December AM

* 12/01/AM

"Thou hast made summer and winter."
                                                   --Psalm 74:17

   My soul begin this wintry month with thy God. The cold snows 
and the piercing winds all remind thee that He keeps His
covenant with day and night, and tend to assure thee that He
will also keep that glorious covenant which He has made with
thee in the person of Christ Jesus. He who is true to His Word
in the revolutions of the seasons of this poor sin-polluted
world, will not prove unfaithful in His dealings with His own
well-beloved Son.

   Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and 
if it be upon thee just now it will be very painful to thee: but
there is this comfort, namely, that _the Lord_ makes it. He
sends the sharp blasts of adversity to nip the buds of
expectation: He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes over the
once verdant meadows of our joy: He casteth forth His ice like
morsels freezing the streams of our delight. He does it all, He
is the great Winter King, and rules in the realms of frost, and
therefore thou canst not murmur. Losses, crosses, heaviness,
sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills, are of the Lord's
sending, and come to us with wise design. Frosts kill noxious
insects, and put a bound to raging diseases; they break up the
clods, and sweeten the soul. O that such good results would
always follow our winters of affliction!

   How we prize the fire just now! how pleasant is its cheerful 
glow! Let us in the same manner prize our Lord, who is the
constant source of warmth and comfort in every time of trouble.
Let us draw nigh to Him, and in Him find joy and peace in
believing. Let us wrap ourselves in the warm garments of His
promises, and go forth to labours which befit the season, for it
were ill to be as the sluggard who will not plough by reason of
the cold; for he shall beg in summer and have nothing.

* 12/02/AM

"Thou art all fair, my love."
                                           --Song of Solomon 4:7

   The Lord's admiration of His Church is very a wonderful, and
His description of her beauty is very glowing. She is not merely
_fair_, but "_all_ fair." He views her in Himself, washed in His
sin-atoning blood and clothed in His meritorious righteousness,
and He considers her to be full of comeliness and beauty. No
wonder that such is the case, since it is but His own perfect
excellency that He admires; for the holiness, glory, and
perfection of His Church are His own glorious garments on the
back of His own well-beloved spouse. She is not simply pure, or
well-proportioned; she is positively lovely and fair! She has
actual merit! Her deformities of sin are removed; but more, she
has through her Lord obtained a meritorious righteousness by
which an actual beauty is conferred upon her. Believers have a
positive righteousness given to them when they become "accepted
in the beloved" (Eph. 1:6). Nor is the Church barely lovely,
she is _superlatively_ so. Her Lord styles her "Thou fairest
among women." She has a real worth and excellence which cannot
be rivalled by all the nobility and royalty of the world. If
Jesus could exchange His elect bride for all the queens and
empresses of earth, or even for the angels in heaven, He would
not, for He puts her first and foremost--"fairest among women."
Like the moon she far outshines the stars. Nor is this an
opinion which He is ashamed of, for He invites all men to hear
it. He sets a "behold" before it, a special note of exclamation,
inviting and arresting attention. "_Behold_, thou art fair, my
love; _behold_, thou art fair" (Song of Sol. 4:1). His opinion
He publishes abroad even now, and one day from the throne of His
glory He will avow the truth of it before the assembled
universe. "Come, ye blessed of my Father" (Matt. 25:34), will be
His solemn affirmation of the loveliness of His elect.

* 12/03/AM

"There is no spot in thee."
                                           --Song of Solomon 4:7

   Having pronounced His Church positively full of beauty, our 
Lord confirms His praise by a precious negative, "There is no
spot in I thee." As if the thought occurred to the Bridegroom
that the carping world would insinuate that He had only
mentioned her comely parts, and had purposely omitted those
features which were deformed or defiled, He sums up all by
declaring her universally and entirely fair, and utterly devoid
of stain. A spot may soon be removed, and is the very least
thing that can disfigure beauty, but even from this little
blemish the believer is delivered in his Lord's sight. If He had
said there is no hideous scar, no horrible deformity, no deadly
ulcer, we might even then have marvelled; but when He testifies
that she is free from the slightest spot, all these other forms
of defilement are included, and the depth of wonder is
increased. If He had but promised to remove all spots by-and-by,
we should have had eternal reason for joy; but when He speaks of
it as already done, who can restrain the most intense emotions
of satisfaction and delight? O my soul, here is marrow and
fatness for thee; eat thy full, and be satisfied with royal

   Christ Jesus has no quarrel with His spouse. She often
wanders from Him, and grieves His Holy Spirit, but He does not
allow her faults to affect His love. He sometimes chides, but it
is always in the tenderest manner, with the kindest intentions:
it is "my love" even then. There is no remembrance of our
follies, He does not cherish ill thoughts of us, but He pardons
and loves as well after the offence as before it. It is well for
us it is so, for if Jesus were as mindful of injuries as we are,
how could He commune with us? Many a time a believer will put
himself out of humour with the Lord for some slight turn in
providence, but our precious Husband knows our silly hearts too
well to take any offence at our ill manners.

* 12/04/AM

"I have much people in this city."
                                                    --Acts 18:10

   This should be a great encouragement to try to do good, since
God has among the vilest of the vile, the most reprobate, the
most debauched and drunken, an elect people who must be saved.
When you take the Word to them, you do so because God has
ordained you to be the messenger of life to their souls, and
_they must_ receive it, for so the decree of predestination
runs. They are as much redeemed by blood as the saints before
the eternal throne. They are Christ's property, and yet perhaps
they are lovers of the ale-house, and haters of holiness; but if
Jesus Christ purchased them He will have them. God is not
unfaithful to forget the price which His Son has paid. He will
not suffer His substitution to be in any case an ineffectual,
dead thing. Tens of thousands of redeemed ones are not
regenerated yet, but regenerated they must be; and this is our
comfort when we go forth to them with the quickening Word of

   Nay, more, these ungodly ones are prayed for by Christ before 
the throne. "Neither pray I for these alone," saith the great
Intercessor, "but for _them also which shall believe_ on Me
through their word." Poor, ignorant souls, they know nothing
about prayer for themselves, but Jesus prays for them. Their
names are on His breastplate, and ere long they must bow their
stubborn knee, breathing the penitential sigh before the throne
of grace. "The time of figs is not yet." The predestinated
moment has not struck; but, when it comes, _they shall obey_,
for God will have His own; _they must_, for the Spirit is not to
be withstood when He cometh forth with fulness of power--_they
must_ become the willing servants of the living God. "My people
shall be willing in the day of my power." "He shall justify
many." "He shall see of the travail of His soul." "I will divide
him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with
the strong."

