A Cabinet of Choice Jewels, or,
A Box of Precious Ointment

By Thomas Brooks, 1669

CHOICE EXCERPTS


Blessed are the poor in spirit


"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the
 kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3

"Blessed are the poor in spirit;" that is—the broken and
humble in heart, who has no high thoughts or conceits of
himself—but is lowly in his own eyes, like a young child.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit;" that is—he who has no lofty
or puffed up spirit. The poor in spirit are those who are lowly,
being truly conscious of their own unworthiness. None are
poor in spirit—but the humble.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit;" that is—blessed are those
whose spirits are brought into such a humble gracious
frame, as willingly, quietly, and contentedly to lie down
in a poor low condition—when it is the pleasure of the
Lord to bring them into such a condition.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit;" that is—blessed are those
who are truly and sincerely sensible of their spiritual
needs, poverty, and misery.
They see an utter inability
and insufficiency in themselves, and in all other creatures
—to deliver them out of their sinful and miserable estate.
They see nothing in themselves
upon which they dare
venture their everlasting estates—and therefore fly to the
free, rich, sovereign, and glorious grace of God in Christ,
as to their sure and only sanctuary!

They see their need of God's free grace to pardon them.

They see their need of Christ's righteousness to clothe them.

They see their need of the Spirit of Christ to purge, change,
and sanctify them.

They see their need of more heavenly wisdom to counsel them.

They see their need of more . . .
  of the power of God—to support them,
  of the goodness of God—to supply them,
  of the mercy of God—to comfort them,
  of the presence of God—to refresh them,
  of the patience of God—to bear with them, etc.

They see their need of greater measures of faith
—to conquer their fears.

They see their need of greater measures of wisdom
to walk holily, harmlessly, blamelessly, and exemplary
in the midst of temptations, snares, and dangers.

They see their need of greater measures of patience
—to bear their burdens without fretting or fainting.

They see their need of greater measures of zeal
and courage—to bear up bravely against all sorts
of opposition, both from within and from without.

They see their need of greater measures of love
—to cleave to the Lamb, and to follow the Lamb
wherever He goes.

They see their need of living in a continual dependence
upon God and Christ—for fresh influences, incomes, and
supplies of grace, of comfort, of strength—by which they
may be enabled . . .
  to live for God,
  to walk with God,
  to glorify God,
  to bring forth fruit to God,
  to withstand all temptations which
tend to lead the heart away from God.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the
 kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

His tender mercies

"His tender mercies." Psalm 145:9

"The multitude of His mercies." Psalm 106:45

It is God's free mercy which every day
keeps hell and my soul asunder.

It is God's free mercy which daily pardons my sins.

It is God's free mercy which supplies all my inward
and outward needs.

It is God's free mercy which preserves, and feeds,
and clothes my outward man.

It is God's free mercy which renews, strengthens,
and prospers my inward man.

It is God's free mercy which has kept me many
times from committing such and such sins.

It is God's free mercy which has kept me many a
time from falling before such and such temptations.

It is God's free mercy which has many a time
preserved me from being swallowed up by
such and such inward and outward afflictions.

"Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord." Psalm 119:156

"I will sing of the tender mercies of the Lord forever!"
    Psalm 89:1

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The devil's brat!

"That sin might become utterly sinful." Romans 7:13

Paul, to set forth the formidable evil that is in sin, expresses
it thus. He could find nothing more evil and odious to express
sin by—than itself. Sin is so great an evil, that it cannot have
a worse epithet given it. Paul can call it no worse than by its
own name—sinful sin. Had he said that sin was a snare, a
serpent, a viper, a toad, a plague, a devil, a hell, etc.—he
would have said much—but yet not enough to set forth the
transcendent evil which is in sin. Therefore he calls it sinful
sin
.

All other evils are but outward, they only reach the name,
the body, the estate, the life—but sin is an inward evil, a
spiritual evil, an evil that reaches the precious and immortal
soul—and therefore is the greatest evil.

Death puts an end to all other troubles; namely, poverty,
sickness, disgrace, scorn, contempt, afflictions, losses, etc.
But sin is so great an evil, that death itself cannot put an
end to it! Eternity itself shall never put a stop, an end—to
this evil of evils!

All other evils can never make a man the object of God's
wrath and hatred. A man may be poor—and yet precious in
the eyes of God; he may be greatly abhorred by the world
—and yet highly honored by God; he may be debased by
men—and yet exalted by God. But sin is so great an evil,
that it subjects the sinner's soul to the wrath and hatred
of God!

All other evils do but strike at a man's present well-being
—but sin strikes at a man's eternal well-being! All other
evils can never hinder a man's communion with God. A
man may have communion with God in poverty, in sickness,
in prison, in banishment. But sin is so great an evil, that it
interrupts communion with God, it cuts off communion with
God.

All outward evils are God's creatures: "Is there any evil in
the city—which the Lord has not done?" But sin is the devil's
brat
—it is a creature of his own begetting! Yes, sin is worse
than the devil!
It is that which has turned glorious angels
into infernal devils!

All other evils do not fight against the greatest good—but
sin is that grand evil that fights against the greatest good.
Sin fights against the being of God, the essence of God, the
glory of God. Sin is a killing of God—it is a murdering of God.

Sin is a universal evil, it is all evil, it is nothing but evil;
there is not one drop, one spark of good to be found in
any sin. In all outward evils there is some good; there is
some good in poverty, in sickness, in war, in death—but
there is not the least good in sin.

Sin is the sole object of God's hatred!
 
He hates nothing but sin!
 
He is angry with nothing but sin!
 
He has forbid nothing but sin!
 
He has revealed his wrath against nothing
but sin! So great an evil is sin!

Sin is that grand evil which has midwifed all
other evils into the world. It was sin which
drowned the old world with water. It was sin
which destroyed Sodom with fire and brimstone.
It was sin which laid Jerusalem in heaps. It was
sin which has midwifed sword, famine, and
pestilence into the world. It was sin which laid
the foundation of hell—for before sin there was
no hell.

It was sin which crucified the Lord of glory!

Now, oh how great must that evil be—which has
ushered in all these great evils into the world!

Sin is enmity against God. God has no enemy in the
world but sin, and those whom sin has made enemies.
Sin has set all the world against the Lord of glory. It
is sin which has turned men into incarnate devils, and
which has drawn them out to fight against God, and
Christ, and their own souls, and their everlasting peace.

A Christian looks upon sin as the greatest evil in the
world, and his heart rises and is enraged against it,
because of the vile, filthy, odious, and heinous nature
of it!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

O friends! remember this once for all

"Cleanse me from my hidden faults." Psalm 19:12

"I hate vain thoughts." Psalm 119:113

A gracious soul conflicts most with heart-sins, and is
most affected with spiritual sins, and laments and
mourns most over secret sins—invisible sins—sins
which lie most hidden and remote from the eyes of
the world. He is most affected and afflicted by inward
pollutions and defilements.

Grace will rise and conflict against the most inward
and secret vanities of the soul, such as—
  secret self-love;
  secret hardness of heart;
  secret unbelief;
  secret carnal confidence;
  secret hypocrisy;
  secret envy;
  secret malice;
  secret vain-glory;
  secret fretting and murmuring;
  secret lustings;
  secret runnings-out of the soul after worldly vanities;
  and secret pride.

True grace makes opposition as well against the
being of sin in a man's nature—as against the
breakings out of sin in a man's life!

True grace will make war against the corruptions of the
heart—as well as against the excursions of the feet!

True grace is as willing and desirous to be rid of a
polluted heart—as it is willing and desirous to be rid
of a polluted hand.

True grace would gladly have, not only sinful acts—but
also sinful dispositions; and not only irregular actions—
but also inordinate affections—mortified and subdued.

O friends! heart sins are root sins! Certainly a proud heart
has more of Satan in it than a proud look! And a lustful
heart is more vile than a lustful eye! Therefore true grace
makes war against heart sins, against spiritual sins, against
the most inward secret sins—against those very sins which
do not lie within the reach of the piercing eye of the most
knowing or observing man in the world—but are only
obvious to an Omniscient eye!

Spiritual convictions can reach to the most inward, secret,
spiritual, and undiscernible sins. Certainly that is a sincere
heart, a heart more worth than gold—which smites a man:
  for inward sins—as well as for outward sins;
  for sins done in secret—as well as for sins done in public;
  for spiritual sins—as well as for fleshly sins;
  for sins against the soul—as well as for sins against the body.

O friends! remember this once for all—that the main
battle, the main warfare of a Christian lies not in the open
field, it lies not in visible skirmishes. But his main quarrels
and conflicts are most within, and his worst and greatest
enemies are those of his own house—those of his own heart.
A little grace may reform an evil life—but it must be a great
deal of grace that reforms an evil heart! A little grace may
make a man victorious over outward gross sins—but it must
be a great deal of grace that makes a man victorious over
inward sins, secret sins, spiritual sins, heart sins!

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me
 and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me
 that offends You, and lead me along the path of
 everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Devils in their homes!

A true Christian will endeavor to obey God in relative
duties
. He will not only hear, and pray, and read, and
meditate, and fast, and mourn—but he will labor to
be godly in domestic relationships.

Remember this forever—everyone is that in reality,
which he is at home.
Many make a great profession,
and have great abilities and gifts, and can discourse well
on any pious subject—whose homes are not little heavens,
but little hells. Some are very much like angels in public,
saints in the church, and devils in their homes!

