A Letter from J. Hudson Taylor to his sister, Amelia.

CHlNKlANG, October 17th, 1869

MY own dear Sister – So many thanks for your long dear letter…I do not think you have written me such a letter since we have been in China. I know it is with you as with me – you cannot, not you will not. Mind and body will not bear more than a certain amount of strain, or do more than a certain amount of work. As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult: but the weight and strain are all gone. The last month or more has been, perhaps, the happiest of my life: and I long to tell you a little of what the Lord has done for my soul. I do not know how far I may be able to make myself intelligible about it,for there is nothing new or strange or wonderful – and yet, all is new! In a word: “Whereas I was blind. now I see”.

Perhaps I shall make myself more clear if I go back a little. Well, dearie, my mind has been greatly exercised for six or eight months past, feeling the need personally, and for our Mission, of more holiness, life, and power in our souls. But personal need stood first and was the greatest. I felt the ingratitude, the danger, the sin of not living nearer to God, prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for retirement and meditation – but all was without avail. Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me. I knew that if I could only abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not. I began the day with prayer, determined not to take my eye from Him for a moment; but pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, constant interruptions apt to be so wearing, often caused me to forget Him. Then one’s nerves get so fretted in this climate that temptations to irritability, hard thoughts and sometimes unkind words are all the more difficult to control. Each day brought its register of sin, failure and lack of power. To will was indeed present with me, but how to perform I found not.

Then came the question, “Is there no rescue? Must it be thus to the end -constant conflict and, instead of victory, too often defeat?” How, too, could I preach with sincerity that to those who receive Jesus,”to them gave He power to become the sons of God” (i.e., God-like) when it was not so in my experience? Instead of growing stronger, I seemed to be getting weaker and to have less power against sin, and no wonder, for faith and even hope were getting very low. I hated myself; I hated my sin; and yet I gained no strength against it. I felt I was a child of God: His Spirit in my heart would cry, in spite of all, “Abba. Father”; but to rise to my privileges as a child, I was utterly powerless. I thought that holiness, practical holiness was to be gradually attained by a diligent use of the means of grace. I felt that there was nothing I so much desired in this world, nothing I so much needed. But so far from in any measure attaining it, the more I pursued and strove after it, the more it eluded my grasp; till hope itself almost died out, and I began to think that, perhaps to make heaven the sweeter, God would not give it down here. I do not think I was striving to attain it in my own strength. I knew I was powerless. I told the Lord so, and asked Him to give me help and strength; and sometimes I almost believed He would keep and uphold me. But on looking back in the evening, alas! there was but sin and failure to confess and mourn before God.

I would not give you the impression that this was the daily experience of all those long, weary months. It was a too frequent state of soul; that toward which I was tending, and which almost ended in despair. And yet never did Christ seem more precious – a Savior who could and would save such a sinner!….And sometimes there were seasons not only of peace but of joy in the Lord. But they were transitory, and at best there was a sad lack of power. Oh, how good the Lord has been in bringing this conflict to an end!

All the time I felt assured that there was in Christ all I needed, but the practical question was how to get it out. He was rich, truly, but I was poor; He was strong, but I was weak. I knew full well that there was in the root, the stem, abundant fatness; but how to get it into my puny little branch was the question. As gradually the light was dawning on me. I saw that faith was the only prerequisite, to laying hold of His fullness and make it my own. BUT I HAD NOT THIS FAITH. I strove for it, but it would not come; tried to exercise it, but in vain. Seeing more and more the wondrous supply of grace laid up in Jesus, the fullness of our precious Savior – my helplessness and guilt seemed to increase. Sins committed appeared but as trifles compared with the sin of unbelief which was their cause, which could not or would not take God at His word, but rather made Him a liar! Unbelief was, I felt, the damning sin of the world – yet I indulged in it. I prayed for faith but it came not. What was I to do?

When my agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before. McCarthy, who had been much exercised by the same sense of failure, but saw the light before I did, wrote (I quote from memory):

“But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith. but by resting on the Faithful One.”

