Chap. 91 - "Come Unto Me"
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28.
Many who hear this invitation, while sighing for rest, yet press on the rugged path, hugging their burdens close to their heart. Jesus loves them, and longs to bear their burdens and themselves also in His strong arms. He would remove the fears and uncertainties that rob them of peace and rest; but they must first come to Him, and tell Him the secret woes of their heart. . . .
Sometimes we pour our troubles into human ears, and tell our afflictions to those who cannot help us, and neglect to confide all to Jesus, who is able to change the sorrowful way to paths of joy and peace. . . .
He proposes to be our friend, to walk with us through all the rough pathways of life. He says to us, I am the Lord thy God; walk with me, and I will fill thy path with light. Jesus, the Majesty of Heaven, proposes to elevate to companionship with Himself those who come to Him with their burdens, their weaknesses, and their cares. . . .
His invitation to us is a call to a pure, holy, and happy life--a life of peace and rest, of liberty and love--and to a rich inheritance in the future, immortal life. . . . It is our privilege to have daily a calm, close, happy walk with Jesus.
Rest is found when all self-justification, all reasoning from a selfish standpoint, is put away. Entire self-surrender, an acceptance of His ways, is the secret of perfect rest in His love. . . . Do just what He has told you to do, and be assured that God will do all that He has said He would do. . . . Have you come to Him, renouncing all your makeshifts, all your unbelief, all your self-righteousness? Come just as you are, weak, helpless, and ready to die.
What is the "rest" promised?--It is the consciousness that God is true, that He never disappoints the one who comes to Him. His pardon is full and free, and His acceptance means rest to the soul, rest in His love.
Chap. 92 - Rest for the Restless
For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. Isa. 30:15.
Jesus invites the restless, the murmuring, the oppressed and sorrowing, to come to Him.
Jesus loves you and He wants your love. He would have you remember that He gave His precious life that you should not perish; and He will be unto you a present help in every time of need. Only look to Jesus and tell Him every perplexity and trial. . . . Ask Him to help and strengthen and bless you, and believe that He hears your prayers. . . .
All heaven is looking upon you with deep interest. One soul for whom Christ has died is worth more than the whole world. I wish every young man and woman could appreciate the value of the human soul. If they would give themselves to Jesus just as they are, though sinful and polluted, He will accept them the very moment that they give themselves to Him, and Jesus will put His Spirit in the humble seeker's heart. Whosoever cometh unto Him, He will in no wise cast out. You may love Jesus with your whole heart, and He will never disappoint that love and confidence. His words are life, comfort, and hope. Satan knows that all you have to do is to look to Jesus, an uplifted Saviour. The wounded, bruised, stricken soul will find in Jesus a balm for his wounds. . . .
There will be peace, constant peace, flowing into the soul, for the rest is found in perfect submission to Jesus Christ. Obedience to God's will finds the rest. The disciple that treads in the meek and lowly steps of the Redeemer finds rest which the world cannot give, and the world cannot take away. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Isa. 26:3.
Lowliness and meekness of mind, which ever characterized the life of the divine Son of God, possessed by His true followers, bring contentment, peace, and happiness, that elevate them above the slavery of artificial life.
Chap. 93 - "Learn of Me"
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matt. 11:29.
"Learn of me," said the Divine Teacher, "for I am meek and lowly in heart. . . ." We must learn self-denial, we must learn courage, patience, fortitude, and forgiving love. . . . If we have faith in Jesus as our helper, if our eyes of faith are directed to Him constantly, we shall become like Jesus in character. He will abide in our hearts and we will abide in Christ. Being clothed with the righteousness of Christ, our lives are hid with Christ in God. He will be our counsellor. If we ask Him in faith, He will enlighten our understanding. . . . The lessons which Christ has given us will be practised.
As Christ the Pattern is constantly kept before the mind's eye, new habits will be formed, powerful hereditary and cultivated tendencies will be subdued and overcome, self-esteem will be laid in the dust, old habits of thought will be constantly resisted, love for the supremacy will be seen in its real, despicable character, and will be overcome.
Christ must be blended with all our thoughts, our feelings, our affections. He must be exemplified in the minutest details of everyday service in the work that He has given us to do. When, in the place of leaning upon human understanding or conforming to worldly maxims, we sit at the feet of Jesus, eagerly drinking in His words, learning of Him, and saying. "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" our natural independence, our self-confidence, our strong self-will, will be exchanged for a childlike, submissive, teachable spirit. When we are in right relation to God, we shall recognise Christ's authority to direct us, and His claim to our unquestioning obedience.
We will have such exalted views of Jesus Christ that self will be abased. Our affections will centre in Jesus, our thoughts will be strongly drawn heavenward. Christ will increase, I will decrease . . . . We will cultivate the virtues that dwell in Jesus, that we may reflect to others a representation of His character.
Chap. 94 - Wearing Christ's Yoke
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matt. 11:30.
Wearing the yoke with Christ, means to work in His lines, to be a co-partner with Him in His sufferings and toils for lost humanity.
In accepting Christ's yoke of restraint and obedience, you will find that it is of the greatest help to you. Wearing this yoke keeps you near the side of Christ, and He bears the heaviest part of the load.
The yoke and the cross are symbols representing the same thing-- the giving up of the will to God. Wearing the yoke unites finite man in companionship with the dearly beloved Son of God. Lifting the cross cuts away self from the soul, and places man where he learns how to bear Christ's burdens. We cannot follow Christ without wearing His yoke, without lifting the cross and bearing it after Him. If our will is not in accord with the divine requirements, we are to deny our inclinations, give up our darling desires, and step in Christ's footsteps. . . .