* 12/05/AM

"Ask, and it shall be given you."
                                                   --Matthew 7:7

   We know of a place in England still existing, where a dole of 
bread is served to every passerby who chooses to ask for it.
Whoever the traveller may be, he has but to knock at the door of
St. Cross Hospital, and there is the dole of bread for him.
Jesus Christ so loveth sinners that He has built a St. Cross
Hospital, so that whenever a sinner is hungry, he has but to
knock and have his wants supplied. Nay, He has done better; He
has attached to this Hospital of the Cross a bath; and whenever
a soul is black and filthy, it has but to go there and be
washed. The fountain is always full, always efficacious. No
sinner ever went into it and found that it could not wash away
his stains. Sins which were scarlet and crimson have all
disappeared, and the sinner has been whiter than snow. As if
this were not enough, there is attached to this Hospital of the
Cross a wardrobe, and a sinner making application simply as a
sinner, may be clothed from head to foot; and if he wishes to be
a soldier, he may not merely have a garment for ordinary wear,
but armour which shall cover him from the sole of his foot to
the crown of his head. If he asks for a sword, he shall have
that given to him, and a shield too. Nothing that is good for
him shall be denied him. He shall have spending-money so long as
he lives, and he shall have an eternal heritage of glorious
treasure when he enters into the joy of his Lord.

   If all these things are to be had by merely knocking at
mercy's door, O my soul, knock hard this morning, and ask large
things of thy generous Lord. Leave not the throne of grace till
all thy wants have been spread before the Lord, and until by
faith thou hast a comfortable prospect that they shall be all
supplied. No bashfulness need retard when Jesus invites. No
unbelief should hinder when Jesus promises. No cold-heartedness
should restrain when such blessings are to be obtained.

* 12/06/AM

"As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly."
                                           --1 Corinthians 15:48

   The head and members are of one nature, and not like that 
monstrous image which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. The head
was of fine gold, but the belly and thighs were of brass, the
legs of iron, and the feet, part of iron and part of clay.
Christ's mystical body is no absurd combination of opposites;
the members were mortal, and therefore Jesus died; the glorified
head is immortal, and therefore the body is immortal too, for
thus the record stands, "Because I live, ye shall live also." As
is our loving Head, such is the body, and every member in
particular. A chosen Head and chosen members; an accepted Head,
and accepted members; a living Head, and living members. If the
head be pure gold, all the parts of the body are of pure gold
also. Thus is there a double union of nature as a basis for the
closest communion. Pause here, devout reader, and see if thou
canst without ecstatic amazement, contemplate the infinite
condescension of the Son of God in thus exalting thy
wretchedness into blessed union with His glory. Thou art so mean
that in remembrance of thy mortality, thou mayest say to
corruption, "Thou art my father," and to the worm, "Thou art my
sister"; and yet in Christ thou art so honoured that thou canst
say to the Almighty, "Abba, Father," and to the Incarnate God,
"Thou art my brother and my husband." Surely if relationships to
ancient and noble families make men think highly of themselves,
we have whereof to glory over the heads of them all. Let the
poorest and most despised believer lay hold upon this privilege;
let not a senseless indolence make him negligent to trace his
pedigree, and let him suffer no foolish attachment to present
vanities to occupy his thoughts to the exclusion of this
glorious, this heavenly honour of union with Christ.

* 12/07/AM

"Base things of the world hath God chosen."
                                            --1 Corinthians 1:28

   Walk the streets by moonlight, if you dare, and you will see 
sinners then. Watch when the night is dark, and the wind is
howling, and the picklock is grating in the door, and you will
see sinners then. Go to yon jail, and walk through the wards,
and mark the men with heavy over-hanging brows, men whom you
would not like to meet at night, and there are sinners there. Go
to the Reformatories, and note those who have betrayed a rampant
juvenile depravity, and you will see sinners there. Go across
the seas to the place where a man will gnaw a bone upon which is
reeking human flesh, and there is a sinner there. Go where you
will, you need not ransack earth to find sinners, for they are
common enough; you may find them in every lane and street of
every city, and town, and village, and hamlet. It is for such
that Jesus died. If you will select me the grossest specimen of
humanity, if he be but born of woman, I will have hope of him
yet, because Jesus Christ is come to seek and to save _sinners_.
Electing love has selected some of the worst to be made the
best. Pebbles of the brook grace turns into jewels for the
crown-royal. Worthless dross He transforms into pure gold.
Redeeming love has set apart many of the worst of mankind to be
the reward of the Saviour's passion. Effectual grace calls forth
many of the vilest of the vile to sit at the table of mercy, and
therefore let none despair.

   Reader, by that love looking out of Jesus' tearful eyes, by
that love streaming from those bleeding wounds, by that faithful
love, that strong love, that pure, disinterested, and abiding
love; by the heart and by the bowels of the Saviour's
compassion, we conjure you turn not away as though it were
nothing to you; but believe on Him and you shall be saved. Trust
your soul with Him and He will bring you to His Father's right
hand in glory everlasting.

* 12/08/AM

"Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled
their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they
are worthy."
                                                --Revelation 3:4

   We may understand this to refer to _justification_. "They
shall walk in white"; that is, they shall enjoy a constant sense
of their own justification by faith; they shall understand that
the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them, that they have
all been washed and made whiter than the newly-fallen snow.

   Again, it refers to _joy and gladness_: for white robes were 
holiday dresses among the Jews. They who have not defiled their
garments shall have their faces always bright; they shall
understand what Solomon meant when he said "Go thy way, eat thy
bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart. Let thy
garments be always white, for God hath accepted thy works." He
who is accepted of God shall wear white garments of joy and
gladness, while he walks in sweet communion with the Lord Jesus.
Whence so many doubts, so much misery, and mourning? It is
because so many believers defile their garments with sin and
error, and hence they lose the joy of their salvation, and the
comfortable fellowship of the Lord Jesus, they do not here below
walk in white.