Domestic graces and duties do better demonstrate true
piety and godliness, than public or general duties do. For
pride, vain-glory, self-ends, and a hundred other outward
carnal considerations, may put a man upon the general duties
of religion. But it argues both truth and strength of grace, to
be diligent and conscientious in the discharge of domestic
duties.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Glued to their lusts

Sinners' hearts are so glued to their lusts, that they
will rather part with their nearest, dearest, and choicest
enjoyments—than part with their sins! Yes, they will rather
part with God, Christ, and all the glory of heaven—than
they will part with some darling lust.

"When He comes, He will convict the world about sin."
    John 16:8

The first work of the Spirit upon the soul,
is to make a man . . .
  look upon sin as an enemy,
  to deal with sin as an enemy,
  to hate sin as an enemy,
  to loathe sin as an enemy,
  to fear sin as an enemy, and
  to arm against sin as an enemy.

Of all the vile things in the world, sin is the
most defiling thing; it makes us red with
guilt and black with filth.

Inward corruptions grieve the gracious soul.

"Oh," says the gracious soul,
"that I were but rid of . . .
  this proud heart,
  this hard heart,
  this unbelieving heart,
  this unclean heart,
  this froward heart,
  this earthly heart of mine!"

The Christian has a universal willingness
to be rid of all sin. The enmity which grace
works in the heart, is against all sin:
  profitable sins,
  pleasurable sins,
  disparaging sins,
  disgracing sins,
  small sins,
  great sins.

A gracious heart had much rather, if it were put to his
choice, live without all sin—than to have allowance to
wallow in any sin. He had rather live without the least
sin—than to have liberty to live in the most flesh-pleasing
sin. It is certain that sin is more afflictive to a gracious
soul, than all the losses, crosses, troubles, and trials
that he meets with in the world.

True grace would not have one Canaanite left
in the holy land; he would have every Egyptian
drowned in the red sea of Christ's blood!

"I hate every false way." Psalm 139:24

Saving grace makes a man as willing to leave his lusts,
  as a slave is willing to leave his chains,
  or a prisoner his dungeon,
  or a beggar his rags.

A sincere heart had much rather be rid of his sins
than of his sufferings; yes, of the least sins than
of the greatest sufferings.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The hypocrite's only care

The hypocrite's only care is to keep his outward life
from defilement. But the sincere Christian's care is mainly
to keep his heart from defilement; for he very well knows,
that if he can but keep his heart clean—he shall with more
ease keep his life clean. If the fountain is kept pure—the
streams will run pure. The heart is the spring of all actions,
and therefore every action is as the spring is, from whence
it flows; if the spring is good—the action is good which flows
from it; if the spring is evil, the action is evil which flows
from it.

Hypocrites are all for the outside; they wash the platters
and the cups, and beautify the tombs—like an adulteress
whose care is to paint a fair face upon a foul heart.

But a sincere Christian, though he has a great concern for
the well-ordering of his outward life—yet his main business
and work is about his heart—
"Oh that this ignorant heart were but more enlightened!
 Oh that this proud heart were but more humble!
 Oh that this profane heart were but more holy!
 Oh that this earthly heart were but more heavenly!
 Oh that this unbelieving heart were but more believing!
 Oh that this passionate heart were but more meek!
 Oh that this carnal heart were but more spiritual!
 Oh that this vain heart were but more serious!
 Oh that this dull heart were but more quickened!
 Oh that this dead heart were but more enlivened!
 Oh that this lukewarm heart were but more zealous
for God, and Christ, and the gospel, and the great
concerns of eternity!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

All tears of godly sorrow drop from the eye of faith

"They shall look upon Him whom they have pierced—and
 shall mourn." Zechariah 12:10

All godly sorrow is the fruit and effect of evangelical faith.
Godly sorrow flows from faith—as the stream from the fountain,
the branch from the root, and the effect from the cause. All
gracious mourning flows from looking, from believing. Nothing
breaks the heart of a sinner like a look of faith. All tears of
godly sorrow drop from the eye of faith
. Godly sorrow
rises and falls—as faith rises and falls. The more a man is
able by faith to look upon a pierced Christ—the more his
heart will mourn over all the dishonors which he has done
to Christ. The more deep and wide the wounds are, which
faith shows me in the heart and sides of Christ—the more
my heart will be wounded for sinning against Christ.

The free love and favor of God, and His unspeakable goodness
and mercy manifested in Jesus Christ to poor sinners—is the
very spring and fountain of all evangelical sorrow. Nothing
breaks the heart of a poor sinner like the sight of God's free
love in Christ, the Redeemer. A man cannot seriously look upon
the firstness, the freeness, the greatness, the unchangeableness,
the everlastingness, and the matchlessness of God's free favor
and love in Christ—with a hard heart, or with dry eyes! It is
only such a love as this, which sets the soul a-mourning and
a-lamenting over a crucified Christ.

The fears of wrath, of hell, and of condemnation—works unsound
hearts to mourn. But it is the sight of a bleeding, dying Savior—
which sets sincere, gracious souls a-mourning.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

That golden devil

"Covetousness, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:5

Judas' life was as fair and as free from spots and blots as
the lives of any of the apostles; no scandalous sin was to
be found upon him. But that golden devil 'covetousness'
was his sin—and his everlasting ruin. His apostleship,
preaching, working of miracles, hearing of Christ, and
conversing with Him, etc., was to no purpose, because
of that serpent he kept in his bosom—which at last
stung him to death!

"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and
 a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that
 plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of
 money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager
 for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced
 themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:9-10

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

An angel on the outside—and a devil within

"Hypocrites! You are so careful to clean the outside
 of the cup and the dish; but inside you are filthy—
 full of greed and self-indulgence!" Matthew 23:25

A hypocrite's outside never corresponds with his inside.
A hypocrite's outside is one thing—and his inside another.
A hypocrite's outside is religious—but his inside is wicked.

Hypocrites are like the Egyptian temples, which were beautiful
outside—but within there was nothing to be found but serpents
and crocodiles, and other venomous creatures. They are like
white silver—but they draw black lines. They have a seeming
sanctified outside—but are stuffed within with malice, pride,
worldliness, envy, etc. They are like window cushions, made up
of velvet and richly embroidered—but stuffed within with hay.

A hypocrite . . .
  may offer sacrifice with Cain,
  and fast with Jezebel,
  and humble himself with Ahab,
  and lament with the tears of Esau,
  and kiss Christ with Judas,
  and follow Christ with Demas,
  and be baptized with Simon Magus;
and yet for all this, his inside is as bad as any of theirs!

A hypocrite is . . .
  a Jacob on the outside—and an Esau within;
  a David on the outside—and a Saul within;
  a John on the outside—and a Judas within;
  a saint on the outside—and a Satan within;
  an angel on the outside—and a devil within.

But let all such hypocrites know, that pretend sanctity
is double iniquity—and accordingly at last they shall be
dealt with. "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will
you escape being condemned to hell?" Matthew 23:33

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Broke her heart all in pieces

The more a man apprehends of the love of God, and of the
love of Christ—the more that person will grieve and mourn
that he has offended, provoked, and grieved such a Father,
and such a Son. The more clear and certain evidences a man
has of the love and favor of God to his soul, the more that
man will grieve and mourn for sinning against such a God.

There is nothing which thaws and melts the heart, which
softens and breaks the heart—like the warm beams of divine
love—as you may see in the case of Mary Magdalene. She
loved much, and she wept much—for much was forgiven her.
A sight of the free grace and love of Christ towards her, in an
act of forgiveness, broke her heart all in pieces. A man
cannot stand under the shinings of divine love with a frozen
heart, nor with dry eyes. The more a man sees of the love
of Christ, and the more a man tastes and enjoys of the love
of Christ—the more that man will grieve and mourn for all
the dishonors that he has done to Christ.

"Then she knelt behind Him at his feet, weeping. Her tears
 fell on His feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then
 she kept kissing His feet and putting perfume on them."
    Luke 7:38

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

One dead fly

No hypocrite is totally divorced from the love and liking
of every known sin. There is still some secret lust, which
as a sweet morsel he rolls under his tongue, and will not
spit it out. Every hypocrite lives under the dominion and
reign of one base lust or another—and will do what he
can to save the life of his sin—though it be with the loss
of his soul. A hypocrite always reserves one nest-egg or
another in his heart or life, for Satan to sit and brood on.

O sirs! Satan can hold a man fast enough by one sin,
as the fowler can hold the bird fast enough by one claw.
Satan knows, that one sin lived in and allowed, will as
certainly damn a man as many sins; just as one disease,
one ulcerous part, may as certainly kill a man as many.
One dead fly will mar the whole box of precious ointment.
One jarring string will bring the sweetest music out of tune.

If the leper in the law had the spot of leprosy in any one
part of his body, he was accounted a leper; although all
the rest of his body was sound and whole, Lev. 14. Just
so, he who has the spot of the leprosy of sin allowed in
any one part of his soul, he is a spiritual leper in the eye
of God; he is unclean, though in other parts he may not
be unclean.

If a swine does but wallow in one miry or dirty hole—it
is filthy; and certainly, that soul which does but wallow
in any one sin—he is filthy in the eye of God.

O sirs! remember that . . .
  as one hole in a ship will sink it, and
  as one stab at the heart will kill a man, and
  as one glass of poison will poison a man, and
  as one act of treason will make a man a traitor,
so one sin lived in and allowed, will damn a man forever!

