THE SUBMISSIVE HEART……E. Dennet (1831 – 1914)

“Faith is a divine plant that only grows out of the soil of a broken will. 
 
Two lessons I have been learning:  first, to expect nothing but from the Lord; and, secondly, to take nothing, even though it be that on which you have set your heart, and even if it be brought to you, but to wait on the Lord until He puts it into your hands.  If ripe fruit, for example (I use “ripe fruit” figuratively), be hanging on a branch close to you, do not pluck it, but let the Lord, if it be His will, put it into your lips, and then you may enjoy it.
 
You are of no use to God until your will is broken. 
 
The calm of the soul which reposes in the will of God is unspeakable.
 
When you have learnt that your only home is God’s presence, and your only happiness is in doing God’s will there is nothing more that I can teach you. 
 
The more subject we are to the will of God the more we shall grow in holiness.
 
(Luke xxii. 42 etc.) You cannot expect and answer from God unless your will is gone.  You shut out answers to prayer because you have a will about the thing for which your are praying.
 
Madam Guyon used to say that the only difference she knew in places was where she realized most of the presence of God; so will it be with ourselves when we have no will of our own, and when we have but God’s presence.
 
If we knew the heart of God we would never question any of His dealings with us, nor should we ever desire His hand lifted off us till we had learnt all He would teach us. 
 
Paul says, ‘”Through evil report and good report,“ he did not stop to explain; a true servant of God has not time for that, and to defend yourself only leads to further charges.
 
We are never to seek to vindicate ourselves when it is a personal matter, but when the Lord’s name is dishonored for His glory we may speak.
 
You never find the Lord defending Himself.
 
Your character may not be vindicated down here.  Jesus died under a cloud.  He was never cleared in this world of the false accusations that had been made against Him. 
 
The will of God was the only law of Christ’s life.  He was never governed by human considerations or affections.  Are we set upon this –that the will of God should be our only law?
 
A soul who is in the secret of the divine mind must be content to be unappreciated and to walk alone.
 
If we are not in the path of God’s will we are not in the path of power.
 
Our true wisdom is in subjection to the will of our Lord.  To human eyes no plan of taking Jericho could have been more foolish than that which Joshua adopted; but it was God’s plan, and hence its complete success. 
 
 

SOLITARY WAY……An Anonymous Poem

There is a mystery in human hearts,
And though we be encircled by a host
Of those who love us well, and are beloved,
To every one of us, from time to time
There comes a sense of utter loneliness.
Our dearest friend is “stranger” to our joy,
And cannot realize our loneliness.
“There is not one who really understands,
Not one to enter into all I feel;
Such is the cry of each of us in turn.
We wander in a “solitary way,”
No matter what or where our lot may be;
Each heart, mysterious even to itself,
Must live its inner life in solitude.
And would you know the reason why this is?
It is because the Lord desires our love,
In every heart He wishes to be first.
He, therefore, keeps the secret key Himself,
To open all its chambers, and to bless
With perfect sympathy, and holy peace,
Each solitary soul which comes to Him.
So when we feel this loneliness, it is
the voice of JESUS saying, “Come to Me”;
And every time we are “not understood,”
It is a call to us to come again;
For Christ alone can satisfy the soul,
And those who walk with Him from day to day
Can never have a “solitary way.”And when
beneath the heavy Cross you faint,
And say, “I cannot bear this load alone,”
You say the truth.  Christ made it purposely
So heavy that you must return to Him.
Entreating you to come to Him again.
The Man of Sorrows understands it well,
In all points tempted He can feel with you,
You cannot come too often, or too near;
The Son of God is infinite in grace,
His presence satisfies the longing soul,
And those who walk with Him from day to day
Can never have a “solitary way.”
“They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way.” Ps. 107.4

HOW TO STUDY SCRIPTURE……C.H. Mackintosh

It is very difficult for anyone to attempt prescribing for another the proper method of studying Scripture  The infinite depths of Holy Scripture, like the exhaustless resources that are in God and the moral glories of the Person of Christ, are only unfolded to faith and need. This makes it so very simple. It is not cleverness or intellectual power we need, but the simplicity of a little child. The One who composed the Holy Scriptures must open our understandings to receive their precious teaching. And He will do so, if only we wait on Him in real earnestness of heart.

We must never lose sight of the weighty fact that it is as we act on what we know that our knowledge shall increase. It will never do to sit down like a bookworm to read the Bible. We may fill our intellect with biblical knowledge, we may have the doctrines of the Bible and the letter of Scripture at our finger-tips without one particle of unction or spiritual power. We must go to Scripture as a thirsty man goes to a well; as a hungry man goes to a meal; as a mariner goes to a chart. We must go to it because we cannot do without it. We go, not merely to study, but to feed. The instincts of the divine nature lead us to the Word of God as the newborn babe desires the milk by which he is to grow. It is by feeding on the Word that the new man grows.

