Our High Calling

Chap. 32 - Let Jesus Lead

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6.

Oh, that we who are pilgrims and strangers in this foreign country . . . might comprehend Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. He says, "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." The path He has marked out is so plain and distinct that the veriest sinner, loaded with guilt, need not miss his way. Not one trembling seeker need fail of finding the true path, and of walking in pure and holy light, for Jesus leads the way. 

The path is so narrow, so holy, that sin cannot be tolerated therein, yet access to the path has been made for all, and not one desponding, doubting, trembling soul needs to say, "God cares nought for me." Every soul is precious in His sight. . . . When Satan was triumphing as the prince of the world, when he claimed the world as his kingdom, when we were all marred and corrupted with sin, God sent His messenger from heaven, even His only begotten Son, to proclaim to all the inhabitants of the world, "I have found a ransom. I have made a way of escape for all the perishing. I have your emancipation papers provided for you, sealed by the Lord of heaven and earth." . . . 

It is not because there is any flaw in the title which has been purchased for you that you do not accept it. It is not because the mercy, the grace, the love of the Father and the Son is not ample, and has not been freely bestowed, that you do not rejoice in pardoning love. . . . If you are lost, it will be because you will not come unto Christ that you might have life. 

God waits to bestow the blessing of forgiveness of sins, of pardon for iniquity, of the gift of righteousness upon all who will believe in His love, and accept of His salvation. Christ is ready to say to the repenting sinner, ". . . Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee. . . ." Zech. 3:4-7. Christ is the connecting link between God and man. The blood of Jesus Christ is the eloquent plea that speaks in behalf of sinners. 

Chap. 33 - Man More Precious Than Gold

I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Isa. 13:12. 

Few appreciate the value of man, and the glory that would redound to God were he to cultivate and preserve purity, nobility, and integrity of character. . . . The short space of time allotted to men here is exceedingly valuable. Now, while probation lingers, God proposes to unite His strength with the weakness of finite man. . . . Those who truly love God will desire so to improve the talents that He has given them, that they may be a blessing to others. And by and by the gates of heaven will be thrown wide open to admit them, and from the lips of the King of glory the benediction will fall upon their ears like richest music, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Matt. 25:34.

Thus the redeemed will be welcomed to the mansions that Jesus is preparing for them. There their companions will not be the vile of earth--liars, idolaters, the impure, or the unbelieving; but they will associate with those who have overcome Satan and his devices, and through divine aid have formed perfect characters. Every sinful tendency, every imperfection that afflicts them here, has been removed by the blood of Christ; and the excellence and brightness of His glory, far exceeding the brightness of the sun in its meridian splendour, is imparted to them. And the moral beauty, the perfection of His character, shines through them, in worth far exceeding this outward splendour. They are without fault around the great white throne, sharing the dignity and privileges of the angels. 

"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." 1 Cor. 2:9. In view of the glorious inheritance which may be his, "what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" He may be poor; yet he possesses in himself a wealth and dignity that the world could never bestow. The soul redeemed and cleansed from sin, with all its noble powers dedicated to the service of God, is of surpassing worth. 

Chap. 34 - I Am Not My Own

Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 1 Cor. 7:23. 

How natural it is to regard ourselves as complete owners of ourselves! But the Inspired Word declares, "Ye are not your own." "Ye are bought with a price." 1 Cor. 6:19, 20. . . . In our relation to our fellow men we are owners of our entrusted mental and physical capabilities. In our relation to God, we are borrowers, stewards of His grace. 

Time is to be used judiciously, earnestly, and under the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. We are to understand just what is right and what is wrong to do with property and with mental and physical capabilities. God has a positive ownership of every power He has committed to the human agent. By His own wisdom He makes the terms of man's use of every gift of God. He will bless the proper use of every power put forth for His own name's glory. The talent of speech, of memory, of property, all are to accumulate for the glory of God, to advance His kingdom. God has left us in charge of His goods in His absence. Each steward has his own special work to do in advancing God's kingdom. Not one is excused. 

The youth must be educated to respect themselves because they are bought with a price. 

Christ clothed His divinity with humanity and paid the ransom for man, and He desires that man shall estimate the life thus provided for him by the infinite price paid.

It is your privilege to obey the living Word of God as a truly converted and transformed soul, to perform the highest service as a free, heaven-born spirit, to give evidence that you are worthy of the sacred trust that God has given you by sending His only begotten Son to die for you. If you believe in Christ as your personal Saviour, you receive every grace, every spiritual endowment, necessary for the perfecting of the Christian character. Show that you appreciate the sacrifice made for you, and regard it as too great to allow you to make a mock of your religious profession by being moulded and fashioned after the world's criterion. 

Chap. 35 - Purchase of Christ's Blood

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 Peter 1:18, 19. 

You must consider that you are not at your own disposal to do that which you please for your own self. You are the Lord's property. Christ has purchased you with the price of His own blood. Your body is to be sanctified unto the Lord as a vessel unto honour. It is Christ's purchased possession. Then preserve every power, every organ, as an instrument unto righteousness. Satan desires to have your brain power, and your will, but they belong to Jesus. Consider always, "I am not my own. I must carefully and holily cherish every part of Christ's purchased possession." . . . 

