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Title: Quiet Talks on Following the Christ
Author: Gordon, S. D. (Samuel Dickey), 1859-1936
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Quiet Talks on Following the Christ

By S. D. Gordon

Author of "_Quiet Talks On Power_," "_Quiet Talks on Prayer_," "_Quiet
Talks On Our Lord's Return_," etc.

New York Chicago Toronto
Fleming H. Revell Company
London and Edinburgh



Copyright, 1913, by
Fleming H. Revell Company


New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
Chicago: 17 North Wabash Ave.
Toronto: 25 Richmond Street, W.
London: 21 Paternoster Square
Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street



Contents



Introduction

   I. The Lone Man Who Went Before
  II. The Long, Rough Road He Trod
 III. The Pleading Call To Follow
  IV. What Following Means
      1. A Look Ahead
      2. The Main Road
      3. The Valleys
      4. The Hilltops
   V. Shall We Go?
  VI. Finger-Posts
 VII. Fellow-Followers
VIII. The Glory of the Goal,--face To Face



Introduction


These talks have been given, in substance, at various gatherings in
Great Britain, Continental Europe, and parts of the Far East, during the
past four years. The simple directness of the spoken word has been
allowed to stand. Portions of chapters three, four, six, and eight have
appeared at various times in "The Sunday School Times."

If any who read may find some practical help through the Master's
gracious touch upon these simple words, they are earnestly asked to add
their prayers that that same gracious touch may be felt by others
wherever these talks may go.



The Lone Man Who Went Before



A Call to Friendship.


One day I watched two young men, a Japanese and an American, pacing the
deck of a Japanese liner bound for San Francisco. Their heads were close
together and bent down, and they were talking earnestly. The Japanese was
saying, "Oh, yes, I believe all that as a theory, but is there _power_ to
make a man _live_ it?"

He was an officer of the ship, one of the finest boats on the Pacific. The
American was a young fellow who had gone out to Japan as a government
teacher, and when his earnest sort of Christianity led to his dismissal he
remained, and still remains, as a volunteer missionary. With his rare gift
in personal touch he had won the young officer's confidence, and was
explaining what Christianity stood for, when the Japanese politely
interrupted him with his question about power. The tense eagerness of his
manner and voice let one see the hunger of his heart. He had high ideals
of life, but confessed that every time he was in port, the shore
temptations proved too much, and he always came back on board with a
feeling of bitter defeat. He had read about Christianity and believed it
good in theory. But he knew nothing of its power.

Through his new American friend he came into personal touch with Christ,
then and there. And up to the day we docked he put in his spare time
bringing other Japanese to his friend's stateroom, and there more than one
of them knelt, and came into warm touch of heart with the Lord Jesus.

Just so our Lord Jesus draws men, Oriental and Occidental alike. Just so
He drew men when He was down here. He had great drawing power. Men came
eagerly wherever they could find Him.

He drew all sorts of men. He drew the Jews, to whom He belonged racially.
He drew the aggressive, domineering Romans, and the gentler cultured
Greeks. He drew the half-breed Samaritans, who were despised by both Jew
and foreigner, as not being either one thing or the other. The military
men and the civilians, the cultured and the unlettered, the official class
and those in private life, all alike felt the strong pull upon their
hearts of His presence.

The pure of heart, like gentle Mary of Bethany, and the guileless
Nathanael, were drawn to Him. And the very opposite, those openly bad in
their life, couldn't resist His presence, and the call away from their
low, bad level, but eagerly took His hand and came up. Fisherfolk and
farmers, dwellers in the city and country, scholars and tradesmen, crude
and refined, richly clad and ragged,--all sorts contentedly rubbed elbows
and jostled each other in the crowds that came to listen, and stayed to
listen longer, and then went away to come back again for more.

This was why He came--to draw men to Himself. Our Lord Jesus was the face
of God looking longingly into men's faces. And they couldn't withstand the
appeal of that gentle strong face. He was the voice of God talking into
men's ears; and the music of that low, quiet voice thrilled and thralled
their hearts. He was the hand of God, strong and warm, reaching down to
take men by the hand and give them a strong lift up and back to the old
Eden life. And, in time, as men put their hand in His, they came to feel
the little knotted place in the palm of that outstretched hand, and the
feel of it went strangely into their inmost being. He was the heart of
God, tender and true, beating rhythmically in time and tune with the human
heart. And the music had, and has, strange power of appeal to human
hearts, and power to sway human lives like a great wind in the trees.

Our Lord Jesus was the person of God in human shape and human garb, come
down close, to draw us men back again to the old trysting place under the
Tree of Life. And in every generation, and every corner of the earth,
then, and ever since then, men of every colour and sort have come back,
and found how His presence eases the tug of life on many a steep roadway,
and more, much more.[1]

And our Lord Jesus drew men into personal friendship with Himself. He
didn't like the long range way of doing things. Keeping men at arm's
length never suited Him. He gave the inner heart touch, and He longed for
the touch of the innermost heart. He was our friend. He asked that we be
His friends, real friends of the rare sort, of which one's life has only a
few.

And He asked, too, that all else that we brought to Him should be that
which grew out of this personal friendship. He gave and did all that He
did and gave, because He was our friend. He asked only for what grew out
of a real heart friendship with Himself. He longed to have us give all,
yet only what our hearts couldn't hold back. His friendship has one thing
peculiar to itself. He has no favourites, in our common thought of that
word, among the countless numbers who have come to be included in His
inner circle of friends. Yet He gives to each such a distinctive personal
touch of His own heart that you feel yourself to be on closest terms. He
is nearer and closer than any other, and your longing is to be as near and
close to Him in life as He is to you in His heart.[2]

Now, because we are His friends and He is our friend, He calls us to
follow Him. It is a privilege of friendship. He would share with you and
with me the things of His own heart and life. He wants to have us come
close up to Himself, and live close up. And the only way we can do it is
by giving a glad "Yes" to His invitation, and following so close that we
shall be up to Himself. Nothing less than this contents His longing.

But there is more than friendship here. He has a plan of action in His
heart. It is a wide-reaching plan, clear beyond our idea of what
wide-reaching means. It is nothing less than a plan for the whole world,
the entire race, for winning it up to the old Eden life of purity and of
close walking with God. That plan is the passion of His great heart. He
has held nothing back--spared nothing--that it might be done. He is
thinking of that plan as He comes eagerly to you and me, now, all afresh,
and with His heart in His voice says "Follow Me." This is a bit of His
plan for me and for you--that we shall be partners with Him in His plan
for the world.

And yet--and yet--this helping Him, this partnership, this working with
Him in His plan, is to be because of our friendship, His and mine, His and
yours. It is a more than friendship He is thinking of. But that more is
_through_ the friendship. It grows out of the friendship. Only so does it
work out His real plan.



Climbing the Hilltops.


Now this "Follow Me" of His, if taken into one's life, and followed up,
will come to mean two things. There are two great things that stand
sharply out in our Lord Jesus' life down here, His _characteristics_ and
His _experiences_. I mean what He was in Himself; and what He went
through, suffered, enjoyed, and accomplished; the Man Himself, and the
Man's experiences. These are the two things about which these simple talks
will be grouped. Our Lord Jesus wants us to follow that we may climb up
the hill as high as He did in these things.

Following means climbing. A friend has told recently of a journey taken to
a certain village in New England from which, she had been told, a fine
view could be got of the White Mountains. On arrival it seemed that a low
hill completely shut out the view, to her intense disappointment. But her
companion, by and by, called from the top of the low hill and eagerly
beckoned her to come up. A bit of climbing quickly brought her to where
the magnificent beauty of the mountains broke upon her delighted eyes.

Our Lord Jesus climbed the hilltops, both in His character and in His
experiences. He wants us to share those rare hilltops with Him. He has
gone away ahead of any other. He is the Lone Man in both character and
experiences. And in some of His experiences He will ever remain the lone
occupant of the hilltop. But He is eager for our companionship. He longs
for the personal touch. He wants us to have all He has got. He has blazed
a way through the thicket where there was no path before. He left the
plain marks on the trees as He went through, so we could surely find the
way. And now He eagerly beckons us to follow.

But following means climbing. It's a hill road, sometimes down hill,
sometimes up hill. Which makes stiffer climbing? Usually the one you are
doing seems the harder. Sometimes the road is a dead level between hills.
And dead level walking--the monotonous dead-a-way, with no bracing air, no
inspiring outlook--is often much harder than down hill or up. And so it
too is climbing. Following means climbing. He climbed. He made the high
climb all alone. No other ever had the courage to climb so high as He.
It's easier since He has smoothed down the road with His own feet; yet it
isn't easy; still it is easier than not climbing; that is, when you reckon
the whole thing up--with _Him_ in.

Now He asks you and me to climb. He cannot climb for you. That is, I mean
He cannot do the climbing you ought to do. He has climbed for us, marked
out the hill path, and made it possible for us to climb up too. But the
after-climbing He cannot do for us. Each must do his own climbing. So
lungs grow deeper, and heart-action stronger, and cheeks clearer, and
muscles firmer. Step by step we must pull up, maybe through a fog, with no
view of beauty, no bracing air yet, only His strong beckoning hand.

But those who reach up and get hold of hands with Him, and get up even to
some of the lower reaches of the climb, stand with full hearts and dumb
lips. They can't find words to tell the exhilaration of the climb, the
bracing air, the far outlook, and, yet more, the wondrous presence of the
Chief Climber, even though there's a bit of smarting of face and hands
where the thorny tanglewood tore a bit as you went by.

Just now I want you to come with me for a bit of a look at the Lone Man,
who has gone before. I mean at the Man Himself. We want to take a look at
the characteristics of His life; what the Man was in His character.

And please understand me here. Following does not mean that we are to try
to imitate these characteristics. No, it's something both simpler and
easier, and deeper and better than that. It means that, as we companion
with Him daily, these same traits will appear in us. It is not to be
imitation simply, good as that might seem, yet always bringing a sense of
failure, and that sense the thing you remember most. It is to be some One
living His life in you, coming in through the open door of your will. Your
part is opening up, and keeping open, listening and loving and obeying.
The touchstone of the "Follow Me" life is not imitation but following; not
copying but obeying; not struggle--though there will be struggle--but
companionship, a companionship which nothing is allowed to take the fine
edge off of.

And please remember, too, the meaning for us sinful men of these
characteristics of His. With us character is a result of choice, and then
nearly always--or should I cut out that "nearly"? the earnest man in the
thick of the fight finds no "nearlys"--it's always with him--character is
always the result of a fight to keep to the choice decided upon.

Now with greatest reverence for our Lord Jesus, let me say, _it was so
with Him_. He was as truly God as though not man. Yet He lived His
life,--He insisted on living His life, on the human level.[3] He was as
truly human as though not peculiarly divine. He had the enormous advantage
of a virgin birth, a divine fatherhood with a human motherhood. And, be it
said with utmost reverence, He needed that advantage for the terrific
conflict and the tremendous task of His life, such as no other has known.
But His character as a man--the thing we are to look at now--was a result
of choice, and choice insisted upon against terrible odds.

This gives new meaning to His "Follow Me." He went the same sort of road
that we must go. He insisted on treading _our_ road. It was not one made
easier for His specially prepared feet. It was the common earth road every
man must go, who will. And so the way He went we can go if we will, every
step of it. By His help working through our wills, we _can_, and, please
God, surely we will.



The Dependent Life.


There were _three traits in His character upward_, that is in His relation
with His Father. First of all He chose to live _the dependent life_. He
recognized that everything He was, and had, and could do, was received
from the Father, and could be at its true best only as the Father's direct
touch was upon it. This was the atmosphere in which all His human powers
would do their best. He had nothing of Himself, and could do nothing of
Himself. This is the plan the Father has made for human life and
effort.[4] Our Lord Jesus recognized this and lived it. Our common word
for this is humility. Humility is a matter of relationship. It means
keeping one's relationship with the Father clear and dominant. And this in
turn radically affects and controls our relationship with our fellows.

There were three degrees or steps in the dependent life He chose to live.
There was the giving up part, then the accepting for Himself the plan of
human life, and then accepting it even to the extent of yielding to wrong
and shameful treatment, without attempting to assert His rights against
such treatment. These were the three steps in His humility. In Paul's
striking phrase, He "emptied out" of Himself all He had in glory with the
Father before coming to the earth; He decided to come to the human level
and live fully the human life of utter dependence; and He carried this to
the extent of being wholly dependent on the Father for righting the wrongs
done Him.[5]

This is God's plan for the human life. It is to be a dependent life. It
actually is a dependent life, utterly dependent upon Him. It is to be
lived so. Then only is the fragrance of it gotten. It is part of the
dependent life--the true human life--that we depend on the Father for
vindication when wronged, as for everything else.[6]

Our Lord Jesus chose to live this life. There was an entire absence of the
self-spirit, that is the self-assertive, the self-confident spirit. There
was a remarkable confidence in action, but it was confidence in His
Father's unfailing response to His requests or needs. This sense of utter
dependence was natural to Him; as indeed it is natural to man unhurt by
sin. And then He carefully cultivated it. As He came in contact with the
very opposite all around Him, He set Himself--indeed He had to set
Himself--to keeping this sense of dependence untainted, unhurt by His
surroundings.

Now there were three things which naturally grew out of this dependent
life, or which naturally are part of it. One was, the sense of His Father,
and of His Father's presence. In a perfectly simple natural way, He was
always conscious of His Father's presence. Is this the meaning--one
meaning--of "blessed are the pure in heart for they shall _see God_"? And
then He doubtless set Himself to cultivate this, as an offset to what He
found around Him. He would quietly look up and speak to the Father in the
midst of a crowd.[7] This was the natural thing to do. He was more
conscious of the Father's presence than of the crowd pressing in to get
near. When He was speaking to the crowd He knew the Father too was
listening. He felt the Father watching as He helped the people. This was
the natural thing with Him, the presence of the Father.

With this there went a second thing, the habit of getting alone to talk
things over with the Father. The common word for this is prayer. Without
doubt His whole outer life grew out of His inner secret talking things out
with the Father. Everything was passed in review here, first of all. This
naturally grew out of the consciousness of His Father's presence, and this
in turn increased that consciousness. So He was in the habit of looking at
everything through His Father's eyes.

And with these two, there was plainly a third thing, a settled sense of
the power, the authority, of God's written Word. It was not simply that He
did not question it, but there was a deep-rooted sense grown down into
His very being that God was speaking in the Book, and that this revelation
of Himself and His will was _the thing_ to govern absolutely one's life.
This points back to a study of the Book. Doubtless that Nazareth shop was
a study shop too. He quoted readily and freely from all portions of the
Old Testament Bible. He seemed saturated with both its language and its
spirit. The basis of such familiarity would be long, painstaking,
prayerful study.

These three things naturally grew out of the dependent life He had
deliberately chosen to live and were a part of it. They were necessary to
it. These are the lungs and the heart of the dependent life.

Now His "Follow Me" does not mean merely that we try to imitate Him in all
this. We will naturally long to do so. And He is the example we will ever
be eager to follow. But the meaning goes deeper than this. It means that
as we really come close up in the road behind Him this will come to be the
natural atmosphere of our lives. We let _Him_ in, and His presence within,
yielded to and cultivated and obeyed, will work this sort of thing out in
our lives. We will come to recognize, and then to feel deep down in our
spirit, how dependent we are upon Him in everything. We will gradually
come to realize intensely that the dependent life is the true natural
life. It is God's plan. It reveals wondrously His love. It draws out
wondrously our love, and radically changes the whole spirit of the life.



Poor--Except in Spirit.


Now of course all this is in sharpest contrast to the common spirit of
life as men live, then and now. The spirit that dominates human life
everywhere is a spirit of independence. And this seems intensified in our
day to a terrific degree. There is, of course, a good independence in our
dealings with our fellows. But this is carried to the extreme of
independence of every one, even--say it softly--of God Himself.
Criticising God, ignoring Him, leaving Him severely out so far as we are
concerned,--this has become the commonplace. If for a moment He ignored
us, how quickly things would go to pieces! This has come to be the
dominant spirit of the whole race to a degree more marked than ever
before, if that be possible.

It seems to come into life early. I have seen a little tot, whom I could
with no inconvenience have tucked under my arm, walking down the road,
head up in the air, breathing out an aggressive self-confidence, and
defiance of all around, worthy of one of the old-time kings. And I
recognized that he had simply absorbed the atmosphere in which his four
brief years had been lived.

This has come to be the inbred spirit of mankind. Everywhere this proud,
self-assertive, self-sufficient, self-confident, self-aggressive spirit is
found, in varying degree. It is coupled sometimes with laughable
ignorance; sometimes with real learning and wisdom and culture. It is
emphasized sometimes the more by school training, and other such
advantages. But through all these accidental things it remains,--the
dominant human characteristic. The chief letter in man's alphabet is the
one next after h, spelled and written with a large capital. The yellow
fever--the fever for gold--so increasingly epidemic, is at heart a bit of
the same thing. The money gives power, and power gives a certain
independence of others, and then a certain compelling of others to be
dependent on the one who has the money and wields the power. Men
everywhere say just exactly what they are specially warned against saying,
"_my_ power and the might of _my_ hand hath gotten me this wealth." They
forget the words following this in the old Book of God. "But thou shalt
remember the Lord thy God, for it is _He_ that giveth thee power to get
wealth."[8]

This seems to be the picture that underlies that phrase, "poor in spirit,"
which the Master declared to be so blessed.[9] He is trying to woo men
away from the thing that is dominating those all around Him. I have
puzzled a good bit over the phrase to find out just what was in the
Master's mind. Emphasizing the word "spirit" seems to bring out the
meaning. The blessedness is not in being poor, but in a certain spirit
that may control a man. We are all poor in everything except spirit.

The last degree of poverty is to be a pauper. Now, the simple truth is
that we are all--every last man of us--paupers in everything. We haven't a
thing we haven't got from some one else. We are beneficiaries to the last
degree, dependent on the bounty of Another. We are paupers in life itself.
Our life came to us in the first instance from the creative Hand, through
the action of others, and it is being sustained every moment by the same
Hand. We had nothing to do with its coming, and, while we influence our
life by living in accord with certain physical laws, still the life itself
is all the time being supplied to us directly by the same unseen Hand.

We are paupers in ability, in virtue, in character, in fact in everything.
We own nothing; we only hold it in trust. We have nothing except what some
One else is supplying. What we call our ability, our genius, and so on,
comes by the creative breath breathing afresh upon and through what the
patient creative Hand has supplied and is sustaining. We are paupers,
without a rag to our bones, or a copper in the pocket we haven't got, not
having a rag to our bones; paupers in everything except----.

There is an exception. It is both pitiable and laughable. We are
enormously rich in _spirit_, in our imagination, in our thought of
ourselves. Blessed are they who are as poor in spirit as they actually are
in everything else. They recognize that they are wholly dependent on some
One else, and so they live the dependent life, with its blessed closeness
of touch with the gracious Provider. In certain institutions are placed
those who imagine themselves to be in high social and official rank, and
in possessions what they are not, who imagine it to such a degree that it
is best that they be kept apart from others. It would seem like an extreme
thing to say that these people are spirit-mirrors in which we may partly
see ourselves. Yet it would be saying the truth. How laughable, if it were
not so overwhelmingly pitiful, must men look to God,--without a stitch to
their backs except what He has given, without a copper in their pockets
except what has been borrowed from His bank, yet strutting up and down the
street of life, heads held high in air, as though they owned the universe,
and--if it did not sound blasphemous I could add the rest of the fact--and
were doing Him a favour by running His world so skilfully! And it grieves
one to the heart to note that this seems to be about as true within Church
circles as without. The difference between is ever growing smaller to the
disappearing point.

It was into such an atmosphere, never intenser than in Palestine and
Jerusalem nineteen centuries ago, that the man Christ Jesus came. And He
had the moral daring to begin living a dependent life, the true human
life, looking up gratefully to the Father's hand for everything. Was it
any wonder His presence caused such a disturbance in the moral atmosphere
of the world! He insisted, with the strange insistence of gentleness, on
living such a life, through all the extremes that the hating world-spirit
could contrive against Him. Out of such a life comes His "Follow Me." And
in this He is simply calling us back to the original human life as planned
by God.

Now, of course, in that first step, that great "emptying out" step, there
can be no following. There He is the Lone Man, unapproachable in the moral
splendour of His solitude. But from the time when He came in amongst us as
Jesus, our Brother, the typical Son of man, He was marking out afresh the
original road for our feet. This was the foundation trait in His
character. He lived the dependent life.



A Father-pleasing Life.


The second trait in His upward relation was this--He chose to live _a
Father-pleasing life_. I use those words because He used them.[10] I might
say "consecrated" or "dedicated" or "surrendered" or other like words. And
these are good words, but in common use we have largely lost their
meaning. They are used unthinkingly for something less--much less--than
they mean. Perhaps if we use the phrase He used we may be able to get back
to the thing He meant, and did.

There are three possible lives open to every man's choice: a bad life, in
which selfishness or passion or both, either refined or coarse, rule; a
good, true, natural life; and a Father-pleasing life. By a good, true,
natural life I mean, just now, a really Christian life in all that that
means, but lived as if there were no emergency in the world to change
one's habit of life.

You know an emergency coming into a man's life makes radical changes. You
go to bed tonight and ordinarily will sleep out your eight hours in
comfort and quiet. If a fire break out in the house, you are up in the
middle of the night, hurrying around, only partly clad, carrying out
valuables, or helping turn on water, or something of this sort. Your
natural arrangements for the night are all broken up by the fire. An
emergency may make radical changes in one's life for a little time,
sometimes for the whole life. Financial reverses may change the whole
habit of one's life.

Here's a man who has a well-assured, good-sized income from his business,
or his inheritance, or both. He lives in a luxuriously appointed home,
with many fine pictures and works of art and curios which it is enjoyable
to have. He has a choice library including some fine costly old prints and
editions, and enjoys adding rare books on subjects in which he is
specially interested. He belongs to some literary and social and athletic
clubs. He has an interesting family growing up around him whose education
is being carefully looked after. He is an earnest Bible-loving Christian,
faithful in church attendance and church duties, pure in life, and saintly
in character. He gives liberally to church and benevolent objects,
including foreign missions, which have become a part of the church system
into which he fits. And he goes an even, contented round of life, home,
church, club, recreation and so on, year in and out, holding and using the
great bulk of his money for himself. I think of that as one illustration
of the good, true, natural life.

Now, the Father-pleasing life is radically different in certain things.
Ordinarily the two would be identical. The true natural life as originally
planned for us would be the life pleasing to the Father. But something,
not a part of God's plan, has broken into life, a terrible something,
worse than a fire in the night, or a financial panic that sweeps away your
all. Sin has wrought fearful havoc; it has made an awful emergency, and
this emergency has affected the life and character of all the race, in a
bad way, terribly, awfully, beyond words to tell, or imagination to
depict. The whole earth is in the grip of a desperate moral emergency.

And naturally enough this emergency affects the life of any one concerned
with this earth. It has affected God's life, and God's plans,
tremendously. It has broken His heart with grief, and radically changed
His plans for His own life. He has made a plan for winning His world away
from its rebellion, its sin, back again to purity and close touch with
Himself. That plan centred around His Son, and He spared not His own Son,
but gave Him up.

And that emergency, and that plan of the Father's because of the
emergency, have affected our Lord Jesus' life on the earth. The whole plan
of His human life was radically revolutionized by it. The emergency, the
Father's plan, gripped Him. He turned away from the true, good, natural
life which it would have been proper for Him as a man to have lived, and
He lived another sort of life. It was an emergency life, a life fitted to
His Father's plan, and so the Father-pleasing life.

He became a homeless man, with all that that means. Would any man have
enjoyed home-life with all the rare home-joys, the sweetest of all natural
joys, so much as He? And then the larger circle of congenial friends, the
enjoyment of music, of exquisite art, the reverent study of the great
questions of life, of the wonders of nature whose powers it was given man
to study and cultivate and develop,[11]--it is surely no irreverence to
think of Him both enjoying and gracing such a life, for such was the
original plan of human life as thought out by a gracious Creator.

Instead, He had not where to lay His head, though so wearied with
ceaseless toil. He fairly burned His life out those few years, early and
late, ministering to the emergency-stricken crowds, healing their sick,
feeding their hunger, raising their dead, comforting broken hearts,
winning back sin-stained men and women, teaching the ignorant neglected
multitudes, preaching the Father's yearning love, searching out the
straying, ceaselessly travelling up and down, without leisure enough to
sleep or to eat oftentimes, and all this despite the efforts of His
kinsfolk to restrain His burning intensity.

This is what I mean by a Father-pleasing life. It was truly the
consecrated life, consecrated to His Father's emergency plan for His
world. It was the surrendered life, wholly given up to the one passionate
plan of His Father's broken heart for His earth family.

Now, His "Follow Me" does not mean imitation. It does not mean a restless,
aggressive hurrying here and there in meetings and Christian service. It
means that there will be a getting so close that the sweet fever of His
heart shall be caught by ours. The world-vision of His eyes shall flood
ours. The passion of the Father's heart shall become the passion of our
hearts. And we shall be controlled in all our lives, our holdings, our
habits, _by what He tells us_. It does not mean that we will seek to be
homeless as Jesus was, though it may possibly turn out to mean for some of
us that we shall be homeless even as He.

But it means that we shall find out _the Father's plan for our lives_.
And when it has become clear, we will set to music pitched in the joyous
major our Lord's own words, "I do always the things that are pleasing to
Him." And then we will set our lives to that joyous music with its rare
undertone of the exquisite minor. It may mean Africa for you, or China for
this other one. It may mean a plainer home at home, a simpler wardrobe, a
more careful use of money. It may mean a new dominant note in your
preaching, and all the personal influence of your life. It may possibly
mean what will seem like yet more radical changes. It certainly will mean
a deepening peace within, a closer touch of fellowship with the Lord
Jesus, a wholly new conception of the meaning of prayer, and a radically
new experience of the power of God in our own bodies and lives, and in our
touch with others. It will mean that the music of His will and ours
swinging rhythmically together in all things shall sweep our lives even as
the strong wind the young saplings.

This was the second trait in our Lord Jesus' character upward, He lived
the Father-pleasing life. To some it will seem like a further step--a
fourth step--downward in His humility. And it was. The way up is down. The
down slant is the beginning of the hilltop road. Going down is the way up;
downward in the crowd's estimation; upward into closer touch of
sympathetic life with God, and in reaching the true ideal of life.



The Obedient Life.


The third trait of our Lord Jesus' character upward, in relation with His
Father, was that He lived _the obedient life_. This is really emphasizing
what has just been said. But it is putting the emphasis on the daily habit
of His life, rather than on the underneath motive. This was the daily
spelling out of the first two traits. Obedience became the touchstone by
which everything was tested.

The touchstone was not men's needs, deeply as that took hold of His heart,
and shaped so much His life. It was not the thought of service, though
never was a life so filled with eager glad service. The touchstone was not
natural liking or choice, the proper instinctive reach out of His true
human nature, though this would be strong in Him, the typical Son of Man.
This would not be repressed as an unholy or wrong thing. It would only be
given second place, or left out, as it might run across the grain of the
great life-passion. With a fresh touch of awe it may truly be said: He did
not come down to earth primarily to die, though He knew beforehand that
this would stand out as the great one thing. The death was an item in the
obedience. He came down to do His Father's will. The path of obedience led
straight to the hill of the cross, and He trod that path regardless of
where it led. Obedience was the one touchstone of His life.[12] And it
will be the one touchstone of His true follower's life. We shall run
across this same vein of bright yellow gold, again and again, as we work
on through this "Follow Me" mine. These were the three traits of our Lord
Jesus' character upward, toward His Father. They were not different
because of the emergency of sin He found in the world. They would have
marked His life just as fully had there been no sin. But the presence of
sin caused them to change radically the whole course of the life He
actually lived.



Sinless by Choice.


Then there were _two traits of character inward_, in Himself. One was His
_purity_. There was the absence of everything that should not be in Him.
This is the negative side, though no part of His character called for more
intense positiveness. Purity means sinlessness. He was sinless. But we
must quickly remember what this means, or else there may seem to be no
following for us, only a wistful gazing where we cannot go. It does not
mean simply this, that through His peculiar birthright there was freedom
from all taint of sin.

It means more than this. Sinlessness was a matter of choice with Him, and
of choice insisted upon. And, be it said reverently, no man ever had a
stiffer fight to keep true to his purpose than He. He was tempted in all
points like as we are. He was tempted more than we. The tempter did his
best and worst; he mustered all his cunning and driving power against this
Lone Man. And the temptations were real. I am not concerned over the
merely academical questions of the schoolmen here. The practical side is
the intense side that takes all one's strength and thought. Practically,
that our Lord Jesus was really tempted, means that He could have yielded
had He so chosen. That He did not meant real struggle on His part. Not, of
course, that He ever wanted to yield to what was wrong, but temptation was
never so subtle, and doing the right never made so difficult as for Him.
He suffered in being tempted.[13] His sinlessness meant a decision, then
many a time a moist brow, a clenched hand, and set jaw, a sore stress of
spirit, and deep-breathed continual prayer whose intensity down in His
heart could never be fully expressed at the lips. The temptation to fail
to obey, simply not to obey, when obeying meant going through a sore
experience was never brought so deftly, so subtly, so repeatedly and
insistently to any as to Him. Resisting not only meant the decision, but
the strength of resistance against terrific strength of repeated
insistence.

How wondrously human this God-man was in His temptations, in His set
refusals, and even more, how human in keeping free from sin. For sin is
not human, letting sin in would have been a going down from the human
level. This is the practical meaning of His sinlessness--choice, choice
insisted upon, fighting, continual prayer, the Father's help, such as any
man may have--not more.

This helps us to see how intensely practical His "Follow Me" becomes. It
is not only that we will want to fight against the incoming of sin because
we feel we ought to. But as we get close to Him and breathe in His spirit,
there will come an inbred dislike, an intense inner loathing of sin,
however refined it may be in its approach. There will be a continual
coming for cleansing in the only fluid that can remove sin--His precious
blood, and in the only flame that can burn it out--the fire of the Holy
Spirit.[14] There will be a hardening of the set purpose to be free of
sin. We can be sinless in _purpose_. There can be a growing sinlessness in
actual life. And yet all experience goes to show that the nearer we
actually walk with God the more we shall be conscious of the need of
cleansing, the more we will talk about our Lord Jesus, and the less and
still less about our attainments.

The second inward trait in our Lord Jesus was the other side of this--His
positive _goodness_. I mean the presence in Him of all that should be
there. This is the exact reverse or complement of the purity. It is the
other half that must go with that to make a perfect character. I like to
use the word "holiness" in the sense of whole-ness. He had and developed a
whole life. It was fully rounded out. There was nothing lacking that
should be there, even as there was nothing present that should not have
been there.

There is among us a good bit of negative goodness of character. We point
with pride to what we don't do of that which is bad or not good. But this
is a very one-sided sort of thing. Purity and goodness together--purity
and holiness, wholeness--made the perfect, completed character of our
Lord. And it was so wholly through His choice, His own action, with His
Father's gracious help working through His choice. And the blessed
contagion of the Leader's presence will make an intense longing within to
follow Him here too.



A Fellow-Feeling.


Then there were _two outward traits of character_, that is in His
relations with His fellow-men, of Nazareth, of Israel, and of all the
race. He had _sympathy_ with men; a rare, altogether exceptional sympathy.
_He felt with men_ in all their feelings and needs and circumstances. His
fine spirit reached into men's inner spirit, and felt their hunger and
pain and longings and joys, felt them even as they did, and the arms of
His spirit went around them to help. And they felt it. They felt that He
really understood and felt with them. And so sincere and brotherly was His
fellow-feeling that they gladly welcomed it as from one really of
themselves. To men, this Man, so lone in certain traits and experiences,
was their brother, not only in His feeling with them, but in their feeling
toward Him.

