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

Sunday, March 29, 2015

This is rampant in our day

Serving with ulterior motives...

by F. B. Meyer

How many of us, who are engaged in the Lord's holy service,
are secretly cherishing some proud aspiration of excelling other
men, of making a name for ourselves, of securing money or
fame!

We will use the pulpit as a pedestal for the adulation of the
world, and the cross for a post on which to hang garlands to
our own glory.

How often do we preach sermons, or make addresses,
and attend meetings, with no other thought than to secure
the recognition and praise of those to whom we 'minister'.

All of this must be laid aside. We must have no selfish,
prideful ulterior motives to serve Christ.

The Devil's old delusion

(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Luke" 1858)

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized
by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee
from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with
repentance. The ax is already at the root of the trees,
and every tree that does not produce good fruit will
be cut down and thrown into the fire!"  Luke 3

We have, in these verses, a specimen of John the
Baptist's ministry. It is a portion of Scripture which
should always be specially interesting to a Christian
mind.

We should first mark the holy boldness with which
John addresses the multitudes who came to his
baptism. He speaks to them as a "brood of vipers!"
He saw the rottenness and hypocrisy of the profession
that the crowd around him were making, and uses
language descriptive of their case.

His head was not turned by popularity.

He did not care who was offended by his words.

The spiritual disease of those before him was
desperate, and of long standing, and he knew
that desperate diseases need strong remedies.

Well would it be for the Church of Christ, if it
possessed more plain speaking ministers, like
John the Baptist, in these latter days.

A morbid dislike to strong language; an excessive
fear of giving offence; a constant flinching from
directness and plain speaking, are, unhappily, too
much the characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit.

Uncharitable language is no doubt always to be
deprecated. But there is no charity in flattering
unconverted people, by abstaining from any
mention of their vices, or in applying smooth
epithets to damnable sins!

There are two texts which are too much forgotten
by Christian preachers. In one it is written, "Woe
unto you when all men shall speak well of you."
In the other it is written, "Obviously, I'm not trying
to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please
God. If I were still trying to please people, I would
not be Christ's servant." (Luke 6:26; Gal. 1:10)

We should mark, also, how plainly John speaks
to his hearers about HELL and danger!

He tells them that there is a "wrath to come."

He speaks of "the ax" of God's judgments, and
of unfruitful trees being "thrown into the fire!"

The subject of HELL is always offensive to human
nature. The minister who dwells much upon it,
must expect to find himself regarded as . . .
  barbaric,
  violent,
  unfeeling,
  and narrow minded.

Men love to hear "smooth things," and to be told
of peace, and not of danger. (Isaiah. 30:10)

But the subject of hell is one that ought not to
be kept back, if we desire to do good to souls.

It is one that our Lord Jesus Christ brought forward
frequently in His public teachings. That loving Savior,
who spoke so graciously of the way to heaven, has
also used the plainest language about the way to hell.

Let us beware of being wise above that which is
written, and more charitable than Scripture itself.
Let the language of John the Baptist be deeply
engraved in our hearts. Let us never be ashamed
to avow our firm belief, that there is a "wrath to
come" for the impenitent, and that it is possible
for a man to be lost, as well as to be saved.

To be silent on the subject is dreadful treachery to
men's souls. It only encourages them to persevere
in wickedness, and fosters in their minds the devil's
old delusion, "You shall not surely die!"

That minister is surely our best friend who tells
us honestly of danger, and warns us, like John
the Baptist, to "flee from the wrath to come."

Never will a man flee until he sees there is real
cause to be afraid. Never will he seek heaven until
be is convinced that there is risk of his falling into
hell.

The religion in which there is no mention of hell,
is not the religion of John the Baptist, and of our
Lord Jesus, and His apostles.

The wind blows where it wishes

Holy Holy Holy!

"Who is like You, glorious in holiness?" Exodus 15:11

God is . . .
  infinitely holy,
  transcendently holy,
  superlatively holy,
  constantly holy,
  unchangeably holy,
  exemplary holy,
  gloriously holy. 

All the holiness that is in the best and choicest 
Christians is but a mixed holiness, a weak and 
imperfect holiness. Their unholiness is always 
more than their holiness. 
Ah, what a great deal . . .
  of pride is mixed with a little humility, 
  of unbelief is mixed with a little faith,
  of peevishness is mixed with a little meekness, 
  of earthliness is mixed with a little heavenliness, 
  of carnality is mixed with a little spirituality, 
  of harshness is mixed with a little tenderness! 

Oh, but the holiness of God is a pure holiness, it is 
a holiness without mixture; there is not the least 
drop or the least dreg of unholiness in God! "God
is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." 1 John 1:5

In God there is . . . 
  all wisdom without any folly,
  all truth without any falsehood,
  all light without any darkness, and
  all holiness without any sinfulness.

God is universally holy. 
He is holy in all His ways
and holy in all His works.
His precepts are holy precepts, 
His promises are holy promises, 
His threatenings are holy threatenings, 
His love is a holy love, 
His anger is a holy anger, 
His hatred is a holy hatred, etc. 

His nature is holy, 
His attributes are holy, 
His actions are all holy.

He is holy in sparing; 
  and holy in punishing. 
He is holy in justifying of some; 
  and holy in condemning of others. 
He is holy in bringing some to heaven; 
  and holy in throwing others to hell.

God is holy . . .
  in all His sayings, 
  in all His doings, 
  in whatever He puts His hand to, 
  in whatever He sets His heart to.
His frowns are holy, 
His smiles are holy.
When He gives, His givings are holy giving; 
when He takes away, His takings are holy takings, etc. 

"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord Almighty!" Isaiah 6:3

God is eminently holy. 
He is transcendently holy.
He is superlatively holy.
He is glorious in holiness.

There is no fathoming, 
there is no measuring, 
there is no comprehending, 
there is no searching, of that 
infinite sea of holiness, which is in God. 
O sirs! you shall as soon . . .
  stop the sun in its course, and
  change the day into night, and
  raise the dead,
  and make a world, and
  count the stars of heaven, and
  empty the sea with a cockle-shell,
as you shall be able either to conceive or express 
that transcendent holiness which is in God!

