Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Friday, March 23, 2018

Secret sinners

James Smith, 1859

"The Lord does not see it!" Ezekiel 9:9
"My way is hidden from the Lord!" Isaiah 40:27
"The guilt of Ephraim is stored up, his sins are kept on record!" Hosea 13:12
The only thing some fear is exposure. They would not be exhibited in their true colors before their fellow-men — for all the world! They wish to live and act in the dark. They do not fear the eye of God — but they dread the eye of man! In public they are one thing — and in private just the opposite! No one really knows them.
There is a vast amount of hypocrisy in the world. Multitudes wear a mask. They are not at all — what they seem to be. This is sad. The consequences will be fearful by and bye.
Open sinners offend God and men — secret sinners offend God only! But God is the principal party. Better offend the whole world — than offend God. But who are these secret sinners?
There is the sly drunkard. The man who only gets intoxicated at home, or who manages to drink much, and yet never reel in the street. He robs his family. He introduces disease into his body. He squanders his property. He becomes selfish. He neglects his duties; moral, entirely; domestic, in part. Few, if any suspect him, until at length his bloated countenance begins to tell tales. "My way is hidden from the Lord!"
There is the crafty deceiver. He practices deception upon the ignorant and unwary. He talks like an honest man — but he acts like a rogue. Believe his plausible pretensions — and he will be sure to pick your pocket. His words are smooth; his tongue is oily; his professions are fair; his offers appear to be generous — but his aim is to make you his dupe! Few detect him — until they are caught in his net! "My way is hidden from the Lord!"
There are the self-righteous. They appear very devout. They perform many duties. Their views of truth are, perhaps, tolerably sound. Their external deportment is correct. They are sure they are safe for Heaven; they wish everyone to think that they are right. They talk of Christ — but they do not rest alone on his finished work. They speak of the Holy Spirit — but they have never felt his regenerating and renewing operations. They boast of free grace — but in heart they think much more of their own performances. They imagine God must love them — because they love themselves. They conclude they must be saved — because if they have not made God their debtor — they have done much that on account, of which he cannot reject them.
Self-love is the root of their profession. Self-esteem is the ground of their confidence. They work for life, not from life. They are under the legal covenant, not the evangelical. They have never been stripped before God's throne. The law has never come home, in its convincing and condemning power, to their consciences. They have never had their mouths stopped, or been brought in guilty before God. Therefore they prefer their own sandy foundation — to the Rock of Ages! And they stumble at the stumbling stone, even Christ, who is the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption of his people. "My way is hidden from the Lord!"
There are the self-deceivers. These imagine that they are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. They have elected themselves to everlasting life — and conclude, without any just grounds, that God has done so too. Because they have never thoroughly examined their hearts in the light of God's Law, or carefully compared what they call their experience, with the Biblical evidences of a new birth — they conclude that they are Christians — though they are still in their natural sinful condition.
They take home all the promises — and put from them all the threatenings. They make use of evidences for others — but see not the need of doing so for themselves. They take it for granted that they are right — but are laboring under a most fearful deception. They are in the state which Solomon refers to when he said, "There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness!" (Proverbs 30:12). "These are those who make themselves rich — yet have nothing!" (Proverbs 13:7).
The blood of Christ is not at the root of their profession;
the life of God is not in their souls;
the power of the Holy Spirit has never been experienced in their hearts;
they deceive themselves — and they deceive others. "My way is hidden from the Lord!"
Reader, are you either of these characters? Are you sure that you are not? Search and look. Self-examination never injures a real Christian!
The power of SIN is great. And one of the most fearful things in sin is its power of self-concealment. It hides its own deformity from many — who are actually under its influence.
The subtlety of SATAN is great. He is said to deceive the whole world (Rev. 12:9). Suppose he should have deceived you! If you are acting under his influence — you have deceived yourself! Your sin may be hidden from men, it may be hidden from yourself — but it is not hidden from God! His eyes are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. He searches the heart and tries the thoughts! He knows exactly what is your state — and it would be well for you to know it; for if it is bad — it may now be changed; or if it is good — you may rejoice and bless God for it.
The revealing day is coming; then if wrong, God will set our iniquities before his face, and our secret sins in the light of his countenance. He will expose every secret sinner. He will show to the whole world what you have been doing in the dark! Hear his own word, "For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil!" (Eccles. 12:14). The sins that are hidden now — will be hidden no longer! But then shall be brought to pass the fearful prediction written, "The sinners in Zion (God's professing people) shake with fear! Terror seizes the godless! Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?" (Isaiah 33:14).
Fear now may drive us to the Savior — but there will then be no Savior to flee to! The Judge on the throne will act justly and impartially, and will render to every man according to his deeds. Many will be condemned — who expected to be acquitted! Many will be driven to Hell — who were sure of being invited to Heaven! Every false covering will then be stripped off, every deceitful heart will be laid bare — and no longer will anyone say, "My way is hidden from the Lord!"
But there is another and better sense in which our sins may be hidden, and that is, by obtaining the pardon of them. If we detect our sins, if we confess them before God, if we plead the blood and obedience of Jesus for their pardon — God will blot them out! He will cover them, so as to conceal them forever. Then we shall know what the Psalmist meant when he exclaimed, "Oh, the blessedness of the man whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Oh, the blessedness of the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit!" (Psalm 32:1,2).
When God forgives the penitent sinner, who stands before the throne of his grace, pleading the merits of his Son — he casts all his sins behind his back — or he throws them into the depths of the sea! They are thus covered, hidden, and concealed forever!

