Shalom?

shalom

Anti-Semitism: Here is one definition of Anti-Semitism from the lips of a Jew: “Anti-Semitism does NOT signify opposition to Semitism.  THERE IS NO SUCH THING.  It is an expression we use effectively as a SMEARWORD, used to brand anyone who brings criticism against us.”  Harold W. Rosenthal (Jewish)

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Today Sweden’s third-largest city  Malmo has   high levels of anti-Semitism,    serial harassment of the city’s Rabbi and other Jews and Jewish institutions. .. The demonization of the Jewish state — is rampant in most countries other than the U.S., Canada and Australia, although even there, it now is  emerging  as a force.. In most of Europe,   opinion polls indicate that almost half the population regard Israel as a greater threat to world peace than Iran and North Korea, equate Jews with Nazis, and believe that Israelis are seeking to commit genocide against the Palestinians.  Most Zionists no longer claim that God gave the Holy Land to the Jews; instead they contend that the Jewish state is necessary as a haven for world Jewry. According to  the Jews  they are in no way responsible for their own unpopularity from ancient times. What then is the source of such persistent hostility to this supposedly innocent people? Can it be the Jews themselves? The state of Israel is based on an ethnic supremacism that would be rightfully  condemned as anti-Semitic if it were enforced   by the gentiles. Too many Jews hate Christian morality teachings.  Most Jews  still do regard conversion to Christianity as the ultimate treason to Jewry and resent Christian attempts to convert them; never mind that for Christians, concern for the salvation of souls is the highest charity next to the adoration of God. 

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The Ongoing false Jewish Assault on Christianity
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The wolves have already entered the sheep-fold, and most of the sheep are unaware that the intent of the wolves is to DEVOUR them! 
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Most  Jewish scholar, leaders    who  falsely even do not address the Jewish attitudes towards the Christians  do falsely hate the Gospels of Matthew and John,  the Book of Acts,  Apostle’s Paul’s epistles,  places where the Jews are  clearly depicted as engineering the  false Crucifixion, of Jesus Christ with the assistance of Romans who “know not what they do.”  So many  Jews have absurdly  even demanded that all of the offending passages be deleted from the  New testament Scriptures, not   caring that all Christians regard their Holy Books as off-limits to  any human censorships.
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Furthermore  the Talmudic imprecations against Christ and Christians have helped form the Bolshevik Jews’ anti-Christian animus? As well as the persecution of Christians, and  the  attempted eradication of Christian culture in America today? So will Jews make an effort to expunge the offending passages from the Talmud?  No.
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 What the Cause of Christ has endured at the hands of Jews, through the centuries, far surpasses ANYTHING the Jewish people have suffered .  The TRUTH is that throughout history, the Jews have been persecuting Christians, and  it is the Christians, and NOT the Jew who are the big REAL VICTIMS!
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Jewish based  leaders   and not just Muslims are part of those groups who want  to destroy  all Christians and their nations so so they could control ALL of   the world even today. In the US the agenda of major Jewish groups is the de-Christianization of America, using a debased interpretation of the “living Constitution” as their instrument. 
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The goal of the Jews in Jesus’ time was as it is today the extermination of Christ, Christians AND Christianity.
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 History is replete with the lesson that a country in which the Jews get the upper hand is in danger.
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In the first twelve chapters of the book of Acts, of the New Testament,  five specific persecutions, sponsored by Jews against the group of new Christian believers, are recorded.
First persecution:  Acts 4:1-22. 
Second persecution:  Acts 5:17-41. 
Third persecution:  Acts 7:54-60 
The Fourth persecution:  Acts 8:1-3.
Fifth persecution:  Acts 12:1-19. 
The Acts of the Apostles tells how the early Church was forced to take various precautions “for fear of the Jews.”
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St. Justin said in the middle of the second century:  “The Jews were behind all the persecutions of the Christians.  They wandered through the country, everywhere hating and undermining the Christian faith.”

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Tertullion said about the same time, “The Jews formed the breeding ground of all anti-Christian action.”

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The Jews had invaded, and took over,  even the Catholic Church over time even  since the Inquisition,the  international Jewry told the rank and file Jews to pretend to convert, then get inside the Catholic church and   take it over.   They had influenced  and changed it’s theology as well adding the mosaic priesthood system, décor.

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The Jews had invaded, and  changed   even the evangelical  Church to produce  the false dispensational teachings, doctrines.

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Such was the experience of Europe during Jewish-led Communist revolutions in Russia, Hungary, Romania, and Germany after World War I.   The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia was Jewish!  Lenin was a Jew.  Stalin was a Jew.  Karl Marx (author of the Communist Manifesto) was a Jew.  Leon Trotsky (real name – Bronstein) the head of the Red Army was a Jew, as were close to 80% of ALL the Bolshevists who murdered the Czar and his family and took over Russia by force.   No informed person who is knowledgeable and truthful denies the Jewish character of Communism.  Out of the 545 members of the bureaucracy of Russian Revolutionary Bolshevism, 454 were Jews and there were only 23 Russians in the group  The Russian Empire was destroyed by the Red Jewish supporters in the early 1900s because Russian Christians did not possess sufficient spiritual vitality to resist the onslaught. Its gorgeous temples were turned into museums, brothels, and centers of entertainment and vice.  Its wealth was confiscated.  Its priests and other leaders were put to death.  Its members were slaughtered by the millions. While the atheistic Soviet regime made war on Christians, murdering tens of thousands of Orthodox priests, it also showed its true colors by making anti-Semitism a capital crime.
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“Why should we believe in God?  We hate Christianity and Christians.  Even the best of them must be regarded as our worst enemies.  They preach love of one’s neighbor, and pity, which is contrary to our principles.  Christian love is a hindrance to the revolution.  Down with love of one’s neighbor; what we want is hatred.  We must know how to hate, for only at this price, can we conquer the universe.  We have done with the kings of the earth; let us now deal with the kings of the skies.  The anti-religious campaign must not be restricted to Soviet Russia: it should be carried on throughout the entire world.  The fight should also be developed in the Moslem and Catholic countries, with the same ends in view and by the same means.”  Lunatcharski
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in the 1900 Germans were industrious, clean, organized, intelligent, and a strong Christian nation.  For all those reasons – the Jews HATED the Germans!  Germany went into Russia  in  WORLD WAR II  to try to save the millions of Germans who had been living in the Ukraine for several hundreds of years, having been invited there by the Czar to farm the land.  When the Communist, Jewish Bolshevists took over, they started killing and starving these Germans in the Ukraine.  Germany went into Russia as a Rescue Mission. The same thing happened in Poland.  As the Jews running Poland, started killing the Germans who were now under their control.  The Danzig corridor, the life-line between Germany and Poland, was closed off, prohibiting Germans from getting back to Germany.  So the German Nation went on a Rescue Mission into Poland in an attempt to SAVE the Germans living there.

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U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and the leader of the U.S.S.R., Joseph Stalin, WERE ALSO  ALL JEWISH!

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U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, was ALSO a Jew, Explains why he hated the Russians so much too.

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“Even a casual reading of the Old and New Testaments will show that the Jews are a disobedient and rebellious people.  Nowhere in Scripture are Christians required to excuse and condone their evil deed simply because of their culture or a perceived “nationality.”   ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! … “who  say, if we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.  Wherefore you are witnesses unto yourselves, that you are the children of them that killed the prophets.  Fill up then the measure of your fathers.  You serpents, you veneration of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?”

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Matthew 23
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
14 [Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.]
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
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Nothing has changed here.. Nothing is different today. 

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Virtually all Jewish leaders  disdain “Gentiles” as unclean. And undeniably too  the Jew is a “Christ hater.”  The spirit of Judaism is one of direct antagonism Jesus Christ, Christianity.

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“Behold I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you will kill and crucify; and some of them shall you scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city; That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom you slew between the temple and the altar.”  Matthew 23:35

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“When Jesus accused them of killing Abel, He was seeing beyond their particular nationality.  He was seeing beyond the garb of flesh that they were wearing.  He was looking deep into their souls.  He was seeing the demonic poison that was stored up in their life stream.  He knew that the same Satanic hatred for the program of God that took the life of Abel was to reach its climax in the murder of the Messiah and His apostles. 

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“In the twenty-third chapter of Matthew, we find Christ charging the Jews with the same sin that was laid against Cain – namely, that they had become the instruments of Satan for the destruction of the plan of human redemption.  The poison of the serpent had been handed down until that hour; it was flowing in their vein; the blood of the righteous Abel was upon them; they were cooperating with Satan; they had permitted themselves to become a party to the same crime of which Cain was guilty: they were trying to destroy the Saviour of the world even as Cain tried to destroy the line (through Abel) from which the Redeemer was to be born.”

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The Talmud even teaches that the Jewish nation is the only nation selected by God, while all the remaining ones are contemptible and hateful.  That all property of other nations belongs to the Jewish nation, which consequently is entitled to seize upon it without scruples.  Than an orthodox Jew is not bound to observe principles of morality towards people of other nations, and on the contrary, he even ought to act against morality, if it is profitable for himself or for the interest of the Jews in general. 

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History also PROVES conclusively that for OVER 2,000 years,   the JEWS   have been still persecuting and KILLING  the Christians!

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see  also

https://putin1hero.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/west-and-ukraine-are-looking-dumber-and-dumber-liars/

https://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/invaded/

https://jesussayscome.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/keep-your-eyes-on-jesus-not-the-jewish-antichrist-yeshua/

https://jesussayscome.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/many-jews-even-messianic-jews-lie-about-christianity/

https://witnessed.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/desolate/

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OUR MASTER by General Bramwell Booth.

OUR MASTER
Thoughts for Salvationists about Their Lord
BY
General Bramwell Booth.

“_As man He suffered–as God He taught_.”

TO
MY WIFE

Contents.
Preface

I. The Man for the Century
II. The Birth of Jesus
“_For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is
Christ the Lord_.” (Luke ii. 11.)
“The firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom. viii. 29.)

III. Contrasts at Bethlehem

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IV. Christ Come Again
“_And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling
clothes, and laid Him in a manger_.” (Luke ii. 7.)
“Christ formed in you.” (Gal. iv. 19.)

V. The Secret of His Rule
“_For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling
of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without
sin_.” (Heb. iv. 15.)

VI. A Neglected Saviour
“_And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy_.”
(Matt. xxvi. 43.)

VII. Windows in Calvary
“_And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: that it
might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet. They parted My
garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast lots. And sitting
down they watched Him there_.” (Matt. xxvii. 35, 36.)

VIII. The Burial of Jesus
“_And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly
for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of
Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and, took the body of
Jesus_.” (John xix. 38. And following verses.)

IX. Conforming to Christ’s Death
“_That I may know Him . . . being made conformable unto His death_.”
(Phil. iii. 10.)

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X. The Resurrection and Sin
“_Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was . . . declared to be
the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the
resurrection from the dead_.” (Rom. i. 3, 4.)

XI. “Salvation Is of the Lord”
“Salvation is of the Lord.” (Jonah ii. 9.)
“Work out your own salvation.” (Phil ii. 12.)
XII. Self-Denial
“_If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his
cross, and follow Me_.” (Matt. xvi. 24.)

XIII. In Unexpected Places
“_And . . . while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself
drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should
not know Him_.” (Luke xxiv. 15, 16.)

XIV. Ever the Same
“_Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are
His: and He changeth the times and the seasons_.” (Dan. ii. 20, 21.)
“_I am the Lord, I change not_.” (Mal. iii. 6.)

Preface

The present volume contains some of the papers bearing on the Birth and
Death and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ which I have contributed from
time to time to Salvation Army periodicals. I hope that in this form they
may continue the service of souls which I am assured they began to render

Our Master

when, one by one, they were first published.

Much in them has, I do not doubt, come to me directly or indirectly by
inspiration or suggestion of other writers and speakers, and I desire
therefore to acknowledge my indebtedness to the living, both inside and
outside our borders, as well as to the holy dead.

Bramwell Booth.

Barnet, May, 1908.

I.
The Man for the Century
I.
The Need.

The new Century has its special need.

The need of the twentieth century will be men. In every department of the
world’s life or labour, that is the great want. In religion, in politics, in
science, in commerce, in philanthropy, in government, all other necessities
are unimportant by comparison with this one.

Given men of a certain type, and the religious life of the world will thrive
and throb with the love and will of God, and overcome all opposition.
Given men of the right stamp, and politics will become another word for
benevolence. Provided true men are available, science will take her place as
the handmaid of revelation. If only men of power and principle are at hand,
commerce will prosper as she has never yet prospered, rooted in the great
law which Christ laid down for her: “Do unto others as ye would that they
should do unto you.” If the men are found to guide it, philanthropy will
become a golden ladder of opportunity by which all in misfortune and
misery may climb, not only to sufficiency and happiness here, but to purity

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and plenty for ever. And, given the men of heart, head, and hand for the
task, the government of the kingdoms of this world will yet become a
fulfilment of the great prayer of Jesus: “Thy will be done on earth, as it is
done in Heaven.”

But all, or nearly all, depends on the men.

II.
The Man.

The new Century will demand men.

But if men, then certainly a man. Human nature has, after all, more
influence over human nature than anything else. Abstract laws are of little
moment to us until we see them in actual operation. The law of gravitation
is but a matter of intelligent wonder while we view its influence in the
movements of revolving planets or falling stars; but when we see a baby
fall terror-stricken from its little cradle to the floor, “the attraction of large
bodies for small ones” takes on a new and heart-felt meaning. The beauty
of devotion to truth in the face of opposition hardly stirs an emotion in
many of us, as we regard it from the safe distance of our own self-satisfied
liberty; but when we see the lonely martyr walk with head erect through the
raging mob, and kiss the stake to which he is soon to be bound; when we
watch him burn until the kindly powder explodes about his neck, and sends
him to exchange his shirt of flame for the robe he has washed in the Blood
of the Lamb; then, the beauty, the sincerity, the greatness, the God-likeness
of sacrifice, especially of sacrifice for the truth, comes home to us, and
captures even the coldest hearts and dullest minds.

The revelation of Jesus in the flesh was a recognition of this principle. The
purpose of His life and death was to manifest God in the flesh, that He
might attract man to God. He took human nature that human nature might
see the best of which it was capable. He became a man that men might
know to what heights of power a man might rise. He became a man that
men might know to what lengths and breadths of love and wisdom a man

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might attain. He became a man that men might know to what depths of love
and service a man might reach.

The men we need, then, for the twentieth century will find the pattern Man
ready to their hand. Be the demands of the coming years what they may,
God is able to raise up men to meet them, men after His own likeness–men
of right, men of light, men of might–men who will follow Him in the
desperate fight with the hydra-headed monsters of evil of every kind, and
who will, by His Name, deliver the souls of men from the slavery of sin and
the Hell to which it leads.

III.
Standards.

The new Century will demand high standards, both of character and
conduct.

Explain it how we may, the fact is evident that religion has greatly
disappointed the world. The wretched distortion of Christ’s teaching which
appears in the lives and business of tens of thousands of professed
Christians, the namby-pambyism of the mass of Christian teachers towards
the evil of sin, and the unholy union, in nearly all the practical proceedings
of life, between the world and the bulk of the Christian churches, no doubt
largely account for this, so far as Christianity is concerned.

Mohammedanism is in a still worse plight, for though, alas! it increases
even faster than Christianity, it is helpless at the heart. The mass of its
devotees know that between its highest teaching and its best practice there
is a great gulf, and they are slowly beginning to look elsewhere for rules by
which to guide their lives.

And what is true of Mohammedanism is true also of Buddhism–the great
religion of the East. Its teachers have largely ceased to be faithful to their
own faith; and, as a consequence, that faith is a declining power. Beautiful
as much of its teaching undoubtedly is, millions who are nominally

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Buddhist are estranged by its failures; and are, with increasing unrest,
looking this way and that for help in the battle with evil, and for hope
amidst the bitter consciousness of sin.

Such is a cursory view of the attitude of the opening century towards the
great faiths of the world. Perhaps one word more than another sums it all
up–especially as regards Christianity–and that word is NEGLECT–cold,
stony neglect!

And yet men are still demanding standards of life and conduct. The open
materialist, the timid agnostic, no less than the avowedly selfish, the
vicious and the vile, are asking, with a hundred tongues and in a thousand
ways, “Who will show us any good?” The universal conscience, unbribed,
unstifled as on the fateful day in Eden–conscience, the only thing in man
left standing erect when all else fell–still cries out, “YOU OUGHT!” still
rebels at evil, still compels the human heart to cry for rules of right and
wrong, and still urges man to the one, and withholds him from the other.

And it is–for one reason–because Jesus can provide these high standards
for men, that I say He is The Man for the Century. The laws He has laid
down in the Gospels, and the example He furnished of obedience to those
laws in the actual stress and turmoil of a human life, afford a standard
capable of universal application.

The ruler, contending with unruly men; the workman, fighting for
consideration from a greedy employer; the outcast, struggling like an
Ishmaelite with Society for a crust of bread; the dark-skinned, sad-eyed
mother, sending forth her only babe to perish in the waters of the sacred
river of India, thus “giving the fruit of her body for the sin of her soul”; the
proud and selfish noble, abounding in all he desires except the one thing
needful; the great multitude of the sorrowful, which no man can number,
who refuse to be comforted; the dying, whose death will be an unwilling
leap in the dark–all these, yea, and all others, may find in the law of Christ
that which will harmonise every conflicting interest, which will solve the
problems of human life, which will build up a holy character, which will
gather up and sanctify everything that is good in every faith and in every

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man, and will unite all who will obey it in the one great brotherhood of the
one fold and the one Shepherd.

IV.
Liberty.

The new Century will call for freedom in every walk of human life.

That bright dream of the ages–Liberty–how far ahead of us she still lies!

What a bondage life is to multitudes! What a vast host of the human race,
even of this generation, will die in slavery–actual physical bondage! Slaves
in Africa, in China, in Eastern Europe, in the far isles of the sea and dark
places of the earth, cry to us, and perish while they cry.

What a host, still larger, are in the bondage of unequal laws! Little children,
stricken, cursed, and damned, and there is none to deliver. Young men and
maidens bound by hateful customs, ruined by wicked associations, torn by
force of law from all that is best in life, and taught all that is worst. Nine
men out of ten in one of the great European armies are said to be debauched
morally and physically by their military service; and all the men in the
nation are bound by law to serve.

What a host–larger, again, than both the others–of every generation of men
are bound by custom in the service of cruelty. It is supposed that every year
a million little children die from neglect, wilful exposure, or other form of
cruelty. Think of the bondage of those who kill them! Look at the cruelty to
women, the cruelty of war, the cruelty to criminals, the cruelty to the
animal creation. What a mighty force the slavery of cruel custom still
remains!

All that is best in man is crying out for emancipation from this bondage,
and I know of no deliverance so sure, so complete, so abiding as that which
comes by the teaching and spirit of Jesus. But, even if freedom from all
these hateful bonds could come, and could be complete, without Him, there

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still remains a serfdom more degrading, a bondage more inexorable than
any of these, for men are everywhere the bond-slaves of sin. Look out upon
the world–upon your own part of it, even upon your own family or
household–and see how evil holds men by one chain or another, and grips
them body and soul. This one by doubt, this by passion, this by envy, this
by lust, this by pride, this by strife, this by fear, this one by love of gold,
this one by love of the world, and this one by hatred of God! _Is it not so_?

What men want, then, is PERSONAL, INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY FROM
SIN. Given that, and a slave may be free. Given that, and the child in the
nursery of iniquity may be free. Given that, and the young man or maiden
held in the charnel-house of lust may be free. Given that, and the victim of
all that is most cruel and most brutal in life may still be free. Oh! blessed be
God, he whom the Son makes free is free indeed!

This, and this alone, is the liberty for the new Century–the Gospel liberty
from sin for the individual soul and spirit, without respect of time or
circumstance; and here alone is He who can bestow it–Jesus, the Lion of
the Tribe of Judah.

This, I say, is The Man for the new Century.

V.
Knowledge.

The new Century will be marked by a universal demand for knowledge.

One of the most remarkable features of the present time is the extraordinary
thirst for knowledge in every quarter of the world. It is not confined to this
continent or that. It is not peculiar to any special class or age. It is
universal. One aspect of it, and a very significant one, is the desire for
knowledge about life and its origin, about the beginning of things, about the
earth and its creation, about the work which we say God did, which He
alone could do.

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Oh, how men search and explore! How they read and think! How they talk
and listen! Where one book was read a generation ago, a hundred, I should
think, are read now; and for one newspaper then read, there are now,
probably, a thousand. Every man is an inquiry agent, seeking news,
information, or instruction; seeking to know what will make life longer for
him and his; and, above all, what can make it happier.

And here, again, I say that Jesus is The Man for the new Century. He has
knowledge to give which none other can provide. I do not doubt that
universities, and schools, and governments, and a great press, can, and will,
do much to impart knowledge of all sorts to the world. But when it comes
to knowledge that can serve the great end for which the very power to
acquire knowledge was created–namely, _the true happiness of
man_–then, I say, that JESUS is the source of that knowledge; that without
Him it cannot be found or imparted; and that with Him it comes in its
liberating and enlightening glory.

Oh, be sure you have that! No amount of learning will stand you in its
stead. No matter how you may have stored your mind with the riches of the
past, or tutored it to grapple with the mysteries of the present, _unless you
know Him, it will all amount to nothing_. But if you know Him who is life,
that is life eternal. Knowledge without God is like a man learned in all the
great mysteries of light and heat who has never seen the sun. He may
understand perfectly the laws which govern them, the results which follow
them, the secrets which control their action on each other–all that is
possible, and yet he will be in the dark.

So, too, knowledge, learning, human education and wisdom are all possible
to man; he may even excel in them so as to be a wonder to his fellows by
reason of his vast stores of knowledge, and yet know nothing of that light
within the mind by which he apprehends them. Nay, more! he may even be
a marvellous adept in the theory of religion, and yet, alas! alas! may never
have seen its SUN–may still be in the blackness of gross darkness, because
he knows not Jesus, the Light of the world, whom to know is life eternal.

VI.

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Government.

The new Century will demand governors.

Every thoughtful person who considers the subject must be struck by the
modern tendency towards personal government all over the world.
Whatever may be the form of national government prescribed by the
various constitutions, it tends, when carried into practice, to give power and
authority to individual rulers. Whether in monarchies like England, where
Parliament is really the ruling power; or in republics like France and the
United States, where what are called democratic institutions are seen in
their maturity; or in empires like Germany and Austria, the same leading
facts appear. Power goes into the hands of one or two who, whether as
ministers, or presidents, or monarchs, are the real rulers of the nation.

Perfect laws, liberal institutions, patriotic sentiments, though they may
elevate, can never rule a people. A crowd of legislators, no matter how
devoted to a nation, can never permanently control, though they may
influence it. Out of the crowd will come forth one or two; generally one
commanding personality, strong enough to stand alone, though wise
enough not to attempt it. In him will be focussed the ideas and ambitions of
the nation, to him the people’s hearts will go out, and from him they will
take the word of command as their virtual ruler. It has ever been so. It is so
to-day. It will always be so.

And as with nations so with individuals. Every man must have a king. Call
him what we will, recognise him or not, every man is the subject of some
ruler. And this will, if possible, be more manifest in the future than in the
past. Men will not be satisfied to serve ideas, to live for the passing
ambitions of their day, they will cry out for a king.

Am I wrong when I say that JESUS IS THE COMING KING? In Him are
assembled in the highest perfection all the great qualities which go to make
the KING OF MEN. And so the new Century will need Him, must have
Him; nay, it cannot prosper without Him, the Divine Man, for He is the
rightful Sovereign of every human soul.

Our Master

VII.
A New Force.

The new Century will demand great moral forces as well as high ideals.

Nothing is more evident than that the forms and ceremonies of religion are
rapidly losing–even in nominally Christian countries–all real influence
over the lives of men. The form of godliness without the power is not only
the greatest of all shams, but it is the most easily detected. Hence it is that a
large part of mankind is either disgusted to hostility or utterly estranged
from real religion by theories and ceremonials which, though they may
continue to exist in shadow, have lost their life and soul.

