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nChrist
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« on: November 04, 2007, 03:05:55 AM »

PARDONING GRACE
by John MacDuff - 1849

"Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."  — Isaiah 1:18

My soul! your God summons you to His audience chamber! Infinite purity seeks to reason with infinite vileness! Deity stoops to speak to dust! Dread not the meeting. It is the most gracious, as well as most wondrous of all conferences. Jehovah himself breaks silence! He utters the best tidings a lost soul or a lost world can hear — "God is in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing unto men their trespasses." What! Scarlet sins, and crimson sins! and these all to be forgiven and forgotten! The just God "justifying" the unjust! — the mightiest of all beings, the kindest of all!

Oh! what is there in you to merit such love as this? You might have known your God only as the "consuming fire," and had nothing before you except "a fearful looking for of vengeance!" This gracious conference bids you dispel your fears! It tells you it is no longer a "fearful," but a blessed thing to fall into His hands! Have you closed with these His overtures? Until you are at peace with Him, happiness must be a stranger to your bosom. Though you have all else beside, bereft of God you must be "bereft indeed." Lord! I come! As your pardoning grace is freely tendered, so shall I freely accept it. May it be mine, even now, to listen to the gladdening accents, "Son! Daughter! be of good cheer! your sins, which are many are all forgiven you."
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2007, 03:10:00 AM »

NEEDFUL GRACE
By John MacDuff - 1849

"As your days, so shall your strength be."  — Deuteronomy 33:25

God does not give grace until the hour of trial comes. But when it does come the amount of grace, and the nature of the special grace required is granted. My soul! do not dwell with painful apprehension on the future. Do not anticipate coming sorrows; perplexing yourself with the grace needed for future emergencies; tomorrow will bring its promised grace along with tomorrow's trials. God, wishing to keep His people humble, and dependent on Himself, gives not a stock of grace; He metes it out for every day's exigencies, that they may be constantly "traveling between their own emptiness and Christ's fullness" — their own weakness and Christ's strength. But when the exigency comes, you may safely trust an Almighty arm to bear you through! Is there now some "thorn in the flesh" sent to lacerate you? You may have been entreating the Lord for its removal. Your prayer has, doubtless, been heard and answered; but not in the way, perhaps, expected or desired by you. The "thorn" may still be left to goad, the trial may still be left to buffet; but "more grace" has been given to endure them. Oh! how often have His people thus been led to glory in their infirmities and triumph in their afflictions, seeing the power of Christ rests more abundantly upon them! The strength which the hour of trial brings, often makes the Christian a wonder to himself!
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2007, 03:12:06 AM »

ALL-SUFFICIENT GRACE
by John MacDuff - 1849

"God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all-sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good word and work."  — 2 Corinthians 9:8

All-sufficiency in all things! Believer! Surely you are "thoroughly furnished!" Grace is no scanty thing, doled out in pittances. It is a glorious treasury, which the key of prayer can always unlock, but never empty. A fountain, "full, flowing, ever flowing, over flowing." Mark these three ALL’S in this precious promise. It is a three-fold link in a golden chain, let down from a throne of grace by a God of grace. "All grace!" — "all-sufficiency!" in "all things!" and these to "abound." Oh! precious thought! My need cannot impoverish that inexhaustible treasury of grace! Myriads are hourly hanging on it, and drawing from it, and yet there is no diminution — "Out of that fullness all we too may receive, and grace for grace!"

My soul, do you not love to dwell on that all-abounding grace? Your own insufficiency in everything, met with an "all-sufficiency in all things!" Grace in all circumstances and situations, in all vicissitudes and changes, in all the varied phases of the Christian's being. Grace in sunshine and storm — in health and in sickness — in life and in death. Grace for the old believer and the young believer, the tried believer, and the weak believer, and the tempted believer. Grace for duty, and grace in duty — grace to carry the joyous cup with a steady hand, grace to drink the bitter cup with an unmurmuring spirit — grace to have prosperity sanctified — grace to say, through tears, "Your will be done!"
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2007, 03:14:29 AM »

COMFORTING GRACE
by John MacDuff - 1849

"I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you."  — John 14:18

Blessed Jesus! How Your presence sanctifies trial, takes loneliness from the chamber of sickness, and the sting from the chamber of death! Bright and Morning Star! precious at all times, You are never so precious as in "the dark and cloudy day!" The bitterness of sorrow is well worth enduring to have Your promised consolations. How well qualified, Man of Sorrows, to be my Comforter! How well fitted to dry my tears, You who shed so many Yourself! What are my tears — my sorrows — my crosses — my losses, compared with Yours, who shed first Your tears, and then Your blood for me! Mine are all deserved, and infinitely more than deserved. How different, O Spotless Lamb of God, those pangs which rent Your guiltless bosom! How sweet those comforts You have promised to the comfortless, when I think of them as flowing from an Almighty Fellow-Sufferer — "A brother born for adversity" — the "Friend that sticks closer than any brother!" — one who can say, with all the refined sympathies of a holy exalted human nature, "I know your sorrows!" My soul! calm your griefs! There is not a sorrow you can experience, but Jesus, in the treasury of grace, has an exact corresponding solace: "In the multitude of the sorrows I have in my heart, Your comforts delight my soul!"
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2007, 03:16:40 AM »