Men frame for their own necks yokes that seem light and pleasant to wear, but they prove galling in the extreme. Christ sees this, and He says, "Take My yoke upon you. The yoke you would place upon your own neck, thinking it a precise fit, will not fit at all. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me the lessons essential for you to learn."
Your work is not to gather up burdens of your own. . . . We often think we are having a hard time in bearing burdens, and it is too often the case, because God has not made any provision for us to carry these burdens; but when we bear His yoke and carry His burdens, we can testify that the yoke of Christ is easy and His burdens are light, because He has made provision for these.
Yet that yoke will not give us a life of ease and freedom and selfish indulgence. The life of Christ was one of self-sacrifice and self-denial at every step; and with consistent, Christlike tenderness and love, His true follower will walk in the footsteps of the Master; and as he advances in this life, he will become more and more inspired with the spirit and life of Christ.
Chap. 95 - Learning in Christ's School
What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. Ps. 25:12.
Jesus has opened a school for the education and training of His chosen ones, and they are ever to be learning to practice the lessons that He gives them, in order that they may know Him fully.
Those who think they are very nearly good enough, and do not work diligently for the perfection of Christian character, will set up idols in their hearts, and will continue to practice sinful habits until sin will no longer appear sinful....
Jesus offers Himself to every sin-sick soul, to every soul who is struggling to overcome. The Holy Spirit is making intercession for every sincere wrestler, and Christ will make His words to be spirit and life, the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. But you will certainly fail if you permit the devil to control your mind, to guide your imaginings.... God will not be trifled with; He will not accept a divided heart. He claims entire, wholehearted service. He has paid the ransom money of His own life for every son and daughter of Adam....
Christ has a claim upon every soul; but many choose a life of sin. Some will not come unto Jesus that He may give them life. Some say, "I go, sir," to His invitation; but they do not go; they do not make an entire surrender to abide in Jesus alone, which is life and peace and joy unspeakable, and full of glory.... Will you not rise to be wise and to make diligent work for eternity? Seek the grace of Christ with the whole heart, might, mind, and strength....
God has given you a right to take hold of Him through the prayer of faith. Believing prayer is the very essence of pure religion, the secret of power with every Christian....
Take time to pray, to search the Scriptures, to put self under discipline to Jesus Christ. Live in contact with the living Christ, and as soon as you do this, He will take hold of you and hold you firmly by a strong hand that will never let go.
Chap. 96 - Preparing for the Higher School
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Ps. 25:5.
Those who in this earth become sons of God sit together with Christ in the preparatory school, getting ready to be received into the higher school. Day by day we are to make an individual preparation; for in the courts above no one will be represented by proxy. Each one must heed for himself the call, "Come unto me,... and I will give you rest...."
The Lord Jesus has paid your tuition fees. All that you have to do is to learn of Him. The Christlike politeness practised in the higher school is to be practised in this lower school, by both old and young believers. All who learn in Christ's school are under the training of heavenly agencies; and they are never to forget that they are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.
They are to represent Christ. They are to help one another to become worthy of admission into the higher school. They are to help one another to be pure and noble, and to cherish a true idea of what it means to be a child of God. They are to speak encouraging words. They are to lift up the feeble hands and strengthen the feeble knees. Upon every heart there is to be inscribed the words, as with the point of a diamond, "There is nothing that I fear, save that I shall not know my duty, or shall fail to do it." ...
A self-controlled spirit, words of love and tenderness, honour the Saviour. Those who speak kind, loving words, words that make for peace, will be richly rewarded.... We are to let His spirit shine forth in the meekness and lowliness learned of Him.
Jesus is the great Teacher.... He is so willing, so ready to take you into a closer fellowship with Himself. He is willing to teach you how to pray with the believing confidence and assurance of a little child. ...Enrol your name anew as a student in His school. Learn to pray in faith. Receive the knowledge of Jesus....
Will you not sit at the feet of Jesus and learn of Him?
Chap. 97 - The True Force of the Will
For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 2 Cor. 8:12.
Pure religion has to do with the will. The will is the governing power in the nature of man, bringing all the other faculties under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the deciding power which works in the children of men unto obedience to God or unto disobedience....
You desire to make your life such as will fit you for heaven at last. You are often discouraged at finding yourself weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits and customs of your old life in sin.... Your promises are like ropes of sand....
You will be in constant peril until you understand the true force of the will. You may believe and promise all things, but your promises or your faith are of no value until you put your will on the side of faith and action. If you fight the fight of faith with all your will power, you will conquer. Your feelings, your impressions, your emotions, are not to be trusted, for they are not reliable....
But you need not despair.... It is for you to yield up your will to the will of Jesus Christ; and as you do this, God will immediately take possession and work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. Your whole nature will then be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ, and even your thoughts will be subject to Him. You cannot control your impulses, your emotions, as you may desire; but you can control the will, and you can make an entire change in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, your life will be hid with Christ in God and allied to the power which is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from God that will hold you fast to His strength; and a new light, even the light of living faith, will be possible to you. But your will must cooperate with God's will....
Will you not say, "I will give my will to Jesus, and I will do it now," and from this moment be wholly on the Lord's side?
Chap. 98 - When My Will is Safe
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Rom. 6:22.
The Spirit of God does not create new faculties in the converted man, but works a decided change in the employment of those faculties. When mind and heart and soul are changed, man is not given a new conscience, but his will is submitted to a conscience renewed, a conscience whose dormant sensibilities are aroused by the working of the Holy Spirit.
