WALKING WITH JESUS by Mary Winslow
Spiritual meditations for pilgrims in a weary land on their way to glory!
How often one word, a simple sentence, when applied by the Holy Spirit, gives comfort, and lifts one up! How much we need these helps all through our weary pilgrimage! We are such forgetful creatures; too often forgetting what we are, and what a God He is.
How poor and unsatisfying are all things here below; even the best and the loveliest! Oh, to walk more intimately with Him, to live above the world, and hold the creature with a looser hand, taking God's Word as our guiding light; our unfailing spring of comfort. God has eternally provided such a magnificent and holy heaven for us above, that He is jealous lest we should set our hearts too fondly and closely upon the attractions of earth. Therefore it is that He withers our gourds and breaks our cisterns; only to dislodge us here, and lead us to seek those things which are above, where Christ our treasure is.
Let us keep our eye and our hearts upon our blessed home. Earth is but a stage erected as our passage to the place Jesus has gone to prepare for us. What a place must that be which infinite power and love has engaged to provide! Oh, let us not lose sight of heaven for a moment. How prone are we to allow our minds and hearts (treacherous hearts!) to become entangled with the baubles of a dying world. No wonder Christ exhorted us to watch and pray. Heaven is our home; our happy home. We are but strangers and pilgrims here. Try and realize it. Let us keep ourselves ready to enter with Him to the marriage supper of the Lamb. In a little while, and we shall see Him, not as the 'Man of sorrows,' but the 'King in His beauty.' Then let us fight against earth and all its false attractions, for it passes away.
God is my Shepherd, and all my concerns are in His hands. Blessed, forever blessed, be His dear and holy name, who has looked with everlasting mercy on such a poor, vile sinner as me; and encouraged me with such sweet manifestations of His love, to trust my soul and all my interests in His hands!
The world and its 'nothings' are often a sad snare to God's saints. Oh that by faith we may overcome it all, and keep close to Jesus! We are not of the world. Let us try and not attend to its gewgaws! Keep a more steadfast, unwavering eye upon Christ. He has gone a little before us, and stands beckoning us to follow. Live for eternity! Let go your hold upon the world! Receive this exhortation from an aged pilgrim, who, as she nears the solemn scenes of eternity, and more realizes the inexpressible joys that await us there, is anxious that all the believers who are traveling the same road might have their hearts and minds more disentangled from earth and earthly things, and themselves unreservedly given to Christ. Let us aim in all things to follow Him who, despising this world's show, left us an example how we should walk. Have your lamp trimmed and brightly burning, for every day and every hour brings us nearer and nearer to our home!
"Dearest Jesus! help Your pilgrims to live more like pilgrims, above a poor dying world, and more in full view of the glory that awaits them when they shall see You face to face!"
The Christian Journey. Life is a journey, often a short one, and always uncertain. But there is another journey. The believer is traveling through a waste howling wilderness, to another and a glorious region, where ineffable delight and happiness await us. The road is narrow, the entrance strait, so strait that thousands miss it and perish in the wilderness. But true believers, under the teaching and convoy of the Holy Spirit, find it and walk in it. The King, in His infinite love and compassion, has made a hedge about them, separating and defending them from the many beasts of prey that lurk around them; and although they hear their howlings and behold their threatenings, they are safe from their power. But their strongest foe is within themselves; a heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. From this there is no escape but by constant watchfulness, and earnest cries to their best Friend and Guide for protection. Were it not for this faithful Guide, how often, discouraged by reason of the way, would they turn back! But He watches over them by night and by day, strengthens them when weak, upholds them when falling, encourages them when cast down, defends them when attacked, provides for them when in need, leads them by living streams, and causes them there to lie down in pleasant pastures, and on sunny banks. And as they advance they obtain brighter views of the good land they are nearing, and they long to see the King in His beauty, and the land that is yet very far off, and to meet those that have already arrived on that happy shore.
It is high time we awoke out of sleep, and aim to live more for eternity, to live more for God, and to God. With this world and its opinions and maxims, we, as believers, have nothing to do, for they are contrary to God's Word. And as it respects mere professing Christians, we had better keep away from them, for they are as poisonous weeds in the Church, infecting, in some way or other, all around them, and must, and will be, rooted out in due time. These are the very bane of the Church! May God, in mercy, lessen their number daily!
