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´╗┐Title: Godliness : being reports of a series of addresses delivered at James's Hall, London, W. during 1881
Author: Booth, Catherine Mumford
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Godliness : being reports of a series of addresses delivered at James's Hall, London, W. during 1881" ***

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GODLINESS.

BEING

REPORTS OF A SERIES OF ADDRESSES DELIVERED AT
JAMES'S HALL, LONDON, W., During 1881,

BY

MRS. CATHERINE BOOTH.

_INTRODUCTION BY DANIEL STEELE, D.D._



PUBLISHERS' PREFACE.


In giving this volume to our American readers, we are assured that
we are doing a special favor to all the lovers of "Christianity in
earnest." "Aggressive Christianity," from the same talented author,
has met with unusual favor, and has been the means of much good. We
are confident that the present volume is in all respects equal to the
former, and that no one can read it without great spiritual profit.

The Introduction, by Dr. Daniel Steele, is a forcible presentation
of the main doctrines of the book, and is creditable to the head and
heart of the writer, and a commendation which all intelligent readers
will highly esteem.

Our object in publishing these sermons, is, that their perusal may
kindle a flame of revival in the hearts of believers, which may
result in many turning unto the Lord.

MCDONALD & GILL

BOSTON, MASS.



AUTHOR'S PREFACE.


In presenting another volume of reports of my Addresses, I have only
to repeat what I have said with respect to similar books before--
Read, for the sake of getting more light and more blessing to your
soul, and you will, I trust, partake of the good which many have
professed to receive at the West-End services, wherein most of these
words were first spoken.

I am well aware that, in such imperfect reports of, for the most
part, extemporaneous utterances, often most hurriedly corrected,
there may be found abundant ground for criticism; but, if this book
may be the means of leading only a few souls to devote themselves
more fully to God and to the salvation of men, I shall be more than
compensated for any unfriendly criticism with which it may meet.

I have not sought to please any but the Lord, and to His fatherly
loving-kindness I commend both the book and its readers.

CATHERINE BOOTH.

_London, Nov._ 10, 1881.



INTRODUCTION.


The sermons of Mrs. Booth already re-published under the title of
"_Aggressive Christianity_," came to American Christians as a tonic to
their weakness, and a stimulant to their inertness.

The sermons in the present volume are a much-needed prophylactic, a
safeguard against several practical errors in dealing with souls;
errors which lead them into Egyptian darkness, instead of the
marvelous light.

The sermon on _Repentance_ is a most faithful showing up of spurious
repentance, the vain substitute for a downright abandonment of every
form of sin, and right-about facing towards the Lord. In directness and
point, it is a model for earnest revival preaching,--rather, for all
preaching to unsaved souls, outside the church, or within it. All of
these will be found in some subterfuge, which must be ruthlessly torn
down, before it will be abandoned for the cleft Rock.

The sermon on _Saving Faith_ is next in order. The disastrous
consequences of what, for the want of a better description, maybe
styled an Antinomian faith, an unrepentant assent of the intellect to
the historic facts of the Gospel, which too many evangelists and
other religious teachers are calling saving faith, are clearly set
forth and plainly labeled, POISON. This spurious trust in Christ
following a superficial repentance, which has never felt the
desperate sinfulness and real misery of sin, has furnished our
churches with a numerous class of members, aptly described by the
prophet Micah: "The sin of Israel is great and unrepented of, yet
they will lean on the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us?" We
are convinced that much of the work of the faithful and pungent
preacher, who preaches with his eye fixed on the great white throne
and the descending Judge, is to dislodge professors from their
imaginary trust in a Saviour who does not save them, and probe deeply
their hearts festering with sin, which have been hastily pronounced
healed, "slightly healed." Many of us have incautiously said to
awakened souls, "Only believe," before we have thrust the heart
through and through with the sword of God's law. We have dismissed
God's schoolmaster. The law, like the slave charged with the task of
leading the boy to school, and of committing him to the teacher, we
have thought to be too harsh and severe for our sentimental age, and
have unwisely discharged, and have assumed its office of a
_paidagogos_ to Christ, and we have missed the way, and misled a
priceless soul. God have mercy on us, and give us humility, as He
gave Apollos, to be set right by an anointed woman!

After her timely correction of erroneous teachings on faith, Mrs.
Booth proceeds, pruning-knife in hand, to cut away from the tree of
modern Christianity the poisonous fungus of a "spurious charity." Her
four sermons on _Charity_ are four beacons set on the rocks of
counterfeit Christian love. She sets forth several infallible tests
by which genuine love may be distinguished from the devil's base
imitation. Like the Epistles of St. John, these sermons are full of
touchstones for testing love, that golden principle of the Christian
life. It would be very profitable for all professors of that perfect
love which casteth out all tormenting fear, to apply unflinchingly
these touch-stones to themselves. They may find the word "perfection"
taking on a meaning deeper, broader and higher than they had ever
before conceived. Why should not our conception of Christian
perfection steadily grow with the increase of our knowledge of God
and of His holy law?

The sermon on _The Conditions of Effectual Prayer_, we commend
to all Christians and to all seekers of Christ, who are mourning
because their prayers do not prevail with God. In the clear light of
this sermon they will find that the difficulty lies, either in the
lack of fellowship with Jesus Christ, or of obedience to His
commands, or in the absence from their hearts of the interceding
Spirit, or in defective faith. In the discussion of these hindrances
to prayer, the preacher lays open the heart, and with a skilful
spiritual surgery, searches it to the very bottom. The incisiveness
of her style, her courage and plain dealing with her hearers, tearing
off the masks of sin and selfishness, the various guises in which
these masquerade in many Christian hearts and obstruct their access
to a throne of grace, remind us of Dr. Finney's unsparing exposure
and condemnation of these foes to Christian holiness, and of John
Wesley's cutting up by the roots "Sin in Believers."

In this sermon Mrs. Booth turns her attention to another phase of
faith and of practical error in the guidance of souls to Christ. Her
views on this vexed question are not extreme but philosophical and
scriptural. She teaches that God has made the bestowment of salvation
simultaneous with the exercise of faith, and that "telling a person
to believe he is saved, before he is saved, is telling him to believe
a lie." But she insists that the act of faith is put forth with the
special aid of the Holy Spirit giving an assurance that the blessing
sought will be granted. This assurance, or earnest, given by the
Spirit, becomes the basis on which the final act of faith rests,
namely, "I believe that I receive." This corresponds with William
Taylor's Divine "ascertainment of the fact of the sinner's surrender
to God, and his acceptance of Christ," before justification.
[Footnote: Election of Grace, pp. 38-42.] Both teachers agree with
Wesley's analysis of faith which teaches that the fourth and last
step, "He doth it," can be taken only by the special enabling power
of the Holy Spirit, [Footnote: Sermons. Patience, Section 13; Scripture
Way of Salvation, Section 17; and Whedon on Mark xi. 24.] All three
locate the Divine efficiency before the declaration, "I believe that I
receive," or "have received" (R. V.), making that declaration rest upon
the perception of a Divine change within the consciousness. They all
insist that saving faith is not a mere humanly moral exercise, but
that power to believe with the heart descends from God, and that it
must be waited for in prayer, and that it becomes in the believer a
series of supernatural and spiritual acts, a habit of soul, at once
the seed and fruit of the Divine life-stirring, uniting in itself the
characters of penitent humility, self-renunciation, simple trust, and
absolute obedience grounded in love. These teachers magnify the
Divine element in faith. We look in vain in their writings for any
such direction to a penitent as this, "Believe that you are saved,
because, God says so in His Word," but rather believe that you are
saved when you hear His Spirit crying, Abba, Father, in your heart.

Many modern teachers fall into the error of treating saving faith as
an unaided intellectual act to be performed, at will, at any time. It
is rather a spiritual act possible only when prompted by the Holy
Spirit, who incites to faith only when He sees true repentance and a
hearty surrender to God. Then the Spirit reveals Christ and assists
to grasp Him. In the refutation of the high predestinarian doctrine
that faith is an irresistible grace sovereignly bestowed upon the
elect, there is great danger of falling into the opposite error,
called Pelagianism, which makes saving faith an exercise which the
natural man is competent to put forth without the help of the Holy
Spirit. The real guilt of unbelief lies in that voluntary
indifference toward Christ, and impenitence of heart, in which the
Holy Spirit cannot inspire saving faith.

In our introduction to "_Aggressive Christianity_," we advertised, in
behalf of the American churches, a universal want--Enthusiasm. In her
brief Exeter-Hall address, Mrs. Booth discloses the source of the
supply. Holiness is the well-spring of enthusiasm. Hence it is not a
spring freshet, but an overflowing river of power in all its possessors,
and, notably in the Salvation Army, bearing the unchurched masses of
England on its bosom. A holy enthusiasm is contagious and conquering. We
cannot touch the people with the icicle of logic; but they will not fail
to bow to the scepter of glowing and joyful love. Few men can reason;
all can feel. Enthusiasm and full salvation, like the Siamese twins,
cannot be separated and live. The error of the modern pulpit is that of
the blacksmith hammering cold steel--a faint impression and huge labor.
The baptism of fire softening our assemblies would lighten the
preacher's toil and multiply its productiveness.

The four addresses on _Holiness_ are hortatory rather than
argumentative or exegetical. They are spiritual cyclones. It is
difficult to see how any Christian could withstand these impassioned
appeals to make what Joseph Cook calls "an affectionate, total,
irreversible, eternal, self-surrender to Jesus Christ, as both
Saviour and Lord," in order to attain that "perfect similarity of
feeling with God," wherein evangelical perfection consists.

It gives me great pleasure to have some humble part in echoing
across the American continent these glowing utterances from the lips
of this modern Deborah, the Christian prophetess raised up by God for
the deliverance of His people from captivity to worldliness and
religious apathy. "Would God that all the Lord's people," men and
women, "were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon
them!"

  "Shall we the Spirit's course restrain,
    Or quench the heavenly fire?
  Let God His messengers ordain,
    And whom He will inspire!
  Blow as He list, the Spirit's choice
    Of instruments we bless:
  We will, if Christ be preached, rejoice,
    And wish the word success."

DANIEL STEELE.

_Reading, Mass., Nov._ 23, 1883.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.

REPENTANCE

CHAPTER II.

SAVING FAITH

CHAPTER III.

CHARITY

CHAPTER IV.

CHARITY AND REBUKE

CHAPTER V.

CHARITY AND CONFLICT

CHAPTER VI.

CHARITY AND LONELINESS

CHAPTER VII.

CONDITIONS OF EFFECTUAL PRAYER

CHAPTER VIII.

THE PERFECT HEART

CHAPTER IX.

HOW TO WORK FOR GOD WITH SUCCESS

CHAPTER X.

ENTHUSIASM AND FULL SALVATION

CHAPTER XI.

HINDRANCES TO HOLINESS

CHAPTER XII.

ADDRESSES ON HOLINESS



CHAPTER I.

REPENTANCE,


  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of Heaven is at band.--MATT.
  iii. 2.

  From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the
  Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.--MATT. iv. 17.

  "Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly
  vision: but shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and
  throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that
  they should repent and torn to God, and do works meet for
  repentance."--ACTS xxvi. 19,20.

In the mouths of three witnesses--John the Baptist, Jesus Christ,
and the Apostle Paul--this word shall be established, namely, that
repentance is an _indispensable_ condition of entering the kingdom of
God.

People generally are all at sea oh this subject, as though insisting
that repentance were an arbitrary arrangement on the part of God. I
believe God has made human salvation as easy as the Almighty,
Infinite mind could make it. But there is a necessity in the case,
that we should "repent and turn to God." It is just as necessary that
my feelings be changed and brought to repentance towards God, as it
is that the wicked, disobedient boy, should have his feelings brought
back into harmony with his father before he can be forgiven.
Precisely the same laws of mind are brought into action in both
cases, and there is the same necessity in both.

If there is any father here who has a prodigal son, I ask, How is it
that you are not reconciled to your son? You love him--love him
intensely. Probably you are more conscious of your love for him than
for any other of your children. Your heart yearns over him every day;
you pray for him night and day; you dream of him by night; your
bowels yearn over your son, and you say, with David, "Absalom,
Absalom, my son, my son." Why are you not reconciled? Why not pat him
on the head, or stroke his face, and say, "My dear lad, I am well
pleased with you. I love you complacently; I give you my
approbation?" Why are you always reproving him? Why are you obliged
to hold him at arm's length? Why can you not live on amicable terms
with him? Why can you not have him come in and out, and live with you
on the same terms as the affectionate, obedient daughter? "Oh!" you
say, "the case is different; I cannot. It is not, 'I would not;' but,
'_I cannot_.' Before that can possibly be, the boy's feelings
must be changed towards me. He is at war with me; he has mistaken
notions of me; he thinks I am hard, and cruel, and exacting, and
severe. I have done all a father could do, but he sees things
differently, to what they are, and has harbored these hard feelings
against me until he hates me, and will go on in defiance of my will."
You say, "It is a necessity that, as a wise and righteous father, I
must insist on a change in him. I cannot receive him as a son, till
he comes to my feet. He must confess his sin, and ask me to forgive
him. Then, oh! how gladly will my fatherly affection gush out! How I
should run to meet him, and put my arms around his neck! but there is
a 'cannot' in the case." Just so. It is not that He does not love
you, sinner; it is not that the great, benevolent heart of God has
not, as it were, wept tears of blood over you; it is not that He
would not put His loving arms around you this moment, if you would
only come to His feet, and confess you were wrong, and seek His
pardon; but, otherwise, He may not--He _cannot_. The laws of His
universe are against Him doing so. The good, it may be, of millions
of immortal beings, is involved. He dare not, and He _cannot,_ until
there is a change of mind _in you._ You must repent. "Except ye repent,
ye shall all likewise perish."

Well, if repentance be an indispensable condition of salvation, let
us glance at it for a moment, and try to find out what repentance
really is; and, oh! how full of confusion the world and the church
are upon this subject! I say it, because I know it by converse with
hundreds of people. May the Holy Spirit help us!

Well, first, repentance is not merely conviction of sin. Oh! if it
only were, what a different world we should have to-night, for there
are tens of thousands on whose hearts God's Spirit has done His
office by convincing them of sin. I am afraid we should be perfectly
alarmed, astounded, confounded, if we had any conception of the
multitudes whom God has convinced of sin, as He did Agrippa and
Festus. Oh! I could not tell you the numbers of people, who, in our
anxious meetings, have grasped my hand, and said, "Oh! what would I
give to feel as I once felt! There was a time, fifteen, or seventeen,
or twenty years ago," and so on, "when I was so deeply convinced of
sin that I could scarcely sleep, or eat--that I could find no rest;
but, instead of going on till I found peace, I got diverted, cooled
down, and now, I feel as hard as a stone." I am afraid there are tens
of thousands in this condition--once convinced of sin.

There are thousands of others, who are convinced _now_. They say, "Yes,
it is true what the minister says. I know I ought to lay down the
weapons of my warfare against God; I know I ought to cut off this right
hand, and pluck out this right eye." They are convinced of sin, but they
go no further. That is not repentance. They live this week as they did
last. There is no response to the Spirit; they resist the Holy Ghost.

Neither is repentance mere sorrow for sin. I have seen people weep
bitterly, and writhe and struggle, but yet hug on to their idols, and
in vain you try to shake them from them. Oh! if Jesus Christ would
have saved them with those idols, they would have no objection at
all. If they could have got through the strait gate with this one
particular idol, they would have gone through long since; but to part
with that--that is another thing. Such people will weep like your
stubborn child, when you want him to do something which he does not
want to do. He will cry, and when you apply the rod he will cry
harder, but he will not yield. When he yields, he becomes a penitent;
but, until he does, he is merely a convicted sinner. When God applies
the rod of His Spirit, the rod of His providence, the rod of His
Word, sinners will cry, and wince, and whine, and make you believe
they are praying, and want to be saved, but all the while they are
holding their necks as stiff as iron. They will not _submit_.
The moment they submit, they become true penitents, and get saved.
There is no mistake more common than for people to suppose they are
penitents when they are not. There are some of you in this condition,
I know. I am afraid you are quite mistaken--you are not penitents.
God is true though every man should be a liar; and, if you had
sought, as you say you have, and perhaps, think you have; if you had
been sincere and honest with God, you would have been saved years
ago. Oh! may God, the Holy Spirit, help you to come out and be
HONEST. That is what God wants--that you be honest. "Oh," says He,
"why cover ye my altar with tears, and bring your vain oblations?
Just be honest, and I will be honest with you and bless you; but
while you come before Me and weep and profess, and bring the halt,
and the maimed, and the blind, a curse be upon you." He looks at you
afar off. Be honest. Repentance is not mere sorrow for sin. You may
be ever so sorry, and all the way down to death be hugging on to some
forbidden possession, as was the young ruler. _That_ is not repentance.

Neither is repentance a promise that you will forsake sin in the
future. Oh! if it were, there would be many penitents here to-night.
There is scarcely a poor drunkard that does not promise, in his own
mind, or to his poor wife, or somebody, that he will forsake his
cups. There is scarcely any kind of a sinner that does not
continually promise that he will give up his sin, and serve God, but
he does _not do it_.

Then what is _repentance_? _Repentance is simply renouncing
sin_--turning round from darkness to light--from the power of Satan
unto God. This is giving up sin in your heart, in purpose, in
intention, in desire, resolving that you will give up every evil
thing, and DO IT NOW. Of course, this involves sorrow, for how will
any sane man turn himself round from a given course into another, if
he does not repent having taken that course? It implies, also, hatred
of, sin. He hates the course he formerly took, and turns round from
it. He is like the prodigal, when he sat in the swine-yard amongst
the husks and the filth, he fully resolved, and at last he acts. He
went, and that was the test of his penitence! He might have sat
resolving and promising till now, if he had lived as long, and he
would never have got the father's kiss, the father's welcome, if he
had not started; but he went. He left the filth, the swine-yard, the
husks--he trampled them under his feet; he left the citizen of that
country, and gave up all his subterfuges and excuses, and went to his
father honestly, and said, "I have sinned!" which implied a great
deal more in his language then than it does in ours now. "I have
sinned against Heaven, and before thee;" and then comes the proof of
his submission, "and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me
as one of thy hired servants"--put me in a stable, or set me to clean
the boots, so that I can be in thy family and have thy smile. That is
repentance--Jesus Christ's own beautiful illustration of true
penitence. Have you done that? Have you forsaken the accursed thing?
Have you cut off that particular thing which the Holy Spirit has
revealed to you? Is the _"but"_ the hindrance that keeps you out
of the Kingdom? You know what it is, and you will never get saved
until you renounce it. Submission is the test of penitence. My child
may be willing to do a hundred and fifty other things, but, if he is
not willing to submit on the one point of controversy, he is a rebel,
and remains one until he yields.

Now, here is just the difference between a spurious and a real
repentance. I am afraid we have thousands in our churches who had a
spurious repentance: they were convinced of sin--they were sorry for
it; they wanted to live a better life, to love God in a sort of
general way; but they skipped over the real point of controversy with
God; they hid it from their pastor, perhaps, and from the deacons,
and from the people who talked with them.

Now, I say, Abraham might have been willing to have given up every
other thing that he possessed; but, if he had not been willing to
give up Isaac, all else would have been useless. It is your Isaac God
wants.  You have got an Isaac, just as the young ruler had his
possessions.  You have got something that you are holding on to, that
the Holy Spirit says you must let go, and you say, "I can't." Very
well; then you must stop outside the kingdom. I beseech you, do not
deceive yourselves by supposing that you repent, for you do not; but,
oh! my dear friends, let me beseech you to repent. The apostle says,
"Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;" and this
is, I believe, the greatest work of the ministry.  To do what?  To
persuade men to submit. We are constantly talking to thousands of
people who know just what God wants of them.  We cannot bring many of
them any new light or new Gospel. They know all about it. They used
to tell me that so often, that I longed for a congregation of
heathen, which I have found since then. Consequently, when they hear
the Gospel, like the publicans and sinners of old, they go into the
kingdom, while such as some of you who are the natural children of
the kingdom, are shut out, because when they hear they receive, and
submit, and obey, while you stand outside and hold on to your idols,
and reason, and quibble, and reject!  My dear friends, let me
persuade you to trample under foot that idol, to tear down that
refuge of lies, and to come to God honestly, and say, "Lord, here I
am, to be a servant, to be nothing, to do anything, to suffer
anything. I know I shall be happier with Thy smile and Thy blessing
than all these evil things now make me without Thee."  When you come
to a full surrender, my friends, you will get what you have been
seeking, some of you, for years.

But then another difficulty comes in, and people say, "I have not
the power to repent." Oh! yes, you have. That is a grand mistake. You
have the power, or God would not command it. You can repent. You can
this moment lift up your eyes to Heaven, and say, with the prodigal,
"Father, I have sinned, and I renounce my sin." You may not be able
to weep--God nowhere requires or commands that; but you are able,
this very moment, to renounce sin, in purpose, in resolution, in
intention. Mind, don't confound the renouncing of the sin, with the
power of saving yourself from it. If you renounce it, Jesus will come
and save you from it. Like the man with the withered hand--Jesus
intended to heal that man. Where was the power to come from to heal
him? From Jesus, of course. The benevolence, the love, that prompted
that healing, all came from Jesus; but Jesus wanted a condition. What
was it? The response of the man's will; and so He said, "Stretch
forth thy hand." If he had been like some of you, he would have said,
"What an unreasonable command! You know I cannot do it--I cannot."
Some of you say that; but I say you can, and you will have to do it,
or you will be lost. What did Jesus want? He wanted that, "I will,
Lord," inside the man--the response of his will. He wanted him to
say, "Yes, Lord;" and, the moment he said that, Jesus supplied
strength, and he stretched it forth, and you know what happened.

Don't look forward, and say, "I shall not have strength;" that is
not your matter--that is His. He will hold you up;--He is able, when
you once commit yourself to Him. Now then, say, "_I will._" Never mind
what you suffer--it shall be done. He will pour in the oil and balm. His
glorious, blessed presence will do more for you in one hour, than all
your struggling, praying, and wrestling have done all these weary years.
He will lift you up out of the pit. You are in the mire now, and the
more you struggle the more you sink; but He will lift you out of it, and
put your feet on the rock, and then you will stand firm. Stretch out
your withered hand, whatever it may be;--say, "I will, Lord." You have
the power, and mind, you have the obligation, which is universal and
immediate. God "now commandeth all men everywhere to repent," and to
believe the Gospel. What a tyrant He must be if He commands that, and
yet He knows you have not the power!

Now, do you repent? Mind the old snare. Not, do you weep? The
feeling will come after the surrender.

Now, do not say, "I do not feel enough." Do you feel enough to be
willing to forsake your sin? that is the point. Any soul who does not
repent enough to forsake his sin, is _not a penitent at all!_
When you repent enough to forsake your sin, that moment your
repentance is sincere, and you may take hold of Jesus with a firm
grasp. You have a right to appropriate the promise, then it is "look
and live." "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
saved."

Will you come to that point now? Don't begin making an excuse.
_Now!--all men! everywhere!_--NOW! Oh! my friend, if you had done that
ten years ago! You have been accumulating sin, condemnation, and wrath
ever since. God commanded you these ten years to repent, and believe the
Gospel, and here you are yet. How many sermons have you
heard?--invitations rejected? How much blessed persuasion and reasoning
of the Holy Spirit have you resisted?--how much of the grace of God have
you received in vain? I tremble to think what an accumulated load of
abused privilege, lost opportunity, and wasted influence, such people
will have to give an account of. Talk about hell!--the weight of this
will be hell enough.  You don't seem to think anything of the way you
treat God. Oh! people are very much awake to any evil they do to their
fellow-men. They can much more easily see the sin of ruining or injuring
their neighbors than injuring the great God; but He says, "Will a man
rob God? Yet ye have robbed me." Do you not see; the awful weight of
condemnation that comes upon you for putting off, rejecting, resisting,
vascilating, halting, while He says, _Now--now?_  He has had a right to
every breath you have drawn, to all your influence, every hour, of every
day of all your years. Is it not time you ended that controversy?  He
may do with you as He did with such people once before--swear in His
wrath that you shall not enter into His rest. Are you not provoking
Him as they provoked Him? Oh! my friend, be persuaded now to repent.
Let your sin go away, and come to the feet of Jesus. For your own
sake be persuaded. For the peace, the joy, the power, the glory, the
gladness of living a life of consecration to God, and service to your
fellow-men, yield; but most of all, for the love He bears you, submit.

A great, rough man (stricken down), said to my husband, a few weeks
ago, when he looked up to the place where other people were being
saved, "Mr. Booth, I would not go there for a hundred pounds!"  My
husband whispered, "Will you go there for love?" and, after a
minute's hesitation, the man, brushing the great tears away, rose up,
and followed him.

Will you go there for love--the love of Jesus!--the great love
wherewith He loved you and gave Himself for you? Will you, for the
great yearning with which your Father has been following you all
these years--for His love's sake, will you come? Go down at His feet
and submit. The Lord help you! Amen.



CHAPTER II.

SAVING FAITH.