Through yielding to sin, man placed his will under the control of Satan. He became a helpless captive in the tempter's power. God sent His Son into our world to break the power of Satan, and to emancipate the will of man. He sent Him to proclaim liberty to the captives, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free. By pouring the whole treasury of heaven into this world, by giving us in Christ all heaven, God has purchased the will, the affections, the mind, the soul, of every human being. When man places himself under the control of God, the will becomes firm and strong to do right, the heart is cleansed from selfishness, and filled with Christlike love. The mind yields to the authority of the law of love, and every thought is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
When the will is placed on the Lord's side, the Holy Spirit takes that will and makes it one with the divine will.
The Lord loves man. He has given evidence of this love by giving His only begotten Son to die for man, that through His grace He might redeem him from hostility to God, and bring him back to his loyalty. If man will cooperate with God, the Lord will bring his will into connection with Himself, and will vitalize it by His own Spirit.... The gospel must be received in order to regenerate the heart, and the reception of truth will mean the surrender of mind and will to the will of divine power.
The will of man is only safe when united with the will of God.
Chap. 99 - A Submissive Will
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. John 7:17.
Those who have yielded their will to God are trained in Christ's school.... They are disciplined to habits of obedience, to do service to God. We are not creatures devoid of moral nature. The gospel does not address the understanding alone. If it did, we might approach it as we approach the study of a book dealing with mathematical formulas, which relate to the intellect alone.... Its aim is the heart. It addresses our moral nature, and takes possession of the will. It casts down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and brings into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
It is the wayward heart that has dragged down the faculties of the soul. All who would learn the science of salvation must be submissive students in the school of Christ, that the soul temple may be the abiding place of the most High. If we would learn of Christ, the soul must be emptied of all its proud possessions, that Christ may imprint His image on the soul....
Then we shall have such a view of Christ's infinite sacrifice in our behalf that the soul will be softened and humbled and made full of thanksgiving to God. An intense desire will be begotten by the Holy Spirit for a favourable opportunity to witness for Christ and to express gratitude and devotion to Him who has redeemed us. Loyalty and love will be seen in all the service. A burning desire to be like Christ will keep the soul tender, leading it to give vent to grateful emotion, and in the sight of heaven to offer thanks to God for His goodness, His love, and His compassion. Such have a grace that cannot be repressed into a tame, everyday evenness of assenting to truth, while the heart is not affected.
Oh, how much more safe it is to agonize to enter into the strait gate! It is only at the altar of God that human beings can receive the celestial torch.
Chap. 100 - Cultivating God's Garden
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom. 12:2.
Man, fallen man, may be transformed by the renewing of the mind, so that he can "prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." How does he prove this? By the Holy Spirit taking possession of his mind, spirit, heart, and character.
The rubbish of questionable principles and practices is to be swept away. The Lord desires the mind to be renovated, and the heart filled with the treasures of truth.
Truth has a power to elevate the receiver. It has a sanctifying influence upon mind and character.... Only by a continual improvement of the intellectual as well as the moral powers can we hope to answer the purpose of our Creator....
A Christian should possess more intelligence and keener discernment than the worldling. The study of God's Word is continually expanding the mind and strengthening the intellect. There is nothing that will so refine and elevate the character, and give vigour to every faculty, as the continual exercise of the mind to grasp and comprehend weighty and important truths.
The human mind becomes dwarfed and enfeebled when dealing with commonplace matters only, never rising above the level of time and sense to grasp the mysteries of the unseen. The understanding is gradually brought to the level of the things with which it is constantly familiar.... Man need not cease to grow intellectually and spiritually during his lifetime.
We are to cultivate the talents given us by God. They are His gifts, and are to be used in their right relation to each other, so as to make a perfect whole. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; man makes the character. The mind is the Lord's garden, and man must cultivate it earnestly in order to form a character after the divine similitude.
Chap. 101 - In Unison with God
Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4:34.
Christ declared, "I came ... not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me." John 6:38. His will was put into active exercise to save the souls of men. His human will was nourished by the divine. His servants today would do well to ask themselves, "What kind of will am I individually cultivating? Have I been gratifying my own desires, confirming myself in selfishness and obstinacy?" If we are doing this, we are in great peril, for Satan will always rule the will that is not under the control of the Spirit of God. When we place our will in unison with the will of God, the holy obedience that was exemplified in the life of Christ will be seen in our lives....
Paul declares, "I am crucified with Christ." Gal. 2:20. There is nothing so hard as the crucifixion of the will. Christ was tempted in all points like as we are; but His will was ever kept on the side of God's will. In His humanity He had the same free will that Adam had in Eden. He could have yielded to temptation as Adam yielded. And Adam, by believing God and being a doer of His word, could have resisted temptation as Christ resisted it. Had Christ so willed it, He could have commanded the stones to be made bread. He might have cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple. He might have yielded to Satan's temptation to fall down and worship him, the usurper of the world. But at every point He met the tempter with, "It is written." His will was in perfect obedience to the will of God, and the will of God was revealed throughout His entire life....
Christ's obedience to His Father's commandments is to be the measure of our obedience. Those who follow Christ, if they would become complete in Him, must keep their will surrendered to the will of God. Abundant provision has been made that those who will seek God with the whole heart may find Him a present help in every time of trouble. Help has been laid on One that is mighty. Christ has promised, I will be your helper.
Chap. 102 - "Let this Mind be in You"
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Phil. 2:5.
The prayer that Christ has given us, that the will of God shall be done in earth as it is in heaven, is to be answered. Wonderful is this prayer, which we are to offer to God, and then fulfil in the daily life! The science of holiness, the ethics that the gospel inculcates, acknowledge no standard but the perfection of God's mind, God's will. It is the character and mind of Christ which, by conversion and transformation, men are to receive. Through His Son, God has revealed the excellency to which man is capable of attaining. And before the world God is developing us as living witnesses of what man may become through the grace of Christ. Oh, why do so many grieve the heart of infinite love? ...