As I read I saw it all! “If we believe not, He abideth faithful.” I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed) that He had said, “I will never leave you.” “Ah. THERE is rest!” I thought. “I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I’ll strive no more. For has He not promised to abide with me – never to leave me, never to fail me?” And, dearie, He never will!

But this was not all He showed me, nor one half. As I thought of the vine and the branches. what light the blessed Spirit poured direct into my soul! How great seemed my mistake in having wished to get the sap, the fullness OUT of Him. I saw not only that Jesus would never leave me, but that I was a member of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. The vine now I see is not the root merely, but all – root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit; and Jesus is not only that; He is soil and sunshine, air and showers, and ten thousand times more than we have ever dreamed, wished for, or needed. Oh, the joy of seeing this truth! I do pray that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened, that you may know and enjoy the riches freely given us in Christ.

Oh, my dear sister, it is a wonderful thing to be really one with a risen and exalted Saviour; to be a member of Christ! Think what it involves. Can Christ be rich and I poor? Can your right hand be rich and the left poor? Or your head be well fed while your body starves? Again, think of its bearing on prayer. Could a bank clerk say to a customer, “It was only your hand wrote that cheque, not you,” or “I cannot pay this sum to your hand, but only to yourself?” No more can your prayers, or mine, be discredited IF OFFERED IN THE NAME OF JESUS (i.e., not in our own name, or for the sake of Jesus merely, but on the ground that we are His; His members) so long as we keep within the extent of Christ’s credit – a tolerably wide limit! If we ask anything unscriptural or not in accordance with the will of God, Christ Himself could not do that: but “If we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and…we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”

The sweetest part, if one may speak of one part being sweeter than another, is the REST which full identification with Christ brings. I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for He, I know, is able to carry out HIS WILL, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient. It little matters to my servant whether I send him to buy a few cash worth of things or the most expensive articles. In either case he looks to me for the money, and brings me his purchases. So, if God places me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? No fear that His resources will be unequal to the emergency! And His resources are mine, for HE is mine, and is with me and dwells in me. All this springs from the believer’s oneness with Christ. And since Christ has thus dwelt in my heart by faith, how happy I have been! I wish I could tell you instead of writing about it.

I am no better than before (may I not say, in a sense, I do not wish to be, nor am I striving to be); but I am dead and buried with Christ – aye, and risen too and ascended; and now Christ lives in me, and “the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” I now BELIEVE I am dead to sin. God reckons me so, and tells me to reckon myself so. He knows best. All my past experiences may have shown that it was not so; but I dare not say it is not now, when He says it is. I feel and know that old things have passed away. I am as capable of sinning as ever, but Christ is realized as present as never before. He cannot sin; and He can keep me from sinning. I cannot say (I am sorry to have to confess it) that since I have seen this light I have not sinned; but I do feel there was no need to have done so. And further – walking more in the light, my conscience has been more tender; sin has been instantly seen, confessed, pardoned; and peace and joy (with humility) instantly restored; with one exception, when for several hours peace and joy did not return – from lack, as I had to learn, of full confession, and from some attempt to justify self.

Faith, I now see, is “the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for,” and not mere shadow. It is not less than sight but MORE. Sight only shows the outward forms of things; faith gives the substance. You can rest on substance, FEED on substance. Christ dwelling in the heart by faith (i.e.. His word of promise credited) is power indeed, is LIFE indeed. And Christ and sin will not dwell together; nor can we have His presence with love of the world or carefulness about “many things”.

And now I must close. I have not said half I would nor as I would had I more time. May God give you to lay hold on these blessed truths. Do not let us continue to say, in EFFECT, “Who shall ascend into heaven? that is, to bring Christ down from above.” In other words. do not let us consider Him as afar off, when God has made us one with Him, members of His very body. Nor should we look upon this experience, these truths, as for the few.

