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13 December, 2013

Treasures from James Smith - Collection of Quotes - Part 2

Three Bad Companions!
We are all of us, at times, thrown into company which we do not like; and when so, the best thing we can do is to get out of it as quickly as possible! But sometimes we find that this is more easily said, than done. I have seen some aged people pestered with these very bad companions, and they could not get rid of them if they would!

That the young may beware of these three rascals, I will point them out:

POVERTY is the first bad companion. This is often brought on by imprudence, and lack of frugality. When work was good, and health was strong — no provision was made for a rainy day. By and bye, trade failed, strength departed, and old age came on — and then appears the pitiable object, a poor old man! We shall need many little comforts in old age, which we can very well do without now while in good health; therefore, if God has given us the opportunity, let us lay aside a little for old age.

It is hard to beg when the head is gray, to be frowned upon by the wealthy, or be obliged to go into "the poorhouse." These things may be avoided by many, if they would live frugally.

Reader, if you are young, make up your mind, that if poverty should be your companion when you are old, that you will be able to say, "This was not brought on by my intemperance, self-indulgence, or forgetfulness of the future — but by the wise providence of God!" Then you will have a source of comfort, which many elderly people have deprived themselves of.

PAIN is the second bad companion. The pains of old age often spring from the follies, sins, and recklessness of youth. Pain cannot always be prevented — but very much is brought on by ourselves. Many old people are full of pains, which are the effects of their carelessness, rashness, and wickedness in youth. A poor old man full of pain is to be pitied; and yet if we knew the origin of many of his pains — we would be obliged to say that he himself is to be blamed. Friends, if you would not have pain for a companion when you are old — live simply, take regular exercise in the open air, and stay away from rich foods.

PROCRASTINATION is the third bad companion. This has been called "the thief of time!" As, therefore, it would steal one of your most precious jewels — beware of it!
~  ~  ~  ~
And what do many do?

Silver and gold are given to us as God's stewards — and we are to use them for His glory. He often gives them, and then seems to leave us to ourselves, saying, "I will just see what you will do with them." 

And what do many do? Look . . .
  at their opulent homes, 
  at their lavish furniture, 
  at their plush clothes, 
  at their vain amusements, 
  at their expensive foods,
  at their . . . . . . .
But I forbear! 

Only just look on the other hand, at what they give . . .
  to support the ministry,
  to assist missions,
  to circulate the Bible,
  to distribute tracts,
  to relieve the poor, etc. etc. 
Can we say of such people, as Paul did of others, "None of us lives to himself?" 

If these are God's stewards — are they faithful?

~  ~  ~  ~
Living expositions of the truth! 

Coldness and lukewarmness in the ways of God, are peculiarly offensive to our Lord and Savior; for if anyone deserves our whole hearts, if anyone ought to have the whole of our energies — it is Jesus!

We should be zealous for the truth of the gospel. 
It is God's mind. 
It is the revelation of the Savior's love. 
It is the remedy for the sinner's woes. 
It is the charter of the Church's privileges. 
It is dear to God's heart.
It is watched over with a jealous eye. 
It should be prized as inestimably valuable. 
It is . . .
  the mirror, in which God is seen; 
  the map, on which our road is marked out; 
  the law, by which our duty is made plain! 

"That they may adorn the teaching of God our Savior in everything!" Titus 2:10

We should zealously adorn the Gospel. Not by the tinsel of human eloquence — but by a consistent and holy walk. 

We ought to be living expositions of the truth!

In our conduct — the nature and tendency of the Gospel ought to be seen!

By our meekness and gentleness, 
by our fidelity and prudence, 
by our self-denial and benevolence, 
by our temperance and brotherly kindness, 
by our patience and fervent love — 
we ought to adorn the most holy truth of God! 
God calls for it. 
The Gospel is calculated to produce it!

~  ~  ~  ~
It is high time to awake out of sleep!

"Be zealous!" Revelation 3:19

The zealous Christian is sure of . . .
  God's blessing, 
  the approbation of his own conscience,
  the opposition of Satan,
  the frown of every lukewarm professor, 
  and the commendation of all godly people.

Let us warm our hearts at the fire of God's love!

Let us quicken our motives by a visit to the cross!

