"There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God" (Heb.
The rest includes victory, "And the Lord gave them rest round
about; . . . the Lord delivered all their enemies into their
hand" (Joshua 21:44).
"He will beautify the meek with victory" (Ps. 149:4). (Rotherham,
An eminent Christian worker tells of his mother who was a very
anxious and troubled Christian. He would talk with her by the
hour trying to convince her of the sinfulness of fretting, but
to no avail. She was like the old lady who once said she had
suffered so much, especially from the troubles that never came.
But one morning the mother came down to breakfast wreathed in
smiles. He asked her what had happened, and she told him that in
the night she had a dream.
She was walking along a highway with a great crowd of people who
seemed so tired and burdened. They were nearly all carrying
little black bundles, and she noticed that there were numerous
repulsive looking beings which she thought were demons dropping
these black bundles for the people to pick up and carry.
Like the rest, she too had her needless load, and was weighed
down with the devil's bundles. Looking up, after a while, she
saw a Man with a bright and loving face, passing hither and
thither through the crowd, and comforting the people.
At last He came near her, and she saw that it was her Saviour.
She looked up and told Him how tired she was, and He smiled
sadly and said:
"My dear child, I did not give you these loads; you have no need
of them. They are the devil's burdens and they are wearing out
your life. Just drop them; refuse to touch them with one of your
fingers and you will find the path easy and you will be as if
borne on eagle's wings."
He touched her hand, and lo, peace and joy thrilled her frame
and, flinging down her burden, she was about to throw herself at
His feet in joyful thanksgiving, when suddenly she awoke and
found that all her cares were gone. From that day to the close
of her life she was the most cheerful and happy member of the
And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
"Perfect through suffering" (Heb. 2:10).
Steel is iron plus fire. Soil is rock, plus heat, or glacier
crushing. Linen is flax plus the bath that cleans, the comb that
separates, and the flail that pounds, and the shuttle that
weaves. Human character must have a plus attached to it. The
world does not forget great characters. But great characters are
not made of luxuries, they are made by suffering.
I heard of a mother who brought into her home as a companion to
her own son, a crippled boy who was also a hunchback. She had
warned her boy to be very careful in his relations to him, and
not to touch the sensitive part of his life but go right on
playing with him as if he were an ordinary boy. She listened to
her son as they were playing; and after a few minutes he said to
his companion: "Do you know what you have got on your back?" The
little hunchback was embarrassed, and he hesitated a moment. The
boy said: "It is the box in which your wings are; and some day
God is going to cut it open, and then you will fly away and be
Some day, God is going to reveal the fact to every Christian,
that the very principles they now rebel against, have been the
instruments which He used in perfecting their characters and
moulding them into perfection, polished stones for His great
building yonder. --Cortland Myers
Suffering is a wonderful fertilizer to the roots of character.
The great object of this life is character. This is the only
thing we can carry with us into eternity. . . . To gain the most
of it and the best of it is the object of probation. --Austin
"By the thorn road and no other is the mount of vision won." --
Strong in Suffering
"Is it well with thy husband? Is it well with the child? And she
answered, It is well"
(2 Kings 4:26).
"Be strong, my soul!
Thy loved ones go
Within the veil. God's thine, e'en so;
"Be strong, my soul!
Death looms in view.
Lo, here thy God! He'll bear thee through;
For sixty-two years and five months I had a beloved wife, and
now, in my ninety-second year I am left alone. But I turn to the
ever present Jesus, as I walk up and down in my room, and say,
"Lord Jesus, I am alone, and yet not alone--Thou art with me,
Thou art my Friend. Now, Lord, comfort me, strengthen me, give
to Thy poor servant everything Thou seest he needs." And we
should not be satisfied till we are brought to this, that we
know the Lord Jesus Christ experimentally, habitually to be our
Friend: at all times, and under all circumstances, ready to
prove Himself to be our Friend. --George Mueller
Afflictions cannot injure when blended with submission.
Ice breaks many a branch, and so I see a great many persons
bowed down and crushed by their afflictions. But now and then I
meet one that sings in affliction, and then I thank God for my
own sake as well as his. There is no such sweet singing as a
song in the night. You recollect the story of the woman who,
when her only child died, in rapture looking up, as with the
face of an angel, said, "I give you joy, my darling." That
single sentence has gone with me years and years down through my
life, quickening and comforting me. --Henry Ward Beecher
"E'en for the dead I will not bind my soul to grief;
Death cannot long divide.
For is it not as though the rose that climbed my garden wall
Has blossomed on the other, side?
Death doth hide,
But not divide;
Thou art but on Christ's other side!
Thou art with Christ, and Christ with me;
In Christ united still are we."
Expectations Beyond Us
"But prayer" (Acts 12:5).
But prayer is the link that connects us with God. This is the
bridge that spans every gulf and bears us over every abyss of
danger or of need.
How significant the picture of the Apostolic Church: Peter in
prison, the Jews triumphant, Herod supreme, the arena of
martyrdom awaiting the dawning of the morning to drink up the
apostle's blood, and everything else against it. "But prayer was
made unto God without ceasing." And what was the sequel? The
prison open, the apostle free, the Jews baffled, the wicked king
eaten of worms, a spectacle of hidden retribution, and the Word
of God rolling on in greater victory.
Do we know the power of our supernatural weapon? Do we dare to
use it with the authority of a faith that commands as well as
asks? God baptize us with holy audacity and Divine confidence!
He is not wanting great men, but He is wanting men who will dare
to prove the greatness of their God. But God! But prayer! --A.
Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not
only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do.
Expect unexpected things, above all that we ask or think. Each
time you intercede, be quiet first and worship God in His glory.
Think of what He can do, of how He delights to hear Christ, of
your place in Christ; and expect great things. --Andrew Murray
Our prayers are God's opportunities.
Are you in sorrow? Prayer can make your affliction sweet and
strengthening. Are you in gladness? Prayer can add to your joy a
celestial perfume. Are you in extreme danger from outward or
inward enemies? Prayer can set at your right hand an angel whose
touch could shatter a millstone into smaller dust than the flour
it grinds, and whose glance could lay an army low. What will
prayer do for you? I answer: All that God can do for you. "Ask
what I shall give thee." --Farrar
"Wrestling prayer can wonders do,
Bring relief in deepest straits;
Prayer can force a passage through
Iron bars and brazen gates."
It Must Be Bought
"On all bare heights shall be their pasture" (Isa. 49:9, RV).
