March PM

* 03/01/PM

"He is precious."
                                                   --1 Peter 2:7

   As all the rivers run into the sea, so all delights centre in 
our Beloved. The glances of His eyes outshine the sun: the
beauties of His face are fairer than the choicest flowers: no
fragrance is like the breath of His mouth. Gems of the mine, and
pearls from the sea, are worthless things when measured by His
preciousness. Peter tells us that Jesus is precious, but he did
not and could not tell us _how_ precious, nor could any of us
compute the value of God's unspeakable gift. Words cannot set
forth the preciousness of the Lord Jesus to His people, nor
fully tell how essential He is to their satisfaction and
happiness. Believer, have you not found in the midst of plenty
a sore famine if your Lord has been absent? The sun was shining,
but Christ had hidden Himself, and all the world was black to
you; or it was night, and since the bright and morning star was
gone, no other star could yield you so much as a ray of light.
What a howling wilderness is this world without our Lord! If
once He hideth Himself from us, withered are the flowers of our
garden; our pleasant fruits decay; the birds suspend their
songs, and a tempest overturns our hopes. All earth's candles
cannot make daylight if the Sun of Righteousness be eclipsed. He
is the soul of our soul, the light of our light, the life of our
life. Dear reader, what wouldst thou do in the world without
Him, when thou wakest up and lookest forward to the day's
battle? What wouldst thou do at night, when thou comest home
jaded and weary, if there were no door of fellowship between
thee and Christ? Blessed be His name, He will not suffer us to
try our lot without Him, for Jesus never forsakes His own. Yet,
let the thought of _what life would be without Him_ enhance His

* 03/02/PM

"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this
grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the
unsearchable riches of Christ."
                                                 --Ephesians 3:8

   The apostle Paul felt it a great privilege to be allowed to 
preach the gospel. He did not look upon his calling as a
drudgery, but he entered upon it with intense delight. Yet while
Paul was thus thankful for his office, his success in it
greatly humbled him. The fuller a vessel becomes, the deeper it
sinks in the water. Idlers may indulge a fond conceit of their
abilities, because they are untried; but the earnest worker soon
learns his own weakness. If you seek humility, _try hard work_;
if you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for
Jesus. If you would feel how utterly powerless you are apart
from the living God, attempt especially the great work of
proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ, and you will
know, as you never knew before, what a weak unworthy thing you
are. Although the apostle thus knew and confessed his weakness,
he was never perplexed as to the _subject_ of his ministry. From
his first sermon to his last, Paul preached Christ, and nothing
but Christ. He lifted up the cross, and extolled the Son of God
who bled thereon. Follow his example in all your personal
efforts to spread the glad tidings of salvation, and let "Christ
and Him crucified" be your ever recurring theme. The Christian
should be like those lovely spring flowers which, when the sun
is shining, open their golden cups, as if saying, "Fill us with
thy beams!" but when the sun is hidden behind a cloud, they
close their cups and droop their heads. So should the Christian
feel the sweet influence of Jesus; Jesus must be his sun, and he
must be the flower which yields itself to the Sun of
Righteousness. Oh! to speak of Christ alone, this is the subject
which is both "seed for the sower, and bread for the eater."
This is the live coal for the lip of the speaker, and the
master-key to the heart of the hearer.

* 03/03/PM

"He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove."
                                                  --Matthew 3:16

   As the Spirit of God descended upon the Lord Jesus, the head, 
so He also, in measure, descends upon the members of the
mystical body. His descent is to us after the same fashion as
that in which it fell upon our Lord. There is often a singular
_rapidity_ about it; or ever we are aware, we are impelled
onward and heavenward beyond all expectation. Yet is there none
of the hurry of earthly haste, for the wings of the dove are as
soft as they are swift. _Quietness_ seems essential to many
spiritual operations; the Lord is in the still small voice, and
like the dew, His grace is distilled in silence. The dove has
ever been the chosen type of _purity_, and the Holy Spirit is
holiness itself. Where He cometh, everything that is pure and
lovely, and of good report, is made to abound, and sin and
uncleanness depart. _Peace_ reigns also where the Holy Dove
comes with power; He bears the olive branch which shows that the
waters of divine wrath are assuaged. _Gentleness_ is a sure
result of the Sacred Dove's transforming power: hearts touched
by His benign influence are meek and lowly henceforth and for
ever. _Harmlessness_ follows, as a matter of course; eagles and
ravens may hunt their prey--the turtledove can endure wrong, but
cannot inflict it. We must be harmless as doves. The dove is an
apt picture of _love_, the voice of the turtle is full of
affection; and so, the soul visited by the blessed Spirit,
abounds in love to God, in love to the brethren, and in love to
sinners; and above all, in love to Jesus. The brooding of the
Spirit of God upon the face of the deep, first produced _order
and life_, and in our hearts, He causes and fosters new life and
light. Blessed Spirit, as Thou didst rest upon our dear
Redeemer, even so rest upon us from this time forward and for

* 03/04/PM

"They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy
                                                    --Psalm 36:8

   Sheba's queen was amazed at the sumptuousness of Solomon's 
table. She lost all heart when she saw the provision of a single
day; and she marvelled equally at the company of servants who
were feasted at the royal board. But what is this to the
hospitalities of the God of grace? Ten thousand thousand of his
people are daily fed; hungry and thirsty, they bring large
appetites with them to the banquet, but not one of them returns
unsatisfied; there is enough for each, enough for all, enough
for evermore. Though the host that feed at Jehovah's table is
countless as the stars of heaven, yet each one has his portion
of meat. Think how much grace one saint requires, so much that
nothing but the Infinite could supply him for one day; and yet
the Lord spreads His table, not for one, but many saints, not
for one day, but for many years; not for many years only, but
for generation after generation. Observe the full feasting
spoken of in the text, the guests at mercy's banquet are
satisfied, nay, more "abundantly satisfied;" and that not with
ordinary fare, but with fatness, the peculiar fatness of God's
own house; and such feasting is guaranteed by a faithful promise
to all those children of men who put their trust under the
shadow of Jehovah's wings. I once thought if I might but get the
broken meat at God's back door of grace I should be satisfied;
like the woman who said, "The dogs eat of the crumbs that fall
from the master's table;" but no child of God is ever served
with scraps and leavings; like Mephibosheth, they all eat from
the king's own table. In matters of grace, we all have
Benjamin's mess--we all have ten times more than we could have
expected, and though our necessities are great, yet are we often
amazed at the marvellous plenty of grace which God gives us
experimentally to enjoy.