God's holiness is infinite
It can neither be . . .
  limited, nor 
  lessened, nor
  increased. 

God is the spring of all holiness and purity. All that 
holiness which is in angels and men flows from God, 
  as the streams from the fountain, 
  as the beams from the sun, 
  as the branches from the root, 
  as the effect from the cause. 
Ministers may pray that their people may be holy, 
parents may pray that their children may be holy; 
but they cannot give holiness, nor communicate 
holiness to their nearest and dearest relations. 
God alone is the giver and the author of all holiness. 
It is only the Holy One who can cause holiness to flow 
into sinners' hearts; it is only He who can form, and 
frame, and infuse holiness into the souls of men.
A man shall sooner make make a world—than he shall 
make another holy. It is only a holy God, who can . . .
  enlighten the mind, and
  bow the will, and
  melt the heart, and
  raise the affections, and
  purge the conscience, and
  reform the life, and
  put the whole man into a holy gracious temper. 

God is exemplary holy. He is the rule, example, and 
pattern of holiness. "Be holy, as I am holy." 1 Pet. 1:15.
God's holiness is the copy which we must always have in 
our eye, and endeavor most exactly to write after.


Thomas Brooks

The sins of teachers are the teachers of sins!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"The leaders of the people have led them down the
 path of destruction." Isaiah 9:16

Take heed of settling yourselves under an unholy minister
—of one whose life gives the lie to his doctrine. An unholy
preacher is the greatest destroyer of the souls of men! He
who preaches well—but lives bad—does what he can, to
murder all his hearers at once! There is no greater
bar to holiness, than ministers' unholy lives. An unholy
life mars the soundest and the sweetest doctrine. The
sins of teachers are the teachers of sins!

An unholy minister is the greatest pest, the worst
plague, and the greatest mischief—that can be to
a people; for his enormities, his wickednesses, will
have the strongest influences upon the souls and
lives of men—to make them eternally miserable.
His falls will be the fall and ruin of many; for
people are prone to . . .
  live more by examples—than by precepts;
  mind more what the minister does—than what he says;
  eye more how he walks—than how he talks.

Let a minister be ever so learned, solid, quaint, elegant,
zealous, judicious, sententious, etc.—yet if he is carnal,
covetous, worldly, vain, and loose in his life and walk,
his hearers will rather slight and abhor the holy things
of God.

When the preacher departs out of the way of holiness,
the people will quickly wander from all that is good. He
whose life is not a standing reproof to sin, will, by his
life, encourage sinners more and more in a way of sin.
There is nothing which keeps men so off from the love
of holiness, and from the pursuing after holiness—than
the unholy lives of their ministers.

"Watch your life and doctrine closely." 1 Timothy 4:16

"Set an example for the believers in speech, in life,
 in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12 


"In everything set them an example by doing what
 is good." Titus 2:7

The blood of Jesus

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." Hebrews 10:19.

In all true prayer great stress should be laid on the blood of Jesus; perhaps no evidence distinguishes a declension in the power and spirituality of prayer more strongly than an overlooking of this. Where the atoning blood is kept out of view, not recognized, not pleaded, not made the grand plea, there is a deficiency of power in prayer. Words are nothing, fluency of expression nothing, niceties of language and brilliancy of thought nothing, and even apparent fervor nothing, where the blood of Christ- the new and the living way of access to God, the grand plea that moves Omnipotence, that gives admission within the holy of holies- is slighted, undervalued, and not made the groundwork of every petition. Oh, how much is this overlooked in our prayers, how is the atoning blood of Immanuel slighted! How little mention we hear of it in the sanctuary, in the pulpit, in the social circle! whereas it is this that makes prayer what it is with God. All prayer is acceptable with God, and only so, as it comes up perfumed with the blood of Christ; all prayer is answered as it urges the blood of Christ as its plea; it is the blood of Christ that satisfies justice, and meets all the demands of the law against us; it is the blood of Christ that purchases and brings down every blessing into the soul; it is the blood of Christ that sues for the fulfilment of His last will and testament, every precious legacy of which comes to us solely on account of His death; this it is, too, that gives us boldness at the throne of grace. How can a poor sinner dare approach with out this? How can he look up, how can he ask, how can he present himself before a holy God, but as he brings in the hand of faith the precious blood of Jesus? Outside of Christ, God can hold no communication with us; all communion is suspended, every avenue of approach is closed, all blessing is withheld. God has crowned His dearly beloved Son, and He will have us crown Him too; and never do we place a brighter crown upon His blessed head, than when we plead His finished righteousness as the ground of our acceptance, and His atoning blood as our great argument for the bestowment of all blessing with God. If, then, dear reader, you feel yourself to be a poor, vile, unholy sinner; if a backslider, whose feet have wandered from the Lord, in whose soul the spirit of prayer has declined, and yet still feel some secret longing to return, and dare not, because so vile, so unholy, so backsliding; yet you may return, "having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." Come, for the blood of Jesus pleads; return, for the blood of Christ gives you a welcome. "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
 
Octavius Winslow

Friday, March 27, 2015

Faith endures

"I delight to do Your will, O my God!" Psalm 40:8

Faith endures the disappointments, the hardships, and the heart-aches of life--by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err--and too loving to be unkind

There is no higher aspect of faith, than that which brings the heart to patiently submit unto whatever God sends us, to meekly acquiesce unto His sovereign will, to say, "Shall I not drink the cup of suffering which my Father has given me?" Faith when it reaches the pinnacle of attainment declares, "though He slays me, yet will I trust in Him!"

