THE WAY TO GOD By D. L. MOODY

Way to God and How to Find It, by Dwight Moody

THE WAY TO GOD
AND HOW TO FIND IT
By D. L. MOODY
Fleming H. Revell Company
Chicago New York Toronto

Publishers of Evangelical Literature

Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1884,
By F. H. REVELL,
In the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

TO THE READER

In this small volume I have endeavored to point out the Way to God.

I have embodied in the little book a considerable part of several addresses
which have been delivered in different cities, both of Great Britain and my
own country. God has graciously owned them when spoken from the pulpit,
and I trust will none the less add his blessing now they have been put into
the printed page with additional matter.

Way to God and How to Find It, by Dwight Moody

I have called attention first to the Love of God, the source of all Gifts of
Grace; have then endeavored to present truths to meet the special needs of
representative classes, answering the question, “How man can be just with
God,” hoping thereby to lead souls to Him who is “the Way, the Truth and
the Life.”

The last chapter is specially addressed to Backsliders–a class, alas, far too
numerous amongst us.

With the earnest prayer and hope that by the blessing of God on these pages
the reader may be strengthened, established and settled in the faith of
Christ,

I am, yours in His service,

D. L. Moody
CONTENTS.

Chapter I.

Chapter I.

“Love that passeth Knowledge”

Chapter II.

Chapter II.

The Gateway into the Kingdom

Chapter III.

Chapter III.

The Two Classes

Chapter IV.

Chapter IV.

Words of Counsel

Chapter V.

Chapter V.

A Divine Saviour

Chapter VI.

Chapter VI.

Repentance and Restitution

Chapter VII.

Chapter VII.

Assurance of Salvation

Chapter VIII.

Chapter VIII.

Christ All and in All

Chapter IX.

Chapter IX.

Backsliding

THE WAY TO GOD.

CHAPTER I.

CHAPTER I.

“LOVE THAT PASSETH KNOWLEDGE.”

“To know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.”

(Ephesians iii. 19.)

If I could only make men understand the real meaning of the words of the
apostle John–“God is love,” I would take that single text, and would go up
and down the world proclaiming this glorious truth. If you can convince a
man that you love him you have won his heart. If we really make people
believe that God loves them, how we should find them crowding into the
kingdom of heaven! The trouble is that men think God hates them; and so
they are all the time running away from Him.

We built a church in Chicago some years ago; and were very anxious to
teach the people the love of God. We thought if we could not preach it into
their hearts we would try and burn it in; so we put right over the pulpit in
gas-jets these words–God is Love. A man going along the streets one night
glanced through the door, and saw the text. He was a poor prodigal. As he
passed on he thought to himself, “God is Love! No! He does not love me;
for I am a poor miserable sinner.” He tried to get rid of the text; but it
seemed to stand out right before him in letters of fire. He went on a little
further; then turned round, went back, and went into the meeting. He did
not hear the sermon; but the words of that short text had got deeply lodged
in his heart, and that was enough. It is of little account what men say if the
Word of God only gets an entrance into the sinner’s heart. He staid after the
first meeting was over; and I found him there weeping like a child. As I
unfolded the Scriptures and told him how God had loved him all the time,
although he had wandered so far away, and how God was waiting to
receive him and forgive him, the light of the Gospel broke into his mind,
and he went away rejoicing.

There is nothing in this world that men prize so much us they do Love.
Show me a person who has no one to care for or love him, and I will show

CHAPTER I.

you one of the most wretched beings on the face of the earth. Why do
people commit suicide? Very often it is because this thought steals in upon
them–that no one loves them; and they would rather die than live.

I know of no truth in the whole Bible that ought to come home to us with
such power and tenderness as that of the Love of God; and there is no truth
in the Bible that Satan would so much like to blot out. For more than six
thousand years he has been trying to persuade men that God does not love
them. He succeeded in making our first parents believe this lie; and he too
often succeeds with their children.

The idea that God does not love us often comes from false teaching.
Mothers make a mistake in teaching children that God does not love them
when they do wrong; but only when they do right. That is not taught in
Scripture. You do not teach your children that when they do wrong you
hate them. Their wrong-doing does not change your love to hate; if it did,
you would change your love a great many times. Because your child is
fretful, or has committed some act of disobedience, you do not cast him out
as though he did not belong to you! No! he is still your child; and you love
him. And if men have gone astray from God it does not follow that He
hates them. It is the sin that He hates.

I believe the reason why a great many people think God does not love them
is because they are measuring God by their own small rule, from their own
standpoint. We love men as long as we consider them worthy of our love;
when they are not we cast them off. It is not so with God. There is a vast
difference between human love and Divine love.

In Ephesians iii. 18, we are told of the breadth, and length, and depth, and
height, of God’s love. Many of us think we know something of God’s love;
but centuries hence we shall admit we have never found out much about it.
Columbus discovered America; but what did he know about its great lakes,
rivers, forests, and the Mississippi Valley? He died, without knowing much
about what he had discovered. So, many of us have discovered something
of the love of God; but there are heights, depths and lengths of it we do not
know. That Love is a great ocean; and we require to plunge into it before

CHAPTER I.

we really know anything of it. It is said of a Roman Catholic Archbishop of
Paris, that when he was thrown into prison and condemned to be shot, a
little while before he was led out to die, he saw a window in his cell in the
shape of a cross. Upon the top of the cross he wrote “height,” at the bottom
“depth,” and at the end of each arm “length.” He had experienced the truth
conveyed in the hymn-

“When I survey the wondrous Cross, On which the Prince of Glory died.”

When we wish to know the love of God we should go to Calvary. Can we
look upon that scene, and say God did not love us? That cross speaks of the
love of God. Greater love never has been taught than that which the cross
teaches. What prompted God to give up Christ?–what prompted Christ to
die?–if it were not love? “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man
lay down his life for his friends.” Christ laid down His life for His enemies;
Christ laid down His life for His murderers; Christ laid down His life for
them that hated Him; and the spirit of the cross, the spirit of Calvary, is
love. When they were mocking Him and deriding Him, what did He say?
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That is love. He
did not call down fire from heaven to consume them; there was nothing but
love in His heart.

If you study the Bible you will find that the love of God is unchangeable.
Many who loved you at one time have perhaps grown cold in their
affection, and turned away from you: it may be that their love is changed to
hatred. It is not so with God. It is recorded of Jesus Christ, just when He
was about to be parted from His disciples and led away to Calvary, that:
“having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the
end” (John xiii. 1). He knew that one of His disciples would betray Him;
yet He loved Judas. He knew that another disciple would deny Him, and
swear that he never knew Him; and yet He loved Peter. It was the love
which Christ had for Peter that broke his heart, and brought him back in
penitence to the feet of his Lord. For three years Jesus had been with the
disciples trying to teach them His love, not only by His life and words, but
by His works. And, on the night of His betrayal, He takes a basin of water,
girds Himself with a towel, and taking the place of a servant, washes their

CHAPTER I.

feet; He wanted to convince them of His unchanging love.

There is no portion of Scripture I read so often as John xiv; and there is
none that is more sweet to me. I never tire of reading it. Hear what our Lord
says, as He pours out His heart to His Disciples: “At that day ye shall know
that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you. He that hath My
commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that
loveth Me shall be loved by My Father” (xiv. 20,21). Think of the great
God who created heaven and earth loving you and me! . . . “If a man love
Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him; and We will
come unto him, and make Our abode with him” (v. 23).

Would to God that our puny minds could grasp this great truth, that the
Father and the Son so love us that They desire to come and abide with us.
Not to tarry for a night, but to come and abide in our hearts.

We have another passage more wonderful still in John xvii. 23. “I in them,
and thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world
may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them as Thou hast loved
Me.” I think that is one of the most remarkable sayings that ever fell from
the lips of Jesus Christ. There is no reason why the Father should not love
him. He was obedient unto death; He never transgressed the Father’s law, or
turned aside from the path of perfect obedience by one hair’s breadth. It is
very different with us; and yet, notwithstanding all our rebellion and
foolishness, He says that if we are trusting in Christ, the Father loves us as
He loves the Son. Marvellous love! Wonderful love! That God can possibly
love us as He loves His own Son seems too good to be true. Yet that is the
teaching of Jesus Christ.

It is hard to make a sinner believe in this unchangeable love of God. When
a man has wandered away from God he thinks that God hates him. We
must make a distinction between sin and the sinner. God loves the sinner;
but He hates the sin. He hates sin, because it mars human life. It is just
because God loves the sinner that He hates sin.

CHAPTER I.

God’s love is not only unchangeable, but unfailing. In Isaiah xlix. 15, 16 we
read: “Can a woman forget her sucking child that she should not have
compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget; yet will I not
forget thee. Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy
walls are continually before Me.”

Now the strongest human love that we know of is a mother’s love. Many
things will separate a man from his wife. A father may turn his back on his
child; brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies; husbands may
desert their wives; wives, their husbands. But a mother’s love endures
through all. In good repute, in bad repute, in the face of the world’s
condemnation, a mother loves on, and hopes that her child may turn from
his evil ways and repent. She remembers the infant smiles, the merry laugh
of childhood, the promise of youth; and she can never be brought to think
him unworthy. Death cannot quench a mother’s love; it is stronger than
death.

You have seen a mother watching over her sick child. How willingly she
would take the disease into her own body if she could thus relieve her
child! Week after week she will keep watch; she will let no one else take
care of that sick child.

A friend of mine, some time ago, was visiting in a beautiful home where he
met a number of friends. After they had all gone away, having left
something behind, he went back to get it. There he found the lady of the
house, a wealthy lady, sitting behind a poor fellow who looked like a
tramp. He was her own son. Like the prodigal, he had wandered far away:
yet the mother said, “This is my boy; I love him still.” Take a mother with
nine or ten children, if one goes astray, she seems to love that one more
than any of the rest.

A leading minister in the state of New York once told me of a father who
was a very bad character. The mother did all she could to prevent the
contamination of the boy; but the influence of the father was stronger, and
he led his son into all kinds of sin until the lad became one of the worst of
criminals. He committed murder, and was put on his trial. All through the

CHAPTER I.

trial, the widowed mother (for the father had died) sat in the court. When
the witnesses testified against the boy it seemed to hurt the mother much
more than the son. When he was found guilty and sentenced to die, every
one else feeling the justice of the verdict, seemed satisfied at the result. But
the mother’s love never faltered. She begged for a reprieve; but that was
denied. After the execution she craved for the body; and this also was
refused. According to custom, it was buried in the prison yard. A little
while afterwards the mother herself died; but, before she was taken away,
she expressed a desire to be buried by the side of her boy. She was not
ashamed of being known as the mother of a murderer.

The story is told of a young woman in Scotland, who left her home, and
became an outcast in Glasgow. Her mother sought her far and wide, but in
vain. At last, she caused her picture to be hung upon the walls of the
Midnight Mission rooms, where abandoned women resorted. Many gave
the picture a passing glance. One lingered by the picture. It is the same dear
face that looked down upon her in her childhood. She has not forgotten nor
cast off her sinning child; or her picture would never have been hung upon
those walls. The lips seemed to open, and whisper, “Come home; I forgive
you, and love you still.” The poor girl sank down overwhelmed with her
feelings. She was the prodigal daughter. The sight of her mother’s face had
broken her heart. She became truly penitent for her sins, and with a heart
full of sorrow and shame, returned to her forsaken home; and mother and
daughter were once more united.

But let me tell you that no mother’s love is to be compared with the love of
God; it does not measure the height of the depth of God’s love. No mother
in this world ever loved her child as God loves you and me. Think of the
love that God must have had when He gave His Son to die for the world. I
used to think a good deal more of Christ than I did of the Father. Somehow
or other I had the idea that God was a stern judge; that Christ came between
me and God, and appeased the anger of God. But after I became a father,
and for years had an only son, as I looked at my boy I thought of the Father
giving His Son to die; and it seemed to me as if it required more love for
the Father to give His Son than for the Son to die. Oh, the love that God
must have had for the world when He gave His Son to die for it! “God so

CHAPTER I.

loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John iii. 16).
I have never been able to preach from that text. I have often thought I
would; but it is so high that I can never climb to its height; I have just
quoted it and passed on. Who can fathom the depth of those words: “God so
loved the world?” We can never scale the heights of His love or fathom its
depths. Paul prayed that he might know the height, the depth, the length,
and the breadth, of the love of God; but it was past his finding out. It
“passeth knowledge” (Eph. iii. 19).

Nothing speaks to us of the love of God, like the cross of Christ. Come with
me to Calvary, and look upon the Son of God as He hangs there. Can you
hear that piercing cry from His dying lips: “Father, forgive them; for they
know not what they do!” and say that He does not love you? “Greater love
hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John

xv. 13). But Jesus Christ laid down His life for his enemies.
Another thought is this: He loved us long before we ever thought of Him.
The idea that he does not love us until we first love Him is not to be found
in Scripture. In 1 John iv. 10, it is written: “Herein is love, not that we
loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for
our sins.” He loved us before we ever thought of loving Him. You loved
your children before they knew anything about your love. And so, long
before we ever thought of God, we were in His thoughts.

What brought the prodigal home? It was the thought that his father loved
him. Suppose the news had reached him that he was cast off, and that his
father did not care for him any more, would he have gone back? Never! But
the thought dawned upon him that his father loved him still: so he rose up,
and went back to his home. Dear reader, the love of the Father ought to
bring us back to Him. It was Adam’s calamity and sin that revealed God’s
love. When Adam fell God came down and dealt in mercy with him. If any
one is lost it will not be because God does not love him: it will be because
he has resisted the love of God.

CHAPTER I.

What will make Heaven attractive? Is it the pearly gates or the golden
streets? No. Heaven will be attractive, because there we shall behold Him
who loved us so much as to give His only-begotten Son to die for us. What
makes home attractive? Is it the beautiful furniture and stately rooms? No;
some homes with all these are like whited sepulchres. In Brooklyn a mother
was dying; and it was necessary to take her child from her, because the
little child could not understand the nature of the sickness, and disturbed
her mother. Every night the child sobbed herself to sleep in a neighbor’s
house, because she wanted to go back to her mother’s; but the mother grew
worse, and they could not take the child home. At last the mother died; and
after her death they thought it best not to let the child see her dead mother
in her coffin. After the burial the child ran into one room crying “Mamma!
mamma!” and then into another crying “Mamma! mamma!” and so went
over the whole house: and when the little creature failed to find that loved
one she cried to be taken back to the neighbors. So what makes heaven
attractive is the thought that we shall see Christ who has loved us and given
Himself for us.

If you ask me why God should love us, I cannot tell. I suppose it is because
He is a true Father. It is His nature to love; just as it is the nature of the sun
to shine. He wants you to share in that love. Do not let unbelief keep you
away from Him. Do not think that, because you are a sinner, God does not
love you, or care for you. He does! He wants to save you and bless you.

“When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the
ungodly” (Rom. v. 6). Is that not enough to convince you that He loves
you? He would not have died for you if He had not loved you. Is your heart
so hard that you can brace yourself up against His love, and spurn and
despise it? You can do it; but it will be at your peril.

I can imagine some saying to themselves, “Yes, we believe that God loves
us, if we love Him; we believe that God loves the pure and the holy.” Let
me say, my friend, not only does God love the pure and the holy: He also
loves the ungodly. “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we
were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. v. 8). God sent him to die for
the sins of the whole world. If you belong to the world, then you have part

CHAPTER I.

and lot in this love that has been exhibited in the cross of Christ.

There is a passage in Revelation (i. 5.) which I think a great deal of–“Unto
Him that loved us, and washed us.” It might be thought that God would first
wash us, and then love us. But no, He first loved us. About eight years ago
the whole country was intensely excited about Charlie Ross, a child of four
years old, who was stolen. Two men in a gig asked him and an elder
brother if they wanted some candy. They then drove away with the younger
boy, leaving the elder one. For many years a search has been made in every
State and territory. Men have been over to Great Britain, France, and
Germany, and have hunted in vain for the child. The mother still lives in
the hope that she will see her long lost Charlie. I never remember the whole
country to have been so much agitated about any event unless it was the
assassination of President Garfield. Well, suppose the mother of Charlie
Ross were in some meeting; and that while the preacher was speaking, she
happened to look down amongst the audience and see her long lost son.
Suppose that he was poor, dirty and ragged, shoeless and coatless, what
would she do? Would she wait till he was washed and decently clothed
before she would acknowledge him? No, she would get off the platform at
once, rush towards him and take him in her arms. After that she would
cleanse and clothe him. So it is with God. He loved us, and washed us. I
can imagine one saying, “If God loves me, why does He not make me
good?” God wants sons and daughters in heaven; He does not want
machines or slaves. He could break our stubborn hearts, but He wants to
draw us towards Himself by the cords of love.

He wanted you to sit down with Him at the marriage supper of the Lamb; to
wash you, and make you whiter than snow. He wants you to walk with Him
the crystal pavement of yonder blissful world. He wants to adopt you into
His family; and to make you a son or a daughter of heaven. Will you
trample His love under your feet? or will you, this hour, give yourself to
Him?

When our terrible civil war was going on, a mother received the news that
her boy had been wounded in the battle of the Wilderness. She took the first
train, and started for her boy, although the order had gone forth from the

CHAPTER I.

War Department that no more women should be admitted within the lines.
But a mother’s love knows nothing about orders so she managed by tears
and entreaties to get through the lines to the Wilderness. At last she found
the hospital where her boy was. Then she went to the doctor and she said:
“Will you let me go to the ward and nurse my boy?”

The doctor said: “I have just got your boy to sleep; he is in a very critical
state; and I am afraid if you wake him up the excitement will be so great
that it will carry him off. You had better wait awhile, and remain without
until I tell him that you have come, and break the news gradually to him.”
The mother looked into the doctor’s face and said: “Doctor, supposing my
boy does not wake up, and I should never see him alive! Let me go and sit
down by his side; I won’t speak to him.” “If you will not speak to him you
may do so,” said the doctor.

She crept to the cot and looked into the face of her boy. How she had
longed to look at him! How her eyes seemed to be feasting as she gazed
upon his countenance! When she got near enough she could not keep her
hands off; she laid that tender, loving hand upon his brow. The moment the
hand touched the forehead of her boy, he, without opening his eyes, cried
out: “Mother, you have come!” He knew the touch of that loving hand.
There was love and sympathy in it.

Ah, sinner, if you feel the loving touch of Jesus you will recognize it; it is
so full of tenderness. The world may treat you unkindly; but Christ never
will. You will never have a better Friend in this world. What you need
is–to come today to Him. Let His loving arm be underneath you; let His
loving hand be about you; and He will hold you with mighty power. He
will keep you, and fill that heart of yours with His tenderness and love.

I can imagine some of you saying, “How shall I go to Him?” Why, just as
you would go to your mother. Have you done your mother a great injury
and a great wrong? If so, you go to her and you say, “Mother, I want you to
forgive me.” Treat Christ in the same way. Go to Him to-day and tell Him
that you have not loved Him, that you have not treated Him right; confess
you sins, and see how quickly He will bless you.

CHAPTER I.

I am reminded of another incident–that of a boy who had been tried by
court-martial and ordered to be shot. The hearts of the father and mother
were broken when they heard the news. In that home was a little girl. She
had read the life of Abraham Lincoln, and she said: “Now, if Abraham
Lincoln knew how my father and mother loved their boy, he would not let
my brother be shot.” She wanted her father to go to Washington to plead for
his boy. But the father said: “No; there is no use; the law must take its
course. They have refused to pardon one or two who have been sentenced
by that court-martial, and an order has gone forth that the President is not
going to interfere again; if a man has been sentenced by court-martial he
must suffer the consequences.” That father and mother had not faith to
believe that their boy might be pardoned.

But the little girl was strong in hope; she got on the train away up in
Vermont, and started off to Washington. When she reached the White
House the soldiers refused to let her in; but she told her pitiful story, and
they allowed her to pass. When she got to the Secretary’s room, where the
President’s private secretary was, he refused to allow her to enter the private
office of the President. But the little girl told her story, and it touched the
heart of the private secretary; so he passed her in. As she went into
Abraham Lincoln’s room, there were United States senators, generals,
governors and leading politicians, who were there about important business
about the war; but the President happened to see that child standing at his
door. He wanted to know what she wanted, and she went right to him and
told her story in her own language. He was a father, and the great tears
trickled down Abraham Lincoln’s cheeks. He wrote a dispatch ard sent it to
the army to have that boy sent to Washington at once. When he arrived, the
President pardoned him, gave him thirty days furlough, and sent him home
with the little girl to cheer the hearts of the father and mother.

Do you want to know how to go to Christ? Go just as that little girl went to
Abraham Lincoln. It may be possible that you have a dark story to tell. Tell
it all out; keep nothing back. If Abraham Lincoln had compassion on that
little girl, heard her petition and answered it, do you think the Lord Jesus
will not hear your prayer? Do, you think that Abraham Lincoln, or any man
that ever lived on earth, had as much compassion as Christ? No! He will be

CHAPTER I.

touched when no one else will; He will have mercy when no one else will;
He will have pity when no one else will. If you will go right to Him,
confessing your sin and your need, He will save you.

A few years ago a man left England and went to America. He was an
Englishman; but he was naturalized, and so became an American citizen.
After a few years he felt restless and dissatisfied, and went to Cuba; and
after he had been in Cuba a little while civil war broke out there; it was in
1867; and this man was arrested by the Spanish government as a spy. He
was tried by court-martial, found guilty and ordered to be shot. The whole
trial was conducted in the Spanish language, and the poor man did not
know what was going on. When they told him the verdict, that he was
found guilty and had been condemned to be shot, he sent to the American
Consul and the English Consul, and laid the whole case before them,
proving his innocence and claiming protection. They examined the case,
and found that this man whom the Spanish officers had condemned to be
shot was perfectly innocent; they went to the Spanish General and said,
“Look here, this man whom you have condemned to death is an innocent
man; he is not guilty.” But the Spanish General said, “He has been tried by
our law; he has been found guilty; he must die.” There was no electric
cable; and these men could not consult with their governments.

The morning came on which the man was to be executed. He was brought
out sitting on his coffin in a cart, and drawn to the place where he was to be
executed. A grave was dug. They took the coffin out of the cart, placed the
young man upon it, took the black cap, and were just pulling it down over
his face. The Spanish soldiers awaited the order to fire. But just then the
American and English Consuls rode up. The English Consul sprang out of
the carriage and took the union jack, the British flag, and wrapped it around
the man, and the American Consul wrapped around him the star-spangled
banner, and then turning to the Spanish officers they said: “Fire upon those
flags if you dare.” They did not dare to fire upon the flags. There were two
great governments behind those flags. That was the secret of it.

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.
. . . His left hand is under my head, and His right hand doth embrace me”

CHAPTER I.

(Song Sol. ii. 4, 6). Thank God we can come under the banner to-day if we
will. Any, poor sinner can come under that banner to-day. His banner of
love is over us. Blessed Gospel; blessed, precious, news. Believe it to-day;
receive it into your heart; and enter into a new life. Let the love of God be
shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost to-day: it will drive away
darkness; it will drive away gloom; it will drive away sin; and peace and
joy shall be yours.

CHAPTER II.

CHAPTER II.

THE GATEWAY INTO THE KINGDOM.

“Except a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

(John iii. 3.)

There is no portion of the Word of God, perhaps, with which we are more
familiar than this passage. I suppose if I were to ask those in any audience
if they believed that Jesus Christ taught the doctrine of the New Birth, nine
tenths of them would say: “Yes, I believe He did.”

Now if the words of this text are true they embody one of the most solemn
questions that can come before us. We can afford to be deceived about
many things rather than about this one thing. Christ makes it very plain. He
says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of
God”–much less inherit it. This doctrine of the New Birth is therefore the
foundation of all our hopes for the world to come. It is really the A B C of
the Christian religion. My experience has been this–that if a man is
unsound on this doctrine he will be unsound on almost every other
fundamental doctrine in the Bible. A true understanding of this subject will
help a man to solve a thousand difficulties that he may meet with in the
Word of God. Things that before seemed very dark and mysterious will
become very plain.

The doctrine of the New Birth upsets all false religion–all false views
about the Bible and about God. A friend of mine once told me that in one of
his after-meetings, a man came to him with a long list of questions written
out for him to answer. He said: “If you can answer these questions
satisfactorily, I have made up my mind to be a Christian.” “Do you not
think,” said my friend, “that you had better come to Christ first? Then you
can look into these questions.” The man thought that perhaps he had better
do so. After he had received Christ, he looked again at his list of questions;
but then it seemed to him as if they had all been answered. Nicodemus
came with his troubled mind, and Christ said to him, “Ye must be born

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again.” He was treated altogether differently from what he expected; but I
venture to say that was the most blessed night in all his life. To be “born
again” is the greatest blessing that will ever come to us in this world.

Notice how the Scripture puts it. “Except a man be born again,” “born from
above,”[Note: John iii. 3. Marginal reading] “born of the Spirit.” From
amongst a number of other passages where we find this word “except,” I
would just name three. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
(Luke xiii. 3, 5.) “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. xviii. 3.) “Except your
righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees,
ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. v. 20.) They
all really mean the same thing.

I am so thankful that our Lord spoke of the New Birth to this ruler of the
Jews, this doctor of the law, rather than to the woman at the well of
Samaria, or to Matthew the publican, or to Zaccheus. If He had reserved his
teaching on this great matter for these three, or such as these, people would
have said: “Oh yes, these publicans and harlots need to be converted: but I
am an upright man; I do not need to be converted.” I suppose Nicodemus
was one of the best specimens of the people of Jerusalem: there was
nothing on record against him.

I think it is scarcely necessary for me to prove that we need to be born
again before we are meet for heaven. I venture to say that there is no candid
man but would say he is not fit for the kingdom of God, until he is born of
another Spirit. The Bible teaches us that man by nature is lost and guilty,
and our experience confirms this. We know also that the best and holiest
man, if he turn away from God, will very soon fall into sin.

Now, let me say what Regeneration is not. It is not going to church. Very
often I see people, and ask them if they are Christians. “Yes, of course I
am; at least, I think I am: I go to church every Sunday.” Ah, but this is not
Regeneration. Others say, “I am trying to do what is right–am I not a
Christian? Is not that a new birth?” No. What has that to do with being born
again? There is yet another class–those who have “turned over a new leaf,”

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and think they are regenerated. No; forming a new resolution is not being
born again.

Nor will being baptized do you any good. Yet you hear people say, “Why, I
have been baptized; and I was born again when I was baptized.” They
believe that because they were baptized into the church, they were baptized
into the Kingdom of God. I tell you that it is utterly impossible. You may
be baptized into the church, and yet not be baptized into the Son of God.
Baptism is all right in its place. God forbid that I should say anything
against it. But if you put that in the place of Regeneration–in the place of
the New Birth–it is a terrible mistake. You cannot be baptized into the
Kingdom of God. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom
of God.” If any one reading this rests his hopes on anything else–on any
other foundation–I pray that God may sweep it away.

Another class say, “I go to the Lord’s Supper; I partake uniformly of the
Sacrament.” Blessed ordinance! Jesus hath said that as often as ye do it ye
commemorate His death. Yet, that is not being “born again;” that is not
passing from death unto life. Jesus says plainly–and so plainly that there
need not be any mistake about it–“Except a man be born of the Spirit, he
cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” What has a sacrament to do with
that? What has going to church to do with being born again?

Another man comes up and says, “I say my prayers regularly.” Still I say
that is not being born of the Spirit. It is a very solemn question, then, that
comes up before us; and oh! that every reader would ask himself earnestly
and faithfully: “Have I been born again? Have I been born of the Spirit?
Have I passed from death unto life?”

There is a class of men who say that special religious meetings are very
good for a certain class of people. They would be very good if you could
get the drunkard there, or get the gambler there, or get other vicious people
there–that would do a great deal of good. But “we do not need to be
converted.” To whom did Christ utter these words of wisdom? To
Nicodemus. Who was Nicodemus? Was he a drunkard, a gambler, or a
thief? No! No doubt he was one of the very best men in Jerusalem. He was

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an honorable Councillor; he belonged to the Sanhedrim; he held a very high
position; he was an orthodox man; he was one of the very soundest men.
And yet what did Christ say to him? “Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God.”

But I can imagine some one saying, “What am I to do? I cannot create life.
I certainly cannot save myself.” You certainly cannot; and we do not claim
that you can. We tell you it is utterly impossible to make a man better
without Christ; but that is what men are trying to do. They are trying to
patch up this “old Adam” nature. There must be a new creation.
Regeneration is a new creation; and if it is a new creation it must be the
work of God. In the first chapter of Genesis man does not appear. There is
no one there but God. Man is not there to take part. When God created the
earth He was alone. When Christ redeemed the world He was alone.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit
is spirit.” (John iii. 6.) The Ethiopian cannot change his skin, and the
leopard cannot change his spots. You might as well try to make yourselves
pure and holy without the help of God. It would be just as easy for you to
do that as for the black man to wash himself white. A man might just as
well try to leap over the moon as to serve God in the flesh. Therefore, “that
which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is
spirit.”

Now God tells us in this chapter how we are to get into His kingdom. We
are not to work our way in–not but that salvation is worth working for. We
admit all that. If there were rivers and mountains in the way, it would be
well worth while to swim those rivers, and climb those mountains. There is
no doubt that salvation is worth all that effort; but we do not obtain it by
our works. It is “to him that worketh not, but believeth” (Rom. iv. 5). We
work because we are saved; we do not work to be saved. We work from the
cross; but not towards it. It is written, “Work out your own salvation with
fear and trembling” (Phil. ii. 12). Why, you must have your salvation before
you can work it out. Suppose I say to my little boy, “I want you to spend
that hundred dollars carefully.” “Well,” he says, “let me have the hundred
dollars; and I will be careful how I spend it.” I remember when I first left

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home and went to Boston; I had spent all my money, and I went to the
post-office three times a day. I knew there was only one mail a day from
home; but I thought by some possibility there might be a letter for me. At
last I received a letter from my little sister; and oh, how glad I was to get it.
She had heard that there were a great many pick-pockets in Boston, and a
large part of that letter was to urge me to be very careful not to let anybody
pick my pocket. Now I required to have something in my pocket before I
could have it picked. So you must have salvation before you can work it
out.

When Christ cried out on Calvary, “It is finished!” He meant what He said.
All that men have to do now is just to accept of the work of Jesus Christ.
There is no hope for man or woman so long as they are trying to work out
salvation for themselves. I can imagine there are some people who will say,
as Nicodemus possibly did, “This is a very mysterious thing.” I see the
scowl on that Pharisee’s brow as he says, “How can these things be?” It
sounds very strange to his ear. “Born again; born of the Spirit! How can
these things be?” A great many people say, “You must reason it out; but if
you do not reason it out, do not ask us to believe it.” I can imagine a great
many people saying that. When you ask me to reason it out, I tell you
frankly I cannot do it. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest
the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth:
so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 8.) I do not understand
everything about the wind. You ask me to reason it out. I cannot. It may
blow due north here, and a hundred miles away due south. I may go up a
few hundred feet, and find it blowing in an entirely opposite direction from
what it is down here. You ask me to explain these currents of wind; but
suppose that, because I cannot explain them, and do not understand them, I
were to take my stand and assert, “Oh, there is no such thing as wind.” I can
imagine some little girl saying, “I know more about it than that man does;
often have I heard the wind, and felt it blowing against my face;” and she
might say, “Did not the wind blow my umbrella out of my hands the other
day? and did I not see it blow a man’s hat off in the street? Have I not seen
it blow the trees in the forest, and the growing corn in the country?”

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You might just as well tell me that there is no such thing as wind, as tell me
there is no such thing as a man being born of the Spirit. I have felt the spirit
of God working in my heart, just as really and as truly as I have felt the
wind blowing in my face. I cannot reason it out. There are a great many
things I cannot reason out, but which I believe. I never could reason out the
creation. I can see the world, but I cannot tell how God made it out of
nothing. But almost every man will admit there was a creative power.

There are a great many things that I cannot explain and cannot reason out,
and yet that I believe. I heard a commercial traveler say that he had heard
that the ministry and religion of Jesus Christ were matters of revelation and
not of investigation. “When it pleased God to reveal His Son in Me,” says
Paul (Gal. i, 15, 16). There was a party of young men together, going up the
country; and on their journey they made up their minds not to believe
anything they could not reason out. An old man heard them; and presently
he said, “I heard you say you would not believe anything you could not
reason out.” “Yes,” they said, “that is so.” “Well,” he said, “coming down
on the train to-day, I noticed some geese, some sheep, some swine, and
some cattle all eating grass. Can you tell me by what process that same
grass was turned into hair, feathers, bristles and wool? Do you believe it is
a fact?” “Oh yes,” they said, “we cannot help believing that, though we fail
to understand it.” “Well,” said the old man, “I cannot help believing in
Jesus Christ.” And I cannot help believing in the regeneration of man, when
I see men who have been reclaimed, when I see men who have been
reformed. Have not some of the very worst men been regenerated–been
picked up out of the pit, and had their feet set upon the Rock, and a new
song put in their mouths? Their tongues were cursing and blaspheming; and
now are occupied in praising God. Old things have passed away, and all
things have become new. They are not reformed only, but regenerated–new
men in Christ Jesus.

Down there in the dark alleys of one of our great cities is a poor drunkard. I
think if you want to get near hell, you should go to a poor drunkard’s home.
Go to the house of that poor miserable drunkard. Is there anything more
like hell on earth? See the want and distress that reign there. But hark! A
footstep is heard at the door, and the children run and hide themselves. The

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patient wife waits to meet the man. He has been her torment. Many a time
she has borne about the marks of his blows for weeks. Many a time that
strong right hand has been brought down on her defenseless head. And now
she waits expecting to hear his oaths and suffer his brutal treatment. He
comes in and says to her: “I have been to the meeting; and I heard there that
if I will I can be converted. I believe that God is able to save me.” Go down
to that house again in a few weeks: and what a change! As you approach
you hear some one singing. It is not the song of a reveller, but the strains of
that good old hymn, “Rock of Ages.” The children are no longer afraid of
the man, but cluster around his knee. His wife is near him, her face lit up
with a happy glow. Is not that a picture of Regeneration? I can take you to
many such homes, made happy by the regenerating power of the religion of
Christ. What men want is the power to overcome temptation, the power to
lead a right life.

The only way to get into the kingdom of God is to be “born” into it. The
law of this country requires that the President should be born in the
country. When foreigners come to our shores they have no right to
complain against such a law, which forbids them from ever becoming
Presidents. Now, has not God a right to make a law that all those who
become heirs of eternal life must be “born” into His kingdom?

An unregenerated man would rather be in hell than in heaven. Take a man
whose heart is full of corruption and wickedness, and place him in heaven
among the pure, the holy and the redeemed; and he would not want to stay
there. Certainly, if we are to be happy in heaven we must begin to make a
heaven here on earth. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. If a
gambler or a blasphemer were taken out of the streets of New York and
placed on the crystal pavement of heaven and under the shadow of the tree
of life, he would say, “I do not want to stay here.” If men were taken to
heaven just as they are by nature, without having their hearts regenerated,
there would be another rebellion in heaven. Heaven is filled with a
company of those who have been twice born.

In the 14th and 15th verses of this chapter we read “As Moses lifted up the
serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that

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whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
“WHOSOEVER.” Mark that! Let me tell you who are unsaved what God
has done for you. He has done everything that He could do toward your
salvation. You need not wait for God to do anything more. In one place he
asks the question, what more could he have done (Isaiah v. 4). He sent His
prophets, and they killed them; then He sent His beloved Son, and they
murdered Him. Now He has sent the Holy Spirit to convince us of sin, and
to show how we are to be saved.

In this chapter we are told how men are to be saved, namely, by Him who
was lifted up on the cross. Just as Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the
wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, “that whosoever believeth
in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Some men complain and
say that it is very unreasonable that they should be held responsible for the
sin of a man six thousand years ago. It was not long ago that a man was
talking to me about this injustice, as he called it. If a man thinks he is going
to answer God in that way, I tell you it will not do him any good. If you are
lost, it will not be on account of Adam’s sin.

Let me illustrate this; and perhaps you will be better able to understand it.
Suppose I am dying of consumption, which I inherited from my father or
mother. I did not get the disease by any fault of my own, by any neglect of
my health; I inherited it, let us suppose. A friend happens to come along: he
looks at me, and says: “Moody, you are in a consumption.” I reply, “I know
it very well; I do not want any one to tell me that.” “But,” he says, “there is
a remedy.” “But, sir, I do not believe it. I have tried the leading physicians
in this country and in Europe; and they tell me there is no hope.” “But you
know me, Moody; you have known me for years.” “Yes, sir.” “Do you
think, then, I would tell you a falsehood?” “No.” “Well, ten years ago I was
as far gone. I was given up by the physicians to die; but I took this
medicine and it cured me. I am perfectly well: look at me.” I say that it is “a
very strange case.” “Yes, it may be strange; but it is a fact. This medicine
cured me: take this medicine, and it will cure you. Although it has cost me
a great deal, it shall not cost you anything. Do not make light of it, I beg of
you.” “Well,” I say, “I should like to believe you; but this is contrary to my
reason.”

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Hearing this, my friend goes away and returns with another friend, and that
one testifies to the same thing. I am still disbelieving; so he goes away, and
brings in another friend, and another, and another, and another; and they all
testify to the same thing. They say they were as bad as myself; that they
took the same medicine that has been offered to me; and that it has cured
them. My friend then hands me the medicine. I dash it to the ground; I do
not believe in its saving power; I die. The reason is then that I spurned the
remedy. So, if you perish, it will not be because Adam fell; but because you
spurned the remedy offered to save you. You will choose darkness rather
than light. “How then shall ye escape, if ye neglect so great salvation?”
There is no hope for you if you neglect the remedy. It does no good to look
at the wound. If we had been in the Israelitish camp and had been bitten by
one of the fiery serpents, it would have done us no good to look at the
wound. Looking at the wound will never save any one. What you must do
is to look at the Remedy–look away to Him who hath power to save you
from your sin.

Behold the camp of the Israelites; look at the scene that is pictured to your
eyes! Many are dying because they neglect the remedy that is offered. In
that arid desert is many a short and tiny grave; many a child has been bitten
by the fiery serpents. Fathers and mothers are bearing away their children.
Over yonder they are just burying a mother; a loved mother is about to be
laid in the earth. All the family, weeping, gather around the beloved form.
You hear the mournful cries; you see the bitter tears. The father is being
borne away to his last resting place. There is wailing going up all over the
camp. Tears are pouring down for thousands who have passed away;
thousands more are dying; and the plague is raging from one end of the
camp to the other.

I see in one tent an Israelitish mother bending over the form of a beloved
boy just coming into the bloom of life, just budding into manhood. She is
wiping away the sweat of death that is gathering upon his brow. Yet a little
while, and his eyes are fixed and glassy, for life is ebbing fast away. The
mother’s heart-strings are torn and bleeding. All at once she hears a noise in
the camp. A great shout goes up. What does it mean? She goes to the door
of the tent. “What is the noise in the camp?” she asks those passing by. And

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some one says: “Why, my good woman, have you not heard the good news
that has come into the camp?” “No,” says the woman, “Good news! What is
it?” “Why, have you not heard about it? God has provided a remedy.”
“What! for the bitten Israelites? Oh, tell me what the remedy is!” “Why,
God has instructed Moses to make a brazen serpent, and to put it on a pole
in the middle of the camp; and He has declared that whosoever looks upon
it shall live. The shout that you hear is the shout of the people when they
see the serpent lifted up.” The mother goes back into the tent, and she says:
“My boy, I have good news to tell you. You need not die! My boy, my boy,
I have come with good tidings; you can live!” He is already getting
stupefied; he is so weak he cannot walk to the door of the tent. She puts her
strong arms under him and lifts him up. “Look yonder; look right there
under the hill!” But the boy does not see anything; he says–“I do not see
anything; what is it, mother?” And she says: “Keep looking, and you will
see it.” At last he catches a glimpse of the glistening serpent; and lo, he is
well! And thus it is with many a young convert. Some men say, “Oh, we do
not believe in sudden conversions.” How long did it take to cure that boy?
How long did it take to cure those serpent-bitten Israelites? It was just a
look; and they were well.

That Hebrew boy is a young convert. I can fancy that I see him now calling
on all those who were with him to praise God. He sees another young man
bitten as he was; and he runs up to him and tells him, “You, need not die.”
“Oh,” the young man replies, “I cannot live; it is not possible. There is not a
physician in Israel who can cure me.” He does not know that he need not
die. “Why, have you not heard the news? God has provided a remedy.”
“What remedy?” “Why, God has told Moses to lift up a brazen serpent, and
has said that none of those who look upon that serpent shall die.” I can just
imagine the young man. He may be what you call an intellectual young
man. He says to the young convert “You do not think I am going to believe
anything like that? If the physicians in Israel cannot cure me, how do you
think that an old brass serpent on a pole is going to cure me?” “Why, sir, I
was as bad as yourself!” “You do not say so!” “Yes, I do.” “That is the most
astonishing thing I ever heard,” says the young man: “I wish you would
explain the philosophy of it.” “I cannot. I only know that I looked at that
serpent, and I was cured: that did it. I just looked; that is all. My mother

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told me the reports that were being heard through the camp; and I just
believed what my mother said, and I am perfectly well.” “Well, I do not
believe you were bitten as badly as I have been.” The young man pulls up
his sleeve. “Look there! That mark shows where I was bitten; and I tell you
I was worse than you are.” “Well, if I understood the philosophy of it I
would look and get well.” “Let your philosophy go: look and live.” “But,
sir, you ask me to do an unreasonable thing. If God had said, Take the brass
and rub it into the wound, there might be something in the brass that would
cure the bite. Young man, explain the philosophy of it.” I have often seen
people before me who have talked in that way. But the young man calls in
another, and takes him into the tent, and says: “Just tell him how the Lord
saved you;” and he tells just the same story; and he calls in others, and they
all say the same thing.

