F. B. Meyer
A Book of Sermons

© 1950  Fleming H. Revell Company

Great Pulpit Masters series, Volume VI

F.B. Meyer (1847-1929)

Fleming H. Revell Company, New York — Text is Public Domain

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1. Baptists — Sermons; 2. Sermons — English; 3. Baptists.
BX6495.M4 ~~ Dewey: 252 M61f ~~ OCLC: 6562944 ~~ 256p.

F.B. Meyer : A Book of Sermons is presently held by 56 libraries including Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Table of Contents

Introduction       7

1. The Brooding Spirit ... 11

2. The Victory of Calvary ... 19

3. The Law of the Spirit ... 35

4.  The Problem of Our Personal Sinnership ... 49

5. Touch No Unclean Thing ... 61

6. God Is Near ... 69

7. A vision of the New Life ... 79

8. With Thee Is the Fountain of Life ... 89

9. The All-Sufficiency of Christ ... 101

10. The Day Is at Hand ... 113

11. The Art of Sitting Still ... 123

12. Beneath the Shadow of His Wings ... 129

13. Where Is the Lamb? Behold the Lamb of God! ... 137

14. "Sin" and "Sins" ... 145

15. The Fulness of the Spirit ... 157

16. The Fair Miter ... 169

17. Take! Take! Take! ... 183

18. Dislocated Limbs ... 197

19. The Quiet Heart ... 207

20. The Power of Appropriation ... 219

21. Reciprocal Indwelling ... 235

22. True Gentlefolk ... 245

Introduction

ONCE, YEARS AGO, WHEN I WAS A STUDENT AT FURMAN University, Dr. F.B. Meyer made a chapel talk which enriched my life and inspired me immeasurably. I was having a difficult time financially — wondering how I could secure sufficient money for college expenses. On the particular morning when Dr. Meyer — bright of eyes, white of hair, pleadingly earnest in voice — spoke to the students, he spoke to one young man who was in a mood something like that of Elijah under the juniper tree, and John the Baptist in jail when he sent a deputation to Jesus, asking : "Art thou he that should come, or look we for another?" (Matthew 11:3).

   That morning, Dr. Meyer talked on something about the difficulties Moses met with in his leadership of the Children of Israel. He assured us that we, no matter what we did or where we went, could not expect to escape difficulties and problems beyond human abilities to solve. Then he put into my mind a statement which has been a constant source of courage, of strength, of wisdom, of faith, of daring, to me. This is the statement : "You never test the resources of God until you attempt the impossible." Since that day, I have read all the books I could find by Dr. Meyer. Even though I have been enriched only once by his presence — as I spoke with him once at Winona Lake — his books have been a source of stimulation

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for my mind, of comfort for my heart, of encouragement in times when the roads were rough, the hills high, the valleys deep and dark. I believe every preacher who does not have and does not read the books of Dr. Meyer cheats himself, impoverishes his spiritual life, and makes less valiant his faith. Of all Dr. Meyer's books, I say what Robert Browning said in these words :

All the breath and the bloom of the year in the bag of one bee:

All the wonder and wealth of the mine in the heart of one gem:

In the core of one pearl all the shade and the shine of the sea:

Breath and bloom, shade and shine,—wonder, wealth, and—how far above them—

Truth, that's brighter than gem,

Trust, that's purer than pearl,—

Brightest truth, purest trust in the universe,—all were for me

In the kiss of one girl!

   So saith the poet.

   But how much more than that, and how far beyond all that, is the wealth of the spiritual riches of God's truth and the wonder of God's gospel found in Dr. Meyer's books.

   I urge you to purchase, to read, to search, to study all of Dr. Meyer's books. If you obey my insistent urging, you will thank me.

Robert G. Lee      
Pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church      
Memphis, Tennessee      
President, Southern Baptist Convention      

   All beginnings must begin with God. Always put God first. The first stone in every building, the first thought every morning, the first aim and purpose of all activity. Do not be discouraged; the Spirit of God is within you, brooding amid the darkness, and presently His light will shine through.

From Through the Bible Day by Day

Chapter 1

The Brooding Spirit

The spirit of God was brooding upon the face of the waters. — GENESIS 1:1-5

THE OPENING PARAGRAPH OF GENESIS IS VERY OLD. IT WAS old when Moses heard it first from the lips of his mother, in the slave huts by the Nile; old when Abraham received it as a tradition from before the Flood; old, perhaps, when Enoch walked with God. As the Bible ends in an Apocalypse, an unveiling of the future, so it begins with an Apocalypse, an unveiling of the past. The same angel of revelation may have operated in each case; and as in the one we have the seven seals, trumpets, and vials, so we are not surprised to find here the successive stages of creation, each of which covered a vast period of time, classified under the heading of seven days.

   A timeless chasm evidently intervenes between the general statement of the first verse, and the focusing of our attention on the one planet in which we are directly interested. It has been surmised that, in that gulf of time, occurred the fall of the angels who ruled here but who "kept not their first estate," and that this accounts for the title applied to Satan of god, or prince, or prince of this world. It is possible that this also explains the allusion of the apostle, when he says that the creation became subject to vanity "by reason of him who subjected it." There is a freckle on the fairest flowers, a touch of acid in the happiest life, a miasma brooding over the loveliest

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scenes; it would be interesting if all this were due to some malign influence generated in distant ages, and marring the "very good" of the Creator.

   But we have now to deal with an earth which was without form and void. No mountains or valleys, no configuration of coastlands, nothing to break the blank monotony of the waste; no living thing existing in those sullen waters. The house of life was being built, but there was no occupant, not an amoeba, not a zoophyte! Dense clouds, perhaps the result of a gradual cooling process, like a huge pall enclosed the entire globe, and excluded every ray of light. During those ages the spaces of the universe were pervaded with a dim luminosity, which was afterwards to be focused in the sun. Beneath that dark canopy the wild waves seethed, sighed, loosed themselves into a rage of foam, and then sank down to a dull moaning of restless despair. Darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the reign of chaos seemed to defy control.

   The only alleviating feature in the whole scene is cited in the extraordinary announcement that "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters!" Is not this an astounding announcement? Surely such a scene was the very last spot that the Spirit of God might have been expected to select. Heaven's holy peace, the blue spaces of the azure, the sea of glass outspread before the throne, would better befit His holy, gentle, and peace-loving nature. God's thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His way our ways. And, whatever we might have expected, here at least is the announcement that "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

   For "moved" the margin substitutes "brooded." It is interesting to find that in A.D. 350 an old father of the Church, Basil by name, preached on this passage. He says, "These words may be the portico of a temple, or the forecourt of a sanctuary, but if they be, how dazzling bright must be the Holy of Holies,

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to which they form the entrance. In sublimity, purity, in strength of diction, they stand unrivaled. They form the portico of the Bible, the forecourt of the sanctuary, in the inner Holy of Holies in which Jesus Christ is to be found." He goes on to say that a Syrian, who knew little of the world, but much of God's truth, had told him that the word should be translated "broods." How sublime are these old simple images! When God would utter His greatest thoughts it is in the simplest imagery, and here it is, the bird brooding over her nest, until her vitality is communicated to the eggs. It is an inspiring and suggestive thought that, over the darkness and chaos of those early stages, there was brooding the warm bosom of God's love, and that, moving stage by stage from that beginning, He was able finally to say, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and he shall have dominion."

   The use made by Paul of this passage (2 Cor. 4:6) suggests that he saw a parallel between these verses and their spiritual analogies. In later days Pastor Stockmayer, in his Meditations in Genesis, still further elaborated the analogy between the work of the Holy Spirit in reconstructing a chaotic world, and His work in the human heart. Concerning this preparatory work he says : "The Spirit of God prepares the way for the Word of God. Before God speaks the creative word (Gen. 1, 3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24, 26), the Spirit of God must make ready His way. He hovers, He moves, He broods over the heart as a hen over her young. Before the sinner awakes to grace out of the world of chaos in which he has been living, an uneasiness comes over him. It is the brooding of the Holy Spirit. While we are praying and giving forth the Word of God in public assemblies or in personal conversation, the Holy Spirit is at work to bring about the sense of need that develops into conviction."

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   After unknown aeons of brooding, we read that God said, "Let there be light : and there was light." Some strong arch-angel, who had been waiting for the word of command, rolled back the curtain of cloud; a light broke in revealing the chaos and storm that had reigned so long. This gave hope! This division of the light from the darkness revealed a new principle. The light was good. It came from another sphere. It gave ground for hoping that there might be further gifts from that sphere. It was a revelation of possibilities. It was "good" in God's sight. It was akin to His own nature, for God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. So when the angel's action permitted the flood of light to enter, the particles with which the interspace was filled, but hitherto hidden in the atmosphere of murk and chaos, suddenly discovered that they were predestined to be the organs and transmitters of light. When the light broke in, they all, as it may be said, suddenly awoke to their capabilities, their use, and the final ends of their creation. The fulness of time had arrived, and they were needed to disseminate light.

   Let us now pass to the creation of man, and notice the five facts narrated of God's conception of what he was meant to be. His nature was tripartite, consisting of spirit, soul, and body. He was to have dominion. He was to be zoned in a garment of light, as our Lord was on the Mount of Transfiguration. He was invited to intimate communion and converse, as Adam in Paradise, "in the cool of the day." He was God's fellow worker in the garden that He had planted. The Fall consisted in the substitution of the reasonings of the soul for the intuitions of the spirit. The woman saw that the forbidden fruit was pleasant to the senses and good for food, and to be desired to make wise, and she and Adam ate. But at that moment the Shekinah ceased to shine in the spirit, and God

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could not longer converse with man's spirit. Thus the holiest sharing of our nature fell into disuse; and in after-days it could be said that the merely natural or soulish man could not receive the things of the Divine Spirit, because they must be spiritually discerned.

   Every one is endowed with the spiritual nature, which is the soul's outlook on and capacity for God, just as, on the other hand, the body is the soul's attachment to this material world. But for the most part this higher nature is submerged, lost sight of, like disused muscle, or an unexplored chamber in the constitution of our nature. One main object of Christianity is to rediscover the spirit, to use it, to make it pregnant, to teach man that it should be in constant use. In too many of us its existence and use are involved in inpenetrable darkness. But Jesus by the Holy Spirit seeks to awaken our slumbering spiritual sense; He calls to our transcendental nature, as to Lazarus in his sepulchre, or the young man at Nan, or to the little girl of twelve summers who had faded too soon, like a rare and beautiful flower. He can utter the imperative command to the spirit to arise and come forth. How absurd it is to speak of the Bible as played out when its profound philosophy is so seldom explained and so largely misunderstood! The Saviour bids us to be in subjection to "the Father of spirits" and live! But His appeal in its depths of significance is largely ignored. Why does modern scholarship set aside the clear witness and teaching of Paul, the great apostle of the Gentiles, and of the beloved Apostle John? It is almost certain that the former was an alumnus of the University of Tarsus, one of the most famous in that age, and that it was dominated by the philosophy of Aristotle; whilst the latter wrote for a constituency which was saturated with the teachings of Plato. In fact, the religious intelligence of that age was surely in advance

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of that which characterizes the majority of the churchgoers of the present day, many of whom find the apostles' epistles almost unintelligible.

   Let us, therefore, affirm our belief in the tripartite nature of man as taught by the Apostles Paul and John:

   The body, which is the organ of the world of matter.

   The soul, which is the organ of our personality.

   The spirit, which is the organ of the divine and eternal.

   The soul, in the earlier stages of experience, strongly contests with the spirit for the supreme control. The "I" of the one is in antagonism with the "Not-I" of the other. The conflict is often long and dire, but it determines destiny; and our object in the following pages is to show how the Spirit of God agonizes so to infill and strengthen the human spirit that it may become sovereign, transmitting its impulses to the soul, and bringing all the powers of our physical nature into captivity to the will of God. This is our task; but this is not all.

   The culmination of creation was the appearance of the first man in the image of God, and the culmination of all that can be said by any of us, who would lead inquiries forward, is that all philosophies and systems, arguments and distinctions, teachings and exhortations, will fail, unless at the close, when Moses and Elijah have gone, we are left face to face with "Jesus only"; for when He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness shines into our hearts, the light of the knowledge of God's glory will be found focused on the face of Jesus Christ. Jesus, and Jesus only, must fill the spirit's vision. Not rules or conditions, but Jesus Himself.

   Hudson Taylor had a memorable experience, which will help us here. He says:

   "The consciousness of sin oppressed me. I prayed, agonized, fasted, read the Word, all without effect. I tried in vain to attain holiness for its own sake. But I came to see that it was not by striving after faith, but by trusting the Faithful One, that I obtained peace. It doesn't matter what situation we are placed in, He is ever in us, and He is adequate."

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   We shall never gain strength and peace by asking how to get sap out of the vine. They can become ours only when we remember that Jesus is the Vine, that we are in Him by the act of divine grace, and that we have ever to count on Him at every turn and in each emergency.

The Lord Jesus received is holiness begun;

The Lord Jesus cherished is holiness advancing;

The Lord Jesus counted on, as never absent, is holiness complete. [Hudson Taylor]

   Thus, therefore, we understand that when we are regenerated by the Holy Spirit we are restored to the status from which Adam fell, and each of the five particulars already mentioned is restored to us, in union with our Saviour. The spirit is relighted by the Shekinah of His Spirit. We have spiritual power. We walk with God in purity. We commune with Him face to face, and co-operate in His work.

   As each Christian enters into that consciousness he realizes that it is superabundant, overflowing, and ever freshly springing up. This puts fresh impulse into whatever we may say or do. It flows out from us in a living stream of love, often unconsciously to ourselves, but always fruitfully. So we keep on imparting to others, spending for others, giving to others, blessing others in exact proportion as we open the doorway of the spirit to the Lord Jesus Himself, the great Fountain of all love and blessing.

   Ah, wondrous cross indeed, in you we find remedy for all the ills of life! Since you were cut out of some forest tree, and did bear your burden on the place of the skull, guilt and penalty are no more; we are the bond-slaves of the sweetest Master. We have passed as in a new Ark the waves of death, and landed on resurrection soil; and we have learned the secret of walking the world as those who belong to one another. Ah, blessed heavenly ladder by which we have passed into the eternal and heavenly sphere!

From Calvary to Pentecost

Chapter 2

The Victory of Calvary

Having been made perfect through death ... — HEBREWS 5:9.

PAUL LEFT ATHENS IN A VERY CHASTENED MOOD. HIS ADDRESS on Mars Hill had failed to produced the effect for which he had hoped. Two converts alone rewarded his efforts, and no church was formed there. He had argued, on the general grounds of Divine Creatorship and Providence, of human accountability and resurrection, of man as the offspring of God, and the absurdity of idolatry : but so far as the record of his address goes, there was no mention of the Cross. Was that the cause of his failure? Was it on his solitary walk along the isthmus between Athens and Corinth that he made up his mind to know nothing at Corinth but Christ crucified, and the Cross as God's power-house for those that believe? The careful reading of the early chapters of his first letter to the Church at Corinth will go far to confirm this suggestion.

   Let us come to that Cross once more, remembering that it is the reflection in the waters of time of the dateless resolve of eternity; for the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. Here is one of God's eternal facts translated into the language of today.

   Let us imagine that we are strangers in Jerusalem, drawn from all parts of the Roman Empire to witness the rites of the Hebrew Passover, of which the fame has gone out into all the world. So crowded is the city that no hostel or caravanserai

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can give us room. We are obliged, therefore, to spend the brief warm night on the Mount of Olives, hard by the little villages of Bethphage and Bethany. With the first glint of the dawn, we arise and prepare ourselves for a day which shall be as our natal day, a day of days! We descend the mountain, leaving Gethsemane on the right, and cross the valley while the sun is low and climbing slowly above the horizon. Thus we find ourselves standing at the great closed gates of the city, in company with a group of peasants, who have brought their oranges, their figs, bananas, and the produce of their gardens, for sale in the bazaars. Presently the massive doors swing back. We enter and make our way at once to the magnificent stairway that leads to the Court of the Gentiles, beyond which we may not go. We pass across the vast tesselated floor to the eastern colonnade, with its matchless view of the hills of Moab towering to the right above the sullen waters of the Dead Sea. Before us is the Jordan Valley and pasture lands beyond, while turning northwards we catch a distant glimpse of the great mountain ranges, which helped to make an heroic race, as the wars for freedom proved.

   Above us are the Temple buildings, but thither we may not go, for "the Beautiful Gate" at the head of the steps will admit none but Jews. We can, however, hear the exquisite music of the Hebrew choir, and one verse is translated for us which runs thus :

God is the Lord, who has shown us light;

Bind the sacrifice with cords even to the horns of the altar.

   On reaching the foot of the great staircase, as we return, we are caught in a vast crowd of people, flowing in a tumultuous torrent in one direction; and presently find ourselves on

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the edge of a multitude that fills a spacious square from side to side. They are swaying to and fro under the influence of intense excitement, as waves swept by wild winds. This is the more remarkable as the day is still young. On the farther side of this plaza, immediately fronting us, is a magnificent building, under the portico of which two prominent figures are standing. The splendid dress of the one clearly indicates his rank and authority, whilst the man beside him is as evidently one of the people. These are obviously the centers of attraction to this vast, excited crowd.

   Turning to a bystander, we ask him if he can explain the meaning of the extraordinary scene.

   "Ah," he replies, "clearly you are strangers in the city, or you would not need to put that question. Yonder is the palace of the Roman Governor, and he is standing there. Those two soldiers behind him, with sheathed axes, are the lictors carrying the insignia of his rank. Beside him is a man called Jesus of Nazareth, whose name for the last three years has been on everyone's lips. He has confined Himself mostly to the northern parts of this country, where He has carried on a great ministry of healing and preaching. Tens of thousands have assembled to hear Him, and this has aroused the envy of our religious leaders, who are determined to make away with Him. That dark-faced man yonder is the High Priest, Caiaphas, and I promise you that he will have his way, as a wild beast pulls down its quarry."

   "What charges are they bringing against Him?" we ask.

   "There's the rub," replies our informant. "They have been trying to trump up a charge against Him for the last three hours. If bribes to false witnesses, and the ransacking of every deed and word capable of being twisted to serve an evil interpretation, could have done it, it would have been done. But neither money nor false swearing could make out a case that

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would hold water. In my opinion He is a white soul, and thousands more think the same. Only half an hour ago, on my way here, I was met by a man I used to know, and as he passed me he said in tones that chilled my heart, 'I've betrayed innocent blood,' and he ought to know, because he has been His intimate companion. They have eaten the same food, slept out under the same skies, and shared cloud and sunshine. If anyone should know, he should. From the desperate look on his face, I expect that by this time he has committed suicide. But besides this, this Jesus has never been known to confess sin, though He is one of the humblest men that ever lived. With us Jews, the holiest of our race, men who claim to have seen the face of God, have been the first to confess that they were undone, the chief of sinners, and the least of saints. But though this man has lived in God, none has ever heard Him sigh in penitence or utter a word of compunction. Besides this, He has been the means of lifting hundreds of debased men and women into pure and shining lives. Pure in heart Himself, He has made them pure! The publicans and sinners believe in Him, and they of all others can detect counterfeits."

   Is that so? Then since God is the Lord and He hath shown us light, bring a white cord and bind us to one of the horns of that altar of surrender and consecration. Here and now let us register ourselves among His followers. All the world beside is smitten with leprosy, but He can make us pure in heart and able to see God.

   A bystander, who has overheard our conversation, says that he can add a further instance to prove that yonder prisoner is no ordinary man. He says : "I was returning home late last night, from a friend's house, when I was attracted by a patrol of armed men, who were evidently set on a night arrest. I followed behind them, until at the entrance of a garden, known as 'the Garden of the Winepress,' I found that they were

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about to arrest this Jesus. But, to my surprise, when He came out to meet them it seemed as though they received a shock of power from His person which flung them backwards on the ground. When they recovered themselves, one of His followers, who clearly knew little about sword exercise, made a stroke at one of the leaders of the band, and nearly severed his ear; whereat yon man, whose wrists were tightly bound, asked liberty for His right hand, and reaching it out, touched and healed the ear, and gave His hand back to be bound. Now I said to myself : 'If He can do that, He is able to free Himself from this troop.' Yet, to my surprise, He allowed Himself to be led as a sheep to the slaughter. I had become so interested that I followed the band back to the High Priest's palace, and managed to get in with the crowd. There I witnessed the most astounding scene of all. As my friend here has told you, they sought all night to establish a charge against Him. Finally, when he saw the whole case breaking down, the High Priest arose and, amid the tense silence of the court, put their prisoner on His oath, and asked if He were the Son of the ever-blessed God. His judges bent forward and hardly breathed as they awaited His reply. He had not spoken before, but being challenged thus, He stood erect, and with a light on His face that seemed the seal and endorsement of the Almighty, He said : 'I am, and one day you shall see me seated at the right hand of Power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.' That sealed His fate. They unanimously agreed that He should die; but, if you had known His character, as the purest and humblest of men, and if you had seen that light, you could not have doubted His assertion that He is God manifest in the flesh."

   Is that so? Is yonder man really God in the likeness of human nature? Is He the mystic ladder that links God and man, the Mediator, the Daysman who can lay His hands upon us both?

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Then fetch a golden cord and bind us to the altar of fellowship and union with Him, that we may realize what all the rites and philosophies of pagan temples have failed to afford. God is the Lord and He has this day shown us light!

   Here a woman, who has been listening attentively, breaks in. "May I speak?" Certainly! "Ah!" she says, "you men may talk about His goodness and deity, but there is more than that which accounts for the love which has poured out to welcome Him from every town and nearly every home in Galilee. He is full of selfless love. I remember that once I was staying at a mountain village, where the only son of his widowed mother had died and was being borne to his burial. At that moment He happened to come up, took in the situation at a glance, stopped the procession, made the bearers lower the bier, removed the cerecloth, took the hand of the young man, though it involved His ceremonial pollution, told him to arise as though He were awakening him from sleep, gave him back to his mother, and passed on without waiting for a word of thanks. He was always doing things like that; and didn't the people love Him! When He visited a town or village the children trooped around, sure of a smile. He never sent them away. I have seen a little boy nestling next to His heart as He spoke to the people. Aye, He is one of the purest, gentlest, most loving of men, and always had a word for those who were weary and heavy laden."

   Again we are arrested. Is not this what the world and we are waiting for? We seem to have been living in the Arctic Zone. Lover and friend can wade only a little distance with us into our "river of sorrow." The big, selfish world rolls past us in its chariot, indifferent to our appeals for help. But is there love in the heart of that lone man which can change winter to summer, tears to smiles, and loneliness to fellowship? If so, thank God for showing us light and love on

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the face of the Son of man. Fetch a blue cord, for blue is the color of depth, of the azure sky, of the deep ocean, of the crevasse and the gentian, and bind us to the third horn of that altar of consecration.

   But, finally, there is one other, who is eager to add his testimony. He says : "I am a native of the land on the farther side of the Jordan. It is a much wilder country than this; as you see, I have no pretense to education or the polite manners of the city. I learned all I know from a marvelous man, who was the son of our wilder life. They called him the Forerunner; his name was John the Baptist. He was too straight for most of them, and they foully murdered him in his prison cell to please a wanton girl. I was standing with him, some three years ago, when yonder man passed before us, and my master said, 'There goes the Lamb of God who will bear away the sin of the world.' I asked him what he meant. He answered that he was not quite sure, but that he had an impression that He would do effectively what the sacrifices of our Temple did only in type. I know nothing more, but when I came by just now I saw the soldiers standing by the three crosses, and I heard one of the High Priest's household say to another, 'If our master gets his way, he will have Jesus of Nazareth on one of these crosses before many hours have passed.' For my part, I believe that that man spoke the literal truth, and if it turns out to be so, you may be sure that He will bear away the sin and punishment, which no animal sacrifice could atone for."

   This is, indeed, new light on the approaching tragedy, which is infinitely more than a tragedy. We are witnessing a sacrifice, but clearly it is absolutely voluntary. All the people around us give the assurance that He could easily have left the country and hidden Himself. But apparently He deliberately put Himself within the reach of His implacable foes.

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One of His sayings is recorded to the effect that He came, not to be ministered to but to minister, and to give His life as ransom for many. Is that so? Is He bearing away my sin? By His stripes can I be healed? Is God in this wonderful man reconciling the world to Himself, by a voluntary sacrifice? Then fetch a crimson cord, the emblem of blood, and bind us to that fourth remaining altar-horn. We need to be forgiven and to be forgiven righteously. If our Creator suffers for us, our redemption is certain. God is the Lord, and He has shown us light on the forgiveness of sin; and that crimson hue shall remind us of its cost.

   While we have been talking thus, a murmur has been rising around us and spreading through the crowd. "Not this man, but Barabbas!" We learn that the latter had raised an insurrection against the Roman Government, in which murder has played a part, and he was to be crucified with two confederates this very afternoon. Clearly, the prediction of our last informant is likely to be realized, and presently Pilate gives sentence as is desired, releasing Barabbas and, after scourging Jesus, delivers Him to be crucified.

   How he must have cringed as through the window Barabbas heard his name shouted by ten thousand throats. His immediate conclusion was that he was going to be lynched as soon as he emerged from the condemned cell. When the jailer came down the corridor to lead him out, may he not have said : "I suppose they are going to tear me limb from limb before I reach the cross." "No, indeed," would be the reply; "lucky for you, your cross is wanted for another, and you are a free man." "A free man! What do you mean? Who is going to take my place?" "Ah, there's the mystery of it! Jesus of Nazareth is to have your cross!" "Jesus of Nazareth! It is impossible! He is the one white soul in the country. I am bad enough, heaven knows, but we bad men know when a man is

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good through and through. Often my men and I have stood in the crowd while He was speaking, and have been almost persuaded to turn over a new leaf! And He is going to die instead of me!" By this time Barabbas has reached the prison entrance. He is saluted by a mass of welcome, and perhaps carried shoulder high, the idol of the mob. But when they let him go, would he not hasten to the city, replace his prison garb by civilian clothes, remove from his person the traces of the prison, and then make for the scene of crucifixion, so altered as to be hardly recognizable? We see him standing before that central cross, after exchanging glances and words with the two other sufferers. He says to himself : "That's where I ought to have been, and I deserved it; but I am free, and He is suffering in my stead my sentence and my pain." I have often thought that that sight led him to a new life, that he was converted on the Day of Pentecost, and that he will be conspicuous amid those in heaven who have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.

   Christ died for the race. He bare our sins in His own body on the tree. He was made sin for us that we might be made God's righteousness in Him. He, the sinless One, who lived in the sphere of life, holiness, peace, and love, voluntarily stepped down into connection with our fallen race, and undertook by His identification with it to bear our just penalty, and stroke, and doom. He was numbered with the transgressors. "The sinless last Adam gathered the entire sinful race of the first Adam in His arms, and took them to Calvary." The stroke fell on Him and on all whom He embraced, and His work is complete for all mankind. Because He possessed uncreated life, He could go down into the sphere of death and rise above it, taking with him all those who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, and honor,

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and incorruption. Even people who have never heard of that wonderful redemption may hereafter participate in it (Romans 2:12-16). But for us all there is the danger of contracting out, as the servant contracted out of his Lord's forgiveness (Matthew 18:28-34). But if you do contract out, you should at least say, "I thank You," to Christ before turning your back on His effort to save you and plunging into eternity "on your own"!

   Before going another step, will you stand before the Cross and say these three sentences, thoughtfully and thankfully :

He bare my sins in His own body on the tree.

He loved me; He gave Himself for me.

He was wounded for my transgressions, bruised for my iniquities, the chastisement of my peace was upon Him, and with His stripes I am healed.

   Sin has built up a wall between our hearts and God; but in Jesus Christ that wall has been thrown down once for all, and now there is nothing to keep us apart except our own blindness and pride. If only we will turn around and open our hearts to Him; if only we will accept the position He offers us, and which is already ours in Christ, there will be nothing to prevent our lives experiencing everything that the father in the parable was prepared to do for his son. All this is implied in the cords that bind us to the altar!

   It is not enough to reach out our hands to receive the forgiveness of our sins, and then to live as we like. To obviate such an inference the apostles are always insisting on our identification with Christ. Everything that is predicated of Christ is true of us, who, by faith, have become identified with Him. In the thought of eternity we were in Him when He died. In Him we arose, alive unto God; in Him we were raised as He ascended above all the powers of hell; in Him we are accepted

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and beloved. The whole New Testament assumes this. "As you died with Christ to the Elemental spirits of the world, why live as if you still belonged to the world? ... Since then you have been raised with Christ, aim at what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God; ... you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Moffatt : Col. 2:20, 3:1-3). "Surrender your very selves to God as living men who have risen from the dead, and surrender your several faculties to God, to be used as weapons to maintain the right!" (Romans 6:13). "For if we have become one with Him by sharing in His death, we shall also be one with Him by sharing His resurrection," not only in the hereafter, but now in our present life (Weymouth : Romans 6:5).

   There can be no doubt that, in the view of her great teachers, the Church is regarded as separated from the world, which cast out the Son of God, and as living on the Pentecostal side of the Cross. This will greatly help us in deciding doubtful matters. Of course, like our Lord during His earthly life, we have to mix with men, to conduct our businesses, to play our part in grave crises; but our behavior is guided by a spirit and by principles which emanate from our union with the risen and ascended Saviour. Then we understand that the principles laid down in the Sermon on the Mount are those which He uttered as "the Word of God," and are of eternal importance. Probably, also, they become the working principles of daily behavior only when we are living in the enjoyment of those heavenly influences which belong to the Pentecostal age and in the energy of the Holy Spirit.

   This thought will help to the solution of many difficult problems. A young girl who had become a true disciple of Christ, had partaken of the Communion, and was teaching in our Sunday school, brought me an invitation which she had received for an evening of fashionable and frivolous amusement.

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Now, I heartily believe in all rational recreation and amusement, and in our own church we have fostered whatever would make a healthy mind in a healthy body. Bright happy faces, high spirits, dexterity in games and sport — all these are consistent, as I believe, with true Christianity. The only caution to be added is that they are means to an end, and not the end. In the present case, however, I had to introduce another fact to my young friend, on which it was necessary that she, not I, should decide her action; for is not the Divine Spirit constantly presenting these problems in order to exercise our judgment, and lead us, on our dead selves, to step up to higher things? I, therefore, drew on paper the Cross. On the left hand I wrote the words, "The World and the Flesh"; on the right, the words, "Ascension and Pentecost." At the foot of the Cross I drew an oblong representing the grave. Then I said, "Under which of these shall I put this invitation?" In order to test her I wrote it on the right hand, along with the Ascension. "No," she said, "it will not do there." I tried to put it next to the crown of thorns, which hung upon the Cross; then next to the grave; but in each case she saw the incongruity, and, finally, at her own request, I wrote the word on the left hand, under "The World and the Flesh." She now saw that if she accepted the invitation, she would have to pass from resurrection ground backwards through the grave for a stolen excursion to the world's side of the Cross from which she had been redeemed.

   But, for the most part, the redeemed lose their taste for the things that once charmed them. The old Greek myth tells of the siren sisters, who by their songs allured sailors from their course to their doom. Ulysses saved his crew by tying his sailors to their seats, while he, with stopped ears, steered the boat. But Orpheus did better. He sang so sweetly as to overpower and drown the siren songs. The latter is the way of Christ.

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Those who follow Him do not walk in darkness, but have the Light of life; and with that light they become oblivious to the lights of the cruel wreckers along the beach. A young working-girl, speaking of a certain form of amusement, said : "I went every evening as soon as I had had my tea; I thought I couldn't live without it; but when I found Jesus, and He found me, I lost all my taste for it. I went the other night to see what it was that had held me, but I came out in ten minutes, and shall never go again." Surely, Scripture says truly : "Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." To this also our cords bind us, but it is to secure our perfect freedom.

   It was so with Christ Himself: "Having been made perfect through death, he became the author of eternal salvation to them who obey him." It was so with Paul : "To us who are being saved the word of the cross is the power of God" (Romans 1:16).

   The grave difficulty with us all is the ego which has its seat in the soul-life. The apostle calls it the flesh. He says : "In me, that is, in my flesh" (Romans 7:18). Clearly, then, in his nomenclature the flesh is me! Spell flesh backwards, dropping the h — s-e-l-f. We are now dealing not with selfishness but with selfness. We realize that there is the constant obtrusion of self in our most hallowed exercises. Even when we are singing God's praises, we are inclined to think how well we can do it, and in our most earnest appeals to men to come to Christ we are tempted to be proud of our humility, and to congratulate ourselves on our knowledge of divine things. The disguises and chameleon colors of the self-life deceive even the elect.

   Dr. Tauler, Luther's predecessor, was a very learned and eloquent man. All Strasbourg hung on his words, and he was

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somewhat startled, and perhaps rather annoyed, when Nicolas of Basle crossed the mountains to say, "Dr. Tauler, you must die." But his resentment became repentance, as his faithful monitor showed him, as in a glass, his real self, proud of his learning, popularity, and insight into the truth. Finally, he left his pulpit, retired for meditation and heart-searching, and learned the secret of humility and selflessness at the Cross. When he returned and resumed his ministry, though he offended the high and learned, he preached sermons that live today in their English translation as high models of a devout and helpful ministry.

   In the person of our Lord the likeness of our sinful flesh was nailed to the Cross. God sent His own Son in a body like that of sinful human nature, and by dying He pronounced sentence upon it. (See Dr. Weymouth's translation of Romans 8:3.) God therefore has condemned the I-life, has counted it a felon, has condemned it to eternal condemnation and crucifixion. Whenever, therefore, the "I" intrudes, we must at once consign it to its proper place. We must treat it as a criminal. Many voices will cry, "Come down from the Cross"; but we must not heed. "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts."

   But, you say, it is impossible to live like this. You fear that it may induce a harmful introspection and a morbid sensitiveness. But there is no fear of either, if only you remember that you have to hand over all that to the Holy Spirit. While you are occupied with Christ, His voice, His personality, His love and grace, the Holy Spirit who reveals Him will see to the other side of this great process. It was by the Eternal Spirit that Christ offered Himself without spot to God, and it is by the Eternal Spirit that the flesh, or the self-life, is going to be kept to the Cross.

   "If you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body,

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you shall live." "The Spirit lusts against the flesh." Keep in touch with the Holy Spirit, occupy yourself with Christ, and the Blessed Paraclete will do the rest. This attitude also will be effected by our fourfold cords!

   "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The Cross, it standeth fast, Hallelujah!

Defying every blast, Hallelujah!

The winds of hell have blown,

The world its hate has shown,

Yet it is not overthrown :

Hallelujah, for the Cross!

It is to the warm, tender atmosphere of loving hearts that the unchecked, ungrieved Spirit unfolds His secrets.

From Our Daily Homily

Chapter 3

The Law of the Spirit

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. — ROMANS 8:2.

BEFORE PROCEEDING FURTHER LET US SAY, FOR THE PURPOSE of emphasizing the fact, that the enduement and energy of the Holy Spirit are governed by law. They are not won primarily by an agony of prayer, nor characterized necessarily by intense emotion, but by our careful obedience to the conditions and laws which govern their operation. That prayer and emotion will sooner or later visit the soul which has claimed the portion from the Ascended Saviour is certain, but these are incidental. The primary condition is the "obedience of faith." Two citations from the New Testament place this beyond doubt. In his final address to the Sanhedrin, Peter asserted that the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey; while, in the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul teaches that we receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.

   It is true that our Lord compared the action of the Holy Spirit on its subject to the wind that bloweth where it listeth, and it is true that we know not the plains over which it has swept nor the seas over which it may go; but we are sure that the winds obey law equally with the seasons and the tides. From the daily press we learn that the course of the wind in a given locality is predicted by meteorological science, and we know that this could not be done if the winds were left to their own lawless way.

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All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee,

All chance, direction that thou canst not see!

   The outstanding distinction between what we know as civilization and the life of the aboriginal native consists in our employment of great natural forces, of which the child-races were ignorant, or before which they trembled. They fulfilled their purpose by the skill and energy of their physical constitution. Their deft hand, strong muscle, swift foot, supplied their simple wants. We, on the other hand, the children of this highly civilized age, have learned to yoke an infinite number of forces to the chariot of progress. We have compelled these Boanergic Samsons to surrender the secret of their strength and toil for us in their prison-houses. The native paddles his own canoe; we sit at our ease, and are borne across the ocean by the actinic rays of the sun, stolen from his beams by primeval forests, and imprisoned for untold ages in the cellars of the earth.

   These natural forces had always been within man's reach, throbbing in the atmosphere, or imprisoned in the earth; but they evaded capture, because the child races did not set themselves to discover the conditions or laws by which they were controlled. Day unto day uttered speech, night unto night whispered knowledge, but untutored man failed to understand. He did not set himself to spell out their language or to extract their secret.