Satan may try to bind you to his car {chariot} as a helpless soul. But shout in victory that Christ has made you a free man. Do not dishonour God by one expression of inefficiency and inability to overcome fully, entirely, and gloriously through Jesus Christ, who has died to redeem you, and make you a free man. Conquer, yes, conquer. Put your will every moment on the side of God's will. Think hopefully and courageously. In faith cry out against Satan, and looking unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of your faith, say, "Jesus, my Redeemer, I am weak. I cannot do anything without Thy special help. I hang my helpless soul on Thee." Then let your imagination dwell on the thought that you are in the presence of Jesus, walking with God, your life hid with Christ in God. . . . Then you will not glorify Satan by imagining yourself weak and helpless. You will keep yourself uplifted into a pure and holy atmosphere. You will receive the Holy Spirit as a comforter, as a sanctifier. . . . You will have a calm, restful spirit in God. You will say, "Jesus lives, and because He lives I will live also. He has conquered Satan in my behalf, and I will not be conquered by the devil once. I will not disgrace my Lord and Leader; but I will triumph in His holy name, and come off more than conqueror." 

Chap. 36 - God Wants His Own Property

But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. Isa. 43:1. 

Every man and woman has had the ransom money paid by Jesus Christ. "Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price"--even the precious blood of the Son of God. 

Whether we give ourselves to the Lord or not, we are His. Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price. We are the Lord's by creation, and we are His by redemption. Therefore we have no right to think that we can do as we please. All we handle is the Lord's. We have no right of ourselves to anything, not even to an existence. All our money, time, and talents belong to God, and are lent us by Him that we may accomplish the work He has given us to do. He has given us the charge, "Occupy till I come." Luke 19:13. 

Do not make it a business to serve yourselves and become indifferent in regard to the claims of God upon you. You are His property. . . . Jesus has bought you at an infinite cost. Your thoughts should be kept pure; they are the Lord's. Give them to Him. We can merit nothing from God. We can give Him nothing which is not His own. Will we keep back from God what is His own? Do not rob God and pawn His time, His talents, and His strength with the world. He asks your affections; give them to Him. They are His own. He asks your time, moment by moment; give it to Him. It is His own. He asks your intellect; give it to Him. It is His own. . . . 

The Lord wants His own property. When we have given to God soul, body, and spirit; when we have kept appetite under the control of enlightened conscience, and wrestled against every lust, showing that we consider each organ as God's property, intended for His service; when all our affections move in harmony with the Lord's mind, fastening on objects "which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God"--then we have given the Lord His own. O God, "all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee." 1 Chron. 29:14.

Chap. 37 - Take Care of God's Property

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father. Gal. 1:4. 

You have cost much. "Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Cor. 6:20. That which you may regard as your own is God's. Take care of His property. He has bought you with an infinite price. Your mind is His. What right has any person to abuse a body that belongs not to himself, but to the Lord Jesus Christ? What satisfaction can anyone take in gradually lessening the powers of body and mind by selfish indulgence of any form? 

God has given to every human being a brain. He desires that it shall be used to His glory. By it, man is enabled to cooperate with God in efforts to save perishing fellow mortals. We have none too much brain power or reasoning faculties. We are to educate and train every power of mind and body--the human mechanism that Christ has bought--in order that we may put it to the best possible use. We are to do all we can to strengthen these powers; for God is pleased to have us become more and still more efficient colabourers with Him. . . . 

In Exodus we read that at the time the Lord directed the Israelites to build a tabernacle in the wilderness, He gave certain men special ability, talent, and skill in devising, and then He appointed them to the work. He will deal with us in the same way. . . . And although we may have to begin in a very small way, He will bless us and multiply our talents as a reward for faithfulness. 

Christ has died for you, and you are to live as unto God. Let your reasoning powers, refined, purified, sanctified, be brought to God. The Lord requires the sanctification of the whole being. The mind, as well as the whole body, is to be elevated and ennobled. God has claims upon mind, soul, and body.

It is not in the power of those who have named the name of Jesus to give Him more than is His own. He has bought every human agent with an infinite price, and we are His property for both time and eternity. 

Chap. 38 - Take God Into Your Counsel

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1 Peter 2:24.

Christ bore our sins in His own body on the tree. . . . What must sin be, if no finite being could make atonement? What must its curse be if Deity alone could exhaust it? The cross of Christ testifies to every man that the penalty of sin is death. . . . Oh, must there be some strong bewitching power which holds the moral senses, steeling them against the impressions of the Spirit of God? I entreat of you, as Christ's ambassador, . . . to be diligent in securing the grace of God. You need it every day, that you make no mistake in your life. . . .

You may feel that you are competent to manage yourself, to lay plans and execute them in your own judgement. This is unsafe for you or for any one to do. I speak of the things I know. Take God into your counsel. Seek Him for guidance. He will not be sought of in vain. . . . I entreat of you not to let these precious hours of probation pass without spiritual advancement. In no case allow your moral powers to become dwarfed. . . . 

Heaven with its attractions is before you, an eternal weight of glory, which you may lose or gain. Which shall it be? Your life and your character will testify the choice you have made. I feel the more anxious because I see so many indifferent upon the subjects of infinite importance. They are always busy here and there about matters of minor importance, and the one great subject is put out of their thoughts. They have no time to pray, no time to watch, no time to search the Scriptures. They are altogether too busy to make the necessary preparation for the future life. They cannot devote time to perfect Christian characters and in diligence to secure a title to heaven. 

