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Title: Gleanings Among The Sheaves
Author: Spurgeon, Charles Haddon
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  SPURGEON'S BOOKS

  ARE,

  _SERMONS_,... _Eight Series_.

  $1.50 each.

  _MORNING BY MORNING._

  1 vol. 12mo. Price $1.75.


  IN PRESS:

  _EVENING BY EVENING_,

  By REV. C. H. SPURGEON.

  1 volume. 12mo. Price $1.75.



  GLEANINGS AMONG THE SHEAVES.

  BY

  REV. C. H. SPURGEON.


  _SECOND EDITION._


  New York:

  SHELDON AND COMPANY,

  498 & 500 BROADWAY.

  1869.



  TO

  THE NUMEROUS HEARERS

  AND TO

  THE INNUMERABLE READERS

  OF THE

  _REV. C. H. SPURGEON'S SERMONS,_

  This unpretentious little Volume

  IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

  _BY THE PUBLISHERS_.


  THE STEMS GROW UP EVERY WEEK:

  THE SHOCKS APPEAR ONCE A MONTH:

  THE SHEAVES ARE BOUND TOGETHER ONCE A YEAR:

  And it is thought that these samples, gleaned from the Sermons, will
  be welcome to many, but chiefly to those who are most familiar with
  the ample fields from which they are gathered.



GLEANINGS AMONG THE SHEAVES.


_The Preciousness of the Promises._

The promises of God are to the believer an inexhaustible mine of
wealth. Happy is it for him if he knows how to search out their secret
veins, and enrich himself with their hid treasures. They are an armory,
containing all manner of offensive and defensive weapons. Blessed is he
who has learned to enter into the sacred arsenal, to put on the
breastplate and the helmet, and to lay his hand to the spear and to the
sword. They are a surgery, in which the believer will find all manner of
restoratives and blessed elixirs; nor lacks there an ointment for every
wound, a cordial for every faintness, a remedy for every disease.
Blessed is he who is well skilled in heavenly pharmacy, and knoweth how
to lay hold on the healing virtues of the promises of God. The promises
are to the Christian a storehouse of food. They are as the granaries
which Joseph built in Egypt, or as the golden pot wherein the manna was
preserved. Blessed is he who can take the five barley loaves and fishes
of promise, and break them till his five thousand necessities shall all
be supplied, and he is able to gather up baskets full of fragments. The
promises are the Christian's Magna Charta of liberty; they are the title
deeds of his heavenly estate. Happy is he who knoweth how to read them
well, and call them all his own. Yea, they are the jewel room in which
the Christian's crown treasures are preserved. The regalia are his,
secretly to admire to-day, which he shall openly wear in Paradise
hereafter. He is already privileged as a king with the silver key that
unlocks the strong room; he may even now grasp the sceptre, wear the
crown, and put upon his shoulders the imperial mantle. O, how
unutterably rich are the promises of our faithful, covenant-keeping God!
If we had the tongue of the mightiest of orators, and if that tongue
could be touched with a live coal from off the altar, yet still it could
not utter a tenth of the praises of the exceeding great and precious
promises of God. Nay, they who have entered into rest, whose tongues are
attuned to the lofty and rapturous eloquence of cherubim and seraphim,
even they can never tell the height and depth, the length and breadth of
the unsearchable riches of Christ, which are stored up in the
treasure-house of God--the promises of the covenant of His grace.


_Sorrow's Discipline._

The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.


_The Christian Warfare._

It is a tough battle which the Christian is called to fight; not one
which carpet knights might win; no easy skirmish which he might gain,
who dashed to battle on some sunshiny day, looked at the host, then
turned his courser's rein, and daintily dismounted at the door of his
silken tent. It is not a campaign which he shall win, who, but a raw
recruit to-day, foolishly imagines that one week of service will insure
a crown of glory. It is a life-long war; a contest which will require
all our strength, if we are to be triumphant; a battle at which the
stoutest heart might quail; a fight from which the bravest would shrink,
did he not remember that the Lord is on his side; therefore whom shall
he fear? God is the strength of his life: of whom shall he be afraid?
This fight is not one of main force, or physical might; if it were, we
might the sooner win it; but it is all the more dangerous from the fact
that it is a strife of mind, a contest of heart, a struggle of the
spirit--ofttimes an agony of the soul.

Do you wonder that the Christian is called to conflict? God never gives
strong faith without fiery trial; he will not build a strong ship,
without subjecting it to very mighty storms; he will not make you a
mighty warrior, if he does not intend to try your skill in battle. The
sword of the Lord must be used; the blades of heaven must be smitten
against the armor of the evil one, and yet they shall not break, for
they are of true Jerusalem metal, which shall never snap. We shall
conquer, if we begin the battle in the right way. If we have sharpened
our swords on the cross, we have nothing whatever to fear; for though we
may be sometimes cast down and discomforted, we shall assuredly at last
put to flight all our adversaries, for we are the sons of God even now.
Why, then, should we fear? Who shall bid us "stay," if God bid us
advance?


_The Privileges of Trial._

It is said, that when the stars cannot be seen during the day from the
ordinary level of the earth, if one should go down into a dark well,
they would be visible at once. And certainly it is a fact, that the best
of God's promises are usually seen by His Church when she is in her
darkest trials. As sure as ever God puts His children in the furnace, He
will be in the furnace with them. I do not read that Jacob saw the
angel, until he came into a position where he had to wrestle, and then
the wrestling Jacob saw the wrestling angel. I do not know that Joshua
ever saw the angel of God, till he was by Jericho; and then Joshua saw
the angelic warrior. I do not know that Abraham ever saw the Lord, till
he had become a stranger and a wanderer in the plains of Mamre, and then
the Lord appeared unto him as a wayfaring man. It is in our most
desperate sorrows that we have our happiest experiences. You must go to
Patmos to see the revelation. It is only on the barren, storm-girt rock,
shut out from all the world's light, that we can find a fitting
darkness, in which we can view the light of heaven undistracted by the
shadows of earth.


_The Joy of Victory._

The Christian's battle-field is here, but the triumphal procession is
above. This is the land of the sword and the spear: that is the land of
the wreath and the crown. This is the land of the garment rolled in
blood and of the dust of the fight: that is the land of the trumpet's
joyful sound, the place of the white robe and of the shout of conquest.
O, what a thrill of joy shall be felt by all the blessed, when their
conquests shall be complete in heaven; when death itself, the last of
foes, shall be slain; when Satan shall be dragged captive at the chariot
wheels of Christ; when the great shout of universal victory shall rise
from the hearts of all the redeemed! What a moment of pleasure shall
that be!

Something of the joy of victory we know even here. Have you ever
struggled against an evil heart, and at last overcome it? Have you ever
wrestled hard with a strong temptation, and known what it was to sing
with thankfulness, "When I said my feet slipped, Thy mercy, O Lord, held
me up?" Have you, like Bunyan's Christian, fought with Apollyon, and
after a fierce contest, put him to flight? Then you have had a foretaste
of the heavenly triumph--just an imagining of what the ultimate victory
will be. God gives you these partial triumphs, that they may be earnests
of the future. Go on and conquer, and let each conquest, though a harder
one, and more strenuously contested, be to you as a pledge of the
victory of heaven.


_Light in the Cloud._

"The Lord turned the captivity of Job." So, then, our longest sorrows
have a close, and there is a bottom to the profoundest depths of our
misery. Our winters shall not frown forever: summer shall soon smile.
The tide shall not eternally ebb out: the floods must retrace their
march. The night shall not hang its darkness forever over our souls: the
sun shall yet arise with healing beneath his wings. "The Lord turned the
captivity of Job." Thus, too, our sorrows shall have an end when God has
gotten His end in them. The ends in the case of Job were these, that
Satan might be defeated, foiled with his own weapons, blasted in his
hopes when he had everything his own way. God, at Satan's challenge, had
stretched forth his hand and touched Job in his bone and in his flesh;
and yet the tempter could not prevail against him, but received his
rebuff in those conquering words, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust
in Him." When Satan is defeated, then shall the battle cease. The Lord
aimed also at the trial of Job's faith. Many weights were hung upon this
palm-tree, but it still grew uprightly. The fire had been fierce, yet
the gold was undiminished; only the dross was consumed. Another purpose
the Lord had was His own glory. And truly He was glorified abundantly.
God hath gotten unto His great name and His wise counsels, eternal
renown, through that grace by which He supported His poor afflicted
servant under the heaviest troubles which ever fell to the lot of man.
God had another end, and that also was served. Job had been sanctified
by his afflictions. His spirit was mellowed, and any self-justification
which lurked within was fairly driven out. And now that God's gracious
designs are answered, He removes the rod; He takes the melted silver
from the midst of the glowing coals. God doth not afflict willingly, nor
grieve the children of men for nought, and He shows this by the fact He
never afflicts them longer than there is a need for it. He never suffers
them to be one moment longer in the furnace than is absolutely requisite
to serve the purposes of His wisdom and of His love. "The Lord turned
the captivity of Job." Despair not, then, afflicted believer; he that
turned the captivity of Job can turn thy captivity as the streams in the
south. He shall make thy vineyard again to blossom, and thy field to
yield her fruit. Thou shalt again come forth with those that make merry,
and once more shall the song of gladness be on thy lip. Let not Despair
rivet his cruel fetters about thy soul. Hope yet, for there is hope
concerning this matter. Trust thou still, for there is ground of
confidence. He shall bring thee up again, rejoicing, out of captivity,
and thou shalt yet sing to his praise, "Thou hast turned for me my
mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me
with gladness."


_Good Works._

When once the human heart is put under the microscope of Scripture, and
we see it with a spiritual eye, we perceive it to be so vile, that we
are quite sure it would be just as impossible to expect to find good
works in an unrighteous, unconverted man, as to hope to see fire burning
in the midst of the ocean. The two things would be incongruous. Our good
works, if we have any, spring from a real conversion; yet more, they
spring also from a constant spiritual influence exercised upon us, from
the time of conversion even until the hour of death. Ah, Christian, thou
wouldst have no good works if thou hadst no fresh grace day by day! Thou
wouldst not find the grace given thee at the first hour sufficient to
produce fruit to-day. It is not like the planting of a tree in our
hearts, which naturally of itself bringeth forth fruit; but the sap
cometh up from the root Jesus Christ. We are not trees by ourselves, but
we are branches fixed on the Living Vine.

Our good works spring from union with Christ. The more a man knows and
feels himself to be one with Jesus, the more holy will he be. Why is a
Christian's character like Christ's character? Only for this reason,
that he is joined and united to the Lord Jesus. Why does the branch
bring forth grapes? Simply because it has been engrafted into the vine,
and therefore it partakes of the nature of the stem. So, Christian, the
only way whereby thou canst bring forth fruit to God is by being grafted
into Christ and united with him. If you think you can walk in holiness
without keeping up perpetual fellowship with Christ, you have made a
great mistake. If you would be holy, you must live close to Jesus. Good
works spring only thence. Hence we draw the most powerful reasons
against anything like trusting in works; for as works are only the gift
of God, how utterly impossible it is for an unconverted man to produce
any such good works in himself. And if they are God's gifts, how little
of our merit can there be in them!


_The Knowledge of Christ's Love._

It is the distinguishing mark of God's people that they know the love
of Christ. Without exception, all those who have passed from death unto
life, whatever they may not know, have learned this. And without
exception, all those who are not saved, whatever they may know besides,
know nothing of this. For to know the love of Christ, to taste its
sweetness, to realize it personally, experimentally, and vitally, as
shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, is the privilege of the
child of God alone. This is the secure enclosure into which the stranger
cannot enter. This is the garden of the Lord, so well protected by walls
and hedges that no wild boar of the wood can enter. Only the redeemed of
the Lord shall walk here. They, and only they, may pluck the fruits, and
content themselves with the delights thereof.

How important, then, becomes the question, Do I know the love of Christ?
Have I felt it? Do I understand it? Is it shed abroad in my heart? Do I
know that Jesus loves me? Is my heart quickened, and animated, and
warmed, and attracted towards Him through the great truth that it
recognizes and rejoices in, that Christ has really loved me and chosen
me, and set His heart upon me?

But while it is true that every child of God knows the love of Christ,
it is equally true that all the children of God do not know this love to
the same extent.

There are in Christ's family, babes, young men, strong men, and
fathers. And as they grow and progress in all other matters, so they
most certainly make advances here. Indeed, an increase of love, a more
perfect apprehension of Christ's love, is one of the best and most
infallible gauges whereby we may test ourselves whether we have grown in
grace or not. If we have grown in grace, it is absolutely certain that
we shall have advanced in our knowledge and reciprocation of the love of
Christ. Many have believed in Jesus, and know a little of His love; but,
O! it is little indeed they know, in comparison with some others who
have been brought into the inner chamber, and made to drink of the
spiced wine of Christ's pomegranate. Some have begun to climb the
mountain, and the view which lies at their feet is lovely and passing
fair, but the landscape is not such as would greet their eyes if they
could but stand where advanced saints are standing, and could look to
the east and to the west, to the north and to the south, and see all the
lengths, and breadths, and depths, and heights of the love of Christ
which passeth knowledge.


_Clear Shining after Rain._

The sway of Christ as King, according to David's description, is like
"Clear shining after rain," whereby the tender grass is made to spring
out of the earth. So have we often seen it. After a heavy shower of
rain, or after a continued rainy season, when the sun shines, there is a
delightful clearness and freshness in the air that we seldom perceive at
other times. Perhaps the brightest weather is just when the rain has
ceased, when the wind has drifted away the clouds, and the sun peers
forth from his chambers to gladden the earth with his smiles. And thus
is it with the Christian's exercised heart. Sorrow does not last
forever. After the pelting rain of adversity cometh ever and anon the
clear shining. Tried believer, consider this. After all thy afflictions
there remaineth a rest for the people of God. There is a clear shining
coming to thy soul when all this rain is past. When thy time of rebuke
is over and gone, it shall be to thee as the earth when the tempest has
sobbed itself to sleep, when the clouds have rent themselves to rags,
and the sun peereth forth once more as a bridegroom in his glorious
array. To this end, sorrow coöperates with the bliss that follows it,
like rain and sunshine, to bring forth the tender blade. The tribulation
and the consolation work together for our good. "As the sufferings of
Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." The
clear shining after rain produces an atmosphere that refreshes herbs and
cereals: and the joy of the Lord, after seasons of sorrow, makes the
soul fruitful. Thus we grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ.


_A Quiet Heart._

Unless the heart be kept peaceable, the life will not be happy. If calm
doth not reign over that inner lake within the soul, which feeds the
rivers of our life, the rivers themselves will always be in storm. Our
outward acts will always tell that they were born in tempests, by being
tempestuous themselves. We all desire to lead a joyous life; the bright
eye and the elastic foot are things which we each of us desire; to carry
about a contented mind is that to which most men are continually
aspiring. Let us remember, that the only way to keep our life peaceful
and happy, is to keep the heart at rest; for come poverty, come wealth,
come honor, come shame, come plenty, or come scarcity, if the heart be
quiet, there will be happiness anywhere. But whatever the sunshine and
the brightness, if the heart be troubled, the whole life must be
troubled too.


_A Rich Life._

When one of our kings came back from captivity, as old chroniclers
tell, there were fountains in Cheapside which flowed with wine. So
bounteous was the king, and so glad the people, that instead of water,
they made wine flow free to everybody. There is a way of making our life
so rich, so full, so blessed to our fellow-men, that the metaphor may be
applicable to us, and men may say, that our life flows with wine when
other men's lives flow with water. Ye have known some such men. John
Howard's life was not like our poor, common lives: he was so benevolent,
his sympathy with the race so self-denying, that the streams of his life
were like generous wine. You have known personally, it may be, some
eminent saint, one who lived very near to Jesus: when he talked, there
was an unction and a savor about his words, a solidity and a strength
about his utterances, which you could appreciate, though you could not
attain unto it. You have sometimes said, "I wish my words were as full,
as sweet, as mellow, and as unctuous as the words of such a one. O, I
wish my actions were just as rich, had as deep a color, and as pure a
taste, as the acts of some other to whom you point. All I can do seems
but little and empty when compared with his high attainments. O, that I
could do more! O, that I could send streams of pure gold into every
house, instead of my poor dross!" Well, Christian, this should stimulate
thee to keep thine heart full of rich things. Never, never neglect the
Word of God; that will make thy heart rich with precept, thy head rich
with understanding, and thy bowels rich with compassion; then, thy
conversation, when it flows through thy mouth, will be from thy soul,
and, like all that is within thee, rich, unctuous, and savory. Only let
thy heart be full of sweet, generous love, and the stream that flows
from thy lips will be sweet and generous. Above all, get Jesus to live
in thine heart, and then out of thee shall flow rivers of living water,
more exhilarating, purer, and more satiating than the water of the well
of Sychar, of which Jacob drank. Go forth, with Christian, to the great
mine of unsearchable riches, and cry unto the Holy Spirit to make thy
heart rich unto salvation. So shall thy life and conversation be a boon
to thy fellows; and when they see thee, thy visage shall shine, and thy
face shall be as the angel of God.


_"He hath Said."_

The apostles, like their Master, were always very ready at quotations.
As inspired men they could have always used fresh words, yet they
preferred (and herein they are an example to us) to quote old words upon
which the seal of divine authority has been set aforetime--"He hath
said." Let us do the same, for, though the words of ministers may be
sweet, the words of God are sweeter; and though original thoughts may
have the charm of novelty, yet the ancient words of God have the ring,
and the weight, and the value of old and precious coins, and they will
never be found wanting in the day when we require to use them. "He hath
said," not only chases away doubts and fears, but it also yields
nourishment to all our graces. When the apostle would make us contented,
he says, "Be content with such things as ye have: for _He hath said_;"
and when he would make us bold and courageous, he puts it thus forcibly,
"_He_ hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." So that
_we_ may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what
man shall do unto me." When the apostle Paul would nourish faith, he
does it by feeding us from Scripture with the examples of Abraham, of
Isaac, of Jacob, of Moses, of Gideon, of Barak, and of Jephthah. When
another apostle would calm us with a lesson of patience, he says, "Ye
have heard of the patience of Job;" or if it be our prayerfulness that
he wants to stir up, he says, "Elias was a man subject to like passions
as we are, and he prayed and prevailed." "_He hath said_," is refreshing
food for every grace, and a decisive death-blow for every sin. Here you
have nourishment for that which is good, and poison for that which is
evil. Search, then, the Scriptures, for so shall you grow healthy,
strong, and vigorous in the divine life.

But besides searching them by reading, and treasuring them by memory,
we should test them by experience, and so often as a promise is proven
to be true, we should make a mark against it, and note that we also can
say, as did one of old, "This is my comfort in my affliction; for Thy
word hath quickened me." "Wait on the Lord," said Isaiah, and then he
added, "Wait, _I say_, on the Lord," as if his own experience led him to
echo the voice of God to his hearers. Test the promise; take God's
bank-note to the counter, and mark if it be cashed. Grasp the lever
which he ordains to lift your trials, and try if it possesses real
power. Cast this divine tree into the bitter waters of your Marah, and
learn how it will sweeten them. Take this salt, and throw it into the
turbid waters, and witness if they be not made sweet, as were the waters
of old by the prophet Elisha. "Taste and see that the Lord is good ...
for there is no want to them that fear Him."