One millstone will sink a man to the bottom of the sea as
well as a hundred. Just so, one sin lived in and indulged,
will sink a man to the bottom of hell as well as a hundred.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A cleaner way to hell

It was the saying of a precious saint—that he was more
afraid of his duties than of his sins; for his duties often
made him proud—but his sins always made him humble.

It was good counsel Luther gave, "We must take heed
not only of our sins—but of our good works."

Duties can never have too much diligence used about
them—nor too little confidence placed in them. They are
good helps—but bad saviors. It is necessary we do them
—but it is dangerous to rely upon them. If the devil cannot
dissuade us from performing pious duties—then his next
work will be to persuade us to rely upon them, to make
saviors of them; because this will as certainly ruin our
souls, as if we had wholly neglected them.

Resting in your own righteousness, will as certainly and
eternally undo you—as the greatest and foulest atrocities!

Open wickedness slays her thousands—but a secret
resting upon duties, slays her ten thousands!

Open profaneness is the broad dirty way which leads
to hell; but trusting in pious duties is as sure a way,
though a cleaner way to hell. Ungodly people and
formal professors shall meet at last in the same hell.

Now, let all these things work you to renounce your own
righteousness—and to take sanctuary alone in the pure,
perfect, and most glorious righteousness of Jesus Christ,
and in the free grace of God.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A worm, a gnat, a fly, a hair, a seed
of a raison, a skin of a grape


"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know
 what a day may bring forth." Proverbs 27:1

Who can sum up the many possible deaths which are
still lurking in his own body; or the innumerable hosts of
external dangers which beleaguer him on every side; or
the invisible arrows which fly about his ears continually!
How soon he may have his mortal wound given him by one
or another of them—who can tell? Now, how sad would it be
for a man to have a summons to appear before God in that
eternal world, before his heart and life are savingly changed!

The life of a man is but a shadow, a runner, a span, a vapor,
a flower, etc. Though there is but one way to come into
the world—yet there are many thousand ways to be
sent out of the world!


We carry about in our bodies, the material for a thousand
deaths
, and may die a thousand different ways in several
hours. As many senses, as many members, nay, as many
pores as there are in the body—so many windows there are,
for death to enter in at!

Death needs not spend all his arrows upon us. A worm,
a gnat, a fly, a hair, a seed of a raison, a skin of a
grape
, the stumbling of a horse, the trip of a foot, the
prick of a pin, the cutting of a fingernail, the cutting out
of a corn; all these have been to others, and any of them
may be to us—the means of our death within the space of
a few days; nay, of a few hours; nay, of a few moments!

I am sure that the worst of deaths, shall
but translate true believers . . .
  from earth—to heaven,
  from a wilderness—to a paradise,
  from misery—to glory, and
  from mixed and mutable enjoyments—to
the pure and everlasting enjoyments of God!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God judges His people

God judges His people by their sincerity and the general
bent and frame of their hearts
—and not by what they are
under some pangs of passion, or in an hour of temptation.
His eye is more upon His people's inward disposition, than
it is upon their outward actions—more upon their will than
it is upon their work. The Lord will not forsake His people,
nor cast off His people—because of those failings and
weaknesses that may, and do, attend them. God pities
His people under their weakness; He will not reject them
for their weakness.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

All the links of the golden chain of salvation


All the links of the golden chain of salvation are
made up of free grace! The people of God are . . .
  freely loved, Deut. 7:6-8;
  freely chosen, John 15:16-19, Eph. 1:4;
  freely accepted, Eph. 1:6;
  freely adopted, Eph. 1:5, Gal. 4:5-6;
  freely reconciled, 2 Cor. 5:18-20;
  freely justified, Romans 3:24;
  freely saved, Eph. 2:5, 8.

All the golden rounds in Jacob's ladder—which reaches
from heaven to earth—are all made up of free grace.

Free grace is the foundation of all spiritual and eternal
mercies. Free grace is the solid bottom and foundation
of all a Christian's comfort in this world. Were we to
measure the love of God to us by . . .
  our fruitfulness,
  our holiness,
  our humbleness,
  our spiritualness,
  our heavenly-mindedness, or
  our gracious behavior towards Him
—how would our hope, our confidence every
moment be staggered—if not vanquished!

But all is of grace, of free grace. O sirs! it is free grace . . .
  which will strengthen you in all your duties,
  which will sweeten all your mercies,
  which will support you under all your changes,
  which will arm you against all temptations.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The sparkling diamond in the ring of glory

"His mouth is most sweet, and He is altogether lovely.
 This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend." Song 5:16

That is, His mouth is sweetnesses, and He is altogether
desirablenesses, or He is wholly desirable. Alas! says the
spouse, I lack words to express how sweet, how lovely,
how adorable, how desirable, how eminent, and how
excellent Christ is in my eye—and to my soul! All that
is perfect in heaven or earth, is but a dim shadow of His
excellency and glory. Where Christ is—there is heaven.
Heaven itself, in the spouse's eyes, without Christ,
would be but a poor little thing. The spouse looks upon
Christ as the sparkling diamond in the ring of glory.

"His mouth is most sweet, and He is altogether lovely.
 This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend." Song 5:16

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A Christian's graces

"What do you have—that you have not received?" 1 Cor. 4:7

What grace do you have—that you have not received?
All the light,
and all the life,
and all the love,
and all the joy,
and all the fear,
and all the faith,
and all the hope,
and all the patience,
and all the humility, etc.,
that you have—are all grace gifts—they are all
from God. "Every good gift and every perfect
gift is from above, and comes down from the
Father of lights." James 1:17

A man should never look upon his graces—but should
be ready to say, "These are the jewels of glory with
which God has bespangled my soul!"

Look! as all light flows from the sun, and all water from
the sea—so all temporal, spiritual, and eternal good flows
from God. All your graces, and the greatest excellencies
which are in you, do as much depend upon God, as the
light does upon the sun, or as the rivers do upon the sea,
or as the branches do upon the root, John 15:1-5.

All the springs of comfort that I have communicated to my
soul, and all the springs of grace that I have to quicken me,
they are all from God. A Christian's graces are all such
flowers of paradise as never grew in nature's garden. Now,
when a Christian looks thus upon all those costly diamonds
of grace, with which his soul is bedecked, he keeps humble,
though his graces are high.

Dear hearts, when you look upon the stream, remember
the fountain; when you look upon the flower, remember
the root; and whenever you look upon your graces, then
be sure to remember Christ the fountain of grace. When
one of your eyes is fixed upon your graces—let the other
be always fixed upon Christ the fountain of grace. "Indeed,
we have all received grace after grace from His fullness." 
John 1:16

Grace is strengthened, maintained, nourished, and upheld
in your souls—in life and power, in beauty and glory—by
the spiritual, powerful, and glorious operations of Christ!

Christians, your graces are holy and heavenly plants
of Christ's own planting and watering! It is Christ alone
who can cause your graces to blossom, and your souls to
be like a watered garden—green and flourishing! Therefore
let the eye of your souls be firstly, mostly, and chiefly
fixed upon Christ.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Holy hatred

"Through your precepts I get understanding, therefore
 I hate every false way." Psalm 119:104
 
There is in every penitent a sincere hatred of sin, a
universal hatred of sin.

True hatred is universal—it is to the whole kind. He who
hates sin because it is sin, hates every sin, and therefore
he cannot but turn from it, and labor to be the death and
ruin of it. Holy hatred is an implacable and an irreconcilable
principle. You shall as soon reconcile God and Satan together;
Christ and antichrist together; heaven and hell together—as
you shall be able to reconcile a penitent soul and his sin
together. A true penitent looks upon every sin as contrary
to the law of God, the nature of God, the being of God,
the glory of God—and accordingly his heart rises against it.
He 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—and this turns his heart against every sin.

He looks upon every sin as having a hand in apprehending,
betraying, binding, scourging, condemning and murdering
his Lord and Master Jesus Christ; and this works him not
only to refrain from sin—but to forsake it, and not only
to forsake it—but also to abhor it, and to loathe it more
than hell itself! The penitent soul will do all he can to be
the death of every sin that has a hand in the death of his
Lord and Master.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Horrid hypocrisy,
damnable folly, and
astonishing impudency!


"He who covers his sins shall not prosper; but whoever
confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy." Prov. 28:13

The true penitent would have God to forgive him, not only
some of his sins—but all his sins; and therefore it is but just
and equal that he should turn from all his sins. The plaster
must be as broad as the sore. It argues horrid hypocrisy,
damnable folly, and astonishing impudency
—for a man
to beg the pardon for those very sins that he is resolved
never to forsake! Look! He who has not repented of all known
sin, he has not yet sincerely repented of any known sin, nor
as yet experienced the sweetness of forgiveness of sin.

Of all fools, there is none compared to him who is importunate
with God to forgive those sins which he is resolved beforehand
to commit! What prince, in his wits, will pardon the treasons of
a person who is resolved to continue a traitor? Or what judge
will forgive thievery of a person who is decidedly determined
to continue as a thief? Such as continue in the practice of those
very sins, which they beg God to pardon—shall certainly go
without their pardon!

Pardon of sin is for that man, and that man is for pardon of
sin—who is as truly willing to forsake his sins as he is to receive
the pardon of his sins. Who would not look upon that man as a
madman—who would earnestly beg his pardon, and yet continue
to steal purses, and murder people before the eyes of the judge?

