Choice selections from Thomas Brooks,
"Heaven on Earth" 1667


The trifles which God gives

The emperor Augustus, in his great feasts, gave
trifles
to some—but gold to his favorites.

Just so—honors, riches and worldly pleasures are
the trifles which God gives to the worst of men.

God gives His gold—His special love and grace—only
to His people.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A transforming knowledge

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's
 glory, are being transformed into His likeness with
 ever-increasing glory." 2 Corinthians 3:18

Saving knowledge is a transforming knowledge, which
metamorphoses the soul. Divine light beating on the heart,
warms it and betters it; transforms and changes it; moulds
and fashions it into the very likeness of Christ!

The naturalists observe that the pearl, by the often
beating of the sunbeams upon it, becomes radiant.
Just so, the often beating and shining of the Sun of
righteousness, with His divine beams, upon the saints,
causes them to glisten and shine in . . .
  holiness,
  righteousness,
  heavenly-mindedness,
  humbleness, etc.
Divine light casts a general beauty and glory upon
the soul; it transforms a man more and more into
the glorious image of Christ!

Look! as the child receives his features from his parents;
just so, the beams of divine light and knowledge shining
into the soul, stamp the living image of Christ upon the soul.

Mere notional knowledge may make a man excellent at
praising
the glorious and worthy acts and virtues of Christ;
but that transforming knowledge which accompanies
salvation, will work a man divinely to imitate the glorious
acts and virtues of Christ.

When a beam of divine light shined from heaven upon Paul, ah,
how did it change and metamorphose him! How did it alter and
transform him! It made his rebellious soul, obedient: "Lord, what
will You have me to do?" Acts 9:6. Divine light lays upon a man
a happy necessity of obeying God.
Divine light makes . . .
  this lion—into a lamb,
  this persecutor—into a preacher,
  this destroyer of the saints—into a strengthener of the saints,
  this tormenter—into a comforter,
  this monster—into an angel,
  this notorious blasphemer—into a very great admirer of God,
and the actings of His free grace.

Just so, when a spark of this heavenly fire fell upon the heart of
Mary Magdalene, oh what a change, what a transformation does
it make in her! Now she loves much, and believes much, and
repents much, and weeps much. Oh what a change did divine
light make in Zacchaeus, and in the jailor!

Truly, if your light, your Biblical knowledge does not better you,
if it does not change and transform you, if, under all your light
and knowledge you remain as vile and base as ever; your light,
your knowledge, your notions, your speculations, will be like fire!
That knowledge which is not a transforming knowledge—will
torment a man at last more than all the devils in hell; it will be . . .
  a sword to cut him,
  a rod to lash him,
  a serpent to bite him,
  a scorpion to sting him, and
  a vulture, a worm eternally gnawing him!

God at last will own no knowledge, but that which leaves
the stamp of Christ, the print of Christ, the image of Christ
upon the heart; but that which changes and transforms the
soul, which makes a man a new man, another man than
what he was before divine light shined upon him.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The hypocrite's hope

"For what hope do the godless have, when God cuts
 them off and takes away their life?" Job 27:8

"When the wicked die, their hopes all perish." Prov. 11:7

That assurance is but presumption, which allows men . . .
  to play with sin,
  to be bold with sin,
  to make light of sin,
  to walk on in ways of sin.

Such 'assurance' will never bring a man to heaven; it
will never keep him from dropping into hell; yes, it
will double his damnation
, and make him the most
miserable among all damned, wretched, forlorn spirits.

"So are the paths of all who forget God; and the
 hypocrite's hope
shall perish
." Job 8:13

Ah, Lord! from such false hopes deliver my soul;
and give me more and more of that divine hope
which makes sin to be more hateful than hell.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Kisses

"Oh, that He would kiss me with the kisses of His mouth!
 For Your love is more delightful than wine." Song 1:2

Not with a kiss—but with the kisses of His mouth.
A soul once kissed by Christ, can never have enough
of the kisses of Christ; His lips drop myrrh and mercy.
No kisses, compared to the kisses of Christ. The more
any soul loves Christ, the more serious, studious, and
industrious will that soul be, to have the love of Christ
discovered, confirmed, witnessed, and sealed to it.

A soul once kissed by Christ, would gladly have . . .
  her drop turned into an ocean;
  her spark into a flame;
  her penny into a pound;
  her mite into a million.

A soul who truly loves Christ . . .
  can never see enough,
  nor ever taste enough,
  nor ever feel enough,
  nor ever enjoy enough
of the love of Christ. When once they have found
His love to be better than wine, then nothing will
satisfy them but the kisses of His mouth.

"May you experience the love of Christ, though it is
so great you will never fully understand it." Eph. 3:19

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

The sweetest joys are from the sourest tears

Sin is a turning the back upon God—and the face
towards hell. Repentance is a turning the back
upon sin—and a setting the face towards God!

True repentance is a sorrowing for sin because it
is offensive to God. Peter was sorry for his sin;
Judas was sorry his for punishment. Peter grieves
because Christ was grieved; Judas grieved because
he would be damned.

As Noah's flood drowned his nearest and his dearest
friends, so the flood of penitent tears drowns men's
nearest and their dearest lusts! Be they Isaacs or
Benjamins, be they right eyes or right hands, true
repentance puts all to the sword; it spares neither
father nor mother, neither Agag nor Achan.

Repentance is a turning from all sin, without any
reservation or exception. One stab at the heart kills,
one hole in the ship sinks her, one act of treason
makes a traitor. Just so, one sin not forsaken, not
turned from, will undo a soul forever.

A true penitent looks upon every sin as poison, as
the vomit of a dog, as the mire of the street, as the
menstruous cloth, which of all things in the law was
most unclean, defiling, and polluting. He looks thus
upon every sin, turns his heart against every sin,
and makes him not only to refrain from sin—but
to forsake it, and to loathe it more than hell. 

True repentance breaks the heart with sighs,
sobs, and groans—that . . .
  a loving Father is offended,
  a blessed Savior crucified, and
  the sweet Comforter grieved.

Penitent Mary Magdalene weeps much, as well as loves
much. Tears, instead of jewels, were the ornaments of
penitent David's bed. Surely that sweet singer never
sang more melodiously, than when his heart was broken
most penitentially.

The sweetest joys are from the sourest tears;
penitent tears are the breeders of spiritual joy. The
bee gathers the best honey off the bitterest herbs.
Christ made the best wine of water; the strongest,
the purest, the truest, the most permanent, and the
most excellent joy is made of the waters of repentance.

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy."
     Psalm 126:5

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Loathsome thoughts

"You will remember your conduct and all the actions by
 which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe
 yourselves
for all the evil you have done." Ezekiel 20:43


True repentance includes a loathing and abhorring of sin,
and of ourselves for sin.

The sincere penitent loathes his sins, and he loathes himself
also because of his sins. He cries out, "Oh these wanton eyes!
Oh these wicked hands! Oh this deceitful tongue! Oh this
crooked will! Oh this corrupt heart! Oh how do I loathe my
sins, how do I loathe myself! My sins are a burden to me, and
they make me a burden to myself! My sins are abhorrent
to me, and they make me abhor myself in dust and ashes!"

A true penitent has not only low thoughts of himself, but
loathsome thoughts of himself. None can think or speak
so vilely of a Christian—as he thinks and speaks so vilely
of himself. "Behold, I am vile!" Job 40:4

"They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done
 and for all their detestable practices." Ezekiel 6:9

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

To sin and not to blush!

Only those things which are sinful, are shameful.

"Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have
 done, you will remember and be ashamed and never
 again open your mouth because of your humiliation,
 declares the Sovereign Lord." Ezekiel 16:63

When the penitent soul sees his sins pardoned, the
anger of God pacified, and divine justice satisfied,
then he sits down ashamed.

Sin and shame are inseparable companions.

A Christian cannot have the seeming sweet of sin, but
he shall have the real shame which accompanies sin.
These two God has joined together, and all the world
cannot put them asunder.

It was the vile and impenitent Caligula who said
of himself, "that he loved nothing better in himself,
than that he could not be ashamed."

A soul who has sinned away all shame, is a soul ripe for
hell—and given up to Satan! A greater plague cannot
befall a man in this life, than to sin and not to blush!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Soul-mollifying

Saving faith is soul-softening, it is soul-mollifying.
Peter believes soundly—and weeps bitterly. Mary
Magdalene believes much—and weeps much.