Do not speak peace to a poor soul before God has spoken it. The murder of souls is the most dire of all murders! Hold in memory Ezekiel 33:7-8, "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood." I wish that every man who considers he has been called of the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel had this whole chapter written upon his heart. In your preaching separate the precious from the vile, and be ready at a moment's warning to give an account of your stewardship. Great is your responsibility! Oh, be faithful over a few things, that you may have a "Well done, good and faithful servant!" I heard a clergyman in your neighborhood say, "All that we have to do is to keep the people quiet." This man was never called of the Holy Spirit to preach Christ's Gospel. Satan is only too pleased with such. This is just as the Deceiver would have it. He would keep the people quiet in their own sins, and say, "There is no danger; it is time enough yet, for you are good enough, and have done no evil, at any rate, you are no worse than others. Peace, peace!"
What a mercy that there are better things in store for us than this poor world could give! Who that knows the truth experimentally would wish to live in this base world one moment longer than he could help it. But what must that place be which infinite love has prepared for us! "There are many rooms in My Father's home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am." Does it not appear as though Jesus could not enjoy heaven itself to the full if all His redeemed ones were not there? "Father, I want those you have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory." To be with Jesus! One moment of this is worth ten thousand worlds!
We need Jesus! We cannot do without Him! We must have Him, for He is our joy, our exceeding joy, our life, and our all. Without Him, the world and all it calls good, is poverty, wretchedness, and woe! With Him, a wilderness is a paradise, a cottage a palace, and the lowliest spot of earth a little heaven below!
As to the subject of the study of prophecy, I would remark that, we should keep in mind the truth that "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy;" and that the prophecies should be studied with a view of knowing more of Him; His personal glory, salvation, and kingdom. There is great danger of being led away from the 'spirit of prophecy.' The writings of the prophets would possess no meaning, charm, or attraction, did they not all testify of Jesus. "Of Him give all the prophets witness." They predict His advent, describe His death, foretell His triumph, and portray His kingdom and glory. The suffering and victorious Messiah is the central object of their magnificent picture! In the study of the prophets there is great danger of being carried away with some favorite prophetical scheme which, perhaps, we rather bring to, than take from, their inspired writings. And this is allowed a too absorbing study and attention, to the exclusion of more vital and momentous subjects. May we not be liable to lose, in a too exclusive and engrossing study of the prophetical writings, much of that lowliness of mind, close intimacy with the progress of the kingdom of God within us, and communion with God Himself, which constitute the life and spirit of experimental religion?
Whatever others may say, I am sure there was nothing good in me to draw the Savior's love. "I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion upon whom I will have compassion." Here is the cause! Chosen in Christ before the world began; given to Christ in the councils of eternity; called; justified; and in due time glorified when the work of sanctification shall be complete. This is the glorious mystery which keeps the poor believing sinner low at the feet of Jesus! Boasting is here excluded! A sinner saved, fully and eternally saved through the all sufficient merit and atoning blood of Christ the Lord. It is a free grace salvation! Without money, without price! No other would have saved such a sinner as me! If there had been anything necessary in me, I would have been lost to all eternity! It is a free grace salvation!
My heart feels for you, my dear friend, in your deep, deep trial. This present world is a world of sadness; but when we think of that world which is to come, into which sorrow never enters, and how soon we may be there, we may well "rejoice in tribulation." Our "light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." In all your sorrows, pour out your heart to the Man of sorrows. He will bow down His ear and listen to all you say, and will either remove or moderate your trial, and give you strength to bear it. Even this bitter draught He has given you to drink shall result both in your good and His own glory. Remember, not a sparrow falls upon the ground without His guidance, and that the very hairs of your head are all numbered. How much more has this trying event been ordered and arranged by Him who loves you! Infinite wisdom has appointed the whole! Never doubt that He loves you when He the most deeply afflicts. "When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you." May He lift up upon you the light of His countenance, drawing you nearer to Himself, that you may see what a tender, loving heart He has for you, and how deeply and tenderly and considerately He cares for you, as if there were not another poor sorrowful one to care for on the face of the whole earth!
