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December

December 1st.

And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons-in-law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons-in-law.— Genesis xix. 14.

HTHE Saviour tells us they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building; all went on as usual. Sodom was never more prosperous than now. There is no sign of a coming judgment; no sign that Sodom is going to be burnt up.

The sun shone as brightly the day before its destruction as it had shone for years. The stars perhaps were glittering in the heavens as brightly as ever, and the moon threw her light down upon the city; but Lot's sons-in-law mocked him, he couldn't get them out. I see him going through the streets with his head bowed down, and great tears trickling down his cheeks. Ask him now about his life, and he will tell you it has been a total failure. He goes back to his home; and early in the morning the angels have to take him almost by force, and hasten him out of the city. He could not bear the thought of leaving his loved ones there to perish, while God dealt in judgment with that city.

Is not that a fair picture of hundreds and thousands at the present time? Have you been trying to accumulate wealth even to the neglect of your children, so that to-day they are lifting up their voices against your God, and against your Bible, and against you? They do not care for your feelings; are they not trampling them under their feet? Perhaps many of the parents have gone to their graves, and the children are now squandering what their parents gathered. What an example we have in the case of Lot, and how it ought to open the eyes of many a business man, and cause him to see that his life is going to be a total wreck if he takes his children into Sodom's judgment when the judgment comes.

December 2d. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.—1 Corinthians xv. 3. VOU ask me what my hope is. It is that Christ died for my sins, in my stead, in my place, and therefore I can enter into life eternal. You ask Paul what his hope was. "Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture." This is the hope in which died all the glorious martyrs of old, in which all who have entered heaven's gate have found their only comfort. Take that doctrine of substitution out of the Bible, and my hope is lost. With the law, without Christ, we are all undone. The law we have broken, and it can only hang over our head the sharp sword of justice. Even if we could keep it from this moment, there remains the unforgiven past. "Without shedding of blood there is no remission."

December 3d. Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valor, but he was a leper.—2 Kings v. 1.

r\ID you ever ask yourselves which is the worse—the leprosy of sin, or the leprosy of the body? For my own part, I would a thousand times sooner have the leprosy of the body eating into my eyes, and feet, and arms! I would rather be loathsome in the sight of my fellow-men than die with the leprosy of sin in my soul, and be banished from God forever! The leprosy of the body is bad, but the leprosy of sin is a thousand times worse. It has cast angels out of heaven. It has ruined the best and strongest men that ever lived in the world. Oh, how it has pulled men down!

December 4th. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.—Revelation xxii. 17.

LJ OW many men fold their arms and say:

"If I am one of the elect, I will be saved, and if I am not, I won't. No use bothering about it."

I have an idea that the Lord Jesus saw how men were going to stumble over this doctrine of election, so after He had been thirty or forty years in heaven He came down and spoke to John. One Lord's day in Patmos, He said to him:

"Write these things to the churches."

John kept on writing. His pen flew very fast. And then the Lord, when it was nearly finished, said,

"John, before you close the book, put in one more invitation. 'The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst, come. And WhoSoever Will, let him take the water of life freely.*"

December 5th. The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.—Romans vi. 23.

TF an angel came straight from the throne of God, and proclaimed that God has sent him to offer us any one thing we might ask—that each one should have his own petition granted— what would be your cry? There would be but one response, and the cry would make heaven ring: "Eternal life! eternal life!" Everything else would float away into nothingness.

It is life men want, and value most. Let a

man worth a million dollars be on a wrecked vessel, and if he could save his life for six months by giving that million, he would give it in an instant. But the gospel is a six months' gift; " The gift of God is eternal life." And is it not one of the greatest marvels that men have to stand and plead and pray and beseech their fellow-men to take this precious gift of God?

December 6th.

Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own ? for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.—1 Corinthians vi. 19, 20.

T THINK it is clearly taught in the Scripture that every believer has the Holy Ghost dwelling in him, that there is a divine resident .n every child of God. He may be quenching the Spirit of God, and he may not glorify God as he should, but if he is a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost dwells in him. But I want to call attention to another fact. I believe to-day that though Christian men and women have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, He is not dwelling within them in power; in other words, God has a great many sons and daughters without power.

December 7th. And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.—Matthew xxv. 25.

T READ of a man who had a thousand dollars.

He hid it away, thinking he would in that way take care of it, and that when he was an old man he would have something to fall back upon. After keeping the deposit receipt for twenty years he took it to a bank and got just one thousand dollars for it. If he had put the money at interest in the usual way, he might have had three times the amount.