If you have life eternal, you must be earnest and work to the point. . . . Glorify God by choosing His way, His will. He will be your wise counsellor and your fast, unchanging friend. 

Chap. 39 - The Cord Let Down from Heaven

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Phil. 2:8.

Measure the cord, if you can, that has been let down from heaven to lift man up. The only estimate we can give you of the length of that chain is to point you to Calvary. 

Fallen men could not have a home in the paradise of God without the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Shall we not then exalt the cross of Christ? ... 

Angelic perfection failed in heaven. Human perfection failed in Eden, the paradise of bliss. All who wish for security in earth or heaven must look to the Lamb of God. The plan of salvation, making manifest the justice and love of God, provides an eternal safeguard against defection in unfallen worlds, as well as among those who shall be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Our only hope is perfect trust in the blood of Him who can save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. The death of Christ on the cross of Calvary is our only hope in this world, and it will be our theme in the world to come. Oh, we do not comprehend the value of the atonement! If we did, we would talk more about it. The gift of God in His beloved Son was the expression of an incomprehensible love. It was the utmost that God could do to preserve the honour of His law, and still save the transgressor. 

Jesus placed the cross in line with the light coming from heaven, for it is there that it shall catch the eye of man. The cross is in direct line with the shining of the divine countenances, so that by beholding the cross men may see and know God and Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent. In beholding God we behold the One who poured out His soul unto death. In beholding the cross the view is extended to God, and His hatred of sin is discerned. But while we behold in the cross God's hatred of sin, we also behold His love for sinners, which is stronger than death. To the world the cross is the incontrovertible argument that God is truth and light and love. 

Chap. 40 - The Centre of my Hope

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Gal. 6:14. 

Remove the cross from the Christian and it is like blotting out the sun which illumines the day, and dropping the moon and the stars out of the firmament of the heavens at night. The cross of Christ brings us nigh to God, reconciling man to God, and God to man. The Father looks upon the cross, upon the suffering He has given His Son to endure in order to save the race from hopeless misery and to draw man to Himself. He looks upon it with the relenting compassion of a Father's love. The cross has been almost lost sight of, but without the cross there is no connection with the Father, no unity with the Lamb in the midst of the throne in heaven, no welcome reception of the wandering who would return to the forsaken path of righteousness and truth, no hope for the transgressor in the day of judgement. Without the cross there is no means provided for overcoming the power of our strong foe. Every hope of the race hangs upon the cross. 

When the sinner reaches the cross, and looks up to the One who died to save him, he may rejoice with fullness of joy; for his sins are pardoned. Kneeling at the cross, he has reached the highest place to which man can attain. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ; and the words of pardon are spoken: Live, O ye guilty sinners, live. Your repentance is accepted; for I have found a ransom. 

Through the cross we learn that our heavenly Father loves us with an infinite and everlasting love, and draws us to Him with more than a mother's yearning sympathy for a wayward child. Can we wonder that Paul exclaimed, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ"? It is our privilege also to glory in the cross of Calvary, our privilege to give ourselves wholly to Him who gave Himself for us. Then with the light of love that shines from His face on ours, we shall go forth to reflect it to those in darkness. 

Chap. 41 - Efficacy of Christ's Blood

It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Lev. 17:11. 

Christ was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. To many it has been a mystery why so many sacrificial offerings were required in the old dispensation, why so many bleeding victims were led to the altar. But the great truth that was to be kept before men, and imprinted upon mind and heart, was this, "Without shedding of blood is no remission." Heb. 9:22. In every bleeding sacrifice was typified "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29. 

Christ Himself was the originator of the Jewish system of worship, in which, by types and symbols, were shadowed forth spiritual and heavenly things....Today we are living when type has met antitype in the offering of Christ for the sins of the world; we are living in the day of increased light, and yet how few are benefited with the grand and all-important truth that Christ has made an ample sacrifice for all! What justice required, Christ had rendered in the offering of Himself, and "how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" Heb. 2:3. Those who reject the gift of life will be without excuse. 

Thank God that He who spilled His blood for us, lives to plead it, lives to make intercession for every soul who receives Him. "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. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. It speaketh better things than the blood of Abel, for Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us. We need to keep ever before us the efficacy of the blood of Jesus. That life-cleansing, life-sustaining blood, appropriated by living faith, is our hope. We need to grow in appreciation of its inestimable value, for it speaks for us only as we by faith claim its virtue, keeping the conscience clean and at peace with God. 

This is represented as the pardoning blood, inseparably connected with the resurrection and life of our Redeemer, illustrated by the ever-flowing stream that proceeds from the throne of God, the water of the river of life. 

Chap. 42 - Christ's Humanity a Golden Chain

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. 4:15. 

Christ's overcoming and obedience is that of a true human being. In our conclusions, we make many mistakes because of our erroneous views of the human nature of our Lord. When we give to His human nature a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, we destroy the completeness of His humanity. His imputed grace and power He gives to all who receive Him by faith.

The obedience of Christ to His Father was the same obedience that is required of man. Man cannot overcome Satan's temptations without divine power to combine with his instrumentality. So with Jesus Christ; He could lay hold of divine power. He came not to our world to give the obedience of a lesser God to a greater, but as a man to obey God's Holy Law, and in this way He is our example. The Lord Jesus came to our world, not to reveal what a God could do, but what a man could do, through faith in God's power to help in every emergency. Man is, through faith, to be a partaker in the divine nature, and to overcome every temptation wherewith he is beset.