  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
  saved, and thy house.--ACTS xvi. 30,31.

This is one of the most abused texts in the Bible, and one which,
perhaps, has been made to do quite as much work for the devil as for
God. Let every saint present, ask in faith for the light of the Holy
Ghost, while we try rightly to apply it. Let us enquire:--

1. _Who are to believe_? 2. _When are they to believe_? 3. _How are they
to believe_?

I. Who are to believe? To whom does the Holy Spirit say, "Believe on
the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved?" Now mark, I answer,
_not_ to all sinners indiscriminately. And here is a grand
mistake in a great deal of the teaching of this age--that these words
are wrested from their explanatory connexion, and from numbers of
other texts bearing on the same subject, and held up independently of
all the conditions which must ever, and did ever, in the mind and
practice of the Apostles, accompany them; indeed, it has only been
within the last sixty or seventy years that this new gospel has
sprung into existence, preaching indiscriminately to unawakened,
unconverted, unrepentant sinners--"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ."
It seems to me, that great injury has been done to the cause of
Christ by thus wrongly dividing the Word of truth, to say nothing of
the unphilosophical character of such a course, for how can an
unawakened, unconvicted, unrepentant sinner, believe? As soon might
Satan believe. It is an utter impossibility. Thousands of these
people say, "I do believe." My dear son, only a little time ago, on
the top of an omnibus, was speaking to a man who was the worse for
liquor, and using very improper language; trying to show him the
danger of his evil, wicked course, as a transgressor of the law of
God. "Oh!" said the man, "it is not by works, it is by faith, and I
believe as much as you do." "Yes," said my son, "but what do you
believe?" "Oh," he said, "I believe in Jesus Christ, and of course I
shall be saved." That is a sample of thousands. I am meeting with
them daily. They believe there was such a man as Jesus, and that He
died for sinners, and for them, but as to the exercise of saving
faith, they know no more about it than Agrippa or Felix, as is
manifest when they come to die, for then, these very people are
wringing their hands, tearing their hair, and sending for Christians
to come and pray with them. If they had believed, why all this alarm
and concern on the approach of death? They were only believers of the
head, and not of the heart; that is, they were but theoretical
believers in the facts recorded in this book, but not believers in
the Scriptural sense, or their faith would have saved them. Now, we
maintain that it is useless, and as unphilosophical as it is
unscriptural, to preach "only believe" to such characters; and
Christians have not done their duty, and have not discharged their
responsibility to these souls, when they have told them that Jesus
died for them, and that they are to believe in Him! They have a much
harder work to do, and that is, "to open their eyes" to a sense of
their danger, and make them, by the power of the Spirit, realize the
dreadful truth that they are sinners, that they are sick, and then
they will run to the Physician.

The eyes of the soul must be opened to such a realization of sin,
and such an apprehension of the consequences of sin, as shall lead to
an earnest desire to be saved from sin. God's great means of doing
this is the law, as the schoolmaster, to drive sinners to receive
Christ as their salvation.

There is not one case in the New Testament in which the apostles
urged souls to believe, or in which a soul is narrated as believing,
in which we have not good grounds to believe that these preparatory
steps of conviction and repentance, had been taken. The only one was
that of Simon the sorcerer. He was, as numbers of people are, in
great religious movements, carried away by the influence of the
meeting, and the example of those around him, and professed to
believe. Doubtless, he did credit the fact that Jesus died on the
cross. He received the facts of Christianity into his mind, and, in
that sense, he became a believer--in the same sense that tens of
thousands are in these days--and he was baptized. But when the
testing point came, as to whose interests were paramount with him,
his own or God's, then he manifested the true state of the case, as
the apostle said, "I see thy heart is not right with God." And nobody
is converted whose heart is not right with God! That is the test. If
Simon had been converted, his heart would have been right with God
and he would not have supposed the Holy Ghost could have been bought
for money. And Paul added, "For I perceive that thou art still in the
gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity." And what further
did he say to him? "Therefore, at once believe"? No; he did not.
"Therefore, repent, and pray God, if, perhaps, the thought of thine
heart may be forgiven thee." Repent first! and then believe, and get
this wickedness forgiven, and so we get a double lesson in the same
passage. This Simon was the only person we have any record of, as
believing, where there is not in the passage itself, taken with the
context, a reasonable and rational evidence, that these preparatory
steps of conviction and repentance, were taken before the teaching of
faith, or the exercise and confession of faith. Simon had this faith
of the head, but not of the heart, and, therefore, it ended in defeat
and despair.

Some have written me this week that they had believed. They had been
persuaded into a profession of faith, but no fruits followed. Ah! it
was not the faith of the heart: it was the faith of the head--like
that of Simon's--and it left you worse than it found you, and you
have been groping and grovelling, ever since. But do not think that
was real faith, and that therefore real faith has failed, but be
encouraged to begin again, and _repent_. Try the real thing, for
Satan always gets up a counterfeit. Therefore, don't go down in
despair because the wrong kind of faith did not succeed. That shall
not make the real faith of God of none effect--God forbid!

Look at one or two other cases--the three thousand in a day. Surely
this is a scriptural illustration. Surely no one will call that
anti-Gospel or legal. What was the first work Peter did? He drove the
knife of God's convincing truth into their hearts, and made them
_cry out_. He awoke them to the truth of their almost lost and
damned condition, till they said, "What must we do to be saved?" They
were so concerned, they were so pricked in their hearts, their eyes
were so opened to the terrible consequences of their sin, that they
cried aloud before the vast multitude, "Men and brethren, what must
we do to be saved?" He convinced them of sin, and thus followed the
order of God.

Again, the eunuch is often quoted as an illustration of faith; but
what state of mind was he in? Was he a careless, unconvicted sinner?
There he was--an Ethiopian, a heathen; but where had he been? To
Jerusalem, to worship the true and living God, in the best way he
knew, and as far as he understood; and then, what was he doing when
Philip found him? He was not content with the mere worship of the
temple, whistling a worldly tune on his way back. He was searching
the Scriptures. He was honestly seeking after God, and the Holy Ghost
always knows where such souls are; and He said to Philip, "Go, join
thyself to that chariot: there is a man seeking after Me; there is a
man whose heart is honestly set on finding Me. Go and preach Christ,
and tell him to believe." That man would have sacrificed, or done, or
lost anything, for salvation, and, as soon as Philip expounded the
way of faith, he received it, of course, as all such souls will.

Saul, on his way to Damascus, is another instance. Jesus Christ was
the preacher there, and surely, He could not be mistaken. His
philosophy was sound. Where did He begin? What did He say to Saul? He
saw there an honest-hearted man. Saul was sincere, so far as he
understood, and if, in any case, there needed to be the immediate
reception of Christ by faith, it was in his. But the Lord Jesus
Christ did not say one word about faith. "Saul, Saul, why
_persecutest_ thou Me?"--tearing the bandages of deception off
his eyes, and letting him see the wickedness of his conduct. When
Saul said, "Who art Thou, Lord?" He repeated the accusation. He did
not come in with the oil of comfort; He did not plaster the wound up,
and make it whole in a moment; but He said, "I am Jesus of Nazareth,
whom thou persecutest." He ran the knife in again, and opened Paul's
eyes wider, and his wounds wider, too, and sent him bleeding on to
Damascus, where he was three days before he got the healing. He had
to send for a poor human instrument, and he had to hear and obey his
words, before the scales fell from his eyes, and before the pardon of
his sins was pronounced, and the Holy Ghost came into his soul. I
wonder what Paul was doing those three days! Not singing songs of
thanksgiving and praise. That had to come. Oh! what do you think he
was doing? He neither ate nor drank, and he was in the dark. What was
he doing? No doubt he was praying. No doubt he was seeking after this
Christ, who had spoken to him in the way. No doubt he was looking
with horror upon his past life, and abjuring forever his accursed
antagonism to Jesus Christ, and to His Gospel. Of course, he was
bringing forth fruits meet for repentance, according to the Divine
order--Acts xxvi.: And then came Ananias, and preached Christ unto
him, and he believed unto salvation, and the scales fell off, and his
mouth was filled with praise and thanksgiving to God.

Cornelius, is another instance, but what was the state of his mind
and heart? We know that he feared God and wrought righteousness, as
far as he was able. He gave alms to the people, and prayed day and
night. That is more than some of you ever did, who live in the Gospel
times. You never prayed all night about your souls. No wonder if you
should lose them--not half a night, some of you. But Cornelius
did--he was seeking _God_. He honestly wanted to know Him. He was
willing, at all costs, to do His will: consequently, the Lord sent
him the glorious message of the revelation of Jesus Christ.

I might go on multiplying instances, but I must stop. We have said
enough to show who are to believe. Truly penitent sinners, and they
only.

This text is to a repenting, enlightened, convicted sinner. Now,
some of you are enlightened, convinced, and so wretched that you
cannot sleep. You _do_ repent. You are the very people, then, to
whom this text comes--Believe. You are just in the condition of the
gaoler.

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved," and now
let us look what state of mind the gaoler was in. We see, from the
whole narrative, how his eyes had been opened. The earthquake had
done that. Some people need an earthquake before they get their eyes
opened, and it has to be a loud one, too. The gaoler's eyes were
opened, and he made the best use of his time. He was lashing their
backs a little while before! Talk about a change--here was a change.
"Sirs, what must I do to be saved? I am ready to do anything, only
tell me what." And when a soul comes to that state of mind, he has
nothing more to do but to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. And he
came in, trembling, and went down on his knees, and washed their
stripes. When you get to that state of mind, you will soon get saved.
You will have nothing more to do but to believe. You will find it
easy work, then.

II. When is a sinner to believe? When he repents? Here again I am
going to answer some of your letters. One writes: "I am afraid I do
not realize my sin sufficiently. I have no particular agony on
account of sin, but I do see my whole life to have been one huge
error and sin." There is nothing more common than for souls to delude
themselves on this point of feeling. That gentleman confounds feeling
with conviction. He thinks because he has not this extreme agony
which some have, therefore he is not sufficiently convinced, while
the Holy Ghost has opened his eyes to see that his whole life has
been one huge error and sin. He is convinced that it has been
_all_ sin--not one isolated sin here and there abstracted from
his life, but such a perception of his true character that he sees
his whole life to have been sin. Surely, my friend, you are convinced.
What else but the Holy Ghost could have shown you _that_? Now, the truly
repentant soul first sees sin; secondly, he _hates_ sin; thirdly, he
_renounces_ sin. Now, let me try you by each of these tests. Don't let
Satan deceive you, and make you belie the exercises of your own mind.
Face the facts, and when you have come to a conclusion, don't allow him
to raise a controversy, but stick to your facts, and go on from them, or
you will never get saved. Satan is an accuser of the brethren, and, I
suppose, of the sisters too. I will be as honest and as searching
with you as I possibly can. I will not spare the probe, but when we
have probed and found the truth, stand on it, for Christ's sake, and
don't let it go from under your feet, because Satan will try to cheat
you out of your common sense, conscience, and convictions.

You _see_ sin. An entirely unawakened soul does not see sin;
that is, in its true character, in its heinousness, in its
consequences. He admits that all people are sinners. Oh! yes; but he
does not see the deadly, damning character of sin. He does not see
what an evil and bitter thing sin is in itself. Now, the Holy Ghost
alone can open the soul's eyes to see this. Without Him, all my
preaching, or any other preaching, even the preaching of the angels,
if they were permitted to preach, might go on to all eternity, and it
would never convince of sin. If you see sin, it is the Holy Ghost who
has opened your eyes. Praise Him, and take encouragement, my friend.
If God has thus far dealt with you, and opened your eyes to see the
character and consequences of sin, does it not augur well that He
desires also to save you from it? He has opened your eyes in order
that He may anoint them with eye-salve, and cause you to see light in
His light.

Now, have you got thus far? You have told me that your life has been
one great sin; others say, one particular form of sin. Whatever it
is, if you are convinced of sin, it is the Holy Ghost who has
convinced you; therefore, thank God, and take courage thus far.

Further, the true penitent _hates_ sin; that is, his feelings
towards sin are quite different to what they were in the past. There
was a time when you could commit sin, almost without notice, without
concern. People do not realize the great change that has taken place
in them in this respect. They are brought gradually to it. Translate
yourself back into your unawakened state. How did you live then? The
very things that now cause you such distress, you practised every
day, and they gave you no concern. The things that horrify you now,
in the very thought or temptation to them, you then were daily
practising without compunction. You had no hatred to, no dread of
sin. You were willing bondslaves of Satan. Now, you are his unwilling
slave. Then, you _ran_ towards sin, now, he has to drive you,
and when you fall, it is against your will. You hate sin. Now, mind,
this is not being saved from it. This is not saying you have power to
save yourself from it. In fact, this is the very difficulty
personified by the apostle, when representing the ineffectual
struggles of a convicted sinner. The things you would not, those you
do, and the things you would, those you have not the power to do.
Nevertheless, you _desire_ to do them. There is the difference.
Once you did not desire to do them, and, perhaps, those who did, were
a pack of hypocrites, in your estimation. Now, you feel quite
differently, and you struggle, and strive, and pray, and watch. Some
of you have told me so, and yet you say, "I am again and again
overcome." Of course you are, because you are not _saved yet_!
But don't you see, you _desire_ to be. You hate the sin which
enthrals you. You struggle against it. You watch against it and you
are not overcome half so frequently, perhaps, as you were before.
People do not see what a great deal they owe to the convincing and
preventing power of the Holy Spirit helping their infirmity, even
now, to cut off and pluck out the right hand and the right eye, and
bringing them up in a waiting attitude before God, like Cornelius and
the eunuch. You, my hearers, some of you, are following after God.
You are longing for deliverance, are striving against sin.

Take an another illustration. I don't mean that the soul has power
to save itself from its internal maladies. That you will get when
Jesus Christ saves you. But, I mean this: here is a soul convinced of
sin. Here is a man who is daily addicted to drink. He is a drunkard.
He becomes convinced of sin. Now, then, the Spirit of God says, "Will
you give up the cup?" Then commences the struggle. Now, the question
is, are you to teach that man that he is to go on drinking, and
expect God to save him? Are you to keep putting before him faith, and
telling him, "Oh! never mind your cup, but believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ and you shall be saved"--or, are you to tell him, "you must
put away your sin, cut off that right hand, pluck out that right eye,
renounce that drink forever in your heart, in your purpose, in your
will, and until you do, you cannot exercise faith on the Lord Jesus?"

Here is another person addicted to lying. He, when he is convinced
of sin, sets a watch over his lips, that he may not offend with his
mouth, and he does succeed in so guarding himself, or the Holy Spirit
so helps him to guard himself, that he does not lie as he used. He is
overcome now and then, because he has not yet found the power, but he
is resolutely, and as far as his will is concerned, cutting off this
outward sin, and waiting in the way of obedience for full deliverance
and salvation.

There is a servant systematically robs his master's till. He goes to
a religious meeting and is convinced. "Now," the Spirit of God says,
"you must cut off that dishonesty. You cannot come to this meeting
night after night pretending to want to be saved, while you are going
on every day robbing your master! You must cut off that right hand,
and give up that pilfering, and resolve that you will make
restitution, and wait for Me in the way of bringing forth fruits meet
for repentance." You see what I mean. Now, you are just here, some of
you--you know you are. If you are addicted to any evil habit, it is
just the same. Jesus Christ wants you to forswear that habit in your
will, determination, and purpose. You have not the power to deliver
yourself from it. You may struggle, as some of you tell me you are
doing, but it overcomes you, and down you go. He knows all about
that, but He approves of the struggle, and the effort, and the
watchfulness, and the determination, and when He saves you, He will
give you the power, and then you will stand and not fall, for He will
hold you up.

Now you know that you go thus far, and you know that at this moment,
if you had the power in yourself to extinguish the force of that evil
habit over you forever, you would do it without another moment's
hesitation. You say, "Oh yes, I would indeed. Would to God I had the
power." That is repentance; that is _genuine_ repentance. Now,
what you cannot do for yourself, He meets you just where you stand,
and says, "I will do it for you; I will break the power of that
habit; I will deliver you out of the hands of the enemy; I will save
you out of that bondage. Only throw your arm of faith around me, and
I will lift you up; and I will inspire you with my Spirit; you shall
stand in Me and by Me; and what you are now struggling to do for
yourself, I will do for you."

Then you have got thus far that you hate sin? "Yes, I have." You
have said it in your letters to me, and there are others saying it
who have not written to me. "Yes," you are saying, "I desire to be
saved from it. I would save myself this very instant if I could, and
never sin again." Would you? Is not that repentance? What else is it,
think you?

Suppose you had a disobedient and rebellious son, and he had been
living irrespective of your law and will, wasting your money and
trampling under foot your commandments. Suppose he comes back, he
sees the error of his course. His eyes are opened, perhaps, by
affliction, perhaps by want, or ten thousand other things. At any
rate he sees it, and he comes home and says, "Oh! father, what a fool
I have been; how wicked I have been. I see it all now--I did not see
it when I was doing it. I see my evil course, my sins that made you
mourn, and turned your hair grey. Oh! how I hate it all. I repent in
dust and ashes. Father! I forsake it all! I come home to you!"  What
would you say? Would you say, "My son, you have not repented enough.
Go! begone! Wait till you feel it more!"  No, your paternal heart
would go out in love and forgiveness, and you would put the kiss of
your reconciling love upon his cheek. "Even so there is joy in the
presence of the angels of God over one sinner that _repenteth!_"
as there would be joy in that family circle over the return of that
wandering child.

But suppose that lad were to come and say, "Father, I do thus
repent; I do thus forsake my sins; but there are some companions who
will follow me so closely that I am afraid I shall again fall under
their power, and there are some habits so terrible that I am afraid
they will again conquer. Let me, then, be always by your side. You
must strengthen me." What would you say? Would you not say, "Then,
come in, my son; sit by me, live with me, and I will shield you--I
will deliver you? Thou shalt never cross this threshhold without me.
I will live with you; I will hold you up." And, as far as a human
being could shield another, you would shield your son; he would never
lack your sympathy or your strength day or night. Your Heavenly
Father lacks neither sympathy or strength. His eye never sleeps. His
arm never tires, and you have only to go and lay your helpless
weakness on His Almighty strength by this one desperate leap of
faith, and He will hold you up, even though there were a legion of
devils around you.

Lastly, you _renounce_ your sins, that is, in will, purpose, and
determination. You say, "I never wish to grieve Him again." You
sing it, and you feel it. "I never want to grieve Him any more;" and
if you could only live without grieving Him, you would not much mind,
even if it were in hell itself. Is not that penitence? You know it
is. You renounce sin. You do not say, "Lord Jesus, save me with this
right hand, with this right eye; Lord Jesus, save me with these
forbidden things hanging about my skirts." No; you say, "Lord Jesus,
save me out of them. Make me clean." That is penitence. You see it.
You hate it. You renounce it. Now then, believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ. Oh, Holy Spirit, reveal the simple way of faith.

III. You say, "How am I to believe?" Some despairing soul asked me
this in large letters, "How am I to believe?" How does a bride
believe in her husband when she gives herself to him at the altar?
She trusts him with herself. She believes in him. She makes a
contract, and goes home, and lives as if it were true. That is
_faith_. How do you trust your physician when you are sick, as
you lay in repose or anguish upon your bed? You trust him with your
case. You commit yourself to him. You believe in his skill, and obey
his orders. Have faith like this in Jesus Christ.

Trust and obey, and expect that it is going to be with you according
to His Word.

Instead of this, the faith of many people is like that of a person
afflicted with some grievous malady. A friend tells him of a
wonderful physician who has cured hundreds of such cases, and gives
him abundant evidence that this doctor is able and willing to cure
him, if he will only commit himself to his treatment. The sick man
may thoroughly believe in the testimony of his friend about this
physician, and yet, for some secret reason, he may refuse to put
himself into his hands. Now, there are numbers like that with Jesus
Christ. They believe He could cure the malady of sin on certain
conditions. They believe He is no respecter of persons. They believe
He has done it for hundreds as bad as they, and yet there is some
reason why they do not _trust Him_. They hold back.

Now, what you want is to give your case into His hands, and say,
"Lord Jesus, I come as Thou hast bid me, confessing and forsaking
sin. If I could, I would jump out of it now and forever. Thou knowest
I come renouncing it, but not having power to save myself from it;
and now, Lord Jesus, Thou hast said, "Him that cometh unto Me, I will
in no wise cast out." I do come; Thou dost not cast me out; Thou dost
take me; Thou dost receive me. Blessed, Holy Father, I give myself to
Thee. I put my sins upon the glorious sacrifice of Thy Son. Thou hast
said Thou wilt receive me, and pardon me for His sake. Now, I roll
the guilty burden on His bleeding body, and I believe Thy promise, I
trust Thee to be as good as Thy word." _That is faith_. "Oh!" said a
dear lady, "I do not feel it."  No: you must trust first. Mark, not
believe you are saved, but believe that He does now save you.

"What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive
them, and ye shall have them." That is the law of faith. Believe that
ye receive it before you feel it; when you receive it then you shall
feel it. God shall be true, and every man or devil who contradicts
Him, a liar. Throw your arms around the Crucified. Take fast hold of
the hand of the Son of God. Put your poor, guilty soul right at the
foot of His cross, and say, "Thou dost receive; Thou dost pardon;
Thou dost cleanse; Thou dost save;" and keep using the language of
faith. I have seen numbers of souls step into liberty repeating these
precious words in the first person, "He was wounded for _my_
transgressions, He was bruised for _my_ iniquities, the chastisement of
_my_ peace was laid upon Him, and by His stripes _I am_ healed." Keep
using the language of faith all the way home to-night. Go into your
closet and say, "I am determined to be saved, if there is any such thing
as salvation." Resolve that if you perish, you will perish in that room,
at the foot of the cross, suing for pardon, and you will get it. I have
never known a soul come to this who did not soon get saved. Get into the
lifeboat. Put off from the old stranded wreck of your own righteousness
or your own efforts; step right into the lifeboat of His broken,
bleeding body. Take fast hold, and resolve that you will never let go
until the answering Spirit comes into your soul, crying, "Abba, Father,"
and you shall know of a truth that you have passed from death unto life.
The Lord help you. Amen.



CHAPTER III.

CHARITY.


  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest
  of these is charity.--1 COR. xiii. 13.

It must be a precious thing to be greater than _faith_, and
greater than _hope_--it must, indeed, be precious!--and, just in
proportion as things are valuable and precious amongst men, so much
trouble and risk will human speculators take to counterfeit them. I
suppose that in no department of roguery in this roguish world, has
there been more time and ingenuity expended, than in making
counterfeit money, especially bank notes. Just as wicked men have
tried to imitate the most valuable of human productions for their own
profit, so the devil has been trying to counterfeit God's most
precious things from the beginning, and to produce something so like
them that mankind at large should not see the difference, and,
perhaps, in no direction has he been so successful as in producing a
_Spurious Charity_.--I almost think he has got it to perfection
in these days. I don't think he can very well improve on the present
copy. This Charity--this love--is God's most precious treasure; it is
dearer to His heart than all the vast domains of His universe--dearer
than all the glorious beings He has created. So much so, that when
some of the highest spirits amongst the angelic bands violated this
love, He hurled them from the highest Heaven to the nethermost hell!
Why? Not because He did not value those wonderful beings, but because
He valued this _love more_. Because He saw that it was more
important to the well-being of His universe to maintain the harmony
of love in Heaven than to save those spirits who had allowed
selfishness to interfere with it. So our Lord says, "I beheld Satan
as lightning fall from Heaven."

The day is coming when He will behold all the dire progeny of this
first rebellion fall also. Haste, happy day!

But, let us look for a few minutes at this precious, beautiful
Charity. Let us try, first, to define it. What is it?

_First_.--_It is Divine_. It must be shed abroad in the heart by the
Holy Ghost.

In vain do we look for this heavenly plant amongst the unrenewed
children of men--it grows not on the corrupt soil of human nature; it
springs only where the ploughshare of true repentance has broken up
the fallow ground of the heart, and where faith in a crucified
Saviour has purified it, and where the blessed Holy Spirit has taken
permanent possession. It is the love _of_ God--not only love _to_ God,
but _like_ God, _from_ God, and fixed on the same objects and ends which
He loves. It is a Divine implantation by the Holy Ghost. Perhaps some of
you are saying, "Then it is useless for me to try to cultivate it,
because I have not got it,--exactly!" You may cut and prune and water
forever, but you can never cultivate that which is not planted. Your
first work is to get this love shed abroad in your heart. It is one of
the delusions of this age that human nature only wants pruning,
improving, developing, and it come out right. No, no! Every plant which
my Heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. If you want this
Divine love, you must break up the fallow ground of your hearts, and
invite the Heavenly Husbandman to come and sow it--shed it abroad in
your soul.