The pardoned soul is the repenting soul—and the repenting
soul is the pardoned soul! He who begs pardon of sin—yet is
resolved not to turn from sin—shall find no more pardon than
devils or damned spirits do! Look! as one sin unforgiven will
as certainly undo a man as a thousand—just so, one sin
unforsaken will us certainly undo and damn a man as a
thousand! The true penitent is as willing to turn from all
his sins—as he is willing that God should pardon all his sins!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Divine leaven

The principle of regeneration, and seed of grace, which God
lays into the soul of every penitent person at first conversion
—is a universal principle, a principle which spreads itself over
all the faculties of the soul. In regeneration there is infused
the habits or principles of all grace, which like a divine
leaven
spreads itself over the whole man.

Look! as heaven is contrary to all of hell, and as light is
contrary to all darkness, and heat to all cold—just so, that
divine, that noble, that universal principle of grace, which
God at first conversion infuses into the penitent's soul, is
contrary to all sin; and therefore the penitent turns from
all sin.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

One sin allowed, wallowed and tumbled in

To turn from some sins—but not from all, is gross hypocrisy.

One sin stripped the fallen angels of all their glory! One sin
stripped our first parents of all their dignity and excellency!
One fly in the box of precious ointment spoils the whole box.
One thief may rob a man of all his treasure. One disease
may deprive a man of all his health. One strong wind may
blow down and blow away all a man's comforts. Just so—one
sin
delighted and wallowed in, will make a man miserable
forever!

One sin allowed, wallowed and tumbled in, is sufficient
to deprive a man forever of the glorious presence of God. In
the law, the person who had but one spot of leprosy in any
one part of his body was accounted a leper, although all the
rest of his body was sound and whole; and accordingly he
was to be shut up, and shut out from the society of the
people of God, Lev. 13. Just so—one sin, one leprous
spot, allowed and beloved
—will forever shut a man
out from the glorious presence of God!

One sin wallowed in, will as certainly deprive a man of
the blessed vision of God, and of all the treasures, pleasures,
and delights which are at God's right hand—as a thousand sins!
What can be the outcome of this, but ruin and damnation?

It was a sore vexation to king Lysimachus, that he lost his
earthly kingdom for one draught of water. O sirs! it will be
an everlasting vexation to such, who for one lust shall at
last lose not an earthly kingdom—but a heavenly kingdom!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Whores' foreheads

"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

Most sinners in these days have brows of brass, and
whores' foreheads—which cannot blush. They are
so far from being ashamed of their sins, that they
think it a shame and disgrace not to sin, not to swear,
and whore, and curse, and be drunk! Yes, there are
many who are so far from being ashamed of their
abominations—that they even glory in them. They
flaunt their sins as Sodom, and make a sport of
sinning!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Tears have a voice

"The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. "Psalm 6:8
 
Sometimes a penitent man's eyes will in some way tell what
his tongue can in no way utter. Many times the penitent is
better at weeping, than he is at speaking. Tears have a
voice
, and are very prevalent orators with God. Penitential
tears are undeniable ambassadors, and they never return
from the throne of grace without an answer of grace.

Tears are a kind of silent prayers, which though they
say nothing—yet they obtain pardon; they prevail for mercy,
as you may see in that great and clear instance of Peter. He
said nothing, he confessed nothing that we read of—but
"went out and wept bitterly"—and obtained mercy.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Keep your heart with all diligence

"Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of
 it are the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23

God's eye is mainly upon the heart. The heart is the
fountain, the root, the store-house, the great wheel
which sets all a-going; so therefore, above all keepings,
keep your hearts.

The highest and hardest work of a Christian lies with his
heart. To reform the heart, to keep the heart in a gracious
frame, is one of the best and hardest works in the world.
Oh what guards and double guards! Oh what watches
and double watches, should men put upon their hearts!
A man is to keep his eye, and keep his mouth, and keep
his feet—but above all keeping, he is to keep his heart.
A gracious heart is Christ's fort-royal. Now, against this
fort Satan will employ the utmost of his strength, art,
and craft. And therefore how highly does it concern every
Christian to keep a strong guard, a constant guard about
his heart!

Men should keep their hearts, as they keep a rich treasure
of money or jewels. Now, to preserve a rich treasure, what
locks, what bolts, what bars, what chains are made use of!
Our hearts are jewels more worth than all the kingdoms,
crowns, and scepters of this world. There are few men who
know how to value their own hearts as they should. What
are mountains of gold, and rocks of pearl—compared to the
heart, the soul of man! All our spiritual riches are in our
hearts. Oh then, what a guard, what a watch should a
man continually keep upon his heart!

It is one of the greatest and clearest evidences of
grace, for a man to make it his greatest business,
work, and concern—to keep his heart always . . .
  in a gracious frame,
  in a wakeful frame,
  in a watchful frame,
  in a tender frame,
  in a believing frame,
  in a repenting frame,
  in a humble frame,
  in a patient frame,
  in a serious frame,
  in a heavenly frame,
  in a jealous frame.

"O Lord, my memory is weak, and my utterance is bad,
and my understanding is dark, and my gifts are low, and
my affections are flat, and my temptations are strong,
and my corruptions are prevalent. But You, who are the
great heart-searcher, You know that I would sincerely
have my heart in a better temper. I had rather have my
heart brought into a gracious frame, and kept in a gracious
frame, than to have all the riches of the Indies, than to be
an emperor, yes, than to be king over all the earth."

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

More ugly and horrid than the devil himself!

What bosom sin is there so sweet or profitable that is
worth a-burning in hell for, or worth a-shutting out of
heaven for? Surely none! This a gracious soul seriously
weighs, and accordingly he sets himself against the
toad in his bosom—against his darling sins, against
his complexion sins.

But now, unsound hearts are very favorable to bosom
sins, to complexion sins. They say of them, as Lot of
Zoar, "Is it not a little one?" Gen. 19:20; and as David
once said concerning Absalom, 2 Sam. 18:5, "Deal
gently
with the young man."

An unsound heart is as fond of his bosom sins,
of his darling sins—
  as Jacob was of his Benjamin;
  or as Naaman was of his idol Rimmon;
  or as Judas was of his money-bag;
  or as Herod was of his Herodias;
  or as Demetrius was of his Diana.

The besotted sinner is most engaged to his bosom
sins, his darling sins; and therefore it is as bitter a
thing as death for him to part with them. He had
rather part with thousands of rams, and with ten
thousand rivers of oil; than with his bosom sin. Let
God frown or smile, stroke or strike, lift up or cast
down, promise or threaten—yet he will hide and hold
fast his bosom sin! Let God set life and death, heaven
and hell, glory and misery before him—yet he will
not part with his bosom sins!
Let God wound his
conscience, blow upon his estate, leave a blot upon his
name, crack his credit, afflict his body, write death upon
his relations, and be a terror to his soul—yet will he not
let his darling sins go! An unsound heart will rather let
God go, and Christ go, and heaven go, and all go—than
he will let his darling lusts go!

But now a sound Christian, a thorough Christian, he sets
himself most against the Delilah in his bosom, against the
Benjamin, the son, the sin of his right hand. A sincere
Christian looks upon bosom sins, upon complexion sins, as
the most God-provoking sins. There are no sins so provoking
to God's jealousies and justice as bosom sins! He looks upon
bosom sins as the most dangerous sins! He looks upon bosom
sins as the worst thing in all the world! He looks upon bosom
sins as more ugly and horrid than the devil himself, or
than hell itself! He looks upon bosom sins as the great
hindrance between God and his soul, and between his
conscience and his comfort. He looks upon bosom sins as
those enemies that have provoked God often to turn a deaf
ear to all his prayers! He looks upon his bosom sins as so
many Judases that have often betrayed him into the hands
of the devil! He looks upon his bosom sins as the waters of
Marah, which have embittered all his mercies! He looks upon
his bosom sins as the only things that have often clouded the
face of God! He looks upon his bosom sins as dead flies in the
box of precious ointment—which spoils all; and accordingly
with all his might he sets himself against them.

He fights most against these;
he weeps most over these;
he watches and arms most against these;
he prays most against these;
he resolves most against these;
he lays the axe of repentance most to these.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

To the moles and to the bats!

"In that day, a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his
 idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to
 worship, to the moles and to the bats!" Isaiah 2:20

In the day when God shall exalt Himself in the souls of
His people, and before the eyes of His people, they shall
express such disdain and indignation against their idols,
that they would not take only those made of trees and
stones—but even their most precious and costly idols,
those which were made of silver and gold—and cast them
to the moles and to the bats
; that is, they should cast
them into such blind holes, and into such dark, filthy,
nasty, and dusty corners, as moles make underground,
and as bats roost in.

So when Christ, and grace, and holiness comes to be set
up in men's hearts and lives, then all their darling sins, their
bosom lusts—which are their idols of silver and their idols of
gold—these are with a holy indignation cast to the moles
and to the bats!
They are so loathed, abhorred, abandoned,
and dismissed, that they desire they may be forever buried
in oblivion, and never more see the light!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

It mightily alters and changes a man

"Thanks be to God that, though you used to be
 slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the
 form of teaching to which you were entrusted."
     Romans 6:17

Certainly, gospel-obedience is a grace of much
worth, and of great force upon the whole man;
for when it is once wrought in the heart, it works
a conformity to all God's holy will.

That obedience which springs from saving faith
is a transforming obedience. It mightily alters
and changes a man
:
  from impurity to purity,
  from sin to sanctity,
  from unrighteousness to righteousness,
  from earthly-mindedness to heavenly-mindedness,
  from pride to humility,
  from hypocrisy to sincerity, etc.