The Lord now demands that every son and daughter of Adam, through faith in Jesus Christ, serve Him in human nature which we now have. The Lord Jesus has bridged the gulf that sin has made. He has connected earth with heaven, and finite man with the infinite God. Jesus, the world's Redeemer, could only keep the commandments of God in the same way that humanity can keep them.

We are not to serve God as if we were not human, but we are to serve Him in the nature we have, that has been redeemed by the Son of God; through the righteousness of Christ we shall stand before God pardoned, and as though we had never sinned. 

The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God. 

Chap. 43 - An Advocate with the Father

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1. 

How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How He fences about the soul from Satan's fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, He does not turn from us and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not our Saviour.... He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, He knows how to succour those who are tempted. Our crucified Lord is pleading for us in the presence of the Father at the throne of grace. His atoning sacrifice we may plead for our pardon, our justification, and our sanctification. The Lamb slain is our only hope. Our faith looks up to Him, grasps Him as the One who can save to the uttermost, and the fragrance of the all-sufficient offering is accepted of the Father.

If you make failures and are betrayed into sin, do not feel then you cannot pray ... but seek the Lord more earnestly.

The blood of Jesus is pleading with power and efficacy for those who are backslidden, for those who are rebellious, for those who sin against great light and love. Satan stands at our right hand to accuse us, and our Advocate stands at God's right hand to plead for us. He has never lost a case that has been committed to Him. We may trust in our Advocate; for He pleads His own merits in our behalf.... He is making intercession for the most lowly, the most oppressed and suffering, for the most tried and tempted ones. With upraised hands He pleads, "I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands." Isa. 49:16. 

I would I might sound the glad note to earth's remotest bounds. "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Oh, precious redemption! How broad this great truth is-- that God for Christ's dear sake, forgives us the moment we ask Him in living faith, believing that He is fully able!

Chap. 44 - Connecting Link Between God and Man

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Heb. 7:25. 

Christ is the connecting link between God and man. He has promised His personal intercession by employing His name. He places the whole virtue of His righteousness on the side of the suppliant. Christ pleads for man, and man, in need of divine help, pleads for himself in the presence of God, using the power of the influence of the One who gave His life for the world. As we acknowledge before God our appreciation of Christ's merits, fragrance is given to our intercessions. Oh, who can value this great mercy and love! As we approach God through the virtue of Christ's merits, we are clothed with His priestly vestments. He places us close by His side, encircling us with His human arm, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. He puts His merits, as sweet incense, in a censer in our hands, in order to encourage our petitions. He promises to hear and answer our supplications. 

Everyone who will break from the slavery and service of Satan, and will stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel will be kept by Christ's intercessions. Christ, as our Mediator, at the right hand of the Father, ever keeps us in view, for it is as necessary that He should keep us by His intercessions as that He should redeem us with His blood. If He lets go His hold of us for one moment, Satan stands ready to destroy. 

As the prayers of the sincere and contrite ones ascend to heaven Christ says to the Father, "I will take their sins. Let them stand before You innocent." As He takes their sins from them, He fills their hearts with the glorious light of truth and love. 

Our need of Christ's intercession is constant. Day by day, morning and evening, the humble heart needs to offer up prayers to which will be returned answers of grace and peace and joy. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." Heb. 13:15. 

Chap. 45 - Faultless in Christ's Perfection

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Cor. 5:21. 

Pardon and justification are one and the same thing. Through faith, the believer passes from the position of a rebel, a child of sin and Satan, to the position of a loyal subject of Christ Jesus, not because of an inherent goodness, but because Christ receives him as His child by adoption. The sinner receives the forgiveness of his sins, because these sins are borne by his Substitute and Surety. The Lord speaks to His heavenly Father, saying: "This is My child, I reprieve him from the condemnation of death, giving him My life insurance policy--eternal life--because I have taken his place and have suffered for his sins. He is even My beloved son." Thus man, pardoned, and clothed with the beautiful garments of Christ's righteousness, stands faultless before God....

It is the Father's prerogative to forgive our transgressions and sins, because Christ has taken upon Himself our guilt and reprieved us, imputing to us His own righteousness. His sacrifice satisfies fully the demands of justice. 

Many feel that their faults of character make it impossible for them to meet the standard that Christ has erected; but all that such ones have to do is to humble themselves at every step under the mighty hand of God; Christ does not estimate the man by the amount of work he does, but by the spirit in which the work is performed. 

When He sees men lifting the burdens, trying to carry them in lowliness of mind, with distrust of self and with reliance upon Him, He adds to their work His perfection and sufficiency, and it is accepted of the Father. We are accepted in the beloved. The sinner's defects are covered by the perfection and fullness of the Lord our righteousness. Those who with sincere will, with contrite heart, are putting forth humble efforts to live up to the requirements of God, are looked upon by the Father with pitying, tender love; He regards such as obedient children, and the righteousness of Christ is imputed unto them. 

Chap. 46 - The Faith that Justifies

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. 5:1. 