Let us, therefore, conceal our sins no longer; let us confess them before God, and obtain the pardon of them. Let us never profess before our fellow-men — what we do not really possess. Let us make our lives — the index of our hearts!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

There are three things

by James Smith, 1855

As I was walking out for exercise in the fields one morning, having been pleading with God to give me some profitable subject for meditation--I suddenly fell into this train of thought, which I afterwards wrote down; and, as it may interest and profit some, it is here inserted.

There are three things which I especially desire:
more communion with God, 
more likeness to the Lord Jesus, and
more usefulness to his Church. 

There are three things which I deprecate:
the withering of my gifts, 
the decay of my graces, and
to become useless in the Lord's vineyard.

There are three things which I dread:
that I should become a proud professor, 
that I should become a lukewarm Christian, and
that I should fall into the hands of man.

There are three things which I sometimes wish for (but which God will never grant me on earth):
to be totally free from sin, 
to be delivered from a daily cross, 
and to be always happy. 

There are three things which I feel sure of:
hatred by the world, 
opposition by hypocrites, and
love by spiritual believers. 

There are three foes which always oppose me:
the world, 
the flesh, and
the devil.

There are three friends which will always stand by me:
a peaceful conscience, 
the bride of Jesus, and
the Lamb of God. 

There are three deaths which have been experienced by me:
a death in sin, 
a death to sin, 
a death to the law of God.

There are three lives which shall be lived by me:
a temporal life, 
a spiritual life, and
an eternal life. 

There are three things which burden me:
a body of sin and death, 
the opposition I meet with, and
my own ingratitude.

There are three things which support me:
the Father's love, 
the Son's redemption, and
the Spirit's work. 

There are three things which are a sore trial to me:
an irritable temper, 
a flippant tongue, and

There are three things which bring strong consolation to me:
the open fountain of Christ blood, 
the promises of God, and
the Savior's free invitation. 

There are three things which are especially dear to me:
the Word of God, 
the throne of grace, and
the ordinances of the Lord's house. 

There are three things lacking in me:
perfect penitence, 
entire resignation, and
fervent love.

There are three books which are very useful to me:
the book of nature
the book of Holy Scriptures, and
the book of my own experience

There are three teachers which are employed to instruct me:
the Holy Spirit, 
a special providence, and
the rod of God. 

There are three things which are manifested in me:
the nature of sin, 
the power of grace, and
the faithfulness of God. 

There are three things which would be greatly useful to me:
more humility,
spiritual wisdom, and
enlightened zeal. 

There are three things which characterize me:
poverty, and

Yet, there are three things which may be seen in me:
Christ's strength,
God's grace, and
the Spirit's holiness. 

There are three things which are feared by me:
a stiff neck, 
a hard heart, and
a presumptuous spirit. 

There are three things which are matter of joy to me:
the conversion of sinners,
that my name is written in heaven, and
the glory to be given me at the appearing of Jesus Christ. 

There are three things which must be renounced by me:
preconceived opinions, 
worldly wisdom, and
natural religion. 

There are three things which must be held fast by me:
the Word of truth, 
my confidence in God, and
my profession of the gospel.