They are the birthright of every child of God, and no one can dispense with them without dishonour to our Lord. The only power for deliverance from sin or for true service is Christ.

Your own affectionate brother,

J. HUDSON TAYLOR

CONTENTMENT

“I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” — Philippians 4:11.

“I HAVE learned.” The Apostle doth not say, “I have heard, that in every estate I should be content,” but, “I have learned.” It is not enough for Christians to hear their duty, but they must learn their duty. It is one thing to hear, and another thing to learn; as it is one thing to eat, and another thing to digest food. Christians bear much, but, it is to be feared, learn little.

If your estate be small, yet God can bless a little. It is not how much money we have, but how much blessing. He that often curses the bags of gold, can bless the meal in the barrel, and the oil in the cruse. What if thou hast not the full flesh-pots? yet thou hast a promise, I will “bless her provision” (Ps. 132:15), and then a little goes a great way. Be content, that thou hast the dew of a blessing distilled: a dinner of green herbs, where love is, is sweet; I may add, where the love of God is. Another may have more estate than you, but more care; more riches, less rest; more revenues, but withal more occasions of expense: he has a greater inheritance, yet perhaps God doth not give him “power to eat thereof” (Ecc. 6:2); he holds more, but enjoys less; in a word, thou hast less gold then he, perhaps less guilt.

Discontent keeps a man from enjoying what he doth possess. A drop or two of vinegar will sour a whole glass of wine. Comfort depends upon contentment. It is not trouble that troubles, but discontent; it is not the water without the ship, but the water that gets within the leak which sinks it; it is not outward afflictions that can make the life of a Christian sad; a contented mind would sail above these waters; but when there is a leak of discontent open, and trouble gets into the heart, then it is disquieted and sinks.

The discontented person thinks everything he doth for God too much, and everything God doth for him too little.

There are no sins God’s people are more subject to than unbelief and impatience; they are ready, either to faint through unbelief, or to fret through impatience. When men fly out against God by discontent and impatience, it is a sign they do not believe “that all things work together for good, to them that love God.” Discontent is an ungrateful sin, because we have more mercies than afflictions; and it is an irrational sin, because afflictions work for good. Discontent is a sin which puts us upon sin. “Fret not thyself to do evil” (Ps. 37:8). He that frets will be ready to do evil: fretting Jonah was sinning (Jonah 4:9). The devil blows the coals of passion and discontent, and then warms himself at the fire.

“All things work together for good to them that love God.” Shall we be discontented at that which works for our good? If one friend should throw a bag of money at another, and in throwing it, should graze his head, he would not be troubled much, seeing by this means he had got a bag of money. So the Lord may bruise us by afflictions, but it is to enrich us; these afflictions work for us a weight of glory; and shall we be discontented?

Immoderate care takes the heart off from better things; and usually while we are thinking how we shall do to live, we forget how to die. We may sooner by our care add a furlong to our grief, than a foot to our comfort.

Remember thou art to be here but a day; thou hast but a short way to go, and what need a long provision for a short way? If a traveller has but enough to bring him to his journey’s end, he desires no more.

How hard it is for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven! (Luke 18:24). His golden weights keep him from ascending up the hill of God. Be content then with a little; if you have but enough to pay for your passage to heaven, it sufficeth.

Humility is like the lead to the net, which keeps the soul down when it is rising through passion; and contentment is like the cork, which keeps the heart up when it is sinking through discouragement.

Is not many a man contented to suffer reproach for maintaining his lust? and shall not we for maintaining the truth? Some glory in that which is their shame (Phil. 3:19); and shall we be ashamed of that which is our glory?

What need he complain of the world’s emptiness that has God’s fulness? “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance,” says David (Ps. 16:5); then let the lines fall where they will, in a sick bed, or prison, I will say, “The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”

“The God which fed me all my life long to this day” (Gen. 48:15). Hath not God provided liberally for you. Thou never feedest, but mercy carves for thee; thou never goest to bed, but mercy draws the curtains, and sets a guard of angels about thee.