There's something peculiar in that word sympathy. It's a warm word. It has
a soft cushion to it. It is a help word. There's something in it that
makes you think of a warm strong hand helping, of a soft padding
cushioning the sharp edges where they touch your flesh. It makes you think
of a tender, fine spirit breathing in and through your own spirit, even as
the soft south wind in the spring warms you, and the bracing mountain wind
in the summer brings you new life.

Our Lord Jesus had this great trait of sympathy with His fellows. He
_could_ have it, for He had been through all their experiences. He knew
the commonplace round of daily life so common to all the race. Nazareth
taught Him that, through thirty of His thirty-three years,--ten-elevenths
of His life. He knew temptation, cunning, subtle, stormy, persistent. He
knew the inner longings of a nature awakening, and yet what it meant to be
held down by outer circumstances. He knew the sharp test of waiting, long
waiting. He knew hunger and bodily weariness, and the pinch of scanty
funds. He was homeless at a time when a home would have been most
grateful. He knew what it meant to have the life-plan broken, and
something else, a bitter something else thrust in its place.

And he knew, too, the sweets of human life, of human love, of the
helpfulness of others' sympathy, of the Father's pleased smile, of the
Holy Spirit's indwelling, of the wondrous inner peace that follows
obedience in hard places, of the joys of service, of the delight of being
able to sympathize. His experience ran through the whole diapason of human
feelings, and so He can find a key-note in every one of its tones for the
sweet rich symphony of sympathy.

There is again an exception to be noted here. There could be no
fellow-feeling in choosing wrong, or in yielding to the low or base or
selfish. He is the Lone Man there. Does this make all the stronger His
sympathy with us in our upper reach out of such things? Surely it does.
The exception makes it stand out more sharply that our Lord Jesus felt our
feelings. Wherever you are, however tight the corner, or narrow the road,
or lonely the way, or keen the suffering, you can always stop and say: "He
was here. He was here _first_, and _most_. He understands." As you kneel
and look up, you can remember that there's a Man on the throne, a
fellow-man, with a human heart like mine, and like yours. He understands.
He feels. With utmost reverence let it be said, there's more of God since
our Lord Jesus went back. Human experience has been taken up into the
person of God.

And let me remind you again, that the "Follow Me" here will mean nothing
less than fellowship in the sufferings of our fellows, fellowship to the
point of radically affecting our lives. Sympathy will go deeper than a
sense of pity for those less fortunate, and a giving to them a warm hand
and a good lift up. The poor woman, living in a slum district, being
visited by a mission visitor, spoke for the universal human heart when she
said earnestly, "We don't want _things_; we want _love_." As we get up
close to our Lord Jesus there will come the indwelling in us of the spirit
that controlled Him. We will see through His eyes, we will feel with His
heart, our hands will reach out to grasp other human hands with the
impulse of His touch upon them. We shall know the exquisite pain of real
sympathy with men in need, and the great joy of sharing and making lighter
their load.



When You Don't Have To.


The second outward trait of our Lord Jesus' character was _sacrifice_.
This is not something different from what has been said; it is only going
a step further, indeed going the last step that He could go, in both His
sympathy with men and His obedience to His Father. It helps to remember
what sacrifice means; not suffering merely, though it includes suffering;
not privation simply, though it may include this, too. There is much
suffering and privation where there is no sacrifice. Sacrifice means doing
something to help some one else when it takes some of your life-blood, and
when you don't have to, except the have-to of love.

Sacrifice was so woven into the very fabric of Jesus' life that wherever
you cut in some of the red threads stick out. It was the never-absent
undertone of His life, from earliest years until the tragic close. But the
undertone rose higher and grew stronger until at the last it became the
dominant, the only tone to be heard. He gave His life out on the cross
that so men might be saved from the terrible result of their sin, when He
didn't have to, except the have-to of His great heart.

I have spoken of sacrifice as one of the two outward, manward traits of
His character. But the truth is His Calvary sacrifice faced three ways:
upward, inward and outward. It faced toward the Father, for it was
carrying out the Father's plan, and that lets us see not only the Father's
love, but His estimate, as the world's administrator of justice, of the
horribleness of the sin which He was so freely forgiving.[15] It faced in
toward Himself, for it was the purity and perfection of the life poured
out that gave the peculiar meaning to His death, and it was His
sympathetic love that led Him up that steep hill. It faced outward, for
the love of it was meant to break men's hearts and bend their stubborn
wills, and so it did and has.

His sympathy--love suffering--came to have a new meaning as He went to the
last extreme in His suffering. Sympathy is sometimes spoken of as putting
yourself in the other's place so as to help him better. Our Lord Jesus did
this. He did it as none other did, or could. He actually put Himself in
our place on the cross. He experienced what would have come to us had He
not taken our place. He suffered the suffering that belongs to us because
of our sin. He felt the feelings that came through sin working out to its
bitter end. Indeed He went beyond our own feelings here. For because He
consented to suffer as a guilty sinner, we, who trust His precious blood,
are spared that awful experience.

Calvary was sympathy to the extreme of sacrifice. But both words,
"sympathy" and "sacrifice," get new depths of meaning at Calvary. This red
shuttle thread of sacrifice will appear again and again in the fabric
which His "Follow Me" weaves out for us. What a character He calls us to!
What strength of friendship to insist on our coming up close to Himself!
Is it possible? Surely not. He is so far beyond us. Yet there is a way,
only one, the way of the dependent life, depending on Him to reproduce His
own likeness in us. And our giving Him a free hand in doing it.

There is one word that could be used to cover all of this, if we only
knew its full, rich, sweet meaning. That is the little understood, the
much misunderstood, much belittled-in-use word, "love." All that has been
said of the character of our Lord Jesus can be found inside that
four-lettered word. Each trait spoken of is but a fresh spelling of love,
some one side of it. Love planned the dependent life, and only love can
live it truly. Love longs to please love, regardless of any sacrifice
involved. Obedience is the active rhythm of love on the street of life.
Purity is the inner heart of love; and the fully rounded character is the
maturity of love. Sympathy is the heart of love beating in perfect rhythm
with your own, and sacrifice is love giving its very life gladly out to
save yours. Some day we shall know how much is meant by the sentence, "God
is love."

A little child of a Christian home came one day to his mother, asking what
it meant to "believe on the Lord Jesus." She thought a moment how to make
the answer simple to the child, and then said, "It means thinking about
Him, and loving Him." Sometime after, the little fellow was noticed
sitting very quietly, apparently much absorbed in thought, and his mother
said, "What are you doing, my son?" With child-like simplicity he said in
a quiet tone, "I'm believing on the Lord Jesus." And a warm flush of
feeling came to the mother's heart as she realized the practical tender
meaning to her son, of the word "believing."

May we be great enough to be as little children while I adapt that
mother's language here: Following our Lord Jesus is thinking about Him and
loving Him. As we come to know the meaning of love we shall find that
following is loving. The "Follow Me" life is the love life. But we must
learn the meaning of love before that sentence will grip us.

The closer we follow Him the closer we will come to knowing what love is.
The nearer we get to Him the nearer we get to its meaning. We will know it
as we know Him. When we come into His presence, face to face, its simple
full meaning will flash upon us with a great simple surprise.

Let us follow on to know it, that we may know Him. Let us live it and so
we shall live Him. And in so living we shall know it and Him; we shall
know love, and Jesus, and God.



The Long, Rough Road He Trod



The Book's Story.


It wasn't always a rough road, of course. But as you look at it from end
to end, the roughness of it is what takes your eye most, and takes great
hold of your heart. The smooth places here and there make you feel that it
was a rough road. And yet, rough though it really was, the roughness was
eased by the love in the heart of the Man that trod it; though not eased
for the soles of His feet, nor for hands and face. For there was thorny
roughness at the sides as He pushed through, as well as steep roughness
under foot.

And it may not seem so long at first. But the longer you look, the sharper
your eyes get to see how great was the distance He had to come, from where
He was, down to where we were.

Let me take a little sea room, and go back a bit so we can see the full
length, and the real roughness, of the road He came. And lest some of you
may think that the telling of the first part of it has the sound of a
fairy tale, let me tell you that it is simply the story of what actually
took place, as told in the pages of this old Book of God. It will be a
help if you will keep your copy of the Bible at hand, and turn
thoughtfully to its pages now and then as we talk.

There is a rare simplicity in the way in which the story of the Bible is
told. And it helps to remember that the Bible is never concerned with
chronology, nor with scientific process but only with giving pictures of
moral or spiritual conditions among men as seen from above. And chiefly it
is concerned with giving a picture of God, in His power and patience and
gentleness, and in His great justice and right in dealing with everybody.
Yet the picture and the language never clash with the facts of nature and
of life as dug out by student or scientist.

It is a great help in talking about these things of God, and of human
life, not to have any theories to fit and press things into, but simply to
take the Book's story, and to tell it over again in the language of our
generation. It simplifies things quite a bit not to try to fit God into
your philosophy, but to accept His own story of life. It not only greatly
simplifies one's outlook, it gives you such sure footing, such steadiness.
Any other footing may go out from under your feet any time. But the old
Book of God "standeth sure," never more sure than to-day when it was never
more riddled at, and mined under. But neither bullets nor mining have
affected the Book itself. The only harm has been in the kick-back of the
firing, upon those standing close by.

I am frank to confess my own ignorance of the great truths we are talking
over here, save for the Bible itself, and the response to it within my own
spirit, and the further response to it in human life all over the earth
to-day West and East. Human life is a faithful mirror, accurately
reflecting to-day just the conditions found in this old Book. No book so
faithfully and accurately describes the workings and feelings of the human
mind and heart of to-day in our western world, and in all the world, as
this Book, written so long ago in the language of the East. Its finger
still gives accurately the pulse beat of the race. And it helps, too, to
tell the story in the simple way in which this Book itself does, as a
story.



God on a Wooing Errand.


God and man used to live together in a garden. It was a most wonderful
garden, full of trees and flowers and fruit, of singing birds with rare
feathers and songs, of beasts that had never yet learned fear, nor to make
others feel it, and a beautiful river of living water. The name given it
indicates that it was a most delightful spot.[16] God and man used to live
together in this garden. They talked and walked and worked together. Man
helped God in putting the finishing touches on His work of creation. It
was the first school, with God Himself as teacher.[17] God and man used to
have a trysting time under the trees in the twilight. But one evening when
God came for the usual bit of fellowship the man was not there. God was
there.[18] He had not gone away, and He has never gone away. Man had gone
away, and God was left lonely standing under the tree of life.

A friend, in whose home we were, told of her little daughter's remark one
day. The mother had been teaching her that there is only one God. The
child seemed surprised and on being told again, said in her childlike
simplicity, "I think He must be very lonesome." Well, the child was right
in the word used. God is lonesome, though for an utterly different reason
than was in the child's mind. God was lonesome that day, left standing
alone under the trees of the garden. He is lonesome for fellowship with
every one who stays away from Himself. That homely human word may well
express to us the longing of His heart.

Man went away from God that day, then he wandered farther away, then he
lost his way back, then he didn't want to come back. And away from God his
ideas about God got badly confused. His eyes grew blind to God's pleading
face, his ears dull and then deaf to God's voice. His will got badly
warped and bent out of shape morally, and his life sadly hurt by the sin
he had let in.[19]

And all this was very hard on God.[20] It _grieved_ Him at His heart. He
sent many messengers, one after another, through long years, but they were
treated as badly as they could be.[21] And at last God said to Himself,
"What more can I do? This is what I will do. I'll go down Myself and live
among them, and woo them back Myself." And so it was done. One day He
wrapped about Himself the garb of our humanity, and came in amongst us as
one of ourselves.[22] And He became known amongst us as Jesus. He had
spoken the world into being; now, in John's simple homely language, He
pitched His tent amongst our tents as our near neighbour and kinsman.[23]
Our Lord Jesus was the face of God looking into ours, the voice of God
speaking into the ears of our hearts, the hand of God reached down to make
a way back and then lead us along the way back again, the heart of God
coming in touch to warm ours and make us willing to go back.

It was a long road He came, as long as the distance we had gone away from
Him. And no measuring stick has yet been whittled out that can tell that
distance. We want to look a bit at the last lap of the road, the
earth-lap. It runs from the Bethlehem plain where He came in, to the
Olivet hilltop where He slipped away again up and back, for a time, until
things are ready for the next step in His plan.



The Rough Places.


The bit of earth-road began to get pretty rough before He had quite gotten
here. The pure gentle virgin-mother was under cruelly hurting suspicion on
the point about which a woman is properly most sensitive, and that too by
the one who was nearest to her. I've wondered why Joseph, too, was not
told of the plan of God when Mary was, and so she be spared this sore
suspicion. I think it was because he simply _could_ not have taken it in
beforehand, though he rose so nobly when he was told. Her experience was
unavoidable, humanly speaking.

That hastily improvised cradle was in rather a rough spot for both mother
and babe. The hasty fleeing for several days and nights to Egypt, with
those heart-rending cries of the grief-stricken mothers of Bethlehem
haunting their ears, the cautious return, and then apparently the change
of plans from a home in historic Bethlehem to the much less favoured
village of Nazareth,--it was all a pretty rough beginning on a very rough
road. It was a sort of prophetic beginning. There proved to be
blood-shedding at both ends, and each time innocent blood, too.

The word Nazareth has become a high fence hiding from view thirty of the
thirty-three years. Was this the dead-level, monotonous stretch of the
road, from the time of the early teens on to the full maturity of thirty?
Yet it proved later to have a dangerously rough place on the precipice
side of the town. It seems rather clear that Joseph and Mary would have
much preferred some other place, their own family town, cultured
Bethlehem, for rearing this child committed to their care. But the serious
danger involved decided the choice of the less desirable town for their
home.[24]

But the roughest part began when our Lord Jesus turned His feet from the
shaded seclusion of Nazareth, and turned into the open road. At once came
the Wilderness, the place of terrific temptation, and of intense spirit
conflict. The fact of temptation was intensified by the length of it.
Forty long days the lone struggle lasted. The time test is the hardest
test. The greatest strength is the strength that wears, doesn't wear out.
That Wilderness had stood for sin's worst scar on the earth's surface.
Since then it has stood for the most terrific and lengthened-out
siege-attack by the Evil One upon a human being. Satan himself came and
rallied all the power of cunning and persistence at his command. He did
his damnable worst and best.

In an art gallery at Moscow is a painting by a Russian artist of "Christ
in the Wilderness," which reverently and with simple dramatic power brings
to you the intense humanity of our Lord, and how tremendously real to Him
the temptation was. This helps to intensify to us the meaning of the
Wilderness. It stands for victory, by a man, in the power of the Spirit,
over the worst temptation that can come.

Then follows a long stretch of rough road with certain places sharply
marked out to our eyes. The rejection by the Jewish leaders began at once.
It ran through three stages, the silent contemptuous rejection, the active
aggressive rejection, then the hardened, murderous rejection running up to
the terrible climax of the cross.

The contemptuous rejection of the Baptist's claim for his Master, by the
official commission sent down to inquire,[25] was followed by the more
aggressive, as they began to realize the power of this man they had to
deal with. John's imprisonment revealed an intensifying danger, and the
need of withdrawing to some less dangerous place.

Our Lord's change to Galilee, and to preaching and working among the
masses, was followed by a persistent campaign on the part of the
Southerners of nagging, harrying warfare against Him throughout Galilee.
It grew in bitterness and intensity, with John's death as a further
turning point to yet intenser bitterness. The visits to Jerusalem were
accompanied by fiercer attacks, venomous discussions, and frenzied
attempts at personal violence. This grew into the third stage of
rejection, the cool, hardened plotting of His death. The last weeks
things head up at a tremendous rate; our Lord appears to be the one calm,
steady man, even in His terrific denunciation of them, held even and
steady in the grip of a clear, strong purpose, as He pushed His way
unwaveringly onward. Then came the terrible climax,--the cross. The worst
venomous spittle of the serpent's poison sac spat out there. It was the
climax of hate, and the climax of His unspeakable love.



When Your Heart's Tuned to the Music.


Surely it was a long, rough road. Its length was not measured by miles,
nor years, but by the experiences of this Lone Man. So measured it becomes
the longest road ever trod, from purity's heights to sin's depths; from
love's mountain top to hate's deepest gulf. It makes a new record for
roughness. For no one has ever suffered what our Lord Jesus did; and no
one's suffering ever had the value and meaning for another that His had
and has for all men and for us. Not one of us to-day realizes how He
suffered, nor the intensity of meaning that suffering actually has for all
the race, and for those of us who accept it for ourselves.

It was a rough, long road, and He knew ahead that it would be. He saw
dimly ahead, then more sharply outlined as He drew on, those crossed logs
in the road, growing bigger and darker and more forbidding as He pushed
on. But He could not be stopped by that, for He was thinking about us,
and about His Father. He pushed steadily on, past crossed logs all
overgrown and tangled with thorn bushes and poison ivy vines, bearing the
marks of logs and thorns and poison ivy, but He went through to the end of
the road, He reached His world; He reached _our hearts_. And now He is
longing to reach through our hearts to the hearts of the others.

    "But none of the ransomed ever knew
        How deep were the waters crossed;
    Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through,
        'Ere He found His sheep that were lost.

    'Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way
        That mark out the mountain's track?'
    'They were shed for one who had gone astray
        Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.'

    But all through the mountains, thunder-riven,
        And up from the rocky steep,
    There arose a glad cry to the gate of heaven,
        'Rejoice! I have found my sheep.'"[26]

But there was something more on that road. Do you know how the wind blows
through the trees on the steep mountain side, and will make music in your
heart, _if your heart is tuned to its music_, even while you are pushing
your way through thorny tanglewood and undergrowth? Do you know how, as
you go down the deep mountain ravines, with the wild rushing torrent far
below, where a single misstep would mean so much, how the breeze playing
through the leaves makes sweetest melody, _if your heart's tuned to it?_

Well, this great Lone Man had a heart tuned for the music of this road.
The strong wind of His Father's love blew down through the wild mountains
into His face, and made sweetest music, and His ear was in tune and heard
it. He had a tuning-fork that gave Him the true pitch for the rarest
music, while His feet travelled cautiously the deep wilderness ravines,
and boldly climbed through the thorny undergrowth of that steep hill just
outside the city wall. Obedience is the rhythm of two wills, that blends
their action into rarest harmony. Some of us need to use His
tuning-fork,[27] so as to enjoy the music of the road.



The Pleading Call To Follow



Hungry for the Human Touch.


God hungers for the human touch. There's an inner hesitancy in saying
this, and in hearing it. We feel it can hardly be so, even though our
inner hearts would wish it were so.

We know that we men hunger for the human touch, the strongest of us. And
in our hour of sore need we know that our inner hearts look up, and wish
we could have a really close touch with God. Well, this is a bit of the
image of God in us. We were made so, like Himself. In seeing ourselves
here, we are getting a closer look at the heart of God. He longs for the
human touch. When He made us He breathed into our nostrils the breath of
His own life. And this is not simply a bit of the first Genesis chapter.
It is a bit of every human life. There's the breath of God in every new
life born into the world. He gives a bit of Himself. We are not complete
creatively until part of Himself has come to be part of us.

And Jesus' coming was but the same thing put in yet more intense, close,
appealing shape to us. He came to get us in touch again after the break
of sin. He gave His blood that we might have life again after the
sin-break had broken off our life, and commenced to dry it up. This was an
even closer touch. The breath of God came in Eden to breathe in our lungs.
The blood of His Son came on Calvary to give life-action to our hearts.
Could there be anything to make clearer His hunger for the human touch?

The Holy Spirit's presence spells out the same thing once more. There has
been every sort of thing to induce Him to go away. He has been ignored,
left out of all reckoning, and talked against. Yet with a patience beyond
what that word means to us, He has remained creatively in every man as the
very breath of his life. And He comes and remains the very breath of the
spirit life in those who yield to His pleading call.

Jesus was God coming after us. We had gone away. He came to woo us back
into close touch again. He came to the nation of Israel, that through it
He might reach out to all men. When He comes again it will be again to use
Israel as His messenger, while He Himself will be present on the earth in
a new way to woo men to Himself. When that nation's leaders rejected
John's announcement, and so rejected our Lord Jesus, He began to appeal to
individual men, while waiting for the nation. And the work with
individuals was also His call to the nation.

So the chief thing He did was to call men. His presence was a call, and
the crowds flocked to Him wherever He went. His life of purity and
sympathy was felt as an earnest call and responded to eagerly. His doings
were a very intense call. Every healed man and woman, every one set free
of demon influence, every one of the fed multitudes, felt called to this
man who had helped him so. His teaching was a continual call, and His
preaching. But above all else stood out the personal call He gave men. For
our Lord Jesus was not content to deal with the crowds simply; He dealt
with men one by one in intimate heart touch.



Called to Go.


There are a number of invitations He used in calling men. It was as though
in His eagerness He used every sort that might go home. And yet there was
more than this; these invitations are like successive steps up into the
life He wanted them to have. He said, "Come unto Me."[28] This was always
the first, and still remains first. It led, and it leads, into rest of
heart and life, peace with God. He quickly followed it with "Come ye after
Me."[29] They must come to Him before they could come after Him. This was
found to mean discipleship, learning the road. He would "make" them like
Himself in going after others. He said, "take My yoke upon you."[30]This
meant a bending down to get into the yoke, a surrender of will and heart
to Himself, and then partnership, fellowship side-by-side with Himself.

Then He spoke another word to the innermost circle, on the night in which
He was betrayed. He had a long talk that evening with the eleven around
the supper table, and walking down to the grove of olives at the Brook of
the Cedars.[31] Several times that evening He used this new word, "abide,"
"abide in Me." That means staying with Him, not leaving, living
continuously with Him. It means a continued separation from anything that
would separate from Him. And then it means a fulness of life coming from
Himself into us as we draw all our life from Himself, a rich ripeness, a
rounded maturity, a depth of life, and these always becoming
more,--richer, rounder, deeper.

Then after the awful days of the cross were past, on the evening of the
resurrection day, in the upper room with ten of the inner disciples, He
practically said, "You be Myself"; "as the Father sent Me, even so send I
you"[32]; "You be I." I wonder if any one of us has ever been taken or
mistaken for the Lord Jesus. We would never know it, of course. But He
meant it to be so.

A Scottish lady missionary in India tells of a Bible class of girls which
she had. She was teaching them about the life and character of the
Lord Jesus. One day a new girl came in, fresh from the heathenism in
which she grew up, knowing nothing of the Gospel. She listened, and then
became quite intense and excited in her childish way, as she heard them
talking about some One, how good He was, how gentle, how He was always
teaching and helping the people around Him. At last she could restrain her
eagerness no longer, but blurted out, "I know that man; he lives near us."
It was found that she did not know about Christ, but supposed they were
speaking of a very earnest native Christian man living in her
neighbourhood. She had mistaken her neighbour for Jesus. How glad that man
must have been if he ever knew. This was a part of our Lord's plan.

And at the very end, these successive invitations took the shape of a
command, which was both a permission and an order,--"Go ye."[33] Men who
had taken to heart, one after another, these invitations were ready for
the command. They would be eager for it. The invitations were the Master's
preparation for the command. He could trust such men to go, and to keep
steady and true as they went, in the power He gave them. There is one word
that you find in all these invitations--"Me." They all centre about the
Lord Jesus. He is the centre of gravity drawing every one, in ever growing
nearness and meaning, to Himself. It is only when we have been drawn into
closest touch with Him that we are qualified to "go" to others. It's only
Himself in us, only as much of Himself as is in us, that will be helpful
to any one else, or will make any one else willing to break with his old
way. He is the only magnet to draw men away from the old life up to
Himself.



"Follow Me."


But there's one other invitation which belongs in this list. It proves to
be the greatest of them all, because you come to find it includes all
these others. It's His "Follow Me." It seems at first glance to be the
same as that "Come after Me." But it is the word He repeated again and
again, under different circumstances, with added explanations, to the same
men, until you feel that He meant it to stand out as the great invitation
to His disciples. It seems to mean different things at different times.
That is to say, it grew in its significance. It came to mean more than it
had seemed to.

Peter is a good illustration here. The word really came to him five times,
with a different, an added, meaning each time. His first following meant
acquaintance.[34] John the Herald had sent his disciples, John and Andrew,
along after Jesus as He was walking one day on the Jordan river road. They
followed Jesus to their first acquaintance in a two hours' talk, which
quite satisfied their hearts as to who He was. John never forgot that
first following. Every detail of it stands out in his memory when long
years after he began to write his story of the Master. Andrew went at once
to hunt up Peter, and brought him face-to-face with his newly found Friend
and Master. That interview settled things for Peter. Andrew's following
now included his. Following meant the beginning of the personal friendship
which was to mean so much for both of them.

It was about a year after, that "Follow Me" had a new meaning to Peter and
some others.[35] The invitation was an illustrated one this time,
illustrated by a living picture of just what it meant. It was one morning
by the Lake of Galilee. Peter and his partners had had a poor night's
fishing, and were out on shore washing their nets. The Master had come
along, with a great crowd pressing in to get closer and hear better. There
was danger of the crowd pushing the Master into the water. The Master
borrowed Peter's boat for a pulpit. Peter sat facing the crowd while the
Master talked to them.

Was that the first time the spell of a crowd began to get its subtle
heart-hold on Peter as he looked into their hungry eyes? Who can withstand
the great appeal of the crowd's eyes? Not our Lord, nor any that have
caught His spirit. Then the great draught of fishes, after the fishless
night, made Peter feel the Master's power. Fishes would make him feel it,
being a fisherman, as nothing else would. The sense of Jesus' power, and
with it a sense of purity--interesting how the power made him feel the
purity--this brought him to his knees at our Lord's feet with the
confession of his own sinfulness.

Peter was greatly moved that morning, greatly shaken. A new experience of
tremendous power had come to him. And out of it came a new life, a radical
change as he left the old occupation, fishing, boats, father, means of
livelihood, and entered upon the new life. "Follow Me" meant a radical
change of life, constant companionship with Jesus, sharing His life, going
to school, getting ready for leadership and service; yes, and for
suffering too. He entered the Master's itinerant training school that
morning. A man needs a sight of the Lord Jesus' power, a _feel_ of it,
before he is fit to serve, or even to go to school to get ready for
service.

It was some months after this that another meaning grew into the words
"Follow Me," and grew out of them. The words are not spoken this time, but
acted. Out of the group of disciples that He had gathered about Him our
Lord prayerfully chose out Peter with the others to be sent out as His
messenger to others.[36]Part of the schooling was over; now a new part, a
new term of school, was to begin. He gave them a special talk that
morning, and sent them out to teach and heal and do for the crowds what
He had been doing.

He called them Apostles, Sent-ones, Missionaries. "Follow Me" now meant
going to others. It meant more--_power_, power to do for men all the
Master Himself had done. First, power felt that early morning by the lake,
now power given. That was a great advance in training. Power had to be
felt before it could be given, and has to be felt before it can be used.
Only as the power takes hold of our inner hearts to the feeling point,
will it ever take hold of others. And no life is changed through our
service till power takes hold of us to _the feeling point_.



The Deeper Meaning.


But there was a special session of the "Follow Me" school one day, a very
serious session.[37]They had to be shown the red threads in the weave of
the word. The words had to be held under the knife, so they could look
into the cut, and see the deeper meaning. "Follow Me" had to take deeper
hold of them yet, if His power was to get the deeper hold of them, and, by
and by, get hold of the needy crowds. The very setting of the words gives
the new meaning to them. John had felt the keen edge of Herod's axe blade,
and was now in the upper presence. They were up in the far northern part
because of the growing danger threatening Him by the leaders.

It is the turning point where our Lord Jesus begins to tell them that He
was to suffer. Their ears _could_ not take in the words. Their dazed eyes
show that they think they could not have heard aright,--He to _suffer!_
What could this mean? They hadn't figured on this when they left the nets
and boats to follow. There had been a rosy glamour filling impulsive
Peter's self-confident sky. Now this black storm cloud! Then to Peter's
foolhardy daring came words spoken with a new intense quietness that made
the words quiver: "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself
and take up his cross daily and 'Follow Me.'"[38]

This was startling to a terrific degree. Here was a new, strange,
perplexing combination--"deny himself," and "cross," coupled with His
"Follow Me." What could He mean? This was surely some of His intensely
figurative language again, they think. Yes, it surely was; and it stood
for a yet intenser experience. "Follow Me" means sacrifice. It means a
going down as well as a going up. And it proves to mean that one can go up
in power and service, only as far as he has gone down in the obedience
that includes sacrifice. Did Peter take in the meaning that day? I think
not. Actions speak louder than words.

That betrayal night a few short months after, when the actual cross was
almost in actual sight, he "followed Him afar off."[39] Without knowing
it, that was as far as he had ever really followed thus far. He wanted to
keep as "far off" from that cross as possible. He always had. He baulked
at its first mention, baulked tremendously. Yet he "followed." Poor Peter!
he was in a terrible strait betwixt two, this wondrous Master whom he
really loved, and this threatening cross of nails and thongs and thorns.
It was a stiff struggle between heart and flesh; between the longing of
his love and the shrinking from pain and hardship and shame. And Peter's
kinsfolk are still having the same struggle. A great many stop here. This
is going _too_ far! They prefer staying by the easier "Follow Me's," and
forgetting this one. Yes, and go on living powerless lives, and engaging
in powerless service, when the crowds were never so needy.

Peter didn't follow this time. The road was too rough. He stumbled and
fell badly. Badly? Still no worse than many others. When he got up he was
still facing the same way. You can always tell a man's mettle by the way
he faces as he gets up after a bad fall.

Six months or so after there came another "Follow Me," to Peter. No, it
wasn't another; it was the same one, the one he hadn't accepted. Peter was
to have another opportunity at the same place where he fell so badly. How
patient our Lord Jesus was--and is.

It was one morning just after breakfast--a rare breakfast--on the edge of
the lake, after as poor a night's fishing as that other time.[40] Again
the touch of power revealed the Master's presence. Again Peter had a
special word with the Master while the others are hauling in the fish. Now
breakfast's over and the seven are grouped about the One, listening. The
Lord's quiet skilled hand touches the heart meaning of "Follow Me." Its
real meaning is a love meaning. Do you love? Then "Follow Me." Then you
_must_ follow, your love draws you after, even though the path be rough
and broken. This is the same "Follow Me" that Peter baulked at so badly
months before. Its meaning had not changed. It would mean a death, Peter
is plainly told. But now Peter baulks no longer. The Master's great love
had taught Him how really to love. And now not even a cross for himself
would or could keep him from following close up to such a Master.

Here is the meaning of "Follow Me" as it worked out in Peter's
experience--acquaintance, a new life, schooling, service, a sight of
sacrifice, and a baulking, then--a sight of Jesus on the cross, and then a
willingness to go on even though it meant the sorest sacrifice. This is an
etching of the road Peter actually went, an etching in black and white,
with the black very black. Is it a picture of your road? But perhaps you
have never filled out the last part--still back at that baulking place. In
the thick of our present life, in the noise and din of the street of
modern life, comes as of old the quiet, clear, insistent call "Follow Me."



Getting in Behind.


But, some one says, how can we really follow this Lone Man, our Lord Jesus
Christ? He was so pure in His life, stainless in motive, and unstained in
character. And we--well, the nearer we get to Him the more instinctively
we find Peter's lakeshore cry starting up within, "I am a sinful man." His
very presence makes us feel the sin, the sin-instinct, the old selfish
something within. How can we really follow? And the answer that comes is a
real answer. It answers the inner heart-cry.

