Bible Truths Illustrated

J.C. Pittman, 1917

A Roman emperor, after a successful military campaign, was returning in triumph to Rome. Great throngs filled the city to welcome the mighty hero. While passing through one of the crowded thoroughfares, a little girl, wild with joy, dashed toward his chariot.

The officer stopped her and said: "That is the chariot of the emperor, and you must not attempt to reach him."

The little one replied: "He may be your emperor but he is my father!" In a moment she was not only in the chariot, but also in the arms of her father.

It is even so with true believers. While God is the Emperor of all men He is that, and infinitely more, to us He is our Father!

"This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in Heaven . . ." Matthew 6:9

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"He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them all by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!" Psalm 147:3-5

He who counts the stars and calls them by their names, is in no danger of forgetting His own children! He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature He ever made, or the only saint He ever loved!

It is most important for us to learn, that the smallest trifles are as much arranged by the God of Providence, as the most startling events. He who counts the stars has also numbered the hairs of our heads. Our lives and deaths are predestined but so, also, are our sitting down and our rising up!
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered!" Matthew 10:29-30

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"The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms!" Deuteronomy 33:27

If we are held in the clasp of the everlasting arms we need not fear that we shall ever be separated from the enfolding. "Underneath." They are always underneath us. No matter how low we sink in weakness, in fainting, in pain, in sorrow we never can sink below these everlasting arms. We can never drop out of their clasp!

God's love is deeper than human sorrow. Sorrow is very deep, but still and forever, in the greatest grief these arms of Divine love are underneath the believing sufferer.

God's love is deeper than death. When every earthly support is gone from beneath us, when every human arm unclasps and every face fades from before our eyes, and we sink away into what seems darkness and the shadow of death we shall only sink into the everlasting arms!

Drop your plummet into the deepest sea of sorrow, and at the end of your soundings: "Underneath are the everlasting arms!"

What abiding consolation! What all-embracing, never-failing strength!

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Among the truly popular girls I have known, one stands out preeminently. I never knew one person who did not find her just lovable.

Once during her Sophomore year in high school, a group of her chums were discussing mottoes and naming their favorites. "Hitch your wagon to a star!" and "To the stars through difficulties!" were favored.

Turning to Jessie, someone said, "Haven't you a motto?"

"Yes," she said; "it is this: 'Me last!'"

"What do you mean by that?" the others asked.

"That's my motto, and I think it is a good one."

"But what does it mean?"

Then Jessie explained: "It means just what it says 'me last.' That is, I am to think of myself last. I am to put everyone else ahead of me, and then can look after myself when everybody else is taken care of."

The girls saw, and they knew that right there lay the secret of her popularity.

"Jesus called the Twelve and said: If anyone wants to be first he must be the very last, and the servant of all." Mark 9:35

"Jesus got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him."
"Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet you also should wash one another's feet. I have given you an example that you should do as I have done for you." John 13:4-5, 14-15

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Over the triple doorways of a European Cathedral, there are three inscriptions spanning the splendid arches.

Over one is carved a beautiful wreath of roses, and underneath is the lettering:
"All which pleases us is but for a moment."

Over the other arch is sculptured a cross, and there are the words:
"All which troubles us is but for a moment."

But on the great central entrance to the main aisle, is the inscription:
"That alone is important, which is eternal."

If we always realize these three truths, we would not let trifles trouble us;
nor would we be so much interested in the passing pageants of the hour.
We would live, as we do not now for the permanent and the eternal.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
 For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!" 2 Corinthians 4:18

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One day, Johann Tauler of Strosbourg met a peasant and greeted him, "God give you a good day, my friend!"

The peasant answered briskly, "I thank God that I never have a bad day!"

Tauler, astonished, kept silent for a moment. Tauler then added, "God give you a happy life, my friend."

The peasant replied composedly, "I thank God that I am never unhappy!"

"Never unhappy!" cried Tauler bewildered, "What do you mean?"

"Well," came the reply, "When it is sunshine I thank God; and when it rains I thank God. When I have plenty I thank God; and when I am hungry I thank God. Since God's will is my will, and whatever pleases God pleases me I am never unhappy."

Tauler looked upon him with awe. "Who are you?" he asked.

"I am a king!" said the peasant.

"A king?" Tauler asked, "Where is your kingdom?"

The peasant smiled and whispered softly, "In my heart!"

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"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

In all circumstances! This comes as a surprise when one considers the vicissitudes of human life. Sickness and health, poverty and wealth, joy and sorrow are all ingredients of the cup placed to human lips so all must come within the scope of thanksgiving. Why be thankful for everything? Because God causes everything to work together for good to those who love Him.

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A godly farmer was asked to dine with a well-known gentleman. While there, he asked a blessing at the table as he was accustomed to do at home. His host said jeeringly, "That is old fashioned; it is not customary nowadays for well-educated people to pray before they eat."

The farmer answered that with him it was customary but that some of those on his farm never thanked God their food.

"Ah, then," said the gentleman, "they are sensible and enlightened! Who are they?"

"My pigs!" the farmer answered.

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"A man's life does not consist in the abundance of the things that he possesses." Luke 12:15

"Implanted within us is a desire for amusement the entire suppression of which is as injurious, as it is unauthorized. The Christian religion is antagonistic only to that which is hurtful to spiritual life. It is not opposed to wholesome amusements. It does not rob us of any pleasures which are consistent with our eternal welfare."

"Healthy recreation should be encouraged, with one proviso that it never be forgotten that there is a higher end in life than to be amused. Care should be taken, not to suppress the desire for amusement but to moderate and rightly direct it. The limitation which devotion to Christ imposes, must ever be observed, lest pleasure be made the business of life, instead of life's relaxation."