For example, the old lie, that money paid to a Church can buy
“indulgences” which will release men in the next world from the penalty of
sin committed in this, and the miserable theory which made God the direct
author of eternal damnation to those who are lost, are among the theories
which, though they are still taught and professed here and there, have long
ago ceased to have real influence over men’s hearts or actions. In the same
way, there are multitudes who still conform to the outward ceremony of
Confirmation, upon whose salvation from sin or separation from the world
that ceremony has absolutely no influence whatever, although, for custom’s
sake, they submit to it.

But a greater danger than this lies in the fact that _it is possible to hold and
believe the truth, and yet to be totally ignorant of its power_. Sound
doctrine will of itself never save a soul. A man may believe every word of
the faith of a Churchman or a Salvationist, and yet be as ignorant of any
real experience of religion as an infidel or an idolater. And it is this merely
intellectual or sentimental holding of the truth about God and Christ, about
Holiness and Heaven, which makes the ungodly mass look upon
Christianity as nothing more than an opinion or a trade; a something with
which they have no concern.

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The new Century will demand something more than this. Men will require
something beyond creeds, be they ever so correct; and traditions, be they
ever so venerable; and sacraments, be they ever so sacred. They will ask for
an endowment of power to grapple with what they feel to be base in human
nature, and to master what they know is selfish and sinful in their own
hearts.

And right here The Man for the Century comes forward. The doctrine of
Jesus is the spirit of a new life. It is a transforming power. A man may
believe that the American Republic is the purest and noblest form of
government on the earth, and may give himself up to live, and fight, and die
for it, and yet be the same man in every respect as he was before; but if he
believes with his heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and gives
himself up to live, and fight, and die for Him, he will become a new man,
he will be a new creature. The acceptance of the truth, and acting upon it, in
the one case, will make a great change in his manner of life–his conduct;
the acceptance of the truth, and acting upon it, in the other, will make a
great change in the man _himself_–in his tastes and motives, in his very
nature.

Again, I say, this is what we shall need for the new Century. Not good laws
only, but the power to observe them. Not beautiful and lofty ideals only,
but the power to translate them into the daily practice of common lives. Not
merely the glorious examples of a pure faith, but the actual force which
enables men to live by that faith amid the littleness, the depression, the
contamination, and the conflict of an evil world.

VIII.
Atonement.
The new Century will demand an atonement for sin.
The consciousness of sin is the most enduring fact of human experience.
From generation to generation, from age to age, amidst the ceaseless
changes which time brings to everything else, this one great fact remains,

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persists–the condemning consciousness of sin. It appears with men in the
cradle, and goes with them to the tomb; without regard to race, or language,
or creed it is ever with us. It was this robbed Eden of its joys; it is this
makes life a round of labour and sorrow; it is this gives death its terrors; it
is this makes the place of torment which men call Hell–for the unceasing
consciousness of sin will be “the worm that never dies.”

All attempts to explain it away, to modify its miseries, to extract its
sting–whether they have come from the party of unbelief, or the party of
education, or the party of amusement, have failed–and failed utterly. No
matter what men say or do to get rid of it, there it is–staring them in the
face! Whether they look amongst the most highly civilized peoples or
amongst the lowest savages; whether they look into the past history of
mankind or into its present condition, there is the stupendous fact of sin,
and there is the incontrovertible fact that everywhere men are conscious of
it.

It is going to be so in this twentieth century. If God, in His mercy, allows
the families of men to continue during another hundred years, this great fact
will still stand out in the forefront of life. Sin will still be the skeleton at
every feast, the horrid ghost haunting every home and every heart, the
spectre, clothed with reproaches, ever ready to plunge his dripping sword
into every breast.

Sin. The world’s sin. The sin of this one generation. The sin of one city. The
sin of one family. The sin of one man–my sin! Ah! depend upon it, the
twentieth century will cry aloud, “_What shall be done with our sin_?”

Yet, thanks be to God! there is an atonement. The MAN of whom I write
has made a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins
of the whole world. He stands forth the ONLY SAVIOUR. None other has
ever dared even to offer to the sin-stricken hearts of men relief from the
guilt of sin. But He does. He can cleanse, He can pardon, He can purify, He
can save, because He has redeemed. “Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed
us unto God by Thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people,
and nation.”

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Will you come and join in our great world-mission of making His
atonement known? Will you turn your back on the littleness, and
selfishness, and cowardice of the past, and arise, in the strength of the
God-Man, to publish to all you can reach, by tongue, and pen, and example,
that there is a sacrifice for men’s sins–for the worst, for the most wretched,
for the most tortured? As you set your face with high resolve towards the
unknown years, take your stand with THE MAN FOR ALL THE AGES;
and let this be your message, your confidence, your hope for all
men-“_Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world_!”

II.
The Birth of Jesus.

“_For unto you is born . . . a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord._” –Luke ii.

11.
“The firstborn among many brethren.”–Romans viii. 29.

The birth of Jesus is one of the great signs of His condescension; and, no
matter how we view it, is perhaps scarcely less wonderful than His death. If
the one manifests His glorious divinity, then the other exalts His wonderful
humanity. If Calvary and the Resurrection reveal His power, does not
Bethlehem make manifest His love? And did not both the former come out
of the latter? The infinite glory which belongs to the cross and the tomb had
its rise in the gloom of the stable. If the Babe had not been laid in the
manger, then the Man would not have been nailed to the tree, and the Lamb
that was slain would not have taken His place on the Everlasting Throne.

I claim, therefore, a little more attention to the events which relate to the
Saviour’s birth, and to the lessons which may be derived from them; and
though, perhaps, something of what I have to say will have already
occurred to some who will read this paper, I will venture to suggest one or
two thoughts as they have been presented to my own mind. Their very
simplicity has made them of service to me.

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I.
He Came.

The nature of the whole work of our redemption is made manifest by the
one fact–He really came. His everlasting love, His infinite compassion, His
all-embracing purpose were from eternity; but we only got to know of it all
because He came. If He had contented Himself with sending messages or
highly-placed messengers, or even with making occasional and wonderful
excursions of Divine revelation, man would, no doubt, have been greatly
attracted, and perhaps even helped somewhat in his tremendous conflict
with evil; yet he might never have been subdued in will, he might never
have been touched and won back to God; he might never have been brought
down from his pride to cry out, “My Lord and my God.” No, it was His
coming to us that wrought conviction of sin, and then conviction of the
truth in our hearts.

He came Himself.

There is something very wonderful in this principle of contact as illustrated
by the life of Jesus. Just as to save the human race He felt it necessary to
come into it, and clothe Himself with its nature and conform Himself to its
natural laws, so all the way through His earthly journey He was constantly
seeking to come into touch with the people He desired to bless. He touched
the sick, He fed the hungry, He placed His fingers on the blind eyes, and
put them upon the ears of the deaf, and touched with them the tongue of the
dumb. He took the ruler’s dead daughter “by the hand, and the maid arose.”
He lifted the little children up into His arms, and blessed them; He
stretched forth His hand to sinking Peter; He stood close by the
foul-smelling body of the dead Lazarus; He took the bread, and with His
own hands brake it, and gave it to His disciples at that last farewell meal.
He even took poor Thomas’s trembling hand, and guided it to the prints in
His hands and the wounds in His side.

Yes, indeed, it is written large, in every part of His life, that He really
came, and that He came very near to lost and suffering men.

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Is there not a lesson here for us, my comrade? As He is in the world, so are
we. This principle in His life was not by accident or by chance, it was an
essential qualification of His nature for the work entrusted to Him. It is a
necessary qualification for those who are called to carry on that work.

Is this, then, the impression you are able to give to those among whom you
labour: that you have come to them in very truth; that in mind and soul, in
hand and heart, you are seeking to come into the closest contact of love and
sympathy with them, especially with those who most need you?

Oh, aim at this! Do not for your own sake, as well as for your Master’s,
move about amid your own people, or among those to whom God and The
Army have given you entrance, as one who has little in common with them,
who does not know them, who does not feel with them. Go into their
houses, put your hand sometimes to their burdens, take a share in their toils,
nurse their sick, weep with them that weep, and rejoice with them that
rejoice. Make them feel that it is your own religion, rather than The Army
system, that has made you come to them. Let them see by your sympathy
and kindness that love is the over-mastering influence in your life, the
influence that has brought you to them. Compel them to turn to you as a
warm-hearted unselfish example of the truths you preach. Let them feel that
you are indeed come from God to take them by the hand, as far as may be,
and lead them through this Vale of Tears to the City of Light and Rest.

II.
His Humble Origin.

Everything associated with the advent of Jesus seems to have been
specially ordered to mark His humiliation. It is true that Mary, His mother,
was of the lineage of King David, but her relationship with the royal house
was a very distant one, and the family had fallen upon sad times. The
Romans were masters in the land, and a stranger sat upon the throne of
Israel. Mary, therefore, was but a poor village maiden; Joseph, her
betrothed husband, was a carpenter–an ordinary working man. Bethlehem,
the place of the Saviour’s birth, was a tiny straggling village, which, though

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not the least, was certainly one of the least of the villages of Judea. And
Nazareth, where He grew from infancy to childhood, and from youth to
manhood, was another little hamlet among the hilly country to the north of
Jerusalem, and was held in low repute by the people of those days.

The occupation chosen for the early life of Jesus was a humble one. He
learned the trade of a joiner, and worked with Joseph at the carpenter’s
bench. His associates and friends were of the village community, and He
“whose Name is above every name” passed to and fro and in and out among
the cottage homes of the poor–as one of themselves. Probably none but His
mother had, in these early years, any true idea of the mysterious promise
which had been given concerning Him.

What a contrast it all presents to the years of stress and storm and of victory
which were to follow, and to the supreme influence His teaching and
example were to exert in the world!

Is there not something here for us? Do not the lowly origin and simple
country habits and humble tastes of some of our comrades make them
hesitate on the threshold of great efforts, when they ought to leap forward
in the strength of their God? Let them remember their Master, and take
courage. Let them call to mind the unfashionable, uneducated, uncultivated
surroundings of Nazareth. Let them bear in mind the carpenter’s shed, the
rough country work, the bare equipment of the village home, the humble
service of the family life. Let them, above all, remember the plain and
gentle mother, and the meek and lowly One Himself, and in this
remembrance let them go forward.

To be of lowly origin, or of a mean occupation; to come out of poverty and
want; to be looked down upon by the rich or the powerful ones of earth; to
be treated as of no consequence by governments and rulers, and yet to go
on doing and daring, suffering and conquering for God and right; what is
all this but the fulfilment of Paul’s words, “And base things of the world,
and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are
not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His
presence”? Nay, what is it all but to tread in the very steps that the Master

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trod?

III.
His High Nature.

But if, on the human side, our Redeemer’s origin and circumstances were of
the humblest, and we are thus enabled to see His humanity, as it were face
to face, there was united with it the Divine nature; so that as our Doctrines
say, “He is truly and properly God, and He is truly and properly man.”
Many mysteries meet by the side of that manger, some of them to remain
mysteries, so far as human understanding can grapple with things, till God
Himself reveals them to our stronger vision in the world to come. But,
blessed be God, some, things that we cannot compass with our mental
powers are very grateful to our hearts.

How Thou canst love me as I am, Yet be the God Thou art, Is darkness to
my intellect, But sunshine to my heart.

And we to whom the Living Christ has spoken the word of life and liberty,
although we may not now fully comprehend this great wonder of all
wonders –God manifest in the flesh–and may not be able effectively to
make it plain to others, we cannot for ourselves doubt its central truth–that
GOD dwelt with man.

Here was, indeed, a perfect union of two spirits. There was the suffering
and obedient spirit of the true _man_; there was the unchanging and Holy
Spirit of the true God. It was a union–it was a unity. It was God in man–it
was man in God. A being of infinite might and perfect moral beauty, sent
forth from the bosom of the Father; and yet a being of lowly and sensitive
tenderness, having roots in our poor human nature, tempted in all points
like as we are, and touched with the feeling of all our infirmities.

Is it not to something of the same kind we are called? Is not every true
Salvation Army Officer designed by God to be also (not, of course, in the
same degree, but still up to the measure of his own capacity and of his

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Master’s will) a dual, or two-fold creature, with associations and roots and
attachments in all that is human, and yet with the divine life, the divine
spirit, divine love, divine zeal, divine power, divine fire united with him
and dwelling in him?

The perfect man would have been a great marvel, a great teacher, a great
prophet; but without the God he could never have been the perfect Saviour.
The Divine, without the human, would have been an awe-inspiring fact, a
spectacle of holiness too great for human eyes; but He could not have been
a Saviour. If it were possible for us to conceive the one without the other
we should certainly not find a JESUS in either.

And so, your merely human Officer, no matter how pure, how strong, how
thoughtful, how clever, how industrious, will fail, and ever fail. And even
so the Officer who is lost in visionary seeking after the Divine alone, to the
neglect of action, of duty, of law, of self-denial, of the common conflicts
and contracts of the man, will equally fail, and always fail. It is the man we
want. The MAN–but the man born of the SPIRIT. The MAN–but the man
full of the HOLY GHOST. The MAN–but the man with PENTECOST
blazing in his head and heart and soul.

Comrade, what are you? Are you striving to be a prophet without
possessing the spirit of the prophets? Are you trying to be a priest without
the priestly baptism? Are you labouring to be a king without the Divine
anointing? Beware!

IV.
From Infancy to Manhood.

Birth implies the weakness, the dependence, the ignorance of infancy. But
it implies, also, the promise of growth, of increase, of advance from infancy
to manhood. Thus it is with man generally. So it was with the Son of Man.
First, He was “wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.”
Presently He goes forth in His mother’s arms into Egypt, and back to
Nazareth. By and by it is written that “the Child grew and waxed strong in

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spirit, and the grace of God was upon Him.” Then He is found in the
Temple, asking that wonderful question about His Father’s business, and at
last we find Him “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God
and man.”

We know, also, that He was found in fashion as a servant, and was obedient
unto death; that He was tempted of the Devil, and that “He learned
obedience by the things that He suffered.” In fact, a very slight
acquaintance with the history of His life reveals the truth that in some
wonderful way He steadily grew in wisdom and grace; in the power to love
and to serve, and in strength to grapple with sin and death–all the while He
journeyed from the cradle to the grave and the victory beyond.

His life was a discipline, in the very highest sense of the word. Many of the
hopes He might rightly entertain about the success of His work were
dashed. Much of His love for those around Him was disappointed, and His
trust betrayed. He was despised where He should have been honoured:
rejected where He should have been received. “He came unto His own, and
His own received Him not.” “Not this man,” they cried, “but Barabbas.” But
out of it all He came forth perfect and entire, lacking nothing–the chiefest
among ten thousand, the altogether lovely. It may be a mystery, but it is a
fact all the same, that the more the precious and wondrous and eternal jewel
was cut and cut again, the more the light and glory of the Day-spring from
on High was made manifest to men.

And here also I find a word of help and courage and cheer for you and me,
my precious comrade. I am not sure that you could receive any more
valuable Christmas gift than the full realisation of this truth–_that your
advance from the infancy to the manhood of your life in God will not be
hindered and delayed, but rather will be helped and quickened by the
storms and trials, the conflicts and sufferings, which will overtake you_.

It was so with the man Christ Jesus; it has been so with thousands of His
chosen. As He, our dear Lord, was made perfect through suffering, so are
His saints. We are “chosen in the furnace of affliction,” and often cast into
it, too! And yet He who chooses all our changes, might have spared us

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every trial and conflict, and taken us to victory without a battle, and to rest
without a toil. But He knows better what will make us men, and it is men
He wants to glorify Him–men, not babes.

The dark valleys of bitterness and loneliness are often better for us than the
land of Beulah. A certain queen, once sitting for her portrait, commanded
that it should be painted without shadows. “Without shadows!” said the
astonished artist. “I fear your Majesty is not acquainted with the laws of
light and beauty. There can be no good portrait without shading.” No more
can there be a good Salvationist without trial and sorrow and storm. There
might, perhaps, remain a stunted and unfruitful infant life–but a man in
Christ Jesus, a Soldier of the Cross, a leader of God’s people, without
tribulation there can never be. Patience, experience, faith, hope, love, if
they do not actually grow from tribulations, are helped by them in their
growth. For what says the Apostle? “Tribulation worketh patience, and
patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed.”

The finest pine-trees grow in the stormiest lands. The tempests make them
strong. Surgeons tell us that their greatest triumphs are often those in which
the patients have suffered most at their hands–for every stroke of the knife
is to heal. The child you most truly love is the one you most anxiously
correct, and “whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth.” Oh, do believe that by
every blow of disappointment and sorrow He permits to fall upon you, He
is striving to bring you to the measure of the stature of a man in Christ
Jesus. Do work with Him in the full knowledge that He will not forsake
you. He, the Man who has penetrated to the heart of every form of sorrow,
and left a blessing there; He who has watched in silence by every kind of
earthly grief, and found its antidote: the Man who trod the wine-press
alone–He will be with you.

And, since He is with you, see to it you acquit yourself well in His
presence. It is related of an old Highland chief that when advancing to give
battle he fell at the head of his clan, pierced by two balls from the foe. His
men saw him fall, and began to waver. But their wounded captain instantly
raised himself on his elbow, and, with blood streaming from his wounds,
exclaimed, “Children, I am not dead; I am looking to see if you do your

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duty!”

My comrade, this is the path of progress, the way of advance from the
littleness and weakness of infancy to the battles and victories of manhood.
It is the way of duty, and your Captain, with the wounds in His hands and
His side, is looking on.

III.
Contrasts at Bethlehem.
The birth and infancy of Jesus–notwithstanding that Christmas time comes
round again and again–receive less attention than they deserve; owing, no
doubt, to the interest attached to the events of His manhood and death.
Nevertheless, they suggest some useful lessons, especially to those of us
who have much to do with the weak and trembling, and are ourselves, alas!
often weak and trembling, too. May I offer one or two thoughts on the
subject, which, though quite simple, have proved of blessing to my own
heart?

I.
Great weakness may be quite consistent with true greatness and goodness.

It is unnecessary to dwell even for a moment on the weakness of the Infant
Jesus. The Scripture has left no possible doubt about it.

Unable to speak, to walk, indeed to do anything for Himself–weak with all
the weakness of the human race; yea, more truly helpless than a young bird
or a tiny worm, the Holy Child was laid in the manger hard by the beasts
that perish.

And yet we know that there was the Divine SON, the Express Image of the
Father, the Everlasting King, the Enthroned One, the Creator, “without
whom was not anything made that was made”! It is indeed a contrast,
which first astounds us, and then compels our adoration and love. Our God

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is a consuming Fire–our God is a little Child. Holy, Holy, Holy, is the
Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory–and yet He is there in
fashion as a Babe, for whom, in all His sweet innocence, they cannot find a
room in the crowded inn.

Yes, my friend, to be weak, to be small, to be sadly unfit for the strifes of
time; to feel weary and unequal to the hard battles of life; to realise that you
are pushed out and away by the crowd, to be contemptuously forgotten by
the multitude shouting and singing across the road–all this may be your
case; and yet you may be God’s chosen vessel, intended –framed “to suffer
and triumph with Him.” You, even you, may be destined by His wisdom to
fill for Him some great place in action against the hosts of iniquity and
unbelief. Above all, you may be appointed by God the Father to be like His
Son, with a holy likeness of will, of affection, of character.

For, indeed, weakness in many things is not inconsistent with goodness,
and purity, and love. The manger has in this also a message for us. Out of
that mystery of helplessness came forth the Lion-Heart of Love, which led
Him, for us, to the winepress alone, and which, while we were yet rebels,
loved us with an everlasting love, going, for us, to a lonely and shameful
death. Take heart, then, remembering that it is out of weakness we are to be
made strong. Be of good courage–to-day may be the day of the enemy’s
strength, when you are constrained to cry out: “This is your hour and the
power of darkness!” but to-morrow will be yours. The weakness and
humiliation of the stable must go before the Mount of Transfiguration, the
Mount of Calvary, the Resurrection Glory, and the exaltation of the Father’s
Throne. Take heart!

II.
_A condition of complete dependence may be quite consistent with a great
vocation–the call, that is, to a great work_.

I suppose that there is nothing known to man so absolutely dependent upon
the help of others as a little child! Life itself begins in total dependence
upon another life, and is only preserved in still greater dependence on

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powers outside itself–for air, for light, for heat, for food, for clothes, for
comfort–indeed, for every needed thing. This is especially the case with the
child. The young lions and sheep, the tiny flies and the small fishes–these
are all able to do something for their own support; but the new-born babe
presents a picture of complete dependence. And this Babe was no
exception. What a service of imperishable worth to all the world was
rendered by His mother in her loving care of Him!

And yet we know something of the stupendous task to which He came!
That little Child was to become the greatest Example, the greatest Teacher,
the greatest, the only Saviour, the greatest Healer of the sorrows of men,
the greatest Benefactor, the greatest Ruler and King. Upon Him and upon
His word, who lies there in His Virgin mother’s arms, dependent on her
breast for life and warmth, unnumbered multitudes were to rest their all for
this life and the next–tens of thousands, in the face of inexpressible
agonies, were to trust to Him their every hope, and for His sake were to die
a thousand deaths.

Let not, then, your heart be troubled because you also are so dependent on
others–so hedged in by your circumstances, so limited by sickness and
pain, so incompetent through inexperience and ignorance, or that you are so
compelled to stand and wait when you would fain rush on and do or dare
for your Lord. All this may be even so, and yet you may be called to share
in the same high vocation as your Saviour.

I read lately of an old saint chained for weary years to a dungeon-wall,
unable even to feed himself, whose testimony for Jesus was powerful to the
deliverance of many of his persecutors. He was killed at last, lest, one by
one, he should convert the jailers also who were employed to supply him
with food.

Are you “bound” in some way? Are you chained fast to some strange trial?
Are you appointed to serve in what seems like a den of beasts? Are you
under the compulsion of some injustice? Are you made to feel helpless and
useless without the support of those around you? Ah, well, do not repine.
Do not forget that God’s call comes often–Oh, so often–to just such as

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you–to witness for Him in spite of “these bonds,” to declare the truth, to
dare to reprove sin. Above all, _do not doubt your God. You may be very
dependent to-day, but you may be more than victorious to-morrow_.

III.
Poverty and friendlessness are often found in company with a great heart.

There was no home for Jesus in Bethlehem. There was no room for Him in
the inn. There was no cradle in the stable. There was no protector when
Herod arose to kill. What a strange world it is! Did ever babe open eyes on
such a topsy-turvy condition of affairs? The King of Glory had not where to
lay His head! Mary, it is true, was strong in faith, but both she and Joseph
must needs soon fly into Egypt with the Babe. Refused at the inn, soon
even the stable must cast them out!

He came to take all men into His heart, and they, ere ever they saw Him,
cast Him forth as an outlaw!

And we who know what it means to be loved of Him, what can we say?
Our hearts are bowed with something of shame and grief that He thus
suffered, and yet we have a secret joy because He suffered so well! For of
all the greatnesses of the Babe this is the greatest–the greatness of His
heart. “The Sacred Heart of Jesus,” the Romanists call it. “The
All-Conquering Heart of Jesus,” I prefer to name it. For it was His wealth
of love that really gave Him the victory.

Does one read these lines who is poor, who is cast out by those who are
dear, who is a stranger in a strange land, who is driven from “pillar to post,”
who is harassed by open foes and wounded by secret enmity? Well, to that
one let me say, remember your Lord’s poverty and friendlessness;
remember the tossings up and down of His infancy; the frugal cottage home
in Nazareth wherein His family was finally gathered–despite its bareness
and toil–was a place of peace and abundance, compared with the stable, the
flight into Egypt, and the sojourn among aliens there.

