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 Choice selections from Thomas Brooks

Choice selections from Thomas Brooks,
The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod

When He shows no anger!

"The Lord disciplines the one He loves, and
punishes every son whom He receives." Heb. 12:6

There cannot be a greater evidence of God's
hatred and wrath—than His refusing to correct
men for their sinful courses and vanities!

Where God refuses to correct—there God resolves
to destroy! There is no man so near God's axe—so
near the flames—so near hell—as he whom God
will not so much as spend a rod upon!

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline."
Revelation 3:19

God is most angry—when He shows no anger!

Who can seriously meditate upon this, and not
be silent under God's most smarting rod?



All the hell that you shall ever have!

Consider Christian, that all your . . .
trials and troubles,
calamities and miseries,
crosses and losses,
which you meet with in this world—is all
the hell that you shall ever have!

Here and now you have your hell.
Hereafter you shall have your heaven!

This is the worst of your condition;
the best is yet to come!

Lazarus had his hell first, his heaven last; but
Dives had his heaven first, and his hell at last.

You have all your pangs, and pains, and throes
here—that you shall ever have! Your ease, and
rest, and pleasure—is yet to come!

Here you have all your bitters;
your sweets are yet to come!

Here you have your sorrows;
your joys are yet to come!

Here you have all your winter nights;
your summer days are yet to come!

Here you have your evil things;
your good things are yet to come!

Death will put an end to all your sins—
and to all your sufferings!

Death will be an inlet to those joys, delights,
and comforts—which shall never have an end!

Who can seriously meditate upon this, and not
be silent under God's most smarting rod?



Then the scum appears!

Few Christians see themselves and understand
themselves rightfully. By trials, God reveals
much of a man's sinful self to his pious self.

When the fire is put under the pot—then the
scum appears; so when God tries a poor soul,
Oh! how does . . .
the scum of pride,
the scum of murmuring,
the scum of distrust,
the scum of impatience,
the scum of worldliness,
the scum of carnality,
the scum of foolishness,
the scum of willfulness—
reveal itself in the heart of the poor creature?

Trials are God's looking-glass, in which
His people see their own faults. Oh! . . .
that looseness,
that vileness,
that wretchedness,
that sink of filthiness,
that gulf of wickedness,
which trials show to be in their hearts!

"I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."
Isaiah 48:10



When Munster lay sick

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline."
Revelation 3:19

"The Lord disciplines the one He loves, and
punishes every son whom He receives." Heb. 12:6

All the afflictions which come upon the saints,
are the fruits of divine love.

When Munster lay sick, and his friends asked
him how he did, and how he felt; he pointed to
his sores and ulcers, whereof he was full, and said,
"These are God's gems and jewels with which He
decks his best friends, and to me they are more
precious than all the gold and silver in the world!"

"It was good for me to be afflicted!" Psalm 119:71

God afflicts you, O Christian, in love! Therefore Luther
cries out, 'Strike, Lord, strike, Lord! and spare not!'



Father knows best!

"Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they
thought best; but God disciplines us for our good,
that we may share in His holiness." Hebrews 12:10.

What God, our Father wills, is best.

When He wills sickness, sickness is better than health.

When He wills weakness, weakness is better than strength.

When He wills poverty, poverty is better than wealth.

When He wills reproach, reproach is better than honor.

When He wills death, death is better than life.

As God is wisdom itself, and so knows that which is
best; so He is goodness itself, and therefore cannot
do anything but that which is best—therefore remain
silent before the Lord.



Everything on this side hell is mercy

Oh! labor every day to be more humble and more
low and little in your own eyes. 'Who am I,' says
the humble soul—'but that God should cross me in
this mercy, and take away that mercy, and pass a
sentence of death upon every mercy? I am not
worthy of the least mercy, I deserve not a
crumb of mercy, I have forfeited every mercy.'

Only by pride comes contention. It is only pride that
puts men upon contending with God and men.

A humble soul will lie quiet at the foot of God, it
will be contented with bare necessities. A dinner
of green herbs relishes well with the humble man's
palate; whereas a stalled ox is but a coarse dish to
a proud man's stomach.

A humble heart thinks none less than himself, nor
none worse than himself.

A humble heart looks upon small mercies as great
mercies; and great afflictions as small afflictions;
and small afflictions as no afflictions; and therefore
sits mute and quiet under all. Do but keep humble,
and you will keep silent before the Lord.

Pride kicks, and flings, and frets; but a humble man
has still his hand upon his mouth. Everything on
this side hell is mercy—much mercy, rich mercy
to a humble soul; and therefore he remains mute
under the smarting rod.




One unmortified lust!

It is not your strongest resolutions or purposes, without
the grace of the Spirit, which can overmaster a lust. A
soul-sore will continue to run—though we resolve and
say it shall not. It was the blood of the sacrifice, and
the oil, which cleansed the leper in the law. And by
them is meant the blood of Christ and the grace of
His Spirit. Lev. 14:14-16. It was a touch of Christ's
garment which cured the woman of her bloody issue.

Your strongest resolutions or purposes may hide a sin,
but cannot quench it. They may cover a sin, but cannot
cut off a sin. A black patch may cover a sore—but it
does not cure it! Neither is it the papists' purgatories,
watchings, whippings, nor the kissing of the statue
of St. Francis, or licking of lepers' sores—which will
cleanse the fretting leprosy of sin!

In the strength of Christ, and in the power of the Spirit
—set soundly upon the mortifying of every lust! Oh, hug
none, indulge none—but resolvedly set upon the ruin of
every lust!

One leak in a ship will sink it!

One stab strikes Goliad just as dead—as twenty-three did Caesar!

One Delilah may do Samson as much mischief as all the Philistines!

One broken wheel spoils the whole clock!

One vein bleeding will let out all the vitals!

One fly will spoil a whole box of ointment!

One bitter herb will spoil all the pottage!

By eating one apple, Adam lost paradise!

One lick of honey endangered Jonathan's life!

One Achan was a trouble to all Israel!

One Jonah raises a storm and becomes load too
heavy for the whole ship! Just so—one unmortified
lust will raise very strong storms and tempests in the
soul! And therefore, as you would have a blessed calm
and quietness in your own spirits under your sharpest
trials, set thoroughly upon the work of mortification.

Gideon had seventy sons, and but one bastard child,
yet that bastard child destroyed all his seventy sons!

Ah, Christian! do you not know what a world of mischief
one unmortified lust may do? And therefore let nothing
satisfy you but the blood of all your lusts!



You have been long a-gathering rust

Oh! but my afflictions are greater than other
men's afflictions are! Oh! there is no affliction
like my affliction! How can I not murmur?

It may be your sins are greater than other men's
sins. If you have sinned against . . .
more light,
more love,
more mercies,
more promises,
than others—no wonder if your afflictions are
greater than others! If this be your case, you
have more cause to be mute than to murmur!

It may be that the Lord sees that it is very needful
that your afflictions should be greater than others.

It may be your heart is harder than other men's
hearts, and prouder and stouter than other men's
hearts, it may be your heart is more impure than
others, and more carnal than others, or else more
selfish and more worldly than others, or else more
deceitful and more hypocritical than others, or
else more cold and careless than others, or more
formal and lukewarm than others.

Now, if this is your case, certainly God sees
it very necessary, for . . .
the breaking of your hard heart, and
the humbling of your proud heart, and
the cleansing of your foul heart, and
the spiritualizing of your carnal heart, etc.,
that your afflictions should be greater than
others; and therefore do not murmur!

Where the disease is strong, the remedy must
be strong—else the cure will never be wrought!
God is a wise physician, and He would never
give strong medicine—if a weaker one could
effect the cure!

The more rusty the NAIL is, the oftener we put it
into the fire to purify it; and the more crooked it
is, the more blows and the harder blows we give
to straighten it.

You have been long a-gathering rust; and
therefore, if God deal thus with you, you have
no cause to complain.

"For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and
punishes every son whom He receives." Heb. 12:6



If you attempt to enthrone the creature!

O Christian! God has removed one of your sweetest mercies,
comforts, or enjoyments! It may be you have over-loved them,
and over-prized them, and over-much delighted yourself in
them. It may be they have often had your heart—when they
should have had but your hand. It may be that care, that
concern, that confidence, that joy—which should have been
expended upon more noble objects—has been expended
upon them!

Your heart is Christ's bed of spices—and it may be
you have bedded your mercies with you—when Christ
has been made to lie outside! You have had room for
them—when you have had none for Him! They have
had the best—when the worst have been counted good
enough for Christ!

It is said of Reuben, that he went up to his father's bed,
Gen. 49:4. Ah! how often has one creature comfort, and
sometimes another—been put in between Christ and
your souls! How often have your dear enjoyments gone
up to Christ's bed! Your near and dear mercies have
come into Christ's bed of love—your hearts!

Now, if you take a husband, a child, a friend—into that
room in your soul which only belongs to God—He will
either embitter it, remove it, or be the death of it.

If once the love of a wife runs out more to a servant, than
to her husband—the husband will remove that servant;
though otherwise he was a servant worth gold.

Now, if God has stripped you of that very mercy with which
you have often committed spiritual adultery and idolatry—
have you any cause to murmur?

There are those who love their mercies into their graves—
who hug their mercies to death—who kiss them until they
kill them! Many a man has slain his mercies—by setting too
great a value upon them! Many a man has sunk his ship of
mercy—by overloading it. Over-loved mercies are seldom
long-lived. The way to lose your mercies is to indulge them!
The way to destroy them is to fix your minds and hearts
upon them. You may write bitterness and death upon that
mercy first—which has first taken away your heart from God.

Christian! Your heart is Christ's royal throne, and in this
throne Christ will be chief! He will endure no competitor!
If you attempt to enthrone the creature—be it ever
so near and dear unto you—Christ will dethrone it! He
will destroy it! He will quickly lay them in a bed of dust
—who shall aspire to His royal throne!

"This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to desecrate
my sanctuary—the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight
of your eyes, the object of your affection. The sons and
daughters you left behind will fall by the sword!" Ezekiel 24:21



You are the one who has done this!

"I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You
are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9

In the words you may observe three things:

1. The person speaking, and that is, David. David
a king, David a saint, David 'a man after God's own
heart,' David a Christian. And here we are to look
upon David, not as a king, but as a Christian, as a
man whose heart was right with God.

2. The action and carriage of David under the hand
of God, in these words—'I was silent; I would not
open my mouth.'

3. The reason of this humble and sweet carriage
of his, in these words—'for You are the one who
has done this!'

The proposition is this: That it is the great duty and
concern of gracious souls to be mute and silent under
the greatest afflictions, the saddest providences, and
sharpest trials that they meet with in this world.

David's silence is an acknowledgment of God as the
author of all the afflictions that come upon us. There
is no sickness so little, but God has a finger in it;
though it be but the aching of the little finger.

David looks through all secondary causes to the first
cause, and is silent. He sees a hand of God in all, and
so sits mute and quiet. The sight of God in an affliction
is of an irresistible efficacy to silence the heart, and to
stop the mouth of a godly man.

Men who don't see God in an affliction, are easily
cast into a feverish fit, they will quickly be in a flame;
and when their passions are up, and their hearts on
fire, they will begin to be saucy, and make no bones of
telling God to His teeth, that they do well to be angry.
Those who will not acknowledge God to be the author of
all their afflictions, will be ready enough to fall in with
that mad principle of the Manichees, who maintained
the devil to be the author of all calamities; as if there
could be any evil or affliction in the city, and the Lord
have no hand in it, Amos 3:6.

If God's hand be not seen in the affliction, the heart
will do nothing but fret and rage under affliction.

Those who can see the ordering hand of God in all their
afflictions, will, with David, lay their hands upon their
mouths, when the rod of God is upon their backs!

They see that it was a Father who put those bitter cups
in their hands; and love that laid those heavy crosses
upon their shoulders; and grace that put those yokes
around their necks—and this caused much quietness
and calmness in their spirits.

When God's people are under the rod, He makes by His
Spirit and word, such sweet music in their souls, as allays
all tumultuous motions, passions, and perturbations.

"I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You
are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9



All honey would harm us

"Weeping may endure for a night—but
joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

Their mourning shall last but until morning.

God will turn . . .
their winter's night into a summer's day,
their sighing into singing,
their grief into gladness,
their mourning into music,
their bitter into sweet,
their wilderness into a paradise.

The life of a Christian is filled up with interchanges of
sickness and health,
weakness and strength,
want and wealth,
disgrace and honor,
crosses and comforts,
miseries and mercies,
joys and sorrows,
mirth and mourning.

All honey would harm us; all wormwood would undo
us—a composition of both is the best way to keep our
souls in a healthy constitution. It is best and most for
the health of the soul—that the warm south wind of
mercy, and the cold north wind of adversity—do both
blow upon it. And though every wind which blows,
shall blow good to the saints; yet certainly their sins
die most, and their graces thrive best, when they
are under the frigid, drying, nipping north wind of
calamity, as well as under the warm, nourishing south
wind of mercy and prosperity.



The more a Christian is tempted

God had but one Son without corruption—but
He had none without temptation!

By temptations the Lord will make His people more
and more conformable to the image of His Son.

Christ was much tempted—He was often in the school
of temptation; and the more a Christian is tempted,
the more into the likeness of Christ he will be transformed.
The most tempted Christians do most resemble Christ in
meekness, lowliness, holiness, heavenliness, etc. The
image of Christ is most fairly stamped upon tempted
souls. Tempted souls are much in looking up to Jesus—
and every gracious look upon Christ changes the soul
more and more into the image of Christ. Tempted souls
experience much of the succouring of Christ, and the
more they experience the sweet of the succourings of
Christ—the more they grow up into the likeness of Christ.

Temptations are the tools by which the Father does
more and more carve, form, and fashion His precious
saints into the similitude and likeness of His dearest Son.

By temptations, God makes . . .
sin more hateful, and
the world less delightful, and
relations less hurtful.




Distasteful temptations

No man is the less loved by God, because he is tempted.
Those whom God loves best—are usually tempted most.
Witness David, Job, Joshua, Peter, Paul, yes, Christ Himself—
who, as He was beloved above all others, so He was
tempted above all others! He was tempted to question
His Sonship; He was tempted to the worst idolatry, even
to worship the devil himself; to the greatest infidelity, to
distrust His Father's providence, and to use unlawful
means for necessary supplies; and to self-murder,
'Cast yourself down!' etc.

God had but one Son without corruption—but
He had none without temptation!

Those who were once glorious on earth, and are now
triumphing in heaven—have been severely tempted
and assaulted by Satan. It is as natural and common
for the choicest saints to be tempted—as it is for the
sun to shine, the bird to fly, the fire to burn. The
eagle complains not of her wings, nor the peacock
of her train of feathers, nor the nightingale of her
voice—because these are natural to them. No more
should saints of their temptations, because they
are natural to them.

"Our whole life is nothing but a temptation!"

The best men have been the worst tempted!

Temptations which are resisted and bewailed,
will never hurt you, nor harm you.

Distasteful temptations seldom or never prevail.
So long as the soul distastes them and the will
remains firmly averse against them—they can
do no hurt. So long as the language of the soul
is, 'Get behind me, Satan!' the soul is safe.

It is not Satan tempting—but my assenting;
it is not his enticing—but my yielding;
which undoes me!

Temptations may be troubles to my mind—but they
are not sins upon my soul—while I am in arms against
them. If your heart trembles and your flesh quakes
when Satan tempts—your condition is safe enough. If
Satan's temptations are your greatest afflictions—his
temptations shall never conquer you nor harm you!




But a flea-bite!

Christian! Your present afflictions are not great—if compared
with the afflictions and torments of many of the damned, who
when they were in this world, never sinned at so high a rate
as you have done! There are many now in hell, who never
sinned against such clear light as you have done, nor against
such special love as you have done, nor against such precious
mercies as you have done! Certainly there are many now
a-roaring in everlasting burnings, who never sinned as you
have done!

What are your afflictions, your present torments—compared
to the torments of the damned, whose torments are . . .
numberless,
bottomless,
remediless, and
endless!
Whose pains are without intermission of mitigation; who have:
weeping served for the first course, and
gnashing of teeth for the second course, and
the gnawing worm for the third course, and
intolerable pain for the fourth course!
Yet the pain of the body is least part of pain. The very soul of
sorrow and pain is the soul's sorrow and pain! The everlasting
alienation and separation from God is served for the fifth course!

Ah, Christian! how can you seriously think on these things and
not lay your hand upon your mouth—even when you are under
the greatest temporal sufferings? Your sins have been far greater
than many of those who are now in hell, and your 'great' afflictions
are but a flea-bite! compared to theirs! Therefore hush your
murmuring, and be silent before the Lord!




Our present sufferings

Such is the splendor, the brightness, the glory,
the happiness, and blessedness—which is reserved
for the saints in heaven—that had I all the tongues of
men on earth, and all the excellencies of the angels in
heaven—yet I would not be able to conceive, nor to
express that vision of glory to you! That glory is
inconceivable and inexpressible! It is best to be
hastening there, that we may feel and enjoy that
which we shall never be able to declare!

All the troubles, afflictions, and sorrows of this life, in
comparison with eternal happiness and blessedness,
are to be considered as nothing; they are but as the
point of a pin—compared to the starry heavens.

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth
comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us!"
Romans 8:18



And will you murmur?

Is not Christ your treasure?

Is not heaven your inheritance—

and will you murmur?



Have you not much in hand, and more in hope?

Have you not much in possession, but much
more reserved in heaven—

and will you murmur?



Has not God given you. . .

a changed heart,

a renewed nature, and

a sanctified soul—

and will you murmur?



Has He not given you. . .

Himself to satisfy you,

His Son to save you,

His Spirit to lead you,

His grace to adorn you,

His covenant to assure you,

His mercy to pardon you,

His righteousness to clothe you—

and will you murmur?



Has He not made you. . .

a friend,

a son,

a brother,

a bride,

an heir—

and will you murmur?



Has not God often turned. . .

your water into wine,

your brass into silver, and

your silver into gold—

and will you murmur?



When you were dead, did not He quicken you?

When you were lost, did not He seek you?

When you were wounded, did not He heal you?

When you were falling, did not He support you?

When you were down, did not He raise you?

When you were staggering, did not He establish you?

When you were erring, did not He correct you?

When you were tempted, did not He support you? and

When you went in dangers, did not He deliver you?—

and will you murmur?



What! you who are so highly advanced and
exalted above many thousands in the world?

Murmuring suits none so badly as saints.







Some Delilah


God cures David of adultery, by killing his endeared child.

There is some Delilah—some darling, some beloved sin
or other—that a Christian's calling, condition, constitution,
or temptations—leads him to play with, and to hug in his own
bosom. As in a plot of ground that lies untilled, among the
great variety of weeds there is usually some master-weed,
which is more plenteous and more repulsive than all the rest.

So it is also in the souls of men—though there be a general
mixture and medley of all evil and corrupt qualities, yet
there is some one sin which is usually paramount, which is most
powerful and prevalent—which sways and manifests itself more
eminently and evidently than any other of them do.

So, though the root of sin and bitterness has spread itself over
all, yet every man has his inclination to one kind of sin—rather
than another. And this may be called a man's besetting sin,
his bosom sin, his darling sin.

Now, it is one of the hardest works in this world to subdue and
bring under control, this bosom sin! Oh! the prayers, the tears,
the sighs, the sobs, the groans, the distress that it will cost a
Christian before he subdues this darling sin!

A man may easily subdue and mortify such and such sins—but
when it comes to the master-sin, to the bosom-sin, oh! what
tugging and pulling is there! what striving and struggling is
there to get off that sin, to get down that sin!

Now, if the Lord, by smiting you in some near and dear
enjoyment, shall draw out your heart to fall upon the smiting
of your master-sin; and shall so sanctify the affliction, as to
make it issue in the mortification of your bosom corruption;
what eminent cause will you have rather to bless Him, than
to sit down and murmur against Him! And doubtless if you
are dear to God—God will, by striking your dearest mercy,
put you upon striking at your darling sin! Therefore do not
murmur, even when God touches the apple of your eye;
even when He has snatched the fairest and the sweetest
flower out of your bosom.






Paulinus Nolanus

Paulinus Nolanus, when his city was taken from
him, prayed thus, "Lord! let me not be troubled at
the loss of my gold, silver, honor—for You are all,
and much more than all these unto me!"

Christian! In the absence of all your sweetest
enjoyments, Christ will be all in all unto you!

"My jewels are my husband," said one.

"My ornaments are my two sons," said another.

"My treasures are my friends," said yet another.

And so may a Christian, under his greatest losses
say—"Christ is my richest jewel, my chief treasure,
my best ornament, my sweetest delight! What all
these things are to a carnal heart, to a worldly heart
—that and more—is Christ to me!"

"Christ is all!" Colossians 3:11







A jewel more worth than a world!

"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
Ephesians 5:16

Time is a jewel more worth than a world!

Time is not yours to dispose of as you please; it
is a glorious talent that men must be accountable
for, as well as any other talent. Of all talents, time
is the hardest well to improve. Ah, beloved, have
not you need to improve your time—who have
much work to do in a short time:
your souls to save,
a God to honor,
a Christ to exalt,
a hell to escape,
a race to run,
a crown to win,
temptations to withstand,
corruptions to conquer,
afflictions to bear,
mercies to improve, and
your generation to serve.







A man too big for temptations to conquer!

Communion with God is . . .
the life of your graces,
the sweetener of all ordinances, providences, and mercies,
the strengthener of your hearts and hands,
the soul of your comforts, and
the crown of your souls.

Communion with God makes the bitter things
sweet; and massive things light.

Nothing like communion with God to fence you
against temptations, to sweeten all afflictions,
and to make you cleave to God in the face of
all troubles and oppositions.

A man high in communion with God, is a man too
big for temptations to conquer, or troubles to
overcome. Souls that have no communion, or but
little communion, with God—they are usually as
soon conquered as tempted, as soon vanquished
as assaulted.



Such lessons!

"Blessed is the man You chasten, O Lord, the
man You teach from Your law." Psalm 94:12
All the chastening in the world, without divine teaching,
will never make a man blessed. That man who finds
correction attended with instruction, and lashing with
lessoning—is a happy man.

If God, by the affliction which is upon you, shall teach you:
how to loathe sin more, and
how to trample upon the world more, and
how to walk with God more—
your afflictions are in love.

If God shall teach you by afflictions:
how to die to sin more, and
how to die to your relations more,
and how to die to your self-interest more—
your afflictions are in love.

If God shall teach you by afflictions:
how to live to Christ more,
how to lift up Christ more, and
how to long for Christ more—
your afflictions are in love.

If God shall teach you by afflictions:
how to mind heaven more,
how to live in heaven more, and
how to fit for heaven more—
your afflictions are in love.

If God by afflictions shall teach:
your proud heart how to lie more low,
your hard heart how to grow more tender,
your censorious heart how to grow more charitable,
your carnal heart how to grow more spiritual,
your froward heart how to grow more quiet—
your afflictions are in love.

When God teaches your thoughts as well as your
brains, your heart as well as your head, any of
these lessons—your afflictions are in love.

Where God loves, He afflicts in love; and wherever God
afflicts in love, there He will, sooner or later, teach such
souls such lessons as shall do them good to all eternity.



If our afflictions are so sanctified

If our afflictions are so sanctified as that
they draw out our soul . . .
to love the Lord more, and
to fear the Lord more, and
to please the Lord more, and
to cleave to the Lord more, and
to wait on the Lord more, and
to walk with the Lord more—
then they are sent in love. Oh, then they are
the wounds of a friend indeed!

If the afflictions that are upon us do . . .
increase our courage,
strengthen our patience,
raise our faith,
inflame our love, and
enliven our hopes—
certainly they are sent in love, and all
our wounds are the wounds of a friend.




If this cockatrice be not crushed in the egg!

There is infinitely more evil in the least sin—than
there is in the greatest miseries and afflictions that
can possibly come upon you! Yes, there is more evil
in the least sin—than there is in all the troubles that
ever come upon the world; yes, than there is in all
the miseries and torments of hell! The least sin . . .
is an offense to the great God;
is a wrong to the immortal soul;
is a breach of God's righteous law;
cannot be washed away but by the blood of Jesus;
will shut the soul out of heaven, and
shut the soul up as a prisoner in hell forever and ever!

The least sin is rather to be avoided and prevented—
than the greatest sufferings. If this cockatrice be
not crushed in the egg—it will soon become a serpent!

Sin, if but thought on and pondered—
will break out into action—
action into custom—
custom into habit—and then
both body and soul are lost irrecoverably to all eternity!

The least sin is very dangerous!
Caesar was stabbed to death with a small needle;
Herod was eaten up by small worms;
Pope Adrian was choked with a gnat;
a mouse is but little, yet kills an elephant if he gets up into his trunk;
a scorpion is little, yet able to sting a lion to death;
though the leopard be great, yet he is poisoned with a head of garlic;
the least spark may consume the greatest house;
the least leak will sink the greatest ship;
a whole arm has been gangrened by a pick of the little finger;
a little opened door may betray the greatest city;
a pinch of poison diffuses itself into all parts, until it strangles
the vital spirits, and turns out the soul from the body.

If the serpent can but wriggle in his tail by an evil
thought, he will soon make a surprise of the soul—as you
see in that sad instance of Adam and Eve.




He who has deserved a hanging

"Why should any living man complain when
punished for his sins?" Lamentations 3:39

He who has deserved a hanging has no reason
to charge the judge with cruelty—if he escapes with
a whipping!

And we who have deserved a damning have no
reason to charge God for being too severe—if we
escape with a fatherly lashing!




He never lacks an apple for an Eve

It is ten thousand times a greater judgment and
affliction—to be given to a fretful spirit, a froward
spirit, a muttering spirit under an affliction—than
it is to be afflicted. This is both the devil's sin, and
the devil's punishment. God is still afflicting, crossing
and vexing him; and he is still a-fretting, repining,
vexing, and rising up against God. No sin like the
devil's sin; no punishment like the devil's punishment.

A man were better to have all the afflictions of all the
afflicted throughout the world at once upon him—than
to be given up to a froward spirit—to a muttering,
murmuring heart under the least affliction. When you
see a soul fretting, vexing, and stamping under the
mighty hand of God, you see one of Satan's first-born,
one who resembles him to the life. No child can be so
much like the father, as this froward soul is like to the
father of lies.

Though he has been in chains almost this six thousand
years, yet he has never lain still one day, nor one night,
no, nor one hour in all this time—but is still a-fretting,
vexing, tossing and tumbling in his chains—like a
princely bedlam.

He is a lion—not a lamb;
a roaring lion—not a sleepy lion;
not a lion standing still—but a lion going up and down.
He is not satisfied with the prey he has already gotten—
but is restless in his designs to fill hell with souls.

He never lacks . . .
an apple for an Eve,
nor a grape for a Noah,
nor a change of clothing for a Gehazi,
nor a wedge of gold for an Achan,
nor a crown for an Absalom,
nor a bag of silver for a Judas,
nor a world for a Demas!

If you look into one company, there you shall find
Satan dishing out his meat to every palate. If you
look into another company, there you shall find him
fitting a lace to every shoe. If you look into a third
company, there you shall find him suiting a garment
to every back. He is under wrath, and cannot but be
restless. Here, with Jael, he allures poor souls in with
milk—and murders them with a nail! There, with Joab,
he embraces with one hand—and stabs with another!
Here with Judas, he kisses—and betrays! And there,
with the whore of Babylon, he presents a golden
cup—with poison in it! He cannot be quiet, though his
chains be always on!

And the more unquiet any are under the rebukes of
God, the more they resemble Satan—whose whole life
is filled up with vexing and fretting against the Lord.
Let not any think, says Luther, that the devil is now
dead, nor yet asleep; for as he who keeps Israel, so
he who hates Israel, neither slumbers nor sleeps!




He has a mint constantly going in hell

Christians should be mute and silent under their
afflictions, because hereby they shall cross and
frustrate Satan's great design and expectation.
In all the afflictions he brought upon Job, Satan's
design was not so much to make Job a beggar—as
it was to make him a blasphemer; it was not so
much to make Job outwardly miserable—as it was
to make Job inwardly miserable, by occasioning him
to mutter and murmur against the righteous hand
of God, that so he might have had some matter of
accusation against him to the Lord.

Satan is the unwearied accuser of the brethren.
Rev. 12:10, "The accuser of the brethren is cast
down, who accuses them before our God day and
night." Satan is the great tempter and accuser
between God and His children. He has a mint
constantly going in hell, where, as an untiring
mint-master, he is still coming and hammering
out of accusations against the saints! First, he
tempts and allures souls to sin—and then accuses
them of those very sins he has tempted them to—
so that he may disgrace them before God, and
bring them, if it were possible, out of favor with
God. And though he knows beforehand that God
and His people are, by the bond of the covenant,
and by the blood of the Redeemer—so closely
united that they can never be severed—yet such
is his rage and wrath, envy and malice, that he will
endeavor that which he knows he shall never effect!

Could he but have made Job froward or fretting under
the rod, he would have quickly carried the tidings to
heaven, and have been so bold as to have asked God
whether this was a posture befitting such a person, of
whom God Himself had given so glorious a character!
Satan knows that there is more evil in the least sin—
than there is in all the afflictions that can be inflicted
upon a person; and if he could have but made a breach
upon Job's patience, ah, how would he have insulted over
God himself! But Job, by remaining mute and silent under
all his trials, puts Satan to a blush, and spoils all his
projects at once. The best way to outwit the devil, is to
be silent under the hand of God. He who mutters is foiled
by Satan—but he who is silent overcomes him; and to
conquer a devil is more than to conquer a world!




Can a worm ward off the blow of the Almighty?

It is fruitless and futile to strive, to contest or contend
with God. No man has ever got anything, by muttering
or murmuring under the hand of God—except it has
been more frowns, blows, and wounds. Those who will
not lie quiet and still, when mercy has tied them with
silken cords—justice will put them in iron chains!
If golden fetters will not hold you, iron fetters shall!
If Jonah will vex and fret and fling; justice will fling
him overboard, to cool him, and quell him, and keep
him prisoner in the whale's belly until he is vomited
up, and his spirit made quiet before the Lord.

What you get by struggling and grumbling—you may
put in your eye, and weep it out when you are done—
"But am I the one they are provoking? declares the
Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their
own shame? Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord
says: My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this
place, on man and beast, on the trees of the field and
on the fruit of the ground, and it will burn and not be
quenched." Jeremiah 7:19-20. "Do we provoke the Lord
to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?" 1 Cor. 10:22.
Zanchy observes these two things from these words:

1. That it is foolish to be provoking God to wrath,
because He is stronger than we.

2. That though God be stronger than we, yet there are
those who do provoke Him to wrath. And certainly there
are none who do more to provoke Him than those who
fume and fret when His hand is upon them!

Though the cup be bitter—yet it is put into your hand by
your Father! Though the cross be heavy—yet He who has
laid it on your shoulders will bear the heaviest end of it
Himself! Why, then, should you mutter? Shall bears and
lions take blows and knocks from their keepers; and will
you not take a few blows and knocks from the keeper of
Israel? Why should the clay contend with the potter, or
the creature with his Creator, or the servant with his
master, or weakness with strength, or a poor nothing
creature with an omnipotent God? Can stubble stand
before the fire? Can chaff abide before the whirlwind?
Can a worm ward off the blow of the Almighty?

A froward and impatient spirit under the hand of God will
but add chain to chain, cross to cross, yoke to yoke, and
burden to burden. The more men tumble and toss in their
feverish fits, the worse they distemper; and the longer it
will be before the cure be effected. The easiest and the
surest way of cure, is to lie still and quiet until the poison
of the distemper be sweat out. Where patience has its
perfect work, there the cure will be certain and easy.

When a man has his broken leg set, he lies still and quiet,
and so his cure is easily and speedily wrought. But when
a horse's leg is set, he frets and flings, he flounces and
flies out, unjointing it again and again, and so his cure is
the more difficult and tedious. Those Christians who, under
the hand of God, are like the horse or mule—fretting and
flinging—will but add to their own sorrows and sufferings,
and put the day of their deliverance further off.




Many are the afflictions of the righteous

The choicest saints are "born to troubles as the sparks
fly upwards", Job 5:7. "Many are the afflictions of the
righteous." Psalm 34:19. God, who is infinite in wisdom
and matchless in goodness, has ordered troubles, yes,
many troubles to come trooping in upon us on every
side. Our crosses seldom come single; they usually
come treading one upon the heels of another; they
are like April showers, no sooner is one over but
another comes. And yet, Christians, it is mercy, it is
rich mercy, that every affliction is not an execution,
that every correction is not a damnation.




It was good for me to be afflicted!

"It was good for me to be afflicted!" Psalm 119:71

A gracious soul secretly concludes—as stars shine
brightest in the night, so God will make my soul shine
and glisten like gold, while I am in this furnace—and
when I come out of the furnace of affliction. 'He knows
the way that I take; and when He has tried me, I shall
come forth as gold!' Job 23:10.

Surely, as the taste of honey opened Jonathan's eyes;
so this cross, this affliction—shall open my eyes. By this
stroke I shall come to have a clearer sight of my sins and
of my self, and a fuller sight of my God! Job 33:27-28;
40:4-5; 13:1-7.

Surely this affliction shall proceed in the purging away
of my dross! Isaiah 1:25.

Surely as ploughing of the ground kills the weeds, and
harrowing breaks hard clods; so these afflictions shall
kill my sins, and soften my heart! Hosea 5:15, 6:1-3.