Faith sets . . .
  a wounded Christ,
  a bruised Christ,
  a despised Christ,
  a pierced Christ,
  a bleeding Christ
—before the soul, and this makes the soul sit down
and weep bitterly: "They will look on Me whom they
have pierced and mourn for Him (all gospel-mourning
flows from believing), as for an only son. They will
grieve bitterly for Him as for a firstborn son who has
died." Zechariah 12:10.

Oh! the sight of those wounds which their sins have
made—will wound their hearts through and through!
It will make them lament over Christ with a bitter
lamentation. Ah! nothing will kindly, sweetly, and
effectually break the hardened heart of a sinner,
but faith's beholding the blood of Christ trickling
down His sides!

That Christ should love man when he was most unlovely;
that man's extreme misery should but inflame Christ's
affections of love and mercy—this melts the believing soul.

That Christ should leave the eternal bosom of His Father;
that He who was equal with God—should come in the form
of a servant; that He who was clothed with glory—should
be wrapped in rags; that He whom the heaven of heavens
could not contain—should be cradled in a manger; that from
His cradle to His cross—His whole life should be a life of
sorrows and sufferings; that the Judge of all flesh should
be condemned; that the Lord of life should be put to death;
that He who was His Father's joy—should in anguish of spirit
cry out, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' that
that head which was crowned with honor—should be crowned
with thorns; that those eyes which were as a flame of fire,
which were clearer than the sun—should be closed up by the
darkness of death; that those ears which were used to hear
nothing but hallelujahs—should hear nothing but blasphemies;
that that face which was white and ruddy—should be spit upon
by the beastly Jews; that that tongue which spoke as never
any man spoke, yes, as never any angel spoke—should be
accused of blasphemy; that those hands which swayed both
a golden scepter and an iron rod, and those feet which were
as fine brass—should be nailed to the cross—and all this for
man's transgression, for man's rebellion! Oh! the sight of
these things, the believing of these things, makes a
gracious soul to break and bleed, to sigh and groan,
to mourn and lament!

True faith is a heart-breaking, a heart-melting faith.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

A heaven unto me!

That knowledge which accompanies salvation, is a
heart-affecting knowledge. It affects the heart
with Christ, and all spiritual things. Oh, it does
wonderfully endear Christ and the things of Christ
to the soul.

"Oh, feed me with Your love—Your 'raisins' and Your
'apples'—for I am utterly lovesick!" Song 2:5 "Oh,"
says the spouse, "my heart is taken with Christ, it is
ravished with His love; my soul is burning, my soul is
beating towards Christ. Oh, none but Christ, none but
Christ! I cannot live in myself, I cannot live in my duties,
I cannot live in external privileges, I cannot live in
outward mercies; I can live only in Christ, who is . . .
  my life,
  my love,
  my joy,
  my crown,
  my all in all.
Oh, the more I come to know Him  . . .
  in His natures,
  in His names,
  in His offices,
  in His discoveries,
  in His visits,
  in His beauties,
the more I find my heart and affections to prize
Christ, to run after Christ, to be affected with
Christ, and to be wonderfully endeared to Christ!

Oh, God forbid that my heart should be affected
or taken with anything in comparison with Christ.
The more I know Him, the more I love Him;
the more I know Him, the more I desire Him;
the more I know Him, the more my heart is knit unto Him.
His beauty is captivating,
His love is ravishing,
His goodness is attracting,
His manifestations are enticing,
His person is enamoring,
His lovely looks please me,
His pleasant voice delights me,
His precious Spirit comforts me,
His holy word rules me;
All these things make Christ to be a heaven unto me!

Oh, but all that mere notional knowledge, that speculative
knowledge, which leaves a man short of salvation—never
affects the heart; it never draws it, it never endears the
heart to Christ, or to the precious things of Christ. Hence
it is that such men, under all their notions, under all their
light and knowledge, have . . .
  no affection to Christ,
  no delight in Christ,
  no workings of heart after Christ.

"If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed."
    1 Corinthians 16:22

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

When Brutus went to stab Julius Caesar

"For I know my transgressions, and my
 sin is always before me
." Psalm 51:3


Sin most afflicts a gracious soul.

The deer feeling within her the working of the serpent's
poison—runs through the thorns and thickets, and runs
over the green and pleasant pastures—that she may drink
of the fountain and be cured.

Just so, gracious souls, being sensible of the poison and
venom of sin, run from the creatures, which are but as
thorns and thickets; and run over their own duties and
righteousness, which are but as pleasant pastures—to
come to Christ the fountain of life—that they may drink
of those waters of consolation, of those wells of salvation
which are in Him, and cast up and cast out their spiritual
poison, and be cured forever.

Believers know that their sins do most pierce and grieve
the Lord. The sins of God's people, provoke Him most, and
sadden Him most—and this makes them sigh and groan it
out, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from
this body of death?" Romans 7:24

If a snake were to sting your dearly beloved spouse to
death—would you preserve it alive, warm it by the fire,
and hug it in your bosom? Would you not rather stab it
with a thousand wounds?

When Brutus went to stab Julius Caesar, he cried
out, "What, you my son Brutus!" So may God well cry
out, "What, you My son! What, will you stab Me with
your sins! Is it not enough that others stab My honor?
but will you, My son?"

You are wise, and know how to apply it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Grace, grace!

"That no flesh should glory in His presence." 1 Corinthians 1:29

God does not look for any goodness or merit in the creature to draw
His love—but He will justify, pardon, and save for His name's sake. All
the motives which move God to show mercy are in His own bosom.

Salvation is only from free grace, and not from anything good in us,
or done by us.

God is free to bestow His promises upon whomever He pleases.
He often steps over the rich, and chooses the poor;
He often steps over the learned, and chooses the ignorant;
He often steps over the strong, and chooses the weak;
He often steps over the sweet nature, and chooses the wicked nature;
He often steps over the noble, and chooses the vile; etc.,
that no flesh may glory, and that all may shout out "Grace, grace!"

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Devour me, devour me!

Assurance will sweeten the thoughts of death
and all the aches, pains, weaknesses, sicknesses,
and diseases—which are the forerunners of death;
yes, it will make a man look and long for death.

Nazianzen said to the king of terrors, "Devour me,
devour me!
Death cures all diseases, the aching
head, and the unbelieving heart!"

Assurance makes a man smile upon the king
of terrors
. The assured soul knows that death
shall be the funeral of . . .
  all his sins,
  all his sorrows,
  all his afflictions,
  all his temptations.

He knows that death shall be the resurrection of
his joys. He knows that death is both an outlet
and an inlet; an outlet to sin; and an inlet to the
soul's clear, full, and constant enjoyment of God!
And this makes the assured soul to sing it sweetly
out, "O death, where is your sting? O grave, where
is your victory? "I desire to depart and be with
Christ, which is better by far!" "Make haste, my
beloved." "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!"

Now death is more desirable than life. Now says
the soul, "let him fear death, who is averse to go
to Christ."

The Persians had a certain day in the year, in which
they used to kill all serpents and venomous creatures.
The assured Christian knows that the day of death will
be such a day to him—and that makes death lovely and
desirable. He knows that sin was the midwife which
brought death into the world; and that death shall be
the grave to bury sin. And therefore death is not a
terror—but a delight unto him. He fears it not as an
enemy—but welcomes it as a friend.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Pambus wept when he saw a harlot

What labor and pains worldlings take to obtain the vain
things of this life—to obtain the poor things of this world,
which are but shadows and dreams, and mere nothings!

Oh! how should this stir and provoke Christians to be up
and doing, to labor as for life—to make sure of spiritual
and eternal things! Is earth better than heaven? No! Oh
then be ashamed, Christians, that worldlings are more
studious and industrious to obtain pebbles, than you
are to obtain pearls! They labor to obtain those things
which at last will be their burden, their bane, their plague,
their hell. You are to labor to obtain those things which will
be your joy and crown in life, in death, and in the day of
judgment.

Pambus wept when he saw a harlot dressed with much
care and cost—partly to see one take so much pains to go to
hell; and partly because he had not been so careful to please
God, as she had been to please her sluttish lovers.

Ah, Christians! what great reason have you to sit down and
weep bitterly—that worldlings take so much pains to make
themselves miserable—and that you have taken no more
pains to get more of Christ into your hearts!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

The mortifying of your darling sins

Most professing Christians have not the right art of
mortifying sin. All their attempts are to hide a lust,
not to quench it.

A great motive to provoke you to the mortifying of
your darling sins
, is solemnly to consider, that the
conquest and effectual mortifying of one bosom sin,
will yield a Christian more glorious joy, comfort, and
peace—than ever he has found in the gratifying and
committing of all other sins.