There are three things which are especially required of me:
to do justly,
to love mercy, and
to walk humbly with my God. 

There are three things which are promised to me:
tribulation in the world, 
sufficient strength in Jesus, and
eternal life at the end of my course. 

There are three things which the Lord observes and approves in me:
the work of faith, 
the labor of love, and
the patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

There is a threefold deliverance which is effected for me:
from the dominion of sin, 
from the present evil world, and
from my deserved doom. 

There are three things which I would trample under foot:
unfounded prejudice, 
vain distinctions, and

There are three things which I would aim at daily:
to exalt Christ, 
to glorify God, and
to bring sinners to repentance.

There are three things which are still sure to me:
a rough road, 
changing experiences, and
safety at last. 

There are three things which are behind me:
a wicked life, 
a broken law, and
the pit of destruction. 

There are three things which are before me:
perfect conformity to Jesus, and
eternal glory. 

There are three things which are on my right hand:
Satan to resist me, 
the Lord Jesus to save me, and
my own heart set on things above. 

There are three things which are on my left hand:
the lust of the flesh, 
the lust of the eye, and
the pride of life. 

There are three things which I greatly admire:
the Savior's person, 
the promises of God, and
the instruments he employs in carrying on his work. 

There are three things which much please me:
the doctrines of the gospel, 
the witness of the Spirit, and
the light of God's countenance. 

There are three things which I delight in:
that Jehovah is my God, 
the comfort he imparts to me, and
the riches of glory which are set before me. 

There are three things which I hate:
the cant of hypocrites, 
the flattery of friends, and
the pride of professors. 

There are three things which are good for me:
to draw near to God, 
to be afflicted, and
to sing praises unto the Lord. 

There are three things which often disgust me:
Satan's temptations, 
the powerful working of unbelief, and
the conduct of religious professors.

There are three things which are prescribed to me:
to believe in God, 
to love the saints, and
to observe the Lord's ordinances.

There are three things which are too often neglected by me:
diligent reading of the Bible, and
secret prayer. 

There are three things which are too deep for me to fully know:
the depravity of my heart, 
the devices of Satan, and
the manner of the Spirit's working. 

There are three things which I wish to leave with the Lord:
to choose my lot in life, 
to fight my battles, and
to supply all my needs. 

There are three things which I do not consider worth having:
a form of godliness, without the power, 
a name to live, while dead, and
the commendation of the enemies of Christ. 

There are three things in which I glory:
the cross of Christ, 
my saving knowledge of God, and
the everlasting gospel. 

There are three things which have been taken from me:
proud free will, 
vain boasting, and
enmity to God. 

There are three things which abide with me:
hope, and

I am made up of three men:
corruption--the old man, 
grace--the new man, and
the body--the outward man. 

I fill a threefold office:
prophet in the Church of Christ, 
priest before the altar, and
king anointed to reign with Christ. 

I wear a threefold garment:
the righteousness of the Lord Jesus, 
the graces of the Holy Spirit, and
the garment of humility. 

I have been condemned in three courts--and yet justified in them all:
the court of conscience, 
the Church of God, and
the court of God's justice. 

I have been justified three times:
at the resurrection of Christ my substitute, 
when faith received his righteousness, and
when good works justified my faith before the world. 

I am the subject of a threefold sanctification:
by the purpose of the Father, 
by the blood of the Son, and
by the cleansing operations of the Holy Spirit. 

I am a free man of three cities:
the present world, 
the church below, and
the Jerusalem which is above. 

I have been an eye-sore to three parties:
the devil, 
the world, and
envious professors. 

I shall have occupied three peculiar seats:
a dunghill by nature, 
among the princes in the Church by grace, and
the throne of glory by special privilege. 

I shall have three grand holidays:
one when the Holy Spirit sets my soul at liberty, 
another when death sets me free from this mortal clay, and
and another when Jesus comes to be glorified in his saints. 

I shall then have appeared in three different characters:
a vile rebel against God, 
a supplicating sinner at mercy's footstool, and
a justified son of God before his throne. 

I shall have had three fathers:
a human father, 
the devil, and
Jehovah himself. 

I shall have received three laws:
the law of nature, 
the moral law of God, and
the law of the Spirit of life. 

I shall have passed through three gates:
the gate of hope, 
the gate into Christ's sheepfold, and
the gate of death. 