God permits every person to exercise his individuality. No human mind should be submerged in another human mind. But the invitation has been given, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Each person is to stand before God with an individual faith, an individual experience, knowing for himself that Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. For us to imitate the example of any man-- even a person who in our human judgement we might regard as nearly perfect in character--would be to put our trust in an imperfect, defective human being, who is unable to impart one jot or tittle of perfection to any other human being.
As our pattern we have One who is all and in all, the chiefest among ten thousand, One whose excellency is beyond comparison. What saith the Divine Teacher?-- "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matt. 5:48. Would Christ tantalize us by requiring of us an impossibility?--Never, never! What an honour He confers upon us, in urging us to be holy in our sphere, as the Father is holy in His sphere. And through His power we are able to do this; for He declares, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Matt. 28:18. This unlimited power it is your privilege and mine to claim.
Chap. 103 - The Influence of Mind on Mind
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Tim. 1:7.
The influence of mind on mind, so strong a power for good when sanctified, is equally strong for evil in the hands of those opposed to God. This power Satan used in his work of instilling evil into the minds of the angels, and he made it appear that he was seeking the good of the universe. . . . Cast out of heaven, Satan set up his kingdom in this world, and ever since, he has been untiringly striving to seduce human beings from their allegiance to God. He uses the same power that he used in heaven--the influence of mind on mind. Men become tempters of their fellow men. The strong, corrupting sentiments of Satan are cherished, and they exert a masterly, compelling power.
Clear spiritual eyesight is needed to distinguish between the chaff and the wheat, between the science of Satan and the science of the Word of truth. Christ, the Great Physician, came to our world to give health and peace and perfection of character to all who will receive Him. His gospel does not consist of outward methods and performances through which the science of an evil work may be introduced as a great blessing, afterward to prove a great curse. In the second chapter of Philippians is found a presentation of true godliness. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Phil. 2:5. . . .
To advocate the science of mind cure is opening a door through which Satan will enter to take possession of mind and heart. Satan controls both the mind that is given up to be controlled by another, and the mind that controls. May God help us to understand the true science of building on Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer.
Christ is the greatest of all physicians. He is a physician of the soul as well as of the body. Had He not come to this world to redeem us from Satan's hellish power, we would have had no hope of gaining eternal life. . . . Let us not point minds to erring human beings. Let us say, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29.
Chap. 104 - Entangled Minds
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Col. 2:8.
Satan often finds a powerful agency for evil in the power which one human mind is capable of exerting on another human mind. This influence is so seductive that the person who is being moulded by it is often unconscious of its power. God has bidden me speak warning against this evil, that His servants may not come under the deceptive power of Satan. The enemy is a master worker, and if God's people are not constantly led by the Spirit of God, they will be snared and taken. For thousands of years Satan has been experimenting upon the properties of the human mind, and he has learned to know it well. By his subtle workings in these last days, he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts; and he is doing this work in so deceptive a manner that those who accept his guidance know not that they are being led by him at his will. The great deceiver hopes so to confuse the minds of men and women, that none but his voice will be heard.
The gospel of Christ is to be wrought into our everyday experience. The mind must be in a state to appreciate the divine claims of the gospel. It must be girded about, and disciplined to habits of self-control and obedience. . . .
The teachings of the living oracles cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Satan has great power over the soul, to drag it down to a low level. Those who really want to learn of Christ will have to empty the soul of all its proud imaginings, that there may be room to enthrone Him there.
The controversy between Christ and Satan is not yet ended. The latter is constantly seeking to establish his own power and authority. If he can entangle minds, he will do it. . . . The deceptions of Satan are manifold, but the Lord will be our helper if we seek him earnestly.
Chap. 105 - Preoccupying the Mind
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45.
The mind is so constituted that it must be occupied with either good or evil. If it takes a low level, it is generally because it is left to deal with commonplace subjects. . . . Man has the power to regulate and control the workings of the mind, and give direction to the current of his thoughts. But this requires greater effort than we can make in our own strength. We must stay our minds on God, if we would have right thoughts, and proper subjects for meditation.
Few realise that it is a duty to exercise control over their thoughts and imaginations. It is difficult to keep the undisciplined mind fixed upon profitable subjects. But if the thoughts are not properly employed, religion cannot flourish in the soul. The mind must be preoccupied with sacred and eternal things, or it will cherish trifling and superficial thoughts. Both the intellectual and the moral powers must be disciplined, and they will strengthen and improve by exercise.
To understand this matter aright, we must remember that our hearts are naturally depraved, and we are unable, of ourselves, to pursue a right course. It is only by the grace of God, combined with the most earnest efforts on our part, that we can gain the victory.
There are, in the Christian faith, subjects upon which every one should accustom his mind to dwell. The love of Jesus, which passeth knowledge, His sufferings for the fallen race, His work of mediation in our behalf, and His exalted glory--these are the mysteries into which angels desired to look. Heavenly beings find in these themes enough to attract and engage their deepest thoughts; and shall we, who are so intimately concerned, manifest less interest than the angels, in the wonders of redeeming love?
The intellect, as well as the heart, must be consecrated to the service of God. He has claims upon all there is of us.
Chap. 106 - Training the Thoughts
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13.
Many need to make a decided change in the tenor of their thoughts and actions, if they would please Jesus.
The thoughts must be trained. Gird up the loins of the mind that it shall work in the right direction, and after the order of well-formed plans; then every step is one in advance, and no effort or time is lost in following vague ideas and random plans. We must consider the aim and object of life, and ever keep worthy purposes in view. Every day the thoughts should be trained and kept to the point as the compass to the pole. Every one should have his aims and purposes, and then make every thought and action of that character to accomplish that which he purposes. The thoughts must be controlled. There must be a fixedness of purpose to carry out that which you shall undertake. . . .
