Agates

Translucent Wonder:  Agate

Translucent Wonder: Agate (Photo credit: cobalt123)

Morning

“Salt without prescribing how much.” Ezra 7:22

Salt was used in every offering made by fire unto the Lord, and from its preserving and purifying properties it was the grateful emblem of divine grace in the soul. It is worthy of our attentive regard that, when Artaxerxes gave salt to Ezra the priest, he set no limit to the quantity, and we may be quite certain that when the King of kings distributes grace among his royal priesthood, the supply is not cut short by him. Often are we straitened in ourselves, but never in the Lord. He who chooses to gather much manna will find that he may have as much as he desires. There is no such famine in Jerusalem that the citizens should eat their bread by weight and drink their water by measure. Some things in the economy of grace are measured; for instance our vinegar and gall are given us with such exactness that we never have a single drop too much, but of the salt of grace no stint is made, “Ask what thou wilt and it shall be given unto thee.” Parents need to lock up the fruit cupboard, and the sweet jars, but there is no need to keep the salt-box under lock and key, for few children will eat too greedily from that. A man may have too much money, or too much honour, but he cannot have too much grace. When Jeshurun waxed fat in the flesh, he kicked against God, but there is no fear of a man’s becoming too full of grace: a plethora of grace is impossible. More wealth brings more care, but more grace brings more joy. Increased wisdom is increased sorrow, but abundance of the Spirit is fulness of joy. Believer, go to the throne for a large supply of heavenly salt. It will season thine afflictions, which are unsavoury without salt; it will preserve thy heart which corrupts if salt be absent, and it will kill thy sins even as salt kills reptiles. Thou needest much; seek much, and have much.

Evening

English: Chalcedony (Var.: Agate) :: Locality:...

English: Chalcedony (Var.: Agate) :: Locality: Chihuahua, Mexico (Locality at mindat.org) :: Size: 5.2 x 2.4 x 1.4 cm. :: Some agate varieties are prized by collectors, as are these Mexican agates. This is a fine specimen showing excellent color and banding. Deutsch: Chalcedon (Var.: Achat) :: Fundort: Chihuahua , Mexiko (Fundort bei mindat.org) :: Größe: 5.2 x 2.4 x 1.4 cm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

EVENING

“I will make thy windows of agates.” Isaiah 54:12

The church is most instructively symbolized by a building erected by heavenly power, and designed by divine skill. Such a spiritual house must not be dark, for the Israelites had light in their dwellings; there must therefore be windows to let the light in and to allow the inhabitants to gaze abroad. These windows are precious as agates: the ways in which the church beholds her Lord and heaven, and spiritual truth in general, are to be had in the highest esteem. Agates are not the most transparent of gems, they are but semi-pellucid at the best:

“Our knowledge of that life is small,

Our eye of faith is dim.”

Faith is one of these precious agate windows, but alas! it is often so misty and beclouded, that we see but darkly, and mistake much that we do see. Yet if we cannot gaze through windows of diamonds and know even as we are known, it is a glorious thing to behold the altogether lovely One, even though the glass be hazy as the agate. Experience is another of these dim but precious windows, yielding to us a subdued religious light, in which we see the sufferings of the Man of Sorrows, through our own afflictions. Our weak eyes could not endure windows of transparent glass to let in the Master’s glory, but when they are dimmed with weeping, the beams of the Sun of Righteousness are tempered, and shine through the windows of agate with a soft radiance inexpressibly soothing to tempted souls. Sanctification, as it conforms us to our Lord, is another agate window. Only as we become heavenly can we comprehend heavenly things. The pure in heart see a pure God. Those who are like Jesus see him as he is. Because we are so little like him, the window is but agate; because we are somewhat like him, it is agate. We thank God for what we have, and long for more. When shall we see God and Jesus, and heaven and truth, face to face?

