James Smith (1802—1862) was a predecessor of Charles Spurgeon at New Park Street Chapel in
How His eyes will sparkle with delight!
"Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus!" 2 Timothy 2:3
"There is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day!" 2 Timothy 4:8
Christian soldier, for encouragement in every conflict — look up to your Captain for supplies — and look forward to the glory that awaits you! The war will soon be over. Yourdischarge will soon be signed and sent to you. Home is even now in view!
The promised land will be far above our greatest expectations!
The glory to be revealed will far exceed our most enlarged desires!
The weight of glory will transcend our most comprehensive thoughts!
A crown is reserved for you! Not a corruptible crown of laurel or myrtle — but a diadem. A diadem of glory! More durable than gold, more costly than any earthy monarch's crown. Gold, pearls, and precious stones — are not to be compared to it! Its gems will sparkle brighter that the stars on a winter's evening! As a whole, it will shine brighter than the sun on a summer's !
It is a crown of glory — a most glorious crown. Not merited by your labors or sufferings in the Lord's service — but graciously promised, and gratuitously bestowed. Promised by your glorious Leader, preserved most carefully in the palace of the Most High God — to be awarded to every faithful soldier at the final and grand review.
Yes, it will be placed on your brow by His hands, who . . .
won you to His service,
led you to the battlefield,
made you victorious, and
will rejoice in your honor and happiness forever!
It will be worn before God's own throne, before the angelic hosts, among God's saints forever. What thrilling joy, what ecstatic pleasure, what inconceivable delight — will you realize, when you first feel it rest on your brow! What a look will your Savior give you — when you lift up your head that He may place it on you, and your eye meets His!
Grace, free grace will shine most gloriously on that day! The songs of the enraptured company will be divinely sweet. O how our blessed Savior's heart will dance for joy! How His eyes will sparkle with delight! His mighty spirit will realize full satisfaction — to see the whole of His redeemed people collected, arranged, and glorified before Him!
Not one missing!
All whom the Father gave Him — there!
All for whom He offered up Himself as a sacrifice — there!
All to whom He sent the Comforter — there!
All who enlisted under His banner and were sworn into His army — there!
Those who were once wounded, weeping, and lagging behind the regiment — there! O glorious salvation — in which every poor, maimed, weather-beaten, discouraged soldier of the cross shall share!
What a prospect is this! How bright, how glowing, how enchanting!
Then, O with what rapture we will sing, "Unto Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father — to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever! Amen."
Surely, surely we ought to be fired with love, filled with zeal, and prepared for every conflict, however arduous — by such a glorious prospect!
~ ~ ~ ~
If God had not helped us!
"I was pushed back and about to fall — but the Lord helped me!" Psalm 118:13
The psalmist had been reviewing his toils, his trials, and his dangers; he commemorates his deliverances, his conquests, and his triumphs; and he ascribes the whole, to the help of God! If God had not helped him — his faith would have failed, his expectations would have been disappointed, and his foes would have prevailed. Through the Lord, he did valiantly; and now, with joyful heart, he records the loving-kindness of the Lord.
How sweet to look back upon the rough road, the bloody battle-field, the scenes of peculiar trial. Then, if ever, gratitude will work within us, and praises will flow from our tongues and hearts. Delivered from the mouth of the lion, and the paw of the bear — we thankfully acknowledge, "The Lord helped me!"
In looking back we see that we have needed help — and more help than any mere creature could afford us!
The daily cross,
the inward conflict,
the domestic troubles,
the perplexities of business,
the state of the church,
the affairs of the world —
have all combined to teach us that Divine help was necessary!
If God had not helped us . . .
we would have fallen into sin,
we would have disgraced our profession,
we would have been crushed by our foes,
we would have fainted under our trials,
we would have apostatized from the faith!
God alone knows what would have been the result — if we had been left to our own resources. We needed help in infancy, in youth, in manhood. We needed help in prosperity — and in adversity! We needed help in temporals — and spirituals. We found our own strength — to be weakness, and our own wisdom — to be folly.
The feeblest of our foes — would have been more than a match for us!
The least corruption in our hearts — would have overcome us!