It is this: we begin where He ended. The cross was the end of His life. It
must be the beginning of ours. It was the climax of His obedience. All the
lines of His life come together at the cross. It is the beginning for us.
All the lines of our lives, the lines of purity, of character, of service,
of power, run back to the one starting point. And we come to find--some of
us pretty slowly--that it is only the lines that do start there that lead
to anything worth while. The starting point for the true life, and for
real service is very clear. And if any of us have made a false start, it
will be a tremendous saving to drop things and go back and get the true
start. "The blood of Jesus His Son cleanseth from all sin"--this is the
only point from which to start the "Follow Me" life. "Follow Me" does not
mean imitation. It means reincarnation. It's some One coming to re-live
His life in us. He died that His life might be loosed out to be relived in
us.

I have already spoken of this as being a call to friendship. All the rest
that comes is meant to be what naturally grows out of this friendship.
Peter never forgot his last "Follow Me" call. "Lovest thou Me?" Then thou
mayest follow. This greatly sweetens all the rest. It's all for Him!--our
friend. Out of this personal relation comes service, power in service,
suffering because of opposition to Him whom we serve, and joy because we
may suffer on His account.[41]

Matthew became His friend that day down at the little customs-shed at the
Capernaum water edge. And out of that friendship grew our first gospel.
John lived very close, and out of his intimacy came the gospel that
reveals to us most the inner heart of our Lord, and His own intimacy of
relation with the Father. And out of that friendship came, too, not only
John's wonderful little "abiding" epistle,[42] but the Revelation book,
which gives us an inkling of the coming in of the Kingdom time that lies
so near to our Lord's heart. Out of such intimacy of touch grew Stephen's
ringing address before the Jewish council, and--his stormy, stony exit,
out and up into his Master's presence.

And time would fail me to tell of those in every corner of the earth, and
every generation since our Lord was here, who have served and suffered
because they loved Him and followed. Hidden away in the rocks and caves of
France from the fires of persecution, the Huguenots sang their favourite
hymn:

    "I have a friend so precious,
      So very dear to me,
    He loves me with such tender love,
      He loves so faithfully.

    I could not live apart from Him,
      I love to feel Him nigh,
    And so we dwell together,
      My Lord and I."

When I was in China a year ago, my heart caught some of the distant echoes
of that sort of singing, by Chinese Christians, in the midst of the fiery
persecutions of the Boxer time. And I heard the same sad, glad undertone
last year out in Corea, in the homes we visited, whose loved ones were
behind prison bars for their Friend's sake.

One of the latest chapters of this friendship's outcome is only just
closed in the story of that quiet, young friend of the Lord Jesus, William
Whiting Borden, who sat down a little while ago, and so placed the wealth
left him that the world might learn of his Friend, and then went out and
laid down his life in Egypt in this same passion of friendship. So the
earth's sod in every corner has known the fertilizing of such friendship
blood, and shall some day know a wondrous harvest under our great Friend's
own gleaning.

And this is why He asks us to follow. He needs our help. Our Lord Jesus
gave His precious life blood to redeem the world, to set it free from its
sin-slavery. But there are two parts to that redemption, His and ours.
These two parts are strikingly brought out by a single word in the
beginning of the book of Acts,[43] the word "began." Luke says that what
he has been writing in his Gospel of the life and death of Jesus was only
a _beginning_. This was what "He _began_ both to do and to teach." It is
usually explained that what our Lord Jesus began in the Gospels, the Holy
Spirit continued to _do_ in the Acts, and to _teach_ in the Epistles. And
this is no doubt true. But there is still more here. The Holy Spirit
continued and continues through men what He began through Jesus. There is
a second part to the work of redemption, our part, the Holy Spirit working
through us. There had to be a first part; that was the great part. There
could be no second without a first. That first part was done when our Lord
Jesus was hurt to death for us. That is the great first part. Yet in doing
that He had but begun something. He touched Palestine. We are to cover the
earth. He touched one nation; we are to go to all nations. We are to
continue what He began. The work of redemption was finished on the cross
so far as He was concerned; but not yet finished so far as its being taken
to "all the world" was concerned. He needs us. This is why He asks us to
follow. He needs our co-operation.

The second great factor in carrying out what He began is--how shall I put
it? Shall I say, men and the Holy Spirit? You say, "No, change that, say
the Holy Spirit and men. Put the Spirit first." Well, the order of these
two depends on where you are standing. If you are standing at the Father's
right hand, you say "the Holy Spirit and men." For the power is all in the
Holy Spirit. He is the power. There can be nothing done without Him.
Whatever is done in which He is not dominant amounts to nothing. How I
wish we men might have that tremendous fact grip us in these days when the
whole emphasis is on organization.

But, very reverently let me say this, and I say it thus plainly that we
may know how much our Lord Jesus is depending on us, how really He needs
us,--this, that since we are on the earth, in the place of human action,
where the fighting is to be done, it is accurate to say with utmost
reverence, "_men_ and the Holy Spirit." For mark keenly, the initiative is
in human hands. God's action has always waited on human action. The power
is only in the Holy Spirit. The most astute and strong leadership amounts
to nothing without Him flooding it with His presence. But the power needs
a channel. The Spirit needs men strongly pliant to His will. The great
world-plan waits, and always has waited, for willing men. And so our great
Friend asks us to follow because He really needs us in His plan.

Have you ever noticed the picture in the word "follow"? You remember that
the earliest language was picture language. And it is a great help
sometimes to dig down under a word and get the picture. Here, it is a man
standing on a roadway, earnestly beckoning, and pointing to the road he is
in. The Old Testament word means literally "same road." The very word the
Master Himself used means "in behind."

To-night this wondrous Lord Jesus stands just ahead. His face still shows
where the thorns cut and the thongs tore. But there is a marvellous
tenderness and pleading in those great patient eyes. His hand is reached
out beckoning, and you cannot miss the hole in the palm of it. The hand
points to the road He trod for us. And His voice calls pleadingly, "Take
this same road; get in behind. I need your help with My world."



Selling All.


And yet--and yet----. Do you remember one time our Lord turned to the
crowds that were following and told them it would be better to count up
the cost before deciding to be His disciples?[44] He feared if they didn't
there would be "mocking" by outsiders because His followers' lives didn't
square with their profession. His fear seems to have been well founded.
There seems to be quite a bit of that sort of mocking. It's better to
count the cost, to know what following really means. A Salvation Army
officer in Calcutta tells about a young handsome Hindu of an aristocratic
family. One day he came in, drew out a New Testament, and asked the
meaning of the words, "sell whatsoever thou hast," in the story of the
rich young ruler.[45] The Salvationist told him it meant that if a man's
possessions stood in the way of his becoming a Christian he must be
willing, if need be, to dispose of them for the needy. To his surprise the
young man quietly said, "I fear you don't understand."

"Do you want to be a Christian?"

"Yes, but I'm not willing to sell all that I possess."

After a little more talk the young Indian left. Sometime after he appeared
at one of the Salvation Army meetings, and when the opportunity was given
for those who would accept Christ to kneel at the altar, at once he
started forward. But instantly a storm broke out in the crowded meeting. A
group of men rushed forward, shouting angrily, seized the young man and
bore him bodily out while the crowd watched in terror. A few weeks later
the young man turned up again, asking to be taken in and quietly saying,
"I have begun to sell all."

Then his story came out. A Bible had come into his hands; the character
and call of the Lord Jesus made a great appeal to him. He was haunted by
the words, "sell whatsoever thou hast." He felt he knew what it meant for
him. His family heard of his interest in Christianity. They belonged to
the highest class, were wealthy and officially connected with the heathen
temple-worship. They did their best to dissuade him, then finding that
useless, they kept watch, and had him forcibly taken from the meeting
where he was about to openly confess Christ. The entreaties of his father
and mother shook him greatly but failed to change his decision. He had
been imprisoned, chained hand and foot, and scantily fed, but all to no
purpose. Then he managed to escape and came to the one Christian place he
knew, the Salvation Army, and asked to be taken in.

After about two weeks he disappeared as abruptly as he came. Then one day
he came back, and told his Salvation friend that he had been carried to
Benares, their holy city, and forced to bathe in the Ganges. "But," he
said, "as I stood in the water of the Ganges, I said, 'Lord Jesus, wash me
in Thy precious blood,' and when I was forced to bow to idols, I bowed my
soul to the eternal Father and said, 'Thou art God alone.'" His mother had
implored him on her knees not to disgrace them; his tutor, whom he loved
dearly, and his brothers had joined the father in their plea not to bring
such shame on the family. "Well," the Salvationist said, "now, you know
the meaning of 'sell whatsoever thou hast'" "Not yet," he said, "but I
have sold nearly all."

Again he came back and said quietly, "_I have sold all_." He appeared
deeply grief-stricken, and yet there was a light shining in his eye. In
answer to questions he said, "I have not only ceased to be a Brahmin, I
have ceased to be a human being. I am not only an outcast, I am dead. I
have neither father, mother, brothers, nor sisters. I have been burned in
effigy, and the ashes buried. It was not the effigy they burned; it was I.
My father would not recognize me now if he met me on the street, nor would
my mother. I am dead. I have been buried. It is the end. I have sold
all."[46] He had counted the cost. Then though it meant so much, he
followed. The rich young Jew to whom the words were first spoken, saw
_things_ bigger than Jesus; the rich young Hindu saw Jesus bigger. Each
held to what he prized most, and let the other go. Would it not be better
if we were to count the cost, and then _deliberately_ decide? and if it be
to follow, then follow _all the way?_ I want to talk a little later about
what it means to follow. I hope this will help us a little in our
calculations, in counting the cost before starting in to follow fully.

And yet, and yet, may the vision of the Lone Man in the road, beckoning,
flood our eyes while we count the cost, even as with the young Hindu.



What Following Means


1. A Look Ahead.
2. The Main Road.
3. The Valleys.
4. The Hilltops.



1. A Look Ahead



Saltless Salt.


The Lord Jesus never tried to make things look easier than they are. He
wanted you to see the road just as it is, and asked you to look at it
carefully. He knew this was the only right way to do. He knew that so the
sinews would be grown in character that would stand the tests coming, and
only so.

It was never His plan to increase the numbers by cutting down the
doorsills so men could get in more easily. That was a later arrangement.
He was never concerned for numbers, but for right and truth. A man walking
alone down the middle of the one true path was more to Him, immensely
more, than a great crowd wabbling along on the edge, half out, half in,
neither in nor out, and so really out but not knowing it. If they were
really out and knew it, it would be better, for they could see more
distinctly the path they were not in, its straightness and attractiveness.

This sort of thing grew more marked with our Lord Jesus as the end drew
on, the tragic end. The crowds thickened about Him those last months. They
liked good bread, and plenty of it, and healed bodies, pain gone. And He
liked to give them these. He helped just as far as they would let Him. But
He wanted to give them more. He knew this other was only temporary. He was
more concerned about healing the spirit of its disease, and giving the
more abundant life. And full well He knew that only the knife could help
many. And the knife had to be freshly sharpened, and used with strong
decisive hand, if healing and life were to come.

And men haven't changed, nor the diseases that hurt their life, nor the
Master, nor the tender love of His heart. But there's more than knife;
there's fulness of life following. He would have us get the life even
though it means the knife. Most times--every time, shall I say?--the life
comes only through the knife. Yet when the life has come, with its great
tireless strength, and its deep breathing, and sheer delight of living,
you are grateful for the knife that led the way to such life.

One day our Lord entered a vigorous protest against the wrong sort of
salt,[47] saltless salt, the sort that seemed to be salt, and you used it
and depended on it, and then found how unsalty it was, for the thing you
depended on it to preserve, had gone bad. The great need is for salty
salt. There still seems to be a great lot of this saltless salt in use.
It's labelled salt, and so it's used as salt, but it befools you. The
saltiness has been lost out, and the man using it wakes up to find out
how great is the loss, loss of what he thought he had salted, and loss of
time, character and time, the character of that salted with saltless salt,
and the time spent.

It would be an immense clearing of the religious situation to-day on both
sides of the Atlantic, if the saltless salt could be got rid of, either by
removing the unsaltiness in it--though that seems a hopeless task, it's so
unsalty, and there is so much of it, and such a large proportion of it,
and it's so well content with being just as unsalty as it is. _Or_, the
only other thing is put very simply and vigorously by the Lord in a short
intense sentence, "Cast it out." Out with it. And lots of it _is out_ so
far as preservative usefulness is concerned.

And yet with wondrous patience He puts up with a great deal of salt that
seems to have nearly reached the utterly saltless stage, hoping to get rid
of the unsaltiness, and then to give it a new saltiness. For, be it keenly
marked, when the saltiness has quite gone out of the salt, when the
preservative quality has quite gone out from that body of people which He
has placed in the world as its moral preservative,--then look out. Aye,
"look up,"[48] for that's the only direction from which any help can
relieve the desperateness of the situation. And "lift up your heads," for
then comes a new preservative to the rotting earth-life. But some of us
will smell the smell of the decay before the new salt begins to work.



The Thing in Us That Wants Things.


It was along toward that tragic end, when the tension was tightening up to
the snapping point, the bitter hatred of the leaders yet more bitter, the
crowds yet denser, the terms of discipleship yet more plainly put with
loving, faithful plainness, that a characteristic incident happened.[49] A
young man of gentle blood and breeding, and influential position, came
eagerly, courteously elbowing his way through the crowd that gathered
thick about. Our Lord had just risen from where He had been sitting
teaching, when this young man, in his eagerness, came running to Him. With
deep reverence of spirit he knelt down in the road, and began asking about
the true life, the secret of living it. Our Lord begins talking about
being true in all his dealings with his fellow-men. The young man
earnestly assured Him that he had paid great attention to this, and felt
that there was nothing lacking in him on this score. The utter sincerity
and earnestness of his spirit was so clear that the Master's love was
drawn out to him. And He showed His love in a way characteristic of Him in
dealing with those who want to go to the whole length of the true road.
That is, He talked very plainly to him. There were four things to do
beforehand, He said, four starting steps into this life he was so eager
to enter. Four words tell the four steps: "go," "sell," "give," and
"come."

"Go" meant the decisive starting in on this way; "sell" meant putting
everything into the Father's hand for His disposal as _He_ alone might
choose. "Give" meant using everything, everything you are, and have, and
can influence, as _He_ bids you. "Come" meant this new man, this decisive,
emptied, now trusted man, trusted as a trustee, coming into a new personal
relation with the Lord Jesus.

The first three things were important because they revealed the man. But
_the_ thing was that the man, this new-emptied and now God-trusted man,
should come into personal touch with the Lord Jesus. The things he had and
held on to came in between. When they no longer came in to separate, then,
and only then, was he ready to get "in behind" and "follow" along the
"same road." For this is the friendship road. Only friends are allowed
here, inner friends, those who come in by that gateway. There must be the
personal touch. Things that stand in the way of that must be straightened
out.

It was rather a startling answer. The young man was startled tremendously.
The way to come in is first to go out. The way to get is first to give.
The way to buy what you want is to sell what you have. That is to say, the
way for this young man to get what he was so eager for was to get rid of
what he already had. And yet it wasn't getting rid of the things the
Master was thinking about, but getting rid of the thing in him that
wanted the things, getting rid of their hold upon him. Our Lord Jesus
wanted, and wants, free men, emptied men. He wants the strength in the man
that the emptying and selling process gives. This is the laboratory where
the unsaltiness is being burned out, and the new salty saltiness being
generated, put in.

This young fellow couldn't stand the test. So many can't. No, I'm getting
the words wrong. He wouldn't stand it; so many won't. The slavery of
_things_ was too much. The thing in him that wanted the things was
stronger than the thing that wanted the true life. He was too weak to make
that "go" decision. He belonged to the weakly fellowship of the saltless
ones. They are not wholly saltless, but that's the chief thing that marks
them. It's a long-lived fellowship, continuing to this day, with a large
membership in good and regular standing.

I think the real trouble with this fine-grained lovable young man was in
his eyes, the way they looked, what they saw. It was a matter of seeing
things in true perspective. He didn't get a good look at the Man he asked
his question of. He was looking so intently at the _things_ that he
couldn't get the use of his eyes for a good look at the Man. This is a
very common eye-trouble. He was all right outward, toward his fellows, but
he wasn't all right upward toward the Father.

And yet even that statement must be changed. For a man cannot be right
with his fellows who is not right with God. When God doesn't have the
passion of the heart, our fellows don't have all they should properly have
from us; there is a lack. The common law may be kept, the pounds and yards
may weigh and measure off fully what is due them from us, but the uncommon
law, the love-law is not being kept. The warm spirit that should breathe
out through all our dealings is lacking. It's been checked by the check in
the upper movement. Only the spirit that flows freely up, ever flows
freely out.

That young Indian aristocrat we spoke of elsewhere got a sight of _Jesus_.
That settled _things_ for him, including even such sacred things as human
loves. This young Jewish aristocrat couldn't get his eyes off of the
things. So many "thing"-slaves there are, so much "thing"-slavery. If only
there were the sight of _His_ face! His _face_; torn? yes; scarred? yes
again, but oh, the strength and light and love in it!

Do you remember that other young Jewish, university-trained aristocrat? He
got a look, one good long look-in-the-face look of _that face_, one day,
on the road up to the northern Syrian capital. The light of it flooded his
face, and strangely affected him. He said "when I could not _see_ for the
glory of that light."[50] He couldn't see things for Him. The sight of Him
blurred out the things. The great need to-day is for a sight of _Him_.
Lord Jesus, if Thou wouldst show us Thy "hands and feet" again, and torn
face, even as in the upper room that resurrection evening,[51] for that's
what we are needing. And yet, Thou art doing just that, but the things so
hold our vision! And the Master's answer is the same as to the young Jew.
We need the decisive "go"; the incisive, inclusive "sell"; the privileged
"give"; the new-meaninged "come" into His presence. And then we may get
"in behind" Him, and follow close up in the "same road," with eyes for
naught but Himself.



Outstanding Experiences.


I want to follow the Master's plan, and ask you to take a good look at His
"Follow Me" road. You remember that we have had one talk together about
the characteristics of our Lord Jesus' life. Now we want to talk a little
about _the experiences_ of His life. And I do not mean that we are to try
to imitate these experiences, or any of them. The meaning goes much deeper
than this, and yet it marks out a simpler road for our feet. I mean that
as we actually go along with this Master of ours, these experiences will
work out in our lives.

As we let Him in as actual Lord, and get our ears trained for His quiet
voice, there will come to us some of the same things that come to Him.

The same Spirit at work within us, and the same sort of a world at work
without, will so work against each other as to produce certain other
results, now as then. It is not to be an attempt at imitation; it's far
more. It is to be _obedience_ on our part, a real Presence within on His
part, and a bitter antagonism without on the world's part; rhythmic full
glad obedience, a sympathetic powerful real Presence, a tense and
intensifying subtle, relentless, but continually-being-thwarted
opposition. The key-note for us is simple, full obedience.

There were certain great outstanding experiences in our Lord Jesus' life.
Let us briefly notice what these were and group them together. There was
_the Bethlehem Birth_. That was a thing altogether distinctive in itself.
It was a supernatural birth, the Spirit of God working along purely human
lines, in a new special way, for a special purpose. It was a rare blending
of God and man in the action of life. It was followed by _the Nazareth
Life_; that was a commonplace life, lived in a commonplace village, but
hallowed by the presence of the Father, and sweetened by the salt of
everything being done under that Father's loving eye. The Father's
presence accepted as a real thing became the fragrance of that commonplace
daily life. And this life covered most of those human years.

Then our Lord turned from the hidden life of Nazareth to the public
ministry. At its beginning stands _the Jordan Baptism of Power_. In the
path of simple obedience He had gone to the Jordan, taken a place among
the crowds, and accepted John's baptism. And in this act of obedience,
there comes the gracious act of His Father's approval, the Holy Spirit
came down upon Him in gracious, almighty power. And from this moment He
was under the sway of the Spirit of Power. This was the special
preparation and fitting for all that was to follow.

At once the Spirit driveth Him into the Wilderness. And for forty days He
goes through the great experience of _the Wilderness Temptation_. In
intensity and in prolonged action, it was the greatest experience thus far
in His life. He suffered, being tempted. It was a concentration of the
continuous temptation of the following years of action. But the Wilderness
spelled out two words, temptation _and_ victory; temptation such as had
never yet been brought, and met, and fought; victory beyond what the race
had known. Temptation came to have a new spelling for man, v-i-c-t-o-r-y.
It came to have a new spelling for the tempter, d-e-f-e-a-t.

After His virtual rejection by the nation as its Messiah,[52] and the
imprisonment of him who stood nearest Him as Messiah,--John the Herald,
there followed _the Galilean Ministry_. For those brief years He was
utterly absorbed in personally meeting and ministering to the crying needs
of the crowds. Compassion for needy men became the ruling under-passion.
He was spent out in responding to the needs of men. It was not restricted
to Galilee, but that stands out as the chief scene of this tireless
unceasing service. The Galilean ministry meant a life spent in meeting
personally the needs of men.

In the midst of that, made increasingly difficult by the ever-increasing
opposition, there came the experience of _the Transfiguration Mount_. It
comes at a decisive turning point, where He is beginning the higher
training of the Twelve for the tragic ending, so surprising and wholly
unexpected to them. For a brief moment the dazzling light within was
allowed to shine through the garments of His humanity. What was within
transfigured the outer, the human face and form. And the overwhelming
outshining light was evidence to those three men of the divine glory, the
more-than-human glory hidden away within this human man.

Then within a week of the end came _the Gethsemane Agony._ That was the
lone, sore stress of spirit under the load of the sin of others. In
Gethsemane He went through in spirit what on the morrow He went through in
actual experience. Gethsemane was the beginning, the anticipation of
Calvary, so far as that could be anticipated. Anticipation here was
terrific; yet less terrific than the actual experience.

And then came the climax, the overtopping experience of all for Him, as
for us, _the Calvary Cross._ There He died of His own free will. He died
for us. He died that we might not die. He took upon Himself what sin
brings to us, while the Father's face was hidden. So He freed us from the
slavery of sin, made a way for us back to real life, and so touched our
hearts by His love that we were willing to go back.

And close upon the heels of that came _the burial in Joseph's tomb_. The
burial was the completion of the death. The tomb was the climax of the
cross. He was actually dead and buried. The corn of wheat had fallen down
into the ground and been covered up. There was nothing lacking to make
full and clear that Jesus had died.

Then came the stupendous experience of _the Resurrection Morning_. Our
Lord Jesus yielded to death fully and wholly. Then He seized death by the
throat and strangled it. He put death to death. Then He quietly yielded to
the upward gravity of His sinless life and rose up. He lived the dependent
life even so far as yielding to death, and now the Father quietly brought
Him back again to life, to a new life.

And after waiting a while on earth among men, long enough to make it quite
clear to His disciples that it was really Himself really back again, He
quietly yielded further to the upward gravity, and entered upon _the
Ascension Life_, up in the Father's presence. That life is one of
intercession. He ever liveth to make intercession for us.[53] He is our
pleading advocate at the Father's right hand.[54] Thirty years of the
Nazareth life, three and a half years of personal service, nineteen
hundred years, almost, of praying. What an acted-out lesson to us on
prayer, the big place it had and has with Him, the true proportion of
prayer to all else!

These are the experiences of our Lord Jesus that stand out clear above
the mountain range of His life. It was all a high mountain range; these
are the great peaks jutting sharply up above the range.



At the Loom.


Now these peaks, these outstanding experiences, as you look at them a bit,
seem to fall naturally into three groups. There were certain experiences
of power and of privilege, the Bethlehem Birth, the Jordan Baptism, the
Nazareth Life, and the Galilean Ministry.

There were experiences of suffering and sacrifice, the Wilderness
Temptation, the Gethsemane Agony, the Calvary Death, and the Joseph's Tomb
of Burial.

And then there were certain experiences of gladness and great glory, the
Transfiguration Mount, the Resurrection Morning, the Ascension Life, and,
we shall find a fourth here also, a future experience, the Kingdom Reign
and Glory.

These outstanding events, while distinct in themselves, are also
representative of continual experiences. The Jordan Baptism stands not
only for that event, but for the power throughout those forty and two
months. The same sort of suffering that came in Gethsemane had run all
through His life, but is strongest in Gethsemane. So each of these
experiences is really like a peak resting upon the mountain range of
constant similar experience. And these three groups of experience
continuously intermingled, interlaced and interwoven, made up the pattern
of that wondrous life.

Now these same experiences of His are also the great experiences that will
characterize the "Follow Me" life, for every one who will follow fully. It
will always remain true that these experiences were distinctive of Him.
They meant more to Him than they will or can mean to any other. But it is
also true that they will come to us in a degree that will mean everything
to us.

I want to change the figure of speech here. I think it will help. This
invitation, "Follow Me," is the language of a road, the picture of one
walking behind another in a road. And that will remain in our minds as the
chief picture of this pleading call. But there's another bit of picture
talking that will help. That is the picture of a weaver's loom, with the
warp threads running lengthwise, the shuttle threads running crosswise,
and the cross beam (or batten) driving each shuttle thread into place in
the cloth with a sharp blow.

These three groups of experiences are like so many hanks of threads in
the loom, in which the pattern of life is being woven. The experiences of
power and privilege are the warp threads running lengthwise of the loom,
into which the others are woven. These make up the foundation of the
fabric.

The other two groups make up the shuttle threads, running crosswise, being
woven into the warp. The experiences of suffering and sacrifice are the
dark threads, the gray threads, sometimes quite black, and the red
threads, blood red. The experiences of gladness and glory are the bright
threads, yellow, golden, sunny threads.

And the daily round of life, the decisions, the actual step after step in
living out the decisions, the patient steady pushing on, is the beam that
with sharp blow pushes each thread into its place in the fabric being
woven.

As we allow the same Spirit that swayed our Lord's life to control us, He
will work out in us certain of these same experiences. And the enmity
aroused, and working against that Spirit's presence and control, will
bring certain other experiences. Our part will be simple obedience,
listening, looking, studying quietness so as to insure keener ears and
eyes--it's the quiet spirit that hears what He is saying--then obeying,
using all the strength of will, and all the grace at our disposal, simply
to hold steady and true, and to obey, no matter what threatens to come, or
what actually does come. This will be found to be like weaving.

Probably you have often heard of how the weavers work in the famous
Gobelin tapestry factories in Paris. They know nothing of the beauty of
the pattern being woven. They work on the "wrong" side, the under side of
the web. They miss the inspiration of seeing the rare beauty they
themselves are making. All the weaver sees is the apparent tangle of many
coloured threads and thread ends, while he thrusts in his needles
according to the card of instructions. The more faithfully and skilfully
he can follow the directions the better a piece of weaving work is done.

We simply obey. We use all the strength we have, and the skill we can
acquire, in obeying. We are not to depend on what we can see or feel for
inspiration, only on the Master Looms-man; on His word, written, and
spoken in our hearts, and on His answering peace within. Obedience is the
one key-note for all the music. Surrender is the first act of full
obedience. Obedience is the habitual surrender. Our part is to hear right
and do what He bids.

Some day we shall be fairly swept off our feet by the beauty of the
pattern He has been weaving--_if_ we've let Him have His way at the loom.



2. The Main Road--Experiences of Power And Privilege



The Bethlehem Birth.


There were four of these experiences in our Lord's life. At the very
beginning came _the Bethlehem Birth_. That meant for Him a birth out of
the usual course of nature, yet working within nature's usual processes.
It was something more-than-the-natural coming down into the natural. The
power of the Holy Spirit came upon the pure gentle maiden of Nazareth and
a new human life was begotten by Him within her, and in due course came to
the maturity of birth. This was a distinctive thing with Jesus.

Now, in quite a different sense, but in a very real sense, there will be
for us, too, a Bethlehem Birth. The Holy Spirit will come in and begin a
new life within us. This is the only beginning of the "Follow Me" life for
any of us. There's a something on the Spirit's part before there can be a
beginning on my part. Yet that hardly tells the whole story. My part is
really first; I open the door for Him to come in. When I accept Jesus as
my Saviour, that's opening the door. The Spirit comes in and begins the
new life within me. And yet there's another first before that first act of
mine. He woos me with His patient, tender love. That is the first first.
Then I open the door: at once He comes in, and does the thing which only
He can do. So begins the "Follow Me" life. This is the real, the only
beginning.

And yet there's more here of the practical sort than we have thought of,
most of us. It means that there is within us a life higher than the
natural life, and this higher life is to _be_ higher, it is to be the
_controlling_ life. It is to hold the upper hand over the natural life.
The control is to be from above. That is to say, the motives and desires
of the upper life are to be dominant in my daily round. It is the
Father-pleasing life as contrasted with the natural life, of which we
talked a while ago. Wherever the two come in conflict, the upper is to
rule.

Now, I know this rather runs across the grain of a good deal of our
so-called Christian life. There are a good many people who, let us really
believe, have been "born again," to use the familiar phrase, yet they seem
to have stayed in the being-born stage, the infancy stage. That which was
"born again" in them seems not to have been developed. It has never been
allowed to grow. The under life has been given the upper hand, and the
upper life kept strictly down. The salt isn't salty. The common round of
life is seasoned wholly by the old seasoning.

Our Lord's "Follow Me" becomes a radical, decisive thing at the very
start. It means that we will allow this new life of the Spirit to grow
into lusty vigour, and to become the controlling life So it will be the
chief thing. All the life shall be directed and controlled _from above._
This is a result that will come of itself if we really follow. Obedience,
and back of that the quiet time on the knees with the Book, will give food
and air and growing space to this new life, and its growth will crowd down
the other.



The Jordan Baptism of Power.


Then there was a _Jordan Baptism of Power_ in our Lord's life. This stood
at the beginning of His leadership, His life-work, His service among men.
As He came up out of the Jordan waters He stood waiting in prayer. He was
expecting something. His whole being was absorbed in the expectancy of
what had been promised.[55] And that expectancy was not disappointed. None
that wait on God shall be put to confusion by any disappointment.[56] The
blue above was rift through, the Holy Spirit as a gentle dove came, and
remained upon Him, and the Father's voice of pleased approval spoke to His
grateful, obedient heart. From that time the whole control of His life was
absolutely in the hands of the Holy Spirit.

This does not mean an inert passivity on Jesus' part; it meant a strong,
intelligent yielding to the Holy Spirit. It does not mean that His natural
faculties of mind and will and heart were held down, not to be used. It
means that they were actively, studiously used in discerning the Holy
Spirit's leading, and in doing as He directed. And it means that so there
came a fulness of life, an increasing life, into His faculties, mind and
will and heart. Our Lord Jesus used all His powers in yielding to the
inspiration and direction and control of the Holy Spirit, keeping ever
open to His suggestion, and making that suggestion the law of His own
action.

And the Spirit of Omnipotence, working with the gentleness of a dove,
breathed upon those yielded powers, and breathed through them, even as had
been planned with the first breathing of this sort, in Eden. So from the
Wilderness clear up to the last Olivet command to the disciples,
everything was done at the bidding, the direction of this Spirit. And so
the almighty power was breathed into every word and action and bit of
suffering. The one key-note of the Master's action was obedience; the
result was the flooding of the Spirit's omnipotence through His obedient
faculties and life.

Now, _as we follow_, this same sort of experience will be ours. What a
tremendous thing to say! Yet the road was being beaten down for _our
feet_. The Son of Man was simply showing to His brother-men the road we
were all meant to go, showing it by going in it. All the power that came
into Jesus' life will come into ours, _if_ He is given His way. For the
Holy Spirit is not measured out, either to Him or to us,[57] but poured
out without stint.[58] As we follow we shall be led along behind the Man
going before.

There will need to be instruction, for we're so new to this road. And
human teachers are sent by the Holy Spirit to help us understand, teachers
in print, and teachers in shoes. There will need to be the initial act of
full surrender to the Lord Jesus as Lord indeed, for most of us have been
going another way than this. There will need to be a house-cleaning time,
for we have let in so much of another sort.

A soft, but very honest, searching light will come flooding in through the
sky-light windows. And as we instinctively go to our knees and faces
because of what that light brings to light, there will be a wondrous
cleansing, both by blood and by fire. Then will come a filling of our very
being by this wondrous Spirit of God.

