December PM

* 12/01/PM

"O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His
wonderful works to the children of men."
                                                  -- Psalm 107:8

   If we complained less, and praised more, we should be 
happier, and God would be more glorified. Let us daily praise
God for _common mercies_--common as we frequently call them, and
yet so priceless, that when deprived of them we are ready to
perish. Let us bless God for the eyes with which we behold the
sun, for the health and strength to walk abroad, for the bread
we eat, for the raiment we wear. Let us praise Him that we are
not cast out among the hopeless, or confined amongst the guilty;
let us thank Him for liberty, for friends, for family
associations and comforts; let us praise Him, in fact, for
everything which we receive from His bounteous hand, for we
deserve little, and yet are most plenteously endowed. But,
beloved, the sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of
praise should be of _redeeming love_. God's redeeming acts
towards His chosen are for ever the favourite themes of their
praise. If we know what redemption means, let us not withhold
our sonnets of thanksgiving. We have been redeemed from the
power of our corruptions, uplifted from the depth of sin in
which we were naturally plunged. We have been led to the cross
of Christ--our shackles of guilt have been broken off; we are no
longer slaves, but children of the living God, and can antedate
the period when we shall be presented before the throne without
spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Even now by faith we wave the
palm-branch and wrap ourselves about with the fair linen which
is to be our everlasting array, and shall we not unceasingly
give thanks to the Lord our Redeemer? Child of God, canst thou
be silent? Awake, awake, ye heritors of glory, and lead your
captivity captive, as ye cry with David, "Bless the Lord, O my
soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name." Let the
new month begin with new songs.

* 12/02/PM

"Behold, all is vanity."
                                             --Ecclesiastes 1:14

   Nothing can satisfy the entire man but the Lord's love and 
the Lord's own self. Saints have tried to anchor in other
roadsteads, but they have been driven out of such fatal refuges.
Solomon, the wisest of men, was permitted to make experiments
for us all, and to do for us what we must not dare to do for
ourselves. Here is his testimony in his own words: "So I was
great, and increased more than all that were before me in
Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. And whatsoever mine
eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from
any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my
portion of all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my
hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do:
and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there
was no profit under the sun." "Vanity of vanities, all is
vanity." What! the whole of it vanity? O favoured monarch, is
there nothing in all thy wealth? Nothing in that wide dominion
reaching from the river even to the sea? Nothing in Palmyra's
glorious palaces? Nothing in the house of the forest of Lebanon?
In all thy music and dancing, and wine and luxury, is there
nothing? "Nothing," he says, "but weariness of spirit." This was
his verdict when he had trodden the whole round of pleasure. To
embrace our Lord Jesus, to dwell in His love, and be fully
assured of union with Him--this is all in all. Dear reader, you
need not try other forms of life in order to see whether they
are better than the Christian's: if you roam the world around,
you will see no sights like a sight of the Saviour's face; if
you could have all the comforts of life, if you lost your
Saviour, you would be wretched; but if you win Christ, then
should you rot in a dungeon, you would find it a paradise;
should you live in obscurity, or die with famine, you will yet
be satisfied with favour and full of the goodness of the Lord.

* 12/03/PM

"The Lord mighty in battle."
                                                    --Psalm 24:8

   Well may our God be glorious in the eyes of His people, 
seeing that He has wrought such wonders for them, in them, and
by them. _For them_, the Lord Jesus upon Calvary routed every
foe, breaking all the weapons of the enemy in pieces by His
finished work of satisfactory obedience; by His triumphant
resurrection and ascension He completely overturned the hopes of
hell, leading captivity captive, making a show of our enemies
openly, triumphing over them by His cross. Every arrow of guilt
which Satan might have shot at us is broken, for who can lay
anything to the charge of God's elect? Vain are the sharp swords
of infernal malice, and the perpetual battles of the serpent's
seed, for in the midst of the church the lame take the prey, and
the feeblest warriors are crowned.

   The saved may well adore their Lord for His conquests _in 
them_, since the arrows of their natural hatred are snapped, and
the weapons of their rebellion broken. What victories has grace
won in our evil hearts! How glorious is Jesus when the will is
subdued, and sin dethroned! As for our remaining corruptions,
they shall sustain an equally sure defeat, and every temptation,
and doubt, and fear, shall be utterly destroyed. In the Salem of
our peaceful hearts, the name of Jesus is great beyond compare:
He has won our love, and He shall wear it. Even thus securely
may we look for victories _by us_. We are more than conquerors
through Him that loved us. We shall cast down the powers of
darkness which are in the world, by our faith, and zeal, and
holiness; we shall win sinners to Jesus, we shall overturn false
systems, we shall convert nations, for God is with us, and none
shall stand before us. This evening let the Christian warrior
chant the war song, and prepare for to-morrow's fight. Greater
is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

* 12/04/PM

"Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the
adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
                                                   --Romans 8:23

   This groaning is universal among the saints: to a greater or 
less extent we all feel it. It is not the groan of murmuring or
complaint: it is rather the note of desire than of distress.
Having received an earnest, we desire the whole of our portion;
we are sighing that our entire manhood, in its trinity of
spirit, soul, and body, may be set free from the last vestige of
the fall; we long to put off corruption, weakness, and
dishonour, and to wrap ourselves in incorruption, in
immortality, in glory, in the spiritual body which the Lord
Jesus will bestow upon His people. We long for the manifestation
of our adoption as the children of God. "We groan," but it is
"_within ourselves_." It is not the hypocrite's groan, by which
he would make men believe that he is a saint because he is
wretched. Our sighs are sacred things, too hallowed for us to
tell abroad. We keep our longings to our Lord alone. Then the
apostle says we are "_waiting_," by which we learn that we are
not to be petulant, like Jonah or Elijah, when they said, "Let
me die"; nor are we to whimper and sigh for the end of life
because we are tired of work, nor wish to escape from our
present sufferings till the will of the Lord is done. We are to
groan for glorification, but we are to wait patiently for it,
knowing that what the Lord appoints is best. Waiting implies
being ready. We are to stand at the door expecting the Beloved
to open it and take us away to Himself. This "groaning" is a
test. You may judge of a man by what he groans after. Some men
groan after wealth--they worship Mammon; some groan continually
under the troubles of life--they are merely impatient; but the
man who sighs after God, who is uneasy till he is made like
Christ, that is the blessed man. May God help us to groan for
the coming of the Lord, and the resurrection which He will bring
to us.

