February PM

* 02/01/PM

"Thy love to me was wonderful."
                                                 --2 Samuel 1:26

   Come, dear readers, let each one of us speak for himself of 
the wonderful love, not of Jonathan, but of Jesus. We will not
relate what we have been told, but the things which we have
tasted and handled-of the love of Christ. Thy love to me, O
Jesus, was wonderful when I was a stranger wandering far from
Thee, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Thy
love restrained me from committing the sin which is unto death,
and withheld me from self-destruction. Thy love held back the
axe when Justice said, "Cut it down! why cumbereth it the
ground?" Thy love drew me into the wilderness, stripped me
there, and made me feel the guilt of my sin, and the burden of
mine iniquity. Thy love spake thus comfortably to me when, I was
sore dismayed--"Come unto Me, and I will give thee rest." Oh,
how matchless Thy love when, in a moment, Thou didst wash my
sins away, and make my polluted soul, which was crimson with the
blood of my nativity, and black with the grime of my
transgressions, to be white as the driven snow, and pure as the
finest wool. How Thou didst commend Thy love when Thou didst
whisper in my ears, "I am thine and thou art Mine." Kind were
those accents when Thou saidst, "The Father Himself loveth you."
And sweet the moments, passing sweet, when Thou declaredst to me
"the love of the Spirit." Never shall my soul forget those
chambers of fellowship where Thou has unveiled Thyself to me.
Had Moses his cleft in the rock, where he saw the train, the
back parts of his God? We, too, have had our clefts in the rock,
where we have seen the full splendours of the Godhead in the
person of Christ. Did David remember the tracks of the wild
goat, the land of Jordan and the Hermonites? We, too, can
remember spots to memory dear, equal to these in blessedness.
Precious Lord Jesus, give us a fresh draught of Thy wondrous
love to begin the month with. Amen.

* 02/02/PM

"And these are ancient things."
                                             --1 Chronicles 4:22

   Yet not so ancient as those precious things which are the 
delight of our souls. Let us for a moment recount them, telling
them over as misers count their gold. _The sovereign choice_ of
the Father, by which He elected us unto eternal life, or ever
the earth was, is a matter of vast antiquity, since no date can
be conceived for it by the mind of man. We were chosen from
before the foundations of the world. _Everlasting love_ went
with the choice, for it was not a bare act of divine will by
which we were set apart, but the divine affections were
concerned. The Father loved us in and from the beginning. Here
is a theme for daily contemplation. _The eternal purpose_ to
redeem us from our foreseen ruin, to cleanse and sanctify us,
and at last to glorify us, was of infinite antiquity, and runs
side by side with immutable love and absolute sovereignty. _The
covenant_ is always described as being everlasting, and Jesus,
the second party in it, had His goings forth of old; He struck
hands in sacred suretyship long ere the first of the stars began
to shine, and it was in Him that the elect were ordained unto
eternal life. Thus in the divine purpose a most blessed covenant
union was established between the Son of God and His elect
people, which will remain as the foundation of their safety when
time shall be no more. Is it not well to be conversant with
these ancient things? Is it not shameful that they should be so
much neglected and even rejected by the bulk of professors? If
they knew more of their own sin, would they not be more ready to
adore distinguishing grace? Let us both admire and adore
tonight, as we sing--

               "A monument of grace,
               A sinner saved by blood;
               The streams of love I trace
               Up to the Fountain, God;
               And in His sacred bosom see
               Eternal thoughts of Love to me."

* 02/03/PM

"Tell me . . . where Thou feedest, where Thou makest Thy flock
to rest at noon."
                                           --Song of Solomon 1:7

   These words express the desire of the believer after Christ, 
and his longing for present communion with Him. Where doest Thou
feed Thy flock? In _Thy house_? I will go, if I may find Thee
there. In private _prayer_? Then I will pray without ceasing. In
the _Word_? Then I will read it diligently. In Thine
_ordinances_? Then I will walk in them with all my heart. Tell
me where Thou feedest, for wherever Thou standest as the
Shepherd, there will I lie down as a sheep; for none but Thyself
can supply my need. I cannot be satisfied to be apart from Thee.
My soul hungers and thirsts for the refreshment of Thy presence.
"Where dost Thou make Thy flock to rest at noon?" for whether at
dawn or at noon, my only rest must be where Thou art and Thy
beloved flock. My soul's rest must be a grace-given rest, and
can only be found in Thee. Where is the shadow of that rock? Why
should I not repose beneath it? "Why should I be as one that
turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?" Thou hast
companions--why should I not be one? Satan tells me I am
unworthy; but I always was unworthy, and yet Thou hast long
loved me; and therefore my unworthiness cannot be a bar to my
having fellowship with Thee now. It is true I am weak in faith,
and prone to fall, but my very feebleness is the reason why I
should always be where Thou feedest Thy flock, that I may be
strengthened, and preserved in safety beside the still waters.
Why should I turn aside? There is no reason why I should, but
there are a thousand reasons why I should not, for Jesus beckons
me to come. If He withdrew Himself a little, it is but to make
me prize His presence more. Now that I am grieved and distressed
at being away from Him, He will lead me yet again to that
sheltered nook where the lambs of His fold are sheltered from
the burning sun.

* 02/04/PM

"Your refuge from the avenger of blood."
                                                   --Joshua 20:3

   It is said that in the land of Canaan, cities of refuge were 
so arranged, that any man might reach one of them within half a
day at the utmost. Even so the word of our salvation is near to
us; Jesus is a present Saviour, and the way to Him is short; it
is but a simple renunciation of our own merit, and a laying hold
of Jesus, to be our all in all. With regard to the roads to the
city of refuge, we are told that they were strictly preserved,
every river was bridged, and every obstruction removed, so that
the man who fled might find an easy passage to the city. Once a
year the elders went along the roads and saw to their order, so
that nothing might impede the flight of any one, and cause him,
through delay, to be overtaken and slain. How graciously do the
promises of the gospel remove stumbling blocks from the way!
Wherever there were by-roads and turnings, there were fixed up
hand-posts, with the inscription upon them--"To the city of
refuge!" This is a picture of the road to Christ Jesus. It is no
roundabout road of the law; it is no obeying this, that, and the
other; it is a straight road: "Believe, and live." It is a road
so hard, that no self-righteous man can ever tread it, but so
easy, that every sinner, who knows himself to be a sinner may by
it find his way to heaven. No sooner did the man-slayer reach
the outworks of the city than he was safe; it was not necessary
for him to pass far within the walls, but the suburbs themselves
were sufficient protection. Learn hence, that if you do but
touch the hem of Christ's garment, you shall be made whole; if
you do but lay hold upon him with "faith as a grain of mustard
seed," you are safe.