Those who are not savingly changed, are still
in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

If a Christian could have his choice

If a Christian could have his choice, he would be . . .
  the most humble,
  the most holy,
  the most heavenly,
  the most mortified,
  the most patient,
  the most contented,
  the most thankful,
  the most fruitful,
  the most active,
  the most zealous, and
  the most self-denying Christian in the world.

If he could have his choice, he would be as holy as
God is holy; and as perfect as his heavenly Father
is perfect; he would do the will of God on earth, as
the angels do it now in heaven, namely—freely,
readily, cheerfully, delightfully, universally,
reverentially, and unweariedly, etc.

If he could have his choice, he would exercise
every grace, and perform every duty, with all
his might.

He sees so much excellency and beauty in God and
Christ, that he cannot be at rest until he is swallowed
up in the enjoyment of them. He sees so much excellency
in grace, that nothing but perfection of grace will satisfy
him. He makes perfection not only his utmost end—but
he also labors after perfection with his utmost strength
and endeavors.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Ask what you will, O Christian

"Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin."
     Psalm 51:2

If the Lord should say to a gracious Christian, "Ask what
you will, O Christian
—and it shall be granted to you."
The answer would be: "Lord, rid me of my sins! Lord, take
away my iniquities! Lord, mortify my corruptions! Lord,
whoever lives, let these lusts die! Lord, drown these
Egyptians in the sea of your Son's blood, who have so
violently and unweariedly pursued after the blood of my
precious soul! Lord, kill and crucify all these sinful evils
that have killed and crucified the Lord of life and glory!
Lord, my carnal reason, and flesh and blood, would gladly
have such and such pleasurable sins, and such and such
profitable sins, indulged and spared. But, Lord, the earnest,
the ardent desires of my soul are that I may be rid of them!"

And thus every gracious soul is more willing to be rid of
his sins—than he is to keep his sins.

A sick man is not more willing to be rid of his disease,
nor a beggar of his nasty lousy rags, nor a prisoner
of his chains—than a gracious soul is willing to be rid
of his lusts!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The righteousness of sanctification

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
 kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and
 self-control." Galatians 5:22-23

The righteousness of sanctification, or imparted
righteousness, lies in the Spirit's infusing into the soul
those holy principles, divine qualities, or supernatural
graces, that the apostle mentions in Galatians 5:22-23.
These habits of grace, are nothing else but the new
nature or new man, which after God is created in
righteousness and true holiness, Eph. 4:24.

He who hungers and thirsts after the righteousness of
sanctification, out of a deep serious sense of his own
unrighteousness; he who hungers and thirsts after the
righteousness of sanctification, as earnestly as hungry
men do for food, or as thirsty men do for drink, or as
the hunted deer does after the water brooks—he is
the blessed soul, and shall at last be filled.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

How do you know that?

A sincere willingness to part with every sin, and to mortify
every sin—is a sure sign of saving grace. When a man is
sincerely willing to leave every sin, and to indulge himself
in none, no, not even his darling sin—it is a most certain
sign of his integrity and saving faith.

"I am upright before God; I have kept myself from sin."
    Psalm 18:23

"I am upright before God." Oh! but how do you know
that?
How do you prove that? How are you assured of
that? Why, by this—that "I have kept myself from sin."

Doubtless there is as much of the power of God required,
and as much strength of grace required, and as much of
the presence and assistance of the Spirit required—to work
a man off from his bosom sins, from his darling sins, from
his beloved sins. A conquest here clearly speaks out
uprightness of heart before God.

The godly man . . .
  does not give himself over to a voluntary serving of sin;
  does not make a trade of sin;
  does not allow of himself in any settled course of sin;
  does not indulge, connive or wink at any known sin;
  does not sin as wicked men sin—who sin studiously,
resolutely, ardently, delightfully, customarily, willfully.
The ungodly sin with their whole will, and with the full
consent and sway of their souls.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Drones and ciphers

Does the bee gather honey for itself?

Does the sheep yield wool for itself?

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests,
 but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should
 be the same as that of Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:4-5


Every Christian is bound to serve others. A narrow, a
selfish-spirited man
is a shame to his creation, because
he walks so contrary to the great intendment of God in it.
It is base and unworthy—for a man to make himself the
center of all his actions. That man sins against the very
law of his being—who is swallowed up in his own private
interests.

This age is full of drones and ciphers, and of selfish,
lifeless men—who look at nothing, who design nothing,
who aim at nothing, and who endeavor nothing—but
how to elevate themselves, and greaten themselves, and
enrich themselves, and build up themselves—though it
be upon other's ruins! How many are there who are so
swallowed up in their own interests and private concerns,
that  they care not whether others sink or swim! "What!"
they say, "Shall we leave our ease, our pleasure, our
profits—to serve others? We cannot do it! We will never
do it!"

"All of you, serve each other in humility." 1 Peter 5:5

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

They trample that matchless jewel

The soul is that spiritual and immortal substance, which
is capable of union with God, and of communion with God,
and of an eternal fruition of God. There are none but bear
about with them, precious and immortal souls, which are
more worth than ten thousand thousand worlds. The first
great work that men are to attend in this world—is the
eternal safety and security of their souls.

If the soul is safe—all is safe.
If the soul is well—all is well.
If the soul is lost—all is lost.

I have read that there was a time when the Romans
wore their jewels on their shoes. Most men in this day
do worse, for they trample that matchless jewel
of their souls
under feet!

Many at last will cry out, "Oh, what have I lost! I have
lost God, and Christ, and heaven; and have betrayed
my precious and immortal soul into the hands of divine
justice, and into the hands of Satan!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The covenant of grace

"I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will
 never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them
 to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me."
     Jeremiah 32:40


The covenant of grace is that agreement which God has
made with sinful man out of His own free mercy and grace,
wherein He undertakes to save fallen man. All mankind
would have been eternally lost—had He not of his own
free grace and mercy made such an agreement with sinful
man. This covenant is called a covenant of grace, because
it flows from the free grace and mercy of God. There was
nothing outside of God, nor anything in God—but His free
mercy and grace—which moved Him to enter into covenant
with poor sinners.

The covenant of grace consists in these things:
(1.) that God will be our God;
(2.) that He will give us a new heart, a new spirit;
(3.) that He will not turn away His face from doing of us good;
(4.) that He will put His fear into our hearts;
(5.) that He will cleanse us from all our filthiness and idols;
(6.) that He will rejoice over us to do us good;
(7.) that we shall be His people;
(8.) that we shall fear Him forever;
(9.) that we shall walk in His statutes;
(10.) that we shall not depart from Him.

Oh what head can conceive, or what tongue can express
that infinite counsel, wisdom, love, care and tenderness,
which is in the covenant of grace—so as it may best suit
to all the needs, and straits, and necessities, and miseries,
and desires, and longings of poor sinners' souls.

The covenant of grace is so well ordered by the unsearchable
wisdom of God, that you may find in it . . .
  remedies to cure all your diseases, and
  cordials to comfort you against all your faintings, and
  a spiritual armory to arm you against all your enemies,
namely, the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Do you, O distressed sinner, need a loving God, a
compassionate God, a reconciled God, a sin-pardoning
God? Here you may find Him, in the covenant of grace.

Do you need a Christ to counsel you by His wisdom,
and to clothe you with His righteousness, and to adorn
you with His grace? Here you may find Him in the
covenant of grace.

Do you need the Spirit to enlighten you, to teach
you, to convince you, to awaken you, to lead you,
to cleanse you, to cheer you? Here you may find
Him in the covenant of grace.

Do you need grace, or peace, or rest, or quiet, or
contentment, or comfort, or satisfaction? Here you
may find it in the covenant of grace. God has laid
into the covenant of grace, as into a storehouse,
all those things that sinners or saints can need.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Troubled for sin

A hypocrite may be troubled for sin—as it . . .
  blots his name, and
  wounds his conscience, and
  brings a scourge, and
  destroys his soul, and
  shuts him out of heaven, and
  throws him to hell.
But he is never troubled for sin, he never mourns for
sin, he never hates sin—because it is contrary to the
nature of God, the being of God, the law of God, the
glory of God, the design of God; or because of the evil
that is in the nature of sin, or because of the defiling
and polluting power of sin.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Below the ox and the donkey

"The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s
 feeding-trough, but Israel does not know; My people
 do not understand." Isaiah 1:3

Ignorance is the source of all sin, the very well-spring
from which all wickedness does issue. Ignorance . . .
  enslaves a soul to Satan;
  lets in sin by troops;
  locks them up in the heart;
  shuts out the means of recovery;
and so plasters up a man's eyes, that he cannot see
the things which belong to his own eternal peace.

The Scripture sets ignorant people below the ox and
the donkey
. Did men either see the deformity of sin,
or the beauty and excellency of holiness—they would
never delight in the one—nor cry down the other!