_Safety in Conflict._

The way that God keeps His people in security is not by shutting out
their enemies from attacking them, but by sustaining them while engaged
in the conflict. It is not much to preserve ones' self behind a wall
which cannot be scaled, but to stand where arrows are flying thick as
hail, where lances are being pushed with fury, where the sword-cuts are
falling on every part, and in the midst of all to prove invulnerable,
invincible, immortal, this is to wear a divine life which cannot be
conquered by human power. Such is the calling of the Christian. God will
put us where we must be tried and tempted. If we are not tried, there is
no honor to Him who preserves us; and if we are not tempted, there is no
gratitude to His grace who delivers us out of temptations. The Lord does
not put his plants into a hot-house, as some gardeners do; no, He sets
them out in the open air, and if the frost is coming, He says, "Ah! but
no frost can kill them, and they will be all the sturdier in the summer
for the cold in the winter." He does not shelter them either from the
heat of the sun, or from the chills of the night. In this world we must
have tribulation, and we must have much of it too, for it is through
much tribulation we inherit the kingdom. What God does for His people is
this: He keeps them _in_ tribulation, preserves them in temptation, and
brings them joyfully out of all their trials. So, Christian, you may
rejoice in your security; but you must not think that you are not to be
attacked; you are like a stream from Lebanon, to be dashed down many a
cascade, to be broken over many a rough rock, to be stopped up with many
a huge stone, to be impeded by many a fallen tree; but you are to dash
forward with the irresistible force of God, sweeping everything away,
till you find at last the place of your perfect rest.


_To-morrow._

If to-morrows are not to be boasted of, are they good for nothing? No,
blessed be God. There are a great many things we may do with to-morrows.
I will tell you what we may do with them if we are the children of God.
We may always look forward to them with _patience and confidence_, that
they will work together for our good. We may say of the to-morrows, "I
do not boast of them, but I am not frightened at them; I would not glory
in them, but I will not tremble about them." Yes, we may be very easy
and very comfortable about to-morrow; we may remember that all our times
are in His hands, that all events are at His command; and though we know
not all the windings of the path of providence, yet _He_ knows them all;
they are all settled in His book, and our times are all ordered by His
wisdom. And, therefore, we may look upon the to-morrows as we see them
in the rough bullion of time, about to be minted into every-day's
expenditure, and we may say of them all, "They shall all be gold; they
shall all be stamped with the King's impress, and therefore, let them
come; they will not make me worse--they will work together for my good."

Yea, more, a Christian may rightly look forward to his to-morrows, not
simply with resignation, but also with _joy_. To-morrow to a Christian
is a happy thing; it is one stage nearer glory. It is one step nearer
heaven to a believer; it is just one knot more sailed across the
dangerous sea of life, and he is so much the nearer to his eternal port.

To-morrow! the Christian may rejoice at it; he may say of to-day, "O
day, thou mayst be dark, but I shall bid thee good by, for lo, I see the
morrow coming, and I shall mount upon its wings, and shall flee away and
leave thee and thy sorrows far behind me."


_A Full Heart._

You have seen the great reservoirs provided by our water companies, in
which water for the supply of thousands of houses is kept. Now, the
heart is the reservoir of man, from which the streams of his life flow.

That life may flow through different pipes--the mouth, the hand, the
eye; but still all the issues of hand, of eye, of lip, derive their
source from the great fountain and central reservoir, the heart; and
hence there is no difficulty in showing the great necessity that exists
for keeping this reservoir in a proper state and condition, since
otherwise that which flows through the pipes must be tainted and
corrupt. Not only must the heart be kept pure, but it must also be kept
_full_. However pure the water may be in the central reservoir, it will
not be possible for us to have an abundant supply, unless the reservoir
itself be full. An empty fountain will most assuredly beget empty pipes;
let the machinery be never so accurate, let everything else be well
ordered, yet if that reservoir be dry, we may wait in vain for water.
See, then, the necessity of keeping the heart full; and let the
necessity make you ask this question: "But how can I keep my heart full?
How can my emotions be strong? How can I keep my desires burning and my
zeal inflamed?" Christian! there is one text which will explain all
this: "All my springs are in Thee," said David. If thou hast all thy
springs in God, thy heart will be full enough. If thou goest to the foot
of Calvary, there will thy heart be bathed in love and gratitude. If
thou art often in the vale of retirement, talking with thy God, thy
heart shall be full of calm resolve. If you goest with thy Master to the
hill of Olivet, with Him to weep over Jerusalem, then will thy heart be
full of love for never-dying souls. If thou art continually drawing
thine impulse, thy life, the whole of thy being from the Holy Spirit,
without whom thou canst do nothing, and if thou art living in close
communion with Christ, there will be no fear of thy having a dry heart.
He who lives without prayer--he who lives with little prayer--he who
seldom reads the Word--he who seldom looks up to heaven for a fresh
influence from on high--he will be the man whose heart will become dry
and barren; but he who calls in secret on his God--who spends much time
in holy retirement--who delights to meditate on the words of the Most
High--whose soul is given up to Christ--who delights in His fulness,
rejoices in his all-sufficiency, prays for his second coming, and
delights in the thought of his glorious advent--such a man must have an
overflowing heart; and as his heart is, such will his life be. It will
be a full life; it will be a life that will speak from the sepulchre,
and wake the echoes of the future. "Keep thine heart with all
diligence," and entreat the Holy Spirit to keep it full; for otherwise,
the issues of thy life will be feeble, shallow, and superficial; and
thou mayest as well not have lived at all.

O for a heart thus full, and deep, and broad! Find the man that hath
such a heart, and he is the man from whom living waters shall flow, to
make the world glad with their refreshing streams.


_Persevering Prayer._

Do not give up those prayers which God's Spirit has put in your
hearts--for remember, the things you have asked for are worth waiting
for. Besides, you are a beggar when you are in prayer; therefore you
must not be a chooser as to the time when God shall hear you. If you had
right ideas of yourself, you would say, "It is a wonder that He ever
listens to me at all, so unworthy as I am. Does the Infinite indeed bow
His ear to me? May I hope He will at last listen to me? Then I may well
continue my prayers."

And recollect it is your only hope: there is no other Saviour. This or
none--Christ's blood or else eternal wrath. And to whom shall you go, if
you turn away from Him? None ever yet perished pleading for mercy;
therefore keep on.

Besides, better men than you have had to wait. Kings, and patriarchs,
and prophets have waited; therefore surely you can be content to sit in
the King's antechamber a little while. It is an honor to sit as Mordecai
did at the gate. Pray on--wait on!

"Ah!" says one, "that is just what I have been doing a long time." Yes,
yes, there are different kinds of waiting. A man says, "I have been
waiting:" but he has folded his arms and gone to sleep. You may _wait_
in that way till you are lost. The waiting I mean is "getting all things
ready"--the waiting of the poor sufferer for the physician, who cries
out in pain, "Is the doctor coming?" I will be surety for my Master when
I say that none such will be sent empty away. He will never break his
promise. _Try Him_--TRY HIM!


_Humility._

What is humility of mind? Humility is to make a right estimate of
one's self. It is no humility for a man to think less of himself than he
ought, though it might rather puzzle him to do that. Some persons, when
they know they can do a thing, tell you they cannot: but you surely
would not call that humility? A man is asked to take part in some good
work: "No," he says, "I have no ability;" yet, if you were to say so of
him, he would be offended at you. It is not humility for a man to stand
up and depreciate himself, and say he cannot do this, that, or the
other, when he knows that it is untrue. If God gives a man a talent, do
you think the man does not know it? If a man has ten talents, he has no
right to be dishonest to his Maker, and to say, "Lord, thou hast only
given me five." It is not humility to underrate your endowments:
humility is to think of yourself, if you can, as God thinks of you. It
is to feel that if we have talents, God has given them to us, and let it
be seen that, like freight in a vessel, they tend to sink us low. The
more we have, the lower we ought to lie. Humility is not to say, "I have
not this gift;" but it is to say, "I have the gift, and I must use it
for my Master's glory. I must never seek any honor for myself; for what
have I that I have not received?" Humility is to feel that we have no
power of ourselves, but that it all cometh from God. Humility is to lean
on our Beloved, saying, "I can do all things through Christ, who
strengtheneth me." It is, in fact, to annihilate self, and to exalt the
Lord Jesus Christ as All in All.


_Look Upwards._

Christian! in all thy troubles, look unto God, and be saved. In all thy
trials and afflictions, look unto Christ, and find deliverance. In all
thine agony, in all thy repentance for thy guilt, look unto Christ, and
find pardon. Remember to put thine eyes heavenward, and thine heart
heavenward too. Bind round thyself a golden chain, and put one link of
it in the staple in heaven. Look unto Christ; fear not. There is no
stumbling when a man walks with his eyes up to Jesus. He that looks at
Christ walks safely.


_The Use of Trial._

Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what
we are made of; they just turn up some of the ill weeds on to the
surface.


_Faith Necessary._

"Whatsoever things are lovely, and pure, and of good report," try and
gain them; but remember that all these things put together, without
faith, do not please God. Virtues, _without faith_, are whitewashed
sins. Unbelief nullifies everything. It is the fly in the ointment; it
is the poison in the pot. Without faith--with all the virtues of purity,
with all the benevolence of philanthropy, with all the kindness of
disinterested sympathy, with all the talents of genius, with all the
bravery of patriotism, and with all the decision of principle--you have
no title to divine acceptance, for "without faith it is impossible to
please God."

Faith fosters every virtue; unbelief withers every virtue in the bud.
Thousands of prayers have been stopped by unbelief; many songs of
praise, that would have swelled the chorus of the skies, have been
stifled by unbelieving murmurs; many a noble enterprise conceived in the
heart has been blighted ere it could come forth by unbelief. Faith is
the Samsonian lock of the Christian: cut it off, and he can do nothing.
Peter, while he had faith, walked on the waves of the sea. But presently
there came a billow behind him, and he said, "That will sweep me away;"
and then another before, and he cried out, "That will overwhelm me;" and
he thought, "How could I be so presumptuous as to walk on the top of
these waves?" And as soon as he doubted, he began to sink. Faith was
Peter's life-buoy--it kept him up; but unbelief sent him down. The
Christian's life may be said to be always "walking on the water," and
every wave would swallow him up; but faith enables him to stand. The
moment you cease to believe, that moment distress and failure follow. O,
wherefore dost thou doubt, then?


_Christ "Altogether Lovely."_

In calling the Lord Jesus "altogether lovely," the Church asserts that
she sees nothing in Him which she does not admire. The world may rail at
His cross and call it shameful; to her it is the very centre and soul of
glory. A proud and scornful nation might reject their King because of
His manger-cradle and peasant-garb, but to her eye the Prince is
glorious in this poor apparel. He is never without beauty to her; never
is His visage marred, or his glory stained. She presses His pierced feet
to her bosom, and looks upon their wounds as jewels. Fools stand by His
cross and find full many a theme for jest and scorn: she discovers
nothing but solemn reason for reverent adoration and unbounded love.
Viewing Him in every office, position, and relationship, she cannot
discover a flaw; in fact, the thought of imperfection is banished far
away. She knows too well His perfect Godhead and His spotless manhood,
to offer a moment's shelter to the thought of a blemish in His
immaculate person; she abominates every teaching that debases Him; she
spurns the most gorgeous drapery that would obscure His beauteous
features; yea, so jealous is she of His honor, that she will hear no
spirit which doth not witness to His praise. A hint against His
undefiled conception or His unsullied purity would stir her soul to holy
wrath, and speedy would be her execration, and relentless her execution
of the heresy. Nothing has ever aroused the ire of the Church so fully
as a word against her Head. To all true believers this is high treason,
and an offence which cannot be treated lightly. Jesus is without a
single blot or blemish, "altogether lovely."

Yet this negative praise, this bold denial of fault, is far from
representing the fulness of the loving admiration of the Church. Jesus
is positively _lovely_ in her eyes. Not barely comely, nor merely fair,
His beauties are attracting beauties, and His glories are such as charm
the heart. Love looks forth from those "dove's eyes, washed with milk,
and fitly set;" it flows from those "lips like lilies dropping
sweet-smelling myrrh," and it sparkles on those hands which are "full of
gold rings, set with chrysolite."

But although this utterance of the Church is the very climax of the
language of praise, and was doubtless intended as the acme of all
description, yet it is not possible that this one sentence, even when
expanded by the most careful meditation, should be able to express more
than a mere particle of the admiration felt. Like a son of Anak, the
sentence towers above all others; but its stature fails to reach the
towering height of Heaven-born love. It is but a faint symbol of
unutterable affection; a choice pearl washed on shore from the deep sea
of love.


_The Remedy for Doubts._

The best way to get your faith strengthened is to have communion with
Christ. If you commune with Christ you cannot be unbelieving. When his
left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me, I cannot
doubt. When my Beloved sits at his table, and He brings me into His
banqueting-house, and His banner over me is Love, then, indeed, I do
believe. When I feast with Him, my unbelief is abashed, and hides its
head. Speak, ye that have been led in the green pastures, and have been
made to lie down by the still waters; ye who have seen His rod and His
staff, and hope to see them even when you walk through the valley of the
shadow of death; speak, ye that have sat at His feet with Mary, or laid
your head upon his bosom with the well-beloved John; have you not found
when you have been near to Christ your faith has grown strong, and when
you have been far away from Him, your faith has become weak? It is
impossible to look Christ in the face and then doubt Him. When you
cannot see Him, then you doubt Him; but you must believe when your
Beloved speaks unto you, and says, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and
come away." There is no hesitation then; you must arise from the
lowlands of your doubt up to the hills of assurance.


_All Things working for Good._

Christ is the arbiter of all events; in everything His sway is supreme;
and He exercises His power for the good of His Church. He spins the
thread of events, and acts from the distaff of destiny, and does not
suffer those threads to be woven otherwise than according to the pattern
of His loving wisdom. He will not allow the mysterious wheel to revolve
in any way which shall not bring good unto His chosen. He makes their
worst things blessings to them, and their best things he sanctifies. In
times of plenty, He blesses their increase; in times of famine, He
supplies all their needs. As all things are working for His glory, so
all things are working for their good.


_The Triumph of Grace._

It is one of the greatest of wonders that all men do not love Christ.
Nothing manifests more clearly the utter corruption of our race than the
fact that "He was despised and rejected of men." Those, however, who
have seen the fountains of the great deep of human depravity broken up,
are not at a loss to account for the treatment of the Messiah. It was
not possible that darkness should have fellowship with light, or Christ
with Belial. Fallen man could not walk with Jesus, for the two were not
agreed. It was but the necessary result of the contact of two such
opposites that the guilty creature should hate the Perfect One. "Crucify
Him, crucify Him," is the natural cry of fallen man. Our first wonder is
displaced, and another wonder fills the sphere of thought. Did we marvel
that all men do not love?--it is a greater marvel still that any man
does love Jesus. In the first case we saw the terrible blindness which
failed to discover the brightness of the sun--with a shudder we saw it,
and were greatly amazed; but in this second instance we behold Jesus of
Nazareth opening the fast-closed eye, and scattering the Egyptian
darkness with the Divine radiance of His marvellous light. Is this less
a wonder? If it was a strange thing to witness the fearful ravings of
the demoniac among the tombs, it is surely far more a prodigy to see
that same man sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed and in his right
mind. It is indeed a triumph of grace when man's heart is brought to
give its affection to Jesus, for it proves that the work of Satan is all
undone, and that man is restored from his fallen state.


_Religion a Personal Matter._

Some men say that they will test the holiness of Christ's religion by
the holiness of Christ's people. You have no right, I reply, to put the
question to any such test as that. The proper test that you ought to use
is to try it yourselves--to "taste and see that the Lord is good." By
tasting and seeing you will prove His goodness, and by the same process
you must prove the holiness of His Gospel. Your business is to seek
Christ crucified for yourselves, not to take the representation of
another man concerning the power of grace to subdue corruption and to
sanctify the heart. Inasmuch as God has given you a Bible, He intended
you to read it, and not to be content with reading _men_. You are not to
be content with feelings that rise through the conversation of others;
your only power to know true religion is, by having His Holy Spirit
operating upon your own heart, that you may yourself experience what is
the power of religion. You have no right to judge religion from anything
extra or external from itself. And if you despise it before you have
tried it yourself, you must stand confessed in this world as a fool, and
in the next world as a criminal. And yet this is so with most men. If
you hear a man rail at the Bible, you may usually conclude that he never
reads it. And you may be quite certain if you hear a man speak against
religion, that he never knew what religion was. True religion, when once
it takes possession of the heart, never allows a man to quarrel with it.
That man will call Christ his best friend who knows Christ at all. We
have found many who have despised the enjoyments of this world, but we
never found one who turned from religion with disgust or with satiety,
after having once enjoyed it. No! no! you chose your own delusions, and
you chose them at your own risk; you foster them at your own peril. For
if you take your religion from other people, and are led by the example
of professors to discard religion, you are nevertheless guilty of your
own blood. God has not left you to the uncertain chart of men's
characters: He has given you His own Word; the more sure word of
testimony, whereunto you do well that ye take heed.


_Strength Through Weakness._

The way to grow strong in Christ is to become weak in yourself. God
poureth no power into man's heart till man's power is all poured out.
The Christian's life is one of daily dependence on the grace and
strength of God.


_Begin Well._

I have known men run the race of religion with all their might, and
yet they have lost it because they did not start right. You say, "Well,
how is that?" Why, there are some people who on a sudden leap into
religion. They get it quickly, and they keep it for a time, and at last
they lose it because they did not get their religion the right way. They
have heard that before a man can be saved, it is necessary that, by the
teaching of the Holy Spirit, he should feel the weight of sin, that he
should make a confession of it, that he should renounce all hope in his
own works, and should look to Jesus Christ alone. They look upon all
these things as unpleasant preliminaries, and, therefore, before they
have attended to repentance, before the Holy Spirit has wrought a good
work in them, before they have been brought to give up everything and
trust to Christ, they make a profession of religion. This is just
setting up in business without a stock in trade, and there must be a
failure. If a man has no capital to begin with, he may make a fine show
for a little time, but it shall be as the crackling of thorns under a
pot,--a great deal of noise and much light for a little while, but it
shall die out in darkness. How many there are who never think it
necessary that there should be heart work within! Let us remember,
however, that there never was a man who had a changed heart without his
first having a miserable heart. We must pass through that black tunnel
of conviction before we can come out upon the high embankment of holy
joy; we must first go through the Slough of Despond before we can run
along the Walls of Salvation. There must be ploughing before there is
sowing; there must be many a frost, and many a sharp shower, before
there is any reaping. But we often act like little children who pluck
flowers from the shrubs, and plant them in their gardens without roots;
then they say how fair and how pretty their little garden is; but wait a
while, and all their flowers are withered, because they have no roots.
This is all the effect of not having a right start, not having the "root
of the matter." What is the good of outward religion, the flower and the
leaf of it, unless we have the "root of the matter" in us--unless we
have been ploughed with the plough of the Spirit, and then have been
sown with the sacred seed of the Gospel, in the hope of bringing forth
an abundant harvest? There must be a good start in running the Christian
race, for there is no hope of winning unless the start be right.


_The Robe of Righteousness._

Our court-dress in heaven, and our garment of sanctification for daily
wear, are the condescending gifts of Christ's love.


_Cross-Bearers._

What an honorable position was that of Simon the Cyrenian, to be
cross-bearer to Jesus Christ! We could almost weep that we were not
there, that we might have had the honor of carrying Christ's cross for
Him. But we need not weep, for we shall have His cross to carry if we
are His people. There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not
cross-bearers here below. There shall be none among the throng of the
glorified who had not their cross on earth. Hast thou a cross, believer?
Shoulder it manfully! Up with it! Go along thy journey with unshrinking
footsteps and a rejoicing heart, knowing that since it is _Christ's_
cross it must be an honor to carry it; and that while you are bearing it
you are in blessed company, for you are _following Him_.


_The Happiness of Religion._

Let a man truly know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he will be
a happy man; and the deeper he drinks into the Spirit of Christ, the
happier will he become. That religion which teaches misery to be a duty
is false upon the very face of it, for God, when He made the world,
studied the happiness of His creatures. You cannot help thinking, as you
see everything around you, that God has sedulously, with the most strict
attention, sought ways of pleasing man. He has not merely given us
absolute necessaries, He has given us more; not simply the useful, but
even the ornamental. The flowers in the hedgerow, the stars in the sky,
the beauties of nature, the hill and the valley--all these things were
intended not merely because we needed them, but because God would show
how He loved us, and how anxious he was that we should be happy. Now, it
is not likely that the God who made a happy world would send a miserable
salvation. He who is a happy Creator will be a happy Redeemer; and those
who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, can bear witness that the
ways of religion "are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are
peace." And if this life were all, if death were the burial of all our
life, and if the shroud were the winding-sheet of eternity, still to be
a Christian would be a bright and happy thing, for it lights up this
valley of tears, and fills the wells in the valley of Baca to the brim
with streams of love and joy.