Surely as the plaster draws out the infectious core; so
the afflictions which are upon me shall draw out the
core of pride, the core of self-love, the core of envy,
the core of earthliness, the core of formality, the core
of hypocrisy! Psalm 119:67, 71.

Surely by these afflictions, the Lord will crucify my
heart more and more to the world; and the world to
my heart! Gal. 6:14; Psalm 131:1-3.

Surely by these afflictions, the Lord will keep pride
from my soul! Job 33:14-21.

Surely these afflictions are but the Lord's pruning-knives,
by which He will bleed my sins, and prune my heart, and
make it more fertile and fruitful! They are but the Lord's
potion, by which He will clear me, and rid me of those
spiritual diseases and maladies, which are most deadly
and dangerous to my soul!

Affliction is such a healing potion, as will carry away all
soul-diseases, better than all other remedies! Zech. 13:8-9.

Surely these afflictions shall increase my spiritual
communion with God! Rom. 5:3-4.

Surely by these afflictions, I shall be made to partake more
of God's holiness! Heb. 12:10. As black soap makes white
clothes—so do sharp afflictions make holy hearts!

Surely by these afflictions, the Lord will draw out my heart
more and more to seek Him! 'In their afflictions they will
seek Me early.' Hosea 5:15. In times of affliction, Christians
will industriously, speedily, early seek unto their Lord!

Surely by these trials and troubles, the Lord will fix my
soul more than ever upon the great concernments of the
eternal world! John 14:1-3; Rom. 8:17, 18; 2 Cor. 4:16-18.

Surely by these afflictions the Lord will work in me more
tenderness and compassion towards those who are afflicted!
Hebrews 10:34, 13:3.

Surely these afflictions are but God's love-tokens! 'As many
as I love—I rebuke and chasten,' Rev. 3:19. So says the holy
Christian—'O my soul! be quiet, be still. All is sent in love, all
is a fruit of divine favor. I see honey upon the top of every
twig; I see the rod is but a rosemary branch; I have sugar
with my gall, and wine with my wormwood; therefore be
silent, O my soul!'

Afflictions abase the carnal attractions of the world outside
us—which might entice us! Affliction abates the lustiness of
the flesh within us—which might otherwise ensnare us!

Afflictions humble us and keep us low! Holy hearts will be
humble under the afflicting hand of God. When God's rod
is upon their backs—their mouths shall be in the dust! A
godly heart will lie lowest, when the hand of God is lifted
highest.

All this proves that affliction is a mighty advantage to us!

"It was good for me to be afflicted!" Psalm 119:71




The honey and the sting!

"For He does not willingly (or as the Hebrew has
it, 'from His heart') bring affliction or grief to the
children of men." Lamentations 3:33

Christians conclude that God's heart was not in their
afflictions, though His hand was. He takes no delight
to afflict His children; it goes against His heart. It is . . .
a grief to Him to be grievous to them,
a pain to Him to be punishing of them,
a sorrow to Him to be striking them.

He has no will, no desire, no inclination, no disposition,
to that work of afflicting of His people. And therefore
He calls it 'His strange work.' Isaiah 28:21.

Mercy and punishment—they flow from God, as the
honey and the sting from the bee. The bee yields
honey of her own nature—but she does not sting but
when she is provoked.

God takes delight in showing of mercy. Micah 7:18.
He takes no pleasure in giving His people up to
adversity. Hosea 11:8.

Mercy and kindness flows from Him freely, naturally.
He is never severe, never harsh. He never stings, He
never terrifies us—but when He is sadly provoked by us.

God's hand sometimes may lie very hard upon His people,
when His heart, His affections, at those very times may be
yearning towards them. Jeremiah 31:18-20.

No man can tell the heart of God—by His hand.
God's hand of mercy may be open to those against
whom His heart is set—as you see in the rich poor fool,
and Dives, in the Gospel. And His hand of severity may
lie hard upon those on whom He has set His heart—as
you may see in Job and Lazarus.



You have a greater interest in me, than I have in myself

The godly man gives himself up to God. The secret
language of the soul is this—'Lord, here am I; do with
me what You please, I give up myself to be at Your
disposal.'

There was a good woman, who, when she was sick, being
asked whether she were willing to live or die, answered,
'Whichever God pleases.' But, said one who stood by, 'If
God would refer it to you, which would you choose?' 'Truly,'
said she, 'if God would refer it to me, I would even refer it
right back to Him again.' This was a soul worth gold.

'Well,' says a gracious soul, 'The ambitious man gives himself
up to his honors, but I give up myself unto God. The voluptuous
man gives himself up to his pleasures, but I give up myself to God.
The covetous man gives himself up to his bags of money, but I
give up myself to God. The wanton man gives himself up to his
lust, but I give up myself to God. The drunkard gives himself up
to his cups, but I give up myself to God. The papist gives up
himself to his idols, but I give myself to God. The Turk gives up
himself to his Mahomet, but I give up myself to God. The heretic
gives up himself to his heretical opinions, but I give up myself to
God. Lord! lay what burden You will upon me—only let Your
everlasting arms be under me!

Strike, Lord, strike, and spare not, for I submit to Your will.
You have a greater interest in me, than I have in myself;
and therefore I give up myself unto You, and am willing to be
at Your disposal, and am ready to receive whatever impression
You shall stamp upon me.

O blessed Lord! have You not again and again said unto me,
as once the king of Israel said to the king of Syria, 'I am yours,
and all that I have is yours,' 1 Kings 20:4.

God says, "I am yours, O soul! to save you!
My mercy is yours to pardon you!
My blood is yours to cleanse you!
My merits are yours to justify you!
My righteousness is yours to clothe you!
My Spirit is yours to lead you!
My grace is yours to enrich you!
My glory is yours to reward you!"

"And therefore," says a gracious soul, "I cannot but
make a resignation of myself unto You. Lord! here
I am, do with me as seems good in Your own eyes.
I resign up myself to your will."



Whatever weather pleases God—pleases me!

I have read of a gentleman, who, meeting with a shepherd
in a misty morning, asked him what weather it would be?
'It will be,' said the shepherd, 'that weather which pleases
me.' And being courteously requested to express his meaning,
replied, 'Sir, it shall be whatever weather pleases God; and
whatever weather pleases God—pleases me!'



Lay your hand upon your mouth, and be silent

"Be silent before the Lord and wait patiently for Him."
Psalm 37:7

I charge you, O my soul, not to mutter, nor to murmur.
I command you, O my soul, to be silent under the afflicting
hand of God. Peace, O my soul! be still, leave your muttering,
leave your murmuring, leave your complaining, leave your
chafing, and vexing—and lay your hand upon your mouth,
and be silent. O my soul! be quiet, be silent, else you will
one day be called in question for all those inward mutterings,
uproars, and passions that are in you, seeing no sufficient
cause can be produced why you should murmur, quarrel,
or wrangle—under the righteous hand of God.



The meritorious cause of all our sorrows
and sufferings

"Why should any living man complain when punished
for his sins? Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the Lord." Lamentations 3:39-40

"I will be patient as the Lord punishes me, for I
have sinned against Him." Micah 7:9

Sins is the meritorious cause of all our sorrows
and sufferings. In all our sorrows we should read
our sins! When God's hand is upon our backs, our
hands should be upon our sins.

When a Christian is under the afflicting hand
of God, he may well say, 'I may thank . . .
this proud heart of mine,
this worldly heart of mine,
this froward heart of mine,
this formal heart of mine,
this dull heart of mine,
this backsliding heart of mine,
this self-seeking heart of mine—for . . .
this cup so bitter,
this pain so grievous,
this loss so great,
this disease so desperate,
this wound so incurable!

It is my own self, my own sin—which has caused
these floods of sorrows to break in upon me!



Diseases, aches, sicknesses, pains

Diseases, aches, sicknesses, pains—they are all the
daughters of sin, and he who is not sensible of them as
the births and products of sin, does but add to his sin,
and provokes the Lord to add to his sufferings. Is. 26:9-11

No man shall ever be charged by God for feeling his
burden, if he neither frets nor faints under it. Grace
does not destroy nature—but rather perfects it. Grace
is of a noble offspring; it neither turns men into stocks
nor to stoics. The more grace—the more sensible of the
tokens, frowns, blows, and lashes—of a displeased Father.

Though Calvin, under his greatest pains, was never
heard to mutter nor murmur—yet he was heard often
to say 'How long, Lord, how long?'

A pious commander being shot in battle, when the wound
was searched, and the bullet cut out, some standing by,
pitying his pain, he replied, 'Though I groan, yet I bless
God I do not grumble.' God allows His people to groan,
though not to grumble. It is a God-provoking sin to lie
stupid and senseless under the afflicting hand of God.
God will heat that man's furnace of affliction sevenfold
hotter, who is in the furnace but feels it not.



Every twig has a voice!

"The voice of the Lord calls out to the city (and it is
wise to fear Your name,) "Pay attention to the
rod and the One who ordained it." Micah 6:9

Christians should hear the rod, and kiss the rod, and
sit mute and silent under God's rod.

Christians should be mute and silent under the greatest
afflictions, the saddest providences, and sharpest trials
which they meet with in this world, that they may the
better hear and understand the voice of God's rod.

As the word has a voice, the Spirit a voice, and conscience
a voice—so God's rod has a voice. Afflictions are the rod of
God's anger, the rod of His displeasure, and His rod of revenge.

God's rods are not mutes. They are all vocal, they are all
speaking as well as smiting. Every twig has a voice!

'Ah! soul,' says one twig, 'you say it smarts. Well! tell
me, is it good to provoke a jealous God?' Jer. 4:18.

'Ah! soul,' says another twig, 'you say it is bitter, it
reaches to your heart; but have not your own doings
procured these things?' Rom. 6:20-21.

'Ah! soul,' says another twig, 'where is the profit,
the pleasure, the sweet that you have found in
wandering from God?' Hosea 2:7.

'Ah! soul,' says another twig, 'was it not best with
you, when you were high in your communion with
God, and when you were humble and close in your
walking with God?' Micah 6:8.

'Ah! Christian,' says another twig, 'will you search
your heart, and try your ways, and turn to the Lord
your God?' Lam. 3:40.

'Ah! soul,' says another twig, 'will you die to sin more
than ever, and to the world more than ever, and to
relations more than ever, and to yourself more than
ever?' Rom. 14:6-8; Gal. 6:18.

'Ah! soul,' says another twig, 'will you live more to
Christ than ever, and cleave closer to Christ than
ever, and prize Christ more than ever, and venture
further for Christ than ever?'

'Ah! soul,' says another twig, 'will you love Christ
with a more inflamed love, and hope in Christ with
a more raised hope, and depend upon Christ with
a greater confidence, and wait upon Christ with
more invincible patience?'

Now, if the soul is not mute and silent under the rod,
how is it possible that it should ever hear the voice of
God's rod, or that it should ever hearken to the voice
of every twig of God's rod?

The rod that is in the hands of earthly fathers has a
voice—but children hear it not, they understand it not,
until they are hushed and quiet, and brought to kiss it,
and sit silently under it. No more shall we hear or
understand the voice of the rod that is in our heavenly
Father's hand, until we come to kiss it, and sit silently
under it.



Living by faith

"We live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

Living by faith brings the soul to sit down satisfied
in the naked enjoyments of God.

Living by faith dries up the springs of . . .
pride,
self-love,
impatience,
murmuring,
unbelief, and
the carnal delights of this world.

Living by faith presents to the soul greater,
sweeter, and better things in Christ—than
anything this world can afford.

Living by faith lessens the soul's esteem
of all outward vanities.



All your former troubles and afflictions

"In the day of adversity, consider." Eccles. 7:14

If you would be quiet and silent under your present
troubles and trials, then dwell much upon the benefit,
the profit, the advantage that has redounded to your
souls by all your former troubles and afflictions.

Oh! consider, how by former afflictions the Lord has
revealed sin, prevented sin, and mortified sin!

Consider how the Lord by former afflictions has
revealed to you the impotency, the mutability,
the insufficiency, and the vanity of the world,
and all worldly concerns!

Consider how the Lord by former afflictions has melted
your heart, and broken your heart, and humbled your
heart, and prepared your heart for clearer, fuller, and
sweeter enjoyments of Himself!

Consider what pity, what compassion, what affections,
what tenderness, and what sweetness former afflictions
have wrought in you, towards others in misery!

Consider what room former afflictions have made
in your soul for God, for His word, for good counsel,
and for divine comfort!

Consider how by former afflictions the Lord has made
you more partaker of His Christ, His Spirit, His holiness,
His goodness, etc.

Consider how by former afflictions the Lord has made
you to look towards heaven more, to mind heaven more,
to prize heaven more, and to long for heaven more, etc.

Now, who can seriously consider all the good that he
has gotten by former afflictions—and not be silent under
present afflictions? Who can remember those choice, those
great, and those precious profits that his soul has made
of former afflictions, and not reason himself into a holy
silence under present afflictions thusly, "O my soul! has not
God done you much good, great good, special good—by
former afflictions? Yes! O my soul! has not God done that
for you by former afflictions—which you would not undo for
ten thousand worlds? Yes! And is not God, O my soul! as
powerful as ever, as faithful as ever, as gracious as ever,
and as ready and willing as ever—to do you good by present
afflictions, as he has been to do you good by former afflictions?
Yes! Yes! Why, why then do you not sit silent and mute before
Him, under your present troubles, O my soul?"



A fool to his schoolmaster

He who goes to school to his own carnal reason,
has a fool to his schoolmaster; and he who
allows his faith to be overruled by his reason,
shall never lack woe.

No man lives so free a life, so holy a life, so
heavenly a life, so happy a life—as he who
lives a life of faith. Now the soul is put upon
the highest and the purest acts of faith, that
is, to cleave to God, to hang upon God, and
to carry it sweetly and obediently towards
God, though He frowns, though He chides,
though He strikes, yes, though He kills! 'For
we walk by faith, and not by sight.' 2 Cor. 5:7



The sharpest dealings of God with you

"Why should any living man complain when
punished for his sins?" Lamentations 3:39

To move you to silence under your sorest and
your sharpest trials, consider, that you have
deserved greater and heavier afflictions than
those you are under.

Has God taken away one mercy? You have
deserved to be stripped of all.

Has he taken away the delight of your eyes? He
might have taken away the delight of your soul.

Are you under outward wants? You have deserved
to be under outward and inward wants together.

Are you cast upon a sick bed?
You have deserved a bed in hell.

Are you under that ache and that pain? You have
deserved to be under all aches and pains at once.

Has God chastised you with whips? You have
deserved to be chastised with scorpions. 1 Kings 12:14.

Have you fallen from the highest pinnacle of honor
to be the scorn and contempt of men? You have
deserved to be scorned and condemned by God
and angels.

Are you under a severe whipping?
You have deserved an utter damning.

Ah Christian! let but your eyes be fixed upon your
demerits—and your hands will be quickly upon your
mouths! Whatever is less than a final separation from
God, whatever is less than hell—is mercy! Therefore
you have cause to be silent under the sharpest
dealings of God with you.



Sweet honey out of the bitterest herbs

"And we know that in all things God works for the
good of those who love Him, who have been called
according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Consider that all your afflictions, troubles, and trials
shall work for your good. Why then should you fret,
fling, fume—considering God intends you good in all?
The bee sucks sweet honey out of the bitterest
herbs; so God will by afflictions teach His children to
suck sweet knowledge, sweet obedience, and sweet
experiences, sweet humility—out of all the bitter
afflictions and trials He exercises them with.

That scouring and rubbing, which frets others, shall
make them shine the brighter; and that weight which
keeps others crushed, shall but make them, like the
palm tree, grow better and higher; and that hammer
which knocks others all into pieces, shall but knock
them the nearer to Christ, the corner stone.

Stars shine brightest in the darkest night;
torches give the best light when beaten;
grapes yield most wine when most pressed;
spices smell sweetest when pounded;
vines are the better for bleeding;
gold looks the brighter for scouring;
juniper smells sweetest in the fire;
chamomile, the more you tread it the more you spread it;
the salamander lives best in the fire;
the Jews were best, when most afflicted.

Afflictions are the saints' best benefactors to heavenly
affections. Where afflictions hang heaviest—corruptions
hang loosest. And grace that is hidden in nature, as sweet
water in rose leaves, is then most fragrant when the fire
of affliction is put under to distill it out. Grace shines the
brighter for scouring, and is most glorious when it is most
clouded.



Why is my pain unending?

"Why is my pain unending and my wound
grievous and incurable?" Jeremiah 15:18

Though God has always reason for what He does—yet
He is not bound to show us the reasons of His doings.

It is an evil and a dangerous thing to cavil at, or to
question God's proceedings—who may do with His own
what He pleases. He is unaccountable and uncontrollable;
and therefore none has a right to question Him.

As no man may question God's right to afflict him, nor
His righteousness in afflicting him; so no man may
question the reasons why He afflicts him. As no man
can compel God to give a reason for His doings; so no
man may dare to ask Him the particular reasons of His
doings.

Kings are not bound to give their subjects a reason of
their doings; and shall we bind God to give us a reason
of His doings, who is the King of kings and Lord of Lords,
and whose will is the true and only rule of justice?

The general grounds and reasons which God has laid
down in His word why He afflicts His people, as—that
is for their profit; for the purging away of their sins; for
the purifying of their lives; and for the saving of their
souls—should work them to be silent and satisfied under
all their afflictions; though God should never satisfy their
curiosity in giving them an account of some more hidden
causes which may lie secret in the abysses of His eternal
knowledge and infallible will.

Ah, Christian! it is your wisdom and duty to sit silent
and mute under the afflicting hand of God upon the
account of revealed reasons, without making any
curious inquiry into those more secret reasons which
are locked up in the golden cabinet of God's own
bosom! "The secret things belong to the Lord our
God." Deuteronomy 29:29



He dares spit in the very face of God Himself!

Many, when they feel the rod to smart—ah, how they
do fret and fume! Isaiah 8:21, 'Distressed and hungry,
they will roam through the land; when they are famished,
they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse
their king and their God.' Prov. 19:3, 'A man's own folly
ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.' The
heart may be fretful and froward when the tongue does
not blaspheme. Folly brings man into misery, and misery
makes man to fret. Man in misery is more apt to fret and
chafe against the Lord, than to fret and chafe against his
sin which has brought him into sufferings.
2 Kings 6:33, Psalm 37:1, 7-8.

A fretful soul dares fly at God himself! When Pharaoh is
troubled with the frets, he dares spit in the very face
of God himself—'Who is the Lord, that I should obey
Him?' Exod. 5:2. And when Jonah is in a fretting humour,
he dares tell God to his face, 'that he does well to be angry!'
Jonah had done well if he had been angry with his sin—but
he did very ill to be angry with his God! God will vex every
vein in that man's heart, before He has done with him, who
fumes and frets, because he cannot snap in sunder the
cords with which he is bound, Ezek. 16:43. Sometimes
good men are sick of the frets—but when they are, it
costs them de


_________________
CHRISTIAN

 2007/2/6 5:33Profile
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Member



Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
Sweden

 Re: Choice selections from Thomas Brooks

Choice excerpts Thomas Brooks'
"The Unsearchable Riches of Christ"


Satan's apes

Pride sets itself against the honor, being, and
sovereignty of God. Other sins strike at the word
of God, the people of God, and the creatures of
God—but pride strikes directly at the very being
of God. He bears a special hatred against pride.

It was pride which turned angels into devils.
They would be above others in heaven—and
therefore God cast them down to hell.

Pride is a sin which of all sins, makes a person
most like Satan. Pride is Satan's disease. Pride
is so base a disease, that God had rather see His
dearest children to be buffeted by Satan, than
that in pride they should be like Satan.

Humility makes a man like to angels—and pride
makes an angel a devil. Pride is worse than the
devil, for the devil cannot hurt you until pride
has possessed you.

If you would see the devil portrayed to the life
—look upon a proud soul; for as face answers
to face, so does a proud soul answer to Satan.

Proud souls are Satan's apes, and none imitate
him to the life like these. And oh that they were
sensible of it, before it is too late, before the
door of darkness be shut upon them!

"The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure
of this: They will not go unpunished." Prov. 16:5


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


If this does not humble you

Dwell much upon the greatness of God's mercy and
goodness to you. Nothing humbles and breaks the
heart, like God's mercy and love. In Luke 7, the Lord
Jesus shows mercy to that notorious sinner, and then
she falls down at His feet, and loves much and weeps
much, etc.

Oh, if ever you would have your souls kept humble,
dwell upon the free grace and love of God to you in
Christ! Dwell upon . . .
the firstness of His love,
the freeness of His love,
the greatness of His love,
the fullness of His love,
the unchangeableness of His love,
the everlastingness of His love, and
the ardency of His love.
If this does not humble you, there is nothing
on earth which will do it. Dwell upon what God has
undertaken for you. Dwell upon the choice and
worthy gifts which He has bestowed on you. Dwell
upon that eternal glory and happiness which He has
prepared for you—and then be proud if you can.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


If you are not as wicked as others

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corin. 15:10

Whatever evil you behold in other men's practices, realize
that you have the same evil in your own nature.

There is the seed of all sins, of the vilest and worst of
sins—in the best of men. When you see a drunkard—you
may see the seed of that sin in your own nature. When
you see an immoral man—you may see the seeds of
immorality in your own nature. If you are not as
wicked as others—it is not because of the goodness
of your nature—but from the riches of God's grace!

Remember this—there is not a worse nature in hell
than that which is in you, and it would manifest itself
accordingly—if the Lord did not restrain it!

There was one who was a long time tempted to three
horrid sins: to be drunk, to lie with his mother, and to
murder his father. Being a long time followed with
these horrid temptations, at last he thought to get
rid of them, by yielding to what he judged the least,
and that was to be drunk; but when he was drunk, he
did both lie with his mother and murdered his father.

Why, such a hellish nature is in every soul that breathes!
And did God leave men to act according to their natures,
all men would be incarnate devils, and this world a total
hell. In your nature you have that that would lead you . . .
with the Pharisees—to oppose Christ;
and with Judas—to betray Christ;
and with Pilate—to condemn Christ;
and with the soldiers—to crucify Christ.

Oh, what a monster, what a devil you would be—should
God but leave you to act suitable to that sinful and woeful
nature of yours!

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corin. 15:10


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Meditate, practice, pray

You must meditate and dwell upon what you read;
otherwise your pains and mine will be lost. The more any
man is in the contemplation of truth, the more deep and
firm impression is made upon his heart by truth. Heavenly
meditation brings out the sweetness that is in divine truths.
Not those who get most—but those who keep most, are
richest. So not those who hear most, or read most—but
those who meditate most, are most edified and enriched.

You must also practice and live out what you read. To
read much and practice nothing—is to hunt much and catch
nothing. Ah! what cause have most to sigh, that they have
heard so much, and read so much—and yet done so little!

You must also pray over what you read. Many read much,
and pray little, and therefore get little by all they read. Galen
writes of a fish called Uranoscopos, that has but one eye,
which looks continually up to heaven. When a Christian has
one eye upon his book—the other should be looking up to
heaven for a blessing upon what he reads!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Optimum maximum

Christians serve a wonderful Master.
They serve Him who is . . .
all ear to hear them,
all hand to uphold them,
all power to protect them,
all wisdom to direct them,
all goodness to relieve them,
all mercy to pardon them.

They serve that God who is optimum maximum
—the best and greatest. God has within Himself
all the good of angels, men, and universal nature.
God has . . .
all dignity,
all glory,
all riches,
all treasure,
all pleasure,
all delight,
all joy,
all beatitudes.

God is . . .
goodness,
beauty,
power,
wisdom,
justice,
mercy, and
love itself!

God is one infinite perfection in Himself!

"He has all—who has the Haver of all." Αugustine


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The Midas touch

Faith is the most useful grace. It is a Christian's right eye,
without which he cannot see for Christ; it is his right hand,
without which he cannot do for Christ; it is his tongue,
without which he cannot speak for Christ; it is his very
vital spirits, without which he cannot act for Christ.

It is fabled of King Midas, that whatever he touched would
be turned into gold. I am sure that whatever faith touches,
it turns into gold, that is, into our good. If our faith touches
the promises, it turns them into our good; whatever faith
lays its hand upon, it appropriates to itself, and turns it
into the soul's good. If faith looks upon God, it says, "This
God is my God forever and ever, and He shall be my guide
unto death!" When it looks upon Christ, it says, "My Lord
and my God!" When it looks upon the crown of righteousness,
it says, "This crown is laid up for me!"

Faith is . . .
bread to nourish us,
wine to cheer us,
a cordial to strengthen us,
a sword to defend us,
a guide to direct us,
a staff to support us,
a plaster to heal us,
a friend to comfort us, and
a golden key to open heaven unto us.

Faith, of all graces, is the most useful grace to the soul
of man. "Without faith it is impossible to please God."
All those services are lost, wherein faith has not a hand.
You may write 'loss' . . .
upon all the prayers you make, and
upon all the sermons you hear, and
upon all the tears you shed, and
upon all the alms you give,
if all are not managed by a hand of faith.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


We have actually outsinned thousands

Sit down and wonder at the matchless love of God.

Oh! what is in us—that should cause the Lord to give such
gifts to us as He has given? We were all equal in sin and
misery; nay, doubtless, we have actually outsinned
thousands, to whom these precious gifts are denied. Let
us therefore sit down and wonder at this condescending
love of God. Oh! we were once poor wretches sitting upon
the ash-heap, yes, wallowing in our blood—and yet behold!
The King of kings, the Lord of lords, has so far condescended
in His love, as to bestow Himself, His Spirit, His grace, and
all the jewels of His royal crown upon us! Oh! what heart can
conceive, what tongue can express, this matchless love!

"I will be yours forever," says Christ, "and My Spirit shall
be yours forever, and My grace yours forever, and My glory
yours forever, and My righteousness yours forever. All I am
and all I have—shall be yours forever!" O what matchless
love is this! Oh! what a Christ is this!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Do not judge a minister . . .

"Consider carefully what you hear." Mark 4:24

It is sad to see how many preachers in our days, make
it their business to enrich men's heads with high, empty,
airy notions; instead of enriching their souls with saving
truths.

Fix yourself under that man's ministry, who makes it his
business, his work to enrich the soul, to win the soul, and
to build up the soul; not to tickle the ear, or please the
fancy. This age is full of such light, delirious souls—who
dislike everything—but what is empty and airy.

Do not judge a minister . . .
by his voice, nor
by the multitude who follow him, nor
by his affected tone, nor
by his rhetoric and flashes of wit;
but by the holiness, heavenliness, and spiritualness
of his teaching. Many ministers are like empty orators,
who have a flood of words—but a drop of matter.

Some preachers affect rhetorical strains; they seek abstrusities,
and love to hover and soar aloft in dark and cloudy expressions,
and so shoot their arrows over their hearers' heads—instead of
bettering their hearers' hearts. Mirthful things in a sermon
are only for men to gaze upon and admire. He is the best
preacher, not who tickles the ear—but who breaks the heart.

"My message and my preaching were not with wise and
persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's
power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom,
but on God's power." 1 Corinthians 2:4-5


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


How to conquer the world!

Perhaps the world—the smiling world or the frowning world,
the tempting world or the persecuting world—lies as a heavy
stone or burden upon your heart, as it does upon the hearts
of thousands in these days; (witness their attempting anything
to get the favors, honors and riches of this world! Ah! how
many have turned their backs upon God, and Christ, and
truth, etc., to gain the world!) How will you get this
burden off? Only by exercise of faith.

Many men hear sermons much—and yet remain worldly. They
may pray like angels—and yet live as if there were no heaven
nor hell. They will talk much of heaven—and yet those who are
spiritual and wise, smell their breath to stink strong of earth.
All their endeavors can never cure them of this soul-killing
disease—until faith breaks forth in its glorious actings. A man
may hear sermons and pray many years—and yet remain as
carnal, base, and worldly as ever! There is no way under
heaven to remove this burden—but the exercise of faith!

"For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is
the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who
believes that Jesus is the Son of God." 1 John 5:4-5

Faith presents the world to the soul under all those notions
which the Scripture holds forth the world unto us by. The
Scripture holds forth the world as an impotent thing, as a
mixed thing, as a mutable thing, as a momentary thing.
Now faith comes and sets this home with power upon the
soul—and this takes the soul off from the world.

Faith causes the soul to converse with those more glorious,
soul-satisfying, soul-delighting, and soul-contenting objects.
Now when faith is busied and exercised about soul-ennobling,
soul-greatening, soul-raising, and soul-cheering objects—a
Christian tramples the world under his feet! In Hebrews 11,
it was the exercise of faith and hope upon noble and glorious
objects—which carried them above the world—above the
smiling world, and above the frowning world, above the
tempting world, and above the persecuting world!

Faith conquers the world, by assuring the soul of enjoying of
better things. Men may talk much of heaven, and of Christ,
and religion, etc.; but give me a man who does really and
clearly live under the power of divine faith—and I cannot see
how such a one can be carried out in an inordinate love to
these poor transitory things.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Such a wretch you would have been!

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have
drawn you with loving-kindness." Jeremiah 31:3

There are but few upon whom God bestows His saving love.

Tell me, are not the gifts which Christ has given you—rare
gifts? What would you have been—if Christ had not made
a difference between you and others—by those glorious gifts
which He has conferred upon you? You look upon some, and
see they are very ignorant of spiritual truth. O! What would
you have been—if God had not bestowed saving knowledge
upon you? You look upon others who are unclean, profane,
and filthy. Why! such a wretch you would have been—if
the Lord had not made a difference between you and them,
by bestowing Himself, His grace, and Spirit upon you.

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom
of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor
idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual
offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers
nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what
some of you were! But you were washed, you were sanctified,
you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by
the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Your spots and blots

"The Lord our righteousness." Jeremiah 23:6

"They are without fault before the throne of God." Rev. 14:5

Weak hearts are apt to sit down troubled and discouraged,
when they look upon that body of sin which is in them, and
those imperfections which attend their best services. They
are ready to say, "We shall one day perish by the strength
of our lusts, or by the defects of our services!" Oh but, to
strengthen them against all discouragements, they should
remember this—that they stand before God, clothed with
the righteousness of their Savior. "They are without fault
before the throne of God." Revelation 14:5

So in Cant. 4:7, "All beautiful you are, my darling; there is
no flaw in you." There is no flaw in God's account. God looks
upon weak saints in the Son of His love—and sees them all
lovely. Ah, poor souls! you are apt to look upon your spots
and blots, and to cry out with the leper not only "Unclean!
unclean!" but "Undone! undone!" Well, forever remember
this—that you stand before God in the righteousness of
Christ; upon which account you always appear before the
throne of God without fault; where you are all lovely, and
where there is no flaw in you.

"They are without fault before the throne of God." Rev. 14:5


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Dolls and rattles

The thoughts and hearts of weak Christians are more
taken up with the good things they have from Christ—
than with Christ Himself. Oh, their graces, their comforts,
their enlargements, their meltings, and their warmings,
are the things which most absorb them. Their thoughts
and hearts are so exercised about these things—that
Christ Himself is much neglected by them.

The child is so absorbed with dolls and rattles,
that the mother is not thought of. And such is
the behavior of weak Christians towards Christ.

Those who are strong in grace are more taken up with
Christ Himself, than they are with His love-tokens. They
bless Christ indeed for every grain of grace—but Christ
Himself is more to them than all these. Christ is the
most sparkling diamond in the ring of glory!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Rattles and baubles

Weak Christians are usually much concerned and taken
up with the poor base things of this world. They are
much in carking and caring for them, and in pursuing
and hunting greedily after them. All which does clearly
evidence—that their graces are very weak, and their
corruptions very strong.

Certainly there is but little of Christ and grace within,
where the heart is so strongly concerned about earthly
things. Where there is such strong love and workings
of heart after these poor things—it shows the soul's
enjoyment of God to be but poor and low. Those who
are rich and strong in grace, look upon the world with
a holy scorn and disdain.

The greatest bargain which a soul rich in grace will
make with God for himself is this, "Give me but bread
to eat and clothes to wear—and you shall be my God."
So it was with that brave soul in Genesis 28:21. Jacob
desires but bread and clothing. Mark, he asks bread
—not dainties; clothing—not ornaments.

Grown men prefer one piece of gold, above a thousand
new pennies. A soul who is strong in grace, who is high
in its spiritual enjoyments, prefers one good word from
God, above all the dainties of this world. Souls who know
by experience what the bosom of Christ is, what spiritual
communion is, what the glory of heaven is—will not be
put off with things which are mixed, mutable, and
momentary. "Lord," he prays, "Warm my heart with
the beams of Your love—and then a little of these
things will suffice."

It is childish to be concerned more with the rattles
and baubles of this world, than with heavenly riches.

A little of this world will satisfy one who is strong in grace,
much will not satisfy one who is weak in grace,
nothing will satisfy one who is void of grace.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


A faithful minister

"Let the elders who rule well be accounted worthy of
double honor, especially those who labor in the word
and doctrine." 1 Timothy 5:17

The which is here rendered labor, signifies not simply to
labor—but to labor with much travail and toil, to labor
even to exhaustion, as he does who chops wood, or who
toils in harvest, or who goes to battle.

Oh what an honor is it to a faithful minister, when he . . .
found the people dark and blind—but left them enlightened;
found them dead—but left them alive;
found them a proud people—but has left them humble;
found the people profane—but has left them holy;
found them a carnal people—but has left them spiritual;
found them a worldly people—but has left them heavenly;
found them a wavering people—but has left them settled and rooted.