Toys and trinkets are easily won, but the greatest things are
greatly bought. The top-most place of power is always bought
with blood. You may have the pinnacles if you have enough blood
to pay. That is the conquest condition of the holy heights
everywhere. The story of real heroisms is the story of
sacrificial blood. The chiefest values in life and character are
not blown across our way by vagrant winds. Great souls have
"Great truths are dearly bought, the common truths,
Such as men give and take front day to day,
Come in the common walk of easy life,
Blown by the careless wind across our way.
"Great truths are greatly won, not found by chance,
Nor wafted on the breath of summer dream;
But grasped in the great struggle of the soul,
Hard buffeting with adverse wind and stream.
"But in the day of conflict, fear and grief,
When the strong hand of God, put forth in might,
Plows up the subsoil of the stagnant heart,
And brings the imprisoned truth seed to the light.
"Wrung from the troubled spirit, in hard hours
Of weakness, solitude, perchance of pain,
Truth springs like harvest from the well-plowed field,
And the soul feels it has not wept in vain."
The capacity for knowing God enlarges as we are brought by Him
into circumstances which oblige us to exercise faith; so, when
difficulties beset our path let us thank God that He is taking
trouble with us, and lean hard upon Him.
The Second Coming
"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no
man take thy crown" (Rev. 3:11).
George Mueller bears this testimony, "When it pleased God in
July, 1829, to reveal to my heart the truth of the personal
return of the Lord Jesus, and to show me that I had made a great
mistake in looking for the conversion of the world, the effect
that it produced upon me was this: From my inmost soul I was
stirred up to feel compassion for perishing sinners, and for the
slumbering world around me lying in the wicked one, and
considered, 'Ought I not to do what I can for the Lord Jesus
while He tarries, and to rouse a slumbering church?"'
There may be many hard years of hard work before the
consummation, but the signs are to me so encouraging that I
would not be unbelieving if I saw the wing of the apocalyptic
angel spread for its last triumphal flight in this day's sunset;
or if tomorrow morning the ocean cables should thrill us with
the news that Christ the Lord had alighted on Mount Olivet or
Mount Calvary to proclaim universal dominion. O you dead
churches wake up! O Christ, descend! Scarred temple, take the
crown! Bruised hand, take the sceptre! Wounded foot, step the
throne! Thine is the kingdom. --Rev. T. DeWitt Talmage, D. D.
"It may be in the evening,
When the work of the day is done,
And you have time to sit in the twilight,
And watch the sinking sun,
While the long bright day dies slowly
Over the sea,
And the hours grow quiet and holy
With thoughts of Me;
While you hear the village children
Passing along the street
Among those passing footsteps
May come the sound of My Feet.
Therefore I tell you, Watch!
By the light of the evening star
When the room is growing dusky
As the clouds afar,
Let the door be on the latch
In your home,
For it may be through the gloaming
I will come."
Open the Trenches
"Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that
valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye,
and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing
in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into
your hands" (2 Kings 3:16-18).
To human thinking it was simply impossible, but nothing is hard
Without a sound or sign, from sources invisible and apparently
impossible, the floods came stealing in all night long; and when
the morning dawned, those ditches were flooded with the crystal
waters, and reflecting the rays of the morning sun from the red
hills of Edom.
Our unbelief is always wanting some outward sign. The religion
of many is largely sensational, and they are not satisfied of
its genuineness without manifestations, etc.; but the greatest
triumph of faith is to be still and know that He is God.
The great victory of faith is to stand before some impassable
Red Sea, and hear the Master say, "Stand still, and see the
salvation of the Lord," and "Go forward!" As we step out without
any sign or sound--not a wave-splash--and wetting our very feet
as we take the first step into its waters, still marching on we
shall see the sea divide and the pathway open through the very
midst of the waters.
If we have seen the miraculous workings of God in some marvelous
case of healing or some extraordinary providential deliverance,
I am sure the thing that has impressed us most has been the
quietness with which it was all done, the absence of everything
spectacular and sensational, and the utter sense of nothingness
which came to us as we stood in the presence of this mighty God
and felt how easy, it was for Him to do it all without the
faintest effort on His part or the slightest help on ours.
It is not the part of faith to question, but to obey. The
ditches were made, and the water came pouring in from some
supernatural source. What a lesson for our faith!
Are you craving a spiritual blessing? Open the trenches, and God
will fill them. And this, too, in the most unexpected places and
in the most unexpected ways.
Oh, for that faith that can act by faith and not by sight, and
expect God to work although we see no wind or rain. --A. B.
"Put on as the elect of God, kindness" (Col. 3:12).
There is a story of an old man who carried a little can of oil
with him everywhere he went, and if he passed through a door
that squeaked, he poured a little oil on the hinges. If a gate
was hard to open, he oiled the latch. And thus he passed through
life lubricating all hard places and making it easier for those
who came after him.
People called him eccentric, queer, and cranky; but the old man
went steadily on refilling his can of oil when it became empty,
and oiled the hard places he found.
There are many lives that creak and grate harshly as they live
day by day. Nothing goes right with them. They need lubricating
with the oil of gladness, gentleness, or thoughtfulness. Have
you your own can of oil with you? Be ready with your oil of
helpfulness in the early morning to the one nearest you. It may
lubricate the whole day for him. The oil, of good cheer to the
downhearted one--Oh, how much it may mean! The word of courage
to the despairing. Speak it.
Our lives touch others but once, perhaps, on the road of life;
and then, mayhap, our ways diverge, never to meet again, The oil
of kindness has worn the sharp, hard edges off of many a
sin-hardened life and left it soft and pliable and ready for the
redeeming grace of the Saviour.
A word spoken pleasantly is a large spot of sunshine on a sad
heart. Therefore, "Give others the sunshine, tell Jesus the
"We cannot know the grief
That men may borrow;
We cannot see the souls
Storm-swept by sorrow;
But love can shine upon the way
Let us be kind.
Upon the wheel of pain so many weary lives are
We live in vain who give no tender token.
Let us be kind."
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love" (Rom.
Achieving the Victory
"For this our light and transitory burden of suffering is
achieving for us a weight of glory"
(2 Cor. 4:17). (Weymouth)
"Is achieving for us," mark. The question is repeatedly
asked--Why is the life of man drenched with so much blood, and
blistered with so many tears? The answer is to be found in the
word "achieving"; these things are achieving for us something
precious. They are teaching us not only the way to victory, but
better still the laws of victory. There is a compensation in
every sorrow, and the sorrow is working out the compensation.
It is the cry of the dear old hymn:
"Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee,
E'en tho' it be a cross that raiseth me."
