London's Lamentations

By Thomas Brooks, 1670

A serious discourse concerning "The Great Fire of London"
which recently turned our once renowned City into a ruinous
heap. Also the several lessons that are incumbent upon those
whose houses have escaped the consuming flames.



Worshipers of the golden calf!

There is a great deal of worldliness, and earthly-mindedness,
and covetousness among the professing Christians of our day.
They are worshipers of the golden calf! O sirs! the world is
all shadow and vanity. The world is like Jonah's gourd—a man
may sit under its shadow for a time, but it soon decays and dies.

The main reason why many professors dote upon the world,
is because they are not acquainted with a greater glory. If
the heart of man is not filled with God—it will be filled with
the world, the flesh and the devil.

The world may well be resembled to the fruit which undid us
all—which was fair to the sight, smooth in handling, sweet in
taste—but deadly in effect and operation!

O sirs! if you can gather grapes off thorns, and figs off
thistles, then go on, and dote upon the world still. All the
things of this world are vain things—they are vanity of
vanities, Eccles. 1:2. All in heaven count them vain, and
all in hell count them vain; pearls are but as pebbles
in their eyes
. Lazarus in heaven is now rich enough,
and happy enough; and Dives in hell is now poor enough,
and miserable enough. He who makes the world his god
while he is in the world—what will he do for a god when
he goes out of this world?

Well, sirs, remember this—an inordinate love of the world
will eat out all a man's communion with God. A man cannot
look up to heaven and look down upon the earth—at the
same time.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The bent of the needle

"No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one
 who continues to sin has either seen Him or known
 Him." 1 John 3:6

A trade, a course of sin—is inconsistent with a state
of grace. The best saints have sadly miscarried as to
particular actions; but he who shall judge of a man's
spiritual state by particular acts, though notoriously bad,
will certainly condemn, where God acquits. We must
always distinguish between some single evil actions,
and a serious course of evil actions. It is not this or
that particular evil action—but a continued course of
evil actions—which denominates a man wicked. Just
so, it is not this or that particular holy act—but a
continued course of holy actions—which denominates
a man holy.

Every man is—as his course is. If his course is holy—the
man is holy. If his course is wicked—the man is wicked.

No man ought to conclude, because of some particular
good actions—that his spiritual state is good.

No man ought to conclude, because of some particular
sinful actions—that his spiritual state is bad.

A course of sinning is not consistent with a course of
godliness. Though the needle of the seaman's compass
may jog this way and that way—yet the bent of the
will still be northward. Just so, though a Christian
may have his particular sinful joggings this way or that
way—yet the bent of his heart will still be . . .

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Unfreeze the frozen graces

God loves to see the graces of His children in continual
exercise. All the glory which God has from us in this life,
is from the actings of our graces. Sleepy graces bring
God no glory—nor do us any good. There is little difference
—as to the comfort and sweet of grace—between sleepy
grace, and no grace at all.

The strongest creature, the lion; and the subtlest creature,
the serpent—if they are asleep, are as easily surprised and
destroyed as the weakest worm!

Just so, the strongest saints, if grace is not in exercise,
are as easily surprised and captivated by sin, Satan,
and the world—as the weakest saints are! O sirs! God,
by some severe providence or other, by some fiery
dispensation or other—will stir up your sleepy graces!

There are several cases wherein the graces in a Christian's
heart may seem to be hidden, cold, dead and covered over;
as sparks of fire are hidden in the ashes; or as bits of gold
are hidden in a dust heap, or as pearls may be hidden in
the mire. The sparks of divine grace, by the prevalency of
some strong corruption, or by the violence of some dreadful
temptation—may burn low, as to their lively operations. But
God, by one severe providence or another, by one fiery trial
or another—will blow that heavenly grace, that divine fire,
into a flame—and cause their hidden graces to revive!

By severe providences and fiery trials, God designs
the reviving, quickening, and recovering of our
decayed graces. By fiery trials, He will . . .
  inflame that love which was ice-cold,
  raise that faith which had fallen asleep,
  quicken up those hopes which were languishing,
  put life and spirit into those spiritual joys and
comforts which were withering and dying!

God, by fiery trials, will unfreeze the frozen graces
of His people, and put new life and spirit into them!

God may have burnt up your outward comforts,
so that He might lead you forth to live in a daily
exercise of grace . . .
  upon Himself,
  upon His power,
  upon His all-sufficiency,
  upon His goodness,
  upon His faithfulness,
  upon His fullness,
  upon His graciousness,
  upon His unchangeableness,
  upon His promises.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Who sees us? Who will know?

Atheism reigns in the hearts and lives of sinners.

The covetous make their gold their god.

The drunkard and glutton make their bellies their god.

The ambitious make honors their god.

The voluptuous make pleasures their god.

The religionists make pious duties their god.

The moral make virtue their god.

"The fool says in his heart—There is no God!"
    Psalm 14:1

Atheism denies God either:
  in opinion—saying there is no God; or
  in affection—wishing there were no God; or
  in practice—living as if there were no God.

What abundance of atheists there are in the land!

"He says to himself—God has forgotten; He covers
 His face and never sees." Psalm 10:11

"They say—How can God know? Does the Most
 High have knowledge?" Psalm 73:11

"They say—The Lord does not see; the God
 of Jacob pays no heed." Psalm 94:7

What horrid blasphemy, what gross atheism is here!
How do these atheists ungod the great God! How do
they deny His omnipotence and omniscience! What
an idol-god do they make the great God to be!

There are many who sin freely in secret, who can
be drunk and filthy in the dark, when the eye of man
is not upon them. Certainly those men's hearts are
very atheistic,
who dare do that in the sight of God
—which they tremble to do before the eyes of men!

How many are there who flatter themselves in their
sins, and conclude that surely the bitterness of hell
and wrath is past, and that they are in a fair way for
heaven—when every step they take is towards the
bottomless pit, and divine vengeance hangs over
their heads, ready every moment to fall upon them!

"On earth are atheists many,
 In hell there are not any."

"Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their
 plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness
 and think—Who sees us? Who will know?"
    Isaiah 29:15

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Fetch out the dirt and spots

"I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly
 purge away your dross and remove all your
 impurities." Isaiah 1:25

By severe providences and by fiery trials, God designs
the growth of His people in grace. Usually the graces of
the saints thrive best—when they are under a smarting
rod. Grace usually is in the greatest flourish—when the
saints are under the greatest trials. The trimming of the
candle—makes it burn the brighter. God bruises His
spices—to make them send forth the sweeter fragrance.
Fiery trials are like the brush, which, though it is sharp
and scratching—it makes the cloth more pure and clean.
God would not rub so hard, were it not to fetch out
the dirt and spots
which are in His people.

Stars shine brightest in the darkest nights; and so do
the graces of the saints shine brightest in the darkest
nights of affliction and tribulation. God will sometimes
more carry on the growth of grace by a cross than by
a mercy. Yes, the Lord will, sooner or later, more or
less—turn all fiery trials into blessings for the helping
on the growth of grace in His people's souls. Though
fiery trials are
grievous—yet they shall make us more
gracious. Though for the present they appear to harm
and damage us; yet in the outcome we shall find that
God will turn them into the spiritual and eternal
advantage of our precious souls.

Thrice happy will afflicted Christians be, if under all
their crosses and losses they grow into a more deep
acquaintance with God and His holiness; with the
vanity, mutability, impotency, and uncertainty of
the world; and with the deceitfulness, vileness,
baseness, and wretchedness of their own hearts!

If under fiery dispensations, we grow . . .
  more holy than ever,
  more humble than ever,
  more heavenly than ever,
  more meek and lowly than ever,
  more tender and compassionate than ever,
  more faithful and fruitful than ever,
  more patient and contented than ever,
then we may be confident that the grand design
of God in bringing all those fiery trials upon us, was
for His glory, and our own spiritual and eternal good.