* 03/05/PM

"Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation."
                                                    --Psalm 35:3

   What does this sweet prayer teach me? It shall be my 
evening's petition; but first let it yield me an instructive
meditation. The text informs me first of all that _David had his
doubts_; for why should he pray, "Say unto my soul, I am thy
salvation," if he were not sometimes exercised with doubts and
fears? Let me, then, be of good cheer, for I am not the only
saint who has to complain of weakness of faith. If David
doubted, I need not conclude that I am no Christian because I
have doubts. The text reminds me that _David was not content
while he had doubts and fears_, but he repaired at once to the
mercy-seat to pray for assurance; for he valued it as much fine
gold. I too must labour after an abiding sense of my acceptance
in the Beloved, and must have no joy when His love is not shed
abroad in my soul. When my Bridegroom is gone from me, my soul
must and will fast. I learn also that _David knew where to
obtain full assurance_. He went to his God in prayer, crying,
"Say unto my soul I am thy salvation." I must be much alone with
God if I would have a clear sense of Jesus' love. Let my prayers
cease, and my eye of faith will grow dim. Much in prayer, much
in heaven; slow in prayer, slow in progress. I notice that
_David would not be satisfied unless his assurance had a divine
source_. "Say unto my soul." Lord, do _Thou_ say it ! Nothing
short of a divine testimony in the soul will ever content the
true Christian. Moreover, David could not rest unless his
assurance had _a vivid personality_ about it. "Say unto _my_
soul, I am _thy_ salvation." Lord, if Thou shouldst say this to
all the saints, it were nothing, unless Thou shouldst say it to
me. Lord, I have sinned; I deserve not Thy smile; I scarcely
dare to ask it; but oh!  say to _my_ soul, even to _my_ soul, "I
am _thy_ salvation." Let me have a present, personal,
infallible, indisputable sense that I am Thine, and that Thou
art mine.

* 03/06/PM

"Before destruction the heart of man is haughty."
                                                --Proverbs 18:12

   It is an old and common saying, that "coming events cast 
their shadows before them;" the wise man teaches us that a
haughty heart is the prophetic prelude of evil. Pride is as
safely the sign of destruction as the change of mercury in the
weather-glass is the sign of rain; and far more infallibly so
than that. When men have ridden the high horse, destruction has
always overtaken them. Let David's aching heart show that there
is an eclipse of a man's glory when he dotes upon his own
greatness. 2 Sam. 24:10. See Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty builder
of Babylon, creeping on the earth, devouring grass like oxen,
until his nails had grown like bird's claws, and his hair like
eagle's feathers. Dan. 4:33. Pride made the boaster a beast, as
once before it made an angel a devil. God hates high looks, and
never fails to bring them down., All the arrows of God are aimed
at proud hearts. O Christian, is thine heart haughty this
evening? For pride can get into the Christian's heart as well as
into the sinner's; it can delude him into dreaming that he is
"rich and increased in goods, and hath need of nothing." Art
thou glorying in thy graces or thy talents? Art thou proud of
thyself, that thou hast had holy frames and sweet experiences?
Mark thee, reader, there is a destruction coming to thee also.
Thy flaunting poppies of self-conceit will be pulled up by the
roots, thy mushroom graces will wither in the burning heat, and
thy self-sufficiency shall become as straw for the dunghill. If
we forget to live at the foot of the cross in deepest lowliness
of spirit, God will not forget to make us smart under His rod. A
destruction will come to thee, O unduly exalted believer, the
destruction of thy joys and of thy comforts, though there can be
no destruction of thy soul. Wherefore, "He that glorieth, let
him glory _in the Lord_."

* 03/07/PM

"lt is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in
                                                   --Psalm 118:8

   Doubtless the reader has been tried with the temptation to 
rely upon the things which are seen, instead of resting alone
upon the invisible God. Christians often look to man for help
and counsel, and mar the noble simplicity of their reliance upon
their God. Does this evening's portion meet the eye of a child
of God anxious about temporals, then would we reason with him
awhile. You trust in Jesus, and only in Jesus, for your
salvation, then why are you troubled? "_Because of my great
care_." Is it not written, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord"? "Be
careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
supplication make known your wants unto God." Cannot you trust
God for temporals? "_Ah! I wish I could_." If you cannot trust
God for temporals, how dare you trust Him for spirituals? Can
you trust Him for your soul's redemption, and not rely upon Him
for a few lesser mercies? Is not God enough for thy need, or is
His all-sufficiency too narrow for thy wants? Dost thou want
another eye beside that of Him who sees every secret thing? Is
His heart faint? Is His arm weary? If so, seek another God; but
if He be infinite, omnipotent, faithful, true, and all-wise, why
gaddest thou abroad so much to seek another confidence? Why dost
thou rake the earth to find another foundation, when this is
strong enough to bear all the weight which thou canst ever build
thereon? Christian, mix not only thy wine with water, do not
alloy thy gold of faith with the dross of human confidence. Wait
thou only upon God, and let thine expectation be from Him. Covet
not Jonah's gourd, but rest in Jonah's God. Let the sandy
foundations of terrestrial trust be the choice of fools, but do
thou, like one who foresees the storm, build for thyself an
abiding place upon the Rock of Ages.

* 03/08/PM

"She called his name Ben-oni (son of sorrow), but his father
called him Benjamin (son of my right hand)."
                                                 --Genesis 35:18

   To every matter there is a bright as well as a dark side.
Rachel was overwhelmed with the sorrow of her own travail and
death; Jacob, though weeping the mother's loss, could see the
mercy of the child's birth. It is well for us if, while the
flesh mourns over trials, our faith triumphs in divine
faithfulness. Samson's lion yielded honey, and so will our
adversities, if rightly considered. The stormy sea feeds
multitudes with its fishes; the wild wood blooms with beauteous
flowerets; the stormy wind sweeps away the pestilence, and the
biting frost loosens the soil. Dark clouds distil bright drops,
and black earth grows gay flowers. A vein of good is to be found
in every mine of evil. Sad hearts have peculiar skill in
discovering the most disadvantageous point of view from which to
gaze upon a trial; if there were only one slough in the world,
they would soon be up to their necks in it, and if there were
only one lion in the desert they would hear it roar. About us
all there is a tinge of this wretched folly, and we are apt, at
times, like Jacob, to cry, "All these things are against me."
Faith's way of walking is to cast all care upon the Lord, and
then to anticipate good results from the worst calamities. Like
Gideon's men, she does not fret over the broken pitcher, but
rejoices that the lamp blazes forth the more. Out of the rough
oyster-shell of difficulty she extracts the rare pearl of
honour, and from the deep ocean-caves of distress she uplifts
the priceless coral of experience. When her flood of prosperity
ebbs, she finds treasures hid in the sands; and when her sun of
delight goes down, she turns her telescope of hope to the starry
promises of heaven. When death itself appears, faith points to
the light of resurrection beyond the grave, thus making our
dying Benoni to be our living Benjamin.

