God knows the heart!

And yet, methinks, some of you who have cumbered the ground do most heartily desire to serve God. Poor sinner! I rejoice that thou feels that thou hast been a cumber-ground. Dost, thou confess that thou hast been a poor thorn and briar until now. Dost thou acknowledge that the Lord has been just to thee if he had damned thee? Then come as thou art and cast thyself on Jesus, without works, without merit. Wilt thou ask the Lord to turn thee into a good fig tree? If thou wilt, he will do it; for be declares, that he heareth prayer.
There was once a poor man in a small country town who had not all the sense people usually have, but he had sense enough to be a great drunkard and swearer as God would have it, he once listened to a poor woman, who was singing —
“I’m a poor sinner and nothing at all
But Jesus Christ is my all in all”
Home he went, repeating these words, he put his trust in a crucified Saviour, and was really converted. Well, he soon came to the church, and although he was a pedlar, and always travelling about, he said, “I want to join your church.” They, remembering his sinful way of life, required some great evidence of a change before they received him, “O!” says he, “I must come in,” “But you have been such a great sinner, and you are unconverted,” added the elders. “Well,” said poor Jack, “I don’t know if I’m unconverted, and I confess I am a great sinner — but
“I’m a poor sinner, and nothing at all;
But Jesus Christ is my all in all.”
They could not get from him any other testimony save this. He would only say —
“I’m a poor sinner, and nothing at all;
But Jesus Christ is my all in all.”

AppearanceGod knows the heart to save us!  Prune B.T.

 

 

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Time is running out!

Now, my timeIsRunningOut6then, what bearing has this text upon the ungodly? There are some here, my dear friends, of whom I have sometimes thought that I could almost pray that God ‘should take them out of the world. I can tell you why; they are so wicked — so dreadfully wicked, such hardened reprobates, with such iron souls, that they seem as if they never would be turned to God, and whose portion it would appear to be damned themselves, and to lead others to the same condition. I know a village where there is a man so vicious, so abandoned, that I could almost pray for him to be removed out of the world; he is so awfully wicked that many of those I thought hopeful Christians have been poisoned by his example. Indeed, he seemed to be depraving the entire population. He stands like a deadly Upas tree, with outspread branches, overshadowing the whole place. He is consuming all around him; and instead of it being a mercy for him to be here, it would be like a mercy if he were gone. Are not some of you like that man? Are you not so bad that you are doing all the mischief in the world you can? You never do anything for the cause of Christ, you are always trying to do your utmost against it. You never sow a little blade of God’s grass where none grew before. You are of no service, and yet you are spared, because Jesus says, ” I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world.” He prays that you may be in the world a little longer. And what has he preserved you from? First, fever comes and bows thee down; but Christ says, “Let him not depart yet. O spare him now.” And thou art spared. The second time, disease comes near unto thee, and great pains bow thee down. Again, he prays, “Spare him!” and thou art yet safe. The third time thou art fast approaching thy end. Now the angel of death is lifting up the glittering steel, and his axe is almost fallen on thee. Yet Christ says, “Spare him, angel! Spare him — peradventure he may yet turn to me with full purpose of heart.” He whom thou hates loved thee so much that he interceded for thee, and therefore thou wert spared till now. Remember, however, that this reprieve will not continue for ever. At last Justice will cry; “Cut him down, he cumbers the ground.” Some of you have been cumbering the ground for sixty or seventy years-old sinners; of no use in this world. Is it so? There you are occupying the ground, keeping other trees from growing, and of no use! Your family is being damned by your example; the whole neighbourhood is tainted by you. Do not tell me I should not speak so roughly. I tell you, as long as I have a tongue in my head you shall have no mincemeat from me. If you are lost, it shall not be for want of plain speaking and honest warning. Oh, ye cumber-grounds! how much digging and dunging have ye received at the Lord’s hand, and yet ye are fruitless. The axe will soon be at your root, and oh, the fire into which ye shall be cast! Ungodly man, thou art spared until thine overflowing cup of sin is dropping like oil upon the flame of vengeance, and the increasing fire will presently reach thee. The longer the archer draws the bow the mightier is the force of the arrow. What though vengeance tarries, it is that its sword may be sharpened and its arm nerved for direr execution. Oh, ye grey-heads! a little more delay and the stroke shall fall; tremble and kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.