The young man says it is a very strange thing. “If the Lord had told Moses
to go and get some herbs, or roots, and stew them, and take the decoction as
a medicine, there would be something in that. But it is so contrary to nature
to do such a thing as look at the serpent, that I cannot do it.” At length his
mother, who has been out in the camp, comes in, and she says, “My boy, I
have just the best news in the world for you. I was in the camp, and I saw
hundreds who were very far gone, and they are all perfectly well now.” The
young man says: “I should like to get well; it is a very painful thought to
die; I want to go into the promised land, and it is terrible to die here in this
wilderness; but the fact is–I do not understand the remedy. It does not
appeal to my reason. I cannot believe that I can get well in a moment.” And
the young man dies in consequence of his own unbelief.

God provided a remedy for this bitten Israelite–“Look and live!” And there
is eternal life for every poor sinner, Look, and you can be saved, my reader,
this very hour. God has provided a remedy; and it is offered to all. The
trouble is, a great many people are looking at the pole. Do not look at the
pole; that is the church. You need not look at the church; the church is all
right, but the church cannot save you. Look beyond the pole. Look at the
Crucified One. Look to Calvary. Bear in mind, sinner, that Jesus died for
all. You need not look at ministers; they are just God’s chosen instruments
to hold up the Remedy, to hold up Christ. And so, my friends, take your

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eyes off from men; take your eyes off from the church. Lift them up to
Jesus; who took away the sin of the world, and there will be life for you
from this hour.

Thank God, we do not require an education to teach us how to look. That
little girl, that little boy, only four years old, who cannot read, can look.
When the father is coming home, the mother says to her little boy, “Look!
look! look!” and the little child learns to look long before he is a year old.
And that is the way to be saved. It is to look at the Lamb of God “who
taketh away the sin of the world;” and there is life this moment for every
one who is willing to look.

Some men say, “I wish I knew how to be saved.” Just take God at His word
and trust His Son this very day–this very hour–this very moment. He will
save you, if you will trust Him. I imagine I hear some one saying, “I do not
feel the bite as much as I wish I did. I know I am a sinner, and all that; but I
do not feel the bite enough.” How much does God want you to feel it?

When I was in Belfast I knew a doctor who had a friend, a leading surgeon
there; and he told me that the surgeon’s custom was, before performing any
operation, to say to the patient, “Take a good look at the wound, and then
fix your eyes on me; and do not take them off till I get through.” I thought
at the time that was a good illustration. Sinner, take a good look at your
wound; and then fix your eyes on Christ, and do not take them off. It is
better to look at the Remedy than at the wound. See what a poor wretched
sinner you are; and then look at the Lamb of God who “taketh away the sin
of the world.” He died for the ungodly and the sinner. Say “I will take
Him!” And may God help you to lift your eye to the Man on Calvary. And
as the Israelites looked upon the serpent and were healed, so may you look
and live.

After the battle of Pittsburgh Landing I was in a hospital at Murfreesbro. In
the middle of the night I was aroused and told that a man in one of the
wards wanted to see me. I went to him and he called me “chaplain”–I was
not the chaplain–and said he wanted me to help him die. And I said, “I
would take you right up in my arms and carry you into the kingdom of God

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if I could; but I cannot do it: I cannot help you die!” And he said, “Who
can?” I said, “The Lord Jesus Christ can–He came for that purpose.” He
shook his head, and said, “He cannot save me; I have sinned all my life.”
And I said, “But He came to save sinners.” I thought of his mother in the
north, and I was sure that she was anxious that he should die in peace; so I
resolved I would stay with him. I prayed two or three times, and repeated
all the promises I could; for it was evident that in a few hours he would be
gone. I said I wanted to read him a conversation that Christ had with a man
who was anxious about his soul. I turned to the third chapter of John. His
eyes were riveted on me; and when I came to the 14th and 15th verses–the
passage before us–he caught up the words, “As Moses lifted up the serpent
in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever
believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He stopped me
and said, “Is that there?” I said “Yes.” He asked me to read it again; and I
did so. He leant his elbows on the cot and clasping his hands together, said,
“That’s good; won’t you read it again?” I read it the third time; and then
went on with the rest of the chapter. When I had finished, his eyes were
closed, his hands were folded, and there was a smile on his face. Oh, how it
was lit up! What change had come over it! I saw his lips quivering, and
leaning over him I heard in a faint whisper, “As Moses lifted up the serpent
in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever
believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He opened his
eyes and said, “That’s enough; don’t read any more.” He lingered a few
hours, pillowing his head on those two verses; and then went up in one of
Christ’s chariots, to take his seat in the kingdom of God.

Christ said to Nicodemus: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
kingdom of God.” You may see many countries; but there is one
country–the land of Beulah, which John Bunyan saw in vision–you shall
never behold, unless you are born again–regenerated by Christ. You can
look abroad and see many beautiful trees; but the tree of life, you shall
never behold, unless your eyes are made clear by faith in the Saviour. You
may see the beautiful rivers of the earth–you may ride upon their bosoms;
but bear in mind that your eye will never rest upon the river which bursts
out from the Throne of God and flows through the upper Kingdom, unless
you are born again. God has said it; and not man. You will never see the

CHAPTER II.

kingdom of God except you are born again. You may see the kings and
lords of the earth; but the King of kings and Lord of lords you will never
see except you are born again. When you are in London you may go to the
Tower and see the crown of England, which is worth thousands of dollars,
and is guarded there by soldiers; but bear in mind that your eye will never
rest upon the crown of life except you are born again.

You may hear the songs of Zion which are sung here; but one song–that of
Moses and the Lamb–the uncircumcised ear shall never hear; its melody
will only gladden the ear of those who have been born again. You may look
upon the beautiful mansions of earth, but bear in mind the mansions which
Christ has gone to prepare you shall never see unless you are born again. It
is God who says it. You may see ten thousand beautiful things in this
world; but the city that Abraham caught a glimpse of–and from that time
became a pilgrim and sojourner–you shall never see unless you are born
again (Heb. xi. 8, 10-16). You may often be invited to marriage feasts here;
but you will never attend the marriage supper of the Lamb except you are
born again. It is God who says it, dear friend. You may be looking on the
face of your sainted mother to-night, and feel that she is praying for you;
but the time will come when you shall never see her more unless you are
born again.

The reader may be a young man or a young lady who has recently stood by
the bedside of a dying mother; and she may have said, “Be sure and meet
me in heaven,” and you made the promise. Ah! you shall never see her
more, except you are born again. I believe Jesus of Nazareth, sooner than
those infidels who say you do not need to be born again. Parents, if you
hope to see your children who have gone before, you must be born of the
Spirit. Possibly you are a father or a mother who has recently borne a loved
one to the grave; and how dark your home seems! Never more will you see
your child, unless you are born again. If you wish to be re-united to your
loved one, you must be born again. I may be addressing a father or a
mother who has a loved one up yonder. If you could hear that loved one’s
voice, it would say, “Come this way.” Have you a sainted friend up yonder?
Young man or young lady, have you not a mother in the world of light? If
you could hear her speak, would not she say, “Come this way, my

CHAPTER II.

son,”–“Come this way, my daughter?” If you would ever see her more you
must be born again.

We all have an Elder Brother there. Nearly nineteen hundred years ago He
crossed over, and from the heavenly shores He is calling you to heaven. Let
us turn our backs upon the world. Let us give a deaf ear to the world. Let us
look to Jesus on the Cross and be saved. Then we shall one day see the
King in His beauty, and we shall go no more out.

CHAPTER III.

CHAPTER III.

THE TWO CLASSES.

“Two men went up into the temple to pray.”–Luke xvii. 10.

I now want to speak of two classes: First, those who do not feel their need
of a Saviour who have not been convinced of sin by the Spirit; and Second,
those who are convinced of sin and cry, “What must I do to be saved?”

All inquirers can be ranged under two heads: they have either the spirit of
the Pharisee, or the spirit of the publican. If a man having the spirit of the
Pharisee comes into an after-meeting, I know of no better portion of
Scripture to meet his case than Romans iii. 10: “As it is written, There is
none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth; there is none
that seeketh after God.” Paul is here speaking of the natural man. “They are
all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is
none that doeth good, no, not one.” And in the 17th verse and those which
follow, we have “And the way of peace have they not known; there is no
fear of God before their eyes. Now we know what things soever the law
saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be
stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

Then observe the last clause of verse 22: “For there is no difference; for all
have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Not part of the human
family–but all–“have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Another verse which has been very much used to convict men of their sin is
1 John i. 8: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the
truth is not in us.”

I remember that on one occasion we were holding meetings in an eastern
city of forty thousand inhabitants; and a lady came and asked us to pray for
her husband, whom she purposed bringing into the after meeting. I have
traveled a good deal and met many pharisaical men; but this man was so
clad in self-righteousness that you could not get the point of the needle of
conviction in anywhere. I said to his wife: “I am glad to see your faith; but

CHAPTER III.

we cannot get near him; he is the most self-righteous man I ever saw.” She
said: “You must! My heart will break if these meetings end without his
conversion.” She persisted in bringing him; and I got almost tired of the
sight of him.

But towards the close of our meetings of thirty days, he came up to me and
put his trembling hand on my shoulder. The place in which the meetings
were held was rather cold, and there was an adjoining room in which only
the gas had been lighted; and he said to me, “Can’t you come in here for a
few minutes?” I thought that he was shaking from cold, and I did not
particularly wish to go where it was colder. But he said: “I am the worst
man in the State of Vermont. I want you to pray for me.” I thought he had
committed a murder, or some other awful crime; and I asked: “Is there any
one sin that particularly troubles you?” And he said: “My whole life has
been a sin. I have been a conceited, self-righteous Pharisee. I want you to
pray for me.” He was under deep conviction. Man could not have produced
this result; but the Spirit had. About two o’clock in the morning light broke
in upon his soul: and he went up and down the business street of the city
and told what God had done for him; and has been a most active Christian
ever since.

There are four other passages in dealing with inquirers, which were used by
Christ Himself. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John iii. 3.)

In Luke xiii. 3, we read: “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

In Matthew xviii., when the disciples came to Jesus to know who was to be
the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, we are told that He took a little child
and set him in the midst and said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be
converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of
heaven” (xviii. 1-3).

There is another important “Except” in Matthew v. 20: “Except your
righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees,
ye shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven.”

CHAPTER III.

A man must be made meet before he will want to go into the kingdom of
God. I would rather go into the kingdom with the younger brother than stay
outside with the elder. Heaven would be hell to such an one. An elder
brother who could not rejoice at his younger brother’s return would not be
“fit” for the kingdom of God. It is a solemn thing to contemplate; but the
curtain drops and leaves him outside, and the younger brother within. To
him the language of the Saviour under other circumstances seems
appropriate: “Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go
into the kingdom of God before you” (Matt. xxi. 31).

A lady once came to me and wanted a favor for her daughter. She said:
“You must remember I do not sympathize with you in your doctrine.” I
asked: “What is your trouble?” She said: “I think your abuse of the elder
brother is horrible. I think he is a noble character.” I said that I was willing
to hear her defend him; but that it was a solemn thing to take up such a
position; and that the elder brother needed to be converted as much as the
younger. When people talk of being moral it is well to get them to take a
good look at the old man pleading with his boy who would not go in.

But we will pass on now to the other class with which we have to deal. It is
composed of those who are convinced of sin and from whom the cry comes
as from the Philippian jailer, “What must I do to be saved?” To those who
utter this penitential cry there is no necessity to administer the law. It is
well to bring them straight to the Scripture: “Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts xvi. 31). Many will meet you with a
scowl and say, “I don’t know what it is to believe;” and though it is the law
of heaven that they must believe, in order to be saved–yet they ask for
something besides that. We are to tell them what, and where, and how, to
believe.

In John iii. 35 and 36 we read: “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given
all things into His hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life;
and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God
abideth on him.”

CHAPTER III.

Now this looks reasonable. Man lost life by unbelief–by not believing
God’s word; and we got life back again by believing–by taking God at His
word. In other words we get up where Adam fell down. He stumbled and
fell over the stone of unbelief; and we are lifted up and stand upright by
believing. When people say they cannot believe, show them chapter and
verse, and hold them right to this one thing: “Has God ever broken His
promise for these six thousand years?” The devil and men have been trying
all the time and have not succeeded in showing that He has broken a single
promise; and there would be a jubilee in hell to-day if one word that He has
spoken could be broken. If a man says that he cannot believe it is well to
press him on that one thing.

I can believe God better to-day than I can my own heart. “The heart is
deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer.

xxii. 9). I can believe God better than I can myself. If you want to know the
way of Life, believe that Jesus Christ is a personal Saviour; cut away from
all doctrines and creeds, and come right to the heart of the Son of God. If
you have been feeding on dry doctrine there is not much growth on that
kind of food. Doctrines are to the soul what the streets which lead to the
house of a friend who has invited me to dinner are to the body. They will
lead me there if I take the right one; but if I remain in the streets my hunger
will never be satisfied. Feeding on doctrines is like trying to live on dry
husks; and lean indeed must the soul remain which partakes not of the
Bread sent down from heaven.
Some ask: “How am I to get my heart warmed?” It is by believing. You do
not get power to love and serve God until you believe.

The apostle John says “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God
is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son.
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that
believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the
record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record, that God hath
given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath
life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John v. 9).

CHAPTER III.

Human affairs would come to a standstill if we did not take the testimony
of men. How should we get on in the ordinary intercourse of life, and how
would commerce get on, if we disregarded men’s testimony? Things social
and commercial would come to a dead-lock within forty-eight hours! This
is the drift of the apostle’s argument here. “If we receive the witness of
men, the witness of God is greater.” God has borne witness to Jesus Christ.
And if man can believe his fellow men who are frequently telling untruths
and whom we are constantly finding unfaithful, why should we not take
God at His word and believe His testimony?

Faith is a belief in testimony. It is not a leap in the dark, as some tell us.
That would be no faith at all. God does not ask any man to believe without
giving him something to believe. You might as well ask a man to see
without eyes; to hear without ears; and to walk without feet–as to bid him
believe without giving him something to believe.

When I started for California I procured a guide-book. This told me, that
after leaving the State of Illinois, I should cross the Mississippi, and then
the Missouri; get into Nebraska; then over the Rocky Mountains to the
Mormon settlement at Salt Lake City, and by the way of the Sierra Nevada
into San Francisco. I found the guide book all right as I went along; and I
should have been a miserable sceptic if, having proved it to be correct
three-fourths of the way, I had said that I would not believe it for the
remainder of the journey.

Suppose a man, in directing me to the Post Office, gives me ten landmarks;
and that, in my progress there, I find nine of them to be as he told me; I
should have good reason to believe that I was coming to the Post Office.

And if, by believing, I get a new life, and a hope, a peace, a joy, and a rest
to my soul, that I never had before; if I get self-control, and find that I have
a power to resist evil and to do good, I have pretty good proof that I am in
the right road to the “city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker
is God.” And if things have taken place, and are now taking place, as
recorded in God’s Word, I have good reason to conclude that what yet
remains will be fulfilled. And yet people talk of doubting. There can be no

CHAPTER III.

true faith where there is fear. Faith is to take God at His word,
unconditionally. There cannot be true peace where there is fear. “Perfect
love casteth out fear.” How wretched a wife would be if she doubted her
husband! and how miserable a mother would feel if after her boy had gone
away from home she had reason, from his neglect, to question that son’s
devotion! True love never has a doubt.

There are three things indispensable to faith–knowledge, assent, and
appropriation.

We must know God. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John xvii. 3).
Then we must not only give our assent to what we know; but we must lay
hold of the truth. If a man simply give his assent to the plan of salvation, it
will not save him: he must accept Christ as his Saviour. He must receive
and appropriate Him.

Some say they cannot tell how a man’s life can be affected by his belief.
But let some one cry out that some building in which we happen to be
sitting, is on fire; and see how soon we should act on our belief and get out.
We are all the time influenced by what we believe. We cannot help it. And
let a man believe the record that God has given of Christ, and it will very
quickly affect his whole life.

Take John v. 24. There is enough truth in that one verse for every soul to
rest upon for salvation. It does not admit the shadow of a doubt. “Verily,
verily”–which means truly, truly–“I say unto you, He that heareth My
word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath–hath–everlasting life, and
shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Now if a person really hears the word of Jesus and believes with the heart
on God who sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world, and lays hold of
and appropriates this great salvation, there is no fear of judgment. He will
not be looking forward with dread to the Great White Throne; for we read
in 1 John iv. 17: “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have
boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.”

CHAPTER III.

If we believe, there is for us no condemnation, no judgment. That is behind
us, and passed; and we shall have boldness in the day of judgment.

I remember reading of a man who was on trial for his life. He had friends
with influence; and they procured a pardon for him from the king on
condition that he was to go through the trial, and be condemned. He went
into court with the pardon in his pocket. The feeling ran very high against
him, and the judge said that the court was shocked that he was so much
unconcerned. But, when the sentence was pronounced, he pulled out the
pardon, presented it, and walked out a free man. He has been pardoned; and
so have we. Then let death come, we have nought to fear. All the
grave-diggers in the world cannot dig a grave large enough and deep
enough to hold eternal life; all the coffin makers in the world cannot make
a coffin large enough and tight enough to hold eternal life. Death has had
his hand on Christ once, but never again.

Jesus said: “I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in Me,
though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth
in Me shall never die” (John xi. 25, 26). And in the Apocalypse we read
that the risen Saviour said to John, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and,
behold, I am alive for evermore” (Rev i. 18). Death cannot touch Him
again.

We get life by believing. In fact we get more than Adam lost; for the
redeemed child of God is heir to a richer and more glorious inheritance than
Adam in Paradise could ever have conceived; yea, and that inheritance
endures forever–it is inalienable.

I would much rather have my life hid with Christ in God than have lived in
Paradise; for Adam might have sinned and fallen after being there ten
thousand years. But the believer is safer, if these things become real to him.
Let us make them a fact, and not a fiction. God has said it; and that is
enough. Let us trust Him even where we cannot trace Him. Let the same
confidence animate us that was in little Maggie as related in the following
simple but touching incident which I read in the Bible Treasury:-

CHAPTER III.

“I had been absent from home for some days, and was wondering, as I
again draw near the homestead, if my little Maggie, just able to sit alone,
would remember me. To test her memory, I stationed myself where I could
see her, but could not be seen by her, and called her name in the familiar
tone, ‘Maggie!’ She dropped her playthings, glanced around the room, and
then looked down upon her toys. Again I repeated her name, ‘Maggie!’
when she once more surveyed the room; but, not seeing her father’s face,
she looked very sad, and slowly resumed her employment. Once more I
called, ‘Maggie!’ when, dropping her playthings, and bursting into tears, she
stretched out her arms in the direction whence the sound proceeded,
knowing that, though she could not see him, her father must be there, for
she knew his voice.”

Now, we have power to see and to hear, and we have power to believe. It is
all folly for the inquirers to take the ground that they cannot believe. They
can, if they will. But the trouble with most people is that they have
connected feeling with believing. Now Feeling has nothing whatever to do
with Believing. The Bible does not say–He that feeleth, or he that feeleth
and believeth, hath everlasting life. Nothing of the kind. I cannot control
my feelings. If I could, I should never feel ill, or have a headache or
toothache. I should be well all the while. But I can believe God; and if we
get our feet on that rock, let doubts and fears come and the waves surge
around us, the anchor will hold.

Some people are all the time looking at their faith. Faith is the hand that
takes the blessing. I heard this illustration of a beggar. Suppose you were to
meet a man in the street whom you had known for years as being
accustomed to beg; and you offered him some money, and he were to say to
you: “I thank you; I don’t want your money: I am not a beggar.” “How is
that?” “Last night a man put a thousand dollars into my hands.” “He did!
How did you know it was good money?” “I took it to the bank and
deposited it and have got a bank book.” “How did you get this gift?” “I
asked for alms; and after the gentleman talked with me he took out a
thousand dollars in money and put it in my hand.” “How do you know that
he put it in the right hand?” “What do I care about which hand; so that I
have got the money.” Many people are always thinking whether the faith by

CHAPTER III.

which they lay hold of Christ is the right kind–but what is far more
essential is to see that we have the right kind of Christ.

Faith is the eye of the soul; and who would ever think of taking out an eye
to see if it were the right kind so long as the sight was perfect? It is not my
taste, but it is what I taste, that satisfies my appetite. So, dear friends, it is
taking God at His Word that is the means of our salvation. The truth cannot
be made too simple.

There is a man living in the city of New York who has a home on the
Hudson River. His daughter and her family went to spend the winter with
him: and in the course of the season the scarlet fever broke out. One little
girl was put in quarantine, to be kept separate from the rest. Every morning
the old grandfather used to go and bid his grandchild, “Goodbye,” before
going to his business. On one of these occasions the little thing took the old
man by the hand, and, leading him to a corner of the room, without saying a
word she pointed to the floor where she had arranged some small crackers
so they would spell out, “Grandpa, I want a box of paints.” He said nothing.
On his return home he hung up his overcoat and went to the room as usual:
when his little grandchild, without looking to see if her wish had been
complied with, took him into the same corner, where he saw spelled out in
the same way, “Grandpa, I thank you for the box of paints.” The old man
would not have missed gratifying the child for anything. That was faith.

Faith is taking God at His Word; and those people who want some token
are always getting into trouble. We want to come to this: God says it–let us
believe it.

But some say, Faith is the gift of God. So is the air; but you have to breathe
it. So is bread; but you have to eat it. So is water; but you have to drink it.
Some are wanting a miraculous kind of feeling. That is not faith. “Faith
cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. x. 17). That is
whence faith comes. It is not for me to sit down and wait for faith to come
stealing over me with a strange sensation; but it is for me to take God at His
Word. And you cannot believe, unless you have something to believe. So
take the Word as it is written, and appropriate it, and lay hold of it.

CHAPTER III.

In John vi. 47, 48 we read: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth
on Me hath everlasting life. I am that Bread of life.” There is the bread right
at hand. Partake of it. I might have thousands of loaves within my home,
and as many hungry men in waiting. They might assent to the fact that the
bread was there; but unless they each took a loaf and commenced eating,
their hunger would not be satisfied. So Christ is the Bread of heaven; and as
the body feeds on natural food, so the soul must feed on Christ.

If a drowning man sees a rope thrown out to rescue him he must lay hold of
it; and in order to do so he must let go everything else. If a man is sick he
must take the medicine–for simply looking at it will not cure him. A
knowledge of Christ will not help the inquirer, unless he believes in Him,
and takes hold of Him, as his only hope. The bitten Israelites might have
believed that the serpent was lifted up; but unless they had looked they
would not have lived (Num. xxi. 6-9).

I believe that a certain line of steamers will convey me across the ocean,
because I have tried it: but this will not help another man who may want to
go, unless he acts upon my knowledge. So a knowledge of Christ does not
help us unless we act upon it. That is what it is to believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ. It is to act on what we believe. As a man steps on board a steamer to
cross the Atlantic, so we must take Christ and make a commitment of our
souls to Him; and He has promised to keep all who put their trust in Him.
To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, is simply to take Him at His word.

CHAPTER IV.

CHAPTER IV.

WORDS OF COUNSEL.

“A bruised reed shall He not break.”–Isaiah xlii. 3; Matt. xii. 20.

It is dangerous for those who are seeking salvation to lean upon the
experience of other people. Many are waiting for a repetition of the
experience of their grandfather or grandmother. I had a friend who was
converted in a field; and he thinks the whole town ought to go down into
that meadow and be converted. Another was converted under a bridge; and
he thinks that if any enquirer were to go there he would find the Lord. The
best thing for the anxious is to go right to the Word of God. If there are any
persons in the world to whom the Word ought to be very precious it is those
who are asking how to be saved.

For instance a man may say, “I have no strength.” Let him turn to Romans

v. 6. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for
the ungodly.” It is because we have no strength that we need Christ. He has
come to give strength to the weak.
Another may say, “I cannot see.” Christ says, “I am the Light of the world”
(John viii. 12). He came, not only to give light, but “to open the blind eyes”
(Isa. xlii. 7).

Another may say, “I do not think a man can be saved all at once.” A person
holding that view was in the Enquiry-room one night; and I drew his
attention to Romans vi. 23. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God
is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” How long does it take to
accept a gift? There must be a moment when you have it not, and another
when you have it–a moment when it is another’s, and the next when it is
yours. It does not take six months to get eternal life. It may however in
some cases be like the mustard seed, very small at the commencement.
Some people are converted so gradually that, like the morning light, it is
impossible to tell when the dawn began; while, with others, it is like the
flashing of a meteor, and the truth bursts upon them suddenly.

CHAPTER IV.

I would not go across the street to prove when I was converted; but what is
important is for me to know that I really have been.

It may be that a child has been so carefully trained that it is impossible to
tell when the new birth began; but there must have been a moment when
the change took place, and when he became a partaker of the Divine nature.

Some people do not believe in sudden conversion. But I will challenge any
one to show a conversion in the New Testament that was not instantaneous.
“As Jesus passed by He saw Levi, the son of Alpheus, sitting at the receipt
of custom, and said unto him, ‘Follow Me’: and he arose and followed Him”
(Matt. ix. 9). Nothing could be more sudden than that.

Zaccheus, the publican, sought to see Jesus; and because he was little of
stature he climbed up a tree. When Jesus came to the place He looked up
and saw him, and said, “Zaccheus, make haste, and come down” (Luke xix.
5). His conversion must have taken place somewhere between the branch
and the ground. We are told that he received Jesus joyfully, and said,
“Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken
anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (Luke

xix. 8). Very few in these days could say that in proof of their conversion.
The whole house of Cornelius was converted suddenly; for so Peter
preached Christ to him and his company the Holy Ghost fell on them, and
they were baptized. (Acts x.)

On the day of Pentecost three thousand gladly received the Word. They
were not only converted, but they were baptized the same day. (Acts ii.)

And when Philip talked to the eunuch, as they went on their way, the
eunuch said to Philip, “See, here is water: what doth hinder me to be
baptized?” Nothing hindered. And Philip said, “If thou believest with all
thine heart, thou mayest.” And they both went down into the water; and the
man of great authority under Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians, was
baptized, and went on his way rejoicing. (Acts viii. 26-38.) You will find
all through Scripture that conversions were sudden and instantaneous.

CHAPTER IV.

A man has been in the habit of stealing money from his employer. Suppose
he has taken $1,000 in twelve months; should we tell him to take $500 the
next year, and less the next year, and the next, until in five years the sum
taken would be only $50? That would be upon the same principle as
gradual conversion.

If such a person were brought before the court and pardoned, because he
could not change his mode of life all at once, it would be considered a very
strange proceeding.

But the Bible says, “Let him that stole steal no more” (Eph. iv. 28). It is
“right about face!” Suppose a person is in the habit of cursing one hundred
times a day: should we advise him not to utter more than ninety oaths the
following day, and eighty the next day; so that in the course of time he
would get rid of the habit? The Saviour says, “Swear not at all.” (Matt. v.
34.)

Suppose another man is in the habit of getting drunk and beating his wife
twice a month; if he only did so once a month, and then only once in six
months, that would be, upon the same ground, as reasonable as gradual
conversion. Suppose Ananias had been sent to Paul, when he was on his
way to Damascus breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the
disciples, and casting them into prison, to tell him not to kill so many as he
intended; and to let enmity die out of his heart gradually, but not all at once.
Suppose he had been told that it would not do to stop breathing out
threatenings and slaughter, and to commence preaching Christ all at once,
because the philosophers would say that the change was so sudden it would
not hold out; this would be the same kind of reasoning as is used by those
who do not believe in instantaneous conversion.

Then another class say that they are afraid that they will not hold out. This
is a numerous and very hopeful class. I like to see a man distrust himself. It
is a good thing to get such to look to God, and to remember that it is not he
who holds God, but that it is God who holds him. Some want to get hold of
Christ; but the thing is to get Christ to take hold of you in answer to prayer.
Let such read Psalm cxxi.; “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from

CHAPTER IV.

whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made
heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth
thee will not slumber. Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber
nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right
hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord
shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall
preserve thy going out and thy coming in, from this time forth, and even for
evermore.”

Some one calls that the traveler’s psalm. It is a beautiful psalm for those of
us who are pilgrims through this world; and one with which we should be
well acquainted.

God can do what He has done before. He kept Joseph in Egypt; Moses
before Pharaoh; Daniel in Babylon; and enabled Elijah to stand before
Ahab in that dark day. And I am so thankful that these I have mentioned
were men of like passions with ourselves. It was God who made them so
great. What man wants is to look to God. Real true faith is man’s weakness
leaning on God’s strength. When man has no strength, if he leans on God he
becomes powerful. The trouble is that we have too much strength and
confidence in ourselves.

Again in Hebrews vi. 17, 18: “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to
show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed
it by an oath that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for
God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to
lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of
the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the
vail; whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high
priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”

Now these are precious verses to those who are afraid of falling, who fear
that they will not hold out. It is God’s work to hold. It is the Shepherd’s
business to keep the sheep. Who ever heard of the sheep going to bring
back the shepherd? People have an idea that they have to keep themselves
and Christ too. It is a false idea. It is the work of the Shepherd to look after

CHAPTER IV.

them, and to take care of those who trust Him. And He has promised to do
it. I once heard that when a sea captain was dying he said, “Glory to God;
the anchor holds.” He trusted in Christ. His anchor had taken hold of the
solid rock. An Irishman said, on one occasion, that “he trembled; but the
Rock never did.” We want to get sure footing.

In 2 Timothy i. 12 Paul says: “I know whom I have believed, and am
persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him
against that day.” That was Paul’s persuasion.

During the late war of the rebellion, one of the chaplains, going through the
hospitals, came to a man who was dying. Finding that he was a Christian,
he asked to what persuasion he belonged, and was told “Paul’s persuasion.”
“Is he a Methodist?” he asked; for the Methodists all claim Paul. “No.” “Is
he a Presbyterian?” for the Presbyterians lay special claim to Paul. “No,”
was the answer. “Does he belong to the Episcopal Church?” for all the
Episcopalian brethren contend that they have a claim to the Chief Apostle.
“No,” he was not an Episcopalian. “Then, to what persuasion does he
belong?” “I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have
committed unto Him against that day.” It is a grand persuasion; and it gave
the dying soldier rest in a dying hour.

Let those who fear that they will not hold out turn to the 24th verse of the
Epistle of Jude: “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to
present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”

Then look at Isaiah xli. 10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not
dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;
yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.”

Then see verse 13: “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying
unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”

Now if God has got hold of my right hand in His, cannot He hold me and
keep me? Has not God the power to keep? The great God who made heaven
and earth can keep a poor sinner like you and like me if we trust Him. To

CHAPTER IV.

refrain from feeling confidence in God for fear of falling–would be like a
man who refused a pardon, for fear that he should get into prison again; or
a drowning man who refused to be rescued, for fear of falling into the water
again.

Many men look forth at the Christian life, and fear that they will not have
sufficient strength to hold out to the end. They forget the promise that “as
thy days, thy strength” (Deut. xxxiii. 25). It reminds me of the pendulum to
the clock which grew disheartened at the thought of having to travel so
many thousands of miles; but when it reflected that the distance was to be
accomplished by “tick, tick, tick,” it took fresh courage to go its daily
journey. So it is the special privilege of the Christian to commit himself to
the keeping of his heavenly Father and to trust Him day by day. It is a
comforting thing to know that the Lord will not begin the good work
without also finishing it.

There are two kinds of sceptics–one class with honest difficulties; and
another class who delight only in discussion. I used to think that this latter
class would always be a thorn in my flesh; but they do not prick me now. I
expect to find them right along the journey. Men of this stamp used to hang
around Christ to entangle Him in His talk. They come into our meetings to
hold a discussion. To all such I would commend Paul’s advice to Timothy:
“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid; knowing that they do gender
strifes.” (2 Tim. ii. 23.) Unlearned questions: Many young converts make a
woful mistake. They think they are to defend the whole Bible. I knew very
little of the Bible when I was first converted; and I thought that I had to
defend it from beginning to end against all comers; but a Boston infidel got
hold of me, floored all my arguments at once, and discouraged me. But I
have got over that now. There are many things in the Word of God that I do
not profess to understand.

When I am asked what I do with them. I say, “I don’t do anything.”

“How do you explain them?” “I don’t explain them.”

“What do you do with them?” “Why, I believe them.”

CHAPTER IV.

And when I am told, “I would not believe anything that I do not
understand,” I simply reply that I do.

There are many things which were dark and mysterious five years ago, on
which I have since had a flood of light; and I expect to be finding out
something fresh about God throughout eternity. I make a point of not
discussing disputed passages of Scripture. An old divine has said that some
people, if they want to eat fish, commence by picking the bones. I leave
such things till I have light on them. I am not bound to explain what I do
not comprehend. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but
those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children, for
ever” (Deut. xxii. 29); and these I take, and eat, and feed upon, in order to
get spiritual strength.

Than there is a little sound advice in Titus iii. 9. “But avoid foolish
questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law;
for they are unprofitable and vain.”

But now here comes an honest sceptic. With him I would deal as tenderly
as a mother with her sick child. I have no sympathy with those people who,
because a man is sceptical, cast him off and will have nothing to do with
him.

I was in an Inquiry-meeting, some time ago, and I handed over to a
Christian lady, whom I had known some time, one who was sceptical. On
looking round soon after I noticed the enquirer marching out of the hall. I
asked, “Why have you let her go?” “Oh, she is a sceptic!” was the reply. I
ran to the door and got her to stop, and introduced her to another Christian
worker who spent over an hour in conversation and prayer with her. He
visited her and her husband; and, in the course of a week, that intelligent
lady cast off her scepticism and came out an active Christian. It took time,
tact, and prayer; but if a person of this class is honest we ought to deal with
such an one as the Master would have us.

Here are a few passages for doubting enquirers:

CHAPTER IV.

“If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of
God, or whether I speak of myself” (John vii. 17). If a man is not willing to
do the will of God he will not know the doctrine. There is no class of
sceptics who are ignorant of the fact that God desires them to give up sin;
and if a man is willing to turn from sin and take the light and thank Him for
what He does give, and not expect to have light on the whole Bible all at
once, he will get more light day by day; make progress step by step; and be
led right out of darkness into the clear light of heaven.

In Daniel xii. 10 we are told: “Many shall be purified, and made white, and
tried: but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall
understand; but the wise shall understand.”

Now God will never reveal His secrets to His enemies. Never! And if a
man persists in living in sin he will not know the doctrines of God.

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them
His covenant” (Ps. xxv. 14).

And in John xv. 15 we read: “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the
servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for
all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
When you become friends of Christ you will know His secrets. The Lord
said, “Shall I hide from Abraham the things which I do?” (Gen. xviii. 17).

Now those who resemble God are the most likely to understand God. If a
man is not willing to turn from sin he will not know God’s will, nor will
God reveal His secrets to him. But if a man is willing to turn from sin he
will be surprised to see how the light will come in!

I remember one night when the Bible was the driest and darkest book in the
universe to me. The next day it became entirely different. I thought I had
the key to it. I had been born of the Spirit. But before I knew anything of
the mind of God I had to give up my sin. I believe God meets every soul on
the spot of self-surrender; and when they are willing to let Him guide and
lead. The trouble with many sceptics is their self-conceit. They know more

CHAPTER IV.

than the Almighty! and they do not come in a teachable spirit. But the
moment a man comes in a receptive spirit he is blessed; for “If any of you
lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and
upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James i. 5).

CHAPTER V.

CHAPTER V.

A DIVINE SAVIOUR.

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

(Matthew xvi. 1; John vi. 69.)

We meet with a certain class of Enquirers who do not believe in the
Divinity of Christ. There are many passages that will give light on this
subject.

In 1 Corinthians xv. 47, we are told: “The first man is of the earth earthy:
the second man is the Lord from heaven.”

In 1 John v. 20: “We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us
an understanding, that we may know Him that is true; and we are in Him
that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal
life.”

Again in John xvii. 3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee,
the only true God; and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”

And then, in Mark xiv. 60: “The high priest stood up in the midst, and
asked Jesus, saying, Answerest Thou nothing? What is it which these
witness against thee? But He held His peace, and answered nothing. Again
the high priest asked Him, and said unto Him, Art Thou the Christ, the Son
of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of Man
sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further
witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all
condemned Him to be guilty of death.”

Now what brought me to believe in the Divinity of Christ was this: I did not
know where to place Christ, or what to do with Him, if He were not divine.
When I was a boy I thought that He was a good man like Moses, Joseph, or

CHAPTER V.

Abraham. I even thought that He was the best man who had ever lived on
the earth. But I found that Christ had a higher claim. He claimed to be
God-Man, to be divine; to have come from heaven. He said: “Before
Abraham was I am” (John viii. 58). I could not understand this; and I was
driven to the conclusion–and I challenge any candid man to deny the
inference, or meet the argument–that Jesus Christ is either an impostor or
deceiver, or He is the God-Man–God manifest in the flesh. And for these
reasons. The first commandment is, “Thou shalt have no other gods before
Me” (Exod. xx. 2). Look at the millions throughout Christendom who
worship Jesus Christ as God. If Christ be not God this is idolatry. We are
all guilty of breaking the first commandment if Jesus Christ were mere
man–if He were a created being, and not what He claims to be.

Some people, who do not admit His divinity, say that He was the best man
who ever lived; but if He were not Divine, for that very reason He ought
not to be reckoned a good man, for He laid claim to an honor and dignity to
which these very people declare He had no right or title. That would rank
Him as a deceiver.

Others say that He thought He was divine, but that He was deceived. As if
Jesus Christ were carried away by a delusion and deception, and thought
that He was more than He was! I could not conceive of a lower idea of
Jesus Christ than that. This would not only make Him out an impostor; but
that He was out of His mind, and that He did not know who He was, or
where He came from. Now if Jesus Christ was not what He claimed to be,
the Saviour of the world; and if He did not come from heaven, He was a
gross deceiver.

But how can any one read the life of Jesus Christ and make Him out a
deceiver? A man has generally some motive for being an impostor. What
was Christ’s motive? He knew that the course He was pursuing would
conduct Him to the cross; that His name would be cast out as vile; and that
many of His followers would be called upon to lay down their lives for His
sake. Nearly every one of the apostles were martyrs; and they were
considered as off-scouring and refuse in the midst of the people. If a man is
an impostor, he has a motive at the back of his hypocrisy. But what was

CHAPTER V.

Christ’s object? The record is that “He went about doing good.” This is not
the work of an impostor. Do not let the enemy of your soul deceive you.

In John v. 21 we read: “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and
quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father
judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men
should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoureth not
the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him.”

Now notice: by the Jewish law if a man were a blasphemer he was to be put
to death; and supposing Christ to be merely human if this be not blasphemy
I do not know where you will find it. “He that honoureth not the Son,
honoureth not the Father.” That is downright blasphemy if Christ be not
divine. If Moses, or Elijah, or Elisha, or any other mortal had said, “You
must honour me as you honor God;” and had put himself on a level with
God, it would have been downright blasphemy.

The Jews put Christ to death because they said that He was not what He
claimed to be. It was on that testimony He was put under oath. The high
priest said: “I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether
Thou be the Christ, the Son of God” (Matt. xxvi. 63). And when the Jews
came round Him and said, “How long dost Thou make us to doubt? If Thou
be the Christ tell us plainly.” Jesus said, “I and My Father are one.” Then
the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. (John x. 24-33.) They said they
did not want to hear more, for that was blasphemy. It was for declaring
Himself to be the Son of God that He was condemned and put to death.
(Matt. xxvi. 63-66).

Now if Jesus Christ were mere man the Jews did right, according to their
law, in putting Him to death. In Leviticus xxiv. 16, we read: “And he that
blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all
the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is
born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to
death.”

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This law obliged them to put to death every one who blasphemed. It was
making the statement that He was divine that cost Him His life; and by the
Mosaic law He ought to have suffered the death penalty. In John xvi. 15,
Christ says, “All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that
He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you.” How could He be
merely a good man and use language as that?

No doubt has ever entered my mind on the point since I was converted.

A notorious sinner was once asked how he could prove the divinity of
Christ. His answer was, “Why, He has saved me; and that is a pretty good
proof, is it not?”

An infidel on one occasion said to me, “I have been studying the life of
John the Baptist, Mr. Moody. Why don’t you preach him? He was a greater
character than Christ. You would do a greater work.” I said to him, “My
friend, you preach John the Baptist; and I will follow you and preach
Christ: and we will see who will do the most good.” “You will do the most
good,” he said, “because the people are so superstitious.” Ah! John was
beheaded; and his disciples begged his body and buried it: but Christ has
risen from the dead; He has “ascended on high; He has led captivity
captive; and received gifts for men.” (Ps. lxviii. 18.)

Our Christ lives. Many people have not found out that Christ has risen from
the grave. They worship a dead Saviour, like Mary, who said, “They have
taken away my Lord; and I know not where they have laid Him.” (John xx.
13.) That is the trouble with those who doubt the divinity of our Lord.

Then look at Matthew xviii. 20. “Where two or three are gathered together
in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” “There am I.” Well now, if
He is a mere man, how can He be there? All these are strong passages.

Again in Matthew xxviii. 18. “And Jesus came and spake unto them,
saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” Could He be a
mere man and talk in that way? “All power is given unto Me in heaven and
in earth!”

CHAPTER V.

Then again in Matthew xxviii. 20. “Teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even
unto the end of the world.” If He were mere man, how could He be with us?
Yet He says, “I am with you away, even unto the end of the world!”

Then again in Mark ii. 7. “Why doth this Man thus speak blasphemies? who
can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in
His Spirit that they reasoned within themselves, He said unto them, Why
reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick
of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say, Arise and take up thy bed
and walk?”

Some men will meet you and say, “Did not Elisha also raise the dead?”
Notice that in the rare instances in which men have raised the dead, they
did it by the power of God. They called on God to do it. But when Christ
was on earth He did not call upon the Father to bring the dead to life, When
He went to the house of Jairus He said, “Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise.”
(Mark v. 41.)

He had power to impart life. When they were carrying the young man out
of Nain He had compassion on the widowed mother and came and touched
the bier and said, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” (Luke vii. 14.)

He spake; and the dead arose.

And when He raised Lazarus He called with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come
forth!” (John xi. 43.) And Lazarus heard, and came forth.