How shall we know this filling, do you ask? There will be a quiet, deep
peace, at times a great joy that sings, but ever the deep peace that
_holds_ you, a new hunger for the old Book, and a new soft light on its
pages. There will be an inner drawing to talk with God, and an intense
desire to please Him, to find out what He wants you to do, and then to do
it.

There will come other things too, of a less pleasant sort, temptation
will come anew, and a sense--sometimes very acute--of sin, a feeling that
there's a something within you fighting you, the new you. There will be an
increased sensitiveness to sin, and an intense hatred of it. This is what
the filling means. These things will tell you that He, the Spirit, has
taken possession of what you surrendered, and that He is now at work
within. These are His finger-prints.

Then there will be the outflowing side of this filling. A passion that all
men may know this compassionate God, will come as a fire burning in your
bones. Its flames will envelop and go through everything you are and have
and can do. But under all will be the passion for pleasing the Lord Jesus.
Obedience will become the chief thing, holding everything else in check,
obedience to Him, pleasing Him, doing His will.

The Bethlehem Birth is the _beginning_ of a new, a supernatural life
within; _this_ will be the actual life itself, in full vigour and power.
That is the supernatural birth, this the supernatural life. That is, there
is at work within you, very quietly and simply, a power more than the
natural, working through the natural order, and sometimes upsetting what
we may have grown to think of as the natural order. This is the Jordan
Baptism of Power, the Holy Spirit taking charge, and you living a
Spirit-controlled life. There's a new sign hung out over your life, "this
life is being conducted under new management." You won't say it; it won't
be shouted out. It'll be louder yet. Your _life_ will be telling it
continually.



Power Is in the Current.


The word to emphasize here is _control_. You will find new meanings, that
you had not thought of, gradually working out of it. If the Holy Spirit
had control of us as He had of--Philip, for instance. He picked Philip up
out of the midst of the Samaritan crowd, where he was the human centre of
things, and put him down away off here in the desert,--_strange
contrast!_--and with one lone traveller, greater contrast yet![59] If He
were free to pick you and me up like that, out of these surroundings,
congenial and pleasant, and set us down where we had no thought of going,
and never would have gone of our own choice, and we sing as we are picked
up, _and_ keep on singing where we find ourselves amidst the uncongenial
perhaps, the strange, the unprecedented and hard,--_if_ He were free to
control like that these days, there would be a present-day Pentecost
beside which the Acts-Pentecost was but the beginnings of the throbbings
of power.

There are some peculiarities of this "Follow Me" road here. There comes a
strangely new sense of proportion. As you follow close up behind the Man
ahead, you will grow _smaller_, and He will grow _larger_. No, that's not
an accurate statement; you won't _grow_ any smaller, you will only find
out how small you are. He won't grow any larger, you will simply be
finding out, and then finding out more, how large He is. It'll seem
strange to most of us, finding out our real size, or lack of the size we
always supposed we were. But it will come with a great awing,
heart-subduing sense, to find how marvellous in size this great Man is;
and yet He is our brother, as well as so immensely more.

You come to find out that power, that thing that used to be so much talked
about, and defined, and yet chiefly wondered about, that power is a matter
of position. The man close in behind the Lord Jesus doesn't need to be
concerned about power. In fact he isn't concerned about it, only concerned
with keeping close in touch. All the rest comes without our being
concerned. It comes from him, the Man ahead. There is far more power, the
very power of God, softly flowing and flooding its way in and through and
out, than you are ever conscious of. Others will know more of the power
than you. You are thinking about the Man ahead, keeping in touch, pleasing
Him. Obedience has become a new word to you. It's the music of keeping
step, keeping step with Him.

Have you noticed how much the current of the stream will do for you if you
are out in a row-boat? All you need to do is to keep up enough motion to
hold the boat within the sweep of the current. Then your chief task is
_steering_. You're not concerned about power; only about the steering.
There's more power in the current than you can ever use. Your one concern
is to keep out of the shallows and sucking side-eddies, away from snag and
rock, and _in the current._ The power's in the current. Right steering
brings all that power to bear on your little boat.

Now, power here is a matter of steering, so far as our part is concerned.
We steer to get into the current of our Lord Jesus' will, and, by His
grace, we use all our will power in _keeping_ in that current, and out of
the shallows and suction-eddies at the side. The Lord Jesus, once spit
upon and crucified, now seated "far above all rule, and authority, and
power, and dominion, and every name that is named," and _at work on earth
through His Holy Spirit_,--this Lord Jesus, _free to do as He
chooses_,--this is power. _He_ is power.

Power is the Lord Jesus in action, and the action is always through some
man's life. We steer so as to keep in touch. He acts through the man in
touch. And the hungry, needy crowds know a something coming to them, with
irresistible grateful sweep.



Living a Nazareth Life.


There was a third experience in this group. Our Lord Jesus lived _the
Nazareth Life_. In actual order of time this came before the baptism of
power. I have changed the order here, and named it third simply for the
practical help in the change. With the Lord Jesus, the whole of the life
was under the sway of the Holy Spirit from birth on, through the earliest
conscious years, and all the years. With us, in actual experience, we are
all free to confess that it has not been so from our Spirit-birth on.

That baptism of power at Jordan was without doubt a baptism of power for
leadership and service. Service and leadership ever need the time of
special waiting on God, and the fresh anointing by the Holy Spirit's
touch, the fresh consciousness of Himself, as the only source of power in
the service and leadership.

In our actual experience the Holy Spirit, coming in power, has had much to
do in changing our habits, ourselves, and our lives, as well as in our
service. There has been so much service that has not been backed up by the
life, that many have come to feel, and to feel very deeply, that the power
in service must have its roots in the human side, deep down in the daily
habit of life. With our Lord Jesus that Jordan experience made no
difference of this sort in His life. There was nothing needing to be
changed. That Nazareth life had been lived continuously under the control
of the Holy Spirit.

Look a moment at that Nazareth life of His. It means simply a commonplace,
treadmill round of life lived under the hallowing touch of the Father's
presence. This was according to the original plan. It is God's presence
recognized that hallows what is common. It is the absence of His presence,
that is, the leaving of Him out, that makes common things common; that is,
it makes the familiar thing and round _seem_ and _feel_ common. It's the
unhallowed and unhallowing touch of the selfish, of sin, that makes things
seem common, in the sense of not being holy and sweet and pure and
refreshing. Sin makes things grow stale to you. Selfishness affects your
eye, the way things look to you. God's presence recognized keeps things
fresh. His touch upon us, ever afresh, makes us fresh. Everything we touch
and see is touched by a God-freshened hand, and seen through a
God-freshened eye.

Now Jesus lived this commonplace round of life, and lived it under the
ever-freshening touch of His Father's presence. It isn't the thing you do,
nor the things that surround you, that make your life, but the spirit that
breathes out of you in the midst of the things. It's the _you_ in you that
makes the life, regardless of surroundings. The outer things are the
accidents, you, the spirit that breathes out of you,--this is the real
thing.

Jesus _lived_ it. That is the tremendous fact that Nazareth stands for.
He lived what He taught, and He lived it first, and He lived it far more
deeply and really than it could be taught to others. This was the basis of
those few service years. Nazareth lies under the Galilean ministry. There
were thirty years under the three-and-a-half-years. And the thirty years
crop up into and out of the three-and-a-half. The life lived was the great
fact at work, as the Man went about doing good. The hidden life of
Nazareth lies open in the Galilean ministry.

When you are reading the wonderful works among the needy throngs, you are
reading the biography of the Nazareth years, in their outer reach. The
life you live is the thing that tells! This is the meaning of the thirty
hidden years. The Father said, "My Son shall spend most of His years down
there _living_, just living a true, simple Eden life; living with Me in
the midst of home and carpenter shop and village." This is what the world
needs so much to be taught, how to live. And the teaching must be by
living, teaching by action. The message must be lived.

If we men might live Jesus! That's what the world needs. At one of the
smaller meetings of the Edinburgh Conference, in 1910, a Christian
gentleman from India, native of that land, said, "We don't need more
Bibles in India." And then to this surprising statement, he added, "We
have enough Bibles. If the Christians in India would _live the Bible_,
India would be converted." And I thought, that will do for America, and
England, and for all the world. _Jesus lived it_. As a man in His
decisions and actions, His habits and daily round, He lived the truth.

The story is told of a missionary in some part of Africa who had not had
much success in his work. He was in the habit of explaining some portion
of the New Testament to the people at His house. One day the portion
contained the words, "give to him that asketh thee, and from him that
would borrow of thee turn thou not away."[60] The people asked him if this
meant what it said. He told them that it did. One of them said he would
like to have the table, pointing to it; another asked for a chair, another
for the bed, and so on. The missionary was rather startled at such literal
taking of his teaching. He told them to come again on the morrow, and he
would give his answer.

When they had gone, he and his wife had rather a heart-searching time
together. They felt they had not reached the hearts of the people yet. But
to do as they asked meant real sacrifice of a very personal sort. At last
with much prayer they decided to meet the people where they had opened the
way. And so the next day they gave their answer, and soon the house was
literally bare of all its furnishings. And that night they slept on the
floor, yet with a sweet peace in their hearts in the midst of this strange
experience.

The next day the people came back, carrying the furniture. They had
really been testing these new-comers. "Now," they said, "we believe you.
You _live_ your Book. We want you to teach us." And with open hearts they
listened anew to the Gospel story, and many of them accepted Christ.

The little incident reveals the unity of the race. Those Africans said
what England and America and all the world is saying, "_Live it_." Is your
religion _livable_? What the world needs to-day is _a Jesus lived_, not
simply taught, nor preached about, but lived in the power of the Holy
Spirit. How the fire, the holy fire, of that sort of thing would catch and
spread! Oh, yes, it might mean sleeping on the bare floor! That's what
living-it means, the actual life overriding any mere thing that stands in
the way.



Live It.


I stood one day on the abrupt edge of a little hill in a Southern Japanese
city. There, in a great tree hanging out over the edge, had hung the bell
that called together the faithful retainers of the lord of the province,
when they were needed. There, nearly thirty years ago, a little band of
Japanese youth, of noble families, had gone out at break of day one
Sabbath morning, and solemnly covenanted to follow the Lord Jesus, and to
devote their lives to making Him known throughout their land. Boys still
in their tender teens most of them were. And that covenant was not
lightly made, for already the fires of persecution had been kindled, and
these fires burned fiercely but could not compete with the fire in their
hearts. And as one goes up and down the island empire of the Pacific
to-day, he can find traces of their lives cropping up everywhere, like
gold veins above the soil.

And as I sought to trace the hidden springs of the power at work behind
all this, I found it was in the _life_ of one young man, a simple, holy
life burning with a passion for Jesus. In this life could be found the
kindling of the tender flames burning so hotly in these young hearts. He
was a young American officer engaged, by the feudal lord of the province,
to teach military tactics and English. He dared not teach Christianity;
that would have meant instant dismissal. So for two years he _lived_ the
message, so simply and lovingly that he won the love of his pupils. Then
they came Sundays to his house to hear him read the English Bible, because
they loved him. As he prayed the tears would run down his face, and they
laughed to think a _man_ would weep, but they came because they loved him.
He really _loved them into the Christian life_. I was reminded of the line
in Hezekiah's song of thanksgiving after his illness, "Thou hast loved my
soul up from the pit."[61] This young teacher _lived his pupils to the
Lord Jesus_. The latter part of his life was a sad one, but nothing can
change the record of those earlier years.

I saw recently a news item telling how many million copies of the Bible
are being printed every year. The item slurringly remarked that the
statisticians didn't seem concerned yet with figuring up how many of them
were read. But, I thought, what these Bibles need is a new binding. This
Bible I carry is bound in the best sealskin, with kid-lining. It is
supposed to be the best binding for hard wear. But there's a much better
sort of leather than that for Bible binding; I mean _shoe leather_. The
people want the Bible bound in shoe leather. When we tread this Bible out
in our daily walk, when what we are becomes an illustrated copy of the
Bible, the greatest revival the earth has known will come. With utmost
reverence let me say that our Lord Jesus wants to come and walk around in
our shoes, and live inside our garments, and touch men through us.

I remember something in my early Christian life that was a sore temptation
to me. There were some Christian leaders who had helped me greatly by
their preaching and writings. Then it chanced that I was thrown into
personal contact with them, now one, now another. And I had a sore
disappointment. It's hard to find that your idol has clay feet. It's
doubtless wrong to have idols. Yet youth is the time of such idol worship.
The disappointment was a very sore one. Then out of it I was led to see
that the Master never disappoints. And there was a drawing nearer to
Himself alone.

And then a questioning arose: was some one perhaps looking at me? And a
burning desire came to be more in life than in speech, not only for the
sake of some one, perchance looking; but for the sake of that other One,
the Man with eyes of flame, His looking. I need hardly tell you that it
has been my blessed privilege to have had personal contact with leaders
whose fragrant lives are so much more than word or act.

The Nazareth life means that the Lord Jesus lived His message, amid
commonplace surroundings, in the midst of what is called the dull monotony
of the daily round. That is, in the place where it is hardest to do it, He
lived every bit of what He taught. And as we follow, simply, obediently,
the Spirit will lead us along this same road. The same experience will
happen to us. Could there be a greater evidence of the power of this Holy
Spirit than to do such a thing with such as we know ourselves to be? Yet
He will, _if_ we let Him. A big "if" you say? But not too big to be taken
out of the way, out of His way. He will live out through us what He puts
into us, by and with our constant consent.

This is the meaning of the Nazareth life. Our part is obedience, simple,
intelligent, strong obedience to Him. The result will be this same
experience, a Nazareth life of purity and power lived by the Spirit's
power.

This was the thought in the mind of Horatius Bonar, as he wrote of the
unnamed woman who anointed our Lord's head, and of whom Jesus said that
what she had done should be told as a memorial of her, wherever the Gospel
should be preached.

    "Up and away like dew in the morning,
      Soaring from earth to its home in the sun,
    So let me steal away, gently and lovingly,
      Only remembered by what I have done.

    My name and my place and my tomb all forgotten,
      The brief race of time well and patiently run,
    So let me pass away peacefully, silently,
      Only remembered by what I have done.

    Gladly away from this toil would I hasten,
      Up to the crown that for me has been won,
    Unthought of by man in reward and in praises,
      Only remembered by what I have done.

    Up and away like the odours of sunset
      That sweeten the twilight as darkness comes on,
    So be my life--a thing _felt_ but not noticed,
      And I but remembered by what I have done.

    Yes, like the fragrance that wanders in freshness,
      When the flowers that it comes from are closed up and gone,
    So would I be to this world's weary dwellers,
      Only remembered by what I have done.

    I need not be missed if my life has been bearing,
      As the summer and autumn move silently on,
    The bloom and the fruit and the seed of its season;
      I still am remembered by what I have done.

    I need not be missed if another succeed me,
        To reap down these fields that in spring
          I have sown;
    He who ploughed and who sowed is not missed by the reaper;
    He is only remembered by what he has done.

    Not myself but the truth that in life I have spoken,
        Not myself but the seed in life I have sown,
    Shall pass on to ages--all about _me_ forgotten,
        Save the truth I have spoken, the things
          I have done.

    So let my living be, so be my dying,
        So let my name be emblazoned, unknown,--
    Unraised and unmissed I shall still be remembered,
        Yes,--but remembered by what I have done."



The Galilean Ministry.


The fourth experience in this group was _the Galilean Ministry_. Our Lord
Jesus gave Himself up to helping those in need. He devoted Himself to
personal service among men. After John's imprisonment He withdrew to
Galilee and ministered to the needy.

There were crowds of them. They were in sorest need of body and spirit.
And He gave Himself freely out to them in glad helpful service. He met
their need. He did whatever their condition called for. He ministered to
their bodily needs. He mingled among them freely as an older brother or
friend, holding their children on His knees while He talked with them over
their concerns and troubles. But He didn't stop there. Having won their
hearts, He met their deeper needs. He comforted their hearts, talked to
them one by one, drawing out their hearts, and speaking of the Father.

And as the crowds thickened, He taught and preached to the multitudes. He
was a preacher, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom. He was a teacher,
bit by bit, line upon line, patiently teaching and explaining to them
about the Father's love, and about the true life and how to live it. Three
words are used several times to characterize that Galilean ministry,
teaching and preaching and healing.[62]

He warned against sin, patiently wooing erring men and women away from
their sin into lives of purity, and strengthening the young and earnest in
their purposes. The need of the crowd swept Him like a strong wind in the
young trees. He couldn't resist their plea. The presence of a man in need,
of either body or spirit, took hold of His heart. Over and over we are
told that He was "moved with compassion." What a life it was! What a heart
He had!

Now our Lord Jesus calls us along this bit of the road. That is to say,
the Holy Spirit within us will make our hearts tender and compassionate,
even as our Lord Jesus was. The crowds always moved Him tremendously. He
couldn't stand the great dumb cry that the mere presence of a multitude
rang in His ears. The mere presence of some one in need, earnestly
seeking, played upon the strings of His heart.

Does the crowd get hold of your heart as you elbow your way through them,
or look down into their faces? Is it just a crowd to you? Or is it a great
company of hungry hearts, half-starved lives, so needy for what only this
Lord Jesus can give? The dumb cry of the crowds, in crowds and one by one,
comes up in our ears to-day. Do you hear it? I say "dumb," for they don't
know themselves what it is they need. They feel the need. Restless and
chafing, they feel without knowing just what it is they lack and need.

When the Spirit that swayed the Lord Jesus comes in, He mightily affects
your heart. You feel with something of our Lord's feeling. And you _must_
help. You know that the one thing, the only thing, that can really
radically meet their need is this Saviour Jesus. You must do something to
get them really to know Him. And that something comes to be everything.
Service isn't a pastime; it's a passion. That "must" sends you out on glad
unheralded errands to help in any way you can, and in every way by which
the Jesus message can get to them.

The "must" of His tender passion within keeps you steadily pushing ahead,
regardless of not being understood by some, nor your efforts appreciated
by others. The flame of that "must" takes hold of time and strength and
possessions. It becomes the delight of your life to minister to the needs
of men, even as He did. You see them through His eyes. You feel their need
through His heart. _And_--this is a great _and_--if you really follow as
simply and fully as He leads, you will find _the same power_ working out
through your effort as through His, though there will be immensely more of
it than you will know about.

But--there's a "but" that needs to be put in here--the key-note will not
be service, but _obedience_. The need will not be the controlling thing.
It will move you tremendously; it will kindle a sweet fever in your heart,
a fever to help; it will take hold of your heart strings and play upon
them until you almost lose control. But it must not be allowed to control.
That belongs to Him alone.

The key-note is not need, nor service to meet the need, but obedience.
There is a Lord to the harvest. His plans are worked carefully out. He
takes Philip away from the crowded meetings in Samaria to talk with one
man. It was doubtless a strategic move to touch lives in Africa, as well
as to meet this one man's need. He feels the need more than you ever do or
can. His ears are keener, His heart more tender. He is in command. You do
as He bids. So you help most in meeting the need.

He Himself when down here left the crowds, when they were so great that
the towns were overwhelmed and they had to be taken out to the country
places. He would leave these crowds and go off quietly to get alone with
His Father.[63] All that tireless ministry was under the direction of
Another. He went off for close touch, and fresh consultation with His
Father.



The Father's Image in the Common Crowd.


Have you ever wondered what there was in those common crowds to attract
our Lord Jesus? Perhaps if you have ever walked in those narrow crowded
alleys called streets, in China or Japan, you may have wondered,
sometimes. Tired, dirty, pinched faces, eyes vacantly staring, or else
fired with low passion, high-keyed voices bickering and jangling,--all
this crowds in and out on every hand. Dirt, disease, low passion,
selfishness, apparent absence of anything noble or refined, are all
tangled inextricably up with these in human form.

And our Lord Jesus lived in an Oriental world. Is there any world quite
like it, except indeed it be the slums of our western world cities,
European and American? City slums seem to be our western point of contact
with the greater part of the eastern world. What was there to attract the
Lord Jesus to these crowds? Their need, you answer. Yes, no doubt, their
terrible need did move Him with compassion, to the hurting point.

But was there more than this? Something He said one time has made me
think there was something more, a pathetic, tremendous more, that took
hold of His heart. Could it be that He saw some lingering trace of the
Father's face in these faces? His eyes were very keen. He had seeing eyes.
And these men have all been made in the Father's image. Has that image
ever been wholly lost?--terribly blurred and scarred by sin, yes; but
wholly lost? Do you think so? I think not.

Those wondrous eyes of His looking into men's tired, pinched faces,
disfigured with passion or sorrow, or with sheer weariness of
existence--did He see something of the Father's face looking appealingly
up to be helped out of their sad plight? I wonder. Was it as though the
Father's face cried out to Him out of these poor beaten faces? I think so.
Do you remember that time when our Lord Jesus associated Himself so
closely with just such men and women, in talking of a coming day? He says
"inasmuch as ye did it to one of these My brethren, these least, ye did it
unto Me."[64] Listen to those words, "My brethren"! He is thinking of just
such crowds as He Himself ministered to, and as you find to-day in
Oriental city and in European and American slum. What is done for them is
done to Him. Their need is His need; their cry, His. It's Jesus coming to
us in these crowds. Their need is Jesus Himself appealing to us. And the
Jesus within us will answer with heart and life to this Jesus coming to
us in the pitiable need of the crowds.

I do not mean to use that word "pitiable" chiefly in the bodily sense,
though there's so much of that. But it has a deeper meaning. Here is this
fair young face turned to yours in the social group, here this strong
young man needing nothing that money can buy, but yet very needy, both of
them. In their young, eager faces the hidden away image, the
not-yet-touched-into-new-life image of the Father looks out asking for
help, help out into growth amidst so much that holds back. Inasmuch as
your light, tactful touch is given here, it is done unto Jesus. Jesus is
helped into the life, the God-image crowded back within is helped to get
out into free expression.

You may not be sent to some distant field as young Borden was. Your
personal place may be at home. But the crowd, the need, is everywhere; at
home, in the social circle, and among the men driven by the passion for
business and for pleasure, in this dangerously prosperous land of ours.
Need of body even here, and deeper need of spirit. Much more tact is
required, Spirit-born tact and patience and alertness, to touch and help
these.

But the Spirit will guide. He has a passion for men in their need. He has
exquisite tact in touching men under all circumstances. He will take
command of your life here as elsewhere. He will lead you into a life of
personal service in helping men. And He will lead you _in_ that service.
This is the Galilean Ministry which will work out in your experience as
the Holy Spirit has control. This is a bit of the "Follow Me" roadway.

These are the four experiences of power and privilege. They are as the
great underlying experiences of our Lord's career. The other experiences
grew up out of these. These were the warp threads in the loom of His life.
The others were woven into these. This is the main road that He trod. It
is the main road of this "Follow Me" journey. It is along this road,
between its beginning and end, that we shall run down into the valley-road
stretches, and run up to the stretches along the hilltops.



3. The Valleys--experiences of Suffering And Sacrifice



The Never-absent Minor.


Here the road begins to drop down into the valleys. It runs sharply down,
and on, through some wild gulches and ravines thick with lurking danger,
with the upper-lights almost lost in the deep black darkness. It is
darkness that can be felt more than the Egyptian darkness ever was. It
proves to be the valley of the shadow of death, then--of death itself,
before the upward turn comes.

The weaver we were speaking of finds some strange shuttle-threads to be
woven into the pattern, gray black, ugly black threads, and red threads
almost wet and sticky in their blood-like redness.

Yet this is part of the road that was trodden, and that is still waiting
to be trodden by feet sturdy and bold enough to go on down into the
shadows, before the upward turn is reached again. And these threads will
work out a rare beauty in the pattern being woven.

Is there perfect music without the underchording of the minor? Not to
human ears. For they are attuned to life as it has really come to be. And
the minor chord is in real life, never quite absent; and the minor chord
is in the true human heart, never wholly absent. And only the music with
the minor blended in is the real music of human life. Only it can play
upon the finest strings of the human heart.

But this sort of thing, the getting of beauty out of ugly threads, the
getting of music where there is discord, the upward turn again of the
valley road, all this is a bit of the touch of God upon life, where the
hurt of sin has come in. Only the Lord Jesus can make music where sin had
brought in and wrought out such discord. Only He can change the weaving
into beauty, where the ugly slimy sin-threads have come in. He can lead up
again out of the depths, but only He. His blood, Himself, is the thing
added that makes music where no melody had ever been a possible thing; and
gives the weaver's threads the transforming touch that works beauty where
there was only the ugly; and pulls you up again to the higher levels. The
good never comes out of bad. It comes only by something radically
different coming in and overcoming the bad.

In Seoul they showed us the great bell hung at the crossing of certain
chief streets there. And then they told us the bell's legend. In early
twilight times an artisan had made a great bell at the king's command, but
the tone of it was not pleasing to the royal ears. So a second one was
made, and a third, but neither was satisfactory. Then the king said that
if the man did not make a bell with pleasing tones his life should be
forfeited for his failure. This was very distressing for the poor
unfortunate bell-moulder.

His daughter, a young girl in her teens, either had a vision, or felt
within herself that a sacrifice was the thing needful to give the bell its
true tone. And so she resolved to give herself to save her father, and
with rare fortitude one night she plunged into the great pot of molten
metal. And the tone of the bell was so sweet and musical that the king was
delighted. And the maker, instead of being killed, was highly honoured. So
ran the simple bit of Korean folklore.

We ran across legends quite like it in other parts of the Orient. They all
seemed to point, with other similar evidence, to the feeling deep down in
human consciousness of the need of sacrifice. Is it a bit of an innate
instinct in our common human nature, that only through sacrifice can the
hurt of life be healed? However this be, it certainly is true, that the
touch of Him who gave His life clear out for men, that touch is the thing,
and the only thing, that can make music where there was only discord. It
is only His pierced hand upon weaver and web that touches ugly threads
into beauty as they are woven into the fabric of life. Only He can lead us
up out of the valley of death up to the road of life along the high
hilltops.



The Wilderness.


You remember, there were four experiences of suffering and sacrifice in
our Lord Jesus' life. The first of these was _the Wilderness Temptation_.
That rough road He took led straight to and through a wilderness. He was
tempted. He was tempted like as we are. He was tempted more cunningly and
stormily than we ever have been.

It was a pitched battle, planned for carefully, and fought with all the
desperateness of the Evil One at bay against overwhelming forces. It was
planned by the Holy Spirit, and fought out by our Lord in the Spirit's
strength. For forty full lone days it ran its terrific course. But our
Lord's line of defence never flinched. The Wilderness and Waterloo, those
two terrific matchings of strength, the one of the spirit, the other of
the physical, both were fought out on the same lines. Wellington's only
plan for that battle was to _stand_, to resist every attempt to break his
lines all that fateful day. The French did the attacking all day, until
Wellington's famous charge came at its close.

Our Lord Jesus' only plan for the Wilderness battle was to _stand_, having
done all to stand, to resist every effort to move Him a hair's breadth
from His position. That battle brought Him great suffering; it took, and
it tested, all His strength of discernment, and decision, of determined
set persistence, and of dependent, deep-breathed praying. And through
these the gracious power of the Spirit worked, and so the victory, full
joyous victory, came.

Now it comes as a surprise to some of us to find that the "Follow Me" road
leads straight to the same Wilderness. No, it is not just the same, none
of these experiences mean as much to us as they did to Him. They are
always less. But then they mean everything to us! We will be tempted. So
surely as one sets himself to follow the blessed Master, there's one thing
he can always count upon--temptation. Sooner or later it will come,
usually sooner and later. So the Evil One serves notice to contest our
allegiance to the new Master.

The tempter sees to it that you are tempted. That belongs to his side of
the conflict. And quickly and skilfully, and with good heart he goes at
his task. Through the weak or evil impulses and desires within us, and
through every avenue without, those dearest to us, and every other, he
will begin and continue his cunning approaches. It is well to understand
this clearly, and so be ready. The closer you follow this Man ahead, the
more, and the more surely, will you be tempted. It is one of the things
you can count on--temptation.

But, steady there, steady! the tempter can't go a step beyond attacking,
without your help. He can't make a single break in your lines from
without. The only knob to the door of your life is on the _inside_.
Temptation never gets in without help from within. I have said that the
Wilderness spelled two words for our Lord Jesus, temptation _and_ victory.
We may use His spelling if we will. A temptation is a chance for a
victory. Begin singing when temptation comes; out of it, resisted, comes a
new steadiness in step, and a new confidence in the victorious Man of the
Wilderness.[65]

But let me tell you _how_ the victory comes. It comes through our Lord
Jesus. And it comes by His working _through your decision_ to resist to
the last ditch.



"Lead Us Not."


The Lord Jesus gave us two special temptation prayers to make. The one is:
"Lead us not into temptation."[66] That petition has been a practical
puzzle to many of us, and the explanations not always quite clear. Would
God lead us into temptation? we instinctively ask. And the answer seems to
be both "yes" and "no."

The "yes" means that character can come only through right choice. We must
decide what our attitude toward wrong shall be. It is only temptation
resisted that makes the beginnings of strength. Before temptation comes
there may be innocence but never virtue. Innocence resisting temptation
becomes virtue. The temptation is the intense fire in which the raw iron
of innocence changes into the toughened, tempered steel of virtue. It is
essential to character that it resist the wrong. It is choice that makes
character. The angels in the presence of God are continually choosing to
remain loyal to Him. Choice includes choosing not to choose the evil, to
refuse it. Adam was tempted; the temptation was bad, only bad; but it
could have been made an opportunity to rise up into newness of strength.
Job was led into temptation, and he failed when the fires grew in heat,
and touched him close enough; and then he learned new dependence on God
alone instead of on his own integrity.

That's the "yes" side of the answer. We must decide what we will do with
evil. The presence of evil forces choice upon us. The one thing God longs
for is our choice, free and full choice. Freedom of choice is the image of
God in which every man is made. We are like Him in _power_, in the right
to choose; we become like Him in _character_ when we choose only the
right. God would lead us into opportunity for the choice on which
everything else hinges. The prayer says: "Lead us not into temptation."
The prayer becomes the choice. It reveals the decision of your heart. The
man who thoughtfully makes the prayer makes the choice.

And with that goes the "no" side. Certainly God would not lead us into the
temptation to do wrong.[67] And so He has made a way--it's a new way since
our Lord Jesus was here--a way by which we can have the full opportunity
for choice, and yet be sure of always choosing the right, and so growing
into His image in character. To pray, "Lead us not into temptation," is
practically saying, "I will go as Thou leadest. Lead me. I am willing to
be led. I was not ever thus, nor _prayed_ that Thou shouldst lead me on. I
loved to choose and see my path, but now--but now, lead _Thou_ me on. Here
I am, willing to be led. I put out my hands for Thee to grasp and lead
where Thou wilt. I'll sing, 'Where He may Lead, I'll Follow." This is the
only safe road through the Wilderness. We yield wholly to His control.

May I say reverently, this was the way our Lord entered and passed through
the Wilderness, wholly under the control of Another--the Holy Spirit. He
chose to yield to that control. The Spirit acted through His yielding
consent, and flooded in the power that brought the victory. Even He in His
purity needs so to do. How much more we in our absence of purity, and so
absence of strength. "Lead us not" means practically, that we get in
behind this victorious Lord Jesus. We refuse to go alone.

The Wilderness spells only defeat for the man who goes alone. We must
yield wholly to this great lone Man who went before. We lean upon Him. We
trust Him as Saviour from the sin that temptation yielded to has already
brought. We will trust His lead wholly now as temptation comes. We will
stick close and be wholly pliant in His hands. This is the first
temptation prayer our Lord gives us. It means our utter surrender to His
leadership.

