September AM

* 09/01/AM

"Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me
to glory."
                                                   --Psalm 73:24

   The Psalmist felt his need of divine guidance. He had just
been discovering the foolishness of his own heart, and lest he
should be constantly led astray by it, he resolved that God's
counsel should henceforth guide him. A sense of our own folly is
a great step towards being wise, when it leads us to rely on the
wisdom of the Lord. The blind man leans on his friend's arm and
reaches home in safety, and so would we give ourselves up
implicitly to divine guidance, nothing doubting; assured that
though we cannot see, it is always safe to trust the All-seeing
God. "_Thou shalt_," is a blessed expression of confidence. He
was sure that the Lord would not decline the condescending task.
There is a word for thee, O believer; rest thou in it. Be
assured that thy God will be thy counsellor and friend; He shall
guide thee; He will direct all thy ways. In His written Word
thou hast this assurance in part fulfilled, for holy Scripture
is His counsel to thee. Happy are we to have God's Word always
to guide us! What were the mariner without his compass? And what
were the Christian without the Bible? This is the unerring
chart, the map in which every shoal is described, and all the
channels from the quicksands of destruction to the haven of
salvation mapped and marked by one who knows all the way.
Blessed be Thou, O God, that we may trust Thee to guide us now,
and guide us even to the end! After this guidance through life,
the Psalmist anticipates a divine reception at last--"_and
afterward receive me to glory_." What a thought for thee,
believer! God Himself will receive _thee_ to glory--_thee_!
Wandering, erring, straying, yet He will bring thee safe at last
to glory! This is thy portion; live on it this day, and if
perplexities should surround thee, go in the strength of this
text straight to the throne.

* 09/02/AM

"But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they
tell Him of her."
                                                     --Mark 1:30

   Very interesting is this little peep into the house of the 
Apostolic Fisherman. We see at once that household joys and
cares are no hindrance to the full exercise of ministry, nay,
that since they furnish an opportunity for personally witnessing
the Lord's gracious work upon one's own flesh and blood, they
may even instruct the teacher better than any other earthly
discipline. Papists and other sectaries may decry marriage, but
true Christianity and household life agree well together.
Peter's house was probably a poor fisherman's hut, but the Lord
of Glory entered it, lodged in it, and wrought a miracle in it.
Should our little book be read this morning in some very humble
cottage, let this fact encourage the inmates to seek the company
of King Jesus. God is oftener in little huts than in rich
palaces. Jesus is looking round your room now, and is waiting to
be gracious to you. Into Simon's house sickness had entered,
fever in a deadly form had prostrated his mother-in-law, and as
soon as Jesus came they told Him of the sad affliction, and He
hastened to the patient's bed. Have you any sickness in the
house this morning? You will find Jesus by far the best
physician, go to Him at once and tell Him all about the matter.
Immediately lay the case before Him. It concerns one of His
people, and therefore will not be trivial to Him. Observe, that
at once the Saviour restored the sick woman; none can heal as He
does. We may not make sure that the Lord will at once remove
all disease from those we love, but we may know that believing
prayer for the sick is far more likely to be followed by
restoration than anything else in the world; and where this
avails not, we must meekly bow to His will by whom life and
death are determined. The tender heart of Jesus waits to hear
our griefs, let us pour them into His patient ear.

* 09/03/AM

"Thou whom my soul loveth."
                                           --Song of Solomon 1:7

   It is well to be able, without any "if" or "but," to say of 
the Lord Jesus--"_Thou whom my soul loveth_." Many can only say
of Jesus that they _hope_ they love Him; they _trust_ they love
Him; but only a poor and shallow experience will be content to
stay here. No one ought to give any rest to his spirit till he
feels quite sure about a matter of such vital importance. We
ought not to be satisfied with a superficial _hope_ that Jesus
loves us, and with a bare trust that we love Him. The old saints
did not generally speak with "buts," and "ifs," and "hopes," and
"trusts," but they spoke positively and plainly. "I know whom I
have believed," saith Paul. "I know that my Redeemer liveth,"
saith Job. Get positive knowledge of your love of Jesus, and be
not satisfied till you can speak of your interest in Him as a
reality, which you have made sure by having received the witness
of the Holy Spirit, and His seal upon your soul by faith.

   True love to Christ is in every case the Holy Spirit's work, 
and must be wrought in the heart by Him. He is the _efficient
cause_ of it; but the logical reason why we love Jesus lies in
_Himself. Why_ do we love Jesus? _Because He first loved us.
Why_ do we love Jesus? Because He "_gave Himself for us_." We
have life through His death; we have peace through His blood.
Though He was rich, yet _for our sakes_ He became poor. Why do
we love Jesus? Because of the _excellency of His person_. We are
filled with a sense of His beauty! an admiration of His charms!
a consciousness of His infinite perfection! His greatness,
goodness, and loveliness, in one resplendent ray, combine to
enchant the soul till it is so ravished that it exclaims, "Yea,
He is altogether lovely." Blessed love this--a love which binds
the heart with chains more soft than silk, and yet more firm
than adamant!

* 09/04/AM

"I will; be thou clean."
                                                     --Mark 1:41

   Primeval darkness heard the Almighty fiat, "light be," and 
straightway light was, and the word of the Lord Jesus is equal
in majesty to that ancient word of power. Redemption like
Creation has its word of might. Jesus speaks and it is done.
Leprosy yielded to no human remedies, but it fled at once at the
Lord's "I will." The disease exhibited no hopeful signs or
tokens of recovery, nature contributed nothing to its own
healing, but the unaided word effected the entire work on the
spot and for ever. The sinner is in a plight more miserable than
the leper; let him imitate his example and go to Jesus,
"beseeching Him and kneeling down to Him." Let him exercise what
little faith he has, even though it should go no further than
"Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean"; and there need
be no doubt as to the result of the application. Jesus heals all
who come, and casts out none. In reading the narrative in which
our morning's text occurs, it is worthy of devout notice that
Jesus touched the leper. This unclean person had broken through
the regulations of the ceremonial law and pressed into the
house, but Jesus so far from chiding him broke through the law
Himself in order to meet him. He made an interchange with the
leper, for while He cleansed him, He contracted by that touch a
Levitical defilement. Even so Jesus Christ was made sin for us,
although in Himself He knew no sin, that we might be made the
righteousness of God in Him. O that poor sinners would go to
Jesus, believing in the power of His blessed substitutionary
work, and they would soon learn the power of His gracious touch.
That hand which multiplied the loaves, which saved sinking
Peter, which upholds afflicted saints, which crowns believers,
that same hand will touch every seeking sinner, and in a moment
make him clean. The love of Jesus is the source of salvation. He
loves, He looks, He touches us, WE LIVE.