* 12/05/PM

"And the Lord shewed me four carpenters."
                                                --Zechariah 1:20

   In the vision described in this chapter, the prophet saw four 
terrible horns. They were pushing this way and that way, dashing
down the strongest and the mightiest; and the prophet asked,
"What are these?" The answer was, "These are the horns which
have scattered Israel." He saw before him a representation of
those powers which had oppressed the church of God. There were
four horns; for the church is attacked from all quarters. Well
might the prophet have felt dismayed; but on a sudden there
appeared before him _four carpenters_. He asked, "What shall
these do?" These are the men whom God hath found to break those
horns in pieces. _God will always find men for His work_, and He
will find them at the right time. The prophet did not see the
carpenters _first_, when there was nothing to do, but first the
"horns," and then the "carpenters." Moreover, the Lord finds
_enough men_. He did not find three carpenters, but _four_;
there were four horns, and there must be four workmen. God finds
_the right men_; not four men with pens to write; not four
architects to draw plans; but four carpenters to do rough work.
Rest assured, you who tremble for the ark of God, that when the
"horns" grow troublesome, the "carpenters" will be found. You
need not fret concerning the weakness of the church of God at
any moment; there may be growing up in obscurity the valiant
reformer who will shake the nations: Chrysostoms may come forth
from our Ragged Schools, and Augustines from the thickest
darkness of London's poverty. The Lord knows where to find His
servants. He hath in ambush a multitude of mighty men, and at
His word they shall start up to the battle; "for the battle is
the Lord's," and He shall get to Himself the victory. Let us
abide faithful to Christ, and He, in the right time, will raise
up for us a defence, whether it be in the day of our personal
need, or in the season of peril to His Church.

* 12/06/PM

"Girt about the paps with a golden girdle."
                                               --Revelation 1:13

   One like unto the Son of Man" appeared to John in Patmos, and
the beloved disciple marked that He wore a girdle of gold. _A
girdle_, for Jesus never was ungirt while upon earth, but stood
always ready for service, and now before the eternal throne He
stays not is holy ministry, but as a priest is girt about with
"the curious girdle of the ephod." Well it is for us that He has
not ceased to fulfil His offices of love for us, since this is
one of our choicest safeguards that He ever liveth to make
intercession for us. Jesus is never an idler; His garments are
never loose as though His offices were ended; He diligently
carries on the cause of His people. _A golden girdle_, to
manifest the superiority of His service, the royalty of His
person, the dignity of His state, the glory of His reward. No
longer does He cry out of the dust, but He pleads with
authority, a King as well as a Priest. Safe enough is our cause
in the hands of our enthroned Melchisedek.

   Our Lord presents all His people with an example. We must 
never unbind our girdles. This is not the time for lying down at
ease, it is the season of service and warfare. We need to bind
the girdle of truth more and more tightly around our loins. It
is a golden girdle, and so will be our richest ornament, and we
greatly need it, for a heart that is not well braced up with the
truth as it is in Jesus, and with the fidelity which is wrought
of the Spirit, will be easily entangled with the things of this
life, and tripped up by the snares of temptation. It is in vain
that we possess the Scriptures unless we bind them around us
like a girdle, surrounding our entire nature, keeping each part
of our character in order, and giving compactness to our whole
man. If in heaven Jesus unbinds not the girdle, much less may we
upon earth. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with

* 12/07/PM

"I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save
                                            --1 Corinthians 9:22

   Paul's great object was not merely to instruct and to 
improve, but to save. Anything short of this would have
disappointed him; he would have men renewed in heart, forgiven,
sanctified, in fact, saved. Have our Christian labours been
aimed at anything below this great point? Then let us amend our
ways, for of what avail will it be at the last great day to have
taught and moralized men if they appear before God unsaved?
Blood-red will our skirts be if through life we have sought
inferior objects, and forgotten that men needed to be saved.
Paul knew the ruin of man's natural state, and did not try to
educate him, but to save him; he saw men sinking to hell, and
did not talk of refining them, but of saving from the wrath to
come. To compass their salvation, he gave himself up with
untiring zeal to telling abroad the gospel, to warning and
beseeching men to be reconciled to God. His prayers were
importunate and his labours incessant. To save souls was his
consuming passion, his ambition, his calling. He became a
servant to all men, toiling for his race, feeling a woe within
him if he preached not the gospel. He laid aside his
preferences to prevent prejudice; he submitted his will in
things indifferent, and if men would but receive the gospel, he
raised no questions about forms or ceremonies: the gospel was
the one all-important business with him. If he might save some
he would be content. This was the crown for which he strove, the
sole and sufficient reward of all his labours and self-denials.
Dear reader, have you and I lived to win souls at this noble
rate? Are we possessed with the same all-absorbing desire? If
not, why not? Jesus died for sinners, cannot we live for them?
Where is our tenderness? Where our love to Christ, if we seek
not His honour in the salvation of men? O that the Lord would
saturate us through and through with an undying zeal for the
souls of men.

* 12/08/PM

"Thou, O God, hast prepared of Thy goodness for the poor."
                                                   --Psalm 68:10

   All God's gifts are prepared gifts laid up in store for wants 
foreseen. He anticipates our needs; and out of the fulness which
He has treasured up in Christ Jesus, He provides of His goodness
for the poor. You may trust Him for all the necessities that can
occur, for He has infallibly foreknown every one of them. He can
say of us in all conditions, "I knew that thou wouldst be this
and that." A man goes a journey across the desert, and when he
has made a day's advance, and pitched his tent, he discovers
that he wants many comforts and necessaries which he has not
brought in his baggage. "Ah!" says he, "I did not foresee this:
if I had this journey to go again, I should bring these things
with me, so necessary to my comfort." But God has marked with
prescient eye all the requirements of His poor wandering
children, and when those needs occur, supplies are ready. It is
goodness which He has prepared for the poor in heart, goodness
and goodness only. "My grace is sufficient for thee." "As thy
days, so shall thy strength be."

   Reader, is your heart heavy this evening? God knew it would 
be; the comfort which your heart wants is treasured in the sweet
assurance of the text. You are poor and needy, but He has
thought upon you, and has the exact blessing which you require
in store for you. Plead the promise, believe it and obtain its
fulfillment. Do you feel that you never were so consciously vile
as you are now? Behold, the crimson fountain is open still, with
all its former efficacy, to wash your sin away. Never shall you
come into such a position that Christ cannot aid you. No pinch
shall ever arrive in your spiritual affairs in which Jesus
Christ shall not be equal to the emergency, for your history has
all been foreknown and provided for in Jesus.

