“It is appointed for man once to die–and after that comes judgment!” Hebrews 9:27
There was a mediaeval dungeon of singular construction. When the prisoner first entered it–it seemed very bright and pleasant. It had a cheerful appearance. But in three or four days, he saw that the walls, which were of iron, were slowly contracting. On oiled hinges and in silent grooves, the metal plates were ever drawing nearer and nearer to each other.
By and by the prisoner could hardly move. Then the place was too small for him to lie down in. The next day, there was only room for him to stand. Now he put his hands frantically against the iron walls to keep them from crushing him. But all was in vain. The walls silently and remorselessly closed upon him. Continue reading
(J.R. Miller, 1893)
A California stagecoach driver had held the leather reins for so many years, that when he began to grow old, his hands were crooked into hooks, and his fingers were so stiffened into that shape–that they could not be straightened out.
There is a similar process that goes on in men’s minds and souls, when they continue to do the same things over and over. If you are trained, and train yourself, from childhood . . .
to be gentle and patient,
to control your temper,
to resist all wrong–
your life will grow into moral beauty, and the peacefulness of your heart will at length shine upon your very face.
“I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your Word.” Psalm 119:101
We must not merely read the Bible–but strive that we may obey it. If the Bible is not the guide of our life–it is nothing to us. Its truths are to be applied. If we read the Beatitudes, we are to compare ourselves with their Divine requirements–and seek to be conformed to them. Continue reading
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son!” Romans 8:29
No sooner do we begin to behold the beauteous face which looks out at us from the gospel chapters, than a great hope springs up in our hearts–we can become like Jesus! Indeed, if we are God’s children, we shall become like Him. We are predestined to be conformed to His image!
It matters not how faintly the Divine beauty glimmers now in our soiled and imperfect lives–some day we shall be like Him! As we struggle here with imperfections and infirmities, with scarcely a trace of Christlikeness yet apparent in our life, we still may say, when we catch glimpses of the glorious loveliness of Christ, “Some day I shall be like that!”
“We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is!” 1 John 3:2
A minister lay dying in Scotland. A fellow-minister called to see him, and inquired, “Well, my brother, what are you doing?”
“Doing?” answered the dying servant of God. “Doing? I will tell you: I am gathering together all my prayers and sermons, all my good deeds and bad deeds–and am going to throw them all overboard together, and swim to glory on the plank of free grace!“
“We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved!” Acts 15:11
“It is by God’s grace that you have been saved!” Ephesians 2:5
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“My Beloved is mine–and I am His!” Song of Solomon 2:16
“My Beloved is mine!” He is . . .
- the Savior in whom I believe and trust;
- the Husband whom I reverence and love;
- the Lord whom I adore and obey;
- the portion on which I live; and
- the beloved One upon whom my heart and affections are set.
“And I am His!”
(Newman Hall, “Follow Jesus”)
There are many variations in the Christian’s path. Sometimes it is smooth and flowery, with sunny slopes, and sylvan shades, and prospects which entrance the soul with loveliness. There are seasons when no doubts perplex the spirit, and when our circumstances in life are in harmony with duty, so that the right path is an easy path.
But this is the exception.