Joy sometimes needs pain to give it birth. Fanny Crosby could
never have written her beautiful hymn, "I shall see Him face to
face," were it not for the fact that she had never looked upon
the green fields nor the evening sunset nor the kindly twinkle
in her mother's eye. It was the loss of her own vision that
helped her to gain her remarkable spiritual discernment.
It is the tree that suffers that is capable of polish. When the
woodman wants some curved lines of beauty in the grain he cuts
down some maple that has been gashed by the axe and twisted by
the storm. In this way he secures the knots and the hardness
that take the gloss.
It is comforting to know that sorrow tarries only for the night;
it takes its leave in the morning. A thunderstorm is very brief
when put alongside the long summer day. "Weeping may endure for
the night but joy cometh in the morning." --Songs in the Night
"There is a peace that cometh after sorrow,
Of hope surrendered, not of hope fulfilled;
A peace that looketh not upon tomorrow,
But calmly on a tempest that it stilled.
"A peace that lives not now in joy's excesses,
Nor in the happy life of love secure;
But in the unerring strength the heart possesses,
Of conflicts won while learning to endure.
"A peace there is, in sacrifice secluded,
A life subdued, from will and passion free;
'Tis not the peace that over Eden brooded,
But that which triumphed in Gethsemane."
Learning From Suffering
"If I am in distress, it is in the interests of your comfort,
which is effective as it nerves you to endure the same
sufferings as I suffered myself. Hence my hope for you is
well-founded, since I know that as you share the sufferings you
share the comfort also" (2 Cor. 1:6, 7).
Are there not some in your circle to whom you naturally betake
yourself in times of trial and sorrow? They always seem to speak
the right word, to give the very counsel you are longing for;
you do not realize, however, the cost which they had to pay ere
they became so skillful in binding up the gaping wounds and
drying tears. But if you were to investigate their past history
you would find that they have suffered more than most. They have
watched the slow untwisting of some silver cord on which the
lamp of life hung. They have seen the golden bowl of joy dashed
to their feet, and its contents spilt. They have stood by ebbing
tides, and drooping gourds, and noon sunsets; but all this has
been necessary to make them the nurses, the physicians, the
priests of men. The boxes that come from foreign climes are
clumsy enough; but they contain spices which scent the air with
the fragrance of the Orient. So suffering is rough and hard to
bear; but it hides beneath it discipline, education,
possibilities, which not only leave us nobler, but perfect us to
help others. Do not fret, or set your teeth, or wait doggedly
for the suffering to pass; but get out of it all you can, both
for yourself and for your service to your generation, according
to the will of God. --Selected
Once I heard a song of sweetness,
As it cleft the morning air,
Sounding in its blest completeness,
Like a tender, pleading prayer;
And I sought to find the singer,
Whence the wondrous song was borne;
And I found a bird, sore wounded,
Pinioned by a cruel thorn.
I have seen a soul in sadness,
While its wings with pain were furl'd,
Giving hope, and cheer and gladness
That should bless a weeping world;
And I knew that life of sweetness,
Was of pain and sorrow row borne,
And a stricken soul was singing,
With its heart against a thorn.
Ye are told of One who loved you,
Of a Saviour crucified,
Ye are told of nails that pinioned,
And a spear that pierced His side;
Ye are told of cruel scourging,
Of a Saviour bearing scorn,
And He died for your salvation,
With His brow against a thorn.
Ye "are not above the Master."
Will you breathe a sweet refrain?
And His grace will be sufficient,
When your heart is pierced with pain.
Will you live to bless His loved ones,
Tho' your life be bruised and torn,
Like the bird that sang so sweetly,
With its heart against a thorn?
Worship in the Night
"Ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of
the Lord. The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of
Zion" (Ps. 134:1, 3).
Strange time for adoration, you say, to stand in God's house by
night, to worship in the depth of sorrow --it is indeed an
arduous thing. Yes, and therein lies the blessing; it is the
test of perfect faith. If I would know the love of my friend I
must see what it can do in the winter. So with the Divine love.
It is easy for me to worship in the summer sunshine when the
melodies of life are in the air and the fruits of life are on
the tree. But let the song of the bird cease and the fruit of
the tree fall, and will my heart still go on to sing? Will I
stand in God's house by night? Will I love Him in His own night?
Will I watch with Him even one hour in His Gethsemane? Will I
help to bear His cross up the dolorous way? Will I stand beside
Him in His dying moments with Mary and the beloved disciple?
Will I be able with Nicodemus to take up the dead Christ? Then
is my worship complete and my blessing glorious. My love has
come to Him in His humiliation. My faith has found Him in His
lowliness. My heart has recognized His majesty through His mean
disguise, and I know at last that I desire not the gift but the
Giver. When I can stand in His house by night I have accepted
Him for Himself alone. --George Matheson
"My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God;
'Tis His to lead me there, not mine, but His
'At any cost, dear Lord, by any road!'
"So faith bounds forward to its goal in God,
And love can trust her Lord to lead her there;
'Upheld by Him, my soul is following hard
Till God hath full fulfilled my deepest prayer.
"No matter if the way be sometimes dark,
No matter though the cost be ofttimes great,
He knoweth how I best shall reach the mark,
The way that leads to Him must needs be straight.
"One thing I know, I cannot say Him nay;
One thing I do, I press towards my Lord;
My God my glory here, from day to day,
And in the glory there my Great Reward."
Fight the Good Fight
"The last drops of my sacrifice are falling; my time to go has
come. I have fought in the good fight; I have kept the faith" (2
Tim. 4:6, 7).
As soldiers show their scars and talk of battles when they come
at last to spend their old age in the country at home, so shall
we in the dear land to which we are hastening, speak of the
goodness and faithfulness of God who brought us through all the
trials of the way. I would not like to stand in the white-robed
host and hear it said, "These are they that came out of great
tribulation, all except one."
Would you like to be there and see yourself pointed at as the
one saint who never knew a sorrow? Oh, no! for you would be an
alien in the midst of the sacred brotherhood. We will be content
to share the battle, for we shall soon wear the crown and wave
the palm. --C. H. Spurgeon
"Where were you wounded?" asked the surgeon of a soldier at
Lookout Mountain. "Almost at the top," he answered. He forgot
even his gaping wound--he only remembered that he had won the
heights. So let us go forth to higher endeavors for Christ and
never rest till we can shout from the very top, "I have fought a
good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
"Finish thy work, then rest,
Till then rest never;
The rest for thee by God
Is rest forever."