RESTRAINING GRACE
by John MacDuff - 1849

"Satan has desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not."  — Luke 22:31, 32

What a scene does this unfold! Satan tempting — Jesus praying! Satan sifting — Jesus pleading! "The strong man assailing" — "the stronger than the strong" beating him back! Believer! here is the past history and present secret of your safety in the midst of temptation. An interceding Savior was at your side, saying to every threatening wave, "Thus far shall you go, and no farther!" God often permits His people to be on the very verge of the precipice, to remind them of their own weakness; but never farther than the brink! The restraining hand and grace of Omnipotence is ready to rescue them — "Although he stumbles, yet he shall not be utterly cast down." And why? "For the Lord upholds him with His right hand!" The wolf may be prowling for his prey; but what can he do when the Shepherd is always there, tending with the watchful eye that "neither slumbers nor sleeps?" Who cannot subscribe to the testimony, "When my foot slipped, Your mercy, O Lord! held me up?" Who can look back on his past pilgrimage, and fail to see it crowded with Ebenezers, with this inscription: "You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling"? My soul, where would you have been this day, had you not been "kept" by the power of God?
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2007, 03:18:39 AM »

RESTORING GRACE
by John MacDuff - 1849

"I will heal your backslidings."  — Hosea 14:4

Wandering again! And has He not left me to perish? Stumbling and straying on the dark mountains, away from the Shepherd's eye and the Shepherd's fold, shall He not leave the erring wanderer to the fruit of his own ways, and his truant heart to go hopelessly onward in its career of guilty estrangement? "My thoughts," says God, "are not as your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways." Man would say, "Go, perish! ungrateful apostate!" God says, "Return, O backsliding children!" The Shepherd will not, cannot allow those sheep to perish which He has purchased with His own blood! How wondrous His forbearance towards it! — tracking its guilty steps, and ceasing not the pursuit until He lays the wanderer on His shoulders, and returns with it to His fold rejoicing! My soul! why increase by farther departures your own distance from the fold? — why lengthen the dreary road your gracious Shepherd has to traverse in bringing you back? Do not delay your return! Do not provoke His patience any longer! Do not venture farther on forbidden ground! He waits with outstretched arms to welcome you once more to His bosom. Be humble for the past, trust Him for the future. Think of your former backslidings, and tremble — think of His patience, and be filled with holy gratitude; think of His promised grace, "and take courage."
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2007, 03:20:33 AM »

SANCTIFYING GRACE
by John MacDuff - 1849

"I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again."  — Philippians 1:6

Reader! Is the good work begun in you? Are you holy? Is sin being crucified? Are your heart's idols, one by one abolished? Is the world less to you, and eternity more to you? Is more of your Savior's image impressed on your character, and your Savior's love more enthroned in your heart? Is Salvation to you "the one thing needful?" Oh! take heed! there can be no middle ground, no standing still; or if it be so, your position must be a false one. The Savior's blood is not more necessary to give you a title to Heaven, than His Spirit to give you a fitness for it. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His!" Onwards! should be your motto. There is no standing still in the life of faith. "The man," says Augustine, "who says 'Enough,' that man's soul is lost!" Let this be the superscription in all your ways and doings, "Holiness to the Lord." Let the admonishing word exercise over you its habitual power, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Moreover, remember, that to be holy, is to be happy. The two are equivalent terms. Holiness! It is the secret and spring of the joy of angels; and the more of holiness attained on earth — the nearer and closer my walk is with God — the more of a sweet earnest shall I have of the bliss that awaits me in a holy Heaven. Oh! my soul, let it be your sacred ambition to "Be holy!"
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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2007, 03:22:37 AM »