“The Lord is good to all” (Ps. 145:9). Sweet dewdrops are on the thistle, as well as on the rose. God’s mercy is free. To set up merit is to destroy mercy. Nothing can deserve mercy, nor force it. We may force God to punish us, but not to love us. “I will love them freely” (Hosea 14:4). Every link in the chain of salvation is wrought and interwoven with free grace. Election is free. “He has chosen us in Him . . . according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5). Justification is free, “Being justified freely by His grace” (Rom. 3:24). Salvation is free, “According to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5). Say not then, I am unworthy; for mercy is free. If God should show mercy to such only as are worthy, He would show none at all. . . . God’s mercy is an overflowing mercy; it is infinite: “Plenteous in mercy” (Ps. 86:5). “Rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:4). “Multitude of Thy tender mercies” (Ps. 51:1). The vial of wrath drops, but the fountain of mercy runs. . . . God has morning mercies, His mercies “are new every morning” (Lam. 3:23). He has night mercies, “In the night His song shall be with me” (Ps. 42:8). God’s mercy is eternal, “The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 103:17). As His mercy is overflowing so it is everflowing.

Doth God give us a Christ, and will He deny us a crust? If God doth not give us what we crave, He will give us what we need.

Prosperity often deafens the ear against God. “I spake to thee in thy prosperity, but thou saidst, I will not hear” (Jer. 22:21). Soft pleasures harden the heart. Prosperity has its honey, and also its sting. Anxious care is the evil spirit that haunts the rich man; when his chests are full of money, his heart is full of care. Sunshine is pleasant, but sometimes it scorches. The spreading of a full table may be the spreading of a snare. Many have been sunk to hell with golden weights. “They that will be rich fall into many hurtful lusts, which drown men in perdition” (1 Tim. 6:9). The world’s golden sands are quicksands. What if we have less food we have less snare; if less dignity, less danger. As we lack the rich provisions of the world, so we lack the temptations. To give us Christ is more than if God had given us all the world. He can make more worlds, but He has no more Christs to bestow. If you have but daily bread enough to suffice nature, be content. Consider it is not having abundance that always makes life comfortable. A staff may help the traveller, but a bundle of staves will be a burden to him. The world is but a great inn. If God give you sufficient to pay for your charges in your inn, you may be content, you shall have enough when you come to your own country.

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee” (Ps. 56:3). Faith cures the trembling in heart; it gets above fear as oil swims above the water. To trust in God makes Him to be a God to us. God will turn all evils to our good (Rom. 8:28). Joseph’s imprisonment was a means for his advancement. Out of the bitterest drug He will distil His glory and our salvation. In short, He will be our guide to death, our comfort in death, and our reward after death. “Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 144:15).

 

(Thomas Watson , death: July 28, 1686, rector of St. Stephens, Walbrook, England)

Quote……J.B. Stoney

“It is true that in the mind of the Father we are always over Jordan.  But though
here in the wilderness, the joys of heaven are ours…like the grapes of Eschol—
*****

(Numbers 13: 17-25)reality of being over is not known until by faith we accept it as having died and risen with Christ; and that therefore heaven is our position, we know it to be our place, and that this side is not our place, and we know that it is not.)

*****

The more you are with the Lord in spirit on the other side, the less disappointed you will be here, for when you are there you import new joys and new hopes into this old world, from an entirely new one, and you therefore in every way surpass the inhabitants of this judged world.  May this be more and more your happy song.”

