Eternity

I Am Cursed!

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(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

“If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ–let him be Anathema! (or accursed).” 1 Corinthians 16:22

To be Anathema is to be cursed really–sentenced to real pains and real torments. These will be . . .
so great,
so grievous,
so many,
so extreme,
so continual,
and so universal–
that they shall wring out a confession from you: “Now I am accursed indeed!

To lie in these flames which cannot be quenched, to burn in this fire in which I cannot be consumed–is such a curse, and so intolerable, that will make you curse the day in which you were born, and curse the time you ever lived in this world–because not better improved, to escape that curse you lie under in Hell.

You shall cry out and roar, “Woe is me–a poor miserable wretch! I am tormented in this place, and cannot have one drop of water to refresh and cool my parched tongue! Woe is me–a poor cursed scoundrel! I am in pain–in extremity of pain–and have no ease! Alas! I toss and tumble in this bed of flames, and cannot rest! If I wander from one side of Hell unto another–I cannot find one corner where I might have a little rest! Oh! cursed creature, that I did not love Christ! If I had loved Christ as much above the world, as I loved the world above Christ–then I might have been among the blessed saints, and not in the midst of such a cursed crew! Had I loved Christ so much more than sin, as I loved sin more than Christ–then I might have been a blessed one. But because I did not love Christ–I am now this cursed wretch! I am as cursed as cursed can be! I was told that, for lack of love to Christ–this would be my accursed state. And now, for lack of love to Jesus–it is my accursed state forever! I was told that if I do not love Christ–I would be Anathema! I did not love Christ–and now I am Anathema!”

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Building Character or Complaining?

donkeyTheir greatest obstacle in the way of spiritual growth and transformed character

(J.R. Miller, “The Transfigured Life!” 1893)

Nothing helps more to develop the transfigured life in us, than work. Some people chafe because they have so much to do. Their days are filled from morning to night with dreary, monotonous task-work. With men it is the never-ending work of the farm, the office, the store, the shop, the mill. With women it is the thousand duties of the household, the care of the home, the tending of children, the weary chores of domestic life.

There are many people who think their greatest obstacle in the way of spiritual growth and transformed character–is in the drudgeries to which they are indentured by their condition. They imagine that if they could be freed from these and could have leisure for reading, for study, and for fellowship–then they would grow into far more radiant beauty of character.

But this is a mistaken impression. The only one perfect life the world has ever known, was not spent with a book–but with a hammer and a saw! The school of common taskwork, with its perpetual round of dreary duties–is the best place in the world in which to attain noble spiritual culture. There is no other way in which one’s life will be so surely, so quickly transfigured–as in the faithful, cheerful doing of every-day tasks.

We need to remember that this world is not so much a place for doing things–as for developing character.Household life is not primarily a sphere for good cooking, tidy keeping of rooms, thorough sweeping and dusting, careful nursing and training of children, hospitable entertainment of friends, and the thousand things that must be done each day; it is a sphere for transforming women’s souls into radiant beauty.

The shop, the mill, the factory, the store, the office, the farm–are not primarily places for making machines, selling goods, weaving cloths, building engines, and growing crops; they are, first of all, places for making men, building character, growing souls.

Right in the midst of what some people call drudgery–is the very best place to get the transformed, transfigured life! The doing of common tasks patiently, promptly, faithfully, cheerfully–makes the character beautiful and bright!

~  ~  ~  ~

We have just published J.R. Miller’s insightful short article, “The Transfigured Life!

The Darkness of God

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(James Smith, “The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion” 1859)

“Your way is in the sea–and Your path is in the great waters. Your footsteps may not be known.” Psalm 77:19

The providences of God are often dark and mysterious. It is not easy to ascertain why the Lord acts as He does–or to find out the precise object which He has in view. He carries on His work according to His eternal and pre-ordained plan–and He accomplishes His purposes often by the most unlikely means. He works all things after the counsel of His own will–and He works leisurely, having no cause to hurry. We are naturally hasty, and want to know what God means at once. But He says, “Be still. Wait. Watch. Let patience have her perfect work.”

We may not be able to account for our trials, troubles, losses, and crosses–but all will be made plain by-and-by. “Jesus said to him: You do not understand now what I am doing–but you will understand later on.” John 13:7

We now know in part–but we shall soon know even as also we are known. And until then, we may well be patient–assured that God is acting wisely, lovingly, and is consulting our good in all that He does.

O wonder-working God, Your dealings with us are often dark, and difficult to be understood! Give us faith to believe Your promises–when we cannot understand Your providences. Let us be assured of Your love to us–when we cannot ascertain the design of Your dealings with us. Preserve us from a repining, complaining, and unbelieving spirit–and grant us grace that we may rest satisfied that You are acting rightly. May we learn, in whatever state we are–therewith to be content. With patience may we do and suffer Your will at present–being fully assured that all will be explained and opened up to us at length. O to be enabled . . .
to rest on Your covenant love,
to trust Your faithful promises, and
to commit all of our ways unto You!

“All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth–to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies!” Psalm 25:10

Can the Punishment Be Too Great?

Erta-ale_lac-de-lave_2001.jpgWhat punishment then can be too great–for so great an evil?

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

The worst on this side of Hell, is mercy–and the worst of and in Hell, is but justice!

Cain could say that his punishment was intolerable–but he could not say that it was unjust.
Though his punishment was greater than he could bear–yet it was not greater than he deserved.