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Are you, dear friend, tempted to complain of your narrow surroundings, of
your small opportunity to shine before others, or of a want of appreciation
of your service and gifts and powers by those who should know you? Oh,
remember the Babe, and the long years of His condescension to men of low
estate, to the cramped surroundings of the carpenter’s shed, and the sleepy
Jewish village. Are you tried sometimes because you have to suffer the
hatred or jealousy, secret or open, of those for whom you feel nothing but
goodwill, and who perhaps once thought themselves happy in your
friendship? Well, in such hours, remember your Master, and the hatred of
Herod seeking to kill the Child. Try to call to mind something of the secret,
as well as the open, bitterness of men, religious and irreligious alike, which
began to hunt Him while yet in swaddling clothes, and which hunted Him
still all through His days.

But amidst it all, what a great heart of passionate love was His! Blessed be
His Name for ever! Whether the poverty and suffering and hatred were or
were not favourable to it, there it was–the Great Heart of all the world.
What about you? Can you ever be again the same since you learned that He
loved you? Can you ever be again content to remain little and narrow, with
interests and affections that are little and narrow also? Will you not rise, as
He rose, above the small ambitions of the spiritual pigmies who meet you
at every turn, determined to look beyond your own tiny circle, and the low
aims of those around you? Depend upon it, you ought to do so. Depend
upon it, the Holy Saviour can enable you to do so. Depend upon it, the
world’s great need is “Great Hearts.” Will you be one?

IV.
Christ Come Again.
“_And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling
clothes, and laid Him in a manger_.”–Luke ii. 7.

“Christ formed in you.”–Gal. iv. 19.

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The life of Jesus Christ in Palestine was a foreshadowing of His life in all
who accept Him. God appointed Him a Saviour, not only because He
should bring redemption nigh by a sacrifice which He alone could offer, but
because He was also appointed to be the firstborn of many brethren, to be
the head of a new family, the beginning–the new Adam–the first of a new
line, in which character should cease to be merely human, even though
perfect with all human perfections, and should become a union of the
human and the Divine; in which, in fact, the body and mind and spirit of
man should continue to exhibit the wonder of Christ’s Incarnation, and
show forth God clothed with man.

The life of Jesus divides itself quite naturally into several distinct periods,
each having its own special characteristics and peculiar history. There is
His birth and infancy; His childhood; His youth; His manhood; His
perfected or completed life following Calvary and the Resurrection; and,
may we not say, His eternal glory, upon which a few of His disciples saw
Him begin to enter in the transcending splendour of the Ascension.

Every one of these phases or sections of His wonderful experience of earth
has its continuing lessons for us. All speak aloud to us of His purposes and
plans, and reveal to us the power and force of His inner life in the outward
or public appearances and acts which belong to each. God has hidden many
things from us–mysteries of nature, of grace, of eternity; but this mystery
of God’s relations to men, He has exhausted His resources in order to make
plain. Before all else the life of Jesus is a revelation of the mind and
methods, the principles and the practices of God, as they ought to appear,
and as they ought to work out, amid the surroundings and limitations of
humanity.

It is to the beginnings of that life to which our thoughts turn at this
Christmas season. We dwell with affection on the oft-depicted picture, and
repeat the oft-repeated words, and join in the old, old Hallelujahs of the
shepherds with something of the zest and freshness of a first love. The story
is so unlike all others, and touches with such unerring potency chords in the
human soul which call it to a higher and nobler life, that, no matter who
gazes upon the Babe of Bethlehem, he feels a kinship with all the world in

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hailing the Desire of all Nations. The manger, the silent companions of the
stable, the swaddling clothes–what a touch of human
tenderness–motherliness, so to speak–is in that line, “and wrapped Him in
swaddling clothes”!–the adoring shepherds, the star, the wise men (all
thoughts of their wisdom for the moment gone); the gold, the frankincense,
the myrrh, the rejoicing and yet trembling mother, the little Child–we see it
all. Seeing, we believe; and believing, we rejoice. The Day Star from on
High hath visited us. We know in whom we have believed. The great
condescension is before us. Strength has made itself dependent on
weakness, cause upon effect, eternity upon time, God upon man; and He
has done it for our sakes.

The Divine condescension never appears so new and so real to us as when
we stand at the side of this lowly cradle. Here are no high-sounding
doctrines, no hard words, no terrible commands, no far-off thunders of a
new Sinai, no rumblings of a coming Judgment. Here we see Jesus, and
Jesus only. Jesus showing Himself in our very own flesh and blood;
submitting Himself to the weakness of our infirmities; voluntarily clothing
Himself with our ignorance, and making God the present tangible
possession of the whole human family, bringing Him “_very nigh to us, in
our mouth and in our heart, if we can but believe_.” And, more than this,
God joined in that Babe His great strength to our great nothingness; He
bound us to Himself; He robed us, as it were, with Himself, and He robed
Himself in us. Henceforth the Tabernacle of God is with men. Henceforth
every one of us may be conscious of an inward Presence, of which we may
say in holy joy: “Angels and men before Him fall, and devils fear and fly.”

It is this manifestation of Jesus in His people for which the Apostle prays in
the words I have quoted, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth
again until Christ be formed in you.” Nothing less will satisfy him, because
he knew that nothing less will prevail against the power of the world, the
flesh, and the Devil, in any human heart. “Christ formed in you,” Christ
born again in them–that is his agonised prayer, his one hope for them.

In the workshops of human effort no instruments, no skill, no motive power
exist for the formation and development of character apart from the

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energising vitality of God’s Spirit dwelling in us. He is the indispensable
foundation of any goodness, or wisdom, or beauty that can last. Purity
begins and ends in Him. Faith finds her author and finisher in Him. Truth,
which is the beauty of the soul, is but a reflection of His image, and love
has no being but in Him. And so Paul says, Let Him in. Conformity to His
example is only possible by the re-formation in you of His life, and the
growth again in you of His person; the mind of Christ in your mind, the
spirit of Christ in your spirit, the presence of Christ in your flesh and blood;
the motive power of Christ, the Father’s will, prompting your every thought
and word and deed, and thereby transforming your body into a temple of
the Son of God.

And, because, in this unity of purpose with the Father, the Christ of Glory
stooped to the infancy and childhood of Nazareth, yielding Himself
completely to the bonds and limits inseparable from the life and conditions
of a little child, and thinking no humiliation of our nature too deep for His
love to tread, so He will condescend to the lowest depths of weakness and
want revealed in your heart and life. He will meet you where you are. He
will deal with you just where you are weakest and worst. This is indeed the
key-note of all that God has to show you. It is your own link in the long
chain of patient and ever-new revelations of God to man.

For what is the history of man, what is the story the Bible has to tell, what
is the testimony of all time, but that God has ever been speaking to man,
appearing to man, opening now his eyes, and now his understanding, and
now his heart, and making an everlastingly new revelation to the soul that
God in him is his sole hope of glory. And His Christmas-message to-day is
still the same. To you, if you are willing, Christ will come as really, as
sensibly, as wonderfully–nay, a thousand times more so–as He came to
Mary and to Bethlehem. In truth, a second coming; but in many and
wonderful ways like unto the first.

I.
The childhood of Jesus was attended by remarkable recognitions of His
Divinity. At His birth, at His dedication, in Herod’s instant resolve to kill

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Him, in the Temple with the fathers, by many clear tokens men confessed
and acknowledged that He was the Son of God. If He is being formed in
you there will be equally definite and not very dissimilar signs of
recognition.

First, before all else, you will know, with Mary, that the new life entrusted
to you is Divine; that God has entered into your heart to make all things
new. It is just the absence of this assurance which stamps so much of the
Christianity of the present day as–in effect–a religion without God. Its
professors have no certainty. They seek, but they do not find; they ask, but
they do not receive; they have no sure foundation in the sanction of their
own consciousness to the indwelling Person; they have no revelation; they
have, in short, no God. How far–even as the east is from the west–is this
from the glorious confidence with which Mary sang, and in which you can
join, if, indeed, your Christ is come: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and
my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”

Salvation is of the Lord, and so is the assurance of it. Where there is the life
of God, there will be His witness, even in the heart of the weakest and
slowest servant of all His household. If you are not clear about this first
evidence of your Lord’s coming, let me counsel you that there is something
wrong. _If Christ be formed in you, you will assuredly know it beyond the
power of men or devils to make you doubt_.

But others than Mary also acknowledge this appearance of God “manifest
in the flesh.” The shepherds and the Wise Men, Holy Simeon, and Herod
the king, each in his own way adds his own tribute to the New Life that had
come down to man.

The shepherds and the strangers from afar bow down and worship.
Strangers, perhaps, were more ready to rejoice with you than your own kith
and kin when first Christ came to you.

Simeon, who had so desired to see the salvation of God, sees and is
satisfied. Perhaps some Simeon had thus watched and waited and wept for
you, and when the Lord came to His temple, he saw it, and was ready to

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depart with joy.

Herod the king sought to kill the Child. So it is even now. Don’t be
deceived; where Christ comes, storms come. The world of selfishness and
power and wealth will kill the Divine Thing in you, if it can. Between the
prince of this world and the Prince of the world to come no truce was
possible long ago in quiet Judea, and no truce is possible now. The spirit of
the world is still the spirit of murder. It is called by other names to-day,
and, under its influence, men will tell you that the life of God in you is not
to take those forms of violent opposition to wrong, and of passionate
devotion to right, and of burning zeal and self-denial for the lost, which
they took in Jesus. The real meaning of their tale is that they are seeking to
kill the Child.

But do not be dismayed. Remember Mary’s flight into Egypt. The great
peril of her Son made her regardless of her friends, of her reputation, of her
home, of her life. She must guard that precious Life at any cost, at any risk,
at any loss. Is there not a lesson in her example? Let nothing, let not all the
sum total of this world’s pleasures and possessions lead you to risk the Life
of God in your soul. Listen to no voices that counsel friendship, or parley,
or compromise with the world–the spirit of Herod is in it. If you cannot
preserve that Indwelling without flying –from somewhere, or something, or
some one–then fly. If you cannot guard that Presence without losing all,
then let all be lost, and in losing all you shall find more than all.

II.
Side by side with these evidences of His Divinity the infancy and childhood
of Jesus revealed His dependence and weakness; that is, the reality of His
human nature.

The first recorded act of His mother shows us one aspect of that weakness
after a fashion which appeals to the tenderest recollections of the whole
human family, “_She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes_”; and then, as
though to mark for ever the perfection of dependence, the history goes on,
“and laid Him in a manger.” There are other equally striking incidents

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teaching just as clearly that the Babe was a babe, and that the Child was
really a child. It is the perfect union of Him “Who was, and is, and is to
come,” with him who flourisheth as the flower of the field; the wind
passeth over him, and he is gone.

Even so may Christ be formed in you. The purity and dignity of His life
will be all the more wonderfully glorious in the eyes of men and angels
because it is linked with dependence and trial, and weakness and sorrow.
As it was at Nazareth, so it is now. Hand in hand with Divinity walked
hunger and weariness, poverty, disappointment, and toil. Did we think it
would be otherwise? Did we, do we, sometimes wonder why the road is so
rough, and the burden so heavy, and the sky so dark? Are we found asking
the old question about sitting on the twelve thrones, judging those around
us, and sharing in some way the royal glory of a King? and is there an echo
of murmuring at these bonds and infirmities and drudgeries of daily duty
and common sorrow? So did the Rabbis of old, and, in consequence,
refused Him.

Ah! the answer to it all is in the one word, it was because “He was made
perfect through suffering;” it was because He learned obedience by the
things He suffered that He must do it again through you–in you. Every
energy of your being may thus be sanctified. Every pain, every sorrow,
every joy, every purpose will be–not taken away; not crushed and hardened
into a series of unfeeling forms and empty signs; not passed over as having
no relation to his life, but touched and purified and ennobled with the love
and power of an indwelling God.

Yes, it is man whom He came to restore–it is man, whose beauty and
power were the glory of creation, that drew Him with infinite attractions
from the centre of His Father’s heaven, and plunged Him into the centre of
a very hell of suffering and shame. It was man whose nature, passing by the
angels, He took upon Him. It was man He swore to save. He loves our
manhood–its will–its intelligence–its emotions–its passions; and it is our
manhood He has redeemed. He designs to make men really men, to
cleanse–to restore–to indwell in them, and finally to present every one in
the beauty of a perfected character before the presence of His Father,

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without spot or blemish or any such thing.

It is this great principle of Redemption that has found expression in The
Salvation Army. We are of those who see in every human being the ruins of
the Temple of God; but ruins which can be repaired and reconstructed, that
He may fit them for His own possession, and then return and make them
His abode.

Never listen to that fatal lie, that to be a man means of necessity to be
always a sinner; that humanity is only another word for irreclaimable desert
or irreparable despair. When the enemy of your soul whispers to you out of
his lying heart that because sin has found one of its strongholds in the
appetites and propensities of your poor body, or in the original perversity of
a rebellious spirit, and that you cannot be expected to triumph over that evil
nature because it is your nature, remember Bethlehem, and answer him
with the promise of God, “_I will dwell in you, and walk in you_.” It was
because He purposed to cleanse wholly, body and soul and spirit, that He
came, taking the body, soul, and spirit of a man, and that He will come
again, taking your body, soul, and spirit as His dwelling-place.

III.
The birth and childhood of Jesus were the beginning of His great sacrifice,
as well as the preparation for it. The spirit of Bethlehem and the spirit of
Calvary are one. He was born for others that He might die for others. The
mystery of God in the Babe was the beginning of the mystery of God on the
cross. The one was a part of the other. If they had not “laid Him in a
manger” for us, they could never have laid Him in the tomb, that He might
“taste death for every man.” And it was because “He grew, and waxed
strong in spirit, and increased in wisdom, and the grace of God was upon
Him” in those early years, that He was able afterwards to tread the
winepress alone, to work out a perfect example of manhood, to wrestle with
Death and the Grave, and finally to stand forth for us as the great
Victorious One, conqueror of all our foes.

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And is it not in this same fashion and for this same purpose that Christ is to
be formed in us? “He grew.” Progress is the law of happiness, the law of
holiness, the law of life. To stand still is to die. It was not enough for the
fulfilment of His great mission that He should be born, that He should
live–He must grow.

Let us take that lesson to our hearts, in this superficial, painted, rushing
generation. Let us beware of resting our hope to satisfy the eternal claims
of God upon some great event in our spiritual history of long ago. It is not
enough to have been converted. It is not enough to have had the adoption of
the Father. It is not enough to have entered the spiritual family of Christ. It
is not enough that even Jesus revealed Himself in us. Thousands of false
hopes are built on these past events, which, divinely wrought as they may
have been, have ceased to possess any vital connexion with the life and
character of to-day. Such a religion is a religion of memory, destined to be
turned in the presence of the Throne to unmixed remorse.

But how, and in what, are we to grow? In manner and in substance like our
Lord. Jesus grew in strength and stature, in wisdom and in grace–the grace
of God was upon Him.

_In spiritual strength and stature_; that is, from the timid babe to the bold
and valiant soldier; in the power to do the things we ought to do, in the
ability to obey the inward voice. It is by the exercise of the muscles and
tendons of the babe that the bodily frame is fitted for the rush and struggle
of life. It is by the A B C of the infant class that the mind is fitted to
comprehend and appreciate the duties and obligations of political, social,
physical, and family relationships. It is by the humble wail of the penitent,
and the daily acts of loving help, that the soul learns to soar on eagles’
wings, and shout the truth that God is gracious, and to brave difficulty and
danger in His service. They go from strength to strength. Are you so
journeying?

In wisdom. Wisdom is a thing of the heart more than of the brain, and the
wisdom of God is really a revelation of the love of God. To be “wise unto
salvation” is to learn the lesson of love. To be “wise to win souls” is first to

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love souls. To feel that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” is the
fruit of love. How different this from the calculating wisdom of this world!

Dear comrade and friend, are you taking care that the Divine Life in you
shall grow after this Christ-like fashion? When I hear Christian people say:
“Oh, I have so little love, so little faith, so little joy,” I generally find that it
is so because they stifle and quench the blessed yearnings of the Divine
Spirit to seek the souls of others; because they leave unanswered the
urgings and promptings of duty which God in their conscience is
demanding; because they neglect prayer, and self-denial, and
heart-searching, and the Word of God; because, in short, they starve the
Child. What wonder if love and faith are feeble, and joy is like to die!

“And the grace of God was upon Him.” Here was the promise of that entire
sacrifice for men which culminated when a man cried out to Him on the
cross: “_He saved others; Himself He cannot save_.” It is ever thus that
God repeats Himself. When we are ready to be offered up for the blessing
and saving of others, then grace will come upon us for the struggle as it
came upon Him. When Christ formed in us finds free course for all His
mind and all His passion; when our eyes are opened to the great purposes
of His life in the salvation of the whole world; and when we hear, through
Him, the cry of those for whom He was born, and for whom He died, God
will pour out on us grace to send us forth–grace sufficient, grace abundant,
grace triumphant. Have you come to this? Can you say He is thus dwelling
in you, and working in you, to will and to do of His good pleasure?

Do not turn away with the paralysing fear that it cannot be; that the life of
Jesus can never be lived out again in flesh and blood. Remember, He is
“_the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever_.” All He was in Bethlehem,
to Mary and Joseph; all He was to His work-mates at Nazareth; all He was
in the wilderness, fighting with fiends, in the deserts feeding the hungry, or
among the multitude–healing the sick, blessing the little children, casting
out devils, and preaching the Kingdom; all He was in Bethany, weeping
over Lazarus, and crying, “Lazarus, come forth”; in the garden of His
agony, in the darkness of His cross, in the hour of His Resurrection, all
this–all–all–all–He is to-day. He belongs to the everlasting Now. All He

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was to the martyrs who died for His Name, all He has been to our fathers,
He is to us, and will be to our children, for with Him is no variableness nor
shadow of turning. Yes! This unchanging Christ “_is in us, except we be
reprobate_,” the Life and Image of God, and the Hope of Glory.

V.
The Secret of His Rule.
“_For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling
of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without
sin_.”–Heb. iv. 15.

We hail the Christmas season as the anniversary of our King’s birth. Our
eyes turn to the manger, and our hearts to Mary, for a thousand and one
reasons, but the chiefest is that Jesus was born in Bethlehem as the Divine
Son and the Royal Branch.

Although we know that many shadows darken the way of the Cross, and
that it is roughened by many thorns and agonies, many dark descents and
weary struggles, we have always the assurance that at the end, and at the
right time, there will be a crown and a throne.

Standing at the manger, and looking over the hills of hatred and suffering,
we can already see the great white Throne. From the wilderness of the
Temptation we can even catch a glimpse of the marriage supper of the
Lamb. In the darkness around the cross, we have visions of a great
multitude, which no man can number, casting their crowns at the feet of the
Crucified. Written large on all the life of Jesus there is, in fact, the witness
that He will triumph. We know and feel it. It is revealed even when it is not
stated. It is assured even when not promised.

But I do not think that it is by virtue of this that Jesus Christ has exerted His
greatest influence on the hearts of men. To be a king, to be in the royal line,
is a great thing; and to be the Divine King is infinitely greater. To be a
king, however, is one thing; to be a ruler is often quite another. The right

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descent, the royal birth, the due recognition, the ultimate taking possession
of the throne, are enough to make the king, but far from enough to make the
ruler.

Principles, of course, there are, very important and far-reaching, involved in
any sort of kingship. We have all heard of “the divine right of kings.” We
all see–even if we cannot understand it–the love of peoples for a king.
Even when the heads of states are called by some other name than king, the
fact of kingship is still there. All this denotes the working of great
principles, having their roots in the deepest feelings of the human race. But
I repeat, that to rule is quite another thing than to be a king. History
abounds with examples of great monarchs who have not ruled, and of true
rulers who have had no royal blood and no kingly throne.

And just as there are facts in human experience which have made kings
necessary and possible, so are there principles by which alone it is possible
to rule.

The kingship and rule of Jesus Christ our Lord was no exception. It is not
my purpose to dwell here on the great and unchanging demands of the
human soul which make His sovereignty a necessity of our well-being alike
as citizens, and as individuals of His world. Unless the Lord is King, all
must be confusion, dissonance, and disaster. The supreme fact in human
life after all is, that our God is “the creator, preserver, and governor of all
things.”

But what of His rule? There another principle comes into operation. On
what is His rule based? By what agency does He extend His authority until
it becomes _control_?

And here it must be remembered that He aspires to rule men’s hearts. His
kingdom is moral and spiritual first, and then physical and material. That is
why it will endure for ever. It is in the region of motive and affection, of
reason and emotion, of preference and choice, that He designs to be Ruler.
It is to reign in men’s hearts that Christ laid aside His heavenly crown and
throne. If He cannot be a Ruler there, then He will account little of His

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kingship in the skies.

By what, then, does He rule? _Is it not by His compassion_? Has not that
been the chief influence which has drawn men to Him, and held them in
His service?

Just think for a moment of one or two commonplace facts.

I.
The Children.

At least three-fourths of the human family are always little children. To
what does He owe the influence He exercises in the minds and hearts of
multitudes of these little ones? His exalted throne? His royal lineage? His
majesty? No; I think not to these, but to the revelation of His pity, His
sympathy, His patience, His sweet, forgiving grace, His tender compassion
as a Saviour. To them He is the “Friend above all others”–the Lowly One,
the “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild.” Viewing Him thus, they confess to Him
in sin, they fly to Him in sorrow.

His creative power, His everlasting habitations, His throne of
unapproachable glory, His glorious and terrible judgments, are little more
to the children than words and phrases–may I not say?–at best but the
“trappings” of His person. They solemnise, they inspire, perhaps, with
reverent fear; but they do not, they could not, secure that true ascendency
over the nature of the child by which alone there can be real control and
true rulership.

II.
The Sorrowful.

Sorrow is the most common of all human experiences. There are no homes
without it, and there are very few hearts which have not tasted of its cup.
Earth is a vale of tears. Sooner or later, all men suffer. “Man is born unto

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trouble, as the sparks fly upward,” and to millions of men Christ has
appeared in their affliction and taken possession of their lives.

What was the secret of His influence over them? Was it His dominion from
sea to sea? Was it even His victory over death and His kingly conquest of
the grave? Was it His sovereign throne of power? No, I do not think it was
thus He won them; but as “the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief,”
who learned obedience by the things that He suffered, and who could
compassionate with them in their sorrows also.

It is one of the commonplaces of life that people associated in great
suffering and trials obtain great influence with each other. And it is so here.
Let the human heart once realise that in its deepest depths of sorrow it may
have for helper One who has been deeper still; and it is in the nature of
things that it should fly to that One for succour, for sympathy, for strength.
And when that One out of His riches gives of His own might, and of His
own sweet, unfathomed consolations, then His government is assured, His
rule is established.

III.
The Tempted.

Did I say that sorrow was the commonest of all human experiences? Ought
I not to have said _temptation_? We all know the reality of temptation: its
biting wounds, its power to assail, to harass, to irritate, to worry; its appeals
to the senses, the animal in us; its assault of our confidence; its liberty to
terrorise and to torment.

Yes, every man is tempted. How shall he withstand temptation? What is it
in Jesus Christ that calls the sorely-tempted one to Him? Is it His divine
purity, His kingly holiness, His might as the supreme Sovereign whose law
is good? No; I think that only those who have learned to love Him will love
His law. Is it not rather the wonderful pity of Him of whom it is written,
“We have a great High Priest, . . . touched with the feeling of our
infirmities, . . . in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”?

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Touched with the feeling of our infirmities. There is the attraction of a
supreme compassion for the tempted. There is the means by which the King
of Righteousness becomes also the Ruler over tempted and sinful men.

I can add but one other word now.

If it is only by His continual compassion that our Master obtains and
maintains His rule, will it not be by a similar means that we may hope to
bless and influence the souls of men? Yes; that has been already the great
lesson of The Salvation Army. It is founded on sympathy, on a universal
compassion.

The moment we turn away from that, and rely merely on our system, or on
methods, or our teaching, we cease just in that proportion to be true
Salvationists. We aspire to rule men’s hearts. We care nothing for the
position of a church or sect; we care everything for a real control over the
souls and conduct of living men and women, that we may lead them to God
and use them for His glory. It is by tenderness we shall win it. By seeking
them in their sorrows and sins; by making them feel our true heart-hunger
over them, our true love, our entire union with the Christ in His compassion
for them.