   Then a new era dawned. Men suddenly awoke to discover the uniformity of Nature's action. May we not believe that the divine Spirit girded men like Galileo, Newton, Pascal, Stephenson, Marconi, as He did Cyrus of old? By close observation they have deciphered the hieroglyphics of creation, and have invented machinery which so precisely fulfills the principles on which these Titan forces operate, that they have

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no option but to toil in our service and do our bidding. They are very imperious. If there is the least flaw in our obedience they are obdurate in refusing their help. Your wife or child may be dying, but your motor will not carry you to their side if in the smallest degree you have slurred or evaded the conditions on which the petrol is prepared to act. But when we fulfill her conditions, Nature will sweat in our factories, propel our ships, drag our railway trains, flash our messages, and broadcast our music or our speech.

   When we speak thus of these mighty forces and the laws which govern their operation, we must never forget that they are the expression of the mind of the Creator, and communicate the pulse of His power. Their laws are promulgated by His will. "He spake, and it was done. He commanded, and it stood fast." There can be no thoughts without a thinker, no energy without a personal agent. They, therefore, who work in factories or laboratories should be as reverent as those who preach in pulpits, for if they only understand their calling, they also are fellow workers with God. Now, just as God has put forth His energy on the lowest level of natural forces, and has impressed on each of them their several laws, so He has put forth His energy on the highest level, the level of the spiritual, and on that also He has impressed the law of its operation. The analogy is perfect.

   It has been suggested that this conception of the spiritual kingdom underlay Daniel's suggestion to Nebuchadnezzar that "the Heavens do rule"; and that both John the Baptist and our Lord referred to it when they announced the near advent of the Kingdom of Heaven, or, as Luke puts it, of God. Be that as it may, there is no doubt that, in this sense, Jesus Christ is the Door, and that for all who believe in Him He has opened the way to reservoirs of power which can never be exhausted. The simplest and humblest may set in motion

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waves of holy influence which change the face of continents! How else can we account for the effect of the life work of Luther, Wesley, Hudson Taylor, or D.L. Moody?

   Paul is never weary of insisting that the results of his life work were not due to the persuasive words of human wisdom. He refused to employ excellency of speech when proclaiming the mystery of God. Though he walked in the flesh, he did not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of his warfare were not of the flesh, but mighty before God for the casting down of strongholds, and for bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. His sole reliance was on the indwelling, outflowing, and demonstration of the Spirit and of Power. Has there not been a grave decline from this position on the part of many who occupy the pulpit at the present hour? They are earnest students, they are careful in the preparation of their sermons, they are painstaking in the exercise of their responsible duties, but they are breaking their hearts in disappointment, because they do not avail themselves of their resources in the Risen Christ.

   There are two directions in which, especially, the power of the Holy Spirit can be experienced. When Barnabas and Paul returned from their first missionary journey, they accounted for the extraordinary results which had accrued from their labors by rehearsing what God had done by, or through them, and all things that He had done with them, or in partnership with them. It was He who had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. These two propositions are clearly distinguished in the Greek original and are luminous with meaning :

   1. The Holy Spirit is prepared to work through the nature which is yielded to Him. This does not imply that we become automatons. At every moment we are called upon to exercise our will and choice, but we cultivate the habit of asking Him to illuminate our mind, suggest our thought, and direct our speech.

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"He that is of God heareth the words of God." This has been the happy experience of many of God's chosen instruments. For instance, Hudson Taylor, one Sunday morning, while walking along the seashore at Brighton, England, heard the same inner voice, which he knew so well, say to him : "Hudson Taylor, I am going to evangelize Inland China, and if you will walk with me, I will do it through you."

   As a young man, D.L. Moody was walking with two men of God in Merrion Gardens, Dublim, and heard one say to the other : "The modern world has yet to learn what God can do through a man who is wholly yielded to Him." He left them at once, and going to his bedroom in the hotel, consecrated his manhood to God with the cry : "Let this be true of me, as I yield my whole being for Thy use."

   Dr. Wilbur Chapman, the well-known evangelist, often narrated the following incident. When he was fulfilling the work of the ministry at Wanamaker Church, Philadelphia, he became so discouraged with the paucity of the results, that one Monday morning he began to write a letter of resignation. He felt that he had better return to a business life than fail to meet the requirements of that important sphere. "While the ink was still wet," he said, "the servant brought in the morning newspaper, which contained an address of my own delivered at the Northfield conference, in which I had happened to say that the work which really counts is not that which we do for God, but which He does through us." That sentence revolutionized his life. As soon as the servant had retired, he knelt at his table and asked that from that hour his whole nature might be so absolutely at God's disposal as to be the pure channel for the living water, or, as the early Christians used to say, what a man's hand is to himself. This was the intelligent act of a surrendered will. To do God's will became henceforward the origin, motive, and gladness of his life. I heard him

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tell this story to a great company of ministers gathered in the ancient Indian forest at Winona, and I shall never forget the profound impression it produced. Scores of them, as they passed out of the forest through the gateway which led back to the town, said as they gripped our hands : "No longer for Him, but He through my yielded will." I learned afterwards that revivals broke out in several directions through the western states as the result of that meeting.

   2. But those who are thus surrendered to God may also confidently count on the co-operation of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word rendered in the English as "communion" is the same as that used of the partnership of James and John with Peter in the fishing trade (2 Cor. 13:14; Luke 5:7). When we go forth to catch men for God, we may count on the partnership of the Holy Spirit. When we stand on trial, as Peter and John did before the Sanhedrin, we may cite the co-witness of the Paraclete, whom we summon to stand by our side. When we affirm the great truths of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit's "Yea" will be forthcoming, affirming the truth. It is repeatedly said of the heroes and saints in Hebrews 11 that they had witness borne to them.

   How often in my ministry — if I may be allowed to speak of my own experience — have I had some such experience as Peter had, when, against all the rules of his craft, he let down his nets in the glare of the moon, because Christ bade it. But He, who gave the command against all precedent, filled the nets to breaking. Then, as Peter strained every muscle to hold the heavily laden net, he became aware of the marvelous share contributed by that silent man who sat in the stern. May I not appeal to all Christian workers to place themselves and their boats at the disposal of Jesus Christ? Obey His orders; reckon on His enabling; be assured of His co-operation through the Holy Spirit; and you will find the nets breaking

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with the weight of a success which will humble you before Him and elicit the confession of your profound unworthiness!

   This conception of the co-operation of the Holy Spirit is especially applicable to those who are set over regular congregations of faithful people. It is interesting to note that Cardinal Manning, in his treatise on "The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost," lays great emphasis on the word "sat" in Acts 2:3. He says that when the one Paraclete or Advocate took the seat at the right hand of God, the other descended to the seat or throne of the Church; and that this was the origin of the phrase "the Holy See" (from the Latin verb sedere, to sit). We will not argue the point as concerning the Church of Rome, but we may appropriate the thought in connection with any stated gathering of believers met in the name of Christ. Wherever such a gathering is found, there the Holy Spirit broods, and as the servant of God proclaims the Word of truth, the Spirit authenticates and enforces it, so that if there came in one who is unbelieving and unlearned, he is convicted and judged by all he hears; the secrets of his heart are made manifest and "so he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is present indeed."

   When this thought lays hold on a minister of Christ, he realizes the necessity of maintaining the purity of the Church, that no permitted evil may grieve or quench the co-operation of his great Ally. It was this that led Dr. A.J. Gordon of Boston to dismiss an operatic quartet, which had led the singing of his congregation, but were notoriously irreligious; and to discontinue raising church funds by ice-cream suppers, which were scenes of unworthy vanity and display. The platform from which the Holy Spirit operates must be cleansed of all that would neutralize His help.

   One of the most conspicuous instances of the co-operation

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of the Holy Spirit is that furnished in the house of Cornelius. We are told (Acts 11:15) that when Peter began to speak the Holy Spirit fell on the assembled Church. It was an august occasion, designed to prove that the gift of Pentecost was intended, not for Jews and proselytes only, but for the great world of men. As Joppa looked out on the Mediterranean, which washed the shores of the Gentile world, so that interruption of Peter's address by the Spirit of God was intended to accentuate the divine purpose of including the whole Gentile world in that supreme donation.

   What Peter intended to say, in addition to his great opening words, must be left to conjecture. It was as though the Spirit said : "Stand aside; thou hast opened well, I will now take up and conclude thy discourse!" Happy would it be if we were subject to similar interruption! This surely is the copartnership of the Holy Spirit, the alliance between the human and the divine agents in the evangelization of the world.

   We ought to add a sentence here to the effect that the Holy Spirit's ministry is not limited to His work through and with His chosen instrument, but enhances our own powers. When a piece of dull coal is baptized in flame the heat releases the latent energy received centuries before from the sunbeams in the primeval world. So, when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit and in fire, as John the Baptist predicted, the love of God releases as well as imparts. He releases vast moral energies which had been stored in our subconscious nature; and we realize the possibility of fulfilling the inspiring commission of one of the greatest missionaries the world has ever seen : "Go! Set the whole world on fire and in flames!"

   The presence and work of the Holy Spirit are always associated with our consciousness of Christ. "He shall glorify me, for he shall take of mine and declare it unto you." In the present

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dispensation the whole object of the Spirit's work is to shed light on the face of Jesus. I can never forget a young Glasgow merchant breaking in on a discussion of theological students by saying : "I have a factory and a private counting-house, and if ever I lose the sense of the presence of Christ I go alone, lock the door, and ask the Holy Spirit to show me wherein I have grieved Him and caused Him to withdraw His light from the face of my Lord; and when I have learned it, I go back to the place where I dropped the thread of obedience and confess my fault. I have unbroken fellowship with my Lord; for the work of the Spirit is to make Jesus a living, bright reality." We broke up in tumultuous joy, and went to our several homes, and to one at least of the group there was so deep a realization of Christ that he walked round and round the table, on which the untasted supper was laid, saying, "The Lord whom I sought has suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, in whom I delight."

   Clearly, the sculptor of the monument of Phillips Brooks, which stands hard by the church in Boston where he exercised one of the greatest ministries of modern times, must have had something of the same in mind when he carved in the same pulpit a figure of the bishop in his characteristic attitude, with his Master standing just behind him, with His hand on His servant's shoulder. The Holy Spirit in the great preacher's heart made him aware of his Lord close by, and would enable him to magnify Him to the people as he proclaimed the evangel of His truth and grace.

   In one of the sweet idylls of the long ago, we are told that Abraham sent the trusted steward of his household to fetch a bride for Isaac from the ancestral home in the Euphrates valley. The old man's artless narrative, the evident indications of God's guiding Providence, and the gleam of the precious gifts won the maiden's heart, and she arose with her damsels

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to become the wife of his master's son. We can imagine that during that long journey Eliezer would walk beside her camel and tell everything he could remember of Isaac from his birth upwards. His whole conversation circles about her bridegroom, and the girl's heart already had given him its love before he claimed it in person. In their greeting the steward was almost forgotten; and if, in after days, Rebekah inquired more particularly about him, might not Isaac have reminded her that for six weeks she had enjoyed his company, and that surely that had afforded ample opportunity for her to make his acquaintance? But she might have answered very readily : "Indeed, husband, he never gave me the chance to learn anything about himself, because his one theme was you. He never ceased to talk about you, and always turned the conversation back to the man on whose errand he had come." This is a kind of allegory of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He has come to woo the Church for her Bridegroom; therefore He hides Himself lest He might distract us from the utmost loyalty and love to Christ that we are capable of giving. But, in some future age, we shall perhaps know Him in His own glorious being.

   A modern school of thought, which is obtaining considerable vogue, holds that God is within each of us, in the depths of our subconscious self, and that it is possible for any one to draw on this hidden reservoir of power and vitality. A formula has been suggested for general use, which has at least the merit of substituting a healthy and hopeful outlook for the pessimism and depression of protracted ill-health. But this system falls far short of the teachings of the New Testament. The difference between them is that between a cistern and a spring. You may exhaust the one, but the other is fed from the mountains, and is perennial.

   Each soul has a moral sense which naturally points to God

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as the infinite source of righteousness and well-being. As the needle points to the pole, so does conscience imply the existence of the Creator; but this instinctive recognition is far removed from the teachings of Christ, who promised that the Father would come with Him to find a home in the heart of obedient faith. "If a man love me, he will keep my word and the Father will love him, and we will come and make our abode with him." This would be no boon if by nature God were resident within. In his carefully worded address, Paul spoke of God as not far from any one of us, but this is a very different position from that of autosuggestion. We live, and move and have our being in God; but He stands at the door and knocks! By nature, according to the New Testament, man is "without God in the world." Before we can draw at will on the divine resources we must become partakers of the divine nature. Then only will the eternal spring arise perennially.

   "If there be any fellowship of the Spirit ..." Those who reckon most of the "fellowship of the Spirit" in their public ministration and service to the world will be characterized by deep humility. If their faces shine they will not wist it. If garlands of adulation and praise are offered them, they will immediately hand them over to their Lord. Like John the Baptist, they will be glad to decrease and be forgotten, if only Jesus is loved, trusted, and exalted.

   They will also be much in prayer. Sometimes they will simply lie, like John, on the Master's bosom. At other times they will be pleading for souls with strong cryings and tears. And, again, they will be wrestling beside the Jabbok, refusing to let the angel go until he has blessed them. The Spirit travaileth within them with groanings that cannot be uttered as He leads them to sympathize with the deep schemes and purposes of the Almighty.

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   They will enjoy a delightful freedom from the weary chains of moods, of fears for the future, and of anxiety for the present. They will live in the warm zone of the love of God, and be anointed with the oil of joy. The garment of heaviness will be exchanged for that of praise. The traces of worry and fretting care will disappear from their countenance, and the peace of God will sentinel their hearts and minds. They shall delight themselves in the Almighty and lift up their faces to God, and all things will become new. Beholding and reflecting the glory of Jesus, they will be changed into the same image. Weights will be abandoned and besetting sins will be conquered. There will be a growing tenderness and sweetness, with new strength and courage. Forgetting things behind, they will press on to apprehend that for which they were apprehended of Christ Jesus. The "all of self and none of Thee" will become exchanged for "none of self and all of Thee." The channel beds will deepen and the banks widen as such draw nearer to the eternal ocean. Then it will be said of them as of another of God's chosen saints, that "having completed forty years of his age and twenty of service, he passed away to the Lord Jesus, whom he loved with his whole heart, with his whole mind, with his whole strength, following Him most perfectly, and running after Him most swiftly, and at the last reaching Him most gloriously, who, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns for ever and ever!"

   The Word of Christ will dwell in them richly. To them it will be as God's dictaphone; and they will read off what His Spirit has spoken throughout its sacred contents. It will be in their heart and on their lips. Containing as it does the results of those explorations of God's nature which were achieved by the saints of old, it will incite them to tread in the saints' tracks, verifying and discovering for themselves. For them

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fresh light will be ever breaking forth from God's Word. To their spiritual senses it will be luminous with an inner beauty, sweeter than honey to the taste. Those who knew Dr. Maclaren of Manchester intimately bear witness that whatever guests might be visiting his home, he would excuse himself from their company between nine and ten A.M. that he might sit quietly in his study with the English Bible on his knee, meditating on its familiar pages until they yielded their precious ore.

   But, above all, there will be a growing conformity to Christ. Old things will pass away, and you will learn to receive that abundance of grace which made a Luther, a Knox, a Ridley, a Havergal, a Spurgeon, and a Moody. The stream is flowing past your door, but you must utilize its power to drive your water-wheel. The same electricity is in the air, but you must learn to yoke it to your life. The freight train is in the station, waiting to be unloaded; the ship is in the dock, waiting for its discharge. Take, take, of the Water of Life, freely!

   We do not blame the maniac who seeks to fire a cathedral; we simply confine him; his will is impaired. But we condemn the man who clearly meant to take his brother's life; though the deed itself was frustrated, his will was murder. And what we are with respect to one another, that we are also with respect to Almighty God. His one complaint against us is not that we are dull and stupid; or that we do not feel more deeply; or that we are not swifter and stronger in our obedience — but that we are not willing. "Ye will not come unto me ..."

From Christian Living

Chapter 4

The Problem of our Personal Sinnership

If we say that we have no sin ... If we confess our sins ... — JOHN 1:8-9.

THERE IS CLEARLY A PROFOUND DISTINCTION BETWEEN what we think and what we say about sin, and the truth concerning it. In the opening passage of his first epistle, John inserts three hypothetical "ifs," and follows each with his corrective "if." It is well worth our while to consider them, always remembering that the first two verses of the second chapter should be linked up with the first.

   In the second of these couplets quoted above there is a clear distinction between sin and sins. Sin is the root-principle, the assertion of "I," the result of heredity, the condition into which we are born as children of humanity. The theologians describe it as "original sin." Those who bowl know that in each ball there is a bias, which, when it leaves the hand, will sooner or later deflect it from the straight. That bias affords a precise analogy to the drift of our nature toward the self-life. As the center letter of sin is "I," so the predominating tendency of us all is to circle around our own interests, tastes, whims, possessions, and even the respect which we consider to be our due. The needle is diverted from the pole by the mass of metal on the ship.

   When we are regenerated by the Spirit of God we are lifted

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into a new sphere, the sphere of the "Not-I." This is love, in its divine significance of altruism, that is, otherism. From that moment there will be conflict between the two, as of old between the house of David and the house of Saul, in which the latter becomes always weaker, the former always stronger.

   In one of the greatest pieces of self-anatomy and self-revelation on record (Romans 7:7-25), Paul shows how for long he battled against the self-life by the energy of the nobler and better convictions of the soul. It must not be forgotten that the soul is endowed with moral instincts, with conscience, with a knowledge of right and wrong. Even Horace, whose soul was vitiated by the poisonous air of Roman society, confesses that while he approves the better, he does the worse. But the soul, with its noblest ideals and resolves, is unable to accomplish its purpose. Still, the pitiful confession is extorted : "The good I would, I do not, and the evil I would not, that I do." There are many Christian people who are making the same mistake. They are endeavoring to conquer the evil bias of their dispositions by the energy of their own resolution, apart from the spiritual forces which are within their reach. They are either unaware of their provision, or for some reason are accustomed to their use. Satan cannot cast out Satan; the soul cannot exorcise its own tyrants; water cannot rise above its own level; the fulcrum of the lever must be outside the lever itself.

   In three wonderful consecutive chapters in his Epistle to the Romans, the apostle explains the great answer which the religion of Christ gives to those yearnings after deliverance, victory, and freedom.

   "Cut him dead." In the sixth chapter the keynote is, "Reckon yourself dead indeed unto sin." The apostle does not say that the sin-principle is dead, but that we are to reckon ourselves dead to it. The distinction is a very real and valuable one.

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Suppose that a woman finds that her husband is unfaithful to her and she obtains a divorce; if she meets him afterwards in the street or elsewhere she cuts him dead. If he makes an offer of resuming their old association she doesn't deign even to answer. Even though her life is stripped of its former comforts and luxuries she will refuse to receive anything from his hands. When the maid-servant recognized Peter as having been one of the associates of Christ, he vehemently repudiated the suggestion. He denied it and swore, saying, "I do not know the man." It is with a similar vehemence that we should repudiate and put off the old man with his deeds.

   There is a practice, I have been told, in fashionable circles, to tell the maid that the lady of the house is not at home to certain people on certain days. When the self-life calls on us, and wishes to enter the house of our life, the apostle suggests that we should say, "I am not at home to you." He also suggests that we should be constantly willing to render our members as instruments of righteousness unto God. In other words, he urges us to live on the positive side of our nature, so that the Lord may work in and through us of His own good pleasure.

   In the seventh chapter (verses 1-6) the apostle takes a further forward step. We used above the illustration of a woman who had divorced her husband and refused to own him or to recognize him in the street. But we will suppose that after their divorce she had become the wife of a perfectly fine man, in every way suited to win and hold her affections and respect. If now she meets her former husband she will present, not the mere negative of former days : "I will have nothing more to do with you," but the joyous positive : "I am perfectly happy. I have met one who understands me, who satisfies and engrosses my every thought. He is the chiefest among ten

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thousand, and the altogether lovely." This, says the apostle, is the true attitude of the Christian. "We are married to another, even to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God." We have died to what once held us, so that we can serve in a new way, not under the written code of "Thou shalt" or "Thou shalt not," but in the Spirit.

   This is what Dr. Chalmers called the expulsive power of a new affection. Once, when he was riding on the box seat of a coach traveling through the Highlands of Scotland, the route took them along a narrow ledge of the mountain side — on the one side the steep mountain slope and on the other a deep precipice. On this ledge one of the four horses took fright, and there was acute danger that the coach and all its occupants would be flung to instant death. Immediately the driver began to whip the shying horse with all his might, causing such pain that it forgot its fright and began to pull at its traces. Dr. Chalmers asked the driver why he had flogged the animal so unmercifully, and got his answer : "I had to make him forget his fear by giving him something else to think about." Instantly this phrase formulated itself in the doctor's mind, and he said to himself, "The expulsive power of a new affection." This is the exact equivalent of the apostle's thought. May we not ask the Holy Spirit to shed abroad in our hearts the love of Jesus, that we may be sensitive against the least things that would be foreign to His holy nature, or bring the tiniest film of distance between us? Directly we love, we become instinctively aware of the smallest incident which would bring pain or distaste to our beloved. When the wife of Tigranes came out of the royal tent she was asked what she thought of its furniture, and especially of the King himself, and she replied that she had no eyes, save for the man (her husband), who had said that he would gladly give himself to

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death if she might be spared. Yes child of God, you have Christ's honor entrusted to your keeping! Do not give Him needless pain!

   In the eighth chapter we enter a new world. It is like the journey through the Mount Cenis tunnel. On this side of the Alps, storms, avalanches, snow-clad mountains; on the other side, the fair sun-bathed plains of Italy. In Romans 6, negation; 7, union; 8, possession! The spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells within our surrendered natures. We receive into our hearts the spirit of sonship. This spirit testifies along with our own spirit, and we enjoy in anticipation the full joys of the acknowledged sonship of our Father's home. The Holy Spirit pleads within us. We know His mind, and feel the pulse of His energy. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which we have received from God. He is within it, holding it until it is changed into the likeness of the body of the glorified Christ by the same power which enables Him to make all things subservient to Himself.

   In the meanwhile, if the self-life threatens to break out, He checks and masters it. The flesh may lust against the spiritual life, but it encounters not our own frail and feeble resolutions, which it might easily break down, but the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, so that we may not do what otherwise we might. That is the negative pole of the Holy Spirit's operation; but on the positive pole He is exalting the beauty and love of Jesus, so that we cannot see for the glory of that light. This is the teaching of the chosen teacher of us Gentiles in Galatians 5:16-26.

   Learn from the gull's flight. How often one had stood on the deck of an ocean-going steamer to watch the wonder and beauty of flight. The bird, of course, does not float in the air, and is kept there only by the careful balance maintained between the down pull of gravitation and the counteraction of

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the spirit of life. The one is like the pull of the cord, or string, held by the boy; the other is like the expanded face of the kite exposed to the breeze. The kite flies because that balance is maintained, and the bird flies because the attraction of the earth is met by the elasticity and rebound of the air as it is struck downwards by the wings. The law of the spirit of life in the bird's throbbing heart makes it free from the law of earth-attraction. Let the sportsman kill that life, the dead weight falls.

   Let us regard that natural parable as illustrating Christian experience. There is certainly the down pull of former habits, of unchecked desires, and of the tempter's suggestions; but the Holy Spirit communicates to us the very life which fills the heart of Jesus, and the regularity and quality of that life is more than enough to emancipate us from the law of sin which is in our members.

   Sins. The Greek word for sin is "to miss the mark." When the prodigal returned to his father his first word was, "Father, I have missed the mark." There are two kinds of sin into which we are prone to fall : the negative, because we have not done the things that we ought to have done; and the positive, because we have done the things that we ought not to have done. We are constantly coming short of God's glory; and when we are off our guard and walking carelessly, we may be suddenly tripped up and overtaken by a fault.

   The General Confession and the Shorter Catechism are therefore thoroughly Scriptural when they classify sins as those of omission as well as those of commission.

   Thus the true definition of sin is the want of conformity to the will of God, as well as the positive transgression of His law. It is very necessary to use this two-pronged fork! Imagine that a number of men are on their way to the enlistment station. We will suppose the standard is six feet. They are all

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under that height, but the tallest of the group magnifies the fact that he is a clear two inches above the best of them. It may be so, but he will be as certainly rejected as the shortest, because he comes short when measured without fear or favor. You may be better than scores of men in the circle of your acquaintance, but you will need the salvation of Christ equally with the worst. There is no difference between you and them. You must both be justified freely by the grace of God through faith. The blood of Jesus Christ must cleanse you even from sins of which you are unaware, as the tear-water is ever flowing over the miner's eye, cleansing the pupil and keeping it bright.

   For dealing with positive sins which you have committed or into which you have been betrayed, the following positions should be taken :

   1. Do not hide nor cloak your sins before the face of your heavenly Father, but confess them to Him at once. Do not wait for the hour of evening prayer, nor even for the opportunity of being alone, but right there, in the busy street or wrangling mart, lift up your face to Christ and confess your sin with a penitent, meek and obedient heart. Do not excuse yourself, do not palliate your fault, do not implicate your brother. Call a spade a spade!

   2. It is not enough to confess to Christ. If you have sinned against another, leave there your gift before the altar, first go and be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift. It may be that you will have in some way to make a substantial reparation for wrong done. You must confess the wrong in so many words, and make good.

   3. If you have lost your temper and spoken in hot anger, it is not enough to be extraordinarily pleasant. You must be more definite and explicit than that. Even though you have to apologize to your servant and ask forgiveness from an

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employee it must be done! If you desire complete forgiveness from God or man there must be candid uncovering of the wound, or mortification may set in.

   4. We must not confess sins generally, but particularly. Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah, must be taken. To say generally, "I pray Thee to forgive my sins," is too indefinite a statement to meet the case, though, on the other hand, we must avoid becoming morbid and introspective. Do not pride yourself on the amplification of your confession, but ask the Holy Spirit if He is satisfied. If, after a pause, He says nothing, pass on to thank God that the filthy garments have been taken from you, that you have become attired in a change of raiment. Then ask that a fair miter may be placed on your head.

   5. Dare to claim to be put back into the same place which you occupied before you fell. When I was a little boy in a Dame's school, and I spoke to the lad next to me, I was sent to the bottom of the class, and had to work my way back again, through days and weeks. God does not treat us so! When sin is confessed, it is put behind His back into the depths of the ocean of oblivion. Though it is sought for it cannot be found. "If the wicked turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and do that which is lawful and right, none of his transgressions that he hath committed shall be remembered against him." When God forgives, He forgets. As David puts it, and he has reason to know, "he restoreth my soul," that is, He puts me back in the old place at His table, and in His love there is no shadow cast by turning.

   6. Remember that Christ is willing to wash your feet, as in John 13; but He has much else to do, and we should see to it that we do not give Him needless trouble or difficulty on our account. We should rather help Him by washing one another's feet.

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   7. Let the memory of your own failures make you very tender and gentle with others. If a man be overtaken in a fault do not blaze it abroad, do not mention it to another except to elicit his prayer and co-operation to set the offender right, in a spirit of meekness. "When thou hast turned again, strengthen thy brethren." This notice was printed in large letters in the advertisement column of a daily newspaper : "Whoever stole a lot of hides on the fifth day of the present month is hereby informed that their owner has a sincere wish to be his friend. If poverty tempted him to this false step, the owner will gladly put him in the way of obtaining money by means more likely to bring him peace of mind." That notice saved a man who was being swept down the torrent!

   8. Always remember that the pardon of sin has been won by the death of Christ. Do not plead for it agonizingly, but claim it humbly. God is faithful and just to forgive, that is, He is faithful to His promises and just to His Son. "He delighteth in mercy!" He will abundantly pardon!

   You may say that this makes sin too easy, and that if forgiveness can be obtained so easily men will sin and sin again. But remember, when the two women stood before Solomon, that she who was the real mother of the babe would forfeit the child to the other rather than see it suffer!

   It may be asked, Where does penitence come in? Is there not need for that godly sorrow which weeps at His feet? Yes, certainly, but it is not required as the price of forgiveness. Forgiveness has been purchased by the sacrifice of Christ. We need add nothing to that; but when we are forgiven, the sorrow of genuine penitence will break out and flow freely.

   We must distinguish between penitence and repentance. Repentance is an act of the will, which arises from the conviction that certain ways of life are wrong, mistaken, hurtful, and grieving to God. We determine to turn over a new leaf,

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to look to Him whose spirit has pleaded with us. It is the right-about-face of the military officer. It is an act of the will, energized and quickened by the spirit of God. It may be accounted as the other side of faith. They are two aspects of the same act; the two sides of a coin. Often it is absolutely unemotional, but it is always resolute.

   When we are forgiven, when we realize how much our sin has cost Christ, when we review our mistakes and sins against God and man, we become deeply moved. We know that we are forgiven, but we cannot forgive ourselves. That is penitence! It will always follow us, as a veiled figure, to the gate of the eternal city! Speaking for myself, I think that I shall sometimes have to slip away to some humble door amidst the many mansions, some sheltering shade, that I may weep quietly. Is not this the reason why we are told that God will wipe away all tears? Alas, some of us will need a good deal of such divine ministry, though we know ourselves forgiven!

   We dare not make light of sin or of sins. The blessed ease with which we received forgiveness must never blind us to the price by which that forgiveness was purchased. The anguish of the sense of separation which came to our Saviour when He bore our sins was so great that He feared He would die in Gethsemane before He could reach the Cross. With strong cries He entreated for help that He might be able to fulfill the purpose of eternity, and was heard in the thing He feared. Sin must be very terrible to have cost Him so dear!

   Many of the greatest saints, like Augustine, Bunyan, and George Fox, have been permitted to look down into the crater while God has held their hand. Fox tells us in his diary :

   I was fasted much, walked abroad in solitary places many days, and often took my Bible and sat in hollow trees and lonesome places till night came on, and frequently in the night walked about by myself ....

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... Oh, the everlasting love of God to my soul! When my torments were great, then was His love exceeding great. When all my hopes were gone, and I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could I tell what to do, then, oh, then, I heard a voice which said, 'There is one, even Christ, that can speak to thy condition.' When I heard it, my heart did leap for joy ... I saw that there was an ocean of darkness and death. Also an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. In that, also, I saw the infinite love of God and I had great openings.

   His day, His Book, the doctrines of evangelical truth, His honor, are among the vessels which we are to carry through the world. We, too, must be holy, cleansing ourselves ... and not touching any unclean thing.

From Our Daily Homily

Chapter 5

Touch No Unclean Thing

Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the articles of the Lord’s house.— ISAIAH 52:11.

THESE STIRRING WORDS MUST REFER TO THE SAME SCENE that is described in Ezra 8, which records the return journey of a large party of Jews from Babylon to their own land. The weary seventy years of exile had run their course, Cyrus had given the edict for the restoration of the chosen people to the land of their fathers, and a halt was called beside the great river to gather up the stragglers, and to prepare the whole expedition for its march across the long expanse of sand which intervenes between the strip of green pasture land that bordered on the river of their own Gilead.

   While halting there, Ezra sent for a body of priests to accompany their march. He was especially eager to secure their presence, as he was at a loss for the transportation of the sacred vessels of the temple, gold and silver, which had been carried off by Nebuchadnezzar, but had been restored by Cyrus. It was not permitted that common or ordinary hands should touch or carry these treasured relics of the venerable and holy past; and therefore it was a great relief when, according to the good hand of God upon them, thirty-eight priests and two hundred and twenty Levites were forthcoming.

   At a great convocation, on the eve of their starting, Ezra

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committed the vessels and other free-will gifts into the hands of these men, saying as he did so: "Ye are holy unto the Lord. The vessels also are holy. Watch ye, and keep them until ye weigh them before the chiefs of the priests and the Levites in the chambers of the house of the Lord." Notice the stress he laid on the necessity of holy vessels being cared for by holy men. It was as though he said. "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord."

   We need not dwell further on the reverent care with which those selected men bore their sacred charge, or on the invisible escort which accompanied their march, or the joy with which they laid down their charge in the temple, and weighed out their treasures. It is enough that we should learn our own lessons from the stirring exhortation : "Be ye clean, ye that bear the vessels of the Lord."

   To us also, as ministers, officers, and workers in the Church of Christ, a sacred charge is given. In the same paragraph in which the Apostle Paul said that he had committed his deposit to God, he charged Timothy to guard God's deposit which had been committed to him. It is as though the Christian worker makes out a complete inventory of all he has and is, and asks the Mighty Saviour to see to it; while, on his side, he receives a sacred treasure from His hands, which he is in turn to keep for his Lord. "That good thing which was committed unto thee guard through the Holy Spirit which dwells in us."

   Every Christian is entrusted with something to keep and carry through the world for God; the Holy Scriptures, with their divine message; the sacred rest-day, now so terribly invaded and threatened; the conception of the church, with its two institutions of the Lord's Supper and baptism; the doctrines of the evangelical faith, especially the doctrine of the anointing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Each body

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may be viewed as a sacred vessel, while each life should be accounted as a vessel meet for the master's use (1 Thess. 4:3; 2 Timothy 2:21). Each has some vessel entrusted, larger or smaller according to opportunity and ability. And therefore, without straining our text, we may apply it very widely and generally.

   Just as those who handle the vessels of the Lord's Supper do so with clean hands and reverent care, in their staid behavior witnessing to their sense of the importance of their charge, so we who are called to public office must needs see that our behavior and character are in harmony with our holy charge. To us must come the perpetual reminder : "Be ye clean, ye that bear the vessels of the Lord."

   The Apostle Paul appears to quote the same verse when he says, "Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." Having therefore such promises, let us cleanse ourselves.

   Let us examine ourselves in the light of our sacred charge.

   In order to acquire fitness for bearing the name of Jesus through the world we must be separate from evil habits.

   The perpetual cry of the epistles is that we should put off the old man, which always stands for the habits of our former life. "Put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, which waxeth corrupt." "Putting away all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings." "Put away all these : anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking out of your mouth." "Let us cast off the works of darkness, revelling and drunkenness, chambering and wantonness, strife and jealousy. Make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof."

   God will certainly show us any habit of evil which clings to us, as the grave clothes did to Lazarus, even after the Lord had given him life. And when, in the growing light, we are

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definitely shown that some evil thing is grieving Him, we must at once and resolutely put it off, and have done with it. He who bids us will enable and take away the very desire, and absolutely set us free.

   We must be separate from inordinate appetite.

   The appetites have been implanted for wise and beneficent purposes, but they may be abused, either by being directed to wrong objects, or in an inordinate degree toward right ones. But we must restrict them. The stream must flow in the divinely assigned bed. We must always have the girded loin, and be sober. At our meals, and in our taking of ease and rest, as in all other respects, we must do all to the glory of God, and in the name (or nature) of Jesus Christ. The holy Brainer said, "I felt no disposition to eat or drink for the sake of the pleasure of it, but only to support nature, and fit me for divine service."

   We must be separate from worldly alliances.

   The business man must separate from his partners if they are perpetually violating the law of God and offending against his sense of integrity and honesty. The Christian girl must refuse the offer of marriage of a man who is not regenerate, and the Christian man must marry only in the Lord (1 Cor. 7:39). "For what communion hath light with darkness?" "Be not therefore unequally yoked with unbelievers" (2 Cor. 6:14-15).

   We must be separate from worldly aims and ambitions.

   How many of us who are engaged in the Lord's holy service are secretly cherishing some proud purpose of excelling other men, of making a name, of securing money and applause! We will use the pulpit as a pedestal for the adulation of the world, and the cross for a post on which to hang garlands to our own glory. How often do we preach sermons, or make

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addresses, and attend meetings, with no other thought than to secure the recognition and good will of those with whom we desire to stand well! We are not willing to trust our reputation with Christ, or to be called fools for His sake. We are not willing, like the French soldiers under the first Napoleon, to be in the ditch and be trampled under feet so long as the master rides on in triumph. But all this must be laid aside. We must have no private purposes to serve.

   We must be separate from worldly pleasures.

   There are some of these which are especially associated with the world and its fashion, and the command which bids us abstain from every form of evil demands that we should keep clear of all that might justly be misinterpreted as savoring of conformity to the world. The world will have its card parties, its balls, its masks, its theaters and operas, its fancy fairs. We do not here condemn it — it knows no better. It seeks to festoon with flowers the way to destruction, and to enliven its unsatisfied heart with mirth. But we do say that if those who are privileged to carry the vessels of Christ's holy gospel want such things they should first surrender their sacred charge. It is not fair to endeavor to continue the diversions of the camp of darkness with the commission of the Prince of Light.

   We must be separate from the emotional religious life which is always seeking for signs and manifestations.

   This is a greater evil than appears at first sight. Many of God's professing children confound the Christian life with a hysterical sensationalism and a large amount of emotional and noisy manifestation. This is not the best way of serving God, or of growing in grace and in the knowledge of God. To be always on the outlook for signs and dreams, for voices and visions, for strong emotional responses, and for an ecstatic state of rapture, is not the best. And we do well to separate

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ourselves from such a condition, so that we may live in the will, ever answering with a glad Amen to the least indication of the holy will of God.

   The emotional manifestations which too many substitute for a deep religious life are like the yeast which Jews must cleanse from their houses before the Passover. A pious person was once asked if she enjoyed herself. She replied that she could speak positively for herself, as she was not accustomed to dwell on the workings of her own nature, but she enjoyed God.