   The promise also refers to _walking in white before the 
throne of God_. Those who have not defiled their garments here
shall most certainly walk in white up yonder, where the
white-robed hosts sing perpetual hallelujahs to the Most High.
They shall possess joys inconceivable, happiness beyond a dream,
bliss which imagination knoweth not, blessedness which even the
stretch of desire hath not reached. The "undefiled in the way"
shall have all this--not of merit, nor of works, but of grace.
They shall walk with Christ in white, for He has made them
"worthy." In His sweet company they shall drink of the living
fountains of waters.

* 12/09/AM

"Therefore will the Lord wait that He may be gracious unto you."
                                                  --Isaiah 30:18

   God often DELAYS IN ANSWERING PRAYER. We have several
instances of this in sacred Scripture. Jacob did not get the
blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day--he had to
wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophenicia was
answered not a word for a long while. Paul besought the Lord
_thrice_ that "the thorn in the flesh" might be taken from him,
and he received no assurance that it should be taken away, but
instead thereof a promise that God's grace should be sufficient
for him. If thou hast been knocking at the gate of mercy, and
hast received no answer, shall I tell thee why the mighty Maker
hath not opened the door and let thee in? Our Father has reasons
peculiar to Himself for thus keeping us waiting. Sometimes it
is to show His power and His sovereignty, that men may know that
Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold. More frequently the
delay is for our profit. Thou art perhaps kept waiting in order
that thy desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will
quicken and increase desire, and that if He keeps thee waiting
thou wilt see thy necessity more clearly, and wilt seek more
earnestly; and that thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for
its long tarrying. There may also be something wrong in thee
which has need to be removed, before the joy of the Lord is
given. Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused, or
thou mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself, instead
of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus. Or, God makes
thee tarry awhile that He may the more fully display the riches
of His grace to thee at last. Thy prayers are all filed in
heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not
forgotten, but in a little while shall be fulfilled to thy
delight and satisfaction. Let not despair make thee silent, but
continue instant in earnest supplication.

* 12/10/AM

"So shall we ever be with the Lord."
                                          --1 Thessalonians 4:17

   Even the sweetest visits from Christ, how short they are--and 
how transitory! One moment our eyes see Him, and we rejoice with
joy unspeakable and full of glory, but again a little time and
we do not see Him, for our beloved withdraws Himself from us;
like a roe or a young hart He leaps over the mountains of
division; He is gone to the land of spices, and feeds no more
among the lilies.

                "If to-day He deigns to bless us
                With a sense of pardoned sin,
                He to-morrow may distress us,
                Make us feel the plague within."

Oh, how sweet the prospect of the time when we shall not behold
Him at a distance, but see Him face to face: when He shall not
be as a wayfaring man tarrying but for a night, but shall
eternally enfold us in the bosom of His glory. We shall not see
Him for a little season, but

            "Millions of years our wondering eyes,
            Shall o'er our Saviour's beauties rove;
            And myriad ages we'll adore,
            The wonders of His love."

In heaven there shall be no interruptions from care or sin; no
weeping shall dim our eyes; no earthly business shall distract
our happy thoughts; we shall have nothing to hinder us from
gazing for ever on the Sun of Righteousness with unwearied eyes.
Oh, if it be so sweet to see Him now and then, how sweet to gaze
on that blessed face for aye, and never have a cloud rolling
between, and never have to turn one's eyes away to look on a
world of weariness and woe! Blest day, when wilt thou dawn?
Rise, O unsetting sun! The joys of sense may leave us as soon as
they will, for this shall make glorious amends. If to die is but
to enter into uninterrupted communion with Jesus, then death is
indeed gain, and the black drop is swallowed up in a sea of

* 12/11/AM

"Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."
                                          --1 Thessalonians 5:24

   Heaven is a place where we shall never sin; where we shall 
cease our constant watch against an indefatigable enemy, because
there will be no tempter to ensnare our feet. There the wicked
cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. Heaven is the
"undefiled inheritance"; it is the land of perfect holiness, and
therefore of complete security. But do not the saints even on
earth sometimes taste the joys of blissful security? The
doctrine of God's word is, that all who are in union with the
Lamb are safe; that all the righteous shall hold on their way;
that those who have committed their souls to the keeping of
Christ shall find Him a faithful and immutable preserver.
Sustained by such a doctrine we can enjoy security even on
earth; not that high and glorious security which renders us free
from every slip, but that holy security which arises from the
sure promise of Jesus that none who believe in Him shall ever
perish, but shall be with Him where He is. Believer, let us
often reflect with joy on the doctrine of the perseverance of
the saints, and honour the faithfulness of our God by a holy
confidence in Him.

   May our God bring home to you a sense of your safety in
Christ Jesus! May He assure you that your name is graven on His
hand; and whisper in your ear the promise, "Fear not, I am with
thee." Look upon Him, the great Surety of the covenant, as
faithful and true, and, therefore, bound and engaged to present
you, the weakest of the family, with all the chosen race, before
the throne of God; and in such a sweet contemplation you will
drink the juice of the spiced wine of the Lord's pomegranate,
and taste the dainty fruits of Paradise. You will have an
antepast of the enjoyments which ravish the souls of the perfect
saints above, if you can believe with unstaggering faith that
"faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."

* 12/12/AM

"His ways are everlasting."
                                                  --Habakkuk 3:6

   What He hath done at one time, He will do yet again. Man's 
ways are variable, but God's ways are everlasting. There are
many reasons for this most comforting truth: among them are the
following--the Lord's ways are _the result of wise
deliberation_; He ordereth all things according to the counsel
of His own will. Human action is frequently the hasty result of
passion, or fear, and is followed by regret and alteration; but
nothing can take the Almighty by surprise, or happen otherwise
than He has foreseen. His ways are _the outgrowth of an
immutable character_, and in them the fixed and settled
attributes of God are clearly to be seen. Unless the Eternal One
Himself can undergo change, His ways, which are Himself in
action, must remain for ever the same. Is He eternally just,
gracious, faithful, wise, tender?--then His ways must ever be
distinguished for the same excellences. Beings act according to
their nature: when those natures change, their conduct varies
also; but since God cannot know the shadow of a turning, His
ways will abide everlastingly the same. Moreover there is no
reason from without which could reverse the divine ways, since
they are the _embodiment of irresistible might_. The earth is
said, by the prophet, to be cleft with rivers, mountains
tremble, the deep lifts up its hands, and sun and moon stand
still, when Jehovah marches forth for the salvation of His
people. Who can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?
But it is not might alone which gives stability; God's ways are
_the manifestation of the eternal principles of right_, and
therefore can never pass away. Wrong breeds decay and involves
ruin, but the true and the good have about them a vitality which
ages cannot diminish.