When we receive all that enters our lives as from God's hand, then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings--whether in a hovel, a prison-dungeon, or a martyr's stake--we shall be enabled to say, "The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant place!" But that is the language of faith, not of sight or sense. A. W. Pink

"Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine!" Luke 22:42 


"It is a genuine evidence of true godliness when, although plunged into the deepest afflictions, we yet humbly submit ourselves to God. It is the height of piety to be submissive to the sovereign will of God." John Calvin


"It is not enough to bear the cross, but we must take it up, we must accommodate ourselves to it, and acquiesce in the will of God in it. Not, "this is an evil, and I must bear it, because I cannot help it;" but "this is an evil, and I will bear it, because it is the will of God." Matthew Henry 


"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." Jeremy Burroughs 

May I be kept from imitating them!

“Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.”
- Mat_26:56

He never deserted them, but they in cowardly fear of their lives, fled from him in the very beginning of his sufferings. This is but one instructive instance of the frailty of all believers if left to themselves; they are but sheep at the best, and they flee when the wolf cometh. They had all been warned of the danger, and had promised to die rather than leave their Master; and yet they were seized with sudden panic, and took to their heels. It may be, that I, at the opening of this day, have braced up my mind to bear a trial for the Lord’s sake, and I imagine myself to be certain to exhibit perfect fidelity; but let me be very jealous of myself, lest having the same evil heart of unbelief, I should depart from my Lord as the apostles did. It is one thing to promise, and quite another to perform. It would have been to their eternal honour to have stood at Jesus’ side right manfully; they fled from honour; may I be kept from imitating them! Where else could they have been so safe as near their Master, who could presently call for twelve legions of angels? They fled from their true safety. O God, let me not play the fool also. Divine grace can make the coward brave. The smoking flax can flame forth like fire on the altar when the Lord wills it. These very apostles who were timid as hares, grew to be bold as lions after the Spirit had descended upon them, and even so the Holy Spirit can make my recreant spirit brave to confess my Lord and witness for his truth.
What anguish must have filled the Saviour as he saw his friends so faithless! This was one bitter ingredient in his cup; but that cup is drained dry; let me not put another drop in it. If I forsake my Lord, I shall crucify him afresh, and put him to an open shame. Keep me, O blessed Spirit, from an end so shameful.

Spurgeon

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

All that is good comes from Jehovah God

O Lord God, Who inhabitest eternity,
The heavens declare thy glory,
The earth thy riches,
The universe is thy temple;
Thy presence fills immensity,
Yet thou hast of thy pleasure created life,
    and communicated happiness;
Thou hast made me what I am,
    and given me what I have;
In thee I live and move and have my being;
Thy providence has set the bounds of my habitation,
    and wisely administers all my affairs.
I thank thee for thy riches to me in Jesus,
    for the unclouded revelation of him in thy Word,
    where I behold his Person, character, grace, glory,
    humiliation, sufferings, death, and resurrection;
Give me to feel a need of his continual saviourhood,
    and cry with Job, ‘I am vile’,
    with Peter, ‘I perish’,
    with the publican, ‘Be merciful to me, a sinner’.
Subdue in me the love of sin,
Let me know the need of renovation as well as
      of forgiveness,
    in order to serve and enjoy thee for ever.
I come to thee in the all-prevailing name of Jesus,
    with nothing of my own to plead,
    no works, no worthiness, no promises.
I am often straying,
    often knowingly opposing thy authority,
    often abusing thy goodness;
Much of my guilt arises from my religious privileges,
    my low estimation of them,
    my failure to use them to my advantage,
But I am not careless of thy favour or regardless of
    thy glory;
Impress me deeply with a sense of thine
    omnipresence, that thou art about my path,
    my ways, my lying down, my end.
(Taken from ‘The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers,’

betrayal



"Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?"—Luke 22:48.

HE kisses of an enemy are deceitful." Let me be on my guard when the world puts on a loving face, for it will, if possible, betray me as it did my Master, with a kiss. Whenever a man is about to stab religion, he usually professes very great reverence for it. Let me beware of the sleek-faced hypocrisy which is armour-bearer to heresy and infidelity. Knowing the deceivableness of unrighteousness, let me be wise as a serpent to detect and avoid the designs of the enemy. The young man, void of understanding, was led astray by the kiss of the strange woman: may my soul be so graciously instructed all this day, that "the much fair speech" of the world may have no effect upon me. Holy Spirit, let me not, a poor frail son of man, be betrayed with a kiss!
But what if I should be guilty of the same accursed sin as Judas, that son of perdition? I have been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus; I am a member of His visible Church; I sit at the communion table: all these are so many kisses of my lips. Am I sincere in them? If not, I am a base traitor. Do I live in the world as carelessly as others do, and yet make a profession of being a follower of Jesus? Then I must expose religion to ridicule, and lead men to speak evil of the holy name by which I am called. Surely if I act thus inconsistently I am a Judas, and it were better for me that I had never been born. Dare I hope that I am clear in this matter? Then, O Lord, keep me so. O Lord, make me sincere and true. Preserve me from every false way. Never let me betray my Saviour. I do love Thee, Jesus, and though I often grieve Thee, yet I would desire to abide faithful even unto death. O God, forbid that I should be a high-soaring professor, and then fall at last into the lake of fire, because I betrayed my Master with a kiss.  - Spurgeon

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A gentle heart

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart." Matthew 11:29
"By the meekness and gentleness of Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:1
"The fruit of the Spirit is . . . gentleness." Galatians 5:22
"Let your gentleness be evident to all." Philippians 4:5
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."Colossians 3:12
"We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children." 1 Thessalonians 2:7
"But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." 1 Timothy 6:11
"The Lord's servant must be gentle towards all." 2 Timothy 2:24
"The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:4
 
Gentleness is a beautiful quality. It is essential to all true character. Nobody admires ungentleness in either man or woman. When a man is harsh, cold, unfeeling, unkind, and crude and rough in his manner—no one speaks of his fine disposition. When a woman is loud-voiced, dictatorial, petulant, given to speaking bitter words and doing unkindly things—no person is ever heard saying of her, "What a lovely disposition she has!" She may have many excellent qualities, and may do much good—but her ungentleness mars the beauty of her character.