Some one has said, It was a good thing that Lazarus was mentioned by
name, or all the dead within the sound of Christ’s voice would immediately
have risen.

In John v. 25, Jesus says: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is
coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God;
and they that hear shall live.” What blasphemy would this have been, had
He not been divine! The proof is overwhelming, if you will but examine the

CHAPTER V.

Word of God.

And then another thing–no good man except Jesus Christ has ever allowed
anybody to worship him. When this was done He never rebuked the
worshiper. In John ix. 38, we read that when the blind man was found by
Christ he said, “Lord, I believe. And he worshiped Him.” The Lord did not
rebuke him.

Then again, Revelation xxii. 6, runs thus: “And he said unto me, These
things are faithful and true; and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His
angel to show unto His servants the things which must shortly be done.
Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the
prophecy of this book. And I John saw these things and heard them. And
when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the
angel which showed me these things. Then saith He unto me, See thou do it
not; for I am thy fellow-servant and of thy brethren the prophets, and of
them which keep the sayings of this book, worship God.”

We see here that even that angel would not allow John to worship him.
Even an angel from heaven! And if Gabriel came down here from the
presence of God it would be a sin to worship him, or any seraph, or any
cherub, or Michael, or any archangel.

“Worship God!” And if Jesus Christ were not God manifest in the flesh we
are guilty of idolatry in worshiping Him. In Matthew xiv. 33, we read:
“Then they that were in the ship came and worshiped Him, saying, Of a
truth Thou art the Son of God.” He did not rebuke them.

And in Matthew viii. 2, we also read: “And, behold, there came a leper and
worshiped Him, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.”

In Matthew xv. 25: “Then came she, and worshiped Him, saying, Lord,
help me!”

There are many other passages; but I give these as sufficient in my opinion
to prove beyond any doubt the Divinity of our Lord.

CHAPTER V.

In the 14th chapter of Acts we are told the heathen at Lystra came with
garlands and would have done sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas because they
had cured an impotent man; but the evangelists rent their clothes and told
these Lystrans that they were but men, and not to be worshipped; as if it
were a great sin. And if Jesus Christ is a mere man, we are all guilty of a
great sin in worshipping Him.

But if He is, as we believe, the only-begotten and well-beloved Son of God,
let us yield to His claims upon us; let us rest on His all-atoning work, and
go forth to serve Him all the days of our life.

CHAPTER VI.

CHAPTER VI.

REPENTANCE AND RESTITUTION.

“God commandeth all men everywhere to repent.”–Acts xvii. 30.

Repentance is one of the fundamental doctrines of the Bible. Yet I believe
it is one of those truths that many people little understand at the present
day. There are more people to-day in the mist and darkness about
Repentance, Regeneration, the Atonement, and such-like fundamental
truths, than perhaps on any other doctrines. Yet from our earliest years we
have heard about them. If I were to ask for a definition of Repentance, a
great many would give a very strange and false idea of it.

A man is not prepared to believe or to receive the Gospel, unless he is
ready to repent of his sins and turn from them. Until John the Baptist met
Christ, he had but one text, “Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand” (Matt. iii. 2). But if he had continued to say this, and had stopped
there without pointing the people to Christ the Lamb of God, he would not
have accomplished much.

When Christ came, He took up the same wilderness cry, “Repent; for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. iv. 17). And when our Lord sent out
His disciples, it was with the same message, “that men should repent”
(Mark vi. 12). After He had been glorified, and when the Holy Ghost came
down, we find Peter on the day of Pentecost raising the same cry, “Repent!”
It was this preaching–Repent, and believe the Gospel–that wrought such
marvellous results then. (Acts ii. 38-47). And we find that, when Paul went
to Athens, he uttered the same cry, “Now God commandeth all men,
everywhere, to repent” (Acts xvii. 30).

Before I speak of what Repentance is, let me briefly say what it is not.
Repentance is not fear. Many people have confounded the two. They think
they have to be alarmed and terrified; and they are waiting for some kind of
fear to come down upon them. But multitudes become alarmed who do not
really repent. You have heard of men at sea during a terrible storm. Perhaps

CHAPTER VI.

they have been very profane men; but when the danger came they suddenly
grew quiet, and began to cry to God for mercy. Yet you would not say they
repented. When the storm had passed away, they went on swearing the
same as before. You might think that the king of Egypt repented when God
sent the terrible plagues upon him and his land. But it was not repentance at
all. The moment God’s hand was removed Pharaoh’s heart was harder than
ever. He did not turn from a single sin; he was the same man. So that there
was no true repentance there.

Often, when death comes into a family, it looks as if the event would be
sanctified to the conversion of all who are in the house. Yet in six months’
time all may be forgotten. Some who read this have perhaps passed through
that experience. When God’s hand was heavy upon them it looked as if they
were going to repent; but the trial has been removed–and lo and behold, the
impression has all gone.

Then again, Repentance is not feeling. I find a great many people are
waiting for a certain kind of feeling to come. They would like to turn to
God; but think they cannot do it until this feeling comes. When I was in
Baltimore I used to preach every Sunday in the Penitentiary to nine
hundred convicts. There was hardly a man there who did not feel miserable
enough: they had plenty of feeling. For the first week or ten days of their
imprisonment many of them cried half the time. Yet, when they were
released, most of them would go right back to their old ways. The truth
was, that they felt very bad because they had got caught; that was all. So
you have seen a man in the time of trial show a good deal of feeling: but
very often it is only because he has got into trouble; not because he has
committed sin, or because his conscience tells him he has done evil in the
sight of God. It seems as if the trial were going to result in true repentance;
but the feeling too often passes away.

Once again, Repentance is not fasting and afflicting the body. A man may
fast for weeks and months and years, and yet not repent of one sin. Neither
is it remorse. Judas had terrible remorse–enough to make him go and hang
himself; but that was not repentance. I believe if he had gone to his Lord,
fallen on his face, and confessed his sin, he would have been forgiven.

CHAPTER VI.

Instead of this he went to the priests, and then put an end to his life. A man
may do all sorts of penance–but there is no true repentance in that. Put that
down in your mind. You cannot meet the claims of God by offering the
fruit of your body for the sin of your soul. Away with such a delusion!

Repentance is not conviction of sin. That may sound strange to some. I have
seen men under such deep conviction of sin that they could not sleep at
night; they could not enjoy a single meal. They went on for months in this
state; and yet they were not converted; they did not truly repent. Do not
confound conviction of sin with Repentance.

Neither is praying–Repentance. That too may sound strange. Many people,
when they become anxious about their soul’s salvation, say, “I will pray,
and read the Bible;” and they think that will bring about the desired effect.
But it will not do it. You may read the Bible and cry to God a great deal,
and yet never repent. Many people cry loudly to God, and yet do not repent.

Another thing: it is not breaking off some one sin. A great many people
make that mistake. A man who has been a drunkard signs the pledge, and
stops drinking. Breaking off one sin is not Repentance. Forsaking one vice
is like breaking off one limb of a tree, when the whole tree has to come
down. A profane man stops swearing; very good: but if he does not break
off from every sin it is not Repentance–it is not the work of God in the
soul. When God works He hews down the whole tree. He wants to have a
man turn from every sin. Supposing I am in a vessel out at sea, and I find
the ship leaks in three or four places. I may go and stop up one hole; yet
down goes the vessel. Or suppose I am wounded in three or four places,
and I get a remedy for one wound: if the other two or three wounds are
neglected, my life will soon be gone. True Repentance is not merely
breaking off this or that particular sin.

Well then, you will ask, what is Repentance? I will give you a good
definition: it is “right about face!” In the Irish language the word
“Repentance” means even more than “right about face!” It implies that a
man who has been walking in one direction has not only faced about, but is
actually walking in an exactly contrary direction. “Turn ye, turn ye; for why

CHAPTER VI.

will ye die?” A man may have little feeling or much feeling; but if he does
not turn away from sin, God will not have mercy on him. Repentance has
also been described as “a change of mind.” For instance, there is the parable
told by Christ: “A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and
said, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not”
(Matt. xxi. 28, 29). After he had said “I will not” he thought over it, and
changed his mind. Perhaps he may have said to himself, “I did not speak
very respectfully to my father. He asked me to go and work, and I told him
I would not go. I think I was wrong.” But suppose he had only said this, and
still had not gone, he would not have repented. He was not only convinced
that he was wrong; but he went off into the fields, hoeing, or mowing or
whatever it was. That is Christ’s definition of repentance. If a man says,
“By the grace of God I will forsake my sin, and do His will,” that is
Repentance–a turning right about.

Some one has said, man is born with his face turned away from God. When
he truly repents he is turned right around towards God; he leaves his old
life.

Can a man at once repent? Certainly he can. It does not take a long while to
turn around. It does not take a man six months to change his mind. There
was a vessel that went down some time ago on the Newfoundland coast. As
she was bearing towards the shore, there was a moment when the captain
could have given orders to reverse the engines and turn back. If the engines
had been reversed then, the ship would have been saved. But there was a
moment when it was too late. So there is a moment, I believe, in every
man’s life when he can halt and say, “By the grace of God I will go no
further towards death and ruin. I repent of my sins and turn from them.”
You may say you have not got feeling enough; but if you are convinced
that you are on the wrong road, turn right about, and say, “I will no longer
go on in the way of rebellion and sin as I have done.”

Just then, when you are willing to turn towards God, salvation may be
yours.

CHAPTER VI.

I find that every case of conversion recorded in the Bible was
instantaneous. Repentance and faith came very suddenly. The moment a
man made up his mind, God gave him the power. God does not ask any
man to do what he has not the power to do. He would not command “all
men everywhere to repent” (Acts xvii. 30) if they were not able to do so.
Man has no one to blame but himself if he does not repent and believe the
Gospel. One of the leading ministers of the Gospel in Ohio wrote me a
letter some time ago describing his conversion; it very forcibly illustrates
this point of instantaneous decision. He said:

“I was nineteen years old, and was reading law with a Christian lawyer in
Vermont. One afternoon when he was away from home, his good wife said
to me as I came into the house, ‘I want you to go to class-meeting with me
to-night and become a Christian, so that you can conduct family worship
while my husband is away.’ ‘Well, I’ll do it,’ I said, without any thought.
When I came into the house again she asked me if I was honest in what I
had said. I replied, ‘Yes, so far as going to meeting with you is concerned;
that is only courteous.’

“I went with her to the class-meeting, as I had often done before. About a
dozen persons were present in a little school-house. The leader had spoken
to all in the room but myself and two others. He was speaking to the person
next me, when the thought occurred to me: he will ask me if I have
anything to say. I said to myself: I have decided to be a Christian sometime;
why not begin now? In less time than a minute after these thoughts had
passed through my mind he said, speaking to me familiarly–for he knew
me very well–‘Brother Charles, have you anything to say?’ I replied, with
perfect coolness, ‘Yes, sir. I have just decided, within the last thirty
seconds, that I will begin a Christian life, and would like to have you pray
for me.’

“My coolness staggered him; I think he almost doubted my sincerity. He
said very little, but passed on and spoke to the other two. After a few
general remarks, he turned to me and said, ‘Brother Charles, will you close
the meeting with prayer?’ He knew I had never prayed in public. Up to this
moment I had no feeling. It was purely a business transaction. My first

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thought was: I cannot pray, and I will ask him to excuse me. My second
was: I have said I will begin a Christian life; and this is a part of it. So I
said, ‘Let us pray.’ And somewhere between the time I started to kneel and
the time my knees struck the floor the Lord converted my soul.

“The first words I said were, ‘Glory to God!’ What I said after that I do not
know, and it does not matter, for my soul was too full to say much but
Glory! From that hour the devil has never dared to challenge my
conversion. To Christ be all the praise.”

Many people are waiting, they cannot exactly tell for what, but for some
sort of miraculous feeling to come stealing over them–some mysterious
kind of faith. I was speaking to a man some years ago, and he always had
one answer to give me. For five years I tried to win him to Christ, and
every year he said, “It has not ‘struck me’ yet.” “Man, what do you mean?
What has not struck you?” “Well,” he said, “I am not going to become a
Christian until it strikes me; and it has not struck me yet. I do not see it in
the way you see it.” “But don’t you know you are a sinner?” “Yes, I know I
am a sinner.” “Well, don’t you know that God wants to have mercy on
you–that there is forgiveness with God? He wants you to repent and come
to Him.” “Yes, I know that; but–it has not struck me yet.” He always fell
back on that. Poor man! he went down to his grave in a state of indecision.
Sixty long years God gave him to repent; and all he had to say at the end of
those years was that it “had not struck him yet.”

Is any reader waiting for some strange feeling–you do not know what?
Nowhere in the Bible is a man told to wait; God is commanding you now to
repent.

Do you think God can forgive a man when he does not want to be forgiven?
Would he be happy if God forgave him in this state of mind? Why, if a man
went into the kingdom of God without repentance, heaven would be hell to
him. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. If your boy has done
wrong, and will not repent, you cannot forgive him. You would be doing
him an injustice. Suppose he goes to your desk, and steals $10, and
squanders it. When you come home your servant tells you what your boy

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has done. You ask if it is true, and he denies it. But at last you have certain
proof. Even when he finds he cannot deny it any longer, he will not confess
the sin, but says he will do it again the first chance he gets. Would you say
to him, “Well, I forgive you,” and leave the matter there? No! Yet people
say that God is going to save all men, whether they repent or
not–drunkards, thieves, harlots, whoremongers, it makes no difference.
“God is so merciful,” they say. Dear friend, do not be deceived by the god
of this world. Where there is true repentance and a turning from sin unto
God, He will meet and bless you; but He never blesses until there is sincere
repentance.

David made a woful mistake in this respect with his rebellious son,
Absalom. He could not have done his son a greater injustice than to forgive
him when his heart was unchanged. There could be no true reconciliation
between them when there was no repentance. But God does not make these
mistakes. David got into trouble on account of his error of judgment. His
son soon drove his father from the throne.

Speaking on repentance, Dr. Brooks, of St. Louis, well remarks:
“Repentance, strictly speaking, means a ‘change of mind or purpose;’
consequently it is the judgment which the sinner pronounces upon himself,
in view of the love of God displayed in the death of Christ, connected with
the abandonment of all confidence in himself and with trust in the only
Saviour of sinners. Saving repentance and saving faith always go together;
and you need not be worried about repentance if you will believe.”

“Some people are no sure that they have ‘repented enough.’ If you mean by
this that you must repent in order to incline God to be merciful to you, the
sooner you give over such repentance the better. God is already merciful, as
He has fully shown at the Cross of Calvary; and it is a grievous dishonor to
His heart of love if you think that your tears and anguish will move Him,
not knowing that ‘the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.’ It is not
your badness, therefore, but His goodness that leads to repentance; hence
the true way to repent is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, ‘who was
delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.'”

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Another thing. If there is true repentance it will bring forth fruit. If we have
done wrong to any one we should never ask God to forgive us, until we are
willing to make restitution. If I have done any man a great injustice and can
make it good, I need not ask God to forgive me until I am willing to make it
good. Suppose I have taken something that does not belong to me. I have
no right to expect forgiveness until I make restitution.

I remember preaching in one of our large cities, when a fine-looking man
came up to me at the close. He was in great distress of mind. “The fact is,”
he said, “I am a defaulter. I have taken money that belonged to my
employers. How can I become a Christian without restoring it?” “Have you
got the money?” He told me he had not got it all. He had taken about
$1,500, and he still had about $900. He said “Could I not take that money
and go into business, and make enough to pay them back?” I told him that
was a delusion of Satan; that he could not expect to prosper on stolen
money; that he should restore all he had, and go and ask his employers to
have mercy upon him and forgive him. “But they will put me in prison,” he
said: “cannot you give me any help?” “No, you must restore the money
before you can expect to get any help from God.” “It is pretty hard,” he
said. “Yes. it is hard; but the great mistake was in doing the wrong at first.”

His burden became so heavy that it got to be insupportable. He handed me
the money–950 dollars and some cents–and asked me to take it back to his
employers. The next evening the two employers and myself met in a side
room of the church. I laid the money down, and informed them it was from
one of their employes. I told them the story, and said he wanted mercy from
them, not justice. The tears trickled down the cheeks of these two men, and
they said, “Forgive him! Yes, we will be glad to forgive him.” I went down
stairs and brought him up. After he had confessed his guilt and been
forgiven, we all got down on our knees and had a blessed prayer-meeting.
God met us and blessed us there.

There was a friend of mine who some time ago had come to Christ and
wished to consecrate himself and his wealth to God. He had formerly had
transactions with the government, and had taken advantage of them. This
thing came up when he was converted, and his conscience troubled him. He

CHAPTER VI.

said, “I want to consecrate my wealth, but it seems as if God will not take
it.” He had a terrible struggle; his conscience kept rising up and smiting
him. At last he drew a check for $1,500 and sent it to the United States
Treasury. He told me he received such a blessing when he had done it. That
was bringing forth “fruits meet for repentance.” I believe a great many men
are crying to God for light; and they are not getting it because they are not
honest.

I was once preaching, and a man came to me who was only thirty-two years
old, but whose hair was very grey. He said, “I want you to notice that my
hair is grey, and I am only thirty-two years old. For twelve years I have
carried a great burden.” “Well,” I said, “what is it?” He looked around as if
afraid some one would hear him. “Well,” he answered, “my father died and
left my mother with the county newspaper, and left her only that: that was
all she had. After he died the paper begun to waste away; and I saw my
mother was fast sinking into a state of need. The building and the paper
were insured for a thousand dollars, and when I was twenty years old I set
fire to the building, and obtained the thousand dollars, and gave it to my
mother. For twelve years that sin has been haunting me. I have tried to
drown it by indulgence in pleasure and sin; I have cursed God; I have gone
into infidelity; I have tried to make out that the Bible is not true; I have
done everything I could: but all these years I have been tormented.” I said,
“There is a way out of that.” He inquired “How?” I said, “Make restitution.
Let us sit down and calculate the interest, and then you pay the Company
the money.” It would have done you good to see that man’s face light up
when he found there was mercy for him. He said he would be glad to pay
back the money and interest if he could only be forgiven.

There are men to-day who are in darkness and bondage because they are
not willing to turn from their sins and confess them; and I do not know how
a man can hope to be forgiven if he is not willing to confess his sins.

Bear in mind that now is the only day of mercy you will ever have. You can
repent now, and have the awful record blotted out. God waits to forgive
you; He is seeking to bring you to Himself. But I think the Bible teaches
clearly that there is no repentance after this life. There are some who tell

CHAPTER VI.

you of the possibility of repentance in the grave; but I do not find that in
Scripture. I have looked my Bible over very carefully, and I cannot find
that a man will have another opportunity of being saved.

Why should he ask for any more time? You have time enough to repent
now. You can turn from your sins this moment if you will. God says: “I
have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth; wherefore turn, and live ye”
(Ezek. xviii. 32).

Christ said, He “came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Are you a sinner? Then the call to repent is addressed to you. Take your
place in the dust at the Saviour’s feet, and acknowledge your guilt. Say, like
the publican of old, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” and see how quickly
He will pardon and bless you. He will even justify you and reckon you as
righteous, by virtue of the righteousness of Him who bore your sins in His
own body on the Cross.

There are some perhaps who think themselves righteous; and that,
therefore, there is no need for them to repent and believe the Gospel. They
are like the Pharisee in the parable, who thanked God that he was not as
other men–“extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican;” and
who went on to say, “I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all I possess.”
What is the judgment about such self-righteous persons? “I tell you this
man [the poor, contrite, repenting publican] went down to his house
justified rather than the other” (Luke xviii. 11-14). “There is none
righteous; no, not one.” “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of
God” (Rom. iii. 10, 23). Let no one say he does not need to repent. Let each
one take his true place–that of a sinner; then God will lift him up to the
place of forgiveness and justification. “Whosoever exalteth himself shall be
abased: and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke xiv. 11).

Wherever God sees true repentance in the heart He meets that soul.

I was in Colorado, preaching the gospel some time ago, and I heard
something that touched my heart very much. The governor of the State was
passing through the prison, and in one cell he found a boy who had his

CHAPTER VI.

window full of flowers, that seemed to have been watched with very tender
care. The governor looked at the prisoner, and then at the flowers, and
asked whose they were, “These are my flowers,” said the poor convict.
“Are you fond of flowers?” “Yes, sir.” “How long have you been here?” He
told him so many years: he was in for a long sentence. The governor was
surprised to find him so fond of the flowers, and he said, “Can you tell me
why you like these flowers so much?” With much emotion he replied,
“While my mother was alive she thought a good deal of flowers; and when
I came here I thought if I had these they would remind me of mother.” The
governor was so pleased that he said, “Well, young man, if you think so
much of your mother I think you will appreciate your liberty,” and he
pardoned him then and there.

When God finds that beautiful flower of true repentance springing up in a
man’s heart, then salvation comes to that man.

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CHAPTER VII.

ASSURANCE OF SALVATION.

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son
of God; that ye may knew that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe
on the name of the Son of God.”

(1 John v. 13. )

There are two classes who ought not to have Assurance. First: those who
are in the Church, but who are not converted, having never been born of the
Spirit. Second: those not willing to do God’s will; who are not ready to take
the place that God has mapped out for them, but want to fill some other
place.

Some one will ask “Have all God’s people Assurance?” No; I think a good
many of God’s dear people have no Assurance; but it is the privilege of
every child of God to have beyond doubt a knowledge of his own salvation.
No man is fit for God’s service who is filled with doubts. If a man is not
sure of his own salvation, how can he help any one else into the kingdom of
God? If I seem in danger of drowning and do not know whether I shall ever
reach the shore, I cannot assist another. I must first get on the solid rock
myself; and then I can lend my brother a helping hand. If being myself
blind I were to tell another blind man how to get sight, he might reply,
“First get healed yourself; and then you can tell me.” I recently met with a
young man who was a Christian: but he had not attained to victory over sin.
He was in terrible darkness. Such an one is not fit to work for God, because
he has besetting sins; and he has not the victory over his doubts, because he
has not the victory over his sins.

None will have time or heart to work for God, who are not assured as to
their own salvation. They have as much as they can attend to; and being
themselves burdened with doubts, they cannot help others to carry their
burdens. There is no rest, joy, or peace–no liberty, nor power–where
doubts and uncertainty exist.

CHAPTER VII.

Now it seems as if there are three wiles of Satan against which we ought to
be on our guard. In the first place he moves all his kingdom to keep us
away from Christ; then he devotes himself to get us into “Doubting Castle:”
but if we have, in spite of him, a clear ringing witness for the Son of God,
he will do all he can to blacken our characters and belie our testimony.

Some seem to think that it is presumption not to have doubts; but doubt is
very dishonoring to God. If any one were to say that they had known a
person for thirty years and yet doubted him, it would not be very creditable;
and when we have known God for ten, twenty or thirty years does it not
reflect on His veracity to doubt Him.

Could Paul and the early Christians and martyrs have gone through what
they did if they had been filled with doubts, and had not known whether
they were going to heaven or to perdition after they had been burned at the
stake? They must have had Assurance.

Mr. Spurgeon says: “I never heard of a stork that when it met with a fir tree
demurred as to its right to build its nest there; and I never heard of a coney
yet that questioned whether it had a permit to run into the rock. Why, these
creatures would soon perish if they were always doubting and fearing as to
whether they had a right to use providential provisions.

“The stork says to himself, ‘Ah, here is a fir tree:’ he consults with his mate,
‘Will this do for the nest in which we may rear our young?’ ‘Aye,’ says she;
and they gather the materials, and arrange them. There is never any
deliberation, ‘May we build here?’ but they bring their sticks and make their
nest.

“The wild goat on the crag does not say, ‘Have I a right here?’ No, he must
be somewhere: and there is a crag which exactly suits him; and he springs
upon it.

“Yet, though these dumb creatures know the provision of their God, the
sinner does not recognize the provision of his Saviour. He quibbles and
questions, ‘May I?’ and am ‘I am afraid it is not for me;’ and ‘I think it

CHAPTER VII.

cannot be meant for me;’ and ‘I am afraid it is too good to be true.’

“And yet nobody ever said to the stork, ‘Whosoever buildeth on this fir tree
shall never have his nest pulled down.’ No inspired word has ever said to
the coney, ‘Whosoever runs into this rock cleft shall never be driven out of
it.’ If it had been so it would make assurance doubly sure.”

“And yet here is Christ provided for sinners, just the sort of a Saviour
sinners need; and the encouragement is added, ‘Him that cometh unto Me I
will in no wise cast out;’ ‘Whosoever will, let him take the water of life
freely.'”

Now let us come to the Word. John tells us in his Gospel what Christ did
for us on earth. In his Epistle He tells us what He is doing for us in heaven
as our Advocate. In his Gospel there are only two chapters in which the
word “believe” does not occur. With these two exceptions, every chapter in
John is “Believe! Believe!! Believe!!!” He tells us in xx. 31, “But these are
written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and
that, believing, ye might have life through His name.” That is the purpose
for which he wrote the Gospel–“that we might believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God: and that, believing, we might have life through His
name” (John xx. 31).

Turn to 1 John v. 13, he there tells us why he wrote this Epistle: “These
things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Notice to whom he writes it “You that believe on the name of the Son of
God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on
the name of the Son of God.” There are only five short chapters in this first
Epistle, and the word “know” occurs over forty times. It is “Know! Know!!
KNOW!!!” The Key to it is Know! and all through the Epistle there rings
out the refrain–“that we might know that we have eternal life.”

I went twelve hundred miles down the Mississippi in the spring some years
ago; and every evening, just as the sun went down, you might have seen
men, and sometimes women, riding up to the banks of the river on either
side on mules or horses, and sometimes coming on foot, for the purpose of

CHAPTER VII.

lighting up the Government lights; and all down that mighty river there
were landmarks which guided the pilots in their dangerous navigation. Now
God has given us lights or landmarks to tell us whether we are His children
or not; and what we need to do is to examine the tokens He has given us.

In the third chapter of John’s first Epistle there are five things worth
knowing.

In the fifth verse we read the first: “And ye know that He was manifested to
take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” Not what I have done, but what
HE has done. Has He failed in His mission? Is He not able to do what He
came for? Did ever any heaven-sent man fail yet? and could God’s own Son
fail? He was manifested to take away our sins.

Again, in the nineteenth verse, the second thing worth knowing: “And
hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before
Him.” We know that we are of the truth. And if the truth make us free, we
shall be free indeed. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be
free indeed.” (John viii. 36.)

The third thing worth knowing is in the fourteenth verse, “We know that we
have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” The
natural man does not like godly people, nor does he care to be in their
company. “He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” He has no
spiritual life.

The fourth thing worth knowing we find in verse twenty-four: “And he that
keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby
we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.” We
can tell what kind of Spirit we have if we possess the Spirit of Christ–a
Christ-like spirit–not the same in degree, but the same in kind. If I am
meek, gentle, and forgiving; if I have a spirit filled with peace and joy; if I
am long-suffering and gentle, like the Son of God–that is a test: and in that
way we are to tell whether we have eternal life or not.

CHAPTER VII.

The fifth thing worth knowing, and the best of all, is “Beloved, now.”
Notice the word “Now.” It does not say when you come to die. “Beloved,
now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that, when He shall appear; we shall be like Him; for we shall
see Him as He is” (v. 2).

But some will say, “Well, I believe all that; but then I have sinned since I
became a Christian.” Is there a man or a woman on the face of the earth
who has not sinned since becoming a Christian? Not one! There never has
been, and never will be, a soul on this earth who has not sinned, or who will
not sin, at some time of their Christian experience. But God has made
provision for believers’ sins. We are not to make provision for them; but
God has. Bear that in mind.

Turn to 1 John ii. 1: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that
ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus
Christ the righteous.” He is here writing to the righteous. “If any man sin,
we”–John put himself in–“we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus
Christ the righteous.” What an Advocate! He attends to our interests at the
very best place–the throne of God. He said, “Nevertheless, I tell you the
truth; it is expedient for you that I go away” (John xvi. 7). He went away to
become our High Priest, and also our Advocate. He has had some hard
cases to plead; but he has never lost one: and if you entrust your immortal
interests to Him, He will “present you faultless before the presence of His
glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).

The past sins of Christians are all forgiven as soon as they are confessed;
and they are never to be mentioned. That is a question which is not to be
opened up again. If our sins have been put away, that is the end of them.
They are not to be remembered; and God will not mention them any more.
This is very plain. Suppose I have a son who, while I am from home, does
wrong. When I go home he throws his arms around my neck and says,
“Papa, I did what you told me not to do. I am very sorry. Do forgive me.” I
say: “Yes, my son,” and kiss him. He wipes away his tears, and goes off
rejoicing.

CHAPTER VII.

But the next day he says: “Papa, I wish you would forgive me for the wrong
I did yesterday.” I should say: “Why, my son, that thing is settled; and I
don’t want it mentioned again.” “But I wish you would forgive me: it would
help me to hear you say, ‘I forgive you.'” Would that be honoring me?
Would it not grieve me to have my boy doubt me? But to gratify him I say
again, “I forgive you, my son.”

And if, the next day, he were again to bring up that old sin, and ask
forgiveness, would not that grieve me to the heart? And so, my dear reader,
if God has forgiven us, never let us mention the past. Let us forget those
things which are behind, and reach forth unto those which are before, and
press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ
Jesus. Let the sins of the past go; for “If we confess our sins, He is faithful
and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
(1 John i. 9).

And let me say that this principle is recognized in courts of justice. A case
came up in the courts of a country–I won’t say where–in which a man had
had trouble with his wife; but he forgave her, and then afterwards brought
her into court. And, when it was known that he had forgiven her, the judge
said that the thing was settled. The judge recognized the soundness of the
principle, that if a sin were once forgiven there was an end of it. And do
you think the Judge of all the earth will forgive you and me, and open the
question again? Our sins are gone for time and eternity, if God forgives:
and what we have to do is to confess and forsake our sins.

Again in 2 Corinthians xiii. 5: “Examine yourselves whether ye be in the
faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus
Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” Now examine yourselves. Try
your religion. Put it to the test. Can you forgive an enemy? That is a good
way to know if you are a child of God. Can you forgive an injury, or take
an affront, as Christ did? Can you be censured for doing well, and not
murmur? Can you be misjudged and misrepresented, and yet keep a
Christ-like spirit?

CHAPTER VII.

Another good test is to read Galatians v., and notice the fruits of the Spirit;
and see if you have them. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long
suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such
there is no law.” If I have the fruits of the Spirit I must have the Spirit. I
could not have the fruits without the Spirit any more than there could be an
orange without the tree. And Christ says “Ye shall know them by their
fruits;” “for the tree is known by his fruits.” Make the tree good, and the
fruit will be good. The only way to get the fruit is to have the Spirit. That is
the way to examine ourselves whether we are the children of God.

Then there is another very striking passage. In Romans viii. 9, Paul says:
“Now, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” That
ought to settle the question, even though one may have gone through all the
external forms that are considered necessary by some to constitute a
member of a Church. Read Paul’s life, and put yours alongside of it. If your
life resembles his, it is a proof that you are born again–that you are a new
creature in Christ Jesus.

But although you may be born again, it will require time to become a
full-grown Christian. Justification is instantaneous; but sanctification is a
life-work. We are to grow in wisdom. Peter says “Grow in grace, and in the
knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. iii. 18); and in the
first chapter of his Second Epistle, “Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue
knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and
to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly
kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound they make you
that ye shall neither be barron nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ.” So that we are to add grace to grace. A tree may be perfect in
its first year of growth; but it does not attain its maturity. So with the
Christian: he may be a true child of God, but not a matured Christian. The
eighth of Romans is very important, and we should be very familiar with it.
In the fourteenth verse the apostle says: “For as many as are led by the
Spirit of God they are the sons of God.” Just as the soldier is led by his
captain, the pupil by his teacher, or the traveller by his guide; so the Holy
Spirit will be the guide of every true child of God.

CHAPTER VII.

Then let me call your attention to another fact. All Paul’s teaching in nearly
every Epistle rings out the doctrine of assurance. He says in 2 Corinthians

v. 1: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were
dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal
in the heavens.” He had a title to the mansions above, and he says–I know
it. He was not living in uncertainty. He said: “I have a desire to depart and
be with Christ” (Phil. i. 23); and if he had been uncertain he would not have
said that. Then in Colossians iii. 4, he says: “When Christ, who is our life,
shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” I am told that Dr.
Watts’ tombstone bears this same passage of Scripture. There is no doubt
there.
Then turn to Colossians i. 12: “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath
made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who
hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into
the kingdom of His dear Son.”

Three haths: “hath made us meet;” “hath delivered us;” and “hath translated
us.” It does not say that He is going to make us meet; that He is going to
deliver; that He is going to translate.

Then again in verse 14th: “In whom we have redemption through His
blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” We are either forgiven or we are not,
we should not give ourselves any rest until we get into the kingdom of God;
nor until we can each look up and say, “I know that if my earthly house of
this tabernacle were dissolved, I have a building of God, a house not made
with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. v. 1).

Look at Romans viii. 32: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered
Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all
things?” If He gave us His Son, will He not give us the certainty that He is
ours. I have heard this illustration. There was a man who owed $10,000,
and would have been made a bankrupt, but a friend came forward and paid
the sum. It was found afterwards that he owed a few dollars more; but he
did not for a moment entertain a doubt that, as his friend had paid the larger
amount, he would also pay the smaller. And we have high warrant for

CHAPTER VII.

saying that if God has given us His Son He will with Him also freely give
us all things; and if we want to realize our salvation beyond controversy He
will not leave us in darkness.

Again in the 33d verse: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s
elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that
died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God,
who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of
Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or
nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed
all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all
these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I
am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor
powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor
any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which
is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

That has the right ring in it. There is Assurance for you. “I Know.” Do you
think that the God who has justified me will condemn me? That is quite an
absurdity. God is going to save us so that neither men, angels, nor devils,
can bring any charge against us or Him. He will have the work complete.

Job lived in a darker day than we do; but we read in Job xix. 25: “I know
that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand in the latter day upon the
earth.”

The same confidence breathes through Paul’s last words to Timothy: “For
the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed;
for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep
that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” It is not a matter
of doubt, but of knowledge. “I know.” “I am persuaded.” The word “Hope,”
is not used in the Scripture to express doubt. It is used in regard to the
second coming of Christ, or to the resurrection of the body. We do not say
that we “hope” we are Christians. I do not say that I “hope” I am an
American, or that I “hope” I am a married man. These are settled things. I
may say that I “hope” to go back to my home, or I hope to attend such a

CHAPTER VII.

meeting. I do not say that I “hope” to come to this country, for I am here.
And so, if we are born of God we know it; and He will not leave us in
darkness if we search the Scriptures.

Christ taught this doctrine to His seventy disciples when they returned
elated with their success, saying, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us
through Thy name.” The Lord seemed to check them, and said that He
would give them something to rejoice in. “Notwithstanding in this rejoice
not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice because your
names are written in heaven.” (Luke x. 20.)

It is the privilege of every one of us to know, beyond a doubt, that our
salvation is sure. Then we can work for others. But if we are doubtful of
our own salvation, we are not fit for the service of God.

Another passage is John v. 24: “Verily, verily I say unto you: He that
heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life,
and shall not come into ‘judgment,'” (the new translation has it so), “but is
passed from death unto life.”

Some people say that you never can tell till you are before the great white
throne of Judgment whether you are saved or not. Why, my dear friend, if
your life is hid with Christ in God, you are not coming into judgment for
your sins. We may come into judgment for reward. This is clearly taught
where the lord reckoned with the servant to whom five talents had been
given, and who brought other five talents saying, “Lord, thou deliveredst
unto me five talents; behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast
been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things;
enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matt. xxv. 20, 21.) We shall be judged
for our stewardship. That is one thing; but salvation–eternal life–is
another.

Will God demand payment twice of the debt which Christ has paid for us?
If Christ bear my sins in His own body on the tree, am I to answer for them
as well?

CHAPTER VII.

Isaiah tells us that, “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was
bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him: and
with His stripes we are healed.” In Romans iv. 25, we read: He “was
delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Let
us believe, and get the benefit of His finished work.

Then again in John x. 9: “I am the door: by Me if any man enter in he shall
be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” That is the promise.
Then the 27th verse, “My sheep hear my voice; and I know them, and they
follow Me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My father which gave
them is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my
Father’s hand.” Think of that! The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are
pledged to keep us. You see that it is not only the Father, not only the Son,
but the three persons of the Triune God.

Now, a great many people want some token outside of God’s word. That
habit always brings doubt. If I made a promise to meet a man at a certain
hour and place to-morrow, and he were to ask me for my watch as a token
of my sincerity, it would be a slur on my truthfulness. We must not
question what God has said: He has made statement after statement, and
multiplied figure upon figure. Christ says: “I am the door; by Me if any
man enter in he shall be saved.” “I am the Good Shepherd, and know My
sheep, and am known of Mine.” “I am the light of the world; he that
followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” “I
am the truth;” receive Me, and you will have the truth; for I am the
embodiment of truth. Do you want to know the way? “I am the way:”
follow Me, and I will lead you into the kingdom. Are you hungering after
righteousness? “I am the Bread of life:” if you eat of Me you shall never
hunger. “I am the Water of life:” if you drink of this water it shall be within
you “a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.” “I am the
resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet
shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”
(John xi. 25, 26.)

CHAPTER VII.

Let me remind you where our doubts come from. A good many of God’s
dear people never get beyond knowing themselves servants. He calls us
“friends.” If you go into a house you will soon see the difference between
the servant and the son. The son walks at perfect liberty all over the house;
he is at home. But the servant takes a subordinate place. What we want is to
get beyond servants. We ought to realize our standing with God as sons and
daughters. He will not “un-child” His children. God has not only adopted
us, but we are His by birth: we have been born into His kingdom. My little
boy was as much mine when he was a day old as now that he is fourteen.
He was my son; although it did not appear what he would be when he
attained manhood. He is mine; although he may have to undergo probation
under tutors and governors. The children of God are not perfect; but we are
perfectly His children.

Another origin of doubts is looking at ourselves. If you want to be wretched
and miserable, filled with doubts from morning till night, look at
yourselves. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on
Thee.” (Isa. xxvi. 3.) Many of God’s dear children are robbed of joy
because they keep looking at themselves.

Some one has said: “There are three ways to look. If you want to be
wretched, look within; if you wish to be distracted, look around; but if you
would have peace, look up.” Peter looked away from Christ, and he
immediately began to sink. The Master said to him: “O thou of little faith!
Wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matt. xiv. 31.) He had God’s eternal word,
which was sure footing, and better than either marble, granite or iron; but
the moment he took his eyes off Christ down he went. Those who look
around cannot see how unstable and dishonoring is their walk. We want to
look straight at the “Author and Finisher of our faith.”

When I was a boy I could only make a straight track in the snow, by
keeping my eyes fixed upon a tree or some object before me. The moment I
took my eye off the mark set in front of me, I walked crooked. It is only
when we look fixedly on Christ that we find perfect peace. After He rose
from the dead He showed His disciples His hands and His feet. (Luke xxiv.
40.) That was the ground of their peace. If you want to scatter your doubts,

CHAPTER VII.

look at the blood; and if you want to increase your doubts, look at yourself.
You will get doubts enough for years by being occupied with yourself for a
few days.

Then again: look at what He is, and at what He has done; not at what you
are, and what you have done. That is the way to get peace and rest.

Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring the emancipation of
three millions of slaves. On a certain day their chains were to fall off, and
they were to be free. The proclamation was put up on the trees and fences
wherever the Northern Army marched. A good many slaves could not read:
but others read the proclamation, and most of them believed it; and on a
certain day a glad shout went up, “We are free!” Some did not believe it,
and stayed with their old masters; but it did not alter the fact that they were
free. Christ, the Captain of our salvation, has proclaimed freedom to all
who have faith in Him. Let us take Him at His word. Their feelings would
not have made the slaves free. The power must come from the outside.
Looking at ourselves will not make us free, but it is looking to Christ with
the eye of faith.

Bishop Ryle has strikingly said: “Faith is the root, and Assurance the
flower.” Doubtless you can never have the flower without the root; but it is
no less certain you may have the root, and not the flower.

“Faith is that poor trembling woman who came behind Jesus in the press,
and touched the hem of His garment. (Mark v. 27.) Assurance is Stephen
standing calmly in the midst of his murderers, and saying, ‘I see the heavens
opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God'” (Acts vii.
56).

“Faith is the penitent thief, crying, ‘Lord, remember me’ (Luke xxiii. 42).
Assurance is Job sitting in the dust, covered with sores, and saying, ‘I know
that my Redeemer liveth;’ ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him'” (Job

xix. 25; xiii. 15).

CHAPTER VII.

“Faith is Peter’s drowning cry, as he began to sink, ‘Lord, save me!’ (Matt.

xxiv. 30). Assurance is that same Peter declaring before the Council, in
after-times, ‘This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders,
which is become the head of the corner: neither is there salvation in any
other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men
whereby we must be saved'” (Acts iv. 11, 12).
“Faith is the anxious, trembling voice, ‘Lord, I believe; help Thou mine
unbelief!’ (Mark ix. 24). Assurance is the confident challenge, ‘Who shall
lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? Who is he that condemneth?'”
(Rom. viii. 33, 34).

Faith is Saul praying in the house of Judas at Damascus, sorrowful, blind,
and alone. (Acts ix. 11.) Assurance is Paul, the aged prisoner, looking
calmly into the grave, and saying, ‘I know whom I have believed.’ ‘There is
a crown laid up for me’ (2 Tim. i. 12; iv. 8).

“Faith is Life. How great the blessing! Who can tell the gulf between life
and death? And yet life may be weak, sickly, unhealthy, painful, trying,
anxious, worn, burdensome, joyless, smileless, to the very end.

“Assurance is more than life. It is health, strength, power, vigor, activity,
energy, manliness, beauty.”

A minister once pronounced the benediction in this way: “The heart of God
to make us welcome; the blood of Christ to make us clean, and the Holy
Spirit to make us certain.” The security of the believer is the result of the
operation of the Spirit of God.