* 12/09/PM

"My people shall dwell in quiet resting places."
                                                  --Isaiah 32:18

   Peace and rest belong not to the unregenerate, they are the 
peculiar possession of the Lord's people, and of them only. The
God of Peace gives perfect peace to those whose hearts are
stayed upon Him. When man was unfallen, his God gave him the
flowery bowers of Eden as his quiet resting places; alas! how
soon sin blighted the fair abode of innocence. In the day of
universal wrath when the flood swept away a guilty race, the
chosen family were quietly secured in the resting-place of the
ark, which floated them from the old condemned world into the
new earth of the rainbow and the covenant, herein typifying
Jesus, the ark of our salvation. Israel rested safely beneath
the blood-besprinkled habitations of Egypt when the destroying
angel smote the first-born; and in the wilderness the shadow of
the pillar of cloud, and the flowing rock, gave the weary
pilgrims sweet repose. At this hour we rest in the promises of
our faithful God, knowing that His words are full of truth and
power; we rest in the doctrines of His word, which are
consolation itself; we rest in the covenant of His grace, which
is a haven of delight. More highly favoured are we than David
in Adullam, or Jonah beneath his gourd, for none can invade or
destroy our shelter. The person of Jesus is the quiet
resting-place of His people, and when we draw near to Him in the
breaking of the bread, in the hearing of the word, the searching
of the Scriptures, prayer, or praise, we find any form of
approach to Him to be the return of peace to our spirits.

   "I hear the words of love, I gaze upon the blood,
   I see the mighty sacrifice, and I have peace with God.
   'Tis everlasting peace, sure as Jehovah's name,
   'Tis stable as His steadfast throne, for evermore the same:
   The clouds may go and come, and storms may sweep my sky,
   This blood-sealed friendship changes not, the cross is ever

* 12/10/PM

"Whose heart the Lord opened."
                                                    --Acts 16:14

   In Lydia's conversion there are many points of interest. It 
was brought about by _providential circumstances_. She was a
seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, but just at the right
time for hearing Paul we find her at Philippi; providence, which
is the handmaid of grace, led her to the right spot. Again,
_grace was preparing her soul for the blessing_--grace preparing
for grace. She did not know the Saviour, but as a Jewess, she
knew many truths which were excellent stepping-stones to a
knowledge of Jesus. Her conversion took place in the use of the
means. On the Sabbath she went when prayer was wont to be made,
and there prayer was heard. Never neglect the means of grace;
God _may_ bless us when we are not in His house, but we have the
greater reason to hope that He _will_ when we are in communion
with His saints. Observe the words, "Whose heart _the Lord_
opened." She did not open her own heart. Her prayers did not do
it; Paul did not do it. The Lord Himself must open the heart, to
receive the things which make for our peace. He alone can put
the key into the hole of the door and open it, and get
admittance for Himself. He is the heart's master as He is the
heart's maker. The first outward evidence of the opened heart
was _obedience_. As soon as Lydia had believed in Jesus, she
was baptized. It is a sweet sign of a humble and broken heart,
when the child of God is willing to obey a command which is not
essential to his salvation, which is not forced upon him by a
selfish fear of condemnation, but is a simple act of obedience
and of communion with his Master. The next evidence was _love_,
manifesting itself in acts of grateful kindness to the apostles.
Love to the saints has ever been a mark of the true convert.
Those who do nothing for Christ or His church, give but sorry
evidence of an "opened" heart. Lord, evermore give me an opened

* 12/11/PM

"Ye serve the Lord Christ."
                                               --Colossians 3:24

  To what choice order of officials was this word spoken? To 
kings who proudly boast a right divine? Ah, no! too often do
they serve themselves or Satan, and forget the God whose
sufferance permits them to wear their mimic majesty for their
little hour. Speaks then the apostle to those so-called "right
reverend fathers in God," the bishops, or "the venerable the
archdeacons"? No, indeed, Paul knew nothing of these mere
inventions of man. Not even to pastors and teachers, or to the
wealthy and esteemed among believers, was this word spoken, but
to servants, ay, and to slaves. Among the toiling multitudes,
the journeymen, the day labourers, the domestic servants, the
drudges of the kitchen, the apostle found, as we find still,
some of the Lord's chosen, and to them he says, "Whatsoever ye
do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing
that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance:
for ye serve the Lord Christ." This saying ennobles the weary
routine of earthly employments, and sheds a halo around the most
humble occupations. To wash feet may be servile, but to wash His
feet is royal work. To unloose the shoe-latchet is poor employ,
but to unloose the great Master's shoe is a princely privilege.
The shop, the barn, the scullery, and the smithy become temples
when men and women do all to the glory of God! Then "divine
service" is not a thing of a few hours and a few places, but all
life becomes holiness unto the Lord, and every place and thing,
as consecrated as the tabernacle and its golden candlestick.

  "Teach me, my God and King, in all things Thee to see;
  And what I do in anything to do it as to Thee.
  All may of Thee partake, nothing can be so mean,
  Which with this tincture, for Thy sake, will not grow bright
     and clean.

  A servant with this clause makes drudgery divine;
  Who sweeps a room, as for Thy laws, makes that and the
     action fine.

* 12/12/PM

"They have dealt treacherously against the Lord."
                                                     --Hosea 5:7

   Believer, here is a sorrowful truth! Thou art the beloved of 
the Lord, redeemed by blood, called by grace, preserved in
Christ Jesus, accepted in the Beloved, on thy way to heaven, and
yet, "thou hast dealt treacherously" with God, thy best friend;
treacherously with Jesus, whose thou art; treacherously with the
Holy Spirit, by whom thou hast been quickened unto life eternal!
How treacherous you have been in the matter of vows and
promises. Do you remember the love of your espousals, that happy
time--the springtide of your spiritual life? Oh, how closely did
you cling to your Master then! saying, "He shall never charge me
with indifference; my feet shall never grow slow in the way of
His service; I will not suffer my heart to wander after other
loves; in Him is every store of sweetness ineffable. I give all
up for my Lord Jesus' sake." Has it been so? Alas! if conscience
speak, it will say, "He who promised so well has performed most
ill. Prayer has oftentimes been slurred--it has been short, but
not sweet; brief, but not fervent. Communion with Christ has
been forgotten. Instead of a heavenly mind, there have been
carnal cares, worldly vanities and thoughts of evil. Instead of
service, there has been disobedience; instead of fervency,
lukewarmness; instead of patience, petulance; instead of faith,
confidence in an arm of flesh; and as a soldier of the cross
there has been cowardice, disobedience, and desertion, to a very
shameful degree." "Thou hast dealt treacherously." Treachery to
Jesus! what words shall be used in denouncing it? Words little
avail: let our penitent thoughts execrate the sin which is so
surely in us. Treacherous to Thy wounds, O Jesus! Forgive us,
and let us not sin again! How shameful to be treacherous to Him
who never forgets us, but who this day stands with our names
engraven on His breastplate before the eternal throne.