_Secondly_, I want you to note that this love is a Divine principle, in
contradistinction to the mere love of instinct. All men have love as an
instinct; mere natural love towards those whom they like, or who do well
for them. "If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not
even publicans the same?" Wicked men love one another from mere natural
affinity, as the tiger loves its cubs. There is great confusion amongst
professors of religion on this subject. They feel sentiments of pity and
generosity towards their fellow-men, and they may even give their goods
to feed the poor, and yet not have a spark of Divine Charity in their
hearts. Saul, after God departed from him, was not wholly destitute of
generous feeling respecting his family and kingdom. Dives in hell had
some pity for his brethren! But neither of them had a spark of this
Divine Charity. Mind you are not deceived; millions are!

Let us note one or two points wherein a spurious and Divine Charity
utterly and forever diverge--disagree in nature.

_First._--Spurious Charity is selfish--is never exercised but
to gratify some selfish principle in human nature. Thousands of
motives inspire it--too many to enumerate; but we will glance at two
or three. We read in the context that a man might give his goods to
feed the poor, and his body to be burned, and yet be destitute of
true Charity.

Now what an anomaly. But we have wonderful illustrations that such a
thing is possible. First, a man may do this to support and carry out
a favorite system of intellectual belief of which he has become
enamored, just as men become absorbed, in politics, or in what they
consider the good of their nation, so that they will even go to the
cannon's mouth to promote it.

Further, a man may do it in order to merit eternal life. Paul did
this when he went about to establish his own righteousness. He tells
us afterwards that self was the mainspring of all his zeal. It was
all his own exaltation; there was no Divine love; he was an utterly
unrenewed, Christless, and selfish man, at the very time he was doing
this.

Or, it may be, in the third place, to gratify a naturally generous
disposition. I used to say to a generous friend of mine, when he was
talking in a confidential way about his giving, and the delight it
gave him, attributing it to Divine grace--I used to put my hand on
his, and say, "Hold! my friend; I am not so sure it is all grace. You
like giving better than other people do receiving. Look out that you
do not lose your reward through not taking the trouble to see what
you give to; don't give your money to every scheme that comes across
you. Remember that you are answerable to God for your wealth, and
that God will demand of you HOW you have bestowed your goods." That
is true Charity that takes the trouble to investigate relative
claims, and tries to find out the best channels in which to give for
God's glory and the salvation of men. Don't you put down your
generosity to the Holy Ghost if it is not of that kind, for you will
never receive a bit of interest for it, here or hereafter--not a
fraction!

A false Charity begins in self and ends on earth. Here is a mark for
you to distinguish between it and God's Charity. The devil's Charity
always contemplates the earthy part of man in a superior degree to
the spiritual part; and here it exactly crosses and contradicts the
Divine Charity, which always contemplates man in the entirety of his
being, and always gives the first importance to the soul.

We have plenty of spurious Charity in these days. The other day when
I took up a so-called "religious print," and saw some fulsome things
it had been saying about a certain individual, lately dead, I
thought, really, would one ever imagine this were a Christian paper,
in a Christian country? There is not the slightest recognition of a
soul, no reference to the man's spiritual condition or his future
state. Here are one or two of the most ordinary human qualifications
seized on, and made the most of, to make it out that he was something
beyond his fellows, but, as to any recognition of a soul, or of a God
who will judge him, of a Heaven or hell, nothing!

Oh, people say, when speaking of Godless, and even wicked men, "You
must be _charitable,_ you must not judge." Satan does not care
how much of this one-sided Charity there is; the more the better for
his purpose; it will make people all the more comfortable in their
sins, and get them all the more easily down to hell.

My friends, are you more concerned about relieving temporal distress
than you are about feeding famished souls? If you are, you may know
where your charity comes from! Don't misrepresent me, and say that I
teach all of one, and none of the other. God forbid, for, if any man
"hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and
shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love
of God in him?" But, on the other side, if he sees him spiritually
famishing--dying for want of the bread of life--how dwelleth the love
of Christ in him, if he does not minister to this spiritual
destitution? I know that real Christianity cares for body and soul.
Bless God, it does; but, always mind that it sets the soul FIRST. I
know the Master fed the multitude; but, before that, He had them with
Him three days, trying to save their souls, and when they got hungry
in the process, then He made them sit down, and fed their bodies. He
always looked after the soul first, and so does everyone possessed of
Divine Charity.

Why? Because Divine Charity has opened his eyes. He realizes the
value of souls. He sees them famishing. He sees them being damned,
and he cannot help himself. His desire to save them rushes out of him
like a torrent; he beholds them, and has compassion on them. Try your
Charity by this mark: Do you contemplate the dying, famishing,
half-damned souls of your fellow-men? Do you look abroad on the state of
the world, and the state of the church? Do you think about it? Do you
go into your closet, and spread it before the Lord, as Hezekiah and
Jeremiah and Hosea did? Do you look at it, and turn it over, and weep
over it, and pray and cry, as Daniel and Paul did? Try yourselves, my
brethren, my sisters, by this mark.

Divine Charity is always revolving round that great problem of
infinite love. "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole
world, and lose his own soul?" Oh, I can never get it out of my ears
or away from my heart! Oh, how I see the emptiness and vanity of
everything compared with the salvation of the soul! What does it
matter, if a man dies in the work-house--if he dies on a door-step,
covered with wounds, like Lazarus--what does it matter, if his soul
is saved? It is your creed as much as mine, that the soul is
immortal, and that the death of the body is only its introduction, if
it be saved, to a glorious future of everlasting felicity, progress,
and holiness. Does the child remember how he used to cry over his
lessons, when he becomes a man? Does he remember all the little
difficulties of his school days, when he is inheriting the fruits of
them? Just so; ten thousand times less important will be all our
sufferings, trials, and griefs here, if we save our souls, and the
souls of others.

This Divine Charity makes everything else subservient to the
salvation of souls; it uses everything else to save and bless the
inner and spiritual man. Do you remember, on one occasion, when the
Master had fed the multitudes, and when they came to Him again to be
fed, He said, "Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but
because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." You would have
said, "Quite right; the people want to be fed; they are hungry." But
do you hear the Divine lament that comes out in these words, that
they were so spiritually obtuse, that they valued the earthly bread
more than the heavenly! Give them as much temporal bread as you like,
but mind you give them the spiritual bread first, for this is
characteristic of true Charity.

Have you got this Charity? Every soul knows whether it has or not.
People are so unphilosophical in religion; they talk about not
knowing; but you can find out in two minutes whether you love God or
yourself best. Tell me that woman does not know whether she loves her
husband or herself best! Nonsense! What is the proof?--she seeks to
please him, and is willing to sacrifice herself for him--in fact,
merges her interests altogether in his. Do you love God best? Are you
willing to forego your interests, and to seek His? Have you this
Divine Charity, born of Heaven, tending to Heaven? If not, my friend,
resolve you will have it now. Begin to cry mightily to God, for the
Holy Spirit to shed it abroad in your heart; give up your quibblings
and reasonings, and go down at the foot of the cross and ask
Him,--"Come, Lord, and break up this poor, wicked heart of mine, and shed
this beautiful, pure, Divine Charity abroad in it," and then you will
not, henceforth, seek your own, but the things that are Jesus Christ's.



CHAPTER IV.

CHARITY AND REBUKE.


  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest
  of these is charity.--1 COR. xiii. 13.

The second main point of difference between a true and a false
Charity, we want to remark, is, _Divine Charity is not only
consistent with, but it very often necessitates, reproof and rebuke
by its possessor_. It renders it incumbent on those who possess it
to reprove and rebuke whatever is evil--whatever does not tend to
the highest interests of its object.

This Charity conforms in this, as in everything else, to its Divine
model--"As many as I love I rebuke and chasten"--when necessary for
the good of its object, for He doth not _willingly_ afflict or
grieve the children of men, any more than a father willingly
chastises a disobedient child; but, if he be a wise father, he will
do it because he loves it. Just so the possessor of this Divine
Charity can afford to rebuke and reprove sin wherever he finds it. He
will not suffer sin upon his neighbor, but will in any wise reprove
him, and strive to win him to the right. We will just turn to a
beautiful illustration (there are many, if we had time to go into
them) of the working of this Divine Charity in the heart and life of
the very apostle who wrote this 13th of Corinthians. We cannot get
wrong, because it is Paul himself. (Gal. ii. 11-15.)

"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face,
because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James,
he did eat with the Gentiles; but when they were come, he withdrew
and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that
Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I
saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the
Gospel, I said unto Peter before _them_ all"--

Well done, Paul,--noble, gloriously courageous Charity that! He did
not go and mutter behind Peter's back and stab him in the dark--

"I said unto Peter _before them all_, If thou, being a Jew, livest after
the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou
the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We _who are_ Jews by nature, and
not sinners of the Gentiles."

You want a characteristic of true Charity. Now, listen to it. It
would be exceedingly painful to Paul thus publicly to rebuke Peter.
They loved one another, for we find Peter, long after this, in one of
his Epistles, calling Paul "our beloved brother, Paul." They loved
one another. Paul understood the claims of true Charity, for he wrote
this thirteenth of Corinthians. If he loved Peter, and if he
understood the claims of true Charity, why did he thus openly rebuke
Peter, why did he inflict upon himself the pain of doing it?
Faithfulness to Peter himself, faithfulness to the truth,
faithfulness to Jesus Christ demanded it; therefore, he sacrificed
his own personal feelings, and inflicted this pain upon himself,
rather than allow Peter to go wrong, the Romans to be misled, and the
Jews to be carried away with worldly policy. Paul set himself to
rebuke Peter in the presence of all, for truth lay, as it very often
does, with the minority; nearly all the influence was on the side of
the circumcision. _They_ were the most influential of the
brethren, and Paul set himself against all this influence in his
rebuke of Peter. Why? Because faithfulness to the truth demanded it,
and Divine Charity is FIRST PURE.

There is a greater example still in our Lord Himself, in the Master
whose whole soul was love, whose life was one sacrifice for the good
of His creatures; and yet how faithfully He reproved His own when
they erred from the truth, and how fearlessly He exposed and
denounced the shallowness and hypocrisy of those who professed to
love God, and yet contradicted this profession in their lives. How
fearlessly He reproved sin everywhere. He said to his disciples on
one occasion, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the
Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." As
if He had said, you ought to have learned this before now.

On another occasion, He said, "Are ye also yet without
understanding?" And again, "Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou
savourest not the things that be of God;" that was Divine Charity,
that was faithful love, that dared to rebuke, rather than let the
object of it do wrong, and sin against God. And again, when He goes
to the hypocrites and Pharisees, He says, "Ye say ye are the children
of Abraham"--(it was as difficult for Jesus Christ to confute the
professors of His day, as it is for His ambassadors to confute the
professors of this day, who are living inconsistently with their
professions)--He said, "Ye say that ye are the children of Abraham;
if ye were the children of Abraham, ye would listen to me; or, if ye
were the children of God, ye would believe in me, for I came out from
God. No! ye are the children of your father, the devil, and his works
ye do." And yet His Divine heart was full, to breaking, of love, and
broke itself on the cross for them, and prayed, "Father, forgive
them; for they know not what they do." Oh, that your Charity and mine
might not lack this lineament of the Divine likeness! Would to God
there were more of this faithful, loving Charity, that dares to
reprove sin, and to rebuke its brother, instead of the false Charity
that fawns on a man to his face, and goes behind him and stabs him in
the back.

Do you suppose that the great mass of the professors of this
generation think one another to be right? Take almost any given
church. Do you suppose that the great mass of the members of that
church suppose in their hearts that their fellow members, brothers
and sisters in church communion, are living consistently--I don't
mean in _things_ only, but in heart--that they are living really
godly lives? Alas! witness what they say behind each other's backs.
They believe no such thing; they know perfectly well it is not so,
and they take care to tell other people so; and yet there is not one
in a thousand of them ever went privately to his brother, and took
lovingly hold of his hand, and reproved him for his sinful and
backsliding conduct.

What would be thought of any woman who were to go, after being to
church the day before, and ask for a private interview with Mrs. ----,
and, when alone with her, with tears in her eyes, and deep
earnestness in her voice, were to say, "Dear Mrs. ----, I have come to
see you on a very painful errand, but will you suffer a word of
exhortation from one so unworthy and weak as I feel myself to be, and
yet, I trust, one who has the Spirit of God, which urges me to come
to you? Will you allow me to say that I was much pained with your
attitude at church, yesterday. It seemed to me that your mind was not
at all occupied with the solemnity of the service, but seemed to be
occupied in criticising the person's dress in the seat opposite to
you, and I could not help noticing that when you got outside the
doors you began to laugh and talk in a way quite incompatible with
the service you had been attending?" If she were to say, "Dear Mrs. ----,
I have not mentioned this to a soul, not even to my husband, but I
have come to tell it to you; let us go down before the Lord and ask
Him for the Holy Spirit, that He may show you how wrong you are, and
how you are sliding away from the love of God"--what would be the
thought, what would be said, of such conduct?

If everybody who sees sin upon his neighbor would do that--if he
would take the Lord's counsel and go and see his brother alone, and
tell him his fault--how many would be saved from backsliding, and how
many a disgraceful split and controversy in churches might be saved!

But where are the people who will do it? I don't mean there are not
any--God forbid--I know there are; but I am speaking comparatively.
Where is the man who will inflict pain upon himself?--for that is the
point. If it were a pleasant duty, he would do it easily enough; but
it is a painful duty, he does not like to screw himself up to it.
Where is the man that will do it, rather than suffer his brother to
go to sleep in his sin, and rather than the precious cause of Christ
shall be disgraced and injured? Where are the saints who will go in
meekness and in love to try to reclaim the one who has erred? I hope
you know a great many. I am sorry to say I know only a few. If you
know many, I am very glad, and the more you know the better I am
pleased. If you are one of these, that is one, at all events. If
every Christian would have this sort of Charity, what a change would
soon come about. That is what the church wants--people who can afford
to rebuke and reprove, because they don't care what men think of THEM
--who are set only on pleasing their Lord and Master, and doing His
will.

Have you got this Charity that seeketh not her own? What a contrast
between Saul and Paul. Did you ever think about it? What does he say?
"I went about to establish my own righteousness." That was his
inspiring motive; that was the spring of his action, before he got
true Charity; not that he cared for the kingdom of God, but he cared
for his own honor, glory, and exaltation, and wanted to stand well
with his nation. Then contrast him when he becomes Paul. What does he
say? "For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my
brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh." _There_ is
Charity, if you like. These were the very people with whom he had
been so anxious to stand well, and whose good word he wanted; but,
when the Holy Ghost had come, and Paul had got the Divine Charity,
and got his eyes opened to see their devilish and lost condition, he
so weeps over them that he says, "I have great heaviness and
continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were
accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the
flesh."

_There is a contrast_. He does not care now, what they think of
HIM; he is going about, trying to open their eyes and make them see
that they are not the children of Abraham, but the children of the
devil, that they are going to the bottomless pit, and that, unless
they turn round and seek the God of their fathers, they must perish.
Self is lost sight of altogether, now; Paul's heart and soul and
efforts are set on the salvation of men. If they choose to; praise
him, he takes it as a matter of course; if they choose to condemn
him, he takes that as a matter of course, too. He is seeking the
kingdom, and, however men treat him, the kingdom he seeks, right on
to martyrdom. He runs the gauntlet of their direst hate and malice,
that he may open their eyes and turn them from Satan to God, and from
sin to righteousness. Self is lost sight of; it is not Paul now--it
is Christ and His kingdom.

False Charity is the opposite of this. Its possessor is most
concerned about what people think of HIM; not how they treat his
professed Lord. The possessor of false Charity cannot afford to
reprove anybody. Oh, dear, no! he would faint at the very idea; and
he calls people hard and legal and censorious who dare to do it--poor,
sneaking coward! but he will not be afraid to stab a man behind
his back. The speech of this false Charity betrayeth it, it
flattereth with its lips; honey is on its tongue, but the poison of
asps is underneath; beware of it! Even when it professes to commend a
brother, or neighbor, it rolls up its sanctimonious eyes, and always
puts a "but" in--one of the devil's "buts." "Oh, he is a good man,
but--." "Yes, I have a great esteem for him, only there is such and
such a thing." Oh, it is very Divine. The devil can put on a garb of
light when it answers his purpose. Oh, the fair reputations that this
slime of the serpent has trailed over! Oh, the influence for good
that this venom of the devil has poisoned and ruined, for it has
been, truly said, "There is no virtue so white that back-wounding
calumny will not strike"--even in God's perfect man, those who are
watching and seeking to betray can find something on which to ground
their accusations.

I say, mind which Charity you have got True Charity, rejoiceth not
in iniquity. Are you conscious in your soul of a feeling of triumph
when anybody that you don't like happens to fall on some evil thing?
If you have, look out--the devil has got hold of you. Do you rejoice
in iniquity when it happens to an enemy? If so, woe be to you, unless
you get that venom out. God won't have it in Heaven. _One man with
that venom in him would damn Paradise_, "Love your enemies"--love
them; "bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and
pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye
may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven." Now, my
brother, my sister, try yourself. "We shall meet again, and you will
find that these are no imaginary vagaries that I have been talking
of; they are realities--though these great realities of our Christianity
are seldom preached in these days; but they are _here_, and there is no
truth in you if you have not got the Charity which hates evil as evil,
and which will reprove it, and root it out, and have it _cured_!"

Here, again, false Charity is the very antipodes of the Divine. It
does not care much about righteousness. Quietness is its beau ideal
of all that is lovely and excellent. It says, "Let us be quiet; you
must not disturb the peace of the church." It cries, "Peace, peace!"
when there is no peace. It says, "We cannot help these evils. Every
man must look after himself; we are not responsible for our
neighbor." It knows very often that there are continents of dirt
underneath--"things," and "systems," and men--which it chooses to
patronize; but then, it is covered up, and so it says, "Let it alone;
we cannot have a smudge. Let it alone. Peace! Peace! Never mind
righteousness--the church must be supported, if the money does come
out of the dried-up vitals of drunkards and harlots; never mind, we
must have it. Never mind if our songs are mixed with the shrieks of
widows and orphans, of the dying and damned! Sing away, sing away,
and drown their voices. Never mind; we cannot have it looked into,
and rooted out, and pulled up. Peace; we must have peace!" And they
call you, as Ahab did Elijah, the disturber of Israel, if you dare to
touch the sore place and exhibit their putrifying wounds and bruises;
and when you say to them, "The law of life is, 'Do unto others as you
would they should do unto you,'" they impudently turn upon you and
say, "But we are not expected to be perfect in this life," and so
they throw a thicker covering over the filth, and on it goes.

This is the devil's Charity; and the more the better for his
purpose. But the Charity and the wisdom which is from above, is first
pure, and then peaceable! I would rather be in everlasting warfare in
company with that which is fair, and true, and good, than I would
walk in harmony with that which is hollow, and rotten, and vile, and
destined for the bottomless pit. The Lord help you to make the same
choice!



CHAPTER V.

CHARITY AND CONFLICT.


  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest
  of these is charity.--1 COR. xiii. 13.

Another characteristic of this Divine Charity is, that it OFTEN
INVOLVES CONFLICT.

It was so with our Lord. He was the very personification of it. He
was love itself, and grace and truth poured from His lips
incessantly. His blessed feet went about doing good, and His hands
ministering to the necessities and happiness of His creatures, yet
His whole course through this degenerate world was one of conflict,
opposition, and persecution. His proper mission was to bring peace on
earth; but the result of it was a sword! Why? That was not His fault.
He would, doubtless, have enjoyed being at peace with all men, as His
ambassador exhorts us--"as much as lieth in us to be." More, He was
the Prince of Peace! Then, how was it that wherever He went, there
was sword, opposition, and conflict to the death? Because men
_resisted_ and _rejected_ His Divine and Heavenly ministrations. They
would not hear His rebukes and His teaching, because they condemned
them. They would not listen to His voice, because they were of their
father the devil, and the works of their father they would do; and,
therefore, they went about to persecute Him, and to kill Him.

This was the reason--not that _He_ wanted it to be so, but it
was the consequence of their resistance to the beautiful, heavenly,
and Divine truths which He taught; and it is just so now, with the
same truth, and the living embodiments of such truth. JESUS CHRIST
COME IN THE FLESH AGAIN IN HIS PEOPLE, living out before the world
His principles, acting upon His precepts, living for the same objects
for which He lived, will produce, exactly and everywhere, the same
result. It must be so while men are divided into two classes--the
righteous and the wicked--those who are born of the flesh, and those
who are born of the Spirit. One must either give in, or there must be
perpetual conflict and warfare. It was so with the Saviour, and so,
perhaps, with some of us.

I think this is often a snare to God's really sincere people. I
think some of God's people are afraid; they don't like the feeling
that their hand is against every man, and every man's hand against
them, or nearly so. They do not like the feeling of isolation; they
do not like being compelled to take a course which nearly all the
Christian professors round about them condemn, and make out to be
uncharitable, and they often examine themselves to see whether it is
possible that they may be going wrong in following the Divine Spirit.
They say with Jeremiah, and with the Jeremiahs of every age, "Woe is
me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of
contention to the whole earth!" They are as "speckled birds, against
whom all the birds round about are gathered." They feel this
opposition and conflict deeply, but what are they to do? Very often,
in following the leadings of the Divine Spirit, it is impossible for
us to avoid such consequences. We have to march through troops of
opposing forces. We have to become the subjects of almost universal
suspicion. But what then? Must we give in? Must we decline to tread
in the bloodstained footsteps of the Captain of our salvation? Must
we decline the honor of being in the advance guard of the Lamb's army
because of the conflict, because of the pain, because of the
persecution? Nay, nay; let us hold on, those here, who are thus led
by the Divine Spirit into paths which involve conflict with
everybody. Follow on, brother! follow on, sister!

There is no point on which those who want to come out thoroughly for
God, suffer more than oh this. They continually say, "You see, my
friends"--they are Christian, friends--"my friends object." People
come, to see me, or they write that the Spirit of God has been urging
them into a certain course, for months or years, and they are held
back by the opinions and wishes, perhaps, of parents, or of brothers
and sisters, or uncles, or aunts, or Christian friends.

_I believe it will be found, in the great day of account, that
there have been more blessed enterprises crushed, more leadings of
the Holy Ghost disobeyed, more urgings of the Spirit quenched,
through the influence of what are called Christian friends, than all
other influences put together. "Suffer me first to go and bury my
father," is an everlasting standing excuse for those whom, the Lord
calls on in advance paths of Christian service! Oh, my friends, I am
sure of it. Look out, you fathers and mothers, you brothers and
sisters, and aunts!_

Do not misunderstand me. Carefully weigh, probe, and examine, before
God, your impressions and desires. Go into your closet, spread them
there before the Lord. Lay them out, examine your own heart. Be sure
there is no self-interest, no vain glory, no desire to be great, or
to do some out-of-the-way thing. Be as clear as you like; be
satisfied, in your own mind, that it is God's call, and then let
fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, husbands, or wives complain--but
go forward, my brother, and God will justify you. If, twenty years
ago, I had stopped for Christian friends to sanction and to open the
door, I should have waited till today, and the number of souls God,
in His infinite mercy, has given me, I should not have gathered. But
I did not wait for anybody's sanction to my Lord and Master's call;
but said, "Lord, if I die in attempting it, I will do it." He seldom
lets people die in attempting His will. He stands by them, and gives
them abundant fruit.

A lady said to me the other day, "You know my father is a Christian,
and I am so afraid of going opposite to him." "Yes," I said, "that is
quite a right feeling; I respect that feeling in you." But she was a
woman of considerably matured age, and I added, "But is your father
awake to the interests of God's kingdom as he ought to be?" She
replied, "I dare not say he is." "I suppose," I said "he is
comparatively old--a sort of dried-up Christian, who has lost the
vigor and enterprise of his youthful days, when he wanted to go out
and make everybody Christian?" "Yes," she said, "he has gone sadly
behind in his zeal for the kingdom of Jesus Christ." "Now," I said,
"God holds you responsible, just as He holds any other being. _He
has not two codes-one for men and one for women._ There will be no
two judgment seats, whatever men do here. God will hold you
responsible for obedience to the teaching of His Spirit, and the
leading of His providence, as much as your brother. What shall you
say? You will be in the position of the man who said, 'Suffer me
first to go and bury my father.'" She said, "I am afraid I shall."

Now, I say, let us settle this, you Protestant Christians here.
Because Catholicism has abused this principle, that a man is to leave
his father and mother, and houses and lands, if needs be, is that any
reason that we Protestants are to give it up? And has it come to
this, that a man has only to follow Christ when everybody approves it
--cries "Amen"--and when his own interests appear to him to be
secured by so doing? Then, if it were so, I would give up religion
altogether, and go and enjoy myself. I said to a lady, "When you
married yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ, you put yourself in the
same position as you would to an earthly husband." What woman in the
world would feel that she ought to obey father and mother, rather
than her husband? Ridiculous! Much less is she to obey her father, if
her father's wishes are exactly contrary to the Divine teaching. She
is only to obey IN THE LORD, and yet thousands of fathers and mothers
are preventing their children working for God. Oh! what will you say
to God when your precious children stand at His bar, without the
sheaves they might have gathered, and the souls they might have won?
What will you say to Him? And why do you hold them back? Oh, the
mean, paltry considerations that you would be ashamed to own before
this congregation! Is it for fear of suffering? Not in many
instances; but, even if it were, did you bargain with Jesus Christ
when you gave yourself and children to Him, that they were not to
suffer for Him? Is it because of your pride?--because you want for
them this world's applause and favor? Look out! God has wonderful
ways of chastising His people in those very things in which they sell
His interest. But you say that "everybody will be against you!" Yes,
very likely. Let us settle that at once. Count all things dung and
dross. Let none of these things move you. You say, "It will be a life
of conflict to the end." Very likely, so was His. "I am so weak," you
say. He knows all about that. You say, "It will be so cutting to have
people saying this, and saying the other." I know it is cutting, but
that is the path He calls you to tread, and He will give you grace to
bear the cutting. "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and
persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you, falsely,
for my sake;" and, "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy
are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you."

