A COAL AND A FLAME.
Among the results of the coming of the Comforter is an increase in warm personal love for Jesus. Conversion plants divine love (agape) in the heart, but sanctification quickens and intensifies it. Conversion drops a coal into the breast; the fuller grace fans it into a flame.
There is a place in experience where Christ's voice sets the whole being vibrating. The soul is so in tune with Him that the cadences of His tones fill the soul with a tremor of glee and gladness. If you sing the scale in a room where there is a piano the corresponding strings of the instrument will sound. Thus it is with Jesus and the sanctified soul. When Christ speaks the heart answers spontaneously.
Regeneration does much for us. But there is that even in the heart of the regenerate which is antagonistic to Christ. The whole man does not say instinctively, |Thy will be done|; yet there is something within to which the Lord can appeal. Consult Peter. He tells us of |exceeding great and precious promises by which we become partakers of the Divine nature.| We |take a part| (partakers) of the divine Shekinah into our hearts. We are not only |adopted| but born of God, and by a divine heredity we possess His character.
We see this beautifully illustrated in the case of Samuel. Given in covenant to God from his birth, and early taught the word of the Lord, he possessed the changed heart and the attuned ear. When God's voice fell out of the skies that night something in Samuel heard what aged and mitred Eli could not hear. Eli had the theory and reasoned out who the speaker must be, but the heart of Samuel awoke intuitively at the sound of that voice.
THE VOICE FROM THE SKY.
As Jesus taught in the temple God spoke, and many whose ears were dull because their hearts were hard and unchanged said, |It thundered.| Others saw that something extraordinary had occurred and admitted that |an angel spoke to Him.| But the disciples whose |names were written in heaven,| and who had regenerated hearts, knew it was the voice of God.
THE FLINTY WORLD.
But while the child of God is in sympathy with God he must be sanctified wholly to be fully, constantly and completely responsive to Christ. Jesus wants a bride who will live His life with Him and enter into all His plans and sorrows, ambitions and trials, aims and purposes. There are many people who are glad Jesus died for them who know nothing about |suffering with Christ.| Yet the Bible is filled with allusions to it. The Heavenly Bridegroom wants a companion who will understand Him. This cold, hard, flinty, wicked world does not. |He came unto His own and His own received Him not.| He knocked at the door of His own vineyard and the husband-men said, |Come, let us kill the Son.| The divine Lord hungers for some one who will not misjudge His purposes nor impute to Him base motives.
We have all seen people who were never appreciated. Those who were near to them by blood and kindred always thought them strange and visionary. What a sad thing if Christ's bride does not appreciate His aims for the world, His sorrow over perishing souls, His heart-ache over dying men! |The fellowship of His sufferings| -- what can it mean? It means that we mourn over the sin in the world which makes Christ weep; sob over the evil that makes Him hang His fair head and groan. It means that ever and always we shall look at things from the Christ standpoint.
THE SHEEP AND THE SHEPHERD.
|My sheep know [recognize] my voice,| says the Shepherd. He states the principle that |sheep| always hear when He speaks. |Lambs| may be at times mistaken as to the voices that cry in the soul, but Christians whose experience entitles them to the designation, |sheep,| do not err as to the speaker. Watch a good shepherd collect his flock at evening. Every sheep knows him. It is getting dark, and the quiet animals are busily feeding in the fragrant clover, but the tender cadences of the voice of their guide and protector pierce their delicate ears and enter their gentle hearts, and the white flock comes bounding toward the shepherd. A sportsman in golf suit and plaid cap and with a fine baritone voice may call earnestly, but |a stranger will they not follow.| The shepherd holds the key to their confidence, and no one else can unlock the door to their love.
CHRIST HAS THE KEY.
Christ has the key to our hearts. He stands in the dusk of evening in the falling dew and sends His sweet voice out across the billowing fields of clover, and all His sheep leap toward |the Good Shepherd.|
THE COW AND THE SUNSET.
Sanctification brings out the power of appreciation in the soul. What God does for you fills your soul with gratitude, and you can get blessed any time of day or night by simply reflecting on the mercies and lovingkindnesses of the Lord. The natural human heart does not appreciate God, and sees nothing especially lovely in Him. A cow and the man who owns the cow may stand side by side and look at the same sunset. The cow sees a big splotch of crimson and gold; the other sees one of God's sky-paintings, and is inspired to holy living and self-denial and fidelity to the Master. You must have a |sunset nature| to appreciate a sunset, and you must be sanctified wholly to see in Christ a beauty and loveliness which no Murillo and no Raphael and no Del Sarto have yet put on canvas.
THE LOVELY CHRIST.
O the lovely Christ! How the heart aches to go to Him! We get so homesick for Jesus. People are so dull and uninteresting and vapid and stupid -- so precisely like ourselves -- we get weary of the world and its emptiness, and yearn to fly away to be with the spotless Christ and live in that
|Undiscovered country, from whose bourne
No traveller returns|
Some day, thank God! the Bridegroom will step out upon the balcony of heaven and look at us and speak to us in a tone inaudible to all but ourselves, and our souls will bound with rapture and the earthen vessel will crumble and we will spread snowy pinions and wing our flight up to the presence of our soul's King!