* 12/13/PM

"I will make thy windows of agates."
                                                  --Isaiah 54:12

   The church is most instructively symbolized by a building
erected by heavenly power, and designed by divine skill. Such a
spiritual house must not be dark, for the Israelites had light
in their dwellings; there must therefore be windows to let the
light in and to allow the inhabitants to gaze abroad. These
windows are _precious_ as agates: the ways in which the church
beholds her Lord and heaven, and spiritual truth in general, are
to be had in the highest esteem. Agates are _not the most
transparent_ of gems, they are but semi-pellucid at the best:

             "Our knowledge of that life is small,
             Our eye of faith is dim."

_Faith_ is one of these precious agate windows, but alas! it is
often so misty and beclouded, that we see but darkly, and
mistake much that we do see. Yet if we cannot gaze through
windows of diamonds and know even as we are known, it is a
glorious thing to behold the altogether lovely One, even though
the glass be hazy as the agate. _Experience_ is another of these
dim but precious windows, yielding to us a subdued religious
light, in which we see the sufferings of the Man of Sorrows,
through our own afflictions. Our weak eyes could not endure
windows of transparent glass to let in the Master's glory, but
when they are dimmed with weeping, the beams of the Sun of
Righteousness are tempered, and shine through the windows of
agate with a soft radiance inexpressibly soothing to tempted
souls. _Sanctification_, as it conforms us to our Lord, is
another agate window. Only as we become heavenly can we
comprehend heavenly things. The pure in heart see a pure God.
Those who are like Jesus see Him as He is. Because we are so
little like Him, the window is but agate; because we are
somewhat like Him, it is agate. We thank God for what we have,
and long for more. When shall we see God and Jesus, and heaven
and truth, face to face?

* 12/14/PM

"I am crucified with Christ."
                                                --Galatians 2:20

   The Lord Jesus Christ acted in what He did as a great public 
representative person, and His dying upon the cross was the
virtual dying of all His people. Then all His saints rendered
unto justice what was due, and made an expiation to divine
vengeance for all their sins. The apostle of the Gentiles
delighted to think that as one of Christ's chosen people, he
died upon the cross in Christ. He did more than believe this
doctrinally, he accepted it confidently, resting his hope upon
it. He believed that by virtue of Christ's death, he had
satisfied divine justice, and found reconciliation with God.
Beloved, what a blessed thing it is when the soul can, as it
were, stretch itself upon the cross of Christ, and feel, "I am
dead; the law has slain me, and I am therefore free from its
power, because in my Surety I have borne the curse, and in the
person of my Substitute the whole that the law could do, by way
of condemnation, has been executed upon me, for I am crucified
with Christ."

   But Paul meant even more than this. He not only believed in 
Christ's death, and trusted in it, but he actually felt its
power in himself in causing the crucifixion of his old corrupt
nature. When he saw the pleasures of sin, he said, "I cannot
enjoy these: I am dead to them." Such is the experience of every
true Christian. Having received Christ, he is to this world as
one who is utterly dead. Yet, while conscious of death to the
world, he can, at the same time, exclaim with the apostle,
"Nevertheless I live." He is fully alive unto God. The
Christian's life is a matchless riddle. No worldling can
comprehend it; even the believer himself cannot understand it.
Dead, yet alive! crucified with Christ, and yet at the same time
risen with Christ in newness of life! Union with the suffering,
bleeding Saviour, and death to the world and sin, are
soul-cheering things. O for more enjoyment of them!

* 12/15/PM

"And lay thy foundations with sapphires."
                                                  --Isaiah 54:11

   Not only that which is seen of the church of God, but that 
which is unseen, is fair and precious. Foundations are out of
sight, and so long as they are firm it is not expected that they
should be valuable; but in Jehovah's work everything is of a
piece, nothing slurred, nothing mean. The deep foundations of
the work of grace are as sapphires for preciousness, no human
mind is able to measure their glory. We build upon the _covenant
of grace_, which is firmer than adamant, and as enduring as
jewels upon which age spends itself in vain. Sapphire
foundations are eternal, and the covenant abides throughout the
lifetime of the Almighty. Another foundation is _the person of
the Lord Jesus_, which is clear and spotless, everlasting and
beautiful as the sapphire; blending in one the deep blue of
earth's ever rolling ocean and the azure of its all embracing
sky. Once might our Lord have been likened to the ruby as He
stood covered with His own blood, but now we see Him radiant
with the soft blue of love, love abounding, deep, eternal. Our
eternal hopes are built upon _the justice and the faithfulness
of God_, which are clear and cloudless as the sapphire. We are
not saved by a compromise, by mercy defeating justice, or law
suspending its operations; no, we defy the eagle's eye to detect
a flaw in the groundwork of our confidence--our foundation is of
sapphire, and will endure the fire.

   The Lord Himself has laid the foundation of His people's
hopes. It is matter for grave enquiry whether _our_ hopes are
built upon such a basis. Good works and ceremonies are not a
foundation of sapphires, but of wood, hay, and stubble; neither
are they laid by God, but by our own conceit. Foundations will
all be tried ere long: woe unto him whose lofty tower shall come
down with a crash, because based on a quicksand. He who is built
on sapphires may await storm or fire with equanimity, for he
shall abide the test.

* 12/16/PM

"Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that
time that thine ear was not opened."
                                                   --Isaiah 48:8

   It is painful to remember that, in a certain degree, this 
accusation may be laid at the door of _believers_, who too often
are in a measure _spiritually insensible_. We may well bewail
ourselves that _we_ do not hear the voice of God as we ought,
"Yea, thou heardest not." There are gentle motions of the Holy
Spirit in the soul which are unheeded by us: there are
whisperings of divine command and of heavenly love which are
alike unobserved by our leaden intellects. Alas! we have been
_carelessly ignorant_--"Yea, thou knewest not." There are
matters within which we ought to have seen, corruptions which
have made headway unnoticed; sweet affections which are being
blighted like flowers in the frost, untended by us; glimpses of
the divine face which might be perceived if we did not wall up
the windows of our soul. But we "have not known." As we think of
it we are humbled in the deepest self-abasement. How must we
adore the grace of God as we learn from the context that all
this folly and ignorance, on our part, _was foreknown by God_,
and, notwithstanding that foreknowledge, He yet has been pleased
to deal with us in a way of mercy! Admire the marvellous
sovereign grace which could have chosen us in the sight of all
this! Wonder at the price that was paid for us when Christ knew
what we should be! He who hung upon the cross foresaw us as
unbelieving, backsliding, cold of heart, indifferent, careless,
lax in prayer, and yet He said, "I am the Lord thy God, the Holy
One of Israel, thy Saviour . . . Since thou wast precious in My
sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee:
therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life"! O
redemption, how wondrously resplendent dost thou shine when we
think how black we are! O Holy Spirit, give us henceforth the
hearing ear, the understanding heart!

