hezekiah, Trophimus and Epaphroditus. Reverses and losses fell upon Job. Poverty and famine drove Naomi into the land of Moab.
Trouble, then, is in itself no sign of grace; for it inevitably flows from, and is necessarily connected with, man’s fallen state.
But we should fix our eye on two things, as especially marking the temporal afflictions of the Lord’s family:

  1. That they are all weighed out and timed by special appointment. For though “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards,” yet “affliction comes not forth of the dust, neither does trouble spring out of the ground.” Job 5:6
  2. That they are specially sanctified, and made to “work together for good” to those who love God.
    But the believer’s chief troubles are internal, and arise from….
    the assaults of Satan,
    powerful temptations,
    the guilt of sin laid on the conscience,
    doubts and fears about a saving interest in Christ, and a daily, hourly conflict with a nature ever lusting
    to evil.
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    JOB’S RELIGION
    J. C. Philpot
    “Oh that I knew where I might find Him!” Job 23:3
    What a mere shallow pretense to vital godliness satisfies most ministers, most hearers, and most congregations!
    But there was a reality in Job’s religion.
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It was not of a flimsy, notional, superficial nature. It was not merely a sound Calvinistic creed, and nothing more. It was not a religion of theory and speculation, nor a well-compacted system of doctrines and duties. There was something deeper, something more divine in Job’s religion than any such mere pretense, delusion, imitation, or hypocrisy.
And if our religion be of the right kind, there will be something deeper in it, something more powerful, spiritual, and supernatural, than notions and doctrines, theories and speculations, merely passing to and fro in our minds, however scriptural and correct.
There will be a divine reality in it, if God the Spirit be the author of it. And there will be no trifling with the solemn things of God, and with our own immortal souls.
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GUILTY, WEAK, HELPLESS, IGNORANT, NAKED AND FILTHY
John Kershaw, “Spiritual Blessings in Christ” 1848
The Lord brings His people to know that in His solemn presence they are altogether as an unclean thing, and that all their doings and righteousness are as filthy rags.
We shall never find anything in ourselves but…. sin and weakness,
unworthiness and unprofitableness.
As all the fullness of grace and salvation is treasured up in the Lord Jesus Christ; there must be corresponding weakness, emptiness and unprofitableness felt in us.
When the sinner is brought to feel his spiritual destitution, wretchedness, guilt and misery; when he finds that the world cannot afford him any help; and that he cannot help himself; when all creature refuge
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fails him; when all the streams of earthly comfort dry up, and they are proved to be broken cisterns that can hold no water; then it is that he comes and falls prostrate before the Lord at His blessed feet.
Those who come to Him….
guilty,
weak,
helpless,
ignorant,
naked and
filthy, without money and without price,
He will never cast out.
He knows your destitution, poverty and every spiritual blessing you stand in need of; and the supply is all treasured up in Himself, that you may receive grace upon grace.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Ephes. 1:3
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THE WORLD PASSES AWAY, AND THE LUST THEREOF
J. C. Philpot, “The Love of the World and the Love of God” “The world passes away, and the lust thereof.” 1 John 2:17
The world and all that is in it comes to an end. Where are the great bulk of the men and women who fifty, sixty, or seventy years ago trod London streets? Where are they who rode about in their gay carriages, gave their splendid entertainments, decked themselves with feathers and jewels, and enjoyed all the pleasures of life?
Where are they?
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The grave holds their bodies, and hell holds their souls.
“The world passes away.” It is like a pageant, or a gay and splendid procession, which passes before the eye for a few minutes, then turns the corner of the street, and is lost to view. It is now to you who had looked upon it just as if it were not, and is gone to amuse other eyes.
So, could you go on for years….
enjoying all your natural heart could wish; lay up money by thousands;
ride in your carriage;
deck your body with jewelry;
fill your house with splendid furniture; enjoy everything that earth can give;
then there would come, some day or other, sickness to lay you upon a dying bed. To you the world has now passed away with all its lusts; with you all is now come to an end; and now you have, with a guilty soul, to face a holy God.
“The world passes away, and the lust thereof.”
All these lusts for which men have sold body and soul, half ruined their families, and stained their own name; all these lusts for which they were so mad that they would have them at any price, snatch them even from hell’s mouth; all these lusts are passed away, and what have they left? A gnawing worm; a worm that can never die, and the wrath of God as an unquenchable fire.
That is all that the love of the world can do for you, with all your toil and anxiety, or all your amusement and pleasure.
You have not gained much perhaps of this world’s goods, with all your striving after them. But could the world fill your heart with enjoyment, and your money bags with gold, as the dust of the grave will one day fill
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your mouth, it would be much to the same purpose. If you had got all the world, you would have got nothing after your coffin was screwed down, but grave dust in your mouth.
Such is the end of the world.
“The world passes away, and the lust thereof.”
DEATH is the great and final extinguisher of all human hopes and pleasures. Look and see how man sickens and dies, and is tumbled into the cemetery, where his body is left to the worms, and his soul to face an angry God, on the great judgment day.
“The world passes away, and the lust thereof.”
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MANY SORROWS NOW; MANY SORROWS FOREVER!
Henry Law, “Psalms”
“Many sorrows shall be to the wicked, But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.” Psalm 32:10
Many sorrows now; many sorrows forever, must be the sinner’s doom.
The mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
Justice demands it.
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A GRACE THAT ALL CAN UNDERSTAND
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858
If there is one feature in Jesus’ character more notable
than another, it is His unwearied kindness and love.
Let us, like Him, show kindness to everyone with whom we have to do. Let us strive to have….
an eye ready to see, a hand ready to help,
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a heart ready to feel, and
a will ready to do good to all.
Let us be ready to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. This is one way to recommend our religion, and make it beautiful before men.
Kindness is a grace that all can understand.
Kindness is one way to be like our blessed Savior.
Kindness is one way to be happy in the world.
Kindness always brings its own reward.
The kind person will seldom be without friends. 7
WEARY?
J. C. Philpot, “The Laborer’s Rest” 1845
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
The Lord’s purpose in laying burdens upon us is to weary us out. We cannot learn our religion in any other way. We cannot learn it from the Bible, nor from the experience of others. It must be a personal work, wrought in the heart of each; and we must be brought, all of us, if ever we are to find rest in Christ, to be absolutely wearied out of sin and self, and to have no righteousness, goodness, or holiness of our own.
The effect, then, of all spiritual labor is to bring us to this point—to be weary of the world, for we feel it, for the most part, to be a valley of tears; to be weary of self, for it is our greatest plague; weary of professors, for we cannot see in them the grace of God, which alone we prize and value; weary of the profane, for their ungodly conversation only hurts our minds; weary of our bodies,
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for they are often full of sickness and pain, and always clogs to our soul; and weary of life, for we see the emptiness of those things which to most people make life so agreeable.
By this painful experience we come to this point: to be worn out and wearied; and there we must come, before we can rest entirely on Christ.
As long as we can rest in the world, we shall rest in it. As long as the things of time and sense can gratify us, we shall be gratified in them. As long as we can find anything pleasing in self, we shall be pleased with it. As long as anything visible and tangible can satisfy us, we shall be satisfied with them.
But when we get weary of all things visible, tangible, and sensible—weary of ourselves, and of all things here below—then we want to rest upon Christ, and Christ alone.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
THE WORLD
Henry Law, “Gleanings from the Book of Life” The world forges chains to bind its captives.
The world is confessedly the enemy of God—“The friendship of the world is enmity with God.”
The exhortation is clear, “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
The power of this tyrant is mainly in its fascinating arts.
The world coaxes, it entices, it allures. –26–
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The world presents attractive baits.
The world shows its votaries decked in enchanting guise.
The world presents goblets filled to the brim with intoxicating draughts.
The world points to the merry laugh and noisy revelries of its infatuated crowds.
The world uses ridicule and scorn to deter those who venture to prefer another path.
Frightful are its triumphs!
How many have fallen slain at its feet!
How many throng the cells of hell, enticed and ruined by its fascinations!
From this enemy Jesus makes the believer free. He sends His Holy Spirit, and then the enslaving chain is broken.
He tears the deceiving mask from the world’s features, and shows its native hideousness.
He exposes….
its hollow insipidity,
its utter emptiness,
its thorough insufficiency to give real peace.
The believer sees that all its ways lead to disappointment and to shame.
He mourns the folly of ever yielding to its poor
fallacies.
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YOUR CHILDREN
Mary Winslow
“Unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way.” Luke 13:3
Did you but see your children standing on the edge of an awful precipice, and know that none but God could prevent their destruction, would you not cry day and night to Him? What can be compared to the eternal death that awaits them, if they die unconverted? Will you not
pray, that your dear children may escape from the wrath to come? In proportion as you feel the infinite value of their immortal souls, you shall feel anxious for their salvation.
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OH, HOW RELIGIOUS HE ONCE USED TO BE!
J. C. Philpot, “The Lost Sought and Saved” 1851
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was LOST.” Luke 19:10
Oh, how religious he once used to be!
How comfortably he could walk to church with his Bible under his arm, and look as devout and holy as possible! How regularly also, he could read the Scriptures, and pray in his manner, and think himself pretty well, with one foot in heaven.
But a ray of heavenly light has beamed into his soul, and shown him who and what God is; what sin and a sinful heart is; and who and what he himself as a sinner is. The keen dissecting knife of God has come into his heart, laid it all bare, and let the gory matter flow out. When his conscience is bleeding under the scalpel, and is streaming all over with the gore and filth thus let out, where is the clean heart once boasted of?
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Where is his religion now?
All buried beneath a load of filth!
Where is all his holiness gone? His…. holy looks,
holy expressions,
holy manners,
holy gestures,
holy garb;
where are they all gone?
All are flooded and buried. The sewer has broken out, and the filthy stream has discharged itself over his holy looks, holy manners, holy words and holy gestures; and he is, as Job says, ‘in the ditch.’
We never find the right religion, until we have lost the wrong one. We never find Christ, until we have lost SELF. We never find grace, until we have lost our own pitiful self-holiness.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
IT IS A CREATURE OF MANY LIVES!
J. C. Philpot, “The Lost Sought and Saved” 1851
Man is a strange compound. A sinner, and the worst of sinners, and yet a Pharisee!
A wretch, and the vilest of wretches, and yet pluming himself on his good works!
Did not experience convince us to the contrary, we would scarcely believe that a monster like man, a creature, as someone has justly said, “half beast and half devil,” should dream of pleasing God by his obedience, or of climbing up to heaven by a ladder of his own righteousness.
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Pharisaism is firmly fixed in the human heart.
Deep is the root,
broad the stem,
wide the branches,
but poisonous the fruit,
of this gigantic tree, planted by pride and unbelief in the soil of human nature.
Self-righteousness is not peculiar to only certain individuals. It is interwoven with our very being. It is the only religion that human nature….
understands, relishes, or admires.
Again and again must the heart be ploughed up, and its corruptions laid bare, to keep down the growth of this pharisaic spirit.
It is a creature of many lives! It is not one blow, nor ten, nor a hundred that can kill it. Stunned it may be for a while, but it revives again and again!
Pharisaism can live and thrive under any profession.
Calvinism or Arminianism is the same to it. It is not the garb he wears, nor the mask he carries, that
constitutes the man.
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A RELIGION THAT SATISFIES THOUSANDS.
Philpot, “The Cry of Jonah out of the Belly of Hell”
“Having a form of godliness but denying the power.” 2 Timothy 3:5
Much that passes for religion, is not true religion at all.
Much that goes for hopes of salvation, is nothing but lying refuges.
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Much is palmed off for the teaching of the Spirit, which is nothing but delusion.
Vital godliness is very rare.
There are very few people spiritually taught of God.
There are very few ministers who really preach the truth.
Satan is thus daily deceiving thousands, and tens of thousands.
A living soul, however weak and feeble in himself, cannot take up with a religion in the flesh.
He cannot rest on the opinions of men, nor be deceived by Satan’s delusions. He has a secret gnawing of conscience, which makes him dissatisfied with a religion that satisfies thousands.
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UNSEEN, AND UNSUSPECTED?
Thomas Reade, “The Evil of Pride”
Pride is a principle deeply rooted in our fallen nature, and which nothing but the Holy Spirit can eradicate.
Pride, assuming every form, either worldly or religious, can go with us into the sanctuary!
Like a subtle poison, it can insinuate itself into our prayers and praises.
Unseen, and unsuspected, it mars our best duties, and creates that ‘self admiration’; that desire for human applause; which corrupts the heart, and steals it away from God.
“O blessed Jesus, what need have I to look unto You for grace and strength. Save me from pride and vainglory. Often do I feel and lament their baneful influence. If I
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speak for You, O, how does the poison work unseen by every eye but Yours! As You alone can behold this hidden evil of the heart, so in mercy destroy its influence. To You, blessed Savior, do I look. You know what is in me. Your eyes are on all my ways. Oh! wash me in the cleansing fountain of Your precious blood. Purge me from this foul stain of corrupted nature. Make me truly humble and abased before You. Purify my soul, then shall I become as a little child in simplicity, teachableness, and humility. The work is all Your own. To You be all the praise.”
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THEN DOWN THEY SINK TO THE BOTTOM!
Philpot, “The Blessedness of Divine Chastening”
“Until the pit is dug for the wicked.” Psalm 94:13
In Eastern countries, the ordinary mode of catching wild beasts is to dig a pit, and fix sharp spears in the bottom. And when the pit has been dug sufficiently deep, it is covered over with branches of trees, earth, and leaves, until all appearances of the pitfall are entirely concealed. What is the object? That the wild beast intent upon bloodshed—the tiger lying in wait for the deer, the wolf roaming after the sheep, the lion prowling for the antelope, not seeing the pitfall, but rushing on and over it, may not see their doom until they break through and fall upon the spears at the bottom.
What a striking figure is this!
Here are the ungodly, all intent upon their purposes; prowling after evil, as the wolf after the sheep, or the tiger after the deer, thinking only of….
some worldly profit, some covetous plan,
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some lustful scheme,
something the carnal mind delights in;
but on they go, not seeing any danger until the moment comes when, as Job says, “they go down to the bars of the pit.”
The Lord has been pleased to hide their doom from them. The pit is all covered over with leaves of trees, grass, and earth. The very appearance of the pit was hidden from the wild beasts; they never knew it until they fell into it, and were transfixed.
So it is with the wicked; both with religious professors and the profane. There is no fear of God, no taking heed to their steps, no cry to be directed, no prayer to be shown the way; no pausing, no turning back. On they go, on they go; heedlessly, thoughtlessly, recklessly; pursuing some beloved object. On they go, on they go; until in a moment they are plunged eternally and irrevocably into the pit!
There are many such both in the professing church as well as in the ungodly world. The Lord sees what they are, and where they are. He knows where the pit is. He knows their steps. He sees them hurrying on, hurrying on, hurrying on. All is prepared for them. The Lord gives them….
no forewarning,
no notice of their danger, no teachings,
no chastenings,
no remonstrances,
no frowns,
no stripes.
They are left to themselves to fill up the measure of their iniquity, until they approach the pit that has been dug for them, and then down they sink to the bottom!
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WALKING DIRT?
Charles Spurgeon
The more grace we have, the less we shall think of ourselves; for grace, like light, reveals our impurity. At best, we are….
but clay, animated dust, mere walking dirt.
But viewed as sinners, we are monsters indeed.
Let it be published in heaven as a wonder, that the Lord Jesus should set His heart’s love upon such as we are!
THE GREAT SECRET
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“Without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Oh, that each Christian would but realize this truth— that simpler, closer, more experimental views of Jesus would essentially strengthen the tone of inward spirituality and comfort!
The great secret of all comfort in seasons of affliction, is to take the affliction, as it comes, simply to Christ.
And the great secret of all holiness is to take the corruption, as it rises, simply to Christ.
It is this living upon Christ for all he needs, this going to Christ under all circumstances, and at all seasons, which forms the happy and holy life of a child of God.
Christ must be all in all to him. Friends, domestic comforts, church privileges, means of grace; nothing must suffice for Jesus.
And why does the Lord so frequently discipline the
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soul? Why remove friends, why blight domestic comforts? Oh, why? but to open a way through which He Himself might enter the believer, and convince that lonely, bereaved, and desolate heart, that He is a substitute for everything, while nothing shall ever be a substitute for Him.
He will have the supreme affection of His people; they shall find their all in Him. And to this end He sends afflictions, crosses, and disappointments—to wean them from their idols and draw them to Himself.
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WHO CAN COME OUT OF THE BATTLE ALIVE?
J. C. Philpot, “The Word of God’s Grace” 1846 “Hold me up, and I shall be safe!” Psalm 119:117
We know little of ourselves, and less of one another. We do not know….
our own needs,
what is for our good, what snares to avoid, what dangers to shun.
Our path is….
bestrewed with difficulties,
beset with temptations, surrounded with foes, encompassed with perils.
At every step there is a snare! At every turn an enemy lurks!
Pride digs the pit,
carelessness blindfolds the eyes,
carnality drugs and intoxicates the senses,
the lust of the flesh seduces,
the love of the world allures,
unbelief paralyzes the fighting hand and the praying knee,
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sin entangles the feet,
guilt defiles the conscience, and Satan accuses the soul.
Under these circumstances, who can come out of the battle alive? Only he who is kept by the mighty power of God. “Hold me up, and I shall be safe!”
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MERCY!
J. C. Philpot, “The Lord’s Merciful Look Upon His People”
“Look upon me, and be merciful unto me.” Psalm 119:132 When shall we ever get beyond the need of God’s
mercy?
We feel our need of continual mercy….
as our sins abound,
as our guilt is felt,
as our corruption works,
as our conscience is burdened,
as the iniquities of our heart are laid bare,
as our hearts are opened up in the Spirit’s light.
We need….
mercy for every adulterous look;
mercy for every covetous thought;
mercy for every light and trifling word;
mercy for every wicked movement of our depraved
hearts;
mercy while we live;
mercy when we die;
mercy to accompany us every moment;
mercy to go with us down to the portals of the grave; mercy to carry us safely through the swellings of
Jordan;
mercy to land us safe before the Redeemer’s throne!
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“Look upon me, and be merciful unto me.”
Why me?
Because I am so vile a sinner.
Because I am so base a backslider.
Because I am such a daring transgressor.
Because I sin against You with every breath that I draw. Because the evils of my heart are perpetually
manifesting themselves.
Because nothing but Your mercy can blot out such
iniquities as I feel working in my carnal mind.
I need….
inexhaustible mercy, everlasting mercy, super-abounding mercy.
Nothing but such mercy as this can suit such a guilty
sinner!
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THE GREAT DESIGN OF GOD
Thomas Reade, “The Believer’s Path to Glory”
It is one of the Lord’s dealings with His beloved children, to make them feel….
their weakness and His power;
their pollution and His holiness;
their nothingness and His all sufficiency.
The more we are brought under the teachings of the Holy Spirit, the more we shall find the truth of this remark.
It is the great design of God….
to humble our naturally proud hearts,
to bring down our naturally self-righteous spirit, to root out our naturally idolatrous affections.
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A FLOWERY PATH?
J. C. Philpot, “Treasures of Darkness” 1853
Does the road to heaven lie across a smooth, grassy meadow, over which we may quietly walk in the cool of a summer evening, and leisurely amuse ourselves with gathering of flowers and listening to the warbling of the birds?
No child of God ever found the way to heaven a flowery path. It is the wide gate and broad way which leads to perdition. It is the strait gate and narrow way, the uphill road, full of….
difficulties, trials, temptations, and enemies,
which leads to heaven, and issues in eternal life.
But our Father manifests mercy and grace. He never leaves nor forsakes the objects of His choice. He….
fulfills every promise,
defeats every enemy,
appears in every difficulty,
richly pardons every sin,
graciously heals every backsliding,
and eventually lands them in eternal bliss!
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AN APPLE IN EXCHANGE FOR A PARADISE!
Thomas Brooks, “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” 1652
“That no advantage may be gained over us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11
Satan has….
snares for the wise, and snares for the simple; snares for hypocrites, and snares for the upright;
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snares for generous souls, and snares for timorous souls;
snares for the rich, and snares for the poor; snares for the aged, and snares for youth.
Happy are those souls that are not taken and held in the snares that he has laid!
Satan’s first device to draw the soul into sin is….
to present the bait, and hide the hook;
to present the golden cup, and hide the poison;
to present the sweet, the pleasure, and the profit that may flow in upon the soul by yielding to sin, and by
hiding from the soul the wrath and misery that will certainly follow the committing of sin.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5
Your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods! Here is the bait, the sweet, the pleasure, the profit. Oh, but he hides the hook—the shame, the wrath, and the loss that would certainly follow!
Thus Satan cheats them; giving them an apple in exchange for a paradise!
Satan tempts us by his golden baits, and then he leads us and leaves us in a fool’s paradise.
He promises the soul honor, pleasure, profit; but pays the soul with the greatest contempt, shame, and loss
that can be.
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THE LAST DREG OF WRATH!
Henry Law, “Christ is All” 1854
Jesus crowns Himself with thorns, that He may crown His people with glory!
He is made a curse for us! The sword of vengeance to the very hilt is sheathed in His breast!
The last dreg of wrath is drained by Him! Not one drop remains for His people!
BUT OH, THE STRUGGLE! OH, THE CONFLICT!
J. C. Philpot, “The Threefold Overthrow of Self”
“I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more.” Ezekiel 21:27
Jesus wants our hearts and affections. Therefore every idol must go down, sooner or later, because the idol draws away the affections of the soul from Christ. Everything that is loved in opposition to Him must sooner or later be taken away, that the Lord Jesus alone may be worshiped. Everything which exacts the allegiance of the soul must be overthrown.
Jesus shall have our heart and affections, but in having our heart and affection, He shall have it wholly, solely, and undividedly. He shall have it entirely for Himself.
He shall reign and rule supreme.
Now, here comes the conflict and the struggle. SELF says, “I will have a part.” Self wants to be….
honored, admired, esteemed, bowed down to.
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Self wants to indulge in, and gratify its desires. Self wants, in some way, to erect its throne in opposition to the Lord of life and glory.
But Jesus says, “No! I must reign supreme!”
Whatever it is that stands up in opposition to Him, down it must go! Just as Dagon fell down before the ark, so self must fall down before Christ….
in every shape,
in every form,
in whatever subtle guise self wears,
down it must come to a wreck and ruin before the King of Zion!
So, if we are continually building up SELF, Jesus will be continually overthrowing self.
If we are setting up our idols, He shall be casting them down.
If we are continually hewing out “cisterns that can hold no water,” He will be continually dashing these cisterns to pieces.
If we think highly of our knowledge, we must be reduced to total folly.
If we are confident of our strength, we must be reduced to utter weakness.
If we highly esteem our attainments, or in any measure are resting upon the power of the creature, the power of the creature must be overthrown, so that we shall stand weak before God, unable to lift up a finger to deliver our souls from going down into the pit.
In this way does the Lord teach His people the lesson that Christ must be all in all. They learn….
not in the way of speculation,
nor in the way of mere dry doctrine,
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not from the mouth of others,
but they learn these lessons in painful soul-experience.
And every living soul that is sighing and longing after a manifestation of Christ and desiring to have Him enthroned in the heart; every such soul will know, sooner or later….
an utter overthrow of self,
a thorough prostration of this idol,
a complete breaking to pieces of this beloved image,
that the desire of the righteous may be granted, and that Christ may reign and rule as King and Lord in him and over him, setting up His blessed kingdom there, and winning to Himself every affection of the renewed heart.
Are there not moments, friends, are there not some few and fleeting moments when the desire of our souls is that Christ should be our Lord and God; when we are willing that He should have every affection; that every rebellious thought should be subdued and brought into obedience to the cross of Christ; that every plan should be frustrated which is not for the glory of God and our soul’s spiritual profit?
Are there not seasons in our experience when we can lay down our souls before God, and say “Let Christ be precious to my soul, let Him come with power to my heart, let Him set up His throne as Lord and King, and let self be nothing before Him?” But oh, the struggle! oh, the conflict! when God answers these petitions!
When our plans are frustrated, what a rebellion works up in the carnal mind!
When self is cast down, what a rising up of the fretful, peevish impatience of the creature!
When the Lord does answer our prayers, and strips off all false confidence; when He does remove our rotten
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props, and dash to pieces our broken cisterns, what a storm; what a conflict takes place in the soul!
But He is not to be moved; He will take His own way. “I will overturn, let the creature say what it will. I will overturn, let the creature think what it will. Down it shall go to ruin! It shall come to a wreck! It shall be overthrown! My purpose shall be accomplished, and I will fulfill all My pleasure. Self is a rebel who has set up an idolatrous temple, and I will overturn and bring the temple to ruin, for the purpose of manifesting My glory and My salvation, that I may be your Lord and your God.”
If God has overturned our bright prospects, shall we say it was a cruel hand that laid them low?
If He has overthrown our worldly plans, shall we say it was an unkind act?
If He has reduced our false righteousness to a heap of rubbish, in order that Christ may be embraced as our all in all, shall we say it was a cruel deed?
Is he an unkind father who takes away poison from his child, and gives him food? Is she a cruel mother who snatches her boy from the precipice on which he was playing? No! The kindness was manifested in the act of snatching the child from destruction!
So if the Lord has broken and overthrown our purposes, it was a kind act; for in so doing He brings us to nothing, that Christ may be embraced as our all in all, that our hearts may echo back, “O Lord, fulfill all Your own promises in our souls, and make us willing to be nothing; that upon the nothingness of self, the glory and beauty and preciousness of Christ may be exalted!”
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A SNAKE, A MONKEY, AN ONION, A BIT OF RAG
J. C. Philpot, “The History of an Idol, its Rise, Reign and Progress” October, 1855
“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21 Idolatry is a sin very deeply rooted in the human heart.
We need not go very far to find the most convincing proofs of this. Besides the experience of every age and every climate, we find it where we would least expect it—the prevailing sin of a people who had the greatest possible proofs of its wickedness and folly; and the strongest evidences of the being, greatness, and power of God.
It is true that now this sin does not break out exactly in the same form. It is true that golden calves are not now worshiped—at least the calf is not, if the gold is. Nor do Protestants adore images of wood, brass, or stone.
But that rank, property, fashion, honor, the opinion of the world, with everything which feeds the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; are as much idolized now, as Baal and Moloch were once in Judea.
What is an idol?
It is that which occupies that place in our esteem and affections, in our thoughts, words and ways, which is due to God only. Whatever is to us, what the Lord alone should be—that is an idol to us.
It is true that these idols differ almost as widely as the peculiar propensities of different individuals. But as both in ancient and modern times, the grosser idols of wood and stone were and are beyond all calculation in number, variety, shape, and size. So is it in these inner
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idols, of which the outer idols are mere symbols and representations.
Nothing has been….
too base or too brutal, too great or too little, too noble or too vile,
from the sun walking in its brightness—to a snake, a monkey, an onion, a bit of rag—which man has not worshiped. And these intended representations of Divinity were but the outward symbols of what man inwardly worshiped. For the inward idol preceded the outward—and the fingers merely carved what the imagination had previously devised. The gross material idol, then, is but a symbol of the inner mind of man.
But we need not dwell on this part of the subject. There is another form of idolatry much nearer home; the idolatry not of an ancient Pagan, or a modern Hindu— but that of a Christian.
Nor need we go far, if we would but be honest with ourselves, to each find out our own idol….
what it is, how deep it lies, what worship it obtains,
what honor it receives,
and what affection it engrosses.
Let me ask myself, “What do I most love?”
If I hardly know how to answer that question, let me put to myself another, “What do I most think upon? In what channel do I usually find my thoughts flow when unrestrained?”—for thoughts flow to the idol as water to the lowest spot.
If, then, the thoughts flow continually to…. the farm,
the shop,
the business,
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the investment,
to the husband, wife, or child,
to that which feeds lust or pride, worldliness or covetousness, self-conceit or self-admiration;
that is the idol which, as a magnet, attracts the thoughts of the mind towards it.
Your idol may not be mine, nor mine yours; and yet we may both be idolaters! You may despise or even hate my idol, and wonder how I can be such a fool, or such a sinner, as to hug it to my bosom! And I may wonder how a partaker of grace can be so inconsistent as to love such a silly idol as yours! You may condemn me, and I condemn you. And the Word of God, and the verdict of a living conscience may condemn us both.
O how various and how innumerable these idols are! One man may possess a refined taste and educated mind. Books, learning, literature, languages, general information, shall be his idol. Music—vocal and instrumental, may be the idol of a second—so sweet to his ears, such inward feelings of delight are kindled by the melodious strains of voice or instrument, that music is in all his thoughts, and hours are spent in producing those harmonious sounds which perish in their utterance. Painting, statuary, architecture, the fine arts generally, may be the Baal, the dominating passion of a third. Poetry, with its glowing thoughts, burning words, passionate utterances, vivid pictures, melodious cadence, and sustained flow of all that is beautiful in language and expression, may be the delight of a fourth. Science, the eager pursuit of a fifth. These are the highest flights of the human mind. These are not the base idols of the drunken feast, the low jest, the mirthful supper—or even that less debasing but
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enervating idol—sleep and indolence, as if life’s highest enjoyments were those of the swine in the sty.
You middle-class people—who despise art and science, language and learning, as you despise the ale-house, and ball field—may still have an idol. Your garden, your beautiful roses, your verbenas, fuchsias, needing all the care and attention of a babe in arms, may be your idol. Or your pretty children, so admired as they walk in the street; or your new house and all the new furniture; or your son who is getting on so well in business; or your daughter so comfortably settled in life; or your dear husband so generally respected, and just now doing so nicely in the farm. Or your own still dearer SELF that needs so much feeding, and dressing and attending to.
Who shall count the thousands of idols which draw to themselves those thoughts, and engross those affections which are due to the Lord alone?
You may not be found out. Your idol may be so hidden, or so peculiar, that all our attempts to touch it, have left you and it unscathed. Will you therefore conclude that you have none? Search deeper, look closer; it is not too deep for the eye of God, nor too hidden for the eyes of a tender conscience anointed with divine eye-salve.
Hidden diseases are the most incurable of all diseases. Search every fold of your heart until you find it. It may not be so big nor so ugly as your neighbor’s. But an idol is still an idol, whether so small as to be carried in the coat pocket, or as large as a gigantic statue.
An idol is not to be admired for its beauty, or loathed for its ugliness—but to be hated because it is an idol.
“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21 7
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THE MOTHER AND MISTRESS OF ALL THE SINS
J. C. Philpot, “Pride” 1853
“I hate pride and arrogance.” Proverbs 8:13
“Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: They shall assuredly not be unpunished.” Proverbs 16:5
Of all sins, pride seems most deeply imbedded in the very heart of man. Unbelief, sensuality, covetousness, rebellion, presumption, contempt of God’s holy will and word, deceit and falsehood, cruelty and wrath, violence and murder—these, and a forest of other sins have indeed struck deep roots into the black and noxious soil of our fallen nature; and, interlacing their lofty stems and gigantic arms, have wholly shut out the light of heaven from man’s benighted soul.
But these and their associate evils do not seem so thoroughly interwoven into the very constitution of the human heart, nor so to be its very life-blood, as pride. The lust of the flesh is strong, but there are respites from its workings. Unbelief is powerful, but there are times when it seems to lie dormant. Covetousness is ensnaring, but there is not always a bargain to be made, or an advantage to be clutched.
These sins differ also in strength in different individuals. Some seem not much tempted with the grosser passions of our fallen nature; others are naturally liberal and benevolent, and whatever other idol they may serve, they bend not their knee to the golden calf.
But where lust may have no power, covetousness no dominion, and anger no sway—there, down, down in the inmost depths, heaving and boiling like the lava in the crater of a volcano, works that master sin—that sin of sins, pride!
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Pride is the mother and mistress of all the sins; for where she does not conceive them in her ever-teeming womb, she instigates their movements, and compels them to pay tribute to her glory.
The ‘origin of evil’ is hidden from our eyes. Whence it sprang, and why God allowed it to arise in His fair creation, are mysteries which we cannot fathom. But thus much is revealed—that of this mighty fire which has filled hell with sulphurous flame, and will one day envelop earth and its inhabitants in the general conflagration, the first spark was pride!
Pride is therefore emphatically the devil’s own sin. We will not say his darling sin, for it is his torment, the serpent which is always biting him, the fire which is ever consuming him. But it is the sin which hurled him from heaven, and transformed him from a bright and holy seraph, into a foul and hideous demon!
How subtle, then, and potent must that poison be, which could in a moment change an angel into a devil! How black in nature, how concentrated in virulence that venom—one drop of which could utterly deface the image of God in myriads of bright spirits before the throne—and degrade them into monsters of uncleanness and malignity!
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TOYS AND PLAYTHINGS OF THE RELIGIOUS BABYHOUSE
J. C. Philpot, “The Good Shepherd and His Work”
“I will feed My flock.” Ezekiel 34:15
The only real food of the soul must be of God’s own
appointing, preparing, and communicating.
You can never deceive a hungry child. You may give it a
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plaything to still its cries. It may serve for a few minutes; but the pains of hunger are not to be removed by a doll. A toy horse will not allay the cravings after the mother’s breast.
So with babes in grace. A hungry soul cannot feed upon playthings.
Altars, robes, ceremonies, candlesticks, bowings, mutterings, painted windows, intoning priests, and singing men and women—these dolls and wooden horses; these toys and playthings of the religious babyhouse, cannot feed the soul that, like David, cries out after the living God. (Psalm 42:23)
Christ, the bread of life, the manna that came down from heaven, is the only food of the believing soul.
(John 6:51)
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THE BEST OF SAINTS
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Matthew” 1856
“Then began he to curse and to swear, ‘I don’t know the man!’” Matthew 26:74
Let us mark Peter’s history, and store it up in our minds.

  1. It teaches us plainly that the best of saints are only men, and men encompassed with many infirmities. A man may be converted to God, have faith, and hope, and love towards Christ, and yet be overtaken in a fault, and have dreadful falls.
  2. It shows us the necessity of humility. So long as we are in the body we are in danger. The flesh is weak, and the devil is active. We must never think, “I cannot fall.”
  3. It points out to us the duty of charity towards erring saints. We must not set down men as graceless
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reprobates, because they occasionally stumble and err. We must remember Peter, and “restore them in the spirit of meekness.” (Gal. 6:1)
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HIS PROVIDENCES MAY CHANGE, HIS HEART CANNOT
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“For I, the Lord, don’t change; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6
The immutability of God forms a stable foundation of comfort for the believing soul. Mutability marks everything outside of God. Look….
into the church, into the world, into our families, into ourselves,
what innumerable changes do we see on every hand! A week, one short day, what alterations does it produce! Yet, in the midst of it all, to repose calmly on the unchangeableness, the faithfulness of God.
To know that no alterations of time, no earthly changes, affect His faithfulness to His people. And more than this; no changes in them, no unfaithfulness of theirs, causes the slightest change in God. Once a Father, always a Father; once a Friend, always a Friend.
His providences may change, His heart cannot.
He is a God of unchangeable love. Peace then, tried believer! Are you passing now through the deep waters? Who kept you from sinking when wading through the last? Who brought you through the last fire? Who supported you under the last cross? Who delivered you out of the last temptation? Was it not God, your faithful, unchangeable God?
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This God, then, is your God now, and your God forever and ever! And He will be your guide even unto death!
THEY OPEN THEIR EYES IN HELL, BEING IN TORMENTS!
Thomas Reade
It is to be feared that thousands, who call themselves Christians, will never be acknowledged as such in that great day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed, and the real character of every professor of godliness distinctly known.
Too many, it is to be feared, substitute a ‘general acknowledgment of the truths of the Bible,’ for that faith in those truths which purifies the heart, and assimilates the soul to the image of Jesus.
So long as thousands, who bear the Christian name, live in all the gayeties and follies of the world; neglecting the Gospel, and manifesting a spirit in direct opposition to it; we cannot wonder that such multitudes, carried away by the potent stream of public example, rest satisfied with a faith which passes current in the world, which attaches no transformation to the character, which requires no self denial, no painful sacrifices on the part of its possessors.
Many, no doubt, live in what they term the innocent gayeties of life, and the delights of fashionable extravagance. These people pride themselves on their superior wisdom in being able to grasp both worlds at once; to acknowledge the importance of Christianity, and yet to enjoy those carnal gratifications which give such a zest to their existence.
Thus they go on, like the rich man in the parable, faring sumptuously every day; and never find out their
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dreadful mistake, until, like him, they open their eyes in
hell, being in torments!
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THE BLACK CHARIOT OF CHRIST!
Spurgeon, “The Saint and His Savior”
Oh, sweet trouble, which brings Jesus nearer to us! Affliction is the black chariot of Christ, in which He rides
to His children!
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I NEEDED NO MONKISH RULES THEN
J. C. Philpot, “The Falling Rain and the Budding Earth”
A man may….
have a consistent profession of religion,
have a sound, well ordered creed,
be a member of a Christian church,
attend to all ordinances and duties,
seek to frame his life according to God’s word, have his family prayer, and private prayer,
be a good husband, father, and friend,
be liberal and kind to God’s cause and people, and yet with all this bear no fruit Godwards.
What is all this but pitiful self-holiness?
Real gospel fruit is only produced by the word of God’s grace falling into the heart, watering and softening it. Without this there is….
not one gracious feeling, not one spiritual desire, not one tender thought, not one heavenly affection.
We have tried, perhaps, to make ourselves holy. We have watched our eyes, our ears, our tongues; have read so many chapters every day out of God’s word; continued
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so long upon our knees; and so tried to work a kind of holiness into our own souls.
Many years ago, I used to try to pray for the better part of an hour; and I am ashamed to say, I have been glad to hear the clock strike. What was this but a monkish, self-imposed rule, to please God by the length of my prayers?
But when the Lord was pleased to touch my conscience with His finger, He gave me a remarkable spirit of grace and supplication; I needed no monkish rules then.
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IT IS NOTHING ELSE BUT HUMAN FOLLY
William Law, “A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life” Hate and despise all human glory, for it is nothing else but
human folly.
It is the greatest snare, and the greatest betrayer, that you can possibly admit into your heart.
Love humility in all its instances; practice it in all its parts, for it is the noblest state of the soul of man. It will set your heart and affections right towards God, and fill you with every temper that is tender and affectionate towards men.
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THE STRONG MAN SINKS DOWN INTO A BABE!
J. C. Philpot, “The Seed of Israel, Justified in Christ”
“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust.” Psalm 18:2
As long as a man has any strength of his own, he will never have any strength in the Lord; for the strength of Jesus is made perfect in our weakness.
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Oh, what a painful lesson we have to learn to find all our strength is weakness. There was a time when we thought we had strength, and could….
resist Satan,
overcome the world,
endure persecution,
bear the reproach of man,
mortify and keep down pride, and the evils of our
heart.
Have we found ourselves able to carry out our fancied strength? What has been our experience in this matter? That we have discovered more and more our own weakness; that we cannot stand against one temptation; the least gust blows us down!
Our besetting lusts, our vile passions, and the wicked desires of our hearts, so entice our eyes and thoughts; so entwine themselves around our affections; that we give out in a moment, unless God Himself holds us up! We cannot stand against sin; our heart is as weak as water.
Thus we learn our weakness, by feeling ourselves to be the very weakest of the weak, and the very vilest of the vile.
As the Lord leads a man deeper down into the knowledge of his corruptions, it makes him more and more out of conceit with his righteous, pious, holy self. The more the Lord leads a man into the knowledge of….
temptation,
his besetting sin,
the power of his corruptions, the workings of his vile nature;
the more deeply and painfully he learns what a poor, helpless, weak, powerless wretch he is.
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As the Lord is pleased to unfold before his eyes the strength, power, and fullness lodged in Jesus Christ; He draws him, leads him, brings him, encourages him, and enables him to come to this fullness. And by the hand of faith he draws supplies out of that fullness.
As the Lord enables the soul to look to Jesus, His blessed strength is communicated and breathed into his soul. Then the ‘poor worm Jacob’ threshes the mountains, beats down the hills, and makes them fly before him as chaff. When the Lord strengthens him, he can….
stand against temptation,
overcome sin,
bear persecution,
subdue the evils of his heart, and
fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil.
When the Lord leaves him, he is like Samson with his locks cut. He sinks into all evil, and feels the helplessness of his fallen nature. Let the Lord but remove His gracious presence, and the strong man sinks down into a babe! And he that in the strength of the Lord could thresh the mountains, falls down as weak and helpless as a little child.
Thus the Lord painfully and solemnly teaches us, that being nothing in ourselves, and feeling our weakness, helplessness, and wretchedness; in Him alone we have strength.
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A WILDERNESS OF ‘BITTER SWEETS’
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
With all its hopes and glory, this is but a poor world, even if we could possess the whole of it. Take this world in its best attire, it is but a wilderness of ‘bitter sweets.’
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I increasingly feel that this poor world is not my rest; it is polluted!
Go where he may, rest where he will, trials and crosses
await the Christian.
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SAVE ME, AND I SHALL BE SAVED!
J. C. Philpot, “The Sick Man’s Prayer and the Sinner’s Cry” “Save me, and I shall be saved!” Jeremiah 17:14
This implies salvation from the power of sin; the secret dominion sin possesses in the heart.
O, what a tyrannical rule does sin sometimes exercise in our carnal minds! How soon are we entangled in flesh-pleasing snares! How easily brought under the secret dominion of some hidden corruption! And how we struggle in vain to deliver ourselves when we are caught in the snares of the devil, or are under the power of any one lust, besetment, or temptation!
The Lord, and the Lord alone can save us from all these things. He saves from the power of sin by….
bringing a sense of His dying love into our hearts, delivering us from our idols,
raising our affections to things above,
breaking to pieces our snares,
subduing our lusts,
taming our corruptions, and
mastering the inward evils of our dreadfully fallen
nature.
Here is this sin! Lord, save me from it.
Here is this snare! Lord, break it to pieces.
Here is this temptation! Lord, deliver me out of it. Here is this lust! Lord, subdue it.
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Here is my proud heart! Lord, humble it.
None but the Lord can do these things for us…. nothing but the felt power of God,
nothing but the putting forth of His mighty arm, nothing but the shedding abroad of His dying love, nothing but the operations of His grace upon our
soul,
can deliver us from the secret power of evil.
“Save me, and I shall be saved!”
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UNFATHOMABLE! UNSEARCHABLE! IMMEASURABLE!
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
“In this is love!” That God should punish the innocent for the guilty; that He should exact the blood of His Son to cancel the guilt of His rebels; that He should lay an infinite weight of wrath on Jesus’ soul, in order to lay an infinite weight of love on ours; that He should sacrifice His life of priceless value, for our worthless, forfeited, and doomed life; that He should not only give His Son, but should bruise Him, put Him to grief, afflict Him, and make His soul an offering for sin; that the ‘Lord of Glory’ should become a ‘man of sorrows’; that the Lord of Life should die.
Oh depth of love unfathomable!
Oh height of love unsearchable!
Oh length and breadth of love immeasurable!
Oh love of God, which passes knowledge!
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THEIR TEARS ARE ALL IN HIS BOTTLE!
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of John”
“I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me.” Psalm 40:17
Christ cares for all His believing people, and never forgets them. Forgotten and despised by the world, perhaps, they are never forgotten by their Savior. He knows where they dwell, and what their trials are.
A book of remembrance is written for them. Their tears are all in His bottle! Their names are engraved on the palms of His hands.
He notices all they do for Him in this evil world, though they think it not worth notice.
Let believers remember this.
In their worst estate they may boldly say with David, “I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me.”
Psalm 40:17
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CRUSH ITS VIPER HEAD WITH THE HEEL
OF OUR BOOT!
J. C. Philpot, “The Walk in the Fields and Among the Vineyards”
“Whoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Mark 8:34
To deny and renounce self lies at the very foundation of vital godliness.
It is easy in some measure to leave the world; easy to leave the professing church; but to go forth out of self, there is the difficulty, for this “self” embraces such a variety of forms.
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What varied shapes and forms does this monster SELF assume! How hard to trace his windings! How difficult to track this wily foe to his hidden den; drag him out of the cave; and immolate him at the foot of the cross, as Samuel hewed down Agag in Gilgal.
Proud self, righteous self, covetous self, ambitious self, sensual self, deceitful self, religious self, flesh-pleasing self.
How difficult to detect, unmask, strip out of its changeable suits of apparel, this ugly, misshaped creature, and then stamp upon it, as if one would crush its viper head with the heel of our boot!
Who will do such violence to beloved self, when every nerve quivers and shrinks; and the coward heart cries to the uplifted foot, “Spare, spare!”
But unless there is this self crucifixion, there is no walking hand in hand with Christ, no heavenly communion with Him; for there can no more be a partnership between Christ and self, than there can be a partnership between Christ and sin.
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POOR, MOPING, DEJECTED CREATURES
J. C. Philpot, “Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers”
We are, most of us, so fettered down by….
the chains of time and sense,
the cares of life and daily business,
the weakness of our earthly frame,
the distracting claims of a family, and
the miserable carnality and sensuality of our fallen
nature,
that we live at best a poor, dragging, dying life.
Many of us are poor, moping, dejected creatures. We have….
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a variety of trials and afflictions,
a daily cross and
the continual plague of an evil heart.
We know enough of ourselves to know that in SELF there is neither help nor hope, and never expect a smoother path, a better, wiser, holier heart. As then….
the weary man seeks rest,
the hungry man seeks food, the thirsty man seeks drink, and the sick man seeks health,
so do we stretch forth our hearts and arms that we may embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, and sensibly realize union and communion with Him.
He discovers the evil and misery of sin that we may seek pardon in His bleeding wounds and pierced side.
He makes known to us our nakedness and shame, and, as such, our exposure to God’s wrath, that we may hide ourselves under His justifying robe.
He puts gall and wormwood into the world’s choicest draughts, that we may have no sweetness but in and
from Him.
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WE HAVE WOLVES IN OUR OWN HEARTS!
John MacDuff, “The Shepherd and His Flock”
“The wolf snatches the sheep, and scatters them.” John 10:12
The wolf coming and scattering the sheep, is a pertinent symbol of the fierce temptations with which His people in every age might expect to be assailed. Who can attempt to describe these wolf-like temptations?
Apart from those more peculiar to the world around us; the countless absorbing influences and interests of sense and time; a man’s worst foes are too often those in his
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own bosom. We have wolves in our own hearts, lurking insidiously; fettered vices, longing to burst their bands, and go forth on missions of death and ruin.
There are the wolves of temper—envy, jealousy, hatred, malice—each hidden in his den; crouching in his lair; ready to make the spring when temptation offers.
Covetousness, the wolf with the golden fleece, how it has strewed earth’s highway with the bones of men!
Even our daily business and avocations may become to us a dangerous foe. Our very prosperity may turn into a ravening wolf.
Wherever we look, the world is bristling with temptations. Wolves lurk on every side, “The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,” each the leader of a hungry pack waiting for their prey!
Let these wolf temptations drive you closer to the
Shepherd.
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A HOLY FAMILIARITY
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
My dear friend, have constant transactions with your precious Savior. A holy familiarity with Him will tend much to conform to His likeness.
This simple living upon Jesus has a most sanctifying, purifying tendency upon the whole inner man; and thus….
sin grows more hateful,
and the world less attractive,
and the pleasures of sense increasingly distasteful, and we are better fitted to sustain the trials of life.
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WHAT A BATTLEFIELD IS THE HEART
J. C. Philpot, from his “Memoirs”
I have so much opposition within, so many temptations, lusts, and follies; so many snares and besetments; and a vile heart, dabbling in all carnality and filth.
I am indeed exercised “by sin and grace.”
Sin or grace seems continually uppermost; striving and lusting against one another. What….
lustings, sorrowings; fallings, risings; defeats, and victories.
What a battlefield is the heart, and there the fight is lost and won. When sin prevails, mourning over its wounds and slaughter. When grace and godly fear beat back temptation, a softening into gratitude.
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ONE SIMPLE TEST
by J. C. Ryle
“Lord, You know all things.” John 21:17
There is something unspeakably solemn in the thought
that the Lord Jesus knows all things.
There is an eye that sees all our daily conduct.
There is an ear that hears all our daily words.