               "A little genuine grace ensures
               The death of all our sins."

Only waste no time, loiter not by the way, for the avenger of
blood is swift of foot; and it may be he is at your heels at
this still hour of eventide.

* 02/05/PM

"At that time Jesus answered."
                                                 --Matthew 11:25

   This is a singular way in which to commence a verse--"At that 
time Jesus answered." If you will look at the context you will
not perceive that any person had asked Him a question, or that
He was in conversation with any human being. Yet it is written,
"Jesus answered and said, I thank Thee, O Father." When a man
answers, he answers a person who has been speaking to him. Who,
then, had spoken to Christ? His Father. Yet there is no record
of it; and this should teach us that Jesus had constant
fellowship with His Father, and that God spake into His heart so
often, so continually, that it was not a circumstance singular
enough to be recorded. It was the habit and life of Jesus to
talk with God. Even as Jesus was, is this world, so are we; let
us therefore learn the lesson which this simple statement
concerning Him teaches us. May we likewise have silent
fellowship with the Father, so that often we may answer Him, and
though the world wotteth not to whom we speak, may we be
responding to that secret voice unheard of any other ear, which
our own ear, opened by the Spirit of God, recognizes with joy.
God has spoken to us, let us speak to God--either to set our
seal that God is true and faithful to His promise, or to confess
the sin of which the Spirit of God has convinced us, or to
acknowledge the mercy which God's providence has given, or to
express assent to the great truths which God the Holy Ghost has
opened to our understanding. What a privilege is intimate
communion with the Father of our spirits! It is a secret hidden
from the world, a joy with which even the nearest friend
intermeddleth not. If we would hear the whispers of God's love,
our ear must be purged and fitted to listen to His voice. This
very evening may our hearts be in such a state, that when God
speaks to us, we, like Jesus, may be prepared at once to answer

* 02/06/PM

"Pray one for another."
                                                    --James 5:16

   As an encouragement cheerfully to offer intercessory prayer, 
remember that _such prayer is the sweetest God ever hears_, for
the prayer of Christ is of this character. In all the incense
which our Great High Priest now puts into the golden censer,
there is not a single grain for Himself. His intercession must
be the most acceptable of all supplications--and the more like
our prayer is to Christ's, the sweeter it will be; thus while
petitions for ourselves will be accepted, our pleadings for
others, having in them more of the fruits of the Spirit, more
love, more faith, more brotherly kindness, will be, through the
precious merits of Jesus, the sweetest oblation that we can
offer to God, the very fat of our sacrifice. Remember, again,
that _intercessory prayer is exceedingly prevalent_. What
wonders it has wrought! The Word of God teems with its
marvellous deeds. Believer, thou hast a mighty engine in thy
hand, use it well, use it constantly, use it with faith, and
thou shalt surely be a benefactor to thy brethren. When thou
hast the King's ear, speak to Him for the suffering members of
His body. When thou art favoured to draw very near to His
throne, and the King saith to thee, "Ask, and I will give thee
what thou wilt," let thy petitions be, not for thyself alone,
but for the many who need His aid. If thou hast grace at all,
and art not an intercessor, that grace must be small as a grain
of mustard seed. Thou hast just enough grace to float thy soul
clear from the quicksand, but thou hast no deep floods of grace,
or else thou wouldst carry in thy joyous bark a weighty cargo of
the wants of others, and thou wouldst bring back from thy Lord,
for them, rich blessings which but for thee they might not have

            "Oh, let my hands forget their skill,
            My tongue be silent, cold, and still,
            This bounding heart forget to beat,
            If I forget the mercy-seat!"

* 02/07/PM

"And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come
up hither."
                                              --Revelation 11:12

   Without considering these words in their prophetical 
connection, let us regard them D as the invitation of our great
Forerunner to His sanctified people. In due time there shall be
heard "a great voice from heaven" to every believer, saying,
"Come up hither." This should be to the saints _the subject of
joyful anticipation_. Instead of dreading the time when we shall
leave this world to go unto the Father, we should be panting for
the hour of our emancipation. Our song should be--

             "My heart is with Him on His throne,
             And ill can brook delay;
             Each moment listening for the voice,
             'Rise up and come away.'"

We are not called down to the grave, but up to the skies.
Our heaven-born spirits should long for their native air.
Yet should the celestial summons be _the object of patient
waiting_. Our God knows best when to bid us "Come up
thither." We must not wish to antedate the period of our
departure. I know that strong love will make us cry,

             "O Lord of Hosts, the waves divide,
             And land us all in heaven;"

but patience must have her perfect work. God ordains with
accurate wisdom the most fitting time for the redeemed to abide
below. Surely, if there could be regrets in heaven, the saints
might mourn that they did not live longer here to do more good.
Oh, for more sheaves for my Lord's garner! more jewels for His
crown! But how, unless there be more work? True, there is the
other side of it, that, living so briefly, our sins are the
fewer; but oh! when we are fully serving God, and He is giving
us to scatter precious seed, and reap a hundredfold, we would
even say it is well for us to abide where we are. Whether our
Master shall say "go," or "stay," let us be equally well pleased
so long as He indulges us with His presence.