The pleasure and sweetness which follows victory over
sin, is a thousand times beyond that seeming sweetness
which is in the gratifying of sin. The joy which attends
the subduing of sin—is a noble joy, a pure joy, a special
joy, an increasing joy, and a lasting joy. But that joy
which attends the committing of sin—is an ignoble joy,
a corrupt joy, a decreasing joy, a dying joy.

The truth is—if there were the least real joy in sin, there
could be no hell-torments, where men shall most totally
sin, and be most totally tormented with their sin.

Ah! Christians, be restless, until, in the spirit and power
of Jesus, you have brought under control, that sin which
sticks so close unto you!

Remember this, nothing below the conquest of bosom
sins can make a jubilee in the heart. It is not a man's
whining and complaining over sin—but his mortifying
of sin, which will make his life a paradise of pleasure!

If, notwithstanding all that has been said, you are still
resolved to dally with sin, then you must resolve to live
as a stranger to God; you must expect sad trials without,
and sore troubles within; this shall be your just wages
for playing with sin! If you like the wages, then dally
with sin still; if otherwise, then sacrifice your Isaac!

Ah! souls, of all unpardoned sins, your bosom sins will
be presented by God, conscience, and Satan at last
—as the most filthy and ugly, as the most terrible and
dreadful. Your bosom sins at last will appear to be those
monsters, those fiends of hell—which have most provoked
God against you, which have shut up Christ's affections of
love and compassion from you, which have armed conscience
against you, which have barred the gates of glory against you,
which have prepared the hottest place in hell for you, and
which have given Satan the greatest advantage eternally
to triumph over you!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

The unsearchable riches of Christ!

There is everything in Christ to encourage the greatest
sinners to believe on Him, to rest and lean upon Him for
all happiness and blessedness. Christ is . . .
  the greatest good,
  the choicest good,
  the chief good,
  the most suitable good,
  the most necessary good;
  a pure good,
  a real good,
  a total good,
  an eternal good,
  a soul-satisfying good!

Sinners, are you poor? Christ has gold to enrich you.

Are you naked? Christ has royal robes, and white clothing to clothe you.

Are you blind? Christ has eye-salve to enlighten you.

Are you hungry? Christ will be manna to feed you.

Are you thirsty? He will be a well of living water to refresh you.

Are you wounded? He has a balm under his wings to heal you.

Are you sick? He is a physician to cure you.

Are you prisoners? He has laid down a ransom for you.

"The unsearchable riches of Christ!" Ephesians 3:8

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Peccatum est Deicidium

"The deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13

Sin . . .
  has its original from a deceitful subtle serpent,
  is the ground of all the deceit in the world,
  is the great deceiver of souls.

Sin . . .
  debases the soul of man,
  defiles and pollutes the soul of man,
  renders the soul most unlike to God,
    who is the best and greatest;
  renders the soul most like to Satan,
    who is a very sea and sink of sin!

Sin robs the soul of . . .
  the image of God,
  the holiness of God,
  the beauty of God,
  the glory of God,
  the righteousness of God.

Sin is peccatum est Deicidium—a killing of God!

"But they kept shouting—Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"
    Luke 23:21

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Whining and whimpering?

"My Beloved is mine, and I am His!" Song 2:16

"I know," says the spouse, "that Jesus Christ
is mine!
I can with the greatest confidence
and boldness affirm it. He is . . .
  my Head,
  my Husband,
  my Lord,
  my Redeemer,
  my Justifier,
  my Savior.
And I am His!
I am sure that I am His.
I am His by purchase;
I am His by conquest;
I am His by election;
I am His by covenant;
I am His by marriage;
I am wholly His;
I am specially His;
I am universally His;
I am eternally His!"

A well-grounded assurance will make a man . . .
  patient in waiting,
  courageous in doing,
  cheerful in suffering.
It will make a heaven in a man's heart—on
this side heaven; and make him go singing
into paradise, despite all of life's calamities
and miseries—as he realizes that he is . . .
  everlastingly chosen and beloved of God,
  that God's heart is set upon him,
  that his name is written in the book of life,
  that there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness,
  and that nothing shall be able to separate him from
  Him who is his light, his life, his crown, his all in all.

Ah, Christians! only remember what Christ has done for
you, and what He is still a-doing for you in heaven, and
what He will do for you to all eternity—and you will not be
able to spend your days in whining and whimpering.

Christians, your mercies are greater than your miseries!
One hour's being in the bosom of Christ, will recompense
you for all your trouble and travail on earth! Why, then,
do you spend more time in sighing, than in rejoicing?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

A precious commodity in hell

Most men spend the greatest part of their time
on things that are that are of little or no value;
as Domitian, the Roman emperor, who spent his
time in catching of flies.

Make a speedy and a thorough improvement of all
opportunities of grace and mercy. Do not trifle
away your golden seasons
. You have much
work to do in a short time. You have . . .
  a God to honor,
  a race to run,
  a crown to win,
  a hell to escape,
  a heaven to obtain,
  weak graces to strengthen,
  strong corruptions to weaken,
  many temptations to withstand,
  afflictions to bear,
  many mercies to improve,
  and many services to perform, etc.

He who neglects a golden opportunity, does
but create to himself a great deal of misery.

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

When men trifle away their precious time, and golden
opportunities, playing and toying with this vanity
and that vanity
; we may ask whether these men
have—no Christ, no Scripture, no promises, no
blessed experiences, no hopes of heavenly glories
—to enjoy and take delight in?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

A very little worm

A well-grounded assurance is always attended with humility.

David, under assurance, cries out, "I am a worm and no man!"
The Hebrew word which is here rendered worm, signifies a very
little worm
, which a man can hardly see or perceive. Psalm 22:6.
Abraham, under assurance, cries out, that he is but "dust and
ashes!" Jacob, under assurance, cries out, "I am not worthy of
all the faithfulness and unfailing love You have shown to me!"
Job, under assurance, "abhors himself in dust and ashes!"
Moses had the honor and the happiness to speak with God
"face to face;" and yet "Moses was a very humble man, more
humble than anyone else on the face of the earth." Num. 12:3.
The great apostle Paul, under all the revelations and glorious
manifestations of God to him, counts himself "less than the
least of God's people." Eph. 3:8.

That is mere presumption, that is a delusion of the devil, and
no sound assurance—which puffs and swells the souls of men
with pride; which makes men prize themselves above others,
above the value which God has put upon them.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The regal gate

"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17

A man may always pray habitually; he may have
his heart in a praying disposition in all estates and
conditions, in prosperity and adversity, in health
and sickness, in strength and weakness, in wealth
and wants, in life and death. The Christian needs . . .
  mercy to pardon him,
  grace to purify him,
  balm to heal him,
  divine favor to comfort him,
  power to support him,
  wisdom to counsel him,
  goodness to satisfy him.

Our daily weaknesses, our daily wants, our daily
fears, our daily dangers, our daily temptations,
etc., call for our daily prayers.

Prayer is the regal gate by which the Lord enters
into the heart, comforting, quieting, strengthening,
quickening, and raising of it. By it,
  faith is increased,
  hope strengthened,
  the spirit exhilarated,
  the heart pacified,
  the conscience purified,
  temptations vanquished,
  corruptions weakened,
  the affections inflamed,
  the will more renewed, and
  the whole man more advantaged.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
Birds' nests

Saving faith will make a man set his feet, where other
men sets their hearts. Faith looks with an eye of scorn
and disdain upon the things of this world. "What," says
faith, "are earthly treasures, compared to the treasures
of heaven? What are stones compared to silver; dross
compared to gold; darkness compared to light; hell
compared to heaven? No more," says faith, "What are
all the treasures, pleasures, and delights of this world
—compared to the influences of God's grace?"

Faith will make a man write 'worthless' upon the best of
worldly things; it will make a man trample upon the pearls
of this world, as upon dross and dirt, Hebrews 11:24-26.
Faith deadens a man's heart to the things of this world:
"I am crucified to the world, and the world is crucified to
me," says Paul, Phil. 3:8; Gal. 6:14. "This world," says faith,
"is not my house, my habitation, my home; I look for a
better country, for a better city, for a better home,"
2 Cor. 5:1-2. He who is the heir to a crown, a kingdom
—looks with an eye of scorn and disdain upon everything
below a kingdom, below a crown. Faith tells the soul that
it has a crown, a kingdom in reversion; and this makes
the soul to scorn the things of this world, 2 Tim. 4:8.