All rights belong to the collection of Charles Spurgeon(C)

 

This mission includes intercession

Morning

“The branch cannot bear fruit of itself.” John 15:4

How did you begin to bear fruit? It was when you came to Jesus and cast yourselves on his great atonement, and rested on his finished righteousness. Ah! what fruit you had then! Do you remember those early days? Then indeed the vine flourished, the tender grape appeared, the pomegranates budded forth, and the beds of spices gave forth their smell. Have you declined since then? If you have, we charge you to remember that time of love, and repent, and do thy first works. Be most in those engagements which you have experimentally proved to draw you nearest to Christ, because it is from him that all your fruits proceed. Any holy exercise which will bring you to him will help you to bear fruit. The sun is, no doubt, a great worker in fruit-creating among the trees of the orchard: and Jesus is still more so among the trees of his garden of grace. When have you been the most fruitless? Has not it been when you have lived farthest from the Lord Jesus Christ, when you have slackened in prayer, when you have departed from the simplicity of your faith, when your graces have engrossed your attention instead of your Lord, when you have said, “My mountain standeth firm, I shall never be moved”; and have forgotten where your strength dwells–has not it been then that your fruit has ceased? Some of us have been taught that we have nothing out of Christ, by terrible abasements of heart before the Lord; and when we have seen the utter barrenness and death of all creature power, we have cried in anguish, “From him all my fruit must be found, for no fruit can ever come from me.” We are taught, by past experience, that the more simply we depend upon the grace of God in Christ, and wait upon the Holy Spirit, the more we shall bring forth fruit unto God. Oh! to trust Jesus for fruit as well as for life.

Evening

“Men ought always to pray.” Luke 18:1

If men ought always to pray and not to faint, much more Christian men. Jesus has sent his church into the world on the same errand upon which he himself came, and this mission includes intercession. What if I say that the church is the world’s priest? Creation is dumb, but the church is to find a mouth for it. It is the church’s high privilege to pray with acceptance. The door of grace is always open for her petitions, and they never return empty-handed. The veil was rent for her, the blood was sprinkled upon the altar for her, God constantly invites her to ask what she wills. Will she refuse the privilege which angels might envy her? Is she not the bride of Christ? May she not go in unto her King at every hour? Shall she allow the precious privilege to be unused? The church always has need for prayer. There are always some in her midst who are declining, or falling into open sin. There are lambs to be prayed for, that they may be carried in Christ’s bosom? the strong, lest they grow presumptuous; and the weak, lest they become despairing. If we kept up prayer-meetings four-and-twenty hours in the day, all the days in the year, we might never be without a special subject for supplication. Are we ever without the sick and the poor, the afflicted and the wavering? Are we ever without those who seek the conversion of relatives, the reclaiming of back-sliders, or the salvation of the depraved? Nay, with congregations constantly gathering, with ministers always preaching, with millions of sinners lying dead in trespasses and sins; in a country over which the darkness of Romanism is certainly descending; in a world full of idols, cruelties, devilries, if the church doth not pray, how shall she excuse her base neglect of the commission of her loving Lord? Let the church be constant in supplication, let every private believer cast his mite of prayer into the treasury.

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Holy Spirit Gives Us Grace and Works In Us

The Spirit of Grace

    RED ROCKS MORRISON CO 10 2013

James Smith, 1864

    “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem  the Spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one     they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only     child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”     Zechariah 12:10

Grace is one of the most beautiful words in God‘s Book. The very sound of it is musical to the believer who understands     it. It just meets our case, for it tells us that God is inclined to be favorable unto us; more, that he is prepared to shower down the richest blessings upon us; and that what he gives — he gives freely, from the love of his own heart.

Grace is favor shown to the unworthy, without any  cause or reason — but what is found in God’s own bosom. Grace never looks outside of itself for a motive — but is its own motive. It dwells in all its     fullness in Jesus, and is the glory of the gospel scheme. But we are not  going to dwell upon grace itself — but to fix the eye upon the Holy  Spirit, as called, “the Spirit of grace.”

The Spirit is the gift of God’s grace — one of  it’s greatest gifts. Indeed, it has no greater. Grace gave Jesus, and it     gives the Holy Spirit; these gifts are equal in value and importance, as     they are equal in nature, power, and glory. Without Jesus, we could have no deliverance from wrath, or title to Heaven; and without the Holy Spirit, we     would never realize deliverance, or be made fit for glory. The Father     promised the Spirit to his Son, and the Son bestows the Spirit upon his     church, and makes us new creatures in Christ Jesus. The Father laid up our  fortune in Jesus; Jesus has preserved for us all that the Father entrusted to him; but it is the Holy Spirit who makes known to us — the wealth which our heavenly Father has laid up for us, and conveys the foretastes and     pledges of it into our souls. Holy and blessed Spirit, daily bring down into our souls fresh and fuller supplies of grace from the Father and the Son!

