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Jesus Christ loves you.
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nChrist
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« Reply #3825 on: March 19, 2017, 06:17:31 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

This unravels the mystery!

(Octavius Winslow, "Christ, the Counselor")

The path of providence is often paved with difficulties and beset with perplexities with which we can hardly cope.

Our way to Heaven is through an intricate wilderness, and across a circuitous desert.

To many even of the Lord's people, this is literally the case. Visit their abodes, and ponder the struggle passing within. All is . . .
  poverty and discomfort,
  penury of bread,
  scantiness of clothing,
  pining sickness,
  loathsome disease,
  excruciating suffering,
with no human friends, no soothing alleviation, no earthly comforts.

And yet this dark picture is not entirely unrelieved.

Christ dwells in that obscure abode! God's eye is watching over it! There is . . .
  gnawing poverty--and yet boundless wealth;
  deep need--and yet a rich supply;
  acute suffering--and yet exquisite pleasure;
  keen sorrow--and yet unspeakable joy!

And why these paradoxes? How are we to understand these strange contradictions?

The apostle gives us a clue in a page of his own history.
"As unknown--and yet well known;
 as dying--and behold, we live;
 as chastened--and not killed;
 as sorrowful--yet always rejoicing;
 as poor--yet making many rich;
 as having nothing--yet possessing all things!"

This unravels the mystery!

The possession of Christ explains it! He who has Christ in him, and Christ with him, and the hope of being forever with Christ in glory--is not a poor, nor a sorrowful, nor a suffering, nor a lonely man. He can say, "I am not alone, for my Father is with me! I am not poor, for all things are mine! My body is diseased--but my soul is in health! I have all and abound!"

Can we for a moment doubt His perfect power . . .
  to undertake all the cares,
  to cope with all the difficulties,
  to solve all the doubts, and
  to disentangle all the perplexities brought to Him by His saints in all places and at all times!

"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name--you are Mine! When you go through deep waters and great trouble--I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty--you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression--you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!" Isaiah 43:1-3
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« Reply #3826 on: March 19, 2017, 06:18:41 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

Some professors of religion are like the catbird!

(Charles Naylor, "How to Fertilize Love" 1920)

There are very many things that may choke out love in the home. One of these is the lack of kindness. If you have grown less kind in your feelings, in your actions, and in your words--then love cannot thrive. Kindness is one of the best fertilizers for love.

There are so many people who have two sets of tones in which to speak--and two sets of manners in which they act. They have their company manners--and their family manners. When they have company--then the voice is soft and pleasant, and the manners are agreeable and kindly. They treat their friends with the greatest consideration; but as soon as their friends are gone, the pleasant voice changes into crossness or harshness and fault-finding--and the pleasantness of manner disappears! In how many homes is this true!

The greater consideration, the greater kindness--is due the home folks. Otherwise, love cannot flourish. If you wish to have love for your home folks--then you must show them the consideration that is due them.

Some professors of religion are like the catbird! When it is away from its nest--then it is one of the sweetest of the northern warblers; but when it is close to its nest--then you will hear only a harsh, discordant note. It has no sweetness in its voice while at its nest.

In the same way, some people reserve all their kindness, tenderness, and sweetness--for those outside the family circle. Is it any wonder that love dies in such a home?

"Love must be without hypocrisy." Romans 12:9
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« Reply #3827 on: March 19, 2017, 06:19:52 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

How is the plowing of the wicked, sin?

(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)

"The plowing of the wicked is sin." Proverbs 21:4

How is the plowing of the wicked, sin--when they are commanded to plow, and severely reproved for the neglect of that work by which they ought to support themselves and their families?

Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do--we are required to do all to the glory of God. But the wicked man neither eats nor drinks, nor plows, nor sows, to the glory of God--and therefore he lives in a course of sin, even when he is employed in those actions which are most innocent or necessary.

His soul is infected deeply with the venom of sin, which spreads itself over all his life. For to the unbelieving and impure, there is nothing holy. They are corrupt trees--and no fruit that grows upon them can be good. Their hands are defiled with sin, and their fingers with iniquity--and, therefore, everything they touch must be defiled by their impurity!