The view of Lucian is very interesting, who, going to the
top of a high mountain, saw all the affairs of men, and
looked on their greatest, richest, and most glorious cities,
as little birds' nests! Faith sets the soul upon the hill of
God, the mountain of God, which is a high mountain;
and from thence, faith gives the soul a sight, a prospect
of all things here below. And, ah! how like birds' nests
do all the riches, honors, and glories of this world look
and appear to those whom faith has set upon God's high hill.
Faith set Moses high, it set him among invisibles; and that
made him look upon all the treasures, pleasures, riches,
and glories of Egypt, as little birds' nests, as molehills,
as dross and dirt, as things that were too little and too low
for him to set his heart upon. Truly, when once faith has
given a man a sight, a prospect of heaven, all things on
earth will be looked upon as little and despised.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
In the beams of this heavenly light

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners
 —and I am the worst of them." 1 Timothy 1:15

Divine and heavenly knowledge brings a man near to God;
it gives a man the clearest and fullest sight of God; and the
nearer any man comes to God, and the clearer visions he has
of God, the more low and humble will that man lie before God.
None so humble as those who have nearest communion with
God. The angels that are near unto Him cover their faces with
their wings, in token of humility. Divine knowledge makes a
man look inwards; it anatomizes a man to himself; it is a
mirror which shows a man the spots of his own soul, and
this makes him little and low in his own eyes.

In the beams of this heavenly light,
a Christian comes to see his own . . .
  pride,
  ignorance,
  impatience,
  unworthiness,
  conceitedness,
  worthlessness,
  frowardness
  nothingness.

That knowledge which swells you with self importance,
will undo you. That knowledge which puffs you with pride,
will sink you. That knowledge which makes you delightful
in your own eyes, will make you despicable in God's eyes.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The scholar's knowledge

What is the scholar's knowledge of the strength, riches,
glories, and sweetness of far countries, obtained by maps
and books—compared to their knowledge, who daily see
and enjoy those things?

Truly, that knowledge which is only notional, speculative,
and general; which is gathered out of books, discourses,
and other outward advantages, is such a knowledge that
will make men sit down in hell, as it did Judas, Demas,
the scribes and pharisees, etc.

A man who has that experimental knowledge which
accompanies salvation, will from his experience tell you,
that sin is the greatest evil in the world—for he has found
it so, Rom. 7; that Christ is the one thing necessary—for
he has found Him so, Psalm 27:4; that the favor of God
is better than life—for he has found it so, Psalm 63:3; that
pardoning mercy
alone makes a man happy—for he has
found it so, Psalm 32:1-2; that a wounded spirit is such
a burden that none can bear—for he has found it so, Prov.
18:14; that a humble and a broken heart is an acceptable
sacrifice to God—for he has found it so, Psalm 51:17; that the
promises
are precious pearls—for he has found them so,
2 Pet. 1:4; that the smiles of God will make up the lack of
any outward mercies—for he has found it so, Psalm 4:6-7;
that only communion with God can make a heaven in a
believer's heart—for he has found it so, Psalm 48:10; that
if the Spirit is pleased and obeyed, He will be a comforter
to the soul—for he has found it so, John 16:7; but if His
motions and laws are slighted and neglected, He will stand
far off from the soul, He will vex and gall the soul—for he
has found it so, Lam 1:16; Isa 63:10-11.

That knowledge which is not experimental, will only increase
your guilt and torment, as it did the Scribes' and Pharisees'.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
I am about to desecrate My sanctuary

"This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to
 desecrate My sanctuary
—the stronghold in which
 you take pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of
 your affection." Ezekiel 24:21  

Many are much in and for church ordinances and activities,
whose hearts are very carnal, and whose lives are very vain.  

It is nothing to be much in those religious duties and
performances
wherein the worst of sinners may go
beyond the best of saints. The most refined hypocrites labor
only to be seen by others in their praying, fasting, talking,
hearing, giving, etc. Let them have but man's eye to see
them, and man's ear to hear them, and man's tongue to
commend them, and man's hand to reward them—and
they will sit down and bless themselves.

They say of the nightingale, that when she is solitary in
the woods, she is careless of her melody. But when she
perceives that she has any auditors, or is near houses, then
she composes herself more harmoniously and elegantly.
Truly, this is the frame and temper of the best of hypocrites.

"My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before
 you to listen to your words, but they do not put them
 into practice!
With their mouths they express devotion,
 but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them
 you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with
 a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they
 hear your words but do not put them into practice.
"
    Ezekiel 33:31-32.

 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Because you ate the loaves

"Unto you therefore who believe, He is precious."
    1 Peter 2:7

Christ is only precious to those who believe.

As Christ is the Father's chief jewel, so He is
your choicest jewel, is He not? Yes!


The true Christian prizes Christ . . .
  above all duties,
  above all privileges,
  above all mercies,
  above all graces,
  above all contentments,
  above all his enjoyments.

The true believer loves Christ for Christ; he
loves Christ for His personal excellencies.

What Alexander said of his two friends, is applicable
to many in our day; says he, "Haehestion loves me as
I am Alexander; but Craterus loves me as I am King
Alexander." One loved him for his person, the other
for the benefits he received from him.

So true Christians love Christ for His person,
  for His personal excellency,
  for His personal beauty,
  for His personal glory.
They see those perfections of grace and holiness
in Christ, which render Him very lovely and desirable
in their eyes; though they should never get a kingdom,
nor a crown by it. But most of those who profess to
belong to Christ, do it only in respect of the benefits
they hope to receive from Him. When one asked Cato's
daughter why she would not marry again, she being
young when her husband died, answered, 'Because
she could not find a man that loved her more than
her goods.' Few there are, who love Christ more than
His benefits.

"I tell you the truth, you are looking for Me, not
 because you saw miraculous signs but because
 you ate the loaves
and had your fill." John 6:26


It was Augustine's complaint of old, that 'scarcely any
love Christ, but for His benefits.' Few follow Him for love;
but many follow Him for loaves. Few follow Him for His
inward excellencies, many follow Him for their outward
advantages. Few follow him that they may be made
godly by him; but many follow him that they may
be great by him.

Certainly, you are the bosom friends of Christ, you are in
the very heart of Christ—who prize Christ above all. This is
a work too high and too hard, too great and too noble, for
all who are not true Christians, who are not twice born,
who are not of the blood-royal, who are not partakers
of the divine nature.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Totes oculus

They say of the nightingale, that when she is solitary in
the woods, she is careless of her melody; but when she
perceives that she has any auditors, or is near houses—then
she composes herself more harmoniously and elegantly.
Truly, this is the frame and temper of the best of hypocrites.

Oh! but a sincere Christian labors in all places, and in all
times, to approve himself to God. He labors as much to
approve himself to God in a forest, where no eye sees him
—as he does when the eyes of thousands are fixed upon him.

The sun would shine bright, though all men were asleep at
high noon, and no eyes open to see the glory of his beams.
Just so, a sincere heart will shine, he will labor to do good;
though all the world should shut their eyes; yet he will eye
his work, and eye his God. He knows that God is totes
oculus
all eye, and therefore he cares not though others
have never an eye to observe him, to applaud him. Let God
but secretly whisper to him in the ear, and say, "Well done,
good and faithful servant!" and it is enough to his soul,
enough to satisfy him, enough to cheer him, and enough
to encourage him in the ways and the work of his God.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
You take the goods

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants
 for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
 When can I go and meet with God?" Psalm 42:1-2

The rattle without the breast, will not satisfy the child,
the house without the husband, will not satisfy the wife,
the cabinet without the jewel, will not satisfy the maiden,
nor will the world without Christ, satisfy the soul.

The hungry soul will not be put off with any bread but
with the bread of life; the thirsty soul will not be put off
with any water but with the wellsprings of life.

As the king of Sodom said once, "You take the goods,
give me the people," Gen. 14:21. Just so, says the hungry
soul, "You take the goods—take your honors, and riches,
and the favor of creatures, take the grain, the oil,
and the wine; give me Christ, give me the light of His
countenance, give me the joy of His Spirit, etc."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The world and I am well agreed

Assurance will keep the heart from an inordinate
running out after the world, and the glory thereof.
Moses, having an assurance of the recompense of
reward, and of God's love and favor, could not be
drawn by all the honors, pleasures, and treasures
of Egypt. He slights all, and tramples upon all the
glory of the world, as men trample upon things of
no worth, Heb. 11:24-27.