_Unchangeable._

There is one place where change cannot put its finger; there is one
name on which mutability can never be written; there is one heart which
can never alter--that place is the Most Holy--that heart is God's--that
name is Love.


_Increase of Faith._

The way in which most men get their faith increased is by great
trouble. We do not grow strong in faith in sunshiny days. It is in
stormy weather that faith grows stronger. Faith is not an attainment
that droppeth like the gentle dew from heaven; it generally comes in the
whirlwind and the storm. Look at the old oaks; how is it that they have
become so deeply-rooted in the earth? Ask the March winds, and they will
tell you. It was not the April shower that did it, or the sweet May
sunshine, but the rough wind shaking the tree to and fro, causing its
roots to strike deeper and to take a firmer hold. And so must it be with
us. We cannot make great soldiers in the barracks at home; they must be
made amidst flying shot and thundering cannon. We cannot expect to make
good sailors on the Serpentine; they must be trained far away on the
deep sea, where the wild winds howl, and the thunders roll like drums in
the march of the God of armies. Storms and tempests are the things that
make men tough and hardy mariners. They see the works of the Lord, and
His wonders in the deep. It is thus with Christians. Great-faith must
have great trials. Mr. Great-heart would never have been Mr. Great-heart
if he had not once been Mr. Great-trouble. Valiant-for-truth would never
have put to flight those foes, and have been so valiant, if the foes had
not first attacked him. We must expect great troubles before we shall
attain to much faith.


_Communion with Christ._

One hour with Christ is worth an eternity of all earth's joys; and
communion with Him is the best, the surest, and the most ecstatic
foretaste of the bliss of heaven.


_The Soul Satisfied in Christ._

He who delights in the possession of the Lord Jesus hath all that heart
can wish. As for created things, they are like shallow and deceitful
brooks; they fail to supply our wants, much less our wishes. "The bed"
of earthly enjoyment "is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on
it, and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it;" but
in Jesus there is room for imagination's utmost stretch and widest
range. When Jesus is enjoyed, He puts a fulness into all other mercies;
His house is full when He is there; His throne of grace is full when He
sits on it; and His guest-chamber is full when He is master of the
feast. "The creature without Christ is an empty thing, a lamp without
oil, a bone without marrow;" but when Christ is present our cup runneth
over, and we eat bread to the full. A dinner of herbs, when we have
communion with Him, is as rich a feast as a stalled ox; and our narrow
cot is as noble a mansion as the great house of the wealthy. Go not
abroad, ye hungry wishes of my soul--stay ye at home, and feast on
Jesus; for abroad ye must starve, since all other beloveds are empty and
undesirable. Stay with Christ, and eat ye that which is good, and
delight yourself in fatness.


_The Lord's Jewels._

Goldsmiths make exquisite forms from precious material: they fashion
the bracelet and the ring from gold. God maketh His precious things out
of base material; and from the black pebbles of the defiling brooks He
hath taken up stones, which He hath set in the golden ring of His
immutable love, to make them gems to sparkle on His finger forever.


_Memorials of Jesus._

The love of the Church extends beyond the person of the Bridegroom, and
reaches to everything connected with Him. "All _thy garments_ smell of
myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they
have made thee glad." His very vestments are precious in her esteem. She
rejoices to sing of Him in His priestly garments.

    "The mitred crown, the embroidered vest,
      With graceful dignity He wears;
    And in full splendor on His breast
      The sacred oracle appears."

Arrayed in His royal robes, He is not less glorious in her eyes: she
loves to see His crown, and own her King. There is not a word which His
lip hath uttered, nor a place whereon His foot hath trodden, nor a
vessel which His hands have handled, which is not wholly consecrated in
her esteem. We are no worshippers of the ragged relics so fondly hoarded
by Rome; but we have other and far better memorials--holy things that
are of inestimable worth. His written Word, over which, we even now see
that loving hand moving as it did when, many a year ago, it wrote each
character; the echo of his departed voice not yet buried in silence; his
wine-cup not yet empty; his blood still flowing, and his benediction
still breathing peace upon us: all these still remain, and are valued
above all price. We esteem His ordinances, and we triumph in His
teaching, however the world-wise may contemn it. His service is our
delight; to stand at His gates is honor, and to run before His chariot
is bliss. As for His people, we greet them as saints, we call them our
brethren, and they are most near and dear to us for _His_ sake. The
meanest beggar in His Church is of more account to us than the proudest
monarch out of it. "Because he belongs to Christ," is always a
sufficient reason for the outflow of our affection; for all that is His
is dear to us.


"_Freely Give._"

O Christian, whenever thou art inclined to an avaricious withholding
from the Church of God, think of thy Saviour giving up all that He had
to serve thee! And canst thou then--when thou beholdest self-denial so
noble--canst thou then be selfish, and regard thy dainties of more
account than their necessities, when the claims of the poor of the flock
are pressed upon thee? Remember Jesus; think thou seest Him looking upon
thee, and saying, "I gave Myself for thee, and dost thou withhold
thyself from me? For if thou dost, thou knowest not my love in all its
heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths."


_Religion--a Present Enjoyment._

Religion has its present enjoyments. Speak, ye that know them, for ye
can tell; yet ye cannot recount them all. O, would ye give up your
religion for all the joys that earth calls good or great? Say, if your
immortal life could be extinguished, would you give it up, even for all
the kingdoms of this world? O, ye sons of poverty, has not this been a
candle to you in the darkness? Has not this lightened you through the
heavy shades of your tribulation? O, ye sons of toil, has not this been
your rest, your sweet repose? Have not the testimonies of God been your
song in the house of your pilgrimage? O, ye children of sorrow, racked
with pain, has not religion been to you a sweet _quietus_ in your
sufferings? Is not religion worth having in the sick chamber? And ye men
of business, speak for yourselves. You have hard struggles to pass
through life. Sometimes you have been driven to a great extremity, and
whether you would succeed or not seemed to hang upon a thread. Has not
your religion been a joy to you in your difficulties? Has it not calmed
your minds? When you have been fretted and troubled about worldly
things, have you not found it pleasant to enter your closet, and shut to
the door, and tell your Father in secret all your cares? And, O, ye that
are rich, cannot you bear the same testimony, if you have loved the
Master? What had all your riches been to you without a Saviour? Can you
not say that your religion did gild your gold, and make your silver
shine more brightly? For all things that you have are sweetened by this
thought, that you have all these and Christ too. Was there ever a child
of God who could deny this? We have heard of many infidels who grieved
over their infidelity when they came to die: did you ever hear of any
one on his death-bed looking back on a life of holiness with sorrow?
Never, never did we know a Christian who repented of his Christianity.
We have seen Christians so suffering, that we wondered that they lived;
so poor, that we wondered at their misery; we have seen them so full of
doubts, that we pitied their unbelief; but we never heard them say, even
then, "I regret that I gave myself to Christ." No; with the dying clasp,
when heart and flesh were failing, we have seen them hug this treasure
to their breast, and press it to their heart, still feeling that this
was their life, their joy, their all. O! if ye would be happy, if ye
would be saved, if ye would strew your path with sunshine, and dig out
the nettles and blunt the thorns, "Seek first the kingdom of God, and
His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Seek
not happiness first; seek Christ first; and happiness shall come after.
Seek ye first the Lord, and then He will provide for you in this life,
and He will crown it with everything that is glorious in the life to
come.


"_Our Lord Jesus._"

Whatever blissful consequences flow from the perfect obedience, the
finished atonement, the resurrection, ascension, or intercession of the
Lord Jesus, all are ours by His own gift. Upon His breastplate He is now
wearing our names; and in His authoritative pleadings at the throne He
remembers us and pleads our cause. The advantages of His high position,
His dominion over principalities and powers, and His absolute majesty in
heaven, He employs for the benefit of them that trust in Him. His high
estate is as much at our service as was His condition of abasement. He
who gave Himself for us in the depths of woe and death, doth not
withdraw the grant now that He is enthroned in the highest heavens.
Christ hath no dignity which He will not employ for our exaltation, and
no prerogative which He will not exercise for our defence. Christ
everywhere and in every way is our portion, forever and ever most richly
to enjoy.


_Providence._

The boundless stores of Providence are engaged for the support of the
believer. Christ is our Joseph, who has granaries full of wheat; but He
does not treat us as Joseph did the Egyptians, for He opens the door of
his storehouse, and bids us call all the good thereof our own. He has
entailed upon His estate of Providence a perpetual charge of a daily
portion for us; and He has promised that one day we shall clearly
perceive that the estate itself has been well-farmed on our behalf, and
has been always ours. The axle of the wheels of the chariot of
Providence is Infinite Love, and Gracious Wisdom is the perpetual
charioteer.


_The Intercession of Christ._

The Lord Jesus has led captivity captive, and now sits at the right
hand of God, forever making intercession for us. Can your faith picture
Him? Like a Levitical high priest of old He stands with outstretched
arms: there is majesty in His mien, and with authority He pleads. On His
head is the bright shining mitre of His priesthood, and on His breast
are glittering the precious stones whereon the names of His people are
everlastingly engraven. Hear Him as he pleads--hear you not what it is?
Is that your prayer which He is mentioning before the throne? The prayer
that this morning you offered, Christ is now offering before His
Father's throne. The vow which just now you uttered, He is now uttering
there. He is the Altar and Priest, and with His own sacrifice He
perfumes our prayers. And yet, mayhap, you have been praying long, and
had no answer. Poor, weeping suppliant! thou hast sought the Lord and He
hath not seemed to hear thee, or at least not answered thee to thy
soul's delight, and thou art full of darkness and heaviness on account
of this. "Look to Him, and be lightened." If thou dost not succeed, He
will; if thy intercession be unnoticed, His cannot be passed away; if
thy prayers can be like water spilt on the ground, which cannot be
gathered up, yet His prayers are not like that; He is God's Son--He
pleads and must prevail. God cannot refuse His own Son what He now
asks--He who once bought mercies with His blood. O, be of good cheer,
continue still thy supplication, for Jesus "ever liveth to make
intercession" for thee.


_Holiness._

Holiness is the architectural plan upon which God buildeth up His
living temple.


_The New Heart._

God does not promise that He will improve our nature, or that He will
mend our broken hearts. No; the promise is, that He will give us new
hearts and right spirits. Human nature is too far gone ever to be
mended. It is not a house which is a little out of repair, with here and
there a slate blown from the roof, and here and there a piece of plaster
broken down from the ceiling. No; it is rotten throughout; the very
foundations have been sapped; there is not a single timber in it which
is sound; it is all rottenness from its uppermost roof to its lowest
foundation, and ready to fall. God doth not attempt to mend; He does not
shore up the walls, and re-paint the door; He does not garnish and
beautify, but He determines that the old house shall be entirely swept
away, and that He will build a new one. It is too far gone to be mended.
If it were only a little out of repair, it might be restored. If only a
wheel or two of that great thing called "Manhood" were out of repair,
then He who made man might put the whole to rights; He might put a new
cog where it had been broken off, and another wheel where it had gone to
ruin, and the machine might work anew. But no; the whole of it is out of
repair; there is not one lever which is not broken; not one axle which
is not disturbed. "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint.
From the sole of the foot to the crown of the head, it is wounds, and
bruises, and putrefying sores." The Lord, therefore, does not attempt
the repairing of this thing, but He says, "A new heart also will I give
you, and a new spirit will I put within you."


_The Christian's Daily Cross._

Believer, Christ Jesus presents thee with thy crosses, and they are no
mean gifts.


_Joy Over the Repenting._

The angels know what the joys of heaven are, and therefore they rejoice
over one sinner that repenteth. We talk about pearly gates, and golden
streets, and white robes, and harps of gold, and crowns of amaranth; but
if an angel could speak to us of heaven, he would smile and say, "All
these fine things are but child's talk, and ye are little children, and
ye cannot understand the greatness of eternal bliss; and therefore God
has given you a child's horn-book, and an alphabet, in which you may
learn the first rough letters of what heaven is, but _what it is_ thou
dost not know. O mortal, thine eye hath never yet beheld its splendors;
thine ear hath never yet been ravished with its melodies; thy heart has
never been transported with its peerless joys." Yes, we may talk, and
think, and guess, and dream, but we can never measure the infinite
heaven which God has provided for His children. But the angels know its
glory; hence a reason that they rejoice over the repenting sinner who
has thus become heir to such an inheritance.


_God's Tender Care._

How careful God is of His people; how anxious He is concerning them,
not only for their life, but for their comfort. Does He say, "Strengthen
ye, strengthen ye my people?" Does He say to the angel, "Protect my
people?" Does He not say to the heavens, "Drop down manna to feed my
people?" all that, and more also. His tender regard secures to them. But
to show us that He is not only regardful of our interests, but also of
our superfluities, He says, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people." He would
have us not only His living people, and His preserved people, but He
would have us His happy people too. He likes His people to be fed; but
what is more, He likes to give them "Wines on the lees well refined," to
make glad their hearts. He will not only give them "bread," but He will
give them "honey" too; He will not simply give them "milk," but He will
give them "wine and milk." "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people:" it is the
Father's yearning heart, careful even for the little things of His
people. "Comfort ye" that one with a tearful eye; "Comfort ye" yon child
of mine with an aching heart; "Comfort ye" that poor bemoaning one;
"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God."


_The Christian's Crown._

Have Christians a crown? O, yes; but they do not wear it every day.
They have a crown, but their coronation-day is not yet arrived; they
have been anointed monarchs; they have some of the authority and dignity
of monarchs, only they are not crowned monarchs yet. But the crown is
made. God will not have to order heaven's goldsmiths to fashion it in
after-time: it is made already, hanging up in glory. God hath "laid up
for me a crown of righteousness."


_Obedience to God's Will._

To the Christian there is no argument so potent as God's will. God's
will is the believer's law. He doth not ask what shall it profit
him--what shall be the good effect of it upon others, but he simply
says, "Doth my Father command it?" And his prayer is, "O Holy Spirit,
help me to obey, not because I see how it shall be good for me, but
simply because thou commandest." It is the Christian's privilege to do
God's commandments, "Hearkening to the voice of His Word."


_The Gospel._

There is everything in the gospel that you want. Do you want something
to bear you up in trouble? It is in the gospel: "As thy days, so shall
thy strength be." Do you need something to nerve you for duty? There is
grace all-sufficient for everything which God calls you to undergo or to
accomplish. Do you need something to light up the eye of your hope? O!
there are joy-flashes in the gospel which make your eye flash back again
the immortal fires of bliss. Do you want something to make you stand
steadfast in the midst of temptation? In the gospel there is that which
can make you immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. There
is no passion, no affection, no thought, no wish, no power which the
gospel has not filled to the very brim. The gospel was evidently meant
for manhood: it is adapted to it in its every part. There is knowledge
for the head; there is love for the heart; there is guidance for the
foot.


_Believing Prayer._

Prayers are heard in heaven very much in proportion to our faith.
Little faith will get very great mercies, but great faith still greater.
It was the custom in old times, for all the poor in the parish to call
at every house with bowls for provisions; and whatever size the bowl
was, every generous person would fill it. Faith is our bowl: if we have
got only "little faith," we shall get that filled; but if we have got
"great faith," we shall have that filled also. Little faith getteth
much; but great faith is a noble and princely merchant, and doth a great
trade--it obtaineth millions where little faith only gaineth hundreds.
Great faith getteth hold of God's treasure.


_Warfare for Sin._

O Christian, never take hold of sin, except with a gauntlet on thy
hand; never go to it with the kid-glove of friendship; never talk
delicately of it; but always hate it in every shape. If it comes to thee
as a little fox, take heed of it, for it will spoil the grapes. Whether
it bounds towards thee as a roaring lion, seeking whom it may devour, or
makes advances in an attractive form, with graceful mien, seeking by a
pretended affection to entice thee into sin--beware; for its hug is
death, and its clasp destruction. Sin of every kind thou art to war
with--of lip, of hand, of heart. However gilded with profit; however
varnished with the seemliness of morality; however complimented by the
great, or however popular with the multitude, thou art to hate sin
everywhere, in all its disguises, at every time, and in every place. Not
one sin is to be spared, but against the whole is to be proclaimed an
utter and entire war of extermination.


_How to Read the Bible._

You may read the Bible continuously, and yet never learn anything by
it, unless it is illuminated by the Spirit; and then the words shine
forth like stars. The book seems made of gold leaf; every single letter
glitters like a diamond. O! it is a blessed thing to read an illuminated
Bible lit up by the radiance of the Holy Ghost. Hast thou read the
Bible, and yet have thine eyes been unenlightened? Go and say, "O Lord,
illuminate it; shine upon it; for I cannot read it to profit, unless
Thou enlightenest me." Blind men may read the Bible with their fingers,
but blind souls cannot. We want a light to read the Bible by; there is
no reading it in the dark.


_A View of Christ._

A view of Christ is always beneficial to a Christian--too much of Christ
we cannot have--there can be no tautology where His name is mentioned.
Give us Christ always, Christ ever. The monotony of Christ is sweet
variety; and even the unity of Christ hath in it all the elements of
harmony. Christ on His cross and on His throne, in the manger and in the
tomb--Christ everywhere is sweet to us. We love His name, we adore His
person, we delight to hear of His works--the theme is ever new.

There are some who complain that their love to the Saviour is faint and
cold. But this would not be if they were more with Jesus. The closer you
live to Christ, and the more you know Him, the better you will love Him.
Do not try to produce in yourself a certain degree of love to Christ by
some extraordinary means; but go into His presence, meditate upon Him
continually, picture to yourself His sufferings for you, and then you
will love Him--it will become easy to you, for _He_ will draw your poor
heart closer to himself, as you thus think about Him; and your love to
Him will grow just in proportion as you realize His love to you.


_The Author and Finisher of Faith._

O Lord! of what small account are the best of men apart from Thee! How
high they rise when Thou liftest them up! How low they fall if Thou
withdraw Thy hand! It is our joy, amidst distress, when Thou enablest us
to say, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him;" but if Thou take
away Thy Spirit, we cannot even trust Thee in the brightest day. When
storms gather round us we can smile at them, if Thou be with us; but in
the fairest morn which ever shone on human heart, we doubt and we
miscarry if Thou be not with us still, to preserve and strengthen the
faith which Thou hast Thyself bestowed.


_The Glad Command._

"Delight thyself in the Lord." This law of one command is no stony law
to be written upon tablets of granite, but it contains a precept, for
sparkling brightness worthy to be written on amethysts and pearls.
"Delight thyself in the Lord." When delight becomes a duty, duty must
certainly be a delight. When it becomes my duty to be happy, and I have
an express command to be glad, I must indeed be foolish if I refuse my
own joys, and turn aside from my own bliss. O, what a God we have, who
has made it our duty to be happy! What a gracious God, who accounts no
obedience to be so worthy of his acceptance as a gladsome obedience
rendered by a joyous heart. "Delight thyself in the Lord."