* 03/09/PM

"Abide in Me."
                                                     --John 15:4

   Communion with Christ is a certain cure for every ill. 
Whether it be the wormwood of woe, or the cloying surfeit of
earthly delight, close fellowship with the Lord Jesus will take
bitterness from the one, and satiety from the other. Live near
to Jesus, Christian, and it is matter of secondary importance
whether thou livest on the mountain of honour or in the valley
of humiliation. Living near to Jesus, thou art covered with the
wings of God, and underneath thee are the everlasting arms. Let
nothing keep thee from that hallowed intercourse, which is the
choice privilege of a soul wedded to THE WELL-BELOVED. Be not
content with an interview now and then, but seek always to
retain His company, for only in His presence hast thou either
comfort or safety. Jesus should not be unto us a friend who
calls upon us now and then, but one with whom we walk evermore.
Thou hast a difficult road before thee: see, O traveller to
heaven, that thou go not without thy guide. Thou hast to pass
through the fiery furnace; enter it not unless, like Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, thou hast the Son of God to be thy
companion. Thou hast to storm the Jericho of thine own
corruptions: attempt not the warfare until, like Joshua, thou
hast seen the Captain of the Lord's host, with His sword drawn
in His hand. Thou art to meet the Esau of thy many temptations:
meet him not until at Jabbok's brook thou hast laid hold upon
the angel, and prevailed. In every case, in every condition,
thou wilt need Jesus; but most of all, when the iron gates of
death shall open to thee. Keep thou close to thy soul's Husband,
lean thy head upon His bosom, ask to be refreshed with the
spiced wine of His pomegranate, and thou shalt be found of Him
at the last, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Seeing
thou hast lived with Him, and lived in Him here, thou shalt
abide with Him for ever.

* 03/10/PM

"Man . . . is of few days, and full of trouble."
                                                      --Job 14:1

   It may be of great service to us, before we fall asleep, to 
remember this mournful fact, for it may lead us to set loose by
earthly things. There is nothing very pleasant in the
recollection that we are not above the shafts of adversity, but
it may humble us and prevent our boasting like the Psalmist in
our morning's portion. "My mountain standeth firm: I shall
never be moved." It may stay us from taking too deep root in
this soil from which we are so soon to be transplanted into the
heavenly garden. Let us recollect the frail tenure upon which we
hold our _temporal mercies_. If we would remember that all the
trees of earth are marked for the woodman's axe, we should not
be so ready to build our nests in them. We should love, but we
should love with the love which expects death, and which reckons
upon separations. Our dear relations are but loaned to us, and
the hour when we must return them to the lender's hand may be
even at the door. The like is certainly true of our _worldly
goods_. Do not riches take to themselves wings and fly away? Our
_health_ is equally precarious. Frail flowers of the field, we
must not reckon upon blooming for ever. There is a time
appointed for weakness and sickness, when we shall have to
glorify God by suffering, and not by earnest activity. There is
no single point in which we can hope to escape from the sharp
arrows of affliction; out of our few days there is not one
secure from sorrow. Man's life is a cask full of bitter wine; he
who looks for joy in it had better seek for honey in an ocean of
brine. Beloved reader, set not your affections upon things of
earth: but seek those things which are above, for _here_ the
moth devoureth, and the thief breaketh through, but _there_ all
joys are perpetual and eternal. The path of trouble is the way
home. Lord, make this thought a pillow for many a weary head!

* 03/11/PM

"Thou shalt be called, Sought out."
                                                  --Isaiah 62:12

   The surpassing grace of God is seen very clearly in that we 
were not only sought, but sought _out_. Men _seek_ for a thing
which is lost upon the floor of the house, but in such a case
there is only seeking, not seeking out. The loss is more
perplexing and the search more persevering when a thing is
sought _out_. We were mingled with the mire: we were as when
some precious piece of gold falls into the sewer, and men gather
out and carefully inspect a mass of abominable filth, and
continue to stir and rake, and search among the heap until the
treasure is found. Or, to use another figure, we were lost in a
labyrinth; we wandered hither and thither, and when mercy came
after us with the gospel, it did not find us at the first
coming, it had to search for us and seek us out; for we as lost
sheep were so desperately lost, and had wandered into such a
strange country, that it did not seem possible that even the
Good Shepherd should track our devious roamings. Glory be to
unconquerable grace, we were sought _out_!  No gloom could hide
us, no filthiness could conceal us, we were found and brought
home. Glory be to infinite love, God the Holy Spirit restored

   The lives of some of God's people, if they could be written 
would fill us with holy astonishment. Strange and marvellous are
the ways which God used in their case to find His own. Blessed
be His name, He never relinquishes the search until the chosen
are sought out effectually. They are not a people sought to-day
and cast away to-morrow. Almightiness and wisdom combined will
make no failures, they shall be called, "_Sought out_!" That any
should be sought out is matchless grace, but that _we_ should be
sought out is grace beyond degree! We can find no reason for it
but God's own sovereign love, and can only lift up our heart in
wonder, and praise the Lord that this night we wear the name of
"_Sought out_."

* 03/12/PM

"To whom belongest thou?"
                                                --1 Samuel 30:13

   No neutralities can exist in religion. We are either ranked
under the banner of Prince Immanuel, to serve and fight His
battles, or we are vassals of the black prince, Satan. "To whom
belongest thou?"

   Reader, let me assist you in your response. _Have you been
"born again"_? If you have, you belong to Christ, but without
the new birth you cannot be His. _In whom do you trust_? For
those who believe in Jesus are the sons of God. _Whose work are
you doing_? You are sure to serve your master, for he whom you
serve is thereby owned to be your lord. _What company do you
keep_? If you belong to Jesus, you will fraternize with those
who wear the livery of the cross. "Birds of a feather flock
together." _What is your conversation_? Is it heavenly or is it
earthly? _What have you learned of your Master_?--for servants
learn much from their masters to whom they are apprenticed. If
you have served your time with Jesus, it will be said of you, as
it was of Peter and John, "They took knowledge of them, that
they had been with Jesus."