* 02/08/PM

"He shall save His people from their sins."
                                                  --Matthew 1:21

   Many persons, if they are asked what they understand by 
salvation, will reply, "Being saved from hell and taken to
heaven." This is one result of salvation, but it is not one
tithe of what is contained in that boon. It is true our Lord
Jesus Christ does redeem all His people from the wrath to come;
He saves them from the fearful condemnation which their sins had
brought upon them; but His triumph is far more complete than
this. He saves His people "from their sins." Oh! sweet
deliverance from our worst foes. Where Christ works a saving
work, He casts Satan from his throne, and will not let him be
master any longer. No man is a true Christian if sin reigns in
his mortal body. Sin will be in us--it will never be utterly
expelled till the spirit enters glory; but it will never have
_dominion_. There will be a striving for dominion--a lusting
against the new law and the new spirit which God has
implanted--but sin will never get the upper hand so as to be
absolute monarch of our nature. Christ will be Master of the
heart, and sin must be mortified. The Lion of the tribe of Judah
shall prevail, and the dragon shall be cast out. Professor! is
sin subdued in you? If your _life_ is unholy your _heart_ is
unchanged, and if your heart is unchanged you are an unsaved
person. If the Saviour has not sanctified you, renewed you,
given you a hatred of sin and a love of holiness, He has done
nothing in you of a saving character. The grace which does not
make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit. Christ
saves His people, not in their sins, but _from_ them. "Without
holiness no man shall see the Lord." "Let every one that nameth
the name of Christ depart from iniquity." If not saved from
sin, how shall we hope to be counted among His people. Lord,
save me now from all evil, and enable me to honour my Saviour.

* 02/09/PM

"Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil [or, the
evil one]."
                                                     --Luke 11:4

   What we are taught to seek or shun in prayer, we should 
equally pursue or avoid in action. Very earnestly, therefore,
should we avoid temptation, seeking to walk so guardedly in the
path of obedience, that we may never tempt the devil to tempt
us. We are not to enter the thicket in search of the lion. Dearly
might we pay for such presumption. This lion may cross our path
or leap upon us from the thicket, but we have nothing to do with
hunting him. He that meeteth with him, even though he winneth
the day, will find it a stern struggle. Let the Christian pray
that he may be spared the encounter. Our Saviour, who had
experience of what temptation meant, thus earnestly admonished
His disciples--"Pray that ye enter not into temptation."

   But let us do as we will, we shall be tempted; hence the
prayer "deliver us from evil." God had one Son without sin; but
He has no son without temptation. The natural man is born to
trouble as the sparks fly upwards, and the Christian man is born
to temptation just as certainly. We must be always on our watch
against Satan, because, like a thief, he gives no intimation of
his approach. Believers who have had experience of the ways of
Satan, know that there are certain seasons when he will most
probably make an attack, just as at certain seasons bleak winds
may be expected; thus the Christian is put on a double guard by
fear of danger, and the danger is averted by preparing to meet
it. Prevention is better than cure: it is better to be so well
armed that the devil will not attack you, than to endure the
perils of the fight, even though you come off a conqueror. Pray
this evening first that you may not be tempted, and next that if
temptation be permitted, you may be delivered from the evil one.

* 02/10/PM

"I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and,
as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee."
                                                  --Isaiah 44:22

   Attentively observe THE INSTRUCTIVE SIMILITUDE: our sins are 
like a _cloud_. As clouds are of many shapes and shades, so are
our transgressions. As clouds obscure the light of the sun, and
darken the landscape beneath, so do our sins hide from us the
light of Jehovah's face, and cause us to sit in the shadow of
death. They are earth-born things, and rise from the miry
places of our nature; and when so collected that their measure
is full, they threaten us with storm and tempest. Alas! that,
unlike clouds, our sins yield us no genial showers, but rather
threaten to deluge us with a fiery flood of destruction. O ye
black clouds of sin, how can it be fair weather with our souls
while ye remain?

   Let our joyful eye dwell upon THE NOTABLE ACT of divine
mercy--"blotting out." God Himself appears upon the scene, and
in divine benignity, instead of manifesting His anger, reveals
His grace: He at once and for ever effectually removes the
mischief, not by blowing away the cloud, but by blotting it out
from existence once for all. Against the justified man no sin
remains, the great transaction of the cross has eternally
removed His transgressions from him. On Calvary's summit the
great deed, by which the sin of all the chosen was for ever put
away, was completely and effectually performed.

   Practically let us obey THE GRACIOUS COMMAND, "_return unto
me_."Why should pardoned sinners live at a distance from their
God? If we have been forgiven all our sins, let no legal fear
withhold us from the boldest access to our Lord. Let
backslidings be bemoaned, but let us not persevere in them. To
the greatest possible nearness of communion with the Lord, let
us, in the power of the Holy Spirit, strive mightily to return.
O Lord, this night restore us!

* 02/11/PM

"Thou hast left thy first love."
                                                --Revelation 2:4

   Ever to be remembered is that best and brightest of hours, 
when first we saw the Lord, lost our burden, received the roll
of promise, rejoiced in full salvation, and went on our way in
peace. It was spring time in the soul; the winter was past; the
mutterings of Sinai's thunders were hushed; the flashings of its
lightnings were no more perceived; God was beheld as reconciled;
the law threatened no vengeance, justice demanded no punishment.
Then the flowers appeared in our heart; hope, love, peace, and
patience sprung from the sod; the hyacinth of repentance, the
snowdrop of pure holiness, the crocus of golden faith, the
daffodil of early love, all decked the garden of the soul. The
time of the singing of birds was come, and we rejoiced with
thanksgiving; we magnified the holy name of our forgiving God,
and our resolve was, "Lord, I am Thine, wholly Thine; all I am,
and all I have, I would devote to Thee. Thou hast brought mewith Thy blood--let me spend myself and be spent in Thy service.
In life and in death let me be consecrated to Thee." _How have
we kept this resolve_? Our espousal love burned with a holy
flame of devoutedness to Jesus--is it the same _now_? Might not
Jesus well say to us, "I have somewhat against thee, because
thou hast left they first love"? Alas!  it is but little we have
done for our Master's glory. Our winter has lasted all too long.
We are as cold as ice when we should feel a summer's glow and
bloom with sacred flowers. We give to God pence when He
deserveth pounds, nay, deserveth our heart's blood to be coined
in the service of His church and of His truth. But shall we
continue thus? O Lord, after Thou hast so richly blessed us,
shall we be ungrateful and become indifferent to Thy good cause
and work? O quicken us that we may return to our first love, and
do our first works! Send us a genial spring, O Sun of

