Food for the Lambs; or, Helps for Young Christians
Charles Ebert Orr
Part 2 out of 2
out of the reach of Christian counsel, and justifies himself when
affectionately reproved; when he comes to regard the watchfulness of
others over him as an unwelcome and irksome thing; [when he charges you
with having a spirit of faultfinding, of having no charity, but that you
only discourage and press him down when you try to show him his lack of
spiritual life],--it is clear that he exhibits no more the fruits of the
Holy Spirit's influence on his soul. His piety has declined; he no
longer lives in intimacy with God and in the atmosphere of heaven. His
light is dim. His glory has departed.
The last indication of religious declension that we shall now speak of
is a careless indifference to the danger arising from temptation. A
Christian whose piety is warm and vigorous has great tenderness of
conscience. He dreads the least approach of evil. Even the suggestions
of sin to the mind are painful. He therefore prays earnestly and daily,
"Lead me not into temptation," and carefully avoids placing himself in
dangerous circumstances. Sometimes, however, you will see professing
Christians who seem to want this instinctive sense of danger. They often
place themselves in circumstances when they might easily have foreseen
their strength of principle would be liable to be put to the severest
test. They keep company in which it is nearly impossible that their
moral feelings should not be defiled. They allow themselves to assort
with the idle, the frivolous, with those who are given to foolish
talking and jesting; they indulge idle thoughts, repeat amusing stories,
read hooks and papers that do not gender to piety, etc. But he who is
willing to go as far toward evil as he can with safety, has lost one of
the greatest safe-guards of virtue. He who is ready to tamper with
temptation is on dangerous ground and in a sad state of declension. O
reader, turn ye about, shake loose from the world, draw nigh to God, let
the deep breathings waft your soul upward and upward to greater heights
in God's joy and love, and this world will only be a dim specter in the
"O for a closer walk with God!" This is the inward pleading of many a
precious blood-washed soul. I beg leave to tell you that that fulness of
God, that deep and perfect satisfaction of soul, that sweet feeling of
deep reverence, that hushed and sacred feeling of awe, that close walk
with God, is _obtained_ and _retained_ only by the _utmost_ diligence.
Slothfulness in the Christian life is a sure source of degeneration.
Too frequently when saints reach "fair Canaan's happy land" they think
they have nothing now to do but to sing and shout and praise God and go
to heaven "on flowery beds of ease." To every newly arrived Christian in
Canaan is given the command, "Go forward and possess the land." To do
this battles must be fought, giant foes must be defeated, and the
greatest diligence must be practised. God promised ancient Israel to
drive out all the nations of Canaan from before them, and that every
place whereon the soles of their feet should tread should be theirs, if
they would diligently keep all the commandments that the Lord commanded
them, to love the Lord, to walk in his ways, and to cleave unto him. See
If we will diligently obey God and go forward at his command he will
lead us where the milk and honey flow, and where the pastures are green.
Our walk with him will be sweet and our souls perfectly satisfied. Since
the term _diligence_ is so frequently used in Scripture and such
emphasis placed upon it, it is well worth our time to learn its meaning.
We often, among the saints, hear testimonies like these: "I am living
up to all the Word of God"; or, "All the Bible requires of me, I am
doing"; "I love God and find delight in doing all his will," etc. Such
expressions are very full of meaning and may sometimes mean more than
the witness comprehends. Let me ask you, Are you as diligent in every
respect as the Bible commands you to be?
Diligence implies an earnest and constant effort to accomplish a desired
end--a carefulness, a heedfulness, an industry, a close and fixed
Many a heart has been robbed of the love of God because it was not kept
by diligence. Many a beloved saint can look back to a few years ago when
his soul was more fully satisfied and his heart abounded more in the
love of God, and all because diligence was not given to "keep the
heart." In Josh. 22:5 the commandment is to take diligent heed to love
God, to walk in his ways, to keep his commandments, to cleave unto him,
and to serve him with all the heart and with all the soul. May the Lord
help the reader to comprehend the strength of this commandment. O how
precious! To take diligent heed to love God, implies a careful avoidance
of everything that would have a tendency to suppress his love in our
hearts and to eagerly seek all possible means of increasing that love.
All company whose spirit and conversation have a tendency to destroy
love is avoided as far as possible without violating the command, "Be
courteous." Reading amusing stories; telling amusing, worldly incidents,
the happenings of bygone days; fondness for the general news of the day;
gossiping; admiration for the pomp and show of the world; careless, idle
thoughts; fondness for society,--all serve to extinguish the love of God
in our hearts. Talking with others about God and his works, reading his
Word, meditating upon him, praying, attending meetings, doing good to
all men, giving of our means to advance his cause,--all these increase
the love in our hearts toward him. To be diligent, to serve the Lord
with all the heart and with all the soul, is to be industrious in doing
all we can for him; seeking opportunities of doing good, carefulness in
obeying all his commands, testifying to the works of God, and showing
forth his praises continually.
Your soul may long for a closer walk with God, and well that it does;
but if you do not keep your heart with all diligence from the world, you
will never enjoy the blessed experience. But by giving diligence you can
have such a walk with God as to fully satisfy your soul.
But few traits of Christian character are more lovely than lowliness.
Humility, meekness, and lowliness are terms nearly synonymous, but not
wholly so. It is somewhat difficult for the mind to grasp the shades of
difference in their meaning. It appears, however, that lowliness is the
deepest depth of humility and meekness. Meekness is the opposite of
impatience, harshness, or irritability, and has for its fruit gentleness
and kindness. Humility is the opposite of pride, and has for its fruits
modesty, unforwardness, etc. Lowliness is simply the opposite of
highness in self in any respect, and has for its fruits meekness and
humility with their fruits.
To us this command is given: 'Walk worthy of your vocation with all
lowliness.' If you have the experience of "all lowliness," you will go
on in your vocation without discouragement and disappointment, though
you are unnoticed and wholly ignored. And though God promotes others and
honors them and they are loved and praised by men, you are glad for them
and rejoice. If you have the experience of "all lowliness" in your soul,
you will not have the least disposition to lift up self. All you do and
say will be in godly sincerity. Now look closely.
If God heals some one through your prayers, be careful when you tell of
the healing that it is to lift up the Lord only. If you have composed a
song, and sing it to a company who do not know that it is your song,
then you tell them the Lord gave you the song, what is your motive? Do
you want them to know how good and great the Lord is, and nothing more?
or do you want them to know that you are the author? I say, look closely
into your motive. If, from the lowliness of your heart, you desire in
all you do and say, only to exalt the Lord, it will be felt in the depth
of your speech, and God will be honored; but if there is the least
inclination or feeling to exalt self, it will be felt in the
gracelessness of your speech, and God will be dishonored. Go humbly on
in life attending to the work God has assigned to you, doing it well and
in all lowliness of heart before him, and be content.