Another writer says: “I have seen shrubs and trees grow out of the rocks,
and overhang fearful precipices, roaring cataracts, and deep running waters;
but they maintained their position, and threw out their foliage and branches
as much as if they had been in the midst of a dense forest.” It was their hold
on the rock that made them secure; and the influences of nature that
sustained their life. So believers are oftentimes exposed to the most horrible
dangers in their journey to heaven; but, so long as they are “rooted and

CHAPTER VII.

grounded” in the Rock of Ages, they are perfectly secure. Their hold of
Him is their guarantee; and the blessings of His grace give them life and
sustain them in life. And as the tree must die, or the rock fall, before a
dissolution can be effected between them, so either the believer must lose
his spiritual life, or the Rock must crumble, ere their union can be
dissolved.

Speaking of the Lord Jesus, Isaiah says: “I will fasten Him as a nail in a
sure place; and He shall be for a glorious throne to His Father’s house: and
they shall hang upon Him all the glory of His father’s house, the offspring
and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to
all the vessels of flagons” (xxii. 23, 24).

There is one nail, fastened in a sure place; and on it hang all the flagons and
all the cups. “Oh,” says one little cup, “I am so small and so black, suppose
I were to drop!” “Oh,” says a flagon, “there is no fear of you; but I am so
heavy, so very weighty, suppose I were to drop!” And a little cup says, “Oh,
if I were only like the gold cup there, I should never fear falling.” But the
gold cup answers, “It is not because I am a gold cup that I keep up; but
because I hang upon the nail.” If the nail gives way we all come down, gold
cups, china cups, pewter cups, and all; but as long as the nail keeps up, all
that hang on Him hang safely.

I once read these words on a tombstone: “Born, died, kept.” Let us pray
God to keep us in perfect peace, and assured of salvation.

CHAPTER VIII.

CHAPTER VIII.

CHRIST ALL AND IN ALL.

(Colossians iii. 11.)

Christ is all to us that we make Him to be. I want to emphasize that word
“all.” Some men make Him to be “a root out of a dry ground,” “without
form or comeliness.” He is nothing to them; they do not want Him. Some
Christians have a very small Saviour, for they are not willing to receive
Him fully, and let Him do great and mighty things for them. Others have a
mighty Saviour, because they make Him to be great and mighty.

If we would know what Christ wants to be to us, we must first of all know
Him as our Saviour from sin. When the angel came down from heaven to
proclaim that He was to be born into the world, you remember he gave His
name, “He shall be called Jesus, for He shall save His people from their
sins.” Have we been delivered from sin? He did not come to save us in our
sins, but from our sins. Now, there are three ways of knowing a man. Some
men you know only by hearsay; others you merely know by having been
once introduced to them, you know them very slightly; other again you
know by having been acquainted with them for years, you know them
intimately. So I believe there are three classes of people to-day in the
Christian Church and out of it: those who know Christ only by reading or
by hearsay, those who have a historical Christ; those who have a slight
personal acquaintance with Him; and, those who thirst, as Paul did, to
“know Him and the power of His resurrection.” The more we know of
Christ the more we shall love Him, and the better we shall serve Him.

Let us look at Him as He hangs upon the Cross, and see how He has put
away sin. He was manifested that He might take away our sins; and if we
really know Him we must first of all see Him as our Saviour from sin. You
remember how the angels said to the shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem,
“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people:
for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is
Christ the Lord.” (Luke ii. 10, 11.) Then if you go clear back to Isaiah,

CHAPTER VIII.

seven hundred years before Christ’s birth, you will find these words: “I,
even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no Saviour” (xliii. 11).

Again, in the First Epistle of John (iv. 14) we read: “We have seen, and do
testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” All the
heathen religions, we read, teach men to work their way up to God; but the
religion of Jesus Christ is God coming down to men to save them, to lift
them up out of the pit of sin. In Luke xix. 10, we read that Christ Himself
told the people what He had come for: “The Son of Man is come to seek
and to save that which was lost.” So we start from the Cross, not from the
cradle. Christ has opened up a new and living way to the Father; He has
taken all the stumbling-blocks out of the way, so that every man who
accepts of Christ as his Saviour can have salvation.

But Christ is not only a Saviour. I might save a man from drowning and
rescue him from an untimely grave; but I might probably not be able to do
any more for him. Christ is something more than a Saviour. When the
children of Israel were placed behind the blood, that blood was their
salvation; but they would still have heard the crack of the slave-driver’s
whip if they had not been delivered from the Egyptian yoke of bondage:
then it was that God delivered them from the hand of the king of Egypt. I
have little sympathy with the idea that God comes down to save us, and
then leaves us in prison, the slaves of our besetting sins. No; He has come
to deliver us, and to give us victory over our evil tempers, our passions, and
our lusts. Are you a professed Christian but one who is a slave to some
besetting sin? If you want to get victory over that temper or that lust, go on
to know Christ more intimately. He brings deliverance for the past, the
present, and the future. “Who delivered; who doth deliver; who will yet
deliver.” (2 Cor. i. 10.)

How often, like the children of Israel when they came to the Red Sea, have
we become discouraged because everything looked dark before us, behind
us, and around us, and we knew not which way to turn. Like Peter we have
said, “To whom shall we go?” But God has appeared for our deliverance.
He has brought us through the Red Sea right out into the wilderness, and
opened up the way into the Promised Land. But Christ is not only our

CHAPTER VIII.

Deliverer; He is our Redeemer. That is something more than being our
Saviour. He has brought us back. “Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and
ye shall be redeemed without money.” (Isaiah lii. 3.) “We were not
redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold.” (1 Peter i. 18.) If gold
could have redeemed us, could He not have created ten thousand worlds
full of gold?

When God had redeemed the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt,
and brought them through the Red Sea, they struck out for the wilderness;
and then God became to them their Way. I am so thankful the Lord has not
left us in darkness as to the right way. There is no living man who has been
groping in the darkness but may know the way. “I am the Way,” says
Christ. If we follow Christ we shall be in the right way, and have the right
doctrine. Who could lead the children of Israel through the wilderness like
the Almighty God Himself? He knew the pitfalls and dangers of the way,
and guided the people through all their wilderness journey right into the
promised land. It is true that if it had not been for their accursed unbelief
they might have crossed into the land at Kadesh Barnea, and taken
possession of it, but they desired something besides God’s word; so they
were turned back, and had to wander in the desert for forty years. I believe
there are thousands of God’s children wandering in the wilderness still. The
Lord has delivered them from the hand of the Egyptian, and would at once
take them through the wilderness right into the Promised Land, if they were
only willing to follow Christ. Christ has been down here, and has made the
rough places smooth, and the dark places light, and the crooked places
straight. If we will only be led by Him, and will follow Him, all will be
peace, and joy, and rest.

In the frontier, when a man goes out hunting he takes a hatchet with him,
and cuts off pieces from the bark of the trees as he goes along through the
forest: this is called “blazing the way.” He does it that he may know the
way back, as there is no pathway through these thick forests. Christ has
come down to this earth; He has “blazed the Way:” and now that He has
gone up on high, if we will but follow him, we shall be kept in the right
path. I will tell you how you may know if you are following Christ or not.
If some one has slandered you, or misjudged you, do you treat them as your

CHAPTER VIII.

master would have done? If you do not bear these things in a loving and
forgiving spirit, all the churches and ministers in the world cannot make
you right. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
(Romans viii. 9.) “If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature: old
things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. v. 17.)

Christ is not only our way; He is the Light upon the way. He says, “I am the
Light of the world.” (John viii. 12; ix. 5; xii. 46.) He goes on to say, “He
that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of
life.” It is impossible for any man or woman who is following Christ to
walk in darkness. If your soul is in the darkness, groping around in the fog
and mist of earth, let me tell you it is because you have got away from the
true light. There is nothing but light that will dispel darkness. So let those
who are walking in spiritual darkness admit Christ into their hearts: He is
the Light. I call to mind a picture of which I used at one time to think a
good deal; but now I have come to look more closely, I would not put it up
in my house except I turned the face to the wall. It represents Christ as
standing at a door, knocking, and having a big lantern in His hand. Why,
you might as well hang up a lantern to the sun as put one into Christ’s hand.
He is the Sun of Righteousness; and it is our privilege to walk in the light
of an unclouded sun.

Many people are hunting after light, and peace, and joy. We are nowhere
told to seek after these things. If we admit Christ into our hearts these will
all come of themselves. I remember, when a boy, I used to try in vain to
catch my shadow. One day I was walking with my face to the sun; and as I
happened to look around I saw that my shadow was following me. The
faster I went the faster my shadow followed; I could not get away from it.
So when our faces are directed to the Sun of Righteousness, the peace and
joy are sure to come. A man said to me some time ago, “Moody, how do
you feel?” It was so long since I had thought about my feelings I had to
stop and consider awhile, in order to find out. Some Christians are all the
time thinking about their feelings; and because they do not feel just right
they think their joy is all gone. If we keep our faces towards Christ, and are
occupied with Him, we shall be lifted out of the darkness and the trouble
that may have gathered round our path.

CHAPTER VIII.

I remember being in a meeting after the war of the great rebellion broke
out. The war had been going on for about six months. The army of the
North had been defeated at Bull Run, in fact, we had nothing but defeat,
and it looked as though the republic was going to pieces. So we were much
cast down and discouraged. At this meeting every speaker for awhile
seemed as if he had hung his harp upon the willow; and it was one of the
gloomiest meetings I ever attended. Finally an old man with beautiful white
hair got up to speak, and his face literally shone. “Young men,” he said
“you do not talk like sons of the King. Though it is dark just here,
remember it is light somewhere else.” Then he went on to say that if it were
dark all over the world, it was light up around the Throne.

He told us he had come from the east, where a friend had described to him
how he had been up a mountain to spend the night and see the sun rise. As
the party were climbing up the mountain, and before they had reached the
summit, a storm came on. This friend said to the guide, “I will give this up;
take me back.” The guide smiled, and replied, “I think we shall get above
the storm soon.” On they went; and it was not long before they got up to
where it was as calm as any summer evening. Down in the valley a terrible
storm raged; they could hear the thunder rolling, and see the lightning’s
flash; but all was serene on the mountain top. “And so, my young friends,”
continued the old man, “though all is dark around you, come a little higher
and the darkness will flee away.” Often when I have been inclined to get
discouraged, I have thought of what he said. Now if you are down in the
valley amidst the thick fog and the darkness, get a little higher; get nearer to
Christ, and know more of Him.

You remember the Bible says, that when Christ expired on the cross, the
light of the world was put out. God sent His Son to be the light of the
world; but men did not love the light because it reproved them of their sins.
When they were about to put out this light, what did Christ say to His
disciples? “Ye shall be witnesses unto Me.” (Acts i. 8.) He has gone up
yonder to intercede for us; but He wants us to shine for Him down here.
“Ye are the light of the world.” (Matt. v. 14.) So our work is to shine; not to
blow our own trumpet so that people may look at us. What we want to do is
to show forth Christ. If we have any light at all it is borrowed light. Some

CHAPTER VIII.

one said to a young Christian: “Converted! it is all moonshine!” Said he: “I
thank you for the illustration; the moon borrows its light from the sun; and
we borrow ours from the Sun of Righteousness.” If we are Christ’s, we are
here to shine for Him: by and by he will call us home to our reward.

I remember hearing of a blind man who sat by the wayside with a lantern
near him. When he was asked what he had a lantern for, as he could not see
the light, he said it was that people should not stumble ever him. I believe
more people stumble over the inconsistencies of professed Christians than
from any other cause. What is doing more harm to the cause of Christ than
all the scepticism in the world is this cold, dead formalism, this conformity
to the world, this professing what we do not possess. The eyes of the world
are upon us. I think it was George Fox who said every Quaker ought to
light up the country for ten miles around him. If we were all brightly
shining for the Master, those about us would soon be reached, and there
would be a shout of praise going to heaven.

People say: “I want to know what is the truth.” Listen: “I am the truth,” says
Christ. (John xiv. 5.) If you want to know what the truth is, get acquainted
with Christ. People also complain that they have not life. Many are trying
to give themselves spiritual life. You may galvanize yourselves and put
electricity into yourselves, so to speak; but the effect will not last very long.
Christ alone is the author of life. If you would have real spiritual life, get to
know Christ. Many try to stir up spiritual life by going to meetings. That
may be well enough; but it will be of no use, unless they get into contact
with the living Christ. Then their spiritual life will not be a spasmodic
thing, but will be perpetual; flowing on and on, and bringing forth fruit to
God.

Then Christ is our Keeper. A great many young disciples are afraid they
will not hold out. “He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”
(Psalm cxxi. 4.) It is the work of Christ to keep us; and if He keeps us there
will be no danger of our falling. I suppose if Queen Victoria had to take
care of the Crown of England, some thief might attempt to get access to it;
but it is put away in the Tower of London, and guarded night and day by
soldiers. The whole English army would, if necessary, be called out to

CHAPTER VIII.

protect it. And we have no strength in ourselves. We are no match for
Satan; he has had six thousand years’ experience. But then we remember
that the One who neither slumbers nor sleeps is our keeper. In Isaiah xli.
10, we read, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am
thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee
with the right hand of My righteousness.” In Jude also, verse 24, we are
told that He is “able to keep us from falling.” “We have an Advocate with
the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John ii. 1.)

But Christ is something more. He is our Shepherd. It is the work of the
shepherd to care for the sheep, to feed them and protect them. “I am the
Good Shepherd;” “My sheep hear My voice.” “I lay down My life for the
sheep.” In that wonderful tenth chapter of John, Christ uses the personal
pronoun no less than twenty-eight times, in declaring what He is and what
He will do. In verse 28 He says, “They shall never perish; neither shall any
[man] pluck them out of My hand.” But notice the word “man” is in italics.
See how the verse really reads: “Neither shall any pluck them out of My
hand”–no devil or man shall be able to do it. In another place the Scripture
declares, “Your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. iii. 3.) How safe and
how secure!

Christ says, “My sheep hear My voice . . . and they follow Me.” (John x.
27.) A gentleman in the East heard of a shepherd who could call all his
sheep to him by name. He went and asked if this was true. The shepherd
took him to the pasture where they were, and called one of them by some
name. One sheep looked up and answered the call, while the others went on
feeding and paid no attention. In the same way he called about a dozen of
the sheep around him. The stranger said, “How do you know one from the
other? They all look perfectly alike.” “Well,” said he, “you see that sheep
toes in a little; that other one has a squint; one has a little piece of wool off;
another has a black spot; and another has a piece out of its ear.” The man
knew all his sheep by their failings, for he had not a perfect one in the
whole flock. I suppose our Shepherd knows us in the same way.

An Eastern shepherd was once telling a gentleman that his sheep knew his
voice, and that no stranger could deceive them. The gentleman thought he

CHAPTER VIII.

would like to put the statement to the test. So he put on the shepherd’s frock
and turban, and took his staff and went to the flock. He disguised his voice,
and tried to speak as much like the shepherd as he could; but he could not
get a single sheep in the flock to follow him. He asked the shepherd if his
sheep never followed a stranger. He was obliged to admit that if a sheep got
sickly it would follow any one. So it is with a good many professed
Christians; when they get sickly and weak in the faith, they will follow any
teacher that comes along; but when the soul is in health, a man will not be
carried away by errors and heresies. He will know whether the “voice”
speaks the truth or not. He can soon tell that, if he is really in communion
with God. When God sends a true messenger his words will find a ready
response in the Christian heart.

Christ is a tender Shepherd. You may some time think He has not been a
very tender Shepherd to you; you are passing under the rod. It is written,
“Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He
receiveth.” (Heb. xii. 6.) That you are passing under the rod is no proof that
Christ does not love you. A friend of mine lost all his children. No man
could ever have loved his family more; but the scarlet fever took one by
one away; and so the whole four or five, one after another, died. The poor
stricken parents went over to great Britain, and wandered from one place to
another, there and on the continent. At length they found their way to Syria.
One day they saw an Eastern shepherd come down to a stream, and call his
flock to cross. The sheep came down to the brink, and looked at the water;
but they seemed to shrink from it, and he could not get them to respond to
his call. He then took a little lamb, put it under one arm; he took another
lamb and put it under the other arm, and thus passed into the stream. The
old sheep no longer stood looking at the water: they plunged in after the
shepherd; and in a few minutes the whole flock was on the other side; and
he led them away to newer and fresher pastures. The bereaved father and
mother, as they looked on the scene, felt that it taught them a lesson. They
no longer murmured because the Great Shepherd had taken their lambs one
by one into yonder world; and they began to look up and look forward to
the time when they would follow the loved ones they had lost. If you have
loved ones gone before, remember that your Shepherd is calling you to “set
your affection on things above.” (Col. iii. 2.) Let us be faithful to Him, and

CHAPTER VIII.

follow Him, while we remain in this world. And if you have not taken Him
for your Shepherd, do so this very day.

Christ is not only all these things that I have mentioned: He is also our
Mediator, our Sanctifier, our Justifier; in fact, it would take volumes to tell
what He desires to be to every individual soul. While looking through some
papers I once read this wonderful description of Christ. I do not know
where it originally came from; but it was so fresh to my soul that I should
like to give it to you:-

“Christ is our Way; we walk in Him. He is our Truth; we embrace Him. He
is our Life; we live in Him. He is our Lord; we choose Him to rule over us.
He is our Master; we serve Him. He is our Teacher, instructing us in the
way of salvation. He is our Prophet, pointing out the future. He is our
Priest, having atoned for us. He is our Advocate, ever living to make
intercession for us. He is our Saviour, saving to the uttermost. He is our
Root; we grow from Him. He is our Bread; we feed upon Him. He is our
Shepherd, leading us into green pastures. He is our true Vine; we abide in
Him. He is the Water of Life; we slake our thirst from Him. He is the
fairest among ten thousand: we admire Him above all others. He is ‘the
brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of His person;’ we
strive to reflect His likeness. He is the upholder of all things; we rest upon
Him. He is our wisdom; we are guided by Him. He is our Righteousness;
we cast all our imperfections upon Him. He is our Sanctification; we draw
all our power for holy life from Him. He is our Redemption, redeeming us
from all iniquity. He is our Healer, curing all our diseases. He is our Friend,
relieving us in all our necessities. He is our Brother, cheering us in our
difficulties.”

Here is another beautiful extract: it is from Gotthold:

“For my part, my soul is like a hungry and thirsty child; and I need His love
and consolation for my refreshment. I am a wandering and lost sheep; and I
need Him as a good and faithful shepherd. My soul is like a frightened dove
pursued by the hawk; and I need His wounds for a refuge. I am a feeble
vine; and I need His cross to lay hold of, and to wind myself about. I am a

CHAPTER VIII.

sinner; and I need His righteousness. I am naked and bare; and I need His
holiness and innocence for a covering. I am ignorant; and I need His
teaching: simple and foolish; and I need the guidance of His Holy Spirit. In
no situation, and at no time, can I do without Him. Do I pray? He must
prompt, and intercede for me. Am I arraigned by Satan at the Divine
tribunal? He must be my Advocate. Am I in affliction? He must be my
Helper. Am I persecuted by the world? He must defend me. When I am
forsaken, He must be my Support; when I am dying, my life: when
mouldering in the grave, my Resurrection. Well, then, I will rather part
with all the world, and all that it contains, than with Thee, my Saviour.
And, God be thanked! I know that Thou, too, art neither able nor willing to
do without me. Thou art rich; and I am poor. Thou hast abundance; and I
am needy. Thou hast righteousness; and I sins. Thou hast wine and oil; and
I wounds. Thou hast cordials and refreshments; and I hunger and thirst.

Use me then, my Saviour, for whatever purpose, and in whatever way,
Thou mayest require. Here is my poor heart, an empty vessel; fill it with
Thy grace. Here is my sinful and troubled soul; quicken and refresh it with
Thy love. Take my heart for Thine abode; my mouth to spread the glory of
Thy name; my love and all my powers, for the advancement of Thy
believing people; and never suffer the steadfastness and confidence of my
faith to abate–that so at all times I may be enabled from the heart to say.
‘Jesus needs me, and I Him; and so we suit each other.'”

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CHAPTER IX.

BACKSLIDING.

“I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely: for Mine anger is
turned away.”–Hosea xiv. 4.

There are two kinds of backsliders. Some have never been converted: they
have gone through the form of joining a Christian community and claim to
be backsliders; but they never have, if I may use the expression, “slid
forward.” They may talk of backsliding; but they have never really been
born again. They need to be treated differently from real back-sliders–those
who have been born of the incorruptible seed, but who have turned aside.
We want to bring the latter back the same road by which they left their first
love.

Turn to Psalm lxxxv. 5. There you read: “Wilt Thou be angry with us for
ever? wilt Thou draw out Thine anger to all generations? wilt Thou not
revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee? Show us Thy mercy,
O Lord; and grant us Thy salvation.” Now look again: “I will hear what
God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to
His saints; but let them not turn again to folly” (verse 8).

There is nothing that will do back-sliders so much good as to come in
contact with the Word of God; and for them the Old Testament is as full of
help as the New. The book of Jeremiah has some wonderful passages for
wanderers. What we want to do is to get back-sliders to hear what God the
Lord will say.

Look for a moment at Jeremiah vi. 10. “To whom shall I speak, and give
warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they
cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they
have no delight in it.” That is the condition of back-sliders. They have no
delight whatever in the word of God. But we want to bring them back, and
let God get their ear. Read from the 14th verse: “They have healed also the
hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when

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there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed
abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush:
therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them
they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the
ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk
therein; and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not
walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound
of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.”

That was the condition of the Jews when they had backslidden. They had
turned away from the old paths. And that is the condition of backsliders.
They have got away from the good old book. Adam and Eve fell by not
hearkening to the word of God. They did not believe God’s word; but they
believed the tempter. That is the way backsliders fall–by turning away
from the word of God.

In Jeremiah ii. we find God pleading with them as a father would plead
with a son. “Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in
Me, that they are gone from Me, and have walked after vanity, and are
become vain? . . . Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord; and
with your children’s children will I plead . . . For my people have
committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters,
and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

Now there is one thing to which we wish to call the attention of
backsliders; and that is, that the Lord never forsook them; but that they
forsook Him! The Lord never left them; but they left Him! And this, too,
without any cause! He says, “What iniquity have your fathers found in Me,
that they are gone far from Me?” Is not God the same to-day as when you
came to Him first? Has God changed? Men are apt to think that God has
changed; but the fault is with them. Backslider, I would ask you, “What
iniquity is there in God, that you have left Him and gone far from Him?”
You have, He says, hewed out to yourselves broken cisterns that hold no
water. The world cannot satisfy the new nature. No earthly well can satisfy
the soul that has become a partaker of the heavenly nature. Honor, wealth
and the pleasures of this world will not satisfy those who, having tasted the

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water of life, have gone astray, seeking refreshment at the world’s
fountains. Earthly wells will get dry. They cannot quench spiritual thirst.

Again in the 32d verse: “Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her
attire? yet My people have forgotten Me, days without number.” That is the
charge which God brings against the backslider. They “have forgotten Me,
days without number.”

I have often startled young ladies when I have said to them, “My friend,
you think more of your ear-rings than of the Lord.” The reply has been,
“No, I do not.” But when I have asked, “Would you not be troubled if you
lost one; and would you not set about seeking for it?” the answer has been,
“Well, yes, I think I should.” But though they had turned from the Lord, it
did not give them any trouble; nor did they seek after Him that they might
find Him.

How many once in fellowship and in daily communion with the Lord now
think more of their dresses and ornaments than of their precious souls!
Love does not like to be forgotten. Mothers would have broken hearts if
their children left them and never wrote a word or sent any memento of
their affection; and God pleads over backsliders as a parent over loved ones
who have gone astray. He tries to woo them back. He asks: “What have I
done that you should have forsaken Me?”

The most tender and loving words to be found in the whole of the Bible are
from Jehovah to those who have left Him without a cause. Jer. ii. 19.

Hear how He argues with such: (Jer. xi. 19.) “Thine own wickedness shall
correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee; know, therefore, and
see, that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy
God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts.”

I do not exaggerate when I say that I have seen hundreds of backsliders
come back; and I have asked them if they have not found it an evil and a
bitter thing to leave the Lord. You cannot find a real backslider, who has
known the Lord, but will admit that it is an evil and a bitter thing to turn

CHAPTER IX. 106

away from Him; and I do not know of any one verse more used to bring
back wanderers than that very one. May it bring you back if you have
wandered into the far country.

Look at Lot. Did not he find it an evil and a bitter thing? He was twenty
years in Sodom, and never made a convert. He got on well in the sight of
the world. Men would have told you that he was one of the most influential
and worthy men in all Sodom. But alas! alas! he ruined his family. And it is
a pitiful sight to see that old backslider going through the streets of Sodom
at midnight, after he has warned his children, and they have turned a deaf
ear.

I have never known a man and his wife backslide, without its proving utter
ruin to their children. They will make a mockery of religion and will deride
their parents: “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee; and thy
backsliding shall reprove thee!” Did not David find it so? Mark him,
crying, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had
died for thee; O Absalom, my son, my son!” I think it was the ruin, rather
than the death of his son that caused this anguish.

I remember being engaged in conversation some years ago, till past
midnight, with an old man. He had been for years wandering on the barren
mountains of sin. That night he wanted to get back. We prayed, and prayed,
and prayed, till light broke in upon him; and he went away rejoicing. The
next night he sat in front of me when I was preaching, and I think that I
never saw any one look so sad and wretched in all my life. He followed me
into the enquiry-room. “What is the trouble?” I asked. “Is your eye off the
Saviour? Have your doubts come back?” “No; it is not that,” he said. “I did
not go to business, but spent all this day in visiting my children. They are
all married and in this city. I went from house to house, but there was not
one but mocked me. It is the darkest day of my life. I have awoke up to
what I have done. I have taken my children into the world; and now I
cannot get them out.” The Lord had restored unto him the joy of His
salvation; yet there was the bitter consequence of his transgression. You
can run through your experience; and you can find just such instances
repeated again and again. Many who came to your city years ago serving

CHAPTER IX. 107

God, in their prosperity have forgotten Him: and where are their sons and
daughters? Show me the father and mother who have deserted the Lord and
gone back to the beggarly elements of the world; and I am mistaken if their
children are not on the high road to ruin.

As we desire to be faithful we warn these backsliders. It is a sign of love to
warn of danger. We may be looked upon as enemies for a while; but the
truest friends are those who lift up the voice of warning. Israel had no truer
friend than Moses. In Jeremiah God gave His people a weeping prophet to
bring them back to Him; but they cast off God. They forgot the God who
brought them out of Egypt, and who led them through the desert into the
promised land. In their prosperity they forget Him and turned away. The
Lord had told them what would happen. (Deut. xxviii.) And see what did
happen. The king who make light of the word of God was taken captive by
Nebuchadnezzar, and his children brought up in front of him and every one
slain: his eyes were put out of his head; and he was bound in fetters of brass
and cast into a dungeon in Babylon. (2 Kings xxv. 7.) That is the way he
reaped what he had sown. Surely it is an evil and a bitter thing to backslide,
but the Lord would win you back with the message of His Work.

In Jeremiah viii. 5, we read: “Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden
by a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit; They refuse to return.”
That is what the Lord brings against them. “They refuse to return.” “I
hearkened and heard; but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his
wickedness, saying, What have I done? Every one turned to his course, as
the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her
appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the
time of their coming; but My people know not the judgment of the Lord.”

Now look: “I hearkened and heard; but they spake not aright.” No family
altar! No reading the Bible! No closet devotion! God stoops to hear; but His
people have turned away! If there be a penitent backslider, one who is
anxious for pardon and restoration, you will find no words more tender than
are to be found in Jeremiah iii. 12: “Go, and proclaim these words toward
the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will
not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord,

CHAPTER IX. 108

and I will not keep anger forever.” Now notice: “Only acknowledge thine
iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast
scattered thy ways to the stranger under every green tree, and ye have not
obeyed My voice, saith the Lord. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the
Lord; for I am married unto you”–think of God coming and saying, “I am
married unto you!–and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family,
and I will bring you to Zion.”

“Only acknowledge thine iniquity.” How many times have I held that
passage up to a backslider! “Acknowledge” it; and God says I will forgive
you. I remember a man asking, “Who said that? Is that there?” And I held
up to him the passage, “Only acknowledge thine iniquity;” and the man
went down on his knees, and cried, “My God, I have sinned”; and the Lord
restored him there and then. If you have wandered, He wants you to come
back.

He says in another place, “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah,
what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as
the early dew it goeth away” (Hosea vi. 4). His compassion and His love is
wonderful!

In Jeremiah iii. 22; “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your
backslidings. Behold, we come unto Thee; Thou art the Lord our God.” He
just puts words into the mouth of the backslider. Only come; and, if you
will come, He will receive you graciously and love you freely.

In Hosea xiv. 1, 2, 4: “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast
fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord (He puts
words into your mouth): say unto Him, Take away all iniquity, and receive
us graciously; so will we render the calves of our lips . . . I will heal their
backsliding, I will love them freely, for Mine auger is turned away from
him.” Just observe that, Turn! Turn!! Turn!!! rings all through these
passages.

Now, if you have wandered, remember that you left Him, and not He you.
You have to get out of the backslider’s pit just in the same way you got in.

CHAPTER IX. 109

And if you take the same road as when you left the Master you will find
Him now, just where you are.

If we were to treat Christ as any earthly friend we should never leave Him;
and there would never be a backslider. If I were in a town for a single week
I should not think of going away without shaking hands with the friends I
had made, and saying “Good bye” to them. I should be justly blamed if I
took the train and left without saying a word to any one. The cry would be,
“What’s the matter?” But did you ever hear of a backslider bidding the Lord
Jesus Christ “Good bye”; going into his closet and saying “Lord Jesus, I
have known Thee ten, twenty, or thirty years: but I am tired of Thy service;
Thy yoke is not easy, nor Thy burden light; so I am going back to the
world, to the flesh-pots of Egypt. Good bye, Lord Jesus! Farewell”? Did
you ever hear that? No; you never did, and you never will. I tell you, if you
get into the closet and shut out the world and hold communion with the
Master you cannot leave Him. The language of your heart will be, “To
whom shall we go,” but unto Thee? “Thou hast the words of eternal life”
(John vi. 68). You could not go back to the world if you treated Him in that
way. But you left Him and ran away. You have forgotten Him days without
number. Come back to-day; just as you are! Make up your mind that you
will not rest until God has restored unto you the joy of His salvation.

A gentleman in Cornwall once met a Christian in the street whom he knew
to be a backslider. He went up to him, and said: “Tell me, is there not some
estrangement between you and the Lord Jesus?” The man hung his head,
and said, “Yes.” “Well,” said the gentleman, “what has He done to you?”
The answer to which was a flood of tears.

In Revelation ii. 4, 5, we read: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee,
because thou hast left the first love. Remember therefore from whence thou
art fallen; and repent, and do the first works: or else I will come unto thee
quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou
repent.” I want to guard you against a mistake which some people make
with regard to “doing the first works.” Many think that they are to have the
same experience over again, That has kept thousands for months without
peace; because they have been waiting for a renewal of their first

CHAPTER IX. 110

experience. You will never have the same experience as when you first
came to the Lord. God never repeats himself. No two people of all earth’s
millions look alike or think alike. You may say that you cannot tell two
people apart; but when you get well acquainted with them you can very
quickly distinguish differences. So, no one person will have the same
experience a second time. If God will restore His joy to your soul let Him
do it in His way. Do not mark out a way for God to bless you. Do not
expect the same experience that you had two or twenty years ago. You will
have a fresh experience, and God will deal with you in His own way. If you
confess your sins and tell Him that you have wandered from the path of His
commandments He will restore unto you the joy of His salvation.

I want to call your attention to the manner in which Peter fell; and I think
that nearly all fall pretty much in the same way. I want to lift up a warning
note to those who have not fallen. “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take
heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. x. 12). Twenty-five years ago–and for the first
five years after I was converted–I used to think that if I were able to stand
for twenty years I need fear no fall. But the nearer you get to the Cross the
fiercer the battle. Satan aims high. He went amongst the twelve; and
singled out the Treasurer–Judas Iscariot, and the Chief Apostle–Peter.
Most men who have fallen have done so on the strongest side of their
character. I am told that the only side upon which Edinburgh Castle was
successfully assailed was where the rocks were steepest, and where the
garrison thought themselves secure. If any man thinks that he is strong
enough to resist the devil at any one point he needs special watch there, for
the tempter comes that way.

Abraham stands, as it were, at the head of the family of faith; and the
children of faith may be said to trace their descent to Abraham: and yet
down in Egypt he denied his wife. (Gen. xii.) Moses was noted for his
meekness; and yet he was kept out of the promised land because of one
hasty act and speech, when he was told by the Lord to speak to the rock so
that the congregation and their beasts should have water to drink. “Hear
now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” (Num. xx. 10).

CHAPTER IX. 111

Elijah was remarkable for his boldness: and yet he went off a day’s journey
into the wilderness like a coward and hid himself under a juniper tree,
requesting for himself that he might die, because of a message he received
from a woman. (1 Kings xix.) Let us be careful. No matter who the man
is–he may be in the pulpit–but if he gets self-conceited he will be sure to
fall. We who are followers of Christ need constantly to pray to be made
humble, and kept humble. God made Moses’ face so to shine that other men
could see it; but Moses himself wist not that his face shone, and the more
holy in heart a man is the more manifest to the outer world will be his daily
life and conversation. Some people talk of how humble they are; but if they
have true humility there will be no necessity for them to publish it. It is not
needful. A lighthouse does not have a drum beaten or a trumpet-blown in
order to proclaim the proximity of a lighthouse: it is its own witness. And
so if we have the true light in us it will show itself. It is not those who make
the most noise who have the most piety. There is a brook, or a little “burn”
as the Scotch call it, not far from where I live; and after a heavy rain you
can hear the rush of its waters a long way off: but let there come a few days
of pleasant weather, and the brook becomes almost silent. But there is a
river near my house, the flow of which I never heard in my life, as it pours
on in its deep and majestic course the year round. We should have so much
of the love of God within us that its presence shall be evident without our
loud proclamation of the fact.

The first step in Peter’s downfall was his self-confidence. The Lord warned
him. The Lord said: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have
you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith
fail not” (Luke xxii. 31, 32). But Peter said: “I am ready to go with Thee,
both into prison and to death.” “Though all shall be offended because of
Thee, yet will I never be offended.” (Matt. xxvi. 23.) “James and John, and
the others, may leave You; but You can count on me!” But the Lord warned
him: “I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou
shalt thrice deny that thou knowest Me.” (Luke xxii. 24.)

Though the Lord rebuked him, Peter said he was ready to follow Him to
death. That boasting is too often a forerunner of downfall. Let us walk
humbly and softly. We have a great tempter; and, in an unguarded hour, we

CHAPTER IX. 112

may stumble and fall and bring a scandal on Christ.

The next step in Peter’s downfall was that he went to sleep. If Satan can
rock the Church to sleep he does his work through God’s own people.
Instead of Peter watching one short hour in Gethsemane, he fell asleep, and
the Lord asked him, “What, could ye not watch with Me one hour?” (Matt.

xxvi. 40.) The next thing was that he fought in the energy of the flesh. The
Lord rebuked him again and said, “They that take the sword shall perish
with the sword.” (Matt. xxvi. 52.) Jesus had to undo what Peter had done.
The next thing, he “followed afar off.” Step by step he gets away. It is a sad
thing when a child of God follows afar off. When you see him associating
with worldly friends, and throwing his influence on the wrong side, he is
following afar off; and it will not be long before disgrace will be brought
upon the old family name, and Jesus Christ will be wounded in the house of
his friends. The man, by his example, will cause others to stumble and fall.
The next thing–Peter is familiar and friendly with the enemies of Christ. A
damsel says to this bold Peter: “Thou also wast with this Jesus of Galilee.”
But he denied before them all, saying, “I know not what thou sayest.” And
when he was gone out into the porch another maid saw him and said unto
them that were there, “This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.” And
again he denied with an oath. “I do not know the Man.” Another hour
passed; and yet he did not realize his position; when another confidently
affirmed that he was a Galilean, for his speech betrayed him. And he was
angry and began to curse and to swear, and again denied his Master: and
the cock crew. (Matt. xxvi. 69-74.)

He commences away up on the pinacle of self-conceit, and goes down step
by step until he breaks out into cursing, and swears that he never knew his
Lord.

The Master might have turned and said to him, “Is it true, Peter, that you
have forgotten Me so soon? Do you not remember when your wife’s mother
lay sick of a fever that I rebuked the disease and it left her? Do you not call
to mind your astonishment at the draught of fishes so that you exclaimed,
‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord?’ Do you remember when

CHAPTER IX. 113

in answer to your cry, ‘Lord, save me, or I perish,’ I stretched out My hand
and kept you from drowning in the water? Have you forgotten when, on the
Mount of Transfiguration, with James and John, you said to Me, ‘Lord, it is
good to be here: let us make three tabernacles?’ Have you forgotten being
with Me at the supper-table, and in Gethsemane? Is it true that you have
forgotten Me so soon?” The Lord might have upbraided him with questions
such as these: but He did nothing of the kind. He cast one look on Peter:
and there was so much love in it that it broke that bold disciple’s heart: and
he went out and wept bitterly.

And after Christ rose from the dead see how tenderly He dealt with the
erring disciple. The angel at the sepulchre says, “Tell His disciples, and
Peter.” (Mark xvi. 7.) The Lord did not forget Peter, though Peter had
denied Him thrice; so He caused this kindly special message to be
conveyed to the repentant disciple. What a tender and loving Saviour we
have!

Friend, if you are one of the wanderers, let the loving look of the Master
win you back; and let Him restore you to the joy of His salvation.

Before closing, let me say that I trust God will restore some backslider
reading these pages, who may in the future become a useful member of
society and a bright ornament of the Church. We should never have had the
thirty-second Psalm if David had not been restored: “Blessed is he whose
transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered”; or that beautiful fifty-first
Psalm which was written by the restored backslider. Nor should we have
had that wonderful sermon on the day of Pentecost when three thousand
were converted–preached by another restored backslider.

May God restore other backsliders and make them a thousand times more
used for His glory than they ever were before.

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‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

“Jesus Himself.”
BY THE REV. ANDREW MURRAY. Author of “Abide in Christ.”
FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY. NEW YORK CHICAGO

TORONTO. Publishers of Evangelical Literature.
COPYRIGHT 1893 BY FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY.

PREFACE.

The following brief messages comprise a revision of two addresses, which
originally appeared in the South African Pioneer, the organ of the “Cape
General Mission” (Rev. Andrew Murray, Pres.), and are published by
arrangement, the Mission participating in the proceeds.

“Jesus Himself.”

“Their eyes were opened, and they knew Him.”

The words, from which I want to present a simple message, will be found
in the Gospel according to St. Luke, the 24th chapter and the 31st verse:
“And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him.” Some time since, I
preached a sermon with the words “Jesus Himself” as the text; and as I
went home I said to those who were walking with me: “How possible it is
to have Jesus Himself with us and never to know it, and how possible to

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

preach of, and to listen to, all the truth about Jesus Himself and yet not to
know Him.” I cannot say what a deep impression was made upon me as I
thought over it.

Now these disciples had spent a most blessed time with Jesus, but if they
had gone away before He revealed Himself that evening, they would never
have been sure that it was Jesus, for their eyes were holden that they should
not know Him. That is, alas, the condition of a great multitude in the
Church of Christ. They know that Christ has risen from the dead. They
believe, and they very often have blessed experiences that come from the
risen Christ. Very often in a time of Convention, or in time of silent Bible
reading, or in a time of the visitation of God’s grace, their hearts burn; and
yet it can be said of a people whose hearts are burning within them, that
they did not know it was Jesus Himself.

And now if you ask me what is to be the great blessing to be sought, my
answer is this: Not only should we think about Jesus Himself and speak
about Him and believe in Him, but we should come to the point that the
disciples in the text arrived at, “and they knew Him.” Everything is to be
found in that.

If I read that story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus, I get from it four
stages in the Christian life. Just think! How did they begin the morning that
day? With

Hearts sad and troubled,

because they thought Jesus was dead. They did not know that He was alive,
and that is the state of very many Christians. They look to the Cross, and
they struggle to trust Christ, but they have never yet learned the blessedness
of believing that there is a living Christ to do everything for them. Oh! that
word of the angel to the women! “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”
What is the difference between a dead Christ, whom the women went to
anoint, and a living Christ? A dead Christ, I must do everything for; a
living Christ does everything for me.

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

The disciples began the morning with a sad heart. I fancy very possibly
they spent a sleepless night. Oh! the terrible disappointment! They had
hoped that Christ would be the Deliverer of Israel, and they had seen Him
die an accursed death. On the morning of that first day of the week, they
rose with sad hearts–the bitter sadness cannot be expressed. That is just the
life of many Christians. They try to believe in Jesus and to trust Him, and to
hope in Him, but there is no joy. Why? Because they do not know that there
is a living Christ to reveal Himself.

Then there is the second stage. What is that? The stage of which Christ
speaks:

“Slow of heart to believe.”

They had the message from the women. They told the stranger who walked
with them: “Certain women have astonished us, telling us they have seen an
angel, who says He is alive.” And Christ replied to them: “Oh! fools, and
slow of heart to believe.” Yes! there are many Christians to-day who have
heard and who know that they must not only believe in a crucified Christ,
but in a living Christ, and they try to grasp it and take it in, but it does not
bring them a blessing, and why? Because they want to feel it and not to
believe it. They want to work for it, and with efforts get hold of it, instead
of just quietly sinking down and believing, “Christ, the living Jesus, He will
do everything for us.” That is the second stage. The first stage is that of
ignorance, the second stage is that of unbelief–the doubting heart that
cannot take in the wonderful truth that Jesus lives.

Then comes the third stage-

The burning heart.

Jesus came to the two disciples, and after He had reproved them and said:
“Oh! fools, and slow of heart to believe,” He began to open the Scriptures
to them, and to tell them of all the wonderful things the prophets had
taught. Then their eyes were opened, and they began to understand the
Scriptures. They saw that it was true that it was prophesied that Christ must

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

rise. As He talked, there came out from Him–the living risen One–a
mighty influence, and it rested upon them, and they began to feel their
hearts burn within them with joy and gladness.