So after Paul had been in the third heaven, and had
assurance that nothing should separate him from the
love of God in Christ, he looks upon the world as a
crucified thing: "The world is crucified to me," says
he, 2 Cor. 12:1-3, and Rom. 8:38; "and I am crucified
unto the world," Gal. 6:14. The world is dead to me,
and I am dead to it: the world and I am well
agreed
—the world cares not a pin for me, and I
care not a pin for the world.

I have read of Lazarus, that after he was raised
from the grave, he was never seen to smile. The
assurance that he had of more glorious things,
deadened his heart to the things of this world;
he saw nothing in them worthy of a smile. Ah!
were there more assurance among Christians,
there would not be such tugging for the world,
and such greedy hunting and pursuing after it, as
is in these days, to the dishonor of God, the
reproach of Christ, and the shame of the gospel.

So when God gave Galeacius, that Italian marquis,
an assurance of everlasting happiness, he withstood
many golden temptations, and cried out, 'Cursed be
he who prefers all the glory of the world to one
day's communion with Christ!'

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

He strives to make all as miserable
and unhappy as himself


Satan knows that assurance is the Christian's . . .
  manna in a wilderness,
  water out of a rock,
  a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
He knows that assurance is . . .
  a salve for all sores,
  a medicine for all diseases,
  a remedy against every malady.
He knows that assurance is the Christian's . . .
  anchor at sea,
  shield upon land;
  staff to support him,
  sword to defend him,
  pavilion to hide him,
  cordial to cheer him.
And therefore it is that he labors, both as
a lion and as a serpent, to keep poor souls
from a well-grounded assurance.

This son of the morning has fallen from the top
of glory to the bottom of misery
, and therefore
he strives to make all as miserable and
unhappy as himself
.

Ah! Christians, have not you need to seek assurance
with all your might, who have to do with so mighty
an adversary, who cares not what torments he heaps
upon himself, so that he may prove your tormentor,
by keeping your souls and assurance asunder? Oh that
this very consideration might make you restless, until
you have got this "white stone" in your bosoms!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Be strong and courageous

God is glorious in power,
and wonderful in counsel,
and infinite in mercy,
and admirable in goodness,
and rich in grace,
and unsearchable in understanding.

"I will never leave you nor forsake you.
 Be strong and courageous." Joshua 1:5-6

When God puts His people upon weighty services, He
assures them of His presence, and of His assistance.
He assures them that He will stand by them, and
strengthen them, and support them, and uphold
them. He assures them that . . .
  His power should be theirs to defend them,
  His wisdom should be theirs to direct them,
  His goodness should be theirs to supply them,
  His grace should be theirs to heal them,
  His mercy should be theirs to pardon them,
  His joy should be theirs to strengthen them,
  His promise should be theirs to cheer them,
  His Spirit should be theirs to lead them.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
The chief

"My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chief
 among ten thousand." Song of Songs 5:10

Christ is the chief good.

All good is in the chief good.

Christ is all things to Christians. He is . . .
  bread to feed them,
  a fountain to refresh them,
  a physician to heal them,
  a rock to shelter them,
  a light to guide them, and
  a crown to crown them!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
A kind of omnipotency in it

Faith is an appropriating grace.

Faith looks upon God, and says with David,
"This God is my God forever and ever, and
He shall be my guide unto the death."

Faith looks upon Christ, and says with the spouse,
"I am my beloved's, and His desire is towards me."

Faith looks upon an immortal crown, and says
"Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of glory."

Faith looks upon the righteousness of Christ,
and says, "This righteousness is mine to cover me."

Faith looks upon the mercy of Christ, and
says, "This mercy is mine to pardon me."

Faith looks upon the power of Christ, and
says, "This power is mine to support me."

Faith looks upon the wisdom of Christ, and
says, "This wisdom is mine to direct me."

Faith looks upon the blood of Christ, and
says, "This blood is mine to save me."

Faith has a kind of omnipotency in it;
it is able to do all things.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Books may preach . . .
  when the author cannot,
  when the author may not,
  when the author dares not,
  yes, and which is more,
  when the author is not.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
A heaven here and a heaven hereafter

To be in a state of true grace, is to be miserable no
more; it is to be happy forever. A soul in this state is
a soul near and dear to God. It is a soul much beloved,
and very highly valued by God. It is a soul housed in
God. It is a soul safe in God's everlasting arms. The
being in a state of grace makes a man's condition
happy, safe, and sure.

But the seeing, the knowing of himself to be in such a
state, is that which renders his life sweet and comfortable.
The being in a state of grace will yield a man a heaven
hereafter; but the seeing of himself in this state will yield
him both a heaven here and a heaven hereafter. It
will render him doubly blessed—blessed in heaven, and
blessed in his own conscience.

Assurance is the beauty and apex of a Christian's happiness
in this life. It is usually attended with the strongest joy, with
the sweetest comforts, and with the greatest peace. It is a
pearl that most want—a crown that few wear. His state is safe
and happy, whose soul is adorned with grace, though he sees
it not, though he knows it not. To have grace, and to be sure
that we have grace, is heaven on this side heaven.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
A commentary upon Christ's life

"Let your light shine before men, so that they
 may see your good works and give glory to
 your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Christians are distinguished from all others,
by their lives and by their examples.

Be exemplary to those among whom you live.

Precepts may instruct, but examples persuade.

Truly, your examples will have a very great influence
upon those who are under you. Therefore you had
need be angelic in your walkings and actings. You
are lights upon a hill, and therefore every eye will
be upon you. Those who can find no ears to hear
what you say, will find many eyes to see what you
do. Oh therefore, be exemplary both in lip and life,
in word and work. Oh see that your lives are a
commentary upon Christ's life
.

"Leaving you an example, so that you should follow
 in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
Feast the slave, and starve the wife?

Make it more and more your chief work to make plentiful
provisions for the eternal welfare of your souls. Your souls
are more worth than ten thousand worlds. All is well—if
your soul is well. If that is safe, all is safe. If that is lost,
all is lost—God, Christ, and glory is lost—if the soul is lost.

Is it madness to feast the slave, and starve the wife?
and is it not greater madness to feast the body and starve
the soul? to make liberal provision for the body, and none
for the soul? Do not they deserve double damnation, who
prefer their bodies above their souls? Before all, and above
all—look to your souls, watch your souls, make provision for
your souls. When this is done—all is done. Until this is done,
there is nothing done which will yield a man comfort in life,
joy in death, and boldness before the judgment.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
Two heavens

Communion with God is that which will make you stand
fast, and triumph over all enemies, difficulties, dangers,
and deaths. Communion with God will make a man as
courageous and bold as a lion, yes, as a young lion
which is fearless of any creature.

Communion is a reciprocal exchange between Christ
and a gracious soul. Communion is Jacob's ladder,
where you have Christ sweetly descending down into
the soul—and the soul by divine influences sweetly
ascending up to Christ.

Communion with God is . . .
  a shield upon land,
  an anchor at sea,
  a sword to defend you,
  a staff to support you,
  balm to heal you,
  a cordial to strengthen you.

High communion with Christ will yield you two
heavens
, a heaven upon earth, and a heaven
after death.

He enjoys nothing, who lacks communion with God.
He lacks nothing, who enjoys communion with God.
Therefore above all gettings, get communion with
Christ; and above all keepings, keep communion
with Christ. All other losses are not comparable to
the loss of communion with Christ. He who has lost
his communion, has lost his comfort, his strength,
his all, and it will not be long before the Philistines
capture him, and put out his eyes, and bind him
with fetters of brass, and make him grind in a
prison, as they did Samson, in Judges 16:20-21.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Take heed of tasting forbidden fruit!
Remember what Adam lost by a taste!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
'God' stamped and printed upon the soul

Christians! Your happiness on earth is your holiness; and in
heaven your highest happiness will be your perfect holiness.

Holiness differs nothing from happiness—but in name. Holiness
is happiness in the bud, and happiness is holiness at the full.

Happiness is nothing but the quintessence of holiness.

Holiness is the very marrow and quintessence of all true religion.

Holiness is 'God' stamped and printed upon the soul.

Holiness is Christ formed in the heart.