He does not show where He is leading us, so we can only go a step at
a time. The future may look dark, but let us be fully persuaded in
our own minds that the step in advance is the step the Lord wants us
to take--then take it, and leave the future with Him. Come out, as
Abraham did, not knowing whither you go; and, as sure as He sits upon
the throne, He will vindicate your course, and, perhaps, the very
things that you sacrifice, or that you think you sacrifice, for Him,
He will give you, as the reward of your faithfulness.

Oh, have I not known many such instances. I have known daughters who
have been turned out of their father's houses for following the
leadings of the Spirit of God, and who have endured all sorts of
persecution, and trial, and suffering, and those fathers, when they
were dying, would have nobody else to pray with them but that
individual daughter. The way to win the souls of parents is by a
consistent, steadfast, holy consecration to the Lord Jesus; whereas,
if you pander, and trim, and hesitate, you will miss the reward. Do
you think people do not know when we are inconsistent? Oh, yes, they
know quite well, and they say, "That is not the right sort of
religion;" but you be consistent and thorough, and God will honor
these very means to the winning of the souls about whom you are so
concerned.

Further, a false Charity shrinks from opposition. It cannot bear
persecution. Now, here is one unfailing characteristic of a false
Charity: _it is always on the winning side_--that is, apparently, down
here; not what will be, ultimately, the winning side. When Truth sits
enthroned, with a crown on her head, this false Charity is most
vociferous in her support and devotion; but when her garments trail in
the dust, and her followers are few, feeble, and poor, then Jesus Christ
may look after Himself. I sometimes think respecting this hue and cry
about the glory of God and the sanctity of religion, I would like to see
some of these saints put into the common hall with Jesus again, amongst
a band of ribald, mocking, soldiers. I would like to see, then, their
zeal for the glory of God, when it touched their own glory. They are
wonderfully zealous when their glory and His glory go together; but,
when the mob is at His heels, crying, "Away with Him!--crucify
Him!--crucify Him!"--then He may look after His own glory, and they will
take care of theirs.

True Charity sticks to the LORD JESUS IN THE MUD, when He is
fainting under His cross, as well as when the people are cutting down
the boughs and crying "Hosanna!" I fear many people make the Lord
Jesus Christ a stalking-horse on which to secure their ends. God
grant us not to be of that number, for, if we are, He will topple us
from the very gates of Heaven down to the nethermost hell. This false
Charity cannot go to the dungeon--you never find it at the stake. It
always manages to shift its sides, and change its face, before it
goes as far as that. Never in disgrace; never with Jesus Christ in
the minority, at Golgotha--on the cross. Always with Him when He is
riding triumphant!

Oh, I often think if times of persecution were to come again how
many of us would be faithful? How many would go to the dungeon? How
many would stand by the truth, with hooting, howling mobs at our
heels, such as followed Him on the way to the cross--such as stood
round His cross and spat upon Him, and cast lots for His vesture, and
parted His garments among them, and wagged their heads and cried, "He
saved others; Himself He cannot save"? How many of us would stick to
Him then? But, as your soul and mine liveth, that is the only kind of
love that will stand the test of the Judgment Day.

Oh, have you got this Charity? Love in the darkness; Love in the
Garden; Love in sorrow; Love in suffering; Love in isolation; Love in
persecution; Love to the death!--Have we got this love? Examine
yourselves, beloved, and see whether you are in the faith or not, for
there is much need of it in this day, when there are so many false
gospels and so much false doctrine;--when we hear so much about being
"complete in Him" by people who never were in Him at all, and no more
understand what it means than the very kitten that lies on their
hearth. I say, examine yourself, whether you be in the faith or not,
and whether you are in Him; for, verily, it is no easier now to be
His real followers than ever it was.

Further, a false Charity _refuses to call things by their proper
names!_ Oh! what endless ways it has of putting lying! lying that
is done on this day by professing Christians! Oh, the nice,
comfortable, self-indulgent ways it has of looking at ungodly trades
and practices! What do I mean? I mean trades that cannot be made
subservient to the interest of the kingdom of Christ; trades that
thrive by ministering either to the vile passions of human nature, or
to the ungodliness of human nature. By what nice names it calls
Satanic traffics in the bodies, hearts, and souls of men! And, when
Divine Charity remonstrates with it, it turns round and says, "Well,
you know, but we must have regard to our own interests; we have large
interests at stake." I sometimes say, "God knows you have! and, when
the Judge riseth up to avenge those who have been oppressed and
destroyed by your iniquitous traffics, you will find them sadly TOO
LARGE, TOO BIG FOR THE HELL ITSELF TO CONTAIN."

The Lord have mercy on any of you who are living on the follies or
wickedness of your fellow-men. Make haste to get out of such trades.
Wash your hands of them, for, depend upon it, that is the devil's
Charity that would try to make you comfortable in them! It has
nothing to do with Divine Charity.

"Oh, my soul, come not into their secret; unto their assembly, mine
honor, be not thou united," but stand aloof from all such alliances
of light with darkness, of truth with falsehood; "have no fellowship
with the unfruitful works of darkness," "For behold the day cometh
that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do
wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them
up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root
nor branch." He is the same God; He changes not! Let us call things
by their right names. Let us face the evil. Let us chase it out of
the world--or, at any rate, chase it out of the church. Depend upon
it, the Lord is going to prove all things. I can hear, as it were,
the rumbling of the earthquake of the Divine indignation underground,
I can see the gathering of the Divine wrath overhead; and, IF THIS
NATION DOES NOT REPENT, AND IF THE CHURCHES OF THIS LAND DO NOT COME
OUT AND WASH THEIR HANDS OF THESE THINGS, GOD WILL SEND US SUCH A
BAPTISM OF BLOOD AS WE HAVE NEVER CONCEIVED OF, AND HE WILL PUT US
OUT, and put some other nation in our place, or else He will act
contrary to all His former dealings with nations! Do you suppose that
Jerusalem was more guilty than we are? Have we not been exalted much
higher than Jerusalem ever was? And have we not sinned against
greater light and privilege than ever she did? Are not our professed
Christians exactly the same in character as her Pharisees? Do they
not make fine and long prayers, and, at the same time, devour the
widow and fatherless? Yea, for hellish gain, do they not make widows
and orphans wholesale? Might not God truly say of us, "Ah, sinful
nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children
that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked
the Holy One of Israel unto anger: they are gone away backward." Even
the prophets prophesy falsely, and the people love to have it so!

Do you say, "No, we are not so _bad?"_ I answer, look abroad
over the land, open your eyes, observe and see. Has it not become
proverbial--have you not heard it until your ears have tingled, and
your face burned with shame--"Better go and deal with anybody than a
Christian"? and, alas! has there not been much ground for it? Have we
any need to wonder that infidels wag their heads? Can you go into a
shop where you are sure you will not be extortioned? Do you know
anybody who keeps a conscience with respect to the profits he makes?
Is there anybody scarcely who won't charge his neighbor more than the
article is worth, if he has a chance, and call it lawful? _That_
is extortion. It may be only asking twopence for an article worth a
penny, or a 1,000  pounds for what 700 pounds should buy; it does not
matter the amount--it is EXTORTION!

God puts extortioners amongst the blackest of sinners. The Lord help
me to "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on
the things of others," and have the Charity that will not take a mean
advantage of my neighbor because I have the chance, and thus traduce
the precious name of the Holy Jesus by calling myself one of His
followers. It is time this satanic Charity was swept out! The very
first law, the very vital principle of true Charity, is _righteousness._
There is no Charity apart from righteousness. If your Charity is
incompatible with righteousness, it is born of the devil and leads to
hell!

If you have had anything revealed to you, in your heart or life,
that you see to be wrong, say, "Here Lord, pour the light in; I am so
glad You have shown this thing to me while there is time to alter it.
Now bring your dissecting knife, and cut it away, even if the roots
go deep down into my very heart's core. I will have it out." Will
you? Will you be made true, straight, clean? Will you be made Divine?
Will you be filled with the pure, holy love of God towards God, and
towards men, and all beings? That is what the Lord wants you to have.
This is what He has sent His Son to do. No subterfuge; no make-believe
work to get you into Heaven as you are; but He wants to make
you as He wants you to be, and _He can do it._ The Great
Physician is able, He is willing, He has got love enough, and power
enough and grace enough to do it for you. Confide all your heart to
Him. Will you have this Divine Charity wrought in you? It will make
you willing to suffer, to endure hardness, and shame, and contempt,
and persecution. It will make you willing to do anything that human
nature can do, and endure anything that human nature can suffer, that
you may accomplish the same purposes that He came to accomplish, that
you may help onward the progress of His glorious kingdom.



CHAPTER VI.

CHARITY AND LONELINESS.


  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest
  of these is charity.-I COR. xiii. 13.

_The possession of this Divine Charity often necessitates walking
in a lonely path._

Not merely in opposition and persecution, but _alone_ in it,
and here, again, Jesus, who was the personification of Divine lore,
stands out as our great example. He was emphatically alone, and of
the people there was none with Him. Even the disciples whom He had
drawn nearest to Him, and to whom He had tried to communicate most of
His thought and spirit, were so behind that He often had to reprove
them, and lament their obtuseness and want of sympathy. In the
greatness of His love He had to go forward into the darkness of
Gethsemane. He was alone while they slept, and then through ribaldry,
scorn, and sarcasm, to the cross. Alas! alas! almost alone, except a
few--to their everlasting honor--poor faithful women--_alone!_

And, as it was with the Master, so it has been with all those whom
God has called to go in advance of their race. It was so with John,
and with Paul, and with most of the apostles, and with all those whom
God has called to extraordinary paths since. Must John have a
revelation of things shortly to come to pass? He must go alone into
the Isle of Patmos! Must Paul hear unspeakable words, not, at that
time, lawful for a man to utter? He must go alone into the third
heaven, and not be allowed even to communicate what he saw and heard
when he came down; alone, he must necessarily go in advance.

And just so, when God has called some of His followers to an
out-of-the-way path, they have had to go alone in an untrodden way.
Superior love necessitates a lonely walk. You shrink, and say, "That
seems so hard." Yes, I know; I wish I could make it easier, but I cannot
help it. I simply state the fact, that superior love necessitates, in
some measure, a lonely walk, because you see it is only they who--thus
love, to whom the Lord tells His secrets. If you want to ask a
confidential question and get a confidential answer, you must be on
the bosom of your Master. You won't be able to do it at a distance.
Then, you see, when He gives to any soul superior light to its
fellows, and that soul _follows_ the light, it necessarily entails a
path in advance of its fellows. Unless he can inspire and encourage them
(which, alas! is hard work) to follow, he must go on alone.

That was a beautiful illustration we read in the lesson (Acts x.).
Here is Peter called to go in advance of the whole Church! Now, the
Lord wants a man to do this, and whom does He choose? He chooses
impulsive, energetic, head-first Peter. But then, there is something
to be done first God lets down the sheet with all its unclean contents,
and Peter fastens his eyes upon it. (I wish you had studied all the
sheets the Lord has let down before _your eyes_, you would have come out
very differently to what you have.) Peter studies them, and soon the
Divine vision has absorbed Peter's attention. When the Lord has fairly
got his attention, then comes the voice, "Now, Peter, rise, slay and
eat." Then, when the Lord had taught him his lesson effectually, and
when Peter saw that he had not yet explored all the ideas of the Divine
mind about the extension of His kingdom, and that his business was to
follow his Lord's directions, and not to have his own "ifs" and "buts,"
but go ahead and do as God bade him, then Peter goes on to carry out the
Divine direction. Then the church, aghast, as usual, at anything
new--always down upon a measure, whether good or bad, if it has the _awful
quality of being new_--was down upon it. This new church, which had only
just itself been brought to God by a set of _new measures_, is down
upon Peter, and they call him to the council to answer for his conduct.

He tells them all about it in the truthful simplicity of a man of
God, and, thank God, they had sense enough--yes, and love enough,
charity enough, to accept his explanations, and to glorify God. Would
to God we could get as much sense and charity in these days!

A lady writes to me, only the other day, of her husband, saying that
he sympathises with outside work, but contends that there is
everything one wants in the church; and another contends that there
is everything everybody wants somewhere else, and so they are down
upon all the Peters that dare to do anything out of the jog-trot
line. You may reason ever so urgently, and show them that all these
old measures are not enough for everybody, that there is a great mass
of outlying population which they do not reach--the Gentiles of this
generation; you may show them that these Gentiles are without the
Holy Ghost, that they are not cleansed, that they are yet common and
unclean; you may show them that these new measures of yours are quite
as lawful as their old measures, and that, probably, they would be a
great deal more useful, and, moreover, that they have been borne in
upon you by the Holy Ghost, and that you feel as if there were a fire
in your bones urging you to go and try them, but they will not hold
their peace and glorify God, but will loose their tongues and villify
you.

False Charity looks more at the means than at the end. Its possessor
is more concerned about what men will think of _him_, than what
will exalt the Redeemer. You can know it by this mark. Are you more
concerned about what your neighbor, Mr. So-and-So, or your minister,
Rev. Mr. So-and-So, or even your bishop, thinks about you, than you
are about the extension of the kingdom of Christ? Look out, my
friend, yours is the wrong sort of Charity. True Charity looks at the
end--the spread of righteousness in the earth--_the reign of the
King_--and it is not very fastidious about the measures, so that
they are lawful.

I do not advocate anything unlawful, to do good--God forbid. Divine
Charity says, "Anywhere with Jesus"--in the temple or outside of
it--at the seaside or in Cheapside--on the mountain top or in the market
place--in the streets--anywhere, Lord Jesus, if Thou wilt only come
and take Thine inheritance and reign over the hearts and souls of
men. True Charity is only too glad to become a Jew to the Jews, as
weak to the weak, if it can only pick them up;--only too glad to
descend to men of low estate, and put its arms round their necks, if
it can only bring them to the cross and bring them back to the heart
and Heaven of God; and it does not care what the Pharisee on the
other side says; it is set on saving the poor sinner; it is pouring
in oil and wine, and putting him on its own beast; _it is intent on
saving him_, and does not care what anybody thinks. Have you got
it? It is so good. It makes you feel so warm and comfortable inside.
It is beautiful, and it proves better and better every day, and it
will be better still when you are dying--Faith and Hope will be done
away, but this love will last _forever!_

But this necessitates somebody leading the way--going on in advance.
Will _you_ be content to go in advance? Will _you_ endure the hardness
of a pioneer? Can you bear the ridicule and gibes of your fellow-men?
Dare _you_ go where the Holy Ghost leads, and leave Him to look _after
the consequences?_ If so, happy are you, and you shall have a harvest of
precious souls; you shall shine as the stars forever; but, if you draw
back, His soul shall have no pleasure in you. Step out on to the Divine
love, that is able, alone amongst the breakers, to bear your little
bark--able to make you _more_ than a conqueror. Oh, step out--follow,
follow, follow--do not be afraid!

_Spurious Charity_ is the opposite of this. It must have human
notice. Ostentation is its very essence. Cease to notice it, and it
will soon die. "I went about to establish mine own righteousness,"
says Paul, before he got the true Charity. Here was a grand
opportunity for Pharisaic Saul. These Nazarenes, were they not
everywhere spoken against? Was not this a grand opportunity for
_him_ to be everywhere spoken for?--and so he takes advantage of
public opinion, and becomes "exceedingly mad" against them; and, not
satisfied with persecuting them in his own city, he goes after them
into strange cities, but he reveals, afterwards, when he got the
Divine Charity, that the mainspring of his zeal was SELF-GLORY.

False Charity hates to be in a minority--you never find it in an
unrespectable minority,--it wants company, and that of a respectable,
genteel kind. Its possessors are always sticklers for the traditions
of the elders; their horizon is bounded very largely by the opinions
of men and the attitude of the _rulers_. They are always asking,
"Have any of the rulers believed on Him?"

Now, my friends, let this teach you wisdom and love. Prove all
things before you condemn. I have no doubt Saul was an honest man, in
the world's acceptation of the term, for he says he persecuted the
Nazarenes ignorantly, thinking he was doing God service; but what a
grand mistake he was making, and how effectually he was doing the
_work of the devil!_ Of course, if he had _seen_, he was mistaken, he
would have ceased to _be mistaken_.

I wish people would stop and think that the path they are now
standing in the well-beaten track on which they are now walking with
such slow dignity--was one quite as new and unconventional and
outrageous to the coadjutors of their forefathers, as the path which
any new departure by the Holy Ghost may set before them _now_. I
wish such people would read history. I suppose they do not, or, if
they do, they read it as they do the Bible--they fail to draw any
practical principle from it. Such people should read "Neale's History
of the Puritans," and see in what a hurricane of excitement,
opposition, contempt, and persecution, their forefathers fought for
the very paths they are now _standing still in_, and holding so
sacred that they cannot have them disturbed. Do you see how
unphilosophically they are acting? If their forefathers had acted on
the principles they are acting on, they would have stood still in old
paths, and we would never have been in the new ones. These people
stand in these paths of traditionalism and routinism, just where
their forefathers left them, occupying all their time in admiring the
wisdom and benevolence and devotion of their forefathers, instead of
imitating _their aggressive faith_ and MARCHING ON TO THE CONQUEST OF
THE WORLD.

Which is the most God-honoring? Which has the most common sense in
it? Which will please your forefathers the most? But it is now as it
was in the days of the Son of Man--for, "ye build the tombs of the
prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, 'If
we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been
partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.' Wherefore ye be
witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which
killed the prophets."

Alas! what a deal of this is going on to-day, only there is one
difference--it is going on "under a Christian creed, instead of a
Jewish." It is only the _creed_ that differs--the character, the
spring of action, is the same.

Now, my friends, try yourselves--which Charity _have you got?_
Do you rejoice in the extension of the kingdom of Jesus Christ by any
lawful means, or are you more concerned _about the color of a man's
coat than the state of his heart?_ Would you rather the poor
drunkard were left to rot and seethe in his misery, than that a man
should put on a blue jacket with an S.[Footnote: Badge of the
Salvation Army.] on his collar, and go and fetch him out? Would you
rather have men damned conventionally, than saved unconventionally?
If you would, you are a Pharisee at heart--I care not what you call
yourselves. Go home and read for your instruction Matt, xxiii. 23-28.

Further, how bitterly this false Charity often comes out in
individual cases. We will just take an illustration. We will suppose
here is a family of decent, respectable, professedly Christian
people, who have been to church or chapel most of their lives. Or
here is a Church, we will suppose, of the same character--nothing
particular has happened; they fear the Lord, and go comfortably
along, and are just where they were ten or fifteen years ago, making
up for _deaths_ and _removals_. We will suppose that a member of that
family or that church, as the case may be, gets converted. He reads a
book, goes to a special meeting, or some providential utterance is the
means of sending the light of God's Spirit upon his soul, and he is
quickened and woke up to see the miserable, half-dead, guilty condition
in which he is; he is praying and groaning, and feeling after God; he
gets the sense of his transgressions and unfaithfulness being taken
away, and the joy of God's salvation restored to his soul. Now, in a
moment, almost immediately, as in the case of Peter, as soon as the
internal work is done, comes the external path opened up. The Spirit of
God lays before him some new work, something strikes him which has been
long forgotten, or which never seems to have been recognised in his
family or church. He sees what a grand thing that would be for the
conversion of souls, and the extension of the kingdom of Jesus
Christ, and he feels it beginning to burn like a fire in his bones to
enter this path of usefulness. He prays much over it, and he waits
until he is fully satisfied that it is not a vain impulse, but that
it is of the Spirit of God. Full of love, and faith, and zeal, he
goes to tell his minister, or some Christian friend; he expects that
they will sympathise with his feelings, and enter into his project;
but, alas! alas! they begin by raising objections--they start
difficulties:--"Well, but you see that would be a little out of our
order: that is not exactly our way of doing things. I am afraid the
deacons would object, or I am afraid something would happen;" and if
he has the misfortune to be young (anybody would think it was a sin
to be young), they will "crush" him out; they put the extinguisher
on, and say, "Wait, my brother, until you have more experience," or,
"my sister," especially, "_you_ must never presume to do
anything of which we cannot approve!"

Oh! friends, you smile because you _know_ how true it is! Oh,
alas! the thousands of urgings of the Holy Ghost; the thousands of
heavenly voices that have been as clear to human souls as ever
Peter's sheet was to him; the thousands of glorious aspirations and
schemes for the spread of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ that
have been thus crushed by this spurious, false, selfish, devilish
Charity! The Lord put it out.

Oh! I would not care what the Lord called my child to do that would
be for the extension of His kingdom and the glory of His name; I
would not restrain her or keep her back. I might say, "My child, it
may be a painful thing for me to consent. I might have chosen another
path for you; but if you are satisfied the Spirit leads you, go
forward, and I will do all I can to help you." Why? Because I want
the King to have His own, and I do not care how it is, so that He gets
His own, and I will have Him to use _mine_ as well as me to get it.

Fathers and mothers, look out! If you grudge your children to God,
He will be even with you. "They that honor Me, I will honor, but they
who do not, shall be lightly esteemed." They shall get light weight
all round, and be whipped with their own rods. Mind how you withhold
that which is most precious from God! Mind you do not receive the
grace of God in vain; _some people do_.

The fifth point in which this Divine and spurious Charity contradict
each other, is, that Divine Charity--the pure love of God--is _law
abiding_.

That is, it always manifests itself in harmony with the great moral
law of the universe--it never does evil that good may come! You never
hear it saying--"I cannot say that this is exactly square; I know
this is not exactly the right course, but then I can accomplish such
and such objects by adopting it." Never! that is of the devil! You
may always know that the law of righteousness is entwined round the
very heart of Divine Charity, and as justice and judgment are the
habitation of the throne of its Divine Author, so righteousness is in
the very core of its soul. It will never sacrifice righteousness for
peace, or anything else.

Now, what is the whole duty of man? To love mercy, to do justly, and
walk humbly with God; and, when the Holy Spirit has brought about
that result in your soul, God will look on you with a beneficent eye,
with a smile of approbation, and its genial influence will sun your
whole being, and you will walk in the light of it, even as the angels
do in Heaven. "Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God;"
that is the whole duty of man--everything is included in that.

Do you hear it, oh! ye temporizers with Divine law? Do you hear it,
ye who say that we must come down partly, and be a little like the
world in order to win it? that you must come on to the level of the
ungodly in order that you may win them to God?--I tell you that
_all unrighteousness is sin!_ Do you hear this, you who contend
for covering up by a false Charity certain sins which are sending men
to perdition wholesale, and make laws and acts of parliament to
protect men in these crimes? I know your specious arguments that come
from the devil; but I ask, is it justice to take one part of the human
race, and that the weaker, and, therefore, according to the law of
Divine Charity, demanding the greater protection from cruelty and wrong,
and offer that part up for the _supposed_ good of the other, because
the latter is stronger? Is that justice? Is that mercy? and, mind, I say
emphatically _supposed good_; for, do you think one part of God's
creation can be trodden down without reacting with terrible moral force
upon the other? Do you think it can? Was it ever done? Will it ever be
done? _No! not while He sits on His throne_. Yes, _supposed_ good, for
facts mock your arguments. It is not for their good; you know it is not.
You cannot accomplish your purpose when you have done all; and think you
that you will escape, by your satanic inventions, the Divine
Executioner? Think you that your specious arguments will avail with Him
who hath sworn in His holy habitation that He will avenge the oppressed
and down-trodden of the earth? No, no! I see written between the lines,
and I hear muttering between your speeches. "Be not deceived; God is not
mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." You
cannot escape the penalty!

The last characteristic of true Charity which I shall name is, that
_it holds out_, in spite of ingratitude, opposition, and persecution!
Its possessor seeks the good of all men, not because he ought, merely,
but because he cannot help it. His _heart_ is on the side of God and
truth. He _loves_ righteousness, and, therefore, cannot desist from
seeking to bring all beings to love it, too, although they hate and
despise him for so doing. Jesus held out in this glorious love, even in
the agonies of crucifixion. "Father, forgive them; they know not what
they do." His heart was set on bringing man back to God, and He went
through with it. His soul did not draw back, and His Divine love
constrained Him, even onto death.