All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him, with whom we have to do.
Concealment is impossible. Hypocrisy is useless.
We may deceive ministers.
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We may fool our family and neighbors. But the Lord sees us through and through. We cannot deceive Christ!
We ought to endeavor to make practical use of this truth. We should strive to live as in the Lord’s sight, and, like Abraham, to “walk before Him.”
Let it be our daily aim….
to say nothing we would not like Christ to hear; and to do nothing we would not like Christ to see.
Let us measure every difficult question as to right and wrong by one simple test—“How would I behave, if Jesus was standing by my side?”
Such a standard is not extravagant and absurd.
It is a standard that interferes with no duty or relation of life. It interferes with nothing but sin.
Happy is he that tries to realize his Lord’s presence, and to do all and say all as unto Christ.
THAT DEAR, IDOLIZED CREATURE
J. C. Philpot, “Crucifixion with Christ” 1860
“I have been crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live.”
Galatians 2:20
The crucifixion of self is indispensable to following Christ.
What is so dear to a man as himself?
Yet this beloved self is to be crucified.
Whether it be…. proud self,
or ambitious self,
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or selfish self,
or covetous self,
or, what is harder still, religious self;
that dear, idolized creature, which has been the subject of so much….
fondling, petting, pampering, nursing—
this fondly loved self has to be taken out of our bosom by the hand of God, and nailed to Christ’s cross! The same grace which pardons sin also subdues it!
To be crucified with Christ! To have everything that the flesh loves and idolizes put to death! How can a man survive such a process?
“Nevertheless I live!”
As the world, sin, and self are crucified, subdued, and subjugated by the power of the cross, the life of God springs up with new vigor in the soul.
Here, then, is the great secret of vital godliness:
that the more that sin and self, and the world are mortified, the more do holiness and spirituality of mind, heavenly affections and gracious desires spring up and flourish in the soul.
O! blessed death! O! still more blessed life!
“I have been crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live.”
Galatians 2:20
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WHAT ARE ALL THE GILDED TOYS OF TIME?
J. C. Philpot, “Letters and Memoirs” 1852
What are all the gilded toys of time compared with the solemn, weighty realities of eternity!
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But, alas! what wretches are we when left to sin, self, and Satan!
How unable to withstand the faintest breath of temptation!
How bent upon backsliding!
Who can fathom the depths of the human heart?
Oh, what but grace, superabounding grace, can either suit or
save such wretches?
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UNQUENCHED, UNQUENCHABLE!
J. C. Philpot “Love in its Priceless Value and Unquenchable Strength,” 1862
“Many waters cannot quench love; neither can floods drown it.” Song of Solomon 8:7
The bride uses a figure which shall express the insuper- able strength of divine love against all opposition; and she therefore compares it to a fire which burns and burns unquenched and unquenchable, whatever be the amount of water poured upon it. Thus the figure expresses the flame of holy love which burned in the heart of the Redeemer as unquenchable by any opposition made to it.
How soon is earthly love cooled by opposition! A little ingratitude, a few hard speeches, cold words or even cold looks, seem often almost sufficient to quench love that once shone warm and bright. And how often, too, even without these cold waters thrown upon it, does it appear as if ready to die out by itself.
But the love of Christ was unquenchable by all those waters. Not all the ingratitude, unbelief, or coldness of His people could quench His eternal love to them!
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He knew what the Church was in herself, and ever would be….
how cold and wandering her affections, how roving her desires,
how backsliding her heart!
But all these waters could not extinguish His love!
It still burnt as a holy flame in His bosom, unquenched,
unquenchable!
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HE CAN CRAWL LIKE A SERPENT, AND HE
CAN ROAR LIKE A LION!
J. C. Philpot, “The Thorn in the Flesh, or Strength Made Perfect in Weakness”
“That no advantage may be gained over us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11
Satan well knows both how to allure and how to attack; for he can crawl like a serpent, and he can roar like a lion! He has snares whereby he entangles, and fiery darts whereby he impales.
Most men are easily led captive by him at his will, ensnared without the least difficulty in the traps that he lays for their feet; for they are as ready to be caught as he is to catch them! Why would Satan need to roar against them as a lion, if he can wind himself around them and bite them as a serpent?
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WHO WILL SHOUT THE LOUDEST IN GLORY?
Mary Winslow
I wish only to live to show my love to Him, and to manifest the power of His grace in one who in herself is one lump of sin and defilement.
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How marvelous that the Lord should select out of the mass of the world’s sinful beings such a one as myself to show forth the power of His redeeming love and grace!
Every fresh manifestation of this love breaks the heart, and humbles the soul even to the dust!
Time is hastening us on, and the moment will quickly come when our dearest Friend will claim us as His own and for Himself. Then we shall see Him face to face; and who will shout the loudest in glory?
I think I shall. For, what has He not forgiven me?
No tongue can tell how my heart goes out, at times, in wondering gratitude and adoring love towards Him.
Such is the Lord Jesus that angels themselves know not half His worth. It is sinners, poor sinners like myself; helpless, lost, ruined in themselves; who alone can appreciate the glorious finished work of Jesus.
My soul at this moment; weeping while I write; rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory in God my Savior.
Let us live as candidates for a crown of glory.
This will keep us above the trials and the trifles of time.
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HEAR THE VOICE OF LOVE IN THE ROD
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” Psalm 119:75
The mark of a vigorous love to God is when the soul justifies God in all His wise and gracious dealings with it—when it rebels not, murmurs not, repines not—but meekly and silently acquiesces in the dispensation, be it ever so trying.
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Divine love in the heart, deepening and expanding towards that God from where it springs, will, in the hour of trial, exclaim, “My God has smitten me, but He is my God still, faithful and loving. My Father has chastened me sorely, but He is my Father still, tender and kind. This trying dispensation originated in love, speaks with the voice of love, bears with it the message of love, and is sent to draw my heart closer and yet closer to the God of love, from whom it came.”
Dear reader, are you one of the Lord’s afflicted ones?
Happy are you if this is the holy and blessed result of His dealings with you. Happy if you hear the voice of love in the rod, winning your lonely and sorrowful heart to the God from whom it came.
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ALL GLORY TO THE GOSPEL OF FREE GRACE!
Henry Law, “The Raven” 1869
Christ is the sum and substance of the Bible!
Christ….
chosen,
sent,
anointed, accepted of God.
Christ wondrous in His person, the mighty God, therefore infinitely glorious to save.
Christ loving from everlasting to everlasting, with love knowing….
no origin,
no end,
no intermission, no degrees;
with love always….
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unchangeably the same, perfect,
pure,
intense,
enduring.
Christ hanging on the accursed tree, laying down His life a sufficient ransom price.
Christ by His death….
closing the gates of hell,
quenching God’s fiery wrath,
paying all demands,
satisfying every claim,
glorifying every attribute,
washing out each crimson stain of all His ransomed
flock.
Christ gloriously fulfilling every iota of the glorious Law, saying to each command, ‘I fully have obeyed’; and then transferring the vicarious obedience, as divine righteousness, to His bride the Church, as her robe for heaven; her luster in the courts above.
Christ purchasing the Holy Spirit, and sending Him to bless the Church with all His powers….
to teach, to sanctify, to comfort, to adorn, to beautify.
Christ rising from the grave, a proof that God is satisfied, and all redemption fully earned; a pledge that the ransomed in their turn shall put on the beauties of a resurrection body, worthy of a resurrection state.
Christ ascending….
to the right hand of the Majesty on high; representing all His people in Himself;
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bearing their names upon His heart; receiving all gifts for them;
pouring down all blessings on them.
Christ coming….
to institute a glorious reign,
to change the living,
to raise the dead,
to execute eternal judgment,
to fill all heaven with glory,
to awaken the eternal song of never ending
hallelujahs!
O my soul, what a flood of tidings of great joy!
All things are yours! The world!
Things present! Things to come!
All are yours!
All glory to the gospel of Free Grace!
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CHRIST IS NEVER FULLY VALUED
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858
Christ is never fully valued, until sin is clearly seen. We must know the depth and malignity of our disease, in order to appreciate the great Physician.
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THIS UNRAVELS THE MYSTERY!
Octavius Winslow, “Christ, the Counselor”
The path of providence is often paved with difficulties, and beset with perplexities with which we can ill cope.
Our way to heaven is through an intricate wilderness and across a circuitous desert.
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To many even of the Lord’s people this is literally the case. Visit their abodes, and ponder the struggle passing within. All is….
poverty and discomfort, penury of bread, scantiness of clothing, pining sickness, loathsome disease, excruciating suffering, with no human friends, no soothing alleviation, no earthly comforts.
And yet not entirely unrelieved is this dark picture. Christ dwells in that obscure abode! God’s eye is watching over it! There is….
gnawing poverty, and yet boundless wealth; deep need, and yet a rich supply;
acute suffering, and yet exquisite pleasure; keen sorrow, and yet unspeakable joy.
And why these paradoxes?
How are we to understand these strange contradictions?
The apostle gives us a clue in a page of his own history.
“As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.”
This unravels the mystery!
The possession of Christ explains it! He who has Christ in him, and Christ with him, and the hope of being forever with Christ in glory, is not a poor, nor a sorrowful, nor a suffering, nor a lonely man. He can
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say, “I am not alone, for my Father is with me! I am not poor, for all things are mine! My body is diseased, but my soul is in health! I have all and abound!”
Can we for a moment doubt His perfect power…. to undertake all the cares,
to cope with all the difficulties,
to solve all the doubts, and
to disentangle all the perplexities
brought to Him by His saints in all places and at all times!
“Don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine. 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. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3
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IF YOU WANT TO SEE WHAT SIN REALLY IS
J. C. Philpot, “Sin Condemned and Righteousness Fulfilled”
To cast the sinning angels out of heaven;
to banish Adam from Paradise;
to destroy the old world by a flood;
to burn Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven— these examples of God’s displeasure against sin were not sufficient to express His condemnation of it. He would therefore take another way of making it manifest.
And what was this?
By sending His own Son out of His bosom, and offering Him as a sacrifice for sin upon the tree at Calvary, He would make it manifest how He abhorred sin, and how His righteous character must forever condemn it.
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See here the love of God to poor guilty man in not sparing His own Son; and yet the hatred of God against sin, in condemning it in the death of Jesus.
It is almost as if God said, “If you want to see what sin really is, you cannot see it in the depths of hell. I will show you sin in blacker colors still—you shall see it in the sufferings of My dear Son; in His agonies of body and soul; and in what He as a holy, innocent Lamb endured under My wrath, when He consented to take the sinner’s place.”
What wondrous wisdom,
what depths of love,
what treasures of mercy,
what heights of grace
were thus revealed and brought to light in God’s unsparing condemnation of sin, and yet in His full and free pardon of the sinner!
If you have ever had a view by faith of the suffering Son of God in the garden and upon the cross; if you have ever seen the wrath of God due to you, falling upon the head of the God-Man; and viewed a bleeding, agonizing Immanuel; then you have seen and felt in the depths of your conscience what a dreadful thing sin is. Then the broken-hearted child of God looks unto Him whom he has pierced, and mourns and grieves bitterly for Him, as for a firstborn son who has died.
Under this sight he feels what a dreadful thing sin is.
“Oh,” he says, “did God afflict His dear Son? Did Jesus, the darling of God, endure all these sufferings and sor- rows to save my soul from the bottomless pit? O, can I ever hate sin enough? Can I ever grieve and mourn over it enough? Can my stony heart ever be dissolved into contrition enough, when by faith I see the agonies, and hear the groans of the suffering, bleeding Lamb of God?”
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Christians hate their sins. They hate that sinful, that dreadfully sinful flesh of theirs which has so often, which has so continually, betrayed them into sin. And thus they join with God in passing condemnation upon the whole of their flesh; upon all its actings and workings; upon all its thoughts and words and deeds; and hate it as the prolific parent of that sin which crucified Christ, and torments and plagues them.
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THE HARD-HEARTED, COLD-BLOODED, WISE-HEADED PROFESSOR
J. C. Philpot, “Deliverance from Death”
We are surrounded with snares.
Temptations lie spread every moment in our path.
These snares and these temptations are so suitable to the lusts of our flesh, that we would certainly fall into them, and be overcome by them, but for the restraining providence or the preserving grace of God. The Christian sees this; the Christian feels this.
The hard-hearted, cold-blooded, wise-headed professor sees no snares. He is entangled in them, he falls by them, and not repenting of his sins or forsaking them, he makes utter shipwreck concerning the faith.
The child of God….
sees the snare,
feels the temptation, knows the evil of his heart,
and is conscious that if God does not hold him up, he shall stumble and fall.
As then a burnt child dreads the fire, so he dreads the consequence of being left for a moment to himself; and the more is he afraid that he shall fall.
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If his eyes are more widely opened to see…. the purity of God,
the blessedness of Christ,
the efficacy of atoning blood,
and the beauties of holiness,
the more also does he see the evil of sin, the dreadful consequences of being entangled therein. And not only so, but his own helplessness and weakness and inability to stand against temptation in his own strength.
And all these feelings combine to raise up a more earnest cry, “Hold me up, and I shall be safe!”
PICTURES OF JESUS?
By Charles Spurgeon
“And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13
A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read ‘lives of Christ,’ beautifully and eloquently written; but the best life of Christ is His living biography, written out in the words and actions of His people.
If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we would be pictures of Jesus; yes, such striking likenesses of Him, that the world would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, “He has been with Jesus; he has been taught of Him; he is like Him; he has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and daily actions.”
A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your religion. Be like Jesus, very valiant for your God.
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Imitate Him in your loving spirit; think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, “He has been with Jesus!”
Imitate Jesus in His holiness.
Was He zealous?
So be ever going about doing good. Let not time be wasted; it is too precious.
Was He self-denying, never looking to His own interest? Be the same.
Was He devout?
Be fervent in your prayers.
Had He deference to His Father’s will? So submit yourselves to Him.
Was He patient?
So learn to endure.
And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as He did; and let those sublime words of your Master, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” always ring in your ears. Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Good for evil, recollect, is godlike.
Be godlike, then; and in all ways and by all means, so live that all may say of you, “He has been with Jesus!” “And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13
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ENTWINED WITH CROSSES?
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
Our most endeared enjoyments are transitory, and mixed up with many cares. If we cultivate the rose and admire its blushing leaves and sweet perfume, the
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prickly thorn protects it. If we would possess the honeyed hive, it is guarded by a thousand stings.
Truly our comforts are entwined with crosses. This world is not our rest.
“How vain are all things here below, How false, and yet how fair.
Each pleasure has its poison too, And every sweet a snare.”
POOR, MISERABLE, PALTRY WORKS OF A POLLUTED WORM!
J. C. Philpot, “The Loss of All Things for Christ’s Sake”
“For we are all become as one who is unclean, and all our righteousness are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” Isaiah 64:6
We once thought that we could gain heaven by our own righteousness. We strictly attended to our religious duties, and sought by these and various other means to recommend ourselves to the favor of God, and induce Him to reward us with heaven for our sincere attempts to obey His commandments.
And by these religious performances we thought we would surely be able to make a ladder whereby we could climb up to heaven. This was our tower of Babel, whose top was to reach unto heaven, and by mounting which, we thought to scale the stars.
But the same Lord who stopped the further building of the tower of Babel, by confounding their speech and scattering them abroad on the face of the earth; began to confound our speech, so that we could not pray, or talk, or boast as before; and to scatter all our religion like
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the chaff of the threshing floor. Our mouths were stopped; we became guilty before God; and our bricks and mortar became a pile of confusion!
When, then, the Lord was pleased to discover to our souls by faith, His being, majesty, greatness, holiness, and purity; and thus gave us a corresponding sense of our filthiness and folly; then all our creature religion and natural piety which we once counted as gain, we began to see was but loss; that our very religious duties and observances, so far from being for us, were actually against us; and instead of pleading for us before God as so many deeds of righteousness, were so polluted and defiled by sin perpetually mixed with them, that our very prayers were enough to sink us into hell, had we no other iniquities to answer for in heart, lip or life.
But when we had a view by faith of the Person, work, love, and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we began more plainly and clearly to see, with what religious toys we had been so long amusing ourselves, and what is far worse, mocking God by them.
We had been secretly despising…. Jesus and His sufferings,
Jesus and His death,
Jesus and His righteousness,
and setting up the poor, miserable, paltry works of a polluted worm in the place of the finished work of the Son of God.
MERE TOYS AND BAUBLES
J. C. Philpot, “Deliverance from the Power of Darkness”
True religion must be everything or nothing with us. In religion, indifference is ruin; neglect is destruction.
Of all losses, the loss of the soul is the only one that is utterly irreparable and irremediable. You may lose
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property, but you may recover the whole or a portion of it; you may lose health, but you may be restored to a larger measure of bodily strength than before your illness; you may lose friends, but you may obtain new ones, and those more sincere and valuable than any whom you have lost. But if you lose your soul, what is to make up for that loss?
Do you ever feel what a tremendous stake heaven or hell is? Have you ever felt that to gain heaven is to gain everything that can make the soul eternally happy; and to lose heaven is not only to lose eternal bliss, but to sink down into unfathomable, everlasting, unutterable woe?
It is this believing sight and pressing sense of eternal things; it is this weighty, at times overpowering, feeling that they carry in their bosom an immortal soul, which often makes the children of God view the things of time and sense as….
mere toys and baubles,
trifles lighter than vanity,
and pursuits empty as air,
and gives them to feel that the things of eternity are the only solid, enduring realities.
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A STABLE, A HOVEL, A HEDGE, ANY UNADORNED CORNER
J. C. Philpot, “A Longing Soul in a Thirsty Land”
“Thus says the Sovereign Lord: Whereas I have removed them far off among the nations, and whereas I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them a sanctuary for a little while in the countries where they are come.” Ezekiel 11:16
Every place in which the Lord manifests Himself, is a sanctuary to a child of God.
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Jesus is now our sanctuary, for He is “the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.” We see the power and glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.
Every place is a sanctuary, where God manifests Himself in power and glory to the soul. Moses, doubtless, had often passed by the bush which grew in Horeb; it was but a common thorn bush, in no way distinguished from the other bushes of the thicket. But on one solemn occasion it was all “in a flame of fire,” for “the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire” out of the midst; and though it burned with fire, it was not consumed. God being in the bush, the ground round about was holy, and Moses was bidden to take off his shoes from his feet. Was not this a sanctuary to Moses? It was, for a holy God was there! Thus wherever God manifests Himself, that becomes a sanctuary to a believing soul.
We don’t need places made holy by the ceremonies of man; but places made holy by the presence of God!
Then a stable, a hovel, a hedge, any unadorned corner may be, and is a sanctuary, when God fills your heart with His sacred presence, and causes every holy feeling and gracious affection to spring up in your soul.
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HEAVENLY DEW
J. C. Philpot, “The Doctrine which Drops as the Rain, and the Speech which Distills as the Dew”
“My speech shall distill as the dew.” Deuteronomy 32:2
The dew falls imperceptibly. No man can see it fall. Yet its effects are visible in the morning. So it is with the blessing of God upon His Word. It penetrates the heart without noise; it sinks deep into the conscience
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without anything visible going on. And as the dew opens the pores of the earth and refreshes the ground after the heat of a burning day, making vegetation lift up its drooping head, so it is with the blessing of God resting upon the soul.
Heavenly dew comes imperceptibly, falls quietly, and is manifested chiefly by its effects, as softening, opening, penetrating, and secretly causing every grace of the Spirit to lift up its drooping head.
Whenever the Lord may have been pleased to bless our souls, either in hearing, in reading, or in private meditation, have not these been some of the effects? Silent, quiet, imperceptible, yet producing an evident impression….
softening the heart when hard, refreshing it when dry, melting it when obdurate, secretly keeping the soul alive,
so that it neither withers up by the burning sun of temptation, nor dies for lack of grace.
“May God give you the dew of heaven.” Genesis 27:28
ALL IS WELL
Henry Law, “Deuteronomy” 1858
How varied are the stations of man’s calling! How diverse are their positions in life!
Some reign in palaces; some toil in cottages.
Some feast at plenty’s table;
some pine in poverty’s contracted cells.
Purple and splendor deck the rich man; Lazarus lies a beggar at the gate.
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Some work at looms; others in fields.
Some climb the mast; others handle the spade.
Some exercise the mental powers; others strain the muscles of the body.
Some soar in literature’s highest flights; some crawl illiterate to the grave.
But perfect Wisdom rules these varieties on life’s stage. No being enters or recedes, but in accordance with God’s will.
He speaks; they live. He speaks; they die.
Entrance and exit are in His hand.
At His decree all kings, all beggars breathe and expire.
Both times and stations are allotted by His mind.
He raises to the pinnacles of earth; or veils in seclusion.
He leads to walks known and observed by all; or hides in garrets of obscurity.
Let then the child of God live, rejoicing in his day and lot. No change would be improvement. He best can serve his generation, and advance his soul concerns, by working cheerfully in his assigned position.
Believer….
banish your fears;
cast out all doubts;
lift up the happy head; clap the exulting hands; rejoice;
give thanks.
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Your heavenly Father cannot set you in wrong place. Your loving Savior cannot lead you in wrong paths.
All is well.
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COMING UP FROM THE WILDERNESS
J. C. Philpot, “Coming up from the Wilderness” 1857
“Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?” Song of Solomon 8:5
To come up from the wilderness, is to come up out of OURSELVES; for we are ourselves the wilderness. It is our wilderness heart that makes the world what it is to us….
our own barren frames;
our own bewildered minds;
our own worthlessness and inability;
our own lack of spiritual fruitfulness;
our own trials, temptations, and exercises;
our own hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
In a word, it is what passes in our own bosom that makes the world to us a dreary desert.
Carnal people find the world no wilderness. It is an Eden to them! Or at least they try hard to make it so. They seek all their pleasure from, and build all their happiness upon it. Nor do they dream of any other harvest of joy and delight, but what may be repaid in this ‘happy valley,’ where youth, health, and good spirits are ever imagining new scenes of gratification.
But the child of grace, exercised with a thousand difficulties, passing through many temporal and spiritual sorrows, and inwardly grieved with his own lack of heavenly fruitfulness, finds the wilderness within.
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But he still comes up out of it, and this he does by looking upward with believing eyes to Him who alone can bring him out.
He comes up out of his own righteousness, and shelters himself under Christ’s righteousness.
He comes up out of his own strength, and trusts to Christ’s strength.
He comes up out of his own wisdom, and hangs upon Jesus’ wisdom.
He comes up out of his own tempted, tried, bewildered, and perplexed condition, to find rest and peace in the finished work of the Son of God.
And thus he comes up out of the wilderness of self, not actually, but experimentally. Every desire of his soul to be delivered from his ‘wilderness sickening sight’ that he has of sin and of himself as a sinner. Every aspiration after Jesus, every longing look, earnest sigh, piteous cry, or laboring groan, all are a coming up from the wilderness.
His turning his back upon an ungodly world; renouncing its pleasures, its honors, its pride, and its ambition; seeking communion with Jesus as his chief delight; and accounting all things but loss and rubbish for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus his Lord as revealed to his soul by the power of God; this, also, is coming up from the wilderness.
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WHEN WE GAZE UPON THE LIFELESS CORPSE
J. C. Philpot, “Light Affliction and Eternal Glory” 1857
From the cradle to the coffin, affliction and sorrow are the appointed lot of man. He comes into the world with a wailing cry, and he often leaves it with an agonizing
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groan! Rightly is this earth called “a valley of tears,” for it is wet with them in infancy, youth, manhood, and old age. In every land, in every climate, scenes of misery and wretchedness everywhere meet the eye, besides those deeper griefs and heart-rending sorrows which lie concealed from all observation. So that we may well say of the life of man that, like Ezekiel’s scroll, it is “written with lamentations, and mourning and woe.”
But this is not all. The scene does not end here!
We see up to death, but we do not see beyond death.
To see a man die without Christ is like standing at a distance, and seeing a man fall from a lofty cliff—we see him fall, but we do not see the crash on the rocks below.
So we see an unsaved man die, but when we gaze upon the lifeless corpse, we do not see how his soul falls with a mighty crash upon the rock of God’s eternal justice! When his temporal trials come to a close, his eternal sorrows only begin! After weeks or months of sickness and pain, the pale, cold face may lie in calm repose under the coffin lid; when the soul is only just entering upon an eternity of woe!
But is it all thus dark and gloomy both in life and death? Is heaven always hung with a canopy of black? Are there no beams of light, no rays of gladness, that shine through these dark clouds of affliction, misery, and woe that are spread over the human race?
Yes! there is one point in this dark scene out of which beams of light and rays of glory shine! “God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9
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THERE, ON THE OTHER SIDE, IS MY SOLITARY SOUL
J. C. Philpot, “New Years’ Addresses”
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26
Here is my scale of profit and loss.
I have a soul to be saved or lost.
What then shall I give in exchange for my soul?
What am I profited if I gain the whole world and lose my soul?
This deep conviction of a soul to be saved or lost lies at the root of all our religion.
Here, on one side, is the WORLD and all…. its profits,
its pleasures,
its charms,
its smiles,
its winning ways, its comforts,
its luxuries,
its honors,
to gain which is the grand struggle of human life.
There, on the other side, is my solitary SOUL, to live after death, forever and ever, when the world and all its pleasures and profits will sink under the wrath of the Almighty.
And this dear soul of mine, my very self, my only self, my all, must be lost or saved.
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EVEN YOUR OWN RELATIVES THINK YOU ARE ALMOST INSANE
J. C. Philpot, “The Abiding Comforter” 1858
“The Spirit of truth, whom the world can’t receive; for it doesn’t see Him, neither knows Him.” John 14:17
The world—that is, the world dead in sin, and the world dead in profession—men destitute of the life and power of God—must have something that it can see. And, as heavenly things can only be seen by heavenly eyes, they cannot receive the things which are invisible.
Now this explains why a religion that presents itself with a degree of beauty and grandeur to the natural eye will always be received by the world; while a spiritual, internal, heartfelt and experimental religion will always be rejected.
The world can receive a religion that consists of forms, rites, and ceremonies.
These are things seen.
Beautiful buildings, painted windows, pealing organs, melodious choirs, the pomp and parade of an earthly priesthood, and a whole apparatus of ‘religious ceremony,’ carry with them something that the natural eye can see and admire. The world receives all this ‘external religion’ because it is suitable to the natural mind and intelligible to the reasoning faculties.
But the quiet, inward, experimental, divine religion, which presents no attractions to the outward eye, but is wrought in the heart by a divine operation—the world cannot receive this—because it presents nothing that the natural eye can rest upon with pleasure, or is adapted to gratify their general idea of what religion is or should be.
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Do not marvel, then, that worldly professors despise a religion wrought in the soul by the power of God. Do not be surprised if even your own relatives think you are almost insane, when you speak of the consolations of the Spirit, or of the teachings of God in your soul. They cannot receive these things, for they have no experience of them; and being such as are altogether opposed to the carnal mind, they reject them with enmity and scorn.
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MAKE STRAIGHT PATHS FOR YOUR FEET
J. C. Philpot, “New Years’ Addresses”
“Make straight paths for your feet.” Hebrews 12:13
Surrounded as we are with a crooked generation, professing and profane, whose ways we are but too apt to learn; beset on every hand by temptations….
to turn aside into some crooked path, to feed our pride,
to indulge our lusts,
to gratify our covetousness;
blinded and seduced sometimes by the god of this world; hardened at other times by the deceitfulness of sin; here misled by the example, and there bewitched by the flattery of some friend or companion; at one time confused and bewildered in our judgment of right and wrong; at another time entangled, half resisting, half complying, in some snare of the wicked one; what a struggle have some of us had to make straight paths for our feet; and what pain and grief that we should ever have made crooked ones.
“But as for me, my feet were almost gone. My steps had nearly slipped.” Psalm 73:2
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“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping!’ Your loving- kindness, O Lord, held me up.” Psalm 94:18
“He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay. He set my feet on a rock, and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2
“Hold me up, and I shall be safe!” Psalm 119:117
“I have taught you in the way of wisdom. I have led you in paths of uprightness.” Proverbs 4:11
HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM
J. C. Philpot, “New Years’ Addresses”
“But mixed themselves with the nations, learned their works. They served their idols, which became a snare to them.” Psalm 106:35-36
The ‘carnal professors’ of the day see nothing wrong, nothing amiss, nothing inconsistent in their conduct or spirit, though they are sunk in worldliness, carnality, or covetousness.
But where there is divine life, where the blessed Spirit moves upon the heart with His sacred operations and secret influences, there will be light to see, and a conscience to feel, what is….
wrong, sinful, inconsistent, and improper.
It its but too evident that we cannot be mixed up with the professors of the day without drinking, in some measure, into their spirit and being more or less influenced by their example.
We can scarcely escape the influence of those with
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whom we come much and frequently into contact. If they are dead, they will often benumb us with their corpse-like coldness. If they are light and trifling, they will often entangle us in their carnal levity. If they are worldly and covetous, they may afford us a shelter and an excuse for our own worldliness and covetousness.
Abhor that loose profession, that ready compliance with everything which feeds the….
pride,
worldliness,
covetousness,
and lusts of our depraved nature,
which so stamps the present day with some of its most perilous and dreadful characters.
“Having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 2 Timothy 3:5
WE FIND THAT THEY ARE EMPTY BUBBLES
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858
“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits his own self?” Luke 9:25
The possession of the whole world, and all that it contains, would never make a man happy.
Its pleasures are false and deceptive!
Its riches, rank, and honors, have no power to satisfy the
heart.
So long as we have not got them they glitter, and sparkle, and seem desirable. The moment we have them we find that they are empty bubbles, and cannot make us feel content.
And, worst of all, when we possess this world’s good things to the utmost bound of our desire, we cannot keep
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them! Death comes in and separates us from all our property forever. Naked we came upon earth, and naked we go forth, and of all our possessions we can carry nothing with us.
Such is the world, which occupies the whole attention of thousands! Such is the world, for the sake of which, millions every year are destroying their souls!
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PRIDE, SELF-CONCEIT, AND SELF-EXALTATION
J. C. Philpot, “New Years’ Address, 1857”
Pride, self-conceit, and self-exaltation, are both the chief temptations, and the main besetting sins, of those who occupy any public position in the church.
Therefore, where these sins are not mortified by the Spirit, and subdued by His grace; instead of being, as they should be, the humblest of men; they are, with rare exceptions, the proudest.
Did we bear in constant remembrance our slips, falls, and grievous backslidings; and had we, with all this, a believing sight of the holiness and purity of God, of the sufferings and sorrows of His dear Son, and what it cost Him to redeem us from the lowest hell; we would be, we must be clothed with humility; and would, under feelings of the deepest self-abasement, take the lowest place among the family of God, as the chief of sinners, and less than the least of all the saints.
This should be the feeling of every child of God.
Until this pride is in some measure crucified, until we hate it, and hate ourselves for it, the glory of God will not be our main object. 7
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THE FOULEST FILTH UNDER THE CLEANEST CLOAK
J. C. Philpot, “New Years’ Address, 1858”
“Take heed unto yourselves!” Acts 20:28
There are few Christians who have not ever found SELF to be their greatest enemy. The pride, unbelief, hardness, and impenitence of a man’s own heart; the deceitfulness, hypocrisy, and wickedness of his own fallen nature; the lusts and passions, filth and folly of his own carnal mind; will not only ever be his greatest burden, but will ever prove his most dreaded foe!
Enemies we shall have from outside, and we may at times keenly feel their bitter speeches and cruel words and actions. But no enemy can injure us like ourselves! In five minutes a man may do himself more real harm, than all his enemies united could do to injure him in fifty years!
To yourself you can be the most insidious enemy and the greatest foe!
In all its forms, SELF in its inmost spirit is still a
deceitful, subtle, restless, proud, and impatient creature;
masking its real character in a thousand ways, and concealing its destructive designs by countless devices.
We have but to look on the professing church to find….
the highest pride under the lowest humility,
the greatest ignorance under the vainest self-conceit, the basest treachery under the warmest profession, the vilest sensuality under the most heavenly piety, and the foulest filth under the cleanest cloak.
“Take heed unto yourselves!” Acts 20:28 7
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FAMILIARITY WITH SACRED THINGS
J. C. Philpot, “New Years’ Address, 1858”
“Take heed unto yourselves!” Acts 20:28
This was Paul’s public warning to the elders of the church at Ephesus. It was Paul’s private warning to his friend and disciple, his beloved son, Timothy. And do not all who write or speak in the name of the Lord need the same warning?
Familiarity with sacred things has a natural tendency to harden the conscience, where grace does not soften and make it tender.
Men may preach and pray until both become a mere mechanical habit; and they may talk about Christ and His sufferings until they feel as little touched by them as a ‘tragic actor’ on the stage, of the sorrows which he impersonates.
Well, then, may the Holy Spirit sound this note of warning, as with trumpet voice, in the ears of the servants of Christ. “Take heed unto yourselves!”
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I AM BLACK, BUT LOVELY!
Henry Law, “The Song of Solomon” 1879
“I am black, but lovely!” Song of Solomon 1:5
The believer pictures her state. It is a seeming paradox. The extremes of lowliness and greatness are combined. She presents two aspects. Deformity and loveliness compose the portrait. “I am black, but lovely!”
Blackness is frightful and repulsive. No eye can rest on it complacently. But blackness is the emblem of our state by nature. We are conceived and born in sin; and sin is most hideous wherever it appears. The Spirit has
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revealed this truth to each enlightened convert. He sees it—he feels it—he owns it—he bewails it. It is his constant misery. When he would do good, evil is present with him. He hates and loathes and abhors himself in dust and ashes. Surveying the innate corruption, which is his, he mournfully confesses, “I am black; I am vile.”
But he looks off to Christ. He sees the precious blood washing out every stain and obliterating the crimson dye.
The blackness disappears.
In Christ he is whiter than the whitest snow.
He puts on Christ, and adores Him as made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He sees His pure and perfect obedience wrought out as a robe to hide his every defect, so bright, so lovely, and so glorious, that it exceeds all admiration.
He feels that this righteousness is through grace imputed to him. He knows that he is lovely through divine loveliness. Thus clothed and decked, he triumphantly tells his friends, “I am black, but lovely!”
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LEANING UPON HER BELOVED
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“Leaning upon her Beloved.” Solomon’s Song 8:5 What more appropriate, what more soothing truth
could we bring before you, suffering Christian, than this?
You are sick—lean upon Jesus. His sick ones are peculiarly dear to His heart. You are dear to Him. In all your pains and languishings, faintings and lassitude, Jesus is with you; for He created that frame, He remembers that it is but dust, and He bids you lean
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upon Him, and leave your sickness and its outcome entirely in His hands.
You are lonely—lean upon Jesus. Sweet will be the communion and close the fellowship which you may thus hold with Him, your heart burning within you while He talks with you by the way.
Is the ascent steep and difficult? Lean upon your Beloved.
Is the path strait and narrow? Lean upon your Beloved.
Do intricacies and perplexities and trials weave their network around your feet? Lean upon your Beloved.
Has death smitten down the strong arm and chilled the tender heart upon which you were used to recline? Lean upon your Beloved.
Oh! lean upon Jesus…. in every difficulty,
in every need,
in every sorrow,
in every temptation.
Nothing is too insignificant, nothing too lowly, to take to Christ. He loves to have you quite near to Him, to hear your voice, and to feel the confidence of your faith and the pressure of your love.
Always remember that there is a place in the heart of Christ sacred to you, and which no one can fill but yourself, and from which none may dare exclude you. On that bosom you, beloved, may repose, soothed, supported, and sheltered by your Savior and your Lord.
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WHAT? WILL HE FORGIVE US ALL SINS?
J. C. Philpot, “Faithful and Just to Forgive”
“He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
What? Will He forgive us all sins?
Every sin that we have committed?
Do we not sin with every breath that we draw?
Is not every lustful desire sin?
And is not every proud thought sin?
And is not every wicked imagination sin?
And is not every unkind suspicion sin?
Every act of unbelief sin?
And every working of a depraved nature sin?
We committed sin when we sucked our mother’s breast! We committed sin as soon as we were able to stammer out a word. And as we grew in body, we grew in sinfulness.
Will He forgive….
sins of thought, sins of look,
sins of action,
sins of omission, sins of commission, sins in infancy,
sins in childhood, sins in youth, sins in old age?
Will He forgive….
all the base lusts,
all the filthy workings, all the vile actions,
all the pride,
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all the hypocrisy,
all the covetousness,
all the envy, hatred, and malice,
all the aboundings of inward iniquity?
“The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
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THIS SACRED ANOINTING
J. C. Philpot, “The Unction of the Holy One”
“But you have an anointing from the Holy One.”
1 John 2:20
Wherever the anointing of the Holy One touches a man’s heart it spreads itself, widening and extending its operations. It thus communicates divine gifts and graces wherever it comes. It….
bestows and draws out faith,
gives repentance and godly sorrow, causes secret self-loathing,
and separation from the world, draws the affections upwards, makes sin hated, and
Jesus and His salvation loved.
Wherever the anointing of the Holy Spirit touches a man’s heart it diffuses itself through his whole soul, and makes him wholly a new creature. It….
gives new motives,
communicates new feelings,
enlarges and melts the heart, and
spiritualizes and draws the affections upwards.
Without this sacred anointing….
all our religion is a bubble,
all our profession a lie, and
all our hopes will end in despair.
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O what a mercy to have one drop of this heavenly anointing! To enjoy one heavenly feeling! To taste the least measure of Christ’s love shed abroad in the heart! What an unspeakable mercy to have one touch, one glimpse, one glance, one communication out of the fullness of Him who fills all in all!
By this anointing from the Holy One, the children of God are supported under….
afflictions, perplexities, and sorrows.
By this anointing from the Holy One, they see the hand of God….
in every chastisement, in every providence, in every trial,
in every grief, and
in every burden.
By this anointing from the Holy One they can bear chastisement with meekness; and put their mouth in the dust, humbling themselves under the mighty hand of God.
Every good word, every good work, every gracious thought, every holy desire, every spiritual feeling do we owe to this one thing—the anointing of the Holy One.
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MY BELOVED
Octavius Winslow, “None Like Christ” 1866
“How is your beloved better than others?” Song 5:9 Does the world challenge—“How is your beloved better
than others?” Your answer is at hand—“My beloved bore –99–

my sins, and opened in His heart a fountain in which I am washed whiter than snow! My beloved….
sustains my burdens, counsels my perplexities, heals my wounds,
dries my tears,
supplies my needs,
bears with my infirmities, upholds my steps, and
cheers my pathway to the tomb.
My beloved will be with me in the valley of the shadow of death, and with His presence I shall fear no evil.
My beloved has gone to prepare a place for me in the many-mansioned house of my Father, and will come again and receive me to Himself, that where He is, I may be also.
My beloved will walk with me in the gold-paved streets of the new Jerusalem. He will lead me to fountains of living waters, and will wipe every tear from my eyes! He is altogether lovely! This is my beloved, and this is my Friend!”
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AND HOW IS IT THAT I AM MADE TO DIFFER?
John MacDuff, “The Prophet of Fire” 1877
Let us adore the freeness of God’s mercy, and the sovereignty of His grace.
God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways. Man has generally some reason for conferring his favors; some claim arising from person or pedigree, from character or attainments.
But God’s sole motive in conferring favors is His own free and gracious purpose. “It is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.”
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He takes a Manasseh filling Jerusalem with blood, and makes him a monument of forgiveness.
He takes a Saul breathing out his blasphemies, and converts him into the great Apostle.
He takes….
a crude heathen jailer, or
an unprincipled tax gatherer of Jericho, or a profligate woman of Capernaum, or
a felon in his dying agonies,
while many encircled with the halo of natural virtues or with the prestige of religious education and training, are left to perish in their ungodliness and unbelief and pride!
And it is the same principle we recognize still in His dealings. He often passes by….
the great,
the powerful,
the rich,
the sophisticated,
the educated;
yes, even the virtuous and the amiable;
and He crowds the marriage supper of the King
from the highways and hedges; with the poor and the illiterate; the outcast and prodigal.
He often leaves palace and castle and stately mansion and lettered hall; and enters the humble cottage and the poor man’s hovel.
He takes the children’s bread and casts it to Gentile dogs!
Many old companions; those at one time better and more promising than I; have been long ago scattered as wrecks on life’s ocean, entangled in the swirling vortex, and hurried down into nameless depths of infamy.
And how is it that I am made to differ?
How is it that that tale of misery and ruin; that which,
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in the case of others, has broken a parent’s heart, and sent him sobbing and halting to the grave; how is it that I have escaped these dread temptations; and that, while others have broken loose with a worse than maniac’s madness, I am this day sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in my right mind?
Not unto me, O God! not unto me! But unto Your name be all the glory!
I read the reason, written in gleaming letters, in the heights and depths of Your own Infinite love. By Your grace, Your free, sovereign, unmerited grace alone, I am what I am!
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IF GOD LEFT US FOR A SINGLE HOUR
J. C. Philpot, “Prevailing Pleas” 1865
“Don’t leave us!” Jeremiah 14:9
How much is summed up in those three words! What
would it be for God to leave us?
What and where would we be, if God left us for a single
hour?
What would become of us?
We would fall at once into the hands…. of sin,
of Satan, and
of the world.
We would be abandoned to our own evil hearts— abandoned, utterly abandoned to the unbelief, the infidelity, to all the filth and sensuality of our wicked nature—to fill up the measure of our iniquities, until we sank under His wrath to rise no more!
“Don’t leave us!” Jeremiah 14:9 7
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HOW CAN HE TRAVEL THROUGH THIS WASTE HOWLING WILDERNESS?
J. C. Philpot, “Reconciliation and Salvation” 1858
If you are alive to what you are as a poor, fallen sinner—you will see yourself surrounded by….
enemies, temptations, sins, and snares.
You will feel yourself utterly defenseless, as weak as water, without any strength to stand against them. You will see a mountain of difficulties before your eyes.
If you know anything inwardly and experimentally of yourself of the evils of your heart, the power of sin, the strength of temptation, the subtlety of your unwearied foe, and the daily conflict between nature and grace, the flesh and the Spirit, which are the peculiar marks of the true child of God—you will find and feel your need of salvation as a daily reality.
How shall you escape the snares and temptations spread in your path? How shall you get the better of all your enemies—external, internal, infernal—and reach heaven’s gates safe at last?
There is present salvation, an inward, experimental, continual salvation communicated out of the fullness of Christ as a risen Mediator.
Don’t you need to be daily and almost hourly saved? But from what? Why, from everything in you that fights against the will and word of God.
Sin is not dead in you.
If you have a saving interest in the precious blood of Christ—if your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, and heaven is your eternal home—that does not
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deliver you from the indwelling of sin, nor from the power of sin—except as grace gives you present deliverance from it.
Sin still works in your carnal mind, and will work in it until your dying hour. What then you need to be saved from is the guilt, filth, power, love, and practice of that sin which ever dwells and ever works in you, and often brings your soul into hard and cruel bondage.
Now Christ lives at the right hand of God for His dear people, that He may be ever saving them by His life. There He reigns and rules as their glorious covenant Head, ever watching over, feeling for and sympathizing with them, and communicating supplies of grace for the deliverance and consolation for all His suffering saints spread over the face of the earth. The glorious Head is in heaven, but the suffering members upon earth; and as He lives on their behalf, He maintains by His Spirit and grace, His life in their soul.
Each Christian has to walk through a great and terrible wilderness, wherein are fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought (Deut. 8:15); where he is surrounded with temptations and snares—his own evil heart being his worst foe.
How can he travel through this waste howling wilderness
unless he has a Friend at the right hand of God to send him continual supplies of grace—who can hear his prayers, answer his petitions, listen to his sighs, and put his tears into his bottle—who can help him to see the snares, and give him grace to avoid them—who observes from his heavenly watch tower the rising of evil in his heart, and can put a timely and seasonable check upon it before it bursts into word or action?
He needs an all-wise and ever-living Friend who can…. save him from pride by giving him true humility;
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save him from hardness of heart by bestowing repentance; save him from carelessness by making his conscience
tender;
save him from all his fears by whispering into his soul,
“Fear not, I have redeemed you.”
The Christian has to be continually looking to the Lord Jesus Christ….
to revive his soul when drooping,
to manifest His love to his heart when cold and
unfeeling,
to sprinkle his conscience with His blood when guilty
and sinking,
to lead him into truth,
to keep him from error and evil,
to preserve him through and amid every storm, to guide every step that he takes in his onward
journey, and eventually bring him safe to heaven.
We need continual supplies of His grace, mercy, and love received into our hearts, so as to save us….
from the love and spirit of the world,
from error,
from the power and strength of our own lusts, and the base inclinations of our fallen nature.
These will often work at a fearful rate; but this will only make you feel more your need of the power and presence of the Lord Jesus to save you from them all.
You are a poor, defenseless sheep, surrounded by wolves, and, as such, need all the care and defense of the good Shepherd.
You are a ship in a stormy sea, where winds and waves are all contrary, and therefore need an all wise and able pilot to take you safe into harbor.
There is not a single thing on earth or in hell which can harm you—if you are only looking to the Lord Jesus
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Christ, and deriving supplies of grace and strength
from Him.
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A WORLDLY SPIRIT WILL EVER PEEP OUT
J. C. Philpot, “Trying the Spirits” 1865
“Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us
out of this present evil age.” Galatians 1:4
The first effect of sovereign grace in its divine operation upon the heart of a child of God, is to separate him from the world by infusing into him a new spirit. There is little evidence that grace ever touched our hearts if it did not separate us from this ungodly world.
Where there is not this divine work upon a sinner’s conscience—where there is no communication of this new heart and this new spirit, no infusion of this holy life, no animating, quickening influence of the Spirit of God upon the soul—whatever a man’s outward profession may be, he will ever be of a worldly spirit.
A set of doctrines, however sound, merely received into the natural understanding—cannot divorce a man from that innate love of the world which is so deeply rooted in his very being. No mighty power has come upon his soul to revolutionize his every thought, cast his soul as if into a new mold—and by stamping upon it the mind and likeness of Christ to change him altogether. This worldly spirit may be….
checked by circumstances, controlled by natural conscience, or influenced by the example of others;
but a worldly spirit will ever peep out from the thickest disguise, and manifest itself, as occasion draws it forth, in every unregenerate man.
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CHRISTIAN RECREATION
Theodore Cuyler, “Christian Recreation and Unchristian Amusement” 1858
All work makes a man a sorry slave.
All play makes him a sorrier fool.
The wise person avoids both extremes.
Whatever makes….
your body healthier,
your mind happier, and your immortal soul purer,
is Christian recreation.
Many confound innocent recreation with sinful pleasures. One is right and the other is ruinous. Everything that….
rests my body or mind, improves my health and elevates my soul,
is commendable.
Everything that stimulates my lustful propensities, until I become a walking maniac—everything that debauches my body, weakens my conscience, excites impure thoughts, and makes my soul a horrendous house of imagery—everything that makes me forget God and eternity—is dangerous, and in the last damnable.
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WHAT TRIFLES, WHAT TOYS, WHAT
EMPTY VANITIES
J. C. Philpot, “The Things Which God has Prepared for Those Who Love Him” 1858
What trifles, what toys, what empty vanities do the great
bulk of men pursue!
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CHASING OF THE SHADOW
John MacDuff, “The Shepherd and His Flock”
“My soul rests in God alone.” Psalm 62:1
The life of man is a constant striving after rest, repose,
and satisfaction.
Many, indeed, are seeking it in base counterfeits; yet even in the counterfeit search we detect the aspiration after a nobler reality. In the very chasing of the shadow we discern the longing after the substance.
The miser seeks it in his gold.
The ambitious man seeks it as he climbs his giddy
eminences.
The pleasure hunter seeks it in artificial excitements.
The student seeks it in the loftier aspirations and achievements of his intellectual nature.
But true rest can be found in God alone. “My soul rests in God alone.” Psalm 62:1
ONE DROP OF THAT POTION
DeWitt Talmage, “The Ministry of Tears”
I am an herb doctor. I put in the caldron the Root out of dry ground without form or loveliness. Then I put in the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley. Then I put into the caldron some of the leaves from the Tree of Life, and the branch that was thrown into the wilderness Marah. Then I pour in the tears of Bethany and Golgotha—then I stir them up. Then I kindle under the caldron a fire made out of the wood of the Cross. One drop of that potion will cure the worst sickness that ever afflicted a human soul.
