The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.— Romans vii. 10, 11.
A FRIEND in England was telling me that *^ an acquaintance of his, a minister, was once called upon to officiate at a funeral, in the place of a chaplain of one of Her Majesty's prisons, who was absent. He noticed that only one solitary man followed the body of the criminal to the grave. When the grave had been covered, this man told the minister that he was an officer of the law whose duty it was to watch the body of the culprit until it was buried out of sight; that was "the end " of the British law.
And that is what the law of God does to the sinner; it brings him right to death, and leaves him there. I pity deep down in my heart those who are trying to save themselves by the law. It never has, it never will, and it never can save the soul.
November 2d. Christ is all, and in all.—Colossians iii. 11. HRIST is all to us that we make Him to be. I want to emphasize that word "All." Some men make Him to be "a root out of a dry ground," "without form or comeliness." He is nothing to them; they do not want Him. Some Christians have a very small Saviour, for they are not willing to receive Him fully, and let Him do great and mighty things for them. Others have a mighty Saviour, because they make Him to be great and mighty.
November 3d. His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.—2 Peter i. 3.
■"THERE is Glory for the time to come. A great many people seem to forget that the best is before us. Dr. Bonar once said that everything before the true believer is " glorious." This thought took hold on my soul, and I began to look the matter up, and see what I could find in Scripture that was glorious hereafter. I found that the kingdom we are going to inherit is glorious; our crown is to be a " crown of glory "; the city we are going to inhabit is the city of the glorified; the songs we are to sing are the songs of the glorified; we are to wear garments of " glory and beauty "; our society will be the society of the glorified; our rest is to be "glorious "; the country to which we are going is to be full of " the glory of God and of the Lamb."
There are many who are always looking on the backward path, and mourning over the troubles through which they have passed; they keep lugging up the cares and anxieties they have been called on to bear, and are forever looking at them. Why should we go reeling and staggering under the burdens and cares of life when we have such glorious prospects before us?
November 4th. Be not faithless, but believing.—John xx. 27. DEOPLE say, "If I could only get rid of these doubts and fears, I think I would be ready to work."
Go to work, and these doubts will disappear. There is work to be done. Life is short at the longest, so let us be about our Master's business. While you are engaged in His work, these doubts will not assail you so much. I believe any Christian would have doubts in less than six months if he did nothing.
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.—2 Timothy ii. 23.
"THERE are two kinds of sceptics—one class with honest difficulties, and another class who delight only in discussion. I used to think that this latter class would always be a thorn in my flesh, but they do not prick me now. I expect to find them right along the journey. Men of this stamp used to hang around Christ to entangle Him in His talk.
Many young converts make a woful mistake. They think they are to defend the whole Bible. I knew very little of the Bible when I was first converted, and I thought that I had to defend it from beginning to end against all comers. A Boston infidel got hold of me, floored all my arguments at once, and discouraged me. But I have got over that now. There are many things in the Word of God that I do not profess to understand.
November 6th. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.—2 Corinthians v. 10.
O OME people say that you never can tell till you ^ are before the throne of Judgment whether you are saved or not. Why, if our life is hid with Christ in God, we are not coming into judgment for our sins. We may come into judgment for reward. This is clearly taught where the lord reckoned with the servant to whom five talents had been given, and who brought other five talents. His lord said unto him," Well done thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Matt. xxv. 20, 21.) We shall be judged for our stewardship—that is one thing; but salvation—eternal life—is quite another thing.
Now the God of hope fill you with alljoy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.—Romans xv. 13.
l\TO man or woman is ever used by God * to build up His kingdom who has lost hope. Wherever I have found a worker in God's vineyard who has lost hope, I have found a man or woman not very useful.
It is very important to have hope in the church; and it is the work of the Holy Ghost to impart hope. Let Him come into some of the churches where there have not been any conversions for a few years, and let Him convert a score of people, and see how hopeful the church becomes at once. He imparts hope. A man filled with the Spirit of God will be very hopeful. He will be looking out into the future, and he knows that it is all bright, because the God of all grace is able to do great things.
Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.—Hebrews xiii. 18.
TS not conscience a safe guide?
No, is not. Some people don't seem to have any conscience, and don't know what it means. Their education has a good deal to do with conscience. There arc persons who will say that their conscience did not tell them that they had done wrong until after the wrong was done. What we want, is something to tell us a thing is wrong before we do it.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.—1 John iv. 18.
'J*'HERE cannot be true peace where there is fear. "Perfect love casteth out fear." How wretched a wife would be if she doubted her husband! and how miserable a liother would feel if after her boy had gone away from home she had reason, fram his neglect, to question that son's devotion I True love never has a doubt.
What if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?—Romans iii. 3.
T AM so tired of the Christianity that is made up of negations, what people don't believe. I met a man some time ago, and he said, " I don't believe this." I talked with him a little, and made another statement; he didn't believe that. Finally, I said, " Man, will you tell me what you do believe?" and I found he didn't believe anything except that he didn't believe.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.—Matthew v. 14.
OD has left us down here to shine. We
are not here to buy and sell and get gain, to accumulate wealth, to acquire worldly position. This earth, if we are Christians, is not our home; it is yonder. God has sent us into the world to shine for Him—to light up this dark world. Christ came to be the Light of the world, but men put out that light. They took it to Calvary, and blew it out. Before Christ went up on high, He said to His disciples: "Ye are the light of the world. Ye are My witnesses. Go forth and carry the gospel to the perishing nations of the earth."
November 12th. When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin , . . because they believe not on Me.—John xvi. 8, 9.
COME men seem to think it is a great misfortune that they do not have faith. They seem to look upon it as a kind of infirmity, and they think they ought to be sympathized with and pitied. Bear in mind it is not a misfortune; it is the most damning sin of the world.
The greatest enemy God and man have got is unbelief. Christ found it on both sides of the cross. It was the very thing that put Him to death. The Jews did not believe Him. They did not believe God had sent Him. They took Him to Calvary and murdered Him. And the first thing we find after He rose from the grave was unbelief again. Thomas, one of His own disciples, did not believe He had risen. He said, "Thomas, feel these wounds;" and Thomas believed, and said, " My Lord and my God."
November 13th. Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.—Acts iv. 12.
IF there is one word above another that will swing open the eternal gates, it is the name of Jesus. There are a great many passwords and bywords down here, but that will be the countersign up above. Jesus Christ is the "Open Sesame" to heaven. Any one who tries to climb up some other way, is a thief and a robber. And when we get in, what a joy above every other joy we can think of, will it be to see Jesus Himself, and to be with Him continually!
November 14th. Pertly, 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.
THE cross of Christ divides all mankind.
There are only two sides, those for Christ, and those against Him. Think of the two thieves; from the side of Christ one went down to death cursing God, and the other went to glory.
What a contrast! In the morning he is led out, a condemned criminal; in the evening he is saved from his sins. In the morning he is cursing—Matthew and Mark both tell us that those two thieves came out cursing, in the evening he is singing hallelujahs with a choir of angels. In the morning he is condemned by men as not fit to live on earth; in the evening he is reckoned good enough for heaven. In the morning nailed to the cross; in the evening in the Paradise of God, crowned with a crown he should wear through all the ages. In the morning not an eye to pity; in the evening washed and made clean in the blood of the Lamb. In the morning in the society of thieves and outcasts; in the evening Christ is not ashamed to walk arm-in-arm with him down the golden pavements of the eternal city.
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.—Acts iii. 24.