No man is truly great, who is not gentle. "Your gentleness has made me great." Psalm 18:35Courage and strength and truth and justnessand righteousness are essential elements in a manly character; but if all these be in a man and gentleness be lacking—the life is sadly flawed. We might put the word gentleness into Paul's wonderful sentences and read them thus: "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not gentleness, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not gentleness, I am nothing. And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not gentleness, it profits me nothing."

continue reading here...

Monday, March 23, 2015

His promises

"For He is faithful who promised." Hebrews 10:23
"For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ!" 2 Corinthians 1:20


The promises of God are sure and infallible; not Yes and then Nay — one thing today and an opposite thing tomorrow; but always Yes. And the Yes of Heaven is Yes indeed — it cannot direct astray or disappoint!
His very Names are promises:

El Shaddai (The Lord God Almighty)
Jehovah-Rophi (The God who heals you)
Jehovah-Tsidkenu (The Lord our Righteousness)
Jehovah Nissi (The Lord my Banner)
Jehovah Jireh (The Lord will Provide)
Jehovah-Raah (The Lord my Shepherd)
Jehovah Shammah (The Lord is there)
Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord who sanctifies you)
Jehovah Shalom (The Lord is peace)
Father, Savior, Shepherd, Husband —
what precious promises each name contains!

His Dealings in History are promises. Sooner or later He has overthrown the evil; sooner or later He has diademed the right. He has satisfied the poor with good things, while He has sent the rich empty away. It calls loud to me to hope. It says, "What He was to others yesterday — He will be to you today."
The Doctrines of His Book are promises.

Justification: that is an assurance of a spotless righteousness.
Sanctification: that is an assurance of progressive holiness.
Glorification: that is an assurance of holiness without flaw.

And so with all the rest. Every truth of the Bible is a well in the wilderness — and the well is deep!

And, in addition, there are those distinct and gracious Love-words which I call the promises. They light up the pages of Scripture as the stars light up the nightly sky — a countless host, an exceeding great army! If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
Truly, with such a God, and with Him all my own — I shall lack no good thing. Let me say good-bye to my faint-heartedness. I am impotent in myself — but the fountains of my refreshment are in His great heart, and they are fountains of a perpetual youth.
"He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises!" 2 Peter 1:4

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Father!

"Our Father."  ~ Matthew 6:9.