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WHAT A LESSON IS HERE FOR MINISTERS!
J. C. Philpot, “The Wisdom of Men and the Power of God”
“My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” 1 Corinthians 2:4
The word “enticing” is as we now say, “persuasive.” It includes, therefore, every branch of skillful oratory, whether it be logical reasoning to convince our understanding—or appeals to our feelings to stir up our passions—or new and striking ideas to delight our intellect—or beautiful and eloquent language to please and captivate our imagination.
All these “enticing words” of man’s wisdom—the very things which our popular preachers most speak and aim at— this great apostle renounced, discarded, and rejected!
He might have used them all if he liked. He possessed an almost unequalled share of natural ability and great learning—a singularly keen, penetrating intellect—a wonderful command of the Greek language—a flow of ideas most varied, striking, and original—and powers of oratory and eloquence such as have been given to few. He might therefore have used enticing words of man’s wisdom, had he wished or thought it right to do so— but he would not. He saw what deceptiveness was in them, and at best they were mere arts of oratory. He saw that these enticing words—though they might….
touch the natural feelings,
work upon the passions,
captivate the imagination,
convince the understanding,
persuade the judgment, and to a certain extent force their way into men’s minds—
yet when all was done that could thus be done, it was merely man’s wisdom which had done it.
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Earthly wisdom cannot communicate heavenly faith. Paul would not therefore use enticing words of man’s wisdom, whether it were force of logical argument, or appeal to natural passions, or the charms of vivid eloquence, or the beauty of poetical composition, or the subtle nicety of well arranged sentences. He would not use any of these enticing words of man’s wisdom to draw people into a profession of religion—when their heart was not really touched by God’s grace, or their consciences wrought upon by a divine power.
He came to win souls for Jesus Christ, not converts to his own powers of oratorical persuasion—to turn men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God—not to charm their ears by poetry and eloquence—but to bring them out of the vilest of sins that they might be washed, sanctified, and justified by the Spirit of God—and not entertain or amuse their minds while sin and Satan still maintained dominion in their hearts!
All the labor spent in bringing together a church and congregation of professing people by the power of logical argument and appeals to their natural consciences would be utterly lost, as regards fruit for eternity—for a profession so induced by him and so made by them would leave them just as they were….
in all the depths of unregeneracy, with their sins unpardoned, their persons unjustified,
and their souls unsanctified.
He therefore discarded all these ways of winning over converts—as deceitful to the souls of men, and as dishonoring to God.
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It required much grace to do this—to throw aside what he might have used, and renounce what most men, as gifted as he, would have gladly used.
What a lesson is here for ministers!
How anxious are some men to shine as great preachers! How they covet and often aim at some grand display of what they call eloquence to charm their hearers—and win praise and honor to self!
How others try to argue men into religion, or by appealing to their natural feelings, sometimes to frighten them with pictures of hell, and sometimes to allure them by descriptions of heaven.
But all such arts, for they are no better, must be discarded by a true servant of God. Only the Spirit can reveal Christ, taking of the things of Christ, and showing them unto us, applying the word with power to our hearts, and bringing the sweetness, reality, and blessedness of divine things into our soul.
“And my speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”
Unless we have a measure of the same demonstration of the Spirit, all that is said by us in the pulpit drops to the ground—it has no real effect—there is no true or abiding fruit—no fruit unto eternal life. If there be in it some enticing words of man’s wisdom, it may please the mind of those who are gratified by such arts—it may stimulate and occupy the attention for the time— but there it ceases, and all that has been heard fades away like a dream of the night.
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A PECULIAR, INDESCRIBABLE, INVINCIBLE POWER
J. C. Philpot, “The Word of Men and the Word of God”
“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
The gospel comes to some in word only. They hear the word of the gospel, the sound of truth; but it reaches the outward ear only—or if it touches the inward feelings, it is merely as the word of men.
But where the Holy Spirit begins and carries on His divine and saving work, He attends the word with a peculiar, an indescribable, and yet an invincible power.
It falls as from God upon the heart. He is heard to speak in it—and in it His glorious Majesty appears to open the eyes, unstop the ears, and convey a message from His own mouth to the soul.
Some hear the gospel as the mere word of men, perhaps for years before God speaks in it with a divine power to their conscience. They thought they understood the gospel—they thought they felt it—they thought they loved it. But all this time they did not see any vital distinction between receiving it as the mere word of men, and as the word of God.
The levity, the superficiality, the emptiness stamped upon all who merely receive the gospel as the word of men—is sufficient evidence that it never sank deep into the heart, and never took any powerful grasp upon their soul.
It therefore never brought with it any real separation from the world—never gave strength to mortify the least sin—never communicated power to escape the least snare of Satan—was never attended with a spirit of grace and prayer—never brought honesty, sincerity, and uprightness into the heart before God—never
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bestowed any spirituality of mind, or any loving affection toward the Lord of life and glory. It was merely the reception of truth in the same way as we receive scientific principles, or learn a language, a business, or a trade. It was all….
shallow, superficial, deceptive, hypocritical.
But in some unexpected moment, when little looking for it, the word of God was brought into their conscience with a power never experienced before. A light shone in and through it which they never saw before—a majesty, a glory, an authority, an evidence accompanied it which they never knew before. And under this light, life, and power they fell down, with the word of God sent home to their heart.
When then Christ speaks the gospel to the heart— when He reveals Himself to the soul—when His word, dropping as the rain and distilling as the dew, is received in faith and love—He is embraced as the chief among ten thousand and the altogether lovely one—He takes His seat upon the affections and becomes enthroned in the heart as its Lord and God.
Is there life in your bosom?
Has God’s power attended the work?
Is the grace of God really in your heart?
Has God spoken to your soul?
Have you heard His voice, felt its power, and fallen under its influence?
“For this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when you received from us the word of the message of God, you accepted it not as the word of
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men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also works in you who believe.” 1 Thess. 2:13
THE A AND THE Z
by DeWitt Talmage
Christ is the A and the Z of the Christian ministry.
A sermon that has no Christ is a dead failure. The minister who devotes his pulpit to anything but Christ is an impostor. Whatever great themes we may discuss, Christ must be the beginning and Christ the end.
A sermon given up to sentimental and flowery speech is as a straw flung to a drowning sailor.
What the world needs is to be told in the most direct way of Jesus Christ, who comes to save men from eternal damnation.
Christ the Light, Christ the Sacrifice, Christ the Rock, Christ the Star, Christ the Balm, Christ the Guide.
If a minister should live one thousand years, and preach ten sermons each day, these subjects would not be exhausted.
Do you find men tempted? Tell them of Christ the Shield. Or troubled? Tell them of Christ the Comfort.
Or guilty? Tell them of Christ the Pardon.
Or dying? Tell them of Christ the Life.
Scores of ministers, yielding to the demands of the age for elegant rhetoric, and soft speech, and flattering terms, have surrendered their pulpits to the devil.
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May Christ be the subject of our talk; Christ the inspiration of our prayers; Christ the theme of our songs; Christ now, and Christ forever!
Philosophy is nothing; denominations nothing; conferences nothing; assemblies nothing; ourselves nothing,
but CHRIST EVERYTHING!
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A PRAYER FROM HELL
Mortimer, “Devotional Commentary on the Gospels”
“In Hades, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his bosom. He cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue! For I am in anguish in this flame.’” Luke 16:23-24
If prayers were heard in hell, how many would be offered up! But the ‘abode of despair’ is not the place for prayer. All the rich man’s requests were refused. His was a very small petition. It was not a petition for ‘release.’ Lost spirits know that release is impossible. The gates have closed upon them forever.
But the rich man hoped that the slightest possible relief might be granted. He did not ask that Lazarus might bring him a large glass, nor even a drop of water—he did not ask that he might dip his own hand or his finger in water—but he asked that Lazarus might dip the tip of his finger in water, and apply it to his burning tongue. Yet the request was refused!
Abraham reminded the tormented spirit that on earth he had received good things—and Lazarus bad things.
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Lazarus must not feel even for a moment the scorching flames of hell—nor must the rich man taste one drop of the cooling streams of heaven.
There is a great gulf fixed. The inhabitants of each eternal world know that there can be no change of state. Hell knows that no celestial comforter will ever enter her gates—and Heaven that no malicious enemy will ever break through hers.
This fills heaven with delight, and hell with despair!
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THE MOST GORGEOUS CATHEDRAL SERVICE
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of John”
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24
Note the utter uselessness of any religion which only consists of formality. The Samaritan woman, when awakened to spiritual concern, started questions about the comparative merits of the Samaritan and Jewish modes of worshiping God.
Our Lord tells her that true and acceptable worship depends not on the place in which it is offered, but on the state of the worshiper’s heart.
The principle contained in these sentences can never be too strongly impressed on professing Christians. We are all naturally inclined to make religion a mere matter of outward forms and ceremonies, and to attach an excessive importance to our own particular manner of worshiping God.
We must beware of this spirit, and especially when we first begin to think seriously about our souls.
The heart is the principal thing in all our approaches to God. “The Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)
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The most gorgeous ‘cathedral service’ is offensive in God’s sight, if all is gone through coldly, heartlessly, and without grace.
The feeblest gathering of three or four poor believers in a lowly cottage to read the Bible and pray, is a more acceptable sight to Him who searches the heart, than the fullest congregation which is ever gathered in St. Peter’s at Rome.
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A NEW CREATURE
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of John”
“Jesus answered him, ‘Most assuredly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see the kingdom of God.’” John 3:3
The change which our Lord here declares needful to salvation is evidently no slight or superficial one. It is not merely….
reformation,
or amendment,
or moral change,
or outward alteration of life.
It is a thorough change of heart, will, and character. It is a resurrection.
It is a new creation.
It is a passing from death to life.
It is the implanting in our dead hearts of a new principle from above.
It is the calling into existence of a new creature, with…. a new nature,
new habits of life,
new tastes,
new desires, new appetites,
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new judgments, new opinions, new hopes, and new fears.
All this, and nothing less than this is implied, when our Lord declares that we all need a “new birth.”
Let us solemnly ask ourselves whether we know anything of this mighty change.
Have we been born again?
Can any marks of the new birth be seen in us?
Is the image and superscription of the Spirit to be discerned in our lives?
Happy is the man who can give satisfactory answers to these questions! A day will come when those who are not born again will wish that they had never been born at all.
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THAT LOVE WILL ETERNALLY EMBRACE YOU!
by Richard Baxter
Is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God—to be the child, the spouse, the love, the delight of the King of glory?
Christian, believe this, and think about it—you will be eternally embraced in the arms of the love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting—of the love which brought the Son of God’s love….
from heaven to earth;
from earth to the cross; from the cross to the grave; from the grave to glory;
that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffeted, spit upon, crucified, pierced;
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that love which fasted, prayed, taught, healed, wept, sweat, bled, died.
That love will eternally embrace you!
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YOUR LIFE PREACHES ALL THE WEEK
Robert Murray M’Cheyne, 1813–1843
Study universal holiness of life. Your whole usefulness depends on this, for your sermons last but an hour or two—your life preaches all the week. If Satan can only make a covetous minister a lover of praise, of pleasure, of good eating—he has ruined his ministry.
Give yourself to prayer, and get your texts, your thoughts, your words from God. In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be success.
It is not great talents God blesses, so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awesome weapon in the
hand of God.
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THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD
J. C. Philpot, “The Things Which God has Prepared for Those Who Love Him” 1858
“But to us, God revealed them through the Spirit. For the spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:10
The Spirit of God in a man’s bosom searches the deep things of God, so as to lead him into a spiritual and experimental knowledge of them.
What depths do we sometimes see in a single text of Scripture as opened to the understanding, or applied to the heart?
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What a depth in the blood of Christ—how it “cleanses from all sin,”—even millions of millions of the foulest sins of the foulest sinners!
What a depth in His bleeding, dying love, that could stoop so low to lift us so high!
What a depth in His pity and compassion to extend itself to such guilty, vile transgressors as we are!
What depth in His rich, free, and sovereign grace, that it should super-abound over all our aggravated iniquities, enormities, and vile abominations!
What depth in His sufferings—that He should have vol- untarily put Himself under such a load of guilt, such outbreakings of the wrath of God—as He felt in His holy soul when He stood in our place to redeem poor sinners from the bottomless pit—that those who deserved hell, should be lifted up into the enjoyment of heaven!
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THE RELIGIONISTS OF THE DAY
J. C. Philpot, “Faith’s Standing-Ground” 1862
“You will be hated by all men for My name’s sake.” Luke 21:17
Professors of religion have always been the deadliest enemies of the children of God.
Who were so opposed to the blessed Lord as the Scribes and Pharisees? It was the religious teachers and leaders who crucified the Lord of glory!
And so in every age the religionists of the day have been the hottest and bitterest persecutors of the Church of Christ.
Nor is the case altered now. The more the children of God are firm in the truth, the more they enjoy its
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power, the more they live under its influence, and the more tenderly and conscientiously they walk in godly fear, the more will the professing generation of the day hate them with a deadly hatred.
Let us not think that we can disarm it by a godly life; for the more that we walk in the sweet enjoyment of heavenly truth and let our light shine before men as having been with Jesus, the more will this draw down their hatred and contempt.
“The world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:14
THE SUNNIEST AND SWEETEST HOME ON EARTH
Octavius Winslow
One unhappy temper,
one unbending will,
one unloving unsympathetic heart,
may becloud and embitter the sunniest and sweetest home on earth.
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MY LEANNESS, MY LEANNESS, WOE UNTO ME!
J. C. Philpot, “Confiding Trust and Patient Submission”
“My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!” Isaiah 24:16
There is no more continual source of lamentation and mourning to a child of God than a sense of his own barrenness. He would be fruitful in every good word and work. But when he contrasts….
his own miserable unprofitableness, his coldness and deadness,
his proneness to evil,
his backwardness to good,
his daily wanderings and departings from God,
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his depraved affections, his stupid frames,
his sensual desires,
his carnal projects, and his earthy grovelings,
with what he sees and knows should be the fruit that should grow upon a fruitful branch in the only true Vine, he sinks down under a sense of his own wretched barrenness and unfruitfulness.
Yet what was the effect produced by all this upon his own soul? To wean him from the creature; to divert him from looking to any for help or hope, but the Lord Himself. It is in this painful way that the Lord often, if not usually, cuts us off from all human props, even the nearest and dearest, that we may lean wholly and solely on Himself.
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WHAT KIND OF BODIES WILL THEY HAVE?
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“How are the dead raised?” and, “With what kind of body do they come?” 1 Corinthians 15:35
The identical body that was sown, yet…. so changed,
so spiritualized,
so glorified,
so immortalized,
as to rival in beauty the highest form of spirit, while it shall resemble, in its fashion, the glorious body of Christ Himself!
We can form but a faint conception, even from the glowing representations of the apostle, of the glory of the raised body of the just. But this we know, it will be in every respect a structure worthy of the perfected soul which will inhabit it.
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Presently, ‘the body’ is the antagonist, and not the assistant of ‘the soul’—its clog, its prison, its foe. The moment that Jesus condescends to “grace this lowly abode” with His indwelling presence, there commences that fierce and harassing conflict between holiness and sin, which so often wrings the bitter cry from the believer, “Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Oh, what an encumbrance 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 subdue it, and bring it into subjection as its slave.
How often, when the mind would pursue its favorite study, the wearied and over-tasked 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 body!
Not so will it be in the morning of the resurrection! Then “the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality!”
Mysterious and glorious change!
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet,” the dead in Christ shall awake from their long sleep, and spring from their tombs into a blissful immortality!
Oh, how altered!
Oh, how transformed! Oh, how changed!
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“Sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”
“A spiritual body!” Who can imagine, who describe it? What anatomy can explain its mysteries? What brush can paint its beauties!
“A spiritual body!” All the remains, all the vestiges of corrupt matter—passed away!
“A spiritual body!” So regenerated, so sanctified, so invested with the high and glorious attributes of spirit, that now sympathizing and blending with the soul in its high employment of obeying the will and chanting the praises of God—it shall rise with it in its lofty soarings, and accompany and aid it in its deep researches in the hidden and sublime mysteries of eternity!
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THOSE POOR STUPID PEOPLE!
J. C. Philpot, “The Sons of God—Their Blessings and Their Privileges”
“The world knows us not.” 1 John 3:1
Both the openly profane world, and the professing world, are grossly ignorant of the children of God. Their….
real character and condition, state and standing,
joys and sorrows,
mercies and miseries,
trials and deliverances, hopes and fears,
afflictions and consolations,
are entirely hidden from their eyes.
The world knows nothing of the motives and feelings which guide and actuate the children of God. It views them as a set of gloomy, morose, melancholy beings, whose
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tempers are soured by false and exaggerated views of religion—who have pored over the thoughts of hell and heaven until some have frightened themselves into despair, and others have puffed up their vain minds with an imaginary conceit of their being especial favorites of the Almighty. “They are really,” it says, “no better than other folks, if so good. But they have such contracted minds—are so obstinate and bigoted with their poor, narrow, prejudiced views—that wherever they come they bring disturbance and confusion.”
But why this harsh judgment?
Because the world knows nothing of the spiritual feel- ings which actuate the child of grace, making him act so differently from the world which thus condemns him.
It cannot understand our sight and sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin—and that is the reason why we will not run riot with them in the same course of ungodliness.
It does not know with what a solemn weight eternal things rest upon our minds—and that that is the cause why we cannot join with them in pursuing so eagerly the things of the world, and living for time as they do— instead of living for eternity.
Being unable to enter into the spiritual motives and gracious feelings which actuate a living soul, and the movements of divine life continually stirring in a Christian breast, they naturally judge us from their own point of view, and condemn what they cannot understand.
You may place a horse and a man upon the same hill— while the man would be looking at the woods and fields and streams—the horse would be feeding upon the grass at his feet. The horse, if it could reason, would say, “What a fool my master is! How he is
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staring and gaping about! Why does he not sit down and open his basket of provisions—for I know he has it with him, for I carried it—and feed as I do?”
So the worldling says, “Those poor stupid people, how they are spending their time in going to chapel, and reading the Bible in their gloomy, melancholy way. Religion is all very well—and we ought all to be religious before we die—but they make so much of it. Why don’t they enjoy more of life? Why don’t they amuse themselves more with its innocent, harmless pleasures—be more gay, cheerful, and sociable, and take more interest in those things which so interest us?”
The reason why the world thus wonders at us is because it knows us not, and therefore cannot understand that we have….
sublimer feelings,
nobler pleasures, and more substantial delights,
than ever entered the soul of a worldling!
Christian! the more you are conformed to the image of Christ—the more separated you are from the world, the less will it understand you. If we kept closer to the Lord and walked more in holy obedience to the precepts of the gospel, we would be more misunderstood than even we now are! It is our worldly conformity that makes the world understand many of our movements and actions so well.
But if our movements were more according to the mind of Christ—if we walked more as the Lord walked when here below—we would leave the world in greater ignorance of us than we leave it now—for the hidden springs of our life would be more out of its sight, our testimony against it more decided, and our separation from it more complete. 7
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WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?
Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
With such a Father, such a Friend, and such a Comforter, who can wage a successful hostility against the children of God?
God Himself cannot be against us, even when the clouds of His providence appear the most lowering, and His strokes are felt to be the most severe. “Though He slays me, yet will I trust in Him.”
The law cannot be against us; for the Law-fulfiller has, by His obedience, magnified and made it honorable.
Divine justice cannot be against us; for Jesus has, in our stead, met its demands, and His resurrection is a full discharge of all its claims.
Nor sin, nor Satan, nor the ungodly, nor suffering, nor death, can be really or successfully against us, since….
the condemnation of sin is removed, and Satan is vanquished,
and the ungodly are restrained,
and suffering works for good,
and the sting of death is taken away.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
With such a Being on our side, whom shall we fear?
Has He ever been a wilderness to you, a land of darkness? Has He, in any instance, been unkind, unfriendly, unfaithful? Never!
All His love, all His grace, all His perfections, all His heaven of glory is for you!
Trembling Christian! God is on your side!
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WE WERE NOT ALWAYS A SET OF POOR MOPES
J. C. Philpot, “Spiritual Convictions & Heavenly Affections”
“If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3
Men’s pursuits and pleasures differ as widely as their station or disposition—but a life of selfish gratification reigns and rules in all.
Now it is by this death that we die unto…. the things of time and sense;
to all that charms the natural mind of man; to the pleasures and pursuits of life;
to that busy, restless world;
which once held us so fast and firm in its embrace, and whirled us round and round within its giddy dance.
Let us look back. We were not always a set of poor mopes— as the world calls us. We were once as merry and as gay as the merriest and gayest of them.
But what were we really and truly with all our mirth?
Dead to God—alive to sin. Dead to everything holy and divine—alive to everything vain and foolish, light and trifling, carnal and sensual—if not exactly vile and abominable.
Our natural life was with all of us a life of gratifying our senses—with some of us, perhaps, chiefly of pleasure and worldly happiness—with others a life of covetousness, or ambition, or self-righteousness.
Sin once put forth its intense power and allured us— and we followed like the fool to the stocks.
Sin charmed—and we listened to its seductive wiles.
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Sin held out its bait—and we too greedily, too heedlessly swallowed the hook.
“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
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TO WALK AFTER THE FLESH
J. C. Philpot, “No Condemnation” 1862
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who don’t walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1
To walk after the flesh carries with it the idea of the flesh going before us—as our leader, guide, and example— and our following close in its footsteps, so that wherever it drags or draws we move after it, as the needle after the magnet.
To walk after the flesh, then, is to move step by step in implicit obedience to….
the commands of the flesh, the lusts of the flesh,
the inclinations of the flesh, and the desires of the flesh,
whatever shape they assume, whatever garb they wear, whatever name they may bear.
To walk after the flesh is to be ever pursuing, desiring, and doing the things that please the flesh, whatever aspect that flesh may wear or whatever dress it may assume—whether molded and fashioned after the grosser and more flagrant ways of the profane world— or the more refined and deceptive religion of the professing church.
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But are the grosser and more manifest sinners the only people who may be said to walk after the flesh? Does not all human religion, in all its varied forms and shapes, come under the sweep of this all-devouring sword? Yes! Every one who is entangled in and led by a fleshly religion, walks as much after the flesh as those who are abandoned to its grosser indulgences.
Sad it is, yet not more sad than true, that false religion has slain its thousands, if open sin has slain its ten thousands.
To walk after the flesh, whether it be in the grosser or more refined sense of the term, is the same in the sight
of God.
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THOUSANDS IMAGINE THAT THEY ARE HUMBLE
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858
“There arose also a contention among them, which of them was considered to be greatest.” Luke 22:24
See how firmly pride and love of preeminence can stick to the hearts of Christian men.
The sin before us is a very old one…. ambition,
self esteem, and
self conceit
lie deep at the bottom of all men’s hearts, and often in the hearts where they are least suspected.
Thousands imagine that they are humble, who cannot bear to see an equal more honored and favored than themselves!
The quantity of envy and jealousy in the world is a glaring proof of the prevalence of pride.
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Let us live on our guard against this sore disease, if we make any profession of serving Christ. The harm that it has done to the Church of Christ is far beyond calculation.
Let us learn to take pleasure in the prosperity of others, and to be content with the lowest place for ourselves.
WWJD?
C. H. Spurgeon, “The Fair Portrait of a Saint” 1880
“My foot has held fast to His steps. His way have I kept, and not turned aside.” Job 23:11
A very beautiful motto is hung up in our infant classroom at the Stockwell Orphanage, “What would Jesus do?” Not only may children take it as their guide, but all of us may do the same, whatever our age.
“What would Jesus do?”
If you desire to know what you ought to do under any circumstances, imagine Jesus to be in that position and then think, “What would Jesus do? for what Jesus would do, that ought I to do.”
That unties the knot of all moral difficulty in the most practical way, and does it so simply that no great wit or wisdom will be needed. “For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:15
“Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21
“He who says he remains in Him ought himself also to walk just like He walked.” 1 John 2:6
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THE VERY THOUGHT IS APPALLING!
J. C. Philpot, “Alienation and Reconciliation”
“You, being in past times alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works.” Colossians 1:21
All man’s sins, comparatively speaking, are but ‘motes in the sunbeam’ compared with this giant sin of enmity against God. A man may be given up to fleshly indulgences; he may sin against his fellow creature— may rob, plunder, oppress, even kill his fellow man. But viewed in a spiritual light, what are they compared with the dreadful, the damnable sin of enmity against the great and glorious Majesty of heaven?
This is a sin that lives beyond the grave!
Many sins, though not their consequences, die with man’s body, because they are bodily sins.
But this is a sin that goes into eternity with him, and flares up like a mighty volcano from the very depths of the bottomless pit! Yes, it is the very sin of devils, which therefore binds guilty man down with them in the same eternal chains, and consigns him to the same place of torment!
O the unutterable enmity of the heart against the living God! The very thought is appalling!
How utterly ruined, then, how wholly lost must that man’s state and case be, who lives and dies as he comes into the world….
unchanged, unrenewed, unregenerated!
I will not dwell longer upon this gloomy subject, on this sad exhibition of human wickedness and misery, though it is needful we should know it for ourselves,
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that we should have a taste of this bitter cup in our own most painful experience, that we may know the sweetness of the cup of salvation when presented to our lips by free and sovereign grace.
Nothing but the mighty power of God Himself can ever turn this enemy into a friend!
“You, being in past times alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and blameless before Him.” Colossians 1:21-22
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I WILL GIVE YOU REST
J. C. Philpot, “An Anxious Inquiry and a Gracious Response”
Are you ever weary….
of the world,
of sin,
of self,
of everything below the skies?
If so, you want something to give you rest.
You look to SELF—it is but shifting sand, tossed here and there with the restless tide, and ever casting up mire and dirt. No holding ground; no anchorage; no rest there.
You look to OTHERS—you see what man is, even the very best of men in their best state—how fickle, how unstable, how changing and changeable; how weak even when willing to help; how more likely to add to, than relieve your distress; if desirous to sympathize with and comfort you in trouble and sorrow, how short his arm to help, how unsatisfactory his aid to relieve! You find no rest there.
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You lean upon the WORLD—it is but a broken reed which runs into your hand and pierces you. You find no rest there.
So look where you will, there is no rest for the sole of your foot.
But there is a rest. Our blessed Lord says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
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THAT WHICH IS HIGHLY ESTEEMED AMONG MEN
J. C. Philpot
“That which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15
The pride, the ambition, the pleasures, the amusements, in which we see thousands and tens of thousands engaged and sailing down the stream into a dreadful gulf of eternity—are all an abomination in the sight of God.
Whereas, such things as…. faith,
hope,
love,
humility,
brokenness of heart, tenderness of conscience, contrition of spirit, sorrow for sin, self-loathing, self-abasement,
looking to Jesus,
taking up the cross, denying one’s self,
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walking in the strait and narrow path that leads to
eternal life—
in a word, the power of godliness—these things are despised by all—and by none so much as mere heady professors who have a name to live while dead.
“That which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15
ETERNITY WITH ALL ITS MAGNITUDES
Henry Law, “The Bronze Altar”
TIME is, at most, but very short, and rapid is its ceaseless flight.
Eternity with all its magnitudes is at the door.
The last breath may be quivering on the lip.
Undying souls are on the threshold of eternal doom!
And SATAN strives, with every art, to close our eyes and lure us to his nets.
The WORLD surrounds us with its poisoned baits. It checks us with its sneers and frowns. It courts us with its treacherous smiles.
SELF, also, is no friend to the soul. It acts a traitor’s part. It opens to the murderous foe.
HOW DID THOSE POOR SCORCHED SODOMITES RUN!
Andrew Gray (1634–1656) “Door Unto Everlasting Life”
Poor sinner, are not you as well as others, tumbling towards the grave? Every moment of life, you come nearer death.
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Your strength is but ashes, your glory but a flower.
You eat today of the meat of birds and animals, and soon—it may be in two or three months time, your flesh may be dished out for crawling worms! Oh, it is but one spurn with God’s foot—one touch with God’s finger— and you are gone! But where, oh where!
You may be wise, and rich, and educated, and yet damned at last—if not holy. For all the wicked shall be turned into hell.
No matter how quietly a wicked man may pass out of this world—unspeakable and intolerable misery will most certainly overtake him at last.
Sin is the highway to hell. Those who persevere in sin while they live, cannot escape hell when they die. Such may read their doom, “He also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” Rev. 14:10
Hell is mixed with all stinging ingredients, but unmixed with any relief or offer of mercy! No tortures so great as fire, and no fire worse than that of brimstone.
How did those poor scorched Sodomites run, howling and yelling, and lamenting their pains, when God rained hell out of heaven upon them!
How then will poor damned creatures howl and lament their pains, in that lake of fire and brimstone!
What can be more horrible than that place, where both soul and body must be crowded into a fiery dungeon, with torments that can neither be avoided nor endured! Oh, the bitterness, the multitude, the everlastingness of their pains!
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Oh, eternity, eternity! Who can comprehend it? After the expiration of millions of years, eternity will not be one minute less.
Oh, when eternity is added to extremity, then hell is hell indeed!
The torments of hell are without measure, and the con- tinuance in these torments is without end. The damned shall be punished in hell, so long as there is a God in heaven!
And yet, will you, O man, for the pleasure of an hour, incur these everlasting pains?
Will you rather lose your soul—than leave your sins?
Will you rather part with eternal life—than with your lusts?
Is sin more sweet—than the wrath of God would be bitter?
Holiness is the only way to happiness. Grace is the only way to glory.
No holiness—no heaven.
God calls us to follow Him in the way of holiness to eternal glory. The devil calls us to follow him in the way of sin to eternal torments.
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WATCH AGAINST THE MASTER SINS
by Richard Baxter
Sin dwells in hell, and holiness in heaven.
Remember that every temptation is from the devil, to make you like himself.
Remember when you sin, that you are learning and imitating of the devil, and are so far like him. And the
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end of all, is that you may feel his pains. If hell-fire be not good, then sin is not good.
Watch against the master sins of….
hypocrisy,
selfishness,
pride,
flesh pleasing and
the excessive love of earthly things.
Take care against being drawn into earthly mindedness and excessive cares—or covetous designs for rising in the world, under the pretense of diligence in your calling.
Love Christ, and you will hate that which caused His death. Love Him, and you will love to be made like Him—and hate that which is so contrary to Him.
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IF I DID PERISH, IT WOULD BE AT MERCY’S FEET!
Anne Dutton, “A Brief Account of the Gracious Dealings of God, with a Poor, Sinful, Unworthy Creature”
It pleased the Lord to work savingly upon my heart when I was about thirteen years of age. There was a mighty impression made upon my heart—of the reality and consequence of a future state either of misery or of glory—of unspeakable happiness, or inconceivable torment—together with the nearness of its approach.
O, eternity! eternity! was ever before my eyes! And the worth of my own soul, as an immortal spirit, was strongly impressed upon my mind.
Again, the misery of my natural estate was set before me, as a transgressor of the holy law. I thought all the curses in God’s book belonged to me. This raised a cry in my soul, “What must I do to be saved?”
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Now, to know whether I was elected, was my chief concern. I wanted to know these things for my own soul. Yet though attended with so many fears, I pressed through all difficulties, and cast myself at the foot of free grace in Christ; resolving that if I did perish, it would be at Mercy’s feet!
The blessed Spirit took me, as it were, by the hand and led me to take a survey of Christ. I viewed all my sins meeting on Jesus! In the finished work of redemption, I viewed my salvation wrought out—and a perfection of peace, pardon, life, and glory, came flowing down to me in free grace, through the blood of Christ!
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A WORLDLY CHRISTIAN?
Thomas Reade, “Deadness to the World”
“I have given them Your word. The world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:14
To be a worldly Christian is a contradiction in terms.
Nothing can be more evident than this—that every true disciple of Christ, like his Lord and Master, is not of the world. He is different in spirit and in practice.
A heart glued to the world—a heart enchained by its pleasures, profits, and cares—a heart in which the world sits enthroned—can never be a heart acceptable unto God.
Such a heart can never serve both God and Mammon. Two masters so opposite in their commands, can never, by the same servant, be wholly and universally obeyed.
A heart in which Christ reigns, knows well how to estimate the vanities of time, and the glories of eternity!
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INVINCIBLY AND IRRESISTIBLY DRAWN
J. C. Philpot, “True Discipleship,” 1869
As the Lord is pleased to enlighten his mind, the Christian sees….
such a beauty,
such a blessedness,
such a heavenly sweetness,
such a divine loveliness, such a fullness of surpassing
grace,
such tender condescension, such unwearied patience, such infinite compassion,
in the Lord of life and glory—that he is as if invincibly and irresistibly drawn by these attractive influences to come to His feet to learn of Him. So far as the Lord is pleased to reveal Himself in some measure to his soul, by the sweet glimpses and glances which he thus obtains of His Person and countenance, he is drawn to His blessed Majesty by cords of love to look up unto Him and beg of Him that He would drop His word with life and power into his heart.
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YOUR BURDEN
Octavius Winslow, “Daily Need Divinely Supplied”
“Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22
Wonderful words! Their sense is magical—their sound is music—their very utterance is repose!
It is one of those flowers culled from the Lord’s garden—penciled with beauty and laden with perfume, which defies all human art to heighten the loveliness of the one, or to increase the sweetness of the other.
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And yet, as most flowers are more fragrant when crushed, and as the grape yields its sweetest juice when pressed—a simple exposition of these precious words, however gentle the pressure, may prove a spiritual fragrance and refreshment to some burdened child of God.
O my soul, what is your burden? Remember the invitation is a personal one, and therefore includes every care and need, sin and sorrow, that you have. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you.”
Whatever your burden, cast it in the prayer of faith on the Lord. Peculiar and heavy though it may be, His strength and grace and love will sustain you.
Encircled by His almighty arm, upheld by His promises, strengthened by His grace, soothed by His sympathy, comforted by His Spirit, you shall not sink, for it is written, “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you.”
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WOMAN’S CHIEF BESETTING SINS
J. C. Philpot, “Filth and Blood Purged by the Spirit of Judgment and the Spirit of Burning”
“In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, the headbands, the crescent necklaces, the earrings, the bracelets, the veils, the headdresses, the ankle chains, the sashes, the perfume bottles, the charms, the signet rings, the nose rings, the fine robes, the capes, the cloaks, the purses, the hand-mirrors, the fine linen garments, the tiaras, and the shawls.” Isaiah 3:18-23
“The Lord will wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion.” Isaiah 4:4
These women of Zion are typical representatives of women professing godliness in all ages. The Lord
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looked at their hearts, and the motives of their gaudy attire. There He saw pride, luxury, love of dress and admiration—woman’s chief besetting sins—and all this was in His eyes so much filth!
But as I do not wish to be too hard upon the women, I may say, that we men have our hidden filth to as great, or worse degree, than they. In us there are many secret and powerful lusts, much hypocrisy, self-righteousness, pride, and various other sinful and sensual abominations.
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YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN!
J. C. Philpot, “Not Our Own—Bought with a Price”
“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
Your eyes are not your own—that you may feed your lusts, that you may go about gaping, and gazing, and looking into every shop window to see the fashions of the day—learn the prevailing pride of life—and thus lay up food for your vain mind—either in coveting what must be unfitting to your profession—or applying your money to an improper use—or being disappointed because you cannot afford to buy it.
Your ears are not your own—that you may listen to every foolish tale—drink in every political, worldly, or carnal report which may fall upon them—and thus feed that natural desire for news, gossip, and even slander —which is the very element of the carnal mind.
Your tongue is not your own—that you may speak what you please, and blurt out whatever passes in the chambers of your heart, without check or fear.
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Your hands are not your own—that you may use them as implements of evil—or employ them in any other way than to earn with them an honest livelihood. Our hands were not given us for sin—but for godly uses.
Your feet are not your own—that you may walk in the ways of the world—or that they should carry you to haunts where all around you are engaged upon errands of vanity and sin.
All must be held according to the disposal of God, and under a sense of our obligations to Him.
But perhaps you will say, in the rebellion of your carnal mind, “What restraint all this lays upon us. Cannot we look with our eyes as we like—hear with our ears as we please—and speak with our tongues as we choose? Will you so narrow our path that we are to have nothing of our own—not even our time or money, our body or soul? Surely we may have a little enjoyment now and then—a little recreation, a little holiday sometimes, a little relaxation from being always so strict and so religious—a little feeding of our carnal mind which cannot bear all this restraint?”
Well, but what will you bring upon yourself by the roving eye, the foolish tongue, the loose hand, the straying foot? Darkness, bondage, guilt, misery, death!
“But,” you say, “we are not to be tied up so tightly as all this! We have gospel liberty, but you will not allow us even that!”
Yes, blessed be God, there is gospel liberty, for there is no real happiness in religion without it; but not liberty to sin—not liberty to gratify the lusts of the flesh—not liberty to act contrary to the gospel we profess, and the precepts of God’s Word—for this is not liberty but licentiousness.
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“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
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DO YOU SEEK GREAT THINGS FOR YOURSELF?
J. C. Philpot, “Life Given for a Prey” 1868
“Do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not!” Jeremiah 45:5
O the pride of man’s heart! How it will work and show itself even under a guise of religion and holiness!
Few can see that in religion, what are considered great things—are really very little; and what are considered little—are really very great. How few can see that….
a broken heart,
a contrite spirit,
a humble mind,
a tender conscience,
a meek, quiet, and patient bearing of the cross,
a believing submission and resignation to the will of
God,
a looking to Him alone, for all supplies in providence
and grace,
a continual seeking of His face,
a desiring nothing so much as the visitations of His
favor,
a loving, affectionate, forbearing, and forgiving spirit, a bearing of injuries and reproaches without retaliation, a liberal heart and hand, and
a godly, holy, and separate life and walk—
are the things which in God’s sight are great. While a knowledge of doctrine, clear insight into gospel mysteries, and a ready speech are really very little things—and are often to be found side by side and hand in hand with a proud, covetous, worldly, unhumbled
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spirit, and a living in what is sinful and evil.
How many ministers are seeking after great gifts— thirsting after popularity, applause, and acceptance among men! They are not satisfied with being simply and solely what God may make them by His Spirit and grace—with the blessing which He may make them to a scattered few here and there. This inferior position, as they consider it, so beneath their grace and gifts, their talents and abilities—does not satisfy their restless mind and aspiring desires. Their ambition is….
to stand at the very head of their peers,
be looked up to and sought after as a leader and a guide, have a larger building, have a fuller congregation, have a better salary, and
have a wider field for the display of their gifts and
abilities.
Gladly would they stand apart from all others, brook no rival to their ‘pulpit throne,’ and be lord paramount at home and abroad.
And what is the consequence of this proud, ambitious spirit? What envy, what jealousy, what detraction do we see in men who want to stand at the top of the tree! How, again and again, do they seek to rise by standing, as it were—on the slain bodies of others!
“Do you seek you great things for yourself? Seek them not!”
Jeremiah 45:5
7
AS A LITTLE HELPLESS CHILD
Mary Winslow
Who can subdue sin in us but Jesus? I might as well attempt to remove mountains as to reason away one corruption of my fallen nature. But if we, the moment we detect it, carry it to Jesus—He will do it all for us.
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This is one of the most difficult lessons to learn in the school of Christ. I am but just beginning to learn it— and therefore I am placed in the youngest class, traveling to Jesus more as a little helpless child—for Him to do all for and all in me. My imagined strength is all vanished—my boasted reason turned into folly, and now, thus living on Christ in childlike simplicity, my peace, joy, and consolation are past expression.
Oh, the love—the matchless love of Jesus to a poor sinner lying thus at His dear feet—waiting to receive a welcoming smile beaming from His countenance.
Dear friend, keep close to Him. Let not the world or its cares come between you and Christ.
YOU NEVER KNEW WHAT REAL HAPPINESS WAS!
J. C. Philpot, “A Bold Challenge” 1866
One false charge against the children of God, is that they are a poor, moping, miserable people, who….
know nothing of happiness,
renounce all cheerfulness, mirth, and gladness, hang their heads down all their days like a bulrush, are full of groundless fears,
nurse the gloomiest thoughts in a kind of
melancholy,
grudge others the least enjoyment of pleasure and
happiness,
and try to make everyone else as dull and as miserable as their dull and miserable selves.
Is not this a false charge?
You know—that you never had any real happiness in the things of time and sense—that under all your ‘pretended gaiety’ there was real gloom—that every ‘sweet’ was drenched with bitterness—that vexation
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was stamped upon all that is called pleasure and enjoyment.
You never knew what real happiness was, until you knew the Lord, and were blessed with His presence, and some manifestation of His goodness and mercy!
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THE ULCER THAT SITS ON A CREATURE’S HEART
Andrew Gray “Door Unto Everlasting Life”
Sin is the ulcer that sits on a creature’s heart, and robs him of all true contentment and sound joy. Oh the secret gnawings that envy, and pride, and covetousness give a man’s soul.
Sin is the soul’s disease. It….
blinds the mind,
hardens the heart,
enthralls the will,
defiles the conscience,
deadens the affections, and
hurls the whole man into confusion.
Sin brings more evils than either tongue can speak—or
heart can think.
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THE MULTITUDE OF YOUR TENDER MERCIES
J. C. Philpot, “Man’s Misery and God’s Mercy” 1867
“Have mercy on me, God, according to Your lovingkindness. According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1
What a sweet expression it is—and how it seems to convey to our mind that God’s mercies do not fall ‘drop by drop’—but are as innumerable….
as the sand upon the sea-shore; –147–

as the stars that stud the midnight sky;
as the drops of rain that fill the clouds before they
discharge their copious showers upon the earth.
It is the multitude of His mercies that makes Him so merciful a God. He does not give but a drop or two of mercy—that would soon be gone, like the rain which fell this morning under the hot sun. But His mercies flow like a river! There is in Him….
a multitude of mercies,
for a multitude of sins, and a multitude of sinners!
This felt and received in the love of it—breaks, humbles, softens, and melts a sensible sinner’s heart—and he says, “What, sin against such mercies? What, when the Lord has remembered me in my low estate, and manifested once more a sense of His mercy? What, shall I go on to provoke Him again—walk inconsistently again—be entangled in Satan’s snares again? O, forbid it God, forbid it gospel, forbid it tender conscience, forbid it every constraint of dying love!”
“Have mercy on me, God, according to Your lovingkindness. According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1
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WE WOULD NOT BE SUCH MUCK-WORMS!
J. C. Philpot, “The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation”
“…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:18
If the Spirit would but enlighten the eyes of our heart, how this would lift us up out of the mud and mire of this wretched world! We would not be such muck-worms, raking and scraping a few straws together—or running
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about like ants with our morsel of grain! We would have our affections fixed more on things above. We would….
know more of Christ,
enjoy more of Christ,
be more like Christ,
walk more like Christ walked, and
look forward to our glorious inheritance.
If these things were brought into our hearts with divine power—how they would sweeten every bitter cup, and carry us through every changing scene, until at last we were landed above—to see the Lord as He is, in the full perfection of His infinite glory!
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CAN CHRIST LOVE ONE LIKE ME?
J. C. Philpot, “Christ Dwelling in the Heart by Faith”
“To comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge.” Ephesians 3:17-19
You may wonder sometimes—and it is a wonder that will fill heaven itself with anthems of eternal praise— how such a glorious Jesus can ever look down from heaven upon such crawling reptiles, on such worms of earth—what is more, upon such sinners who have provoked Him over and over again by their misdeeds. Yes, how this exalted Christ, in the height of His glory, can look down from heaven on such poor, miserable, wretched creatures as we—this is the mystery that fills angels with astonishment!
We feel we are such crawling reptiles—such undeserving creatures—and are so utterly unworthy of the least notice from Him, that we say, “Can Christ love one like me? Can the glorious Son of God cast an eye of pity and compassion, love and tenderness upon one like me—
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who can scarcely at times bear with myself—who sees and feels myself one of the vilest of the vile, and the worst of the worst? O, what must I be in the sight of the glorious Son of God?”
And yet, He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” His love has breadths, and lengths, and depths, and heights unknown!
Its breadth exceeds all human span;
its length outvies all creature line;
its depth surpasses all finite measurement; its height excels even angelic computation!
Because His love is…. so wondrous,
so deep,
so long,
so broad,
so high;
it is so suitable to our every want and woe.
HE THEN SANK BACK, LIKE HIS SON, SMILED, AND EXPIRED!
Extracted from the journal of Julian Young, 1840
During this year I lost one of my best parishioners. His death was very striking.
He was one of the poorest of the poor.
He had been disabled from all work by illness for years. Severely afflicted as he was, he bore his heavy burden with a patience I never saw equaled. I never went to him that I did not carry away from him more good than I left behind me. It was impossible to be in his company without feeling one’s immeasurable inferiority to him in all the essentials of vital religion.
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The last time I saw him was under circumstances not easily forgotten. During the four years I had known him he was never entirely free from pain. From the crown of his head to the sole of his feet he was a mass of putrefying scrofulous sores—and yet his face always shone with an inward peace, which no amount of bodily anguish was able to disturb. In a crude upper chamber—with a flooring so rickety and full of holes as to be dangerous—with a roof so dismantled and rotten that the rain dropped through it—stretched on a scanty pallet—lay this brave martyr—along with his only son, a youth of fifteen years—their hands clasped together, their countenances reflecting back on each other the mutual love that glowed within their hearts—fellow sufferers from the same hereditary malady—fellow believers in the same Jesus—rejoicing in their common sufferings—and dying almost together.
They were alone when I entered. I had not been there half an hour, when I heard a gulp, a gurgle, a gasp! Then I saw the son clutch the father’s hand and heard him say, “Come, father—come quickly! I’m going— don’t be long behind me!” and then he sank back and breathed his last!
The father smiled, raised himself in bed, looked on his son, kissed him, clasped together his emaciated hands, lifted them high, and in tones of heavenly rapture, uttered these lines:
“My sins are countless as the stars, Or sands upon the shore;
But yet the mercies of my God Are infinitely more.
Manasseh, Paul, and Magdalene Were pardoned all by thee;
I read it, and believe it, Lord, For You have pardoned me.”
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He then sank back, like his son, smiled, and expired!
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
“Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my end be like theirs!” Numbers 23:10
A WOMAN’S BEST ORNAMENT
J. C. Philpot, “Every Man’s Work to be Tried with Fire”
“Let your beauty be not just the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on fine clothing; but in the hidden person of the heart, in the incorruptible adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
This “beauty that comes from within” is that…. meekness,
quietness,
gentleness,
brokenness of heart, contrition of spirit, humility of mind, tenderness of conscience,
which are fitting to the children of God.
A gentle and quiet spirit is a woman’s best ornament.
As to other gay and unbecoming ornaments, let those wear them, who wish to serve and to enjoy….
the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
Let the “daughters of Zion” manifest they have other ornaments than what the world admires and approves. Let them covet….
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the teachings of God,
the smiles of His love, the whispers of His favor.
The more they have of these, the less will they care for the adornments which the “daughters of Canaan” run so madly after; by which also they often impoverish themselves, and by opening a way for admiration, too often open a way for seduction and ruin.
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A TEAR MAKES NO GREAT NOISE, YET HAS A VOICE
John Sheffield, 1654
God is pleased to take notice of every gracious inclination in any of His children.
To fear His name is no great matter—yet these have a promise (Malachi 4:2).
To think on His name less—yet these are written down in a book of remembrance (Malachi 3:16).
A desire is a small matter—yet God regards the desire of the poor (Psalm 10:17).
A tear makes no great noise, yet has a voice.
“The Lord has heard the voice of my weepings” (Psalm 6:8). It is not pleasant water—yet God bottles it up.
A groan is a poor thing—yet is the best part of a prayer sometimes (Romans 8:26).
A sigh is less—yet God is awakened and raised up by it (Psalm 12:5).
A look is less than all these—yet this is regarded by God (Psalm 5:3).
Breathing is less—yet the church could speak of no more (Lamentations 3:56).
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Panting is less than breathing—yet this is all the godly can sometimes boast of (Psalm 42:1).