 

God is so gracious but one day will close the door!  Prune B.T.

Do not despise the day of small things!

But remember while here that thou loosest no opportunity of attacking the foe. Never miss an opportunity of having a shot at the devil. Be ready on all occasion to do mischief to the enemy. In business, drop a word of savour and unction; in company, turn the conversation heavenward; in private, wrestle at the throne. I do not advise you to intrude religion at unseasonable hours. I do not conceive it to be your duty when a customer calls to pay a bill to ask him into your office and spend half an hour in prayer with him, nor would I think it needful to sanctify your ribbons and shawls by exhorting the purchasers across the counter. Some have not been quite innocent of the charge of can’t who make as much use of religion to attract customers, as they do of their plate glass window. Do not talk of religion to be heard of men, but when a fair opportunity offers, out with your rifle and take a steady aim. Cromwell’s singular advice to his soldiers was, “Trust in God, my friends, and keep your powder dry.” In a better sense this is mine. More than all keep up a continual fire on the enemy by a holy life. Nothing will more reprove sin than your holiness. If you cannot tell the stick it Is crooked, you can prove it to be so, by laying a straight one side by side with it. So, put your purity before the impure, and they will be effectually reproved.
Well then, again, do not be afraid to go out into the world to do good. Christ is keeping you in the world for the advantage of your fellow-men. I am sometimes wicked enough to think that I would rather go anywhere than stand up again and preach my Master’s gospel. Like Jonah, I have thought I would really pay my fare to be carried away to Tarshish, instead of coming back to Nineveh. So, would some of you who have tried to preach, and found you could not succeed as you desired. But do not be down-hearted, my brother; a Christian should never get so. If you have but one listener to-day, perhaps the next time the number will be doubled, and so on, till they cannot be counted. Never say, “I wish to go out of this world:” do not murmur, “My life Is prolonged beyond my joys.” Do what you can. Do not go amongst people with fear; do not be ashamed to look duty in the face. If you are not successful at first, do not he cowards and run away from your guns. We should do all we can to bring our guns into line with our brothers and take good aim at our foes. Never desert your work, though you come home distressed in spirit, though you see no gleam of success, and nothing is gained. Recollect, you cannot run out of the battle, but you must go on; and you cannot escape the service. On then, and glory shall be yours.

Do not despise the day of small things!  Prune B.T.Small beginnings

There but by the grace of God!

My dear friends, I had intended to preach from the other half of the verse, but that is quite impossible, the time is so far gone, and I can only manage the first part thereof. So I must depart from my original intention; and I will restrict myself to some thoughts which occur to me upon the first portion of our text.
“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world.” Perhaps, to-morrow you will be saying, “I am very sorry Sabbath-day is over. I am obliged to go to business again. I wish it were always Sunday, that I attend to my preaching, or to the schools, or to the prayer-meeting, or to the tract-distributing. No obstructions of the world afflict me there, no vexatious of the spirit occur there. I am sick of the world. Oh! if I could never go into it again.” Let me jog thy elbow a bit. Does Jesus think so? Hear him! “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world.” There is no remedy for the ill, if it be an ill, therefore endure it with becoming fortitude; yea, rather seek to improve the opportunity thus afforded you, of conferring a blessing upon your race, and of gaining advantages for yourselves.
The pious mind will know how to improve the very sight of sin to its own sanctification. It will learn humility when it remembers that restraining grace alone prevents a similar fault in itself. It will gather subjects for gratitude and admiration from the fact, that grace alone has made it to differ. Never shall we value grace so much as when we see the evil front which it delivers us, never shall we more abhor sin than when we discern its visible deformity. Bad society is in itself like the poisonous cassava, but if baked in the fire of grace it may even be rendered useful. True grace casts salt into the poisonous stream, and then when forced to ford it, the filth thereof is destroyed. Abide, then, O soldier, in the trenches of labour and battle, for the hardness of service is beneficial to thee.