   We press the question, "To whom belongest thou?" Answer 
honestly before you give sleep to your eyes. If you are not
Christ's you are in a hard service--_Run away from your cruel
master_! Enter into the service of the Lord of Love, and you
shall enjoy a life of blessedness. If you _are_ Christ's let me
advise you to do four things. You belong to Jesus--_obey him_;
let his word be your law; let His wish be your will. You belong
to the Beloved, then _love Him_; let your heart embrace Him; let
your whole soul be filled with Him. You belong to the Son of
God, then _trust him_; rest nowhere but on him. You belong to
the King of kings, then _be decided for Him_. Thus, without your
being branded upon the brow, all will know to whom you belong.

* 03/13/PM

"Then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in
unto him into the ark."
                                                   --Genesis 8:9

   Wearied out with her wanderings, the dove returns at length 
to the ark as her only resting place. How heavily she flies--she
will drop--she will never reach the ark! But she struggles on.
Noah has been looking out for his dove all day long, and is
ready to receive her. She has just strength to reach the edge of
the ark, she can hardly alight upon it, and is ready to drop,
when Noah puts forth his hand and pulls her in unto him. Mark
that: "_pulled her in unto him_." She did not fly right in
herself, but was too fearful, or too weary to do so. She flew as
far as she could, and then he put forth his hand and pulled her
in unto him. This act of mercy was shown to the wandering dove,
and she was not chidden for her wanderings. Just as she was she
was pulled into the ark. So you, seeking sinner, with all your
sin, will be received. "Only return"--those are God's two
gracious words--"only return." What! nothing else? No, "only
return." She had no olive branch in her mouth this time, nothing
at all but just herself and her wanderings; but it is "only
return," and she does return, and Noah pulls her in. Fly, thou
wanderer; fly thou fainting one, dove as thou art, though thou
thinkest thyself to be black as the raven with the mire of sin,
back, back to the Saviour. Every moment thou waitest does but
increase thy misery; thine attempts to plume thyself and make
thyself fit for Jesus are all vanity. Come thou to Him just as
thou art. "Return, thou backsliding Israel." He does not say,
"Return, thou _repenting_ Israel" (there is such an invitation
doubtless), but "thou _backsliding_ one," as a backslider with
all thy backslidings about thee, Return, return, return! Jesus
is waiting for thee! He will stretch forth His hand and "pull
thee in"--in to Himself, thy heart's true home.

* 03/14/PM

"I will take heed to my ways."
                                                    --Psalm 39:1

   Fellow-pilgrim, say not in your heart, "I will go hither and 
thither, and I shall not sin;" for you are never so out of
danger of sinning as to boast of security. The road is very
miry, it will be hard to pick your path so as not to soil your
garments. This is a world of pitch; you will need to watch
often, if in handling it you are to keep your hands clean. There
is a robber at every turn of the road to rob you of your jewels;
there is a temptation in every mercy; there is a snare in every
joy; and if you ever reach heaven, it will be a miracle of
divine grace to be ascribed entirely to your Father's power. Be
on your guard. When a man carries a bomb-shell in his hand, he
should mind that he does not go near a candle; and you too must
take care that you enter not into temptation. Even your common
actions are edged tools; you must mind how you handle them.
There is nothing in this world to foster a Christian's piety,
but everything to destroy it. How anxious should you be to look
up to God, that _He_ may keep you! Your prayer should be, "Hold
thou me up, and I shall be safe." Having prayed, you must also
watch; guarding every thought, word, and action, with holy
jealousy. Do not expose yourselves unnecessarily; but if called
to exposure, if you are bidden to go where the darts are flying,
never venture forth without your shield; for if once the devil
finds you without your buckler, he will rejoice that his hour of
triumph is come, and will soon make you fall down wounded by his
arrows. Though slain you cannot be; wounded you may be. "Be
sober; be vigilant, danger may be in an hour when all seemeth
securest to thee." Therefore, take heed to thy ways, and watch
unto prayer. No man ever fell into error through being too
watchful. May the Holy Spirit guide us in all our ways, so shall
they always please the Lord.

* 03/15/PM

"He did it with all his heart and prospered."
                                            --2 Chronicles 31:21

   This is no unusual occurrence; it is the general rule of the 
moral universe that those men prosper who do their work with all
their hearts, while those are almost certain to fail who go to
their labour leaving half their hearts behind them. God does not
give harvests to idle men except harvests of thistles, nor is He
pleased to send wealth to those who will not dig in the field to
find its hid treasure. It is universally confessed that if a man
would prosper, he must be diligent in business. It is the same
in religion as it is in other things. If you would prosper in
your work for Jesus, let it be _heart_ work, and let it be done
with all your heart. Put as much force, energy, heartiness, and
earnestness into religion as ever you do into business, for it
deserves far more. The Holy Spirit helps our infirmities, but He
does not encourage our idleness; He loves active believers. Who
are the most useful men in the Christian church? The men who do
what they undertake for God _with all their hearts_. Who are the
most successful Sabbath-school teachers? The most talented? No;
the most zealous; the men whose hearts are on fire, those are
the men who see their Lord riding forth prosperously in the
majesty of His salvation. Whole-heartedness shows itself in
_perseverance_; there may be failure at first, but the earnest
worker will say, "It is the Lord's work, and it must be done; my
Lord has bidden me do it, and in His strength I will accomplish
it." Christian, art thou thus "with all thine heart" serving thy
Master? Remember the earnestness of Jesus! Think what heart-work
was His! He could say, "_The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me
up_." When He sweat great drops of blood, it was no light burden
He had to carry upon those blessed shoulders; and when He poured
out His heart, it was no weak effort He was making for the
salvation of His people. Was Jesus in earnest, and are we

* 03/16/PM

"Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins."
                                                   --Psalm 19:13