Never did Hannah pray better than when she could get out never a word—but cried. (1 Sam. 1:15)
Nor Mary Magdalene, than when she came behind Christ, sat down, wept, but kept silence.
O YOU FILTHY CREATURE!
J. C. Philpot, “The Eternal God the Refuge of His Saints”
“What a wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of the body of this death?” Romans 7:24
No doubt you have your enemies—and so have we all.
But I will tell you where you have an enemy—and a greater enemy than ever you have found in others— yourself! I have often felt that I could do myself more harm in five minutes, than all my enemies could do me in fifty years! I need not fear what others may do or say—I fear myself more than them all—knowing what I am as a sinner—the strength of sin—and the power of temptation.
Be sure of this—that YOU are the worst enemy you ever had….
your sin,
your lust,
your covetousness, your pride,
your self-righteousness.
God Himself will make you feel your enemy. You shall see something of his accursed designs; how sin has deceived you, betrayed you, brought guilt upon your conscience, and made you a burden to yourself. You shall be brought to feel, and say, “There is nothing I
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hate so much as my own vile heart—my own dreadfully corrupt nature. O what an enemy do I carry in my own bosom! Of all my enemies, he is surely the worst! Of all my foes, he is the most subtle and strong!”
Have you not sometimes felt as though you could take your lusts by the neck and dash their heads against a stone? Have you not felt you could take out of your breast this vile, damnable heart, lay it upon the ground, and stamp upon it? And when tempted with….
pride,
or unbelief,
or infidelity,
or blasphemy,
or any hateful lust,
how you have cried out again and again with anguish of spirit, “O this heart of mine!”
We hate our sins, and would, if possible, have no more to do with them, and would say to this lust, idol, or temptation, “O you filthy creature! What an enemy you are to my soul! O that I could forever be done with you!”
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WHICH OF OUR SENSES SHALL BE MOST ENTHRALLED?
Andrew Gray (1634–1656) “Christ Precious to Believers”
“My beloved is white and ruddy. The best among ten thousand.” Canticles 5:10
When we shall come to heaven, we will not know which of our senses shall be most enthralled.
The eye shall be enchanted. What joy to see there the sparkling brightness in the face of Christ! There you may see the lily and the rose mixed—white and reddish. Canticles 5:10.
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The ear shall be filled with melody. What joy to the spouse to hear Christ’s voice—to hear Him say, “My love, My dove, My undefiled!”
The smell shall be filled with sweet savor. What joy to smell that fragrance and perfume which comes from Christ! All His garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia—giving forth His fragrance as the wine of Lebanon.
The taste shall be delighted. O what joy is there to be drinking in the fountain of Christ, who is the water of life!
The touch shall be charmed. The saints shall be forever in the embraces of Christ! “Behold My hands and My feet—handle Me, and see.” That will be our occupation in heaven, when we shall dwell between those sweet arms that were once stretched out upon the cross!
“My beloved is white and ruddy. The best among ten thousand.” Canticles 5:10
WERE IT NO BIGGER THAN A CHILD’S DOLL
J. C. Philpot, “The Clean Water Sprinkled and the New Heart Given” 1866
“From all your idols, will I cleanse you.” Ezekiel 36:25
Idolatry takes a wide range. There are ‘respectable’ idols and ‘vulgar’ idols—just as there are marble statues, and other objects of worship made up of shells and feathers. And yet each will still be an idol.
Respectable idols we can admire—vulgar idols we detest.
But an idol is an idol—however respectable, or however vulgar—however admired, or however despised they may be.
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But O how numerous are these respectable idols!
Love of money, ambition, craving after human applause, desire to rise in the world—all these we may think are natural desires that may be lawfully gratified. But O, what idols may they turn out to be!
But there are more secret and more dangerous idols. You may have a husband, or wife, or child—whom you love almost as much as yourself—you bestow upon this idol of yours all the affections of your heart.
Nothing is too good for it, nothing too dear for it.
You don’t see how this is an idol.
But, whatever you love more than God, whatever you worship more than God, whatever you crave for more than God, is an idol.
It may lurk in the chambers of imagery—you may scarcely know how fondly you love it. But let God take that idol out of your breast—let Him pluck that idol from its niche—and you will then find how you have allowed your affections to wander after that idol and loved it more than God Himself. It is when the idol is taken away, removed, dethroned—that we learn what an idol it has been.
How we hug and embrace our idols! How we cleave to them!
How we delight in them!
How we bow down to them!
How we seek gratification from them!
How little are we aware what affections entwine around them—how little are we aware that they claim what God has reserved for Himself when He said, “My son, give Me your heart.”
Many a weeping widow learns for the first time that her
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husband was an idol. Many a mourning husband learns for the first time how too dearly, how too fondly, how too idolatrously he loved his wife. Many a man does not know how dearly he loves money until he incurs some serious loss. Many do not know how dearly they hold name, fame, and reputation until some slanderous blight seems to touch that tender spot. Few indeed seem to know how dear SELF is, until God takes it out of its niche and sets Himself there in its room.
Self, pride, reputation, the love of money, the love of name and fame—these idols you cannot take with you into the courts of heaven. How would God be moved to jealousy if you could carry an idol—were it no bigger than a child’s doll—into the courts above!
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YOUR FILTH WILL BE WASHED AWAY!
J. C. Philpot, “The Clean Water Sprinkled” 1866
O, what loathsome monsters of iniquity—how polluted, filthy, and vile do we feel ourselves to be—when the guilt of our sin is charged home upon our conscience! Have you not sometimes loathed yourselves on account of your abominations? Has not the filth of your sin sometimes disgusted you; the opening up of that horrible, that ever running sewer, which you daily carry about with you?
We complain, and justly complain—of a reeking sewer which runs through a street—or of a ditch filled with everything disgusting. But do we feel as much—do we complain as often—of the foul sewer which is ever running in our soul—of the filthy ditch in our own bosom?
As the sight of this open sewer meets our eyes—and its stench enters our nostrils, it fills us with self-loathing
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and self-abhorrence before the eyes of a holy God.
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” Ezekiel 36:25
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STRANGERS & PILGRIMS
J. C. Philpot, “Life and Death of a Pilgrim”
“Having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13
You feel yourself a stranger in this ungodly world; it is not your element—it is not your home. You are in it during God’s appointed time—but you wander up and down this world a stranger….
to its company, to its maxims, to its fashions, to its principles, to its motives, to its lusts,
to its inclinations,
and all in which this world moves as in its native element.
Grace has separated you by God’s distinguishing power, that though you are in the world, you are not of it. You feel yourself to be a stranger here—as David says, “a stranger and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.”
I can tell you plainly—if you are at home in the world; if the things of time and sense are your element; if you feel one with….
the company of the world, the maxims of the world, the fashions of the world, the principles of the world,
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grace has not reached your heart—the faith of God’s elect does not dwell in your bosom.
The first effect of grace is to SEPARATE.
It was so in the case of Abraham. He was called by grace to leave the land of his fathers and go out into a land that God would show him.
And so God’s own word to His people is now, “Come out from among them, and be separate.”
Separation, separation, separation from the world is the grand distinguishing mark of vital godliness!
There may be indeed separation of body where there is no separation of heart. But what I mean is….
separation of heart, separation of principle, separation of affection, separation of spirit.
And if grace has touched your heart and you are a partaker of the faith of God’s elect—you are a stranger in the world, and will make it manifest by your life and conduct that you are such.
But they were also pilgrims—that is, sojourners through weary deserts—longing, longing for home, possessing nothing in which they could take pleasure—feeling the weariness of a long journey and anxious for rest.
Are you not at times almost worn out by sin, self, trials, temptations, afflictions—so that you would gladly lay down your weary body in the grave—that your soul might rest in the sweet enjoyment of the King of kings?
If such is your spirit, you have something of the spirit of the pilgrim sojourning in a weary land, and longing for rest, happiness, and peace in a better country.
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“But now they desire a better country—a heavenly
one.” Hebrews 11:16
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PHILIPPIANS 3:7
Philpot, “The Loss of All Things for Christ’s Sake”
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” Philippians 3:7
This includes the loss….
of all your fancied holiness,
of all your vaunted strength,
of all your natural or acquired wisdom, of all your boasted knowledge;
in a word, of everything in creature religion of which the heart is proud, and in which it takes delight.
All, all must be counted loss for Christ’s sake—all, all must be sacrificed to His bleeding, dying love.
Our dearest joys,
our fondest hopes,
our most cherished idols,
must all sink and give way to the grace, blood, and love of an incarnate God.
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I AM GROWING WORSE EVERY DAY!
Archibald Alexander, “Practical Directions How to Grow in Grace and Make Progress in Piety”
One circumstance that attends the growth in grace of a real Christian, is the clearer and deeper insight which he obtains into the evils of his own heart.
Now this is one of the best evidences of growth.
But his first conclusion is apt to be, “I am growing worse
every day! I see innumerable evils springing up within –161–

me which I never saw before!”
This person may be compared to one shut up in a dark room where he is surrounded by many loathsome objects. If a single ray of light be let into the room, he sees the more prominent objects. But if the light gradually increases, he sees more and more of the filth by which he has been surrounded. It was there before, but he did not perceive it.
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THE BESETTING SIN OF CHRISTIANS
Gardiner Spring, “The Mission of Sorrow”
“Don’t love the world, neither the things that are in the world.” 1 John 2:15
It is not only true that the love of the world is the ruin of worldly men—it is the besetting sin of Christians.
The lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eye,
and the pride of life,
in some of their insinuating and multifaceted forms, are evermore ensnaring them. The best of men love the world far more than they ought. Nor are they always sensible of its depressing and secularizing power. The love of the world….
eclipses their faith,
limits and obscures their spiritual vision,
allures their affections from God,
confuses their contemplations of the realities of eternity,
and is frequently so entwined about their heartstrings, that they, for a time, appear in no way different from other men.
God loves His people too well to allow them to rest undisturbed in their idolatrous attachments.
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He has a cure for their spiritual declension and their outward backsliding. He casts them into the furnace. He purifies them as silver is purified. If the dross is massive and unyielding, He heats the furnace seven times more than it is used to be heated, until the mass melts away and is consumed.
When He does this, and they endure the trial, they come forth like gold seven times purified. They return to Him from whom they have revolted; their graces are stronger and brighter—and shine in all the beauties of holiness.
Better, unspeakably better is it to enjoy the Divine presence and the light of His countenance, without our idols—than to have our idols without His favor.
Oh, what wanderers would we be, if God did not sometimes hedge up our way with thorns! Surely it is not for lack of love to His people that He severely chastises them.
“The dearest idol I have known, Whatever that idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy throne, And worship only Thee.”
WE GROAN
T. Bradbury, “A Forgetful Servant” 1877
“I am faint and severely bruised. I have groaned by reason of the anguish of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before You. My groaning is not hidden from You.” Psalm 38:8-9
We groan, being burdened. We sigh, being troubled. We pray, being poor.
We cry, being helpless.
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It is our mercy to know that our God catches…. every sigh,
every groan,
every longing,
every desire, of His children.
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EVERY TEAR THAT FALLS UPON THE PALLID FACE OF SORROW
Gardiner Spring, “The Mission of Sorrow”
“Therefore, as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12
The empire of suffering stands abreast with the empire of sin—there never was a sufferer who was not a sinner.
There is no suffering where there is no sin.
The reason for all the suffering in this sinful and sinning world—is the mournful fact that it is a sinful and sinning world.
When this planet on which we dwell came from the hands of its Maker, it was a happy, because it was a holy world.
The Tempter’s foot had not trodden it, nor had it been poisoned by the venom, nor polluted by the slime of the old Serpent.
God Himself was their supreme good, and they were happy. The heavens and the earth, every creature, and every object and event around them ministered to their enjoyment.
The ground was not then cursed—nor was it smitten with barrenness. They were not thorns and thistles
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which it brought forth—nor did savage beasts roam its mountains or its plains.
There was….
no poisonous atmosphere, nor burning sun,
nor stormy wind,
nor creeping pestilence, nor bloody sword.
Men did not sicken and die upon it, nor had it yet entered upon its sad career of mourning and tears.
Everything was lovely, because it was unblemished— everything beautiful, tranquil, and joyous, until its beauty was marred, its tranquility disturbed, and its joys infected by sin.
Then all was changed.
The ground was cursed.
The air was cursed.
The streams were cursed.
The very flowers and plants of Eden were cursed. Man himself was cursed.
The woman was cursed.
And all their descendants are born under the curse. They inherit a fallen nature, are ‘embryo sinners,’ and “go astray from the womb.”
The varied and complicated sorrows which now attend them from the cradle to the grave, whether they be individual, domestic, social, or public, are God’s visita- tion for their iniquity. From that hour to the present— every pang that shoots through the bosom—every tear that falls upon the pallid face of sorrow—is a token of God’s displeasure against sin and against man the sinner.
‘Sorrow’ teaches the lesson of unworthiness and ill desert—and conveys to the proud and haughty mind
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the resistless, indelible impression of personal guilt and
vileness.
“The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9
Sometimes we are so astonished…. at what we are,
at what we have been, or
at what we are capable of.
We stand sometimes and look at our heart, and see what a seething, boiling, and bubbling is there! And we look at it with indignant astonishment, as we would look into a pool of filthy black mud, all swarming and alive with every hideous creature!
So when a man takes a view of his own heart….
its dreadful hypocrisy,
its vile rebellion,
its alarming deceitfulness,
its desperate wickedness,
of what his heart is capable of plotting, of what evil it can conceive and imagine,
it is as if he stood looking down into a filthy pit and saw with astonishment, mingled with self-abhorrence, what his heart is, as the fountain of all iniquity.
A man must have some knowledge of his own heart to understand such language as this.
You that are so exceedingly ‘pious’ and so ‘extra good,’ and from whose heart the veil has never been taken away to show you what you are, will perhaps think that I am drawing a caricature of human nature, and
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LOOKING DOWN INTO A FILTHY PIT!
J. C. Philpot, “Prevailing Pleas” 1865
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painting it as the haunt of thieves and prostitutes.
Could you but have the veil taken off your heart, you would see that you were capable of doing all that wickedness that others have done, or can do!
By this sight of ourselves, we learn what a wonderful God we have to deal with! Surely none so highly prize the grace of God as those who are most led into a knowl- edge of the fall, and the havoc and ruin, and the guilt and misery which it has brought into our own hearts.
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THE LARGEST SLICE OF THE WELL-SUGARED CAKE
J. C. Philpot
“Having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13
Many profess that they are strangers and pilgrims here below. But they take care to have as much of this world’s comforts as they can scrape together by hook and by crook.
They talk about being ‘strangers,’ yet can be in close friendship with men of the world. And could you see them at the exchange, at the market, behind the counter, or at home with their families—you would not find one mark to distinguish them from the ungodly!
Yet they come to chapel—and if called upon to pray, they will tell the people they are “poor strangers and pilgrims in a valley of tears”—while all the time their hearts are in the world—and their eyes stand out with fatness—and they are as light and trifling as a comic actor—and have no concerns except to get the largest slice of the well-sugared cake that the world sets before them!
It is not the ‘mere profession of the lips’—but ‘grace in the heart,’ that makes a man a stranger and a pilgrim.
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God’s people are strangers and sojourners—the world is not their home—nor can they take pleasure in it. Sin is often a burden to them—guilt often lies as a heavy weight upon their conscience—a thousand troubles harass their minds—a thousand perplexities oppress their souls. They cannot bury their minds in business and derive all their happiness from their successes, for they feel that this earth is not their home. They are often cast down and exercised, because they have to live with such an ungodly heart in such an ungodly world.
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IN WHOSE HAND?
Octavius Winslow, “Divine Realities” 1860
“My times are in Your hand.” Psalm 31:15 In whose hand are the believer’s times?
In a Father’s hand!
Be those times what they may— times of trial,
times of temptation,
times of suffering,
times of peril, times of sunshine, times of gloom, times of life, times of death—
they are in a heavenly Parent’s hand!
Is your present path lonely and dreary? Has the Lord seen fit….
to recall some fond blessing,
to deny some earnest request,
to painfully discipline your heart?
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All this springs from a Father’s love as fully as though He had unlocked His treasury, and poured its costliest gifts at your feet!
In a Redeemer’s hand, also, are our times!
That same Redeemer who carried our sorrows in His heart, our curse and transgressions on His soul, our cross on His shoulder, who died—who rose again—and who lives and intercedes for us—and who will gather all His ransomed around Him in glory—is your guardian and your guide!
Can you not cheerfully confide all your earthly concerns— all your spiritual interests to His keeping and control?
THEY CHERISH THE VIPER, THOUGH IT STINGS THEM TO DEATH!
Thomas Reade, “Christian Experience”
True happiness cannot possibly be found in any of those earthly things which so much occupy the time, and captivate the hearts of dying mortals.
Pleasures may fascinate.
Riches may dazzle.
Honors may inflate.
But what can these sources of supposed comfort yield in the hour of death and judgment?
Unconverted men hug their chain, though they sigh under its weight. They cherish the viper, though it stings
them to death!
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CAN THEY BEAT BACK THIS MONSTER TO HIS FILTHY DEN?
J. C. Philpot, “The Savior of Israel” 1847 “Hold me up, and I shall be safe!” Psalm 119:117
The Lord’s people are a tempted people. Satan is ever waiting at their gate, constantly suggesting every hateful and improper thought—perpetually inflaming the rebellion and enmity of their carnal mind—and continually plaguing, harassing, and besieging them in a thousand ways!
Can they repel him?
Can they beat back this monster to his filthy den?
Can they beat back this leviathan? They cannot—they feel they cannot. They know that nothing but the voice of Jesus, inwardly speaking with power to their souls, can beat back the lion of the bottomless pit! One whisper, one soft word from the lips of His gracious Majesty, can and will put every temptation to flight!
“Don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine. 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. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3
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WHEN IT COMES IN THE GUISE OF A FRIEND
J. C. Philpot, “Peace, Tribulation, Victory” 1847
“Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 Does not this show that the world is an enemy to the
Lord, and to the Lord’s people? and never so much an
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enemy—never to be so much dreaded—as when it comes in the guise of a friend. When it….
steals upon your heart, engrosses your thoughts,
wins your affections,
draws away your mind from God,
—then it is to be dreaded.
When the world smites us as an enemy—its blows are not to be feared. It is when it smiles upon us as a friend—it is most to be dreaded.
When our eyes begin to drink it in,
when our ears begin to listen to its voice,
when our hearts become entangled in its fascinations, when our minds get filled with its anxieties,
when our affections depart from the Lord and cleave to
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CANAANITISH IDOLS AND HEATHENISH ABOMINATIONS
J. C. Philpot, “The Mighty Watcher” 1847
“You shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their engraved images with fire.” Deuteronomy 7:5
Our hearts are by nature full of Canaanitish idols and heathenish abominations, which must be destroyed!
Lusts after evil things, adulterous images, idolatrous desires, strong hankerings after sin—along with evils which have the impudence to wear a religious garb, such as—towering thoughts of our own ability, pleasing dreams of creature holiness, swellings up of pride, dressed out and painted in all the tawdy colors of
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Satanic delusion—how can these abominations be allowed to run rampant in the human heart?
The altars and religious rites of Canaanites were to be destroyed as much as their idols! And thus we may say of that very religious being—man, that his false worship and heathenish notions of God must be destroyed—as well as his more flagrant, though not more dangerous, lusts and abominations.
The sentence against both is, “Destroy them!” They must not stand side by side with Immanuel, who is to have the preeminence in all things, and who is “the Alpha and the Omega—the first and the last.”
And O what a mercy it is to have both our FLESHLY and RELIGIOUS abominations both destroyed! For I am sure that God and self never can rule in the same heart—that Christ and the devil can never reign in the same bosom—each claiming the supremacy!
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THIS INWARD CONFLICT
J. C. Philpot, “The Knowledge of Good and Evil” 1845
“I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing. For desire is present with me, but I don’t find it doing that which is good.” Romans 7:18
Now it is this which makes the Lord’s people such a burdened people—that makes them so oppressed in their souls as to cry out against themselves daily, and sometimes hourly—that they are what they are—that they would be spiritual, yet are carnal—that they would be holy, yet are unholy—that they would have sweet communion with Jesus, yet have such sensual alliance with the things of time and sense—that they would be Christians in word, thought, and deed; yet, in spite of all, they feel their carnal mind, their wretched depravity
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intertwining, interlacing, gushing forth—contaminating with its polluted stream everything without and within—so as to make them sigh, groan, and cry being burdened, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24
He would not be entangled in these snares for ten thousand worlds—he hates the evils of his heart, and mourns over the corruptions of his nature. They make the tear fall from his eye, and the sob to heave from his bosom—they make him a wretched man—and fill him day after day with sorrow, bitterness, and anguish.
None but a saved soul, under divine teaching, can see this evil—and mourn and sigh under the depravity, the corruption, the unbelief, the carnality, the wickedness, and the deceitfulness of his evil heart. This inward conflict, this sore grief, this internal burden, that all the family of God are afflicted with—is an evidence that the life and grace of God are in their bosoms.
“I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” Rom. 7:25
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THE YOUNGEST, THE WEAKEST, THE SICKLIEST
by J. C. Ryle
“Of those whom You have given Me, I have lost none.” John 18:9
These words are meant for the encouragement of all true Christians. Our Lord Jesus is a Shepherd, who cares tenderly for every soul committed to His charge. The youngest, the weakest, the sickliest of His flock are as dear to Him as the strongest. They shall never perish. None shall ever pluck them out of His hand.
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He will lead them gently through the wilderness of this world. He will not overdrive them a single day, lest any die. He will carry them through every difficulty. He will defend them against every enemy. With such a Shepherd, who, having once begun, need fear being cast away?
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A REAL FRIEND
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
“There is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
Few people are insensible to the happiness of friendship, though few, comparatively, possess a real friend. Worldly friendships are often little better than “confederacies in vice, and leagues in pleasure.”
In the midst of this ever changing, faithless world, there is a Friend that loves at all times—a Brother that is born for adversity.
Jesus is His precious name.
Love is His endeared character.
His faithfulness never fails.
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
In the midst of disquietude—He can give rest.
In the midst of sorrow—He can give comfort.
In the midst of weakness—He can impart strength. In the midst of confusion—He can give counsel.
Oh! what a friend is this!
Wherever we are, He is a friend at hand to cheer and support. When we read His word, He speaks to us— when we pray, we speak to Him. He is near to those who fear Him, and He sheds His choicest gifts on those who love Him.
Such a friend is Jesus to His redeemed people.
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There is no happiness but in Christ. He is the fountain of living water—the source from where our every blessing flows!
O! my soul, never look for peace from the creature— nor expect it from yourself.
THE THINGS WHICH MEN DESPISE
J. C. Philpot, “The Lord’s Thoughts” 1847
“That which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15
The pride, ambition, pleasures, and amusements, in which we see thousands and tens of thousands engaged—and sailing down the stream into a dreadful gulf of eternity—are all an abomination in the sight of God!
Whereas the things which men despise, such as— faith,
hope,
love,
humility,
brokenness of heart, tenderness of conscience, contrition of spirit, sorrow for sin, self-loathing, self-abasement,
looking to Jesus,
taking up the cross,
denying one’s self,
walking in the narrow path that leads to eternal life—
are despised by all—and by none so much as mere heady religious professors—who have a name to live,
while dead.
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WHO REALLY KNOWS HOW BAD IT IS?
J. C. Philpot, “Getting and Losing” 1846
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
Without a knowledge of the corruptions and abounding evils of our deceitful and desperately wicked heart….
unbelief,
infidelity,
pride,
hypocrisy,
worldly mindedness, carnality,
sensuality,
selfishness;
there will be….
no humility,
no self loathing,
no dread of falling,
no desire to be kept,
no knowledge of the super-aboundings of grace, over
the aboundings of sin.7
SO MANY TRULY SINCERE AND RELIGIOUS PEOPLE
J. C. Philpot, “Answers to Inquiries”
“Cornelius, a devout man, and one who feared God with all his house, who gave gifts for the needy generously to the people, and always prayed to God.” Acts 10:2
Yet Cornelius and his family weren’t saved! (Acts 11:14)
A generous centurion built a synagogue. (Luke 7:3-5)
A young man keeps the commandments from his youth up. (Luke 18:21)
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Balaam prophesies. (Numbers 23:16)
Saul weeps. (1 Samuel 24:16)
Judas preaches the gospel. (Matthew 10:5-8) Yet none of these men were saved!
It is at times, enough to fill one’s heart with mingled astonishment and sorrow, to see so many truly sincere and religious people, whose religion will leave them short of eternal life—because they are destitute of saving grace.
To see so much….
amiability, benevolence, devotedness, self-denial,
liberality
loveliness of character, integrity,
consistency of life,
all inescapably dashed against the rock of inflexible justice, and there shattered and lost—swallowed up with its unhappy possessors in the raging billows beneath—such a sight, did we not know that the Judge of the whole earth cannot do wrong, would indeed stagger us to the very center of our being!
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SICK OF SIN, SICK OF SELF, SICK OF THE WORLD
J. C. Philpot, “Spiritual Delight” 1845 “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the
desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
By nature we delight in SIN. It is the very element of our
nature—and even after the Lord has called us by His
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grace and quickened us by his Spirit—there is the same love to sin in the heart as there was before.
We delight in it—we would wallow in it—take our full enjoyment of it—and swim in it as a fish swims in the waters of the sea!
By nature we also are prone to IDOLATRY. Self is the grand object of all our sensual and carnal worship. Our own exaltation, our own amusement, our own pleasure, our own gratification.
Something whereby SELF may be…. flattered,
admired,
adored,
delighted,
is the grand end and aim of man’s natural worship.
By nature we also delight in the WORLD. It is our element, our home, what our carnal hearts are intimately blended with.
From all these things, then, which are intrinsically evil—which a pure and holy God must hate with absolute abhorrence—we must be weaned and effectually divorced—we need to have these things embittered to us.
All the time we are doing homage and worship to self— all the time we are loving the world—all the time we delight in sin—all the time we are setting up idols in the secret chambers of imagery—there is no delighting ourselves in the Lord.
We cannot delight ourselves in the Lord until we are purged of creature love—until the idolatry of our hearts is not merely manifested, but hated and abhorred— until by cutting temptations, sharp exercises, painful
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perplexities, and various sorrows, we are brought to this state—to be….
sick of SIN,
sick of SELF,
sick of the WORLD.
Until we are brought to loathe ourselves, we are not brought to that spot where none but God Himself can comfort, please, or make the soul really happy.
Now the very means that God employs to embitter the world to us are cutting and grievous dispensations— such as unexpected reverses in fortune—or afflictions of body, of family, or of soul. But these very means that the Lord employs to divorce our carnal union from the world, stir up the self-pity, the murmuring, the peevishness, and the rebelliousness of our nature. So that we think we are being very harshly dealt with, in being compelled to walk in this trying path.
But only by these cutting dispensations we are eventually brought to delight ourselves in Him, who will give us the desires of our heart.
How long you shall be walking in this painful path— how heavy your trials—what their duration shall be— how deep you may have to sink—how cutting your afflictions may be in body or soul, God has not defined, and we cannot. But they must work until they have produced this result—weaned, divorced, and separated us from all that we naturally love and idolatrously cleave unto—and all that we adulterously roam after. If our trials have not done this, they must go on until they produce that effect.
The burden must be laid upon the back, affliction must try the mind, perplexities must encumber the feet, until we are brought to this point—that none but the Lord Himself, with a taste of His dying love, can comfort our
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hearts, or give us that inward peace and joy which our soul is taught to crave after.
HOWEVER LOW WE MAY SINK
J. C. Philpot, “Letters & Memoirs”
What a mercy it is to have a faithful, gracious, and compassionate High Priest who can sympathize with His poor, tried, tempted family—so that however low we may sink….
His piteous eye can see us in our low estate, His gracious ear hear our cries,
His loving heart melt over us, and
His strong arm pluck us from our destructions!
Oh, what would we do without such a gracious and most suitable Savior as our blessed Jesus! How He seems to rise more and more….
in our estimation, in our thoughts, in our desires,
in our affections,
as we see and feel….
what a wreck and ruin we are,
what dreadful havoc sin has made with us, what miserable outcasts we are by nature.
But oh, how needful it is, dear friend, to be brought down in our soul to be the chief of sinners, viler than the vilest, worse than the worst—that we may really and truly believe in, and cleave unto, this most precious and suitable Savior!
Yours affectionately in the Lord, J. C. Philpot, October 1, 1868
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A GLORY, A BEAUTY, AND A SWEETNESS
J. C. Philpot, “The Secret of the Lord” 1844
How sweet it is to trace the Lord’s hand in providence—to look back on the chequered path that He has led us by; to see how His hand has been with us for good; what difficulties He has brought us through; in what straits He has appeared; how in things most trying He has wrought deliverance; and how He has sustained us to the present hour.
How sweet are providential favors when they come stamped with this inscription, “This is from the Lord!” How precious every temporal mercy becomes—our very food, lodging, and clothing!
How sweet is the least thing when it comes down to us as from God’s hands! A man cannot know the sweetness of his daily bread until he sees that God gives it to him—nor the blessedness of any providential dealing until he can say, “God has done this for me—and given that to me.” When a man sees the providence of God stamped on every action of life, it casts a glory, a beauty, and a sweetness over every day of his life!
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A HUNDRED DOCTRINES FLOATING IN THE HEAD
J. C. Philpot
By five minutes real communion with the Lord…. we learn more,
we know more,
we receive more,
we feel more, and
we experience more
than by a thousand years of merely studying the Scriptures, or using external forms, rites, and ceremonies.
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One truth written by the Spirit in the heart, will bring forth more fruit in the life, than a hundred doctrines
floating in the head.
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NOTHING BUT A SLAVE!
J. C. Philpot, “Obedience from the Heart” 1844
“Once you were slaves of sin!” Romans 6:17 What a picture does this draw of our sad state, while
walking in the darkness and death of unregeneracy!
The Holy Spirit here sets forth Sin as a harsh master, exercising tyrannical dominion over his slaves! How this portrays our state and condition in a state of unregeneracy—slaves to sin!
Just as a master commands his slave to go here and there—imposes on him certain tasks—and has entire and despotic authority over him—so sin….
had a complete mastery over us,
used us at its arbitrary will and pleasure, drove us here and there on its commands.
But in this point we differed from physical slaves—that we did not murmur under our yoke—but gladly and cheerfully obeyed all sin’s commands—and never tired of doing the most servile drudgery!
Thus some have had sin as a very vulgar and tyrannical master, who drove them into open acts of drunkenness, uncleanness, and profligacy—yes, everything base, vile, and evil.
Others have been preserved through education, through the watchfulness and example of parents, or other moral restraints, from going into such open lengths of iniquity—and outward breakings forth of evil. But still sin secretly reigned in their hearts—
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pride,
worldliness,
love of the things of time and sense,
hatred to God and aversion to His holy will, selfishness and stubbornness,
in all their various forms, had a complete mastery over them! And though sin ruled over them more as a gentleman—he kept them in a more refined, though not less real or absolute slavery! Whatever sin bade them do, that they did, as implicitly as the most abject slave ever obeyed a tyrannical master’s command.
What a picture does the Holy Spirit here draw of what a man is! Nothing but a slave!—and sin, as his master, first driving him upon God’s sword, and then giving him eternal death as his wages!
“Who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.”
Col. 1:13
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WHEN DISAPPOINTED IN THE CREATURE
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
When disappointed in the creature, I take refuge at once in Jesus! I run to Him, and find Him all my heart could wish!
Lord, how could I live without You? You are…. my all in all,
my comfort,
my joy,
my peace,
my strengthener,
my home for time and eternity!
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HAVING NOTHING—AND YET POSSESSING ALL THINGS
J. C. Philpot, “Spiritual Poverty and Heavenly Riches”
“Having nothing—and yet possessing all things.”
2 Corinthians 6:10
How can this apparent contradiction be reconciled? It is resolved thus—“having nothing” in self,
“possessing all things” in Christ.
And just in proportion as I have nothing in self
experimentally—so I possess all things in Christ. My own beggary leads me out of self into His riches.
My own unrighteousness leads me out of self into Christ’s righteousness.
My own defilement leads me out of self into Christ’s sanctification.
My own weakness leads me out of self into Christ’s strength.
My own misery leads me out of self into Christ’s mercy. “Having nothing—and yet possessing all things.” 2 Cor. 6:10
These two branches of divine truth, so far from clashing with each other—sweetly, gloriously, and blessedly harmonize. And just in proportion as we know spiritually, experimentally, and vitally of “having nothing,” in self—just so much shall we know spiritually, experimentally, and vitally of “possessing all things” in Christ.
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TRULY, THERE IS NO LOVE LIKE CHRIST’S!
Octavius Winslow, “None Like Christ”
There is no love…. so gentle,
so patient,
so enduring,
as Christ’s love.
Again and again you have….
questioned it, wounded it, forsaken it.
Again and again you have returned to it….
with tears,
with confession,
with humiliation,
and have found it as unchilled and unchanged as His nature.
It has….
borne with your doubts,
been silent beneath your murmurings, veiled your infirmities,
never veered with your fickleness,
nor frozen with your coldness,
nor upbraided you for your backslidings,
but all the day long, tracking your wandering winding way, it has hovered around you with a presence that has encircled you within its divine, all enshrouding and invincible shield.
Truly, there is no love like Christ’s!
The Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of your….
undivided affection, supreme confidence, unreserved service.
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He infinitely distances and eclipses all other beings, and all other objects. He is the chief among ten thousand, and deserves the supreme enthronement in your….
admiration, trust,
love.
“Lord, there is none like You! I learn Your transcendent worth—I experience Your matchless love—I behold Your unrivaled beauty—I feel Your inimitable tenderness, gentleness, and sympathy in this hour when my spirit is overwhelmed within me, and my earthly treasures float a scattered wreck upon the surging waters through which I come to You.” Truly, there is no love like Christ’s!
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MUDDY STREAMS AND BROKEN, LEAKY CISTERNS
By John MacDuff
“He who hears, let him say, ‘Come!’ He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17
Thirsty? who is not thirsty? It is the cry of universal humanity! Who does not feel that this world is presenting us with muddy streams and broken, leaky cisterns. Who does not feel, in their moments of deep and calm reflection, when we are brought face to face with the great enigma of existence—that the world is serving up faded flowers instead of those redolent with imperishable fragrance, and glowing with unfading bloom.
Prodigal! Wanderer from God, exile from peace, roaming the forest haunts of sin, plunging deeper and deeper into their midnight of ruin and despair; has an
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arrow wounded your heart? Are you, in your agony, seeking rest and finding none—having the 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!”
“Yes, Lord! I come! Thirsty, faint, forlorn, wounded, weary! I come, just as I am, without one plea. You are all I need, all I require—in sickness and health, in joy and in sorrow, in life and in death, in time and through eternity!”
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ONE OF GOD’S MEDICINES!
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of John”
“All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11
Affliction is one of God’s medicines!
By it He often teaches lessons which would be learned in no other way.
By it He often draws souls away from sin and the world, which would otherwise have perished everlastingly.
Health is a great blessing—but sanctified disease is a greater.
Prosperity and worldly comfort, are what all naturally desire—but losses and crosses are far better for us—if they lead us to Christ.
Let us beware of murmuring in the time of trouble. Let us settle it firmly in our minds, that there is a
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meaning, a ‘needs be,’ and a message from God—in every sorrow that falls upon us.
There are no lessons so useful as those learned in the school of affliction.
There is no commentary that opens up the Bible so much as sickness and sorrow.
The resurrection morning will prove, that many of the losses of God’s people were in reality, eternal gains.
Thousands at the last day, will testify with David—“It is good for me that I have been afflicted!” Psalm. 119:71
O great I AM,
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O GREAT I AM
a Puritan Prayer
Fill my mind with elevation and grandeur at the thought of a Being with whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day—a mighty God, who, amid the lapse of worlds, and the revolutions of empires, feels no variableness—but is glorious in immortality.
May I rejoice that, while all creatures are…. broken reeds,
empty cisterns,
fading flowers,
withering grass,
You are the Rock of Ages—the Fountain of living waters.
Turn my heart….
from vanity,
from dissatisfactions,
from uncertainties of the present state,
to the eternal blessings I have in Christ.
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Let me live a life of….
self-distrust, dependence on Yourself, mortification, crucifixion,
prayer.
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RICHES, HONORS, AND COMFORTS
J. C. Philpot, “Heavenly Treasure in Earthen Vessels”
“But we have this treasure in clay vessels.” 2 Corinthians 4:7
How different is the estimate that the Christian makes of riches, honors, and comforts—from that made by the world and the flesh!
The world’s idea of riches are only such as consist in gold and silver, in houses, lands, or other tangible property.
The world’s estimate of honors, are only such as man has to bestow.
The world’s notion of comfort, is “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.”
But the true Christian takes a different estimate of these matters, and feels that….
the only true riches are those of God’s grace in the heart, the only real honor is that which comes from God,
the only solid comfort is that which is imparted by the
Holy Spirit to a broken and contrite spirit.
Now, just in proportion as we are filled by the Spirit of God—shall we take faith’s estimate of riches, honors, and comforts. And just so much as we are imbued with the spirit of the world—shall we take the flesh’s estimate of these things.
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When the eye of the world looked on the Apostles, it viewed them as a company of poor ignorant men—a set of wild enthusiasts, who traveled about the country preaching Jesus, who they said, had been crucified, and was risen from the dead. The natural eye saw no beauty, no power, no glory in the truths they brought forth. Nor did it see that the poor perishing bodies of these outcast men contained in them a heavenly treasure—and that they would one day shine as the stars forever and ever—while those who despised their word would sink into endless woe.
The spirit of the world can never understand or love the things of eternity—it can only look to, and can only rest upon, the poor perishing things of time and sense.
7
THE CONTINUED TEACHINGS OF THE SPIRIT
J. C. Philpot, “The Woman at the Well of Samaria”
When once, by the operation of the Spirit on our conscience, we have been stripped of….
formality, superstition, self-righteousness, hypocrisy, presumption,
and the other delusions of the flesh that hide themselves under the mask of religion—we have felt the difference between having a name to live while dead, and the power of vital godliness—and as a measure of divine life has flowed into the heart out of the fullness of the Son of God—we desire no other religion but that which stands in the power of God—by that alone can we live, and by that alone we feel that we can die.
And, at last, we are brought to this conviction and
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solemn conclusion—that there is no other true religion but that which consists in the continued teachings of the Spirit, and the communications of the life of God to the soul.
And with the Spirit’s teachings are connected….
all the actings of faith in the soul, all the anchorings of
hope in the heart,
all the flowings forth of love,
every tear of genuine contrition that flows down the
cheeks,
every sigh of godly sorrow that heaves from the bosom, every cry and groan because of the body of sin,
every breath of spiritual prayer that comes from the
heart,
every casting of our souls upon Christ,
all submission to Him,
all communion with Him,
all enjoyment of Him, and
all the inward embracements of Him in His suitability
and preciousness.
7
WE JOURNEY ONWARD THROUGH A WASTE HOWLING WILDERNESS
Henry Law, “Family Devotion” 1884
As God’s children, we receive in this present time all that our Heavenly Father knows to be good for us.
His eye of love always watches over us.
His hand of power always guides and protects us.
We journey onward through a waste howling wilderness— amid snares and temptations on the right hand and on the left—but we are never left —we are never forsaken.
“Don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are Mine. When you pass
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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. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3
7
THE BEST RECIPE FOR CHEERFULNESS
J. C. Ryle
Some without doubt, have a larger cup of sorrow to drink than others. But few are to be found who live long without sorrows or cares of one sort or another. Our bodies,
our property,
our families,
our children,
our relations,
our servants,
our friends,
our neighbors,
our worldly callings,
each and all of these are foundations of care.
Sicknesses, deaths,
losses, disappointments, partings, separations, ingratitude, slander,
all these are common things.
We cannot get through life without them. Some day or other they find us out.
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The greater are our affections, the deeper are our afflictions.
The more we love, the more we have to weep.
What is the best recipe for cheerfulness in such a world as this? How shall we get through this valley of tears with least pain? I know no better recipe than the habit of taking everything to God in prayer.
7
AT LAST TO CHEAT THE DEVIL!
J. C. Philpot, “Not Our Own—Bought with a Price”
If God is not your master—the devil will be.
If grace does not rule—sin will reign.
If Christ is not your all in all—the world will be.
It is not as though we could roam abroad in total liberty. We must have a master of one kind, or another.
And which is best?
A bounteous, benevolent Benefactor,
a merciful, loving, and tender Parent,
a kind, forgiving Father and Friend,
a tender-hearted, compassionate Redeemer?
OR
A cruel devil,
a miserable world,
a wicked, vile, abominable heart?
Which is better?
To live under the sweet constraints of the dying love of a dear Redeemer—under….
gospel influences, gospel principles, gospel promises, and
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gospel encouragements? OR
To walk in imagined liberty, with sin in our heart, exercising dominion and mastery there—and binding us in iron chains to the judgment of the great day?
Even taking the present life—there is more real pleasure, satisfaction, and solid happiness in half an hour with God, in sweet union and communion with the Lord of life and glory, in reading His word with a believing heart, in finding access to His sacred presence, in knowing something of the droppings in of His favor and mercy—than in….
all the delights of sin,
all the lusts of the flesh,
all the pride of life, and
all the amusements that the world has ever devised
to kill time and cheat self—
thinking, by a deathbed repentance—at last to cheat the
devil!
7
IT WILL COME IN AT EVERY CHINK AND CREVICE!
“The Spiritual Conflict” Preached at Zoar Chapel, London, on July 30, 1843, by J. C. Philpot
“For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing.” Romans 7:18
The world within us is ten thousand times worse than the world outside of us!
We may shut and bar our doors, and exclude the outside world—but the world within cannot be so shut out! More—we might go and hide ourselves in a hermit’s cave, and never see the face of man again—but
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even there we would be as carnal and worldly as if we lived in Vanity Fair!
We cannot shut out the world—it will come in at every chink and crevice! This wretched world will intrude itself into our every thought and imagination!
I don’t know how it may be with you, but I have no more power to keep out the workings of sin in my heart—than I have power by holding up my hand to stop the rain from coming down to the earth! Sin will come in at every crack and crevice, and manifest itself in the wretched workings of an evil heart!
The seeds of every crime are in our nature—and therefore, could your flesh have its full swing—there would not be a viler wretch in London than you!
7
THIS IS WHAT THE LORD SAYS
J. C. Philpot, “The Blessedness of Trusting in the Lord” 1869
“Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5
The Lord here does not lay down a man’s moral or immoral character as a test of salvation. He does not say, “Cursed is….
the thief,
the adulterer,
the extortioner,
the murderer,
the man that lives in open profanity.”
He puts all that aside, and fixes His eye and lays His hand upon one mark—which may exist with the great- est morality and with the highest profession of religion.
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“I will tell you,” the Lord says, “who are under My curse—the person who trusts in man—who depends on flesh for his strength—and in so doing, his heart turns away from Me.”
“Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord.” Jer. 17:57
THAT HIDEOUS IDOL SELF IN HIS LITTLE SHRINE
J. C. Philpot, “Israel’s Departure and Return” 1849
“Never again will we say any more to the work of our hands—“You are our gods!” Hosea 14:3
The besetting sin of Israel was the worship of idols.
Perhaps, if you have walked into the British Museum, and seen the idols that were worshiped in former days in the South Sea Islands, you have been amazed that rational beings could ever bow down before such ugly monsters.
But does the heart of a South Sea Islander differ from the heart of an Englishman? Not a bit! The latter may have more civilization and cultivation—but his heart is the same! And though you have not bowed down to these monstrous objects and hideous figures—there may be as filthy an idol in your heart! Where is there a filthier idol than the lusts and passions of man’s fallen nature?
You need not go to the British Museum to see filthy idols and painted images. Look within!
Where is there a more groveling idol than Mammon, and the covetousness of our heart? You need not wonder at heathens worshiping hideous idols—when you have pride, covetousness, and above all that hideous idol SELF in
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his little shrine, hiding himself from the eyes of man— but to which you are so often rendering your daily and hourly worship!
If a person does not see that the root of all idolatry is SELF, he knows but little of his heart.
THEY AMASS ITS GILDED BAUBLES
Henry Law, “Psalms”
Unbelievers are of the earth, and earthly!
They seek no portion beyond this sin-soiled world!
They glean abundance of its worthless husks!
They feast on its unsubstantial pleasures!
They amass its gilded baubles, and leave their hoarded treasures to their children!
“And this world is passing away with its lusts.” 1 John
2:17
7
7
SUCH A PERPETUAL AND UNCEASING CONFLICT?
J. C. Philpot, “The Groaning Captive’s Deliverance” 1847
“I do not understand what I do! For what I want to do I do not do; but what I hate I do. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Romans 7:15,18, 19, 21, 24
What a picture of that which passes in a godly man’s bosom! He has in him two distinct principles, two
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different natures—one…. holy,
heavenly,
spiritual,
panting after the Lord, and
finding the things of God its element.
And yet in the same bosom a principle….
totally corrupt, thoroughly and entirely depraved, perpetually striving against the holy principle within, continually lusting after evil,
opposed to every leading of the Spirit in the soul, and seeking to gratify its filthy desires at any cost!
Now, must there not be a feeling of misery in a man’s bosom to have these two armies perpetually fighting? That when he desires to do good, evil is present with him—when he would be holy, heavenly minded, tender hearted, loving, seeking God’s glory, enjoying sweet communion with Jehovah—there is a base, sensual, earthly heart perpetually at work—infusing its baneful poison into every thought, counteracting every desire, and dragging him from the heaven to which he would mount, down to the very hell of carnality and filth?
There is a holy, heavenly principle in a man’s bosom that knows, fears, loves, and delights in God. Yet he finds that sin in himself, which is altogether opposed to the mind of Christ, and lusts after that which he hates. Must there not be sorrow and grief in that man’s bosom to feel such a perpetual and unceasing conflict?
Is there ever this piteous cry forced by guilt, shame, and sorrow out of your bosom, “O wretched man that I am!” If not, be assured that you are dead in sin, or dead in a profession.
7
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A SUBTLE ENEMY!
Thomas Reade, “On Indwelling Sin”
“I hate pride and arrogance.” Proverbs 8:13 Pride is a subtle enemy.
Pride spoils all that we think, and speak, and do.
Pride is the last sin which dies, and expires only with the life of the believer. Through his whole pilgrimage he has to contend against spiritual pride, in all its specious and multiplied forms.
Self-love, self-seeking,
self will, self-confidence, self righteousness,
all spring from pride!
Pride is a root of bitterness, out of which the following vices profusely grow….
vainglory,
love of human applause, seeking of honor, independence, rebellion,
revenge,
anger,
contempt of others, resentment,
ambition,
presumption.
There is no end to this extensive evil, which infects the hearts of men, and fills the earth with misery and
blood.
7
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BUT WHO IS OUR GREATEST ENEMY?
J. C. Philpot, “The Conqueror’s Inheritance” 1845
The pride of our heart,
the presumption of our heart,
the hypocrisy of our heart,
the intense selfishness of our heart, are often hidden from us.
This wily devil, self, can wear such masks and assume such forms.
This serpent, self, can so creep and crawl, can so twist and turn, and can disguise itself under such false appearances, that it is often hidden from ourselves.
Who is the greatest enemy we have to fear? We all have our enemies.
But who is our greatest enemy?
He who you carry in your own bosom—your daily, hourly, and ever-present companion, that entwines himself in nearly every thought of your heart—that….
sometimes puffs up with pride,
sometimes inflames with lust,
sometimes inflates with presumption, and sometimes works under feigned humility and fleshly
holiness.
God is determined to stain the pride of human glory. He will never let self (which is but another word for the creature) wear the crown of victory. It must be crucified, denied, and mortified.
Now this self must be overcome. The way to overcome self is by looking out of self to Him who was crucified upon Calvary’s tree—to receive His image into your heart—to be clothed with His likeness—to drink into
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His spirit—and “receive out of His fullness grace for
grace.”