"God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas but
Of an old hero the minstrel sang--
"With his Yemen sword for aid;
Ornament it carried none,
But the notches on the blade."
What nobler decoration of honor can any godly man seek after
than his scars of service, his losses for the crown, his
reproaches for Christ's sake, his being worn out in his Master's
When We're in the Dark
"I will give thee the treasures of darkness" (Isa. 45:3).
In the famous lace shops of Brussels, there are certain rooms
devoted to the spinning of the finest and most delicate
patterns. These rooms are altogether darkened, save for a light
from one very small window, which falls directly upon the
pattern. There is only one spinner in the room, and he sits
where the narrow stream of light falls upon the threads of his
weaving. "Thus," we are told by the guide, "do we secure our
choicest products. Lace is always more delicately and
beautifully woven when the worker himself is in the dark and
only his pattern is in the light."
May it not be the same with us in our weaving? Sometimes it is
very dark. We cannot understand what we are doing. We do not see
the web we are weaving. We are not able to discover any beauty,
any possible good in our experience. Yet if we are faithful and
fail not and faint not, we shall some day know that the most
exquisite work of all our life was done in those days when it
was so dark.
If you are in the deep shadows because of some strange,
mysterious providence, do not be afraid. Simply go on in faith
and love, never doubting. God is watching, and He will bring
good and beauty out of all your pain and tears. --J. R. Miller
The shuttles of His purpose move
To carry out His own design;
Seek not too soon to disapprove
His work, nor yet assign
Dark motives, when, with silent tread,
You view some sombre fold;
For lo, within each darker thread
There twines a thread of gold.
He knows the way you plod;
But leave the thread with God.
--Canadian Home Journal
Christ's Business is Supreme
"His disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray . . . and
he said unto them, When ye pray, say. . . Thy kingdom come"
(Luke 11:1, 2).
When they said, "Teach us to pray," the Master lifted His eyes
and swept the far horizon of God. He gathered up the ultimate
dream of the Eternal, and, rounding the sum of everything God
intends to do in the life of man, He packed it all into these
three terse pregnant phrases and said, "When you pray, pray
after this manner."
What a contrast between this and much praying we have heard.
When we follow the devices of our own hearts, how runs it? "O
Lord bless me, then My family, My church, My city, My country,"
and away on the far fringe as we close up, there is a prayer for
the extension of His Kingdom throughout the wide parish of the
The Master begins where we leave off. The world first, my
personal needs second, is the order of this prayer. Only after
my prayer has crossed every continent and every far-flung island
of the sea, after it has taken in the last man in the last
backward race, after it has covered the entire wish and purpose,
of God for the world, only then am I taught to ask for a piece
of bread for myself.
When Jesus gave His all, Himself for us and to us in the holy
extravagance of the Cross, is it too much if He asks us to do
the same thing? No man or woman amounts to anything in the
kingdom, no soul ever touches even the edge of the zone of
power, until this lesson is learned that Christ's business is
the supreme concern of life and that all personal
considerations, however dear or important, are tributary
thereto. --Dr. Francis
When Robert Moffat, the veteran African missionary and explorer,
was asked once to write in a young lady's album, he penned these
"My album is a savage breast,
Where tempests brood and shadows rest,
Without one ray of light;
To write the name of Jesus there,
And see that savage bow in prayer,
And point to worlds more bright and fair,
This is my soul's delight."
"And His Kingdom shall have no frontier" (Luke 1:33, the old
The missionary enterprise is not the Church's afterthought; it
is Christ's forethought;
--Henry van Dyke
Trust and Rest
"Trust also in him" (Ps. 37:3).
The word trust is the heart word of faith. It is the Old
Testament word, the word given to the early and infant stage of
faith. The word faith expresses more the act of the will, the
word belief the act of the mind or intellect, but trust is the
language of the heart. The other has reference more to a truth
believed or a thing expected.
Trust implies more than this, it sees and feels, and leans upon
a person, a great, true, living heart of love. So let us "trust
also in him," through all the delays, in spite of all the
difficulties, in the face of all the denials, notwithstanding
all the seemings, even when we cannot understand the way, and
know not the issue; still "trust also in him, and he will bring
it to pass." The way will open, the right issue will come, the
end will be peace, the cloud will be lifted, and the light of an
eternal noonday shall shine at last.
"Trust and rest when all around thee
Puts thy faith to sorest test;
Let no fear or foe confound thee,
Wait for God and trust and rest.
"Trust and rest with heart abiding,
Like a birdling in its nest,
Underneath His feathers hiding,
Fold thy wings and trust and rest."
Continue in Prayer
"And there was Anna, a prophetess . . . which departed not from
the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and
day" (Luke 2:36, 37).
No doubt by praying we learn to pray, and the more we pray the
oftener we can pray, and the better we can pray. He who prays in
fits and starts is never likely to attain to that effectual,
fervent prayer which availeth much.
Great power in prayer is within our reach, but we must go to
work to obtain it. Let us never imagine that Abraham could have
interceded so successfully for Sodom if he had not been all his
lifetime in the practice of communion with God.
Jacob's all-night at Peniel was not the first occasion upon
which he had met his God. We may even look upon our Lord's most
choice and wonderful prayer with his disciples before His
Passion as the flower and fruit of His many nights of devotion,
and of His often rising up a great while before day to pray.
If a man dreams that he can become mighty in prayer just as he
pleases, he labors under a great mistake. The prayer of Elias
which shut up heaven and afterwards opened its floodgates, was
one of long series of mighty prevailings with God. Oh, that
Christian men would remember this! Perseverance in prayer is
necessary to prevalence in prayer.
Those great intercessors, who are not so often mentioned as they
ought to be in connection with confessors and martyrs, were
nevertheless the grandest benefactors of the Church; but it was
only by abiding at the mercy-seat that they attained to be such
channels of mercy to men. We must pray to pray, and continue in
prayer that our prayers may continue. --G. H.. Spurgeon
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God
your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth
you who also will do it" (1 Thess. 5:23, 24).
Many years since I saw that "without holiness no man shall see
the Lord." I began by following after it and inciting all with
whom I had intercourse to do the same. Ten years after, God gave
me a clearer view than I ever had before of the way to obtain
it; namely, by faith in the Son of God. And immediately I
declared to all, "We are saved from sin, we are made holy by
faith." This I testified in private, in public, and in print,
and God confirmed it by a thousand witnesses. I have continued
to declare this for above thirty years, and God has continued to
confirm my work.