   This morning let us go to our heavenly Father with
confidence, remembering that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday,
to-day, and for ever, and in Him the Lord is ever gracious to
His people.

* 12/13/AM

"Salt without prescribing how much."
                                                     --Ezra 7:22

   Salt was used in every offering made by fire unto the Lord, 
and from its preserving and purifying properties it was the
grateful emblem of divine grace in the soul. It is worthy of our
attentive regard that, when Artaxerxes gave salt to Ezra the
priest, he set no limit to the quantity, and we may be quite
certain that when the King of kings distributes grace among His
royal priesthood, the supply is not cut short by _Him_. Often
are we straitened in ourselves, but never in the Lord. He who
chooses to gather much manna will find that he may have as much
as he desires. There is no such famine in Jerusalem that the
citizens should eat their bread by weight and drink their water
by measure. Some things in the economy of grace are measured;
for instance our vinegar and gall are given us with such
exactness that we never have a single drop too much, but of the
salt of grace no stint is made, "Ask what thou wilt and it shall
be given unto thee." Parents need to lock up the fruit cupboard,
and the sweet jars, but there is no need to keep the salt-box
under lock and key, for few children will eat too greedily from
that. A man may have too much money, or too much honour, but he
cannot have too much grace. When Jeshurun waxed fat in the
flesh, he kicked against God, but there is no fear of a man's
becoming too full of grace: a _plethora_ of grace is impossible.
More wealth brings more care, but more grace brings more joy.
Increased wisdom is increased sorrow, but abundance of the
Spirit is fulness of joy. Believer, go to the throne for a large
supply of heavenly salt. It will season thine afflictions,
which are unsavoury without salt; it will preserve thy heart
which corrupts if salt be absent, and it will kill thy sins even
as salt kills reptiles. Thou needest much; seek much, and have

* 12/14/AM

"They go from strength to strength."
                                                    --Psalm 84:7

   They go from _strength to strength_. There are various
renderings of these words, but all of them contain the idea of

   Our own good translation of the authorized version is enough 
for us this morning. "They go from strength to strength." That
is, they grow stronger and stronger. Usually, if we are walking,
we go from strength to weakness; we start fresh and in good
order for our journey, but by-and-by the road is rough, and the
sun is hot, we sit down by the wayside, and then again painfully
pursue our weary way. But the Christian pilgrim having obtained
fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of toilsome
travel and struggle as when he first set out. He may not be
quite so elate and buoyant, nor perhaps quite so hot and hasty
in his zeal as he once was, but he is much stronger in all that
constitutes real power, and travels, if more slowly, far more
surely. Some gray-haired veterans have been as firm in their
grasp of truth, and as zealous in diffusing it, as they were in
their younger days; but, alas, it must be confessed it is often
otherwise, for the love of many waxes cold and iniquity abounds,
but this is their own sin and not the fault of the promise which
still holds good: "The youths shall faint and be weary, and the
young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as
eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and
not faint." Fretful spirits sit down and trouble themselves
about the future. "Alas!" say they, "we go from affliction to
affliction." Very true, O thou of little faith, but then thou
goest from strength to strength also. Thou shalt never find a
bundle of affliction which has not bound up in the midst of it
sufficient grace. God will give the strength of ripe manhood
with the burden allotted to full-grown shoulders.

* 12/15/AM

"Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her."
                                                     --Ruth 1:14

   Both of them had an affection for Naomi, and therefore set 
out with her upon her return to the land of Judah. But the hour
of test came; Naomi most unselfishly set before each of them the
trials which awaited them, and bade them if they cared for ease
and comfort to return to their Moabitish friends. At first both
of them declared that they would cast in their lot with the
Lord's people; but upon still further consideration Orpah with
much grief and a respectful kiss left her mother in law, and her
people, and her God, and went back to her idolatrous friends,
while Ruth with all her heart gave herself up to the God of her
mother in law. It is one thing to love the ways of the Lord when
all is fair, and quite another to cleave to them under all
discouragements and difficulties. The kiss of outward profession
is very cheap and easy, but the practical cleaving to the Lord,
which must show itself in holy decision for truth and holiness,
is not so small a matter. How stands the case with us, is our
heart fixed upon Jesus, is the sacrifice bound with cords to the
horns of the altar? Have we counted the cost, and are we
solemnly ready to suffer all worldly loss for the Master's sake?
The after gain will be an abundant recompense, for Egypt's
treasures are not to be compared with the glory to be revealed.
Orpah is heard of no more; in glorious ease and idolatrous
pleasure her life melts into the gloom of death; but Ruth lives
in history and in heaven, for grace has placed her in the noble
line whence sprung the King of kings. Blessed among women shall
those be who for Christ's sake can renounce all; but forgotten
and worse than forgotten shall those be who in the hour of
temptation do violence to conscience and turn back unto the
world. O that this morning we may not be content with the form
of devotion, which may be no better than Orpah's kiss, but may
the Holy Spirit work in us a cleaving of our whole heart to our
Lord Jesus.

* 12/16/AM

"Come unto me."
                                                 --Matthew 11:28

   The cry of the Christian religion is the gentle word, "Come." 
The Jewish law harshly said, "Go, take heed unto thy steps as to
the path in which thou shalt walk. Break the commandments, and
thou shalt perish; keep them, and thou shalt live." The law was
a dispensation of terror, which drove men before it as with a
scourge; the gospel draws with bands of love. Jesus is the good
Shepherd going before His sheep, bidding them follow Him, and
ever leading them onwards with the sweet word, "Come." The law
repels, the gospel attracts. The law shows the distance which
there is between God and man; the gospel bridges that awful
chasm, and brings the sinner across it.

   From the first moment of your spiritual life until you are 
ushered into glory, the language of Christ to you will be,
"_Come, come_ unto me." As a mother puts out her finger to her
little child and woos it to walk by saying, "_Come_," even so
does Jesus. He will always be ahead of you, bidding you follow
Him as the soldier follows his captain. He will always go before
you to pave your way, and clear your path, and you shall hear
His animating voice calling you after Him all through life;
while in the solemn hour of death, His sweet words with which He
shall usher you into the heavenly world shall be--"Come, ye
blessed of my Father."