There but by the grace of GodThere but by the grace of God go I!  Prune B.T.

The Grace of our God!

Amazing grace!

I thank God for his grace offered in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sin put us down

Grace picked us up

Sin made us dirty

Grace washed us in the blood of Jesus

Sin separated us from God

Grace brought us near to God

Sin condemned us

Grace justified us

Sin stripped us naked

Grace robed us in the righteousness of Jesus

Sin left us in darkness

Grace brought us into the marvellous light

Sin left us on sinking sand

Grace placed us on Jesus, the Solid Rock.

AMAZING-GRACE1Never take the wonderful grace of God for granted!  Prune B.T.

The battle is the Lords!

The practical lesson we learn from this part of the text — “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world” — Is this, that we never have any encouragement peevishly to ask God to let us die. Christians are always wanting to die when they have any trouble or trial. You ask them why? “Because we would be with the Lord.” O yes, they want to be with the Lord, when trouble and temptations come upon them. But it is not because they are “panting to be with the Lord,” it is because they desire to get rid of their troubles — else they would not want to die at all times when a little vexation is upon them. They want to get home, not so much for the Saviour’s company, as to get out of the little hard work. They did not wish to go away when they were in quiet and prosperity. Like lazy fellows, as most of us are, when we get into a little labour we beg to go home. It is quite right sometimes that you should desire to depart, because you would not prove yourself to be a true Israelite if you did not want to go to Jerusalem. You may pray to be taken home out of the world, but Christ will not take up the petition. When your prayers come to the Lord, this little one may try to get amongst them, but Christ will say, “I do not know anything about you, I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world.”‘ You may wish it sincerely, and really desire it, but you will not at present get your Master to pray with you. Instead, then, of crying, or wishing to be away from the battle, brace yourself up in the name of the Lord. Think every wish to escape the fight, is but a desertion of your Master. Do not so much as think of rest, but remember, that though you may cry, “Let me retire into the tent,” you will not be admitted until you return a victor. Therefore, stop here, and work and labour.

The-Battle-Belongs-to-the-Lord

The battle is the Lords!  Bless Him!  Prune B.T.

For me to live is Christ and to die is gain!

The next thing is that dying is not of one-half so much importance as living to Christ.” I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world.” He does not make their dying an object of prayer, “but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” He prays that they should be preserved in life, knowing that their death would assuredly follow rightly, as a matter of course. Many say one to the other, “Have you heard that so-and-so is dead?” “How did he die?” They should rather say, “How did he live?” It may be an important question, -how does a man die; but the most important question is, “How does a man live?” What a curious notion people get about death! The question they ask is not whether a man dies in the Lord Jesus, but, “Has he had a very easy death? Did he die gently?” If so, they conclude that all is well. If I ask, “Had he any affection to trust in Christ?” the reply probably will be, “Well, at all events, I thought he had; he had a very easy death.” People think so much of an easy death. If there are no pains in death, if they are not in trouble, and not plagued like others, they falsely conclude all to be well. But though like sheep they are laid in the grave, they may awaken to destruction in the morning. It is not a sign of grace that our dying is easy. It is natural for persons in the decay of strength to die easily. Many of the most vicious men, who have destroyed the power of their bodies, have an easy, painless death, from the fact that there is nothing to struggle against death; but, then, though they die like lambs, they wake up in sorrow. Do not put any confidence in death-beds, my dear friends; do not look on them as evidences of Christianity. The greatest evidence is not how a man dies, but how he lives.

For me to live is ChristFor me to live is Christ and to die is gain! Prune B.T.