Justification by faith is to many a mystery. A sinner is justified by God when he repents of his sins. He sees Jesus upon the cross of Calvary.... He looks to the atoning Sacrifice as his only hope, through repentance toward God--because the laws of His government have been broken--and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ as the One who can save and cleanse the sinner from every transgression. 

The mediatorial work of Christ commenced with the commencement of human guilt and suffering and misery, as soon as man became a transgressor. The law was not abolished to save man and bring him into union with God. But Christ assumed the office of his surety and deliverer in becoming sin for man, that man might become the righteousness of God in and through Him who was one with the Father. Sinners can be justified by God only when He pardons their sins, remits the punishment they deserve, and treats them as though they were really just and had not sinned, receiving them into divine favour and treating them as if they were righteous. They are justified alone through the imputed righteousness of Christ. The Father accepts the Son, and through the atoning sacrifice of His Son accepts the sinner....

There are thousands who believe in the gospel and in Jesus Christ as the world's Redeemer, but they are not saved by that faith.... They do not repent and have that faith that lays hold upon Christ as their sin-pardoning Saviour; their belief is not unto repentance....

The faith that justifies always produces first true repentance, and then good works, which are the fruit of that faith. There is no saving faith that does not produce good fruit. God gave Christ to our world to become the sinner's substitute. The moment true faith in the merits of the costly atoning sacrifice is exercised, claiming Christ as a personal Saviour, that moment the sinner is justified before God, because he is pardoned. 

Chap. 47 - Accepted in the Beloved

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Eph. 1:6. 

The Father gave all honour to His Son, seating Him at His right hand, far above all principalities and powers. He expressed His great joy and delight in receiving the Crucified One, and crowning Him with glory and honour. And all the favours He has shown to His Son in His acceptance of the great atonement, are shown to His people. Those who have united their interests in love with Christ are accepted in the Beloved. They suffered with Christ in His deepest humiliation, and His glorification is of great interest to them, because they are accepted in Him. God loves them as He loves His Son. Christ, Emmanuel, stands between God and the believer, revealing the glory of God to His chosen ones, and covering their defects and transgressions with the garments of His own spotless righteousness. 

"The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in them that hope in his mercy." Ps. 147:11. But it is only through the value of the sacrifice made for us that we are of value in the Lord's sight. It is because of the imputed righteousness of Christ that we are counted precious by God. For Christ's sake He pardons them that fear Him. He does not see in them the vileness of the sinner; He recognizes in them the likeness of His Son, in whom they believe. In this way only can God take pleasure in any of us. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John 1:12. 

The more perfectly the Lord sees the character of His beloved Son revealed in His people, the greater is His satisfaction and delight in them. God Himself and the heavenly universe rejoice over them with singing, because Christ has not died for them in vain. The believing sinner is pronounced innocent, while the guilt is placed on Jesus Christ. The righteousness of Christ is placed on the debtor's account, and against his name on the balance sheet is written, Pardoned. Eternal Life. 

Chap. 48 - Our Redeemer a Tried Stone

Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Isa. 28:16. 

Our Redeemer is a "Tried Stone." The experiment has been made, the great test has been applied, and with perfect success. In Him is fulfilled all the purpose of God for the saving of a lost world. Never was a foundation subject to so severe a trial and test as this "Tried Stone." The Lord Jehovah knew what this foundation stone could sustain. The sins of the whole world could be piled upon it. The Lord's chosen were to be revealed, heaven's gates to be thrown open to all who would believe; its untold glories were to be given to the overcomers.

"A Tried Stone" is Christ, tried by the perversity of man. Thou, O our Saviour, hast taken the burden; Thou hast given peace and rest; Thou hast been tried, proved by believers who have taken their trials to Thy sympathy, their sorrows to Thy love, their wounds to Thy healing, their weakness to Thy strength, their emptiness to Thy fullness; and never, never has one soul been disappointed. Jesus, my Tried Stone, to Thee will I come, moment by moment. In Thy presence I am lifted above pain. "When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I." Ps. 61:2. 

It is our privilege to enjoy sweet communion with God. Precious to the believer is His atoning blood, precious is His justifying righteousness. "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious." 1 Peter 2:7.

When I meditate upon this fountain of living power from which we may draw, I mourn that so many are losing the delight they might have had in considering His goodness. We are to be sons and daughters of God, growing into a holy temple in the Lord. "No more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God. . . . Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." Eph. 2:19, 20. This is our privilege. 

Chap. 49 - Jesus Our Best Friend

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Prov. 18:24.

How few are constantly beholding the unseen Guest, realizing that He is at their right hand! How many ignore His presence! Did we treat others as we treat Jesus, what discourtesy it would be thought! 

Suppose a friend were with us, and we should meet an acquaintance on the way and direct our whole attention to our new-found acquaintance, ignoring the presence of our friend, what opinion would men have of our loyalty to our friend, of our degree of respect to him? And yet this is the way we treat Jesus. We forget that He is our companion. We engage in conversation, and never mention His name. . . . We talk of worldly business matters, and where it does not bruise the soul, where it is essential, we do not dishonour Jesus, but we do dishonour Him when we fail to mention Him in our intercourse with our friends and associates. He is our best friend, and we should seek for opportunities to speak of Him. . . . We should ever keep Him in view. Our conversation should be of a character that would be of no offence to God. 