"The selection of fitting sources of amusement should not be difficult. There are many such, without tampering with questionable ones, which may prove detrimental and even destructive to spiritual life. The question requiring settlement is: "Am I, by the amusement in which I indulge, being spiritually helped or hindered? Is my soul being lifted up or more heavily weighted down?"

"The Christian should find pleasure not only in the world's confectionery but chiefly in the strong meat of the Word."

"All things are yours. Take them and use them; but never let them interfere with the higher life which you are called on to lead."

"A ship is all right in the sea so long as the sea is not in the ship. In the same way, a Christian is all right in the world so long as the world is not in the Christian."

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Through one sin, angels left their proper habitation. Jude 6

Through one sin, man was banished from paradise and the eternal curse and its punishment rested upon him and his descendants.

Sin is a clenched fist and a blow in the face of God! Sin is the only thing which God abhors! All sins, great or small, are objects of intense aversion to God.

Nothing speaks louder concerning God's hatred of sin than Calvary! Surely, he who asserts that sin is a trivial thing, a mere "ripple on the ocean of God's love" has never looked upon the cross! In view of what it cost Jesus to atone for it sin is heinous, hellish, and damnable! It required nothing less than the suffering and death of of the Son of God on the cross!

Suppose a man should come to the dinner table and it should be told to him: "This is the knife that cut the throat of your child!" If he could now use that knife as any other knife, would not we say, "Surely there was but little love to the child!"

Oh, with what detestation would a man fling away such a knife!

In the same way, when there is a temptation to any sin this is the knife . . .
  which was the cause of Christ's sufferings,
  which cut the throat of Christ,
  which pierced His side,  
  which made Christ to be a curse!

Now, will you not look on that as a cursed thing which made Christ to be a curse? With what detestation should a Christian renounce sin for that, and that alone, was the cause of the death of Christ!

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Conformity to the world has in all ages proved the ruin of the church! It is utterly impossible to live in nearness to God and in friendship with the world.

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You call Me Master and obey me not,
You call Me Light and see me not,
You call Me way and follow me not
You call Me Life and desire me not,
You call Me wise and acknowledge me not,
You call Me fair and love me not,
You call Me rich and ask me not,
You call Me eternal and seek me not,
You call Me gracious and trust me not,
You call Me noble and serve me not,
You call Me mighty and honor me not,
You call Me just and fear me not,
If I condemn you blame Me not.

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Not a single sigh for past sins, escapes His ears;
not a groan of the heart, but is heard by Him;
not a tear falls to the ground, but He puts it into His bottle.

Not a breathing of the soul after His holiness;
not a loathing of our own unholiness;
not an act of self-abasement, or humbling ourselves for sin;
not a yearning of the soul for a purity which it has not,
not an act of mercy, done in hopes that we may 'obtain mercy;'
not an act of self-denial, in token of our displeasure and self-condemnation at our offences but we shall find there.

Every fragment of our poor sorrow and service we shall find there gathered and stored up, nothing lost.

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Some look upon the Bible as a garden of spices, in which you may walk, and at your leisure pluck the flowers and gather the fruits of the Eden of God.

More truly is it a mine, in which you must dig and labor the wealth of which is not to be obtained without labor. The Bible is a mine rich in gold and precious things, but it must be wrought day and night in order to produce them.

"If you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:4-6

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Christ is the only refuge!

If you were very sick, and there was only one medicine that would cure you, how anxious you would be to get that medicine.

If you were in a storm at sea, and you found that the ship could not weather it, and there was only one harbor, how anxious you would be to get into that harbor.

O, sin-sick soul, Christ is the only medicine!

O, storm-tossed soul, Christ is the only harbor!

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"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:1-2

Be lenient with the fallen. You see a brother fall, and say, "I never could have done that!"

Perhaps you could not because your temptation does not happen to be in that direction. But you have done things in the course of your life, that these fallen men could never have done, because their temptation was not in that direction.

In our criticisms of others, let us remember that we have faults which our friends have excused. How much would be left of us if all those who see inconsistencies in us, should clip away from our character and reputation! It is an invariable rule, that those who make the roughest work with the reputations of others are those who have themselves the most imperfections.

We ought to be induced away from all harshness by the fact that we ourselves are to be brought to a high tribunal at the last, and that he shall have judgment without mercy, who has shown no mercy. You are accustomed with rough grip violently to shake men for their misdeeds, waiting for no palliations, and listening to no appeals. What will become of you when at last, with all your imperfections, you appear at the bar of your Maker?

You don't know what you would do, if sufficiently tempted. There are evil passions within your soul that have never been unchained.

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

"Hold me up and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117

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Whatever be the topic of conversation, the spirit of piety should be diffused through it as the salt in our food should properly season it all, whatever the article of food may be. "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:6

In our manner of speech, our plans of living, our dealings with others, our conduct and walk in the church and out of it all should be done as befitting the gospel. "Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." Philippians 1:27

Christians should be grave and serious though cheerful and pleasant. They should feel that they have great interests at stake while in the world. They are redeemed not to make sport. They are purchased with precious blood for other purposes than to make men laugh. They are soon to be in Heaven and a man who has any impressive sense of that, will habitually feel he has much else to do than to make men laugh.

The true course of life is midway between . . .
  moroseness and levity;
  sourness and lightness;
  harshness and jesting.

Be benevolent, kind, cheerful, courteous but serious. Be solemn, thoughtful, deeply impressed with the presence of God and with eternal things but pleasant, affable and gracious. Do not think that a smile is sinful but do not think levity and jesting are harmless.

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Because I am in earnest men call me a fanatic, but I am not. Mine are words of truth and soberness.

