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18 December, 2013

Treasures from James Smith (A collection of choice quotes from his works) - Part 4

He may be on earth at noon — but in Hell at night! 

"They walk on in darkness!"
 Psalm 82:5

The minds of sinners make progress — but it is in the wrong path! They started wrong. They will not believe that they are wrong. Therefore they walk on to their own destruction. It is a painful sight to see thousands, and tens of thousands of travelers, passing through this world — and all going wrong! Every step they take, leaves us less hope — and gives the Prince of darkness more power over them. In temporal things — they see clearly enough; but in spiritual things — they are stone-blind! "They walk on in darkness."
Darkness is the emblem of IGNORANCE. They are ignorant . . .
   of their true state before God, 
   of the character of the God who made them, 
   of the just desert of sin, 
   of the only Savior who can deliver them, 
   of the way of escape opened up before them, 
   and of the dreadful doom that awaits them!
They walk on in ignorance! If they were not so ignorant — they would surely fly to the Lord Jesus to save them.

Darkness is also the emblem of SIN. They live . . .
   in the violation of God's holy law, 
   neglecting Christ's gracious gospel, and 
   making SELF the end of their existence.

They live to themselves, 
they live for themselves, 
they neglect God's requirements, 
they despise His invitations, 
they turn their backs on His throne of grace,
they treat His Book with contempt,
they waste their time in idleness and folly
 — and yet talk as if they expected that He would have mercy upon them at last! They walk on in sin — and yet hope to arrive in Heaven at last!

Darkness represents DANGER. These people are in imminent danger! Disease may arrest them at any hour! Death may remove them out of this world at any moment! 
Disease introduces death, 
death ushers into the presence of God, 
and God dooms the careless sinner to Hell!

He may be in health in the morning — but a corpse at noon!
He may be on earth at noon — but in Hell at night!
He walks upon snares. He is surrounded by the officers of justice. He may be seized any moment. Once seized . . . 
  hope departs, 
  despair approaches, and
  outer darkness closes up the scene!

And yet they walk on in thoughtlessness! They . . .
  fool away their time,
  neglect their opportunities of escape, 
  disregard the warning voice, and
  perish in their own deceivings!

Beast-like — they have no concern for any of these things. They say they shall not be worse off than others — as if it were any relief to be no worse than others, where all are in misery, agony and endless woe! Not worse off than others! Yes, they will — for it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for them. Not worse off than others! Indeed they will — for the men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment and condemn them. Not worse off than others! This is a mistake — for careless, indifferent, Christ-rejecting sinners, "will receive the greater damnation!"
"They walk on in darkness," but if they persevere in doing so — then how fearful will their end be. It will be . . .
   misery without mercy, 
   darkness without light, 
   despair without prospect of deliverance — 
and all the result of a willful determination to "walk on in darkness!"

~  ~  ~  ~
It is difficult to say which is the more astonishing!

"You are my portion, O Lord!" Psalm 119:57 

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!" Psalm 73:26 

It is difficult to say which is the more astonishing:
  that God should be our portion, or
  that He should take us to be His portion!

"The Lord's portion is His people!" Deuteronomy 32:9 

"Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine!" Isaiah 43:1

~  ~  ~  ~
The poor Christian!
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to those who love Him?" James 2:5
Poverty is not spirituality — but sanctified poverty is a great friend to it.
Poverty is no sin — but it is sometimes a preventive to sin.
Poverty has its temptations — but it has also its consolations.
The poor ought not to repine at poverty — because God in His infinite wisdom has appointed it, and is able to render it the greatest blessing. God's chosen are generally found among the poor. Not that He chose them because they were poor; but choosing them in Christ — He appointed poverty as the best thing for them.
God's enemies have their full portion in this life — here, they have their good things. Not so with God's children! Here on earth, they have their evil things — and their best things are yet to come!
The poor Christian has . . .
  a rich Father in whom to trust;
  the fullness of Jesus to supply him;
  the precious promises on which to depend;
  the Holy Spirit to be his Comforter; and a
  glorious inheritance to anticipate and forever dwell in!

All Christians are "heirs of the kingdom" — 
the kingdom of grace here — and of glory hereafter;
the kingdom in which Jesus will reign;
the kingdom where they will be princes — yes, kings and priests;
the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world!

My poor brother — my poor sister! Look up! Look forward!
Your cottage will soon be exchanged for a mansion!
Your sickness will soon be exchanged for health!
Your poverty will soon be exchanged for wealth!
Your sin will soon be exchanged for perfect holiness!
Your earth will soon be exchanged for Heaven!
You will not always be poor! You will not be poor for long. Jesus will soon come — and then you will reign with Him!
For you — an inheritance is reserved in Heaven!
For you — a mansion is being prepared!
For you — glory, honor, immortality, even eternal life, are in reserve!
~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Suffering Christian!