--John Wesley in 1771
"I knew Jesus, and He was very precious to my soul; but I found
something in me that would not keep sweet and patient and kind.
I did what I could to keep it down, but it was there. I besought
Jesus to do something for me, and, when I gave Him my will, He
came to my heart, and took out all that would not be sweet, all
that would not be kind, all that would not be patient, and then
HE shut the door." --George Fox
My whole heart has not one single grain, this moment, of thirst
after approbation. I feel alone with God; He fills the void; I
have not one wish, one will, one desire, but in Him; He hath set
my feet in a large room. I have wondered and stood amazed that
God should make a conquest of all within me by love. --Lady
"All at once I felt as though a hand--not feeble, but
omnipotent; not of wrath, but of love--was laid on my brow. I
felt it not outwardly but inwardly. It seemed to press upon my
whole being, and to diffuse all through me a holy, sin-consuming
energy. As it passed downward, my heart as well as my head was
conscious of the presence of this soul-cleansing energy, under
the influence of which I fell to the floor, and in the joyful
surprise of the moment, cried out in a loud voice. Still the
hand of power wrought without and within; and wherever it moved,
it seemed to leave the glorious influence of the Saviour's
image. For a few minutes the deep ocean of God's love swallowed
me up; all its waves and billows rolled over me." --Bishop
Holiness--as I then wrote down some of my contemplations on
it--appeared to me to be of a sweet, calm, pleasant, charming,
serene nature, which brought an inexpressible purity,
brightness, peacefulness, ravishment to the soul; in other
words, that it made the soul like a field or garden of God, with
all manner of pleasant fruits and flowers, all delightful and
undisturbed, enjoying a sweet calm and the gentle vivifying
beams of the sun. --Jonathan Edwards
"Love's resistless current sweeping
All the regions deep within;
Thought and wish and senses keeping
Now, and every instant clean:
Full salvation! Full salvation!
From the guilt and power of sin."
More Than Conquerors
"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him
that loved us" (Rom. 8:37).
The Gospel is so arranged and the gift of God so great that you
may take the very enemies that fight you and the forces that are
arrayed against you and make them steps up to the very gates of
heaven and into the presence of God.
Like the eagle, who sits on a crag and watches the sky as it is
filling with blackness, and the forked lightnings are playing up
and down, and he is sitting perfectly still, turning one eye and
then the other toward the storm. But he never moves until he
begins to feel the burst of the breeze and knows that the
hurricane has struck him; with a scream, he swings his breast to
the storm, and uses the storm to go up to the sky; away he goes,
borne upward upon it.
That is what God wants of every one of His children, to be more
than conqueror, turning the storm-cloud into a chariot. You know
when one army is more than conqueror it is likely to drive the
other from the field, to get all the ammunition, the food and
supplies, and to take possession of the whole. That is just what
our text means. There are spoils to be taken!
Beloved, have you got them? When you went into that terrible
valley of suffering did you come out of it with spoils? When
that injury struck you and you thought everything was gone, did
you so trust in God that you came out richer than you went in?
To be more than conqueror is to take the spoils from the enemy
and appropriate them to yourself. What he had arranged for your
overthrow, take and appropriate for yourself.
When Dr. Moon, of Brighton, England, was stricken with
blindness, he said "Lord, I accept this talent of blindness from
Thee. Help me to use it for Thy glory that at Thy coming Thou
mayest receive Thine own with usury." Then God enabled him to
invent the Moon Alphabet for the blind, by which thousands of
blind people were enabled to read the Word of God, and many of
them were gloriously saved. --Selected
God did not take away Paul's thorn; He did better--He mastered
that thorn, and made it Paul's servant. The ministry of thorns
has often been a greater ministry to man than the ministry of
"It shall turn to you for a testimony'' (Luke 21:13).
Life is a steep climb, and it does the heart good to have
somebody "call back" and cheerily beckon us on up the high hill.
We are all climbers together, and we must help one another. This
mountain climbing is serious business, but glorious. It takes
strength and steady step to find the summits. The outlook widens
with the altitude. If anyone among us has found anything worth
while, we ought to "call back."
If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back--
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perchance, Faith's light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.
Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest's roots were
That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the
He bore you up and held you where the very air was still.
Oh, friend, call back, and tell me for I cannot see your your
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race;
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.
But if you'll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you'll say He saw you through the night's sin-darkened
If you have gone a little way ahead, oh, friend, call back--
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.
Dare to Be Alone
"Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me" (John
It need not be said that to carry out conviction into action is
a costly sacrifice. It may make necessary renunciations and
separations which leave one to feel a strange sense both of
deprivation and loneliness. But he who will fly, as an eagle
does, into the higher levels where cloudless day abides, and
live in the sunshine of God, must be content to live a
comparatively lonely life.
No bird is so solitary as the eagle. Eagles never fly in flocks;
one, or at most two, ever being seen at once. But the life that
is lived unto God, however it forfeits human companionships,
knows Divine fellowship.
God seeks eagle-men. No man ever comes into a realization of the
best things of God, who does not, upon the Godward side of his
life, learn to walk alone with God. We find Abraham alone in
Horeb upon the heights, but Lot, dwelling in Sodom. Moses,
skilled in all the wisdom of Egypt must go forty years into the
desert alone with God. Paul, who was filled with Greek learning
and had also sat at the feet of Gamaliel, must go into Arabia
and learn the desert life with God. Let God isolate us. I do not
mean the isolation of a monastery. In this isolating experience
He develops an independence of faith and life so that the soul
needs no longer the constant help, prayer, faith or attention of
his neighbor. Such assistance and inspiration from the other
members are necessary and have their place in the Christian's
development, but there comes a time when they act as a direct
hindrance to the individual's faith and welfare. God knows how
to change the circumstances in order to give us an isolating
experience. We yield to God and He takes us through something,
and when it is over, those about us, who are no less loved than
before, are no longer depended upon. We realize that He has
wrought some things in us, and that the wings of our souls have
learned to beat the upper air.
We must dare to be alone. Jacob must be left alone if the Angel
of God is to whisper in his ear the mystic name of Shiloh;
Daniel must be left alone if he is to see celestial visions;
John must be banished to Patmos if he is deeply to take and
firmly to keep "the print of heaven."
He trod the wine-press alone. Are we prepared for a "splendid
isolation" rather than fail Him?
The Path to Blessing
"To him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon because
he hath wholly followed the Lord" (Deut. 1:36).
Every hard duty that lies in your path, that you would rather
not do, that it will cost you pain and struggle or sore effort
to do, has a blessing in it. Not to do it, at whatever cost, is
to miss the blessing.