Let us sharpen our weapons by communion with the Spirit!

Let us seek the grace, the courage, the strength necessary at the mercy seat — and then let us zealously fall to work. Let . . .
  the work of God be our delight, 
  the welfare of our fellow-men be our aim, 
  and the glory of the Lord be our highest object!

Let us live in earnest. Let us live to purpose.

By the shortness of time, 
by the solemnities of death, 
by the realities of eternity, 
by the danger of lost sinners, 
by the vigilance of Satan, 
by the poor state of the Church, 
by the character of the present times, 
by the command of God, 
by the example of primitive believers, 
and by the counsel of the Lord Jesus — 
let us stir up our hearts — and stir up one another to "Be zealous!" 

Brethren, the time is short, and "It is high time to awake out of sleep!" 

By the spread of Popery, 
by the activity of infidelity,
by the condition of our cities, 
by the needs of the Church, 
by the woes of the world, 
by the authority of God, 
by the blood of the cross, 
by the promise of the Spirit, 
by the prospect of success, 
by the rest of the grave, 
by the glories of Heaven, 
by the terrors of Hell,
by the rewards of activity, and
by the condemnation of the lukewarm and the slothful
 — allow me to beseech you to "Be zealous!" 

Be zealous today — tomorrow you may die! 

Be zealous in time — and in eternity, you will rejoice that you have been so!

~  ~  ~  ~
Can this be — for such a vile wretch like me?

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

Lord, You have said, "I will cast all your sins into the depths of the sea!" They shall be carried into a land of everlasting forgetfulness. And to confirm all, You have added, "I will never leave you nor forsake you!" Is this, can this be — for such a vile wretch like me? O wondrous mercy! O boundless sovereign, everlasting, unchangeable, love! Yes, it suits me, because it is all of grace, free grace, from first to last — without works, and without boasting. 

O how shall I sufficiently admire, bless, praise, and adore the grace "that buries all my sins" and rejoice in that glorious righteousness in which I stand perfect before a holy God! I feel ready to cry out, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, for He has clothed vile, polluted, Hell-deserving me — with the garments of salvation! He has covered me with the robe of righteousness!"

Why is this? O Lord, why is this — that I am made to hear your pardoning voice — while thousands are left to perish in their sins, who are much better than I am? It is even so, Father — for so it seems good in Your sight.

O wondrous depth of sovereign grace, without either a shore or a bottom! Lord, lead me into it, and there let me bathe to all eternity! May I know the wondrous love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge! I now feel as if I was lost in an endless subject — the astonishing love of Christ — the sovereign, boundless, bottomless, free, and eternal love of Christ! O how wonderful that such a poor, vile, wretched, nothing creature, as I am — should be interested in it! Surely none but Jesus could, and none but Jesus would — so love one so vile as me; but He has done it! 

What shall I render unto the Lord, my covenant God — for His boundless mercy to such a guilty, Hell-deserving, sinner as I am? O Lord, may I gaze, admire, and adore!

~  ~  ~  ~

The height of folly, arrogance, and weakness!

O to be well pleased with all that my Heavenly Father appoints for me in this valley of tears! Yet, how prone I am . . . 
  to murmur at the Lord's inscrutable ways,
  to call into question His infinite wisdom, and
  to arraign His wondrous love at the bar of my poor reason!

This is the height of folly, arrogance, and weakness — and yet I am often guilty of it!

"Oh, a wretched man I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?" Romans 7:24

~  ~  ~  ~
Draw me — or drive me!

The following in an excerpt from the diary of James Smith:
It has just occurred to me, that the reason why the Lord has of late allowed me to be so severely tried — is that I have been very little at His throne of grace. Nor have Hispromises appeared so precious, pleadable, and suited to my case.

Jesus is determined to have me often at His throne, and if the invitations and promises of His Word will not draw me there — then He will send trials to drive me there!Blessed Jesus, are you not saying to me by every trial, "Call upon Me! Make use of Me! See what I will do for you!"

What a proof of the deep depravity and base ingratitude of my heart is this — that You are obliged to send trials and troubles to bring me to Your feet! Yet it is so! For unlessdrawn by the cords of Your loving-kindness, or driven by painful trials — I seldom come to You with earnestness, fervor, and life! 