You still say perhaps: “That is the stage we want to come to.” No; God
forbid you should stop there. You may get in that third stage–the burning
heart–and yet something is still wanting–the revelation of Christ. The
disciples had had a blessed experience of His divine powers, but He had not
revealed Himself, and oh! how often it is that at Conventions and in
churches, and in meetings and in blessed fellowship with God’s saints, our
hearts burn within us. These are precious experiences of the working of
God’s grace and Spirit, and yet there is something wanting. What is that?
Jesus Himself has been working upon us, and the power of his risen life has
touched us, but we cannot say, “I have met Him. He has made Himself
known to me.” Oh, the difference between a burning heart, which becomes
cold after a time, which comes by fits and starts, and the blessed revelation
of Jesus Himself as my Saviour, taking charge of me and blessing me and
keeping me every day! This is the stage of

The satisfied heart.

Oh my brother, my sister! It is what I ask for you, and it is what I am sure
you ask for yourself. I ask it for myself. Lord Jesus! may we know Thee in
thy divine glory as the risen One, our Jesus, our Beloved and our mighty
One. Oh! if there are any sad ones who cannot take this in, and who say, “I
have never known the joy of religion yet”–listen, we are going to tell you
how you can. All will center round this one thing, that just as a little child
lives day by day in the arms of its mother, and grows up year by year under
a mother’s eye, it is a possibility that you can live every day and hour of
your life in fellowship with the Holy Jesus.

He will do it for you.

Come, and let your sad heart begin to hope. Will He reveal Himself? He
did it to the disciples and He will do it to you. Perhaps there are some who
have got beyond the sad heart and who yet feel, “I have not got what I

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

want.” If you throw open your heart and give up everything but just
believing and allowing Him to do what He wants, it will come. God be
praised! it will come.

Jesus will reveal Himself.

Perhaps you have arrived at the stage of the burning heart, and can tell of
many blessed experiences, but somehow there is a worm at the root. The
experiences do not last, and the heart is so changeable. Oh come, my
beloved! Follow Christ. Say, “Jesus, reveal Thyself that we may know Thee
Thyself. We ask not only to drink of the living water, we want the fountain.
We ask not only to bathe ourselves in the light, we want the Sun of
Righteousness within our hearts. We ask not only to know Thee, who hast
touched us and warmed our hearts and blessed us, but we want to know that
we have the unchangeable Jesus dwelling within our hearts and abiding
with us forevermore.”

Now comes the question which I really wanted to put,–What are the
conditions under which our blessed Lord reveals Himself? Or, put it this
way,–To whom is it that Jesus will reveal Himself? We have only to see
how he dealt with these disciples, and we get the answer. What is the
answer? First of all I think I find here that Christ revealed Himself to those
disciples

Who had given up everything for Him.

He had said to them: “Forsake all and follow Me,” and they had done it.
With all their feebleness and all their unfaithfulness they followed Christ to
the end. He said to them: “Ye have continued with Me in My temptations,
and I appoint you a kingdom, as I have received a kingdom from My
Father.” They were not perfect men, but they would have died for Him.
They loved Him, they obeyed Him, they followed Him. They had left all,
and for three years they had been following hard after Christ. You say “Tell
me what Christ wants of me, if I am to have his wonderful presence. Tell
me what is the character of the man to whom Christ will reveal Himself in
this highest and fullest way?” I answer: “It is the one who is ready to

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

forsake all and to follow Him.” If Christ is to give Himself wholly to me,
He must know that He has me wholly for Himself; and I trust God will give
grace that these words spoken about the consecration and the surrender, not
only of all evil, but of many lawful things, and even, if necessary, of life
itself, may lead us to understand what the demand is that Jesus makes upon
us.

The motto of the Cape General Mission is,

“God first.”

In one sense that is a beautiful motto, and yet I am not always satisfied with
it, because it is a motto that is often misunderstood. God first may mean “I”
second, something else third, and something else fourth. God is thus first in
order, but still God becomes one of a series of powers, and that is not the
place God wants. The meaning of the words, “God first” is really “God all;
God everything;” and that is what Christ wants. To be willing to give up
everything, to submit to Christ to teach him what to say and what to do, is
the first mark of the man to whom Christ will come. Are you not ready to
take this step and say: “Jesus! I do give up everything; I have given up
everything; reveal Thyself.”

Oh, brother! oh, sister! do not hesitate. Speak it out in your heart, and let
this be the time in which a new sacrifice shall be laid at the feet of the
blessed Lamb of God.

There is a second thought. There is first the idea of having forsaken all to
follow Him; of having given up everything in obedience to Him, and living
just a life of simple love and obedience. But there is a second thing needed
in the man who is to have this full revelation of Christ. He must be

Convicted of his unbelief.

“Oh! fools, and slow of heart to believe what the prophets have said.” Oh!
brother, sister, if we could have a sight of the amount of unbelief in the
hearts of God’s children, barring the door and closing the heart against

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

Christ, how we should stand astonished and ashamed! When there is not
unbelief but where there is faith, Christ cannot help coming in. He cannot
help coming where there is a living faith, a full faith. The heart is opened,
the heart is prepared; and as naturally as water runs into a hollow place, so
naturally Christ must come into a heart that is full of faith. What is the
hindrance with some earnest souls, who say: “I have given myself up to the
Lord Jesus. I have done it often, and by His grace I am doing it every day,
and God knows how earnestly and really I am doing it, and I have the
sanction of God upon it, I know God has blessed me”? They have not been
convicted of their unbelief. “Oh! fools, and slow of heart to believe.” Do
you know what Christ said about a man calling his brother a fool? Yet here
the loving Son of God could find no other word to speak to His beloved
disciples: “Oh! fools, and slow of heart to believe.” You want the Lord
Jesus to give you this full revelation of Himself? Are you willing to
acknowledge that you are a fool for never having believed in Him? “Lord
Jesus, it is my own fault. There Thou art, longing to have possession of me.
There Thou hast been with Thy faithful promises waiting to reveal
Thyself.”

Did you ever hear of a man loving another and not longing to reveal
himself? Christ longs to reveal Himself, but He cannot on account of our
unbelief. May God convict us of our unbelief that we may get utterly
ashamed and broken down, and cry, “Oh, my God, what is this, this heart of
unbelief actually throwing a barrier across the door that Christ cannot step
in, blinding my eyes that I cannot see Jesus, though he is so near? Here He
has been for ten or twenty years, from time to time giving me the burning
heart, enjoying the experience of a little of His love and grace, and yet I
have not had the revelation of Him, taking possession of my heart and
dwelling with me in unbroken continuity.” Oh! may God convict us of
unbelief. Do let us believe because all things are possible to him that
believes. That is God’s word, and this blessing, receiving the revelation of
Jesus, can come only to those who learn to believe and to trust him.

There is another mark of those to whom this special revelation of Christ
will come, and that is,

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

They do not rest until they obtain it.

You know the story. Their hearts were burning as they drew nigh to the
place they were going to, and Christ made as if He were going farther. He
put them to the test, and if they had allowed Him quietly to go on, if they
had been content with the experience of the burning heart, they would have
lost something infinitely better. But they were not content with it. They
were not content to go home to the disciples that night and say, “Oh, what a
blessed afternoon we have had! What wonderful teaching we have had!”
No! The burning heart and the blessed experience just made them say,
“Lord, abide with us,” and they compelled Him to come in. They
constrained Him to come in.

It always reminds me of the story of Jacob, “I will not let Thee go, except
Thou bless me.” That is the spirit that prepares us for the revelation of
Jesus. Oh! my dear friend, has this been the spirit in which we have looked
upon the wonderful blessing that we have sometimes heard of? “Oh! my
Lord Jesus, though I do not understand it, though I cannot grasp it, though
my struggles avail nothing, I am not going to let Thee go. If it is possible
for a sinner on earth to have Jesus every day, every hour, and every
moment in resurrection power dwelling in his heart, shining within him,
filling him with love and joy,–if that is possible, I want it.”

Is that your language?

Oh! come then and say: “Lord Jesus, I cannot let Thee go except Thou bless
me.” The question is asked so often: “What is the cause of the feeble life of
so many Christians?” What is really the matter? What is actually the want?

How little the Church responds to Christ’s call! how little the Church is
what Christ would have her to be! What is the cause of all the trouble?
Various answers may be given, but there is one answer which includes all
the other answers, and that is, each believer wants the personal

Full revelation of a personal Christ

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

as an indwelling Lord, as a satisfying portion. When the Lord Jesus was
here upon earth, what was it that distinguished His disciples from other
people? He took them away from their fish-nets, and from their homes, and
He gathered them about Himself, and they knew Jesus. He was their
Master, and guarded them, and they followed Him. And what is to make a
difference between Christ’s disciples–not those who are just hoping to get
to heaven, but Christ’s whole-hearted disciples–what is to make a
difference between them and other people? It is this, to be in fellowship
with Jesus–every hour of the day; and just as Christ upon earth was able to
keep those people with Him for three years, day by day, so

Christ is able

in heaven now to do what He could not do when He was on earth–to keep
in the closest fellowship with every believer throughout the whole world.
Glory be to God! You know that text in Ephesians: “He that descended is
the same also that ascended, that He might fill all things.” Why was my
Lord Jesus taken up to heaven away from the life of earth? Because the life
of earth is a life confined to localities, but the life in heaven is a life in
which there is no limit and no bound and no locality, and Christ was taken
up to heaven, that, in the power of God, of the omnipresent God, He might
be able to fill every individual here and be with every individual believer.

That is what my heart wants to realize by faith; that is a possibility, that is a
promise, that is my birthright, and I want to have it, and I want by the grace
of God to say, “Jesus, I will not rest until Thou hast revealed Thyself fully
to my soul.”

There are often very blessed experiences in the Christian life in what I call
the third stage–the stage of the burning heart. Do you know what another
great mark of that stage is? Delight in God’s word. How did the disciples
get their burning hearts? By that strange opening of the Scripture to them.
He made it all look different,–new,–and they saw what they had never seen
before. They could not help feeling,

How wonderful,

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

how heavenly was that teaching. Oh! there are many Christians who find
the best time of the day is the time when they can get with their Bibles, and
who love nothing so much as to get a new thought; and as a diamond digger
rejoices when he has found a diamond, or a gold digger when he has found
a nugget, they delight when they get from the Bible some new thought, and
they feed upon it. Yet with all that interest in God’s word, and with all that
stirring of the heart with joy, when they go into business or attend to their
daily duties, there is still something wanting.

We must come away from all the manifold and multifarious blessings that
Jesus can bestow from time to time, to the blessed unity of that one–that
Jesus makes Himself known, Jesus Himself is willing to make Himself
known. Oh! if I were to ask, “Is not this just what you and I want, and what
many of us have been longing for?” I am sure you would answer,

“That is what I want.”

Think what the blessedness will be that comes from it. You often sing:-

“Oh! the peace my Saviour gives! Peace I never knew before, And my way
has brighter grown, Since I’ve learnt to trust Him more.”

I recently had a letter from some one in the Free State saying what a
wonderful comfort and strength that little verse was in the midst of
difficulties and troubles. Yes; but how can that peace be kept? It was the
presence of Christ that brought the peace. When the storm was threatening
to swallow up the disciples, it was the presence of Christ Himself that gave
the peace.

Oh! Christian, do you want peace and rest? You must have Jesus Himself.
You talk of purity, you talk of cleansing, you talk of deliverance from sin.
Praise God, here is the deliverance and the cleansing, when the living Jesus
comes and gives power. Then we have this resurrection of Christ, this
heavenly Christ upon the throne, making Himself known to us. Surely that
will be the secret of purity and the secret of strength.

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

Where does the strength of so many come from? From the joy of a personal
friendship with Jesus. Those disciples, if they had gone away with their
burning hearts to the other disciples, could have told them wonderful things
of a man who had explained to them the Scriptures and the promises, but
they could not have said, “We have seen Jesus.” They might have said,
“Jesus is alive. We are sure of that,” but that would not have satisfied the
others. But they could now go and say,

“We have seen Himself.

He has revealed Himself to us.” We are all glad to work for Christ, but
there is a complaint throughout the Church of Christ, from the ministers in
the pulpit down to the feeblest worker, of lack of joy and lack of
blessedness. Let us try and find out whether this is not the place where the
secret will be discovered–that the Lord Jesus comes and shows Himself to
us as our Master and speaks to us. When we have Jesus with us, and when
we go every footstep with the thought that it is Jesus wants us to go, it is
Jesus who sends us and is helping us, then there will be brightness in our
testimony, and it will help other believers, and they will begin to
understand; “I see why I have failed. I took the word, I took the blessing,
and I took, as I thought, the life, but I was without the living Jesus.”

And if you now ask, “How will this revelation come?” Brother, sister, that
is the secret that no man may tell, that Jesus keeps to Himself. It is

In the power of the Holy Ghost;

Christ, the risen One, entered into a new life. His resurrection life is
entirely different from His life before His death. You know what we read:
“They knew Him.” He revealed Himself, and then He passed away. And
was that vision of Christ worth so much? It was lost in a moment. It was
worth heaven, eternity, everything. Why? Because henceforth Christ was
no longer to be known after the flesh. Christ was henceforth in the power of
the Spirit, which fills Heaven; in the power of the Spirit which is the power
of the Godhead; in the power of the Spirit, which fills our hearts. Christ
was henceforth to live in the life of Heaven.

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

Thank God, Christ can by the power of the Holy Ghost reveal Himself to
each one of us; but oh! brother, it is a secret thing between Christ and
yourself. Take this assurance, “Their eyes were opened and they knew
Him,” and believe that it is written for you.

You say, “I have known the other three stages; the stage of the sad heart,
mourning that I knew no living Christ; I have known the stage of the slow
heart to believe, when I struggled with my unbelief; and I know the stage of
the burning heart, when there are great times of joy and blessedness.” You
say that? Oh come then and know the fourth stage of

The satisfied heart,

of the heart made glad for eternity, of the heart that cannot keep its joy in,
but goes away back to Jerusalem, and says, “It is true. Jesus has revealed
Himself. I know it, I feel it.” Oh! brother, oh! sister, how will this
revelation come? Jesus will tell you. Just come to the Lord Jesus and
breathe up before Him a simple child-like prayer, and I, His servant, will
come and take you by the hand and say: “Come, now, my work is done. I
have pointed to the Lamb of God, to the risen One. My work is done.”

Let us enter into the Holy Presence and begin, if you have never yet sought
it before, begin to plead: “Oh! Saviour, that I might have this blessedness
every moment present with me–Jesus Himself, my portion forever.”

“Jesus Himself.”

“Lo, I am with you alway.”

When I think of all the struggles and difficulties and failures of which many
complain, and know that many are trying to make a new effort to begin a
holy life, their hearts fearing all the time that they would fail again, owing
to so many difficulties and temptations and the natural weakness of their
character, my heart longs to be able to tell them in words so simple that a

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

little child could understand,

What the secret is of the Christian life.

And then the thought comes to me, Can I venture to hope that it will be
given to me to take that glorious, heavenly, divine Lord Jesus and to show
Him to these souls, so that they can see Him in His glory? And can it be
given to me to open their eyes to see that there is a Divine, Almighty
Christ, who does actually come into the heart and who faithfully promises,
“I will come and dwell with you, and I will never leave you?” No; my
words cannot do that. But then I thought, my Lord Jesus can use me as a
simple servant to take such feeble ones by the hand and encourage and help
them; to say, Oh, come, come, come, into the presence of Jesus and wait on
Him, and He will reveal Himself to thee. I pray God that He may use His
precious Word. It is simply

The presence of the Lord Jesus.

That is the secret of the Christian’s strength and joy. You know that when
He was upon earth, He was present in bodily form with his disciples. They
walked about together all day, and at night they went into the same house,
and sometimes slept together and ate and drank together. They were
continually together. It was the presence of Jesus that was the training
school of His disciples. They were bound to Him by that wonderful
intercourse of love during three long years, and in that intercourse they
learned to know Christ, and Christ instructed and corrected them, and
prepared them for what they were afterward to receive. And now when He
is going away, He says to them: “Lo, behold, I am with you always–all the
days–even unto the end of the world.”

What a promise! And just as really as Christ was with Peter in the boat, just
as Christ sat with John at the table, as really can I have Christ with me. And
more really, for they had their Christ in the body and He was to them a
man, an individual separate from them, but I may have glorified Christ in
the power of the throne of God, the omnipotent Christ, the omnipresent
Christ.

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

What a promise! You ask me, How can that be? And my answer is,
Because Christ is God, and because Christ after having been made man,
went up into the throne and the Life of God. And now that blessed Christ
Jesus, with His loving, pierced heart; that blessed Jesus Christ, who lived
upon earth; that same Christ glorified into the glory of God, can be in me
and

Can be with me all the days.

You say, Is it really possible for a man in business, for a woman in the
midst of a large and difficult household, for a poor man full of care; is it
possible? Can I always be thinking of Jesus? Thank God, you need not
always be thinking of Him. You may be the manager of a bank, and your
whole attention may be required to carry out the business that you have to
do. But thank God, while I have to think of my business, Jesus will think of
me, and He will come in and will take charge of me. That little child, three
months old, as it sleeps in its mother’s arms, lies helplessly there; it hardly
knows its mother, it does not think of her, but the mother thinks of the
child. And this is the blessed mystery of love, that Jesus the God-man waits
to come in to me in the greatness of His love; and as He gets possession of
my heart, He embraces me in those divine arms and tells me, “My child, I
the Faithful One, I the Mighty One will abide with thee, will watch over
thee and keep thee all the days.” He tells me He will come into my heart, so
that I can be a happy Christian, a holy Christian, and a useful Christian.
You say, Oh! if I could only believe that, if I could think that it is possible
to have Christ always, every hour, every moment with me,

Taking and keeping charge of me!

My brother, my sister, it is just literally this that is my message to you.
When Jesus said to His disciples, “Lo, I am with you always,” He meant it
in the fullness of the divine Omnipresence, in the fullness of the divine
love, and he longs to-night to reveal Himself to you and to me as we have
never seen Him before.

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

And now just think a moment what a blessed life that must be–the presence
of Jesus always abiding. Is not that the secret of peace and happiness? If I
could just attain (that is what each heart says) to that blessed state in which
every day and all the day I felt Jesus to be watching and ever keeping me,
oh, what peace I would have in the thought, “I have no care if He cares for
me, and I have no fear if He provides for me.” Your heart says that this is
too good to be true, and that it is too glorious to be for you. Still you
acknowledge it must be most blessed. Fearful one, erring one, anxious one,
I bring you God’s promise, it is for me and for you. Jesus will do it; as God,
He is able, and Jesus is willing and longing as the Crucified One to keep
you in perfect peace. This is a wonderful fact, and it is the secret of joy
unspeakable.

And this is also

The secret of Holiness.

Instead of indwelling sin, an indwelling Christ conquering it; instead of
indwelling sin, the indwelling life and light and love of the blessed Son of
God. He is the secret of holiness. “Christ is made unto us sanctification.”
Remember that it is Christ Himself who is made unto us sanctification.
Christ coming into me, taking charge of my whole being; my nature and
my thoughts and my affections and my will; ruling all things. It is this that
will make me holy. We talk about holiness, but do you know what holiness
is? You have as much holiness as you have of Christ, for it is written, “Both
he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one;” and Christ
sanctifies by bringing God’s life into me.

We read in Judges, “The Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon.” But you know
that there is in the New Testament an equally wonderful text, where we
read, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” that is, clothe yourself with Christ
Jesus. And what does that mean? It does not only mean, by imputation of
righteousness outside of me, but to clothe myself with the living character
of the living Christ, with the living love of the living Christ.

Put on the Lord Jesus.

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

Oh! what a work. I cannot do it unless I believe and understand that He
whom I have to put on is as a garment covering my whole being. I have to
put on a living Christ who has said, “Lo, I am with you all the days.” Just
draw the folds closer round you, of that robe of light with which Christ
would array you. Just come and acknowledge that Christ is with you, on
you, in you. Oh, put Him on! And when you look at one characteristic of
His after another; and you hear God’s word, “Let this mind be in you which
was also in Jesus Christ,” and it tells you He was obedient unto the death;
and then you answer, Christ the obedient one, Christ whose whole life was
obedience, it is that Christ whom I have received and put on. He becomes
my life and His obedience rests upon me, until I learn to whisper as Jesus
did, “My Father, Thy will be done; lo, I come to do Thy will.”

This, too, is the secret of influence in witness and work. How comes it that
it is so

Difficult to be obedient,

and how comes it that I so often sin? People sing, “Oh, to be wholly Thine,”
and sing it from their hearts. How comes it then that they are disobedient
again? Where does the disobedience come from? And the answer comes, It
is because I am trying to obey a distant Christ, and thus His commands do
not come with power. Look what I find in God’s Word. When God wanted
to send any man upon His service, He first met him and talked with him
and cheered him time after time. God appeared to Abraham seven or eight
times, and gave to him one command after another; and so Abraham
learned to obey Him perfectly. God appeared to Joshua and to Gideon, and
they obeyed. And why are we not obedient? Because we have so little of
this near intercourse with Jesus. But, oh, if we knew

This blessed, heavenly secret

of having the presence of Christ with us every day, every hour, every
minute, what a joy it would be to obey! We could not walk in this
consciousness,–My Lord Jesus is with me and around me,–and not obey
Him! Oh, do you not begin to long and say, This is what I must have, the

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

ever-abiding presence of Jesus! There are some Christians who try not to be
disobedient, who come to their Sunday and week-day duties most
faithfully, and pray for grace and a blessing, and they complain of so little
blessing and power, so little power! And why? Because there is not enough
of the living Jesus in their hearts. I sometimes think of this as a most
solemn truth. There is a great diversity of gifts amongst ministers and
others who speak; but I am sure of this, that a man’s gifts are not the
measure of his real power. I am sure of this, that God can see what neither
you nor I can see. Sometimes people feel something of it; but in proportion
as a man has in reality, not as a sentiment or an aspiration, or a thought, but
in reality, the very spirit and presence of Jesus upon him, there comes out
from him an unseen silent influence. That secret influence is the

Holy presence of Jesus.

“Lo, I am with you always.” And now, if what I have said has sufficed just
to indicate what a desirable thing it is, what a blessed thing it is to live for,
then let me now give you an answer to the question that arises in more than
one heart. I can hear some one say, “Tell me how I can get this blessed
abiding presence of Jesus; and when I have got it, how I can ever keep it. I
think if I have this, I have all. The Lord Jesus has come very near to me. I
have tried to turn away from everything that can hinder, and have had my
Lord very near. But how can I know that He will be with me always?” If
you were to ask the Lord, “Oh, my blessed Lord Christ, what must I do,
how can I enjoy Thy never-failing presence?” His first answer would be,
“Only believe. I have said it often, and you only partly understood it, but I
will say it again-

My child, only believe.”

It is by faith. We sometimes speak of faith as trust, and it is a very helpful
thing to tell men that faith is trust: but when people say, as they sometimes
do, that it is nothing else but trust, that is not the case. It is a far wider word
than trust. It is by faith that I learn to know the invisible One, the invisible
God, and that I see Him. Faith is my spiritual eye-sight for the unseen and
heavenly. You often try hard to trust God, and you fail. Why? Because you

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

have not taken time first to see God. How can you trust God fully until you
have met Him and known Him? You ask, “Where ought I to begin?” You
ought to begin with first believing; with presenting yourself before this God
in the attitude of silent worship, and asking Him to let a sense of His
greatness and His presence come upon you. You must ask Him to let your
heart be covered over with his holy presence. You must seek to realize in
your heart the presence of an Almighty and all-loving God, an unspeakably
loving God. Take time to worship Him as the omnipotent God, to feel that
the very power that created the world, the very power that raised Jesus from
the dead, is at this moment working in your heart. We do not experience it
because we do not believe. We must take time to believe. Jesus says, “Oh,
my child, shut your eyes to the world, and shut out of your heart all these
thoughts about religion, and begin to believe in God Himself.” That is the
first article of the Creed–“I believe in God.”

By believing I open my heart,

to receive this glorious God, and I bow and worship. And then as I believe
this, I look up and I see the Lamb upon the Throne, and I believe that the
Almighty power of God is in Jesus for the very purpose of revealing His
presence to my heart. Why are there two upon the Throne? Is not God
enough? The Lamb of God is upon the Throne in your interest and in mine;
the Lamb upon the Throne is Christ Himself, with power as God to take
possession of me. Oh, do not think you cannot get that realization. And do
not think of it as now only within your reach; but cultivate the habit of
faith. “Jesus, I believe in Thy glory; I believe in Thine omnipotence; I
believe in Thy power working within me. I believe in Thy living, loving
presence with me, revealing itself in Divine power.”

Do not be occupied with feelings or experiences. You will find it far
simpler and easier just to trust and say, “I am sure He is all for me.” Get rid
of yourself for the time; don’t think or speak about yourself; but

Think what Jesus is.

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

And then remember it is believe always. I sometimes feel that I cannot find
words to tell how God wants His people to believe from morning till night.
Every breath ought to be just believing. Yes, it is indeed true; the Lord
Jesus loves us to be just believing from morning to evening, and you must
begin to make that the chief thing in life. In the morning when you wake,
let your heart go forth with a large faith in this; and in the watches of the
night let this thought be present with you–my Saviour Jesus is round me
and near me, and you can look up and say, “I want to trust Thee always.”
You know what trust is. It is so sweet to trust. And now cannot you trust
Jesus; this presence, this keeping presence? He lives for you in Heaven.
You are marked with His blood, and he loves you; and cannot you say, “My
King, my King, He is with me all the days?” Oh, trust Jesus to fulfill His
own promises.

There is a second answer that I think Christ would give if we come to Him
believing, and say, “Is there anything more, my blessed Master?” I think I
can hear His answer:

“My child, always obey.”

Do not fail to understand the lesson contained in this one word. You must
distinctly and definitely take that word OBEY and obedience, and learn to
say for yourselves: “Now I have to obey, and by the grace of God I am
going to obey in everything.” At our recent exhibition at the Cape, Mr.
Rhodes, our Prime Minister, went to the gate, thinking he had got the fee in
his pocket. When he got to the gate, however, he found he had not enough
money, and said to the door-keeper, “I am Mr. Rhodes; let me in and I will
take care you do not suffer.” But the man said, “I cannot help that, sir, I
have my orders,” and he refused to let Mr. Rhodes in. He had to borrow
from a friend, and pay before he could pass the gate. At a dinner afterward
Mr. Rhodes spoke about it, and said it was a real joy to see a man stick to
his order like that. That is it. The man had his orders, and that was enough
to him, and whoever came to the gate had to pay his fee before he could
enter. God’s children ought to be like soldiers, and be

Ready to say, “I must obey.”

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

Oh! to have that thought in our hearts–“Jesus, I love to obey Thee.” There
must be personal intercourse with the Saviour, and then comes the joy of
personal service and allegiance. Are you ready to obey in all feebleness and
weakness and fear? Can you say, “Yes, Lord Jesus, I will obey?” If so, then
give yourself up absolutely. Then your feeling will be, “I am not going to
speak one word if I think that Jesus would not like to hear it. I am not going
to have an opinion of my own, but my whole life is to be covered with the
purity of His obedience to the Father and His self-sacrificing love to me. I
want Christ to have my whole life, my whole heart, my whole character. I
want to be like Christ and to obey.” Give yourself up to this loving
obedience.

The third thought is this: If I say, “My Master, blessed Saviour, tell me all, I
will believe, I do obey, and I will obey. Is there anything more I need to
secure the enjoyment of Thine abiding presence?” And I catch this answer:

“My child, close intercourse with me every day.”

Ah, there is the fault of many who try to obey and try to believe; they do it
in their own strength, and they do not know that if the Lord Jesus is to reign
in their hearts, they must have close communion with Him every day. You
cannot do all He desires, but Jesus will do it for you. There are many
Christians who fail here, and on that account do not understand what it is to
have fellowship with Jesus. Do let me try and impress this upon you: God
has given you a loving, living Saviour, and how can He bless if you do not
meet Him? The joy of friendship is found in intercourse; and Jesus asks for
this every day, that he may have time to influence me, to tell me of
Himself, to teach me, to breathe His Spirit unto me, to give me new life and
joy and strength. And remember, intercourse with Jesus

Does not mean half-an-hour

or an hour in your closet. A man may study his Bible or his commentary
carefully; he may look up all the parallel passages in the chapter; when he
comes out of his closet he may be able to tell you all about it, and yet he
has never met Jesus that morning at all. You have prayed for five or ten

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

minutes, and you have never met Jesus. And so we must remember that
though the Bible is most precious, and the reading of it most blessed and
needful; yet prayer and Bible reading are not fellowship with Jesus. What
we need every morning is to meet Jesus, and to say, “Lord, here is the day
again, and I am just as weak in myself as ever I was; do Thou come and
feed me this morning with Thyself and speak to my soul.” Oh, friends, it is
not your faith that will keep you standing, but it is a living Jesus, met

Every day in fellowship

and worship and love. Wait in His presence, however cold and faithless you
feel. Wait before Him and say: “Lord, helpless as I am, I believe and rest in
the blessed assurance that what Thou hast promised Thou wilt do for me.”

I ask my Master once again, “Lord Jesus, is that all?” And his answer is:
“No, my child; I have one thing more.” “And what is that? Thou hast told
me to believe, and to obey, and to abide near to Thee: what wouldst Thou
have more?”

“Work for me my child.

Remember, I have redeemed thee for My service; I have redeemed thee to
have a witness to go out into the world confessing Me before men.” Oh, do
not hide your treasure, or think that if Jesus is with you, you can hide it.
One of two things will happen–either you must give all up, or it must come
out. You have perhaps heard of the little girl, who, after one of Mr.
Moody’s meetings, was found to be singing some of the hymns we all
know. The child’s parents were in a good position in society, and while
singing those hymns in the drawing-room her mother forbade her. One day
she was singing the hymn “Oh, I’m so glad that Jesus loves me,” when her
mother said, “My child, how is it that you sing this when I have forbidden
it?” She replied, “Oh, mother, I cannot help it; it comes out of itself.” If
Jesus Christ be in the heart, He must come out. Remember, it is not only
our duty to confess Him; it is that, but it is something more. If you do not
do it, it is just an indication that you have not given yourself up to Jesus;
your character, your reputation, your all. You are holding back from Him.

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

You must confess Jesus in the world, in your home; and in fact everywhere.
You know the Lord’s command, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the
Gospel to every creature;” “and, lo, I am with you,” meaning, “Any one
may work for Me, and I will be with him.” It is true of the minister, the
missionary, and every believer who works for Jesus. The presence of Jesus
is intimately connected with work for Him. You say, “I have never thought
of that before. I have my Sunday work, but during the week I am not doing
work for Him.” You cannot have the presence of Jesus, and let this continue
to be the case. I do not believe you could have the presence of Jesus all the
week and yet do nothing for Him; therefore my advice is, work for Him
who is worthy, His blessing and His presence will be found in the work. It
is

A blessed privilege to work for Christ

in this perishing world. Oh, why is it that our hearts often feel so cold and
closed up, and so many of us say, “I do not feel called to Christ’s work”? Be
willing to yield yourself for the Lord’s service, and He will reveal Himself
to you.

Christ comes with His wondrous promise, and what He says, He says to all
believers: “Lo, I am with you always; that is My promise; this is what I in
My power can do; this is what I faithfully engage to perform; will you have
it?

I give Myself to thee, O soul.”

To each of those who have come to Him, Christ says, “I give Myself to
thee, to be absolutely and wholly thine every hour of every day; to be with
thee and in thee every moment, to bless thee and sustain thee, and to give
thee each moment the consciousness of My presence; I will be wholly,
wholly, wholly thine.”

And now, what is the other side? He wants me to be wholly His. Are you
ready to take this as your motto now,

‘Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray

“Wholly for God”?

O God, breathe Thou Thy presence in my heart that Thou mayest shine
forth from my life. “Wholly for God,” let this be our motto. Come let us
cast ourselves on our faces before His feet. Our missionary from
Nyassaland says he has often been touched by seeing how the native
Christians, when they are brought to Jesus, do not stand in prayer; they do
not kneel; but they cast themselves upon the earth with their foreheads to
the ground, and there they lie, and with loud voices cry unto God. I
sometimes feel that I wish we could do that ourselves; but we need not do it
literally. Let us do it in spirit, for the everlasting Son of God has come into
our hearts. Are you going to take Him and to keep Him there, to give Him
glory and let Him have His way? Come now and say, “I will seek Thee
with my whole heart; I am wholly Thine.” Yield yourself entirely to Him to
have complete possession. He will take and keep possession. Come now.
Jesus delights in the worship of His Saints. Our whole life can become one
continuous act of worship and work of love and joy, if we only remember
and value this, that Jesus has said, “Lo, I am with you all the days, even
unto the end of the world.”

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We Would See Jesus by Roy and Revel Hession


We Would See Jesus
Roy and Revel Hession
Christian Literature Crusade
P. O. Box1449 Fort Washington, PA 19034

We Would See Jesus
This book was produced by the Christian Literature Crusade. We hope it has been helpful to you in living the Christian life. CLC is a literature mission with ministry in over 40 countries worldwide. if you would like to know more about us, or are interested in opportunities to serve with a faith mission, we invite you to write to:

Christian Literature Crusade P. O. Box1449 Fort Washington, PA 19034

PREFACE

This is a book that seeks to be simply about the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

We Would See Jesus is somewhat of an amplification of The Calvary Road, which was published in 1950 and which God has been pleased to bless to many in various parts of the world. We believe that this book will be found to carry on from where the other left off.

The first book dealt with various aspects of the Christian life and revival, such as brokenness, fullness, fellowship, and so on. It is, of course, helpful to have Christian experience dealt with aspect by aspect. We have since learned, however, that we do not need to itemize the Christian life it is enough to see Jesus. Seeing Him we are convicted of sin, broken, cleansed, filled with the Spirit, set free from bondage, and revived. Each aspect of Christian experience is made real m us just by seeing Him. He is both the Blessing we all seek and the easy accessible Way to that blessing. If we concentrate on trying to make a certain aspect of things “work”, it will become a formula for us and will only lead us into bondage. But the Lord Jesus has come to take from us every yoke of bondage and to set us free to serve Him in the freshness and spontaneity of the Spirit, and all that by the simple sight of Him which the Holy Spirit gives to the eye of faith.

We would see Jesus, this is all we’re needing;
Strength, joy, and willingness come with the sight;
We would see Jesus, dying, risen, pleading;
Then welcome day, and are well mortal night.

This, then, is the direction and theme of the present book Jesus. However, we cannot pretend that it is a complete treatment of such a theme. The reader will find much that has not been touched upon. But, as we have said, it is enough to see Jesus and to go on seeing Him. As we do so, we shall see everything else we need to see, as we need to see it, and all in its right relation to Him, who must ever be for us the center.

6

Two words occur again and again in the following pages, and they are used in a special sense. As we have not thought it right to interrupt the flow of thought with chapters to amplify their meaning, we think it well to insert something here as to the sense in which these words are used.

The first is the word “grace”. So often people speak of this as some blessing which we receive from God at special times. We have, however, sought to use it in the strictly New Testament sense of the word. There, it is the great word of our salvation and of all God’s dealings with us; for it is written, “By grace are ye saved through faith. ” Nothing is more important than that we should apprehend its meaning in both our minds and experience. Missing this, we miss everything. In the New Testament grace is not a blessing or an influence from God which we receive, but rather an attribute of God which governs His attitude to man, and can be defined as the undeserved love and favor of God. Romans 11:6 says, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. ” The whole essence of grace is that it is undeserved. The moment we have to do something to make ourselves more acceptable to God, or the moment we have to have a certain feeling or attribute of character in order to be blessed of God, then grace is no more grace. Grace permits us to come (nay, demands that we come) as empty sinners to be blessed, empty of right feelings, good character, and satisfactory record, with nothing to commend ourselves but our deep need, fully and frankly acknowledged. Then grace, being what it is, is drawn by that need to satisfy it, just as water is drawn to depth that it might fill it. This means that when at last we are content to find no merit nor procuring cause in ourselves, and are willing to admit the full extent of our sinfulness, then there is no limit to what Goodwill do for the poor who look to Him in their nothingness. If what we receive from God is dependent, even to a small extent, on what we are or do, then the most we can expect is but an intermittent trickle of blessing. But if what we are to receive is to be measured by the grace of God quite apart from works,

7

then there is only one word that adequately describes what He pours upon us, the word which so often is linked with grace in the New Testament, “abundance”! The struggle, of course, is to believe it and to be willing to be but empty sinners to the end of our days, that grace may continue to match our needs.

When we come to the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving has only begun.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

This, then, is grace and this is God! What a melting vision this gives us of Him! The other word that needs a little explanation as to its use in these pages is the word “revival”. The popular sense in which this word is used is that of a general and more or less spectacular movement of the Holy Spirit, in which many are saved and the Church built up. That this is a legitimate use of the word we would not deny, but we have used it throughout in the sense of the work of God which He does firstly in the lives of believers, and which is both personal and immediate for each believer who recognizes the decline there has been in his Christian experience, who bows to the dealings of God with him, and who sees Jesus as all he needs and believingly apprehends Him as such. It is simply this that lies at the heart of even the most spectacular movements of revival. After all, what are such movements but the communication of this life to ever increasing numbers? And what does God use to this end but the radiant testimonies of the revived themselves? It is plain, then, that our first responsibility is to be revived ourselves, and to give our testimony to those around us. We can trust God, then, to fit us and the life He is giving us into whatever corporate movement of His Spirit that He pleases. May God grant that every reader have an abundant fulfillment of the longing, expressed long ago by the Greeks to Philip, “Sir, we would see Jesus” (John 12: 21).

Roy and Revel Hession

9

CHAPTER I
SEEING GOD THE PURPOSE OF LIFE

My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God.

What is the purpose of life? This is the one question to which most of us are longing to find the answer. We find ourselves driven and pulled in different directions by inner urges, longings, and desires which we do not seem able to satisfy. We look enviously at others and imagine that their lives are much fuller and more satisfying than ours. We think that if we could gain this prize or enjoy that pleasure, we should be truly, satisfied; but when at last we do achieve those prizes or pleasures we find that we are no happier than we were before. And the older we grow, the more frustrated we feel, and we find ourselves asking “What is the purpose of life? How can I find it? How can I be sure it is the right one?” These are questions to which many a professing Christian yet needs to end the answer, as well as the man who has no knowledge of God.

However, when we turn to the Bible we find a clear and simple answer to this fundamental question. It plainly states that there is but one purpose for mankind, and that purpose is the same, whatever our sex, our age, our nationality, or status in society.

“What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him”(Deut. 10:12).

“He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to . . . humble thyself to walk with thy God” (Mic. 6:8 (margin)).

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12:30).

It appears, therefore, that the Bible answer to the question,

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“What is the purpose of life?” is to know, and to love, and to walk with God; that is, to see God. Indeed, men in former times came to speak of “the end of life” as being the “Vision of God”. The divines who in the seventeenth century produced the Westminster Confession answered the question, “What is the chief end of man?” with the words, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.”

Today, however, we do not hear much about the need to see God. It is only as we turn the pages of the past that we become aware of our lack of this emphasis, both in preaching and in living the Gospel. In former days, we find, even in times of spiritual darkness, that there were always some who were gripped by a consuming passions the longing to see God. For them there was only one goal, to know their God. They were heart thirsty, and they knew that God alone could satisfy their thirst. As we read of their search for God, we find some traveling along strange paths. We see them living in desert or cave, or withdrawing to the monastery. In their desire for that holiness “without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. I2:I4), they might strip themselves of every earthly possession, or mortify their bodies by self inflicted torture. They were sometimes fanatical, sometimes morbidly introspective. We look back on many of them now as poor, misguided souls who were in bondage to legalism and asceticism. But let us always remember that these things were done in the longing and search for God, and that their emphasis was on personal holiness in order to see God.

At the present time the situation is very different. We have much more light on the Bible and the message of the Gospel, and we look back rather despairingly on many of these seekers of old. But the solemnizing fact is this, that the coming of more light has not brought an increasing passion to see God. In fact, it seems to have had the reverse effect. That deep hunger for God Himself a patently lacking, and it would appear that we have lowered our goal in the Christian life to something less than God Himself.

Two emphases stand out today.

First of all, instead of stressing holiness in order to see God, the emphasis is on service for God.

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We have come to think of the Christian life as consisting in serving God as fully and as efficiently as we can. Techniques and methods, by which we hope to make God’s message known, have become the important thing. To carry out this service we need power, and so instead of a longing for God, our longing is for power to serve Him more effectively. So much has service become the center of our thinking that very often a man’s rightness with God is judged by his success or otherwise in his Christian work.

Then there tends to be today an emphasis on the seeking of inner spiritual experiences. While so many Christians are content to live at a very low level, it is good that some do become concerned about their Christian lives, and it is right that they should. However, the concern arises not so much from a hunger for God, but from a longing to find an inner experience of happiness, joy, and power, and we find ourselves looking for “it”, rather than God Himself.

Both these ends fall utterly short of the great end that God has designed for man, that of glorifying Him and enjoying Him for ever. They fail to satisfy God’s heart and they fail to satisfy ours.

*******************************

To understand why the seeing of God should be the main goal of life and why He should make such a claim on us, we must turn our minds back to the very dawn of history.

The story of man began when God, who is complete in Himself and therefore could have no needs, deliberately chose, it would seem, to be incomplete without creatures of His own creating. “Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:II). It was for this purpose and no other, that of existing for the pleasure of God, that man was brought into being. He was intended to be the delight of God and the object of His affection. On man’s side, the basis of that original relationship was that it was completely God centerd. Man knew that he had only been created to delight God, and his only concern was to respond to the Divine affection, to live for Him, and to do His will. It was his joy

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continually to submit his will and desires to those of his Creator, and in nothing to be independent of Him. As he thus lived in submission to God, every need in man’s nature was satisfied by God. As C. S. Lewis puts it in describing that early unfallen relationship, “In perfect cyclic movement, being, power and joy descended from God to man in the form of gift and returned from man to God in the form of obedient love and ecstatic adoration. ” Truly these were the “palmy days” of the human race, when man was as much at home in the unseen realm as in the seen, when the faculty within him called spirit was able to commune with God who is Spirit.