And we need help now — as much as we ever did; for, unless the Lord helps us . . .
our foes will yet triumph over us,
our crosses will yet prove to be too much for us,
and we shall yet faint in the day of adversity!
The Lord has promised help. He has said, "Fear not — for I am with you; be not dismayed — for I am your God! I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness!" And because His people feel themselves to be vile, weak, and incompetent; He stoops to speak to them according to their own views of themselves and says, "Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel — for I Myself will help you! declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel!"
Oh, precious promise, of a good and gracious God!
It extends to all times,
it embraces all circumstances,
it belongs to all believers, and
it ensures us triumph over all our foes!
Yes, the strength of Jesus has been perfected in our weakness! We have found His grace to be sufficient for us; and to the praise of His glorious grace, in reference to all our trials, troubles, and conflicts — we can truly say, "The Lord helped me!"
Oh, beloved, it is an unspeakable mercy to have God for our helper!
~ ~ ~ ~
When His influence is put forth within us
All that the Spirit does for us, and all that He works within us — is of grace. He graciously . . .
quickens the dead,
instructs the ignorant,
liberates the captives,
restores the wanderers,
comforts the dejected,
strengthens the weak,
and sanctifies the impure.
His work is His delight — and to see us holy and happy is His pleasure!
The Holy Spirit produces all our graces within us. He is the root — and our graces are His fruits; hence we read, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."
When His influence is put forth within us — then we . . .
believe God's Word,
hope in His mercy,
rejoice in His goodness,
cleave to His cause,
walk in His ways,
love His truth, His people, and Himself,
holiness is then happiness,
duties are then pleasant, and
even the cross lays light upon our shoulders.
But if the Spirit hides Himself, withdraws His influences, and leaves us to ourselves — then we . . .
doubt and fear,
fret and pine,
kick and rebel,
rove from thing to thing, and
nothing will either please or satisfy us.
We often then . . .
question the past,
are wretched at present,
and dread the future.
But when He puts forth His power in us again . . .
our graces shoot forth like bulbous roots in the spring,
our sighs are exchanged for songs,
our fears are exchanged for fortitude,
our doubts are exchanged for confidence, and
our murmurings are exchanged for gratitude and love.
We then . . .
sink into the dust of self-abasement,
admire the forbearance and patience of God,
condemn our own conduct, and
wonder that we are out of Hell.
Then we take down our harps from the willows, and with a melting heart, a weeping eye, and a tremulous voice we sing, "The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance." Ourwilderness is now turned into an Eden — and our desert into the garden of the Lord!
Come, Holy Spirit, come, and produce a spring season in our souls!
Brethren, we need the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of grace — to make us gracious and graceful Christians. Without the Spirit of grace . . .
we cannot live up to our profession;
we cannot copy the example of our beloved Master;
we cannot keep His commandments;
we cannot love one another as He has loved us;
we cannot sympathize with lost sinners as we should;
we cannot keep God's glory in view in all that we do;
we cannot walk in high and holy fellowship with God;
we cannot meet death with peace and joy!
~ ~ ~ ~
The life-boat of free grace!
"I am cast down!"
And why are you cast down?
"My heart is burdened with a sense of my short-comings!
Every duty I perform is so imperfect.
Every purpose I form is so soon frustrated.
Every hope of seeing better days is so soon beclouded.
My heart is so fearfully depraved.
My life is so unlike the life of Jesus.
My temper is so unholy.
My prayers are so brief and heartless.
My praises are so feeble and fitful.
I do so little good.
I live to so little purpose.
My evidences are so dim.
My prospects are so overcast.
I am harassed sometimes with the fear of death.
I cannot realize the glories of Heaven.
I am dissatisfied with the world — and yet glued to it!
I hate sin — and yet fall into it!
I am a riddle, a mystery, a mass of inconsistency!
Is it, then, any wonder that I am cast down?"
No, if you look at yourself, and pore over the things you have named — then it is no wonder that you are cast down! They are enough to cast anyone down! But if you carry them to the throne of grace, if you there confess them before God, if you look to Jesus to save you from them — then, in spite of them — you will not long be cast down.
I know it is difficult to do this. There is a natural proneness to pore over such things. One feels at times a secret liking to indulge in gloomy thoughts.