What then must the wicked do? Must they leave off all work, lest they should sin in doing it? By no means. Their business is to get free of that plague of sin which spreads infection to everything they meddle with. Let them have recourse, like the leper, to Christ--that He may make them clean--and then being pure, everything will become pure to them.
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« Reply #3828 on: March 19, 2017, 06:21:10 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

The chisel of affliction!

(Charles Naylor)

[Editor's note: Naylor is peculiarly qualified to write on affliction by his training in the school of suffering. As a young evangelist, Naylor was severely injured in an accident. For forty-one years as an invalid, he lay day and night on a bed of pain as a constant sufferer.]

"God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it!" Hebrews 12:10-11

One thing very difficult for many Christians to learn, is that the chastening rod of God is applied in love, not in anger. We are told that God "scourges every son whom He receives," and that that scourging is the proof of our sonship. So often people are inclined to take God's chastisement as an evidence that they are no longer His sons. They look upon it as a mark of God's disapproval--or even of His anger. But Scripture tells us that His chastening is for our profit. He does it not for His own pleasure--but that we may be made holier by it. It is a mark of His love. He says, "As many as I love--I rebuke and chasten!" Revelation 3:19

Note carefully God's attitude in His chastening in Hebrews 12. We are all ready to admit the truth of the eleventh verse, "No chastening for the present seems to be joyous--but grievous." None of us like to be chastened--but yet it is necessary; out of chastening come the fruits of righteousness. When the Lord chastens us, therefore, let us bear it with meekness. Let us profit by it. Let us neither be grieved nor discouraged.

Gold is purified in the furnace. It is not destroyed--it is made the better by the flames.

In the same way, every believer must pass through the furnace. The purpose of the furnace is . . .
  that we may be purged from our dross,
  that our graces may be refined,
  that we may be rid of worldliness,
  that we may be made more holy.

If you and I have to pass through the furnace of affliction or sorrow, of losses or failures--then let us submit ourselves to the hand of God. Let us not question either His mercy or His goodness.

We must often endure the chisel of affliction, as God carves us into His image. We desire to be in His image. We desire to be godlike in character. Remember that God only afflicts for our good. Like the surgeon, God does not hurt willingly--but only of necessity.

In our times of trouble, He would have us run into His arms and tell Him all our troubles, our questionings, our heartaches!
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« Reply #3829 on: March 20, 2017, 07:49:20 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

Twenty-four hours in Hell!

(James Smith, "ANTIDOTES!" 1858.)

"Why should any living man complain?" Lamentations 3:39

Occasionally, I am tempted to complain of my hard lot--and think myself harshly dealt with. Ingratitude rises and works in my heart. This always makes me wretched. I then find it profitable to look down into Hell--and realize its horrors and agonies as my just deservings.

If anyone ever deserved to go to Hell--I did!

If justice was ever honored in a sinner's damnation--it would have been in mine!

If anyone was ever saved by grace alone--I am the man!

Shall I then, who deserve to be in Hell--but am not;
shall I, who am an heir of Heavenly glory--though no one ever deserved it less;
shall I, because of a few trials, troubles, and disappointments, or because I have rather a heavy cross to carry--shall I dare to murmur, or fret, or complain, or think myself harshly dealt with?

Shocking inconsistency!

What are my present pains or sufferings--compared with the Hell that I deserve!

All the afflictions that I am called to endure here on earth--cannot be compared with only twenty-four hours in Hell! And yet my desert is, not to be in Hell for a few hours--but forever! Surely every lost soul, every damned spirit--will be ready to upbraid me--if I complain of my present lot! What base gratitude--if I do not praise the Lord with joyful lips, for His rich, free, and sovereign grace!

O my soul, whenever I am tempted to complain of my difficult lot--think of my deservings! Think of what would have been my eternal doom--if God had not saved me by His sovereign grace!

Yes, I do find that looking down into Hell . . .
  silences my complaints,
  awakens my gratitude, and
  humbles me in the dust before my God!
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« Reply #3830 on: March 24, 2017, 04:40:21 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

Deceitful & desperately wicked!

(William S. Plumer, "Sinners Saved by Unmerited Kindness")

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is DECEITFUL. Man is the only creature on earth that seems to practice self-deception. That we should sometimes deceive others, is proof of our depravity; but that we should spend our lives in self-deception, is truly astonishing! Men of the fewest virtues, commonly have the highest thoughts of themselves. How strange and yet how common, that he whose heart has deceived him a thousand times--should yet confide in it as if it had always been honest!