*****

J.B. Stoney

IN CHRIST ALONE……A Song

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fear’s are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here, in the love of Christ, I stand.
*****
In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save
‘Til on that cross, as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin, on him, was laid
Here, in the death of Christ, I live
*****
There in the ground, his body lay
Light of the world, by darkness, slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave, he rose again
And as he stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am his and he is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
*****
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from his hand
‘Til he returns or calls me home
Here, in the power of Christ, I stand
*****
(Keith & Kristyn Getty)

GOD HOLDS US IN HIS EVERLASTING ARMS……Poem by Robert Fear on Isaiah 40

He hath fixed the set proportions of the oceans and the land
According to the details of His plan;
He hath “measured out the waters in the hollow of his hand”
And meted out the heavens with His span.”
He controls th’ unconquered orbit of “the light that rules the day”
And guides the myriad worlds that shine at night;
And brings forth the host of heaven by their numbers to display
The uncontested brilliance of His might!
But although His arm is power to the infinite expanse,
That same unerring arm is in control
To determine and to govern my every circumstance—
To claim complete submission in my soul!
Yes!  And though He counts the nations as “the dust upon the scale”
And soars above their triumphs and alarms,
He remembers all about us—that our frame of dust is frail,
And holds us in His “everlasting arms.”
(R.G. Fear:  Composed en route to France for the Invasion of Europe,
June 15th, 1945)
(Golden Nuggets are published by Saville Stree Distribution, Venture,
Princes Esplanade, Walton–on–the Naze, CO14 8QD , UK)

A POEM……Dorothea Day

Out of the light that dazzles me,
Bright as the sun from pole to pole
   I thank the God I know to be
For Christ is the conqueror of my soul
Since His the sway of circumstance
   I would not wince nor cry aloud
Under the rule which men call chance
   My head with joy is humbly bowed
Beyond this place of sin and tears
That life with Him!  And His the aid,
   Despite the menace of the years,
Keep, and shall keep me, unafraid
I have no fear, though strait the gate,
He cleared my punishment from the scroll
   Christ is the master of my fate
   Christ is the master of my soul

CHRISTIAN LIFE

“Sometimes our Christian life and love are divided between
the two Adams.  It may be 60-40 in favor of the last Adam,
still it is shared.  But the Lord Jesus paid it all, gave His all,
deserves our all, requires all, because He is our ALL.
Ours is to be total separation–death to the old, life in the New.”
(Hungry Heart #7, pg.24)

The growing believer will be inconsistent but never carnal. 

Vern Peterman  taught that we “put off the old man” at salvation.
(Eph.4:22).  C.A. Coates spoke of the “path of faith.”  If
we learn to depend on the Lord (walk by faith) we are growing
and being conformed to the image of Christ.  We agree it takes
much time and we marvel at the Lord’s patience with us. 
The Scofield headings are helpful,
I think in this chapter 4:

“Because the truth taught is commended by the life.” (2Cor.4:1)

“Because not self but Christ Jesus as Lord is preached.” (2 Cor. 4:2)
***************************************************************************************
I hope sharing some quotes here are welcome and benefit.
These are random quotes by Arno Gaebelein on 2 Cor.4.

“The old man has to be kept constantly in the place of death, self
must be judged and broken to pieces, that the light may shine forth.”
(he referenced the ancients who had their pitchers broken so that the
light could shine through.)

“The power is manifested through the earthen vessels in trial and
affliction.  But God’s gracious power is manifested in all these
earthly and trying circumstances.”
“”Always bearing about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus
(made like Him, in that the man as such was reduced to nothing), in order      
that the life of Jesus, which death could not touch, which has triumphed
over death, should be manifested in his body, mortal as it was.  The
more the natural man was annihilated [annulled], the more was it evident
that a power was there which was not of man.  This was the principle,
but it was morally realized in the heart by faith.  Thus death wrought in
the apostle; what was merely of man, of nature and natural life,
disappeared, in order that life in Christ, developing itself in him on the
part of God and by His power, should work in the Corinthians by
his means.  [Paul] followed the Lord in all this and knew the fellowship
of His sufferings.  But through it the people of God were helped,
comforted and blessed.  In this sense life worked in them through the
self-sacrifice of the apostle.  And what sustains in all this?  It is faith.
And faith reckons on God who raiseth the death.”

To remain in our “crucified position”….our abiding position….how
restful to follow His leading.  There is less and less striving to “be”
like Christ….and trusting the Holy Spirit to produce His life in us.
Red flags go up when we hear that “pressing, striving to obey”
because we know that message is calling for “self” effort. 
And we need the message of His sufficiency and our resting in it.

