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15 December, 2013

Treasures from James Smith – Collection of Quotes – Part 3

The OFFICES of Christ

If we look at the OFFICES of Christ — it endears Him to our hearts. 

He is a PROPHET, to . . .
  instruct the ignorant, 
  lead the blind, and 
  make the foolish, wise. 
He . . .
  unfolds the Father's mind, 
  opens the everlasting covenant,
  and teaches all His people to profit. 

He is a PRIEST, to . . .
  atone for the guilty, 
  reconcile those who are enemies, and 
  intercede on behalf of transgressors. 
He . . .
  satisfies justice, 
  magnifies mercy, and 
  brings a holy God and polluted sinners into an honorable union. 

He is a KING, and as such He . . .
  receives the discontented, 
  rules over innumerable penitent criminals, 
  and defends all His subjects from danger. 
His power is omnipotent, 
His resources are boundless, 
His government is peaceful, and 
all the statutes of His kingdom are wise, merciful, and just.

He is also our husband — who loves, cherishes, and honors His beloved blood-bought bride. He . . .
  loves her as He loves Himself, 
  treats her with unutterable kindness, and 
  will allow nothing to separate her from His love. 

This causes us to sing:
"Jesus my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
  My Prophet, Priest, and King,
  My Lord, my life, my way, my end,
  Accept the praise I bring!"

~  ~  ~  ~

The garment which the Savior always wore

HUMILITY is a most precious grace — it is filled with beauty, loveliness, and glory. This is the garment which the Savior always wore. This is the grace which gave such a charm to all that He did and said. It is one of our best garments, and without it the soul is generally naked. "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another." 1 Peter 5:5. 

For lack of humility — the Church is rent and torn with divisions. For lack of humility — believers bring many trials and crosses on themselves, and sow the bitter seeds of trouble and remorse. 

If I were truly humble, I must be happy, for it is with such Jehovah dwells: "For this is what the high and lofty One says — He who lives forever, whose name is holy: I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and humble in spirit." Isaiah 57:15. To such He looks with esteem, love, and delight: "This is the one I esteem: he who is humbleand contrite in spirit, and trembles at My Word." Isaiah 66:2. 

"I hate pride and arrogance!" Proverbs 8:13. Pride is . . .
  most loathsome to God, 
  injurious to men, and 
  a stronghold of Satan within us. 

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble!" James 4:6. He keeps the proud at a distance, and will not allow them to approach him: "Though the Lord is great, He cares for the humble — but He keeps His distance from the proud!" Psalm 138:6. He threatens them with everlasting destruction. "The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished!" Proverbs 16:5

Lord, give me true humility, and let me be clothed with it from day to day!

~  ~  ~  ~

O sad spectacle of misery, grief, and woe! 

"Jesus came to take away our sins!" 1 John 3:5

Here notice the end of His coming: "To take away our sins!" 

Our sins were committed against Himself. 
They deserved His everlasting displeasure. 
They called aloud for His vengeance to awake and punish us. 
He foresaw the whole of them — in all their variety, enormity, and aggravation. He knew that they would be sins against His law, His love, and His tenderest mercy — sins against light, out of bitter enmity, and perpetrated over and over again. He knew the whole amount of our vileness — and yet (Oh, the greatness of His love!) "Jesus came to take away our sins!" 

Sin had . . .
  incensed Divine justice against us, 
  exposed us to Jehovah's wrath, and
  brought us under the dreadful curse of His violated law.

Therefore Jesus came and took away our sins, and at the same time . . .
  satisfied the claims of divine justice, 
  appeased the Father's wrath, 
  and bore our curse Himself! 

O wondrous love! 

O marvelous grace! 

O astonishing mercy!

But more wondrous, more marvelous, more astonishing — is Jesus Himself — who did this for us, and did it freely, without solicitation, or anything in us to induce Him to do it!

But how could Jesus take away our sins? "God made Him to be sin for us." 
He bore the weight of them,
He endured their merited punishment, 
and He suffered the shame they procured. 