And the same principle will hold good in training those whom we have
already won. This was, no doubt, the secret of Paul’s great influence with
his people. His whole heart was theirs; and they knew it. “We were gentle
among you,” he says, “even as a nurse cherisheth her children; so, being
affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you,
not the Gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear
unto us.”

We know his courage, his lofty standard, his splendid impatience of shams,
his tenacity of the truth, his contempt for danger, his daring unto death; and
yet he can say of himself that, with it all, he was gentle among them as a
nurse cherishing her children–ready to give up his very soul for them.

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Ah, Colonel, Captain, Sergeant, leaders all, whatever name you bear, do
you want to lead and rule the people whom God has given you as a charge?
Then here is the true secret of power–be for ever pouring out your heart’s
deepest, tenderest love for them, and most of all for the weak and the most
unworthy and sinful amongst them. Do this, and you will not merely be
walking after Paul–you will be walking with Christ.

VI.
A Neglected Saviour.
“_And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were
heavy_.”–Matt. xxvi. 43.

I.
There are few more instructive or more touching things in the life of our
Lord Jesus Christ than His evident appreciation of human sympathy.
Whether we observe Him at the marriage feast, or in the fishing-boat, or on
the Mount of Olives, or when spending a time apart with His disciples, or
in the Garden of His Agony, this appreciation expresses itself quite
naturally and consistently. The Son of Man, though one with the Father, yet
found joy and comfort in the society of men. What we call
“companionship” had real charms for Him. It helped to draw Him out to the
hungerings and thirstings of men; it assisted in revealing to Him the facts of
human sin, and the needs of the human soul. Thus it enabled Him more
perfectly to be our living example, as well as the propitiation for our sins.

And as He valued the consolations arising from human friendship and love,
so also He had to suffer the loss of them, in order that He might carry out
His great work for God and man. For His work’s sake, His soul was
required to pass through the agony of losing every human consolation.
Many were His moments of bitterness. The world proved itself to be, what
it still remains, a cold-hearted affair; His own, to whom He came, received
Him not. But the bitterest sorrow which can come to a leader was added to
His cup, when He witnessed the failure of His trusted disciples in the hour

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of trial, and when He realised that their unfaithfulness was towards Himself
as a person, as well as to the great mission to which He had consecrated
both Himself and them.

Now, when we are called upon to suffer in the same way, may we not be
brought into very intimate fellowship with Jesus? Shall we complain
because the servant is not above his Lord? Shall we doubt His love, and
care, and power, because He does not always shield us from that same blast
of loneliness which swept over His own soul in the Garden, when for the
second, aye, and for the third time, He found His three disciples asleep?

II.
Sad as it is, it is none the less certain that we, too, must expect some in
whom we have trusted to fail us in that hour when we most need them, be it
the hour of supreme temptation, or of great opportunity, or of deep sorrow
for the Kingdom’s sake. It was precisely this which happened to our Lord. It
is bad to be so dependent on men–even on the most beautiful, or most
perfect souls–that we cannot fight on without them. The dependence of
love must work hand in hand with the independence of faith, if we are to
take our share in this trial of our Master and to profit by it.

Those who thus fail us will, perchance, be the very persons upon whom we
have most reason to rely, and whom in some sore trial of our faith or
moment of danger, we have specially called upon for defence and prayer,
for strength and sympathy, as did our Lord in the case of these disciples.
Until now, Peter had been a valiant, not to say, reckless follower of Jesus;
while all, John especially, had been well beloved and tenderly watched over
by Him. And yet this woeful sleep deadens them to it all. Even for one
short hour they cannot watch with Him.

III.
But such failure on the part of those who were loved and trusted will add
immensely to the burden of the battle that we are fighting for God and the
souls of men. It did so even to Jesus. Nothing more pathetic, more deeply

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heart-moving, is written in all God’s Book, than this simple picture of the
Man of Sorrows–struggling for the life of the human race, absolutely bereft
of human aid–coming in the midst of His dark conflict to seek the touch of
sympathy, a hand-grasp, a word, a look from those His well-loved
followers, only to find them asleep in the gloom. Retracing His steps, He
casts Himself on the ground, and cries, “My Father, if it be possible, let this
cup pass from Me.” Am I wrong in saying that it was an added ingredient
of bitterness in that cup to find that these, His trusted ones, could only
sleep, while He must go forward to suffer?

But their failure did not stop Him. No, not for one moment. There was
agony in His heart, there were death shadows around Him, and bloody
sweat upon His brow, but He did not waver. He went right on to finish the
work He had promised to do. Gladly would He have had them with Him;
steadfastly He goes forward without them! Here also is a lesson for you and
for me. The work is more than the worker. And in times when we must
lose, for our work’s sake, that which we count dearer to us than our lives,
when the iron of disappointed love enters our souls, as it entered His, we
must follow Him, and go forward, steadfastly forward.

IV.
And after all, the failure of the disciples was very human. Their eyes were
heavy. They were weary and sore tired. This, too, is typical of many of the
losses we Salvationists are called upon to suffer. Some on whom we have
relied and trusted grow weary in well-doing. The strain is so great! The tax
on brain and heart and hand is so constant! Life becomes so burdened with
watchings and prayings and sufferings for and with others, that there is
little, if any, time or strength left for oneself! And so they cannot keep up,
but seek rest and quiet for themselves elsewhere. They are heavy, and no
longer feel the need to watch with us.

Dear comrade, in your like trial do not doubt that the Lord Jesus is with
you. Suffering of this kind will help to liken you to Him–it is a very real
bearing of the Cross of Christ. Pitiful followers of Him should we be, if we
wished to have only joy when He had only suffering.

Our Master

V.
But the disciples’ strange failure did not call forth one word of bitterness
from our Lord’s lips. A gentle reproach was certainly implied in the words,
“Could ye not watch with Me one hour?” but no shade of personal
displeasure expressed itself, much as the occasion might seem to warrant it.
No! Jesus knew the failures begotten of human weakness, as well as the
horror of human sin. And so He made allowances, and was as patient with
those who left Him, as He was tender to those who were steadfast. He
loved them both.

Go thou, and do likewise. In your home; in your family circle; in your
Corps; in your office; in your work, be it what it may; when men fail and
forsake your Lord; even if all disappoint and desert you, you must love
them still. Be faithful with them; but, above all, be steadfast in your own
purpose, and devote all your zeal and strength to finish the work that God
has given you to do. In short, go forward without them; but let your words,
and thoughts, and prayers for them be like your Master’s.

And Jesus utters no word of complaint about this failure. The silence all
through that great anguish is indeed very wonderful. Abandoned by man,
He abandoned Himself all the more earnestly to His work for men without
a murmur. And abandoned by God–as for a little time it seemed–He all the
more completely abandoned Himself to God. To have fellowship with Him,
you and I will have to walk the same path, and mind the same rule.

When friends, or followers, or comrades trample upon the solemn
covenants made alike to us and to God, and forsake, and leave us to finish
our work and tread our winepress alone, let there be no moaning because of
the pain it inflicts. When those upon whom we had a right–right by reason
of natural law, or right by reason of the obligations and precious vows of
friendship, or right on the ground of spiritual indebtedness–when those, I
say, upon whom we had a right to depend fail us, let there be no
complaining of their treatment because it is painful to us. Let there be no
filling of the earth with laments and wailings, no accusing of our accusers,

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no reviling of those who revile us. Let us be silent in the patience of Jesus
and in the strength of His love, and let His way of meeting the loneliness of
desertion be our way–let us pray.

But all the same, that sleep, that failure to respond to the personal claim of
Jesus, was a sure forerunner of the cowardly flight, and the deadly denial
which followed it. The seeds of Peter’s lies and curses were sown in the
selfishness and slumber of the garden; they came to maturity in the kitchen
of the judgment hall. Poor Peter! How many hours of bitter self-reproach
would you have been spared, had you but held out during that one brief
hour of your watch in Gethsemane! How differently we could have
regarded your poor wobbling nature! How differently, too, your Lord’s
great trial would have come to Him! How different might have been the
history of mankind!

VI.
The method of love which Jesus adopted towards the forsakers received the
sanction of success, for they all came back. In spite of their shame and their
fears, they returned to their allegiance, with, I think, much more than their
old faith and love. Judas was the only exception, and even he sought a
place of repentance, and, but for his horrid league with the jealous and cruel
religionists, would, I think, have found one.

You see the lesson? If you go on with your work for God, and finish it,
paying no heed to those who, having put their hand to the plough, look
back; and if, in spite of your sorrow, you will struggle steadily forward in
the face of the coldness and carelessness of those between whom and you
there was once the tenderest love, God will not only carry you through your
appointed labour for the world, but He will restore many of those others to
their allegiance to Him and His.

Will they ever be quite the same? Will they not have lost something? Yes,
they will indeed have lost; but, if they come back, in reality they will gain
more. The new union will be more divine than the former one. They will
not merely

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. . . rise on stepping stones Of their dead selves to higher things;

but the beauty, and excellence, and glory of love, the exceeding
profitableness of enduring grace, and the sweet aroma of faithfulness, will
be the more clearly manifest to the sons of men by reason of the weakness
and breakableness of the human vessel.

Let us, then, press forward, without one backward glance, until we finish
our work. Let us thank God for those who are faithful; let us love and pray
for those who fail, expecting to see them restored, healed, and purified.

VII.
Windows in Calvary.
“_And they crucified Him . . . And sitting down they watched Him
there_.”–MATT, xxvii. 35, 36.

Passing words spoken in times of deep emotion often reveal human
character more vividly than a lifetime of talk under ordinary circumstances.
Conduct which at other times is of the most trifling significance, reveals in
the hour of fiery trial, the very inwards of the soul, even making manifest
that which has been hidden, perhaps, for a generation. Thus, while
watching a man with the opportunity and the temptation to deceive or
oppress those who are in his power, you may see into the very thoughts of
his heart; you may learn what he really is. Or you may measure the depths
of a mother’s love in observing her when, after violating every principle she
has valued and lived for, her prodigal boy comes to ask her to take him in
once more.

In the same way, words spoken by the dying are often like windows
suddenly uncovered, through which one may catch a glimpse of the ruling
passion of life, in the light of which their life-witness and life-labour alike
look different. It is this fact which often gives the dying hour of the
meanest, importance as well as solemnity. The veriest trifler that ever
trifled through this vale of tears has, in that last solemn hour something to

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teach of the secrets of mortality.

And this revelation of the real facts of human experience is of the highest
value to the world. It is one of God’s witnesses to truth, that truth will out.
Sooner or later, selfishness and sin will appear in their naked deformity, to
horrify those who behold them; and in the end, justice and truth and love
are certain to be made manifest in their natural beauty, to convince and to
charm and to attract their beholders.

It is not only one of the uses of trial to bring this about, but it is one of the
means by which God converts to His own high purposes, the miseries and
sorrows the Devil has brought in. The one burns the martyrs; the other
brings out of that cruel and frightful wrong the glorious testimony which is
the very seed of His Church. The one casts us into fiery dispensations of
suffering and loss; the other takes these moments of human anguish and
desolation, and makes of them open windows through which a doubting or
scoffing world may see what love can do. Thus He makes us to triumph In
the midst of our foes, while working in us a likeness to Himself, the
All-patient and All-perfect God.

Nor is it the good and true alone who are thus made object-lessons to
others, and to themselves, by these ordeals of pain. By them, many a bad
man also is forced to appear bad to himself. Many a hypocrite, anxious
about the opinions and the traditions of men, is at last stripped of his lies to
see himself the wretched fraud he really is. Many a heart-backslider, whose
religion has long ceased to be anything but a memory, awakes to the shame
of it and to the danger; and often, thank God, awakes in time.

Now, the words of the dying Christ on His cross are, in the same way, a
true and wonderful revelation of His character and His spirit. As it is only
by the light of the sun that we see the sun, so it is by Jesus that Jesus is best
revealed. Never one spake like He spake; and yet in this respect, so real was
His humanity, He spake like us all–He spake out what was in Him. The
Truth must, above all, and before all, make manifest what is true of
Himself.

Our Master

To whom, then, did our Lord speak on the tree, and what spake He? What
special thoughts and beauties of His soul do His words reveal?

Jesus, so far as His words have been recorded for us, spoke from the cross
to Mary His mother, to one of the thieves who was crucified with Him, to
God His Father, and to Himself.

I.
His Words to Mary.

“_When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by,
whom He loved, He saith unto His mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then
saith He to the disciple, Behold thy mother_!”

The position of Mary in those last hours was peculiarly grievous. She had
lived to see the breaking down of every hope that a mother’s heart could
cherish for her son. Standing there amidst that mob of relentless enemies,
and watching Jesus, forsaken by God and man in His mortal agony, her
present sorrow, great as it was, was crowned by the memory of the holy
and happy anticipations of His birth, and the maiden exultations of her soul
when the angels foretold that her Son should be the Saviour of His people
and their King. How cruelly different the reality had turned out! How far,
how very far away, would seem to her the quiet days in Nazareth, the
rapture of her Son’s first innocent embraces, and the evening communions
with Him as He grew in years! What tender memories the sight of those
dear bleeding feet, those outstretched, wounded hands, would recall to that
mother’s heart! Yes, Mary on Calvary is to me a world-picture of desolate,
withering, and helpless grief–of pain increased by love, and of love
intensified by pain!

And Jesus in His great agony–the Man of Sorrows come at last to the
winepress that His heart might be broken in treading it alone; come to the
hour of His travail; come to the supreme agony of the sin-offering; face to
face with the wrath of the Judge, blackness and tempest and anguish
blotting out for the moment even the face of the Father–forsaken at last

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–FORSAKEN–Jesus, in this depth of midnight darkness sees her standing
by the cross. Bless Him, Oh, ye that weep and mourn in this vale of tears!
Bless Him for ever! His eyes are eyes for the sorrowful. He sees them. He
has tears to shed with them. He is touched with the same feelings and
moved by the same griefs. He sees Mary, and speaks to her, and in a word
gives her to John, and John to her, for mutual care and love. It was as
though He said, “Mother, you bare Me; you watched and suffered for Me,
and in this redeeming agony of My love, I remember your anguish, and I
take you for ever under My care, and I name you Mine.”

Surely, there never was sorrow like unto His sorrow, and yet in its darkest
crisis He has eyes and heart for this one other’s sorrow. Far from Him, as
the east from the west, is any of that selfish thought and selfish seclusion
which grief and pain so often work in the unsanctified heart, aye, and in the
best of us. What a lesson of practical love it is! What a message–especially
to those who are called to suffer with Him for the souls of men–comes
streaming from those words spoken to Mary. The burden of the people’s
needs, the care of the Church, the awful responsibility of ministering to
souls–these things, sacred as they may be, cannot excuse us in neglecting
the hungry hearts of our own flesh and blood, or in forgetting the claims of
those of our own household.

Dear friend and comrade, in your sorrow, in your sore trial of faith, in your
Calvary, take to your heart this revelation of the heart of the Son of Man,
and be careful of the solitary and heart-bleeding ones near you, no matter
how humble and how unworthy they may seem.

II.
His Words to the Thief.
“_And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shall thou be
with Me in Paradise_.”
The crucifixion of the two robbers with Jesus was a sort of topstone of
obloquy and disgrace contrived by His murderers with the double object of

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further humiliating Him in the eyes of the people, and of adding poignancy
to His own agony. The vulgarity and shamefulness of it were the last touch
of their contempt, and the last stroke of His humiliation. There was a kind
of devilish ingenuity in this circumstantial way of branding Him as a
malefactor. And yet in the presence of this extremity of human wickedness
and cruelty, Jesus found an opportunity of working a wondrous work of
God; a work which reveals Him as the Saviour, strong to save, both by His
infinite mercy and by His infinite confidence in the efficacy of His own
sacrifice.

“_To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise_.” Eyes and heart for the
sorrowful He had, as we see; and now ears, and hope nigh at hand, for the
sinful. No word of resentment; no sense of distance or separation between
the spotlessness and perfection of His character and this poor lonely
convict–but a strange and wonderful nearness, now and to come. “With
Me,” He says–“With Me in Paradise.” Ah! this is the secret of much in the
life of the Son of God–this intimate, constant, conscious nearness to
sinners and to sin! He had sounded the depth of evil, and, knowing it, He
pitied, with an infinite compassion, its victims; He got as near as He could
to them in their misery, and died to save them from it.

That heart-nearness to the thief had nothing to do with the nearness of the
crosses. Every one knows what a gulf may be between people who are very
near together–father and son–husband and wife! No, it was the nearness of
a heart deliberately trained to seek it; a heart delighting in mercy, and
deliberately surrendering all other delights for it; hungering and thirsting
for the love of the lost and ruined.

The hart panteth after the waters, The dying for life that departs, The Lord
in His glory for sinners For the love of rebellious hearts.

And so He is quite ready, at once, to share His heaven with this poor
defiled creature, the first trophy of the cross. Again–what a lesson of
love!–how different, all this, from the common inclination to shrink away
from contact and intercourse with the vile! Oh, shame, that there can ever
have been such a shrinking in our poor guilty hearts! The servant is not

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above his Lord. He came to sinners. Let us go to them with Him!

III.
His Words to the Father.

“_Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do_.”

This prayer for His murderers is a revelation of the wonderful nearness and
capacity of love. The Saviour passes from pole to pole of human ken, to
find a ground on which He can plead for the forgiveness of those cruel and
wicked men; and He finds it in their ignorance of the stupendousness of
their sin against Him. It seems as though He chooses to remain in ignorance
of what they did know, and to dwell only on what they did not. “They know
not what they do!”

It was ever so with Him! He has no pleasure in iniquity. Wrong-doers are
so precious to Him that He never will magnify or exaggerate their wrong-no,
not a hair’s breadth. He will not dwell on it–no, not a moment, except to
plead some reasonable ground for its pardon, such as this–the ignorance of
the wrong-doer, or the rich efficacy of His sacrifice. He will only name sin
to the Father, in order that He may confess it for the sinner, and intercede
for mercy and for grace.

This is the old and ever new way of dealing with injuries, especially
“personal injuries.” _Is it yours_? Are you seeking thus after reasons for
making the wrong done to you appear pardonable? Is your first response to
an affront or insult or slander, or to some still greater wrong, to pray the
Father for those whom you believe to be injuring you, that His gracious gift
of forgiveness may come upon them?

That is the principle of Calvary. That is the spirit, the mind of Christ. That
is the way in which

He won the meed and crown: Trod all His foes beneath His feet, By being
trodden down.

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“_Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit_.”

Death has always been held to afford a final test of faith, and here the
human soul of Jesus passed through that mortal struggle which awaits us all
when heart and flesh shall fail. “_Into Thy hands_”–that is enough. As He
passes the threshold of the unknown–goes as we must–into the Valley of
the Shadow, faith springs forth and exclaims, “Into Thy hands.” All shall be
well. In this confidence I have laboured; in this confidence I die; in this
confidence I shall live before Thee.

IV.
To Himself.

“It is finished!”

Thus in His last, ever-wonderful words Jesus pronounces Himself the
sentence of His own heart upon His own work. _It is completed._ Every
barrier is broken down, every battle is fought, every hellish dart has flown,
every wilderness is past, every drop of the cup of anguish has been drunk
up, and, with a note of victorious confidence, He cries out, “It is finished!”
Looking back from the cross on all His life in the light of these words, we
see how He regarded it as an opportunity for accomplishing a great duty,
and for the fulfilment of a mission. Now, He says, “The duty is done–the
mission is fulfilled; the work is finished!” Truly, it is a lofty, a noble, yea, a
godlike view of life!

Is it ours? Death will come to us. “The living know that they shall die.” The
waters will overflow, and the foundations will be broken up, and every
precious thing will grow dim, and our life, also, will have passed. We shall
then have to say of something, “It is finished!” It will be too late to alter it.
“There is no man that hath power in the day of death.”

_What, then, shall it be that is finished_? A life of selfish ease, or a life of
following the Son of Man? A life of sinful gratification, of careful thought
of ourselves, unprofitable from beginning to end, or a life of generous

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devotion to the things which are immortal in the honour of God and the
salvation of men?

VIII.
The Burial of Jesus.

Good Friday Fragments.

“_And after this Joseph of Arimathoea, being a disciple of Jesus, but
secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the
body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the
body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to
Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred
pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen
clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the
place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new
sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore,
because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at
hand_.”–John xix. 38-42.

Death has many voices. This death and burial speak aloud in tones of
triumph. It as a death that made an end of death, and a burial that buried the
grave. And yet it was also a very humble and painful and sad affair. We
must not forget the humiliation and poverty and shame written on every
circumstance any more than the victory, if we would learn by it all that God
designed to teach.

“He tasted Death.”

To many, even among those who have been freed from guilty fear,
mortality itself still has terrors. By Divine grace they can lift up their hearts
in sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection, and yet they shrink with
painful apprehension at the thought of the change which alone can make

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that resurrection possible. There is probably no instinct of the whole human
family more frequently in evidence than this repulsion for the grave. Death
is such an uncouth and hideous thing.

Nothing but bones The sad effect of sadder groans; Its mouth is open, but it
cannot sing.

All its outward circumstances help to repel us–the shroud, the coffin, the
grave, the silent shadows, the still more silent worms, the final nothingness.
The mental conditions, too, generally common to the last acts of life, tend
to intensify the feeling: the separation from much that we love, the sense of
unfinished work, the appreciation of grief which death most usually brings
to others: the reality of disappointed hopes, the feeling that heart and flesh
fail, and that we can do no more–all these tend to make it in very truth the
great valley of the dark shadow.

To many, even among the chosen spirits of the household of faith,
approaching death also starts the great “_Why_?” of unbelief. For, in truth,
the death of some is a mystery. It is better that we should say so, and that
they should say so, rather than that we should profess to be able to account
for what, as is only too evident, we do not understand. In confronting death
this mystery is often the great bitterness in the cup. To die when so young!
To die when so much needed! To die so soon after really beginning to live!
To die in the presence of so great a task! Oh, why should it be? How much
of gloom and shadow has come down on hearts and households I have
known, from the persistency of that “Why?” intensifying every repulsion
for the hideous visitor, adding to every other the greatest of all his
terrors–doubt.

Now, in the presence of such doubts–or perhaps I ought rather to call them
questionings and shrinkings–has not this vision of the dead body of our
Lord something in it to charm away our fears? Does it not say to us: “I have
passed on before; I that speak in righteousness, Mighty to save. I have
trodden the winepress alone. At My girdle hang the keys of life and death;
I, even I, was dead; yes, really, cruelly dead; but I am alive for evermore”?

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He tasted death. The king of terrors was out to meet Him. The long
shadows of the gloomy valley really closed Him round, and He crossed
over the chilly stream just as you and I must cross it–all alone. Nothing
was wanting which could invest the scene, the hour, the circumstances with
horror and repulsion. There was pain, bodily pain; there was mental
anguish; there was the howling mob, the horrid contempt for Him as for a
malefactor; the lost disciples and shattered hopes; the reviling thief; the
mystery of the Father’s clouded face; the final sinking down; the letting go
of life; the last physical struggle–when He gave up the ghost and died.

Yes. He passed this same way before you. He wore a shroud. He lay in a
grave. The last resting-place is henceforth for us fragrant with immortality.
The very horrors, and shadows, and mysteries of the death-chamber have
become signs that death is vanquished. The tomb is but the porch of a
temple in which we shall surely stand, the doorway to the place of an
abiding rest. “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I
would have told you.”

Living or dying–but especially when dying–we have a right to cry with
Stephen, the first to witness for Christ in this horror of death, “Lord Jesus,
receive my spirit.” To Him we commit all. He passed this way before with
a worn and bruised body, in weakness and contempt, with dyed garments
and red in His apparel, and on Him we dare to cast ourselves–on Him and
Him alone. On His merits, on His blood, on His body, dead and buried for
us. He will be with us even to the end–He has passed this way before us.

II.
“_A Savour of Death unto Death._”

A celebrated Roman Emperor who had in the very height of his power
embarked on a campaign for the extermination, with all manner of
cruelties, of the followers of Jesus Christ, spoke one day to a Christian,
asking him in tones of lofty contempt and derision:-

“What, then, is the Galilean doing now?”

