March 1st. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.—Acts ii. 24.
I CAN imagine when they laid our Lord in * Joseph's tomb one might have seen Death sitting over that sepulcher, saying,
"I have Him; He is my victim. He said He was the Resurrection and the Life. Now I hold Him in my cold embrace. They thought He was never going to die; but see Him now. He has had to pay tribute to me."
Never! The glorious morning comes, the Son of man bursts asunder the hands of death, and rises, a conqueror, from the grave. "Because I live," He shouts, "ye shall live also."
Yes, we shall live also—is it not good news?
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.— Daniel iii. 17, 18.
""THOSE Hebrews spoke respectfully, but firmly. And mark, they did not absolutely say that God would deliver them from the burning fiery furnace; but they declared that He was able to deliver them. They had no doubt about His ability to do it. They believed that He could do it; but they did not hide from themselves the possibility of Nebuchadnezzar being allowed to carry out his threats. Still, that did not greatly move them. "But if not" —if in His inscrutable purposes He allows us to suffer,—" still our resolve is the same: we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." They were not afraid to pass from the presence of the king of Babylon to the presence of the King of kings.
March 3d. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.—Revelation xxi. 7.
T USED to have my Sabbath-school children sing—" I want to be an angel"; but I have not done so for years. We shall be above angels: we shall be sons of God. Just see what a kingdom we shall come into. We shall inherit all things! Do you ask me how much I am worth? I don't know. The Rothschilds cannot compute their wealth. They don't know how many millions they own. That is my condition—I haven't the slightest idea how much I am worth. God has no poor children. If we overcome we shall inherit all things.
March 4th. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?—James ii. 14.
T BELIEVE in a faith that you can see; a living, working faith that prompts to action. Faith without works is like a man putting all his money into the foundation of a house; and works without faith is like building a house on sand without any foundation.
You often hear people say: "The root of the matter is in him." What would you say if I had a garden and nothing but roots in it?
Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come.— John xvi. 13.
""THERE is not a truth that we ought to know . . but the Spirit of God will guide us into it if we will let Him. If we will yield ourselves up to be directed by Him and let Him lead us, He will guide us into all truth. It would have saved us from a great many dark hours if we had only been willing to let the Spirit of God be our counsellor and guide.
Lot never would have gone to Sodom if he had been guided by the Spirit of God. David never would have fallen into sin and had all that trouble with his family if he had been guided by the Spirit of God.
There are many Lots and Davids nowadays. The churches are full of them. Men and women are in total darkness, because they have not been willing to be guided by the Spirit. "He shall guide you into all truth."
// is goodfor me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes.—Psalm cxix. 71.
A DEAD level in a man's life would be his ruin? If he had nothing but prosperity, he would be ruined. A man can stand adversity better than prosperity. I know a great many who have become very prosperous, but I know few such that haven't lost all their piety, that haven't lost sight of that city eternal in the heavens, whose builder and maker is God. Earthly things have drawn their heart's affections away from eternal things.
Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backsliding shall reprove thee; know, therefore, and see, that it is an evil thing and bitter that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts.—Jeremiah xi. 19.
T DO not exaggerate when I say that I have seen hundreds of backsliders come back, and I have asked them if they had not found it an evil and a bitter thing to leave the Lord. You cannot find a real backslider, who has known the Lord, but will admit that it is an evil and a bitter thing to turn away from Him; and I do not know of any one verse more used to bring back wanderers than this very one.
Look at Lot. Did not he find it an evil and a bitter thing? He was twenty years in Sodom and never made a convert. Men would have told you that he was one of the most influential and worthy men in all Sodom. But alas! alas! he ruined his family. And it is a pitiful sight to see that old backslider going through the streets of Sodom at midnight, after he has warned his children, and they have turned a deaf ear to him.
Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.— Luke x. 20.
A SOLDIER, wounded during our civil war, lay dying in his cot. Suddenly the deathlike stillness of the room was broken by the cry, "Here! Here!" which burst from the lips of the dying man. Friends rushed to the spot and asked what he wanted.
"Hark" he said, "they are calling the roll of heaven, and I am answering to my name."
In a few moments he whispered, " Here!" once more, and passed into the presence of the King.
March 9th. Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf—2 Corinthians i. 11.