"God disciplines us for our good, that we may
 share in His holiness." Hebrews 12:10

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

 God's tools and instruments

"I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity
 and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things."
    Isaiah 45:7

Let us see the hand of the Lord in this recent dreadful fire
which has turned our once renowned London into a ruinous
heap! London's sins were now so great, and God's wrath
was now so hot—that there was no quenching of the furious
flames. The decree for the burning of London was now gone
forth, and nothing could reverse it. The time of London's fall
was now come. The fire had now received its commission
from God—to burn down the city and to turn it into a
ruinous heap!

Certainly God is the great agent in all those dreadful
judgments which befall people, cities, and kingdoms.
Whoever or whatever be the rodit is God's hand
which gives the stroke!
The power of bringing
judgments upon cities, God takes to Himself, "When
comes to a city, has not the Lord caused
it?" Amos 3:6. Whatever that judgment is, which falls
upon a city—God is the author of it; He acts in it and
orders it according to His own good pleasure. There
is no judgment which accidentally falls upon any
person, city, or country. Every judgment is inflicted
by a divine power and providence. God had given a
commission to the fire—to burn with that force and
violence as it did—until London was laid in ashes!
Whoever kindled this fire—God blew the coal!
And therefore no arts, counsels, or endeavors of
men were able to quench it.

All judgments are at the beck of God, and under the
command of God. Whatever judgment God commands
to destroy a person, a city, or country—that judgment
shall certainly and effectually accomplish the command
of God—in spite of all that creatures can do. If God
commissions the sword of war to walk abroad, and to
glut itself with blood—who can command it into the
scabbard again? No art, power, or policy can cause
that sword to lie still!

God, as He is our Creator, Preserver, and sovereign
Lord—has an absolute power both over our persons,
lives, estates, and habitations: and when we have
transgressed His righteous laws, He may do with
us, and all we have—as He pleases.
He may turn
us out of house and home, and burn up all our
comforts round about us—and yet do us no wrong.
"Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases
Him." Psalm 115:3. "The Lord does whatever
pleases Him—in the heavens and on the earth,
in the seas and all their depths." Psalm 135:6

Those things which seem accidental and chance to
us—are ordered by the wise counsel, power, and
providence of God. Instruments can no more stir
until God gives them a commission—than the axe
or the knife can cut by itself, without a hand. God
makes use of whatever second causes He pleases,
for the execution of His pleasure. And many times
He makes the worst of men the rod of His indignation
to chastise His people with! All inferior or subordinate
causes—are but God's tools and instruments,
which He rules and guides according to His own will,
power, and providence.

Job eyed God in the fire which fell from heaven, and
in all the fiery trials which befell him. And therefore,
he does not say, "The Lord gave—and the devil took
away!" Nor, "The Lord gave—and the Chaldeans and
Sabeans took away!" But "The Lord gave—and the
Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord
be praised!" Job 1:20-21

Certainly without the cognizance and concurrence of
a wise, omniscient, and omnipotent God—no creatures
can move. Without His foresight and permission—no
event can befall any person, city or country. Whatever
the means or instruments of our misery are—the hand
is God's! It behooves us, in every judgment, to see the
hand of the Lord, and to look through visible means to
an invisible God! "The Lord has afflicted me; the
Almighty has brought misfortune upon me!" Ruth 1:21

"The Lord brings death and makes alive; He brings
 down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends
 poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts!"
     1 Samuel 2:6-7

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Their dregs and dross

 "Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says—
 See, I will refine and test them, for what else can
 I do because of the sin of My people?" Jeremiah 9:7

By severe providences and fiery trials—God designs
the mortifying and purging away of His people's sins.

"This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them
 like silver and test them like gold." Zechariah 13:9

The best of men are but men at the best; they have
much corruption and dross in them, and they need
; and therefore God by fiery trials will refine
them—as silver and gold which are purified in the fire.
He will so refine them, as that they shall leave their
dregs and dross
behind them. Look!
  What the fire is to the gold,
  what the file is to the iron,
  what the winnowing fan is to the wheat,
  what the soap is to the clothes—
that shall fiery trials be to the saints.

All the fiery trials which befall the saints, shall be as a
medicinal potion to purge away our soul diseases! May
our trials be so sanctified, as to issue in the burning
up of our lusts, and in the purging away of our filth!

O sirs! If God, by fiery trials, shall make you more
victorious over your strong lusts, and help you to live
more virtuous lives—you will have cause to bless Him all
your days, though He has turned you out of house and
home, and burnt up all your comforts round about you!

"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will
purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver."
    Malachi 3:3

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Fuel to your lusts, and quenchers of your graces

By severe providences and fiery trials—God designs
the preventing of sin. Prudent physicians sometimes
give harsh medicines to prevent diseases; and so
does the Physician of souls. Sharp trials preserve
the saints from spiritual putrefying, and from
spiritual rotting.

Wealth lays men most open to . . .
  the greatest sins,
  the worst of snares, and
  the deadliest temptations.
The best of men have fallen the foulest—under their
highest worldly enjoyments. Witness David, Solomon,
Hezekiah, etc. Under your outward fullness . . .
  how low was your communion with God!
  how languishing were your graces!
  how lean were your souls!
  how little God had of . . .
    your thoughts,
    your hearts,
    your time,
    your strength!

O sirs! how bad would you have been by this time,
if God had not removed those things, which were
but fuel to your lusts, and quenchers of your
Well, often think of this: it is a greater
mercy to be preserved from sin, yes, from the
least sin—than it is to enjoy the whole world!

"Lord, let this fiery trial be so sanctified to
me, as that it may eminently issue in . . .
  the mortifying of my sins,
  the increase of my graces,
  the mending of my affections,
  the reforming of my life,
  the weaning of my soul from everything below You,
  and the fixing of my heart upon eternal realities!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A misery beyond all expression!

"Then He will say to those on His left—Depart from Me,
 you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for
 the devil and his angels!" Matthew 25:41

This solemn sentence breathes out nothing but fire and
brimstone, terror and horror, dread and woe! The last
words that Christ will ever speak to the ungodly, will be:
  the most tormenting and dreadful,
  the most stinging and wounding,
  the most killing and damning!

Here is utter rejection: "Depart from Me—Pack! Begone!
Get out of My sight! Let Me never more see your faces!

"Depart from Me!" is the first and worst of that dreadful
sentence which Christ shall pass upon the ungodly at last.
Every syllable sounds horror and terror, grief and sorrow,
dread and astonishment—to all whom it concerns.
Certainly, the tears of hell are not sufficient to
bewail the loss of heaven!

Here is imprecation: "You who are cursed!"
"But Lord, if we must depart, let us depart blessed!"
"No! Depart—you who are cursed!" You shall be . . .
  cursed in your bodies,
  and cursed in your souls,
  and cursed by God,
  and cursed by Christ,
  and cursed by angels,
  and cursed by saints,
  and cursed by devils,
  and cursed by your wicked companions!
Yes, you shall now curse your very selves,
your very souls—that ever you have . . .
  despised the gospel,
  refused the offers of grace,
  scorned Christ, and
  neglected the means of your salvation!

O sinners, sinners—all your curses, all your maledictions
shall at last recoil upon your own souls! Now you curse
every person and thing which stand in the way of your
lusts, and which cross your designs. But at last, all the
curses of heaven and hell shall meet in their full power
and force upon you! Surely that man is eternally
cursed—who is cursed by Christ Himself!

"But, Lord, if we must depart, and depart cursed, oh let us
go into some good place!" "No! Depart into the eternal fire!"
Here is vengeance and continuance of it. You shall go into
fire, into eternal fire! The eternity of hell—is the hell of hell.
If all the fires that ever were in the world, were contracted
into one fire—how terrible would it be! Yet such a fire would
be but as 'painted fire' upon the wall—compared to the fire of
hell. It is a very sad spectacle to behold a malefactor's body
consumed little by little in a lingering fire. But ah, how sad,
how dreadful, would it be to experience what it is to lie in
unquenchable fire—not for a day, a month, or a year, or a
hundred or a thousand years—but forever and ever!