Our Master

“The Galilean,” replied the Christian, “is making a coffin!” In a few years
the great Emperor and the vast power he represented were both in that
coffin!

Since his day, how many other persecutors have also journeyed surely to it!
How many infidels–nay, how many systems of infidelity, have passed on
to dust and oblivion in that same casket! What multitudes of doubters–of
ungodly, unclean, unregenerate–have been laid within its ever-widening
bands! What vast unions of darkness, hatred, and cruelty, under the
leadership of the great and the mighty, have been broken to pieces beside
that coffin! How much that seemed for a time proud and rich and great in
this poor world’s esteem, has at last passed into it, and disappeared for ever!
Yes, the martyr of long ago, on the blood-besmeared stones of persecuting
Rome, was right, the Galilean Saviour and King not only made a Cross, but
He made, and He goes on making, a coffin!

Will you not have His Cross? Is there no appeal to you to-day from that hill
side, without the city wall? Does it not speak to you of the power, the
sweetness and nobleness of a life of service, of sacrifice for others, of toil
for His world. Has it no message for you of victory over sin and death, of
life from the dead–life, abundant life, in the Blood of the Son of Man!
Believe me, unless you accept His Cross, He will prepare for you a coffin.
“The wages of sin is death.” It matters not how noble your aspirations, how
lofty your ideals of life and conduct, how faithful your labour to raise the
standard of your own life– unless you accept the Cross, all must go into the
grave. Your highest aims, together with your lowest, your most cherished
conceptions, your most deeply-loved ambitions, all must be entombed.
“Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it
shall fall it will grind him to powder.”

If His death-sacrifice be not a savour of life unto life it must be a savour of
death unto death. This is the single alternative. Jesus Christ in life and death
is working in you, in us all, toward one of these ends– either by love and
tears and the overflowing fountain of His passion to gather us into the
union of eternal life with Him and with the Father; or to entomb us–all that
we have and all that we are–in the death and oblivion of the grave He has

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prepared.

III.
“And He was Buried.”

For a little time they lost Him. The grave opened her gloomy portals; they
laid Him down, and the gates were closed–for a little time. And yet He was
just as really there, as really alive for evermore, as really theirs and ours, as
really a victor–nay, a thousand times more so, than if He had never bowed
Himself under the yoke of Nature. He was gone on before, just a little
while, that was all.

Is not that the lesson of His burial for every one who sorrows for the loss of
loved ones called up higher? Are they not buried with Him? Are they not
gone on before? Are they not ours still? Are we not theirs as really as ever?
He passed through that brief path of darkness and death out into the
everlasting light of the Resurrection Glory. Do you think, then, that He will
leave them behind? The grave could not contain Him. Do you think it has
strength to hold _them_? You cannot think of Him as lying long in the
garden of Joseph of Arimathaea; why, then, should you think of your dear
ones as in the chilly clay of that poor garden in which you laid them?
No–no! they are alive–alive for evermore; because He lives, they live also.

Yes! this was the meaning of that strange funeral of His–this was at least
one reason why they buried Him. It was that He might hold a flaming torch
of comfort at every burial of His people to the end of time. Sorrow not,
then, as those that have no hope. He is hope. Your lost ones, perhaps, were
strongly rooted in your affection, and your heart was torn when they were
plucked up. You cried aloud with the Prophet: “Woe is me, for my hurt! my
wound is grievous. But I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it; my
tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken.” Ah, but remember He
was buried also. He knows about the way. He was there. He has them in
His keeping. They are His, and yours still. You have no more need to
grieve over their burial than over His. They live, they love, they grow, they
rejoice. They are blessed for evermore.

Our Master

And our dear dead will meet us again, if we are faithful, in those bodies
which our Lord has redeemed. That also is the witness of His burial and
resurrection. The corruptible shall put on incorruption. In the twinkling of
an eye shall it be done. And we shall see them in the body once more, even
as His disciples saw Him. They supposed at first that they saw a spirit, but
He said: No! “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me,
and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have!”

This blessed hope is our hope. Love is indeed stronger than death; many
waters, nay, the swellings of Jordan themselves, cannot quench it! Dear
ones, gone on before, we shall embrace you again; hand in hand–the very
same hands–we shall greet our King:-

Together we’ll stand When escaped to the shore, With palms in our hands
We Will praise Him the more; We’ll range the sweet plains On the banks of
the river, And sing of Salvation For ever and ever.

Yes–we know and love you still, because we know and love our Lord.

IX.
Conforming to Christ’s Death.
“_That I may know Him . . . being made conformable unto His
death_.”–Phil. iii. 10.

“Conformable unto His death.” At first sight the words are something of a
surprise. “_His death?_” Has not the thought more often before us been to
conform to _His life_? His death seems “too high for us”–so far off in its
greatness, in its suffering, in its humiliation, in its strength, in its glorious
consequences. How is it possible we should ever be conformed to such a
wonder of love and power? And yet, here is the great Apostle, in one of
those beautiful and illuminating references to his own experience which
always seem to bring his messages right home to us, setting forth this very
conformity as the end of all his labours, and the purpose in all his struggles.
“What things were gain to me,” he says, “those I counted loss for Christ;

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yea, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ
Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do
count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him*, having .
. . the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the
power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made
conformable unto His death.”

[Footnote *: Or, as the Revised Version has it in the margin, “not having as
my righteousness that which springs from the law; but that which is
through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God on the condition
of faith: . . . becoming conformed unto His death.”]

There are probably deeps of thought and purpose here which I confess that
I cannot hope to fathom; which in the limits of such a paper as this I cannot
even suggest. Is it possible, for example, that the sorrow and suffering
which fall upon those who are entirely surrendered to God and His work
are, in some hidden way, sorrow and suffering for others? Is this what Paul
means when he says in his letter to the Colossians: I “fill up that which is
behind of the afflictions of Christ, in my flesh, for His body’s sake, which is
the Church”? It may be so. This would indeed be a glorious and a
wonderful “fellowship of His sufferings.”

Or, again, consider what an entirely new light might be thrown upon God’s
dealings with us in afflictions and pain, if it should appear, in the world to
come, that, in much which is now most mysterious and torturing to us, we
had but been bearing one another’s burdens! Every one knows how often
love makes us long to bear grief and pain for those dear to us; every one
has seen a mother suffer, in grateful silence, both bodily pain and
heart-anguish, in her child’s stead, preferring that the child should never
know. Suppose it should turn out, hereafter, that many of the afflictions
which now seem so perplexing and so grievous have really been given us to
bear in order to spare and shield our loved ones, and make it easier for
them–tossing on the stormy waters–to reach Home at last? Would not this
add a whole world of joy to the glory which shall be revealed? And would
it not transform many of the darkest stretches of our earthly journey into
bright memorials of the infinite wisdom and goodness of our God?

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But I pass away from matters of which we have, at best, but a gleam, to
those concerning which “he that runs may read.”

But if Christ upon His cross is meant for an object-lesson to His people, is
it not reasonable to expect that His words spoken in those supreme
moments should throw light upon that conformity to His death of which we
are thinking? The words of the dying have always been received as
revealing their true character. Death is the skeleton-key which opens the
closed chambers of the soul, and calls forth the secret things–and in the
presence of the “Death-Angel” men generally appear to be what they really
are. Our Lord and Saviour was no exception to this universal rule.

To the latest breath, We see His ruling passion strong in death.

His dying words are filled with illuminating truth about Himself, and they
throw precious light upon His death. Let us, then, tarry for a few moments
before His cross, and look and listen while He speaks.

I.
“_Father, forgive them; they know not what they do_.”

Men were doing the darkest deed of time. Nothing was wanting to make it
hateful to God and repulsive to mankind. All the passions to which the
human heart is prone, and all that the spirits of Hell can prompt, had joined
forces at Calvary to finish off, in victory if possible, the black rebellion
which began in Eden. Everything that is base in human nature– the hate
that is in man, the beast that is in man, the fiend that is in man–was there,
with hands uplifted, to slay the Lamb. The servants of the Husbandman
were beating to death the beloved Son whom He had sent to seek their
welfare. It was amidst the human inferno of ingratitude and hatred that
these words of infinite grace and beauty fell from the lips of Love
Immortal. Long nails had just pierced the torn flesh and quivering nerves of
His dear hands and feet; and while He watched His murderers’ awful
delight in His agony, and heard their jeering shouts of triumph, He lifted up
His voice and prayed for them, “_Father–forgive_.”

Our Master

There are thoughts that lie too deep for words. The inner light of this
message may be revealed–it cannot be spoken. But one or two reflections
will repay our consideration. Here was a consciousness of sin. Here was the
suggestion of pardon. Here was prayer for sinners.

A _consciousness of sin_–of theirs–ours–not His own. Infinite Love takes
full account of sin. Boldly recognises it. Straightway refers to it as the
source of men’s awful acts and awful state. “_O My Father, forgive_!” On
the cross of His shame, in the final grip with the mortal enemy, the dying
Christ–looking away from His own sufferings, forgetful of the scorn, and
curses, and blows of those around Him–is overflowing with this great
thought, with this great _fact_–that men’s first imperative, overwhelming
need, is the forgiveness of their sin.

The suggestion of pardon. He prays for it. What a transforming thought is
the possibility of forgiveness! How different the vilest, the most loathsome
criminal becomes in our eyes the moment we know a pardon is on the way!
How different a view we get of the souls of men, bound and condemned to
die, given up to selfishness and godlessness, the moment we stand by the
cross of Jesus, and realise, with Him, that a pardon is possible! The
meanest wretch that walks looks different from us. Even the outwardly
respectable and very ordinary person who lives next door, to whom we so
seldom speak, is at once clothed with a new interest in our minds, if we
really believe that there is a pardon coming for him from the King of kings.

He prays. Yes, this is the great prayer. What an example He has left us! It
was not enough to die for the sinful–the ungrateful–the abominable–He
must needs pray for them. Dear friend, you may have done many things for
the ungodly around you–you may have preached to them, and set them also
a lofty example of goodness; you may even have greatly suffered on their
behalf; but I can imagine one thing still wanting: have you prayed the
Father for them?

Remember, He pleaded for the worst: those very men who said, “Let His
blood be on us, and on our children.” He prayed even for those, and I do not
doubt that He was heard. Indeed, it was, I earnestly believe, His prayer

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which helped on that speedy revival in Jerusalem; and among the three
thousand over whom Peter and the rest rejoiced were some who had urged
on and then witnessed His cruel death, and for whom His tender accents
ascended to the Throne of God amid the final agony of His cross.

Dear friend, are you “becoming conformed unto His death”?

II.
“_To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise_.”

“_He saved others-He saved others–Himself He cannot save!_” Amidst the
din of discordant voices, this taunt sounded out clear and loud, and fell
upon the ears of a dying thief. Perhaps, as so often happens now, the Devil
over-reached himself even then, and the strange words made the poor
criminal think. “_’Others’–‘others’–He saves others–then why not me?_”
Presently he answered the railing unbelief of his fellow-prisoner; and then,
in the simple language of faith, said to the Saviour: “Lord, remember me
when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom.”

Jesus Christ’s reply is one of the great landmarks of the Bible. It denotes the
boundary line of the long ages of dimness and indefiniteness about two
things–_assurance of salvation in this life, and certainty of immediate
blessedness in the life to come_. “To-day shalt thou be with Me in
Paradise!” There is nothing like it in all the Scriptures. It is as though great
gates, long closed, were suddenly thrown wide open, and we saw before
our eyes that some one passed in where none had ever trodden before. The
whole freedom and glory of the Gospel is illustrated at one stroke. Here is
the Salvation of The Salvation Army! To-day–without any ceremonies,
baptisms, communions, confirmations, without the mediation of any priest
or the intervention of any sacraments–such things would indeed have been
only an impertinence there–to-day, “TO-DAY shalt thou be with ME.”
Indeed the gates are open wide at last!

But the great lesson of the words lies rather in their revelation of _our
Lord’s instant accessibility to this poor felon_. His nearness of heart; His

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complete confidence in His own wonderful power to save; His readiness of
response–for it may be said that He leaps to meet this first repentant
soul–are all revealed to us. But it is the fact that, amid that awful conflict,
His ear was open to another’s cry–and such another!– which appeals most
to my own heart. With those blessed words of hope and peace in my ears,
how can I ever fear that one could be so vile, so far away, so nearly lost, as
to cry in vain? Nay, Lord, it cannot be.

III.
“_Woman, behold thy son_.”

When Jesus had spoken these words to His mother, He addressed the
disciple He had chosen, and indicated by a word that henceforth Mary was
to be cared for as his own mother. Great as was the work He had in hand
for the world, great as was His increasing agony, He remembered Mary. He
knew the meaning of sorrow and loneliness, and He planned to afford His
mother such future comfort and consolation as were for her good.

This tender care for His own is a rebuke, for all time, to those who will
work for others while those they love are left uncared for; left, alas! to
perish in their sins. If regrets are possible in the Kingdom of Heaven, surely
those regrets will be felt most keenly in the presence of divided families.
And if anything can enhance the joys of the redeemed, surely it must be
that they are “families in Heaven.” Who can think, even now, without a
thrill of unmixed delight, of the reunions of those who for long weary years
were separated here? What, then, will it be-

When the child shall greet the mother, And the mother greet the child;
When dear families are gathered That were scattered on the wild!

And what strength and joy it was to Mary. Looking forward to the coming
victory, He knew that nothing could so possess her mother-heart with
gratitude, and fill her soul with holy exultation as this–that He, the
Sacrifice for sin, the Conqueror of Death, and the Redeemer of His people,
was her Son. And so He makes it quite plain that He, the dying Saviour,

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was Mary’s Son.

IV.
“It is finished.”

There is a repose, a kind of majesty about this declaration which marks it
out from all other human words. There is, perhaps, nothing about the death
of Jesus which is in more striking contrast with death as men generally
know it than is revealed in this one saying. We are so accustomed to
regrets, to confessions that this and that are, alas! _unfinished_; to those sad
recitals which so often conclude with the dirge-like refrain, “it might have
been,” that death stands forth in a new light when it is viewed as the end of
a completed journey, and the conclusion of a finished task. This is exactly
the aspect of it to which our Lord refers. His work was done.

The suffering, also, was ended. Darkness had had its night of sore trial, and
now the day was at hand. Trial and suffering do end. It is sometimes hard to
believe it, but the end is already appointed from the beginning. It was so
with the Saviour of the world; and at length the hour is come, and He raises
His bruised and bleeding head for the last time, and cries in token of His
triumph, “It is finished!”

But is there not also here a suggestion of something more? _Up to that
concluding hour it was always possible for Him to draw back._ “I lay down
My life for the sheep,” He had said; “no man taketh it from Me, but I lay it
down of Myself.” His was, in the very highest and widest sense of the
word, a voluntary offering, a voluntary humiliation, a voluntary death. Up
to the very last, therefore, He could have stepped down from the cross,
going no further toward the dark abyss. But the moment came when this
would be no longer possible; when, even for Him, the sacrifice would be
irrevocable–when the possibility “to save Himself” was ended, and when
He became for ever “the Lamb that was slain,” bearing the marks of His
wounds in His eternal body. When that moment passed, He might well say,
“It is finished.”

Our Master

Is there not something that should answer to this in the lives of many of His
disciples? Is there not a point for us, also, at which we may pass over the
line of uncertainty or reserve in our offering, saying for ever– it is finished?
Is there not an appointed Calvary somewhere, at which we can settle the
questions that have been so long unsettled, and, in the strength of God, at
last declare that, as for controversy of any kind with Him, “it is finished”?
Is there not at this very same cross of our dying Saviour a place where
doubt and shame may perish together–crucified with Him, and finished for
ever?

This would be, indeed, a blessed conformity to His death.

V.
“I thirst.”

This is the first of the three words of Christ which relate specially to His
own inner experiences, and which I have placed together for the purpose of
this paper.

“I thirst.” They gave Him vinegar to drink–or, probably, in a moment of
pity the soldiers brought Him the sour wine which they had provided for
themselves. He seems to have partaken of it, although He had refused the
mixture that had been before offered Him merely to deaden His pain. To
bear that pain was the lofty duty set before Him, and so He would not turn
aside from it one hair’s breadth.

But He humbled Himself to receive what was necessary from the very
hands that had been crucifying Him. He, who could have so easily
commanded a whole multitude of the heavenly host to appear for His
succour, and to whose precious lips, parched in death, the princes of the
eternal Kingdom would have so gladly hastened with a draught from
celestial springs, condescended to ask the help of those who mocked Him,
and to take the support He so sadly needed from His triumphant
persecutors.

Our Master

Oh, you who are proud by nature, who are reserved by nature, who are
sensitive in spirit, who feel every wrong done to you like a knife entering
your breast, and who, when you forgive an injury, find it difficult to forget,
and harder still to humble yourselves in any way to those who, you feel,
have wronged you–here for you is a lesson, here for you is an example, a
precious example, of the condescension of Love. Yes. to love those who
seem to be against you, to love those in whom there always appears to you
to be some difference of spirit or incompatibility of temperament, will
mean, if you are made conformable unto your Master’s death, that you will
be able to receive at their hands services, kindnesses, pity, advice, which
your own poor, fallen nature would, without divine grace, have scorned and
spurned.

VI.
“_My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?_”

Here is a great mystery. No doubt, to the human nature of our Lord, it did
appear as though the Father had forsaken Him, and that was the last bitter
drop in the cup of His humiliation and anguish. If men only knew it, the
realisation that God has left them will be the greatest agony of the sinner’s
doom. And here upon the cross, our Lord, undergoing the penalty of sins
not His own has yet to experience fully the severance which sin makes
between God and the human soul.

But, even to many of those who love and serve God fully, there does come
at times something which is very similar to this strange and dark experience
of our Lord’s. Before the final struggle in many great conflicts, those
inward consolations on which so much seems to depend are often
mysteriously withdrawn. Why it should be so we do not know; it is a
mystery. Some loyal spirits have thought that God withdraws His
consolations and His peace, that the soul may be more truly filled with His
presence, thus substituting for divine consolation the “God of consolation,”
and for divine peace the “God of peace.” In any case we have this comfort:
it was so with our Master. Do not let the servant expect to be above his
Lord.

Our Master

This terrible moment of seeming separation from the Father, and the dark
cry which was wrung from our Saviour’s broken heart, did not, however,
make the final victory any the less. And, if you are one with Him, and have
really set your heart on glorifying Him, and if you can only endure, such
moments will not take from your victory one shred of its joy. Oh, then, hold
on to your cross! hold on to your cross! even if it seems, as it sometimes
may, that God Himself has forsaken you, and that you are left to suffer
alone, without either the sympathy of those around you, or the conscious
support of the indwelling God. Hold on to your cross. This is the way of
Calvary–this is becoming conformable to the death of the Lord Jesus.

VII.
“_Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit_.”

Here our Lord enters upon the extremity of His humiliation. Death must
have been repulsive to Him. If the failure of heart and flesh, the cold sweat,
the physical collapse, the last parting, the solitude and separation of the
grave are all repelling and painful to us, how much more to Him!

And, indeed, the picture which Christ presents to the outward eye in these
last moments is unquestionably one of deep humiliation. The disordered
garments–stained with blood and dirt, the distended limbs, the bleeding
wound in His side, the face smeared with bloody sweat and dust, the torn
brow and hair, and the swollen features, must have combined with all the
horrible surroundings to make one of the most gruesome sights that ever
man saw. And it was at this moment, in His extremity, that He says:
“Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” “Father, I have done all that
I can do; now I leave Myself and the rest to Thee.”

Here is a beautiful message–the great message about Death. This is, in fact,
the one way to meet the shivering spectre with peace and joy.

But the great lesson of this last word from the cross of Jesus is the lesson of
Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob: that faith in the Father is the inner strength
and secret of all true service. It was, in a very wonderful and real sense, by

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faith that He wrought His wonders, by faith He suffered, by faith He prayed
for His murderers, by faith He died, by faith He made His atonement for
the sins of the world. The faith that not one iota of the Father’s will could
fail of its purpose.

Oh, dear comrade and friend, here is the crowning lesson of His life and
death alike–“Have faith in God.” Will you learn of Him? In your extremity
of grief or sorrow–if you are called to sorrow– will you not trust Him, and
say, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my bereaved and bleeding heart”?
In your extremity of poverty–if you are called to poverty–Oh, cry out to
Him, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my home, my dear ones.” In your
extremity of shame and humiliation– arising, maybe, from the injustice or
neglect of others–let your heart say in humble faith, “Father, into Thy
hands I commend my reputation, my honour, my all.” In your extremity of
weakness and pain–if you are called to suffer weakness or pain–cry out in
faith, “Father, into Thy hands I commend this my poor worn and weary
frame.” In your extremity of loneliness and heart-separation from all you
love for Christ’s sake, if that be the path you tread, will you not say to your
Lord, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my future, my life; lead Thou me
on.”

Yes, depend upon it, faith is the great lesson of the cross. By faith the
world was made; by faith the world was redeemed. If we are truly
conformed to His death, we also must go forward in faith with the great
work of bringing that redemption home to the hearts of men; and all we aim
at, all we do, all we suffer, must be sought for, done, and suffered in that
personal, simple faith in our Father and God which Jesus manifested on His
cross, in that hour when all human aid failed Him, and when He cried in the
language of a little child, “_Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit_.”

X.
The Resurrection and Sin.
“_Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was . . . declared to be
the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the

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resurrection from the dead_.”–Romans i. 3, 4.

Just as one of the great proofs, if not the great proof, of the truth of
Christianity is the vast fact of the world’s need for it, so one grand proof of
the Resurrection lies in the fact that no interpretation of Christ’s teaching or
Christ’s life would be worth a brass farthing–so far as the actual life of
suffering man is concerned–without His Death and Resurrection. That
teaching might be illuminating–convincing–exalting; yes, even morally
perfect; and yet, if He did not die, it would be little more than a superior
book of proverbs or a collection of highly-polished copy-book maxims.
That life–that wonderful life–might be the supremest example of all that is
or could be good and great and lovely in human experience; and yet, if He
did not rise again from the tomb, it would, after all, be only a dead
thing–like a splendid specimen of carved marble in some grand museum,
exquisite to look upon, and of priceless value, but cold and cheerless,
lifeless and dead.

For it is a Living Person men need to be their Friend and Saviour and
Guide. The splendid statue might possibly invite or challenge us to imitate
it, but it could never call a human heart to love its stony features. Noble and
pure as Jesus Christ’s example undoubtedly was, it could of itself never
satisfy a human soul or inspire poor, broken, human hearts with hope and
love, or wash away from human consciousness the stains of sin. These
things can only be done by a Living Person. So it is that we are not told to
believe on His teaching or on His Church, but on Him. He did not say
“Follow My methods or My disciples,” but “Follow ME.” If He be not risen
from the dead, and alive for evermore; if, in short, it be a dead man we are
to follow and on whom we are to believe–then we are, indeed, as Paul says,
“of all men the most miserable.”

I.
But it is the life of Jesus, and the evidence of that life, in us that are really
all-important. _No extent of worldly wisdom or historical testimony can
finally establish for us the fact and power of Christ’s Resurrection, unless
we have proof in ourselves of His presence there as a Living Spirit_. With

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St. Paul, we must “know Him, and the power of His resurrection.” That is
the grand knowledge. That is the crown of all knowledge. That is the
knowledge which places those who have received it beyond the freaks and
fancies of human wisdom or human folly. That is the knowledge which
cleanses the heart, destroys the strength of evil, and brings in that true
righteousness which is the power to do right. That is the greatest proof of
the Resurrection.

No books, not even the Bible itself; no testimony, not even the testimony of
those who were present on that first Easter Day, can be so good as this, the
experimental proof. It is the most fitting and grateful, and adapts itself to
every type of human experience. And it is beyond contradiction! What avail
is it to contradict those who can answer, “Hereby we know that we dwell in
Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit”? It is even
beyond argument! For of what advantage can it be to argue with a man that
he is still blind, when he tells you that his eyes have been opened, and when
he declares, “Whereas I was blind, NOW I SEE”?