* 09/05/AM

"Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents
of Kedar."
                                                   --Psalm 120:5

   As a Christian you have to live in the midst of an ungodly 
world, and it is of little use for you to cry "Woe is me." Jesus
did not pray O that you should be taken out of the world, and
what He did not pray for you need not desire. Better far in the
Lord's strength to meet the difficulty, and glorify Him in it.
The enemy is ever on the watch to detect inconsistency in your
conduct; be therefore very _holy_. Remember that the eyes of all
are upon you, and that more is expected from you than from other
men. Strive to give no occasion for blame. Let your goodness be
the only fault they can discover in you. Like Daniel, compel
them to say of you, "We shall not find any occasion against this
Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his
God." Seek to be _useful_ as well as consistent. Perhaps you
think, "If I were in a more favourable position I might serve
the Lord's cause, but I cannot do any good where I am"; but the
worse the people are among whom you live, the more need have
they of your exertions; if they be crooked, the more necessity
that you should set them straight; and if they be perverse, the
more need have you to turn their proud hearts to the truth.
Where should the physician be but where there are many sick?
Where is honour to be won by the soldier but in the hottest fire
of the battle? And when weary of the strife and sin that meets
you on every hand, consider that all the saints have endured the
same trial. They were not carried on beds of down to heaven, and
you must not expect to travel more easily than they. They had to
hazard their lives unto the death in the high places of the
field, and you will not be crowned till you also have endured
hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Therefore, "stand
fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."

* 09/06/AM

"In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye
shine as lights in the world."
                                              --Philippians 2:15

   We use lights to _make manifest_. A Christian man should so 
shine in his life, that a person could not live with him a week
without knowing the gospel. His conversation should be such that
all who are about him should clearly perceive whose he is, and
whom he serves; and should see the image of Jesus reflected in
his daily actions. Lights are intended for _guidance_. We are to
help those around us who are in the dark. We are to hold forth
to them the Word of life. We are to point sinners to the
Saviour, and the weary to a divine resting-place. Men sometimes
read their Bibles, and fail to understand them; we should be
ready, like Philip, to instruct the inquirer in the meaning of
God's Word, the way of salvation, and the life of godliness.
Lights are also used for _warning_. On our rocks and shoals a
light-house is sure to be erected. Christian men should know
that there are many false lights shown everywhere in the world,
and therefore the right light is needed. The wreckers of Satan
are always abroad, tempting the ungodly to sin under the name of
pleasure; they hoist the wrong light, be it ours to put up the
true light upon every dangerous rock, to point out every sin,
and tell what it leads to, that so we may be clear of the blood
of all men, shining as lights in the world. Lights also have a
very _cheering_ influence, and so have Christians. A Christian
ought to be a comforter, with kind words on his lips, and
sympathy in his heart; he should carry sunshine wherever he
goes, and diffuse happiness around him.

              Gracious Spirit dwell with me;
              I myself would gracious be,
              And with words that help and heal
              Would thy life in mine reveal,
              And with actions bold and meek
              Would for Christ my Saviour speak.

* 09/07/AM

"And when they could not come nigh unto Him for the press, they
uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up,
they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay."
                                                      --Mark 2:4

   _Faith is full of inventions_. The house was full, a crowd 
blocked up the door, but faith found a way of getting at the
Lord and placing the palsied man before Him. If we cannot get
sinners where Jesus is by ordinary methods we must use
extraordinary ones. It seems, according to Luke 5:19, that a
tiling had to be removed, which would make dust and cause a
measure of danger to those below, but where the case is very
urgent we must not mind running some risks and shocking some
proprieties. Jesus was there to heal, and therefore fall what
might, faith ventured all so that her poor paralyzed charge
might have his sins forgiven. O that we had more daring faith
among us! Cannot we, dear reader, seek it this morning for
ourselves and for our fellow-workers, and will we not try to-day
to perform some gallant act for the love of souls and the glory
of the Lord.

   The world is constantly inventing; genius serves all the 
purposes of human desire: cannot faith invent too, and reach by
some new means the outcasts who lie perishing around us? It was
the presence of Jesus which excited victorious courage in the
four bearers of the palsied man: is not the Lord among us now?
Have we seen His face for ourselves this morning? Have we felt
His healing power in our own souls? If so, then through door,
through window, or through roof, let us, breaking through all
impediments, labour to bring poor souls to Jesus. All means are
good and decorous when faith and love are truly set on winning
souls. If hunger for bread can break through stone walls, surely
hunger for souls is not to be hindered in its efforts. O Lord,
make us quick to suggest methods of reaching Thy poor sin-sick
ones, and bold to carry them out at all hazards.

* 09/08/AM

"From Me is thy fruit found."
                                                    --Hosea 14:8

   Our fruit is found from our God as to _union_. The fruit of
the branch is directly traceable to the root. Sever the
connection, the branch dies, and no fruit is produced. By virtue
of our union with Christ we bring forth fruit. Every bunch of
grapes have been first in the root, it has passed through the
stem, and flowed through the sap vessels, and fashioned itself
externally into fruit, but it was first in the stem; so also
every good work was first in Christ, and then is brought forth
in us. O Christian, prize this precious union to Christ; for it
must be the source of all the fruitfulness which thou canst hope
to know. If thou wert not joined to Jesus Christ, thou wouldst
be a barren bough indeed.