I once saw a gravel-pit fall in, and bury three human beings alive. I shouted so loud for help that I was heard a mile off help came, and two of the poor sufferers were rescued. No one called me a fanatic then.

And when I see eternal destruction ready to fall upon poor sinners, and about to entomb them irrecoverably in an eternal mass of woe, and call aloud on them to escape shall I be called a fanatic now?

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There is no harm in looking ahead but it is unwise to try to carry next week's burdens. There is nothing wrong in looking ahead, but needless anxiety in regard to the future, is not only useless but injurious besides evidencing lack of implicit trust in our heavenly Father's care for His redeemed people. Worry looks tremblingly ahead, but never accelerates, and always hinders the speed in life's race.

Yet many drag through life weighted with all sorts of needless cares, and never in their element unless looking for still more trouble. They are always watching for clouds, and are never content to bask in the sunshine.

Paul has a word concerning the sin of worrying. "In nothing be anxious" (Philippians 4:6). The reason is because we are in God's world, and He is able and willing to take care of all His creatures. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God" (Romans 8:28). The present trouble must be acknowledged to be divinely permitted, and a sure guarantee of guidance through future trials.

The spirit of worry should be crowded out by the inflowing of "the peace of God, which passes all understanding." That alone will ensure complete victory.

Never bear more than one kind of trouble at once. Some people bear all three kinds of trouble at once all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.

John Wesley said: "I dare not worry any more than I dare curse and swear!"

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I once heard of two drunk men who came down one night to where their boat was tied. They wanted to return home, so they got in and began to row. They pulled away hard all night, wondering why they never got to the other side of the bay. When the grey dawn of morning broke, behold, they had never loosed the mooring-line or raised the anchor!

And that is the same way with many who are striving to enter the kingdom of Heaven. They cannot believe because they are tied to this world. Cut the cord! Cut the cord! Set yourselves free from the clogging weight of earthly things, and you will soon go on towards Heaven!

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More frequently than otherwise, unbelief arises from hatred of the practice of Christianity.

Men disbelieve the religion of Jesus because their lives are so out of harmony with its principles.

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." John 3:19

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Men sell their souls cheap for a sweet smile; for a fair face; for the ruby wine; for the love of money.

Ah! for what has not a man sold his immortal soul!

Many years ago an English traveler was visiting Rome. One day, while lingering amid the ruins of an old palace, he noticed an Italian peasant anxiously examining a little stone rescued from the ruins. Drawing near, he also became interested, and at a venture he offered five dollars for it which was gladly and promptly accepted.

The Englishman took it to his room and examined it, with the aid of an expert and found it to be the world-famous topaz which once dazzled in the crown of Caesar Augustus, and was worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars! Its beauty and worth had been obscured by dirt and filth, but it had not been destroyed.

In the same way, the soul of man, however sunk in sin, is worth more than all the gems in the world and may it be our happy lot to discover some of them.

"What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" Mark 8:36

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Perhaps you have seen the picture of a boy and a pony. The boy has an apple in his right hand, while his left hand is hid behind his back. Why? Because he has a rope in it with which he means to catch the pony when it comes to take the apple.

In the same way, Satan presents sin to us as a tempting morsel, and if we yield to it he will throw the rope over our heads and lead us into sin!

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The pictures of Satan as the fire-breathing Apollyon or as one wearing a human form equipped with huge bat-like wings, horns, tail, and webbed feet or as a black monster with tail, claws, and horns are mere allegories and symbols, to make his real nature apparent and the impression deep.

Such a Satan, actually before us, could never tempt us! Temptation is always disguised. It comes as an angel of light. It makes evil seem desirable.

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Mr. Pearce, a Sunday-school expert, once told of certain homes in America for weak-minded children.

Often a mother will bring her child to one of these homes. But the children are subject to certain tests, and among them is one where there are two tubs one full and the other empty. The empty one has a hole in it, and a plug to fit. The child is required to take the water from the full tub and put it in the empty one. If he finds the water running out and puts the plug in the officials do not consider it to be weak-minded.

"Now," said Mr. Pearce, "the Sunday-school is the plug to stop the leakage in the church but too many church leaders are too weak-minded to put the plug in!"

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The great educationalist of the United States, Horace Mann, on one occasion undertook the opening of a large school in Massachusetts. A very costly building had been erected, and he said: "If only one child is saved through putting up this edifice, it is worth all the hundreds and thousands of dollars that have been spent on it."

Someone asked if he did not exaggerate very much in making a statement of this kind, and he answered: "Not if it were my child!"

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"The length of our days is seventy years or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away!" Psalm 90:10

Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered for they are gone forever!

"So teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!" Psalm 90:12

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Several years ago, just outside my home, some men were working underground. Suddenly a cry of agony was heard. All hastened outside. They found that the earth had caved in, entombing two of the men. Hundreds of people gathered around the wives, children, and friends of the workmen. The men worked hard, and rescued one of the men.

He was well-near suffocated, and completely exhausted but, instead of resting awhile, he got hold of a pick-axe and helped other men in the work of trying to rescue his companion. Hours passed away. People could not restrain the tears as they beheld the face of that man, and heard his cry, every now and then: "Tom, Tom, are you there?"

Others gave up hope, but that man worked on until sunset, and, at last, found the dead body of his companion several feet below.

With like earnestness, should we seek to save the lost.

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"The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost!" Luke 19:10

I want to insist, at the threshold of my essay, on this singular and beautiful characteristic which, as I say, divinely differentiates Christianity from all other religions under the sun: Christianity saves the lost! No other religion does this. Christianity is sublimely different from all other world religions because of the desire it implants in the human soul for the reclamation of sinners.