I am so prone to wander, to be light and trifling — troubled by shadows, and excited by mere trifles! I abhor myself because I am vile! O how base my heart is, to despise so glorious a privilege, and to neglect so choice a duty! 
O Jesus, cleanse it by Your precious blood!
O Holy Spirit, purify it by Your sacred operations, and keep it by Your power! 
O Righteous Father, devote it wholly to Yourself! Give me submission — help me patiently to carry my cross after Jesus, though it is rough, heavy, and galling. From the depths of my heart I can say,
"A sinful, weak, and helpless worm; 
 On Your kind arms I fall!"

What a proof of the loving-kindness of Jesus to my soul is this — that He will not allow me to be comfortable or happy, while living at distance from Him!

Blessed Jesus! pardon me, correct me — but never leave me to myself! Draw me — or drive me; but never allow me to live long at a distance from You!

Gracious Lord Jesus,
  keep me near You,
  looking to You,
  living for You,
  leaning on You,
  believing in You, and
  expecting from You, all that I need!

Surely this is a sweet life — living on Jesus alone, making Him all in all!

"O bring me to Your sacred feet, 
 And let me rove no more!"

~  ~  ~  ~
It blights and blasts!

The following in an excerpt from the diary of James Smith:
December, 1850. 
Popery and the aggression of the Pope, just now engage almost everyone's attention. Many liberals appear to me to sympathize a great deal too much with the Man of Sin. The Pope is anti-Christ! Popery is alike the enemy of God and man. It is the mystery of iniquity! It blights and blasts every country where it reigns. It is drunk with the blood of the saints. It hates God's Book, and persecutes God's people to the utmost of its power — and therefore we ought to oppose it! (Editor's note: the same could be said of the Islam religion.)

~  ~  ~  ~
If they knew all about us!

The following in an excerpt from the diary of James Smith:
I am daily more and more vexed with myself — because I am so unlike Jesus — so unlike what I ought to be, and what I wish to be. I shall never glorify Him as I ought, while I have to carry about this body of sin and death. 

How kind it is of our gracious God, to conceal from others — what He Himself sees within us; and which if known by others — would alienate them from us, and fill them withdisgust! What contemptible creatures we would appear to our friends — if they knew all about us! 

We may study our own hearts, and if we study them under the cross, it will not injure us — but benefit us. But no man may study his brother's heart — he is not to be admitted into the chambers of idols within. We may form some idea of the hearts of others — by our own; for as face answers to face in water — so does the heart of man to man. 

I find it very difficult to believe that another's heart is as bad as mine — except in the case of some heinous criminal. I cannot charge my friend with being so depraved as I am — for having such base thoughts, vile inclinations, and abominable desires, as I have. But perhaps others think the very same respecting me.

"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked! Who really knows how bad it is?" Jeremiah 17:9

~  ~  ~  ~
The reason why He is not loved
"Yes, He is altogether lovely!" Song of Songs 5:16 

Love is generally drawn forth by beauty exhibited, or by kindness shown. We love the beautiful and the benevolent. 

But to the carnal mind, there is no beauty in Jesus — because its taste is vitiated, and its perception is depraved. It calls darkness, light; and light, darkness. It puts bitter for sweet — and sweet for bitter. We do not expect the natural man to see the beauty of the Redeemer's person, or to be inflamed to love by His attractions. Still the beautiful ought to be loved, and "He is altogether lovely!" The reason why He is not loved, is to be found in the corruption of human nature, and the depravity of the sinner's heart. 

If you see nothing in Jesus to love — then it is evident that you are under the power of darkness. If you have never really loved Him — then you are dead in trespasses and sins. What a dreadful state! What a fearful thought is this!

Yes, no one will love Him — unless the heart is changed by the Holy Spirit. The mind must be completely changed, before it will love Christ. 
He is light — but men love darkness. 
He is holy — but men love sin. 
He is the image of God — but men love the likeness of Satan.

The Holy Spirit, speaking by the Apostle Paul, says, "If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ — let him be accursed!" 1 Corinthians 16:22. How terrible, "let him be accursed!" Let him be condemned by God, driven from God, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of God! 
 