I know that in many hearts the inquiry arises, "Where shall I find Jesus?" There are many who want His presence, want His love and His light; but they know not where to look for Him for whom their hearts yearn. And yet Jesus does not hide Himself away; no one need search for Him in vain. "Behold," He says, "I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Rev. 3:20. Jesus invites us to accept His presence; we are to open the door of the heart, and let Him in. But He will not share a divided heart. If it be given to the service of mammon, if selfishness and pride fill its chambers, there will be no room for the heavenly Guest; He will not take up His abode with us until the soul-temple has been emptied and cleansed. Yet there is no need of making a failure in the Christian life. Jesus is waiting to do a great work for us, and all heaven is interested in our salvation.

Chap. 50 - Jesus is Always Near

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. Matt. 14:27. 

I think of the disciples in that sore tempest; the boat laboured with strong winds and heavy gales. They have given up their efforts as hopeless, and while the hungry waves talk with death, amid the storm a light form is seen walking upon the foam-capped billows. . . . A voice is heard amid the roar of the tempest, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid." 

Oh, how many in this time of peril, are making a hard pull against a head sea! The moon and stars seem to be hidden by storm clouds, and in despondency and despair, many of us say, "It is no use; our efforts are as nothing. We shall perish. We have toiled at the oars, but without any success." . . . Jesus is just as near to us amid scenes of tempest and trial as He was to His followers who were tossed on the Sea of Galilee. We must have calm, steady, firm, unwavering trust in God. . . . We must now have an individual experience in holding fast unto God. Christ is on board the vessel. Believe that Christ is our Captain, that He will take care, not only of us, but of the ship. . . .

That night in that boat was to the disciples a school where they were to receive their education for the great work which was to be done afterwards. The dark hours of trial are to come to every one as a part of his education for higher work, for more devoted, consecrated effort. The storm was not sent upon the disciples to shipwreck them, but to test and prove them, individually. . . . 

The time of our educating will soon be over. We have no time to lose in walking through clouds of doubt and uncertainty. . . . We may stand close to the side of Jesus. Let none . . . shirk one hard lesson or lose the blessing of one hard discipline. . . . 

Whatever be our condition in life, our business, we have a sure Guide. Whatever be our condition, He is our counsellor. Whatever be our loneliness, He is our friend in whom we may ever trust. 

Chap. 51 - Our Great Exemplar

Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. Heb. 3:1. 

I present before you the great Exemplar. . . . As really did He meet and resist the temptations of Satan as any of the children of humanity. In this sense alone could He be a perfect example for man. He subjected Himself to humanity to become acquainted with all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He took upon Him the infirmities and bore the sorrows of the sons of Adam.

He was "made like unto his brethren." Heb. 2:17. He felt both joy and grief as they feel. His body was susceptible to weariness, as yours. His mind, like yours, could be harassed and perplexed. If you have hardships, so did He. Satan could tempt Him. His enemies could annoy Him. The ruling powers could torture His body; the soldiers could crucify Him; and they can do no more to us. Jesus was exposed to hardships, to conflict and temptation, as a man. He became the Captain of our Salvation through suffering. He could bear His burden better than we, for He bore it without complaint, without impatience, without unbelief, without repining; but this is no evidence He felt it less than any of the suffering sons of Adam. . . . 

The period of His childhood and youth was one of comparative obscurity, but of the highest importance. He was in this obscurity laying the foundation of a sound constitution and vigorous mind. He "grew, and waxed strong in spirit." Luke 1:80. It is not as a man bending under the pressure of age that Jesus is revealed to us traversing the hills of Judea. He was in the strength of His manhood. Jesus once stood in age just where you now stand. [THIS EXTRACT IS FROM A LETTER TO A YOUNG MAN.] Your circumstances, your cogitations at this period of your life, Jesus has had. He cannot overlook you at this critical period. He sees your dangers. He is acquainted with your temptations. He invites you to follow His example. 

Chap. 52 - Reflecting Christ's Image

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:18. 

Looking unto Jesus, dwelling upon His virtues, mercies, and purity will create in the soul an utter abhorrence for that which is sinful, and an intense longing and thirsting for righteousness. The more closely we discern Jesus, the more will we see our own defects of character: then confess these things to Jesus and with true contrition of soul co-operate with the divine power, the Holy Spirit, to put these things away.

It is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, which Jesus said He would send into the world, that changes our character into the image of Christ; and when this is accomplished, we reflect, as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord. That is, the character of the one who thus beholds Christ is so like His, that one looking at him sees Christ's own character shining out as from a mirror. Imperceptibly to ourselves we are changed day by day from our own ways and will into the ways and will of Christ, into the loveliness of His character. Thus we grow up into Christ, and unconsciously reflect His image.

It is not by looking away from Him that we imitate the life of Jesus, but by talking of Him, by dwelling upon His perfections, by seeking to refine the taste and elevate the character, by trying, through faith and love, and by earnest, persevering effort, to approach the perfect Pattern. By having a knowledge of Christ--His words, His habits and His lessons of instruction--we borrow the virtues of the character we have so closely studied, and become imbued with the spirit we have so much admired. Jesus becomes to us " the chiefest among ten thousand," the One "altogether lovely."

When the soul is brought into close relationship with the great Author of light and truth, impressions are made upon it revealing its true position before God. Then self will die, pride will be laid low, and Christ will draw His own image in deeper lines upon the soul. 