Never was a poor sinner more unworthy of favor from God or His people than myself. I deserve not a name and a place among God’s children, but am as vile as a dog, and would be glad for crumbs of mercy that fall from the children’s table. But such is the free grace of God towards me, through the slain Lamb, that He deals with me as a child—a dear child—and feasts me as a prince with Him according to the royalty, the dignity of His own infinite state.
If salvation in all its parts were not all of grace, it would not suit such a wretched, miserable sinner as I am. But oh, blessed be God, there is salvation to be had of the freest grace—of grace in which there is no scantiness— but an immense and eternal fullness to fill my needy soul, through all time and to eternity!
And glad am I, under all my sins, miseries and needs, to live under the reign of grace—of this grace which reigns through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ my Lord!
7
IF GOD RESTRAINED US NOT
John Arrowsmith
There is no affliction so small, but we would sink under it—if God upheld us not. And there is no sin so great, but we would commit it—if God restrained us not.
7
GLAD FOR CRUMBS OF MERCY
Anne Dutton’s Letters on Spiritual Subjects
“Hold me up, and I shall be safe!” Ps. 119:117
7
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OH, THE HEIGHTS, DEPTHS, LENGTHS, AND BREADTHS OF GRACE!
Anne Dutton’s Letters on Spiritual Subjects
My Dear Brother in Christ,
Grace unto you, and peace be multiplied. May the God of all grace reward you with the more abundant displays of His love—His free, undeserved, rich and endless love!
Oh, my brother, I am surely the most unworthy of love from God, of any that ever found grace in His sight. Hell, the hottest hell, is my desert! Oh, what a sinner am I! The sin of my nature, that deluge of filth and guilt which overspread all my parts and powers as soon as quickened in the womb, and in which I was born— together with my actual sins, my going astray from the womb, when I did nothing else but sin—until mighty grace laid hold of me! These sins of mine I saw, when the Lord opened my eyes, did deserve the damnation of hell—and I wondered at the infinite forbearance of God in allowing me to live so long out of hell, when I was such fit fuel for everlasting burnings! And I could have justified Him if He had sent me down to the pit the next moment.
But oh, behold, I was a vessel of mercy; and therefore the Lord made known unto me the riches of His glory, not only in sparing, but in pardoning mercy also. He not only spared me from hell, but forever delivered me from going down to the pit by the ransom which He had found—by His own Son, to bear my sin, to be made a curse, and to die for me! By this mighty ransom—this infinite price of the life of the Son of God laid down for my redemption, did the God of all grace let me go free. And oh, the riches, the exceeding riches of His grace, which He then displayed, in the forgiveness of all my
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sins through the Lamb’s blood! Where sin had abounded grace did much more abound!
Oh, how freely did my heavenly Father receive me, a poor prodigal, when under His own drawings I came to Him by Jesus Christ! He did not upbraid me with my vile transgressions, nor deal with me in wrath according to my sins—but graciously opened His arms and let me into His bosom—His heart’s love—no more to be separated from His love, nor to fall out of love’s arms forever! No! having loved me with an everlasting love, and thus manifested His love through the slain Lamb, He resolved to love me forever—that He would never cast me off, nor cast me out of His free love for all that I had done.
Oh, astonishing! That abundant pardon which my heavenly Father then granted, and I received, carried in the bosom of it not only the forgiveness of my past and present sins, but of my future sins also—of all my transgressions, even to my life’s end. He forgave me all trespasses—resolved to be merciful to my unrighteousness and to remember my sins no more. He took away my filthy garments and clothed me with change of clothing—put a ring on my hand and shoes on my feet—set me with Him at His table—made a feast for me of the flesh and blood of His own Son— and rejoiced over me with singing! Oh, the heights, depths, lengths, and breadths of grace!
And with this wondrous love of God He melted my hard heart, revived my dying soul, put a new song of joy and praise into my mouth, and drew me to give up myself unto Him, to be entirely His forever. Oh, then I said I would not transgress, when He had thus broken my yoke and burst my bonds, and brought me into liberty—the glorious liberty of the sons of God!
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But ah! I have not rendered to the Lord according to all the great things which He has done for me, but have ill- requited Him for all His kindness. I am indeed bent to backsliding from God, and have dealt very treacherously with my gracious Father. I see, to my shame and grief, the seeds of all sin in my vile heart—a hell of iniquity there! I feel that my carnal mind is enmity, entire and irreconcilable enmity, against God— and such are the ebullitions of this unsearchable deep, this horrid fountain, that I am frequently struck with amazement that I am not sent down to hell—that my life is not among the unclean—that so vile a sinner has not a portion among the damned, in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone!
Ah, not because I do not deserve a place there am I spared—but because Jehovah will be gracious unto whom He will be gracious, and show mercy on whom He will show mercy. Oh, if the love of God was not free, sovereign, and independent of my goodness— which as the morning cloud and the early dew quickly passes away—I would perish still, and sink into the pit with the additional weight of ‘abused kindness.’
Oh, my sins, since the Lord manifested His love to me, I see to be of a greater guilt, a deeper dye, than all that I was guilty of before I knew the Lord, or rather was known of Him. And these, in a special manner, break my heart and humble me before the Lord, when He breaks in upon my soul with the displays of His infinite favor.
For lo! the love of God and the blood of Christ are depths that infinitely surpass and swallow up all my sin! Oh, what are my vast, numberless, aggravated transgressions, to the boundless depth of Jehovah’s love—to the infinite merit of the blood of the Son of God? Here, through the blood and righteousness of Jesus, grace reigns and triumphs gloriously over all my
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abounding sin. It not only began to reign thus in the first glorious displays thereof made to my poor soul when just ready to perish, but it reigns still—and will reign on in its infinite, majestic state, until all my sins, which are now pardoned, shall be fully subdued and utterly destroyed out of my nature—until all sin and death are swallowed up in the victory of eternal life to the praise of its own glory. Oh, glorious grace!
7
WE SHALL BE SO RAVISHED
Anne Dutton’s Letters on Spiritual Subjects
We have had many sweet feasts with our Beloved in the ‘wilderness;’ but the richest provisions and the best wine are reserved until the last, and the Marriage Supper hastens.
Oh, how little have we seen of His transcendent beauty! We have beheld so much of His glory as to make Him the chief of ten thousand in our esteem. But there is enough in Him to fill men and angels with new wonder to all eternity!
Christ’s riches are absolutely unsearchable; a mine that we can never bottom to eternity! We shall see more and more of His glory as we pass on towards perfection. And oh, the wonderful grace that is to be brought unto us at our Lord’s next appearing, which will be the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
The views of His glory, which we have had here, though true and real, yet are so small that if compared with what we shall have then, it will be as if we had never seen Him, and as if He was but then revealed to us.
We shall be so ravished with the views of His glory that we shall never be able to look off His bright face forever!
7
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TRIALS ARE INTENDED….
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Matthew” 1856
“Behold, a Canaanite woman came out from those borders, and cried, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, you son of David. My daughter is grievously vexed with a demon.” Matthew 15:22
We see here, that affliction sometimes proves a blessing to a person’s soul.
This Caananitish mother no doubt had been severely tried. She had seen her darling child vexed with a devil, and been unable to relieve her. But yet that trouble brought her to Christ, and taught her to pray. Without it she might have lived and died in careless ignorance, and never seen Jesus at all. Surely it was good for her that she was afflicted. (Psalm 119:71)
Let us mark this well. There is nothing which shows our ignorance so much as our impatience under trouble. We forget that every trial is a message from God—and intended to do us good in the end.
Trials are intended to make us think, to wean us from the world, to send us to the Bible, to drive us to our knees.
Health is a good thing. But sickness is far better, if it leads us to God.
Prosperity is a great mercy. But adversity is a greater one, if it brings us to Christ.
Anything, anything is better than living in carelessness, and dying in sin. Better a thousand times be afflicted, like the Canaanitish mother, and like her flee to Christ; than live at ease, like the rich “fool,” and die at last without Christ and without hope.
7
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WE NEED GRACE, FREE GRACE
J. C. Philpot, “Precious Faith, with its Benefits and Blessings”
“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you.” 2 Peter 1:2
When we see and feel how we need grace every moment in our lives, we at once perceive the beauty in asking for an abundant, overflowing measure of grace.
We cannot walk the length of the street without sin.
Our carnal minds, our vain imaginations, are all on the lookout for evil. Sin presents itself at every avenue, and lurks like the prowling night-thief for every opportunity of secret plunder. In fact, in ourselves, in our fallen nature, except as restrained and influenced by grace, we sin with well near every breath that we draw. We need, therefore, grace upon grace, or, in the words of the text, grace to be “multiplied” in proportion to our sins. Shall I say in proportion? No! If sin abounds, as to our shame and sorrow we know it does, we need grace to much more abound!
When the ‘tide of sin’ flows in with its muck and mire, we need the ‘tide of grace’ to flow higher still, to carry out the slime and filth into the depths of the ocean, so that when sought for, they may be found no more.
We need grace, free grace….
grace today,
grace tomorrow, grace this moment, grace the next,
grace all the day long.
We need grace, free grace….
healing grace, reviving grace, restoring grace,
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saving grace, sanctifying grace.
And all this multiplied by all our…. wants and woes,
sins,
slips,
falls, and
unceasing and aggravated backslidings.
We need grace, free grace….
grace to believe, grace to hope, grace to love, grace to fight, grace to conquer, grace to stand, grace to live, grace to die.
Every moment of our lives we need….
keeping grace, supporting grace, upholding grace, withholding grace.
“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you.” 2 Peter 1:2
7
ARE YOU SEEKING GREAT THINGS FOR YOURSELF?
J. C. Philpot
Oh, how many ministers do I see led by….
ambition, pride, self-interest, or covetousness!
How few have singleness of eye to God’s glory!
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Ministers often seek….
great gifts,
great eloquence,
great knowledge of mysteries, great congregations,
great popularity and influence.
“Seek you great things for yourself? Don’t seek them.”
Jeremiah 45:5
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WE ARE NOT FLOGGED INTO LOVING HIM
J. C. Philpot, “A Spiritual Death and a Hidden Life”
“Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2
Where are your affections to be set?
Are they to be set on “things on the earth”…. those perishing toys,
those polluting vanities,
those carking cares,
which must ever dampen the life of God in the soul?
The expression, “things on the earth,” takes in a wide scope. It embraces not only the vain toys, the ambitious hopes, the perishing pleasures in which a gay, unthinking world is sunk and lost—but even the legitimate calls of business, the claims of wife and home, family and friends, with every social tie that binds to earth. Thus every object on which the eye can rest; every thought or desire that may spring up in the mind; every secret idol that lurks in the bosom; every care and anxiety that is not of grace; every fond anticipation of pleasure or profit that the world may hold out, or the worldly heart embrace—all, with a million pursuits in which man’s fallen nature seeks
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employment or happiness—are “things on the earth” on which the affections are not to be set.
We may love our wives and children. We should pursue our lawful callings with diligence and industry. We must provide for our families according to the good providence of God. But we may not so set our affections on these things, that they pull us down from heaven to earth. He who is worthy of all our affections claims them all for Himself. He who is the Bridegroom of the soul demands, as He has fairly won, the unrivaled love of His bride.
But how are we to do this?
Can we do this great work by ourselves? No! it is only the Lord Himself, manifesting His beauty and blessedness to our soul, and letting down the golden cord of His love into our bosom, that draws up our affections, and fixes them on Himself. In order to do this, He captivates the heart by….
some look of love,
some word of His grace,
some sweet promise, or
some divine truth spiritually applied.
When He thus captivates the soul, and draws it up, then the affections flow unto Him as the source and fountain of all blessings.
We are not flogged into loving Him, but are drawn by love into love. Love cannot be bought or sold. It is an inward affection that flows naturally and necessarily towards its object, and all connected with it. And thus, as love flows out to Jesus, the affections instinctively and necessarily set themselves “on things above, and not on things on the earth.”
Jesus must be revealed to our soul by the power of God before we can see His beauty and blessedness—and so
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fall in love with Him as “the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely One.” Then everything that….
speaks of Christ, savors of Christ, breathes of Christ,
becomes inexpressibly sweet and precious!
In no other way can our affections be lifted up from earth to heaven. We cannot control our affections— they will run out of their own accord. If then our affections are earthly, they will run towards earthly objects. If they are carnal and sensual, they will flow towards carnal and sensual objects.
But when the Lord Jesus Christ, by some manifestation of His glory and blessedness—or the Holy Spirit, by taking of the things of Christ and revealing them to the soul—sets Him before our eyes as the only object worthy of, and claiming every affection of our heart—then the affections flow out, I was going to say naturally, but most certainly spiritually, towards Him. And when this is the case, the affections are set on things above.
7
SOON!
Octavius Winslow, “The Holy Spirit Glorifying the Redeemer”
Heaven is before you! Soon you will be freed, entirely and forever freed, from all the remains of sin. Soon the last sigh will heave your breast. Soon the last tear will fall from your eye. Soon the last pang will convulse your body. Soon, oh how soon, will you “see the King in His beauty,” the Jesus who….
loved you,
died for you, ransomed you, and loves you still!
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Soon you will fall at His feet, and be raised in His arms, and be hushed to rest in His bosom! Soon you will mingle, as a pure and happy spirit, with all who sleep in Jesus, who have gone but a little before you. See how they line the shores on the other side, and wait to welcome you over! See how they beckon you away!
Above all, sweetest and most glorious of all, see Jesus prepared to receive you to Himself!
O WHAT A COMPANY OF LUSTS!
J. C. Philpot, “The Battle Is the Lord’s” 1851
“For we have no might against this great company that comes against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are on You.” 2 Chronicles 20:12
There is no use fighting the battle in our own strength. We have none.
O, when temptation creeps like a serpent into the carnal mind, it winds its secret way and coils around the heart. As the boa-constrictor is said to embrace its victim, entwining his coil around it, and crushing every bone without any previous warning—so does temptation often seize us suddenly in its powerful embrace. Have we in ourselves any more power to extricate our flesh from its slimy folds, than the poor animal has from the coils of the boa-constrictor?
So with the corruptions and lusts of our fallen nature. Can you always master them? Can you seize these serpents by the neck and wring off their heads?
To examine our heart is something like examining by the microscope a drop of ditch-water—the more minutely it is looked into, the more hideous forms appear. All these strange monsters, too, are in constant motion,
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devouring or devoured. And, as more powerful lenses are put on the microscope, more and more loathsome creatures emerge into view, until eye and heart sicken at the sight.
Such is our heart. Superficially viewed—passably fair. But examined by the spiritual microscope, hideous forms of every shape and size appear—lusts and desires in unceasing movement, devouring each other, and yet undiminished—and each successive examination bringing new monsters to light! O what a company of lusts! How one seems to introduce and make way for the other! and how one, as among the insect tribe, is the father of a million!
We must take these lusts and passions by the neck, and lay them down at the feet of God, and thus bring the omnipotence of Jehovah against what would destroy us—“Here are my lusts, I cannot manage them. Here are my temptations, I cannot overcome them. Here are my enemies, I cannot conquer them. Lord, I do not know what to do. Will You not subdue my enemies?”
This is fighting against sin—not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Not by the law, but by the gospel. Not by self, but by the grace of God. And if your soul has had many a tussle, and many a wrestle, and many a hand-to-hand conflict with sin, you will have found this out before now—that nothing but the grace, power, and Spirit of Christ ever gave you the victory, or the least hope of victory.
“For we have no might against this great company that comes against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are on You.” 2 Chron. 20:12
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THE VERY REMEDY FOR ALL THE MALADIES WHICH WE GROAN UNDER!
J. C. Philpot, “The Spiritual Chase” 1843
Grace only suits those who are altogether guilty and filthy. Grace is completely opposed to works in all its shapes and bearings.
Thus no one can really desire to taste the sweetness and enjoy the preciousness of grace, who has not “seen an end of all perfection” in the creature, and is brought to know and feel in the conscience, that his good works would damn him as equally with his bad works.
When grace is thus opened up to the soul, it sees that grace flows only through the Savior’s blood—and that grace….
superabounds over all the aboundings of sin, heals all backslidings,
covers all transgressions,
lifts up out of darkness,
pardons iniquity,
and is just the very remedy for all the maladies which we
groan under!
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AS IF THIS BEAUTIFUL VIPER HAD NO POISON FANG!
J. C. Philpot, “The Appeal and Prayer of a Waiting Soul”
“Deliver me from all my transgressions.” Psalm 39:8
Ah! how rarely it is that we see sin in its true colors— that we feel what the apostle calls, “the exceeding sinfulness of sin!” O how much is the dreadful evil of sin for the most part veiled from our eyes! Our deceitful hearts so gloss it over, so excuse, palliate, and disguise it—that it is daily trifled, played, and dallied with,
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as if this beautiful viper had no poison fang!
It is only as the Spirit is pleased to open the eyes to see, and awaken the conscience to feel “the exceeding sin- fulness of sin,” and thus discover its dreadful character, that we have any real sight or sense of its awful nature.
Sins of heart, sins of lip, sins of life, sins of omission, sins of commission, sins of ingratitude, sins of unbelief, sins of rebellion, sins of lust, sins of pride, sins of worldliness! As all these transgressions, troop after troop, come in view, and rise up like specters from the grave, well may we cry with stifled voice, “Deliver me, O deliver me from all my transgressions! Deliver me from….
the guilt of sin,
the filth of sin,
the love of sin,
the power of sin, and the practice of sin!”
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WEANED FROM FEEDING ON HUSKS AND ASHES
J. C. Philpot, “Zion’s Blessings” 1843
“I will satisfy her poor with bread.” Psalm 132:15
The Lord has given a special promise to Zion’s poor—“I
will satisfy her poor with bread.”
Nothing else? Bread? Is that all?
Yes! That is all God has promised—bread, the staff of life. But what does He mean by “bread”?
The Lord Himself explains what bread is. He says, “I am the Bread of life. He who comes to Me will not be hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty. I am the living Bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.” John 6:35, 51
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The bread, then, that God gives to Zion’s poor is His own dear Son—fed upon by living faith, under the special operations of the Holy Spirit in the heart.
“I will satisfy her poor with bread.” Psalm 132:15
But must not we have an appetite before we can feed upon bread? The rich man who feasts continually upon juicy meat and savory sauces, would not live upon bread. To come down to live on such simple food as bread— why, one must be really hungry to be satisfied with that.
So it is spiritually. A man fed upon ‘mere notions’ and a number of ‘speculative doctrines’ cannot descend to the simplicity of the gospel. To feed upon a crucified Christ, a bleeding Jesus!—he is not sufficiently brought down to the starving point, to relish such spiritual food as this!
Before, then, he can feed upon this Bread of life he must be made spiritually poor. And when he is brought to be nothing but a mass of wretchedness, filth, guilt, and misery—when he feels his soul sinking under the wrath of God, and has scarcely a hope to buoy up his poor tottering heart—when he finds the world embittered to him, and he has no one object from which he can reap any abiding consolation—then the Lord is pleased to open up in his conscience, and bring the sweet savor of the love of His dear Son into his heart—and he begins to taste gospel bread.
Being weaned from feeding on husks and ashes, and sick “of the vines of Sodom and the fields of Gomorrah,” and being brought to relish simple gospel food, he begins to taste a sweetness in ‘Christ crucified’ which he never could know—until he was made experimentally poor.
The Lord has promised to satisfy such.
“I will satisfy her poor with bread.” Psalm 132:15
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THAT SECRET LOVELINESS
J. C. Philpot, “The Sacrifice Bound to the Horns of the Altar”
“I drew them with cords of a man, with ties of love.” Hosea 11:4
Where Christ is made in any measure experimentally known, He has gained the affections of the heart. He has, more or less, taken possession of the soul. He has, in some degree, endeared Himself as a bleeding, agonizing Savior to everyone to whom He has in any way revealed Himself. And, thus, the strong cord of love and affection is powerfully wreathed around the tender spirit and broken heart. Therefore….
His name becomes as ‘ointment poured forth,’ there is a preciousness in His blood,
there is a beauty in His Person,
there is that secret loveliness in Him,
which wins and attracts and draws out the tender affections of the soul. And thus this cord of love entwined round the heart, binds it fast and firm to the cross of the Lord Jesus. 7
LORD, I FEEL MY OWN UTTER HELPLESSNESS!
J. C. Philpot, “Sending Out of Light and Truth” 1841
“O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me.” Psalm 43:3
The Christian is often dissatisfied with his state. He is well aware of the shallowness of his attainments in the divine life, as well as of the ignorance and the blindness that are in him. He cannot perceive the path of life. He sees and feels so powerfully the workings of sin and corruption, that he often staggers, and is perplexed in his mind.
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And therefore, laboring under the feeling of…. his own shortcomings for the past,
his helplessness for the present,
and his ignorance for the future,
he wants to go forward wholly and solely in the strength of the Lord, to be….
led, guided, directed, kept,
not by his own wisdom and power—but by the supernatural entrance of light and truth into his soul.
When thus harassed and perplexed, he will at times and seasons, as his heart is made soft, cry out with fervency and importunity, as a beggar that will not take a denial, “O send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me!” As though he would say, “Lord, I feel my own utter helplessness! I know I must go astray, if You do not condescend to guide me. I have been betrayed a thousand times when I have trusted my own heart. I have been entangled in my base lusts. I have been puffed up by presumption. I have been carried away by hypocrisy and pride. I have been drawn aside into the world. I have never taken a single step aright when left to myself. And therefore feeling how unable I am to guide myself a single step of the way, I come unto You, and ask You to send forth Your light and Your truth, that they may guide me, for I am utterly unable to lead myself.”
The child of God—feeling his own ignorance, darkness, blindness, and sinfulness—moans, and sighs, and cries unto God—that he might be led every step, kept every moment, guided every inch.
“O send forth Your light and Your truth, let them lead
me.” Psalm 43:3
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O WHAT A WAY OF LEARNING RELIGION!
J. C. Philpot, “Strength Made Perfect in Weakness”
“He was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
2 Corinthians 12:4
Now, doubtless, the apostle Paul, after he had been thus favored—thus caught up into paradise—thought that he would retain the same frame of mind that he was in when he came down from this heavenly place; that the savor, the sweetness, the power, the unction, the dew, the heavenly feeling would continue in his soul. And no doubt he thought he would walk all through his life with a measure of the sweet enjoyments that he then experienced. But this was not God’s way of teaching religion!
God had another way which Paul knew nothing of, and that was—if I may use the expression—to bring him from the third heaven, where his soul had been blessed with unspeakable ravishment—down to the very gates of hell. For he says, “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to BUFFET me.”
The idea “buffeting” is that of a strong man beating a weak one with violent blows to his head and face— bruising him into a shapeless mass!
O what a way of learning religion!
Now I want you to see the contrast we have here.
The blessed apostle caught up into the third heavens, filled with light, life, and glory—enjoying the presence of Christ—and bathing his soul in the river of divine consolation.
Now for a reverse—down he comes to the earth. A messenger of Satan is let loose upon him, who
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buffets, beats and pounds this blessed apostle into a shapeless mummy—no eyes, no nose, no mouth, no features—but one indistinguishable mass of black and blue!
Such is the mysterious way in which a man learns religion!
But what was all this for?
Does it not appear very cruel—does it not seem very unkind that, after the Lord had taken Paul up into the third heaven, He would let the devil buffet him?
Does it not strike our natural reason to be as strange and as unheard of a thing, as if a mother who had been fondling her babe in her arms, suddenly were to put it down, and let a large savage dog ravage it—and look on, without interfering, while he was tearing the child which she had been a few minutes before dandling in her lap, and clasping to her bosom?
“But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to BUFFET me and keep me from getting proud.” Here we have this difficult enigma solved, this mysterious knot untied!
We find that the object and end of all these severe dealings was to keep Paul from pride!
Three times Paul besought his loving and sympathizing Redeemer, that the trial might be taken away, for it was too grievous to be borne. The Lord heard his prayer and answered it—but not in the way that Paul expected.
His answer was, “My grace is sufficient for you.” As though He would say, “Paul, beloved Paul, I am not going to take away your trial; it came from Me—it was given by Me. But My grace shall be sufficient for you, for My strength shall be made perfect in your weakness. There is a lesson to be learned, a path to be walked in, an experience to be passed through, wisdom
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to be obtained in this path—and therefore you must travel in it. Be content then with this promise from My own lips—My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”
The apostle was satisfied with this—he wanted no more, and therefore he burst forth, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities—that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
O what a way of learning religion!
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IN A MOST MYSTERIOUS AND INEXPLICABLE MANNER
J. C. Philpot, “The Going Forth of the Lord” 1841
“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
I am often a marvel to myself, feeling at times…. such barrenness,
such leanness,
such deadness,
such carnality,
such inability to any spiritual thought.
It is astonishing to me how our souls are kept alive.
Carried on, and yet so secretly—worked upon, and yet so mysteriously—and yet led on, guided and preserved through so many difficulties and obstacles—the Christian is a miracle of mercy!
He is astonished how he is preserved amid all his…. difficulties,
obstacles,
trials, and
temptations.
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Sometimes he seems driven and sometimes drawn, sometimes led and sometimes carried—but in one way or another the Spirit of God so works upon him that, though he scarcely knows how, he still presses on!
His very burdens make him groan for deliverance. His very temptations cause him to cry for help.
The very difficulty and ruggedness of the road make him want to be carried every step.
The very perplexity of the path compels him to cry out for a guide—so that the Spirit working in the midst of, and under, and through every difficulty and discouragement, still bears him through, and carries him on—and thus brings him through every trial and trouble and temptation and obstacle—until He sets him in glory!
He will then understand, that he has…. not had one trial too heavy,
nor shed one tear too much,
nor put up one groan too many,
but all these things have, in a most mysterious and inexplicable manner, worked together for his spiritual good!
WROUGHT WITH DIVINE POWER
J. C. Philpot, “The Veil Taken Away” 1844
“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
Most men’s religion is nothing else but ‘a round of forms’….
some have their ‘doings,’
some have their ‘doctrines,’ and others have their ‘duties.’
And when the one has performed his doings, the other learned his doctrines, and the third discharged his
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duties—why, he is as good a Christian, he thinks, as anybody. While all the time, the poor deceived creature is thoroughly ignorant of the kingdom of God, which stands not in simply in word—but in power.
But as the veil of ignorance is taken off the heart, we begin to see and feel that there is a power in vital godliness—a reality in the teachings of the Spirit—that religion is not to be put on and put off as a man puts on and off his Sunday clothes.
Where vital godliness is wrought with divine power in a man’s heart, and preached by the Holy Spirit into his conscience—it mingles, daily and often hourly, with his thoughts—entwines itself with his feelings—and becomes the very food and drink of his soul.
Now when a man comes to this spot—to see and feel what a reality there is in the things of God made manifest in the conscience by the power of the Holy Spirit—it effectually takes him out of dead churches, cuts him off from false ministers, winnows the chaff from the wheat, and brings him into close communion with the broken-hearted family of God.
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THE MORE LOVELY DOES JESUS APPEAR!
J. C. Philpot, “Spiritual Mysteries” July 14, 1844
The poor believer feels, “I continually find all kinds of evil working in my mind; every base corruption crawling in my heart; everything vile, sensual, and filthy rising up from its abominable deeps. Can I think that God can look down in love and mercy on such a wretch?”
When we see…. our vileness, our baseness, our carnality,
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our sensuality,
how our souls cleave to dust,
how we grovel in evil and hateful things,
how dark our minds, how earthly our affections, how depraved our hearts, how strong our lusts, how raging our passions;
we feel ourselves, at times, no more fit for God than Satan himself!
“You see, at just the right time, when we were utterly helpless, Christ died for the ungodly!” Romans 5:6
Christ does not justify those who are naturally righteous, holy, and religious.
But He takes the sinner as he is, in all his filth and guilt; washes him in the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness; and clothes the naked shivering wretch, who has nothing to cover him but filthy rags, in His own robe of righteousness!
The gospel of the grace of God brings glad tidings…. of pardon to the criminal,
of mercy to the guilty, and
of salvation to the lost!
That the holy God should look down in love on wretches that deserve the damnation of hell; that the pure and spotless Jehovah should pity, save, and bless enemies and rebels, and make them endless partakers of His own glory; this indeed is a mystery, the depth of which eternity itself will not fathom!
The deeper we sink in self-abasement under a sense of our vileness, the higher we rise in a knowledge of Christ. And the blacker we are in our own view, the more lovely does Jesus appear!
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DON’T BE AFRAID!
Octavius Winslow
Are you going through a sorrowful affliction?
“Cheer up! I AM! Don’t be afraid!” Matthew 14:27
What a Friend, what a Brother, what a Helper, is Jesus!
Never, no never, does He leave His suffering child to travel that mournful night unvisited and unsoothed by His presence.
He is with you now. His faithfulness never falters. His love never changes. His tenderness never lessens. His patience never wearies. His grace never decays. His watchfulness never slumbers. Jesus loves to visit us in the stormy night of our grief. He says, “Cheer up! I AM! Don’t be afraid!” The incarnate God delights to be near His helpless and timid children. He is near to you as the strength of your sinking soul.
“And surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the world.” Matthew 28:20
IF GOD HAD LEFT ME ALONE
by Charles Spurgeon
Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that God has never let me act as they have done! I have thought, “If God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I would have been! I would have run to the utmost lengths of sin, dived into the very depths of evil. Nor would I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me!”
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I feel that I would have been a very king of sinners, if God had left me alone. I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine grace7.
HAVE YOU NOT PROCURED THIS TO YOURSELF?
J. C. Philpot, “The Fool; His Character, Affliction, and Deliverance” 1851
“Haven’t you procured this to yourself, in that you have forsaken the Lord your God, when He led you by the way?” Jeremiah 2:17
“Have you not procured this to yourself?” says the Lord to His sinning Israel. Who dares say he has not by….
his sins,
his carnality,
his pride,
his covetousness,
his worldly-mindedness, his unbelief,
his foolishness,
his rebelliousness,
procured to himself many things that have grieved and distressed his soul?
If indeed we take no notice of the sin that dwells in us; and pay no regard to our thoughts, desires, words, and actions; and take our stand on our own righteousness; we may refuse to believe that we are such vile sinners.
But if we are compelled to look within, and painfully feel that SIN is an indweller, a lodger, whom we are compelled to harbor; a serpent that will creep in and nestle in our heart, whether we will or not; a thief that
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will break through and steal, and whom no bolt nor bar can keep out; a traitor in the citadel who will work by force or fraud, and against whom no resolution of ours has any avail; if such be our inward experience and conviction, I believe there is not a man or woman here who will not confess, “Guilty, guilty! Unclean, unclean!”
“Fools are afflicted because of their disobedience, and because of their iniquities.” Psalm 107:17
We bring affliction upon ourselves. We procure suffering by our own iniquities. “O!”, says the fool….
“my worldly-mindedness, my pride,
my covetousness,
my carnality,
my neglect of divine things,
my rebelliousness,
my recklessness,
the snares I entangled myself in, my various besetting sins;
this it is which has provoked the Lord to afflict me so severely, and leave me, fool that I am, to reap the fruit
of my own devices!”
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WE ARE TRAVELING FAST
Mary Winslow
What is the world, or the glory of a thousand such perishing worlds as this, when compared with the glory that shall be revealed in those who love His appearing? We are traveling fast, and at every step are nearing our heavenly home! We shall see Jesus soon! Oh, how soon! Jesus sits, in all the majesty of heaven, waiting to welcome His pilgrims home!
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A RELIGIOUS ANIMAL
Philpot, “The Exercise and Profit of Godliness” 1850
“Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus, and said, ‘You men of Athens, I perceive that you are very religious in all things. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’” Acts 17:22-23
Man has been called, and perhaps with some truth, a religious animal. Religion of some kind, at any rate, seems almost indispensable to his very existence—for from the most civilized nation, to the most barbarous tribe upon the face of the earth—we find some form of religion practiced. Whether this is ingrained into the very constitution of man, or whether it be received by custom or tradition—I will not pretend to decide. But that some kind of religion is almost universally prevalent, is a fact that cannot be denied.
We will always find these two kinds of religion…. false and true,
earthly and heavenly,
fleshly and spiritual,
natural and supernatural.
Compare this vital, spiritual, heavenly, divine, supernatural religion….
this work of grace upon the soul, this teaching of God in the heart, this life of faith within—
with its flimsy counterfeit.
Compare the actings of…. real faith,
real hope,
real love;
the teachings, the dealings, the leadings, and the opera- tions of the blessed Spirit in the soul—with rounds of….
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duties,
superstitious forms,
empty ceremonies, and
a notional religion, however puffed up and varnished.
Compare the life of God in the heart of a true Christian, amid all his dejection, despondency, trials, temptations, and exercises; compare that precious treasure, Christ’s own grace in the soul—with all mere….
external religion, superficial religion, notional religion.
O, it is no more to be compared than a grain of dust with a diamond! No more to be compared than a criminal in a dungeon to the King on the throne! In fact, there is no comparison between them.
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CHEAP AND EASY WORK
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858 “Whoever doesn’t bear his own cross, and come after Me,
can’t be My disciple.” Luke 14:27 It costs something to be a true Christian!
Let that never be forgotten.
To be a ‘mere nominal Christian,’ and go to church—is
cheap and easy work.
But to hear Christ’s voice, and follow Christ, and believe in Christ, and confess Christ, requires much self-denial.
It will cost us….
our sins,
our self-righteousness, our ease,
our worldliness.
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All—all must be given up. Our Lord Jesus Christ would have us thoroughly understand this. He bids us to
“count the cost.”
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WHAT A CONTRAST!
J. C. Philpot, “The Heavenly Sheepfold” 1854 “Those who endure to the end will be saved.” Mark 13:13
Saved! Saved from what?
Saved from hell!
Saved from an eternity of endless misery and horror! Saved from the worm which never dies!
Saved from the fire which is never quenched!
Saved from the sulphurous flames!
Saved from the companionship of devils and damned
spirits!
Have you not thought sometimes about eternity? What must an eternity of misery must be—when you can scarcely bear the pain of toothache half an hour! O! to be in torment forever! How it racks the soul to think of it! What tongue, then, can express the mercy and blessedness of being saved from hell, from the billows of the sulphurous lake, from infinite despair!
When a soul strikes upon the ‘rock of perdition,’ it is at once swallowed up in a dreadful eternity!
Not only are believers saved from all this infinite and unending misery—but they are saved into unspeakable happiness and glory! They are….
saved into heaven, saved into eternal communion with
the infinite God,
saved into the eternal enjoyment of His blessed presence, saved into the perfect enjoyment of that perfect and
everlasting love in those regions of endless bliss where tears are wiped from off all faces!
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What a contrast!
Heaven—hell!
Eternal misery—eternal bliss!
Ages of boundless joy—ages of infinite despair!
But salvation includes not only what we may call future salvation—but present salvation. Thus, there is a being saved in the present….
from the guilt, filth, love, power, and practice of sin, from the curse and bondage of the Law,
from the spirit and love of the world,
from inward condemnation,
from the entanglements of Satan, from worldly anxieties and cares, from following after idols,
from carelessness,
from coldness, from carnality, from every evil way,
from every delusive path.
SWEET BUY!
J. C. Philpot, “Heavenly Buying” 1846
“Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;’ and don’t know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed.” Revelation 3:17-18
The only qualification is a deep feeling of our necessity, our nakedness and our shame—and a feeling that there is no other covering for a needy, naked, guilty soul—but the robe of the Redeemer’s spotless righteousness.
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And when the soul is led to His divine feet—full of guilt, shame, and fear—abhorring, loathing, and mourning over itself—and comes in the actings of a living faith—in the sighs and cries of a broken heart— in hungerings, thirstings, and longings—desiring that the Lord would bestow upon him that rich robe—then the blessed exchange takes place—then there is a ‘buying’—then the Lord brings out of His treasure- house, where it has been locked up—the best robe— puts it upon the prodigal, and clothes him from head to foot with it!
Sweet buy! Blessed exchange!
Our nakedness—for Christ’s justifying robe! Our poverty—for Christ’s riches!
Our helplessness and insufficiency—for Christ’s power,
grace, and love!
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THERE IS NO FRIEND LIKE CHRIST!
Octavius Winslow, “None Like Christ”
“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
There is no friend like Christ! No love soothes, no smile gladdens, no voice cheers, no arm supports—like His. Jesus is the….
all powerful, all helpful, all loving, all tender, ever present
Friend and Companion of your homeward path to God.
“O Jesus! You have ever been—you are—and you shall ever be—my Friend.
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In adversity—I will hide beneath Your sheltering wing. In sorrow—I will nestle within Your loving bosom.
In weakness—I will entwine around Your upholding arm. In need—I will run to Your boundless resources.
In sickness, in languor, in suffering—I will enfold around me Your all divine, all pervading, all soothing sympathy!”
There is no friend like Christ!
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WHAT MAKES THE CHILDREN OF GOD SO STRANGE?
J. C. Philpot, “The Precious Trial of Faith,” 1865
“To God’s elect, strangers in the world.” 1 Peter 1:1 Strangers!
What makes the children of God so strange?
The grace of God which calls them out of this wretched world. Every man who carries the grace of God in his bosom is necessarily, as regards the world, a stranger in heart, as well as in profession, and life.
As Abraham was a stranger in the land of Canaan; as Joseph was a stranger in the palace of Pharaoh; as Moses was a stranger in the land of Egypt; as Daniel was a stranger in the court of Babylon; so every child of God is separated by grace, to be a stranger in this ungodly world.
And if indeed we are to come out from it and to be separate, the world must be as much a strange place to us; for we are strangers to….
its views,
its thoughts,
its desires,
its prospects,
its anticipations,
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in our daily walk, in our speech,
in our mind,
in our spirit,
in our judgment, in our affections.
We will be strangers from…. the world’s company,
the world’s maxims,
the world’s fashions,
the world’s spirit.
“They confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13
THEY INFLUENCE US MORE THAN WE CAN IMAGINE
William Tiptaft, 1803–1864, from his letters
Pride and covetousness cling very close to us; they influence us more than we can imagine.
FREE GRACE! UNMERITED MERCY! SOVEREIGN LOVE!
Octavius Winslow, “The Soul After Conversion”
No truth shines with clearer luster in the Bible than that salvation, from first to last, is of God. God is sovereign in salvation! He often selects….
the poorest,
the vilest,
the most depraved, the most fallen,
as if utterly to explode all idea of human merit, and to reflect the free grace of His heart in its richest luster.
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O precious truth!
It stains the pride of human merit! It lays the axe at the root of self!
It humbles and abases!
It empties and lays low!
It ascribes all the praise, honor and glory, might, majesty and dominion, of the new creation in the soul, to the Triune God!
No worthiness of the creature allures Him to the sinner’s heart!
What worthiness can be supposed to exist—what merit can there be in a guilty criminal, an outlawed rebel, a poor insolvent—one whose mind is enmity, one whose heart is swelling with treason against God, His government, and His Son? One who owes millions, but has ‘nothing to pay’? None whatever!
And that the eternal Spirit should enter the heart of such a one….
convincing of sin;
subduing the hatred; breaking down the rebellion; leading to Jesus, and
sealing pardon and peace upon the conscience; oh! what but free grace, unmerited mercy, and sovereign love could thus have constrained Him?
“Lord, what did You see in me,” exclaims the converted soul, “that moved You with compassion, that drew You to my heart, and that constrained You to make me Your child? Nothing on my part, but poverty, wretchedness, and misery! Nothing on Your part, nothing but love, sovereignty, and unmerited favor!”
O the riches of His grace!
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BY HIS WOUNDS WE ARE HEALED
J. C. Philpot, “Steps of Thankful Praise” 1865
Sin has thoroughly diseased us, and poisoned our very blood.
Sin has diseased our understanding, so as to disable it from receiving the truth.
Sin has diseased our conscience, so as to make it dull and heavy, and undiscerning of right and wrong.
Sin has diseased our imagination, polluting it with every idle, foolish, and licentious fancy.
Sin has diseased our memory, making it swift to retain what is evil, slow to retain what is good.
Sin has diseased our affections, perverting them from all that is heavenly and holy, and fixing them on all that is earthly and vile.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
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STRANGLE AND SUFFOCATE IT!
J. C. Philpot, “Steps of Thankful Praise” 1865 “O Israel, you have destroyed yourself! But in
Me is your help.” Hosea 13:9
Is not this a true charge? Does not your conscience agree with it, as a well-founded accusation? Have you not willingly with your eyes open, run into some sin, which, but for God’s mercy and upholding hand, would have proved your certain destruction? Have you not stood upon the very brink of some deep pit, down into which one more step would have plunged you?
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As you realize the evils of your heart, you see what a marvel it is, that grace is kept alive in your bosom! You see yourself surrounded on every side with that which would inevitably destroy it—but for the mighty power of God!
You look back and wonder how the life of God in your soul has been preserved so many years. Sometimes you have been sunk into such carnality. You have felt such emptiness of all good, and such proneness to all evil, that you wonder how you have not been swallowed up, overcome, and carried away into the pit of destruction!
David said, “I am as a wonder to many.” But you can say, “I am a wonder to myself!” The world, the devil, and your own evil heart, have been for years all aiming to destroy the precious life of God in your soul—all stretching out their hands to strangle and suffocate it!
And yet, in His mysterious wisdom, unspeakable grace, and tender compassion, He has kept the holy principle alive in your soul.
O, the mystery of redeeming love!
O, the blessedness of preserving grace! We have been preserved, upheld, and kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation!
“O Lord, You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit!” Psalm 30:3
“Hold me up, and I shall be safe!” Psalm 119:117
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ACCOMPLISHED ACTORS
J. C. Philpot, “The Abounding of Love”
“The pulpit has its accomplished actors, as well as the playhouse!” 7
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AFFLICTIONS
John Mason’s Spiritual Sayings, 1646–1694
Two things should comfort suffering Christians, namely, all that they suffer is not hell; yet it is all the hell they shall suffer.
By affliction God separates the sin which He hates, from the soul which He loves.
Sin is the poison, affliction the medicine.
If the servants of Christ are ever so low and afflicted, yet His heart is with them, and His eye upon them.
Though the hand of God may be against you; yet the heart of God may be towards you.
What is bearing a temporal cross, to the wearing of an
eternal crown?
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THEY WILL NEVER PERISH!
J. C. Philpot, “The Incorruptible Inheritance” 1865
“An incorruptible and undefiled inheritance, and that doesn’t fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who by the power of God are guarded through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:4-5
The elect are preserved in Christ, BEFORE they are called by grace. They are kept by the power of God from perishing in their unregeneracy.
Have not you been almost miraculously preserved in the midst of dangers, and escaped when others perished by your side—or been raised up as it were, from the very brink of destruction and the very borders of the grave?
Besides some striking escapes from what are called ‘accidents,’ three times in my life—once in infancy,
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once in boyhood, and once in manhood, I have been raised up from the borders of the grave, when almost everyone who surrounded my bed thought I would not survive the violence of the attack.
Were not these instances of being kept by the power of God? I could not die until God had manifested His purposes of electing grace and mercy to my soul.
But the elect are also kept by the mighty power of God AFTER they are called by grace; for they are in the hollow of His hand, and are kept as the apple of His eye.
I will not say they are kept from all sins. Yet I will say that they are kept from damning sins. They are kept especially from three things….
from the dominion of sin,
from daring and final presumption, from lasting and damnable error.
They are never drowned in the sins and evils of the present life so as to be swallowed up in them—for it is impossible that they can ever be lost!
They are therefore preserved in hours of temptation, for they are guarded by all the power of Omnipotence, shielded by the unceasing care and watchfulness of Him who can neither slumber nor sleep.
Looking back through a long vista of years, can you not see how the hand of God has been with you—how He has held you up, and brought you through many a storm, and preserved you under powerful temptations? How gently He sometimes drew you on, or sometimes kept you back?
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish! No one can snatch them out of My hand!” John 10:28
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Having chosen us, God begets us with His word, regenerates us by a divine influence, and makes us new creatures by the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.
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THEY WOULD NOT BE SO ANXIOUS TO SAVE MONEY!
William Tiptaft, 1803–1864
If you were to go about telling people that you had an inheritance worth a million worlds, and yet got upset over a trifle, they would not believe you.
If rich men only knew when they died, how…. their relatives would scramble for their money, the worms for their bodies, and
the devil for their souls,
they would not be so anxious to save money!
If I love money more than Christ, woe is me!
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ALL THINGS!
J. C. Philpot, “The Subjection of All Things Under the Feet of Jesus”
“You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He subjected all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him.” Hebrews 2:7-8
See the sovereign supremacy of Jesus!
There may be circumstances in your earthly lot which at this moment are peculiarly trying. You look around and wonder how this or that circumstance will terminate. At present it looks very dark—clouds and mists hang over it, and you fear lest these clouds may
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break, not in showers upon your head, but burst forth in the lightning flash and the thunder stroke!
But all things are put in subjection under Christ’s feet! That which you dread cannot take place except by His sovereign will—nor can it move any further except by His supreme disposal. Then make yourself quiet. He will not allow you to be harmed. That frowning providence shall only execute His sovereign purposes, and it shall be among those all things which, according to His promise, shall work together for your good.
None of our trials come upon us by chance! They are all appointed in weight and measure—are all designed to fulfill a certain end. And however painful they may at present be, yet they are intended for your good.
When the trial comes upon you, what a help it would be for you if you could view it thus, “This trial is sent for my good. It does not spring out of the dust. The Lord Himself is the supreme disposer of it. It is very painful to bear; but let me believe that He has appointed me this peculiar trial, along with every other circumstance. He will bring about His own will therein, and either remove the trial, or give me patience under it, and submission to it.”
You may be afflicted by sickness. It is not by chance that such or such sickness visits your body—that the Lord sees fit to afflict head, heart, chest, liver, hand, foot, or any other part of your body. All things are put in subjection under Him, and He has not exempted sickness and disease! Whatever you suffer in bodily disease, He appoints and arranges it for your good. Be resigned to His holy and almighty will.
All your afflictions are put under the feet of Jesus! You may think at times how harshly you are dealt with— mourning, it may be, under family bereavements,
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sorrowing after the loss of your ‘household treasures’— a beloved husband, wife, or child. But O that you could bear in mind that all your afflictions, be they what they may, are put under the feet of Jesus, so that, so to speak, not one can crawl from under His feet but by His permission—and, like scolded hounds, they crawl again beneath them at a word of command from His lips!
Let us then hold fast this truth, for on it depends so
much of our comfort.
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WITHOUT A SPOT OR WRINKLE OR ANY
OTHER BLEMISH!
J. C. Philpot, “The Love of Christ in Giving Himself for the Church”
“Christ also loved the assembly, and gave Himself up for it….that He might present the assembly to Himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25, 27
What are we ourselves as viewed by our own eyes? Full of spots, wrinkles, and blemishes! And what do we see in ourselves every day, but sin and filth and folly? What evil is there in the world that is not in us, and in our hearts? It is true others cannot read our hearts. But we read them; yes, are every day, and sometimes all the day reading them. And what do we read there? Like Ezekiel’s scroll, it is “written within and without;” and we may well add, if we rightly read what is there written, we have every reason to say it is “full of lamentations, and mourning, and woe.” Ezekiel 2:10
For I am sure that there is nothing that we see there every day and every hour, but would cover us with
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shame and confusion of face, and make us blush to lift up our eyes before God, or almost to appear in the presence of our fellow man!
But neither others, nor we ourselves, now see what the church one day will be, and what she ever was in the eyes of Jesus! He could look through all the sins and sorrows of this intermediate period, and fix His eye upon the bridal day—the day when before assembled angels, in the courts of heaven, in the realms of eternal bliss, He would present her to Himself a glorious church, without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy, and without fault.
O what a day will that be, when the Son of God shall openly wed His espoused bride; when there shall be heard in heaven, “something like the voice of a great multitude, and like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of mighty thunders, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns! 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 19:6-7
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COULD YOU GRASP THE WORLD LIKE AN ORANGE
Edward Payson, 1783–1827
“You will show me the path of life. In Your presence is fullness of joy. In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
Could you grasp the world like an orange, and squeeze all the happiness it gives into a single cup, it would be as nothing compared to one drop of God’s eternal pleasures!
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BITTEN BY THIS SERPENT’S TOOTH
J. C. Philpot, “The Destruction through Death of Him Who Had the Power of Death” 1858
No man has ever sounded the depths of the fall.