Hence we may see how very real and practical is this question of how to study Scripture. It is intimately connected with our entire moral and spiritual condition, our daily walk, our actual habits and ways. God has given us His Word to form our character, to govern our conduct and shape our course. Therefore, if the Word has not a formative influence and a governing power over us, it is the height of folly to think of storing up a quantity of scriptural knowledge in the intellect. It can only puff us up and deceive us. It is a most dangerous thing to traffic in unfelt truth; it brings on a heartless indifference, levity of spirit, insensibility of conscience, which is appalling to people of serious piety. There is nothing that tends so to throw us completely into the hands of the enemy as a quantity of head knowledge of truth without a tender conscience, a true heart, an upright mind.

The mere profession of truth which does not act on the conscience and come out in the life, is one of the special dangers of the day in which our lot is cast. Better by far only to know a little in reality and power, than profess a quantity of truth that lies powerless in the region of the understanding, exerting no formative influence upon the life. I would much rather be honestly in Romans 7 than fictitiously in chapter 8.  In the former case I am sure to come right, but in the latter there is no telling what I may come to.  As to the question of making use of human writings to help us in the study of Scripture, great caution is needed. No doubt the Lord may and does make use of the writings of His servants, just as He uses their oral ministry for our instruction and edification. Indeed, in the present broken and divided state of the Church,  it is wonderful to mark the Lord’s rich grace and tender care in feeding His beloved people with the writings of His servants.

But, we repeat, great caution is needed, earnest waiting on the Lord, that we may not abuse so precious a gift, that it may not lead us to trade on borrowed capital. If we are really dependent upon God, He will give us the right thing; He will put the right book into our hands; He will feed us with food suitable for us. Thus we receive it from Himself and hold it in communion with Himself. It is fresh, living, powerful, formative; it tells on the heart and shines in the life; and we grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Precious growth! Would there were more of it!

Finally, we have to remember that Holy Scripture is the voice of God and the written Word is the transcript of the living Word. It is only by the Holy Spirit’s teaching we can really understand Scripture, and He reveals its living depths to faith and need. Let us never forget this.

THE LIFE OF FAITH…… J.G. Bellett

 
In the “life of faith” we do not merely look for the principle of dependence on God or confidence in Him. It signifies much more. It is a life of large and various energies. According to God, or Scripture, faith is that principle in the soul which not only trusts Him and believes Him, it is also that which apprehends His way, acts in concert with His principles and purposes, receives His promises, enjoys His favor, does His bidding, looks for His kingdom, in His strength gains victories, and by His light walks in light. Thus it is ever exhibiting a life according to Him, or formed by communion with Him.

NONE OF SELF, ALL OF THEE……T. Monod

  1. Oh, the bitter pain and sorrow
    That a time could ever be,
    When I proudly said to Jesus,
    “All of self, and none of Thee.”
    All of self, and none of Thee,
    All of self, and none of Thee,
    When I proudly said to Jesus,
    “All of self, and none of Thee.”
  2. Yet He found me; I beheld Him
    Bleeding on th’ accursed tree,
    And my wistful heart said faintly,
    “Some of self, and some of Thee.”
    Some of self, and some of Thee,
    Some of self, and some of Thee,
    And my wistful heart said faintly,
    “Some of self, and some of Thee.”
  3. Day by day His tender mercy,
    Healing, helping, full and free,
    Brought me lower while I whispered,
    “Less of self, and more of Thee.”
    Less of self, and more of Thee,
    Less of self, and more of Thee,
    Brought me lower while I whispered,
    “Less of self, and more of Thee.”
  4. Higher than the highest heaven,
    Deeper than the deepest sea,
    Lord, Thy love at last has conquered:
    None of self, and all of Thee.”
    None of self, and all of Thee,
    None of self, and all of Thee,
    Lord, Thy love at last has conquered:
    None of self, and all of Thee.

HAVE I NOT COMMANDED THEE?……C.H. Mackintosh

“Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid,
neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee wither-so-ever thou goest.”
Joshua 1:9

“Here lies the true secret of stability and peace, at all times, and under all
circumstances.  The authority of God for the ground we occupy, and His presence
with us thereon—the word of the Lord, as the warrant for what we are doing, and
the light of His countenance in the doing of it.  Joshua could never have faced
the difficulties of his day, without these two things; and, although we may not have to
meet the same things that lay in his path, yet, we may rest assured of this,
we shall never get on, in this our day, without the
word of God as our authority,
and His presence as our strength.  No doubt, those who are enabled to go
through the sifting and testing, with God, will reap a rich harvest of blessing;
but we must go through it.  It is being made manifest, just now, in a very special
way, whose faith is standing merely in the wisdom of men, and whose in the
power of God.  All that is hollow is being exposed, and will be so more and more;
but God will keep those whose hearts are true to the
name of Jesus.  “Thou wilt
keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”

This is the soul’s unfailing refuge, at all times.  “and now, brethren, I commend you
to GOD, and to the WORD of his grace.”  Nothing but God Himself and the word of His
grace could stand, in an evil day, or enable a soul to stand.