   Nay, further, this is not only Christ's cry to you, but, if 
you be a believer, this is your cry to Christ--"Come! come!"
You will be longing for His second advent; you will be saying,
"Come quickly, even so come Lord Jesus." You will be panting for
nearer and closer communion with Him. As His voice to you is
"Come," your response to Him will be, "Come, Lord, and abide
with me. Come, and occupy alone the throne of my heart; reign
there without a rival, and consecrate me entirely to Thy

* 12/17/AM

"I remember thee."
                                                  --Jeremiah 2:2

   Let us note that Christ delights to think upon His Church, 
and to look upon her beauty. As the bird returneth often to its
nest, and as the wayfarer hastens to his home, so doth the mind
continually pursue the object of its choice. We cannot look too
often upon that face which we love; we desire always to have our
precious things in our sight. It is even so with our Lord Jesus.
From all eternity "His delights were with the sons of men"; His
thoughts rolled onward to the time when His elect should be born
into the world; He viewed them in the mirror of His
foreknowledge. "In Thy book," He says, "all my members were
written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there
was none of them" (Ps. 139:16). When the world was set upon its
pillars, He was there, and He set the bounds of the people
according to the number of the children of Israel. Many a time
before His incarnation, He descended to this lower earth in the
similitude of a man; on the plains of Mamre (Gen. 18), by the
brook of Jabbok (Gen. 32:24-30), beneath the walls of Jericho
(Josh. 5:13), and in the fiery furnace of Babylon (Dan. 3:19,
25), the Son of Man visited His people. Because His soul
delighted in them, He could not rest away from them, for His
heart longed after them. Never were they absent from His heart,
for He had written their names upon His hands, and graven them
upon His side. As the breastplate containing the names of the
tribes of Israel was the most brilliant ornament worn by the
high priest, so the names of Christ's elect were His most
precious jewels, and glittered on His heart. We may often
forget to meditate upon the perfections of our Lord, but He
never ceases to remember us. Let us chide ourselves for past
forgetfulness, and pray for grace ever to bear Him in fondest
remembrance. Lord, paint upon the eyeballs of my soul the image
of Thy Son.

* 12/18/AM

"Rend your heart, and not your garments."
                                                     --Joel 2:13

    Garment-rendering and other outward signs of religious 
emotion, are easily manifested and are _frequently
hypocritical_; but to feel true repentance is far more
difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will attend to
the most multiplied and minute ceremonial regulations--for such
things are _pleasing to the flesh_--but true religion is too
humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of
the carnal men; they prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy,
and worldly. Outward observances are _temporarily comfortable_;
eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and self-
righteousness is puffed up: but they are _ultimately delusive_,
for in the article of death, and at the day of judgment, the
soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and
rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital godliness all religion is
utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of
worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty
of heaven.

   HEART-RENDING is _divinely wrought and solemnly felt_. It is
a secret grief which is _personally experienced_, not in mere
form, but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit upon
the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a matter to be
merely talked of and believed in, but keenly and sensitively
felt in every living child of the living God. It is _powerfully
humiliating_, and completely sin-purging; but then it is
_sweetly preparative_ for those gracious consolations which
proud unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is
_distinctly discriminating_, for it belongs to the elect of God,
and to them alone.

   The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are 
naturally hard as marble: how, then, can this be done? We must
take them to Calvary: a dying Saviour's voice rent the rocks
once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear
the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as
men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation.

* 12/19/AM

"The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof
is of the Lord."
                                                --Proverbs 16:33

   If the disposal of the lot is the Lord's whose is the 
arrangement of our whole life? If the a simple casting of a lot
is guided by Him, how much more the events of our entire
life--especially when we are told by our blessed Saviour: "The
very hairs of your head are all numbered: not a sparrow falleth
to the ground without your Father." It would bring a holy calm
over your mind, dear friend, if you were always to remember
this. It would so relieve your mind from anxiety, that you would
be the better able to walk in patience, quiet, and cheerfulness
as a Christian should. When a man is anxious he cannot pray with
faith; when he is troubled about the world, he cannot serve his
Master, his thoughts are serving himself. If you would "seek
first the kingdom of God and His righteousness," all things
would then be added unto you. You are meddling with Christ's
business, and neglecting your own when you fret about your lot
and circumstances. You have been trying "providing" work and
forgetting that it is yours to obey. Be wise and attend to the
obeying, and let Christ manage the providing. Come and survey
your Father's storehouse, and ask whether He will let you starve
while He has laid up so great an abundance in His garner? Look
at His heart of mercy; see if that can ever prove unkind! Look
at His inscrutable wisdom; see if that will ever be at fault.
Above all, look up to Jesus Christ your Intercessor, and ask
yourself, while He pleads, can your Father deal ungraciously
with you? If He remembers even sparrows, will He forget one of
the least of His poor children? "Cast thy burden upon the Lord,
and He will sustain thee. He will never suffer the righteous to
be moved."

           My soul, rest happy in thy low estate,
           Nor hope nor wish to be esteem'd or great;
           To take the impress of the Will Divine,
           Be that thy glory, and those riches thine.

* 12/20/AM

"Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love."
                                                 --Jeremiah 31:3

   Sometimes the Lord Jesus tells His Church His love thoughts. 
"He does not think it enough behind her back to tell it, but in
her very presence He says, 'Thou art all fair, my love.' It is
true, this is not His ordinary method; He is a wise lover, and
knows when to keep back the intimation of love and when to let
it out; but there are times when He will make no secret of it;
times when He will put it beyond all dispute in the souls of His
people" (R. Erskine's Sermons). The Holy Spirit is often
pleased, in a most gracious manner, to witness with our spirits
of the love of Jesus. He takes of the things of Christ and
reveals them unto us. No voice is heard from the clouds, and no
vision is seen in the night, but we have a testimony more sure
than either of these. If an angel should fly from heaven and
inform the saint personally of the Saviour's love to him, the
evidence would not be one whit more satisfactory than that which
is borne in the heart by the Holy Ghost. Ask those of the Lord's
people who have lived the nearest to the gates of heaven, and
they will tell you that they have had seasons when the love of
Christ towards them has been a fact so clear and sure, that they
could no more doubt it than they could question their own
existence. Yes, beloved believer, you and I have had times of
refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and then our faith has
mounted to the topmost heights of assurance. We have had
confidence to lean our heads upon the bosom of our Lord, and we
have no more questioned our Master's affection to us than John
did when in that blessed posture; nay, nor so much: for the dark
question, "Lord, is it I that shall betray thee?" has been put
far from us. He has kissed us with the kisses of His mouth, and
killed our doubts by the closeness of His embrace. His love has
been sweeter than wine to our souls.