I wonder what business a man, declaring himself sent of God to lead poor sinners to Christ, has to do with the sights and shows of this perishing world! How can he exhort his flock to live above the world and all its vanities, while he himself is going after them? I cannot understand some Christians, and they do not understand me. I may be wrong; but when I read, "Come out from among them, and be separate." "Do not love the world, nor the things that are in the world;" and many other such solemn exhortations, I realize the way a believer in Christ should live, and have only to regret I so often wander from it myself. Oh, how the world, with all its cares, crowds upon the poor pilgrim, even in his most solemn moments! "Dear Savior, keep me near, very near Your blessed heart. Shelter me under Your almighty, protecting wing, until the storm of life is past."
Broad is the road to destruction, and many go therein; narrow is the road that leads to glory, and there are few, comparatively, who find it; happy few! And, oh, what a mercy that He has guided our feet there! Our souls and bodies ought to be devoted to Him, to glorify Him for His distinguishing grace! For what are we more than others, that He should fix His everlasting love upon us while we were dead in trespasses and in sins? Blessed be God, who passes by so many, and who has deigned to look upon us who were lying as others, dead in sin. Infinite in sovereignty, infinite in goodness, infinite in power! Why He passes by some and calls others is only known to Himself. But He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy. Blessed, forever blessed, be His adored name! Oh, for grace to serve Him better, and to love Him more!
This world is not, and never was intended to be, our rest. It is a wilderness we are passing through, and shame, shame to us, that we so often want to sit down amid its weeds and briars, and amuse ourselves with the trifles of a fallen world lying in the wicked one. All here is polluted and tainted by sin; therefore does Christ say, "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."
We must not expect much in this base world. All our richest blessings are to come. This world is but a preparatory state. We are disciplining and preparing for the glorious inheritance above. But how often, through wretched unbelief, we seem to wish to have our all here. And although, from bitter experience, we feel and acknowledge that this poor world is polluted, and it is not our rest, yet more or less we go on, often repining, because we cannot have things just as we wish. Oh, to leave ourselves in a loving, tender Father's hands! He knows what we need, and what we ought to have, and will deny us no good thing. But He must judge for us, who are but as babes, who cannot judge for ourselves.
Oh, dear friend, the world is one vast hospital filled with diseased inmates, and only one class can ever hope for a perfect cure. We believers shall all be well when we get above. This world is not our rest, nor our home. We seek a better one, and, blessed be God, our best Friend is preparing it for us. When we get there we shall find it far beyond our highest and most enlarged expectations.
Who would desire to live aways in this poor world? Who would desire to dwell on these lower grounds, where sickness and sorrow, the sad consequences of sin, follow in our wake? In heaven, our happy home, we shall enjoy perfect holiness and perfect happiness.
Is it not strange that we can for one moment lose sight of heaven, and the increasing glory, and grovel in the dust to gather pebbles, for the pleasure of throwing them afterwards away?
What a mercy of mercies that He has condescended to call us out of darkness into His marvellous light, and to translate us into the kingdom of His dear Son! What do we not owe Him for this rich display of sovereign mercy? I often have to exclaim, "Lord, why me? Why such a poor sinner as I am, to be brought near unto God, adopted into His family, made an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ Jesus?"
Who can subdue sin in us but Jesus? I might as well attempt to remove mountains as to reason away one corruption of my fallen nature. But if we, the moment we detect it, carry it to Jesus, He will do it all for us. This is one of the most difficult lessons to learn in the school of Christ. I am but just beginning to learn it, and therefore I am placed in the youngest class, traveling to Jesus more as a little helpless child, for Him to do all for and all in me. My imagined strength is all vanished, my boasted reason turned into folly, and now, thus living on Christ in childlike simplicity, my peace, joy, and consolation are past expression. Oh, the love, the matchless love of Jesus to a poor sinner lying thus at His dear feet, waiting to receive a welcoming smile beaming from His countenance. Dear friend, keep close to Him. Let not the world or its cares come between you and Christ.