When our Lord Jesus sealed this Divinely Paternal Name upon the lips of His disciples, He was, as their Authorised Teacher, instructing them in the holy art of prayer. He alone was competent to the task. Himself the Object, as, mediatorially, the Medium of prayer, He was in every way fitted to lead them, in the spirit of filial worship, within the veil into the Holiest. In complying with their request, "Lord, teach us to pray," His first lesson, obviously, was to unfold the Paternal relationship in which God stood to them. This was a lost truth to our sinning and sinful race. In forfeiting his own sonship, man had forfeited the Fatherhood of God. In demanding his portion of the patrimony, and then turning his back upon his Father, he became an orphan and a fugitive upon the earth, the parental image as completely effaced from his soul, as the consciousness of his sonship was from his heart.
Such was the great truth our Lord presented to His disciples in instructing them to approach God in prayer. From no other teacher could they learn that God was their Father by adopting grace; and from no other source could they receive the Spirit whereby they should approach Him in filial love. Christ only could restore this lost truth, and supply the broken link which once united God and man in parental love and in filial worship. Thus the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God in its relation to His Church is a doctrine of Divine revelation. It made its advent amid the holy scenes of Bethlehem; was uttered in sobs of woe in Gethsemane; was written in atoning blood on Calvary; and was ratified amid the resurrection splendors which encircled the tomb in Joseph's garden.
We seek not, in thus vindicating the Divine revelation of this doctrine, to lessen the force of the fact that the relation of God to man as a Father by CREATION was a truth recognized by the pagan world. Paul, in his memorable address to the Athenians, quoting from one of their Gentile poets, attests this fact. "In Him we live and move and have our being, as certain of your own poets have said, For we are His offspring." Thus the human race may trace its ancestry to Eden, and its origin to "the Father of spirits."
But the Lord Jesus presented the Parental relation of God in a newer light, encircled with a diviner luster, associated with holier obligations, and blended with a more transcendent glory--as the covenant God and Father of His people by electing love, most free and sovereign grace. And if, as we wander over earth's beauties, descend its valleys and climb its steeps, luxuriating amid the wonders and glories of God's creative power, we exultingly exclaim, "My Father made them all!" what must be the height of our admiration, what the depth of our love, as we stand before the cross of Jesus and exclaim, "In You I see my Father's image, in You I behold my Father's love!"
We are as yet but upon the threshold of our great subject. Let it be distinctly kept in view that our main design in the present chapter is to unfold the filial spirit of worship which the Lord's Prayer inculcates. In a formula of devotion enjoined by Christ Himself, and as appertaining to the new Christian dispensation, we could reasonably expect nothing less. Moses has retired, the legal economy has passed, the bond-servant is freed, the shadows are gone, the veil of the temple is rent in twain, for Christ is come, and we now enter into the Holiest, and approach the Holy One with "Abba, Father" breathing from our filial lips.
But we have yet to learn in what way the Lord Jesus has made known to us the Father. To the revelation of Christ we are alone indebted for our spiritual and saving knowledge of Him in this relation. This truth is not a dogma of Christianity, it is Christianity itself. The gospel is an unveiling of the Divine glory, because it is a revelation of the Divine Savior. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." Such is the great truth which we now proceed to unfold. HOW DOES CHRIST REVEAL TO US THE FATHER?
In the first place, Christ confirms the fact of God's Paternity. I have remarked that we have no clear, demonstrative evidence in nature of the Fatherhood of God in its spiritual and gracious relation to His people. Creation's testimony to His eternal power and Godhead is universal and conclusive, leaving the atheist without excuse.
"The lowest pin in nature's frame
Marks out some letter of His name;
Across the earth, around the sky,
There's not a spot, or depth or height,
Where the Creator has not trod,
And left the footsteps of a God."
But beyond its testimony to this truth, all nature is silent. Not one syllable does it breathe of adopting love, of pardoning grace, of reconciliation between God and man. The sun in its brightness reflects it not; the ocean in its fullness embodies it not; the wind in its majesty thunders it not; the rivulet in its music murmurs it not; the flower in its fragrance breathes it not; the rock in its fastness images it not. Creation in its endless forms of sublimity, beauty, and tenderness, fails to answer the most touching, the most momentous of all inquiries, "How may I know and approach God as my reconciled Father?"
Nor this alone. While Creation was silent on a theme so vital and transcendent, HUMAN PHILOSOPHY was equally mute. "The world by wisdom knew not God." At Athens, "the eye of all Greece," where philosophy sat enthroned in imperial splendor, issuing her lessons in authoritative tones and with matchless eloquence, they reared an altar "to the unknown God." Truly did our Great High Priest, in His intercessory prayer, testify, "O righteous Father, the world has not known you." But what Creation could not reveal or Philosophy discover, the Lord Jesus Christ has made known to us. How clear and emphatic His declaration, "All things are delivered unto me by my Father--and no man knows who the Son is but the Father; and who the Father is but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him."
It follows from these words that Jesus is God, and that, as the Divine Mediator, He is the Revealer of the Father. What further testimony to this great truth need we? Taking us by the hand, He gently leads us to God and bids us call Him--"Father!" This, O believer, is your filial and precious privilege! Nothing shall rob you of your birthright. You may have been a foolish and a sinful child; you may be poor and needy, little and despicable, deeming yourself unworthy to be called a son; nevertheless, the mercy-seat is your Father's meeting-place; and every atoning drop that sprinkles it, and every golden beam that bathes it, and every accent of love that breathes from it, bids and encourages your approach to God, and cry, "My Father!"
Christ was also the personal and visible representation of the Father. Instead of leaving us to deal with an impersonal being, an infinite abstraction, the Lord Jesus reveals to us the God, of whose glory He is the brightness, and of whose person He is the image. How explicit is the statement. "God has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son . . . who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person." "The brightness of His glory"--all other reflections being but shadows of God. "The express image of His person"--that is, of the same substance as the Father. Thus the Son is the visible image of the invisible God; so that he who by faith has seen the Son, has in the Son's likeness seen the Father.
Has God thus been revealed to you, my reader? Have you seen Him in Jesus? Have you recognized His parental relation? Are you conscious that He is at peace with you through the atonement of His Son? Have you clasped Him in your filial affections, exclaiming, in the deep tenderness of filial love, "You are my Father, God!" Give your soul no rest until it rests in this truth, so divinely revealed by the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God."
Christ also reveals the Parental character of God. He might have testified to God's parental relationship, leaving us in ignorance of His parental character. He might have presented to us a portrait of God's image arrayed in the infinite attributes of His being, leaving us toimagine what His will towards us was--and what the feelings of His heart. Wandering through a foreign gallery of art, I gazed with speechless wonder upon the pictures of the illustrious dead which bestud its walls--ancient masterpieces of the human fine arts. But nothing could I gather from their portraits, gazing down upon me in silent grandeur, of the intellectual or moral elements which formed their living characters, or of the events which contributed to their deathless renown.
But not thus with this Divine-human Portrait. We behold in the Lord Jesus a perfect unveiling of the character of the Father, as we recognize the express image of His person. How clearly did Christ teach this truth. "I am in my Father, and my Father in me. From henceforth you know Him and have seen Him. He that has seen me has seen the Father." Thus, what no angel could have made known, what no eye could have discovered, what no human heart could have conceived, what no pencil could have portrayed, and what no tongue could have described, the Lord Jesus Christ has fully made known to us--the character of God as a Father.
Listen to His declaration once more, "He that has seen me has seen the Father." As though He had said, "All the glory in me which entrances you, all the beauty in me which attracts you, all the truths from me which instruct you, all the love in me which wins you, all the grace in me which sanctifies you, all the sympathy in me which soothes you, all my miracles of power and acts of mercy which command your homage, enkindle your gratitude, and inspire your praise, are the true, the perfect reflection of Him from whose bosom I descended to make Him known to you as your Father. He that has seen me has seen my Father also."
What a gentle rebuke of all our crude thoughts, dim conceptions, low views, and rebellious feelings concerning God! What injustice have we done Him! What ingratitude have we shown Him! How have we misunderstood His character, misinterpreted His dealings, distrusted His wisdom, and misread His heart! Does Jesus, who is the glory of all that is Divine, the perfection of all that is human, the brightness of all that is holy, the manifestation of all that is loving, tender, and compassionate; who is the object of my highest adoration and the deepest love, represent the character, as He does the person of the Father? Is the Father all that Christ is? Henceforth I will no more distrust Him, misinterpret Him, or entertain one hard thought of His conduct, or one unkind suspicion of His love.
Such be your reflection, my reader, as you stand before this marvelous, this finished portrait of the Father. Be it your profoundest, your constant study. Be not satisfied with an occasional visit, with a distant view, or with a superficial acquaintance. All that is spiritually revealed or savingly known of the Father is embodied in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let Christ be your one, your chief, your constant and absorbing study. At first His beauty may not attract you, His glory may not dazzle you, His love may not win you. But persevere. Each prayerful desire, each believing look, each loving visit will make Him better known, more supremely admired, and deeply loved who, among ten thousand loved ones, is the chief, and who, among ten thousand lovely ones, is the altogether lovely One.
What one of the most classical writers on the fine arts--so eloquently said of the Apollo Belvedere, when endeavoring to deepen the admiration of those students who would become eminent in art, I would say, with the profoundest reverence, of the portrait of the Father as presented in the Lord Jesus Christ, "Go and study it. And if you see no peculiar beauty to captivate you, go again. And if still you discover nothing, go again and again and again until you feel it; for be assured it is there." Precious truth! How it elevates and enlarges my views of the Father! How it unfolds His character, unveils His glory, and endears His conduct.
To see my Father's smile reflected in the smile of my Savior; to behold His glory beaming in the face of Jesus; to hear His voice in the echoes of Christ's love; to trace His compassion, tenderness, and sympathy in the very words and works and tears of the Great High Priest, even when the discipline of the parental rod is the most severe, this is heaven upon earth. What a wonderful person is the Savior of men! Bursting forth, as a hidden sun, we behold in the glorious life and peerless character of Jesus the living portrait of that infinitely great and Divine Being whom we are invited to approach and call--"Our Father."