   We must be separate from the activities of our corrupt nature.

   We are so fussy, so eager to serve God after our own style, so prone to take up anything which another has done successfully, without staying to ask whether it is God's will for ourselves. We work so much for God instead of waiting for Him to work through us. We do not wait for the pattern to be shown us from the Mount. One of God's most honored teachers tells us that we ought perpetually to sink into Christ's grave, to claim the silence of Christ's grave, to die to the activities of our own nature, even when they are exerted in a right direction and for a holy purpose, to allow God to winnow away the chaff before we attempt to sow the wheat.

   From all such things we must cleanse ourselves. There is a defilement of the spirit as well as of the flesh. There are weights as well as sins. There are things which are not expedient, as well as those which are positively unlawful and wrong. From all we must be separate and clean.

   You may say that you have tried to separate yourself, but in vain, the evil clings to you like a shadow. Then fall back on the philosophy of the will. Be willing to be clean. Be willing to be made willing. Then say to Christ : "I am eager to have my leprosy cleansed; if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean,"

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and immediately He will stretch forth His hand and touch you saying, "I will, be thou clean." And you will be delivered.

   But do not suppose that you are always to be looking on this side of your life, on the renunciations, the excisions, the amputations. Present yourself to Jesus, as those who are alive from the dead and constrained by His mercies.

   You are His because He made you. "It is he that hath made us, and his we are." Surely the builder of a house has a right to the product of his own labor.

   You are His because He redeemed you. Ye were redeemed with precious blood, and are not your own, but His by purchase.

   You are His because God the Father has given Him all who come to Him. And if you have come to Him you are assuredly His, though you have not avowed yourself so (John 6:37).

   Will you not, therefore, present yourself to Him, that He may forgive all your sins, and cleanse you from all that is unholy and inconsistent, and fill you with His sacred fulness? See, He waits to receive you, with such blessing in His hands as will enrich you for evermore. Come now to the altar. Be bound there as a willing sacrifice. Then, as His holy priest, bear His sacred vessels through the world. But, whatever you do, resign your commission and charge rather than disgrace them by aught unworthy of your master and His cause.

The night may have settled upon thee, of disappointment and heart-weariness and failure; then, with a tread that no mortal ear could detect, He will glide in, the light of whose eyes is all the light that heaven needs, and He will be standing there amid the scenes of common toil. He is familiar with carpenters' shops. He knows well how to handle a boat. His delights are in the habitable parts of the earth — on the flags of the exchange, amid the concourse of the market, where trades are plied and handicrafts wrought. The quick heart will whisper gently to itself, "It is the Lord ..."

From Cheer for Life's Pilgrimage

Chapter 6

God Is Near

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. — ROMANS 8:2.

   In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

   “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

   At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

   “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

   Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” — ISAIAH 6:1-7.

ONE AFTERNOON, ABOUT FOUR O'CLOCK, ISAIAH, WHO was then in early middle life, found himself in a great crowd of worshipers slowly ascending the temple's steps. Together with them he passed the lower platform and still climbed until at last he stood at the summit, at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. Standing there, he little realized that that afternoon was to be the epochal moment of his life; but that afternoon was to introduce an altogether new element into his life work.

   Standing there upon that highest step, in the direct line of vision lay, first, the altar

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upon which the afternoon sacrifice was to be made; beyond it a laver where the priests washed their feet; and beyond that the tall cedar doors that opened upon the Holy Place, which indeed would have unfolded presently, as to Zachariah in after days when he went to offer incense while the people stood without in prayer.

   On either side stood probably two hundred and fifty Levites, with the instruments of David in their hands, prepared to sing the psalms which were so famous, and about which their Babylonian captors in after days said : "Sing us one of the songs of Zion."

   As Isaiah stood there wrapped in thought, those who were nearest him had no idea what was transpiring; but he was swept away from all those sights and sounds, from the sun in mid-sky, from the glistening marble of the temple, from the music of the Levite band, from all the crowds that pressed him on every side, and he beheld the sapphire throne of the King Himself. He heard the prayer or chant of the seraphim, and for a moment after he was plunged in the profoundest contrition of soul as he contrasted himself with those who served God with sinless lips, and he cried : "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips."

   Now, why was this? Partly because after the golden years of Uzziah's reign, in which money and splendor were corrupting the hearts of the people, it was necessary that the leaders at least, or many like Isaiah who stood in the forefront, should be lifted to a higher level. You must understand from the previous chapters of his book how the dwellers of Zion, the men and women of Jerusalem, and, indeed, all the people, were being corrupted by the sin, the fashion, the worldliness, and the money making of their time, and how needful it was,

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therefore, that God should raise a new standard amongst them by the hand of Isaiah, who stood closest to Him.

   It may be that in this country at this time, the very prosperity of your land, the years of peace, the great influx of populations, and the increase of wealth have been subtly undermining the religious life of your people, so that some of your holy customs are being broken down. Perhaps family worship is no longer maintained as it was. The children are no longer trained, as once, in the habits of godliness. The high morale of your people, derived from your noble ancestry, may have been disintegrating while you devoted your energies in other directions than in whole-hearted devotion to God. At such times it is God's habit to call around Himself His Isaiahs, His servants, those who stand nearest to Him, the members of His Church, and to lift them up to a new level of Christian living, that from that moment they may be the pivot on which a lever may work to lift the entire nation.

   As I have traveled through your great country, in city after city, I have met with crowds of your fellow countrymen, especially your ministers, and I have been struck with the hunger which exists on every hand for a deeper and more intense spiritual life. It appears to me as if God were calling upon the people of His own Church in the United States to stand up before Jesus Christ as their King, to learn from Him some deeper and mightier power than that which has been vibrating lately amongst them. Let us confidently look to Him for it.

   But before you and I can become what we want to be, there must first be a humbling process. We must be laid low in the dust before God. Just in proportion as we are prepared to descend, will we ascend. Let us get down in the dust before Jesus Christ our Lord, and let each one of us become convicted, and

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cry : "Woe is me! for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips."

   There is here a threefold conviction of personal unworthiness, of the nearness of God, and of the one method by which the heart of man can be pacified.

   There is, first, the conviction of unworthiness : "Woe is me! for I am undone."

   The sixth chapter, of course, follows the fifth. If you read the latter you will understand how earnestly Isaiah had been pursuing his prophetic work. This man, who of all Israel seemed to be the purest and sweetest, is the man that bows the lowest and is most convinced of sin. God's children need to learn that lesson too. He had done good work, but God saw that he could do better, and so convicted him of the comparative unworthiness of his past ministry. Thus it befell that the man by whom God had spoken through five chapters was a man who confessed to having unclean lips.

   Now you may have a good record of lying behind you. It may be that for five chapters of your life you have been ministering to people, to children, to the waifs and strays of your city, and you have been greatly owned. But God wants to teach you a better lesson, to make you more mightily powerful, to baptize you more with the Holy Ghost and with fire; and therefore He takes even you, true-hearted as you are, and brings you down into the place where the Holy Spirit will hold up your past life, and bid you review it until you, who have been looked up to by everyone as an example, and quoted as the most devoted and earnest of men, and idolized by many who have been moved by your eloquence, as you come beneath the light that shall fall upon you from the face of Jesus Christ, shall cry : "I am an undone man."

   You will notice that this conviction was wrought through

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the vision of Jesus, and indeed that is the only vision that will really convince us of sin. We need to stand beneath the light that falls from His face. He is amongst us at this moment. He is passing through this assembly and looking down deep into your hearts; and as you look up into His face, do you not realize that there is a look of grief and sorrow there, because in your work there has been so much of yourself and so little of His love? Does He not reveal to you the poverty of your motive, the lowness of your aim, your greater thought of what men might consider of you than of what He might say? Let the light of the living Christ fall upon you now, the light of the coming Christ, the silvery light of the second advent, the light of the judgment-seat of Christ, the light of the great white throne; and as this falls upon your heart today, and you see what He wants you to be and what you are, you shall say : "I am undone."

   There is another thought. Isaiah saw the worship of the blessed ones : "One cried to another."

   I like to think of that. It was as if one of them cried, "Your strains are not lifted high enough; higher, brothers, higher!" And he cried across the intervening space to the seraphim opposite, and bade them rise to a higher note, till the chorus swelled and rose and broke. I have heard a bird in the spring morning cry to all the songsters of the glade till the whole woodland has rung again. Sometimes in our prayer meeting an earnest man has shaken the very gates of Heaven and has stirred the whole meeting. That is what we want. And as I tell you of a richer, fuller life, a life more abundant than many of you know, may you be convicted of the need of a new anointing, of a fresh application to the Son of God for the touch of fire. May our life be the seraph's reverence, with the veiled face; ours his modesty, with the veiled form, ours his

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balance of one third obedience to two thirds of contemplation. Then perhaps our cry may awaken similar results to his, and we shall cry, "Undone."

   Next, the conviction that God is near. It is said the whole earth is full of God's glory. You and I would be prepared to admit that where the glory of God shines in the spray above Niagara, or where the morning that is seen upon the Matterhorn and the evening glow upon the Jungfrau, or where the sun rises and sets upon the broad bosom of the Atlantic, or where the wake of the ships stir the phosphorescence of the Mediterranean at night. But to be told that the whole earth is full of the glory of God, that startles us.

   I know a place in London where a woman in a drunken frenzy put her child upon a hot iron bar; where a man beat to death his little crippled boy whose agonizing cries were heard at night. I should not have thought that the glory of God was there. But the seraphim say the whole earth is full of the glory of God. We are minded of what Elizabeth Barrett Browning says:

Earth's crammed with Heaven,

And every common bush aflame with God,

But only he that sees takes off his shoes.

   One day in London I was sitting in a dark omnibus. A man came in to examine our tickets, and I thought to myself, you will never be able to tell whether they have been punctured aright. As I watched, curious to notice, he touched a little spring on his breast, and in a tiny globe of glass a beautiful glow of electric light shone out. Manifestly the man could see anywhere, because he carried the light with which he saw. So we must understand that when the heart is full of God, you will find God anywhere and everywhere, as the miner carries

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the candle in his cap through the dark cavity of the earth, and lights his steps.

   Oh, men and women, that is what we may rely on here! It is not that I can do anything, but God, Heaven, Eternity are near. It is not my words that shall achieve the result, but the Spirit of God, who is as much in this assembly as He was in the upper room upon the day of Pentecost. In the gentle movement of the trees of the forest, can you not hear the stepping of God's feet? And can you not detect the movement of God's Spirit at this moment upon your hearts? Does not this quiet hush, this eagerness, indicate the presence of the skirts of the Eternal as they fall upon us? The whole earth is full of God — all time, all space — and it is because God is here, because there is as much of the Holy Ghost in this place as ever there was in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, because the forces of God are inexhausted, because the mighty river of God which is full of water is flowing through this place, that you and I are certain of blessing.

   I believe that if some people had been in that very upper room itself when the Holy Ghost descended, being purblind, blinded by prejudice and passion and worldliness, they would have heard only a noise, they would have perceived no flame. If they had been with John on Patmos, they might have heard the break of the waves upon the rocks, but they never would have heard the harping of the angels. On the other hand, if Peter or John were sitting where you are now, their faces would be lighted up with supernatural light, and they would say: "Did you not see? Did you not hear? God is here. The great God has come down from the Heavens to bless these people. They have asked for it. They have claimed it. God has promised, and He has come."

   "Where two or three are met, I am." The Spirit of God is here and is working amongst us also, as He hath done in other times and places. He first convicts us of a cold heart, of our deep need, and of our utter undoneness, and then He comes Himself and says: "I am here."

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   The last conviction is the one need of a penitent sinner. We read that when Isaiah cried, one of the seraphim immediately went for the live coal.

   Now, mark this: the angel was not told to go, but he knew just what to do. The fact is, the angels have gone so often for the live coal that whenever they hear a sinner crying that he is undone, they go for it; they do not need to be told. It is as if a druggist's boy were so in the habit of getting the same medicine for the same symptoms that when the patient comes to the door, he knows just what medicine to seek, without going to the doctor to get advice.

   The seraph took the live coal from off the altar, and that stood for blood and fire, the two things we want today. We want blood and fire.

   Blood! Can you not hear the hiss of the blood of the Lamb as it flows gurgling around that coal? As he takes it up with his tongs of gold and bears it to the prophet's lips, it takes the Atoning blood with it. We want that first. I call upon all of you to claim that first — the blood! Nothing else will do. "This is he that came by water and blood, not by water only, but by water and blood." You and I need blood first. Let us then betake ourselves to our compassionate Lord, and seek from Him that forgiveness which He purchased on the Cross. Do you want it? Are you quite satisfied? Do you look upon your past with perfect complacency? Is there nothing to regret? Are there no sins to put away?

   It is natural to respond that you are undone. Then let us begin by opening our whole nature to Christ, and believe that His blood now cleanseth from all sin. Let us dare to believe that directly we turn to that blood, and claim the

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forgiveness which is based on it, the whole of our past sin is gone, blotted out, lost to view; and if we remind God about it, He will say: "My child, you need not tell me about it. I have forgotten it, it is as though it had never been."

   Next we need the fire, the live coal.

   Christmas Evans tells us in his diary that one Sunday afternoon he was traveling a very lonely road to attend an appointment in a village the other side of the slope, and he was convicted of a cold heart. He says: "I tethered my horse and went to a sequestered spot, where I walked to and fro in an agony as I reviewed my life. I waited three hours before God, broken with sorrow, until there stole over me a sweet sense of His forgiving love. I received from God a new baptism of the Holy Ghost. As the sun was westering, I went back to the road, found my horse, mounted it, and went to my appointment. On the following day I preached with such new power to a vast concourse of people gathered on the hillside that a revival broke out that day and spread through the whole principality."

   Let us close with that. Convicted of a cold heart! Convicted of a worldly life! Convicted of self seeking and pride! Convicted of having come short of God's glory! Then forgiveness. I need the baptism of fire and power.

   God grant that the live coal, which has never lost its glow since the day of Pentecost, may come to every heart, to every mouth, to every life; and that this day a fire shall begin to burn in every mission, in every Sunday school, in every Church.

   The morning is prepared; it waits; it has been decked by the hand of the Creator to comfort and bless the returning hilltops and seas and flowers and homes of men. Dare to believe that God is waiting for you — only follow on. Do not be dismayed by the darkness — follow on. Do not give up heart and hope because the delay is so long — follow on. Do not be wanting through lightness or fickleness follow on. God will break on thee in all the loveliness of His being; thou shalt see His glory in the face of Jesus; the dawn of a more tender and intimate fellowship is nigh; only follow on till the voice of the herald is heard crying, "Arise, shine; thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."

From Cheer for Life's Pilgrimage

Chapter 7

A Vision of the New Life

Wherefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision. — ACTS 26:19.

YOU MIGHT THINK THAT THAT VISION WAS THE FACE OF Christ; a deeper insight will lead you to see that it was the vision of a new life that suddenly dawned upon the heart of Paul. He had been living a low-level life, serving his proud self, and antagonistic to Christ. Suddenly, like the new Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from God, there came to him the vision of a life which was within his reach. It beckoned him, and though that life meant suffering, obloquy, persecution, prisons, stripes, death, he followed it, swerving neither right nor left by a hair's breadth, until at last he said : "I have finished my course."

   The first conception of that heavenly vision came to him as he looked upon the face of Stephen, illumined with the light of God. From the moment when he saw Stephen die, the humble slave of Christ, the conception followed him that he too might live a life like that, and die such a death. But he put it away, as you and I put away some of God's fairest visions.

   But God loved Paul too much to let him miss that blessed life, and in His mercy pursued him by a goad, and when Paul backed, and said, "I can't do it," he backed right upon God's goad, and God urged him forward. Still he kicked, and then, since pain would not do it, God painted upon the cloud that

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hid his future, a vision of a life so fair, so blessed, so radiant, so triumphant, that what the goad could not do, the vision accomplished. What the force failed to do, the beckoning of that sweet ideal wrought, and he said : "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision."

   Though my hand is only an apprentice's hand, and trembles, I should like God to use it to paint before you a vision of the real life, the Christ-life that lies within the reach of every regenerate man. Oh, that I could paint it! I believe that then you would leap to it, and say : "Ah, when I caught a glimpse of the blessed life I might lead, I who have been such a failure, such a stumbling-block, I who have brought so much shame upon those that loved Christ, then I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but I took the first step, and the next, and the next, and life has begun to be one long summer day."

   When a heavy morning mist veils the valley and hills, I feel as if half my world was blotted out. But suddenly there comes a breath, or the sun's rays, and the mist parts, and the landscape stands unveiled. So God often parts the mist that hides the future, and shows what a man may be.

   I urge young people especially to seek from God the vision of what your life may be, and then obey it, because when you catch God's vision you will always find Him responsible for the outworking of His plan. I often meet men worried about money matters, and carrying a heavy weight, and I think, Ten to one that man has lost sight of the vision, because when God gives the plan He always finds the stuff, and when God beckons you forward, He is always responsible for the transport.

   If you should come to a place where roads meet, and you do not know which way to take, stand still until you get the heavenly vision, and then follow, come what may.

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   What is this life — the real life that anyone may live henceforth?

   In the first place, it is a life of freedom; we are set free from the curse of the self-life.

   We must remember this true life is not an unnatural life. I know men who talk of holiness as if it meant that it was wrong to laugh, be bright, engage in manly sports, play the piano, read any book but the Bible, or follow certain pursuits for which we have natural aptitudes. I believe that God in His Word will not contradict the nature which He has given, and that what is wrong in us is not our natural aptitudes, but the self-life, around which those aptitudes revolve. The life of which I speak is not a denial of anything which God has imparted, but the transference of these from the pivot of self to the pivot of not-self which is Jesus Christ, incarnate Love. The man who enters this life is still a bright companion, a manly athlete; he still enters into all that home and friendship and life may mean, but everything is hallowed, elevated, ennobled, because revolving evermore around the will of Jesus Christ.

   Look at a child. He has smallpox or fever, but the mother loves him as much as before, and her only desire is to rid him of the fever that now fetters the natural working of the body. The body under the dominion of disease is no longer able freely to live the life that God intended, but when once that disease is swept away, nature reasserts itself, and the child begins to laugh and play, and its merry prattle is heard all through the house.

   I believe that God waits to deliver us from the cursed power of the self-life that blasts everything, that blasted Paradise first, and will blast your life unless you are set free from it.

   Second, this life also is a life of deliverance from known sin.

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   A minister asked me if I taught sinlessness. I replied, "I teach deliverance from the power of known sin, that God saves us up to our light"; but our light resembles the growing twilight that precedes the day, and therefore there may be many things in which we hourly offend, and which are sinful in God's most holy sight, and at the end of every day, though we have lived up to our light, and have been kept from known sin, we still need to pray, "Forgive me my debts," — things in which I have failed, in which there has been an incompleteness that must always attach to our poor human nature.

   Mr. Spurgeon said of a certain man, "I always thought Mr. ____ sinless until he said he was." When a man's face really shines like Moses', he wists it not. There is always the presence of a sinful nature, there is always the not-doing what we ought, even where we are kept from doing what we ought not. But we may be kept day by day up to the limit of the light, and this blessed deliverance from known sin is within the reach of all.

   Third, this is a life in which we are kept in time of temptation.

   You will be tempted to the end of your life, and the nearer you live to Christ, the more you will be tempted. It was after Jesus had seen the open heaven that He was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, and the man who stands under the open heaven and sees the heavenly vision is the man whom the devil will tempt to the uttermost. God will permit it because temptation does for us what the storms do for the oaks — it roots us; and what the fire does for the painting on porcelain — it makes us permanent. You never know that you have a grip on Christ or that He has a grip on you so well as when the devil is using all his force to attract you from Him; then you feel the pull of Christ's right hand.

   So long as the soldier slinks outside the battle he carries

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a whole skin, but let him plunge in and follow the captain, and he will soon have the bullets flying about him. Some of you have had a good time, because there was no use in the devil wasting powder and shot upon you; you haven't been doing him any harm; but directly you begin to wake up and set to work for God, the devil will set a thousand evils to worrying you, or he may come himself to see to you.

   This life is also one in which you become conscious of new power.

   Men often take up new lines of truth because they hope that somehow they will be able to reach and touch larger numbers of their fellows. It is like a man who has been fishing all day with a certain bait in vain, but he suddenly changes it, in the hope that the new bait will yet redeem the wasted day. Now, in my judgment it is not these new views you want, but it is new power in presenting the old ones, and in this new life it is perfectly wonderful how new power begins to sweep through a man's life.

   Up to a certain point in my own life I sought to influence men by mental conceptions, polished sentences, and vivid and striking metaphors; I found it did not keep them. But when I began to try humbly to realize the heavenly vision, I laid my whole being open to the torrent of God's power, which is always seeking to reach men, and suddenly, to my surprise, I found that God was pouring through my life river after river, and this began to be realized, "He that believeth on me, out of him shall flow rivers of living water." Oh, how I welcomed that text! I said : "Lord, from today I am not going to dam up the water, but I am going to be a channel through which the royal power of God Himself may reach men and women."

   Oh, brother ministers, every one of you may suddenly find your power in your pulpit augmented a thousandfold!

   Hudson Taylor once said, "I used to ask God if He would

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come and help me; then I asked God if I might come and help Him; then I ended by asking God to do His own work through me."

   There is this further thought : This is a life of rest.

   A man said to me, "Aren't you teaching quietism?"

   I do not know much about quietism; I suppose it is being quiet, but the man who has hold of these principles is the man who is quiet about himself, but unquiet about everybody else. You are quiet from anxiety, from fever and haste and hurry. In the midst of the storm your pulse beats quietly, and amid a panic which convulses the whole stock exchange you are kept perfectly still. But he who has left anxiety about his own life begins to care about the lives of all around him.

   See, there is a boat upset, but one man is a good swimmer. He is perfectly at rest about himself. There is a man with a life-belt around him; he, too, is at rest about himself. But that man who can swim begins at once to do his utmost to rescue the drowning men around him, and he who is within the life-belt is glad enough to reach out hands on either side for others to grasp.

   If you want to live a life of altruism — living for others — you would best leave all anxiety about yourself in the hands of Christ.

   Two painters were set to paint a picture of rest, and one painted a placid pool in which the mountains were reflected, an utter solitude. The other depicted a living cataract, and over it the bough of a tree on which a nest was securely fixed, and a bird was brooding over her young. That picture of the bird at rest in the midst of the foam and rushing of the cataract is the truest conception of rest. There is a life in the will of God, so quiet, so at peace with Him, so at rest in His joy, so perfectly content that He is doing best, that the lines are wiped out of the face, the fever is gone from the restless eye,

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and the whole nature is still. "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him," and then spend the strength that other men waste in fussy anxiety in helping your fellow men.

   The life of which I speak is a life of taking in.

   Many think it is only a giving up. I do not deny that there is a giving up in it, but it is not without the hope of taking; you see something better, and in reaching for that you drop the worse.

   Upon the placid waters of a lake everything which is highest in reality is lowest in the reflection. The higher the trees, the lower their shadow. That is a picture of this world : what is highest in this world is lowest in the other, and what is highest in that world is lowest in this. Gold is on top here; they pave the streets with it there. To serve is looked upon as ignoble here; there those that serve reign, and the last are first.

   I never saw a girl unwilling to fling away paste diamonds when she could have real stones, and when a man understands what God can be to the soul, he is independent of things he used to care for most.

   Oh, friends, no words can tell what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived of the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. I cannot do it, I do not believe any man can; but there beckons you a life of deliverance from self, of freedom from known sin, of deliverance from the power of the devil, of influence over thousands of men, of rest and peace in the heart, of conscious rightness with God, independent of mood and feeling, in which the will is one with the will of God, a life so blessed, so transcendent, so radiant, that it is like the life of Paradise.

   Do you want it? Are you sick and tired of your present life? Women who spend your time, Christians though you are, in reading trashy novels and in the round of fashion, when all about you are the tragedies of human life that you do not touch!

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Men who are simply living to make money! Oh, is anything conceivable more miserable than for a man to be put in the trust of tens of thousands or millions of dollars, and then to be using for himself that wonderful trust? Perhaps the most royal power a man may have is speech, but next to that, in all God's universe, there is nothing like the power of money. If a rich man is wise he will wake up every morning and say, "I am a steward of God's wealth, and I must administer it for Him. How can I best expend it?"

   I call you all to this life. Take the first step now. God will show you the next, and the next presently. Give yourself to Christ now, take Him to be absolute monarch. Say, "Lord, from now on I am your slave." Satan will say, "Take care"; nevertheless, say it and you will find that Jesus Christ will begin to work through you in a most blessed way.

   In regeneration the Saviour actually becomes the tenant of the regenerated nature; and as the life of the animal is superior to that of the plant, and the moral and mental life of man superior to that of the animal, so the life born in the Christian soul distinguishes its possessor from all other men.

From Calvary to Pentecost

Chapter 8

With Thee is the Fountain of Life

JOHN 4.

ONE MORNING, WHEN THE LAND WAS CARPETED WITH flowers, a woman awoke in the little town of Sychar, which lay in the lap of the twin mountains. Ebal and Gerizim. She little realized that that day would revolutionize not only her own life, but the lives of her people, and of untold thousands besides. Through its happenings her story would be embalmed in the history of the race, and she would take the first step in the pathway which, as tradition says, ended in martyrdom.

   Her nature was passionate and intense. The well was deep! She had endeavored to satisfy her heart with human love, but in vain. Man after man had deceived her. She had had five husbands, and was at that time living in illicit union with one who was not her husband. She had lost faith in human nature. The men had played with her affections and then cast her aside. She had ceased to believe in love. The spring-time of her life had passed into the sere and yellow leaf of autumn. Her character was gone. Her sister women would not brook her presence at the old well that lay outside of town, a quarter of a mile down the slope, where the ancient direct road traveled from south to north. Indeed, so great was the antipathy manifested to her by the matrons and girlhood of the

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community that she had no alternative but to carry her pitcher to the well in the sultry noon instead of in the cool of the late afternoon.

   She was not destitute of religion. There was the ancient tradition of Jacob's faith, for he had lived within sight of these hills and had drunk of that old well. She believed in the God of Abraham and Jacob; and did not suppose that there could be an advance on that patriarchal faith which had existed in sublime simplicity before the division between Jew and Samaritan, between Jerusalem and Gerizim. She refused to believe in any teacher who presumed to promulgate views in advance of the old-world monotheism, which had descended from the days of the patriarchs. It was impossible to suppose that there was any human teacher greater than their ancestor Jacob, who had dug the well, and had drunk thereof himself. She believed what he believed. Surely that was enough! She had heard many discussions as to the rival claims of the temples at Jerusalem and Gerizim, and she had a languid interest in the arguments that supported the claims of the latter. She also believed that some day the long-looked-for Messiah would appear, and explain all things. In the meanwhile, she was weary and sick at heart. Her daily lonely visit to that well seemed to epitomize her inner experience of heart-sickness and ennui. "Give me, stranger," she seemed to say, "anything which will appease this parching soul-thirst, and restore to me the years that the locust and cankerworm have eaten; so that I need not thirst, nor come all the way hither to draw." Is she not the type of myriads in the present day, who have drunk of all the wells excavated by human hands, and have found them brackish or empty? They have turned from them all with the ancient verdict of Ecclesiastes : "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Not that they have lost faith in the God of the fallen, but the belief is cold and abstract.

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They are quite prepared to defend the claims of Jerusalem or Gerizim. They have a vague idea that there is a phase of religion which has lit up some dear lives which have passed from them into the unseen, but surely it cannot come to them!

   What is the use of brilliant essays for such? How can ornate ceremonies or sensuous appeals satisfy and quiet the distraught soul? Our churches and pulpits will fail utterly to satisfy and help men and women who are disillusioned and weary, if they are unable to lead them to those living springs of eternal life, of which if a man drink he shall never thirst again. But these springs arise in earth's lowlands because they are fed from the uplands of the divine nature. Any who drink of that water shall never thirst, but it shall be a spring arising to God, its Source. Spirit to Spirit! This was the supreme lesson which our Lord came to teach, and He must needs pass through Samaria, because there was one human being whose bitter experiences had made her receptive. He came to complete the circuit between the eternal springs and her parched soul, leading her from the soulish to the spiritual, from speculation to experience, and from the waterless wilderness to a land of springs of water, gushing out from valleys and hills. Is not this what men are longing for today? The ebb of people from the churches does not prove that they are becoming more irreligious, but that the religion which they provide does not satisfy.

   These, then, are the conclusions to which this profound chapter leads us :

   1. God is Spirit. When we have said this we have advanced but little with the mystery of the divine nature. How true was that inscription on the portico of the ancient Egyptian temple : "I am He that was, and is, and shall be; but no man hath lifted my veil"! In the prologue to the fourth Gospel the

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beloved apostle makes a similar statement : "No man hath seen God at any time." But we can at least understand the Saviour's words, that the Father is ever seeking for those who will worship Him in spirit. Obscure, forgotten, ignored, unrecognized by men and cast out of their society, the Eternal comes and makes His abode with them. Be not afraid! God is Spirit, but He is "the Father." It is on this phase of His nature that George Fox and the Quaker saints have laid stress, and it is very wonderful how mysteriously real God's spiritual manifestations are to those who worship in the spirit.

   2. We also, in the noblest department of our nature, are akin to Him. We also are spirits. As we have seen, there is in each of us a holy of holies, where the Shekinah should shine, a throne-room which the King should inhabit. It was when John was "in the spirit" that he saw. It is the organ of the divine! The seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans deals, as we shall see presently, with the religion of the soul. It is the story of a psychic conflict with the flesh, which ends in disappointment and defeat. The eighth chapter, on the other hand, delineates the religion of the spirit; it urges us to be spiritually minded as the condition of life and peace, and it promises that the Spirit of God will bear witness with our own spirit, that we are children of God. True worship, such as God seeks, must emanate from the spirit of the worshiper. Is it irreverent to suppose that on each Lord's Day the divine Spirit moves eagerly through cathedrals and churches, searching for loyal and true hearts that are offering the incense of the heart's love, the rhythm of their accordance with His own? It may be that He turns away from many of our anthems and prayers, which please the taste but never reach beyond the vaulted roof. It might be well at this point to read Isaiah 1.

   3. True religion is the union of the Spirit of God with the

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spirit of man in and through Jesus Christ. "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man; and we find Him engaged in this blessed work in the case of this woman. When He is the object of our thought and love, we touch the Father of Spirits and live. He reveals the Father, unites us with the Father, comes with the Father to make His home with us. They who are most filled with the Spirit are most occupied with the Son: and they who have the Son have the Father also. This is the clear teaching of the beloved John in his first epistle. He states the case unmistakably thus : "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; he that confesseth the Son hath the Father also." Also in the second epistle : "He that abideth in the teaching of Christ, the same hath both the Father and the Son." Some inkling of this seems to have occurred to the woman herself, when she said that presently Christ would come, and He would reveal all things. Could this wonderful man who read the secrets of her life Himself be the Christ?

   4. (a) Thus our religious life becomes a spring. The woman was constantly referring to the pit; our Lord spoke of the spring in the pit. She spoke of the fatigue of drawing up; He of the rising up. Is not this the distinction between the religion which depends on outward ordinances and other people's experiences, and the religion which Christ generates in our hearts? With too many, religion is not spontaneous, but derived. They must have their weekly sacrament, their rousing preacher, their shelf of religious stimulants. Their religious experience is second-hand. They are constantly lowering their pitcher into their minister's heart and brain, but sometimes the vessel is upset before they reach home, and sometimes its contents are slightly brackish!

   All these aids to the religious life have their place. The church, the sacrament, the common worship, the carefully

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prepared and inspiring sermon, the religious books; but the mistake arises, when we are content with these means of grace, instead of passing through and beyond them to the fountains of grace themselves. In other words, we do not meditate. We should learn from the ruminant cattle not merely to swallow, but to chew the cud!

   Even the early morning hour may become irksome, unless we have learned to practice the secret of waiting quietly before God until the silt drops to the bottom, and our nature becomes hushed and expectant before Him. Then take your Bible in your hand and ask the Spirit to illuminate the page, and lead you into all the truth. Ask Him to help your infirmity in prayer, and to pray within you and with you according to God's will.

   (b) This comparison with a spring suggests the verdure and beauty of nature. What a variety of vegetation grows in a dell, in the midst of which a perennial fountain rises, scattering its spray! So, when the spirit is infilled with the Spirit of God, the results react on the whole of our wonderful nature. Our life becomes attuned to the whole world of reality, and therefore of natural beauty.

Heaven above is softer blue,
Earth around is sweeter green,
Something shines in every hue
Christless eyes have never seen;

Birds with gladder songs o'erflow,
Flowers with brighter beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know,
I am His, and He is mine.

When the love of Christ indwells, it sheds a radiance on everything. When the burnt-offering begins, the song of the Lord begins also. The quickened life of the spirit involves all

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our activities and correspondences. We walk again the paths of Paradise, and tread the green sward of Eden. Life becomes sacramental and transfigured. We feel that the new heaven and the new earth have come, and that the tabernacle of God is with men. A true life is a whole life. The excisions are only of the evils which blinded our sight and paralyzed our movements. We understand what is meant by the words : "If any man be in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new." When the spring arises within, our whole nature becomes a watered garden.

   5. Whatever impedes the uprising of the Fountain must be put away. A curious incident happened in connection with the college buildings at Cliff, in Derbyshire, with which I was at that time connected. The house was filled with students and visitors, when, to our dismay, the entire water supply was stopped. We made every effort to discover the cause, in vain; and were finally compelled to send for a practical man, who at once went to the junction between the main supply and the house pipe. On opening up the point of junction, a big toad was discovered, filling the orifice and making it impossible for the water to pass. The man told us that he had met with several similar instances. The toad had come in as a tiny tadpole and had grown until it blocked the pipe. Something like this may happen in our lives. Hidden sin may grow on us until it shuts out the living water. It was so with the woman at the well. In her heart there lurked an unconfessed sin. It blocked her reception of the living water, and choked the spring. In mercy this wondrous Stranger uncovered and exposed the evil thing, which she fain would have hidden. By speaking of Him as a prophet she acknowledged that He spake truly, and immediately, the obstacle being removed, the fountain began to spring, as her actions proved.

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   Shall we not stay here, and take no further step in the study of these great questions until we are sure that, so far as we know, there is nothing to check the inflow or outflow of the water of life? There is a judgment-seat in every heart, where each stands naked and open before His eyes, which are as a flame of fire. You will find that He never deals with more than one thing at a time. By this you can always distinguish between the question of a morbid sensitiveness and the stirrings of the angel who wrestled with Jacob at the ford of the Jabbok. God's Spirit is always definite! Deal with Him, and He will show you where the evil lurks, and give you grace to cast it out.

   6. All things become new. The woman ceased her arguments and became a disciple. She dropped her prejudices and forgot that Jesus was a Jew. Instead of avoiding people, she started off to the town to tell every one, and especially the men, that she had found a Man, who, though He knew all, loved better than He knew. So preoccupied was she that she forgot her waterpot, and left it standing on the worn parapet of the well. When we have found the living spring we do not need the bucket any more! Presently she returned, with the whole town behind her, and as they approached, Jesus saw that harvest time had arrived. Little weening it, she had given the Master a better meal than His disciples had brought from the town. Finally, she had the pleasure of conducting Him to Sychar, where He stayed with them two days. How full those days were of holy and uplifting converse! She would sit at His feet and drink in every word. Her heart leaped with joy as she saw many of her townsfolk believe in Him — some because of the change they had witnessed in her, and others because they had heard Him for themselves, and, notwithstanding their prejudices against Jews, had come to believe

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that He was indeed the Saviour of the world. What became of her afterwards we do not certainly know. Perhaps she became one of the ministering women during Christ's life, or she may have become an evangelist throughout Samaria. Tradition records that she became a martyr in the first outbreak of Roman persecution.

   7. Note the inevitable results of the opening of our spirit to the Spirit of Christ. We put away, or are willing for Him to put away, everything that chokes or hinders His supremacy. We live for Him, and He at once responds to our yielded nature, as air rushes in to fill a vacuum. We become deeply conscious of the reality and presence of Jesus Christ, and He becomes our Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. We lose our taste for all that would grieve Him; and are constrained by His love no longer to live unto ourselves, but for Him, and for all others for His sake. It becomes as natural to love Him best, and to be the channels of His love, as for birds to sing or rivers to flow.

   A friend of mine once illustrated this address by the following story : A girl in a Lancashire town one Sunday evening surrendered to Christ. As she left the penitent form she said to her minister : "Please pray for me. I am working in a room of our factory with twenty other girls, and not one of them is a Christian." The minister said : "Christ can help you to lead them all to Himself." That night she repeated to the Lord the minister's words, and asked Him to help her in what seemed an impossible task. Six weeks later, at the after-meeting, she brought a girl into the inquiry room, and said to the minister : "This is the sixteenth, and the other four are frightened because they know that their turn will come next!" Such are they who are led by the Spirit!