What a difficult matter it is to be in the world, and yet not to be of the world! Our Lord Himself carried out this principle. He passed through the world as one who was not of it. Oh, that we could but imitate His holy example, and aim only, while in it, so to let our light shine, that others may take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus, and have learned of Him. It should be our whole endeavor to do all the good we can in it and for it; and yet to set at nothing its spirit, its principles, and its maxims. How can a believer walk through this world safely and securely? Only as he is upheld by a strength that is Omnipotent! I am passing through a world lying in the wicked one. I belong to another kingdom, which is not of this world. Dear friend, see, then, your high calling! He has called you to come out of the world and to be separate; in principle, in practice, in heart.
What a brittle thing is all the glory, wealth, and honor of this vain world! How empty, and what trash does it appear! And yet men sell their souls to grasp it, and at last pass away from it and find it all a phantom. How unceasing is Satan in forever bringing it before our eyes, in some form or other! What is all the pomp and wealth and rank of this poor fleeting world, in contrast with the glory that shall soon be revealed in all those who love His appearing?
When disappointed in the creature, I take refuge at once in Jesus. I run to Him, and find Him all my heart could wish. "Lord, how could I live without You? You are my all in all, my comfort, my joy, my peace, my strengthener, my home for time and eternity! Helpless as an infant I hang upon You!"
How wonderful is God in all His great and gracious dealings. He places us, as soon as the spiritual eye is opened, in His school. First, the infant school; and then onward and upward, from class to class, losing no opportunity of spiritual instruction. Many hard lessons have we to learn and to relearn. But, oh, the unwearied patience and tenderness of our Teacher! Some of His children are slow learners, dull scholars, and require the discipline of the rod to stimulate them to more earnestness, attention, and submission. Some imagine they have arrived at the end of their education, and sit down at their ease; but presently they are called upon to solve some hard problem, and they find that they know less than they thought, and for their boasting are sent back to a lower class, and made to commence where they first began. Such is the school of Christ.
"Lord, teach me more and more of Yourself, and of my own poverty, misery, and weakness. And oh, unfold to my longing eyes and heart what there is in Yourself to supply all my need, and in Your loving, willing heart, to do all for me, and all in me, to fit me for Your service here, and for your presence hereafter! Sanctify abundantly all Your varying dispensations to the welfare and prosperity of my soul, and increase in me every gift and grace of Your Spirit, that I may show forth Your praise, and walk humbly and closely with You. You know what a poor, worthless worm I am, and how utterly unworthy of the least mercy from Your merciful hands; but You love to bestow Your favors upon the poor and needy, such as me, most precious Lord. You have been a good and gracious, sin pardoning God to my soul, and a very present help in every time of trouble. Leave me not, nor forsake me, now that old age is overtaking me, and grey hairs thicken upon me. I know You will not. You, who have been with me all my journey, will not leave me now; for You are faithful who has promised. I feel my dependence on You more than ever. Without You I can do nothing. Helpless as an infant I hang upon You, to do all for me and all in me."
We are hastening fast through time. Time is short, and eternity, with all its solemn realities, is before us. What is our life? How uncertain! and yet is it not awfully true that poor wretched man rushes heedlessly on, thoughtless of what awaits him in an endless eternity? We are traveling fast through this wilderness world, and soon shall pass away. Let us, then, feel more like pilgrims and strangers here. Let us not seek our rest where our precious Jesus had no place to lay His head. Let us rejoice more in the prospect of that glorious inheritance prepared for us above, where He is who has loved us unto the death. Oh, for ten thousand worlds would I not have my portion here in this wilderness!
The believer's life is changeful and chequered. The path along which he is retracing his steps back to paradise is paved with stones of variegated hues. And yet, painfully diversified as are often the events in his history, that very diversity is as essential to the symmetry and completeness of his Christian character as are different shades of coloring to the perfection of a picture, or as opposite notes in music are to the creation of harmony.
Avoid light, trifling professors of religion; their influence will be as poison to your souls. I am convinced that much communion with lukewarm professors does great injury to the believer. Oh, avoid such! Light and trifling conversation acts as a poison to the life of God in the soul. It grieves the Spirit, and He withdraws His sensible influence.