Ignorance is a breeding sin, a mother sin; all sins are
seminally in ignorance. Ignorance is the mother of all
the mistakes, and of all the misrule in the world.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Fair professors who are foul sinners

There are many fair professors who are foul sinners
—who have much of God on their lips—when they have
nothing but sin and hell in their hearts and lives. These
men's lives shame their profession. Such professors . . .
  live in a course of sin,
  make a trade of sin,
  indulge their sins,
  take up arms in defense of sin,
  make provision for sin,
  make a sport of sin,
  take pleasure in sin, and
  have set their hearts upon their sin.
These are yet in their sins, under wrath,
and on the way to eternal ruin!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The best armor against evil lusts

"Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not
 sin against You." Psalm 119:11

David hides the word in his heart as a treasure—that
he might not lose it; and as a rule—that he might not
transgress against it. The law of God kept close in the
heart is the best armor against evil lusts. David
locks up the law of God in his heart, as in a chest or
cabinet—to secure him against Satan's ambushes and
assaults on the one hand, and to preserve him from
sin on the other hand.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The devil's logic

"What should we say then? Should we continue in sin
 in order that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How
 can we who died to sin still live in it?" Romans 6:1-2

Certainly to argue from gospel mercy to sinful liberty,
is the devil's logic. The more a man lives in the sight
of gospel grace, the more sin will be discountenanced,
resisted, hated, and displaced. A man may as truly
assert that water burns, or that fire cools, or that the
sun darkens
the air—as he may assert that the sight,
sense, or sweet of gospel grace—will breed carnality,
looseness or wickedness, in a gracious heart.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The greatest evil in all the world

Sin is the greatest evil in all the world.
Sin is the only thing—
  which God abhors,
  which has brought Jesus Christ to the cross,
  which damns souls,
  which shuts heaven, and
  which has laid the foundations of hell.

Oh, sin is the pricking thorn in my eye, the deadly arrow
in my side, the two-edged sword that has wounded my
conscience, and slain my comforts, and separated
between God and my soul. Oh, sin is that which has . . .
  hindered my prayers,
  embittered my mercies,
  put a sting into all my crosses.
Therefore I cannot but disapprove of it, and disallow of it,
and condemn it to death, yes, to hell, from whence it came.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

One sin never goes alone

Little sins make way for greater sins.

Cain's anger is seconded with murder.

Ahab's covetousness is attended with bloody cruelty.

Jeroboam's rebellion is attended with idolatry.

Judas' thievery is attended with treason.

One sin commonly disposes the heart to another sin.

Yielding to lesser sins, draws the soul to the
commission of greater sins.

Oh there is a prodigious evil in the least of sins; it will
quickly multiply itself into all manner of evils. Unless sin
be cut off in the first motion, it will proceed to action,
and from action to delight, and from delight to custom,
and from custom to a habit—and then the soul will be
undone forever!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

So exceeding angry with himself

"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!" Isaiah 30:22

The true penitent is not so exceeding angry with himself
for anything—as he is angry with himself for his sins. There are
none who fret, and fume, and chafe at themselves for sin, as
penitent souls do. There are none who loathe themselves, who
abhor themselves, and who are weary of themselves, upon the
account of their sins—like penitent souls. It is not this thing nor
that, nor this enemy nor that, nor this party nor that, nor this
design nor that—but sin, which is the main—the grand object
of a penitent's hatred, scorn, wrath, rage, reproach, disgrace,
and contempt!

He who would be angry and sin not—must be angry at nothing
but sin. If some men would but spend more of their anger and
indignation against their sins, they would not be so angry as
they are with their brethren, that in disputable things differ
from them.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Holy joy and godly sorrow

Holy joy and godly sorrow are in no way inconsistent.
Yes, a godly man's eyes are always fullest of tears—when
his heart is fullest of holy joy. A man may go joying and
mourning to his grave, yes, to heaven, at the same time.

Grace always thrives best in that garden, that heart, which
is watered most with the tears of godly sorrow. He who
grieves most for sin, will rejoice most in God. And he who
rejoices most in God, will grieve most for sin.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

As long as a Christian continues sinning

Godly sorrow is a lasting sorrow, it is a durable sorrow.
As long as a Christian continues sinning, he cannot
but continue mourning.

Repentance is a grace, and must have its daily operation
as well as other graces. Certainly a true penitent can no
more satisfy himself with one act of repentance, than he
can satisfy himself with one act of faith, or with one act
of hope, or with one act of love, or with one act of humility,
or with one act of patience, or with one act of self-denial.
Godly sorrow is a gospel grace which will live and last as
well and as long as other graces; it is a spring which in
this life, can never be drawn dry.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Such gnats as these

"Oh cleanse me from secret faults." Psalm 19:12

An unsound heart may mourn for great sins—which make
great wounds in his conscience and credit, and which leave
a great blot upon his name, or that waste or rot his body,
or destroy his estate, or which expose him to public scorn
and shame, etc. But for sins of omission, for wandering
thoughts, idle words, deadness, coldness, slightness in pious
duties and services, unbelief, secret pride, self-confidence,
and a thousand more—such gnats as these he can
swallow without any remorse, Proverbs 5:8-14.

But godly sorrow is of a general extent, it mourns as well
for small sins as for great. A gracious soul weeps over many
sins which none can charge upon him but God and his own
conscience.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

No hand but a divine hand


"God makes my heart soft." Job 23:16

Sorrow for sin is one part of true repentance.

A sincere mourning is a deep mourning; it springs from
serious and deep apprehensions of the great anger and
deep displeasure of God, and of the woeful nature, demerit,
burden, bitterness, vileness, and filthiness of sin. Oh the
sighs, the groans, the sobs, the tears, which are to be
found among repenting sinners.

No man is born with godly sorrow in his heart, as he is
born with a tongue in his mouth. Godly sorrow is a plant
of God's own planting; it is from God, and God alone. The
spirit of mourning is from above; it is from a supernatural
power and principle. There is nothing that can turn a heart
of stone into flesh, but the Spirit of God, Ezek. 36:25-26.
Godly sorrow is a gift from God. No hand but a divine
hand
can make the heart soft and tender under the sight
and sense of sin. Nature may easily work a man to mourn,
and melt, and weep, under worldly losses, crosses, and
miseries; but it must be grace, it must be a supernatural
principle, which must work the heart to mourn for sin.

"God makes my heart soft." Job 23:16

Godly sorrow is a sorrow for sin as sin. Godly sorrow is a
mourning rather for sin—than for the trouble which sin
brings; it is not so much for loss of goods, lands, wife,
child, credit, name, etc., but for that a holy God is offended,
a righteous law violated, Christ dishonored, the Spirit grieved,
and the gospel blemished, etc. Peter's sorrow was godly, but
Judas' sorrow was worldly; Peter mourns over the evil of sin,
but Judas mourns over the evil of punishment.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Dirt handsomely fashioned

"The Lord God formed the man out of the dust from
 the ground
." Genesis 2:7

Our bodies are but dirt handsomely fashioned. We
derive our pedigree from the dust, and are akin to clay.

Such as have most pampered their bodies—have been
the greatest enemies to their own souls. And how many
are there this day who pamper their bodies—but starve
their souls; who adorn their bodies—but defile their souls;
who dress and trim up their bodies with gold, and silver,
and silks—while their souls are naked of all grace, holiness,
and goodness.

"I discipline my body and bring it under strict control."
    1 Corinthians 9:27

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A new heart and a new spirit

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit
 within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give
 you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you
 and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully
 observe My ordinances." Ezekiel 36:26-27

A true child of God has the law of God written, not only
in his understanding—but also in his heart and affections.
And this is that which makes his obedience to be pleasing
and delightful to him.

If he might be free from the injunctions and directions of
the word—he would not value such a liberty. He would not
swear, nor lie, nor be drunk, nor whore, nor dissemble, nor
cheat, nor run into all excess of riot if he could—because in
his soul he has a principle of grace, and an inward contrariety
and antipathy against evil. He would not cease to hear, to
read, to pray, to meditate if he could—because his soul takes
a pleasure and sweet delight in these things.

There is a principle within him agreeable to the precepts
of Scripture, which makes all pious performances to be easy
and pleasurable to him.

Look! as the eye delights in seeing, and the ear in hearing,
so a gracious heart (except when it is under a cloud of
desertion, or in the school of temptation, or under some
grievous tormenting afflictions, or sadly worsted by some
prevalent corruption) delights in obedience.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

One continued web of wickedness

"No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because
 God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning,
 because he has been born of God." 1 John 3:9

That is, they do not allow themselves in the practice
of any iniquity. Gracious souls do not live in the service
of sin, they do not live in an ordinary practice of any
iniquity. He who has the seed of God, the seed of grace
and regeneration in him—he cannot allow himself in a
way of sin, he cannot give himself over to a voluntary
serving of sin, he cannot make a trade of sin.

But now the whole trade, the whole life of formal and
carnal professors, is nothing else but one continued
web of wickedness
; there is no wicked unregenerate
person in the world—but lives in the daily practice of
some known sin or other—but allows himself in some
trade or way of wickedness or other.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Sin and they would never part

Carnal men, in times of sickness and distress, or in times
of horror and terror of conscience, or when death, the king
of terrors, knocks at their doors, or when they see hell
gaping to devour them, and God as a solemn judge standing
ready to pass an eternal doom upon them—only then they
are willing to cast overboard their pleasures, their drunkenness,
their swearing, their cursing, their lying, their flesh-pleasing,
etc. But not out of any hatred to their lusts—but out of love
to themselves, and out of fear of being damned, etc.; for
could they but enjoy their sins and heaven too—sin and
they would never part
.

A graceless heart is more abundantly willing to be freed from
punishment—the effect of sin; than it is willing to be freed
from sin—the cause of punishment.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What sin is so sweet or profitable, that is
worth burning in hell for—or worth being shut
out of heaven for?

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Whom God loves once

"I have loved you with an everlasting love!" Jer. 31:3

O sirs! the covenant of grace is founded upon God's
everlasting love, upon God's unchangeable love, upon
God's free love. John 13:1, "Having loved His own who
were in the world, He loved them to the end." Whom
God loves once
—He loves forever. God can as well
cease to be—as He can cease to love those whom He
has taken into covenant with Himself.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

No man can subdue his sins—but by the
power of the Holy Spirit!
 