_Untiring Delight._

Who ever called the sea monotonous? Even to the mariner, travelling
over it as he does, sometimes by the year together, there is always a
freshness in the undulation of the waves, the whiteness of the foam of
the breaker, the curl of the crested billow, and the frolicsome pursuit
of every wave by its long train of brothers. Which of us has ever
complained that the sun gave us but little variety? What though at morn
he yoke the same steeds, and flash from his car the same golden glory,
climb with dull uniformity the summit of the skies, then drive his
chariot downward, and bid his flaming coursers steep their burning
fetlocks in the western deep? Or who among us would complain loathingly
of the bread which we eat, that it palls upon the sense of taste? We eat
it to-day, to-morrow, the next day; we have eaten it for years which are
passed; still the one unvarying food is served upon the table, and bread
remains the staff of life. Translate these earthly experiences into
heavenly mysteries. If Christ is your food and your spiritual bread; if
Christ is your sun, your heavenly light; if Christ is the sea of love in
which your passions swim, and all your joys are found, it is not
possible that you as Christian men, should complain of monotony in Him.
"He is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever;" and yet He has the "dew
of His youth." He is like the manna in the golden pot, which was always
the same; but he is also like the manna which came down from heaven,
every morning new. He is as the rod of Moses, which was dry, and changed
not its shape; but he is also to us as the rod of Aaron, which buds, and
blossoms, and brings forth almonds.


_Divine Teaching._

In the depth of troubles we learn the sufficiency of grace. Well may
they "glory in tribulations also," who have learnt in them the most
profitable lessons of grace--proved in them how ample is the provision
of grace, and realized in them the certainty of the triumph of grace. I
know not whether all soldiers love the thought of war--some do; there
are many who pant for a campaign. How often an officer of low rank has
repeated the murmur, "There is no promotion; no hope of rising; no
honors; no prize-money, as if we had to fight. Could we rush to the
cannon's mouth, there would be some prospect before us of gaining
promotion in the ranks." Men get few medals to hang upon their breasts
who never know the smell of gunpowder. The brave days, as men call them,
of Nelson and Trafalgar have gone by; and we thank God for it. Still we
do not expect to see such brave old veterans, the offspring of this age,
as those who are still to be found lingering in our hospitals, the
relics of our old campaigns. No, brethren, we must have trials if we are
to get on. Young men do not become midshipmen altogether through going
to the school at Greenwich, and climbing the mast on dry land; they must
go out to sea. We must do business in great waters; we must be really on
the deck in a storm, if we would see the works of the Lord and his
wonders in the deep. We must have stood side by side with King David; we
must have gone down into the pit to slay the lion, or have lifted up the
spear against the eight hundred, if we would know the saving strength of
God's right hand. Conflicts bring experience, and experience brings that
growth in grace which is not to be attained by any other means.


_Seeking Christ._

Consider, O waiting soul, that the mercy is worth tarrying for. Is it
not salvation--thy soul's deliverance from hell? A long tarrying at the
gate of mercy will be well repaid, if the King, at last, will give thee
this jewel of exceeding price.

Bethink thee, also, how utterly unworthy thou art of the mercy;
therefore be not loath to humble thyself, or patiently to abide the
sovereign will of Jehovah. Proud men must be noticed at once, or they
will depart; but thou hast nothing to boast of, and shouldst feel that
if He disregarded thee for a long season, thine unworthiness could
demand no apology for his delay. Moreover, remember that He _will_ hear
at last. His promise would be violated, if one praying soul could
perish; for He has said, "Seek, and ye _shall_ find"--"Whosoever calleth
on the name of the Lord _shall_ be saved." The delay may be for thy
good, to lay thee lower in the dust of self-abasement, or to make thee
more earnest for the blessing. Possibly the Lord intends to try thy
faith, that, like the woman of Syrophenicia, thou mayst reflect honor on
Him by thy confidence in Him. Pray on, for "the Lord is good unto them
that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him."


"_Christ in You._"

What is it to have "Christ in you?" The Romanist hangs the cross on his
bosom; the true Christian carries the cross in his heart; and a cross
inside the heart is one of the sweetest cures for a cross on the back.
If you have a cross in your heart--Christ crucified in you, the hope of
glory--the cross of this world's troubles will seem to you light enough,
and you will easily be able to sustain it. Christ in the heart, means
Christ believed in, Christ beloved, Christ trusted, Christ espoused,
Christ communed with, Christ as our daily food, and ourselves as the
temple and palace wherein Jesus Christ daily walks. Ah! there are many
who are total strangers to the meaning of this phrase. They do not know
what it is to have Jesus Christ in them. Though they know a little about
Christ on Calvary, they know nothing about Christ in the heart. Now,
remember, that Christ on Calvary will save no man, unless Christ be in
the heart. The Son of Mary, born in the manger, will not save you,
unless He be also born in your heart, and live there--your joy, your
strength, and your consolation.


_Consolation._

Consolation is the dropping of a gentle dew from heaven on desert
hearts beneath; it is one of the choicest gifts of divine mercy.


_Self-Examination._

"If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." "_If_"--then there
is a possibility that some may _not_ have tasted that the Lord is
gracious, and it is needful to inquire whether we are amongst the number
who know the grace of God by heart-experience. There is no spiritual
revelation which may not be a matter of heart-searching. At the very
summit of holy delight we meet the challenge of sentinel "If"--"If ye
then be risen with Christ;" and at the very bottom of the hill, even at
Repentance-gate itself, He meets us with a warrant of arrest, until He
sees whether our sorrow is the godly sorrow which needeth not to be
repented of. "If thou be the Son of God," is not always a temptation of
the devil, but often a very healthy inquiry, most fittingly suggested by
holy anxiety to men who would build securely upon the Rock of Ages. At
the Lord's Table itself it is proper for us to pray, "Lord, is it I?"
when there is a Judas in the company; and after the most intimate
fellowship, Christ exclaimed, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" Let
no enjoyment of ordinances, let no high and rapt fellowship which we may
have known, exempt us from the great duty of proving ourselves whether
we be in the faith. Examine yourselves then in this matter, and rest not
satisfied until you can say, "There is no 'if' about it; I _have tasted_
that the Lord is gracious."


_Heaven an Inheritance._

"The _inheritance of the saints_." So then, heaven, with all its
glories, is an _inheritance_. Now, an inheritance is not a thing which
is bought with money, earned by labor, or won by conquest. If any man
hath an inheritance, in the proper sense of that term, it came to him by
birth. And thus it is with heaven. The man who shall receive this
glorious heritage, will not obtain it by the works of the law, nor by
the efforts of the flesh; it will be given to him as a matter of most
gracious right, because he has been "begotten again unto a lively hope,
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead;" and has thus become
an heir of heaven by blood and birth. They who come unto glory are sons;
for is it not written, "The Captain of our salvation bringeth many sons
unto glory?" They come not there as servants; no servant has any right
to the inheritance of his master. Be he never so faithful, yet is he not
his master's heir. But because ye are sons--sons by the Spirit's
regeneration--sons by the Father's adoption--because by supernatural
energy ye have been born again, ye become inheritors of eternal life,
and ye enter into the many mansions of our Father's house above. Let us
always understand, then, when we think of heaven, that it is a place
which is to be ours, and a state which we are to enjoy as the result of
_birth_--not as the result of work. "Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God." That kingdom being an "inheritance,"
until ye have the new birth ye can have no claim to enter it.


_The Sleep of Death._

"The sleep of death"--what is this sleep? We know that the surface
idea connected with sleep is that of _resting_. The eyes of the sleeper
ache no more with the glare of light or with the rush of tears; his ears
are teased no more with the noise of strife or the murmur of suffering;
his hand is no more weakened by long protracted effort and painful
weariness; his feet are no more blistered with journeyings to and fro
along a rugged road; there is ease for aching heads, and overtaxed
nerves, and heavy hearts, in the sweet repose of sleep. On yonder couch,
however hard, the laborer shakes off his toil, the merchant his care,
the thinker his difficulties, and the sufferer his pains. Sleep makes
each night a Sabbath for the day. Sleep shuts to the door of the soul,
and bids all intruders tarry for a while. So is it with the body while
it sleeps in the tomb. The weary are at rest: the servant is as much at
ease as his lord. No more the worker leans on his spade, no more the
thinker props his pensive head. The wheel stands still; the shuttle is
not in motion; the hand which turned the one and the fingers which threw
the other are quiet also. The grave shuts out all disturbance, labor, or
effort. The toilworn believer quietly sleeps, as does the child weary
with its play, when it shuts its eyes and slumbers on its mother's
breast. O! happy they who die in the Lord; they rest from their labors,
and their works do follow them. We would not shun toil, for though it be
in itself a curse, it is, when sanctified, a blessing; yet toil for
toil's sake we would not choose: and when _God's_ work is done, we are
too glad to think that _our_ work is done too. The mighty Husbandman,
when we have fulfilled our day, shall bid His servants rest upon the
best of beds, for the clods of the valley shall be sweet to them. Their
repose shall never be broken until He shall rouse them up to give them
their full reward. Guarded by angel-watchers, curtained by eternal
mysteries, resting on the lap of mother earth, ye shall sleep on, ye
heritors of glory, till the fulness of time shall bring you the fulness
of redemption.


_Foretastes of Heaven._

Is it possible for us to know anything whatever of our heavenly home?
Is there power in human intellect to fly into the land of the hereafter,
where God's people rest eternally? Our inquiry is met at the outset by
what seems a positive denial: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither
have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared
for them that love Him." If we paused here, we might give up all idea of
beholding from hence that "goodly land and Lebanon;" but we do not
pause, for, like the apostle, we go on with the text, and we add, "But
God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit." It _is_ possible to look
within the veil; God's Spirit _can_ turn it aside for a moment, and bid
us take a glimpse, though it be a distant one, at that unutterable
glory. There are "Pisgahs" even now on the earth, from the top of which
the celestial Canaan can be beheld; there are hallowed hours in which
the mists and clouds are swept away, and the sun shineth in his
strength, and our eye, being freed from its natural dimness, beholds
something of that land which is very far off, and sees a little of the
joy and blessedness which is reserved for the people of God hereafter.
By the Holy Spirit there is given to them, even now, in seasons of
blissful communion, such experiences, joys, and feelings, as seem to
bring heaven down to them, and make them able to realize, in some faint
measure, what heaven itself must be.


_The Work of the Spirit._

Let us ever remember that Christ on the cross is of no value to us
apart from the Holy Spirit in us. In vain that blood is flowing, unless
the finger of the Spirit applies the blood to our conscience; in vain is
that garment of righteousness wrought out, unless the Holy Spirit wraps
it around us, and arrays us in its costly folds. The river of the water
of life cannot quench our thirst, till the Spirit presents the goblet
and lifts it to our lips. All the things which are in the paradise of
God could never be blissful to us, so long as we are dead souls--and
dead we are, until that heavenly wind comes and breathes upon us, that
we may live. We do not hesitate to say, that we owe as much to God the
Holy Ghost, as we do to God the Son. Indeed, it were a high sin and
misdemeanor to attempt to put one person of the divine Trinity before
another. Thou, O Father, art the source of all grace, all love and mercy
towards us. Thou, O Son, art the channel of Thy Father's mercy, and
without Thee Thy Father's love could never flow to us. And Thou, O
Spirit, art He who enables us to receive that divine virtue which flows
from the fountain-head, the Father, through Christ the channel, and
which, by Thy means, enters into our heart, and there abides, and brings
forth its glorious fruit. Magnify, then, the Spirit. There never yet was
a heavenly thought, a hallowed deed, or a consecrated act, acceptable to
God by Jesus Christ, which was not worked in us by the Holy Spirit.


_Peace._

The believer enjoys, in favored seasons, such an intimacy with the Lord
Jesus, as fills his heart with an overflowing peace. O! there are sweet
words which Jesus whispers in the ears of His people, and there are
love-visits which He pays to them, which a man would not believe, even
though it should be told unto him. He who would comprehend it, must
experience in his own heart what it is to have fellowship with the
Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. There is such a thing as Christ
manifesting Himself to us as He does not unto the world. All doubting
thoughts are banished then, and we can say, "I am my Beloved's, and my
Beloved is mine." This is the one all-absorbing feeling. And what wonder
is it that the believer has such deep peace, when Christ thus dwells in
the heart, and reigns there without a rival? It were a miracle of
miracles, if we did _not_ have peace. But how is it that our peace is
not more continuous? The only explanation of our frequent loss of peace
is, that our communion is broken, and our fellowship is marred; else
would our peace be like a river, and our righteousness like the waves of
the sea. Live near the cross, and your peace shall be continual.


_Earth's Seasons._

The things which are seen are types of the things which are not seen.
The works of creation are pictures to the children of God of the secret
mysteries of grace. God's truths are the apples of gold, and the visible
creatures are the baskets of silver. The very seasons of the year find
their parallel in the little world of man within. We have our
winter--dreary, howling winter--when the north wind of the law rusheth
forth against us; when every hope is nipped; when all the seeds of joy
lie buried beneath the dark clods of despair; when our soul is fast
fettered like a river bound with ice, without waves of joy, or flowings
of thanksgiving. Thanks be unto God, the soft south wind breathes upon
our soul, and at once the waters of desire are set free, the spring of
love cometh on, flowers of hope appear in our hearts, the trees of faith
put forth their young shoots, the time of the singing-birds cometh in
our hearts, and we have joy and peace in believing through the Lord
Jesus Christ. That happy springtide is followed in the believer by a
rich summer, when his graces, like fragrant flowers, are in full bloom,
loading the air with perfume; and fruits of the Spirit, like citrons and
pomegranates, swell into their full proportion in the genial warmth of
the Sun of Righteousness. Then cometh the believer's autumn, when his
fruits grow ripe, and his fields are ready for the harvest; the time has
come when his Lord shall gather together his "pleasant fruits," and
store them in heaven; the feast of ingathering is at hand--the time when
the year shall begin anew, an unchanging year, like the years of the
right hand of the Most High.


_Love Undeserved._

There is nothing which makes one love Christ, so much as a sense of His
love balanced with a sense of our unworthiness of it. It is sweet to
think that Christ loves us; but, O, to remember that we are black as the
"tents of Kedar," and yet he loves us! This is a thought which may well
wean us from everything else beside.


_The Infallible Commentary._

Those who would best know God's Word, must study it in its own light.


_A Place of Trust._

_Take care that thou puttest all thy dear ones into God's hand_. Thou
hast put thine own soul there, put their souls and bodies likewise into
His custody. Thou canst trust Him for temporals for thyself, trust thy
jewels with Him. Feel that they are not thine own, but that they are
God's loans to thee--loans which may be recalled at any moment--precious
denizens of heaven, not entailed upon thee, but of which thou art only a
tenant at will. Your possessions are never so safe as when you are
willing to resign them, and you are never so rich as when you put all
you have into the hand of the Lord. You shall find it greatly mitigate
the sorrow of bereavements, if before bereavement you shall have learned
to surrender every day all the things which are dearest to you, into the
keeping of your gracious God.


"_Consider Him._"

O believer, who art weary and disheartened because of the roughness of
the way, look at the Master's footsteps, and see how _He_ suffered. You
are tried and troubled, and you ask for consolation. What better can be
afforded you than what is presented to you in the fact that Jesus Christ
is one with you in your nature--that He has suffered all that you are
now suffering--that your pathway has been aforetime trodden by His
sacred foot--that the cup of which you drink is a cup which He has
drained to the very bottom--that the river through which you pass is one
through which He swam, and every wave and billow which rolls over your
head did in old time roll over Him. Come! are you ashamed and unwilling
to suffer what your Master suffered? Shall the disciple be above his
Master, and the servant above his Lord? Shall he die upon a cross, and
will not you bear the cross? Must He be crowned with thorns, and shall
you be crowned with laurel? Is He to be pierced in hands and feet, and
are His followers to feel no pain? O, cast away the fond delusion. Look
to Him who "endured the cross, despising the shame," and be ready to
endure and to suffer even as He did. You have His example to guide you,
and His sympathy to cheer you.


_The Joy of Pardon._

O what a joyous thing it is to have a ray of heavenly sunlight in the
soul, and to hear the very voice of God as He walks in the garden of our
souls in the cool of the day, saying to us, "Son, thy sins which are
many, are all forgiven thee." The whisper of that heavenly voice may
raise our heart to bliss almost divine. It confers a joy not to be
equalled by all the pleasures, the riches, and the enjoyments of this
world can afford. To have the divine kiss of acceptance, to be robed in
the best robe, to wear the ring on the hand and the shoes on the feet,
to hear the heavenly music and dancing with which returning prodigals
are welcomed to their Father's house--this, indeed, is bliss and
blessedness worth worlds to realize.


_Inexhaustible Promises._

God's promises are not exhausted when they are fulfilled, for when once
performed, they stand just as good as they did before, and we may wait a
second accomplishment of them. Man's promises, even at the best, are
like a cistern which holds but a temporary supply; but God's promises
are as a fountain, never emptied, ever overflowing, so you may draw from
them the whole measure of that which they apparently contain, and they
shall be still as full as ever.


_The Fulness of Christ._

At our very best we are strangers to much of the incomparable sweetness
of Christ. We shall never exhaust His goodness by our praise, for He is
ever so fresh, and has so much of the dew of His youth, that every day
he has a new song to sing. We shall find Him a new Christ every day of
our lives, and yet He is ever the same; His surpassing excellence and
unexhausted fulness thus constantly renew our love. O Jesus! none can
guess how great is the least of Thine attributes, or how rich the
poorest of Thy gifts.


_True Blessing._

Christ, when He blesses, blesses not in word only, but in deed. The
lips of truth cannot promise more than the hands of love will surely
give.


_Faith and Feeling._

We are saved by faith, and not by feeling; yet there is a relation
between holy faith and hallowed feeling like that between the root and
the flower. Faith is permanent as the root which is ever embedded in the
soil; feeling is casual, and has its seasons--the bulb does not always
shoot up the green stem, far less is it always crowned with its many
flowers. Faith is the tree, the essential tree: our feelings are like
the appearance of that tree during the different seasons of the year.
Sometimes our soul is full of bloom and blossom, and the bees hum
pleasantly, and gather honey within our hearts. It is then that our
feelings bear witness to the life of our faith, just as the buds of
spring bear witness to the life of the tree. Anon, our feelings gather
still greater vigor, and after we come to the summer of our delights,
again perhaps, we begin to wither into the sear and yellow leaf of
autumn; nay, sometimes the winter of our despondency and despair will
strip away every leaf from the tree, and our poor faith stands like a
blasted stem without a sign of verdure. And yet, so long as the tree of
faith is there, we are saved. Whether faith blossom or not, whether it
bring forth joyous fruit in our experience or not, so long as it be
there in all its permanence, we are saved. Yet should we have the
gravest reason to distrust the life of our faith, if it did not
sometimes blossom with joy, and often bring forth fruit unto holiness.


_Near Home._

The best moment of a Christian's life is his last one, because it is
the one which is nearest heaven; and then it is that he begins to strike
the key-note of the song which he shall sing to all eternity. O! what a
song will that be!


_Beauty in Christ._

There is a thing called _beauty_, which wins upon the hearts of men.
Mighty men, not a few, have bowed before it, and paid it homage; but if
you want true beauty, look into the face of Jesus, for there you have
the concentration of all loveliness. There is no beauty anywhere but in
Christ. O sun, thou art not fair, when once compared with Him. O, fair
world, and grand creation of a glorious God, thou art but a dim and
dusky blot compared with the splendors of His face. When we shall see
Christ, we shall be compelled to say that we never knew what loveliness
was before. When the clouds are swept away, when the curtains which hide
Him from our view are drawn aside, we shall find that not anything we
have seen or heard of, grand or graceful, in the wide universe, will
bear a moment's comparison with Him, who was once seen as a root out of
a dry ground, but shall presently fill heaven and earth with lustre, and
gladden all hearts with His glory.


_The Savior's Legacy._

"Peace I leave with you." Our Savior here means peace _with God_, and
peace _with our own conscience_. Peace with God--for He "hath reconciled
us to himself by Jesus Christ," and now there is "peace on earth," and
"good will towards men." Christ has put our sins away, and therefore
there is a virtual substantial peace established between God and our
souls. This, however, might exist without our clearly understanding and
rejoicing in it. Christ has, therefore, given this further
witness--peace in the conscience. Peace with God is the treaty: peace
with conscience is the publication of it. Peace with God is the
fountain, and peace with conscience is the crystal stream which issues
from it. There is a peace decreed in the court of divine justice in
heaven; and then there follows as a necessary consequence, as soon as
the news is known, a peace in the minor court of human judgment, wherein
conscience sits upon the throne to judge us according to our works. The
legacy, then, of Christ is a twofold peace; a _peace_ of friendship, of
agreement, of love, of everlasting union between the elect and God; and
a _peace_ of sweet enjoyment, of quiet rest to the understanding and the
conscience. When there are no winds above, there will be no tempests
below: when heaven is serene, earth is quiet. Conscience reflects the
complacency of God. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace
with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."


