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Title: The One Great Reality
Author: Clayton, Louisa
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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THE ONE GREAT REALITY

By

LOUISA CLAYTON

Author of "Heart Lessons", "Loving Messages",
"Winning and Warning", "Wilderness Lessons", etc.



"I AM GOD, AND THERE IS NONE ELSE"--
Isa. xiv. 22.



THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED
to all my friends in Rusthall,
in loving remembrance
of our happy fellowship in the gospel
during the past thirty years,
with the earnest prayer
that the messages may be stored up
in their hearts
and bring forth fruit in their lives
when the voice
which delivered them is still.

3, Somerville Gardens,
Tunbridge Wells.



FOREWORD

In response to the request of an old and esteemed friend I gladly add a
Foreword to the collection of Addresses embodied in this volume.

I do so in recognition of the supreme importance of the great topics that
have been chosen, and also in appreciation of the clear and attractive way
in which the truth is set forth. May the messages find attentive and
receptive readers, and be followed by deep and abiding spiritual blessing.

EVAN H. HOPKINS.

Woburn Chase,
Addlestone, Surrey.



CONTENTS

I    GOD, THE GREAT REALITY

II   GOD, OUR FATHER

III  THE SON OF GOD

IV   THE SPIRIT OF GOD

V    THE VOICE OF GOD

VI   THE HANDS OF GOD

VII  THE WORD OF GOD

VIII HAVE FAITH IN GOD

IX   THE CHURCH OF GOD

X    THE KINGDOM OF GOD



INDEX OF CONTENTS


    ADDRESS I

GOD, THE GREAT REALITY

Personal knowledge of God, the secret of happiness--Realising His Presence
in prayer--Illustrations from the telephone and family life--God is our
Father, Saviour, Comforter--The Living God-knowing all, and controlling
everything--Illustrations from current events.


    ADDRESS II

GOD, OUR FATHER

A Chinese convert--Christ's confidence in the Father--Christ reveals the
Father--Philip's prayer, "Show us the Father"--What God is to us as
Father--How the minister sang the Doxology in an empty flour barrel--The
glorious calling of the children of God.


    ADDRESS III

THE SON OF GOD

Christ is the Son of God from Eternity--He is sent to be the Saviour of
the world--Three questions answered: Where did He come from? When did He
come? Why did He come?--A working-man's experience--The story of the pearl
necklace--Christ's work of redemption--Sir James Simpson's dying
testimony--Hymn, "He came and took me by the hand."


    ADDRESS IV

THE SPIRIT OF GOD

God is a Spirit--True spiritual worship--The Spirit of God in Creation and
Salvation--The New Birth--The work of the Holy Spirit convincing of sin,
and revealing Christ--Searchlights--The loveliness of Christ--The Holy
Ghost like a Mother--The Comforter.


    ADDRESS V

THE VOICE OF GOD

Jacob's ladder, a type of Christ--Jacob brought face to face with
God--What it is to hear the Voice of God--God's first call to man in the
Garden of Eden--A perfect link of communication between God and man--The
Voice of God speaking in His Word.


    ADDRESS VI

THE HANDS OF GOD

Why St. John wrote his Gospel--The safety of the believer--God's hands in
Creation, Providence and Redemption--The "Scarred Hands"--The story of a
brave shepherd lad--The Hands of Jesus wounded for our transgressions--The
Three Crosses.


    ADDRESS VII

THE WORD OF GOD

The Glory of God seen in Nature--The Glory of God revealed in the
Bible--The dying woman and her rich inheritance--God's Word brings wisdom,
conversion, joy and light to the heart of man--Spurgeon's text in the
Crystal Palace--A Chinese convert "behaving the Bible"--The Torch that
will light you home--A neglected Bible.


    ADDRESS VIII

HAVE FAITH IN GOD

Abraham the Friend of God--The greatness of his faith--Faith the gate into
Life--Faith the link between the sinner and the Saviour--A missionary's
faith rewarded--Illustrations from the telegraph and electricity--The
wonders wrought by the touch of faith--Great faith brings Heaven into our
souls--The difference between believing and committing.


    ADDRESS IX

THE CHURCH OF GOD

The Church of God: Past, Present, Future--Its Beginning and Growth--The
Church the Body of Christ, a Living Union--The Church the Bride of Christ,
a Loving Relationship--The Glory of this Union--Three Great Surprises--The
Old Man's Message; Love, Eternal Love--The Four Precious Words--"Labelled
and Ready"--The Glorious Future of the Church of God--The Church will show
forth God's Grace and Glory in the Ages to come.


    ADDRESS X

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

"Bringing the King back"--One King, Jesus, His entrance into
Jerusalem--The Jews rejecting their King--His Kingdom in our hearts--Make
Jesus King--The Cross the Way to the Throne--The dying thief received into
the Kingdom--The King's Victory over the Powers of Darkness--The Coming
King--The Glory of the Lord revealed--Christ's Reign on
Earth--Rutherford's testimony--Miss Havergal's Prayer--The Eternal Kingdom.



ADDRESS I

GOD, THE GREAT REALITY

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE--Hebrews xi. 1-6.


God is the one great Reality. Will you close your eyes for a moment and
say those words over again very slowly so as to let them burn into your
inmost heart and soul. The Word of God tells us that "The Son of God is
come and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is
true": this means that we may personally know Him that is Reality. In the
wonder of that moment when we first know that God is real and that God is
near, then we cry out, "My God, how wonderful Thou art." To have personal
knowledge of God is the secret of assurance and happiness, and to put real
trust in Him changes our whole life, for then we can say, "I have a
wonderful God."

To know God is Eternal life; to know Him fully, brings "life more
abundantly"; to know Him with no veil between, is glory--life.

If you look again at the 6th verse of the 11th chapter of Hebrews you will
notice a very clear statement: it says, "He that cometh to God must
believe that He is," or to put it in other words, "the man who draws near
to God must believe that there is a God."

Do you believe in God? Is He real to you? Here is one test. When you pray
do you realise His Presence? Is He so close to you that it is like
speaking into His ear?

It was this text, "He that cometh to God must believe that He is," which
first awakened a worldly gentleman named Brownlow North to think about his
soul. God's Spirit showed him that he had never really believed in God and
that all his former religion was worthless, "for without faith it is
impossible to please God." As soon as he had really learnt to know God, he
devoted all his life to preaching the Gospel. He told every one that the
first thing we need is _to believe there is a God_. Many of his friends
who were rich and well educated were thus brought to a personal knowledge
of God for the first time. He that cometh to God must believe that He is
really there. Have you ever been conscious of the Presence of the living
God? You must make sure that He is near before you can really pray.

We have an illustration of this in the telephone. You first put the
speaking tube to your mouth and then you say "Are you there?" In any case
you make sure that the person to whom you wish to speak, is listening at
the other end. Although you cannot see any one, you know he is holding the
receiver so as to hear what you say.

When you begin to pray always pause for a moment and remember that you are
speaking to God. Do not say a word until the Holy Spirit puts you into
direct communication with God. The Psalmist was quite sure that God was
really listening to his prayer, for he says, "I love the Lord because He
hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because He hath inclined His ear
unto me therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live." [Footnote: Ps.
cxvi. 1, 2.] And again, "I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God
with my voice, and He gave ear unto me." [Footnote: Ps. lxxvii. 1.] It is
in this way we realise that there is a God, a personal living God.

I asked a Christian man one day if he had prayed about some work which was
offered to him, and his reply was, "Yes: I am on the telephone." Can you
say the same? As soon as you have spoken through the telephone you put the
receiver to your ear to listen for the answer. Many people pray without
expecting to get an answer. They are like children who knock at a door and
then run away before it is opened. The prophet Micah says, "I will wait
for God, my God will answer me." [Footnote: Mic. vii. 7.] Yes, he expected
to get an answer.

The Lord Jesus says, "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when
thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret."
[Footnote: St. Matt. vi. 6.] When a child wants to tell his father
something very private he whispers it in his ear. I daresay you have
noticed that the telephone at the General Post Office is enclosed in a
box, so that no one can overhear what is said. There are many things we
say into God's ear which we could not tell to any one else. It makes Him
very real to us, if we can say in our inmost hearts, "O God, Thou art my
God, my very own Father."

When we speak through the telephone we never say useless words, and our
Lord tells us to avoid needless repetitions when we pray, and He adds,
"for your Father knows what things you need before ever you ask Him." Just
as an earthly father delights to hear his children's, voices, so our
heavenly Father loves to hear us speaking to Him, for He says, "Put Me in
remembrance, let us plead together." [Footnote: Isa. xliii. 26.]

A child's intercourse with his father is quite simple and natural, he
talks freely about everything. When you speak to God, is it an effort, or
do you look up into His face with confidence and tell Him all? A child
expects his father to supply all his wants and to be equal to every
emergency, but we seem to have lost sight of the Father in heaven who is
pledged to "supply all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ
Jesus." [Footnote: Phil. iv. 13.]

We must not be disappointed if we do not get all we want, because God's
promise is to supply what we _need_. We often wish for things which we do
not really need.

If ever you lose sight of _God_, think of the wonderful lesson which Jesus
teaches when He says, "If ye then being evil know how to give good gifts
unto your children," and you, fathers, always get the best you can for
them, "how much more" (wonderful words), "how much more shall your Father
which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him." [Footnote: St.
Matt. vii. 11.] Have you ever heard God's voice saying to you, I am your
Father; love Me, look to Me, trust Me, worship Me: "Open thy mouth wide
and I will fill it." [Footnote: Ps. lxxxi. 10.]

A godly man who was a servant used to say, "There is not in the world a
kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual
conversation with God." He felt that God was nearer and dearer to him than
any one else. This is what makes God real to us when we feel that He is
_near and dear_.

  "Only to sit and think of God,
    Oh! what a joy it is!"

It is just the same with your children if you are a really good, loving
father, they are quite happy if they can sit close to you. Your very
presence makes a great impression on them, even if you do not say a word.
Is God's presence so real to you that it makes you control your temper and
keeps you from saying unkind things?

A boy may be troublesome sometimes, but he never really doubts his
father's love for him. Do you ever doubt God's love? Oh, yes: you say, I
often murmur. Then this shows that in a sense you have never really known
God. People would not speak as they do about God, I mean even Christians
would not talk as they do if they really knew God. We often hear people
say, "I hope God will be good to us," or, "I think it very hard God does
not answer my prayer." This shows they have never personally known Him.
Their thoughts about God are so contrary to what they sing. For example,
how much do we really mean of that sweet hymn--

  "Precious thought--my Father knoweth,
    In His love I rest;
  For whate'er my Father doeth.
    Must be always best.
  Well I know the heart that planneth
    Nought but good for me;
  Joy and sorrow interwoven,
    Love in all I see."

Do you ever doubt His wisdom and think you might have been treated better?
When we really know our Father-God, then we see His wisdom even in the
things that are against us. We know and we feel that they have all been
working together for our good, "for He knows all."

This Book in my hand is The Word of God. It is a revelation of God, and
the glory of God Himself shines in every page. The first word in it is, In
the beginning _God_. Perhaps you ask me, "Who is God?" I will tell you.
"He is my Father." But you say, I am so sinful, I am not worthy to be
called His son. That is just what I felt, so sinful, and then He revealed
Himself to me as my Saviour. Ah! you say, but I am so far off, how can I
find my way to Him? And that was just like me till the Holy Spirit led me
to Him. When God reveals Himself to you as Father, Saviour, Comforter,
then you will know that _God_ Himself is dwelling in your heart. Perhaps
you ask, Will God really come and dwell in me for I am so unworthy? God
Himself answers that question; "Thus saith the high and lofty One that
inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy
place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive
the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
[Footnote: Isa. lvii. 15.] Every one is standing now in view of God and
Eternity.

A very long time ago the question was asked, "Canst thou by searching find
out God?" [Footnote: Job xi. 7.] The only way we can find Him is by our
spiritual necessities. If your soul needs life, you will find Him. If your
spirit needs reviving, you will find Him. As this text says, I come "to
revive the heart of the contrite ones."

When your children talk about their Father, he is a real Person to them;
that is what God wants to be to us, a real personal God. He says, "I will
be to them a God." [Footnote: Heb. viii. 10.] I know a little boy who
whispered to his aunt one night when she was giving him the goodnight
kiss, "Oh, Auntie, I sometimes wonder whether there is a God. Are you
quite sure?" "Yes," said the aunt very earnestly, "I am quite sure. You
see, I have known Him so long and He is so much to me, I am quite sure."
The child was satisfied.

If you will turn again to Psalm cxvi. you will see a wonderful unfolding
of the secret feelings of David's heart, and as we read it we cannot help
saying to ourselves, the man who wrote this experience had very close
dealings with some One about his soul. Who is this Some One? Do you know?
Perhaps you think your religion is good enough to take you to heaven when
you die, but alas! it begins and ends with the "Unknown God." How
different to David's experience when he says out of a full heart, "I love
the Lord," or as the word means, "I am full of love," and then he tells of
his confidence in God; "I believed, therefore I have spoken," as if he had
said, "God is so real to me now, I must tell others"; and he adds, "I will
walk before the Lord in the land of the living." We can walk with God in
our daily life just as Enoch did.

A good man said a short time ago, If ever I pass any one in the street
with a careworn, anxious face, I long to say to them, "There is _God_,"
"Have faith in God." St. John said, "We have known and believed the love
that God hath to us and in us--God is love." [Footnote: 1 John iv. 16.]
This is the central fact, the one great reality in life, and when once it
is grasped there is nothing to compare with it. Why is there so much
unrest, so much ungodliness, and lawlessness in our midst? We are
forgetting God. The only remedy is coming back to God.

A poor woman who has been a Christian for many years was telling me about
her mother's sudden death the week before, and then she added, "I have
never known God as I do now. The future used to look so dark, but now that
I know Him as the Living God, I can only see _life_. I cannot tell you
what He is to me." Her face, which bore traces of her recent sorrow, shone
with a new peace and a new joy, which made me rejoice. I was sure that God
had revealed Himself to her in her time of need. Those precious words had
come true in her case, "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit and said,
I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these
things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto babes; even
so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight." [Footnote: St. Luke x.
21.]

Are you saying, "My soul thirsteth for God, for the Living God"? Then you
will have a Personal revelation of God Himself, for that is the only way
the life of God can enter into your soul and mine. Are you longing to find
God? It is not that we find Him, but that He finds us, making Himself to
us the great Reality. We may know wonderful things _about_ Him, but that
is not enough. We must really know Him in our hearts!

The very longing which you have for this personal revelation of God comes
from the loving Father Himself, and He says, "I will give them a heart to
know Me": [Footnote: Jer. xxiv. 7.] so we need never think, ah! it is
beyond me, for He promises to _give_ us the heart to know Him.

I had a striking instance of this some years ago. A working man who could
not read or write told me that he had been converted at our meeting. He
died in the Union Infirmary, and I heard afterwards that he had been a
blessing to many in the ward. He said to me one day, "I want to tell you
_what God is to me_." In very simple words he described how he could see
it all plainly. How in the beginning, sin came into the Garden of Eden and
then God revealed Himself to the sinner so as to bring him back to
Himself. Again and again his simple testimony was, I must tell every one
_what God is to me_. This man had learnt to know God personally through
his own need as a sinner, so it is not by earthly education that we find
God, but through the Holy Spirit's teaching, and then in the Word He
reveals Himself more fully.

It is "through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord that grace and
peace are multiplied to us," [Footnote: 2 Pet. i. 2.] so if we have not
more and more grace and peace coming into our souls it is because we do
not really know God.

It makes all the difference in our life when we can say, God is now my
living Father; for it means God in His infinite love has taken my life
into His, and by this personal link of love I take His life into mine.
When He assures us that He is the Living God, it means that He lives and
cares for us. All things, great and small, are under His control. We have
an illustration of this in the present war. Think of our Navy, scattered
over seven oceans, yet all under the control of the Commander-in-Chief,
Sir John Jellicoe. Not one vessel can move without his orders, no ship can
be attacked without his knowledge; the wireless apparatus is at work night
and day communicating every detail. It brings Sir John word of any
submarine sighted, or of any movement in all the seas round our country,
and it carries his orders far and near.

When God tells us that He is the living God, we know that He cares for us
in the same way as a mother cares for her children. We had a touching
illustration of this about a year ago.

Do you remember how we were thrilled with horror when the Archduke Francis
Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria, was shot while driving through
the city? He expired in a few minutes, leaving three children. In those
few moments he turned to his wife who was seated by his side and said
these pathetic words, "Sophie, live for our children." He did not know
that she too had been mortally wounded and would be powerless to care for
their orphan children.

It is because our Father-God is the living God, that He can say to us
to-day just as He said to the Old Testament saints, "I am living for you,
caring for you, protecting you." "Even to your old age I am He; and even
to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made and I will bear, even I will
carry and will deliver you."  [Footnote: Isa. xlvi. 4.] When He says to
you, "I am God and there is none else," [Footnote 2: Isa. xlv. 22.] does
your heart answer, Yes: "Even from everlasting to everlasting Thou art
God." [Footnote 3: Ps. xc. 2.]



ADDRESS II

GOD OUR FATHER

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE--Matthew vii 24-34.


In the chapter we have just read there is a great deal about our daily
home life, and the word "Father" is mentioned twelve times, so it shows
that God knows all about the everyday work. It is a grand thing when we
find this out.

A poor woman in China was converted, and very soon the lady missionary who
visited her noticed that now her house was very clean and tidy, and told
her how glad she was to see it.

The woman smiled, and said in her own simple way, "You see my Father God
and the Lord Jesus are constantly coming in and out, so I like to keep it
nice." She realised the Presence of God.

"The eyes of the Lord are in every place." [Footnote: Prov. xv. 3.]
If we do not find God _everywhere_ we practically end by finding
Him _nowhere_.

A busy Christian mother told me that she begins each day and lives all the
day long saying in her heart, "In Thy Presence and by Thy Power." We must
not only _say_ it, but act upon it as a _reality_, and then it will be our
daily experience to be in touch with God.

There was one word which was very precious to Christ and which was often
on His lips, and that was "Father." You remember how He stood one day at
the grave of His friend Lazarus. All the mourners were standing round Him.
Lazarus had been dead four days. It seemed utterly impossible that he
could be restored to life again. No one expected it.

What did Jesus do? "Jesus lifted up His eyes and said '_Father_.'"
[Footnote: St. John xi. 41.] Those eyes were still wet with tears, for a
few verses before we read "Jesus wept." Then He lifted up His eyes and
said "_Father_": that was enough. There is _everything_ in that word. It
just meant, "I have told Father all about it." He knows, He loves, He
cares, and all things are possible with Him. There is no limit to His
power and His love.

Then the command was given to those standing near--"Take ye away the
stone." Was Christ going into the cave? No, the dead man was to _come
out_. So we have first the wondrous name "Father," and then the loud cry,
"Lazarus, come forth," and he that was dead came out of the cold grave',
out of the region of death into the land of the living.