"If it were," says Cyril, "but for a thousand years, I could
bear it; but seeing it is for eternity—this frightens and
horrifies me!" "I am afraid of hell," says Isidore, "because
the worm there never dies, and the fire never goes out!"

To be tormented without end—this is that which goes
beyond all the bounds of desperation.

Grievous is the torment of the damned . . .
  for the bitterness of the punishments;
  but more grievous for the diversity of the punishments;
  but most grievous for the eternity of the punishments!

To lie in everlasting torments,
to roar forever in anguish of heart,
to rage forever for madness of soul,
to weep, and grieve, and gnash the teeth forever
—is a misery beyond all expression!

Mark, everything that is conducible to the
torments of the damned, is eternal:

God who damns them is eternal!

The fire which torments them is eternal!

The prison and chains which hold them are eternal!

The worm which gnaws them is eternal!

The sentence which is upon them, shall be eternal!

Fire is the most furious of all elements, and therefore
the bodies of men cannot be more exquisitely tormented
than with fire. The bodies which sinned on earth, shall
be punished and tormented in hell. What can be more
grievous and vexatious, more afflicting and tormenting
to the bodies of men—than eternal fire? Oh, then, how
will the bodies of men endure to dwell in unquenchable
fire, to dwell in everlasting burnings! The brick-kilns of
Egypt, the fiery furnace of Babylon, are but as a spark,
compared to this tormenting hell, which has been
prepared of old to punish the bodies of sinners with.

"The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the
godless! Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?" Is. 33:14

Wicked men, who are now the jolly fellows of the times,
shall one day go from burning—to burning; from burning
in sin—to burning in hell; from burning in flames of lusts
—to burning in flames of torment; except there be found
repentance on their side, and pardoning grace on God's side.

Surely, the serious thoughts of the agonies of hell
while people live—is one blessed way to keep them
from going into those torments after they die! Look!
as there is nothing more grievous than hell—so there
is nothing more profitable than the fear of hell.

"Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath!"
    1 Thessalonians 1:10

"For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to
 receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."
    1 Thessalonians 5:9

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A house without light!

"Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there
 shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 25:30

Our earthly fire, when it burns it shines, it casts a light.
It has light as well as heat in it. But the fire of hell burns
—but it does not shine, it gives no light at all. It retains
the property of burning—but it has lost the property of
shining. Christ calls it "outer darkness," or utter darkness
—that is, darkness beyond a darkness.

Light is a blessing that shall never shine into that infernal
prison. In Jude verse 6, you read of "chains of darkness."
It would be a little ease, a little comfort, to the damned
in hell—if they might have but light and liberty to walk up
and down the infernal coasts; but this is too high a favor
for them to enjoy; and therefore they shall be shackled
and fettered down in chains of darkness
, and in
blackness of darkness—so that they may fully undergo
the scorchings and burnings of divine wrath and fury
forever and ever.

In Jude verse 13 you thus read, "To whom is reserved
the blackness of darkness forever." The words signify
exceeding great darkness. Hell is a very dark and dismal
region, and extreme are the miseries, horrors, and
torments which are there. Sinners, when they are in
hell, when they are in chains of darkness, when they
are in blackness of darkness—they shall never more
see light! Hell is a house without light!

Though our earthly fires have light as well as heat—yet
the infernal fire has only heat to burn sinners; it has no
light to refresh sinners; and this will be no small addition
to their torment.

"He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and
 brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves!"
     Colossians 1:13

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Perpetual fuel to the flames of hell!

Our earthly fire destroys and consumes whatever is cast
into it. It turns all combustibles into ashes. But the fire of
hell is not of that nature. The fire of hell consumes nothing
which is cast into it. It rages—but it does not consume or
destroy either bodies or souls.

"Men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long
 to die, but death will elude them." Revelation 9:6

They shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
They shall cry to the mountains to fall upon them and
to crush them to nothing! They shall desire that . . .
  the fire which burns them—would consume them to nothing,
  the worm which feeds on them—would gnaw them to nothing,
  the devils which torment them—would tear them to nothing!
They shall cry to God, who first made them out of nothing,
to reduce them to that first nothing from whence they
came! But "their Maker has no compassion on them,
and their Creator shows them no favor." Isaiah 27:11

They shall always be burned—but never consumed.

Ah, how well would it be with the damned, if in the fire
of hell, they might be consumed to ashes! But this is their
misery—they shall be ever dying, and yet never die; their
bodies shall be always a-burning—but never a-consuming!
It is dreadful to be perpetual fuel to the flames of hell!
What misery can compare to this—for infernal fire to be still
a-preying upon damned sinners, and yet never making an
end of them! The fierce and furious flames of hell shall burn
—but never annihilate, the bodies of the damned. In hell
there is no cessation of fire burning, nor of matter burned.
Neither flames nor smoke shall consume or choke the
impenitent. Both the infernal fire, and the burning of the
bodies of reprobates in that fire—shall be preserved by
the miraculous power of God!

"Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath!"
    1 Thessalonians 1:10

"For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to
 receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."
    1 Thessalonians 5:9

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Could every damned sinner weep a whole ocean!

"They will be tormented day and night forever and ever!"
    Revelation 20:10

Our earthly fires may be quenched and extinguished.
The hottest flames, the greatest conflagrations have
been quenched and extinguished by water. Fires on
our hearths and in our chimneys often die and go out
by themselves. Our fire is maintained with wood—and
put out with water. But the fire of hell never goes out;
it can never be quenched. It is . . .
  an everlasting fire,
  an eternal fire,
  an unquenchable fire!

In Mark 9 from verse 43 to verse 49, this fire is five
times said to be unquenchable—as if the Lord could
never speak enough of it. Beloved, the Holy Spirit is
never guilty of idle repetitions; but by these frequent
repetitions, the Holy Spirit would awaken men, and
teach them to look upon hell as a real thing, and as
a serious thing, and not sport with unquenchable
flames—nor go to hell in a dream!

Certainly the fire into which the damned shall be cast
shall be without all intermission of time or punishment.
No tears, nor blood, nor time—can extinguish the fire
of hell. Could every damned sinner weep a whole
—yet all those oceans of tears together, would
never extinguish one spark of infernal fire!

The damned are in "everlasting chains of darkness;"
they are under the "vengeance of eternal fire;"
they are "in blackness of darkness forever."

Said a poor despairing creature on his deathbed,
"Oh, that word 'forever'—breaks my heart!"

The damned in hell would gladly die—but they cannot.
They shall be always a-dying—yet never dead.
They shall be always a-consuming—yet never consumed.

"The smoke of their torment rises forever and ever!"
    Revelation 14:11

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

That immortal bird!

As the mercy of God is infinite towards the elect—
so the justice of God is infinite towards the reprobate
in hell. The reprobate shall have . . .
  punishment without pity,
  misery without mercy,
  sorrow without support,
  crying without compassion,
  mischief without measure,
  and torment without end!

All men in misery comfort themselves with
the hope of an ending to their misery.
The prisoner comforts himself with hope of a deliverance.
The mariner comforts himself with hope of a safe harbor.
The soldier comforts himself with hope of victory.
The slave comforts himself with hope of liberty.

But the impenitent sinner has no hope in hell!
He shall have . . .
  death without death,
  night without day,
  mourning without mirth,
  sorrow without solace,
  bondage without liberty!

The damned shall live as long in hell,
as God Himself shall live in heaven!

Suppose, say some—that the whole world were turned
to a mountain of sand, and that a little bird should come
every thousandth year and carry away one grain of sand
from that heap. What an infinite number of years—not to
be numbered by all finite beings—would be spent and
expired before this supposed mountain would be fetched

Now if a man should lie in everlasting burnings so long a
time as this—and then have an end of his woe—it would
administer some ease, refreshment, and comfort to him.
But when that immortal bird shall have carried away
this supposed mountain a thousand times over and over;
alas! alas! man shall be as far from the end of his anguish
and torment as ever he was! He shall be no nearer coming
out of hell, than he was the very first moment that he
entered into hell.