* 02/12/PM

"He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you
for ever."
                                                    --John 14:16

    Great Father revealed Himself to believers of old before the 
coming of His Son, and was known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as
the God Almighty. Then Jesus came, and the ever-blessed Son in
His own proper person, was the delight of His people's eyes. At
the time of the Redeemer's ascension, the Holy Spirit became
the head of the present dispensation, and His power was
gloriously manifested in and after Pentecost. He remains at this
hour the present Immanuel--God with us, dwelling in and with His
people, quickening, guiding, and ruling in their midst. Is His
presence recognized as it ought to be? We cannot control His
working; He is most sovereign in all His operations, but are we
sufficiently anxious to obtain His help, or sufficiently
watchful lest we provoke Him to withdraw His aid? Without Him we
can do nothing, but by His almighty energy the most
extraordinary results can be produced: everything depends upon
his manifesting or concealing His power. Do we always look up to
Him both for our inner life and our outward service with the
respectful dependence which is fitting? Do we not too often run
before His call and act independently of His aid? Let us humble
ourselves this evening for past neglects, and now entreat the
heavenly dew to rest upon us, the sacred oil to anoint us, the
celestial flame to burn within us. The Holy Ghost is no
temporary gift, He abides with the saints. We have but to seek
Him aright, and He will be found of us. He is jealous, but He
is pitiful; if He leaves in anger, He returns in mercy.
Condescending and tender, He does not weary of us, but awaits to
be gracious still.

             Sin has been hammering my heart
             Unto a hardness, void of love,
             Let supplying grace to cross his art
             Drop from above.

* 02/13/PM

"There is therefore now no condemnation."
                                                    --Romans 8:1

   Come, my soul, think thou of this. Believing in Jesus, thou 
art actually and effectually cleared from guilt; thou art led
out of thy prison. Thou art no more in fetters as a bond-slave;
thou art delivered _now_ from the bondage of the law; thou art
freed from sin, and canst walk at large as a freeman, thy
Saviour's blood has procured thy full discharge. Thou hast a
right now to approach thy Father's throne. No flames of
vengeance are there to scare thee now; no fiery sword; justice
cannot smite the innocent. Thy disabilities are taken away: thou
wast once unable to see thy Father's face: thou canst see it
now. Thou couldst not speak with Him: but now thou hast access
with boldness. Once there was a fear of hell upon thee; but thou
hast no fear of it now, for how can there be punishment for the
guiltless? He who believeth is not condemned, and cannot be
punished. And more than all, the privileges thou mightst have
enjoyed, if thou hadst never sinned, are thine now thou art
justified. All the blessings which thou wouldst have had if thou
hadst kept the law, and more, are thine, because Christ has kept
it for thee. All the love and the acceptance which perfect
obedience could have obtained of God, belong to thee, because
Christ was perfectly obedient on thy behalf, and hath imputed
all His merits to thy account, that thou mightst be exceeding
rich through Him, who for thy sake became exceeding poor. Oh!
how great the debt of love and gratitude thou owest to thy

          "A debtor to mercy alone,
          Of covenant mercy I sing;
          Nor fear with Thy righteousness on,
          My person and offerings to bring:
          The terrors of law and of God,
          With me can have nothing to do;
          My Saviour's obedience and blood
          Hide all my transgressions from view."

* 02/14/PM

"She was healed immediately."
                                                     --Luke 8:47

   One of the most touching and teaching of the Saviour's 
miracles is before us to-night. The woman was very ignorant. She
imagined that virtue came out of Christ by a law of necessity,
without His knowledge or direct will. Moreover, she was a
stranger to the generosity of Jesus' character, or she would not
have gone behind to steal the cure which He was so ready to
bestow. Misery should always place itself right in the face of
mercy. Had she known the love of Jesus' heart, she would have
said, "I have but to put myself where He can see me--His
omniscience will teach Him my case, and His love at once will
work my cure." We admire her faith, but we marvel at her
ignorance. After she had obtained the cure, she rejoiced with
trembling: glad was she that the divine virtue had wrought a
marvel in her; but she feared lest Christ should retract the
blessing, and put a negative upon the grant of His grace: little
did she comprehend the fulness of His love!  We have not so
clear a view of Him as we could wish; we know not the heights
and depths of His love; but we know of a surety that He is too
good to withdraw from a trembling soul the gift which it has
been able to obtain. But here is the marvel of it: little as
was her knowledge, her faith, because it was real faith, saved
her, and saved her at once. There was no tedious delay--faith's
miracle was instantaneous. If we have faith as a grain of
mustard seed, salvation is our present and eternal possession.
If in the list of the Lord's children we are written as the
feeblest of the family, yet, being heirs through faith, no
power, human or devilish, can eject us from salvation. If we
dare not lean our heads upon His bosom with John, yet if we can
venture in the press behind Him, and touch the hem of his
garment, we are made whole. Courage, timid one!  thy faith hath
saved thee; go in peace. "_Being_ justified by faith, we _have_
peace with God."