The children of God have indeed discoveries of the evil of sin. And they have such views at times of the desperate wickedness and awful depravity of human nature, that they seem as if filled with unspeakable horror at the hideous enormity of the corruption that works in their carnal mind.
But no man has ever seen, as no man ever can see, in this time-state, what sin is to its full extent, and as it will be hereafter developed in the depths of hell.
We may indeed in our own experience see something of its commencement; but we can form little idea of its progress, and still less of its termination. For sin has this peculiar feature attending it, that it ever spreads and spreads until it involves everything that it touches in utter ruin.
We may compare it in this point of view to the venom- fang of a serpent. There are serpents of so venomous a kind, as for instance the Cobra de Capello, or hooded snake, that the introduction of the minutest portion of venom from their poison tooth will in a few hours convert all the fluids of the body into a mass of putrefaction. A man shall be in perfect health one hour, and bitten by this serpent’s tooth shall in the next, be a loathsome mass of rottenness and corruption. Such is sin.
The introduction of sin into the nature of Adam at the fall was like the introduction of poison from the fang of a deadly serpent into the human body. It at once penetrated into his soul and body, and filled both with death and corruption.
Or, to use a more scriptural figure, sin may be compared
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to the disease of leprosy, which usually began with a “bright spot,” or “rising in the skin,” scarcely perceptible, and yet spread and spread until it enveloped every member, and the whole body becoming a mass of putrefying hideous corruption.
Or sin may be compared to a cancer, which begins perhaps with a little lump causing a slight itching, but goes on feeding upon the part which it attacks, until the patient dies worn out with pain and suffering.
Now if sin be….
this venom fang,
this spreading leprosy, this loathsome cancer;
if its destructive power be so great that, unless arrested and healed, it will destroy body and soul alike in hell, the remedy for it, if remedy there be, must be as great as the malady. Thus if there be….
a cure for sin,
a remedy for the fall,
a deliverance from the wrath to come,
it must be at least as full and as complete as the ruin which sin has entailed upon us.
The man who has slight, superficial views and feelings of sin will have equally slight and superficial views of the atonement made for sin. The groans of Christ will never sound in his ears as the dolorous groans of an agonizing Lord; the sufferings of Christ will never be opened up to his soul as the sorrows of Immanuel, God with us; the death of Christ will never be viewed by him, as the blood shedding of the darling Son of God. While he has such slight, superficial views of the malady, his views of the remedy will be equally slight and superficial.
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and sin, so we are led up into a gracious knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
By suffering all the penalties of our sin, Jesus redeems us from the lowest hell and raises us up to the highest heaven—empowering poor worms of earth to soar above the skies and live forever in the presence of Him who is a consuming fire!
“She shall bring forth a son. You shall call His name JESUS, for it is He who shall save His people from their
sins.” Matthew 1:21
LIKE A WEED UPON A DUNG-HEAP!
J. C. Philpot, “Wilderness Hunger and Heavenly Manna”
“I hate pride and arrogance!” Proverbs 8:13 Our hearts are desperately proud.
If there is one sin which God hates more than another, and more sets Himself against, it is the sin of pride.
Like a weed upon a dung-heap, pride grows more profusely in some soils, especially when well fertilized by rank, riches, praise, flattery, our own ignorance, and the ignorance of others.
We all inherit pride from our fallen ancestor Adam, who got it from Satan, that “king over all the children of pride.”
Those, perhaps, who think they possess the least pride, and view themselves with wonderful self-admiration as the humblest of mortals, may have more pride than those who feel and confess it. It may only be more deeply hidden in the dark recesses of their carnal mind.
As God then sees all hearts, and knows every movement of pride, whether we see it or not, His purpose is to humble us!
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When I look back upon my life, and see all my sins, all my follies, all my slips, all my falls—my conscience testifies of the many things I have thought, said, and done, which grieve my soul, make me hang my head before God, put my mouth in the dust, and confess my sins unto Him.
When I contrast my own exceeding sinfulness with God’s greatness, majesty, holiness, and purity—I fall down, humbly and meekly before Him, I put my mouth in the dust, I acknowledge I am vile.
“I am nothing but dust and ashes.” (Abraham) “Behold, I am vile!” (Job)
“Woe to me! I am ruined!” (Isaiah)
“I am a sinful man!” (Peter)
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HE ALONE CAN RESCUE ME
J. C. Philpot, “The Mighty God in the Midst of Zion” “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for He will pluck
my feet out of the net.” Psalm 25:15 “Give us help against the adversary, for the
help of man is vain.” Psalm 60:11 What a mighty God we have to deal with!
And what would suit our case but a mighty God?
Have we not mighty sins?
Have we not mighty trials?
Have we not mighty temptations?
Have we not mighty foes and mighty fears?
And who is to deliver us from all this mighty army, except the mighty God? It is not a ‘little God’ (if I may use the expression) that will do for God’s people. They need a ‘mighty God,’ because they are in circumstances where none but a mighty God can intervene in their behalf.
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And it is well worth our notice that the Lord puts His people purposely into circumstances where they may avail themselves, so to speak, of His omnipotent power, and thus know from living personal experience, that He is a mighty God, not in mere doctrine and theory, but a mighty God in their special and particular behalf.
Why, if you did not feelingly and experimentally know….
your mighty sins,
your mighty trials,
your mighty temptations, your mighty fears,
you would not need a mighty God.
O how this brings together the strength of God and the weakness of man! How it unites poor helpless creatures with the Majesty of heaven! How it conveys to feeble, worthless worms the very might of the Omnipotent Jehovah!
This sense of….
our weakness and His power,
our misery and His mercy,
our ruin and His recovery,
the aboundings of our sin and
the super-aboundings of His grace;
a feeling sense of these opposite yet harmonious things, brings us to have personal, experimental dealings with God. And it is in these personal dealings with God that the life of all religion consists.
“The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17
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THE LORD SOMETIMES FLOGS HIS CHILDREN HOME!
J. C. Philpot, “Spiritual Paradoxes” 1860
“As punished, and not killed.” 2 Corinthians 6:9
The Lord does not see fit to lay the same chastisements upon all His people. He has rods of different sizes and different descriptions; though all are felt to be rods when God brings them upon the back.
The Lord chastises with one hand, and upholds with the other. In your spiritual experience, you may have passed under many chastising strokes. And when they fell upon you, they seemed to come as a killing sentence from God’s lips. You feared your illness might end in death. Under your bereavement, you felt as if you could never hold up your head again. You thought your providential losses might prove to be your earthly ruin. Your family afflictions seemed to be so heavy, as to be radically incurable.
All these were killing strokes. But though chastened, you were not killed. You lost no divine life thereby; but you lost much that pleased the flesh; much that gratified the creature; much that looked well for days of prosperity, but would not abide the storm.
But you lost nothing that was for your real good.
If you lost bodily health; you gained spiritual health.
If you lost a dear husband or child; God filled up the void in your heart by making Christ more precious.
If you had troubles in your family; the Lord made it up by giving more manifestations of His love and grace.
Your very losses in providence were for your good; for God either made them up, or what you lost in providence He doubled in grace.
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So that though chastened; you are not killed!
Has anything that has happened to you quenched or
extinguished the life of God in your soul?
As the dross and tin were more separated; has not the gold shone more brightly? Have you not held spiritual things with a tighter grasp? When God chastens His people, it is not to kill them; it is….
to make them partakers of His holiness,
to revive their drooping graces,
to make them more sincere, upright and tender in
conscience,
to make them more separate from the world,
to make them seek more His glory,
to make them have a more single eye to His praise, to make them live more a life of faith.
Here is the blessedness—that when God chastises His people, it is not for their injury, but for their profit; not for their destruction, but for their salvation; not to treat them with the unkindness of an enemy, but with the love of a friend!
Look at the afflictions, chastenings and grievous sorrows that you have passed through. Have they been….
friends to you—or enemies?
instruments of helping you—or hindrances?
ladders whereby you have climbed up to heaven—or
steps whereby you have descended into hell? means of taking you nearer to Christ—or means of
carrying you more into the world?
If you know anything of God’s chastening, you will say, “Every stroke has brought me nearer to God! He has flogged me home!” As a father will seize his truant boy out of a horde of other children and flog him home, so the Lord sometimes flogs His children home! Every stroke
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laid upon their back brings them a step nearer to their home in the mansions above!
In your own experience, you know that God’s chastenings have not killed you. But rather they have been the means of reviving and keeping alive the work of grace upon your heart!
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HE MAY TALK LIKE AN ANGEL, AND LIVE
LIKE A DEVIL
J. C. Philpot, “Abounding of Love in Knowledge and Experience”
There is “a knowledge of the things of God” which a man may possess without a personal experience of the new birth—without any divine operation upon his soul whatever, or any participation of the grace of God.
From reading the scriptures and hearing the Gospel preached, many attain to a carnal, intellectual, barren head knowledge of the truth; who, as to any experimental, vital, saving acquaintance with it, are still in the very gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.
A man may have the ‘knowledge of an apostle’ and the ‘worldliness of a Demas.’
He may be clear in head, and rotten in heart.
He may talk like an angel, and live like a devil.
He may understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and be nothing but a hypocrite and an impostor.
In our day such characters abound in the churches.
But distinct from this “head knowledge,” as distinct from it as heaven from hell, there is a most blessed “spiritual knowledge” of the things of God, with which the people of God are favored.
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“Then He opened their understanding so they could understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45
WERE WE LEFT WHOLLY IN ITS HANDS!
J. C. Philpot, “The Salted Sacrifice” 1862 “No temptation has taken you but such as
man can bear.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
There is not a single sin ever perpetrated by man which does not lie deeply hidden in the recesses of our fallen nature! But these sins do not stir into activity until temptation draws them forth.
Temptation is to the corruptions of the heart, what fire is to stubble. Sin lies quiet in our carnal mind until temptation comes to set it on fire.
Temptation is to our corrupt nature, what the spark is to gunpowder. Have you not found this sad truth: how easily by temptation are the corruptions of our wretched heart set on fire, and burst into every kind of daring and dreadful iniquity?
In temptation, we learn what sin is….
its dreadful nature,
its aggravated character,
its fearful workings,
its mad, its desperate upheavings against God, and what we are or would be,
were we left wholly in its hands!
“Watch and pray, that you don’t enter into temptation.” Matthew 26:41
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“Hold me up, and I shall be safe!” Psalm 119:117
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FOREVER AND EVER!
Octavius Winslow, “This God is Our God”
“For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.” Psalm 48:14
Oh, that blissful word forever!
Forever and ever in heaven!
Forever and ever associated with saints and angels!
Forever and ever gazing on the beauty of Jesus!
Forever and ever basking in the sunshine of His glory!
Forever and ever chanting the song of the Lamb!
Forever and ever swimming in the ocean of God’s love!
Forever and ever growing in knowledge and holiness and glory!
Forever and ever with the Lord!
“For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.” Psalm 48:14
THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH
J. C. Philpot, “The Valley of Achor” 1861
“…that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10
There is a receiving of ‘the truth,’ and a receiving of ‘the love of the truth.’ These two things widely differ.
To receive the truth will not necessarily save; for many who receive the truth, never receive ‘the love of the truth.’
Professors by thousands receive the truth into their judgment, and adopt the plan of salvation as their
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creed; but are neither saved nor sanctified thereby. But to receive ‘the love of the truth’ by Jesus being made sweet and precious to the soul, is to receive salvation itself.
“Unto you therefore which believe He is precious.”
1 Peter 2:7
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THIS IDOL-MAKING, IDOL-LOVING WORLD
J. C. Philpot, “Gracious Dealings” 1862
“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.” Exodus 19:4
The idea here, is of snatching His people out of Egypt as an eagle would snatch her young away from the hands of the spoiler of her nest, and bear them away and aloft on her outstretched wings.
Deliverance….
from idolatry,
from bondage,
from a state of degradation and abject slavery,
is the leading idea of bringing His people out of Egypt.
So, spiritually, the Lord bears us out of a worse Egypt, by His Almighty power. Has He given you some deliverance from the world and the spirit of it, and brought you to Himself by the power of His grace? Has He carried you up out of sin….
its open commission, its secret practice,
its inward indulgence,
and broken in some measure the love and the power of it?
Has He carried you not only out of the grosser iniquities of Egypt, but its more ‘refined and acceptable sins,’ such as….
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creature idolatry,
religious lip-service,
self-righteousness, and
mocking God by superstition, tradition, and vain
ceremony?
Has He carried you, as on eagles’ wings, out of all the idols of Egypt? For Egypt was a land teeming with idolatry, and therefore an apt emblem of this idol- making, idol-loving world.
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their bondservants.” Leviticus 26:13
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GOD’S PRESENCE
John Mason’s Spiritual Sayings
The presence of God’s glory is in heaven; the presence of His power on earth;
the presence of His justice in hell;
the presence of His grace with His people.
If He denies us His powerful presence we fall into nothing. If He denies us His gracious presence we fall into sin.
If He denies us His merciful presence we fall into hell. Fear God for His power.
Trust Him for His wisdom.
Love Him for His goodness.
Praise Him for His greatness.
Believe Him for His faithfulness.
Adore Him for His holiness. 7
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HE HAS GIVEN ME A CUP OF DEEP SORROW TO DRINK
J. C. Philpot, “The Wine of Astonishment” 1862
“He has filled me with bitterness, He has sated me with wormwood.” Lamentations 3:15
The Lord’s people have many hard lessons which they have to learn in the ‘school of Christ.’ Each one has to carry a daily cross, and are burdened and pressed down under its weight. This daily cross may and does differ in individuals. But every child of God has his own cross, which laid upon his shoulders by an invincible hand, he has, for the most part, to carry down to the very grave.
Thus, some of God’s people are afflicted in body from the very time the Lord begins His work of grace upon their heart. Or if exempt from disease, are shattered in nerve, depressed in spirits, and weighed down by lassi- tude and languor, often harder to bear than disease itself.
Some are tied to ungodly partners, meeting with opposition and persecution at every step.
Others have nothing but trouble in their family, either from the invasion of death into their circle, or what sometimes is worse than death—disgrace, shame, and ungodliness.
Others have little else but one continual series of losses and crosses in their circumstances, wave after wave rolling over their heads.
O, view the family of God toiling homeward….
some dragging along an afflicted body;
others a wounded spirit;
others carrying upon their shoulders dying children; others with scarcely a rag to their back or a crust in
their hand;
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footsore,
fearful in heart,
trembling at a rustling leaf, a deep river to pass, and
a furious enemy in sight.
“For though the fig tree doesn’t flourish, nor fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive fails, the fields yield no food; the flocks are cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! God, the Lord, is my strength.” Habakkuk 3:17-19
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ROMANTIC DREAMS OF PLEASURE AND EARTHLY JOY?
J. C. Philpot, “A Kingdom Which Cannot Be Moved” 1862
Man is always seeking happiness in some shape or other, in the things of this world. He does not see or feel that outside of God, happiness is impossible; and that to seek it in ‘the creature’ is to add sin to sin. But look at this vain attempt in a variety of instances.
Look at people young in life. What romantic prospects dance before their eyes! “What dreams of love and home by flowery streams!” But what a rude shock do these ‘dreams of earthly happiness’ usually experience! This is true of most, if not all, who build their hopes of happiness on ‘the creature.’ But particularly so in the case of the family of God. How jealous is He of all such schemes of earthly bliss—and how, sooner or later, He shatters them all by His mighty hand!
Look, for instance, at health, that indispensable element of all earthly happiness! What a rude shock many of the dear family of God have experienced in their earthly tabernacle, even in their youthful days, by accident or
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disease, so as to mar all earthly happiness almost before the race of life was begun!
Look again at wedded happiness—that “perpetual fountain of domestic sweets”—how bitter a drop often falls from the hands of God into that honeyed cup! Why does that mourning widow sigh? Why does her heart swell, and her eye run over? What does that scalding drop on her cheek mean?
How many a blooming daughter has faded away in consumption before a mother’s eye! How many a fine strong son has been cut down by an accident—or sudden illness has borne him away to the cold grave, in the very pride and prospect of life!
But apart from these elements of shattered and broken creature happiness, what disappointment, what vexation, what sorrow and care we find in everything we put our hands to! Even with health and home unbroken, wife and child untouched by death’s cold hand, there is sin and misery enough in a man’s own bosom to fill his heart with continual sorrow!
Thus wisely and mercifully, all our attempts to grasp earthly happiness fail and come to nothing.
Child of grace, do not murmur at the hand of the Lord which has broken your ‘dreams of creature happiness.’ God does not intend that you should have your heaven here on earth, nor live after the fashion of this world. It is a kind hand, though a rough one, which blasts all your schemes of creature happiness, which breaks your body into pieces with sickness, blights all your prospects of wealth, and fame, and reputation, and ambition, and pours bitter gall into each honeyed cup.
Why does the Lord break all your earthly schemes of human happiness? Why does He blight all….
your prospects,
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your plans of ambition and of success in life, your romantic dreams of pleasure and earthly joy?
That they may all be removed out of your hearts’ affections; and give you happiness which shall endure forever and ever!
“Therefore, receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well pleasing to God, with reverence and awe.” Heb. 12:28
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THESE “LOVERS” OF OURS
J. C. Philpot, “The Valley of Achor” 1861
“I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.” Hosea 2:5
Here is the opening up of what we are by nature, what our carnal mind is ever bent upon, what we do or are capable of doing, except as held back by the watchful providence and unceasing grace and goodness of the Lord.
These “lovers” of ours are our old sins and former lusts which still crave for gratification. To these sometimes the carnal mind looks back and says, “Where are my lovers that gave me my food and drink? Where are those former delights that so pleased my vile passions, and so gratified my base desires?”
These lovers, then, are…. the lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life;
all which, unless subdued by sovereign grace, still work in our depraved nature, and seek to regain their former sway.
But the Lord, for the most part, mercifully interposes, nor will He usually let His children do what they gladly
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would do; or be what they gladly would be. He says, “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, that she can’t find her way.” Hosea 2:6
The Lord, in His providence or in His grace, prevents our carnal mind from carrying out its base desires; hedges up our way with thorns—by which we may spiritually understand prickings of conscience, stings of remorse, pangs of penitence—which are so many thorny and briery hedges that fence up the way of transgression, and thus prevent our carnal mind from breaking forth into its old paths, and going after these former lovers to renew its ungodly alliance with them.
A hedge of thorns being set up by the grace of God, our soul is unable to break through this strong fence, because the moment that it seeks to get through it, or over it, every part of it presents a pricking brier or a sharp and strong thorn, which wounds and pierces our conscience.
What infinite mercy, what surpassing grace, are hereby manifested! Were our conscience not made thus tender so as to feel the pricking brier, we can hardly tell what might be the fearful consequence, or into what a miser- able abyss of sin and transgression our soul would fall.
But these lacerating briers produce remorse of soul before God; for finding, as the Lord speaks, “that when she runs after her lovers, she won’t be able to catch up with them. She will search for them but not find them,” there comes a longing in her mind for purer pleasures and holier delights than her adulterous lovers could give her. And thus a change in her feelings is produced, a revolu- tion in her desires. “Then she will say, I will go back to my Husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.”
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The idea is of an adulterous wife contrasting the innocent enjoyments of her first wedded love—with the state of misery into which she had been betrayed by base seducers.
And thus the soul spiritually contrasts its former enjoyment of the Lord’s presence and power—with its present state of darkness and desertion. “Where,” she would say, “are my former delights, my first joys, and the sweetness I had in days now passed, in knowing, serving, and worshiping the Lord? Ah! He was a kind and loving husband to me in those days. I will return to Him if He will graciously permit me, for it was better with me when I could walk in the light of His countenance, than since I have been seeking for my lovers, and reaping nothing but guilt, death, and condemnation.”
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IT IS IN THESE STORMS
J. C. Philpot, “Christ Jesus the Lord Received and Walked In”
“When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more; But the righteous is an everlasting foundation.” Proverbs 10:25
The very storms through which the believer passes, will only strengthen him to take a firmer hold of Christ.
As the same wind that blows down the shallow-rooted tree, only establishes the deep-rooted tree—so the same storms which uproot the ‘shallow professor,’ only establish the ‘true believer’ more firmly in Christ.
Though these storms may shake off some of his ‘leaves,’ or break off some of the ‘rotten boughs’ at the end of the branch, they do not uproot the believer’s faith, but rather strengthen it.
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It is in these storms that he learns….
more of his own weakness, and of Christ’s strength; more of his own misery, and of Christ’s mercy; more of his own sinfulness, and of superabounding
grace;
more of his own poverty, and of Christ’s riches;
more of his own desert of hell, and of his own title to
heaven.
It is in these storms that the same blessed Spirit who began the work carries it on; and goes on to engrave the image of Christ in deeper characters upon his heart; and to teach him more and more experimentally the truth as it is in Jesus.
“Be merciful to me, God, be merciful to me, For my soul takes refuge in You. Yes, in the shadow of Your wings, I will take refuge, until disaster has passed.” Psalm 57:1
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WHERE, O WHERE?
J. R. Anderson, “A Warning to Ministers” 1851
“It happened at the end of seven days, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, I have made 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, You shall surely die; and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand.” Ezekiel 3:16-18
Where are the ministers who will rouse this sleeping generation to….
the solemn realities of the eternal world, the shortness of time, and
the certainties of judgment?
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Where are the preachers who are weighed down with….
the interests of immortal souls,
the difficulties of dealing faithfully with them, and the solemn account that is to be rendered for them?
Where, O where?
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OUR EXTREMITY
Anne Dutton’s Letters on Spiritual Subjects
It is a great thing to know ourselves in our nothingness and vileness—and to know Christ as ours in His all- sufficient fullness.
Our extremity is God’s opportunity to display His glory as the God of all grace, and our very present help in times of trouble, and the more to endear His delivering kindness to our souls.
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IF YOUR FLESH HAD ITS FULL SWING?
J. C. Philpot, “The Inward Conflict Between the Flesh and the Spirit,” September 2, 1860
“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, that you may not do the things that you desire.” Galatians 5:17
At times, we can hardly tell how we are kept from evil.
There is in those who fear God, a spiritual principle which holds them up, and keeps them back from the ways of sin and death in which the flesh would walk. This inner principle of grace and godly fear has, in thousands of instances, preserved the feet of the saints, and kept them from doing things that would have….
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ruined their reputation,
blighted their character,
brought reproach upon the cause of God, and the greatest grief and distress into their own
conscience!
They cannot do the EVIL things that they would do.
The flesh is always lusting towards evil, but grace is a counteracting principle to repress and subdue it. Grace does not wholly overcome the evil lustings of the flesh, but it can prevent those lustings from being carried out into open action. For the Spirit fights against the flesh, and will not let it altogether reign and rule, nor have its own will and way unchecked.
What a mercy lies couched here! For what would you be, if your flesh had its full swing?
What evil is there which you would not do? What crime which you would not commit? What slip which you would not make?
What open and horrid fall which you would not be guilty of—unless you were upheld by Almighty power—and the flesh curbed and checked from running its destructive course?
We can never praise God sufficiently for His restraining grace—for what would we be without it?
“Hold me up, and I shall be safe!” Psalm 119:117
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REMAINING ENMITY, SIN, AND UNGODLINESS
Anne Dutton’s Letters on Spiritual Subjects
How great is the wonder that He, who is surrounded with myriads of angels and archangels—those ‘bright flames of love to Him’ who incessantly warble out His
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praises—should ever cast one kind thought upon such dull, cold, lifeless pieces of earth as we sometimes feel ourselves to be!
But our Lord loves us—loves us freely! Loves us infinitely—notwithstanding all our unloveliness, and ingratitude, and evil requitings of Him for all His manifest kindness! And love binds His heart to us, and fixes His kind thoughts upon us. Loved by Him—freely, greatly, unchangeably, and eternally—we shall be remembered by Him perpetually in an infinity of flowing compassions, under all our sicknesses, our griefs, our miseries—from which by an infinite, an all-producing resolve, He will save us unto full and endless glory with Him hereafter!
That love of Christ, which was strong enough to engage Him to die for us when enemies, as sinners, as ungodly—will never fail towards us, because of that remaining enmity, sin, and ungodliness, which abides and works to our grief—in the corrupt, unregenerate part of our souls, and sadly at times produces backslidings in our lives. The love of Christ will go on with its great design—to save us from all sin and misery—unto all glory with Him, unto ages without end!
His love to us is infinitely great for the accomplishment of His great design—to bring us all up to be with Him where He is, to behold His glory, to be one in Him and in the Father, as He and the Father are one, by love- union and glory-communion—unto our full joy and ineffable and endless bliss! Let us lift up our heads in faith—and with stretched-out necks in hope, let us look and long for the glory of that day. I wish you rich times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, who, having loved His own who are in the world, loves them unto the end!
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WHEN OUR PATH IS STREWED WITH ROSES
The Christian Monitor
Many and precious are the benefits arising from affliction.
Affliction tends to wean us from this world, and enable us rightly to appreciate its fading enjoyments. When our path is strewed with roses, when nothing but brightness and fragrance float around us, how apt we are to be enamored with our present condition, and to forget the crown of glory at the end of the Christian’s race, and to forget Jesus, and everlasting ages.
But affliction, with a warning voice, rouses us from the sweet delusion; warns our hearts to “arise and depart” from these inferior delights, because this is “not our rest,”—that true and lasting joys are not to be found here.
The sweeping tempest and the beating surge teach the mariner to prize the haven, where undisturbed repose awaits his arrival. In like manner disappointments, vexations, anxieties, and crosses, teach us to long for those happy mansions, where “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.” Rev. 21:4
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A COWARD’S CASTLE
J. C. Philpot, “Inquiries and Answers”
A pastor has no right to turn the pulpit into a coward’s castle, and from there attack those in the congregation, whom he is afraid to meet face to face privately.
It is cruelly unfair to attack an individual who cannot defend himself—to hold him up, as if on the horns of the pulpit, before the congregation, (who generally know pretty well who is meant), and to condemn him
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without hearing his side, with the pastor being the only
judge and jury.
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HIS SECRET POWER AND INFLUENCE
J. C. Philpot, “The New Covenant & the Blood of Sprinkling”
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” John 6:44
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3
None can really come to Jesus by faith, unless this drawing power is put forth.
The Holy Spirit—that gracious and blessed Teacher, acts upon the soul by His secret power and influence, puts ‘cords of love’ and ‘bands of mercy’ around the heart, and by the attractive influence that He puts forth, draws the soul to Jesus’ feet; and in due time reveals Him as the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely one.
As the Spirit reveals and manifests these precious things of Christ to the soul, He raises up a living faith whereby Jesus is sought unto, looked unto, laid hold of, and is brought into the heart with a divine power, there to be enshrined in its warmest and tenderest affections.
All through its Christian pilgrimage, this blessed Spirit goes on to deepen His work in the soul, and to discover more and more of the suitability, beauty, and blessedness of the Lord Jesus, as He draws the soul more and more unto Him. There is no maintaining of the light, life, and power of God in our souls, except as we are daily coming unto Jesus as the living stone, and continually living upon Him as the bread of life.
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THE CARNAL MAN’S TRINITY!
“Soul Idolatry” David Clarkson, 1621-1686
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s, but is the world’s.” 1 John 2:16
Pleasures, and riches, and honors are the carnal man’s trinity. These are the three great idols of worldly men, to which they prostrate their souls!
Idolatry is to give that honor and worship to ‘the creature,’ which is due to the Creator alone. When this worship is communicated to other things, whatever they are, we thereby make them idols, and commit idolatry. When the mind is most taken up with an object, and the heart and affections most set upon it, this is “soul worship”—and this worship is due to God alone.
Now this worship due to God alone, is given…. by the savage heathen to their stick and stones; by the papist to their angels, saints, and images; by carnal men to their lusts.
There are two kinds of idolatry:

  1. Open, external idolatry—when men, out of a religious respect, bow to, or prostrate themselves before anything besides the true God. This is the idolatry of the heathen, and in part, the idolatry of papists.
  2. Secret and soul idolatry—when the mind is set on anything more than God; when anything is….
    more valued than God, more desired than God, more sought than God, more loved than God.
    Hence, secret idolaters shall have no inheritance in the –268–

Kingdom of God. Soul idolatry will exclude men from heaven, as much as open idolatry!
He who serves his lusts is as incapable of entering heaven, as he who worships idols of wood or stone!
“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 Cor. 10:14 7
EVERY KIND OF SIN
J. C. Philpot, “A Peculiar People” 1860
“Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity.” Titus 2:14
Sins of heart. Sins of lip. Sins of life.
There are five things as regards sin, from which our blessed Lord came to redeem us….
its guilt, its filth,
its power, its love,
its practice.
By His death, He redeemed us from sin’s guilt.
By the washing of regeneration, He delivers us from
sin’s filth.
By the power of His resurrection, He liberates us from
sin’s dominion.
By revealing His beauty, He frees us from sin’s love.
By making the conscience tender in His fear, He preserves us from sin’s practice.
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GOD’S PERFECT WILL
J. C. Philpot, “The Living Sacrifice Presented” 1856
“That good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
God’s will is “perfect,” In it, there is…. no spot,
no stain,
no weakness,
no error,
no instability.
It is and indeed must necessarily be as perfect as God Himself; for it emanates from Him who is all perfection; and is a discovery of His mind and character.
But when God’s perfect will…. sets itself against our flesh, thwarts our dearest hopes, overturns our fondest schemes,
we cannot see that it is a perfect will. But rather, are much disposed to fret, murmur, and rebel against it.
God’s perfect will may….
snatch a child from your bosom;
strike down a dear husband;
tear from your arms a beloved wife;
strip you of all your worldly goods;
put your feet into a path of suffering;
lay you upon a bed of pain and languishing;
cast you into hot furnaces or overwhelming floods; make your life almost a burden to yourself!
How can you, under circumstances so trying and distressing as these, acknowledge and submit to God’s perfect will; and let it reign and rule in your heart without a murmur of resistance to it?
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Look back and see how God’s perfect will has, in
previous instances, reigned supreme in all points, for your good. It has ordered or overruled all circumstances and all events, amid a complication of difficulties in providence and grace. Nothing has happened to your injury; but all things have worked together for your good.
Whatever we have lost, it was better for us that it was taken away. Whatever….
property,
or comfort,
or friends,
or health,
or earthly happiness
we have been deprived of, it was better for us to lose, than to retain them.
Was your dear child taken away? It might be to teach you resignation to God’s sacred will.
Has a dear partner been snatched from your embrace? It was that God might be your better Partner and undying Friend.
Was any portion of your worldly substance taken away? It was that you might be taught to live a life of faith in the providence of God.
Have your fondest schemes been marred; your youthful hopes blighted; and you pierced in the warmest affections of your heart? It was….
to remove an idol,
to dethrone a rival to Christ,
to crucify the object of earthly love,
so that a purer, holier, and more enduring affection might be enshrined in its stead.
To tenderly embrace God’s perfect will is the grand object of all gospel discipline.
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The ultimatum of gospel obedience is to lie passive in His hand, and know no will but His.
“That good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:2
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THIS SINNER, NOT THE PHARISEE
J. C. Philpot, “Spiritual Fruit” 1858
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I
thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” Luke 18:11-12
Man unites in himself, what at first sight seem to be completely opposite things. He is the greatest of sinners—and yet the greatest of Pharisees.
Now, what two things can be so opposed to each other as sin and self-righteousness? Yet the very same man who is a sinner from top to toe, with the whole head sick and the whole heart faint—who is spiritually nothing else but a leper throughout—how contradictory it appears that the same man has in his own heart a most stubborn self-righteousness!
Now, against these two evils God, so to speak, directs His whole artillery—He spares neither one nor the other.
But it is hard to say which is the greatest rebellion against God—the existence of sin in man and what he is as a fallen sinner—or his Pharisaism, the lifting up his head in pride of self-righteousness.
It is not easy to decide which is the more obnoxious to God—the drunkard who sins without shame—or the Pharisee puffed up with how pleasing he is to God.
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The one is abhorrent to our feelings—and, as far as decency and morality are concerned, we would rather see the Pharisee. But when we come to matters of true religion, the Pharisee seems the worst! At least our Lord intimated as much when He said the publicans and harlots would enter the kingdom of God before them.
“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:13-147
FIVE DEVILISMS!
J. C. Philpot, “Reconciliation by Death, and Salvation by Life”
As regards sin in its workings, we may say there are five devilisms from which we need to be saved….

  1. The GUILT of sin.
  2. The FILTH of sin.
  3. The LOVE of sin.
  4. The DOMINION of sin. 5. The PRACTICE of sin.
  5. We need the application of Christ’s precious blood to our conscience, to take away the guilt of sin.
  6. We need the Spirit of Christ to sanctify and to wash the soul in the fountain, to cleanse from the filth of sin.
  7. We need the love of Christ shed abroad in our hearts, to take away the love of sin.
  8. We need the power of Christ, to rescue us from the dominion of sin.
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  9. We need the grace of Christ, to preserve us from the practice of sin.
    It is feeling sin in its various workings, which makes us value Christ! Strange mysterious way!
    O, strange path! that to be exercised with sin, is the path to the Savior!
    Very painful, very mysterious, very inexplicable—that the more you feel yourself a wretched, miserable sinner; the more you long after Jesus, who is able to save you to the uttermost!
    Thus, we shall find that we need all that Christ is. For we are no little sinners; and He is no little Savior!
    We are great sinners!
    He is a Savior—and a great one!
    “He is able to save to the uttermost!” Hebrews 7:25
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    POOR EPHEMERAL THINGS WHICH CANNOT LAST
    J. C. Ryle, “Thoughts on Immortality” 1883
    “For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things
    which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 “The mode of this world passes away.” 1 Corinthians 7:31
    We live in a world where all things are temporary and passing away. We are all “going, going, going,” whether high or low, rich or poor, old or young. We are all going—and shall soon be gone! What is our life? It is a vapor! So soon passes it away, and we are gone!
    Humbling and painful as these truths may sound, it is good for us to realize them and lay them to heart.
    The houses we live in,
    the homes we love,
    the riches we accumulate,
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the professions we follow,
the plans we form,
the relations we enter into,
they are only for a time. The things you live for now are all temporary and passing away.
The pleasures,
the amusements,
the recreations,
the merry-makings,
the profits,
the earthly callings,
which now absorb all your heart, and drink up all your mind, will soon be over. They are poor ephemeral things which cannot last.
Oh, do not love them not too much!
Do not grasp them too tightly!
Do not make them your idols!
You cannot keep them, and you must leave them!
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on
the earth.” Col. 3:2
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HE HAS A HEALING BALM FOR ALL
John MacDuff, “The Throne of Grace”
“The Spirit also helps our weaknesses.” Romans 8:26
You cannot live without the Holy Spirit.
There cannot be….
one heavenly aspiration, one breathing of love,
one upward glance of faith
without His gracious influences.
Apart from Him, there is…. no preciousness in the Word,
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no blessing in ordinances,
no permanent, sanctifying results in affliction.
The Holy Spirit….
directs His people to the waters of comfort,
gives new glory to the promises, and
invests the Savior’s character and work, with new
loveliness and beauty.
Come, then, with your affliction! Come with your infirmity! Come with your need!
Come with your wounded spirit! Come with your broken heart!
Whatever, then, be your present situation, seek the promised help of the Holy Spirit. He has a healing balm for all….
the weak,
the tempted, the sick,
the sorrowing, the bereaved, the dying.
“The Spirit also helps our weaknesses.” Rom. 8:26
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THIS IS THE STRUGGLE!
J. C. Philpot, “Reconciliation by Death, and Salvation by Life” 1850
“What a wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of the body of this death?” Romans 7:24
If a person were to tell me he did not love sin in his carnal mind, I would say with all mildness, “You do not speak the truth!” If your carnal mind does not love sin…. Why do you think of it?
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Why do you secretly indulge it in your imagination? Why do you play with it?
Why do you seek to extract a devilish sweetness out of it?
O, what a mercy it would be, if there were not this dreadful love of sin in our heart! This is the struggle—that there should be this traitor in the camp; that our carnal mind should be so devilish as to love that which made the blessed Jesus die; as to love that which crucified the Lord of glory, and to love it with a vehement love!
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THAT SWEET GRACE
J. C. Philpot, “Pilgrims’ Hunger and Pilgrims’ Food”
“You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you.” Deuteronomy 8:2
We learn humility by a deep discovery of what we are; by an opening up of….
the corruption, the weakness, the wickedness,
of our fallen nature.
The Lord’s way of teaching His people humility is by placing them first in one trying spot, and then in another; by allowing….
some temptation to arise;
some stumbling block to be in their path;
some besetting sin to work upon their corrupt affections; some idol to be embraced by their idolatrous heart;
something to take place to draw out the sin which is in their heart; and thus make it manifest to their sight.
As a general rule, we learn humility, not by hearing ministers tell us what wicked creatures we are; nor by merely looking into our bosoms and seeing a whole
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swarm of evils working there; but from being compelled by painful necessity to believe that we are vile, through circumstances and events time after time bringing to light those hidden evils in our heart, which we once thought ourselves pretty free from.
We learn humility, not merely by a discovery of what we are, but also by a discovery of what Jesus is.
We need a glimpse….
of Jesus,
of His love, of His grace, of His blood.
When these two feelings meet together in our bosom…. our shame, and the Lord’s goodness;
our guilt, and His forgiveness;
our wickedness, and His superabounding mercy;
they break us, humble us, and lay us, dissolved in tears of godly sorrow and contrition, at the footstool of mercy!
And thus we learn humility, that sweet grace, that blessed fruit of the Spirit in real, vital, soul-experience.
SLAVES OF SATAN!
J. C. Philpot, “The Master’s Bounty, and the Servant’s Obedience”
“That they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2 Timothy 2:26
In our natural state, we are all the slaves of Satan!
We love our foul master, hug his chain, and delight in his servitude, little thinking what awful wages are to follow.
This mighty conqueror has with him a numerous train of captives! This haughty master, the ‘god of this world,’
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has in his fiendish retinue, a whole array of slaves who gladly do his behests. They obey him cheerfully, though he is leading them down to the bottomless pit! For though he amuses them while here in this world with a few toys and baubles, he will not pay them their wages until he has enticed and flattered them into that ghastly gulf of destruction, in which he himself has been weltering for ages.
“…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving.” 2 Cor. 4:47
IT IS I
J. C. Philpot, “The Fruits and Marks of the Lord Being Our God” 1849
“Cheer up! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Mark 6:50
It is I who formed you in the womb, and brought you forth into your present existence. It is I, the Lord your God, who has fed you, and clothed you from that hour up to the present moment. It is I, the Lord your God, who has preserved you on every side. When you were upon a sick bed, it was I, the Lord your God, who visited your soul, raised up your body, and gave you that measure of health which you do now enjoy. It is I, the Lord your God, who placed you in the situation of life which you do now occupy.
It is I, the Lord your God….
who deals out to you every trial, who allots you every affliction, who brings upon you every cross,
who works in you everything according to My own good pleasure.
When we can thus believe that the Lord our God is about our bed and our path, and spying out all our
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ways; when we can look up to Him, and feel that He is the Lord our God, there is no feeling….
more sweet, more blessed, more heavenly!
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TO KEEP ME FROM GETTING PUFFED UP
J. C. Philpot, “The Promises Inherited” 1845
“There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted excessively. Concerning this thing, I begged the Lord three times that it might depart from me. He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
Depend upon it, the Lord’s family have to go through much tribulation on their way to heaven. So says the unerring word of truth, and so speaks the experience of every God-taught soul. Now….
in these seasons of trouble, in these painful exercises, in these perplexing trials,
the Lord’s people need strength; yet the Lord sends these trials in order to drain and exhaust them of ‘creature strength.’
Such is the ‘self-righteousness’ of our heart; such the ‘legality’ intertwined with every fiber of our natural disposition—that we cleave to our own righteousness as long as there is a thread to cleave to; we stand in our own strength as long as there is a point to stand upon; we lean upon our own wisdom as long as a particle remains!
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In order, then, to exhaust us, drain us, strip us, and purge us of this pharisaic leaven, the Lord sends….
trials, temptations, sorrows, perplexities.
What is their effect?
To teach us our weakness, and bring us to that one and only spot where God and the sinner meet—the spot of creature helplessness.
In order, therefore, to bring us to this spot, to know experimentally the strength of Christ, and feel it to be more than a doctrine, a notion, or a speculation—to know it as an internal reality, tasted by the inward palate of our soul—to have this experience wrought into our hearts with divine power, we must be brought to this spot—to feel our own utter weakness.
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IF ANYONE LOVES THE WORLD
J. C. Philpot, “Evidences Sealed and Open” 1869
“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
If the love of the Father is in us, we will not love the world—nor will the world love us!
If your heart and spirit are still in the world, and you are not separated from….
its society,
its amusements, its pursuits,
its pleasures,
its delights,
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its men,
its maxims,
you certainly lack any evidence of a divine change having been wrought in your soul.
“Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4
FOR THE UNGODLY!
Henry Law, “Awakening and Inviting Calls” “Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6
To redeem poor sinners, Jesus…. came down from heaven,
put on the rags of our mortality, agonized,
bled,
died.
Jesus is made His people’s….
substitute, burden-bearer, sin-remover, guilt-sustainer.
Their debt is placed to His account. His riches pay the full amount.
Sin is removed from the sinner, and placed on the Sinless!
Their curse is rolled on Him, and He endures it, until no more remains!
God deals with Jesus as the guilty one!
He, as spotless Deity, receives imputed sins, and fully expiates them all. In the vicarious victim, God’s justice is satisfied, and wrath expires!
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Jesus, in His life, in the garden, on the cross…. suffers their sufferings,
dies their death,
and so becomes their uttermost salvation!
His pains are their pardon! His stripes are their healing! His agony is their recovery!
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THE TREASURY IS LARGE AND INEXHAUSTIBLE
John MacDuff, “The Throne of Grace” “Grow in grace.” 2 Peter 3:18
Growth in grace is chiefly manifested in common things— in your ordinary duties—in your home circle, in resist- ing and overcoming habits of self-indulgence—habits of harshness, fretfulness, irritability of temper, or the like.
“Grace” may be brought into exercise too, in bearing sickness, trial, unkindness, or reproach, with a patient uncomplaining spirit—in helping and encouraging your neighbor—in being more generous, more kind, more sympathizing—in showing more “love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance”—in delighting more in prayer and the Word of God—in setting the Lord more and more before you—in ever keeping Him in mind.
It is thus “grace” will truly grow and expand, so that every fresh duty becomes more easy, and every fresh trial less painful. Grace, brought into the details of daily life—elevates and consecrates human affection, and sweetens earthly love with the deepest and tenderest sympathies, as it pervades duty, pleasure, and recreation.
But we must never forget, that our ability for all this comes from above—that, as there is only one source
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from which “grace” comes to us at first, so there is only one source from which we can obtain renewed
supplies. “He gives more grace.” Grace is no scanty thing, doled out in pittances. The fountain is full and overflowing—the treasury is large and inexhaustible; myriads are hourly hanging on it, and drawing from it, and yet there is no diminishing! Out of that fullness all may receive grace for grace.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that you, always having all sufficiency in everything, may abound to every good work.” 2 Cor. 9:8
Christian! Oh, repair to the throne of grace for a fresh supply, and, be assured, that there is….
not a trial you can encounter,
not a sorrow you can experience,
not a difficulty you can meet with in your daily life,
for which Jesus, in the treasury of grace, has not a corresponding solace. The throne of grace is the only refuge for the sin-stricken, woe-worn spirit.
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THE DEVIL’S HOLIDAY DRESS TO DECEIVE MEN’S SOULS
William Gadsby, “The Feeble Christian’s Support”
“You must be born again.” John 3:7
We have a whole host of ‘professors’ in our day, who talk about their being ‘religious’ ever since they were born. They had a ‘religious’ education, entered into a ‘religious’ society, were ‘religiously’ instructed from an infant, and when they got to years of maturity, they became ‘decidedly religious.’ And their minister tells them have no need to experience any particular convictions, or to have any particular alarm, like ‘notorious sinners.’
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If that minister had made up his mind to carry them to hell comfortably, he could not have set about doing it in a better way!
All this beginning to be ‘religious,’ and becoming ‘decidedly religious,’ is the devil’s holiday dress to deceive men’s souls, and to blind their minds as to their real state and condition before a just a holy God.
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YOUR SAVIOR’S HEART
John MacDuff, “The Throne of Grace”
“For we don’t have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” Hebrews 4:15
Jesus is able to sympathize with all the sorrows and infirmities to which His people are exposed.
Such is our great High Priest—divine in His ability, human in His sympathy. Amid earth’s painful trials and temptations—amid its changes and vicissitudes—amid dangers and duties, it is such a High Priest that we stand in need of.
Oh, precious thought! that we have a Friend above who can sympathize as no other can—that we have an Intercessor who can plead more powerfully than we are even able to conceive—and whose eye of love is on each one of His followers—to support, sustain, and comfort, amid daily trials, vicissitudes, and conflicts.
Let us then, because we have such a High Priest above— the all-powerful, all-helpful, all-loving, all-tender Savior—One who can and does feel for us—One who knows all our cares, and troubles, and trials—One who has Himself deeply suffered, and is therefore able to sympathize with us in all our sorrows, “let us therefore
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come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Come, then, you poor, you disconsolate, come, you tried and afflicted,
come, you wounded,
come, you needy,
come, and welcome, to the throne of grace!
Reader! whatever be…. your need,
your weakness,
your trial,
your infirmity,
do not brood over it—but bring it to the throne of grace! The longer you bear about with you the burden under which you groan, the more hopeless and wretched you will become. But if you take it to the foot of the Cross, you will assuredly obtain relief.
Surely, it is a comforting thought, that you are bringing your wishes, and cares, and anxieties to One who knows how to pity and support—who longs to show mercy, and to impart “grace to help in every time of need.”
Your Savior’s heart is….
a human heart, a tender heart,
a sinless heart—
a heart, once the home of sorrow, once an aching, bleeding, mournful heart.
And He is still unchanged! He loves…. to chase grief from the troubled spirit, to bind up the broken heart,
to stanch the bleeding wound,
to dry the weeping eye,
“to comfort all who mourn.”
Yes, Christian, if you would disclose your sorrow to
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One who sorrowed as none ever sorrowed—if you would weep upon the bosom of One, who wept as none ever wept—if you would bare your wound to One, who was wounded as none ever was wounded—then, in your affliction, turn from all creature sympathy and support, to your “merciful and faithful High Priest.”
Your temptations from Satan,
your persecutions from man,
your struggles with an evil heart,
your tribulations and dangers, and fears,
all are known to Him—and He feels for you. Tender, to Him, are you, as the apple of His eye.
Your happiness,
your peace,
your necessities,
your discouragements,
are all subjects of His deepest interest, and of His incessant care.
His faithfulness never falters. His love never changes.
His tenderness never lessens. His patience never wearies. His grace never decays.
“I cried unto the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
GOD IS AT THE ROOT OF OUR SUFFERINGS
MacDuff, “Encouragements to Patient Waiting”
“Affliction does not come forth from the dust, neither does trouble spring out of the ground.” Job 5:6
Of all things, the most difficult is to truly realize “the need be” for our own personal trials.
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We inwardly think….
that our lot is a very hard one;
that our cross is the most painful; that our suffering the most agonizing; that our path the most thorny.
And all this arises from the fact that we have not discovered the “need be.” How could we? At the best, our spiritual eyesight is weak and dim. We cannot know the real state of our souls, or see them as He does, whose searching scrutiny detects the slightest symptom of disease. We imagine all is well when we are sick, wounded, ready to die. We imagine that all is right with the heart, when faith is weak, love cold, hope almost obscured.
Only gradually, after having been long in the school of trial, do we begin to realize that the Physician must probe the wound within us, and apply severe remedies, and cause pain and anguish, in order to cure the malady which is preying upon us. Only then can we rightly comprehend our former weakness, and thank God that in tender love He cared for us….
not hesitating to inflict pain, not withdrawing His hand, not sparing the rod,
that He might do us good in the end.