_Needless Poverty._

Many a believer lives in the cottage of doubt when he might live in the
mansion of faith.


_The Sin of Unbelief._

To doubt the lovingkindness of God, is thought by some to be a very
small sin; in fact, some have even exalted the doubts and fears of God's
people into fruits and graces, and evidences of great advancement in
experience. But to doubt the kindness, the faithfulness, and the love of
God, is a very heinous offence. That can be no light sin which makes God
a liar; and yet unbelief does in effect cast foul and slanderous
suspicion upon the veracity of the Holy One of Israel. That can be no
small offence which charges the Creator of heaven and earth with
perjury; and yet, if I mistrust His oath, and will not believe His
promise, sealed with the blood of His own Son, I count the oath of God
to be unworthy of my trust; and so I do, in very deed, accuse the King
of Heaven as false to His covenant and oath. Besides, unbelief of God is
the fountain of innumerable sins. As the black cloud is the source of
many rain-drops, so dark unbelief is the parent of many crimes. It is a
sin which should be condemned by every believer, should be struggled
against, should if possible be subdued, and certainly should be the
object of our deep repentance and abhorrence.


_The One Family._

The universe of God is one: heaven and earth are not so separate as
unbelief has dreamed. As the Lord hath but one family, written in one
register, redeemed with one blood, quickened by one Spirit, so this
whole household abides in one habitation evermore. We who are in the
body abide in the lower room, which is sometimes dark and cold, but
bears sufficient marks that it is a room in God's house; for to the eye
of our faith, it is often lit up with heavenly lustre, and we, even we,
while we are yet here, are by blessed earnests made partakers of the
inheritance of the saints in light. It is the same house, I say, but
ours is the lower room, while our glorified brethren are up there in the
upper story, where the sunlight streams in everlastingly, where no
chilling winds or poisonous breath can ever reach. And, to a great
extent, there is a likeness between the lower room and the upper room.
As on earth we prepare for heaven, so the state of the saints on earth
is heaven foreshadowed. In many respects the condition of the child of
God on earth is a type of his condition in heaven; and what the
character of the saints is above, that should be the character of the
saints below. We may very safely take for our example those glorified
spirits. We need not be afraid that we shall be led astray by imitating
them, by learning their occupations, or by attempting to share their
joys. Surely the things in heaven are patterns of the things on earth,
and as _they_ are before the throne so ought we to be. Nay; so we shall
be in proportion as we live up to our privileges, and receive the
likeness and image of our Lord Jesus Christ.


_The Spirit of Praise._

"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy
name." Wake up my _memory_, and find matter for the song. Tell what God
has done for me in days gone by. Fly back, ye thoughts, to my childhood,
sing of cradle-mercies. Review my youth and its early favors. Sing of
long-suffering grace which followed my wanderings, and bore with my
rebellions. Review before my eyes that gladsome hour when first I knew
the Lord, and tell over again the matchless story of His mercy. Awake up
my _judgment_, and give measure to the music. Come forth my
_understanding_, and weigh His lovingkindness in the balance. See if
thou canst count the small dust of His mercies. See if thou canst
estimate the unsearchable riches which God hath given thee in His
unspeakable gift of Christ Jesus. Recount His eternal love to thee.
Reckon up the treasures of that everlasting covenant which He made on
thy behalf, and which was "ordered in all things and sure." Sing aloud
of that divine wisdom which contrived, of that love which planned, and
of that grace which carried out the scheme of thy redemption. "Bless the
Lord, O my soul!" For doth not all nature around me praise Him? If _I_
were silent I should be an exception to the universe. Doth not the
thunder praise Him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of
Armies? Do not the mountains praise Him when the woods upon their
summits wave in adoration? Does not the lightning write His name in
letters of fire upon the midnight darkness? Hath not the whole earth a
voice, and shall I, can I, be silent? "Bless the Lord, O my soul."


_Love to Christ._

Have you a friend at court--at heaven's court? Is the Lord Jesus your
friend? Can you say that you love Him, and has He ever revealed himself
in the way of love to you? Oh! to be able to say, "Christ is my friend,"
is one of the sweetest things in the world. The love of Christ casts not
out the love of relatives, but it sanctifies our creature love, and
makes it sweeter far. Earthly love is sweet, but it must pass away; and
what will you do if you have no wealth but the wealth which fadeth, and
no love but the love which dies, when death shall come? Oh, to have the
love of Christ! You can take that across the river of death with you;
you can wear it as your jewel in heaven, and set it as a seal upon your
hand; for His love is "strong as death, and mightier than the grave."


_The First Lesson._

The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own
ignorance. He cannot learn aright who has not first been taught that he
knows nothing. It is a good thing for a man to feel that he is only
beginning to learn, and to be willing to submit his heart to the
teachings of God's Spirit, that he may be guided in everything by Him.
The prayer of the quickened soul is, "Teach thou me." We become as
little children when God begins to deal with us.


_Danger of Prosperity._

High places, and God's praise, do seldom agree: a full cup is not
easily carried without spilling: he that stands on a pinnacle needs a
clear head and much grace.


_Idleness._

Some temptations come to the industrious, but _all_ temptations attack
the idle. Idle Christians are not tempted of the devil so much as they
do tempt the devil to tempt them. Idleness sets the door of the heart
ajar, and asks Satan to come in; but if we are occupied from morning
till night, should Satan get in, he must break through the door. Under
sovereign grace, and next to faith, there is no better shield against
temptation than obedience to the precept, that ye be "Not slothful in
business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord."


_Grace._

Grace is always grace, but it never seems so gracious as when we see it
brought to our unworthy selves.


_Obtaining Promises._

God sometimes gives His people fresh promises "by faith," just before
a trial is about to come upon them. It was so with Elijah. God said to
him, "Go to the brook Cherith; behold, I have commanded the ravens to
feed thee there." This was at the beginning of the famine. There he
abode, and God fulfilled the promise, for by faith Elijah had obtained
it. Acting upon faith, still dependent upon God, he abides at Cherith,
and as the result of this faith, God gives him a fresh promise, "Arise,
get thee to Zarephath--I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain
thee." The faith which received the first promise, obtained the honor of
a second. So with us. If we have had a little promise, and up till now
have realized it; if we have lived upon it and made it the stay and
support of our souls, surely God will give us another and a greater one.
And so, from promise to promise speeding our way, we shall find the
promises to be rounds of the ladder which Jacob saw, the top whereof
shall reach to heaven. Doubt and be distrustful about the promise which
you have, and you cannot expect God to increase His revelation to your
soul. Be afraid and unbelieving about that promise which was laid to
your heart yesterday, and you shall not have a new one to-morrow. But
act in simple faith upon what God has already given you, and you shall
go from strength to strength, receiving grace upon grace, and promise
upon promise. The Spirit of God shall whisper into your soul some
promise which shall come home with as much power as though an angel from
heaven had spoken it to you, and you shall "through faith" obtain
promises which before were beyond your reach.


_Sympathy._

Sympathy is especially a _Christian's_ duty. Consider what the
Christian is, and you will say that if every other man were selfish,
_he_ should be disinterested; if there were nowhere else a heart which
had sympathy for the needy, there should be one found in every Christian
breast. The Christian is a "king:" it becometh not a king to be meanly
caring for himself. Was Alexander ever more royal than when, while his
troops were suffering from thirst, he put aside a bowl full of the
precious liquid, which a soldier offered him, and said it was not
fitting for a king to drink while his subjects were thirsty; he had
rather share their sorrow with them? O ye, whom God has made kings and
princes, reign royally over your own selfishness, and act with the
honorable liberality which becomes the seed royal of the universe. You
are sent into the world to be saviours of others; but how shall you be
so if you care only for yourselves? It is yours to be lights; and doth
not a light consume itself while it scatters its rays into the thick
darkness? Is it not your office and privilege to have it said of you, as
of your Master--"He saved others, himself he cannot save?"


"_Endure Hardness._"

Soldier of Christ, thou wilt have to do hard battle. There is no bed of
down for thee; there is no riding to heaven in a chariot: the rough way
must be trodden; mountains must be climbed; rivers must be forded;
dragons must be fought; giants must be slain; difficulties must be
overcome; and great trials must be borne. It is not a smooth road to
heaven; those who have gone but a very few paces therein, have found it
to be rough and rugged. Yet it is pleasant; it is the most delightful
journey in all the world; not because it is easy in itself, it is only
pleasant because of the company; because of the sweet promises on which
we lean; because of our Beloved who walks with us through all the rough
and thorny brakes of this vast wilderness. Christian soldiers, expect
conflict: "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to
try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you." As truly as
thou art a child of God, thy Saviour hath left thee for His legacy--"In
the world ye shall have tribulation." Yet remember that this
"tribulation" is the way to "_enter the kingdom_;" therefore "endure
hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."


_Usefulness._

Christ, my Master, _goes about doing good_, and if you would walk with
Him, you must go about upon the same mission.


_The Church and the World._

Christian men ought so to live that it were idle to speak of a
comparison between them and the men of the world. It should not be a
comparison, but a contrast. No scale of degrees should be possible: the
believer should be a direct and manifest contradiction to the
unregenerate. The life of a saint should be altogether above and out of
the same list as the life of a sinner. We should compel our critics not
to confess that moralists are good, and Christians a little better; but
while the world is darkness, we should manifestly be light; and while
the world lieth in the Wicked One, we should most evidently be of God,
and overcome the temptations of that Wicked One. Wide as the poles
asunder, are life and death, light and darkness, purity and sin. There
should be as much difference between the worldling and the Christian, as
between hell and heaven, between destruction and eternal life. As we
hope at last that there shall be a great gulf separating us from the
doom of the impenitent, there should be here a deep and wide gulf
between us and the ungodly. The purity of our character should be such,
that men must take knowledge of us that we are of another and superior
race. If we were what we profess to be, there would be no difficulty in
detecting the Christian from the worldling. But, alas! the Church is so
much adulterated, that we have to abate our glorying, and cannot exalt
our character as we would. O, for the time when "our conversation shall
be in heaven," and the ignoble life of the worldly man shall be rebuked
by our Christ-like character! God grant us more and more to be clearly a
chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people;
that we may show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of
darkness into his marvellous light.


_The Fight of Faith._

Like the Spartans, every Christian is born a warrior. It is his
destiny to be assaulted; it is his duty to attack. Part of his life will
be occupied with defensive warfare. He will have to defend earnestly the
faith once delivered to the saints; he will have to resist the devil; he
will have to stand against all his wiles; and having done all, still to
stand. He will, however, be but a sorry Christian if he acteth only on
the defensive; he must be one who goes against his foes. He must be able
to say with David, "I come against thee in the name of the Lord of
hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom thou hast defied." He must
wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.
He must have weapons for his warfare--not carnal--but "mighty through
God to the pulling down of strongholds." He must not be content to live
in the stronghold well-guarded, but he must go forth to attack the
castles of the enemy, and to drive the Canaanite out of the land. But
there are many ways in which the Christian may, to a great degree,
forget his martial character. And, alas! there are not a few who, if
they be Christians at all, certainly know but very little of that daily
warfare to which the Captain of our salvation calleth His disciples.
They have a soft religion; a religion which shuns opposition; a
reed-like religion, which bows before every blast, unlike that cedar of
godliness which standeth aloft in the midst of the storm, and claps its
boughs in the hurricane for very joy of triumph, though the earth be all
in arms abroad. Such men lack the faith which shares the glory. Though
saved, yet their names shall not be found written among the mighty men
who, for our Great Commander's sake, are willing to suffer the loss of
all things, and to go forth without the camp bearing His reproach. O,
let us never be contented with such inglorious ease, but earnestly and
manfully fight the Lord's battles. Is it a little thing for a follower
of Christ to be losing the immortal honor of serving the Lord? What will
not men do to win fame? and shall we, when it lies at our doors, turn
idly aside and cast our glory to the ground? Let us be up and doing, for
it is no light thing to be losing the honor of a faithful servant of
Christ.


_Life's Great Object._

As Christians, we ought ever to be distinguished from the world _in
the great object of our life_. As for worldly men, some of them are
seeking wealth, others of them fame; some seek after comfort, others
after pleasure. Subordinately you may seek after any of these, but your
main and principal motive as a Christian should always be to live for
Christ. To live for glory? Yes, but for His glory. To live for comfort?
Yes, but be all your consolation in Him. To live for pleasure? Yes, but
when you are merry, sing psalms, and make melody in your hearts to the
Lord. To live for wealth? Yes, but to be rich in faith. You may lay up
treasure, but lay it up in heaven, "where neither moth nor rust doth
corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." You can make
the most common calling become really sacred by dedicating your daily
life wholly to the service of Jesus, taking as your motto, "_For me to
live is Christ_." There is such a thing as living thus a consecrated
life; and if any deny its possibility let them stand self-convicted,
because they obey not that precept: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink,
or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."


_Love's Circumference._

The Christian's sympathy should ever be of the widest character,
because he serves a God of infinite love. When the precious stone of
love is thrown by grace into the crystal pool of a renewed heart, it
stirs the transparent life-floods into ever-widening circles of
sympathy: the first ring has no very wide circumference--we love our
household; for he who careth not for his own household is worse than a
heathen man. But mark the next concentric ring--we love the household of
faith: "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we
love the brethren." Look once more, for the ever-widening ring has
reached the very limit of the lake, and included all in its area, for
"supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks are to be
made for all men." A follower of Jesus means a friend of man. A
Christian is a philanthropist by profession, and generous by force of
grace; wide as the reign of sorrow is the stretch of his love, and where
he cannot help he pities still.


_The Way to Heaven._

There is no way to heaven, whatever thy hopes may be, but through
Christ: there is no way to the gates of pearl but through the bleeding
side of Jesus. These are the gates of paradise--these bleeding wounds.
If thou wouldst find thy way to God's bright throne, find first thy way
to Jesus' cross; if thou wouldst know the way to happiness, tread in
that path of misery which Jesus trod. What! attempt another way? Art
thou mad enough to think that thou canst rend the posts, and bars, and
gates of heaven, from their perpetual places, and force thy way by thy
created strength? Or dost thou think to purchase with thy riches and thy
gold a foothold in paradise? Fool! what is thy gold, where streets are
made of it, and where the gates are solid pearl?--where the foundations
are of jasper, and the walls whereof are precious gems? And dost thou
think to get there by thy merits? Ah! by pride fell the angels, and by
thy pride thou fallest. Heaven is not for such as thou art. But dost
thou say, "I will leave my wealth, after I have gone, to charities; I
will build a hospital, or feed the poor?" Then let _men_ pay thee: thou
hast wrought for them, let them pay the debt; let them rear the stony
pillar, and set thine effigy upon the top thereof. If thou hast wrought
for thy country, let thy country pay thee what they owe thee. But
_God_--what does He owe to thee? Thou hast forgotten Him; thou hast
despised His Son; thou hast rejected His gospel. Be thou warrior,
statesman, patriot--let men pay thee; God owes thee nothing; and all
thou canst do, if thou comest not in the _right way through Jesus
Christ_, who lived and died, and is alive forevermore, and hath the keys
of heaven at his girdle, will not bribe Him to admit thee to His palace.


_Religion Exemplified._

I would not give much for your religion unless it can be _seen_. Lamps
do not talk, but they do shine: a lighthouse sounds no drum, it beats no
gong; and yet, far over the waters its friendly spark is visible to the
mariner. So let your actions shine out your religion. Let the main
sermon of your life be illustrated by all your conduct, and it shall not
fail to be illustrious.


_The Right Estimate._

The higher a man is in grace, the lower he will be in his own esteem.


"_Vessels of Mercy._"

God's chosen ones are spoken of as "vessels of mercy." Now we know that
a vessel is _nothing but a receiver_. A "vessel" is not a fountain, but
only a container and holder of that which is poured out into it. Such
are the redeemed of God; they are not fountains by nature, out of whom
there springeth up anything which is good; they are simply receivers. At
one time they are full of themselves, but grace empties them, and then
as empty vessels they are set in the way of God's goodness; God fills
them to the brim with His lovingkindness, and so they are proved to be
the vessels of His mercy. They may as "vessels" afterwards give out to
others, but they can only give out what God has put in them; they may
work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, but they cannot
work it out unless God worketh in them both to will and to do of His
good pleasure. They may run over with gratitude, but it is only because
God has filled them with grace; they may stream forth with holiness, but
it is only because the Lord keeps the supply overflowing. They are
receivers, and receivers only.


_Christian Diligence._

We find in the Scripture that most of the great appearances which were
made to eminent saints were made when they were busy. Moses kept his
father's flock when he saw the burning bush; Joshua is going round about
the city of Jericho when he meets the angel of the Lord; Jacob is in
prayer, and the angel of God appears to him; Gideon is threshing, and
Elisha is ploughing, when the Lord calls them; Matthew is at the receipt
of custom, when he is bidden to follow Jesus; and James and John are
fishing. The Almighty Lover of the souls of men is not wont to manifest
Himself to idle persons. He who is slothful and inactive, cannot expect
to have the sweet company of his Saviour.


"_Comfort ye My People._"

God never gives His children a duty to do without giving them _the
means to do it_; and when He tells us to "comfort" His people, we may be
certain that there are means whereby they may be comforted. Child of
God! art thou at a loss for a topic to comfort the aching heart? Tell of
the ancient things of former days; whisper in the mourner's ear electing
grace, and redeeming mercy, and Divine love. When thou findest a
troubled one, tell him of the covenant, in all things ordered well; tell
him what the Lord hath done in former days, how He cut Rahab, and
wounded the dragon; tell him the wondrous story of God's dealings with
His people; tell him that God, who divided the Red Sea, can make a
highway for His people through the deep waters of affliction--that He
who appeared in the burning bush, which was not consumed, will support
him in the furnace of tribulation; tell him of the marvellous things
which God has wrought for His chosen people: surely there is enough
there to comfort him; tell him that God watcheth the furnace as the
goldsmith the refining-pot. If that does not suffice, tell him of his
present mercies; tell him that he has much left, though much is gone;
tell him there is "now no condemnation to them which are in Christ
Jesus;" tell him that now he is accepted in the Beloved; tell him that
he is now adopted, and that his standing is safe; tell him that Jesus is
above, pleading his cause; tell him that though earth's pillars shake,
God is a refuge for us; tell the mourner that the everlasting God
faileth not, neither is weary. But if this is not enough, tell him of
the future; whisper to him that there is a heaven with pearly gates, and
golden streets; tell him that

    "A few more rolling suns at most,
    Will land him on fair Canaan's coast,"

and therefore he may well bear his sorrows; tell him that Christ is
coming, and that His sign is in the heavens, His advent is near, He will
soon appear to judge the earth with equity, and His people in
righteousness. And if that suffice not, tell him all about that Saviour
who lived and died; take him to Calvary; picture to him the bleeding
hands, and side, and feet; tell him of the thorn-crowned King of grief;
tell him of the mighty Monarch of woe and blood, who wore the scarlet of
mockery which was yet the purple of the empire of grief; tell him that
He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree. Thus, by God's
blessing, thou shalt accomplish thy mission, and "comfort" one of His
people. "Comfort ye My people, saith your God."


_Self._

Faith will never be weak if _self_ be weak, but when self is strong,
faith cannot be strong; for "self" is very much like what the gardener
calls the "sucker," at the bottom of the tree, which never bears fruit,
but only draws away the nourishment from the tree itself. Now, self is
that sucker which diverts the nourishment from faith, and you must cut
it up, or else your faith will always be "little faith," and you will
have difficulty in maintaining any comfort in your soul.


