"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all
things are possible to him that believeth."—Mark ix. 23.
"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that
believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" —1 John v. 5.
What great things might we attain to in the spiritual
life if we had faith? What great things might we not
attain to? It is the secret of all strength, because it brings the
strength of God to us in our weakness. I want to realise more of what
the Lord means by this belief to which "all things are possible;" "Lord
increase our faith," increase my faith; not that faith only which
assents to the truths revealed in the gospel, but the faith which lives
under the continual impression of eternal realities, that faith which is
the "evidence of things not seen." Martin Boos says—"We do not enough
remember that there was One who sweat blood for us.'" Ah, if we
had faith, how could we forget it? Would not the thought of Him
come ever first to us? Would not His presence, His nearness, the
thought of His love and His agony, come between us and the summer sky,
and make us feel Him to be more really there than the sun in the
"Thou art near—yes, Lord, I feel it,
Thou art near where'er I move;
And though Sense would fain conceal it,
Faith oft whispers it to Love."
"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive
power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory,
and blessing."—Rev. v. 12.
This is the song that arises round about the throne
of God from holy angels and glorified saints, "ten thousand times ten
thousand, and thousands of thousands;" but he who heard it—the only
mortal man who ever did hear the song of heaven while yet on earth—was
at that very time a prisoner and an exile in Patmos "for the word of God
and the testimony of Jesus Christ." Men had cast him out for his
Master's sake. The Name that was first in heaven was last on earth! Here
the followers of the Lamb were persecuted to the death; there the
"angels that excel in strength" were filling the heaven of heavens with
His praises! Let us deem it our highest privilege, if we may in any
manner echo that song, and cry with saints and angels, "Worthy is the
Lamb;" let us strive to know more and more how worthy He is of
our warmest and deepest adoration and praise; high as He is He lias
respect unto the lowly, and will not despise our feeble homage.
"Oh, may our hearts repeat the strain,
And, fired with holy love,
Return from earth a deep Amen
To those high songs above!"
"The angel of the Lord came again the second
time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey
is too great for thee." —1 Kings xix. 7.
"I have compassion on the multitude, because they
continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will
not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way."— Matt. xv.
Truly "He knoweth our frame;" and if He knows so
well, and provides so tenderly, even by special miracles, for the bodily
wants of His followers, dare we doubt that He can and will feed their
souls also? "He knoweth our frame" as regards our spiritual wants, as
well as our temporal; and we have an instance of this in the nourishment
that He gives His people in the holy sacrament. It is there and then
that special supplies are given, to strengthen us in faith, and hope,
and love for the journey that is before us; and every time that we have
the privilege of thus feeding upon Him in our hearts by faith with
thanksgiving, we ought to feel that this is meant for the
strengthening in us of the new nature, and that we have missed His
purpose if we do not arise and go forth from that banqueting-house
stronger in the Lord and in the power of His might. Lord, evermore give
us this bread! Send ua not away fasting ! but by this and every means of
grace do Thou give us grace, till Thou bring us to glory!
"Is He compared to wine or bread?
Dear Lord! our souls would thus be fed:
That flesh, that dying blood of Thine,
Is bread of life, is heavenly wine."
"And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his
hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the
Lord."—John xx. 20.
Unbelief had so sealed the eyes of the disciples,
that they knew Him not, nor received His word of peace until He shewed
them His hands and His side—a token of surpassing condescension to their
weakness, equalled only by the surpassing love so plainly written in
these cruel scars. Let me gaze with the wondering disciples. By these
pierced hands and that wounded side do I recognise Thee, O my Saviour,
who didst bleed for me! These are the marks of the dreadful battle, and
Thou hast borne them with Thee to the heaven of heavens, where, in the
midst of the throne, Thy redeemed ones behold a "Lamb as it had been
slain." Let me never forget what sin cost my Lord; what a price He paid
for my ransom; what a penalty I would have suffered had He not borne it!
for the bodily sufferings represented by these scars were but the
smallest and lowest part of His sufferings on earth when He was made "a
propitiation for our sins," Therefore may I never think lightly, talk
lightly, or feel careless about this evil and abominable thing, sin.
"Then were the disciples glad, when they saw tho Lord;" and glad also
may they bo who have not seen, and yet have believed.
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side that flow'd,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save me from its guilt and power!
"If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as
with sons."—Heb. xii. 7.
"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be
zealous therefore, and repent."—Rev. iii. 19.
God loves us too well to leave us uncorrected. If
even we ourselves can see innumerable evils in our hearts, how many more
must He behold whose "eyes are as a flame of fire!" And He is too
faithful to permit us to go on unrebuked, unimproved. But the chastening
is "not joyous, but grievous;" oh, how grievous! —and we
naturally cry out, "Spare us—O Father, anything but this!" Yet if we
could calmly consider it, He is never so near us as at such a time, and
is even then answering our best prayers in the most effectual manner;
for the best prayers are those in which we entreat Him to root out sin,
and make His kingdom come within us. Bitter indeed is often this
teaching, and the heart is too prone to go to either of the two fatal
extremes of despising or of fainting under it; but if we look to Him as
our Father through it all, He will make us able to learn His lessons and
submit to His discipline, till we find that it is better to be in the
valley of weeping with Him, than in the house of mirth with the vain
world lavishing all its pleasures upon us.