   Such was the prayer of the "_man after God's own heart_." Did 
holy David need to pray thus? How needful, then, must such a
prayer be for us babes in grace! It is as if he said, "Keep me
back, or I shall rush headlong over the precipice of sin." Our
evil nature, like an ill-tempered horse, is apt to run away. May
the grace of God put the bridle upon it, and hold it in, that it
rush not into mischief. What might not the best of us do if it
were not for the checks which the Lord sets upon us both in
providence and in grace! The psalmist's prayer is directed
against the worst form of sin--that which is done with
deliberation and wilfulness. Even the holiest need to be "kept
back" from the vilest transgressions. It is a solemn thing to
find the apostle Paul warning saints against the most loathsome
sins. "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;
fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil
concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." What!  do
saints want warning against such sins as these? Yes, they do.
The whitest robes, unless their purity be preserved by divine
grace, will be defiled by the blackest spots. Experienced
Christian, boast not in your experience; you will trip yet if
you look away from Him who is able to keep you from falling. Ye
whose love is fervent, whose faith is constant, whose hopes are
bright, say not, "We shall never sin," but rather cry, "Lead us
not into temptation." There is enough tinder in the heart of the
best of men to light a fire that shall burn to the lowest hell,
unless God shall quench the sparks as they fall. Who would have
dreamed that righteous Lot could be found drunken, and
committing uncleanness? Hazael said, "Is Thy servant a dog, that
he should do this thing?" and we are very apt to use the same
self-righteous question. May infinite wisdom cure us of the
madness of self-confidence.

* 03/17/PM

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the
children of God."
                                                   --Matthew 5:9

   This is the seventh of the beatitudes: and seven was the 
number of perfection among the Hebrews. It may be that the
Saviour placed the peacemaker the seventh upon the list because
he most nearly approaches the perfect man in Christ Jesus. He
who would have perfect blessedness, so far as it can be enjoyed
on earth, must attain to this seventh benediction, and become a
peacemaker. There is a significance also in the position of the
text. The verse which precedes it speaks of the blessedness of
"the pure in heart: for they shall see God." It is well to
understand that we are to be "first pure, then peaceable." Our
peaceableness is never to be a compact with sin, or toleration
of evil. We must set our faces like flints against everything
which is contrary to God and His holiness: purity being in our
souls a settled matter, we can go on to peaceableness. Not less
does the verse that follows seem to have been put there on
purpose. However peaceable we may be in this world, yet we shall
be misrepresented and misunderstood: and no marvel, for even the
Prince of Peace, by His very peacefulness, brought fire upon the
earth. He Himself, though He loved mankind, and did no ill, was
"despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted
with grief." Lest, therefore, the peaceable in heart should be
surprised when they meet with enemies, it is added in the
following verse, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for
righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Thus,
the peacemakers are not only pronounced to be blessed, but they
are compassed about with blessings. Lord, give us grace to climb
to this seventh beatitude! Purify our minds that we may be
"first pure, then peaceable," and fortify our souls, that our
peaceableness may not lead us into cowardice and despair, when
for Thy sake we are persecuted.

* 03/18/PM

"As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you."
                                                     --John 15:9

   As the Father loves the Son, in the same manner Jesus loves 
His people. What is that divine method? He loved Him _without
beginning_, and thus Jesus loves His members. "_I have loved
thee with an everlasting love_." You can trace the beginning of
human affection; you can easily find the beginning of your love
to Christ, but His love to us is a stream whose source is hidden
in eternity. God the Father loves Jesus _without any change_.
Christian, take this for your comfort, that there is no change
in Jesus Christ's love to those who rest in Him. Yesterday you
were on Tabor's top, and you said, "He loves me:" to-day you are
in the valley of humiliation, but He loves you still the same.
On the hill Mizar, and among the Hermons, you heard His voice,
which spake so sweetly with the turtle-notes of love; and now on
the sea, or even in the sea, when all His waves and billows go
over you, His heart is faithful to His ancient choice. The
Father loves the Son _without any end_, and thus does the Son
love His people. Saint, thou needest not fear the loosing of the
silver cord, for His love for thee will never cease. Rest
confident that even down to the grave Christ will go with you,
and that up again from it He will be your guide to the celestial
hills. Moreover, the Father loves the Son _without any measure_,
and the same immeasurable love the Son bestows upon His chosen
ones. The whole heart of Christ is dedicated to His people. He
"loved us and gave Himself for us." His is a love which passeth
knowledge. Ah! we have indeed an immutable Saviour, a precious
Saviour, one who loves without measure, without change, without
beginning, and without end, even as the Father loves Him! There
is much food here for those who know how to digest it. May the
Holy Ghost lead us into its marrow and fatness!

* 03/19/PM

"And she did eat, and was sufficed, and left."
                                                     --Ruth 2:14

   Whenever we are privileged to eat of the bread which Jesus 
gives, we are, like Ruth, satisfied with the full and sweet
repast. When Jesus is the host no guest goes empty from the
table. Our _head_ is satisfied with the precious truth which
Christ reveals; our _heart_ is content with Jesus, as the
altogether lovely object of affection; our _hope_ is satisfied,
for whom have we in heaven but Jesus? and our desire is
satiated, for what can we wish for more than "to know Christ and
to be found in Him"? Jesus fills our _conscience_ till it is at
perfect peace; our _judgment_ with persuasion of the certainty
of His teachings; our _memory_ with recollections of what He has
done, and our _imagination_ with the prospects of what He is yet
to do. As Ruth was "sufficed, _and left_," so is it with us. We
have had deep draughts; we have thought that we could take in
all of Christ; but when we have done our best we have had to
leave a vast remainder. We have sat at the table of the Lord's
love, and said, "Nothing but the infinite can ever satisfy me; I
am such a great sinner that I must have infinite merit to wash
my sin away;" but we have had our sin removed, and found that
there was merit to spare; we have had our hunger relieved at the
feast of sacred love, and found that there was a redundance of
spiritual meat remaining. There are certain sweet things in the
Word of God which we have not enjoyed yet, and which we are
obliged to leave for awhile; for we are like the disciples to
whom Jesus said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye
cannot bear them now." Yes, there are graces to which we have
not attained; places of fellowship nearer to Christ which we
have not reached; and heights of communion which our feet have
not climbed. At every banquet of love there are many baskets of
fragments left. Let us magnify the liberality of our glorious

* 03/20/PM

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the
                                                --Ephesians 5:25