Paul followed his Master in this respect; and though the more he
loved some of his converts, the less he was loved, he went on,
seeking their highest good, not being hindered for a moment by their
ingratitude. He loved _them_--not their good opinion or applause! A
spurious Charity soon tires when the objects of it prove unworthy. Its
possessor says: "I have had enough of this; the kinder I am, the worse
people treat me. I shall button up my pocket, and take my ease, till I
am better appreciated." _Self_-glory is the very life of spurious
Charity: it dies right out under ingratitude and contempt.

Which have you got, my brother?--my sister?

Does somebody say, as a man who had been to a service at Scarborough
the other, day, and had been hearing some straight truth, said, when
asked, "How did you like it?" The man, a young, prosperous tradesman
in the town, shuffled about, and said: "Well, it was awful; if that
is true, I am on my way to hell." Thank God he had found it out. Now,
have you got this Divine Charity? I told you, at the beginning, it
did not grow on unregenerate human nature, so if you are an
unregenerate man, and have not the Holy Spirit, I want you to find it
out. You have to begin at the beginning, and get the plant planted.
No matter what spurious imitations you have got, if you have not got
_the love of God_. Have you got it, brother?--sister? If you
have not, you can have it this afternoon. Will you seek it? We were
all once without it, even as it is said, "We were the children of
wrath, even as others;" we hated those who hated us; we hated things,
not because they were wicked, and against God, but because they were
opposed to us personally; our love and hate were influenced by
selfishness, the same as others, but now the Lord has renewed our
hearts, and made us in some little measure, like Him who "loved
righteousness, and hated iniquity; and, therefore, God anointed Him
with the oil of gladness above His fellows." Oh! yes; the more you
love righteousness and hate iniquity, the more of gladness you will
have, and the more glorious the testimony you will give for God. You
will be able to say, with David, "I have not hid Thy righteousness
within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation:
I have not concealed Thy loving kindness and Thy truth from the great
congregation." There will be no difficulty about declaring it. We
find it easy to declare it when people get it. We cannot keep them
quiet; they are like the early converts--they are up two or three
together; and, like Paul, we have to say, "One at a time; you shall
all prophecy, if you do it one at a time." When people get it, it
bubbles up, and runs over; "it springs up," as out great Master said,
"as a well of water, unto everlasting life." Many floods cannot
quench it; it abideth forever.

Have you got it? Have you got enough of it to lift you above your
petty, selfish interests, or are you guided by the Charity that first
looks inside to see how any proposition will affect _self_,
instead of seeing how it will affect the kingdom of God? And you,
poor sinner, who know you have not got it--I have more hope of you
than some who profess to have it. His great bowels of compassion move
towards you; He is waiting to shed abroad this love in your heart.
The feast is spread; all things are now ready. Oh! come into His
banqueting house, and sit under His banner of love for ever and ever.



CHAPTER VII.

CONDITIONS OF EFFECTUAL PRAYER.


  If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what you
  will, and it shall be done unto you.--JOHN xv. 7.

  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye
  pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.--MARK
  xi. 24.

  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all
  men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let
  him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a
  wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that
  man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.--JAMES i.5-7.

  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not
  what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh
  intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He
  that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,
  because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will
  of God.--ROMANS viii. 26,27.

I have not taken the texts in the order in which they stand, but in
the order in which they logically follow one another, and in which
they elucidate the subject.

And now, in the few remarks I wish to make, I shall try to embody
answers to the letters I have received on this subject. There is no
experience, perhaps, more common in these days than this, nothing
more constantly said to me by professing Christians: "Well, I have
prayed a long time for certain things, but I don't seem to get any
answers to my prayers." I often wonder such people don't give up
praying altogether I think I should if I never got answers.

Now I say, this is a very God-dishonoring experience, and there must
be something wrong somewhere when this is the case. There must be
something wrong either with the suppliants or the Giver. Oh! I feel
often what a deeply God-dishonoring thing it is when Christians meet,
as they frequently do, up and down the country, to pray for a
revival, to pray for a specific thing in their Churches and in their
families, and it never comes.

Some years ago, when the wave of revival was sweeping over Ireland
and America, you know the Churches in this country held united
prayer-meetings to pray that it might come to England; but it did not
come, and the infidels wagged their heads, and wrote in their newspapers:
"See, the Christians' God is either deaf or gone a-hunting, for they
have had prayer-meetings all over the land for a revival, and it has
not come." Oh! how my cheeks burned with shame as I thought of it;
how I mourned over it! I knew it was not because our God was asleep
--not because His arm was shortened--not because His bowels of
compassion did not yearn over sinners--not because he could not have
poured out His Spirit and have given us the same glorious times of
refreshing they had in other places. _That was not the reason_.
There was only one reason, and that was, that His people asked amiss.

They did not understand the conditions of prevailing prayer. They
did not fulfil them. If they had prayed till now, and maintained the
same attitude, they would not have got the answer, because there are
conditions to these promises, as to all other promises; and we may
pray ourselves black and blue in the face if we do not comply with
the conditions. God will never move an inch to meet us, and never
fulfil the promises in our experience. May you, who are awake to
perceive your responsibilities and obligations in respect to the
perishing world, take heed to my words, and take home what I
say--think about it, pray over it, try to realize it is the Lord's
message to you. These are only a tithe of the glorious promises with
respect to prayer. There are plenty of them in the Book, in which God
has bound Himself to answer the faithful prayers of His people.

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Now, why is it that the great mass of professing Christians do not
get answers to their prayers? In the first place, they are not the
CHARACTERS to whom God has made the promises. These promises are made
to God's saints--to those who keep His commandments, who walk in the
light and have fellowship with Him through the Holy Spirit, and,
therefore, the Spirit can make intercession for them. How can the
Spirit make intercession for a man when He is not in him? Those who
are walking in the light can see what sort of requests to put up,
when to put them up, and how to put them up; they see it all, because
they are _in the light_. Such people do ask, and receive. But,
alas! it is because there are so few of these that God's character is
traduced every day, and that infidels laugh at us and at our God, too.

Now, do not go round about, and try to put this off you. Who are
these promises made to? I challenge anybody to find me promises in
this Book, taken with the context (except in the case of repenting
sinners, who are a special class, and met with special promises),
except to saints. There are no promises of answer to prayer, except
to this class of character. These promises are not made to everybody,
are they? The prayer of the wicked is an abomination to God, except
it be his prayer when he is forsaking his wickedness. Then that
prayer is not an abomination; but all other prayers of the wicked
are. These promises are made to righteous people--to people who are:

First, _in fellowship with God_. "If ye abide in Me, and My
words abide in you;"--having been brought into living fellowship by a
living faith, the promises are made to those people who MAINTAIN that
union--who walk in it, who live in it, and who avail themselves of
the opportunities and privileges which Jesus has bestowed upon them
by virtue of that union.

Now, you see, friends, it is not enough that you were _once_ in
union with Jesus, in order to get answers to your prayers. I am
afraid there are thousands in a backslidden state. They have let go
the grasp of faith; they are not abiding in Christ; they are abiding
_out of Him_, and yet they are constantly praying and wondering
why God does not answer their prayers. Don't you see, the first
condition is wanting. There is no possible way of approach to the
Father but through the Son. All prayers are an abomination to God
which do not go up to Him through His Son, and in His Son, except
such as those of Cornelius, who never heard of Christ; but to people
who have ever had the light and known His Son, no prayers while out
of living union with His Son are accepted. And that does not mean
saying, "For the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ." It does not matter
much what people _say_. God never pays any attention to people's
words; it is what they mean and feel that He pays attention to; and
He knows when people really offer their prayers in union with His
Son. They are not in union, and, therefore, their prayers never rise
any higher than the room in which they offer them. They hardly get
out of their mouths; God never hears them. They are drowned and
buried in their own throats.

Oh! you young converts, never drop out of living union with Jesus.
Keep in it--hold it fast--walk in it, and you will get answers to
your prayers every day. You will be as sure of it as if you saw God
doing what you ask, and heard Him speaking to you. You will be able
to say, "I know that Thou hearest me always." Bless His name! Those
who abide in Him can say that in their measure.

The next condition of prevailing prayer, is--_obedience to the
light_. Now, what does it mean to walk in obedience? Well, it does
_not_ mean, searching this New Testament to find out how little
of God's grace will get you into Heaven! It does not mean, running
round to see what this person says and the other person says about
such and such a text, in order that you may escape from the real,
practical meaning of the text! Such people are hypocrites at heart,
whoever they are; or at least, insincere. They don't want to know
God's will; they would much rather not know it. They want to get away
from the plain, practical, common-sense meaning of the text, and then
they say, "It doesn't mean exactly what it says," and "It should be
interpreted so-and-so;" and they stroke themselves down, and try to
make themselves feel comfortable when they are traitors at heart.
_That is not walking in the light_.

Walking in the light is like walking in the sun--not running behind
a pillar there, and a tree yonder, to get away from the light. It is
coming right out, and saying, "Now, Lord Jesus; I want to know Thy
will. Lord, pour Thy light upon me. I am prepared to follow it, even
though it is to the block and to the stake."

First, desire to have the light. Oh! it makes my heart ache--I was
going to say boil--with righteous indignation, in jealousy for God's
honor, to think that He should be so traduced and blasphemed by those
who profess to love Him--who try to make out that they get wrong for
want of light. Nothing of the kind. Here is plenty of light; but you
must say, "Yes, Lord, I am willing to have it, even if it condemns
me. If it condemns my heart, my head, Lord, pour it on me. If it
condemns my life, pour it on me. If it condemns those companions,
those indulgences, pour it on me: I will give them up. If it condemns
my business, pour it on me: I will abandon such business, and sooner
die in the workhouse than continue in it. If it condemns my family
relations, I will come out from them, and follow Thee." The Lord will
always answer such a soul as that. He will put His finger down on
this sore spot and the other, and He will tell you what to do, and
you will be as sure of it as if you heard His audible voice. What
does it mean to walk in the light? Obey His voice. Don't stop to
confer with flesh and blood, but, as Paul did, get up, and set off to
commence the career which your Master commands. Paul did not stop to
confer with flesh and blood. He did not stop to reckon what it would
cost him, but on he went, and never stops, until he reaches the
block. _That_ is walking in the light--obeying--not standing,
quibbling with the Lord about it; not saying, "Oh! but,"--but
_doing_ it.

Oh! friends, no matter who preaches another Gospel to you; no matter
who comes with the doctrine that you can be accepted of God--be a
saint on any other conditions. For Christ's sake and your soul's
sake, don't believe them. As the apostle John says: "If there come
any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into
_your_ house, neither bid him God speed." You say, "But then it
is such a costly sacrifice." It is, in one sense; but when you have
paid the price, when you have made the sacrifice, when you have
entered upon the road, the joy, the light, the power, and the glory
are worth a hundred times as much. Did any man that ever got the
Pearl of great price feel that he had given too much for it, even if
he had given all that he had? _Never!_ Martyrs and confessors
have gloried in the possession of it while they have writhed on the
rack and in the flames, and you never heard one solitary testimony
that any man or woman of God ever thought that they had paid too
highly for it. Never! Do you want to have your prayers answered? That
is the way. Walk so that your own heart condemns you not. The
obedient child that lives in complacent affection with its parent has
no fear in coming up to ask for favors. It knows it will get them.
Its own heart does not condemn it. "If our own heart condemn us not,
_then_ have we confidence toward God." I defy any man to
separate confidence and obedience. If you will not be obedient, you
cannot have confidence. I challenge any Christian here to tell me
that he can go up to the throne of God in faith for any blessing,
when his own heart condemns him. He knows he cannot. HE HAS FIRST TO
GET THAT STATE OF CONDEMNATION TAKEN AWAY before he can exercise
faith for any blessing. Walk in the light, and then you shall have
fellowship with Him, and His blood will cleanse you from all sin, and
the Spirit will teach you how to pray, and what to pray for, which
the great mass of professors know nothing about.

Further, the _leading, teaching, and urging of the Holy Ghost_
is the next condition of effectual prayer. We might call these
conditions a four-linked chain, connecting our souls with the very
heart of God. First, fellowship with Jesus; second, obedience to His
commands, walking in the light; third, the intercession of the
indwelling Spirit; and fourth, the exercise of faith; and if you miss
any one of these links, your prayers are done for. You may have all
the other three, but if you miss one, you will not get answers. It
will cut communion, and there will be no response.

I am afraid a good many professors do not know what the Spirit of
intercession means. They do not know anything about the Spirit making
intercession for them with groanings that cannot be uttered. When we
get more of this Spirit of intercessory prayer in parents, we shall
see more spiritual children born. Now, the Holy Spirit says, here we
know not what to pray for as we ought, unless the Spirit teaches;
hence people are constantly, as James says, asking and not receiving,
because they ask amiss. "Ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon
your lusts"--that means, your earthly desires, affections, purposes,
bound by the horizon of earth.

Now, I believe that this is the great reason why thousands of
Christians pray and never, get answers. They ARE SELFISH IN THEIR
PRAYERS; they are earthy; they ask amiss, that they may consume it
upon their earthly desires, affections, and propensities. Mothers
tell me that they have prayed for their children for years, and not
got one of them converted. I say, "More the pity; more the shame on
you." Why? Because they prayed merely selfish, instinctive prayers,
because they were _their_ children, or because they wanted them
to be religions, so that they would not go into sin, or bring
disgrace or misery upon the family, or it would be so nice to have
them religious; but they don't want them to be righteous over much;
they don't want them to be so given up to God as to cut off the
vanities and fooleries of this world, and to give themselves up
wholly to Christ--that is too much; but just religion enough to make
them a comfort to themselves. Would _you_ answer such prayers
_if you were God?_ Hundreds and thousands of prayers are put up
every day that go no deeper and no higher than that, if the motives
were analyzed--and the Holy Ghost _does analyze_. I am afraid
many wives pray for their husbands on the same tack. They are not
troubled that their husbands are living in disobedience to God,
squandering their time, talents, and money, and robbing the kingdom
of Jesus Christ of what they might be doing for it;--the agonizing
consideration is, that, if religious, they would spend so much more
time at home; that they are wasting the money, instead of laying it
up for the children; and that, if they were religious, all this would
be right. Now, I say, God will never answer that wife's prayer for
her husband! You must think of what your husband could be for
God--what he could do for God's kingdom--how Jesus Christ has shed His
blood for him--how dishonoring a life of sin is to God; and you must
dwell on this until your heart is ready to break, and you will soon
get your husband converted, if you act wisely along with your
prayers. God hates selfishness--selfishness is the devil, the very
embodiment of him. You must get out of self; you must look at your
child always as God's, as having a precious soul redeemed with the
precious blood of Jesus, and having talents and capacities to
_glorify Him_ and spread His kingdom; and you must ground your
prayers on that, and say, "I would rather lay them in the grave, a
thousand times--rather they were poor and despised--than they should
grow up to _dishonor Thee_." Then you will get your prayers answered!

People pray about their business. God sees that the way to destroy
that man is to let him get on. He does not want money in order to
roll the old chariot along. God sees that prosperity would eat his
soul like a canker, and so He won't let him get on. The Spirit of God
never leads the soul to a selfish prayer. No; it leads the soul to
weep because men keep not His law, to cry more about His interests
than its own. It is willing for its own house to lie desolate, if
that will promote the spread of God's kingdom. It is willing for the
sparrow to find a nest on its own altar, if by that it can replenish
and glorify the altar of Jehovah.

Then comes the last link--_faith_. Here is another secret. No
believer can exercise faith for anything that the Holy Ghost does not
lead him up to. You may pray, and pray, but you will never exercise
faith until you have the Spirit making intercession in you. There is
very little difficulty about believing with people who have taken the
three preceding steps. Those who are in fellowship with Jesus, those
who are walking in the light, those who have the Holy Ghost as an
interceding Spirit--they know what to pray for; they know what the
mind of the Spirit is; they know how the Spirit is leading them, and
they can march up to the throne and "ask and receive." They know
their request is according to the mind of God, and they can wrestle,
if need be, like the Syrophenician woman, if He sees fit to try their
faith. He does not always answer at once. He lets them wrestle with
groans that cannot be uttered; but they know the Spirit is making
intercession for them, and they hold on sometimes amidst great
discouragement and temptation till the answer comes. They get the
assurance of faith, which says, "Yes, it shall be done." People look
at them with wonder. Christian friends know the thing they are
praying for has not come, and say, "You look as glad as if yon had
it;" "I have got the earnest: I know it is coming: I have the
assurance that it shall be done." Now, every praying parent ought to
wrestle till that is got for every child. You never ought to leave
off till then, and then train as well as pray--co-work with God: that
is the law of the kingdom, all the way through. Believe that ye
receive it, and ye _shall_ have it. Oh! the confusion, the
jumbling there is, in dealing with poor souls at that point. People
say, "Believe you are saved, and you are saved." I have heard
Christians give that advice to souls many a time. "Believe you are
saved, and you are saved." Believe a lie, and it will come true. Is
that God's philosophy? What is the use of telling a person to believe
he is saved _before_ he is saved? That is telling him to believe
a lie. People say, "Believe you are sanctified, and you are
sanctified." Indeed! When were you sanctified? God never tells a
person to believe a thing until it happens. He has made the
bestowment of the gift to be simultaneous with the exercise of the
faith. Believe that ye receive, and ye shall have--not that ye did
receive an hour ago, for that would not be true; not that ye will
receive an hour hence, for that would be presumption. There is no
such promise, but believe that ye do now receive, and ye shall have.
"I will never disappoint the man who dares trust me to that extent."
He shall have it. You say the age of miracles is past. Yes, because
the age of that sort of faith is past. You will get miracles back
when that sort of faith returns. God has bound Himself over to the
faith of His real people, and He would sooner break all the laws of
nature, than He would break the laws of grace. He can easily set
aside a law of nature; but He will never set aside a law of grace. He
has bound Himself to faith--the only power in the universe to which
He has bound Himself--and nobody ever rose up in this world yet, and
said, "I trusted God, and He deceived me." Faith means TRUST--faith
means ABANDONMENT--as if you were dying, and you had nothing left but
the naked promise of God. You say, "I am dying: I must trust now,"
and that man jumps on to the promise. He gives up experimenting, and
really trusts; and you have seen the light come into his eyes; you
have heard the song of praise burst from his lips, because he
believed he received, and he did receive.

Now, then, some of you who have written to me, know you are living
in fellowship with Jesus. Some of you have lately commenced to walk
in the light. You have cut off and put away the idols; you have
abandoned yourself to the will of God, and sworn, by His grace, that
you will follow Him all the way. You _do_ feel the Holy Ghost is
in you. Oh! I entreat you to obey fully, to let the Spirit have His
way. Do not restrain Him. Don't think it will hurt your bodies: don't
think it is too much; don't think you are getting fanatical; don't
think that, after all, God does not require this kind of thing--follow
the Spirit. Let the Spirit lead you, and groan through you;
let the Spirit wrestle with God through you--follow Him. If we had
more of this in these services, we should have more fruit; and if the
church had more of this, there would be more souls born into the
kingdom.

It was one of the things in which I grieved the Spirit of God in my
early days that I would not let Him, to the extent He would have
done, make me a woman of prayer; and yet, in comparison with many,
perhaps, I was one. He used to lay particular people and subjects on
my heart, so that I could not help praying; but oh! how bitterly I
have regretted and wept before the Lord that I did not let Him have
all His way with me in this respect. Take warning! and you whom He is
beginning to lead, let Him lead you. Pour out your souls for others
and with others. I believe that more souls are convinced in real
prayer, than in speaking. I have noticed this many a time. I have
seen at the bottom of a great hall or theatre, or in the gallery, a
lot of the roughest men conceivable, behaving in the most unseemly
manner, arrested by the influence of prayer. Perhaps, when the
rowdyism has been ready to break into open tumult, a little woman has
stretched out her hands over the congregation, and said, "Now, let us
pray;" and I have seen the whole mass of men assume an attitude of
quietness and reverence. I have watched the aspect of the
congregation, and seen great, rough, black-faced fellows get their
heads down, and sometimes wipe their eyes; and when we have got up to
sing, there has been no more disorderly conduct, but they have
settled down with the solemnity of death, to listen. Hundreds of them
were convinced of sin while under that prayer. It was the Holy Ghost
wrestling for those souls in the heart of that woman, that struck
them with conviction.

Prayer is agony of soul--wrestling of the Spirit. You know how men
and women deal with one another when they are in desperate
earnestness for something to be done. That is prayer, whether it be
to man or God; and when you get your heart influenced, and melted,
and wrought up, and burdened by the Holy Ghost for souls, you will
have power, and you will never pray but somebody will be
convinced,--some poor soul's dark eyes will be opened, and spiritual
life will commence.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE PERFECT HEART.


  For the eyes of the Lord ran to and fro throughout the whole earth,
  to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect
  toward Him--2 CHRON. xvi. 9.

This passage occurs in the history of Asa, one of the most godly and
devoted kings that ever sat upon the throne of Judah. We are told in
the fourteenth chapter that he commenced his reign by setting himself
to destroy the idolatry into which the whole nation had been betrayed
by its former ruler, and to restore the worship and service of the
God of Israel. He set himself to bring back the nation to its
allegiance and obedience to God; and his success is a great
encouragement to any who shall set themselves, single-handed and with
a perfect heart, towards God, to do this in any circle, under any
circumstances.

_He succeeded_. God blessed him in his efforts to purge his kingdom
inside, and God also delivered him from his enemies outside, and enabled
him by His power to defeat the king of Ethiopia, who came against him
with an exceeding great army, because King Asa was perfect in his heart
towards God.

When this king came up against him, Asa went and cried unto the
Lord, and cast himself upon his God, trusting Him to deliver him, and
God never disappointed any man, either before or since Asa's day, who
did that. God delivered his enemies into his hand and made him a
successful and happy king, over a prosperous and increasing people.

But by-and-bye, after many years, for Asa was perfect in his heart
towards the Lord for many years of his long reign; but whether it
were, as, alas! too often happens, that a life of ease and prosperity
brought forth in Asa the results of partial backsliding, we know not;
but as years went on, another war was declared, and this time it was
the king of Israel who came up against the king of Judah. What did
Asa do? Did he go, as formerly, and cry unto the Lord, and put his
battle into His hands? No, he did not. He had left His first love; he
had become, in a measure, untrue to the Lord God of Israel. He forgot
where his strength lay; his spiritual perceptions had become dim; he
had lost his realization of God's ability to help and deliver him out
of the hands of his enemies, and so he fell back upon worldly policy.
He went down to Assyria and courted Ben-hadad, the king of Assyria,
and said, "Come and help me, that my enemies may depart, for I am
sore pressed." Ah! what a picture of backsliders. On another
occasion, when Jehosophat made an ungodly alliance, a prophet met him
and said, "Should'st thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate
the Lord?" No man ever did this without being sorely whipped, as poor
Asa was. He succeeded, indeed, in the battle, and won the victory. It
was a lawful end, but he accomplished it by unlawful means. He won
the victory, and, I dare say, he was congratulating himself, and
stroking his beard in self-complacency, when, lo! the prophet comes
to deliver God's message to him, and he says:--

"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.

"Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many
chariots and horsemen? yet because thou didst rely on the Lord He
delivered them into thine hand.

"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth, to
show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect
towards Him. Herein thou hast done foolishly; therefore from
henceforth thou shalt have wars"--the very thing he went to Assyria
to seek to avoid. He wanted _peace_, not war, and he went down
to Assyria to enable him to spend the remainder of his days in peace,
when, lo! the Word of God goes forth, "Thou shalt have wars." He
was chastised in the very thing for which he sold himself and his
God. "Be sure thy sin will find thee out." It is God's way to
chastise His children by those very things in which they sell His
interests. "Thou shalt have wars."

But we want to deal specially with the lesson which the prophet
draws from this event; for he says, "Wherefore didst thou go to
Assyria? Wherefore hast thou sinned against God? Hast thou forgotten
who the God of Israel was? Didst thou not know that the eyes of the
Lord run throughout the whole earth?" He would have helped thee now,
Asa, as much as in the past. He will help any man who is whole-hearted
towards Him--that trusts in Him. Now, I say, this is the
lesson which the prophet draws, not only for Asa, but for all the
Asas since his day, and those who are yet to come, for every man and
woman who professes to be a servant of God, the prophet sounds down
to the ages that "the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the
whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart
is perfect towards Him."

Now, what is this perfect heart? "Ah!" you say, "that is the point."
Yes, that is the point, and we will try to show what kind of a heart
this is. It must be A DIFFERENT KIND OF HEART TO HEARTS IN GENERAL;
all hearts are not perfect towards God, or else His eyes would not
have to be running to and fro throughout the earth to find them. They
would be plentiful enough if they were the common sort of hearts, but
evidently they are a different kind of hearts to ordinary hearts; and
another thing is evident on the face of the text, that these kind of
hearts are very precious in the sight of God. He delights in them; He
makes greater store by one such than He does by thousands of the
other kinds of hearts, of which there are so many. I say, these two
lessons everybody with common sense will admit at once--that these
hearts are not the common hearts, and that they are very precious in
the sight of God.