If you could be as humble when you choose rich apparel (which I flatly
deny), yet you could not be as beneficent, as plenteous in good works.
Therefore every shilling that you needlessly spend on your apparel is in
effect _stolen from the poor_! For what end do you want these ornaments?
To please God? No!--but to please your own fancy or to gain the
admiration and applause of those who are no wiser than yourself. If so,
what you wear you are in effect tearing from the back of the naked; and
the costly and delicate food you eat, you are snatching from the mouth
of the hungry. For mercy, for pity, for Christ's sake, for the honor of
his gospel, stay your hand! Do not throw this money away. Do not lay out
on nothing, yea worse than nothing, what may clothe your poor, naked,
shivering fellow creatures.
Many years ago, when I was at Oxford, on a cold winter's day, a young
maid (one of those we keep at school) called on me. I said, "You seem
half starved. Have you nothing to cover you but that thin gown?" She
said, "Sir, this is all I have." I put my hand in my pocket, but found
no money left, having just paid away all that I had. It struck me, "Will
thy Master say, 'Well done, good and faithful steward. Thou hast adorned
thy wall with the money which might have screened this poor creature
from the cold'? O justice! O mercy! Are not these pictures the blood of
the poor maid? See thy expensive apparel in the same light; thy gown,
Everything about thee which costs more than Christian duty required thee
to lay on, is the blood of the poor! Oh, be wise for the time to come!
Be more merciful; more faithful to God and man; more abundantly clad
(like men and women professing godliness) _with good works_.
It is _stark, staring nonsense_ to say, "Oh, I can _afford_ this or
that!" If you have regard to common sense, let that silly word never
come into your mouth. No man living can _afford_ to throw away any part
of that food or raiment into the sea which was lodged with him on
purpose to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. And it is far worse
than waste to spend any part of it in gay and costly apparel. For this
is no less than to turn wholesome food into deadly poison. It is giving
so much money to poison both yourself and others as far as your example
spreads, with pride, vanity, anger, lust, love of the world, and a
thousand "foolish and hurtful desires" which tend to "pierce them
through with many sorrows." O God, arise and maintain thy own cause! Let
not men and devils any longer put out our eyes and lead as blindfolded
into the pit of destruction.
God demands of his people that they dress modestly as becomes people who
profess holiness. The putting on of apparel for adornment and the
wearing of jewelry are not consistent with Christian modesty. The nude
and lewd art of dressing which is becoming so prevalent among professors
of Christ is an abomination in the sight of God, and a practise which no
virtuous man or woman can countenance. If professors would stop and
consider the character of women who invent popular fashions of the age
they might well blush with shame at their eager attempts to follow the
modern styles of dress invented by the wicked leaders of fashion in
London and Paris, whence the latest styles of this country generally
emanate. It is indeed sad to behold the young of to-day making
themselves unfit to fulfil the sacred functions of wife and mother by
the use of the modern corset, as well as laying a foundation for years
of misery, dragged out in this life by diseases brought upon them by
catering to the creed of millions who worship at the shrine of Fashion.
The pride of their hearts, pampered and fed by the foolish practises of
the age, blinds them to their obligations to God as a Creator and
Savior; and amid the whirl of earthly vanity they hasten to the awful
doom that awaits all who fail to obey the gospel of Christ.
The Word of God gives plain directions to Christians as to how they
should dress. In olden times God permitted his people to wear some
jewelry; that is, there was no law against it; but there came a time
when he promised that he would cleanse the hearts of his people from all
pride and vanity, and they should find no pleasure in putting on
ornamental dress and jewelry, and costly array. In Isa. 3:16-23 we have
a clear prophecy of the gospel age, and how God was going to have his
people dress modestly in accordance with their profession. We shall
quote from the LXX: "Thus saith the Lord, because the daughters of Sion
are haughty, and have walked with an outstretched neck, and with winking
of the eyes, and motion of the feet: ... therefore the Lord will humble
the chief daughters of Sion, and the Lord will expose their form in that
day; and the Lord will take away the glory of their raiment, the curls
and the fringes, and the crescents, and the chains, and the ornaments of
their faces, and the array of glorious ornaments, and the armlets, and
the bracelets, and the wreathed work, and the finger-rings, and the
ornaments for the right hand, and the earrings, and the garments with
scarlet borders, and the garments with purple grounds, and the shawls to
be worn in the house, and the Spartan transparent dresses, and those
made of fine linen, and the purple ones, and the scarlet ones, and the
fine linen, interwoven with gold and purple, and the light coverings for
We shall now quote from the New Testament: "In like manner also, that
women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and
sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." 1 Tim.
"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any
obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the
conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation
coupled with fear, whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of
plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not
corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in
the sight of God of great price." 1 Pet. 3:1-4.
The wearing of feathers, artificial flowers, frills, flounces,
unnecessary tucks and trimmings, is not in harmony with the gospel
standard of modest apparel. Queer-shaped hats, such as we see worn by
the people who follow the fashions of the world, should be avoided by
the saints as they would every other thing unbecoming to a Christian;
not fashioning themselves according to their former lusts in their
ignorance. "But as he which hath called you is holy, so he ye holy in
all manner of conversation." 1 Pet. 1:15.
The all-wise God who gave these commands knows what is for the good of
his people, and if we love him, we will obey. When the heart is cleansed
from all pride there will be no difficulty in measuring up to the gospel
on the matter of modest apparel. We trust all who read this may realize
it is truth.
THE ELIXIR OF LIFE.
I have seen patent medicines bearing the above title. By the word
_elixir_ is meant length of days and happiness. The medical man by
labeling his cordial with this title offers to give to all who will take
it a long life of happiness. Such things have their sad failures; but I
will offer to you a prescription, which, if you will carefully follow,
will prove an unfailing elixir of life. "For he that will love life, and
see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that
they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek
peace, and ensue it." 1 Pet. 3:10,11. If the reader will follow these
directions strictly, making them practical in every-day life, we can
upon the authority God has given insure him a long and happy life.
RULES FOR EVERY-DAY LIFE.
"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt." Col. 4:6.
"Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power
of thine hand to do it." Prov. 3:27.
"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without." Col. 4:5.
"Do all things without murmurings and disputings." Phil. 2:14.
"Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth." Prov. 27:2.
"Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks." Prov. 27:23.
"Eat so much as is sufficient for thee." Prov. 25:16.
"Be not wise in your own conceits." Rom. 12:16
"Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1 Thes. 5:22.
"See that none render evil for evil unto any man." 1 Thes. 5:15.
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love." Rom. 12:10.
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Rom. 12:21.
"Be content with such things as ye have." Heb. 13:5.
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." Eccl. 9:10.