   Our fruit comes from God as to _spiritual providence_. When
the dew-drops fall from heaven, when the cloud looks down from
on high, and is about to distil its liquid treasure, when the
bright sun swells the berries of the cluster, each heavenly boon
may whisper to the tree and say, "From me is thy fruit found."
The fruit owes much to the root--that is essential to
fruitfulness--but it owes very much also to external influences.
How much we owe to God's grace-providence! in which He provides
us constantly with quickening, teaching, consolation, strength,
or whatever else we want. To this we owe our all of usefulness
or virtue.

   Our fruit comes from God as to _wise husbandry_. The
gardener's sharp-edged knife promotes the fruitfulness of
the tree, by thinning the clusters, and by cutting off
superfluous shoots. So is it, Christian, with that pruning which
the Lord gives to thee. "My Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away;
and every branch that beareth fruit He purgeth it, that it
may bring forth more fruit." Since our God is the author
of our spiritual graces, let us give to Him all the glory of
our salvation.

* 09/09/AM

"I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which
thou knowest not."
                                                 --Jeremiah 33:3

   There are different translations of these words. One version 
renders it, "I will shew thee great and fortified things."
Another, "Great and reserved things." Now, there are reserved
and special things in Christian experience: all the developments
of spiritual life are not alike easy of attainment. There are
the common frames and feelings of repentance, and faith, and
joy, and hope, which are enjoyed by the entire family; but there
is an upper realm of rapture, of communion, and conscious union
with Christ, which is far from being the common dwelling-place
of believers. We have not all the high privilege of John, to
lean upon Jesus' bosom; nor of Paul, to be caught up into the
third heaven. There are heights in experimental knowledge of the
things of God which the eagle's eye of acumen and philosophic
thought hath never seen: God alone can bear us there; but the
chariot in which He takes us up, and the fiery steeds with which
that chariot is dragged, are prevailing prayers. Prevailing
prayer is victorious over the God of mercy, "By his strength he
had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and
prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto Him: he found Him
in Beth-el, and there He spake with us." Prevailing prayer takes
the Christian to Carmel, and enables him to cover heaven with
clouds of blessing, and earth with floods of mercy. Prevailing
prayer bears the Christian aloft to Pisgah, and shows him the
inheritance reserved; it elevates us to Tabor and transfigures
us, till in the likeness of his Lord, as He is, so are we also
in this world. If you would reach to something higher than
ordinary grovelling experience, look to the Rock that is higher
than you, and gaze with the eye of faith through the window of
importunate prayer. When you open the window on your side, it
will not be bolted on the other.

* 09/10/AM

"And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he
would: and they came unto him."
                                                     --Mark 3:13

   Here was sovereignty. Impatient spirits may fret and fume, 
because they are not called to the highest places in the
ministry; but reader be it thine to rejoice that Jesus calleth
whom He wills. If He shall leave me to be a doorkeeper in His
house, I will cheerfully bless Him for His grace in permitting
me to do anything in His service. The call of Christ's servants
comes from above. Jesus stands on the mountain, evermore above
the world in holiness, earnestness, love and power. Those whom
He calls must go up the mountain to Him, they must seek to rise
to His level by living in constant communion with Him. They may
not be able to mount to classic honours, or attain scholastic
eminence, but they must like Moses go up into the mount of God
and have familiar intercourse with the unseen God, or they will
never be fitted to proclaim the gospel of peace. Jesus went
apart to hold high fellowship with the Father, and we must enter
into the same divine companionship if we would bless our
fellowmen. No wonder that the apostles were clothed with power
when they came down fresh from the mountain where Jesus was.
This morning we must endeavour to ascend the mount of communion,
that there we may be ordained to the lifework for which we are
set apart. Let us not see the face of man to-day till we have
seen Jesus. Time spent with Him is laid out at blessed interest.
We too shall cast out devils and work wonders if we go down into
the world girded with that divine energy which Christ alone can
give. It is of no use going to the Lord's battle till we are
armed with heavenly weapons. We _must_ see Jesus, this is
essential. At the mercy-seat we will linger till He shall
manifest Himself unto us as He doth not unto the world, and
until we can truthfully say, "We were with Him in the Holy

* 09/11/AM

"Be ye separate."
                                            --2 Corinthians 6:17

   The Christian, while in the world, is not to be of the world. 
He should be distinguished from it in _the great object of his
life_. To him, "to live," should be "Christ." Whether he eats,
or drinks, or whatever he does, he should do all to God's glory.
You may lay up treasure; but lay it up in heaven, where neither
moth nor rust doth corrupt, where thieves break not through nor
steal. You may strive to be rich; but be it your ambition to be
"rich in faith," and good works. You may have pleasure; but when
you are merry, sing psalms and make melody in your hearts to the
Lord. In your _spirit_, as well as in your aim, you should
differ from the world. Waiting humbly before God, always
conscious of His presence, delighting in communion with Him, and
seeking to know His will, you will prove that you are of
heavenly race. And you should be separate from the world in your
_actions_. If a thing be right, though you lose by it, it must
be done; if it be wrong, though you would gain by it, you must
scorn the sin for your Master's sake. You must have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather
reprove them. Walk worthy of your high calling and dignity.
Remember, O Christian, that thou art a son of the King of kings.
Therefore, keep thyself unspotted from the world. Soil not the
fingers which are soon to sweep celestial strings; let not these
eyes become the windows of lust which are soon to see the King
in His beauty--let not those feet be defiled in miry places,
which are soon to walk the golden streets--let not those hearts
be filled with pride and bitterness which are ere long to be
filled with heaven, and to overflow with ecstatic joy.

             Then rise my soul! and soar away,
             Above the thoughtless crowd;
             Above the pleasures of the gay,
             And splendours of the proud;
             Up where eternal beauties bloom,
             And pleasures all divine;
             Where wealth, that never can consume,
             And endless glories shine.

