Cut it off!

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"If your hand or your foot causes you to sin — cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled — than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire!" Matthew 18:8

Our life is so full of temptation and peril — that even its best things may become stumbling-blocks. Our very qualities of strength — may become fatal forces driving us to eternal ruin.

Human beauty
is a blessing from God — and yet beauty has proved a snare to many a woman, drawing her away from God.

Ability to make money
is a perilous gift — which has led many a man to spiritual ruin. It is better to altogether throw away the money-making ability, and go poor through life with the talent wasted and shriveled, and reach Heaven — than to exercise the ability and grow rich, and be lost forever! These are illustrations of our Lord's meaning when He speaks of 'cutting off' the hand or the foot which causes us to sin.

The appetites, desires, and affections — are part of the glory of humanity; and yet, when they are unbridled — they have whirled many a noble life to eternal destruction!

A steam-boat came into port which had long been out on the sea. An accident had happened which caused delay. The coal gave out; then all that would burn — cargo, stores, furniture — had to be burned up, in order to bring the vessel home. At last she gained the shore — but stripped of everything of value. Yet it was better to burn up all her cargo and stores — than perish at sea.

Just so, some men can get to Heaven — only by sacrificing every earthly pleasure and crucifying every sinful desire; but who will say that the prize is not worth the sacrifice? The hand would be better chopped off — than steal or strike down another. The foot would be better cut off — than carry one into crime or sin. The eye would be better plucked-out — than by its lustful gazing set the soul on fire. A man on a wrecked vessel had better throw his bags of gold into the sea and have his life saved — than hold on to the gold and sink into the waves!