All through His life on earth our Lord always speaks to God as Father. One
verse especially brings out the perfect intimacy, the perfect confidence,
the perfect love between the Lord Jesus and the Father. Jesus says, "All
things are delivered unto Me of My Father, and no man knoweth the Son but
the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son and he to
whomsoever the Son will reveal Him." [Footnote: St. Matt. xi 27.] The last
words of this verse are very precious, for they show that not only has the
Son perfect knowledge of the Father, but He reveals or makes known the
Father so that you and I may know Him as our Father.

You remember Philip prayed, "Lord, show us the Father, that is what we
want," [Footnote: St. John xiv. 8.] and Christ answered, "He who has seen
Me has seen the Father." Yes, "He is the image of the invisible God." God
said to Moses, "Thou canst not see My Face and live for there shall no man
see me and live," [Footnote: Exod. xxxiii. 20.] and for hundreds of years
no one saw God. Then came the wondrous gift and the wondrous revelation.
God gave His only Begotten Son, and _in Him_ we see the Father. Praise the
Lord! the glorious light has come to us in our darkness. For "God, who
commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to
give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God _in the face of Jesus
Christ._" [Footnote: Cor. iv. 6.] The Apostle John says, "We beheld His
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and
truth."

"No man hath seen God at any time," [Footnote: St. John i. 18.] and before
Christ came the verse stopped there; but after He came, then God was fully
revealed; so the verse finishes with the words "the only begotten Son
which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." Will you look
up now, and say, "Lord, show _me_ the Father," and He will reveal Him to
you, because this is what He promises to do. Look at the last line of the
27th verse of Matthew xi. where Christ says, "He to whomsoever the Son
will reveal Him," and without a pause He adds the wonderful invitation,
"Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you
rest." It is to the weary and heavy laden that He reveals the Father. He
invites them to share the fellowship He has with the Father, the peace and
joy and rest of knowing the Father.

Why does He invite the weary ones to come to Him? because He felt in
Himself such joy in this close fellowship with God, He wanted every one to
have it too. He felt that His experience of what the Father was to Him was
so rich, He longed for them to come and share it, "I will give you rest."
It is as if He said, "I will give you the same rest I have when I am tired
and hungry and thirsty; the same comfort that I have when I am
misunderstood and reviled; the rest, the comfort, the peace I have in My
Father."

We have the same assurance when the Holy Ghost says in St. Paul's letter
to the Corinthians, "Grace be to you and peace from God our Father and
from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort."
[Footnote: 2 Cor. i, 2, 3.]

How can you and I know what the Lord Jesus found in His Father's love? He
has graciously made it known to us in the four Gospels. There the veil is
drawn aside and we see how all through His life He was in close fellowship
with the Father.

We can hear the very words which the Son spoke to His Father in the hour
of deep agony: "O My Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from Me;
nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt." [Footnote: St. Matt. xxvi.
39.] The last words on His lips when He was dying on the Cross were,
"Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit." [Footnote: St. Luke xxiii.
46.] He said to His disciples the last night, "You will leave Me alone;
and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me." All through His
life He spoke of His oneness with the Father and the joy of doing and
finishing the work which He gave Him to do.

We too can have the sense of God's Presence in our souls at all times. A
Christian woman who was suffering from neuralgia told me that one night
when she could not sleep, a voice seemed to whisper softly to her, "Like
as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him,
for He knoweth our frame, He knows all about our poor bodies, for He made
them," [Footnote: Ps. ciii. 13, 14.] and with those words of comfort in
her mind she fell into a refreshing sleep.

If you will turn to the 6th chapter of St. Matthew again you will see in
the 8th verse that our Heavenly Father knows about something else. "He
knows what things we have need of before we ask Him."

The secret of what it is to have God as our Father, and the sweetness of
it, comes out in these three homely questions, What shall we eat, what
shall we drink, what shall we wear? And Christ says, [Footnote: St. Matt,
vi. 31, 32.] Take no thought, that means, do not be anxious about these
things, for your Heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these
things. Yes, if He knows, that is enough, and then we have only to trust
Him for all.

Do you find your faith failing sometimes? It is one thing to trust God
when the wages are coming in regularly, and quite another thing to trust
Him when times are bad. It is just _then_ we learn to look less at our
faith and more at God's Faithfulness.

A minister once gave a little bit of his experience about this. He said,
"It is only as we really take God's promises and plant our feet upon them
that we shall find faith abiding in times of testing. The last penny may
be gone but GOD is there. I know this to be true.

"I have often said when preaching, 'It takes real faith in God to be able
to put your head into an empty flour barrel and sing the doxology.' My
wife had heard me say this, and one morning she called me to come into the
kitchen. I said, 'What do you want me for?' She replied, 'I want you to
come out here and sing.' I thought this queer, so I went to see what it
all meant.

"In the middle of the kitchen was an empty flour barrel that she had just
dusted out. 'Now, my dear,' she said, 'I have often heard you say one
could put his head into an empty flour barrel and sing, "Praise God from
Whom all blessings flow," if he believed what God says. Now here is your
chance, practise what you preach.'

"There was the empty flour barrel staring at me with open mouth, and my
purse was empty too. I looked for my faith, but could not find it; I
looked for a way of escape, but could not find one, for my wife blocked
the doorway with the dust brush covered with flour.

"I said, 'I will put my head in and sing on one condition.'

"'What's that?' asked my wife.

"'On condition that you will put your head in and sing too. You know you
promised to share all my joys and sorrows.'

"She consented, so we put our heads in and sang the doxology, and we told
our heavenly Father 'all about our need.' Yes, we had a good time, and
when we got our heads out we were a good bit powdered up, which we took as
a token that there was more flour to follow!

"Sure enough, though no one knew of our need, the next day a barrel of
flour was sent. Where it came from or who sent it we never knew, but our
heavenly Father knew that we had 'need of these things.'"

Does not this simple testimony teach us all a lesson? I wonder how many of
us can say from our hearts--

  Those who trust do not worry;
  Those who worry do not trust.

Which are you doing, dear friends? Trusting or worrying? Count on God. He
never fails, and He knows just what to do. The moment a difficulty comes,
look up and say "Father," and at once the burden will roll off, He will
undertake all for you.

I had an illustration of this one day when I was going across the Common.
It was very windy, and two little girls lost their hats; they were quite
at their wits' end, till they caught sight of their father in the
distance, and at once they called to him, "Father, father." That was
enough, in a minute he ran to help them.

I have often found great help in looking up again and again during the day
and just saying "Father." Try it. You, fathers, often say to your
children, "If you want me just call me." That is what our heavenly Father
tells us to do.

To know God means not only to trust Him, but also to _treat_ Him as a
Father. If you will read the 6th chapter of St. Matthew carefully when you
are at home, you will see that it gives the experience of the child of God
with the Father for one whole day. It includes all that we need during the
day:--food, clothing, forgiveness, victory over temptation, grace to do
God's will, and grace in dealing with others.

This experience is so deep, so real, so entirely something between Father
and child, that in this chapter we find the words "_in secret_" no less
than six times. When the little child is looking up into a loving father's
face and talking to him, it never thinks of those around. "In secret"
means a sweet sense of His Presence in the soul and of close communion
with Him. "I write unto you, little children, because you have known the
Father." [Footnote: I St. John ii. 13.]

God is our Father, because He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: this
is one of the greatest treasures of Redeeming Grace. All the teaching
about God as Father comes from the lips of Jesus, and it is in this way He
reveals the Father to us; so if we would know Him, we must drink in His
teaching and watch His life of communion with God. By His life He reveals
to us the reality of the experience into which He calls us to enter. He
also shows us the way. He not only says "Come to Me," but also Come
through Me. "I am the Way: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me."
[Footnote: St. John xiv. 6.] It was by dying for us He opened the Way.
"God sent forth His Son to redeem them that were under the law, that we
might receive the adoption of sons." "And because ye are sons, God hath
sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying, Abba,
Father." [Footnote: Gal. iv. 6, 7] So we are not only received into God's
family, but we have also all the privileges of sonship. We are made "heirs
of God, joint heirs with Christ."

Perhaps you are thinking of your unworthiness; like the Prodigal Son you
are ready to say "Father, I have sinned again and again, I am not worthy
to be called Thy son." God knows just what you are and what you have been,
and He Himself has asked the question, "How shall I put you among the
children?" It is a question which none but the Lord would ever have
thought of, and it would never have been answered if He Himself had not
answered it. It is a wonderful answer: for He says, "Thou shalt call Me,
My Father." [Footnote: Jer. iii. 19.] God Himself puts us sinners among
His children, and no one else can do it, and He keeps us; for He says,
"Thou shalt not turn away from Me." How does He do it? By creating a new
life in us, we are "born again." The old nature is not improved, but a new
heart is given. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I
put within you." [Footnote: Ezek. xxxvi. 26.]

Can you say, "God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into my heart," and
now I can call Him my Father? Being made the children of God by adoption
and grace, let us enjoy the privileges which are secured to us; let us act
as loving children should do.

Does it all seem too good to be true? Trust His Word, "As many as received
Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that
believe on His Name." [Footnote: St. John i. 12]

Some of you remember the joy which thrilled you when you first received
Him as your Saviour, but perhaps it was not until afterwards that you
realised the blessedness of your new position as sons of God.

The Holy Spirit leads us on step by step. First, He assures us that "there
is no condemnation," then He sets us free from the bondage of sin and
death. [Footnote: Rom. viii. i, 2.] All is changed now, we feel the
confidence of a child who has free access to his father at all times.
There are three things which mark the children of God, the spiritual mind,
the spiritual walk, and the spiritual talk. "The Spirit itself beareth
witness with our spirits that we are the children of God." [Footnote: Rom.
viii. 16.] We then call out with the consciousness of sonship, "Father,
Father."

The witness of the Spirit was given to me soon after my conversion and
thrilled me with joyful assurance. It came to me when a Christian doctor
was telling his children about the way of salvation. He drew a line on the
carpet with a stick and said, "On one side there is DEATH, on the other,
LIFE," and I said to myself, "I know which side of the line I am on." So
it was by means of this simple remark that I found out that I was really a
child of God, and my heart began from that time to cling to God as my
Father. Every day since then I have experienced the blessedness of
trusting Him and knowing Him as my Father. Is this your happy portion? If
not, why not?



ADDRESS III

THE SON OF GOD

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE--St. John i. 1-18, 29-34.


"THIS IS THE SON OF GOD." These are the closing words of John the
Baptist's striking testimony, What a grand message! How it thrills us
through and through! On and on the glorious words ring out, "_The Son of
God is come_." Many years after, when the Apostle John was a very old man,
he wrote in one of his letters, "We know that the Son of God is come."
[Footnote: I John v. 20.]

Now look back to the first words of our chapter. "In the beginning was the
Word." Who is the Word? It is "the Son of God." When was the beginning?
Long, long ago in Eternity that is past "the Son of God was the brightness
of His Father's glory and the express image," [Footnote: Heb. i. 3.] or
exact representation, "of His Person." In His last prayer with His
disciples our Lord speaks of "the glory which He had with the Father
before the world was." [Footnote: St. John xvii. 5.]

The first verse of this Gospel takes us back long before this world was
created. Then we come to the creation in verse 3: "All things were made by
Him." This is exactly what is said in the first verse of the Bible of
another beginning, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the
earth." Long before this world was created we read of God's dear Son as
"the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature." All
things were created by Him and for Him, and He is before all things, the
Eternal Son of God. [Footnote: Col. i. 15-17.]

He says, "I was set up from everlasting from the beginning, before ever
the earth was. When He appointed the foundations of the earth, then I was
by Him as one brought up with Him; I was daily His delight, rejoicing
always before Him: rejoicing in the habitable parts of the earth, and My
delights were with the sons of men." [Footnote: Gen. i. 26.]

How wonderful it is to think that in the Eternity that is past, and long
before the world was made, God had two grand purposes. One was to create
man to be the head of the whole human race. So, when the moment came that
the earthly home was ready, then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image,
after Our likeness." [Footnote: Prov. viii. 23, 29, 30, 31.]

The other grand purpose in the Eternal counsel between the Father and His
Son was to redeem man after he had fallen through sin. The Redeemer is the
Son of God Himself, so He was foreordained to this work of redemption
before the Creation of the world--"The Lamb slain from the foundation of
the world." [Footnote: Rev. xiii. 8.] Hundreds of years rolled on, and
then the glorious message from heaven was sounded forth over the plains of
Bethlehem:--"Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy ... for unto
you is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." [Footnote: St.
Luke ii. 10, 11.]


THE SON OF GOD IS COME

_Where_ did He come from? _When_ did He come? _Why_ did He come? These are
some of the questions we must try to answer.

First, where did He come from? He came forth from God. He was in the bosom
of the Father from all Eternity. He said to the disciples, "I came forth
from the Father and am come into the world." [Footnote: St. John xvi. 28.]

We have read of two beginnings, now we will look at another beginning. In
the first chapter of St. Mark's Gospel, and the first verse, we read, "The
beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Here we have the
beginning of all that grand and glorious work of Salvation which is still
being carried on by our Lord at the Father's right hand in heaven.

So we read of three beginnings, and these three are all of God. There is
one more which is also of God.

It is the beginning of the life of Christ in the soul. When we read about
"the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ," we know it means the
beginning of His life on earth. Have you ever asked whether there has been
a beginning of His life _in your heart_? Is it only what you read about,
or is it a personal experience in your soul? Alas! many join in singing
the chorus, "What a wonderful Saviour," who cannot say, "He is my own dear
Saviour." They have never been able to say "My spirit hath rejoiced in God
my Saviour."

What is this personal experience of the life of Christ in the soul? It is
what the Apostle Paul describes  when he says, "I have been crucified with
Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ _liveth in me_."
[Footnote: Gal. ii. 20.]

  "Once far from God and dead in sin,
    No light my heart could see:
  But in God's Word the light I found,
    Now Christ liveth in me."

In writing to the Galatians he says, "My little children, you for whom I
am again undergoing, as it were, the pains of child-birth, until Christ is
fully formed within you" [Footnote: Gal. iv. 19.] (Weymouth's
translation).

THE SON OF GOD IS COME.

Secondly, When did He come? "It was when the fulness of the time was
come," [Footnote: Gal. iv. 4.] that is when the time was ripe for it.
God's clock is never too fast or too slow: so at the exact moment "when
the fulness of time was come God sent forth _His Son_." Still and always
His Son, but now "made of a woman," "God, manifest in the flesh"--the
God-man.

THE SON OF GOD IS COME.

What is His Name? God Himself gave the Name. "Thou shalt call His name
Jesus." [Footnote: St. Matt. i. 21.] No other name was to be given: it is
a command, "_thou shalt_ call His name Jesus, for He shall save": that is
why He is _come_. "He is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
"Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He Himself shall save His people from
their sins." He is presented to us as a living personal Saviour. The
promise is, "He, _Himself_ shall save." It means that He will abide in
each believing soul for ever. Yes, moment by moment and for ever. He
abides in us as the Deliverer from all sin. What a glorious promise! Are
you living in the reality of it?

  "Jesus! Name of wondrous love,
    Human Name of God above."

It is the God-given Name. "The Name which is above every name." Is it
precious to you?

THE SON OF GOD IS COME.

Thirdly, Why did He come? The King sends ambassadors to represent him in
foreign countries, but God sent "His own dearly loved Son." "For God so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." [Footnote: St. John
iii. 16.] The little word "_so_" means love in its unutterable fulness,
and God is the source of it. Have you ever thanked Him for the unspeakable
gift of His dear Son? Link the two words together, _God--the world_: it
means God and you: God and me. Then link together _loved_ and _gave_. It
will take Eternity to get to the bottom of those two words. Now add that
other precious text, "He loved me: He gave Himself for me," [Footnote:
Gal. ii. 20.] and you have "the grace of God bringing salvation."

Six times in the Epistles we find the words "He gave Himself," and in I
Peter ii. 24, it says, "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on
the tree." This is why the Son of God is come, and it is this which makes
Him so personally real to us when earthly things are fading away.

I knew a working man who had a long, painful illness which lasted three
years. I rejoice to say that soon after it began he was converted. He was
so earnest that his one thought was to tell others what a dear Saviour he
had found, and many were led to Christ through his example and testimony.
His mother was converted through him and she is now carrying on the
Christian work which he began. What was it that changed this man? It was
the Holy Spirit revealing Christ to him as a living personal Saviour. The
day before he died he said to his sister, "I had such a lovely time with
the Master this morning in between the pain. Oh! it was like healing balm
to me and He gave me a little hymn--

  "'Jesus loves me, He who died
  Heaven's gate to open wide:
  He will wash away my sin,
  Let His little child come in.'"

How wonderful that a man nearly 40 years of age should find such comfort
in a simple little hymn. But it is thus the Lord reveals Himself.

Do you feel that you are like a lost sheep? "The Son of man is come to
seek and to save that which was lost." [Footnote:  St. Luke xix. 10.]

THE SON OF GOD IS COME!

It is a fact, a certainty. A great reality. Nothing can take it from us.
It is a living experience in our inmost hearts. "And we know," says the
Apostle John, "that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an
understanding, that we may know Him that is true; and we are in Him that
is true, even in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal
life." [Footnote: I John v. 20.]

The Son of God is come and God presents Him to us as His Perfect Son and
our Perfect Saviour. Twice during His earthly ministry there was a voice
from heaven which said, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well
pleased": "In whom I have perfect delight now and for ever." Can you
reply, "This is my Beloved Saviour and He is everything to me"? [Footnote:
St. Matt. iii. 17 and xvii. 5.] He is either everything or nothing.

Are you like the merchant in the parable, "seeking goodly pearls, who when
he had found one pearl of great price went and sold all that he had and
bought it"? Is your heart singing

  "I've found the pearl of greatest price,
    My heart doth sing for joy;
  And sing I must for Christ is mine!
    Christ shall my song employ!"

A Chinese convert told one of the missionaries that he happened to take up
a Testament which had been sold to the people of the house by a
colporteur, but they could not see the meaning of it, so they laid it on
one side. "But," he went on to say, "from the moment my eyes lighted upon
it, I was greatly attracted by it. So I read and kept on reading till the
meaning dawned upon me, and then," he added with a beaming face, "I found
the Pearl of Great Price."

This reminds me of that strange story of a very valuable pearl necklace
worth £117,000 which was lost about a year ago. It was sent by post from
Paris to London when it suddenly disappeared and no one knew what had
become of it. A very large reward was offered to any one who found it.

But now comes the wonderful part of the story. One morning, a man of the
name of Horne was on his way to the factory where he was employed when he
saw a large match-box lying in the gutter in St. Paul's Road, near London.
He picked it up and put it in his pocket. Presently he went into a
public-house to have a glass of beer and there he met two of his mates. He
took the match-box out of his pocket, pushed it open, and seeing it was
filled with what he thought were white beads or marbles, he said to them,
"What do you think of these, I've just picked them up?" "Oh! they're no
good," replied one of the men, "throw them away." However, Horne decided
to take them to the Police Station. The officers looked at them and said
they were worth nothing, but gave him a receipt for them.