REVIVING GRACE
by John MacDuff - 1849

"Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint."  — Isaiah 40:31

"Will You not revive us, O Lord?" My soul! are you conscious of your declining state? Is your walk less with God, your affections less heavenly? Have you less conscious nearness to the mercy-seat, diminished communion with your Savior? Is prayer less a privilege than it has been? — the pulsations of spiritual life more languid, and fitful, and spasmodic? — the bread of life, less relished? — the seen, and the temporal, and the tangible, displacing the unseen and eternal? Are you sinking down into this state of drowsy self-contentment, this conformity of your life with the world, forfeiting all the happiness of true religion and risking and endangering the better life to come? Arise! Call upon your God! "Will you not revive us, O Lord?" He might have returned nothing but the withering repulse, "How often would I have gathered you; but you would not!" "Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone!" But "in wrath He remembers mercy." "They shall revive as the corn." "The mouth of the Lord has spoken it." How and where is reviving grace to be found? He gives you, in this precious promise, the key. It is on your bended knees — by a return to your deserted and unfrequented chamber! "Those who wait upon the Lord!" "Wait on the Lord; be of good cheer, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!"
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2007, 02:46:59 AM »

PERSEVERING GRACE
by John MacDuff - 1849

"The righteous shall hold on his way."  — Job 17:9

Reader! How comforting to you amid the ebbings and flowings of your changing history, to know that the change is all with you, and not with your God! Your spiritual vessel may be tossed on waves of temptation, in many a dark midnight. You may think your pilot has left you, and be ready continually to say, "Where is my God?" But fear not! The ship which bears your spiritual destiny is in better hands than yours; a golden chain of covenant love links it to the eternal throne! That chain can never snap asunder. He who holds it in His hand gives you this as the pledge of your safety — "Because I live, you shall live also." "Why are you then cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? hope in God!" You will assuredly ride out these stormy surges, and reach the desired haven. But be faithful with yourself: see that there be nothing to hinder or impede your growth in grace. Think how little may retard your progress. One sin indulged — one temptation tampered with — one bosom traitor, may cost you many a bitter hour and bitter tear, by separating between you and your God. Make it your daily prayer, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2007, 02:48:40 AM »

DYING GRACE
by John MacDuff - 1849

"I have the keys of hell and of death."  — Revelation 1:18

And from whom could dying grace come so welcome, as from You, O blessed Jesus? Not only is Your name, "The Abolisher of Death;" but You Yourself have died! You have sanctified the grave by Your own presence, and divested it of all its terrors. My soul! are you at times afraid of this, your last enemy? If the rest of your pilgrimage-way be peaceful and unclouded, does there rest a dark and portentous shadow over the terminating portals? Fear not! When that dismal entrance is reached, He who has the keys of the grave and of death suspended at His golden belt, will impart grace to bear you through.

Death is but the messenger of peace. Your Savior calls you! The promptings of nature, when, at first, you see the darkening waves, may be that of the frightened disciples, when they said, "It is a ghost, and cried out for fear!" But a gentle voice will be heard high above the storm, "It is I! Do not be afraid!" Death, indeed, as the wages of sin, must, even by the believer, be regarded as an enemy. But, oh! blessed thought, it is your last enemy — the cause of your last tear. In a few brief moments after that tear is shed, your God will be wiping every vestige of it away! "O Death! where is your sting? O Grave! where is your victory? Thanks be unto God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" Welcome, vanquished foe! — Birthday of heaven! — "To die is gain!"
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2007, 02:50:24 AM »

AFTER GRACE, GLORY
by John MacDuff - 1849

"The Lord will give grace and glory."  — Psalm 84:11

Oh! happy day, when this toilsome warfare will all be ended, Jordan crossed — Canaan entered — the multitude of enemies of the wilderness no longer dreaded — sorrow, sighing, death, and, worst of all, sin, no more either to be felt or feared! Here is the terminating link in the golden chain of the everlasting covenant. It began with predestination; it ends with glorification. It began with sovereign grace in eternity past, and no link will be lacking until the ransomed spirit is presented faultless before the throne! Grace and glory! If the pledge is sweet, what must be the reality? If the wilderness table contains such rich provision, what must be the glories of the eternal banqueting house? Oh! my soul, make sure of your saving interest in the one, as the blessed prelude to the other. "Having access by faith into this grace, you can rejoice in hope of the glory of God;" for "whom He justifies, them He also glorifies!"

Has grace begun in you? Can you mark — though it should be but the drops of the incipient streamlet which is to terminate in such an ocean — the tiny grains which are to accumulate and issue in such "an exceeding weight of glory?" Do not delay the momentous question! The day of offered grace is on the wing; its hours are fast numbering; and, "No grace, no glory!"
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2007, 02:52:07 AM »

ANOTHER COMFORTER
by John MacDuff - 1849

"I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever." — John 14:16

Blessed Spirit of all grace! how often have I grieved You! resisted Your dealings, quenched Your strivings; and yet You are still pleading with me! Oh! let me realize more than I do the need of Your gracious influences. Ordinances, sermons, communions, providential dispensations, are nothing without Your life-giving power.