To insist, then, that to see God and be in living relationship with Him is me supreme goal of life is not to insist on anything strange or unnatural. It is the very purpose for which we were recreated, the sole raison d’etre for our being on the earth at all.

More than that, however, for us to see God is the sole purpose of God’s redemption of the world by the Lord Jesus Christ; for man soon lost the Divine purpose for his life, and needed to be redeemed. That loving, submissive relationship with God did not last long. Those walks together in the cool of the day came to an end, for one day sin stalked into the garden. Under the temptation of Satan, who suggested that by a simple act of transgression man could forsake the creaturely position and become “as gods” (Gen. 3: 5), man deliberately chose no longer to be dependent on God. He set himself up on his own, putting himself at the center of his world, where before he had delighted to put God. Thereafter he became a proud, unbroken spirit. No longer would he willingly submit to his Creator; no longer would he recognize that he was made for God. Moreover, on God’s side the foundation of His fellowship with man was destroyed, because God in His holiness could not have fellowship with man who was unholy. There could never be fellowship between light and darkness, between holiness and sin; and man instinctively realized this, for his first reaction was to hide from the presence of the Lord God behind the trees of the garden.

We, too, descendants of those first sinners, are involved in all this. We are born with the same God defiant nature that

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Adam acquired the day he first sinned. We all start life as “I” specialists, as someone has quaintly put it, and our actions are governed by self interest. Such is the rebellious attitude of man to God’s authority now that the Bible is driven to say” There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11). The natural heart defies God and says, “Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?” (Job 21:I4, 15).

Thus did man lose the original Dive purpose of his He. Had God chosen to leave man there, in his alienation and in all the miseries that would inevitably follow, no angel in the sky could have charged Him with injustice, nor even with lack of love. He had already showered upon man His love, and man had thrown that love back in His face. But the love of God was such that, when man had done all that, He yet purposed his recovery, and He stretched out His hand the second time, this time to redeem. To create, God had but to speak, and it was done. But to redeem, He had to bleed. And He did so in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ, whom He sent to take for us the place of death upon the Cross which our sin had so richly deserved. Redemption, however, was no last minute thought, brought into being to meet an unexpected emergency. No sooner had sin entered the garden than God spoke of One who was to come and who was to bruise the serpent’s (that is, Satan’s) head, His own heel being bruised in the process (Gen. 3:I5), and to restore all the damage which sin and Satan had done. God thereby revealed that the sad turn of events had not taken Him by surprise, but that there was One in reserve to meet this very situation. Scripture calls Him “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev.13:8), because with God the remedy antedated the disease. And all this was done with the one purpose of bringing us fallen men with our sinful, proud, unbroken natures back to that relationship with God of submissiveness and God centeredness that was lost in the Fall, and where once more He can delight in us and we in Him.

If to bring us back into this relationship with God is the whole purpose of His creation and then His redemption of us,

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we can be quite sure that this will be the one great object offal His present dealings with us. If an aeroplane designer designs a plane to fly at a certain altitude and finds that it will not leave the ground, he will bend every effort to make that plane do that for which he designed it. So does God bend every effort to bring us back to Himself. An initial repentance on our part and our conversion to God is only the gateway to the road back to fellowship with Himself. It is only when we get on the road that God can start dealing with our self centered wills, so that, painful though it is to wills “swollen and inflamed by years of usurpation”, we come back to the place of submission and God centeredness. If we will not from our own choice seek Him and want Him, He often has to allow sorrow, suffering, trials, ill health, smashed plans, and failure, so that in our need we will find our need of Him. Such suffering, however, is never punitive, but wholly and only restorative in its intention. It is Love humbling us and drawing us to the place of repentance and to God.

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In the light of all this, we can see how far short the goals we set ourselves, such as service and activity for God and the finding of special inner experiences, fall from the great goal God has purposed for us.

To concentrate on service and activity for God may often actively thwart our attaining of the true goal, God Himself. At first sight it seems heroic to fling our lives away in the service of God and of our fellows. We feel it is bound to mean more to Him than our experience of Him. Service seems so unselfish, whereas concentrating on our walk with God seems selfish and self centered. But it is the very reverse. The things that God is most concerned about are our coldness of heart towards Himself and our proud, unbroken natures. Christian service of itself can, and so often does, leave our self centered nature untouched. That is why there is scarcely a church, a mission station, or a committee undertaking a special piece of service, that is without an unresolved problem of personal relationships eating out its heart and thwarting its progress.

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This is because Christian service often gives us opportunities of leadership and position that we could not attain in the secular world, and we quickly fall into pride, self seeking, and ambition. With those things hidden in our hear, we have only to work alongside others, and we find resentment, hardness, criticism, jealousy, and frustration issuing from our hearts. We think we are working for God, but the test of how little of our service is for Him is revealed by our resentment or self pity, when the actions of others, or circumstances, or ill health take it from us!

In this condition we are trying to give to others an answer which we have not truly and deeply found for ourselves. The tragedy is that much of the vast network of Christian activity and service is bent on propagating an answer for people’s needs and problems which few of those propagating it are finding adequate in their own lives. We need to leave our lusting forever larger spheres of Christian service and concentrate unseeing God for ourselves and finding the deep answer for life in Him. Then, even if we are located in the most obscure corner of the globe, the world will make a road to our door to get that answer. Our service of help to our fellows then becomes incidental to our vision of God, and the direct consequence of it.

This does not mean that God does not want us engaged actively in His service. He does; but His purpose is often far different from what we think. Our service, in His mind, is to be far more the potter’s wheel on which He can mould us than the achieving of those spectacular objectives on which we set our hearts. He sees a sharp point in our make up that is continually wounding others. He sees within our hearts the motives of self seeking and pride. He, therefore, allows someone to come and work alongside us who will rub against that sharp point and round it off. Or He allows someone to thwart our plans and to step into our shoes. If we are making service for Him an end in itself we will be full of reactions and will want to fight back or to break away and start an independent work of our own, and we become more self centered than ever. But if we will bow to what God has allowed, and repent of our sinful reactions, we will find that that very situation has led us

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into a deeper experience of His grace and of His power to satisfy our hearts with Himself alone.

In the same way, the inordinate seeking of inner spiritual experiences may also thwart us finding our true goal, for if we make our purpose in life a quest for these things we tend to become occupied with our personal experiences or lack of them. This produces the sad situation of hungry, dissatisfied Christians seeking out this speaker or that, hoping that he will be found to have the secret; or going to this Convention or that Conference, trying new formulas for blessing, seeking fresh experiences, and falling either into pride or despair, according to whether they feel they have the blessing or not. This leaves the Christian still self centered, occupied with himself and his experience; and it can lead to much mental anguish through the confusion of our many teachings and emphases on sanctification and kindred doctrines. Yet, all the time the One who alone can satisfy the heart is by our side, longing to be known and loved and proved.

***************

This, then, is the purpose of life, to see God, and to allow Him to bring us back to the old relationship of submission to Himself. We might wish that God would be content with some lesser purpose for us. As C. S. Lewis says, “It is natural to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and arduous destiny. . . It is a burden of glory, not only beyond our deserts, but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring. ” * But we must not rebel against this high purpose for us. Clay does not argue with the potter. It knows that the potter has every right to make it into whatever shape He chooses. Our highest good is achieved only in submitting. It has been said that there is a God shaped blank in every man’s heart. It is also true that there is a man shaped blank in God’s heart. It is because of the latter that God yearns so much for us and pursues us so relentlessly, and it is because of the former that mere earthly things, even service, will never satisfy our hearts. Only God Himself can fill that blank which is made

* C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain.

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in His shape. If we will yield to this, some of us will have a new outlook on life. We will have a new zest for life, even in the dreariest surroundings. As soon as the emphasis is changed from “doing” to “being”, there is an easing of tension. The situations may not change, but we have changed. If fellowship with God is to be our first concern, then we can have fellowship with God in the kitchen, in sickness, in any kind of trying and difficult situation. Whatever lies across our path to be done, even the most irksome chores, are there to be done for God and/or His glory. Gone will be the former striving, bondage, and frustration. We shall be at peace with our God and ourselves.

One thing I know, I cannot say Him nay;
One thing I do, I press toward my Lord:
My God my glory here from day to day,
And in the glory there my great reward.

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CHAPTER II
SEEING GOD IN THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST

PERHAPS the previous chapter has left us feeling frustrated. We agree with the argument, we realize that our goal should be God Himself, but He seems far off, unknowable.

The fact is, God is unknowable, unless there is an easily appreciated revelation of Himself. Apart from that revelation, men have groped for Him in vain and have had to say with job, “Oh, that knew where I might find Him! “(Job. 23:3). Even the wonders of creation fail to give the revelation of Him that is needed. Of them, job said, “Lo, these are but the outskirts of His ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of Him” (Job 26:14 RV.). Left to themselves, men arrive at a false knowledge of God, a knowledge that only begets fear and bondage, and which repels men rather than draws them to Him.

However, the glorious, central fact of Christianity is that God has made a full and final revelation of Himself which has made Him understandable, accessible, and desirable to the simplest and most fearful of us. He has done so in a Son, through whom He made the worlds and who, having humbled Himself to take on Him our flesh and blood, and by Himself to purge our sins, has sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. And that Son is the Lord Jesus. The disciples themselves had battled with this difficulty of the unknowableness of God, and one day one of them said to the Lord Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. “In reply, Jesus uttered the stupendous words, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. ” (John 14: 9). Later in the New Testament we find Paul saying the same thing to the Colossians, “His dear Son . . . who is the image of the invisible God. ” (Col. 1:15). And again, to the Corinthians, “God. . . hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Con 4:6).

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It is this verse about the light of the knowledge of the glory of God being seen in the face of Jesus Christ that helps us most here. Light is invisible unless it shines upon some object. We think we see a ray of sunshine shining into the room. But that is not so. We see only the particles in the air upon which the light shines and which thus reveal the presence of light. “God is light” (1 John 1:5) we read, but He is invisible and unknowable unless He shines upon some object that will reveal Him. The object upon which He has shone is the face of Jesus Christ, and as we look into that face, there shines in our hearts the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, which we can see nowhere else.

In yet other verses the New Testament gives us three beautiful illustrations of the way in which the Lord Jesus is the revelation of the Father. In one place He is called “the Word”(John 1:1), for the word is the expression of the thought. In another He is called “the express image of His Person” (Heb. 1:3), for the wax impress is the exact expression of the seal. And in the same verse He is called “the brightness of His glory”, for the brightness of the rays express the sun, and are all that we can see of the sun. Yes, just as the word is the son of the thought, and the wax impress the son of the seal, and the rays the son of the sun, so Jesus is the Son of God, equal to Him but never independent of Him and perfectly expressing Him to us in terms that we can simply appreciate. And He was all this, not merely at the Incarnation, but before time began, and will ever be so when time has ceased to be.

Thou art the Everlasting Word,
The Father’s only Son,
God manifestly seen and heard
And heavens beloved One.
In Thee most perfectly expressed
The Father’s glories shine;
Of the full Deity possessed,
Eternally Divine.

True image of the Infinite,
Whose essence is concealed;
Brightness of uncreated light,
The heart of God revealed.

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Nowhere else can we fully see God but in the face of Jesus Christ.

In his biography of Martin Luther, D’Aubigne describes how Luther was seeking to know God. He says that “he would have wished to penetrate into the secret councils of God, to unveil His mysteries, to see the invisible and to comprehend the incomprehensible”. Stupitz checked him. He told him not to presume to fathom the hidden God, but to confine himself to what He has manifested to us in Jesus Christ. In Him, God has said, you will find what I am and what I require. Nowhere else, neither in heaven nor in the earth, will you discover it.

What exactly is it that we see when we look into the face of Jesus Christ? The verse we are considering says we see not only “the light of the knowledge of God”, but also the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”. In Him we see not only God but His glory displayed. This gives us a new understanding of that which makes God glorious and it comes as both a surprise and a shock. For the face that reveals the glory of God is a marred face, spat upon and disfigured by the malice of men. The prophetic word of Isaiah concerning Him, “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men” (Isa. 52:14) can really be translated “His visage was marred so that it was no longer that of a man”, so great was His disfigurement. But, you say, that is not the vision of glory, but of shame and disgrace! However, it is glory as God counts glory, for the glory of God consists in something other than what we suppose. We are always falling into the mistake of thinking God is “such an one as ourselves” (Psa. 50:21) and therefore that His glory consists in much the same things as that in which man’s glory consists, only on a bigger scale. Man’s glory is normally thought to lie in his ability to exalt himself, and humble others to his will. That is glory, that is power, says the world. “Men will praise thee when thou doest well to thyself” (Psa. 49: 18). How often have we coveted the glory of being able to sit at a desk as a high administrative chief and at the touch of a button

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command men to do what we want! Glory in man’s eyes is always that which exalts him.

In Jesus, however, we see that God’s glory consists in thievery reverse not so much in His ability to exalt Himself and humble man, but in His willingness to humble Himself for the sake of man not so much in a mighty display of power that would break in pieces those that oppose Him, but rather in the hiding of that power and the showing of grace to the undeserving when they turn to Him in repentance. When Moses said, “I beseech Thee, shew me Thy glory”, God replied, “I will make all My goodness pass before thee” (Exod. 33:18, 19). Not, “I will make all My power, My majesty, My holiness pass before thee” but “I will make all My goodness tithe weak, the sinful, and the undeserving pass before thee. “In showing His goodness (grace, as it is called in the New Testament) He was showing His glory. His glory is His grace (Eph.1i:6). It is this that makes the angels hide their faces and bow in wondering adoration of God. And it is this glory which is fully seen in the face of Jesus and nowhere else. “In Him most perfectly expressed the Father’s glories shine. ”

This was the conception of glory that occupied the Saviour’s mind. On one occasion He said, “The hour is come that the Son of Man should be glorified” (John 12: 23). A few verses farther on He speaks of it as an hour when He would be lifted up and would draw all men to Him (John 12:32). Again and again He had said, “Mine hour is not yet come. ” Now He says, “It is come. ” Were we reading all this for the first time, we would surely feel like saying at this point, “Never was the hour of glory and vindication more merited than in His case, for none had walked the path of vilification and opposition more patiently than He!” What is our surprise, then, when we discover that lie is speaking, not of being lifted up on a Throne, but on a Tree, as a public spectacle of shame, and all that for rebellious man, that He might save him from the miseries of his sin. “This, ” says Jesus in effect, “is the hour of My glory, for it is the hour of My grace to sinners. ” In Jesus, then, we see that God’s highest glory consists in His securing our deepest happiness. What a God is this!

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How different is this sight of Him from the conception our guilty consciences have given us! A guilty conscience always makes us want to hide from Him, as if He were the God with the big stick! Little wonder, then, that He goes on to say, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, [revealing the glory of God in grace] will draw all men unto Me. ” Here is a revelation of God that makes Him not only understandable but also infinitely desirable.

We need to look, then, no farther than the face of Jesus Christ to see God, and to know Him as He really is.

In Him I see the Godhead shine,
Christ for me !

How good of God to simplify our quest like this l We need not be philosophers, nor theologians, nor scholars. We need not nay, we should not pry any farther. All we need to know of the Father has been revealed in the Lord Jesus with such simplicity that a child can understand. . . perhaps with such simplicity that unless we become as little children we will not understand, for so often it is our intellect that gets in the way.

The one cry that we all need to utter is that of the Greeks to Philip, “Sir, we would see Jesus!” for, seeing Him, we see all, and every need of our hearts is met.

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We must now ask ourselves what it actually means to “see Jesus”. Perhaps it will help us to see what it does not mean.

To see Jesus does not mean that we are to seek to see Him in a mystical way, nor to crave for visions. We once heard someone, on being asked if they were seeing Jesus for themselves, reply, “Oh, yes, I am always trying to conjure up pictures of Him in my mind. ” Some people are given to visions, but visions are not to be sought after, nor gloried in. Paul was very reticent about what he had seen (2 Cor. 12:1-5). The fact of having a vision does not necessarily mean that we know the Lord Jesus more deeply than anyone else sometimes it can be a hindrance.

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Furthermore, we must not imagine that a merely objective contemplation of Christ and His love, or an academic delight untruth, is what is needed. Important as Bible study is, it can be strangely sterile and does not necessary mean that the student is enjoying a transforming vision of the Lord Jesus Himself though we shall never get very far without a patient and daffy waiting on God over the Scriptures. To see Jesus is to apprehend Him as the supply of our present needs, and believingly to lay hold on Him as such. The Lord Jesus is always seen through the eye of need. He is presented to us in the Scriptures not for our academic contemplation and delight, but for our desperate need as sinners and weaklings. The acknowledgment of need and the confession of sin, therefore, is ever the first step in seeing Jesus. Then, where therein acknowledged need, the Holy Spirit delights to show to the heart the Lord Jesus as the supply of just that need. Basically He is revealed through the Scriptures, but often in other ways too through another’s testimony, through the words of a hymn, or through the even more direct approach of the Spirit to the soul without any such means. Then, as the soul believingly appropriates for himself what the Spirit shows of Jesus, striving, strain, a consciousness of guilt, fear, and sorrow flee away and “our mouth is filled with laughter and our tongue with singing “(Psa.126:2).

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CHAPTER III
SEEING JESUS AS ALL WE NEED

0NE of the most breathtaking occasions when Jesus claimed equality with the Father was when He said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). The sentence immediately challenges our attention because of the extraordinary liberty it takes with our grammar. If the Lord Jesus had merely wanted to express His pre existence, He would surely have said, “Before Abraham was, I was. ” But He says, “Before Abraham was, I AM. ”

Without any doubt He is taking us back to that day when Moses, bowing before God at the burning bush, asked what name he should give the God who was sending him to the Children of Israel. God’s reply then was, “I AM THAT I AM. Thus shalt thou say unto the Children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you . . . Jehovah, God of your fathers, hath sent me unto you: this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations” (Exod. 3:14, 15). Thereafter, God’s personal name became Jehovah, which comes from the same Hebrew root as I AM, and means the same. Thus it was, when the Lord Jesus said this word to the Jews, He dared to claim to be the great I AM of the Old Testament, whom they all knew to be the covenant God of their fathers. He went farther, saying that for them their own eternal destiny would depend on their accepting Him as such, for, said lie, “If ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins”(John 8:24) . *

The meaning of this great name, Jehovah, that is, I AM, which Jesus claimed for Himself is twofold. It means first offal that He is the Ever present One, who stands outside of

* The word “He” is in italics in the Authorized (King James) Version, which means it is not in the Greek and can be omitted. This throws into relief the name, “I am”.

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time, to whom there is no past nor future, but to whom everything is present. Clearly, that is the first meaning of this strange mixture of tenses. . . “Before Abraham was, I AM. “And that surely is what eternity is not merely elongated time, but another realm altogether where everything is one glorious present. It is for this reason that the French Bible always translates the name, Jehovah, as “L’Eternel”, the Eternal One.

The relation of the Eternal One to us in time can be illustrated by the relation of a reader to the events in a book. In the story in the book there is a sequence of time. As the pages are turned, certain incidents go into the past, others come into the present and yet others remain in the future. And yet the reader himself is in another realm altogether. He can open the book at any page, and to him the incidents there are all present, actually happening at that moment, as he reads them. What a vision this gives of our Lord Jesus, the Eternal One, the I AM! To Him our lives with their past and future are all present; our yesterdays as well as our tomorrows are all now to Him.

More important for us, however, is the fact that this name, Jehovah, is used almost uniformly in connection with that earthly people to whom He brought Himself into covenant obligations, the Children of Israel. To the Gentile nations, He was just God. But to His chosen people, to whom He had pledged special promises, He was ever Jehovah. * The fact that this Name was intended to have a special significance to them is made clear when God says to Moses, “I am Jehovah: and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by My name Jehovah was I not known to them” (Exod. 6 :2, 3). Quite obviously, then, this name is meant to convey to them a new and precious revelation. What is it?

* The pity is that the Authorized Version largely obscures the use of the name “Jehovah” by almost always using the word “Lord” in the translation doubtless carried over from the Jewish tradition that the name of Jehovah was too sacred to write. The version, however, does help us by putting “LORD” all in capitals, whenever it is Jehovah in the original. The same applies whenever “God” is spelled with capital letters, GOD. Watch for it.

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The special revelation which this name gives is that of the grace of God. “I am” is an unfinished sentence. It has no object. I am what? What is our wonder when we discover, as we continue with our Bibles, that He is saying, “I AM whatever My people need” and that the sentence is only left blank that man may bring his many and various needs, as they arise, to complete it!

Apart from human need this great name of God goes round and round in a closed circle, “I am that I am” which means that God is incomprehensible. But the moment human need and misery present themselves, He becomes just what that person needs. The verb has at last an object, the sentence is complete and God is revealed and known. Do we lack peace? “I am thy peace, ” He says. Do we lack strength? “I am thy strength. ” Do we lack spiritual life? “I am thy life. ” Do we lack wisdom? “I am thy wisdom”, and so on.

The name “Jehovah” is really like a blank cheque. Your faith can fill in what He is to be to you just what you need, as each need arises. It is not you, moreover, who are beseeching Him for this privilege, but He who is pressing it upon you. He is asking you to ask. “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16: 24). Just as water is ever seeking the lowest depths in order to fill them, so is Jehovah ever seeking outman’s need in order to satisfy it. Where there is need, there is God. Where there is sorrow, misery, unhappiness, suffering, confusion, folly, oppression, there is the I AM, yearning to turn man’s sorrow into bliss whenever man will let Him. It is not, therefore, the hungry seeking for bread, but the Bread seeking the hungry; not the sad seeking for joy, but rather joy seeking the sad; not emptiness seeking fullness, but rather Fullness seeking emptiness. And it is not merely that He supplies our need, but He becomes Himself the fulfillment of our need. He is ever “I am that which My people need”.

Oh, the grace of it, the surprise of it! Why should He? What claim have we on Him for this? Even man before the Fall had no claim on his God for this, much less man who has rebelled and fallen, and most of whose needs and miseries are but the

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result of his own sin! But that is grace and that is God. Grace, being what it is, is always drawn by need. And this is no extra nor afterthought on the part of God. It is His way of revealing Himself. Apart from our need, He is “I am that I am”, but as He is allowed to become the fulfillment of our need, He is seen for what He really is. That is why a mere academic understanding of the things of God is never the way to see Him and to know Him. It is as we come to Him with our needs that then “thou shalt know that I am the Jehovah”.

Sometimes in the Old Testament this blank cheque, the name “Jehovah”, is filled in for us, to encourage us to fill it in ourselves, as we have need. Every now and then we come across Jehovah compounded with another word to form His completed name for that occasion. In one place the Children of Israel had need of a banner to rally their drooping spirits and to lead them into victory against the forces that lay against them as they journeyed through the wilderness. They found their Jehovah God to be just that to them, and so, after the victory over Amalek, they built an altar and called the name of it Jehovah Nissi, which means “I am thy banner” (Exod. 17: 15). It was His warfare, not merely theirs.

In another place Gideon feared for his life, for he had seen an angel of Jehovah face to face. Then Jehovah said to him, “Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. ” Thus it was discovered that Jehovah was peace, even to a sinner like Gideon, and to commemorate the new revelation he built an altar unto Jehovah and called it “Jehovah Shalom”, meaning “I am thy peace” (Judges 6:24).

In yet another place Jeremiah says of the Messiah who was to come, “In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, ‘Jehovah Tsidkenu”‘, that is, “I am thy righteousness” (Jer. 23:6 (margin)). Israel shall be saved and dwell safely because Jehovah will stand for them, answering every accusation against them, becoming their surety and righteousness.

So it goes on, seven such wonderful compounds of Jehovah, *

· The remaining four are: Genesis 22:14 (Jehovah Jireh, I am the One who provides); Exodus ig:26(Jehovah Rapha, I am the One who heals); Psalms 23:1 (Jehovah Ra ah, I am thy shepherd); Ezekiel48:35 (Jehovah Shammah, I am the One who is there, or, who is present). In some cases the Authorized Version does not give the Hebrew name, but merely the English translation of it.

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seven places in the Old Testament, where the cheque “I am” is filled up for us for our encouragement. What a study these compound names are! That, however, is outside the scope of this little book, for our aim is to fix our attention on the supreme compound of Jehovah JESUS. This might be written JE SUS, and, it seems, is but a contraction of JehovahSus, * which simply means, “I am thy Salvation”. Sooner or later, if Jehovah means, “I am what you need”, He will have to undertake our basic need as sinners. As such, we are justly condemned by His holy law, and we languish in the misery and famine of the “far country” of our own choosing. All the other needs which the other compound names of Jehovah reveal Him as meeting are not especially the needs of His people as sinners. But in Jesus, Jehovah undertakes to be what His people need as sinners, without excuse and without rights.

God could have undertaken His people’s other needs without sending Jesus. He did so in the Old Testament, and He could have continued to do so in our time. But when it came to His people’s needs as sinners it had to be Jesus. There was no other way. There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin. And God did not withhold Him. He so loved us that He sent Him, the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, to effect by the shedding of His blood a full redemption from sin for us, and as a risen Saviour to be continuously all His people need, as sinners for our need as sinners is continuous, right up to the gates of heaven. We can now say, not only where there is need, there is God,

* Actually, the name “Jesus” is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Kenosha”. The first letters of this name “Je” are a contraction of “Jehovah” and are linked with a Hebrew name meaning “salvation” to make Be full name, “Jehovah is salvation”. Joshua is a further contraction of Jehmhua. Therefore Jehoshua, Joshua, and Jesus are all me same name, the first two being the Hebrew forms, and the last one the Greek form. This explains why Joshua is called Jesus in Hebrews 4:8.

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but where there is san, there is Jesus and that is something far more wonderful. There is not always something blameworthy in a need, and we can understand God being touched and drawn by humanity’s need. But humanity’s sin, surely that does not draw Him, except in judgment. But no just because God is what He is, and Jesus is what He is, and grace is what it is, it is gloriously true, where there is sin, there is always Jesus seeking to forgive sin and recover all the damage that it has caused. He is not shocked at human failure; rather He is at home in it, drawn by it, knowing what to do about it, for Hein Himself and in His blood is the answer to it all.

So it is, whenever we think of Jesus, we must think of Someone whose coming was necessitated only by the offensive business of our sin. He is firstly and lastly the answer to sin. But God, in giving Him to be the answer to our sin, has given Him to be the answer to all our other needs, both spiritual, moral, and material, for “how shall He not with Him also freely gives all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Jesus thus takes into Himself all the meaning of the Old Testament compound names of Jehovah, fulfilling and eclipsing them all in the final compound name He beam, JESUS, I am thy salvation.

All this implies that we must see ourselves as sinners, believers though we may be of many years standing, and that we must do so, not in a merely theoretical way, but under the searching and specific conviction of the Holy Spirit. In the pages that follow we shall come back to that again and again, for apart from seeing ourselves as sinners, we shall see no beauty in Jesus that we should desire Him (Isa. 53 :2). He has no meaning except as the answer to sin. “To see thyself a sinner is the beginning of salvation, ” said St. Augustine and we may add, to continue to see ourselves as sinners is the continuance of salvation. An African, who had been convicted of sin after being a professing Christian for years, testified, “I never saw Jesus till I saw Him through my sins. ”

“We would see Jesus” is our theme. Seeing Him is not merely attaining an objective knowledge of Him; it is something subjective and experimental. It is seeing Him by faith to be just what I need as a sinner, a failure, a poverty stricken

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weakling, and allowing Him to be just that to me in this hour. And it is not selfish to seek to see Him thus. It is in His beingwhat I need as a sinner that He is revealed and known.

Jesus Christ A made to me,
All I need, all I need;
He alone is all my plea,
He is a11 I need;
Wisdom, righteousness and power,
Holiness this very hour,
My redemption full and sure;
He is all I need. and basic need?

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CHAPTER IV
SEEING JESUS AS THE TRUTH

We have just seen, doubtless with gratitude, that Jesus Christ is made to us all we need. What, then, is our first basic need? It is to know the truth about ourselves and about God. Until we do so, we are living in a realm of illusion and we are impervious to the word of grace; it seems largely irrelevant to our case. The breaking in of me truth about our selves and about God, and the shattering of the illusion in which we have been living, is the beginning of revival for the Christian as it is of salvation for the lost. We cannot begin to see the grace of God in the face of Jesus Christ until we have seen the truth about ourselves and given a full answer to all its challenge.

This word “truth” is an important word, especially in the writings of the Apostle John, from which much in this chapter is derived. It is one of his keywords, and in his Gospel and three Epistles it occurs no less than forty two times. John puts truth in contrast to the lie, the devil’s lie. The devil, he says, “abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). This settles for us the meaning of the word, as John uses it. It is not truth in the sense of the body of Christian doctrine, but truth in the sense of honesty, reality, a revelation of things as they really are.

One of the devil’s greatest weapons has always been lying propaganda. It is the way by which he conditions men to disobedience. He wove a web of lies around man in the Garden of Eden, and he has been doing so ever since. He lied to man about his perilous position as a sinner. “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen.3:4), he said, “you’re all right. There is nothing to worry about: you can eat of the tree with impunity. ” He lied also to man about God when he imputed to Him certain base

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motives for His prohibition with regard to the tree. “God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof …ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5), he said, “He does not want you to be a godlike Himself; He is keeping you down.” He flattered man and maligned God. And the tragedy was that man believed the lie and acted on it, with all the tragic consequences of the Fall of man that we know.

And the devil is still weaving his web of lies about us today. He is still telling us that we are good people and devoted Christians, and that there is nothing to be concerned about in our lives. He is still telling us that God is not all that holy and uncompromising, or that God does not love us or treat unfairly. And the tragedy is that we are still believing him. The result is that we have lost sight of things as they really are, and me now living in a realm of complete illusion about ourselves.

We must not, however, blame only the devil for all this. He has a ready ally in our hearts. In the first chapter of the first Epistle of John we have the three steps in me building up of this world of illusion about ourselves. The first step is in verse 6, where we have the words, “we lie, and do not the truth”. In other words, we give an impression of ourselves which is not the truth. We act a lie, even if we do not actually tell a lie. Some of us, perhaps, have been doing that for years, play acting, wearing a mask. And little wonder, for “every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:20). There is much about ourselves that we want to hide.

The next step is in verse 8, where we have the words, “We deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”. The means that we have acted a lie for so long that we have come to believe our own lie. We begin by deceiving others, and end by deceiving ourselves. We really do believe now that we are the sort of people we have given ourselves out to be. We are quite sure that we “have never done anybody any harm” and that we are not jealous or proud as other people are, and that we are truly consecrated to the Lord. The Pharisee who thanked God that he was not as other men were, honestly thought he was telling the truth. He was, however, just as covetous, unjust, and

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adulterous as anybody else, but his own heart had deceived him. He was living in the same realm of illusion as we are.

The third step in the process is in verse xo, “We make Him a liar”. All the leads us to the plate where, when God comes to show us our sin and our real selves, we say automatically, “Not so, Lord.” God, we feel, has made a mistake. He is pointing to the wrong man. Of course, we all admit theoretically we are sinners, but when God comes close, either through a message or through the faithful challenge of a friend, to show us that our hearts are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer.17:9) and to do so on specific points, we cannot see that it is right. However, to say that we have not sinned, when God says we have, is to make Him a liar. That is ever the end of this blindness, and Me we are there God can do little further for us. We have become strangers not only to God, but also to ourselves. It is clear, then, that our first and basic need is to be introduced to ourselves, to know the truth as God sees it.

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It is just here that Jesus Christ is made to us what we need, for He says, “I am …the Truth” (John 14:6). In the soul’s experience the is the first of His great “I am’s”, and our first step is to be willing to see the whole truth about ourselves and the God with whom we have to do, as it is revealed in Jesus Christ.

It is important to understand that Jesus is not saying here that He merely teaches us the truth, as if the truth were some thing apart from Himself ; but that He Himself is the truth. Therefore, truly to see Him is to see the truth. If we are asked, Where do we see Jesus as the truth, we reply, Supremely on the Cross of Calvary. There in Him we see the whole naked truth about sin, man and the God with whom he has to do. The very scene that reveals the richest and sweetest grace of God to wards man also reveals the starkest truth as to what man is If grace flows from Calvary, so does truth, for both “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Let us try to illustrate these things at the point. It is by

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seeing the concern of the doctor, and the extreme measures prescribed, that the patient learns for the first time the gravity of the trouble from which he is suffering. It is by the reading of the severe sentence imposed on another man that the undiscovered law breaker, who has been doing the same things himself but thinking lightly of them, discovers how seriously the law regards his offences. It is by seeing the suffering and sorrow undergone by a mother because of his ways that the wastrel son comes to judge the true character of those ways.

So, in like manner, Jesus says from the Cross, “See here your own condition by the shame I had to undergo for you”. If the moment the Holy One took our place and bore our sins He was condemned of the Father, and left derelict in the hour of His sufferings, what must our true condition be to occasion so severe an act of judgment!

The Bible says He was made in “the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom.8:3), which means that He was there as an effigy of us. But if the moment He became that effigy, He had to cry, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46), what must God see us to be? It is plain that God was not forsaking the Son as the Son. He was forsaking the Son as us, whose likeness He was wearing. What is done to an effigy is always regarded as done to the one it represents. That derelict figure suffering under the wrath of God is ourselves, at our best as well as at our worst. There for all to see is the naked truth about the whole lot of us, Christian and non Christian alike. If I cannot read God’s estimate of man anywhere else, I can read it there. In very deed, truth, painful and humbling, has come by Jesus Christ, enough to shatter all our vain illusions about ourselves.

However, not only has the truth about ourselves come by Jesus Christ but also the truth about God and His love towards us. Left to ourselves, our guilty consciences only tell us that God is against us, that He is the God with the big stick. We see Him only as the One who sets the moral standards for us, most of them impossibly high, and therefore who cannot but censure us when we fail. There is nothing to draw us to a God like that. But the Cross of the Lord Jesus gives the lie to all

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this and shows us God as He really is. We see Him, not charging us with our sins, as we would have thought, but charging them to His Son for our sakes. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them”(2 Cor. 5:i9). What we thought was the big stick was really His outstretched arm of love beckoning us back to Himself. In the face of Jesus Christ, marred for us, we see that God is not against the sinner, but for him; that He is not his enemy, but this Friend; that in Christ He has not set new and unattainable standards, but has come to offer forgiveness, peace, and new life to those who have fallen down on every standard there is. “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. ” This is what one writer has called “the surprising generosity of the Cross”. It not only surprises our guilty consciences but also melts and draws us, impelling us to return to Him in honesty and repentance, knowing that nothing but mercy is waiting for us.

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There are no illustrations of spiritual truth like Old Testament ones; its ritual and history abound in them. Indeed, much of the ritual was instituted only to be an illustration of later New Testament truth. And we must not be thought fanciful in taking up such illustrations and using them, for the New Testament itself does so in a number of instances.

One such Old Testament illustration which the New Testament uses to show us the Lord Jesus is that contained in the Epistle to the Hebrews 13:11-13. “The bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.

“What would the picture of “without the camp” mean to the Hebrew Christians to whom the apostle Paul was writing? They would be taken back in imagination to the days when their nation was in the wilderness. They would visualize that great, orderly encampment, with the sacred tabernacle in the center

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of it. Around the well defined encampment they would visual ise a no man’s land, known to all as “outside the camp”, and that place would be associated in their minds with certain classes of people.

Outside the camp was where the foreigners had to live; those who were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise” (Eph.2 :12). Such were not permitted normally to live within the camp. Outside the camp, too, were the lepers. Because of the contagious nature of that terrible disease, they were banished from the camp, uncared for and excluded from all the delights open to others.

It was also the dread place of execution for law breakers and criminals. According to the law of Moses, the death penalty was to be imposed on adulterers, sabbath breakers, idolaters and murderers by stoning, and outside the camp was where that took place.

In this passage, however, the apostle tells us what is perhaps the most gruesome detail of the place. It was the place where the bodies of those beasts whose blood had been sprinkled in the Holy Place for sin were burnt on the refuse heap. The body which had had symbolically placed upon it the sins of the offerer was burnt as so much sin cursed refuse, utterly ab horrent to both God and man. Day after day without the camp the smoke was going up, and the place was pervaded by the stench of it.

In all, that region outside the camp was not a pleasant place. It was the place of foreigners, lepers, criminals, and sin cursed refuse a place to be avoided. Yet the Scripture tells us that it was to the spiritual counterpart of that place outside the camp that the Lord Jesus went forth, bearing His Cross, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood. The actual place where He was crucified has a name as gaunt and grim as the associations connected with outside the camp of old “a place of a skull” (Matt. 27:33). But the Gospel tells us that the place He went to was our place, and how glibly we often say, “He took my place !” But when we consider the place He actually had to take for us we get a shock, for it is then we see,

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as perhaps we can in no other way, what our true Place is, and what our true character is before God.

First of all, then, He went for us to the place where He was a stranger, even to His Father, the place of God forsakenness. Hanging there on the Cross, He cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Sin in its beginnings is the sinner forsaking God, but in its ultimate penalty it is God forsaking the sinner, and that is hell. That was the place to which Jesus went on the Cross, Be place where God forsook Him. And He did so because that was our place. Ours was the curse He bore. Ours was the God forsakenness which He endured. The logic of it all is inescapable; if the moment He took our place God forsook Him, what must our true place be before God? What truth shines from Calvary as to our dreadful condition before God!

Then, He went forth and took the place for us of a moral leper, as if He were one Himself. Indeed, that is inferred in the Scripture, “We did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isa.53:4). Hebrew scholars suggest that the word “stricken” has the meaning of being stricken with the plague of leprosy. All through the Bible leprosy is an illustration of sin. It is a subtle disease. Beginning in a small way with only mild symptoms, it ends up as a ravaging monster, rendering the sufferer loathsome to the eye and bringing him to death. Sin, in its inception in our lives, may appear small, but in its culmination it is something utterly loathsome to both God and man, bringing the sinner to eternal separation from God. What contempt there is in the phrase “moral leper” when we refer it to another man! That was just the place the Lord Jesus was willing to take for us, that of a moral leper, loathsome to the eye of God. You ask, Why did He take so low a place? The answer is, He did so because He saw us to be just that, and He had to take that place if He was to save us. Therefore, Jesus hanging on the Cross outside the camp as a moral leper, is a declaration of my condition. If I did not know I was one in any other way I would know it by contemplating the place that Jesus had to take for me. What impurities, immoralities, and perversions stain so many lives today, yet are so carefully hidden awayl But there, it is openly declared on the Cross

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before all men by the very place that Jesus took for us ! And although we may think that these things may not have come to fruition in us as they have in others, Calvary declares that they are in us in essence and in embryo none the less.

Then, too, He went to the spiritual counterpart of that place where the criminals were stoned. “If He were not a malefactor, ” said the Jews to Pilate, “we would not have delivered Him up unto thee” (John 18:30). Jesus did not die on a bed, about which there is nothing disgraceful; He died on a Cross, and a Cross was a punishment about which there was a peculiar disgrace, for it was reserved only for criminals. Indeed, there was a criminal on either side of Him, and everybody thought that He must be one, too. They “did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted”, because of something that He must have done, and they “hid as it were their faces from Him”. And the astonishing thing is that He never disabused them. He did not say, as we would have done, “Please, oh please, do not think that I am here for anything I have done I am here for other people’s sins. ” Instead, He kept sent. He was willing to let them think lie really was a criminal. He was willing to be “numbered with the transgressors” (Isa. 53: 12) and to die as such, just because He saw that that was our place, and He was willing to take it for us. The Bible certainly tells us that in essence we are all criminals in God’s sight. “Whosoever hateth his brother, ” it says, “is a murderer” (1 John3 :15). Anything that is not truelove for my brother is hate, and hate is murder. Again we read, “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). God says that the lustful thought is the same in His sight as the actual deed. But even if the Bible did not say any of these things about us, we would still know they are true, and our guilt would be evident to the world, for at Calvary that fact is openly declared by Jesus dying for us.

Supremely, however, Jesus was led forth without the camp in the same way that the bodies of the sacrificial beasts were taken to be burnt, as so much sin cursed refuse. No words can describe the moral depths which Jesus plumbed for us on the

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Cross. It is not too much to say that He was dying there as so much sin cursed refuse, and only because sin cursed refuse is what we are seen to be in God’s sight. There the smoke and stench of our sin went up from His blessed body. You and I may give one another the impression of being earnest, godly Christians, but before the Cross we have to admit that we are not that sort of person at all. At Calvary the naked truth is staring down at us all the time from the Cross, challenging us to drop the pose and own the truth. This, then, is what Calvary shows us to be. These are not just pictures of what we were, but of what we still are, apart from Him. No matter how long we have been Christians, nor how mature we think we have become, Calvary has something fresh to show us of sin today. For sin is like an octopus. It’s tentacles are everywhere. It has a thousand lives and a thousand shapes, and by perpetually changing its shape it eludes capture. If we are to see sin in all its subtle shapes and forms, and prove the power of Jesus to save us from it, we need to pray daily:

Keep me broken, keep me watching
At the Cross where Thou hast died.

For only there do we know our need as sinners, and therefore of Jesus.

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What is to be our response to all this revelation of truth about ourselves and God? The sort of response that God is asking of us is very different from what one would naturally think, as will be found in John 3:20. The verse begins by saying, “Everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. ” This means that when we have sin to hide, we shun the light, that is, everything that would expose us. Then it goes on to say, “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. ” We might have thought that if it says, “He that does evil hates the light”, it would have gone on to read, “He that doeth good cometh to

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the light. ” Surely the opposite of doing evil is doing good l But that is not the contrast here. What God says is, he that doeth truth cometh to the light. The alternative that God presents to our doing evil is not doing good, but doing truth; that is, honesty with regard to our evil. He does not want in the first place our efforts to do good where we have done evil, to try to be kind where we have been unkind, to be friendly where we have been critical. We could do all that without any repentance for what has been there already, and without any cleansing and peace in our hearts. What God asks first of all is truth, that is, plain truthful repentance, and confession of the sin that has been committed. That will take us to the Cross of Jesus for pardon, and, where necessary, to the other whom we may have wronged, for his forgiveness, too. In that place of humble truthfulness about ourselves we shall find peace with God and man, for there we shall find Jesus afresh, and lay hold as never before on His finished work for our sin upon the Cross. Simple honesty, that is, “doing truth” about our sins, will put us right with God and man through the blood of Christ, where all the “doing good” in the world will not.