There is something perfectly beautiful in the jealous care of the apostle Paul lest any
should lean upon him, or upon anything save the living God Himself….”For this cause
also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God
which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth,
the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1Thess.2:13).

Be able, in the calm dignity of a faith that rests only in the power and on the authority
of God, to give a reason for the path that you tread, the work you do, the niche you
fill.  This is not highmindedness or haughtiness, dogmatism or pride, self-confidence
or vainglory.  It is the very reverse.  it is self-abnegation and confidence in God.
“With the lowly is wisdom” (Prov. 11:2).  Precious truth!  May we all remember it!
It is the lowly mind that really possesses heavenly wisdom.  It is not the learned,
the astute, the long-headed, or clear-headed among men that can thread their way
through the labyrinths of the present moment; no, it is the lowly, the simple, the
self-distrusting, the childlike, the unpretending.  These are they who will have
wisdom to guide them, in the darkest times–these are they who will possess peace
in their souls and stability in their ways.  May God’s Spirit lead us into these things!”
(from Short Papers on Scripture Subjects, Vol.1, C.H. Mackintosh).

A FEW WORDS ABOUT GRACE……William R. Newell

The Nature of Grace:
1. Grace is God acting freely, according to His own nature — as Love; with no promises or obligations to fulfill; and acting of course, righteously — in view of the cross.
2. Grace, therefore, is uncaused in the recipient: its cause lies wholly in the GIVER, in GOD.
3. Grace, also is sovereign. Not having debts to pay, or fulfilled conditions on man’s part to wait for, it can act toward whom, and how, it pleases. It can, and does, often, place the worst deservers in the highest favors.
4. Grace cannot act where there is either desert or ability. Grace does not help — it is absolute, it does all.
5. There being no cause in the creature why Grace should be shown, the creature must be brought off from trying to give cause to God for His Grace.
6. The discovery by the creature that he is truly the object of Divine Grace, works the utmost humility: for the receiver of grace is brought to know his own absolute unworthiness, and his complete inability to attain worthiness: yet he finds himself blessed – on another principle, outside of himself!
7. Therefore, flesh has no place in the plan of Grace. This is the great reason why Grace is hated by the proud natural mind of man. But for this very reason, the true believer rejoices! For he knows that “in him, that is, in his flesh, is no good thing; and yet he finds God glad to bless him, just as he is!
The Place of Man under Grace:
1. He has been accepted in Christ, who is his standing!
2. He is not “on probation.”
3. As to his life past, it does not exist before God: he died at the Cross, and Christ is his life.
4. Grace, once bestowed, is not withdrawn: for God knew all the human exigencies (needs) beforehand; His action was independent of them, not dependent upon them.
5. The failure of devotion does not cause the withdrawal of bestowed Grace (as it would under Law) . For example: the man in I Cor. 5:1-5, and also those in 11:30-32, who did not “judge” themselves, and so were “judged by the Lord, — that they might not be condemned with the world!”
The Proper Attitude of Man under Grace:
1. To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy, is the great secret.
2, To refuse to make “resolutions” and “vows;” for that is to trust in the flesh.
3. To expect to be blessed, though realizing more and more lack of worth.
4. To testify of God’s goodness, at all times.
5. To be certain of God’s future favor; yet to be ever more tender in conscience toward Him.
6. To rely on God’s chastening hand as a mark of His Kindness.
7. A man under Grace, if like Paul, has no burden regarding himself; but many about others.
Things Which Gracious Souls Discover:
1. To”hope to be better” is to fail to see yourself in Christ only.
2. To be disappointed with yourself, is to have believed in yourself.
3. To be discouraged is unbelief, — as to God’s purpose and plan of blessing for you,
4. To be proud, is to be blind! For we have no standing before God, in ourselves.
5. The lack of Divine blessing, therefore, comes from unbelief, and not from failure of devotion.
6. Real devotion to God arises, not from man’s will to show it; but from the discovery that blessing has been received from God while we were yet unworthy and undevoted.
7. To preach devotion first, and blessing second, is to reverse God’s order and preach Law, not Grace. The Law made man’s blessing depend on devotion; Grace confers undeserved, unconditional blessing: our devotion may follow, but does not always do so, — in proper measure.