   What a golden example Christ gives to His disciples! Few 
masters could venture to say, "If you would practise my
teaching, imitate my life;" but as the life of Jesus is the
exact transcript of perfect virtue, He can point to Himself as
the paragon of holiness, as well as the teacher of it. The
Christian should take nothing short of Christ for his model.
Under no circumstances ought we to be content unless we reflect
the grace which was in Him. As a husband, the Christian is to
look upon the portrait of Christ Jesus, and he is to paint
according to that copy. The true Christian is to be such a
husband as Christ was to His church. The love of a husband is
_special_. The Lord Jesus cherishes for the church a peculiar
affection, which is set upon her above the rest of mankind: "I
pray for them, I pray not for the world." The elect church is
the favourite of heaven, the treasure of Christ, the crown of
His head, the bracelet of His arm, the breastplate of His heart,
the very centre and core of His love. A husband should love his
wife with a _constant_ love, for thus Jesus loves His church.
He does not vary in His affection. He may change in His display
of affection, but the affection itself is still the same. A
husband should love his wife with an _enduring_ love, for
nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." A true husband loves his
wife with a _hearty_ love, fervent and intense. It is not mere
lip-service. Ah! beloved, what more could Christ have done in
proof of His love than He has done? Jesus has a _delighted love_
towards His spouse: He prizes her affection, and delights in her
with sweet complacence. Believer, you wonder at Jesus' love; you
admire it--_are you imitating it_? In your domestic
relationships is the rule and measure of your love--"_even as
Christ loved the church_"?

* 03/21/PM

"Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the
bands of Orion?"
                                                     --Job 38:31

   If inclined to boast of our abilities, the grandeur of nature
may soon show us how puny we are. We cannot move the least of
all the twinkling stars, or quench so much as one of the beams
of the morning. We speak of power, but the heavens laugh us to
scorn. When the Pleiades shine forth in spring with vernal joy
we cannot restrain their influences, and when Orion reigns
aloft, and the year is bound in winter's fetters, we cannot
relax the icy bands. The seasons revolve according to the divine
appointment, neither can the whole race of men effect a change
therein. Lord, what is man?

   In the spiritual, as in the natural world, man's power is 
limited on all hands. When the Holy Spirit sheds abroad His
delights in the soul, none can disturb; all the cunning and
malice of men are ineffectual to stay the genial quickening
power of the Comforter. When He deigns to visit a church and
revive it, the most inveterate enemies cannot resist the good
work; they may ridicule it, but they can no more restrain it
than they can push back the spring when the Pleiades rule the
hour. God wills it, and so it must be. On the other hand, if
the Lord in sovereignty, or in justice, bind up a man so that he
is in soul bondage, who can give him liberty? He alone can
remove the winter of spiritual death from an individual or a
people. He looses the bands of Orion, and none but He. What a
blessing it is that He can do it. O that He would perform the
wonder to-night. Lord, end my winter, and let my spring begin.
I cannot with all my longings raise my soul out of her death and
dulness, but all things are possible with Thee. I need celestial
influences, the clear shinings of Thy love, the beams of Thy
grace, the light of Thy countenance, these are the Pleiades to
me. I suffer much from sin and temptation, these are my wintry
signs, my terrible Orion. Lord, work wonders in me, and for me.

* 03/22/PM

"Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with
Me where I am."
                                                    --John 17:24

   O death! why dost thou touch the tree beneath whose spreading 
branches weariness hath rest? Why dost thou snatch away the
excellent of the earth, in whom is all our delight? If thou must
use thine axe, use it upon the trees which yield no fruit; thou
mightest be thanked then. But why wilt thou fell the goodly
cedars of Lebanon? O stay thine axe, and spare the righteous.
But no, it must not be; death smites the goodliest of our
friends; the most generous, the most prayerful, the most holy,
the most devoted must die. And why? It is through Jesus'
prevailing prayer--"Father, I will that they also, whom Thou
hast given Me, be with Me where I am." It is _that_ which bears
them on eagle's wings to heaven. Every time a believer mounts
from this earth to paradise, it is an answer to Christ's prayer.
A good old divine remarks, "Many times Jesus and His people pull
against one another in prayer. You bend your knee in prayer and
say 'Father, I will that Thy saints be with me where _I_ am';
Christ says, 'Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast
given Me, be with Me where I am.'" Thus the disciple is at
cross-purposes with his Lord. The soul cannot be in both places:
the beloved one cannot be with Christ and with you too. Now,
which pleader shall win the day? If you had your choice; if the
King should step from His throne, and say, "Here are two
supplicants praying in opposition to one another, which shall be
answered?" Oh! I am sure, though it were agony, you would start
from your feet, and say, "Jesus, not my will, but Thine be
done." You would give up your prayer for your loved one's life,
if you could realize the thoughts that Christ is praying in the
opposite direction--"Father, I will that they also, whom Thou
hast given Me, be with Me where I am." Lord, Thou shalt have
them. By faith we let them go.

* 03/23/PM

"I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones
would immediately cry out."
                                                    --Luke 19:40

   But could the stones cry out? Assuredly they could if He who 
opens the mouth of the dumb should bid them lift up their voice.
Certainly if they were to speak, they would have much to testify
in praise of Him who created them by the word of His power; they
could extol the wisdom and power of their _Maker_ who called
them into being. Shall not _we_ speak well of Him who made us
anew, and out of stones raised up children unto Abraham? The old
rocks could tell of chaos and order, and the handiwork of God in
successive stages of creation's drama; and cannot _we_ talk of
God's decrees, of God's great work in ancient times, in all that
He did for His church in the days of old? If the stones were to
speak, they could tell of their _breaker_, how he took them from
the quarry, and made them fit for the temple, and cannot we tell
of our glorious Breaker, who broke our hearts with the hammer of
His word, that He might build us into His temple? If the stones
should cry out they would magnify their _builder_, who polished
them and fashioned them after the similitude of a palace; and
shall not we talk of our Architect and Builder, who has put us
in our place in the temple of the living God? If the stones
could cry out, they might have a long, long story to tell by way
of memorial, for many a time hath a great stone been rolled as a
memorial before the Lord; and we too can testify of Ebenezers,
stones of help, pillars of remembrance. The broken stones of the
law cry out against us, but Christ Himself, who has rolled away
the stone from the door of the sepulchre, speaks for us. Stones
might well cry out, but we will not let them: we will hush their
noise with ours; we will break forth into sacred song, and bless
the majesty of the Most High, all our days glorifying Him who is
called by Jacob the Shepherd and Stone of Israel.