On their way to the factory they turned into another public-house for a
drink, and while there Horne found one of the marbles loose in his coat
pocket. "Oh!" he said, "I've got one of them left." Holding it up in his
fingers, he looked round and asked, "Will any one give me a penny for it?"
But no one would have it.

In another public-house where they stopped, he offered the pearl for a
glass of beer, but no one accepted the offer. The pearl which was worth
many hundreds of pounds was despised by one and all. Then Horne offered it
for a packet of cigarettes, but again it was handed back with the remark,
"That's no good to me." So one of his friends suggested that he should
crush it under the heel of his boot as it was no good.

Later on when some one asked him what he had done with it he said he had
thrown it away.

It is a wonderful story and quite true. "Oh!" you say, "what a thousand
pities, if that man Horne had only known its value, it would have made him
a rich man in one day."

Are you not surprised that none of these men ever thought of finding out
the real value of that pearl? But is it not stranger still that scarcely
any one ever stops to inquire who Jesus Christ really is, and the meaning
of His death on the Cross? You listened just now with astonishment to the
questions and answers about this valuable pearl, and yet the same
questions are being asked every day about another Pearl, God's Pearl of
great price, and people are treating it with the same indifference. How
the angels must look on and wonder!

There are two questions which you have to answer now. First, What think ye
of Christ, whose Son is He? Can you say, "He is the Son of God"? Think of
the Glory of His Person: it is "the glory of the only begotten of the
Father." Think of His Divine Mission: sent by God to be the Saviour now
and the Judge by and by. Think of Him as God's great Gift to a perishing
world. Have you received Him?

The other question which you have to answer is, "What shall I do with
Jesus?" Remember God hath given to us Eternal Life and this life is in His
Son. "He who has the Son has life, and he who has not the Son of God has
not life." [Footnote: I John v. 12.] Jesus is pleading with you, saying,
"Ye will not come," that means, you are unwilling to come to Me "that you
may have Life." [Footnote: St. John v. 40.] By and by you will have to
face another question, "What will He do with me?"

"The Son of God is come." It is God Himself who presents Him to us:
"Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world." [Footnote:
St. John i. 29.] He is the One whom God Himself has provided and set
apart: and "now He has appeared once for all to put away sin by the
sacrifice of Himself." [Footnote: Heb. ix. 26.] There on Calvary's
Cross before the eyes of crowds of people "who came together to see that
sight," He is set forth as the spotless Son of God who was made an
offering for sin. He it is "whom God now sets forth to us as a
propitiation." [Footnote: Rom. iii. 25.] He it is, and no other, whom God
sets forth as a Mercy seat, the Blood-sprinkled Mercy Seat. God's eye
rests on Christ and His finished work, and because it is a full, perfect
and sufficient satisfaction for all our sins, "God sets Him forth in order
to demonstrate His righteousness that He may be shown to be righteous
Himself and the giver of righteousness to those who believe in Jesus." Oh,
what a comfort it is to me to know that He is always there standing before
God as the Righteous One, and therefore when God looks at me in all my
unworthiness He does not see me, He only sees His dear Son.

When that godly physician Sir James Simpson was dying, the minister who
was by his bedside asked if he had any doubts. He looked up and said, "I
have no doubts; when I stand before God I shall just _hold up Christ to
God."_

This is why Jesus is come, and this is why Jesus died, that the believing
soul may hold Him up to God as "the One who has been made unto us wisdom,
righteousness, sanctification and redemption," [Footnote: I Cor. i. 30.]
and it is all God's doing, from first to last. I love to say to myself,--

  "I'm a poor sinner and nothing at all,
   But Jesus Christ is my all in all."

Our salvation depends on believing God's Word, that He has accepted our
Surety. When God raised Him from the dead, it was a proof that all the
claims of His holiness and justice had been fully met and satisfied.
The debt is paid because Jesus paid it all. He gave Himself as a
ransom--the redemption price for all.

So now God sets Him forth in all His untold preciousness and proclaims the
glorious message, "_Deliver him_, that poor helpless sinner, from going
down into the pit. I have found a ransom." [Footnote: Job xxxiii. 24.]

What was the price to be paid? "The Son of man is come to give His life a
ransom for many." "We are redeemed, not with silver and gold, but with the
precious blood of Christ." Who can tell how precious? "More precious far
than gold." Think what it _cost_ the Father: He gave His only Son. "Having
yet one son, His well-beloved, He said, I will send Him."

Think what it cost the Son of God. Think of His agony in the garden, and
then the hiding of His Father's face, and last of all the pouring out His
soul unto death on the cross. Our redemption is doubly precious, not only
because of the price paid, but because of the Divine and Holy One who paid
it, the Lord of glory, even the Son of God Himself, "Which things even the
_angels_ desire to look into." [Footnote: 1 Pet. i. 12.] They long to see
into the depths of this wondrous redeeming love.

Can you sing this chorus from your heart--

  "Precious, precious,
   Precious is my Lord to me;
   Precious, precious,
   Everything in Him I see."

Think of what we have been rescued from! Christ has redeemed us from sin,
and death and hell.

Think of the cost of this great salvation, and then ask yourself, how much
is it worth to me? We shall only be able to answer that question when we
are safe home in the glory. Then we shall be looking back on death,
looking back on the Judgment of the great White Throne, as never having
come into it: looking back on the old world which has passed away.

  "When this passing world is done,
   When has sunk yon glorious sun,
   When I go to Christ in glory,
   Looking o'er life's finished story;
   Then, Lord, shall I fully know
   Not till then--how much I owe."

Think of the last plague which God sent upon Egypt. It was not till the
midnight cry, that exceeding great and bitter cry had resounded through
the land of Egypt showing that the destroying angel had entered the houses
of the Egyptians, leaving death and desolation there; it was not till _the
judgment had actually come_ that the Israelites realised the delivering
power of the blood which they had sprinkled on their doorposts. Think of
their wonder and of their thankfulness. They had believed and obeyed
before, but _now_ their hearts are filled with gratitude and praise. If
you have really cast yourself and all your sins on Christ, then you too
will join in the new song, saying, "Thou art worthy, for Thou wast slain
and hast redeemed us to God by Thy Blood." [Footnote: Rev. v. 9.]

To _receive_ Christ now into our hearts by faith is to be born of God:
[Footnote: St. John. i. 12, 13.] spiritual life is imparted to the
believer.

To _feed_ upon Christ day by day is to live by Him: [Footnote: St. John
vi. 57.] this is the evidence of life in the believer.

To see Christ by and by and to be like Him, is life perfected in glory.
[Footnote: 1 John iii. 2.]

Dear fellow sinners, let me entreat you most earnestly in the light of an
Eternity that is coming, and as you value your precious, never-dying
souls, do not trifle with God's unspeakable Gift. "How shall we escape if
we neglect so great salvation?" [Footnote: Heb. ii. 3.] No one either in
heaven or upon earth can answer that question. If the lost in hell could
speak to us they would tell us that there is _no_ escape.

THE SON OF GOD IS COME,

and oh! the wonder of it all, "He came to where I was."
The words of this beautiful hymn describe it--

  "I looked and there was none to help,
     'No man' could meet my case:
   A weary, world-worn heart was mine,
     Without a resting place.
   Then One drew near, the Christ of God,
     With pitying eyes He scanned,
   Jesus came to me where I was,
     And took me by the hand.

  "He led me first to Calvary's mount,
     And, oh! what sight it gave!
   The agony, the life out-poured,
     It cost Him there to save.
  My heart fell broken at His feet,
    Who could such love withstand?
  The love that came to where I was,
    And took me by the hand.

 "He lifted me upon a rock,
    Round me His light He shed;
  He poured His peace into my heart,
    He healed, He held, He fed.
  Ah! then I knew that holy One,
    The whole could understand.
  The One who came to where I was,
    And took me by the hand.

 "And since that day, through all the days,
    His love my way has planned:
  He comes to bless me where I am,
    He takes me by the hand.
  This glorious One is all to me,
    He shall my life command,
  The Christ who came to where I was,
    And took me by the hand."



ADDRESS IV

THE SPIRIT OF GOD

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE--St. John iv. 1-26


God is a Spirit. Look at this poor woman standing at the well and let us
try and realise what a wonderful revelation it was which Christ made known
to her soul about God. He told her that God is Father, that God is
Saviour, and that God is Spirit; three Persons but one God.

The Lord opened her heart and she grasped this wondrous truth.

Christ said to her, "God the Father is seeking you, He is longing for you
to come to Him." Then He let her feel and see that He is the Saviour.

Was it not wonderful that she was the first to tell the good news that He
is "the Saviour of the world"? [Footnote: St. John iv. 42.]

Christ said to her, "God is a Spirit," and she found that no one else but
God could touch her heart.

Until the Spirit of God comes into our hearts, we cannot really know God
personally or have communion with Him. "Now we have received, not the
spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know
the things that are freely given to us of God." [Footnote: 1 Cor. ii. 12.]

Although our hearts are so sinful the Holy Spirit is longing to come in.
He found an entrance into the heart of this poor woman whose life was a
wreck with its four great failures. Every life is a failure in God's
sight, but we must never despair of any one, for "with God all things are
possible," and as long as life lasts there is hope for the sinner.

"The Lord opened her heart," she heard and believed, and went home to tell
others what a dear Saviour she had found. It was the beginning of a
revival at Sychar, and every revival begins in the same way, God is
revealed by His Spirit and men realise the nearness of God.

Until a man really finds out what God is, there can be no true spiritual
worship. This is the truth Jesus came to make known to us when He says,
"God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and
in truth," for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. Yes, the Father
is seeking us, yearning for us to come close to Him and to respond to His
love for us. When our Lord tells us that we must worship in spirit, He
means that it is the spirit in man which responds to the Spirit of God. Do
you offer Him your heart's devotion and praise, or is it only lip-worship?

True spiritual worship does not depend on forms or ceremonies or on any
special place or time. I felt the point of this when a railwayman said to
me, "We can be in touch with God all the day long."

God is a Spirit, just as "God is Light." [Footnote: 1 John i. 5.]
And there are no limitations as to where He works or His ways and time of
working.

The Holy Spirit reveals to us far more about God than we ever imagined.
The Bible says, "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered
into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that
love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit."
[Footnote: 1 Cor. ii. 9, 10.]

Until the Holy Spirit opens our blind eyes to see spiritual things we
cannot understand them. It is not the words of man's wisdom which can
explain them, we need to use spiritual words for spiritual truths, so we
can only speak as the Holy Spirit teaches us what to say. "The natural man
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness
unto him," [Footnote: 1 Cor. ii. 14.] he does not grasp the meaning of
them.

It is because God is a Spirit that he meets our spiritual need when we
feel altogether helpless and hopeless in ourselves, for He says, "I will
put My Spirit within you." [Footnote: Ezek. xxxvi. 27.] God begins in the
very centre of our being, in our innermost hearts. God makes Himself known
to us as God, through our spiritual necessities.

The Presence of the Holy Spirit is a personal thing in each one who
receives Him. There is only one way by which we can receive the Holy
Spirit, and that is by faith. The Holy Ghost has been given. Will you ask
yourself, Have I received Him? If not, why not?

When God puts His Spirit into our hearts He abides with us for ever. He
never leaves us. Even when we grieve Him by our coldness of heart, He does
not leave us.

It is God who begins the work of grace in our hearts. The Book which
reveals to us what God is, opens with the words, "In the Beginning,
_God_." [Footnote: Gen. i. 1.] God is the Beginner of all things, not only
of the creation of the world, but of the new creation in our souls. This
Book unfolds to us how God begins and finishes the great work of
redemption and salvation.

We find another marvellous beginning which is also unfolded in this Book.
"The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." [Footnote: 1 Gen.
i. 2.] It is a remarkable word; it means the Spirit of God brooded on the
face of the waters. In Genesis we read, "The Spirit of God was brooding,"
and in the Gospels we find the Spirit of God compared to a dove. The word
"brooding" is a figure of the mother dove brooding over her nest and
cherishing her young. The first time the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the
Old Testament is in this verse, and the first emblem of the Holy Spirit in
the New Testament is in the 3rd chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, where it
says that, after our Lord had been baptized, "The heavens were opened unto
Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon
Him." [Footnote: St. Matt. iii. 16.]

First let us look at the background of the picture. We see darkness and
desolation, death and ruin. Then we see the Spirit of God, the Dove of
peace, brooding over it all, and bringing light and life, love and peace
out of the confusion.

So the two thoughts which are here brought to our minds are Motherhood and
Peace. If you look carefully into the Word of God you will see how the
thought of Motherhood is brought before us in many ways in connection with
the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.

When Christ is speaking of the New Birth, He says we are "born of the
Spirit." [Footnote: St. John iii. 6.] Again, when the cry of the new-born
soul is spoken of, we are told how it comes; for Paul says, "God hath sent
forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
[Footnote: Gal. iv. 6] Again there is the beautiful expression, "The
Spirit of Adoption." "We have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we
cry Abba, Father." [Footnote: Rom. viii. 15.] "Abba" means "dear Father."

When God would reveal His heart of love to us He says, "As one whom his
mother comforteth, so will I comfort you." [Footnote: Isa. lxvi. 13.]
Think of a mother busy with her work, and her little one playing on the
floor. Presently there is a cry, it has fallen down, and in a moment the
mother is by its side to soothe it. But there is something sweeter still.
Even if nothing befall the child the mother is near by to help it over
every difficulty and to respond to every look and sign. Even so our God
who is to us our Mother Comforter, says, "Before they call I will answer,
and while they are yet speaking I will hear."  [Footnote: Isa. lxv. 24]

The little child always turns to its mother for comfort in every trouble.
There is one thing which we notice in every home, that is, the mother's
tender love and constant care for her little one. Night and day her child
is her one thought. So the Lord says of His people, "I the Lord do keep
it, lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." [Footnote: Isa.
xxvii. 3.] Every child of God can say--

"Moment by moment I'm kept in His love."

Does the child need the mother's constant, watchful care? Yes, because
everything around is like a new world to the little one, it is all a new
experience. The mother gives herself up so entirely to the child that it
depends on her for everything. In the same way when the soul is born again
it is brought into a new relation to God, it has entered into a new
experience and the Holy Spirit becomes to it just what the mother is to
the child and much more.

Just as the mother trains the little one to take the first steps in
walking and holds it up, so it is the Holy Spirit who teaches us how to
walk and to please God. The little hand is slipped into mother's hand to
be led and held up. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the
sons of God." [Footnote: Rom. viii. 14.]

The mother keeps the child close to her, so the Holy Spirit is the
Comforter to us, by our side, for the word "Comforter" means, The one whom
we call to our side to help us. Just as the mother tells her child what to
say when it wants anything, so He helps us when we pray, "for we know not
what we should pray for as we ought." [Footnote: Rom. viii. 26.]

"The Comforter is come." When did He come? On the day of Pentecost, for it
was _then_ that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and He has been with us
ever since.

Let those words ring in your heart and in your life, "The Comforter is
come." [Footnote: St. John xv. 26.] There is a beautiful hymn which
illustrates the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. It
begins with the words--

 "Spirit Divine! attend our prayers,
  And make our hearts Thy home."

Then four things are mentioned which show forth God's power in Nature.
Light, fire, dew, wind. In the Bible they are all used as symbols of the
Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of men.

In Nature we know that human power is small compared with the power of
light, fire, wind, and water. Have we learnt to depend only on the Power
of the Holy Ghost? God's Voice is ever saying to us now, oh! that we may
listen, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord."
[Footnote: Zech. iv. 6.] Just as all the marvels of the natural world are
perfectly carried out by God's wisdom and power, so He has given the Holy
Spirit to make Him perfectly known as a living Presence, a living Power
and Reality in our hearts and lives.

In the second verse of the hymn we find the words--

 "Come as the Light--to us reveal
  Our emptiness and woe."

We know what the light does when it shines into a room, It reveals or
shows up any dust we had not noticed before. So when the light of God
shines into our hearts it reveals what we never saw before.

Have you ever watched the battleships on a dark night, anchored a little
way off from the coast? Suddenly the bright dazzling searchlights are sent
out from the ship. They seem to sweep over the ocean with their sparkling
light and then to wrap you round, as you stand there on the shore. The
sight fills you with wonder; you feel as if the eyes of all on board ship
can see you.

It is the same when the Holy Spirit shines into our hearts; it is almost
overwhelming; we can only cry, "Woe is me, for I am undone."
[Footnote: Isa. vi. 5.] We stand condemned under the searching eye of God.
All our self-righteous excuses are swept away. We can no longer take
refuge in the fact that we are as good as others and a great deal better
than some of our neighbours. The dazzling light of God's Presence has
searched us through and through and turned us inside out. Is this
searching necessary for every one? Yes, for it is the only way we can
learn to know the evil of our hearts.

Sometimes the light of the Holy Spirit comes to us in a quiet moment and
shows us what we never saw before. Sometimes it comes like a flash. It
flashed out on the road when Saul of Tarsus was on his way to Damascus.
He described it when he was being tried before King Agrippa, "At midday, O
King, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the
sun, shining round about me. And I fell to the ground and I heard a voice
saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he tells us also
that he could not see for the glory of that light." [Footnote: Acts xxvi.
13, xxii 17.] Whenever the light comes it is a revelation, a moment never
to be forgotten: Darkness conceals, light reveals.

The Spirit of God brooded over the face of the waters, and God said, "Let
there be light and there was light." [Footnote: Gen. i. 3.]

The Holy Spirit not only shows us what we are, but He shows Christ to us;
then we see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. "For God, who
commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to
give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus
Christ." [Footnote: 2 Cor. iv. 6.] Yes, God's glory is radiant on the face
of Christ and the Holy Spirit reveals it. He delights to show us His
beauty and His loveliness and thus to glorify Him. He makes Him a reality
in our souls--"a living bright Reality." If you have not seen Him as
"altogether lovely" it is not because the Holy Spirit is not willing to
show Him to you, but because you turn away and will not look.

How good it is of God to send the Holy Spirit into this world on purpose
to reveal these things to us. We should never see them but for Him. "The
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he
know them because they are spiritually discerned." [Footnote: I Cor. ii.
14.] What is the natural man? It is what we are by nature before the
Spirit of God gives us a new life. When it says "He receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God," it means that he has no power to receive
them. He is groping in the dark, loving the darkness rather than the
light.

A poor woman who had led a careless worldly life, sent me this message
when she was dying, "Tell her the little prayer she taught me has been
answered. She will understand. Tell her God has shown me myself and
He has shown me Himself, so I am going to be with Him."

The little prayer which she had learnt from my lips was this--"Lord, show
me myself; Lord, show me Thyself." How I thanked God that He used it for
the saving of her soul.