There is in every other religion either horror or contempt for the vile and dissolute. In Christianity there is nothing but compassion.

Other religions wait for men to seek them Christianity seeks sinful men.

"Christ died for the ungodly!" Romans 5:6

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A rich landlord once cruelly oppressed a poor widow.

Her son, a little boy of eight years, saw it. He afterwards became a painter, and painted a true to life likeness of the dark scene and placed it where the man saw it. The landlord turned pale, trembled in every joint, and offered any sum to purchase it that he might put it out of sight.

In the same way, there is an invisible painter drawing a life-likeness correctly reflecting all the passions and actions of our spiritual history on earth. Eternity will reveal them to every man. We must meet our earth-life again.

"And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books!" Revelation 20:12

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The Scripture is God's Palace Beautiful. You may enter by simple faith, and you may ascend to its topmost story by simple obedience. It is a grandly furnished palace. It has in it a mart . . .
  with milk for babes,
  with bread and strong meat for those who can assimilate such food,
  and with honey, sweet and delicious to the taste, and the water of life.
He brings us to the banqueting-house, and His banner over us is love.

In that same Palace Beautiful, there is a dormitory where the tired and worn pilgrim lies down as in a chamber of peace, and looks out through the window towards the sunrise, and beholds the delectable mountains, and refreshes himself for the toils and conflicts of another day.

In that same blessed Palace Beautiful, is God's gallery, where He has arranged before us portraits of prophets, and saints, and martyrs, and apostles, and, above all, the immaculate portrait of the Son of God!

In that same Palace Beautiful, there is a conservatory where the very plants, and flowers, and fruits of the Celestial City may both be perceived and partaken of.

If by obedience you ascend the spiral staircase you shall come last of all to the observatory, whose windows look out on celestial scenes themselves, and through the cloudless atmosphere you shall get a glimpse of the face of God!

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"As the sufferings of Christ abound in us so our consolation also abound by Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:5

There is a blessed proportion. God always keeps a pair of scales: in this side He puts His people's trials and in that side He puts their consolation. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition. And when the scale of trial is full, you will find the scale of consolation as heavy. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us even so shall consolation abound by Christ. This is a matter of pure experience.

Oh, it is mysterious that, when the black clouds gather most the light within us is always the brightest!

When the night lowers and the tempest is coming on the heavenly captain is always closest to his crew.

It is a blessed thing, when we are most cast down then it is that we are most lifted up by the consolations of Christ.

There is nothing that makes a man have a big heart like a great trial. Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper, and makes more room for consolation.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"Not yet!" said a little boy, as he was busy with his ball. "When I grow older, I will think about my soul." The little boy grew to be a young man.

"Not yet!" said the young man. "I am now about to enter into trade. When I see my business prosper, then I shall have more time than now." Business did prosper.

"Not yet!" said the man of business. "My children must have my care. When they are settled in life, I shall better be able to attend to religion." He lived to be a grey-headed man.

"Not yet!" still he cried. "I shall soon retire from trade, and then I shall have nothing else to do but read and pray."

And so he died.

He put off to another time what should have been done when a child. He lived without God and died without hope.

"Now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation!" 2 Corinthians 6:2

"Procrastination is the thief of time."

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A gentleman standing by Niagara Falls saw an eagle swoop down upon a frozen lamb encased in a floating piece of ice. The eagle stood upon it as it was drifting on towards the rapids. Every now and again the eagle would proudly lift its head into the air to look around him, as much as to say: "I am drifting on toward danger, but I know what I am doing; I will fly away and make good my escape before it is too late."

When he neared the Falls, he stooped and spread his powerful wings and leaped for his flight; but, alas! alas! while he was feasting on that carcass, his feet had frozen to the lamb's fleece! He leaped and shrieked and beat upon the ice with his wings until ice, frozen lamb, and eagle went over the Falls and down into the chasm and darkness below!

This is a graphic picture of the drinker, the sensualist, the embezzler, of any and every man who has begun to do evil, intending to stop before he goes too far.

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"Continuing instant in prayer" Romans 12:12

Stonewall Jackson, having once used the expression "instant in prayer," was asked what was his idea of its meaning.

"I will give you," he said, "my idea of it by illustration, if you will not think that I am setting myself up as a model for others."

On being assured that there would be no misjudgment, he went on to say: "I have so fixed the habit in my own mind, that I never raise a glass of water to my lips without a moment's asking of God's blessing. I never seal a letter without putting a word of prayer under the seal. I never receive a letter without a brief sending of my thoughts heavenward, etc."

"And don't you sometimes forget this?

"I think I can say that I scarcely forget the habit has become almost as fixed as breathing."

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Sometimes worry is carrying a load that one should not carry at all. I think it was Lyman Beecher who said that he got along very comfortably after he gave up running the universe.

Some good, earnest people are greatly concerned about the way things in the world are going. I'm obliged to confess to some very serious blunders there. It seemed to me that there was so much to be done, so many people needing help, so much of wrong and sin to fight that I must be ever pushing and never sleeping.

I had to sleep, of course; but all my burden, which meant the burden of the world's need as I saw it, was lugged faithfully to bed every night. There was a lot of pillow-planning. But I found that the wrinkles grew thick, and the physical strength gave out, and yet at the end of vigorous campaigning, there seemed about as much left to do as ever.

Then one day my tired eyes lit upon that wondrous phrase, "The Lord of the harvest." It caught fire in my heart at once. Oh! there is a Lord of the harvest. I had been forgetting that. He is a Lord, a masterful one. He has the whole campaign mapped out and each one's part in helping mapped out too. And I let the responsibility of the campaign lie over where it belonged. When night-time came I went to bed to sleep. My pillow was this, "There is a Lord of the harvest."