“THE MISSION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”……H.A. Ironside

“Oh the peace of full surrender!
    All my joy to do His will!
Mine to trust His faithful promise;
    His the promise to fulfil
Oh the glory and the rapture
    Thus to dwell with Christ the Lord;
New delight and wisdom gaining
    From the study of His Word.
Pleasure’s songs no more entice me,
    Nor the bugle note of Fame;
Sweeter far the holy music
    Of my dear Redeemer’s name.
Oh the glory and the rapture—
    Earthly burdens pass away!
Stormy winter turns to summer;
    Lonely darkness into day.”
(excerpt from H.A. Ironside’s “The Mission of the Holy Spirit”)

THE DISAPPOINTMENTS OF LIFE

“This thing is from me” (1 Kings 12:24).
The disappointments of life are in reality only the loving decrees of our God and Father:
I have a message for you today, my child. Let me whisper it in your ear so that the storm clouds that arise may be gilded with glory, and the rough places where you may have to walk be made smooth.
It is a short message but let it sink into your inmost soul and use it as a pillow to rest your weary head: “This thing is from me.”
Have you ever thought that all that concerns you also concerns Me? “He who touches you touches the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8). You are very “precious in My sight” (Isaiah 43:4); therefore it is my special delight to teach you.
When temptations assail you and the “enemy comes in like a flood” (Isaiah 59:19), I want you to know that this thing is from Me. Your weakness needs my might, and your safety is in letting Me fight for you.
Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, who disregard your tastes, who push you into the background? This thing is from Me; I am the God of circumstances. You were not placed where you are by chance; it is the place I have chosen for you. Did you not ask to be made humble? See, I placed you in the very place where you can learn this lesson; your surroundings and companions are only working out my purposes for you.
Do you have financial difficulties? Is it hard to make ends meet? This also is from Me. I own the cattle on a thousand hills, and would have you draw from and depend on Me. My supplies are unlimited (see Philippians 4:19). Prove my promises, so it will not be true of you that “for all that, you did not believe the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 1:32).
Are you passing through a night of sorrow? This thing is from Me. I am the “Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). I have allowed earthly comforts and human support to fail you, so that in turning to Me you may obtain everlasting consolation (see 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
Has some friend disappointed you? One to whom you opened your heart? This thing is from Me. I want you to learn that the best friend is Jesus. I long for you to confide in Me.
Has someone said things about you that are untrue? Leave them to Me. You draw closer to Me, under my wings, your shelter “from the strife of tongues” (Psalm 31:20). I will “bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday” (Psalm 37:6).
Have your plans been all upset? Are you crushed and weary? This thing is from Me. You made your plans, then asked Me to bless them. I want you to let Me plan for you, and then I will take the responsibility, for it is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. You are only an instrument, not an agent.
Have you longed to do some great work for Me, but instead you are laid aside on a bed of pain and weakness? This thing is from Me. I could not get your attention while you were so busy; I want to teach you some deep lessons. They also serve who only stand and wait. Some of my greatest workers are those shut out from active service, but who learn to wield the weapon of prayer.
Are you suddenly called upon to fill a difficult and responsible position? Go forward, counting on Me. I am entrusting you with this position because “the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand” (Deuteronomy 15:10).
This day I place in your hand this pot of holy oil. Use it fully, my child. Let every circumstance, every painful word, every interruption that would make you impatient, every revelation of your weakness be anointed with it. Remember that interruptions are divine instructions. The sting will go as you learn to see Me in all things.