* 09/12/AM

"God is jealous."
                                                     --Nahum 1:2

   _Your Lord is very jealous of your love_, O believer. Did He 
choose you? He cannot bear that you should choose another. Did
He buy you with His own blood? He cannot endure that you should
think that you are your own, or that you belong to this world.
He loved you with such a love that He would not stop in heaven
without you; He would sooner die than you should perish, and He
cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart's
love and Himself. _He is very jealous of your trust_. He will
not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that
you should hew out broken cisterns, when the overflowing
fountain is always free to you. When we lean upon Him, He is
glad, but when we transfer our dependence to another, when we
rely upon our own wisdom, or the wisdom of a friend--worst of
all, when we trust in any works of our own, He is displeased,
and will chasten us that He may bring us to Himself. _He is also
very jealous of our company_. There should be no one with whom
we converse so much as with Jesus. To abide in Him only, this is
true love; but to commune with the world, to find sufficient
solace in our carnal comforts, to prefer even the society of our
fellow Christians to secret intercourse with Him, this is
grievous to our jealous Lord. He would fain have us abide in
Him, and enjoy constant fellowship with Himself; and many of the
trials which He sends us are for the purpose of weaning our
hearts from the creature, and fixing them more closely upon
Himself. Let this jealousy which would keep us near to Christ
_be also a comfort_ to us, for if He loves us so much as to care
thus about _our_ love we may be sure that He will suffer nothing
to harm us, and will protect us from all our enemies. Oh that we
may have grace this day to keep our hearts in sacred chastity
for our Beloved alone, with sacred jealousy shutting our eyes to
all the fascinations of the world!

* 09/13/AM

"Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well, the rain
also filleth the pools."
                                                    --Psalm 84:6

   This teaches us that the _comfort_ obtained by a one may
often prove serviceable to another; just as wells would be used
by the company who came after. We read some book full of
consolation, which is like Jonathan's rod, dropping with honey.
Ah! we think our brother has been here before us, and digged
this well for us as well as for himself. Many a "Night of
Weeping," "Midnight Harmonies," an "Eternal Day," "A Crook in
the Lot," a "Comfort for Mourners," has been a well digged by a
pilgrim for himself, but has proved quite as useful to others.
Specially we notice this in the Psalms, such as that beginning,
"Why art thou cast down, O my soul?" Travellers have been
delighted to see the footprint of man on a barren shore, and we
love to see the waymarks of pilgrims while passing through the
vale of tears.

   The pilgrims dig the well, but, strange enough, it fills from 
the top instead of the bottom. We use the means, but the
blessing does not spring from the means. We dig a well, but
heaven fills it with rain. The horse is prepared against the day
of battle, but safety is of the Lord. The means are connected
with the end, but they do not of themselves produce it. See here
the rain fills the pools, so that the wells become useful as
reservoirs for the water; labour is not lost, but yet it does
not supersede divine help.

   Grace may well be compared to rain for its purity, for its 
refreshing and vivifying influence, for its coming alone from
above, and for the sovereignty with which it is given or
withheld. May our readers have showers of blessing, and may the
wells they have digged be filled with water! Oh, what are means
and ordinances without the smile of heaven! They are as clouds
without rain, and pools without water. O God of love, open the
windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing!

* 09/14/AM

"There were also with Him other little ships."
                                                     --Mark 4:36

   Jesus was the Lord High Admiral of the sea that night, and
His presence preserved the whole convoy. It is well to sail with
Jesus, even though it be in a little ship. When we sail in
Christ's company, we may not make sure of fair weather, for
great storms may toss the vessel which carries the Lord Himself,
and we must not expect to find the sea less boisterous around
our little boat. If we go with Jesus we must be content to fare
as He fares; and when the waves are rough to Him, they will be
rough to us. It is by tempest and tossing that we shall come to
land, as He did before us. When the storm swept over Galilee's
dark lake all faces gathered blackness, and all hearts dreaded

   When all creature help was useless, the slumbering Saviour 
arose, and with a word, transformed the riot of the tempest into
the deep quiet of a calm; then were the little vessels at rest
as well as that which carried the Lord. Jesus is the star of the
sea; and though there be sorrow upon the sea, when Jesus is on
it there is joy too. May our hearts make Jesus their anchor,
their rudder, their lighthouse, their life-boat, and their
harbour. His Church is the Admiral's flagship, let us attend her
movements, and cheer her officers with our presence. He Himself
is the great attraction; let us follow ever in His wake, mark
His signals, steer by His chart, and never fear while He is
within hail. Not one ship in the convoy shall suffer wreck; the
great Commodore will steer every barque in safety to the desired
haven. By faith we will slip our cable for another day's cruise,
and sail forth with Jesus into a sea of tribulation. Winds and
waves will not spare us, but they all obey Him; and, therefore,
whatever squalls may occur without, faith shall feel a blessed
calm within. He is ever in the centre of the weather-beaten
company: let us rejoice in Him. His vessel has reached the
haven, and so shall ours.

* 09/15/AM

"He shall not be afraid of evil tidings."
                                                   --Psalm 112:7

   Christian, you ought not to dread the arrival of evil 
tidings; because if you are distressed by them, _what do you
more than other men_? Other men have not your God to fly to;
they have never proved His faithfulness as you have done, and it
is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with
fear: but you profess to be of another spirit; you have been
begotten again unto a lively hope, and your heart lives in
heaven and not on earthly things; now, if you are seen to be
distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace which
you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new
nature which you claim to possess?

   Again, if you should be filled with alarm, as others are, 
_you would, doubtless, be led into the sins so common to others
under trying circumstances_. The ungodly, when they are
overtaken by evil tidings, rebel against God; they murmur, and
think that God deals hardly with them. Will you fall into that
same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?

   Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order 
to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same
if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord,
and wait patiently for Him. Your wisest course is to do as Moses
did at the Red Sea, "Stand still and see the salvation of God."
For if you give way to fear when you hear of evil tidings, you
will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure
which nerves for duty, and sustains under adversity. How can you
glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God's
high praises in the fires, but will your doubting and
desponding, as if you had none to help you, magnify the Most
High? Then take courage, and relying in sure confidence upon the
faithfulness of your covenant God, "let not your heart be
troubled, neither let it be afraid."

* 09/16/AM

"Partakers of the divine nature."
                                                   --2 Peter 1:4

   To be a partaker of the divine nature is not, of course, to 
become God. That cannot be. The essence of Deity is not to be
participated in by the creature. Between the creature and the
Creator there must ever be a gulf fixed in respect of essence;
but as the first man Adam was made in the image of God, so we,
by the renewal of the Holy Spirit, are in a yet diviner sense
made in the image of the Most High, and are partakers of the
divine nature. We are, by grace, made like God. "God is love";
we become love--"He that loveth is born of God." God is truth;
we become true, and we love that which is true: God is good, and
He makes us good by His grace, so that we become the pure in
heart who shall see God. Moreover, we become partakers of the
divine nature in even a higher sense than this--in fact, in as
lofty a sense as can be conceived, short of our being absolutely
divine. Do we not become members of the body of the divine
person of Christ? Yes, the same blood which flows in the head
flows in the hand: and the same life which quickens Christ
quickens His people, for "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with
Christ in God." Nay, as if this were not enough, we are married
unto Christ. He hath betrothed us unto Himself in righteousness
and in faithfulness, and he who is joined unto the Lord is one
spirit. Oh! marvellous mystery! we look into it, but who shall
understand it? One with Jesus--so one with Him that the branch
is not more one with the vine than we are a part of the Lord,
our Saviour, and our Redeemer! While we rejoice in this, let us
remember that those who are made partakers of the divine nature
will manifest their high and holy relationship in their
intercourse with others, and make it evident by their daily walk
and conversation that they have escaped the corruption that is
in the world through lust. O for more divine holiness of life!

* 09/17/AM

"Bring him unto me."
                                                     --Mark 9:19

   Despairingly the poor disappointed father turned away from 
the disciples to their Master. His son was in the worst possible
condition, and all means had failed, but the miserable child was
soon delivered from the evil one when the parent in faith obeyed
the Lord Jesus' word, "Bring him unto me." Children are a
precious gift from God, but much anxiety comes with them. They
may be a great joy or a great bitterness to their parents; they
may be filled with the Spirit of God, or possessed with the
spirit of evil. In all cases, the Word of God gives us one
receipt for the curing of all their ills, "Bring him unto me." O
for more agonizing prayer on their behalf while they are yet
babes! Sin is there, let our prayers begin to attack it. Our
cries for our offspring should precede those cries which betoken
their actual advent into a world of sin. In the days of their
youth we shall see sad tokens of that dumb and deaf spirit which
will neither pray aright, nor hear the voice of God in the soul,
but Jesus still commands, "Bring them unto me." When they are
grown up they may wallow in sin and foam with enmity against
God; then when our hearts are breaking we should remember the
great Physician's words, "Bring them unto me." Never must we
cease to pray until they cease to breathe. No case is hopeless
while Jesus lives.

   The Lord sometimes suffers His people to be driven into a 
corner that they may experimentally know how necessary He is to
them. Ungodly children, when they show us our own powerlessness
against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the
strong for strength, and this is a great blessing to us.
Whatever our morning's need may be, let it like a strong current
bear us to the ocean of divine love. Jesus can soon remove our
sorrow, He delights to comfort us. Let us hasten to Him while He
waits to meet us.

* 09/18/AM

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
                                                --Galatians 5:25

   The two most important things in our holy religion are the 
_life of faith_ and the _walk of faith_. He who shall rightly
understand these is not far from being a master in experimental
theology, for they are vital points to a Christian. You will
never find true faith unattended by true godliness; on the other
hand, you will never discover a truly holy life which has not
for its root a living faith upon the righteousness of Christ.
Woe unto those who seek after the one without the other! There
are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness; these may be
very high in orthodoxy, but they shall be very deep in
condemnation, for they hold the truth in unrighteousness; and
there are others who have strained after holiness of life, but
have denied the faith, like the Pharisees of old, of whom the
Master said, they were "whitewashed sepulchres." We must have
faith, for this is the foundation; we must have holiness of
life, for this is the superstructure. Of what service is the
mere foundation of a building to a man in the day of tempest?
Can he hide himself therein? He wants a house to cover him, as
well as a foundation for that house. Even so we need the
superstructure of spiritual life if we would have comfort in the
day of doubt. But seek not a holy life without faith, for that
would be to erect a house which can afford no permanent shelter,
because it has no foundation on a rock. Let faith and life be
put together, and, like the two abutments of an arch, they will
make our piety enduring. Like light and heat streaming from the
same sun, they are alike full of blessing. Like the two pillars
of the temple, they are for glory and for beauty. They are two
streams from the fountain of grace; two lamps lit with holy
fire; two olive trees watered by heavenly care. O Lord, give us
this day life within, and it will reveal itself without to Thy

* 09/19/AM

"The liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free."
                                                 --Galatians 5:1

   This "liberty" makes us free to heaven's charter--_the 
Bible_. Here is a choice passage, believer, "When thou passest
through the rivers, I will be with thee." You are free to that.
Here is another: "The mountains shall depart, and the hills be
removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee"; you are
free to that. You are a welcome guest at the table of the
promises. Scripture is a never-failing treasury filled with
boundless stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven; you may
draw from it as much as you please, without let or hindrance.
Come in faith and you are welcome to all _covenant blessings_.
There is not a promise in the Word which shall be withheld. In
the depths of tribulations let this freedom comfort you; amidst
waves of distress let it cheer you; when sorrows surround thee
let it be thy solace. This is thy Father's love-token; thou art
free to it at all times. Thou art also _free to the throne of
grace_. It is the believer's privilege to have access at all
times to His heavenly Father. Whatever our desires, our
difficulties, our wants, we are at liberty to spread all before
Him. It matters not how much we may have sinned, we may ask and
expect pardon. It signifies nothing how poor we are, we may
plead His promise that He will provide all things needful. We
have permission to approach His throne at all times--in
midnight's darkest hour, or in noontide's most burning heat.
Exercise thy right, O believer, and live up to thy privilege.
Thou art free to all that is treasured up _in Christ_--wisdom,
righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. It matters not
what thy need is, for there is fulness of supply in Christ, and
it is there _for thee_. O what a "freedom" is thine! freedom
from condemnation, freedom to the promises, freedom to the
throne of grace, and at last freedom to enter heaven!