I shall have walked in three ways:
the broad road of destruction, 
the highway of holiness, and
Jesus Christ the only way to the Father. 

I shall have conversed with three distinct classes of beings:
carnal men, 
spiritual Christians, and
the Lord himself. 

I shall have made three appearances:
once all black--like the devil, 
then speckled--with nature and grace, and
then all pure--whiter than the driven snow!

I shall have undergone three momentous changes:
one at regeneration--when I passed from death unto life, 
one at death--when my soul shall be admitted into Heaven, and
one at the resurrection--when my body shall be raised powerful, glorious, and immortal.

I view three things as pre-eminently excellent:
the fear of the Lord, 
a sound judgment, and
Christ formed in the heart, as the hope of glory. 

There are three things which I may covet:
the best gifts, 
a contrite and humble spirit, and
to be filled with all the fullness of God. 

There are three things which are removed from me:
the burden of sin, 
the wrath of God, and
all condemnation. 

There are three things which I do not know:
what is before me, 
how God will provide for me, and
what I shall be. 

There are three things which I do know:
that in my flesh dwells no good, 
that though I was once blind, now I see, and
that I must needs die. 

There are three things which are prepared for me:
fountain to cleanse me, 
robe to adorn me, and
mansion to receive me. 

There are three things which await me:
a crown of righteousness, 
a palm of victory, and
a throne of glory. 

There are three things which shall be done for me:
God shall wipe away all tears from my eyes, 
God shall remove all cause of pain and sorrow from my nature, and
the Lamb in the midst of the throne shall eternally satisfy me. 

There are three things which shall never be known by me:
the frown of divine justice, 
the curse of holy Jehovah, and
the power of God's anger. 

There are three things which are hurtful to me:
carnal ease, 
the flattery of professors, and
fullness of bread. 

There are three things which benefit me:
affliction, and

There are three things which are pursued by me:
to know more of the Lord, 
to live in peace with all men, and
thorough sanctification. 

Satan tries to thwart me in three things:
by spoiling my comforts, 
hindering my usefulness, and
seeking to devour my soul. 

Satan has three things to expect:
to be disappointed of his prey, 
to be judged by the saints, and
to be eternally punished for his wickedness. 

There are three things which I would never trust:
my own heart, 
an arm of flesh, and
my treacherous memory. 

There are three subjects which I should never meddle with:
the fall of the angels, 
the origin of moral evil, and
how God will justify himself.

There are three things which I cannot understand:
the nature of God, 
the cause of my election, and
how divinity and humanity constitute one person.

There are three things which I should often think of:
what I have been, 
what I now am, and
what I shall be. 

A threefold freedom is granted me:
from the law of God,
from the reign of sin, and
to make use of, and enjoy the Lord Jesus. 

I am an heir of three worlds:
the natural, 
the spiritual, and
the eternal. 

There are three things which will never grieve me:
that I have been poor in this world, 
that I have preached the gospel fully, and
that I am related to Jesus Christ. 

There are three things which comprise all I wish:
to know God, and glorify him, 
to see Jesus, and be like him; and
to be united to the saints, and be eternally happy. 

There are three things which shall never be heard by me
Christ reproaching me, 
God disowning me, and
the devils triumphing in my everlasting destruction. 

There are three things which shall be eternally enjoyed by me:
the love of God, 
the presence of Jesus, and
the company of the saints. 

There are three things which will eternally delight me:
to be filled with holiness, 
to be employed in praising Jehovah, and
to have gained a complete victory over all my foes.

There are three things which must come down:
the pride of men, 
the devil's kingdom, and
the cause of error

There are three things which will stand:
the house built on the Rock, 
the purpose of God, and
the Messiah's kingdom. 

There are three things which cannot be removed
the church of God, 
the covenant of grace, and
the kingdom we receive. 

There are three things which will stand the fiery trial:
genuine faith, 
the Word of God, and
a real Christian. 

Lost sinners are like Satan in three things:
their nature
their employment, and
their end

Three things make Hell:
the wrath of God, 
the stings of a guilty conscience, and
black despair. 

Three things prove a man a Christian:
worshiping God in the spirit, 
rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and
having no confidence in the flesh. 

Three things are never satisfied:
a doubting Christian, 
a worldly miser, and
the man of pleasure. 