"Let all things be done with charity." 1 Cor. 16:14.
"Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." Jas. 1:2.
"Keep thyself pure." 1 Tim. 5:22.
"In everything give thanks." I Thes. 5:18.
"Keep yourselves in the love of God." Jude 21.
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and
watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all
saints." Eph. 6:18.
A HOLY LIFE.
What, in its true sense, is a holy life? It is the life of Jesus. His
whole manner of life was truly holy. His life is the ideal life. If we
would live holy, we must live as he lived. We must walk as he walked.
The artist has his ideal before him, and with touches of the brush here
and there upon his drawing he forms a picture in an exact image of the
ideal. The life of Jesus is what we are to imitate. He sets the example
of holy living and calls us to the same holy life. "As he which hath
called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation." 1 Pet.
1:15. This text has a better rendering in the Revised Version: "Like as
he which called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of
living." We, as Christians, are God's offspring and as such are like
Holiness in the life of Jesus is found not only in the greater miracles
which he performed, but also in the lesser happenings of his life. The
restoring of life to the dead is no more beautifully holy than the
laying of his hands upon the heads of children and blessing them. His
memorable Sermon on the Mount no more portrays the loveliness of his
character than the conversation with the woman by the wayside well. It
is the little things in every-day life, if attended to and kept in the
meekness and solemnity of the Spirit of Christ, that make life truly
beautiful and holy. It is not the eloquent sermon that makes a life so
sublime; but it is the tender smile, the kind word, the gentle look,
that is given to all. It is the patient manner in which all the little
trying and provoking things of life are met.
You may preach or write ever so forcibly and eloquently, and bring out
the sublime truths of the Bible in great beauty; but if, in the privacy
of your own home, there are little frettings, a little peevishness, a
little crossness, a little levity, a little selfishness, a little
distrust, your life is not as truly holy as it should be. If you desire
God's holy image to be stamped upon your soul, your countenance, and
your life, carefully avoid the little sprigs of lightness, the little
bits of sloth and indolence, touches of forwardness, rudeness,
coarseness, and crossness, and acts of selfishness, etc.
Pure words belong to a holy life. You should use the very choicest
words. Words that are wholly free from vulgarity, slang, and the spirit
of the world. Untidiness, uncleanness, carelessness, and shabbiness are
not at all beautiful ornaments in a holy life. But quietness, modesty,
and reticence are gems which sparkle in a holy life like diamond sets in
a band of gold. Give attention to your words, your thoughts, your tone
of voice, your feelings, the practise of self-denial, of little acts of
benevolence, of promptness, of method and order. These are auxiliaries
to holy living. Are there not many little things in your home life that
you can improve upon? Seek God for help and be truly holy.
A SOLITARY WAY.
There is a mystery in human hearts,
And though we be encircled by a host
Of those who love us well, and are beloved,
To ev'ry one of us, from time to time,
There comes a sense of utter loneliness.
Our dearest friend is "stranger" to our joy,
And can not realize our bitterness.
"There is not one who really understands,
Not one to enter into all I feel,"
Such is the cry of each of us in turn.
We wander in "a solitary way,"
No matter what or where our lot may be;
Each heart, mysterious even to itself,
Must live its inner life in solitude.
And would you know the reason why this is?
It is because the Lord desires our love.
In ev'ry heart he wishes to be first,
He therefore keeps the secret key himself,
To open all its chambers, and to bless
With perfect sympathy and holy peace
Each solitary soul which comes to him.
So when we feel this loneliness it is
The voice of Jesus saying, "Come to me";
And ev'ry time we are "not understood,"
It is a call to us to come again:
For Christ alone can satisfy the soul.
And those who walk with him from day to day
Can never have "a solitary way."
And when beneath some heavy cross you faint
And say, "I can not bear this load alone,"
You say the truth. Christ made it purposely
So heavy that you must return to him.
The bitter grief, which "no one understands,"
Conveys a secret message from the King,
Entreating you to come to him again.
The "Man of sorrows" understands it well,
"In all points tempted," he can feel with you;
You can not come too often, or too near.
The Son of God is infinite in grace,
His presence satisfies the longing soul;
And those who walk with him from day to day
Can never have "a solitary way."
STIRRING THE EAGLE'S NEST.
"As an eagle stirreth up her nest, that fluttereth over her young, he
spread abroad his wings, he took them, he bare them on his pinions."
That picture is full of poetry, full of life and truth and beauty. Mark
it. Have you ever seen an eagle stir up her nest? You know what happens.
There in the nest, right upon the rocky heights, are the eaglets. The
mother eagle comes and, taking hold of them, flings them out of the
nest. They were so comfortable there, but she flings them right out of
the nest, high above the earth. They begin to fall straightway. They
never have been in air before; they have always been in the nest.
Is not that mother bird cruel? Why does she disturb the eaglets?
Watch her and you will understand. As long as you look upon the
struggling eaglets in the air you miss the point. Watch the eagle.
Having stirred up her nest, "she spreadeth abroad her pinions," the
pinions that beat the air behind her as she rises superior to it. Where
are the eaglets? Struggling, falling; she is superior; they are falling.
Then what does she do? "She beareth them on her pinions." She swoops
beneath them, catches them on her wings, and bears them up. What is she
doing? Teaching them to fly. She drops them again, and again they
struggle in the air, but this time not so helplessly. They are finding
out what she means. She spreads her pinions to show them how to fly, and
as they fall again, she catches them again. That is how God deals with
you and me.
Has he been stirring up your nest? Has he flung you out until you feel
lost in an element that is new and strange? Look at him. He is not lost
in that element. He spreads out the wings of omnipotence to teach us how
to soar. What then? He comes beneath us and catches us on his wings. We
thought when he flung us out of the nest it was unkind. No; he was
teaching us to fly that we might enter into the spirit of the promise,
"They shall mount up with wings as eagles." He would teach us how to
use the gifts which he has bestowed on us, and which we can not use as
long as we are in the nest.
Fancy keeping eaglets in the nest! It is contrary to their nature,
contrary to the purposes for which they are framed and fitted. There is
a purpose in the eagle. What is it! Flight upward. There is a purpose in
your life, new-born child of God! What is it? Flight Godward, sunward,
heavenward. If you stop in the nest you will never get there. God comes
into your life and disturbs you, breaks up your plans, and extinguishes
your hopes, the lights that have lured you on. He spoils everything;
what for? That he may get you on his wings and teach you the secret
forces of your own life, and lead you to the higher development and
higher purposes. The government of God is a disturbing element, but,
praise his name! it is a progressive element.
SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO.
Do not forget to pray.
Do not waste any moments in idleness.
Do not use slang words in your conversation.
Do not build air-castles.
Do not think evil nor speak evil of any one.
Do not lack showing courtesy to all men.