If the religion of Christ does not make us happy, nothing else will. But the happiness of the believer is very different from that of the world. It arises from a sublimer source, and shuts out unwholesome levity and mirth. The highest state of enjoyment here below, which can arise from a believing view of Him who was pierced for our sins and wounded for our transgressions, will ever be accompanied with the humble and contrite heart; a deep sense of our rebellion before conversion, and of our ingratitude and unprofitableness since. So here is joy, yet mixed with sorrow. This is happiness the world knows nothing of. Be assured I am happy, and do rejoice in God, while I often have occasion to sigh at what I feel within, and at what I behold around me.
Sin darkens the eye and hardens the heart.
Realize more and more your glorious inheritance, and do not covet the poor trifles of time and sense.
In heaven I will see my own most precious Redeemer, enthroned in all His glory, His countenance radiant with ineffable love, and a welcome beaming from every feature. So shall I behold Him who loved me with an everlasting love and landed me at last in the kingdom of glory. The redeemed shall all be encircling the throne, and basking in the full sunshine of the Redeemer's countenance; while I shall lie prostrate at His feet in wondering joy and adoring love at the matchless grace that brought me there.
When Christians meet together, they talk too much about religion, preachers, and sermons. I cannot but think, that if they communed less about religion, and more of Jesus, it would give a higher tone of spirituality to their conversation, and prove more refreshing to the soul. He would then oftener draw near, and make Himself one in their midst, and talk with them by the way.
God be praised for His wondrous goodness to me, as poor and needy a sinner as ever lived; and yet I shall live forever, and rejoice in God my Savior through an endless eternity!
"Lord, here is my heart, my poor heart. Take it just as it is, and make it all that You would have it to be; cast it into Your mold, and let it receive and reflect Your image, Son of God, inexpressibly precious Jesus, Savior of sinners, Redeemer of my never dying soul!"
Jesus is the Fountain, yes, the Ocean, of living waters. We draw supplies from His infinite, inexhaustible fulness. "Lord, impart to me more of Yourself. Fill this heart with Your love, engrave Your image there, and let me not lose sight of You for one small moment."
Jesus is all in all to me. I feel a blessed nearness to Him, to heaven. My soul holds converse with Him, and sweet I find it to lie as a helpless infant at His feet; yes, passive in His loving hands, knowing no will but His.
What a mercy, thus to unburden the whole heart; the tried and weary, the tempted and sorrowful heart; tried by sin, tried by Satan, tried by those you love! What a mercy to have a loving bosom to flee to, one truly loving heart to confide in, which responds to the faintest breathing of the Spirit! "Precious Jesus, how inexpressibly dear are You to me at this moment! Keep sensibly near to me. Lift up upon me Your heavenly countenance, for it is sweeter, dearer, better than life!"
Vast as eternity are His mercies, infinite His perfections, and wonderful all His ways. What will eternity disclose to my astonished sight, my eyes then unveiled to see what now I understand not!
I shall soon exchange earth for heaven, and finally close my eyes, when I shall re-open them in glory. Oh, to be there! Oh, to see Jesus face to face! To behold Him whom my soul loves, and be with Him forever! But a little while, and I am there!
My sins, which are mountains high, are all pardoned, blotted out of the book of God's remembrance by the precious blood of His dear and well beloved Son. Praise God for His marvellous goodness to me a sinner!
What a blessing it is to have such a Friend to go to as Jesus, with all our difficulties, small and great, transferring them to His hands who is infinite in wisdom and in power, and will do all things well. Is not this a mercy worth recording in letters of gold, to be written in the deep recesses of every believing heart?
Without Jesus life would be an aching void, earth a wilderness of woe and sorrow! He can transform this wilderness into a little heaven, making it radiant with His presence! What must heaven itself be!
No weeping in heaven! Blessed be God for the hope He has given us beyond this scene of sin and sorrow. Let us arise, and travel on!
I think, if I had ten thousand hearts, I would give them all to Jesus!
I am increasingly persuaded that it is alone by constant communion with Jesus, that we can attain to any progression in the divine life.
No happiness that all the glory of this world could produce is equal to that of a broken heart at the feet of Jesus. It is sweet to creep into the very bosom of Christ, while we feel how utterly worthless and unworthy, yet how welcome, we are.
His will is best at all times. For the world, I would not be left to have my own way in any one thing.
Prayer brings heaven down into the soul, and lifts the soul towards heaven.