* 12/17/PM

"I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
                                                     --John 10:9

   Jesus, the great I AM, is the entrance into the true church, 
and the way of access to God Himself. He gives to the man who
comes to God by Him four choice privileges.

   1. _He shall be saved_. The fugitive manslayer passed the 
gate of the city of refuge, and was safe. Noah entered the door
of the ark, and was secure. None can be lost who take Jesus as
the door of faith to their souls. Entrance through Jesus into
peace is the guarantee of entrance by the same door into heaven.
Jesus is the only door, an open door, a wide door, a safe door;
and blessed is he who rests all his hope of admission to glory
upon the crucified Redeemer.

   2. _He shall go in_. He shall be privileged to go in among 
the divine family, sharing the children's bread, and
participating in all their honours and enjoyments. He shall go
in to the chambers of communion, to the banquets of love, to the
treasures of the covenant, to the storehouses of the promises.
He shall go in unto the King of kings in the power of the Holy
Spirit, and the secret of the Lord shall be with him.

   3. _He shall go out_. This blessing is much forgotten. We go 
out into the world to labour and suffer, but what a mercy to go
in the name and power of Jesus! We are called to bear witness to
the truth, to cheer the disconsolate, to warn the careless, to
win souls, and to glorify God; and as the angel said to Gideon,
"Go in this thy might," even thus the Lord would have us proceed
as His messengers in His name and strength.

   4. _He shall find pasture_. He who knows Jesus shall never 
want. Going in and out shall be alike helpful to him: in
fellowship with God he shall grow, and in watering others he
shall be watered. Having made Jesus his all, he shall find all
in Jesus. His soul shall be as a watered garden, and as a well
of water whose waters fail not.

* 12/18/PM

"Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well
to thy herds."
                                                --Proverbs 27:23

   Every wise merchant will occasionally hold a stock-taking, 
when he will cast up his accounts, examine what he has on hand,
and ascertain decisively whether his trade is prosperous or
declining. Every man who is wise in the kingdom of heaven, will
cry, "Search me, O God, and try me"; and he will frequently set
apart special seasons for self-examination, to discover whether
things are right between God and his soul. The God whom we
worship is a great heart-searcher; and of old His servants knew
Him as "the Lord which searcheth the heart and trieth the reins
of the children of men." Let me stir you up in His name to make
diligent search and solemn trial of your state, lest you come
short of the promised rest. That which every wise man does,
that which God Himself does with us all, I exhort you to do with
yourself this evening. Let the oldest saint look well to the
fundamentals of his piety, for grey heads may cover black
hearts: and let not the young professor despise the word of
warning, for the greenness of youth may be joined to the
rottenness of hypocrisy. Every now and then a cedar falls into
our midst. The enemy still continues to sow tares among the
wheat. It is not my aim to introduce doubts and fears into your
mind; nay, verily, but I shall hope the rather that the rough
wind of self-examination may help to drive them away. It is not
security, but carnal security, which we would kill; not
confidence, but fleshly confidence, which we would overthrow;
not peace, but false peace, which we would destroy. By the
precious blood of Christ, which was not shed to make you a
hypocrite, but that sincere souls might show forth His praise, I
beseech you, search and look, lest at the last it be said of
you, "Mene, Mene, Tekel: thou art weighed in the balances, and
art found wanting."

* 12/19/PM

"And there was no more sea."
                                               --Revelation 21:1

   Scarcely could we rejoice at the thought of losing the 
glorious old ocean: the new heavens and the new earth are none
the fairer to our imagination, if, indeed, literally there is to
be no great and wide sea, with its gleaming waves and shelly
shores. Is not the text to be read as a metaphor, tinged with
the prejudice with which the Oriental mind universally regarded
the sea in the olden times? A real physical world without a sea
it is mournful to imagine, it would be an iron ring without the
sapphire which made it precious. There must be a spiritual
meaning here. In the new dispensation there will be no
_division_--the sea separates nations and sunders peoples from
each other. To John in Patmos the deep waters were like prison
walls, shutting him out from his brethren and his work: there
shall be no such barriers in the world to come. Leagues of
rolling billows lie between us and many a kinsman whom to-night
we prayerfully remember, but in the bright world to which we go
there shall be unbroken fellowship for all the redeemed family.
In this sense there shall be no more sea. The sea is the emblem
of change; with its ebbs and flows, its glassy smoothness and
its mountainous billows, its gentle murmurs and its tumultuous
roarings, it is never long the same. Slave of the fickle winds
and the changeful moon, its instability is proverbial. In this
mortal state we have too much of this; earth is constant only in
her inconstancy, but in the heavenly state all mournful change
shall be unknown, and with it all fear of _storm_ to wreck our
hopes and drown our joys. The sea of glass glows with a glory
unbroken by a wave. No tempest howls along the peaceful shores
of paradise. Soon shall we reach that happy land where partings,
and changes, and storms shall be ended! Jesus will waft us
there. Are we in Him or not? This is the grand question.

* 12/20/PM

"Call thy labourers, and give them their hire."
                                                  --Matthew 20:8

   God is a good paymaster; He pays His servants while at work 
as well as when they have done it; and one of His payments is
this: _an easy conscience_. If you have spoken faithfully of
Jesus to one person, when you go to bed at night you feel happy
in thinking, "I have this day discharged my conscience of that
man's blood." There is a great _comfort in doing something for
Jesus_. Oh, what a happiness to place jewels in His crown, and
give Him to see of the travail of His soul! There is also very
great reward in _watching the first buddings of conviction in a
soul_! To say of that girl in the class, "She is tender of
heart, I do hope that there is the Lord's work within." To go
home and pray over that boy, who said something in the afternoon
which made you think he must know more of divine truth than you
had feared! Oh, the joy of hope! But as for _the joy of
success_! it is unspeakable. This joy, overwhelming as it is, is
a hungry thing--you pine for more of it. To be a soul-winner is
the happiest thing in the world. With every soul you bring to
Christ, you get a new heaven upon earth. But who can conceive
the bliss which awaits us above! Oh, how sweet is that sentence,
"Enter thou into _the joy of thy Lord_!" Do you know what the
joy of Christ is over a saved sinner? This is the very joy which
we are to possess in heaven. Yes, when He mounts the throne, you
shall mount with Him. When the heavens ring with "Well done,
well done," you shall partake in the reward; you have toiled
with Him, you have suffered with Him, you shall now reign with
Him; you have sown with Him, you shall reap with Him; your face
was covered with sweat like His, and your soul was grieved for
the sins of men as His soul was, now shall your face be bright
with heaven's splendour as is His countenance, and now shall
your soul be filled with beatific joys even as His soul is.