If the fire of hell were terminable, it might then
be tolerable; but being endless, it must needs be
easeless and remediless!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The true salamander's skin!

"The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all our sins."
    1 John 1:7

O you who truly fear the Lord, and who are united
to Christ by faith, know for your everlasting comfort
and support—that Christ has secured you . . .
  from infernal fire,
  from everlasting fire,
  from unquenchable fire,
  from eternal fire, and
  from the worm which never dies!

Christ by His blood has quenched the violence
of infernal flames—so that they shall never . . .
  scorch you nor burn you,
  hurt you nor harm you!

Some say that Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace was
a type of hell. Now look! As the three Hebrew children,
or rather champions, had not one hair of their heads
singed in that fiery furnace—just so, hell-fire shall
never singe one hair of your heads!
O sirs, Christ's
blood has so quenched the flames of hell—that they
shall never be able to scorch or burn those souls who
are saved by Him! Such as are washed and cleansed
from their sins in the blood of Jesus, such shall never
experimentally know what everlasting burnings or a
devouring fire means. Such as are washed in Christ's
blood—need no purifying by hell's flames!

The fable says that a salamander cannot burn. Nero
had a shirt made of a salamander's skin, so that if he
walked through the fire in it—it would keep him from
burning. O sirs! Christ is the true salamander's
—which will certainly keep every gracious soul
from burning in everlasting flames!

"The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all our sins."
    1 John 1:7

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

But woe and alas!

Suppose, say some, that a man were to endure
the torments of hell as many years, and no more,
as there are . . .
  sands on the sea-shore,
  drops of water in the sea,
  stars in heaven,
  leaves on the trees,
  blades of grass on the ground;
yet he would comfort himself with this poor thought,
"Well, there will come a day when my misery and
torment shall certainly have an end!" But woe and
this word "Forever! Forever! Forever!" will fill
the hearts of the damned with the greatest . . .
  horror and terror,
  wrath and rage,
  dread and astonishment!

Suppose, say others, that the torments of hell were to
end after a little bird should have emptied the sea, and
only carry out in her bill, but one drop once in a thousand
years—and so continue until the whole ocean was taken

Suppose, say others, that the whole world, from the
lowest earth to the highest heavens, were filled with
grains of sand, and once in a thousand years an angel
should come and fetch away one grain of sand—and
so continue until the whole heap were taken away.

Suppose, say others, if one of the damned in hell
should weep after this manner—namely, that he
should only weep one tear in a hundred years, and
these should be kept together until such time as they
should equal the drops of water in the sea. How many
millions of ages would pass, before they could make
up one river, much more a whole sea! And when that
were done, should he weep again after the same manner
until he had filled a second sea, a third sea, a fourth sea
—if then there should be an end of their miseries—there
would be some hope, some comfort that they would end
at last! But hell shall never, never, never end! The
eternity of hell—is that which sinks them under the
most tormenting terrors and horrors!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh how sweet is!

"Better the little that the righteous have, than
 the wealth of many wicked." Psalm 37:16

The righteous man's mite, is better than the wicked
man's millions.

The righteous man has his little, from the special love
and favor of God. Lazarus' scraps, crusts and rags
—are better and greater mercies than Dives' riches,
purple robes, and dainty fare!

A godly man improves his little, to the stirring up of
his heart to thankfulness, and to be much in admiring
and blessing of God for his little. The least mercies
which the righteous man has, make him humble, "I
am not worthy of the least of all the mercies which
You have showed unto Your servant." Genesis 32:10

The righteous man enjoys his little, with a great deal
of comfort, peace, quiet and contentment. Though he
has but necessities from hand to mouth—yet seeing
that God feeds him from heaven, as it were with
manna—he is content, quiet and cheerful.

All the honors, riches, pleasures, and profits of this world,
cannot yield contentment to a worldly man—they are all
surrounded with briers and thorns. Who can sum up the
many grievances, fears, jealousies, disgraces, temptations
and vexations—which men meet with in their vain pursuit
after the things of this world! Oh how sweet is, it to
lack these bitter-sweets!

Riches may well be called thorns; because they pierce
both head and heart—the one with care of getting, and
the other with grief in parting with them. The world and
all its enchantments, are a paradise to the eye—but
painfulness to the soul.

But a righteous man, with his little, enjoys both peace of
conscience and peace of contentment; and this makes every
bitter—sweet; and every little sweet—to be exceedingly sweet.
A dish of green herbs, with peace of conscience and peace of
contentment, is a noble feast, a continual feast to a gracious
soul. In every crust, crumb, drop, and sip of mercy which a
righteous man enjoys, he sees much of the love of his God,
and the care of his God, and the wisdom of his God, and the
power of his God, and the faithfulness of his God, and the
goodness of his God—in making the least provision for him.

In contrast, wicked men are like the the mule which drinks
from the brook—but never thinks of the spring. They are like
the swine which eats up the fruit—but never looks up to the
tree from whence the fruit falls.

A little will satisfy a temperate Christian. "Give me neither
poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread."
Proverbs 30:8. Agur asks only for daily bread, necessary
for his life—not for his lusts. He prays for enough to satisfy
necessity—not luxury. He asks for bread—not for delicacies.
He begs that his body may be sustained—not pampered.

A little will satisfy nature, and less will satisfy grace; yet
nothing will satisfy a wicked man's lusts! Wicked men
never have enough—they are never satisfied! Those who
are separated from the world's lusts, can live with a little.

Solomon, the wisest prince who ever sat upon a throne,
after his most diligent, critical, and impartial search into
all the creatures, gives this as the sum total of his inquiries,
"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!" And how then can any of
these things, yes, all these things heaped up together,
satisfy the soul of man!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Strangers and pilgrims

"To God's elect, strangers in the world," 1 Peter 1:1

This world is a wilderness, and believers, as pilgrims
and strangers, must pass through it to their heavenly
Canaan. "For here we do not have an enduring city, but
we are looking for the city that is to come." Heb. 11:10

"And they admitted that they were strangers
pilgrims on earth." Heb. 11:13

"Dear friends, I urge you, as strangers and
 pilgrims in the world," 1 Peter 2:11

The Scriptures, by frequently calling believers pilgrims,
sojourners, strangers, does sufficiently evidence that
there is no abiding for them in this world. This world is
not their country, their city, their home, their habitation;
and therefore they are not to place their hopes or hearts
or affections upon things below. Heaven is their chief city,
their best country, their most desirable home, and their
everlasting habitation; and therefore the hopes, desires,
breathings, longings should be heaven-ward, glory-ward!

Oh, when shall grace be swallowed up in glory? When
shall we take possession of our eternal mansions?
When shall we be with Christ, who is best of all?

"Live your lives as strangers here in reverent
 fear." 1 Peter 1:17

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Sinning is worse than suffering

Sinning is worse than suffering; for by men's sins
God is dishonored—but by their sufferings God is glorified.
Oh, that the Christian reader would seriously consider
of these things:

There is nothing that the great God hates—but sin.

There is nothing that God has revealed His wrath
 from heaven against—but sin.

There is nothing that grieves the Spirit of grace—but sin.

There is nothing that wounds the conscience—but sin.

There is nothing that clouds the face of God—but sin.

There is nothing that interrupts our communion with
 God—but sin.

There is nothing that embitters our mercies—but sin.

There is nothing that puts a sting into all our troubles
 and trials—but sin.