He made the mistake that a great many people are making to-day throughout Christendom, of not trading with his talents. My experience has been as I have gone about in the world and mingled with professing Christians, that those who find most fault with others are those who themselves do nothing. If a person is busy improving the talents that God has given him he will have too much to do to find fault and complain about others.

December 8th. / know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.—2 Timothy i. 12.

IV] OTICE the confidence that breathes through Paul's last words to Timothy. It is not a matter of doubt, but of knowledge: "I know," "I am persuaded."

The word " Hope " is not used in the Scripture to express doubt. It is used in regard to the second coming of Christ, or to the resurrection of the body. We should not say that we "hope" we are Christians. I do not say that I "hope" I am an American, or that I " hope" I am a married man. These are settled things. I may say that I "hope" to go back to my home, or that I hope to attend such a meeting. If we are born of God we know it; He will not leave us in darkness if we search the Scriptures.

December 9th. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.—John xv. 13.

\17HEN we wish to know the love of God we should go to Calvary. Can we look upon that scene, and say God did not love us? That cross speaks of the love of God. Greater love never has been taught than that which the cross teaches. What prompted God to give up Christ—what prompted Christ to die—if it were not love ?" Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Christ laid down His life for His enemies; Christ laid down His life for His murderers; Christ laid down His life for them that hated Him; and the spirit of the cross, the spirit of Calvary, is love. When they were mocking Him and deriding Him, what did He say ?" Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." That is love. He did not call down fire from heaven to consume them; there was nothing but love in His heart.

December ioth.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. —John xiv. 6.

PEOPLE say: "I want to know what is the truth."

Listen: "I Am The Truth," says Christ. (John xiv. 5.) If you want to know what the truth is, get acquainted with Christ.

People also complain that they have not life. Many are trying to give themselves spiritual life. You may galvanize yourselves and put electricity into yourselves, so to speak; but the effect will not last very long. Christ alone is the author of life. If you would have real spiritual life, get to know Christ. Many try to stir up spiritual life by going to meetings. These may be well enough; but it will be of no use, unless they get into contact with the living Christ. Then spiritual life will not be a spasmodic thing, but will be perpetual; flowing on and on, and bringing forth fruit to God.

December nth.

As we have borne the image of the earthy,we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.—1 Corinthians

XV. 49.

'THANK God, we are to gain by death! We

are to have something that death cannot touch. When this earthly body is raised, all the present imperfection will be gone. Jacob will leave his lameness. Paul will have no thorn in the flesh. We shall enter a life that deserves the name of life, happy, glorious, everlasting—the body once more united to the soul, no longer mortal, subject to pain and disease and death, but glorified, incorruptible, "fashioned like unto His glorious body," everything that hinders the spiritual life left behind. We are exiles now, but then we who are faithful shall stand before the throne of God, joint heirs with Christ, kings and priests, citizens of that heavenly country.

We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose.—Romans viii. 28.

T HAVE an idea we will thank God in eternity for our reverses and trials more than for anything else. I believe John Bunyan thanked God for the Bedford Jail more than for anything that happened to him down here. I

December 12th.

believe Paul thanked God for the rods and stripes more than for anything else that happened to him.

Are you passing through the waters? Don't get discouraged! You are an heir of glory; He is with you. He was with Joseph when he was cast into prison. I had rather be in prison with the Almighty than outside without Him. You needn't be afraid of prison, and, you needn't be afraid of the grave, you needn't be afraid of death. Cheer up, child of God; the time of our redemption draweth near! We may have to suffer a little while, but when you think of the eternal weight of glory, you can afford to suffer.

December 13th.

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!—Romans xi. 33.

T THANK God there is a height in the Bible I do not know anything about, a depth I have never been able to fathom, and it makes the Book all the more fascinating. If I could take that Book up and read it as I can any other book and understand it at one reading, I should have lost faith in it years ago. It is one of the strongest proofs that it must have come from God, that the acutest men who have dug for fifty years have laid down their pens and said, "There is a depth we know nothing of." "No Scripture," said Spurgeon, "is exhausted by a single explanation. The flowers of God's garden bloom, not only double, but sevenfold: they are continually pouring forth fresh fragrance."

December 14th. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us :for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.—Galatians iii. 13.