Holiness is our light, our life, our beauty, our glory, our joy,
our crown, our heaven, our all. The holy soul is happy in life,
and blessed in death, and shall be transcendently glorious in
the morning of the resurrection, when Christ shall say, "Lo,
here am I, and My holy ones, who are My joy! Lo, here am
I, and My holy ones, who are My crown! Upon the heads of
these holy ones will I set an immortal crown!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

No sins of God's children, make any alteration in
His love to them. Just so—none, no, not even God's
sharpest dispensations, should make any alteration
in our thoughts and affections towards Him. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I have seen your tears

"This is what the Lord says—Set your affairs
in order, for you are going to die. You will not
recover from this illness." 2 Kings 20:1


The tears of God's people have such a kind of
omnipotency in them, that God Himself cannot
withstand them. "I have seen your tears.
I will heal you, and three days from now you
will get out of bed and go to the Temple of
the Lord." 2 Kings 20:5

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The humble man's heart

"For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity,
 whose name is Holy—I dwell in the high and holy place, with
 him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit
 of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
     Isaiah 57:15

God makes the humble man's heart his house to dwell in.
The highest heavens and the lowest hearts are the habitations
wherein the Holy One delights to dwell. Now this phrase, "I will
dwell with the humble," includes several things:
1. It includes God's superintending the humble.
2. It includes God's assisting and strengthening of the humble.
3. It includes God's protection; I will dwell with the humble,
    that is, I will protect him and secure him, Job 22:29.
4. It includes God's sympathizing with the humble.
5. It includes God's applying all suitable good to the
    humble, Isaiah 57:18, and Isaiah 63:9.
6. It includes God's ruling and overruling the heart and
    the affections of the humble.
7. It includes God's teaching and instructing of the humble.
8. Lastly, it includes and takes in a clearer, a fuller, and a larger
   manifestation and communication of God to humble souls.

"Ah!" says God, "I will dwell with the humble; that is, I will
more richly, more abundantly, and more gloriously manifest
and make known My grace and glory, My goodness and
sweetness, My loving-kindness and tenderness—to humble
souls!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What He has done for my soul

"Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell
 you what He has done for my soul." Psalm 66:16

I will acquaint you with the soul blessings, with the
soul favors, which God has crowned me with.

I was darkness—but He has made me light.

I was unrighteousness—but He has made me righteous.

I was deformed—but He has made me complete.

I was full of sores, and spots, and blemishes—but He has
washed me, and made me all fair, without spot or wrinkle.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Soul-purifying

"And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies
 himself just as He is pure." 1 John 3:3

True hope is soul-purifying. It runs out into holiness.
He who has the purest and strongest hopes of being
saved, is most studious and laborious to be sanctified.

Now hope purifies the heart and life thus—by keeping
the purest objects, as God, Christ, the word, and the
soul together; and by making the soul serious and
conscientious in the use of all soul-purifying means;
and by being a fire in the soul to burn up all those
corruptions and principles of darkness which are
contrary to that purity and glory, which hope has in
her eye; and by working the soul to lean upon Christ,
to live in Christ, and to draw purifying virtue from
Christ—who is the spring and fountain of all purity
and sanctity. And thus hope purifies those who
expect to be like Christ in glory.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That rich and royal robe

"I desire to be found in Christ, not having a righteousness
 of my own that comes from the law, but that which is
 through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes
 from God and is by faith." Phil. 3:9

Paul would not be found in a legal righteousness, for he
knew all his legal righteousness was but as "filthy rags."
All his legal righteousness, sewed together, would but
make up a coat of patches, a beggar's coat, which is good
for nothing but to be cast away; therefore he desired to be
found in the righteousness of Christ by faith. He knew that
Christ's righteousness was . . .
  a pure righteousness,
  a spotless righteousness,
  a matchless righteousness,
  a complete righteousness,
  a perfect righteousness,
  an absolute righteousness,
  a glorious righteousness.

Faith loves to fix her eye upon that rich and royal robe,
that blameless and spotless righteousness of Christ, with
which the soul stands gloriously clothed before God, as
being all beauteous, as being without spot or wrinkle in
the divine account.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
Divine knowledge

"The discerning heart seeks knowledge." Proverbs 15:14

Saving knowledge  is always attended with holy endeavors,
and with heavenly desires, thirstings, and pantings after a
further knowledge of God, after clearer visions of God. The
Hebrew word that is here rendered "seeks" signifies an earnest
and diligent seeking; to seek as a hungry man seeks for food;
or as a covetous man for gold—the more he has, the more he
desires; or as a condemned man seeks for his pardon; or as
the diseased man seeks for his cure. The word signifies to seek
studiously, laboriously, industriously; to seek by pleading, praying,
inquiring, and searching up and down, that we may find what we
seek; to seek as men do for hidden treasure. A man who is divinely
taught, will set his heart and his ear, his inward and outward man,
to know more and more.

Divine knowledge is marvelous, sweet, pleasing, comforting,
satisfying, refreshing, strengthening, and supporting; and souls
who have found the sweetness and usefulness of it, cannot but
look and long, breathe and pant after more and more of it.
The newborn babe does not more naturally and more earnestly
long for the breasts, than a soul who has tasted that the Lord
is gracious, does long for more and more tastes of God.

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Preach forth the virtues of Christ

"For you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests,
 God's holy nation, His very own possession. This is so you can
 show others the goodness (or virtues) of God, for He called you
 out of the darkness into His wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

When God causes His divine light, His marvelous light, to shine
in upon the soul, then a Christian will preach forth the virtues of
Christ
in an imitable practice; and until then a man, under all other
knowledge, will remain an incarnate devil.

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Oh dash these brats of Babylon in pieces!

"Cleanse me from secret faults." Psalm 19:12

The Christian's greatest and hottest conflicts,
are against those inward pollutions, and secret sins,
which are only obvious to the eye of God and their
own souls.

The hypocrite combats with those sins which are
obvious to every eye. But it must be a supernatural
power and principle
, which puts men upon conflicting
with the inward motions and secret operations of sin.

"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from
the body of this death?" Romans 7:24. A sincere heart
weeps and laments bitterly over those secret and inward
corruptions, which others will scarcely acknowledge to be
sins.

The Persian kings reign powerfully, and yet are seldom seen
in public. Secret sins reign in many men's souls powerfully
and dangerously, when least apparently.

Oh! but a true Christian mourns over the inward motions and
first risings of sin in his soul, and so prevents an eternal danger.
Upon every stirring of sin in the soul, the believer cries out, "O
Lord, help! O Lord, undertake for me! Oh dash these brats of
Babylon in pieces!
Oh stifle the first motions of sin, that they
may never conceive and bring forth!"

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His angelic robes

A hidden enemy is far worse than an open enemy.

The devil has put his angelic robes upon many
of his chief agents, that they may the more easily
and the more effectually deceive and delude the
souls of men.

Ah! what multitudes are there, that to some bleary
eyes appear as angels of light, and yet in their
principles and practices are but servants to the
prince of darkness, laboring with all their might to
make proselytes for hell, Matt. 23:15, and to draw
men to those wild notions, opinions, and conceits
which will leave them short of heaven, yes, bring
them down to the hottest, darkest, and lowest
place in hell, if God does not prevent it by a
miracle of grace.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
Vincentius

Vincentius, by his patience and constancy in suffering,
angered his tormentors. Therefore they stripped him stark
naked, whipped his body all over to a bloody gore, sprinkled
salt and vinegar over all his wounds, set his feet on burning
coals, then cast him naked into a loathsome dungeon, the
pavement whereof was sharp shells, and his bed to lie on
a bundle of thorns. All which this blessed martyr received,
without so much as a groan!

Persecution brings death in one hand and life in the
other; for while it kills the body it crowns the soul.

The most cruel martyrdom is but a detour to
escape death, to pass from life to life, from the
prison to paradise, from the cross to the crown!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
Such a smoke in the soul

A man may have true grace and yet lack assurance,
and this may arise from that smoke and clouds, those
fears and doubts which corruption raises in the soul.
Just so, that the soul cannot see those excellent graces
which otherwise might be discerned. Though there may
be many precious gems and jewels in the house, yet the
smoke may hinder a man from seeing them sparkle and
shine. So though there may be many precious graces in
the souls of saints, yet corruption may raise such a dust,
such a smoke in the soul, that the soul is not able to
see them in the beauty and glory.

The well of water was near Hagar—but she saw it not until
her eyes were opened by the Lord, Gen. 21:19-20. So grace
is near the soul, yes, in the soul sometimes, and yet the soul
does not see it, until God opens the eye and shows it. "The
Lord was in this place," says Jacob, "and I knew it not." So
many a precious soul may say, grace was in my heart, and
I knew it not, I saw it not.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
Satan promises the best

Satan promises the best—but pays with the worst!

He promises honor—and pays with disgrace!

He promises pleasure—and pays with pain!