And therefore under all your sorrows and sufferings,
crosses and losses—make it your great business . . .
  to arm yourselves against sin,
  and to pray against sin,
  and to watch against sin,
  and to turn from sin,
  and to cease from sin,
  and to get rid of sin,
  and to stand forever in defiance of sin!
Assuredly every gracious heart had rather
be rid of his sins than of his sufferings!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Those who hunt after it are dogs

The Arabic proverb says, "That the world is a carcass,
and those who hunt after it are dogs." Ah, how
many professors are there, who hunt more after earth
than heaven; who hunt more after terrestrial than
celestial things; who hunt more after nothingnesses
and emptinesses, than they do after those fullnesses
and sweetnesses which are in God, in Christ, in the
covenant, in heaven, and in those paths which lead
to eternal happiness!

"Everyone born of God overcomes the world.
 This is the victory that has overcome the world,
 even our faith." 1 John 5:4

Those who live by faith, do not only resist, but
also triumph over all the glittering temptations
of a tempting and enticing world.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Oramuzes' happiness egg

"Whoever loves money never has money enough;
 whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his
 income." Ecclesiastes 5:10

He who is not contented with a little, will never
be satisfied with much. Money of itself, cannot
satisfy any desire of nature.
If a man is hungry, money cannot feed him;
if naked, money cannot clothe him;
if cold, money cannot warm him;
if sick, money cannot cure him.

A circle cannot fill a triangle; no more can the whole
world fill the heart of man. A man may as soon fill a
chest with grace—as a heart with wealth. The soul of
man may be busied about earthly things—but it can
never be filled nor satisfied with earthly things. There
is many a worldling who has enough of the world to
sink him, who will never have enough of the world to
satisfy him. The more money is increased—the more
the love of money is increased; and the more the love
of money is increased—the more the soul is unsatisfied.

It is only an infinite God, and an infinite good, which
can fill and satisfy the precious and immortal soul of man.

The sum of all that the creatures amount to, according
to Solomon's reckoning, is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Vanity and vexation is the very quintessence of the creature,
and all that can possibly be extracted out of it. Now if vanity
can satisfy, or if vexation can give contentment; if you can
gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles—then go on and
dote upon the world still, and be always enamored with a
shadow of perishing beauty.

Oramuzes the enchanter boasted that in his egg all the
happiness in the world was included; but being broken,
there was nothing in it but wind and emptiness.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Nothing will grow where gold grows

"Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And
 when they saw Him, they pleaded with Him to leave
 their region." Matthew 8:34

Many prefer the world before Christ; yes, the worst of
the world before the best of Christ! The Gergesenes
preferred their swine before a Savior; they had rather
lose Christ than lose their hogs! They had rather that
the devil should still possess their souls, than that
Jesus should drown their pigs. They preferred their
swine before their salvation, and presented a
wretched petition for their own damnation.

Though there is no misery, no plague, no curse, no
wrath, no hell, compared to Christ's departure from
a people—yet men who are mad upon the world will
desire this.

Some say that nothing will grow where gold grows.
Certainly, where an inordinate love of the world grows,
there nothing will grow that is good. A heart filled . . .
  either with the love of the world,
  or with the profits of the world,
  or with the pleasures of the world,
  or with the honors of the world,
  or with the cares of the world,
  or with the business of the world
—is a heart incapacitated to receive any divine
counsel or comfort from the word!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Rich Felix had no leisure to hear poor Paul

"Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom
 to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they
 are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off
 to the sky like an eagle." Proverbs 23:4-5

The only thing certain about riches—is that they are

Oh the deadness, the barrenness, the listlessness, the
heartlessness to anything that is divine and heavenly—
which always attends such professors who are resolved
to be rich, or great, or somebody in the world! Oh the
time, the thoughts, the strength, the spirits that these
men spend upon the world—while their souls lie a-bleeding,
and eternity is hastening upon them! Men who are highly
and fully resolved to be rich—will certainly forget God,
undervalue Christ, grieve the Spirit, slight ordinances,
and neglect such gracious opportunities as might make
them happy forever. Rich Felix had no leisure to
hear poor Paul
, though the hearing of a sermon
might have saved his soul. "As Paul discoursed on
righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come,
Felix was afraid and said—That's enough for now! You
may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for
you." Acts 24:24-25

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

All shadow and vanity

"Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of
 vanities; all is vanity." Ecclessiastes 1:2

In all the ages of the world, this testimony of Solomon
holds good. The things of this world are not only vain;
but vanity in the abstract. They are excessive vanity;
vanity of vanities; yes, they are a heap of vanity;
vanity of vanities.

All in heaven write 'vanity of vanities' upon all worldly
things; and all in hell write 'vanity of vanities' upon all
worldly things: and why should not all on earth write
'vanity of vanities' upon all worldly things?

The world is all shadow and vanity. The world is
like Jonah's gourd—a man may sit under its shadow
for a while—but it soon withers, decays, and dies.
He who shall but weigh . . .
  man's pains with his pay,
  his miseries with his mercies,
  his sorrows with his joys,
  his crosses with his comforts,
  his needs with his enjoyments, etc.,
may well cry out, "Oh the vanity and
uncertainty of all these earthly things!"

All the great, the mirthful, the glorious things of the
world, may fitly be resembled to the fruit which undid
us all, which was fair to the sight, smooth in handling,
sweet in taste—but deadly in operation!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

That wise and skillful physician

God's wisdom so tempers and orders all afflictions,
crosses, and losses—as to make them work kindly
and sweetly for our good. God is that wise and
skillful physician
, who can turn . . .
  poison into cordials,
  diseases into remedies,
  crosses into crowns, and
  the greatest losses into the greatest gains.

What can hurt us, while an infinite wise God stands by us?

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I will be with him in trouble

"He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
 I will be with him in trouble." Psalm 91:15

Oh, the precious presence of God with a man,
will sweeten every fiery dispensation, and take
off much of the bitterness and dreadfulness of it.
In the gracious presence of God with us lies,
  our greatest happiness,
  our greatest honor,
  our greatest profit and advantage,
  our greatest joy and delight,
  our greatest safety and security.

The gracious presence of God with us, will make
  our heavy afflictions light,
  our long afflictions short,
  our bitter afflictions sweet.

He who has the presence of God with his spirit, can
bear a burden without a burden. What burden can
sink that man, who has everlasting arms under him,
and over him, and round about him?

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you;
 He will never let the righteous fall." Psalm 55:22

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Soldiers, strangers, travelers, pilgrims

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

The believing Hebrews had been plundered of all they
had in this world, Heb. 10:34, when the apostle gave
forth this royal command; and yet the apostle requires
them to be content. It is as much the duty of a Christian
to be content when he has nothing, as when all the world
smiles upon him.

Christians are soldiers, strangers, travelers, pilgrims;
and therefore it concerns them to make do with little things,
yes, with anything in this world.

Nature is content with a little, grace with less; though nothing
will satisfy those men's hearts, whose lusts are their masters.

The Israelites had no mirthful clothes, nor no new clothes
in their wilderness condition; but God made their old clothes
to be all clothes to them, and that was enough.

Jacob did not ask God for dainties or ornaments—but for food
and clothing. Gen. 28:20, "Then Jacob made a vow, saying,
If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey
I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear,
then shall the Lord be my God."

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Honeyed poison

O Sirs! in the grave it is all the same—to one who has had all,
and to another who has had none. What folly is it to lay up
goods for many years, when we cannot lay up one day for the
enjoyment of our goods! Christ, who never miscalled any, calls
him "fool!" who had much of the world under his hands—but
nothing of God or heaven in his heart.

All this whole world is not proportionable to the precious soul.
All the riches of the Indies cannot pacify conscience, nor secure
eternity, nor prevent death, nor bring you off victorious in the
day of judgment; and therefore be contented with a little.

All the good things of this world, are but cold comforts: they
cannot stretch to eternity, they will not go with us into the
eternal world; and therefore why should the lack of such
things either trouble our thoughts, or break our hearts?