* 12/21/PM

"I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with
badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I
covered thee with silk."
                                                 --Ezekiel 16:10

   See with what matchless generosity the Lord provides for His 
people's apparel. They are so arrayed that the divine skill is
seen producing an unrivalled _broidered work_, in which every
attribute takes its part and every divine beauty is revealed. No
art like the art displayed in our salvation, no cunning
workmanship like that beheld in the righteousness of the saints.
Justification has engrossed learned pens in all ages of the
church, and will be the theme of admiration in eternity. God has
indeed "curiously wrought it." With all this elaboration there
is mingled utility and durability, comparable to our being _shod
with badgers' skins_. The animal here meant is unknown, but its
skin covered the tabernacle, and formed one of the finest and
strongest leathers known. The righteousness which is of God by
faith endureth for ever, and he who is shod with this divine
preparation will tread the desert safely, and may even set his
foot upon the lion and the adder. Purity and dignity of our holy
vesture are brought out in _the fine linen_. When the Lord
sanctifies His people, they are clad as priests in pure white;
not the snow itself excels them; they are in the eyes of men and
angels fair to look upon, and even in the Lord's eyes they are
without spot. Meanwhile the royal apparel is delicate and rich
as _silk_. No expense is spared, no beauty withheld, no
daintiness denied.

   What, then? Is there no inference from this? Surely there is 
gratitude to be felt and joy to be expressed. Come, my heart,
refuse not thy evening hallelujah! Tune thy pipes! Touch thy

              "Strangely, my soul, art thou arrayed
              By the Great Sacred Three!
              In sweetest harmony of praise
              Let all thy powers agree."

* 12/22/PM

"The spot of His children."
                                              --Deuteronomy 32:5

   What is the secret spot which infallibly betokens the child 
of God? It were vain presumption to decide this upon our own
judgment; but God's word reveals it to us, and we may tread
surely where we have revelation to be our guide. Now, we are
told concerning our Lord, "to as many as _received Him_, to them
gave He power to become the sons of God, even to as many as
believed on His name." Then, if I have received Christ Jesus
into my heart, I am a child of God. That reception is described
in the same verse as _believing on the name of Jesus Christ_.
If, then, I believe on Jesus Christ's name--that is, simply from
my heart trust myself with the crucified, but now exalted,
Redeemer, I am a member of the family of the Most High. Whatever
else I may not have, if I have this, I have the privilege to
become a child of God. Our Lord Jesus puts it in another shape.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
Here is the matter in a nutshell. Christ appears as a shepherd
to His own sheep, not to others. As soon as He appears, His own
sheep perceive Him--they trust Him, they are prepared to follow
Him; He knows them, and they know Him--there is a mutual
knowledge--there is a constant connection between them. Thus the
one mark, the sure mark, the infallible mark of regeneration and
adoption is a hearty faith in the appointed Redeemer. Reader,
are you in doubt, are you uncertain whether you bear the secret
mark of God's children? Then let not an hour pass over your head
till you have said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart."
Trifle not here, I adjure you! If you must trifle anywhere, let
it be about some secondary matter: your health, if you will, or
the title deeds of your estate; but about your soul, your
never-dying soul and its eternal destinies, I beseech you to be
in earnest. Make sure work for eternity.

* 12/23/PM

"The night also is Thine."
                                                   --Psalm 74:16

   Yes, Lord, Thou dost not abdicate Thy throne when the sun 
goeth down, nor dost Thou leave the world all through these long
wintry nights to be the prey of evil; Thine eyes watch us as the
stars, and Thine arms surround us as the zodiac belts the sky.
The dews of kindly sleep and all the influences of the moon are
in Thy hand, and the alarms and solemnities of night are equally
with Thee. This is very sweet to me when watching through the
midnight hours, or tossing to and fro in anguish. There are
precious fruits put forth by the moon as well as by the sun: may
my Lord make me to be a favoured partaker in them.

   The night of affliction is as much under the arrangement and 
control of the Lord of Love as the bright summer days when all
is bliss. Jesus is in the tempest. His love wraps the night
about itself as a mantle, but to the eye of faith the sable robe
is scarce a disguise. From the first watch of the night even
unto the break of day the eternal Watcher observes His saints,
and overrules the shades and dews of midnight for His people's
highest good. We believe in no rival deities of good and evil
contending for the mastery, but we hear the voice of Jehovah
saying, "I create light and I create darkness; I, the Lord, do
all these things."

   Gloomy seasons of religious indifference and social sin are
not exempted from the divine purpose. When the altars of truth
are defiled, and the ways of God forsaken, the Lord's servants
weep with bitter sorrow, but they may not despair, for the
darkest eras are governed by the Lord, and shall come to their
end at His bidding. What may seem defeat to us may be victory to

              "Though enwrapt in gloomy night,
              We perceive no ray of light;
              Since the Lord Himself is here,
              'Tis not meet that we should fear."

* 12/24/PM

"The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall
see it together."
                                                   --Isaiah 40:5

   We anticipate the happy day when the whole world shall be
converted to Christ; when the gods of the heathen shall be cast
to the moles and the bats; when Romanism shall be exploded, and
the crescent of Mohammed shall wane, never again to cast its
baleful rays upon the nations; when kings shall bow down before
the Prince of Peace, and all nations shall call their Redeemer
blessed. Some despair of this. They look upon the world as a
vessel breaking up and going to pieces, never to float again. We
know that the world and all that is therein is one day to be
burnt up, and afterwards we look for new heavens and for a new
earth; but we cannot read our Bibles without the conviction

                 "Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
                 Does his successive journeys run."