Now, what is the meaning of this term "perfect heart," referring to
the hearts of God's children, all the way through the Bible? As you
know, I like to establish my points in the mouths of two or three
witnesses, I will give you two or three texts, that we may find out
God's meaning of this term, and then we will give you the very lowest
rendering, where all schools are agreed, for I don't want
controversy. We will just look at Psalm xxxvii. 37: "Mark the perfect
man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace." There
_are_ such people as God means in that verse. Psalm lxiv. 4:
"That they may shoot in secret at the perfect," who have always been
a favorite target of the devil. He does not shoot much at people
whose hearts are perfect towards the Lord. It is at those perfect
people he shoots. "Suddenly do they shoot at him," perhaps while he
is thinking they are his friends. "Suddenly they shoot, and fear not."

"Be ye perfect," says the Saviour, "even as your Father which is in
Heaven is perfect." That means something. We will try to find out
what it does mean (Matt. xix. 21)--

"Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou
hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven:
and come _and_ follow Me."

And, again, at 1 Cor. ii. 6--

"Howbeit, we speak wisdom among them that are perfect."

And (2 Timothy iii. 17)--

"That the man of God may he perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all
good works."

There are numbers of others, but these are samples, and I suppose
all Christians attach _some_ meaning to these terms. They must
be terms signifying a great difference between the persons who are
spoken of and ordinary men and women. Now, what do they mean? Well,
the very lowest rendering of all divines and all schools is this,
that it means _sincerity_ and _thoroughness_. Well, that is all I want.
Give me a man sincere and thorough in his love, and that is all I want;
that will stretch through all the ramifications of his existence; it
will go to the ends of his fingers and his toes, through his eyes, and
through his tongue, to his wife, and to his family, to his shop, and to
his business, and to his circle in the world. That is what I mean by
_holiness_! Then, taking the lowest translation, it means that a man is
whole-hearted in love, and thorough out-and-out in service! Amen. For
that man who is thus perfect towards God, God will indeed show Himself
strong in more ways than one!

This cannot mean a merely natural heart, it must mean a renewed
heart, because there are no perfect hearts by nature. There is no one
in this sense that doeth good and sinneth not, for every child of
Adam has gone astray like a lost sheep, has done the things he ought
not, and left undone the things he ought to have done, and the whole
world has become guilty before God. There are no naturally perfect
hearts. It must mean, then, a heart renewed by the Holy Ghost, put
right with God, and then kept right. A heart cannot be kept right
until it has been _put right_, and that is the secret of the
failure with some of you. You are trying to bring forth fruits before
the tree is planted. You are looking for the fruits of a perfect
heart before you have got one. You may well be disappointed. You must
get your heart renewed, and then kept right by the power of the Holy
Ghost.

Then, what does this perfect heart imply?

1. _A heart perfect in its loyalty to God_, thoroughly given over to
God's side, irrespective of consequences,--_loyal_. These are the hearts
that God wants. This was the difference between David and Saul. There
was not so much difference in the greater part of Saul's outward life,
when compared with the life of David. It was only the prophet Samuel,
perhaps, who knew the difference, and a few close observers; but the
difference was, that David was loyal to God, and God calls him, for this
reason, a man after His own heart.

From the first calling of David from the sheepfolds, right to the
end, with one or two exceptions, during the whole of his life, he was
loyal to God, and, if you will carefully search his history, you will
find that in all his wars, and all his dealings with the nations
round about, and with the leaders of affairs in his own kingdom--in
everything,

David was loyal to God. It was the interests of God's kingdom that
lay at David's heart--not his own honor, ease, or aggrandizement--not
his own fame or riches, or building himself a house--it was the house
of his God that was dear to his heart. He was loyal; whereas Saul was
loyal only as far as it served his own purposes and interests. Oh!
how many such Sauls there are in these days. When God's commandments
went counter with his notions, he openly set God at naught, and did
as he liked. He sacrificed God's interests to his own. He was unloyal
at heart, hence he was a traitor, and never could learn the way of
the Lord. He was never perfect towards the Lord his God, and, at
last, God cast him off, and Samuel did also, and you know what his
end was. Just the difference between the two--loyal and unloyal.

A heart perfect towards God! What does it mean? It means--

2. Perfect in its _obedience_. That man or woman who has this
kind of a heart, ceases to pick and choose amongst the commandments
of God, which he shall obey, and which he shall not--he ceases to
have his own will, though sometimes he may have a struggle with his
own will, and the way that God may call him to take may look to him
as if it were a dangerous or risky way, and he may wait a little bit,
to be thoroughly satisfied; but when once satisfied that it is God's
way, the true child will not hesitate. He confers not with flesh and
blood, but on he goes, irrespective of consequences. This was Paul's
kind of obedience. He conferred not with flesh and blood; he counted
all things dung and dross, and he went on doing so to the end--thorough
in his obedience.

People come to us and want to know what they are to do; they feel
that they are only half-hearted in God's service; they have neither
joy nor power, and say, "What must I do?" and we take, as God helps
us, the dissecting knife, and try to find out the difficulty. We get
them down under the blaze of the Holy Spirit's light, and try to
probe them and find where they are wrong. Perhaps the Lord leads us
to the sore spot, and we point out the difficulty, but, instead of
obeying, they shrink away. They look ahead, and they see that to obey
the light will involve loss of some kind--perhaps reputation, wealth,
family associations, ease, or loss of friends, loss of temporal
comforts, loss of good business. Loss is in the background, and they
see it. They know where we are leading them to, and they slip back;
they do not want to see, and yet they do not want to consider
themselves dishonest, so they turn their heads away, and will not
look in the direction of the light, smoothing it all over and
singing--

  "Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    That were an off'ring far too small," &c.

That is not a perfect heart, but a partial heart towards the Lord God.

The partial heart, so common, alas, now-a-days, wants to serve God a
little. It is willing to go a little way with God, but not all the
way; so that, taking the lowest interpretation, that is not a perfect
heart towards the Lord. Can it be expected that the Lord should shew
Himself strong in behalf of such people? Do you think you would if
you were God?

Suppose you were a king, and had a prince or statesman who was
serving you very valiantly and devotedly while it served himself;
but, suppose the tables were turned, and you were dethroned and cast
away into exile, your name being bandied about the nation where you
once reigned as king, in disgrace and dishonor; suppose this
statesman gave you up, and said, "Oh! I am going to be on the side of
the reigning monarch. I was very devoted to this man while he
reigned, but I cannot afford to be devoted to him now his interests
draggle in the dust; I must be on the winning side." What would you
think of such a man? And if you were restored to your kingdom and
power, would you show yourself strong on behalf of such a man? No;
you would remember, as David did, the man who cursed you. But if you
had a prince or statesman who followed you into exile, who ministered
to you in secret, who tried to hold up your interests, who contended
for your righteousness and justice, and held up your name and tried
to make the people see that you were a good and true man, who held on
to you, when all the nation was calling you traitor--if you came back
to your throne, would you not show yourself strong in behalf of that
man? Of course you would. The Lord says He will show Himself strong
in behalf of those of such a heart towards Him.

You masters here have a servant--a clever, smart man; you know how
well he can serve you, and how valuable he can be, and would be if he
were true; but you have reason to believe that he will only go with
you as far as it will be for his own interests; he will serve you as
far as he can serve himself, too, but, if he can get up by putting
you down, you may lie there. What would you say to such a man? You
would say, "I shall never show myself strong for him." So God is not
likely to show Himself strong for people who are not of a perfect
heart. A lady said to me, "I have been doing this and doing that for
years, but I have no power; why don't I have it?" I said, "Because
you are not true to God. He will give it to anybody who is true to
Him, and He can see into your heart, and knows you are not." Why will
He not show Himself strong in your behalf? _Because you do not show
yourself thorough in His behalf._ The moment you show yourself
thorough, that moment will He show Himself strong for you. If you had
been in Daniel's place you would not have done as he did. Daniel was
one of the perfect-hearted men; he served his God when he was in
prosperity. He set his window open every day. Then his enemies
persuaded the king to make a decree that no man should pray but to
this king for so many days. "Now," they said, "we shall have him."
But Daniel just did as he was wont, he went and prayed with his
window open. You say, "That was demonstrative religion, that was
courting opposition. What need was there for him to make this
display; could he not have shut the window and gone into an inner
room? That was just like you Salvation-Army people, you always make a
demonstration. Why could he not have gone into an inner chamber and
prayed?" Because he would be thorough for his God in adversity, in
the face of his enemies, as he was in prosperity. So he went and
prayed with open window to the God of Heaven, and because _He
is_ the God of Heaven, He is able to take care of His own. His
heart was perfect towards the Lord his God.

3. _This perfect heart is perfect in its trust_:--and, perhaps,
that ought to have come first, for it is the very root of all.

Oh, how beautiful Abraham was in the eyes of God; how God gloried
over him. How do I know that Abraham had a perfect heart towards God?
Because he trusted Him. No other proof--no less proof--would have
been of any use. I dare say he was compassed with infirmities, had
many erroneous views, manward and earthward, but his heart was
perfect towards God. Do you think God would have failed in His
promise to Abraham? Abraham trusted Him almost to the blood of Isaac,
and God showed Himself strong in his behalf, and delivered him, and
made him the father of the faithful; crowned him with everlasting
honor, so that his name, from generation to generation, has been a
pillar of strength to the Lord's people, and a crown of glory to his
God.



CHAPTER IX.

HOW TO WORK FOR GOD WITH SUCCESS.


  Son, go work to-day in my vineyard.--MATT. xxi. 28.

  Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.--LUKE xiv. 23.

I am to speak of some needful qualifications for successful labor;
and I say:--

First, that there are certain laws which govern success in the
kingdom of grace as well as in the kingdom of nature, and you must
study these laws, and adapt yourself to them. It would be in vain for
the husbandman to scatter his seed over the unbroken ground or on
pre-occupied soil. You must plough and harrow and put your seed in
carefully, and in proper proportion, and at the right time, and then
you must water and weed and wait for the harvest. And just so in
Divine things. Oh! we shall find out, by-and-by, that the laws of the
spiritual kingdom are quite as certain and unerring in their
operation as the laws of the natural kingdom, and, perhaps, a great
deal more so; but, through the blindness and obtuseness and unbelief
of our hearts, we could not, or would not find them out. People get
up and fluster about, and expect to be able to work for God without
any thought or care or trouble. For the learning of earthly
professions they will give years of labor and thought, but in work
for God they do not seem to think it worth while to take the trouble
to think and ponder, to plan and experiment, to try means, to pray
and wrestle with God for wisdom. Oh! no: they will not be at the
_trouble_. Then they fail, grow discouraged, and give up.

Now, my friends, this is not the way to begin work for God. Begin as
soon as you like--begin at once--but begin in the right way. Begin by
praying much for Him to show you how, and to equip you for the work,
and begin in a humble, submissive, teachable spirit.

Study the New Testament with special reference to this, and you will
be surprised how every page of it will give you increased light. You
will see that God holds you absolutely responsible for every iota of
capacity and influence He has given you, that He expects you to
improve every moment of your time, every faculty of your being, every
particle of your influence, and every penny of your money _for Him_.
When you once get _this_ light, it will be a marvelous guide in all the
other particulars and ramifications of your life. Study your plans. How
men in earthly warfare study plans of stratagem, and adopt all manner of
measures in order that they may take the enemy by surprise! But, alas!
how little care and attention God's people give to taking souls; and yet
it is _far harder work to take souls than it is to take cities_.

How surprised I have often been at the assumption of people who,
perhaps, never gave one hour's consecutive thought in their lives to
the best means of doing certain work, and yet they will pronounce an
opinion right off as to certain modes and measures which have been
tried and proved successful in the lives of some of the most
successful laborers for God. They will say, "Oh! I don't believe in
it." "Oh! it is all nonsense, ridiculous, wrong!" while, perhaps,
those people whom they condemn have been pleading, and weeping, and
studying, and experimenting, and almost sacrificing their heart's
blood to try to find out the best means of winning souls for Christ.

I shall never forget the shock that came over me once in a large
gathering of Christian people, when a gentleman, who occupied a
somewhat prominent position, was giving out a hymn which contained a
verse something about spending one hour in watching with Jesus. He
stopped in the middle of this hymn, and said words to this effect: "I
am afraid we are verily guilty here. I do not know that I dare say I
ever watched one consecutive hour with Jesus in my life." I shall
never forget it. My cheeks burned with shame. I said, "Oh! my God, if
these are the leaders, we need not wonder at the people." A man
occupying such a position to dare to say it! The Lord have mercy on
him. No wonder the Lord's work is done in such a bungling way! I say
those who want to be successful in winning souls require to watch not
only days but nights. They want much of the Holy Ghost, for it is
true still, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and
fasting." We have grown wiser than our Lord now-a-days; but, I tell
you, it is the same old-fashioned way, and if you want to pour out
living waters upon souls, either publicly or privately, you will have
to drink largely at the fountain yourself, and have them very ready
to let out! If you have not, your talk will be as sounding brass or
tinkling cymbal. Oh! it makes my soul weep tears of blood to think of
the misdirected effort that will be put forth this very Christian
Sabbath. Plenty of labor, but how little comes of it?--all because it
is cramped, and ruined, and misdirected, for want of thought, and
prayer, and a single eye for the salvation of souls. May God rouse us
up to this, and make us willing to think, and labor, and learn, and
wrestle, and sacrifice, in order that we may do it.

Then, further, the second qualification for successful labor is
power to get the truth _home_ to the _heart_.

Not to _deliver_ it! I wish the word had never been coined in connection
with Christian work. "Deliver" it, indeed--_that_ is not in the Bible!
No, no; not deliver it; but drive it home--send it in--make it _felt_.
That is your work;--not merely to say it--not quietly and gently to put
it before the people. Here is just the difference between a
self-consuming, soul-burdened, Holy Ghost, successful ministry, and a
careless, happy-go-lucky, easy sort of thing, that just rolls it out
like a lesson, and goes home, holding itself in no way responsible for
the consequences. Here is _all_ the difference, either in public or
individual labor. God has made you responsible, not for delivering the
truth, but for GETTING IT IN--getting it home, fixing it in the
conscience as a red-hot iron, as a bolt, straight from His throne; and
He has placed at your disposal the power to do it, and if you do not do
it, _blood_ will be on your skirts! Oh! this genteel way of putting the
truth! How God hates it! "If you please, dear friends, will you listen?
If you please, will you be converted? Will you come to Jesus? or shall
we read just this, that, and the other?"--no more like apostolic
preaching than darkness is like light.

God says, "GO AND DO IT: compel them to come in. That is your work.
I have nothing to do with the measures by which you do it providing
they are lawful."

"Use just the same diligence, earnestness, and determination that
you would if you were resolutely set on any human project, and always
be sure that I will be with you to the end of the world. Never doubt
My presence when you are set on My business. I will be with you, and
I will succeed you." Do it--the Lord help us to get the truth home!

This was the way with Paul, and this was the way with Jesus. Paul
says: "Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men."
Oh! what a beautiful insight this gives us into the ministry. Why do
you persuade men, Paul? "Because I know the terror of the Lord that
is coming on, and because we thus judge that, if One died for all,
then were all dead. Therefore, I persuade men." He did not give up
when he had put it before them. He carried them on his heart, and he
says, "That by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every
one night and day with tears." He wept it in, as well as drove it in,
with his logic, and his eloquence, and with the power of the Holy
Ghost in him. Make it go in--make your words felt; don't talk to them
in that sickly, languid way that makes no impression--make them know
it. If you have not enough of the Holy Ghost for this, go to your
closet till you have, and then come and drive the Word home to their
conscience as a two-edged sword, dividing asunder soul and spirit.

The second thing indispensible to success is _simplicity_:--naturalness
in putting the truth.

You have not only to get it home, but, in order to do this, give it
them simply and naturally. If I were asked to put into one word what
I consider the greatest obstacle to the success of Divine Truth, even
when uttered by sincere and real people, I should say, _stiffness_.
It seems as if people, the moment they come to religion, assume a
different tone, a different look, and manner--short, become unnatural.

People sometimes come to me and say, "Oh! I would give the world to
be natural, but I have got into this way of talking to people. It
seems as though I cannot be natural. Can you help me?" I say, "Yes, I
can help you, by this advice--Determine, by the help of God, that you
will break the neck of this bondage. I will tell you how to begin.
Begin with your family. Break off right in the middle of conversation
on earthly matters, and begin to talk about their souls, or your own
experience, or drop down on your knees, and begin to pray." "Oh! but
it would be such a break." It should not be a break to talk to your
Father. If you are in the spirit of it there will be no break. This
will help you, more than anything else. Determine that you will
overcome this sanctimoniousness, which is the curse of a great deal
of the religion of this day. We want SANCTIFIED HUMANITY, not
sanctimoniousness. You want to talk to your friends in the same way
about religion, as you talk about earthly things. If a friend is in
difficulties, and he comes to you, you do not begin talking in a
circumlocutory manner about the general principles on which men can
secure prosperity, and the sad mistakes of those who have not secured
it; you come straight to the point, and, if you feel for him, you
take him by the button-hole, or put your hand in his, and say, "My
dear fellow, I am very sorry for you; is there any way in which I can
help you?" If you have a friend afflicted with a fatal malady, and
you see it, and he does not, you don't begin to descant on the power
of disease and the way people may secure health, but you say, "My
dear fellow, I am afraid this hacking cough is more serious than you
think, and that flush on your cheek is a bad sign. I am afraid you
are ill--let me counsel you to seek advice." That is the way people
talk about earthly things. Now, do exactly so about spiritual things.
If your friend is a spiritual bankrupt, tell him so. Tell him where
he is going, and that the reckoning day is coming, and that he will
be in God's prison-house very soon, and that, if the creditor once
gets hold of him, and shuts him up, he will never get out till he has
paid the uttermost farthing. If your friend has a spiritual disease,
tell him so, and deal just as straight and earnestly with him as you
would about his body. Tell him you are praying for him, and the very
concern that he reads in your eyes, will wake him up, and he will
begin to think it is time he was concerned about himself. Try to
attain this simple, easy, natural way of appealing to people about
their souls. I believe if all real Christians would attain this, and
act upon it, this country would be shaken from end to end!

Thirdly, you must be in _earnest--desperate_, I would like to say.

And, indeed, friends, settle this as a truth, that you will never
make any other soul realize the verities of eternal things, any
further than you realize them yourself. You will beget in the soul of
your hearer, exactly the degree of realization which the Spirit of
God gives to you, and no more; therefore, if you are in a dreamy,
cosy, half-asleep condition, you will only beget the same kind of
realization in the souls who hear you. You must be wide awake, quick,
alive, feeling deeply in sympathy with the truth you utter, or it
will produce no result.

Here is the reason why we have such a host of stillborn, sinewless,
ricketty, powerless spiritual children. They are born of half-dead
parents, a sort of sentimental religion, which does not take hold of
the soul, which has no depth of earth, no grasp, no power in it, and
the result is, a sickly crop of sentimental converts. Oh! the Lord give
us a real robust, living, hardy Christianity, full of zeal and faith,
which shall bring into the kingdom of God, lively, well-developed
children, full of life and energy, instead of these poor, sentimental
ghosts that are hopping around us. Oh! friends, we want this vivid
realization ourselves. If we have it we shall beget it in others.
Oh! get hold of God. Ask Him to baptize you with His Spirit "till
the zeal of His house eats you up." This Spirit will burn His way
through all obstacles of flesh and blood, of forms, proprieties,
and respectabilities--of death, and rottenness of all descriptions!
He will burn His way through, and produce living and telling results
in the hearts of those to whom you speak. Earnestness--such
earnestness that it comes to desperation--like that of Paul, who
counted all things but dross; yea, and who counted not his life dear
unto him. That was the secret. He counted not his life, nor anything
that constitutes life--liberty, pleasure, enjoyment, friends,
reputation, ease, &c.,--all on the altar, all was in the scale. He
counted none of those dear unto him, so that he might win the
perfection, the fulness of Christ in his own soul, and the salvation
of the souls around him.

Oh! what a LAUGHING-STOCK TO HELL is a light, frivolous, easy,
lukewarm professor. Oh! what a shame and puzzle to the angels in
Heaven, and what a supreme disgust to God. "I would thou wert cold or
hot. So, then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I
will spue thee out of My mouth." Oh! what will that be? Talk about
shame! Think of that! Shame! Some of you feel it going into the
streets for God. You feel it when a few people see you kneel down
here! Think of being spewed out of the mouth of God before an
assembled universe. What will that be? God helping me, I will avoid
that I will sooner hang with Jesus on the cross, between two thieves,
than I will bear that shame. "_I would thou wert cold or hot!_"

Some of you say, in your letters, that you will have this
whole-heartedness. You say that you have given up all, and that you
are consecrating yourself to a life of labor. Now, be _hot_. I know
you will burn the fingers of the Pharisees. Never mind that. I know
you will fire their consciences, like Samson's foxes did the corn.
Never mind that. _Be hot._ God likes hot saints. Be determined
that you will be hot. They will call you a fool: they did Paul. They
will call you a fanatic, and say, "This fellow is a troubler of
Israel"; but you must reply, "It is not I, but ye and your father's
house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord." Turn
the charge upon them. Hot people are never a trouble to hot people.
The hotter we are the nearer we get, and the more we love one
another. It is the cold people that are troubled by the hot ones. The
Lord help you to be HOT.

Then another indispensable condition is the surrendering of _all
our powers_.

There must be no holding back. "Cursed be he that holdeth back his
sword from blood." That curse is resting on Christendom to-day. Oh!
they will thrust the sword a little way in, but they will not go in
to the core. They dare not draw blood--the soldiers of this age--for
their lives. They dare not touch a man to the quick, because, alas!
they are looking to themselves, and thinking what people will say of
THEM, instead of what God will say of them. You must not be afraid of
blood if you are to be a true warrior of the Lord Jesus Christ. You
must not be afraid to say, if need be, "Oh! generation of vipers, who
hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? "You must not be
afraid to say, if need be, "You have made my Father's house a den of
thieves," if you save some of them by doing it.

Oh! this accursed sycophancy; I was going to say, this accursed fear
to brave the censure of the world--this accursed making good evil and
evil good, as if God were altogether such an one as ourselves. Don't
you think He sees through the vile sham? Oh! my friends, if we don't
mend in this respect, He will come in judgment before long, and we
shall find out then the difference between the precious and the vile,
if we do not find out before. If you want to be a successful worker,
you must make up your minds to begin with, that you will be CRUCIFIED.

As a dear minister once said to somebody, when he was arguing with
him about being so hard in the pulpit, "I don't care." "Oh!" said the
other, "Don't you know what became of 'Don't care?'" "Yes," he said,
"He was crucified, and I am ready to be crucified alongside of him."
When you are in the right, don't care. You can but be crucified, and
it will soon be over; and then the Book says, "They that suffer with
Him will also reign with Him, and they shall be glorified together."
It would be a wonderful thing to be glorified alone, but, oh, think
of being glorified together!

A gentleman said lately, "I have been thinking a great deal about
the glory. It is a wonderful thing--that glory that is to follow.
This would be worth a man sitting on the dunghill all his life to
obtain." I looked at him, and thought, perhaps you are nearer to it
than you think, and perhaps I am, too. Ah! it _is_ a wonderful thing,
that glory that is to follow. Then let us be willing to suffer with Him
and for Him. Make up your mind to be crucified at the start, and then it
will be easy.

Further, _complete abandonment_ is a condition of successful labor.

It is so in anything. What would you think of a soldier who was
always reckoning how much it was to cost, and when he should get
back, or whether it was worth the sacrifice? You would say, "He is of
no use to the British Army. We want men who will go in to win at all
costs." Now, God wants men and women who will go in to win, who
believe in winning, who know they have the power to win, and who
count _all things_ loss in comparison to winning. Do you want
success? If you do not come to that first, you will never get it.

Fourthly--_You must give up, kick out of the way, trample underfoot, all
that hinders._

_Reputation_. Perhaps there are some ministers here. There were
some last Sunday, and there were some the Sunday before. Some of you
have written and others have talked to me. You say, "It would be such
an entire breaking from one's circle." Exactly. Some say, "You see,
the inevitable consequences of setting up this high standard would be
a constant running of the sword into some of your best hearers and
your best friends." Exactly; that is giving your sword to blood. You
would not think much of drawing the blood of an enemy--it is the
blood of your _friends_ that is the test! I know all about it; I
have been there. I was there a long while once. It was my own sore
spot. The devil said, "If you begin preaching they will call you an
impudent woman," and I felt it would be better almost to go to hell
than have that said about me. He said, "They will put you in the
newspapers, and say all manner of coarse and vulgar things about
you;" and God only knows what that was to my soul; but I battled and
struggled with it for a long while, until I said, at last, "Lord, I
don't care what they call me--I give myself to Thee to win souls."
Have I ever regretted it? Shall I ever regret it? No; He will take
care of your reputation. Give it up to Him, my brother. The Scribes
and the Pharisees never had anything good to say of Jesus coming in
the flesh. Give up your reputation--follow Him. If it must be, decide
to go after Him to Gethsemane, to Golgotha and the cross. Never
mind--follow Him. Give up your reputation.