The whole world is but . . .
a paradise for fools;
  a beautiful but deceitful harlot;
  a dreamed sweetness,
  a very ocean of gall.
There is nothing to be found in it, which has not mutability
and uncertainty, vanity and vexation stamped upon it. And
therefore he cannot be truly happy who enjoys it; nor can he
be miserable who lacks it. And why then should not he be
contented, who has but a little of it? The greatest outward
happiness is but honeyed poison; and therefore do not mutter
or murmur because you have but little of the world.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Your only hell

All your crosses and losses shall be so tempered by a
hand of heaven, as that they shall become wholesome
medicines. They shall be steps to your future glory. All
your present trials
are your only hell; your heaven is
to come. And therefore be contented in the midst of all
your sorrows and sufferings.

Remember that many times those who have most of the
world in their hands, have least of God, of Christ, of the
Spirit, of grace, of heaven in their hearts. It is only an
infinite good and infinite God, which can fill and satisfy
the soul of man.

Remember, that a man were better to have much of
God—with a little of the world; than to have much of
the world—with a little of God. God alone is a thousand
thousand felicities, and a world of happiness, the only
life and light.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The synagogue of incarnate devils!

O sirs, this is and this must be for a lamentation, that
there are so many ale-houses, and gaming-houses, and
whore-houses, which are usually stuffed with vain people,
yes, with the very worst of the worst of men. Certainly
these houses are the very suburbs and seminaries of hell.
"Where have you been?" "In hell," said Erasmus, merrily
comparing ale-houses to hell. Doubtless, they are the
nurseries of all sin, and the synagogue of incarnate
In the above-mentioned houses, how notoriously
is the name of God blasphemed, and how shamefully are
the precious fruits of the earth abused! and how many
hundred families, are there impoverished! and how many
thousand children, are there impoisoned! and how is all
manner of wickedness and lewdness, are there
encouraged and increased!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A frequent and serious consideration of hell-fire, and
of your happy deliverance from it, may very well bear and
cheer up your hearts under all your greatest sufferings.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A threefold repetition of this worm

Certainly, hell-fire is neither tolerable nor terminable.

The extremity and eternity of hellish torments is set forth
by the worm which never dies. Christ makes a threefold
repetition of this worm
in Mark 9:44, 46, and 48—
"Their worm does not die—and the fire is not quenched!"
"Their worm does not die—and the fire is not quenched!"
"Their worm does not die—and the fire is not quenched!"

Certainly those punishments are beyond all conception and
expression—which our Lord Jesus does so often inculcate
within so small a space!

If after so many millions of years as there are drops in
the ocean, there might be a deliverance out of hell, this
would yield a little ease, a little comfort to the damned.
Oh but this word, "Eternity! Eternity! Eternity!" This word,
"Everlasting! Everlasting! Everlasting!" will break the
hearts of the damned in ten thousand pieces!

There is scarcely any pain or torment here on earth—but
there is ever some hope of ease, mitigation, or intermission,
there is some hope of relief or delivery. But in hell, the
torments there are all easeless, remediless, and endless!

Here on earth, if one falls into the fire, he may like a brand
be pulled out of it and be saved; but out of that fiery lake
of hell-fire, there is no redemption. That majesty of God,
which the sinner has offended and provoked—is an infinite
. Now, there must be some proportion between the
sinner's sin—and his punishment and torment. Now the
sinner being a finite creature, he is not capable of bearing
the weight of that punishment or torment which is intensively
infinite, because it would be his abolishing or annihilating;
and therefore he must bear the weight of that punishment
or torment, which is extensively infinite—that is, infinite in
the continuance and endurance. What is lacking in torment,
must be made up in time.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

He lived poor and died poor

"Jesus replied—Foxes have holes and birds of the
 air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place
 to lay His head." Matthew 8:20

Jesus does not say, Kings have palaces—but I have none.
Nor He does say that rich men have houses and lands and
mansions to entertain their followers—but I have none;
but, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests,
but I have no place to lay My head."

Your outward condition is not worse than Christ's was
when he was in the world. Christ's condition was low,
yes, very low and humble in this world. He was born in
a feeding trough, lived on the charity of others, and did
not have enough money to pay His taxes. The great
Architect of the world had no place to lay his head—but
emptied Himself of all, and became poor to make us
rich, not in goods—but in grace; not in worldly wealth
—but in the treasures of the eternal world. He lived
poor and died poor.

Are you houseless, are you penniless, are you poor,
and low, and base in this world? So was Christ!
Remember "the servant is not greater than his Lord!"

It is unfitting to see the Head all begored with blood
and crowned with thorns—and the members to be
decked with roses and jewels, and to smell of rich
spices, and perfumes!

Are you in a worse condition than Christ was in this
world? Oh no, no! Why then do you murmur and
complain? Why do you say there is no sorrow compared
to your sorrow, nor any suffering compared to your
suffering? O sirs! it is honor enough for the disciples
of Christ to fare as Christ fared in this world. Why
should the servant be in a better condition than his
Lord? Did you but seriously and frequently meditate
and ponder upon the poverty and low estate of Christ
while He was in this world, your hearts would be more
calm and quiet under all their crosses and losses!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The most golden Christians

Under all fiery trials, God will make good that golden
promise, "And we know that all things work together
for good to those who love God." Romans 8:28.

Mark, the apostle does not say, we suppose, or we
hope, or we conjecture—but we know! We know that
all our sufferings and afflictions work together for our
good! The apostle does not say they shall work—but
they do work.

Look! as several poisonous ingredients put together,
being well tempered and mixed by the skill and care
of the prudent apothecary, makes a sovereign medicine,
and work together for the good of the patient; just so,
all the afflictions and sufferings which befall the saints
—they shall be so wisely, so divinely tempered, ordered,
and sanctified by the hand of God—as that they shall
really and remarkably work for their good. Those
dreadful providences which seem to be most harmful
to us, shall in the outcome prove most beneficial to us!

Look! as vessels of gold are made by fire, so by fiery
trials God will make His people vessels of gold! Ususally,
the most afflicted Christians are the most golden

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The secret of being content

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to
 have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content
 in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,
 whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:11-12

"Christian contentment is that sweet, inward,
 quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits
 to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal
 in every condition." (Jeremiah Burroughs)

"The way to true riches," says one, "is not to increase
our heaps; but to diminish the covetousness of our hearts."

"He who is satisfied with a little; he who is contented
 with God's allowance—he is  the happy man. (Brooks)

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

 "But godliness with contentment is great gain.
 For we brought nothing into the world, and we
 can take nothing out of it. But if we have food
 and clothing, we will be content with that."
     1 Timothy 6:6-8

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

He has no reason to complain!

The least drop of grace,
the least smile from Christ's face,
the least kiss of His mouth,
the least embrace of His arm,
the least hint of His favor—
is worth more than ten thousand worlds!

That Christian cannot be poor—who is rich in grace.

That Christian cannot be miserable—who has God
for his portion.

That Christian cannot be unhappy—who has a
mansion prepared for him in heaven, though he
has not a cottage to hide his head in, in this world.

That Christian has no cause to complain of lack
of food for his body—whose soul is feasted with
manna, with the dainties of heaven, with those
rarities which are better than angels' food!

He who has but rags to cover his back, if his soul
is clothed with the garments of salvation, and
covered with the robe of Christ's righteousness,
he has no reason to complain!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

When God takes away your carnals

One support to bear up the hearts of the people of God
under the recent fiery dispensation, is this—That the Lord
will certainly, one way or another, make up all their losses
to them. Sometimes God makes up His people's outward
losses by giving them . . .
  more of Himself,
  more of His Son,
  more of His Spirit,
  more of His favor,
  more of His grace.

When God takes away your carnals, and gives you
more spirituals; when God takes away your temporals,
and gives you more eternals—your outward losses are
made up to you. When God takes away a Christian's
estate in this world, he looks for a better and enduring
estate in heaven.