   Oh that we had that passion to save others! It was a compact between

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that holy Indian missionary, known as "the praying Hyde," who asked God that each day He should give him at least three souls.

   And David Brainerd tells us that one Sunday night he offered himself to be used only by God and for Him. "It was raining, and the roads were muddy; but this desire grew so strong that I kneeled down by the side of the road, and told God all about it. While I was praying I told Him that my hands should work for Him, my feet walk for Him, my tongue speak for Him, if He would only use me for His instrument — when suddenly the darkness of the night lit up, and I knew that God had heard and answered my prayer; and I felt that I was accepted into the inner circle of God's loved ones."

   In Jesus there is supply for every need, armor against every attack, fulness for every deficiency. Avail yourself of Him; appropriate His sufficiency; go into every day, whatever its anticipated emergencies, temptations, and perils, as those who are encased in the very nature and character of Jesus, which they offer as their answer to every possible demand.

From Cheer for Life's Pilgrimage

Chapter 9

The All-Sufficiency of Christ

I am Alpha and Omega. — REVELATION 1:8, 17, 2:8, 22:13.

IT IS HARDLY NECESSARY TO EXPLAIN THAT THESE ARE THE first and the last letters in the Greek alphabet. Obviously they represent all the intervening letters, which they enclose as in a golden clasp. On those letters was built the entire literature of that wonderful people. Plato, Socrates, Sophocles, Thucydides, and Aristotle built up their reasoning, teachings, systems, and histories on the letters contained between Alpha and Omega. This metaphor, as the references indicate, is in frequent use throughout the Apocalypse.

   The majestic announcement at the opening of the book (chapter 1:8) refers to the Eternal God. His nature underlies the whole created universe, all races of being, the entire work of redemption, the destiny of His children, the ultimate victory of righteousness, order, and peace; all that has been, is, or shall be is conditioned by His existence. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to discover a more comprehensive formulary for Him who was, and is, and is to come, than this, "Of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom be glory for ever and ever." We can almost hear the unceasing chant of the four living creatures, which are before the throne, who rest not day and night, saying, both when

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God's purposes are evident and when they are veiled, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." Let us worship before the immutable and eternal Lord God Almighty, joining in that ceaseless chant. He is the First and the Last, and beside Him there is no other!

   In our thinking we must distinguish between that side of His ineffable nature which has revealed itself in the universe, in the creation of man, and in Jesus Christ, and that side of his nature which transcends our thought, infinite, eternal, self-existent. In the one He has revealed Himself so far as the naked spirit of man can endure the almost insufferable light. In the other is that which no man hath seen or can see, that which we can describe only by negatives, that before which angels veil their faces with their wings. "No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath revealed him."

   What audacity it is to rush into His presence, without the due preparation and reverence of the heart. Even Moses was bidden to unloose his sandals when the bush burned with fire. But does it not stand to reason that, as we cannot know this great Being by the intellect, so we must give time to our fellowship with Him? We must wait before Him till the glare and noise of this clamorous world cease to monopolize our senses, and we are acclimatized to the conditions of His manifested presence. Dr. Lyman Abbot has said truly that the profoundest truths of spiritual experience are those which are not intellectually ascertained, but spiritually discerned. They are not taught to us, but revealed. They defy definition, they transcend expression. So it must be in our fellowship with God. He is our Father. He loves us infinitely, but He is the Blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen or can see;

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to whom be honor and power everlasting. Such is the abyss of the God-head for which we have no fathoming-line! We have, as Job puts it, only a whisper of Him in His works, and in Jesus a manifestation of only so much as can be translated into human speech.

   In the other quotations named above, the Lord Jesus appropriates to Himself these august words, though He was meek and lowly, and emptied Himself. When the fainting disciple whom He loved fell at His feet as one dead; when the Church at Smyrna needed encouragement to remain faithful unto death; when spirits athirst for God, in this life or the next, cry out for the living water; when the way has to be opened through the gates of the city to the Tree of Life, He quotes, in part or as a whole, these majestic words, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."

   The very pressing question of this hour is to ascertain whether each of us is making enough of personal contact with Christ. We hear about Him, read of Him, talk about Him, but how far do we really know Him? Might He not say rather sadly to some of us, as to Philip : "Have I been so long a time with you, and yet hast thou not known me?" On the other hand, Paul said : "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord ... that I may know him!"

   We may sometimes question whether we should ever have known Jesus Christ had it not been for the urgent needs forced on us by this human life. We have seen that we are tempted in order that we may know things by knowing their contrasts and opposites. To know light, we must needs know darkness; to know good, we must know evil, not by yielding to it but by resistance. Let us carry that thought further, and question whether the blessed beings in other worlds will ever appreciate the Saviour as we can, who have wintered and summered

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with Him, during our earthly life. May not this have been in Paul's mind when he said : "I know him whom I trusted"? He trusted Christ almost before he knew Him; but having traveled with Him for thirty years, he had come to know Him. In an Alpine village, you engage your guide to take you to the summit of Mont Blanc. He has been recommended as eminently reliable, and you trust him with your life. But during every subsequent hour you are testing him; you see how carefully he picks the path, how strong his arm and keen his eye, how quick he is to notice and prepare against the gathering avalanche. At the end of your sojourn in that mountain village you know him for yourself. You trusted in the word of another, but you now believe in him because of your personal experience. So with our Lord, we trust Him at the beginning of life on what we are told, but as the years pass we come to know Him with a certainty which asks no confirmation elsewhere.

   A mathematical figure may help us here. Draw on paper a small curve. That is obviously far away from being a circle; but you can easily complete the circle, of which the curve becomes a part. So in human life Jesus Christ is the complement, or completement, of our need. He comes to us in the smallness of our patience, faith, hope, or love, and He adds Himself to our great need, and makes the perfect circle.

   We may go further, and say that very often God allows our helplessness and failure to become extraordinarily acute in order that His grace may have a larger opportunity. It is only when we have reached our greatest extremity that we begin to realize what Jesus is prepared to be and do.

   It was only when Sennacherib came against Jerusalem with scaling ladders and the full equipment for capturing a fortified city that Isaiah and Hezekiah discovered that God was prepared

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to be a "place of broad rivers and streams," and that there was a river — the river of His protecting care — which could make glad the city of God. Of course, there was no literal river; but God made good that lack, and Himself became all that a river could have been. He was thus the complement of their need!

   It was only when Ezra, on the return of the Jews to their own land, halted at the river Euphrates, that he awoke to the peril of crossing the great wilderness, inhabited by robber tribes. But in answer to united prayer, God promised to go before the procession, and become its rear-guard. Jehovah Himself became the complement of their need! They would not have realized what He could do for them in this direction had they been fully defended by bands of soldiers.

   The sisters of Bethany would never have known the Master's imperial glory as the Resurrection and the Life, had mortal sickness not overtaken Lazarus and carried him to his grave. In their dire sorrow and distress Jesus became their complement as the Resurrection and the Life. In after years they were glad to have had such a sorrow, which left them enriched forever with that unexpected revelation.

   Paul himself would never have known what Jesus could be unless he had been beset by that thorn in his flesh. There was a phase in the Saviour's grace which he would have never known unless that infirmity had befallen him. Then he realized that his sufferings had provided a new angle of vision, a better platform for God's saving help. Therefore he was willing rather to suffer, that the power of Christ might compensate for his deficiency; for when he was weak the strength of the Son of God was more than enough.

   Let us look at some of the disabilities named in this Book; and when we have set them down, let us take the letters out

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of the alphabet of our Lord's nature, and spell out the word most suited to bring out salient characteristics of the saving help of his right hand.

   Rev. 7:17 : Loneliness is an opportunity for Jesus to make Himself known. The beloved apostle was alone on the Isle of Patmos, but at the same moment he was "in the Spirit," and the Spirit revealed the Lord. There ensued that fellowship which began in what seemed at first a revelation almost too great to be borne by human flesh and blood. "I fell at his feet as one dead." Then Christ laid His hand upon him and lifted him up, and revealed to him the mystery of His own eternal life. The ancient mystics went to the deserts in order to obtain that vision; but in quiet lonely hours, as we walk beside the ocean, or climb the mountain, or sit in our own room, He will come and manifest Himself as He does not to the world. But you must let the silt fall to the bottom; you must allow time for the glare of the world to die out from your eyes. There must also be the spirit's steadfast attention turned toward the unseen, the unwearied and loving meditation and prayer, and the atmosphere of Christian love. The failure of any of these will make it impossible to see or feel Jesus nigh.

   Thomas à Kempis says :

   Shut thy door upon thee and call unto Jesus, thy Love. When Jesus is nigh all goodness is nigh and nothing seemeth hard; but when He is not nigh all things are hard. If Jesus speaks one word, there is great comfort. To be without Jesus is a grievous hell, and to be with Jesus is a sweet Paradise. If Jesus be with thee, there may no enemy hurt thee. It is a great craft for a man to be conversant with Jesus; and to know how to hold Jesus is a great prudence.

   But it must be remembered that fellowship like this is full of inspiration. The revelation given to John was instantly followed by the command to write. The soul, therefore, that is

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illumined by fellowship with Christ becomes, to use an ancient illustration, like the cherubim who went and came as the Lord directed. Thus holy souls, invigorated and renewed by communion with Jesus, while they wait upon Him, receive direction and instruction as to the errands they are to undertake, and they go forth to minister as He may direct. The heavenly character, seated within them, wills their movements through His loving guidance given to their hearts. He nourishes them with food celestial and enables them with grace sufficient for their day.

   When, therefore, you are lonely; when, like John on the Lord's day in Patmos, you seem to hear the hymns and prayers which you can join only in spirit, turn to the Lord Himself and ask Him to bear you company. That loneliness constitutes a claim on Him. If you had not experienced it, you would not have learned what He can be and do when He draws near, saying, "Fear not." He will not leave you orphaned, He will come to you. Though lover and friend forsake, and you are passing through a dark valley unattended, the Good Shepherd will accompany you, armed with a crook to help you out of pitfalls, and a club for your foes. Therefore out of the letters of the alphabet of His being let us choose those that spell : "Unfailing Friend!"

   Revelation 3:8-11 : Hours of suffering give opportunities for Jesus to become known. Like the Church at Smyrna, on which the first sparks of fiery trial were falling, the child of God is often called to take the way of the Cross. With its suffering, its injustice, its humiliation, its bitterness, it has been trodden by millions, and has been called "the King's highway." One holy soul says : "There is none other way to life and inward peace but the way of the Cross." But nothing has brought out so much of the love and help of Jesus!

   This is especially marked in the life of the Apostle Paul.

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Few men have come anywhere near him in the ordeal of anguish and pain. "We are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things." He was always bearing about the dying of Jesus. Poverty, persecution, ill-health, the hatred of the Jewish party, these were the deep waters he was called to cross and recross. But in it all he was more than conqueror through Him that loved him. Jesus was nearer him than the chill waters. True, he suffered for Christ, but Christ suffered with him. His Lord stood by him, then who could stand against him? His spirit seems to have become full of a divine optimism as he challenges life and death, height and depth, to separate him from the love of God. Do not let us fear suffering or pain. Do not allow yourself to shrink back when Jesus leads you into the dark chamber. He walks the furnace kindled to seven times its ordinary heat. Martyrs have asked that they might not be taken from the rack, so ecstatic were the peace and joy poured into their hearts. Sufferers for long years on beds of pain have affirmed that they would not have chosen otherwise, since the Saviour had make that chamber of pain as the vestibule of heaven. There are also experiences of suffering which are worse than most of those endured in the physical sphere, but Jesus is always standing there with the crown of life to place on the head of the overcomer. Let us not complain of our sufferings, or the lack of human sympathy, or allow people to criticize the Divine Lover; let us rather rejoice that He has trusted us with pain and disability that His power may more richly rest on us. "Be thou faithful unto death, sentry at thy post." The First and the Last is with thee. He passed through death to a fuller life; so shalt thou!

   The thousands of sick folk who were brought from every part of Galilee revealed healing qualities in Jesus that would have remained unknown had they not thronged around Him. The leper revealed His purity; the paralyzed His nervous energy;

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the dying His power of life. Each was a prism to break up rays of color hidden in His pure manhood. So each trial and sorrow which He comes into our lives to share reveals to us, and to the principalities and powers in the heavenlies, some new phase of that wonderful Being who is the complement of our infirmities.

   Therefore, out of the alphabet of His being, let us choose the letters that spell "Wonderful Healer!"

   Revelation 21:6-7 : Hours of thirst give opportunities for a more intimate knowledge of Jesus. If the woman of Sychar had not been driven by thirst, she would not have visited the well at the noon of that memorable day; and if it were not for the thirst in their souls for satisfaction, men would never say with David : "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul after thee, O God." If we were perfectly supplied from ourselves, we should never know what Christ can be. We are suffered to hunger and thirst that we should not trust in ourselves, but in the living God, who gives us all things richly to enjoy. There are those among us who have an immense capacity for love, but have never been married because a suitable partner has never been forthcoming. They love children, but have none of their own. They thirst, but perhaps, like Hagar, they have never realized that a fountain is within reach; it is the personal love of Jesus.

   But the special reference in this passage is not to the present but to the future. The first heaven and the first earth have passed away! The judgment is over, and Death and Hades have ceased forever! The seas of division and storm are no more! The conquerors and overcomers have come into their blessed heritage, of which they have been made heirs! Yet even in that beatific state there will be thirst! Jesus says, "All is over, I am Alpha and Omega, I will give to him that is thirsty."

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   Yes, even in that life there will be need for supplies from outside ourselves. Even there we shall not be independent of Him. As a circle of light grows, the circumference of darkness will grow. As we know more, we, like Newton, shall feel we are but gathering shells on the shores of a boundless ocean. The flock will lie down in green pastures, and be led in paths of righteousness, but we shall never reach the last fountain nor be able to dispense with the presence or leadership of our Saviour. When we have drunk of one set of wells, He will lead us further and more deeply into the recesses of eternity. He will still guide us to further fountains of living water. Oh, blessed absence of self-sufficiency! We shall never be self-contained, never able to dispense with Christ! But, as our nature expands, as new yearnings arise, as fresh deeps call to deeps, we shall only learn more and more of His all-sufficiency, as the way, the truth, and the life.

   Therefore, out of the letters of His alphabet of being, let us choose those that spell, "Immortal Lover!"

   Revelation 22:14 : When we are most deeply conscious of sin it will reveal the purity and redeeming love of Jesus. In these closing verse of the Apocalypse we are back again in the earth-life, though the Master assures us that He is coming very soon. This verse contains the last beatitude that is uttered from the throne of His Ascension. The reading of the Revised Version is full of beauty, and is to be preferred to that of our Authorized Bibles. Thus, for "Blessed are they that keep his commandments," we now read, as in an earlier passage (Chapter 7:14) of those who have washed their robes. It is evidently a glance back from the eternal world at an experience long past, although its blessed influence still abides. But here it is, "They are washing their robes." It is the present tense, therefore a present experience, in a present world.

   Alas! that we ever had to come to wash our robes in His

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most precious blood. Alas! that we need to come so often to wash them. It is a terrible thing to be a sinner! It does not seem so terrible, because this is a world of sinners, and we have never seen a sinless one. The child born in a leper colony cannot realize what leprosy is, nor what the child of noble and pure birth is like. But we know enough to repent in dust and ashes and cry, "Unclean," as did Isaiah when he beheld the glory of the Lord. And yet! And yet! — we should never otherwise have known the love of Christ, the wonder of His forgiving grace, His patience, His tender forbearance, His fathomless humility in stooping to wash our feet. Yes, Augustine, we understand what you mean when you say, O beata culpa, "O blessed fault!" Yet we dare not sin that grace may abound, lest we open again His wounds. But, in our hours of contrition, we have glimpses into the heart of God in Christ, which unfallen natures cannot share. Therefore, out of the alphabet of His being, let us choose letters to spell, "The Friend of Sinners!"

Move through the flames with transcendent form

As of the Son of God, in splendor move!

Divide the anguish, breast with us the storm,

Companion perfect grief with perfect Love!

   Darkness is danger. He that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth, because darkness has blinded his eyes. For vast tracts of time darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. How great the relief, then, to be told that the night is far spent and the day is at hand! The night of Satan's reign, of the power of darkness, of creation's travail and anguish, of the absence of Jesus from His church — it is far spent!

From Cheer for Life's Pilgrimage

Chapter 10

The Day is at Hand

Let us put off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. — ROMANS 13: 11-14.

THE SOUL THAT LIVES WITH GOD SEEMS TO BE LIKE A MAN passing through a suite of rooms in a palace, each room of the suite opening into a more gorgeously appointed apartment. There is no finality in God except in the sense that each horizon passed becomes an introduction to a still wider prospect and a more profound revelation of the divine nature.

   It was so in the creation of the physical universe, the description of which, like the closing book of our Bible, is narrated after an enigmatic manner. The days stand for epochs or ages. In the first age we have the remodeling of the shapeless, lifeless earth, the brooding of the Spirit over the deep, the emergence of light through the gloom, and, finally, the division between the waters above the cloudland and the waters below, that enswathe the earth as a garment. In the second and third ages we pass into a further development, for now the dry land appears garnished with vegetation and the devastating floods are penned in the abyss. During the fourth age, the sun, moon and stars reflect themselves in the waters of the deep, and, as the clock of the earth, mark the succession of time. In the fifth age the air is filled with winged things, and the waters of the ocean teem with life. In the sixth age the highest expression of God's thought appears in the

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human form, regnant over all things, and this great era presently merges into the seventh age, the rest of God, which has been full of redeeming grace. Thus we note that there is a succession, and increasing sublimity, in the development of God's purpose. Each new door in the creative plan opens into a more complete and elaborate design.

   The same plan has been followed in the history of our race. There have been clearly marked ages, dispensations, or (to use the phrase of Genesis 7) "days" in the story of mankind, each of which has ended in what seemed to be disaster. But what seemed to be disaster was the travail out of which a new and better era was born. Always remember that there are two kinds of suffering and sighing, that of death and that of life. The dying gladiator falls on the sand of the amphitheater and breathes out his life in a sigh. The mother suffers, but her pangs of travail are forgotten for joy when a child is born into the world. Thus the apparent anguish in which each great age has passed has been to life and not to death, to further development rather than to deterioration and despair. "These," said our Lord, "are the beginning of travail" (Matthew 24:8), and the apostle says that the creation groans and travails in pain until she is freed from the thraldom of decay and enters upon the glorious freedom of the sons of God!

   There was, first, the day, or age of primeval man, which ended in the deluge. Out of this sprang the second day, the age of the patriarchs, which ended with the four hundred years of Egyptian captivity. Then there dawned the third day, the age of the Hebrew nation, which lasted till the overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 604 B.C. But out of that disaster emerged the fourth day, which in many respects was of a higher type, the age of preparation for Christ, which ended in His crucifixion and the fall of Jerusalem. This was a black night indeed, and probably Paul referred to it when,

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standing on the mount of vision and anticipating the coming Gentile era, he said, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand." That would be an era, or age, or day, during which the Gospel of the Kingdom would be preached all over the wide world as a testimony to all the Gentiles, and then to this age, as to all preceding ones, the end would come (Matthew 24:14). Our Lord described this same era as "the times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24), because it covers the age of the great image, which Nebuchadnezzar beheld, and in which the gold of unchallenged supremacy descends to the clay of democracy, which cannot sustain the mighty responsibilities of empire. Finally, all these kingdoms pass away like the dust of the threshing-floor in the evening breeze.

   As Paul looked out from his mount of vision, he said, "The night is far spent," and he saw the first gleams of this wonderful age or era which has lasted from that time to this, and which has witnessed the day of the formation and growth of the Church, the day of missionary effort, the day of the noble Christian movements which to so large an extent have alleviated the ills from which men have suffered at the hands of their fellows.

   But there are many signs that for us also there is an impending change. The shadows of night seem gathering over the world. Indeed, they have been accumulating since the French Revolution. From the close of the eighteenth century the blackness of darkness has been augmenting, until the very foundations of European civilization seem tottering to chaotic ruin. But, as we stand together on the mount of vision, may we not also say, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand"?

   In Britain, when summer is at its height, excursions are made to the Arctic Circle, to view the midnight sun. It is a fascinating spectacle. The sun barely dips beneath the horizon,

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and there in the same heavens it is possible to see on the one hand the dying glory of the evening glow bathing the clouds in the rich hue of sunset, and on the other the pale luster of the dawn silvering the slight cirrus cloudlets with exquisite beauty. So we who are living today are watching the evening glory of the closing years of "the times of the Gentiles," and in the sky there are symptoms of the approaching day, the age of which Virgil dreamed and which Isaiah foretold.

   It is not within our province to detail the essential features of that age, except to say that He who dies as Saviour will come to reign as King, and that the malign spirits who have operated "in the heavenlies" for evil will be replaced by the redeemed who will reign on the earth. Human life will go on then as now, but the invisible forces which will condition it will no longer be malign and evil, but pure and holy. Whereas men now live amid influences that tempt to evil, they will then live amid those that tend to good, and this shall last, we are told, for a thousand years.

   In one of his latest books, Mr. H.G. Wells says : "The time draws near when man will awake out of his sleep and his dreams will fall away. There shall be no more nationality anywhere in the world, but one humanity. There shall be neither emperor, nor king, nor leader, but the one God of mankind." There will be peace in the world. They shall not hurt nor destroy. The earth, which has borne the curse of human sin, will rid herself of her thorns and thistles. "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir three, and instead of the briar, the myrtle tree." This is no mere metaphor. South America is overrun by a prickly weed which makes certain forests impassable, but when this plant is properly cultivated it loses its prickles and becomes succulent and wholesome as an artichoke. The pear tree in its primitive state is covered with thorns, but when it is brought under careful cultivation its thorns become

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branches laden with fruit. Even the carnivora may cease to be such. Feed a sea gull with grain, and after a time its stomach will be assimilated to that of a pigeon, just as, if you feed a pigeon on flesh, its gizzard will become the stomach of the carnivore. Of course these prophetic anticipations may be metaphors, and it will be wise to reserve our comments until we learn by experience what is meant by "the creation being made subject to vanity," from which it will be delivered.

   But even that glorious age will end in night, for Satan will gather the nations for one last effort to frustrate the plans of God. The night, however, will be brief, and will be succeeded by an age in which there can be no further catastrophe, because the great drama of love's trial and victory will be completed and God will be all in all.

   All God's endings are beginnings, and all the beginnings are steppingstones to a more beautiful and full developed order. Through man's sin each age has ended in catastrophe, but that has given the Almighty an opportunity for turning the catastrophic sin into the cloud upon which the rainbow of hope becomes apparent. He makes the wrath of man to praise Him and restrains its residue.

   The evidence that the new day or age is at our doors seems to be guaranteed by many symptoms. The Jews are gathering back to their own land on British pledges, and the renaissance of Turkey provides the elements for Armageddon. Throughout the world nations are listening to the roar of anarchic and desolating forces, which remind us of a sea threatening to overlap its bounds. The love of many is waxing cold. The missionary witness of the Church is almost complete. Voices, in other religions than our own, are predicting one more terrible war and then that divine event toward which the whole creation moves.

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   These are reasons which compel the belief that the day is at hand when "the Word of God" shall mount His white horse and come forth, followed by the troops of heaven arrayed in pure white linen. But, like so much in the book of Revelation, they are metaphors of events which defy detailed description, yet in which every syllable shall have its counterpart. But if all this be true, what manner of people ought we to be in all conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of that day?

   This question is answered when Paul says : "Let us put off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." What was the duty of the Church of that age is abundantly true of the Church of today. We also must put off from us anything that dare not meet the inspection of daylight.

   The metaphor is a military one. A Roman cohort has been marching all day in the sultry heat, but the baggage train has gone on before, and when the day's mileage is covered, the troops may reckon on comparative comfort and refreshment. At last, on the skyline, the prepared camp can be descried, and soon the heavy armor has been unlaced and laid aside and the troops regale themselves according to their bent. Those tents may become scenes of uproar and revelry. Drunkenness and debauchery may steal in under the shadow of darkness. Quarreling and disputing may alienate comrade from comrade. Finally, the whole camp sinks into the silence of sleep, except where the sentry goes to and fro on his beat. Hour passes after hour till the first glint of dawn appears on the eastern sky, and the voice of the watchman breaks in on the silence of the camp with the cry : "The night is departing, the day is advancing. Arise, comrades, and prepare to meet the light." Immediately the camp is astir. Undesirable people creep out of the tents, screened by the twilight. The soldiers put off the garments of the night and begin to clean and burnish

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and then assume their armor, so as to meet the inspection of the general as he comes slowly along the line. They do not fear, for their armor glistens speckless in the sunny light. "Similarly," cries the apostle, "let us put off whatever is inconsistent with the inspection of the day."

   Each of us knows what is the special work and disposition which to him or to her is "a work of darkness." It may be a secret sin which we nurse in the dark, and which almost instinctively rises to our thought when we approach the Lord's Table, or attend a convention for the promotion of Christian living, or watch in the silent chamber of mortal sickness. With Augustine, the work of darkness was his relationship with a woman who threatened to be the ruin of his body and soul. As he stood in the garden at Milan and heard a voice which bade him take and read in the New Testament, it was on this passage that his eye fell, and it was to that work of darkness that God's Spirit directed him. There and then he put it away and donned the armor of light. He probably went humbly all his days, as he remembered the dominant tyranny of that sin, for he died in a little cell, when the Gauls were breaking into Carthage, with his eyes fastened on this text that faced his bed : "Have mercy on me, O Lord, according to thy loving-kindness, and according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions" (Psalm 51:1). I question whether many pass through life without having such memory behind a double screen; but, oh, the wonder of God's forgiveness, that it is forever put away, and that, as in the oyster, the deep wound of the conscience holds a jewel of imperishable worth!

   After all, there is only one thing that really matters, and that is the glorious personality of Jesus Christ. The world is filled with discord and strife, with imitations and make-believes, with shams and counterfeits. In the shadow of the departing night it is often difficult to discriminate between

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friend and foe and between the different shades of gray. But there is no mistake about Jesus Christ, and we gladly respond to the closing exhortation of the apostle to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ." Clothe yourselves with Jesus Christ! Not in ecclesiastical habiliments; not in opinions about this system or that; not in systems of doctrine, but in the simplicity, the beauty, and the truth of Jesus Christ Himself. The world is full of argumentation and disputing, and how easy it is amid all the "isms" to lose Him who is "the life, the truth, and the way."

   What wonder that the world of men turns away from our many sects, our competing places of worship, our conflicts over our shibboleths! They say, "How are we to know which is right? We will have none of them." I was informed for instance, in one country that I visited, of a place containing only an average population in which there were forty-four sects. What a travesty of Christianity! Many of these sects will travel over sea and land to make one proselyte to their views, but will take small pains to win new believers in Jesus Himself. Their one thought is to obtain new adherents to their little schemes of doctrine, or of eschatology, or of affinity with this view or with that. But when you begin to talk about the master Himself they have nothing to say. Contrast their volubility over their small angle of truth with their silence when the name of Jesus is mentioned, and you discover in a moment that the religion is it, but not He.

   For what was it that captured the world? Was it not the wonder and beauty of the new conception of life which was presented by the first Christians? They were the third race. Their religion was a life. They described Christianity, not as a belief, or a creed, but "a way." It was the new way of living. Jesus had lifted a new ideal before the world. He was Himself the Life and the Way, and Christianity was spread in its earliest

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stages less by the apologist and preacher than by the beauty of Christlike lives, which reflected the beauty of Jesus. And this life energized and blessed the jaded world of that time because it did not shut itself in the wilderness with the anchorite or climb the pillar with Simon Stylites, but mixed freely with the home, the market, and the general life of the community. The first Christians drew their resources from the unseen, but translated them into the common affairs and duties of daily living.

   Let this, then, be our last word. Whatever has been set forth in these pages of Pentecost, Calvary, the relation of soul and spirit, the conflict with the world, the flesh and the devil, all must be subordinated to the one object of knowing Christ, putting on Christ, revealing Christ, and dying, speaking, and suffering in your small sphere, as Jesus would have done. "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ."

Yes, through life, death, through sorrow and through sinning,

   He shall suffice us, for He has sufficed;

Christ is the end, for Christ is the beginning!

   Christ the beginning, for the end is Christ.

   The days in which my heart was haughty and mine eyes lofty are past. Not now do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too wonderful for me. I have learned to sit still and quiet my soul like a weanling upon its mother's knee.

From Cheer for Life's Pilgrimage

Chapter 11

The Art of Sitting Still

Sit still, my daughter ... — RUTH 3: 18.

"SIT STILL, MY DAUGHTER," NAOMI SAID, AS THE TWO lone women sat together, while the gray dawn broke over the sky. Each had her special thoughts, thoughts that tended to disquietude and restlessness. The elder was eager to find a home for the young life which had twined itself so tenaciously around her. The younger was filled with hope and fear and wonder as she stood in the doorway, which seemed about to open into a garden of delight. It is not easy to sit still when young life is throbbing through our veins, and hope beckons us forward, and our natural impulse is to do something to secure the accomplishment of our plans.

   Months before, these two had traveled together from the valleys of Moab, where the girl was known as the Rose. At first, life in Bethlehem had meant a rush of bitter memory, sad foreboding, bitter privation; but of late there had been a turn in the tide. Those strong young arms, filled with the gleaner's sheaves, had beaten back hunger and want, bringing comfort and help to the aged heart of the mother, for whom all pleasantness seemed to have passed, and whose eyes would wistfully turn at sunset to the long range of the hills of Moab, glowing in the slanting rays, because on their farther side lay the three graves where her life lay buried. How natural that

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Naomi should strive to win rest and home and love for the one who was more to her than ten sons!

   It is not on the pathos of this story that we desire to dwell, but on the reason that Naomi gave Ruth for the hush on her throbbing nature, for the stillness and sitting down for which she pleaded. Boaz was known through the whole district as a man of honor, strong as he was considerate, fit to rule others because able to control himself, a man to whom a defenseless woman might entrust herself without the slightest fear of his taking undue advantage of her, one to whom the boys and youths of Bethlehem looked up as their model, and whose pure, simple, and beautiful life was the bread on which his fellow townsmen daily lived. In former days, Naomi, in common with the rest of her people, had read him as we read a book, and was persuaded that he was a man of his word, one who could be relied on to see to the end any duty which he undertook. "Sit still, my daughter," she therefore said : "for the man will not rest until he has finished the thing this day."

   It is thus, and only thus, that we too can rest. Every year the stress and speed of life increase. Events, engagements, books, opinions, flash past us, as the country seen through the windows of an express train. One impression has not time to fix itself on the inner eye before it is succeeded by another, by which it is effaced. It is increasingly difficult to find time literally to sit down, and even if the physical attitude is assumed, the mind is invaded by so many distracting thoughts and suggestions that it is almost impossible to sit still.

   It is needless to emphasize the immense injury which is inflicted by this unceasing restlessness, not only on the worker, but on the work. Manufacturers of goods requiring the highest finish are compelled to move their workshops from the feverish rush of our great cities to the quiet of country towns,

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where the current of life runs less swiftly and it is possible to look from end to end of the main street at noon without descrying a single individual. What obtains in respect to artistic fancy and skill is still more true of the highest forms of spiritual work. The incessant demand for fresh matter, for the fulfillment of public duty, for an opinion on every new book or fresh development of the eager life around, is diametrically opposed to that quietude of the soul in which the muddy waters can deposit their heavy silt and become clear again and able to reflect the azure sky. It is therefore the sorrowful confession of many foremost workers that they are able to complete nothing, and all their work bears trace of the pressure under which it has been produced.

   Besides this, the restlessness of the soul breeds irritability, fretfulness, and nervous depression. The home life suffers. The family circle is broken up. The natural play of disposition on disposition has no opportunity for its wholesome ministry. There is a story told of the children of a certain enthusiastic artist who were found running in desperate haste, as if pursued, to a remote corner of the house, and who gave the explanation, "Father's painting a sky"; and perhaps many a home where some prominent worker lodges — for it is little else — is shadowed by a similar fear, the indirect result of the overpressure of the age.

   It is only as we sit still that we can elaborate our fairest work; conceive, like Mary, the idea of breaking alabaster for our Lord; utter, like David, our blest prayers; or preserve that natural healthy life which is the charm of the home, the secret of healthy influence over others.

   But there is only one method by which this lost art can be regained : we must shelter ourselves in absolute faith behind Jesus Christ. These two solitary women were able to still each other and themselves by remembering that Boaz had their

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matter in hand, and that he was both able and eager to carry it through. They might sit still because he would not sit still. They might rest since he would not. Their cause was safe in his hands, and he would see it to the end, whatever it might be. Happy is it when we can thus hand over our many anxieties and burdens to the Lord, and be sure that He has assumed them, bears them in His heart, and will not rest until He has seen them safely to the end. "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Fret not thyself."

   The habit of reckoning on Christ is the key to a restful life. Not only to depend on His promises, but to count on Himself. A good man, one of those for whom some would even dare to die, is more than his words or assurances, because a case may arise not covered by either of them, and then we can fall back on what we know him to be. Christ is more than His spoken and recorded words.

   Is there some great perplexity in your life, the result of some indiscretion or sin in years gone by? Is there a lurking evil in your heart, which you have tried in vain to quell? Is there some anxiety about one dearer to you than life, who is drifting beyond your reach? Is there the sickness of heartache and despair? Is there a yearning for all that can be realized of deliverance from sin, the filling of the Spirit, the life and love of God? Go to the great Kinsman, find Him when you can speak to Him without interruption, tell Him all, hand it all over to Him, then go home and sit still.

   If there is anything for you to do He will tell you what it is, and give you the grace to do it. But if not, sit still, wait patiently, quiet yourself like a weaned child. He cannot forget, He will not procrastinate, He cannot fail. He is allowing no grass to grow under His feet. He is making haste, though He appears to tarry. And presently at the door there will be a

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shout of joy. Then the bridal bells shall ring out over an accomplished purpose, and your life shall be no more Marah, but Naomi, and bitterness shall be swallowed up in blessedness.

   How cozy, warm, and safe the chickens are when they have gathered under the wings of the brooking hen! It must be a very heaven for them. The storms may roll through the sky, the heavy raindrops fall; the hawk may hover above, poising itself on its wings, but the body of the parent-bird is interposed between them and all that threatens. What wonder that the Psalmist said he would hide under the shadow of God's wings till all his calamities were overpast!

From Our Daily Homily

Chapter 12

Beneath the Shadow of His Wings

And over it the cherubims of glory overshadowing the mercyseat. — HEBREWS 9:5.

WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN GLAD INDEED IF THE ELOQUENT writer of this epistle had felt at liberty to speak more particularly of these sacred mysteries. To have heard them expounded by his burning words would have been a high privilege. But as this has not been granted to us, we may at least look to the divine Spirit for a torch to light our way for some few steps into this labyrinth of sacred imagery.

   We never forget that the ark and its contents, the tabernacle or temple and its equipment, were emblematic and typical of the things in the heavens, and through them we aspire toward the heavenly things themselves. Probably these would be all too bright for mortal eyes, and therefore the opaque medium was requisite. Thus we view an eclipse through smoked glass. From the photograph of a planet's transit across the sun's disk we can more perfectly discern the nature of the sun itself, as would be impossible with the naked eye.

   The cherubim must be distinguished from the seraphim. The cherubim are associated with the redeeming love, the seraphim with the burning holiness, of God. We meet the cherubim first at the gates of Eden, where, with drawn sword, they

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keep the way to the tree of life. This was a beneficent and loving errand, else man had hopelessly added to his sin and doom. "The Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us : and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also the tree of life, and eat, and live forever, the Lord God drove out the man : and he placed at the east of the garden cherubim, and a flaming sword, to keep the way of the tree of life.

   After centuries had passed, the cherubim appear again, modeled in gold, of a piece with the golden lid of the ark, bending over the mercyseat, as though to penetrate the mysteries that were hidden in its types — the slabs of the law beneath, the golden lid encrusted with blood because sprinkled on successive days of atonement, and between their bending forms the mild and holy light of the Shekinah. Thus, in afterdays, the saints were wont to appeal to God as one who dwelt between the cherubim, and urged Him to shine forth, to stir up His strength and come to the deliverance of His people.

   When Solomon built the temple he added to this typology, following the plan given him by David, his father, who received it from the spirit of God. In addition to the bending forms over the ark, he made two figures of erect cherubim, whose wings stretched from one wall to the other of the holy place, as though to ward off all danger, and shield such as came there for shelter and succor. It is to these that the inspired writer here makes reference. He says that the mercy-seat was shadowed by the wings of the cherubim — of the two that bent low toward it, and of the two that stood erect with outspread pinions.

   They were cherubim of glory. Ezekiel descants much on the glories of the cherubim. He tells us how closely they were identified with the throne of God on the one hand, and with the wheel of nature on the other. They bore upon their wings the firmament on which the throne rested; their movements

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regulated the revolutions, the rise and fall of the wheels that so vividly portray the course of nature.