Christ also revealed the parental heart of God. He who from eternity dwelt in the bosom of the Father could alone make known the love of God. Our Lord might have revealed the mind, the thoughts, the will of the Father, leaving His heart still, and forever, enshrouded with a deep and impenetrable veil. But He made His illustrious advent to our earth not so much to reveal the mind as to unveil the heart of God--less to expound the majesty and purpose of His will than to disclose the existence and depth of His love. Who but the Son of God had authority and power to utter a truth concerning the Father so great and marvelous as this--"God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life."
How fully did the Lord Jesus here draw aside the veil and show us the heart of the Father, pulsating with a love infinite as His nature and eternal as His being. "God so loved"--the most sublime thought, the tenderest words, the greatest fact lips ever uttered. Truly, "Never a man spoke like this man." Conducting us into the most hidden recess of the Father's bosom by the "new and living way," every step of which unfolded the eternal grace which planned it, He leads us into the very center of God's heart, and bids us call Him "Father."
And lest we should exclusively rest in Jesus the Divine gift, to the exclusion of God the Divine Giver; or suppose that the Father's love was purchased and procured, and not an essential and spontaneous affection, He distinctly and emphatically declares, "The Father Himself loves you." How jealous was the Son of God of the Father's love to His Church. Not one ray of that love would He shade, not one stream would He divert, that He might enhance and aggrandize His own. Well did He know--for He had felt its eternal throbbings--that the love of the Father was not the effect, but was the moving cause of His sacrifice; that He died, not that His Father might love, but because He has loved, and "so loved that He gave His only-begotten Son."
Behold the great truth which the Lord Jesus would teach you! He would elevate and enlarge your thought of the Father's love, remove your distrust, dissolve your coldness, quell your fears, and awaken in your whole soul a responsive affection. "The Father Himself loves you"--loves you with an individual and special affection--as much, as fully yours, as if for you only, you exclusively, its deep pulsations throbbed. He has loved you unto the death of His Son. Upon Him He laid your sins; of Him He exacted your penalty; into His cup He pressed all the bitterness of your death and all the ingredients of your condemnation. Disbelieve not, distrust not, wound not His love. Doubt the love of the mother who bore you, distrust the love of her who wedded you, question the love of the friend enshrined within your breast--but oh, doubt not the love of your Father in heaven, who surrendered His only and well-beloved Son unto the death for you!
There may be stages in the Christian pilgrimage in which the existence of God's love may be obscured; afflictive dispensations in which its tenderness may be questioned; trials of your faith where its faithfulness may seem to fail--nevertheless, His heart loves you in sending all, loves you passing through all, and will love you to the end of all the chequered events, the changing scenes--the sunshine and the cloud, of life's pathway to heaven.
Having thus revealed the parental relationship and character of God, our blessed Lord proceeds to inculcate the filial spirit becoming His disciples in their approach to this their heavenly Father. "When you pray, say, 'Our Father, which art in heaven.'" With such a Father as the Object of prayer, any spirit other than the most filial, confiding, and loving in our approach to the mercy-seat, would seem as dishonoring to God as unjust to ourselves. The true spirit of a child of God in prayer is childlike. The proper approach to God is filial. Any other than this springs from some defective view of the parental character of God, or from a legal, servile state of the soul.
Christ illustrated in His own personal history the same filial spirit with which He so earnestly sought to imbue the minds of His disciples. His own Sonship was a truth never absent from His mind. How early in His life did this appear. To the anxious inquiry of His earthly parents how striking and touching His reply, "Know you not that I must be about my Father's business?" From the moment when, standing in the temple surrounded by the masters of the law, He announced His divine Sonship, to His life's last hour, He maintained, through all its scenes of labor, sorrow, and suffering, the same filial love, confidence, and demeanor. How touching and instructive His words, uttered in soul-agony and tears--"Not my will, O my Father, but yours be done." Thus has our Lord set us an example of filial approach to the throne of grace; ofchildlike communion with God; echoing but the breathing of His own heart when He taught us to say, "Our Father, which art in heaven."
"Father!" It is the language of the believing heart. As the adoption of His people is the highest act of God's grace, so the filial response of His children to that adoption is the highest act of our faith. Could faith on its strongest pinion soar higher than the Fatherhood of God? Oh, it is a marvelous fact, a stupendous truth, that God should be our Father! Higher than this the soul cannot rise. Love then reaches its deepest yearnings. Only realize this fact, that God is your Father, and it explains every chapter of your history, every event of your life, every sentiment, feeling, and desire of your soul. All that is omnipotent in strength, all that is profound in wisdom, all that is tender in sympathy, all that is rich in infinite plenitude, is bound up in the endearing epithet--"Father." That Father is yours! You were His child from eternity! Stupendous thought! His love to you, His choice of you, His purpose to adopt, His plan to redeem, sanctify, and bring you to glory, were concurrent with His being! They are eternal acts of His grace.
This is not language too presumptuous, too bold, for faith. After such eternal love, such an act of mercy, such a condescension of grace, to approach God in prayer with the trembling of doubt upon the lips, with the fetters of the slave upon the soul, with distrust, suspicion, and coldness in the heart, were of the darkest hue. If God calls me His child, ingrate that I am not to respond, "My Father!" Are you a parent? Does your child doubt his relation to you as such? What would you think of it if he did? The deep, underlying principle of all his love, reverence, and obedience is the full confidence he has in you as his parent. Have like precious faith in your heavenly Father. Let your faith be thus filial, childlike, and firm. Believe that all He does is for the best; that your highest interests are all in His hands, and in His hands are all so secure. Lock your hand in His, as your little one links its hand with yours, willing to be led, unquestioning, confiding, meekly, just where your Father leads. If God declares, "I am a Father to Israel," it is the deepest humility of faith to respond, "My Father, God!"
"Father!" It is the language of filial love. How sweet the voice of love as it pronounces the name of Father! What tenderness in its tones, what significance in its language, what a world of meaning in the one title it breathes! It would seem as if every, and the deepest, spring of sensibility in the soul were unsealed the moment love breathed to heaven that Name. This is what our Father looks for in our filial approach to Him through Jesus. "My son, give me your heart." Himself love--essential love--paternal love--unchanging love--He asks for love in return. And what is the love He asks, the love which He himself inspires and accepts? It is the filial affection of the loving child.
There may be love in a slave towards his owner, love in a servant towards his master; but the love of the child toward its parent distances and transcends all love. Let your love to God be filial--the expression of adoption--the sentiment of an obedient child! This will impart sweetness to your Father's commands, will expel all reserves from your disobedience, and invest your service for Him with the most perfect freedom. "I will run the way of Your commandments, when You shall enlarge my heart." Filial love alone expands the heart to the utmost limit of God's commands. And when the precept, the command, the discipline are traced to the authority, and to the love, and to the hand of a Father, the filial heart bows in the most profound, cheerful, and holy acquiescence.
God asks the love that casts out all slavish fear. He wants you to love Him intensely as a Parent. Securing this, He has secured your most perfect confidence, your most holy obedience, and your most unreserved surrender as a child. Look less at the depth, the great undertaking, the costly sacrifice of your love; than at its filial, obedient character. A son may be deeply conscious of his affection for his parent, while yet incapable of demonstrating as he would wish its reality and depth. You, also, may feel that you love God as your Father, obey Him as His child, and yet have no power to embody that love in worthy and brilliant expression.
Still you love Him. You love Him in poverty, you love Him in sickness, you love Him in suffering, you love Him in chastening, you love Him in rebuke. And in that sleepless night, and on that bed of pain, and from that chamber of solitude and sorrow, the fragrant incense of your filial love ascends to Him in solemn prayer and praise, while you cry, "My Father, it is Your hand that chastens, and it is well!"
It is the language of the spirit of adoption in prayer. It is in direct fellowship with God that the filial spirit of the Lord's Prayer is the most seen. True prayer is filial. It is not so much the supplication of the petitioner, as the communion of the child--a beloved child in the closest, sweetest fellowship with a loving Father. "You have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." If ever this Divine Spirit breathes His quickening, emancipating, and enlarging grace, it is when the believing soul is in audience with God.
The real test of our Divine sonship is--communion with our Heavenly Father. We may read of adoption, and speak of adoption, and desire to act from a sense of adoption; but it is at the mercy-seat, when the soul is wrapped in communion with the Invisible, that the believer fully realizes the blessedness of fellowship, the closeness of communion, the solemn consciousness of soul-nearness to the Heavenly Parent.
It is then no matter of doubt. We could as easily question the reality of our own existence, as doubt the fact that God was our Father. There is no engagement of the believer so self-evidencing as communion with God. The act is so unearthly, the inspiration is so divine, the emotion is so holy, the feeling so ecstatic of a soul in filial fellowship with the Infinite, that it reaches the highest elevation of assurance which it is possible to gain this side of glory. It seems but one step from that sacred height of spiritual fellowship and holy rapture, and the soul is in heaven, expatiating amid the wonders of the upper world.
Cultivate a filial approach to God in prayer. Do not, yielding to a false idea, deem it humility to doubt your sonship. The profoundest lowliness is to acknowledge, and the deepest holiness is to experience the Fatherhood of God. Draw near to God as your Father, and commune with Him as His child. You may then open wide your mouth in prayer, supplication, and confession. You complain of smallness, lifelessness, and reluctance in devotion. You cannot trace the glow of love, the strength of desire, the sweetness of communion, in your approaches to the throne of grace of which others speak. May not the cause be found in the imperfect realization of your adoption, in the faint conception you have of the Parental relation of God to you, in the little filial affection and confidence which marks your approach to the throne of grace?
Remember that true prayer is nothing less than the warm, confidential communion of a believing child with God. Wrestle with the Holy Spirit for this inestimable blessing. Give Him no rest until, baptizing you afresh in the cloud and in the sea of His quickening grace, He imparts to you the clearer witness and seal of your divine and inalienable sonship, enabling you to exclaim with an emphasis of meaning and tone of sweetness unexperienced before--"My Father!"
"Descend, immortal Dove,
Spread Your kind wings abroad;
And, wrapped in flames of holy love,
Bear all my soul to God.
"Behold, my heart expands
To catch the heavenly fire;
It longs to feel the gentle hands,
And groans with strong desire.
"Your love, my God, appears,
And brings salvation down;
My cordial through this vale of tears,
In paradise my crown."