To us Salvationists, the hope of the world, and the strength of our hard and
long struggle for the souls of men, centre in this glorious truth. He is risen,
and is alive for evermore; and because He lives we live also’ All around us
are the valleys of death, filled with bones–very many and very dry. Love
lies there, dead. Hope is dead. Faith is dead. Honour is dead. Truth is dead.
Purity is dead. Liberty is dead. Humility is dead. Fidelity is dead. Decency
is dead. It is the blight of humanity. Death– moral and spiritual death in all
her hideous and ghastly power–reigns around us. Men are indeed
dead–“dead in trespasses and sins.” What do we need? What is the secret
longing of our hearts? What is the crying agony of our prayers? Is it for any
human thing we seek? No. God knows–a thousand times, no! We have but
one hope or desire, and that is “life from the dead.” We want life, the risen
life–life more abundant–life Divine, amid these deep, dark noisome
valleys of the dead.

Here, then, is our hope. He rose again, and ascended up on high, and
received gifts for men. This is the hope which keeps us going on; this is the
invisible spring from which our weary spirits draw the elixir of an

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invincible courage–Christ, the risen Christ, who has come to raise the
dead! “You hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.”
Hallelujah!

“Dead in sins!” Jesus never made light of sin. He used no disguise when He
talked of it, no equivocal terms, no softening words. There is no single
suggestion in all His discourses or conversations that He thought it merely
a disease, or a derangement, or a misfortune, or anything of that kind, or
that He deemed it anything but a ruinous and deadly rebellion against
God–the great disaster of the world, and the most awful, dangerous, and
far-reaching precursor of suffering in the whole existence of the universe.
He said it was bad, bad all through–in form, in expression, in purpose;
above all, in spirit and desire. That there was no remedy for it but His
remedy. No rains in all the heavens to wash it, no waters in all the seas to
cleanse it away, no fires in Hell itself to purge its defilement. The only
hope was in the blood of His sacrifice. And so He came to shed it, to save
the people from their sins.

That is our hope. We are of those who see something of the fruits of sin,
and to whom it is no matter for the chastened lights of the literary
drawing-room. We know–some of us–how deep the roots of pollution can
strike into human character by our own scorched and blistered histories;
and we know by our observation into what deeps of black defilement men
can plunge. The charnel houses of iniquity must ever be the workshops of
the Salvationist. There we see of the havoc, the cruelty, the debauchment,
the paralysis, the leprosy, the infernal fascination of sin. And we know
there is only one hope–the Lamb that was slain, and rose again from the
dead, and ever liveth for our salvation.

II.
The only really satisfactory test of any faith, or system of faiths, lies in its
treatment of sin. Human consciousness in all ages, and in all conditions of
development, bears witness to the fact of sin with universal and
overwhelming conviction. Men cannot prevent the discomfort of
self-accusation which ever follows wrong-doing. They cannot escape from

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the bitter which always lies hidden in the sweet. They cannot forget the
things they wish to forget. Even when they are a law unto themselves, they
are compelled to judge themselves by that law. It is as though some
unerring necessity is laid upon every individual of the race to sit in
judgment upon his own conduct, and to pass sentence upon himself. He is
compelled to speak to his own soul of things about which he would rather
be silent, and to listen to that which he does not wish to hear.

The proof that this is so is open, manifest, and indisputable. Human
experience in the simplest and widest sense of the word attests it. It stands
unquestioned amid floods of questions on every other conceivable subject.
No system of philosophy, no school of scientific thought, no revelation
from the heavens above or the earth beneath can really weaken it. It is not
found in books, or received by human contact, or influenced by human
example. It is revealed in every man. It is felt by all men. They do not learn
it, or deduce it, or believe it merely. They know it. All men do. You do. I
do.

Many things contribute to this simple and yet supremely wonderful and
awful fact of human experience. One of them is the faculty of thought. Man
is made a thinking creature, and think he must; and if he thinks, he must,
above all, think about himself, about his future, his present, his past. A
great French writer–and not a Christian writer–says on this subject: “There
is a spectacle grander than the ocean, and that is the conscience. After many
conflicts, man yields to that mysterious power which says to him, ‘Think.’
One can no more prevent the mind from returning to an idea than the sea
from returning to a shore. With the sailor this is called ‘the tide.’ With the
guilty it is called ‘remorse.’ God, by a universal law, upheaves the soul as
well as the ocean.”

And side by side with this thinking faculty, there is the further fact, that
God will not leave men alone. On those unerring and resistless tides He
sends into the human soul His messages. He visits them. He arouses them.
He compels their attention. In His providence, by acts of mercy and of
judgment–by sorrow and loss–by stricken days and bitter nights, He makes
them remember their sin. All the weapons in His armoury, and all the

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wisdom of His nature are employed to bring men to a sense of guilt–to
prick them to the heart–in order to lead them to recognise and to confess
and to turn away from sin. If, therefore, man by any invention had found
out a way by which he could escape from the consciousness of evil without
putting it away, God would not let him go.

Clearly, then, the initial proof of success in religion must be that religion
can deal satisfactorily with the conscious guilt of sin. To this high test, all
theories, all pretences, all promises must come at last. What are they in
their actual effect on the memories and consciences of men in relation to
their sin? How do they treat with guilt? How do they meet remorse? Can
they silence the clamours of the night? Can they give peace when it is too
late to undo what sin has done? Do they suffice amid the deepening
shadows of the death chamber–the place where ever and anon the forgotten
past comes forth to demand the satisfaction so long delayed?

But these, after all, are only the fruits–some of the fruits of sin. What of the
thing itself? That is the sternest test of all. The mere condemnation of sin,
no matter how fully it harmonises with our sense of what ought to be, does
not satisfy man. The excusing of sin is no better; it leaves the sinner who
loves his sin, a sinner who loves it still. If excuses could silence conscience,
or set free from the bondage of hate or passion, how many of the slaves of
both would soon be at liberty!

The re-naming of evil which has often been attempted during the last two
or three thousand years, and again in quite recent days, has little or no
effect either upon its nature or upon those who are under its mastery. The
new label does not change the poison. Its victim is a victim still. Nor does
the punishment of sin entirely dispose of it, either in the sufferer, or in the
consciousness of the onlooker. No doubt the discovery and punishment of
sin do give men a certain degree of satisfaction, but at best it is only a
relief, when what they need, and what they see their fellows need, is a
remedy. Sending a fever patient to hospital is a poor expedient unless we
cure the disease. Sending a thief to prison is a poor affair if he remains a
thief. It is not in reality a victory over thieving; it is, in fact, a defeat.

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Yes–it is a cure we need. And we know it. A cure which is not merely a
remedy for the grosser forms which evil takes in men’s lives, and their
terrible consequences, but a cure of the hidden and secret humours from
which they spring. The deceitfulness of the human heart. The thoughts and
intents which colour all men do. The lusts and desires, the loves and hates
from which conduct springs. The selfishness and rebellion which drive men
on to the rocks.

The real question for us then is, Can our religion–does our religion, when
tried by the test of human experience–afford any remedy for these? Unless
it does, man can no more be satisfied or be set free by condemnations, or
excusings, or re-christenings, or punishments of sin, than the slave can be
contented with discussions about his owner’s mistakes or emancipated by
new contrivances for painting his chains!

III.
But what is this sin, the consciousness of which is thus forced upon all
–this determined, persistent, active evil? It is not the mere absence of
good-a negative gain–but it is the love of, and the actual striving after that
which is flatly condemned by God, and is in open rebellion against Him.
The centreing of the corrupt heart upon its own corruption. Opposition to
the pure will of God. Pride, falseness, unscrupulous ambition. Self-seeking,
regardless of the means by which its object is obtained. Luxury,
effeminacy, and sensuality. The lusts and fleshly passions. Malice, cruelty,
and envy. The greed of gain. The love and thraldom of the world. There it
is–the running sore of a suffering race. The outflow of the carnal mind,
which is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. There is no
getting away from it. “Against this immovable barrier–the existence of
sin–the waves of philosophy have dashed themselves unceasingly since the
birth of human thought, and have retired broken and powerless, without
displacing the minutest fragment of the stubborn rock, without softening
one feature of its dark, rugged surface.”

And the worst of all is that sin is a wrong against God. _Man sins, of
course, against himself._ That is written large on human affairs, so that no

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fool, however great a fool, may miss it. Well may the prophet say, “O
Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself!” Men mix the hemlock for themselves!
The sinner is a moral suicide!

_Man sins against his fellow._ Nothing is more evident to us than that men
tempt and corrupt one another. They hold one another back from
righteousness. They break down virtue, and extinguish faith, and silence
conscience in their neighbours. They act as decoys and trappers for each
other’s souls. They play the Devil’s cat’s-paws, and procure for him the rum
of their fellows, which could not be compassed without their aid. In short,
the sinner is a moral murderer!

But, after all–and it is a hideous all–_the crowning wrong, and the
crowning misery, is that sin is sin against God_.

Unless the Bible be a myth, and the prophets a disagreeable fraud, and the
whole lesson of Jesus Christ’s life and death an illusion, God is deeply
concerned with man. That concern extends to man’s whole nature, his
whole existence, his whole environment; and most of all it is manifest with
regard to his sin. God puts Himself forward in the whole history of His
dealings with men as an intimate, responsible, and observing Party in the
presence of wrong-doing. He watches. He sees. He knows. He will
consider. He will remember or He will forget. He will in no wise acquit the
guilty, or He will pardon. Justice and vengeance are His, and so is
forgiveness. He will weigh in the balances. He will testify against the
evil-doer, or He will make an atonement for him. He will cut off and
destroy, or He will have mercy. He will repay, or He will blot out.

From beginning to end of Revelation–and there is something in the human
soul which strangely responds to Revelation in this matter–we have a
sense, a spiritual instinct, of the truth which Job set forth, “_If I sin, then
Thou markest me, and Thou will not acquit me from mine iniquity_,”
which is confirmed by Jeremiah, “Though thou wash thee with nitre and
take thee much soap, _yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith the
Lord God_;” and which is insisted upon by the Apostle when he writes,
“We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may

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receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether
it be good or bad.”

Yes, it is against the Lord God men have sinned, and to Him they are
accountable. And they know it. Here again is something which does not
come by observation or instruction, but by an inward sense which can
neither be mistaken nor long denied. Sooner or later, men are compelled to
acknowledge God, and to acknowledge that they have sinned against Him.
As with David, when he cried out, “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned,
and done this evil in Thy sight”–so to every man comes at last the
awakening. We see, as David saw, that whomsoever else we have wronged,
God is most wronged; whomsoever else we may have injured, the great evil
is that we have broken His law and violated His will.

In the light of that experience, sin becomes instantly a terrible and bitter
thing. The fact that sinners can win the approval of men, the honour of
success; that they can hide iniquity; that they can for a time escape from
punishment, makes no difference when God appears upon the scene. Evil
starts up for judgment. Memory marshals the ranks of transgression.
Retribution seems the only right thing to look for. Punishment appears to be
so deserved that nothing else can be possible. In their own eyes they are
guilty. Guilt is branded upon them.

It is from this realisation of having offended God that there spring the dark
forebodings of punishment. Men may dread it, and be willing to make
superhuman sacrifices to escape it, but they expect it all the same. Thus in
all ages men have cried out less for pardon and release from penalty than
for deliverance from the guilt and domination of evil. Their language by a
universal instinct has been like David’s: “Have mercy upon me, O God,
according to Thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of Thy
tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine
iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my
transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only,
have I sinned.”

XI.

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“Salvation Is of the Lord”

“Salvation is of the Lord.”–Jonah ii. 9.

“Work out your own salvation.”–Phil. ii. 12.

Salvation is of the Lord, or not at all. It is a touch; a revelation; an
inspiration; the life of God in the soul. It is not of man only, nor of that
greatest of human forces–the will of man, but of God and the will of God.
It is not mere will-work, a sort of “self-raising” power–it is a redemption
brought home by a personal Redeemer; made visible, tangible, knowable to
the soul redeemed in a definite transaction with the Lord. It brings forth its
own fruits, carries with it the assurance of its own accomplishment, and is
its own reward. It is impossible to declare too often or too plainly that
Salvation is of the Lord.

I.
And yet, around us on every side are those who are relying upon something
short of this new life. They have set up a sort of human virtue in the place
of the God-life. They are slowly mastering their disordered passions. The
base instigations of their lower nature are being thwarted. Greedy appetites
which reign in others are in them compelled to serve. Tendencies to
cunning and falsehood, the fruits of which are only too apparent in the
world at large, they watch and harass and pinch. Animosities, and
jealousies, and envies–those enemies of all kinds of peace–are repressed, if
not controlled.

And these followers of virtue go further than this. They aim at building up a
character which can be called noble, or at least virtuous. And some
succeed–or appear to themselves to do so. They cultivate truth. Honesty is
with them, whether as to their business or their social life, the best policy.
They are just. They are temperate. By nature and by training they are kind
and generous; so much so that it is as difficult to convict them of an
unkindly act as it is easy to prove them more generous and liberal than
many of the professed followers of Jesus. Often they are charitable, giving

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of their substance to the poor; not hard to please, considerate of their
inferiors, patient with one another; in a very high sense they have true
charity. And after long periods of struggle, and lofty and faithful effort,
they may be able to claim that they have developed a fine character; that by
self-cultivation, and perhaps by a kind of self-redemption, they have
produced a very beautiful and desirable being!

I will not stay to inquire how far heart conceit and heart deceit may account
for much of this, or to suggest that a great contrast may exist between the
outer life and the unseen deeps within. I will admit for the moment that all
is as stated, and even more. What, then? With much of grace and beauty, it
may be; trained and tutored in the ways of humility and virtue; able to live
in the constant and kindly service of others, and devoted to truth and
duty–with all these excellencies they may yet be dead while they live.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit
is spirit.” Generous, lovable, dutiful, honourable flesh, but only flesh. A
chaste, and, if you like to have it so, a useful life, but LIFELESS. A fine
product of a lifetime of labour in the culture of the physical, intellectual,
and moral powers, but, after all–DEAD. For “He that believeth not on the
Son of God hath not life.”

II.
In this view the body, and in a larger degree the mind, becomes a sepulchre
for the soul. All the attention given to education, to refinement and culture,
to the develop ment of gifts–for instance, such as music or inventive
science–to the practice of self-restraint and the pursuit of morality, is so
much attention to the casket that will perish, to the neglect of the eternal
jewel that is enclosed. It may be possible to present a kindly, honest,
law-abiding, agreeable life to our neighbours; to go through business and
family life without rinding anything of great moment with which to
condemn ourselves; to be thought, even by those nearest to us, to be living
up to a high standard of morality, and yet–for all this has to do with the
casket only–to be dead all the while in trespasses and sins.

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The young man who should spend his fortune upon his tomb would be
scarcely so great a fool as he who spends his life on those things in himself
which are temporal, to the neglect of those which are eternal. Only think of
the absurdity of devoting the splendid energy of youth and manhood, the
grand force of will, the skill of genius, and the other gifts which commonly
men apply to their own advancement and success, to the adornment,
enriching, and extension of one’s grave!

And yet this is very much the case of those of whom I am thinking. All
their advances, whether in moral attainment, in personal achievement, or in
worldly advantage, are, at the best, but enlargements and adornments of a
tomb, and of a tomb destined itself to perish!

III.
Do I, then, discourage good works? Has man no part to play in his own
deliverance? Is he, after all, only an animal–the mere creature of
circumstance and natural law? Have I forgotten that “faith without works is
dead”? No, I think not. I have but remembered that works without faith are
dead also. The one extreme is as dangerous as the other. The legal,
mechanical observance of the rules of a right life, apart from a living faith
in Christ, can no more renew the heart in holiness and righteousness, than
can a mere intellectual belief of certain facts about Christ, apart from
working out His will, save the soul, or make it meet for the inheritance of
the saints. In both cases the verdict will be the same. The faith in the one is
“_dead_”; the works in the other are also “dead.”

The fact is, Salvation is a two-fold work. It is of God–it is of man. Did God
not will man’s Salvation he could not be saved. Unless man will his own
Salvation he cannot be saved. God is free. Man also is free. He may set up a
plan for saving himself; but, no matter how perfect, it will fail unless it
have God for its centre. And God, though He has devised the most
infinitely complete and beautiful and costly scheme of redemption for man,
will none the less fail unless the individual man wills to co-operate with
Him. Man is not a piece of clay which God can fashion as He likes. He is
not even a harp out of which He can get what strains He will without regard

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to its strings. There is in man something–a force–an energy– which must
act in union with God, and with which God must act in wonderful
partnership, if His will is to be accomplished.

IV.
It is true, of course, that God does much for a man without his aid. I do not
now refer to material blessings. He it is who gives us “life, and breath, and
all things”–and gives them largely without our effort. But even in man God
does much without his help. He calls. He stirs up conscience. He gives
flashes of light to the most darkened heart. He softens by the hand of
sorrow, and rebukes with the stripes of affliction. Memory, human
affection, hope, ambition, are all made means by the Holy Ghost to urge
men to holiness. The ministry of goodness in others is so directed as to
point multitudes to the way of the Cross. But this will not provide the one
thing needful. Instruction, clear views of the truth, belief in the facts of
God’s love and grace, admiration of Salvation in other lives, even the desire
to declare the Gospel, may all be present, and yet the soul be–DEAD–dead
in trespasses and sins–cursed, bound, and corrupted by dead works. Just as
the noblest and highest efforts of man towards his own Salvation, _without
the co-operating, life-giving work of God_, can result only in confusion and
death; so the most powerful, gracious, long-suffering and tender yearnings
and work of God for man’s Salvation, _without the co-operating will of
man_, can result only in distress, disappointment, and death.

V.
Are you dead? Are you in either of these classes? Are you relying on God’s
mercy; waiting for some strange visitation from on high; depending with a
faith which is merely of the mind upon some past work of Christ; but
without the vital power of His mighty life in you? Filled with desires that
are not realised; offering prayers that are not answered; striving at times to
work out a law of goodness which you feel all the time is an impossibility
for you? Living, so to speak, out of your element–like a fish out of water?
That is DEATH.

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Or are you, on the other hand, depending for Salvation on your own labour
to build up a good character, and to live a decent, honourable, and honest
life? Conscious of advance, but not of victory? The servant of a high ideal,
but without _liberty_? The devotee of your own self? All the powers and
qualities of your nature growing towards maturity, _except the powers of
your soul_? The casket–as life goes on–growing more and more adorned,
while the eternal spirit, the priceless jewel made to receive the likeness of
God and enjoy Him for ever, seems ever of less and less worth to you? That
also is DEATH.

The man who is in either class is dead while he lives. He is a walking
mortuary.

XII.
Self-Denial.
“_If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his
cross, and follow Me_.”–Matt. xvi. 24.

It is a striking thought that self-denial is, perhaps, the only service that a
man can render to God without the aid or co-operation of something or
some one outside himself. No matter what he does–unless it be to pray,
which would hardly be included in the idea of service –he is more or less
dependent upon either the assistance or presence of others. If, for example,
he speaks or sings for God, whether in public or in private, he must have
hearers; if he writes, it is that he may have readers; if he teaches, he needs
scholars; if he distributes gifts, there must be receivers of his charity; if he
leads souls to Christ, these souls must be willing to come; if he suffers
persecution, there must be persecutors; or if, like Stephen, he is called to
die for his Lord, there must be those who stone him, and others who stand
by consenting to his death.

A few moments’ consideration will, I think, also show, that even in the
sphere of our personal spiritual experience, it is very much the same. We
can, after all, do but little for ourselves. Salvation comes to men through

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human instrumentality, and seldom apart from it. We are, I know, saved by
faith; but how shall we believe unless we hear? and how shall we hear
without a preacher? That instruction on the things of God, which is a
necessity for every true child of God, comes almost invariably by the
agency or through the experiences of others.

The joys and consolation of fellowship can only be the result of
communion with the saints. In spiritual things, as in ordinary affairs, it is
the countenance of his friend which quickens and brightens the tired toiler
as “iron sharpeneth iron.” And though it is true that God can, and often
does, wonderfully teach and inspire His people without the direct aid of any
human agent, it is equally true that He generally does so by the
employment of His word, which He has revealed to men, or by the recalling
of some message which has already been received into the mind and heart.

Nor does this in the least detract from our absolute dependence upon Him.
The man who crosses the Atlantic in a steamship is no less dependent on
the sea because he employs the vessel for his journey. We are no less
dependent upon the earth for our sustenance because we only partake of the
wheat after it has been ground into flour and made into bread. And so, we
are no less dependent upon God because He has been pleased to employ
various humble and simple instruments to save, and teach, and guide us.
After full allowance has been made for the power and influence of
intervening agencies, it is in Him we really live, and move, and have our
being.

But I return to my first word. There is one kind of service open to all,
irrespective of circumstances and gifts, which can be rendered to God
without the intervention of anyone. And this we may truly call self-denial.
Much that quite properly comes under that description need
never–probably will never–be known to anyone but God. It may be a holy
sacrament indeed, kept between the soul and its Lord alone.

I.
_There is the Denial of all that remains of Evil in us._

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How many sincere souls, when they look into their own hearts, find, to
their horror, evil in them where they least expected it; find them part stone,
when they should be all flesh; find them bound to earth and the love of
earthly things, when they should be free from the world and the love of the
world; find them occupied, alas! so often with idols and heart-lusts, when
God alone ought to rule and reign. Here is a sphere for self-denial. Here is a
service to be rendered to God, which will be very acceptable to Him, and
which you alone can perform.

And if you would thus deny yourself, then examine yourself. Study the
evils of your own nature. Recognise sin. Call it by its right name when you
speak of it in the solitude of your own heart. If there are the remains of the
deadly poison in you, say so to God, and keep on saying so with a holy
importunity. “Confess your sins.” Attack them as the farmer attacks the
poison-plant amongst his crops, or the worms and flies which will blight his
harvest, and which, unless he can ruin them, he knows full well will ruin
him. That is the “_perfect self-denial_”–to cut off the right hand, and to
pluck out and cast away what is dear as the right eye, if it offend against the
law of purity and truth and love.

But you yourself are to do it. Do not say you cannot, for you alone can. If
you would be His disciple–His holy, loving, pure, worthy disciple–you
must deny yourself. Cry to Him for help as much as you will–you cannot
cry too often or too long–but you must do more than that: you must arise,
and deny your own selfish nature; pinch, and harass, and refuse your own
inward sins, and expose them to the light of God. Confess them without
ceasing, mortify them without mercy, and slay them, and give no quarter.
Say, and say in earnest:-

Oh, how I hate these lusts of mine That crucified my God!– These sins that
pierced and nailed His flesh Fast to the fatal wood.

Yes, my Redeemer, they shall die– My soul has so decreed; I will not
longer spare the things That made my Saviour bleed.

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Whilst with a melting, broken heart, My murdered Lord I view, I’ll raise
revenge against my sins, And slay the murderers too.

II.
There are Denials of the Will.

Human nature is a collection of likes and dislikes. The great mass of men
are governed by their preferences. What they like, they strive after; what
they do not like, they neglect, or refuse, or resist. Many of these
preferences, though not harmful in themselves, lead continually to that
subjection of the will to self-interest, and help that self-satisfaction and
self-love which are the deadly enemies of the soul. Now, true self-denial is
the denial, for Christ’s sake and the sake of souls, of these preferences. To
say to God: “I sacrifice my way for Thy way–my wish for Thy wish–my
will for Thy will–my plan for Thy plan–my life for Thy life”–this is
self-denial.

Nothing can be more acceptable to a good father’s heart than the knowledge
that his son, living and labouring far away from him amid difficulties and
opposition, is courageously sacrificing his own preferences, and faithfully
seeking to carry out his, the father’s, will. In such a son that father sees a
reproduction of all that is strongest and best in his own nature. And so it is
with the Heavenly Father. No greater joy can be His than to see the resolute
surrender of His children’s own will to His, and the daily denial of their
hopes and plans for themselves and theirs in favour of His plans.