The human heart deceives every being but one. It would deceive Him--if He were not omniscient. None but God knows all the depths of iniquity and duplicity within us.

Though the language of the Bible is strong, it is just. God declares, and every Christian knows by sad experience--that his heart is deceitful above all things. A perfect knowledge of the treachery of our hearts, is possessed by none but God.

The heart is also VILE. It is "desperately wicked."
It loves vanity, and folly and sin.
It hates holiness, and truth and divine restraints.
It is . . .
  a sink of iniquity,
  a pool of pestilential waters,
  a cage of unclean birds, and
  a sepulcher full of dead men's bones!
It is torn by wild, fierce, unhallowed passions.
It rejects good--and chooses evil.
It is wholly corrupt.
It is full of evil.
There is no soundness in it.

"For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." Matthew 15:19

"He who trusts in his own heart is a fool!" Proverbs 28:26
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« Reply #3831 on: March 24, 2017, 04:41:36 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward!

(Charles Naylor)

"Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward!" Job 5:7

"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." John 16:33

"Through many hardships and tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22

No one has ever lived, who has not had his times of discouragement, heaviness, sorrow and disappointment. Cares and afflictions come to all.

Life has its adversities--it must needs have them. Adversity, pain, sorrow, and disappointment--are the lathe upon which God shapes us. They are the grinding-wheel which grinds and smoothes us. They are the polishing-wheel which makes us shine.

If we can never be happy until we are so situated that nothing exists which may tend to render us unhappy--then we shall have little happiness in life.

Happiness does not come from a life of ease and indolence. It is not the result of the absence of obstacles and difficulties. Happiness comes from triumphing over them. Therefore the song of true happiness, often arises from the soul which undergoes many adversities.

Dear soul, Jesus knows all about your troubles. He knows every heartache, every difficulty, everything you must overcome, everything you must bear. Trusting in His grace, relying upon His help--you shall soon find your heart filling again with melody, for the clouds will pass away!
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away!" Revelation 21:4
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« Reply #3832 on: March 24, 2017, 04:42:54 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

The great goddess Diana!

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

"The great goddess Diana!" Acts 19:27

"They started shouting again and kept it up for two hours: Great is Diana of the Ephesians! Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" Acts 19:34

So long as they remain in their natural state, the world is, in some form or other, the great goddess Diana--the grand idol of all its inhabitants!

They bow down to it.

They worship it.

They spend and are spent for it.

They educate their children in its service.

Their hearts,
their minds,
their memories,
their imaginations,
are full of the world.

Their tongues speak of it.

Their hands grasp it.

Their feet pursue it.

In a word, it is all in all to them! And all the while, they give scarcely a word, a look, or a thought to Him who made and preserves them--and who really is all in all.
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« Reply #3833 on: March 24, 2017, 04:44:20 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

What is it that you wish for?

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

What is it that you wish for? My unconverted friends, I will tell you what you wish for. You wish to live as you please here on earth, to disobey your Creator, to neglect your Savior, and to fulfill the desires of the flesh and of the mind. And at death, you wish to be admitted into a kind of sensual paradise, where you may taste again the same pleasures which you enjoyed on earth.

You wish that God would break His Word; and stain His justice, purity, and truth.

You wish that God would sacrifice His own rightful authority, and the best interests of the universe--to the gratification of your own sinful propensities!
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« Reply #3834 on: March 30, 2017, 05:21:47 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

Do you ask why He is angry?

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

"God is angry with the wicked every day!" Psalm 7:11

Do you ask why He is angry?

I answer:

He is angry to see rational, immortal and accountable beings--spending twenty, forty, or sixty years in trifling and sin; serving numerous idols, lusts, and vanities, and living as if death were an eternal sleep!

He is angry to see you forgetting your Maker in childhood, in youth, in manhood--and making no returns for all His benefits.

He is angry to see you casting off His fear and rebelling against Him--who has nourished and sustained you.

He is angry to see you laying up treasures on earth--and not in Heaven.

He is angry to see you seeking everything in preference to the one thing needful.