He was . . .
  despised by men,
  tormented by devils, 
  smitten with the sword of divine justice, 
  forsaken by His Father, 
  mocked by His creatures, 
  overwhelmed with grief, 
  torn with anguish, and 
  His heart was broken with reproach and agony
 — all for a poor, sinning, sorrowing, Hell-deserving creature like me! 

Sin lay upon Him, 
the wrath of God was endured by Him, 
the most fearful terrors surrounded Him,
Heaven, earth, and Hell, appeared as though leagued against Him!
Men grossly insulted Him, 
devils tried all in their power to destroy Him, 
and God was pleased to bruise Him, and then leave Him to languish in heart-breaking sorrow. 

O sad spectacle of misery, grief, and woe! 

Was there ever sorrow, like unto Your sorrow? 

Was there ever love, like unto Your love? 

You might have sat upon Your throne, enjoying Your own glory, happiness, and felicity forever — and have justly left us to perish in our sins, and suffer for our own transgressions! But no, you would be Jesus — you would save Your people from their sins! You would come to take away our sins, though in so doing — justice took away Your honor, happiness, and life. You would not leave us to perish — but You would put away our sins by the sacrifice of Yourself. You have . . .
  turned away Jehovah's wrath, 
  cast all our sin into the depths of the sea, and 
  bore our punishment in Your own body on the tree!

Indeed Your love is astonishing, inconceivable, and almost too great for my weak faith to believe!

Dear Lord Jesus, You are exactly what I need — and You are all that I need. Your love will be . . .
  a sufficient portion in life,
  a divine cordial in death, and 
  an ocean of felicity in which to bathe forever!

To see Him, love Him, and extol Him — is the Heaven of every saint. 

He is . . .
  sweeter than honey, 
  more pleasant than the light, and 
  more precious than life itself!

To know Him — is to be truly wise. 
To live upon Him — is to be happy. 
To walk with Him — is to be holy. 
To look to Him, expect from Him, and cast all our cares upon Him — is to honor Him.

~  ~  ~  ~

What a delightful and astonishing thought it is!

"Since you were precious in My sight — you have been honorable, and I have loved you."  Isaiah 43:4

What marvelous grace is here! 

What a delightful and astonishing thought it is — that such poor, vile, rebellious creatures — should be precious to the infinite, holy, and eternal Jehovah!

That He should delight in us! (Isaiah 62:4) 

That He should shed His precious blood for us! (1 Peter 1:19) 

That He should work precious faith in us! (2 Peter 1:1) 

That He should make precious promises — to support, supply, and comfort us! (2 Peter 1:4) 

That He should render Christ precious unto us! (1 Peter 2:7) 

That He should indulge us with a knowledge of His thoughts, and make them precious to us! (Psalm 139:17) 

That He should call us His precious children!

Well may we exclaim with David, "What am I — that You should be mindful of me?"

~  ~  ~  ~

The great object of our lives!

To exalt the Lord Jesus,
to comfort His beloved people, 
and to benefit our fellow-men — 
should be the great object of our lives. 

For this purpose we were . . .
  chosen by the Father, 
  redeemed by the blood of the Son, 
  and are sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 

To accomplish this end . . .
  grace is given us, 
  gifts are conferred upon us, 
  and life is continued to us. 

We only live consistently — as we live for the benefit of others. No Christian should make SELF his main end; therefore the Apostle says, "No one should seek his own good, but the good of others."  
If we are influenced by the grace of God, 
if we study to commend ourselves to God, 
if we are ruled by the Word of God — 
our principal object will be, to "do good unto all men, especially unto the household of faith." 
Upon this, we shall keep the eye steadily fixed, 
toward this, we shall bend all our energies, and 
upon this, we shall habitually set our hearts.

~  ~  ~  ~

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!

"I have set the Lord always before me!" Psalm 16:8

With the Lord always before us . . .
  our faith will be strong, 
  our hope will be vigorous, 
  our humility will be deep, 
  our penitence will be abiding, 
  our evidences will be satisfactory, 
  and our example will be bright! 

Let us, therefore, set the Lord always before us . . .
  to meditate upon His love, grace, and goodness; 
  to admire His holiness, condescension, and patience; and 
  to commune with Him, as our Friend and loving Father, from day to day. 