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"Great peace have those who love your law" Psalm 119:165

To such, Christ bequeaths His own peace. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you!" John 14:17. It is a peace, said our Lord, unlike that which the world bestows. It is of a much higher kind a peace which is peculiar to Christ, uninfluenced by the adverse forces of the world; a peace "which surpasses all understanding!" Philippians 4:7

The possession of such peace does not render us immune from conflict but it . . .
  gives us calmness of soul amid the fiercest strife,
  guards our hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus,
  and imparts the utmost assurance of ultimate victory!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Benjamin Franklin said: "The sentence which has most influenced my life is: Some people grumble because God placed thorns among roses; why not thank God because He placed roses among thorns?"

I first read it when but a mere lad. Since that day it has occupied a front room in my life, and has given it an optimistic trend.

It is obvious that the larger part of our worries and perplexities come from the anticipation of evils.

At a prayer meeting, a good brother had indulged in a long, complaining strain of experiences about the trials and difficulties in the way to Heaven.

Another, of a very different spirit, followed, who said: "I see that our brother who has just sat down lives in Grumbling Street. I lived there myself for some time, and never enjoyed good health. The air is bad, the houses bad, the water bad; the birds never came and sang in the street, and I was gloomy and sad enough. But I flitted away from there. I got into Thanksgiving Street, and ever since then I have had good health, and so have my family. The air is pure, the water good, the houses good; the sun shines in all day; the birds are always singing, and I am as happy as I can be. Now, I commend our brother to flit away. There are plenty of houses to let in Thanksgiving Street."

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"For none of us lives to himself and none dies to himself." Romans 14:7

It is impossible to rid oneself of the power of influence. The most insignificant and the most isolated are of influence always affecting others in one way or another. Influence is ineradicable. None can dispossess themselves of this power. All that can be done is to direct it, for good or evil.

No man perishes alone in his iniquity no man can guess the full consequences of his transgression.
In the same way, it can be said that the consequences of good deeds cannot be measured.

Oh, it is a solemn power that I have this power of influence! It clings to me and I cannot shake it off. It was born with me it has grown with my growth, and strengthened with my strength. It speaks, it walks, it moves with me. It is powerful in every look of my eye, in every word of my lips, in every act of my life. I cannot live to myself. I must either be a light to illumine or a tempest to destroy.

I must either be an Abel, who, by his immortal righteousness, "being dead, yet speaks;" or an Achan, the saddest continuance of whose otherwise forgotten name, is the fact that no man perishes alone in his iniquity.

A miller went from his work with his clothes covered with flour, to the post-office and edged his way through the crowd. He left his mark on every one he touched.

In the same way, Christians we should leave a mark for Christ on every one with whom we come in contact.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Many assume an attitude of superiority over others. They arrogate to themselves work which rightly belongs to God. They love to sit in judgment, heeding not the command: "Judge not lest you be judged" Matthew 7:1. Fault-finding is their forte. They are never happy unless making others miserable. They close their eyes to the good but never fail to notice inconsistencies, shams, abuses, and so on. This is the carrion upon which such vultures feed!

Such a censorious spirit is detrimental to the interests of Christ's kingdom. Such a spirit is injurious to self. The hyper-critical hurl their anathemas, forgetting that they rebound upon themselves. "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you!" Matthew 7:2. We would be more slow to judge, if we realized that the judgment we utter transfers us instantly from the judge's bench to the prisoner's bar.

God is our Judge, and the judgment, which follows wrong-doing as surely as day follows night, is coming. "You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat!" Romans 14:10

Judge not your neighbor until you have put yourself in his place!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

About a quarter of a century ago an infidel got up on one of the heights of a mountain, and, in the presence of some atheistic companions, defied the God of Heaven to show Himself in battle. He swung his sword to and fro, and challenged the Almighty to meet him in single combat.

The Almighty paid no attention to him, of course
but He just commissioned a little gnat, so small that it could scarcely be seen, to lodge in his windpipe and choke him to death!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Henry Ward Beecher was once asked to explain his position on the use of intoxicating liquors by Christians. He replied thus: "It is just like this. Suppose there is a precipice out by a schoolhouse, where many children are assembled. Suppose that halfway down the precipice there is a spring that I especially enjoy, and, strong man that I am, I can go down safely, by a narrow path, dangerous to many, but not to me. Suppose that the children are determined to go down there after me, and will not believe that the path is dangerous since they see me tread it with impunity. Some of them that try it fall and break their necks, and others are maimed for life.

Now, what sort of a man much more, what sort of a Christian would I be if, under these circumstances, I persist in going down that dangerous path? Nay, truly, if I have one particle of magnanimity of soul, if I have been at all of Christ, I shall put a good, strong fence across that path, and never tread it any more. This is my position on the total abstinence question.

"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall." Romans 14:19-21

"Intemperance is a hydra with a hundred heads! She never stalks abroad unaccompanied with impurity, anger, and the most heinous profligacies."

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The hardest place to glorify God is in the home, but here is where the truest test of a Christian is found.

"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,  when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight!" 1 Peter 3:1-4

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Infidels may have fallen into the common error of judging Christianity by the lives of the worst kind of professors, or the Word of God by the traditions of men.

Much infidelity is caused through men's hatred of Christian principles, and those who endeavor to practice them. Many know the truth and right, but deliberately choose error and evil. They are infidels because an attitude of unbelief best accords with their manner of living. "This is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men love the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil" (John 3:19). Such "suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness," and have "exchanged the truth of God for a lie," and "refused to have God in their knowledge" (Romans 1:18, 25, 28). The root of their infidelity is sin!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grow in Christian character the more easily we would reach them.