* 02/15/PM

"Whereby they have made Thee glad."
                                                    --Psalm 45:8

   And who are thus privileged to make the Saviour glad? His 
church--His people. But is it possible? He makes _us_ glad, but
how can _we make Him glad_? By our love. Ah! we think it so
cold, so faint; and so, indeed, we must sorrowfully confess it
to be, but it is very sweet to Christ. Hear His own eulogy of
that love in the golden Canticle: "How fair is thy love, my
sister, my spouse!  how much better is thy love than wine!" See,
loving heart, how He delights in you. When you lean your head on
His bosom, you not only receive, but you give Him joy; when you
gaze with love upon His all-glorious face, you not only obtain
comfort, but impart delight. Our _praise_, too gives Him
joy--not the song of the lips alone, but the melody of the
heart's deep gratitude. Our _gifts_, too, are very pleasant to
Him; He loves to see us lay our time, our talents, our substance
upon the altar, not for the value of what we give, but for the
sake of the motive from which the gift springs. To Him the
lowly offerings of His saints are more acceptable than the
thousands of gold and silver. _Holiness_ is like frankincense
and myrrh to Him. Forgive your enemy, and you make Christ glad;
distribute of your substance to the poor, and He rejoices; be
the means of saving souls, and you give Him to see of the
travail of His soul; proclaim His gospel, and you are a sweet
savour unto Him; go among the ignorant and lift up the cross,
and you have given Him honour. It is in your power even now to
break the alabaster box, and pour the precious oil of joy upon
His head, as did the woman of old, whose memorial is to this day
set forth wherever the gospel is preached. Will you be backward
then? Will you not perfume your beloved Lord with the myrrh and
aloes, and cassis, of your heart's praise? Yes, ye ivory
palaces, ye shall hear the songs of the saints!

* 02/16/PM

"Thy good Spirit."
                                                 --Nehemiah 9:20

   Common, too common is the sin of forgetting the Holy Spirit.
This is folly and ingratitude. He deserves well at our hands,
for He is good, supremely good. As God, He is good essentially.
He shares in the threefold ascription of Holy, holy, holy, which
ascends to the Triune Jehovah. Unmixed purity and truth, and
grace is He. He is _good benevolently_, tenderly bearing with
our waywardness, striving with our rebellious wills; quickening
us from our death in sin, and then training us for the skies as
a loving nurse fosters her child. How generous, forgiving, and
tender is this patient Spirit of God. He is _good operatively_.
All His works are good in the most eminent degree: He suggests
good thoughts, prompts good actions, reveals good truths,
applies good promises, assists in good attainments, and leads to
good results. There is no spiritual good in all the world of
which He is not the author and sustainer, and heaven itself will
owe the perfect character of its redeemed inhabitants to His
work. He is _good officially_; whether as Comforter, Instructor,
Guide, Sanctifier, Quickener, or Intercessor, He fulfils His
office well, and each work is fraught with the highest good to
the church of God. They who yield to His influences become good,
they who obey His impulses do good, they who live under His
power receive good. Let us then act towards so good a person
according to the dictates of gratitude. Let us revere His
person, and adore Him as God over all, blessed for ever; let us
own His power, and our need of Him by waiting upon Him in all
our holy enterprises; let us hourly seek His aid, and never
grieve Him; and let us speak to His praise whenever occasion
occurs. The church will never prosper until more reverently it
believes in the Holy Ghost. He is so good and kind, that it is
sad indeed that He should be grieved by slights and negligences.

* 02/17/PM

"Whereas the Lord was there."
                                                 --Ezekiel 35:10

   Edom's princes saw the whole country left desolate, and 
counted upon its easy conquest; but there was one great
difficulty in their way--quite unknown to them--"_The Lord was
there_"; and in His presence lay the special security of the
chosen land. Whatever may be the machinations and devices of the
enemies of God's people, there is still the same effectual
barrier to thwart their design. The saints are God's heritage,
and He is in the midst of them, and will protect His own. What
comfort this assurance yields us in our troubles and spiritual
conflicts! We are constantly opposed, and yet perpetually
preserved! How often Satan shoots his arrows against our
_faith_, but our faith defies the power of hell's fiery darts;
they are not only turned aside, but they are quenched upon its
shield, for "the Lord is there." _Our good works_ are the
subjects of Satan's attacks. A saint never yet had a virtue or a
grace which was not the target for hellish bullets: whether it
was hope bright and sparkling, or love warm and fervent, or
patience all-enduring, or zeal flaming like coals of fire, the
old enemy of everything that is good has tried to destroy it.
The only reason why anything virtuous or lovely survives in us
is this, "the Lord is there."

   If the Lord be with us through life, we need not fear for our 
dying confidence; for _when we come to die_, we shall find that
"the Lord is _there_"; where the billows are most tempestuous,
and the water is most chill, we shall feel the bottom, and know
that it is good: our feet shall stand upon the Rock of Ages when
time is passing away. Beloved, from the first of a Christian's
life to the last, the only reason why he does not perish is
because "_the Lord is there_." When the God of everlasting love
shall change and leave His elect to perish, then may the Church
of God be destroyed; but not till then, because it is written,
JEHOVAH SHAMMAH, "_The Lord is there_."

* 02/18/PM

"Father, I have sinned."
                                                    --Luke 15:18

   It is quite certain that those whom Christ has washed in His 
precious blood need not make a confession of sin, as culprits or
criminals, before God the Judge, for Christ has for ever taken
away all their sins in a legal sense, so that they no longer
stand where they can be condemned, but are once for all accepted
in the Beloved; but having become children, and offending as
children, ought they not every day to go before their heavenly
Father and confess their sin, and acknowledge their iniquity in
that character? Nature teaches that it is the duty of erring
children to make a confession to their earthly father, and the
grace of God in the heart teaches us that we, as Christians, owe
the same duty to our heavenly father. We daily offend, and ought
not to rest without daily pardon. For, supposing that my
trespasses against my Father are not at once taken to Him to be
washed away by the cleansing power of the Lord Jesus, what will
be the consequence? If I have not sought forgiveness and been
washed from these offences against my Father, I shall feel at a
distance from Him; I shall doubt His love to me; I shall tremble
at Him; I shall be afraid to pray to Him: I shall grow like the
prodigal, who, although still a child, was yet far off from his
father. But if, with a child's sorrow at offending so gracious
and loving a Parent, I go to Him and tell Him all, and rest not
till I realize that I am forgiven, then I shall feel a holy love
to my Father, and shall go through my Christian career, not only
as saved, but as one enjoying present peace in God through Jesus
Christ my Lord. There is a wide distinction between confessing
sin _as a culprit_, and confessing sin _as a child_. The
Father's bosom is the place for penitent confessions. We have
been cleansed once for all, but our feet still need to be washed
from the defilement of our daily walk as children of God.