Chap. 53 - In Love with Christ

For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. Heb. 7:26. 

The character of Christ was one of unexampled excellence, embracing everything pure, true, lovely, and of good report. We have no knowledge of His ever visiting a party of pleasure or a dance hall, and yet He was the perfection of grace and courtly bearing. Christ was no novice; He was distinguished for the high intellectual powers He possessed even in the morning of His life. His youth was not wasted in indolence, neither was it wasted in sensual pleasure, self-indulgence, or frittered away in things of no profit. Not one of His hours from childhood to manhood was misspent, none were misappropriated. . . . 

Jesus was sinless and had no dread of the consequences of sin. With this exception His condition was as yours. You have not a difficulty that did not press with equal weight upon Him, not a sorrow that His heart has not experienced. His feelings could be hurt with neglect, with indifference of professed friends, as easily as yours. Is your path thorny? Christ's was so in a tenfold sense. Are you distressed? So was He. How well fitted was Christ to be an example! . . . 

The Inspired Record says of Him: "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." Luke 2:52. As He grew in years He grew in knowledge. He lived temperately; His precious hours were not wasted in dissipating pleasures. He had a truly healthy body and true powers of mind. The physical and mental powers could be expanded and developed as yours or any other youth's. The Word of God was His study, as it should be yours. 

Take Jesus as your standard. Imitate His life. Fall in love with His character. Walk as Christ walked. A new spring will be given to your intellectual faculties, a large scope to your thoughts, when you bring your powers into vigorous contact with eternal things which are intrinsically grand and great. 

Chap. 54 - To God Be the Glory

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:1. 

What a grand theme this is for contemplation--the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ! Contemplating Christ and His righteousness leaves no room for self-righteousness, for the glorifying of self. In this chapter there is no standstill. There is continual advancement in every stage in the knowledge of Christ. . . .

In God we are to glory. The prophet says, "Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth." Jer. 9:23, 24. . . . 

We have been called to the knowledge of Christ, and that is to the knowledge of glory and virtue. It is a knowledge of the perfection of the divine character, manifested to us in Jesus Christ, that opens up to us communion with God. . . . Scarcely can the human mind comprehend what is the breadth and depth and height of the spiritual attainments that can be reached by becoming partakers of the divine nature. 

I long to address the young men and women who are so willing to reach only cheap standards. O that the Lord might influence their minds to see what perfection of character is! O that they might know the faith that works by love, and purifies the soul! We are living in days of peril. Christ alone can help us and give us the victory. Christ must be all in all to us; He must dwell in the heart; His life must circulate through us, as the blood circulates through the veins. His Spirit must be a vitalizing power that will cause us to influence others to become Christlike and holy. 

If our youth would take heed to the rules laid down in this chapter, and practice them, what an influence they would exert on the side of right! 

Chap. 55 - The Highest Exercise of Our Powers

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3.

To comprehend and enjoy God is the highest exercise of the powers of man. This may be attained only when our affections are sanctified and ennobled by the grace of Christ. . . . In Christ was the brightness of His Father's glory, the express image of His person. Said our Saviour, "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father." John 14:9. In Christ is the life of the soul. In the outgoings of our hearts to Him, in our earnest, affectionate yearnings for His excellence, in our eager searching into His glory, we find life. In communion with Him we eat the bread of life. 

When we allow objects of minor importance to absorb our attention, to the forgetfulness of Christ, turning away from Him to accept other companionship, we set our feet in a path which leads away from God and from heaven. Christ must be the central object of our affections, and then we shall live in Him, then we shall have His spirit. . . . 

What constitutes the brightness of heaven? In what will consist the happiness of the redeemed? Christ is all in all. They will gaze with rapture unutterable upon the Lamb of God. They will pour out their songs of grateful praise and adoration to Him whom they loved and worshipped here. That song they learned and began to sing on earth. They learned to put their trust in Jesus while they were forming characters for heaven. Their hearts were attuned to His will here. Their joy in Christ will be proportioned to the love and trust which they learned to repose in Him here. 

God must be ever in our thoughts. We must hold converse with Him while we walk by the way, and while our hands are engaged in labour. In all the purposes and pursuits of life we must inquire, What will the Lord have me to do? How shall I please Him who has given His life a ransom for me? Thus may we walk with God, as did Enoch of old; and ours may be the testimony which he received, that he pleased God. 

Chap. 56 - Follow On to Know the Lord

Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. Hosea 6:3.

We may think we understand something about the truth and the Bible, but the revelation of truth is much beyond anything that our finite vision can comprehend. Christ leads us. When we are caught up to meet Him, and enter through the pearly gates into the city of God, He leads us by the living waters, and all the time He is educating and talking with us about things that He would have opened to our understanding upon the earth if we could have borne it. But we do not walk fast enough. We take too many back steps. We do not advance heavenward; therefore the light that would have come in glorious rays, could not come to us because we were not prepared for it. We take a step back into the world, to the gratifications of earth, and then we take a step toward heaven, and then we take a step back, and then we take a step toward heaven. 

If you follow on to know the Lord, you shall know that His goings forth are prepared as the morning. You know the morning light first breaks upon us in a very dim light, and then increases and increases in brightness until the king of the day marches in the heavens in all his glory, in all his beauty. . . . Now if God's glory were to shine first upon us as He wants to let it shine, we could not endure it. . . . That is just why Christ came in humanity. We could not have borne Him if He had come in all His glory. . . . 