   The cherubim are surely embodiments of the divine nature in its goings forth to save and bless men. Of their four faces one is as a man, betokening the intelligence and benignity with which God regards us; a second is a calf, representing the patience with which God toils on our behalf and bears with our failures; a third is a lion, suggesting the royal strength of the Lion of the tribe of Judah; a fourth is an eagle, reminding us of that dominion over the prince of the power of the air, of that majestic indifference to storm, of that strong parental care which bears its young on its untiring wing, each of which has its correlative in the nature of God.

   Cherubim of glory! Theirs is the glory of close association with the divine nature, of identification with the divine attributes, of intelligent co-operation with the divine will. Their every movement is harmonious with the loving purposes of the divine heart. "They excel in strength, hearkening to the voice of his word." They excel in majesty and beauty. To any one of them might be addressed the words of Ezekiel, "Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect beauty. Every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created."

   O glorious cherubim! would that we were fair as ye are, as devoted, as full of the love of God! Yet ye are but servants of our King, our Brother, the immortal Lover of our spirits, while we are His heirs and joint-heirs. He is not ashamed to call us brethren; nay, the spirit of the Son is in our hearts, crying to your God and ours, "Abba, Father." Some day, in the excellent glory, we may see your beauteous forms; but in the

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meantime, ye speak to us of all the love of our Father's heart, for ye are His ministers, sent forth to minister to His children, and to act as their convoy to His home.

   Shadowing. Whatever the cherubim be, they set forth the divine energy and attribute as they canopy and overshadow believing souls. Frequently, therefore, in Scripture, we are reminded of the protection which is afforded by the outspread wings of the Shekinah. Boaz congratulated Ruth that she had come to trust under the wings of Jehovah. David prayed that he might be kept as the apple of God's eye, and hidden under the shadow of His wings; he extolled that excellent loving-kindness beneath the shadow of whose wings the children of men might put their trust; and how many have adopted his glad outburst, "Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice!" Among the tenderest words of Him who spake as man never spake were the yearning expressions of His desire that He might have been allowed to gather Jerusalem as a hen gathers her chickens beneath her wing. Ah, yearning heart of Christ, how oft hast thou been disappointed since!

   Bunyan says that the hen has four different calls to her brood : one when twilight begins to darken toward night; another when she has come across some dainty for their food; another of danger, when the hawk is hovering in the air; and yet another of yearning desire. It is thus that He calls, in whose nature every kind of love has its origin and fount. Whatever is meant by the wing of the mother-bird-warmth, shelter, tenderness, the nearness of love — all is realized and gathered up in the symbol of the overshadowing wing of the cherubim of glory. Come to the mercyseat, and thou shalt find thyself under the wing of the attributes of God, sworn and pledged to help thee. "As birds flying" the Lord will defend thee. The very being of God will be interposed between all

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that threatens and thy cowering heart. His thought, His patience, His strength, His supremacy, these are His cherubim, these thy defense and aid, these the overshadowing wing.

   The mercyseat. We must get there, aye, and live there, if we would dwell beneath the covert of the overshadowing wing of the attributes of God, of which the cherubim are emblems and embodiments. Let us see how to reach it, as we trace the steps of the high priest on the day of atonement.

   Clad in simple white, linen tunic, linen turban, linen girdle, he went alone through the holy place, and approached the curtain of separation, embroidered with cherubic figures. His first act on passing through the veil was to swing to and fro the golden censer, filling the apartment with its sweet fragrance and veiling films of smoke; next he sprinkled the blood of the bullock, purchased for himself and his sons, seven times before and upon the golden lid; and, as the blood made peace and guaranteed his welcome, he looked up and saw those strong, noble forms gleaming through the wreaths of smoke, and knew that their wings, spread over his head, were emblematic of the love that yearned over him and his, and of the strength pledged to his defense.

   Retiring from the sacred shrine, the knife flashed in the sun as he plunged it in the goat, which represented the offering for the people. He caught its flowing blood in the golden vessel, and proceeded to do with it as with the bullock's. In that moment, in him as their representative, all Israel, just then massed without, stood before God, was accepted by virtue of the blood that was shed, and sheltered safely under the shadowing wings of the cherubim. It must have seemed to the pious Hebrew as though His people were at rest and in safety beneath the sheltering love of Jehovah, guaranteeing their safety from all attacks of men and devils.

   The type needs no words to elaborate its meaning. We must

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take up our abode in the most holy place if we would dwell under the shadowing wing of God. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."

   It is a delightful thought that whatever was symbolized by the holy of holies, whatever is its correlative and analogue in the nature of God, is ours, not to enter for a transient yearly visit, but to become our home and abiding-place. The veil has been rent, the separation between us and the innermost fellowship with God is abolished, the way into the holiest has been made through the blood of Jesus, we are free to enter thither with all boldness, we are invited to live there forevermore.

   This is the position of every believer today in the purpose of God, and by right of union with the great High Priest; but let us never rest till it is ours also in happy and blessed realization. In other words, we must by faith claim, and by faith maintain, our portion in the innermost place, face to face with the uncreated light, which we do not dread, because the blood speaks peace; and we are, therefore, under the wing of God — His angels ministering; His attributes defending; His love, in which fatherhood and motherhood blend, brooding and fond.

   Are you fleeing from the justice of a broken law? Get to the mercyseat; there the wings of incarnate love wait to protect you.

   Are you cowering before the threatening storm of care, trouble, soul-anguish? Make for the secret place of the tabernacles of the Most High; there you shall find refuge under the wing of God's peace, that passeth all understanding.

   Are you surrounded by the strife of tongues? Flee from the windy storm and tempest to that serene hiding-place, where

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the cherub wing is a strong defense against the breaking storm.

   Are you menaced by the assaults of the great enemy of souls? He is no match for the least of God's angels, who is representative of the divine kingdom and power and glory. Shelter, then, beneath the wing of that God who makes His angels swift as winds, His ministers pure as flames of fire. Better still, put the love and grace of God between your soul and everything.

   The Venus de Milo looks benignantly down on the upturned faces of her admirers, but she has no arms — she is powerless to help the generations as they pass before her. But Christ sits at the right hand of power, rides forth in the chariots of salvation, and stretches forth His hand to heal and save.

From Cheer for Life's Pilgrimage

Chapter 13

Where is the Lamb? Behold the Lamb of God!

GENESIS 22:7. JOHN 1:29.

AN OLD-WORLD STORY, WHICH COMES FROM THE CALM, meditative Eastern life — can it help us in these great Western cities, with their swift and arrowy currents, always rushing so fast and bearing us with them? Yes, because it is ever the same heart, which beats alike under the flowing robes of the Arab sheik and the broadcloth of the European or American man of business; the same agony of hope and fear, the same passions, the same marvelous mystery of life. This is why the Bible, which deals with these deepest questions, can never grow old. Every generation looks into its calm depths and sees its own face.

   It was a great joy when that little child budded on the old tree of Abraham's life. He had suffered much : when he left Charran, tearing himself from kith and kin; when Lot chose his own path; when he denied his wife, and knew that he had acted ignobly and meanly; when he saw the plain of Sodom smoking as a furnace. But his greatest trouble for years had been that there was no childish prattle in his tent which he could recognize as the absolute fulfillment of his hope and love. The tent had many treasures, all but the treasure he desired most. And, though it was promised, it was hard to wait.

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Surely it is harder for men to wait than for women. Somehow, we expend ourselves more in sitting still than in strenuous action. This waiting cut the furrows deep in that brow. But when the child came, the aged pair, for different reasons, called him Isaac, that is, "laughter." Sarah remembered her laugh of unbelief; Abraham forgot his sorrow, and his mouth was filled with laughter and his tongue with singing. He grew young again; his features softened and mellowed with an unearthly light. And when the little feet could toddle, the old man could go nowhere without taking the child. That touch of baby fingers on his withered hands — how exquisite! Those incessant questions — how delicious! That trust which nestled to him — how absolutely satisfying!

   Often as he saw the Canaanites around engaged in their horrible religious rites, offering up their children to Chemosh, Ashtaroth, Milcom, or their equivalents, he must have said to himself, "I could never do that, I shall never be asked to do it, I should never live through it; Thou wilt never ask it of me, wilt Thou?" But God did : "Take now thy son, thy only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and offer him as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell thee." Did not his heart stand still, as though transfixed and petrified? Did it not seem as though it were impossible to go through the ordeal? Did not the Gethsemane cry break from those strong lips : "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me"?

   Men say that God had no right to issue this command; but we have no right to disconnect the beginning of the story from the close; it is imperative to take it as a whole — the call to offer Isaac with the arrest, "Lay not thy hand upon the lad." God gave His servant the opportunity of showing that he loved Him as absolutely as the idolaters around their deities, and then stepped in to teach him that He did not require the last terrible act of immolation. It was enough that He was

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first in His servant's loyalty and affection, and he might take his beloved Isaac back again to be the light of his old age. God does not want to take His laughter-making gifts away from us; He only desires for our own sake as for His own that we should hold them in Him, making Him first; giving them to Him to receive them again from His hand, through the altar of sacrifice, with the added luster of resurrection and immortal bloom.

   They had often been on similar errands before. When the old man went to worship God he loved to take the lad with him, and he always carried wood, so soon as he was able, while the father's hand bore the fire and knife. On all other occasions also the father carried a lamb in the bosom of his dress; but on the present occasion it was lacking. It suddenly occurred to the quick-witted lad as a strange omission, and he turned to his father with the words, "My father." When God spoke to Abraham he was wont to answer calmly, "I am here where Thou hast put me," and so he replied to the challenge of his son, "Here am I." It is well to possess our souls in patience, to dwell deep; to let God's peace sentinel our hearts, so that we may not be perturbed or disquieted by any sudden alarm. Then Isaac said, "Behold the fire and the wood : but where is the lamb?"

   That cry, articulate or not, has in every age arisen to human lips. The Jew asked it as he brought hecatombs of lambs and slew them till their blood flowed in crimson streams. Where is the Lamb which is to make these lambs needless, the substance of which these are shadows, the reality of which these are types? The blood of these can never take away sin. Where is the Lamb whose one sufficient sacrifice and oblation shall suffice once and forever?

   We all instinctively repeat the inquiry, Where is the Lamb? It is not enough to tell us of the divine clemency which forgives

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our sin and remits its penalty; we want to know how it is done, how such treatment consists with the demands of a broken law, with the claims of outraged justice, with the asseveration that the soul which sins must die. The forgiveness which is to appease our conscience, calm our fears, answer our questions, must stand foursquare with justice, must be consistent with equity and truth. God must be shown to be just, while He is the justifier of the ungodly.

   Yes, when you and I are met with the memories of past sins, we shall need the Lamb; when we tread the verge of Jordan, we shall need the Lamb; when we soar to worlds unknown, we shall need the Lamb; when we stand in the presence of the eternal God, we shall cry as Isaac did, "Where is the Lamb? Where is He whose blood shall atone, whose mind and sacrifice can avail to cancel the past, to give peace to the conscience, and to answer the challenge of the divine order of the universe?"

   "God will provide himself a lamb." Fear strove with faith in that aged breast; but faith would not give back a single inch. God would provide; somehow, God would show a way which was consistent with His promise, with the parental love He had inspired and permitted, and with the present demand, that seemed so terrible and forbidding. There must be some solution of the whole, which would be perfectly satisfactory when once it was revealed. It might not be unveiled till the last moment, but as certainly as God was God it would emerge.

   He probably did not tell Sarah, when they started in the early dawn, of the tragedy which seemed to threaten them. Why should he? It were useless to give her pain; they would most certainly return together. And when he uttered a brief farewell to his young men, he simply said that the lad and he were going forward to worship, and would presently come back to them.

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He distinctly used the pronoun "we," because he was so sure that God would provide, though how he could not tell — but the Lord would provide.

   On the floor of the mosque which now crowns Mount Moriah the marble in one place is broken by a piece of the limestone rock, the summit of the hill which juts above its level surface. This is said to be the identical spot where the angel of the Lord arrested Abraham's uplifted hand; and if so, it is the identical spot where God stepped in to provide for His servant's dire extremity.

   Probably no creature has ever entered so closely into the experiences of the great Father's heart in the supreme act of Calvary; but even Abraham stopped short of the final extremity of anguish : he was spared, but God spared not Himself, inasmuch as He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.

   Do not be afraid of God : dare to obey Him; dare to lay your precious Isaac in His arms; be sure to trust Him utterly with your dearest and costliest. He has not wished to despoil your life of its grace and joy, only to see whether He is first and best. He will provide for you. Do not look to the right or left, but to Him only; you may have to come to the mountain top, with its limestone ledge, but in the mount of the Lord the deliverance shall be seen : He will provide Himself the Lamb.

   This was the message of all the prophets. They told in varying tones and metaphors of speech that God would certainly provide a lamb. The noblest of them said that One would be led as a lamb to the slaughter, and would stand as a dumb sheep before her shearers. And the heart of man received and certified their predictions, so sure was it that God could not leave a man's soul in the Hades of corruption and disappointment, but, somehow, would show the path of atonement and

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redemption, and at length justify the prophetic instincts of those whom He had taught to hunger and thirst for righteousness.

   "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world!" I conceive of John the beloved speaking thus :

   "In my youth I was the disciple of the greatest of woman born; strong, sinewy, with flashing eye and trumpet voice, he never lowered his glance or quaked before any — no, not even before Herod — till one day, as a few of us were gathered near him, we saw him suddenly change color, as a simple peasant-like stranger passed across his vision at a little distance. He pointed toward Him, and said, 'Behold the Lamb of God!'

   "We did not particularly regard Him then; but on the following day the incident was repeated. Again our master indicated this simple, lowly man as the Lamb of God, and we followed Him, saw where He lived, and left all to identify ourselves with His cause.

   "Three years after I saw Him hanging on the cross, His brow wreathed with thorns, His body rent with wounds, His soul broken with anguish; it seemed to me as though He were burdened by a weight that was not His own, and were dying for sins which He had never done; and there came back to my mind the words of my master, 'Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!'

   "Years after that, when in Patmos, with no sound to break the stillness but the scream of the sea-bird and the break of the wave along the coast, the azure veil of heaven was rent, and I beheld the jasper throne and heard the chant of the seraphim; then in the midst of the throne, and of the living creatures, and of the angel throng, I beheld the Lamb as it had been slain, and again recalled the words which I heard on the

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other side of the gulf of tears, 'Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world!'"

   It is true witness. God had laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Himself the Priest and the Victim, He transferred to His own head the curse and penalty of our sin; He was made sin for us; He bare our sins in His own body on the tree; He was accounted accursed because He represented those whose sin had brought them under the frown and curse of divine justice; He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. God forgives the penitent believing soul, not simply as an act of divine clemency, but of justice. His pardon is based on righteousness. The just claims of His holy and righteous law have been mete; nothing more can be asked or required. He is faithful to His Son and just to His claims on our behalf when He pardons and accepts all those who come unto Him in faith.

   Behold Him! little child, and mature man; trembling penitent, and dying saint; youth with hope, and age with regretful memories! Behold the Lamb of God! Look, and look again! Let life become one prolonged and steadfast look, till the transforming beauty of Jesus pass into your features, as His peace shall guard and keep your heart. Then eternity will unfold still new delights in Him, in whom all that is lovely in character, all that is strong and just and righteous, blend in perfect harmony.

   It cannot be too deeply pondered by the wrong-doer, whether he be child of God or not, that sin carries in itself the seed of its own fatal penalty; that there is no need for God to arise and take a thunder-bolt in His hand; if only He keeps still and allows sin to work out its own result, according to the constitution of His world, the wrong-doer will be abundantly punished.

From Through Fire and Flood

Chapter 14

"Sin" and "Sins"

   In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. — ROMANS 6:11.

THE NEARER WE LIVE TO GOD, THE MORE SENSITIVE WE BECOME to the presence of sin. Increasing light means increasing self-judgment; and things which were allowed in the twilight of the dawn become abhorrent as the noontide light reveals their true character. You may gauge your growth in grace, and your increasing reception of the Holy Spirit, by the tenderness of your conscience with respect to sins which you once committed without remorse, and almost without remark. In proportion as you comprehend the full beauty of Christ your Lord you will find imperfections in your best moments, and discern blemishes in your holiest deeds. When we hear of God, we are self-satisfied; but when we see Him we abhor ourselves, and repent in dust and ashes.

   In view of these facts it is impossible for any true child of God to be contented with himself. He cannot speak of himself as having attained, or as being already perfect. He is ever following after to apprehend or attain; and as he does so, he who once described himself as the least of all saints, comes to call himself the chief of sinners. He is conscious of forgiveness; he knows that he is accepted in the Beloved; but, in proportion as he walks in the growing light, he feels his growing need of the precious blood which cleanseth from all sin.

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   It is true that many claim to have attained to a condition of sinless perfectness; but they surely fail to discriminate between things which differ widely as the poles. They do not distinguish between the believer's standing in Christ Jesus, in the sight of God, and the practical realization and appropriation of that standing, which can only be in proportion to his faith. According to our faith, so it is to us; and, as faith is ever growing toward perfect vision, is it not clear that there must also be a growth toward the perfect appreciation and enjoyment of our standing in Christ Jesus?

   And is there not this also, that there is a whole world of difference between freedom from conscious sin and the attainment of the perfect glory of the stature of Christ? The one is negative; the other is positive. The one is according to the dim light of human consciousness; the other is according to the Divine standard of infinite excellence. The one is within the reach of the young disciple, and ranks among the elements of Christ; the other is still in advance of the holiest saint among the ranks of the redeemed, and always will be.

   When we come short, we sin.

   As soon as we put ourselves in the true relation to the Spirit of God, we may expect to be kept from conscious sin; but surely this is a very different thing from the perfection of the New Testament, which is the maturity of the fully developed man. Even if we have passed from the adolescence to the manhood of Christian development, there is still an infinite chasm between our uttermost attainment and the surpassing loveliness of the One Perfect Man.

   Who of us has not also had some such experience as this — that we condemn things which passed muster years ago? Is not this the law of growing excellence in all art, in all knowledge? Do not the singer, the painter, the writer, the poet, detect blemishes and flaws where once the judgment rested with

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entire acquiescence and content? And must not this be always so, so long as there is progress in any direction along which the energies of the soul may work? And if this be so, is it not almost certain that we permit and harbor things today which we shall be the first to condemn when years have passed, just as we condemn things today which, for want of fuller light, seemed harmless enough in the days of our ignorance? But, under such circumstances, how can we say that we are perfect? How can we speak of ourselves as sinless? How can we ever get beyond the need of humbly confessing that we are sinners? How can we do without the constant washing in the laver of priests?

   There are three matters which must be considered in connection with the believer's inner experience of evil :

   1. The Tempter. "Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour : whom resist" (1 Peter 5:8-9).

   It is not necessary to suppose that the prince of the power of the air is the author of temptation to every believer, the world over, for that would go near to investing him with the attributes of omniscience and omnipresence. But he is surrounded by legions of inferior spirits, the wicked spirits in heavenly places, as malignant in their hate as he is; and who are ever waiting to carry out his plans, any one of which is sufficient to master the soul that has not learned the secret of victory through faith in the Stronger than the strong man armed.

   It is a commonplace in Christian ethics — and yet it may not be realized by every reader of these lines — that temptation does not become sin to us until the will assents to the suggestion of the Tempter. So long as the will is resolute, exclaiming with Joseph, "How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" there is no sin. Sin is the act of the perverted will.

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That temptation is not sin is proved by the fact that the Lord Jesus was tempted in all points, though without sin. Of course, there is a vast difference between Him and us : because there was nothing in Him, as there is in us, responsive to the Tempter's suggestions. It is difficult for us to listen to the suggestion of sin without contracting any stain; but still it may be accepted as broadly true that the fact of our being tempted does not necessarily involve us in sin.

   There is only one way by which the Tempter can be met. He laughs at our good resolutions and ridicules the pledges with which we fortify ourselves. He has been dealing with these for sixty centuries, and well knows how to find their weakest point, and to sweep them away, as the tide does the child's barricade of sand. There is only one whom he fears; one who in the hour of greatest weakness conquered him; and who has been raised far above all principality and power, that He may succor and deliver all frail and tempted souls. He conquered the prince of this world in the days of His flesh; and He is prepared to do as much again, and yet again, in each one of us, if only we will truly surrender ourselves to His gracious and mighty indwelling.

   In the days of knightly chivalry it was supposed to be enough for the true soldier of the cross to make the sacred sign on his person, when instantly the foul spirits that had gathered in the murky gloom to do him harm fell back, and let him through. It was not all legend and myth. But there is a truth beneath the mediæval setting. And that truth is ours today — that the best resource of the hardly-beset soldier of Jesus is to appeal, not to the cross, but to Him who on that cross bruised the serpent's head, not for Himself only, but for us.

   There are many forms in which that appeal may be made.

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Some utter the name of the tempted — the succoring High Priest, "Jesus! Jesus!" Some cry in the triumphant assurance of victory, "Jesus saves me." Some do better still, and claim that grace in Him, the lack of which is hurrying them into sin, so that temptation becomes a positive means of grace to them by showing their deficiency, and leading them to strengthen the things which remain, but which may be languishing to death.

   But whichever method you adopt, reader, be sure you do it in one way or another. Swift as the chick to the shelter of the mother's wing, so do you betake yourself to the ever-offered protection of Jesus Christ whenever menaced by the Tempter. The Lord God is not only a sun but a shield. "The name of the Lord is a strong tower : the righteous run into it and are safe." He will "cover thy head in the day of battle" (Psalm 84:11; Proverbs 18:10; Psalm 140:7).

   It may be that you have tried to do this, and have failed. You have entered upon the day's life, fully intending to make Jesus your shield of faith, and to hide in Him when threatened by the Tempter. Yet you have found, to your dismay, that you have been overcome before you have bethought yourself of your refuge and deliverer. But there is an easy remedy for this in the aid of the Holy Spirit. He is the Divine remembrancer. It is His office to maintain the spirit in a state of holy recollectedness; and, if the attack be as a thunderclap, He will be as the premonitory lightening flash, crying, "Beware! Beware! 'turn you to your stronghold, O prisoner of hope' " (Zech. 9:12).

   Be sure of this, that Satan cannot tempt you beyond what you have power to sustain or resist. Powerless in yourself, you can do all things in Christ who strengthens you. The Lord Jesus has bought you; and you must trust Him to keep you.

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"The Lord is thy keeper." "He will not suffer thy foot to be moved." "Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler" (Psalm 121:5, 3; 91:3.).

   2. The Sinful Tendency Within. Regeneration is not the eradication of the principle of the old life, but the insertion beside it of the principle of a new life — the Christ life. And these two exist side by side, as the house of Saul and the house of David in the rent and distracted kingdom of Israel; but the one is destined to get weaker and weaker, whilst the other waxes stronger and stronger.

   "That which is born of the flesh is flesh," and can never be anything else than flesh. It can never be improved into spirit. It can never be anything but abhorrent in the eye of the Holy God. So that "they that are in the flesh cannot please God"; and the flesh which is in us can never please God. The only thing to be done is to deny it; and to reckon it as a dead thing, which has no place in the Home of Life. "Bury thy dead out of thy sight."

   Self is the anagram of Flesh. The flesh-principle is the self-principle, which so insidiously creeps into everything from which it is not rigorously excluded by the grace of God. Before we are converted self is the sole motive power of our lives : our kindest and best actions originate in this root. And after we are converted, it strives to insinuate itself into our religious life. Satan will not prohibit us from being religious — if only "self" is the mainspring of our devotion. Hence it is that Jesus Christ is so unrelenting in His demand for self-denial. And it has been the axiom of saintship in all ages — "Wheresoever thou findest thyself, deny thyself." Sword in hand, we must pursue this evil thing — this self-hood — through all the disguises beneath which it hides itself. We must allow it no quarter. We must believe that it is never

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more near or more dangerous than when it causes a rumor to be set on foot that it is no more. In the self-congratulation which arises on the receipt of this happy intelligence, there is a new and striking evidence of its continued and vigorous existence.

   It is to this evil principle, which is very susceptible to the least suggestion from without, that the Tempter appeals. His attacks would be less formidable if it were not for this traitor within the citadel of the soul. But we may well fear the bombshells thrown in from without, when we remember the magazines of gunpowder within, awaiting the spark that shall hurry them into explosion, to shatter the rest of the soul.

   There is no evidence, then, that the flesh shall ever be eradicated, because it is ourselves; and the Apostle clearly tells us that "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh." And in those who most earnestly asseverate its eradication in their own experience there are frequent indications of its presence still (Gal. 5:17).

   But this is possible. The Holy Spirit is the deadly antagonist of, and all-sufficient antidote to, the self-life. When He dwells in blessed fulness within the surrendered heart, He sets it free from the law of sin and death : He annihilates the power of the self-life as an antiseptic cancels the death-dealing germs which proceed from the body of a patient who is stricken by an infectious disease.

   When the Holy Spirit resides in power in the heart He keeps the self-life so utterly in the place of death that temptation has no fascination, no power. The appeals of hell are flung against the ear of death : there is no response, no motion of obedience. Try it, reader : be not content to have the Holy Spirit within thee; see that He fills thee; and thou wilt experience

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that blessed condition in which the sparks of temptation shall seem to be quenched in an ocean of water as they touch thy heart.

   But remember the evil thing is there still, not eradicated, not destroyed, only kept in the place of death by the Spirit of life. And if ever thou shalt quench or limit His gracious operation, so that He relaxes His restraining power, that accursed principle will arise with all its pristine force, join hands with the Tempter, and hurry thee into sin. Watch and pray, therefore; keep in with the Holy Ghost, walk warily, that thou mayest never have to retrace thy steps, shedding tears of blood.

   3. Sins. Through neglect of watching and prayer — or by reason of carelessness in the walk and conversation — it is quite possible to break that holy connection between ourselves and heaven which is the secret of deliverance and the talisman of victory. There is always a Delilah ready to sheer off the locks of our strength if we allow ourselves to sleep in her lap. And our strength may be gone ere we know it. "But he did not know that the Lord had left him" (Judges 16:20).

   And when we put ourselves outside those sacred influences which are intended to deliver us from the power of evil, there is no alternative but that we should break out again into acts of sin. But there is a difference. They are not now the normal state of the soul. They are not committed in opposition to the judgment and the conscious. They are the sins of a child for which it will be chastened, until it gets back into the old blessedness again. An old divine says : "A sheep and a sow may each fall into the same quagmire; but the sow will wallow it in, whilst the sheep will bleat piteously, until she is extricated and cleansed." Such is the difference between the ungodly and the children of God. "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not"; that is, sin can never become his normal and habitual state (1 John 3:6).

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   If ever this should be your unhappy lot, do not despair. The true test of Christian character does not consist in the inability to fall, but in the quick agony of repentance, and in the immediate restoration to the ways which had been left. Directly you are conscious of sin turn at once to your compassionate Lord. Do not wait for the fever of passion to subside, or for the agony of your shame to die down; but, there and then, in the crowd or in the street, lift up your heart, and ask Him to touch you with that finger before which uncleanness cannot abide; ask Him to wash you as He did the feet of His disciples, soiled by jealousy and strife for mastery; ask Him to restore your soul to the place it occupied before you fell.

   You may not be able to forgive yourself, but He will forgive you instantly; the stain will be at once extracted from the spirit's robes; the foulness will immediately flee from the blemished dress; and the forgiven one shall occupy again the place which for a moment had been vacated, the place in the heavenlies, side by side with his Redeemer. Oh, do not doubt the Saviour's willingness, or the Saviour's power, to forgive, or the efficacy of His blood to wash out each stain as it may become manifest to the quickened conscience. Remember that His blood ever cleanseth from all sin, as the stream is ever flowing over the pebble, and as the tear-water is ever removing from the eye the motes that alight for a moment on its surface.

   It is not an easy world for any of us to traverse; it is no friend to grace : but it is possible to walk through it with clean and stainless robes. Sin may assail; but it will be as the waves that beat outside the godly ship without finding admittance within its walls. And out of the pure and guileless heart shall

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spring all the loveliness of unselfish and helpful deeds, such as shall make this sad world happier, and dark hearts bright with the light of heaven.

   O souls, weary and sin-sick, hand yourselves over to the tender mercies of the Good Physician, sure that He will undertake the most desperate case; and "give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (Isaiah 61:3).

Michelangelo, on one occasion, entering the studio of his young pupil Raffaello, and finding his style too cramped, drew a chalk line across it, and wrote at the foot of the canvas the word amplius — broader, fuller, wider. That is God's perpetual word to us in relation to the filling of the Holy Spirit. We can never have enough to satisfy His yearning desire. When we have apprehended most, there are always unexplored oceans and continents beyond.

From Through Fire and Flood

Chapter 15

The Fulness of the Spirit

Be filled with the Spirit. — EPHESIANS 5:18.

NOTHING CAN COMPENSATE THE CHURCH, OR THE INDIVIDUAL Christian, for the lack of the Holy Spirit. What the full stream is to the mill wheel, that is the Holy Spirit to the Church. What the principle of life is to the body, that is the Holy Spirit to the individual. We shall stand powerless and abashed in the presence of our difficulties and our foes until we learn what He can be as a mighty tide of love and power in the hearts of His saints.

   Among the readers of these lines may be many who are suffering from different forms of spiritual weakness, all of which are directly attributable to the lack of the Holy Spirit. Not that they are completely destitute of Him; for if they were, they would not be Christians at all; but that, being within them, He is present only as an attenuated thread, a silver streak, a shallow brook. Why should we be content with this? The Pentecostal fulness, the enduement of power, the baptism of fire, are all within our reach. Let us be inspired with a holy ambition to get all that our God is willing and eager to bestow.

   Do you lack assurance? Sometimes you do not, for you feel happy and content. But anon, these happy hours are fled, and your rest is broken, as the surface of the mountain

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is overcast and ruffled by the gathering storm. You need a basis of settled peace; and it is only to be found — first, in a clear apprehension of what Jesus has done for you; second, in the sealing of the Holy Spirit. It is His sacred office to witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. He is the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, "Abba, Father!"

   Do you lack victory over sin? This is not to be wondered at if you neglect the Holy Spirit. He is the blessed antidote to the risings and dominion of the flesh. He lusts against the flesh, so that we may not fulfil its lusts. When He fills the heart in His glorious fulness the suggestions of temptation are instantly quenched, as sparks in the ocean wave. Sin can no more stand against the presence of the Holy Ghost than darkness can resist the gentle, all-pervasive beams of morning light.

   If however He is grieved, or resisted, or quenched, so that His power and presence are restrained, there is no deliverance for the spirit, however bitter its remorse, or eager its resort to fastings, mortifications, and regrets. The law of the Spirit of Life, which is in Christ Jesus, can alone make us free from the law of sin and death. But it can, and it will if only we yield ourselves to its operation.

   Do you lack the fruits of holiness? Some whom we know are so evidently filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are to the praise of God, that we are instinctively drawn to them. Their faces are bright with the presence of the Lord, they they drink of the cup of His sorrows. Their spirit is tender; their disposition sweet and unselfish; and their child-like humility flings the halo of indescribable beauty over their whole behavior.

   We lack these graces. There is little in us to attract men to Christ; much to repel. Our boughs are naked and bare as if locusts had stripped them. And the reason is evident. We have

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not let the Holy Spirit have His way with our inner life. Had the sap of His presence been mighty within us, we should have been laden with luscious fruitage; it would have been impossible to be otherwise.

   Do you lack power for service? You have no burning thirst for the salvation of others. You are not on fire for souls. You have never been in agony over the alienation of men from God. And when you speak, there is no power in what you say. The devils laugh at your attempts to exorcise them. The sleeper turns for a moment uneasily; but soon falls into profounder slumber than ever. The home, the class, the congregation, yield no results. No hand-picked fruit fills your basket. No finny shoal breaks your nets. No recruits accept your call to arms. And you cannot expect it to be otherwise till you obtain the power which our Lord promised when He said, "Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you." It was when the early Christians were filled with the Holy Ghost that they spoke the word of God with boldness, and gave witness with great power to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

    These and many other deficiencies would be met, if only we were filled with the Holy Spirit. There would be a joy, a power, a consciousness of the presence of the Lord Jesus, an habitual rest in the will of God, which would be a joyful discovery to us if only we refused to be satisfied with anything less than the full indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

   Entire consecration of the service of the Lord Jesus is a great step in advance of the experience of most Christians; but even that is not enough. It is often largely negative; but we require something strongly positive to meet the necessities of our hearts and of our times. And this is to be sought in our entire possession by that mighty Spirit whose advent at Pentecost dated a new era for the Church and the world.

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   Of course, He was always in the world. It was the Holy Spirit of Pentecost who brooded over chaos, and spoke in prophets and holy men, and nerved the heroes and saints of Old Testament time. The day of Pentecost did not introduce a new Spirit into the world, but inaugurated an era in which the weakest and meanest of the saints might possess Him in the same measure as they did who lived upon its farther side. Before that momentous day His fulness was the prerogative of only the few, the elite, the Elijahs, and Isaiahs, and Daniels; but since that day He has been shed forth in all His plenitude on the many — on women and children, on obscure thinkers and hidden workers, on handmaids and servants, on all and any who were prepared to fulfil the conditions and to abide by the results. Why not on us?

   We are willing to admit that the special gifts of the Holy Ghost belong to the Apostolic age. Given for a specific purpose, they are now withdrawn; though it is a serious question whether they might not have been continued if only the Church had been more faithful to her sacred trust.

   But the special gifts of the Holy Ghost are altogether apart from His blessed fulness. That is not the exclusive right of any age. Confined to no limited area or epoch in the history of the Church, He pours His tides of light and power around us, as the Nile in flood; nor is there a single plot of garden ground, however remote, into which He will not come, to fertilize and enrich, if only the channel of communication be kept cleansed and open.

   "Be filled with the Spirit" is an injunction as wide-reaching in its demands as, "Husbands, love your wives," which is found on the same page. It is a positive command, which we must obey at our peril, and all God's commands are enablings. In other words, He is prepared to make us what He tells us to become. Moreover, on the day of Pentecost, in words

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which are the charter of our right to the fulness of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Peter told the listening crowds that the fulness which had suddenly come on them from the ascended Lord — and which was a direct fulfilment of ancient prophecy — was not for them only, or for their children, but for as many as were afar off, even for them whom the Lord God should call. Are you one of His called ones? Then rejoice, because that fulness is for you. Be not faithless, but believing! Lay claim at once to the covenanted portion; and thank God for having cast your lot in an age of such marvelous possibilities.

   1. Excite holy desire by considering what the fulness of the Spirit means. We cannot expect to have it, if we are quite content to live without it. Our Father is not likely to entrust this priceless gift to those who are indifferent to its possession. Where the flame of desire burns low there can be no intelligent expectation that the Holy Spirit's fulness shall be realized.

   And it is not enough to have a fitful and inconstant desire, which flames up today, but will remain dormant for months and years. There must be a steady purpose, able to stand the test of waiting, if need be, for ten days; and to bear the rebuff of silence or apparent denial.

   And yet the flame of desire needs fuel. We must muse before that fire can burn. And it becomes us, therefore, to stir up the gift that is within us by a quiet consideration of all that is meant by becoming Spirit-filled.

   There is no book which will so move us in this direction as the Acts of the Apostles. It is perfectly marvelous to see what this fulness did for those who first received it. Cowards become brave. Obtuse intellects, which had stumbled at the simplest truths, suddenly awoke to apprehend the Master's scheme. Such power attended their words that crowds became

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congregations; Christ's murderers became His worshipers and friends; councils of clever men were not able to withstand the simple eloquence of indisputable facts; towns and countries were shaken, and yielded converts by the thousands to the unlearned but fervid preachers of the cross.

   And all this was simply attributable to the power which had become the common property of the whole Church. And there is not a fragment of reason why it should not do as much for us. And, as we contrast that triumphant success to our halting progress, shall we not be filled with uncontrollable longings that He should work similar results by us?

   We may still further secure the same results by studying the biographies of saintly men belonging to recent centuries. Happy the man within reach of a library, the shelves of which are well lined with books of holy biography. He will never, never be in want of additional stimulus as he reads the story of McCheyne and W.C. Burns, of Brainerd and Martyn, of Jonathan Edwards and D. L. Moody. He will not envy or repine; but he will constantly lift eye and heart to Heaven, asking that as much may be done through himself.

   And, moreover, the promises of the Scripture are enough to incite us to the uttermost. That rivers of water should flow from us; that we should never need to be anxious about our words, because they would be given; that we should be taught all things, and led into the whole circle of truth; that we should know Christ, and be changed into His image; that we should have power — all this is so fascinating that it is impossible not to glow with a holy desire to be charged with the Holy Spirit, as a jar with electricity. And, if need be, we shall be prepared to bear the test of long waiting, as the faithful few did in the upper room.

   2. Seek this blessed fulness from the right motive. God will not find water for us to use for turning our own water-wheels.

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He will do nothing to minister to our pride. He will not give us the Holy Spirit to enable us to gain celebrity; or to procure a name; or to live an easy, self-contented life.