Oh, it is an honor to faithful ministers,
when their people are like them in . . .
knowledge,
wisdom,
love,
humility,
holiness!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Unholy ministers

"Watch your life and doctrine closely." 1 Timothy 4:16

Heavenly doctrines should always be adorned with a
heavenly life.

Ministers must preach Christ as well in their life—as in
their doctrine. They must not be hot in the pulpit, and
cold and careless in their lives. The lives of ministers
oftentimes convince more strongly than their words;
their tongues may persuade—but their lives command.

What is it, which renders the things of God so contemptuous
and odious in the eyes of many people—but the ignorance,
looseness, profaneness, and baseness of those who are the
dispensers of them. Unholy ministers pull down instead
of building up. Oh the souls who their lives destroy! These,
by their loose lives, lead their flocks to hell—where they
themselves must lie lowermost!

Wicked ministers do more hurt by their lives—than
they do good by their doctrine. Every minister's
life should be a commentary upon Christ's life!

"Be an example to all believers in what you
teach, in the way you live, in your love, your
faith, and your purity." 1 Timothy 4:12


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The sweet nature of grace

Dwell much upon the sweet nature of grace.

Grace begets the greatest joy and sweetness in the
hearts of men, that possibly can be. Grace is a panoply
against all troubles—and a paradise of all pleasures.

Grace is compared to the sweetest things; to sweet spices,
to wine and milk. Grace is a sweet flower of paradise, a
spark of glory, etc. Grace is nourished and maintained by
that sweet word, which is sweeter than the honey or the
honey-comb, and by sweet union and communion with
the Father and the Son.

Grace is exercised about the sweetest objects, namely—
God, Christ, promises, and future glory.

Grace sweetens all your services and duties. Your best
religious performances are but stinking sacrifices—if they
are not attended with the exercise of grace. Grace is that
heavenly salt which makes all our services savory and
sweet in the nostrils of God.

Grace is of the greatest and sweetest use to the soul.
It is an anchor at sea, and a shield at land. Grace is a
staff to uphold the soul, and a sword to defend the soul.
Grace is bread to strengthen the soul, and wine to cheer
the soul. Grace is medicine to cure all diseases, and a
plaster to heal all wounds, and a cordial to strengthen
the soul under all faintings, etc. Grace is . . .
your eye to see for Christ,
your ear to hear for Christ,
your head to design for Christ,
your tongue to speak for Christ,
your hand to do for Christ, and
your feet to walk with Christ.

Grace makes men of the harshest, sourest, crabbedest
natures—to be of a sweet, lovely, amiable, pleasing temper.
Grace turns lions into lambs, wolves into sheep, monsters
into men, and men into angels—as you may see in Manasseh,
Paul, Mary Magdalene, Zaccheus, and others.

Yet sometimes grace, in a rugged unhewn nature, is like . . .
a gold ring on a leprous hand, or
a diamond set in iron, or
a jewel in a swine's snout, etc.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


They heard, and were never the better

"The word did not profit those who heard it, because
it was not mixed with faith." Hebrews 4:2

He does not speak here of unbelievers—but of those
who had faith in the soul—but not in the exercise; and
therefore the word did not profit them. They heard,
and were never the better. And what was the ground
of it? Why, it was because they did not exercise faith
upon the word. The words which fell from the preacher's
lips into their ears, were a sweet potion—but they did not
work effectually, because they lacked the ingredient of
faith. Faith is one of those glorious ingredients, which
makes every sermon, every truth, work for their souls'
advantage. Nothing will work for a believer's good, for
his gain—if it is not mixed with faith. Nothing makes a
man rich in spirituals, like the frequent and constant
actings of faith.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The right way of mortifying of sin

Those spots which a Christian finds in his own heart
can only, by a hand of faith, be washed out in the
blood of the Lamb.

Suppose that the power and prevalency of sin hinders
the soul's sweet communion with God—so that the soul
cannot sport itself, and joy and delight itself in God, as
in the days of old; it cannot see God smiling, stroking,
and speaking kindly, as in former days. Now, there is
nothing in all the world which can ease the soul of this
burden of sin, but the exercise of grace.

"Oh," says such a poor soul, "I pray—and yet I sin;
I resolve against sin—and yet I sin; I combat against
sin—and yet I am carried captive by sin; I have left
no outward means unattempted—and yet after all,
my sins are too hard for me; after all my sweating,
striving, and weeping—I am carried down the stream."

It is not our strong resolutions or purposes which
will be able to overmaster these enemies.

There is nothing now but the actings of faith upon a
crucified Christ, which will take off this burden from
the soul of man. You must make use of your graces
to draw virtue from Christ; now faith must touch the
hem of Christ's garment—or you will never be healed.

It is sad to consider how few professors in these days
have attained the right way of mortifying of sin.
They usually go out against their sins in the strength
of their own purposes, prayers, and resolutions, etc.,
and scarcely look so high as a crucified Christ; they
mind not the exercise of their faith upon Christ; and
therefore it is a righteous thing with Christ that after
all, that they should be carried captive by their sins.

Nothing eats out sin like the actings of grace; nothing
weakens and wastes the strength of sin like the exercise
of grace. Oh! did men believe more in Christ—sin would
die more!

Then He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed
you. Go in peace." Luke 8:48


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


His hand is always in his purse

There is a difference between Christ's giving and the world's
giving. The world gives—but they give more rarely. But Christ
gives, and He gives frequently. He is every day, every hour,
yes, every moment, a-giving of royal favors to His people.
"Here is peace for you who are in trouble," says Christ; "and
here is pardon for you who groan under guilt," says Christ;
"and here is comfort for you who are mourners in Zion," says
Christ, etc. His hand is always in his purse, He is still
a-scattering pearls of glory, ay, the very jewels of His crown,
among the beloved of His soul.

Augustus, in his solemn feasts, gave gold to some—and
trifles to others. The Lord gives the gold, the best things, to
His own; but the trifles of this world to the men of the world.

The gifts which Christ gives are pure gifts. He gives . . .
wine without water,
light without darkness,
gold without dross, and
sweet without bitter.
There is much dross and poison in the gifts which the world
gives—but there is none in the gifts which Christ gives. The
streams are as the fountain is; the fountain is pure, and so
are the streams.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


We may puff and blow our hearts out

"I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me."
I can be high or low, poor or rich, honorable or base,
something or nothing, etc., only through Christ who
strengthens me.

Canticles 4:16, "Blow upon my garden, that the spices
thereof may send forth a fragrant smell." We may puff
and blow our hearts out, and yet no fragrance will
flow forth—if Christ does not blow. Our graces thrive
and are upheld in life and power, in beauty and glory
—only by the internal operation of Christ in our souls.

Psalm 138:3, "In the day when I cried, You answered me,
and strengthened me with strength in my soul." Your graces,
Christians, are heavenly plants of God's own planting and
watering; and certainly the heavenly Farmer will never allow
such plants of renown to wither, for lack of heavenly sap.
He will strengthen, support, and nourish the work of His
own hand. He will cause the desires of His people to bud,
and their graces to blossom, and their souls to be like a
watered garden—green and flourishing. God is eminently
and fully engaged to carry on the work of grace in His
children's souls.

Therefore do not sit down and say—My light is but dim,
and my love but weak, and my joy but a spark which will
quickly go out, etc. But always remember, that those weak
measures of grace which you have, are a sure evidence of
greater measures which God will confer upon you in His
own time and in His own ways.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The true convert

The true convert prizes Christ above all.

Ordinances are sweet—but Christ is more sweet.
Saints are precious—but Christ is far more precious.
Heaven is glorious—but Christ is infinitely more glorious.

The first thing that I would ask, if I might have it, says
the believer—is Christ. And the next thing that I would
ask, if I might have it—is more of Christ. And the last
thing that I would ask, if I might have it—is that I might
be satiated and filled with the fullness of Christ.

Let the ambitious man take the honors of the world—my
desire is to have Christ. Let the voluptuous man swim in
all the pleasures of the world—my desire is to have Christ.
And let the covetous man tumble up and down in all the
gold and silver of the world—my desire is to have Christ—
and it shall be enough to my soul.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


A tumor and swelling in the mind

"The Lord Almighty has done it to destroy your pride
and show his contempt for all human greatness." Isaiah 23:9

Pride is the original and root of most of those notorious
vices that are to be found among men.

Of all sins, pride is most dangerous to the souls of men.

Pride is . . .
a gilded misery,
a secret poison,
a hidden plague.

Pride is . . .
the engineer of deceit,
the mother of hypocrisy,
the parent of envy,
the moth of holiness,
the blinder of hearts,
the turner of medicines into maladies.

Of all sins, spiritual pride is most dangerous, and must
be most resisted. Spiritual pride is the lifting up of the
mind against God; it is a tumor and swelling in the
mind, and lies in despising and slighting of God—and in
the lifting up of a man's self, by reason of birth, breeding,
wealth, honor, place, relation, gifts or graces—and in
despising of others.

Spiritual pride is a white devil, a gilded poison—by which
God is robbed of His honor, a man's own soul of his comfort
and peace.

Pride is a sure forerunner of a fall. "Pride goes before
destruction, and a haughty mind before a fall."
Herod fell from a throne of gold—to a bed of dust.
Nebuchadnezzar fell from a mighty king—to be a beast.
Adam fell from innocency to mortality.
The angels fell from heaven to hell—from felicity to misery.

"The day is coming when your pride will be brought low
and the Lord alone will be exalted. In that day the Lord
Almighty will punish the proud, bringing them down to
the dust!" Isaiah 2:11-12

"The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this:
They will not go unpunished." Proverbs 16:5


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Humble souls

None on earth are so near to God, and so high in their
communion with God—as humble souls. And as they
have the clearest visions of God, so God gives them
the fullest sight and knowledge of their own sinfulness
and nothingness.

"I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear—but
now my eye has seen you, I abhor myself in dust
and ashes." says Job.

In a vision the Lord reveals His glory to the prophet
Isaiah, "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am
a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of
unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the
Lord Almighty." Oh, the vision that I have had of the
glory of God has given me such a clear and full sight
of my own vileness and baseness, that I cannot but
loathe and abhor myself.

When Abraham draws near to God, then he accounts
himself but dust and ashes, Gen. 18:26-27.

"Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" That is
—a man, a sinner—a compound of dirt and sin! When
Peter saw that glorious miracle wrought by the Lord Jesus,
he cries out as one very sensible of his own weakness and
sinfulness. "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man." Ah! I
am not worthy to be near such majesty and glory—who
am a mere bundle of vice and vanity, of folly and iniquity!

The angels that are near God, that stand before Him,
in humility they cover their faces with two wings, as
with a double scarf, in Isaiah 6:2


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


I am undone

Isaiah sees the glory of the Lord in a vision, and this makes
him cry out, "Woe is me, for I am undone . . . for my eyes
have seen the King, the Lord Almighty!" Isaiah 6:5

"I am undone." The Hebrew is, "I am cut off," I am a
forlorn man! Why? "For I have seen the King, the Lord
Almighty!" The clearest sight and vision of God does
always give a man the fullest sight of his own emptiness,
sinfulness, and nothingness!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Look to your walking

"The Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will
He withhold from those who walk uprightly." Psalm 84:11

If ever you would be spiritually rich, look to your walking.
It is not the knowing soul, nor the talking soul—but the
close-walking soul, the obediential soul—who is in spirituals
the richest soul. Others may be rich in notions—but none so
rich in spiritual experiences, and in all holy and heavenly
grace—as close-walking Christians.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


A thread-bare soul

Take hold of all opportunities to enrich your souls with
spiritual riches. Men will easily, readily, greedily, and
unweariedly grasp all opportunities wherein they may
get earthly riches; and why should not you be as diligent
in taking hold of all opportunities to enrich your precious
souls? Is not the soul worth more than raiment, more
than friends, more than relations, more than life—yes,
more than all? And why, then, do you not labor to enrich
your souls?

It is better have a rich soul under a thread-bare coat;
than a thread-bare soul under a silk or golden coat.

If he is a monster among men, who makes liberal provision
for his dog—and starves his wife; what a monster is he who
makes much provision for his baser part—but none for his
noble part!

The neglect of golden, soul-enriching opportunities,
has made many a man's life a hell.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Vexing, defiling, dividing, ruining

"For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil.
And some people, craving money, have wandered from
the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows."
1 Timothy 6:10

Earthly riches have cast down many, they have slain
many. If poverty has slain her thousands; riches has
slain her ten thousands.

Earthly riches are called thorns, and well they may;
for as thorns, they pierce both head and heart;
the head with cares in getting them, and
the heart with grief in parting with them.

Oh the souls that riches have pierced
through and through with many sorrows!

Oh the minds that riches have blinded!

Oh the hearts that riches have hardened!

Oh the consciences that riches have benumbed!

Oh the wills that riches have perverted!

Oh the affections that riches have
disordered and destroyed!

Earthly riches are very vexing, very defiling, very
dividing—and to multitudes prove very ruining.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Soul-satisfying

The riches of Christ are soul-satisfying riches. Oh
those riches of grace and goodness that are in Christ
—how do they satisfy the souls of sinners!

A pardon does not more satisfy a condemned man,
nor bread the hungry man,
nor drink the thirsty man,
nor clothes the naked man,
nor health the sick man,
than the riches of Christ do satisfy the gracious man.

In Eccles. 5:10, "He who loves silver shall not be
satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance
with increase. This is also vanity."
If a man is hungry, silver cannot feed him;
if naked, it cannot clothe him;
if cold, it cannot warm him;
if sick, it cannot cure him—
much less then is it able to satisfy him.

Oh! but the riches of Christ are soul-satisfying riches!
A soul rich in spirituals, rich in eternals, says, I have
enough, though I have not this and that temporal good.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


His purse is always full

The riches of Christ are inexhaustible. Christ can never
be drawn dry. Earthly riches are true gardens of Adonis,
where we can gather nothing but trivial flowers surrounded
with many briars, etc. Men rake together worldly riches as
children do snow—which the next shower washes away,
and leaves nothing in the place but dirt; and can dirt
satisfy? Surely not! No more can worldly riches.

The Spanish ambassador coming to see the treasury of Venice,
which is famous throughout the world, fell a-groping whether
it had any bottom, and being asked why, answered, "In this
my great master's treasure differs from yours, in that his has
no bottom, as I find yours to have," alluding to the mines of
Mexico and Potosi, etc.

Certainly Christ's treasures have no bottom—all His bags are
bottomless! Scripture, history, and experience, do abundantly
testify that men's bags, purses, coffers, and mines—may be
exhausted or drawn dry—but Christ's can never. Millions of
thousands live upon Christ, and He feels it not. His purse
is always full, though He is always giving.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Far greater worth

One grain of grace is of far greater worth, than all the
gold of Ophir and all the silver of the Indies—which are
but the guts and garbage of the earth. The gleanings,
the smallest gatherings of the riches of Christ, are far
better, more excellent, more satisfying, more contenting,
more ravishing—than all the riches of this world. Riches
are called thick clay, Hab. 2:6, which will sooner break
the back, than lighten the heart. The wise merchant,
Matthew 13:44-45, parts with all to gain this Pearl of
great price. The truth is, other riches are but a burden.

Genesis 13:2, "Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold."
The Hebrew is, "He was very heavy in cattle, in silver, and in gold"—
to signify, that riches are but heavy burdens.

Pheraulus, a poor man, on whom Cyrus bestowed so much,
that he knew not what to do with his riches—being wearied
out with care in keeping of them—he desired rather to live
quietly, though poor, as he had done before, than to possess
all those riches with discontent. Therefore he gave away all
his wealth, desiring only to enjoy so much as might supply
his necessities.

Let worldly professors think seriously of this story and blush.

A little will satisfy nature,
less will satisfy grace,
nothing will satisfy men's lusts.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Will you not trust Him for a crumb?

Believers should trust and lean upon God for lesser gifts.

Has God given you a crown—and will you not trust Him for
a crumb? Has He given you a house which has "foundations,
whose builder and maker is God?" Has He given you "a kingdom
which cannot be shaken?" And will you not trust Him for a cottage,
for a little room in this world? Has He given you Himself, His Son,
His Spirit, His grace—and will you not trust Him to give you bread,
and friends, and clothes, and other necessary mercies which He
knows you need? Has He given you the greater—and will deny
you for the lesser? Surely not!

Will you trust that man for much—who has given you but a little?
And will you not trust that God for a little—who has given you much?
Will you not trust Him for pence—who has given you pounds?
O sirs! has the Lord given you Himself, the best of favors—and
will not you trust Him for the least favors?

Has He given you pearls—and will not you trust Him for pins?

Does not the apostle argue sweetly in Romans 8:32, "He who did
not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not
also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" What! says the
apostle, has God given us His Son, His only Son, His bosom Son,
His beloved Son, the Son of His joy, the Son of His delights? Oh
how can He then but cast in all other things into the bargain—such
as wrapping paper and packing thread?

Oh! that Christians would learn to reason themselves out of their
fears, and out of their distrusts—as the apostle does. Oh! that
Christians would no longer rend and rack their precious souls
with fears and cares, but rest satisfied in this—that He who has
been so kind to them in spirituals, will not be lacking to them
in temporals.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


I, even I

"I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions,
for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more."
Isaiah 43:25

"I, even I," is a passionate and emphatic expression.

"I, even I," whom you have offended,

"I, even I," whom you have provoked,

"I, even I," whose glorious name you have profaned,

"I, even I," whose righteous law you have violated,

"I, even I," whose holy covenant you have transgressed,

"I, even I," whose mercies you have despised,

"I, even I," whose chastisements you have slighted,

"I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions,
for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more."
Isaiah 43:25


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Big-bellied mercies

"He has given unto us exceeding great and precious
promises." 2 Peter 1:4

The promises are a precious book; every leaf drops myrrh
and mercy. The promises are golden vessels, which are
laden with the choicest jewels which heaven can afford,
or the soul can desire. All our spiritual, temporal, and
eternal good is to be found in the belly of the promises.

The promises are precious beds of spices; they are bottles
filled with those heavenly dews that will never fail—but will
uphold and nourish the soul to life eternal.

Promises are big-bellied mercies. There is nothing you
can truly call a mercy—but you will find it in the belly of
a promise.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Pardoning mercy

"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose
sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord
does not count against him." Psalm 32:1-2

A pardoned soul must be a very blessed soul.

Ah, souls! of all mercies, pardoning mercy is the most
necessary mercy. I may go to heaven without honors, and
without riches, and without the smiles of creatures; but I
can never go to heaven without pardoning mercy. A man may
be great and graceless, he may be rich and miserable, he
may be honorable and damnable.

Pardon entitles souls to all blessedness, it puts the royal
crown upon their heads. Of all mercies, pardoning mercy
is the most sweetening mercy; it is a choice jewel, and
swims to the soul in the blood of Jesus.

Pardon of sin is a voluminous mercy, a mercy which has
many, many precious mercies in its womb! It ushers in
troops of mercy. When you can number the sands of the
sea, and count the stars of heaven, then, and not until
then, shall you be able to recount the mercies which
attend pardoning mercy.

He who has this mercy cannot be miserable—and he who
lacks it cannot be happy! Get this and get all—miss this
and miss all.

Pardoning mercy is a gift conferred only upon Christ's
favorites: "Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven
you!" Mat. 9:2.

No mercy will make a man everlastingly blissful—but
pardoning mercy. He has no reason to be sad—who has
his pardon in his bosom. Nor has he has any reason to be
glad—who is upon the last step of the ladder, ready to be
turned off without his pardon.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Heaven's key!

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such
as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty
way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,
but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without
blemish or defect." 1 Peter 1:18-19

It was His life-blood, His heart-blood which He gave.
It was not the blood of His finger—but the blood
of His heart; it was precious blood. All your precious
mercies swim to you in this precious blood.
Your pardon swims to you in blood;
your peace swims to you in blood;
your reconciliation is made by blood;
your acceptance is wrought by blood,

Christ's blood is heaven's key! Christ's blood is a
preservative against the greatest evils.

It was an excellent saying of Luther, speaking of
this blood of Christ, One little drop of this blood,
is more worth than heaven and earth!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Man is not born with heavenly light in his heart

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made
His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."
2 Corinthians 4:6

God gives spiritual light, which is a mercy of mercies.
He gives that light whereby His people are enabled to
see sin to be the greatest evil, and Himself to be the
chief good. He gives that light . . .
which melts the soul,
which humbles the soul,
which warms the soul,
which quickens the soul,
which quiets the soul, and
which gladdens the soul.

Man is not born with heavenly light in his heart, as
he is born with a tongue in his mouth. Until Christ comes
and sets up a light in the soul, the soul lives in darkness,
and lies in darkness, yes, is darkness in the very abstract.
"You were once darkness—but now you are light in the
Lord." Ephesians 5:8


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Dress modestly

"I also want women to dress modestly, with decency
and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls
or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate
for women who profess to worship God." 1 Tim. 2:9-10

One says, "If women adorn themselves so as to provoke
men to lust after them, though no ill follow upon it—yet
those women shall suffer eternal damnation, because they
offered poison to others, though none would drink of it."

Clothe yourselves with the silk of piety, with the satin of
sanctity, and with the purple of modesty—and God Himself
will be a suitor to you. Let not the garments upon your
backs, speak out the vanity of your hearts.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Away with it!

A humble person overlooks his own righteousness, and
lives upon the righteousness of the Lord Jesus.

The apostle Paul overlooks his own righteousness, and lives
wholly upon the righteousness of Christ: "I desire to be found
in him," says he, "not having a righteousness of my own."

Away with it! It is dross, it is dung, it is dog's meat! It is . .
a rotten righteousness,
an imperfect righteousness,
a weak righteousness, which is of the law.

But that which is through the faith of Christ, the
righteousness which is from God by faith—that is . . .
a spotless righteousness,
a pure righteousness,
a complete righteousness,
an incomparable righteousness!

And, therefore, a humble soul overlooks his own
righteousness, and lives upon Christ's righteousness.

Remember this—all the sighing, mourning, sobbing, and
complaining in the world, does not so undeniably evidence
a man to be humble, as his overlooking his own righteousness,
and living really and purely upon the righteousness of Christ.

Men may do much, hear much, pray much, fast much, and
give much, etc., and yet be as proud as Lucifer—as you may
see in the Scribes and Pharisees.

Oh! but for a man now to trample upon his own righteousness,
and to live wholly upon the righteousness of Christ, this speaks
out a man to be humble indeed. There is nothing that the heart
of man stands more averse to than this—of discarding his own
righteousness. Man is a creature apt to warm himself with the
sparks of his own fire, though he does lie down for it in eternal
sorrow! Man is naturally prone to go about to establish his own
righteousness, and to make a savior of it.

But a humble soul disclaims his own righteousness: "All our
righteousness is as filthy rags." In Revelation 4, the twenty-four
elders throw down their crowns at the feet of Christ. By their
crowns you may understand their gifts, their excellencies, their
righteousness; they throw down these before Christ's throne,
to note to us, that they did not put confidence in them, and
that Christ was the crown of crowns and the top of all their
royalty and glory. A humble soul looks upon Christ's
righteousness as his only crown.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Dust and ashes

Gen. 18:27, "And Abraham answered and said, Behold,
I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, who am
but dust and ashes." Here you have the father of the
faithful, the greatest believer in the world, accounting
himself dust and ashes. Solemnly think that you are
dust and ashes—and be proud if you can!

Dust notes the baseness of his original; and ashes notes
his deserving to be burnt to ashes, if God should deal with
him in justice rather than in mercy.

The nearer any soul draws to God, the more humble will
that soul lie before God. None so near God as the angels,
nor any so humble before God as the angels.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Less than the least

"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints."
Ephesians 3:8

"Less than the least of all saints," is a double diminutive,
and signifies lesser than the least, if lesser might be. Here
you have the greatest apostle descending down to the
lowest step of humility. Great Paul is least of saints, last
of the apostles, and greatest of sinners.

He who is little in his own account is great in God's esteem.
Humility is both the beautifier and preserver of all other graces.
If ever there were an age since Christ was on earth, wherein it
was needful to preach, press, and print this great doctrine of
humility, of self-abasement, of soul-abasement—it is the age
wherein we live. Oh the pride, the loftiness of the professors
of this age!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The voice of mercy

God's mercies make a humble soul glad—but not proud.
A humble soul is lowest when his mercies are highest;
he is least when he is greatest; he is lowest when he
is highest; he is most poor when he is most rich.

Nothing melts like mercy,
nothing draws like mercy,
nothing humbles like mercy.

The voice of mercy is, "Remember what you once
were, and what now you are—and be humble."


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Shouldn't shepherds feed their sheep?

"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders
of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord:
Destruction is certain for you shepherds who feed yourselves
instead of your flocks. Shouldn't shepherds feed their
sheep? You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the
best animals, but you let your flocks starve. Ezekiel 34:2-3

Christ wept for souls, and bled for souls, and prayed for
souls; and shall not ministers sweat much for souls, and
work much for the good of souls?

Idleness is hateful in any—but most abominable and
intolerable in ministers.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The cowardice of the minister

"Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent
of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to
proclaim to you the whole will of God." Acts 20:26-27

The cowardice of the minister is cruelty; if he fears
the faces of men, he is a murderer of the souls of men.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Conformity to Christ in heart and life

A more full conformity to Christ in heart and life,
will make your lives a very heaven. As all good orators
endeavor to be like Demosthenes—so all good Christians
should endeavor to be like Jesus Christ; for therein lies
their glory and perfection.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


I would trample upon my mother

"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father
and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and
sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be My
disciple." Luke 14:26

Surely they do not truly love Christ—who love
anything more than Christ.

It was a notable saying of Jerome, "If my father should
hang upon me, my brethren should press round about
me, and my mother should stand before me—I would
throw down my father, I would break through my
brethren, and I would trample upon my mother
—to come to Christ."


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


He fills all, and yet remains full

"It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell."
Col. 1:19
The sun has not the less light for filling the world with light.
A fountain has not the less for filling the lesser vessels.

There is in Christ the fullness of a fountain. The overflowing
fountain pours out water abundantly, and yet remains full.
Why, the Lord Jesus is such an overflowing fountain; He fills
all, and yet remains full. Christ has the greatest worth and
wealth in Him. As the worth and value of many pieces of silver
is concentrated in one piece of gold, so all the petty excellencies
scattered abroad in the creature are united to Christ; yes, all
the whole volume of perfections which is spread through
heaven and earth, is epitomized in Him!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


A never-fading glory

"And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive
the unfading crown of glory." 1 Peter 5:4

The glory which Christ gives, is a never-fading glory.

When a man has been in heaven as many millions of
years as there are stars in heaven—his glory shall be
as fresh and as green as it was at his first entrance
into heaven! All worldly glory is like the flowers of the
field; but the glory which Christ gives, is lasting and
durable like Himself.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Our safety and security

"Though he stumbles, he will not fall, for the Lord
upholds him with His hand." Psalm 37:24

The Hebrew particle notes a continued act of God. God
has still His everlasting arms under His people, so that
they shall never totally nor finally fall. The word signifies
to sustain or uphold—as the tender mother does the little
babe. The safety and security of the child lies not so much
in the child's hanging about the mother's neck—as in the
mother's holding it fast in her arms. So our safety and
security lies not so much in our weak holding upon Christ
—but in Christ's holding of us fast in His everlasting arms!

"I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
no one can snatch them out of My hand." John 10:28


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Led by the Spirit

"Those who are led by the Spirit of God
are sons of God." Romans 8:14

The Holy Spirit leads . . .
from sin,
from wrath,
from the curse,
to God,
to Christ,
to the promises,
to glory!


_________________
CHRISTIAN

 2007/2/6 5:35Profile
hmmhmm
Member



Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
Sweden

 Re:

Choice selections from Thomas Brooks,
"Apples of Gold" 1660


A bubble, a shadow, a dream!

"My life passes more swiftly than a runner. It flees away."
Job 9:25

TIME is a precious talent which we are accountable for.

Cato and other heathen held that account must be given,
not only of our labor—but also of our leisure. At the great
day, it will appear that those who have spent their time in
mourning over sin—have done better than those who have
spent their time in dancing; and those who have spent
many days in pious humiliation—better than those who
have spent many days in idle recreations.

I have read of a devout man who, when he heard a clock
strike, he would say, "Here is one more hour past, which
I have to answer for!" Ah! as time is very precious—so
it is very short. Time is very swift; it is suddenly gone.

The ancients emblemed time with wings, as it were, not
running—but flying! Time is like the sun, which never
stands still—but is continually a-running his race. The
sun did once stand still—but time never did. Time is still
running and flying! It is a bubble, a shadow, a dream!

Sirs! if the whole earth whereupon we tread were turned
into a lump of gold—it would not be able to purchase one
minute of time! Oh! the regrettings of the damned for
misspending precious time! Oh! what would they not give
to be free, and to enjoy the means of grace one hour!
Ah! with what attention, with what intention, with what
trembling and melting of heart, with what hungering and
thirsting—would they hear the Word!

Time, says Bernard, would be a precious commodity in hell,
and the selling of it most gainful, where for one day a man
would give ten thousand worlds, if he had them.

Ah! as you love your precious immortal souls, as you would
escape hell—and come to heaven; as you would be happy in
life—and blessed in death, and glorious after death; don't
spend any more of your precious time in drinking and gabbing,
in carding, dicing, and dancing! Don't trifle away your time,
because time is a talent that God will reckon with you for.

Ah! you may reckon upon years, many years yet to come;
when possibly you have not so many hours to live! It may
be this night you will have your final summons—and then,
in what a sad case will you be! Will you not wish that you
had never been born?

Sirs! Time let slip—cannot be recalled!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


All the whole volume of perfections

"Whom do I have in heaven but You? And I desire
nothing on earth but You. My flesh and my heart
may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my
portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26

The true Christian seeks God as his choicest and chief
good. God is a perfect good, a solid good. That is a
perfect good—to which nothing can be added; that is
a solid good—from which nothing can be spared. Such
a good, God is, and therefore He is chiefly to be sought.

God is a pure and simple good; He is a light in whom
there is no darkness, a good in whom there is no evil.
The goodness of the creature is mixed, yes, that little
goodness which is in the creature is mixed with much
evil; but God is an unmixed good. He is good, He is
pure good. He is all over good. He is nothing but good.

God is an all-sufficient good. Augustine said,
"He has all—who has the Haver of all."

God has in Himself . . .
all power to defend you,
all wisdom to direct you,
all mercy to pardon you,
all grace to enrich you,
all righteousness to clothe you,
all goodness to supply you,
all happiness to crown you.

God is a satisfying good, a good that fills the heart and
quiets the soul. In Him, I have all. I have all comforts,
all delights, all contentments. As the worth and value of
many pieces of silver is to be found in one piece of gold,
so all the petty excellencies which are scattered abroad
in the creatures—are to be found in God. Yes, all the
whole volume of perfections, which is spread through
heaven and earth—is epitomized in Him. No good below
Him who is the greatest good, can satisfy the soul. A good
wife, a good child, a good name, a good estate, a good
friend—cannot satisfy the soul. These may please—but
they cannot satisfy.

Ah! that we should seek early, seek earnestly, seek
affectionately, seek diligently, seek primarily, and seek
unweariedly—this God, who is the greatest good, the
best good, the most desirable good, who is—
a suitable good,
a pure good,
a satisfying good,
a total good, and
an eternal good.

"Whom do I have in heaven but You? And I desire
nothing on earth but You. My flesh and my heart
may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my
portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Zeuxis died laughing at the picture of an old woman

As the life of man is very short, so it is very uncertain.

Now healthy—now sick! Alive this hour—and dead the next!

Death does not always give warning beforehand; sometimes
he gives the mortal blow suddenly; he comes behind with his
dart, and strikes a man at the heart, before he says, "Have I
found you, O my enemy?"

Eutychus fell down dead suddenly, Acts 20:9.

Death suddenly arrested David's sons and Job's sons.

Zeuxis died laughing at the picture of an old
woman which he drew with his own hand!

Sophocles choked to death on the seed of a grape!

Diodorus the logician died for shame that he
could not answer a witty question.

Joannes Measius, preaching upon the raising of
the woman of Nain's son from the dead, within
three hours after died himself!

Ah! death is sudden in his approaches.

Nothing more sure than death!

Nothing more uncertain than life!

Though there is but one way to come into this
world—yet there are a thousand thousand ways
to be sent out of this world!

"Prepare to meet your God!" Amos 4:12


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


A beautiful harlot sitting in her chariot

"I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with
pleasure to find out what is good." But that also proved
to be meaningless. "Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And
what does pleasure accomplish?" Ecclesiastes 2:1-2.

Solomon's question bids a challenge to all the masters
of mirth, to produce any one satisfactory fruit which it
affords, if they could.

The hearts of young men usually are much given up
to pleasure. Sensual pleasures are only seeming and
apparent pleasures—but the pains which attend them
are true and real. He who delights in sensual pleasures,
shall find his greatest pleasures become his bitterest
pains. Pleasures pass away as soon as they have
wearied out the body, and leave it as a bunch of
grapes whose juice has been pressed out.

Xerxes, being weary of all pleasures, promised rewards
to the inventors of new pleasures, which being invented,
he nevertheless remained unsatisfied.

As a bee flies from flower to flower and is not satisfied,
and as a sick man moves from one bed to another for
ease, and finds none; so men given up to sensual pleasures
go from one pleasure to another, but can find no contentment,
no satisfaction in their pleasures. "Everything is so weary
and tiresome! No matter how much we see, we are never
satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content!"
Ecclesiastes 1:8.