The filial spirit which breathes through the prayer taught His disciples by our Lord is not less exhibited in times of trial, than in seasons of communion. Times of parental correction are often times of blessed realization of our adoption. The rod is sent, among other holy purposes, especially for this. It awakens the slumbering affections of the soul. Then the chastened child cries out to God. The spirit of prayer, so long stagnant, is stirred up. The heart so cold and torpid is set upon seeking the Lord. The chastening is seen as belonging to a child and as coming from a Father. May this be the hallowed and happy issue of your present trial! Look at it as parental. Your Father's heart prepared, and His hand presents the bitter cup. His wisdom, love, and righteousness ordained and arranged the whole. Even more than this. What is the heart of God towards you as His chastened and sorrowing child? The words of inspiration alone can supply the answer. "Like as a Father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." Tender relation! touching image! A father's pity! This is our God. This is your Father. He has corrected you, but not in anger. He has brought you low, but He has not given you over unto death. He has removed some blessings, but He has not taken all. He has blown upon some flowers of your heart, but others--perhaps lovelier and more precious--still live and bloom to delight you with their beauty, and to gladden you with their fragrance. The pleasant gourd which covered and refreshed you is withered and gone; but He who made it to grow, and then removed it, spreads over you the undying foliage of His love; and the sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night, for "upon all your glory there shall be a defense."