* 02/19/PM

"He first findeth his own brother Simon."
                                                     --John 1:41

   This case is an excellent pattern of all cases where 
spiritual life is vigorous. _As soon as a man has found Christ,
he begins to find others_. I will not believe that thou hast
tasted of the honey of the gospel if thou canst eat it all
thyself. True grace puts an end to all spiritual monopoly.
Andrew _first_ found his own brother Simon, and then others.
_Relationship has a very strong demand upon our first individual
efforts_. Andrew, thou didst well to begin with Simon. I doubt
whether there are not some Christians giving away tracts at
other people's houses who would do well to give away a tract at
their own--whether there are not some engaged in works of
usefulness abroad who are neglecting their special sphere of
usefulness at home. Thou mayst or thou mayst not be called to
evangelize the people in any particular locality, but certainly
thou art called to see after thine own servants, thine own
kinsfolk and acquaintance. Let thy religion begin at home. Many
tradesmen export their best commodities--the Christian should
not. He should have all his conversation everywhere of the best
savour; but let him have a care to put forth the sweetest fruit
of spiritual life and testimony in his own family. When Andrew
went to find his brother, he little imagined how eminent Simon
would become. _Simon Peter was worth ten Andrews_ so far as we
can gather from sacred history, and yet Andrew was instrumental
in bringing him to Jesus. You may be very deficient in talent
yourself, and yet you may be the means of drawing to Christ one
who shall become eminent in grace and service. Ah! dear friend,
you little know the possibilities which are in you. You may but
speak a word to a child, and in that child there may be
slumbering a noble heart which shall stir the Christian church
in years to come. Andrew has only two talents, but he finds
Peter. Go thou and do likewise.

* 02/20/PM

"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be
tempted of the devil."
                                                   --Matthew 4:1

   A Holy character does not avert temptation--Jesus was 
tempted. When Satan tempts us, his sparks fall upon tinder; but
in Christ's case, it was like striking sparks on water; yet the
enemy continued his evil work. Now, if the devil goes on
striking when there is no result, how much more will he do it
when he knows what inflammable stuff our hearts are made of.
Though you become greatly sanctified by the Holy Ghost, expect
that the great dog of hell will bark at you still. In the haunts
of men we expect to be tempted, but even seclusion will not
guard us from the same trial. Jesus Christ was led away from
human society into the wilderness, and was tempted of the devil.
Solitude has its charms and its benefits, and may be useful in
checking the lust of the eye and the pride of life; but the
devil will follow us into the most lovely retreats. Do not
suppose that it is only the worldly-minded who have dreadful
thoughts and blasphemous temptations, for even spiritual-minded
persons endure the same; and in the holiest position we may
suffer the darkest temptation. The utmost consecration of
spirit will not insure you against Satanic temptation. Christ
was consecrated through and through. It was His meat and drink
to do the will of Him that sent Him: and yet He was tempted!
Your hearts may glow with a seraphic flame of love to Jesus, and
yet the devil will try to bring you down to Laodicean
lukewarmness. If you will tell me when God permits a Christian
to lay aside his armour, I will tell you when Satan has left off
temptation. Like the old knights in war time, we must sleep with
helmet and breastplate buckled on, for the arch-deceiver will
seize our first unguarded hour to make us his prey. The Lord
keep us watchful in all seasons, and give us a final escape from
the jaw of the lion and the paw of the bear.

* 02/21/PM

"Understandest thou what thou readest?"
                                                     --Acts 8:30

   We should be abler teachers of others, and less liable to be 
carried about by every wind of doctrine, if we sought to have a
more intelligent understanding of the Word of God. As the Holy
Ghost, the Author of the Scriptures is He who alone can
enlighten us rightly to understand them, we should constantly
ask His teaching, and His guidance into all truth. When the
prophet Daniel would interpret Nebuchadnezzar's dream, what did
he do? He set himself to earnest prayer that God would open up
the vision. The apostle John, in his vision at Patmos, saw a
book sealed with seven seals which none was found worthy to
open, or so much as to look upon. The book was afterwards opened
by the Lion of the tribe of Judah, who had prevailed to open it;
but it is written first--"I wept much." The tears of John, which
were his liquid prayers, were, so far as he was concerned, the
sacred keys by which the folded book was opened. Therefore, if,
for your own and others' profiting, you desire to be "filled
with the knowledge of God's will in all wisdom and spiritual
understanding," remember that prayer is your best means of
study: like Daniel, you shall understand the dream, and the
interpretation thereof, when you have sought unto God; and like
John you shall see the seven seals of precious truth unloosed,
after you have wept much. Stones are not broken, except by an
earnest use of the hammer; and the stone-breaker must go down on
his knees. Use the hammer of diligence, and let the knee of
prayer be exercised, and there is not a stony doctrine in
revelation which is useful for you to understand, which will not
fly into shivers under the exercise of prayer and faith. You may
force your way through anything with the leverage of prayer.
Thoughts and reasonings are like the steel wedges which give a
hold upon truth; but prayer is the lever, the prise which forces
open the iron chest of sacred mystery, that we may get the
treasure hidden within.