Christ fills three offices:
prophet--for the ignorant, 
priest--for the guilty, and
king--for the depraved. 

Christ has been in three states:
ancient glory,
deep humiliation, and
merited dignity. 

What more shall I say! 

home sweet home!

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)

"These all died in faith . . . they confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth" Hebrews 11:13

The day of life with them is ended. Its duties are ended. Its responsibilities are past. Its hours are fled away.

What a trying day some of them had! How stormy. How sultry. How often overcast. How gloomy. But it is now past — and past forever! The toils of the wilderness are over! They had much to afflict and pain them . . .
  a difficult and dangerous journey,
  a long wearisome march,
  many a heavy cross to carry,
  many a stubborn foe to face,
  many a painful doubt,
  numerous gloomy fears.
But now the wilderness is all behind them! The afflictions of the pilgrimage are terminated. Those sufferings were sharp, and some of them continued long. Many of them were endured in secret without sympathy, and without relief. They were soul sorrows, agony of mind — as well as sharp pains of body. But however multiplied, however severe, however protracted those sorrows — they are past and gone, never, never to return!

The sweetest repose is now enjoyed. The poor tabernacle has been taken down, and is laid in a quiet resting-place, until the resurrection morning. The soul is gone to be with Jesus. It has traveled through the rough path of life — and is now in God's presence, where there is fullness of joy, and pleasures for evermore!

As Christians, we are going to the same place. The graves will soon be ready for our bodies — and the mansions of glory for our souls. We are going home! Home to our Father's house! Home where our hearts have long been. Home where all our prayers will be answered, and all our best desires will be gratified. "Home, sweet home! There is no place like home!Especially our home! paradise without a tempting serpent! A paradise where all are holy, all are safe, all are happy. Those pure and perpetual joys, which are at God's right hand, await us! We taste them now, and are delighted with a sip — but there we shall soon drink full draughts of eternal glory, eternal joy, and eternal blessedness!

Amidst present toils and trials, dangers and distresses — when wearied, way-worn, and tempted to fret — remember that you will soon be HOME! Think, think, O my soul, of an eternity of enjoyment — when the sufferings of time are ended! "Weeping may remain for a night — but rejoicing comes in the morning!" Psalm 30:5

Are you of the world?

Reader! Are you OF the world — or are you one of Christ's redeemed people IN the world? Saints in the world are like . . .
   pure lilies among stinging thorns, 
   precious diamonds among filthy pebbles, 
   harmless sheep among ravenous wolves!

If the world loves us, smiles on us, and speaks well of us — then we are certainly OF it! And if of the world — we shall certainly be damned along with it.

But if the world is to us a place of trial, and a place of danger; if we feel that we are not at home in it; if we are longing and preparing to leave it, that we may go home and dwell with Jesus in His Father's house forever — then all is well with us, and will be well forever!

James Smith

I am astonished!

When I reflect upon WHAT I WAS, how circumstanced, and situated, and view the way the Lord has led me, what he has done for me, and what he has done by me—I am astonished! O, that I did but feel humbled, grateful and thankful—as I desire to be filled with love to God, zeal for God, and concern to glorify God. I want to be entirely devoted to him, body, soul, and spirit, that my all may be for him and not for another. When I consider my coldness, carelessness, and ingratitude, I cannot but wonder that the Lord has not long ago disowned me! But blessed be his holy name,
"Whom once he loves—he never leaves.
 But loves him to the end!"
He changes not—therefore I am not consumed.
O my soul, lay low before the Lord under a sense of your manifold infirmities and follies, and seek grace from Jesus to live holily, righteously, and usefully in this present evil world.
Gracious Lord, grant unto your servant light to see your will, power to do your pleasure, love to follow you wherever you go, and an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of my Lord and Savior. O give me an increasing love to souls, success in your work, and growth in grace, that my own personal concerns be not neglected! O make me like my Savior in spirit, temper and conduct!
See, gracious God, I do afresh on this my birthday, surrender myself entirely to you to be your servant, to be used as you please, and to be led where you will! O grant that I may serve you with a son's heart, a bride's affection, and a servant's submission! Lord, take me, and enable me to remember evermore that I am yours! May I leave myself and all my concerns in your hands, and go about your business. O save me from every snare, from every foe, and from my wretched self! Get glory in me, by me, and through me—for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.