IT has always been a mystery to me when every * disciple of Jesus Christ who was anywhere near Jerusalem, was not at the sepulchre on the morning of the third day after the crucifixion. Over and over again He told them that He would arise. One of the last things He said to them, as they were on their way to the Mount of Olives, was—" After that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee." But there is not one solitary passage that tells us that they had any expectation of His resurrection. It seems as if His enemies had better memories than His friends. When His body was laid away in the tomb, the Jews went to Pilate, and wanted him to make it secure; because, they said, "We remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again."
By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not if yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast,—Ephesians ii. 8, 9.
BEFORE my conversion, I worked toward the cross, but since then I have worked from the cross. Then I worked to be saved; now I work because I am saved.
For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawfulfor thee to have thy brother's wife.—Mark vi. 18.
IF your minister comes to you frankly, tells you of your sin, and warns you faithfully, thank God for him. He is your best friend; he is a heaven-sent man. But if your minister speaks smooth, oily words to you, tells you it is all right, when you know, and he knows, that it is all wrong, and that you are living in sin, you may be sure that he is a devil-sent man. I want to say I have a contempt for a preacher that will tone his message down to suit some one in his audience; some senator, or big man whom he sees present. If the devil can get possession of such a minister and speak through him, he will do the work better than the devil himself. All the priests and ministers of all the churches cannot save one soul that will not part with sin.
/ have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.—1 Corinthians iii. 2.
YOU know it is always regarded a great event in the family when a child can feed itself. It is propped up at table, and at first perhaps it uses the spoon upside down, but by and by it uses it all right, and mother, or perhaps sister, claps her hands and says:
"Just see, baby's feeding himself!"
What we need as Christians is to be able to feed ourselves. How many there are who sit helpless and listless, with open mouths, hungry for spiritual things, and the minister has to try to feed them, while the Bible is a feast prepared, into which they never venture!
November 19th. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.—Exodus xx. 16.
YOU don't like to have any one bear false witness against you, or help to ruin your character or reputation; then why should you do it to others? How public men are slandered in this country! None escape, whether good or bad. Judgment is passed upon them, their family, their character, by the press and by individuals who know little or nothing about them.
If one-tenth that is said and written about our public men was true, half of them should be hung. Slander has been called " tongue murder." Slanderers are compared to flies that always settle on sores, but do not touch a man's healthy parts.
If the archangel Gabriel should come down to earth and mix in human affairs, I believe his character would be assailed inside of forty-eight hours. Slander called Christ a gluttonous man and a winebibber. He claimed to be the Truth, but instead of worshipping Him, men took Him and crucified Him.
Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth Romans viii. 33.
"THAT word "justifieth" seems too good to be true. No wonder that Martin Luther shook all Germany when that truth dawned upon him, " the just shall live by faith." Do you know what "justified" means? I will tell you. It is to stand before God without spot or wrinkle, without a sin. It is to be put back beyond Eden. God looks over His ledger, and says:
"Moody, I have no account against you. Your debt has all been wiped out by another."
But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.—Romans viii. 11. T HAD rather be in the heart of the eighth of Romans than Adam in the heart of Paradise. Adam might have stayed in Paradise ten thousand years, and the devil could have come in then and snatched his life away from him, but I challenge the devil himself to get my life away from me, because it is hid with Christ in God, and Christ conquered Satan. "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me." Christ conquered him, and oh, how safe the believer is! When the sinner is hid in Christ, hid in God, how is Satan going to get at him? He must go by the Almighty and by Christ before he can get at that sinner.
It is a great thing to be an heir of glory. It is a great thing to have your life guarded by the Son of God, and to have the angels of God encamping round about you.
And when they came to Jesus, they besought Him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom He should do this: for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.—Luke vii. 4, 5.
""PHE Jews could not understand grace, so they
thought Christ would grant the request of this man, because he was worthy.
"Why," they said, "he hath built us a synagogue!"
It is the same old story that we hear to-day. Let a man give a few thousand dollars to build a church and he must have the best pew; "he is worthy." Perhaps he made his money by selling or making strong drink; but he has put the church under an obligation by this gift of money, and he is considered "worthy." This same spirit was at work in the days of Christ.