"God will wipe every tear from their eyes! There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain!" Revelation 21:4 

How much pain many of the Lord's people are called to suffer — and how severe that pain often is! There are times when pain is hard to bear — when our spirits are exhausted and we are sorely tempted to doubt the pity and tender love of our Heavenly Father. Then it is  sweet to look forward to the place, and anticipate the time — when God will wipe every tear from our eyes — and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain!

Suffering Christian! Your pain will soon end — and your sufferings will soon be over! Jesus will come and fetch you from your bed of pain, your chamber of affliction, and yourhouse of mourning! Absent from the body — you will be present with the Lord!

Seek grace from the Lord to suffer patiently. There is an end of every pain — and soon you will bless the Lord for the very pains which now cause you to sigh and groan! The songs of Heaven will be sweetened by the groans of earth; and the pleasures of eternity will be heightened by the pains of time!

Every pain endured — leaves one less pain to suffer. And every hour that passes — brings us one hour nearer to the time when the ransomed of the Lord shall leave behind this land of darkness and death, and go home to their Father's house with everlasting joy, while sorrow and sighing shall forever flee away!

"You will weep no more!" Isaiah 30:19

~  ~  ~  ~  ~
All that we can need for life or death, time or eternity!
"There is no lack to those who fear Him!" Psalm 34:9
They are not truly wealthy — who appear to be so — or who boast of being so.
The lost sinner must be poor. He has . . .
   no God to comfort him; 
   no Savior to deliver him; 
   no Guide to conduct him; 
   no Advocate to plead for him; 
   no inward peace to support him; 
   no title to Heaven to encourage him.

He is poor. He is in need. He will need . . .
   confidence and comfort in death; 
   a wedding garment, in which to appear before God; 
   and a comfortable home throughout eternity!

Every lost sinner is indeed poor. His resources will soon be exhausted, and he will find himself "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!" He may have the appearance of prosperity — but not the reality. True riches belong to another family.
The Lord's people all fear Him; that is, they fear to offend Him, and desire above all things to please Him. And though they may appear poor — they are really rich! God has provided all good things for them — and He gives all good things to them.
They have a solid peace, flowing from a knowledge of acceptance with God, through the blood of Jesus.
They have a joyful hope, which blooms with immortality.
They are assured of strength equal to their day; and of sanctifying grace to make all their troubles work for their good.
They are content with God's wise and holy appointments; and godliness with contentment is a good fortune.
They acquiesce in the will of God; and are often filled with joy which flows from His presence.
They obtain victory over the temptations which would ensnare them.
They live above the world, which would allure and beguile them.
They are sure of support in death.
They look forward to a joyful resurrection.
They rightly anticipate Heaven as their portion forever!
There is no lack to them, for all that they can truly need, is promised — and every promise is confirmed by the blood of Jesus!
Jehovah is theirs — along with all that He is, and has!
His power is their support!
His wisdom is their guide!
His fullness is their fortune!
His mercy is their friend!
His love is their Heaven.
"Happy are the people who are in such a case!" All the Lord's people are really in this case — and therefore they are all happy!
Just think of having Almighty God for your present, constant, eternal Friend!
Think of having the wealth of Deity to supply and satisfy you!
And if you sincerely fear God — then this is the reality of your case! No truth is more clearly revealed in Scripture. No subject is more rich with consolation!
Strength may be exhausted, 
health may decline, 
courage may fail, 
riches may flee, 
friends may forsake, 
enemies may increase,
all circumstances may change for the worse — but
"those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing!"

Sweet promise of a faithful God!
Here, pilgrim, is your staff — take it and travel home!
Here, saint, is your cordial — drink and forget your misery!
Here, believer, is your fortune — take it and live upon it, while a resident here below.
Here, fearful soul, is your antidote — use it to dispel your fears and cheer your fainting heart!
"The young lions may lack food and go hungry — but there is no lack to those who fear Him!"
Here is wealth! Here is comfort!
Here is all that we can need for life or death, time or eternity!
~  ~  ~  ~  ~
A remedy for heart trouble!
"Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God — believe also in Me!" John 14:1

We often trouble ourselves. We often allow our hearts to be tossed about like the waves of the sea, without any real cause. Our Savior forbids it. He forbids it in tender love. He forbids it because it is injurious. It lays us open to temptations, and fosters unbelief and anxiety. Our Lord would have us be calm, patient, and composed; therefore He says, "Let not your heart be troubled!"