"Let but my fainting heart be blest,
"With Thy sweet Spirit for its guest
My God, to Thee I leave the rest;
Thy will ',e done!"
"Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend
unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."—John"
"What a message of love for the disciples! They had
all forsaken Him and fled; yet He says ''my brethren"— "He is not
ashamed to call them brethren." The grave had not broken the tie, nor
had even their own desertion of Him. "My Father, and your Father." Thus
is God our Father in Christ: not Father by creation only, in the sense
of St Paul to the Athenians, "we are also His offspring," (Acts xvii.
28;) but Father in the sense of St John, when he says, "As many as
received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God," (John i.
12.) "My Father, and your Father; my God, and your God"—wonderful union!
Glorious privilege of His own dear children! Happy they who can thus
approach their God, and feel that Christ has thus taught them by His
Spirit to say "Abba, Father!" Yet observe, He says, "My Father, and your
Father"—not "our Father." There is a sacred difference. He is the
only-begotten Son of the Father; we are through Him alone brought into
this relation; we are the children of adoption; and though He has taught
us when we pray to say, "Our Father," when we speak to God, He gives us
another thought when in speaking to us, He says, "My Father, and your
"Born unto God in Christ—in Christ my all!
What that earth boasts were not lost cheaply rather
Than forfeit that blest name by which I call
The Holy One, the Eternal God, 'my Father!'"
As the lightning cometh out of the east, and
shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of
man be."—Matt. xxiv. 27.
This comparison holds true whether the coming
referred to means the coming of the Lord in the destruction of
Jerusalem, or that great second coming and glorious appearance of which
the other was a type. His coming is to be sudden, like the lightning.
"We may have watched the gathering clouds, and predicted the storm, yet
the first flash always takes us by surprise; and such will be His
approach, for "when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden
destruction cometh upon them, . . . . and they shall not escape." His
coming is to be manifest to every eye; none shall need to say, "Lo, here
is Christ, or there;" for "every eye shall behold Him." Men may dispute
now about the signs of the times; they shall not dispute then, the event
will be too plain—as plain as the awful ruin of Jerusalem was to those
who beheld that advent of judgment from God. His coming is certain. Many
future things are uncertain, however fondly we anticipate, or anxiously
we dread them,—this event is sure to come to pass. "We know not when, we
know not how He will come, but we know that He shall come, and will not
tarry. Oh to be found watching in that day!
"Lo, He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favour'd sinners slain,
Thousand, thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train."
"I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right,
and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me."—Ps. cxix. 75.
"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be
zealous therefore, and repent."—Rev. iii. 19.
These verses may remind some of deep sorrows, days of
darkness, nights of weeping, never to be effaced from memory. What
traces have they left? What results have they produced? Can we say, "It
is good for me that I have been afflicted?" These things have not
happened to us by chance, they were sent with a purpose, and it was a
purpose of love. God doth not afflict willingly. O poor mourner, thy
heavenly Father would not so grieve thy heart, unless some great and
worthy end were to be accomplished: has it, then, been fulfilled in
thee? God designs to bring thee to Himself if thou hast never yet come
to Him; to recall thee if thou hast wandered from Him; or, perhaps, He
prunes thy branches, even though fruitful, in order that they may bring
forth more fruit, and he is no fruit-bearing Christian who would wish to
be let alone. There is something in which the believer ought to be more
zealous, something for which he ought to repent, and it is because God
loves him that He chastens him to teach him these lessons.
"Affliction, when it spreads around,
May seem a field of woe;
Yet there at last the happy fruits
Of righteousness shall grow."
"Be patient toward all men."—1 Thess. v. 14.
"And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted,
forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven
you."—Eph. iv. 32.
The apostle, who instructs us in the loftiest
Christian doctrines, does not think it beneath him to exhort us to the
practice of the lowliest Christian virtues; we are not true disciples
unless we seek to practise the one as well as to believe the other. "Be
patient,"— it is sometimes a hard duty, and some dispositions find it
peculiarly so. When we look to Jesus, we see what true patience is. How
meekly He bore all and suffered all; how tenderly He reproved,
instructed, watched over His own in spite of all their slowness of heart
to believe! O meek and lowly Lamb of God, let me learn of Thee; and do
Thou put Thy Spirit within me, to correct all those hasty, impatient
feelings which are so apt to arise in my heart, and which are so
displeasing in Thy sight! May I be kind, tender, and forgiving from high
principle, not from mere natural feeling, to those whom I love; may I
forgive as one to whom much has been forgiven; and may thoughts of Thy
love make me learn love. If tempted to anger, this day may I set Thy
patience before me as my pattern, and repel the temptation in Thy
strength; and whatever others do to irritate or provoke, may I hear Thy
voice saying to mo, "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart"—"br
patient toward all men."
"Could we bear from one another
What He daily bears from us?
Yet this glorious Friend and Brother
Loves us though we treat Him thus:
Though for good we render ill
He accounts us brethren still.