Let us welcome Jesus today as the Truth. Begin with the first thing that He is showing you. It is probably the thing that is on your mind now, even as you are reading this. The reward of your obedience to light will be more light on further sin. He does not show us ourselves all at once, for we could not bear it. But He does so progressively, as each bit of truth obeyed leads to further revelations of ourselves. The fact that the Cross, which declares the painful truth, is also the remedy for sin, will give us a new readiness to respond to its diagnosis. If I know there is an infallible cure for a certain disease I can bear being told that I suffer from that disease. As long as I know there is a fountain for sin and uncleanness, I can face the light about myself and my sin. And the wonderful thing is that when we love the Lord Jesus as Truth we will find that lie is just as precious in that relationship as in any other. It is only our dark, deceitful hearts that make us afraid of Him as Truth. He wants us to be unafraid of Him in this capacity, nay, welcoming Him. He has given

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us His Holy Spirit, three times called “the Spirit of Truth”, to “guide us into all Truth”, and we can safely put our hands inHis and say, “Lord, show me all Thou dost see and all that Thou dost want me to see. I will accept it. I will not defend or argue. If Thou dost say it, then I know it is true. ”

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CHAPTER V
SEEING JESUS AS THE DOOR

What we have seen of the Lord Jesus as the awesome truth bout ourselves and our sins prepares us for the next sight of Him, the sight which the Holy Spirit longs to give tithe convicted heart that of the Lord Jesus as the Door. Such a sight of ourselves as we have had must give the convicted heart a sense of utter exclusion from a Holy God. If that is what we have been like all the time, and if those are the sins to which we have been blind for so long, little wonder, then, that God has seemed so far from us, that our hearts have been cold and that our Christian service has seemed hard and barren. We need look no farther for the cause of the deadness that reigns in our fellowship and our churches. Not only does the soul see itself rightfully excluded because of its sin but, knowing its weakness, it wonders if there can be a way to God that a person with a heart like his can tread.

Here the Lord Jesus presents Himself to us as just what we need, and confronts us with another great “I am”. Says He, “I am the Door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved”(John 10:9). If the deceived need to see the truth, the excluded need to find a door, and Jesus is both Truth to the deceived and Door to the excluded. He is the Door to revival and every other blessing for the Christian as He is the Door to salvation for the lost and a Door, moreover, as easily accessible to the weakest and most failing as to the most saintly.

The very fact that the Lord Jesus said He was the Door presupposes that there is a wall, a barrier, which excludes us from God. There is indeed. Who of us has not found it so? It has withstood our most earnest moral endeavours and thwarted our every resolution. We go to pray, but it is there. We seek His help, but it is still there. Our very worship of Him is ever from a distance. Only those who have never seriously set

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themselves to seek God can imagine there is no such barrier. The Bible tells us the nature of this barrier. It tells us it is sin, and only sin, that separates man and God (Isa. 59:2) By sin, it means the attitude of self centeredness, and independence of God which is common to us 8. 11, and the many acts of transgression which have issued from it. It is because “we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts” that “we have offended against His holy laws”. And sin always builds a wall between us and God.

This wall has not always been there. It was erected only with the first act of transgression. Only then did man want to hide from God. Only then did God in justice have to set the Cherubim and the flaming sword to bar the way back to the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:24). Since then, all Adam’s descendants have been born on the other side of that flaming sword, in the “far country” of separation from God into which the first prodigal, father of them all, went. And there men remain until their eyes are opened to see the one Door back which God has provided for them.

I found myself speaking one day to a woman in a counseling room after one of the great Crusade meetings which have been held in Britain in recent years. She told me that she had come forward because her son of sixteen had done so. I said, “But what about you?” She replied, “Oh, I’ve always been a Christian. ” The moment she said that, I knew she had never been a Christian at all. No one has “always been a Christian”, but rather always a sinner, always separated from God by sin until saved by Divine grace. Mere human religiousness does nothing to restore us.

Let us not think that this separating power of sin appliesonly to those who have never known Christ personally. Those of us who have passed initially through the Door backto God know all too often the wall that sin can still erect between the soul and God. Though we have been restored fromthe “far country ” of original sin, sin may yet come in, perhaps sin more subtle forms, and we find ourselves as a result in other”far countries”, smaller but none the less real the “far country” of jealousy, or of resentment, or of self pity, or of

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compromise with the world. And there always arises “a mighty famine in that land” (Luke 15: i4), as it did for the Prodigal Son, and we begin to be in want. It is “not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). Who of us does not know the coldness of heart towards the Lord, the apparent deadness of the Sacred Page and the accumulating defeats in other areas of life because of the barrier that sin in one particular area has brought between us and God? We are not suggesting that the new born child of God loses his place in the family of God because of sin that has come in, but he does lose his fellowship with his heavenly Father, and then famine conditions invariably obtain in his heart until he repents.

In those famine conditions, however, the Christian is all too often blind to the real sin or sins that have separated him from God, and therefore he attempts to deal only with the famine itself rather than with its causes. He may resolve to pray more or to serve God more faithfully. Or he may “join himself to a citizen of that country” (Luke 15:15) as the prodigal did, and make worldly alliances in the hope of bringing back a little pleasure to his now joyless heart. All such efforts will always prove futile, and God uses that experience ultimately to show him that it is with sin that he must deal, and what that sin is.

However, even when a man knows the sins that have separated him from God, he occupies himself so often with the problem of how not to sin again rather than with getting back to God and to peace. It is frankly too late for such considerations. Sin has come in and done its damage. Even if we “get the victory” and never do that thing again, that fact would never bring us back to rest and joy. The simple truth is that words such as “Jesus satisfies” and “He Yen be victory” just do not apply when we are in the far country. All that, and much more, awaits us only upon our return to the Father’s house.

It is just here that we flounder for lack of knowing how to get back; how to get through the many barriers that sin has brought. If we knew this, we would be radiantly happy souls indeed. Sin, though it might come, would not defeat us with despair and deadness of spirit, for we would know a sure way

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into freedom and joy again, and we could avail ourselves of it just as often as we needed to. Truly our need, then, is to see a door.

This is the point at which the Lord Jesus meets us again. To the enquiring heart who would ask Him to show him the Door, He says in effect, “If ye had known Me, ye should have known the Door also. He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Door. I am the Door, by Me if any man enter he shall be saved. ” Jesus does not merely show us the Door; He Himself is the Door. This is God’s great gift of love to a prodigal world that still has its back to Him a never failing Door back to peace and satisfaction, if we will but turn and see Him standing so near and accessible to us. And such a Door is He, that neither preparatory steps nor subsequent steps are necessary to enter into what we need. In simply coming to Him we have passed from one spiritual condition to another, for He is Himself both the blessing needed and the Door to it. It is just such a picture of Him as the door that we have in the well known hymn whiff begins,

Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come! Jesus, I come!
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee!

This picture gives us the basic word of the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel does not call unto try to be like Christ, but rather to come through Christ. We are presented with a door rather than an example. Again and again we find Paul’s Epistles punctuated with the phrase, “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23 and similar verses) or its equivalent. He never mentions a blessing or an experience of good that God has for us, but thathe hastens to add “through Jesus Christ our Lord”. And rightly so, for what use is a delectable garden or a handsome house if therein no open gate or door by which to get there? This is what disappointed Christian are asking for all the time. “It is all right to talk about this wonderful life of fellowship with God, ” they say, “but how does a man like me get there?I have tried so often. ” Jesus delights to tell us, “I am how you get there! I am the Door. ” Therein no blessing that God has

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for us, be it salvation, victory, peace of heart, or revival, but that God has provided an easy accessible Door to it in His Son.

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If we are truly to see the Lord Jesus as our Door and to experience the blessedness of it, there are four essential thingswhich we must understand about Him in that capacity.

First, we must see Him as the open Door, wide open! How easy it is to see Him as something other than that! There are times when some of us seem to see Him as little more than the One who sets the standard, who delineates the path of duty and who only censures us when we do not attain it. That is to make Him but another Moses, who only causes us to despair, and if we see Him as a Door at all, it is only as a shut Door. But that is not the Jesus from heaven. “The law was given by Moses” and condemned the whole lot of us, “but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). If grace is God’s goodness to those who do not deserve it, that means He is an open Door through which sinners may come. The hour of its opening was that hour when, hanging upon the Cross, He cried in triumph, “‘It is finished’: and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30). As if to make quite clear what was being accomplished out there on Calvary, the veil of the temple, which for centuries had hung as an excluding barrier between the Holy of Holies and the rest of the temple, was rent at that very moment from top to bottom. In that way the separating barrier of sin between man and God was declared breached, and the Door for sinful man declared open. We are now urged to have “boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living Way”, for the blood of Jesus Christ tells us that all the judgment due to our sin was exhausted on the Cross. When we truly see that, even the most self condemned have boldness to come.

This means that there is now no barrier or obstacle between man and God. What appear to be the obstacles — man’s coldness, unbelief, and such sins are the very things that qualify him for this Door, provided he will acknowledge them, for it is

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a Door for people who are characterized by just such sins. We cannot suppress or conquer these things, but we can judge them as sin and bring them to Jesus. And as we do so, what appeared to be an all excluding wall is found to be in Him an open door, and we have passed into peace and fellowship with God.

Second, we need to see this Door as open on street level, that is, open for the failure as a failure, and not merely for us when we have become a little more successful. The Jews in the New Testament could easy believe that there was salvation for the Gentile, if he was circumcised and became a Jew. What they could not and would not believe was that there was salvation for the Gentile as a Gentile, without becoming a Jew at all. This was the controversy that dogged Paul’s steps all his years. He insisted all the way through that the Gentile could be saved as a Gentile, and the sinner as a sinner, without anything to commend him to God but the blood of Jesus Christ(Gal. 2:14 16, etc. ). In other words, he insisted on seeing Christ as the Door open on street level.

We Christians would not think of going back on the Gospel committed to Paul as concerns “them that are without”, at least, not in theory. But when we think of our own deep needs and failures, and when we pray about being used of God and when we ask God for revival, we put the door for ourselves somewhere higher than on street level. Here we instinctively feel that the failure cannot be blessed as a failure, but only as a better Christian, and so we try to make ourselves such. We succeed only in putting the door just beyond our reach, for it is the becoming that little bit better that defies us. And all the time the Door is open on street level, the level of our shame and failure, and all that is needed is the willingness to acknowledge that such is our true condition, and to come in faith to Jesus. We sometimes talk about the price of revival, and we need to be very careful as to what we mean when we speak like this. We may place that price so high that we put revival right beyond the reach of the ordinary run of mortals. Maybe that is our way of attempting to justify God, that He has not yet, apparently, given the revival His people need. But that is a

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wrong done to God and a cruelty done to His Church. There is without doubt a price to be paid for revival, but it is not of necessity the price of long nights of prayer or excruciating sacrifices, but of simply humbling pride to repent of sin. The Door is open on street level to revival as it is to salvation and every other blessing. In coming to Him in repentance we come into Revival, for He is Himself Revival and the simple Door to it. If it is contended that this is not the widespread, spectacular revival which is written about and which is needed today, we can only say that such a movement has always begun this way with God being allowed to deal with one person, and with that person giving his testimony. May it not be that the reason why God has not blessed us with revival as we have wanted it, is that we have sought it, not by faith, but by the works of the law (Rom. 9:32) we have missed the door on street level? And may it not be that we have been expecting to “see revival” in others, rather than being willing to be personally revived ourselves and be the first to admit our need of this? Is it not significant that when there is patently an experience of revival in lives, those revived do not talk about revival but rather about Jesus?

The glorious truth is that Christ is immediately available to us, as we are, and where we are. God has made Him as accessible to us sinners as He possibly can. Listen to the apostle Paul on this point. “The righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, `Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead. )’ But what saith it? `The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart:’ that is, the word of faith, which we preach” (Rom. 10:6 8). It is not a matter of straining to attain the heights, nor artificially trying to abase ourselves to the depths. His blood has made Him available tithe sinner as a sinner, and to the failing saint as a failing saint, if he will only admit that that is what heir. The word which we need, therefore, to contact Him is right in our mouth and in our heart, the simple word of confession and faith. This leads to the next sight that we must have of this

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wonderful Door opened at the Cross. It is a low Door, that is, we have to bow our heads low in repentance if we are to enter by it. Scripture mentions again and again the disease (if we may call it that) of the “stiff neck”. It is a figurative way of speaking of man’s self will and stubbornness, shown especially in his unwillingness to admit himself wrong. Sometimes you can feel your neck going almost literally stiff when someone accuses you and you resent it! When our necks are like that, and our wills unbroken to acknowledge our sin, we can never enter by that Door. We just hit our heads against the lintel! He bowed His head on the Cross for us (John 19:30), and we shall have to bow our heads low in self judgment and repentance of sin if we are to know the power of His blood to cleanse and bring us into rest.

So often the way in which we repent to God and sometimes apologize to another for a wrong shows that we have not truly judged ourselves. We betray the fact that we feel it is only an unfortunate slip, and that we have on this occasion acted out of character with our true saves. What deception !The truth is we have not acted out of character at all, but in accordance with our true form, as declared to us by that Figure hanging on the Cross for us! Sometimes we should do well to add, when we are putting something right with another, “So you see what I really am. ” The head must be bowed low tithe dust to admit that we are no better than what Jesus had to become for us.

Then we find Him a Door indeed. Then we must understand that this Door is a narrow Door. “Narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life” (Matthew 7: 14 R.V.). At first the road to the Cross seems broad, and we can all go together. But as we get nearer to that place of repentance the path gets narrower. There is not room for us all abreast. We can no longer be lost in the crowd. Others fall behind. At last when we come to the One who is the Door Himself, there is not room even for two, you and that other one. If you are going to enter, you will have to stand there utterly alone. It must be you alone who repents, without waiting for any other. But we do not want to be the one to repent. The devil tells us that the other by our side is

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so very wrong, and he makes us unwilling to repent unless they repent first. But men never get through the Door that way! You must be the one to repent and to do so first, as if you were the only sinner in the world. The other may be wrong, but your reactions to their wrong (reactions of, perhaps, resentment, criticism, or unforgiveness) are wrong too, and in God’s sight more culpably so. For “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” is second only to “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” (Matt. 22:37), and those reactions in your heart are not love. Jesus never fails as a Saviour when we come to Him as sinners. But if in any degree we are not finding Him a real Saviour who brings us fully out of darkness and defeat into light and liberty, it is because on one point or another we are not willing to be broken and see ourselves as sinners.

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We are now in a position to look at a final picture the Lord gives us in John 10 this time not so much of the Door but of the way in which we so often miss it. Said He, “He that entereth not by the door, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1). The first interpretation of this word concerns the false teacher who seeks entrance to the sheepfold as a shepherd, but only to the enrichment of himself and the destruction of the sheep. However, as we look at this man trying to get into the sheepfold by painfully and slowly climbing up the wall, we may see that from another point of view this is an illustration of what we so often do. He has his fingers and toes in the crevices as he tensely struggles up. Every now and then he falls to the bottom and has to start climbing again. After repeated failures he is in despair that he will ever reach the top and thus get into the sheepfold. But all the time, there is the door open for him at street level. Either he has not seen it or he is unwilling to make use of it. Perhaps it is the latter, for he could not enter by that door as a self styled shepherd, but only as a repentant sheep.

What a picture this is of the grievous mistake we so often make in our anxiety to get into an experience of salvation or

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sanctification or revival or some other blessing of which west and in need! We are not entering by the Door, but are striving to climb up some other way by the way of self improvement, turning over a new leaf, determining to have longer devotions, trying to witness more, and so on. We seethe standard of the victorious life above us, and we are quite sure that if we can attain to it in this or that particular we shall be in fellowship with God and filled with His Spirit. But it is the attaining to it which all the time defeats us. And all the time we are climbing so hard the Lord Jesus stands immediately available to us as our Door, open on street level, and we could so quickly enter in if we were willing to bow our heads at His Cross. All the different and subtle ways by which we try to climb up some other way are but variants of the way of works which God has declared can never bring us into rest (Eph. 2:8,9).

It may be asked, Is it wrong to do such things as have been mentioned? Of course not; they are to have an essential part in every Christian life. But they are valueless if what God is asking us at the moment is to repent about something. Unconfessed sin vitiates all our religious exercises; even as it is written, “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? . . . Your hands are full of blood” (Isa. 1:11, 15). But the human heart would much rather offer to God its works, no matter how costly, than humble itself to confess sin. That is the reason why man is always predisposed to go the way of works; he does not want to bow his head to go through the Door. That is the reason, also, why God has rejected the way of salvation by works or sanctification by works; the way of works is so often but a substitute for repentance. “Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit” (Psa. 51:16,17), and that spirit always finds its way through the Door.

Yet another reason why God rejects the way of works as a means to enter into blessing is that it makes Christ of none effect to us (Gal. 5:4). Said Paul, “If righteousness (or any other blessing) come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain”(Gal. 2:2I). The more tense and striving I become in my

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Christian service and the harder I struggle to climb by my efforts over the wall of my coldness of heart, the farther I get from grace and from God and from His Door opened for me. I am in effect “going about to establish my own righteousness”, and am not submitting myself to be cleansed from sin in the precious blood of Christ.

More than that, such striving never produces peace in our hearts, only despair, for we never feel we have quite reached the top of the wall. But the despair and burden roll away, and relief, joy, and praise to God take their place when at last we see Jesus and His finished work. We come down from our unrepentant strivings to those dear, pierced feet of His, and in a matter of moments we have entered by faith into a peace and rest of heart that has eluded us for so long. Truly, to see Jesus is to lose our burdens and to enter into satisfaction.

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CHAPTER VI
SINAI OR CALVARY?

It would seem from what we have read in the foregoing chapter that it is simplicity itself for us to enter by the Door which is the Lord Jesus. However, Satan knows how to beset us round with subtle difficulties when, under conviction of sin and out of touch with God, we would long to find peace and freedom. Therefore, before going on to consider that into which the Door leads us, we must pause in this chapter to try to help the convicted soul in some of the battles that go on in his heart just outside the Door.

Whenever a sense of sin lies upon our conscience, two Persons, it seems, fight to get hold of that conviction the devil and the Holy Spirit. The devil wants to get hold of it in order to take it and us to Sinai, and there condemn us and bring us into bondage. The Holy Spirit, however, wants to take us and our sin to Calvary, there to bring us through the Door into peace and freedom. These two places represent for us the two covenants; the one from “Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage” (Gal. 4:24) the covenant of law; and the other the covenant of grace, wrought out and sealed for us by the death of the Lord Jesus on Calvary. The devil seeks to take us to the one, and the Holy Spirit to the other. Put like that, the issues seem simple, but in practice the mischievous thing is that the devil often simulates the voice of the Holy Spirit in order that the uninstructed Christian will think it is God who is taking him to the place of condemnation and bondage, and that therefore he must follow.

Mount Sinai was, of course, the historical place where God gave the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20). Ten times God spake out of the cloud and fire, and each time it was to announce a great moral commandment binding upon man”Thou shalt” and “Thou shalt not”. There the basic covenant

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of law was given by which man’s relationship with God was to be governed. Put quite simply, it was, “This do and thou shalt live”, and “This fail to do, and thou shalt die”. That is still the covenant that the heart of man finds it easiest to understand, and to which his conscience most readily responds. In ordinary life today it represents for us the whole system of moral and religious standards that each man has worked out for himself as a result of the moral light which has played upon his life from various sources.

Now, when a sense of failure of some sort lies upon the conscience, the devil immediately endeavours to take us to the law, that which we have called Sinai, in order to accuse us with regard to the standards we have adopted there, but which we have failed to keep. The higher our moral and spiritual standards, the more there is for the devil to accuse us. He is rightly called “the accuser of our brethren” (Rev. 12:10). He not only accuses us to God, but he accuses the Christian to himself, and he does so by pointing to all the matters, real or imaginary, in which the Christian is failing to keep the law which he has espoused, and he thus produces in him a sense of condemnation. This is what the psychiatrist diagnoses in his neurotic patient as a “guilt complex”, but it is also something that many a healthy minded Christian carries around with him all too often. The source of it all is the devil, and that which gives strength to his accusations is clearly the law. This sheds light on Paul’s words, “The strength of sin is the law” (1 Cor. 15:56). These accusations have usually two effects upon the Christian, and they are precisely the effects which the devil designs to produce. First, they cause in him the reaction of self excuse. In the Epistle to the Romans there is the statement, “Their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Rom. 2:15). To excuse ourselves and to assert our innocence is ever the natural reaction to accusation; and this is exactly what the devil wants us to do. By his accusation she has provoked us to try to stand before God on the ground of our own righteousness and innocence; and he knows, and we ought to know too, that there is nothing for us on that ground. All that God has for sinners, He has for them on the condition

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that they will acknowledge that that is what they really axe. And so our thoughts go round and round, one half of us accusing ourselves, and the other half excusing ourselves, and all the time that we are thus excusing ourselves, we are getting farther and farther from the grace of God and from peace. This was precisely the effect that the accusations of his friends had on job. In suggesting that his trials came as a result of some wrong in him, they provoked him to assert vigorously his innocence, and on that ground he found that God fought against him. Upright man that he really was, he had none the less to be broken to accept the sinner’s place before he could be at peace with God again.

The second effect of the devil’s accusations is to cause us to get on to the ground of self effort and “striving”. He tells us what we are not, in order to get us to struggle in our own strength to make up for it. He accuses us that we are not praying enough, or not speaking enough to others of their need of Christ, or not giving enough to God, or that we are not humble enough, and so on, simply in order to get us to attempt to do all those things in the energy of self. The whole purpose of the devil. in these accusations is to get us into striving and self effort, and thus into real bondage. In that condition he has got us trying to “climb up some other way” into blessing (and a hard, painful business it is, for the wall is high!) instead of entering in by the Door, open on street level. And he can do all this under the guise of being the voice of God to us. But he is “a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). His accusations, though they have the appearance of truth and of being based on the law of God, are but half truths, and all the more dangerous for that reason.

How we need to discern the voice of the devil, and to know in experience God’s answer to the thunderings of Mount Sinai against us! It is to reveal just that to us, that the Holy Spirit has come.

If the devil wants to reach that sense of sin that lies upon our conscience, so does the Holy Spirit. But how differently

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He works! He takes that sin, and us with it, to Calvary, to. Jesus our Door. There He shows us that that sin, and much else, was anticipated and settled by the Lord Jesus in His death upon the Cross. Whether what the devil says to us is true or false is all settled by the Lord Jesus for us. The worst that the devil can say about us is not to be compared to the dark depths of sin that swept over Him there. At the Cross the most self condemned finds nothing but forgiveness, cleansing, and comfort. The fact, then, that we are the sinners we are, of which the devil loves to accuse us, is only a half truth. The other half of the truth is that Jesus died for us and did a complete work for us. That is something the devil never tells us. Only the gentle Holy Spirit tells us that. Indeed, it is His great delight to “comfort all that mourn” (Isa. 61:2) and to do so by giving us a fresh sight of Jesus and His blood, and of His appearing even now in the presence of God for us.

This revelation has two effects on the believer when he truly sees it the exact opposite of the two effects of the accusations of Satan, which have already been mentioned. First, he freely acknowledges his sin, and judges himself. If the accusations of Satan had the effect of causing him to excuse himself, and protest his innocence, the grace of God revealed at Calvary has the effect of causing him to admit his sin. He is not even at too great pains to sort out what may be a true accusation and what may be false; the answer in the blood of Christ is the same in either case. Furthermore, if he could regard himself innocent on one score, there are many others on which he is hopelessly guilty. In any case, it ill befits him to be attempting to prove his innocence on even one point before the Cross, where the Wholly just died as the Wholly Unjust for him. Thus there is produced in him that attitude of heart which in the sight of Goths of great price, the attitude of the broken and contrite heart. The moment he adopts this attitude he is brought right on to redemption ground, where nothing but grace is lavished upon him by God.

Second, the sight of Calvary and its meaning for him provokes him not only freely to admit his sin, but also to rest from self initiated activity to get himself right. Perhaps no

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verse expresses more clearly this effect of our coming to the Cross than one in Isaiah where it says, “In returning and rest shall ye be saved” (Isa. 30:15). The situation in this thirtieth chapter of Isaiah was that Israel was in a serious plight, with her enemies descending on her from the north. In this plight she resorted to alliances with other nations, in particular with Egypt, to whom she sent her ambassadors for help. Into this scene Isaiah steps with the word, “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of Me”. He declares that “the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose”, for the root cause of their predicament is their departure from the Lord; it is for this cause that God has brought upon them the armies of Babylon, that He might humble and chasten them. He therefore calls upon them to return to the Lord in repentance. To this the people might well have replied, “To return to the Lord is all very well, but what relevance has it to a situation like ours in which we are besieged by our foes?” And Isaiah would doubtless have said, “It has every relevance, for in dealing with your wrong relationship with God you are dealing with the root cause of all your present troubles. ” “But, ” they might have replied, “what are we to do about the armies of Babylon?” “If you return tithe Lord, ” he would have answered, “you can rest about that, for God will never fail to work for those who, having repented, rest in quiet confidence in His overruling and restoring grace. “This, then, is something of the background and meaning of this great word to them, “In returning and rest shall ye be saved”.

The same word is for us, too. Having returned, that is, having repented, we can rest, and we can do so because we see that Jesus has done a finished work for us on the Cross. We can rest, first, about our righteousness, which has received such a damaging blow both in our eyes and in the eyes of others by the sin that we are having to repent of. We see that the precious blood of Jesus has anticipated and settled the very sin w e are confessing, and has provided a perfect righteousness for us before God, and we can rest content to have none other before men. Indeed, it is not until we are content to have no other righteousness before both God and

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men that we find peace. But then, when we do, what rest is ours from futile efforts to justify ourselves! We can say, “If others think me a failure, they think the truth but a failure who has found peace through the blood of His Cross”, and we are prepared to give them just that testimony. We have learnt at last to overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of our testimony (Rev. 12:11),and our hear are free. We stand before God and move amongst men with the witness:

This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
More than that, having returned, we can rest about the consequences of our sin, and about the situation in which it may have involved us. Up to the moment of our repentance the situation in which we have involved ourselves is our responsibility. We have made our bed and we must lie in it, or, more likely, do our frenzied best to get ourselves out of it. But the moment we repent and put the blame where it belongs, on ourselves, the all availing blood of Jesus comes into view on our behalf before God, and He then is pleased for Christ’s sake to make the tangled situation His own responsibility, and we can rest about it. He first gives the repentant one peace through the blood, and then deals with his situation. As some one has said, “God forgives the messer, and unmesses the mess”, or rather, He makes the mess the raw material for a fresh purpose of love.
This is the vision of grace which was given Jeremiah as he watched the potter at work (Jer. 18: 1 6). When the potter saw the vessel marred in his hand he might well have discarded it. Instead, “he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it”. So does God delight to do with all our marred vessels when we truly humble ourselves, be the marred vessel our whole life or just a day in that life, be it a complex set of circumstances or just a relationship with one other person which we have spoiled. And as we rest as repentant ones at the Cross and take whatever steps He may show us to be necessary, we watch Him bringing a new purpose

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to birth, His order comes out of our chaos, and we are left with nothing but adoring praise to Him. The new purpose He works may not be unmixed with discipline, but grace assures us it is going to be one of infinite good, and so we rest.

So it is that the value of the blood of Christ extends not only to our sin but also to the circumstances connected with our sin. This is a sight of the power of the blood of Christ which brings infinite relief and peace to the tortured, remorseful soul and which causes him to rest indeed from his anxieties to prove the grace of His wonderful God.

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The same word of rest applies to our dealing with the qualities we know we lack in our lives. We are convicted that we lack love for somebody, or that we lack faith in a certain matter, or that we have been prayerless. As we have seen, the devil wants to accuse us of these things in order to provoke us to strive to make up for them in our own strength. But the Holy Spirit takes us with our conviction to Calvary to provoke us to repent about them and then rest about them. So often, however, it would seem that we are reading this verse as it were “in returning and resolving ye shall be saved”. Knowing that we are not loving towards somebody, we try to be more loving. Aware that we lack faith in a matter, we struggle to trust more. Convicted that we have not been praying as we should, we make resolutions as to how long we shall spend on our devotions each day in the future. The trouble with all this is that it is we who are doing it all, and it is not the work of Christ. As we know, or ought to know, “that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing”, we can be almost certain that very little will come of it.

The Holy Spirit, however, is not concerned primary to get us to try to be better, but to repent deeply of the sin there is; not to try to be more loving to that person, but to repent of having been jealous and critical towards him and so on. Then, having repented, the Holy Spirit would bid us rest as sinners at the Cross, where sin is cleansed away, and so be at peace. As we rest as sinners in that low place, Jesus pours into our

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hearts His own love for that other person, a love that will sometimes send us to that person to put things right with them, and He gives us a forbearance towards them that was never there before. In that low place where we confess our worry, He gives us His own faith, “the faith of the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20). There, too, He will lead us to those devotions which He wants on each occasion. So it is, instead of trying to “climb up some other way” into victory, we enter into it by the Door, as we bow in repentance at His Cross. In this way we find the reality of “Not I, but Christ liveth in me”, for it is into His love, patience, and victory that we enter, not ours. And so it is that we learn by experience, “In return ing and rest shall ye be saved”.

An illustration will help at this point to make clear the application of the principles involved in the words, “In re turning and rest shall ye be saved”. At a certain place in East Africa, which had been a very real centre of revival, a time of spiritual coldness had come, and the one time joyous testimony seemed to have died from among the fellowship of those who met there. This was known and acknowledged by the Christians, but the spiritual famine seemed to continue. Then there came among them an African Christian from another part, a man full of zeal and one who thought he “knew all the answers”. He charged them with their coldness and said, “Little wonder, when the township next to you is completely pagan and you are doing nothing to preach the Gospel there.” He urged them to get busy and conduct open air meetings there. A godly leader in the local group answered him with great wisdom along these lines. “You are quite right we are cold. We have acknowledged that to God and have been repenting. But we are not going to start striving to do this or that to bring the blessing back, not even street preaching. Having repented, we are going to rest as sinners under the blood of Jesus until God is pleased to meet us again.” Sure enough, God soon met them, and the Holy Spirit began to work again in their midst, and each was able to praise again for fresh sights of Jesus. Their cups were so full that when they went to that pagan township to make their purchases they could not but witness of Jesus

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to those they met in the shops and elsewhere. And ere long, a man was saved, and then another, and then another, and a work of grace began in that place. Thus they discovered the efficacy of the way of repentance and rest, for it brought Jesus Himself into their situation; and they were enabled to take that way only because they saw the efficacy of His finished work on the Cross for them.

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How differently, then, does the Holy Spirit work from the devil. While Satan accuses only to bring despair, bondage,and striving, the Holy Spirit convicts only to bring comfort, freedom, and rest. Indeed, it is by discerning this fact that we can learn to distinguish between the accusing of Satan and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If the reproof is of a nagging nature, that is, blaming, without any end to it, and if it is a vague and general reproof, rather than clearly specific, then we may know it to be, as a rule, the accusation of Satan. If the reproof is clear and specific, and if we instinctively know that we have only to be willing to say, “Yes”, and repent, to have peace and comfort, then we may be assured that it is the voice of Be gracious Holy Spirit, and we may safely obey His convictions, and turn to Calvary.

Under the law with its ten fold lash,
Learning, alas, how true,
That the more I tried the sooner I died,
While the law cried, You ! You !! You !!!
Hopelessly still did the battle rage,
“O wretched man” my cry,
And deliverance I sought by some penance bought,
While my soul cried, I! I!! I!!!

Then came a day when my struggling ceased,
And trembling in every limb,
At the foot of the Tree where One died for me,
I sobbed out, HIM ! Him !! Him !!!

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CHAPTER VII
SEEING JESUS AS THE WAY

THE picture of the Lord Jesus as the Door properly belongs to the beginning of the Christian life. It is pre eminently the message which the unregenerate man needs to hear when, under conviction of sin, he desires to return to God and find salvation. We have, however, applied this picture of the Door in a previous chapter to the needs of the believer, because he is sometimes so cold and defeated, and has been so for so long, that when ultimately he gets right with the Lord the entrance into more abundant life is an important crisis for him. In any case, the principles of grace revealed by the Door are for him ever afterwards. The entrance for him into every further blessing is “through Jesus Christ our Lord” and must be entered by repentance and faith. It will, however, save the reader from confusing the imagery if, as he reads the present chapter, he regards the picture of the Door as applying either to the beginning of the Christian life or to some further crisis experience. What follows now applies to the Christian life itself after entrance by the Door, and is concerned with how to continue in the experience of grace into which we have entered.

Now, what lies beyond the Door? Scripture could have pictured the Door leading us into a house or a garden. If it had done so, we would have gathered that the Lord Jesus brings us into a static experience of salvation, peace, and holiness, and that once having entered in, we would more or less stay there, enjoying it all without continuous co operation on our part.

Scripture, however, gives us the picture of the Door leading us, not into a house, but on to a Way. Said the Lord Jesus, “Narrow is the Gate, and straitened the Way that leadeth unto

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life” (Matt. 7:14 R.V.). The Gate opens on to a Way that stretches right ahead. And the Lord Jesus who had said, “I am the Door”, now says, “I am the Way” (John 14:6) that lies beyond the Door. Both Door and Way are the same blessed Person.

Now a Way speaks not of a final, settled blessing but rather of a walk, of an experience which is continuous. A walk is simply a reiterated step, where something is happening each moment in the present; after one step, the next step; after the one “now”, the next “now”. This illustrates the fact that our experience of Christ is to be a continuous present tense, a glorious “now”. This moment we are to be at peace with God through Him; and after this moment, the next moment in living fellowship with Him, and thus the next moment and soon. Here, past crises do not help us. The Door experience was essential, but is now past. We may be able to testify that we were saved or sanctified on such a date, but God does not want us to be continually harking back to that in our mind, but to be living with Him each moment in the present, where He will be to us all we need.

Now a walk like that requires that there should be a way on which to walk. As we drive easy along our modern paved highways we can hardly imagine the almost impassable terrain that confronted our fathers when they sought to make their way through a country where there were no roads. Whenever an undeveloped country is being opened up, the first thing to be done is always to build highways. The best automobiles in the world are valueless without such roads. And we have only to contemplate for a moment the fact that we are called to walk in continuous, present tense fellowship with God to find ourselves asking, Haw? How can people like ourselves, in circumstances like those in which we are, enjoy a continuous walk like that? With evil propensities within us, and sin around us, we are faced with what looks like an impassable swamp. We need a Way, and a Way of such an order that foolish wayfaring men like ourselves may walk thereon in peace and safety.

God has provided for us such a Way. He who provided for

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us the Door has not failed to provide the Way we so much need after we have entered by the Door. It was foretold long before, and prophets like Isaiah eagerly looked forward to it. Said he, “And an Highway shall be there, and a Way, and It shall be called the Way of Holiness: the unclean shall not pass over it. . . but the redeemed shall walk there” (Isa. 35:8). That Way consecrated for people like ourselves is the Lord Jesus Himself, for He said, “I am the Way. ” On either side are the swamps of sin, but stretching through them and above them is our Highway, exactly suited to our faltering feet, the Lord Jesus Himself.

This was the conception that the early Christians had of the Christian life. In the Acts of the Apostles they always referred to what they had found in the Lord Jesus as a Way. On no less than six occasions Christianity is referred to there as “this Way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22). * Indeed, in that book it bears no other name. To them Jesus was not only their Door, but their Way, on whom and with whom they were continuously and delightedly walking.

The Door, then, speaks of the beginning or the crisis, while the Way speaks of the going on. Both are fully provided for in the Lord Jesus.

Now if there is one thing more important than entering by the Door, it is going on in the Way. Having entered by the Door, the walk is going to occupy us right to the end of our days. But it is just this which is our greatest difficulty. Compared with the ease with which we entered by the Door, the walk seems hard indeed. It seems difficult to maintain that fresh fellowship with God which was so vivid when we began. It is hard to maintain His peace in our hear. It seems difficult to make the means of grace work; and prayer, the Bible, and worship become unreal to us. We find it difficult to be effective witnesses for Christ, and to manifest the sweetness and holiness we should. The truth is that many of us who have entered by the Door are not really walking the Way at all, though we still have our faces Zionwards. We have slipped off the Highway

* The R. V. brings out “this Way” even more clearly in these verses than the Authorized Version.

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that has been divinely cast up, and are painfully dragging our steps through the swamp that abounds on either side. Sometimes I have heard a Christian apply to himself the expressive word “stuck” when he is in that condition.

Basically this difficulty is due to the fact that we are not seeing Jesus as the Way, but are trying to make other things the way, and they just do not work. Some feel that prayer is the most important thing in the Christian life, and it becomes the way for them. Others would put Bible study in that place, others fellowship, others personal witnessing, yet others the Church and the Sacraments, and yet others Christian neighbourliness. It is felt that if we do these things, then we shall be really living the full Christian life, and we thus make them the Way.

None of these things, however, is the Way, and they only make the Christian life hard and barren when we try to make them such, even in a small degree. First, they have no answer to sin, and sin is the Christian’s problem all the time. Satan knows how to provoke our hearts to wrong reactions. Prayer, witnessing, fellowship, church going, and so on do not cleanses in nor give the guilty conscience peace. That which does not anticipate and have an answer for the sin that comes can never be the Way for the Christian. Then, the value of these things depends on our doing them. But the doing is just our difficulty. We find we cannot do them, at least not as our conscience tells us they ought to be done. And because we fail to do them, they fail to bring us into the peace we need. Or if we think we have done them as they should be done, then they undo all the good they might have brought us by begetting in us the terrible sin of pride.

Not only, however, do they not bring us into peace, but the seeking of spiritual life by works can be positively harmful in another way. The unattained standards and the unfulfilled duties burden and condemn the conscience, and we sigh and drag our steps under the load. Paul was alluding to just this experience when he said, “The commandment, which was ordained to life (if I could keep it), I found to be unto death (because I faded to keep it)” (Rom. 7:10). The man who says,

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“I believe in prayer”, or “I believe in witnessing”, or in anything else, will invariably end by being cursed by the very things in which he professes to have such faith, because sooner or later he is bound to fall down an those very things. Then his unattained standards will only nag him and he will be in bondage to them. As many as are of the works of he law are always under a curse, for according to moral law, cursed is very man who continues noon all the things, in which he professes to believe, to do them (Gal. 3:10). The only One we can believe in without being cursed is Jesus, because He has come to redeem us from the curse of our unattained standards, having been “made a curse for us” on Calvary (Gal. 3:13).

Only the Lord Jesus Himself is the Way; to attempt to walk on any other is to fall and to despair. This does not mean that we are not to do these things; of course they are to occupy a prominent place in the Christian’s life. But it does mean to say that they are not the Way, as so often we make them. The Lord Jesus Himself is the Way. None else will suit our stumbling feet.

Someone at this point may object that he does not regard these things as the Way itself, but only as a way to Christ who is the true Way. There is, however, no way to Christ, for Christ Himself is the Way. We do not need a way to the Way. It is that little way to the Way that defeats us, and makes the real Way of none effect to us, because we cannot get there. In the early days of railways in Britain, some towns refused to have the railways go through them, because they feared that the sparks from the engine would set their property alight. Instead, the station was set on the outskirts of the town, to the immense inconvenience of later generations of townsmen. Not so this Way, which is Christ, for it runs right by us in our need and poverty, and we can End Him as we are and where we are. To say otherwise is to rob the Gospel of its sweetness.

We cannot but ask at this point, where do the means of grace come in; what is their proper place? Here we could not do better than quote from a recent writing * of the Rev.

* Captivated by Christ. Published by Christian Literature Crusade, U. S. A.

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Wesley Nelson, of Oakland, California, both as making this point clear and as summarizing much that has been already said:

“Because prayer is revitalized through fellowship with Christ, there is a tendency to look upon prayer as a way to Christ, and to try vainly to pray more fervently in order to come closer to Him. The Bible witnesses to Christ, and when Christ is near, the Bible is a new book. Therefore some torment themselves for not reading or studying it more faithfully in order to know Him better. Christ is the Way to the Bible, as He is to prayer. The Spirit of Christ Himself must speak through the pages of the Scriptures before they can become meaningful. The time of daily personal devotions becomes a more blessed experience to those who know Christ intimately. Sometimes this tends to be looked upon as away to Christ, and the responsibility to keep it only adds tithe burden of a troubled conscience. The sheep do not come to the still waters to find the Shepherd. It is the Shepherd Himself who leads them beside the still waters. Christ is immediately available right where we an as we are. He in turn becomes the way to these various means of worship. He leads us into those forms of personal devotion and worship which are most adapted to each one’s spiritual needs. ”
If, however, we have not a continuing devotional life with the Lord, expressing itself in prayer and feeding on His Word, it is because we have become spiritually cold and have got out of touch with the Lord. This is, perhaps, the surest index of where we are spiritually at any given time. In such a case the remedy is not, as is popularly supposed, to make a new attempt to pray and read the Bible more regularly, but to go direct to the Lord Jesus Himself to repent of the coldness and of the things that have caused it, and to receive from Him again His cleansing. Then it is that prayer and the study of His Word are suffused once more with the glory of His Presence and become a delight, and our witness to others becomes fresh and spontaneous. It is as simple as that! In this way we find Jesus to
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be the Way to our devotions, rather than our devotions the Way to Him except in so far that in getting right with Him we do actually pray, and in dealing with us God invariably uses His Word.