Therefore, “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today … because it is your life” (Deuteronomy 32:46-47).
– L. A. Barton, (Revised)

TRUST IN GOD

We are in relationship with God; in all things He is our refuge; and events do not disturb Him.
He knows everything; He knows it beforehand. Events shake neither His throne nor His heart; they always accomplish His purposes. But to us He is love: We are through grace the objects of His tender care.
He listens to us and bows down His ear to hear us. In all things, therefore, instead of disquieting ourselves and weighing everything in our own hearts, we ought to present our requests to God in prayer, with supplication, and with a heart that makes itself known. For we are human beings, but with the knowledge of the heart of God, for He loves us perfectly. Even while making our petition to Him, we can already give thanks, because we are sure of the answer of His grace, whatever it may be; it is our requests that we are to present to Him.
Nor is it a cold commandment to find out His will, then come; we are to go with our requests.
Hence, Philippians 4:6-7 does not say that you will have what you ask; but that God’s peace will keep your hearts.
This is trust; and His peace – the peace of God Himself – shall keep our hearts. It does not say that our hearts shall keep the peace of God; but, having cast our burden on Him whose peace nothing can disturb, His peace keeps our hearts.
Our trouble is before Him, and the constant peace of the God of love, who takes charge of everything and knows all beforehand, quiets our burdened hearts. He imparts to us the peace which is in Himself, “which surpasses all understanding.” He Himself is above all the circumstances that can disquiet us, and above the poor human heart that is troubled by them.
Oh, what grace, that even our anxieties are a means of our being filled with this wondrous peace, if we know how to bring them to God, and how true He is! – J. N. D.

PEACE……H. J. Vine

Seven times in the epistles we read of “the God of Peace,” and surely He will supply abundance of peace for those who love Him. Once is that beautiful title given to Christ by the Spirit—“the Lord of peace.” How encouraging is the verse where it occurs—“The Lord of peace Himself give you peace continually in every way. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thess. 3:16).

Let us consider some of the benefits and priceless treasures of peace which are freely given to those who have been called by the grace of God.

1. Judicial Peace

Peace with God (Rom. 5:1). This is judicial. It comes to us from a transaction which took place between God and our Lord Jesus Christ, when Jesus was delivered up for our offences, when the chastisement of our peace was laid upon Him. The whole question of our sins having been settled by divine justice, God raised Christ from among the dead for our justification; and, possessing this on the principle of faith, peace with God is consequently ours. It is unchangeable. It rests upon a solid basis of righteousness. It cannot be altered. Though we have it, yet we did not make it. It was made between God and Christ for us, and it is eternal. God was the author of it and Christ the procurer of it. Wars can neither make it nor mar it. Peace with God is ours through the work of another. He made it, and we take it by faith. It is fundamental and abiding.

2. Spiritual Peace

Peace of mind (Rom. 8:6). This is spiritual, and results from the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. The mind of the Spirit is life and peace, but the mind of the flesh is enmity against God. If a true believer minds the things of the flesh, he has an experience which is the very opposite to what is called “life and peace.” The Holy Spirit dwells in us to lead us into the things of God, to fill our thoughts with the glories of our Lord Jesus Christ; and as the mind is occupied with and furnished by these things, peace of mind is ours. We prove in our spiritual experience the truth of that word, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee” (Isa. 26:3). To have the mind guided in the right direction is all-important in this connection.

3. Circumstantial Peace

The peace of God (Phil. 4:7). This is circumstantial. By that we mean, peace in relation to our circumstances; and, wonderful to relate, it is God’s own peace which is ours in this connection. Peace with God is ours as the result of what Christ has done; the peace of God is ours as the result of what we do; as we read, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts (the seat of your affections) and minds (the seat of your thoughts) through Christ Jesus.” These are the terms for the enjoyment of the peace of God. Full of care for nothing; prayerful and thankful to God in everything. Peace with God is ours through faith, this through prayer and thanksgiving. The first is ours in regard to the putting away of our sins at the cross; the second is ours in regard to all circumstances, as we gratefully leave our cares with Him who gives us His own peace instead. Words cannot express the infinite grace and sweetness of this: it “passes all understanding.”