Then, your habits. How ashamed some of you will be who have made the
mere Paris-born frivolities of society stand in the way of your
consecration to Christ; and yet people who do this say they are
Christians. I don't know; I cannot believe it. There is drinking;
they will have a glass of wine. Very well, you can have it; but you
shall not have the wine of the kingdom. Professors will dress like
the prostitute of Paris. Very well; but they shall not be the bride
of the Lamb. He will not walk in the streets with them, nor sit at
the same table. You can go to parties where it is said there are only
religious people, but where you know all manner of gossip and
Christless chit-chat is going on, which you would be awfully ashamed
the Master should hear, and from which you retire with no appetite
for prayer. You can go to all this, but I defy you to have the Holy
Ghost at the same time. I won't stop to argue it; I ONLY KNOW YOU
CANNOT DO IT. All that will have to be put aside and given up. You
say, "That is a sore point." Yes; I know that is driving the sword to
blood.

Fifthly.--You must consecrate your money to be used for God.

I once heard an old veteran saint say, and I thought it was
extravagant at the time, "I consider the use of money the surest test
of a man's character." I thought, no, surely his use of his wife and
children is a surer test than that; but I have lived to believe his
sentiment. Hence, you see how human experience justifies Divine
wisdom--"the love of money is the root of all evil". So it is, in one
form or other. God never uses anybody largely until they have given
up their money. I simply state a fact. We know it is so by experience
and the history of God's people. You must give up your money as an
end: saving it for its own sake, or the gratification of your selfish
purposes or those of your children--it must be all given to God, to
whom it belongs, being entirely used in His service. If you want to
be a successful laborer for souls, you will have to do that at the
threshhold. Give up your money to the Lord. If you think it right to
keep some of it, keep it to use it for Him as you go; and be as
strict with yourself, to your Heavenly Father, as you would be with
your secretary or clerk to yourself, and then you will be all right.

It is a narrow and difficult path. I tremble for you who have got
it, and I am glad I have not; but as you have got it, I give you the
best advice I know. It is an awful thing to have it, but the next
best thing is to consecrate it and use it to His glory; and if you do
not, it will eat into your soul as doth a canker. To your spiritual
nature it will be as a cancer is to your physical nature. They are
Paul's words, not mine.

I must say a word about _the reward_.

You think I am always driving you _to do_. Yes, because you
need it. The Lord knows I do not find you do any too much. Some of
you I am heartily ashamed of. Some of you need driving so that you
ought to thank God for the rod. Paul says, "Shall I come unto you
with the rod?" He was obliged to do it with some people. It is not an
enviable thing to have to do; but we dare not, when God sets us work
to do, shirk it; but there is a bright side--there is the reward.
"What!" you say, "does He pay you?" Yes, good wages--pressed
down--heaped together! He says, "The man who remembereth the poor (do
you think He means only their bodies?), I will remember him; I will make
his bed (what a tender allusion!) in his sickness." He will shake it
up; spread His feathers on the pillows as no earthly nurse, not even
the tenderest wife, can do. "I will make his bed in his sickness."
You will want Him then, brother! You are very independent, some of
you, now, but you will want Him then. "I will make his bed in
sickness. I will put underneath Him my everlasting arms." He will
cause you to triumph in the swellings of Jordan. That will be grand,
will it not? He will give you a triumphant entrance into His kingdom,
those of you who have gone out in loving solicitude and anxious
sympathy to labor for the souls of your fellow-men. He will
administer unto you an abundant entrance, and then--what? He will
give you CHILDREN; and the barren woman shall have more children than
she that hath a husband.

Oh! the whole world is akin here. Every man and woman wants
children. They are especially a heritage from the Lord. Nothing can
make up for the want of children. The poorest parents, living in the
humblest hut, would not sell you their children, and the rich man,
who has twenty thousand a year, would give it for a son or for a
daughter, when he cannot have one. All human beings want children.
Now, then, the Lord will give you children. A mother--even a
sanctified mother--I suppose, cannot help feeling proud, or, rather,
glad and thankful, when she shows good, obedient, and godly children
to her friends. I do not believe that God wants to grind this out of
us. I believe He delights in it Himself, just as He delighted to show
His servant Job to the devil. "Hast thou considered My servant Job?"
Ah! was He not proud of him?--and He has been proud of him ever
since. God has put this feeling in us, and it is a right feeling when
it is sanctified. We cannot help but be proud of godly and obedient
children; but what will it be to show your spiritual children, to the
angels? How shall you feel when you gather the spiritual family which
God has given you round the throne of your Saviour, and say, "Here am
I and the children whom Thou hast given me"?--the children won
through conflict, and trial, and strife, such as only God knew;
"Children begotten in bonds," as Paul says--chains--children born in
the midst of the hurricane of spiritual conflict, travail, and
suffering, and cradled, rocked, fed, nurtured, and brought up at
infinite cost and rack of brain, and heart, and soul; but now, here
we are, Lord. We are here through it all. "Here am I and the children
whom Thou hast given me." How shall you feel? Shall you be sorry for
the trouble? Shall you regret the sacrifice? Shall you murmur at the
way He has led you? Shall you think He might have made it a little
easier, as you are sometimes tempted to do now? Oh! no, no!--THE
CHILDREN! THE CHILDREN! you shall have children! Won't that be reward
enough?

Oh! sometimes, when I am passing through conflict, and trial, in
connection with a work which brings plenty of it behind the scenes, I
encourage myself in the Lord, and remember those who have gone home
sending me their salutations, from the verge of the river, telling me
they will wait and look out for me, and be the first to hand me to
the Saviour when I get there. Will not this be reward enough? Even
so, Lord. Amen.



CHAPTER X.

ENTHUSIASM AND FULL SALVATION.

AN ADDRESS DELIVERED IN EXETER HALL.


Why should we be enthusiastic in everything but religion? Can you
give me any reason for that? If there is any subject calculated to
move our souls to their very centres, and to call out the enthusiasm
of our nature, surely it is religion, if it be the real thing. Why
should we not be enthusiastic? I have never seen a good reason yet.
Why should we not shout and sing the praises of our King, as we
expect to do it in glory? Why should not a man cry out, and groan,
and be in anguish of soul, as the Psalmist says, as if he were crying
out of the belly of hell, when he is convinced of sin, and realizes
his danger, and is expecting, unless God have mercy, to be damned?
Why should he not roar for the disquietude of his spirit as much as
David did? Is there anything unphilosophical in it? Is there anything
contrary to the laws of mind in it? Is there anything that you would
not allow under any great pressure of calamity, or realization of
danger, or grief? Why should we not have this demonstration in soul
matters? They had it under the old dispensation. We read, again and
again, that when the people came together after a time of relapse,
and backsliding, and infidelity, when God sent some flaming, burning
prophet amongst them, and they were gathered on the sides of Carmel
or elsewhere, that, on some occasions, the weeping, and, on other
occasions, the rejoicing, was so great that they made the very ground
tremble, and almost rent the heavens with the sound of their crying
and rejoicing.

We are told, on one occasion, that the noise was heard afar off,
and, on another, that it was as the sound of many waters. Would to
God we could get men, now-a-days, so concerned about their sins and
their souls, that they should thus cry out. It would be a happy day
for religion and for the world if it were so. If these things are
realities, I contend that this is the most sane, rational, and
philosophical way of dealing with them; and I say that the ordinary,
cold, heartless, formal way (and, if it is not so, it has that
appearance) is unscriptural.

Somebody was talking to me about having so much feeling in religion.
I said, "My dear friend, what do you think God gave you feeling for?"
Some people seem to think it a mistake that we _have_ feelings.
Our feelings play a very important part in all our social relations.
Why would you exclude them from religion? David expressed his
feelings, and was so carried away by them that he called on all
creation to praise the Lord, the hills and the trees to clap their
hands and be glad. Get the right kind of religion, and it will make
you glad. If you have not the right kind of feeling, I am afraid you.
have not the right kind of religion. We have some enthusiasm, and
when our enthusiasm dies, I am afraid we shall die, too. Nevertheless,
our power is not in our enthusiasm; neither does it consist in certain
views of truth, or in certain feelings _about_ truth. But it consists in
whole-hearted, thorough, out-and-out surrender to God; and that, with or
without feeling, is the right thing, and _that_ is the secret of our
power. We have glorious feelings as the outcome; but the feeling is not
the religion--the feeling is not the holiness. Holiness is the spring
and source of the enthusiasm. Hence our power with the masses of the
people.

How is it that wherever we go, as an organization, these signs and
wonders are wrought? Somebody said, "It is a strange thing; see what
has been done at So-and-so, and So-and-so, and So-and-so. They had
all tried, and you send a couple of lads or lasses, and you have the
town in an uproar at once. What is it? What is the secret? Will you
answer the question?" Well, it is the whole-hearted, determined
abandonment of everything for the King's sake. That is it. It is
going in, as the Apostles went in, determined to win souls,
determined to set up the kingdom of Jesus Christ, at all costs. That
is the source of our power, and if you get that, you will have power,
and if you don't get that, it matters not what else you have. I want
you reasonably and calmly to see that this holiness is a real,
definite blessing; that it is a level on to which the great mass of
the professing Christians of this generation have not come, or even
scarcely looked up. It is a high level, but it is a level on to which
every one of you can come, if you will. You have heard enough about
it. You are convinced you may have it. Will you have it? The Lord is
sitting there; He is looking at you, and He is saying, "What is all
this stir about? What is all this talk, this singing, and this
praying about? Here I am. What do you want Me to do? I am ready to do
it." And you say, "Lord, I want Thee to cleanse my heart from sin,
and to fill me with the Holy Ghost, and to enable me to be
whole-hearted and thorough in Thy service, and to go and win souls
for Thee." "Very well," the Lord says, "I am ready to come into the
temple, if you will clear out the rubbish. Are you willing for Me to
come in? I am waiting to come in as a Refiner; but you must make a
straight way for my feet. You must pick out the stones, and throw out
the rubbish, and make Me a straight path."

Will you make Him a straight path? Will you trample under foot that
accursed thing which has so long kept the fulness of the blessing
from you? Will you give up arguing about it and trying to make out
that it is not a stumbling-block, when you know it is? How many will?
I wish we had room to have a form. I am sorry we have not. With all
the light you have on the subject, with what I am sure the Holy Ghost
has revealed and is revealing to your souls, with all the glory that
He is putting before you, and the power for usefulness and happiness,
will you make this full consecration? The light of the Spirit is on
you: _will you, act? Will you act?_ Every spark of light you get
without obeying it, leaves your soul darker. Every time you come up
to the verge of the kingdom and don't go over, the less the
probability that you ever will. I know people who have been going up
and down for more than forty years, like the Israelites, and it is a
question if they ever go in. You have come near again. Will you go
over? You can tell the Lord without telling us, though we would like
to know, and see you put your foot over the border, into this Canaan
of peace and power. Will you put your foot over? Who will? who will?
Will you stand up and raise your voices to the Lord and ask Him?



CHAPTER XI.

HINDRANCES TO HOLINESS.


I shall try, in the short time I may occupy, to go straight to the
point--to some of the difficulties and hindrances which I know are
keeping not a few here to-day out of the enjoyment of the blessing. I
know there are some here who are satisfied that this blessing is
attainable, who are satisfied that God can thus keep them, as we have
been singing, if they were to lean the whole weight of their
need--their soul, and body, and spirit--upon Him, and trust Him. They
believe He could, and they believe He would. They have come to
perceive that it is not at all a question of human strength, or human
weakness, or human knowledge, but that it is simply a matter of
Divine strength, fully recognized and fully trusted by human
weakness. Therefore, there is no more a stumbling-block in their way
about reckoning themselves holier than other people, or stronger than
other people, for they recognize themselves as the very weakest and
most sinful of _all_ people: but they have come to understand
this blessing to be human weakness, leaning with all its weight upon
Divine power; and they believe God does thus save and keep those
people who do thus lean. Then, what hinders? There they stand, just
where the Israelites stood, when they might have gone in and
possessed the good land. "They entered not in because of unbelief,"
and for that unbelief there is a reason--a cause. They dare not
venture their souls on this Divine power, because there is back in
their consciousness some difficulty, some obstacle, something which
is only known to themselves and the Holy Ghost, which prevents them
from doing this.

When they try to jump on to the Divine strength there is something
that holds them back, and they cannot make the spring. They try to
forget it--they sing, and pray, and seek, to make themselves believe
there is nothing, and they come up again and again right to the
entrance of the goodly land, and then they try to spring in. Some of
you will today, but you will not be able to spring, because there is
something holding you back; and you are conscious of it, but will not
allow yourselves to realize it. Now this is the point, when my dear
husband read that passage, "When they had prayed, the place was
shaken," I thought, Oh! what was involved in that prayer--what does
that mean? _Why_ did the glory come? Why did the Holy Ghost
overshadow them? Why were they filled with God--so filled that they
had to go down and could not help themselves, but went into the
streets and poured it out upon the godless multitudes around them?
_Why, why_ did it come? Why do hundreds of assemblies of God's
people meet and pray, but nothing comes? They hold long meetings, and
make long prayers, and sing,

  "We are waiting for the fire;"

but nothing comes! Why did it come on that particular occasion?
Because in that prayer was thorough, entire, everlasting
self-abandonment. They came up caring for nothing but pleasing God
and doing as He bade them; and the Holy Ghost alone knows when a soul
arrives at that point. He will never come till the soul _does_
arrive at that point. This is the deficiency, I am satisfied, with
hundreds. There they stand, right on the borders of the glory-land,
but there is some wedge of gold, or Babylonish garment that they
buried years ago.

They won't think about it. They say, "Oh, it is nought, nought! That
little thing would not hinder, it is so long ago." They would not,
when they knew they ought, dig it up and burn it before the Lord. If
this is so with any here, you _must_ dig it up, or the Holy Ghost will
never come. A lady, a short time ago, was brought up to the very edge of
this blessing, but there was something she felt she ought to do. She had
a sum of money which she felt ought to be given up to a certain object.
She prayed and struggled, and attended prayer-meetings, and prayed long
into the night; but, no, she would not face the difficulty. She said,
"Oh! no; I am not satisfied in my own mind. How do I know God wants it
for that purpose?" She might have struggled till now if she had not made
up her mind to obey; but, the moment she did--alone, up in her bedroom,
the blessing came. A gentleman came up to the penitent-form, after one
of my West-end services, last season, and told me: "I am a preacher. I
have been laboring in the Gospel for eight years, but I know I am
utterly destitute of this power." "Do you want it?" "Oh!" he said, "I
do;" and he looked as though he were sincere. "Then," I said, "what is
it? There is a hindrance. It is not God's fault. He wants you to have it
He is as willing to give you the Spirit as He was Peter or Paul, and
you want to have it. Now, _will you have it?_ Have you understood the
conditions?" "Ah!" he said, "_that_ is the point." Now, you know I
should be a false comforter if I were to try to make you believe you
were right when you had not yielded that point. "Well," he said, "you
see it would be cutting loose from one's entire circle." Ah! he was led,
you see, by "Christian friends." I said, "Did not the Lord Jesus cut
loose from His circle to save you? and, if your Christian friends are
such that to live a holy life you must cut loose from them, what are you
going to do--stop in that circle, ruin your own soul, and help to ruin
them, or cut loose and help to save them?" Oh! there is no profounder
philosophy in any text in the Bible than that--"How can ye believe who
receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from
God only?" You will have to come to God not caring what anybody thinks.

As a dear lady, who is going through floods of persecution for
Jesus, said, "I don't care if they turn their backs on me, and never
speak to me any more, and cast me out, and my children, too. I don't
care if I can only have His presence and follow Him." When you come
to that you will get this pearl.

I know a father and mother who want this blessing,--especially the
mother. They have a family of beautiful little children, but the
father says, "What are we going to do for our children? It is a very
serious matter cutting loose from our circle." A gentleman said to
me, "I have to do _something_ for my sons. What am I to do?"
"No," I said, "you have got to do nothing for your sons. You have to
train them for God, and leave GOD _to do for them_, and He is
well able to look after His own. That is your business; train them
for God, and leave God to find a niche for them, and if He can't on
earth, I warrant you He will in Heaven." People have things wrong way
up now-a-days. They have the notion that they have to do this, that,
and the other, for themselves and their children, instead of
accepting it as their great commission that they have to propagate
and push along and extend the kingdom of Jesus Christ, to seek His
kingdom and His righteousness, and leave Him to look after their
interests. When you come to this it will soon be done.


  A FRAGMENT.

  Love Him, trust Him,
    Him alone;
  Father, Keeper,
    Three in One.

  Saviour, Master,
    Leader, too;
  Lover, Brother,
    ALL to you.

  Fear not, care not,
    Only follow
  His way, this day,
    And to-morrow.

  Waiting, working,
    For His sake;
  Watching, hoping,
    Till daybreak.

  Peaceful, joyful,
    In His peace;
  Filled full, kept full,
    By His grace.



CHAPTER XII.

ADDRESSES ON HOLINESS,

IN EXETER HALL.

FIRST ADDRESS.


I think it must be self-evident to everyone present that it is
_the most important question_ that can possibly occupy the mind
of man--how much like God we can be--how near to God we can come on
earth preparatory to our being perfectly like Him, and living, as it
were, in His very heart for ever and ever in Heaven. Anyone who has
any measure of the Spirit of God, must perceive that this is the most
important question on which we can concentrate our thoughts; and the
mystery of mysteries to me is, how anyone, with any measure of the
Spirit of God, can help looking at this blessing of holiness, and
saying, "Well, even if it does seem too great for attainment on
earth, it is very beautiful and very blessed. I wish I could attain
it." That, it seems to me, must be the attitude of every person who
has the Spirit of God--that he should hunger and thirst after it, and
feel that he shall never be satisfied till he wakes up in the lovely
likeness of his Saviour. And yet, alas! we do not find it so. In a
great many instances, the very first thing professing Christians do,
is to resist and reject this doctrine of holiness as if it were the
most foul thing on earth.

I heard a gentleman saying, a few days ago--a leader in one circle
of religion--that for anybody to talk about being holy, showed that
they knew nothing of themselves, and nothing of Jesus Christ. I said,
"Oh, my God! it has come to something if holiness and Jesus Christ
are at the antipodes of each other. I thought He was the centre and
fountain of holiness. I thought it was in Him only we could get any
holiness, and through Him that holiness could be wrought in us." But
this poor man thought this idea to be absurd.

May God speak for Himself! Ever since I heard that sentiment I have
been crying from the depths of my soul, "Lord, speak for Thyself;
powerfully work on the hearts of Thy people and awake them. Take the
veil from their eyes, and show them what Thy purpose in Christ Jesus
concerning them _is_. Do not let them be bewildered and miss the
mark; do not leave them, but Lord, reveal it in their hearts." There
is no other way by which it can be revealed, and, if you will let
Him, He will reveal it in your heart.

It occurred to me that I might say a word or two on what my husband
said about infirmities, because I am so continually meeting people
who _will make infirmities sins_. They insist upon it that the
requirements of the Adamic law have never been abated; that we are
not under the evangelical law of love, or the law of Christ, as the
Apostle puts it, but that we are still under the Adamic law, and that
these imperfections and infirmities, to which my husband has
referred, are sins. I wonder that such people do not think of a
certain passage, which must forever explode such a theory, where the
Apostle says, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." If these
infirmities had been sins, we should have the outrageous anomaly of
an apostle of Jesus Christ glorying in his sins! You see, his
infirmities were only those defects of mind and body which were
capable of being overcome and overruled by grace, to the glory of
Christ and to the furtherance of His kingdom.

I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me
--that, in consequence of these very infirmities, the power of Christ
shall so rest upon me as to lift me above them, make me independent
of them, master of them, so that, through these very infirmities, I
shall more glorify His strength and grace than if I were a perfect
man, in mind and body. In another place he says, "And lest I should
be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations,
there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan,
to buffet me." Some people think this was _sin_; but surely, the
words, "messenger of Satan," show that this thorn was no act or
disposition of Paul's, but some external temptation or affliction,
inflicted by Satan. Besides, the Divine assurance, "My grace is
sufficient for thee," _ought_ to forbid the idea of sin. Paul
sought the Lord thrice to have this thorn removed; surely if it had
been _sin_, the Lord would, have been as anxious to have it
removed as His servant was! This thorn was, doubtless, some physical
trial--as the words, "in the flesh," indicate--some tribulation or
sorrow, through the patient endurance of which the strength of Christ
could be magnified in Paul's weakness--one of those things which he
could bear "through Christ who strengthened him."

But mark, this was a Divinely-permitted discipline to _prevent
Paul_ from falling into sin; quite a different thing to sin
itself. "God tempteth no man with evil." The Lord sent this to Paul
for the purpose _not of making_ him humble, for he was humbled
before, but of keeping him humble. And does He not send something to
us all? Do we not need trials and tribulations in the flesh in order
to keep us humble? But is this evidence that, because we require
these things to keep us humble, therefore pride is dwelling in us and
reigning over us? It is an evidence just to the contrary.

Oh, that people, in their enquiries about this blessing of holiness,
would keep this one thing before their minds, that it is _being
saved from sin_!--sin in act, in purpose, in thought!

I have a beautiful letter, received a short time ago from a young
lady, who wrote me soon after my former services in the West End. She
told me that she had been the bondslave, I think, for four or five
years, of a certain besetting sin, and her first letter was the very
utterance of despair. She had struggled and wrestled and prayed, and
tried to overcome the sin that had been reigning over her. Now and
then she would get the victory, and then down she went again, and she
said, "It is such a subtle thing, connected with my thoughts and
imagination, so that I do not think I ever can be saved." I answered
the letter, and tried to encourage her faith and hope in Jesus
Christ. I showed her how dishonoring this unbelief was, and that, if
she would only trust Him to come in and reign in her heart, He could
purify and cleanse the very thoughts and imagination. She made a
little advance, and wrote me another letter. I wrote her again, and
encouraged her to trust further. She said she could not come so far
as to think that He could purify her thoughts. She had got as far as
to believe that He could save her from putting them into practice,
but she could not believe that He could purify _them_. I wrote
her back once more, and tried, the Lord helping me, to show her how
Jesus, by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit, could purify the very
thoughts of our hearts, and, thank God, she did go another step. I
have had two letters from her since. She said in the first of them,
"I rejoice with trembling, for fear it should be only temporary, but
I have trusted Him to purify the source, and I must say HE HAS DONE
IT, and, instead of thinking these thoughts, I have holy thoughts,
and if Satan presents anything to my mind, it is so repulsive to me
that I cannot tell you the grief and horror with which it fills me."
I wrote her again, encouraging her, and I got another letter, in
which she said, "It is a fact that He has cleansed the thoughts of my
heart, and now I am conscious that my thoughts are pleasing to Him,
that He has saved me from this sin which has been the trouble and
torment of my life for all these years gone by."

Now, what I want to say to you, is, that what He can do for one, He
can do for another. If I am wrong here, I give up the whole question.
I am perfectly mistaken in the purpose and aim and command of the
Gospel dispensation, if God does not want His people to be pure. Not
to count themselves pure when they _are not_. Oh, no! We are
told, over and over again, that God wants His people to be pure, and
THAT PURITY IN THEIR HEARTS IS THE VERY CENTRAL IDEA AND END AND
PURPOSE OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST; if it is not so, I give up the
whole question--I am utterly deceived.

In justification of this, I have selected two or three texts which
seem to put it all in one; summing-up texts, so to speak. I will take
first, as a specimen, what my husband has been trying to enforce--"The
will of God is your sanctification." There is, however, a sense,
and an important sense, in which sanctification must be the will of
man. It must be _my_ will, too, and if it is not my will, the
Divine will can never be accomplished in me. I must _will_ to be
sanctified, as God is willing that I should be sanctified. There are
as many, and more, exhortations in the Bible to sanctify yourselves
than there are promises of God to sanctify you.

The next text is James iv. 8: "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw
nigh to you. Cleanse _your_ hands, _ye_ sinners; and purify _your_
hearts _ye_ double-minded." This was to backsliders, to people who had
been professing to believe, but who had gone back under the dominion of
their fleshly appetites and passions. There are two or three other texts
where we seem to get the whole matter summed up, as, for instance, "He
gave Himself for us (that is, for us Christians, the whole Church of
God) that He might redeem us from _all iniquity_, and purify unto
Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."--That is, purify
_us_. And then 1 Timothy i. 5 shows God's purpose and aim in the whole
method of redemption. "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of
a _pure heart_, and of a _good conscience_, and of faith
unfeigned"--cleansed and kept clean, for if it had been cleaned and
become dirty again, it would not be a good but a bad conscience. And
again, in I John iii. 3: "And every man that hath this hope in Him,
purifieth himself, even as He is pure." Now, I say, these are summing-up
texts, and there are numbers of others to the same effect, to show
that the whole end and purpose of redemption is this--that He will
restore us to purity; that He will bring us back to righteousness;
that He will purge your consciences from dead works to serve the
living God--not only purge you from the past, but keep you purged to
serve the LIVING GOD; that it shall be done by the application of the
blood to the conscience, and then it shall be maintained by the power
of the Holy Ghost keeping us in a state of purity and obedience to
righteousness.

