STAND STILL

"The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." Precious assurance. How eminently calculated to tranquillize the spirit in view of the most appalling difficulties and dangers! The Lord not only places Himself between us and our sins, but also between us and our circumstances. By doing the former, He gives us peace of conscience; by doing the latter, He gives us peace of heart. That the two things are perfectly distinct, every experienced Christian knows. Very many have peace of conscience, who have not Peace of heart. They have, through grace and by faith, found Christ, in the divine efficacy of His blood, between them and all their sins; but they are not able, in the same simple way, to realize Him as standing, in His divine wisdom, love, and power, between them and their circumstances. This makes a material difference in the practical condition of the soul, as well as in the character of one's testimony. Nothing tends more to glorify the name of Jesus than that quiet repose of spirit which results from having Him between us and everything that could be a matter of anxiety to our hearts. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee." Isaiah 26:3

But some feel disposed to ask the question, "Are we not to do anything?" This may be answered by asking another, namely, what can we do? All who really know themselves must answer, nothing. If, therefore, we can do nothing, had we not better "stand still" If the Lord is acting for us, had we not better stand back? Shall we run before Him? Shall we busily intrude ourselves upon His sphere of action! Shall we come in His way? There can be no possible use in two acting, when one is so perfectly competent to do all. No one would think of bringing a lighted candle to add brightness to the sun at mid-day: and yet the man who would do so might well be accounted wise, in comparison with him who attempts to assist God by his bustling officiousness.

However, when God, in His great mercy, opens the way, faith can walk therein. It only ceases from man's way in order to walk in God's. "And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward." It is only when we have learnt to "stand still" that we are able effectually to go forward. To attempt the latter, until we have learnt the former, is sure to issue in the exposure of our folly and weakness. It is, therefore, true wisdom, in all times of difficulty and perplexity, to "stand still" — to wait only upon God, and He will, assuredly, open a way for us; and then we can peacefully we happily "go forward." There is no uncertainty when God makes a way for us; but every self-devised path must prove a path of doubt and hesitation. The unregenerate man may move along with great apparent firmness and decision in his own ways; but one of the most distinct elements, in the new creation, is self distrust, and the element which answers thereto is confidence in God. It is when our eyes have seen God's salvation that we can walk therein; but this can never be distinctly seen until we have been brought to the end of our own poor doings.

There is peculiar force and beauty in the expression, "see the salvation of God." The very fact of our being called to "see" God's salvation, proves that the salvation is a complete one. It teaches that salvation is a thing wrought out and revealed by God, to be seen and enjoyed by us. It is not a thing made up partly of God's doing, and partly of man's. Were it so, it could not be called God's salvation. In order to be His, it must be wholly divested of everything pertaining to man. The only possible effect of human efforts is to raise a dust which obscures the view of God's salvation.

"Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward." Moses himself seems to have been brought to a stand, as appears from the Lord's question, "Wherefore criest thou to me?" Moses could tell the people to "stand still and see the salvation of God," while his own spirit was giving forth its exercises in an earnest cry to God. However, there is no use in crying when we ought to be acting; just as there is no use in acting when we ought to be waiting. Yet such is, ever, our way. We attempt to move forward when we ought to stand still, and we stand still when we ought to move forward. In Israel's case, the question might spring up in the heart, "whither are we to go?' To all appearance there is an insurmountable barrier in the way of any movement forward. How were they to go through the sea? This was the point. Nature never could solve this question. But we may rest assured that God never gives a command without, at the same time, communicating the power to obey. The real condition of the heart may be tested by the command; but the soul that is, by grace, disposed to obey, receives power from above to do so. When Christ commanded the man with the withered hand to stretch it forth, the man might naturally have said, "How can I stretch forth an arm which hangs dead by my side?" But he did not raise any question whatever, for with the command, and from the same source, came the power to obey.