_Strength through Joy._

It is when the mind is happy that it can be laborious. "The joy of the
Lord is your strength."


_The Refiner's Fire._

There is not an ingot of silver in heaven's treasury, which has not been
in the furnace on earth, and been purified seven times; there is not a
gem which the Divine Jeweller has not exposed to every sort of test;
there is not an atom of gold in the Redeemer's crown which has not been
molten among the hottest coals, so as to rid it of its alloy. It is
universal to every child of God. If you are a servant of the Lord, you
must be tried "as gold is tried."


_Heart-Learning._

We can learn nothing of the gospel except by feeling its truths. There
are some sciences that may be learned by the head, but the science of
Christ crucified can only be learned by the heart.


_The Hope of Heaven._

Believers are not only to be with Christ, and to behold His glory, but
they are to be like Christ, and to be glorified with Him. Is He
glorious? So shall they be. Is He enthroned? So shall they be. Does He
wear a crown? So shall they. Is He a priest? So shall they be kings to
share His dominion, and priests to offer acceptable sacrifices forever.
Mark, that in all Christ has, believers participate. They are to reign
with Christ, and have a portion of His joy; to be honored with Him, to
be accepted in Him. This is heaven indeed! If you have this hope, I
beseech you hold it fast, live on it, rejoice in it.

    "A hope so much divine,
      May trials well endure;
    May purge your soul from sense and sin,
      As Christ the Lord is pure."

Live near your Master now, so shall your evidences be bright; and when
you come to cross the flood, you shall see Him face to face, and what
_that is_ only they can tell who enjoy it every hour. But if you have
_not_ this bright hope, how is it that you can live content? You are
going through a dark world to a darker eternity. I beseech you stop and
pause. Consider for a moment whether it is worth while to lose heaven
for this poor earth. What! pawn eternal glories for the pitiful pence of
a few moments of the world's enjoyments? No, stop, I beseech you; weigh
the bargain ere you accept it. What shall it profit you to gain the
whole world and lose your soul? What wailing and gnashing of teeth shall
there be over the carelessness or misadventure by which men lose _such a
heaven as this_?


_Rejoice Always._

Whenever a Christian man yields to a mournful, desponding spirit, under
his trials; when he does not seek grace from God to battle manfully and
cheerfully with trouble; when he does not ask his heavenly Father to
give him strength and consolation whereby he may be enabled to rejoice
in the Lord at _all_ times, he does dishonor to the high, and mighty,
and noble principles of Christianity, which are fitted to bear a man up,
and make him happy even in times of the deepest affliction. It is the
boast of the gospel that it lifts the heart above trouble; it is one of
the glories of our religion that it makes us say, "Although the fig-tree
shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine, the labor of the
olive shall fail, and the field shall yield no meat, _yet will I rejoice
in the Lord_, I will joy in the God of my salvation."


_Religion a Present Concern._

Religion must be a thing of the present, because the _present has such
intimate connections with the future_. We are told in Scripture that
this life is a seed-time, and the future is the harvest, "he that soweth
to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; he that soweth to the
spirit, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting." As the seed
generates the plant, even so doth this present life generate the eternal
future. Heaven and hell are, after all, but the developments of our
present character, for is it not written, "he that is holy, let him be
holy still; he that is unjust, let him be unjust still?" Do we not know
that in the heart of every sin condemnation slumbers? Is it not a
fearful truth that the germ of everlasting torment sleeps in every vile
wish, every unholy thought, every unclean act, so that hell is but a
great breaking out of slumbering lava, which had been so quiet, that
while the mountain was covered with fair verdure, even to its summit,
death comes and bids that lava rise; and down the steeps of manhood's
eternal existence, the fiery lava of eternal misery doth pour itself?
Yet it was there before, for sin is hell, and rebellion against God is
the prelude of misery. So is it with heaven; I know that heaven is a
reward, not of debt but of grace; but still the Christian has that
within him which forestalls for him a heaven. What did Christ say? "I
_give_ unto my sheep eternal life." He did not say, "_I will give_," but
"_I do give_." As soon as they believe in Me, I give them eternal life.
"He that believeth on Him that sent Me hath everlasting life, and shall
not come into condemnation." The Christian hath within him the seed-beds
of a paradise; in due time the light which is sown for the righteous,
and the gladness which is sown for the upright in heart, shall spring
up, and they shall reap the harvest. Is it not plain, then, that
religion is a thing which we must have here? Is it not prominently
revealed that religion is important for the present? For if this life be
the seed-time of the future, how can I expect to reap in another world
other harvests than I have been sowing here? How can I trust that I
shall be saved then, unless I am saved now? How can I have hope that
heaven shall be my eternal inheritance, unless the earnest be begun in
my own soul on earth?


_Trouble Lightened_.

I am persuaded that if we looked more to Jesus, our troubles would not
appear either so great or so grievous. In the darkest night of trial,
looking to Christ will clear the ebon sky. When the darkness seems
thick, like that of Egypt, "darkness that might be felt," even then,
like a bright lightning flash, as vivid, but not so transient, will a
look to Jesus prove. One glimpse of Him may well suffice for all our
toils while on the road. Looking to Him will illuminate the most dreary
way. Cheered by His voice, nerved by His strength, we are prepared to do
and to suffer, even as he did, unto the end. O, weary and troubled
Christians, "look unto Him, and be lightened!"


_The Gospel Requirement_.

The gospel is not a scheme of giving _to_ God, but of receiving _from_
God. It is taking of His fulness, drinking out of His "wells of
salvation," receiving from His storehouse. Sinner! remember all that God
asks of thee, in order to thy salvation, is, that thou wouldst be a
_receiver_, and this He gives thee, even the power to receive. He asks
thee not to do anything, but to hold out thine empty hand, and take all
thou wantest. He does not bid thee store thy granaries and become rich,
but he bids thee simply confess thy poverty, and open the doors of thine
empty chambers, that He may pour thee out a blessing such as thou shalt
scarcely find room to contain. Hast thou learnt this truth? Hast thou
come to live as a receiver at the hand of God? Hast thou stood at
Mercy's gate, humbly seeking salvation? For, if thou hast not--if thou
hast never yet been willing to take the riches of grace from God instead
of giving to Him of thine own worthless doings--if thou art not willing
to be a recipient of His gratuitous goodness, thou art a total stranger
to everything like the gospel of Christ.


"_Ye are Not Your Own._"

If you are a child of God, you belong wholly and entirely to Christ.
Yet are there not many who seem to imagine that if they save a corner in
their souls for their religion, all will be well? Satan may stalk across
the broad acres of their judgment and their understanding, and he may
reign over their thoughts and their imaginations; but if in some quiet
nook there be preserved the appearance of religion, all will be right.
Oh! be not deceived in this; Christ never went halves in a man yet. He
will have the whole of you, or He will have none of you. He will be Lord
paramount, Master supreme, absolute Monarch, or else He will have
nothing to do with you. You may serve Satan, if you will, but when you
serve Him, you shall not serve Christ too. If you are not wholly given
up to God--if, in the intent and purpose of your souls, every thought,
and wish, and power, and talent, and possession be not devoted and
consecrated to Christ, you have no reason to believe that you have been
redeemed by His precious blood. In His people, whom He has purchased for
His own, He _will_ reign without a rival. Christ will not be
part-proprietor of any man.


"_Continue in Prayer._"

Be much in prayer. God's plants grow faster in the warm atmosphere of
the closet--it is a forcing-place for spiritual vegetation. He who would
grow strong must often kneel at the throne of grace. Of all training
practice for spiritual battles, _knee practice_ is the most healthful
and strengthening.


_The Holy Saviour._

There is an expression used by the apostle Paul respecting the Lord
Jesus, which is very beautiful and significant--"who _knew_ no sin." It
does not merely say _did_ none, but _knew_ none. Sin was no acquaintance
of His; He was acquainted with grief, but no acquaintance of sin. He had
to walk in the midst of its most frequented haunts, but did not know it.
Not that He was ignorant of its nature, or unaware of its penalty, but
He did not _know_ it; He was a stranger to it; He never by word, by nod,
or by smile, gave it the faintest recognition. Of course He knew what
sin was, for He was very God, but with sin He had no communion, no
fellowship, no brotherhood. He was a perfect stranger in the presence of
sin; He was a foreigner; He was not an inhabitant of that land where sin
is acknowledged. He passed through the wilderness of suffering, but into
the wilderness of sin He could never go. "He _knew_ no sin:" mark that
expression and treasure it up; and when you are thinking of your
Substitute, and behold Him bleeding upon the cross, think that you see
written in those lines of blood, "He knew no sin." Mingled with the
redness of His blood--that Rose of Sharon--behold the purity of His
nature--the Lily of the Valley--"He knew no sin."


_Christ our Example_.

_Remember the blessed example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ_.
This surely will teach you not to live to yourself! "For ye know the
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for our
sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich." His
heart is made of tenderness, His bowels melt with love. In all our
afflictions He is afflicted. Since the day when He became flesh of our
flesh, He hath never hidden Himself from our sufferings. Our glorious
Head is moved with all the sorrows which distress the members. Crowned
though He now is, He forgets not the thorns which once He wore; amid the
splendors of His regal state in Paradise, He is not unmindful of His
children here below. Still is He persecuted when Saul persecutes the
saints; still are His brethren as the apple of His eye, and very near
His heart. If ye can find in Christ a grain of selfishness, consecrate
yourselves unto your lusts, and let Mammon be your God. If ye can find
in Christ a solitary atom of hardness of heart and callousness of
spirit, then justify yourselves, ye whose hearts are as stone to the
wailing of the desolate. But if ye profess to be followers of the Man of
Nazareth, be ye full of compassion; He feedeth the hungry lest they be
faint by the way; He bindeth up the broken in heart and healeth all
their wounds; He heareth the cry of the needy and ariseth to their help.
If ye are His disciples, go and do likewise.


_God's Government._

There are still people to be found foolish enough to believe that
events occur at hap-hazard, without divine predestination, and different
calamities transpire without the overruling hand, or the direct agency
of God. Alas! for us, if chance had aught to do with events of our life.
We should be like poor mariners, put out to sea in an unsafe vessel,
without a chart and without a helm; we should know nothing of the port
to which we might ultimately come; we should only feel that we were now
the sport of the winds, the captives of the tempest, and might soon be
the victims of the all-devouring deep. Alas! poor orphans were we all,
if we were indebted for food and clothing, for present comfort and
future prospects, to nothing but chance. No father's care to watch over
us, but left to the fickleness and fallibility of mortal things! What
were all that we see about us, but a great sand-storm in the midst of a
desert, blinding our eyes, preventing us from ever hoping to see the end
through the darkness of the beginning? We should be pilgrims in a
pathless waste, where there were no roads to direct us--travellers who
might be overturned and overwhelmed at any moment, and our bleached
bones left the victims of the tempest, unknown, or forgotten of all.
Thank God, it is not so with us. We believe that everything which
happens to us is ordered by the wise and tender will of Him who is our
Father and our Friend; we see order in the midst of confusion; we see
purposes accomplished where others discern nothing but void and vacancy.
We believe that "He hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and
the clouds are the dust of His feet."


_The Secret of Strength._

Art thou proud, believer, because thou hast been profitable to the
Church, and done some little service to thy times? Who maketh thee to
differ, and what hast thou which thou hast not received? Hast thou shed
a little light upon the darkness? Ah! who lit thy candle--and who is it
who keeps thee still shining, and prevents thee from being extinguished?
Hast thou overcome temptation? Hang not up thy banner; do not decorate
thine own bosom with the glory; for who made thee strong in the battle?
Who made thy sword sharp, and nerved thine arm to strike the foe?
Remember, thou hast done nothing whatever of thyself. If thou be this
day a vessel unto honor, decorated and gilded--if now thou art a
precious vase, filled with the sweetest perfume, yet thou didst not make
thyself so. Thou art the clay, but _who_ is the potter? If thou be a
vessel unto honor, yet not a vessel unto thine own honor, but a vessel
unto the honor of Him who made thee. If thou standest among thy
fellow-men as the angels stand above the fallen spirits--a chosen one,
distinguished from them--yet remember, it was not any goodness in
thyself which made thee to be chosen; nor has it been any of thine own
efforts, or thine own power, which lifted thee out of the miry clay, set
thy feet on the rock, and established thy goings. Off with the crown
from thy proud head, and lay down thine honors at the feet of Him who
gave them to thee. With cherubim and seraphim veil thy face, and cry,
"Not unto us, not unto us, but unto His name be all the glory forever
and ever."

And when thou art thus bowed down with humility, be thou prepared to
learn this other lesson--_never depend on thyself again_. If thou hast
aught to do, go not forth to do it leaning on an arm of flesh. First bow
thy knee, and ask power of Him who makes thee strong, and then thou
shalt come back from thy labor rejoicing. But if thou goest in thine own
strength, thou shalt break thy ploughshare on the rock; thou shalt sow
thy seed by the side of the salt sea upon the barren sand, and thou
shalt look upon the naked acres in years to come, and they shall not
yield thee so much as a single blade to make glad thine heart. "Trust ye
in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength."
That strength is not available to you so long as you repose in any
strength of your own. He will help you if you confess your weakness; but
if you are strong in yourself, He will take way his own power from you,
and you will stumble and fall. Learn, then, the grace of depending daily
upon God, so shalt thou be clothed with becoming humility.


_Nature and Grace._

You will never perceive God in nature, until you have learned to see
God in grace. We have heard a great deal about going up from nature to
nature's God. Impossible! A man might as well attempt to go from the top
of the Alps to heaven. There is still a great gulf between nature and
God to the natural mind. You must first of all perceive God incarnate in
the person of Christ, before you will perceive God omnipotent in the
creation which He has made. You have heard a great deal about men
delighting to worship in the forest glades, who disdain to frequent the
sanctuary of the saints. Ay; but there was little truth in it. There is
often great sound where there is much emptiness; and you will frequently
find that those men who talk most of this natural worship, are those who
do not worship God at all. God's works are too gross a medium to allow
the light. Rugged is the path and dark the atmosphere, if we go by way
of the creatures to find out the Creator to perfection. But when I see
Christ, I see God's new and living way between my soul and my God, most
clear and pleasant. I come to my God at once, and finding Him in Christ,
I find Him everywhere else besides.


_Look to Christ._

Would you be free from doubts? Would you rejoice in the Lord with faith
unmoved, and confidence unshaken? Then _look to Jesus_! Certain I am
that if we lived more _with_ Jesus, were more _like_ Jesus, and trusted
more _to_ Jesus, doubts and fears would be very scarce and rare things.


_Love in Chastening._

God's people are often chastened, and the Lord's hand lieth heavy upon
them; yet there is paternal goodness in their chastenings, and infinite
lovingkindness in their tribulations. Did you ever hear this parable?
There was a certain shepherd who had a sheep which he desired to lead
into another and better field; he called it, and it would not come; he
led it, and it would not follow; he drove it, but it would only follow
its own devices. At last he thought within himself, "I will do this."
The sheep had a little lamb by its side, and the shepherd took the lamb
up in his arms, and carried it away, and then the ewe came too. And so
with you; God has been calling to _you_, and you did not come; Christ
said, "Come," and you would not; He sent affliction, and you would not
come; at length He took your child away, and you came forthwith; you
followed the Saviour then. You see it was loving work on the shepherd's
part. He did but take the lamb to save the sheep, and the Saviour but
took your child to heaven that He might bring _you_ there also. Oh,
blessed afflictions, blessed losses, blessed deaths, which end in
spiritual life! You know that if a man desires to gather a harvest from
his field, he first ploughs it up. The field might complain, and say,
"Why these scars across my face? Why this rough upturning?" Because
there can be no sowing till there has been ploughing; sharp ploughshares
make furrows for good seed. Or take yet another picture from nature: a
man desireth to make of a rusty piece of iron, a bright sword which
shall be serviceable to a great warrior. What doth he do? He putteth it
into the fire, and melteth it; he taketh away all its dross, and
removeth all its tin; then he fashioneth it with his hammer; he beateth
it full sore upon the anvil; he anneals it in one fire after another,
till at last it comes out a good blade which will not snap in the day of
warfare. This is what God doeth with you--I pray you do not misread the
book of God's providence; for if you read it aright it runs thus--"I
will have mercy on this man, and therefore have I smitten him and
wounded him. As many as I love I rebuke and chasten." Come, therefore,
let us return unto the Lord, for He hath wounded and He will heal; He
hath smitten and He will bind us up.


_Enduring the Cross._

"For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross." What was
the joy? Oh, 'tis a thought must melt a rock, and make a heart of iron
move, that the joy which was set before Jesus, was principally the joy
of saving us. I know it was the joy of fulfilling His Father's will--of
sitting down on His Father's throne--of being made perfect through
suffering; but still I know that this is the grand, great motive of the
Saviour enduring the cross--the joy of saving us. Do you know what the
joy is of doing good to others? If you do not, I pity you, for of all
joys which God has left in this poor wilderness, this is one of the
sweetest. Do you know it? Have you never felt that joy divine, when your
gold has been given to the poor, and your silver has been dedicated to
the Lord, when you bestowed it upon the hungry--and you have gone aside,
and said, "I feel it is a joy worth living for to feed the hungry, and
clothe the naked, and to do good to my poor suffering fellow-creatures?"
Now, this is the joy which Christ felt; it was the joy of feeding us
with the bread of heaven; the joy of clothing poor, naked sinners in His
own righteousness; the joy of finding a home for homeless souls, of
delivering us from the prison of hell, and giving us the eternal
enjoyments of heaven. See the greatness of His love which thus led Him
to endure the cross and despise the shame, that He might save sinners.
Truly Christ's love "passeth knowledge!" Christians! if Christ endured
all this for the joy of saving you, will _you_ be ashamed of bearing or
suffering anything for Christ? Surely love to Him who hath so loved us
should make us willing to endure all things for His sake. Do you feel
that in following Christ you must lose by it--lose honor, position,
wealth? Do you feel that in being a Christian you incur ridicule and
reproach? and will you turn aside because of these little things, when
He would not turn aside, but endured the cross and despised the shame?
No, by the grace of God let every Christian say,--

    "Now for the love I bear His name,
      What was my gain I count my loss;
    My former pride I call my shame,
      And nail my glory to His cross."

"For me to live is Christ; to die is gain." Living, I will be His;
dying, I will be His. I will live to His honor, and serve Him wholly. I
will take up my cross, and follow Him, rejoicing if I am counted worthy
to suffer for His name's sake.


_Christian Gravity._

When we make a profession of our faith in Christ, we are not to drape
our faces in gloom, but rather to light our hearts with a purer joy than
we ever knew before; and yet we must put away all unseemly levity. "I
said of laughter, it is mad." I said it, too, in the day of the gladness
of my heart. The madman's frolics, the drunkard's boisterous
mirth--these compare not with the serene pleasure of our princely
expectations. Walk as those who are looking for the coming of the Son of
Man, hearing this voice in your ears, "What manner or person ought ye to
be in all holy conversation and godliness?"


_Short-Sightedness._

What short-sighted creatures we often are! We think we see the end when
we are only viewing the beginning. We get our telescope out sometimes to
look to the future, and we breathe on the glass with the hot breath of
our anxiety, and then we think we see clouds and darkness before us. If
we are in trouble, we see

    "Every day new straits attend,
    And wonder where the scene will end."

Nay; we conclude that it must end in our destruction. We imagine "God
hath forgotten to be gracious." We think "He hath in anger shut up the
bowels of compassion." Oh, this short-sightedness! When you and I ought
to believe in God; when we ought to look at the heaven which awaiteth
us, and the glory for which these light afflictions are preparing us;
when we ought to be looking through the cloud to the eternal sun which
never knows an eclipse; when we should be resting on the invisible arm
of the immortal God, and triumphing in His love, we are mourning and
distrusting. God forgive us for this, and enable _us_ henceforth to look
not _at_ our troubles, but _above_ them, even to Him who, with infinite
wisdom and love, is guiding us, and has promised to bring us safely
through.