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Spiritual vomit

"He who covers his sins shall not prosper; but whoever
 confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy." Prov. 28:13

True penitential confession is joined with reformation. That
confession of sin which carries forgiveness of sin with it, is
attended with serious desires, and earnest endeavors of
reformation. Confession of sin must be joined with forsaking
of sin—or all is lost. God will never cross the book, He will
never draw the red lines of Christ's blood over the black lines
of our transgressions—unless confessing and forsaking of sin,
goes hand in hand. He who does not forsake his sin, as well
as confess it, forsakes the benefit of his confession.

Indeed, there is no real confession of sin, where there is no
real forsaking of sin. It is not enough for us to confess the
sins we have committed—but we must peremptorily resolve
against the committing again the sins we have confessed.
We must desire as freely to forego our sins, as we do desire
God to forgive us our sins.

Confession of sin is a spiritual vomit. Now you know, a man
who is sick in his stomach, is heartily willing to be rid of that
load on his stomach; and so a man who is real in his confession
of sin, is as heartily willing to be rid of his sin, that lies as a
load upon his conscience, as any sick man can be heartily
willing to be rid of that load that lies upon his stomach.

The penitential confessor does as heartily desire to be delivered
from the power of his sins—as he does desire to be delivered
from the sting and punishment of his sins.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Saving repentance

Saving repentance includes contrition or grief of heart
for sins committed. Now this is sometimes called—
  godly sorrow, 2 Cor. 7:10;
  a contrite spirit, Isaiah 66:2;
  a broken and contrite heart, Psalm 51:17;
  the afflicting of our souls, Lev. 16:29;
  the humbling of the heart, 2 Chron. 7:14, Lam. 3:20;
  a mourning, Zech. 12:10;
  a weeping, Mark 14:72.

All repenting sinners are mourning sinners.
David repents—and waters his couch with his tears.
Hezekiah repents—and humbles himself for the pride of his heart.
Ephraim repents—and Ephraim bemoans himself.
Mary Magdalene repents—and weeps, and washes Christ's feet with her tears.
The Corinthians repented—and were made sorrowful after a godly manner.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A hound, a hawk, a horse, a harlot

Every man on earth whose heart is void and empty of
grace—sets a higher value and price upon his lusts, or
upon his relations, or upon his honors, or riches, or
pleasures, or upon this or that worldly enjoyment—than
he does upon grace. Yes, how many thousands are there
who set a higher price or value upon a hound, a hawk,
a horse, a harlot
, a good trade, a fair estate, a rich
inheritance; yes, upon the very toys and trifles of this
world—than they do upon God, or Christ, or grace!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

They are not quite slain

Though pride and envy have received their death's
wound at the soul's first conversion—yet they are
not quite slain
in a believer. The best of men are
but men at the best, and there are still those bitter
roots of pride, vain-glory, self-love, envy, etc.,
remaining in the godliest believer.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Beautiful abominations

Let a man's profession be ever so glorious, let him be
ever so abundant in the performance of duties, let his
desires after this and that holy thing be ever so strong
—yet if his ends and aims are wrong, all his pretensions
and performances are but beautiful abominations.

Did David pray three times a day? So did the pharisees.
Did David and Daniel fast? So did the pharisees—and
that twice in the week. Did Cornelius give alms? So
did the pharisees. Did Abraham pay tithes? So did the
pharisees; they tithed their very mint and rue. But their
ends and aims being wrong—their time was lost, and
their pains were lost, and their duties were lost, and
their alms were lost, and their souls were lost—and
that forever. God writes a zero upon all those services
wherein men's ends are not right.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The devil's donkey

The devil makes the proud person his donkey,
to ride in triumph upon.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Stone him to death!

"If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or
 the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices
 you, saying, 'Let us go and worship other gods (gods that
 neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the
 peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end
 of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to
 him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him.
 You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be
 the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of
 all the people. Stone him to death, because he tried to
 turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you
 out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery." Deut. 13:6-10


This Scripture tells us, that if father, or mother, or brother,
or sister, or kinsman, or friend, should go about to draw a
man from God, his hand should be first upon him to put him
to death. Now, bosom sins, darling sins—they seek to draw
a man's heart from God, and therefore a gracious soul can't
but rise up against them, and do his best to stone them,
and to be the death of them!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The choicest saints

Such is the universal corruption of human nature, that the souls of the best, of the purest, and of the holiest men in the world—do from day to day, yes, from moment to moment, contract some filth and uncleanness. The choicest saints can never acquit themselves from sins of infirmity—which do inevitably and inseparably cleave unto the best of men, who still carry with about them, corrupt flesh and blood.

Godly men may fall again and again into the same sin; and no wonder, for though their repentance be ever so sincere and sound—yet their graces are but weak, and their mortification but imperfect in this life, and therefore it is possible for a gracious soul to fall again and again into the same sin.

Grace may be prevailed against by Satan's temptations, and by the strong, secret, and subtle workings of sin in our hearts.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Common grace

Common grace never works a man thus to fear sin—but renewing grace does. Common convictions carry the soul out to look more on the evil which follows sin, rather than on the evil which is in sin. And hence it comes to pass, that souls under common convictions are more affected and afflicted at the fear of hell and dread of wrath and damnation—than they are affected or afflicted at the vileness, odiousness, and heinous nature of sin.

When an unsanctified person is angry with sin, and chides sin, and fights with sin, and makes some headway against sin—it is either because it has cracked his credit, or clouded his honor, or hindered his profit, or embittered his pleasure, or provoked his friends, or incensed the magistrate, or enraged his conscience, or exposed him to shame, disgrace, or contempt here—and hell hereafter. But never because a holy God is dishonored, a righteous law transgressed, a blessed Savior crucified, or the blessed Spirit greatly grieved. The child will not touch the coal because it will burn him, and the prudent man will not touch the coal because it will smut him. A gracious heart rises against sin because of its defiling and polluting nature—but an unsanctified heart rises against sin because of its burning and damning nature. A sanctified person hates sin, because it pollutes his soul—but an unsanctified person hates it because it destroys his soul. A sanctified person loathes sin, and abhors sin—because it fights against God's holiness. But an unsanctified person loathes sin, and abhors it, because it provokes and stirs up God's justice. A sanctified person detests sin, because of the hell that is in sin. But an unsanctified person detests sin, because of the hell that follows sin, etc.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Sin in a saint

It is one thing for a man to sin, it is another thing for a man to allow himself in sin. It is one thing for a godly man to step into a sin, and it is another thing to keep the road of sin. A real saint can neither allow of sin, nor wallow in sin, nor be transformed into the image of sin, nor mix itself with sin. It is possible for a sincere Christian to step into a sinful path, or to touch upon sinful facts, and now and then in an hour of temptation, to slide, to trip, and to be overtaken unawares. But his main way, his principal work, is to depart from iniquity; as a true traveler may now and then step a few steps out of his way—who yet for the main keeps his way, keeps the road. Or as a bee may now and then light upon a thistle—but her main work is to be gathering at the flowers. Or as a sheep may now and then slip into the dirt, or into a slough—but its main work is to be grazing upon the mountains.

Certainly, O soul, if sin is now your greatest burden, it shall never hereafter prove your eternal bane. God never yet sent any man to hell for sin, to whom sin has commonly been the greatest hell in this world. God has but one hell, and that is for those to whom sin has been commonly a heaven in this world. That man who hates sin, and who daily enters his protest against sin—that man shall never be made miserable by sin.

Sin in a wicked man is like poison in a serpent; it is in its natural place, it is delightful to a sinner. But sin in a saint is like poison in a man's body, it is offensive, and the heart rises against it, and uses all divine antidotes whereby it may be expelled and destroyed. Nothing will satisfy a gracious soul—but the heart blood of his lusts. Now, he shall never be damned for his sins, whose heart is set upon killing his sins.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Sin shall not have dominion over you

"Sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace." Romans 6:14

What does the dominion of sin import, and wherein does it consist?

Sin is in dominion, when it has the universal and sovereign command of the soul, when it has an absolute power, when it has such an authority in the soul to command it as a king does his subjects, or as the centurion did his servants: Mat. 8:9, "For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it." Now when sin has such a universal and easy authority and command over the whole man, body and soul, as that it can use them in the service of sin, when and where and how it pleases, then sin is in dominion. Where there is a peaceable, uncontrolled, willing, universal subjection of the whole man unto the commands of sin, there sin reigns.

Sin is in dominion, when in a course, when ordinarily, there is a quiet, free, willing, and total yielding of subjection to the authority, law, and command of sin. Mark, it is a full possession, a complete delight, and a constant contentment in sin, that speaks out the reign and dominion of sin, Romans 6:13-16. Dominion of sin imports a complete and universal resignation of the whole will and man to the obedience of it. That man who is wholly addicted and devoted to the ways of sin, that man is under the reign of sin—that man whose whole heart is universally married to his lusts—that man is under the dominion of his lusts. When a man does as freely, cheerfully, universally, and readily obey his lusts, as a child does his father—then sin is in dominion. When a man sins with greediness, when with Ahab he "sells himself to work wickedness," 1 Kings 21:25, when he commits "wickedness with both hands," Micah 7:3, when he gives himself up or over "to all uncleanness and filthiness," Eph. 2:3, when he freely and voluntarily resigns and surrenders up his body and soul to the obedience of sin—then sin reigns, then it keeps the throne.