 

 

DAILY WALK

The Spirit of God delights to trace the boundaries of the people, and to dwell on the most minute details connected with their history. He takes a lively and loving interest in all that concerns them, their conflicts, their victories, their possessions, all their landmarks, everything about them is dwelt upon with a minuteness which, by its touching grace and condescension, fills the heart with wonder, love and praise. Man, in his contemptible self-importance, thinks it beneath his dignity to enter upon minute details; but our God counts the hairs of our heads; puts our tears into His bottle; takes knowledge of our every care, our every sorrow, our every need. There is nothing too small for His love, as there is nothing too great for His power. He concentrates His loving care upon each one of His people as though He had only that one to attend to; and there is not a single circumstance in our private history, from day to day, however trivial, in which He does not take a loving interest.

Let us ever remember this, for our comfort; and may we learn to trust Him better, and use, with a more artless faith, His fatherly love and care. He tells us to cast all our care upon Him, in the assurance that He careth for us. He would have our hearts as free from care as our conscience is free from guilt. "Be careful for nothing; but, in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4: 6, 7.)

It is to be feared that the great majority of us know but little of the real depth, meaning and power of such words as these. We read them, and hear them; but we do not take them in, and make our own of them. We do not digest them and reduce them to practice. How little do we really enter into the blessed truth that our Father is interested in all our little cares and sorrows; and that we may go to Him with all our little wants and difficulties. We imagine that such things are beneath the notice of the High and Mighty One who inhabiteth eternity, and sitteth upon the circle of the earth. This is a, serious mistake, and one that robs us of incalculable blessing, in our daily history. We should ever remember that there is nothing great or small with our God. All things are alike to Him who sustains the vast universe by the word of His power, and takes notice of a falling sparrow. It is quite as easy to Him to create a world as to provide a breakfast for some poor widow. The greatness of His power, the moral grandeur of His government, and the minuteness of His tender care do, all alike, command the wonder and the worship of our hearts.

See that you make your own of all these things. Seek to live nearer to God in your daily walk. Lean more upon Him. Use Him more. Go to Him in all your need, and you will never have to tell your need to a poor fellow mortal. "My God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." What a source! "God." What a standard! "His riches in glory." What a channel! "Christ Jesus." It is your sweet privilege to place all your need over against His riches, and lose sight of the former in the presence of the latter. His exhaustless treasury is thrown open to you, in all the love of His heart; go and draw upon it, in the artless simplicity of faith, and you will never have occasion to look to a creature stream, or lean on a creature prop.

 

“WHAT WAIT I FOR?” (Christmas Time)

Psalm 39:6-7 “Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee.”

This is a searching question for the heart, but it is oftentimes a most necessary one, inasmuch as we may constantly detect ourselves in an attitude of waiting for things which, when they come, prove not to be worth waiting for.

The human heart is very much like the poor lame man at the gate of the temple in Acts 3. He was looking at every passerby “expecting to receive something.” And the heart will ever be looking out for some relief, some comfort or some enjoyment in passing circumstances. It may be found sitting by the side of some creature-stream, vainly expecting some refreshment to flow along its channel.

It is amazing to think of the trifles on which nature will fix its expectant gaze — a change of circumstances, change of scene, a journey, a visit, a letter, a book. Anything is sufficient to raise expectations in a poor heart which is not finding its center, its spring, its all, in Christ.

Hence the practical importance of frequently turning sharp round upon the heart with the question, “What wait I for?” Doubtless, the true answer to this enquiry would at times furnish the most advanced Christian with matter for deep humiliation and self-judgment before the Lord.

In Psalm 39: 6 we have three great types of character as set forth in the “vain show,” “vain disquietude” and “heaping up.” These types may sometimes be found combined, but very often they have a distinct development.

There are many whose whole life is one “vain show,“ whether in their personal character, their commercial position, their political or religious profession. There is nothing solid about them, nothing real, nothing true. The glitter is the most shallow gilding possible. There is nothing deep, nothing intrinsic. All is surface work — all the merest flash and smoke.