* 03/24/PM

"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit."
                                                    --Luke 10:21

   The Saviour was "a man of sorrows," but every thoughtful mind 
has discovered the fact that down deep in His innermost soul He
carried an inexhaustible treasury of refined and heavenly joy.
Of all the human race, there was never a man who had a deeper,
purer, or more abiding peace than our Lord Jesus Christ. "He was
anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows." His vast
benevolence must, from the very nature of things, have afforded
Him the deepest possible delight, for benevolence is joy. There
were a few remarkable seasons when this joy manifested itself.
"At that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee,
O Father, Lord of heaven and earth." Christ had His songs,
though it was night with Him; though His face was marred, and
His countenance had lost the lustre of earthly happiness, yet
sometimes it was lit up with a matchless splendour of
unparalleled satisfaction, as He thought upon the recompense of
the reward, and in the midst of the congregation sang His praise
unto God. In this, the Lord Jesus is a blessed picture of His
church on earth. At this hour the church expects to walk in
sympathy with her Lord along a thorny road; through much
tribulation she is forcing her way to the crown. To bear the
cross is her office, and to be scorned and counted an alien by
her mother's children is her lot; and yet the church has a deep
well of joy, of which none can drink but her own children. There
are stores of wine, and oil, and corn, hidden in the midst of
our Jerusalem, upon which the saints of God are evermore
sustained and nurtured; and sometimes, as in our Saviour's case,
we have our seasons of intense delight, for "There is a river,
the streams whereof shall make glad the city of our God." Exiles
though we be, we rejoice in our King; yea, in Him we exceedingly
rejoice, while in His name we set up our banners.

* 03/25/PM

"The Son of man."
                                                     --John 3:13

   How constantly our Master used the title, the "Son of man!" 
If He had chosen, He might always have spoken of Himself as the
Son of God, the Everlasting Father, the Wonderful, the
Counsellor, the Prince of Peace; but behold the lowliness of
Jesus! He prefers to call Himself the Son of man. Let us learn a
lesson of humility from our Saviour; let us never court great
titles nor proud degrees. There is here, however, a far sweeter
thought. Jesus loved manhood so much, that He delighted to
honour it; and since it is a high honour, and indeed, the
greatest dignity of manhood, that Jesus is the Son of man, He is
wont to display this name, that He may as it were hang royal
stars upon the breast of manhood, and show forth the love of God
to Abraham's seed. _Son of man_--whenever He said that word, He
shed a halo round the head of Adam's children. Yet there is
perhaps a more precious thought still. Jesus Christ called
Himself the Son of man to express His oneness and sympathy with
His people. He thus reminds us that He is the one whom we may
approach without fear. As a man, we may take to Him all our
griefs and troubles, for He knows them by experience; in that He
Himself hath suffered as the "Son of man," He is able to succor
and comfort us. All hail, Thou blessed Jesus! inasmuch as Thou
art evermore using the sweet name which acknowledges that Thou
art a brother and a near kinsman, it is to us a dear token of
Thy grace, Thy humility, Thy love.

               "Oh see how Jesus trusts Himself
               Unto our childish love,
               As though by His free ways with us
               Our earnestness to prove!

               His sacred name a common word
               On earth He loves to hear;
               There is no majesty in Him
               Which love may not come near."

* 03/26/PM

"When He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy
                                                     --Mark 8:38

   If we have been partakers with Jesus in His shame, we shall 
be sharers with Him in the lustre which shall surround Him when
He appears again in glory. Art thou, beloved one, with Christ
Jesus? Does a vital union knit thee to Him? Then thou art to-day
with Him in His shame; thou hast taken up His cross, and gone
with Him without the camp bearing His reproach; thou shalt
doubtless be with Him when the cross is exchanged for the crown.
But judge thyself this evening; for if thou art not with Him in
the regeneration, neither shalt thou be with Him when He shall
come in His glory. If thou start back from the black side of
communion, thou shalt not understand its bright, its happy
period, when the King shall come, and _all His holy angels with
Him_. What! are _angels with Him_? And yet He took not up
angels--He took up the seed of Abraham. Are the holy angels
_with Him_? Come, my soul, if thou art indeed His own beloved,
thou canst not be far from Him. If His friends and His
neighbours are called together to see His glory, what thinkest
thou if thou art married to Him? Shalt thou be distant? Though
it be a day of judgment, yet thou canst not be far from that
heart which, having admitted angels into intimacy, has admitted
thee into union. Has He not said to thee, O my soul, "I will
betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in
lovingkindness"? Have not His own lips said it, "I am married
unto thee, and My delight is in thee"? If the angels, who are
but friends and neighbours, shall be with Him, it is abundantly
certain that His own beloved Hephzibah, in whom is all His
delight, shall be near to Him, and sit at His right hand. Here
is a morning star of hope for thee, of such exceeding
brilliance, that it may well light up the darkest and most
desolate experience.

* 03/27/PM

"And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which
fall from their master's table."
                                                 --Matthew 15:27

   This woman gained comfort in her misery by thinking GREAT 
THOUGHTS OF CHRIST. The Master had talked about the children's
bread: "Now," argued she, "since Thou art the Master of the
table of grace, I know that Thou art a generous housekeeper, and
there is sure to be abundance of bread on Thy table; there will
be such an abundance for the children that there will be crumbs
to throw on the floor for the dogs, and the children will fare
none the worse because the dogs are fed." She thought Him one
who kept so good a table that all that she needed would only be
a crumb in comparison; yet remember, what she wanted was to have
the devil cast out of her daughter. It was a very great thing to
her, but she had such a high esteem of Christ, that she said,
"It is nothing to Him, it is but a crumb for Christ to give."
This is the royal road to comfort. Great thoughts of your sin
alone will drive you to despair; but great thoughts of Christ
will pilot you into the haven of peace. "My sins are many, but
oh! it is nothing to Jesus to take them all away. The weight of
my guilt presses me down as a giant's foot would crush a worm,
but it is no more than a grain of dust to Him, because He has
already borne its curse in His own body on the tree. It will be
but a small thing for Him to give me full remission, although it
will be an infinite blessing for me to receive it." The woman
opens her soul's mouth very wide, expecting great things of
Jesus, and He fills it with His love. Dear reader, do the same.
She confessed what Christ laid at her door, but she laid fast
hold upon Him, and drew arguments even out of His hard words;
she believed great things of Him, and she thus overcame Him.
of prevailing faith; and if we would conquer like her, we must
imitate her tactics.