Every hard piece of road on which you see the Master's
shoe-prints and along which He bids you follow Him, surely leads
to blessing, which you cannot get if you cannot go over the
steep, thorny path.
Every point of battle to which you come, where you must draw
your sword and fight the enemy, has a possible victory which
will prove a rich blessing to your life. Every heavy load that
you are called to lift hides in itself some strange secret of
strength. --J. R. Miller
"I cannot do it alone;
The waves run fast and high,
And the fogs close all around,
The light goes out in the sky;
But I know that we two
Shall win in the end, Jesus and I.
"Coward and wayward and weak,
I change with the changing sky;
Today so eager and bright,
Tomorrow too weak to try;
But He never gives in,
So we two shall win, Jesus and I.
"I could not guide it myself,
My boat on life's wild sea;
There's One who sits by my side,
Who pulls and steers with me.
And I know that we two
Shall safe enter port,
Jesus and I."
Night of Pure Faith
"Lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him" (Gen. 15:12).
The sun at last went down, and the swift, eastern night cast its
heavy veil over the scene. Worn out with the mental conflict,
the watchings, and the exertions of the day, Abraham fell into a
deep sleep, and in that sleep his soul was oppressed with a dense
and dreadful darkness, such as almost stifled him, and lay like
a nightmare upon his heart. Do you understand something of the
horror of that darkness? When some terrible sorrow which seems
so hard to reconcile with perfect love, crushes down upon the
soul, wringing from it all its peaceful rest in the pitifulness
of God, and launching it on a sea unlit by a ray of hope; when
unkindness, and cruelty maltreat the trusting heart, till it
begins to doubt whether there be a God overhead who can see and
still permit--these know something of the "horror of great
darkness." It is thus that human life is made up; brightness and
gloom; shadow and sun; long tracks of cloud, succeeded by
brilliant glints of light, and amid all Divine justice is
working out its own schemes, affecting others equally with the
individual soul which seems the subject of special discipline. O
ye who are filled with the horror of great darkness because of
God's dealings with mankind, learn to trust that infallible
wisdom, which is co-assessor with immutable justice; and know
that He who passed through the horror of the darkness of
Calvary, with the cry of forsakenness, is ready to bear you
company through the valley of the shadow of death till you see
the sun shining upon its further side. Let us, by our
Forerunner, send forward our anchor, Hope, within the veil that
parts us from the unseen; where it will grapple in ground and
will not yield, but hold until the day dawns, and we follow it
into the haven guaranteed to us by God's immutable counsel. --F.
The disciples thought that the angry sea separated them from
Jesus. Nay, some of them thought worse than that; they thought
that the trouble that had come upon them was a sign that Jesus
had forgotten all about them, and did not care for them. Oh,
dear friend, that is when troubles have a sting, when the devil
whispers, "God has forgotten you; God has forsaken you"; when
your unbelieving heart cries as Gideon cried, "If the Lord be
with us, why then is all this befallen us?" The evil has come
upon you to bring the Lord nearer to you. The evil has not come
upon you to separate you from Jesus, but to make you cling to
Him more faithfully, more tenaciously, more simply. --F. S.
Never should we so abandon ourselves to God as when He seems to
have abandoned us. Let us enjoy light and consolation when it is
His pleasure to give it to us, but let us not attach ourselves
to His gifts, but to Himself; and when He plunges us into the
night of pure faith, let us still press on through the agonizing
Oh, for faith that brings the triumph
When defeat seems strangely near!
Oh, for faith that brings the triumph
Into victory's ringing cheer--
Faith triumphant; knowing not defeat or fear.
"The journey is too great for thee" (1 King 19:7).
And what did God do with His tired servant? Gave him something
good to eat, and put him to sleep. Elijah had done splendid
work, and had run alongside of the chariot in his excitement,
and it had been too much for his physical strength, and the
reaction had come on, and he was depressed. The physical needed
to be cared for. What many people want is sleep, and the
physical ailment attended to. There are grand men and women who
get where Elijah was--under the juniper tree! and it comes very
soothingly to such to hear the words of the Master: "The journey
is too great for thee, and I am going to refresh you." Let us
not confound physical weariness with spiritual weakness.
"I'm too tired to trust and too tired to pray,
Said one, as the over-taxed strength gave way.
The one conscious thought by my mind possessed,
Is, oh, could I just drop it all and rest.
"Will God forgive me, do you suppose,
If I go right to sleep as a baby goes,
Without an asking if I may,
Without ever trying to trust and pray?
"Will God forgive you? why think, dear heart,
When language to you was an unknown art,
Did a mother deny you needed rest,
Or refuse to pillow your head on her breast?
"Did she let you want when you could not ask?
Did she set her child an unequal task?
Or did she cradle you in her arms,
And then guard your slumber against alarms?
"Ah, how quick was her mother love to see,
The unconscious yearnings of infancy.
When you've grown too tired to trust and pray,
When over-wrought nature has quite given way:
"Then just drop it all, and give up to rest,
As you used to do on a mother's breast,
He knows all about it--the dear Lord knows,
So just go to sleep as a baby goes;
"Without even asking if you may,
God knows when His child is too tired to pray.
He judges not solely by uttered prayer,
He knows when the yearnings of love are there.
"He knows you do pray, He knows you do trust,
And He knows, too, the limits' of poor weak dust.
Oh, the wonderful sympathy of Christ,
For His chosen ones in that midnight tryst,
"When He bade them sleep and take their rest,
While on Him the guilt of the whole world pressed--
You've given your life up to Him to keep,
Then don't be afraid to go right to sleep."
Quiet Time with God
"And Isaac went out to meditate in the fields at eventide" (Gen.
We should be better Christians if we were more alone; we should
do more if we attempted less, and spent more time in retirement,
and quiet waiting upon God. The world is too much with us; we
are afflicted with the idea that we are doing nothing unless we
are fussily running to and fro; we do not believe in "the calm
retreat, the silent shade." As a people, we are of a very
practical turn of mind; "we believe," as someone has said, "in
having all our irons in the fire, and consider the time not
spent between the anvil and the fire as lost, or much the same
as lost." Yet no time is more profitably spent than that which
is set apart for quiet musing, for talking with God, for looking
up to Heaven. We cannot have too many of these open spaces in
life, hours in which the soul is left accessible to any sweet
thought or influence it may please God to send.