Then we find another class whose life is one continued scene of “vain disquietude.” You will never find them at ease — never satisfied, never happy. There is always some terrible thing coming — some catastrophe in the distance, the mere anticipation of which keeps them in a constant fever of anxiety. They are troubled about property, about friends, about trade, about children, about servants. Though placed in circumstances which thousands of their fellow-creatures would deem most enviable, they seem to be in a perpetual fret. They harass themselves in reference to troubles that may never come, difficulties they may never encounter, sorrows they may never live to see. Instead of remembering the blessings of the past and rejoicing in the mercies of the present, they are anticipating the trials and sorrows of the future. In a word, “they are disquieted in vain.”

Finally, you will meet another class, quite different from either of the preceding — keen, shrewd, industrious, money-making people who would live where others would starve. There is not much “vain show” about them. They are too solid, and life is too practical a reality for anything of that sort. Neither can you say there is much disquietude about them. Theirs is an easy-going, quiet, plodding spirit, or an active, enterprising, speculating turn of mind. “They heap up, and know not who shall gather.”

But remember, on all three alike the Spirit has stamped “vanity.” Yes, “all” without any exception, “under the sun,” has been pronounced by one who knew it by experience and wrote it by inspiration, “vanity and vexation of spirit.” Turn where you will “under the sun” and you will not find anything on which the heart can rest. You must rise on the steady and vigorous pinion of faith to regions “above the sun,” to find “a better and an enduring substance.” The One who sits at the right hand of God has said, “I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: that I may cause them that love Me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures” (Prov. 8: 20-21). None but Jesus can give “substance.” None but He can “fill.” None but He can “satisfy.” There is that in Christ's perfect work which meets the deepest need of conscience. There is that in His glorious Person which can satisfy the most earnest longings of the heart. The one who has found Christ on the cross and Christ on the throne, has found all he can possibly need for time or eternity.

Well might the psalmist, having challenged his heart with the question, “What wait I for?” reply, “My hope is in Thee.” No “vain show,” no “vain disquietude,” no “heaping up” for him. He had found an object in God worth waiting for. Therefore, turning away his eye from all beside, he says, “My hope is in Thee.”

This, my beloved reader, is the only true, peaceful and happy position. The soul that leans on, looks to, and waits for Jesus will never be disappointed. Such an one possesses an exhaustless fund of present enjoyment in fellowship with Christ. At the same time he is cheered by “that blessed hope” that when this present scene, with all its “vain show,” its “vain disquietude” and its vain resources shall have passed away, he shall be with Jesus where He is, to behold His glory, to bask in the light of His countenance and to be conformed to His image forever.

May we, then, be much in the habit of challenging our earth-bound, creatures-seeking hearts with the searching enquiry, “What wait I for?” Am I waiting for some change of circumstances or “for the Son from heaven?” Can I look up to Jesus and with a full and an honest heart, say, “Lord, my hope is in Thee.”

May we be more thoroughly separated from this present evil world and all that pertains thereto, by the power of communion with those things that are unseen and eternal.

“From various cares my heart retires,

Though deep and boundless its desires,

I'm now to please but One;

He before whom the elders bow,

With Him is all my business now,

And with the souls that are His own.

“With these my happy lot is cast,

Through the world's deserts rude and waste,

Or through its gardens fair;

Whether the storms of trouble sweep,

Or all in dead supineness sleep,

       Still to go on be my whole care.”

 

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THREE PRECIOUS GIFTS

“I give unto My sheep eternal life and they shall never perish” (John 10).

     “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6).

“He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8).

     “Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5).

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5: 1).

     “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8: 6).

“Life” “Light” and “Liberty” — three most precious gifts, gifts in comparison with which all earthly riches, pleasures and distinctions are but as dust.

The dark atmosphere which enwraps Christendom so obscures the light of divine truth that they really do not know where they are or what they have got. In place of life, light and liberty, they are practically in the shadow of death, in darkness and bondage. They are robbed of those three precious gifts which God, in the fullness and riches of His grace, liberally bestows upon all who believe on the name of His only begotten Son.

“I give unto My sheep eternal life.” My soul-crushing difficulty is to know that I am a sheep of Christ. If only I knew that, I should count myself happy indeed.”