   If we seek the Holy Spirit merely for our happiness, or comfort, or liberty of soul, it will be exceedingly unlikely that He will be given. His one passion is the glory of the Lord Jesus; and He can make His abode only with those who are willing to be at one with Him in this. "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" But if you are actuated simply by the desire that the Lord Jesus may be magnified in you, whether by life or death; if you long, above all, that men should turn away from you to Him, as they did from John the Baptist, then rejoice, because you are near blessing beyond words to describe. If your motives fall below this standard, trust in Him to enlighten and purify them, and offer Him a free entrance within. It will not then be long ere there shall be a gracious response; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, and He shall sit as a refiner of silver, that the sons of Levi may offer an offering in righteousness.

   3. Consider that Holy Scripture is His special organ. A subtle danger besets the teaching of this most helpful doctrine, and one that we need to guard against. Some earnest people have magnified the inner light and leading of the Holy Spirit to the neglect of the Word which He gave, and through which He still works on human hearts. This is a great mistake, and the prolific parent of all kinds of evil. For when we put aside the Word of God we lay ourselves open to the solicitation of the many voices that speak within our hearts; and we have no test, no criterion of truth, no standard of appeal. How can we know the Spirit of God in some of the more intricate cases which are brought into the court of conscience, unless our judgment is deeply imbued with the Word of God?

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   We must not be content with the Spirit without the Word, or with the Word without the Spirit. Our life must travel along these two, as the locomotive along the parallel metals. The Word is the chosen organ of the Spirit; and it is only by our devout contact with the Word that we will be enabled to detect His voice. It is by the Word that the Spirit will enter our hearts, as the heat of the sun passes into our chambers through the beams of light that enter the open casement.

   We need a widespread revival of Bible study. These mines of Scripture call loudly for investigation and discovery; and those who obey the appeal, and set themselves to the devout and laborious study of the inner meaning of the Word, shall soon be aware that they have received the filling that they seek.

   4. Be prepared to let the Holy Ghost do as He will with you. The Holy Ghost is in us, and by this means Christ is in us; for He dwells in us by the Spirit, as the sun dwells in the world by means of the atmosphere vibrating with waves of light. But we must perpetually yield to Him, as water to the containing vessel. This is not easy; indeed, it can be accomplished only by incessant self-judgment and the perpetual mortification of our own self-life.

   What is our position before God in this respect? We have chosen Jesus as our substitute; but have we also chosen Him, by the Holy Spirit, as our Life? Can we say, like the Apostle, "Not I, but Christ lives in me"? If so, we must be prepared for all that it involves. We must be willing for the principle of the new life to grow at the expense of the self-life. We must consent for the one to increase while the other decreases through processes which are painful enough to the flesh. Nay, we must ourselves be ever on the alert, hastening the processes of judgment, condemnation, and crucifixion. We must keep

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true in our allegiance to the least behest of the Holy Spirit, though it cost tears of blood.

   The perpetual filling of the Holy Spirit is possible only to those who obey Him, and who obey Him in all things. There is nothing trivial in this life. By the neglect of slight commands a soul may speedily get out of the sunlit circle and lose the gracious plenitude of Spirit-power. A look, a word, a refusal, may suffice to grieve Him in others. Count the cost, yet do not shrink back afraid of what He may demand. He is the Spirit of love; and He loves us too well to cause grief, unless there is a reason which we should approve if we knew as much as He.

   5. Receive Him by faith. "As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him." Faith is the one law of the Divine household. And as once you obtained forgiveness and salvation by faith, so now claim and receive the Holy Spirit's fulness.

   Fulfil the conditions already named; wait quietly but definitely before God in prayer, for He gives His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him; then reverently appropriate this glorious gift; and rise from your knees, and go on your way, reckoning that God has kept His word, and that you are filled with the Spirit. Trust Him day by day to fill you and keep you filled. According to your faith, so shall it be done to you.

   There may not be, at first, the sound of rushing wind, or the coronet of fire, or the sensible feeling of His presence. Do not look for these, any more than the young convert should look to feeling as an evidence of acceptance. But believe, in spite of feeling, that you are filled. Say over and over, "I thank Thee, O my God, that Thou hast kept Thy word with me. I opened my mouth, and Thou hast filled it; though as yet, I am not aware of any special change." And the feeling

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will sooner or later break in upon your consciousness, and you will rejoice with exceeding great joy, and all the fruits of the Spirit will begin to show themselves.

   There is, of course, more in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit than is at all realized by the writer of these feeble lines. The fiery baptism of the Holy Spirit may be something far beyond. Let us not then be content to miss anything possible to redeemed men; but, leaving the things that are behind, let us press on to those before, striving to apprehend all for which we have been apprehended by Christ Jesus. And if we persevere we shall realize possibilities in our lives that shall recall the days of the apostles, and enable us to understand what Jesus meant when He spoke of those greater works which should be wrought by them that should believe in Him after He had gone to His Father.

   The fair miter may be taken to represent a fresh enduement of the Holy Spirit for service. We must receive a new anointing before we can go into the temple of God, to perform the priestly offices of praying for the people, and of coming forth to bless them. Let us ... plead for one another that none may be missed, but that on each the fresh miter may be bestowed.

From Our Daily Homily

Chapter 16

The Fair Miter

   Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

   Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

   Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

  Then I said, “Put a clean turban (miter) on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by. The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here. — ZECHARIAH 3:1-7.

I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT THAT FAIR MITER. WHEN these words were written, Israel had just come back from captivity, and the whole land was under the process of reconstruction. The people had come back to find their city a mass of blackened ruins; the walls were down, their houses in desolation, and the holy and beautiful house where they had worshiped God in the days of the past was a heap of ashes.

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They commenced to reconstruct. The walls sprang up under their deft touch; their houses were rebuilt; the altar was reerected; and the temple rose again upon its site.

   But one sad thought came upon all the people : of what use was it to have the holy and beautiful temple if the priesthood were not fit to exercise their office? They were notoriously unfit. Malachi tells us and Zechariah confirms it, that the priests were greedy, avaricious, and corrupt in life, totally unworthy to come into the most holy place, or stand before God.

   While they reconstructed the temple they needed to reconstruct the priesthood, and in the chapter which we have read we have the account of the reconstruction of the priesthood. Step by step, the filthy garments are taken away, the white robe or surplice is donned, and the priest stands again erect before God, complete, with the exception of the white fillet or miter. And Zechariah was so anxious about it that he cried out, in the anxiety of his soul, "Let them set a fair miter upon his head."

   "So they set a fair miter upon his head."

   If Zechariah was so eager for it, how much more Zechariah's Lord! And when they were so eager in the Old Testament, how much more eager ought we to be in the New, if, as I hope to show you in a moment, the white fair miter represents the filling, the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

   I ought to explain for a moment that I am not straining a point in applying this chapter to ourselves, because, though we do not believe in any order of priesthood, we believe that Jesus Christ has constituted every believer a priest unto God. The power that loosed thee from thy sins, believer, at the same moment constituted thee a priest (Revelation 1:6). We need no human priests, because Jesus Christ has assumed the office of High Priest. And just as the stars retire before the coming sunlight,

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swimming into invisibility in the glowing dawn, so do all human priests recede when Jesus steps to the front as our High Priest. At the same time each believer, man or woman, is a priest. We are called upon to offer spiritual sacrifices, to offer ourselves, to offer our money, our time, our gifts, our position and power, so that every day we stand between God and man. We come into God's presence to speak for man, and we come out of God's presence to speak to man for God.

   Are you exercising your office? Have you been to that altar lately? Have you offered yourself, spirit, soul, and body, to Christ? Have you recently used the laver to wash your feet? Do you know the daily cleansing which keeps the heart clean? Have you entered into the holy place to offer the incense of intercessory prayer? Have you kindled your daily profession, as the priests kindled the branched candlestick? Do you know what it is to eat the shew-bread which is the priest's alone, the body of Christ? Do you ever enter into the most holy place, and stand there with the blood in your hand worshiping?

   Ah! believer, it is long since you have exercised your priestly office! You must confess that you have not gone to that priestly work, because there was a consciousness of unfitness.

   The unfitness must be dealt with. God will not put the fair miter upon a body clothed with filthy garments. God is not going to give the holy influence of Pentecost to men and women who are living unclean and inconsistent lives. There must be a putting away of the sins of the flesh, the putting away of everything which is inconsistent with the light of God; and only so, step by step, can you come up to the point where the fair miter will be put on your brow.

   These are the steps I want you to take with me to consider the filthy garments, the need of fair, rich apparel, the fact

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that much of your life has been wasted like a brand half burned through; and then the fact that Satan resists you. We must deal with these four things a moment. I want to bend by strength on that fair miter.

   There must be the removal of the filthy garments.

   I am not sure that Joshua saw how filthy they were until he came near the angel. The light from the angel's face fell on his garments and revealed their stains. The garment always stands for habit or dress. We are dealing now with our daily habits.

   It is remarkable how people change their dress when the sun begins to shine in March and April. We wear shabby things in the winter. We say it does not matter much what we wear; the light is so obscure, who sees? But as the spring breaks we put off the shabby dress and put on the spring attire. So it is when we stand beneath the light that streams from the Sun of Righteousness; we see a great many shabby things in our lives, and God calls upon us to drop them without discussion or delay.

   We do not grow out of them, but we drop them. We do not gradually recede from them, but we put them off. It is remarkable that in Peter's Epistle, and Paul's Epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians, the apostles tell us to put off suddenly the habit of sin. You will not grow out of your anger, you must put it off. You will not grow out of your envy and jealousy, you must put them off. You will not grow out of your impurity, you must put it off. As when a prisoner comes forth to freedom he puts off the prison clothes, so you must not wait to grow out of evil things, but must put them off by a distinct and instantaneous act of your will.

   I trust that, by the grace and Spirit of God, you will take step by step with me as I proceed. I am not trying merely to explain a thing to you. I am giving you an opportunity

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of taking up a position; and I want you to ask, in the light of God's Spirit, if there is any habit of thought or life, or any habitual indulgence in which you are condemned, which always arises before you at a holy time, such as the Lord's Supper, in private prayer, or in the chamber of sickness; and if at this minute any such thing is revealed to you, I bid you put it off.

   Have you ever studied the life of the evergreen? All through the dark winter it retains its dead, dull leaves; they are better than nothing. But just so soon as the new shoot of spring comes, it presses off the old leaves, and they drop away to be replaced by the new.

   So in your heart today is a shoot of new Christ-life, which is pressing against the old leaves, the old habits, the old methods of life. Let them drop off! Shed these old leaves just now! Go out of this place leaving the grave clothes behind you. Do you think that Martha and Mary expected Lazarus to grow out of his grave clothes? They would have been greatly astonished if he had tried to do so. Suppose he had said, "I shall drop them presently, you will excuse me now," would they not have shrunk even from the brother whom they devotedly loved?

   Having put off the filthy garments, have you donned the rich apparel? There must be a positive as well as a negative. You must put on the Lord Jesus. Indeed, you put off best when you put on.

   You remember the story of St. Augustine. After he was converted and had a little faith, he tells us that an evil woman, with whom he had sinned before his conversation, still clung to him, and made him stumble and fall. He was trying to live for God, with the new robes on, and yet to retain some of the grave clothes too. This brought him into great agony.

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   One afternoon he was with his friend Alypus in the garden at Tagaste, when a voice seemed to say to him : Tolle et lege, "take and read."

   He thought that meant that he was to take up the new Testament and read it, and as he took it in his hands it opened at the closing verse of Romans 13.

   "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." It struck him as God's message — "put ye on the Lord Jesus" — and he sent to his friend Alypus, pointed to the text, and told him he was troubled, and they went and told his mother, Monica. The result was that he put on the perfect chastity of Christ, became saint and Bishop of Hippo. The evil habit dropped off him, and everybody recognized the Christ in St. Augustine.

   But now there comes another point. While Joshua stood there, Satan was resisting him.

   Directly you get a great blessing, the devil is sure to tempt you and to resist you.

   When I was a boy, my school fellows never broke into an orchard when the apples were sour, but always when they were ripe and juicy; and you might know that a certain orchard contained good fruit by the raids the boys made on it. Whenever you are acrid and sour, and haven't much sun in you, the devil will not worry you; there is nothing in you worth his attack. But just as soon as you have been in the summering of Christ's love and become ripe, you will suffer being tempted day and night; there will be something worth the stealing.

   The nearer you get to Christ, the more you will have to do with temptation. The closer you get into the heart of the fight, the more the devil will torment you. Sometimes people are heard to say, "I think I must be going backwards in the Christian life, I am so tempted."

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But the virulence of the temptation means, not that you are declining into sin, but that you are advancing in holiness; that the devil is afraid of you; that as he cannot get at Christ directly, he desires to wound Christ by hurting you.

   Think how Satan accuses believers! When they sing he says, "Christ, dost Thou hear those people sing? Is that all the love they have? See how they express it with such icy songs!" When they were in prayer, may he not have truly said, "Look at those professing Christians! Is that the best prayer they can offer, with their wandering and wayward thoughts?" And do you not think he says of many a preacher, "Is that Thy chosen messenger? Canst Thou not find one purer in motive and fitter in heart and life than he?"

   But whatever the devil says against believers is a greater argument with Christ for helping them. He takes everything the devil says and turns it into a reason for doing more for them than ever. The devil says : "That man is only a piece of smoking brand, nearly burnt through. He is an old man now who has wasted his life. He may as well be cast back into the fire. There is so little sound wood left."

   But Christ replies : "Though there is only a square inch of sound wood, it is the more necessary that I should make the most of what is left."

   Satan says again : "Look at that man! He is a broken reed. He has been trampled under foot until he is out of shape. He is not worth Thy care, Son of God. Let him drift away down stream."

   But Christ replies : "I know he is a piece of broken reed; but that is the more reason why I should take him, and with my creative hand make a flute or organ pipe from which to get sweet music in the great orchestra of my church."

   The devil says : "Look at that woman, as fitful as a piece

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of smoking flax! Look at the spark as it goes and comes, and comes and goes again! Blow on it! Trample it out! It is not worth Thy attention."

   But Christ replies : "Because her life is so fitful is why I take that spark and breathe on it until it becomes a flame."

   Everything Satan says against you is an argument why Christ should love you the more. Having gone to a physician for a sick friend, as you walk along with the physician you tell him how ill your friend is, and enumerate his sad symptoms; everything you tell the physician about the illness of your friend is only another argument why he should hurry to the sufferer's side. Let your life be the most woe-begone, the most tempted, the fullest of failure of any person in His church — you are the one that will probably get more help from God than any one besides.

   I saw something like this once. There was a blacksmith, one blow of whose hand would fell the strongest antagonist in his neighborhood — a strong, broad-shouldered, glorious man. He came home where his little child was ill. She held out her trembling, thin hands to him, and dragged down his big head to her low level as she lay on the cot. Then I saw that what strength cannot do, weakness can; what the strongest man in the neighborhood could not do, the little child did, she could bring her father to the dust. So your weakness must drag Christ down to your very uttermost need. The weak man can do anything he likes with Christ, who came to seek and save that which was lost.

   It is the sheep away in the wild that brings the shepherd in search; it is the lost piece of money that leads the woman to sweep the house; it is the prodigal that gets the fatted calf.

   Suppose I have been writing letters all the morning, and my desk is covered with envelopes and papers. In the mail there came a five-dollar bill. At lunch time I call the servant and say :

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"Take these down and put them in the open kitchen fire; I do not want anybody to read them; destroy the papers."

   She takes them away in a basket, descends the kitchen stairs, toward the open fire. When she has gone I begin to look about for that bill, but cannot find it anywhere. I suddenly fear that I must have included it among those letters, and hasten toward the kitchen, calling to the servant : "Have you put those letters on the fire?"

   "I have just done so, sir."

   I rush to the fire, and there I see the bill just shriveling beneath the tongue of flame. I snatch it out. It is burning rapidly. I blow out the flame. I have only a little charred heap in my hand.

   Someone says to me : "You may as well put that back. It is not worth your keeping."

   I say : "I know better. There is the number of the bill, and if I take that to the bank I can get a new bill for it. That piece of charred bill is worth keeping. It will lead to the replacing of the whole."

   You have wasted your life. You have been living in worldly society — card-playing, fashion, billiard table, saloons. There is not much left of you. But Christ is careful of what is left, and He will give you new life for the lost one. He will restore to you the years destroyed by the canker-worm, and the palmer-worm; and give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning.

   "The Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?" The Lord quotes His choice, which was of God against all Satan's insinuations and attacks.

   Yes, God chose you to be a fair and beautiful image of Christ; But you have sadly thwarted and disappointed Him.

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His choice is not altered. He loves still, and as a shepherd He follows yet. Though your life is eaten through as with fire, He can give you new life, and He will.

   Now Zechariah broke in : "Finish it! Put a fair miter on his head."

   I remember quite well one Sunday night at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, when Mr. Spurgeon had spoken with more than his usual fire, a man away up in the gallery shouted, in the middle of the most impressive passage, "Hallelujah!" Everybody started.

   Mr. Spurgeon looked up and said, "Dear brother, your heart is very full, but you must keep it in. We are not accustomed to that sort of thing here."

   It seems to me that Zechariah's heart was so very full he could not keep it in. He had been watching all the time the transformation of the high priest, and every thing was there except the miter, so he broke in and said : "I say, let them finish the work. Put the fair miter on his head." And the Lord stooped over Joshua and did as Zechariah suggested.

   I think you have put off sin and put on Christ. We have now come to the crown of all; and nothing remains but to say : "Let them put a fair miter upon our heads; let us receive the filling and anointing of Pentecost."

   About that blessing, Andrew Murray says there are seven steps :

   1. There is such a blessing to be had. There is a distinct work of the Spirit over and above that of regeneration. It was given at Pentecost, and is forever in the Church.

   2. It is for me. There is no doubt about that, because Peter said in his sermon, "The promise is to you, Jews, and to your children" — Jews again — "to all that are afar off" — Gentiles — "even as many as the Lord our God shall call." If God has called you, the promise is for you, though up to now you

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have not gone for it. You are like a man whose father has left him a legacy, but either he does not know of it, or does not go for it. Yet it awaits you.

   3. I haven't got it. In dealing with the unregenerate, you must convince them they are out of Christ before they will step into Him. In dealing with yourselves, you must be convinced that you are outside the blessing before you will step into it. Have you received the anointing of the Holy Spirit? If you have no assurance of forgiveness; if Jesus is not a living, bright reality; if you have not power in service; if you have not enjoyment in the Word of God and in prayer, you certainly have not the blessed anointing of the Spirit as a fair miter.

   4. I am very hungry for it. God is not going to give His best gifts to those who do not much care whether they have them or not. "I am very hungry for it." Have you got to that? Can you say, "I want my miter badly"?

   5. I am prepared to give up anything that clashes with it. The price is a renunciation of whatever is inconsistent with the gift of Pentecost.

   6. I do now yield myself to God that I may receive it. Have we all reached this?

   7. By faith I do now receive it.

   Those are the seven steps : there is such a blessing; it is for me; I haven't got it; I am very hungry for it; I am prepared to give up anything that clashes with it; I yield myself to God now; by faith I take it; and I reckon I receive it as I go along. I have known people who have reckoned for a week or a month, and then the joy has come, and there has been a new consciousness of power.

   We need to pray for one another, and especially for our ministers, that God would give the fair miter of the Holy Spirit to crown His work in sanctification. Nothing less than

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this should content us for ourselves, or others. And if this is given, God will also add that if we keep in His ways and do His will, He will allow us to keep His courts, and give us a place of access among those who stand before Him as His immediate circle and court.

   Let them set a fair miter on his head and mine.

   There is as much electricity among the simple Hottentots as in London, but it is of no avail to them, since they know not how to beckon it from the clouds and yoke it to their chariots. Probably there are forces throbbing around us of which Christ availed Himself in the working of His miracles, but of which we know nothing. They are within our reach, but they do not help us, because we do not recognize them; or even if we were aware of their existence, we should not know how to catch and tame them. So the mightiest forces of the spiritual world are near us ... but the method of appropriating their blessed properties is largely a lost one to the Church.

From Calvary to Pentecost

Chapter 17

Take! Take! Take!

GOD WAITS TO BLESS US, AND TO GIVE US THE VERY SAME power today as they had in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, but we must learn now to take that power. I want to speak, therefore, from the word you will find in Isaiah 33, beginning with the 20th verse :

   Look on Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken. There the Lord will be our Mighty One. It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams. No galley with oars will ride them, no mighty ship will sail them. For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.

Your rigging hangs loose: The mast is not held secure, the sail is not spread. Then an abundance of spoils will be divided  and even the lame will carry off plunder.

   "The lame take the prey." If lame people can take it, anybody can.

   What a remarkable expression! It first struck me in Charles Wesley's noble hymn, perhaps the finest hymn in our mother tongue, which begins:

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Come, O Thou traveler unknown,
Whom still I hold, but cannot see,
My company before is gone,
And I am left alone with Thee;
With Thee all night I mean to stay,
And wrestle till the break of day.

In vain Thou strugglest to get free;
I never will unloose my hold.
Art Thou the man that died for me?
The secret of Thy love unfold.
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

   The last stanza is as follows :

Lame as I am, I take the prey;
Sin, fear and death with ease o'ercome;
I shout for joy, pursue my way,
And like a bounding hart fly home,
Through all eternity to prove
Thy nature and Thy name is Love.

   "Lame as I am, I take the prey." Now, it is not like that in ordinary life. Usually, when people are lame they miss, they do not take. If a man is lame in arithmetic, and cannot add up a column of figures correctly; if he is lame in his memory, and cannot recall names and faces; if he cannot distinguish between two sorts of fabrics; if he be lame in body or mind, he gets pushed aside in the rush of other men as they press past him and take what is to be had, while he comes in second or third best. But God says lame people come off best with Him. There is there good hope for you and me.

   I saw something like this once in a farmhouse. A basket of apples came in. The large family of children began to help themselves to its contents as soon as it appeared, all but one little lad with a pale face, Jimmy, who stood against the wall,

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leaning on his crutch. The mother, bustling woman, came in, saw what the children were doing, and said : "Now, children, put all those apples back, every one of them."

   The children obeyed. Then she said : "Now, Jimmy, you go and take your pick, my boy."

   And Jimmy came on his crutches into the midst of his brothers and sisters, and helped himself to the juiciest of all those apples. I saw then that under the protecting care of the mother's love, as well as under God's love, the lame take the prey.

   I remember also how poor Thomas was lame in his faith, and lingered just a week behind the other disciples; but Jesus came all the way from heaven on purpose to show him His hands and His side. Lame Thomas took the prey that day.

   There are people who have always been lame. Whenever there was a blessing to be had, they missed it. Whenever the pool of Bethesda was stirred, they got there in time to see another go forth healed. Whenever there was a revival, some friend of theirs got the blessing, but they lost it.

   I want to show you now that those who have been the lamest of the lame may take God's best. We often labor under the impression that God's best gifts are placed so high on the shelf that only those who have become mature and good can reach them, when the fact is that He puts His best gifts on the lowest shelf against the ground, so that we have to bend our stiff backs to get down to them. Today God's very best gifts are waiting to be taken. My heart beats high within me because we may appropriate things which kings and prophets heard but did not see, but which are within the reach of the lamest today.

   But perhaps I ought to explain how Isaiah came to say such a thing, because we never should take the Word of God out of its connection to suit our purpose.

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   When it was being written, Sennacherib, with two hundred thousand of the fiercest soldiers that ever drew sword, was crossing the frontier of Palestine and making his way to the doomed city of Jerusalem. To use his own words, he thought he would be able to rifle its treasures as easily as a boy might steal eggs from a nest in spring.

   You can almost hear in the earlier verses of Isaiah 33 the scream of the cypress trees and the sigh of the cedars of Lebanon as they were felled to fill creases and make a roadway for the troops. The inhabitants left their homesteads, their vineyards, and their olive-yards, and fled for refuge to the larger towns, while all who lived in the neighborhood of Jerusalem crowded into that city. I suppose it would ordinarily hold about twenty thousand people, but at this time probably twice that number were crowded within the walls. Asses and camels were stabled in the streets, household goods were piled up in the courts, and all the steep houses were filled from top to bottom with fugitives. Provisions began to run short, and there was not water enough for supplying their needs.

   Everybody waited with anxiety the moment when Sennacherib with his two hundred thousand soldiers should arrive. Hezekiah tried to stop him coming; he sent a bribe to stay him; but Sennacherib took the gold, ridiculed the king, and still marched on.

   One day, when the people woke up and looked out over the walls, they saw the brown tents of Sennacherib's army encompassing them on every side. They could hear the bugle call, and see the scarlet coats of the Assyrian soldiers. Then men looked at their own wives, and vowed they would take their lives with their own hands, rather than let them fall into the hands of those soldiers; and the women looked upon their little babes, and determined to slay them with their own hands

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rather than to see them tossed from spear point to spear point to amuse those barbarous invaders. It was an awful condition.

   When English soldiers were shut in at Lucknow, with thousands of mutinous Sepoys surrounding them, they knew that England was sending reinforcements by every steamship. But Jerusalem had no such hope. She knew that if she fell, the people of Egypt and the land of Moab would be only too glad. Her condition seemed hopeless The one man who kept a level head was Isaiah, and Isaiah said :

   "The Lord is responsible. The Lord is our judge. He will save us. He will save us so effectively that though the people of Jerusalem seem as powerless as a lame man, yet shall they get the spoils of yonder tents, so that what seems to be hopeless in our condition today is the very best thing that ever happened. We shall acquire the riches of Sennacherib's soldiers. The lame shall take the prey."

   Before we can take the prey, however, we must be quite sure that we have run up the royal standard and taken Jesus Christ to be Saviour, King, Judge, and Lawgiver.

   I press that upon you, because I know that in my own life — God forgive me! — it was many, many years after my conversion, and several years after I had entered the ministry, before I took Christ to be my Judge, Lawgiver, and King. It was a very memorable night in my life when I knelt before Christ and gave myself definitely to Him, and committed the keys of my heart and life to His hands. Then I knew I was His, and that He was mine; and though I had no joy, no emotion, no ecstasy, I had a blessed feeling in my heart that I had but one Lord, one will, one purpose in all my life and for all coming time — that Jesus was my Judge in doubtful things, my Lawgiver for the remainder of my life, my King, my King, my King, for whom henceforth my life was to be spent.

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   Have you come to that? If you have never done it before, kneel down alone, and say : "Jesus Christ, thou hast been my Saviour from hell for many years, but now I yield to Thee everything I have. Thou shalt be King. Thy will shall be supreme. No longer shall I do that which is right in mine own eyes."

   God help you to begin now! When you have come to that, you will understand how exquisitely God saved His people, who have no King but Him.

   Let me tell the story of their deliverance dramatically, so that you will be more likely to remember it.

   We will imagine an occasion when a group of Hezekiah's chief captains were engaged in discussion matters in the royal palace.

   One says : "We saw faces of the enemy appear over the wall, and if we had not been there in the nick of time, they would have broken in; but my men hurled them back, with their ladders after them."

   "Oh, yes," says another, "but they had a battering ram where we were, and I thought they would have made a breach through the wall."

   "Yes," says a third man, "and they were sapping and mining the walls where I was; we were only just able to stop them."

   Says a fourth, sagely, "Yes, but I tell you where the mistake was. Our city should not have been built up here on these hills, where we can have no river around us. Thebes has got the Nile, Babylon the Euphrates; but Jerusalem is perched on these hills, with no river to intercept the advance of an enemy or supply our crowded population with water. If ever we get through this siege — I doubt if we ever shall — I shall advise Hezekiah to pitch the city down by Jericho,

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where we shall at least have a Jordan between us and the foe.

   At that moment Isaiah came on the little group and said to the last speaker : "What was that you were saying?"

   "I was expressing my opinion, sir, that it is a great pity that we haven't a river to separate us from the foe."

   "A river! A river! Never let me hear you talk like that again! A river! We want no river. The glorious Lord is a place of broad rivers and streams. Everything that a river can be to a city the glorious Lord is to us. If you could see what I see, you would have a vision of our glorious Lord all around the walls of our city, between us and the foe. I tell you that Jerusalem is well encompassed, environed with the presence of the eternal God, the glorious Lord. Here is His place of broad rivers and streams, and you shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, safe and still."

   That is it — safe and still! Jesus Christ will be as helpful to you and me. Let me show you how. There are so many of us, like Jerusalem, without a river. Let me picture one case.

   Very likely there is a woman here in middle life. Years ago, when she was a girl of eighteen, her mother on her dying bed said : "My daughter, I charge you take no husband or home until you have seen your younger brothers and sisters settled in life."

   She promised she would not. She waited until her lover could wait no more, and saw the boys and girls grow up and secure homes for themselves. Presently the father died. But she has neither husband nor child. Often when she sits in the church and looks around, she sees women who were girls at school with her, who played with her in girlish sports, sitting with their husbands and children. Her heart sinks, and turns sick. Ah! she has no river of human love and comfort and blessedness. But I tell her : "The glorious Lord will be to you,

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my sister, a place of broad rivers and streams. Everything that human love can be to a lonely woman's soul the glorious Lord will be to you."

   Or take the case of some young man whose father died when he was young. He has had no advantages. He has had to work for his widowed mother and the family, and misses sadly the education which is within the reach of so many American youths. He feels, oh! so unfit for much of the world's work. What can he do? Well, he has not got the river, but he must learn that he has God, the glorious Lord.

   The same holds true of a church. Some ministers may say : "My church is a very poor one. The neighborhood is only half settled. It is hard for me to maintain my home life without beggary, and my preaching without books."

   Ah, friends, if you would only learn what I am talking about, that it is almost a good thing to be without the advantages that others have, because you can obtain from God a hundredfold more! It is the weak whose strength God increases. It is those that have no might or wisdom to whom God gives wisdom and righteousness and strength. It is in men like Paul, the weakest of the weak, that He perfects His grace.

   Neither men nor women nor circumstances are enough for the soul. Without all these, if you have God, you may be satisfied. Is not the wild flower satisfied when its roots can reach the Mississippi? Is not the humming-bird satisfied when it has all the myriad rays of the sun? Is not the little child satisfied when it has all the mother's love and mind and soul? Was it not a quiet habitation? Is it not safe? Yes, my friend, in the absence of all else, the glorious Lord is enough.

   Many people put their circumstances always in the innermost circle, next to their heart, and they put God outside, and look at Him through their wants and circumstances. It is like looking at the sun through a London fog.

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   There are other people who put God next to them and their circumstances on the hills with Sennacherib. To those who have learned to live trusting in God their habitations are quiet and safe. Put God between you and everything. Dear, storm-tossed heart, put Jesus between you and the crest of the wave.

   The envelope is useful to protect the letter it contains from being soiled or damaged. So when a man lives inside God he is protected, because enveloped. God is his environment, his wall of fire, his river and stream.

   They tell me that the regalia of a certain city in Europe is kept, not like that in the Tower of London, with iron bars all around, but on what appears to be an unprotected table. Yet I pity the man who should try to take one jewel from that crown, because a stream of electricity is always being poured around the table, so strong that if a man dared to touch it with his hand he would draw it back benumbed.

   That is the way to live. God is in you and around you. Live in a constant consciousness of the presence of God.

   Thus it befell Jerusalem. The glorious Lord was all around, above, within and without; and the result was that one day

The Angel of Death laid his wings on the blast
And breathed on the face of the foe as he passed,

and the tents of the Assyrians were filled with the dead. Then they threw open the gates, and the people of Jerusalem streamed out, crossed the Kedron valley to the other side, and helped themselves to the spoils. Poor, lame Jerusalem was enriched by the prey.

   If there were any lame men inside the city I think I hear them say : "We may as well have our share." And on their crutches I see them limping down into the valley, slowly climbing

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the farther slope, going from tent to tent, taking what they would.

   Do you know what it is to get spoil out of temptation, to gain out of sorrow, to be enriched by Sennacherib? Do you dread sorrow, temptation, trouble? Oh that you knew what it is to be more than conquerors; not simply to be safe from Sennacherib, but to get spoil out of his attacks!

   I will show you how to do this. When Satan comes to you to tempt you to impurity, turn to Jesus and take anew of his purity. When Satan tempts you to irritability of temper, turn to Jesus and take a new armful of His patience. When he tempts you to be cowardly and weak, turn to Jesus and take a new heartful of His courage. As your weakness throws you more upon the help of Jesus Christ and you lean harder upon Him, you turn what the devil meant to be a stumbling-block into a stepping-stone. Oh! life is glorious when you live like that. The loneliness is gone, solitude is gone, the fear of failure is gone, the constant dread of being overcome by temptation is gone; and you have the sense of everything being beneath your feet because you are in the glorious Lord, and realize that Jesus Christ Himself is offering you wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Oh, glorious riverlessness, that I may know His protection! Oh, blessed poverty, that reveals to me His wealth! Oh, desirable loneliness, that teaches me the friendship of the Brother Christ! Oh, infirmity, and want, and sorrow, we hail you all! Had it not been for sin abounding, we never should have known that His grace abounds over all. The glorious Lord is a place of broad rivers and streams.

   If that be so, we are all come to the position in which we can learn to take. I suppose almost the most important distinction a man can learn to make is that between praying for a thing and taking it.

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The lame take the spoil. It is not said that they pray for it.

   Perhaps someone may say : "Well, I am glad I dropped in to hear you. I hope I shall get some good from your brief stay in our city. I got some help tonight."

   I might ask : "In what way did you get help tonight?"

   "In this way : I think that henceforth I shall pray more than I have ever prayed."

   I must certainly reply : "My friend, it is not a matter of praying more, it is that you should take more."

   There is a whole world of difference between the prayer that supplicates and the faith that receives. There are a great many things in life for which we may claim an answer because they are according to God's will. You do not need to pray to God to do as He has said, but to take what He offers. "The lame take the prey." Let us all learn this lesson. Let us know that life is full of God, that there is as much of God here as in the Pentecostal chamber. But it is of no use for us to know this unless we have learned to take. "The lame take the prey."

   I left my home in Hampstead, and went to live in a suite of chambers near my church in London. At first I much missed my own house on the breezy Hampstead hill, but finally I came to see how many modern conveniences had been adapted to the suite of chambers, and so became more and more content. There is electric light, gas fire, a supply of hot water, and so on — all very convenient. But I have sometimes thought that if I had taken a servant who had been brought up in one of our country houses in England, where they light the farmhouse fire at four or five o'clock in the morning with chips and wood and match, and trim the oil lamp for light, if I put her in that flat of mine, and said : "You will find here everything you want : fire, light, and

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hot water; I shall be in again in three or four hours," I might come in at eleven o'clock and find her sitting there in the middle of the room in total darkness, sobbing out : "This is the most miserable place I ever was in."

   "What is the matter? There is light, there is fire, there is water. Can't you be happy?"

   "It is dark and cold and wretched."

   Immediately I turn that switch, that key, that tap, and the place is full of light and heat, and the hot water is flowing.

   What is the difference between her and me? It is that I know how to use, how to appropriate, how to take, and she does not.

   Now, that is the whole difference between some of God's children and others. God is the same today as at Pentecost. Christ is the same here as in heaven. There is the same blessed power for the religious life. Some have learned the blessed power for the religious life. Some have learned the blessed art of taking it, but others only pray for it. If I can get you, not to pray for it, but to begin to take it, you will instantly step into a new experience.

   There was as much electricity in the days of Alfred as there is today; the only difference is that Edison has taught us how to get the electricity out of cloud and air, sunbeam and earth, and how to yoke it to our chariot. Edison knows how to take, and has taught the lesson to the world.

   Oh, I wish I could teach you how to take the Divine electricity into your lives today! It is not by praying for it, it is by taking it.

   Now consider the daily life. You get up in the morning, and when you are living like this you forecast the day. You say: "I am going to have breakfast with people that I dread, and I am so afraid I may lose my temper. Lord, I take grace for the breakfast hour. At ten o'clock I have to meet two or three men to discuss a very difficult problem. Lord, I claim

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and take wisdom for ten o'clock. At twelve o'clock I may be thrown into society, and greatly tempted to exaggerate, or to backbite, or to libel other people's character. Lord, for twelve o'clock I take the spirit of perfect love." And so you forecast the whole day, and take things from God; moreover you believe that you have what you take. Then you count on God. You do not keep on praying, but you rise from your knees, saying, "I thank Thee, Father. Give me also what Thou seest I need," and you go along your way, reckoning on God.

   A man said to me, "If you pray like that, don't you pray very short?"

   I replied, "Perhaps it does not make one more short and businesslike in the supplication part of prayer, but there is so much to thank for, so many answers received, that it more than makes up for what is lost in direct supplication."

   You may be weak, sinful, full of failure. You may be at the end of yourself, but you are very near God. Lame Mephibosheth sat at the King's table. And the poor, paralyzed man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple was made perfectly whole.

   Now, lame soul, take. What do you want from Jesus? Take Him to be that. Take the glorious Lord to be what you want most. Go home, and as you walk along say :

   Yes, yes, I do take Jesus, my glorious Lord, to be to me a place of broad rivers for protection, and streams to supply my thirst and irrigate my plot. Then I shall have a habitation quiet from anxiety, quiet from restlessness, quiet from fear. The stakes will never be taken down. Sennacherib will never get inside. My heart will lie on the very heart of God, satisfied and safe.