"Reverie," it has been said, "is the Sunday of the mind." Let us
often in these days give our mind a "Sunday," in which it will
do no manner of work but simply lie still, and look upward, and
spread itself out before the Lord like Gideon's fleece, to be
soaked and moistened with the dews of Heaven. Let there be
intervals when we shall do nothing, think nothing, plan nothing,
but just lay ourselves on the green lap of nature and "rest
Time so spent is not lost time. The fisherman cannot be said to
be losing time when he is mending his nets, nor the mower when
he takes a few minutes to sharpen his scythe at the top of the
ridge. City men cannot do better than follow the example of
Isaac, and, as often as they can, get away from the fret and
fever of life into fields. Wearied with the heat and din, the
noise and bustle, communion with nature is very grateful; it
will have a calming, healing influence. A walk through the
fields, a saunter by the seashore or across the daisy-sprinkled
meadows, will purge your life from sordidness, and make the
heart beat with new joy and hope.
"The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday,
. . . Out in the fields with God."
BELLS ACROSS THE SNOW
O Christmas, merry Christmas,
Is it really come again,
With its memories and greetings,
With its joy and with its pain!
There's a minor in the carol
And a shadow in the light,
And a spray of cypress twining
With the holly wreath tonight.
And the hush is never broken
By laughter light and low,
As we listen in the starlight
To the "bells across the snow."
O Christmas, merry Christmas,
'Tis not so very long
Since other voices blended
With the carol and the song!
If we could but hear them singing,
As they are singing now,
If we could but see the radiance
Of the crown on each dear brow,
There would be no sigh to smother,
No hidden tear to flow,
As we listen in the starlight
To the "bells across the snow."
O Christmas, merry Christmas,
This never more can be;
We cannot bring again the days
Of our unshadowed glee,
But Christmas, happy Christmas,
Sweet herald of good will,
With holy songs of glory
Brings holy gladness still.
For peace and hope may brighten,
And patient love may glow,
As we listen in the starlight
To the "bells across the snow."
--Frances Ridley Havergal
Christ our Consolation
"His name shall be called Emmanuel . . . God with us." (Matt.
"The Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6).
"There's a song in the air!
There's a star in the sky!
There's a mother's deep prayer,
And a baby's low cry!
And the star rains its fire
While the beautiful sing,
For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King."
A few years ago a striking Christmas card was published, with
the title, "If Christ had not come." It was founded upon our
Saviour's words, "If I had not come." The card represented a
clergyman falling into a short sleep in his study on Christmas
morning and dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come.
In his dream he found himself looking through his home, but
there were no little stockings in the chimney corner, no
Christmas bells or wreaths of holly, and no Christ to comfort,
gladden and save. He walked out on the public street, but there
was no church with its spire pointing to Heaven. He came back
and sat down in his library, but every book about the Saviour
A ring at the door-bell, and a messenger asked him to visit a
poor dying mother. He hastened with, the weeping child and as he
reached the home he sat down and said, "I have something here
that will comfort you." He opened his Bible to look for a
familiar promise, but it ended at Malachi, and there was no
gospel and no promise of hope and salvation, and he could only
bow his head and weep with her in bitter despair.
Two days afterward he stood beside her coffin and conducted the
funeral service, but there was no message of consolation, no
word of a glorious resurrection, no open Heaven, but only "dust
to dust, ashes to ashes," and one long eternal farewell. He
realized at length that "He had not come," and burst into tears
and bitter weeping in his sorrowful dream.
Suddenly he woke with a start, and a great shout of joy and
praise burst from his lips as he heard his choir singing in his
church close by:
"O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels,
O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord."
Let us be glad and rejoice today, because "He has come." And let
us remember the annunciation of the angel, "Behold I bring you
good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for
unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which
is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10, 11).
"He comes to make His blessing flow, Far as the curse is found."
May our hearts go out to the people in heathen lands who have no
blessed Christmas day. "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the
sweet, and SEND PORTIONS TO THEM FOR WHOM NOTHING IS PREPARED."
No Active Mission
"Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder" (Matt. 26:36).
It is a hard thing to be kept in the background at a time of
crisis. In the Garden of Gethsemane eight of the eleven
disciples were left to do nothing. Jesus went to the front to
pray; Peter, James and John went to the middle to watch; the
rest sat down in the rear to wait. Methinks that party in the
rear must have murmured. They were in the garden, but that was
all; they had no share in the cultivation of its flowers. It was
a time of crisis, a time of storm and stress; and yet they were
not suffered to work.
You and I have often felt that experience, that disappointment.
There has arisen, mayhap a great opportunity for Christian
service. Some are sent to the front; some are sent to the
middle. But we are made to lie down in the rear. Perhaps
sickness has come; perhaps poverty has come; perhaps obloquy has
come; in any case we are hindered and we feel sore. We do not
see why we should be excluded from a part in the Christian life.
It seems like an unjust thing that, seeing we have been allowed
to enter the garden, no path should be assigned to us there.
Be still, my soul, it is not as thou deemest! Thou art not
excluded from a part of the Christian life. Thinkest thou that
the garden of the Lord has only a place for those who walk and
for those who stand! Nay, it has a spot consecrated to those who
are compelled to sit. There are three voices in a verb--active,
passive and neuter. So, too, there are three voices in Christ's
verb "to live." There are the active, watching souls, who go to
the front, and struggle till the breaking of the day. There are
the passive, watching souls, who stand in the middle, and report
to others the progress of the fight. But there are also the
neuter souls--those who can neither fight, nor be spectators of
the fight, but have simply to lie down.
When that experience comes to thee, remember, thou are not
shunted. Remember it is Christ that says, "Sit ye here." Thy
spot in the garden has also been consecrated. It has a special
name. It is not "the place of wrestling," nor "the place of
watching," but "the place of waiting." There are lives that come
into this world neither to do great work nor to bear great
burdens, but simply to be; they are the neuter verbs. They are
the flowers of the garden which have had no active mission. They
have wreathed no chaplet; they have graced no table; they have
escaped the eye of Peter and James and John. But they have
gladdened the sight of Jesus. By their mere perfume, by their
mere beauty, they have brought Him joy; by the very preservation
of their loveliness in the valley they have lifted the Master's
heart. Thou needst not murmur shouldst thou be one of these
"His soul entered into iron" (Ps. 105:18).
Turn that about and render it in our language, and it reads
thus, "Iron entered his soul." Is there not a truth in this?
That sorrow and privation, the yoke borne in the youth, the
soul's enforced restraint, are all conducive to an iron tenacity
and strength of purpose, and endurance or fortitude, which are
the indispensable foundation and framework of a noble character.