VOU have heard the story of the child who was rescued from the fire that was raging in a house away up in the fourth story. The child came to the window, and as the flames were shooting up higher and higher cried out for help. A fireman started up the ladder. The wind swept the flames near him, and it was getting so hot that he wavered. Thousands looked on, and their hearts quaked at the thought of the child having to perish. Some one in the crowd cried: "Give him a cheer!" Cheer after cheer went up, and as the man heard he gathered fresh courage. Up he went into the midst of the smoke and the fire, and brought down the child in safety.
If you cannot go and rescue the perishing yourself, you can at least pray for those who do, and cheer them on. If you do, the Lord will bless the effort. Do not grumble and criticise; it takes neither heart nor brains to do that.
March ioth. Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek Me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.—John viii. 21.
/^VNE sentence from the lips of the Son of God in regard to the future state has forever settled it in my mind. "Ye shall die in your sins; whither I go, ye cannot come." If a man has not given up his drunkenness, his profanity, his licentiousness, his covetousness, heaven would be hell to him. Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. What would a man do in heaven who cannot bear to be in the society of the pure and holy down here?
Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.—Exodus xviii. 21.
TSN'T it extraordinary that Jethro, the man of * the desert, should have given this advice to Moses? How did he learn to beware of covetousness? We honor men to-day if they are wealthy and covetous. We elect them to office in church and state. We often say that they will make better treasurers because we know them to be covetous. But in God's sight a covetous man is as vile and black as any thief or drunkard. David said: "The wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth." I am afraid that many who profess to have put away wickedness also speak well of the covetous.
March 12th. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him ; for we shall see Him as He is.—1 John iii. 2.
""THE reason why there are so many in the churches who will not go out and help others, is that they are not sure they have been saved themselves. If I thought I was dying myself, I would be in a poor condition to save any one else. Before I can pull any one else out of the water, I must have a firm footing on shore myself.
We can have this complete assurance if we will. It does not do to feel we are all right, we must know it. We must read our titles clear to mansions in the skies. The Apostle John says: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God." He does not say we are going to be.
March 13th. 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.
TN my native village in New England it used to be customary, as a funeral procession left the church, for the bell to toll as many times as the deceased was years old. How anxiously I would count those strokes of the bell to see how long I might reckon on living! Sometimes there would be seventy or eighty tolls, and I would give a sigh of relief to think I had so many years to live. But at other times there would be only a few years tolled, and then a horror would seize me as I thought that I too might soon be claimed as a victim by that dread monster, Death. Death and judgment were a constant source of fear to me till I realized the fact that neither shall ever have any hold on a child of God.
For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.—Deuteronomy xxxii. 31.
TJAS the human heart ever been satisfied with *■ false gods? Can pleasure or riches fill the soul that is empty of God? How about the atheist, the deist, the pantheist? What do they look forward to? Nothing! Man's life is full of trouble; but when the billows of affliction and disappointment are rising and rolling over them, they have no God to call upon. "They shall cry unto the gods whom they offer incense; but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble." Therefore I contend "their rock is not as our Rock."
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.—John iii. 14, 15.
I HEARD of a woman once that thought there was no promise in the Bible for her; she thought the promises were for others, not for her. There are a good many of these people in the world. They think it is too good to be true that they can be saved for nothing. This woman one day got a letter, and when she opened
it she found it was not for her at all; it was meant for another woman that had the same name; and she had her eyes opened to the fact that if she should find some promise in the Bible directed to her name, she would not know whether it meant her or some one else that bore her name. But you know the word " WhosoEver" includes each and every one in the wide world!
The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.—Romans viii. 7.
JESUS CHRIST, the purest being who ever came to this earth to save mankind, was crucified. I believe if Gabriel should come down from heaven with all the glory of that upper world, and try to save men, they would try to blacken his character inside of a week. The ungodly do not like the godly. The impure do not like the pure. There is enmity still. Men may cavil and discuss as much as they like, but there is the fact. God's prediction is fulfilled. The serpent shall have its head bruised, and every man of us should do all he can to bruise it. Our worst enemy is sin.
Unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.—Hebrews iv. 2.