The Holy Spirit produces all our graces within us.  He is the root — and our graces are his fruits; hence we read, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness,     faith, meekness, temperance.” If we believe, it is through grace. If     we love, it is because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts     by the Holy Spirit. If we rejoice, it is in consequence of his revealing and applying the truth to our souls. When his influence is put forth within us — then we . . .     believe God’s word,  hope in his mercy, rejoice in his goodness, cleave to his cause,  walk in his ways, love his truth, his people, and himself, holiness is then happiness, duties are then pleasant, and even the cross lays light upon our shoulders.

But if the Spirit hides Himself, withdraws His  influences, and leaves us to ourselves — then we . . .     doubt and fear, fret and pine,  kick and rebel, rove from thing to thing, and  nothing will either please or satisfy us.

We often . . .     question the past,     are wretched at present,     and dread the future.

But when he puts forth his power in us again . . .     our graces shoot forth like bulbous roots in the spring,     our sighs are exchanged for songs, our fears are exchanged for fortitude, our doubts are exchanged for confidence, and our murmurings are exchanged for gratitude and love.

We then . . . sink into the dust of self-abasement, admire the forbearance and longsuffering of God,     condemn our own conduct, and wonder that we are out of Hell.

Then we take down our harps from the willows, and with a melting heart, a weeping eye, and a tremulous voice we sing, “The winter is     past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season     of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree  forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.” Our     wilderness is now turned into an Eden, and our desert into the garden of the Lord. Come, Holy Spirit, come, and produce a spring season in     our souls, for, with the church of old, we cry, “Turn us again, O Lord God  Almighty; cause your face to shine, and we shall be saved.”

The Holy Spirit is, emphatically, the gracious Spirit.     All that he does for us, and all that he works within us — is of grace. His grace is his glory, and he glories in his grace. We may obtain his presence,     and receive his blessing in answer to prayer — but we can never deserve either, nor can we by any works we perform merit them. He graciously . . .     quickens the dead, instructs the ignorant,     liberates the captives,     restores the wanderers,   comforts the dejected,     strengthens the weak and sanctifies the impure.     His work is his delight, and to see us holy and happy his pleasure!

Nothing grieves him like neglect, indifference, and going back to the beggarly elements of this present world. Such conduct  wounds his loving heart, grieves his kind and tender nature; hence it was     said of Israel: “They vexed and grieved his Holy Spirit.” And the apostle exhorts us: “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.”

Brethren, we need the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of grace–to make us gracious and graceful Christians. Without     the Spirit of grace . . .    we cannot live up to our profession;  we cannot copy the example of our beloved Master;  we cannot keep His commandments; we cannot love one another as He has loved us;       we cannot sympathize with lost sinners as we should;  we cannot keep God’s glory in view in all that we do;  we cannot walk in high and holy fellowship with God;  we cannot meet death with peace and joy!

Let us look up, therefore, to our heavenly Father, let us  plead his precious promises, let us go in the name of the Lord Jesus, and let us entreat him to give us more of “the Spirit of grace.” He is not backward to bestow — if we are willing to receive. He will not refuse to listen to us — if we are earnest, hearty, and importunate. He will grant us the blessing — if we seek it as that which is essential to our holiness and happiness, and to his honor and praise. His word warrants us to expect that  he will give his Holy Spirit to those who ask him. (Luke 11:13). His nature and his name, encourage us to persevere in our application to his throne, until we receive. Oh, For Jacob’s spirit — that we may wrestle until we prevail! Oh, for David’s power with God — that a messenger may be caused to fly very swiftly, to assure us that our prayer is heard! Oh, for the     faith and fervor of the first Christians — that we may be all filled with the Holy Spirit and with power! Oh, for the fullness of “the Spirit of     grace,” to be poured out upon every member of the one church of Jesus, that we may all love each other, and endeavor, by all possible means, to glorify his glorious name!

green_rain

The work of the Holy Spirit (James Smith, “Rills from the Rock of Ages”, 1860)

I love to meditate on the work of the Holy Spirit, to whom we are so much indebted, and from whom we receive such great and invaluable blessings. To Him, I feel that I am indebted, for every good thought, and for every good work.  How wonderful His patience — that He should bear with me so long; and how wonderful His loving-kindness — that He  should confer on me so much! O that I was more  deeply sensible of my obligations!