* 12/21/AM

"Yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant."
                                                 --2 Samuel 23:5

   This covenant is _divine in its origin_. "HE hath made with 
me an everlasting covenant." Oh that great word HE! Stop, my
soul. God, the everlasting Father, has positively made a
covenant with thee; yes, that God who spake the world into
existence by a word; He, stooping from His majesty, takes hold
of thy hand and makes a covenant with thee. Is it not a deed,
the stupendous condescension of which might ravish our hearts
for ever if we could really understand it? "HE hath made with me
a covenant." A king has not made a covenant with me--that were
somewhat; but the Prince of the kings of the earth, Shaddai, the
Lord All-sufficient, the Jehovah of ages, the everlasting
Elohim, "He hath made with me an everlasting covenant." But
notice, it is _particular in its application_. "Yet hath He made
with ME an everlasting covenant." Here lies the sweetness of it
to each believer. It is nought for me that He made peace for the
world; I want to know whether He made peace for _me_! It is
little that He hath made a covenant, I want to know whether He
has made a covenant _with me_. Blessed is the assurance that He
hath made a covenant with me! If God the Holy Ghost gives me
assurance of this, then His salvation is mine, His heart is
mine, He Himself is mine--_He is my God_.

   This covenant is _everlasting in its duration_. An
everlasting covenant means a covenant which had no beginning,
and which shall never, never end. How sweet amidst all the
uncertainties of life, to know that "the foundation of the Lord
standeth sure," and to have God's own promise, "My covenant will
I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips."
Like dying David, I will sing of this, even though my house be
not so with God as my heart desireth.

* 12/22/AM

"I will strengthen thee."
                                                  --Isaiah 41:10

   God has a strong reserve with which to discharge this 
engagement; for He is able to do all things. Believer, till thou
canst drain dry the ocean of omnipotence, till thou canst break
into pieces the towering mountains of almighty strength, thou
never needest to fear. Think not that the strength of man shall
ever be able to overcome the power of God. Whilst the earth's
huge pillars stand, thou hast enough reason to abide firm in thy
faith. The same God who directs the earth in its orbit, who
feeds the burning furnace of the sun, and trims the lamps of
heaven, has promised to supply thee with daily strength. While
He is able to uphold the universe, dream not that He will prove
unable to fulfil His own promises. Remember what He did in the
days of old, in the former generations. Remember how He spake
and it was done; how He commanded, and it stood fast. Shall He
that created the world grow weary? He hangeth the world upon
nothing; shall He who doth this be unable to support His
children? Shall He be unfaithful to His word for want of power?
Who is it that restrains the tempest? Doth not He ride upon the
wings of the wind, and make the clouds His chariots, and hold
the ocean in the hollow of His hand? How can He fail thee? When
He has put such a faithful promise as this on record, wilt thou
for a moment indulge the thought that He has outpromised
Himself, and gone beyond His power to fulfil? Ah, no! Thou canst
doubt no longer.

   O thou who art my God and my strength, I can believe that
this promise shall be fulfilled, for the boundless reservoir of
Thy grace can never be exhausted, and the overflowing storehouse
of Thy strength can never be emptied by Thy friends or rifled by
Thine enemies.

               "Now let the feeble all be strong,
               And make Jehovah's arm their song."

* 12/23/AM

"Friend, go up higher."
                                                    --Luke 14:10

   When first the life of grace begins in the soul, we do indeed
draw near to God, but it is with great fear and trembling. The
soul conscious of guilt, and humbled thereby, is overawed with
the solemnity of its position; it is cast to the earth by a
sense of the grandeur of Jehovah, in whose presence it stands.
With unfeigned bashfulness it takes the lowest room.

   But, in after life, as the Christian grows in grace, although 
he will never forget the solemnity of his position, and will
never lose that holy awe which must encompass a gracious man
when he is in the presence of the God who can create or can
destroy; yet his fear has all its terror taken out of it; it
becomes a holy reverence, and no more an overshadowing dread. He
is called up higher, to greater access to God in Christ Jesus.
Then the man of God, walking amid the splendours of Deity, and
veiling his face like the glorious cherubim, with those twin
wings, the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, will,
reverent and bowed in spirit, approach the throne; and seeing
there a God of love, of goodness, and of mercy, he will realize
rather the covenant character of God than His absolute Deity. He
will see in God rather His goodness than His greatness, and more
of His love than of His majesty. Then will the soul, bowing
still as humbly as aforetime, enjoy a more sacred liberty of
intercession; for while prostrate before the glory of the
Infinite God, it will be sustained by the refreshing
consciousness of being in the presence of boundless mercy and
infinite love, and by the realization of acceptance "in the
Beloved." Thus the believer is bidden to come up higher, and is
enabled to exercise the privilege of rejoicing in God, and
drawing near to Him in holy confidence, saying, "Abba, Father."

          "So may we go from strength to strength,
          And daily grow in grace,
          Till in Thine image raised at length,
          We see Thee face to face."

* 12/24/AM

"For your sakes he became poor."
                                             --2 Corinthians 8:9

   The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally _rich_, glorious, and 
exalted; but "though _He was rich_, yet for your sakes He became
poor." As the rich saint cannot be true in his communion with
his poor brethren unless of his substance he ministers to their
necessities, so (the same rule holding with the head as between
the members), it is impossible that our Divine Lord could have
had fellowship with us unless He had imparted to us of His own
abounding wealth, and had become poor to make us rich. Had He
remained upon His throne of glory, and had we continued in the
ruins of the fall without receiving His salvation, communion
would have been impossible on both sides. Our position by the
fall, apart from the covenant of grace, made it as impossible
for fallen man to communicate with God as it is for Belial to be
in concord with Christ. In order, therefore, that communion
might be compassed, it was necessary that the rich kinsman
should bestow his estate upon his poor relatives, that the
righteous Saviour should give to His sinning brethren of His own
perfection, and that we, the poor and guilty, should receive of
His fulness grace for grace; that thus in giving and receiving,
the One might descend from the heights, and the other ascend
from the depths, and so be able to embrace each other in true
and hearty fellowship. Poverty must be enriched by Him in whom
are infinite treasures before it can venture to commune; and
guilt must lose itself in imputed and imparted righteousness ere
the soul can walk in fellowship with purity. Jesus must clothe
His people in His own garments, or He cannot admit them into His
palace of glory; and He must wash them in His own blood, or else
they will be too defiled for the embrace of His fellowship.