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Let us look now more positively at Jesus as the Way. Apart from Him, the sinner is faced with an excluding wall and the saint with impassable swamps. Both wall and swamps symbolize the same thing, sin. If it is sin that blocks the sinner’s entrance, it is sin that impedes the saint’s progress. With sin around him in the world, and sin within him in his heart, how can he hope to walk in fellowship with God? If the sinner needs a Door, the saint needs a Way a Highway cast up, a Way prepared, along which he can walk in rest, joy, and power, through (or rather, above) the swamps of sin. As we have seen, Jesus Christ is that Way of rest, joy, and power, even as He was the Door of entrance.

The important thing, however, is to see that the very thing that made Him the Door makes Him the Way, too. It was not His life nor His teaching that made the Lord Jesus the Door, but rather His Cross, His blood, His finished work for sin. It is the same blood and finished work that constitutes Him the Way for us. It is redemption at the beginning of the Christian life and redemption all the way along. This means that this! a Way on which sin is anticipated, taken account of, and finished, even before it has come to existence in us. The worst discoveries we may make about ourselves do not take Him by surprise. The answer to sin is always there; indeed, the Way Himself is the answer. Here the convicted saint need not despair nor feel nagged, for his sin is cleansed and fellowship with God made real the moment it is confessed. Indeed, he need not regard himself as having slipped off the Way through his many sins of ignorance, if he gives an immediate and honest assent as soon as God shows them to him.

We may therefore call this Way the Way of the Blood. Indeed, in Hebrews io the new and living Way into the Holy of Holies of God’s presence is clearly stated to be the blood of

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Jesus (Heb. 10:19-22). Therefore, even the most self condemned are bidden to have boldness to draw near by this Way, for it is consecrated for just such. Isaiah, too, prophesies the same comfort of this Way, as we have seen, when he speaks of “the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it . . . but the redeemed shall walk there” (Isa. 35:8, 9). True, its title, the Way of Holiness, may at first sound forbidding, and the phrase, “the unclean shall not pass over it”, may seem to exclude us. But who does walk there? It does not say “those who have never been unclean”, or even “those who have only seldom been unclean”, but “the redeemed”, that is, those who on many or few occasions have been defiled by sin, but who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, and who are continually cleansed just as often as may be necessary. This gives people no better than ourselves the chance to walk in daily, hourly fellowship with God, and takes from our souls all striving and strain as we do so, for “if we walk in the light, as He is in the light . . . the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

This Way is not only the Way of the blood, but also the Way of Repentance. If that which makes Jesus the Door His blood also makes Him the Way, then the steps of repentance and faith by which we entered through the Door are the constantly reiterated steps by which we walk the Way. There are not two messages, one for the unsaved and the other for thes aved. It is the same blessed Lord who is presented to both, and the response which is required from both is that of repentance. It must ever be so when we speak of the blood of Jesus. If His blood, on the one hand, declares that sin is finished for us, it also demands, on the other hand, that sin should be admitted by us, for His blood only cleanses sin confessed as sin. When the Lord Jesus said, “I am the Way”, He added, “and the Truth and the Life. ” Those two words do not introduce two entirely new thoughts, but refer back to “the Way” and qualify it. It was as if He were saying, “I am the Way, which is the Way of Truth and the Way of Life. “This means that the light of Truth is always shining on his Highway, continually showing us the truth about ourselves

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and our sin. The thoughts and reactions of our hearts, the words of our lips, and the deeds of our hands are all spotlighted as sin by the light of Truth, whenever they are so, and we are required to agree continually with God under this conviction, and repent. This is what John calls “walking in the light, as He is in the light”. If we are willing to say “Yes” to God under His light, then “we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”. If, however, we refuse to say “Yes”, and repent, then the walk with Jesus stops, we slip off the Highway, and we find ourselves in the darkness, where we are so much less able to sees in the next time. Very soon, ft we still refuse, we shall be struggling again in the swamps. Thank God, we can always return to the Way the moment we are willing. The simple steps of repentance and faith in the blood of the Lord Jesus, by which we first entered the Door, have only to be repeated, and we are back with Him in the AOL “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

This is what is meant by Isaiah’s phrase, the Way of Holiness. It is what we may call Gospel holiness, Be chief dement of which is not that sin never comes, but that it is hated and judged and confessed to Jesus immediately it does come. Then, according to 1 Corinthians 1 :30, He “is mane unto us sanctification (that is, holiness)”. He becomes to us what we can not be in ourselves. We find ourselves possessed with a power that is not ours, and a holiness that is not ours either but all His, who lives in us. So it is that victory ever comes by repentance coupled with a simple trusting Him to be to us what He promises. The glorious fact is that we need not be defeated for any longer than it takes us to recognize sin as sin, and bring it to the Lord Jesus in confession. Then He not only cleanses and delivers but also becomes Himself our victory on that point, as we trust Him. What is this but continuous revival? The Way of Truth is found to be the Way of Life.

Most important, this Way is simply walking with Jesus Himself. The central phrase of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Highway is, “He shall be with them” (Isa. 35:8 margin). He is both

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the Way itself and the One who walks beside us on that Way, bearing on His shoulders the responsibility of all our affairs. We can go shopping with Jesus, go to work with Him, do the most menial tasks in the house with Him, and undertake the largest responsibilities in our profession with Him. If we are cleansed from our sin as we go, we shall many times a day turn to Him to seek His guidance, to ask His help, or just to praise Him for His love and sufficiency. In no part of life are we to be independent of Him. His presence is to suffuse everything we do with peace. If in anything that peace is disturbed or shattered, we know that sin has come in, and we must repent, for the peace that comes from an ungrieved Holy Spirit in our hearts is the arbitrator over all that we do or think (Col. 3 :15).

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Before leaving this picture of the Lord Jesus as the Way, we need to point out its relevance to a matter which is rightly on the hearts of an increasing number of the Lord’s people the matter of the Church’s need for revival.

It is not uncommon to hear of how the Holy Spirit has visited a Mission Station, a Bible School, or a Church in convicting power. Many Christians have been convicted of sin and broken before the Lord in repentance, and others have been saved for the first time. Hearts have been cleansed in the blood of Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit. Great joy has been in that place and the fruits of me Spirit have begun to appear in lives. After the disturbance of such an experience, sometimes involving the cessation for the time being of the usual routine, normal activities are resumed, albeit at a higher level. However, nobody seems to expect such times of humbling and cleansing to continue, and alas, they do not. Gradually the new life begins to recede, and the higher level at which all seemed to be living seems to drop, until not long after that time of outstanding blessing things are not much different from what they were before. And though perhaps not all their gains are lost, they are none the less left with little more than a bright memory which contrasts painfully with the present state of things. And what is true of the experience of a group

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is often true of the individual, who has to lament, “Where is the blessedness I knew?”

Now what has gone wrong here? In that time of revival we were in a crisis experience, a Door experience. The Spirit was convicting us, and we saw Jesus as the One who would bring us into peace and victory if we would repent. But we did not see that the steps of consenting to conviction, brokenness, and repentance which we were taking, were not only the Door but also the Way which we were to travel ever after. We certainly saw that those humbling steps were necessary to bring us into the state of peace and fellowship with God which we needed, but we did not expect to have to repeat them too often! Surely, we thought, the blessing we were entering into would last amore or less extended period! That was just the mistake we made. Those humbling steps needed to be often repeated; those steps should have become the habit of our soul. The crisis should have led us on to a walk, and a walk consists of reiterated steps, the same steps which we took in the crisis. As we have seen, the Lord Jesus is the Way as well as the Door, and the steps by which we entered are to be continually reiterated if we are to walk the way of peace, power, and rest. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him” (Co1. 2:6) continually. If we are to know His presence and power, there will have to be on our part continual willingness for conviction, a continual brokenness before the Lord, a continual repentance and a continual cleansing from sin in His blood, for sin makes its approach to us constantly. There is no such thing as a static experience of peace and holiness. Revival, holiness, and victory mean a constant walking with the Lord Jesus.

We once asked a missionary from one of the fields in East Africa where revival has been continuing for so many years, what was the leading feature, as he observed it, in the life of the fellowship out there. Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “Living with Jesus in the Now. ” They were finding the Lord Jesus as the Way indeed.

And now a word as to recapturing the lost experience. An outstanding experience of being filled with the Spirit can some

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times prove more of a curse to us than a blessing, for if such an experience be lost, the devil uses the memory of it to nag us and condemn us. That which was ordained to be unto life we find to be unto death. More than that, the devil uses that past experience to provoke us to try to regain it by the way of works, and we get more and more into darkness and despair a sour resolutions to do this or that prove abortive. The way back, however, is simple, so simple that it may elude us. It is simply to take our eyes off the blessings that Jesus gives, to cease to strive to recapture them, and to put our eyes on Jesus Himself, just as we are and where we are. Then He Himself will show us what is wrong with our present relationship with Him, and as we bow the head in repentance, we find Him again, but this time in a capacity more precious than ever before; as our new and living Way, involving us in a daily walk with Him in repentance and faith.

This Way may be thought of, then, variously as the Way of the Blood, or the Way of Repentance, or Walking with Jesus, or under some other term. They all mean the same. Christ Himself is the Way, and thereon His redemption is continually experienced. It is the primitive Way of the early Church which has today been lost sight of in the maze of merely human efforts and teachings, and has largely been superseded by the Way of works in its various subtle forms. As Jeremiah says, we have been caused to stumble in our ways from the ancient paths, to walk in bypaths, in a way not cast up (Jer. 18: i5), in which there is little repentance and little of the joy of there deemed. We need to rediscover each for himself that ancient path “where is the good way, and walk therein and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jer. 6:16).

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CHAPTER VIII
SEEING JESUS AS THE END

Now that we have seen the Way of We Blood of Jesus, and our need to walk it in repentance and true brokenness, we must ask ourselves, Where does it lead? What is its end? This is an important question, because the various ends we naturally set before ourselves in the Christian life are often very different from the one great End to this Way which God has appointed. It is this fact which accounts for the continual frustration we so often experience in our Christian lives and service.

The natural thing is for us to think that the way of repentance, humbling, and surrender will lead us to being made powerful in His service, to being much used of God in winningsou1s, to having our Church filled with an increasing number of seeking souls; in short, that it will lead to revival and to spiritual success. Much that we have read of the lives of outstanding men of God has led us to believe this. We have read that there came a time in their experience of being broken down before God, of full surrender, and of being filled with His Spirit, from which time it seemed God was able to use them mightily. How easy it is for us to think that if we go the same way we shall arrive at the same end. Even as we submit to the Spirit’s conviction and seek to repent and surrender more completely, we have this end in mind, and there lurk mental pictures of what we shall become one day. I remember the embarrassment in my mind when, having given my testimony of the Lord’s dealings with me to a fellow worker in the field of evangelism, he asked me, “Has all this meant more fruit in your meetings, more souls saved?” I was embarrassed because I could not say it had, and I felt it should have and I certainly wanted it to be so. It was the end expected both by myself and others, and I was disturbed that it had not worked out.

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Others of us may be willing to let God deal with us, and to put things right, because we feel that in this way we are going to have peace and happiness and become the joyous, released personalities we have always longed to be. That is the end we have in mind. Yet others have the thought that if they are willing to be broken and repent, it will provoke the other person to repent too, and there will be a much needed relief from tension in the home. That is the end in mind as they seek to respond to the Lord an easier situation in the home. And so we could go on. None of us need look any farther than our own hearts to know the ends to which a full response to Christ is normally thought to lead, and which often become the motive for such a response. It is because these and similar things are ends that God seldom allows us to achieve them, and that we are characterised by so mute striving and frustration. They are the wrong ends.

That this is so is made clear when we understand what Jesus said was the true End of the Way. To get His word on the point, we must go to John i4, the passage with which we have already been dealing, and in which He says, “I am the Way. ” Follow the argument of the passage. Jesus had said a surprising thing to HE disciples, “Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. ” Thomas replied (colloquializing it a little), “That I just what we don’t know. We don’t know whither, nor do we know the way. ” “Oh yes, you do know the Way, “said the Lord in effect, “for I am the Way. Knowing Me, you know the Way. ” But where did the Way lead? To the Father, of course, for He went on, “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me. ” But the Father was not unknown to them either, for He continued, “If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father ado. ” Philip, quite puzzled, joined in at the point and said, “Lord, show us the Father and it sufficeth us. ” It was in reply, to this that the Lord uttered the stupendous words, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. ” Thus it was they discovered that they knew both the Way and the Whither, for the Lord Jesus was both. For us, too, He is both the Way and the Whither. In finding Him, men have not only found the Way, but the End, too. We do not have to go

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beyond Him to something else to satisfy our needs. He is the End of all that we need, and the simple, easy accessible Way to that End.

In the light of this we can see what some of us have been doing. We have been availing ourselves of Jesus and His blood as the way, but to ends other than Himself. We have been willing to go to all lengths to put things right, sometimes at great cost to ourselves, because the end we seek is seen to be so desirable. The intensely earnest soul will pray, “God, I will pay any cost to have revival, to enjoy Thy power on my ministry. ” But in the shadows around those ends there often lurk the subtle motives of self interest and self glory. Little wonder, then, that in spite of our agonizings in prayer, God has not allowed us to reach those ends. Even if our motives are quite free from self interest, those things are still not to be the end nor the reason for which we get right with the Lord. Our end is to be the Lord Jesus Himself. The reason for which we are to get right, is not that we might have revival, or power, or to be used of God, or have this or that blessing, but that we might have Him. Our sin has caused us to slip His hand; a cloud has come between His lovely face and ourselves, and at all costs we want to find Him and His fellowship again. That, and that only, is to be the reason why we should be willing to go the way of repentance not for any other motive than that we want Him. He is to be the End; but alas, other ends, idols all of them, have taken His place in our hearts.

The story of the ten leprous men who were healed by the Lord Jesus is a graphic illustration of this. Of the ten, only one, when he discovered himself healed, returned to Jesus to give Him thanks and glorify God. The other nine held on their way, eager to enjoy the new life into which their healing from leprosy had introduced them. To them the Lord Jesus was but the means to the end, the end being a life of health. But to the other who fell down at His feet, craving fellowship with the One who had healed him, He was not only the means but the End Himself.

Such is the humility of our adorable Lord that He is willing in the first days of our spiritual experience to be a means to

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such ends as peace and happiness and power. Indeed, with men in their sins, enlightened self interest is all that God has to appeal to. What is the Gospel appeal “Flee from the wrath to come” but an appeal to such self interest? And, as I say, He is willing for us to see Him and His atoning Cross a Way to such an escape, such an end. But not for long can He allow us to go on making Him the means to ends other than Himself. He knows all such ends will not satisfy our hearts, for we are made for Him, and we are restless till we rest in Him. Moreover, such ends, if that is all we come to, would fail to satisfy His heart, for the Bible tells us that the whole purpose of Jesus on the Cross was to reconcile us “unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). Again, we are told that God has “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself” (Eph. 1:5), and that Jesus gave Himself for us “that He might. . . purify unto Himself a peculiar people” (Titus 2 :14)

So it is that He allows us to be frustrated and disappointed in our strivings after this or that end until at last He comes to us and says, “My child, I never promised you that if you would surrender, repent and get right with Me, you would have an eased situation, great power, success in your service, or even revival. What I do promise you is that, if you will walk with Me, and allow Me to show you sin as soon as it comes in and cleanse you from it, you will have not these things, but ME. Make Me your End and you will surely have that End, and you shall be satisfied, lacking nothing that is in the will of God for you. ” The shameful thing is, however, that, when this comes home to us, we feel a little disappointed. We have to admit it was not Himself we really wanted, but rather His gifts, and that for subtle, selfish reasons! As the hymn writer says, “I yearned for them, not Thee. ” That is why He has not allowed us to have them!

This explains to me something that used to puzzle me in my early Christian service. Years ago, in my evangelistic ministry, it appeared to me that the key to the situation was the Christians. If there was a blockage of sin there, then the Holy Spirit could not work amongst the unconverted. I could find,

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I thought, various Scriptures to support this view. It seemed clear that if the Christians would repent of their sins and get right with God, then the Holy Spirit would be free to move in power amongst the lost. Consequently, I began to devote the first week of my campaigns to speaking to Christians and calling them to repentance, and very often God blessed them greatly, and there was real repentance at the Cross. But when, in the second week, we turned especially to the unconverted, things were sometimes difficult, and there was not always the mighty working of God that I thought there should have been. The reason now is clear. Our repenting and getting right with God was a means to an end, the end being that souls should be saved an end other than Jesus Himself. We had our eye on that all the time we were getting right, and that was why God could not set His seal to it. We were repenting “under law” as a sort of bargain with God. We were ultimately driven to God in prayer, and when at last souls were saved, it was not because we had repented, but because He was gracious. We should have got right just because we were wrong and because we loved Jesus, and our sins had made Him hide His lovely face from us, and at all costs we wanted Him back. That such revived, radiant Christians would be a powerful inducement to the lost to turn to Christ is indeed a fact, but that would not be the end for which they repented.

The wonderful thing is, however, that when we are willing to be convicted of the sin of making these other things our ends, and to have the Lord Jesus as our only end, God delights to give us with Him many of these very things which we are now not seeking first. “How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). And who can tell what is not included of His generosity in those “all things”? What wonderful things will He not do for those who are willing to walk with the Lord Jesus for His own sake!

Perhaps the best illustration of this is the incident of Solomon asking for wisdom (1 Kings 3:5 13) When God said to Solomon: “Ask what I shall give thee”, he was, so to speak, offered a blank cheque. Instead of seeking selfish ends, he simply asked: “Give therefore Thy servant an understanding

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heart to judge Thy people. ” The margin puts it “a hearing heart!’, that is, a disposition of brokenness which is willing to listen to God, and to be told what to do. God was so delighted that Solomon made this the end that he was seeking that He said: “Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given One a wise and an understanding heart. ” He got the end that he was seeking. But that was not all: “I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. ” God threw in with the one thing he desired the many other things which had ceased to be chief ends for him, and God did so just because they had ceased to be such to him. So it will be with us when we, too, cease to make other selfish things the end, and are content to see in Jesus only our end. With Him God will give us all that is in His will for us.

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We have just considered the ends which we seek, which come short of Christ. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves seeking ends beyond Him.

We may not fail to see the importance of the way of repentance, and the need for the cleansing of the blood of Christ. We may be those who are open to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and are willing to come back to the Cross when necessary. But we feel that the blessing we seek, and need so much, still lies beyond. This applies very much to our search for such blessings as victory, power, healing, the fullness of the Spirit, and even revival itself. We believe the blood of Christ and our repentance certainly provide the way to that blessing, but not the very blessing itself. We are convinced that to get right with God at the Cross is but the preparation for God’s mighty moving in on us. For that we still have to pray and struggle and wait, we feel. We think we must now go on from Calvary to some other place in experience, say, Pentecost, and that the

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place of repentance at Jesus’ feet must be left for some much more positive position. Reasonable as all this may sound, the result is invariably the same we have not found the End which we seek. We are left still searching and dissatisfied, still without the glowing testimony, “I have found. “Surely God has something better for us than this. He has indeed, but only by our seeing His Son as the End as well as the Way. If the Lord Jesus said that in coming to Him men have found not only the Way to the Father, but the Father Himself, surely He means that to apply to every other blessing we seek. The glorious truth is that lie is Himself not only the Way to blessing, but the needed blessing itself; not only the Way to power, but our power; not only the Way to victory, but our victory; not only the Way to sanctification, but our sanctification; not only the Way to healing, but our healing; not only the Way to revival, but our revival, and so on for everything else. He is Himself made to us what we need. In Him dwells 0lthefulnessofthe Godhead bodily, as Paul says, and we are complete in Him (Col. 2 :10). In coming to Him as a sinner, as so often we must, we find Him to be just there all we need. We do not have to go any farther than the Cross into a blessing, which we imagine lies beyond. Pentecost is found, not at Pentecost, but at Calvary, where sinners repent, as is also revival and every other blessing. Way and End are the One Person, found together in the one moment of each successive act of repentance and faith.

We are now in a position to understand the reasons for many of the frustrations in the spiritual life. We have sought peace, holiness, victory, revival as blessings apart from and additional to the Lord Jesus, and they have for this reason eluded us. We have prayed and struggled for them and sought to fulfill allsorts of conditions, but in vain. We have even been willing to walk the humbling Way of the blood of Jesus, and to let Him convict us and bring us to repentance; but even so the great baptism of love and power is looked upon as something yet to be received.

In contrast to this, let us ponder again Paul’s great word,

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“Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (Rom. 10:4). J. B. Phillips, in his well known colloquial translation of the epistles, quotes it, “Christ is the end of the struggle for righteousness by the law to everyone that believes. ” * What a pregnant phrase, Christ is the end of the struggle! That for which earnest Jews struggled in those days was righteousness. This is not, in the first place, personal righteousness of character, but something even greater than that being right with God, or what we may call rightness with God. In going through the Epistle to the Romans, it is helpful whenever you come to the word “righteousness” to read “rightness with God”, for that gives the meaning of the word as Paul uses it. It was to achieve the rightness with God that the Jew struggled to keep his complicated law, but his failure to do so only condemned him in his heart, and the assurance that he was right with God on that ground seemed the more removed the more he tried. It was into this state of need that the apostle came with his glorious message, “Christ is the end of the struggle for rightness with God to every one that believes.” Christ had borne on the Cross for them the curse of the Divine law which they had so often broken, and now His blood was reckoned to them as their perfect rightness with God even while they were still sinners, provided they repented and put their faith in Christ. What was before to them but the distant end of many struggles was the beginning and basis of a new life received from Christ, from which they could go on. They were given the privilege of beginning at the end!

The Lord Jesus, however, is not only the end of our struggles for rightness with God, but for everything else for peace, for victory, for holiness, for healing, for revival. What struggles we have had to obtain these blessings, what excruciating surrenders sometimes, what prayings, what self mortifications, what battles to make our sinful hearts less sinful. But in coming to Him in helpless repentance and confession of sin we have come to the One who in the moment of our abasementis the very blessing we have been struggling for in so many

* J. B. Phillips in Letters to Young Churches

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other directions. He is our peace; He is our power; He is our victory; He is our revival. There is nothing beyond Him.

The well is deep and I require
A draught of the Water of Life;
And none can meet my soul’s desire
For a draught of the Water of Life;
Till One draws near who the cry will heed,
Helper of men in their time of need,
And I, believing, find indeed
That Christ is the Water of Life.
How often, however, is it otherwise with earnest Christians? I shall never forget sharing in a Conference in Alsace some few years ago, and having the privilege of working with an African leader, deeply taught of the Lord and possessed of that rare gift, the gift of revival leadership. The Lord had worked deeply, many had been convicted and melted, and, having come to the Lord Jesus with all that He had shown them, were gloriously set free and were returning home with their “cups running over” with praise to God. A small group who had been at the Conference, and who had been blessed like so many others, approached us and asked us if we would speak the next day at their prayer meeting for revival in the town near by. They told us that they had been meeting two or three times a week for several years, praying for revival, and now of course they were going to pray more than ever for revival. It was only before the meeting that the situation really dawned on us. Here were a people who had seen Jesus anew, had been convicted of their sins and knelt at His feet, and were freshly filled with Himself and they were going to go on praying for revival! This meant that they had seen Jesus only as the way to revival, and not as Revival itself. God gently showed them through the lips of that African leader that they were doing what many of the people did in the days when our Lord Jesus first appeared on the scene in Judea. They were still waiting for and praying for the coming of their Messiah, when all the time He stood there among them, unknown and unrecognized. Maybe He did not fulfill at that time their mental picture of what Messiah would be, but today He is at me right hand of the Majesty on High, Messiah indeed. In the same way, what
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God does in our hearts in the way of convicting and melting may not fulfill the traditional conception of revival; but if Jesus has come afresh into the central place, be assured it is revival; and who knows where this will end if we go on walking with Him?

It may be asked, Are we not, then, to pray for revival? Our first responsibility is to be revived ourselves, and to have a testimony that we have come to the end of our struggle and that we have found Jesus Himself as all we need, with all that that involves of repentance. Then we, and others in fellowship can pray that what God has done in our hearts He will do in other hearts in ever widening circles. We are not, then, praying for revival as something that has not yet come, but as Someone who has already come to our hearts, if to none others as yet. Revival has begun (and it has begun, even if the Reviver has come to only one heart), and it is now but a matter of it spreading. The beach head for new life established in but a few hearts needs now to be extended to other hearts, and to that end God will use our testimony and willingness for self giving quite as much as our prayers. Such prayers, however, will be offered by those who know they have found both the Way and the End; the striving and tenseness that characterize so much of our praying for revival will be absent, and a calm confidence and boldness will take their place.

Does all this mean that the one who has found both the Way and the End in the Lord Jesus has attained all the heights of spirituality that God has for him? By no means! He is still a sinner; he still needs the blood of Jesus; he still repents. Indeed, he is quicker to repent than ever, for part of his discovery is that the way of repentance is the way of proving the Lord Jesus as his all. What, then, has such a man found? He has found at last where the true gold is, and has sunk his shaft into that precious vein, the Lord Jesus. He is not now shaken or disturbed by the report of “lucky strikes” anywhere else, in this doctrine, or that experience, or the other emphasis. And the strange thing is, that after all his attempts to find the answer in so many other directions, he has come back to thievery same shaft he sank when God first saved him, that which

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he sank into the redemption of the Lord Jesus. He now only needs to go daily deeper in that one place deeper conviction, deeper repentance, deeper dying to self, deeper cleansing, deeper faith, and He will find the re and fullness of His living Lord as much as he ever needs.

Let us see Jesus, then, as the End and the easy accessible way to that End both of them consecrated by His blood for needy people no better than ourselves.

Jesus, my Shepherd, Husband, Friend.
My Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my He, my Way, my End
Accept the praise I bring.

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CHAPTER IX
SEEING JESUS FOR OTHERS

It is only when we have truly seen the Lord Jesus to be the End that we have come tithe beginning of the real Christian life that God has for us. As we have seen, what previously was the far distant End righteousness, peace with God, holiness, revival to be achieved only after many struggles, now becomes the beginning for us. We have found Christ Himself to be for us all those things, and we have seen His precious blood to be the easy accessible way to that End. We are now given the privilege of beginning at the End!

Now, what is involved in this new beginning? We hardly need to ask the question, for instinctively everyone who makes the new discovery knows that it is for others. The new testimony which such a one gives is not only that his Lord might be glorified, but that others should share the same life that he is enjoying. Indeed, it is the spreading of this new life in Christ to others which is the spreading of revival

Those whose normal climate of living is that of law rather than of grace will feel they are at last on familiar ground, and will expect here at least some exhortation as to what they have to do in the way of witnessing, soul winning, reaching others, etc. But no, not even here does grace quit the field. There never comes a time when grace ends and self has to begin again, and the applies to what we call our service as much as to any other part of our Christian lives. In no place do we need to know the Way of Grace more than in the impartation of this Lie to others. Our service for our fellows does not come from strained efforts on our part to live for them, but rather from seeing Jesus doing so, and then simply making ourselves available to Him that we may be the channel of His grace and power to them. This was the way in which He walkedin His relationship with the Father, and it is the way in which

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we must walk in our relationship with Him. Said He, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what lie seeth the Father do: for what things so ever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). And we, too, can do nothing but what we see the Lord Jesus doing. Until we see that, we are helpless, and our service is nothing more than self initiated striving. But if we will first seek to see what the Lord Jesus is doing in a situation, then we can move with Him, even as the Son moved with the Father, and in that co operation between man and God the true works of God are produced. Ours is not to originate anything, but simply to yield ourselves to Him to be the channel of what He initiates and carries through, and to trust Him to do so through us.

Let us state the truth simply and boldly the Lord Jesus is for others. Just as the vine does not bear its grapes for its own refreshment but for the refreshment of others, so has this Divine Vine chosen to be and to act only and always for others. All He did was for others. When He came from heaven, it was for others. When He laid down His life, it was for others. Even when lie was raised again from the dead, it was quite as much to justify others as to justify Himself and His claims (Rom. 4:24). Furthermore, the position He occupies just now in heaven is for others, for we read that He has entered “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24). We sing about His present “riches in glory all His own”, but whereas they are His own, He only holds them for us. The Father has raised up His Son and appointed Him to be all the time for others, others, clam; and you and I are those guilty, undeserving others.

Not only is this what He is, but this determines what His purpose is. It is to recover these others to God and Himself through the redemption of His Cross, by the mighty working of His Holy Spirit among them. This is no wishful thinking on His part, but a settled Divine purpose which is backed by all the resources of heaven, and is therefore certain of fulfillment. And today, all over this world, redeemed at the cost of His blood, Jesus the Vine is bringing forth His fruit for the healing of the nations, and dying sinners, tasting of that fruit, live.

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The Lord Jesus, however, is not alone in this. He draws redeemed men into co operation with Himself in the out working of His glorious purposes, and they become His branches on which His fruit is borne. Just as apart from Him the branches can do nothing of themselves, so it is that apart from them the Vine does not bear fruit. They do not, however, produce or initiate the fruit; that is altogether His work. They simply bear what He produces as He lives His life again in them. This is exactly the picture that the Lord Jesus gives us in John 15 of our relationship with Himself when He says, “I am the Vine, ye are the branches. ” The believer is constituted a branch in Christ who comes to dwell in him.

Just as the branch is to the vine,
I’m joined to Christ; I know He’s mine!
This means that he is made a part of the One who lives and acts only for the salvation and blessing of men, and He designs to bear His fruit for them on just such a branch. What a comfort to us, when conscious of our weakness, to know He is the Vine! But on the other hand, with what boldness and authority does not this endue us as we move among needy, hungry men I am His branch, a part of Him whose resources are limitless for the blessing of these men around me!
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Let us look more closely at this parable of the Vine and the branches, which illustrates more clearly than perhaps any other Scripture our union with the Lord Jesus.

He begins by saying, “I am the true Vine”. The construction of the sentence in the Greek gives special emphasis to the word “true”. Quite obviously the Lord is contrasting Himself with another vine that was not the true vine, which proved a failure. The Old Testament abounds in references to this vine. The Psalmist says, “Thou past brought a vine out of Egypt: Thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparest room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and

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it filled the land” (Psa. 80:8, 9). This vine was Israel, and God’s intention in bringing them out of Egypt and planting them in their own land was that they might bring forth fruit for the nations, that in them all nations of the world should be blessed. But that vine failed of that high purpose, for they regarded their privileges and blessings as being only for themselves, and turned away from their God to idols. So it is we hear God saying, “Israelis an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself” (Hos. 10:1). There was plenty of foliage, but no fret for God or man. Again, He laments in another place concerning Israel, “I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me?” (Jer. 2:2i). The most dramatic passage, however, about the failure of this Old Testament vine is the beautiful song of the vineyard in Isaiah 5:

“My well beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill; and he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and butt a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?”

What a parable this is, not only of Israel, but of ourselves! What could have been done more to us that God has not done for us? Many of us can look back on a good and godly upbringing, when we were spared much that bas spoilt other lives. Then came the day, when hearing the message of grace, we received Jesus Christ as our Saviour. Those days were followed by marvelous privileges and blessings denied many others. We were taught, perhaps, by teachers well versed in the Scriptures; we enjoyed the fellowship of other saints; a sphere of service lay ready at our hand, and God poured innumerable

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blessings into our laps. Nor did we lack the personal attention of the Vine dresser, for He came to us often in pruning and in healing. Of each of us in varying degrees God has to say, “What could have been done more to My vineyard that I have not done in it?” And yet when He looked for grapes, the fruit of the Spirit, that would glorify Him and bless others, we brought forth only wild, bitter grapes, the ugly works of the flesh. Look again at these works which all too often are all that God has got from us. “The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these:

Fornication,
uncleanness,
lasciviousness,
idolatry,
sorcery,
enmities,
strife,
jealousies,
wraths,
factions,
divisions,
parties,
envyings,
drunkenness,
revellings, and such like” (Gal. 5:10-21 RV.).
There is everything here that is sour and hurtful, from sexual impurity to jealousy and a party spirit, but nothing for God or man. This is the fruit that we have served to those at home, at work, and even in our church. And all this has been produced on a vine on which God has lavished so many privileges and so much care. And, strange to say, this has been the state of things, even when we vowed that it should be otherwise, and struggled to make it so.
Now, why should this be our experience? Why was this the state of things with Israel, God’s Old Testament vine? The simple reason was that Israel was the vine, and just as long as Israel was the vine, she could not but produce this kind of

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fruit, for such fruit is characters of fallen human nature, for its center is ever itself. If human nature could have been improved to produce sweet grapes, then it would have been seen in Israel’s case, for no vine received so much from God as they did. But in the failure of Israel was demonstrated the complete inability of man ever to be a vine to produce fruit for God.

This, then, is the reason for our failure, too. It is simply that we have been trying to be the vine; we have been trying to find a holiness and a love for others in ourselves and from ourselves which Scripture never encourages us to expect to find there. We have discovered what Paul had to discover long before us, when he said, “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing” (Rom 7:18). Another who made the same discovery once prayed, “0 God, forgive me the wrong I do by being me. “This, then, was the vine with which the Lord Jesus contrasted Himself. Thus it was that, standing in the midst of the ruins of the vine which had been such a sorrow to God, He cried, “I am the true Vine. ” It was as if He said, “Man’s day of being the vine is over. God’s judgment of him as the vine is to be completed in My body on the Tree. From no won, I am the Vine. From Me now is God’s fruit to be found and from nowhere else. ” Rightly understood this is the best news we could have. God no longer expects us to be the vine. We need not even try. The responsibility for producing fruit is no longer ours. God has His own true Vine, the risen Lord Jesus, who is well able to produce all the fruit that God requires for others, and to fulfill all the purposes of His grace for men.

But we where do we come in? Simply as branches in Him, the Vine. We do not produce the fruit, but simply bear what He produces, as we permit Him to live in us. This throws anew light on those words of Pad, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live” (Gal. 2:20). There is a Paul here who was crucified with Christ, and a Paul who none the less lives. Which is which? The Paul who was crucified with Christ was Paul the vine, the man who vainly tried to do his best. The Paul who nevertheless lived was Paul, the branch, the man

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who was broken as to his self confidence, and was dependent on his Lord. And in Paul, the branch, the Lord Jesus lived His life again, for he goes on to say immediately, “yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”, just as the vine by its sap lives in the branch. Jesus became for Him the Vine, the source of all the fruitage that was seen in his life and service.

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We come now to the practical implementing of all this in our daily experience.

It is possible for any of us at any time to assume the position, often unconsciously, of the vine. We start the day as if it were our day and we make our plans for our day and fully intend to do our best for the Lord. The responsibility and government tis really on our shoulders, and we have subtly become the vine. But just because it is our day and we are the vine, things soon go wrong. People and circumstances upset our schedule and interfere with what we wanted to do, and there is a reaction of hardness, irritation, and resentment in our hearts, and often the sharp retort on our lips. The very responsibility of trying to be the vine makes us tense, and tenseness always predisposes us to further sin. If we are charged with the responsibility of some special piece of Christian service, our tenseness and reactions are often far worse, and we can go into that piece of service without calling them sin. It is little wonder that we return abashed and defeated.

The way of repentance, however, is ever open to us. Our true Vine, Jesus Himself, has, like many an ordinary vine, been tied to a stake, the stake of Calvary. He invites us to return to Him in repentance and to confess the source of these things as being our attempt to be ourselves the vine, receiving from His hands forgiveness and cleansing. Immediately He becomes the Vine to us again and we become the branch that rests in Him. And in the very place of failure, we have the fruits of the Spirit, the products of His life and nature. What an array of precious grapes they are, all of them for the blessing of others and all of them characteristic of Himself! What a contrast to

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the works of the flesh, so characteristic of us! “The fruit of the Spirit

love,
joy,
peace,
longsuffering,
gentleness,
goodness,
faith,
meekness,
self control” (Gal. 5:22, 23).
Inasmuch as the Scripture does not speak of the fruits of the Spirit, but rather of the fruit (in the singular) of the Spirit, it would seem that all of them are component of the first one mentioned, the all inclusive fruit of love, His love for the other man.
The way of victory is, however, always by repentance. Jesus cannot be the Vine to us, except as we repent of the works of the flesh as God shows them to us. A mere attempt to trust Him more completely and to rest in Him, without an acknowledgment of the sin there is, never brings victory, His victory. He is only the Vine to me as I repent of trying to be the vine myself. It is only as I repent of my unlove that have His love; only as I confess my worry and lack of peace that I have His peace; only as I confess my impatience that I have His long suffering; only as I confess my resentment that have His meekness, and so on. More than that, when we are willing for Him to be the Vine and we but the branch, His purposes of salvation and blessing for other lives begin to be worked out. Things just happen, marvelous things. Being What He is, it could hardly be otherwise. Being a marvelous Lord, marvelous things are just normal to Him. He does not need us to persuade Him to save and revive others. This is His work. He does not begin to work only when we begin to pray and believe. He is working like this all the time, only we have not been linked to Him. But when we begin to pray, and (even more important than

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prayer) when we begin to believe, we are caught up into the purposes in which He is already engaged and become the branches on which His fruit is borne. The degree in which the is our experience is simply the degree in which we expect it of Him.

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Finally, we now come to ask, What is our part as branches His fruit is to be borne on us and His purposes fulfilled through us?

First, we must be continually seeing by faith Jesus to be the Vine, the One who is love for other and who is working out His purposes of grace towards them in the power of His limitless resources. He is never at a loss, never discouraged, never defeated, and He is our Vine! Our weakness and emptiness is no hindrance to Him; indeed, it gives Him the more room in which to prove Himself. What a sight of Him to fill our vision! Boldness, confidence, and assurance spring up in our hearts as the natural result. As we become victorious inspirit, the battle is won before it is begun, and His fruits cannot but appear.

Second, there must be the willingness to be broken and become available to Him as a broach. A branch has no independent life of its own. It exists only to bear the fruit of the Vine. So it must be with us in our relationship to the Lord Jesus. What a battle there is in our hearts so often with our selfishness and personal interests! So often we are just not available to Him because we have lapsed back to our old center, self. But it must be surrendered if we are to be available to Him as His branch, and that not just in one sweeping surrender, which we may make in a solemn moment of dedication, but just as things come up and as He dead with us. The will involve a continuous dying to self and its rights and wishes, but only so can the Lord Jesus bring forth His fruit on the branch.

A word of testimony will illustrate the point. The writer was traveling by train to conduct some meetings. He had to mange trains twice before he rearmed his destination. For the first part of the journey he was buried in his newspaper, and

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although he was conscious of a little Voice telling him he ought to have a heart for the others in the compartment, he was unwilling to lay aside his paper. He was not available tithe Vine. On the second part of his journey, he was occupied in preparing his message for the meeting at which he was to preach. Once again the little Voice told him he should have a heart for the others around him. But he was tense and anxious about the meeting ahead of him, and he felt he must continue. Once again he was not available. But as he approached the thud part of his journey, the Lord Jesus broke him and he at last told the Lord Jesus of his willingness to be His branch. The compartment into which he now entered was empty, and he wondered if God really had been speaking to him. Very soon a man came in, and continued to be the only occupant with him until the end of the journey. The conversation was easily turned to spiritual things and to the man’s need of the Lord Jesus. He proved to be a prepared heart indeed. Five minutes from the destination he received Him as his personal Saviour there in the train, and letters from him have since evidenced the fact that God did a work in his heart that day. That very experience gave the writer the fresh vision of His Lord that he needed at that time, a new confidence in Him sprang up in his heart, and in the days that followed he saw the Lord Jesus bring revival and salvation to a church in a way in which he had seldom seen before.

This blessed Vine, then, is compassionate and touched with the needs of men, but we are selfish and unconcerned. This Vine exists just for others, but we are self centered. This Vine is gloriously sufficient to implement Isis own purposes of love for men, but we are unbelieving and not available. May God deal with us and break us so that we shall be willing to be available to Him as His branches!

*****************************

We are now in a position to consider the meaning of the word which the Lord Jesus used to describe our part in this life. Said He, “Abide in Me, and I in You” (John 15:4). It is well that we have kept this word to the very end, for it has often

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loomed too large in the thinking of earnest, seeking souls. It has often been said, “The secret is in the abiding. ” But that is not so, for it makes the secret to reside in something we do, and this can only lead to yet another form of striving, the striving to abide. The secret surely lies in the Vine, and the blessing comes from our seeing Him as such and as we see Him, before we know it, we are abiding!

The word to “abide” simply means to “dwell” or “remain “or “continue”. God has placed us in His Son, united us to Him as a branch is to the Vine. Let us simply remain there, dwell there, continue there, abide there, in Him. If we do this, then He on His part promises to dwell, remain, abide in us. “Abide in Me” is the condition which we are to fulfill. “I in you” is the promise which He will fulfill. It is as if He says, “If you will dwell in Me, I will dwell in you.” And when He is living again His life in us, His fruit and victory cannot but be manifest, for He never fails.

In what, then, does abiding in Christ consist? The word must be interpreted in the light of all we have said of Jesus, the Vine. It consists, first, in a willingness to repent quickly whenever sin comes in, because we have assumed the position of the vine. This continually puts us in our right position as branches. Second, it means continually seeing Jesus as the Vine, living and acting for others in the power of His limitless resources. Then there is the continuous faith that reckons on its union with this precious Vine. Such faith does not ask to be united to Him, but takes its stand that it is united already, and praises Him for His life made ours. With that there is the brokenness that continually yields its rights and interests to jesus, that it might be available to Him as His branch for blessing others. Lastly, there is the pouring out of love to others, not in word only but in deed. As we begin to pour out, He pours in of His love. But if we will not begin to pour out, He cannot pour in. It is only as we turn the tap, and begin to draw off water, that fresh water is poured into the tank. The latter is actually the only definition in John 15 that Jesus Himself gives of abiding, and therefore must include every other part. Said He, “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall

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abide in My love . . . . This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

“Let us not, however, make any formula out of this firstly, secondly, thirdly. Simply be seeing Jesus as the Vine and ourselves a part of Him, and be willing to be His branches for others. So shall He, this wonderful, living, gracious Vine, be living His life again in us, producing His own fruit for men and doing wonders for them.

To see Jesus, then, is the answer here as in every other aspect of our Christian lives.

“Sir, we would see Jesus. ”
http://www.peacemakers.net/unity/rhwewouldseeJesus.htm

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