Repeatedly, when the judgments of God are spoken of in Revelation, they are said always to be just and trueand righteous (Revelation 15:3; 16:7). Though God’s ways are unsearchable–yet they are true and just and righteous.

Death is but the due wages of sin (Romans 6:23). Therefore it is said, “Their damnation is just!” (Romans 3:8). Every sin has its just punishment (Hebrews 2:2).

Consider the nature of sin. It is Deicide–God-murder! Thus it is just for God to do with sinners, what they would unjustly do with Him. That is, take away from them all good and glory, displease and destroy them–because they would do so to Him.

If sin had accomplished its intention and desire–horror of horrors!–God would have been no more!

If we consider the person who is sinned against, and that the aim of sin is to ungod God–then what punishment can be thought bad enough?

Sin is an infinite evil. What punishment then can be too great–for so great an evil?

As none but infinite power can pardon sin–so none but infinite power can punish it sufficiently.

Just as sin’s aim is infinite–so is its desert. Therefore, though sin’s punishment is infinite–yet it is but just.
Seeing sin contains all evil–it is fitting that its punishment should be answerable and proportionate.

Dim Eyes

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Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages!

(J.R. Miller)

“You do not know now what I am doing–but later you will understand.” John 13:7

Peter could not understand why Jesus should so condescend as to wash his feet. It perplexed and puzzled him, and he shrank from submitting to it. Jesus said, “You do not know now what I am doing–but later you will understand.” And so it proved. There came days afterwards when he understood it all, when he knew why his Master had done it–and when he truly saw beauty, wisdom, love, richest instruction, and divine necessity in it.

And the same principle applies all through our life. There are many things in the providence of God which at the time appear dark and obscure–but which the future makes clear and plain. The Lord lays us aside in the midst of our usefulness, He desolates our homes, He breaks our harp-strings, He pours bitterness into our cups of sweetness. Our lives are full of strange, perplexing things–and we do not know what they mean.

Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages.
Our dull ears cannot hear the voice of love which speaks out to us from every adverse circumstance.
Our heavy hearts cannot perceive the love which throbs with full pulse in every darksome event.

But there will come a day when every dark page in our life’s history shall be explained–when all the tangleand confusion shall be unraveled, and the web shall lie before us woven through unto the end, warp and woof, with threads of gold and silver.

This word of Christ is the key to all the dark and strange providences in the life of every believer: “You do not know now what I am doing–but later you will understand.”

One reason for the present obscurity–is our ignorance, or limited knowledge. We know now, only in part. We see now, only through a glass darkly. We are all scholars in God’s school. The lessons set for us seem at first like the pages of an unknown language. We cannot pronounce the words. We cannot understand their meaning. They confuse and perplex us. We see no wisdom, no beauty, no love in them.

But the passing years bring riper wisdom and fuller knowledge. We shall then be able to read them off with ease. Then we shall see that every line held a golden lesson for our hearts–that every dark providence in our lives was one of God’s precious love-thoughts written out for us–and the whole page will glow with divine beauty!

Only fuller knowledge is needed to explain to us much of the mystery of our lives. In the cloudless light and perfect revelation of Heaven–every shadow of mystery will vanish, and the strangest providences will seem as plain and easy as childhood’s first lessons are to ripened and cultured manhood.

Another reason why many of the Lord’s ways seem so strange to us, is because we see them only in theirincompleteness. We must wait until they are finished, before we can fully understand what God is doing.

The work of sanctification is the process of painting the features of spiritual and divine beauty on human souls. And in this process, the Divine Artist oftentimes employs trials as His instruments. He first seems to destroy–but tribulation works patience. Many a man learns submission–when the Father’s hand rests so heavily upon him, that he cannot rise.

Many a feature of beauty in the soul–is brought out in the darkness of affliction. The process seems to be destructive–but afterwards it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness. Not at the time–but afterwards. When God finishes His work–then it is beautiful and very good.

In the bitterness of his soul Jacob cried out, “All these things are against me!” But these things were not against him–God had not yet finished His work. The final result had not yet been wrought out. All thingsseemed against him–but he lived to praise the Lord for all the strange providences which appeared so cruel at that hour. These were but the crude blocks out of which God was building up a beautiful home for his old age, and with which He was laying the foundation of future greatness and glory for his family. They were links in a golden chain of blessing.

So it ever is, “You do not know now what I am doing–but later you will understand.” Wait until God has completed His work–and then all shall be well. You may see it even on the earth. Before you close your eyes in death–you may see the good brought out of the seeming evil of your life. But if not, if you die with the mystery still unsolved–then one moment in Heaven will explain all! Then you shall see all things completed. You shall see the web out of the loom–all its beautiful figures perfect, not one thread dropped or tangled. You shall see the temple finished–every block in its place, and the whole adorned with glory. You shall see thepicture when the artist has put the last touches to it–and when it appears no more marred and spoiled, as you thought it would be by so much trial–but perfect and beautiful, bearing the likeness of Christ in every feature.

Then you shall see all the dark providences of your life carried out to their final result. You shall see . . .
both the discipline–and its blessing;
both the affliction–and its rich fruits;
both the furnace-fires–and the brilliant gold!

Praying in Concentrations Camps?

 

We’d better concentrate on praying (to God in repentance) or we will praying in concentration camps. God will deliver us in the Western Hemisphere to our enemies and then we’ll have much to cry out to Him for.