There is a curse of unsatisfiableness, which lies upon the
creature. Honors cannot satisfy the ambitious man, nor riches
the covetous man, nor pleasures the voluptuous man. Man
cannot take off the weariness of one pleasure, by engaging in
another pleasure.

Pleasures seem solid in their pursuit; but are mere
clouds in the enjoyment.

Pleasure is a beautiful harlot sitting in her chariot—
The four wheels are pride, gluttony, lust and foolishness.
The two horses are prosperity and abundance.
The two drivers are idleness and security.
Her attendants and followers are guilt, grief, shame,
and often death and damnation!

Many great men, and many strong men, and many
rich men, and many hopeful men, and many young
men—have come to their damnation by her; but never
any enjoyed full satisfaction and contentment in her.

Ah! Avoid this harlot—'pleasure', and come not near
the door of her house!

Augustine, before his conversion, could not live without
those pleasures which he much delighted in. But after
his nature was changed, and his heart graciously turned
to the Lord, he said, "Oh! how sweet it is—to be without
those sweet delights!"

And as for lawful pleasures, let me only say this—it is
your wisdom only to touch them, to taste them, and to
use them as you use medicines—to occasionally fortify
yourselves against maladies.

There are no pleasures so delighting, so satisfying, so
ravishing, so engaging, and so abiding—as those which
spring from union and communion with God—as those
which flow from a humble and holy walking with God.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



When Satan has sucked out all the marrow

God usually begins with such early in life—whom He has
had thoughts of love and mercy towards, from everlasting.

If, in the spring and morning of your days, you do not bring
forth fruit to God—it is a hundred to one that you never shall
bring forth fruit to God when the days of old age shall overtake
you. It is rare, very rare—that God sows and reaps in old age.
Usually God sows the seed of grace in youth—which yields
the harvest of joy in old age.

Though true repentance is never too late—yet late
repentance is seldom true. Millions are now in hell, who
have flattered themselves with the thought of repenting
in old age! Yes, what can be more just and equal, that such
should seek and not find—who might have found when young,
but would not seek; and that God should shut His ears against
their late prayers—who have stopped their ears against His
early calls?

The ancient warriors would not accept an old man into their
army, as being unfit for service; and do you think that God
will accept of your dry bones—when Satan has sucked
out all the marrow? What king will take into his service
—those who have served his enemies all their days? And
will God? will God?

The Circassians, a kind of mongrel Christians, are said to
divide their life between sin and devotion—dedicating their
youth to rapine, and their old age to repentance. If this is
your case, I would not be in your case for ten thousand worlds!

"But since you rejected Me when I called, and no one gave
heed when I stretched out My hand, since you ignored all
My advice and would not accept My rebuke—I in turn will
laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes
you—when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster
sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble
overwhelm you. Then they will call to Me but I will not answer;
they will look for Me but will not find Me. Since they hated
knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they
would not accept My advice and spurned My rebuke—they
will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit
of their schemes." Proverbs 1:24-31



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Rich in spiritual experiences

The mature Christian is rich in spiritual experiences.

Oh! the experiences that he has . . .
of the ways of God,
of the workings of God,
of the word of God,
of the love of God!

Oh! the divine stories that old Christians can tell . . .
of the power of the word,
of the sweetness of the word,
of the usefulness of the word—
as a light to lead the soul,
as a staff to support the soul,
as a spur to quicken the soul,
as an anchor to stay the soul, and
as a cordial to comfort and strengthen the soul!

Oh! the stories that he can tell concerning . . .
the love of Christ,
the blood of Christ,
the offices of Christ,
the merits of Christ,
the righteousness of Christ,
the graces of Christ, and
the influence of Christ!

Oh! the stories that an old disciple can tell . . .
of the indwellings of the Spirit,
of the operations of the Spirit,
of the teachings of the Spirit,
of the leadings of the Spirit,
of the sealings of the Spirit,
of the witnessings of the Spirit, and
of the comforts and joys of the Spirit!

Oh the stories that an old Christian can tell . . .
of the evil of sin,
of the the bitterness of sin,
of the the deceitfulness of sin,
of the prevalence of sin, and
of the the happiness of conquest over sin!

Oh! the stories that he can tell you . . .
of the snares of Satan,
of the devices of Satan,
of the temptations of Satan,
of the rage of Satan,
of the malice of Satan,
of the watchfulness of Satan, and
of the ways of triumphing over Satan!

As an old soldier can tell you of many battles,
many scars, many wounds, many losses, and
many victories—even to admiration; so an old
saint is able to tell you of many spiritual battles,
many scars, many wounds, many losses, and
many victories—even to admiration.

Experimental religion is far beyond mere notions
and impressions. A sanctified heart is better than
a silver tongue. No man so rich, so honorable, so
happy—as the old disciple, who is rich in spiritual
experiences.

"The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they
will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the
house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts
of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green." Psalm 92:12-14.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The best way to be preserved
from falling into hell

"Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into
the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and
his angels!" Matthew 25:41

The sinner's delight here is momentary;
that which torments hereafter is perpetual.

The best way to be preserved from falling
into hell, is to think often of hell. Ah!
that you would often consider . . .
the bitterness of the damned's torments,
the pitilessness of their torments,
the diversity of their torments,
the easelessness of their torments,
the remedilessness of their torments,
the eternity of their torments.

Ah! may these thoughts of hell be a means to
preserve you from lying in those everlasting flames!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


He would be double damned

"Then I beg you—send Lazarus to my father's house,
for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that
they will not also come to this place of torment."
Luke 16:27-28

Dives knew that if his brethren were damned—that
he would be double damned, because he had
largely contributed to the bringing of them to hell
by his wicked example. Therefore he desires that
they might be kept out of hell—not out of any love
or goodwill to them—but because their coming
there would have made his hell more hot, his
torments more insufferable.

The lowest, the darkest, the hottest place in hell,
will be for those who have drawn others there by
their example. "It would be better for him to be
thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around
his neck—than for him to cause one of these little
ones to sin." Luke 17:2


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The first step towards heaven

"It is not the healthy who need a physician,
but the sick." Matthew 9:12

If you would be truly godly, then you must see how
bad you are, how vile, how sinful, how wretched
you are. No man begins to be good until he sees
himself to be bad. Ah! You must see yourselves . . .
to be children of wrath,
to be enemies of God,
to be strangers from God,
to be afar off from God,
to be afar from heaven,
to be sin's servants,
to be Satan's bond-slaves.

The first step to mercy,
is to see your misery.

The first step towards heaven,
is to see yourselves near to hell.

You won't look after the physician of souls,
you won't prize the physician of souls,
you won't desire the physician of souls,
you won't fall in love with the physician of souls,
you won't resign yourselves to the physician of souls
—until you come to see your wounds, until you come
to feel your diseases, until you see the symptoms,
the plague-sores of divine wrath and displeasure
upon you. As the whole do not need the physician,
so they do not desire, they do not care for the
physician. Acquaint yourselves with your natural
and undone condition.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Christ's love-letter

The whole of Scripture is but one entire love-letter,
dispatched from the Lord Christ to His beloved spouse.

Caecilia, a Roman maiden of noble parentage, always
carried the New Testament with her, that she might
still be a-reading in Christ's love-letter, and behold
the sweet workings of His love and heart towards His
dear and precious ones.

Augustine professes that the sacred Scriptures were
his whole delight.

Jerome tells us of one Nepotianus, who, by long and
assiduous meditation on the holy Scriptures, had
made his heart the library of Jesus Christ.

Oh! the mysteries, the excellencies, the glories which
are in the Word! Ah! no book to this book; none so useful,
none so needful, none so delightful, none so necessary to
make you happy and to keep you happy as this!

Ah! the Word of the Lord is . . .
a light to guide you,
a Counselor to counsel you,
a comforter to comfort you,
a staff to support you,
a sword to defend you, and
a physician to cure you.

The Word is . . .
a mine to enrich you,
a robe to clothe you,
a crown to crown you.
bread to strengthen you,
wine to cheer you,
a honeycomb to feast you,
music to delight you,
a paradise to entertain you!

Oh! therefore, before all and above all:
search the Scripture,
study the Scripture,
dwell on the Scripture,
delight in the Scripture,
treasure up the Scripture!

There is . . .
no wisdom like Scripture wisdom,
no knowledge like Scripture knowledge,
no experience like Scripture experience,
no comforts like Scripture comforts,
no delights like Scripture delights,
no convictions like Scripture convictions,
no conversion like Scripture conversion!

I exhort you to a speedy, serious, diligent,
and constant study of the Scripture.
Ah! you do not know how soon . . .
your blind minds may be enlightened,
your hard hearts softened,
your proud spirits humbled,
your sinful natures changed,
your defiled consciences purged,
your distempered affections regulated,
and your poor souls saved . . .
by searching into the Scriptures,
by reading the Scripture, and
by pondering upon the Scripture.

Ah! if you do not in good earnest give up yourselves
to the reading,
to the studying,
to the pondering,
to the believing,
to the practicing,
to the applying, and
to the living up to the Scripture—
Satan will be too hard for you,
the world will be too hard for you,
your lusts will be too hard for you,
temptations will be too hard for you,
deceivers will be too hard for you,
and in the end you will be miserable.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


His people's scars and warts

When Caesar was painted, he put his finger upon
his scar, his wart. God puts His fingers upon all
His people's scars and warts—upon all their
weaknesses and infirmities, that nothing can be
seen but what's fair and lovely.

"You are all fair, my love; there is no spot in you."
Canticles 4:7.

The Lord will not look, He will not see, He will not
take notice of the sins He has pardoned—to call
them any more to a judicial account.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The more vile Christ made Himself for us

"Let the thoughts of a crucified Christ," says one, "be
never out of your mind, let them be food and drink
unto you, let them be your sweetness and consolation,
your honey and your desire, your reading and your
meditation."

Ah! remember this,
His wounds were deep,
His burden weighty,
His cup bitter,
His suffering painful,
His agony and torment above conception, beyond expression.

That blessed head of His—was crowned with thorns.

Those eyes of His, which were purer than the sun
—were put out by the darkness of death.

Those ears of His which now hear nothing but hallelujahs
—were filled with the blasphemies of the multitude.

That blessed beautiful face of His, which was fairer than
the sons of men—was spit on by beastly filthy wretches.

That gracious mouth and tongue, which spoke as never
any man spoke—was slandered and accused of blasphemy.

Those hands of His, which healed the sick, which gave
out pardons, which swayed a scepter in heaven—were
nailed to the cross.

Those feet, which brought the glad tidings of peace and
salvation into the world—were also nailed to the cross.

All these great and sad things, did Jesus Christ suffer for
His people! Oh! The more vile Christ made Himself
for us—the more dear He ought to be unto us.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


He gives kingdoms, crowns, thrones!

"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and
I will give to everyone according to what he has done."
Revelation 22:12

The more any man does or suffers for Christ here—the
more glory he shall have hereafter. It was the saying of
an old disciple upon his dying bed, "He is come, He is
come—with a great reward for a little work!"

Agrippa having suffered imprisonment for wishing Caius
emperor, the first thing Caius did when he came to the
throne, was to advance Agrippa to a kingdom; he gave
him also a chain of gold, as heavy as the chain of iron
which was upon him in prison.

And will not Christ richly reward all His suffering saints?
Surely He will! Christ will at last pay a Christian . . .
for every prayer he has made,
for every sermon he has heard,
for every tear he has shed,
for every morsel he has given,
for every burden he has borne,
for every battle he has fought,
for every enemy he has slain, and
for every temptation that he has overcome!

As there is no king compared to Christ—so there are
no rewards compared to Christ's rewards. His rewards
are the greatest rewards. He gives kingdoms,
crowns, thrones! He gives grace—and glory!

It is said of Araunab, renowned for his bounty, that
he had only a subject's purse—but a king's heart.
But Jesus Christ has a king's purse as well as a
king's heart—and accordingly He gives!

And as Christ's rewards are the greatest rewards, so
His rewards are the surest rewards: "He is faithful,
who has promised," 1 Thes. 5:24.

Antiochus promised often—but seldom gave. But Jesus
Christ never made any promise—but He has or will
perform it. Nay, He is often better than His word. He
gives many times more than we ask. The man sick of
the palsy asked but health—and Christ gave him health
and a pardon to boot! Solomon desired but wisdom,
and the Lord gave him wisdom, and honor, and riches,
and the favor of creatures, into the bargain. Jacob asked
Him but clothes to wear, and bread to eat—and the Lord
gave him these things, and riches, and other mercies
into the bargain.

Christ does not measure His gifts by our petitions—but
by His own riches and mercies. Gracious souls many times
receive many gifts and favors from God that they never
dreamt of, nor dared presume to beg!

The rewards which men give are like themselves—fickle
and inconstant, they are withering and fading. Xerxes
crowned his statesman in the morning—and beheaded
him in the evening of the same day! And Andronicus,
the Greek emperor, crowned his admiral in the morning,
and then took off his head in the afternoon!

As Christ's rewards are greater and surer than other
rewards—so they are more durable and lasting than
other rewards. The kingdom which He gives is a kingdom
that can never be shaken; the treasures which He gives
are incorruptible treasures; and the glory which He gives
is glory which never fades away!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The hoary head

"The hoary head is a crown of glory—if it is found
in the way of righteousness." Proverbs 16:31

A white head, accompanied with a holy heart,
makes a man truly honorable.

There are two glorious sights in the world: the one
is, a young man walking in his uprightness; and the
other is, an old man walking in ways of righteousness.

A hoary head, when coupled with an unsanctified heart,
is rather a curse than a blessing. When the head is as
white as snow, and the soul as black as hell, God usually
gives up such to the greatest scorn and contempt.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Such a friend

"There is a friend who sticks closer than
a brother." Proverbs 18:24

Such a friend is Christ. He is so a friend
to every one of His people—as if He were
a friend to none besides. Christ is . . .
an omnipotent friend;
an omniscient friend;
an omnipresent friend;
an indeficient friend;
a sovereign friend;
an immutable friend;
a watchful friend;
a loving friend;
a faithful friend;
a compassionate friend;
a close friend,
a universal friend—a friend in
all cases and in all places,
our first friend,
a constant friend—"Whom He loves,
He loves to the end." John 13:1


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


It pierces and winds itself into
every corner and chink

SIN is of a penetrating nature. It pierces and winds
itself into every corner and chink—into our thoughts,
words, and works. It will wind itself . . .
into our understandings to darken them, and
into our judgments to pervert them, and
into our wills to poison them, and
into our affections to disorder them, and
into our consciences to corrupt them, and
into our lives to debase them.

Sin will wind itself into every duty and every
mercy; it will wind itself into every one of our
enjoyments and concernments.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


He has no memory

"I will not remember your sins." Isaiah 43:25

"I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember
their sin no more." Jeremiah 31:34.

"I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and
their sins and their iniquities will I remember no
more." Hebrews 8:12.

"Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
Hebrews 10:17.

Though God has an iron memory to remember
the sins of the wicked; yet He has no memory
to remember the sins of the righteous.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


For toys and trifles

If they deserve a hanging, who feast their slaves,
and starve their wives; who make provision for their
enemies—but none for their friend; how will you
escape hanging in hell, who make provision for
everything, yes, for all your lusts—but make no
provision for your immortal souls? What shall we
think of those who sell their precious souls—for
toys and trifles which cannot profit?

Ah! do not pawn your souls, do not sell your souls,
do not exchange away your souls, do not trifle and
fool away your precious souls! They are jewels, more
worth than a thousand worlds! If they are safe—all is
safe; but if they are lost—all is lost: God lost, and
Christ lost, and heaven lost—and that forever!

Now if you are resolved to spend your strength in the
service of sin and the world; then know that no tongue
can express, no heart can conceive that trouble of mind,
that terror of soul, that horror of conscience, that fear
and amazement, that weeping and wailing, that crying
and roaring, that sighing and groaning, that cursing and
howling, that stamping and tearing, that wringing of hands
and gnashing of teeth—which shall certainly attend you,
when God shall bring you into judgment—for all your
looseness and lightness, for all your wickedness and
wantonness, for all your profaneness and baseness, for
all your neglect of God, your grieving the Comforter, your
trampling under foot the blood of a Savior, for your prizing
earth above heaven, and the pleasures of this world above
the pleasures which are at God's right hand.

Oh! how will you wish in that day when your sins shall
be charged on you—when justice shall be armed against
you—when conscience shall be gnawing within you—when
the world shall be a flaming fire about you—when the gates
of heaven shall be shut against you—and the flame of hell
ready to take hold of you—when angels and saints shall sit
in judgment upon you, and forever turn their faces from
you—when evil spirits shall be terrifying you—and Jesus
Christ forever disowning you; how will you, I say, wish
in that day—that you had never been born, or that you
might now be unborn, or that your mothers' wombs had
been your tombs! Oh, how will you then wish to be turned
into a bird, a beast, a stock, a stone, a toad, a tree! How
you will say, Oh that our immortal souls were mortal! Oh
that we were nothing! Oh that we were anything but what
we are!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Splendida peccata

It must not be forgotten that the best actions, the
best works of all unbelievers—are but splendida
peccata—splendid sins, beautiful abominations!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Hangmen

As for worldly riches, the godly have always despised them,
and preferred a contemplative life above them! The prophet
calls them "thick clay," which will sooner break the back, than
lighten the heart. Worldly riches cannot better the soul, they
cannot enrich the soul. Ah! how many threadbare souls are to
be found under silken cloaks and gowns!

How often are worldly riches like hangmen, they hide men's
faces with a covering, that they may not see their own end,
and then they hang them! And if they do not hang you—they
will shortly leave you! They will "make themselves wings and
fly away!" Proverbs 23:5


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Remember—you are but mortal!

"You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before You.
Each man's life is but a breath!" Psalm 39:5.

Ah! Can you seriously consider of the brevity of man's
life—and trifle away your time, the offers of grace, your
precious souls, and eternity? Surely you cannot; surely
you dare not—if you do but in good earnest ponder
upon the shortness of man's life.

Philip, king of Macedon, gave a pension to one, to
come to him every day at dinner, and to cry to him,
"Remember—you are but mortal!"

Ah! We have need be often put in mind of our mortality!
I have read of three that could not endure to hear that
bitter word 'death' mentioned in their ears. Surely this
age is full of such monsters.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


It was a good question

It was a good question, which the young man proposed,
"What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Luke 10:25. I know
I shall be eternally happy—or eternally miserable; eternally
blessed—or eternally cursed; eternally saved—or eternally
damned!

"Oh! what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" My cares, my
fears, my troubles—are all about eternity! No time can reach
eternity, no age can extend to eternity, no tongue can express
eternity. Eternity is that one perpetual day which shall
never have end; what shall I do, what shall I not do—that I
may be happy to all eternity? Eternity depends upon those few
hours I am to breathe in this world.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The most glittering services

The most glittering services of unregenerate
people are but dead works, because they proceed
not from a principle of spiritual life, and they lead
to death, Romans 6:23, and leave a sentence of
death upon the soul, until it is washed off by the
blood of the Lamb.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


A very sad and dangerous thing

It is a very sad and dangerous
thing to trifle and dally with . . .
God,
His word,
our own souls,
and eternity!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


So foul a hag

There are very many who lie in wait to deceive, corrupt, and
poison your minds with God-dishonoring, Christ-denying,
conscience-wasting, and soul-damning opinions, principles,
and blasphemies.

I have read of one who boasted and gloried in this, that he
had spent thirty years in corrupting and poisoning of youth.
Doubtless, many wretches, many monsters there are among
us, who make it their business, their glory, their all—to delude
and draw people to those dangerous errors and blasphemies
which lead to destruction. Error and folly, says one very well,
are the knots of Satan wherewith he ties children to the stake
to be burned in hell.

There is a truth in what the tragedian said long since, "poison
is commonly drunk out of a cup of gold." So is an error soonest
taken into the judgment and conscience, from people of the
fairest carriage and smoothest conversations.

Error is so foul a hag, that if it should come in its own
shape, a man would loathe it, and fly from it as from hell.

If Jezebel had not painted her face, she would not have
gotten so many young doating adulterers to have followed
her to their own ruin.

Ah! young men, young men—the blessing of the Lord
upon your serious and diligent perusal of this treatise
may be a happy means to preserve you from being
ensnared and deluded by those monsters "who
compass sea and land to make proselytes for hell!"


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Beyond remedy

There is nothing beyond remedy—but
the tears of the damned.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The worst and greatest tyrant in the world

"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived
and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one
another." Titus 3:3.

Sin is the worst and greatest tyrant in the world.
Other tyrants can but tyrannize over our bodies—but sin
is a tyrant which tyrannizes over both body and soul.

None have been able to tame the tyrants, the sins,
the lusts—which have been in their own bosoms.

Sin is a tyrant which has a kind of jurisdiction
in most men's hearts; it sets up . . .
the law of pride,
the law of lust,
the law of oppression,
the law of formality,
the law of hypocrisy,
the law of carnality,
the law of self-love,
the law of carnal reason,
the law of unbelief
—and strictly commands subjection to them,
and proclaims fire and sword to all who will
not bow down.

Sin is a tyrant of many thousand years' standing,
and though it has had many a wound, and received
much opposition—yet still it plays the tyrant all the
world over! Oh, the hearts that this tyrant makes
to ache! the souls that this tyrant makes to bleed!

Other tyrants have been brought down and brought
under control by a human power—but this tyrant, sin,
cannot be controlled, but by a divine power. Only the
power of Christ can bring down this tyrant, and cast
down his strongholds. Therefore, engage Christ in the
conflict, draw Him into the battle, and in the end
the conquest will be yours.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The heaviest burden in all the world!

"My sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head, and
my heart fails within me." Psalm 40:12

"For my sins have flooded over my head; they are
a burden too heavy for me to bear." Psalm 38:4.

Of all burdens—sin is the heaviest burden in all
the world!

Poor souls; sin is a burden that so troubles them and
puzzles them, that so presses and oppresses them, as
that it wrings many bitter tears from their eyes, and
many sad and grievous sighs and groans from their
hearts. "Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will
free me from this life that is dominated by sin?"
Romans 7:24


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The greatest thief

Sin is the greatest thief, the greatest robber in the world.
It robbed the angels of all their glory. It robbed Adam of
his paradise and felicity. Sin has robbed all mankind of
five precious jewels, the least of which was more worth
than heaven and earth.

1. Sin has robbed them of the holy and glorious image
of God, which would have been engraved upon them,
had Adam not fallen into sin.

2. Sin has robbed them of divine sonship—and has made
them slaves of Satan.

3. Sin has robbed them of divine friendship—and made
them enemies to God.

4. Sin has robbed them of communion and fellowship with
God—and made them strangers and aliens to Him.

5. Sin has robbed them of their glory—and made them vile
and miserable.

Oh! the health, the wealth, the honor, the friends,
the relations—which sin has robbed thousands of!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


A wolf that eats up all

Sin is a devouring, a consuming element. Sin is a
fire which devours and consumes all; it turned Sodom
and Gomorrah into ashes; it has destroyed the Chaldean,
Persian, and Grecian kingdoms, and will at last destroy
the Roman kingdom also.

Sin is a wolf that eats up all.
This wolf ate up . . .
Samson's strength,
Absalom's beauty,
Ahithophel's policy, and
Herod's glory, etc.

Sin has drowned one world already, and will at last
burn our present world up. Oh the hopes, the hearts,
the happiness, the joys, the comforts, the souls—that
this fire, sin, has consumed and destroyed!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Cut off one head

We may say of sin as some say of cats, that they
have many lives. Just so—kill sin once and it will
live again, kill it again and it will live again, etc.
Sin oftentimes is like that monster Hydra—cut
off one head and many will rise up in its place.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The occasions and allurements of sin

He who ventures upon the occasion of sin and
then prays, "Lord, lead me not into temptation,"
is like him who thrusts his finger into the fire,
and then prays that it may not be burnt.

He who will not fly from the occasions and
allurements of sin, though they may seem
ever so pleasant to the eye, or sweet to the
taste—shall find them in the end more sharp
than vinegar, more bitter than wormwood,
more deadly than poison.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The bond of iniquity

"I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness,
and in the bond of iniquity." Acts 8:23

If you would arm and fence yourselves against
sin, then look upon sin as the soul's bonds.

Iniquity is a chain, a bond. Now, bonds and
chains gall the body, and so does sin the soul.
As poor captives are held fast in their chains,
so are sinners in their sins.

For as bonds tie things together, so does
sin tie the sinner and the curse together.
Sin binds the sinner and wrath together.
Sin links the sinner and hell together.

Ah! There is no bondage like soul bondage,
no slavery like soul slavery.

Ah, friends! you should never look upon your
sins—but you should look upon them as your
bonds; yes, as the worst bonds that ever were!
All other chains are golden chains, chains of pearl,
compared to those chains of iron and brass, those
chains of lust, with which you are bound. Ah! who
can thus look upon his chains—his sins—and not
loathe them, and not labor for freedom from them?


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Fool away their souls

Christ made a very fair offer to the young man in the
Gospel, "Go and sell all that you have, and give to the poor,
and you shall have treasure in heaven," Matthew 19:21.
Here Christ offers . . .
heavenly treasures for earthly treasures,
unmixed treasures for mixed treasures,
perfect treasures for imperfect treasures,
satisfying treasures for unsatisfying treasures,
lasting treasures for fading treasures;
but the young man slips his opportunity, his season, and
goes away sorrowful, and we never read more of him.
Just so, there are many who trifle away their time, and
fool away their souls and their eternal salvation.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


A greater honor

It is a greater honor for a man to outwrestle
sin, Satan, temptation, the world, and lust—than
ever Alexander the Great could attain unto.

The Romans built Virtue's and Honor's temple close
together—to show that the way to honor was by
virtue; and, indeed, there is no crown compared to
that which godliness sets upon a man's head: all
other honor is fading and withering.


_________________
CHRISTIAN

 2007/2/6 5:37Profile
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Member



Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
Sweden

 Re: Choice selections from Thomas Brooks

Choice excerpts from Thomas Brooks' "The Transcendent
Excellency of a Believer's Portion Above All Earthly Portions"

A shadow, a ship, a bubble, a bird, a dream, an arrow

"Don't weary yourself trying to get rich. Why waste
your time? For riches can disappear as though they
had the wings of a bird!" Proverbs 23:4-5

All earthly portions are very uncertain; now they are—and
shortly they are not! Though the foolish world calls riches
substance—yet they have no solid subsistence. All earthly
portions are as transitory as a shadow, a ship, a bubble,
a bird, a dream, an arrow, a runner who passes swiftly
away. Riches were never true to any who have trusted in
them. All earthly things are vain and transitory, they are
rather phantoms and shadows—than real things themselves.
All the glory of this world is rather a matter of shadow, than
of substance; it is a body without a soul; it is a golden shell
without a kernel; it is a shadow without a substance. There
is no firmness, there is no solidness, there is no consistency,
there is no constancy in any of the creatures. All the pomp,
and state, and glory of the world is but a mere painted
pageantry, a mask, a comedy, a fantasy!

Look! As the rainbow shows itself in all its dainty colors,
and then vanishes away—so do all worldly honors, riches,
and preferments show themselves—and then vanish away!

A storm at sea, a spark of fire, an unfaithful employee,
a false oath, or a treacherous friend—may quickly bring
a man to sit with Job upon an ash-heap!

Look! As the bird flies from tree to tree—so all the riches,
honors, and glory of this world—fly from man to man!

There is nothing but vanity and uncertainty in all earthly portions.



More suitable to swine!

There is no earthly portion which can suit an immortal
soul; he is a fool upon record who said, "Soul, you have
plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life
easy; eat, drink and be merry," Luke 12:18-20. If the
man had the soul of a swine, what more could he have
said? for those things were more suitable to swine
than they were to an immortal soul!

Man's soul is a spiritual and immortal substance, it is
capable of union and communion with God; it is capable
of a choice enjoyment of God here, and of an eternal
fruition of God hereafter. Nothing can suit the soul
below God; nor can anything satisfy the soul without
God. The soul is so high and so noble a piece, that
all the riches of the east and west Indies, nor rocks
of diamonds, nor mountains of gold—can fill it, or
satisfy it, or suit it!



He who can truly say this, is a God

"The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore
I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3:24

God is every believer's portion.

Riches are not every believer's portion—but
God is every believer's portion.

Liberty and freedom are not every believer's
portion—but God is every believer's portion.

Honor and applause are not every believer's
portion—but God is every believer's portion.

Prosperity and success are not every believer's
portion—but God is every believer's portion.

God is a universal portion. God is a portion that includes
all other portions. God has Himself the good, the sweet,
the profit, the pleasure, the delight, the comfort—of all
portions. There is no good in wife, child, father, friend,
husband, health, wealth, wit, wisdom, learning, honor—

but is all found in God.

There is in God an immense fullness, an ocean of goodness,
and an overplus of all that graciousness, sweetness, and
kindness, that is to be found in all other things or creatures.
All the goodlinesses and all the glories of all the creatures
are eminently and perfectly to be enjoyed in God. The
cream, the good, the sweet, the beauty, and the glory
of every creature, and of every thing—centers in God.

God is a universal excellency. All the particular excellencies
that are scattered up and down among angels, men, and all
other creatures—are virtually and transcendently in Him. He
has them all in His own being. All creatures in heaven and
earth have only their own particular excellencies; but God
has in Himself the very quintessence of all excellencies!

The creatures have but drops of that sea, that ocean, which
is in God. They have but their parts of that power, wisdom,
goodness, righteousness, holiness, faithfulness, loveliness,
desirableness, sweetness, graciousness, beauty, and glory
—which is in God. One has this part, and another has that;
one has this particular excellency, and another has that.
But the whole of all these parts and excellencies are to
be found in God alone!

There is none but that God, who is the universal good,
who can truly say, "All power, all wisdom, all strength,
all knowledge, all goodness, all sweetness, all beauty,
all glory, all excellency, etc., dwells in Me!" He who
can truly say this, is a God; and he who cannot,
is no God.

All the excellencies that are scattered up and down in the
creatures, are united into one excellency in God; but there
is not one excellency in God that is fully scattered up and
down among all the creatures. There is a glorious union of
all excellencies in God—and only in God.

Now this God, who is such a universal good, and who has
all excellencies dwelling in Himself, says to the believer,
"I am yours, and all that I have is yours!"

Every believer has the whole God wholly; he has all
of God for his portion. God is not a believer's portion
in a limited sense, nor in a comparative sense—but
in an absolute sense.

God Himself is theirs.

He is wholly theirs.

He is only theirs.

He is always theirs.

Our property reaches to all that God is, and to
all that God has. He has all—who has the
Possessor of all.

To be able to say, "God is mine!" is more than
if I were able to say that ten thousand worlds,
yes, and as many heavens, are mine!

Oh what a spring of joy and comfort should
this be to all the saints!

"This God is our God forever and ever!" Ps. 48:14



The only happy man in the world!

"Happy are the people whose God is the Lord." Ps. 144:15

All the happiness and blessedness of the people of God
consists in this—that God is their God, and that He is
their portion, and that they are His inheritance!

Oh, the heaped up happiness of those whose God
is the Lord! The happiness of such is so great and so
glorious—as cannot be conceived, as cannot be uttered!

Nothing can make that man truly miserable, who has
God for his portion; nor can anything make that man
truly happy, who lacks God for his portion.

God is the author of all true happiness.

God is the donor of all true happiness.

God is the maintainer of all true happiness.

God is the center of all true happiness and blessedness.

Therefore, he who has Him for his God, for his portion,
is the only happy man in the world!

"Happy are the people whose God is the Lord." Ps. 144:15




The trifling portions of this world

God gives the trifling portions of this world to
the vilest and worst of men; but His gold—His Christ,
Himself—He gives only to His saints.

Briers, which are for hogs, grow upon every hedge;
but roses, which are for men, they only grow in
pleasant gardens. You know how to apply it.

Though many have counterfeit jewels, yet there are
but a few who have the true diamond; though many
have their earthly portions, yet there are but a few
who have God for their portion.



Without a rag on his back, or a penny in his purse!

"The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore
I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3:24

Lazarus having God for his portion, when he died he went
to heaven without a rag on his back, or a penny in his
purse! Whereas Dives, who did not have God for his portion
when he died—went tumbling down to hell in all his riches,
bravery, and glory. Oh! it is infinitely better to go to heaven
a beggar—than to go to hell an emperor!



What a pitiful perishing portion is that!

"Men of the world, whose portion is in this life."
Psalm 17:14

Certainly, men . . .
whose hearts are worldly,
whose minds are worldly,
whose spirits are worldly,
whose desires are worldly,
whose hopes are worldly,
whose main ends are worldly—
have only the world for their portion; and what a
pitiful perishing portion is that! Such men . . .
choose the world as their portion, and
delight in the world as their portion, and
trust to the world as their portion, and
in straits run to the world as their portion, and
take contentment and satisfaction in the world
as their portion.

Doubtless that word was a thunderbolt to Dives—
"Remember that during your life you received your
good things, just as Lazarus received bad things; but
now he is comforted here, while you are in agony!"

Wicked men have their best here, their worst is to come.

They have their comforts here, their torments are to come.

They have their joys here, their sorrows are to come.

They have their heaven here, their hell is to come.



The funeral

A Christian knows that death shall be the funeral of all . . .
his sins,
his sorrows,
his afflictions,
his temptations,
his vexations,
his oppressions,
his persecutions.