"It is the Spirit that quickens." "No man can call Jesus, Lord, but by the Holy Spirit." Church of the living God! is not this one cause of your deadness? — My soul! is not this the secret of your languishing frames, repeated declensions, uneven walk, and sudden falls — that the influences of the Holy Spirit are undervalued and unsought? Pray for the outpouring of this blessed Agent for the world's renovation, and your own. "I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh," is the precursor of millennial bliss.

Jesus! draw near, in Your mercy, to this dull heart, as you did of old to Your mourning disciples, and breathe upon it, and say, "Receive the Holy Spirit." It is the mightiest of all blessings; but, like the sun in the heavens, it is the freest of all — "For if you, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit unto those who ask Him!"
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« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2007, 05:38:46 PM »

PROVIDENTIAL OVERRULING
by John MacDuff - 1849

"All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."  — Romans 8:28

My soul! be still! you are in the hands of your Covenant God. Were all the strange circumstances in your history the result of accident, or chance, you might well be overwhelmed. But "all things," and this thing (be what it may) which may be now disquieting you, is one of these "all things" that are so working mysteriously for your good. Trust your God! He will not deceive you — your interests are with Him in safe custody. When sight says, "All these things are against me," let faith rebuke the hasty conclusion, and say, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" How often does God hedge up your way with thorns, to elicit simple trust! How seldom can we see all things so working for our good! But it is better discipline to believe it. Oh! for faith amid frowning providences, to say, "I know that your judgments are good;" and, relying in the dark, to exclaim, "Though He slays me, yet will I trust Him!"

Blessed Jesus! to You are committed the reins of this universal empire. The same hand that was once nailed to the cross, is now wielding the scepter on the throne — "all power in heaven and in earth is given unto you." How can I doubt the wisdom, and the faithfulness, and love, of the most mysterious earthly dealing, when I know that the Roll of Providence is thus in the hands of Him who has given the mightiest pledge Omnipotence could give of His tender interest in my soul's well-being, by giving Himself for me?
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« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2007, 05:40:36 PM »

SAFE WALKING
by John MacDuff - 1849

"All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies."  — Psalm 25:10

The paths of the Lord! My soul! never follow your own paths. If you do, you will be in danger often of following sight rather than faith — choosing the evil, and refusing the good. But "commit your way unto the Lord, and He shall bring it to pass." Let this be your prayer, "Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths." Oh! for Caleb's spirit, "wholly to follow the Lord my God" — to follow Him when self must be sacrificed, and hardship must be borne, and trials await me. To "walk with God" — to ask in simple faith, "What would You have me to do?" — to have no will of my own, but this, that God's will is to be my will. Here is safety — here is happiness.

Fearlessly follow the Guiding Pillar. He will lead you by a right way, though it may be by a way of hardship, and crosses, and losses, and privations, to the city of God. Oh! the blessedness of thus lying passive in the hands of God, saying "Undertake for me God!" — dwelling with holy gratitude on past mercies and interpositions — these as pledges of future faithfulness and love — hearing His voice behind us, amid life's many perplexities, exclaiming, "This is the way, walk in it!" "Happy," surely, "are every people who are in such a case!" Happy, Reader! will it be for you, if you can form the resolve in a strength greater than you own: "This God shall be my God forever and ever; He shall be my Guide even unto death!"
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« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2007, 05:42:43 PM »

LOVE IN CHASTISEMENT
by John MacDuff - 1849

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten."  — Revelation 3:19

Sorrowing Believer! what could you wish more than this? Your furnace is severe; but look at this assurance of Him who lit it. Love is the fuel that feeds its flames! Its every spark is love! Kindled by a Father's hand, and designed as a special pledge of a Father's love. How many of His dear children has He so rebuked and chastened; and all, all for one reason, "I love them!" The myriads in glory have passed through these furnace-fires — there they were chosen — there they were purified, sanctified, and made "vessels fit for the Master's use;" the dross and the alloy purged, that the pure metal might remain.

And are you to claim exemption from the same discipline? Are you to think it strange concerning these same fiery trials that may be purifying you? Rather exult in them as your adoption-privilege. Envy not those who are strangers to the refining flames — who are "without chastisement." You should surely rather have the severest discipline with a Father's love, than the fullest earthly cup without that Father's smile. Oh! for grace to say, when the furnace is hottest, and the rod sorest, "Even so, Father!" And what, after all, is the severest of your chastisements in comparison with what your sins have deserved? Do you murmur under a Father's correcting love? What would it have been to have stood the wrath of an unpropitiated Judge, and that, too, forever? Surely, in the light of eternity, the heaviest pang of earth is indeed "a light affliction!"
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