I find now that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller, but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Earthly thrones are generally built with steps up to them; the remarkable thing about the thrones of the eternal Kingdom is that the steps are all down to them. We must descend if we would reign, stoop if we would rise. "Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said: If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." Mark 9:35

   ~  ~  ~  ~

When the Danish missionaries in India appointed some of their Indian converts to translate a portion of the Scriptures, in which the privilege of Christians to become sons of God was mentioned one of the translators, startled at so bold a saying, as he thought it, said: "It is too much; let me rather render it: They shall be permitted to kiss His feet!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Humility is a flower of a plant set by the divine hand. The heathen world knew nothing of this virtue. God delights in humility.

"All of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another; for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time!" 1 Peter 5:5, 6

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A bar of steel worth five dollars, when wrought into horseshoes, is worth ten dollars.

If made into needles, it is worth three hundred and fifty dollars.

If made into into penknife blades, it is worth thirty-two thousand dollars.

If made into into springs for watches it is worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

What a drilling the poor bar must undergo to be worth this! But the more it is hammered and passed through the fire, and beaten and pounded and polished the greater the value.

May this parable help us to be silent, still, and longsuffering. Those who suffer most are capable of yielding most; and it is through pain that God is getting the most out of us, for His glory and the blessing of others.

Life is very mysterious. Indeed it would be inexplicable unless we believed that God was preparing us for scenes and ministries that lie beyond the veil of sense in the eternal world, where highly-tempered spirits will be required for special service.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A friend once showed Ruskin a costly handkerchief on which a blot of ink had been made. "Nothing can be done with that," said his friend, thinking the handkerchief ruined and worthless. Ruskin made no reply, but carried it away with him. After awhile he sent it back, to the surprise of his friend, who could scarcely recognize it. In a most skillful and artistic way he had made a fine design in Indian ink, using the blot as a basis, making the handkerchief as valuable as ever.

In the same way, a blotted life is not hopelessly a useless life. If Ruskin could make a beautiful and valuable handkerchief out of a blotted one then how much more can the Master Himself make a beautiful and useful life out of one that is blotted by sin, if only it is surrendered to Him.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." 1 Corinthians 4:2

God doesn't demand
success of any man on earth but He does demand faithfulness. Indeed, faithfulness is success!

We are not responsible for apparent defeat or apparent failure. The question is: Am I where God puts me, and do I do as God would have me do?

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The word of God tells you distinctly what sort of faith dead faith is.

"Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
James 2:17

"You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?" James 2:20

"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." James 2:26

We all know that that which is dead is inoperative, unproductive, fruitless. If, then, your faith is of this character, there can be no doubt that it is dead and, as this apostle teaches, can neither justify nor save you.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A friend of mine called upon one of our great Illinois farmers and during their stay he took them up to the cupola of his house and told them to look over yonder, just as far as their eyes could reach, over that beautiful rolling prairie, and they said, "That is very nice."

Yes, and it was all his. Then he took them up to another cupola, and said, "Look at that farm, and that, and that." These were farms stocked, improved, fenced and they said, "These are very nice."

And then he showed them horses, cattle, and sheep-yards, and said, "They are all mine."

He showed them the town where he lived, which had been named after him, a great hall, and building-lots, and those were all his, and, said he, "I came out West a poor boy, without a farthing and now I am worth all this."

But when he got through, my friend said, "How much have you got up yonder?" The old man's countenance fell, for he knew very well what that meant.

"What have you got up there in the other world?" my friend repeated.

"Well," he said, "I have not got anything there."

"Why," said my friend, "what a mistake! A man of your intelligence and forethought and judgment to amass all this wealth; and now that you are drawing to your grave, you will have to leave it all. You cannot take a farthing with you, but you must die a beggar and a pauper!"

The tears rolled down his cheeks as he said, "It does look foolish."

Only a few months after, he died just as he had lived and his property was passed to others.  

~  ~  ~  ~

There was a certain nobleman who supported a fool, to whom he one day gave his staff, with a charge to keep it until he would meet with one who was a greater fool than himself. Not many years after, the nobleman fell sick even unto death. The fool came to see him.

His sick lord said to him, "I must shortly leave you."

"And where are you going?" said the fool.

"Into another world," replied his lordship.

"And when will you come back within a month?"


"Within a year?"


"When, then?"


"Never!" said the fool. "And what provision have you made for your trip where you are going?"

"None at all."

"No!" said the fool, "none at all! Here, take my staff for, with all my folly, I am not guilty of any such folly as this!"

"It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment!" Hebrews 9:27

"Prepare to meet your God!" Amos 4:12

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The French nurse who was present at the death-bed of Voltaire, being urged to attend an Englishman whose case was critical, said, "Is he a Christian?"

"Yes," was the reply, "he is a Christian in the highest and best sense of the term a man who lives in the fear of God. But why do you ask?"

"Sir," she replied, "I was the nurse that attended Voltaire in his last illness, and for all the wealth of Europe I would never see another infidel die!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

It is no matter of uncertainty to any one of us, whether he himself shall die. He knows it. Every time the funeral bell tolls, the thought in some shape suggests itself: I am a mortal, dying man! That is knowing it.

Who of us has realized it?
Who can shut his eyes and bring it before him as a reality that the day will come when the hearse will stand at the door for him, and that all this bright world will be going on without him; and that the very flesh which now walks about so complacently will have the coffin-lid shut down upon it, and be left to darkness, and loneliness, and silence, and the worm?

It is said of the celebrated Cesar Borgia, that in his last moments he exclaimed: "I have provided, in the course of my life, for everything except death; and now, alas! I am to die, although entirely unprepared.