* 03/28/PM

"I will accept you with your sweet savour."
                                                 --Ezekiel 20:41

   The merits of our great Redeemer are as sweet savour to the 
Most High. Whether we speak of the active or passive
righteousness of Christ, there is an equal fragrance. There was
a sweet savour in His active life by which He honoured the law
of God, and made every precept to glitter like a precious jewel
in the pure setting of His own person. Such, too, was His
passive obedience, when He endured with unmurmuring submission,
hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, and at length sweat great
drops of blood in Gethsemane, gave His back to the smiters, and
His cheeks to them that plucked out the hair, and was fastened
to the cruel wood, that He might suffer the wrath of God in our
behalf. These two things are sweet before the Most High; and for
the sake of His doing and His dying, His substitutionary
sufferings and His vicarious obedience, the Lord our God accepts
us. What a preciousness must there be in Him to overcome our
want of preciousness! What a sweet savour to put away our ill
savour!  What a cleansing power in His blood to take away sin
such as ours! and what glory in His righteousness to make such
unacceptable creatures to be accepted in the Beloved! Mark,
believer, how sure and unchanging must be our acceptance, since
it is _in Him_! Take care that you never doubt your acceptance
in Jesus. You cannot be accepted without Christ; but, when you
have received His merit, you cannot be unaccepted.
Notwithstanding all your doubts, and fears, and sins, Jehovah's
gracious eye never looks upon you in anger; though He sees sin
in you, in yourself, yet when He looks at you through Christ, He
sees no sin. You are always accepted in Christ, are always
blessed and dear to the Father's heart. Therefore lift up a
song, and as you see the smoking incense of the merit of the
Saviour coming up, this evening, before the sapphire throne, let
the incense of your praise go up also.

* 03/29/PM

"I called Him, but He gave me no answer."
                                           --Song of Solomon 5:6

   Prayer sometimes tarrieth, like a petitioner at the gate, 
until the King cometh forth to fill her bosom with the blessings
which she seeketh. The Lord, when He hath given great faith, has
been known to try it by long delayings. He has suffered His
servants' voices to echo in their ears as from a brazen sky.
They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained
immovable, as though it were rusted upon its hinges. Like
Jeremiah, they have cried, "Thou hast covered Thyself with a
cloud, that our prayer should not pass through." Thus have true
saints continued long in patient waiting without reply, not
because their prayers were not vehement, nor because they were
unaccepted, but because it so pleased Him who is a Sovereign,
and who gives according to His own pleasure. If it pleases Him
to bid our patience exercise itself, shall He not do as He wills
with His own! Beggars must not be choosers either as to time,
place, or form. But we must be careful not to take delays in
prayer for denials: God's long-dated bills will be punctually
honoured; we must not suffer Satan to shake our confidence in
the God of truth by pointing to our unanswered prayers.
Unanswered petitions are not unheard. God keeps a file for our
prayers--they are not blown away by the wind, they are treasured
in the King's archives. This is a registry in the court of
heaven wherein every prayer is recorded. Tried believer, thy
Lord hath a tear-bottle in which the costly drops of sacred
grief are put away, and a book in which thy holy groanings are
numbered. By-and-by, thy suit shall prevail. Canst thou not be
content to wait a little? Will not thy Lord's time be better
than thy time? By-and-by He will comfortably appear, to thy
soul's joy, and make thee put away the sackcloth and ashes of
long waiting, and put on the scarlet and fine linen of full

* 03/30/PM

"Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord."
                                             --Lamentations 3:40

   The spouse who fondly loves her absent husband longs for his 
return; a long protracted separation from her lord is a
semi-death to her spirit: and so with souls who love the Saviour
much, they must see His face, they cannot bear that He should be
away upon the mountains of Bether, and no more hold communion
with them. A reproaching glance, an uplifted finger will be
grievous to loving children, who fear to offend their tender
father, and are only happy in his smile. Beloved, it was so once
with you. A text of Scripture, a threatening, a touch of the rod
of affliction, and you went to your Father's feet, crying, "Show
me wherefore Thou contendest with me?" Is it so now? Are you
content to follow Jesus afar off? Can you contemplate suspended
communion with Christ without alarm? Can you bear to have your
Beloved walking contrary to you, because you walk contrary to
Him? Have your sins separated between you and your God, and is
your heart at rest? O let me affectionately warn you, for it is
a grievous thing when we can live contentedly without the
present enjoyment of the Saviour's face. _Let us labour to feel
what an evil thing this is_--little love to our own dying
Saviour, little joy in our precious Jesus, little fellowship
with the Beloved! Hold a true Lent in your souls, while you
sorrow over your hardness of heart. Do not stop at sorrow!
Remember where you first received salvation. _Go at once to the
cross_. There, and there only, can you get your spirit
quickened. No matter how hard, how insensible, how dead we may
have become, let us go again in all the rags and poverty, and
defilement of our natural condition. Let us clasp that cross,
let us look into those languid eyes, let us bathe in that
fountain filled with blood--this will bring back to us our first
love; this will restore the simplicity of our faith, and the
tenderness of our heart.

* 03/31/PM

"And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it
for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water
dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds
of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field
by night."
                                                --2 Samuel 21:10

   If the love of a woman to her slain sons could make her 
prolong her mournful vigil for so long a period, shall we weary
of considering the sufferings of our blessed Lord? She drove
away the birds of prey, and shall not we chase from our
meditations those worldly and sinful thoughts which defile both
our minds and the sacred themes upon which we are occupied?
Away, ye birds of evil wing! Leave ye the sacrifice alone! She
bore the heats of summer, the night dews and the rains,
unsheltered and alone. Sleep was chased from her weeping eyes:
her heart was too full for slumber. Behold how she loved her
children! Shall Rizpah thus endure, and shall we start at the
first little inconvenience or trial? Are we such cowards that we
cannot bear to suffer with our Lord? She chased away even the
wild beasts, with courage unusual in her sex, and will not we be
ready to encounter every foe for Jesus' sake? These her
children were slain by other hands than hers, and yet she wept
and watched: what ought we to do who have by our sins crucified
our Lord? Our obligations are boundless, our love should be
fervent and our repentance thorough. To watch with Jesus should
be our business, to protect His honour our occupation, to abide
by His cross our solace. Those ghastly corpses might well have
affrighted Rizpah, especially by night, but in our Lord, at
whose cross-foot we are sitting, there is nothing revolting, but
everything attractive. Never was living beauty so enchanting as
a dying Saviour. Jesus, we will watch with Thee yet awhile, and
do Thou graciously unveil Thyself to us; then shall we not sit
beneath sackcloth, but in a royal pavilion.

This document (last modified September 30, 1995) from