If men should . . .
  take away your old clothes, and give you new clothes;
  take away your rags, and give you robes;
  take away your chaff, and give you wheat;
  take away your water, and give you wine;
  take away your tin, and give you silver;
  take away your brass, and give you gold;
  take away your pebbles, and give you pearls;
  take away your cottages, and give you royal palaces
—certainly you would have no cause to complain!

If God takes away your houses, your goods, your
trades, your honors—and gives you more of himself,
and more grace—He does you no injury. It is an
excellent exchange
, to get eternals for temporals.

If God takes away your earthly riches,
and makes you more . . .
  rich in grace,
  rich in spiritual comforts,
  rich in holy experiences,
  rich in divine enjoyments,
then you are no losers—but great gainers!

What are all the necessary comforts of this life,
compared to union and communion with God, to
a saving interest in Christ, to pardon of sin, to
peace of conscience, and to that loving-kindness
which is better than life?

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


There is nothing that puts a more serious frame into
a man's spirit than to know the worth of his time.
Eternity, eternity depends upon your improvement
of that time! The damned in hell may weep their
eyes out of their heads—but they can never weep
sin out of their souls, nor their souls out of hell.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Why should any living man complain

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

Oh what a foolish, senseless, brutish, blockish thing it
is, for a man, a mortal man, a sinful man, a man on this
side hell—to complain or murmur against a holy and
righteous God! He who is on this side everlasting burnings,
on this side a devouring fire, has no just cause to complain,
whatever his losses, crosses, or sufferings are. He who has
deserved a hanging, if he escapes with a whipping—has no
cause to complain or murmur. Men who have deserved a
damning, if they escape with the loss of house, goods, etc.,
they have no cause to complain or murmur.

Oh sirs! Spend your days in a serious and deep admiration
of that free, that rich, that infinite, and that sovereign grace
that spared you, in that day when you were compassed
about with flames of fire on every hand!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

From belly to cards or dice

"Those who wear expensive clothes and indulge
 in luxury are in palaces." Luke 7:25

"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and
 fine linen and lived in luxury every day." Luke 16:19

"The rich man also died and was buried. In hell,
 where he was in torment," Luke 16:22-23

Luxury is one of the great darling sins of our age and day!
It is a very God-dishonoring sin, and a God-provoking sin,
and a soul-damning sin! It shuts them out from all the glory
of heaven—and tumbles them down to the lowest hell!

Look! no luxurious person shall enter into heaven. Of all
sorts of sinners—the luxurious sinner is most rarely reformed.
The adulterer may become chaste, the thief may become
an honest man, the swearer may obtain a sanctified tongue;
but how rare is it to see a luxurious person repent, break off
his sins, close with Christ, and walk to heaven!

Of such professors who live and wallow in luxury and
intemperance, if we compare Christ's laws and their
together, I think we may confidently conclude,
that they are not Christians. Panormitan, a heathen,
having read the 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters of Matthew,
and comparing those rules of Christ with the loose and
luxurious lives of professing Christians; concluded that
those people were not Christians.

Chrysostom preferred brute beasts before luxurious
people; for the beast goes from belly to labor; when
the luxurious person goes from belly to bed, or from
belly to cards or dice
, if not to something worse!

"You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You
 have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter." James 5:5

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

All belly-gods shall at last
be found in the belly of hell!

"Their destiny is destruction, their god is their
." Philippians 3:18-19

Intemperance robs men of everlasting happiness and
blessedness. It shuts them out from all the glory of
heaven, and tumbles them down to the lowest hell,
as you may see in that great instance of luxurious
Dives, who was "dressed in purple and fine linen
and lived in luxury every day." The intemperate
man's table proves a snare to his soul.

Intemperant people eat and drink away their Christ;
they eat and drink away their souls; they eat and
drink away their own salvation! Those who serve their
own bellies, serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, and shall
never reign with Him in heaven. Certainly that man
who makes his belly his god, shall be forever
separated from God.

All belly-gods shall at last be found in the belly
of hell!
The intemperate person has his heaven here;
his hell is to come. Now he has his sweet cups, his
merry cups, his pleasant cups. Oh, but there is a cup
of shame and sorrow to come! "Upon the wicked he
shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible
tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup." Psalm
11:6. The intemperate person has been a gulf to devour
many mercies, and therefore he shall at last be cast into
a gulf of endless miseries.

How many make their belly their god, and their kitchen
their altar; whose whole felicity lay in eating and drinking,
whose bodies were as sponges, and whose throats were
as open sepulchers to take in all precious liquors, and
whose bellies were as graves to bury God's creatures in!

Augustine well observes that God has not given to man:
claws to tear in pieces—like bears and leopards; nor
horns to push—like bulls and rams; nor
a sting to prick—like wasps, and bees, and serpents; nor
a bill to strike—like eagles and ostriches; nor
a wide mouth to devour—like dogs and lions;
but a little mouth, to show that man should be
very temperate both in his eating and drinking.

How applicable these things are to the luxurious people
who lived within the walls of London before it was turned
into ashes—I shall leave the wise in heart to judge.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Then the mud appears

God inflicts great and severe judgments upon men,
and upon cities and countries—that they may cease
from sin, receive instruction, and reform and return
to Him.

God's corrections should be our instructions,
His lashes should be our lessons,
His scourges should be our schoolmasters,
His chastisements should be our admonishments.

God, by fiery afflictions, and by burning up our comforts
round about us—awakens us, and brings us to Himself.
When iron grows rusty, we put it into the fire to purify
it; and so when the people of God grow rusty, then the
Lord brings them under fiery trials to awaken them, and
to purify them.

God has several special ends that he aims at by all the
fiery trials and sharp providences that He exercises His
people with. He intends a further and a fuller discovery
of their sins. In standing waters you cannot see the mud
which lies at the bottom of the pond; but when once the
water is drawn away—then it appears. Just so, in times
of prosperity there is a great deal of mud—a great deal
of unbelief, discontent, murmuring, impatience, passion,
pride, etc.—which lies at the bottom of men's hearts,
undiscovered. Oh, but when God shall once empty them
of their estates, and burn up all their outward comforts,
and set them with Job upon the ash-heapthen the
mud appears
, then a whole army of lusts reveal

In times of fiery trials, you may say with the
psalmist, "My sins are ever before me!"
My pride is ever before me,
my unbelief is ever before me,
my frowardness is ever before me,
my murmuring is ever before me,
my discontent is ever before me,
my impatience is ever before me, etc.

Godly men never come to know how bad they are,
until they come to be exercised with severe and
sharp trials. It was the speech of a holy man in a
great sickness, "In this disease I have learned
how great God is, and what the evil of sin is!"
Afflictions are a Christian's mirror, in which they
may run and read the greatness of God, and the
vileness of sin!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The sovereignty of God

The sovereignty of God is that golden scepter in
His hand which He will make all bow to, either . . .
  by His word or by His works,
  by His mercies or by His judgments.

This scepter must be kissed and submitted to,
or else fire and sword, desolation and destruction,
will certainly follow.

Many times judgments work—where mercies do
not win. The world is so intractable, that God's
frowns will do more with them than God's smiles.

The the power, justice, and sovereignty of God
shines most gloriously in the execution of His
judgments upon the world.

God's greatest severity is to prevent utter ruin
and misery!

There is a knowledge of God by His works as well
as by His word; and by His judgments as well as
by His mercies. In His dreadful judgments everyone
may run and read—
  His power,
  His justice,
  His anger,
  His severity and indignation against sin and sinners.

It is the highway to atheism and profaneness, to
imagine to ourselves, a God made up all of mercy,
to think that God cannot be angry and wrathful
with sinful men.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The Jews

"What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?"
Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify Him!" "Why?
What crime has He committed?" asked Pilate. But they
shouted all the louder, "Crucify Him!" Mat. 27:22-23

"Him . . . you have taken, and by wicked hands
 have crucified and slain!" Acts 2:23

"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has
 made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord
 and Christ!" Acts 2:36

O, since their crucifying of the Lord of glory—the Jews
have never laid their finger upon the right sore; to this
very day they won't acknowledge their sin in crucifying
of the Lord of glory. They realize that God has sorely
afflicted them; but their cruelty to Christ, their crucifying
of Christ, which ushered in the total ruin of their city and
country—they cannot be brought to acknowledge to this
very day, though the Lord has burnt them up on every
hand, and has scattered them as dung all over the earth
to this very day!