T IFE never came through the law. As some *-' one has observed: "When the law was given, three thousand men lost life; but when grace and truth came at Pentecost, three thousand obtained life." Under the law, if a man became a drunkard the magistrates would take him out and stone him to death. When the prodigal came home, grace met him and embraced him. Law said, Stone him !—grace said, Embrace him! Law said, Smite him!—grace said, Kiss him! Law went after him, and bound him; grace said, Loose him and let him go! Law tells me how crooked I am; grace comes and makes me straight.

December 15th. Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick.—John xi. 3.

""THE communion those sisters had with Jesus brought them so near to His heart that when the time of trouble came they knew where

to go for comfort. A great many people do not learn that secret in prosperity, and so when the billows come rolling up against them, they don't know which way to turn. The darkest and most wretched place on the face of the earth, is a home where death has entered, and where Christ is unknown. No hope of a resurrection, no hope of a brighter day coming.

December 16th.

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.—Daniel vi. 10.

"THERE is many a business man to-day who will tell you he has no time to pray: his business is so pressing that he cannot call his family around him, and ask God to bless them. He is so busy that he cannot ask God to keep him and them from the temptations of the present life—the temptations of every day. "Business is so pressing." I am reminded of the words of an old Methodist minister: "If you have so much business to attend to that you have no time to pray, depend upon it you have more business on hand than God ever intended you should have."

But look at this man. He had the whole, or nearly the whole, of the king's business to attend to. He was Prime Minister, Secretary of State, and Secretary of the Treasury, all in one. He had to attend to all his own work, and to give an eye to the work of lots of other men. And yet he found time to pray : not just now and then, nor once in a way, not just when he happened to have a few moments to spare, but " three times a day."

December 17th.

They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.—Hosea viii. 7.

WHENEVER I hear a young man talking in a flippant way about sowing his wild oats, I don't laugh. I feel more like crying, because I know he is going to make his greyhaired mother reap in tears ; he is going to make his wife reap in shame; he is going to make his old father and his innocent children reap with him. Only ten or fifteen or twenty years will pass before he will have to reap his wild oats; no man has ever sowed them without having to reap them. Sow the wind and you reap the whirlwind.

December 18th.

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filed with all the fullness of God.—Ephesians iii. 17-19. JV/l ANY of us think we know something of God's love, but centuries hence we shall admit we have never found out much about it. Columbus discovered America; but what did he know about its great lakes, rivers, forests, and the Mississippi valley? He died, without knowing much about what he had discovered. So, many of us have discovered something of the love of God, but there are heights, depths and lengths of it we do not know. That Love is a great ocean, and we require to plunge into it before we really know anything of it.

Among the many victims of the Paris Commune was a Catholic bishop. He was a man who knew something of the love of God in his own experience. In the little cell where he was confined, awaiting execution, was a small window in the shape of a cross. After his death there was found written above the cross "height"; below it, "depth "; and at the end of each arm of the cross, "length" and "breadth." He had learned that God's love was unfailing in the hour of adversity and death. December 19th.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.—James i. 5, 6.

CO faith is the golden key that unlocks the treasures of heaven. It was the shield that David took when he met Goliath on the field; he believed that God was going to deliver the Philistine into his hands. Some one has said that faith could lead Christ about anywhere; wherever He found it He honored it.

Unbelief sees something in God's hand, and says, " I cannot get it." Faith sees it, and says, "I will have it."

December 20th.

Having loved His own that were in the world, He loved them unto the end.—John xiii. 1.

IT is recorded of Jesus Christ, just when He was about to be departed from His disciples and led away to Calvary, that: "having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end." He knew that one of His disciples would betray Him, yet He loved Judas. He knew that another disciple would deny Him, and swear that he never knew Him, and yet He loved Peter. It was the love which Christ had for Peter that broke his heart, and brought him back in penitence to the feet of his Lord. For three years Jesus had been with the disciples trying to teach them His love, not only by His life and words, but by His works. And on the night of His betrayal He takes a basin of water, girds Himself with a towel, and taking the place of a servant, washes their feet; He wants to convince them of His unchanging love.

December 21st. I will honor Him,—Psalm xci. 15. OD'S honor is something worth seeking. Man's honor doesn't amount to much. Suppose Moses had stopped down there in Egypt. He would have been loaded down with Egyptian titles, but they would never have reached us. Suppose he had been Chief Marshal of the whole Egyptian army, "General" Moses, "Commander" Moses; suppose he had reached the throne and become one of those Pharaohs, and his mummy had come down to our day. What is that compared with the honor God put upon him? How his name shines on the page of history!