It was the Holy Spirit who quickened me when I was dead in trespasses and sins — imparting a new life,            infusing new thoughts, and producing new desires in my soul.

Having quickened me, He conquered me — subduing the enmity of my heart, the obstinacy of my will, the worldliness of my affections — and bringing every thought into subjection to the obedience of Christ.

Having quickened and conquered me, He comforted me, assuring me of a saving interest in — the love of God, the perfect work of Jesus, the precious promises of the Word, and the eternal rest which remains for the people of God.

Having quickened, conquered, and comforted me, He sanctified me — separating me from the world, and setting me apart for my  Redeemer’s glory and praise.

As my Sanctifier, He became my Guide — leading me into the truth, conducting me out of the paths of danger, and directing me   into the everlasting way.

Not only my guide, but He became my Guard — preserving me from danger, protecting me from  foes, and becoming a wall of fire round about me.

Whenever I wander — He reproves me; when I willfully go astray — He corrects me, and makes me smart for my folly.

The work He began so long ago — He carries on, nor will He withdraw His hand from it, until it is perfected, and I am fully fitted for glory.

Reader, what do you experimentally know of the work of the Holy Spirit? Has He quickened you? Has He conquered          you? Does He comfort you? Are you sanctified by His presence, power, and operation in your heart? Does He . . .   guide you by His counsel,  guard you by His power, and   correct you for your follies?

The work of the Spirit within  us — is as necessary as the work of Jesus for us!  For if the atonement of Christ entitles us to glory — it is the work of the Holy Spirit that prepares us to  possess and enjoy it. We must be washed, justified, and sanctified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit  of God — or we cannot be saved!

GRACE ABOUNDS

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“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20)

WHAT ARE WE AT?

HEARD A STORY; I think it came from the North Country: A minister called upon a poor woman, intending to give her help; for he knew that she was very poor. With his money in his hand, he knocked at the door; but she did not answer. He concluded she was not at home, and went his way. A little after he met her at the church, and told her that he had remembered her need: “I called at your house, and knocked several times, and I suppose you were not at home, for I had no answer.” “At what hour did you call, sir?” “It was about noon.” “Oh, dear,” she said, “I heard you, sir, and I am so sorry I did not answer; but I thought it was the man calling for the rent.” Many a poor woman knows what this meant. Now, it is my desire to be heard, and therefore I want to say that I am not calling for the rent; indeed, it is not the object of this book to ask anything of you, but to tell you that salvation is all of grace, which means, free, gratis, for nothing.     Oftentimes, when we are anxious to win attention, our hearer thinks, ” Ah! now I am going to be told my duty. It is the man calling for that which is due to God, and I am sure I have nothing wherewith to pay. I will not be at home.” No, this book does not come to make a demand upon you, but to bring you something. We are not going to talk about law, and duty, and punishment, but about love, and goodness, and forgiveness, and mercy, and eternal life. Do not, therefore, act as if you were not at home: do not turn a deaf ear, or a careless heart. I am asking nothing of you in the name of God or man. It is not my intent to make any requirement at your hands; but I come in God’s name, to bring you a free gift, which it shall be to your present and eternal joy to receive. Open the door, and let my pleadings enter. “Come now, and let us reason together.” The Lord himself invites you to a conference concerning your immediate and endless happiness, and He would not have done this if He did not mean well toward you. Do not refuse the Lord Jesus who knocks at your door; for He knocks with a hand which was nailed to the tree for such as you are. Since His only and sole object is your good, incline your ear and come to Him. Hearken diligently, and let the good word sink into your soul. It may be that the hour is come in which you shall enter upon that new life which is the beginning of heaven. Faith cometh by hearing, and reading is a sort of hearing: faith may come to you while you are reading this book. Why not? O blessed Spirit of all grace, make it so!

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Godly sorrow worketh repentance 2 Cor. 7:10

Morning

JOHN 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

JOHN 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Godly sorrow worketh repentance.” 2 Corinthians 7:10

Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature’s garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters, but penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred for sin, God must have given it thee, for human nature’s thorns never produced a single fig. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.”

True repentance has a distinct reference to the Saviour. When we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin and another upon the cross, or it will be better still if we fix both our eyes upon Christ and see our transgressions only, in the light of his love.