Now, I say, if this be not the central idea of Christianity, I do
not understand it. If God cannot do this for me--if Jesus Christ
cannot do this for me, what is my advantage at all by His coming?

There is a great deal more in these epistles directed to the individual
Christian to _be_ this, that, and the other, and to _do_ this, that, and
the other, than there is about what God will do for him after all! This
is not an objective Christianity--this is not sitting down and
sentimentalizing and thinking of Christ in the Heavens, in these
epistles; it brings Him down, to all intents and purposes, INTO OUR
HEARTS AND LIVES HERE, and it is one of the continual exhortations, _be_
ye this, and _do_ ye this and the other.

These epistles represent a real, practical transformation to be
accomplished IN US, and this is the only thing that will do to die
with. If it is not accomplished in you, I tell you, you will not be
able to die in peace. You will want to be cleansed, as my dear
husband told you, before you can venture into the presence of the
King of kings. You will want a sense of beautiful, moral rectitude
and righteousness spreading over your whole nature, which will enable
you to look up into the face of God and say, "Yes, I love Thee, I
know Thee, and Thou knowest me, and lovest me, and we are one. I love
the things Thou lovest, and desire the things Thou desirest. We are
of one spirit, 'joined in one spirit unto the Lord.'" You will want
that, and nothing less will do to die with. And why not have it? Will
you have it? Why not let God work it in us? Will you try it? People
are constantly saying, "They long for it, and they wish they could
get it." Will you let God do it? Will you put away the depths of
unbelief which are at the bottom of all your difficulty? People
really do not believe that God _can_ do it for them, and that is
at the bottom of their difficulties. But He can do it, and He
promises to do it. Will you go down, and say, "Be it unto me
according to Thy word"?


  "BORN--A SAVIOUR."
    Luke ii. 11.

  Jesus a Saviour born,
    Without:
  Without the inn, refused with scorn.
    Cast out:
  Cast out for me, my Saviour, King,
  Cast out to bring this lost one in.

  Jesus a Saviour born,
    A man:
  A man of sorrows, smitten, torn by stripes:
  By stripes, O Lord, my soul is healed,
  By stripes, Thy stripes, my pardon sealed.

  Jesus a Saviour born,
    The Lamb:
  The Lamb of God hath bled and borne
    My sins:
  My sins the Sacrifice did slay,
  My sins the Lamb doth take away.

  Jesus a Saviour born
    To save:
  To save at night, at noon, at morn.
    To keep:
  To keep from sin, from doubt, from fear;
  To keep, for lo! the Keeper's here.

  Jesus a Saviour born,
    A King:
  A King! exalt His glorious horn,
    And sing:
  O sing, ye heavens! He burst His grave,
  And sing, O earth! He lives to save!



SECOND ADDRESS.


  I beseech yon therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye
  present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,
  which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world:
  but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove
  what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.--ROM.
  xii. 1,2.

I have been thinking about the word in the text, "_that_"--"that
ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will
of God." This advance in the Divine life, as well as every other,
right to the end, till we advance into glory, has its _conditions_.
The condition of the advance from an absolutely unawakened worldly
condition, to that of a convinced sinner, _is the reception of
the light_. God awakens and enlightens tens of thousands, and
thousands reject the light--instantly put it away--shut their eyes
--will not have the light. These go back into greater darkness,
and sin with more alacrity than ever they did before;--those who
receive the light advance into the condition of awakened, enlightened
souls.

The next condition of advance from the state of a struggling sinner,
willing to part with his sins and to follow Christ, _is faith_,
to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that he may receive the
forgiveness of sins. And at every advance onwards, if the believer is
ever to get beyond the first principles, if he is ever to grow a
single inch, so to speak, there is a condition involved in that
advance! For instance, if, after conversion, the Holy Spirit reveals
to him something which is inconsistent--which he did not before
see--the condition of his advance another step is the _renunciation_
of that thing!--the reception of the light, and _obedience to
it;_ and, if he shrinks from and does not receive and obey the
light, he will never advance _any more_ until he does. There are
thousands of Christians, who, instead of advancing, have gone back
since their conversion, because they would not comply with the
condition, "THAT" they might prove the good, and acceptable, and
perfect will of God.

There was a condition. They would have proved the will of God if
there had been no condition; but there was a condition they would not
comply with; so there they stick, just where they were--or, rather,
they have gone backward.

Well, now, then, here is a condition to _this_ grand and glorious
advance from the state of justification, where, while the believer is
given power over sin, so that it does not rule over him, yet he
sometimes, through its inward workings, falls under its power--the
advance from this comparatively sinning and repenting condition
on to that platform where the believer so abides in Christ that he
sins not, that he loves God with all his heart, and soul, and mind,
and strength--so united to Christ that, walking in the power of the
Holy Ghost, he fulfils the law of love under which he is placed--the
advance, I say, from that up and down, in and out, falling and rising
state, to this higher platform, also has its _conditions_.

You would go up to it to-day if it were not for the conditions; most
of you would go up in a body, as the Israelites would have gone into
Canaan, if there had been no condition. I never knew anyone so
foolish as not to want to be in the good land; they want to be in, of
course, and they would go in and get the honey and the milk, but
there are the _conditions!_ Now then, here you have it plain,
and you have it in numbers of other passages equally plain.

There is nothing upon which the Holy Ghost has been more particular
than in laying down the conditions. And what are they? "I beseech
you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your
bodies a living sacrifice"--the living man--you, all of you; not
_it_--not something in you.

The latter term is never used by the Holy Ghost when speaking to
Christians, but always _you, ye, your_ bodies, _your_ souls, _your_
mind, the whole man--YOU, "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto
God, _which is_ your reasonable service." And is it not? Is it too much?
Is it more than He bargained for when He bought you? Is it more than He
paid for? It is "your reasonable service."

And now, then, comes the conditions: "And be _not conformed to this
world: but be ye transformed_ by the renewing of your mind, _that_ ye
may prove."

Oh! if you could be transformed to Him and conformed to this world
at the same time, all the difficulty would be over. I know plenty of
people who would be transformed directly; but, to be not conformed to
this world--how they stand and wince at that! They cannot have it at
that price. As dear Finney once said, "My brother, if you want to
find God, you will not find Him up there, amongst all the starch and
flattery of hell; you will have to come down for Him." That is
it--"Be not conformed to this world."

Nothing wounds me more, after being at meetings for dealing with
souls, where I have tried to speak in a most pointed and thorough way
to make everybody know what I meant, when I go to the dinner or
supper-table, people have not known a bit, or, if they have, they
won't accept it. Oh! this is the secret--they will not come down from
their pride and high-mightiness. But God will not be revealed to such
souls, though they cry and pray themselves to skeletons, and go
mourning all their days. They will not fulfil the condition--"Be not
conformed to this world;" they will not forego their conformity even
to the extent of a dinner party. A great many that I know will not
forego their conformity to the shape of their head-dress. They won't
forego their conformity to the extent of giving up visiting and
receiving visits from ungodly, worldly, hollow, and superficial
people. They will not forego their conformity to the tune of having
their domestic arrangements upset--no, not if the salvation of their
children, and servants, and friends depends upon it. The _sine qua
non_ is their own comfort, and then take what you can get, on God's
side. "We _must_ have this, and we _must_ have the other; and then, if
the Lord Jesus Christ will come in at the tail end and sanctify it all,
we shall be very much obliged to Him; but we cannot forego these
things."

Oh! friends, I tell you, this will never do. God helping me, I will,
I must tell you, because it is driven in upon my soul by what I am
seeing and hearing every day. People come to these meetings, and they
groan and cry and come to us for help, and we exhaust our poor brains
and bodies in talking to them and giving them advice, telling them
what to do, and, when it comes to the point, we find, "Oh! no; don't
you be mistaken: we are not going to sacrifice these things. We
cannot have the Lord if He will not come into our temples and take
them as He finds them. We could not forego these things."

You remember the text that was read at the opening of the meeting--"And
the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world."
It means something! and there are a hundred other texts teaching the
same truth. Now, _what does it mean_? The Lord help us to see
it! Does it not mean that we are not to be like the rest of the
world?--that we are not to be guided by the same maxims, or act upon
the same principles as the world?--that we are not to attach the
same importance to mere earthly and worldly things that worldly
people do? Have you ever thought of those awful words in the parable
of the sower?--"And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of
riches, and the lusts of other things, entering in, _choke_ the
word, and it becometh unfruitful,"--not abominable things, not
immoral things, not shameful things, but the _desire of other_
things. And, in another text: "_Who mind earthly things_." They
attach more importance to worldly things and other things than they
do to the things of His kingdom. They practically make these things
_first_, though they sing about His kingdom and profess to make
Him first: they make the earthly things first, and, therefore, they
will not have their earthly things upset for His things; and do you
suppose He is cheated? Do you suppose He is deceived? Do you think it
likely that the great God of Heaven, who has millions of angels and
archangels to worship and serve Him, is going to pour His glory on
such people, and reveal Himself to them, and use them? Not likely! "I
will be first in your love," He says.

You women here, if you knew that you were not the first and only one
in the affections of your husband, what would you say? And you
husbands, would you dwell with a wife if you knew you were not the
only one in her affections, but that they were divided between you
and someone else? "Not likely!" you would say; "I am not going to
lavish my affections, and my society, and my gifts, and everything I
possess, on one whose heart is divided with another. If she will have
her heart divided, then she must go to that other."

Now you know God is a jealous God, and He knows who do mock Him, and
He knows who will not sacrifice this conformity to the world that
they may walk with Him in white. He knows, also, who do not care what
anybody thinks of them, or what people say of them; who are willing
to be counted fools and fanatics that they may walk with Him and
promote the interests of His kingdom, and who only regard their
bodies as His instruments and their homes as His temples; who are
willing that their breakfast hours, or dinner hours, or luncheon
hours, or any other hours may be upset, and, in fact, everything made
subservient to the interests of His kingdom. We must place everything
at His service--our children, business, homes, and everything. If I
understand it, this is nonconformity to the world.

Before I close, let me say a word to help those who are desiring to
attain this blessing. There is no other way. It is of no use beating
about. BE NOT CONFORMED, BUT BE YE TRANSFORMED. These two are in
juxtaposition. If you will be conformed, then you cannot be
transformed; if you will not be transformed, then you must be
conformed. Now, will you give up conformity to the world? If so, you
may, everyone of you, be transformed this morning--go up into the
land. You may all be saved to-day, and make your abiding-place in
Christ, and have all the power and glory which comes to those who
possess Him; you may advance from the miserable condition of a poor
up-and-down, in-and-out, wretched man, on to the glorious vantage
ground of a saved man--a saved woman--a triumphant saint of God!


  FAITH.

  My faith _looks up_ to Thee--
   My faith, so small, so slow;
  It lifts its drooping eyes to see
   And claim the blessing now.
      Thy wondrous gift
       It sees afar;
      Thy perfect love
       It claims to share,
      And doth not, cannot fear.

  My faith _takes hold_ on Thee--
   My faith, so weak, so faint;
  It lifts its trembling hands to be,
   Trembling, but violent.
      The kingdom now
       It takes by force,
      And waits till Thou,
       Its last resource,
      Shall seal and sanctify.

  My faith _holds fast_ on Thee,
   My faith, still small, but sure,
  Its anchor holds _alone_ to Thee,
   Whose presence keeps me pure.
      And Thou alway,
       To see and hear,
      By night, by day,
       Art very near--
      Art very near to me.



THIRD ADDRESS.


What a deal there is of going to meetings and getting blessed, and
then going away and living just the same, until sometimes we, who are
constantly engaged in trying to bring people nearer to God, go away
so discouraged that our hearts are almost broken.

We feel that people go back again from the place where we have led
them, instead of stepping up to the place to which God is calling
them. They come and come, and we are, as the Prophet says, unto them
a very pleasant instrument, or a very unpleasant one, as the case may
be; and so they go away, and do not _get anything_. They do not
make any _definite advance_. We have not communicated unto them
any spiritual gift. They merely have their feelings stirred, and,
consequently, they live the next week exactly as they lived the last,
and go down under the temptation just as they did before.

Would you dream for a moment from reading the New Testament that
this was the kind of thing God intended in His provisions of grace
and salvation? Is there not a definite end in every promise,
exhortation, and command? God is most _definite_ in His requirements and
promises, and in the provision which He has made; and yet many of the
Lord's people are perpetually and persistently _indefinite_. They go to
and fro, like a door on its hinges, and never get anything from the
Lord. We want you absolutely to get something from the Lord, and we are
quite sure you may and _will_, if you comply with the condition. The
Lord is ready to give you that particular measure of grace, strength,
and salvation which you need. Now that you have come up to the
threshhold of the goodly land, there is only one thing which can keep
you out, provided you have made the needed consecration. Of course, if
you are holding anything back, then you can never come in until you give
that up. If yon are cleaving to some doubtful thing, and don't give God
the benefit of the doubt, you can never come in; but, if you see this,
and make the necessary consecration, if you _really_ desire this
blessing, there is only one thing which can possibly keep you out of
its enjoyment, and that is--_unbelief_.

It will be said of you, in years to come, as it was said of some in
olden times, "They entered not in because of unbelief." You have come
right up to the threshhold, and some of you have been there many a
time. Oh! what gracious influences you have been the subject of. You
have seen through the veil! You have felt His hand! You have had your
feet on the threshhold! You have been almost in, and then you have
drawn back through unbelief. Shall it be so again to-night? God
forbid! Will yon step over? Will you venture? Will you trust? Will
yon leap on to His faithfulness? Will you spring into the arms of
Omnipotent Love, and trust Him with consequences? Never mind if you
_do_ die, or something happens to you that never happened to
anyone else in the world's history; God will take care of you. Never
mind if the devil does come round and "consider" you, as he did Job,
and afflict you with boils, and put you upon the dunghill--you will
be happier there with Jesus than in a palace without Him. Oh! this
caring for consequences! The devil knows the grand _possibilities_
open to many of you; he knows not only what you might receive and
enjoy in yourselves, but what you might accomplish for God if you
would only come in and possess this blessing; and so he frightens
you with consequences. He knows what you might do, and whom you
might be instrumental in saving!

Who knows how many of these precious ones that cluster round you,
you may be instrumental in leading on to this higher platform--this
glorious vantage ground of Christian experience? and, through them,
how many more? and how, in this way, the glorious blessing would
spread? Remember, also, that every time you come near and go back,
there is less _probability that you will ever come in at all_;
and the nearer you come and go back, the less probability there is
that you will ever come as near again.

You _are grieving the Spirit_. There are some people who have been
coming near for years, and now they have gone back altogether, and I am
afraid they will never come up again. _What will you do?_ The law of the
kingdom, from beginning to end, is, "According to your faith be it unto
you," and, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye
receive _them_, and ye shall have _them_." _Eternal truth has uttered
it_--"ye shall have them." Now then, will you? Have you let go all? Are
your skirts free? Are you leaving all behind you? Are you resolved from
to-night to cut from the past, and no more make any provision for the
flesh to fulfil its lusts, but that you will bid the things that are
behind a final adieu, close your eyes on them, and fix your eyes on the
mark of the prize of your high calling, and press on every succeeding
hour of your life until you reach it? Will you? If you will, God will
give you this blessing. He waits to do it; He is here. The Holy Ghost is
here: He is leading many of you up; He is beseeching you; He is
seconding what I am saying, in your hearts; He is saying, "Come,
beloved; come into the banqueting house;" He wants to bless you and
fill you with His Spirit. Now then, will you come? Oh! the Lord help
you not to draw back, but to press on, _press on, press on_, never
minding the consequences.



FOURTH ADDRESS.


I think, dear friends, that I have only a very few words to say to
you now. I am, as it were, holding on to God for power by which to
say them, so that they shall sink into your hearts and produce some
immediate and permanent results in your lives. I believe the Lord is
not only grieved and disappointed, but I believe He is angry, when
His people meet, and talk, and sing, and pray, and then go away
without any definite result having been reached--without ever having
given anything to Him, or received anything from Him. I believe He
feels with respect to us, just as He felt with respect to His people
of old, when He said, "Why come ye and cover my altar with tears?" As
though He said, "You know what I want you to do; come and do it; and,
when you do it, I will open the windows of Heaven and pour out a
blessing."

My heart ached at what a lady told me this morning, before I came
into this hall. She said, "A friend of mine remarked, 'You don't mean
to say that you are going to call four thousand people together to
cry for the Holy Ghost?' She said, 'Yes, I do.' 'Well, it makes me
frightened. What if anything should happen; if something should be
done?'" Would to God something would happen; would to God something
might be done that should frighten somebody. But oh! what did that
reveal? Depths of infidelity and unbelief; and yet people wonder that
infidelity is increasing. Is it any wonder that infidels are laughing
us to scorn? Is it any wonder that at Christian Evidence Societies
men get up and say that the Christian system has become effete? No
wonder, when that is the state of heart of the Lord's people.

People meet together, and pray, and talk, and sing "Whiter than
snow," and they don't believe it any more than do the heathen. They
pray for the Holy Ghost, and do not so much as believe there is a
Holy Ghost. They ask God to do something, when they never knew Him to
do anything, and don't expect He ever will. The world is dying
because of this unreality, and being damned by it.

Josephine Butler says, about France, "France is waiting for a
_reality_:" and so is England, and so is the world waiting for a
_reality_. God help us to make some _real people_. You believe, some of
you, that nothing is going to happen. You don't believe that God is
going to do anything--so He won't in your experience. If you had lived
at Nazareth, do you think Jesus Christ would have done anything for you?
If you had been deaf and dumb, you would have remained so, for He could
not have done any mighty works in you, because of your unbelief! He is
the same now; and if you don't expect Him to do anything, brother, He
will not. But some of us do _expect_ Him to do _something_. Some of us
_believe_ He is going to do _something_, and that by this little stone,
cut out of a mountain, without hands, He intends to raise a great
kingdom. Jesus Christ is not going to be disappointed, and allow the
devil to chuckle in His face forever, and say, "I have cheated You out
of Your inheritance." We will do something, or die in attempting it.

After all, what does God want with us? He wants us just _to be_ and _to
do_. He wants us to be like His Son, and then to do as His Son did; and
when we come to that, He will shake the world through us. People say,
"You can't be like His Son." Very well, then, you will never get any
more than you believe for. If I did not think Jesus Christ strong enough
to destroy the works of the devil, and to bring us back to God's
original pattern, I would throw the whole thing up for ever. What! He
has given, us a religion we cannot practice? I say, No, He has not come
to mock us. What? He has given us a Saviour who cannot save? Then I
decline to have anything to do with Him. What! does He profess to do for
me what He cannot? No, no. He "is not a man, that He should lie: neither
the Son of man, that He should repent:" and I tell you that His scheme
of salvation is two-sided--it is God-ward and man-ward. It contemplates
me as well as it contemplates the great God. It is not a scheme of
salvation, merely--it is a scheme of _restoration_. If He cannot restore
me, He must damn me. If He cannot heal me, and make me over again, and
restore me to the pattern He intended me to be, He has left Himself
no choice.

I challenge anybody to disprove by the Bible that He proposes to
_restore_ me--brain, heart, soul, spirit, body, every fibre of
my nature--to restore me perfectly, to conform me wholly to the image
of His Son. If He could have saved me without restoring me, then He
could have saved me without a Saviour at all. How do you read your
Bibles? How do you read the history of the miracles--the stories of
His opening the eyes, unstopping the ears, cleansing the leper, and
raising the dead? He will heal you if you will let Him. These are the
sort of words the world wants--the living words, living embodiments
of Christianity, walking embodiments of the Spirit, and life and
power of Jesus Christ. You may scatter Bibles, as you have done, all
over the world. You may preach, and sing, and talk, and do what you
will; but, if you don't exhibit to the people _living epistles_,
show them the transformation of character and life in yourself which
is brought about by the power and grace of God--if you don't go to
them and do the works of Jesus Christ, you may go on preaching, and
the world will get worse and worse, and the church, too. We want a
living embodiment of Christianity. We want JESUS TO COME IN THE FLESH
AGAIN.

Did you ever notice the tense in that passage--"He that believeth that
Jesus is come in the flesh"--not that He _did_ come, or _was_ come, but
that He _is_ come now. Oh! how people hate Jesus Christ in the flesh.
You may be ever so devout, ever so Pharisaic, till you come to Jesus in
the flesh, and then they will gnash on you with their teeth as they
gnashed on Christ. They can't resist such people. This is what the world
wants--holy people; and nothing else will do. We have tried everything
else. You Christian people from other divisions of the Lord's forces,
you have tried Bibles, and preaching, and singing, and services, and
Sunday-schools. I have been lately to a part of the country where they
told me that nearly every member of the population had passed through
their Sunday-schools, and yet there are men there who will drag a young
girl down a flight of stone stairs and kick her till she is black and
blue. The great mass of the people who took part in the Lancashire Riots
have passed through your Sunday-schools.

Now, I say, God is speaking to you in these things, if only you will
hear Him, and He is saying that the letter killeth, that
circumcision, and baptism, and forms, and ceremonies, and going to
chapel, and Bible reading, is all nothing, when there is no Holy
Ghost in it. You want a real, living embodiment of Christianity over
again, and if the Salvation Army is not going to be that, may God put
it out! I would be willing to pronounce the funeral oration of the
Army if I did not believe it was going to be that. The world is dying
for this.

I was so touched, yesterday, by hearing a story from Paris, told by
a young woman who has just returned, and was telling me about my
precious child. The story was this: A woman came, one morning, and
asked for the lady. They tried to put her off, and asked, "Will not
someone else do?" "No," said the woman; "I do want to see the lady
herself." They said, "You can't see her to-day--she is too ill!"
"Then," she said, "When can I see her?" They appointed a time the
next afternoon, and then this poor woman came, and she told this
story: "I did hear, six years ago, that there was somebody could take
the devil out. Now, see, I have got a devil in, and he do make me
wicked and miserable, and I do want him taken out, and I have been
running about these six years to find somebody who could pull him
out. I've been to lots of priests, but they could not pull him out
because they had a devil in _them_; and, you see when there's a
devil in me and a devil in them, we got to fighting, and they could
not pull him out." What a comment on "Jesus I know, and Paul I know;
but who are ye?" Of course, nobody can put a devil out who has a
devil in them. The poor old woman's sense told her this.

"And," she continued, "a gentleman told me that this lady who has
come here is able to pull him out, and I have come to her to do it,
for I want him pulled out." Oh, yes! I thought, that is what poor
humanity wants all the world over. THEY WANT PEOPLE WHO CAN CAST THE
DEVIL OUT--people who have in them Holy Ghost power to do it. Oh!
will you be such an one?

"Where is God?" someone said to me the other day, in agony--"Where
is God?" Where, indeed! "Why does He not show Himself? Why does He
not do something?" That lady was afraid something would happen when
4,000 met together to beseech the Holy Ghost! Why not? You say He has
not changed. Your creed says so. You say He is the same yesterday,
to-day and forever. You say the needs of the world are as great. You say
His great, benevolent heart beats for His fallen, sinful, erring
human family. You say He loves us. You are always telling about His
love. What is the reason He does not do something for us, and come
down in the same plentitude of spiritual power as He did at
Pentecost? Why? Only because you are not as given up to Him and as
willing to do it as the people were in former times. You have not
accounted all things dung and dross. You have not thrown everything
into the scale, and, therefore, He will not thus baptize you with the
Holy Ghost. These are the people that the world wants--people of one
idea--Christ, and Him crucified. For Christ's sake, give up quibbling.

I said to a lady who had got this blessing when somebody got at her
and began with this verse and that verse, and this translation and
that translation--"Mind you don't begin to reason; you will lose your
blessing"--and she did lose it. You can't know it by understanding.
Oh! if the world could have known it by understanding, what a deal
they would have known. But He despises all your philosophy. It is not
by understanding, but _by faith_! If ever you know God it will
be by faith, becoming as a little child--opening your mouth, and
saying, "Lord, pour in;" and then your quibbles and difficulties will
be gone, and you will see holiness, sanctification, purity, perfect
love, burning out on every page of God's Word. I weep before God, I
feel almost more than I can bear, over this awful knack that some
people seem to have of plucking the bread out of the children's
mouths when they are just getting an appetite for it. The Lord have
mercy upon them! If you don't come in yourselves, for Christ's sake
don't keep other people out.

A minister--a devoted, good man--was trying to show me that this
sanctification was too big to be got and kept. I said, "My dear sir,
how do you know? If another man has faith to march up to Jesus Christ
and say, 'Here, I see this in your Book; You have promised this to
me; now then, Lord, I have faith to take it:' mind you don't measure
His privilege by your faith. Do you think the church has come up to
His standard of privilege and obligation? I don't. It has many
marches to make yet. Mind you don't hinder anybody." The law of the
kingdom all the way through will be--"According to your faith." If
you want this blessing, put down your quibbles, put your feet on your
arguments, march up to the throne and ask for it, and kill, and
crucify, and cast from you, the accursed thing which hinders it, and
then you shall have it, and the Lord will fill you with His power and
glory now, and something _will_ happen. The Lord grant it.





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