Reader, it is when we come to know and realize this, that we begin to reap the benefit of affliction. So long as we attribute it only to ‘second causes,’ there will be no submission, no gratitude, no praise. It is when the discovery has been made that God is at the root of our sufferings—that He is desolating our comforts, robbing us of our joys with His own hand—when every grief and pang, every sorrow and anxiety, are felt to be His work—when we cannot banish Him from our thoughts, nor disconnect Him from one of our troubles, nor even
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wish to do either—it is then that the soul begins to consider, and the heart to soften, and our proud, rebellious, stubborn spirit to give way.
Only let us see that a Father’s hand has mingled our cup of bitterness, and the Comforter will come, even when our heart is almost broken, and inspire the trembling utterance, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!”
Affliction will be sent again and again, until we learn to sit loose to the world, and have our chief joy in God.
“I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You are the one who has done this!” Psalm 39:9
HE HAS BLOTTED OUT THIS WHOLE FEARFUL RECORD!
Stephen Tyng, “Practical Meditations”
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25
What an amount of guilt has He pardoned! It is impossible to overstate this. No view that I can now take of it ascends to the truth.
My original debasement,
my wayward youth,
my rejection of His love,
my rebellion against His authority, my forgetfulness of His goodness, my backslidings from His way,
my inconsistent profession,
my vain and sinful example,
the wickedness of my unconverted state, the errors of my renewed state.
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Alas! every day and every act brings up its separate testimony. And all condemn me!
But He has freely pardoned!
He has blotted out this whole fearful record!
He will remember it no more!
“He will again have compassion on us. He will tread our iniquities under foot; and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19
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ALL FOR YOU!
MacDuff, “Encouragements to Patient Waiting”
Take a pilgrimage in thought, to Gethsemane and Calvary! Gaze upon His sufferings! He knew all the sorrows that await Him—the shame, the suffering, the anguish—but He takes the bitter cup, and, with His heart set on the salvation of His people—with His heart set on you—the blessed Savior drains it to the very dregs!
See Him on Calvary….
unpitied by the crowd; deserted by His disciples; forsaken by His Father;
the Lamb led to the slaughter;
and all for you!
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WE MIGHT BLUSH!
William Tiptaft, from his letters
If we are brought to consider what Christ sacrificed for us, and how little we sacrifice for Him, we might blush!
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THE STORMS OF LIFE
Charles Buck, 1820
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word.” Psalm 119:67
In Scripture, the afflictions of believers are represented as….
appointed,
numerous,
transient,
and when sanctified, beneficial.
Afflictions….
wean from the world;
work submission;
produce humility;
excite to diligence;
stir up to prayer;
conform us to the divine image.
To bear afflictions with patience, we should consider…. our own unworthiness;
the design of God in sending them;
the promises of support under them;
the real good they are productive of.
The afflictions of a believer never come without a cause, nor are sent but upon a divine errand.
Let us, therefore, quietly submit to God’s Providence.
Let us conceive this life to be the winter of our existence. Now the rains must fall, and the winds must roar around us; but, sheltering ourselves under Him who is the “shelter from the tempest,” let us wait with patience until the storms of life shall terminate in an everlasting calm.
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THE LITTLE FIREFLY
John MacDuff, “The Story of Naaman the Syrian”
“Whoever gives one of these little ones just a cup of cold water to drink, in the name of a disciple, most assuredly I tell you he will in no way lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42
God is glorified by obedience to His will in LITTLE things. They most glorify God, who, without the often false incentive of outward and ulterior motives, gladly perform their humble, unostentatious deeds and services—which are unacknowledged and unapplauded by the world. Such, assuredly, will not be unowned or rejected by the Great Recompenser, because they have nothing better or costlier to offer.
Motive is everything with the omniscient Heart-searcher!
And He is satisfied, if we fulfill with a good conscience our apportioned place and lot, however lowly that may be.
The little firefly, illuminating its little sphere, is one of the tiniest lamps in God’s magnificent Temple of night—a mere ‘glimmering spark’ compared with the nobler Altar-fires of moon and stars, in the same great sanctuary. But that tiny insect is content to shine with the luster assigned to it, in its humble place in the universe—and the Creator is glorified by it.
“She has done what she could,” is the divine word of approval. The ‘widow’s mite’ and the ‘cup of cold water’ are owned and accepted by God. And the ‘intention’ and ‘desire’ would be accepted, if there were no mite and no cup to give.7
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AN ALMOST BOUNDLESS CAPACITY OF WICKEDNESS
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858
“But Peter said, ‘Man, I don’t know what you are talking about!’ Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.” Luke 22:60
The best and highest believer is a poor weak creature, even at his best times.
Whether he knows it or not, he carries within him an almost boundless capacity of wickedness, however fair and decent his outward conduct may seem.
There is no enormity of sin into which he may not run, if he does not watch and pray, and if the grace of God does not hold him up.
When we read the falls of Noah, Lot, and Peter, we only read what might possibly befall any of ourselves!
Let us never presume.
Let us never indulge in high thoughts about our own strength, or look down upon others.
Whatever else we pray for, let us daily pray that we may walk humbly with God.
“Hold me up, and I shall be safe!” Ps. 119:117
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A LUMP OF VANITY
John Mason’s Spiritual Sayings
In reality….
riches are but dust,
honors are but shadows, pleasures are but bubbles, and
man is but a lump of vanity, composed of sin and misery. 7
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IF GOD GAVE US NO THORN
John MacDuff, “The Leper-warrior” 1873
God’s dealings with His people are often incomprehensible. His name to them is that which He gave to Manoah, “Wonderful,” “Secret,” “Mysterious.”
That wearing sickness,
that wasting heritage of pain,
these long tossings on a fevered, sleepless pillow, — where is God’s love or mercy here?
But the silence and loneliness of the sickbed is the figurative “wilderness,” where He “allures” that He may “speak comfortably unto them, and give them their vineyards from thence” (Hosea 2:14, 15), rousing them from the contemptible dream of earthly happiness, from the sordid and the secular, from busy care and debasing solicitude—to the divine and the heavenly!
Or, that unexpected affliction of poverty—the crash of earthly fortune—the forfeiture of earthly gain—the stripping of cherished treasure, and sending those ‘nursed in the lap of luxury’ penniless on the world— where is God’s mercy or love here?
But it is through this beneficial, though rough discipline, that God weans from the enervating influence of prosperity, leading them to exchange ‘the mess of earthly pottage’ for ‘the bread of life’—perishable substance for the fine gold of heavenly wealth and durable riches!
Or, that cruel blighting of young hope and pure affection—the withering of some cherished gourd—the opening of ‘early graves’ for the loving and beloved; holiest ties formed, but the ‘memory’ of which is all that remains. Where is God’s kindness and mercy in
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creating bonds only to sever them? raising up friends only to bury them?
The plaintive experience and utterance of the bereaved mother in Israel, is that of many, “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me!” Ruth 1:20
But the ‘shallow rills’ are dried by Him, in order to lead to the ‘great Fountainhead.’ The links of earthly affection are broken, in order that stronger and more enduring ones may be formed above. The rents have been made in the house of clay, only to render more inviting the eternal home in heaven—stimulating us to live more for that world where all is perfection—where we shall stand without a fault before the throne!
Yes, suffering Christian! believe it—your trials are designed by Him who sent them, to bring you nearer Himself! They are His own appointed gateways, opening up and admitting to great spiritual blessings!
The mother eagle is said purposely to put a ‘thorn’ into her nest to compel her young brood to fly. If God gave us no thorn—if He never disturbed the “downy nest of our worldly ease”—we might be tempted to remain grovelers forever!
He knows us better! He loves us better!
The day will come when we shall joyfully testify, “Had it not been for these wilderness experiences—that protracted sickness—that loss of worldly position—the death of that cherished friend—I would still have been clinging to ‘earth’ as my portion, content with the polluted rill and the broken cistern, instead of drawing water out of the wells of salvation!”
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WHO MAKES YOU DIFFER FROM THOUSANDS?
Anne Dutton’s Letters on Spiritual Subjects
Permit me to ask, my dear sister—who taught you that you were miserable, wretched, blind, and naked, sin- ruined, and law-condemned—and must perish forever without a saving interest in precious Jesus? Who showed you the worth of your immortal soul, that if your soul was safe for eternity, it did not much matter how things were as to your body, during this momentary state of your little inch of time? Who gave you such a high esteem of Christ, the Friend of sinners?
Have you always had such a living sensation of these things? If not, how did you come by this? Who gave it to you? Who makes you differ from thousands, on your right hand and on your left, who, insensible of their own misery as sinners, and of the excellency of Christ as the Savior, seek no higher happiness than the empty enjoyments of this perishing life?
Oh, dear sister, have not you cause to adore the rich, free, distinguishing grace of God to you—which opened your eyes, while numbers round about you are blinded by sin and Satan?
You have seen your unspeakable misery without Christ, and His immense and eternal excellency to make you incomparably happy unto endless glory! You have been drawn by His all-conquering love, and changed in some measure into His image, and have given yourself up to Him, to be entirely and forever His. The altogether lovely Jesus is your beloved, and He is your friend—and in Him you have, and shall have, a well of life, and ocean of inexhaustible and eternal bliss!
“By the grace of God I am what I am.” 1 Cor. 15:10
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SEE THE OLD MAN RISE AND FUME!
author unknown
We must have….
our idols exposed,
our lusts dragged forth from their holes,
our carnal religion made loathsome in our eyes, our own righteousness shown to be filthy rags.
Heart-searching preaching, where it does not convince, is sure to offend. Nothing is so cutting to an unrenewed heart, especially when there is a decent outside, as to have its rottenness exposed, its refuge of lies swept away, and the pillow of ‘forms’ whereon it was sleeping removed from under its head. Whoever attempts this, must expect to see the old man rise and fume.
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HIS UNWEARIED CARE AND CONCERN
Thomas Bradbury, “Comfort My People” 1897
All along their journey through a world of sin, suffering, and sorrow, the people of God are the subjects of trial, temptation and tribulation.
The corruptions of our vile nature,
the fierce assaults of the devil,
the ways of the wicked around us,
the perplexities of God’s mysterious providence, and felt spiritual weakness,
all conspire to make our hearts disconsolate, and cause us to sigh and cry.
But God is never at a loss to help and comfort His weak and weary, tried and tempted, oppressed and suffering people. His comforts abound with….
assistance in necessity, help in extremity, defense in danger,
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deliverance from distress,
and infinitely more.
With all these He opens up His heart of love, and reveals to them His unwearied care and concern over them.
God’s unchanging concern and care are beautifully illustrated in His love to Ephraim, after Ephraim’s base wanderings from, and rebelliousness against the God and Father who loved him so well.
“Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a darling child? for as often as I speak against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him.” Jeremiah 31:20
All God’s children are dear to Him, pleasant in His eyes, the delight of His heart.
God….
draws them to Himself with the cords of love, blesses them with the sweets of divine communion, kisses them with the kisses of His mouth,
dandles them on His knees of eternal affection, presses them to His bosom of everlasting love,
and holds every covenant blessing ready for whatever state or condition they may be in.
MY JEWELS!
by John MacDuff
“They shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels.” Malachi 3:17
Oh most precious, most wondrous thought!
Can it be that He can think of treasuring me; a poor, unworthy, contemptible piece of clay, in His treasure box now; and at last of setting me a jewel in His crown?
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THE HOLY SPIRIT
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
It is the work of the Spirit to animate, comfort and strengthen the true believer.
By His gracious influences He sheds abroad the love of God in the hearts of believers; fills them, at times, with joy unspeakable and full of glory, and gives them a peace that passes understanding.
The Holy Spirit….
supports them under the severest trials;
preserves them from the power of evil;
guards them from the attacks of Satan;
upholds them on their journey through the wilderness; and brings them triumphant to the heavenly Canaan.
“Oh, blessed Spirit, prepare me for Your abode of glory; wean my heart daily from this wicked world; impress the Savior’s image on my soul, that when He shall appear, I may be like Him, when I see Him as He is.
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A CUP OF LOVE!
John MacDuff, “Gleams from the Sick Chamber” 1882
“What shall I say? He has both spoken to me, and Himself has done it: I shall go softly all my years because of the bitterness of my soul.” Isaiah 38:15
God Himself has mixed your bitter cup, and led you to your ‘Gethsemane of suffering.’
All your sufferings—
the existence of them, the duration of them, the intensity of them—
are appointed by your heavenly Father.
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“Though now for a little while, if need be, you have been put to grief in various trials.” 1 Peter 1:6
Your heavenly Father can inflict no unnecessary pang.
You may presently be pain-stricken, and woe-worn.
There is a divine necessity for your present “fiery trial.” No drop in the cup can be spared! “I will correct you in measure.” Your heavenly Father, tenderer and more loving than the tenderest earthly parent, tempers the fury of the flames, saying, “Thus far shall you go, and no farther.”
Happy for you, that you can write “if need be”…. over that severest hour of distress,
over every night of throbbing temples,
over sleepless eyes,
over every fresh thorn sent to buffet, over every heavy cross sent to carry.
When we are assured that nothing which is appointed by our Father can come to us wrongly, our cup of suffering becomes a cup of love!
“Shall I not drink the cup my Father has given me?” John 18:11
“For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
What verse is more soothing sight for a suffering couch, or for a dying pillow? What verse is more consolatory for a weary, burdened body? and above all, for a weary, burdened, sin-stricken heart?
“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17
A tearless Heaven will make amends for all!
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NO WONDER THE MAIDENS LOVE YOU!
James Durham, “The Song of Solomon”
“Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth; For Your love is better than wine. Your oils have a pleasing fragrance. Your name is oil poured forth, Therefore the virgins love You.” Song of Solomon 1:2-3
Believers are not soon satisfied in expressing Christ’s worth. Christ, and all that is in Him, is as refreshing as a box that is full of the most precious perfume. Christ is well stored with grace; it is poured into His lips.
This fragrance of Christ’s graces is not felt by everyone. The box of His perfumes is not open to all, but only to those who believe; for to them He is precious, and everything that is in Him is most cordial and fragrant to the believer. “Yes, He is precious to you who believe!” 1 Peter 2:7
The more Christ and His worth is known, it will fragrance the better, and be the more refreshing; for it is His name which is this perfume. Christ, in His excellent worth, is unknown to the world. They do not inquire into this fragrant name. But if He were once known, they would find in Him, that which would make them give over their other unprofitable pursuits, and pant after Him!
“My Beloved is white and ruddy. The best among ten thousand!” Song of Solomon 5:10
“His mouth is sweetness; Yes, He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend.” Song of
Solomon 5:16
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THE GOSPEL OF GOD’S GRACE
Don Fortner
There is no grace but free and sovereign grace.
There is no election but eternal and unconditional election.
There is no redemption but particular and effectual redemption.
There is no salvation but by the irresistible grace and omnipotent power of God the Holy Spirit.
There is no security but by the absolute preservation of God’s immutable goodness.
WE KNOW BUT LITTLE
From the letters of William Tiptaft, 1803-1864
We know but little of the deceit and wickedness of our own hearts; and that detestable pride which is interwoven with every fiber of them.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?” Jer. 17:9
THE ART OF PREACHING
Letters of J. C. Philpot
We are overrun with a shallow, superficial ministry, which is destitute of all life, savor, and power. A dry, dead- letter scheme of doctrine, as mathematically correct as the squares of a chess-board, prevails, where what is called “truth” is preached. And to move Bible texts on the squares as pawns, is called “the art of preaching.”
How simple is truth!
Man’s misery—God’s mercy.
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The aboundings of sin—the super-aboundings of grace. The depths of the fall—the heights of the recovery.
The old man—the new man.
The diseases of the soul—the balm of a Savior’s blood.
These lessons learned are in the furnace of inward experience. How different from….
the monkish austerity of the Ritualist, the lip service of the Pharisee, and
the dry Calvinistic formulary!
What a dreadful lack is there of true preaching now! I look round and see so few men qualified to feed the church of God. We are overrun with parsons, but, oh dear! what are they? I cannot but attribute much of the low state of the churches to the ministers!
Ezekiel 34 is a true picture of the false shepherds.
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PAUL’S HIGHEST ATTAINMENT
Letters of J. C. Philpot
“I am nothing.” 2 Corinthians 12:11
This was Paul’s highest attainment in the knowledge of self.
To be a daily pauper living on alms is humbling to proud nature, which is always seeking to be something, and to do something.
If this self-nothingness was wrought in us, we would be spared much pain, in wounded pride.
People are building up religion all over the country, but there is not one of a thousand who has yet learned the first lesson—to be nothing. Of all this noisy crowd, how few lie at Jesus’ feet, helpless and hopeless, and find help and hope in Him!
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If you can venture to be nothing, it will save you a world of anxiety and trouble! But proud, vain, conceited flesh wants to be something….
to preach well,
to make a name for one’s self, and be admired as a preacher.
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15
“…me, the very least of all saints.” Eph. 3:8 “I am nothing.” 2 Corinthians 12:11
WHEN THE COLD WINDS ARE WHISTLING OVER YOUR GRAVE
Letters of J. C. Philpot
“We don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
How really empty and worthless are all human cares and anxieties, as well as all human hopes and pleasures—when viewed in the light of a vast and endless eternity!
In twenty years, today’s price of oil will probably mean little to you. But it will matter much whether your soul is in heaven or hell.
When the cold winds are whistling over your grave, or the warm sun resting on it—what will it matter whether sheep sold badly or well at the market?
Could we realize eternal things more, we would be less anxious about temporal things. It is only our unbelief and carnality which fetter us down to the poor things of time and sense.
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“The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever.” 1 John 2:17
SHALL I NOT DRINK IT?
Newman Hall, “Leaves of Healing from the Garden of Grief” 1891
“The cup which My Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11
It was the Savior’s own desire to suffer. To escape would be….
to falsify Scripture,
to renounce His own purpose,
to abandon His work of salvation,
to contravene the Father’s loving will.
My Father has ordained this cup, mingled it, knows every drop in it, presents it—shall I not drink it? My Father is….
infinite in wisdom, and cannot err;
infinite in love, and cannot be unkind;
infinite in resources, and would not give it to Me to
drink, if His and My own great purpose to save the world could be better realized.
It is a cup which, drained by Me, shall procure to countless multitudes….
a cup of redemption,
a cup of consolation,
a cup of glory in the everlasting banquet of heaven!
“The cup which My Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11
And He drank it to the dregs!
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Let His followers, whenever they have to drink a cup of sorrow, be comforted in remembering this last word of Christ at Gethsemane.
He, the sinless One—suffered for us, the sinful ones. By reason of our transgressions, His cup was so bitter. By drinking it, He provided an antidote for the poison which sin infuses into every sorrowful cup of ours.
His love prompted Him to drink it all.
He has thus removed from us the danger, fear, and sorrow. Our garden of grief, by His bitter cup, has been delivered from its darkest gloom, has been illumined by Divine love and rejoicing hope. He who has thus saved us from sin and death, and ever lives as our sympathizing Brother, will be with us in every trial, and enable us also to say, “The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?”
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LET GOD BUT TAKE THE COVER OFF
Letters of J. C. Philpot
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
It is our mercy, if we only feel and groan under corruption inwardly, without it breaking forth outwardly—to wound our own souls, grieve the people of God, and gladden our enemies.
Let God but take the cover off the boiling cauldron of our corrupt nature, and the filthy scum would surface in the sight of all men!
“Hold me up, and I shall be safe!” Psalm 119:117
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THE PERFECTION OF GOD
Newman Hall, “Leaves of Healing from the Garden of Grief” 1891
“As for God, His way is perfect.” 2 Samuel 22:31 God’s wisdom cannot err.
God’s holiness cannot sin.
God’s love cannot be cruel.
God’s immutability cannot change. God’s eternity cannot end.
The perfection of God is a source of sweetest consolation to us, in our feebleness and foolishness.
If He were not Omniscient, we might suffer and He not know.
If He were not Omnipresent, we might cry and He not hear. If He were not Omnipotent, we might perish and He be
unable to help.
If He were not good, He would not care for us, or might crush us.
“He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment.” Deut. 32:4
Though the Lord is exalted, yet He has regard unto the humble. He has not despised the affliction of His afflicted children, nor hid His face from them.
I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinks upon me. Put my tears into Your bottle.
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A GREAT AND INESTIMABLE MERCY
Letters of J. C. Philpot
It is a great and inestimable mercy when our various trials and troubles are made a means of driving us to the Lord, as our only hope and help.
Those circumstances, outward or inward, temporal or spiritual, which….
stir up an earnest spirit of prayer, make us cease from the creature, beat us out of all false refuges, wean us from the world,
show us the vileness and deceitfulness of our hearts, lead us up to Jesus, and make Him near, dear, and
precious—
must be considered blessings.
It is true, troubles rarely come to us as such, or at the time appear as such—no, they usually appear as if they would utterly swallow us up! But we must judge of them by their fruits and effects.
Job could not see the hand of God in his troubles and afflictions. But it was made plain after he was brought to abhor himself and repent in dust and ashes.
I am very sure, if we are in the right way, we shall find it a rough way, and have many trials and troubles.
“For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby.” Heb. 12:10-11
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PITY YOUR FOOLISH CHILD!
Newman Hall, “Leaves of Healing from the Garden of Grief” 1891
“He went forward a little, fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I want, but what You want.” Matthew 26:39
Throughout His life Jesus was the Man of Sorrows; and many of His disciples go mourning all their days by reason of continued illness, unkindness, loneliness, anxiety, successive sorrows, stripes repeated before the former wounds are healed; one woe treading on the heels of another, as with Job.
Some thorn is always rankling.
When one rocky crag has been surmounted, another has
to be scaled.
When one troublous torrent has been waded, another and yet another roars across our path.
You may plead that your heavenly Father would…. relieve the pain,
heal the sickness,
spare the life,
remove the danger, calm the anxiety, restore the love, restrain the sin, abate the anger, disperse the cloud, calm the storm, send the sunshine.
“My Father, pity your foolish child, but bear with me while I confess that this bitter cup depresses my spirit, raises doubts, disturbs my faith, irritates my temper, drives
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me to frivolity, hinders prayer, and tempts me to seek relief wrongfully. I am taught that affliction should make me humble and patient, gentle to others, weaned from earth, submissive to You—but this cup seems to produce opposite results. Oh, let this cup pass from me! My soul is bowed down to the dust! My tears have been my food day and night! O my God, my soul is cast down within me; all Your waves and Your billows are gone over me. Abba, Father, let this cup pass from me! Behold me, even me; listen to my complaint; behold this cup—how bitter it is, how full, how long I have had to drink it! In my ignorance it seems unsuited to my temperament. How wearied and faint I am! How earnestly I desire to be spared the further drinking of it. O my Father! witness these tears, hear these cries, consider my soul’s agony! “Abba, Father, let this cup pass from me!”
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GOING UP THROUGH THIS WILDERNESS WORLD
David Harsha, “The Glory of Christ”
“Worthy is the Lamb who has been killed to receive the power, riches, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing!” Revelation 5:12
If there is an object in the universe that should…. attract our attention,
excite our admiration,
warm our affections, and
demand our love;
surely it is the glorious Savior, the blessed Son of God.
“O blessed Jesus, show us your glory. Wean our affections from a world that is so soon to be wrapped in flames. Elevate our views above the transient scenes of earth—its fading, deceitful joys—to the permanent and enrapturing bliss of heaven. May we be going up through
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this wilderness world leaning on You, our Beloved. While on earth may we live to Your glory; and when done with mortal life, when the messenger of death is sent to convey our immortal spirits home, may we be safely conducted through death’s dark valley and Jordan’s swelling stream, to the city of the great King, the heavenly Jerusalem, the celestial Canaan, where You, blessed Savior, reign in everlasting glory.”
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THIS DIVINE AND MARVELOUS FOUNTAIN!
Octavius Winslow, “From Grace to Glory” 1864
“By the grace of God I am what I am!” 1 Corinthians 15:10 GRACE is one of the most precious and significant
terms of the Bible.
Grace tells of God’s free and unconditional choice of a people, whom He everlastingly loved.
It speaks….
of His mercy to the miserable,
of His pardon to the guilty,
of His favor to the lost,
of His free and boundless love to poor sinners.
None are saved but those who are saved by…. electing grace,
sovereign grace,
free grace.
Also, all the precious streams of present…. sanctification,
peace,
joy,
and hope
flow from this divine and marvelous Fountain!
What a heart is His! The Lord of all grace…. –311–

all pardoning grace, all accepting grace,
all sanctifying grace, all comforting grace….
to the ungracious, to the unworthy, to the poor,
to the bankrupt, to the vile,
to the sinful.
“By the grace of God I am what I am!” Marvelous declaration! 7
AN APOSTOLIC FACE AND A JUDAS HEART
Letters of J. C. Philpot
Many think that a minister is exempt from such coldness, deadness, and barrenness, as private Christians feel. And the hypocritical looks and words of many of Satan’s ministers favor this delusion. Holiness is so much on their tongues, and on their faces, that their deluded hearers necessarily conclude that it is in their hearts.
But, alas! nothing is easier or more common, than an apostolic face and a Judas heart.
Most pictures that I have seen of the “Last Supper” represent Judas with a ferocious countenance. Had painters drawn a holy, meek-looking face, I believe they would have given a truer resemblance.
Many pass for angels in the pulpit, who if the truth were known, would be seen to be devils and beasts in heart, lip, and life at home.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but
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within they are full of extortion and unrighteousness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matthew 23:25, 28
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SUCH FREAKS ARE MORE FIT FOR A TRAVELING CIRCUS
Letters of J. C. Philpot
I have been much puzzled by those in the professing church. Most have a great assurance and unwavering confidence—unaccompanied by godly fear, and the other fruits and graces of the Spirit. I see this as presumption or delusion.
Where the Holy Spirit works faith, He also works…. sorrow for sin,
deadness to the world,
tenderness of conscience,
brokenness of spirit, humility,
simplicity,
sincerity,
meekness,
patience,
spiritual affections,
holy and heavenly desires, true hope, and
love toward the Lord and His people.
Where we see these fruits and graces of the Spirit lacking, or sadly deficient, there we must conclude that true faith, the root from which they all grow, is lacking or deficient likewise.
There are no ‘freaks’ in the kingdom of heaven. I mean such as have….
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‘little hearts’ and ‘large heads,’ active legs and withered hands, nimble tongues and crippled arms.
Such freaks are more fit for a traveling circus than the Church of the living God.
To fear God,
to tremble at His word,
to be little and lowly in our own eyes,
to hate sin and ourselves as sinners,
to pour out our hearts before the Lord,
to seek His face continually,
to lead a life of faith and prayer,
to be dead to the world,
to feel Jesus to be precious,
to behold His dying love by the eyes of living faith; these realities are almost despised and overlooked by many ‘great professors’ in our day!
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A LANGUISHING BODY
Letters of J. C. Philpot (February 1, 1840, to a dying youth)
My dear friend,
A languishing body is a heavy cross. Sickness often….
depresses our spirits, shatters our nerves, and
casts a gloom over our minds.
But it is good thus to be weaned and detached, and gradually loosened from the strong ties that bind us to earth. I was ill once for many months, and many thought I would never recover. I found it a heavy trial, but I believe it was profitable to my soul. May the Lord make all your bed in your sickness, give you many testimonies of His special favor—and when He sees fit
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to take down your earthly tabernacle, remove you to that happy country where the inhabitant shall never say, “I am sick,” where tears are wiped away from all faces, and sorrow and sighing flee away.
May the Lord speedily grant your desires, and visit your soul with looks of love, rays of mercy, and beams of tender kindness, so as to smile
you into….
humility, resignation, patience,
gratitude, contrition, love, and
godly sorrow.
Yours affectionately in the bonds of the gospel,
J. C. Philpot
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THE BOY WHO HAD DIED!
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858
“Now when he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, one who was dead was carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.” Luke 7:12
See what sorrow sin has brought into the world!
All funerals are mournful things, but it is difficult to imagine a funeral more mournful than the one here described. It was the funeral of a young man, and that young man the only son of his mother, and that mother a widow. There is not an item in the whole story, which is not full of misery. And all this misery, be it remembered, was brought into the world by sin.
Sin is the cause of it all.
“Therefore, as sin entered into the world through one
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man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12
Let us never forget this solemn truth.
The world around us is full of sorrow. Sickness, and pain, and infirmity, and poverty, and labor, and trouble, abound on every side. From one end of the world to the other, the history of families is full of….
lamentation, and weeping, and mourning, and woe.
And where does it all come from?
Sin is the fountain and root to which all must be traced. There would neither have been….
tears,
nor troubles,
nor illness,
nor deaths,
nor funerals in the earth,
if there had been no sin.
We must bear this state of things patiently. We cannot alter it.
We may thank God that there is a remedy in the Gospel, and that this present life is not all.
But in the meantime, let us lay the blame at the right door. Let us lay the blame on sin.
How much we ought to hate sin! Instead of…. loving it,
cleaving to it,
dallying with it,
excusing it,
playing with it,
we ought to hate it with a deadly hatred!
–316–

Sin is the great….
murderer,
and thief,
and pestilence,
and nuisance of this world.
Let us make no peace with it!
Let us wage a ceaseless warfare against it.
It is “the abominable thing which God hates.”
Happy is he who is of one mind with God, and can say, I “abhor that which is evil.” Rom. 12:9
BESET WITH MANY DIFFICULTIES
Letters of William Tiptaft
The way to heaven is narrow, and beset with many difficulties,
and we, at times, are almost sorry that we ever ventured out, especially when we keep continually meeting with the lions in the way!
But nothing so much checks and stops us as vile self! It cleaves to everything on the way, and wants so often to turn us out of the way.
Also, the ear is not deaf to the alluring and enticing invitation of Demas to look into the silver mine! Blessed are they who are only allowed to look in. For, alas! how many glaring professors and speedy travelers to Zion, who have been brave companions on the way for a time, have stopped short at that mine, and never could be seen beyond it!
Our hearts are very closely knit with everything that the world loves and admires. David said, “My soul cleaves to the dust;” and so do all God’s children say it now, at times, if they know the plague of their own hearts.
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EVERYTHING THAT WAS WRITTEN IN THE PAST
Anne Dutton’s Letters on Spiritual Subjects
I humbly think that the bondage of the children of Israel in Egypt, under Pharaoh and his task-masters, was typical of the cruel bondage of the people of God in a state of nature, under the tyranny of sin and Satan and a broken law of works.
Their deliverance from Egypt and passage through the Red Sea were typical of our deliverance from the power of darkness, and translation into the kingdom of God’s dear Son at our first conversion.
Their journeys through the desolate wilderness were typical of our travels through this world of trouble.
Their Land of Promise was typical of our promised rest.
Their passage over Jordan into Canaan was typical of our of our passing from this world of sin and sorrow into the world of joy and glory as our everlasting rest.
“Now all these things happened to them by way of example, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come.” 1 Cor. 10:11
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning.” Romans 15:4
MY DESIRE IS….
Letters of J. C. Philpot 1. To exalt the grace of God.

  1. To proclaim salvation alone through the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. To declare the sinfulness, helplessness, and hopelessness of man in a state of nature.
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  3. To describe, as far as I am able, the living experience of the saints of God in their trials, temptations, and sorrows—and in their consolations and blessings.
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    A PAINTED BAUBLE
    Letters of J. C. Philpot
    “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, they have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
    What a wonderful revolution is effected by divine teaching and heavenly visitations!
    The soul is brought to live in a new world and breathe a new element. Old things pass away, and behold, all things become new.
    New desires, feelings, hopes, fears, and exercises arise, and the soul becomes a new creature. The world appears in its true colors, as a painted bauble, and as its pleasures are valued at their due worth, so its good opinion is little cared for or desired.
    What is this poor vain world with all its gilded clay, deceptive honors and respectability, and soap-bubble charms—compared to one smile from our loving Savior?
    “The world is passing away with its lusts.” 1 John 2:17
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    THE RELIGION WHICH I WANT
    Letters of J. C. Philpot
    I am quite sick of modern religion—it is such a mixture, such a medley, such a compromise. I find much, indeed, of this religion in my own heart, for it suits the flesh well—but I would not have it so, and grieve it should be so.
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The religion which I want is that of the Holy Spirit. I know nothing but what He teaches me.
I feel nothing but what He works in me.
I believe nothing but what He shows me.
I only mourn when He smites my rocky heart. I only rejoice when He reveals the Savior.
This religion I am seeking after, though miles and miles from it—but no other will satisfy or content me.
When the blessed Spirit is not at work in me, and with me, I fall back into all the….
darkness, unbelief, earthliness, idleness, carelessness, infidelity, and helplessness
of my Adam nature.
True religion is a supernatural and mysterious thing.
ARE YOU UNDER GREAT AND SORE TROUBLES?
Anne Dutton’s Letters on Spiritual Subjects My dear friend—
Are you under great and sore troubles?
Remember that these are the lot of God’s dearest children.
Consider that it is the Lord who brings your greatest troubles upon you. Not a trouble could touch you, but by His operation or permission. Say, then, “It is the Lord, let Him do what seems good to Him!” and, “Shall I
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receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall I not receive evil?”
And if the rod is in your all-wise, your all-gracious Father’s most kind hand, it will profit your soul in the end.
“For whom the Lord loves, He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives …for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.” Hebrews 12:6, 10
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IT WILL MATTER LITTLE WHEN I LIE IN MY COFFIN!
Letters of J. C. Philpot
What does it really matter where we spend the few years of our pilgrimage here below?
Life is short, vain, and transitory; and if I live in comfort and wealth, or in comparative poverty, it will matter little when I lie in my coffin!
This life is soon passing away, and an eternal state fast coming on! It will greatly matter whether….
our religion was natural or spiritual,
our faith human or divine,
our hope a heavenly gift or a spider’s web!
But our blind, foolish hearts are so concerned about things which are but the dust of the balance, and so little anxious about our all in all.
There is no greater inheritance than to be a son or daughter of the Lord Almighty. To have a saving interest in….
the electing love of the Father,
the redeeming blood of the Son,
and the sanctifying operations of the Holy Spirit,
is worth a million of worlds! Without such, we must be eternally miserable; and with it eternally happy.
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“An incorruptible and undefiled inheritance, and that doesn’t fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” 1 Pet. 1:4
I AM A VERY DULL SCHOLAR IN CHRIST’S SCHOOL
Excerpts from the letters of William Tiptaft
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” Psalm 119:71
My dear brother—
I find this sickness profitable to my soul. It has, I trust, meekened and humbled my spirit, and I have been brought down to lie passive in the Lord’s hands. I deserve many such, and much more severe chastisements for my daily sins and iniquities.
I feel this sickness to be a rod that I needed.
If we escaped such trials, we would wander farther from God after idols and the vain delights of our wicked hearts.
What trials, afflictions, and sorrows are required to separate us from the world!
How hard, carnal, and selfish does a man become, who has nothing to soften him!
We need daily crosses and daily trials to keep us in any way alive to eternal things, and to maintain a spirit of prayer and watchfulness.
I trust I can say that my sickness has proved profitable to me; but I am a very dull scholar in Christ’s school, and need line upon line and precept upon precept.
I have to lament a heart full of wickedness, vanity, and folly.
I feel a strong inclination to avoid every cross. But I am sure, nevertheless, that crosses are daily needful.
How we cleave to the world!
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What pride, vanity, flesh-pleasing, and worldly conformity are manifest in us!
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word.” Psalm 119:67
Yours affectionately and sincerely,
William Tiptaft
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THEY ARE READY TO KNOCK HIM ON THE HEAD!
Excerpts from a letter of William Tiptaft
My dear brother—
If the Bible is true, the only good investment is giving money to the poor. That is safe; it is money put out on the best security, as being lent to the Lord. And what a good thing it is to make a good use of money, while so many spend nearly all they have on their selfish desires, fancies, and lusts!
We all love the world more than we think!
“Spare yourself!” is written very deeply in our hearts.
We love the poor children of God less than we think; for deeds, not words, come closest to the heart.
It is easier to preach, than to practice.
What a dreadful thing it is, to have the curse of a covetous heart! “The love of money is the root of all evil,” and sticks to one’s heart like the flesh to the skin!
If any one at all despises money, the devil and the world are in such a fight with him, that they are ready to knock him on the head, and will abuse him for being a fool, or a madman!
Yours very sincerely and affectionately, William Tiptaft, April 18th, 1838
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POPULAR VIRTUES?
Thomas Reade, “Christian Meditations”
Contradictory as it may seem, many virtues approved by men, may be exhibited by those who are lost.
Generosity,
sympathy for the afflicted,
elegance of manners,
patriotic displays of courage,
and such like popular virtues, may form a wreath around the brow, or emblazon the tomb, of the unbeliever.
But, what is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God!
The trumpet of fame has sounded the praises of many, even to the ends of the earth, who, at the last trumpet, shall hear these words sounded out before an assembled world: “Depart from Me, you cursed ones, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!”
How empty is the breath of human praise!
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A BAD SIGN
William Tiptaft
It is a bad sign when a minister has the smiles of worldly professors.
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, since I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his lord.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” John 15:18-20
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THE WORLD IS A GREAT ENEMY!
Excerpts from a letter of William Tiptaft
“This world is passing away with its lusts.” 1 John 2:17
My dear brother—
What is this world, and all things in it, if a man does not have God for his friend?
All things around us remind us that we are nothing better than grass, and are like a fleeting shadow. And if we are void of saving grace, awful is our state, whether we feel it so or not. But we find that the Lord must make us view things in their true colors. And if He favors us with a few breathings after the ‘heavenly manna,’ it will stop us from so earnestly seeking that ‘bread which perishes.’
The world is a great enemy! It contains so many snares and baits so suitable to our carnal appetite! We are surrounded with everything that is trying to fasten our hearts to earthly things. And if we were to have no crosses, and no enjoyment and comfort in spiritual things, we would be endeavoring, still more than we are, to find our happiness in earthly things.
A tender conscience and godly fear in the heart, are great mercies. And if the Lord does bless our souls with a sense of His pardoning love, it is a wonderful favor. For we know our vileness sufficiently to be sure that there is no hope for us but through His rich, unmerited love and mercy. It is a very narrow path, and the Lord must guide and direct us in it.
Yours very affectionately and sincerely, William Tiptaft, March 2nd, 1838
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HIS CHILDREN BEGAN TO HISS!
Excerpts from the letters of William Tiptaft
Dear brother—
Since I last wrote, I have preached in Abingdon Great Church, on Christmas evening. I preached the truth, I trust, to a very crowded congregation, supposed to be (sitting and standing, who were able to get in) about 5,000 people. I pleased the believers; but very much displeased the carnally-minded, who were never before so puzzled and confounded in all their lives! I spoke the truth faithfully, and so as all could hear; but I had no idea that the gospel would have given so much offense! It is the truth that offends and disturbs Satan’s kingdom! The neighboring clergymen, who are in darkness, say of me, “Away with such a fellow from the earth; it is not fit that he should live!”
My mind is not moved by the persecution. I believe if God has a work for me to do, I shall do it, in spite of the devil and all his children!
Nature is not changed, the gospel is not changed, and Christ is not changed. What reason is there why they should not hate the truth now, as much as in the time of the apostles? I never saw any fruits of my labors until I roused and disturbed the ‘roaring lion.’ When, through the grace of God, I began to disturb his kingdom, I soon found that his children began to hiss!
The world and Satan hate believers. The Pharisees hate me the most. I cut off all their rotten props, and all their fleshly devotion!
It is not coming near to the truth, it is not the ‘mere letter’ of the gospel, that will convert men; but the Holy Spirit.
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Make the Word of God your study. Pin your faith to no man’s views! I scarcely read any other book.
Beware of those who want to exalt man in any manner.
Yours very affectionately, William Tiptaft, Jan. 30th, 1830
“GOD BLESS US.”
Favell Lee Mortimer, “Family Devotions”
“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36
The Lord Jesus observes the expressions we use in our common conversation. He notices every reproachful word we utter to each other. He also notices every irreverent word we speak of God.
Let us never forget that He still listens to our words, and is displeased with every profane expression, such as, “God bless us.” Ungodly people are so much in the habit of uttering these exclamations, that they scarcely know when they use them. They have no reverence for the majesty of the Almighty God, nor care how they insult His name.
[Editor’s note: Though sacrilege (the speaking of God— and the things of God—in an unthinking, frivolous, trivial way) is a common sin among professing Christians, God does not treat such irreverence lightly. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you use His name in vain.” Exodus 20:7]
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IF MR. PRIDE GETS A WOUND IN THE HEAD
Letters of J. C. Philpot
“Some indeed preach Christ even out of envy and strife, and some also out of good will.” Philippians 1:15
I hope I can rejoice in the Lord’s blessing the labors of other good men. It is indeed a sad spirit when ministers are jealous of each other, and would rather cavil and find fault with each other, instead of desiring that the blessing of God might rest upon them and their labors. Oh that miserable spirit of detraction and envy, which would gladly pull others down, that we might stand as it were, a little higher upon their bodies! Where is there any….
true humility of mind, simplicity of spirit, brotherly love, or
an eye to God’s glory,
when this wretched spirit is indulged?
If Mr. Pride gets a wound in the head, it will not be the worse for the grace of humility.
A LITTLE DROP OF PURITY IN THE MIDST OF IMPURITY
Letters of J. C. Philpot
How mysterious is the life of God in the soul. It seems like a little drop of purity in the midst of impurity.
We shall always find sin to be our worst enemy, and self our greatest foe. We need not fear anything but sin— nothing else can do us any real injury. Though the Lord in tender mercy forgives His erring wandering children,
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yet He makes them all deeply feel that indeed it is an evil and a bitter thing to sin against Him.
TOIL IN SATAN’S SLAVE-HOUSE!
Henry Law, “Awakening and Inviting Calls”
Every mother’s child is an enslaved drudge in Satan’s service. Will you renounce the devil and his works, and all earth’s sinful vanities?
I plainly warn you, that Jesus requires your entire heart. You must be wholly His, or wholly toil in Satan’s slave-house!
All whom Jesus receives He wondrously transforms. The heart of stone will soften. A heart of flesh will take its place.
New affections,
new desires,
new hopes,
new tastes,
new prospects,
new delights
will sprout as blossoms on a summer tree. Old things will pass away; all things will become new.
The present desert of your mind will bloom as Eden’s lovely garden. The blank in your soul will become replete with precious, elevated, enchanting thoughts.
Conversion is a heaven-wrought change…. from wretched slavery to noble freedom, from doubts to peace,
from blindness to clear sight,
from low estate to heavenly heirdom!
Will you not come and drink this happy cup?
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THE SURE CONCLUSION OF A GODLESS LIFE!
Henry Law, “Deuteronomy” 1858
All men are born spiritually dead.
SIN entered with murderous hand.
It planted deep its dagger in the heart.
Knowledge of God,
love of His name,
delight in holy communion,
sweet fellowship with heaven,
the happy worship of unsullied praise, the blissful gaze on the Creator’s smile, and all the circle of pure joy—
were buried in a deep grave.
The soul became….
a total wreck,
a withered tree,
a dried up stream,
a wilderness of weeds, a starless night,
a chaos of beclouded thought, a rebel’s camp,
the shattered home of misery,
the region in which death reigned. The eyes were dim and saw not God.
The face was turned away.
Each step led downward.
The hands were lifted in defiance. The mouth was opened to blaspheme.
Man was a dying body holding a dead soul. He moved as an unmixed evil—as a sin-spreading pest.
All this is sad—but there are sadder things yet!
This is tremendous woe—but deeper woe comes on! –330–

This is dark night—but darker shades will deepen yet. This is full wretchedness—but still the cup may hold
more drops.
This fleeting scene must end! The earthly home must be left!
DEATH comes! It drives poor sinners to their final home. And what is that?
Reader, shrink not!
Withdraw the darksome veil. Look down into the dread abode. Ponder the lost in their low cells. HELL is their everlasting doom!
Think not, that hell is the mere phantom of brain-sick thought. It is no fable fondly framed to scare weak minds.
It is a dreadful reality!
It is a gigantic certainty!
It is the sure conclusion of a godless life!
It is the gulf, to which transgressing streams rush
hopelessly.
And it is not far away!
It gapes before the feet!
Another step may plunge the ruined into this abyss!
But hearken! There is a Savior, who delivers from this death. There is a friend, who bestows heavenly life. Jesus appears, and on the cross endures the death, and by His righteousness brings in new life.
“Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1
Thess. 1:10
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A LEPROSY IN OUR SOULS!
Favell Lee Mortimer, “Family Devotions”
Of all diseases, none represents sin in a more striking
manner than leprosy.
Leprosy is a POLLUTING disease. It rendered a man unfit to enter the temple, or even to associate with his fellows; as by God’s law anyone who touched him became unclean. Thus sin unfits man from entering heaven, and for the society of spotless saints and angels.
Leprosy is also a SPREADING disease. It covered a man with white scales from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot. Thus sin has defiled all our faculties. It has….
disordered our affections, blinded our understandings, hardened our consciences, perverted our wills.
Leprosy is a PAINFUL disease. The hands and feet of the poor leper are often eaten away, and in this crippled state he drags out a miserable existence. But what disease is as painful as sin—
the swellings of pride,
the tumults of passion,
the anxieties of covetousness, the gnawings of envy,
the gloom of unbelief?
Leprosy is an INCURABLE disease.
Sin also is incurable by MAN. None can forgive sins but God alone; none can overcome sins but God alone. Tears cannot wash out our past sins, nor can good resolu- tions keep us from committing them in time to come.
Having then a leprosy in our souls, let us imitate the poor leper of whom we read—
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“Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.” Mark 1:40-42
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SIN’S SWEETNESS AND SMILES
Henry Law, “The Burnt Offering”
Sin’s sweetness tempts by its flattering baits. But bitterness ensues. It shows enticements in its front.
It seems to call to rich delights. It promises a honeyed feast. But ah! the juice is gall.
The dregs are wormwood.
Sin’s smiles end in hell pains!
Poor worldlings snatch at miscalled pleasure’s husk. They eat, and fret, and pine, and perish!
OUR GREATEST ENEMY
Letters of J. C. Philpot
I am more afraid of myself—my lusts and passions, and strong and horrible corruptions—than of anybody in the whole world.
SELF is and ever will be our greatest enemy. And all our enemies would be as weak as water against us, were we not such vile wretches in ourselves.
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THE GAY AND FOOLISH MULTITUDE
Letters of William Tiptaft
“For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive?” 1 Corinthians 4:7
It is of God’s grace if we differ from the gay and foolish multitude around us.
“By the grace of God I am what I am.” 1 Cor. 15:10
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UNSAINTLY SAINTS
A. W. Tozer
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” Ephesians 4:31
Dispositional sins are fully as injurious to the Christian cause as the more overt acts of wickedness. These sins are as many as the various facets of human nature. Just so there may be no misunderstanding let us list a few of them—sensitiveness, irritability, churlishness, faultfinding, peevishness, temper, resentfulness, cruelty, uncharitable attitudes—and of course there are many more. These kill the spirit of the church and mar the witness of the church in the community. Many unsaved people have been turned away and embittered by manifestations of ugly dispositional flaws in the lives of the very people who were trying to win them.
Unsaintly saints are the tragedy of Christianity!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Gal. 5:22-23
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GODLY PARENTS CANNOT CONVERT THEIR CHILDREN
Mary Winslow, “Life in Jesus”
“We all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” Ephesians 2:3
“You must be born again.” John 3:7 Godly parents cannot convert their children.
God alone can do this. But they can lead them to Jesus, and bring them up in the fear of the Lord. And when they have done this, they have done all they can do; for the Holy Spirit alone can change the heart. They must be born again. Christ has said it. It is not a change of sentiment, nor an outward reformation of life; it is a new heart implanted by the Holy Spirit.
“Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:13
A SELF-PLEASING, SELF-INDULGING, WORLDLY-MINDED PEOPLE
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
See the absolute necessity of daily self-denial.
We ought every day…. to crucify the flesh,
to overcome the world, and to resist the devil.
Now what do we know of all this? Surely this is a question which ought to be asked.
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A little formal church going, and a decent attendance at a place of worship, can never be the Christianity of which Christ speaks in this place.
Where is our self-denial?
Where is our daily carrying of the cross?
Where is our following of Christ?
Without a religion of this kind we shall never be saved.