He prescribes a remedy for heart trouble, or inward anxiety:

1. "Believe in God." Believe in God as your Father — as loving you, acting for you, and rejoicing in your welfare. See Him . . .
   ordering all events with consummate wisdom; 
   overruling all with infinite skill; and 
   sanctifying all to your welfare, by His sovereign grace. 

There is no room for 'chance' — for His government is perfect. 
There can be no unkindness — for His love is infinite. 
All will be directed right — for He personally superintends every detail in the universe!
The floating of the atom, 
the rolling of the sea, and 
all the movements of every mind — 
are alike under His control and direction! 
"He works all things after the counsel of His own will."

2. "Believe also in Me!" Believe. . .
  that I sympathize with you; 
  that I feel the deepest interest in your welfare; 
  that I never withdraw my eye or heart from you for one moment;
  that I will support you in every place, and under every trial; 
  that My arm shall be stretched out for you to lean upon, as you come up out of the wilderness of this world; 
  that I will save you to the uttermost; 
  that I will show you a brother's love; 
  that I will stand by you as a firm friend in every distress;
  that I will overturn all the designs of your foes against you.

Remember Jesus, that Jesus who . . .
  lived for you, 
  labored for you, 
  suffered for you, 
  died for you, 
  rose for you, and 
  is now in Heaven pleading for you — 
says, "Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God — believe also in Me!"

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Open wide your mouth — and I will fill it!
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth — and I will fill it!" Psalm 81:10
Our great privilege is to have God for our God:
  to know Him, 
  to love Him, 
  to adore Him, 
  and to trust in Him.

If God is ours — then all must be well. If God has delivered us from . . .
  the Egypt of this world, 
  the power of sin, and 
  the tyranny of Satan  
then He is our God indeed.

He says, "I am Jehovah  the compassionate God . . .
  who sympathizes with My people in their sorrows, 
  who counts their tears, 
  who feels their groans, and 
  who records their prayers."

"I am Jehovah — the God of power . . .
  who delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage; 
  whose strength is as infinite as My nature, 
  for whom nothing is too hard."

"I am Jehovah — the God of love . . .
  whose resources are boundless, 
  whose pity is tender, and 
  who never fails or forsakes those who trust in Him."

"I am Jehovah — your God . . .
  pledged to you by promise; 
  engaged for you by covenant; 
  and bound to you by oath!

As I am your God . . .
  look 
to Me, 
  trust 
in Me, 
  expect 
from Me."

"Open your mouth wide!" That is, "Ask LARGELY — ask for great, numerous, and costly blessings! Do not be afraid of asking for too much! 
My heart is large, 
My love is great, 
My wealth is unbounded!

Ask BOLDLY — do not be afraid — but come boldly to My throne of grace, that you may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Ask FREQUENTLY — I am always ready to give! I am never weary of listening to your prayers. Come whenever you are in need — I rejoice to do you good. No parent ever delighted to give to a darling child — as I delight to give to you! Therefore ask and receive, that your joy may be full.
"Open your mouth wide — and I will fill it!" That is, "I have the very blessings which you need. They are from Me — they are for you! I have the disposition to give! Do not doubt My benevolence, for this grieves My heart. I give you My word, that I will bestow My favors upon you freely, plentifully, and frequently! My Word is plain — read it; it is faithful — trust it; it is honest — plead it; it is sure — expect the fulfillment of it. I will do exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or think!"
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth — and I will fill it!"
~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Oh, how dreadful the thought — to go to Hell through the church of God!

"A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it — but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard: For three years now, I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree — and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil!" Luke 13:6-7

Let us look at Christ's figure a little: 
A fig-tree — or a professor of the religion of Christ. 
A fruitless fig-tree — or a barren, useless professor.
A fig-tree with leaves of profession — but not the fruit of holiness.

No place is as dangerous for an unconverted person — as the church of God! It is to be feared that many join the church before they are truly converted; and yet very, very few are ever converted after. 

Once under a profession — God expects you to live up to that profession. 
If you are planted in His vineyard — God expects you to bring forth fruit. 

The owner of the vineyard comes and seeks fruit; He comes again, and again; and if He find none, He passes this solemn sentence, "Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil!" 

Concerning every fruitless professor God says, "Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil! It drains the ground of its nourishment, for no good purpose. Labor is but lost upon it; expectation is disappointed by it; therefore, Cut it down! My patience and forbearance are worn out; I have come three years seeking fruit — and find none; so, Cut it down!"

It is a fearful sentence! God gives the command to some disease — He says, "Go, cut that barren professor down!" He sendsdeath, like the woodsman with his sharpened axe — at length he strikes the fatal blow; and then the fruitless professor falls! 