Do not flinch from suffering; bear it silently, patiently,
resignedly; and be sure that it is God's way of infusing iron
into your spiritual life. The world wants iron dukes, iron
battalions, iron sinews, and thews of steel. God wants iron
saints; and since there is no way of imparting iron to the moral
nature but by letting people suffer, He lets them suffer.
Are the best years of your life slipping away in enforced
monotony? Are you beset by opposition, misunderstanding, and
scorn, as the thick undergrowth besets the passage of the
woodsman pioneer? Then take heart; the time is not wasted; God
is only putting you through the iron regimen. The iron crown of
suffering precedes the golden crown of glory. And iron is
entering into your soul to make it strong and brave. --F. B.
"But you will not mind the roughness nor the steepness of the
Nor the chill, unrested morning, nor the searness of the day;
And you will not take a turning to the left or the right,
But go straight ahead, nor tremble at the coming of the night,
For the road leads home."
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil.
"Sing a little song of trust,
O my heart!
Sing it just because you must,
As leaves start;
As flowers push their way through dust;
Sing, my heart, because you must.
"Wait not for an eager throng
Bird on bird;
'Tis the solitary song
That is heard.
Every voice at dawn will start,
Be a nightingale, my heart!
"Sing across the winter snow,
Pierce the cloud;
Sing when mists are drooping low
Clear and loud;
But sing sweetest in the dark;
He who slumbers not will hark."
"An' when He hears yo' sing, He bends down wid a smile on His
kin' face an' listens mighty keerful, an' He says, 'Sing on,
chile, I hears, an' I's comin' down to deliber yo': I'll tote
dat load fer yo'; jest lean hawd on Me and de road will get
smoother bime by."'
"Arise . . . for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very
good; and are ye still? Be not slothful to go, and enter to
possess the land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place
where there is no want of anything that is in the earth" (Judges
Arise! Then there is something definite for us to do. Nothing is
ours unless we take it. "The children of Joseph, Manasseh and
Ephraim, took their inheritance" (Joshua 16:4). "The house of
Jacob shall possess their possessions" (Obad. 17). "The upright
shall have good things in possession."
We need to have appropriating faith in regard to God's promises.
We must make God's Word our own personal possession. A child was
asked once what appropriating faith was, and the answer was, "It
is taking a pencil and underscoring all the me's and mine's and
my's in the Bible."
Take any word you please that He has spoken and say, "That word
is my word." Put your finger on this promise and say, "It is
mine." How much of the Word has been endorsed and receipted and
said "It is done." How many promises can you subscribe and say,
"Fulfilled to me."
"Son, thou art ever with Me, and all that I have is thine."
Don't let your inheritance go by default.
"When faith goes to market it always takes a basket."
"Peter was kept in prison: but prayer (instant and earnest
prayer) was made for him"
(Acts 12:5, margin).
Peter was in prison awaiting his execution. The Church had
neither human power nor influence to save him. There was no
earthly help, but there was help to be obtained by the way of
Heaven. They gave themselves to fervent, importunate prayer. God
sent His angel, who aroused Peter from sleep and led him out
through the first and second wards of the prison; and when they
came to the iron gate, it opened to them of its own accord, and
Peter was free.
There may be some iron gate in your life that has blocked your
way. Like a caged bird you have often beaten against the bars,
but instead of helping, you have only had to fall back tired,
exhausted and sore at heart. There is a secret for you to learn,
and that is believing prayer; and when you come to the iron
gate, it will open of its own accord. How much wasted energy and
sore disappointment will be saved if you will learn to pray as
did the Church in the upper room! Insurmountable difficulties
will disappear; adverse circumstances will prove favorable if
you learn to pray, not with your own faith but with the faith of
God (Mark 11:22, margin). Souls in prison have been waiting for
years for the gate to open; love ones out of Christ, bound by
Satan, will be set free when you pray till you definitely
believe God. --C. H. P.
Emergencies call for intense prayer. When the man becomes the
prayer nothing can resist its touch. Elijah on Carmel, bowed
down on the ground, with his face between his knees, that was
prayer--the man himself. No words are mentioned. Prayer can be
too tense for words. The man's whole being was in touch with
God, and was set with God against the powers of evil. They
couldn't withstand such praying. There's more of this embodied
praying needed. --The Bent-knee Time
"Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which
cannot be refused."
--C. H. Spurgeon
"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us" (I Sam. 7:12).
The word "hitherto" seems like a hand pointing in the direction
of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet "hitherto hath the
Lord helped us!" Through poverty, through wealth, through
sickness, through health; at home, abroad, on the land, on the
sea; in honor, in dishonor, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in
triumph, in prayer, in temptation--"hitherto hath the Lord
We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful
to gaze from one end of the long vista, a sort of verdant
temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves.
Even so look down the long aisles of your years, at the green
boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of
lovingkindness and faithfulness which bear up your joys.
Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely, there
must be many, and they all sing of mercy received "hitherto."
But the word also points forward. For when a man gets up to a
certain mark, and writes "hitherto," he is not yet at the end;
there are still distances to be traversed. More trials, more
joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more
answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories;
and then come sickness, old age, disease, death.
Is it over now? No! there is more yet--awakening in Jesus'
likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment the face
of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fullness
of eternity, the infinity of bliss. Oh, be of good courage,
believer, and with grateful confidence raise thy "Ebenezer,"
"He who hath helped thee hitherto
Will help thee all thy journey through."
When read in Heaven's light, how glorious and marvelous a
prospect will thy "hitherto" unfold to thy grateful eye. --C. H.
The Alpine shepherds have a beautiful custom of ending the day
by singing to one another an evening farewell. The air is so
crystalline that the song will carry long distances. As the dusk
begins to fall, they gather their flocks and begin to lead them
down the mountain paths, singing, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped
us. Let us praise His name!"
And at last with a sweet courtesy, they sing to one another the
friendly farewell: "Goodnight! Goodnight!" The words are taken
up by the echoes, and from side to side the song goes
reverberating sweetly and softly until the music dies away in
So let us call out to one another through the darkness, till the
gloom becomes vocal with many voices, encouraging the pilgrim
host. Let the echoes gather till a very storm of Hallelujahs
break in thundering waves around the sapphire throne, and then
as the morning breaks we shall find ourselves at the margin of
the sea of glass, crying, with the redeemed host, "Blessing and
honor and glory be unto him that sitteth on the throne and to
the Lamb forever and ever!"
"This my song through endless ages,
Jesus led me all the way."