4. Universal Peace

Peace by blood (Col. 1:20). This is universal. “Having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” How far-reaching are the blessings that flow from the cross of our adorable Saviour. Universal disturbance has come in through sin, peace and reconciliation result universally from its removal by Him who died and rose again. The Old Testament eloquently describes the earthly blessings; and the thrones, dominions, principalities, powers and authorities in heaven will also benefit. Israel will rejoice in the Saviour presently as “the Prince of Peace: of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end” (Isa. 9:6-7); but righteousness, peace and joy shall fill the earth, and the heavens likewise.

“The mountains shall bring peace to the people” we are told; and Christ “shall have dominion from sea to sea”; then “men shall be blessed in Him”; but the heavens too shall reap rich results through Him who made peace by the blood of His cross. Already the redeemed can say in the language of Ephesians 2:4, “He is our peace.” Those who know the Saviour have reached their desired haven: peace is theirs now for ever.

5. Intentional Peace

The counsellors of peace (Prov. 1220). This is intentional. The intent and counsel of their heart is for peace; therefore we read, “To the counsellors of peace is joy.” This truth is applicable to all who counsel with such Christ-like intent; but it surely carries our thoughts up to the supreme council chamber of the divine majesty. There the Godhead counselled peace. Sin spreads its disastrous disorders. No one else could secure peace and equity. Man is helpless in himself; but the gracious and august deliberations of the Trinity counselled the way of peace through the cross of Christ; and, though the blessings of that counsel and work are ours, the glory and the joy shall be theirs eternally; for, as we have seen, not only are believers reconciled as the present result of the death of Christ, but eventually all things in earth and heaven shall be reconciled also. “To the Counsellors of peace is joy”—joy now, joy for ever. How worthy of this is our God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who counselled, procured, and proclaimed it to us.

6. Conditional Peace

The God of peace (Phil. 4:9). This is conditional; that is, as far as our experience of His presence with us according to this verse is concerned. If we “do” the things referred to, it is said, “The God of peace shall be with you.” What company may be ours in a world like this! We have seen from verse 7 that our hearts and minds may be garrisoned by God’s own peace; now we are told, we may have the company of the God of peace Himself with us. What high honour! What a priceless privilege! Meditation upon these words will be more likely to produce the desired result than extended dilation upon them. “What ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, these things DO; and the God of peace shall be with you” (N.Tr.).

7. Practical Peace

The makers of peace (Matt. 5:9). This is practical. The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called sons of God” (N.Tr.). It is not that peace-making constitutes us sons of God. The relationship of sons is ours “by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26, N.Tr.); but it means we shall bear that character—that God-likeness; so we shall be known as sons of God. We read of sons of light, sons of the day, and sons of thunder. This is character rather than relationship. Peace-making is to be characteristic of us. The blessedness, happiness, and recognition of this will then be ours. Surely, beloved brethren, since we are recipients of such abundance of peace ourselves; since we belong to Him who is the God of peace; since we are eternally at rest through the work of the great Peace-maker, our Lord and Saviour; since we are called to follow Him, we should seek in every possible way to make peace consistent with the holiness of God. Happy are the peace-makers. It is difficult to think of any of the saints of God seeking anything different from this. They are all peace-takers; they should all be peacemakers; surely none can intentionally be peace-breakers. We are exhorted to “follow peace with all.”

O ye children of God, rejoice greatly in the abiding peace which is yours through our Lord Jesus Christ!—
“Peace like an even river flows,
And mercy like a flood.”

O ye spiritual priesthood, having approach to God to offer up your “spiritual sacrifices,” feed abundantly on the “peace offerings” divinely provided for you!

And ye soldiers warring in the heavenly conflict of Ephesians 6 see that ye stand your ground firmly, strong in the Lord, “having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”!—peace in the struggle is thy portion!

Finally, may grace and peace be multiplied to us in the knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:2). Again and again, in nearly all the inspired letters, the Spirit begins by desiring for us, “Grace and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.” LORD, LET THY BELOVED SAINTS PROVE THIS PLENTIFULLY AT THE PRESENT TIME.