Then we shall not . . .
  fear men, 
  dread death, or 
  be alarmed at the convulsions that take place in our world!
Our confidence will be strong, 
our peace will flow like a river, and 
our righteousness like the waves of the sea. 

It is when we take the eye off the Lord, and look into SELF — that . . .
  our doubts, fears and unbelief, arise and work,
  Satan gains an advantage over us, and
  the world fascinates or frightens us! 

Let us, therefore, look . . .
  out of self, 
  away from the world, 
  above our trials — 
and look simply to Jesus! 
This is the way to . . .
  enjoy peace, 
  grow in grace, and 
  abound in every good work. 

Let us look away from sin — to Jesus making atonement for it!

Let us look away from guilt on the conscience — to Jesus as bearing the iniquity of our holy things before the Lord!

Let us look away from imperfect duties deserving punishment — to His magnificent righteousness!

Let us look away from our cold hearts and lifeless prayers — to His constant and all-prevalent intercession!

We shall never maintain . . .
  peace in our consciences, 
  evenness in our walk, or 
  consistency in our lives — 
but as we keep the Lord always before us!

Therefore . . . 
if we wish to be happy,
if we desire to be holy, 
if we would die in peace — 
let us look simply, only, always, and in everything — to Jesus! 

O Savior, may I set You before me as. . .
  my fountain of supply, 
  my source of comfort, 
  my rock of strength, 
  my way of salvation, 
  and my bright example!

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!" Hebrews 12:2

~  ~  ~  ~

And then the Lord puts us into the furnace!

"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows!" John 16:33 

Every Christian should expect a daily cross  
  something to try his graces, 
  something to render the promises necessary,
  something to make the throne of grace desirable. 

We are promised trouble in God's Word, 
all the saints have found trouble in this life, 
trouble will be our portion to the end of our days. 

Here on earth, we have no abiding city. Here we are but travelers and pilgrims, and must, therefore, expect that every day will furnish something new to make us hasten home. 

This was David's experience. He would never have prayed as he did, written as he did, or been useful as he has been — but for his trials! He found . . .
  the Lord to be faithful, 
  grace to be sufficient, and 
  deliverance in the most suitable season. 
Hence he says, "In the day of my trouble, I will call upon You; for You will answer me!" Psalm 86:17

Here is a gloomy anticipation: A "day of trouble." The believer and trouble are seldom far apart, or long apart. We are born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards. Whichever way we look — we see a source of trouble! 

If we look into the heart — its depravity, deceitfulness, and wickedness is a fruitful source of trouble. If we look to the different faculties of the soul — all combine to trouble us! 

Our memories — how ready to receive, retain, and produce evil, even profanity — and how backward to receive, keep, or produce what is spiritual and good. Scripture is soon forgotten — while anything which we would gladly forget, seems to be imprinted on the mind, and is produced in order to distress us.

The will — how perverse and stubborn, how often does it run out after that which is carnal, forbidden by God, and injurious to us!

The affections — how easily are they impressed with earthly things, and set upon what is vain and worldly. 

The conscience — how weak, how hard, how often polluted. 

If we turn from ourselves, to our families — children dead in sin; and carnal, earthly-minded relations — such are causes of trouble.

If we look at the world, whether it smiles or frowns — it is an enemy to our God, and us, and a prolific source of trouble. 

If we look at the church — what a source of trouble is this! 
Instead of love — there is jealousy. 
Instead of peace — there is conflict. 
Instead of union — there is division. 
Instead of brotherly kindness — there is envy. 
Instead of charity — there is an unforgiving spirit.

Here is a good purpose: "I will call upon You." The Lord kindly invites us to call upon Him in trouble — and promises that He will deliver us. Every trouble, rightly understood, is an invitation from the Lord to call upon Him! We are apt to get cold and indifferent — and then the Lord puts us into the furnace — which warms and quickens our hearts. Our best prayers have generally been offered up in times of trouble. In trouble, we feel that we must pray — or sink! Oh, what a mercy to have a God to go to, in every trouble! A God who invites, promises, and will bless us! 

The day of our trouble — should be a day of special prayer. 
Trouble burdens the heart — prayer eases it. 
Trouble disturbs the heart — prayer quiets it. 
Trouble perplexes the heart — prayer guides it. 