We are not discouraged by the length of His delays; we are not
disheartened by the long period which He allots to the church in
which to struggle with little success and much defeat. We
believe that God will never suffer this world, which has once
seen Christ's blood shed upon it, to be always the devil's
stronghold. Christ came hither to deliver this world from the
detested sway of the powers of darkness. What a shout shall that
be when men and angels shall unite to cry "Hallelujah,
hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!" What a
satisfaction will it be in that day to have had a share in the
fight, to have helped to break the arrows of the bow, and to
have aided in winning the victory for our Lord! Happy are they
who trust themselves with this conquering Lord, and who fight
side by side with Him, doing their little in His name and by His
strength! How unhappy are those on the side of evil! It is a
losing side, and it is a matter wherein to lose is to lose and
to be lost for ever. On whose side are you?

* 12/25/PM

"And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about,
that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the
morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of
them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and
cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually."
                                                       --Job 1:5

   What the patriarch did early in the morning, after the family 
festivities, it will be well for the believer to do for himself
ere he rests tonight. Amid the cheerfulness of household
gatherings it is easy to slide into sinful levities, and to
forget our avowed character as Christians. It ought not to be
so, but so it is, that our days of feasting are very seldom days
of sanctified enjoyment, but too frequently degenerate into
unhallowed mirth. There is a way of joy as pure and sanctifying
as though one bathed in the rivers of Eden: holy gratitude
should be quite as purifying an element as grief. Alas! for our
poor hearts, that facts prove that the house of mourning is
better than the house of feasting. Come, believer, in what have
you sinned to-day? Have you been forgetful of your high calling?
Have you been even as others in idle words and loose speeches?
Then confess the sin, and fly to the sacrifice. The sacrifice
sanctifies. The precious blood of the Lamb slain removes the
guilt, and purges away the defilement of our sins of ignorance
and carelessness. This is the best ending of a Christmas-day--to
wash anew in the cleansing fountain. Believer, come to this
sacrifice continually; if it be so good to-night, it is good
every night. To live at the altar is the privilege of the royal
priesthood; to them sin, great as it is, is nevertheless no
cause for despair, since they draw near yet again to the
sin-atoning victim, and their conscience is purged from dead

              Gladly I close this festive day,
              Grasping the altar's hallow'd horn;
              My slips and faults are washed away,
              The Lamb has all my trespass borne.

* 12/26/PM

"Lo, I am with you alway."
                                                 --Matthew 28:20

   The Lord Jesus is in the midst of His church; He walketh 
among the golden candlesticks; His promise is, "Lo, I am with
you alway." He is as surely with us now as He was with the
disciples at the lake, when they saw coals of fire, and fish
laid thereon and bread. Not carnally, but still in real truth,
Jesus is with us. And a blessed truth it is, for where Jesus is,
_love becomes inflamed_. Of all the things in the world that
can set the heart burning, there is nothing like the presence of
Jesus! A glimpse of Him so overcomes us, that we are ready to
say, "Turn away Thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me."
Even the smell of the aloes, and the myrrh, and the cassia,
which drop from His perfumed garments, causes the sick and the
faint to grow strong. Let there be but a moment's leaning of the
head upon that gracious bosom, and a reception of His divine
love into our poor cold hearts, and we are cold no longer, but
glow like seraphs, equal to every labour, and capable of every
suffering. If we know that Jesus is with us, _every power will
be developed_, and every grace will be strengthened, and we
shall cast ourselves into the Lord's service with heart, and
soul, and strength; therefore is the presence of Christ to be
desired above all things. _His presence will be most realized
by those who are most like Him_. If you desire to see Christ,
you must grow in conformity to Him. Bring yourself, by the power
of the Spirit, into union with Christ's desires, and motives,
and plans of action, and you are likely to be favoured with His
company. Remember _His presence may be had_. His promise is as
true as ever. He delights to be with us. If He doth not come, it
is because we hinder Him by our indifference. He will reveal
Himself to our earnest prayers, and graciously suffer Himself to
be detained by our entreaties, and by our tears, for these are
the golden chains which bind Jesus to His people.

* 12/27/PM

"And the LORD shall guide thee continually."
                                                  --Isaiah 58:11

   "The _Lord_ shall guide thee." Not an angel, but JEHOVAH 
shall guide thee. He said He would not go through the wilderness
before His people, an angel should go before them to lead them
in the way; but Moses said, "If _Thy_ presence go not with me,
carry us not up hence." Christian, God has not left you in your
earthly pilgrimage to an angel's guidance: He Himself leads the
van. You may not see the cloudy, fiery pillar, but Jehovah will
never forsake you. Notice the word _shall_--"The Lord shall
guide thee." How certain this makes it! How sure it is that God
will not forsake us! His precious "shalls" and "wills" are
better than men's oaths. "I will never leave thee, nor forsake
thee." Then observe the adverb _continually_. We are not merely
to be guided sometimes, but we are to have a perpetual monitor;
not occasionally to be left to our own understanding, and so to
wander, but we are continually to hear the guiding voice of the
Great Shepherd; and if we follow close at His heels, we shall
not err, but be led by a right way to a city to dwell in. If you
have to change your position in life; if you have to emigrate to
distant shores; if it should happen that you are cast into
poverty, or uplifted suddenly into a more responsible position
than the one you now occupy; if you are thrown among strangers,
or cast among foes, yet tremble not, for "the Lord shall guide
thee continually." There are no dilemmas out of which you shall
not be delivered if you live near to God, and your heart be kept
warm with holy love. He goes not amiss who goes in the company
of God. Like Enoch, walk with God, and you cannot mistake your
road. You have infallible wisdom to direct you, immutable love
to comfort you, and eternal power to defend you. "Jehovah"--mark
the word--"Jehovah shall guide thee continually."

* 12/28/PM

"I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword."
                                                 --Matthew 10:34

   The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of 
his objects to make none; but if to do the right, and to believe
the I true, should cause him to lose every earthly friend, he
will count it but a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven
will be yet more friendly, and reveal Himself to him more
graciously than ever. O ye who have taken up His cross, know ye
not what your Master said? "I am come to set a man at variance
against his father, and the daughter against her mother; and a
man's foes shall be they of his own household." Christ is the
great Peacemaker; but before peace, He brings war. Where the
light cometh, the darkness must retire. Where truth is, the lie
must flee; or, if it abideth, there must be a stern conflict,
for the truth cannot and will not lower its standard, and the
lie must be trodden under foot. If you follow Christ, you shall
have all the dogs of the world yelping at your heels. If you
would live so as to stand the test of the last tribunal, depend
upon it the world will not speak well of you. He who has the
friendship of the world is an enemy to God; but if you are true
and faithful to the Most High, men will resent your unflinching
fidelity, since it is a testimony against their iniquities.
Fearless of all consequences, you must do the right. You will
need the courage of a lion unhesitatingly to pursue a course
which shall turn your best friend into your fiercest foe; but
for the love of Jesus you must thus be courageous. For the
truth's sake to hazard reputation and affection, is such a deed
that to do it constantly you will need a degree of moral
principle which only the Spirit of God can work in you; yet turn
not your back like a coward, but play the man. Follow right
manfully in your Master's steps, for He has traversed this rough
way before you. Better a brief warfare and eternal rest, than
false peace and everlasting torment.