No one but yourself can control your thoughts. In the struggle to reach the highest standard, success or failure will depend much upon the character, and the manner in which the thoughts are disciplined. If the thoughts are well girded, as God directs they shall be each day, they will be upon those subjects that will help us to greater devotion. If the thoughts are right, then as a result the words will be right; the actions will be of that character to bring gladness and comfort and rest to souls. . . .
Those who move without thoughtful consideration move unwisely. They make fitful efforts, strike out here and there, catch at this and that, but it amounts to nothing. They resemble the vine; its tendrils untrained and left to struggle out in every direction will fasten upon any rubbish within their reach; but before the vine can be of any use these tendrils must be broken off from the things they have grasped, and trained to entwine about those things which will make them graceful and well formed.
Chap. 107 - How to Discipline the Mind
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. Ps. 19:14.
The thoughts must be pure, the meditations of the heart must be clean, if the words of the mouth are to be words acceptable to Heaven, and helpful to your associates.
The natural, selfish mind, if left to follow out its own evil desires, will act without high motives, without reference to the glory of God or the benefit of mankind. The thoughts will be evil, and only evil, continually. . . . The Spirit of God produces a new life in the soul, bringing the thoughts and desires into obedience to the will of Christ. . . .
The youth should begin early to cultivate correct habits of thought. We should discipline the mind to think in a healthful channel, and not permit it to dwell upon things that are evil. . . . As God works upon the heart by His Holy Spirit, man must cooperate with Him. . . .
We should meditate upon the Scriptures, thinking soberly and candidly upon the things that pertain to our eternal salvation. The infinite mercy and love of Jesus, the sacrifice made in our behalf, call for most serious and solemn reflection. We should dwell upon the character of our dear Redeemer and Intercessor. We should seek to comprehend the meaning of the plan of salvation. We should meditate upon the mission of Him who came to save His people from their sins. By constantly contemplating heavenly themes, our faith and love will grow stronger. Our prayers will be more and more acceptable to God, because they will be more and more mixed with faith and love. They will be more intelligent and fervent. There will be more constant confidence in Jesus, and you will have a daily, living experience in the willingness and power of Christ to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. . . .
There will be a hungering and thirsting of soul to be made like Him whom we adore. The more our thoughts are upon Christ, the more we shall speak of Him to others, and represent Him to the world.
Chap. 108 - Proper Level of the Human Mind
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:10.
What gives the proper level to the human mind? It is the cross of Calvary. By looking unto Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith, all the desire for self-glorification is laid in the dust. There comes, as we see aright, a spirit of self-abasement that promotes lowliness and humbleness of mind. As we contemplate the cross, we are enabled to see the wonderful provision it has brought to every believer. God in Christ . . . if seen aright, will level human exaltation and pride. There will be no self-exaltation, but there will be true humility.
The light reflected from the cross of Calvary will humble every proud thought. Those who seek God with all the heart, and accept the great salvation offered them, will open the door of the heart to Jesus. They will cease to ascribe glory to themselves. They will not pride themselves on their acquirements, or take credit to themselves for their capabilities, but will regard all their talents as God's gifts, to be used to His glory. Every intellectual ability they will regard as precious only as it can be used in the service of Christ.
Christ's humiliation in clothing His divinity with humanity is worthy of our consideration. Had this subject been studied as carefully as it should have been, there would be far less of "I" heard and far more of Christ. It is self-esteem that stands between the human agent and his God and impedes the vital current that flows from Christ to enrich every human being. When we follow Jesus in the path of self-denial and the cross, we shall find that we do not have to strive for humility. As we walk in Christ's footsteps, we shall learn His meekness and lowliness of heart. Very few thoughts should be devoted to self; for we can never make ourselves great. It is Christ's gentleness that makes us great.
God's faithful, humble, believing people will cut the idolatry of self out of their hearts, and Christ will become all and in all.
Chap. 109 - The Brightest Subject of Our Thoughts
My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord. Ps. 104:34.
Why not keep your minds fixed on the unsearchable riches of Christ, that you may present to others the gems of truth? In the Word of God there are rich mines of truth that we may spend our whole lifetime in exploring, and yet we shall find that we have only begun to view their precious stores. Sink the shaft deep, and bring up the hidden treasures. But it is impossible to do this while we indulge an idle, restless spirit, seeking constantly for something that will merely gratify the senses, something to amuse, and cause a foolish laugh. . . . Minds that are occupied with frivolous reading, with exciting stories, or with seeking after amusement, do not dwell upon Christ, and cannot rejoice in the fullness of His love. The mind that finds pleasure in foolish thoughts and trifling conversation, is as destitute of the joy of Christ as were the hills of Gilboa of dew or rain.
Does not your own experience testify to this? How much peace of mind do you have at the close of a day spent in frivolity, in light and trifling conversation? Can you retire to rest at night, saying, "It is well, it is well with my soul"? . . . How often when you come into the house of God, into the solemn assembly, your thoughts are turned to that foolish remark which someone has made, to that idle story, or that comical thing which you read or saw. And the thought will come at just such a time as to eclipse a bright ray of the glory of Christ, and you lose the benefit of the heaven-sent light which you ought to receive. . . .
We need to be constantly filling the mind with Christ, and emptying it of selfishness and sin. . . . Just as surely as you empty your mind of vanity and frivolity, the vacuum will be supplied with that which God is waiting to give you--His Holy Spirit. Then out of the good treasure of the heart you will bring forth good things, rich gems of thought, and others will catch the words. . . . Your thoughts and affections will dwell upon Christ, and you will reflect upon others that which has shone upon you from the Sun of Righteousness.