"It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment!" Hebrews 9:27

"Prepare to meet your God!" Amos 4:12

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Attached to every creed or confession of faith in Protestant Christendom may be found, in substance, the following: "The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain the Word of God, and are the only infallible rule of faith and practice." Thus humanly compiled creeds make a confession of their own guilt, for they admit they are fallible. They have been well termed "unnecessary appendages."

If a creed contains more than is in the Bible then it contains too much.
If it contains less than is in the Bible then it contains too little.
If it contains the same then it is unnecessary.

No exception, of course, could be taken to a church printing and circulating a statement of what it believes and practices but no church has Scriptural warrant for making such a statement authoritative, or a test of church fellowship. In the primitive church, the test of fellowship was the confession of faith in Christ. Human creeds are divisive, for no creed obtains universal endorsement; while all true Christians, accept the Word of God.

Human creeds are unnecessary, for we have the Bible, which all acknowledge to be the fountain from which all those little streams (creeds) have been drawn off. Who would leave the fountain and drink at the little stream far below? We suppose no one who understands the superiority of the former over the latter would be guilty of such an inconsistency and yet this is just what the supporters of human creeds are doing!

The New Testament teaches, with unmistakable explicitness, that the true creed of a Christian is not a propositional manifesto, but a personal life the life of Christ.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"The boneless tongue, so small and weak can crush and kill!"

"The tongue destroys a greater horde than does the sword."

"Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by Hell!" James 3:5-6

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Roman disciples were urged to present their bodies a living sacrifice holy, acceptable to God, which was their reasonable service (Romans 12: 1). They were to dedicate all of life to God just as animals were laid upon the altar in sacrifice.

Consecration implies self-renunciation:
  the complete dethronement of the idol of self,
  the elevation of the Lord Jesus to His rightful place in our hearts and lives,
  and entire submission to His holy will.
Such an offering, presented unmurmuringly, joyfully, is essential to the true Christian life.

That life does not end in attending services, worshiping, hearing the Word expounded, etc. It should begin there, and be continued by the aid of such exercises, yet it must be kept in mind that no Christian life is complete without the offering of self body, soul, and spirit, in absolute devotedness to Christ and His service, to be used only as He requires. Such an offering is "a living sacrifice."

Victims were slain, and their dead bodies presented upon Jewish altars for sacrifice. The carcasses were consumed, and could not, of course, be offered again.

Christianity does not ask for a dead sacrifice. It requires one lifelong offering of all our physical, intellectual, and moral energies, joyfully presented to the service of the Lord.

The difficulty with the church today is not poor preaching but unholy living by Christians. If we could bring up practice to profession, and the testimony of the life to the talk of the lips; if we could be consistent Christians on the six days between the Sundays that holy living would of itself be the strongest possible appeal to our unsaved friend.

God does not want golden vessels, and He does not want silver vessels but He has got to have clean vessels. God has yet to show the world what He can do with a man entirely consecrated to Him.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A young, unknown artist desired to paint a copy of a beautiful picture which hung in a palace in Rome. He was refused permission to copy it in the palace so he set to work to reproduce it from memory. Hour after hour he would sit before the picture until it took possession of him and then, hurrying home, would begin to paint. Each day he spent some time gazing on the original and each day saw some new loveliness.

At last there stood in his studio such a wonderful copy that all who looked at it said: "We must see the original!"

In the same way, this should be the ultimatum of all our Christian service so to reproduce the Lord Jesus Christ that men will say, "We must see Jesus!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Lyman Beecher, upon being asked how he did so much in his church, answered: "Oh, I preach Sundays and four hundred of my church-members preach every day."

That is how he could do so much, and why his church was such a factor for good in Boston in his day.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I met a man who asked me where I was going.

"To the prayer-meeting," I said.

"The Christian religion is a mere notion," he replied.

Said I: "Stranger, do you see that tavern over there? The time was, as everybody in this town knows, that if I had a shilling in my pocket I could not pass that tavern without going and getting a drink. But God has changed my heart, and the Lord Jesus has destroyed my thirst for strong drink. Here is my whole week's wages, and I have no temptation to go in there. Stranger, if this is a notion, I want to tell you that it is a mighty powerful notion. It is a notion that has put clothes on my children's backs, good food on our table, and has filled my mouth with thanksgiving to God."

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Do not judge Christianity, even by its most perfect embodiment in the life of its disciples here.

Do not judge the skill of that organ-builder by that half-finished instrument in his workshop. There is but little in that to please the eye, and from it scarce a note can be evolved to charm the ear.

Judge the organ-builder by the instrument as it stands in the great cathedral, pouring forth, by the touch of a master musician, pealing strains of music, electrifying the congregated thousands.

Even so judge Christianity. Its organ is not half finished here in its workshop. Yonder, in the great cathedral of eternity, you will see it in perfection, and feel the inspirations of its harmonies!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Detach Christ from Christianity and it vanishes before our eyes into intellectual vapor. Christianity is non-existent apart from Christ. It centers in Christ; it radiates now, as at the first, from Christ. It perishes outright when men attempt to abstract it from the living person of its Founder.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Christianity is the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles. The record of this doctrine is contained in the New Testament. Many prophecies that tell of the blessings of Christianity, and types that prefigure them, are found in the Old Testament Scriptures but the record of Christianity is within the New Testament. Care should be taken lest the old covenant should be confounded with the new, Judaism with Christianity.

Christianity does not consist of human theories, creeds, etc., but in doctrines of unquestionable authority; "in things that are true, whether men believe them or not in things that are to be believed and acted upon just because they are true."