He knows that death shall be the resurrection of all . . .
his hopes,
his joys,
his delights,
his comforts,
his contentments.

He knows that death shall bring him to a more clear,
full, perfect, and constant enjoyment of God! This
makes him sweetly and triumphantly to sing it out,
"O death! where is your sting? O grave! where is
your victory?" 1 Corinthians 15:35-37



Mixed or unmixed?

"God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all."
1 John 1:5

Light expels darkness, it never mixes nor mingles with
it. God is a pure and an unmixed light, and there is
absolutely no darkness in Him.

Light is the most unmixed substance; it will never mix
with darkness—neither will God.

But all worldly portions are mixed with many . . .
troubles,
sorrows,
cares,
fears,
hazards,
dangers,
vexations,
oppositions,
crosses,
losses.

All earthly portions are mixed portions!

The goodness of all creatures is a mixed goodness.
Every bee has his sting, and every rose has his prickles.
And this mixture speaks out all earthly portions to be
"vanity and vexation of spirit," Ecclesiastes 1:13.

That great king Xerxes was accustomed to say—'You
look upon my crown and my purple robes—but if
you knew how they were lined with thorns—you
would not stoop to pick them up!' Great places are
not free from great cares. No man knows the weight
of a scepter, but he who sways it. Many a sleepless
night, many a restless day, many a sad temptation,
and many a busy shift, will their ambition cost them
—who aspire to such places of eminency. Besides,
high places are commonly very slippery; he who
stands in them may suddenly fall, and wound his
conscience, or easily fall and break his neck.



A drop in a bucket

"The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore
I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3:24

"Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are
considered as a speck of dust on the scales; He lifts up
the islands like fine dust." Isaiah 40:15

All nations are but as a drop in a bucket, that may in a
moment be wiped off with a finger—in comparison of God,
nay, they are all nothing; but that word is too high, for
they are less than nothing. Had a man as many worlds at
his command as there are men on earth, or angels in heaven,
yet they would be but as so many drops, or as so many
atoms—compared to a saint's portion!

When Alcibiades was proudly boasting of his spacious lands,
Socrates wittily rebukes his pride by bringing him a map of
the world, and wishing him to show him where his lands did
lie; his lands would hardly amount to more than the prick of
a pin. England, Scotland, and Ireland are but three little spots
compared to the vast continents which are in other parts of
the world; and what then is your palace, your lordships, your
manors, your farm, your house, your cottage—but a little speck
—but a prick of a pin—compared to God, who is so great,
so vast a portion!

Oh, sirs! if you had the understanding of all the angels in
heaven, and the tongues of all the men on earth, yet you
would not be able to conceive, express, or set forth the
greatness and largeness of a saint's portion.

Can you count the stars of heaven, or number the sands of
the sea, or stop the sun in his course, or make a new world?
Then, and not until then, will you be able to declare what a
great, what an immense portion God is. If "no eye has seen,
no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has
prepared for those who love Him", oh how much less, then,
are they able to declare the great things that God has laid
up for His people in the eternal world!



An ocean of sweetness—without one drop of bitterness

"The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore
I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3:24

God is a pure and unmixed portion.

God is an unmixed good—He has nothing in Him but goodness.

He is an ocean of sweetness—without one drop of bitterness.

He is a perfect beauty—without the least spot or shadow of deformity.

All other portions are a bittersweet; but God is a rose without prickles.

He is a good, in which there is not the least evil. God is a most clear,
bright, shining light; yes, He is all light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

There are no mixtures in God. God is . . .
all light,
all love,
all sweetness,
all goodness,
all kindness,
all graciousness.

There is . . .
no impurity,
no unloveliness,
no bitterness,
nor any darkness
at all in God.



Four things which God cannot do

"You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,
and cannot look on iniquity." Hab. 1:13

There are four things which God cannot do:

(1.) He cannot lie.

(2.) He cannot die.

(3.) He cannot deny Himself.

(4.) He cannot look with a favorable eye upon iniquity.
He is a God of such infinite purity, that He cannot look
upon iniquity but with . . .
a hateful eye,
an angry eye,
a revengeful eye, and
with a vindictive eye.



One infinite perfection

"Every man at his best state is altogether vanity."
Psalm 39:5

Man at his best state is such a great piece
of vanity, that he stands in need of a thousand
thousand things; he needs . . .
the air to breathe in,
the earth to bear him,
fire to warm him,
clothes to cover him,
a house to shelter him,
food to nourish him,
a bed to ease him,
friends to comfort him, etc.

But this is the excellency of God—that He has all
excellencies in Himself, and stands in need of nothing!

God has self-sufficiency and all-sufficiency in Himself.
Before the world was made, before angels or men had
a being, God was as blessed and as glorious in Himself
as He now is. God is such an all-sufficient and such an
excellent being, that nothing can be added to Him to
make Him more excellent.

"The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore
I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3:24

O Christians! God is an all-sufficient portion!
His power is all-sufficient to protect you;
His wisdom is all-sufficient to direct you;
His mercy is all-sufficient to pardon you;
His goodness is all-sufficient to provide for you;
His word is all-sufficient to support you and strengthen you;
His grace is all-sufficient to adorn you and enrich you;
His Spirit is all-sufficient to lead you and comfort you!
What more can you desire?

O sirs! God is one infinite perfection in Himself!
God has within Himself . . .
all good,
all glory,
all dignity,
all riches,
all treasures,
all pleasures,
all delights,
all comforts,
all contentments,
all joys,
all beatitudes!
All are eminently, transcendently, and perfectly in Him!

God is a sufficient portion . . .
to secure your souls,
to supply all your needs,
to satisfy all your desires,
to answer all your expectations,
to suppress all your enemies,
to bring you to glory!
What more can you desire?


What can be more just?

Remember this, that as Noah was drunk with his own wine,
and as Goliath was beheaded by his own sword, and as the
rose is destroyed by the canker that it breeds in itself, and
as Agrippina was killed by Nero, to whom she gave breath;
so if ever you are eternally destroyed—you will be destroyed
by yourselves! If ever you are undone, you will be undone
by yourselves! If ever you are scourged to death, it will be
by rods of your own making! And if ever the bitter cup of
damnation be put into your hands, it will be found to be of
your own preparing, mingling, and embittering!

Behold, I have set life and death, heaven and hell, glory
and misery, before you in this treatise; and therefore, if
you will needs choose . . .
death rather than life,
hell rather than heaven,
misery rather than glory,
what can be more just—than that you should perish
to all eternity? If you will not have God for your portion,
you shall be sure to have His wrath for your portion,
and hell for your portion! Every man shall only thank . . .
his own folly for his own bane,
his own sin for his own everlasting shame,
his own iniquity for his own endless misery!



An everlasting portion

"The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore
I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3:24

A Christian may be stripped of anything but his God;
he may be stripped of his estate, his friends, his relations,
his liberty, his life—but he can never be stripped of his God!
As God is a portion that none can give to a Christian but
God himself; so God is a portion that none can take from
a Christian but God himself! Therefore, as ever you would
have a sure portion, an abiding portion, a lasting portion,
yes, an everlasting portion, make sure of God for your
portion!

Nothing can make that man miserable, who has God for
his portion; nor can anything make that man happy, who
lacks God for his portion.
The more rich—the more wretched;
the more great—the more graceless;
the more honorable—the more miserable
that man will be, who has not God for his portion.




A sanctified memory

"How precious also are your thoughts unto me, O God!
how great is the sum of them! if I should count them,
they are more in number than the sand—when I awake,
I am still with You." Psalm 139:17-18

The psalmist had very frequent, high, precious, and
honorable thoughts of God; he valued nothing at so
high a rate as sweet and noble thoughts of God, and
of His power, wisdom, goodness, faithfulness, and
graciousness.

A sanctified memory is a rich cabinet full of the choicest
thoughts of God; it is that rich treasury wherein a Christian
is still laying up . . .
more and more precious thoughts of God,
more and more high and holy thoughts of God,
more and more honorable and noble thoughts of God,
more and more solemn and reverent thoughts of God,
more and more sweet and comfortable thoughts of God,
more and more tender and compassionate thoughts of God.



Make a football of Pharaoh's crown!

"By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be
called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to suffer
with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived
pleasure of sin. For he considered reproach for the sake of
the Messiah to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt,
since his attention was on the reward. By faith he left Egypt
behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for he persevered,
as one who sees Him who is invisible." Hebrews 11:24-27

When Moses had seen Him who was invisible, when he had
taken a full prospect of the eternal world, and when he had
beheld God as his portion—oh, how does he slight, scorn, and
trample upon all the honors, preferments, profits, pleasures,
delights, and contentments of Egypt—as things below him,
and as things that in no respects were worthy of him!

It is a Rabbinical fable, that as a child, Moses had Pharaoh's
crown given him to play with—and he made a football of it,
and cast it down to the ground, and kicked it about, as if it
were a sign of his future vilifying and despising of temporal
things. I shall not much trouble my head about what Moses
did when he was a child. But of this I am sure, having the
word of God for it, "By faith Moses, when he had grown up,
refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;" that is,
he did little less than make a football of Pharaoh's crown!
Witness his refusing with a holy scorn and disdain, to be called
the son of Pharaoh's daughter, and so to succeed Pharaoh in
the throne.



The world and Paul were well agreed

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ, through which the world has been
crucified to me, and I to the world." Gal. 6:14

Paul scorned, despised, and rejected the world—and
the world scorned, despised, and rejected him.

Paul cast off the world—and the world cast off him.

He disregarded the world—and the world disregarded him.

He was dead to the world—and the world was dead to him.

The world and Paul were well agreed: the world cared
not a pin for Paul—and Paul cared not a straw for the world.



An earthly-minded man

Then He told them a parable: A rich man’s land was very
productive. He thought to himself, 'What should I do, since
I don't have anywhere to store my crops? I will do this,' he
said. 'I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones and store
all my grain and my goods there. Then I'll say to myself—You
have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy;
eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.' Luke 12:16-19

An earthly-minded man has his thoughts and meditations
exercised and taken up with the world. Among all his worldly
thoughts, there is not one thought of God, of Christ, of grace,
of heaven, of holiness, of eternity, to be found. His thoughts
were so taken up with his bags, and his barns, and his buildings,
and his ease, and his belly, that he had no time to think of
providing for another world. Therefore God quickly dispatches
him out of this world, and throws him down from the highest
pinnacle of prosperity and worldly glory—into the greatest gulf
of wrath and misery!



The sweetest and the most comforting word

The knowledge of a man's property in God is the comfort
of comforts. Property makes every comfort, a pleasurable
comfort, a delightful comfort. When a man walks . . .
in a fair meadow, and can write mine upon it,
into a pleasant garden, and can write mine upon it,
into a fruitful field, and can write mine upon it,
into a stately habitation, and can write mine upon it,
into a rich treasury, and can write mine upon it—
Oh, how does it please him!
How does it delight him!
How does it joy and rejoice him!

Of all words, the word mine is the sweetest and the
most comforting word. Ah! when a man can look upon
God, and write 'Mine!' when he can look upon God, and
say, 'This God is my God forever and ever!' when he can
look upon God, and say, 'This God is my portion!' when he
can look upon God, and say with Thomas, "My Lord and
my God!"—how will all the springs of joy rise in his soul!

Oh, who can but rejoice to be owner of that God who fills
heaven and earth with His fullness? Who can but rejoice
to have Him for his portion—in having of whom, he has
all things—in having of whom he can lack nothing?

The serious thoughts of our property in God will add much
sweet to all our sweets! Yes, it will make every bitter, sweet.

When a man seriously thinks . . .
it is my God who cheers me with His presence,
it is my God who supports me with His power,
it is my God who guides me by His counsel,
it is my God who supplies me with His goodness,
it is my God who blesses all my blessings to me;
it is my God who afflicts me in love,
it is my God who has broken me in my estate,
it is my God who has sorely visited His child,
it is my God who has passed this sentence of death upon a friend,
it is my God who has thus cast me down—
how do these thoughts cheer up the spirit of a man, and
make every bitter, sweet; and every burden, light unto him.

O Christians! A clear sight of your property in God is . . .
a pearl of great price,
your paradise,
manna in a wilderness,
water out of a rock,
a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night,
Jacob's ladder,
a salve for every sore,
a cure for every disease,
a remedy against every malady,
an anchor at sea, and a shield on shore,
a star to guide you,
a staff to support you,
a sword to defend you,
a pavilion to hide you,
a fire to warm you,
a banquet to refresh you,
a city of refuge to secure you,
a cordial to cheer you!
What more could you desire?



The bridge which leads to the paradise of God

If God is a believer's portion, then never let a believer
be afraid to die, or unwilling to die. Let those be afraid
to die—who have only this world for their portion here,
and hell for their portion hereafter. But let not a saint be
afraid of death—who has the Lord of life for his portion.
One who has God for his portion should rather invite
death—than tremble at it. He should rather sweetly
welcome it—than turn his back upon it; for death to
such a one is but . . .
the way to paradise,
the way to all heavenly delights,
the way to life, immortality, and glory,
the way to everlasting springs of pleasure,
the way to a clear, full, constant, and eternal enjoyment of God.

Death is the bridge which leads to the paradise of
God. All the hurt that it can do, is to bring a believer to
a full enjoyment of God, his everlasting portion.




He awoke with everlasting flames about his ears!

Earthly riches commonly load the soul with a multitude of
cares, fears, griefs, and vexations—which mightily disturb
the soul, distract the soul; yes, often rack, torture, and
torment the soul.

Earthly riches, for the most part, do a world of mischief
and hurt to their owners. Oh the souls which earthly riches
have pierced through and through with many sorrows! Oh
the minds which earthly riches have blinded! Oh the hearts
which earthly riches have hardened! Oh the consciences
which earthly riches have benumbed! Oh the wills which
earthly riches have perverted! Oh the affections which
earthly riches have disordered! Oh the lives which earthly
riches have corrupted!

Dives was so taken up with his riches, pomp, state, and
with his royal apparel, royal attendance, and royal fare—
that he never minded heaven, nor ever dreaded hell—until
he awoke with everlasting flames about his ears!

Oh the time, the thoughts, the strength, the energy—which
rich men spend and consume upon their riches, while their
precious souls lie bleeding to death, and an eternity of
misery is hastening upon them!



Will He deny you a crust?

"He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for
us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously
give us all things?" Romans 8:32.

O Christian! all the attributes of God are so engaged
for you, that you cannot lack; and all the promises of
God are so engaged to you that you cannot lack; and
all the affections of God are so set upon you that you
cannot lack; and why then should you fear for your
necessities?

O sirs! has God given you His Son, His Spirit, His grace,
His glory, yes, Himself—and will He deny you lesser things?
Has He given you those things which are more worth than
ten thousand worlds—and will He not give you bread to eat,
and clothing to put on? Has He given you those spiritual
riches that infinitely exceed and excel all the riches, rubies,
and pearls in the world—and will He deny you a little money
in your purses to afford your necessities until you come to
heaven? Has He given you a crown—and will He deny
you a crust? Has He given you His royal robes—and will He
deny you a few rags? Has He given you a royal palace—and
will He deny you a poor cottage to shelter you from the stormy
winter and from the scorching summer? Does He feed His
enemies, and clothe His enemies, and protect His enemies,
and provide for His enemies—who are under His wrath and
curse—and will He not do as much for you, O you of little faith?

Will He do so much for those who hate Him—and will He not
do as much for those who love Him? Doubtless He will. Will He
feed the ravens, and provide for the ox and the donkey, and
clothe the grass of the field; and will He allow you, who are
His love, His joy, His delight, to starve at His feet, for lack of
necessities? Surely not!

O Christians! if God has given you Himself for a portion, then
certainly it is a sinful thing, a shameful thing, an unworthy thing
for you to be so troubled, afflicted, and grieved—because you
lack this and that worldly contentment and enjoyment—which
God bestows upon such whose wickedness has debased them
below the ox and the donkey, I mean, men of beastly spirits,
and beastly principles, and beastly practices.

As Benjamin's portion was five times greater than his brethren;
so those who have God for their portion have five thousand times
a greater portion than the wicked of the world, whose portion only
lies in perishing trifles, and in foolish vanities.




I will not, not, not, not, not

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content
with what you have, because God has said—Never will I leave
you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

There are five negatives in the Greek, "I will not, not, not,
not, not leave you nor forsake you;" to fully assure and fully
satisfy the people of God that He will never forsake them,
and that He will everlastingly stick close to them. What does
this unparalleled repetition—"I will never, never, never, never,
never," mean but this, "I will ever, ever, ever, yes and forever
and ever take care of you, and look after you, and be mindful
of you." Though they had changed . . .
their glory for contempt;
their fine raiment for sheepskins and goatskins;
their silver for brass,
their plenty for scarcity,
their fullness for emptiness,
their stately houses for holes and caves, and dens of the earth,
yet they are to be contented and satisfied with present things,
upon this very ground—that God will always cleave to them, and
that He will never turn his back upon them.

The Hebrew Christians had been stripped and plundered of all
their goods that were good for anything; and yet they must be
contented, they must sit down satisfied, with their hands upon
their mouths, though all were gone, Hebrews 10:34.

Though men cannot bring their means to their minds, yet
they must bring their minds to their means, and then they
will sit down in silence, though they have but . . .
a rag on their backs,
a penny in their purse, and
a crust in their cupboards.




Do not be overawed

"This is what the wicked are like—always carefree, they
increase in wealth. When I tried to understand all this,
it was oppressive to me—until I entered the sanctuary
of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely
You place them on slippery ground; You cast them down
to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely
swept away by terrors!" Psalm 73

When the bodies of the wicked are rotting in their graves,
and their souls are roaring in hell, none of their worldly
greatness, pomp, state, glory, gallantry, riches, houses,
or revenues, shall descend after them to administer one
drop of comfort to them! Therefore never envy their
outward prosperity or worldly glory.

"Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when
the splendor of his house increases; for he will take
nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not
descend with him." Psalm 49:16-17



The prosperity of the wicked

Oh you who have God for your portion, do not envy, do
not fret and vex, at the prosperity of the wicked; for
even though they have more than their heart can wish,
even though they live in pleasure and wallow in all carnal
and sensual delights—yet they have a sad account to give
to God, and they shall pay dearly at last for all their worldly
enjoyments! For without sound repentance on their part,
and pardoning grace on God's part, they shall forever lose
their immortal souls!

O sirs, remember that Lazarus did not fret nor fume because
Dives had robes for his rags; and delicacies for his scraps.
Lazarus very well knew that though he was without any earthly
good—yet he was not without God. He had a guard of glorious
angels to transport his holy, precious, heaven-born soul into
Abraham's bosom. He knew that it was better to beg on earth,
than to beg in hell.

O sirs, what is . . .
darkness compared to light,
earth compared to heaven,
chaff compared to wheat,
tin compared to silver,
dross compared to gold, or
pebbles compared to pearls?
No more are all earthly portions compared to that God
who is the saints' portion; and, therefore, let not the
saints, who have such a matchless portion, envy the
prosperity and felicity of wicked men.



Envy

It is the justice of envy to torment the envious.
Therefore, shun it as you would poison in your food,
or a serpent in the way. A man were better off having
a serpent tumbling up and down in his bowels, than
to have envy gnawing in his soul.

Envy is as pernicious a wickedness, as it is a
foolish and a groundless wickedness. Envy is . . .
a scourge to scourge the soul;
a serpent to sting the soul;
a poison to swell the soul;
a saw to saw the soul;
a moth that corrupts the soul,
a canker that eats up the soul.
Therefore flee from envy, as you would flee from
the most cruel and destroying adversary!

To be envious, because God is bountiful to others;
to frown, because God smiles upon others; to be
bitter, because God is sweet in his dealings with
others; and to sigh, because God multiplies favors
and blessings upon others; what is this but to turn
others' good into our own hurt, others' glory and
mercy into our own punishment and torment?



What should move God to love us?

The free favor and love of God, the good will and pleasure
of God—is the true ground and cause of God's bestowing of
Himself as a portion upon His people. There was no cause,
nor loveliness, nor desirableness in them—which could
move God to bestow Himself upon them.

God, for the glory of His own free grace and love, has bestowed
Himself as a portion upon those who have deserved to have their
portion among devils and damned spirits—in those torments
which are endless, ceaseless, and remediless.

But what should move God to love us, who were so unworthy,
so filthy, so empty, so beggarly? The question may be resolved
in these words—He loves us because He loves us. The root
of all divine love to us, lies only in the bosom of God.




The guts and garbage of the earth

God is an incomparable portion.

All the gold of Ophir, and all the silver of the Indies,
which are but the guts and garbage of the earth,
are nothing, yes, less than nothing, compared with God.
God is a portion more precious than all those things
which are esteemed most precious.

A man may desire just about anything. He may desire
that all the mountains in the world may be turned into
mountains of gold for his use; he may desire that all the
rocks in the world may be turned into the richest pearls
for his use; he may desire that all the treasure that is
buried in the sea may be brought into his treasuries;
he may desire that all the crowns and scepters of all
the princes and emperors of the world, may be piled
up at his gate. Yet all these things are not comparable
to a saint's portion, yes, they are not to be named in
that day, in which the excellency of a saint's portion
is set forth.


_________________
CHRISTIAN

 2007/2/6 6:35Profile
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Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
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 Re: Choice selections from Thomas Brooks

Choice excerpts from Thomas Brooks'
THE PRIVY KEY OF HEAVEN

(A Discourse of Closet Prayer, published
during the awful plague of London in 1665)


The devil's tennis-ball

"Warn those who are idle." 1 Thessalonians 5:14

Take heed of an idle and slothful spirit. An idle life
and a holy heart are far asunder. By doing nothing
men learn to do evil things. It is easy slipping out
of an idle life into an evil and wicked life; yes, an
idle life is of itself evil, for man was made to be a
active, not to be idle. Idleness is a mother-sin, a
breeding-sin; it is the devil's cushion—on which
he sits; and the devil's anvil—on which he frames
very great and very many sins. Look! as toads and
serpents breed most in standing waters, so sin
thrives most in idle people. Idleness is that which
provokes the Lord to forsake men's bodies, and
the devil to possess their souls.

No man has less means to preserve his body, and
more temptations to infect his soul, than an idle
person. Oh shake off sloth! The sluggish Christian
will be sleeping, or idling, or trifling; when he should
be in his closet a-praying. Sloth is a fatal sickness of
the soul; get it cured—or it will be your eternal bane.
Of all devils, it is the 'idle' devil which keeps men
most out of their closets. There is nothing that gives
the devil so much advantage against us as idleness.

Idleness is the time of temptation. An idle person is
the devil's tennis-ball, tossed by him at his pleasure.

The fowler bends his bow and spreads his net for birds
when they are roosting, not when they are in flight.
So Satan shoots his most fiery darts at men, when
they are most idle and slothful.

Slothful and idle people commonly lie so long a-bed,
and spend so much precious time between the comb
and the mirror, and in eating, drinking, sporting, and
trifling; that they can find no time for private prayer.
Certainly those who would rather go sleeping to hell,
than sweating to heaven, will never care much for prayer.
And therefore shun sloth and idleness, as you would
shun a lion in your way, or poison in your food, or
coals in your bosom!




Dirt, handsomely fashioned

"All your life you will sweat to produce food, until your
dying day. Then you will return to the ground from
which you came. For you were made from dust, and
to the dust you will return." Genesis 3:19.

Our bodies are but dirt, handsomely fashioned. We
derive our pedigree from the dirt, and are akin to clay.
One calls the body "the soul's beast."
Another calls it "worms' food".
Paul calls it "a body of vileness".




Secret meals make fat bodies

Secret duties are the most soul-enriching duties. Look! as
secret meals make fat bodies—so secret duties make
fat souls. And as secret trades brings in great earthly riches,
so secret prayers makes many rich in spiritual blessings and
in heavenly riches. Private prayer is that secret key of heaven
which unlocks all the treasures of glory to the soul. The best
riches and the sweetest mercies, God usually gives to His
people—when they are in their closets upon their knees.

All the graces of the saints are enlivened, and nourished, and
strengthened by the sweet secret influences which their souls
fall under, when they are in their closet-communion with God.
Certainly there are none so rich in gracious experiences, as
those who are most exercised in closet duties.

As the tender dew which falls in the silent night makes the
grass and herbs and flowers to flourish and grow more
abundantly than great showers of rain which fall in the day;
so secret prayer will more abundantly cause the sweet herbs
of grace and holiness to grow and flourish in the soul, than all
those more open, public, and visible duties of religion, which
too, too often, are mingled and mixed with the sun and wind
of pride and hypocrisy.




The secret kisses

When a Christian is in a wilderness, which is a very
solitary place, then God delights to speak friendly
and comfortably to him: Hosea 2:14, "Behold, I will
allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and
speak friendly or comfortably to her," or as the
Hebrew has it, "I will speak to her heart."

"When I have her alone," says God, "in a solitary
wilderness, I will speak such things to her heart,
as shall exceedingly cheer her, and comfort her,
and even make her heart leap and dance within
her." Certainly the soul usually enjoys most
communion with God in secret.

A husband imparts his mind most freely and fully
to his wife when she is alone; and so does Christ
to the believing soul. Oh . . .
the secret kisses,
the secret embraces,
the secret visits,
the secret whispers,
the secret cheerings,
the secret sealings,
the secret discoveries,
which God gives to His people when in secret prayer.




That white devil!

While the disciples were healing diseases and casting
out demons, the proud white devil was a-stirring in
their own souls; as is evident by that gentle rebuke
which our Savior gives them in Luke 10:20, "Don't
rejoice that the spirits submit to you."

There is no pious duty which a Christian performs, but
one white devil or another—one lust or another—will be
still dogging and following of him to that duty. There is
no public duty, there is no family duty, there is no private
duty which a Christian performs—but either that white
devil pride, or that white devil hypocrisy, or that white
devil vainglory; or else some one or another white devil
will follow the soul, near at heel to it.



Two infamous strumpets

"You have set our iniquities before You, our secret
sins in the light of Your presence." Psalms 90:8


"Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot
see him? Do not I fill heaven and earth?" Jer. 23:24


"The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping
watch on the wicked and the good." Proverbs 15:3

As we are never out of the reach of God's hand,
so we are never from under the view of God's eye.

God is privy to our most secret sins. His eye is as much
upon secret sins, as it is upon open sins. God has an eye
upon our inmost evils. He sees all that is done in the dark.

There is no cloud, nor curtain, nor moment of darkness,
which can stand between the eyes of God and the ways
of men. "For a man's ways are in full view of the Lord, and
He examines all his paths." Prov. 5:21. In this scripture
Solomon mainly speaks of the ways of the adulterer, which
usually are plotted with the most cunning secrecy; yet God
sees all those ways. Look! as no boldness can exempt the
adulterer from the justice of God, so no secrecy can hide
him from the eye of God. Though men labor to hide their
ways from others, and from themselves—yet it is but labor
in vain to endeavor to hide them from God. Men who labor
to hide God from themselves, can never hide themselves from
God. Paphnutius turned Thais and Ephron, two infamous
strumpets, from their harlotry, with only this argument—
"That God sees all things in the dark, when the doors
are closed, the windows shut, and the curtains drawn."

Those sins which lie closest and are most secretly lurking in
the heart, are as obvious and odious to God as those who
are most fairly written upon a man's forehead. God is all
eye; so that He sees all—even the most secret turnings
and windings of our hearts.

"Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight:
but all things are naked and opened (that is, anatomized)
to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." Hebrews 4:13

What is the curtain, or the darkest night, or the double lock,
or the secret chamber—to Him who clearly observes all things
in a perfect nakedness. God has an eye upon the most inward
intentions of the heart, and the most subtle motions of the soul.
Certainly there is not a creature, not a thought, not a thing,
but lies open to the all-seeing eye of God. The Lord knows
all our secret sinnings as exactly as our visible sinnings.

"If you cannot hide yourself from the sun, which is God's minister
of light; how impossible will it be to hide yourself from Him, whose
eyes are ten thousand times brighter than the sun!" (Ambrose)

"My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from Me,
nor is their sin concealed from My eyes." Jeremiah 16:17

This is the killing aggravation of all sin—that it is done before
the face of God; that it is committed in the royal presence of
the King of kings! The very consideration of God's omnipresence
should bravely arm us against sin! Shall not the strict, the pure,
the jealous eye of an all-seeing God—keep you from sinning in
the secret chamber, when all curtains are drawn, doors bolted,
and everyone in the house sleeping—but you and your Delilah?

Oh! what dreadful atheism is bound up in that man's heart,
who is more afraid of the eye of his father, his pastor, his
child—than he is of the eye and presence of the eternal God!
Those who wallow in secret sins, act as if there were . . .
no God to behold them,
nor conscience to accuse them,
nor judgment-day to arraign them,
nor justice to condemn them,
nor hell to torment them!

Though they may escape the eyes of men—yet
they shall never escape the judgment of God!



The cockatrice must be crushed

"Lust having conceived, brings forth sin." James 1:15

First, sin has its conception—which is its delight;
and then sin has its birth—which is its action;
and then sin has its growth—which is its custom;
and then sin has its end—which is its damnation!

The very thought of sin, if but meditated on,
will break forth into action; action into custom;
custom into habit; and then both body and soul
are irrecoverably lost to all eternity!

If the subtle Serpent can but wriggle in his tail
by a sinful thought, he will soon get in his head
by a worse action!

The cockatrice must be crushed in the egg,
else it will soon become a serpent!



It would make him pull his hat over his eyes!

All Christians have their secret sins. Secret not only
from other men—but from himself! It is but natural for
every man to err, and then to be ignorant of his errors.
Every man's sins are beyond his understanding. There
is not the best, the wisest, nor the holiest man in the
world—who can give a full and entire list of his sins.

"Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from
secret faults." Psalm 19:12

"Who can understand his errors?" This interrogation has
the force of an affirmation: "Who can?" No man! No, not
the most perfect and innocent man in the world!

O friends! who can reckon up . . .
the secret sinful imaginations,
the secret sinful inclinations,
the secret pride,
the secret blasphemies,
the secret hypocrisies,
the secret atheistical risings,
the secret murmurings,
the secret repinings,
the secret discontents,
the secret insolencies,
the secret filthinesses,
the secret unbelievings,
which God might every day charge upon his soul?

Should the best and holiest man on earth have but
his secret sins written on his forehead, it would not
only put him to a crimson blush—but it would
make him pull his hat over his eyes, or cover
his face with a double scarf!

"Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from
secret faults." Psalm 19:12



The constant cry of the rod

One lesson that you are to learn by the rod of affliction,
is to get more weaned and more mortified affections to
all worldly comforts, contentments, and enjoyments.

A man never comes to experience so much of . . .
the emptiness,
the nothingness,
the uselessness,
the vanity,
the mutability,
the impotency,
the insufficiency,
the uncertainty
of all worldly comforts and enjoyments—as when he falls
under the rod of affliction. The constant cry of the rod
is, "Be dead to the profits, pleasures, honors, and applauses
of the world! Be dead to everything below a living Jesus!"



He was still a-pointing at the toads in their bosoms

How shall we find out that particular sin, for which God
corrects us—for which He has brought the rod upon us?

Seriously observe what that sin is, which your soul would
have spared above all, which your soul is most unwilling
to leave, and bid an everlasting farewell to. Observe what
your right-hand sin, your bosom sin, your constitutional
sin, your complexion sin, is; for it is a hundred to one that
God has sent the rod for the subduing of that very sin!
Commonly by the rod, God points at the mortifying of that
particular sin to which the heart stands most strongly inclined.

It may be that sin which you cannot endure should be touched,
or reproved, or spoken against. Ah! how proud, how impatient,
how passionate, how mad are many—when you come to touch
their right-eye sin! When you come to touch them in the
tender part, oh! then they fume, and swell, and rage,
and carry on like people out of their wits; as you may see in
the scribes and pharisees, who were so angry and mad with
Christ that they sought His death; and all because He was
still a-pointing at the toads in their bosoms; namely,
pride, vainglory, hypocrisy, and self-righteousness. Oh! they
could not endure that the sharp razor of reproof should come
near their sorest part!

Certainly that Christian must be under a very bad distemper,
who smites a righteous man with reproach—for smiting him
with a reproof. Though gracious reproofs are a choice
remedy, yet few stomachs can bear them. Who is angry
with the physician for prescribing a bitter medicine? And
yet, ah! how angry are many Christians when they fall under
holy reproofs. Now, doubtless, the voice of the rod is this,
"Soul! take heed of that sin which you cannot endure
should be touched. Labor mightily with God to get that
particular sin mortified—which you cannot endure should
be reproved." It is very probable that, for the subduing
of that particular sin, the Lord has visited you with His
fatherly rod.



A whore's forehead

"You have a whore's forehead, you refuse to be
ashamed!" Jeremiah 3:3

"Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No,
they have no shame at all! They do not even know
how to blush!" Jeremiah 6:15

They had sinned away shame, instead of being ashamed of
sin. Continuance in sin had quite banished all sense of sin
and all shame for sin; so that they would not allow nature
to draw her veil of blushing before their great abominations.
How applicable these scriptures are to the present time, I
will leave the prudent reader to judge.

But what does the prophet do, now that they were as bold in
sin, and as shameless as so many harlots; now that they were
grown up to that height of sin and wickedness; now that they
were above all shame and blushing; now that they were grown
so proud, so hardened, so obstinate, so rebellious, so bent on
self-destruction—that no mercies could melt them or allure them,
nor any threatenings or judgments could in any way terrify them
or stop them? The prophet goes into a corner, he retires into the
most secret places, and there he weeps bitterly; there he weeps
as if he were resolved to drown himself in his own tears. "I will
weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly,
overflowing with tears." Jeremiah 13:17

In the times wherein we live, hell seems to be broken loose,
and men turned into incarnate devils! Soul-damning wickednesses
walk up and down the streets with a whore's forehead, without
the least check or restraint.