True sorrow for sin is eminently practical. No man may say he hates sin, if he lives in it. Repentance makes us see the evil of sin, not merely as a theory, but experimentally–as a burnt child dreads fire. We shall be as much afraid of it, as a man who has lately been stopped and robbed is afraid of the thief upon the highway; and we shall shun it–shun it in everything–not in great things only, but in little things, as men shun little vipers as well as great snakes. True mourning for sin will make us very jealous over our tongue, lest it should say a wrong word; we shall be very watchful over our daily actions, lest in anything we offend, and each night we shall close the day with painful confessions of shortcoming, and each morning awaken with anxious prayers, that this day God would hold us up that we may not sin against him.

Sincere repentance is continual. Believers repent until their dying day. This dropping well is not intermittent. Every other sorrow yields to time, but this dear sorrow grows with our growth, and it is so sweet a bitter, that we thank God we are permitted to enjoy and to suffer it until we enter our eternal rest.

Evening

English: Resurrection of Christ

English: Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Love is strong as death.” Song of Solomon 8:6

Whose love can this be which is as mighty as the conqueror of monarchs, the destroyer of the human race? Would it not sound like satire if it were applied to my poor, weak, and scarcely living love to Jesus my Lord? I do love him, and perhaps by his grace, I could even die for him, but as for my love in itself, it can scarcely endure a scoffing jest, much less a cruel death. Surely it is my Beloved’s love which is here spoken of–the love of Jesus, the matchless lover of souls. His love was indeed stronger than the most terrible death, for it endured the trial of the cross triumphantly. It was a lingering death, but love survived the torment; a shameful death, but love despised the shame; a penal death, but love bore our iniquities; a forsaken, lonely death, from which the eternal Father hid his face, but love endured the curse, and gloried over all. Never such love, never such death. It was a desperate duel, but love bore the palm. What then, my heart? Hast thou no emotions excited within thee at the contemplation of such heavenly affection? Yes, my Lord, I long, I pant to feel thy love flaming like a furnace within me. Come thou thyself and excite the ardour of my spirit.

“For every drop of crimson blood

Thus shed to make me live,

O wherefore, wherefore have not I

A thousand lives to give?”

Why should I despair of loving Jesus with a love as strong as death? He deserves it: I desire it. The martyrs felt such love, and they were but flesh and blood, then why not I? They mourned their weakness, and yet out of weakness were made strong. Grace gave them all their unflinching constancy–there is the same grace for me. Jesus, lover of my soul, shed abroad such love, even thy love in my heart, this evening

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June 24, 2014 Moral characteristics

Morning

“Ephraim is a cake not turned.”
Hosea 7:8

A cake not turned is uncooked on one side; and so Ephraim was, in many respects, untouched by divine grace: though there was some partial obedience, there was very much rebellion left. My soul, I charge thee, see whether this be thy case. Art thou thorough in the things of God? Has grace gone through the very centre of thy being so as to be felt in its divine operations in all thy powers, thy actions, thy words, and thy thoughts? To be sanctified, spirit, soul, and body, should be thine aim and prayer; and although sanctification may not be perfect in thee anywhere in degree, yet it must be universal in its action; there must not be the appearance of holiness in one place and reigning sin in another, else thou, too, wilt be a cake not turned.

A cake not turned is soon burnt on the side nearest the fire, and although no man can have too much religion, there are some who seem burnt black with bigoted zeal for that part of truth which they have received, or are charred to a cinder with a vainglorious Pharisaic ostentation of those religious performances which suit their humour. The assumed appearance of superior sanctity frequently accompanies a total absence of all vital godliness. The saint in public is a devil in private. He deals in flour by day and in soot by night. The cake which is burned on one side, is dough on the other.

If it be so with me, O Lord, turn me! Turn my unsanctified nature to the fire of thy love and let it feel the sacred glow, and let my burnt side cool a little while I learn my own weakness and want of heat when I am removed from thy heavenly flame. Let me not be found a double-minded man, but one entirely under the powerful influence of reigning grace; for well I know if I am left like a cake unturned, and am not on both sides the subject of thy grace, I must be consumed forever amid everlasting burnings.