Chap. 110 - Time for Meditation
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Ps. 1:2.
Your last thought at night, your first thought in the morning, should be of Him in whom is centred your hope of eternal life.
Many seem to begrudge moments spent in meditation, and the searching of the Scriptures, and prayer, as though the time thus occupied was lost. I wish you could all view these things in the light God would have you; for you would then make the kingdom of heaven of the first importance. . . . As exercise increases the appetite, and gives strength and healthy vigour to the body, so will devotional exercises bring an increase of grace and spiritual vigour.
The affections should centre upon God. Contemplate His greatness, His mercy and excellences. Let His goodness and love and perfection of character captivate your heart. Converse upon His divine charms, and the heavenly mansions He is preparing for the faithful. He whose conversation is in heaven, is the most profitable Christian to all around him. His words are useful and refreshing. They have a transforming power upon those who hear them.
There is constant need of private communion with God. We must take in the spirit of Christ if we would impart it to others. We cannot meet satanic and human agencies combined unless we spend much time in intercourse with the Source of all strength. There are times when we should get away from the sounds of earthly toil and human voices, and in retired places listen to the voice of Jesus. Thus we may taste of His love and imbibe His spirit. Thus we shall learn to crucify self. This course of action may seem impossible to the human mind. "I have not time," you may say. But when you consider the matter as it really is, you lose no time; for when you secure the power and grace that come alone from God, you do not accomplish the work. It is Jesus who is the real worker. "Without me," says Christ, "ye can do nothing." John 15:5. . . . Reflection and earnest prayer will inspire to holy endeavour.
Chap. 111 - What is Faith?
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb. 11:1
Faith in Christ is not the work of nature, but the work of God on human minds, wrought in the very soul by the Holy Spirit, who reveals Christ, as Christ revealed the Father. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. With its justifying, sanctifying power, it is above what men call science. It is the science of eternal realities. Human science is often deceptive and misleading, but this heavenly science never misleads. It is so simple that a child can understand it, and yet the most learned men cannot explain it. It is inexplainable and immeasurable, beyond all human expression.
The acceptance of Christ's atonement is the groundwork of true faith. . . . Those who will look long enough into the divine mirror to see and despise their sins, their unlikeness to the meek and lowly Jesus, will have strength to overcome. All who truly believe will confess and forsake their sins. They will cooperate with Christ in the work of bringing their hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong under the control of the divine will, so that sin shall not have dominion over them. Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith, they will be changed into His likeness. They will grow up into the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. . . . Those who truly believe, who confess and forsake their sins, will grow more and more like Christ, until of them it can in heaven be said, "Ye are complete in him." Col. 2:10.
"Ask, and it shall be given you" (Matt. 7:7) is the promise. Our part is to rest on the Word with unwavering faith, believing that God will do according to His promise. Let faith cut its way through the shadow of the enemy. When a questioning doubt arises, go to Christ and let the soul be encouraged by communion with Him. The redemption He has purchased for us is complete. The offering He made was plenteous and without stint. Heaven has a never-failing supply of help for all who are needy.
Chap. 112 - Saved by God's Grace
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph. 2:8, 9.
The divine favour, the grace of God bestowed upon us through Jesus Christ, is too precious to be given in exchange for any supposed meritorious work on the part of finite, erring man. Man has nothing in himself. The most exalted talent does not originate from man, but is the endowment of his Creator, and can purchase nothing from God. Gold and silver cannot buy the favour of God; for the wealth of the world is the entrusted talent of the Lord. Let no one think that costly offerings to benevolent enterprises will elevate him in the sight of God, or purchase for him the favour of Heaven, or procure for him a place in the mansions which Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love Him. The precious blood of Christ is wholly efficacious. . . .
The resurrection of Christ from the dead was the Father's seal to the mission of Christ. It was a public expression of His entire satisfaction in the atoning work. He accepted the sacrifice that Jesus had made on our behalf. It was everything that God required, perfect and complete. No human being by any work of his own could piece out the work of Christ. When on the cross Jesus uttered the cry, "It is finished!" glory and joy thrilled heaven, and discomfiture fell upon the confederacy of evil. After that triumphant cry, the world's Redeemer bowed His head and died,. . . but by His death He was a conqueror, and He has opened the gates of eternal glory so that all who believe in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life.
The sinner's only hope is to rely wholly upon Jesus Christ. . . . Our acceptance with God is sure only through His beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of His sin-pardoning love. They are no credit to us, and we have nothing accorded to us for our good works by which we may claim a part in the salvation of our souls. Salvation is God's free gift to the believer, given to him for Christ's sake alone. The troubled soul may find peace through faith in Christ. . . . He cannot present his good works as a plea for the salvation of his soul.
Chap. 113 - Feeling Not a Safe Guide
The just shall live by his faith. Hab. 2:4.
Many pass long years in darkness and doubt because they do not feel as they desire. But feeling has nothing to do with faith. That faith which works by love and purifies the soul is not a matter of impulse. It ventures out upon the promises of God, firmly believing that what He has said, He is able also to perform. Our souls may be trained to believe, taught to rely upon the Word of God. That Word declares that "the just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:17), not by feeling.
Let us put away everything like distrust and want of faith in Jesus. Let us commence a life of simple, childlike trust, not relying upon feeling, but upon faith. Do not dishonour Jesus by doubting His precious promises. He wants us to believe in Him with unwavering faith.
There is a class who say, "I believe, I believe," and lay claim to all the promises which are given on condition of obedience; but they do not the works of Christ. God is not honoured by any such faith. It is spurious. Another class are trying to keep all the commandments of God, but many of them do not come up to their exalted privilege in claiming the promises that were given for them. God's promises are for those who keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
I find that I have to fight the good fight of faith every day. I have to exercise all my faith, and not rely upon feeling; I have to act as though I knew the Lord heard me, and would answer me and bless me. Faith is not a happy flight of feeling; it is simply taking God at His word--believing that He will fulfil His promises because He said He would.