* 09/20/AM

"The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon."
                                                   --Judges 7:20

   Gideon ordered his men to do two things: covering up a torch 
in an earthen pitcher, he bade them, at an appointed signal,
break the pitcher and let the light shine, and then sound with
the trumpet, crying, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon! the
sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!" This is precisely what all
Christians must do. First, _you must shine_; break the pitcher
which conceals your light; throw aside the bushel which has been
hiding your candle, and shine. Let your light shine before men;
let your good works be such, that when men look upon you, they
shall know that you have been with Jesus. Then _there must be
the sound_, the blowing of the trumpet. There must be active
exertions for the ingathering of sinners by proclaiming Christ
crucified. Take the gospel to them; carry it to their door; put
it in their way; do not suffer them to escape it; blow the
trumpet right against their ears. Remember that the true war-cry
of the Church is Gideon's watchword, "_The sword of the Lord_,
and of Gideon!" God must do it, it is His own work. But we are
not to be idle; instrumentality is to be used--"The sword of the
Lord, _and of Gideon_!" If we only cry, "The sword of the Lord!"
we shall be guilty of an idle presumption; and if we shout, "The
sword of Gideon!" alone, we shall manifest idolatrous reliance
on an arm of flesh: we must blend the two in practical harmony,
"The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!" We can do nothing of
ourselves, but we can do everything by the help of our God; let
us, therefore, in His name determine to go out personally and
serve with our flaming torch of holy example, and with our
trumpet tones of earnest declaration and testimony, and God
shall be with us, and Midian shall be put to confusion, and the
Lord of hosts shall reign for ever and ever.

* 09/21/AM

"I will rejoice over them to do them good."
                                                --Jeremiah 32:41

   How heart-cheering to the believer is the delight which God 
has in His saints! We cannot see any reason in ourselves why the
Lord should take pleasure in us; we cannot take delight in
ourselves, for we often have to groan, being burdened; conscious
of our sinfulness, and deploring our unfaithfulness; and we fear
that God's people cannot take much delight in us, for they must
perceive so much of our imperfections and our follies, that they
may rather lament our infirmities than admire our graces. But we
love to dwell upon this transcendent truth, this glorious
mystery: that as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so
does the Lord rejoice over us. We do not read anywhere that God
delighteth in the cloud-capped mountains, or the sparkling
stars, but we do read that He delighteth in the habitable parts
of the earth, and that His delights are with the sons of men. We
do not find it written that even angels give His soul delight;
nor doth He say, concerning cherubim and seraphim, "Thou shalt
be called Hephzibah, for the Lord delighteth in thee"; but He
does say all that to poor fallen creatures like ourselves,
debased and depraved by sin, but saved, exalted, and glorified
by His grace. In what strong language He expresses His delight
in His people! Who could have conceived of the eternal One as
bursting forth into a song? Yet it is written, "He will rejoice
over thee with joy, He will rest in His love, He will joy over
thee with singing." As He looked upon the world He had made, He
said, "It is very good"; but when He beheld those who are the
purchase of Jesus' blood, His own chosen ones, it seemed as if
the great heart of the Infinite could restrain itself no longer,
but overflowed in divine exclamations of joy. Should not we
utter our grateful response to such a marvellous declaration of
His love, and sing, "I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in
the God of my salvation?"

* 09/22/AM

"Let Israel rejoice in him."
                                                   --Psalm 149:2

   Be glad of heart, O believer, but take care that thy gladness 
has its spring _in the Lord_. Thou hast much cause for gladness
in thy God, for thou canst sing with David, "God, my exceeding
joy." Be glad that the Lord reigneth, that Jehovah is King!
Rejoice that He sits upon the throne, and ruleth all things!
Every attribute of God should become a fresh ray in the sunlight
of our gladness. That He is wise should make us glad, knowing as
we do our own foolishness. That He is _mighty_, should cause us
to rejoice who tremble at our weakness. That he is everlasting,
should always be a theme of joy when we know that we wither as
the grass. That He is _unchanging_, should perpetually yield us
a song, since _we_ change every hour. That He is full of grace,
that He is overflowing with it, and that this grace in covenant
He has given to us; that it is ours to cleanse us, ours to keep
us, ours to sanctify us, ours to perfect us, ours to bring us to
glory--all this should tend to make us glad in Him. This
gladness in God is as a deep river; we have only as yet touched
its brink, we know a little of its clear sweet, heavenly
streams, but onward the depth is greater, and the current more
impetuous in its joy. The Christian feels that he may delight
himself not only in what God is, but also in all that God _has
done_ in the past. The Psalms show us that God's people in olden
times were wont to think much of God's actions, and to have a
song concerning each of them. So let God's people now rehearse
the deeds of the Lord! Let them tell of His mighty acts, and
"sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously." Nor let
them ever cease to sing, for as new mercies flow to them day by
day, so should their gladness in the Lord's loving acts in
providence and in grace show itself in continued thanksgiving.
Be glad ye children of Zion and rejoice in the Lord your God.