_Steadfastness._

If you had more faith, you would be as happy in the furnace as on the
mountain of enjoyment; you would be as glad in famine as in plenty; you
would rejoice in the Lord when the olive yielded no oil, as well as when
the vat was bursting and overflowing its brim. If you had more
confidence in God, you would have far less of tossings up and down; and
if you had greater nearness to Christ, you would have less vacillation.
At times you can bid defiance to the rage of Satan, boldly meet every
attack, and resist every temptation; but too often you are fearful and
irresolute, and ready to run away from the fight instead of making
valiant resistance. But if you always remember Him who endured such
contradiction of sinners against Himself, you might always be firm and
steadfast. Live near your Master, and you shall not be thus changeful
and uncertain. Beware of being like a weathercock. Seek of God, that His
law may be written on your heart as if it were written in stone, and not
as if it were written in sand. Seek that His grace may come to you like
a river, and not like a brook which fails. Seek that you may keep your
conversation always holy; that your course may be like the shining light
which tarries not, but burns brighter and brighter until the fulness of
the day. Seek that the "God of all grace may establish, strengthen,
settle you."


"_Be not High-minded, but Fear._"

While we most earnestly seek after the full assurance of faith, knowing
it is our strength and our joy, let us at the same time remember that
there is a _temptation_ connected with it. When thou hast gained this
full assurance, believer, then be on thy watch-tower, for the next
temptation will be, "Soul, take thine ease; the work is done; thou
_hast_ attained; now fold thine arms; sit thou still; all will end well;
why needest thou too much to vex thyself?" Take heed in those seasons
when you have no doubts. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into
temptation." "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
"I said, I shall never be moved. Lord, by Thy favor Thou hast made my
mountain to stand strong." And what next? "Thou didst hide Thy face, and
I was troubled." Bless God for full assurance; but, remember, nothing
but careful walking can preserve it. Full assurance is a priceless
pearl; but when a man has a precious jewel, and he walks the streets, he
ought to be much afraid of pickpockets. So, when the Christian has full
assurance, let him be sure that Satan will try to rob him of it. Let him
be more circumspect in his walk, and more diligent in his watch than he
was before.


_Evidence of the New Life._

"If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious," it is _certain
evidence of a divine change_; for men by nature find no delight in
Jesus. I do not inquire what your experience may have been, or may not
have been; if Christ be precious to you, there has been a work of grace
in your heart; if you love Him, if His presence be your joy, if His
blood be your hope, if His glory be your object and aim, and if His
person be the constant love of your soul, you could not have had this
taste by nature, for you were dead; you could not have acquired this
taste by learning, for this is a miracle which none but the God who is
supreme over nature could have wrought in you. Let every tried and
troubled Christian, who, nevertheless, does taste that the Lord is good,
take consolation from this. "The upright love thee."


"_A few Names even in Sardis._"

"Thou hast a few names even in Sardis, which have not defiled their
garments." Here we have special preservation. Mark it carefully. "Thou
hast a few names." Only a few; not so few as some think, but not so many
as others imagine. A few compared with the mass of professors: a few
compared even with the true children of God, for many of _them_ have
defiled their garments. There were but a few, and those few were even in
_Sardis_. There is not a Church on earth which is so corrupt but has "a
few."

Take heart, Christians; there are a few in Sardis. Do not be quite cast
down. _Some_ heroes have not turned their backs in the day of battle;
_some_ mighty men still fight for the truth. But be careful, for,
perhaps, you are not one of the "few." Since there are but "a few,"
there ought to be great searchings of heart. Let us look to _our_
garments, and see whether they be defiled. And since there are but
"few," _be active_. The fewer the workmen to do the work, the greater
reason is there that you should be active. "Be instant in season, out of
season." Oh! if we had hundreds behind us, we might say, "Let _them_ do
the work;" but if we stand with only "a few," how should each of those
few exert themselves!

Stir yourselves up, then, to the greatest activity, for verily there
are but a few in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. Above all,
_be prayerful_. Put up your earnest cries to God that He would multiply
the faithful, that He would increase the number of chosen ones who stand
fast, and that He would purify the Church. Cry unto God that the day may
come when the much fine gold shall be no longer dim; when the glory
shall again return to Zion. Beg of God to remove the cloud, to take away
"the darkness that may be felt." Be doubly prayerful, for there are but
few in Sardis who have not defiled their garments.


_Increase of Strength._

The troubles with which the plants of God's right-hand planting are
assailed when they are saplings are very inconsiderable compared with
those which blow about them when they become, like cedars, strongly
rooted. When we grow strong, so sure as our strength increases, our
sufferings, our trials, our labors, or our temptations, will be
multiplied. God's power is never communicated to any man to be laid up
in store. The food which is given to strengthen us, like the manna which
was gathered by the Israelites in the wilderness, is intended for
immediate use. When the Lord puts upon our feet the shoes of iron which
He has promised us in the covenant, it is that we may walk in them--not
that we may put them into our museum, and gaze upon them as curiosities.
If He gives us a strong hand, it is because we have a strong foe to
fight with. If He shall give us a great meal, as He did Elijah of old,
it is that we may go for a forty-day's journey in the strength of that
meal.


_The Triumphant Deliverance._

When the Israelites went forth out of the land of Egypt, they took
with them the whole of their possessions, according to the word of the
Lord--"Not a hoof shall be left behind." What does this teach us? Why,
not only that all God's _people_ shall be saved, but that all which
God's people _ever had_ shall be restored. All which Jacob ever took
down to Egypt shall be brought out again. Have I lost a perfect
righteousness in Adam? I shall have a perfect righteousness in Christ.
Have I lost happiness on earth in Adam? God will give me much happiness
here below in Christ. Have I lost heaven in Adam? I shall have heaven in
Christ; for Christ came not only to seek and to save the people who were
lost, but _that which_ was lost; that is, all the inheritance, as well
as the people; all their property. Not the sheep merely, but the good
pasture which the sheep had lost; not only the prodigal son, but all the
prodigal son's estates. Everything was brought out of Egypt; not even
Joseph's bones were left behind. The Egyptians could not say that they
had a scrap of the Israelites' property--not even one of their kneading
troughs, nor one of their old garments. And when Christ shall have
conquered all things to Himself, the Christian shall not have lost one
atom by the toils of Egypt, but shall be able to say, "O _death_, where
is thy sting? O _grave_, where is thy victory?" O _hell_, where is thy
triumph? Thou hast not a flag nor a pennon to show of thy victory; there
is not a casque or a helmet left upon the battle-field; there is not a
single trophy which thou mayst raise up in hell in scorn of Christ. He
hath not only delivered His people, but they have gone out with flying
colors. Stand and admire and love the Lord, who thus delivers all His
people. "Great are Thy works, O Lord, and marvellous are Thy doings; and
that my soul knoweth right well."


_A Complete Saviour._

It would be inconsistent with the character of Him "by whom are all
things," if He had sent an incomplete Saviour; that is, if He had left
us to do part ourselves, and for Christ to do the rest. Look at the sun.
God wills for the sun to light the earth: doth he ask the earth's
darkness to contribute to the light? Doth He question the night, and ask
whether it has not in its sombre shades something which it may
contribute to the brightness of noon? No; up rises the sun in the
morning, like a giant to run his race, and the earth is made bright. And
shall God turn to the dark sinner, and ask him whether there is anything
in him which may contribute to eternal light? No; Jesus rises as the Sun
of Righteousness, with healing beneath His wings, and darkness is, at
His coming, light. He alone is "the light of the world;" His own arm
brought salvation; He asks no help from man, but giveth all and doeth
all of His own rich grace, and is a complete and perfect Saviour.


_Home-Mercies._

When we realize that all our daily mercies come to us as the gifts of
our Father in heaven, it makes them doubly precious to us. There is
nothing which tastes as sweet to the school-boy as that which comes from
home. So with the Christian. All his mercies are sweeter because they
are home-mercies--they come "from above;" the land in which he lives is
not like the land of Egypt, fed by a river; but it "drinketh water of
the rain or heaven." Happy the lot of that man who thus receives
everything as coming from God, and thanks his Father for it all! It
makes anything sweet, when he knows it comes from heaven. This thought,
also, has a tendency to keep us from an overweening love of the world.
The spies went to Eshcol, and fetched thence an immense cluster of the
grapes which grew there; but you do not find that the people said, "The
fruits we have received from the land of promise, make us contented to
stay in the wilderness." No; they saw that the grapes came from Canaan,
and thereupon they said, "Let us go on and possess the land." And so,
when we get rich mercies, if we think they come from the natural soil of
this earth alone, we might well feel a wish to stay here. But if we know
that they come from a foreign clime, we are naturally anxious to go

    "Where our dear Lord His vineyard keeps,
      And all the clusters grow."

Christian, rejoice then in the thought that all thou hast cometh from
above; thy daily bread cometh not so much from thine industry as from
thy heavenly Father's care; thou seest stamped upon every mercy heaven's
own inscription, and every blessing comes down to thee perfumed with the
ointment, and the spikenard, and the myrrh of the ivory palaces, whence
God dispenses His bounties.


"_Grace Doth Much More Abound._"

There has never been a period in this world's history when it was
wholly given up to sin. God has always had His servants on earth; at
times they may have been hidden by fifties in the caves, but they have
never been utterly cut off. Grace may be low; the stream might be very
shallow, but it has never been wholly dry. The clouds have never been so
universal as to hide the day. But the time is fast approaching when
grace shall extend all over our world, and "the earth shall be full of
the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." "Grace doth
_much more_ abound;" and whatever possessions the world has lost by sin,
it has gained _far more_ by grace. It is true we have been expelled from
a garden of delights, where peace, love, and happiness found a glorious
habitation, but we have through Jesus a fairer inheritance. The plains
of heaven exceed the fields of paradise in the ever-new delights which
they afford, while the tree of life, and the river from the throne,
render the inhabitants of the celestial regions more than imparadised.
It is true that we have become subject to death by sin, yet has not
grace revealed an immortality for the sake of which we are glad to die?
Life lost in Adam is more than restored in Christ. Our original robes
were rent asunder by Adam, but Jesus has clothed us with a divine
righteousness, far exceeding in value even the spotless robes of created
innocence. We mourn our low and miserable condition through sin, but we
rejoice at the thought, that we are now more secure than before we fell,
we are brought into closer alliance with Jesus than our creature
standing could ever boast. O Jesus! Thou hast won us an inheritance more
wide than Adam ever lost; Thou hast filled our coffer with greater
riches than our sin has ever lavished; Thou hast loaded us with honors,
and endowed us with privileges far more excellent than our natural
birthright could have procured us. Truly, truly, "grace doth much more
abound."


_Unsubmissive Prayers._

When we look at our prayers, we have much reason to deplore the
_unsubmissive spirit_ which too often pervades them. How often have we
in our prayers not simply wrestled with God for a blessing--for that was
allowable--but we have imperiously demanded it! We have not said, "Deny
this to me, O my God, if so thou pleasest;" we have not been ready to
say, as the Redeemer did, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou
wilt;" but we have asked after the blind inclination of our ignorance,
as if we could brook no denial from the omniscient counsel of His will.
Forgetful of a humble deference to our Lord's superior wisdom and grace,
we have asked and declared that we would not be content unless we had
that particular desire upon which our hearts were set. Now, whenever we
come to God, and ask for anything which we consider a real good, we have
a right to plead earnestly; but we err when we go beyond the bounds of
earnestness, and come to _demand_. It is ours to ask for a blessing, but
not to define what the blessing shall be. It is ours to place our head
beneath the mighty hands of divine benediction, but it is not ours to
uplift the hands, as Joseph did those of Jacob, and say, "Not so, my
father." We must be content if He gives the blessing cross-handed; quite
as content that He should put His left hand on our head as the right. We
must not intrude into God's almonry, "It is the Lord, let Him do as
seemeth Him good." Prayer was never meant to be a fetter upon the
sovereignty of God. We must always subjoin at the bottom of the prayer
this heavenly postscript, "Father, deny this if it be most for Thy
glory." Christ will have nothing to do with dictatorial prayers.


"_More than Conquerors._"

The Christian is to be a conqueror at last. Do you think that we are
forever to be the drudges and the slaves of sin, sighing for freedom,
and yet never able to escape from its bondage? No! Soon the chains which
confine me shall be broken, the doors of my prison shall be opened, and
I shall mount to the glorious city, the abode of holiness, where I shall
be entirely freed from sin. We who love the Lord are not to sojourn in
Mesech for aye. The dust may defile our robes now, but the day is coming
when we shall rise and shake ourselves from the dust, and put on our
beautiful garments. It is true we are now like Israel in Canaan. Canaan
is full of enemies; but the Canaanites shall and must be driven out, and
the whole land from Dan to Beersheba shall be the Lord's. Christians,
rejoice! You are soon to be perfect, soon to be free from sin, without
one wrong inclination, one evil desire. You are soon to be as pure as
the angels in light; nay, more, with your Master's garments on, you are
to be "holy as the holy One." Can you think of that? Is it not the very
sum of heaven, the rapture of bliss, the sonnet of the hill-tops of
glory--that you are to be perfect? No temptation can reach you, nor if
the temptation could reach you would you be hurt by it; for there will
be nothing in you which could in any way foster sin. It would be as when
a spark falls upon an ocean; your holiness would quench it in a moment.
Yes, washed in the blood of Jesus, you are soon to walk the golden
streets, white-robed and white-hearted too. O, rejoice in the immediate
prospect, and let it nerve you for the present conflict.


_Christian Gladness._

Eminent as David was for his piety, he was equally eminent for the
joyfulness and gladness of his heart. It is often thought by worldly
people, that the contemplation of divine things has a tendency to
depress the spirits. Now, there is no greater mistake. No man is so
happy, but he would be happier still if he had religion. The man who has
a fulness of earthly pleasure, would not lose any part of his happiness,
had he the grace of God in his heart; rather that joy would add
sweetness to all his prosperity; it would strain off many of the bitter
dregs from his cup, and show him how to extract more honey from the
honeycomb. Godliness can make the most melancholy joyful, while it can
make the joyous ones more joyful still, lighting up the face with a
heavenly gladness, making the eyes sparkle with tenfold more brilliance;
and happy as the worldly man may be, he shall find that there is sweeter
nectar than he has ever drunk before, if he comes to the fountain of
atoning mercy; if he knows that his name is registered in the book of
everlasting life. Temporal mercies will then have the charm of
redemption to enhance them. They will be no longer to him as shadowy
phantoms which dance for a transient hour in the sunbeam. He will
account them more precious because they are given to him, as it were, in
some codicils of the divine testament, which hath promise of the life
which now is, as well as of that which is to come. While goodness and
mercy follow him all the days of his life, he will be able to stretch
forth his grateful anticipations to the future when he shall dwell in
the house of the Lord forever, and to say with the Psalmist, "Thou hast
made me most blessed forever: Thou hast made me exceeding glad with Thy
countenance."


_The Condescension of Christ._

When the Saviour appeared among men, it was not as one lifted up from
the ranks to procure station for Himself, but as one who descended from
the heavens to convey blessings to the people. The ignorant and the
illiterate find in Him their best friend. He is no stern law-giver, who,
wrapped up in His own integrity, looks upon the transgressor with the
eye of justice; neither is He simply the bold enunciator of penalty and
punishment, nor the pitiless denouncer of crime and iniquity. He is the
gentle lover of our souls; the good Shepherd coming forth, not so much
to slay the wolf, as to save the sheep. As the nurse tenderly watches
over her child, so He watches for the souls of men; and like as a father
pitieth his children, so does Jesus pity poor sinners. It is not so much
drawing sinners up to Him, as coming down to them; not standing on the
mountain-top and bidding them ascend, but coming down from the mountain,
and mingling in social intercourse with them; coming down from the high
pastures after His sheep in the glens, and in the ravines, that He may
lay hold of them, lift them on His mighty shoulders, and bear them up to
the place where He shall fold them in purity, bless them with all grace,
and preserve them unto future glory.


_All of Grace._

God's people, after they are called by grace, are preserved in Christ
Jesus; they are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation;"
they are not suffered to sin away their eternal inheritance, but as
temptations arise, they have strength given with which to encounter
them; and as sin defiles them, they are washed afresh, and again
cleansed. But mark, the reason why God keeps His people, is the same as
that which made them His people--His own free, sovereign grace. If you
have been delivered in the hour of temptation, pause and remember that
you were not delivered for your own sake. There was nothing in you which
deserved the deliverance. If you have been fed and supplied in your hour
of need, it is not because you have been a faithful servant of God, or
because you have been a prayerful Christian; it is simply and only
because of God's mercy. He is not moved to anything He does for you by
anything which you do for Him; His motive for blessing you lies wholly
and entirely in the depths of His own bosom. Blessed be God, His people
shall be kept.

    "Nor death nor hell shall e'er remove
      His favorites from His breast;
    In the dear bosom of His love
      They must forever rest."

But why? Because they are holy? Because they are sanctified? Because
they serve God with good works? No, but because He, in His sovereign
grace, has loved them, does love them, and will love them to the end.
Thus, salvation from first to last is all of grace. Then how _humble_ a
Christian ought to be! We have nothing whatever to do with our
salvation; God has done it all. It is mercy undeserved which we have
received. It is His boundless, fathomless love which has led Him to save
us; and it is the same love and mercy which upholds us now. To Him be
glory!


"_This Man Receiveth Sinners._"

"This man receiveth sinners." Poor sinsick sinner, what a sweet word
this is for thee! Respond, respond to it, and say, "Surely, then, He
will not reject me." Let me encourage thee to come to my Master, that
thou mightest receive His great atonement, and be clothed with all His
righteousness. Mark: those whom I address, are the _bona fide_, real,
actual sinners; not those who only _say_ they are sinners with a general
confession, but those who _feel_ their lost, ruined, hopeless condition.
All these are frankly and freely invited to come to Jesus Christ, and to
be saved by Him. Come, poor sinner, come. Come, because He has said He
will receive you. I know thy fears; I know thou sayest in thy heart, "He
will reject me. If I present my prayer, He will not hear me; if I cry
unto Him, yet per-adventure, the heavens will be as brass; I have been
so great a sinner, that He will never take me into His house to dwell
with Him." Poor sinner! say not so; _He_ hath published the decree. Is
not this enough? He has said, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise
cast out." Dost thou not venture on that promise? Wilt thou not go to
sea in a ship as stanch as this. _He hath said it_? It has been often
the only comfort of the saints; on this they have lived, on this they
have died. _He hath said it._ What! dost thou think Christ would tell
thee He will receive thee, and yet not do so? Would He say, "Come ye to
the supper," and yet shut the door upon you? No; if He has said He will
cast out none that come to Him, rest assured He cannot, He will not cast
you out. Come, then, try His love on this ground, that He has said it.
Come, and fear not, because remember, if thou feelest thyself to be a
sinner, that feeling is God's gift; and therefore thou mayst very safely
come to One who has already done so much to draw thee. If thou feelest
thy need of a Saviour, Christ made thee feel it; if thou hast a wish to
come after Christ, Christ gave thee that wish; if thou hast any desire
after God, God gave thee that desire; if thou canst sigh after Christ,
Christ made thee sigh; if thou canst weep after Christ, Christ made thee
weep. Ay, if thou canst only wish for Him with the strong wish of one
who fears he never can find, yet hopes he may--if thou canst but hope
for Him, He has given thee that hope. And O, wilt not thou come to Him?
Thou hast some of the King's bounties about thee now; come and plead
what He hath done; there is no suit which can ever fail with God, when
thou pleadest this. Come to Him, and thou wilt find it is true which is
written, that "this man receiveth sinners."