Ah, England, England! what pride, luxury, lasciviousness,
licentiousness, wantonness, drunkenness, cruelties, injustice,
oppressions, fornications, adulteries, falsehoods, hypocrisies,
atheisms, horrid blasphemies, and hellish impieties—are now
to be found rampant in the midst of you! Ah, England!
England! how are the Scriptures rejected, God derided,
and wickedness tolerated!

And what is the voice of all these crying abominations—but
every Christian to his closet—every Christian to his closet—and
there weep, with weeping Jeremiah, bitterly—for all these great
abominations whereby God is dishonored openly. Oh weep in
secret for their sins—who openly glory in their sins, which should
be their greatest shame. Oh blush in secret for those who are
past all blushing for their sins; for who knows, but that the
whole land may fare the better for the sakes of a few, who
are mourners in secret?




Contentedly ignorant

"For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are
higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your
thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

Take heed of curiosity, and of spending too much of
your precious time in searching into those dark, concealed,
mysterious, and hidden truths and things of God and religion,
which lie most remote from the understanding of the best and
wisest of men.

Those who are troubled with the itch of curiosity, will say
they can never be satisfied until they come to the bottom
of the most deep and profound things of God. They love
to pry into God's secrets, and to scan the mysteries of
religion—by their weak, shallow reason. Curious searchers
into the deep mysterious things of God will make all God's
depths to be shallows, rather than they will be thought not
able to fathom them by the short line of their own reason.

Oh that men would once learn to be contentedly ignorant,
where God would not have them knowing! Oh that men were
once so humble, as to account it no disparagement to them, to
acknowledge some depths in God, and in the blessed Scripture,
which their shallow reason cannot fathom!

They are only a company of fools, who attempt to know more
than God would have them. Did not Adam's tree of knowledge
make him and his posterity mere fools? He who goes to school
to his own reason, has a fool for his schoolmaster!

Oh that we were wise to admire those deep mysteries which we
cannot understand, and to adore those depths and counsels which
we cannot reach! "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and
knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His
paths beyond tracing out!" Romans 11:33

Oh let us restrain our curiosity in the things of God, and sit down
satisfied and contented to resolve many of God's actions into
some hidden causes which lie secret in the abyss of His eternal
knowledge and infallible will.

Curiosity is one of Satan's most dangerous weapons, by which
he keeps many souls out of their closets, yes, out of heaven!
When many a poor soul begins in good earnest to look towards
heaven, and to apply himself to closet duties, then Satan begins
to bestir himself, and to labor with all his might, so to busy the
poor soul with vain inquiries, and curious speculations, and
unprofitable curiosities. Ah! how well might it have been with
many a man, had he but spent one quarter of that time in
closet prayer, that he has spent in curious inquiries after
things that have not been fundamental to his happiness.

Many are more busy about reconciling difficult scriptures, than
about mortifying of unruly lusts! They set more value upon vain
speculations, than upon things that make most for edification.
Such men of abstracted conceits, are but a company of wise
fools! Had many men spent but half that time in secret prayer,
that they have spent in seeking after the philosopher's stone,
how happy might they have been! Oh how holy, how happy,
how heavenly, how humble, how wise, how knowing, might
many men have been—had they spent but half that time in
closet prayer, which they have spent in searching after those
things that are hard to be understood!

"There are secret things which belong to the Lord our God."
Deuteronomy 29:29




God's spy in the heart

Conscience is God's spy in the heart.

'Conscience,' says Philo, 'is the little tribunal of the soul.
Conscience is a thousand witnesses, for or against a man.
Conscience is a court of record, and whatever it sees it
writes down; and conscience is always as quick in writing
as the sinner can be in sinning.' The very heathen could
say that conscience was a god to every man.

Conscience, as a scribe, a register—sits in the closet of
your hearts, with pen in hand, and makes a journal of
all your secret ways and secret crimes, which are above
the cognizance of others. Conscience sets down the time
when, the place where, the manner how, and the people
with whom—such and such secret wickednesses have been
committed; and that so clear and evident, that, go where
you will, and do what you can, the characters of them shall
never be cancelled or erased out, until God appears in
judgment. Let a man sin in the most hidden seclusion
which human policy can contrive, let him take all the
ways he can to hide his sins, to cloak and cover his sin,
as Adam did—yet conscience will so play the judge, that
it will bring in the evidence, produce the law, urge the
penalty, and pass the sentence of condemnation upon him.




This perfect pattern

"He who says he abides in Him, ought himself also
to walk even as He walked." 1 John 2:6

Oh that this blessed Scripture might always lie warm
upon our hearts. A Christian's whole life should be
nothing but a visible representation of Christ. It is not
only our liberty—but our duty and glory, to follow Christ
inviolably in all His moral virtues. Other patterns are
imperfect and defective—but Christ is a perfect pattern!
Of all His children, they are the happiest, who come
nearest to this perfect pattern.

"Leaving you an example, that you should follow
in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21




God would not rub so hard

"I will turn My hand against you and will burn away
your dross completely; I will remove all your impurities."
Isaiah 1:25

Afflictions cleanse and purge away the dross, the filth,
and the scum of the Christian.

All the harm the fire did to the three children, or rather
the three champions—was to burn off their cords. Our
lusts are cords of vanity, but the fire of affliction shall
burn them up. Sharp afflictions are a fire—to purge out
our dross, and to make our graces shine; they are a
potion—to carry away ill humours; they are cold frosts
—to destroy the vermin; they are a tempestuous sea—
to purge the wine from its dregs; they are a sharp
corrosive—to eat out the dead flesh.

Afflictions are compared to washing—which takes away
the filth of the soul, as water does the filth of the body.
God would not rub so hard, were it not to fetch out
the dirt and spots that are in His people's hearts.




The shop, the farm, and the oxen

Take heed of engaging yourselves in a crowd of worldly
businesses. Many have so much to do on earth that they
have no time to look up to heaven. As much earth puts
out the fire, so much worldly business puts out the fire
of heavenly affections. Look! as the earth swallowed up
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Numbers 22:32; so much worldly
business swallows up so much precious time, that many
men have no leisure to be with God in their closets. There
is nothing that has kept men more from Christ—than the
shop, the farm, and the oxen, etc., Luke 14:16-22.



The outward dress and garb of religion

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you
have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice,
mercy and faithfulness." Matthew 23:23

Take heed of spending too much of your precious time about
circumstantials, about the minor things of religion, as "mint,
dill, and cummin," or in searching into the circumstances of
worship, or in standing stoutly for this or that ceremony, or
about inquiring what fruit it was which Adam ate in paradise,
or in inquiring after things which God in His infinite wisdom
has concealed.

It is one of Satan's great designs to hinder men in the great
and weighty duties of religion, by busying them most about
the lowest and least matters of religion. Satan is never better
pleased, than when he sees Christians puzzled and perplexed
about those things in religion, which are of no great consequence
or importance. Such as are more busied about ceremonies than
substances, about the form of godliness than the power. Such are
more taken up with the outward dress and garb of religion,
than they are with the spirit, power, and life of religion.

There cannot be a surer nor a greater character of a hypocrite,
than to make a great deal of stir about little things in religion, and
in the meantime neglect the great and main things in religion.




They pierce not, they cut not, they fly not

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man
avails much." James 5:16

Cold prayers call for a denial.

Be fervent, be warm, be importunate with God in all your
closet duties and performances. Certainly, all those usual
phrases of crying, wrestling, and striving with God, which
are scattered up and down in Scripture, strongly show
that holy importunity and sacred violence which the saints
of old have expressed in their addresses to God.

Fervency feathers the wings of prayer, and makes them
fly the swifter to heaven. An arrow, if it be drawn up but
a little way, flies not far; but if it be drawn up to the head,
it will fly far, and pierce deeply. Just so, fervent prayer
flies as high as heaven, and will certainly bring down
blessings from thence.

Look! as in a painted fire there is no heat; so in a cold
prayer there is no heat, no warmth, no omnipotency,
no devotion, no blessing. Cold prayers are like arrows
without points, as swords without edges, as birds without
wings: they pierce not, they cut not, they fly not up
to heaven. Such prayers as have no heavenly fire in them,
do always freeze before they reach as high as heaven.
But fervent prayer is very prevalent with God.



The very soul of prayer

"My son, give Me your heart." Proverbs 23:26

In all your closet-duties God looks first and most to
your hearts. It is not a piece, it is not a corner of the
heart, which will satisfy the Maker of the heart. The
very soul of prayer lies in the pouring out of the soul
before God. The heart is a treasure, a bed of spices,
a royal throne wherein He delights. God looks not at:
the elegance of your prayers, to see how refined they are; nor at
the geometry of your prayers, to see how long they are; nor at
the arithmetic of your prayers, to see how many they are; nor at
the music of your prayers; nor at
the sweetness of your voice; nor at
the logic of your prayers;
but at the sincerity of your prayers, how hearty they are.

The reason why so many are so unsuccessful in their
closet-duties and services, is because there is no more
of their hearts in them. No man can make sure work or
happy work in prayer but he who makes heart work on
it. When a man's heart is in his prayers, then great and
sweet will be his returns from heaven.

There is no prayer acknowledged, approved, accepted,
recorded, or rewarded by God—but that wherein the
heart is sincere.

Prayer without the heart is but as sounding brass or
a tinkling cymbal. Prayer is only lovely and weighty,
as the heart is in it, and no otherwise. It is . . .
not the lifting up of the voice,
nor the wringing of the hands,
nor the beating of the breasts,
nor an affected tone,
nor studied motions,
nor seraphical expressions;
but the stirrings of the heart, which God looks at in prayer.
God hears no more than the heart speaks. If the heart be
dumb, God will certainly be deaf. No prayer is accepted by
God—but that which is the travail of the heart.



A dumb devil

Among all God's children, there is not one possessed
with a dumb devil. Prayerless people are . . .
forsaken of God,
blinded by Satan,
hardened in sin,
and every breath they draw, are liable to all
temporal, spiritual, and eternal judgments.

Prayer is that part of natural worship due to
God, which none will deny but stark atheists.

I have read of a man who, being sick, and afraid of
death, fell to praying. And to move God to hear him,
told him "that he had never troubled Him with his
prayers before; and if He would but hear him at that
time, he would never trouble Him again." This world is
full of such profane, blasphemous, atheistical wretches.

Certainly prayerless people are graceless people.




God's eye

"Lord! all my desire is before You; and my groaning
is not hidden from You." Psalm 38:9

We cannot get into any blind hole, or dark corner, or
secret place—but the Lord has an eye there, the Lord
will keep us company there. There is not the darkest,
dirtiest hole in the world into which a saint creeps—but
God has a favorable eye there. God never lacks . . .
an eye to see our secret tears,
nor an ear to hear our secret cries and groans,
nor a heart to grant our secret requests.

We cannot sigh out a prayer in secret—but He sees us;
we cannot lift up our eyes to Him at midnight—but He
observes us. The eye which God has upon His people
when they are in secret, is such a special tender eye of
love—as opens His ear, His heart, and His hand, for their
good. "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and
His ears are attentive to their prayer." 1 Peter 3:12

God's eye is upon . . .
every secret sigh, and
every secret groan, and
every secret tear, and
every secret desire, and
every secret pant of love,
and every secret breathing of soul,
and every secret melting and working of heart.

As a Christian is never out of the reach of God's
hand, so he is never out of the view of God's eye.



Tears have tongues

"The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping."
Psalm 6:8

Tears are not mutes. Tears have a voice. Tears
have tongues. Tears can speak. There is no
prayer compared to those which secret tears
make in the ears of God. Tears make the most
forcible entry into the ears of the great God of
heaven.

Penitent tears are undeniable ambassadors which
never return from the throne of grace without a
gracious answer. Tears are a kind of silent prayers,
which, though they say nothing—yet they obtain
pardon; and though they plead not a man's cause
—yet they obtain mercy at the hands of God.



Uncovered and laid bare

Ah! how many Christians are there who would blush
and be ashamed to walk in the streets, should but
their infirmities, enormities, and wickednesses be
written on their foreheads, or known to others!

There are many sins which they have fallen into
since conversion, which, should they be known to
the world, would make themselves to stench in
the nostrils of all who know them.

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.
Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the
eyes of Him to whom we must give account." Hebrews 4:13




An atheist at home

He who puts on a religious demeanor abroad to gain
himself a great name among men, and at the same
time lives like an atheist at home, shall at the last
be unmasked by God, and presented before all the
world for a most detestable hypocrite.




No cause to murmur or complain

One lesson that you are to learn under the afflictive rod
of God, is to humbly to kiss the rod, and patiently and
quietly to lie under the rod, until the Lord shall either
give you a gracious, or a glorious, deliverance from it.

What is the rod—compared to the horrors of conscience,
and to the flames of hell, or to an everlasting separation
from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His
power? Therefore put your mouths in the dust, and be
silent before the Lord!

He who has deserved a hanging—if he escapes with
a whipping, has no cause to murmur or complain.

We who have deserved a damning—have little cause
to murmur or complain of a whipping, yes, though it
should be with a pestilential rod.




Then you will kiss it!

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline." Revelation 3:19

Christian! Always look on the rod of affliction, in conjunction
with the hand which holds it. Thus Jesus did, "Shall I not
drink the cup that My Father has given Me to drink?"
Though the cup was a bitter cup, a bloody cup—yet seeing
it was put into His hand by His Father, He drinks it off, with
a "Father, I thank You."

The rod in itself brings nothing but pain to the child; but the
rod in the hand of a father brings nothing but love, kindness,
and sweetness. You should never look upon the rod of affliction,
but as it is in the hand of your heavenly Father—and then you
will kiss it, rather than murmur under it!




He draws out the core

Afflictions are the Lord's drawing-plasters, by which
He draws out the core of pride, earthliness, self-love,
covetousness, etc. Pride was one of man's first sins,
and is still the root and source of all other sins. Now,
to prevent it, God many times chastens man with pain,
yes, with strong pain, upon his bed: Job 34:31-32,
"I have endured my punishment; I will no longer act
wickedly. Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done
wrong, I won't do it again." The burnt child dreads the
fire. Sin is but a bitter sweet; it is an evil worse than
hell itself. Look, as salt brine preserves things from
putrefying; so sanctified rods, sanctified afflictions,
preserves and keeps the people of God from sinning.



His school of instruction

"The rod is for the back of the one who lacks sense."
Proverbs 10:13

The rod is to make the child sensible of his folly and
vanity. So it is here: God takes up the rod, but it is
to make His people sensible of their folly and vanity;
it is to make them look up to Him, and to look into
conscience, and to look out to their lives. God's
house of correction is His school of instruction:
His lashes are our lessons,
His scourges are our schoolmasters,
His chastisements are our corrections.

Hence both the Hebrews and Greeks express
chastening and teaching by one and the same
word, because teaching is the true end of
chastening.

Afflictions are a Christian's looking-glass, by
which he may see how to dress his own soul,
and to mend whatever is amiss.



All the afflictions, troubles, and trials

"Heed the rod and the One who appointed it." Micah 6:9

It is God who appoints the rod, and ordains it to do what
service He pleases. It is God who has an active hand, in
all the afflictions which come upon His people.

"Heed the rod," that is, "believe the report the rod makes."

The rod reports, that of all evils sin is the greatest evil; and
that of all bitters, sin is the greatest bitter. Oh believe the
report of the rod! The rod reports, that God is angry, that
God is displeased. Oh believe its report! The rod reports the
creature to be mere vanity and vexation of spirit. Oh
believe its report! The rod reports our nearest and dearest
comforts, contentments, and enjoyments to be mixed,
mutable, and momentary. Oh believe its report!
The rod reports . . .
sin to be vile, and
the world to be vain, and
heaven to be glorious, and
Christ to be most precious!
Oh believe its report!

All the afflictions, troubles, and trials which God lays
upon His people, are His rod. It is their highest and greatest
concernment to hear the voice of the rod, and to learn
those lessons which God would have them learn by the rod.



He must deny himself

"If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny
himself, take up his cross, and follow Me." Mark 8:34

He must deny sinful self, which takes in a man's lusts.

He must deny natural self, which takes in a man's
arts, parts, gifts, and reason.

He must deny religious self, which takes in all a man's
religious duties and services.

He must deny moral self, which includes a freedom
from gross, heinous, enormous wickednesses; and a
fair, sweet, harmless behavior towards men.

He must deny relative self, which takes in our nearest
and dearest relations in the flesh; as wife, children, father,
mother, brothers, sisters, etc.




One sigh and groan

Some may think that they lack the ability to pour
out their souls before the Lord in secret. I answer,
You cannot pray; but can you not sigh? can you not
groan? There may be the Spirit of adoption in sighs
and groans, as well as in vocal prayer. The force, the
virtue, the efficacy, the excellency of prayer does not
consist in the number and flourish of words;but in the
supernatural motions of the Spirit—in sighs, and groans,
and pangs, and strong affections of heart, which are
unspeakable and unutterable. Certainly, the very soul
of prayer lies in the pouring out of a man's soul before
the Lord, though it be but in sighs, groans, and tears.
One sigh and groan from a broken heart, is more
pleasing to God, than all human eloquence.

Remember, that God is no critical observer of the poor
expressions which fall from His poor children, when they
are in prayer. He is such a Father as is very well pleased
with the broken expressions and flawed stammerings of
His people when they pray. It is not a flood of words, nor
studied notions, nor seraphical expressions, nor elegant
phrases in prayer—which takes the ear, or which delights
the heart of God, or which opens the gates of glory, or
which brings down the best of blessings upon the soul;
but uprightness, holiness, heavenliness, spiritualness, and
brokenness of heart. These are the things which make a
conquest upon God, and bring most benefit to the soul.




My times

"My times are in Your hands," says David, Psalm 31:15.

Not only the times of his sorrows—but also the times of his comforts;
not only the times of his miseries—but also the times of his mercies;
not only the times of his dangers—but also the times of his duties,
were in the hands of God. It is observable the Psalmist does not say
time—but times, in the plural, to show that every point and period
of time depends upon the hand of God.




A work of absolute necessity

Private prayer is a work of absolute necessity,
for the bringing of the heart into a holy frame,
for the keeping of the heart in a holy frame,
for the discovery of sin,
for the preventing of sin,
for the embittering of sin,
for the weakening of sin,
for the purging away of sin,
for a full exercise of grace,
for an eminent increase of grace
to arm us against temptations, afflictions, and sufferings,
to fit us for all other duties and services.




Pray without ceasing

"Persistent in prayer." Romans 12:12

The Greek is a metaphor taken from hunting dogs, which
never give up the chase until they have got their prey.
A Christian must not only pray—but hold on in prayer,
until he has got the heavenly prize.

"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17

We are always needing; and therefore we had need
be praying always.

The world is always alluring; and therefore we had
need be always a-praying.

Satan is always a-tempting; and therefore we had
need be always a-praying.

We are always a-sinning; and therefore we had
need be always a-praying.

We are in dangers always; and therefore we had
need be praying always.

We are dying always; and therefore we had need be
praying always. Man's whole life is but a lingering death;
man no sooner begins to live—but he begins to die. Dying
Christians had need be praying Christians, and those who
are always a-dying had need be always a-praying.





My Friend

Christ is a universal Friend.

He is an omnipotent Friend, an almighty Friend.

He is an omniscient Friend.

He is an omnipresent Friend.

He is an unfailing Friend.

He is an independent Friend.

He is an unchangeable Friend.

He is a watchful Friend.

He is a tender and compassionate Friend.

He is a close and faithful Friend.

"His mouth is most sweet: yes, He is altogether lovely.
This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend." Song 5:16



He overcomes the Almighty!

"Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because
you have struggled with God and with men and have
overcome." Genesis 32:28

Oh the power of private prayer! It has a kind of omnipotence in
it; it takes God captive; it holds Him as a prisoner; it binds the
hands of the Almighty! Yes, it will wrench a mercy, a blessing,
out of the hand of heaven itself! Oh the power of that prayer
which makes a man victorious over the greatest, the highest
power! Jacob, though a man, a single man, a traveling man,
a tired man, yes, though a worm, which is easily crushed and
trodden under foot—yet in private prayer he is so potent, that
he overcomes the omnipotent God! He is so mighty, that he
overcomes the Almighty!





He bruises His spices

"God disciplines us for our good, that we may share
in His holiness." Hebrews 12:10

Grace always thrives most when saints are under the rod.

When Christians are under the rod, then their graces do
not only bud, but blossom and bring forth fruit, as Aaron's
rod did. The snuffing of the candle makes it burn the brighter.
God beats and bruises His children, to make them burn the
brighter; He bruises His spices, to make them send forth
the greater aromatic fragrance.

The Jews were always best when they were in an
afflicted condition.

Stars shine brightest in the darkest nights.

Vines grow the better for bleeding.

Gold shines the better for scouring.

Juniper smells sweetest when in the fire.

By afflictions, God many times revives, quickens, and
recovers the decayed graces of His people. By afflictions,
God many times inflames that love which is cold; and He
strengthens that faith which is failing; and he puts life into
those hopes which are languishing; and new spirits into
those joys and comforts which are withering and dying.
Sharp afflictions recover and revive our decayed graces.

The smarting rod abases the loveliness of the world,
which entices us; it abates the lustiness of the flesh
within, which incites us to vanity and folly.



She hugs her young ones to death

"Withhold not correction from the child, for if you beat
him with the rod, he shall not die. You shall beat him
with the rod, and shall deliver his soul from hell."
Proverbs 23:13-14

God uses the rod to prevent further folly, mischief, and
misery. It is said of the ape, that she hugs her young
ones to death; so many fond parents, by not correcting
their children, they come to slay their children. The best
way to prevent their being scourged with scorpions in hell,
is to chastise them with the rod here.

So God takes up the rod; He afflicts and chastises His
dearest children, but it is to prevent soul-mischief and
misery; it is to prevent pride, self-love, worldliness, etc.

The rod is to purge out that vanity and folly that is bound
up in the heart of the child. Proverbs 22:15, "Foolishness is
bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction
shall drive it far from him." The rod is an ordinance, as
well as the word; and such parents who use it as an
ordinance—praying and weeping over it—shall find it
effectual for the chasing away of evil out of their children's
heart. Eli and David were two very choice men, and yet, by
their fondness on one hand, and neglect of this ordinance
on the other hand, they ruined their sons; and whether
they did not undo their souls, I shall not at this time
stand to inquire.

When Moses cast away his rod, it became a serpent; and
so, when parents cast away the rod of correction, it is ten
to one but that their children become the brood of the
serpent: Proverbs 13:24, "He who spares his rod hates his
son; but he who loves him chastens him often." Not only
the care, but also the cure of the child—so far as the rod
will reach—lies upon the hands of the parent.




The promises of God

The promises of God are as so many rich mines, they are as so many choice flowers of paradise, they are the food, life, and strength of the soul. They are as a staff to support the soul, and they are as jewelry to adorn the soul, and nourishment to enrich the soul; and therefore poor sinners should bring them forth, and lay them before the Lord, and urge God with them.

The promises of God shall certainly be performed, 2 Corinthians 1:20, they being all made in and through Christ. They are made first to Christ, and then to all who have union and communion with Him.

Sirtorius, says Plutarch, paid what he promised with mere fair words; but God pays with performance. Men many times say and unsay; they often eat their words as soon as they have spoken them; but God will never eat the words that are gone out of His mouth: Isaiah 46:10-11, "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure: yes, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass: I have purposed it, I will also do it."

The promises all issue from God's free grace, special love, and divine goodness, Hosea 14:4.

The promises of God are all as unchangeable as He is, who made them, Jeremiah 31:3.

The promises of God are all bottomed and founded upon the truth, faithfulness, and all-sufficiency of God, Malachi 3:6.

The promises of God are most sure and certain evidences of divine favor, and a declaration of the heart and goodwill of God to His poor people, Hebrews 6:12; Numbers 23:19.

The promises of God are the price of Christ's blood.

Now how should all these things encourage poor souls to be still a-pressing of God with His promises.



The dumb sinner

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8

The threefold promise annexed to the threefold precept, should encourage all Christians to be instant, fervent, and constant in prayer.

Though prayer is not the ground, nor the cause of obtaining favors and mercies from God—yet it is the means, it is the silver channel, it is the golden pipe, through which the Lord is pleased to convey to His people all temporal, spiritual, and eternal favors. God promises to give them the cream, the choicest, the sweetest of all spiritual, eternal, and temporal blessings; but mark, Ezekiel 36:37, "I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." Though God is very prompt and ready to bestow upon His people the best and the greatest of blessings—yet He will by prayer be sought unto, for the actual enjoyment of them. He who has no heart to pray for a mercy, he has no ground to believe that God will ever give him the mercy. There is no receiving without asking, no finding without seeking, no opening without knocking. The proud beggar gets nothing from men, and the dumb sinner gets nothing of God. As there is no mercy too great for God to give, so there is no mercy too little for us to crave. Certainly that man has little worth in him who thinks any mercy not worth a seeking.



Failings and infirmities

God will never cast off His people for their failings and infirmities.

First, It is the glory of a man to pass by infirmities, Proverbs 19:11. Oh how much more, then, must it be the glory of God to pass by the infirmities of His people!

Secondly, Saints are children; and what father will cast off his children for their infirmities and weaknesses? Psalm 103:13-14; 1 Corinthians 12:27.

Thirdly, Saints are members of Christ's body; and what man will cut off a limb because there is a scab or wart upon it?

Fourthly, Saints are Christ's purchase; they are His possession, His inheritance. [Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; 1 Peter 1:18-20] Now what man is there that will cast away, or cast off his purchase, his possession, his inheritance, because of thorns, bushes, or briars that grow upon it?

Fifthly, Saints are in a marriage-covenant with God, Hosea 2:19-20. Now what husband is there that will cast off his wife for her failings and infirmities? So long as a man is in covenant with God, his infirmities can't cut him off from God's mercy and grace. Now it is certain a man may have very many infirmities upon him, and yet not break his covenant with God.

In a word, if God should cast off His people for their failings and infirmities, then none of the sons or daughters of Adam could be saved: "For there is not a just man upon the earth that does good and sins not," Ecclesiastes 7:20.




Oh remember

Oh remember that at such a time you went into your prayer closets with hard hearts, and dry eyes; but before you came out of your closets, ah, how sweetly, how graciously, how powerfully were you melted, and humbled before the Lord!

Oh remember how that at another time you went into your closets clouded and benighted—but came out of your closets with as glorious a shine of God upon your souls, as Moses had upon his face, when he came down from the mount from communing with God!

Oh remember how often you have gone into your closets with cold, frozen spirits—but before you came out of your closets, what a fire has God kindled in your souls, what a spirit of burning have you found in your hearts!

Oh remember how often you have gone into your closets straitened and shut up—but before you have come out, how have your souls been aflame!

Oh remember what power God has given you against corruptions in your closets, and what strength God has given you against temptations in your closets!

Oh remember the sweet discoveries of divine love that you have had when in your closets! Oh remember the secret visits, the secret kisses, the secret embraces, the secret whispers, the secret love-tokens, that Christ has given you in your closets!

Oh seriously ponder upon these things, and then closet duties will be sweet unto you!




A secret virtue and power

When a man finds such a secret virtue and power running through his closet-duties—as wounds and weakens his beloved corruption, as breaks the strength and the power of his special sin, as sets his heart more fully, resolutely, and constantly against his darling lust, as stirs up a greater rage, and a more bitter hatred, and a more fierce indignation against the toad in the bosom—then certainly he has had communion with God.

Isaiah 2:20, "In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they have made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats." In the day wherein God should take these poor hearts into communion with Himself, their hearts should be filled with such rage and indignation against their most delectable and desirable idols, that they should take not only those made of trees and stones—but even their most precious and costly idols, those who were made of silver and gold, and cast them to the moles and to the bats, to note their horrible hatred and indignation against them. Idolatry was the darling-sin of the Jews; their hearts were so exceedingly affected and delighted with their idols, that they did not care what they spent upon them: Isaiah 46:6, "They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith, and he makes it a God: they fall down, yes, they worship it." The word here used for lavish, in the Hebrew, signifies properly to waste, or spend riotously; they set so light by their treasure, that they cared not what they spent upon their idols. God gave them gold and silver as pledges of His favor and bounty, and they lavish it out upon their idols, as if God had hired them to be wicked.

Oh, but when God should come and take these poor wretches into a close and near communion with Himself, then you shall find their wrath and rage to rise against their idols, as you may see in that Isaiah 30:19-21. Their communion with God is more than hinted; but mark, Isaiah 30:22, "Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them—Away with you!" None defile, deface, detest, and disgrace their idols like those who are taken into communion with God. Fellowship with God will make a man cast away, as a menstruous cloth, those very idols, in which he has most delighted, and with which he has been most pleased and enamored.

Idols were Ephraim's bosom-sin. Hosea 4:17, "Ephraim is joined," or glued, as the Hebrew has it, "to idols; let him alone." Oh! but when you find Ephraim taken into close communion with God, as you do in that Hosea 14:4-7, then you shall find another spirit upon him: Hosea 14:8, "Ephraim shall say, what have I to do any more with idols?" I have had too much to do with them already, I will never have to do with them any more. Oh! how does my soul detest and abhor them, and rise up against them. Oh! how do I now more loathe and abominate them, than ever I have formerly loved them, or delighted in them. After the return of the Jews out of Babylon, they so hated and abhorred idols, that in the time of the Romans they chose rather to die, than allow the eagle, which was the imperial insignia, to be set up in their temple.

Though closet-duties are weak in themselves—yet when a man has communion with God in them, then they prove exceedingly powerful to the casting down of strongholds, and vain imaginations, and every high thing and thought, which exalts itself against the knowledge of God, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. When a man comes out of his closet with a heart more fully and steadfastly set against every known sin—but especially against his bosom-sin, his darling-sin, his Delilah which he played and sported himself most with, and which he has hugged with pleasure and delight in his bosom—then certainly he has had private communion with God.

After Moses had enjoyed forty days' private communion with God in the mount, how did his heart rise, and his anger wax hot against the molten calf that his people had made! Exodus 32:19-20, "When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it." Moses had never more intimate fellowship with God than now, and he never exhibited so much holy zeal, anger, and indignation against sin as now.

When a man comes off from the mount of closet-duties with a greater hatred, anger, wrath, and indignation against bosom-sins, darling-sins, complexion-sins, which were once as dear to him as right hands or right eyes, or as Delilah was to Samson, or Herodias to Herod, or Isaac to Abraham, or Joseph to Jacob, then certainly he has had communion with God in those duties. When a man finds his beloved sins, his Delilahs, which, like the prince of devils, command all other sins, to fall before his closet-duties, as Dagon fell before the ark, or as Goliath fell before David—then assuredly he has had fellowship with God in them.

Pliny writes of some families which had secret marks on their bodies, peculiar to those of that line. Certainly, there are no people—but have some sin or sins; some secret marks on their souls, that may in a peculiar way be called theirs. Now when in private duties they find the bent of their hearts, and the purposes, resolutions, and inclinations of their souls more raised, inflamed, and set against these, they may safely and comfortably conclude, that they have had communion with God in them.

O sirs! there is no no bosom-sin so sweet or profitable, that is worth burning in hell for, or worth shutting out of heaven for; and therefore, in all your private duties and services, labor after that communion with God in them, that may break the neck and heart of your most bosom-sins. When Darius fled before Alexander, that he might run the faster out of danger, he threw away his massive crown from his head. As ever you would be safe from eternal danger, throw away your golden and your silver idols, throw away your bosom-sins, your darling lusts.




Man's whole life is but a lingering death; man
no sooner begins to live—but he begins to die.



Secret prayer sweetly inclines and strongly disposes
a Christian to all other pious duties and services.



Private prayer is a golden key to unlock the mysteries
of the word unto us. The knowledge of many choice and
blessed truths, are but the returns of private prayer. The
Word dwells most richly in their hearts—who are most in
pouring out their hearts before God in their closets.
Certainly that Christian, who in private prayer lies most
at the feet of Jesus Christ—he shall understand most of
the mind of Christ in the gospel, and he shall have most
of heaven and the things of his own peace brought down
into his heart.




There is no service wherein Christians have such a near,
familiar, and friendly fellowship with God as in private
prayer; neither is there any service wherein God does
more delight to make known His truth and faithfulness,
His grace and goodness, His mercy and bounty, His
beauty and glory to poor souls, than in secret prayer.
Private prayer crowns God with the honor and glory
which are due to His name; and God crowns private
prayer with a revelation of those blessed weighty truths
to his servants, that are a sealed book to others.



One hour's communion with God in one's closet,
is to be preferred before the greatest and best
company in the world.


A man whose soul is conversant with God in a closet,
in a hole, behind the door, or in a desert, a den, a
dungeon—shall find more real pleasure, more choice
delight, and more full contentment, than in the palace
of a prince.



Our heavenly Father hears and observes our private
prayers, and bottles up all our secret tears. He is not
a stranger to our closet desires, wrestlings, breathings,
hungerings, and thirstings. He loves to lade the wings
of private prayer with the sweetest, choicest, and chief
blessings. Saints often meet with the best wine and with
the strongest cordials—when they are all alone with God.