* 09/23/AM

"Accepted in the beloved."
                                                 --Ephesians 1:6

   What a state of privilege! It includes our _justification_ 
before God, but the term acceptance" in the Greek means more
than that. It signifies that we are the objects of _divine
complacence_, nay, even of _divine delight_. How marvellous
that we, worms, mortals, sinners, should be the objects of
divine love! But it is only "_in the beloved_." Some Christians
seem to be accepted in their own experience, at least, that is
their apprehension. When their spirit is lively, and their
hopes bright, they think God accepts them, for they feel so
high, so heavenly-minded, so drawn above the earth! But when
their souls cleave to the dust, they are the victims of the fear
that they are no longer accepted. If they could but see that all
their high joys do not exalt them, and all their low
despondencies do not really depress them in their Father's
sight, but that they stand accepted in One who never alters, in
One who is always the beloved of God, always perfect, always
without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, how much happier
they would be, and how much more they would honour the Saviour!
Rejoice then, believer, in this: thou art accepted "in the
beloved." Thou lookest within, and thou sayest, "There is
nothing acceptable _here_!" But look at Christ, and see if there
is not everything acceptable _there_. Thy sins trouble thee; but
God has cast thy sins behind His back, and thou art accepted in
the Righteous One. Thou hast to fight with corruption, and to
wrestle with temptation, but thou art already accepted in Him
who has overcome the powers of evil. The devil tempts thee; be
of good cheer, he cannot destroy thee, for thou art accepted in
Him who has broken Satan's head. Know by full assurance thy
glorious standing. Even glorified souls are not more accepted
than thou art. They are only accepted in heaven "in the
beloved," and thou art even now accepted in Christ after the
same manner.

* 09/24/AM

"For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and
horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had
spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all
them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is
against all them that forsake Him."
                                                     --Ezra 8:22

   A convoy on many accounts would have been desirable for the 
pilgrim band, but a holy shame-facedness would not allow Ezra to
seek one. He feared lest the heathen king should think his
professions of faith in God to be mere hypocrisy, or imagine
that the God of Israel was not able to preserve His own
worshippers. He could not bring his mind to lean on an arm of
flesh in a matter so evidently of the Lord, and therefore the
caravan set out with no visible protection, guarded by Him who
is the sword and shield of His people. It is to be feared that
few believers feel this holy jealousy for God; even those who in
a measure walk by faith, occasionally mar the lustre of their
life by craving aid from man. It is a most blessed thing to have
no props and no buttresses, but to stand upright on the Rock of
Ages, upheld by the Lord alone. Would any believers seek state
endowments for their Church, if they remembered that the Lord is
dishonoured by their asking Caesar's aid? as if the Lord could
not supply the needs of His own cause! Should we run so hastily
to friends and relations for assistance, if we remembered that
the Lord is magnified by our implicit reliance upon His solitary
arm? My soul, wait thou only upon God. "But," says one, "are not
means to be used?" Assuredly they are; but our fault seldom lies
in their neglect: far more frequently it springs out of
foolishly believing in them instead of believing in God. Few run
too far in neglecting the creature's arm; but very many sin
greatly in making too much of it. Learn, dear reader, to glorify
the Lord by leaving means untried, if by using them thou wouldst
dishonour the name of the Lord.

* 09/25/AM

"Just, and the justifier of him which believeth."
                                                   --Romans 3:26

   Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Conscience 
accuses no longer. Judgment now decides for the sinner instead
of against him. Memory looks back upon past sins, with deep
sorrow for the sin, but yet with no dread of any penalty to
come; for Christ has paid the debt of His people to the last jot
and tittle, and received the divine receipt; and unless God can
be so unjust as to demand double payment for one debt, no soul
for whom Jesus died as a substitute can ever be cast into hell.
It seems to be one of the very principles of our enlightened
nature to believe that God is just; we feel that it must be so,
and this gives us our terror at first; but is it not marvellous
that this very same belief that God is just, becomes afterwards
the pillar of our confidence and peace! If God be just, I, a
sinner, alone and without a substitute, must be punished; but
Jesus stands in my stead and is punished for me; and now, if God
be just, I, a sinner, standing in Christ, can never be punished.
God must change His nature before one soul, for whom Jesus was a
substitute, can ever by any possibility suffer the lash of the
law. Therefore, Jesus having taken the place of the believer--
having rendered a full equivalent to divine wrath for all that
His people ought to have suffered as the result of sin, the
believer can shout with glorious triumph, "Who shall lay
anything to the charge of God's elect?" Not God, for He hath
justified; not Christ, for He hath died, "yea rather hath risen
again." My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because
I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am
holy, but that being unholy, _He_ is my righteousness. My faith
rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in
what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing
for me. On the lion of justice the fair maid of hope rides like
a queen.

* 09/26/AM

"The myrtle trees that were in the bottom."
                                                 --Zechariah 1:8

   The vision in this chapter describes the condition of Israel
in Zechariah's day; but being interpreted in its aspect towards
us, it describes the Church of God as we find it now in the
world. The Church is compared to a myrtle grove flourishing in a
valley. It is _hidden_, unobserved, secreted; courting no honour
and attracting no observation from the careless gazer. The
Church, like her head, has a glory, but it is concealed from
carnal eyes, for the time of her breaking forth in all her
splendour is not yet come. The idea of _tranquil security_ is
also suggested to us: for the myrtle grove in the valley is
still and calm, while the storm sweeps over the mountain
summits. Tempests spend their force upon the craggy peaks of the
Alps, but down yonder where flows the stream which maketh glad
the city of our God, the myrtles flourish by the still waters,
all unshaken by the impetuous wind. How great is the inward
tranquility of God's Church! Even when opposed and persecuted,
she has a peace which the world gives not, and which, therefore,
it cannot take away: the peace of God which passeth all
understanding keeps the hearts and minds of God's people. Does
not the metaphor forcibly picture the peaceful, _perpetual
growth_ of the saints? The myrtle sheds not her leaves, she is
always green; and the Church in her worst time still hath a
blessed verdure of grace about her; nay, she has sometimes
exhibited _most_ verdure when her winter has been sharpest. She
has prospered most when her adversities have been most severe.
Hence the text _hints at victory_. The myrtle is the emblem of
peace, and a significant token of _triumph_. The brows of
conquerors were bound with myrtle and with laurel; and is not
the Church ever victorious? Is not every Christian more than a
conqueror through Him that loved him? Living in peace, do not
the saints fall asleep in the arms of victory?