Here is sweet encouragement: "You will answer me." It is sweetly encouraging to know that God will . . .
  listen to us,
  sympathize with us,
  and answer us, 
in our many trials and sorrows. 

We may argue the certainty of the Lord's answering us, from His great mercy towards His children. Divine mercy has . . .
  a quick ear, 
  a piercing eye, 
  a tender heart, 
  a full hand, and 
  a swift foot!
When mercy hears a poor sinner crying — she always attends, sympathizes with him, and answers. While God remains plenteous in mercy and delights in mercy — we need not fear a refusal to our prayers!

Even if the furnace should be heated seven times hotter — still we have His promise, "In the day of my trouble, I will call upon You; for You will answer me!" 

What sweet encouragement is here!

~  ~  ~  ~

Prone to wander!

"My people have wandered, and have forgotten their resting place." Jeremiah 50:6

Even true Christians are prone to wander from their resting place. Every sinner is a wanderer, and while sin dwells within us — we shall always feel a disposition to wander. This is against our better judgment, our solemn profession, and our new nature — yet still there is the disposition to wander, and it is called into exercise by a variety of things:

1. A love of novelty — a desire to see, possess, or enjoy something new — will sometimes set us wandering. 

2. The weakness of our graces, as faith, hope, and love — is at other times the occasion of it. 

3. The power of corruption within us, which at times works with peculiar force and power — makes us restless.

4. The temptations of Satan, which beguile, bewilder, and captivate us — lead us from our resting-place also. 

5. And so do the errors that abound and spread all around us. 

False views, Satanic temptations, powerful corruptions, and the weakness of grace — are the principal things which lie at the root of our backslidings.

Reader, are you a restless wanderer? 
If so, return, return unto Jesus. 
Go to Him, and confess your sins. 
Go to Him, and entreat His pardon. 
Go to Him, and prove the kindness of His heart. 
Go to Him, and be happy once more in His grace and love.

O Savior, bring me back from all my wanderings by Your invincible grace; let me enjoy rest in Your precious love, and keep me near Your loving heart and bleeding side forever!

~  ~  ~  ~

God's perfections and glorious attributes!

"The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress!" Psalm 46:7

"If God is for us — who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 

Who can prevail against us? Who can really injure us? Let us daily think of God's glorious perfections — and view them as engaged for us at all times. 

His power is engaged to support, defend, and strengthen us. 

His omniscient eye is constantly upon us — watching over us for good. 

His omnipresence is our safeguard from all our foes — for no one can come and find our God absent from us. 

His justice and righteousness shine in all His dealings with us — and are like lofty mountains round about us. 

His holiness shines in all His purposes and plans — and forbids the thought that He will act unsuitably towards us. 

His mercy is ever great towards us — and by it He sympathizes with us in all our sorrows, griefs, and woes. 

His goodness will constantly supply us — and is sufficient to fill us with admiration and astonishment. 

His truth renders certain — every promise He has given and recorded in His Word. 

His immutability bears us up and bears us on — confirming our faith and hope in His Word.

His wisdom frustrates the designs of our foes — and arranges and manages all for our welfare. 

His eternity is the date of our happiness — and the duration of our unspeakable blessedness! 

Here is enough to . . .
  engage our thoughts, 
  overflow our minds, and
  forever fill us with adoration and praise!

What a God is Jehovah! And Jehovah, in Jesus — is ours!

How cheering this fact, and what sweet support it yields to the mind — to meditate on God's perfections and glorious attributes — seeing them all in Jesus — and in Him, engaged for our present and everlasting welfare! 

What could shake our minds — if we did but firmly believe that God's omnipotence is engaged to defend us to the uttermost? 

What could tempt us to commit any known sin — if we were realizing that God's omniscient eye is ever upon us; yes, that God is present with us, and that He is our sin-hating Father? 

What could lead us into murmuring and rebellion — if we were fully persuaded that God's holiness and justice are for us, and will shine resplendent in all His dealings with us? 

What could lead us to think that our prayers would not be answered, nor our petitions be regarded — if our minds were influenced by the assurance, that God is truth? 