   O believer, herein is love! For _your sake_ the Lord Jesus
"became poor" that He might lift you up into communion with

* 12/25/AM

"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call
his name Immanuel."
                                                   --Isaiah 7:14

   Let us to-day go down to Bethlehem, and in company with 
wondering shepherds and adoring Magi, let us see Him who was
born King of the Jews, for we by faith can claim an interest in
Him, and can sing, "_Unto us_ a child is born, _unto us_ a son
is given." Jesus is Jehovah incarnate, our Lord and our God, and
yet our brother and friend; let us adore and admire. Let us
notice at the very first glance _His miraculous conception_. It
was a thing unheard of before, and unparalleled since, that a
virgin should conceive and bear a Son. The first promise ran
thus, "_The seed of the woman_," not the offspring of the man.
Since venturous woman led the way in the sin which brought forth
Paradise lost, she, and she alone, ushers in the Regainer of
Paradise. Our Saviour, although truly man, was as to His human
nature the Holy One of God. Let us reverently bow before the
holy Child whose innocence restores to manhood its ancient
glory; and let us pray that He may be formed in us, the hope of
glory. Fail not to note _His humble parentage_. His mother has
been described simply as "a virgin," not a princess, or
prophetess, nor a matron of large estate. True the blood of
kings ran in her veins; nor was her mind a weak and untaught
one, for she could sing most sweetly a song of praise; but yet
how humble her position, how poor the man to whom she stood
affianced, and how miserable the accommodation afforded to the
new-born King!

   _Immanuel_, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our
lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or
rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and
Second Advent splendour.

* 12/26/AM

"The last Adam."
                                           --1 Corinthians 15:45

   Jesus is the federal head of His elect. As in Adam, every 
heir of flesh and blood has a personal interest, because he is
the covenant head and representative of the race as considered
under the law of works; so under the law of grace, every
redeemed soul is one with the Lord from heaven, since He is the
Second Adam, the Sponsor and Substitute of the elect in the new
covenant of love. The apostle Paul declares that Levi was in
the loins of Abraham when Melchizedek met him: it is a certain
truth that the believer was in the loins of Jesus Christ, the
Mediator, when in old eternity the covenant settlements of grace
were decreed, ratified, and made sure for ever. Thus, whatever
Christ hath done, He hath wrought for the whole body of His
Church. We were crucified in Him and buried with Him (read Col.
2:10-13), and to make it still more wonderful, we are risen with
Him and even ascended with Him to the seats on high (Eph. 2:6).
It is thus that the Church has fulfilled the law, and is
"accepted _in the beloved_." It is thus that she is regarded
with complacency by the just Jehovah, for He views her in Jesus,
and does not look upon her as separate from her covenant head.
As the Anointed Redeemer of Israel, Christ Jesus has nothing
distinct from His Church, but all that He has He holds for her.
Adam's righteousness was ours so long as he maintained it, and
his sin was ours the moment that he committed it; and in the
same manner, all that the Second Adam is or does, is ours as
well as His, seeing that He is our representative. Here is the
foundation of the covenant of grace. This gracious system of
representation and substitution, which moved Justin Martyr to
cry out, "O blessed change, O sweet permutation!" this is the
very groundwork of the gospel of our salvation, and is to be
received with strong faith and rapturous joy.

* 12/27/AM

"Can the rush grow up without mire?"
                                                      --Job 8:11

   The rush is spongy and hollow, and even so is a hypocrite; 
there is no substance or stability in him. It is shaken to and
fro in every wind just as formalists yield to every influence;
for this reason the rush is not broken by the tempest, neither
are hypocrites troubled with persecution. I would not willingly
be a deceiver or be deceived; perhaps the text for this day may
help me to try myself whether I be a hypocrite or no. The rush
by nature lives in water, and owes its very existence to the
mire and moisture wherein it has taken root; let the mire become
dry, and the rush withers very quickly. Its greenness is
absolutely dependent upon circumstances, a present abundance of
water makes it flourish, and a drought destroys it at once. Is
this my case? Do I only serve God when I am in good company, or
when religion is profitable and respectable? Do I love the Lord
only when temporal comforts are received from His hands? If so I
am a base hypocrite, and like the withering rush, I shall perish
when death deprives me of outward joys. But can I honestly
assert that when bodily comforts have been few, and my
surroundings have been rather adverse to grace than at all
helpful to it, I have still held fast my integrity? then have I
hope that there is genuine vital godliness in me. The rush
cannot grow without mire, but plants of the Lord's right hand
planting can and do flourish even in the year of drought. A
godly man often grows best when his worldly circumstances decay.
He who follows Christ for his bag is a Judas; they who follow
for loaves and fishes are children of the devil; but they who
attend Him out of love to Himself are His own beloved ones.
Lord, let me find my life in _Thee_, and not in the mire of this
world's favour or gain.

* 12/28/AM

"The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of
the Son of God."
                                                --Galatians 2:20

    When the Lord in mercy passed by and saw us in our blood, He 
first of all said, "Live"; and this He did _first_, because life
is one of the absolutely essential things in spiritual matters,
and until it be bestowed we are incapable of partaking in the
things of the kingdom. Now the life which grace confers upon the
saints at the moment of their quickening is none other than the
life of Christ, which, like the sap from the stem, runs into us,
the branches, and establishes a living connection between our
souls and Jesus. Faith is the grace which perceives this union,
having proceeded from it as its firstfruit. It is the neck which
joins the body of the Church to its all-glorious Head.

         "Oh Faith! thou bond of union with the Lord,
         Is not this office thine? and thy fit name,
         In the economy of gospel types,
         And symbols apposite--the Church's neck;
         Identifying her in will and work
         With Him ascended?"