* 09/27/AM

"Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved
by the Lord!"
                                             --Deuteronomy 33:29

   He who affirms that Christianity makes men miserable, is 
himself an utter stranger to it. It were strange indeed, if it
made us wretched, for see _to what a position it exalts us_! It
makes us sons of God. Suppose you that God will give all the
happiness to His enemies, and reserve all the mourning for His
own family? Shall His foes have mirth and joy, and shall His
home-born children inherit sorrow and wretchedness? Shall the
sinner, who has no part in Christ, call himself rich in
happiness, and shall we go mourning as if we were penniless
beggars? No, we will rejoice in the Lord always, and glory in
our inheritance, for we "have not received the spirit of bondage
again to fear; but we have received the spirit of adoption,
whereby we cry, Abba, Father." The rod of chastisement must rest
upon us in our measure, but it worketh for us the comfortable
fruits of righteousness; and therefore by the aid of the divine
Comforter, we, the "people saved of the Lord," will joy in the
God of our salvation. We are married unto Christ; and shall our
great Bridegroom permit His spouse to linger in constant grief?
Our hearts are knit unto Him: we are His members, and though for
awhile we may suffer as our Head once suffered, yet we are even
now blessed with heavenly blessings in Him. We have the earnest
of our inheritance in the comforts of the Spirit, which are
neither few nor small. Heritors of joy for ever, we have
foretastes of our portion. There are streaks of the light of joy
to herald our eternal sunrising. Our riches are beyond the sea;
our city with firm foundations lies on the other side the river;
gleams of glory from the spirit-world cheer our hearts, and urge
us onward. Truly is it said of us, "Happy art thou, O Israel;
who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord?"

* 09/28/AM

"The Lord looketh from heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of
                                                   --Psalm 33:13

Perhaps no figure of speech represents God in a more gracious
light than when He is spoken of as stooping from His throne, and
coming down from heaven to attend to the wants and to behold the
woes of mankind. We love Him, who, when Sodom and Gomorrah were
full of iniquity, would not destroy those cities until He had
made a personal visitation of them. We cannot help pouring out
our heart in affection for our Lord who inclines His ear from
the highest glory, and puts it to the lip of the dying sinner,
whose failing heart longs after reconciliation. How can we but
love Him when we know that He numbers the very hairs of our
heads, marks our path, and orders our ways? Specially is this
great truth brought near to our heart, when we recollect how
attentive He is, not merely to the temporal interests of His
creatures, but to their spiritual concerns. Though leagues of
distance lie between the finite creature and the infinite
Creator, yet there are links uniting both. When a tear is wept
by thee, think not that God doth not behold; for, "Like as a
father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear
Him." Thy sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; thy whisper
can incline His ear unto thee; thy prayer can stay His hand; thy
faith can move His arm. Think not that God sits on high taking
no account of thee. Remember that however poor and needy thou
art, yet the Lord thinketh upon thee. For the eyes of the Lord
run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself
strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards Him.

          Oh! then repeat the truth that never tires;
          No God is like the God my soul desires;
          He at whose voice heaven trembles, even He,
          Great as He is, knows how to stoop to me.

* 09/29/AM

"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 morning 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 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 no part
free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his
own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then is he 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 death blow, 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 those under a deep sense of sin! Sin mourned and
confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out
from the Lord Jesus. Whosoever cometh unto Him, He will in no
wise cast out. Though dishonest as the thief, though unchaste as
the woman who was a sinner, though fierce as Saul of Tarsus,
though cruel as Manasseh, though rebellious as the prodigal, the
great heart of love will look upon the man who feels himself to
have no soundness in him, and will pronounce him clean, when he
trusts in Jesus crucified. Come to Him, then, poor heavy-laden

       Come needy, come guilty, come loathsome and bare;
       You can't come too filthy--come just as you are.

* 09/30/AM

"Sing forth the honour of His name, make His praise glorious."
                                                    --Psalm 66:2

   It is not left to our own option whether we shall praise God 
or not. Praise is God's most righteous due, and every Christian,
as the recipient of His grace, is bound to praise God from day
to day. It is true we have no authoritative rubric for daily
praise; we have no commandment prescribing certain hours of song
and thanksgiving: but the law written upon the heart teaches us
that it is right to praise God; and the unwritten mandate comes
to us with as much force as if it had been recorded on the
tables of stone, or handed to us from the top of thundering
Sinai. Yes, it is the Christian's _duty_ to praise God. It is
not only a pleasurable exercise, but it is the absolute
obligation of his life. Think not ye who are always mourning,
that ye are guiltless in this respect, or imagine that ye can
discharge your duty to your God without songs of praise. You
are bound by the bonds of His love to bless His name so long as
you live, and His praise should continually be in your mouth,
for you are blessed, in order that you may bless Him; "this
people have I formed for myself, they shall show forth my
praise"; and if you do not praise God, you are not bringing
forth the fruit which He, as the Divine Husbandman, has a right
to expect at your hands. Let not your harp then hang upon the
willows, but take it down, and strive, with a grateful heart, to
bring forth its loudest music. Arise and chant His praise. With
every morning's dawn, lift up your notes of thanksgiving, and
let every setting sun be followed with your song. Girdle the
earth with your praises; surround it with an atmosphere of
melody, and God Himself will hearken from heaven and accept your

              "E'en so I love Thee, and will love,
              And in Thy praise will sing,
              Because Thou art my loving God,
              And my redeeming King."

This document (last modified September 30, 1995) from