Then there is a second prayer for temptation use: "Watch and pray that ye
_enter not_ into temptation."[68] This goes with the other. It is the
partner prayer. Be ever on the watch, and pray, that you may not _enter_
into temptation. Guard prayerfully against acting independently of your
Leader. Watch against the temptation. Watch yourself lest you be inclined
to go off alone, to break away from His lead. For there will be only one
result then, defeat. These two prayers together show the way to turn
temptation into victory,--"lead not," "enter not." A temptation is a
chance for a victory if you never meet it alone, but always under the lead
of the great Victor of the Wilderness.

Then it may help to put the thing in another way. There are two steps in
victory over temptation. The first is recognition. To recognize that the
thing coming for decision is a temptation to something wrong,--that's the
first step in victory. It pushes the temptation out into the open. You say
plainly, "This is something to be resisted." The second step as you set
yourself to resist is to plead the blood of the Lord Jesus. That means
pleading His victory over the tempter. That's the getting in behind Him
and depending wholly upon Him.

"Follow Me" takes us into the Wilderness, and leads us into victory there.
There we will learn more about prayer, and music, and the Master, and get
new strength and courage on this stretch of the valley road.



Gethsemane.


At the farther extreme of the service years, there came to the Lord Jesus
the other three of these dark experiences, all three close together. On
the night of the betrayal came _the Gethsemane Agony_. That was a very
full evening. Around the supper table they had gathered and talked, and
the Lord Jesus had made His last, tender but fruitless effort to touch
Judas' heart by touching his feet. There was the long quiet heart-talk in
the supper room after Judas had gone out, "and it was night" for poor
Judas.[69]

Then the talk continued as they walked across the city within view of the
great brass vine on Herod's temple, so beautiful in the light of the full
moon. And then, as they walk through the narrow, shadowed streets, the
shadows come into the Lord Jesus' spirit and words.[70] Now they are
outside the wall of the city, out in the open, under the blue, and with
upturned face, the great pleading prayer is breathed out.[71] Now they are
across the Kidron, and now in among the shadows of the huge olive trees of
the garden called Gethsemane.

It's quite dark and late. He leaves the disciples to rest under the
trees, and with the inner three He pushes a bit farther on. And now He
pushes on quite alone in the farther lone recesses of the woods. And now
the intensity of His spirit bends His body as He kneels, then is
prostrate. And the agony is upon Him. He is fighting out the battle of the
morrow. He is sinless, but on the morrow He is to get under the load of a
world's sin; no, it was yet more than that, He was to be Himself reckoned
and dealt with as sin itself. All the horror of that broke upon Him under
those trees, more intensely than it had yet. The brightness of the full
moon made the shadows of the trees very dark and black, but they seemed as
nothing to this awful inky black shadow of the sin load that would come,
no longer in shadow but actually, on the morrow.

The agony of it is upon Him as He falls prostrate on the ground, under the
tense strain of spirit. Out of the struggle a bit of prayer reaches our
awed ears, "_If it be possible_ let this cup pass away from Me; yet not as
I will, but as Thou wilt." And so tense is the strain that an angel comes
to strengthen. With what reverent touch must he have given his help. Even
after that the great drops of bloody sweat came. But now a calmer mood
comes. The look full in the face of what was coming, the realizing more
clearly how the Father's plan must work out, these help to steady Him.
Again a bit of prayer is heard, "Since this cannot pass away; since only
so can Thy plan for the world be accomplished Thy--will--be--done." The
load of the world's sin almost broke His heart that dark night under the
olives. It actually did break His heart on the morrow. This is the meaning
of Gethsemane, intense suffering of spirit because of the sin of others.

And at first thought you say, surely there can be no following for any of
us in this sore lonely experience of His. And there cannot. He was alone
there as on the morrow. None of us can go through what He went through
there. For, it was _for us_, and for our sin that He went through it. And
yet there _is_ a following, if different in degree and in depth of
meaning, yet a very real following. While Gethsemane stands a lone
experience for Jesus, yet there will be _a_ Gethsemane for him who follows
fully where He asks us to go.

There will be a real suffering of spirit because of the sin of others. We
will see the world around us through those pure, seeing eyes of His. We
will _feel_ the ravages of sin in those we touch, with something of the
feeling of His heart. Close walking with Christ brings pain and it will
bring it more, and more acutely. We will see sin as He does, in part. We
will feel with our fellow-men toiling in its grip and snare as He did, in
part. There will be sore suffering of spirit. This is the Gethsemane
experience, and it will not grow less but more.

    "'O God,' I cried, 'why may I not forget?
    These halt and hurt in life's hard battle
        Throng me yet.
    Am I their keeper? Only I? To bear
    This constant burden of their grief and care?
    Why must I suffer for the others' sin?
    Would God my eyes had never opened been!'

    And the Thorn-crowned and Patient One
    Replied, '_They thronged Me too. I too have seen_.'

    'But, Lord, Thy other children go at will,'
        I said, protesting still.
    'They go, unheeding. But these sick and sad,
    These blind and orphan, yea and those that sin
    Drag at my heart. For them I serve and groan.
    Why is it? Let me rest, Lord. I _have_ tried--'

    He turned and looked at me:
        '_But I have died_!'

    'But, Lord, this ceaseless travail of my soul!
    This stress! This often fruitless toil
    These souls to win!
    They are not mine. I brought not forth this host
    Of needy creatures, struggling, tempest-tossed--
        They are not _mine_.'

    He looked at them--the look of One divine;
    He turned and looked at me. '_But they are mine_!'

    'O God, I said, 'I understand at last.
    Forgive! And henceforth I will bond-slave be
    To thy least, weakest, vilest ones;
    I would not more be free.'

    He smiled and said,
        '_It is to me_.'"[72]

The word Gethsemane has not been used accurately sometimes. And it is not
good that it is so, for it keeps us from appreciating what the real
meaning is. In poetry and otherwise it has been used for some great
experience of sorrow in which the soul has struggled alone. But there are
two things in the Gethsemane experience that give it a meaning quite
different from such. The Gethsemane sorrow is on account of the sin of
others, _and_ it comes to us through our own consent, of our own action.
We need not go through the Gethsemane experience save as we make the
choice that comes to include this. It is only as we _choose_ to follow
fully, close up to His bleeding side, where the Lord Jesus is leading,
that this experience of pain will come.

Moses knew what this meant. As he came from the presence of God in the
mount the sin of the people seemed so terrible, that the fear that
possibly it could not be forgiven unless he made some sacrifice sweeps
over him and came out as a great sob.[73] The sight of their sin brought
sorest pain to his spirit. Paul tells us there was a continual cutting of
a knife at his heart because of his racial kinsfolk, their sin, their
stubbornness in sin, the awful blight upon their lives.[74] There was
sore, lone, unspeakable pain of spirit because he felt so keenly the sin
of others. This is the Gethsemane experience. Have you felt something like
this as you have come in touch with the sin, the blighted lives, the
wreckage of lives among both poor and rich, lower class and better? You
will if you follow where He leads.



Calvary.


Then came the morrow. _The experience of Calvary_ came hard on the heels
of Gethsemane. The pain of spirit became both pain of body and pain of
spirit, intensified clear beyond what the night before had anticipated.
How shall I trust myself to speak of that morrow, or you to listen? Yet,
let us hold still, and, for a great purpose, look at it again, if only for
a moment, that the meaning of it, the flame of it may take fresh hold, and
consume us anew.

Gethsemane was followed by a sleepless night, while bitter hate brought
its utmost iniquity and persistence to hound this Man to death. Nine, of
the next morning, found Him hanging, nailed on the cross, crowned with the
cruel mocking thorn crown. From nine till three He hung, while the strange
darkness came down over all nature from noon till three, the blackness of
midnight shutting out the brightness of noon. The Father's presence was
withdrawn. This tells the bitterness of the cross for Jesus as does
nothing else.

It was out of a breaking heart that the cry was wrung, "My God, My God,
why didst _Thou_ forsake Me?" When you can penetrate that darkness you may
be able to tell how really Jesus took our place, and suffered as sin for
us,--not before. Then with a great shout of victory He gave up His life.
His great heart broke. He died. He died literally of a broken heart. The
walls of that muscle were burst asunder by the terrific strain on His
spirit.

_He died for us_. He who so easily held off the murderous mob with their
stones, now holds Himself to that cross,--_for us_. This is the Calvary
experience. It can be felt, but never explained fully; words fail. It can
be yielded to until our hearts are melted to sobs, but never fully told in
its tenderness and strength to others. It can bring us down on knees and
face at His feet as His love-slaves for ever,--so is its story best told
to others. That breaking heart breaks ours. That pierced side pierces
through all our stubborn resistance. That face haunts us. Its scars tell
of sin, ours. Its patient eyes tell of love, His. Was there ever such sin?
Was there ever such love? Was there ever such a meeting of sin and purity,
of love and hate, of God's best and Satan's worst?

Surely there can be no following _here_! And, strange to say, the answer
is both a "no," with a double underscoring of emphasis, and a "yes," that
will come to have a like emphatic underlining. _No_, there can be no
following. Here, He is the Lone Man who went before. And He remains the
Lone Man in what He did, and in the extent of His suffering. There is only
one Calvary. There was only the One whose death could settle the sin score
for us men. It is only by His death for our sin that there is any way out
of our sore plight of sin, and sin's own result. There the Lord Jesus did
something that had to be done, for the Father's sake; there He broke the
slavery of our sin; there He broke our hearts by His love. There He stands
utterly alone in what He did. Calvary has no duplicate, nor ever can have.
That is the emphatic "no" side of the answer. There can be no following on
that road.

And yet,--and yet, there can be. There is a "yes" side to the true, full
answer. There will be a Calvary experience for every one who really
follows. His was _the_ Calvary experience, ours is _a_ Calvary experience.
It does not mean what His meant for the world. But it enters into the
marrow of our very being, and means everything to us. It means that as I
really follow there will come to me experiences of sacrifice that will
take the very life of my life--_if_ I do not pull back, but persist on
following the beckoning hand. And it means too, that there will be in a
secondary, a minor sense, a redemptive value in my suffering. That
suffering will be a real thing in completing the work of some man's
redemption.

Listen to Paul. He has been writing to the Corinthian Christians in much
detail, of the suffering he has been going through of both body and
spirit, and then he adds, "_so then death working in me worketh life in
you_."[75] The same thought underlies that wonderful bit of tender,
tactful pleading in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of the same letter.
The same thing is put in a rather startling way in the epistle to the
Colossians,[76] "I ... fill up on my part, in my flesh, _that which is
lacking_ of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the
Church."

This fits in with the thought in that word "began" in the beginning of the
book of Acts.[77] In a very real sense our Lord depends upon our faithful
following to supplement among men the great thing which only He could do.
Paul knew _a_ Calvary experience, and Peter and John, and so has, and
will, every one who follows the pierced hand that beckons. Ask Horace
Tracey Pitkin at Paotingfu if he understands this. And the China soil wet
with his blood gives answer, and so do the lives of those who were won to
Christ through such suffering throughout China. Ask David Livingstone away
in the inner heart of Africa, and those whom no man can number in every
nation, who have known this sort of thing by a bitter, sweet experience,
some by violence, some by the yet more difficult daily giving out of the
life in hidden away corners.



The Underground Road.


And hard following this came _the Burial in Joseph's Tomb_. "Christ died
for our sins and ... He was buried."[78] "Joseph took the body, ... and
laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock, and he
rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb."[79] "The chief priests and
the Pharisees ... went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone,
the guard (of Roman soldiers) being with them."[80]

Out of that sealed tomb comes with the emphasis of action, the emphasis of
death, this word, "except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die,
it abideth by itself alone."[81] The only pathway of life is the
underground road. For our Lord, Joseph's tomb made the death clear beyond
doubt. The tomb was the climax of the death. He was dead and buried. For
him who follows it means this, _a burial clear out of sight in the soil of
the need of men's lives_. He who simply gets in behind and faithfully
follows will find himself actually being buried in the needs of men. And
only where there is such a burial can there come resurrection power into
the life.

I remember a friend in Philadelphia, a young man who resigned an
influential position to go out as a missionary in India. And another
friend not at all in sympathy remarked sneeringly in my hearing, "He's
gone to bury himself in India." He spoke more aptly than he knew. The
years since have told what a blessed burial that was. For scores of lives
in Southern India have known the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus
through his service.

Do you remember when the Greeks came to Philip with their great plea,
"Sir, we would see Jesus"?[82] Whether really from Greece, or
Greek-speaking people from elsewhere, or simply non-Jewish people, they
represented the outer, non-Jewish world coming to Jesus. The Jew door was
slammed violently in His face, but here was the great outer-world door
opening. And He had come to a world! But instantly, across the vision so
attractive to His eyes, there came another vision, never absent from His
spirit those last weeks, the vision black and forbidding, of _a cross_.
And He knew that only through this vision of a cross could the vision of a
world coming be realized. And out of the sore stress of spirit, that for a
few brief moments shook Him, came the quietly spoken, tense words, "Except
a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone."

The road to Greece is not over the sea here to the west, not the overland
caravan route up north through Asia Minor; it is the road down through
Joseph's tomb. That was true for Him. It was by that road that He so
marvellously reached the Greeks and all the world. And this is true for
us. It is only by this road that we can reach out to the crowds with the
reach-in that touches heart and life.

These are the four experiences of suffering and sacrifice. This is the
dip-down in the "Follow Me" road where it runs through a darkly shadowed
valley. These are the dark and red shuttle-threads being woven into the
web, by repeated sharp blows of the batten-beam. These are the minor
chords that, coming up through the strains of music, give a peculiar
sweetness to it.



What Is Sacrifice?


Now you will note that the chief thing in all this is _sacrifice_. The
chief thing in all of our Lord's life, clear from Bethlehem to Calvary and
the tomb, was sacrifice. It runs ever throughout; it finds its tremendous
climax in the cross. And the word to put in here in quietest tone--the
quietest is tensest, and goes in deepest--the word is this: _Following
means sacrifice_. It means sacrifice as really for the follower as for the
Lone Man ahead.

That word "sacrifice" has practically been dropped out of the dictionary
of the Christian Church of the western world. It has not been wholly lost.
There is much real sacrifice, no doubt, under the surface. But, in the
main, it is one of the lost words in our generation of the Church. We are
rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing that we cannot
provide by the lavish use of money; so we think. And the loss of that word
explains the loss from our working dictionaries of another word, _power_.
For the two words always go together.

But please note what sacrifice means. For we may get confused in the use
of words, and like the Hebrews in Isaiah's day call things by the wrong
names.[83] Sacrifice does not merely mean suffering, though there may be
much suffering included in it. But there may be suffering where there is
no sacrifice. It does not mean privation, though there may be real painful
privation in it. But again there may be much privation and pain without
any element of sacrifice entering in.

The heart of sacrifice is that it is voluntary, and that it really costs
you something. It is something that would not come to you unless you
decide to let it come. It is wholly within your power to keep it away, and
it brings with it real pain or cost of some kind. Sacrifice means doing
something, or doing without something, that so help may come to another,
even though it costs you some real personal suffering of spirit, or of
body, or both, or lack of what you should have and would enjoy.

And please note that sacrifice is _not_ the key-note of the "Follow Me"
life. We are not to seek for sacrifice. Perhaps that is quite a needless
remark. We are not likely to seek for it. No one loves a cross any more
than did Peter, when he had the hardiness to rebuke his Master.[84] And
yet we remember those earnest souls in earlier times, who shut themselves
up behind monastic walls, and inflicted pain upon themselves by privation
and by bodily self-infliction. And we cannot help admiring their
earnestness and saintliness, even while we see how morbid was their
conception of life, and how completely they got the true order reversed.
And there can be found some here and there, among us to-day, with the same
idea.

But the key-note of the true life is not sacrifice. It is obedience.
Sacrifice is something coming in the pathway of obedience. There come the
places and times where you cannot obey without making a sacrifice.
Obedience involves sacrifice. And the sacrifice may be of the very real,
cutting, hurting sort, personally. The whole instinct of one's being is
against it. This seems to be carrying things quite too far, we think. And
so the test is on. The sacrifice is not sought. It is shrunk from with all
the vigour of one's nature. Obedience means that you go steadily on, no
matter how it cuts, or how much it costs.

And the motive under the obedience is usually the decisive thing. If that
motive be a personal passion for the Lord Jesus, then you only wait long
enough to be quite clear of His leading, of what He would have you do. And
then you go on, regardless of the personal loss or pain to yourself. The
key-note of the "Follow Me" music is obedience, simple, sane, poised, full
obedience.



How Much It Cost God.


One day out in Illinois, while visiting a small church college, I was told
this story of one of the students. He had felt very deeply the need of the
foreign mission lands, and the plea being made for men to volunteer to go
out as missionaries. And after much thought and prayer he had decided to
volunteer. But he felt he must first get his mother's consent. So he wrote
of his purpose and asked if she were willing that he should go. In due
time the reply came back. It was a mother's letter to her son, full of a
mother's endearments. But the paper was marked with tear-stains. She gave
her consent. She said, "I'm glad my boy wants to go, and I'm glad to have
you go, but"--and here the writing was blurred with the teardrops that had
plainly fallen as she wrote--"_I never knew before how much it cost God to
give His Son_."

There was the whole story of sacrifice as it came to that mother. There
was the sore need of the people in foreign lands for the Gospel of Christ.
That need had not been met. The need in its sore pressure had become an
emergency, largely an unappreciated emergency. The tragedy of an unmet
emergency had moved the son's heart to action, under the touch of the Holy
Spirit, and then it came to the mother's heart. The decision rested with
her. Her inner heart told her the Master's desire. She obeyed, with
exquisite pain in her heart over the separation, maybe separation for
life, from her son. The key-note is obedience, even though it may mean
cutting pain.

The whole test of love and of life is in sacrifice yielded to as the need
may come. In God's first plan of life there is no sacrifice. God never
chooses sacrifice as His first choice for any one, not even for His Son.
But sin is here, an abnormal, foreign thing. Life is shot through and
through with its ugly markings. You can't go a foot's length down the
pathway of obedience without finding the keen edge of a knife, freshly
sharpened, held across the path with its cutting edge toward you,
challenging your advance, doing its utmost to hold you back.

And only as the breast is bared to the cutting until a bit of your red
life stains the knife, only so can there be any of the power of God in, or
through, or out of, your life. But turn that sentence around, and smile in
your heart as you remember this, as you do push quietly on past the
cutting knife, and say never a word about the knife or the sharp pain--the
best folks never talk about their sacrifices, they are too intent on the
Man just ahead,--as a man so does, there come into his life a fire and a
fragrance that burns and breathes out wherever he goes.

It is sin that makes sacrifice. Sin did the carpenter work on the cross,
our sin. Sin grew the thorns, and then served as weaver to make the
mocking, cutting crown--our sin, yours and mine. Love yields to the
sacrifice, His love for us, His love in us for the others. Sin is
everywhere. Its finger-print is in nature, and its scar on human life. And
sin's ravages make cruel need, and need intensified makes emergency, and
these involve sacrifice as we rise to meet need and emergency.

And love is everywhere. That is, it would be, it will be, if it can find
human feet to carry it. It will be if our Lord may have His way. Sacrifice
is Love's healing shadow. Sacrifice is love giving the oil and wine of its
own life to bind up the wounds that sin has made. The "Follow Me" road is
marked red, so you trace His footprints who went ahead, and theirs who
follow.



What Obedience Has Meant for Some.


But, no one can decide for another what obedience may mean for him. You
may not tell me, nor I you. It is intensely interesting to note what
obedience has meant to some. It led Paul to give up inheritance and family
prestige, social standing, fellowship in university circles, a home life
of scholarly quiet and research, and to be reproached and ostracized, to
be homeless having no certain abiding place, dependent on his own hands
for daily bread, as he went burning like a flame from end to end of the
Roman world. And at the end it meant a prison, and block and axe.

I met a rare Christian nobleman in London, of an old, honoured family, of
whom a friend told me this. This nobleman had a large inheritance. Among
other things a certain estate. He felt led to place the estate on the
market, get the best possible return for it, and then with his shrewd
business sense, prayerfully to place the proceeds where he felt they would
help best the cause of Christ. And to a friend who expressed appreciation
and approval of such unusual action, he quietly said, "I want no praise
for this; if the poor Jew had to give one-tenth, surely a rich Christian
can do very much more." That was what obedience, at that point, meant to
him.

I knew a Canadian woman who had been led to a higher level in her
Christian life. A friend put into her hands a bit of manuscript, to which
she had access, thinking it would help her in her new life. The manuscript
was read, and returned through the friend to its writer. He had intended
having it published with some others, if a publisher could be found
willing to accept it. Then he had felt that he would do nothing with it
until very clear leading came. He did not want to do anything, except as
he was led. If the Master wanted to use the writing, it was there if He
chose to give the word for its use.

Sometime after as the woman was busy with her nursing work she was on
night duty, and had her quiet time in an interval of the night's round. As
she was reading her Bible and praying, she said, "A voice said to me very
quietly, 'Send Mr. Blank twenty-five dollars to publish ----'" [naming
the title of the article she had read]. Twenty-five dollars taken out of
her frugal savings would leave quite a hole. But the impression that came
with the message was unmistakable. And so the money was sent. And it was
received by the writer of the manuscript as the Master's answer for which
he had been waiting. And that was the beginning of some little books whose
messages have been graciously used to bring help to many lives. Her bit of
obedience was a link in the chain, and so a bit of her life is in the
printed messages the Master has been using. The tracing of red was on the
gold, and on the messages sent out. That was what obedience meant that
time to her. And obedience usually has its hardest time when its struggle
is over a bit of gold.

A friend took us driving one day up in Scotland, and told this story as we
passed through a beautiful estate. A few generations back it belonged to
one who followed fully. And in response to the clear inner leading the
estate was sold, and the proceeds used in sending the message of a
crucified, risen Christ, out to the farther ends of the earth.

It was at the same time that a like incident came personally to me of
another Scottish friend of our Lord Jesus. The beckoning call was so
distinct, and the answering need so clear in its echo, that he planned a
moderate annuity for the remainder of his life, and loosed out all the
rest of his wealth on the same sort of errand. I do not say you should do
something of this sort. And you may not tell me what I shall do. Only the
Master has that privilege. But we can urge each other to have trained
ears, and soft heart, and obedient will; ears for what the Master is
saying, a heart softened by the warmth of His, a will gladly obedient to
His slightest wish.



Necessity--Luxury.


And our Lord Jesus speaks very distinctly, though so quietly. His meaning
is unmistakably plain to listening ears. He is quite apt to take you off
for a little walk and talk. What kind of a house do you live in? What
proportion of your income do you spend on yourself? What is in those
safety-deposit boxes? How much would it mean to Him if your signature at
the bottom of legal papers put some property at His disposal? Take a look
through your wardrobe; who and what controls there? No, I'm not talking
about money, nor about missions, only about a personal passion for the
Lord Jesus, and about the passion _in_ Him for His world.

"But," you say to yourself, "there's danger of going to extremes here, is
there not?" Yes, there is; you are quite right. Extremes are bad, we
should be on our guard against them. There is nothing more desirable in
these days than sane, poised judgment, a sound mind. And be it keenly
marked that the man who is really swayed by the Holy Spirit is peculiarly
a sane, well-balanced man. That is one mark of the Spirit's presence.

Yet there's more to be said. _Our Lord Jesus went to extremes_. He went to
a great extreme on the cross, did He not? Is there any extreme like that
of Gethsemane? and Calvary? It is because He went to such extremes, and
the West knows about it, that the West is so radically different from the
East, and that you and I are redeemed from the slavery of sin, with a
sweet peace in our hearts, and so much happiness in our lives.

The distressing thing is that there is so much of going to extremes. Go
through the Christian homes of the western world to-day, and you find home
appointments, wardrobes, safety-deposit boxes, bank books, title deeds,
all spelling out one word, spelled in capital letters, EXTREMES. But that
key-note, named several times already, gives the only safe
way--_obedience_. We need to be on our guard, not so much lest we go to
extremes at either extreme, but that we _obey_ our Lord Jesus. That, and
that only, leads to the wise, well-balanced judgment and action. Obedience
to Him means true sanity.

Where do you draw the deciding line between necessity and luxury? How do
you define those two words? What is necessity? And what is luxury? Simple
definitions help much in getting clear ideas. The dictionary says, a
necessity is something you must have. And a luxury, in its root meaning,
is an extravagance, something "wandering beyond the proper boundary." The
trouble is to know how to draw the line when it comes to one's own
affairs. There is such a big difference between what you want and what you
need. And often we don't want to go into such distinctions. They might
bother our consciences a bit. It seems difficult to keep one's poise in
such things. Some godly people go to extremes in not providing
sufficiently for real needs. Most of us go to the other extreme. Where
does the true dividing line come in?

Well, I think you can say truly that _whatever keeps up and adds to your
strength_ can properly be called _a necessity_. All beyond that line is
luxury. It is the part of wisdom to provide carefully and well for
necessities. Luxury is _bad_, for it really saps our strength. It makes a
man less vigorous in every way. And yet more can be said. The question of
need comes in. Luxury is wrong because of the crying need of men for what
the money spent in luxury would bring to them. I think chiefly now of the
need of their lives for what can come only through a knowledge of Christ.
The bitter cry of the common people against Louis XVI, at the time of the
French Revolution, was that the royal family lived on the costliest
delicacies while many of the common people were actually starving. They
thought that was the chief crime to be expiated at the guillotine.

What is necessary for one's strength moves on a sliding scale. As years
come, and the sort of work one does and his strength change, his needs
increase. What might at one time have been reckoned luxury is now a real
necessity for his best strength and work. _Whatever ministers to one's
strength is a necessity_. All above this becomes luxury, and so is both
hurtful to strength, and wrong in itself.

A missionary returning to his home-land, on furlough, noted on his first
return home that what had been considered luxuries before he left, were
now reckoned necessities; on his second furlough he noted again that what
had been reckoned luxury on his first return was now counted necessity.
And each return home found this condition repeating itself.

It reminded me of the experience of Sir John Franklin in one of his Arctic
explorations. His ship was hemmed in by an ice-field so that progress was
impossible. All he could do was to calculate his longitude and latitude,
and wait. The next day he was still hemmed in, and so far as he could see,
was exactly where he had been on the previous day. But on calculating
longitude and latitude again, he was surprised to find that the ship had
drifted several miles backward from the position of the previous day.

It would be a sensible thing for us to make frequent calculations, and
find out where we are, and prayerfully steer a changed course if we've
been drifting. But we can't decide such questions for each other, and they
can't be decided by what another does. They can only be decided alone on
one's knees with the Master, with the Book, and perhaps a map of the world
at hand. We need both the Word of God, and a view of the world of God to
shape our judgment. No, it's not a question of money primarily, nor of
missions, only of personal loyalty to our Lord Jesus, and to the passion
of His heart.



Grafted.


Have you noticed the significance of that word "abide" which our Lord used
on the night of His betrayal?[85] "Abide" means a grafting process; we
were branches in the vine, but we were broken off by sin. The only way to
abide in that vine is by being grafted in. "Abide" means grafted. But the
grafting process has two wounds. It means a knife used twice. It means a
wound in the vine-stock, and our Master flinched not there. It means
likewise a wound in the branch to be grafted in. Just as surely as the
knife must make the incision into the stock, it must also cut the end of
the branch before it can be grafted in. Our Master flinched not. How about
you and me when it comes to the knife, with its sharp cutting edge, and
slash and sting?

Perhaps this explains why there's so little life, so little sap-flow, so
little fruit. If you follow along the narrow road your progress is sure
to be barred by a knife thrust out across the path. And the whole
instinct of our nature is to shrink from the knife. The sacrificial knife
becomes the pruning, the grafting knife. There can be no life without that
knife. Failure to obey cuts off the supply of life.

I became greatly interested in a young man whom I met in Japan. He comes
of a noble, wealthy family. He attended a mission school to study English,
learned to read the Bible, became intensely interested, and then decided
to become a Christian. But his family was violently opposed, and pleaded
earnestly with him. He would in time be the head of his family, but if he
insisted now on being a Christian he would be disowned. He was to be
trained in the Imperial University, and could have chosen a public
national career including the probability of membership in the Imperial
diet, but he remained true to his decision. And he was disowned in
disgrace, cast adrift without a cent. Now he is devoting himself to
mission work in the city where I met him, working among the neediest and
lowest. I was told that the police gladly say that his mission has greater
power than they in preserving order in that worst quarter of the city.

The night I stood by his side, speaking through his interpretation, a
Japanese policeman dragged up a couple of youths who had been giving
trouble, and pushed them in, saying, "Here's the place for you; now listen
to that." And I have never been in a simple service where the quiet
intense power of God was more marked. This is what obedience meant to him.
And this too is what abiding meant. He yielded to the grafting knife, and
the life of the vine-stock came flowing freely through, bearing abundant
fruit.

A few years ago I read a simple story in "The Sunday-school Times" that
brought a lump in my throat. The writer told of a south-bound train
stopping at a station near Washington City. At the last moment, an old
negro with white hair came hurriedly forward and clambered on the last
coach as the train pulled out. He was very black, and very dusty, and
single occupants of seats looked apprehensive as he shuffled along looking
for a seat. But he did not offer to intrude, but stood at the end of the
car, looking with big wondering eyes down the car. He was evidently very
tired. Then a young man offered him space in his seat, for which he seemed
very grateful, and with child-like simplicity began talking.

He was going back home "to Georgy"; had been up in Virginia for years with
the rare old slave loyalty serving his old master between times, while
earning his own way. Now his master was dead and he was going back down to
the old home state, "back to Georgy," and the words came softly, while his
hand tenderly patted the seat cushion. Clearly Georgia was the acme of
happiness and content for him. As the train boy came through, the young
man bought some sandwiches for the old negro. He was very grateful. Yes,
he _was_ hungry, and had walked several miles to get the train. He
couldn't spend money for "victuals"; "money's too skase fur buying things
on the road," he said, "I was 'lowin' ter fill up arter I done reach
Georgy."

Then the conductor came in for tickets. The black man anxiously fumbled
through one pocket after another, and finally remembered that his ticket
was pinned to the lining of his hat. "Done tuk ebery cent I could scrape
up to get dat ticket," he said, "but dat's all right. I kin wuk, an' fo'ks
don' need money when dey's home." The conductor had passed on to the next
seat behind. There sat a shabbily dressed woman, with anxious,
frightened-looking face, the seat full of bundles and a pale-faced baby in
arms.

"Tickets, please."

The woman's face flushed red, and then grew white and set, as she said, "I
haven't any."

"Have to get off then; save me the trouble of putting you off."

The woman sprang up with terror in her big eyes, "Don't put me off; my
husband's dying; the doctor said he must go South; we've sold everything
left to send him; now he's dying; I must go to him. But I have no money,
don't put me off. My God--my God--if you--" Her plea poured out in
excited, jerky sentences. But the conductor could do nothing. He must obey
his instructions, or be discharged. The woman sank back sobbing, in the
seat. The conductor turned back to get the old negro's ticket.

"I'se feared you'll have to put _me_ off, boss," he said humbly, "don't
expect a pore ole nigger like me to raise enuf fur a ticket." The
conductor harshly ordered him off the train at the next station, saying
there was some excuse for the poor woman, but none for him. The train
began to slow up for the station. The old negro quietly dropped his ticket
into the lap of the woman, saying, "Here's yo' ticket, missus. I do hopes
yo' find dat husban' o' yourn ain' so bad as yo'se afeared." And before
her dazed eyes could take in what he was doing, the old man had shuffled
out of the car, and as the train pulled on he was seen quietly plodding
along, still "bound for Georgy."

And there was no mention of Christ in the story, but one who knows the old
typical slave class to which he belongs needs not to be told of the motive
down in his heart. That's what obedience, unanalyzed, undeliberated about,
meant to him. Have you ever worn the "Georgy" shoes? Have you ever tramped
to "Georgy"? If some of us might find out the old man's cobbler and get
some "Georgy" tramping shoes! The way of obedience is a way of sacrifice.