A crucified Savior will never be content to have a self- pleasing, self-indulging, worldly-minded people.
No self-denial—no real grace!
No cross—no crown!
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THE VAIN DELIGHTS OF THIS WORLD
Favell Lee Mortimer, “Family Devotions”
How many warnings are there in the Scriptures against the love of the world.
“The heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Eccl. 7:4 “Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” 2 Tim. 3:4 The unconverted person loves fleshly things.
He only delights in the earth—all his desires are after the things of the world….
its pleasures, its profit, and its honors.
But when the Spirit changes a man’s fleshly heart, then he has a spiritual nature—then he has desires after spiritual things—after holiness and heaven.
God often permits the servants of Satan to enjoy the vain delights of this world.
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“You have lived on earth in pleasure and luxury. You have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter!” James 5:5
“In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and
sorrow.” Rev. 18:7
IF YOUNG PEOPLE SPEND THEIR MONEY
Favell Lee Mortimer, “Family Devotions”
“So the people asked Him, saying, ‘What shall we do then?’ He answered and said to them, ‘He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.’” Luke 3:10-11
John, by his answer, shows us that the chief sin of the people was covetousness!
Covetousness is the sin of the poor, as well as of the rich. As we read in Jeremiah 8:10, “Everyone, from the least, even to the greatest, is given to covetousness.”
Is this sin still very common? It is!
People’s hearts are still wrapped up in….
their property, their money, their clothes, their houses, their furniture, or their lands,
whether they have little or much.
People are so fond of their property that they are reluctant to part with any of it. But the Word of God tells us that we should be ready to give.
Those who have more than enough for themselves, ought to give to those who have less than enough.
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The Scriptures do not forbid our saving against old age or sickness; but they command us to give to those who are in need.
“Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.” Psalm 41:1
If young people spend their money….
in pleasures,
in fancy clothing, or in useless things,
there is no promise for them to depend upon. But if they delight in giving to the poor for God’s sake, they shall never be forsaken!7
THE MUDDY WATERS OF THIS WORLD
Favell Lee Mortimer, “Family Devotions”
“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again.” John 4:13
There is a defect in all earthly pleasures and comforts—they seem to satisfy us for a little while, but soon the tormenting thirst returns.
Have we not often experienced the truth of this?
We have partaken of some pleasure, and have felt satisfied—but O how short was our satisfaction! We soon become restless and uneasy again.
Thus we continue to thirst until we are made partakers of the Holy Spirit—then we feel satisfied. Then we find within ourselves a source of happiness. What is this source of never-failing delight? It is the sense of pardoned sin, of God’s love in Christ, the hope of heaven, and of meeting our Redeemer there.
Have you not heard of people racked with pain, who yet enjoyed a peace that passes all understanding? Perhaps
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you have seen such people, and have wondered at their case. Behold the mystery explained! They drank, indeed, of no stream of earthly comforts, but there was in them a well of water springing up that never could be exhausted, and therefore they did not thirst after the muddy waters of this world.
“Sir, give me this water, so that I don’t get thirsty.”
John 4:15
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THE END WILL MAKE AMENDS FOR ALL!
Letters of J. C. Philpot
What a world it is of sin and sorrow!
How everything serves to remind us that we are all passing away!
I feel for you in your trials and afflictions, so various, painful, and multiplied. But dare I wish you free from what the all-wise, all-gracious Lord lays upon you? Could He not in a moment remove them all?
Our Father sees fit in His wisdom and mercy to afflict His children, and we know that He would not do so unless it were for the good of their soul. What can we say then? All we can do is to beg of the Lord that He would support, comfort, and bless them.
It is in the furnace that we learn our need of realities, and our own helplessness and inability. The furnace also brings to our mind the shortness of life, and how vain all things are here below.
Affliction are sent to….
wean from this world, make life burdensome, and death desirable.
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I well know that the poor coward flesh is fretful and impatient under afflictions, and would gladly have a smoother, easier path. But we cannot choose our own trials, nor our own afflictions. All are appointed in fixed weight and measure; and the promise is that all things shall work together for good to those who love God.
Wherever we go, and wherever we are, we must expect trials to arise. But it will be our wisdom and mercy to submit to what we cannot alter, and not fret or repine under the trial—but accept it as sent for our good.
We need trial upon trial, and stroke upon stroke to bring our soul out of carnality. We slip insensibly into carnal ease; but afflictions and trials of body and mind stir us up to some degree of earnestness in prayer, show us the emptiness and vanity of earthly things, and make us feel the suitability and preciousness of the Lord Jesus.
The path in which you have been led so many years is a safe way, though a rough and rugged way. The end will
make amends for all!
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WE ARE NO LONGER YOUNG
Letters of J. C. Philpot “My life is a breath.” Job 7:7
“Now my days are swifter than a runner; They flee away, they see no good.” Job 9:25
My dear friend—
We are no longer young. Life is, as it were, slipping from under our feet. It is a poor life to live to sin, self, and the world—but it is a blessed life to live unto the Lord.
I never expect to be free from trial, temptation, pain, and suffering of one kind or another, while in this valley
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of tears. It will be my mercy if these things are sanctified to my soul’s eternal good.
I cannot choose my own path, nor would I wish to do so, as I am sure it would be a wrong one.
I desire to be led of the Lord Himself into the way of peace, and truth, and righteousness—to walk in His fear, live to His praise, and die in the sweet experience of His love.
I have many enemies, but fear none so much as myself. O may I be kept from all evil and all error, and do the things which are pleasing in God’s sight.
Our days are hastening away swifter than a runner.
Soon with us it will be time no longer, and therefore how we should desire to live to the Lord, and not to self!
Yours affectionately in the truth, J. C. Philpot, June 20, 1861
THE END OF GOD IN ALL HIS DOINGS AND DEALINGS
Letters of J. C. Philpot
Blessed are those chastenings and those teachings which bring us to the feet of Christ, and by which He is made precious to the soul.
This is the end of God in all His doings and dealings with His people—to strip and empty them wholly of self, and to manifest and make His dear Son feelingly and experimentally their All in all. In Him and in Him alone can we, do we, find either rest or peace.
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THE BOSOM OF HIS ETERNAL LOVE!
Anne Dutton’s Letters on Spiritual Subjects
Oh, what heart can conceive, or tongue express, a thousandth part of that joy and glory which He has reserved for His people in the world to come, when He will bid them enter into His own joy, and
He Himself will be their everlasting light and their glory! Oh, then we shall have the light of life, of glory- life, in such manner and measure as far surpasses all our present thought!
Come, lie down by faith, in the bosom of His eternal Love! It is a sweet, soft bed, that will delight and refresh you exceedingly! Here is a basin of heavenly wine, or rather a sea of boundless bliss! Drink your fill, bathe your soul in pleasures—and shout the glories, the fullness, the praises of the strong Jehovah amid all your felt emptiness, weakness, and imperfections! So shall you be exceeding joyful and fruitful, and your obedience highly pleasing to your God and Father, in the Son of His love.
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SELF-SINS
A. W. Tozer, “The Pursuit of God”
“Love is not self-seeking.” 1 Corinthians 13:5
“The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely.” Philippians 1:17
To be specific, the self-sins are…. self-righteousness,
self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration,
self-love
and a host of others like them.
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The grosser manifestations of these self-sins…. egotism,
exhibitionism (attracting attention to oneself), self-promotion,
are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy! They are so much in evidence as actually, for many people, to become identified with the gospel. They appear to be a requisite for popularity in some sections of the visible church. Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ, is currently so common as to excite little notice.
“Let nothing be done out of selfish ambition or conceit.” Philippians 2:3
“And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12
THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE UNGODLY
Letters of J. C. Philpot
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” Psalm 119:71 There is a great difference between the afflictions of the
godly, and the afflictions of the ungodly.
To the godly afflictions are a blessing; but to the
ungodly afflictions are a curse.
Afflictions soften the heart of the godly; but they harden the heart of the ungodly.
In the case of the godly, afflictions…. stir up the grace of prayer,
wean the heart from the world, bring us to Word of God,
make us consider our latter end,
give power and reality to divine things,
show us the emptiness of all creature religion,
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make us look more simply and believingly to the blessed Lord, to feel how suitable He is to every want and woe; and that in Him, and in Him alone, is pardon, acceptance, and peace.
But the afflictions of the ungodly only produce sullenness, self-pity, and rebellion. 7
THE ONLY SMILE WORTH HAVING
Letters of J. C. Philpot
All the vain applause of mortals, and all that is called popularity, I think little of. It leaves an aching void, and often a guilty conscience. The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and all else is poverty, rags, and shame.
Not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends. God’s smile, not man’s, is the only
smile worth having.
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LIKE A LITTLE CHILD IN THE ARMS OF ETERNAL LOVE
Letters of J. C. Philpot
How I see men deluded and put off with a vain show, and how few there are, whether ministers or people, who seem to know anything of the transforming efficacy of real religion and vital godliness.
We desire to be more separated from the world in heart, spirit, and affection; to be spiritually minded, and to know more of that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.
And though we find sin still working in us, and some- times as bad as ever, yet our desire is to have it subdued in its power, as well as purged away in its guilt and filth.
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We have lived to see what the world can do for us—and found it can only entangle; and what sin can do—which is to please for a moment and then bite like an adder.
And we have seen also a little of the Person and work, blood and righteousness, grace and glory, blessedness and suitability of the Son of God; and He has won our heart and affections, so as at times to be the chief among ten thousand and the altogether lovely One.
May you experience the sweetness and blessedness of calmly relying on the faithfulness of God, and lying like a little child in the arms of eternal love.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. Philpot
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EVERY BITTER CUP
Newman Hall, “Leaves of Healing from the Garden of Grief” 1891
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you.” Psalm 50:15
If God is willing to help us, who can stay His hand? Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill be made low. Fountains shall spring up in the wilderness, and a path be opened through the great waters. In His hands are the hearts of all men. He can thwart the malice of foes, or make our enemies to be at peace with us. He who rescued Israel from Egypt, and Jerusalem from Sennacherib, and Daniel from the lions, is still as able to remove from His children every bitter cup—or give them grace to drink it.
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you.”
Psalm 50:15
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WE TAKE MUCH TO UPROOT US
Letters of J. C. Philpot, March 19, 1862
My dear friend—
I am glad to find that in your illness you have not been altogether left of the gracious Lord. It is but rarely that we can see at the time itself, what benefit there is to spring out of sickness and affliction. Our coward flesh cries out for ease—we want to get better, and dread being worse.
But indeed it is an unspeakable mercy when the affliction is truly sanctified to our soul’s good—when we can submit to the Lord’s will, lie passive in His hand, and know no will but His. When also, a little measure of meekness and softness is communicated, with faith and hope in exercise upon the blessed Lord, it seems to reconcile the mind to the affliction. When also, we can read the Word of truth with sweetness and pleasure, are enabled to call upon the Lord with a believing heart, and are in any way blessed with that spirituality of mind which is life and peace, then we can say, “It is good for me to have been afflicted.”
All the saints of God have ever acknowledged that it was in the furnace of affliction that they learned their deepest lessons, and got their greatest blessings. It is a good thing to be thus daily reminded of our latter end. It has a good effect in loosening the heart and affections from the poor perishing things of time and sense, and impressing deeply upon our minds that this polluted world is not our rest or home.
We take much to uproot us, for our carnal heart strikes deep root into earthly objects—much deeper than we are aware of, until we find how closely we cleave to things which we thought had scarcely any hold upon us!
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James gives good advice where he says, “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray.” You will find it a great mercy if you are enabled in your affliction to call upon the Lord; for though He may seem to hide His face and delay to answer, yet He puts the tears of His saints in His bottle, and writes their prayers in His book.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. Philpot
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THE WORLD IN THE CHRISTIAN
J. Wilbur Chapman
Christian! It is not the ship in the water, but the water in the ship, which sinks it. So it is not the Christian in the world, but the world in the Christian, which constitutes the danger.
Anything which dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it!
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THE CUP!
Newman Hall, “Leaves of Healing from the Garden of Grief” 1891
“Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given Me?” John 18:11
The hand that presented the bitter cup to Jesus was the hand of Him whom the Sufferer addressed as ‘Dear Father.’ Love decreed the cup!
Christians must not think that the bitterness of the cup given to them is any sign of diminished love in their Father who gives it. “Whom the Lord loves He
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chastens.” He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” By love He first drew us to Himself; and ever since He has held us by ‘cords of love.’ Love daily feeds us with heavenly manna and living water.
Love….
ordains every struggle to strengthen us, lights every furnace to purify us, mingles every bitter cup to heal us.
Such confidence in our Father’s love should render easy submission to His will. We may confidently surrender our own will to that of our Father, whose infinite resources are at the service of infinite love, and say with our Elder Brother, “May Your will be done. Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?
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THE WORST KIND OF PRIDE
Newman Hall, “Leaves of Healing from the Garden of Grief” 1891
“A thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” 2 Corinthians 12:7
The thorn in the flesh saved Paul from pride in the spirit.
How exposed are the most useful Christians to this temptation! To be proud of….
our beauty,
our strength,
our riches,
our station,
our power,
our learning and genius—
this is absurd, for what do we have, which we have not received from God?
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But to be proud of….
our piety,
our spiritual experience, our prayerfulness,
our zeal,
our usefulness—
this is the worst kind of pride—most offensive to God, most injurious to our own soul, most obstructive to usefulness.
If so, how beneficent the thorn, in whatever shape, that checks such self-destructive abuse of heavenly gifts!
“A thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.”
2 Cor. 12:7
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REST IN THE LORD
Newman Hall, “Leaves of Healing from the Garden of Grief” 1891
“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:7
For salvation, we may rest on His atonement.
In all our weakness, we may rest on His strength.
In all our sorrow, we may rest on His sympathy.
In all our perplexity, we may rest on His guidance.
In all our need, we may rest on His help.
In all our danger, we may rest on His deliverance.
“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” 7
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OH, HOW CHANGED A MAN IS HE NOW!
Octavius Winslow
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Originally shaped in iniquity, and conceived in sin—the love of sin and the hatred of holiness are born with us.
But when by the Holy Spirit we are born again, this original and natural love of sin and hatred of holiness are reversed! A new and heavenly principle is implanted which leads the regenerate to hate sin and love holiness.
Now, it is in this divine principle that the love of holiness in the believer is implanted—and a power in antagonism to sin is implanted in his heart.
What a reverse now transpires!
The regenerate now love what they once hated—and hate
what they once loved!
We loved sin, lived in sin, in some of its many forms…. intellectual sin,
gross sin,
refined sin,
open sin,
secret sin,
the lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eye,
the pride of life,
the power of Mammon,
the fascination of the world, the idolatry of the creature, the love of SELF.
Some, or all these forms of sin maintained the supremacy, and held their unbroken, undisputed rule.
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Oh, how changed a man is he now!
The sins which he once committed, the objects which he once loved, the tastes which he once cultivated, the sensualities in which he once indulged, have lost their power….
to fascinate, to please, to enthrall.
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THE MISERABLE DREGS OF SELF
J. C. Philpot, “Meditations on Matters of Christian Faith & Experience”
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6
We are ever looking for something in self to make ourselves acceptable to God, and are often sadly cast down and discouraged when we cannot find….
that holiness,
that obedience,
that calm submission to the will of God, that serenity of soul,
that spirituality and heavenly-mindedness
which we believe to be acceptable in His sight.
Our….
crooked tempers,
fretful, peevish minds, rebellious thoughts, coldness,
barrenness,
alienation from good, headlong proneness to ill,
with the daily feeling that we get no better but rather worse, make us think that God views us just as we view
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ourselves. And this brings on great darkness of mind and bondage of spirit, and we seem to lose sight of our acceptance in Christ, and get into the miserable dregs of self, almost ready to quarrel with God because we are so vile, and only get worse as we get older.
Now the more we get into these dregs of self, and the more we keep looking at the dreadful scenes of wreck and ruin which our heart presents to daily view, the farther do we get from the grace of the gospel, and the more do we lose sight of the only ground of our acceptance with God. It is “in the Beloved” that we are accepted, and not for any….
good words,
good works,
good thoughts,
good hearts, or
good intentions of our own.
If our acceptance with God depended on anything in ourselves, we would have to adopt the Wesleyan creed, and believe we might be children of God today and children of the devil tomorrow.
What, then, is to keep us from sinking altogether into despair, without hope or help? Why, a knowledge of our acceptance “in the Beloved,” independent of everything in us, good or bad.
“Their righteousness is of Me, says the Lord.”
“You are complete in Him.”
What a universal chorus of harmonious voices do we hear all sounding forth the same melodious strain— that we are accepted in the Beloved.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” Titus 3:5
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BUILDING AIR-CASTLE UPON AIR-CASTLE!
John MacDuff, “Thoughts for the Quiet Hour,” 1895
He who goes about whining all day long about some imaginary drawbacks in the sphere which Providence has assigned him—when all the while he is situated so much better than thousands around—is a suicide of his own happiness! He is also impeaching the faithfulness of the Supreme Ordainer and Disposer.
One half of life’s enjoyment is eaten out by this sinful craving after what cannot be obtained—the desire for something supposed to be better. Yes, but when “the better” is reached, there is the yearning for an imagined “better” still. This is building air-castle upon air-castle!
If in these days there be one household demon more than another which needs to be exorcized—it is the demon of discontent!
Oh, for the spirit of Paul—poor and lonely prisoner in Rome as he was—an apparent bankrupt in all that the world deems wealth and affluence—yet who could make this entry in his letter to his Philippian friends— “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. At the moment I have all I need—more than I need!”
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DEAD AND DARK SEASONS
J. C. Philpot, “Reviews”
All Christians, even the most eminent servants of God, have their dead and dark seasons—when the life of God seems sunk to so low an ebb as to be hardly visible—so hidden is the stream by the mud-banks of their fallen nature.
By these very dark and dead seasons, the people of God are instructed. They see and feel what ‘the flesh’ really
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is—how alienated from the life of God; they learn in whom all their strength and sufficiency lie; they are taught that in them, that is, in their flesh, dwells no good thing; that no exertions of their own can maintain in strength and vigor the life of God; and that all they are, and have—all they believe, know, feel, and enjoy— with all their ability, usefulness, gifts, and grace—flow from the pure, sovereign grace—the rich, free, undeserved, yet unceasing goodness and mercy of God!
They learn in this hard school of painful experience, their emptiness and nothingness—and that without Christ they can do nothing. They thus become clothed with humility, that rare, yet lovely garb; cease from their own strength and wisdom; and learn experimentally that Christ is, and ever must be, all in all to them, and all in all in them.
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AT THE CROSS
J. C. Philpot, “Contemplations & Reflections”
Standing at the cross of our adorable Lord, we see…. the law thoroughly fulfilled,
its curse fully endured,
its penalties wholly removed,
sin eternally put away,
the justice of God amply satisfied,
all His perfections gloriously harmonized, His holy will perfectly obeyed, reconciliation completely effected, redemption graciously accomplished,
and the church everlastingly saved!
At the cross we see….
sin in its blackest colors, and holiness in its fairest beauties.
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At the cross we see….
the love of God in its tenderest form, and the anger of God in its deepest expression.
At the cross we see the blessed Redeemer lifted up, as it were between heaven and earth, to show to angels and to men the spectacle of redeeming love, and to declare at one and the same moment, and by one and the same act of the suffering obedience and bleeding sacrifice of the Son of God—the eternal and unalterable displeasure of the Almighty against sin, and the rigid demands of His inflexible justice, and yet the tender compassion and boundless love of His heart to the elect.
At the cross, and here alone, are obtained pardon and peace.
At the cross, and here alone, penitential grief and godly sorrow flow from heart and eyes.
At the cross, and here alone, is…. sin subdued and mortified, holiness communicated,
death vanquished,
Satan put to flight, and
happiness and heaven begun in the soul.
O what heavenly blessings, what present grace, as well as what future glory, flow through the cross!
What a holy meeting-place for repenting sinners and a sin-pardoning God! What a healing-place for guilty, yet repenting and returning backsliders! What a door of hope in the valley of Achor for the self-condemned and self- abhorred! What a blessed resting-place for the whole family of God in this valley of grief and sorrow!
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HE WILL BECOME A GIANT IN WICKEDNESS!
Gardiner Spring, “Christian Parenting
Parents! You must recognize a mournful fact—your child is depraved! You will fail utterly to educate him if you don’t recognize this sad reality. He possesses a supremely selfish spirit! ‘Self-indulgence’ is his king!
Worse—unless he is instructed in moral truth, he will become a slave of base appetites and unholy passions!
He will become a giant in wickedness!
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HAVE WE NOTHING TO GIVE CHRIST?
J. C. Philpot, “Reviews”
Have we nothing to give Christ?
Yes!
Our sins, our sorrows, our burdens, our trials, and above
all the salvation and sanctification of our souls.
And what has He to give us?
What? Why, everything worth having, everything worth a moment’s anxious thought, everything for time and
eternity!
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IT HAS RUINED HIM, BODY AND SOUL
J. C. Philpot, “Reviews”
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7
As no heart can sufficiently conceive, so no tongue can adequately express, the state of wretchedness and ruin into which sin has cast guilty, miserable man.
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In separating him from God, it has severed him from the only Source and fountain of all happiness and all holiness. It has ruined him, body and soul. The body it has filled with sickness and disease. The soul it has defaced, and destroyed the image of God in which it was created. It has….
shattered all his mental faculties; broken his judgment,
polluted his imagination, alienated his affections.
It has made him love sin—and hate God.
It has filled him from top to toe with pride, lust, and cruelty, and has been the prolific parent of all those crimes and abominations under which earth groans, the bare recital of some of which has filled so many hearts with disgust and horror. These are the more visible fruits of the fall.
But nearer home, in our own hearts, in what we are or have been, we find and feel what wreck and ruin sin has made! There can be no greater mark of alienation from God than willfully and deliberately to seek pleasure and delight in things which His holiness abhors.
But who of the family of God has not been guilty here? Every movement and inclination of our natural mind, every desire and lust of our carnal heart, was, in times past, to find pleasure and gratification in something abhorrent to the will and word of the living Jehovah.
There are few of us who, in the days of our flesh, have not sought pleasure in some of its varied but deceptive forms. The theater, the race-course, the dance, the sports, the card-table, the midnight revel, “the pleasures of sin” were resorted to by some of us.
Our mad, feverish, thirst after excitement—the continued cry of our wicked flesh, “Give, give!”—our
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miserable recklessness or headlong, daring determi- nation to ‘enjoy ourselves,’ as we called it, cost what it would, plunged us again and again into the sea of sin, where, but for sovereign grace, we would have sunk to rise no more!
Or, if the ‘restraints of morality’ put their check upon gross and sinful pleasures, there still was a seeking after such “allowable amusements” (as we deemed them), as change of scene and place, foreign travel, the reading of novels and works of fiction, fine dress, visiting, building up airy castles of love and romance, studying how to obtain human applause, devising plans of self-advancement and self-gratification, occupying the mind with cherished studies, and delighting ourselves in those pursuits for which we had a natural taste, as music, drawing, poetry, or, it might be, severer studies and scientific researches.
We have named these middle-class pursuits as less obvious sins, than such gross crimes as drunkenness and vile debauchery in the lower walks of life. But, viewed with a spiritual eye, all are equally stamped with the same fatal brand of death in sin.
The moral and the immoral,
the refined and the unrefined,
the polished few or the crude many,
are alike “without God and without hope in the world.”
We are often met with this question, “What harm is there in this pursuit, or in that amusement?” The harm is, that the amusement is delighted in for its own sake; that it occupies the mind, and fills the thoughts, shutting God out; that it renders spiritual things distasteful; that it sets up an idol in the heart, and is made a substitute for God.
Now this we never really know nor feel, until divine light illuminates the mind, and divine life quickens the soul.
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We then begin to see and feel into what a miserable state sin has cast us; how all our life long we have done nothing but what God abhors; that every imagination of the thoughts of our hearts has been evil, and only evil continually; that we have brought ourselves under the stroke of God’s justice, under the curse of His righteous law, and now there appears nothing but death and destruction before our eyes, and unless we poor slaves of sin, Satan, and death were redeemed, we could not be reconciled to God.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
Ephesians 1:7
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THREE BOOKS
J. C. Philpot, “Reviews”
There are three books which, if a man will read and study, he can dispense with most others.

  1. The book of Providence—and this he reads to good purpose, when he sees written down line by line the providential dealings of God with him, and a ray of Divine light gilds every line.
  2. The Word of God—and this he reads to profit, when the blessed Spirit applies it with power to his soul.
  3. The book of his own heart—and this he studies with advantage, when he reads in the new man of grace the blessed dealings of God with his soul—and in the old man of sin and death, enough to fill him with shame and confusion of face, and make him loathe and abhor himself in dust and ashes.
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HOW MANY, O HOW MANY
J. C. Philpot, “Contemplations & Reflections”
“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me.” Matthew 15:8
How many, O how many of those who sit in our chapels amid the people of God are perishing in their sins with….
the Bible and hymn-book before their eyes, the sound of the gospel in their ears,
the doctrines of grace on their lips,
but the love of the world in their hearts!
“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
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THE WHOLE APPARATUS OF RELIGION
J. C. Philpot, “Reviews”
“I see that you are very religious in every way.” Acts 17:22
Religion, in some shape or other, is indispensable to the very existence of civilized society. There is a natural religion—as well as a spiritual religion.
Natural conscience is the seat of the former; a spiritual conscience the seat of the latter.
One is of the flesh—the other of the Spirit. One for time—the other for eternity.
One for the world—the other for the elect.
One to animate and bind men together as component members of society—the other to animate and bind the children of God together as component members of the mystical body of Christ.
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True religion is what the world does not want—nor does true religion want the world.
The two are as separate as Christ and Belial.
But some religion the world must have! And as it will not have, and cannot have the true—it will and must have the false.
True religion is….
spiritual and experimental,
heavenly and divine,
the gift and work of God,
the birthright and privilege of the elect, the peculiar possession of the heirs of God.
This the world has not, for it is God’s enemy—not His friend—walking in the broad way which leads to perdi- tion—not in the narrow way which leads to eternal life.
Worldly religion cannot exist without an order of men to teach it and practice its ceremonies. Hence come clergy, forming a recognized priestly caste.
And as these must, to avoid confusion, be governed, all large corporate bodies requiring a controlling power, thence come bishops and archbishops, ecclesiastical courts, archdeacons—and the whole apparatus of clerical government.
The ceremonies and ordinances cannot be carried on without buildings set apart for the purpose—thence churches and cathedrals.
As prayer is a part of all religious worship, and carnal men cannot, for lack of the Spirit, pray spiritually—they must have forms of devotion made ready to their hand, thence come prayer-books and liturgies.
As there must be mutual points of agreement to hold men together, there must be written formulas of
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doctrine—thence come articles, creeds, and confessions of faith.
And finally, as there are children to be instructed, and this cannot be safely left to oral teaching, for fear of ignorance in some and error in others, the very form of instruction must be drawn up in so many words— thence come catechisms.
People are puzzled sometimes to know why there is this and that thing in an established religion—why we have churches and clergy, tithes and prayer-books, universi- ties and catechisms—and the whole apparatus of religion. They do not see that all these things have sprung, as it were, out of a moral necessity, and are based upon the very constitution of man—that this great and wides- pread tree of a human religion has its deep roots in the natural conscience; and that all these branches necessarily and naturally grow out of the broad and lofty stem.
The attachment, then, of worldly people to a worldly religion is no great mystery. It is no riddle for a Samson to put forth—or requiring a Solomon to solve.
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HOW RAVISHING IS THE THOUGHT!
C. H. Spurgeon, “A Song Concerning Lovingkindnesses”
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love! Therefore with loving kindness have I drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3
How ravishing is the thought of eternal love! Try to drink it in—if you are a believer in Christ you were loved before time began its cycles; in that old eternity, before the earth was born, you were beloved of the Lord!
You were dear to Jehovah’s heart when this great world—the sun, the moon, the stars, slept in the mind of God—like unborn forests in an acorn-cup.
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He loved you with an everlasting and infinite love.
Rejoice in this and let your souls be glad. Never forget that the special electing love of God is the source of every blessing.
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love! Therefore with loving kindness have I drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3
THINGS THAT EVEN THE ANGELS DESIRE TO LOOK INTO!
J. C. Philpot, “Meditations on First Peter”
“Which things angels desire to look into.” 1 Peter 1:12
To the carnal, earthly, debased, degraded mind of man, the mystery of the Person of Christ, of the cross, of the sufferings, blood-shedding, and death of Jesus, whereby He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself—is foolishness. He sees no beauty, blessedness, or glory in the Person of the Son of God, nor any wisdom or grace in atoning blood and dying love.
But not so with these bright and pure beings!
They see in the Person and work of Christ not only the depths of infinite wisdom in the contrivance of the whole plan of redemption, and of power in its execution and full accomplishment; but they see such lengths, breadths, depths, and heights of love as fill their minds with holy wonder, admiration and praise. They see in His incarnation, humiliation, sufferings, blood-shedding, and death—such unspeakable treasures of mercy and grace as ever fill their minds with wonder and admiration.
What shame and confusion should cover our face that we should see so little beauty and glory in that redeeming blood and love, which fills the pure minds of the angelic beings with holy and unceasing admiration—and that
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they should be ever seeking and inquiring into this heavenly mystery, that they may discover in it ever new and opening treasures of the wisdom, grace, mercy, truth, and love of God—when we who profess to be redeemed by precious blood, are, for the most part, so cold and indifferent in the contemplation and admiration of it.
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PILE IN ONE MASS
Henry Law, “Awakening and Inviting Calls”
“Yes! He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!” Song of Solomon 5:16
Think of Jesus’ matchless worth. Angels are great, but their collected weight is infinitely outweighed by Him. Pile in one mass….
all kings and potentates of earth, all the wisdom of the wisest,
all the might of the mightiest, all the strength of the strongest;
it is all less than nothing, when compared to Him! Without Him heaven is no heaven.
“Whom have I in heaven but You? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside You.” Psalm 73:25
THOSE ARE CHARMING BELLS INDEED!
C. H. Spurgeon, “A Song Concerning Lovingkindnesses”
“By the grace of God I am what I am!” 1 Corinthians 15:10
All that we have received has come to us by the way of free grace! If our sense of our own unworthiness is clear, if we know what worse than nothings we are, what a mass of sin and corruption we are by nature, we shall
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never think that we receive anything from God by the way of merit.
Still our proud hearts need to be told over and over again that all the blessings we enjoy come to us by the free and sovereign grace of God!
The bread on your table is flavored with grace. Your meat has mercy for its sauce.
Every drop of water which cools your tongue tastes of mercy.
Charity clothes you.
Infinite love feeds you.
And as for your spiritual blessings, where are your streams found, whence do they gush—but from the inexhaustible fountain of eternal love?
God forbid that we should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ—and in the love which shone from that cross to such poor, unworthy ones as we are!
Those are charming bells indeed—free grace and dying love!
Through the ivory gate of grace, all mercies come to
sinners.
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PASSING THROUGH THE VALLEY OF WEEPING
John MacDuff, “A Book for the Bereaved”
“Passing through the valley of weeping.” Psalm 84:6
Child of God! There is not one drop of wrath in the troublous cup you are now drinking! He took all that was bitter out of it, and left it a cup of love! God deals tenderly, wisely, and lovingly with His children.
In a little while the night of weeping will be over, and a gentle hand in a tearless world will dry up the very
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source of tears! Every day is bringing you nearer that blissful reality—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 all the pangs and sorrows of the valley of weeping, to everlasting oblivion!
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!” Psalm 30:5 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away!” Revelation 21:4
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EVERY BITTER CUP
John Bunyan
“My times are in Your hand.” Psalm 31:15
Afflictions are governed by God, both as to…. their time,
their number,
their nature,
their measure.
Our times, therefore, and our condition in these times,
are in the hand of God.
God is in all providences, be they…. ever so bitter,
ever so afflicting,
ever so smarting,
ever so destructive to our earthly comforts. Every bitter cup is of His preparing!
It is Jesus, your best friend who most dearly loves you, who appoints all providences, orders them all, overrules, moderates, and sanctifies them all—and will
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sweeten them all—and in His due time will make them profitable unto you, that you shall one day have cause to praise and bless His name for them all.
“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” Heb. 12:6
DISASTER!
John MacDuff, “A Book for the Bereaved”
“Does evil befall a city, and the Lord hasn’t done it?”
Amos 3:6
“Does evil befall a city,” the cottage, the palace—is there disaster which blights some unknown poor man’s dwelling—is there disaster which clothes a nation in mourning, “and the Lord hasn’t done it?”
“I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I am the Lord, who does all these things.” Isaiah 45:7
“For thus says the Lord: Like as I have brought all this great evil on this people.” Jer. 32:42
“Therefore has the Lord has brought all this evil on them.” 1 Kings 9:9
“Behold, I will bring evil on you, and will utterly sweep you away.” 1 Kings 21:21
“Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I bring such evil on Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears shall tingle!” 2 Kings 21:12
“Thus says the Lord, behold, I will bring evil on this place, and the inhabitants of it.” 2 Chronicles 34:24
“Hear, earth: behold, I will bring evil on this people.”
Jeremiah 6:19
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THE CREATOR OF ALL WORLDS IN TEARS!
John MacDuff, “A Book for the Bereaved” “Lazarus is dead.” John 11:14
“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews weeping who came with her, He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” John 11:33
“Jesus wept!” John 11:35
Let us turn aside for a little and see this great sight! It is the Creator of all worlds in tears—the God-man Mediator dissolved in tenderest grief!
Jesus wept out of sympathy for the bereaved. The hearts at His side were breaking with anguish. All unaware of how soon and how wondrously their sorrow was to be turned into joy—this appalling thought was alone present to them in all its fearfulness—”Lazarus is dead!” When He, the God-man Mediator, with the refined sensibilities of His tender heart, beheld the poignancy of their affliction, the pent-up torrent of His own human sympathies could be restrained no longer. His tears flowed also! “Jesus wept!”
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TO SEPARATE US FROM WORLDLY THINGS
Letters of William Tiptaft
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 1:2
As long as we live in this world we shall find that our hearts again and again cleave to the dust.
All things here, however, are very uncertain and unsatisfactory. It is a great mercy when we can use the world as strangers and pilgrims.
There is nothing worth living for in this vain world.
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Vanity is stamped upon all created good.
All dealings with the world are of a deadening nature; therefore, whatever unnecessarily brings us into contact with the world should be avoided.
To separate us from worldly things, we need stripes, scourges, rods, and afflictions—besides various other crosses. Our souls so very much cleave to the dust.
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GOD’S APPOINTMENTS!
John MacDuff, “A Book for the Bereaved”
“The son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.” 1 Kings 17:17
How baffling and mysterious are many of God’s providential dispensations! Surely, we might think, if there is one dwelling more than another secure from the assaults of the dread invader, it will be that of the widow of Zarephath, and of the hope and solace of her declining years; who, if spared, might become an honored instrument in the defense and maintenance of the true religion. And yet, behold, the desire of her eyes and the delight of her heart—taken away by a stroke!
Oftentimes are we perplexed and confounded by similar dealings; decayed scaffoldings, crumbling props remaining—and the strong and vigorous, the virtuous and useful, swept down in a moment!
There is no key to these dark dispensations. Many a weeping eye cannot read them through blinding tears.
God’s most favored people are often put in the foremost ranks of chastisement. Upon the most fruit- bearing trees of His garden He often uses His sharp pruning-knife.
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“He cried to the Lord, and said, Lord my God, have you also brought evil on the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” 1 Kings 17:20
All bereavements and chastisements are Gods appointments!
Trial, in its varied forms, has ever been employed by God as a powerful means of leading to deeper convictions of sin, as well as a salutary quickener of spiritual graces. He knows what discipline is best fitted to draw the soul to Himself; and often does He show that none is so effectual as that which was employed in this home at Zarephath—snapping the ties which bind us to the creature—disuniting us from earthly, to bind us to heavenly things.
Many can trace their first deep sense of sin—their first lively apprehension of Christ and of Divine realities—to the hour when their dwelling was rifled of its prized blessings. He breaks the heart in order to save the soul.
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EACH APPARENTLY CAPRICIOUS TURN IN LIFE’S WAY
John MacDuff, “Communion Memories” 1886
The Christian has this promise of assured help—“My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow!” Matthew 6:34 Ah, that future! that unknown, sometimes dark and
chequered future, how many an anxious thought it costs!
Who can forecast the varying scenes of changeful life?
It is like walking up some sequestered dell; every turn in the path presents something new. A cluster of flowers here—a rotten branch or decaying tree there; now a flowing stream—now a quiet pool—now a
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sprawling cascade; now a gleam of sunlight, now the driving rain and booming thunder.
But each apparently capricious turn in life’s way, all its accidents and incidents, are the appointments of Infinite Wisdom!
The future with all its vicissitudes, is in His keeping and ordering. You may work the loom—the shuttle may be in your hands—but the pattern is all His—the inter- mingling threads of varied hue, even what are dark and somber. Do not talk of a tangled web, when it is that of the Great Craftsman!
Confide in that heart of Infinite Love!
Shall we dream of being wiser than God? Shall we dream of correcting His Book of Sovereign decrees? of altering the building-plans of the Divine Architect?
No! trust His loving heart, where sense cannot trace His hand!
Our All-sufficient God has said, “I will never leave you, I will never, never, never forsake you.” He is….
a rich Provider,
a sure Provider,
a willing Provider, a wise Provider.
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THE THINGS THE PAGANS ARE ALWAYS CONCERNED ABOUT
Erskine, “The Groans of Believers under Their Burdens”
“Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things.” Matthew 6:31-32
The great concern of the ungodly is about their clay tabernacle, how to gratify it, how to beautify it, and
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how to adorn it. Their language is, “Who will show us any good? What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear?”
But they have no thought or concern about the immortal soul which inhabits the tabernacle—which must be happy or miserable forever!
O sirs! Remember, that whatever care you take about this clay-tabernacle, it will turn into dust before long, and the reeking grave will be its habitation—where worms and corruption will prey upon the fairest face and purest complexion.
Where will be your beauty, strength, or fine attire, when the curtains of the grave are drawn around you?
BLOW UPON MY GARDEN
John MacDuff, “Communion Memories”
“Awake, north wind; and come, you south; Blow on my garden, that its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, And taste his precious fruits.” Song of Solomon 4:16
Come! Blessed Spirit, in all the plenitude of Your gifts and graces!
Come, as the north wind bringing with it conviction of sin—my own sin—seen in the light of my Savior’s Cross and sufferings.
Come, as the south wind—with all soothing, comforting, sanctifying influences—bearing on its wings the Beloved’s own balm-words of mercy— revealing the wonders of His love—the tenderness of His sympathy—the riches of His grace.
Let the spices—the fragrance of a grateful heart filled with all joy and peace in believing—flow out.
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“Awake, north wind; and come, you south; Blow on my garden, that its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, And taste his precious fruits.” Song of Solomon 4:16 7
SMALLER VIRTUES AND LESSER VICES
Hannah More, “Practical Piety”
“Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good.” Romans 12:9
It is important for the Christian….
to practice the smaller virtues,
to avoid scrupulously the lesser vices, and to bear patiently with minor trials.
Smaller virtues and lesser vices make up a large part of human life, and fix and determine our moral character. The smaller virtues are the threads and filaments which gently but firmly tie the Christian graces together. The acquisition of even the smallest virtue is actually a conquest over the opposite vice, and doubles our moral strength. Faults which we are accustomed to consider as small are apt to be repeated without reservation. The habit of committing them is strengthened by the repetition. Frequency renders us at first indifferent, and then insensible.
The hopelessness attending a long indulged habit generates carelessness, until the power of resistance is first weakened, then destroyed. The Christian knows of no small faults. He considers sins, whatever their magnitude, as an offense against his Maker. Nothing that offends God can be insignificant. Nothing can be trifling that makes a bad habit fasten itself to us! Do small faults, continually repeated, always retain their original weakness? Is a bad temper which is never
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repressed, not worse after years of indulgence, than when we first gave the reins to it? Does the habit of exaggeration never lead to falsehood, or never move into deceit? Before we determine that our small faults are innocent, we must try to prove that they shall never outgrow their initial dimensions. We must make certain that the infant shall never become a giant!
“Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good.”
Romans 12:9
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THIS MOST PRECIOUS AND SUITABLE SAVIOR!
Letters of J. C. Philpot
“For we don’t have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” Hebrews 4:15
What a mercy it is to have a faithful and gracious compassionate High Priest who can sympathize with His poor, tried, tempted family—so that however low they may sink….
His pitiful eye can see them in their low estate,
His gracious ear hear their cries,
His loving heart melt over them, and
His strong arm pluck them from their destructions!
Oh what would we do without such a gracious and most suitable Savior as the blessed Jesus! How He seems to rise more and more….
in our estimation, in our thoughts, in our desires,
in our affections,
as we see and feel what a wreck and ruin we are, what dreadful havoc sin has made with both body and soul, what miserable outcasts we are by nature.
But oh how needful it is, dear friend, to be brought
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down in our soul to be the chief of sinners, viler than the vilest, and worse than the worst—that we may really and truly believe in, and cleave unto, this most precious and suitable Savior!
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THE GOLDEN KEY THAT FITS ALL LOCKS!
John MacDuff, “Thoughts for the Quiet Hour,” 1895 “If I have not love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2
What a magic spell there is in love!—the absolute devotion of a beautiful soul that loses itself in the hallowed mission of radiating peace and joy and sympathy all around.
When other charmers have failed to charm, many dull, unsusceptible ears have been arrested and won by the music of kindness. By it….
old-age renews its youth, sick pillows are smoothed, burdens are eased,
tears are turned into smiles, dirges are turned into songs.
Love is, of all magical charms, the most irresistible.
Love is the golden key that fits all locks!
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MY PATH
Letters of J. C. Philpot
My path has been, and is, one mainly of trial and temptation, having a heart so evil, a tempter so subtle, and so many crosses and snares in which my feet are continually caught and entangled.
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All here on earth, is labor and sorrow. Our own sins, and the sins of others, will always make it a scene of trouble.
Oh, you hideous monster, sin! What a mighty power it has—a power which grace alone can subdue. It seems sometimes subdued, and then rises up worse than before. Well may we cry out, “Oh, wretched man that I am!” “Hold me up, and I shall be safe!” Ps. 119:117
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CRUEL TOOLS
A. W. Tozer
“I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10
A sculptor does not use a ‘manicure set’ to reduce the crude, unshapely marble to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer and the chisel are cruel tools, but without them the rough stone must remain forever formless and unbeautiful.
To do His supreme work of grace within you, God will take from your heart everything you love most. Everything you trust in will go from you. Piles of ashes will lie where your most precious treasures used to be!
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THE DESIRES OF THE FLESH AND OF THE MIND
J. C. Philpot, “Meditations on Ephesians”
“Among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” Ephesians 2:3
We may observe here a distinction drawn by the Apostle between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the mind. Both are opposed to God and godliness, both are the fruits of our fallen nature.
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But the desires of the FLESH seem to be those grosser and more sensual lusts and passions which are connected, so to speak, with the lower part of our nature. The desires of the MIND are those which are connected with its higher qualities.
Thus some are steeped up to the very lips in all manner of vile abominations of sensual lust, in the gratification of which they find all their pleasure. While others, who would scorn, or at least are not tempted to the baser lusts of the flesh, carry out with equal ardour the promptings of a more refined character and disposition. Ambition to rise in the world, thirsting after power over their fellow-men, a craving for fame and distinction in any particular branch of art or science, discontent with their present situation in life, envying everyone superior to them in birth, wealth, talent, accomplish- ments, position, or worldly happiness; attempts, more or less successful, to rise out of obscurity, poverty, and subjection, and to win for themselves name, fame, and prosperity—how wide a field does this open to our view, as embracing “the desires of the MIND!”
And observe how the Apostle puts upon a level the desires of the flesh and the desires of the mind, and stamps them both with the same black mark of disobedience and its consequences—the wrath of God.
We look around us. We see the drunkard staggering in the street, we hear the oath of the common swearer, we view the sons and daughters of Belial manifesting in their very looks how sunk they are in deeds of shame. These we at once condemn.
But what do we think of the aspiring tradesman, the energetic man of business, the active, untiring speculator, the man who, without scruple, puts into practice every scheme and plan to advance and aggrandize himself,
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careless who sinks if he rise? Is he equally guilty in our eyes? What do we think of the artist devoting days and nights to the cultivation of his skill as a painter, as an architect, as a sculptor; of the literary man, buried in his books; of the scientist, devoting years to the particular branch of study which he has selected to pursue; or similar examples of men, whose whole life and all whose energies are spent in fulfilling the desires of their mind?
As far as society, public welfare, the comfort of themselves and their families, and the progress of the world are concerned, there is a vast difference between these two classes; and we would do violence to right feeling to put them upon a level.
But when we come to weigh the matter as before God, with eternity in view, and judge them by the word of truth, we see at once that there is no real difference between them; that the drunkard does but fulfill the desires of his flesh—and the scholar, the artist, the man of business, the literary man, in a word, the man of the world, whatever his world be, little or great, does but each fulfill the desires of his mind.
Both are of the earth, earthy; both are sworn enemies to God and godliness; and could you look into the very bottom of his heart, you might find the man of intellect, refinement, and education—to be a greater foe to God and His word than the drunkard or the profligate!
The sin in both is one and the same, and consists in this, that in all they do they seek to gratify that carnal mind which is enmity against God, which is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. God is not in all, or indeed in any of their thoughts. Instead of living to and for Him in whom, as creatures of His hand, they live and move and have their being, they live wholly
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unto and for themselves, and thus are practical rebels against God, as rejecting his rightful claims upon their
obedience.
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THE DESIRE OF THE HEART
Favell Lee Mortimer, “Family Devotions”
“Where your treasure is, your heart will be there also.” Matthew 6:21
By nature, the desire of the heart is only for…. health,
riches,
pleasures,
worldly honor, or domestic comforts.
If we are more anxious to possess an earthly portion than a heavenly inheritance, we are not God’s people.
“Where your treasure is, your heart will be there also.”
Matthew 6:21
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THE DESIRES OF THE FLESH AND OF THE MIND
Henry Law, “Meditations on Ephesians”
“Among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” Ephesians 2:3
Our original state is here represented. Dark and hateful as the picture is, the contemplation is most profitable….
it silences all boastings;
it utterly strips us of all self-righteousness;
it excites self-loathing and self-abhorrence;
it loudly proclaims the sentence of just condemnation;
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above all, it exalts the glory of God in His free grace and unspeakable mercy in Christ Jesus. May these blessed effects be wrought by the Spirit in our souls, while we fix our eyes on the portrait before us!
We fulfilled the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Before the Spirit of God enters the soul, the whole nature is carnal and corrupt. The mind, in its various operations, only lusts after evil—the flesh is one mass of depravity, greedy after low and base gratifications. The mind suggests, and plans, and invents—the flesh is eager to obey. The mind is enmity to God—the flesh never can become spiritual. The mind is the nest of every unclean bird, the fountain-head of polluted streams—the flesh is the instrument of unholy indulgence.
Here we have the mind desiring and devising, and the flesh executing, all evil.
“FULFILLING the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” They offer no restraint to their ungodly propensities; they are carried rapidly down the destructive stream of sensual indulgence. Their one desire is to crowd the largest portion of worldly pleasure into the narrow speck of this little life….
they know no higher desires,
they are ignorant of God;
they tremble not at His Word;
they are utter strangers to His fear;
they are blind to the real character of sin;
they are reckless of the dreadful consequences;
their eyes are closed to….
the realities of eternity,
the approach of judgment,
the appalling terrors of the wrath to come.
Such were we—so we walked—having no holier object than to fulfill the desires of the flesh and of the mind.
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“Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” God abhors all evil—it is infinitely repugnant to His holy nature—His wrath burns like fire against it. So while we were thus wholly given to work iniquity, God’s pure anger was against our every word, and thought, and work. We were every moment treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath. This is the way of all the ungodly. We differed not from their principles and proceedings, and therefore we were rapidly hastening to the suffering of the wrath to come.
Praise be to “Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come!” 1 Thessalonians 1:10
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