When the Holy Spirit convinces us of sin and of our need of a Saviour, He
does not leave us there. He draws aside the veil and reveals to us the
secret love of God. When our eyes have been opened to know that God is
_Light_, then we find out that God is _Love_. How did this love of God
show itself? God sent His Son, "In this was manifested the love of God
towards us because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that
we might live through Him." [Footnote: 1 John iv. 9.] It is not only the
Love of God made known and shining out in the Gift of His Son, but we are
told that "God commendeth His love towards us."  [Footnote: Rom. v. 8.]
How does God commend His love? He sets together His love for His Son and
His love for the sinner, and His love for the sinner is so great that
He gave His Son to die for us. Thus the words "God commendeth His love"
make it quite clear that "God loves the sinner with a love which gives its
best, gives everything, keeping nothing back, and gives to everybody."

  "Oh, the love that gave Jesus to die,
    The love that gave Jesus to die,
  Praise God it is mine this love so Divine--
    The love that gave Jesus to die."

"God commendeth His love towards us in that, when we were yet sinners," it
makes no difference _who_ we are or _what_ we have been, the Holy Spirit
fixes our thoughts on that little word "yet." The text says, "When we were
yet sinners, still far off, still lost and undone, Christ died for us"; so
the Blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, "cleanseth us from all sin."
[Footnote: I John i. 7.] When we feel that sin is really a burden then the
Holy Spirit points us to the little word "all." Then He applies the
precious Blood to our guilty consciences, assuring us by the Word that the
Blood of Jesus Christ does cleanse from all sin so that not a single stain
is left. It is a perfect cleanser, there is nothing it cannot do. Then the
Holy Spirit shows us that God has provided a perfect covering for us in
the Robe of Christ's Righteousness.

It is thus that the Comforter, who is the Spirit of Truth, leading into
all truth, shows us the meaning of Christ's redeeming work and enables us
to understand it and to appropriate it. When we do this it is indeed a
blessed experience.

A young man whom I know described it as follows: "I heard the voice of God
saying to me, 'Who told thee that thou wast naked?' [Footnote: Gen. iii.
11.] I am sure that it was the work of the Holy Spirit showing me my utter
helplessness and leading me to seek the covering of Christ's
Righteousness. I feel I am exactly suited to Jesus as He is exactly suited
to me, for I am just the one who needs His fulness, and He is the only one
that can supply my emptiness."

I praised God for this clear testimony, and I have seen again and again
ever since I began to work for the Lord many years ago, that the Holy
Spirit delights to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ as "a full Saviour for
empty sinners."

The Gospel of St. John tells us very plainly that the Holy Ghost was sent,
not only to make us see the meaning of Christ's finished work, but also to
prepare our hearts to receive it in all its fulness.

How does the Holy Spirit prepare our hearts? First, He opens our hearts,
awakens in us a sense of our need and sinfulness, then, when He has opened
our hearts, He breathes into them a new life; He creates a longing for
God. We feel within us a burning desire to know God. We catch eagerly at
everything we hear about God, This is quite a new experience; we used to
go on year after year not troubling about it in the very least. What is
this new experience, this seeking after God? It is what the Bible calls
"Repentance." The word means "Change of mind." Again and again the Apostle
Paul urged upon both Jews and Greeks the necessity of "repentance towards
God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ." [Footnote: Acts xx. 21.]

A few days ago I received a touching letter from a young friend telling me
how God's Spirit had led her to repentance. She wrote, "When I was a
little girl and began to seek the Lord, I was very much troubled because
I could not feel sorry enough for my sins. I wanted a real repentance to
come to the Lord with. I thought repentance meant crying over one's sins a
great deal, and I could not feel sorry enough to cry as I wanted to. I
used to keep praying, 'Give me a real repentance.' Many times I dreamed I
had this deep repentance and could cry over my sins, and I have awakened
with my face really bathed in tears, but oh, how disappointing it was to
find it only a dream and I had not got what I wanted after all. I went on
like this until I was twenty, when the Lord spoke these words with great
power to my soul, 'The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.' The
voice seemed audible and I turned to see if anybody had spoken to me. I
was able to weep enough then, but they were tears of joy and gratitude,
and I well remember saying aloud, 'O Lord, why me, why one so sinful as I
am?' I now see that repentance means 'a change of mind' and not a flood of
tears. Had I known this when a child it would have saved me years of
toiling and praying for repentance."

Dear friends, perhaps some of you are trying to get right with God. Look
at the text which gave such peace to this seeking one. It begins with this
question, "Despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and
longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to
repentance?" [Footnote: Rom. ii. 4.]

We little know that all the time we are working and toiling we are really
despising, turning away from the riches of His goodness. The word "riches"
shows how abundant His goodness is; therefore we are "without excuse."

God's forbearance in delaying punishment, and His longsuffering in
patiently waiting, show that His purpose in thus dealing with us is to
lead us to repentance, which is not merely grief for sin, but a thorough
inward change.

So we now know what we did not know before, that it is "the goodness of
God that leads us to repentance."

Yes, we find now that instead of working our way, back to God, He is there
close to us, with open arms to receive us, stretching out His loving Hand
to save us. We find that instead of trying to gain God's favour by our
prayers and good works, God's Righteousness is there for us all ready and
provided for us. We find that we are accepted in His dear Son not for any
good thing we have done, but simply by faith in Jesus. All this is shown
to us by the Holy Spirit, and without Him we could not have seen it.

We were speaking just now about repentance. Have you ever noticed that
when our Lord began preaching the Gospel, the first word He said was
"Repent." [Footnote: St. Matt. iv. 17.] Why did He call to the crowds so
earnestly to repent? Again and again that word keeps ringing out. He
wanted to make them see that He condemned the way they were living and
their religious professions. It was a call to stop and think, as if He
said to them, "You have lost your way, you are on the wrong road, stop and
turn round."

First He points to the right road. He proclaims that the Kingdom of God is
come. Then He says to them, But before you can enter in you must repent.
The people recognised the meaning of the call; they knew that if they
obeyed the whole course of their lives would have to be changed, because
having lost the true centre of life, they were simply _drifting_. The man
who is living without God is like a ship drifting on the wide ocean
without a pilot or chart or compass. For three years He pleaded with them
tenderly and lovingly, and at last they gave their final answer to His
message. They said, "We will not submit to the Divine government, we will
not have this Man to reign over us," [Footnote: St. Luke xix. 14.] _and so
they crucified Him_.

When we have been led by the Holy Spirit to repentance we see sin, and we
see ourselves in a new light. As soon as we really know God we cannot help
being sorry for our sin. We begin to long for a Saviour, a Mediator, and
it is then that the Holy Spirit points us to Jesus. Repentance, or change
of mind, is the first step, and then follows conversion--a change of heart
and life. The word conversion means "turning round." Jesus says,
"Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter
into the Kingdom of Heaven." [Footnote: St. Matt. xviii. 3.]

Think of God's two great gifts; first, the Gift of His only begotten Son,
then the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Have you received them? Perhaps you ask,
"How can I know?" If you have received the Holy Spirit there will be joy
and peace in your heart, and the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in your
daily life.

"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye
may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost." [Footnote: Rom.
xv. 13.]

"And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost."
[Footnote: Acts xiii. 52.] They were filled again and again, more and more
filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

You, too, may have a Spirit-filled life. God says to you now, and He is
saying it every day and every hour, "_Be filled with the Spirit._"
[Footnote: Eph. v. 18.]

Remember there are different degrees in the Christian life. First, there
is Everlasting Life for all who seek it. Only ask Me, Jesus said to the
woman of Samaria, and I will give you _living_ water. Then he leads her on
a step further. "It shall be in you a well of water." It will be an
abundant life, a joyous, satisfying life. Afterwards He tells us that it
will be a life "overflowing for others." [Footnote: St. John vii. 38, 39.]
This is to be the experience of all believers now through the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, the crowning of it all is still to come and we shall drink of "the
pure river of the Water of Life." [Footnote: Rev. xxi. 1.]
That will be the fulness of life through all Eternity.



ADDRESS V

THE VOICE OF GOD

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE--Genesis xxviii. 10-22.


Jacob is leaving home for the first time, to take a long journey of 450
miles. He is quite alone and he feels very lonely when he lies down the
first night in a barren place, with a stone for his pillow. Jacob was like
some of us, he had heard about God ever since he was a child, but God was
not real to him because he had never had any personal dealings with Him.

That night he had a wonderful dream, and it made a great difference to his
whole life. The ladder which he saw in his dream was to show him that
there was a gulf between him and God: and the gulf was caused by his sins.
It also showed the necessity for some means of communication to be
provided for him. Right down to his deep need the ladder came, right up to
God Himself the ladder reached. It was set up on earth and it reached to
heaven to make him understand that the gulf had been bridged over, so that
now, constant, free communication was possible between his soul and God.
The ladder which Jacob saw in his dream is mentioned again in St. John's
Gospel. Jesus said to Nathaniel, "Because I said unto thee I saw thee
under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than
these. And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye
shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon
the Son of man." [Footnote: St. John i. 50, 51.]

The Lord Jesus had been revealing Himself to Nathaniel and this
conversation took place near Bethel, so that the reference to Jacob's
ladder was very forcible and the wonderful type was made clear.

When Jesus said that heaven would be opened, He meant not only opened just
once, but _remaining open_; so that ever since Christ ascended into heaven
we have lived and are still living under an "open heaven," which means
free intercourse between God and man, because Christ Himself is the
Ladder. It also means He is the one and only means of communication
between the sinner and God. It is "through Him we have access by one
Spirit unto the Father." [Footnote: Eph. ii. 18.] All that we know of God
comes to us through Him, and all the grace we receive from God comes
through Him. So Jacob's ladder is as real to us now as it was to him then,
for it connects the seen with the unseen. It is possible for us now to
have Christ's Presence with us always and everywhere, for He says Lo, I am
with you alway. [Footnote: Matt. xxviii. 20.]

But there was something more wonderful for Jacob to see even than the
ladder. "The LORD stood above the ladder." It was the first time in his
life he had realised the Presence of God. He had lived over forty years
without realising that God was close to him. When he awoke from his dream
he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not." He never
forgot it, just as we never forget the time and place where we are
converted. One hundred years after that night, when he was a very old man,
he mentioned it to his son. He said to Joseph, "God Almighty appeared unto
me at Luz and blessed me." [Footnote: Gen. xlviii. 3.]

But what impressed him deeply was that _there_ in that lonely place, many
miles away from any human being, he heard the Voice of God speaking to
him. It was then that a new life began in his soul, for God told him that
from that moment He would be with him _everywhere_, blessing him and
protecting him from all danger, and it was then Jacob began to trust God
as his _God_.

So we see how God's glory and God's grace were shining down from the top
of the ladder into poor Jacob's heart. Jacob was face to face with God for
the first time, and he began to tremble with fear. If only you could
realise that God is now, at this very moment, straight in front of you,
you would fall down on your face before Him, and you would cry to Him as
Job did, "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye
seeth Thee; wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes."
[Footnote: Job xlii. 5, 6.]

It is at this moment that we realise for the first time our need of a
substitute, just as Job did, for he said, "He is not a man as I am that I
should answer Him, neither is there any daysman betwixt us that can lay
His hand upon us both." [Footnote: Job ix. 33.] How Job would have
rejoiced in the glorious revelation which Christ has brought to us. "There
is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
Who gave Himself a ransom for all." [Footnote: 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6.] He is not
only the Mediator laying His hand upon us both, but He _gave Himself_,
that is, He gave His life as a _ransom_. The ransom price was His own
precious blood, for the life is in the blood. It is the Blood of God's own
dear Son which makes an atonement for the soul.

The sentence passed on you and me and on every sinner is the sentence of
death, for death is the penalty for sin. We are all under the sentence of
death, but the glorious message is sent God has found a Substitute.

  "He bore on the tree the sentence for me,
  And now both the Surety and sinner are free."

You and I now have what Job longed for so earnestly. The Daysman is the
Son of God Himself, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation," that
is an atoning sacrifice, "through faith in His Blood." [Footnote: Rom.
iii. 25.]

At first Jacob trembled with fear, but after he had heard the loving words
which God spoke to him from the top of that wonderful ladder, then he
began to realise that he was no longer alone in that lonely place. He
said, "This is the house of God, this is the gate of heaven." Earth had
faded from his sight and he was surrounded by heavenly realities. And so
it is now, the veil is very thin which separates earth from heaven, the
temporal from the Eternal.

It was _God's Voice_ which woke him up spiritually. God revealed Himself
as the personal God to Jacob. We can recognise a friend by his voice even
if we do not see him. So it is the Voice more than anything else which
makes the presence of any one real to us. We have an illustration of this
in the pictures of the gramophone in which we see a dog listening for the
master's voice. The sheep knows the shepherd's voice; the child is quick
in recognizing its mother's voice; why do we turn a deaf ear to God's
Voice? How tenderly He pleads with us, saying, "But My people would not
hearken to My Voice." [Footnote: Ps. lxxxxi. 11.]

God wants to be very real and very personal to each one of us, so He says,
"Unto you, O men, I call, and My Voice is to the sons of man." [Footnote:
Prov. viii. 4.]

God has been calling us from the very beginning. Far back in the 3rd
chapter of Genesis, when Adam was hiding among the trees of the garden, it
was God's Voice which called him out with the searching question, Where
art thou? It was as if He said, "Adam, I want you." He is the seeking God
still. It was God's Voice that reminded Adam of the holy, happy friendship
now broken by sin. Before sin came into the world Adam never listened to
any other voice, and now when God is yearning to bring us to Himself, He
says, "Listen." That word Listen, or Hearken, comes again and again in the
Bible. We find it very often in Isaiah and Jeremiah. When God is pleading
with the sinner, that is the word He uses more than any other. In Psalm
lxxxi., where God tells us how grieved He is by our waywardness, He says,
"Oh that My people had listened or hearkened unto Me." And in Deuteronomy
xxviii. 45, He tells them that their troubles have been sent because they
would not hearken to the Voice of the Lord their God.

I think God has chosen this special way of calling us by His Voice,
because it is what we can all understand--it is so simple and so homely.
When a boy is disobedient the father calls him, then he talks to him and
pleads with him. The father's voice touches the boy's heart. How wonderful
it is that God's Voice can reach us, however far off we may be. You have
sometimes been to an Open-Air Service, and you have heard the speaker's
voice a good way off, but now it has been discovered that any one's voice
can travel through the air and be heard above 300 miles away by means of a
new apparatus called the wireless telephone.

Some time ago a gentleman living in England put a special receiver to his
ear and he actually heard a man speaking in France, more than 300 miles
away.

A year or two ago when the _Titanic_ went down among the icebergs, you
remember how the wireless telegraph sent messages to other ships calling
for help. This was done by special letters, flashed across the ocean, such
as C.Q.D. (come quick, danger) or when the ship was sinking S.O.S. (save
our souls).

But wonderful as this is, how much more wonderful it is to discover a way
by which any one's voice can be heard miles and miles away. Very likely as
time goes on and the wireless telephone is more used, you will be able to
speak to your father or son far away in Australia or Canada, so that they
will not only hear your voice distinctly, but they will answer back, and
you will hear their voices just as if you were sitting together again at
home. What a wonderful thing it will be to have this close link with them!

It is the same as the link which Jacob felt when he heard God's voice
speaking; it seemed to bring God quite close to him and to make God so
real, that he started again on his journey cheered and encouraged; for we
read in the first verse of the next chapter, "Then Jacob went on his
journey," and in the margin it says he lifted up his feet, showing his
heart was lightened of its burden: when the heart is heavy, our feet drag.
But he made a fresh start: and if only God's Voice reaches your heart now,
you will go on your way rejoicing;  it will be like making a fresh start.

Again and again we read of God talking to those who were willing to hear
His Voice. For example, "The LORD talked with Moses face to face as a man
speaketh unto his friend," [Footnote: Exod. xxxiii. 9, 11.] and at Mount
Sinai "Moses spake and God answered him by a Voice."

Not only is the link of communication perfect between God and man, but the
way in which we can use it and be put in touch with God is so simple: it
is by faith--that is all.

We have another illustration of this when we think of the wireless
messages. The world's greatest wireless station is in a little village
called Nassau, in Germany. A short time ago a message was sent to a place
far, far away over the ocean, 6,500 miles away. How was it started? Only
by touching a key in the machine. That touch releases the lightning which
carries a message for thousands of miles over vast continents and across
the boundless sea.

Only a touch--is it not like the touch of faith? But we must not forget
that when the message has reached its destination, when these waves of
sound talk across the world, the ear at the other end must be prepared to
hear the call.

There is the hearing of faith, as well as the touch of faith. The hearing
means not only listening, but being willing to obey the voice. I have been
told that when a message is to be sent by wireless telephone, the other
waves of sound must be quite still before the person receiving the message
can hear it. The speaker has to wait till the vibrations settle down,
there must be perfect stillness, and then the voice is heard. How
important it is to shut out all other sounds so that our hearts may be
still enough to hear God speak. We must listen with an obedient heart. Do
you remember how one Sunday was set apart not long ago to make collections
for the blind. At midnight on Saturday, a royal message was sent forth
which encircled the whole world. It was King George's "God speed" to the
appeal for the blind. It was flashed from the wireless station on a lonely
cliff in Cornwall to another station in America, and it went over the
seven oceans of the world. It was received by forty-five ships in the
Atlantic. They were all warned it was coming and they were expecting it.
The White Star liner _Baltic_, 810 miles away, heard it, and it travelled
on to India, and it was caught up there 1,500 miles away.

This reminds me of another royal message from the King of kings which is
also encircling the world and telling the good news wherever man is
willing to hear it. "He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit
saith unto the Churches." [Footnote: Rev. ii. 7.] How the solemn call
rings out, and rings on: To-day, To-day! How it sounds in our ears with
startling urgency, and it is the Holy Ghost who says it, "To-day, if you
will hear His Voice, harden not your heart." [Footnote: Heb. iii. 7.]
When we are careless and indifferent to what God's Voice is saying to us
then we are hardening our hearts.

Perhaps in days gone by you once listened to God's Voice. Why did you give
up listening? "Ah!" you reply, "other voices came and drowned that still
small Voice, and the voice of the Evil One poisoned my mind."

Let me ask you one more question, Has God's Voice ever stopped calling?
No, God is still calling. Oh, that now at this very moment you may be able
to say, "The Voice of God has reached my heart." If any of you turn a deaf
ear to God's Voice, remember the time is coming when "all who are in the
graves shall hear His Voice and shall come forth"; [Footnote: St. John. v.
25.] and to you it will be a coming forth to judgment and condemnation.

How does God speak to us now? We can hear the Voice of God speaking in His
Word. When any portion of Scripture is specially impressed on our minds it
shows that God is speaking to us. A young man who had been seeking God
very earnestly said one day, "While reading the Word, I felt certain that
God had really spoken to my soul, that He had actually said to me, Live!"
Yes, that young man was right, for that is just what God has said to us,
but it makes all the difference whether we each one receive it as if God
is really saying it to us personally. Luther felt this, for he used to
say, "When I open the Bible it talks to me."