4. The Hilltops--Experiences of Gladness and Glory



Valley Music.


There was a third group of experiences in our Lord Jesus' life. But it
will be good for us to remember that the third comes after the second.
There can be no third until there has been a second. It is impossible to
take first and third and omit the second. The third can come only after
the second. There can be experiences of gladness and glory only to him who
follows all the way. The hilltop experiences come after going down through
the valley. And there is no way of reaching the hills except through the
valley.

But there is a hilltop roadway of exhilarating air and outlook for him who
has been through the valley. The valley is only part of the way. There are
heights, too, as well as depths. And if the depths have seemed very deep,
yet remember the valley depth tells how high the height is. The only way
up is down. And you go as high up as you have gone down, and then a bit
higher. For you started down from the level of the main road, and you go
up above the level. But you go up higher than you go down. The hilltops
are higher above the main road than the valley is below. The glory comes
to be more than the sacrifice.

Sacrifice is only one-half of a chapter, the first half; there is a second
half, the musical half. There's a wondrous singing in the heart, even
while the knife is cutting, such as only he knows who goes this way.
There's a breeze from the hilltops that comes sweeping down through the
trees, while you are slowly picking your way along the rough, narrow
valley road. That breeze plays upon your inner strings and makes rare
Æolian melody. It is the breeze of God playing upon the heart-strings of
your soul. But _this_ music is heard only in _this_ valley road. Lovers of
music say there is nothing to compare with it.

You remember the words, "who for the _joy_ that was set before Him."[86]
Ah, the joy! As the Master's feet slipped down into the dark shadows--the
shame, the cross, the tomb--there was something else under the pain He was
suffering. There was a low underchording of sweet minor music, the
rhythmic swinging of His will with His Father's. And that music still sang
as He slipped down quite out of sight under the cold waters of the river
at the bottom of the gorge.



The Transfiguration Mount.


There were three of these glory experiences in our Lord's life, with a
fourth one yet to come. Midway in the last year came _the Transfiguration
Mount_. In a sore emergency, for the sake of the leaders of His little
band of disciples, the inner glory of His being was allowed to shine out
through His humanity. The glory of God shined out from within Him. The
usual fashion of His countenance was altered by the dazzling beauty-light
shining out through it.

And this too will be true of those who follow truly. As we live with our
faces ever held open to Him, the glory of His face will be reflected in
ours, and we shall be changed more and more into His image.[87] I have
frequently told the story of the jurist who lived in our middle-west
country two generations ago, a confirmed but honest sceptic, and who was
converted by the _face_ of a fellow townsman. The sceptic became
thoroughly convinced that the thing in his neighbour's face which so
attracted him was his Christian faith, and it was this that led the
sceptic to accept Christ. Last year, I met out in the Orient a kinswoman
of the man with the convincing face.

I remember distinctly one night, years ago, in northern Missouri, a young
woman waited at the close of a meeting with her friend. We talked and
prayed together and she made the great decision. I can remember looking
after the two as they went out, wondering to myself how much it meant to
her. I could not judge from her demeanour. But the next night they were
back again, and instantly I knew that it had meant much, everything, to
her. The transfiguring peace was upon her face. I would have called her
face plain the evening before. Now it was really beautiful in the sweet
clear light shining out of it.

Two things stand out sharply in my memory of Ping Yang, in Korea. One is
the visit to the home of a Christian family, whose head was one of those
being held in prison in the famous conspiracy case. I still feel the
pathos of face and voice as the dear old mother, and the gentle wife,
asked so eagerly, "When will he be back?"

The other, was the faces of certain of the women in the church service
there. I found myself time and again turning to look at their faces as I
was speaking. There was a sweet light that transfigured their worn faces,
and gave them a real beauty. It was the more striking against the
background of the faces one sees in those Oriental lands.

The story has been told in various ways of the European artist sent to a
Salvation Army meeting to make a caricature. He was an infidel, with a
sinful life, an uneasy conscience, and a sore heart. But the faces he saw
there of those redeemed out of the depths of sin, convinced him that they
had what he needed, and what he afterwards got, at the same place as they,
the feet of Christ. One who has looked into the faces at some of the
Salvation Army meetings has no trouble believing the story.

Now this is part of our Master's great plan for reaching His world. He
comes in to us, if we let Him. He changes us as we yield to Him. The
beauty of this wondrous One within shines out of face and eyes, and
touches those whom we touch. His presence transfigures when He is allowed
to dominate. We are changed from within. Though like Moses and Stephen we
will not wist of the transfiguration, only of the Great One whose presence
within it is that makes the change. We know the peace and music within;
others know more of the change in face and life.



Resurrection Power--A Present Experience.


There is a second experience in this group. In sharpest contrast with
Jacob's tomb stands out _the Resurrection Morning_. Our Lord Jesus rose up
out of death. The strongest bars that death could make--and surely every
one of us has some sore experience of their strength in holding dear ones
from us--those strongest bars were snapped, as a woman breaks the cotton
thread in her sewing.

Our Lord Jesus rose up again into life, and into a new, a higher, a
different sort of life. The personal identity was unchanged. His disciples
recognized His voice and face and form, as they talked and ate with Him.
But the limitations were gone. The control of spirit over body was
complete.

And it is a bit of His gracious plan that we shall follow Him here, too.
When He returns in glory there will be a resurrection for those who have
followed Him. As He comes down on the clouds, the dead bodies of those who
have the warm vital touch with Him, that the word "believeth" stands for,
will be touched into a new life and be reunited with the spirits that had
lived in them.

There will be a wondrous meeting in the air with Himself, and an equally
wondrous reunion in His presence of those bound to us and to Him by ties
of love. Our personal identity will be the same, loved ones instantly
recognizing loved ones. But the bodies will be of a new sort, free of all
the limitations and weaknesses of our earth life. And our Lord's return is
peculiarly precious because it is the time of this change and reunion.

But there is yet more than this. This is something future. There is a
present meaning of the resurrection-life for us, to-day, if we'll accept
it, and live in the power of it. There _may_ be the resurrection life and
power coming into our bodies now. As the need comes, it is our privilege
to look up, and ask for, and experience resurrection power coming down
into our bodies, overcoming their weaknesses and diseased conditions.

The subject of healing involves much more, for a full poised
understanding of the Scripture teaching, than can be satisfactorily talked
over in the brief limits here. But the great fact can be thus simply
stated, that there is full healing for our bodies by God's direct touch
upon them. But this means on our part living a real faith life, looking up
moment by moment, receiving from His hand constantly what is needed, and
using it wholly for Him. It is actually a living of the dependent life as
regards the bodily needs.

Paul is clearly speaking of a present experience when he says, "If the
Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, He that
raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your dying
bodies by means of His Spirit that dwelleth in you."[88] But this
resurrection power coming in to affect our bodily conditions is frequently
in the midst of most difficult trying circumstances. It is as though a
subtle hindering power were tenaciously at work, and this were being
offset and overcome by the resurrection power.

It was under just such circumstances that Paul writes these words: "We who
live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, _that the life
also_--the resurrection life--_of Jesus may be manifested in our dying
bodies_."[89] This as plainly means a present experience of power in our
bodies, overcoming weakness, disease, and the tendency to death.

This is the present meaning of the resurrection for us. But it is possible
only for those who _will_ live the resurrection life of separation and of
union; separation from all that separates from the closest union of life
with our Lord Jesus. And it comes oftentimes through much conflict and
difficulty. This bit of the road is much contested.



The Ascension Life--Power in Possession.


When our Lord Jesus had tarried long enough to make clear to His disciples
His actual bodily resurrection, He ascended to the Father's right hand,
and was seated there in the place of highest honour and power. So He began
living _the Ascension Life_. That means two things, it is the life of
fullest power in actual possession; _and_ that power is exercised through
prayer,[90] His, and then--ours. Through His intercession with the Father,
and through our intercession in Christ's Name, the power comes from the
Father through Christ to us, and so through us.

Our Lord Jesus is eager to have us follow Him here also. Following this
time means, actually using the power that has been placed at our disposal.
It means receiving from His pierced hand all He has actually redeemed for
us by His precious blood. There is so much that is ours by right that we
do not take and use. Some do not take because they don't live where they
_can_ take. And some live where they can take, who yet do _not_ take.

Since the Father thinks of us as risen with Christ and seated with Him in
the place of highest power, we should seek to live up there, by His
grace.[91] The ascension life for us means simply living the actual life
of power that has been made possible for us, and using that power through
prayer.

It helps to remember here just how much may be included in that word
"prayer." One cannot be all the time on his knees, praying with his lips.
And it certainly was not meant that we _should_ be. Yet there can be
prayer "without ceasing." Prayer is an _act_, the kneeling, and giving
voice to the desires of our hearts. Then the act grows into a _habit_, as
this becomes one of the fixed things of our daily round. And the habit
full grown, becomes a _life_. All the life grows out of that bit of
kneeling-time, and all the life is carried to it. The hidden springs of
the life are here.

And prayer becomes _a mental attitude_. You think of everything that comes
up, opportunity, difficulty, emergency, crisis, plannings,--you
instinctively come to think about each thing from the standpoint of the
kneeling-time. And so prayer grows to be _an atmosphere_. You live your
life in His presence to whom you kneel. He is always present. You come to
recognize His presence, which means that His presence dominates all your
life. He, this One whom you go to meet at the kneeling-time, He is
_always_ here with you, listening to the unspoken thoughts. By and by you
come instinctively to think your thoughts as in His presence. Your
longings, plannings, difficulties are held open before Him. Prayer becomes
the atmosphere you breathe.

And so prayer comes to be a _person. You_ are the prayer. The Father
looking down comes to recognize you, by your very attitude of heart, as a
prayer, a continual, walking, living prayer, as you go quietly about your
simple, homely round. And the powers of evil, too, so recognize it. And
the Man at the Father's right hand recognizes in you one whom He has
redeemed, and who, by His grace, would be and do and have, in actual life,
all He has gotten for you.

And through that six-fold continuous prayer, by the man who yields all,
and reaches out _for_ all that is now his, the power of God is being
continually loosened out among men, and the Father's plan being worked
out. So, our Lord's ascension life at the Father's right hand, finds its
echo in the ascension life being lived by His follower on the earth.



The Coming Glory.


Then comes the glorious future experience, _the Kingdom Reign and Glory_.
Some day our Lord Jesus will rise up from His seat, and step again into
the direct action of the affairs of earth. Soon after that day He will
begin reigning over the earth as its King. The later pages of the Old
Testament are all aglow with the glory of that time. He shall reign from
the Mediterranean, at the centre of the earth, out to the farthest
sea-coast line, and from the Euphrates east and west to the most distant
ends of the earth.[92]

And those who have followed Him during these trying days of His absence,
shall reign with Him over all the earth, and be sharers in His glory.[93]
He will give both grace and glory.[94] Grace is the beginning of glory,
and glory is the fulness of grace. It is all grace, free unmerited favour.

Now I have grouped these experiences in this way to get a clear
understanding of them. But we must remember that they did not come in
groups in Christ's life, and they won't in ours. The red and yellow
threads, the dark and bright, are interwoven throughout the web, to make
the beauty of the pattern. The minor chords come up here and there through
the others, sometimes overcoming, sometimes yielding to, the joyous
notes. The road of life runs valley and hill, valley and hill, up and
down.

There were great crises in Christ's life, and there may be, there quite
likely will be, crisis points in ours, but in the main the hard places
intersperse with the smooth going. The weaver sitting at his loom runs in
a dark shuttle-thread, and then a sharp blow of the beam puts it in place;
then a bright thread and a sharp blow of the beam, and so, slowly,
patiently, threads and blows follow each other till the design has been
worked out.

Even so will it be in this "Follow Me" road. A glad, joyous experience may
be followed by the one that is bitter and that hurts; and that again,
perhaps, by something gladsome and cheery, while the daily round of life
plods slowly on, day after day, week in and out, as the calendar works its
steady way to the end, and then begins anew.

But all the while there's the presence of the wondrous One, unseen by
outer eyes, but unmistakably real. And His presence gives peace. And
there's an unfailing, guiding hand, whose grasp steadies you as you push
along.

This is the road. And yonder, just ahead, is the Lone Man, whose wondrous
face calls, and the reach of His pierced hand beckons. Let us take a
careful look at the road, and a long look at the Man, and then----.



Shall We Go?



The Deeper Meaning of Friendship.


A friend in need is a friend indeed. Our Lord Jesus was our friend in our
need. It was a desperate need. It could not be worse. We had been badly
hurt by sin. The hurt was so bad that we could do nothing without help.
Our Lord Jesus came to our help.

It was not easy for Him to be our friend. Friendship is sometimes very
costly. His reputation went, and then His life. But He never flinched. He
was thinking of us. Our need controlled Him. There were two controlling
words in our Lord Jesus' life--passion and compassion. He had a passion
for His Father. He had compassion for us. The two dovetailed perfectly.
The Father had an overwhelming compassion for us. The passion for the
Father in our Lord's heart included the throbbing, sobbing compassion for
us. The compassion was the manward expression of the passion for the
Father.

It was this compassion that controlled Him those human years. It drove Him
hard along the road we've been looking at. He was driven into the
Wilderness, through the years of sacrificial service, out into the grove
of the olive trees, up the steep hill of Calvary, down into the depths of
Joseph's tomb. Step-by-step He pushed His way along, for He was thinking
of His Father and of us. The passion for the Father meant a compassion for
us. Things proved worse in realization as He came up close to them, as
they began to touch His very life. But He never wavered. He never
flinched, for He was thinking of us. He was our Friend, our Friend in our
desperate need. A friend in need is a friend indeed. It was by deeds that
He met our needs.

But friendship is mutual. It has two sides, its enjoyments and its
obligations. That word "friendship" has two meanings. It means fellowship.
Two who are congenial in thought and aim and spirit can have sweet
fellowship together as they make exchange with each other of the deep
things of their spirits. This is one meaning, and a sweet, hallowed
meaning, too. Then there is the other. You are in some sore need. It is a
desperate emergency in your life, and out of the circle of your friends
one singles himself out, and comes to your aid. At real cost or sacrifice
to himself perhaps, he gives you that which meets and tides over your
emergency.

This is the deeper, the rarer meaning of the word, rarer both in being
less frequent and in being very precious. Fellowship friends may be many;
emergency friends very, very few. And if circumstances so turn out that
this man who has so rarely proven himself your friend, is himself in some
emergency, and you are now in position to help him, as once he helped you,
you count it not only an obligation of the highest sort, but the rarest of
privileges. And with great joy you come to his help without stopping to
count the cost in the doubtful, questioning way. Friendship is mutual.

Now this second, this deep, rare meaning, is the one we're using just now.
It comes to include the fellowship meaning, so enriching the emergency
friendship yet more. But the emphasis is on the emergency meaning of the
word friendship. Our Friend was a friend in this deepest, rarest way, in
the desperate emergency of our lives.

And now this Friend of ours is in need, a need so great that it is an
emergency. And this seems a startling thing to say. You may think I'm
indulging some rhetorical figure of speech merely. He, the Lord Jesus, in
need! He is now seated at the Father's right hand in glory. He is "far
above all rule and authority and power and dominion." He is the sovereign
ruler of our world. How can it be said, with any soberness of practical
meaning, that He is in need, and in desperate need? Yet, let me repeat
very quietly, that it is even so.

_He needs our co-operation._ He needs the human means through which to
work out His plans. The power of God has always flowed _through human
channels_. And His plans _have waited,_ have been delayed because He has
not always been able to find men willing to let Him use them as He will.
This is the only explanation of the long, weary waiting of the earth for
His promised Kingdom. This, only, explains centuries of delay in the
working out of His plans. The delay, the dark centuries, the
misery,--these have been no part of His plan, but dead set against His
plan.

    "The restless millions wait the Light,
      Whose coming maketh all things new.
    _Christ also waits_; but men are slow and late.
      Have we done what we could? Have I? Have you?"

Some unknown friend, on seeing the statue of General Gordon, as it stands
facing the great desert and the Soudan at Khartoum, made these lines:

    "The strings of camels come in single file,
      Bearing their burdens o'er the desert sand:
    Swiftly the boats go plying on the Nile.
      The needs of men are met on every hand,
    But still I wait
    For the messenger of God _who cometh late_.

    I see the clouds of dust rise in the plain,
      The measured tread of troops falls on the ear;
    The soldier comes the empire to maintain,
      Bringing the pomp of war, the reign of fear,
    But still I wait
    The messenger of peace, _he cometh late_.

    They set me brooding o'er the desert drear,
      Where broodeth darkness as the deepest night.
    From many a mosque there comes the call to prayer;
      I hear no voice that calls on _Christ_ for light.
    But still I wait
    For the messenger of Christ, _who cometh late."_[95]



Following Wholly.


Our Friend is in need. The world's condition spells out the desperateness
of that need. The world's need is His need. It is His world. This world is
God's prodigal son. It is the passion of our Lord Jesus' heart to win His
world back, and save it. That passion has been revealed most, thus far, in
His going to the great extreme of dying. That passion is still
unsatisfied. Yonder He sits, with scarred face and form, _expecting_.[96]
Bending eagerly forward with longing eyes He is expecting. He is
expectantly waiting our response, expectantly waiting the day when things
will have ripened on the earth for the next step in the great plan.

And down from the throne comes the same eager cry He used when amongst us
on earth, "Follow Me." This is the one call, with many variations, that
runs through the seven-fold message to His followers in the book of the
Revelation.[97]

But He calls for real followers. He needs Calebs, who are willing, if
need be, to face a whole nation dead-bent on going the other way, and yet
who never flinch but insist on following fully. Caleb's following was so
unflinching, so against the current of his whole time, that it stands out
with the peculiar emphasis of a six-fold mention.[98]

Those who follow "wholly" seem scarce sometimes. I was struck recently
with an utterance by a man prominent in business circles and in Christian
activity for years. He was speaking of how he had been active in a certain
form of Christian activity, and declared that it had never occasioned him
any loss, or been a detriment to him in his business. The words had a
strange, suspicious sound. The Master told those who would follow fully
that they might expect much loss and detriment.

The Master was very careful to give the "if's" a prominent place. "If any
man would come after Me."[99] "If any man would serve Me let him follow
Me."[100] Those "if's" are the cautionary signals. They mean obstacles
needing to be considered before one decides. We must determine whether we
will take them away or not. Half-way following, part-way following, has
become very common in some of the other parts of the world, where we don't
live. I'll leave you to judge how it is in your own neighbourhood.

I have seen people start down this "Follow Me" road with great enthusiasm
and real earnestness, singing as they go. Then the road begins to narrow a
bit. The thorn bushes on the side have grown so thick and rank that they
push over the sides of the road, and narrow it down. You can't go along
without the thorns scratching face and hands badly as you push through.

And then you suddenly find a knife, a sharpedged knife, being held out
across the road, by an unseen hand back in the bushes. The cutting edge is
toward you. It is held firmly. It is clearly impossible to go on without a
clash with that knife. The real meaning of that "Follow Me" is beginning
to be seen now. Just ahead beyond the knife stands the Master, looking
longingly, beckoning earnestly, calling still. But that knife! It takes
your eyes, and the question is on in real earnest.

And it is very grievous to say that some stop there. They pitch their
tents this side the knife. They may have had the courage to push through
the thorns, but this knife stops them. They're not honest enough to back
clear out of the road. So they hold meetings on the roadway, conferences
for the deepening of the Christian life, with earnest addresses, and
consecration meetings, and soft singing. And if perchance some one calls
attention to the Master standing ahead there, beyond the knife,
beckoning,--well, they sing louder and pray longer so as to ease their
consciences a bit, and deaden unpleasant sounds, but they make no move
toward striking tents and pushing on.

And many coming up along the road are hindered. The crowds, the meetings,
the singing, the earnestness,--these take hold of them and keep them from
discerning that all this is an obstruction in the way. The Master's ahead
yonder, past that cutting knife. In a very clear voice that rises above
meetings and music, He calls, "If any man would serve Me, let him follow
Me, let him get _in behind Me_, and come _up close after Me_." He who
would serve, he who would help, must not stop here, but push on to where
the Master is beckoning,--yes, past the knife!

But there are big crowds at the half-way place, this side the knife. And
there are still larger crowds looking on and sneering, sneering at those
whose following hasn't got much beyond the singing stage. The outside
crowd does love sincerity, and is very keen for the faults and flaws in
those who call themselves followers.



The Tuning-Fork for the Best Music.


But some push on; they go forward; and as they reach the knife they grasp
it firmly by the blade. Yes, it cuts, and cuts deep. But they push on, on
after the Master. They turn the knife into a tuning-fork. Do you know
about this sort of thing? The steel in a knife can be used to make a
tuning-fork. The touch of obedience brings music out of sacrifice.

This is the only tuning-fork that can give the true pitch for that
sweetest music we were speaking of a little while ago. This is a bit of
the power of obedience. It can change a challenging knife into an
instrument of music. This is a bit of the strategy of obedience, the fine
tactics of sacrifice. The tempter with the knife would hold us back. We
seize his knife from his grasp. He can never use that knife again. And we
use it to make sweet music to help the marching. What was meant to hold us
back now helps us forward.

This is the tuning-fork the Master used. He would have us use it, too. But
each one must take it himself, out of the threatening hand that would hold
us back. As the call to follow comes we must go on, no matter what it
involves. No circumstance, no possible loss, no sacrifice, must hold us
back, for a moment, or a step, from following where our Friend calls; only
so can we be His friend.

Shall we go on _all the way_? Or, shall we join the company at the
half-way stopping place? Well, _it's a matter of your eyes_, how you use
them. If the knife holds your eyes, you'll never get past it. That knife
is like the deadly serpent's glittering eye. If the cobra's eye can get
your eye, you are held fast in that awful, deadly fascination.

If you'll _lift_ your eyes, to the Master's face!--ah, that's the one
thing, the only thing, that can _hold_ our eyes with gaze steadier than
any serpent eye. The face of Christ Jesus, torn by thorns, scarred by
thongs, but with the wondrous beauty light shining out, and those great
patient, pleading eyes! This it was that held that young Indian aristocrat
steady, while he sold all--bit by bit, of such precious things--sold all.

This it was that held steady the young Jewish aristocrat, Paul. He never
forgot the light on that caravan road north, above the shining of the sun.
He never could forget it. It blinded him. He "could not see for the glory
of that light." Old ambitions blurred out. Old attachments faded, and then
faded clear out before the blaze of that light. Family ties, inheritance,
social prestige, reputation, old friendships, old honoured standards,--all
faded out in the light of Jesus' face on that northern road.



How to Follow.


Shall we take a look at that face? a long look? Shall we go? Practically
going means three things, a _decision_, a _habit_ and a _purpose_; a
thoughtful, calculating decision, a daily unbroken habit, an unalterable
north-star sort of purpose.

Go alone in some quiet corner where you can think things out. Look at what
it may mean for you to follow, so far as you know now. Most of it you
don't know, and won't know, can't know except as it works out in your
life. Take a long, quiet, thoughtful look at the road. Then take a longer,
quieter, steadier look at Him, Christ Jesus, once crucified for you, now
seated in glory with all power, and asking you to-day to be a channel for
His power. Then decide. Say, "Lord Jesus, I _will_ follow Thee. This is my
decision. By Thy help, I follow Thee, I'll follow Thee all the way."
That's the first step, the decision.

As I entered the tent at Keswick one morning, a friend handed me these
lines, which came to her pen at the close of a previous meeting:

    "I will follow Thee, dear Master,
    Though the road be rough and steep,
    Thou wilt hold me lest I falter,
    Thy strong hand must safely keep.

    Enter in, Lord, cleanse Thy temple,
    Give the grace to put away
    All that hinders, all that's doubtful,
    O'er my life hold blessed sway.

    Use me, Master, for Thy glory,
    Live out Thine own life through me,
    That my life may tell the story,
    And win others unto Thee.

    Keep me trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
    Walking closely by Thy side,
    Keep me resting, sweetly resting,
    As I in Thy love abide."

Then plan your work and time so as to get a bit of time off alone every
day with the Book and with the Master. The chief thing is not to pray,
though you will pray. It is not for Bible study, though that will be there
too. The chief thing is to meet with the Lord Jesus Himself. He will come
to you through the Book. He will fit its messages into your questions and
perplexities. He Himself will come to meet with you when you so go to meet
with Him. You won't always _realize_ His presence, for you may sometimes
be tired. But you can _recognize_ His presence. You can cultivate the
habit of recognizing His presence.

This is your bit of daily school-time, with the Book and the Master. It
will keep your spirit sweet, your heart hot, and your judgment sane and
poised. This is the second thing, the _habit._ It is the thing you cannot
get along without. It must go in daily. Without it things will tangle;
your heart will cool, your spirit sometimes take on an edge that isn't
good, your judgment get warped and twisted, and your will grow either
wabbly or stubborn. This second thing must be put in the daily round, and
kept in. It helps to hold you steady to the first thing.

Then the third is the _purpose_ to be true to whatever the Master tells
you, to be true to Himself; never to fail _Him_. You may flinch within
your feelings. You probably will. Yet you need never flinch in action.
Follow the beckoning Figure just ahead in the road, regardless of thorny
bush or cutting knife. Keep your spirit sweet, your tongue gentle and
slow, your touch soft and even, your purpose as inflexible as wrought
steel, or as granite, as unmovable as the North Star. That's the third
thing, the purpose.

And the three make the three-fold cord with which to tie you fast and hard
to the Lone Man ahead. He is less alone as we follow close up. The three
together help you understand the meaning of _obedience_. The decision is
the beginning of obedience; the habit teaches you _what_ you are to obey
and gives you strength to do it; the purpose is the actual obedience in
daily round, the holding true to what He has told you.

Years ago, a young Jewess, of a wealthy family, that stood high in the
Jewry of New York, heard the call of the despised Nazarene. It came to her
with great, gentle power, and she decided that she must follow. Her father
was very angry, and threatened disinheritance if she so disgraced the
family. But she remained quietly, gently, inflexibly, true to her
decision. At last the father planned a social occasion at the home to
which large numbers were invited. And he said to his daughter, "You must
sing at this reception, and make this your disavowal of the Christian
faith." And she quietly said, "Father, I will sing."

The evening came, the parlours were filled, the time came for her to sing,
and all listened eagerly, for they knew the beauty of her voice. With her
heart in both eyes and voice, she began singing:

    "Jesus, I my cross have taken,
      All to leave and follow Thee;
    Destitute, despised, forsaken,
      Thou, from hence, my all shalt be.

    Perish every fond ambition,
      All I've sought, and hoped, and known:
    Yet how rich is my condition!
      God and heaven are all my own."

And she passed out into the night of disinheritance on earth, "into an
inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away." This
was her decision. She had seen _His face!_ All else paled in its light.

Shall we go, too?



Finger-Posts



The Parable of the Finger-Posts.


Waiting is harder work than working. It takes more out of you. And it puts
more into you, too, of fine-grained, steady strength, if you can stand the
strain of it. And if, to the waiting is added perplexity, the pull upon
your strength is much greater. It is harder to hold steady, and not break.
And if the thing you've put your very life into seems at stake, that taxes
the wearing power of your strength to the utmost.

Such a time, and just such a test, came to the little band of disciples
after the resurrection, and before the ascension. The story of it is told
in that added chapter of John's Gospel. You remember that last chapter is
one of the added touches. The Gospel is finished with the finish of the
twentieth chapter. Then John is led by the Spirit, to add something more.
That added chapter becomes to us like an acted parable, the parable of the
added touch. There is always the added touch, the extra touch of power, of
love, of answer to prayer. Our Lord has a way of giving more. The prayer
itself is answered, and then some added touch is given for full measure.
So it is in all His dealings, when He is allowed to have His own way. He
is the Lord of the added touch. He does exceeding abundantly above what we
ask, or think, or expect.

These disciples were now to have one of these added touches. It was a time
of sore perplexity. The crucifixion had left them dazed, stupefied. It was
wholly unexpected. They were utterly at sea, with neither compass, nor
steering apparatus of any sort. That Saturday to them was one of the
longest, dreariest, heaviest days ever spent by any one. They had all
proven untrue to their dead Friend, save one.

Then as unexpectedly came the resurrection. They're dazed again, this time
with joy. They haven't taken it in yet. To say that the two shocks, each
so radically different from the other, shook them tremendously, is stating
it very mildly. They don't know themselves. They haven't found their feet.
They haven't adjusted yet to their swiftly changing surroundings. They
don't know what next. They don't know what to do.

So the old impulsive Simon in Peter proposed something. Simon, the
unsteady, was much in evidence those days. Peter the rock-man hadn't
arrived yet. This was Simon Peter's specialty, proposing something. He
said, "Well, I'm going fishing." And the others quickly said, "We'll go
along." The mere doing something would be a relief. But they caught
nothing. It was a poor night. The morning brought only heavy hearts with
light nets and boats. They had failed at following; now they were failing
even at their old specialty, fishing. Couldn't they do _any_thing?

In the dim light of the breaking dawn there's some One standing on the
beach, a Stranger. He seems interested in them, and calls out familiarily,
"Have you caught anything?" And you feel the heaviness of their hearts
over something else in the shout "No." And the gentle voice calls out,
with a certain tone of quiet authority in it, "Throw over on the right
there, and you'll get some fish." And they cast the nets out again,
feeling a strong impulse to obey this kindly Stranger, without stopping to
think out why.

And at once the ropes pull so hard that it takes all their strength to
hold them. It's John's quick insight that recognizes the Stranger. With
his heart in his throat, in awe-touched voice, he quietly says, "It's the
Lord." That's enough for Peter. He takes the shortest way to shore. He has
some things to talk over with the Master. And as the seven tired men
landed the fish, they found breakfast waiting on the sands. Who built that
fire? Who cooked that fish? Who was thinking about them and caring for
their personal needs, when they were so tired and hungry? And when
breakfast was finished, there's the quiet talk together, about love and
service, while the sun is climbing up in the east. It is addressed to
Peter, but it is meant, too, for those who were so fleet-footed a few
nights before.

All this was the answer to their perplexity. They were willing and waiting
to follow, but they had failed so badly. They were not quite sure where
they stood. They had no finger-posts. Now the finger-posts were put up to
show the way. This fishing scene was an acted parable, the Parable of the
Finger-posts.



The Lineage of Service.


Look at these finger-posts a little. There was the Lord Jesus. They didn't
recognize Him. But He was there. He had a plan. He took authoritative
command of their movements. He gave directions. They obeyed Him. Then came
the great haul of fish. Then came the quiet talk about love and service,
but with the emphasis on love.

The love was the chief thing. The service was something growing out of
love. "Lovest thou Me?" Then thou mayest serve, thou hast the chiefest
qualification. Our Lord gave them the lineage of service that morning.
These are the generations of true service. A sight of Jesus begets love, a
tender, gentle, strong, passionate thing of rarest beauty that is
immortal, but must have the constant sight of its father's face for
vigorous life. And love at once begets obedience, which grows strong and
stout and skilled, as long as it stays in its father's presence. And
obedience begets service, untiring, glad, patient service.

There are some outsiders that have come into this family, but they do not
have the fine traits of blood-kin. "Duty" is one of these. It serves
because it must. And at times it renders fine, high service. But its
service comes out of the will, rather than out of the heart. It is ruled
more by a sense of propriety, never by a passion of the heart.

"Privilege" is near of kin to duty, and it is a high-born, fine-grained
thing. It serves because it is an honour to do so. It is enjoyable to be
so highly connected. But it constantly needs proper recognition and
appreciation of its work and skill. But these are really outsiders. They
have married in, and do not have the real family traits. The one word, and
the only one, that may properly be used for true service is that fine
word, "passion." True service is a thing of love, a thing of the heart, a
flame that pervades and permeates and envelops the whole life within and
without, a fire that consumes and controls.