   If we never find our path dipping down into the sunless valley, we may seriously question whether we have not missed our way to the Celestial City. The road to the Mount of Ascension invariably passes through the Garden of Gethsemane.

From Peace, Perfect Peace

Chapter 18

Dislocated Limbs

The God of peace ... make you perfect. — HEBREWS 13:20, 21.

WHEN WE RECITE THAT MATCHLESS PRAYER WHICH teaches to pray, we ask that God's will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. It is surely a sublime conception, but its actual realization seems a long, long way off. What a vast revolution must take place before this myriad-peopled earth marches in step with "the solemn troops and sweet societies" of the unseen and eternal world. But be that as it may, it is for us to see to it that we are doing God's will, day by day, in that sphere of life in which we are placed. It would be little short of a mockery if we were to ask for God's will to be done in the world, while our own lives were regulated by pride and self-will. Let it be remembered that what we will such we are! The will is the final expression of our personality. We are not what we feel or think or wish for : we are what we choose, determine, will. As Bunyan puts it, when Prince Emmanuel enters the city of Mansoul, it is Lord Will-be-Will who must crown Him as King.

   In the original creation the human will was meant to register the will of God, and to pass the divine impulses and commandments into the region of the soul. Sometimes on board ship (before the phone made it possible for the captain to speak to every part of the great ocean-going liner) I have heard him quietly utter his orders to a seaman or subordinate

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officer standing beside him, who has in turn loudly repeated them through the speaking tube. That intermediary may represent the will, which was intended to receive directions from the Will of God, and pass them throughout the economy of our being. Such was the attitude of our Lord, in His perfect humanity. He said, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me"; "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me"; "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me"; "He that sent me is with me; the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him"; "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."

   Generations had passed since man in Eden definitely refused to do the will of God. Never on this earth had it been fulfilled perfectly. Sacrifice and offering had been presented, hecatombs of victims, myriads of gold and silver, severe penance and mortification. But when Jesus came into the world, He said : "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but thou hast prepared for me a human body, that in and through it I may do thy will, O my God." He took away the first, that he might establish the second. Thus, by the complete unison of His will with the will of the Father, we have been sanctified. This, then, is what was intended to be the normal experience of humanity, that we also should live to do God's will, as Jesus did it, and as God unfolds it before us day by day and step by step.

   The whole nature of man has become disorganized. In the fall, the dominance of God's will was definitely repudiated, and the human will, instead of functioning in harmony with the will of God, began to obey the will of the flesh in its grosser and more refined forms. Not what God wills, but what "I" will, has become the working principle of the immense majority.

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It has thus befallen that the will, by constant misuse, has become warped, dislocated, or, to use the exact meaning of the Greek word, "out of joint." The writer of that noble prayer which stands at the beginning of this chapter, when rendered exactly, says : "May the God of Peace, who brought again from the dead that Great Shepherd of the Sheep, put you in joint, in every good work, to do His will." It is a striking figure. The will in each one of us is present, but dislocated. It functions to self-will instead of to God's will. Therefore some strong and drastic measure is needed to readjust it, to force it back into its socket, to insist on its articulation with the will of God, so as to respond to the slightest impulse of the divine will.

   Often, in an ice accident, a skater may lose his balance or be tripped up, and his shoulder blade be dislocated. It is still in the body, but it is out of joint, so that his arm hangs useless by his side until the surgeon, by one strong blow, forces the bone into its place again. Is not that true of us all? We are in the body of Christ by redeeming grace, but we need to be set, that is, to be brought, it may be by a sudden shock, into articulated union with the will of God in Jesus Christ. Then it will be possible for the will of God once more to control and energize us for His consummate purposes. We shall work out our own salvation "with fear and trembling," lest we lose a single pulse of the Holy Spirit's energy, when He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. Is there one of us who would shrink from the humble prayer for the great Surgeon of souls — "chirurgeon," the hand-worker — by the pressure of His tender and strong hands, here and now to joint our wayward will with the will of God, and then work in us that which is well pleasing in His sight? It was said of Enoch before he was translated that he pleased God. It seems impossible for us to emulate the holy patriarch, yet this verse distinctly

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promises that when our will is jointed with God's, He will work in us that which is well pleasing in His sight.

   It is for God to put us in joint. All that He requires of us is that we should be willing for Him to do it; or if we are not actually willing, then, that we should be willing to be made willing. For myself, this was my first step into the Blessed Life! When the claim of God for my will was presented, there was one key which I felt that I could not surrender, one province that I could not make over. Then there ensued a struggle, like Jacob's with the angel at the Jabbok ford. It was only when it seemed as though I should lose the opportunity that I said, "I am not willing; but am willing to be made willing to have Thy whole will wrought out in my life." Then I knew that he had conquered, and was prepared to make the best of a very unworthy nature.

   It may be objected that this way of stating the case may rob the human will of its individuality. Certainly we do not wish that our religion should emasculate us, and reduce us to the condition of the grass in the meadow or the rushes by the stream, when swept by the breeze. But, as a matter of fact, this teaching does not come within the scope of that objection, because the yielded will obeys, not automatically, but voluntarily. There is always required the answer of our will to God's Will, the "Yea" of the free agent who can withdraw from his allegiance if he chooses.

   It may also be objected that many who say that they have surrendered their will to God are as arbitrary and obstinate to have their will and way as before. That may be so! Such people often live in an experience. It is clearly necessary for us, as for our Saviour, especially in our Gethsemane, to renew our vows and to ask for the grace of fresh adjustment. Also as a matter of fact, when the will is really yielded to God,

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there is such a deep consciousness of the frailty and weakness of the human side of this great partnership as to induce profound humility and brokenness of spirit.

   It may be objected, also, that our mortal nature can no more keep step with God than a little child can fall into the father's stride; but God knows our frame and remembers that we are but dust. He suits His pace to ours, and ours is always accelerating. We follow after to apprehend that for which we were apprehended of Christ Jesus.

   This, then, is the position that we have reached; our wills are ours to make them His; by nature they have become disjointed, but by His grace we have seen the folly of a dislocated life, and have asked that He would put us in joint to do His will, and that He would work in and through us that which is well pleasing in His sight. Our one aim now is to work out what He is working in. At the parallel passage (Philippines 2:13) the apostle refers this dual work to our "salvation." This, of course, does not refer to salvation from future penalty, but to that deepening work in our hearts which delivers us in ever-increasing measure from whatever is un-Christlike and evil. The dawn passes slowly over the sky; the touch of spring in the northern lands steals by almost insensible degrees in its earlier stages over the gardens and the fields. Similarly (Acts 2:47) we learn that the Lord added to the Early Church day by day those that were being saved; and the apostle tells us that unto us who are being saved (1 Cor. 1:18) the Gospel is the power of God. We have been saved from the penalty of sin. Some day, when Jesus appears without sin unto salvation, our body will be saved from the bondage of corruption; we are being saved lower down from the love and power of the selfish and evil disposition which has too long ruled us. We work out in obedient expression what God works in by suggestion and prompting. We do it with fear and trembling

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as when the young Raphael entered Titian's studio and dreaded to miss one hint or suggestion that fell from the master's lips; each monition being eagerly heard, carefully treasured, and reverently appropriated.

   1. But why should Almighty God have so great care for us? That is one of the profoundest questions that mortal lips can utter; nor can we grasp the entire mystery; but this is clear, namely, that the message of salvation which is in Christ Jesus can be promulgated only by human lives and lips. God might have been pleased that the gates of heaven should open, morning by morning, to allow of the exodus of glorious angelic beings who should carry the news of Christ to every creature. But He did not so determine. Instead of this, it is His pleasure to group around Christ a vast multitude of souls, attracted to Him by a mysterious affinity like that which constrains the steel filings mixed in a promiscuous heap to leap up to the magnet which is moved above them. Our Lord always described them as those who the Father had given Him (see John 17:2, 6, 9, 11, 24). In another passage they are described as those who have come to Him (see John 6:37). If you have come to Him, or desire to come, any such movement toward Him proves that you are among the given ones, given for the express purpose of maintaining and spreading His Kingdom. You were not called and saved for your own enjoyment, but that through you the world might be saved. You are saved that you may save others; and if you are not doing this, you are liable to grave censure, and even worse (see John 15:2).

   These given ones were tenderly referred to by our Lord as His flock. He said that they were characterized by three distinguishing marks. They know His voice. Also the Shepherd is constantly encouraging His sheep by speaking to them, and calling each by its name. They are known by Him, and they

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follow : "I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep, and my sheep know me, as the Father knows me, and I know the Father."

   2. The Blood of the Covenant to which God is a Party. There is a yet further step. In the eternal world, before time began, when the whole plan of human history was considered and forecast, these "given ones" seem to have been the subject of a special arrangement, in virtue of which the Father promised that they should be eternally associated with Jesus Christ as members of His Body, the component items of His Church, and His beautiful flock, bound to Him by the strongest and tenderest bonds. "Thine they were, and thou gavest them to me." "As thou sendest me unto the world, even so send I them into the world." "Father, I will that where I am they also may be with me." This arrangement or covenant was sealed by the Saviour's Blood. He not only was party to it on our behalf in the eternal ages, but He has, according to ancient custom, sealed it with His Blood, in the name of the Holy Trinity.

   In the old time every covenant was sealed by blood-shedding, which meant, May God take my life if I fail or prove false! (See Gen. 15 and Exod. 24.) But in our case the pledge of God to us who have come to Christ has been ratified by richer, more precious blood. On the eve of Calvary Jesus took a cup and gave thanks, and gave it to His disciples, saying, "Drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the new covenant" — new, that is, in the sense of it being now for the first time explained and ratified. When, therefore, we sit at the table of our Lord and drink of the cup, we do well, if, in addition to the memory of the past, we look into the face of Christ and say reverently and gladly, "We thank Thee, not only for making us Thine, but for entering into a solemn covenant on our behalf, and making that covenant sure by the ratification of Thy Blood!"

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We are therefore secure in the position which grace has given us, not simply by the promise of God, but by His oath, sealed by the blood of the Cross. This is the meaning of the phrase, "the great Shepherd ... through the blood of the eternal covenant." The text might be rendered thus : "May God, the source of all peace, who brought back from the dead Him who by virtue of His blood gave validity to the eternal covenant ..."

   3. The Eternal God, "the God of Peace," cannot do less for the Flock than He has done for the Great Shepherd. As our Lord went down into the valley of death and breathed His departing spirit into the Father's hands, He knew that He would not be left in Sheol, nor allowed to see corruption; He knew that the keys of Death and Hades were to hang at His girdle; He knew that the path of life would be unfolded. And God did not fail Him. "Him God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." By the dead lift of Omnipotence the God of Peace raised from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep. Will He do so much for the Shepherd and fail His flock? Will he crown Jesus with glory and honor, and not make us fit to stand with Him in the glory as His brethren and sisters? Is the Body not to be worthy of the Head, and the Bride of the Bridegroom? Is not the power that raised Him from the literal grave in Joseph's garden adequate to the task of lifting us out of the grave of sin to a life of righteousness, and making us worthy to be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ? Take heart! The Lord will perfect that which concerneth thee. His mercy endureth for ever. He will not forsake the work of His own hands. The flock shall be worthy of its great Shepherd, and therefore God may be reckoned upon to put us in joint, and to work in us what is well pleasing in His sight.

   4. He is the God of Peace. This is most comforting. The operation of readjusting the will is not always a very agreeable one.

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The bringing of our will into line with His will must sometimes cost a midnight wrestle at the Jabbok ford, where Jacob met the Angel, and sometimes a Garden of Gethsemane with its anguish, after our poor human measure. But the God of the gentle zephyr, of the evening calm, of the mother's brooding care, may be trusted to do His necessary work as gently and tenderly as possible. Also remember that His work in the heart is equally gentle. He is not in the earthquake or the fire, but in the still small voice. He does not strive or cry. Therefore we must be prepared to co-operate with and answer the gentlest pressure of His will.

   An elderly woman told me after one of my addresses that she had heard me speak some twenty years ago, and felt the radiance of God on her heart till ten on the following morning, when God bade her go and be reconciled to her sister. But she did not go, so the light faded away, and, for all the following years, she had never recovered it. I told her to pick up the thread of obedience where she dropped it, and go even now. But her sister had died! We must take care! The touch of the God of Peace is often gentle and soft. But it always says one and the same thing, and at the same time gives power to obey. Do not be disobedient. Be not faithless, but believing. Ask God always to speak loud enough for you to hear. And when His voice, however still and small, breaks on your inner ear, reply: "Speak, for thy servant heareth."

   The great fear which haunted the Apostle Paul was lest he should be rejected, and became a castaway (1 Cor. 9:27). Not that he should ever be cast away from God's love, or heaven; but that he should cease to be used in the Master's service. Nothing is more terrible than when a man, who was greatly used of God, is dropped out of His use, and is no longer employed on His errands (see Jer. 1:7). Let each of us see to it that we never thwart God's probing and purifying of our hearts, or His desire to put us in joint with His Son.

   David seems to have arisen, and, in the energy of the divine Spirit, to have stood on the shore of his tempest-swept soul, bidding the hurricane "be still." You and I have tried to do as much, but have failed as egregiously as Canute to stay by his words the incoming waters of the sea. Ah! we need a stronger power than human to hush the inward storm. Christ alone can put the curb upon our seething passion or inordinate desire. He waits our request before He can undertake to quell the whirlwind and quiet the wave.

From Cheer for Life's Pilgrimage

Chapter 19

The Quiet Heart

Sit still, my daughter .... for the man will not rest until he has finished the thing this day. — RUTH 3:18.

UNLESS THE HEART IS AT REST, IT WILL NOT BE POSSIBLE to minister the real help and comfort that this weary world needs. We must learn the innermost secret of Him who bade the weary and heavy-laden to rest. Christ's secret is not to relieve us of our labor or our responsibilities, but to give us the secret of tranquility.

   We will borrow an illustration from the Old Testament, which will light up and enforce our lesson, and then consider how the heart may beat quietly in respect to all the prayers, problems, and purposes of life.

   Outside the little town of Bethlehem, situated on the brow of one of the Judaean hills, was a piece of land which was an eyesore and a nuisance to the entire neighborhood. For years it had lain neglected. Thistles, rubbish, and rank growth covered it, the seeds of which were scattered far and wide. It was a disgrace to the town, and every one that passed by asked to whom it belonged. It was the property of two women — the elder, a lone widow who had recently returned from Moab, whither her husband and she had gone in a fit of unbelief some years before; but she returned, leaving three graves behind. A young woman had accompanied her, cleaving faithfully to her in loving ministry. Out of pure sympathy she

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had turned her back on home and friends, the land of her birth, and the temple of her god; had crossed the mountains, with her sacred charge, and had adopted her people, her fatherland, her God, little dreaming that her name would become indissolubly connected with Bethlehem's greatest Son, and with the Saviour of the world!

   As these two, late one afternoon, walked along the main street of Bethlehem, the women sitting at their cottage doors recognized in the elder woman the playmate of their girlhood. They had last seen her as a happy wife and mother, and wished her well as she was starting for Moab; but they shook their heads with sad forebodings after she had padded by. Probably the old home had remained untenanted, and there the two sheltered themselves, depending for their food on the result of the younger woman's gleaning in the neighboring fields, where the barley harvest was being reaped.

   There she had good success, but permanent improvement of their position could come only through some arrangement concerning that piece of land and the disposal of the young girl's life, in accordance with Hebrew law and precedent. So far as Naomi understood the case, the future of both lay at the discretion of a leading citizen, a near kinsman of her husband, Boaz by name, who had reached middle life, was still unmarried, of great wealth, high ideals, and universally respected and beloved. His presence in the councils of his people was a guarantee of order and righteousness; and his word was his bond. Secretly the mother's heart was constantly turning toward this man. She knew that he could be trusted, and rejoiced when Ruth returned with warm praise of the kind words he had addressed to her, the only doubt being whether he would be willing to do the kinsman's part, or would devolve it on a more distant member of the clan.

   She was overjoyed, therefore, when she learned that he was

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prepared to do all that might be necessary to save the name of the dead, and rehabilitate the family fortunes. One further difficulty, however, had to be faced. There was a nearer kinsman, who might assert his rights. Owing, however, to some flaw in the leasehold of the property, and also to his reluctance to marry this Moabite girl, no further obstacle blocked the benevolent plans which, beneath the guidance of God's Spirit, had formulated themselves in the mind and heart of Boaz.

   The solution of the matter, which was being settled in the city gate by a council of elders, hastily summoned, involved considerable delay. Hour after hour passed in the leisurely formalities, and it was probably the late afternoon when the matter was settled. In the meanwhile the two women awaited the verdict. The older woman had read the evident leadings of Providence, and was morally sure of the issue. She knew the character of Boaz, and was confident that he would not fail in this crisis. But Ruth found it hard to be patient. She was constantly rising to her feet, going to the door, looking up and down the street, feverish with excitement, unable to control herself amid the lights and shadows that chased each other across her heart. Presently the elder woman interfered and said "Sit still, daughter; we have placed the whole matter in the hands of Boaz. He is an honorable man, a man of his word, a man of decision and dispatch. What he has undertaken he will carry out. The man will not rest till he has finished the thing this day. Let us reckon on him, and be at rest. Sit still! Sit still!"

   So the day passed on. At last they heard steps in the silent street, and Boaz entered the cottage with a kindly look on his face, saying : "It is all settled. The next kinsman prefers not to prejudice his present position by assuming the tenure of this piece of land, the title deeds to which are not very reliable. I therefore will assume his place, take the land under my care,

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and to you, Ruth, I offer my hand in marriage." Oh, joy, joy, joy! After the night of weeping comes the morning of joy! A glint of sunlight crossed the rugged outlines of the woman's face; while Ruth understood what Boaz had meant when he had spoken before of her resting beneath the wings of Shekinah.

   The story is a beautiful one, and though the Judges ruled, and the storms of anarchy and conflict hurtled through the air, it proved that the heart of Israel was sound, and that in thousands of homes throughout the country the sweet religious spirit and primitive courtesies of life prevailed. Yes, and there are scores of men around us today who, if an appeal were made by some poor relative to see that justice was done, would at once undertake the case, and see it through.

   But we have a further reason for retelling this old-world tale. An inheritance was once given to men, an inheritance which stood for three things — harmony with God, harmony between man and man, harmony with the wonderful world of nature in which our home is found amid the myriad orbs of space. But it is a lost, a forfeited inheritance! Paradise has vanished from the earth, like a picture of the landscape in a calm lake which is suddenly lashed into foam by a hurricane. The twin rivers, the Euphrates and Tigris, flow past what was once its site, but is now a barren waste of sand. As the literal Eden has vanished, so also men's harmony with nature, with himself, and with God has vanished. Humanity is in much the same plight as were Naomi and Ruth. The one thing that stands between us and despair, as we look out on the world of today, is the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Everything depends on whether our Lord in those distant spaces of heavenly purity and order will stand true to the race with which He is so closely connected, and whether He will succeed. But we can

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have no doubt whatever! As Boaz claimed that estate, and made it a valuable addition to his own holding, so we may dare to believe that Jesus Christ will never rest till this sin-stained, distracted, and devil-cursed world is restored to its primitive order and beauty! Let each repeat to his or her troubled and anxious heart those words of Naomi, giving them their furthest reference to our great Kinsman, Christ! "Sit still! Sit still! Jesus will not be at rest until He has finished the work which the Father has given Him to do, and to which in the eternal council chamber, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, He pledged Himself."

   He is our near Kinsman by His definite choice to descend to the cradle at Bethlehem and become flesh of our flesh. He went so far as to die for our redemption! His bloody sweat and the blood and water of His broken heart have consecrated His union with our race. He need not have died, but might have stepped into heaven from the Transfiguration Mount. He has carried our nature to heaven, and that is the indissoluble bond between Him and us. "Sit still! Sit still! He will make all things new! He will not rest until He has finished the great purpose which He has been steadfastly pursuing from eternal ages!"

   1. Our Prayers. But there is a personal aspect of the matter, on which we desire to insist. We must calm our anxious, restless, tumultuous souls by reckoning on Christ in respect to our personal needs. When once we have thoughtfully, deliberately, and prayerfully handed over to Him some matter of vital interest, we must dare to believe that He has taken it in hand, and that, though He may keep us waiting, He will not be at rest until He has finished it. "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth us; his mercy endureth for ever, and he will not forsake the work of his own hands." There are

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three levels in prayer, which correspond with the three levels of life, the child, the wrestler in mid-current, and the mature believer.

   The first of these is unfolded in the Sermon on the Mount. We ask for things we need. We seek for truth and right understanding, as a man seeks for goodly pearls. We knock for admittance into personal fellowship and communion. All through our life we require these; but they are very characteristic of the child's simplicity.

   The second we find in the story of the widow's conflict with the unrighteous judge. She united herself with the authority of his judicial position against the high-handed injustice of her oppressor. Thus did Luther wrestle against the Pope, and Wilberforce against the slavedealer. Thus do holy souls contend against the wrongs perpetrated on the helpless.

   The third we find often referred to in the closing months of our Lord's life. "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven"; "He shall have whatsoever he saith"; "Believe that ye have received, and ye shall have"; "Have faith in God," which, as Hudson Taylor was wont to say is equivalent to "Reckon on God's faith or faithfulness to you." These latter quotations clearly indicate that there is something more in prayer than we have been accustomed to think.

   Prayer is the co-operation of the human spirit with the divine. As a slight noise will sometimes dislodge an avalanche, so the prayer of faith sets in motion the power of the ascended Christ. Believing prayer supplies the Almighty with the fulcrum on which He rests the lever of His omnipotence. Prayer is the union of the divine and human, so that, as the human body of our Lord was the channel through which divine lifepower was able to flow, so the prayer of faith opens a fresh channel for the grace and help of God to come to man.

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   But prayer of this kind has two characteristics. First, we wait for the Holy Spirit to teach us what to pray for. He must make intercession for the saints according to the will of God. We cannot impose our thoughts and wills on God, but must seek for Him to impose His upon us. Only thus do we know that we are in the line of His purposes, and that we have our petitions. Second, we cease to worry. However long the interval, however strong the combination of adverse circumstances, we can sit still, with the patience of an unwavering faith, being assured that Christ will not rest until He has finished the thing with which we have entrusted Him. The climax of the life of prayer is that sense of fellowship between Christ and ourselves. It is the communion of the Holy Spirit. We reckon on God's faithfulness to so large an extent that definite asking is exchanged for quiet waiting.

   May the simplicity of the following illustration be forgiven. Years ago we owned a favorite dog, which used to leap up at us when we sat at meals with a boisterous appeal for remembrance that became troublesome. By strong action on our part we convinced him that this behavior must cease; and then he was cunning enough to invent a method of appeal which was absolutely irresistible. He would sit under the table, and place one little padded forefoot on my knee. That tiny pressure has so often returned to my mind, when I have prayed, and come to know that I had obtained the petitions that I had asked. The actual moment of reception might not have arrived. It was impossible to go on asking. To do so would invalidate the assurance of having obtained one's petition; but the restful attitude of the soul is assured. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee." "So the woman [Hannah] went her way and did eat, and was no more sad." Build thy nest high in the mountains of God's faithfulness, above the mists and joys of the lower

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plains! Get thine assurance direct from the lips of thy Lord. Then thou wilt have sure anchorage, which will hold though long years intervene! Sit still, yea, sit still!

   2. Our Life Problems. They are set before us to test us. Each has its purpose. Some muscle or aptitude has to be tested and strengthened by use. It is thus that character is developed and impulses become principles. Our attitude to our fellow men, the distinctions between different forms of recreation and amusement, the choice of companions, the supreme choice of marriage, the principles to be observed in business, the perplexity of determining on our life course; and, most difficult of all, our behavior to members of our family circle, with whom we have to live, but with whom we have no sympathy — these are our problems. On these and many similar matters we may consult confidential advisers; but the results disappoint, and we recall Job's verdict on his friends.

   From the experience of a long life I urge that the best confidant and adviser is Christ Himself. The wisest and safest course is to place the whole case in His hands, asking Him to advise and control. "Roll thy way upon the Lord," says the Psalmist; "trust also in him." He is the wonderful Counselor, says the Prophet. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding," says the Book of the Wise; "in all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct thy paths." He may suddenly put in your way a sagacious and experienced friend. You may, accidentally as it appears, overhear a conversation in a railway carriage, or come across a paragraph in a newspaper, or meet a friend in the street, and you will recognize that the clue to the maze has been placed in your hand. The extraordinary series of events which Samuel predicted as way-marks to Saul will have their counterpart in your experience (see 1 Samuel 10). But always, when these incidents arise, you must wait for their confirmation by

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the inner witness. The outward incident will often substantiate a growing suspicion or hesitation which has instinctively arisen in your mind; or a flash of light from within will illumine the road along which you have been groping your way. "Lo, all these things doth God work, twice, yea, thrice with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit and that he may be enlightened with the light of life." Outward incidents combine with the inner light as the gleam of the lighthouse tallies with the readings of the chart in the captain's room. Christ has definitely promised that they who follow Him shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

  There is an immense realm within us, known as the subconscious self. It has been suggested that as much of this is concealed as seven-eights of an iceberg are concealed beneath the surface of the ocean. By our surrender to Him, our Lord has access to this vast capacity of knowledge, and in these depths can formulate resolution, decisions, and judgments which are absolutely right. When once a decision has been arrived at which is confirmed by some outward incident and the teaching of Scripture, be sure to follow it out, though the heavens threaten to fall. The late Bishop Temple said truly that "all true guidance consists in calling up from within the souls of men the powers that are living and working in the secret abysses of their souls."

   Our vision is often misled by wreckers' lights. Our judgment is apt to be unjust because we seek our own way and whim instead of the glory of Him who has sent us forth. We lay too much stress on expediency and the possible immediate consequences instead of taking the far view. The fruit of our own wisdom is always bitter. Christ permits us to learn by hard experiences that we may be driven back to the guidance of His good Spirit. The future is not ours, but His! We may never have a future, or it may be quite different from

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what we think. The sea is very wide, the cross-currents very treacherous, our bark very frail. It is best to take the Pilot on board, then the captain may go down from the bridge and rest. Don't worry. Don't anticipate. Don't fear. Don't, like Saul, be precipitate and offer the sacrifice before Samuel arrives. "Sit still, my soul, sit still. Jesus, whom thou has trusted, will not fail thee. He will not rest until He has finished that which thou hast committed to His care!"

   3. Our Purposes. The servants of Christ will often become aware of a purpose steadily forming in their hearts. Paul, kneeling in the temple, becomes aware that henceforth his life-work must lie among the Gentiles. Philip discovers that he must leave the revival which has broken out in Samaria and go to wait on a bit of wilderness track for a certain purpose, which is not further disclosed. Paul arrives at Ephesus just as Apollos leaves it. Catherine of Sienna writes "Henceforth, my daughter, do courageously and without hesitation those things which by the ordering of Providence will be put into thy hands; for, being armed by faith, thou wilt happily overcome all thy adversaries." Mary Fisher traverses land and sea to give her message to the Sultan himself, which he receives with much attention and gravity. Stephen Grellet preaches a sermon, apparently to nobody, in the heart of the forest, which led to one thousand sheep being brought home to the Good Shepherd. Carey is impressed to go to India, Judson to Burma, John Williams to Raratonga, Mary Slessor to West Africa. Tens of thousands whose biographies have never been printed have felt the urge of the Spirit of Christ and have dared to obey, to their everlasting joy.

   At first the suggestion arises in the heart like the tiny cloud no bigger than a man's hand which Elijah's servant described on the horizon of the Mediterranean. At first, it is put away as preposterous and out of the question. Then it comes again

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and again, with growing persistence. A voice behind us says : "This is the way, walk ye in it." Then, as it persists, we begin to advance our contrary reasons. We have not the necessary funds. We think that the ties of home and business prevent. We put the suggestion away as needing gifts with which we are not endowed. Like Moses, we argue that we have not the necessary gifts of speech; like Jeremiah, we argue that we are as an ignorant child. Perhaps, then, physical illness overtakes us and seems to render obedience impossible. But it is the voice of the Good Shepherd who is calling one of His own sheep by name and putting it forth. The Spirit of Christ is designating another Barnabas and Saul to the work for which He has called them. And when Jesus calls, it is at our infinite loss that we hold back.

   Our one act must be to obey. We must throw on Him the entire responsibility of opening the way, providing the funds, and inclining our friends to acquiesce. The route, the hour, the companionships, the minding of things behind, the preparing of things before, must be absolutely committed to His grace. He must open the way and go in front and bring up the rear. Everything will be deftly and abundantly arranged. All we have to do is to follow where He leads, quieting our souls by the refrain : "Sit still, my soul, sit still, for He will not be at rest till He has perfected that to which He has put His hand."

Measure thy life by loss instead of gain,
Not by the wine drunk, but by the wine poured forth,
For Love's strength standeth in Love's sacrifice,
And whoso suffers most hath most to give.

   - Harriet Eleanor King

   Look up! Expect to receive something, and you will surely receive it!

From Our Daily Homily

Chapter 20

The Power of Appropriation

LET ME READ FROM THE THIRD CHAPTER OF THE BOOK OF ACTS:

   One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

   Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

   While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade.

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   When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

   Imagine a double staircase of marble, rising to the first terrace for the women, the second terrace for the men. On the top stair of the second flight is the Beautiful Gate, so termed, made of Corinthian brass, so heavy that it took four men to open and close it at sunrise and sunset. It was exquisitely wrought of beaten work, and was counted one of the wonders of the world. Beyond it lay the altar, and the laver and the temple, the court in which our Saviour often walked, and in which the priests did their wonted work. There it stood, not unlike the gate into a whole life, because there was an old law in the book of Leviticus which enacted that any man that had a defect or deformity, though actually born with true Israelitish blood in his veins, was never to enter. He might go right up to that top stair, but there he must stop. No deformed or defective man might pass that limit. I think we may therefore take it now as being the gate into perfect soundness of life.

   The man on whom our thought is to be concentrated was born lame. So far as I understand the narrative there was no malformation of the limb, but simply paralysis of the motor nerve. His ankle bones were perfectly formed. The hinge would work with perfect accuracy. The will might influence

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the nerve centers, and they might send an impulse through the spinal cord to the ankle bones, but whatever the impulse might be in the will, there was a paralysis which prevented it from being executed. And therefore four friends of his, kindly, honest-hearted men, made a point of coming for him in his humble dwelling-place every morning, to bear him up the double staircase, depositing him on the highest stair; and then retiring to their avocations, returning to fetch him back at sunset, with his scrip more or less full of the alms he had received.

   Whether or not he was married we do not know. If her were, he would probably have a good deal to say to his wife and neighbors of what had transpired in the Temple that day. If anything should have happened in the temple courts, if there had been a riot or anything of the kind, or a new anthem in the Levite choirs, he would tell of it. If there had been an undue concourse of people he would speak of it. He was greatly interested in all that went on in the Temple. He lived on the crumbs that fell there. His sustenance was derived from people who went to and fro and dropped a pittance in his hand as they passed. He would have liked to go in himself, but he never could. He had not the power to do what he wished. He knew the way, but he could not do it.

   Is not this a picture of yourself? Right against you stands the portal into soundness of life, where men may come to the altar of God with exceeding joy, and wash in the laver, and kindle the flame of the seven-branched candlestick, and worship within the veil. That is the perfect soundness of life where men leap and praise God, the idea on which their mind is set, where there is power to serve God, to live for Him, and to become a whole burnt sacrifice. It is the gate of perfect faith, but you lie just outside, as near as ever you can. but there you stop. You are very glad to live on the alms of the people who

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go in, the little books they write, the addresses they deliver. It is a pity you do not go in, and get the best God has for you.

   But you say, "That will never come to me. I am glad to hear what others have found out about God."

   There is not the slightest reason in the world why today you should not know and enjoy as much of God's love as anyone else. The only lack is that somewhere in your nature there is a paralysis, a want of power. The good you would you do not, and the evil you would not you do. All you have to do today, in the simplest way possible, is to link your nature to that of Christ, the living, risen Lord.

   Let us follow the steps that Peter took, so that you may leap up and praise God, and go home never to be paralyzed again.

   First, he excited this man's expectation. He said, "Look on us."

   He did look on them, and at first sight he was very much disappointed. As he reckoned them from head to foot he thought they were about as poorly dressed men as he had seen for a long time. Their costume indicated they came from Galilee, where people were mostly poor, and he thought to himself : "I shall not derive much assistance from you."

   Peter knew from the look of disappointment that passed over his face what his thought was, and said : "I have neither silver nor gold."

   When you are doing work for God with the souls of men you do not want the silver of eloquence or the gold of learning, because you have something better to give. So Peter turned the man's expectation from himself.

   If I were to try to appeal to your intellect or emotions you might begin to depend on the Christian men with whom I associate, or on their books. As you did so they would intervene between you and the only thing that does abide and

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really help, and that is, the touch of the human spirit with the mediator in whom God dwells, and who is waiting to give Himself to you. He will go with you through the street. When you reach your lonely bedroom He will be there. When you awake tomorrow morning your first thought will be, He whom I found yesterday is present. You will no longer rely on the impulse of a human voice, which soon fades away on the night wind, but you will go in the strength of a nature which will always be yours, poured into your life, empowering and energizing you, from Jesus Christ.

   So the first step is to turn people's thoughts away from the speaker.

   Second, Peter began to talk about his Master.

   And he did that wisely. If he had begun by talking about the man's faith, the man would have looked at his faith. About the worst thing anybody can do is to talk about faith to people who do not believe. Whenever a minister talks about faith his hearers begin to wonder if they have the right sort The more you feel your pulse, the more you disturb your heart's pulsations. The more you wonder if you are well, the more morbid you become. If you want people to believe do not talk about faith, talk about the object of faith, and remove any moral hindrance to faith that there may be in the nature; because faith is not intellectual but moral, and unbelief is the result, generally, of some moral inaptitude, some delinquency, some sin that needs to be dealt with. When you have dealt with that and presented Christ, faith rises sweetly toward Him.

   Do not tell people to examine their faith, but lift up Christ. This is what Peter did. Only Christ! He held Him up before the man.

   You will further notice — and this is a very important thing — he did not hold up facts about Christ, but Christ Himself.

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Men are saved, not by the death of Christ (though it is often said so), but through faith in Him who died. They are saved, not by the resurrection of Christ, but by Him who rose. Men tell me to go back to Christ. What is the use of going back eighteen hundred years? They tell me to go up to Christ. What is the use of going up? He is here, actually present, the same yesterday, today, and forever. I hear Him say : "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold I am alive, and with you to the end of the age."

   Men always think that heaven touches earth at the horizon, either at the east or west, and that the heaven about them is far away. But heaven is as near earth here and now as at the horizon either of the long past or of the far future. Christ is here. He is moving amongst us, and we point you to the present Christ.

   And Peter went further. He did not talk about Christ as a teacher, or miracle worker, or perfect human example. He said, "He who died is glorified."

   What is glory? Glory is the breaking out and the manifestation of hidden quality. What is the glory of light? The rainbow, because it reveals the hidden beauty and color of light. What is the glory of a seed? The flower, for the flower unfolds the aroma and beauty that lie folded in the seed. When is the beauty of the diamond seen but when its facets are cut to reflect the light? And so what is the glory of Christ? That through death His true nature was revealed and set free, so that the nature of Jesus might permeate other natures. If the nature of Christ can pass freely into the nature of men they must become perfectly sound. In the death and resurrection and ascension of Christ it has become possible for the nature of Christ to be all-pervasive. Therefore Peter began wisely enough to speak of that, and say : "God hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom ye crucified."

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   Then Peter went on to utter one more thought. He spoke of Christ as the Leader of life. He used a word which is used only four times in the Bible, the meaning of which is, the leader of a file of men. If I had a hundred men here and put the representative man first, you would see in him a specimen of the ninety-nine behind him. He would be the file-leader. Look at him, and understand the rest.

   Peter said, "My Master is the leader of the file, the file-leader of life."

   It is a marvelous expression. The old version says, "The Prince of Life"; the revised version says, "the Author of life"; but the Greek says, "the file-leader of life." Peter says in effect : "He does not lead cripples, He does not lead lame men, He does not lead a lot of decrepits that go on crutches; He leads a file of life. If you will fall in and follow, you will find that you will become as one of the file of living ones."

   Is not that a grand conception? It is as if when Christ rose from the dead He began to march, and Peter and John and Mary marched after, and the Early Church followed, and the martyrs fell in line, and all the holy ones that confessed Christ in the dark ages joined the file, and they are marching on today. I hear their steady tramp through all the ages.

   All who fall in behind Christ find Him the file-leader of life, perfect life. Fall in, lame man, and walk!

   Oh, brothers and sisters, you and I are following after many who have gone through the beautiful gate where Jesus has gone before us. He is marching on into the everlasting glory, deeper and deeper into the heart of heaven, to the fountains of waters of life. He is leading, and we are following, and shall follow for evermore. He is the file-leader of living ones. Peter struck a spark when he said that.

   But the man did not get up yet. He said, "I cannot."