Why is the Bible like no other book? Because it is the revelation of God
Himself. The glory of God shines in its pages. In life and in death the
only source of comfort is a Personal God. Our great need is to have
God personally near, _near and dear_. Never rest till you can look up into
His Face with confidence and say, "Thou art near, O Lord." [Footnote: Ps.
cxix. 151.]

He is saying to you now, "Seek ye my Face." [Footnote: Ps. xxvii. 8.]
What answer will you give? Will you say to God now, "Thy Face, Lord, will
I seek." When we seek His Face, then we see "the glory of God in the face
of Jesus Christ." [Footnote: 2 Cor. iv. 6.] How grand it all is, and yet
how simple!

Let me say one word of loving appeal to any who have never really sought
the Lord. How is it that you say your prayers and yet you do not expect to
get an answer direct from God? Because, like Jacob, you have never
believed there is a God. You have not got hold of the first truth which
the Bible teaches us, _God is_; "He that cometh to God must believe that
HE IS." [Footnote: Heb. xi. 6.] When you pray, He must be as real to you
as if you saw Him standing by hearing and answering you. Until our eyes
are opened to see that death and judgment, heaven and hell, are great
realities we do not really cry to God, and when we do we find out that we
have never realised there is a God. Think of what God offers to you.
Forgiveness, life and glory. Would you neglect getting these priceless
gifts if you believed they were the real offers of a real Person? "What
meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise, call upon thy God." [Footnote: Jonah i.
6.]



ADDRESS VI

THE HANDS OF GOD

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE--St. John xx. 19-31.


Why has this Gospel been written? The last verse of this chapter tells us.
"It has been written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son
of God, and that believing we may have life through His Name."

In the Old Testament when "The Name" is mentioned it meant the unveiling
of the grace and glory and power of God. So we read men called upon "The
Name"--and in the New Testament when the Divine glory of Christ is
described we find the same expression, "His Name." It means His nature and
His character.

In the verse which we have just read, the wonderful truth shines out that
it is through His Name, through all that He is, and all He has done, that
we have _life_. So Christ Himself declares, "My sheep hear My Voice and I
know them and they follow Me, and I give unto them Eternal life, and they
shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My Hand. My
Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all, and no man is able to
pluck them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one."
[Footnote: St. John x. 27-30.]

Christ first speaks of His own hand and then of His Father's hand, so
there are two hands which hold us fast and keep us safe, now and for ever.

Let us look at what is said about the Hands of God in the Bible.

Think of God's Hands in creation. The Psalmist says, "Of old hast Thou
laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of Thy
hands." [Footnote: Psa. cii. 25.] "The sea is His and He made it: and His
hands formed the dry land." [Footnote: Ps. xcv. 5.]

Think of His strong Hands in Providence, as Moses said, "Thy right hand, O
LORD, is become glorious in power." [Footnote: Exod. xv. 6.]

Nehemiah speaks again and again of "the good hand of my God upon me,"
[Footnote: Neh. ii. 8.] when he tells us of all God's loving help and
guidance in the difficult work he had undertaken.

Think again of God's loving Hands in grace, healing the broken in heart
and binding up their wounds. How safe David felt when he said, "Thy right
hand upholdeth me." [Footnote: Ps. lxiii. 8.] He shows his confidence in
God when he prays, "Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe." [Footnote: Ps.
cxix. 117.] When your child wants you to hold him up he slips his little
hand in yours, doesn't he? Have you ever put your weak hand into God's
strong loving Hand so as to let Him do the holding up?

The saints in olden times felt God's Hand in everything, over-ruling,
planning, guiding, and Jesus assures us of the perfect safety and
everlasting security of the believer, for He says, "No one, either man or
devil, can pluck them out of My hand, nor shall any man be able to pluck
them out of My Father's hand;" [Footnote: St. John x. 28, 29.] so there
are two Divine Hands holding us fast.

Think once more of the hands of God: not only strong hands to help and to
heal, but _redeeming_ hands, mighty to save; hands that have been in the
fire to pluck us out of the burning; hands that have laid hold of the
enemy and have overcome him; hands that have unlocked the gates of a new
life that we may enter in.

Not long ago a little girl was caressing her dear old nurse, and when she
caught sight of the deep scars in her hands she asked, "How did you get
these scars?" The nurse looked at her very tenderly and then she said,
"When you were a baby, a fire broke out one night when you were asleep in
your cot. I plunged my hands into the flames and lifted you out." The
child's eyes were full of tears as she looked at the dear scarred hands,
the hands that had been wounded to save her.

Those scarred hands remind me of another story. One day, about thirty
years ago, some children were playing on a mountain in France, and their
merry peals of laughter attracted the notice of a shepherd lad who was
taking care of the sheep a little way off. Suddenly a wolf foaming at the
mouth came in sight. He saw it run madly down the mountain towards the
children. Without a moment's hesitation he rushed forward, seized the
wolf, and grappled with it. After a fierce struggle he managed to bind a
leather strap around its mouth, and then he killed it, but not before the
wolf, which was raving mad, had bitten him severely in the hand. This
occurred just at the time when Pasteur, the famous Paris doctor, had
discovered a remedy for hydrophobia. Without delay the shepherd lad who
had saved the lives of the children at such a cost was taken to Paris and
was cured. Hundreds of patients are sent to the Pasteur Institute at Paris
and when they ring the bell, the door is opened by an elderly man with a
scar on his hand. He was once the shepherd lad who rescued the children
from the raving wolf, and the deep scars are from its bite. Inside the
hall there is a statue representing him in the terrible struggle with the
wolf.

Think of the wounded hands of the Son of God. Do you ask Where? How? Why?
Where were they wounded? On Calvary's Cross. How? "They pierced My hands
and My feet." [Footnote: Ps. xxii. 16.] This is the wonder of it, "He was
wounded for our transgressions." Look at the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, and
there you will see Jesus as the Suffering Substitute. Seven times in that
chapter it is distinctly mentioned that all His suffering was because He
was bearing our sins. Notice in verse 5 it says, "He was wounded for our
transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities." Then in verse 6, "The
Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." In verse 8, "For the
transgression of My people was He stricken," or the stroke was upon Him.
He stood between the stroke of Divine Justice and the sinner and received
the blow Himself. In verse 10, "Thou shalt make His soul an offering for
sin;" verse 11, "He shall bear their iniquities;" verse 12, "He bare the
sin of many." Jesus was the Suffering Substitute because He was the
Sin-bearer. See how in His death He was identified with the sinner. For
in verse 12 we read, "He was numbered with the transgressors."

In the Gospels we are told that there were two thieves crucified with Him,
on either side one and Jesus in the midst. I once saw a coloured
illustration of the three crosses on Calvary. One cross was painted black,
the other was white, and the middle one was red. Now if we look at those
three crosses on Calvary from the Divine standpoint, it seems as if one
cross which was black at first is now white. It is the cross of the
penitent thief; all his sins have been transferred to the Sin-bearer, so
now there is not one sin on him; he has been washed "whiter than snow."
The cross of the impenitent thief is black, and remains black, for he dies
with all his sins on him and goes into the blackness of darkness for ever.
The middle cross is red: Jesus the Holy One has no sin in Him, but the sin
of the whole world is _on_ Him, because He is the atoning sacrifice for
sin.

  "O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head,
     Our load was laid on Thee.
   Thou stoodest in the sinner's stead,
     Didst bear all ill for me.
   A victim led, Thy blood was shed,
     Now there's no load for me."

In the writings of an American Evangelist we meet with this quaint
illustration, "God uses bright red to get pure white out of dead black."
It is just the same truth as we have seen shining out from the three
crosses. There we see Jesus "in the midst," the God-appointed
Sacrifice for sin, and we see the penitent thief washed whiter than snow
in the precious Blood. We see Jesus again "in the midst," three days
after. It is in the Upper Room at Jerusalem, on Easter Sunday. The
disciples who were like scattered sheep have gathered together there once
more, though still trembling with fear. "Then came Jesus and stood in the
midst and said unto them, Peace be unto you." [Footnote: St. John xx. 19.]

It was the first time He had spoken to them since the night when He was
betrayed when they had forsaken Him and had run away. He might have met
them with a reproof, but He knows all about our poor hearts, so He meets
them with a smile and the sweet greeting, "Peace be unto you." And He says
it to them _all_, even to Peter who had denied his Lord, and to the others
who had forsaken Him. Yes, He has only one greeting for them one and all,
and that is "Peace."

Then a pause, and after the pause there came a revelation--"He showed them
His hands and His side." Why did He show them the nail prints in His hands
and the deep wound in His side? It was to reveal to them the wondrous
truth that He Himself is our Peace, and that the Peace which He gives is
the Peace which He has Himself made through the Blood of His
Cross. [Footnote: Col. i. 20.]

  "Through Christ on the Cross peace was made,
  My debt by His death was all paid;
  No otter foundation is laid,
  For peace the gift of God's love."

He showed them His hands and His side, because He wants them to understand
that these sacred scars tell us of His wondrous love and of the infinite
cost of Redemption. Let us lift up our hearts and say--

  "Oh, make me understand it,
   Help me to take it in,

  "What it meant to Thee the Holy One
   To bear away my sin."

We find from St. John's Gospel that Thomas, one of the twelve, was not
among them when Jesus came, so the rest of the disciples told him, "We
have seen the Lord." He replied, "Unless I see in His hands the wound made
by the nails, and put my finger into the wound, and put my hand into His
side, I will never believe it." So when a week later Jesus says to Thomas,
"Reach hither thy finger and behold (or feel) My hands, and reach hither
thy hand and thrust it into My side," [Footnote: St. John xx. 27.] it
shows how our Lord made these scars the very test of his faith, and it is
the same now.

In St. Luke's Gospel we read that He said, "Behold My hands and My feet."
When He showed them the marks of His sufferings for them, it was as if He
said, "Here is the guarantee of your pardon and peace." We cannot have
peace until we have pardon; many seek peace instead of taking pardon
first. When He showed them His hands, and His feet, and His side, it was
as if He said, "You need cleansing from all sin; here are the marks of the
cleansing Blood. You need the touch of healing power, and here is the Hand
that will give it to you. You want companionship in your daily life.
Here are the feet that will travel with you, you never walk alone." What
wonderful tenderness and love! If ever you feel depressed or ready to
doubt God's love, remember how "He showed them His hands and His side,"
that they might see those sacred scars. And we read in the next verse,
"Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord." Yes, "they were
filled with joy at seeing the Master." You will remember how troubled
Thomas had been before this, but now the sight of the wounded hands took
away all his doubts and fears. It was then that his faith rose higher than
that of any of the others, for he exclaimed with adoration and worship,
"My Lord, and my God!" If ever you wander away or your heart grows cold
and careless, think of those words, "He showed them His hands and His
side," and remember He is still the same in the glory.

When the beloved Apostle John looked through the open door into heaven, he
saw Him standing there in the midst of the throne with the nail prints in
His hands and feet, "a Lamb as it had been slain." [Footnote: Rev. v. 6.]
What a sight!

  "Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
     Shall never lose its power,
   Till all the ransomed Church of God
     Be saved to sin no more."

But _why_ did He show them the wounds in His hands and side? To make it
plain that He bore all the penalty of sin. Some speak about sin as if it
were only a mistake, but God says sin is guilt, and that all are guilty,
for all have sinned. We have offended against God's holy law, and if any
one breaks the law he brings upon himself the penalty. God says, "The soul
that sinneth, it shall die;" [Footnote: Ezek. xviii. 20.] so the penalty
we deserve is death, everlasting punishment. The penalty must be paid by
some one. God's justice demands it.

God is not willing that any should perish; He loves the sinner, though He
hates the sin. Still the penalty must be paid, so He found out a way; His
own dear Son must take the sinner's place and suffer the full penalty
instead, the death-penalty.

Perhaps you wonder, how can the death of One atone for the sin of the
many? A lad once asked his father this question. The father made no reply
but took him into the garden. Then he dug up a spadeful of earth with a
number of worms in it, and turning to the boy he asked him, "Now which is
of most value, your life or that of one worm, or even a thousand worms?"
"Mine," said the boy. "Now" said the father, "you can see how the life and
death of the Divine Saviour is _sufficient satisfaction to God_ for the
sins of the whole world."

Oh! the wonder of it all. We see God, the Holy God, the just God, the
righteous God--we see man, guilty, condemned, sinful. Then we see the Son
of God Who knew no sin, _made_ sin for us, [Footnote: 2 Cor. v. 21.] so
that all the requirements of God's holiness and justice are fully met.

It was on the Cross, in that hour of darkness and agony when He cried, "My
God, My God, _why_ hast Thou forsaken Me," that He was _made_ sin for us.
Now we see the meaning of the wounded Hands, the broken Heart of God.

"If I were God," the cynic said, "this sinning, suffering world would
break my heart." But what if God's heart _was_ broken? Do we not read in
the 69th Psalm, "Reproach hath broken my heart? [Footnote: Ps. lxix. 20.]"
The last night before He died He went to the garden of Gethsemane. Only
three of His disciples followed Him into the place where He knelt down to
pray, and even these three fell asleep. He was left alone. He says, "I
looked for some to take pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but
I found none." It was then the agony began which ended on the
Cross in a broken heart.

It was then He prayed saying, "Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup
from Me, and there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening
Him." [Footnote: St. Luke xxii. 42, 43.]

His prayer was heard and the victory was won over the adversary, for it
must be on the Cross and in no other way that the Atonement could be made.
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for
us, for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."
[Footnote: Gal. iii. 13.] "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body
on the tree." [Footnote: I Pet. ii. 24.]

It was there on the Cross that He said, "It is finished; and He bowed His
Head and died." We should not have known that He died of a broken heart if
one little circumstance had not taken place. The Holy Spirit has shown us
that this circumstance was foretold in the Scriptures and was all part of
God's purpose in our redemption. The soldiers had orders to break the legs
of those who had been crucified, so as to hasten their death, and remove
their bodies without delay; but when they came to Jesus and saw that He
was dead already, they brake not His legs; but one of the soldiers pierced
His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. "This was a proof
that He had died of a broken heart." [Footnote: John xix. 34.]

  "He died of a broken heart for you,
     He died of a broken heart,
   Oh! wondrous love for you, for me,
     He died of a broken heart."

When we remember that the pouring out of the blood followed on the
breaking of the body, then we see the meaning of the precious words spoken
by our Lord during the Last Supper. We read that, "He took bread, and when
He had given thanks, He brake it and said, 'Take, eat; this is My Body
which is broken for you.' [Footnote: I Cor. xi. 24.] And He took the cup
and said, 'This is My Blood of the New Testament which is shed for many.'"
[Footnote: St. Mark xiv. 24.]

Why did He die? Why was His blood poured out? The Apostle Paul answers
that question when He says, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto
Himself." In that one sentence we have the Message of the Cross! We see
God's purpose behind it all.

Two wonderful truths lie hidden in that glorious message. The first is,
that "Christ _died_ to put away sin," because sin is the thing and the
only thing which comes between us and God. The good news which Christ
brings to us is that God Himself has taken the first step in this work of
reconciliation. Oh! how wonderful it is that it is our sins which have
brought out all the anguish and love of God's heart. Yes, our sins grieved
Him so much He could not rest till He had devised a plan by which they
could "all be blotted out," once for all.

Dear friends, whenever your sins are a burden, say these words over and
over in your heart, "God was in Christ reconciling me to Himself."
[Footnote: 2 Cor. v. 19.] This alone would have been wonderful, but there
is something more in the good news, and that is "God is beseeching you to
be reconciled to Him." Have you ever grasped that truth?

I remember hearing of a great lawyer who was moved to shed tears, and when
a fellow-lawyer asked him why he was in trouble he replied, "I see now
what I never saw before. Yes, I see that God is _beseeching_ me to be
reconciled to Him. I always thought it was for me to beseech God."

Many think as this lawyer did that the sinner must first come to God. No,
it is God Who comes to us entreating us to return to Him. He is always
sending us messages of love, and the moment we turn to Him and trust Him
He gives us a full free pardon.

Dear fellow-sinners, "we pray you now in Christ's stead," and because of
His great love in dying for you, "Be reconciled to God." God is now
willing; are you willing? Do say "Yes." Will you say it now very solemnly
in your heart to God?



ADDRESS VII

THE WORD OF GOD

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE--Psalm xix.


This Psalm is full of the glory of God. It tells us first of the Glory of
God shining in this beautiful world which He has made, and then it shows
us the glory of God shining in the Scriptures, in this Book which lies
open before us.

The first verse bursts forth with the triumphant note, "The heavens
declare the glory of God." Everything in earth and sky shows forth His
wisdom, His power and His love.

Then it gives us a wonderful picture of the sunrise and compares it to "a
bridegroom coming out of his chamber." You have seen the first streaks of
light in the early morning, and then you have watched the onward course of
the sun till it is high up in the sky at mid-day, full of power,
"rejoicing as a strong man to run a race."

But Nature, with all its secrets, Nature with all its wonders and
treasures, is only part of God's revelation of Himself; the other part is
to be found in His Word.

So the Psalmist passes from the glorious sun in the heavens to the glory
shining in the Word of God. The glory we see in God's works is only an
illustration of the glory shining in this Book. After giving the wonderful
description of the rising sun, he goes on to point out that there is not a
single spot in the whole world where the sun does not shine, and that its
light and heat can be felt by everything. Then he shows us that it is just
the same with the Word of God. It is God's message to every one, but it is
only when it finds an entrance into man's heart that it gives light.
[Footnote: Ps. cxix. 130.]

If you draw down the blind the sun cannot shine into your room; so the
Holy Spirit must open our hearts for the light of His Word to enter in,
otherwise it will be to us the same as any other book.

  "Is it dark without you, darker still within?
      Clear the darkened windows,
      Open wide the door;
      Let the blessed sunshine in."

How can we know that the Bible is the Word of God? A gentleman, who was an
unbeliever, stopped one day to speak to Molly, the old woman who kept a
flower stall near the station. He noticed she was reading her Bible, so he
asked her why she read it. "Because it is the Word of God." "How do you
know?" "Because it cheers and warms my heart. I am just as sure it is
God's own Word as I am that it is the sun shining up there." This simple
testimony was the means of convincing him and he thanked her for it.

We have heard how the sun shines over the whole world, but is it not
wonderful that every little drop of water can reflect the whole of its
light? In every sunbeam there are seven colours, and when you look up at
the rainbow you see all the seven in one drop of rain. This is only an
illustration of the wonders of God's grace. If you are a child of God the
whole of God's grace enters your heart, so you have grace to speak, grace
to pray, grace to be loving and patient, grace for everything. The whole
of God's life and light and love are for you as if there were no one else
in the world. It is the same with all the precious truths of God's Word:
they are _all_ yours. A minister who wanted to know how many promises
there are in the Bible searched all through the Book and he counted nearly
five thousand. Had you any idea that there are as many as five thousand
precious promises for the believer in God's Word? Have you claimed them?

A Christian woman who was very ill asked her daughter to read the 8th
chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. When she had finished the mother
said, "That's mine, it's _all_ mine." How rich she was! Only think of it
and it is an _Eternal_ inheritance, for the chapter begins with "no
condemnation" and ends with "no separation."