The Lord Jesus, His presence, His plan, His authoritative leadership,
their obedience, love thrice asked and given, service because of
love,--these are the finger-posts for these perplexed men. They can be put
into very simple shape for our guidance. Three finger-posts hung up will
include all of them,--_clear vision, a spirit of obedience, a heart of
tender love_. These are the three great essentials of all true, full
following. And there will not be, there cannot be, true full following
without all three of these. There may be much earnest, honest service,
much faithful plodding, and hard work, and much good done. But there's
always less than the best. There is less than should be. The best results
are not being got for the effort expended, except where these three are
blended.

A clear vision means simply a clear understanding of things as they are,
and of what needs to be done, with all the facts in that belong in. A
spirit of obedience means not only an obedience in spirit, a spirited
obedience, but an obedience that fits into the spirit of the Leader and
His plans. And through these as a fine fragrance breathes a heart of
tender undiscourageable love.



Not Quite In Is Outside.


These three things must be kept in poise. So the Master plans. This is the
parable of the fishing. There are many illustrations of one only of these,
or two, in action. And the bad or poor result that works out can be
plainly seen. The Holy Spirit with great plainness and faithfulness has
hung up cautionary signs along the road.

There may be _clear vision without obedience._ That is, a clear
understanding of the Master's plan, but a failure to fit in. That will
mean a dimming vision. And if persisted in, it will mean spiritual
disaster. The great illustration of this is Judas. Judas had as clear a
vision, in all likelihood, as the others when he was chosen for
discipleship, and later for apostleship. There was the possibility of a
John in Judas, even as there was the possibility of a Judas in John. Both
are in every man. But Judas was not true to the vision he had. He wanted
to use the Master to further his own plans and advantage. And the vision
slowly blurred and dimmed, as the under nature was given the upper hand.
The Master's clear insight recognized the demon spirit that Judas had
allowed to come in, though Judas did not.[101] Then came the dastardly act
of betrayal. And Judas has been held up to universal scorn and
condemnation.

But Judas isn't so lonely, if you think into the thing a bit. He only put
personal advantage above loyalty to the Lord Jesus. He simply preferred
his own plans to the Master's plans. That was all. And he tried to force
his own through, without suspecting how the thing would turn out, and how
tremendously much was involved. The great events being worked out have
thrown his contemptible act into the limelight of history. But the act
itself wasn't uncommon. Possibly you may know some one living quite near,
with some of this same sort of trait.


One of the saddest things in the record of Christian leadership is just
this, clear vision with a gradually lessening obedience, then a gradually
dimming vision, and that decrease of both increasing, as the slant down
increases. The old-time motions in public ministering continue, more or
less mechanically, but the power has long since passed away. And sadder
yet, like the strong man of old, these shorn men wist it not. One's lips
refuse to repeat the word "Judas" of them, even in the inner thoughts. Yet
these class themselves under the same description,--clear vision without
full obedience to it; personal plans and preferences put above loyalty to
the Master.

A second illustration is that of King Saul. Clear vision, failure to obey,
forcing himself to wrong action to keep his popularity, rebellion,
stubbornness,--these are the simple successive steps in his story. And the
black night falls upon the utter spiritual disaster of his career, as he
lies prone on the earth before the witch.

These two characters become formulas; they need only to be filled in with
other names to make accurate modern biography of some.

There may be _clear vision with make-believe_ or _partial obedience_. It
hurts to speak of such a thing. The word "hypocrisy" is a very hard one to
get out at the lips. It should never be used except to help, and then
very, very sparingly, and only in humblest spirit, and with earnest,
secret prayer. Ananias and Sapphira quickly come to mind here. They wanted
_men_ to think them wholly surrendered, though they knew they were not.
That was all; not so unusual a thing, after all. There are sore
temptations here for many. The swiftness of the punishment that came does
not mean that their wrong was worse than that of others who do the same
thing. That modern religious lying of this sort is not as quickly judged
merely tells the marvellous _patience_ of God.

There may be _clear vision and obedience without love._ This means a hard,
cold, stern righteousness. It is truth without grace. Nothing can be made
to seem more repulsive. One incident in Elijah's career furnishes the
illustration here. Let us say such a thing _very softly_ of such a mighty
man of God, and say it in fewest words, and only to help. He was a man of
marvellous faith, and prayer, and bold daring, in the midst of a very
crooked and perverse generation. Israel was at its very lowest moral ebb
thus far.

Elijah had a clear understanding of what should be done to check the awful
impurity which was sweeping over the nation like a flood-tide. He was true
to his conviction in sending the four hundred priests of horribly
licentious worship to their death. But was he brokenhearted over them? Was
he utterly broken down with grief as he led them to the little running
brook of Kishon for the nation's sake? God touched the sore spot, when,
down at Horeb, the mount of thunder and fire, He spoke to this man of fire
and thunder in that exquisitely soft sound of gentle stillness. This was
a new revelation of God to this stern prophet of righteousness.

There may be a sort of letter-obedience, a formal obedience to the vision
you have. In one's own estimation, there may seem to be a knowledge of
what is right, and a self-satisfied doing of it. There may be a
painstaking attention to the forms of obedience, and a self-righteous
content in doing the required things. Is this the underlying thought in
Peter's self-complacent remark, "Lo, _we_ have left all and followed
Thee.[102] We're so much better than this rich young ruler who couldn't
stand the test you put to him. _We----"?_ Poor, self-confident Peter! When
the fire test did come, and come so hot, how his "we" did crumble!

"_Light Obeyed Increaseth Light_."

There may be _obedience without clear vision._ That is, there may be a
doing of what is thought to be right, but without a clear understanding of
what is the right thing to do. This results in _fanaticism_. Moses killing
the Egyptian and hiding his body in the sand had no clear vision of God's
plan. He knew something was wrong, and that something needed to be done.
And so he proposed doing something. And the poor Egyptian who happened in
his way that day felt the weight of his zeal. It's a not uncommon way of
attempting to righten wrongs. He forgot that there is a God, and a plan,
and that he who does not work into the plan of God is hitting wrong. There
has been a lot of wreckage scattered along this beach.

Saul persecuting the Christians is another illustration here. He is a sad,
striking example of conscientiousness without sufficient knowledge, of
earnestness without clear light. He was conscientiously doing the wrong
thing, as earnestly as he could, supposing it to be the right thing. John
wanted to call down fire from heaven and burn up some people that didn't
fit in with their plans.[103] Earnest intensity without sufficient light
has kindled a good many fires of this sort.

Sometimes this does not go as far as hurtful fanaticism, but leads to
blundering and confusion and delay. Abraham was acting without clear light
when he yielded to Sarah's plan of compromise for getting an heir.[104] A
bit of quiet holding of her suggestion before God for light would have
cleared his mind. The result was wholly bad,--a confusion in his own mind,
a mental cloudiness about God's plan and promise, an element of discord
introduced in the tribal life, and a delay of many years, apparently,
before the conditions were ripe for the coming of the heir of faith, on
God's own plan.

Peter eating with his Gentile Christian brothers, and then refusing to eat
with them, when some Jewish Christians came down from Jerusalem, made
very bitter feeling in the Church at Antioch, for a time.[105] Paul's
clearer light helped. Time spent in waiting for clearer light is always
time wisely spent, even though we may seem slow.

There may be _love without clear vision_. The love makes intense desire to
do something, but with no clear idea of what would best be done. Peter's
awkward sword-thrust was an attempt to help, because of real love in his
heart for his Master, now in personal danger. The Master's quiet healing
touch recognized the love, and also rebuked and corrected the hasty,
ill-advised action. But there's worse yet here, mean contemptible
cowardice. Peter actually denying his relation with his Friend and Master,
and making his denial seem more natural by the addition of the oaths that
the maid well knew no follower of this Jesus could have uttered--what mean
contemptible cowardice! But go gently there in using such hard words. He
was only afraid of being hurt. He merely wanted to save himself. That
isn't such an uncommon thing. Haven't you sometimes known something of
this sort--_among others?_

The cowardly nine, making a new record for fleet-footedness, down the
road, in the dark, were only doing the same thing in more cowardly,
less-spirited fashion. These men loved Jesus. No one may doubt that. But
there was no clear understanding of that night's doings, though the
Master had faithfully and plainly tried to tell them. Fear for their own
safety overcame the real love in their hearts for the Man they forsook
that dark night.

_Clear vision and love without obedience_ is--impossible! Where there is
no obedience, or faulty obedience, either the vision has blurred or
dimmed, or the love is burning low.

_Clear vision and loving obedience_ mean power, sweet, gentle, fragrant,
helpful power. It means a grateful crowd, and a pleased Master, who has
been able once again to reach the crowd.

_Clear vision and love as a passion_, an intense passion, means
irresistible power. That is to say it means a perfect human medium through
which our Lord Jesus can act and manifest Himself. And this is the real
meaning of power, power to the full,--Jesus Christ in free action. John,
the fisherman, had a gradually but steadily clearing vision. He did not
understand fully. But he understood enough to know that there was more to
come which would clear things up. He could follow where He did not
understand. His love for the Man controlled, while his understanding was
clearing. He went in "_with_ Jesus" that awful night. I imagine he never
left His side. Can we ever be grateful enough that at least one of us was
true that night!

There was the same danger as with the others, and it was made more acute
by His simple, open stand at his Friend's side. But love, with at least
some understanding, held him steady. He could understand that Jesus must
be doing the right thing, even though he could not understand the run of
events that centred about Jesus.

The intensity that would call down fire, changed, under the influence of
the changing, clearing vision, into an intensity of love. It was a
mellower, gentler, evener, but not less intense flame. The disciple whom
Jesus loved became the disciple of love. Love and vision worked upon each
other from earliest times with him. Love made the vision clearer, the
clearing vision made the love stronger, till they worked together into a
perfect blend.

Paul's unmistakable vision on the Damascus road brought a passion of love,
and an answering obedience, that swept him like a great flame. The
fire-marks of that flame could be found all over the Roman Empire. He made
mistakes doubtless, but these but made the trend of his whole life stand
out the more. Paul was a wonderful combination of brain and heart and
will, held in remarkable poise. The finest classic on love is from his
pen. John could love. Paul could love, and could tell about love.

But a peculiar tenderness comes into one's heart as we remember that there
was just one Man who held these three in perfect poise. And let us not
forget that though He was more than man, yet it was a _man_, one of
ourselves, who so held these three in such fine balance. It was a human
poise, even as planned by the Father for the human life. The clear vision
early began coming to Him,[106] and it became clearer and fuller and
unmistakable until it had had its fulfilment. Obedience was the touchstone
of all His life, from Nazareth to Olivet. And who, like Him, had the heart
of tender love, the heart that was ever moved with compassion at sight of
need, the heart that broke at the last under the sore grief of its burden
of love?



The Olivet Vision.


Shall we take a moment more to look at these three finger-posts a little
more closely? Just what is meant by _a clear vision?_ I could say at once
that it means a vision of our Lord Jesus Christ. And yet that language has
sometimes been used in a vague sort of way. And some of us have taken it
in a vague indefinite way, and not thought into its practical meaning.
Clear vision here means an understanding of who Christ Jesus is, and what
He is, and what plans He has. Then it means that that understanding is so
clear that it becomes intense, intense to the point of being overwhelming.
That is, it becomes the _dominant_ thing that controls your thinking, and
affections, and actions,--your life.

I think I may say correctly that the place for getting such a clear, full
vision of Christ Jesus is _Olivet_. Olivet is a good place to pitch your
tent for a little while, until your vision clears. Then you'll not stay
there, though you may return to keep the lines of your vision clear and
clean; you will be down in the valleys with the crowds.

One day the Master led His disciples out to the Mount of Olives. It was
the last time they were together. And the group of men stand there
talking, the eleven grouped about the One. He is talking with them quietly
and earnestly. Then, to their utter amazement, His feet are off the
ground, He is rising upward in the air, then higher, and higher, until a
bit of cloud moves across, and they see Him no more. This is all you would
see at a distance.

But let us come a bit nearer, and stand _with_ them, and listen, and
watch. Olivet is the last bit of earth to feel the presence of the
Master's feet. Off yonder to the west, down in the valley, you see a clump
of trees; that is Gethsemane, the place of the bloody sweat and the tense
agony of spirit. Across the valley, still looking west, lies the city,
outside whose wall is the little knoll called Calvary, where Jesus gave
His life out. Over here to the east and south lies little Bethany, which
speaks of His resurrection power. And a bit farther off are the bare wilds
sloping down,--that is the place of the sore temptation. Far away to the
north, up in the clouds, lies _the_ snow-clad mountain, beyond your outer
vision, yet coming now to your inner vision, where the God within shined
out through the Man.

But while a quick glance takes all this in, your eyes are caught and held
by the Man in the midst. His presence embodies and intensifies all that
these places suggest. His face bears the impress of the Wilderness, and of
the Garden. The scars plainly there tell of Calvary, as no piece of
geography ever can. His mere presence tells unmistakably of the
resurrection. And you know who He is, and what. He made the world and
breathed His breath of life into man's nostrils. Later He came in amongst
us as one of ourselves. He was tempted like as we, suffered like as we
never suffered, gave His life for us, went down into death, _rose_ up
again out of death. This is the Jesus of Olivet.

But the action of His face and pose are part of the sight. His eyes are
looking _outward_. The set of His face is out. His hands point out. And He
is talking; listen: He is talking about a _"world"_. And the outward turn
of face and eyes and pointing hand become the emphasis of that word,
"_world."_ He died for a world. He is thinking about a world. He has a
plan of action for a world.

But another word gets your ear--"_ye."_ He is thinking about these
disciples, about His followers. He has a plan of action for them. And
these two plans, for the world, for their lives, these two are tied up
together. And a third word stands out--"_I_." "I am with you, I am in
command." And now three things stand out together, a world-plan, a plan
for the follower's life fitting into the world-plan, and in the
midst--Jesus, the Christ, my Saviour, my Lord. This is the Olivet vision.
This, the clear, full vision: of Jesus, crucified, risen, empowered; of
His world-plan; of His plan for my life as part of the world-plan.

Olivet faces four ways. Backward, it points to the sympathy, the
humanness, the suffering, the cross, of Jesus. Upward, it looks to
Himself, now sitting above the clouds at the Father's right hand, "far
above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name
that is named," with "all things in subjection under His feet." Outward,
it reaches to the world He died for, and plans for, and is still brooding
over with more than a mother's love. Forward, it anticipates eagerly the
time when He will come back to finish up what He began, and we are to
continue. When He returns it will be to this same Olivet.[107] He picks up
the line of action exactly where He left it. Olivet is to know a second
pressure of those feet.

This is the clear, full vision, the three-fold vision we need and must
have for true following: Himself, His world-plan, His plan for each one's
life. This means seeing things as they are. They fall into true
perspective. You see how disproportioned and grotesque the common
perspective of earth is. You see things through His eyes. His eyes take
out of yours the personal colouring, the colour blindness of personal
interest and advantage which so strangely and strongly affect all our
sight.

We need frequent visits to Olivet's top, until constant looking at its
outlooking landscape, at Himself, fills and floods our eyes. We need the
quiet time alone with Himself and His Word, and some map-picture of His
world, as a habit, until these, Himself, and His word, and His world, are
burned into eyes and heart, until they fire as a sweet fever the whole
life.



The Spirit of Obedience.


Out of the vision comes the _spirit of obedience_. We have spoken of the
act of obedience, and the habit of obedience, but deeper down is the
spirit of obedience, which lies under act and habit. I have used the
words, "spirit of obedience," rather than simply the word, "obedience,"
because obedience sometimes stands for a bondage to rules, a slavery to
things. The obedience itself must be deeper than rule or outward thing.
The spirit of obedience sees into the spirit of the rule, and through the
outward thing, and floods it with a new spirit of life. This spirit of
obedience is the one finger-post found oftenest along this road. So only
can we be true to the vision. And obedience itself is not true obedience,
nor true to the vision, save as it is a love-obedience. Real obedience
breathes in the spirit of the One being obeyed. It breathes out the
love-spirit of him who obeys.

The touchstone of the "Follow Me" life is not need, nor service, nor
sacrifice. The need is felt to the paining point. The service is given
joyously to the limit of strength. The sacrifice is yielded to to the
bleeding point. But these all come as they come, _through and out of
obedience._ Yet need _is_ the controlling thing, too, _but_ not the need
as _we_ see it, but as _He_ sees it, who sees all, and feels most deeply.
The need is best met, the service best given, the sacrifice most healing
in its power, as each grows out of obedience.

_The standard of obedience_ is three-fold, the Word of God, the Spirit of
God, and one's own judgment and spirit-insight. These three are meant to
fit together. This is the natural result when things are, even measurably,
as they should be. When God is allowed to sway the life as He wishes,
these three fit and blend perfectly. The Word of God taken alone will lead
to superstitious regard for a book and to a cramped judgment and action.
To say that we are guided by the Spirit, without due regard for the Book
He has been the principal one in writing, leads to fanaticism, or at least
to ill-advised, unbalanced, unnatural opinions and action.

Naturally one's own judgment and spirit-insight play a large part, for
they make the personal decision, they interpret both Word and Spirit to
us. It is through one's judgment and spirit-insight that the Holy Spirit
and the Word influence the decision and action. The great essential is the
habitual, quiet, broad, thoughtful study of God's Word, with the will and
life utterly yielded to the Holy Spirit. So one's spirit is trained to
understand, and one's judgment to form its conclusions. The Holy Spirit
makes us understand God's purpose as revealed in His Word, and fits this
into the need of practical life. Obedience, intelligent and full, depends
upon the quiet time alone with God over His Word.

I want to add something more here. It is something startling. _There are
no break-downs in the path of obedience_. I say that very softly, as a
guilty sinner in the matter of break-downs. I remember that the record of
Christian service is like one continuous record of break-downs, broken
bodies, wrecked nerves, sometimes wrecked minds. And I am not saying it to
criticize any one, except it be myself. Out of a long personal experience
of constant going, unwise overwork, and serious break-downs, I am but
confessing my own sins, when I say there are no break-downs in the path of
obedience. Does that mean that there is much earnest service that we have
not been told to do? And the answer must be a very gentle, but very clear,
"Yes."

But the Man in command has perfect knowledge of what you can do. And _He
never asks you to do anything beyond your strength_. Or, if He does need
you to meet some emergency beyond your strength, He gives the strength
required. He sends in a fresh supply of resurrection life to repair the
waste of your body, and then, too, He calls into use strength, resources,
talents, that you have not known you had. Now I know that if this be
taken seriously, it will lead some to a heart-searching time alone with
the Master. I am sure that if obedience alone is to be the key-note, it
will mean many a readjustment. And it will mean, too, a new flood stream
of power flowing through and out as the connecting parts are re-adjusted.

There's a helpful literal reading of a verse in Hebrews.[108] "Now the God
of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great
Shepherd of the sheep, with the blood of an eternal covenant, _put you in
joint [with Himself]_ to do _His_ will in every good work, working in you
[or through you] that which is well-pleasing in His sight." Obedience puts
us in joint with Him, if we are out. It keeps us in joint; then the power
flows from Him, through that joint, out where our life touches.

Obedience is really a music word. It is the rhythmic swinging together of
two wills, His and ours. Rhythm of action is power. Rhythm of colour is
beauty. Rhythm of sound is music. But it's really all music. For power is
music of action. Beauty is music to the eye. Rhythmic sound is music to
the ear and heart. If there might be more of this music, He and we in
perfect accord, how the crowds would be caught by its melody and come
eagerly to listen.



The Heart of Love.


And out of the vision comes the heart of love. The sight of the Lord
Jesus' face begets love; and love begets obedience. But obedience never
can keep true away from its father. It is never true full obedience except
it have the throbbing heart of love in it. This is the unfailing mark.
It's so easy to fail here. Yet "love never faileth." The classical
Thirteenth of First Corinthians becomes an indictment. We know it better
in the Book than in life. "Love suffereth long, ... _envieth_ not ... is
not puffed up; doth not behave itself unbecomingly or inconsistently,
seeketh not even its own, is not provoked." Love "beareth" with "all
things" in the one loved, which it would gladly have different, "believeth
all" possibly good "things" of him, "hopeth" for "all" desirable "things"
in him, "endureth all things" in him that hurt and pain. "Love _never_
faileth." In conversation one day with an unusually earnest worker in the
Orient, we were talking of these things. His work was beset by many sore
perplexities. "Ah," he said, "there is where I have failed. I have not had
the heart of love." And I thought how many of us could say the same thing.

There are in the Bible three great illustrations of the heart of love. As
Moses came down from the presence of God, and found the people dancing
about the golden calf, he was hotly indignant. But as he goes back to
plead with God, the greatness of his love and grief comes out. In God's
presence their sin is seen to be so much greater. He cries, "Oh, this
people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now
if Thou wilt forgive their sin----" And a great sob breaks the sentence
abruptly off, and it is never finished. The possibility seems to come to
his mind, in this holy presence, that such sin, by these so greatly blest,
could not be forgiven. And that seems to him unbearable. "And if not," if
it cannot be forgiven, "_blot me_, I pray Thee, _out of Thy Book_; but
don't blot them out."[109]

In the beginning of the great Jew section of Romans, Paul is speaking of
the intense pain of heart he had over the unbelief and stubbornness of his
racial kinsfolk. He says, "I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my
heart. For I could wish _that I myself were accursed_ from Christ for my
brethren's sake, my kinsmen," that so they might not be accursed.[110] Yet
neither Moses nor Paul could so sacrifice himself for another's sin. "No
man can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for
him."[111] But Jesus, the pure, sinless one, _was_ blotted out. He _was_
made a curse. Moses and Paul would if they could. Jesus both could and
did. Was there ever such a heart of love! And that heart was greatest in
its action of love when it broke.

A simple story has come to me, I cannot remember where, of a woman in
southern China in the province of Kwangtung. She had a serious illness and
was taken to a mission hospital in Canton for treatment. There for the
first time she heard of Christ, of His love and death. And that story
coming so new and fresh transformed her, as she opened her heart to the
Saviour. And a great peace came into her heart, and showed plainly in her
face. Then her thought began turning to her own village. Not a soul there
knew of this wondrous Saviour. If they but knew. But what could she do,
her illness was very serious.

The next time the physician came by she asked him how long she would live
if she stayed there. He said that he did not know, but he thought about
six months. And how long if she left the hospital and returned home. He
didn't know; maybe three months. And after he had gone she quietly
announced that she was going home. And those about her were greatly
astonished. "Why," they said, "you'll lose half your life!" And the tears
came into her eyes, as a gentle smile overspread her poor worn face, and
she simply said, "Jesus gave His whole life for me; don't you think I'm
glad to give half mine for Him?" I don't know how long she lived. The
story didn't say, but it did tell that most of the people in her village
knew a long life, even an everlasting life, because of her simple telling
of the Gospel story.

There were the three essentials, though never so thought of or analyzed
by her. She had the vision of Jesus Christ her Saviour, then of those who
had never heard of Him, and then of her own part in the plan of telling
them. The impulse to tell them was obeyed gladly. And the heart of love
counted not her life dear unto herself if only others might be told of
this wondrous Christ Jesus.



Fellow-Followers



God's Problem.


God needs men. That is the tremendous fact that stands out in every
generation. There never has been a corner since Adam walked out of Eden
where that need was not thrust into some man's face, and thrust into God's
face. It is being thrust into our faces to-day as ever before, and as
never before. For the ends of the earth are come upon us, for the helping
touch of our hands, _or_ for the drag-back to be overcome by some one's
else helping touch.

God is a needy God. That fact is spelled out by every page of this old
Book of His. And it is spelling itself out anew by the book of the life of
the race whose current chapter is being written by our generation. God's
wonderful plan for man lies at the root of His need. In His great
graciousness He made us in His own image. That is, He gave to us the right
of full free choice. He has never infringed upon that image, that right of
choice, by so much as a whispered breath or the moving of a hair. He gave
man the sovereignty of the earth and its life. And every move God has made
among men on earth has been through a man, and through his free consent.

The tragedy of sin has intensified God's need tremendously. It has
intensified everything, man's misunderstanding and hatred of God, the love
of God's heart for man, and the distance between the two. It is constantly
intensifying pain, sorrow, man's need, and the blight upon nature. It
increases God's difficulty in working out His will of love for man. For it
makes it increasingly hard to get even Christian men to see things through
God's eyes, and gladly give themselves up to His purposes.

Poor God! Such a needy God! Rich in power, in character, in the loving
worship of the upper world, in His love for all, rich beyond power of
human calculation; so poor in the response of men to the wooing of His
heart. So poor in the glad, intelligent co-operation of those who trust
Him for salvation in the next world, but are content with very little of
it in this. So needy in the lack of those who bring love and life,
intellect and wealth, and lay all at His feet.

This has been God's problem, to respect the rights He has given man, and
yet work through him in carrying out His great plan of love. This is the
warp into which the whole of the Bible fabric is woven--the tragedy of
sin, of sin-hurt, sin-stubborned men, the patience of God in wooing men
back, and His exquisite tact and unlimited patience is always working
_through_ men's consent, and through human channels.

To-day He comes to you and me, pleadingly asking us to help Him in His
passionate plan for His race. Some few have the gift of leadership. Most
of us are moulded to follow. He needs both leader and follower. He needs
the _life_. He needs the _love_. Through these, whether in prominent place
or shadowed, in leadership or in following along some well-beaten path,
through these--the _life_, the _love_, He works in His great simple plan
for overcoming the tragedy of sin. That plan includes the whole race. God
has no favourites among the nations. When the hour is ripe for an advance
step, a man is found ripened for leadership. This is the real final
explanation of certain great leaders. It was not the man himself alone,
but the coming together of the time, the man, and the plan; the time for
an advance step, the man who had yielded to God up to the ripening point,
the plan of God. And the decisive thing was the plan of God.

President Finney used to insist very earnestly that revivals followed a
fixed law of action. When men would with all their hearts fit into the
great laws of grace, there would follow the gracious revival results even
as effect follows cause in nature; and without question he was wholly
right. In addition to this, however, there is a further fact to note, of
which Finney himself was a striking illustration. In God's broader plans
for the race when the time is ripe for an advance step, He has some man in
training for leadership in that hour, and so ripeness of time and of man
and of plan come together. But the chief factor at work is God Himself.

This, and only this, explains fully certain great religious movements and
leaders. Such men in later centuries as Luther in Germany, Zwingli in
Switzerland, Calvin in France and Switzerland, Wesley and Whitefield in
England, and Finney in both America and England. Only this can
satisfactorily explain Moody's unusual career. He was a man of strong
native parts, of marked individuality, and of utter surrender to God. And
this combination would have brought great results under any circumstances,
but it does not explain the great movement in which he was the leader. It
was God's hour for an advance movement, the man so untrained in men's
schools, was slowly made ready in God's school, and man and hour and plan
fitted together. But the chief emphasis remains on the fact that it was
the time in God's gracious plan for an advance. And the nations of the
earth have been feeling the blessed impulse of that advance ever since.

But the leaders are few; and what could they do without the great mass of
followers? God needs the faithful ones, unknown by name, hidden away in
quiet corners, each the centre of a group which is touching a larger
group, and so on, ever widening. Everything turns on this,--letting God
have the full use of us; living as though God were the realest thing in
this matter-of-fact, every-day world; going on the supposition that the
Bible is indeed His Word, and is a workable book for daily problems and
needs, the one workable book; making everything bend toward getting His
will done. When we get up into His presence, this will be found to have
been the one thing worth while. When the race story has been all told, the
biography of earth brought to its last page, this will be the one thing
that will stand out, and remain, that we let Him use us just as He would,
and that we have brought everything at our disposal to bear on doing His
will of love.

He comes to you and me afresh to-day with His old-time winsome patience,
asking the use of us. He always thinks of us in two ways, for our own
sakes and for our help in reaching the others. Followers are messengers.
Some are special messengers in speech. But all are messengers in their
lives; that is, they are meant to be. This is our Lord's plan. He wants us
to _live_ the message.

That old word "witness" has grown to mean three things, that you _know_
something, that you _tell_ it, and that you tell it _with your life_.
Every time the word witness is used in the New Testament it stands for
some form of the word underneath from which our English word "martyr"
comes. We have come to associate that word "martyr" with the idea of
giving one's life in a violent way for the truth believed. This is the
meaning that has grown into the word. But the practical meaning of this
martyr-witness word goes a bit deeper yet than this. It is not merely
giving the life out in the crisis of dying, but that the whole life is
being given out in a continual martyrdom, that is, a continual witnessing.
These words, follower, messenger, witness, run together. In following we
are witnesses. We know something about this Man who goes before, a blessed
something that has entered into the marrow and joints of one's being. We
tell it. We tell it chiefly by living it. We are messengers. The whole
life is a message of what Christ Jesus has done for us, and is to us.



A Confession of Faith in Wood and Nails.


Now, this is the thing--this _living it_--that God has always counted on
most. There are in the Bible most striking illustrations of lived or
_acted messages_. One man actually preached a sermon nearly fifteen months
long merely by the position of his body. You would call that a long
sermon, but it had the desired result, at least partly. The man got the
ears of the people. They were hardened sermon listeners. The talked
sermons had no effect. So they were given an acted sermon.

I think it may help to look at a few of the old-time followers. The one
chief thing that marked these men was that they _lived the messages_. They
experienced the truth they stood for, sometimes to the extent of much
suffering. This _experience_ became part of the man's life. And this it
was that God used as His message. You cannot be a follower fully without
the thing taking your very life, and taking it to the feeling,
deep-feeling, point.

One of the earliest of these followers was _Enoch_. His brief story is
like the first crocus of spring coming up through the cold snow, like a
pretty flower growing up out of the thin crack of earth between great
stones. There was such a contrast with the surroundings. It is in the
Fifth of Genesis, one of the most tiresome chapters in the whole Bible.
Its tiresome monotony is an evidence of its inspiration; for it is a
picture of life with God left out. There are five chapters in Enoch's
biography. He was born; with that he had nothing to do. Like his lineal
descendants and his neighbours he just "_lived"_ for a while, went through
the usual physical and mental and social motions of life, no more. Then a
babe came into his household, a fresh act of God, a fresh call of God, one
of God's loudest calls. This was the turning point. He must have heard and
answered that call, for a new life began. He "walked with God." This
became his chief trait. It stands in contrast with his former life. Before
he merely _lived_; now he was on a higher plane, he _walked with God_. The
final chapter,--"God took him." They two had a long walk one day along the
hilltops--or was it only a short walk?--and Enoch never came back. God
kept him.

Now, in all this Enoch was God's messenger to the whole race. Jude speaks
of his prophesying or preaching. But the emphasis of this simple Genesis
biography is not on his preaching but on himself. That man walking about
in his simple daily touch of heart with God,--that was the message. It
wasn't an easy thing to do. The whole set of his time was against it. It
was an evil time; impurity and violence were its outstanding traits.
Enoch's life cut straight across the grain of his time. He was the leader
of the first racial family, the chief one in the direct line from Adam.
And he insisted on living habitually a simple, holy, pure life, walking
with God, never out of touch. _Following meant keeping in step with God,
never missing step_.

And this was talked about. Every one knew it. He was doubtless felt to be
out of touch with his time. And he was, blessedly out of touch. It was
probably never harder to walk with God. But he did it. This is how he
helped God. This is what he was asked to do. God was speaking to the whole
race through this great man's simple habit of life. And He spoke still
louder when, one day, He took him away. Enoch's absence was the talk of
the race. "He was not _found_." Clearly they looked for him, looked
everywhere and discussed him and his peculiar manner of life, his strange
disappearance, and his freedom from death.

So he met God's need. He became God's medium of communication to the
entire race, simply in what he was, and so it is that most of us may help
God. And if we will, He will be less needy, for He will speak through our
lives to all whom we touch. Following means walking with God. So we help
God in His need.