He promises profit—and pays with loss!

He promises life—and pays with death!

But God pays as he promises, all His
payments are made in pure gold.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
As the bee does upon the flower

Let your hearts dwell on truth, as the bee does
upon the flower
; every Scriptural truth being a
flower of paradise, which is more worth than a world.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Suffering times

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven!" Matthew 5:11-12.

Suffering times are times wherein the Lord is pleased to give His people some sense of His favor. When they are in sufferings for righteousness' sake, for the gospel's sake—then usually God causes His face to shine upon them. Now they shall hear best news from heaven—when they hear worst from earth. God loves to smile most upon His people when the world frowns most. When the world puts their iron chains upon their legs, then God puts His golden chains about their necks. When the world puts a bitter cup into their hands, then God drops some of His honey, some of His goodness and sweetness into it. When the world is ready to stone them, then God gives them the white stone. When the world is a-tearing their good names, then He gives them a new name, that none knows but he who has it, a name that is better than that of sons and daughters. When the world cries out, "Crucify them, crucify them," then they hear that sweet voice from heaven, "These are My beloved ones, in whom I am well pleased." When the world clothes them with rags, then the Lord puts on His royal robes, and makes a secret proclamation to their spirits, "Thus shall it be done to the men whom the King is pleased to honor." When the world gives into one hand a cup of water, God gives into the other a cup of nectar, a cup of ambrosia. When the world gnashes upon them, and presents all tortures before them, then the Lord opens paradise to them, as He did to Stephen.

When Paul and Silas were in prison for the gospel's sake, then God fills them with such unspeakable joy, that they cannot but be singing when others were sleeping, Acts 16:23-24. God turns their prison into a palace, a paradise; and they turn His mercies into praises. Paul and Silas found more pleasure than pain, more joy than sorrow, more sweet than bitter, more day than night—in the prison. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

It will suck sweetness out of every flower

Faith is the key which unlocks paradise, and lets in a flood of joy into the soul. Faith is an appropriating grace, it appropriates all to itself; it looks upon God, and says with the psalmist, "This God is my God forever and ever," Psalm 63:1, and Psalm 48:14. It looks upon Christ and says, "My beloved is mine, and His desires are towards me," Song 7:10. It looks upon the precious promises and says, These "precious promises" are mine, 2 Pet. 1:4. It looks upon heaven and says, "Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness," 2 Tim. 4:8; and this fills the soul with joy and peace.

Faith has an influence upon other graces, it is like a silver thread that runs through a chain of pearl, it puts strength and vivacity into all other virtues. It made Abraham to rejoice; and it made Noah sit still and quiet in the midst of a deluge.

Faith is the first pin which moves the soul; it is the spring in the watch which sets all the golden wheels of love, joy, comfort, and peace a-going. Faith is a root-grace, from whence springs all the sweet flowers of joy and peace.

Faith is like the bee, it will suck sweetness out of every flower; it will extract . . .
  light out of darkness,
  comforts out of distresses,
  mercies out of miseries,
  wine out of water,
  honey out of the rock,
  meat out of the eater, Judges 14:14. 

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

When we give the devil the kernel

"My son, give Me your heart." Proverbs 23:26

"You have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you." Romans 6:17

Christian obedience is cordial and hearty. The believer knows that no obedience but hearty obedience, is acceptable to Christ. He knows that nothing takes Christ's heart—but what comes from the believer's heart. 'Christ was hearty in His obedience for me,' says the believer; 'and shall not I be hearty in my obedience to Him?' Christ will lay His hand of love, His hand of acceptance—upon no obedience but what flows from the heart. The heart is the presence-chamber of the King of heaven, and that upon which His eye, His hand, His heart, is most set.

The scribes and Pharisees were much in the outward obedience of the law—but their hearts were not in their obedience; and therefore all they did signified nothing in the account of Christ, who only accepts outward actions as they flow from the heart and affections. Their souls were not in their services, and therefore all their services were lost services. They were very glorious in their outward profession—but their hearts were as filthy sepulchers. Their outsides shined as the sun—but their insides were as black as hell, Matt. 23. They were like the Egyptian temples—beautiful without, but filthy within. Well! remember this: No action, no service, is accepted in heaven—but that which is sealed up with integrity of heart. God will not be put off with the shell, when we give the devil the kernel.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Those spots which a Christian finds in his own heart

"Purifying their hearts by faith." Acts 15:9

True faith purifies the heart from sin. Faith has two hands, one to lay hold on Christ, and another to sweep the heart, which is Christ's house. Faith knows that Christ is of a dove-like nature; He loves to lie clean and sweet. Faith has a neat housewife's hand, as well as an eagle's eye. Faith is as good at purging out sin, as it is at discovering sin. There is a cleansing quality in faith, as well as a healing quality in faith. Sound faith will purge the soul from the love of sin, from a delight in sin, and from the reign and dominion of sin. "Sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law—but under grace," Rom. 6:14,21.

Faith purifies the heart from sin, by engaging against sin in Christ's strength, as David engaged against Goliath, not in his own strength—but in the strength and name of the Lord Almighty. Faith leads the soul directly to God, and engages God against sin—so that the combat is changed, and made now rather between God and sin, than between sin and the soul; and so sin comes to fall before the power and glorious presence of God.

Look! as a child who is attacked by one who is stronger than he, cries out to his father to help him, and to fight for him against his enemy; just so, faith, being sensible of its own weakness and inability to get the victory over sin, cries out to Christ, who is stronger than the strong man, and so Christ binds the strong man, and casts him out. Faith tells the soul that all purposes, resolutions, and endeavors, without Christ, will never set the soul above its sins, they will never purify the heart from sin; therefore faith engages Christ, and casts the main of the work upon Christ, and so it purges the soul from sin.

Staupicius acknowledged, before he came to understand the free and powerful grace of Christ, that he vowed and resolved a hundred times against some particular sin, and could never get power over it; he could never get his heart purified from it, until he came to see that he trusted too much to his own resolutions, and too little to Jesus Christ; but when his faith had engaged Christ against his sin, he had the victory.

Faith purifies the heart from sin, by the application of Christ's blood. Faith makes a plaster of Christ's blessed blood, and lays it on upon the soul's sores, and so cures it. Faith makes a heavenly purgative of this blessed blood, and gives it to the soul, and so makes it vomit up that poison which it has drunk in. Faith tells the soul, that it is not all the tears in the world, nor all the water in the sea, which can wash away the uncleanness of the soul; it is only the blood of Christ which can make a blackmoor white; it is only the blood of Christ which can cure a leprous Naaman, which can cure a leprous soul. 'This fountain of blood,' says faith, 'is the only fountain which can wash heart from all uncleanness and filthiness of flesh and spirit.' Zech. 13:1. Those spots which a Christian finds in his own heart, can only be washed out in the blood of the Lamb, by a hand of faith.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A world-conquering grace, a world-overcoming grace

"For whoever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory which overcomes the world, even our faith." John 5:4

True faith is a world-conquering grace, it is a world-overcoming grace. Faith overcomes the frowning world, the fawning world, the tempting world, and the persecuting world.

Faith overcomes the world, by outbidding sights. Faith outbids the world, and so makes the soul victorious. The world set honors, pleasures, etc., before Moses—but his faith outbid the world. Faith presents the recompense of reward, it brings down all the glory, pleasures, and treasures of heaven, of the eternal world, and sets them before the soul; and so it overtops and overcomes the world by outbidding it.

Faith overcomes the world, by telling the soul that all things are its own. Says faith—This God is your God, this Christ is your Christ, this righteousness is your righteousness, this promise is your promise, this crown is your crown, this glory is your glory, these treasures are your treasures, these pleasures are your pleasures. "All things are yours," says the apostle, "things present are yours, and things to come are yours," 1 Cor. 3:22. Thus the faith of the martyrs acted, and so made them victorious over a tempting and a persecuting world, Heb. 11:35.

Faith overcomes the world, by valuing the things of this world as they are. Most men over-value them, they put too great a price upon them; they make the world an idol, and then they cry, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" Oh but faith now gives all things their correct value; faith presents all worldly things as impotent, as mixed, as mutable, as momentary—in comparison with the soul, and so makes the soul victorious. Faith makes a man to see the prickles which are on every rose, the thorns which are in every crown, the scabs which are under every royal robe, the poison which is in the golden cup, the snare which is in the delicious dish, the spot which is in the shining pearl—and so makes a Christian count and call all these things, as indeed they are, "vanity of vanities!" And so the believing soul slights the world, and tramples upon it as dirt and dross.