Do not be rude in manners.
Do not think yourself to be something more than you are.
Do not try to make others think you are better than you really are.
Do not tell the faults of a friend to others.
Do not wear what the Bible condemns.
Do not dress slovenly.
Do not work too much.
Do not work too little.
Do not talk too much.
Do not eat too much.
Do not sleep too much.
Do not neglect going to meetings.
Do not neglect giving all you can to the cause of Christ.
Do not neglect reading the Bible.
Do not do to others what you would not like for them to do to you.
Do not forget to practise much self-denial.
Do not neglect to be zealously affected in a good cause.
Do not neglect to admonish your brother.
Do not seek the praise of men.
Do not do anything through strife or vain glory.
Do not be afraid of the devil.
Do not think your trials are greater than those of others.
Do not neglect to bear the burdens of others.
Do not neglect to bear your own burdens.
Do not fret, worry, nor murmur.
Do not testify to something you do not live.
Do not let your thoughts wander idly about.
Do not neglect to show meekness and kindness to all men.
Do not compromise with sin to the least degree.
Do not neglect your salvation.
Do not weary in well-doing, knowing in due season you shall reap if you
_Do not faint_.
There are but few words in the English language sweeter and more
beautiful than the word _purity_. What tender, mellow light beams out
from its depths through its crystal clearness! what a halo of glory
encircles it! what a sweet melody is contained in the sound, which, as
it falls upon the soul, awakens all that is manly, noble, and godly
there! Purity! who can repeat this word and not feel and hear a sweet
rythm reverberating through all the avenues of his spiritual being?
"_Keep thyself pure."_ Is there a soul so deep in slumber, so stupefied
by the opiates of sin, as to know no awakening by the sweet melodious
chimes that ring out from this heavenly command! Dismal, indeed, must be
the heart in which no aspirations for a pure, devoted life are awakened
by these glorious words.
Listen, O my soul, to the sweet music, "_Keep thyself pure_." Tuned by
the Spirit and sung by the voice of inspiration, in the bright morning
of this glorious gospel day, it comes ringing down through the ages and
is awakening desires and aspirations for the truest nobility of manhood,
the deepest piety, and the highest plane of moral purity to which man
can attain through the redeeming grace of God.
The command to you, young man, is, "_Keep thyself pure_"; and to you,
young lady, "_Keep thyself pure_"; and to all who are farther down the
stream of life and hastening on to the boundless ocean of eternity,
"_Keep thyself pure."_ If you desire to comprehend something of the true
meaning of purity, think of heaven: what purity is in heaven, so it is
on earth; what it is in the life of Christ, so it is in the life of man.
Here upon the shores of time we look away, by an eye of faith, and
behold the purity of heaven and its inhabitants. We behold the angels
and the great white throne, upon which sits the King of glory; but who,
of all mankind, will really be eye-witnesses of that fair scene? The
Lamb, who is the light over there, makes answer, "Blessed are the pure
in heart: for they shall see God."
From that golden throne of God and the Lamb, the "beloved disciple,"
from the land of visions, saw flowing a pure river of water of life,
clear as crystal; and he heard the Lord of heaven and earth saying, "I
will give unto him that is athirst of the water of life freely"; and the
Spirit and the bride repeat the invitation, saying, "Whosoever will, let
him come and take of the water of life freely." But what is this pure
river of water of life? It is the wonderful river of God's saving grace,
issuing forth from out his throne and flowing throughout all his
kingdom. The Son of God extended his Father's kingdom to this earth and
set the glorious stream of salvation flowing here. This wonderful stream
is just as pure and its waters just as sweet in their onward flowing
here, as they are when they come sparkling forth from out the throne. If
you will come and wash in this crystal stream; if you will drink of its
delicious waters,--they will make you as pure as the throne from which
they flow. If you will allow them to ripple over your soul, they will
cleanse you and make you pure, so that purity in your heart will not be
inferior to that purity which encircles the throne of God. Glory to his
The Psalmist says, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me,
and I shall be whiter than snow." White is an emblem of purity. When
John beheld the multitude of all nations standing before the throne and
the Lamb, clothed in white robes, he asked whence they came. "These are
they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes,
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Rev. 7:14.
Purity of soul and heart and mind and conscience and thought and life
is an experience to be attained to and enjoyed in this life. Peter says,
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth." 1 Pet. 1:22.
Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart." Mat. 5:8. Paul says, "I
thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience." 2
Tim. 1:3. Peter says, "I stir up your pure minds." 2 Pet. 3:1. Paul
says, "Whatsoever things are pure, ... think on these things." See Phil.
4:8,9. Christ is the standard of purity. "And every man that hath this
hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 1 John 3:3. Purity
in all the affections, in all the desires, in all the motives, and in
all the thoughts. The heart that is made pure in the light of God
reveals nothing contrary to heaven. Nothing can be more noble and
beautiful upon earth than a pure life. Oh, how many unclean and impure
thoughts and desires are filling the minds and hearts of men and women
in these awful iniquitous days! Dear reader, "Keep thyself pure."
MEANS FOR GROWTH.
You have started out fairly upon the Christian way. You have been "born
again"; you have been immersed in water, or buried with Christ in
baptism; you have been baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. With such
an experience you are admitted to the contest for the "crown of life."
Now since you are thus started out upon the Christian way, it is a fact
that you must "grow in grace."
There are certain means for you to use that will promote growth. If you
neglect these, you will not, you can not, grow. You must live much in
prayer; you must read the Bible; you must attend meetings that are
ordered of God; you must partake of the Lord's Supper as you have
opportunity; you must wash the saints' feet. You will be blest with
grace to your soul if you do these things as unto the Lord. You must
give of your means to God's cause freely and cheerfully; you must
diligently follow every good work; and you will be neither barren nor
unfruitful in the knowledge and grace of God.
LAY HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE.
The "crown of life" lies at the end of the race. Some run well for a
time, and then because of slight hindrances turn from the way. You must
endure unto the end. You must follow the example of the zealous apostle
who said, "I reach forth to the things that are before," and, "I press
toward the mark for the prize." The prize was the crown of life. He
bends forward in the race with all the energy of his soul. Down at the
end of the race he beholds the crown. Sin, Satan, nor the world shall
not hinder him in securing it. You must be just as much in earnest. You
must strive, and that lawfully, lest some one take your crown.
Some years ago a number of boatmen off the coast of New England raced
for a prize in single boats. As they were nearing the end of the race it
was discovered by the spectators that a special favorite was a
half-boat's length ahead of all its competitors. His friends began to
cheer him, and he, animated by their cheers, gave a responsive cheer,
and, in doing so, lost a stroke of the oar; a competitor seeing his
opportunity bent to his oar with all energy, shot past him and won the
The apostle Paul warns you against youthful lusts, and tells you to flee
from them; to follow peace, righteousness, godliness; to fight the good
fight of faith; and to lay hold upon eternal life.