"What! blessed apostle, meek and gentle servant of Christ — doom every one to Hell who does not love the Savior?"
"Yes, without anger, without any improper feeling, I say — If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ — let him be accursed!"

"But think how terrible a place Hell is, how awful God's curse must be, and what tremendous agonies are included in eternal punishment?" 
"I have thought of that, and, while full of love to man, and desiring above all things, the salvation of all who hear me, or read what I write — yet I repeat — If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ — let him be accursed!"

"What! that fine young man?"
"Yes, if he does not love Christ."

"What! that amiable young woman?" 
"Yes, if she does not love Christ."

"What! that venerable, silver-haired, prudent, and kind-hearted old man?" 
"Yes, if he does not love Christ. I make no exceptions. If any person does not love Jesus — then he deserves to be accursed — his doom and destiny is to be accursed!"

~  ~  ~  ~
The temptation, and the opportunity

The following in an excerpt from the diary of James Smith:

I have just heard that an old friend, far advanced in life, has fallen into sin! May the Lord pardon and restore him. 

In looking back, I wonder that I have not publicly fallen; for I have been powerfully tempted to other sins, equally as bad. I have regularly observed, that in my experience the Lord has not often allowed the temptation, and the opportunity — to meet! And when they have, fear has worked powerfully and kept me back.

"But as for me — my feet were almost gone! My steps had well near slipped!" Psalm 73:2

Ah, how frequently have I been almost gone! I can call to mind places and times, when I have been in the very mouth of danger, on the brink of a fearful fall — and yet the Lord has held me up! But for special keeping  where would I have been this morning? And what would I be? Blessed be God, though it was almost — it was not fully. This word,almost, has been sweet to my soul.

Almost Gone! — but altogether saved, through God's most free, and all-glorious grace!

But I would not merely be kept from open sin, I desire to be so deeply sanctified, that my soul may . . .
  hate, abhor, and detest sin in every form,
  tremble at its approach, and
  flee from the very appearance of evil — to Jesus!

I find that my nature is still corrupt, depraved, and polluted; and that . . .
  the blood of Jesus,
  the restraining power of the Holy Spirit,
  and the forgiving grace of God
 — are as necessary as ever! 

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

~  ~  ~  ~
O how strange — that God should love a worm, a dung-hill worm!

August 28, 1857. 
If some of my congregation knew me better — they would love me less! Yet my heavenly Father . . . 
  knows me well,
  favors me much,
  and loves me wonderfully!
O how strange — that God should love a worm, a dung-hill worm — one who was bred in sin, loved sin, felt at home in sin, and at times felt regret that he was debarred from some sins! O if God had left me to myself — what would I have been, and what would I have done! "But by the grace of God — I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10 

Surely, surely, I must say, that divine love and wisdom have planned my path — from first to last. I am . . .
  out of Hell, 
  in the way to Heaven,
  employed by God,
  useful to saints, and
  a blessing to sinners! 
O how wonderful, how wonderful is this!

~  ~  ~  ~
Almost gone!

(An excerpt from the diary of  James Smith)

"But as for me — my feet were almost gone! My steps had well near slipped!" Psalm 73:2

Ah, how frequently have I been almost gone! I can call to mind places and times, when I have been in the very mouth of danger, on the brink of a fearful fall — and yet the Lord has held me up! But for 'special keeping' — where would I have been this morning? And what would I have been? Blessed be God, though it was almost — it was not quite. This word, almost, has been sweet to my soul. Almost gone! — but altogether saved, through God's most free, and all-glorious grace!

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

~  ~  ~  ~

My little daughter Ann was in good health on Monday — and on Thursday she was a corpse!

(An excerpt from the diary of  James Smith, when he was 28 years old)

Another sharp stroke! My little daughter Ann was in good health on Monday — and on Thursday she was a corpse! She died just two months after her sister Mercy. But the words of the Patriarch came to silence and humble me, "If He snatches someone in death — who can stop Him? Who dares to ask: What are You doing?"

I fear I loved her too much, for she was a beautiful child. Well, she is gone — and I must follow her, nor can I tell how soon. 

"The Lord gave — and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised!" Job 1:21