Now if we will follow on, and if we will not backslide a step or two every now and then, and have to gather up our forces and go on -- it is better to gather up our forces than to remain in a backslidden condition and keep on backsliding, but I wish that we did not lose so much time and so much strength -- we may know more of God and more of heaven, and become better acquainted with the precious truth and the rich blessings that God has for us if we will only comprehend them. He has prepared wonderful things for us. 

Chap. 57 - The Girdle of Gladness

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness. Ps. 30:11.

Many who are seeking for happiness will be disappointed in their hopes, because they seek it amiss. True happiness is not to be found in selfish gratification, but in the path of duty. God desires man to be happy, and for this reason He gave him the precepts of His law, that in obeying these he might have joy at home and abroad. While he stands in his moral integrity, true to principle, having the control of all his powers, he cannot be miserable. With its tendrils entwined about God, the soul will flourish amid unbelief and depravity. But many who are constantly looking forward for happiness fail to receive it, because, by neglecting to discharge the little duties and observe the little courtesies of life, they violate the principles upon which happiness depends.

The currents of spiritual life must not become stagnant. The water of the living fountain should be in us, a well of water springing up into everlasting life, and sweeping away the selfishness of the natural heart. . . . Many build up barriers between themselves and Jesus so that His love cannot flow into their hearts, and then they complain that they do not see the Sun of Righteousness. Let them forget self and live for Jesus, and the light of Heaven will bring gladness to their souls. . . . 

The fact that Jesus died to bring happiness and heaven within our reach should be a theme for constant gratitude. The beauty spread before us in God's created works, as an expression of His love, should bring gladness to our hearts. We open to ourselves the floodgates of woe or joy. If we permit our thoughts to be engrossed with the troubles and trifles of earth, our hearts will be filled with unbelief, gloom, and foreboding. If we set our affections on things above, the voice of Jesus will speak peace to our souls; murmurings will cease; vexing thoughts will be lost in praise to our Redeemer. Those who dwell upon God's great mercies, and are not unmindful of His lesser gifts, will put on the girdle of gladness, and make melody in their hearts to the Lord. 

Chap. 58 - Life with a Purpose

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God. Ps. 146:5. 

Your only safety and happiness are in making Christ your constant counsellor. You can be happy in Him if you had not another friend in the wide world. Your feelings of unrest and homesickness or loneliness may be for your good. Your heavenly Father means to teach you to find in Him the friendship and love and consolation that will satisfy your most earnest hopes and desires. . . . 

Do not be overanxious about anything. Go quietly about your duty which the day brings you. Do the best you can; ask God to be your helper. . . . Feel every day, "I am doing my work for God. I am not living for myself, to glorify myself, but to glorify God." Oh, trust in Jesus and not in your own heart! Cast your burden and yourself upon Him. If you feel no joy, no consolation, do not be discouraged. Hope and believe. You may have a precious experience in the things of God. Wrestle with your discouragements and doubts until you gain the victory over them in Jesus' name. Do not encourage grief, despondency, and darkness. . . . Repose in the broad, sure promises of God. Rest in these promises, without a doubt. 

I have seen that those who live for a purpose, seeking to benefit and bless their fellow men and to honour and glorify their Redeemer, are the truly happy ones on the earth, while the man who is restless, discontented, and seeking this and testing that, hoping to find happiness, is always complaining of disappointment. He is always in want, never satisfied, because he lives for himself alone. Let it be your aim to do good, to act your part in life faithfully.

Find time to comfort some other heart, to bless with a kind, cheering word someone who is battling with temptation and maybe with affliction. In thus blessing another with cheering, hopeful words, pointing him to the Burden Bearer, you may unexpectedly find peace, happiness, and consolation yourself. 

Chap. 59 - Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. 1 Peter 1:8. 

Christ has said: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." John 7:37. Have you exhausted the fountain? -- No; for it is inexhaustible. Just as soon as you feel your need, you may drink, and drink again. The fountain is always full. And when you have once drunk of that fountain, you will not be seeking to quench your thirst from the broken cisterns of this world; you will not be studying how you can find the most pleasure, amusement, fun, and frolic. No; because you have been drinking from the stream which makes glad the city of God. Then your joy will be full.

Why should not the religion of Christ be represented as it really is, as full of attractiveness and power? Why should we not present before the world the loveliness of Christ? Why do we not show that we have a living Saviour, one who can walk with us in the darkness as well as in the light, and that we can trust in Him? . . .

We have seen clouds interpose between us and the sun, but we did not mourn and clothe ourselves in sackcloth for fear that we should never see the sun again. We manifested no anxiety about it, but waited as cheerfully as possible until the cloud passed away and revealed the sun. Just so in our trials and temptations. Clouds may seem to shut from us the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness; but we know that the face of our Redeemer is not forever hidden. He is looking upon us with love and tender compassion. Let us not cast away our confidence, which hath great recompense of reward, but when clouds hang over the soul, let us keep our eyes fixed where we can see the Sun of Righteousness, and rejoice that we have a living Saviour. Think how beautiful was the light which we enjoyed, keep the mind stayed on Jesus, and the light will again shine upon us, and dismal thoughts will flee. We shall have joy in Christ, and shall go singing on our way to Mount Zion.