Faith overcomes the world, by presenting Jesus Christ to the soul as a most excellent, glorious, and comprehensive good, as such a good which comprehends all good. Christ is that one good which comprehends all good; that one excellency which comprehends all excellencies. All the beauties, all the rarities, all the excellencies, all the riches, all the glories of all created creatures—are comprehended in Christ. As the worth and value of many pieces of copper are less than one precious jewel; so all the whole volume of perfections which is spread through heaven and earth, is epitomized in Christ; and the sight and sense of this makes the soul to triumph over the world. Faith presents more excellencies and better excellencies in Christ, than can be lost for Christ, and so it makes the soul a conqueror.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Your unworthiness and unfitness

The apostle Paul tells you of some monstrous miscreants who were unrighteous, fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners; and yet these monsters of mankind, through the infinite goodness and free grace of God, are washed from the filth and guilt of their sins, and justified by the righteousness of Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ, and decked and adorned with the precious graces of Christ, 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Therefore do not say, O despairing soul, that you shall die in your sins, and lie down at last in everlasting sorrow. Did it make for the honor and glory of His free grace to pardon them, and will it be a reproach to His free grace to pardon you? Could God be just in justifying such ungodly ones, and shall He be unjust in justifying of you? Did not their unworthiness and unfitness for mercy turn the stream of mercy from them? No! Why then, O despairing soul, should you fear that your unworthiness and unfitness for mercy will so stop and turn the stream of mercy, as that you must perish eternally for lack of one drop of special grace and mercy?

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The only ground of God's love

The Lord Jesus Christ is a gift of free grace. Christ is the greatest, the sweetest, the choicest, the chief gift which God ever gave; and yet this gift is given by a hand of love. The only ground of God's love is His love. The ground of God's love is only and wholly in Himself. There is neither portion nor proportion in us to draw His love. There is no love nor loveliness in us that should cause a beam of His love to shine upon us. There is that enmity, that filthiness, that treacherousness, that unfaithfulness, to be found in every man's bosom, which might justly put God upon glorifying himself in their eternal ruin, and to write their names in His black book in characters of blood and wrath.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Matchless and incomparable riches of free grace

God will have all blessings and happiness to flow from His free grace:

(1.) that the worst of sinners may have strong grounds for hope and comfort;

(2.) for the praise of His own glory;

(3.) that vain man may not boast;

(4.) that our mercies and blessings may be sure to us.

Truly, seeing all happiness and blessedness comes in a way of free grace, and not in a way of doing, not in a way of works, you should arise, O despairing souls! and cast off all despairing thoughts, and drink of the waters of life freely, Rev. 21:6; Rev. 22:18. What though your heart is dead, and hard, and sad; what though your sins be many, and your fears great. Yet behold! Here is glorious grace, rich grace, wondrous grace, matchless and incomparable riches of free grace spread before you.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A precious book

As every precious gem-stone has a rich virtue in it, so has every promise. The promises are a precious book, every leaf drops myrrh and mercy; and upon these precious promises, precious faith looks and lives. From these breasts, faith sucks comfort and sweetness. Psalm 119:49-50, "Remember Your word (that is, your promise) unto Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has quickened me." It would be an endless thing to show you how the faith of the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and other saints has been acted and exercised upon promises of sanctification, upon promises of justification, upon promises of salvation, upon promises of glorification, upon promises of protection, upon promises for direction, upon promises for support, etc. Look! as the lamp lives upon the oil, and the child upon the breasts, so does faith upon the promises.

In your looking upon the promises, mind most, eye most, spiritual promises, absolute promises. These spiritual and absolute promises are of nearest and greatest concernment to you; these carry in them most of the heart of Christ, the love of Christ, the goodwill of Christ; these are of greatest use to satisfy you, and to settle you when you are wavering; to support you when you are falling; to recover you when you are wandering; to comfort you when you are fainting; to counsel you when you are staggering, etc. Therefore make these your choicest and your chief companions; especially when it is night within your souls; when you are sensible of much sin and but a little grace; of much corruption but of little consolation; of much deadness but of little quickness; of much hardness but of little tenderness; of many fears and but a little faith. O beloved, there is much marrow and fatness, there is much honey and sweetness, much grace and glory wrapped up in the promises. Oh press them, and squeeze them until you have obtained all the riches and sweetness which is in them.

Ah, Christians! did you but do this, God would be more honored, the promises more prized, your graces more strengthened, your fears more abated, your hearts more warmed and engaged, and your lives more regulated, and Satan more easily and frequently vanquished.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Faith realizes eternal realities

Faith should set and fix upon that glory, blessedness, and life, which God has laid up for those who love Him. The things of eternity are the greatest things, they are the most excellent things. They are most excellent in their natures, in their causes, in their operations, in their effects, in their ends; and upon these faith looks and lives. Faith realizes eternal realities; it makes absent things present. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," Heb. 11:1. Faith makes absent glory present, absent riches present, absent pleasures present, absent favors present. Faith brings an invisible God, and sets Him before the soul. Moses by faith saw Him who was invisible. Faith brings down the recompense of reward, and sets it really though spiritually before the soul. Faith sets divine favor before the soul. It sets peace with God, it sets pardon of sin, it sets the righteousness of Christ, it sets the joy of heaven, it sets salvation, before the soul; it makes all these things very near and obvious to the soul.

Faith makes invisible things, visible; absent things, present; things which are afar off, to be very near unto the soul. Faith trades in invisible things, in eternal things. Its eye is always upwards, like the fish uranoscopos, which has but one eye, and yet looks continually up to heaven.

Faith enters within the veil, and fixes her eye upon those glorious things of eternity, which are so many that they exceed number, so great that they exceed measure, so precious that they are above all estimation. Says faith, "The spangled skies are but the footstool of my Father's house; and if the footstool, the outside, is so glorious, oh how glorious is His throne! Truly, in heaven there is that life which cannot be expressed, that light which cannot be comprehended, that joy which cannot be fathomed, that sweetness which cannot be dissipated, that feast which cannot be consumed; and upon these pearls of glory I look and live!"

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saving faith

Saving faith puts the soul upon grieving for sin, upon combating with sin, upon weeping over sin, upon trembling at the occasions of sin, upon resisting temptations that lead to sin, upon fighting it out to the death with sin, Zech. 12:10. Saving faith puts a man upon walking with God, upon waiting on God, upon working for God, upon wrestling with God, upon bearing for God, and upon parting with anything for God. Faith makes pious duties to be easy to the soul, to be delightful to the soul, to be profitable to the soul. Faith makes the soul to be serious and conscientious in doing, to be careful and faithful in doing, to be delightful and cheerful in doing, to be diligent and faithful in doing.

That faith which is not a working faith is not saving faith; that faith which is not a working faith is a dead faith; that faith which is not a working faith is a deluding faith; that faith which is not a working faith is a worthless faith; that faith that is not a working faith will leave a man short of heaven and happiness in the latter day.

That faith which accompanies salvation is a working faith, a lively faith, and not such a dead faith as most please and deceive themselves with forever.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

True repentance

True repentance works a change in the whole man; in all the qualities of the INWARD man, and in all the actions of the OUTWARD man. The understanding is turned from darkness to light; the will from a sinful servility to a holy liberty; the affections from disorder into order; the heart from hardness into softness. Likewise in the outward man, the lustful eye is turned into an eye of chastity; the wanton ear is turned into an obedient ear; the hands of thievery are turned into hands of liberality; and the wandering feet of vanity are turned into ways of purity.

That repentance which changes a man in only some part—but not in every part; which only makes a man a Herod, or an Agrippa, a half Christian, an almost Christian—that repentance will never bring down heaven into a man's bosom here, nor never bring a man up to heaven hereafter!

True repentance is a total turning, as well as a universal turning, from all sin, without any reservation or exception. "I hate and abhor every false way—but I love Your law," Psalm 119:163. So in Ezek. 18:30, "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, everyone according to his ways, says the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions. Just so, iniquity shall not be your ruin." So in Ezek. 33:11.

Ezek. 14:6, "Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God, Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations." He who looks upon both God, and at the same time looks upon any sin with a leering eye, has not yet reached unto true repentance; his repentance and profession cannot secure him from double damnation. He who serves God in some things, and his lusts in other things, says to God as David said to Mephibosheth concerning his lands, "You and Ziba divide the lands," 2 Sam. 19:29. Just so, you and Satan divide my soul, my heart between you. Ah! does not such a soul deserve a double hell?