* 02/22/PM

"The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power."
                                                     --Nahum 1:3

   Jehovah "_is slow to anger_." When mercy cometh into the 
world she driveth winged steeds; the axles of her chariot-wheels
are red hot with speed; but when wrath goeth forth, it toileth
on with tardy footsteps, for God taketh no pleasure in the
sinner's death. God's rod of mercy is ever in His hands
outstretched; His sword of justice is in its scabbard, held down
by that pierced hand of love which bled for the sins of men.
"The Lord is slow to anger," because He is GREAT IN POWER. He is
truly great in power who hath power over himself. When God's
power doth restrain Himself, then it is power indeed: the power
that binds omnipotence is omnipotence surpassed. A man who has
a strong mind can bear to be insulted long, and only resents the
wrong when a sense of right demands his action. The weak mind is
irritated at a little: the strong mind bears it like a rock
which moveth not, though a thousand breakers dash upon it, and
cast their pitiful malice in spray upon its summit. God marketh
His enemies, and yet He bestirs not Himself, but holdeth in His
anger. If He were less divine than He is, He would long ere
this have sent forth the whole of His thunders, and emptied the
magazines of heaven; He would long ere this have blasted the
earth with the wondrous fires of its lower regions, and man
would have been utterly destroyed; but the greatness of his
power brings us mercy. Dear reader, what is your state this
evening? Can you by humble faith look to Jesus, and say, "My
substitute, Thou art my rock, my trust"? Then, beloved, be not
afraid of God's power; for by faith you have fled to Christ for
refuge, the power of God need no more terrify you, than the
shield and sword of the warrior need terrify those whom he
loves. Rather rejoice that He who is "great in power" is your
Father and Friend.

* 02/23/PM

"Take up the cross, and follow Me."
                                                    --Mark 10:21

   You have not the making of your own cross, although unbelief 
is a master carpenter at cross-making; neither are you permitted
to choose your own cross, although self-will would fain be lord
and master; but your cross is prepared and appointed for you by
divine love, and you are cheerfully to accept it; you are to
take up the cross as your chosen badge and burden, and not to
stand cavilling at it. This night Jesus bids you submit your
shoulder to His easy yoke. Do not kick at it in petulance, or
trample on it in vain-glory, or fall under it in despair, or run
away from it in fear, but take it up like a true follower of
Jesus. Jesus was a cross-bearer; He leads the way in the path of
sorrow. Surely you could not desire a better guide! And if He
carried a cross, what nobler burden would you desire? The _Via
Crucis_ is the way of safety; fear not to tread its thorny

   Beloved, the cross is not made of feathers, or lined with
velvet, it is heavy and galling to disobedient shoulders; but it
is not an iron cross, though your fears have painted it with
iron colours, it is a wooden cross, and a man can carry it, for
the Man of sorrows tried the load. Take up your cross, and by
the power of the Spirit of God you will soon be so in love with
it, that like Moses, you would not exchange the reproach of
Christ for all the treasures of Egypt. Remember that Jesus
carried it, and it will smell sweetly; remember that it will
soon be followed by the crown, and the thought of the coming
weight of glory will greatly lighten the present heaviness of
trouble. The Lord help you to bow your spirit in submission to
the divine will ere you fall asleep this night, that waking with
to-morrow's sun, you may go forth to the day's cross with the
holy and submissive spirit which becomes a follower of the

* 02/24/PM

"O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy upon
Jerusalem? . . . And the Lord answered the angel . . . with good
words and comfortable words."
                                             --Zechariah 1:12,13

   What a sweet answer to an anxious enquiry!  This night let us 
rejoice in it. O Zion, there are good things in store for thee;
thy time of travail shall soon be over; thy children shall be
brought forth; thy captivity shall end. Bear patiently the rod
for a season, and under the darkness still trust in God, for His
love burneth towards thee. God loves the church with a love too
deep for human imagination: He loves her with all His infinite
heart. Therefore let her sons be of good courage; she cannot be
far from prosperity to whom God speaketh "good words and
comfortable words." What these comfortable words are the prophet
goes on to tell us: "I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion
with a great jealousy." The Lord loves His church so much that
He cannot bear that she should go astray to others; and when she
has done so, He cannot endure that she should suffer too much or
too heavily. He will not have his enemies afflict her: He is
displeased with them because they increase her misery. When God
seems most to leave His church, His heart is warm towards her.
History shows that whenever God uses a rod to chasten His
servants, He always breaks it afterwards, as if He loathed the
rod which gave his children pain. "Like as a father pitieth his
children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him." God hath not
forgotten us because He smites--His blows are no evidences of
want of love. If this is true of His church _collectively_, it
is of necessity true also of _each individual member_. You may
fear that the Lord has passed you by, but it is not so: He who
counts the stars, and calls them by their names, is in no danger
of forgetting His own children. He knows your case as thoroughly
as if you were the only creature He ever made, or the only saint
He ever loved. Approach Him and be at peace.

* 02/25/PM

"But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of
the Lord, and went down to Joppa."
                                                     --Jonah 1:3

   Instead of going to Nineveh to preach the Word, as God bade 
him, Jonah disliked the work, and went down to Joppa to escape
from it. There are occasions when God's servants shrink from
duty. But what is the consequence? What did Jonah lose by his
conduct? _He lost the presence and comfortable enjoyment of
God's love_. When we serve our Lord Jesus as believers should
do, our God is with us; and though we have the whole world
against us, if we have God with us, what does it matter? But the
moment we start back, and seek our own inventions, we are at sea
without a pilot. Then may we bitterly lament and groan out, "O
my God, where hast Thou gone? How could I have been so foolish
as to shun Thy service, and in this way to lose all the bright
shinings of Thy face? This is a price too high. Let me return to
my allegiance, that I may rejoice in Thy presence." In the next
place, Jonah _lost all peace of mind_. Sin soon destroys a
believer's comfort. It is the poisonous upas tree, from whose
leaves distil deadly drops which destroy the life of joy and
peace. Jonah _lost everything upon which he might have drawn
for comfort in any other case_. He could not plead the promise
of divine protection, for he was not in God's ways; he could not
say, "Lord, I meet with these difficulties in the discharge of
my duty, therefore help me through them." He was reaping his own
deeds; he was filled with his own ways. Christian, do not play
the Jonah, unless you wish to have all the waves and the billows
rolling over your head. You will find in the long run that it is
far harder to shun the work and will of God than to at once
yield yourself to it. _Jonah lost his time_, for he had to go
to Tarshish after all. It is hard to contend with God; let us
yield ourselves at once.