Hope in God, trust in Him, and rest in His promises, whether you feel happy or not. A good emotion is no evidence that you are a child of God, neither are disturbed, troubled, perplexing feelings an evidence that you are not a child of God. Come to the Scriptures and intelligently take God at His word. Comply with the conditions and believe He will accept you as His child. Be not faithless, but believing.
Chap. 114 - Feeling and Faith Distinct
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7.
When we comply with the Written Word then we are to walk by faith. We dishonour God when we fail to trust Him after He has given such wonderful evidence of His compassionate love in the gift of His Son. We are to keep looking to Jesus, offering up our prayers in faith, taking hold of His strength. If we would give more expression to our faith, rejoice more in the blessings that we know we have, we would daily have great cheerfulness and strength.
Feeling and faith are as distinct from each other as the east is from the west. Faith is not dependent on feeling. Daily we should dedicate ourselves to God, and believe that Christ understands and accepts the sacrifice, without examining ourselves to see if we have that degree of feeling that we think should correspond with our faith. Have we not the assurance that our heavenly Father is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him in faith than parents are to give good gifts to their children? We should go forward as if to every prayer that we send to the throne of God we heard the response from the One whose promises never fail. Even when depressed by sadness it is our privilege to make melody in our hearts to God. When we do this the mists and clouds will be rolled back and we will pass from the shadow and darkness into the clear sunshine of His presence.
If we educated our souls to have more faith, more love, greater patience, a more perfect trust in our heavenly Father, we would have more peace and happiness as we pass through the conflicts of this life. The Lord is not pleased to have us fret and worry ourselves out of the arms of Jesus. He is the only source of every grace, the fulfilment of every promise, the realization of every blessing. . . . Our pilgrimage would indeed be lonely were it not for Jesus. "I will not leave you comfortless," (John 14:18) He says to us. Let us cherish His words, believe His promises, repeat them by day and meditate upon them in the night season, and be happy.
Chap. 115 - Faith that Works and Purifies
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:14.
When you look to Calvary it is not to quiet your soul in the non-performance of duty, not to compose yourself to sleep, but to create faith in Jesus, faith that will work, purifying the soul from the slime of selfishness. When we lay hold of Christ by faith, our work has just begun. Every man has corrupt and sinful habits that must be overcome by vigorous warfare. Every soul is required to fight the fight of faith. If one is a follower of Christ, he cannot be sharp in deal, he cannot be hardhearted, devoid of sympathy. He cannot be coarse in his speech. He cannot be full of pomposity and self-esteem. He cannot be overbearing, nor can he use harsh words, and censure and condemn.
The labour of love springs from the work of faith. Bible religion means constant work. . . . We are to be zealous of good works; be careful to maintain good works. And the true Witness says, "I know thy works." While it is true that our busy activities will not in themselves ensure salvation, it is also true that faith which unites us to Christ will stir the soul to activity.
The true Christian abounds in good works; he brings forth much fruit. He feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, visits the sick, and ministers to the afflicted. Christians take a heartfelt interest in the children that are about them, who, through the subtle temptations of the enemy, are ready to perish. Fathers and mothers, if you have guarded your own children from the wiles of the foe, look about you to save the souls of the children who have not such care. . . . There are youth all around us to whom the members of the church owe a duty; for Christ has died for them. . . . They are precious in the sight of God, and He desires their eternal happiness. . . . Christ calls for voluntary cooperation on the part of His agents in doing earnest, consistent work for the salvation of souls.
A religion which shines out in good works emits a clear, sure, safe light.
Chap. 116 - The Place of Good Works
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:10.
Let no one take the limited, narrow position that any of the works of man can help in the least possible way to liquidate the debt of his transgression. This is a fatal deception. If you would understand it, you must . . . with humble hearts survey the atonement. This matter is so dimly comprehended that thousands upon thousands claiming to be sons of God are children of the wicked one, because they will depend on their own works. God always demanded good works, the law demands it, but because man placed himself in sin where his good works were valueless, Jesus' righteousness alone can avail.
But are good works of no real value? Is the sinner who commits sin every day with impunity, regarded of God with the same favour as the one who through faith in Christ tries to work in his integrity? The Scripture answers, "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." In His divine arrangement, through His unmerited favour, the Lord has ordained that good works shall be rewarded. We are accepted through Christ's merit alone; and the acts of mercy, the deeds of charity, which we perform, are the fruits of faith; and they become a blessing to us; for men are to be rewarded according to their works. It is the fragrance of the merit of Christ that makes our good works acceptable to God, and it is grace that enables us to do the works for which He rewards us. Our works in and of themselves have no merit. . . . We deserve no thanks from God. We have only done what it was our duty to do, and our works could not have been performed in the strength of our own sinful natures.
Christ is able to save to the uttermost. . . . All that man can possibly do toward his own salvation is to accept the invitation, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Rev. 22:17. No sin can be committed by man for which satisfaction has not been met on Calvary.
Chap. 117 - Don't Be a Pretender
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. John 14:12.
Christians are to be indeed the representatives of Jesus Christ; they are not to be pretenders. Shall the world form its conceptions of God by the course of those who only take the name of Christ, and do not His works? Shall they point to those who claim to be believers, but who are not believers at heart, who betray sacred trusts, and work the works of the enemy, and say, "O these are Christians, and they will cheat and lie, and they cannot be trusted"? These are not the ones who truly represent God. But God will not leave the world to be deceived. The Lord has a peculiar people on the earth, and He is not ashamed to call them brethren; for they do the works of Christ. They make it manifest that they love God, because they keep His commandments. They bear the divine image. They are a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men.