If you will look at verses 7 and 8 of our Psalm, you will see four things
which the Word of God does. "It converts the soul, makes wise the simple,
rejoices the heart, enlightens the eyes." Let us think of these four
things.

First: "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." The law here
means the whole covenant of Jehovah.

You remember how, when God appeared to Abraham, that Abraham fell on his
face, feeling his utter weakness and nothingness, and then God talked with
him. When a man is laid low in the dust then God can talk to him. And God
said to Abraham, "I will make my covenant between Me and thee." [Footnote:
Gen. xvii. 2.] A covenant is a promise made under solemn conditions, and
it is God's covenant of grace which converts the soul. Such a promise as
we have in Ezekiel: "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit
will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your
flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh: And I will put my Spirit
within you." [Footnote: Ezek. xxxvi. 26.] God says "I will" five times in
those few lines, because He wants us to understand that in giving this
promise He undertakes to do in us and for us what we can never do for
ourselves.

This reminds me of a young woman who was troubled because, although she
was longing to be saved, yet she felt her heart was so hard. One Sunday
the minister took this verse as the text for his sermon. When he gave it
out it seemed to her as if a voice was speaking these words close to her,
right into her ear, "I will give you an heart of flesh." It came like a
message direct from God. She was so deeply touched she could not listen to
the sermon, and after it was over she went into the fields to find a quiet
place that she might look at the words again in her Bible. She is now a
very bright earnest Christian.

It is through the Word that God speaks to our hearts, and when the Holy
Spirit makes it a living Word and quickens us to receive it with faith,
then we are converted. If you are not saved, take your Bible and read it
prayerfully, and you will find in it just what you want. Remember the
letter of Scripture is of no use unless we experience its power and enjoy
its sweetness.

A young clergyman was converted through a very strange text. He was so
much depressed he thought of committing suicide, and then his eye fell on
that verse in Ecclesiastes, "A living dog is better than a dead lion."
[Footnote: Eccles. ix. 4.] The words brought fresh hope to him. He said to
himself, One thing is certain and that is, I am still a _living_ man, and
he was then led to seek Christ as the Way, the Truth and the _Life_.

It is wonderful to think of the many different ways in which God sends His
Word home to our hearts. Spurgeon gives an instance of this. He was asked
to visit a dying man who told him about his conversion. He said, "Some
years ago I was at work in the Crystal Palace. God's Spirit was striving
with me and I felt the burden of sin. It seemed to follow me wherever I
went. Suddenly a voice said to me distinctly, 'Behold he Lamb of God which
taketh away the sin of the world.' [Footnote: St. John i. 29.] No one was
near me, and I thought the message had come straight from God. I then saw
clearly that Christ had died to save me, and ever since I have had joy and
peace in believing."

Spurgeon listened to the dying man's testimony with deep interest, and he
remembered that on that very day he had gone to the Crystal Palace to test
his voice in the transept before speaking at a People's service which was
to be held there, and had used that very text, "Behold the Lamb of God
which taketh away the sin of the world."

Let us thank God that His Word is _perfect_ in converting he soul.

"The testimony of the Lord is _sure_, making wise the simple." It is well
known that very often a man who is no scholar, but who is taught of God,
is able to see deep truths which learned men fail to understand. Every
time you read your Bible look up and say, "Lord, open Thou mine eyes that
I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." [Footnote: Ps. cxix. 18.]

Do not feel discouraged because you do not understand t all. There are
many things which earthly fathers tell their children which they do not
understand till they are grown up, but still they love to get father's
letters, and the Bible is our heavenly Father's letter to us. Do you value
it?

In the 8th verse of the 19th Psalm it says, "The statutes of the LORD are
right, rejoicing the heart." I have seen many careworn faces lit up with
joy when reading the Word. One man especially, who had a great deal of
trouble and opposition in his home life, used to give his testimony at the
Meeting. Opening his Bible in the 5th chapter of the Gospel of St. John he
would read the 24th verse, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
heareth My word and believeth on Him that sent Me hath everlasting life
and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life."

Then he would tell us with a beaming face that it was his song of
assurance, for, as he said, there are three links, "He that _heareth_,
_believeth_, _hath_--and 'hath' means 'got it,' and I've got everlasting
life. Jesus says it and I know it's true." He is now in the glory, and
maybe he is telling the angels about it.

If we had no Bible we should have no certainty that our sins are forgiven.
A little girl named Molly said to her aunt who was teaching her about
Jesus, "How can I be sure that my sins are forgiven?" "Because God says
so," [Footnote: i John i. 9.] was the reply, and then she repeated the
text, "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Many say, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins," and yet they still carry
about the burden of their sins. They see clearly how God can forgive sin,
but they cannot realise that it is their own sins which are forgiven. This
was the case with Luther. He tells us how, when he was distressed because
of his sins, a friend pointed out to him that he would not have real peace
unless he claimed God's forgiveness for his _own _sins. It was like a new
light flashing into his soul; he saw his mistake and looking up with a
beaming face, he said, "I see it now--it is not other people's sins, it is
_my_ sins which are all forgiven!"

We must not estimate sin and forgiveness by our own standard. When we have
given way to sin again and again we feel ashamed to ask God's forgiveness
so often but the wonder of it all is that God meets this very feeling of
shame with the words, "My thoughts are not your thoughts"; and then He
adds, "For I will abundantly pardon," [Footnote: 2 Isa. lv. 7, 8.] which
means, I will repeatedly pardon. God's thoughts of sin and His thoughts
about forgiveness are far higher than ours. Sometimes I feel quite
overwhelmed when I think of how great His forgiving love has been to me.

Look again at our Psalm, verse 7, "The testimony of the Lord is _sure_,
making wise the simple." The word Testimony means an assurance or a
promise from God to the individual soul, and David had such confidence in
God he is quite sure He will not disappoint him or fail to keep His word.
So he says, "The testimony, or promise, of God is _sure_." It is this
certainty which makes David so happy.

He seems to be overflowing with joy, for he says, "Thy testimonies also
are my delight and my counsellors," [Footnote: Ps. cxix. 24.] and again,
"I love Thy testimonies." "Thy testimonies are wonderful, therefore doth
my soul keep them. Thy testimonies that Thou hast commanded are righteous
and very faithful." [Footnote: Ps. cxix. 119, 129, 138.]

The word "Testimony" means also what God has commanded us to believe and
also to practise.

A native convert in China said the other day, "I began by reading the
Bible, but now I am _behaving_ it." This is what David means when he says,
"My soul hath kept Thy testimonies, and I love them exceedingly."
[Footnote: Ps. cxix. 167.]

The question was once asked at a meeting, "Can you point to any text in
the Word of God which makes you sure you are saved and safe?" "I can,"
said one of the company, in a quiet firm voice. "It is John iii. 36,
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life."

We have many bed-rock texts and that is one, as the beautiful old hymn
says--

  "How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
   Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word."

I was summoned late one evening to see a dying man who had been brought to
Christ through my Bible Class. When I entered his room he looked up and
said with a smile, "I sent for you because I want to tell you that I am
quite safe, quite sure and quite satisfied. I am quite safe because Jesus
died for me. I am quite sure because I have His Word for it. I am quite
satisfied because I am going to be with Him in the glory."

The Word of God was written that we _might_ believe; to believe is to
know, and to be quite certain. The word "believe" comes from an old root
meaning "to live by." "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every
word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." [Footnote: St. Matt. iv.
4.] Put your finger down on one of the many precious assurances which God
has given us in His Word, of the certainty of complete forgiveness and
acceptance, and then look up into His face with loving gratitude.

God's pardon and acceptance are absolute and eternal; nothing can ever
alter them. God wants us to know it and to live in the joy of it. Trusting
His Word gives us safety, certainty and enjoyment.

If any sin comes into your mind and troubles you, dear child of God, do
not carry it about with you, tell Father about it at once; confess it to
Him and remember that you are under the cleansing Blood. "The Blood of
Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin." [Footnote: 1 John i.
7.] It has not only cleansed us once for all, but it is cleansing us now
at the present moment.

It is important to remember that the whole purpose of the Bible is to give
glory to God. It is the Everlasting Word of the Everlasting God. "The word
of our God shall stand for ever." [Footnote: Isa. xl. 8.] Make the word of
God _everything_. Receive its statements by faith as revelations of simple
certainties. Find out how happy you are. "Happy is that people that is in
such a case, yea, happy is that people whose God is Lord." [Footnote: Ps.
cxliv. 15.]

If we are walking with God in our daily life we need a light to show us
the way. David knew well what it was to go along rough roads on dark
nights, so he says, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my
path." [Footnote: Ps. cxix. 105.]

Did you ever hear about Moody's torch? One night Moody had to return home
through a dark wood after one of his meetings, and the path was winding
and rough, so a friend offered him a torch. Moody declined taking it,
saying, "Thank you, but it is too small."

"It will light you home," said the man.

"But the wind may blow it out."

"It will light you home."

"But if it should rain?"

"It will light you home."

At last Moody started, taking the torch with him, and he said afterwards,
"In spite of all my fears, it gave abundant light on my path all the way
home."

Every promise in the Word of God is like Moody's torch, and if we will
take it and use it, we shall find as he did, that it will light us all the
way to our Eternal Home. The Bible is the Book of light placed by our
Master in the hand of faith that we may see clearly how to walk and to
please God and how to deal wisely and kindly with those around us. It
contains plain directions about everything in our daily life.

The Bible is a Revelation of God Himself. It is a direct communication
from Him to us. There are four things made known to us in the Word which
are of priceless value--

1. It proclaims a full, free salvation through faith in Christ. "To you is
the Message of this Salvation sent."

2. It opens out to you the riches of grace and invites you to take them
freely--freely--freely.

3. It opens "the door of faith" wide to the weakest sinner and even to
you.

4. It gives a new life within, which transforms the soul and makes us new
creatures in Christ Jesus.

Our Lord says, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they
are life." [Footnote: St. John vi, 63.] Can you say, "Thy Word hath
quickened me"? [Footnote: Ps. cxix. 50.]

Do not be satisfied with reading a chapter here and there. Read straight
through. Why? Because the Bible has a beginning and an ending like any
other book. It begins with the story of a friendship between God and man:
we see man very happy in this friendship. Then something happens; you will
find it in the third chapter of Genesis. Some one has come in between them
and the friendship is broken. Still God is looking for His friend and
calling him, "Where are you?" The answer comes from under the shadow of
the trees. "I heard Thy voice and I was afraid and hid myself."

Now we come to the last words at the end of the Book, and we hear the same
Voice saying, "I am coming back again very soon." It is the Voice of the
same Friend, no longer sad but glad. "The darkness has all passed
away and the true Light is shining," [Footnote: I John ii. 8.] and will
shine for ever: yes, it is sunshine all around, everlasting sunshine.

Where is the Bible? Do you keep your Bible where you can take it up
whenever you have a few spare moments? Is it ready at hand so that you can
read it before you go to bed at night? Do the children speak of it as
"Mother's book"? Do you turn to it for strength and comfort? Is it a
_living_ book to you?

One of the most solemn things which God says to His rebellious people in
olden times is that "they were casting His Words behind their backs." We
are doing the same thing if the Bible is laid aside on the shelf, or put
into the front room and allowed to remain unopened week after week. There
can be no blessing in your home and in your life while you neglect the
Word of God. It is this very word of God which will judge you at the last
day.

Listen to Christ's solemn warning: "He that rejecteth Me and receiveth not
My words hath one that judgeth him," which means you will not be left
without a Judge. It is not a matter of small importance whether you read
the Bible or not: it is a matter of life or death. A neglected Bible shows
you are living without God; a neglected Bible shows you are living for
this world only; a neglected Bible shows that your soul is dying of
starvation; a neglected Bible means that though you may _think_ you can
get on very well without it, Jesus _says_, "The Word that I have spoken
the same will judge him in the last day." [Footnote: St. John xii. 48.]

The Bible is God's Message to this present generation. Sometimes people
want to lay it on one side as an old book which is out of date. It is the
most up-to-date book in the world. It not only tells us of what is going
on at the present moment, but about what will happen in the future. We see
pictures in the daily papers of what people were doing yesterday and what
they looked like, but in the Bible we have portraits true to life not only
of what we are outwardly, but of the thoughts of our hearts. "The Word of
God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword: it can
discern the secret thoughts and purposes of the heart." [Footnote: Heb.
iv. 12.] We hear a great deal about the X-rays which show what is going on
inside the body, but this is nothing compared to the Word of God which
penetrates deep down into our inmost feelings and brings them to light. It
is better to be searched and cleansed now, than to go on in the old way
and then to stand before the great White Throne by and by, condemned to
everlasting punishment.

Let us pray with David, "Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and
know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in
the way Everlasting. Amen." [Footnote: Ps. cxxxix, 23, 24.]



ADDRESS VIII

HAVE FAITH IN GOD

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE--Romans iv.


There is one man set before us in this chapter as the man who had faith in
God. The one thing which marks him more than any other is his faith. The
man lived nearly 4,000 years ago, and yet he is still a vivid personality;
he lives on in our thoughts and memories as the man who trusted God. His
name is still reverenced all over the world, even among people of
different religions, as "The Friend of God."

"The God of Glory appeared to Abraham," and from that moment Abraham's
faith fastens on what God is. The attractive power of Jehovah drew him
from his home, his relations and his country, and with every fresh
revelation of God, Abraham's faith grasped more of God and clung to Him
with a firmer hold. God's word was all he had to go by; whatever God said
was enough for him; whatever God told him to do, he did it, because, to
_trust God_ means to obey Him. He had God with him at every step.

If ever there was a clear-sighted man, that man was Abraham, for trust in
God enlightens our understanding. He was a man with a far sight. He saw
what no other man then living saw. He saw that the day was coming when God
would send His Son to be the Saviour of the world. How do we know this?
Because Christ said, "Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and
was glad." [Footnote: St. John viii. 56.] He saw far on into the future,
farther than any other man then living. He saw the golden City, the holy
City, "whose builder and maker is God." [Footnote: Heb, xi. 10.] Yes, the
eye of faith not only sees God, it sees also what "God has prepared for
those who love Him."

God was very real to that man. Abraham trusted God because he knew Him
personally. Faith is the act of the soul which looks wholly away from
_self_, whether it be righteous self or sinful self, and looks to God
only, in complete submission and confidence.

It was because Abraham trusted Him that God stamped the man as His
friend--Abraham My friend. On and on through all these hundreds of years
he has been called "the Friend of God." In the book of Chronicles, in
Isaiah and in the Epistle of James it is mentioned again, "He was called
the Friend of God."

What is friendship? It is two hearts trusting in each other. Abraham
trusted God, and God trusted Abraham. God put such confidence in him that
He let him know that He was going to destroy the cities of the plain.
The LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?"
[Footnote: Gen. xviii. 17.]

Mutual trust is at the root of all friendship. Where there is a lack of
mutual confidence in the home life or in commercial life it spells ruin.
The great question for each one in life is, What is my relation to God? Is
it trusting God, or is it doubting God?

"Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness."
[Footnote: Rom. iv. 3.] What is righteousness? It means to be right with
God, and the moment we trust God's Word we are made righteous, and we
become righteous.

We read in Acts that after their first missionary tour. Paul and Barnabas
reported in detail all that God had done, and how He had opened the door
of faith unto the Gentiles. [Footnote: Acts xiv. 27.] So faith is the
gate of life by which the Gentiles were entering in.

Here was a new fact proving that faith was the gate of the Lord into which
the righteous should enter; [Footnote: Ps. cxviii. 20.] righteous
_because_ believing. Faith is the door by which God comes into our hearts.
Faith is only the door, nothing in itself, but it is called "precious
faith" because of all the life and joy and riches of grace and glory which
it lets in.

Abraham is not only presented to us in the Word of God as the Friend of
God, but also as a pattern for all believers, and we are told to take him
as our model, "to walk in his steps," to trust God and to find in God's
wondrous friendship all that he found. God has been teaching us ever
since, through the simplicity of the faith of this man. The most
remarkable point in his faith is this, he grasped as no one else had done
that God is God because He can quicken the dead. [Footnote: Rom. iv. 17.]
He can give life to the dead because He Himself is the Source of life. He
calls "those things which are not as though they were" because He is the
Creator of all things. This applies not only to the body but to the soul.
Your confidence in God began when your soul, which was "dead in sin," was
quickened into a new life. When we ourselves have experienced this
quickening it gives us such faith in praying for those we love, knowing
that God alone can quicken dead souls.

Abraham was "strong in faith"; even when God promised him a son, although
it seemed impossible, "he staggered not at the promise of God through
unbelief," being "fully persuaded" that God was able to do it. To be
"strong in faith" is to feel our utter helplessness and to rely on God's
power only; to be "strong in faith" is to grasp God's promise and not to
let anything make us doubt it.

We have an illustration of this strong faith in the case of the first
missionary who went out to China a hundred years ago. The captain of the
ship in which he sailed was an atheist, and one day he said to him with a
sneer, "You don't suppose, do you, that you are going to convert those
Chinese?" "No," said the missionary, "but I believe _God_ is going to do
it." Did God fail him? No. His faith was rewarded, and at the present time
there are a quarter of a million Chinese believers who meet in fellowship
at the Lord's Table.

What is faith? It is the link between me and God. The link between my
emptiness and God's fulness. The link between me, the sinner and Jesus,
the Saviour. Is there this link between you and God? Is the link on? Faith
is the spiritual link, the one and only means by which a man can have
dealings with God, realise God and walk with God. It is a living link
between God and the soul, a living union. The word "faith" comes from an
old word which means to _bind_. When I say "I _believe_ God," it means
that "I am His and He is mine for ever and for ever." It is trusting in
His love, not a mere cold belief in His power. It is grasping His
promises, because they are precious promises. It is the whole heart and
mind going out and up to God. David says: "Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up
my soul; O my God, I trust in Thee," [Footnote: Ps. xxv, 1, 2, 5] This
brings perfect rest. "Thou art the God of my salvation, on Thee do I wait
all the day." Do we make it a habit to be constantly referring to God
about everything? We learn first, that _God_ is, and then our faith feeds
upon _what_ God is. His faithfulness and His lovingkindness are seen in
all His dealings with us.

Faith has to do with unseen realities, for faith is the evidence, or proof
of things not seen; [Footnote: Heb. xi. 1.] it makes them as real as if we
could see them, and brings them near.

So we may say faith is like the telegraph wire which connects two places
however far apart they may be.

We had an illustration of this not long ago. Our Queen Mary was in her
sitting-room in Buckingham Palace. A hospital was to be opened in Canada
4,000 miles off, and she was asked to perform the ceremony. When the
signal was given that all was ready, the Queen pressed a little ivory
button and in two seconds the door of the hospital, which was held by an
electric wire, opened, and in fifteen seconds the signal was flashed back
that the hospital was open. So in about half a minute the signal went
there and back over a space of 8,000 miles. How wonderful! and yet greater
spiritual wonders are happening every day and many times in the day, if
only we have faith in God and let Him work in us and through us.