   "Well," said Peter, "He is the Author of life. His nature

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[that is, His name], through faith in His name, will make you strong." Whenever in the Bible you encounter the word name, substitute nature; name is always nature. Peter said, "Man, your nature is paralyzed but His nature is strong. If, then, you can get His nature into you, especially to those parts of your ankle bones which are paralyzed, He will make you strong just where you are weak."

   Is not that what you want? You want His nature where your nature is weak. You want Him to replace your paralysis by His strength He is strong enough. His feet glow like coals of fire.

   The man began to think about it. "Yes," said he, in a flash, "if only His nature where it is strong would come into my nature where it is weak my ankle bones would receive strength. That is it."

   And the man received out of Christ by an act of faith the quality in which he was weak; or I might put it in this way, he took Christ's nature to be that quality in him in which he was deficient.

   Now, there is not one true believer on Christ that is not conscious of weakness. It is not that your judgment is wrong, or your knowledge of right and wrong defective, but you are paralyzed through some weakness of your moral nature, so that you cannot do what you would. This, however, will be remedied if from this lesson you learn how to appropriate the fulness of Christ.

   It was a revelation to me. I was staying with Canon Wilberforce one autumn. With quite a number of clergymen and gentlemen, we had been for an afternoon walk near Southampton, and had come in to an early cup of tea, and then to a twilight talk around the fire. He sat there, and addressing me, asked me to give a brief record of my religious experience. I said that I had lately given up something for Christ.

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An old clergyman on the other side of the room then got up, the light falling on his reverend face. He said he was quite surprised to hear me talk about giving up. For his part he was always taking in. He said that formerly, when he was a very impetuous, impulsive man, he was about to lose his temper with a number of children, when suddenly he turned to Christ, and said, "Thy patience, Lord!" and, instead of losing his temper, he said he could have borne with twice the number of children and twice the amount of noise, because he had met the need by the nature of the risen Christ. He said that ever after that he acquired the habit, whenever the devil tempted him, of taking his cue from the devil, and getting an armful of the opposite grace from Christ. Hence, what the devil meant to be his stumbling block he turned into a stepping-stone.

   I believe that is why God allows us to be tempted, because temptation may become such a means of grace when we treat it so. In hours of impurity receive Jesus to be purity. In hours of irritability receive Jesus to be quietness, tranquility. In hours of rush receive Jesus to be rest. In hours of weakness and moral cowardice receive Jesus to be strength.

   Do you begin to understand my text now? His nature, through faith in His nature, makes men strong where they are weak, and their ankle bones receive strength.

   Oh that everybody here would stop one moment and ask, "Where am I weak? Where do I fail?" We all know where. When you have once broken your limb it is always weak at that spot. If a wall has been broken down you can always tell where it has been patched. You and I know where we have failed, failed, and failed again.

   Perhaps you say, "I am easily ruffled. I shall never get inside the Beautiful Gate."

   Yes, but if once you can receive the nature of Christ to take

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the place of the ruffling so that when the suggestion of temptation for ruffling comes you meet it, not by your resolution not to be ruffled, but by the peace and gentleness and sweetness of Christ, you will be able to walk, leap, and praise God. Your nature would fall within five minutes. Your resolution would carry you no further than the rush of an express train will carry a chip of straw which it catches up for a moment as the straw eddies over it, but soon drops the straw down. But if you can once understand what it is to have the nature of Jesus pouring into you moment by moment, as the heat pours into the radiator when the valve is turned on, then you will never get cold and fall again. His nature through faith in His nature makes people strong.

   But they must receive it. Here and now, without emotion, without feeling, without earnestness, conscious only that you need strength, I want you, by an act of appropriating faith, to draw out of Christ His nature.

   It carries me back to Christmas morning in the "auld lang syne" that will never come again, but the memory of which lingers ever fragrant in my heart like music in a dream — those happy, happy days which yet live on in one's power to understand a child's life. When Christmas morning came, the long-expected morning, the prayers seemed long, and the breakfast was hardly touched when the servant came to announce that all was ready, and father and mother let us in. I can see the table now, covered with presents, and the tree in the middle. There was a great heap, and I did not need to ask anybody for them, I just took them. Off the wrapping paper went, and on to the floor — one walked knee deep in waste paper — and when the paper was gone the presents were appropriated : this was mine and that was yours, etc.

   Can you not imagine God lifting the cloth off a great table full of gifts? All is ready. Child, you have been waiting ten years for it,

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and the day has come, and there is your gift, and yours, and yours.

   What do you want? You have been praying for forgiveness. There it is : Now come up and take it. You have been asking for the assurance of sonship. It is there! Take it. What do you want? Power over passionate thoughts and deliverance from an unholy appetite? Well, the purity of Christ will answer all that. What do you want? "I have a terrible temper, sir. I try to be pleasant at home, but when I am most determined I get easily put out, and I am ready to kill myself with remorse. If I could only keep my tongue still!" Well, here it is, the patience of Christ. What do you want? You have been asking for five years for the filling of the Holy Ghost. It is all ready, it has been here a long time, but you have never come for it. Here it is. What is it you want? Strength in your ankle bones? You want to walk in God's way, you want to leap a bit? Well, here it is, all the old, glad strength of earlier days, when you used to leap as the hart. It is here in Jesus Christ. He is the table, He is the gift, He is the cover too. His human nature, set free in death, is now glorified on His Father's throne. Is not that enough for you? The Lord Jesus is the complement of your need.

   Let me give you a lesson in mathematics. If I draw an arc of a circle, the rest of the circumference required to make it a complete circle is called the complement. Complement is only an abbreviated form of completement. The bigger the arc, the smaller the complement. Those who want most will get most out of the complement, Christ. Christ is the complement of human need, and so blind men took seeing out of Christ, and deaf men took hearing out of Christ, and dead men (if I may so put it) took life out of Christ, and women who for twelve years had suffered much took virtue out of Christ. All who wanted anything just took what they wanted, and He became

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the complement of their needs. His nature, through faith in His nature, made blind men see, and deaf men hear, and lame men walk, and dead men live. All took out of Him just what they wanted; and He is here now, and you have only to take out what you need and go home with it, nay, go home with him.

   Just once more. Peter said, "What I have I give."

   I could not make out for a long time what Peter did give. I may be wrong, but it seems to me the only thing he gave, next to his presentation of Christ, was hand help. He took hold of the man and pulled him up, and the moment he did that it was as a sacrament, an outward and visible sign of a similar movement by his Master. What Peter did visibly, Christ did invisibly.

   As I try to live up to faith in Christ, it seems to me that the faith which is by Him will give you perfect soundness in the presence of all the angels. And then you must act in faith.

   Suppose that man, when Peter had spoken to him, had felt his ankles to determine whether anything had happened to them, do you think he would have been well? Suppose he had put them out to see whether he had any more power in them, do you think he would have been made well? He did not wait, but sprang up; "leaping up, he stood and began to walk." That is, he acted with faith. He did not feel well before he commenced to walk, but as he began to walk he felt he could walk. If Peter, on one memorable occasion, had put one foot over the boat's side to see if the water would bear him he would have got his feet wet, and he would never have walked a step. But Peter went clear over and he walked on the water.

   Now, if a man says, "I am going to try this way of living, but I do not feel as though I have received anything, I do not feel different from what I felt when I came into the church,

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and therefore I have nothing," that man will not be helped.

   I have had in my own life for some time a great besetment. Two or three months ago I said to Christ : "I take Thee for that part of my nature where until now I have always been fearing to fall, that I may be perfectly sound." I was sitting quietly in my room when I made the transfer. It was the quiet act of faith, but all my life has felt the effect of that solemn moment. I have not feared the temptation since then, because I knew that Christ would meet it whenever it presented itself.

   Do not only pray to Christ tomorrow morning that He will keep you, but say, "Jesus Christ, I claim from Thee new patience, sweetness, gentleness all day"; then take Him, and dare to believe that when there is any temptation to irritability or pride or passion you may meet the temptation with the nature of Christ.

   Years ago, in the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, I heard Mr. Spurgeon tell an old story with new power. It was about the ship called Central America. When the drinking water had failed and the crew were in great need they ran up a flag of distress. The flag was answered from another ship.

   "What is the matter?" came through the speaking tube.

   "Water! Water! We are dying for want of water!"

   And the answer came back, "Dip it up, then! You are in the mouth of the Amazon."

   The mighty Amazon was pouring a flood of fresh water far out to sea. They dipped it up. There was no need to ask further for drinking water.

   Men and women, you are in the estuary of the grace of God. The whole torrent of the Christ-nature that rises in the mountains of Deity is flowing down around your life. Do not go up to the mountains and plead, but dip down the bucket of your faith into Jesus Christ, and take up purity, peace,

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soundness. Dip it up, dip it up! His nature, through faith in His nature, will make you strong in the presence of all that know you.

   May God help you to act now!

   In certain conservatories the pliant branches are trained along wall or roof for vast distances; yet one life pervades the whole plant, from the rugged root to the farthest twig and leaf and cluster. Thus there is one holy life pervading all who have belonged, or shall belong, to Jesus. They live because He lives. His life is theirs.

From Our Daily Homily

Chapter 21

Reciprocal Indwelling

Abide in me, and I in you. — JOHN 15:4.

"THAT I MAY DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE", was the aspiration of the man after God's own heart (Psalm 27:4). It became his saintly soul, but it cannot be literally realized in these days, when there is no longer a material earthly sanctuary. And yet there is a sense in which that wish may be verified in the history of us all. What is "the house of the Lord" but the conscious presence of the Lord? And they who have acquired the blessed habit of perpetually recollecting the nearness of Jesus know something, at least, of that "dwelling in the secret place of the Most High," and "abiding under the shadow of the Almighty," of which the Psalmist sang (Psalm 91).

   If only we could acquire that blessed habit, and maintain that hallowed attitude of spirit, we should need few exhortations beside. We should be perfectly satisfied with Himself. We should hold all things in Him. We should fear no foe, fighting under the Captain's eye. We should be set free from the power of besetting sin, as the fire in our grates is extinguished when the sun shines brilliantly on the glowing embers. How strong — how sweet — how happy — should we be, if only we could dwell in the unbroken enjoyment of the presence of the King so that He should be first in every thought, and act, and moment of life.

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   You say that this may be possible for the priest, or the saint, but not for those who are harassed with daily care; for the cloister, but not for the market; for the holy day, but not for the working day, with its dust and clamor. Yet surely, since the Master bids us all to abide in Him, and says not to limit His meaning, or define the character of those who are welcome to stand continually in His presence, we must infer that He wishes to make no distinction, but to admit all His servants to share in the bright and blessed privilege.

   But can the mind be occupied with two thoughts at once? Perhaps not : yet — though it may be impossible for the mind to entertain at the same instant more than one train of ideas — beneath the mind there is the heart, with all its sensibilities and deep emotional life, instantly and always alive to the presence or absence of some beloved object, even when the mind is most busily engaged.

   The orator is conscious of the presence and appreciation of his audience, even when his intellect is most busily engaged in furnishing the thought which he is uttering. The business man, absorbed in working on his books, while his wife is quietly occupied with her work by his side, is aware of her sweet presence at the very moment when he is adding up the longest column of figures. The young mother may be very busy about the house, tidying the rooms in the upper stories, but her heart is always on the alert for the cry of the babe, whose crib is beside the kitchen fire. So we may be fully occupied in thought and act, and yet our heart may be abiding in holy and blessed communion with our Lord as "a living bright reality"

More present to Faith's vision keen
Than any earthly object seen :
More dear, more intimately nigh
Than e'en the closest earthly tie.

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   But before this blessed consciousness of the presence of Christ can be ours, we must know experimentally the meaning of the apostle's words, "Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20). In point of fact, there is a lovely reciprocity in His indwelling. We abide in Him because He abides in us. In the translucent depths of southern seas the voyager is aware of the infinite variety of sponge growth, waving to and fro with the gentle movement of the tide; and the ocean is in the sponge, while the sponge is in the ocean, illustrating the reciprocal indwelling of the believer in Christ and Christ in the believer. Take the common iron poker from your fireside, and place it amid the fiery bed of burning coals, and soon it becomes red-hot, because the fire is in it, while it is in the fire. Will the time not come when we shall learn the secret of a life of ardent devotion and glowing zeal because we have mastered the lesson of the reciprocal indwelling of the saint and the Saviour?

   This was the secret of the human life of Christ. He dwelt in His Father's love, while there rang through His being the glad consciousness that He did always those things which gave pleasure to his Father's heart. And the Father dwelt in Him, manifesting His Divine presence by words of grace and works of power. Have you ever truly realized that Jesus Christ is literally within you — the Divine tenant and occupant of the inner shrine? Do not feel obliged to dilute or water down this wondrous fact as if it were too marvelous to be accepted in its literal force. We cannot understand it; we cannot reason it out with our poor logic; we cannot account for it; we can only sit down in amazed wonder and exclaim, "Wherefore is this come to me, that I should be a temple for the Lord God of Hosts?" And when once we can realize the literal force of "in you," we shall enter on the glorious and perpetual enjoyment of "ye in me." The two are reciprocal :

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and the measure of our appreciation of the one is the measure of our enjoyment of the other.

   There are four texts in the New Testament in which the truth of this reciprocity of indwelling is taught, each time with a specific purpose.

   1. As to fellowship — "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him" (John 6:56) Whatever else is meant by that mystic feeding on Christ, this at least is included, that, through the help of the Holy Ghost, we are to set apart daily periods of time for fellowship with the living Saviour. The early morning hour, when we go forth to gather manna, while the day is young; the evening twilight when men go forth to meditate; the hour of solemn worship and gathering with the people of God — all these, and many other golden seasons, are opportunities of nourishing the inner life with His flesh, which is meat indeed, and His blood, which is drink indeed.

   But how often, at such times, the spirit seems to fail and faint! It cannot disengage itself from the birdlime of worldliness which fastens it down. It cannot shake off the buzzing cloud of teasing, wandering thoughts. It resembles, as Jeremy Taylor says, a lark trying in vain to rise against a strong east wind.

   What then should be our resource? We may turn from personal supplication to intercession on behalf of others, or we may open the Word of God and begin to study its pages, as men pour water into a dry pump to make it draw; or we may appropriate the prayers of the saints of former days. But there is a more excellent way. Let us sit quietly down to meditate. Let us remember that the living Saviour, who ever liveth to pray, is, by the Holy Spirit, literally within us. He who, in the days of His flesh, climbed the mountains for fellowship with His Father, while the towns that bordered

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on the lake were still swathed in morning mist, is now dwelling in the heart. Stand aside, then cease your strivings and efforts; and let Him pour forth in and through you the mighty torrent of His strong cryings and ceaseless prayers.

   It will not be long before you find your prayers mounting up with freedom and conscious power to heaven; and in a moment, by the reciprocity which we are now considering, you will become aware of the literal presence around you — as a Divine environment — of Him who once lit up the lone isle of Patmos by the irradiation of His manifested glory.

   2. As to obedience — "He that keepeth his commandments, dwelleth in him, and he in him" (1 John 3:24). There are three things which must focus in one point before we can be sure of the will of God : the prompting of the Spirit within; the teaching of the Word without; and the concurrence of Providence around — in the events of the daily life. We should never take a step unless these three concur. If they do not so concur, we may be sure that God's hour is not yet come, and we must stand still and see His salvation.

   But there are times when we clearly know the Lord's will, but seem unable to do it. Our heart and flesh fail. We cower before strong opposition. The good we would, we do not : the evil we would not, we do.

   How shall we do, then? Shall we lash ourselves forward by reproaches and remonstrances, as the galley slaves of old were urged to more frantic exertions by the strokes of the knout? Not so! We are no longer under the law, but under grace. God does not leave us thus to cope with ourselves. There is another and a better way, which lies within the text already cited, if its identical propositions are reversed, "He that dwelleth in him, and he in him, keepeth his commandments."

   Remember, again, that the Lord Jesus is in you as the very

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power of God. During His earthly life He bore the significant title of "Servant" of God, who, when the Lord God opened His ear, was not rebellious nor turned away back, nor swerved a hair's breadth from the narrow path of implicit obedience (Psalm 27:1-6). Why should not He work in you and through you, as of old He wrought through His mortal body? Let Him have the opportunity! Cease from your own works, as the Son did from His. And as He emptied Himself, so that the Father which dwelt in Him was really the doer of His works, so empty yourself of your own efforts and strivings, and let Him work in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure. You will soon be delivered from impotence and indolence and failure, and you will find yourself energized mightily in all manner of strenuous and noble deeds.

   And this will be the result by the law of reciprocity, which we are elaborating — that you will become aware of the literal presence of Him who appeared to Joshua as the Captain of the Lord's host. You will be ready to kneel before Him in lowly homage, and to await His commands; and you will carry with you a consciousness of the fact that you are ever living in the very midst of the encompassing glory of the King of saints. "In him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

   3. As to confession — "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God" (1 John 4:15). The days are past in which every confessor was called to be a martyr. And yet confession is hard enough; it is not easy to stand up for Christ in the commercial room, or in the workshop, in the railway carriage, or amid the frivolities of a drawing-room. There is a natural proneness in us all to a false shame, which gags our mouths, and chokes our utterance, and keeps us silent when we know we ought to speak.

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  Ah, how bitterly we reproach ourselves then and afterwards, as we see the opening gradually close, and feel that the chance for quiet remonstrance, or for words of entreaty and expostulation, has gone, never to return (Rev. 2:13).

   And yet we have failed so often, we have almost lost heart. Can it ever be different, we being what we are? Can we ever resemble Antipas, the faithful confessor? Can we ever be bold as a lion for Him who has never given us just cause for shame? Indeed, matters will never mend until we abandon our own feeble attempts and draw heavily on the glorious fact of His mighty indwelling. We can do nothing; but all things are possible to Him. Let us only give Him the chance. Let us place ourselves at His disposal to speak in us, and through us, as He will. Let Him have His blessed way with us. Before Pontius Pilate He witnessed a good confession : why may we not expect Him to repeat it, through us, the meanest of the members of His body, who long to be possessed of Him, even as of old men were the mediums through which lost spirits spoke and wrought.

   And none can thus abandon themselves to Him without becoming aware, through the law of reciprocal indwelling, that Christ in the heart means the heart in Christ, and that dependence on the indwelling Saviour will invariably induce a vivid consciousness of the indwelling of the human spirit in the light of His gracious presence.

   4. As to love — "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:15). We must love people whom we cannot like; with whom we have no natural sympathy, and who seem made to irritate us. It is easy to like nice people. No special grace is required for this. Our affections naturally entwine around the amiable and gentle; and if these alone filled our homes there would be no education in the Divine art of loving. We learn only what the love of

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God is when we have to do with people who defy our own powers of affection. The fairest powers of nature are never so apparent as when they are called in to drape the rents in the earth's surface, or to clothe some unsightly rock, rearing its form amid a paradise of beauty.

   Is there such a person in your life, the source of constant chafe, annoyance, fret? You feel you cannot love, you cannot speak gently, or stroke that fretful face, or find pleasure in that uncongenial presence? Anything but that. You could be lovely if only you were thrown with a congenial temperament. Yet how much you would miss of Divine education! Do this. Fall back on the memory of the Divine indwelling : and since the strong Son of God, who is Immortal Love, is in you, let Him love that loveless one through you; let Him pour a torrent of love through you, as the channel and medium of blessing; let His love speak through your voice, and look through your eyes, and nerve your fingers. Love with His love. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

   And, again, let us repeat it. You will find that you cannot act thus without bringing into operation that reciprocity of indwelling which is our theme; and you will know, as never before, what it is to have Christ encompassing you behind and before, and covering you with the warm, safe protection of those feathers to which He called Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34).

   What more need we say? The Spirit alone can reveal the truth we try to teach. But He will gladly perform this, His appointed office. And thus we shall come to understand what it is ever "to dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and to abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:7).

   What a contrast between us, dwelling amid the luxuries and superfluities of modern life, pampered and well provided with everything that delights the flesh and a man like John Woolman, one of the rarest God ever made, who spent his time walking from one Friends' meeting to another, habited in the simplest garb, faring on the plainest food, taking the rebuffs of the wealthy and arrogant without surprise, and content to be counted the offscouring of all if only he might raise his protest on behalf of the suffering and downtrodden!

From Cheer for Life's Pilgrimage

Chapter 22

True Gentlefolk*

FOR MY OPENING PARAGRAPH I FEEL INCLINED TO PURLOIN and adapt some prefatory remarks which I came across in a book of extracts, and which has suggested some of the following thoughts, and say that if my reader takes up this article for guidance on minute points of ceremonious behavior he will look in vain. I fear that I cannot instruct the men how to carry their canes or hats, or the women how to arrange their guests at a dinner party. My design is quite different, for I am sure that if once the principles are acquired which inspire the hearts and lives of true gentlefolk, they will always know, by a kind of spiritual instinct, how to behave even though the ordinary notions of propriety may be a little shocked.

   For instance, in her village home, replete with curios from all the world, the walls of which are hung with valuable paintings, a beloved relative of mine has a Sunday afternoon Bible class of very old laboring men, each of whom is bent double as he walks. By her tender grace and teaching, their hearts and lives have been greatly sweetened and beautified, and they might be fitly ranked as gentlemen in feeling, if not in rank and education. But one of them a little startled the properties of the house when, in the middle of the class on

* This is not a sermon; it is a chapter taken from Dr. Meyer's still popular book, Religion in Homespun, and is included here as evidence of his ability as writer as well as preacher.

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one lovely summer afternoon, he asked permission to take off his coat and sit in his shirt sleeves. It might be a breach of etiquette, but from the way in which he made his request, and the simplicity and naivete of it, I will contest the point with all comers that there was no violation of the manners of a gentleman.

   It is stated that the type of character indicated by our words, gentleman or gentlewoman, is peculiar to English-speaking countries. The French gentilhomme is especially applicable to rank and superiority of blood, while its English equivalent denotes an idea of social grace and moral excellence which are independent of the artificial claims of rank and wealth. It is said that a group of Japanese students at Cambridge formed themselves into an association for the purpose of studying this particular social ideal, but for this I cannot vouch.

   What are the qualities of heart and disposition that lie at the foundation of the character of true gentlefolk? Perhaps if my readers have read the exquisite sketches of character in Cranford they will have formed a truer conception of what is in my mind than any amount of definition; but I should say that there are three elements, at least, which go to make up the ideal which we are seeking to delineate : first, a noble self-respect; next, a keen sensitiveness for the feelings of others; resulting, lastly, in an entire absence of all thought of self in the one aim to shed the consciousness of happiness and ease on all around, whatever be their rank or age.

   These are qualities which are not conferred by birth or riches, education or manners. None of these alone, or all of them together, constitute gentlefolk. We may discover specimens of that rare and noble quality at the plow and the forge, in the cottage and the factory, as well as in the so-called higher circles. "A gentleman," says Whyte Neville,

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"is courteous, kindly, brave, and high-principled, considerate towards the weak and self-possessed amongst the strong. High-minded and unselfish, he does to others as he would they should do unto him"; and shrinks from the meanness of taking advantage of his neighbor, man or woman, friend or foe, as he would from the contamination of cowardice, duplicity, or tyranny. Sans peur et sans reproche, he has a lion's courage with a woman's heart; and such a one, be he in peer's robes or a plowman's shirt sleeves, is a true gentleman.

   That high self-respect may be illustrated by a hypothetical case, suggested in "The Perfect Gentleman," which is not an improbable test for any of us. You may be paying an afternoon visit, and are shown into the drawing-room. While waiting for the lady of the house to appear, your eye falls inadvertently on a letter which lies open on the table. In the quite involuntary glance you cast on it you are arrested by the fact that your own name is written there by an unknown hand. Your curiosity is naturally excited, and you cannot but wonder what it is that is said of you, and for what purpose your name was introduced. Minute passes after minute; the lady whom you are expecting does not appear; you are left alone with that interesting letter; it lies within your reach and no one would be a whit the wiser if you were to take it up and see what it was about — nay, you could read some of it as it lies, without even altering your position. Now comes the crucial test. To yield to that dishonorable curiosity and read that letter proves that you are deficient in one of the highest traits of true gentility; while if you resist the temptation, and live up to your highest ideal, you are, so far at least, one of the true gentlefolk.

   An old-time illustration of that high code of honor which characterizes such souls is furnished from English history.

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Some time after the Battle of Cressy, Edward III of England and Edward the Black Prince, the more than heir of his father's renown, pressed John, King of France, to indulge them with the pleasure of his company at London. John was desirous of embracing the invitation, and accordingly laid the proposal before his Parliament at Paris. The Parliament objected that the invitation covered an insidious project of seizing his person. But the King replied, with some warmth, that he was confident his brother Edward, and more especially his young cousin, were too much of the gentleman to treat him in that manner. He did not say too much of the king, of the hero, or of the saint, but too much of the gentleman, to be guilty of any baseness. The sequel verified this opinion. At the battle of Poictiers King John was made prisoner, and conducted by the Black Prince to England. The Prince entered London in triumph, amid the throng and acclamations of thousands. But this rather appeared to be the triumph of the French king than of his conqueror. John was seated on a proud steed, royally robed, and attended by a numerous and gorgeous train of the British nobility, while his conqueror endeavored, as much as possible, to disappear, and rode by his side in plain attire, and degradingly seated on a little Irish cob. He was too much of a gentleman to take an advantage of a fallen foe.

   As for that sensitiveness for the feeling of others, we are reminded of Charles Kingsley's Amyas Leigh, whose training had been that of the old Persians, "to speak the truth and draw the bow," both of which savage virtues he had acquired to perfection, as well as the faculty of enduring pain cheerfully, and of believing it to be the finest thing in the world to be a gentleman, by which word he had been taught to understand the careful habit of causing needless pain to no

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human being, poor or rich, and of taking pride in giving up his own pleasure for the sake of those who were weaker than himself.

   Perhaps we may be pardoned for quoting again that anecdote, told in the "Reminiscences of Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft," of the treatment of a young soldier by his colonel. He had been promoted from the ranks, and given a commission in another regiment, and, according to custom, was invited to a farewell dinner by the officers. As the guest of the evening, he was placed on the right of the presiding colonel, and helped to all the dishes first. He was but little used to the manners of polite society and the courses of an officers' mess, and was somewhat embarrassed, although the colonel, one of the truest types of a gentleman, did his best to put his guest at ease. The soup having been served, a servant came to the side of the newly made officer with a large bowl filled with lumps of ice for cooling the champagne. He had no idea of the use of the ice, and, finally, in answer to the challenge of the servant, "Ice, sir?" in desperation took up a piece of ice, and not knowing what else to do with it, put it in his soup. A smile passed around the dining table, but when the bowl was offered to the colonel, without moving a muscle of his face, he also dropped a piece of ice into his soup. Those who followed took their cue from the colonel, or let the bowl pass; but the situation was saved, and the young officer breathed freely again to think that, after all, he had done the right thing. That little act showed that the colonel had the nature of a true gentleman, in its delicate sensitiveness to the feelings of another.

   And, once more, for that absence of all thought of self in order to make all others at their ease, I like to think of those incidents of Thackeray told in that entertaining book,

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Celebrities and I. It is charming to think of the big giant with the silver hair, the rosy face, the spectacles, and the sunny sweet smile, making a genealogical tree for the dolls; standing treat for as many tarts as could be eaten, absenting himself from the shop that they might be eaten in peace; and, finally, settling forever on the children's behalf that most distasteful carrot soup.

   True gentlemen or gentlewomen make, therefore, most delightful hosts, carefully avoiding whatever may cause a jar or jolt among their guests; they are the servants of all, with eyes for all in the company, putting all at their ease, and laying themselves out to elicit the best qualities and strongest points in each, willing to undergo any amount of personal effacement, if at the end of the day the individuality of every member of the household has been consulted and persuaded to yield the fairest flowers and richest fruits — at the same time the self-effacement is so perfect that those for whom it is made do not realize how complete it is.

*       *       *

   Nothing more quickly indicates true gentlefolk than their behavior to women, servants, and others who may rank beneath them in the superficial judgment of human society.

   In one of his noble stories George Macdonald says exactly what I would like to say here, distinguishing the noble courtesy of a truly gentle soul from the familiarity of the snob :

   Annie of the shop understood by a fine moral instinct what respect was due to her, and what respect she ought to shew, and was therefore in the truest sense well-bred. There are women whom no change of circumstances would cause to alter even their manners a hair's-breadth : such are God's ladies; there are others in whom any outward change will reveal the vulgarity of a nature more conscious

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of claim than of obligation. Sercombe, though a man of what is called education, was but conventionally a gentleman. If in doubt whether a man be a gentleman or not, hear him speak to a woman he regards as his inferior: his very tone will probably betray him. A true gentleman, that is a true man, will be the more carefully respectful.

   In one of his letters Lord Chesterfield says, truly enough : "Low people, in good circumstances, fine clothes, and equipages, will show contempt for all those who cannot afford as fine clothes, as good an equipage, and who have not (as their term is) as much money in their pockets."

   Especially in behavior to our household servants our right to be numbered among the true gentlefolk is discovered. We should always wish our servants "good morning," and take an interest in any ailment from which they may be suffering, or home anxiety which may be lying heavily on their hearts. If one is leaving, we should be careful to know that she has a situation or a friend to go to — the circumstances in which we should turn a girl out into the streets at a moment's notice are almost inconceivable, for if the girl has done wrong, we are still responsible to keep her from taking further steps on the wrong path. That she must have to leave us may be clear, but that she should have some respectable place to go is no less so. I am at a loss to understand the rightness of keeping one's coachmen and horses out on wintry and stormy nights, merely for pleasure : but as I am never likely to be troubled with the matter, I will not pronounce on it, for it is a contemptible thing for a man to condemn in others faults to which he has never had any personal temptation. When you are out late, do not forget to let your servants go to bed. Be firm, insistent on duty being properly performed, and that all things should be done decently and in order; but with all this let there be consideration, cheerfulness, sweet reasonableness, and in your life the law of kindness.

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*       *       *

   One of my ideals for many years has been Augustus Hare, of whom his wife said that

perfect contentment with what was appointed him and deep thankfulness for all the good things given him marked his whole being. With him it seemed to be the most natural feeling to seek first the welfare of others, and to consider his own interest in the matter to have comparatively nothing to do with it. He was never weary in well-doing, never thought he had done enough, never feared doing too much. Those small things which by others are esteemed as unnecessary, as not worthwhile, were the very things he took care not to leave undone. It was not rendering a service, when it came in his way, when it came in the natural course of things that he should do it; it was going out of his way to help others, taking every degree of trouble, and incurring personal inconvenience for the sake of doing good, and of giving pleasure even in slight things, that distinguished his benevolent activity from the common forms of it. The love that dwelt in him was ready to be poured forth on whomsoever needed it, and being a free-will offering it looked for no return, and felt no obligation conferred. In society he did not choose out the persons most congenial to his own tastes to converse with. If there were any person more uninviting and dull than others, he would direct his attentions to that one; and while he raised the tone of conversation by leading such persons to subjects of interest, it was done in so gentle and unobtrusive a manner, that it seemed as though the good came from them; and instead of being repelled or disheartened by his superior knowledge, they would be amazed to find themselves less ignorant than they had supposed themselves to be. How often has the stiffness, the restraint of a small party been dispelled by the loving words with which he would seem to draw all together, and endeavor to elicit the good in all : and though by nature excitable, and more than many dependent on outward circumstances, there was ever an inward spring of active thought, which made his conversation quite as lively and energetic when alone with his family as when called into play by the exertion of entertaining guests.

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*       *       *

   At this point, gentle reader, my high ideals were put to a searching test, and in this way, I had written thus far, sitting on the green lawn of a house I love in a rural district. The air heavy with fragrance, and making music in the woods below, the white clouds, floating lazily, form an exquisite contrast to the blue of the sky. I can resist Nature's sweet wooings no longer. Editors and printers are out of reach. I will risk everything for a walk. Such a walk, through lanes, lines with beach and hazel, where the trees meet overhead, through fields where the cattle browse, through farms where the fields smell fragrant with the hops, through woods where the flickering sunlight makes a checkered carpet; and to the beauty of scenery is added the pleasure of exploring a new walk, but we suddenly discover that it is already the hour for early dinner, and there is a mile to make ere we reach the house. At this unlucky moment my gentle companion suggests a shortcut through the woods, and I, nothing loath, follow : but as usual our shortcut lands us in another direction, still farther from the house, and after retracing our steps we arrive disgracefully late, to find dinner waiting and everyone endeavoring to look sweet. Now here is the test of my gentle manners. As I walk through the last wood I reason thus : "I am at home; I can humorously expose my sister as a false guide; she is too good and sweet to resent it; it is only doing what Adam did before me; and I shall stand absolved in the eyes of the whole family; it will be clear that I at least was not the cause of spoiling the dinner." But to save myself thus at her expense will be mean in the extreme, and forfeit

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my claim to be one of the genus I am describing, and therefore, for the sake of consistency, I must resist the temptation and be silent, simply expressing my profound regret. And yet the effort to hold my peace proves, to my sad self-knowledge, that I am, after all, not mahogany but grained and varnished pine.

*       *       *

   This leads me back to the same point to which that glimpse of Augustus Hare had conducted us, that the supreme test of gentle manners is the home. The real gentleman will be as polite to his wife after marriage as before, will still rise to open the door when she leaves the room, will still see that she has the best of everything, and will contrive to give her little mementoes of his love. The real gentlewoman will put on her best dress and little ornaments when they sit down together to their evening meal; and be as entertaining and loving and happy-making as in the old courting days.

   What higher type of the home life of a true and lovely soul — true to God's ideal and lovely with His beauty — has in these modern days been given to the world than Charles Kingsley's?

   Home [writes his wife] was to him the sweetest, fairest, most romantic thing in life; and there all that was best and brightest in him shone with steady and purest luster. I would speak of his chivalry — for I can call it nothing else — in daily life — a chivalry which clothed the most ordinary and commonplace duties with freshness and pleasantness. No fatigue was too great to make him forget the courtesy of less-wearied moments, no business too engrossing to deprive him of his readiness to show kindness and sympathy. To school himself to this code of unfaltering high and noble living was the work of a self-discipline so constant that, to many people, even of noble temperament, it might appear quixotic. He always seemed

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content with the society he was in, because he educated himself to draw out the best of every one, and touch on their stronger, and not weaker, points. Justice and mercy, and that self-control which kept him from speaking a hasty word or harboring a mean suspicion, combined with a divine tenderness, were his governing principles in all his home relationship.

   Compared with a life like this, what pathos to speak of George IV, or Beau Brummel, as "the first gentleman in Europe"! Why talk of the rich of a parish as the quality? Quality is the attribute of character, not of the purse.

*       *       *

   There is a close connection between the true gentility and Christianity. Indeed, it is said that a poor man being asked to define "a gentleman" said that it was "the devil's imitation of a Christian." But I question whether you can have a gentleman, or gentlewoman, whose character is not based on Jesus Christ. "There never was but one perfect gentleman since the world began, and He was the Son of God." When the woman taken in an act of sin was brought to Him, He stooped down as though he wrote on the ground (the late Professor Seeley said to hide the burning shame on His face), but when He did this He showed that the new order of God's gentlefolk was inaugurated in our world; and the more like Christ men and women are, the more perfectly do they approximate to the ideal which we have endeavored to depict.

   Only be consistent with yourself. Do not endeavor to be what you are not. When Dr. Carey sat at the table of the Viceroy of India he overheard one of the guests indicating him to another as having been a shoemaker. "No," said that true gentleman and saint, "only a cobbler." Never hesitate to own your humble parentage, or to wear your native homespun, but be like Jesus Christ, and through all dresses and

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disguises there will be manifested the character of one of God Almighty's gentlefolk.

  But remember that there is nothing in all this which is inconsistent with strength, courage, bravery, fortitude. Indeed, to be always thoughtful of others and resolute in the pursuit of a great ideal demands a strength which is possible only for the greatest and noblest souls.

   "When," cries St. Francis de Sales, "shall we all be steeped in gentleness and sweetness towards our neighbors? for gentleness in its highest quality is maintained by self-abnegation and the heroism of little virtues, such as toleration of another's imperfections, sweetness of temper, and affability."

   However simple and humble you are, you can suffer long and be kind, you can refrain from proud and unseemly behavior, you need never be rude or overbearing, you may always be careful not to hurt people's feelings by hard words or reckless deeds, you can refuse to entertain unjust suspicions or circulate unkind stories, you can make fair allowances for the tempted and fallen, you can do something every day to brighten the lot of others, you may make it your business to unite yourself with the love of God in Jesus Christ which is ever going forth to conquer evil, and in so doing you will acquire and propagate the temper and manner of God's own and true gentlefolk.

   So we will finish with the words of an old-time prayer (A.D. 1220). "Then, sweet Jesu, upon what higher man may I my love set? Where may I gentler man choose than Thee, that art the King's Son, that this world wieldest, and art King and equal with Thy Father, King of kings, and Lord over lords, Child of royal birth, of David's kin, the King of Abraham's race. Higher birth than this there is not under the sun. Love I will Thee, then, sweet Jesu, as the gentlest life that ever lived on earth."

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