Let us live more for eternity, and less for this poor dying world.
For wise and gracious purposes, the Lord chastens those whom He loves. Let us lie passive in His hands, leaving ourselves to be dealt with according to His infinite wisdom and love. I know you have your cares; but if you would carry them simply to Christ, He would make the rough places plain and the crooked straight. In every difficulty go at once to Jesus, before you decide in your own mind, or listen to the dictates of your own heart. Jesus so loves you, that He would not lay the weight of a feather upon you more than is needful.
Dear friend, let us live more decidedly for a glorious eternity. We are here but for a little while, and then pass away. A crown of glory awaits the poor sinner who clings to Jesus. I hope to meet you in that better world to which we are all so rapidly approaching.
Pray, pray, pray without ceasing! God listens to your faintest breathing.
So eternal and deep, so sovereign and boundless is the love of God, that angels cannot fathom it! He is nothing but unfeigned, constant, and unabating love, to the weakest, the most unworthy of all His little flock.
Oh, the goodness of God, the wonders of His matchless love! Eternity will be only long enough to tell of it.
My dear friend, have constant transactions with your precious Savior. A holy familiarity with Him will tend much to conform to His likeness. This simple living upon Christ has a most sanctifying, purifying tendency upon the whole inner man; and thus sin grows more hateful, and the world less attractive, and the pleasures of sense increasingly distasteful, and we are better fitted to sustain the trials of life.
Oh, dear friend, let us often meditate on heaven; it will assist us to bear more serenely the ills of life.
Oh, the wondrous love of God in the gift of His beloved Son, to suffer, bleed, and die for such poor, wretched sinners!
Oh, think of lost souls, of the eternal woe, where the worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched! Let us put far from us all the false charity that leaves sinners to stand upon the precipice of hell, because we will not disturb their carnal security.
Godly parents cannot convert their children; God alone can do this. But they can lead them to Jesus, and bring them up in the fear of the Lord. And when they have done this, they have done all they can do; for the Holy Spirit alone can change the heart. They must be born again. Christ has said it. The new birth is not a change of sentiment, nor an outward reformation of life; it is a new heart implanted by the Holy Spirit.
How many are wasting their precious time on the things of this poor world they are so soon to leave, and are risking the never dying soul, yet hastening on to the judgement of God, unprepared for that great day for which all other days were made! Is not this madness?
Bless God with me, that we are both so near our home, each day's travel bringing us nearer and nearer. Our eyes shall behold Him whom our souls love beyond all created good. What a prospect is before us! Forever with the Lord! Our journey is drawing to an end. Look forward, look upward. Jesus's eye is upon you; His heart is towards you. A few more severe trials, a few more staggering steps, and we are there!
What a heart has Christ! Do you know what it is made of? It is an ocean of goodness. It is a sea, fathomless and shoreless, of matchless love; love to poor sinners, who but look to Him or sigh for Him. One loving look from Christ will dissolve your heart into love and sweet contrition.
Oh, to have such a Friend as Jesus, who feels all our sorrows, carries all our burdens, and has promised to bring us safely through this trying world, and place us at last at His own right hand, where neither sickness nor sorrow shall ever come!
"If you love Me, keep My commandments." Not one nor two only, but all. It is not given us to choose which we shall keep, and which we shall break.
I am looking heavenward. There is my only, my best Friend, and there is my heart. Behold Him seated on His throne, and all the goodly company of the redeemed around Him. Oh, the blessedness of beholding all His unveiled beauties, and of basking in the sunshine of His countenance! Does not your heart burn within you when you think of these things, these glorious realities? Well, beloved, we shall all soon see Him eye to eye, face to face. There is much of heaven to be enjoyed while here, a foretaste of what we shall realize through eternity.
Christ has been with you in all your late deep trial, and He is with you now. See what a Friend you have by your side; to talk to in your solitude; to tell Him all you feel and fear, all you wish and need! Oh, what a Friend is Jesus! He is better than ten thousand husbands or children. What a Friend has He been to worthless me! I could not live without Him here, nor in heaven either. He is the chief of all my joys, and my comfort by day and by night.
This life is a dark passage to a world of light and glory above.