He is angry to see you loving the praise of men more than the praise of God; and fearing those who can only kill the body, more than Him who has power to cast both soul and body into Hell.

He is angry to see that you disregard alike His threatenings and His promises, His judgments and His mercies.

He is angry that you bury in the earth the talents He has given you, and bring forth no fruit to His glory.

He is angry that you neglect His Word and His Son, and perish in impenitency and unbelief.

These are sins of which every person, in an unconverted state, is guilty. And for these things God is angry--daily angry, greatly and justly angry! And unless His anger is speedily appeased, it will most certainly prove your everlasting destruction!
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« Reply #3835 on: March 30, 2017, 05:23:00 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

Fanning the inextinguishable fire, and sharpening the tooth of the immortal worm!

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

If you would learn the full extent of that wretchedness which sin produces--then you must follow it into the eternal world, and descend into those regions where peace and hope never come. There behold sin tyrannizing over its wretched victims with uncontrollable fury--fanning the inextinguishable fire, and sharpening the tooth of the immortal worm!

See angels and archangels, thrones and dominions, principalities and powers--stripped of all their original glory and beauty--bound in eternal chains, and burning with rage and malice against that Being in whose presence they once rejoiced, and whose praises they once sang!

See multitudes of the human race, in unutterable agonies of anguish and despair--cursing the Giver and Prolonger of their existence, and vainly wishing for annihilation to put an end to their miseries.

Follow them through the long, long ages of eternity--and see them sinking deeper and deeper in the bottomless abyss of ruin! View them perpetually blaspheming God because of their plagues, and receiving the punishment of these blasphemies in continued additions to their wretchedness.

Such are the wages of sin--such the doom of the finally impenitent!

From these depths of anguish and despair--look up to the mansions of the blessed, and see to what a height of glory and felicity, the grace of God will raise every sinner who repents. See those who are thus favored in unutterable ecstasies of joy, love, and praise--beholding God face to face, reflecting His perfect image, shining with a splendor like that of their glorious Redeemer, and bathing in those rivers of pleasure which flow forever at God's right hand!
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« Reply #3836 on: March 30, 2017, 05:24:16 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

Choice excerpts from Edward Payson!

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

Every Christian is in the exact situation, which God in His infinite wisdom sees best for him!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The mind which has contemplated eternity--thinks lightly of the things of time!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

If you sincerely search your heart--then you will find pride, like the different layers of an onion, lurking one beneath another to the very center of it!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Praise Christ for everything. He is the foundation of every good thought, desire, and affection.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

It should be our aim to draw all we can from Him by prayer--and return Him all we can by praise.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

He who falls from a pulpit--seldom stops short of the lowest abyss in Hell.
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« Reply #3837 on: March 30, 2017, 05:25:52 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

This is too much!

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

Only to be permitted to contemplate such a being as Jehovah . . .
  to ponder goodness, holiness, justice, mercy, patience and sovereignty--personified and condensed;
  to ponder them united with eternity, infinite power, unerring wisdom, omnipresence, and all sufficiency;
  to ponder all these natural and moral perfections indissolubly united and blended in sweet harmony--in one pure, spiritual being, and that being placed on the throne of the universe
--to ponder this would be happiness enough to fill the mind of any creature in existence!

But in addition to this,
  to have this ineffable Being for my God, my portion, my all;
  to be permitted to say, "This God is my God forever and ever!"
  to have His resplendent countenance smile upon me;
  to be encircled in His everlasting arms of power and faithfulness and love;
  to hear His voice saying to me, "I am yours--and you are Mine! Nothing shall ever pluck you from My hands, or separate you from My love--but you shall be with Me where I am, behold My glory, and live to reign with Me forever and ever!"

This is too much! It is honor, it is glory--it is happiness too overwhelming, too transporting for mortal minds to conceive, or for mortal frames to support!

In Heaven, the saints will be entirely lost and swallowed up in God, and their minds will be so completely absorbed in the contemplation of His ineffable, infinite, uncreated glories!

Oh, then, what must it be, to escape forever from error and ignorance and darkness and sin--into the region of bright, unclouded, eternal day!

What must it be, to behold your God and Redeemer face to face!