III.
There are Denials of the Affections.
The precious things of earth– The mother’s tender care, The father’s faith
and prayer– From Thee have birth.
And, just because love is of such high origin, and is the greatest power in
human life, it is often captured and held by the Devil as his last stronghold

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against God. The heart is at once the strongest and the most sensitive part
of our nature; and it is here, therefore, that we often find the most blessed
and profitable opportunities for self-denial.

That pleasant companionship, so grateful, so fruitful of joy, and yet so
likely to tempt me from the path of faithful service, “Lord, I deny myself of
it.” That mastering affection for wife, or husband, or children–so beautiful
in its strength and simplicity, and yet so exacting in its claims–“Lord, I
deny myself of the abandonment to which it invites me; I put it in its proper
place, second to Thee, and to the work Thou hast given me to do.” That
love of home, and friends, and circle, which is so powerful a factor in life,
and enters so constantly into all the arrangements and details of our
conduct, influencing so largely all real plans for doing God’s work–“Lord, I
will deny it, when it is in danger of lessening my labours for Thee and Thy
Kingdom.” The pleasant hour, the quiet evening, the restful book, “I will
lay them at Thy feet, for Thy sake, when they hinder me doing Thy will. It
is between me and Thee alone; it is the sacrifice of love.”

How precious it must be to God to see such self-denial! When the true
lover sees the woman he has chosen leaving all for his sake, calmly laying
down the love of father and family, and even braving the rebuffs and
unkindness of those from whom before she has known nothing but
affection, in order that she may give him her whole heart and life, how
strong become the cords which bind him to her! Every sacrifice she makes
for his sake forges another bond which will not easily be broken. And is the
Lord a man, that He should be behind us in loving with an everlasting love
those who thus give up and deny their own loves for Him? No! a thousand
times no! He will repay. Every self-denial is a seedling rich with future
joys. For it is indeed true that “He that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the
Spirit reap life everlasting. He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I
will give him the morning star.”

IV.
There are Denials with reference to our Gifts.

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“Look not,” says the Apostle, “every man on his own things, but every man
also on the things of others.” That is, even in the exercise of his choicest
gifts and graces, let a man forget his own in his desire to employ and bring
forward the gifts of others. “Let nothing be done through strife or
vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than
themselves.” That is, in your own mind take a humble view of yourself,
your own powers, and your own worthiness, and hold your comrades in
higher esteem than you hold yourself, in honour preferring one another to
yourself. _That would be a very real self-denial to some people!_

“Recompense to no man evil for evil,” though you know he well deserves
it; “Avenge not yourselves.” “If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst,
give him drink.” “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them
that weep.” That is, deny yourself of your own joys, that you may enter into
the sorrow of others; and lay aside your own sorrows and tears, and silence
your own breaking heart, when you can help others by entering with joy
into their joys.

You will see, beloved, that all this is work which no one can do for you,
and that it is in a very true sense high service to God as well as to man.

How, then, is it with you?

Are you a self-denying disciple? If not, beware, lest it should shortly appear
that you are not a disciple at all.

XIII.
In Unexpected Places.
“_And . . . while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself
drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should
not know Him_.”–Luke xxiv. 15, 16.

I.

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_The Knife-grinder_.

The only person in the house, except the man and his wife, was a young
domestic servant, a Soldier of The Salvation Army. Her employers were
generally drinking when they were not asleep, and the drinking led to the
most dreadful quarrelling. Disgusting orgies of one kind or another were of
almost daily occurrence, and such, visitors as came to the house only added
fuel to the fiery furnace of passion and frenzy through which the girl was
called to walk.

Since that happy Sunday afternoon two years ago, when she gave herself to
God in the wholesome village from which she came, the meetings and the
opportunity, given her by The Army, of doing some work for other souls
had been a bright light in her life. Little by little religion had come to have
for her something of the same meaning it had for St. Paul: though I fear she
knew very little of St. Paul, or of the great and wise things he
wrote–domestic service is seldom favourable to the study of the Scriptures.
But the same spirit which led the great Apostle to confer not with flesh and
blood, and which took him into Arabia before he went to Jerusalem, was
leading this quiet, country maiden to see that to be a follower of Christ
means something more than to win a fleeting happiness in this life and a
kind of pension in the next. She was beginning to understand that to be
really Christ’s means also to be a Christ; that to be His, one must seek for
the lost sheep for whom He died. And so Rhoda–I call her Rhoda, though
that was not her name–when she found to what sort of people she had, in
her ignorance of the great city, engaged herself, had set to work to seek
their salvation.

Many very good people would probably think that she would have been a
wiser girl to have gone elsewhere–that the risks of such a position were
very great, and so on. No doubt; but the light of a great truth was rising in
Rhoda’s heart and mind. She perceived in her very danger an opportunity to
prove her love for her Saviour by risking something for the souls of those
two besotted creatures, for whom she dared to think He really died.

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And so, day after day, she toiled for them: night after night she prayed for
them. And in her sober moments the wreck of a woman, her mistress, wept
aloud in her slobbering way, and talked of the days long, long ago, when
she, too, believed in the things that are good.

The first flush of novelty in the sense of doing an unselfish thing for God
wore away, and presently Rhoda’s real trial began. The drinking and
fighting grew worse, and the difficulty of getting out to a meeting grew
greater. Gradually the weary body robbed the struggling soul of its time to
pray; and, worst of all, by slow degrees Rhoda’s faith was shaken, for her
prayers, her agonising prayers, on behalf of those dark souls were only too
manifestly not answered. Was it worth while, after all, troubling about
sinners? Was it her affair? Why should she care? Of what use could it be to
become an Officer, in order to seek the many, if God did not hearken to her
cry for the few?

One day the Captain of the Corps to which Rhoda belonged called, and
seemed grieved with her for neglecting the meetings. This was a heavy
blow. She could not or would not explain, and when that night, in the midst
of a drunken brawl, her master struck her in the face, heart and flesh both
failed, and she determined to say no more about salvation, and to abandon
all profession of religion.

That night seemed long and dark, and when at last sleep came, the pillow
was wet with tears of anguish, of anger, and of pride.

“Scissors to mend! to mend! to mend!” The monotonous calls of London
hawkers are a strange mixture of sounds–at one moment attractive, at
another repelling; they are, perhaps, more like the cry of a bird in distress
than anything else.

Rhoda looked at her wood-chopper as the knife-grinder came nearer to the
house, and as he passed beckoned him, and gave it to him. She made no
remark. He was rough and grimy, and his torn coat gave him an appearance
of misery, which his face rather belied. She was miserable enough, and
made no reply to his cheery “Good morning!”

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Presently the axe was sharpened, and the man brought it to the door. She
paid him.

“Thank you,” he said. And then, with kindly abruptness–“Excuse me, but I
see you have been crying. Do you ever pray?” And, after a silence, “God
answers prayer, though He may not do it our way. _He did it for me._ I was
a drunkard, but my mother’s prayers are answered now, and I belong to The
Salvation Army. Do you know any of them? Oh, they just live by prayer!”

Rhoda stood in silence listening to the strange man till she ceased to hear
him, and looking at him till she ceased to see him! Another Presence and
another Voice was there.

It was the Christ.

Rhoda was delivered. She is still fighting for souls, and loves most to do it
where Satan’s seat is. But the knife-grinder never knew.

II.
A Kiss.

The heat and smell in the narrow slum were worse than usual. A hot
Saturday night in midsummer is a bad time in the slums, and worse in the
slum public-houses. It was so on the night I speak of. In and out of the
suffocating bar the dirty stream of humanity came and went. Men who had
ceased long ago to be anything but beasts; women with tiny, white children
in their bony arms; boys and girls sipping the naphtha of perdition, and
talking the talk of fools; lewd and foul-mouthed women of the streets, all
hustled and jostled one another, and sang, and swore, and bandied horrid
words with the barmen–and, all the while, they drank, and drank, and
drank! The atmosphere grew thicker and thicker with the dust and
tobacco-smoke, and little by little the flaming gas-jets burnt up the oxygen,
till by midnight the place was all but unendurable.

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Among the last to go was a woman of the town, who betook herself, with a
bottle of whisky, to a low lodging-house hard by. There she drank and
quarrelled with such vehemence that in the early hours of the morning the
“Deputy”–as the guardian of order is called in these houses–picked her up
and threw her into the gutter outside. There, amid the garbage from the
coster-mongers’ barrows and the refuse of the town, this remnant of a
ruined woman lay in a half-drunken doze, until the golden sunlight
mounted over the city houses and pierced the sultry gloom on the Sabbath
morning.

Another woman chanced that way. Young, beautiful alike in form and
spirit, and touched with the far-offness of many who walk with Christ, she
hastened to the early Sunday morning service, there to join her prayers with
others seeking strength to win the souls of men.

“What is that?” she asked her friend as they passed.

“That,” replied the other, “is a drunken woman, unclean and outcast.”

In a moment the Salvationist knelt upon the stones, and kissed the battered
face of the poor wanderer.

“Who is that–what did you do?” said the Magdalene. “Why did you kiss
me? Nobody ever kissed me since my mother died.”

It was the Christ.

That kiss won a heart to Him.

III.
A Promotion.

Henry James was coming rapidly into his employer’s favour. Thoughtful,
obliging, attentive to details, anxious to please, and, above all, thoroughly
reliable in word and deed, he was a first-class servant and an exemplary

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Salvationist. In the Corps to which he belonged he stood high in the esteem
both of the Local Officers and the Soldiers, and there was no more
welcome speaker in the Open-air or more successful “fisher” in the sinners’
meetings than “Young James.”

The question of his own future was beginning to occupy a good deal of
attention. Ought he to offer himself for Officership in The Army? He was
very far from decided either one way or the other, when one evening at the
close of business his master sent for him. He expressed his pleasure at the
progress James was making, and offered him a greatly improved
position–the managership of a branch establishment, with certain privileges
as to hours, an immediate and considerable advance in salary, and the
prospect of a still more profitable position in the future. There was really
only one condition required of him–he must live in premises adjoining the
new venture, and he must not come to and fro in the uniform of The Army.
His employers had a high esteem for The Salvation Army. It was a noble
work, and their opinion of it had risen since they had employed one or two
of its Soldiers. But business was business, and the uniform going in and out
would not help business, and so forbh.

The young man hesitated, and, to the senior partner’s surprise, asked for a
week to consider.

During the week there were consultations with almost every one he knew.
The majority of his own friends said decidedly “Accept.” A few
Salvationists of the weaker sort said, “Yes, take it; you will, in the end, be
able to do more for God, and give The Army more time, more money, more
influence.” On the other hand, the Captain and the older Local Officers
answered, “No; it is a compromise of principle; the uniform is only the
symbol of out-and-out testimony for Christ; you put it on in holy covenant
with Him; you cannot take it off, especially for your own advantage,
without breaking that covenant. Don’t!”

James promised himself–quite sincerely, no doubt–that it should not be so
with him. And on the appointed day informed the firm that he accepted
their proposal.

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The new enterprise was a success. Everything turned out better than was
expected. At the end of six months the new manager received a cordial
letter of thanks from the firm, and a hint of further developments.

But Henry James was an unhappy man. He had gained so much that he was
always asking himself how it came about that he seemed to have lost so
much more! Position, prospects, opportunity, money–these were all
enhanced. And yet he went everywhere with a sense of loss, burdened with
a consciousness of having parted with more than he had received in return.
As a man of business, the impression at last took the form of a business
estimate in his mind. Yes, that was it; he had secured a high–a very
high–price that evening in the counting-house, when the partners waited
for his answer; he had parted with something; he had, in fact, sold
something.

It was the Christ.

It proved a ruinous transaction.

XIV.
Ever the Same.

A New Year’s Greeting.

_”Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are
His: and He changeth the times and the seasons.”_–Daniel ii. 20, 21.

_”I am the Lord, I change not.”_–Malachi iii. 6.

“He changeth the times and the seasons.” What a beautiful thought it is!
Instead of the hard compulsion of some inexorable and unchanging law
fixing summer where it must, and planting winter in our midst whether it be
well or ill, here is the sweet assurance that the seasons change at His
command; and that the winds and the waves obey Him. It is not some
abstract and unknowable force, taking no account of us and ours, with

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whom we have to do, but a living and ruling Father: He who maketh small
the drops of water that pour down rain; He who shuts up the sea with doors,
and says: “Here shall thy proud waves be stayed”; He who maketh the
south winds to blow, and by whose breath the frost is given; He who
teaches the swallow to know the time of her coming, and has made both
summer and winter, and the day and the night His servants–He is our
Father. How precious it is to feel that our times are in His hands; and to
know that, whether the year be young or old, He will fill it with mercy and
crown it with loving-kindness!

Do not be deceived by the modern talk about the laws of Nature into
forgetting that they are the laws ordained by your Father for the fulfilment
of His will. Every day that dawns is as truly God’s day as was the first one.
Every night that draws its sable mantle over a silent world sets a seal to the
knowledge of God who maketh the darkness. Behind the mighty forces and
the ceaseless activities around us stands the Sovereign of them all. The
hand of Him who never slumbers is on the levers. The earth is the Lord’s,
and His chosen portion is His people; and when “He changes the times and
the seasons,” He fits the one to the other.

It is with some such thoughts as these that I send out a brief New Year’s
Greeting to my friends. I wish them a Happy New Year, because I feel that
God has sent it, that He wills it to be a happy year–a good year: that in all
the changes it may bring, He will be planning with highest benevolence for
their truest welfare. Whether, therefore, it holds for them sorrow or joy, it
will be a year of mercy, a year of grace, a year of love. “Blessed be God for
ever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. He revealeth the deep and
secret things. He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth
with Him.”

Let us, then, go forward, and fear not.

I.
_Material Changes._

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All things that touch the life of man are marked for change. As knowledge
advances, and men come nearer to the secrets of the world in which they
live, they find how true indeed it is, that man is but “a shadow dwelling in a
world of shadows.” Everything is changing–everything but God. The sun,
the astronomers tell us, is burning itself away. “The mountains,” say the
geologists, “are not so high as they once were; their lofty summits are
sliding down their sides year by year. The everlasting hills are only
everlasting in a figure; for they, too, are crumbling day by day. The hardest
rocks are softening into soil every season, and we are actually eating them
up in our daily bread.”

The hills are shadows, and they flow From form to form, and nothing
stands; They melt like mists, the solid lands, Like clouds they shape
themselves and go.

The great ocean-currents are changing, and vast regions of the earth’s
surface are being changed with them, and Time is writing wrinkles on the
whole world and all that is therein.

But, above it all, I see One standing–my Unchanging God. “Thou, Lord, in
the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the
works of Thine hands; they shall perish, but Thou remainest; and they all
shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up,
and they shall be changed; but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not
fail.”

What a contrast there is between the Worker and His work, between the
Creator and the creature! We see it in a thousand things; but in none is it so
manifest for the wayfaring man, or written so large upon the fading
draperies of time, as in this: “_They shall perish, but Thou remainest_.”

And greater changes yet seem to lie ahead. A universal instinct points to the
time of the restitution of all things. “The whole creation groaneth and
travaileth in pain together, waiting”–and it has been a long, weary
waiting–“for deliverance.” But the day of the Lord will come. “As the
lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall

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the coming of the Son of Man be.” In his vision John saw, as it were, a
picture of that final change. “Lo,” he says, “there was a great earthquake,
and the sun became black as sack-cloth of hair”–it looks as though the wise
men who say it will burn itself out are right!–“and the moon became as
blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth
her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven
departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and
island were moved out of their places.” What a combination of astounding
catastrophes is here! Earth and stars are to meet in awful shock! Sun and
moon to fail! Cloud and sky to disappear; the elements to melt with fervent
heat–a world on fire!

But, above it all, the Lamb that was slain will take His place upon the
Throne–unmoved, unchanged, amidst the tumult of dissolving worlds. My
God, my Saviour, in Thy unchanging love I put my trust:-

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness My beauty are, my glorious dress;
‘Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, With joy shall I lift up my head.

II.
Changes of Association.

But far-reaching as are the changes in our material surroundings, those with
which we have to battle in our personal associations are often as great, and
are often much more painful. Indeed, man himself is the most changeable
thing in all man’s world.

It is not merely that our companions and friends and loved ones die–the
wind passeth over them, and they are gone, and the dear places that knew
them know them no more–it is not merely this; nor is it that their
circumstances change, that wealth becomes penury, that health is changed
to weakness and suffering, and youth to age and decay–it is not merely
this, but it is that they change. The ardour of near friendship grows cold and
fades away; the trust which once knew no limitations is narrowed down,
and, by and by, walled in with doubts and fears; the comradeship which

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was so sweet and strong, and quickened us to great deeds, as “iron
sharpeneth iron,” is changed for other companionships; the love which
seemed so deep and true, and was ready “to look on tempests” for us,
becomes but a name and a memory, even if it does not change into a well of
bitter waters in our lives.

This fact of human mutability, this inherent changeableness in man, is the
key to many of the darkest chapters of the world’s history. The prodigal, the
traitor, the vow-breaker, these have ever been far more fruitful sources of
anguish and misery than the life-long rebel and law-breaker.

The Psalmist touches the inner springs of sorrow when he says, “All that
hate Me whisper together against Me; yea, Mine own familiar friend, in
whom I trusted, which did eat of My bread, hath lifted up his heel against
Me.”

No one who has once read it can forget that revelation of the pent-up shame
and agony in David’s heart, which was voiced in his cry, “O my son
Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O
Absalom, my son, my son!”

The human heart probably fell to its lowest depth of ingratitude and sin
when poor Judas changed sides and sold his Lord. What a change it was!
Alas, alas, what a quagmire of uncertainties and shifting sand unsanctified
human nature must be! Nay, is.

I suppose that few of us have escaped some sorrowful experiences of this
kind. Even to those who have not tasted the fruits of human fickleness in
the great affairs of Christ’s Kingdom, there has generally come some share
of it into the more private relationships of life. In the home, in the family,
or in the circle of friendship or comradeship, we have had to lament the
failure of many tender hopes. But, blessed be the name of our God, who
knoweth what is in the darkness, amidst the changing scenes we have found
one Comfort. Above the strife of tongues, and over the stormy seas of
sorrow, when, as Job said, even our kinsfolk have failed, and our familiar
friends have forgotten us, there is borne to us the voice of One who sticketh

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closer than a brother, saying, “I am the Lord; I change not. With Me there is
no variableness, neither the shadow of turning. I will never leave thee nor
forsake thee.” The more men change, the surer God will be; the more they
forget, the more He will remember; the further they withdraw, the nearer
He will come.

III.
Personal Changes.

And we, ourselves, change also. As the years fly past, the most notable fact
about us, perhaps, is the changes that are going on in our own experiences,
our habits, our thoughts, our hopes, our conduct, our character. How much
there was about us, only a few years ago, which has changed in the
interval–nay, how much has grown different even since last New Year’s
Day! Indeed, might we not say of a great deal in us, which to-day is, that
to-morrow it will be cast away for ever?

Have you, my friend, not had to mourn over some strange changes?

Has not your joy been often so quickly turned to sorrow that you have
wondered how you yourself could be the same person? Has not some
trifling circumstance often seemed to cloud your sky for days, darkening all
the great lights in your heaven, so that your whole past, and present, and
future have seemed different to you, and you stood in the stupor of
astonishment at the gloomy change? Has not your zeal for souls been
subject to like strange and unaccountable changes, so that the work you
once thought impossible you have found easy; or the work you once
delighted in, you now find hard, difficult, and barren? Has not your
freedom in prayer, and your desire for it, wavered between this and that
until you have not known what to think of yourself?

Has not your perception of duty, and your devotion to it, at one time clear
and strong, become at another so dim and feeble, that you have been utterly
ashamed of your wobbling and cowardice, and amazed at your failure?
And, most sorrowful of all, has not your love for your God and Saviour

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been up and down–shamefully down–so that when you have afterwards
reflected on your coldness towards Him and His cause, you have been
covered with confusion and astonishment at the fickleness of your own
heart?

And more than this. How great are the changes wrought in us by the
curbing influence of time! How much that in youth and early manhood we
meant to do, and could do, and did do, has to be laid down, or left to others,
as our years approach the limits of their pilgrimage! I have known some
men who, for this reason alone, did not desire to live beyond the years of
strength and vigour–they preferred “to cease at once to work and live.”

The loss by death, or disappointments worse than death, of our friends and
dear ones–what changes this also works! Unconsciously men narrow the
sphere of their sympathies. The mainspring of life–love–grows slowly
rusty for want of use, and from some hearts that were once true fountains of
joy to those around them, the living water almost ceases to flow. Criticism,
and fault-finding, and censoriousness too often take the place of generous
labour for the welfare of the world. This may, no doubt, arise in part from
the natural desire that others should profit by our past experiences, which
renders us the more observant of their conduct the more we love. But, no
matter what the cause, certain it is that within and without all seems to
change.

Is it not, then, a joy unspeakable that, amidst all this, whether we are or are
not fully alive to the weakness, and variableness, and deceitfulness of our
own hearts, we can look up to the ROCK that changeth NOT? In the
darkest hour of disappointment with ourselves; in the depths of that
miserable aftermath of sorrow and failure which follows all pride and
foolish self-assertion; in the miry pit of condemnation and guilt in which
sin always leaves the sinner, we can look up to Him whose power, whose
grace, whose love is ever the same.

Do you really believe it? There is a great hope in it for you if you do. High
above all your changes, high above all the storms and disappointments that
belong to them; high above all the wretched failure and doubting of the

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“do-the-best-I-can” life you are living, He lives to bless, to save, to uplift,
to keep. Unnumbered multitudes, fighting their way to Him in spite of the
timidities and wobblings, the “couldn’ts” and “wouldn’ts” of their own
nature, have proved Him the Faithful and Unchanging God. Will not you?

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The Power of the Blood of Christ by R. A. Torrey

The Power of the Blood of Christ by R. A. Torrey
(from How To Obtain Fullness Of Power by R.A. Torrey, ©1897, Fleming H. Revell Company)

“POWER BELONGETH unto God.” It is therefore at man’s disposal. But there is one thing that separates between man and God, that is, sin. We read in Isaiah, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear” (Isa.59:1,2). Before we can know God’s power in our lives and service,, sin must be put away from God and us. It is the blood that puts away sin (Heb. 9:26). We must know the power of the blood if we are to know the power of God. Our knowing experimentally the power of the Word, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the power of prayer, is dependent upon our knowing the power of the blood of Christ. Let us see what the blood of Christ has power to do:

1. First of all, the blood of Christ is a propitiation for sin. In Romans 3:25, R.V., we read,

Whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in His blood, to show His righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God.”

In the earlier verses of this chapter Paul has proven all men to be sinners, “every mouth is stopped,” all the world is seen to be “guilty before God.” But God is holy, a God who hates sin. God’s hatred of sin is no play hatred. It is real, it is living, it is active. It must make itself manifest somehow. God’s wrath at sin must strike somewhere. What hope then is there for any of us; for we “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”? In verse 25, God gives us His own answer to this tremendously important question. Their is hope for us because God Himself has provided a propitiation, the shed blood of Christ. God has ‘set forth Christ to be a propitiation, through faith, by His blood.’ The wrath of God at sin strikes on Him instead of striking on us. Of this great truth the Prophet Isaiah got a glimpse several hundred years before the birth of Christ. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid [literally, made to strike] on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6).

The first power of Christ’s blood is the propitiation for sin, affording a mark for and satisfying God’s holy wrath at sin. He is “our passover” (I Cor. 5:7) and when God sees His blood, He will pass over and spare us, sinners though we are. (Compare Exod. 12:13, 23.)

This propitiation is cheifly for the believer, “a propitiation, through faith.” All of God’s wrath at the believer’s sins is fully appeased of satisfied in the blood of Christ. What a wonderfully comforting thought it is, when we think how often and how greatly we have sinned, and then think how infinitely holy God is, how He hates sin, to think that God’s wrath has already been fully appeased in the shed blood of His own Son, the propitiation which He Himself provided!