I will give you another illustration how the simple touch of faith links
us with God's power. A few years ago some rocks blocked the entrance into
the river St. Lawrence, so that the ships could not go up the river to
Quebec. It was decided that the mass of solid rock must be removed. How
was it done? In the presence of a large crowd a little child stepped
forward and touched an electric button and the whole mass of rock was
blown up by dynamite and the passage cleared.

Faith has done great wonders in times past, and it can still do wonders,
if only we make use of God's Almighty power. But the rule is, "According
to your faith so be it unto you."

I will give you an illustration. When I want light in my room I touch the
electric button and the room is filled with light. The moment I press the
button I expect the light will come, and I am surprised if it fails. Why?
Touching the electric button is like the touch of faith; it brings us into
contact with the source of light. Faith brings me into contact with God
Himself, for He is the source of life and light. God has ordained that
faith shall be a power as real and as uniform in its working as light or
heat or electricity. Everything about them is a mystery which we do not
fully understand, but all the same they are real to us and we use them.
Although we do not understand them, yet we prove again and again that they
supply us with new life and energy simply by a touch. Even a child can
touch. Faith places all God's fulness at our disposal, but it is only
according to our faith that we receive it.

I know a poor woman who went through a time of great anxiety about her
little girl who was ill. One day a Christian friend called to see her and
she told her all about her trouble. When she had finished the friend said
to her very tenderly, "You have forgotten one little word of five
letters." "What is it? Do tell me," she exclaimed, looking puzzled. Then
the friend, pointing on her five fingers, said slowly, _f-a-i-t-h_. The
dark cloud cleared away and she was able to look up into God's face again
and to trust Him.

So when Christ says, "Have faith in God," it is a command to hold fast to
God. It means trust God about everything, great and small; nothing is too
small. Trust Him to save you, and to keep you. Trust Him in every
difficulty and in every duty.

"Little faith will bring your souls to heaven, but great faith will bring
heaven to your souls."

When Christ said to Peter and the others, "Have faith in God," He said it
very earnestly and with a ring of deep conviction in His voice. He knew in
Himself what dependence on God means in the earthly life. Day by day He
showed what it is to have simple trust in God. When He said, "Have faith
in God," He said it very solemnly, because He was speaking on behalf of
His Father.

He had come to reveal Him, so He says, "I do nothing of Myself, but as My
Father hath taught Me I speak these things." He had already said, "He that
believeth on Me hath everlasting life," and now He adds, "Have faith in
God." Yes, He claims our confidence, our full confidence, not a
half-hearted trust.

Our Lord saw men seeking other objects of trust, so He says, "Take hold of
God, hold fast to God, have faith in God and never let it go."

The world's great need is faith in God. God's own character demands it.
The Scriptures make Him known and reveal Him as altogether trustworthy,
such an One as invites our entire confidence. To have faith in God means
leaning on Him, letting Him bear the whole weight. There is a great
difference between believing and committing. Many say they believe, but
they are not willing to commit themselves to Him.

A few years ago there was a man named Blondin who performed wonderful
feats at the Crystal Palace. Once he walked on a tight rope stretched
across the centre of the Palace at a height of 150 feet. Another time a
rope was stretched at a great height over a shipbuilder's yard, and he not
only walked steadily across, but he carried a man on his back. A large
crowd gazed at him in wonder and awe, and great was their relief when both
Blondin and his burden reached the ground in safety.

Among the eager upturned faces in the crowd there was a lad about eleven
years of age. When Blondin came down he went up to the lad and said to
him, "You saw me carry that big man across, do you believe I could take
you?" "Of course you could," replied the boy; "why, he was a big man, and
I am only a little chap." "Well, then, jump up, my lad," said Blondin, and
he stooped down for the boy to climb up on his back. But although the boy
said he believed Blondin was able to carry him across, he was not willing
to trust himself, and so, just saying, "No, thank you," he was off like a
shot and ran as fast as he could till he was lost in the crowd. Though he
said he believed, when it came to the point he did not commit himself, and
that is all the difference, between believing _in_ Christ and believing
_on_ Him.

Faith in God means really committing ourselves into His hands and rolling
our burdens on Him.

If we withhold our confidence it shows that we do not really believe that
God is what the Bible says He is. The reason there is so much unrest and
ungodliness is because we have lost sight of God. It is not because the
Bible is out of date as some say, or that the Gospel has lost its power;
it is still as ever, "the power of God unto salvation," but we are
limiting God.

It is just the same now as in olden times when the children of Israel
limited the Holy One of Israel, and we read how this lack of confidence
grieved God all through those forty years in the wilderness. Yea, they
spake against God, they said, "Can God furnish a table in the wilderness;
can God give bread also; can He provide flesh for His people?" [Footnote:
Ps. lxxviii. 19, 20.] Unbelief asks, "_Can He?_" Faith says, "_He can._"
Dear friends, let me ask you to stop and ask yourself, Where do you put
that little word "can"? Are you constantly thinking to yourself, Can God?
or are you saying in your heart and meaning it too, "_God can_"! We limit
God's power to save, by asking, _Can_ God? The hindrance is the same as in
olden times when Jeremiah felt that because of the unbelief of the people
"the Lord was as a mighty man that cannot save." [Footnote: Jer. xiv; 9.]

You have prayed many years perhaps for the conversion of some one near and
dear to you, but are you limiting God because you doubt His power to do
it? A poor man who gave way to drink said sadly, "I have broken the pledge
again and again"; then pointing to his pledge card he said, "But now I
have written a text on it, Isaiah xli. 13: 'For I the Lord thy God will
hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not, I will help thee.'" Then
looking up he said simply, "Maybe, Him and me will do it together."

Is it victory over temptation you long for? Look up to Him and say, "I
can't, but God can." Is it grace you need for some special trial? Say,
"God is able to make all grace abound towards me, for He tells us in His
Word that He is able to do 'exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think
according to the power that is working in us.'" [Footnote: Eph. iii. 20.]
The world's great sin is not trusting God. "Thus said the LORD, Cursed be
the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm and whose heart
departeth from the Lord." [Footnote: Jer. xvii. 5.] Yet in times of
difficulty or danger how apt we are to lean on the arm of flesh.

During the present European war I was much impressed by the words of one
of our soldiers who writes from the front: "After all that is being done
there still remains one supreme necessity without which neither arms or
munitions can be decisive, namely, the spiritual outlook of the whole
nation. When I returned home after ten months in Flanders, I was amazed at
the lack of spirituality of the people as a whole. The simple faith and
dependence upon God which characterised our country in her past struggles
seem lost to sight. 'They trusted in Thee and Thou didst deliver them'
implied no disregard for military efficiency; it was the real and vital
accompaniment to armed force. Can it be that the hellishness of battle,
the wearing down of the spirit induced by trench warfare, moments of utter
loneliness which every soldier has to bear, strike right at the soul and
enable him to realise the nearness of the spiritual world? 'Prayer is the
foundation of all grace' were the words of a dying soldier who had
deliberately returned to the area of poisonous gas and had brought back
the machine gun on his shoulders. Some of us have realised what individual
prayer at home has done for us, but we should all like to feel that the
whole nation is also testing the value of spiritual power."

We read in God's Word that "The children of Judah prevailed, because they
relied upon the Lord God"; [Footnote: 2 Chron. xiii. 18.] and when King
Asa was defeated the prophet said to him, "Because thou hast relied on the
King of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host
of the King of Syria escaped out of thine hand." [Footnote: 2 Chron. xvi.
7.]

To have faith in God we must put God first in everything. He must be first
when we awake in the morning. How blessed it is to be able to feel, "When
I awake I am still with Thee." A working man said to me once, "I make
myself happy in God the first thing in the morning." David says, "In the
morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee and will look up." [Footnote:
Ps. v. 3.] "When I awake I am still with Thee." [Footnote: Ps. cxxxix.
18.]

"In my morning prayer," said a Christian man, "instead of thinking of my
own needs first, I like to think of the fulness there is in Christ for
me." Let us resolve to put "God _first_," even if we have only time for
one text of Scripture. "God _first_," even if it is only a minute or two
for prayer. A Christian said once, "I must see the face of God before I
see the face of man." The manna was gathered early every morning. Another
said, "Unless I meet with God first, I cannot meet the difficulties of the
day in a prepared spirit." If you put "God first," you will find this will
make all the difference as to how you do your work and how you deal with
others. "Little is much if God is in it."

To have faith in God is to trust Him _only_. David says, "My soul, wait
thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him." [Footnote: Ps. lxii.
5.] Is it so with you? If so, what for, and for how much? First find out
from His Word that God is able and willing to do what you need; then trust
Him to do it. "Trust in Him at all times" it says again in that beautiful
Psalm. [Footnote: Ps. lxii. 8.]

"I have been looking into my Bible," said a working man, "and I find a
great many men trusted God, and whatever they trusted God for, they always
got it; He never failed them, and it is the same now."

You have all heard of Florence Nightingale and her life of devotion in
nursing the sick. She was asked to tell the secret of her earnest
Christian life, and after a pause she said, "I have kept nothing back from
God." Faith in God is unreserved confidence, telling Him all and keeping
nothing back. But before we can do this as a daily habit we must
definitely commit ourselves and all we have into God's hands.

It says in Isaiah xliv. 5, "One shall say, I am the Lord's." I have a mark
in my Bible which I made many years ago by the side of these words. I put
the date and then I wrote these words: "He gave Himself for me and I give
myself to Him. He takes me and I take Him." Ever since then it has been my
delight to tell others how simple it all is. It is the sinner taking the
Saviour and the Saviour taking the sinner.

Are you asking, What must I do? First believe what God says about you in
His Word. He says, that you are guilty, lost, ruined. Then He presents
Christ to us as the Saviour and calls on us to believe what He says about
Him. "He that believeth not God hath made him a liar because he hath not
believed the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record that
God hath given to us eternal life and this life is in His Son." [Footnote:
I John v. 10, 11.]

"Have faith in God." Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of
God, and "faith is the gift of God." And the wonder of it all is that God
says to the weak ones like poor Jacob, "I have chosen thee and not cast
thee away," and He never will, for "_God keeps all His failures_," not
like man who throws his failures on one side as worthless.

  Oh! to trust Him then more fully,
    Just to simply trust.

Then instead of "limiting the Holy One of Israel" we shall be singing at
the top of our voices, "The LORD hath done great things for us whereof we
are glad." [Footnote: Ps. cxxvi. 3.] So then let us "trust in the Lord for
ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is Everlasting Strength." [Footnote: Isa.
xxvi. 4.]



ADDRESS IX

THE CHURCH OF GOD

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE--Ephesians v. 22-33.


"Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it." [Footnote: Eph. v.
25.] Two precious truths shine out in these words. He _loved_, He _gave_.
He not only gave Himself for the Church when He died on the Cross, but He
is still sanctifying and cleansing it, and by and by when He comes again
"He will present it unto Himself a glorious Church." [Footnote: Eph. v.
27.]

So we have the history of the Church in the past, in the present, and in
the future. We look back to the past and we see Christ giving Himself,
that is, laying down His life on the Cross; but we must also look far, far
back into the past Eternity to find out another precious truth. (Perhaps
you have never thought about it.) It is, that the Church was in God's
thoughts from the very beginning! The Son of God was in the bosom of the
Father "in the beginning"; and it was then--before the world was created,
that God chose us in Him and gave us to Him. [Footnote: Eph. i. 4.]
Now we see why "Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it."

What is the Church? The word "Church" means "called out," so the Church
embraces all who have been "called out" during the present age to form the
"Body of Christ." In the Old Testament we find that the Jews were God's
chosen people, [Footnote: Exod. vi. 7.] so they had all the privileges,
but in later times, the Jews rejected the Gospel of the grace of God, and
then God graciously visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people to
be called by His Name. [Footnote: Acts xv. 14.]

When did this special "_calling out_" begin? Nearly 1900 years ago on the
Day of Pentecost, and it has been going on ever since, and when the number
of "the called-out ones" has been completed, then "The Lord Himself shall
descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and
with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we
which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the
clouds to meet the Lord in the air." [Footnote: I Thess. iv. 16, 17.]

Each of those three words, "_chosen_," "_called out_," and "_caught up_,"
leads us on to something more. We were chosen in Him to be holy;
[Footnote: Eph. i. 4.] we are called out to be the Body of Christ now, and
by and by we shall be caught up to meet the Bridegroom and to be with Him
for ever. If you are a child of God, you can say with holy wonder, "God
has done all this for me."

The Church was formed out of a little company of 120 men and women who
were gathered together praying in the Upper Room at Jerusalem. [Footnote:
Acts i. 14, 15.] Suddenly they heard a wonderful sound and saw a heavenly
vision, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost; and before the day
was over that little company increased to the number of 3,000 souls. How
many does it number now? No one knows, but it is a "multitude which no man
can number." [Footnote: Rev. vii. 9.] Some are already in glory, some are
still on earth, but it matters not where they are, they belong to the
"whole family" of God "in heaven and in earth." [Footnote: Eph. iii. 15.]

On the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, His special
work was to create a new thing--it was then that the Church of God was
formed into one Body by the Holy Spirit, "For, as the body is one and hath
many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one
body, so also is Christ." [Footnote: I Cor. xii. 12, 27.] "Now ye are the
Body of Christ and members in particular," that is, individually, for
every saved soul is a member.

The Church is a living body united to Jesus Christ, for He is the living
Head of the Body. He needs His Church just as much as His Church needs
Him. It is the Holy Spirit who unites us to the risen and glorified Christ
Who is the Head, and then He unites us to one another in Him. It is a
_living_ union, because we pass through death into the resurrection life
of Christ, for by "One Spirit we are all baptized into One Body, and we
have all been made to drink into that One Spirit." [Footnote: I Cor. xii.
13.] The Holy Ghost sustains the life of the Church. In Him we live and
move and have our being. As the bird lives in the air, as the flower lives
in the sunshine, so we live in the Spirit, and when we drink in His
fulness there is growth and fruitfulness.

Have we ever felt this need of drinking into that One Spirit? Everything
connected with the true Church of Christ must be spiritual, it is this
which is being lost sight of in the present day, and it is the reason why
there is so little power and so few conversions.

Have you ever tried to understand why the Church is called "the Body of
Christ"? Think first about your own body. It is the only part of your real
self that can be seen. I cannot see your heart or your thoughts, but
I know what your thoughts are by your words, and what you feel by the look
of joy or sorrow in your face, and by the way you go about.

It is by your body that your real personality is made known to others;
what you really are would never be seen unless your body made it known. In
the same way the Church is the Body in order to make Christ known in the
world. He is hidden from our view, He is unseen, but He manifests Himself
and shines out through us, and He sends us to carry His messages and to do
His Will.

This was the earnest desire of the Apostle Paul when he said that he was
willing that the old self should be taken away so that "the _life_ also of
Jesus might be made manifest in our body." [Footnote: 2 Cor. iv. 10, 11.]

This is what the Church is here on earth for, to make the unseen Christ
known. Just as every drop of water reflects the light, so every member of
the Church, however weak and small, can reflect His love.

Is His compassion for sinners beaming in your eye? Is His purity seen in
your daily life? Do you judge things from His standpoint?

I remember when some one was telling me why she loved a Christian worker
whom we both knew, she added, "I love her for what I see of Christ in
her."

Think of Christ exalted in Heaven far above all things, and remember He is
there not for Himself, but for _you_. "He is Head over all things to His
Body, the Church." [Footnote: Eph. i. 22, 23.]

It is wonderful to think of this union with Christ, that we are His Body
and He is the Head; but there is another wonder quite as great, it is that
He is the Bridegroom and the Church is the Bride. When we speak of the
Church as the Body of Christ, it is a living union, _life_ is the one
thought brought out; when we speak of Christ as the Bridegroom it is
_love_ which is the chief point. It brings out the affection, tenderness
and nearness of the Bridegroom. "So ought men to love their wives as their
own bodies, He that loveth His wife loveth Himself." [Footnote: Eph. v.
28-30.]

We have nothing so wonderful in the Old Testament. Think of the depths out
of which we have come, and the heights to which we are raised. "He raiseth
up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill
to set them among princes and to make them inherit the throne of glory."
[Footnote: 1 Sam. ii. 8.] Think of the sinner lifted out of all his
bondage and ruin to be the Bride of the Lamb! There is nothing higher that
God can give than this. This will be our glorious position by and by when
the Bridegroom comes to take us to our Heavenly Home, for His parting
words were, "I will come again and receive you unto Myself." [Footnote:
St. John xiv. 3.]

There will be three great surprises on the day that He comes again. These
surprises have been kept secret, but on that day the glorious secrets will
all be made known.

The first surprise will be when we shall see all the saints who have died
in Christ called back from the unseen world and clothed with their new,
glorified bodies. What a joyful meeting it will be.

The next surprise will be that we who are still living on earth when
Christ comes will be changed, we shall not die, we shall escape from the
hand of death. "It is appointed unto men once to die," but "Christ was
once offered to bear the sin of many," [Footnote: Heb. ix. 27, 28.] and
when He comes the saints who are living will be changed "in a moment, in
the twinkling of an eye." [Footnote: 1 Cor. xv. 52.] You know how long it
takes for you to shut your eye and open it--it will not take longer than
that for the change to be made. Three great changes will take place--our
_bodies_ will be changed, no more sin, or pain, or weariness; our _minds_
will be changed. "We shall _know_" then what we cannot know now, we shall
see all as God sees it, we shall know the love of Christ and we shall love
Him as He deserves to be loved, and best of all "we shall be like Him for
we shall see Him as He is."

The third surprise will be that our _circumstances_ will also be changed;
we shall be no longer on the earth, for as soon as the great change takes
place we shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. He will then look
into our life work, and He will say to His faithful ones who have been
true-hearted and loyal: "Well done, good and faithful servant." [Footnote:
St. Matt. xxv. 21.] Then the heavens will resound with the Hallelujah
chorus, "Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour to Him, for the
marriage of the Lamb is come and His wife hath made herself ready."
[Footnote: Rev. xix. 7.]

But the glory will be only then beginning, it will be "_glory upon
glory_." Remember there are two stages in Christ's Coming; He will come
_for_ His saints, and then He will come down to earth _with_ His saints.
As it is written: "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His
saints." [Footnote: Jude 14.] "When Christ, who is our Life, shall appear,
then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." [Footnote: Col. iii. 4.]
We shall come _with_ Him when He comes to reign on the earth.

But there is something still grander than the glorious position of having
a place with Him on His throne. We look on and on into the Eternity that
is coming (and it is a wonderful outlook) and what do we find? It is that
we are wanted for the ages to come to show forth, and to be living
personal illustrations "of the riches of God's grace." It is not only that
we shall be saved and glorified, but that God will use us personally to
show forth all His love. The grace of God is the love which flowed down to
us in our great need, when we were dead in sins, slaves to sin and Satan
and deserving nothing but God's wrath.