What must it be, to continually to contemplate, with immortal strength--glories so dazzlingly bright, that one moment's view of them would now, like a stream of lightning, turn your frail bodies into dust!

What must it be to to see the eternal volume of the divine counsels, the mighty map of the divine mind, unfolded to your eager, piercing gaze!

What must it be to to explore the heights and depths, the lengths and breadths of the Redeemer's love--and still to see new wonders, glories, and beauties pouring upon your minds in constant, endless succession, calling forth new songs of praise--songs in which you will unite with the innumerable choirs of angels, with the countless myriads of the redeemed, all shouting with a voice like the voice of many waters, "Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigns!"
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« Reply #3838 on: March 30, 2017, 05:30:42 PM »

__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

How is your Beloved better than others?

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

"How is your Beloved better than others?" Song of Songs 5:9

Does not our Friend as far excel all other friends . . .
  as Heaven exceeds earth,
  as eternity exceeds time,
  as the Creator surpasses His creatures?

See all the fullness of the Godhead--dwelling in One who is as meek and mild as a child.
See His countenance beaming with ineffable glories--full of mingled majesty, condescension and love.
Hear the soul-reviving invitations and gracious words which proceed from His lips.
See that hand in which dwells everlasting strength--swaying the scepter of universal empire over all creatures and all worlds.
See His arms expanded to receive and embrace returning sinners.
While His heart, a bottomless, shoreless ocean of benevolence--overflows with tenderness, compassion, and love.

Such, O sinner, is our Beloved--and such is our Friend.

Will you not then embrace Him as your Friend? If you can be persuaded to do this--you will find that half, nay, that the thousandth part has not been told to you!

All the excellency, glory and beauty which is found in men or angels, flows from Christ--as a drop of water from the ocean, or a ray of light from the sun.

If, then, you supremely love the creature--can you wonder that Christians should love the Creator! Can you wonder that those who behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, should be sweetly drawn to Him by the cords of love, and lose their fondness for created glories? All that you love and admire and wish for in creatures, and indeed infinitely more--they find in Him!

Do you wish for a friend possessed of power to protect you?
Our Friend possesses all power in Heaven and earth, and is able to save even to the uttermost!

Do you wish for a wise friend?
In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Do you wish for a tender, compassionate friend?
Christ is tenderness and compassion itself.

Do you wish for a faithful, unchangeable friend?
With Christ there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

His unchangeable love will ever prompt Him to make His people happy!

His unerring wisdom will point out the best means to promote their happiness!

His infinite power will enable Him to employ those means.

In all these respects, our Beloved is more than any other beloved!
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« Reply #3839 on: March 30, 2017, 05:32:26 PM »

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Slighted, disobeyed, and dishonored by His creatures on earth!

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

I look up to Heaven and there see the blessed and only Potentate, the Creator and Upholder of all things, the infinite and eternal Sovereign of the universe--governing His vast kingdom with uncontrollable power, in a manner perfectly wise and holy and just and good. In this Being, I see my Creator, my Preserver, my unwearied Benefactor--to whom I am indebted for everything which I possess.

And what does this Being see--what has He seen, in me? He sees a frail worm of the dust, who is of yesterday and knows nothing, who cannot take a single step without making mistakes, who is wholly incompetent to guide himself, and who, by his own folly, is self-destroyed. He has seen this frail, blind, erring worm, presumptuously daring to criticize and censure His proceedings, attempting to interfere in His government of the universe; and trying to set up his own perverse will against the will of his Creator, his Sovereign, and his God; his own ignorance--against divine omniscience, and his own folly--against infinite wisdom.

Should an angel who knew nothing of our characters, but who had heard of the blessings which God has bestowed on us, visit this world--would he not expect to find every part of it resounding with the praises of God and His love? Would he not expect to hear old and young, parents and children--all blessing God for the glad tidings of the gospel?

How, then, would he be grieved and disappointed! How astonished would he be to find that Being whom he had ever heard praised in the most rapturous strains by all the bright armies of Heaven--slighted, disobeyed, and dishonored by His creatures on earth!

O, then, let us strive to wipe away this foul stain--this disgrace to our race and our world.

Let not this world be the only place, except Hell--where God is not praised.

Let us not be the only creatures, except devils--who refuse to praise Him!
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