Evening

“Waiting for the adoption.”
Romans 8:23

Even in this world saints are God’s children, but men cannot discover them to be so, except by certain moral characteristics. The adoption is not manifested, the children are not yet openly declared. Among the Romans a man might adopt a child, and keep it private for a long time: but there was a second adoption in public; when the child was brought before the constituted authorities its former garments were taken off, and the father who took it to be his child gave it raiment suitable to its new condition of life. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be.” We are not yet arrayed in the apparel which befits the royal family of heaven; we are wearing in this flesh and blood just what we wore as the sons of Adam; but we know that “when he shall appear” who is the “first-born among many brethren,” we shall be like him, we shall see him as he is. Cannot you imagine that a child taken from the lowest ranks of society, and adopted by a Roman senator, would say to himself, “I long for the day when I shall be publicly adopted. Then I shall leave off these plebeian garments, and be robed as becomes my senatorial rank”? Happy in what he has received, for that very reason he groans to get the fulness of what is promised him. So it is with us today. We are waiting till we shall put on our proper garments, and shall be manifested as the children of God. We are young nobles, and have not yet worn our coronets. We are young brides, and the marriage day is not yet come, and by the love our Spouse bears us, we are led to long and sigh for the bridal morning. Our very happiness makes us groan after more; our joy, like a swollen spring, longs to well up like an Iceland geyser, leaping to the skies, and it heaves and groans within our spirit for want of space and room by which to manifest itself to men.

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Charles Spurgeon-Morning and Evening 03-14-13

Fulfilled In Your Presence

Fulfilled In Your Presence

Morning

“Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
1 Corinthians 10:12

It is a curious fact, that there is such a thing as being proud of grace. A man says, “I have great faith, I shall not fall; poor little faith may, but I never shall.” “I have fervent love,” says another, “I can stand, there is no danger of my going astray.” He who boasts of grace has little grace to boast of. Some who do this imagine that their graces can keep them, knowing not that the stream must flow constantly from the fountain head, or else the brook will soon be dry. If a continuous stream of oil comes not to the lamp, though it burn brightly today, it will smoke to-morrow, and noxious will be its scent. Take heed that thou gloriest not in thy graces, but let all thy glorying and confidence be in Christ and his strength, for only so canst thou be kept from falling. Be much more in prayer. Spend longer time in holy adoration. Read the Scriptures more earnestly and constantly. Watch your lives more carefully. Live nearer to God. Take the best examples for your pattern. Let your conversation be redolent of heaven. Let your hearts be perfumed with affection for men’s souls. So live that men may take knowledge of you that you have been with Jesus, and have learned of him; and when that happy day shall come, when he whom you love shall say, “Come up higher,” may it be your happiness to hear him say, “Thou hast fought a good fight, thou hast finished thy course, and henceforth there is laid up for thee a crown of righteousness which fadeth not away.” On, Christian, with care and caution! On, with holy fear and trembling! On, with faith and confidence in Jesus alone, and let your constant petition be, “Uphold me according to thy word.” He is able, and he alone, “To keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”

Evening

“I will take heed to my ways.”
Psalm 39:1

Fellow-pilgrim, say not in your heart, “I will go hither and thither, and I shall not sin;” for you are never so out of danger of sinning as to boast of security. The road is very miry, it will be hard to pick your path so as not to soil your garments. This is a world of pitch; you will need to watch often, if in handling it you are to keep your hands clean. There is a robber at every turn of the road to rob you of your jewels; there is a temptation in every mercy; there is a snare in every joy; and if you ever reach heaven, it will be a miracle of divine grace to be ascribed entirely to your Father’s power. Be on your guard. When a man carries a bomb-shell in his hand, he should mind that he does not go near a candle; and you too must take care that you enter not into temptation. Even your common actions are edged tools; you must mind how you handle them. There is nothing in this world to foster a Christian’s piety, but everything to destroy it. How anxious should you be to look up to God, that he may keep you! Your prayer should be, “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.” Having prayed, you must also watch; guarding every thought, word, and action, with holy jealousy. Do not expose yourselves unnecessarily; but if called to exposure, if you are bidden to go where the darts are flying, never venture forth without your shield; for if once the devil finds you without your buckler, he will rejoice that his hour of triumph is come, and will soon make you fall down wounded by his arrows. Though slain you cannot be; wounded you may be. “Be sober; be vigilant, danger may be in an hour when all seemeth securest to thee.” Therefore, take heed to thy ways, and watch unto prayer. No man ever fell into error through being too watchful. May the Holy Spirit guide us in all our ways; so shall they always please the Lord.

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