And Enoch helped God to get _Noah_. The touch of Enoch is on his
great-grandson. Grace _is_ hereditary, when there's enough of it. Enoch
had the boldness to set a new standard. It was easier for Noah to reach up
toward it, when it was already set. Now, Noah was asked to do something
more. Enoch walked with God, the personal life was the one thing. Noah
walked with God, _and_ did something more.

He was asked to believe something unusual. It was something that could be
believed only by accepting God's word against every other circumstance and
probability; that is, that a flood was coming to cover the whole earth,
and destroy the race. And he was asked further to put his belief into the
shape of an immense house-boat probably built where it wouldn't float
except such a flood did come. That huge boat was his confession of faith.
He acted his faith. It would be a costly thing, perhaps taking all Noah's
wealth, and taking some years to build. That belief was about the
unlikeliest thing imaginable from every natural standpoint, _with God left
out_. And God is _practically_ left out, except as a very last
questionable consideration, then, and ever since, and to-day. Probably
Noah was the butt of gossip and ridicule, quite possibly of scandal and
reproach, year after year, by the whole race; and he would feel it, and
feel it for his family's sake. That boat and its dreaming builder were the
standing joke of the time. He was regarded as a fool, a fanatic, a poor,
unbalanced enthusiast, building his gigantic boat on dry land! Perhaps
some regretted that he brought the cause of religion into reproach by
being such an extremist.

Yet the only thing he did was to believe God's word, and to shape his
conduct accordingly. He simply did as God asked. He heard God correctly.
His ears were trained to hear. He did what God wanted, regardless of what
people thought. That was how he helped God in His need. The race was saved
through this fresh start, else it had burned out long ago. Following meant
a true life lived, _and faith in God expressed in wood and nails, and in
good money paid out_, while men met him coldly on the road, or jeered.



Befriending God.


Long years afterward there was another man who helped God so decidedly
that he became known as "the friend of God." And the word "friend" is used
this time in the emergency sense. He did the thing God asked him to do,
and this helped God in a plan He was working out for the whole race. God
had to have a man. Abraham was willing to be the man. And in that he
became God's helpful friend. The thing God asked him to do seems very
simple, and yet it was a radical thing for this man to do. He was to leave
his father's family, and all his kinsfolk, and live _a separated life_,
both from them and from all others. It is almost impossible for the West
to realize how close and strong family ties are in the Orient. Separation
meant an unusual, sad break in holiest ties. God was trying a new step in
His fight against sin. He had separated the leader of sin from all
others.[112] He had removed all the race except a seed of good.[113] Both
of these plans had failed, through man's failure. Now a new,
farther-reaching plan is begun. A man is separated from all others, to
become the seed of a new nation, a _faith_ nation, which should be a
different people from others, embodying in themselves God's ideals for
all.

Abraham is asked to become a separated man in a peculiar sense, separate
outwardly, separate in his worship of the true God, and separate in living
a _faith_ life. It was to be a life dependent wholly on God regardless of
outer circumstance or difficulty. There was a training time of twenty-five
years before Abraham was ready for the next step,--the bringing of the
next in line of this new faith stock. Separation, then still further
separation, an open stand for God in the land of strangers, then a series
of close personal tests, each entering into the marrow of his life,--this
was the training to get the man ready to be a _faith_ father to his son,
the next in line of a faith people. And the hardest test of all came
after the child of faith had grown to manhood. Then he became a child of
faith in his own experience, as well as in his father's. Following meant
separation. It meant believing God against the unlikeliest circumstances,
against nature itself, hoping in the midst of hopelessness. Everything
spelled out "hopelessness." God alone spelled out "hope." He took God
against everything else. It meant going to school to God, until he could
be used as God planned. And Abraham consented. He followed. He helped God
in His need. He befriended God; he became His friend in His need.

But _every_ generation needs men. Each new step in the plan needs a new
man. In a sore crisis of that plan, long after, another man's name,
_Moses_, is known to us, _only_ because he singled himself out as being
willing to let God use him. In his unconscious training, the training of
circumstances into which it was natural to fit, he was peculiarly prepared
for the future task. Bred in Egypt as the son of the ruler's household, he
received the best school training of his day, with all the peculiar
advantages of his position in the royal family.

Following meant more to Moses, in what he gave up of worldly advantage,
than to any other named in the Bible record. Egypt was the world empire of
that day. Moses was in the innermost imperial circles, and could easily
have become the dominant spirit of the court, if not the successor to the
Pharaoh's throne. But he heard the call. His mother helped train his ears.
He answered "Yes" to God, without knowing how much was involved. Following
meant giving up, then a long course of training in the university of the
desert, with the sheep and the stars and--God. It meant a repeated risking
of his life not only in his bold dealings with Pharaoh, but afterward with
the nation-mob, mob-nation, whose leader, and father and school-teacher,
and everything else, he had to be for forty years. And it meant much on
the other side, too.

    "Had Moses failed to go, had God
      Granted his prayer, there would have been
      For him no leadership to win;
    No pillared fire; no magic rod,
    No smiting of the sea; no tears
      Ecstatic, shed on Sinai's steep;
      No Nebo, with a God to keep
    His burial; only forty years
      Of desert, watching with his sheep."



A Yet Deeper Meaning.


When we turn to the leaders of the latter years of the Kingdom time of
God's teacher-nation, the prophetic time, there is one thing that stands
out sharply in the men God used. It was this, a man's inner personal life
and experience were made use of to an unusual degree. It is as though the
sacred inner life were sacrificed. The holy privacies were laid bare to
the public gaze. The sweets of the inner holy of holies of the personal
life were given up. The people were so far God-hardened that only _acted_
preaching, _lived_ messages, that took it out of one's very life, with
pain in the taking, had any effect.

This is most markedly so in the case of _Hosea_, whose experience it seems
almost if not wholly impossible for us to take in.[114] It is true that
the Christianized West has conceptions of personal privacy to which the
East is a stranger. Yet, even so, the way in which these men were asked to
yield up their inner personal lives, must have been a most marked thing to
these Orientals. For God used it as the one thing apparently, the extreme
thing, to touch their hearts with His appeal.

_Isaiah_ had just such peculiar experiences. The birth of a son is planned
for, and told of for the purpose of making more emphatic the message to
the dull ears and slow heart of the nation.[115] His two sons bore names
of strange meaning, as a means of teaching truths that were peculiarly
distasteful to the people. Isaiah takes one of these strangely named sons
as he goes to deliver a message to the king. And the son standing by his
father's side is a reminder in his name of a disagreeable truth.[116] A
little later the man is actually required to go about barefooted, and
without clothing sufficient for conventional respectability, and to
continue this for three years.[117] When we remember that he was not an
erratic extremist, but a sober-minded, fine-grained gentleman of
refinement and of a good family, it helps us to understand a little how
hard-hearted and stubborn were a people that could be appealed to only in
such a way.

And it tells us, too, how utterly surrendered was the man who was willing
thus to give up his private personal life. How much easier to have been
simply an earnest, eloquent preacher, with his inner personal life lived
free from public gaze, a thing sacred to himself. Following meant the
giving up of the sacred private life to a strangely marked degree, for God
to use.

Even more marked are the experiences that _Jeremiah_ was asked and
consented to go through. It would seem as though the repeated conspiracies
against his life, the repeated imprisonments in vile dungeons dangerous to
health and life, and the shame of being put in the public stocks before
the rabble, would have been much for God to ask, and for a man to give.
But there is something that goes much farther and deeper into the very
marrow of his life than these. He is bidden not to marry, not to have a
family life of his own.[118] And he obeyed. This was to be so only and
solely as a message to the people. A message couched in such startling
language they might listen to. Again we must remember the Oriental setting
to appreciate the significance of this. In the East the unit of society is
not the individual but the _family_. A man's marriage is planned for by
the family, as a means of building up the family. To be childless and
especially son-less was felt to be peculiarly unfortunate, almost
bordering on disgrace.

This meant for Jeremiah not only the loss of personal joys and delights,
but that his line would be broken off from his father's family. He would
be without heir, or future, in the family history. So following meant
going yet deeper into the inner personal life, for the sake of God's plan.
This giant's strength is revealed in nothing more than in his tear-wet
laments over his people. And he gave all this strength to following. He
said "Yes" to God's need and request, though it must have taken his very
life to say it.

But _Ezekiel_ was asked to do something even beyond this. He was the
messenger of God to the colony of Hebrew exiles in Assyria. His accounts
of the visions of God reveal a remarkable power of detailed description,
and a remarkably strong mentality. Strange to say, these people in
captivity are yet harder to reach than were their fathers in their native
land. Yet, not strange, for the human heart is the same when it won't open
to the purifying of the upper currents of air. Here the man himself
literally became the message. He actually lay upon his left side for
thirteen months and then on his right side for six weeks longer.

During all that time he ate food that was particularly repugnant, and it
was carefully weighed out, and the water as carefully measured out for
his use. He had to rise, no doubt, for various reasons, but the bulk of
the time for nearly fifteen months he lay out where all could see him. His
fellow-exiles, I suppose, looked and wondered, laughed and gossiped
perhaps, and then as time wore on, they thought and thought more, and were
awed as they began slowly to take in the meaning of this strange message
of God. Thereafter Ezekiel was the leader, to whose house the leaders of
the colony came, and to whose words they intently listened.

But there was a yet deeper meaning to following than we have found yet. It
is a meaning that awes one's heart into amazed silence. He was married.
His wife is spoken of very tenderly as "the desire of thine eyes." He was
told that she would be taken away out of his life. She would die. That was
the great thing. Then he was not to mourn outwardly for her; this was the
second thing. He was to be before the people as though the greatest sorrow
of his life had not happened. Is it any wonder the people came astonished
to know what this meant? The simple brevity with which he tells of the
occurrence takes hold of one's heart. "So I spake unto the people in the
morning; and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was
commanded."[119] There was no questioning, no hesitancy of action, but a
simple, prompt obedience, even though his heart was breaking. This was
what God asked of him. God needed this in His dealings with these people
of His in whom His world-plan centred. How desperate must have been the
need that called for such an experience as this! Ezekiel said "Yes" even
to this. Surely there was here some of that Calvary meaning, of the
secondary sort, of which we have spoken together. Following meant not only
giving his personality and life, but now it meant giving what must have
been more than life itself.



Through Fire.


To _Daniel_ following meant something essentially different. He was not a
messenger to his own people, nor their leader. He was a messenger to the
great world-rulers of his time, through the visions he interpreted, and
through his unbending faithfulness and purity of life; The thing that
stands out largest is the life he lived, a life of simplicity in habit, of
purity and consistency, with an unwavering faith in God. God _could_ use
him to speak to the great emperors. So he helped God to get His message to
men so hard to reach through a human channel.

Following meant a pure life. It was Daniel's insistence on being pure and
true that shut him up with the wild beasts. And it was through his
unflinching fidelity and persistence that God could send His message anew,
in the most public manner, out to all the millions of that great
world-empire. Following meant to a marked degree a pure life as the basis
of the service rendered. It proved to mean a lions' den, _and_ the power
of God overcoming the instincts of ravenous beasts. But clear beyond these
it meant that God could reach His world with His message to an unusual
extent.

_Daniel's three companions_ helped God by means of a most thrilling
experience, a really terrible experience. God had been pleading with the
great Nebuchadnezzar through Daniel's message. Now He wants to speak again
in a way that will compel attention. He needs these three young men. They
consent to be His messengers. It meant going through a terrible ordeal.
They simply remained true in their personal devotion to God. This was the
thing God needed, and used. Everything of use to God roots down in the
life. The personal plea of the great king, and the prospect of a horrible
death fail alike to move them. They probably had quite resigned themselves
to the fate of being burned alive for the truth. But God had a different
purpose. He was thinking about this ruler with whom He dealt so personally
and unusually, time and again.

The three men, walking quietly up and down in the seven-times heated
furnace in company with a glorious looking person "like a son of the
gods"--this was the message God wanted spoken to the ruler He was pleading
with. His strangely marvellous power, and His personal regard for His
faithful followers--this was what God was trying to say to Nebuchadnezzar.
He asked the use of these three young men. Their personal loyalty to
Himself even unto death--this was what He wanted. _Through_ this He
reached the heart of the man He was after.

The experience of these men is an intensely interesting study. It was a
fearful ordeal that they went through. Yet it was wholly mental, and of
the spirit. They suffered no pain of body, nor inconvenience. The fire
only made them free, burned up the bonds that held them. It took great
strength of will, of decision, to stay steady through all the fearful
test. Yet _nothing happened to their bodies_ except to help them. God took
care of that. They gave Him what He asked. He gave them more than they
expected. They probably expected death and were willing. God had a deeper
plan He was working out. How glad they must have been that they followed
fully, that they didn't disappoint God.

Following meant simply being true, even though the road led through a
furnace. God would attend to the furnace. Their part was simply to follow
where He led. And our God is needing just such acted messages to-day. He
is longing for just such opportunities to reveal His power and love, not
merely _to us_, but through us to His world.

Let us take time for one more of these faithful followers. This time it is
a young woman. It is at the most critical juncture of God's plan, thus
far. He needed a woman whom He could use to bring His Son, and could use
further to mother that Son's early years. All unconsciously Mary of
Nazareth and of Bethlehem was fitting into His plan in her life, her
simple, pure, godly, personal life. We can understand that God wooed her
especially to such a life of heart devotion as a preparation for the after
part. And she said "Yes" to all His wooings, never suspecting what was to
come of it. You never know how much a simple "Yes" to God may mean, _or_ a
"No." You never know how much of service may grow out of the true life.
Yet all true service is something coming out of the life.

Then the plan of God was made known to her,--the marvellous plan, yet so
simple to Him. And again she said a simple, awed "Yes." She waits only
long enough to ask the natural, woman's question as to method. There was
no questioning of God's power, what He could do, and would do. It came to
mean hurting suspicion, peculiarly hurting to as pure and gentle a soul as
she. Apparently this was unavoidable. It speaks volumes for her openness
of both mind and heart to God, that she instantly took in Gabriel's
meaning, and could take it in that such an unprecedented thing was
possible. It would have saved her the cruel suspicion if Joseph had been
told beforehand, but the whole probability is that he could not have taken
it in that such a thing was possible.

Following meant the glad "Yes" to the early wooing up to a pure devoted
life. It meant saying a further "Yes" to the plan of God even though
something so unusual, and with it the misunderstanding and cruel
suspicion, on the one point most sensitive to a woman, and by the one
nearest her. But she said "Yes" both times. She let God have the use of
her life for His plan. That was all He asked. That is all He asks. But
that is what He asks.

These are a few of the glorious company of followers, the goodly
fellowship of those who have helped God in His passionate plan for His
world, the noble army of willing ones. But the number is incomplete. The
plan is not yet fully worked out. The need is not yet wholly met. It was
never more urgent. To-day the insistent voice still comes as of old,
asking you and me to follow.

And no one can tell how much _his_ following may mean to God in reaching
His world.



The Glory Of The Goal,--Face to Face



"With You Always.".


Have you ever _seen Christ_? No, I don't mean have you been to some
uplifting convention, and been tremendously caught by some talented,
earnest speaker, and been swayed by the atmosphere of the hour and place,
and felt that all was not just as it should be with you; and then you
prayed more, and made some new resolves, or re-made some old ones, and
left off some things, and put on some things; I don't mean that, but
this--have you ever _seen Christ_?

No, of course, you don't see Him with these outer eyes. Well, then just
what do I mean practically? _This_--has there come to you a real sense of
Himself? of His presence? of the tremendous plea His presence makes? and,
possibly, you don't know just how to answer. You say, "I'm not just sure,"
or "How can I know?" Well, you'll never say it that way, nor ask that
question again after the experience has come.

May I tell you a little bit about it? Yet, mark you, only "a little bit."
You can never _tell_ another one what it means to see _Him_. When once the
sight has come, every word you utter about it, or Him, seems so lame and
weak that you despair of ever being able to let out at your lips what has
gotten into you. But let me try, even if lamely, in the eager yearning
that it may help you know if, thus far, you have missed seeing _Him_, and
maybe--so much better--help you to _see_ Him. For until you have--well,
nothing, absolutely nothing, is worth while.

When you see Him there comes such a sense of _His purity_ that, instantly,
you are down on your face in utter despair, because of your own self--your
impurity; your lack of purity; the sharp contrast between Him and you. You
feel that young Isaiah's outcry in the temple that morning is wholly
inadequate. "Unclean lips," is it? Why, the whole thing, from innermost
recesses clear through and out, is unclean. Then it dawns upon you that
this is really what Isaiah is feeling and trying to express in his "woe"
and "undone."

And that vivid sense of contrast between Him and you never grows less, but
more acute and deeper. Even when you come to know Him better, and the
sweet peace comes with its untellable balm to your spirit, yet you are
always conscious of the contrast, and you know that _you_ are not pure;
only _He_ is; and all you can do is to keep under the cleansing stream of
His blood, very low down.

    "Never higher than His piercèd feet,
    Never farther than His bleeding side."

With that comes such a sense of _Himself_, of His--what word can tell
it?--His glory,--which means simply His character, what He is in
Himself--that again words can never tell out the sense of your own
littleness; no, that is not the word, your own _nothingness_. And now you
recall, with an inner shrinking, how well you have thought of yourself,
how much you have talked about yourself and your view of things, perhaps
in the language of a properly phrased humility. Now you are dumb. His
presence dumbs you. You begin to wonder at the strange self-confidence and
self-complacence that have been so common even in your holiest moments and
experiences. It seems, in this Presence, as though you could never open
your lips again--except to speak of _Him_.

Then your eyes are drawn more intently to His person,--His face, His
wounds. The scars where the thorns tore His great, patient face; the
grief-whitened hair, draped above those deep, tender, unspeakable eyes;
that strangely rough place in the palm so lovingly outstretched; the
spear-scar, the nail-marks in those feet coming over to you,--these grip
you. Their meaning begins to come. There's cleansing; yes, blessed fact!
there's _cleansing_ from this horrid impurity whose stain you are so
conscious of. Yet, what it cost Him! What my impurity forced upon Him!
Yes, cleansed; blessed Jesus! What a relief to be cleansed! Yet I must
_stay_ under the stream; only so can the sense of relief be continual.
And I must stay down on my face at His feet. It is the only place for such
as I discover myself to be. Yet what grace to let me stay at His feet!

Have you _seen Christ_? This is what begins to come when you have--His
purity, your contrasted lack; His glorious self, your own nothingness in
yourself; His suffering--the price of your cleansing. This is only a
beginning, yet a beginning that comes to be the continuous thing.



Closer Acquaintance.


After a little, as you are sitting still in His presence, and have become
a bit quieter after that flush of first emotions at seeing Him, you begin
to be caught all anew with how _lovable_ He is. This takes great hold of
you. I overheard a once-drunken, now thoroughly changed man, up in
Scotland, as he was fairly pouring out his heart in prayer in his sweet,
broad Scotch,--"Once Thou didst have no form or comeliness to me, but
now"--and it seemed as if all the pent-up feelings within rushed at once
to flood-tide--"_now_ Thou art the chiefest among ten thousand, and the
One altogether lovely." And the high-water mark of the flood was touched
on "chiefest" and "altogether."

That first look made you think mostly of your-self--an inner loathing. Now
you think of _Him_. He is so lovable, so true and tender, and patient and
pure; again your language gives out, and you feel better content just to
look without trying to use words. They're such poor things when it comes
to telling about Him. He is so much more than anything that can be said
about Him. His will is so wise and thoughtful and far-reaching and loving.
Strange how stupid you have been in insisting so strenuously and blindly
on having your own way. His plan, His thought about everything concerning
you, is _so_ superb. And He asks me to be His follower. What joy! What if
the way be a bit rough; it's following _Him_; that's enough. He calls me
to be His personal friend. I can hardly take it in,--His _friend_? Yes,
that's His own word. Well, let any thorns tear because of the narrowing of
the road; I'm His friend, man, do you hear? His _friend_,--do you get hold
of that word? What can any thorn thing do against that!

"We" may go hand in hand now,--His is pierced; I feel the scar where our
hands touch. But we're together at last, _the_ thing He has been working
for. I can feel His presence. I can hear the low music of His voice
within. Thorns don't count here. Oh, yes, I _feel_ them; they haven't lost
their power to slash and sting,--but--with _Him_ so close
alongside!--Wondrous Christ, here I am at Thy feet, Thy glad slave
forever. I'm wholly Thine. It's my own choice. I'll never go any other way
by Thy grace. This is the second bit that comes, the glad surrender of
life to His mastery. Do you know about this? You will, when you've _seen
Christ_.

Then you come to know, without being able to tell just how, that He is
not only _with_ you, but _within_ you. At first His presence may have
seemed as something outside yourself. You were looking away at some One
who was looking at you. And His look at you broke your heart, and made
your will, once so strangely strong in itself, now as strangely pliable to
His as only a strong will can be. But now He is living within you. You may
not be clear just how the change came. But you do know that there's a
something which you come to know is a some One, who is within. His
presence is peace past understanding, but not past appreciation. There's a
longing for His Word, a desire to talk with Him even when you don't want
to ask for something, a deep heart-cry for purity, a burning within to
please Him. These all seem to come from Him, and at the same time to be
satisfied by Himself, even while they remain and increase.

And yet more, while this Presence within seems so quietly real and
exquisitely peace-bringing, there is still the outer presence, the One
whose presence it was at the first that brought all this change. Two
presences, one above, enthroned there; one within, enthroned there; yet
they seem the same, as though one personality with two presences had come
into your consciousness. There's the Lord Jesus above at the Father's
right hand; here's the Holy Spirit within at my right hand,[120] yet in
practical effect they are as one, while one's thought is always directed
to the Lord Jesus both within and above.

The Presence within makes you think wholly of the Presence above, who yet
seems also to be within. You are getting a taste of the practical meaning
of the Trinity now, three that in effect are as one. But you are too much
taken up with the gladness of it to think about the metaphysics of it.
He--whether within, or above, or both--is so much more than words. The
experience is so much more than any explanation. You are not concerned
about the explanation so long as you can have the sweet experience.



The Final Goal.


This is the third bit that comes when you've seen Christ, the gracious
indwelling of the Lord Jesus' other self, the Holy Spirit. But if you have
seen Him, you are probably not counting steps nor analyzing processes, but
just singing a bit of joyous praise to Him.

Then there's _the outer turn; He_ does that. He draws you to Himself, and
yet at the same time sends you away--no, not _from_ Him--_for_ Him, out to
the others He hungers after, even as after you. Up, in, out,--so He draws
and directs, up to Himself, in by contrast to one's self with a holding
hard to Him while looking within, then a sending out to the others. He
kindles a fire, He is a fire, drawing, burning, cleansing, warming, then
driving you forth, and doing all at the same time. Wondrous fine, this
fire of love--of His heart--of Himself. The common word for this is
"service." The word doesn't matter much. Service is a good word. But the
thing that comes seems so much more than this word seems to contain.

That hand that was pierced, which has been to you so tender and warm, and
in its clasp so expressive of this wondrous friendship--that hand now
leads you where you had not thought of going. _And you go_,--aghast almost
at first at the radical change in your carefully worked out plans, losing
your breath for a moment as you wonder what "they" _will_ think (though
"they" never will _understand_, unless--ah, yes, unless they see _Him_).
That hand reaches in where your life touches others, in the family, the
business circle, the social circle, and moulds you over anew in the old
relationships, not taking you away from them (though there may be some
partings), but making you a new presence in the midst of them.

That hand reaches into your pocket, and your safety-deposit box, in among
the title papers and securities, and shakes off the dust and rust, and
sends them out on an errand after the others. That fire--Himself--draws
all into the smelting-pot. Its alchemy transmutes possessions into lives,
redeemed, sweetened, Jesus-touched, Christ-renewed lives, made like
Himself. And the sweet music of their new lives comes up into _His_
gladdened ears, and a few of the strains come to cheer you. One may have
at first a strange feeling of bareness, for things that we've always clung
to as essential have gone out from us to others. But with the outgoing of
things has come an incoming of _Himself_, in greater abundance than we
dreamed possible. He, within, completely overbalances what He has sent out
from us into use. _He_--He is _everything_.

The usual word for all this is "service," a blessed word. Yet service
seems to suggest your doing something for Him among others. This is quite
different. It is _His_ doing something _with_ you for others. The thing
itself is so much more than any word. Christ is so much more than anything
you say about Him. The truth is always less than Himself. But one never
understands how much that means till he has seen Christ. Have _you_ seen
Christ? Then others shall see Him, too, in you, and through you.

This is the glory of the goal--face to face with Himself. It begins now.
It is a very real thing. This is a bit of the meaning of that mountain
beatitude, "the pure in heart ... shall _see God_." Yet only he who sees
understands what seeing means. The subtle intensity of God's presence
cannot be explained, only understood by the purified in heart. Only the
opened eyes see.

But this is only a beginning. There will be the far greater glory of the
final goal, as we come into His immediate presence, literally face to
face. That may be when we are called away from the lower road up to the
higher reaches, above the clouds and the blue, the glory-reaches, up where
He now sits. It may be by that goal coming nearer, by Himself actually
coming on the clouds in great glory, for His own and for the next chapter
in His great world-plan. Then we shall be caught up into His presence.
Then we shall be fully like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

And we shall be sharers in His glory, in the Kingdom time of glad earth
service. But we shall be thinking only of Himself--face to face.



Footnotes


[1] John i. 1, 2, 14, 18; Colossians i. 15; II Corinthians iv. 4;
Philippians ii. 6; Hebrews i. 3.

[2] John xv. 15; Psalm xxv. 14; Isaiah xli. 8; II Chronicles xx. 7; James
ii. 23.

[3] Matthew iv. 4; where the emphatic word is "man," standing in contrast
with "Son of God" in verse 3.

[4] Acts xvii. 28; Job xii. 10; Daniel v. 23 l.c.; Psalm cxxxix. 1-16.

[5] Philippians ii. 6-8.

[6] Romans xii. 19; Deuteronomy xxxii. 35; Psalm xciv. 1; Proverbs xx. 22;
I Peter ii. 23; I Corinthians xiii. 5, second clause.

[7] John xi. 41, 42; xii. 27, 28; Luke x. 21.

[8] Deuteronomy viii. 17, 18.

[9] Matthew v. 3.

[10] John viii. 28, 29.

[11] Genesis i. 26-28.

[12] 1 Philippians ii. 8; Hebrews v. 8; Romans v. 19 l.c.; John x. 18 l.c.

[13] Hebrews ii. 18.

[14] Hebrews xii. 29.

[15] Romans iii. 26, latter half; free reading--"that He (God) might be
seen to be just and righteous in forgiving a man's sin when he trusted in
Jesus."

[16] Eden: delight.

[17] Genesis ii. 8-20.

[18] Genesis iii. 8, 9

[19] Genesis iv.-vi.

[20] Genesis vi. 6; Deuteronomy v. 29; Psalm lxxxi. 13; Isaiah xlviii. 18.

[21] Mark xii. 1-8; II Chronicles xxxvi. 15, 16--These passages, and many
similar, while speaking directly of the one nation Israel, are giving a
picture of the heart of God toward all men, and His habit of action.
Israel itself was the messenger-nation, whose life was meant to be God's
message of love to all the race.

[22] John i. 1-18, especially verses 1-5, 14.

[23] John i. 14 f.c.

[24] Matthew ii. 22, 23.

[25] John i. 19-28.

[26] E. C. Clephane.

[27] Psalm xl. 8 f.c.; John iv. 34; Hebrews xii. 2.

[28] Matthew xi. 28.

[29] Matthew iv. 19, with Luke v. 1-11.

[30] Matthew xi. 29, 30.

[31] John xiii. 31-xvi. 33.

[32] John xx. 21.

[33] Matthew xxviii. 18-20.

[34] John i. 35-42.

[35] Matthew iv. 18-22, with Luke v. 1-11.

[36] Matthew x. 1-5; Mark iii. 14-19; Luke vi. 12-17.

[37] Matthew xvi. 13-28.

[38] Matthew xvi. 24; Mark viii. 34; Luke ix. 23.

[39] Matthew xxvi. 58.

[40] John xxi. 15-19.

[41] Acts v. 41.

[42] I John.

[43] Acts i, 1.

[44] Luke xiv. 25-35.

[45] Mark x. 17-22.

[46] In "Other Sheep," by Harold Begbie.

[47] Luke xiv. 25-35, with Matthew v. 13.

[48] Luke xxi. 28.

[49] Mark x. 17-22.

[50] Acts xxii. 11, with ix. 1-9.

[51] Luke xxiv. 40; John xx. 20.

[52] John i. 19-28.

[53] Romans viii. 34; Hebrews vii. 25.

[54] I John ii. 1; Hebrews ix. 24.

[55] Isaiah xi 2; lxi. 1, with Luke iv. 18-21.

[56] Psalm xxv. 3 f.c.

[57] John iii. 34 f.c.

[58] Isaiah xliv. 3; John vii. 37-39.

[59] Acts viii. 4-8, 26-40.

[60] Matthew v. 42.

[61] Isaiah xxxviii. 17, margin.

[62] Matthew iv. 23; ix. 35.

[63] Luke v. 15, 16. The language underneath here suggests a habitual
going aside to pray, as an offset to the work with the crowds.

[64] Matthew xxv. 40.

[65] James i. 2, 3.

[66] Matthew vi. 13.

[67] James i. 13.

[68] Matthew xxvi. 41.

[69] John xiii., xiv.

[70] John xv., xvi.

[71] John xvii.

[72] Lucy Rider Meyer.

[73] Exodus xxxii. 31, 32

[74] Romans ix. 1-3.

[75] II Corinthians iv. 12.

[76] Colossians i. 24.

[77] I Corinthians xv. 3, 4.

[78] Acts i. 1.

[79] Matthew xxvii. 59, 60.

[80] Matthew xxvii. 62, 66.

[81] John xii. 24.

[82] John xii. 20-32.

[83] Isaiah v. 20.

[84] Matthew xvi. 21-28.

[85] John xv.

[86] Hebrews xii. 2.

[87] II Corinthians iii. 18.

[88] Romans viii. 11.

[89] II Corinthians iv. 11. "Dying" in these two passages does not mean
being in the process of dissolution, but that the body is subject to
death.

[90] Ephesians i. 20, 21; Acts ii. 33; John xiv. 12, 13; Romans viii.
34; Hebrews vii. 25; ix. 24.

[91] Colossians iii. I; Ephesians ii. 6.

[92] Psalm xxii. 8, 9.

[93] Revelation ii. 26, 27; v. 10; xx. 4.

[94] Psalm lxxxiv. 11.

[95] Anonymous, in "Egyptian Mission News," copied from S. M. Zwemer's
"Unoccupied Fields of the World."

[96] Hebrews x. 12, 13.

[97] Revelation ii., iii.

[98] Numbers xiv. 24 xxxii. 12; Deuteronomy i. 36; Joshua xiv. 8, 9, 14.

[99] Matthew xvi. 24.

[100] John xii. 26.

[101] John vi. 70.

[102] Matthew xix. 27.

[103] Luke ix. 51-54.

[104] Genesis xvi.

[105] Galatians ii 11-14.

[106] Luke ii. 49.

[107] Zechariah xiv. 4.

[108] Hebrews xiii. 20, 21.

[109] Exodus xxxii. 31, 32.

[110] Romans ix. 1-3.

[111] Psalm xlix. 7.

[112] Genesis iv. 12-16.

[113] Genesis vi. 17, 18.

[114] Hosea i. 2-9; iii 1-3.

[115] Isaiah vii. 3-17.

[116] Isaiah viii. 1-3.

[117] Isaiah xx. 1-4.

[118] Jeremiah xvi. 1-4.

[119] Ezekiel xxiv. 15-19.

[120] Psalm xvi. 8.





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