We are in days when the love of many is waxing cold because iniquity
abounds. You must keep the ardor of love glowing in your heart. Allow
not the world nor aught else to extinguish the tender flame. Everything
that has a tendency to suppress love, to cool its ardor, to dilute its
sweetness in your soul, to lessen the yearnings of your heart for more
of God, to deprive you of the sweet realization of constantly leaning on
his breast,--consider all such things your bitter foes and rout them at
Run life's race with all the energy of your soul, never relaxing effort
until the prize is in full possession. The dying testimony of the
apostle Paul may be yours. When he had come down to the end of his
journey he said as he stood, as it were, one foot upon time and the
other in eternity, "The time of my departure is at hand." Then taking a
last retrospective view of his life, he said, "I have fought a good
fight." Then taking a look at inward conditions, he said, "I am ready to
be offered up." Then looking out into the future's prospect, he said,
"Henceforth there is a crown of righteousness laid up for me." O beloved
young saints, run well your race. Keep your eyes upon the goal, fight
the good fight of faith, be in earnest, live every moment for God, and
you can have a dying testimony like the above.
CRUCIFIXION OF SELF.
It requires no little courage, coupled with the grace of God, to go to
Calvary. There are many Christians who will follow Jesus so long as it
is "Hosanna to the King of David," who fail to follow him to Calvary.
Most persons love the sweets of grace, and thus many follow the Lord for
the loaves and fishes; but when it comes to following him for his own
sake, even unto judgment, where our earthliness is revealed, then too
often we follow "afar off." Many will serve for reward, who refuse to
serve for righteousness' sake. Satan understood this in the case of
Job; so he said to the Lord, "Doth Job serve God for naught?" Job
endured even unto the end, and proved by actual test his devotion to God
and not to His gifts.
Saints are like soldiers--many there be who enlist, but few who
fearlessly face death. All like life, though it be a life out of harmony
with God. Satan said of Job, "All that a man hath will he give for his
life." So Christians' last surrender is their own earthly life. They
love the earthly, the dust; and to die to all that is not divine is a
price that few will pay.
Many talk of crucifixion, yea, claim to be crucified, who know hardly
the first step away from self. To let self, the flesh, and all evil
within perish; to draw the last drop of earthliness from our veins,--is
a price but few will pay for all the life of God. God through Moses gave
to the children of Israel a heritage; but never in their greatest
conquest did they attain all of that heritage. So with Christians: how
few ever attain all of that God-life offered them through our Lord Jesus
Christ. The Israelites made a league with certain of the inhabitants of
the land whom they should have destroyed. How many Christians spare
those enemies within which should die. They may force the death of many,
perhaps most of their earthliness; but somewhere there is that with
which they will not part. Of course, the earthliness may not be manifest
as before; "hewers of wood and drawers of water" they become, yet they
are there and live there. "I will be found of them when they seek me
with their whole heart." Wholehearted devotion to God is a rare quality,
and only the fewest of the few ever attain it. An idol somewhere, a
desire, a wish, a preference, a hope not born of God, but of man or of
the flesh, is the separation line. Yea, to cease from our labors as God
did from his, and thus reach true rest, is a haven but few ever reach.
To literally cease, that Jehovah may be the beginning and the end, means
blood, and thorns, and nails in the hands. Yes, it means Calvary and the
tomb. This is too much for many who go part way with Jesus. How few
realize that perhaps the most of our religious aspirations are born not
of God, but of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of man; and this
is why our efforts are so barren, futile, and earthly. Yes, to hide away
so that every act, every purpose, every hope, centers in God and points
to him and away from man--what a rare spiritual attainment! Many who are
said to be very spiritual and leaders in the work of God, if robbed of
this glory, would cease. To work for the eyes of God alone is not a
sufficient reward for very many who have climbed well up the gospel
ladder. To know when we are dead in the highest light. Self-abnegation
can not be discerned so long as we want to live. If we never reach the
point where we literally "hate our own life," we shall never know how
much there is in us not divine. The flesh is ever the veil that
separates between the holy place and the holy of holies. Until we have
reached that place where we have lost sight of all that is human, and
hunger and thirst for all the life of God, Christian perfection is an
This little book has been written for your success in the divine life.
We have hoped and prayed for your well being in the grace of God; but
unless you are dead to self our prayers are but in vain. Oh, the
beauties and the blessings and the rich glories, and happiness and
usefulness for you in life, if you are fully possessed with life of God!
Be dead indeed to self, and let God live in you to his praise.
LOVE NOT THE WORLD.
If you value your success in the Christian life, keep a wide gulf
between you and this world. By the expression _the world_ I mean its
amusements, its revelry, its praise, its fashions, its society, its
spirit. The present-day amusements or entertainments offered by secret
orders and sects and by others are very destructive to spiritual life.
Unless you are willing to walk alone with Jesus and let the blessedness
of his companionship suffice for you, you had as well quit the race now.
Mingle with worldly people, only to tell them of God's love.
To love and enjoy the society of the world is to have a heart destitute
of grace. Therefore keep away from the world. Beware of it. It is a
bitter foe to grace. It is an enemy to God; and if you befriend it, you
make yourself an enemy to God. "Whosoever is a friend to the world is an
enemy to God," so says the Bible. To be a friend to the world is to help
it along in any sense--to encourage its spirit; to add to its pleasures,
to its levity, its fashion, its foolishness; or to abet it in any way.
You go into the world, only for the purpose of saving people from the
world, and thus you are the world's enemy; and so you must continue to
be, or miss heaven.
HAVE A CARE.
The world has many gaudy wings--
Have a care!
She flits among the flow'rs and sings--
Many a snare.
Of the hidden poisonous stings.
Earth's pleasures are a golden cup--
Have a care!
She bids you take one little sup--
Many a snare.
Of the hidden sting in the cup.
Earth's riches have a charm most rare--
Have a care!
She bids you seek a goodly share--
Many a snare.
She will sting with many a care.
Vain worldly fame's a painted flow'r--
Have a care!
She dwells in an enchanted bow'r--
Many a snare.
She'll chide you in an evil hour.
The world is but an empty show--
Have a care!
Of true joys a dangerous foe--
Many a snare.
Her greatest gain's oft deepest woe.
By the term _affinity_ I mean that enamored feeling which arises in the
hearts of those of opposite sex for each other. This Satan may take
advantage of; and in this awful snare many a soul has gone down into the
darkness; many a heaven-born and happy soul has received its awful
blight, and gone down to an eternity of woe. Some one may ask, "Is not
marriage honorable? and does not God join hearts together in love?" He
certainly does; but when he does and all is kept in God's order the
parties in love will not suffer any loss of spirituality. Courtship can
be carried on in the will and order of God, and the parties engaged have
a constant growth in grace. But so many times they become silly-headed
and allow their love for each other to carry them out of God's order,
and consequently they will soon be graceless-hearted.
