The One Chart Unto Eternity

You send the Bible to the ignorant and destitute, you carry it to every cottage and waft it to every country, and thanks to God that you do so. But to what extent is it studied in your churches, read in your families, taught to your children? There is no surer evidence of living without God in the world than living without intimate communion with the Bible. Who that does not mean to remain in impenetrable obduracy, who that does not form the deliberate resolve to close every avenue to the divine influence, that is not prepared to plunge the dagger of the second death into his own bosom; can live in the neglect of these Scriptures of God? And if you believe them, and understand them, will you refuse them the submission of your heart and your everlasting obedience? Do you accredit the stupendous truths contained in this volume, and shall they awaken no deep interest, and urge you to no solemn preparation for your last account?

There is not one among those who will not prove a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death. What can we add more to this searching, solemn appeal to you who are living in a wilful neglect of that Book which tells you of life in this world, and out of which you will be judged in the world which is to come?

Disbelieve, or neglect the Word of God, and you reject the only chart to eternity.

The Precious Things of God

The Son Drinks Our Judgement

Divine holiness is best exhibited in the cross of Jesus. Not hell itself, as dreadful and eternal as is its suffering — the undying worm, the unquenchable fire, the smoke of the torment that goes up forever and ever — affords such a solemn and impressive spectacle of the holiness and justice of God in the punishment of sin — as is presented in the death of God’s beloved Son!

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September 15: The Rocky & Peaceful Shores

“That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil; where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.” Hebrews 6:17-19

THE hope of heaven fostered by an unrenewed mind is baseless and illusory. There exists not a single element of goodness in its nature. It is the conception of a mind at enmity with God. It is the delusion of a heart in covenant with death, and in agreement with hell. It is the treacherous beacon that decoys the too confiding but deluded voyager to the rock-bound shore. Unscriptural, unreal, and baseless, it must eventually cover its possessor with shame and confusion of face.

But not such is the believer’s hope. Begotten with his second nature—the in-breathing of the Spirit of God—an element of renewed mind, and based upon the atonement of the Savior, it must be essentially a good hope. Cleansed from moral impurity, not in the laver of baptism, but with the blood of Christ; justified, not by the ritual of Moses, but by the righteousness of the incarnate God; sanctified, not by sacramental grace, falsely so called, but by the in-being of the Holy Spirit—the believer’s hope of heaven is as well founded as the throne of the Eternal.

Moreover it is “a good hope through grace.” The first and the last lesson we learn in our Christian course is, that “by grace we are saved.” Lord! do You require of me one thought of stainless purity, one throb of perfect love, one deed of unsullied holiness, upon which shall hinge my everlasting happiness? Then am I lost forever!

But since You have provided a righteousness that justifies me from all things, that frees me from all condemnation—and since this righteousness is Your free, unpurchased gift, the bestowment of sovereign grace—I clasp to my trembling yet believing heart the joyous hope this truth inspires. It is a blessed hope. “Looking for that blessed hope.”

Its object is most blessed. The heaven it compasses is that blissful place where the holy ones who have fled from our embrace are reposing in the bosom of the Savior. They are the blessed dead. The day of their death was to them better than the day of their birth. The one was the introduction to all sorrow, the other is a translation to all joy. Blessed hope! the hope of being forever with the Lord.

No more to grieve the Spirit that so often and so soothingly comforted our hearts; no more to wound the gentle bosom that so often pillowed our head. No more to journey in darkness, nor bend as a bruised reed before each blast of temptation. To be a pillar in the temple of God, to go no more out forever. And what a sanctifying hope is it! This, to the spiritual mind, is its most acceptable and elevating feature. “Every man that has this hope in him purifies himself even as He is pure.” It detaches from earth, and allures to heaven. Never does it glow more brightly in the soul, nor kindle around the path a luster more heavenly, than when it strengthens in the believer a growing conformity of character to that heaven towards which it soars. It is, in a word, a sure hope.

Shall the worm undermine it? shall the tempest shake it? shall the waters extinguish it? Never. It saves us. It keeps, preserves, and sustains us amid the perils and depressions of our earthly pilgrimage. And having borne us through the flood, it will not fail us when the last surge lands us upon the shore of eternity.