CAITH is very important. It is the link that binds us to every promise of God—it brings us every blessing. I do not mean a dead faith, but a living faith. There is a great difference between the two. A man may tell me that ten thousand dollars are deposited in a certain bank in my name. I may believe it, but if I don't act upon it and get the money it does me no good. Unbelief bars the door and keeps back the blessing.
Some one has said there are three elements in faith—knowledge, assent, laying hold. Knowledge! A man may have a good deal of knowledge about Christ, but that does not save him. I suppose Noah's carpenters knew as much about the ark as Noah did, but they perished miserably nevertheless, because they were not in the ark. Our knowledge about Christ does not help us if we do not act upon it. But knowledge is very important. Many also assent and say—" I believe "; but that does not save them. Knowledge, assent, then laying hold: it is that last element that saves, that brings the soul and Christ together.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.—John xiv. 2, 3.
IF my wife were in a foreign country, and I * had a beautiful mansion all ready for her, she would a good deal rather I should come myself and bring her to it than have me send some one else to bring her. Christ has prepared a mansion for His bride, the Church, and He promises for our joy and comfort that He will come Himself and bring us to the place He has been all this while preparing.
Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.—Psalm cxix. 18.
WE have a great many prayer-meetings, but
there is something just as important as prayer, and that is that we read our Bibles, that we have Bible study and Bible lectures and Bible classes, so that we may get hold of the Word of God. When I pray, I talk to God, but when I read the Bible, God is talking to me; and it is really more important that God should speak to me than that I should speak to Him. I believe we should know better how to pray if we knew our Bibles better.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.—Galatians vi. 7.
■"THIS law is just as true in God's kingdom as in man's kingdom; just as true in the spiritual world as in the natural world. If I sow tares, I am going to reap tares; if I sow a lie, I am going to reap lies; if I sow adultery I am going to reap adulterers; if I sow whisky, I am going to reap drunkards. You cannot blot this law out, it is in force. No other truth in the Bible is more solemn.
March 21st. Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.—Matthew xi. 28.
I LIKE to have a text like this, because it takes * us all in. "Come unto Me All ye that labor." That doesn't mean a select few—refined ladies and cultured men. It doesn't mean good people only. It applies to saint and sinner. Hospitals are for the sick, not for healthy people. Do you think that Christ would shut the door in any one's face, and say, "I did not mean all; I only meant certain ones "? If you cannot come as a saint, come as a sinner. Only come!
A lady told me once that she was so hardhearted she couldn't come.
"Well," I said, "my good woman, it doesn't say all ye soft-hearted people come. Black hearts, vile hearts, hard hearts, soft hearts, all hearts come. Who can soften your hard heart but Himself?"
He shall call upon thee, and I will answer Him. —Psalm xci. 15.
TF we call on God for deliverance and for *■ victory over sin and every evil, God will not turn a deaf ear to our call. I don't care how black the life has been, I don't care what the past record has been, I don't care how disobedient or how one may have backslidden and wandered; if one really wants to come back, God accepts the willing mind, God will hear prayer, and answer.
Some people say they can't call. Perhaps you cannot make an eloquent prayer—I hope you can't—I have heard about all the eloquent prayers I want to. But you can say, " God, be merciful to me, a sinner."
Only be sincere, and God will hear your cry. Mark you, there is a sham cry. Mothers understand that; they know when their children cry in earnest, or whether it is a sham cry. Let the child give a real cry of distress, and the mother will leave everything and fly to her
child. I have been forty years in Christian work, and I have never known God to disappoint any man or woman who was in earnest about their soul's salvation or were seeking a more consecrated life. I know lots of people who pretend to be in earnest, but their prayers are never answered.
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountains.—Isaiah xl. 9.
A TRAVELLER once made arrrangements **■ with a guide to take him to the top of a high mountain to see the sunrise. They had not journeyed long when there arose a terrible thunderstorm. "It's no use to go on," the gentleman said. "We cannot see the sunrise in the midst of this fearful storm." "O, sir," said the guide, "we shall soon get above the storm." They could see the lightning playing about them, and the grand old mountain shook with the thunder, and it was very dark; but when they passed up above the clouds all was light and clear. So if it is dark here, rise higher; it is light enough up around the throne. If I may rise up to the light, I have no business to be in darkness. Rise higher, higher, higher. It is the privilege of the child of God to walk on unclouded.
And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.—Mark ix. 8.