Friday, March 20, 2015

Imitate the Miser!



(William Mason
, "The One Thing Needful to Make Poor Sinners Rich--and Miserable Sinners Happy")
"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21
Is not Christ our richest treasure? Should He not be ever in our minds, and our minds ever on Him? O Christian, the riches of your Christ are boundlessand bottomless! You have in Christ, UNSEARCHABLE RICHES--an inexhaustible treasure which never fails!

O then, imitate the miser! Let your mind dwell on your treasure. Let your treasure be ever uppermost in your mind. 

Is the miser's mind ever upon, and ever going out after his treasure? Just so, let your minds dwell on Christ! 

Does the miser value himself by his treasure? Just so, must you value yourself--upon Christ! 

Is he always poring over his precious wealth? Just so, should you pour over your precious Christ! 

Does the miser love to inspect, and count over his beloved gold? O let your mind be ever inspecting your beloved Christ in . . .
   in His wondrous person
   in His amazing love, in laying down His life for you, His enemy; 
  and in His glorious salvation of you, an ungodly sinner! 

Be constantly counting over . . .
  all the great and precious promises which you have in Him;
  all the gracesblessings, and comforts which you have from Him;
  and the certain glory which you soon shall enjoy with Him! 

Is the miser careful to keep, and fearful of losing, any part of his possession? So let it be between Christ and your mind. Hold Him fast. Cleave to Him. Be careful to enjoy Him always. Be ever fearful of losing any blessing or comfort He has promised to bestow. 

Thus esteem Christ--as your treasure! Let all your hopes center in Him, and all your affections fix upon Him! Until time is swallowed up in eternity--be receiving out of His inexhaustible fullness . . .
  grace upon grace,
  blessing upon blessing,
  comfort upon comfort! 

Christ is your treasure! All other things are but dross and dung compared to Him! Look down with a holy contempt, upon all objects beneath your Beloved!

"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ!" Philippians 3:7-8 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Much of our life is disappointment

"Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward!" Job 5:7
"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." John 16:33

There are many crucial lessons which Christians cannot learning the sunshine of prosperity. So the great Teacher calls us apart and shuts the doors, to keep out the light and exclude the world's noises--and then He teaches us the songs . . .
  of peace,
  of joy,
  of trust, 
  of love. 
Thus the painful things of life have their place in the divine training of our lives.

Many of the things our Master calls us to do or to endure, do not seem to our eyes at the time, to be the best things. Much of our life is disappointment. Sorrow comes ofttimes with . . .
  its hot tears,
  its emptyings of the heart,
  its pain,
  its bitterness. 

We do not know when we set out on any bright, sunny path--into what sorrowful experiences we shall be led. A noble young man married a sweet, beautiful girl. They were very happy. Life began for them in a garden of roses. Only three bright years had passed, however, when the young wife broke down in health. Then she became an invalid, much of the time unable to leave her room. The burden has been a very heavy one for the husband, requiring continual self-denial and sacrifice, besides the grief and anxiety it has brought.

This was not the pleasant life which they dreamed of on their wedding day! They thought only of gladness and prosperity. It never occurred to them that adversity or any trouble could break into their sweet paradise.
But the Master has made no mistake. To those who have watched their lives and noted the fruit of the suffering in them, it is becoming apparent that divine love and kindness are written in all the painful lines of the long story. The young man has been growing all the years . . .
  in strength,
  in gentleness,
  in purity of spirit,
  in self-control,
  in the peace of God,
  in all manly virtues. 
It seemed a strange place to make him cast his nets--into the deep waters of affliction and disappointment--but he is now drawing them full of rich and noble blessings.

"And 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 
 J.R. Miller

The fear of the Lord

Sin's enormity

"Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!" Jeremiah 44:4

If we took a survey of everything on the earth--we could find nothing so vile as sin. The basest and most contemptible thing in this world, has some degree of worth in it, as being the workmanship of God. But sin and its foul streams have not the least part of worth in them. Sin is wholly evil without the least mixture of good--it is vileness in the abstract.
Sin's heinousness appears in its author: "The one who practices sin is of the Devil; for the Devil has sinned from the beginning." Sin is the Devil's trade, and he practices it incessantly!
Sin's enormity is seen in what it has done to man: it has completely ruined his nature and brought him under the eternal curse of God!
Sin is the source of all our miseries. All evil and wretchedness are its fruits. There is . . .
  no distress of the mind,
  no anguish of the heart,
  no pain of the body--but is due to sin! 
All the miseries which mankind groans under, are to be ascribed to sin!
Sin is the cause of all divine punishments: "Your ways and your doings have brought these things upon you. This is your punishment." Had there been no sin, there would have been . . .
  no wars,
  no calamities,
  no prisons,
  no hospitals,
  no insane asylums,
  no cemeteries
  no eternal Hell! 
Yet who lays these things to heart?
"The deceitfulness of sin!" Sin assumes many garbs. When it appears in its nakedness--it is seen as a black and misshapen monster! How God Himself views it, may be learned from the various similitudes used by the Holy Spirit to set forth its ugliness and loathsomeness. Sin is likened to the scum of a seething pot in which is a detestable carcass--and to a dead and rotting body!
There is a far greater malignity in sin than is commonly supposed, even by the majority of church members. Men regard sin as an infirmity, and term it a human frailty or hereditary weakness. The majority regard sin as a mere trifle.
Tens of thousands of religionists see so little filth in sin, that they imagine a few tears will wash away its stain. They perceive so little criminality in it, that they persuade themselves that a few good works will make full reparation for it.
All comparisons fail to set forth the horrible malignity in that abominable thing which God hates. We can say nothing more evil of sin, than to term it what it is!