A learned writer tells us that the Jews call Christ, "a
bastard;" and his Gospel, "the Volume of Lies," or "the
Volume of Iniquity;" and us Christians "heathen". When
they greet a Christian, they call him, "Devil". They hate
all Christians—but none so much as those who are
converted from Judaism to Christianity, and all this
after so great a burning and desolation that the Lord
has made in the midst of them!

"As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept
 over it and said—If you, even you, had only known on
 this day what would bring you peace—but now it is
 hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you
 when your enemies will build an embankment against
 you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.
 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children
 within your walls. They will not leave one stone on
 another, because you did not recognize the time
 of God's coming to you." Luke 19:41-44

It is certain that the majority of the Jews are under
woeful blindness and hardness to this very day!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What is in the well, will be in the bucket

"But I say unto you, That every idle word that
 men shall speak, they shall give account thereof
 in the day of judgment." Matthew 12:36

There are many idle talkers. An idle word is a profuse
or needless word, used rashly or unadvisedly, lacking
a reason of just necessity, bringing neither honor to
God nor edification to others, nor conducing to any
profitable end.

And as there are many idle talkers, so there are many
over-talkers; and they are such who spend a hundred
words when ten will serve the turn.

And as there are many over-talkers, so there are many
who are only-talkers, who can do nothing but talk.

And as there are many who are only talkers, so there
are many who are unprofitable talkers. "The beginning
of the words of their mouth is foolishness, and the end of
his talk is mischievous madness," Eccles. 10:13.

And as there are many unprofitable talkers, so there are
many unseasonable talkers, who place one word where
another should stand. "A wise man discerns time and
judgment," Eccles. 8:4.

And as there are many unseasonable talkers, so there are
many rash talkers, who speak first and think afterwards,
Eccles. 5:2.

God has set a double bar about the tongue—the teeth and
the lips—that men should not speak rashly. Words once
spoken cannot return. A man who thinks before he speaks,
seldom repents of what he speaks. Silence is far better
than rash speaking, or than vain speaking, etc.

O sirs, the tongue is the true revealer of the heart. If there
is piety or iniquity at the bottom of your hearts, your tongues
will reveal it. What is in the well, will be in the bucket.
Just so, what is in the heart, will be in the mouth. If there is
anything of God, of Christ, of grace, of heaven, of hell, of sin,
of the world, of self in the bottom of your souls, your tongues
will reveal it.

A man's heart may sometimes be seen at his tongue's end.

Many a man's tongue has cut his throat; that is, it has been his ruin.

The Holy Spirit shows the mischief of the tongue, by the several
characters by which he brands it. He calls it the flattering tongue,
the double tongue, the deceitful tongue, the lying tongue, the
perverse tongue, etc., Psalm 52:2; Proverbs 18:21; Eccles. 10:12;
Psalm 19:4, and 73:9; Mat. 28:13, 15.

The tongue is often like a sharp razor, that, instead of shaving
the hair, cuts the throat. If a man does not look well about him,
he may every day be in danger of dying by his tongue. "Life and
death," says Solomon, "are in the power of the tongue," Prov. 18:21.

Ah, how good had it been for many that they had been born
dumb! The tongue can easily travel all the world over, and wound
men's names and credits in this country; and that in this city and
that in this town, and that in this family, and that in an instant run
from one place to another: here it bites, and there it tears: in
this place it leaves a blot, and in that it gives a wound; and
therefore you have cause to watch your tongues on every day.

O sirs, how many men and women are there who are discriminating
about what they eat, who are not discriminating about what they speak;
who are particular about the food which goes into their mouths, lest it
should hurt or poison them, who are not particular about the words
that go out of their mouths, lest they should hurt or poison others!

Of all the members in the body, there is none so serviceable
to Satan as the tongue.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I meditate on it all day long

"Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all
 day long
." Psalm 119:97

We are to meditate upon blessed truths that
we read in Scripture, such as . .  .
  the holiness, greatness, and graciousness of God;
  the person, natures, offices, excellencies, beauties,
    glories, riches, fullness, and sweetness of Christ;
  our own emptiness, nothingness, baseness,
     vileness and unworthiness;
  the works of God—creation, providence and redemption;
  our spiritual needs;
  that eternal rest which is reserved for the people of God.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Satan's grand design

Satan's grand design is not to keep men from going
the round of holy duties—but to hinder the exercise
of grace. All other exercises without the exercise of
grace will do a Christian no good. The more grace is
exercised—the more corruptions will be weakened
and mortified. As one bucket in the well rises up, the
other goes down; so as grace rises higher and higher,
corruptions fall lower and lower. As grace in its exercise
grows stronger and stronger—so sin will every day grow
weaker and weaker.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Contentment in every condition

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to
 have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in
 any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,
 whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:11-12.

In these words you have first the vicissitude of Paul's outward
condition: at one time he abounds, at another he is abased:
at one time he is full, and at another time he suffers need.

You have the sweet and gracious composure of his spirit,
and this is expressed in two singular acts. The first is his
contentment of mind in all conditions. The second is his
prudent and pertinent behavior with his present condition.

You have the way how he attained this contentment of
mind in all conditions: "I have learned," says he, "I am
instructed;" this lesson of contentment he did not learn
at the feet of Dr. Gamaliel—but in the school of Jesus
Christ. Contentment in every condition is too high
a lesson for any effectually to teach—but Jesus Christ.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The secret of being content

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to
 have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content
 in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,
 whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:11-12

Those whose houses have been burnt up in the great fire
of London, must be contented with their present condition.
When a man's mind is brought down to his means—all is well.
Contentment in a man's present condition—will yield him a
little heaven in the midst of all the great hells which he
meets with in this world. Contentment is a hidden treasure,
which the believer will carry with him to the eternal heaven,
where an exceeding weight of glory and contentment, with
full satisfaction to his desires, will be added to that little stock
of contentment that he has obtained in this world. Contentment
in every condition, is no other but the house of God! God dwells
in a contented heart, and a contented heart dwells in God.
Contentment is that porch wherein the believer waits for an
entrance into a house not made with hands—but one eternal
in the heavens!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The sweetest wines become the tartest vinegar

As the sweetest wines become the tartest vinegar;
just so, God's heavenly favors and indulgences being long
abused, they at last turned into storms of wrath and

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A detestable, stinking weed

"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to
 carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from
 the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no
 truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native
 language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44

Satan is the father of all sins, as well as the father of lies.
By lying, he first brought sin into the world. Satan began
his kingdom by a lie, and by lies he still labors to uphold it.
He is the inventor and author of all the lies which are in the
world. "The devil's breasts," says Luther, "are very fruitful
with lies." Liars are the devil's children by imitation. There
are none who resemble him so much to the life, as liars do!
They are as like him as if they were spit out of the his very
mouth. Lying is a part of the devil's image. Other sins make
men like beasts; but this sin of lying makes men like devils.

Such as truly fear the Lord, they hate lying. Psalm 119:163,
"I hate and abhor lying." Proverbs 13:5, "A righteous man
hates lying." Lying is a detestable, stinking weed, and
therefore a righteous man abhors to touch it, he hates to
come near it, and can by no means endure the scent of it
in others—least of all in himself! 

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Inseparable companions

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.
 A man reaps what he sows." Galatians 6:7

Sin and punishment are inseparable companions.

hen the time comes for Me to punish, I will
 punish them for their sin." Exodus 32:34

"I will punish their sin with the rod, their
 iniquity with flogging." Psalm 89:32

"He will punish your sin and expose your
 wickedness." Lamentations 4:22