But we must look away from self — for if we do not, we shall become anxious, doubting and gloomy! We must run the race, not looking at our imperfections, short-comings, and failures — but looking unto Jesus. He knows what we are. He knew what we would be — before He called us by His grace; yes, before He shed His blood for us!
He loved us, as sinners.
He died for us, as sinners.
He called us, as sinners.
He saves us, as sinners. He will have all the glory of saving us, and He will get great glory by doing so, because we are such great sinners; and do not, cannot, do anything torepay Him for His wondrous love! Salvation is by free grace — from first to last! Believe this, and it will raise up your drooping mind!
The life-boat of free grace has put you on board the vessel of salvation, and that will convey you safely to the port of glory! Do not look at your spiritual destitution, or feebleness, or incapacity, or imperfections — but trust in your Pilot, rely on your Captain, and expect His mercy and merit to land you safe in Heaven at last!
As imperfect as you now are, and as imperfect you will be — your dying prayer will still be, "God be merciful unto me — a sinner!"
Hope in God!
His mercy is great unto the heavens,
His grace is as free as the air,
His love is as changeless as His nature,
His promise is as immutable as His love.
Hope in God, for you shall yet praise Him. He will save you for His own sake, and present you before assembled worlds as a monument of His mercy, and a trophy of His grace!
~ ~ ~ ~
One hour after death!
One hour after death, WHERE shall I be?
One hour after death, WHAT shall I be?
One hour after death, How shall I be EMPLOYED?
One hour after death, What will be my FEELINGS?
One hour after death, How shall I THINK?
How differently we shall think of money, pleasure, the indulgence of our lusts, all that we now call great, grand, and desirable — one hour after death! Let us endeavor to think now— as it is probable we shall think then!
Let us place ourselves in Heaven — and try to think there!
Let us place ourselves in Hell — and try to think there!
How different will things then appear!
~ ~ ~ ~
He will show to the whole world what you have been doing in the dark!
"The Lord does not see it!" Ezekiel 9:9
"My way is hidden from the Lord!" Isaiah 40:27
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. The consequences will be fearful by and bye.
Open sinners offend both God and men — secret sinners offend God only!
But it is better offend the whole world — than offend God!
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 (Revelation 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 even 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!
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!" (Ecclesiastes 12:14). The sins that are hidden now — will be hidden no longer!
The Judge on the throne will act justly and impartially, and will render to every man according to his deeds. "The guilt of Ephraim is stored up — his sins are kept on record!"Hosea 13:12
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!"
Then shall be brought to pass the fearful prediction, "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).
~ ~ ~ ~
Up and at it!
"ALL at it — and A
This was what John Wesley endeavored to impress upon all his followers — and this is what we would like to see impressed upon the mind of every Christian. We have much to do— and we have little time to do it in. We had need therefore, to be up and at it!
If ignorance is to be chased away,
if gospel knowledge is to be circulated,
if souls are to be saved,
if children are to be taught,
if churches are to grow,
if villages, towns, and cities are to be evangelized
— then we had need be ALL at it — and ALWAYS at it!
This is just . . .
what the times call for,
what the Gospel inculcates,
what Satan dreads,
what the carnal world dislikes —
therefore let us be "all at it — and always at it."
Let everyone undertake that part of the work for which he is most adapted — and persevere in that which he commences.
How many there are who profess Christ — who are doing nothing!
How many may easily do twice as much as they currently do.
Is it surprising . . .
that the church is in such a poor spiritual state,
that Popery spreads,
that ignorance prevails,
that congregations are thin,
that little is accomplished,
that ministers are dispirited, and
that mature Christians are going home to sigh?
No! It is not at all surprising! The wonder is, that things are not worse!
Self-denial is rarely practiced,
the flesh is indulged,
the world is loved,
the earthly is preferred to the spiritual — and the present to the future.
Let us all go at it, and let us be always at it — until we hear the Master's voice calling unto us and saying, "Well done, good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of your Lord!"
But if we . . .
hunt for honor,
use our Lord's money selfishly,
and settle down upon our lees —
we shall by and bye see the day, when we will wish we had been ALL at it — and ALWAYS at it!
"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain!" 1 Corinthians 15:58