|DO not be afraid,| the Master said another time, |to let go all else, and to cast away all that is less than God. We should be as men who are asleep to all light and sweetness that is not the Lord Himself. Let the wisdom and the folly of this world go, for they are of the things that pass away.
|It was needful to the disciples that they should lose even the blessed company of the Lord Himself -- for they were to be transformed into a higher nature, taken out of themselves, and they were to leave themselves, as it were, behind. Thus does S. Paul say, Forgetting the things that are behind, and pressing forward to the things that are before,' for it is with a high calling that we are called, and all that is less and lower than that beauty and that glory, must drop off and be left behind.
|It is when we are emptied of ourselves, dear children, that the Lord comes with the measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, and pours Himself into the measure; for nothing short of that will satisfy His love, and then does the measure run over indeed with the goodness and the sweetness that He the Lord is, evermore; and far and wide there spreads the overflowing tide, and yet the measure remaineth ever full.
|For it is as if you plunged a bowl into the unfathomable sea, it would be filled, and would flow over, and yet it ever would be full. For the Lord gives Himself to the soul in an overflowing tide beyond all that it can ask or think.
|And it is to the emptied and the hungry that thus He comes, as it is written of the King Ahasuerus, who saw the beloved Esther pale and trembling, and who saw that her spirit sank within her. Then did he hold out his golden sceptre, and he rose up from his royal throne, and he embraced her, and gave her the kiss of love, and he promised her to give her even the half of his kingdom, that she might share it with him.
|Thus so is it with the Father in Heaven, when He sees His beloved ones standing before Him, pale and sorrowful, desolate and uncomforted. Then quickly does He hold forth His golden sceptre, and rises up from His throne, so to speak, and He comes forward with the divine embrace and kiss, and He lifts up the mourning soul above all sorrow and fear, into the arms of His love.
|What passeth then, think you, dear children, what wonder passeth in the soul He loves? He gives His only begotten Son in that touch of the golden sceptre, and in the sweetness of His kiss He gives the blessed, and the marvellous delight of the Holy Spirit the Comforter. He shares His kingdom, so to speak, with that soul He loves, for He gives her power over Heaven and earth, yea, power over herself, and that she should be set above the things that He has made and that He rules, and the power that is His by nature is hers by grace.
|So doth the measure overflow that in due time it will be seen that all creation shall be filled with the Glory that He gives His own. Were there not in Christendom these beloved friends of God, the world would not stand for an hour, for their works are the works that far surpass the busy works of all Christendom beside. God it is who works the works in men such as these, and therefore there are no works to be measured against the works they do, for the works of God are high above all works of men.
|So full and deep is the measure of their joy, that it passes all the sense, and all the understanding, of angels and of men -- peace and delight eternal. And thus does S. Paul speak of it, of this true and blessed peace.
|Dear children, to walk with God is not a fearful and a hard thing, as some of you imagine. But there is only one path to walk in. In other paths you may come to a knowledge of God which is by reason; but red copper, though at times it looks like gold, is yet not gold, but copper only.
|No, dear children, there are many religious ways and doings, but only one way to the living God. That man would be a great fool who planted his vineyard behind a mountain, where the sun could never reach it. And he would also be a fool, who, when he desired to see the sun, should turn his back to it, and his face the other way.
|Amongst a hundred men who desire to pass for good and Christian men, scarcely will you find one who has turned simply and wholly and only, to Him who is the living Truth. They are content to live in lower things.
|And so it is with them as with some rude peasant who is not fit to be the companion of a king, nor to be with him in his secret chamber. Far less are the full, and the rich, and the outwardly religious men fit to be there, where the friends of God abide eternally in Him.
|But the friends of God are anchored in the stillness of His rest, and the waves of outward things can never reach them there. He has given to them a jewel that is a secret sign and pledge, a peace so deep and so divine, that none can understand it, saving he who hath it. And in the anchored ship the Lord is sitting, and thence He teaches those who stand upon the shore. Thus does God, through the men who have found Him, teach and guide the world below.
|It is a way of sorrow, children, that leads into the rest, but that which costs nothing is worth nothing. You see the young and strong and healthy and glad, whose flesh and blood have never been tamed or conquered. They are active and busy, in natural ways, but they complain that it is labour and toil to follow the Lord, for sense and reason are strong within them.
|Yes, it is labour and toil, for they have not gone the right way to work. They are of the race of Simon the Cyrenian, who bore the Lord's cross from compulsion and not from love.
|But for those who bend down in love beneath the cross of the Crucified One, it is far otherwise than this. Do they need to sleep, they lie down upon the cross and rest, and their heart remembers and desires the Lord. And to them His faithful breast is their bed, and His tender heart their pillow, and His loving arms their covering. To those stretched-out arms, those arms stretched out once upon the cross, and for evermore in love, flee, dear children, for shelter in all sorrow and pain, and you shall be sheltered well. When you eat or drink, let each morsel of food be dipped, as it were, in the precious Blood of Christ. And if the way be narrow, look onward to the end. For he who shoots an arrow fixes one eye, one eye singly, on the mark, and thus he aims truly, for he looks at nought beside.|