The reward, the glories of heaven, bestowed upon the overcomers, will be proportionate to the degree in which they have represented the character of Christ to the world. "He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly." 2 Cor. 9:6. Thank God that it is our privilege to sow on earth the seed that will be harvested in eternity. The crown of life will be bright or dim, will glitter with many stars, or be lighted by few gems, in accordance with our own course of action. Day by day we may be laying up a good foundation against the time to come. By self-denial, by the exercise of the missionary spirit, by crowding all the good works possible into our life, by seeking so to represent Christ in character that we shall win many souls to the truth, we shall have respect unto the recompense of reward.
It rests with us to walk in the light, to make the most of every opportunity and privilege, to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so we shall work the works of Christ, and insure for ourselves treasure in the heavens.
Chap. 118 - Hold Your Position Hour by Hour
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised). Heb. 10:23.
It is our privilege, as children of God, to hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. At times the masterly power of temptation seems to tax our will power to the uttermost, and to exercise faith seems utterly contrary to all the evidences of sense or emotion; but our will must be kept on God's side. We must believe that in Jesus Christ is everlasting strength and efficiency. . . . Hour by hour we must hold our position triumphantly in God, strong in His strength. . . .
All things are possible to them that believe. Since God is working in you, you can safely set your face as a flint to do His will, and you may trust the Lord perfectly. . . .
You must make a daily, personal consecration of all to God, You must daily renew your covenant to be His wholly and forever. Place no dependence upon changeable feelings, but plant your feet upon the sure platform of the promises of God: Thou hast said it; I believe the promise. This is an intelligent faith.
Your feelings will be troubled as you see some pursuing a course contrary to the principles of Christ; trials and tests of faith will come to you; but I entreat you to look only to Jesus, and allow none of these things to harden your heart, or to cause darkness or unbelief. Let nothing cause your faith to fail. Live as in the sight of God. Talk with Jesus as you would speak with a friend. He is ready to help you in the sorest trial; He is with you in the gravest perplexity. . . .
A feeling of assurance is not to be despised; we should praise God for it; but when your feelings are depressed, do not think that God has changed. Praised Him just as much, because you trust in His word, and not in feelings. You have covenanted to walk by faith, not to be controlled by feelings. Feelings vary with circumstances. . . .
Walk before God by faith, and rest fully upon His promises. Jesus says, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matt. 28:20.
Chap. 119 - Strength for Today
As thy days, so shall thy strength be. Deut. 33:25.
I thank the Lord for the assurance of His grace, that is for His people now, today.... The promise is not that we will have strength today for a future emergency, that anticipated future trouble will be provided for beforehand, before it comes to us. We may, if we walk by faith, expect strength and provision for us as fast as our circumstances demand it. We live by faith, not by sight. The Lord's arrangement is for us to ask Him for the very things that we need. The grace of tomorrow will not be given today. Men's necessity is God's opportunity. . . . The grace of God is never given to be squandered, to be misapplied or perverted, or to be left to rust with disuse....
While you are bearing daily responsibilities in the love and fear of God, as obedient children walking in all humility of mind, strength and wisdom from God will be given to meet every trying circumstance.
We will not be able to meet the trials of this time without God. We are not to have the courage and fortitude of martyrs of old until brought into the position they were in. . . . We are to receive daily supplies of grace for each daily emergency. Thus we grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and if persecution comes upon us, if we must be enclosed in prison walls for the faith of Jesus and the keeping of God's holy law, "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." Should there be a return of persecution there would be grace given to arouse every energy of the soul to show a true heroism....
We are to keep close to the Source of our strength day by day, and when the enemy comes in like a flood the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard for us against the enemy. The promise of God is sure, that strength shall be proportioned to our day. We may be confident for the future only in the strength that is given for the present necessities. The experience in God is daily becoming more precious. . . . Do not borrow anxiety for the future. It is today that we are in need. . . . The Lord is our helper, our God, and our strength in every time of need.
Chap. 120 - Victory After Victory
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4
When clouds come between your soul and God, when all around you is dark and forbidding, when the enemy stands ready to rob the soul of its integrity to God and the truth, and when error stands out plausible and attractive, then it is time to pray and exercise faith in God.... Cherishing faith, the soul is enabled to rise beyond itself, and penetrate the hellish shadow which the enemy casts athwart the pathway of every soul that is striving for an immortal crown. . . .
Jesus said, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." Mark 14:38. We are to watch and pray just as long as Satan brings up clouds of unbelief, composed of every evil thing that he can devise to lead the human mind to yield to temptation. But this cloud that lies between God and the human agent cannot envelop man and penetrate his soul unless he opens his mind and heart to its dark beams. The angels of God will guard from the poisonous malaria of temptations of the wicked one every man who will rise beyond self and circumstances and surroundings, looking unto Jesus through every mist and fog and cloud, and penetrating by faith the darkest temptations. . . .
United with Christ, all the power you require will be given you. Abiding in Him, you can fight manfully. The more you believe and trust as a child in the Lord Jesus, the greater will be your capacity for believing. By faith you stand. Only by exercising faith can you conquer self. . . . Self is the ground where Satan always meets and manages those whom he wishes to deceive and conquer. But if the righteousness of Christ is revealed in you, you become strong. Looking beyond yourself to a crucified Saviour, a risen and ascended Lord, who is, as your Advocate, making intercession for you, taking hold of Christ's power and efficiency, you can conquer.
No victories ever won can compare in any wise with the victories of faith. Never let go your hold upon faith. It may triumph amid discouragement, gaining victory after victory.