The blood of Christ in a certain measure avails for all, for unbelievers as well as for believers, for the vilest sinner and the most stubborn unbeliever and blasphemer. In I John 2:2, R.V., we read, “And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.” By the shed blood of Christ a basis is provided upon which God can deal in mercy with the whole world. All of God’s dealings in mercy with man are on the ground of the shed blood of Christ. God’s dealings with those who ridicule the doctrine of the Atonement, God’s dealings with Voltaire, Tom Paine and Colonel Ingersoll, are all on the ground of that shed blood. All of God’s dealings in mercy with any man since the fall of Adam are on the ground of that shed blood. if it had not been for the shed blood, God could never have dealt in mercy with a sinner, but must have at once cut him off in his sin.

If anyone asks, How then could God have dealt in mercy with sinners before Christ came and died?- the answer is simple. Jesus is the Lamb that hath been “slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). From the moment sin entered into the world, God had His eyes upon that sacrifice which He Himself had prepared from the foundation of the world. And in the very Garden of Eden the blood of sacrifices that pointed forward as types to the true sacrifice began to flow. It is the power of the blood which has secured to men all the merciful things God has wrought for them since sin entered. the most determined rejector of Christ owes all he has that is good to the blood of Christ.

2. Again in Ephesians 1:7, R.V., we read,

“…We have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness or our trespasses….”

Through the blood of Christ we have our redemption, the forgiveness of sins. forgiveness of sin is not something the believer in Christ is to look forward to in the future; it is something he already has. “We have,” says Paul, “the forgiveness of our trespasses.” The forgiveness of sin is not something we are to do something to secure. It is something which the blood of Christ has already secured, and which our faith simply appropriates and enjoys. Forgiveness has already been secured for every believer in Christ by the power of the blood.

You have heard of the old woman who lay dying. her rector heard of it and called upon her. “They tell me,” he said, “that you are dying.”

“Yes,” she replied.

“And have you made your peace with God?”

“No,” came the answer.

“And are you not afraid to meet God without making your peace with Him?”

“Not at all,” was the answer and startled the minister.

The minister grew earnest. “Woman, do you realize that you have but a short time to live and that you must soon meet a holy God?”

“Yes, I realize it perfectly.”

“And you are not afraid?”

“Not at all.”

“And you have not made your peace with God?”

“No.”

“What do you mean?” cried the astonished rector.

A smile passed over the features of the dying woman. “I have not made my peace with God because I do not need to. Christ made peace more than eighteen hundred years ago by the blood of His cross (Col.1:20), and I am simply resting in the peace he made.”

Oh, blessed is the one who has learned to rest in the peace Christ made, who counts his sins forgiven because Christ’s blood was shed and God says so! “…We have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7, R.V.).

3. There is a third passage very akin to this, that brings out the power of Christ’s blood. it is I John 1:7,

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

This brings out the completeness of the forgiveness we get through the blood. The blood of Christ has power to cleanse the believer from all sin. It continually “cleanseth,” is cleansing, keeping him clean every day and hour, and every minute. The cleansing here is from the guilt of sin. When cleansing is mentioned in the Bible in connection with the blood, it is always cleansing from guilt. Cleansing from the power of sin and the presence of sin is by the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the living and indwelling Christ, not the crucified Christ. Christ on the cross saves from the guilt of sin; Christ on the throne saves from the power of sin; and Christ coming again will save from the presence of sin. But the blood of Christ cleanses from all the guilt of sin, when one is walking in the light, submitting to the light, and walking in Christ who is the light. The blood of Christ cleanses from all sin. His past may be as bad as a past can be. There may have been countless enormous sins, but they are all, every one, the greatest and the smallest, washed away. His record is absolutely white in God’s sight. As white as the record of Jesus Christ Himself. His sins which were as scarlet are as white as snow, though they were red like crimson, they are as wool (Isa. 1:18).

The blood of Christ has power to wash the blackest record white. Some of us may have had a black past. We all have had; for if we could see our past as God sees it before it is washed, the record of the best of us would be black, black, black. But if we are walking in the light, submitting to the truth of God, believing in the light, in Christ, our record today is white as Christ’s garments were when the disciples saw Him on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2, Mark 9:3, Luke 9:29). No one can lay anything to the charge of God’s elect (Rom. 8:33): there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).

4. Again in Romans 5:9, we read,

“Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”

The blood of Christ has power to justify. Every believer in Christ is already justified in Christ’s blood. Justified means more than forgiven and cleansed. Forgiveness, as glorious as it is, is a negative thing. It means merely that our sins are put away and we are regarded as if we had not sinned. But justification is positive. It means that we are reckoned positively righteous; that positive and perfect righteousness, even the perfect righteousness of Christ, is put to our account.

It is a good thing to be stripped of vile and filthy rags, but it is far better to be clothed with garments of glory and beauty. In forgiveness we are stripped of the vile and stinking rags of our sins; in justification we are clothed upon with the glory and beauty of Christ. It is the power of the blood which secures this. In shedding His blood as a penalty for sin, Christ took our place, and when we believed in Him, we step into His place. “Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21, R.V.).

5. Let us now look at Hebrews 9:14, R.V.,

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered Himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscious from dead works to serve the living God?”

The blood of Christ has power to cleanse the conscious from dead works to serve the living God. Do you understand what that means? It is a glorious truth and I will try to make it plain. When a man is wakened up to the fact that he is a sinner and that God is holy, he feels that he must do something to please God and atone for sin. He must “do penances,” “keep Lent,” or give away money, or do something else, to atone for his sins. Now all these self efforts to please God and atone for sins are “dead works.” they can never accomplish what they aim at, and can never bring peace.

How many weary years Martin Luther sought peace in this way and found it not. But when we see the power of the blood, how it has already perfectly atoned for sin, how it has already washed away our sins and justified us before God, how we are already pleasing and acceptable in God’s sight by reason of that shed blood, then our consciences are not only relieved from the burden of guilt, but also from the burden of these self-efforts, and we are now at liberty to serve the living God, not in the slavery of fear, but in the liberty of the freedom and joy of those who know they are accepted and beloved sons. It is the blood that delivers us from the awful bondage of thinking we must do something to atone for sins and please God. The blood shows us that it is already done.

A friend of mine once said to another who was seeking peace by doing, “You have a religion of two letters. My religion is a religion of four letters.”

“How is that?” asked the other.

“Your religion is do. My religion is done. You are trying to rest in what you do. I am resting in what Christ has done.”

There are many Christians today who have not permitted the blood of Christ to cleanse their consciences from dead works. They are constantly feeling they must do something to atone for sin. Oh, my brother, my sister, look at what God looks at, the blood, and see that it is all done, already done! God is satisfied, sin is atoned for, you are justified. Now don’t do dead works to commend yourself to God; but, realizing that you are already commended by the blood, serve Him in the freedom of gratitude and love, and not in the bondage of fear.

There are three classes of men. First, those who are not burdened by sin, but love it. That is wholly bad. Second, those who are burdened by sin and seek to get rid of it by self-effort. That is better, but there is something infinitely better yet. Third, those who see the hideousness of sin, and were burdened for it, but who have been brought to see the power of the blood, settling sin forever, putting it away (Heb. 9:26), and so are no longer burdened, but now work not to commend themselves to God, but out of joyous gratitude to Him who perfectly justifieth the ungodly through the shed blood.

6. In Acts 20:28, we read,

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.”

And in revelation 5:9, R.V.,

“And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with Thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.”

The blood of Christ has power to purchase us unto God, to make us God’s own. The blood of Christ makes me God’s own property. That thought brings to me a feeling of responsibility. If I belong to God, I must serve Him wholly; body, soul, and spirit, must be surrendered wholly to Him. But the thought that I am God’s property brings also a feeling of security. God can and will take care of His own property. The blood of Christ has power to make me eternally secure.

7. We learn still more about the power of the blood in Hebrews 10:19, 20, R.V.,

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which He dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, the flesh.”

The blood of Christ has power to give the believer boldness to enter into the holy place, to approach into the very presence of God. In the old Jewish days of the tabernacle and temple God manifested Himself in the most holy place. This was the place to meet God. But into this holy place only one Jew in all the nation was allowed to enter, the high priest; and he only once a year, on the day of atonement; and then only with blood. God was teaching the Jews, and through them the world, three great truths– God’s unapproachable holiness, man’s sinfulness, and that sinful man could approach a holy God only through atoning blood, that “without shedding of blood” there could be “no remission,” and consequently no approach to God (Heb. 9:22). But the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices was only a figure of the true sacrifice, Jesus Christ; and, by reason of His shed blood, the vilest sinner who believes on Him has the right to approach God– come into His very presence, when he will, without fear, “in full assurance of faith,” “with boldness.”

Oh, the wondrous power of the blood of Christ to take all fear away when I draw near to that God who is holy and is a “consuming fire”! God is holy? Yes. And I am a sinner? Yes– but by that wondrous offering of Christ “once and for all” my sin is forever put away, I am “perfected” and “justified,” and, on the ground of that blood so precious and satisfying to God, I can march boldly into the very presence of God.

But the blood of Christ has still further power. Read Revelation 22:14, R.V.,

“Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.”

By comparing this verse with chapter 7 and verse 14, we see that it is in the blood of Christ that robes are washed. The blood of Christ then has power to give those who believe in Him a right to the tree of life and entrance into the city of God. Sin in the first place shut men away from the tree of life and out of Eden (Gen. 3:22-24). The shed blood of Christ opens to us again the way to the tree of life and to the New Jerusalem. The blood of Christ regains for us all that Adam lost by sin, and brings us much more than we lost.

We see something of the power of the blood of Christ. Have you appreciated that blood? Have you let it have power in your life that it ought to have? There are some today who are trying to devise a theology that leaves out the blood of Christ. Poor fools! Christianity without atoning blood is a Christianity without mercy for the sinner, without settled peace for the conscience, without genuine forgiveness, without justification, without cleansing, without boldness in approaching God, without power. It is not Christianity, but the devil’s own counterfeit. If we would know fullness and power in Christian life and service, we must first of all know the power of the blood of Christ, for it is that which brings us pardon, justification, and boldness in our approach to God. We cannot know the power of the Spirit unless we first know the power of the blood. We certainly cannot know the power of prayer unless we know the power of that blood by which alone we can approach unto God.

There are some teachers of “the higher life” who ignore the fundamental truth about the blood. They are trying to build a lofty superstructure without a firm foundation. It is bound to tumble. We must begin with the blood, if we are to go on to the “holy of holies.” The brazen altar where blood was shed first met every priest who would enter into the holy place. There is no other way of entrance there. If we do not learn the lesson of this chapter, it is vain for us to try to learn the lessons of chapters 3 and 4. To everyone who wishes to know the power of the Spirit we first put the question, “Do you know the power of the blood?”

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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.

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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,

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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

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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

12

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.

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

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.

*********

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.

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

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.

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

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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Absent from the Body- Edwards.1.pdf
adultery.htm
adultery.pdf
adversary.pdf
Alcohol.htm
Alcohol.pdf
Andrew Murray on Helps to Intercession_.htm
Andrew Murray on Helps to Intercession_.pdf
Anecdotes and Illustrations – R_ A_ Torrey.htm
anointed.html
anointed.pdf
Beware – Be aware!.htm
Beware – Be aware!.pdf
Bible NIV.pdf
Bible Quickbibleamp_setupvb.zip
Bible Quickverse2005giveaway.zip
Bibleniv2.free edition.zip
Bondage to Liberty in Religion George T. Ashley,.pdf
Christian 4Keys.pdf
Christian essentials.htm
Christian essentials.pdf
Christian Healing-Toolbox.pdf
Christian Overcome.pdf
Christian Power- Evangelism.pdf
Christian SemGuide.pdf
Christian StepsToChrist.pdf
CHRISTIAN world training material.zip
Churches_that_Abuse.pdf
Confession_for_Guidance.pdf
Dailylight Your daily Bible devotional.zip
David Danced Before the Lord.pdf
Did I Miss God’s Will for My Life__ – R_ A_ Torrey Archive.htm
Did I Miss God’s Will for My Life__ – R_ A_ Torrey Archive.pdf
Difficulties in the Bible R_ A_ Torrey -.htm
Divine Healing By Andrew Murray.htm
Divine Healing By Andrew Murray.pdf
Doing the Will of God (trans).pdf
Earthly judgments and Heavenly judgments.pdf
Earthly judgments and Heavenly judgments_.htm
Eastons Bible Dictionary.pdf
Elijah The man who would not die J. H. WILLARD..pdf
Even as to the promised land.htm
ever-increasing-faith ebook.zip
Excellency Christ Edwards1.pdf
Excellency Christ Edwards2.pdf
Excellency Christ Edwards3.pdf
Faith_for_Healing.pdf
Family Worship.pdf
Fasting-Tithing-Blessing-Bringers-or-Burdens.pdf
Fox’s Book of Martyrs, by John Foxe.pdf
Foxes Book of Martyrs.pdf
From Death into Life William Haslam.pdf
God’s Keeping and How to Make Sure of It – R_ A_ Torrey.htm
God’s Keeping and How to Make Sure of It – R_ A_ Torrey.pdf
God’s path.htm
God’s path.pdf
Godliness Catherine Booth.pdf
Greatest Thing In the World Henry Drummond.pdf
HARMONY of the 4 gospel.zip
Heaven and its Wonders and Hell Emanuel Swedenborg.pdf
Hell is Real.htm
Help! I Think I’m Possessed!.htm
Help! I Think I’m Possessed!.pdf
Historical- Biblical study of Jesus.htm
Historical- Biblical study of Jesus.pdf
Holding Him to the Scriptures – Torrey.htm
Holding Him to the Scriptures – Torrey.pdf
Hope of the Gospel George MacDonald.pdf
How to be Inexpressibly Happy – Torrey.htm
How to be Inexpressibly Happy – Torrey.pdf
How To Cast Out Demons.htm
How To Cast Out Demons.pdf
HOW TO PRAY by R_ A_ Torrey.htm
HOW TO PRAY by R_ A_ Torrey.pdf
HOW TO PRAY by R_ A_ Torrey.htm
How to Pray So As to Get What You Ask R_ A_ Torrey.htm
How to Pray So As to Get What You Ask R_ A_ Torrey.pdf
Humility Andrew Murray.pdf
Hymns and Spiritual Songs I. Watts, D.D..pdf
Hymns and Spiritual Songs.pdf
I Know God Answers Prayer Rosalind Goforth.pdf
I Know God Answers Prayer,.pdf
Imitation-of-Christ.pdf
In Darkest England and The Way Out General William Booth.pdf
In His Steps Charles M. Sheldon.pdf
Jeremiah by George Adam Smith.pdf
Jesus Himself by Andrew Murray.pdf
Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray.htm
Jesus Himself’, by Andrew Murray.pdf
Jesus Wants to Teach You Himself.htm
Jesus Wants to Teach You Himself.pdf
John the Baptist, by F. B. Meyer.pdf
Keep Praying Until God Answers–R_ A_ Torrey.htm
Keep Praying Until God Answers–R_ A_ Torrey.pdf
KING JAMES BIBLE CLARIFIED NEW TESTAMENT.htm
King James Version of the Bible.htm
KingJames Bible.pdf
KJ Bible Ebook.pdf
KJV BOLD.htm
Last Days Ministries.htm
Last Days Ministries.pdf
Lawrence_Practice_of_Presence.pdf
Looking to Jesus – Torrey.pdf 4:50
Looking to Jesus, by R_A_ Torrey.htm
Looking to Jesus, by R_A_ Torrey.pdf
Lord of glory Arno Gaebelein.pdf
Lord, Teach Us To Pray A Murray.pdf
Love Contrasted, Described, Exalted – R_ A_ Torrey.htm
Love Contrasted, Described, Exalted – R_ A_ Torrey.pdf
Love to the Uttermost F. B. Meyer.pdf
Lying, Lies.htm
Lying, Lies.pdf
Madame Guyon Autobiography.pdf
MAGNA CHARTA OF WOMAN by Jessie Penn-Lewis.htm
MAGNA CHARTA OF WOMAN by Jessie Penn-Lewis.pdf
Maintaining Your Healing (trans).pdf
Maintaining Your Joy (trans).pdf
MCM CG To Fall or Not to Fall.pdf
MCM_CG_God_Kind_of_Faith_Long.pdf
MCM_eb_THFOS_Warfare.pdf
Ministers of the ministry.htm
Ministers of the ministry.pdf
Moody’s Stories D. L. Moody.pdf
Moody_Heaven_Text.pdf 11:01
Murray.In.Prayer.text.pdf 11:01
Necessity Prayer EM Bounds.pdf
nee normal christian life.pdf
Old Testament of the King James Version of the Bible.pdf
Our Christian Inheritance and Israel.htm
Our Christian Inheritance and Israel.pdf
Our Master, by Bramwell Booth.pdf
Personal Friendships of Jesus J. R. MILLER, D. D..pdf
Personal Friendships of Jesus, by J_ R_ Miller.htm
Personal Friendships of Jesus, by J_ R_ Miller.pdf
pilgrim.htm
pilgrim.pdf
pilgrims progress.pdf
PlymouthBrethren.htm
PlymouthBrethren.pdf
Popular Bible Verses.htm
Popular Bible Verses.pdf
Power Through Prayer EM Bounds.pdf
Praise – Worship.htm
Praise – Worship.pdf
Prayer and Praying Men EM Bounds.pdf
Prayer For Every Need.pdf
Promises.Intercession.Text.pdf
Prophecy today.htm
Prophecy today.pdf
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Prophecy, Prophecies of Messiah Jesus, Israel, End Times_.pdf
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prophet.pdf
Purpose in Prayer EM Bounds.pdf
Refutation Dispensationalism Pink.pdf
Resist Satan Your Worst Enemy.pdf
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Resist the devil.pdf
Rev Andrew Murray 4 books.zip
Rev George Mueller and his method of financial collections.htm
Rev George Mueller and his method of financial collections.pdf
Rev GEORGE MUELLER OF BRISTOL.htm
Rev GEORGE MUELLER OF BRISTOL.pdf
Rev George Muller of Bristol by ARTHUR T. PIERSON.pdf
Revival Addresses R_ A_ TORREY.htm
Revival Addresses R_ A_ TORREY.pdf
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Samson Power Gone Sour (article).pdf
SCRIPTURAL-Truth-Vs-Pulpit-LIES.pdf
Separation and Service DL Moodly.pdf
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Seven Demons That Attack the Church.htm
Seven Demons That Attack the Church.pdf
Severely Troubled persons.htm
Severely Troubled persons.pdf
sibling rivalry.pdf
Sickness & HEALING.htm
Sickness & HEALING.pdf
Six Women Leaders to Avoid.htm
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Soul mates or a Marriage Mate_.htm
Soul mates or a Marriage Mate_.pdf
Sovereign Grace DL Moodly.pdf
Sowing and Reaping DL Moodly.pdf
Spiritual Reformers in the 16th &17th .pdf
St. Francis of Assisi PAUL SABATIER.pdf
Stepping Heavenward by Mrs. E. Prentiss.pdf
Stories of Boys and Girls Who saviour by John Wesley.pdf
Studies in the Life and Teachings of Our Lord – R_ A_ Torrey.htm
Studies in the Life and Teachings of Our Lord – R_ A_ Torrey.pdf
Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible Is the Word of God_ R_ A_ Torrey’.htm
Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible Is the Word of God_ R_ A_ Torrey’.pdf
That Gospel Sermon on the Blessed Hope D. L. Moody .pdf
The Authority to Bind and Loose (trans).pdf
The basic Christian Life.htm
The basic Christian Life.pdf
The Bible A Progressive Revelation.htm
The Bible A Progressive Revelation.pdf
The Christian Conception of God, by R_A_ Torrey.htm
The Christian Conception of God, by R_A_ Torrey.pdf
The Christian Home by Shirley Rice-.htm
The Christian Home by Shirley Rice-.pdf
The Complete and Symmetrical Life – R_ A_ Torrey.htm
The Complete and Symmetrical Life – R_ A_ Torrey.pdf
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The Day of Golden Opportunity – R_A_ Torrey.pdf
The Essentials of Prayer EM BOUNDS.pdf
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The Fool’s Creed – R_ A_ Torrey.htm
The Fool’s Creed – R_ A_ Torrey.pdf
The Gospels in Four Part Harmony.pdf
The Great Attraction_ The Uplifted Christ.htm
The Great Attraction_ The Uplifted Christ.pdf
The Great Doctrines of the Bible by Rev. William Evans.pdf
The Holy War by John Bunyan.pdf
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.pdf
The Importance of Personal Soul Winning – Dr_ R_ A_ Torrey.htm
The Importance of Personal Soul Winning – Dr_ R_ A_ Torrey.pdf
The Jerusalem Sinner Saved by John Bunyan.pdf
THE KING JAMES BIBLE CLARIFIED NEW TESTAMENT.pdf
The Lamp of the Lord BYM.pdf
The Life of Trust George Müller.pdf
The ministry of the spirit A. J. GORDON, D.D..pdf
The Most Important Question, by R_A_ Torrey.htm
The Most Important Question, by R_A_ Torrey.pdf
The Name of Jesus (ltr).pdf
The Names of Jesus.htm
The Names of Jesus.pdf
The Necessity of Prayer EM Bounds.pdf
The New Testament Church Structure.htm
The New Testament Church Structure.pdf
The Overcoming Life D. L. Moody.pdf
The oxford movement R.W. Church .pdf
The Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit – Torrey.htm
The Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit – Torrey.pdf
The Personality of the Holy Spirit, by R_A_ Torrey.htm
The Personality of the Holy Spirit, by R_A_ Torrey.pdf
The Pharisee And Publican John Bunyan.pdf
The Pilgrim’s Progess MG John Bunyan.pdf
The Pilgrim’s Progress SWT by John Bunyan.pdf
The Pilgrims Progress SWT by John Bunyan.html
The Place of Prayer in Evangelism.htm
The Place of Prayer in Evangelism.pdf
The Possibility of Prayer EM BOUNDS..pdf
The Power Of Prayer – R_A_ Torrey.htm
The Power Of Prayer – R_A_ Torrey.pdf
The Power of the Blood of Christ – R_ A_ Torrey.htm
The Power of the Blood of Christ – R_ A_ Torrey.pdf
The Power of the Holy Spirit – R_ A_ Torrey.htm
The Power of the Holy Spirit – R_ A_ Torrey.pdf
The Power of the Word of God by R_A_Torrey.htm
The Power of the Word of God by R_A_Torrey.pdf
The Practice of the Presence of God Brother Lawrence,.pdf
The Praise of a Godly Woman Hannibal Gamon.pdf
The Prayer of Faith by R_ A_ Torrey.htm
The Prayer of Faith by R_ A_ Torrey.pdf
The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer.pdf
The Reality of Prayer EM BOUNDS.pdf
The Relations of Christ to the Believer by Charles G_ Finney_htm.htm
The Relations of Christ to the Believer by Charles G_ Finney_htm.pdf
The Release Of The Spirit by Watchman Nee.htm
The Release Of The Spirit by Watchman Nee.pdf
The Secret of Abiding Peace, by R_A_ Torrey.pdf
The Secret of Blessedness in – R_ A_ Torrey.htm
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The Secret Place SW.htm
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The Seven Spirits.pdf
The sin of presumption.htm
The sin of presumption.pdf
The Spirit-Filled Life John MacNeil.pdf
The Story of John Wesley Marianne Kirlew.pdf
THE VOICE OF GOD R_ A_ TORREY, D_D_.htm
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The Way to God and How to Find It Dwight Moody .pdf
The Weapon of Prayer EM Bounds.pdf
The World English Bible (WEB).pdf
The.Book.of.Ruth.text.pdf
The.First.Psalm.text.pdf
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The_Bible RSV.pdf
The_LORDs_Table_Text.pdf
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The_PERSEVE_PRAYER_Text.pdf
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theword.htm
theword.pdf
Thievery-in-the-House-of-God.pdf
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Things which remain DANIEL A. GOODSELL .pdf
Torrey’s New topical Textbook.pdf
Tozer Pursuit of God.pdf
Traditions of men.htm
Traditions of men.pdf
True Christian Union and the Devil’s Counterfeit.htm
Union_And_Communion_Text.pdf
Visitation From God.htm
Visitation From God.pdf
War On The Saints by Jesse Penn-Lewis.htm
War On The Saints by Jesse Penn-Lewis.pdf
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