Beloved fellow traveler in the kingdom of God, it is through much tribulation we are to enter into His kingdom of glory above. I have heard of the severe trial your Father has sent in much love. When we arrive at home, and trace our steps through this wilderness, we shall see that every trial, cross, and disappointment was needful, and that the work would not have been complete without all, even the least. Our loving God and Father takes no pleasure in afflicting us; but it is by these things we are brought to be better acquainted with ourselves and with Him. He does it all. Can anything happen to us but what God does in love to our souls? Are we not in His heart, and can anything happen to us but what He designs? Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you. He is better able to bear the burden than you are. Lie contented in His loving hands, and let Him take His own way with you.
Yes, beloved, even your present trial shall be to the praise of His dear and holy name. Be of good cheer! God has commissioned it as a messenger of love, nothing but love; eternal, never ending love! Only trust Him for all consequences. He is doing all things well. Leave yourself in His blessed hands, and seek more for cheerful submission than for the removal of the trial. Be earnest for submission, and He will give it, and resignation will follow, and then what a calm! Be quiet in His hands, and feel that His will must be best, because He is God, and knows the end from the beginning, while we know nothing! I would not now have been without my trial for a thousand worlds. Oh, the goodness of God! His name is love, and wondrous is He in all His dealings with us; and He is dealing with us every moment of our brief existence. May the Lord comfort and guide you in every step you take, and enable you to repose passive in His dear hands, is the prayer of your affectionate sister in a precious Jesus.
The rod, our all wise Father will not withhold. And what a mercy it is to be able to bear the rod, and to see the cause! But how often do we close our ears, and go on in our crooked way until He speaks by some louder and yet heavier blow! And then it is our mercy to run at once into the tender, loving bosom of God, confess our sin, and beg for renewed grace, to enable us to forsake it.
Fallen human nature sometimes puts on a show of religion, and will go a great way while the heart is not changed, and the fear of God and the love of the Spirit is not there, and is not known. Thousands, I fear, deceive themselves with this resemblance of true religion.
Oh to have the heart right with God! It is so awfully deceitful, and we are so continually more or less deceived by it, that we imagine all is right, when, in fact, all may be wrong.
The oftener the gold is put into the furnace, the more the dross is consumed, and the brighter it shines. In our trials, we cling closer to Jesus; we see more of his loving heart, and imbibe more of His holy image.
The way the Lord is teaching you is the right way. To be well acquainted with our own hearts is to bring us nearer to Jesus, and to make us more firmly cling to the cross. Your poor heart is the same as it was years ago, but there was no light to show its evil. But as you grow in grace you will see more and more the goodness of God in the gift of His dear Son, to make an all sufficient atonement for sinners so vile and utterly helpless as we are. It is a great mercy that, while the Holy Spirit opens up the deep fountain of iniquity within our hearts to our view, He also, at the same time, shows us the Fountain open, always open, in which we may wash and be clean. This makes Jesus so precious to the deeply taught Christian.
Oh, God is such an ocean of love to me! The more His wondrous love is manifested, the more I hate and abhor myself!
Oh, how strange that God should listen, and so listen, as if he said, "Yes, yes!" to every request I make! He overcomes me with His love. He breaks my heart, then heals it again. It is His love that does it. He gives godly sorrow; puts forth His hand and draws me near to Himself, and then says, What is your petition, and what is your request? Then I hasten to tell Him all, all, as if I feared He would withdraw before I could do so. But He lingers and listens, and then sends me away rejoicing that I have such a Friend in heaven, and longing to drop this body of sin and death, that I might be with Him.
Oh, the matchless love that is in our reconciled Father's heart? Can we suppose for a moment that He sees not our trials, temptations, and conflicts; and that He is not caring for, and watching over us? Oh, no; God is with us and for us, working all things, even now, for our good and His glory!
How wearisome is the poor body, creeping to the grave! It is a dying body, but it shall rise again!
Look at the scenes of a busy world, how they pass away! It is but as the buzzing of a summer fly, and all is gone. Therefore, set your affections on things above!
What a mercy to have a good and gracious God to look to, and ask what you will, and to know that He always hears and stands ready to answer! Think what an honor put upon a poor worm, to have the ear and the heart of the mighty God! To know that He loves you, and cannot cease to love, because He cannot change. He knows what we were, and what we would be to the end; and yet He loved us, and will love throughout eternity! And what does He require? Only our heart, just as it is, with all its imperfections.