It is we ourselves who are wanted for the ages to come for "the praise of
His glory." The expression "_the riches_ of God's grace" [Footnote: Eph.
i. 7.] meets our personal need, but there is something else that will
shine forth, it is called "_the glory_ of God's grace." [Footnote: Eph. i.
6.] All that God prepares for us is worthy of His greatness and power. The
inheritance which He has in store and the beautiful Home above will be
worthy of God Himself, all that is in it and around it surpassing
everything that we can imagine in its glory and beauty will be worthy of
God Himself. It is only as our eyes are spiritually enlightened that we
can get a glimpse of "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the
saints." [Footnote: Eph. i. 18.]

The words of this old hymn describe what it will be like--

  "I go on my way rejoicing,
    Though weary the wilderness road--
  I go on my way rejoicing
    In hope of the glory of God.

  "Then no more in the earthen vessel
    The treasure of God shall be,
  But in full and unclouded beauty,
    O Lord, wilt Thou shine through me.

  "All, all in Thy new creation
    The glory of God shall see;
  And the lamp for that light eternal
    The Bride of the Lamb shall be.

  "A golden lamp in the heavens,
    That all may see and adore
  The Lamb who was slain and who liveth,
    Who liveth for evermore.

  "So I go on my way rejoicing
    That the heavens and earth shall see
  His grace, and His glory and beauty,
    In the depth of His love to me."

Our mission throughout eternity is to make known the love and wisdom of
God that He may not only be all, but in all. He is in us now, but we want
Him to be in all, and it will be through us that God will let the whole
universe be so filled with the glorious knowledge of His love and wisdom
that these words will at last be fulfilled--"God ... all and in all."
[Footnote: I Cor. xv. 28.]

We are passing through wars and convulsions and revolutions hitherto
unknown, but a glorious future is awaiting us, and one thing is certain,
that nothing can "separate us from the love of God which is in Christ
Jesus our Lord." [Footnote: Rom. viii. 39.] That is our security.

It is also certain that it is not in the power of the devil to destroy the
Church of God, for we are wanted in the ages to come. It is the Church
which is to be the glory of Christ to all Eternity.

We are also wanted _now_ in a very special way. Men's hearts are failing
them for fear, they need strong, calm, prayerful helpers in this time of
perplexity. Who can speak a word of cheer and encouragement? Who can point
them to the Rock of Ages which cannot be moved? Who can inspire them with
faith and hope? Only the one who has himself made God his Refuge. It is in
times of trouble that the worldly man turns for help and sympathy to the
believer. It is through us that God would work out His purpose of grace
and love to the world.

A young man who had met with a bitter disappointment went to an aged
Christian and poured out his trouble. After hearing his sad story, his
friend said in a calm, tender voice, "God knows all about it, there is no
such thing as chance in the world." "What is there then?" asked the young
man eagerly. "There is _love_, Eternal _love_," was the answer.

The reason why the believer is kept in perfect peace is because he looks
beyond all the tumult of battle, the bitter strife and terrible bloodshed
to the time when God will gather together all things in Christ, for He is
to be Head over all.

LOVE, ETERNAL LOVE.

Never for a moment shall that love cease to bless us and shield us.
Whatever may happen to our bodies nothing can touch the eternal life
within.

Do you feel anxious to know whether you will have a share in the glory? I
will tell you how you may know. You remember Christian had a roll given
him by Evangelist which he was to give in at the Celestial Gate. When you
first come to Jesus as a poor sinner the Holy Spirit gives you four
precious words written as it were in a roll for you to hide in your heart
until the moment when Jesus comes and you are caught up to meet Him in the
air. Take your Bible and you will find there four precious words which God
has written for you to rest upon, and which will never fail you.

1. REDEEMED. [Footnote: Pet. i. 18, 19] "Bought with a price," and the
price was the life-blood of God's dear Son, so we belong to the Church of
Christ which He has "purchased with His own blood." [Footnote: Acts xx.
28]

2. SEALED. [Footnote: Eph. i. 13] The Seal is God's mark upon us showing
to men and angels and devils that we are His "purchased possession"; that
we belong to Him, spirit, soul and body absolutely, and for ever, for
God's solid foundation stands unmoved, bearing this inscription, "The Lord
knoweth them that are His." [Footnote: 2 Tim. ii. 19]

A Christian doctor who had been in the Crimean War and in China, was very
particular when going on a journey to have all his luggage "_labelled and
ready_." In his last illness he turned to a friend and said with a smile,
"_I am labelled and ready_"! and then he gave this beautiful testimony:
"There is only one thing that makes me quite ready and quite sure of
Heaven, it is that my sins are forgiven by trusting in the Blood of Jesus.
Nothing that we can do can save us, it is what He did. He alone can give
us peace with God."

3. KEPT. [Footnote: 1 Pet. i. 5] A young Christian told a friend that he
was afraid as to whether he would be able to live the life. The friend
looked at him, and said, with a ringing voice of assurance, "He is able to
keep you from falling." [Footnote: Jude 24] He then saw that he was no
longer in his own keeping, but in _God's_ keeping, and that the keeping
would be up to the last moment, and be so complete that he would be handed
over without the smallest defect to stand in "the presence of His glory
with exceeding joy."

4. GLORIFIED. [Footnote: Rom. viii. 30] This is the last and grandest of
the four precious words which God has given to strengthen our hearts, and
it is the crown of all. What shall we say? No words can express what it
will be, it will surpass our highest expectations. But we know that it
will be fulness of life, fulness of joy, fulness of love, and all our
deepest longings satisfied, all our highest hopes fulfilled, and it will
be for ever and for ever!

Let us hold fast God's sure word of promise, "The Lord will give grace and
glory." [Footnote: Ps. lxxxiv. 11] Let us lift up our hearts in praise and
thanksgiving to Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all
that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, UNTO HIM
IS THE GLORY IN THE CHURCH, THROUGHOUT ALL AGES, TO ALL ETERNITY, WORLD
WITHOUT END. AMEN. [Footnote: Eph. iii. 20, 21]



ADDRESS X

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE--St. Matthew xxi. 1-17, and
Revelation xi. 15-18.


Now, therefore, why speak ye not a word of bringing the King back?
[Footnote: 2 Sam. xix. 10] This question was asked a long time ago. You
remember how David was driven from his throne. His son Absalom rebelled
against him and he had to leave the country; but Absalom is now dead, the
rebellion is at an end, and still David is an exile. At last some of the
people talk it over together and inquire of one another, "Why say ye not a
word, or why are ye silent about bringing back the King?" So they sent
word to the King and Judah went to meet him.

I was reminded of this Old Testament story when a correspondent wrote in
the spring of this year as follows: "I have spent two days in what is left
of Belgium, and I find that the dream of the Belgians is to see the King
ride back into Brussels. Men and women, old and young, talk and plan and
have visions of the time when the King comes Home."

It is touching to think how these people, in spite of all their
misfortunes, still love their brave King and cling to the hope of having
him once more among them in his rightful place on the throne and then
their ruined towns and homes will be restored.

It makes me think of another King, our Lord Jesus, who entered the City of
Jerusalem amidst the cheers and acclamations of a large crowd, and how the
words came true: "Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold thy King cometh
unto thee." [Footnote: St. Matt. xxi. 5] And now they cry, "Hosanna"--He
is come, He is come! and the children's voices ring out with praise. But
this proclaiming Him as King aroused the enmity of some of the rulers and
they stirred up the people against Him. Here was the opportunity, the
golden opportunity, for accepting or rejecting the Son of God. They had
listened to His teaching, they brought their sick to Him for healing, they
appreciated the benefits of His ministry, but they refused to submit to
His authority, so they were determined to silence His Voice. Sin shows
itself in the rebellion of the _will_ against God, and so they lost the
opportunity, and instead of accepting Him, they crucified their King.

The words are still true: "Behold, thy King cometh," He comes to set up
the Kingdom of God in our hearts, so the opportunity is given to you now
to accept Him as your King.

We listen to the good news about peace and forgiveness, but are we willing
to make Jesus King in our hearts? Here is the great test, it is here that
the opposition of man's _will_ begins to show itself, because if He is to
be our Lord and Master He claims all we are and all we have. He must be
Lord of _all_ or He is not Lord at all; nothing less will do. There is no
real union with Him by faith until we say in our hearts, "My Lord, and my
God." [Footnote: St. John xx. 28.] It is impossible to accept Christ as our
Saviour without also yielding to Him as King, and proclaiming Him as King.

A young friend of mine has these three simple words, "Make Jesus King," in
a frame hanging on the wall of her room. She told me they were the means
of leading her to decide for Christ.

Nothing but the power of the Holy Spirit can enable us to yield to Him as
our Lord and Master. "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the
Holy Ghost." [Footnote: 1 Cor. xii. 3.] This is the central fact--"JESUS IS
LORD." "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He
might be Lord both of the dead and living." [Footnote: Rom. xiv. 9]

It is the Holy Spirit who first reveals Christ to your heart and enables
you to say, "Thou art my Lord," [Footnote: Ps. xvi. 2] and then He gives
you grace to love and obey Him as your Master. So, whether you look
backward to the moment when your sins were all blotted out, "_He is
Lord_"; or whether you look at your present life with all its
shortcomings, "_He is Lord_"; or whether you look forward to the end,
waiting for His Coming, _He is Lord_. "Can you say truly--

  "He cleansed my heart from all its sin,
    What a wonderful Saviour!
  And now He reigns and rules within,
    What a wonderful Saviour!"

We have seen our Lord proclaimed King at Jerusalem and accepting the
title. Although rejected and crucified, His every word and action was
kingly up to the last moment of His earthly life. He spoke openly of His
Kingdom to Pilate, for when Pilate asked Him, "Art Thou a King then?"
[Footnote: St. John xviii. 37] He answered, "I am." The purple robe, the
crown of thorns, the sceptre, though offered in mockery, were all kingly,
for the superscription over the Cross, THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE
JEWS, [Footnote: St. Matt. xxvii. 37] was true. The Cross was the way to
the Throne. "I beheld, and lo in the midst of the Throne stood a
Lamb, as it had been slain." [Footnote: Rev. v. 6]

In that dark, dark hour of Christ's agony on the Cross, there was only one
man who recognised Christ as King, and that was the dying thief. It was a
very real cry that broke from his lips in his utter need--"Lord, remember
me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom." [Footnote: St. Luke xxiii. 42] It
was wonderful faith. Can you think of any other as wonderful? He
recognised Christ as King--not a dying King leaving His throne--but a
victorious King about to enter His Kingdom. The penitent thief saw even
more than this, he saw that it was a Kingdom of souls rescued from sin's
bondage and slavery; not a Kingdom of the great ones of earth, but for
outcasts such as he was, so he cried, "Take me as I am and give me a place
in the Kingdom."

But the answer to the cry was as wonderful as the cry itself--"To-day
shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." When the King said "With Me," He
meant, "I am passing from darkness into Everlasting Light. Come with Me. I
have broken the chains of sin, I am setting the prisoners free. Come with
Me." From that moment the penitent thief was identified with Christ in His
death and in His Risen Life. Is this true of you?

When earth rejected the King, not only was Heaven opened to receive Him,
but a triumphant reception awaited Him. Heaven resounded with the joyful
chorus of the angelic hosts--"Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye
lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in"!
[Footnote: Ps. xxiv. 7.]

So for nineteen hundred years the heavens have received Him, but once
again the everlasting doors will open, and the Son of Man will come in
"the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." [Footnote: St. Matt.
xxiv. 30.]

What has been going on during all these years? Kingdoms and world powers
have risen up one after another, but all have failed to give what the
world really needs, "A King to reign in righteousness." [Footnote: Isa.
xxxii. 1.] God is still saying, "Why do the heathen rage and the people
imagine a vain thing?" [Footnote: Ps. ii. 1.] But in spite of man's
rebellion and forgetfulness of God, God's purpose will stand firm, "Yet
have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion." [Footnote: Ps. ii. 6.]
God's purpose is to have all power placed in the hands of One Man, and
that is Christ. What will be the final winding up of Earth's suffering and
struggles? The veil will be drawn aside and

  "The Glory of the LORD will be revealed." [Footnote: Isa. xl. 5.]

It is the glory of the Personal Presence of the Son of God. When? Where?
How? will the glory be seen.

Look back into the Garden of Eden. God gave man control over all, but he
listened to another voice and then he lost control. The question was
raised, "Who was to rule, Satan or God?"

By and by another veil will be drawn aside and we shall see how the unseen
powers of darkness have been at work behind all the wars and sin and
rebellion of this poor world. "An enemy hath done this." [Footnote: St.
Matt. xiii. 28.] It is the devil who blinds the eyes, hardens the hearts,
and deadens the conscience of mankind. But we must not lose heart or think
that Satan is getting the upper hand. The Word of God enables us not only
to trace some of his plots and schemes, but it shows us _why_ God has been
so long silent and _when_ God intends to break that silence. [Footnote:
See Ps. 1] The victory is sure, but whose victory? The Victory of the Son
of God.

But first the Jews must return to their own land, and then "the kings of
the earth and of the whole world" will be gathered to the battle of the
great Day of God Almighty. All these nations will fight against the Jews
at Jerusalem in the place called Armageddon. It is really a desperate
attempt of the devil who is sending forth these nations to make war with
the Lamb. Jerusalem will be taken, and when the enemy is rejoicing over
the victory and the destruction of the Jews seems certain, then suddenly
they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and
great glory, [Footnote: St. Matt. xxiv. 30] "the armies" which are "in
Heaven" following Him. [Footnote: Rev. xix. 14]

Then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations, and His feet
shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, [Footnote: Zech. xiv. 3,
4] and "every eye shall see Him." [Footnote: Rev. i. 7] The armies of the
enemy will be destroyed and God's people will be delivered. In this
marvellous way the Lamb shall overcome, for "He is Lord of lords and King
of kings and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
[Footnote: Rev. xvii. 14]

It will not only be the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies, but
the wonder of that great day will be that at last their eyes will be
opened to see Him as the Messiah, so they will be converted and restored.
The Lord says, "I will pour upon them the spirit of grace and of
supplication and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced."
[Footnote: Zech. xii. 10.]

What an overwhelming sight! The same Jesus whom they despised and rejected
is come down from heaven to deliver them, but they only think of Him as
the One whom they have pierced. The glory which meets their eye at that
moment is the glory of the love and compassion of the Crucified One. The
result of looking is mourning. They get such a view of their sin against
His love that they are filled with godly sorrow. When the eye of faith is
turned to Jesus then the tears flow. Oh, how perfectly will all Satan's
evil influence in man's heart be destroyed in the presence of Jesus.

"In that Day we have seen what has taken place at the beginning of that
day, and now before it closes a fountain will be opened to the house of
David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness."
[Footnote: Zech. xiii. 1.] With the opening of that fountain there is
grace given to _use_ it, for God says, "I will pour upon them the spirit
of grace." Many see the fountain now who never use it!

Precious fountain, of all things most precious to poor sinners such as you
and me. No one but God's dear Son, and nothing but His atoning death on
Calvary, could open that fountain. The fountain is still flowing--has it
cleansed you?

Then the Kingdom of God is set up on earth. Who can tell the good news so
well as these restored and converted ones?

The question is sometimes asked, Has the Gospel lost its power? Is
Christianity a failure? No. The Gospel will yet be preached throughout the
whole world. Who will be the preachers? Converted Jews, [Footnote: Isa.
lxi. 6] "a mighty angel, [Footnote: Rev. xiv. 6] and glorified saints, for
they shall be priests of God." [Footnote: Rev. xx. 6]

What will be the result of their preaching? There will be a world-wide
revival. "The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the
waters cover the sea." [Footnote: Hab. ii. 14]

When Christ comes to us now, it is to rule in the hearts of His people,
but _then_ He will reign over a believing world without opposition, for
Satan will be bound and Christ will take the Kingdom which is His by
redemption, and His glory will be seen on Mount Zion. "Out of Zion, the
perfection of beauty, God hath shined." [Footnote: Ps. 1. 2]

And the seventh angel sounded and there were great voices in heaven
saying: "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord
and of His Christ and He shall reign for ever and ever." [Footnote: Rev.
xi. 15]

After reigning on earth for a thousand years there will be the Judgment of
"the Great White Throne," [Footnote: Rev. xx. 11-15] when all those who
had no part in the first resurrection will be raised, and all whose names
are not "written in the Book of Life" will be "cast into the lake of
fire."

"This is the second death."

Has your name been entered in the Book of Life?

One more glorious Vision of the Kingdom is unfolded
before us, and the glory grows brighter and brighter,
for it is "THE EVERLASTING KINGDOM."

"I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first
earth were passed away and there was no more sea.... And He that sat upon
the throne said, Behold I make all things new...." [Footnote: Rev. xxi. 1,
5] "And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the
Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him; and they shall see
His face and His name shall be in their foreheads.

"And there shall be no night there: and they need no candle, neither light
of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for
ever and ever." [Footnote: Rev. xxii. 3-5] How wonderful that God should
promise us an abundant entrance into His Everlasting Kingdom. [Footnote: 2
Pet. i. 11] What does an abundant entrance mean? It means that we shall
not, as it were, just creep into heaven by a side door, but that we shall
have a grand welcome from the glorified ones there and from the Lord
Himself, all the doors, as it were, being thrown wide open to receive us.
Are we preparing for it? A mother who was dying called her little daughter
who was ten years old to her bedside and said tenderly, "I want you to
learn this little prayer, 'O God, prepare me for all Thou art preparing
for me.'" And the prayer was answered, for that little girl was Frances
Ridley Havergal, who lived a consecrated life, and passed away singing
about the Lord whom she loved.

I must give you some words spoken by that holy man Samuel Rutherford who
was persecuted and put into prison for Christ's sake. "I wonder many
times," he said, "that ever a child of God should have a sad heart
considering what the Lord is preparing for him. When we get Home above and
enter into possession of our Brother's fair Kingdom, it will be like one
step from prison to glory." These words came true, for soon after this he
received notice to appear before his judges in court, but before the day
of the trial came he died. So it was literally one step for him from
prison to glory. His own account of it is given in the following lines----

 "They've summoned me before them,
    Thither I may not come;
  My King says, Come up hither,
    My Lord says, Welcome Home."

What will it all be like? No words of ours can describe it, but God
Himself tells us what He will be to us and what He will do for us in the
Eternal Kingdom.

"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of
God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His
people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God." [Footnote:
Rev. xxi. 3-4]

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no
more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more
pain, for the former things are passed away."

The Crown of it all is that "God Himself shall be with them and be their
God." [Footnote: 1 Cor. xv. 28] All creatures will say, "God is everything
to me," for GOD will be "All in All."'

We have traced out some of the wonderful truths which God has revealed to
us about Himself. "This is Life Eternal that they might know Thee, the
only True God and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." [Footnote: St. John
xvii. 3]

Apart from God, all is death and ruin for ever; to _know_ God, to _trust_
God, to _love_ God is Eternal Life.

The great question is, What is God to me? Can you say--"O GOD, THOU ART MY
GOD"?





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