Now I speak the truth when I say that by far the greater number of
saints who fall in love suffer spiritual loss. This need not be so. In
the first place, the love for each other must be genuine; but, though
God is calling two together and the love which springs up is in the
order of the Lord, this does not insure them against spiritual loss. If
they are not watchful they will lose their heads, so to speak, and step
away beyond the bonds of propriety.
There is many a young man and young woman united in marriage these days,
even young saints, whom wisdom has not directed. Such may succeed in
getting through and escaping the damnation of hell, but they will have
trouble in the flesh.
Now, dear young saint, if you desire to be successful in life and gain
heaven, if you will keep your senses you can keep clear from all the
meshes of unholy affinities. You desire to have a life companion if God
selects you one. I can not blame you for this, neither does the Bible
condemn you; but the utmost caution needs to be exercised. Be careful
your desire for companionship does not turn your head and render you
incapable of knowing or understanding the will of God. Whenever you find
yourself losing love for God, you had better beware. Whenever the object
of your affection is getting so upon your heart and mind that you think
less of God you are going beyond His ordering. If your last thoughts in
the evening and your earliest thoughts in the morning are of the loved
one, you are being estranged from God and losing spiritual life. I feel
like giving you warning and counsel you to move very cautiously and
prayerfully in these matters, lest you make a mistake and suffer a loss
that neither time nor eternity will ever make up.
Young saints must not keep company with the unsaved. Those who do, lose
spirituality. If you love God and desire to live a spiritual life, wait
on God and let him select your life companion.
THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.
When you entered the Christian race God gave an angel to guard and guide
you in the way. You need have no fear of this world.
Live in God's service and do his will, and this guardian angel will
keep you. "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear
Him, and delivereth them."
It was this angel that stood with Daniel in the den of lions and with
the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. It was this angel that
led the weeping Hagar to the well of water when her child was dying of
thirst; and that led the righteous Lot out of the wicked city of Sodom
and saved him from its awful burning. When Elijah was hunted for his
life and sat down to weep and to starve under the juniper-tree, it was
this guardian angel that brought him a cake and a cruse of water. It was
this good angel that unbolted the prison doors and set Peter free. When
Paul and Silas were lying fast in the stocks singing praise to God at
midnight, it was the angel of the Lord that shook the earth and opened
the prison doors.
You once were lost, but the Son of man came to save you. Now you are
saved; you have entered his fold; you have become one of his "little
ones." Once lost, but now saved. Jesus says to this cruel, mocking
world, "Take heed that ye cause not one of these _little ones_ to
stumble; for their angels do always behold the face of their Father
which is in heaven." As you journey along the way of life, Christian
reader, there is an angel of mercy guarding you by day and night. Naught
in all the world can harm you. 'Their angels do always behold the face
of God.' By this we understand that your guardian angel has constant
access into the presence of God to bear him an intelligence concerning
his _little one_ under his charge. Glory be to God!
If you will but live holy and confide in God, he will guide you safely
and triumphantly through this world and bring you in a ripe old age to
an eternity of rest. Trust not in the world, trust not in man, trust not
in yourself; but give up all; give up your life to God and trust in him.
You are safe in his care; nothing can harm you. You need not have a
fear. What a blessed life to live! how peaceful! how secure! how full of
rest! And when the last hour has come those guardian angels will be
gathered round waiting for your spirit to come forth from the tomb of
clay, and they will waft it in rapture to the God who gave it.
FLEDGING THE WINGS.
The inspired Word of God abounds in evidences of the twofold nature of
man's being. Man, entire, consists of an outer physical being and an
inner spiritual being. The one is for time, the other for eternity. The
physical being is the transient home of the spiritual being, and is,
therefore, called an earthly house. "For we know that if our earthly
house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an
house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." 2 Cor. 5:1. When the
earthly house in which the soul is tabernacled comes to dissolution, we
(the spiritual beings) pass to our eternal home, a building not made
with hands, but builded by the Lord of heaven.
The passport from the earthly house to the home in the heavens is spoken
of by the Psalmist as a "flying away." "The days of our years are
threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore
years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off,
and we fly away." Psa. 90:10. The physical being is cut down, or comes
to dissolution, and we (the souls) fly away, when redeemed by the
blood, to our eternal home of rest.
Since it is spoken of as a flying away, the idea of wings is suggested,
from which we derive our subject. The inspired apostle said, "Though our
outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." 2 Cor.
4:16. As the outward, physical man, day by day, becomes more feeble, the
furrows on the brow grow deeper, the locks more silvery, the steps more
tottering, the voice weaker and more husky, the cheeks more sunken, the
ear more deaf, the eye more dim, and the heart-beats more slow; the
inward man is gathering strength, or fledging his wings, ready for his
upward flight to his beautiful mansion in the sky. Oh, how often the
redeemed soul, full of life, love, and hope, looks out through the
fading windows of the crumbling house of clay, to its fair home on the
Elysian shores eternal, and longs to take its flight! May you, dear
reader, and I, as we travel along life's swift journey, so live in
prayer and devotion to God, walk in such purity, so feed upon the divine
life, that we shall gather strength to our souls day by day and be ready
for the hour of our departure. Amen.
Some time, when all life's lessons have been learned,
And sun and stars forevermore have set,
The things which our weak judgments here have spurned,
The things o'er which we grieved with lashes wet,
Will flash before us out of life's dark night,
As stars shine most in deeper tints of blue;
And we shall see how all God's plans are right,
And how what seemed reproof was love most true.
And we shall see how, while we frown and sigh,
God's plans go on as best for you and me;
How when we called, he heeded not our cry,
Because his wisdom to the end could see.
And e'en as prudent parents disallow
Too much of sweet to craving babyhood;
So God, perhaps, is keeping from us now
Life's sweetest things, because it seemeth good.
And if, sometimes, commingled with life's wine,
We find the wormwood, and rebel and shrink,
Be sure a wiser hand than yours or mine
Pours out the potion for our lips to drink;
And if some friend we love is lying low,
Where human kisses can not reach his face,
Oh, do not blame the loving Father so,
But wear your sorrows with obedient grace.
And you shall shortly know that lengthened breath
Is not the sweetest gift God sends his friend,
And that, sometimes, the sable pall of death
Conceals the fairest boon his love can send.
If we could push ajar the gates of life,
And stand within and all God's workings see,
We could interpret all this doubt and strife,
And for each mystery could find a key.