What is the world, or the glory of a thousand such perishing worlds as this, when compared with the glory that shall be revealed in those who love His appearing?
Oh, what a God we have to do with! so full of love and compassion; and although He tries us, it is all in love, to bring us to know Him more, that we might love Him better.
My heart is often overwhelmed at the thought of His avowing such a worthless worm as myself as one of His sheep for whom He shed His precious blood. Dear friend, let us never for a moment forget what we were, and what we now are!
Let us aim to walk humbly and confidingly with Jesus, and never allow Him to be out of our sight. Oh, to travel on, leaning upon our Beloved! His arm will support us in our feebleness; His eye will guide us in our blindness; He will strengthen, uphold, and comfort us, and never leave nor forsake us. May the Lord bless you with much of His sensible presence; and when we get above, we will unite our praises to Him who has loved us, and washed us in His own most precious blood!
Oh, the infinite value of a throne of grace! There is an enjoyment in communion with the holy God, of which the worldling knows nothing. It is foolishness with the wisest of men; but the sincere, lowly follower of Christ Jesus, loved by God, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, is made to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
The atmosphere of heaven is love. When we arrive there, we shall swim in an ocean of love!
It is a happy position for a believer to be in, when he is brought to that point to see he can do nothing for himself, then to rest and wait patiently for the Lord, fully believing He will do all things in the best possible way. Whatever the Lord does in this way for us, is the best, the very best; better than with all our wisdom and management we could have done for ourselves. I am persuaded, the more we live by faith the holier and the happier we are. Is it not written, Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you? Why, then, need I be anxious, when my Savior is caring for me? Are not my concerns His concerns, and has He ever failed me? Then, oh my soul, why not trust Him now?
What a suffering world is this! What a mercy to be able to look beyond this dying world, to the prospect of meeting Him who has pardoned all my transgressions, and of being with Him forever! And shall I, the unworthiest of the unworthy, see Him face to face, against whom I have so often sinned, whose Spirit I have so often grieved? Shall I be near Him, and be permitted to love Him as my soul wishes now to do, but cannot? Oh, glorious prospect! My heart is humbled while I rejoice in the wondrous goodness of a sin pardoning God, who could, and does, love such a one as I. How I long to be holy even as He is holy! And will it not be so? When I drop this vile body, shall I not awake in His righteousness? When I see Him, shall I not be like Him?
Let it be our chief aim to glorify Jesus, to live upon Him, and live for Him. Oh, He is most precious, so tender, so full of love, so watchful over our interests, caring for us in all things, and entering into all our poor concerns!
What a constant source of temptation the world is, in some shape or other, to the believer all through his journey homeward! Its cares and its pursuits, its pleasures and its claims, lawful though they be, yet, through the weakness of the flesh, are a constant snare to the heavenly pilgrim! Its principles and its spirit are adverse to the prosperity of the soul, which struggles on through a host of foes. "Precious Jesus, strengthen Your poor dust, and enable me to cling closer and closer to You."
At times my heart is overwhelmed with a sense of His unmerited love towards one so utterly unworthy. I long to be with Him. The thought of heaven is very sweet. I long to see Him in glory who has so frequently and tenderly dealt with me.
Live much in heaven, and earth will grow less attractive.
Whatever draws or drives us to Jesus is good. The oftener we go the better. The Lord frequently places us in such peculiar circumstances as compel us to apply to Him for the help we can get nowhere else. May the Lord enable us more and more to look alone to Him, for He is a present help in every time of need. His heart overflows with tenderness, sympathy, and love.
It is good to feel that we are in the Lord's hands, and that all our trials, small and great, are designed by Him for the furthering His work in our souls. They are great blessings in disguise to a child of God. Nothing takes place, within or without, but is designed for our especial benefit and the glory of His own dear name. We shall have to thank Him for all when we see Him face to face. What a blessed time will that be! How much do we need of weaning from this poor disappointing world; a world lying in the wicked one; and yet so closely do we cling to it. He who loves us is compelled to give us many a wrench to tear us from it. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
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