* 02/26/PM

"Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall
pronounce him clean that hath the plague."
                                               --Leviticus 13:13

   Strange enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom 
in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the
constitution was sound. This evening it may be well for us to
see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are
lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to
ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and
ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and in no
part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of
his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then he is clean
through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden,
unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy; but when sin
is seen and felt, it has received its deathblow, and the Lord
looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it.
Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful
than contrition. We must confess that we are "nothing else but
sin," for no confession short of this will be the whole truth;
and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin,
there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment
--it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What comfort does
the text afford to truly awakened sinners: the very circumstance
which so grievously discouraged them is here turned into a sign
and symptom of a hopeful state!  Stripping comes before
clothing; digging out the foundation is the first thing in
building--and a thorough sense of sin is one of the earliest
works of grace in the heart. O thou poor leprous sinner,
utterly destitute of a sound spot, take heart from the text, and
come as thou art to Jesus--

"For let our debts be what they may, however great or small,
As soon as we have nought to pay, our Lord forgives us all.
'Tis perfect poverty alone that sets the soul at large:
While we can call one mite our own, we have no full discharge."

* 02/27/PM

"Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
                                                     --Micah 5:2

   The Lord Jesus had goings forth for His people _as their 
representative before the throne, long before they appeared upon
the stage of time_. It was "from everlasting" that He signed
the compact with His Father, that He would pay blood for blood,
suffering for suffering, agony for agony, and death for death,
in the behalf of His people; it was "from everlasting" that He
gave Himself up without a murmuring word. That from the crown of
His head to the sole of His foot He might sweat great drops of
blood, that He might be spit upon, pierced, mocked, rent
asunder, and crushed beneath the pains of death. His goings
forth as our Surety were from everlasting. Pause, my soul, and
wonder! Thou hast goings forth in the person of Jesus "from
everlasting." Not only when thou wast born into the world did
Christ love thee, but His delights were with the sons of men
before there were any sons of men. Often did He think of them;
from everlasting to everlasting He had set His affection upon
them. What! my soul, has He been so long about thy salvation,
and will not He accomplish it? Has he from everlasting been
going forth to save me, and will He lose me now? What! has He
carried me in His hand, as His precious jewel, and will He now
let me slip from between His fingers? Did he choose me before
the mountains were brought forth, or the channels of the deep
were digged, and will He reject me now? Impossible! I am sure He
would not have loved me so long if He had not been a changeless
Lover. If He could grow weary of me, He would have been tired of
me long before now. If He had not loved me with a love as deep
as hell, and as strong as death, He would have turned from me
long ago. Oh, joy above all joys, to know that I am His
everlasting and inalienable inheritance, given to Him by His
Father or ever the earth was! Everlasting love shall be the
pillow for my head this night.

* 02/28/PM

"The barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil
fail, according to the word of the Lord, which He spake by
                                                 --1 Kings 17:16

   See the faithfulness of divine love. You observe that this 
woman had daily necessities. She had herself and her son to
feed in a time of famine; and now, in addition, the prophet
Elijah was to be fed too. But though the need was threefold, yet
the supply of meal wasted not, for she had a _constant supply_.
Each day she made calls upon the barrel, but yet each day it
remained the same. You, dear reader, have daily necessities,
and because they come so frequently, you are apt to fear that
the barrel of meal will one day be empty, and the cruse of oil
will fail you. Rest assured that, according to the Word of God,
this shall not be the case. Each day, though it bring its
trouble, shall bring its help; and though you should live to
outnumber the years of Methuselah, and though your needs should
be as many as the sands of the seashore, yet shall God's grace
and mercy last through all your necessities, and you shall never
know a real lack. For three long years, in this widow's days,
the heavens never saw a cloud, and the stars never wept a holy
tear of dew upon the wicked earth: famine, and desolation, and
death, made the land a howling wilderness, but this woman never
was hungry, but always joyful in abundance. So shall it be with
you. You shall see the sinner's hope perish, for he trusts his
native strength; you shall see the proud Pharisee's confidence
totter, for he builds his hope upon the sand; you shall see even
your own schemes blasted and withered, but you yourself shall
find that your place of defence shall be the munition of rocks:
"Your bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure."
Better have God for your guardian, than the Bank of England for
your possession. You might spend the wealth of the Indies, but
the infinite riches of God you can never exhaust.

* 02/29/PM

"Now we have received . . . the spirit which is of God; that we
might know the things that are freely given to us of God."
                                            --1 Corinthians 2:12

   Dear reader, have you received the spirit which is of God, 
wrought by the Holy Ghost in your soul? The necessity of the
work of the Holy Spirit in the heart may be clearly seen from
this fact, that _all which has been done by God the Father, and
by God the Son, must be ineffectual to us, unless the Spirit
shall reveal these things to our souls_. What effect does the
doctrine of election have upon any man until the Spirit of God
enters into him? Election is a dead letter in my consciousness
until the Spirit of God calls me out of darkness into marvellous
light. _Then_ through my calling, I see my election, and knowing
myself to be called of God, I know myself to have been chosen in
the eternal purpose. A covenant was made with the Lord Jesus
Christ, by His Father; but what avails that covenant to us until
the Holy Spirit brings us its blessings, and opens our hearts
to receive them? There hang the blessings on the nail--Christ
Jesus; but being short of stature, we cannot reach them; the
Spirit of God takes them down and hands them to us, and thus
they become actually ours. Covenant blessings in themselves
are like the manna in the skies, far out of mortal reach, but
the spirit of God opens the windows of heaven and scatters the
living bread around the camp of the spiritual Israel. Christ's
finished work is like wine stored in the wine-vat; through
unbelief we can neither draw nor drink. The Holy Spirit dips our
vessel into this precious wine, and then we drink; but without
the Spirit we are as truly dead in sin as though the Father
never had elected, and though the Son had never bought us with
His blood. The Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary to our
well-being. Let us walk lovingly towards Him and tremble at the
thought of grieving Him.

This document (last modified September 30, 1995) from Believerscafe.com