Faith lays hold upon the Lord Jesus with a firm and determined
grasp. She knows His excellence and worth, and no temptation can
induce her to repose her trust elsewhere; and Christ Jesus is so
delighted with this heavenly grace, that He never ceases to
strengthen and sustain her by the loving embrace and
all-sufficient support of His eternal arms. Here, then, is
established a living, sensible, and delightful union which casts
forth streams of love, confidence, sympathy, complacency, and
joy, whereof both the bride and bridegroom love to drink. When
the soul can evidently perceive this oneness between itself and
Christ, the pulse may be felt as beating for both, and the one
blood as flowing through the veins of each. Then is the heart as
near heaven as it can be on earth, and is prepared for the
enjoyment of the most sublime and spiritual kind of fellowship.

* 12/29/AM

"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
                                                 --1 Samuel 7:12

   The word "hitherto" seems like a hand pointing in the
direction of the _past_. Twenty years or seventy, and yet,
"hitherto the Lord hath helped!" Through poverty, through
wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on
the land, on the sea, in honour, in dishonour, in perplexity, in
joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, "hitherto
hath the Lord helped us!" We delight to look down a long avenue
of trees. It is delightful to gaze from end to end of the long
vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and
its arches of leaves; even so look down the long aisles of your
years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong
pillars of lovingkindness and faithfulness which bear up your
joys. Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely
there must be many, and they all sing of mercy received

   But the word also points _forward_. For when a man gets up to 
a certain mark and writes "hitherto," he is not yet at the end,
there is still a distance to be traversed. More trials, more
joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more
answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories;
and then come sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over now?
No! there is more yet-awakening in Jesu's likeness, thrones,
harps, songs, psalms, white raiment, the face of Jesus, the
society of saints, the glory of God, the fulness of eternity,
the infinity of bliss. O be of good courage, believer, and with
grateful confidence raise thy "Ebenezer," for--

            He who hath helped thee hitherto
            Will help thee all thy journey through.

When read in heaven's light how glorious and marvellous a
prospect will thy "hitherto" unfold to thy grateful eye!

* 12/30/AM

"Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof."
                                              --Ecclesiastes 7:8

   Look at David's Lord and Master; see His beginning. He was 
despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted
with grief. Would you see the end? He sits at His Father's right
hand, expecting until His enemies be made his footstool. "As He
is, so are we also in this world." You must bear the cross, or
you shall never wear the crown; you must wade through the mire,
or you shall never walk the golden pavement. Cheer up, then,
poor Christian. "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning
thereof." See that creeping worm, how contemptible its
appearance! It is the beginning of a thing. Mark that insect
with gorgeous wings, playing in the sunbeams, sipping at the
flower bells, full of happiness and life; that is the end
thereof. That caterpillar is yourself, until you are wrapped up
in the chrysalis of death; but when Christ shall appear you
shall be like Him, for you shall see Him as He is. Be content to
be like Him, a worm and no man, that like Him you may be
satisfied when you wake up in His likeness. That rough-looking
diamond is put upon the wheel of the lapidary. He cuts it on all
sides. It loses much--much that seemed costly to itself. The
king is crowned; the diadem is put upon the monarch's head with
trumpet's joyful sound. A glittering ray flashes from that
coronet, and it beams from that very diamond which was just now
so sorely vexed by the lapidary. You may venture to compare
yourself to such a diamond, for you are one of God's people; and
this is the time of the cutting process. Let faith and patience
have their perfect work, for in the day when the crown shall be
set upon the head of the King, Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, one
ray of glory shall stream from you. "They shall be Mine," saith
the Lord, "in the day when I make up My jewels." "Better is the
end of a thing than the beginning thereof."

* 12/31/AM

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and
cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto Me and
                                                     --John 7:37

   _Patience had her perfect work_ in the Lord Jesus, and until
the last day of the feast He pleaded with the Jews, even as on
this last day of the year He pleads with us, and waits to be
gracious to us. Admirable indeed is the longsuffering of the
Saviour in bearing with some of us year after year,
notwithstanding our provocations, rebellions, and resistance of
His Holy Spirit. Wonder of wonders that we are still in the land
of mercy!

   _Pity expressed herself most plainly_, for Jesus _cried_,
which implies not only the loudness of His voice, but the
tenderness of His tones. He entreats us to be reconciled. "We
_pray_ you," says the Apostle, "as though God did _beseech_ you
by us." What earnest, pathetic terms are these! How deep must be
the love which makes the Lord weep over sinners, and like a
mother woo His children to His bosom! Surely at the call of
such a cry our willing hearts will come.

   _Provision is made most plenteously_; all is provided that 
man can need to quench his soul's thirst. To his conscience the
atonement brings peace; to his understanding the gospel brings
the richest instruction; to his heart the person of Jesus is the
noblest object of affection; to the whole man the truth as it is
in Jesus supplies the purest nutriment. Thirst is terrible, but
Jesus can remove it. Though the soul were utterly famished,
Jesus could restore it.

   _Proclamation is made most freely_, that every thirsty one is 
welcome. No other distinction is made but that of thirst.
Whether it be the thirst of avarice, ambition, pleasure,
knowledge, or rest, he who suffers from it is invited. The
thirst may be bad in itself, and be no sign of grace, but rather
a mark of inordinate sin longing to be gratified with deeper
draughts of lust; but it is not goodness in the creature which
brings him the invitation, the Lord Jesus sends it freely, and
without respect of persons.

   _Personality is declared most fully_. The sinner must come to 
Jesus, not to works, ordinances, or doctrines, but to a personal
Redeemer, who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the
tree. The bleeding, dying, rising Saviour, is the only star of
hope to a sinner. Oh for grace to come now and drink, ere the
sun sets upon the year's last day!

   No waiting or preparation is so much as hinted at. Drinking
represents a reception for which no fitness is required. A fool,
a thief, a harlot can drink; and so sinfulness of character is
no bar to the invitation to believe in Jesus. We want no golden
cup, no bejewelled chalice, in which to convey the water to the
thirsty; the mouth of poverty is welcome to stoop down and quaff
the flowing flood. Blistered, leprous, filthy lips may touch
the stream of divine love; they cannot pollute it, but shall
themselves be purified. Jesus is the fount of hope. Dear reader,
hear the dear Redeemer's loving voice as He cries to each of us,

                      "IF ANY MAN THIRST,
                            LET HIM
                         COME UNTO ME
                          AND DRINK."

This document (last modified September 30, 1995) from