Now this is a mistake. It is beginning at the wrong end. It is putting self and its feelings before Christ and His Word. Most surely, as long as one is doing this, he must be in doubt and darkness. It is utterly impossible to be otherwise. If it is something about myself l am called to feel or believe in order to be saved, then I never can have the settled knowledge or assurance of salvation. I must have something entirely outside and independent of myself, something divinely solid, something eternally stable, some settled and absolute truth, something true in itself apart from all my thoughts and feelings respecting it. In short, I must have God's own revelation to rest upon, or I never can know what abiding peace really is. It is the eternal truth of God, and that alone, which forms the real basis of the soul's peace — a basis which not all the powers of earth and hell, men and demons can ever disturb. It is by believing in Christ, and not by feeling or believing something about myself, that I get eternal life. He that believeth on the Son of God has eternal life.

You are called upon to believe not something about yourself, but something about Christ. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life” (John 6: 47). Do you simply and heartily believe in Jesus? Do you confide in Him? Are you thoroughly satisfied with Him? If so, you have eternal life, and you should from this moment, know it and rejoice in it. Our Lord does not say, “He that feeleth he is one of My sheep shall have eternal life.” Nothing of the kind, nothing like it, nothing approaching to it. “He that believeth on Me.” So also in that well-known passage in John 5. “Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that heareth My word and believeth on Him that sent Me hath everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life.”

Every true believer in Jesus has eternal life, and everyone who does not have eternal life is an unbeliever. So speaks the Word of the living God.

“God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”

“He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” God would not give us life and leave us in the dark. This would not be like Him. He has given us His Son; and believing in Him, we get life. Then following Him, we get light — the light of life. “The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” And the proper sphere for the life which we now possess is the light in which we are called and privileged to walk.

The darkness is past, the shadows are gone, the clouds are rolled away, the dim twilight has given place to the full light of life streaming down into our souls and upon our path, enabling us to judge ourselves and our surroundings. We now can judge everything according to the true light that now shines within, upon and around us — shines from the Father, shines in the Son, shines in the power of the Holy Spirit, shines on the page of inspiration.

Finally, it follows of blessed necessity that as we get “life” and “light,” so we get “liberty.” It is all in Christ. He quickens, He enlightens, He emancipates, He is our life, our light, our liberty. “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” He would not give us life and leave us in the dark. He would not give us life and leave us in bondage or slavery. No, such is not His way. He sets us divinely and eternally free — free from guilt and condemnation, free from the dread of wrath and judgment to come, free from the fear of death, free from the present power of sin and from its future consequences. Please lay hold of these things in simple childlike faith, and join us in a note of fervent praise to the Giver of these “Three precious gifts.”

 

When the purpose of the heart is true to Christ, true to His name and cause, true to the service of God, the Holy Spirit opens up the precious treasures of divine revelation to the soul, and pours a flood of living light upon the understanding, so that we see the path of service as clear as a sunbeam before us, and we have only got to tread it with a firm step.

 Alice Faye and Ballad

Bragging Rights

 

Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution.  That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles.

Speech at Kalamazoo. Michigan, August 27,1856, Collected Works 1:391

The Standard the Supreme Court took an oath to honor.

 

SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD

The freedom found in a small town affords one to be dead to the world; not merely to certain gross things in the world, but to the world in all its aspects. What then has a dead man to do with the world's politics? As Christians, we are sent into this world even as Jesus was sent into it. What had He to do with the world's politics? He paid tribute; so should we. He obeyed the powers that be; we should do the same. He suffered under this world's powers, and we may be called to the same. Public servants swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend those rights given by God.  

We are instructed to pray for the powers and we are to do so quite irrespective of the nature or character of the power. In fact, when the apostle penned that principle, the imperial scepter was wielded by one of the worst men who ever lived. The Christian is taught to be subject to the powers that be; he is never taught to wield that power, but the very reverse. “Our citizenship is in heaven.” We are only pilgrims and strangers in the world. The cross of our Lord has broken every link between us and this world. The resurrection has introduced us into a new world altogether. In the death of Christ we cleared the shores of the old world. In His resurrection we have landed on the shores of the new. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Therefore, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3). Oh! to know the formative, sanctifying power of this precious line of truth!

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