But not to-day. Then be content, poor heart;
God's plans like lilies pure and white unfold;
We must not tear the close-shut leaves apart,
Time will unfold the calyces of gold.
And if, through patient toil, we reach the land
Where tired feet, with sandals loosed, may rest
When we shall clearly know and understand,
I think that we shall say, "God knew the best!"
THE PRECIOUS OINTMENT.
In the Bible we learn of a woman who took "a pound of ointment of
spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus." This spikenard
was very rich in perfume. It was the very best gift she could bring to
Him whom she loved. This is a very beautiful symbol of the life work of
a Christian. We, as Christian, are a sweet odor unto God in Christ
Jesus. Everything you do for Jesus scents the air around the throne of
God with a sweet fragrance.
Every prayer your offer in the Spirit perfumes the corridors of heaven.
I read somewhere of a little girl who told her mamma that God bade all
the angels in heaven keep quiet when she prayed; then all the angels
hushed their songs until she said amen. Amid all the songs and shouts
and playing of harps in heaven God hears the prayers of his humble ones
on earth. The odor of prayer from the hearts of God's children on earth
is as sweet to him as the songs of angels. The things the saints at
Philippi sent to Paul were an odor of a sweet smell to God. Cornelius'
alms-giving and prayers were kept in heaven as a memorial. So all your
gifts and doings and prayers are a rich perfume, which God keeps bottled
up in heaven as a memorial of you.
Your whole life, dear young saint, in all of its giving and doing, its
sacrifices and prayers, its humble service and devotion, is to be
constantly sending forth a sweet smell to God. This is spoken of in a
beautiful figure in S. of Sol. 1:12: "While the king sitteth at his
table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof." The king is
Jesus, who sits at the table of our hearts; the sweet spikenard is our
Christian lives. In Rev. 3:20 Jesus says, "I will come in to him, and
will sup with him, and he with me." The Christian's heart is the
dining-room; there is a table spread with the graces of the Spirit, the
fruits of the garden of the Lord. There Christ and the Christian sit
down to dine together. While the glory of the one lights up the room,
the holy life of the other perfumes it. O God, my soul doth magnify thee
for the preciousness of these thoughts.
When Christ was born wise men came and presented him frankincense and
myrrh, and in after-years Mary came and poured upon his head the
precious ointment of spikenard. These things were literally done, and
now when we bring our very best gifts, in the fulness of love, to the
Lord, we are breaking the alabaster box of sweet ointment and pouring it
upon his head. You owe Christ the very best of your life; yea, you owe
him your life. He must have all the affections of your heart. Christ
must have the very best of everything out of your life. Do not use the
dollars for yourself and give him the pennies. Do not sip the honey from
the flower and give him the leaves. Do not eat the fresh bread yourself
and give him that which is stale. Do not give him the well-worn garment
and keep the best robe for yourself.
But how can we now give to the Lord! "As oft as ye do it unto the least
of these ye do it unto me." As you go about your life work as a
Christian always do what you do as to the Lord. When you pray in public
talk to Jesus the same as if he were there in person, and not to be
heard of men. When you give money to the needy do it as if you were
giving it to Jesus himself, for such it really is. If Christ should come
to your door and ask for a drink, how eagerly you would get it for him!
You must remember that to give a cup of water to one of his little ones
is the same as giving it to him. When you visit a sick-chamber and are
invited to sing you should sing just as sweetly as if you were singing
purposely for the Savior, and all your words should be spoken as
tenderly as if you were talking to him.
[Illustration: THE TREE OF LIFE.]
Jesus has given you the purest love of heaven; he has clothed you with
the whitest robe; he gives you the very best heaven affords; and, O
beloved, will you not give him the very best life? Live with all your
soul for Jesus; serve him every moment. Bring the best of your life, its
love, its service, its perfume, and pour them upon the head and feet of
THE TREE OF LIFE.
"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life," says Proverbs. How
wonderful! how inspiring! The fruit borne by a Christian is a savor of
life to many. If you live a true Christian life all the way through, God
will use the fruit you bear to bring another soul to life. Your
Christian life will not be lived in vain. That "beloved disciple" said,
"On either side of the river was there the tree of life, which bare
twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month." Your life
is compared to a river; and if you travel along down its course in the
fulness of God's grace, upon its banks will grow the tree of life, of
which others may eat and live forever. Such thoughts are almost too
wonderful for me; they overwhelm my soul.
Jesus said, "I am the bread of life," and, "He that eateth of this bread
shall live forever." This same Jesus has come into your life. You are
dead, but Jesus lives. He lives in you. The fruit you bear will be eaten
by others and be life to their souls. O my young reader, will you not be
watchful and prayerful and let God live in you and bring forth fruit to
his own glory? Cultivate the Christian graces, and see to it that there
is never a withered leaf on your life's tree, but be ever green and full
of fruit, scattering a holy influence everywhere. May your life stand
out upon the shores of time heavy laden with the fruits of the Spirit,
of which others may eat long after you are gone to your reward. You can
make it so. Will you do it? As for me, from the fulness of my soul I
answer, I WILL.
Did you ever attempt to look to the end of eternity? Have you endeavored
to comprehend its duration? Alas! it is something beyond the conception
of the finite mind. Look into it as far as you can and no less of it
lies beyond the end of your vision. Eternity is something never begun
and something that will never end. It is a circle which has no end of
beginning and no end of closing. It goes on and on and on until millions
upon millions of ages have passed away, and then on and on to other
millions upon millions of ages, and then still on, being no less in
duration than before. When you have been there ten million years you
will be no nearer the end than when you first entered this boundless
What a vast and awful thought! Eternity! I stand upon the shore of ocean
and looking out upon the broad expanse I see nothing but ocean; I see no
other shore. I stand and look out upon the ocean of eternity, and see
nothing but eternity. I can see out for millions and billions and
trillions of years, and yet it is eternity. Where shall I spend it? My
soul answers, "In heaven through the blood."
NEARER TO THEE.
Nearer to thee, O my Savior,
Nearer I would be each day.
As I cross life's stormy ocean
Never from thee let me stray.
Nearer, nearer, ever nearer,
Is the language of my soul
As I journey down life's pathway,
As I near bright heaven's goal.
Lead me through this world of sorrow,
Let my hand in thine e'er be;
Throw thy arms of love around me,
Savior, let me walk with thee.
When the storm-clouds round me gather
In the clefted Rock I hide;
When the surging billows threaten,
Fold me closer to thy side.
There's a home for me in heaven,
By the crystal, silvered sea;
Some sweet morn the golden portals
Opened wide will be for me.
There in amaranthine glory
I will sit at Jesus' feet;
There I'll sing the sweet old story
As I walk the golden street.
O my heart, wait on in patience,
Each day brings me nearer the goal;
In some blissful dewy dawning
Heaven will receive my soul.