The Brink Of Ruin, Hell, And Damnation

Your studies of literature, your pleasures of taste, your pursuit of gain, your toil of ambition- those splendid impertinence, those cruel mockeries, those heartless soul-murderers of the present time; stifle in your heart all feeling, and annihilate in your mind all thought that you are an accountable steward, a moral agent, a deathless being; and that soon, yes, in one moment, your soul may be in eternity- standing agitated, trembling and speechless, before the tribunal of God! Yearning for your salvation, let me with the tenderest affection and the deepest solemnity plead with you for your life.

Continue reading “The Brink Of Ruin, Hell, And Damnation”

April 16: The School Of The Law

“The law was our school-master to bring us unto Christ.” Galatians 3:24

In the school of the law, the first and the grand lesson which the sinner learns is his sin, his curse, and his condemnation. There he is convinced of his vileness, convicted of his guilt, and learns his poverty, helplessness, and hell-deserving. All the fond conceit of his own worthiness, strength, and fitness, vanishes as a vapor, and he sees himself in the power, under the curse, and exposed to the tremendous condemnation of God’s righteous, broken, avenging law.

Thus convicted in the very act of his rebellion against God, he is brought, like a felon, into the presence of Jesus. There he stands, pale and trembling, his witnesses many and loud, while his own awakened conscience pleads guilty to the charge.

Are you that soul, dear reader? Has the law arrested and brought you within Christ’s court? Oh, you never were in such a position before- so new, so strange, so blessed! It may be, you never felt yourself so near hell as now, under the sentence of God’s law; but you never were so near heaven as now, in the presence of Jesus. You are now in that court where justice to the fullest is honored, and where mercy to its utmost is extended. You are in Christ’s court, at Christ’s bar- awaiting the sentence of Him who was made under that law, fulfilled its precepts, and endured its penalty to the uttermost.

You are in the presence of Him who came to deliver sinners from its curse and woe, and to raise them far above the reach of all condemnation. Never were you so sensible of your guilt and ruin as now, yet never were you so near the fountain that cleanses from all sin, or so close to Him who was pierced to shelter the vilest of the vile. Your judge is your Savior. He who sits upon that throne is He who hung upon the cross. You are arraigned in the presence and are thrown upon the mercy of Him, the delight of whose heart, and the glory of whose character, it is to save sinners; whose love for them induced Him to screen His glory, and to appear in humiliation- to suffer, bleed, and die.

You are in the presence of Him who, though He has ascended on high, and is now glorified with the glory “he had with the Father before the world was,” is yet engaged in securing the precious fruits of His soul’s travail.
Look up, poor soul! for “your redemption draws near.”

Never yet did he allow a sin-accused, self-condemned sinner, to go out of this court unblessed, unsaved.

April 3: What Are You Sowing?

“Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:7-8

It is a self-evident truth, that there can be no harvest where no seed has been sown. But the fact that there is coming a moral harvest in each individual life- a future reaping of present sowing- is a truth equally demonstrable. The life that now is, is the seed-time of a life that is to come. The future of human destiny derives all its complexion and its form from the present of human character.

The spring does not more certainly deepen into summer- nor the summer fade into autumn- nor the autumn pale into winter- nor the winter bloom again into spring, than does our present probation merge into our future destiny, carrying with it its fixed principles, its unchanged habits, and its tremendous account.

And what, my dear reader, are you sowing? I wish this question to have all the earnestness and force of a personal appeal. With what seed, again I ask, are you sowing for the future? If you are unconverted, nothing is more true than that you are sowing to the flesh! You may be rigidly moral, deeply intellectual, profoundly learned, exquisitely refined, outwardly religious, generous, and amiable, and yet all the while you are but sowing to the flesh, and not to the Spirit. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” and nothing but flesh. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” it is spiritual and divine, heavenly and holy; and, what is more, it is imperishable.

No lowly seed of divine truth, or grace, love, or service, sown in this present life of suffering and toil, shall ever be lost. All other things shall perish- the world with its loveliness and love, the “lust, of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,” all shall pass away and vanish; but not one seed of grace implanted in the heart of man by the Holy Spirit shall ever perish. The Divine image once restored to the soul shall never more be obliterated. Nothing done by Jesus, or for Jesus- no sin laid down, no cross taken up, no holiness cultivated, no labor wrought, no service done, no cup of cold water given- nothing, the fruit of love to God and of faith in Jesus Christ, shall ever be lost.

