And how is it that I am made to differ?

(John MacDuff, "The Prophet of Fire" 1877)

Let us adore the freeness of God's mercy,
and the sovereignty of His grace.

God's thoughts are not our thoughts, neither
are His ways our ways. Man has generally
some reason for conferring his favors; some
claim arising from person or pedigree, from
character or attainments.

But God's sole motive in conferring favors is
His own free and gracious purpose. "It is not
of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of
God who shows mercy."

He takes a Manasseh filling Jerusalem with blood,
and makes him a monument of forgiveness.

He takes a Saul breathing out his blasphemies,
and converts him into the great Apostle.

He takes . . .
a crude heathen jailer, or
an unprincipled tax gatherer of Jericho, or
a profligate woman of Capernaum, or
a felon in his dying agonies, while
many encircled with the halo of natural virtues
or with the prestige of religious education and
training, are left to perish in their ungodliness
and unbelief and pride!

And it is the same principle we recognize still
in His dealings. He often passes by . . .
the great,
the powerful,
the rich,
the sophisticated,
the educated;
yes, even the virtuous and the amiable;
and He crowds the marriage supper of the King
from the highways and hedges;
with the poor and the illiterate;
the outcast and prodigal.

He often leaves palace and castle and stately
mansion and lettered hall; and enters the
humble cottage and the poor man's hovel.

He takes the children's bread and casts it
to Gentile dogs!

Many old companions; those at one time better
and more promising than I; have been long ago
scattered as wrecks on life's ocean, entangled
in the swirling vortex, and hurried down into
nameless depths of infamy.

And how is it that I am made to differ?

How is it that that tale of misery and ruin; that
which, in the case of others, has broken a parent's
heart, and sent him sobbing and halting to the grave;
how is it that I have escaped these dread temptations;
and that, while others have broken loose with a worse
than maniac's madness, I am this day sitting at the
feet of Jesus, clothed and in my right mind?

Not unto me, O God! not unto me!
But unto Your name be all the glory!

I read the reason, written in gleaming letters,
in the heights and depths of Your own Infinite
love. By Your grace, Your free, sovereign,
unmerited grace alone, I am what I am!

A Tulip Not a Daisy