Where the dominion of sin is erected, there it sits in the heart, as a king in his throne, and gives forth its laws and commands to the soul and body, and those commands are listened to, and consented to, approved and delighted in. A subject cannot in a course more freely, willingly, universally, and cheerfully obey the commands of his prince, than a sinner does in a course freely, willingly, universally, and cheerfully obey the commands of his lusts; and wherever this sad temper of spirit is—there is sin in dominion.

Sin is in dominion, when it commands in the heart as a king in his throne, or as a Lord in his house, or as a general in his army—freely, boldly, universally, cheerfully; and when the soul does as freely, boldly, universally, and cheerfully subject itself to sin's commands. Where men commonly yield up their wills and affections to the commands of sin, there sin reigns; and this is the case of every unregenerate man.

When a man is usually insistent in his sinnings, in the face of all reprehensions and arguments which tend to dissuade him from sin—then sin is in dominion, Proverbs 29. 1; Jer. 5:3-4; and 44:15-17. When the constant bent of the heart is inflamed towards sin, and when the desires of the soul are insatiably carried after sin, and when the resolutions of the soul are strongly and habitually set upon sin—then sin is in the throne, and then it reigns as a king. When God hedges up the sinner's way with thorns—yet the sinner will break through all to his sin, Hosea 2:6-7; when life and death, heaven and hell, glory and misery, are set before the sinner—yet the sinner will be insistent in his sinnings, though he loses his life, his soul, and all the glory of another world, then sin reigns, Deut. 30:15-19, and 11:26-29.

When men ordinarily, habitually, commonly are very careful, studious, and laborious to make provision for sin, then sin reigns: Romans 13:14, "Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof;" or, as the Greek has it, "Make no projects for the flesh," or "cater not for the flesh." When a man's head and heart is full of projects how to gratify this lust, and how to satisfy that lust, and how to fulfill the other lust, then sin reigns, then it is in its throne. [David, in an hour of temptation, once made provision for his lusts, 2 Sam. 11:14-15. But this was not his course, his trade, etc.]

When sin is commonly, habitually sweet, and the soul takes a daily pleasure and delight in it, then it reigns; as you may see by comparing these scriptures. [Job 20:12-13; Proverbs 2:14; Amos 6:13; Zeph. 3:11; 2 Thes. 2:12-3 Plutarch.] When a man daily takes as joyful contentment and satisfaction in his lusts, and in walking after the ways of his own heart, as he does in his highest outward enjoyments, or in his nearest and dearest relations, then certainly sin is in dominion. Such men as can go constantly on in a way of wickedness, merely to delight and please the flesh—such men are certainly under the power and reign of sin.

When men commonly take part with sin, when they take up arms in the defense of sin, and in defiance of the commands of God, the motions of the Spirit, and the checks of conscience—then sin is in dominion. He who readily, resolvedly, and habitually fights sin's battles—is sin's servant, and without all question under the reign and dominion of sin. When the inward faculties of the soul, and the outward members of the body, do readily resolve, and habitually take up arms to fight for sin—then and there sin is in dominion, as you may plainly see by consulting these scriptures. [Romans 6:19-20; Eph. 2:2-3; Titus 3:3.]

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Blessed are those who mourn

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
    Matthew 5:4

"Blessed are those who mourn;" that is—such as who mourn for sin with an exceeding great mourning.

"Blessed are those who mourn;" that is—those who mourn for sin with a funeral sorrow, as the word signifies.

"Blessed are those who mourn;" that is—those who mourn for sin as a man mourns for the loss of his only son, Zech. 12:10, or as Jacob mourned for Joseph, or as David mourned for Absalom, or as the people mourned for the loss of good Josiah, 2 Chron. 35:24-25.

"Blessed are those who mourn;" that is—those who mourn for secret sins as well as open sins.

"Blessed are those who mourn;" that is—those who mourn for sins against grace as well as for sins against the law.

"Blessed are those who mourn;" that is—those who mourn for sin as the greatest evil in the world.

"Blessed are those who mourn;" that is—those who mourn for his own sins, Ezek. 7:16; as David did, Psalm 51; or as Ephraim did, Jer. 31:18-19; or as Peter did, Mat. 26:75; or as Mary Magdalene did, Luke 7:38

"Blessed are those who mourn;" that is—those who mourn for the sins of others as well as for his own, as David did, Psalm 119:136, 158; or as Jeremiah did, Jer. 13:17; or as Lot did, 2 Peter 2:7-8; or as they did in that Ezek. 9:4.

"Blessed are those who mourn;" that is—those who mourn under the sense of their spiritual needs.

"Blessed are those who mourn;" that is—those who mourns under the sense of their spiritual losses—such as loss of communion with God, loss of the favor of God, loss of the presence of God, loss of the exercise of grace, loss of the joys of the Spirit, loss of inward peace, etc.

"Blessed are those who mourn;" that is—those who mourn not only for their own afflictions and miseries—but also for the afflictions and miseries of other believers, as Nehemiah did, Neb. 1:2-4; or as Jeremiah did, Jer. 9:1-2; or as Christ did when he wept over Jerusalem, Luke 19:41-42.

"Blessed are those who mourn;" that is—those who mourn because they cannot mourn for these things; or who mourn because they can mourn no more; or who mourn because God has so little honor in their hearts, or in their house, or in their life, or in the world, or in the churches.

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The old man

In every regenerate man, there are two men—an old man and a new man; or if you please, flesh and spirit. Romans 7.

The old man, the fleshly part, will incline the soul, and bias the soul, as well to sins against the gospel, as to sins against the law, and to great sins as well as small sins; witness Noah's drunkenness, Lot's incest, Asa's oppression, David's murder and adultery, Solomon's idolatry, and Peter's blasphemy.

The old man, the fleshly part, is as much in the will as in any other part of the regenerate man; and therefore, when he falls into heinous sins, he may fall into them with consent, delight, and willingness, so far as his will is unrenewed. Though a real Christian is changed in every part—yet it is but in part and imperfect.

The old man, the fleshly part, is in a regenerate man's members, as well as in his will, and therefore they may be exercised and employed in and about those sins they have consented unto.

High sinnings injure and wound the conscience of a regenerate man, and lay him open to the sore rebukes of God, and call for great repentance, and fresh and frequent applications of the blood of Christ.

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The pure in heart

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Matthew 5:8

Dear hearts! As we truly say, that gold is pure gold, though much dross may hang about it; and as we truly say, that such and such an air is pure air, though at times there are many fogs and mists within it; and as we truly say, that such and such springs are pure springs, though mud, and dirt, and filth may are lying at the bottom of those springs; and as we truly say, that face is a fair face, though it has some freckles in it; so we may as truly say, that such and such a heart is a "pure heart," though there may be much sinful dross and filth cleaving to it.

Beloved! the best, the wisest, the holiest, and the most mortified Christians on earth, do carry about with them a body of sin and death, Romans 7:22-23; they have in them a fountain of original corruption, and from this fountain sin will still be arising, a-bubbling and a-boiling up as the scum in a pot over the fire.

But mark, as in wine, or honey, or water, though scum and filth may arise—yet the wine, the honey, the water, will be still a-purging and purifying itself, and a-working and casting it out. So though sin, though corruption, though spiritual filth may, and too often does, arise in a gracious heart—yet there is a spring of grace, a spring of living water in him; there is a holy cleansing and purifying disposition in a regenerate person, which will still be a-working and casting it out.

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He is the blessed soul!

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness." Matthew 5:6

He who sees an absolute necessity of the righteousness of Christ to justify him, and to enable him to stand boldly before the throne of God; he who sees his own righteousness to be but as filthy rags, Isaiah 64:4; to be but as dross and dung, Philip. 3:7-8; he who sees the Lord Jesus Christ, with all his riches and righteousness, clearly and freely offered to poor sinners in the everlasting gospel; he who in the gospel-mirror sees Christ, who knew no sin, to be made sin for him, that that he may be made the righteousness of God in Christ, 2 Cor. 5:21; he who in the same mirror sees Christ to be made wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, to all who are sincerely willing to make a venture of their immortal souls and eternal estates upon him and his righteousness; and he who sees the righteousness of Christ to be a most perfect, pure, complete, spotless, matchless, infinite righteousness; and under these apprehensions and persuasions is carried out in earnest and unsatisfied hungerings and thirstings, to be made a partaker of Christ's righteousness, and to be assured of his righteousness, and to put on his righteousness as a royal robe, Isaiah 61:10—he is the blessed soul!

And he who hungers and thirsts after the righteousness of Christ imparted, as well as after the righteousness of Christ imputed; after the righteousness of sanctification, as well as after the righteousness of justificationhe is the blessed soul!, and shall at last be filled.

The righteousness of sanctification, or imparted righteousness, lies in the Spirit's infusing into the soul those holy principles, divine qualities, or supernatural graces, that the apostle mentions in that Gal. 5:22-23. These habits of grace, which are distinguished by the names of faith, love, hope, meekness, etc., are nothing else but the new nature or new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, Eph. 4:24. He who hungers and thirsts after the righteousness of sanctification, out of a deep serious sense of his own unrighteousness; he who hungers and thirsts after the righteousness of sanctification, as earnestly as hungry men do for food, or as thirsty men do for drink, or as the hunted deer does after the water brooks—he is the blessed soul, and shall at last be filled.