Oh, who does not earnestly desire that in his heart and life may be sowing the good incorruptible seed, that shall, though long buried and concealed, yield a golden harvest of future joy, bliss, and glory?

October 30

“Our lamps are gone out.” Matthew 25:8

THERE are two periods of awful solemnity, which will be found utterly to extinguish the mere lamp of a Christian profession. Will you follow me, reader, to the dying-bed of a false professor. It is an awful place! It is an affecting spectacle! No hope of glory sheds its brightness around his pillow. There is no anchor within the veil, to which the soul now clings in its wrenchings from the body. No Divine voice whispers, in cheering, soothing accents, “Fear not, for I am with you.” No light is thrown in upon the dark valley as its gate opens, and the spirit enters. Coldness is on his brow, earth recedes, eternity nears, the vault damps ascend and thicken around the parting spirit, and the last wail of despair breaks from the quivering lip, “My lamp is going out.” And so will it be when the Son of man comes.

This great event will fix unchangeably the destiny of each individual of the human race. It will break like the loud artillery of heaven upon a slumbering Church and a careless world. It will find the true saints with “oil in their vessels with their lamps,” though in an unwatchful state. It will come upon the nominal professor, grasping firmly his lamp of profession, but utterly destitute of the oil of grace, and in a state of as little expectation of, as preparedness for, the advent of the Lord. And it will overtake and surprise the ungodly world as the flood did in the days of Noah, and the fire in the days of Lot—”They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage; they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and until the same day that Lot went out of Sodom.” “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”

The true saints will arouse from their slumber—the spirit of slothfulness and lethargy into which they had fallen—and trimming their lamps by a fresh exercise of faith in Jesus, will go forth as the “children of the light,” to welcome their approaching Lord. False professors, too, startled by the cry which breaks upon the awful stillness of midnight—solemn as the archangel’s trumpet—will eagerly feel for their lamps—their evidences of acceptance based upon an outward profession of the gospel—when lo! to their surprise and consternation, they find themselves destitute of one drop of oil with which to feed the flickering, waning flame, and they exclaim in despair, “Our lamps are going out!” And now the intellectual light goes out, and the moral light goes out, and the professing light goes out, and the official light goes out; and while they have fled to human sources to procure the grace they needed—their backs being thus then turned upon Christ—the “Bridegroom comes; and those who are ready go in with Him to the marriage, and the door is shut.” They return with what they suppose the needed evidences, but now they learn—oh that they should have learned it too late!—that to have had a professing name to live—to have outwardly put on Christ by baptism—to have united externally with the Church of God—to have partaken of the Lord’s Supper—to have promoted His truth, and to have furthered His cause—to have preached His gospel, and even to have won converts to the faith, will avail nothing—alone and apart from union to Jesus by the Spirit—in obtaining admittance to the marriage supper of the Lamb. “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” In view of such a catastrophe, oh, how poor, contemptible, and insignificant appears everything, however splendid in intellect, beautiful in morals, or costly in sacrifice, save the humble consciousness of having Christ in the heart the hope of glory.

Spiritual Death

My dear reader, how can we close, our eyes to the solemn fact that spiritual death meets us at every turn? The world is one vast charnel house- a universal cemetery, well-near every dwelling represents a tomb, well-near every individual a corpse. This the Word of God most clearly affirms: “You has He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” This is not a figure of speech, nor a flower of rhetoric, but it is the declaration of a solemn fact- the description of a real state. The natural world is in a state of spiritual death. Our Lord alludes to this- A disciple came to hint and said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.” What does Jesus say? “Let the dead bury their dead.” That is, let those who are unconverted, or spiritually dead, perform that which is in harmony with their own nature.

In John 6 our Lord refers to this truth, “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, you have no life in you.” Does the natural man eat the flesh of the Son of man? Does the world live on Christ? No, the natural mind hates that which is spiritual. It lives on the pleasures and pursuits of the world. It is a stranger to the blood and flesh of Christ, consequently there is no spiritual life in it. Oh, what an awful state is that of every unconverted man and woman who ponders this page! Those who live in pleasure are dead while they live. Sometimes your natural conscience seems alarmed, but the world comes in- your business, your family, your pleasures enter, and everything that did seem to have the semblance of life vanishes. You are dead to prayer, dead to faith, dead to love, dead to a life of holiness, and, your present death is but the prelude to that death that never, never dies.

The Man of God