Christianity is the last and greatest and most glorious revelation. "God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners has at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son" (Hebrews 1:1). The old dispensation shines as the twinkling stars but Christianity shines as the noonday sun. Under the old covenant, the veil remained unlifted: the truths of the gospel were hidden, covered up. But now "the veil is taken away" (2 Corinthians 3:16), and we are called upon to behold "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

The design of Christianity is to save fallen man; to bring the wanderers home, make provision for their needs, and prepare them for eternal residence in "the Eden above."

Too often the Christian religion is judged, not by the doctrine of the New Testament but by the theories of uninspired teachers, and the lives of professing Christians. Care should be taken to distinguish between the "faith which was once for all delivered to the saints," and accretions to the faith extraneous additions consisting of human speculations, or unchristlike conduct. The edifice of Christianity, as built by Christ and His apostles, needs no accretions.

As workmen have, at times, covered up the ornamental designs of the interior of certain buildings with layers of whitewash, so men have covered up the doctrine of the New Testament with the whitewash of speculative theology. Our duty is plain. Occasionally, workmen have been engaged to remove the layers of whitewash, and the ornamental work has been revealed in its original beauty. We must endeavor to tear away everything extraneous, that the faith of the early church may once more be clearly revealed in its original simplicity and beauty.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Christ is not one of the world's great. We talk of Alexander the Great, and Napoleon the Great but Jesus was incomparably greater than these.

Yet who would speak of Jesus the Great?

Jesus is set apart from all others. He is not the great. He is the only. He is simply Jesus! Nothing can add to that.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

J.C. Ryle gave a pointed disquisition on 'Jelly-fish Christians.'

A jelly-fish is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little, delicate, transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defense, or self-preservation.

Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is, 'No dogma, no distinct tenets, no positive doctrine.'

We have hundreds of jelly-fish sermons preached every year sermons without an edge, or a point, or a corner smooth as billiard-balls, awakening no sinner and edifying no saint.

We have legions of jelly-fish young men annually turned out from universities, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion, and to be utterly unable to make up their mind as to what is Christian truth. Their only creed is a kind of 'nihilism.' They are sure and positive about nothing.

We have myriads of jelly-fish worshipers respectable church-going people who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They discern not things that differ any more than color-blind people distinguish colors. They think . . .
everybody right and nobody wrong,
everything true and nothing false,
all sermons good and none bad,
every minister sound and none unsound.
They are 'tossed to and fro,' like children, 'by every wind of doctrine;' often carried away by any new excitement and sensational movement; ever ready for new things, because they have no firm grasp on the old; and utterly unable to 'render a reason for the hope that is in them.'

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"That man must have been in the army, or in a military school," Mr. Moody said to a friend once.

"Yes," he said; "how do you know?"

"By the way he walks."

In the same way, you can tell that some people have been with Jesus, by their walk.

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

   ~  ~  ~  ~

An aged sailor, who had long known the Lord, when in his dying illness he was visited by the pastor, who asked, "My friend, do you feel that you love the Lord Jesus?"

"Oh, yes, sir, I have loved Him many years. But I can tell you something better than that He loves me!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A certain traveler who had a distance to go, one part of the road leading through green fields, and the other through a tangled road of brambles and thorns and made great preparations for the first part of his journey. He dressed himself in light and mirthful clothes, and put a bouquet in his bosom, and, taking a light, slender cane in his hand, nimbly proceeded on his way along the beaten path across the green meadows. The sun shone in the skies, and on went the traveler comfortably, pleasantly, and delightfully.

After a while the road became rugged, and by the time night drew on, the traveler was in a pitiable plight. His provisions were exhausted, his clothes wet through and partly torn from his back by the briars, his flowers were faded, and, weary as he was, his slender cane could not bear his weight; a stream of water was before him, and darkness was around him.

"Alas!" said he, smiting his bosom, "I am hungry and have no food; wet to the skin and have no dry clothes; weary and have no staff to rest on! I have a stream to cross and here is no boat; I am bewildered and have no guide; it is dark and I have no lantern. Fool that I am! Why did I not provide for the end of my journey as well as the beginning?"

In the same way, our time is hastening away! We are all travelers. Life is the beginning of our journey and death is the end of our journey. "Prepare to meet your God!" Amos 4:12

"The length of our days is seventy years   or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. So teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:10,12

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A minister tells about going to see a parishioner who was in deep affliction. He found her embroidering a sofa pillow-case. He asked her to let him take it in his hand. He purposely turned it on the wrong side, and then remarked to her that it did not seem beautiful to him, and that he wondered why she should be wasting her time upon it.

"Why, sir," she replied, "you are looking at the wrong side! Turn it over."

"That is just what you are doing," he replied. "You are looking at the wrong side of God's workings with you. Down here, we are looking at the tangled side of God's providence; but He has a plan here a stitch and there a movement of the shuttle and in the end a beautiful work!"

"We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!" Romans 8:28

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Ten minutes on your knees will give you a truer, deeper, more operative knowledge of God than ten hours over your books.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Bible is not a magical charm but a book to be read, marked, inwardly digested, and translated into life!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I wonder if any of us has ever been mistaken for Jesus. Has anyone run across you or me sometime, and been with us a little while, and then gone away saying to himself, "I wonder if that was Jesus back again in disguise. He seemed so much like what I think Jesus must have been I wonder."

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort.

Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross!

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God!" Hebrews 12:2

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Jesus was God spelling himself out in language humanity could understand.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

If there is anything that can . . .
  render the soul calm,
  dissipate its scruples and dispel its fears,
  sweeten its sufferings by the anointing of love,
  impart strength to all its actions, and
 spread abroad the joy of the Holy Spirit in its countenance and words
it is this simple and childlike repose in the arms of God.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Our spiritual blessings are . . .
  so many that they exceed number,
  so great that they exceed measure, and
  so precious that they exceed estimation.