Dredged up from an earlier day ... Some excerpts.
[b]"[/b]A clearer knowledge of the Divine scheme of grace, its eternal purposes,
its application to man by Christ's redeeming work, a firmer grasp of the
doctrine of grace, of God's free love in Christ, of Christ's full and
complete satisfaction for sin, of justification by simple faith, a more
intimate acquaintance with Christ the Giver and Fountain of grace, His
offices, His sympathy, His power, a more thorough experience of the
inward work of grace in the heart, this, this, this is the grand secret
of heart strength. This is the old path of peace. This is the true
panacea for restless consciences. It may seem at first too simple, too
easy, too cheap, too commonplace, too plain. But all the wisdom of man
will never show the heavy-laden a better road to heart-rest. Secret
pride and self-righteousness, I fear, are too often the reason why this
good old road is not used.[b]"[/b]
[b]"[/b]Word just comes of a native preacher, until recently a flaming evangelist. His wife was self-assertive. In a certain issue she was manifestly wrong. But the preacher took sides with his wife. He has compromised with the flesh. Now, peace in the home is a wonderful thing, but not at such a price. The Spirit has ceased to use this preacher. Moreover, God gives drastic directions concerning such things when He says, "If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods . . . Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him. But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God" (Deut. 13:6-10). This generation has been "graced" to spiritual softness and death. We do not "fear" as our forefathers did. We need the stiffening of Moses.
Has the reader noticed that when we ourselves are wrong we become very tender toward others who are wrong?--the reason being that we want tender handling. "But syrupy affection never yet led to spiritual integrity. And though it looks so like the charity which is greater than faith and hope, that it is 'admired of many,' it is not admirable. It is sin" (Amy Carmichael). Was the native preacher taken off his feet so easily because he was already unwatchful against the flesh? Did his wife only furnish the self-consideration for which he was already looking? The flesh gave "place to the devil." Satan is not divided against himself. Flesh always cliques up with flesh.
You are sensitive, "thin-skinned"? Why not call it sinful pride? The next time somebody reproves you, just say, "You don't know half the truth. If you knew me you would say much worse." This may help you into harmony with the Cross. It will at least be the truth.[b]"[/b]
[b]"[/b]Let us, who sit in the darkness, rekindle our fires, and see that what is necessary for the conquest of China, India and Japan is likewise necessary for the conquest of America. Say what you will about the Roman Catholic Church, and I hate her heads and all her heathen appendages, as Cardinal Newman termed them, but I passionately love her orthodoxy in caring for the orphan. It has been the strongest pillar in upholding that church and saving it from decay.
Amid the clashes of creeds and one generation making orthodox what another had declared heresy, I do not hesitate to say that indifference to benevolence in all ages has been the great heresy of Christendom. On the departure of the church from that cardinal principle, the door was opened for all kind of heresies; and when you read church history, you read the history of a church that is largely prodigal, because one of the chief sources of her life was almost closed. It is no surprise that worldly aggrandizement became her policy; but the religion of Jesus Christ is not in great church buildings, pipe-organs and pulpit oratory, but pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is to recognize the wants of the orphan and the aged as the wants of Christ himself, and go speedily to the help of Him who helped us out of sin into the light of pardon. By the side of faith in the Book must be unstinted practice of the Book. I care little about higher criticism or lower criticism, so long as this heresy is permitted to exist in Christendom with so little concern for its abolition.
It is as much our duty to think seriously of our obligation to the orphan and the aged as it was to think seriously of our obligation to be baptized.[b]"[/b]
[b]"[/b]I pray God only that He may depress your spirit even more than your body, and while He comforts the latter according to your need, that He may entirely vanquish the former. O how strong we are when we begin to perceive that we are but weakness and infirmity! Then we are ever ready to believe that we are mistaken, and to correct ourselves while confessing it; our minds are ever open to the illumination of others; then we are authoritative in nothing, and say the most decided things with simplicity and deference for others; then we do not object to be judged, and submit without hesitation to the censure of the first comer. At the same time, we judge no one without absolute necessity; we speak only to those who desire it, mentioning the imperfections we seem to have discovered, without dogmatism, and rather to gratify their wishes than from a desire to be believed or create a reputation for wisdom.[b]"[/b]
[b]"[/b] Are you given to gossip? The principle of curiosity is like the troubled sea that cannot rest. Does your tongue cast up a world of mire and dirt? We know a true minister who sought to control his tongue by taking a red hot poker and searing it. But the trouble was deeper. It was a heart matter. However, his attitude was right. He was willing to burn his tongue if that would help. He later learned how "through the Spirit" to mortify the deeds of the tongue.[b]"[/b]
[b]"[/b]Even though the believer has emerged from the muddle and mixedness of Romans 7 through Paul's command "reckon ye also yourselves to he dead indeed unto sin," the fact remains that he will discover many ways in which self seeks satisfaction through the as-yet-unredeemed spheres of his being. The flesh, the body, all "our mortal coil" is evidently still present in Romans 8. That chapter presents many ways in which mortification must set in. The victorious believer will become aware of many forms of self which must yet be dealt with. We shall discover: In our service for Christ, self-confidence and self-esteem; in the slightest suffering, self-saving and self-pity; in the least misunderstanding, self-defense and self-vindication; in our station in life, self-seeking and self-centeredness; in the smallest trials, self-inspection and self-accusation; in the daily routine, self-pleasing and self-choosing; in our relationships, self-assertiveness and self-respect; in our education, self-boasting and self-expression; in our desires, self-indulgence and self-satisfaction; in our successes, self-admiration and self-congratulation; in our failures, self-excusing and self-justification; in our spiritual attainments, self-righteousness and self-complacency; in our public ministry, self-reflection and self-glory; in life as a whole, self-love and selfishness. The flesh is an "I" specialist.[b]"[/b]
[b]"[/b]Your mind is too much occupied with exterior things, and still worse, with argumentation, to be able to act with a frequent thought of God. I am always afraid of your excessive inclination to reason; it is a hinderance to that recollection and silence in which He reveals Himself. Be humble, simple, and sincerely abstracted with men; be recollected, calm, and devoid of reasonings before God. The persons who have heretofore had most influence with you, have been infinitely dry, reasoning, critical, and opposed to a true interior life. However little you might listen to them, you would hear only endless reasonings and a dangerous curiosity, which would insensibly draw you out of Grace and plunge you into the depths of Nature. Habits of long standing are easily revived; and the changes which cause us to revert to our original position are less easily perceived, because they are natural to our constitution. Distrust them, then; and beware of beginnings which, in fact, include the end.
It is now four months since I have had any leisure for study; but I am very happy to forego study, and not to cling to anything, when providence would take it away. It may be that during the coming winter I shall have leisure for my library, but I shall enter it then, keeping one foot on the threshold, ready to leave it at the slightest intimation. The mind must keep fasts as well as the body. I have no desire to write, or speak, or to be spoken about, or to reason, or to persuade any. I live every day aridly enough, and with certain exterior inconveniences which beset me; but I amuse myself whenever I have an opportunity, if I need recreation. Those who make almanacs upon me, and are afraid of me, are sadly deceived. God bless them! I am far from being so foolish as to incommode myself for the sake of annoying them. I would say to them as Abraham said to Lot: Is not the whole land before thee? If you go to the east, I will go to the west. (Gen. xiii. 9.)[b]"[/b]