All tears will never be totally wiped from our eyes,
until all sin is totally taken out of our hearts.



The very soul of prayer lies in the pouring out of a man's soul into the bosom of God. Prayer is nothing but the breathing out before the Lord, that which was first breathed into us by the Spirit of the Lord. Prayer is nothing but a choice, a free, a sweet, and familiar fellowship of the soul with God.



Some saints have never had so much of heaven brought down into their hearts, as when they have been with God in private prayer. Oh the secret manifestations of divine love, the secret kisses, the secret embraces, the secret influences, the secret communion with God, that many a precious Christian has had in the most solitary places.









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CHRISTIAN

 2007/2/6 7:58Profile
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 Re: Choice selections from Thomas Brooks

Choice selections from Thomas Brooks,
"Heaven on Earth" 1667


The trifles which God gives

The emperor Augustus, in his great feasts, gave
trifles to some—but gold to his favorites.

Just so—honors, riches and worldly pleasures are
the trifles which God gives to the worst of men.

God gives His gold—His special love and grace—only
to His people.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A transforming knowledge

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's
glory, are being transformed into His likeness with
ever-increasing glory." 2 Corinthians 3:18

Saving knowledge is a transforming knowledge, which
metamorphoses the soul. Divine light beating on the heart,
warms it and betters it; transforms and changes it; moulds
and fashions it into the very likeness of Christ!

The naturalists observe that the pearl, by the often
beating of the sunbeams upon it, becomes radiant.
Just so, the often beating and shining of the Sun of
righteousness, with His divine beams, upon the saints,
causes them to glisten and shine in . . .
holiness,
righteousness,
heavenly-mindedness,
humbleness, etc.
Divine light casts a general beauty and glory upon
the soul; it transforms a man more and more into
the glorious image of Christ!

Look! as the child receives his features from his parents;
just so, the beams of divine light and knowledge shining
into the soul, stamp the living image of Christ upon the soul.

Mere notional knowledge may make a man excellent at
praising the glorious and worthy acts and virtues of Christ;
but that transforming knowledge which accompanies
salvation, will work a man divinely to imitate the glorious
acts and virtues of Christ.

When a beam of divine light shined from heaven upon Paul, ah,
how did it change and metamorphose him! How did it alter and
transform him! It made his rebellious soul, obedient: "Lord, what
will You have me to do?" Acts 9:6. Divine light lays upon a man
a happy necessity of obeying God. Divine light makes . . .
this lion—into a lamb,
this persecutor—into a preacher,
this destroyer of the saints—into a strengthener of the saints,
this tormenter—into a comforter,
this monster—into an angel,
this notorious blasphemer—into a very great admirer of God,
and the actings of His free grace.

Just so, when a spark of this heavenly fire fell upon the heart of
Mary Magdalene, oh what a change, what a transformation does
it make in her! Now she loves much, and believes much, and
repents much, and weeps much. Oh what a change did divine
light make in Zacchaeus, and in the jailor!

Truly, if your light, your Biblical knowledge does not better you,
if it does not change and transform you, if, under all your light
and knowledge you remain as vile and base as ever; your light,
your knowledge, your notions, your speculations, will be like fire!
That knowledge which is not a transforming knowledge—will
torment a man at last more than all the devils in hell; it will be . . .
a sword to cut him,
a rod to lash him,
a serpent to bite him,
a scorpion to sting him, and
a vulture, a worm eternally gnawing him!

God at last will own no knowledge, but that which leaves
the stamp of Christ, the print of Christ, the image of Christ
upon the heart; but that which changes and transforms the
soul, which makes a man a new man, another man than
what he was before divine light shined upon him.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The hypocrite's hope
"For what hope do the godless have, when God cuts
them off and takes away their life?" Job 27:8

"When the wicked die, their hopes all perish." Prov. 11:7

That assurance is but presumption, which allows men . . .
to play with sin,
to be bold with sin,
to make light of sin,
to walk on in ways of sin.

Such 'assurance' will never bring a man to heaven; it
will never keep him from dropping into hell; yes, it
will double his damnation, and make him the most
miserable among all damned, wretched, forlorn spirits.

"So are the paths of all who forget God; and the
hypocrite's hope shall perish." Job 8:13

Ah, Lord! from such false hopes deliver my soul;
and give me more and more of that divine hope
which makes sin to be more hateful than hell.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kisses

"Oh, that He would kiss me with the kisses of His mouth!
For Your love is more delightful than wine." Song 1:2

Not with a kiss—but with the kisses of His mouth.
A soul once kissed by Christ, can never have enough
of the kisses of Christ; His lips drop myrrh and mercy.
No kisses, compared to the kisses of Christ. The more
any soul loves Christ, the more serious, studious, and
industrious will that soul be, to have the love of Christ
discovered, confirmed, witnessed, and sealed to it.

A soul once kissed by Christ, would gladly have . . .
her drop turned into an ocean;
her spark into a flame;
her penny into a pound;
her mite into a million.

A soul who truly loves Christ . . .
can never see enough,
nor ever taste enough,
nor ever feel enough,
nor ever enjoy enough
of the love of Christ. When once they have found
His love to be better than wine, then nothing will
satisfy them but the kisses of His mouth.

"May you experience the love of Christ, though it is
so great you will never fully understand it." Eph. 3:19

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The sweetest joys are from the sourest tears

Sin is a turning the back upon God—and the face
towards hell. Repentance is a turning the back
upon sin—and a setting the face towards God!

True repentance is a sorrowing for sin because it
is offensive to God. Peter was sorry for his sin;
Judas was sorry his for punishment. Peter grieves
because Christ was grieved; Judas grieved because
he would be damned.

As Noah's flood drowned his nearest and his dearest
friends, so the flood of penitent tears drowns men's
nearest and their dearest lusts! Be they Isaacs or
Benjamins, be they right eyes or right hands, true
repentance puts all to the sword; it spares neither
father nor mother, neither Agag nor Achan.

Repentance is a turning from all sin, without any
reservation or exception. One stab at the heart kills,
one hole in the ship sinks her, one act of treason
makes a traitor. Just so, one sin not forsaken, not
turned from, will undo a soul forever.

A true penitent looks upon every sin as poison, as
the vomit of a dog, as the mire of the street, as the
menstruous cloth, which of all things in the law was
most unclean, defiling, and polluting. He looks thus
upon every sin, turns his heart against every sin,
and makes him not only to refrain from sin—but
to forsake it, and to loathe it more than hell.

True repentance breaks the heart with sighs,
sobs, and groans—that . . .
a loving Father is offended,
a blessed Savior crucified, and
the sweet Comforter grieved.

Penitent Mary Magdalene weeps much, as well as loves
much. Tears, instead of jewels, were the ornaments of
penitent David's bed. Surely that sweet singer never
sang more melodiously, than when his heart was broken
most penitentially.

The sweetest joys are from the sourest tears;
penitent tears are the breeders of spiritual joy. The
bee gathers the best honey off the bitterest herbs.
Christ made the best wine of water; the strongest,
the purest, the truest, the most permanent, and the
most excellent joy is made of the waters of repentance.

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy."
Psalm 126:5

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Loathsome thoughts

"You will remember your conduct and all the actions by
which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe
yourselves for all the evil you have done." Ezekiel 20:43

True repentance includes a loathing and abhorring of sin,
and of ourselves for sin.

The sincere penitent loathes his sins, and he loathes himself
also because of his sins. He cries out, "Oh these wanton eyes!
Oh these wicked hands! Oh this deceitful tongue! Oh this
crooked will! Oh this corrupt heart! Oh how do I loathe my
sins, how do I loathe myself! My sins are a burden to me, and
they make me a burden to myself! My sins are abhorrent
to me, and they make me abhor myself in dust and ashes!"

A true penitent has not only low thoughts of himself, but
loathsome thoughts of himself. None can think or speak
so vilely of a Christian—as he thinks and speaks so vilely
of himself. "Behold, I am vile!" Job 40:4

"They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done
and for all their detestable practices." Ezekiel 6:9

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To sin and not to blush!

Only those things which are sinful, are shameful.

"Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have
done, you will remember and be ashamed and never
again open your mouth because of your humiliation,
declares the Sovereign Lord." Ezekiel 16:63

When the penitent soul sees his sins pardoned, the
anger of God pacified, and divine justice satisfied,
then he sits down ashamed.

Sin and shame are inseparable companions.

A Christian cannot have the seeming sweet of sin, but
he shall have the real shame which accompanies sin.
These two God has joined together, and all the world
cannot put them asunder.

It was the vile and impenitent Caligula who said
of himself, "that he loved nothing better in himself,
than that he could not be ashamed."

A soul who has sinned away all shame, is a soul ripe for
hell—and given up to Satan! A greater plague cannot
befall a man in this life, than to sin and not to blush!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Soul-mollifying

Saving faith is soul-softening, it is soul-mollifying.
Peter believes soundly—and weeps bitterly. Mary
Magdalene believes much—and weeps much.

Faith sets . . .
a wounded Christ,
a bruised Christ,
a despised Christ,
a pierced Christ,
a bleeding Christ
—before the soul, and this makes the soul sit down
and weep bitterly: "They will look on Me whom they
have pierced and mourn for Him (all gospel-mourning
flows from believing), as for an only son. They will
grieve bitterly for Him as for a firstborn son who has
died." Zechariah 12:10.

Oh! the sight of those wounds which their sins have
made—will wound their hearts through and through!
It will make them lament over Christ with a bitter
lamentation. Ah! nothing will kindly, sweetly, and
effectually break the hardened heart of a sinner,
but faith's beholding the blood of Christ trickling
down His sides!

That Christ should love man when he was most unlovely;
that man's extreme misery should but inflame Christ's
affections of love and mercy—this melts the believing soul.

That Christ should leave the eternal bosom of His Father;
that He who was equal with God—should come in the form
of a servant; that He who was clothed with glory—should
be wrapped in rags; that He whom the heaven of heavens
could not contain—should be cradled in a manger; that from
His cradle to His cross—His whole life should be a life of
sorrows and sufferings; that the Judge of all flesh should
be condemned; that the Lord of life should be put to death;
that He who was His Father's joy—should in anguish of spirit
cry out, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' that
that head which was crowned with honor—should be crowned
with thorns; that those eyes which were as a flame of fire,
which were clearer than the sun—should be closed up by the
darkness of death; that those ears which were used to hear
nothing but hallelujahs—should hear nothing but blasphemies;
that that face which was white and ruddy—should be spit upon
by the beastly Jews; that that tongue which spoke as never
any man spoke, yes, as never any angel spoke—should be
accused of blasphemy; that those hands which swayed both
a golden scepter and an iron rod, and those feet which were
as fine brass—should be nailed to the cross—and all this for
man's transgression, for man's rebellion! Oh! the sight of
these things, the believing of these things, makes a
gracious soul to break and bleed, to sigh and groan,
to mourn and lament!

True faith is a heart-breaking, a heart-melting faith.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A heaven unto me!

That knowledge which accompanies salvation, is a
heart-affecting knowledge. It affects the heart
with Christ, and all spiritual things. Oh, it does
wonderfully endear Christ and the things of Christ
to the soul.

"Oh, feed me with Your love—Your 'raisins' and Your
'apples'—for I am utterly lovesick!" Song 2:5 "Oh,"
says the spouse, "my heart is taken with Christ, it is
ravished with His love; my soul is burning, my soul is
beating towards Christ. Oh, none but Christ, none but
Christ! I cannot live in myself, I cannot live in my duties,
I cannot live in external privileges, I cannot live in
outward mercies; I can live only in Christ, who is . . .
my life,
my love,
my joy,
my crown,
my all in all.
Oh, the more I come to know Him . . .
in His natures,
in His names,
in His offices,
in His discoveries,
in His visits,
in His beauties,
the more I find my heart and affections to prize
Christ, to run after Christ, to be affected with
Christ, and to be wonderfully endeared to Christ!

Oh, God forbid that my heart should be affected
or taken with anything in comparison with Christ.
The more I know Him, the more I love Him;
the more I know Him, the more I desire Him;
the more I know Him, the more my heart is knit unto Him.
His beauty is captivating,
His love is ravishing,
His goodness is attracting,
His manifestations are enticing,
His person is enamoring,
His lovely looks please me,
His pleasant voice delights me,
His precious Spirit comforts me,
His holy word rules me;
All these things make Christ to be a heaven unto me!

Oh, but all that mere notional knowledge, that speculative
knowledge, which leaves a man short of salvation—never
affects the heart; it never draws it, it never endears the
heart to Christ, or to the precious things of Christ. Hence
it is that such men, under all their notions, under all their
light and knowledge, have . . .
no affection to Christ,
no delight in Christ,
no workings of heart after Christ.

"If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed."
1 Corinthians 16:22

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When Brutus went to stab Julius Caesar

"For I know my transgressions, and my
sin is always before me." Psalm 51:3

Sin most afflicts a gracious soul.

The deer feeling within her the working of the serpent's
poison—runs through the thorns and thickets, and runs
over the green and pleasant pastures—that she may drink
of the fountain and be cured.

Just so, gracious souls, being sensible of the poison and
venom of sin, run from the creatures, which are but as
thorns and thickets; and run over their own duties and
righteousness, which are but as pleasant pastures—to
come to Christ the fountain of life—that they may drink
of those waters of consolation, of those wells of salvation
which are in Him, and cast up and cast out their spiritual
poison, and be cured forever.

Believers know that their sins do most pierce and grieve
the Lord. The sins of God's people, provoke Him most, and
sadden Him most—and this makes them sigh and groan it
out, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from
this body of death?" Romans 7:24

If a snake were to sting your dearly beloved spouse to
death—would you preserve it alive, warm it by the fire,
and hug it in your bosom? Would you not rather stab it
with a thousand wounds?

When Brutus went to stab Julius Caesar, he cried
out, "What, you my son Brutus!" So may God well cry
out, "What, you My son! What, will you stab Me with
your sins! Is it not enough that others stab My honor?
but will you, My son?"

You are wise, and know how to apply it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Grace, grace!

"That no flesh should glory in His presence." 1 Corinthians 1:29

God does not look for any goodness or merit in the creature to draw
His love—but He will justify, pardon, and save for His name's sake. All
the motives which move God to show mercy are in His own bosom.

Salvation is only from free grace, and not from anything good in us,
or done by us.

God is free to bestow His promises upon whomever He pleases.
He often steps over the rich, and chooses the poor;
He often steps over the learned, and chooses the ignorant;
He often steps over the strong, and chooses the weak;
He often steps over the sweet nature, and chooses the wicked nature;
He often steps over the noble, and chooses the vile; etc.,
that no flesh may glory, and that all may shout out "Grace, grace!"

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Devour me, devour me!

Assurance will sweeten the thoughts of death—
and all the aches, pains, weaknesses, sicknesses,
and diseases—which are the forerunners of death;
yes, it will make a man look and long for death.

Nazianzen said to the king of terrors, "Devour me,
devour me! Death cures all diseases, the aching
head, and the unbelieving heart!"

Assurance makes a man smile upon the king
of terrors. The assured soul knows that death
shall be the funeral of . . .
all his sins,
all his sorrows,
all his afflictions,
all his temptations.

He knows that death shall be the resurrection of
his joys. He knows that death is both an outlet
and an inlet; an outlet to sin; and an inlet to the
soul's clear, full, and constant enjoyment of God!
And this makes the assured soul to sing it sweetly
out, "O death, where is your sting? O grave, where
is your victory? "I desire to depart and be with
Christ, which is better by far!" "Make haste, my
beloved." "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!"

Now death is more desirable than life. Now says
the soul, "let him fear death, who is averse to go
to Christ."

The Persians had a certain day in the year, in which
they used to kill all serpents and venomous creatures.
The assured Christian knows that the day of death will
be such a day to him—and that makes death lovely and
desirable. He knows that sin was the midwife which
brought death into the world; and that death shall be
the grave to bury sin. And therefore death is not a
terror—but a delight unto him. He fears it not as an
enemy—but welcomes it as a friend.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Pambus wept when he saw a harlot

What labor and pains worldlings take to obtain the vain
things of this life—to obtain the poor things of this world,
which are but shadows and dreams, and mere nothings!

Oh! how should this stir and provoke Christians to be up
and doing, to labor as for life—to make sure of spiritual
and eternal things! Is earth better than heaven? No! Oh
then be ashamed, Christians, that worldlings are more
studious and industrious to obtain pebbles, than you
are to obtain pearls! They labor to obtain those things
which at last will be their burden, their bane, their plague,
their hell. You are to labor to obtain those things which will
be your joy and crown in life, in death, and in the day of
judgment.

Pambus wept when he saw a harlot dressed with much
care and cost—partly to see one take so much pains to go to
hell; and partly because he had not been so careful to please
God, as she had been to please her sluttish lovers.

Ah, Christians! what great reason have you to sit down and
weep bitterly—that worldlings take so much pains to make
themselves miserable—and that you have taken no more
pains to get more of Christ into your hearts!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The mortifying of your darling sins

Most professing Christians have not the right art of
mortifying sin. All their attempts are to hide a lust,
not to quench it.

A great motive to provoke you to the mortifying of
your darling sins, is solemnly to consider, that the
conquest and effectual mortifying of one bosom sin,
will yield a Christian more glorious joy, comfort, and
peace—than ever he has found in the gratifying and
committing of all other sins.

The pleasure and sweetness which follows victory over
sin, is a thousand times beyond that seeming sweetness
which is in the gratifying of sin. The joy which attends
the subduing of sin—is a noble joy, a pure joy, a special
joy, an increasing joy, and a lasting joy. But that joy
which attends the committing of sin—is an ignoble joy,
a corrupt joy, a decreasing joy, a dying joy.

The truth is—if there were the least real joy in sin, there
could be no hell-torments, where men shall most totally
sin, and be most totally tormented with their sin.

Ah! Christians, be restless, until, in the spirit and power
of Jesus, you have brought under control, that sin which
sticks so close unto you!

Remember this, nothing below the conquest of bosom
sins can make a jubilee in the heart. It is not a man's
whining and complaining over sin—but his mortifying
of sin, which will make his life a paradise of pleasure!

If, notwithstanding all that has been said, you are still
resolved to dally with sin, then you must resolve to live
as a stranger to God; you must expect sad trials without,
and sore troubles within; this shall be your just wages
for playing with sin! If you like the wages, then dally
with sin still; if otherwise, then sacrifice your Isaac!

Ah! souls, of all unpardoned sins, your bosom sins will
be presented by God, conscience, and Satan at last
—as the most filthy and ugly, as the most terrible and
dreadful. Your bosom sins at last will appear to be those
monsters, those fiends of hell—which have most provoked
God against you, which have shut up Christ's affections of
love and compassion from you, which have armed conscience
against you, which have barred the gates of glory against you,
which have prepared the hottest place in hell for you, and
which have given Satan the greatest advantage eternally
to triumph over you!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The unsearchable riches of Christ!

There is everything in Christ to encourage the greatest
sinners to believe on Him, to rest and lean upon Him for
all happiness and blessedness. Christ is . . .
the greatest good,
the choicest good,
the chief good,
the most suitable good,
the most necessary good;
a pure good,
a real good,
a total good,
an eternal good,
a soul-satisfying good!

Sinners, are you poor? Christ has gold to enrich you.

Are you naked? Christ has royal robes, and white clothing to clothe you.

Are you blind? Christ has eye-salve to enlighten you.

Are you hungry? Christ will be manna to feed you.

Are you thirsty? He will be a well of living water to refresh you.

Are you wounded? He has a balm under his wings to heal you.

Are you sick? He is a physician to cure you.

Are you prisoners? He has laid down a ransom for you.

"The unsearchable riches of Christ!" Ephesians 3:8

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Peccatum est Deicidium

"The deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13

Sin . . .
has its original from a deceitful subtle serpent,
is the ground of all the deceit in the world,
is the great deceiver of souls.

Sin . . .
debases the soul of man,
defiles and pollutes the soul of man,
renders the soul most unlike to God,
who is the best and greatest;
renders the soul most like to Satan,
who is a very sea and sink of sin!

Sin robs the soul of . . .
the image of God,
the holiness of God,
the beauty of God,
the glory of God,
the righteousness of God.

Sin is peccatum est Deicidium—a killing of God!

"But they kept shouting—Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"
Luke 23:21

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Whining and whimpering?

"My Beloved is mine, and I am His!" Song 2:16

"I know," says the spouse, "that Jesus Christ
is mine! I can with the greatest confidence
and boldness affirm it. He is . . .
my Head,
my Husband,
my Lord,
my Redeemer,
my Justifier,
my Savior.
And I am His!
I am sure that I am His.
I am His by purchase;
I am His by conquest;
I am His by election;
I am His by covenant;
I am His by marriage;
I am wholly His;
I am specially His;
I am universally His;
I am eternally His!"

A well-grounded assurance will make a man . . .
patient in waiting,
courageous in doing,
cheerful in suffering.
It will make a heaven in a man's heart—on
this side heaven; and make him go singing
into paradise, despite all of life's calamities
and miseries—as he realizes that he is . . .
everlastingly chosen and beloved of God,
that God's heart is set upon him,
that his name is written in the book of life,
that there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness,
and that nothing shall be able to separate him from
Him who is his light, his life, his crown, his all in all.

Ah, Christians! only remember what Christ has done for
you, and what He is still a-doing for you in heaven, and
what He will do for you to all eternity—and you will not be
able to spend your days in whining and whimpering.

Christians, your mercies are greater than your miseries!
One hour's being in the bosom of Christ, will recompense
you for all your trouble and travail on earth! Why, then,
do you spend more time in sighing, than in rejoicing?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A precious commodity in hell

Most men spend the greatest part of their time
on things that are that are of little or no value;
as Domitian, the Roman emperor, who spent his
time in catching of flies.

Make a speedy and a thorough improvement of all
opportunities of grace and mercy. Do not trifle
away your golden seasons. You have much
work to do in a short time. You have . . .
a God to honor,
a race to run,
a crown to win,
a hell to escape,
a heaven to obtain,
weak graces to strengthen,
strong corruptions to weaken,
many temptations to withstand,
afflictions to bear,
many mercies to improve,
and many services to perform, etc.

He who neglects a golden opportunity, does
but create to himself a great deal of misery.

"Time," says Bernard, "would be a precious
commodity in hell, and the use of it most
gainful; where for one day a man would give
ten thousand worlds if he had them."

When men trifle away their precious time, and golden
opportunities, playing and toying with this vanity
and that vanity; we may ask whether these men
have—no Christ, no Scripture, no promises, no
blessed experiences, no hopes of heavenly glories
—to enjoy and take delight in?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A very little worm

A well-grounded assurance is always attended with humility.

David, under assurance, cries out, "I am a worm and no man!"
The Hebrew word which is here rendered worm, signifies a very
little worm, which a man can hardly see or perceive. Psalm 22:6.
Abraham, under assurance, cries out, that he is but "dust and
ashes!" Jacob, under assurance, cries out, "I am not worthy of
all the faithfulness and unfailing love You have shown to me!"
Job, under assurance, "abhors himself in dust and ashes!"
Moses had the honor and the happiness to speak with God
"face to face;" and yet "Moses was a very humble man, more
humble than anyone else on the face of the earth." Num. 12:3.
The great apostle Paul, under all the revelations and glorious
manifestations of God to him, counts himself "less than the
least of God's people." Eph. 3:8.

That is mere presumption, that is a delusion of the devil, and
no sound assurance—which puffs and swells the souls of men
with pride; which makes men prize themselves above others,
above the value which God has put upon them.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The regal gate

"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17

A man may always pray habitually; he may have
his heart in a praying disposition in all estates and
conditions, in prosperity and adversity, in health
and sickness, in strength and weakness, in wealth
and wants, in life and death. The Christian needs . . .
mercy to pardon him,
grace to purify him,
balm to heal him,
divine favor to comfort him,
power to support him,
wisdom to counsel him,
goodness to satisfy him.

Our daily weaknesses, our daily wants, our daily
fears, our daily dangers, our daily temptations,
etc., call for our daily prayers.

Prayer is the regal gate by which the Lord enters
into the heart, comforting, quieting, strengthening,
quickening, and raising of it. By it,
faith is increased,
hope strengthened,
the spirit exhilarated,
the heart pacified,
the conscience purified,
temptations vanquished,
corruptions weakened,
the affections inflamed,
the will more renewed, and
the whole man more advantaged.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Birds' nests

Saving faith will make a man set his feet, where other
men sets their hearts. Faith looks with an eye of scorn
and disdain upon the things of this world. "What," says
faith, "are earthly treasures, compared to the treasures
of heaven? What are stones compared to silver; dross
compared to gold; darkness compared to light; hell
compared to heaven? No more," says faith, "What are
all the treasures, pleasures, and delights of this world
—compared to the influences of God's grace?"

Faith will make a man write 'worthless' upon the best of
worldly things; it will make a man trample upon the pearls
of this world, as upon dross and dirt, Hebrews 11:24-26.
Faith deadens a man's heart to the things of this world:
"I am crucified to the world, and the world is crucified to
me," says Paul, Phil. 3:8; Gal. 6:14. "This world," says faith,
"is not my house, my habitation, my home; I look for a
better country, for a better city, for a better home,"
2 Cor. 5:1-2. He who is the heir to a crown, a kingdom
—looks with an eye of scorn and disdain upon everything
below a kingdom, below a crown. Faith tells the soul that
it has a crown, a kingdom in reversion; and this makes
the soul to scorn the things of this world, 2 Tim. 4:8.

The view of Lucian is very interesting, who, going to the
top of a high mountain, saw all the affairs of men, and
looked on their greatest, richest, and most glorious cities,
as little birds' nests! Faith sets the soul upon the hill of
God, the mountain of God, which is a high mountain;
and from thence, faith gives the soul a sight, a prospect
of all things here below. And, ah! how like birds' nests
do all the riches, honors, and glories of this world look
and appear to those whom faith has set upon God's high hill.
Faith set Moses high, it set him among invisibles; and that
made him look upon all the treasures, pleasures, riches,
and glories of Egypt, as little birds' nests, as molehills,
as dross and dirt, as things that were too little and too low
for him to set his heart upon. Truly, when once faith has
given a man a sight, a prospect of heaven, all things on
earth will be looked upon as little and despised.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the beams of this heavenly light

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners
—and I am the worst of them." 1 Timothy 1:15

Divine and heavenly knowledge brings a man near to God;
it gives a man the clearest and fullest sight of God; and the
nearer any man comes to God, and the clearer visions he has
of God, the more low and humble will that man lie before God.
None so humble as those who have nearest communion with
God. The angels that are near unto Him cover their faces with
their wings, in token of humility. Divine knowledge makes a
man look inwards; it anatomizes a man to himself; it is a
mirror which shows a man the spots of his own soul, and
this makes him little and low in his own eyes.

In the beams of this heavenly light,
a Christian comes to see his own . . .
pride,
ignorance,
impatience,
unworthiness,
conceitedness,
worthlessness,
frowardness
nothingness.

That knowledge which swells you with self importance,
will undo you. That knowledge which puffs you with pride,
will sink you. That knowledge which makes you delightful
in your own eyes, will make you despicable in God's eyes.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


_________________
CHRISTIAN

 2007/2/6 12:50Profile
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Member



Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
Sweden

 Re:

continued from previus


The scholar's knowledge

What is the scholar's knowledge of the strength, riches,
glories, and sweetness of far countries, obtained by maps
and books—compared to their knowledge, who daily see
and enjoy those things?

Truly, that knowledge which is only notional, speculative,
and general; which is gathered out of books, discourses,
and other outward advantages, is such a knowledge that
will make men sit down in hell, as it did Judas, Demas,
the scribes and pharisees, etc.

A man who has that experimental knowledge which
accompanies salvation, will from his experience tell you,
that sin is the greatest evil in the world—for he has found
it so, Rom. 7; that Christ is the one thing necessary—for
he has found Him so, Psalm 27:4; that the favor of God
is better than life—for he has found it so, Psalm 63:3; that
pardoning mercy alone makes a man happy—for he has
found it so, Psalm 32:1-2; that a wounded spirit is such
a burden that none can bear—for he has found it so, Prov.
18:14; that a humble and a broken heart is an acceptable
sacrifice to God—for he has found it so, Psalm 51:17; that the
promises are precious pearls—for he has found them so,
2 Pet. 1:4; that the smiles of God will make up the lack of
any outward mercies—for he has found it so, Psalm 4:6-7;
that only communion with God can make a heaven in a
believer's heart—for he has found it so, Psalm 48:10; that
if the Spirit is pleased and obeyed, He will be a comforter
to the soul—for he has found it so, John 16:7; but if His
motions and laws are slighted and neglected, He will stand
far off from the soul, He will vex and gall the soul—for he
has found it so, Lam 1:16; Isa 63:10-11.

That knowledge which is not experimental, will only increase
your guilt and torment, as it did the Scribes' and Pharisees'.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I am about to desecrate My sanctuary

"This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to
desecrate My sanctuary—the stronghold in which
you take pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of
your affection." Ezekiel 24:21
Many are much in and for church ordinances and activities,
whose hearts are very carnal, and whose lives are very vain.

It is nothing to be much in those religious duties and
performances wherein the worst of sinners may go
beyond the best of saints. The most refined hypocrites labor
only to be seen by others in their praying, fasting, talking,
hearing, giving, etc. Let them have but man's eye to see
them, and man's ear to hear them, and man's tongue to
commend them, and man's hand to reward them—and
they will sit down and bless themselves.

They say of the nightingale, that when she is solitary in
the woods, she is careless of her melody. But when she
perceives that she has any auditors, or is near houses, then
she composes herself more harmoniously and elegantly.
Truly, this is the frame and temper of the best of hypocrites.

"My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before
you to listen to your words, but they do not put them
into practice! With their mouths they express devotion,
but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them
you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with
a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they
hear your words but do not put them into practice."
Ezekiel 33:31-32.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Because you ate the loaves

"Unto you therefore who believe, He is precious."
1 Peter 2:7

Christ is only precious to those who believe.

As Christ is the Father's chief jewel, so He is
your choicest jewel, is He not? Yes!

The true Christian prizes Christ . . .
above all duties,
above all privileges,
above all mercies,
above all graces,
above all contentments,
above all his enjoyments.

The true believer loves Christ for Christ; he
loves Christ for His personal excellencies.

What Alexander said of his two friends, is applicable
to many in our day; says he, "Haehestion loves me as
I am Alexander; but Craterus loves me as I am King
Alexander." One loved him for his person, the other
for the benefits he received from him.

So true Christians love Christ for His person,
for His personal excellency,
for His personal beauty,
for His personal glory.
They see those perfections of grace and holiness
in Christ, which render Him very lovely and desirable
in their eyes; though they should never get a kingdom,
nor a crown by it. But most of those who profess to
belong to Christ, do it only in respect of the benefits
they hope to receive from Him. When one asked Cato's
daughter why she would not marry again, she being
young when her husband died, answered, 'Because
she could not find a man that loved her more than
her goods.' Few there are, who love Christ more than
His benefits.

"I tell you the truth, you are looking for Me, not
because you saw miraculous signs but because
you ate the loaves and had your fill." John 6:26

It was Augustine's complaint of old, that 'scarcely any
love Christ, but for His benefits.' Few follow Him for love;
but many follow Him for loaves. Few follow Him for His
inward excellencies, many follow Him for their outward
advantages. Few follow him that they may be made
godly by him; but many follow him that they may
be great by him.

Certainly, you are the bosom friends of Christ, you are in
the very heart of Christ—who prize Christ above all. This is
a work too high and too hard, too great and too noble, for
all who are not true Christians, who are not twice born,
who are not of the blood-royal, who are not partakers
of the divine nature.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Totes oculus

They say of the nightingale, that when she is solitary in
the woods, she is careless of her melody; but when she
perceives that she has any auditors, or is near houses—then
she composes herself more harmoniously and elegantly.
Truly, this is the frame and temper of the best of hypocrites.

Oh! but a sincere Christian labors in all places, and in all
times, to approve himself to God. He labors as much to
approve himself to God in a forest, where no eye sees him
—as he does when the eyes of thousands are fixed upon him.

The sun would shine bright, though all men were asleep at
high noon, and no eyes open to see the glory of his beams.
Just so, a sincere heart will shine, he will labor to do good;
though all the world should shut their eyes; yet he will eye
his work, and eye his God. He knows that God is totes
oculus—all eye, and therefore he cares not though others
have never an eye to observe him, to applaud him. Let God
but secretly whisper to him in the ear, and say, "Well done,
good and faithful servant!" and it is enough to his soul,
enough to satisfy him, enough to cheer him, and enough
to encourage him in the ways and the work of his God.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You take the goods

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants
for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?" Psalm 42:1-2

The rattle without the breast, will not satisfy the child,
the house without the husband, will not satisfy the wife,
the cabinet without the jewel, will not satisfy the maiden,
nor will the world without Christ, satisfy the soul.

The hungry soul will not be put off with any bread but
with the bread of life; the thirsty soul will not be put off
with any water but with the wellsprings of life.

As the king of Sodom said once, "You take the goods,
give me the people," Gen. 14:21. Just so, says the hungry
soul, "You take the goods—take your honors, and riches,
and the favor of creatures, take the grain, the oil,
and the wine; give me Christ, give me the light of His
countenance, give me the joy of His Spirit, etc."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The world and I am well agreed

Assurance will keep the heart from an inordinate
running out after the world, and the glory thereof.
Moses, having an assurance of the recompense of
reward, and of God's love and favor, could not be
drawn by all the honors, pleasures, and treasures
of Egypt. He slights all, and tramples upon all the
glory of the world, as men trample upon things of
no worth, Heb. 11:24-27.