How could we believe that He would ever turn against us — if we rightly viewed His immutability? 

Or, how could we think that our affairs could be disordered — if we felt satisfied that His wisdom was working for us at all times! 

"The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress!" Psalm 46:7

~  ~  ~  ~

The Christian's hope!

"The hope which is laid up for you in Heaven" Colossians 1:5

Many Christians have but little in hand — but they have much in hope. 
They have little on earth — but they have unsearchable wealth in Heaven!
The present is the worst state they will ever be in. All beyond death — is bright, blissful and glorious!

The Christian's hope consists in both freedom and possession. 

The Christian's hope consists in freedom from . . .
  all the pains which we now experience, both in mind and body;
  all the hindrances which are so thickly strewed in our way in this evil world;
  all the fears which now beset, agitate, and harass us, day by day;
  all the forebodings which often make our lives bitter and gloomy;
  all the sins which are now our plague, disease, and torment;
  all our needs, and all possibility of needing — for God will fully supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 
Oh, what a mercy it will be to enjoy such freedom — and to possess the inward consciousness that it will be enjoyed forever!

The Christian will not only be free from all that is painful and distressing — but he will also possess . . .
  perfect, settled, and everlasting peace;
  sinless faculties and immortal powers with which to serve and enjoy God forever;
  permanent, perpetual, and uninterrupted joy;
  the presence and enjoyment of Jesus — we shall see Him, be with Him, and be like Him;
  ALL that we can consistently wish or desire! 

Our hope is laid up for us in Heaven. This betokens . . .
  its excellency — being kept in so excellent a place;
  its certainty and security — no thieves can break through to steal;
  its nature — it is spiritual, holy, Heavenly. 

O glorious hope! O blessed prospect! It leaves us nothing to long for — nothing to desire!

What a mercy it is . . .
  when comforts run short, 
  when trials press sorely, 
  when a dreary winter of affliction sets in — 
to remember that we have a priceless inheritance — an inheritance that is kept in heaven for us — pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay!

How this blessed hope should . . .
  quicken our zeal, 
  animate our spirits, and 
  raise us above fear and despondency. 

It is not what we have now — but what we shall have in Heaven — which should affect us. 

Our glorious inheritance is vast beyond calculation — it is safe beyond the possibility of failure!

The wilderness will soon be passed, the storms of life will soon subside — and eternal calm and unclouded sunshine, will soon be our happy, endless portion!

All glory to free grace!

~  ~  ~  ~

The gospel 

"For we know, brethren beloved by God, that He has chosen you — because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction." 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

The gospel reveals . . . 
a Savior, in whom we must trust;
a Sovereign, whom we must obey; 
a Priest, on whose atonement we must rest;
a Prophet, from whom we must learn; 
a Friend, in whose love we must confide; 
a Brother, from whom we may expect; 
a Father, whose authority we must revere; 
an Apostle, whose mission we must copy; and 
an Advocate, to whom we must commit our cause.

The gospel . . .
flows from the free love, rich grace, and abundant mercy of our God;
is founded in the Savior's person, mediation, and death;
becomes effectual through the revelation, operation, and application of the Holy Spirit. By it, He begets faith, imparts love, and excites hope; and when accompanied by His blessing — the gospel is received in demonstration and power.

The gospel . . .
produces penitence — and godly sorrow for sin;
begets hatred to sin — and love to holiness;
weans from the world — and wafts the affections to heaven;
makes us zealous for God — and the good of immortal souls;
delivers us from the power of darkness — and translates us into the kingdom of Jesus;
crucifies the flesh — and liberates the spirit;
unites Christians in love — and raises us above the fear of death;
fortifies us against persecution — and makes us rejoice in suffering for Immanuel's name;
humbles the spirit — and dignifies the man;
destroys covetousness — and makes us benevolent;
roots out pride — and implants meekness;
transforms us from the world — and conforms us to God;
begets hatred to impurity — and makes us chaste;
throws down idolatry — and leads us to worship God;
conquers SELF — and exalts Christ;
softens the hard heart — and produces kindness;
delivers from sin, Satan, and the world — and devotes body, soul, and spirit to the Lord.

~  ~  ~  ~