* 12/29/PM

"What think ye of Christ?"
                                                 --Matthew 22:42

   The great test of your soul's health is, _What think you of 
Christ_? Is He to you "fairer than the children of men"--"the
chief among ten thousand"--the "altogether lovely"? Wherever
Christ is thus esteemed, all the faculties of the spiritual man
exercise themselves with energy. I will judge of your piety by
this barometer: does Christ stand high or low with you? If you
have thought little of Christ, if you have been content to live
without His presence, if you have cared little for His honour,
if you have been neglectful of His laws, then I know that your
soul is sick--God grant that it may not be sick unto death! But
if the first thought of your spirit has been, How can I honour
Jesus? If the daily desire of your soul has been, "O that I knew
where I might find Him!" I tell you that you may have a thousand
infirmities, and even scarcely know whether you are a child of
God at all, and yet I am persuaded, beyond a doubt, that you are
safe, since Jesus is great in your esteem. I care not for thy
rags, what thinkest thou of _His_ royal apparel? I care not for
thy wounds, though they bleed in torrents, what thinkest thou of
_His_ wounds? are they like glittering rubies in thine esteem? I
think none the less of thee, though thou liest like Lazarus on
the dunghill, and the dogs do lick thee--I judge thee not by thy
poverty: what thinkest thou of the King in His beauty? Has He a
glorious high throne in thy heart? Wouldst thou set Him higher
if thou couldst? Wouldst thou be willing to die if thou couldst
but add another trumpet to the strain which proclaims His
praise? Ah! then it is well with thee. Whatever thou mayst think
of thyself, if Christ be great to thee, thou shalt be with Him
ere long.

            "Though all the world my choice deride,
            Yet Jesus shall my portion be;
            For I am pleased with none beside,
            The fairest of the fair is He"

* 12/30/PM

"Knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end?"
                                                 --2 Samuel 2:26

   If, O my reader! thou art merely a professor, and not a
possessor of the faith that is in Christ Jesus, the following
lines are a true ketch of thine end.

   You are a respectable attendant at a place of worship; you go 
because others go, not because your heart is right with God.
This is your beginning. I will suppose that for the next twenty
or thirty years you will be spared to go on as you do now,
professing religion by an outward attendance upon the means of
grace, but having no heart in the matter. Tread softly, for I
must show you the deathbed of such a one as yourself. Let us
gaze upon him gently. A clammy sweat is on his brow, and he
wakes up crying, "O God, it is hard to die. Did you send for my
minister?" "Yes, he is coming." The minister comes. "Sir, I fear
that I am dying!" "Have you any hope?" "I cannot say that I
have. I fear to stand before my God; oh! pray for me." The
prayer is offered for him with sincere earnestness, and the way
of salvation is for the ten-thousandth time put before him, but
before he has grasped the rope, I see him sink. I may put my
finger upon those cold eyelids, for they will never see anything
here again. But where is the man, and where are the man's true
eyes? It is written, "In hell he lifted up his eyes, being in
torment." Ah! why did he not lift up his eyes before? Because he
was so accustomed to hear the gospel that his soul slept under
it. Alas! if you should lift up your eyes there, how bitter will
be your wailings. Let the Saviour's own words reveal the woe:
"Father Abraham, send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his
finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this
flame." There is a frightful meaning in those words. May you
never have to spell it out by the red light of Jehovah's wrath!

* 12/31/PM

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not
                                                 --Jeremiah 8:20

   Not _saved_! Dear reader, is this your mournful plight? 
Warned of the judgment to come, bidden to escape for your life,
and yet at this moment _not saved_! You know the way of
salvation, you read it in the Bible, you hear it from the
pulpit, it is explained to you by friends, and yet you neglect
it, and therefore you are _not saved_. You will be without
excuse when the Lord shall judge the quick and dead. The Holy
Spirit has given more or less of blessing upon the word which
has been preached in your hearing, and times of refreshing have
come from the divine presence, and yet you are without Christ.
All these hopeful seasons have come and gone--your summer and
your harvest have past--and yet you are _not saved_. Years have
followed one another into eternity, and your last year will soon
be here: youth has gone, manhood is going, and yet you are _not
saved_. Let me ask you--_will you ever be saved_? Is there any
likelihood of it? Already the most propitious seasons have left
you unsaved; will other occasions alter your condition? Means
have failed with you--the best of means, used perseveringly and
with the utmost affection--what more can be done for you?
Affliction and prosperity have alike failed to impress you;
tears and prayers and sermons have been wasted on your barren
heart. Are not the probabilities dead against your ever being
saved? Is it not more than likely that you will abide as you
are till death for ever bars the door of hope? Do you recoil
from the supposition? Yet it is a most reasonable one: he who is
not washed in so many waters will in all probability go filthy
to his end. The convenient time never has come, why should it
ever come? It is logical to fear that it never will arrive, and
that Felix like, you will find no convenient season till you are
in hell. O bethink you of what that hell is, and of the dread
probability that you will soon be cast into it!

   Reader, suppose you should die unsaved, your doom no words 
can picture. Write out your dread estate in tears and blood,
talk of it with groans and gnashing of teeth: you will be
punished with everlasting destruction from the glory of the
Lord, and from the glory of His power. A brother's voice would
fain startle you into earnestness. O be wise, be wise in time,
and ere another year begins, believe in Jesus, who is able to
save to the uttermost. Consecrate these last hours to lonely
thought, and if deep repentance be bred in you, it will be well;
and if it lead to a humble faith in Jesus, it will be best of
all. O see to it that this year pass not away, and you an
unforgiven spirit. Let not the new year's midnight peals sound
upon a joyless spirit! Now, NOW, NOW believe, and live.

                    "ESCAPE FOR THY LIFE;
                    LOOK NOT BEHIND THEE,
                      NEITHER STAY THOU
                      IN ALL THE PLAIN;
                   ESCAPE TO THE MOUNTAIN,
                   LEST THOU BE CONSUMED."

This document (last modified September 30, 1995) from