WHAT a dark night it would have been if v* our Lord and Master had been caught up with Moses and Elijah, and no Christ had died for our sins. Oh, how Jesus Christ has lit up this world! But suppose that He had gone up to heaven on the other side of Calvary, and had never finished His work. Suppose that God in His love for His Son had said: "I can't let those men spit upon you and smite you; I will take you back to My bosom." What darkness would have settled down on this world! But Moses disappeared, and Elijah disappeared, and Christ only was left, for Christ is all. The law and the prophets were honored and fulfilled in Him.
I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.—Psalm xxxii. 5.
WE are good at confessing other people's sins, * * but if it is true repentance, we shall have as much as we can do to look after our own. When a man or woman gets a good look into God's looking-glass, he is not finding fault with other people: he is fully occupied at home.
Me shall glorify Me : for he shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you.—John xvi. 14.
""THE world can get on very well without you and me, but the world cannot get on without Christ, and therefore we must testify of Him.
The world to-day is just hungering and thirsting for this divine, satisfying portion. Thousands and thousands are sitting in darkness, knowing not of this great Light, but when we begin to preach Christ honestly, faithfully, sincerely and truthfully; holding Him up, not ourselves; exalting Christ, and not our theories; presenting Christ, and not our opinions; advocating Christ, and not some false doctrine; then the Holy Ghost will come and bear witness. He will testify that what we say is true.
Beloved, let us love one another : for love is of Gods and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.—1 John iv. 7.
THE first impulse of a young convert is to love. Do you remember the day you were converted? Was not your heart full of sweet peace and love?
I remember the morning I came out of my room after I had first trusted Christ. I thoughtp>the old sun shone a good deal brighter than it ever had before. I thought that the sun was just smiling upon me. I walked out upon Boston Common, and heard the birds in the trees, and I thought that they were all singing a song for me. Do you know I fell in love with the birds? I never cared for them before, but now it seemed to me that I was in love with all creation. I had not a bitter-feeling against any man, and I was ready to take all men to my heart. If a man has not the love of God shed abroad in his heart, he has never been regenerated.
And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.—Exodus iv. 17.
\17"HEN God Almighty linked Himself to "* that rod, it was worth more than all the armies the world had ever seen. Look and see how that rod did its work. It brought up the plagues of flies, and the thunderstorm, and turned the water into blood. It was not Moses, however, nor Moses' rod that did the work, but it was the God of the rod, the God of Moses. As long as God was with him, he could not fail.
March 29th. They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all Mine assemblies; and they shall hallow My Sabbaths.— Ezekiel xliv. 24.
]\jO nation has ever prospered that has * trampled the Sabbath in the dust. Show me a nation that has done this, and I will show you a nation that has got in it the seeds of ruin and decay. I believe that Sabbath desecration will carry a nation down quicker than anything else. Adam brought marriage and the Sabbath with him out of Eden, and neither can be disregarded without suffering.
March 30th. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?—Mark viii. 36.
f~\ THAT we would wake up to the thought of what it is to be lost! The world has been rocked to sleep by Satan, who is going up and down telling people that it doesn't mean anything. I believe in the old-fashioned heaven and hell. Christ came down to save us from a terrible hell, and any man who is cast down to hell from here must go in the full blaze of the gospel, and over the mangled body of the Son of God.
We hear of a man who has lost his health, and we sympathize with him, and we say it is very sad. Our hearts are drawn out to sympathy. Here is another man who has lost his wealth, and we say, "That is very sad." Here is another man who has lost his reputation, his standing among men. "That is sadder still," we say. We know what it is to lose health and wealth and reputation, but what is the loss of all these things compared with the loss of the soul?
March 31st. Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judtea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.—Acts i. 8.
T HAVE little sympathy with the idea that Christian men and women have to live for , years before they can have the privilege of leading any one out of the darkness of this world into the kingdom of God. I do not believe, either, that all God's work is going to be done by ministers, and other officers in the churches. This lost world will never be reached and brought back to loyalty to God until the children of God wake up to the fact that they have a mission in the world. If we are true Christians we shall all be missionaries. Christ came down from heaven on a mission, and if we have His Spirit in us we will be missionaries too. If we have no desire to see the world discipled, to see men brought back to God, there is something very far wrong in our religion.