"_Wherein Ye Greatly Rejoice._"

"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye
are in heaviness." And can a Christian "greatly rejoice" while he is "in
heaviness?" Yes, most assuredly he can. Mariners tell us that there are
some parts of the sea where there is a strong current upon the surface
going one way, while, down in the depths there is a strong current
running the other way. Two seas also do not meet and interfere with one
another, but one stream of water on the surface is running in one
direction, and another below in an opposite direction. Now, the
Christian is like that. On the surface there is a stream of heaviness
rolling in dark waves, but down in the depths there is a strong
under-current of great rejoicing which is always flowing there. Do you
ask what is the cause of this great rejoicing? The apostle tells us,
"_Wherein_ ye greatly rejoice." What does he mean? Refer to his epistle,
and you will see. He is writing "to the strangers scattered throughout
Pontus, etc." And the first thing which He says to them is, that they
are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God." This is an assurance
"wherein ye greatly rejoice." Ah! even when the Christian is most "in
heaviness through manifold temptations," what a mercy it is that he can
know that he is still elect of God! Any man who is assured that God "has
chosen him from before the foundation of the world," may well say,
"Wherein I greatly rejoice." Let us reflect on this. Before God made the
heavens and the earth, or laid the pillars of the firmament in their
golden sockets, He set His love upon me; upon the breast of the great
High Priest He wrote my name; and in His everlasting book it stands,
never to be erased--"elect according to the foreknowledge of God." Why,
this may make a man's soul leap within him, and all the heaviness which
the infirmities of the flesh may lay upon him shall be but as nothing;
for this tremendous current of His overflowing joy shall sweep away the
mill-dam of his grief. Bursting and overleaping every obstacle, it shall
overflood all his sorrows till they are drowned and covered up, and
shall not be mentioned any more forever. "Wherein ye greatly rejoice."
Come, Christian! thou art depressed and cast down. Think for a moment:
thou art chosen of God and precious. Let the bell of election ring in
thine ear--that ancient Sabbath-bell of the covenant; and let thy name
be heard in its notes, and say, I beseech thee, say, doth not this make
thee "greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, thou art in
heaviness through manifold temptations?"

Again, you will see another reason. The apostle says that we are "elect
through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of
the blood of Jesus Christ"--"wherein we greatly rejoice." Is the
obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ girt about my loins, to be my beauty
and my glorious dress? and is the blood of Jesus sprinkled upon me, to
take away all my guilt and all my sin? and shall I not in this greatly
rejoice? What shall there be in all the depressions of spirit which can
possibly come upon me which shall make me break my harp, even though I
should for a moment hang it upon the willows? Do I not expect that yet
again my songs shall mount to heaven; and even now, through the thick
darkness, do not the sparks of my joy appear, when I remember that I
have still upon me the blood of Jesus, and still about me the glorious
righteousness of the Messiah?

But the great and cheering comfort of the apostle is, that we are elect
unto "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not
away, reserved in heaven for us," even as we are reserved for it. Well
may this indeed make him greatly rejoice. He is drawing near the gates
of death, and his spirit is in heaviness, for he has to leave behind him
all that life holds dear. Besides, sickness brings upon him naturally a
depression of spirits. But you sit by him in his chamber, and you begin
to talk to him of the

    "Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,
    Arrayed in living green."

You tell him of Canaan on the other side the Jordan--of the land which
floweth with milk and honey--of the Lamb in the midst of the throne, and
of all the glories which God hath prepared for them who love Him; and
you see his dull eye light up with seraphic brightness, "his heaviness"
is all gone, and the language of his heart is--

    "On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
      And cast a wishful eye
    To Canaan's fair and happy land,
      Where my possessions lie."

The anticipation of the coming glory and happiness fills him with "joy
unspeakable."


_Changefulness._

How varied is the experience of the believer in his spiritual life!
What changes there are in the weather of his soul! What bright sunlight
days! What dark, cloudy nights! What calms, as though his life were a
sea of glass! What terrible trials, as though his life were a
tempestuous ocean! One time we find him crying, "My God, my God, why
hast thou forsaken me," and anon he sings, "Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me bless His holy name." One hour we hear him
sigh forth, "I sink in deep mire where there is no standing," and then
we find him exulting, "The Lord is my light, and my salvation, whom
shall I fear: the Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be
afraid." How wondrously he rises to heaven, and how awfully he dives
into the deeps! Surely we who have known anything of the spiritual and
inner life do not marvel at this, for we have felt these changes. Alas!
what a contrast between the sin which doth so easily beset us, and the
grace which gives us to reign in heavenly places. How different the
sorrow of an abject distrust which breaketh us in pieces as with a
strong east wind, and the joy of a holy confidence which bears us on to
heaven as a propitious gale! What changes between walking with God
to-day, and falling into the mire to-morrow, triumphing over sin, death,
and hell yesterday, and to-day led captive by the lusts of the flesh and
of the mind. Verily, we cannot understand ourselves, and a description
which would suit us at one time, would be ill-adapted at another time.
Changeable, indeed, is our experience; but oh, what a mercy that
_Christ_ does not change! Varied as our experience may be, His grace is
varied to meet it, for He has grace to help us in every time of need,
and with infinite and unfailing good-will supplies us in the strength
proportioned to our day.


_Thoughts of Christ._

Jesus! what infinite sweets in His name! Our impressions on surveying
Him may be compared to some of those lenses you have seen, which you may
take up and hold one way, and you see one light, and another way, and
you see another light, and whichever way you turn them you will always
see some precious sparkling of light, and some new colors starting up to
your view. Ah! take Jesus for your theme; consider Him; think of His
relation to your own soul, and you will never get through that one
subject. Think of His eternal relationship to you; and also of your
known and manifest relationship to Him since you have been called by His
grace. Think how He has become your brother; how His heart has beaten in
sympathy with yours; how He has kissed you with the kisses of His love,
and His love has been sweeter to you than wine. Look back upon some
happy, sunny spots in your history, where Jesus has whispered, "I am
yours," and you have said "My beloved is mine." Think of some choice
moments, when an angel has stooped from heaven, and taken you up on his
wings, and carried you aloft, to sit in heavenly places where Jesus
sits, that you might commune with Him. Or think of some moments, when
you have had what Paul sets so much store by--fellowship with Christ in
His sufferings--when you have felt that you could die _for_ Christ, even
as you have in the rich experience of your baptism, died _with_ Him, and
risen _with_ Him. Think of your relationship to Christ which is to be
developed in heaven. Imagine the hour to have come when you shall "greet
the blood-besprinkled hand on the eternal shore," and when the Lord
Jesus shall salute you as "more than a conqueror," and put a crown upon
your head more glittering than the stars. Oh! take _Jesus_ for your
constant theme, and you will every day find fresh thoughts arise out of
His grace, His beauty, His glory. In Him you have an unfailing subject
of delight, object of attraction, and centre of love.


_A Lesson of Humility._

When Jesus sent forth His seventy disciples, endowed with miraculous
powers, they performed great wonders, and naturally enough were somewhat
elated. In their words, "Behold, even devils were subject to us," Jesus
marked their tendency to pride and self-congratulation. And what was the
sacred lesson He taught to prevent their being exalted above measure?
"Nevertheless," said He, "rejoice not in this, but rather rejoice
because your names are written in heaven." The assurance of our interest
in Christ will tend to keep us humble in the day of our prosperity; it
will act as a secret ballast to us to know that we have something better
than these earthly blessings, therefore we must not set our affections
upon the things of earth, but let our hearts be where our greatest
treasure is. Better than any lancet to spill the superfluous blood of
our boasting--better than any bitter medicine to chase the burning fever
of our pride, is this most precious and hallowed wine of the covenant--a
remembrance of our safety in Christ. This, opened up to us by the
Spirit, will suffice to keep us in that happy lowliness which is our
true position. But when at any time we are cast down with multiplied
troubles, the very same fact which kept us humble in prosperity will
preserve us from despair in adversity. For the apostle Paul was
surrounded by a great fight of affliction; and yet he could say,
"Nevertheless I am not ashamed." But what is it which preserves him from
sinking? It is the same truth which kept the ancient disciples from
overweening pride. It is the sweet persuasion of his interest in Christ.
"For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to
keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." Then let us
seek earnestly to obtain this full assurance of faith, for it will help
us in all states of experience. Let us not rest content till we can say
with Paul, "I know whom I have believed."


_Promises and Precepts._

If thou wouldst have the promises fulfilled to thee, look to it that
thou dost comply with _the precept annexed to the promise_. Follow the
example of Moses. Moses knew that there was a promise given to the
people of Israel, that they should be the world's blessing; but in order
to obtain it, it was necessary that he should practise self-denial,
therefore he "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to
enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." If the promise commands thee
to deny thyself, thou canst not obtain it without. Do it, and thou shalt
have its fulfilment. Or suppose that the promise requires courage--_use
courage_. Or does the promise require obedience--_be obedient_. Remember
how Rahab hung out from her window the scarlet line, because that was
the test of her faith. So do thou. Whatsoever Christ hath said unto
thee, do it. Neglect no command, however trivial it may seem. Do what
thy Master tells thee, asking no questions, for he is an ill servant who
questions his Lord's command. Doubtless thou too, like the Ethiopian
eunuch, shalt go on thy way rejoicing when thou hast been obedient. Or
is the promise made to those who bear "a good report" of the land?
Remember, Caleb and Joshua were the only two who obtained the promise,
because they alone honored God. So do thou honor God. Let a scoffing
world hear thine unvarying testimony that thy God is good and true. Let
not thy groanings and thy murmurings make men suspect that thou hast a
hard master, and that His servants have no joys, no comforts, no
delights. Let it be known that He whom thou servest is no Egyptian
task-master; His yoke is easy; His service pleasure, His reward
unspeakable. "Them that honor Me, I will honor." Be thou careful to obey
the precepts, and God will fulfil to thee the promises.


_Sweetness in Sorrow._

Do you not feel, in looking back upon seasons of affliction, that they
have been times when, notwithstanding the trials, you have had unusual
peace and happiness in your heart? There is a sweet joy which comes to
us through sorrow. The bitter wine of sorrow acts with a tonic influence
upon the whole system. The sweet cup of prosperity often leaves a
bitterness in the taste; but the bitter cup of affliction, when
sanctified, always leaves a sweet flavor in the mouth. There is joy in
sorrow. There is music in this harp with its strings all unstrung and
broken. There are a few notes we hear from this mournful lute which we
never get from the loud-sounding trumpet. We obtain a softness and
melody from the wail of sorrow, which we never get from the song of joy.
Must we not account for this by the fact, that in our troubles we live
nearer to God? Our joy is like the wave as it dashes upon the shore--it
throws us on the earth. But our sorrows are like that receding wave
which sucks us back again into the great depth of Godhead. We should
have been stranded and left high and dry upon the shore, if it had not
been for that receding wave, that ebbing of our prosperity, which
carried us back to our Father and to our God again. Blessed affliction!
it has brought us to the mercy-seat; given life to prayer; enkindled
love; strengthened faith; brought Christ into the furnace with us, and
then brought us out of the furnace to live with Christ more joyously
than before.


_Little-faith._

One inconvenience of "little-faith" is, that _while it is always sure
of heaven, it very seldom thinks so_. Little-faith is quite as secure
for heaven as Great-faith. When Jesus Christ counts up His jewels at the
last day, He will take to Himself the little pearls as well as the great
ones. If a diamond be never so small, yet it is precious because it is a
diamond. So faith, be it never so little, if it be true faith, is "like
precious" with that which apostles obtained. Christ will never lose even
the smallest jewel of His crown. Little-faith is always secure of
heaven, because the name of Little-faith is in the book of eternal life.
Little-faith was chosen of God before the foundation of the world.
Little-faith was bought with the blood of Christ; ay, and he cost as
much as Great-faith. "For every man a shekel," was the price of
redemption. Every man, whether great or small, prince or peasant, had to
redeem himself with a shekel. Christ has bought all, both little and
great, with the same most precious blood. Little-faith is always secure
of heaven, for God has begun the work in him, and He will carry it on.
God loves him, and He will love him unto the end. God has provided a
crown for him, and He will not allow the crown to hang there useless; He
has erected for him a mansion in heaven, and He will not allow the
mansion to stand untenanted forever. Little-faith is always safe, but he
very seldom knows it. If you meet him he is sometimes afraid of hell;
very often afraid that the wrath of God abideth on him. He will tell you
that the country on the other side the flood can never belong to one so
base as he. Sometimes it is because he feels himself so unworthy;
another time it is because the things of God are too good to be true, he
says; or he cannot think they can be true to such a one as he. Sometimes
he is afraid he is not elect; another time he fears that he has not been
called aright, or that he has not come to Christ aright; anon, his fears
are that he will not hold on to the end, that he shall not be able to
persevere; and if you kill a thousand of his fears, he is sure to have
another host by to-morrow; for unbelief is one of those things which you
cannot destroy; you may kill it over and over again, but still it lives.
It is one of those ill weeds which sleep in the soil even after it has
been burned, and it only needs a little encouragement, or a little
negligence, and it will sprout up again. Now, Great-faith is sure of
heaven, and he knows it. He climbs Pisgah's top, and views the landscape
o'er; he tastes of the sweetness of paradise even before he enters
within the pearly gates; he sees the streets which are paved with gold;
he beholds the walls of the city, the foundations whereof are of
precious stones; he hears the mystic music of the glorified, and begins
to smell on earth the perfumes of heaven. But poor Little-faith can
scarcely look at the sun; he very seldom sees the light; he gropes in
the valley, and while all is safe, he always thinks himself unsafe.


"_To be with Christ._"

"_To be with Christ_." Who can comprehend this but the Christian? It
is a heaven which worldlings care not for. They know not what a mass of
glory is crowded into that one sentence: "To be with Christ." But to the
believer the words are a concentration of bliss. Take only one of the
many precious thoughts the words suggest--_the sight of Christ_. "Thine
eye shall see the King in His beauty." We have heard of Him, and can
say, "Whom having not seen we love." But then we "_shall see Him_." Yes,
we shall actually gaze upon the exalted Redeemer. Realize the thought.
Is there not a heaven within it? Thou shalt see the hands which were
nailed to the cross for thee; thou shalt see the thorn-crowned head, and
with all the blood-washed throng, shalt thou bow with lowly reverence
before Him, who bowed in lowly abasement for thee. Faith is precious,
but what must sight be? To view Jesus as the Lamb of God through the
glass of faith, makes the soul rejoice with joy unspeakable; but oh! to
see Him face to face, to look into those eyes, to hear that
voice--rapture begins at the very mention of it! If even to _think_ of
it is so sweet, what must the _vision_ be when we shall talk with Him,
"even as a man talketh with his friend"--for the vision of Christ
implies _communion_. All that which the spouse desired in Solomon's
Song, we shall have, and ten thousand times more. Then will the prayer
be fulfilled, "Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth: for Thy
love is better than wine." Then we shall be able to say, "His left hand
is under my head, and His right hand doth embrace me." Then shall we
experience the promise, "They shall walk with me in white, for they are
worthy." And then we will pour out the song of gratitude, a song such as
we have never sung on earth, tuneful, dulcet, pure, full of serenity and
joy, no discord to mar its melody; a song rapt and seraphic. Happy day,
when vision and communion shall be ours in fulness--when we shall know
even as we are known!



INDEX.

                                         PAGE
  The Preciousness of the Promises.         5
  Sorrow's Discipline.                      7
  The Christian Warfare.                    8
  The Privileges of Trial.                 10
  The Joy of Victory.                      11
  Light in the Cloud.                      13
  Good Works.                              16
  The Knowledge of Christ's Love.          18
  Clear Shining after Rain.                21
  A Quiet Heart.                           23
  A Rich Life.                             24
  "He hath Said."                          27
  Safety in Conflict.                      30
  To-morrow.                               32
  A Full Heart.                            34
  Persevering Prayer.                      37
  Humility.                                39
  Look Upwards.                            41
  The Use of Trial.                        41
  Faith Necessary.                         42
  Christ "Altogether Lovely."              44
  The Remedy for Doubts.                   47
  All Things Working for Good.             48
  The Triumph of Grace.                    49
  Religion a Personal Matter.              51
  Strength through Weakness.               53
  Begin Well.                              54
  The Robe of Righteousness.               56
  Cross-Bearers.                           57
  The Happiness of Religion.               58
  Unchangeable.                            59
  Increase of Faith.                       60
  Communion with Christ.                   61
  The Soul satisfied in Christ.            62
  The Lord's Jewels.                       63
  Memorials of Jesus.                      64
  "Freely give."                           66
  Religion--a Present Enjoyment.           67
  "Our Lord Jesus."                        70
  Providence.                              71
  The Intercession of Christ.              72
  Holiness.                                73
  The New Heart.                           74
  The Christian's Daily Cross.             75
  Joy over the Repenting.                  76
  God's Tender Care.                       77
  The Christian's Crown.                   78
  Obedience to God's Will.                 79
  The Gospel.                              80
  Believing Prayer.                        81
  Warfare for Sin.                         82
  How to read the Bible.                   83
  A View of Christ.                        84
  The Author and Finisher of Faith.        85
  The Glad Command.                        86
  Untiring Delight.                        87
  Divine Teaching.                         89
  Seeking Christ.                          91
  "Christ in You."                         92
  Consolation.                             93
  Self-Examination.                        94
  Heaven an Inheritance.                   95
  The Sleep of Death.                      97
  Foretastes of Heaven.                    99
  The Work of the Spirit.                 101
  Peace.                                  103
  Earth's Seasons.                        104
  Love Undeserved.                        106
  The Infallible Commentary.              106
  A Place of Trust.                       107
  "Consider Him."                         108
  The Joy Of Pardon.                      109
  Inexhaustible Promises.                 110
  The Fulness of Christ.                  111
  True Blessing.                          111
  Faith and Feeling.                      112
  Near Home.                              113
  Beauty in Christ.                       114
  The Savior's Legacy.                    115
  Needless Poverty.                       116
  The Sin of Unbelief.                    117
  The One Family.                         118
  The Spirit of Praise.                   120
  Love to Christ.                         122
  The First Lesson.                       123
  Danger of Prosperity.                   123
  Idleness.                               124
  Grace.                                  124
  Obtaining Promises.                     125
  Sympathy.                               127
  "Endure Hardness."                      128
  Usefulness.                             129
  The Church and the World.               130
  The Fight of Faith.                     132
  Life's Great Object.                    134
  Love's Circumference.                   136
  The Way to Heaven.                      137
  Religion Exemplified.                   139
  The Right Estimate.                     139
  "Vessels of Mercy."                     140
  Christian Diligence.                    141
  "Comfort ye my People."                 142
  Self.                                   145
  Strength through Joy.                   145
  The Refiner's Fire.                     146
  Heart-Learning.                         146
  The Hope of Heaven.                     147
  Rejoice Always.                         149
  Religion a Present Concern.             150
  Trouble Lightened.                      152
  The Gospel Requirement.                 153
  "Ye are not your own."                  155
  "Continue in Prayer."                   156
  The Holy Savior.                        157
  Christ our Example.                     158
  God's Government.                       160
  The Secret of Strength.                 162
  Nature and Grace.                       165
  Look to Christ.                         166
  Love in Chastening.                     167
  Enduring the Cross.                     169
  Christian Gravity.                      172
  Short-Sightedness.                      173
  Steadfastness.                          174
  "Be not high-minded, but fear."         176
  Evidence of the New Life.               177
  "A few Names even in Sardis."           178
  Increase of Strength.                   181
  The Triumphant Deliverance.             182
  A Complete Savior.                      184
  Home-Mercies.                           185
  "Grace doth much more abound."          187
  Unsubmissive Prayers.                   190
  "More than Conquerors."                 192
  Christian Gladness.                     194
  The Condescension of Christ.            196
  All of Grace.                           197
  "This man receiveth sinners."           199
  "Wherein ye greatly rejoice."           202
  Changefulness.                          207
  Thoughts of Christ.                     209
  A Lesson of Humility.                   212
  Promises and Precepts.                  214
  Sweetness in Sorrow.                    216
  Little-Faith.                           218
  "To be with Christ."                    221





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