The honor of this world doesn't last, it is 'transient, it passes away; and I don't believe

any man or woman is fit for God's service that is looking for worldly preferment, worldly honors and worldly fame. Let us get it under our feet, let us rise above it, and seek the honor that comes down from above.

December 22d.

{Mr. Moody's " Coronation Day.") Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death.—John viii. 51.

COME day you will read in the papers that ^ D. L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don't you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all; gone out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal, a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body like unto His own glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.

December 23d.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My word and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.—John v. 24.

C ALVATION is instantaneous. I admit that a man may be converted so that he cannot tell when he crossed the line between death and life, but I also believe a man may be a thief one moment and a saint the next. I believe a man may be as vile as hell itself one moment, and be saved the next.

Christian growth is gradual, just as physical growth is; but a man passes from death unto everlasting life quick as an act of the will— "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life."

December 24th.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes ,• and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor eying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.—Revelation xxi. 4.

""THERE are no tears in heaven, and there would be few on earth if the will of God was only done.

December 25th.

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.—Luke ii. 7.

""THE natural human heart is like that inn at *■ Bethlehem—no room for Christ! Every true saint of God for four thousand years had been gazing out into the future, looking and listening that they might hear the footfall of the Coming One. Bible students think that when Eve brought forth her firstborn and said: "I have got a man from the Lord," she thought he was the Promised One. And right on for four thousand years the mothers in Israel had been looking for that Child. And now the time has arrived. He appears on earth; and the first thing we read is that there is no room for Him!

He came on no secret mission. He tells us what He came for, "to seek and to save that which was lost." He came to get His arm under the vilest sinner and lift him up to God; to bind up the broken-hearted, and to comfort those that mourn. And yet from time to time it was announced in Jerusalem that He had come, until He was put to death on the cross, the sword was not put back into its scabbard until it had pierced the very heart of the Godman.

December 26th.

(Mr. Moody's Burial.)

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?—1 Corinthians xv. 54, 55.

T TURN my back on death, and journey toward life from this time on, and away into the eternity beyond the grave I see Life.

December 27th. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.—Exodus xx. 12.

""THE one glimpse the Bible gives us of thirty *■ out of the thirty-three years of Christ's life on earth shows that He did not come to destroy the fifth commandment. The secret of all those silent years is embodied in that verse in Luke's Gospel—" And He went down with them and came also to Nazareth, and was subject to them." Did He not set an example of true filial love and care when in the midst of the agonies of the cross He made provision for His mother?

December 28th.

And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.—Revelation v. 11, 12. \f ES, He is worthy of all this. Heaven can1 not speak too well of Him. Oh that earth would take up the echo, and join with heaven in singing, " Worthy to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing!"

December 29th.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.—Psalm ciii. 12.

IVJ OT some of them; He takes them all away. 1 You may pile up your sins till they rise like a dark mountain, and then multiply them by ten thousand for those you cannot think of; and after you have tried to enumerate all the sins you have ever committed, just let me bring one verse in, and that mountain will melt away: "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from All sin."

December 30th.

And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou ?—Genesis iii. 9.

A MAN once said to me," How do you know that God put that question to Adam?" The best answer I can give is, Because He has put it to me many a time. I doubt whether there ever has been a son or a daughter of Adam who has not heard that voice ringing through the soul many a time. Who am I? What am I? Where am I going? So let us put the question to ourselves personally, Where am I? \ Not in the sight of man—that is of very little account; but where am I in the sight of God?

December 31st. With long life will I satisfy him.—Psalm xci. 16. T GET a good deal of comfort out of that 1 promise. I don't think that means a short life down here, seventy years, eighty years, ninety years, or one hundred years. Do you think that any man living would be satisfied if they could live to be one hundred years old and then have to die? Not by a good deal. Suppose Adam had lived until to-day and had to die to-night, would he be satisfied? Not a bit of it! Not if he had lived a million years, and then had to die.

You know we are all the time coming to the end of things here,—the end of the week, the end of the month, the end of the year, the end of school days. It is end, end, end all the time. But, thank God, He is going to satisfy us with long life; no end to it, an endless life.

Life is very sweet. I never liked death; I like life. It would be a pretty dark world if death was eternal, and when our loved ones die we are to be eternally separated from them. Thank God, it is not so; we shall be reunited. It is just moving out of this house into a better one; stepping up higher, and living on and on forever.