So after Paul had been in the third heaven, and had
assurance that nothing should separate him from the
love of God in Christ, he looks upon the world as a
crucified thing: "The world is crucified to me," says
he, 2 Cor. 12:1-3, and Rom. 8:38; "and I am crucified
unto the world," Gal. 6:14. The world is dead to me,
and I am dead to it: the world and I am well
agreed—the world cares not a pin for me, and I
care not a pin for the world.

I have read of Lazarus, that after he was raised
from the grave, he was never seen to smile. The
assurance that he had of more glorious things,
deadened his heart to the things of this world;
he saw nothing in them worthy of a smile. Ah!
were there more assurance among Christians,
there would not be such tugging for the world,
and such greedy hunting and pursuing after it, as
is in these days, to the dishonor of God, the
reproach of Christ, and the shame of the gospel.

So when God gave Galeacius, that Italian marquis,
an assurance of everlasting happiness, he withstood
many golden temptations, and cried out, 'Cursed be
he who prefers all the glory of the world to one
day's communion with Christ!'

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

He strives to make all as miserable
and unhappy as himself

Satan knows that assurance is the Christian's . . .
manna in a wilderness,
water out of a rock,
a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
He knows that assurance is . . .
a salve for all sores,
a medicine for all diseases,
a remedy against every malady.
He knows that assurance is the Christian's . . .
anchor at sea,
shield upon land;
staff to support him,
sword to defend him,
pavilion to hide him,
cordial to cheer him.
And therefore it is that he labors, both as
a lion and as a serpent, to keep poor souls
from a well-grounded assurance.

This son of the morning has fallen from the top
of glory to the bottom of misery, and therefore
he strives to make all as miserable and
unhappy as himself.

Ah! Christians, have not you need to seek assurance
with all your might, who have to do with so mighty
an adversary, who cares not what torments he heaps
upon himself, so that he may prove your tormentor,
by keeping your souls and assurance asunder? Oh that
this very consideration might make you restless, until
you have got this "white stone" in your bosoms!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Be strong and courageous

God is glorious in power,
and wonderful in counsel,
and infinite in mercy,
and admirable in goodness,
and rich in grace,
and unsearchable in understanding.

"I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Be strong and courageous." Joshua 1:5-6

When God puts His people upon weighty services, He
assures them of His presence, and of His assistance.
He assures them that He will stand by them, and
strengthen them, and support them, and uphold
them. He assures them that . . .
His power should be theirs to defend them,
His wisdom should be theirs to direct them,
His goodness should be theirs to supply them,
His grace should be theirs to heal them,
His mercy should be theirs to pardon them,
His joy should be theirs to strengthen them,
His promise should be theirs to cheer them,
His Spirit should be theirs to lead them.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The chief

"My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chief
among ten thousand." Song of Songs 5:10

Christ is the chief good.

All good is in the chief good.

Christ is all things to Christians. He is . . .
bread to feed them,
a fountain to refresh them,
a physician to heal them,
a rock to shelter them,
a light to guide them, and
a crown to crown them!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A kind of omnipotency in it

Faith is an appropriating grace.

Faith looks upon God, and says with David,
"This God is my God forever and ever, and
He shall be my guide unto the death."

Faith looks upon Christ, and says with the spouse,
"I am my beloved's, and His desire is towards me."

Faith looks upon an immortal crown, and says
"Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of glory."

Faith looks upon the righteousness of Christ,
and says, "This righteousness is mine to cover me."

Faith looks upon the mercy of Christ, and
says, "This mercy is mine to pardon me."

Faith looks upon the power of Christ, and
says, "This power is mine to support me."

Faith looks upon the wisdom of Christ, and
says, "This wisdom is mine to direct me."

Faith looks upon the blood of Christ, and
says, "This blood is mine to save me."

Faith has a kind of omnipotency in it;
it is able to do all things.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Books may preach . . .
when the author cannot,
when the author may not,
when the author dares not,
yes, and which is more,
when the author is not.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A heaven here and a heaven hereafter

To be in a state of true grace, is to be miserable no
more; it is to be happy forever. A soul in this state is
a soul near and dear to God. It is a soul much beloved,
and very highly valued by God. It is a soul housed in
God. It is a soul safe in God's everlasting arms. The
being in a state of grace makes a man's condition
happy, safe, and sure.

But the seeing, the knowing of himself to be in such a
state, is that which renders his life sweet and comfortable.
The being in a state of grace will yield a man a heaven
hereafter; but the seeing of himself in this state will yield
him both a heaven here and a heaven hereafter. It
will render him doubly blessed—blessed in heaven, and
blessed in his own conscience.

Assurance is the beauty and apex of a Christian's happiness
in this life. It is usually attended with the strongest joy, with
the sweetest comforts, and with the greatest peace. It is a
pearl that most want—a crown that few wear. His state is safe
and happy, whose soul is adorned with grace, though he sees
it not, though he knows it not. To have grace, and to be sure
that we have grace, is heaven on this side heaven.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A commentary upon Christ's life

"Let your light shine before men, so that they
may see your good works and give glory to
your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Christians are distinguished from all others,
by their lives and by their examples.

Be exemplary to those among whom you live.

Precepts may instruct, but examples persuade.

Truly, your examples will have a very great influence
upon those who are under you. Therefore you had
need be angelic in your walkings and actings. You
are lights upon a hill, and therefore every eye will
be upon you. Those who can find no ears to hear
what you say, will find many eyes to see what you
do. Oh therefore, be exemplary both in lip and life,
in word and work. Oh see that your lives are a
commentary upon Christ's life.

"Leaving you an example, so that you should follow
in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Feast the slave, and starve the wife?

Make it more and more your chief work to make plentiful
provisions for the eternal welfare of your souls. Your souls
are more worth than ten thousand worlds. All is well—if
your soul is well. If that is safe, all is safe. If that is lost,
all is lost—God, Christ, and glory is lost—if the soul is lost.

Is it madness to feast the slave, and starve the wife?
and is it not greater madness to feast the body and starve
the soul? to make liberal provision for the body, and none
for the soul? Do not they deserve double damnation, who
prefer their bodies above their souls? Before all, and above
all—look to your souls, watch your souls, make provision for
your souls. When this is done—all is done. Until this is done,
there is nothing done which will yield a man comfort in life,
joy in death, and boldness before the judgment.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Two heavens

Communion with God is that which will make you stand
fast, and triumph over all enemies, difficulties, dangers,
and deaths. Communion with God will make a man as
courageous and bold as a lion, yes, as a young lion
which is fearless of any creature.

Communion is a reciprocal exchange between Christ
and a gracious soul. Communion is Jacob's ladder,
where you have Christ sweetly descending down into
the soul—and the soul by divine influences sweetly
ascending up to Christ.

Communion with God is . . .
a shield upon land,
an anchor at sea,
a sword to defend you,
a staff to support you,
balm to heal you,
a cordial to strengthen you.

High communion with Christ will yield you two
heavens, a heaven upon earth, and a heaven
after death.

He enjoys nothing, who lacks communion with God.
He lacks nothing, who enjoys communion with God.
Therefore above all gettings, get communion with
Christ; and above all keepings, keep communion
with Christ. All other losses are not comparable to
the loss of communion with Christ. He who has lost
his communion, has lost his comfort, his strength,
his all, and it will not be long before the Philistines
capture him, and put out his eyes, and bind him
with fetters of brass, and make him grind in a
prison, as they did Samson, in Judges 16:20-21.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Take heed of tasting forbidden fruit!
Remember what Adam lost by a taste!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

'God' stamped and printed upon the soul

Christians! Your happiness on earth is your holiness; and in
heaven your highest happiness will be your perfect holiness.

Holiness differs nothing from happiness—but in name. Holiness
is happiness in the bud, and happiness is holiness at the full.

Happiness is nothing but the quintessence of holiness.

Holiness is the very marrow and quintessence of all true religion.

Holiness is 'God' stamped and printed upon the soul.

Holiness is Christ formed in the heart.

Holiness is our light, our life, our beauty, our glory, our joy,
our crown, our heaven, our all. The holy soul is happy in life,
and blessed in death, and shall be transcendently glorious in
the morning of the resurrection, when Christ shall say, "Lo,
here am I, and My holy ones, who are My joy! Lo, here am
I, and My holy ones, who are My crown! Upon the heads of
these holy ones will I set an immortal crown!"
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

No sins of God's children, make any alteration in
His love to them. Just so—none, no, not even God's
sharpest dispensations, should make any alteration
in our thoughts and affections towards Him.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I have seen your tears

"This is what the Lord says—Set your affairs
in order, for you are going to die. You will not
recover from this illness." 2 Kings 20:1

The tears of God's people have such a kind of
omnipotency in them, that God Himself cannot
withstand them. "I have seen your tears.
I will heal you, and three days from now you
will get out of bed and go to the Temple of
the Lord." 2 Kings 20:5

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The humble man's heart

"For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity,
whose name is Holy—I dwell in the high and holy place, with
him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit
of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
Isaiah 57:15

God makes the humble man's heart his house to dwell in.
The highest heavens and the lowest hearts are the habitations
wherein the Holy One delights to dwell. Now this phrase, "I will
dwell with the humble," includes several things:
1. It includes God's superintending the humble.
2. It includes God's assisting and strengthening of the humble.
3. It includes God's protection; I will dwell with the humble,
that is, I will protect him and secure him, Job 22:29.
4. It includes God's sympathizing with the humble.
5. It includes God's applying all suitable good to the
humble, Isaiah 57:18, and Isaiah 63:9.
6. It includes God's ruling and overruling the heart and
the affections of the humble.
7. It includes God's teaching and instructing of the humble.
8. Lastly, it includes and takes in a clearer, a fuller, and a larger
manifestation and communication of God to humble souls.

"Ah!" says God, "I will dwell with the humble; that is, I will
more richly, more abundantly, and more gloriously manifest
and make known My grace and glory, My goodness and
sweetness, My loving-kindness and tenderness—to humble
souls!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What He has done for my soul

"Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell
you what He has done for my soul." Psalm 66:16

I will acquaint you with the soul blessings, with the
soul favors, which God has crowned me with.

I was darkness—but He has made me light.

I was unrighteousness—but He has made me righteous.

I was deformed—but He has made me complete.

I was full of sores, and spots, and blemishes—but He has
washed me, and made me all fair, without spot or wrinkle.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Soul-purifying

"And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies
himself just as He is pure." 1 John 3:3

True hope is soul-purifying. It runs out into holiness.
He who has the purest and strongest hopes of being
saved, is most studious and laborious to be sanctified.

Now hope purifies the heart and life thus—by keeping
the purest objects, as God, Christ, the word, and the
soul together; and by making the soul serious and
conscientious in the use of all soul-purifying means;
and by being a fire in the soul to burn up all those
corruptions and principles of darkness which are
contrary to that purity and glory, which hope has in
her eye; and by working the soul to lean upon Christ,
to live in Christ, and to draw purifying virtue from
Christ—who is the spring and fountain of all purity
and sanctity. And thus hope purifies those who
expect to be like Christ in glory.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That rich and royal robe

"I desire to be found in Christ, not having a righteousness
of my own that comes from the law, but that which is
through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes
from God and is by faith." Phil. 3:9

Paul would not be found in a legal righteousness, for he
knew all his legal righteousness was but as "filthy rags."
All his legal righteousness, sewed together, would but
make up a coat of patches, a beggar's coat, which is good
for nothing but to be cast away; therefore he desired to be
found in the righteousness of Christ by faith. He knew that
Christ's righteousness was . . .
a pure righteousness,
a spotless righteousness,
a matchless righteousness,
a complete righteousness,
a perfect righteousness,
an absolute righteousness,
a glorious righteousness.

Faith loves to fix her eye upon that rich and royal robe,
that blameless and spotless righteousness of Christ, with
which the soul stands gloriously clothed before God, as
being all beauteous, as being without spot or wrinkle in
the divine account.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Divine knowledge
"The discerning heart seeks knowledge." Proverbs 15:14

Saving knowledge is always attended with holy endeavors,
and with heavenly desires, thirstings, and pantings after a
further knowledge of God, after clearer visions of God. The
Hebrew word that is here rendered "seeks" signifies an earnest
and diligent seeking; to seek as a hungry man seeks for food;
or as a covetous man for gold—the more he has, the more he
desires; or as a condemned man seeks for his pardon; or as
the diseased man seeks for his cure. The word signifies to seek
studiously, laboriously, industriously; to seek by pleading, praying,
inquiring, and searching up and down, that we may find what we
seek; to seek as men do for hidden treasure. A man who is divinely
taught, will set his heart and his ear, his inward and outward man,
to know more and more.

Divine knowledge is marvelous, sweet, pleasing, comforting,
satisfying, refreshing, strengthening, and supporting; and souls
who have found the sweetness and usefulness of it, cannot but
look and long, breathe and pant after more and more of it.
The newborn babe does not more naturally and more earnestly
long for the breasts, than a soul who has tasted that the Lord
is gracious, does long for more and more tastes of God.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Preach forth the virtues of Christ

"For you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests,
God's holy nation, His very own possession. This is so you can
show others the goodness (or virtues) of God, for He called you
out of the darkness into His wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

When God causes His divine light, His marvelous light, to shine
in upon the soul, then a Christian will preach forth the virtues of
Christ in an imitable practice; and until then a man, under all other
knowledge, will remain an incarnate devil.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Oh dash these brats of Babylon in pieces!

"Cleanse me from secret faults." Psalm 19:12

The Christian's greatest and hottest conflicts,
are against those inward pollutions, and secret sins,
which are only obvious to the eye of God and their
own souls.

The hypocrite combats with those sins which are
obvious to every eye. But it must be a supernatural
power and principle, which puts men upon conflicting
with the inward motions and secret operations of sin.

"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from
the body of this death?" Romans 7:24. A sincere heart
weeps and laments bitterly over those secret and inward
corruptions, which others will scarcely acknowledge to be
sins.

The Persian kings reign powerfully, and yet are seldom seen
in public. Secret sins reign in many men's souls powerfully
and dangerously, when least apparently.

Oh! but a true Christian mourns over the inward motions and
first risings of sin in his soul, and so prevents an eternal danger.
Upon every stirring of sin in the soul, the believer cries out, "O
Lord, help! O Lord, undertake for me! Oh dash these brats of
Babylon in pieces! Oh stifle the first motions of sin, that they
may never conceive and bring forth!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

His angelic robes

A hidden enemy is far worse than an open enemy.

The devil has put his angelic robes upon many
of his chief agents, that they may the more easily
and the more effectually deceive and delude the
souls of men.

Ah! what multitudes are there, that to some bleary
eyes appear as angels of light, and yet in their
principles and practices are but servants to the
prince of darkness, laboring with all their might to
make proselytes for hell, Matt. 23:15, and to draw
men to those wild notions, opinions, and conceits
which will leave them short of heaven, yes, bring
them down to the hottest, darkest, and lowest
place in hell, if God does not prevent it by a
miracle of grace.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Vincentius

Vincentius, by his patience and constancy in suffering,
angered his tormentors. Therefore they stripped him stark
naked, whipped his body all over to a bloody gore, sprinkled
salt and vinegar over all his wounds, set his feet on burning
coals, then cast him naked into a loathsome dungeon, the
pavement whereof was sharp shells, and his bed to lie on
a bundle of thorns. All which this blessed martyr received,
without so much as a groan!

Persecution brings death in one hand and life in the
other; for while it kills the body it crowns the soul.

The most cruel martyrdom is but a detour to
escape death, to pass from life to life, from the
prison to paradise, from the cross to the crown!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Such a smoke in the soul

A man may have true grace and yet lack assurance,
and this may arise from that smoke and clouds, those
fears and doubts which corruption raises in the soul.
Just so, that the soul cannot see those excellent graces
which otherwise might be discerned. Though there may
be many precious gems and jewels in the house, yet the
smoke may hinder a man from seeing them sparkle and
shine. So though there may be many precious graces in
the souls of saints, yet corruption may raise such a dust,
such a smoke in the soul, that the soul is not able to
see them in the beauty and glory.

The well of water was near Hagar—but she saw it not until
her eyes were opened by the Lord, Gen. 21:19-20. So grace
is near the soul, yes, in the soul sometimes, and yet the soul
does not see it, until God opens the eye and shows it. "The
Lord was in this place," says Jacob, "and I knew it not." So
many a precious soul may say, grace was in my heart, and
I knew it not, I saw it not.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Satan promises the best

Satan promises the best—but pays with the worst!

He promises honor—and pays with disgrace!

He promises pleasure—and pays with pain!

He promises profit—and pays with loss!

He promises life—and pays with death!

But God pays as he promises, all His
payments are made in pure gold.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As the bee does upon the flower

Let your hearts dwell on truth, as the bee does
upon the flower; every Scriptural truth being a
flower of paradise, which is more worth than a world.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Suffering times

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven!" Matthew 5:11-12.

Suffering times are times wherein the Lord is pleased to give His people some sense of His favor. When they are in sufferings for righteousness' sake, for the gospel's sake—then usually God causes His face to shine upon them. Now they shall hear best news from heaven—when they hear worst from earth. God loves to smile most upon His people when the world frowns most. When the world puts their iron chains upon their legs, then God puts His golden chains about their necks. When the world puts a bitter cup into their hands, then God drops some of His honey, some of His goodness and sweetness into it. When the world is ready to stone them, then God gives them the white stone. When the world is a-tearing their good names, then He gives them a new name, that none knows but he who has it, a name that is better than that of sons and daughters. When the world cries out, "Crucify them, crucify them," then they hear that sweet voice from heaven, "These are My beloved ones, in whom I am well pleased." When the world clothes them with rags, then the Lord puts on His royal robes, and makes a secret proclamation to their spirits, "Thus shall it be done to the men whom the King is pleased to honor." When the world gives into one hand a cup of water, God gives into the other a cup of nectar, a cup of ambrosia. When the world gnashes upon them, and presents all tortures before them, then the Lord opens paradise to them, as He did to Stephen.

When Paul and Silas were in prison for the gospel's sake, then God fills them with such unspeakable joy, that they cannot but be singing when others were sleeping, Acts 16:23-24. God turns their prison into a palace, a paradise; and they turn His mercies into praises. Paul and Silas found more pleasure than pain, more joy than sorrow, more sweet than bitter, more day than night—in the prison.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It will suck sweetness out of every flower

Faith is the key which unlocks paradise, and lets in a flood of joy into the soul. Faith is an appropriating grace, it appropriates all to itself; it looks upon God, and says with the psalmist, "This God is my God forever and ever," Psalm 63:1, and Psalm 48:14. It looks upon Christ and says, "My beloved is mine, and His desires are towards me," Song 7:10. It looks upon the precious promises and says, These "precious promises" are mine, 2 Pet. 1:4. It looks upon heaven and says, "Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness," 2 Tim. 4:8; and this fills the soul with joy and peace.

Faith has an influence upon other graces, it is like a silver thread that runs through a chain of pearl, it puts strength and vivacity into all other virtues. It made Abraham to rejoice; and it made Noah sit still and quiet in the midst of a deluge.

Faith is the first pin which moves the soul; it is the spring in the watch which sets all the golden wheels of love, joy, comfort, and peace a-going. Faith is a root-grace, from whence springs all the sweet flowers of joy and peace.

Faith is like the bee, it will suck sweetness out of every flower; it will extract . . .
light out of darkness,
comforts out of distresses,
mercies out of miseries,
wine out of water,
honey out of the rock,
meat out of the eater, Judges 14:14.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When we give the devil the kernel

"My son, give Me your heart." Proverbs 23:26

"You have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you." Romans 6:17

Christian obedience is cordial and hearty. The believer knows that no obedience but hearty obedience, is acceptable to Christ. He knows that nothing takes Christ's heart—but what comes from the believer's heart. 'Christ was hearty in His obedience for me,' says the believer; 'and shall not I be hearty in my obedience to Him?' Christ will lay His hand of love, His hand of acceptance—upon no obedience but what flows from the heart. The heart is the presence-chamber of the King of heaven, and that upon which His eye, His hand, His heart, is most set.

The scribes and Pharisees were much in the outward obedience of the law—but their hearts were not in their obedience; and therefore all they did signified nothing in the account of Christ, who only accepts outward actions as they flow from the heart and affections. Their souls were not in their services, and therefore all their services were lost services. They were very glorious in their outward profession—but their hearts were as filthy sepulchers. Their outsides shined as the sun—but their insides were as black as hell, Matt. 23. They were like the Egyptian temples—beautiful without, but filthy within. Well! remember this: No action, no service, is accepted in heaven—but that which is sealed up with integrity of heart. God will not be put off with the shell, when we give the devil the kernel.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Those spots which a Christian finds in his own heart
"Purifying their hearts by faith." Acts 15:9

True faith purifies the heart from sin. Faith has two hands, one to lay hold on Christ, and another to sweep the heart, which is Christ's house. Faith knows that Christ is of a dove-like nature; He loves to lie clean and sweet. Faith has a neat housewife's hand, as well as an eagle's eye. Faith is as good at purging out sin, as it is at discovering sin. There is a cleansing quality in faith, as well as a healing quality in faith. Sound faith will purge the soul from the love of sin, from a delight in sin, and from the reign and dominion of sin. "Sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law—but under grace," Rom. 6:14,21.

Faith purifies the heart from sin, by engaging against sin in Christ's strength, as David engaged against Goliath, not in his own strength—but in the strength and name of the Lord Almighty. Faith leads the soul directly to God, and engages God against sin—so that the combat is changed, and made now rather between God and sin, than between sin and the soul; and so sin comes to fall before the power and glorious presence of God.

Look! as a child who is attacked by one who is stronger than he, cries out to his father to help him, and to fight for him against his enemy; just so, faith, being sensible of its own weakness and inability to get the victory over sin, cries out to Christ, who is stronger than the strong man, and so Christ binds the strong man, and casts him out. Faith tells the soul that all purposes, resolutions, and endeavors, without Christ, will never set the soul above its sins, they will never purify the heart from sin; therefore faith engages Christ, and casts the main of the work upon Christ, and so it purges the soul from sin.

Staupicius acknowledged, before he came to understand the free and powerful grace of Christ, that he vowed and resolved a hundred times against some particular sin, and could never get power over it; he could never get his heart purified from it, until he came to see that he trusted too much to his own resolutions, and too little to Jesus Christ; but when his faith had engaged Christ against his sin, he had the victory.

Faith purifies the heart from sin, by the application of Christ's blood. Faith makes a plaster of Christ's blessed blood, and lays it on upon the soul's sores, and so cures it. Faith makes a heavenly purgative of this blessed blood, and gives it to the soul, and so makes it vomit up that poison which it has drunk in. Faith tells the soul, that it is not all the tears in the world, nor all the water in the sea, which can wash away the uncleanness of the soul; it is only the blood of Christ which can make a blackmoor white; it is only the blood of Christ which can cure a leprous Naaman, which can cure a leprous soul. 'This fountain of blood,' says faith, 'is the only fountain which can wash heart from all uncleanness and filthiness of flesh and spirit.' Zech. 13:1. Those spots which a Christian finds in his own heart, can only be washed out in the blood of the Lamb, by a hand of faith.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A world-conquering grace, a world-overcoming grace

"For whoever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory which overcomes the world, even our faith." John 5:4

True faith is a world-conquering grace, it is a world-overcoming grace. Faith overcomes the frowning world, the fawning world, the tempting world, and the persecuting world.

Faith overcomes the world, by outbidding sights. Faith outbids the world, and so makes the soul victorious. The world set honors, pleasures, etc., before Moses—but his faith outbid the world. Faith presents the recompense of reward, it brings down all the glory, pleasures, and treasures of heaven, of the eternal world, and sets them before the soul; and so it overtops and overcomes the world by outbidding it.

Faith overcomes the world, by telling the soul that all things are its own. Says faith—This God is your God, this Christ is your Christ, this righteousness is your righteousness, this promise is your promise, this crown is your crown, this glory is your glory, these treasures are your treasures, these pleasures are your pleasures. "All things are yours," says the apostle, "things present are yours, and things to come are yours," 1 Cor. 3:22. Thus the faith of the martyrs acted, and so made them victorious over a tempting and a persecuting world, Heb. 11:35.

Faith overcomes the world, by valuing the things of this world as they are. Most men over-value them, they put too great a price upon them; they make the world an idol, and then they cry, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" Oh but faith now gives all things their correct value; faith presents all worldly things as impotent, as mixed, as mutable, as momentary—in comparison with the soul, and so makes the soul victorious. Faith makes a man to see the prickles which are on every rose, the thorns which are in every crown, the scabs which are under every royal robe, the poison which is in the golden cup, the snare which is in the delicious dish, the spot which is in the shining pearl—and so makes a Christian count and call all these things, as indeed they are, "vanity of vanities!" And so the believing soul slights the world, and tramples upon it as dirt and dross.

Faith overcomes the world, by presenting Jesus Christ to the soul as a most excellent, glorious, and comprehensive good, as such a good which comprehends all good. Christ is that one good which comprehends all good; that one excellency which comprehends all excellencies. All the beauties, all the rarities, all the excellencies, all the riches, all the glories of all created creatures—are comprehended in Christ. As the worth and value of many pieces of copper are less than one precious jewel; so all the whole volume of perfections which is spread through heaven and earth, is epitomized in Christ; and the sight and sense of this makes the soul to triumph over the world. Faith presents more excellencies and better excellencies in Christ, than can be lost for Christ, and so it makes the soul a conqueror.

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Your unworthiness and unfitness

The apostle Paul tells you of some monstrous miscreants who were unrighteous, fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners; and yet these monsters of mankind, through the infinite goodness and free grace of God, are washed from the filth and guilt of their sins, and justified by the righteousness of Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ, and decked and adorned with the precious graces of Christ, 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Therefore do not say, O despairing soul, that you shall die in your sins, and lie down at last in everlasting sorrow. Did it make for the honor and glory of His free grace to pardon them, and will it be a reproach to His free grace to pardon you? Could God be just in justifying such ungodly ones, and shall He be unjust in justifying of you? Did not their unworthiness and unfitness for mercy turn the stream of mercy from them? No! Why then, O despairing soul, should you fear that your unworthiness and unfitness for mercy will so stop and turn the stream of mercy, as that you must perish eternally for lack of one drop of special grace and mercy?

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The only ground of God's love

The Lord Jesus Christ is a gift of free grace. Christ is the greatest, the sweetest, the choicest, the chief gift which God ever gave; and yet this gift is given by a hand of love. The only ground of God's love is His love. The ground of God's love is only and wholly in Himself. There is neither portion nor proportion in us to draw His love. There is no love nor loveliness in us that should cause a beam of His love to shine upon us. There is that enmity, that filthiness, that treacherousness, that unfaithfulness, to be found in every man's bosom, which might justly put God upon glorifying himself in their eternal ruin, and to write their names in His black book in characters of blood and wrath.

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Matchless and incomparable riches of free grace

God will have all blessings and happiness to flow from His free grace:

(1.) that the worst of sinners may have strong grounds for hope and comfort;

(2.) for the praise of His own glory;

(3.) that vain man may not boast;

(4.) that our mercies and blessings may be sure to us.

Truly, seeing all happiness and blessedness comes in a way of free grace, and not in a way of doing, not in a way of works, you should arise, O despairing souls! and cast off all despairing thoughts, and drink of the waters of life freely, Rev. 21:6; Rev. 22:18. What though your heart is dead, and hard, and sad; what though your sins be many, and your fears great. Yet behold! Here is glorious grace, rich grace, wondrous grace, matchless and incomparable riches of free grace spread before you.

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A precious book

As every precious gem-stone has a rich virtue in it, so has every promise. The promises are a precious book, every leaf drops myrrh and mercy; and upon these precious promises, precious faith looks and lives. From these breasts, faith sucks comfort and sweetness. Psalm 119:49-50, "Remember Your word (that is, your promise) unto Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has quickened me." It would be an endless thing to show you how the faith of the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and other saints has been acted and exercised upon promises of sanctification, upon promises of justification, upon promises of salvation, upon promises of glorification, upon promises of protection, upon promises for direction, upon promises for support, etc. Look! as the lamp lives upon the oil, and the child upon the breasts, so does faith upon the promises.

In your looking upon the promises, mind most, eye most, spiritual promises, absolute promises. These spiritual and absolute promises are of nearest and greatest concernment to you; these carry in them most of the heart of Christ, the love of Christ, the goodwill of Christ; these are of greatest use to satisfy you, and to settle you when you are wavering; to support you when you are falling; to recover you when you are wandering; to comfort you when you are fainting; to counsel you when you are staggering, etc. Therefore make these your choicest and your chief companions; especially when it is night within your souls; when you are sensible of much sin and but a little grace; of much corruption but of little consolation; of much deadness but of little quickness; of much hardness but of little tenderness; of many fears and but a little faith. O beloved, there is much marrow and fatness, there is much honey and sweetness, much grace and glory wrapped up in the promises. Oh press them, and squeeze them until you have obtained all the riches and sweetness which is in them.

Ah, Christians! did you but do this, God would be more honored, the promises more prized, your graces more strengthened, your fears more abated, your hearts more warmed and engaged, and your lives more regulated, and Satan more easily and frequently vanquished.

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Faith realizes eternal realities

Faith should set and fix upon that glory, blessedness, and life, which God has laid up for those who love Him. The things of eternity are the greatest things, they are the most excellent things. They are most excellent in their natures, in their causes, in their operations, in their effects, in their ends; and upon these faith looks and lives. Faith realizes eternal realities; it makes absent things present. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," Heb. 11:1. Faith makes absent glory present, absent riches present, absent pleasures present, absent favors present. Faith brings an invisible God, and sets Him before the soul. Moses by faith saw Him who was invisible. Faith brings down the recompense of reward, and sets it really though spiritually before the soul. Faith sets divine favor before the soul. It sets peace with God, it sets pardon of sin, it sets the righteousness of Christ, it sets the joy of heaven, it sets salvation, before the soul; it makes all these things very near and obvious to the soul.

Faith makes invisible things, visible; absent things, present; things which are afar off, to be very near unto the soul. Faith trades in invisible things, in eternal things. Its eye is always upwards, like the fish uranoscopos, which has but one eye, and yet looks continually up to heaven.

Faith enters within the veil, and fixes her eye upon those glorious things of eternity, which are so many that they exceed number, so great that they exceed measure, so precious that they are above all estimation. Says faith, "The spangled skies are but the footstool of my Father's house; and if the footstool, the outside, is so glorious, oh how glorious is His throne! Truly, in heaven there is that life which cannot be expressed, that light which cannot be comprehended, that joy which cannot be fathomed, that sweetness which cannot be dissipated, that feast which cannot be consumed; and upon these pearls of glory I look and live!"

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Saving faith

Saving faith puts the soul upon grieving for sin, upon combating with sin, upon weeping over sin, upon trembling at the occasions of sin, upon resisting temptations that lead to sin, upon fighting it out to the death with sin, Zech. 12:10. Saving faith puts a man upon walking with God, upon waiting on God, upon working for God, upon wrestling with God, upon bearing for God, and upon parting with anything for God. Faith makes pious duties to be easy to the soul, to be delightful to the soul, to be profitable to the soul. Faith makes the soul to be serious and conscientious in doing, to be careful and faithful in doing, to be delightful and cheerful in doing, to be diligent and faithful in doing.

That faith which is not a working faith is not saving faith; that faith which is not a working faith is a dead faith; that faith which is not a working faith is a deluding faith; that faith which is not a working faith is a worthless faith; that faith that is not a working faith will leave a man short of heaven and happiness in the latter day.

That faith which accompanies salvation is a working faith, a lively faith, and not such a dead faith as most please and deceive themselves with forever.

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True repentance

True repentance works a change in the whole man; in all the qualities of the INWARD man, and in all the actions of the OUTWARD man. The understanding is turned from darkness to light; the will from a sinful servility to a holy liberty; the affections from disorder into order; the heart from hardness into softness. Likewise in the outward man, the lustful eye is turned into an eye of chastity; the wanton ear is turned into an obedient ear; the hands of thievery are turned into hands of liberality; and the wandering feet of vanity are turned into ways of purity.

That repentance which changes a man in only some part—but not in every part; which only makes a man a Herod, or an Agrippa, a half Christian, an almost Christian—that repentance will never bring down heaven into a man's bosom here, nor never bring a man up to heaven hereafter!

True repentance is a total turning, as well as a universal turning, from all sin, without any reservation or exception. "I hate and abhor every false way—but I love Your law," Psalm 119:163. So in Ezek. 18:30, "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, everyone according to his ways, says the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions. Just so, iniquity shall not be your ruin." So in Ezek. 33:11.

Ezek. 14:6, "Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God, Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations." He who looks upon both God, and at the same time looks upon any sin with a leering eye, has not yet reached unto true repentance; his repentance and profession cannot secure him from double damnation. He who serves God in some things, and his lusts in other things, says to God as David said to Mephibosheth concerning his lands, "You and Ziba divide the lands," 2 Sam. 19:29. Just so, you and Satan divide my soul, my heart between you. Ah! does not such a soul deserve a double hell?


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 2007/2/6 12:51Profile
hmmhmm
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Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
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 Re: Choice selections from Thomas Brooks

i just wanted to *bump* this up, so that more people can read this dear saints writings that is very good reading for any child of god,

even thou its quite long, it is well spent time reading.


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 2007/2/7 6:52Profile





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