Our introduction is upon the subject of Life; our conclusion is upon
Death. To many people the word _death_ is full of horror. Thank God, it
holds no horror to the pure in heart. Death has no sting for those whose
souls are in fellowship with God. Those who love God hail with joy the
hour in which they are to meet him. Death to a Christian is only his
removal from earth to the paradise of God. If some man of wealth were to
tell you he had a rich home prepared for you in a distant land, where
you could have all your heart could wish, and be happy as long as you
lived, if you had confidence in the man, you could say good-by and
cheerfully go to your new home. Death is nothing more.
Some may shudder at the thought of the pain in death. How often we hear
remarks like this: "This pain is almost like death," or, "it's like
taking one's life." Have you not stood beside the infant's crib and
watched it go peacefully to sleep? Where was the pain? Death to a
Christian is only a going to sleep. You have had far more pain in life
than you will have in death.
There may be pain just prior to death, but none in death. Death to a
saint is as peaceful as going to sleep.
Have you not often been in some solitary place and given yourself into
the arms of Muse? You have fallen to thinking about heaven and the
angels and the Savior and your crown. You seemed as your soul was wafted
upward on the wings of meditation, to lose consciousness of all on
earth. Such will it be in death. Your soul will begin to see the glories
of heaven; you will hear the sweet strains of music; you will begin to
lose consciousness of earthly things and comprehend more of heaven. Then
soon you will draw your last breath on the shore of time and sound your
first note of praise on the shore of eternity. This is all there is in
death. It is precious to fond parents to see their little children, with
folded hands, go peacefully to sleep. So to our Father in heaven is the
death of his saints precious.
In fancy I can see many of my young readers, after a well-spent life,
gathered in ripe old age on the banks of old Time's-river, waiting in
bright hope to be summoned over to their rich possessions in the verdant
fields of heaven.
There is nothing more of death than this to a Christian. I pray that
the life of many of you will end like this. I believe it will be so.
A strange, sweet vision fills my soul,
A glimpse of glory and of God;
Am I not near life's final goal?
My feet scarce touch this mortal sod.
The zephyrs blow divinely sweet,
With fragrance fill the balmy air;
Are heav'n and earth about to meet?
Who can this vision bright declare?
I hear the notes of seraph song,
The rustle of an angel's wing;
Do signs like these to earth belong?
Do men and angels meet to sing?
Life's journey seems about complete;
I con it well, yet know not why.
My heart with longings is replete,
And yet I do not long to die.
A holy calm my bosom fills,
And silence like the hush of morn;
Such joy through all my being thrills
As swept men's hearts when Christ was born.
Amid the crowds I look around
To see who bear love's fragrant flower;
I fain would walk on holy ground
Made sacred by the Spirit's power.
God has the keeping of my ways,
His laws I rev'rence and obey;
My prayers seem almost turned to praise,
And yet I can not cease to pray.
If this is death, I do not dread
To lay me down in peace to die--
To be with all the sainted dead,
Far, far beyond the arching sky.
God has forgiven you all your sins; he has sanctified you wholly. You
stand to-day in the way of life; you are fully out upon the Christian
way. You have on the whole armor of God. You possess the power of God's
Spirit in your soul, the love of God is in your heart as a burning
flame. You are tasting the sweet joys that flow from heaven's throne. In
your soul is imprinted the image of Jesus. Your heart is a garden of
opening buds, which emit the sweet fragrance of heaven. But,
notwithstanding all this blessedness of experience, I want you to
remember you are just starting on the pilgrim's way.
I thought of bringing this little work to a close with the preceding
letter, but it seems that I am loath to say the last word. I wonder if
there is one word more I can say to help you in your Christian race. It
is impossible for me to express how my heart yearns in love and
tenderness for you.
God wants to use your life on earth to his glory. He wants you so to
shine in the glory and splendor of his grace that you may light others
in the way. He wants the opening buds of grace in your soul to burst
into full bloom. He wants to lead you higher up the mountain of joy, to
the very fount of blessings. He wants to lead you down into the lowly
vale where there are greater riches than gold. He wants his image in
your heart to stand out in greater beauty and perfection; the features
are yet too dim.
While in this life your immortal soul is wrapped about with a veil of
mortality; but God wants to shine such a radiant light and amaranthine
glory into your soul that the veil of mortality will not be able wholly
to obscure it. It will shine out through the material part and glow in
transparent beauty upon the surface.
If you will follow where he leads, he will lead you on from virtue to
deeper, truer virtue; he will lead you on to fountains of sweeter joy.
It may be through the vale of sorrow; but never fear nor distrust, and
you will find your joy rising higher in the cup. If you will follow, he
will lead you from peace on to broader, deeper rivers of peace. It may
be through angry billows and past rough rocks; but if you trust him and
follow on, he will bring you to yet calmer and more peaceful waters. If
you will stay in his presence, he will impart unto you his own lovely
character, and you will grow up into a holier life, into sweeter
fellowship with God, into richer beauty and greater usefulness.
He will sometimes call you where the flowers are blooming and sweet
fragrance fills the air, where the birds sing sweetly and the zephyrs
blow gently; he will lead you along the rippling streams, and delight
your soul with the music of the wave; he will lead you through the shady
glens and leafy bowers,--until your soul will sing, "Is not this the
land of Beulah?" But he may sometimes lead you through the desert, or
over the rugged mountain, or across the stormy seas; he may lead you
away from all that is dear to your heart; he may lead you into paths
where the shadows lie deep, and thorns spring up on every side. He will
lead you on to duties that may oftentimes seem too hard for you to do;
but this one thing I assure you in Jesus' name: he will never call you
to a duty or a sacrifice but that will prove a blessing to your soul and
enrich you in his grace. You must follow on.
To get the sweetness out of your life, he may sometimes bruise you.
There are flowers that emit but little fragrance until they are bruised.
Many trials, no doubt, are awaiting you; but do not live them until you
get to them, then his grace will be sufficient for you.
In closing, I beseech you from the fulness of my heart to follow Jesus
all the way. Let nothing turn you back. Never mind the storms and cruel
winds. What if the thorns prick your feet? they pierced his brow. What
if the duties do seem hard and the way seems weary? Follow on, linger in
his presence, breathe in of his fulness, live in humble submission,
never murmur but in every sorrow draw the closer to him, never falter,
labor on, and you will find joys in every sorrow, blessings in every
sacrifice, and delights in every duty. He will perfume your life with
the odor of heaven and make you a blessing on earth to man. He will make
your life a well of water where many a weary traveler may drink and
thirst no more; he will make it a tree of life where they may eat and
hunger no more. And when life is done he will bring you with all your
golden sheaves through the gates of glory into the haven of eternal
rest, where I hope to meet you. With this, I will say farewell.
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