This command of God is fearful — it is full of terror — it includes utter destruction! 

This command is irresistible — we cannot evade it — we cannot brave it out — the boldest heart fails — the strongest body yields to God's "Cut it down!" 

This command is final! There is all that is dreadful wrapped up in it — even a certain, fearful expectation of God's judgment, and the raging fire that will consume His enemies!

The fruitless professor is to be cut down and committed to the eternal flames of Hell!
Here is wrath — fearful wrath!  
Here is justice — inflexible justice!  
Here is vengeance — the vengeance of an infinite God!

O fruitless professor. . .
  Consider! 
  Fear! 
  Tremble! 
  Repent! 

God looks for fruit from every professor. He will certainly punish — if there is no fruit. 

Fruitless professor — where will you be soon? The axe lies at your root, even now! The executioner is only awaiting the command! 

Divine mercy will soon urge her last plea; the year of reprieve will soon expire — and then, "Cut it down!" is all that remains! Oh, how dreadful the thought — to go to Hell through the church of God! To profess that you are traveling to Heaven — when in reality you are going with the lost multitude to eternal perdition!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~
The worthless sinner's place!
"Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her!" Luke 10:42

We often manifest our folly in our choices — but Mary displayed her wisdom. She chose to sit at the feet of Jesus as a humble learner — she . . .
  loved His person, 
  admired His preaching, 
  desired to learn His doctrine, 
  and above all to imbibe His spirit. 
Her object was communion with Him — in which we become conformed unto His image. In her choice she revealed . . .
  great spirituality of mind;
  true wisdom and discernment; 
  attachment to her Lord and His doctrine; 
  deadness to the world and its vain formalities; 
  a concern for the present welfare of her own soul; 
  and a willingness to renounce all for Jesus.

Happy Mary! Honorable woman! May you be my pattern! Your choice was wise; your part was a worthy portion; and your example is held up for our imitation!

At the feet of Jesus we are safe — no enemy can overcome us there! 
At the feet of Jesus we are holy — no sin can gain dominion there!
At the feet of Jesus we are happy — no trouble can be too much for us there!

My soul, choose Mary's place — and Mary's portion.
There is a place at the feet of Jesus for you! 
Your sin is no obstacle in the way — for Jesus will pardon that!
Your unworthiness is no barrier — for it is the worthless sinner's place! 

Oh, take your place at His feet now! 
Listen to His sweet voice, 
receive His holy doctrines, 
taste His precious love, 
rest your soul on His atoning blood — 
and Heaven will immediately begin in your soul!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God's sweetest attribute!

Men are deficient in mercy — but God, our God in Jesus, will display the greatest kindness and compassion to His children. This renders Him so amiable, suitable, and glorious in the estimation of His people. Mercy is God's sweetest attribute . . .
  as beautiful as the morning light, 
  as measureless as the waters of the ocean, 
  as boundless as illimitable space, 
  as refreshing as the early dew, 
  as glorious as the noon-day sun!

God's mercy is like His nature — pure, lovely, and eternal. His mercy is suited to all the needs of His children — it is free, full, and meets every case! Christian, the Lord assures you that He has mercy for you!

He has pardoning mercy — which will suit your sinfulness; mercy which will blot out your sins, and remove them from you as far as the east is from the west!

He has delivering mercy — which will meet your misery; mercy which will deliver you from . . .
   the power of sin, 
   the bondage of Satan, 
   the curse of the law, 
   the fear of death, 
   the terrors of judgment, and 
   all the soul-troubles which may fall upon you on earth!

His mercy is tender mercy — which will suit the sickness of your soul. He will sympathize with you, pity you, and manifest the greatest forbearance and love. His mercy is so tender, that it will not break the bruised reed, or quench the smoking flax. It will . . .
  encourage the weak desire, 
  fan the feeble spark into a flame, 
  and take the will for the deed. 

His mercy is supplying mercy — to meet your needs and defects. It will supply all your needs, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Whether your needs are temporal or spiritual — He will supply you. He will give you both grace and glory; and no good thing will He withhold from you, if you walk uprightly. 

It is also sanctifying mercy — to suit your impurity. It will wash you in the laver of the Word, and in the fountain of a Savior's blood. It will teach you to wash your robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. It will sanctify your troubles, and make all things work together for your good. 

It is rescuing mercy, which will appear for you, and deliver you from all the dangers which may line your way — and at last present you faultless before the throne of God!

In a word — God's mercy will meet every case, circumstance, and condition in which it is possible for you to be placed! 

Reader, let me exhort you to dwell much on this excellent attribute of your God. Meditate on God as all-merciful and all-sufficient for our every state!