Be sure your sin will find you out.—Numbers xxxii. 23.
T\0 you want to know the reason why, every now and then, the church is scandalized by the exposure of some leading church member or Sabbath-school superintendent? It is not his Christianity, but his lack of it. Some secret sin has been eating at the heart of the tree, and in a critical moment it is blown down and its rottenness revealed.
November 24th. Give ear, O My people, to My law : incline your ears to the words of My mouth.—Psalm lxxviii. 1.
JUT AN lost spiritual life and communion with * * his Maker by listening to the voice of the tempter, instead of the voice of God. We get life again by listening to the voice of God. The Word of God gives life. "The words that I speak unto you," says Christ, "they are spirit, and they are life." So, what people need is—to incline their ear, and Hear.
It is a great thing when the preacher gets the ear of a congregation—I mean the inner ear, for a man has not only two ears in his head; he has what we may call the outer ear and the inner ear—the ear of the soul. You may speak to the outward ear, and not reach the ear of the soul at all. Many in these days are like the " foolish people" to whom the prophet Jeremiah spoke: "Which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not." "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
November 25th. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.—John i. 46.
0 O we say to you, "Come and see!" I
thought, when I was converted, that my friends had been very unfaithful to me, because they had not told me about Christ. I thought
1 would have all my friends converted inside of twenty-four hours, and I was quite disappointed when they did not at once see Christ to be the Lily of the Valley, and the Rose of Sharon, and the Bright and Morning Star. I wondered why it was. But we need to learn that God alone can do that.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.—John xv. 19, 20.
MOW mark you, no man can be true for God, and live for Him, without at some time or other being unpopular in this world. Those men who are trying to live for both worlds make a wreck of it; for at some time or other the collision is sure to come.
And I said unto the king, if it please the king, and if Thy servant have found favor in Thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Jndah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it.—Nehemiah ii. 5.
TT meant a good deal for Nehemiah to give up the palace of Shushan and his high office, and identify himself with the despised and captive Jews. He was among the highest in the whole realm. Not only that, but he was a man of wealth, lived in ease and luxury, and had great influence at court. For him to go to Jc
rusalem and lose caste was like Moses turning his back on the palace of Pharaoh and identifying himself with the Hebrew slaves. Yet we might never have heard of either of them if they had not done this. They stooped to conquer; and when you get ready to stoop God will bless you. Plato, Socrates, and other Greek philosophers lived in the same century as Nehemiah. How few have heard of them and read their words compared with the hundreds of thousands who have heard and read of Nehemiah during the last two thousand years!
They that will be (that is, desire to be) rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.—1 Timothy vi. 9.
'THE Bible speaks of the deceitfulness of two things—"the deceitfulness of sin" and "the deceitfulness of riches." Riches are like a mirage in the desert, which has all the appearance of satisfying, and lures on the traveller with the promise of water and shade; but he only wastes his strength in the effort to reach it. So riches never satisfy: the pursuit of them always turns out a snare.
There was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.—Luke xxii. 24.
""TO me, one of the saddest things in all the
1 life of Jesus Christ was the fact that just before His crucifixion, His disciples should have been striving to see who should be the greatest. It was His last night on earth, and they never saw Him so sorrowful before. He knew Judas was going to sell Him for thirty pieces of silver. He knew that Peter would deny Him. And yet, in addition to this, when going into the very shadow of the cross, there arose this strife as to who should be the greatest.
He took a towel and girded Himself like a slave, and He took a basin of water and stooped and washed their feet. That was another object lesson of humility. He said," Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye say well." If you want to be great in My Kingdom, be servant of all. If you serve, you shall be great.
Your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh
I AM so thankful that I have a joy that the world cannot rob me of; I have a treasure that the world cannot take from me; I have something that it is not in the power of man or devil to deprive me of, the joy of the Lord. "No man taketh it from you."