Sunday, November 26, 2017

Immortal Light

Richard Watson Gilder, who died in 1909, and whose dream is now reality, wrote this beautiful prayer:

O Thou the Lord and Maker of life and
Full heavy are the burdens that do weigh
Our spirits earthward, as through twilight
We journey to the end and rest of night;
Tho well we know to the deep inward sight,
Darkness is but Thy shadow, and the day
Where Thou art never dies, but sends its
Through the wide universe with restless

O Lord of Light, steep Thou our souls in
That when the daylight trembles into shade, 
And falls the silence of mortality,
And all is done, we shall not be afraid,
But pass from light to light; from earth's
dull gleam
Into the very heart and heaven of our dream.


       Lord Bacon says that "natural abilities are like natural plants that need pruning by study." Conversely untrained talents are like wild plants that degenerate when left to themselves.

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5

The Early Eden Picture

       But one will never get to understand this Jesus until he gets a good look at man as he was once, and as he is now. The key to understanding Jesus is man, even as Jesus is the key to God. One must use both keys to get into the inner heart of God. To get hold of that first key one must go back to the start of things. The old Book of God opens with a picture that is fascinating in its simplicity and strength. There is an unfallen man. He is fresh from the hand of God, free of scar and stain and shrivelling influence. He is in a garden. He is walking hand in hand with God, and working side by side with God: friendship and partnership. Friends in spirit: partners in service.
       The distinctive thing about the man is that he is like God. He and God are alike. In this he differs from all creation. He is God's link between Himself and His Creation. Particular pains is taken by repetition and change of phrase to make clear and emphatic that it was in the very image of God that man was made. Just what does it mean that we men were made in God's likeness? Well, the thing has been discussed back and forth a good bit. Probably we will not know fully till we know as we are known. In the morning when we see Him we shall be like Him fully again. Then we'll know. That morning's sun will clear up a lot of fog. But a few things can be said about it now with a positiveness that may clear the air a bit, and help us recognize the dignity of our being, and behave accordingly.
       Man came into being by the breath of God. God breathed Himself into man. The breath that God breathed out came into man as life. The very life of man is a bit of God. Man is of the essence of God. Every man is the presence-chamber of God. 
       God is a Spirit. Man is a Spirit. He lives in a body. He thinks through a mind. He is a spirit, using the body as a dwelling-place, and the mind as his keenest instrument. All the immeasurable possibilities and capacities of spirit being are in man.
      God is an infinite spirit. That is, we cannot understand Him fully. He is very close to us. The relationship is most intimate, and tender, yet His fullness is ever beyond our grasp and our ken, Man is infinite in that he knows that God is infinite. Only like can appreciate like. He can appreciate that he cannot appreciate God, except in part. He understands that he does not understand God save in smaller part. He knows enough to love passionately. And through loving as well as through knowing he knows that there is infinitely more that he does not know. Only man of all earth's creation knows this. In this he is like God. The difference between God and man here is in the degree of infinity. That degree of difference is an infinite degree. Yet this is the truth. But more yet: man has this same quality wayward. He is infinite in that he cannot be fully understood in his mental processes and motives. He is beyond grasp fully by his fellow. Even one's most intimate friend who knows most and best must leave unknown more than is known. 
       God is an eternal spirit. He has always lived. He will live always. He knows no end, at either end. All time before there was time, and after the time-book is shut, is to Him a passing present. Man is an eternal spirit, because of God. He will know no end. He will live always because the breath of God is his very being.
       God is love. He yearns for love. He loves. And more, He is love. Man is like God in his yearning for love, in his capacity for love, and in his lovableness. Man must love. He lives only as he loves. True love, and only that, is the real life. He will give up everything for love. He is satisfied only as he loves and finds love. To love is greater than to be loved. One cannot always have both. God does not. But every one may love. Every one does love. And only as there is love, pure and true — however overlaid with what is not so — only so is there life.
       God is holy. That word seems to include purity and righteousness. There is utter absence of all that should not be. There is in Him all that should be, and that in fullness beyond our thinking. Man was made holy. There is in the Genesis picture of Eden a touch that for simplicity and yet for revealing the whole swing of moral action is most vivid. In the presence of conditions where man commonly, universally, the world around, and time through, has been and is most sensitive to suggestion of evil there is with this first man the utter absence of any thought of evil. In the light of after history there could be no subtler, stronger statement than this of his holiness, his purity, at this stage.
       And in his capacity for holiness, in that intensest longing for purity, and loathing of all else, that

"Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame." Genesis 2: 25. (NIV)

comes as the Spirit of God is allowed sway, is revealed again the capacity for God-likeness. It is the prophetic dawn within of that coming Eden when again we shall see His face, and have the original likeness fully restored.
       God is wise, all-wise. Among the finest passages of the Christian's classic are those that represent God as personified wisdom. And here wisdom includes all knowledge and justice. That the Spirit of God breathed into man His own mental life is stated most keenly by the man who proverbially embodied in himself this quality of wisdom. "The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord searching out the innermost parts." The allusion is clearly to intellectual powers. There is in man the same quality of mental keenness that searches into things as is in God. It is often dulled, gripped by a sort of stupor, so overlaid you would hardly guess it was there. But, too, as we all know, it often shines out with a startling brilliance. It is less in degree than with God, but it is the same thing, a bit of God in man. This explains man's marvelous achievements in literature, in invention, in science, and in organization.
       Two light master-strokes of the etching point in the Eden picture reveal the whole mental equipment of the man. The only sayings of Adam's preserved for us are when God brought to him the woman. She is the occasion for sayings that reveal the mental powers of this first man. Fittingly it is so. Woman, when true to herself,  has ever been the occasion for bringing out the best in man. "And the man said, this time it is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; this shall be called woman, because out of man was this one taken. Therefore doth a man leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife, and they become one flesh." . . . "And the man called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living." Here is revealed at a glance the keen mental powers at work. Here is the simplicity of statement that marks the speech of strong men. The whole forest is in a single acorn. The whole of a human life is in the primal cell. The chemist knows the whole body by looking into one drop of blood. Here is revealed in one glance the whole man. Mark the keen sense of fitness in the naming of woman — the last and highest creation. Adam was a philologist. His mind was analytical. Inferentially the same keen sense of fitness guided in all the names he had chosen. Here is recognition of the plan for the whole race, a simple unlabored foresight into its growth. A man's relation to his wife, his God-chosen friend, as being the closest of life, and above all others is recognized, together with the consequent obligation upon him. She comes first of all. She becomes the first of all his relationships. The man and the woman — one man and one woman — united, make the true unit of society. Any disturbance of that strikes at the very vitals of society.
       And God is a Sovereign — the sovereign of the vast swing of worlds. Man likewise is a sovereign in the realm of nature, and over all the lower creation. He was given dominion, kingship, over all the earth-creation. Man is a king. He is of the blood royal. He was made to command, to administrate, to reign. He is the judge of last appeals on the bench of earth.
       But there is more here. The chief characteristic of an absolute sovereign is the imperial power to choose, to decide. Man was made an absolute sovereign in his own will. God is the absolute sovereign. He has made man an absolute sovereign in one realm, that of his will, his power of choice. There is one place where man reigns alone, an absolute autocrat, where not even God can come save as the autocrat desires it, that is in his will. And if that "can" bother you, remember that it was God's sovereign act that made it so. So that God remains sovereign in making man a sovereign in the realm of his will. There every man sits in imperial solitude.
       Here then is the picture of man fresh from the hand of God. A spirit, in a body, with an unending life, partly infinite, like God in his capacity for love, for holiness, and wisdom, with the gift of sovereignty over the lower creation, and in his own will. Like Him too in his capacity for fellowship with God. For only like can have fellowship with like. It is only in that in which we are alike that we can have fellowship. These two, God and man, walking side by side, working together, friendship in spirit; partnership in service.
       This man is in a garden of trees and bushes, with fruit and flowers and singing birds, roses with no pricking thorns, soft green with no weeds, and no poison ivy, for there is no hate. And he is walking with God, talking familiarly as chosen friend with choicest friend. Together they work in the completion of creation. God brings His created beings one by one to man to be catalogued and named, and accepts his decisions. What a winsome picture. These two, God and a man in His likeness, walking and working side by side; likeness in being; friendship, fellowship in spirit; partnership, comradeship in service. And this is God's thought for man! Gordon.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Freedom Of Soul

       What a remarkable invention is the airship! In it are wrapped almost boundless possibilities for good or evil. The Christian bound on his sacred mission may yet be able to use the viewless air for his highway, transport himself through its soundless solitudes, hundreds of miles before the dawning. He may transport himself with ease from place to place and behold all the marvels of creation on earth, having cut loose from gravitation and being free in the infinite ocean of starlight and sunlight.

"The ideal of man is perfect freedom of the soul."

Fear Of Man

       Ex-President Roosevelt is usually pictured as proof against fear, but the New York Times tells of an occasion when he admits that he was badly frightened.
       It was on the evening of his first diplomatic reception as President, and the long and brilliant line headed by ambassadors, foreign ministers and attaches, and distinguished army and naval officers in gorgeous uniforms, was passing slowly before him. In this procession was a lady who knew the President quite well, and who confidently expected a hearty greeting. To her surprize, Mr. Roosevelt merely inclined his head over her hand, and bowed her on with the throng.
       An hour later she met the President in the reception-room, and he spoke to her in the friendliest way.
       "Why didn't you come in time for the reception?" he asked.
       "I did," she replied, "and you did not even recognize me!"
       "Impossible!" exclaimed the President, "but," and set his teeth together hard and whispered, "to tell you the truth, Mrs. -----, I was so fearful I wouldn't do the right thing I could not think of anybody except myself!"

Jeremy Camp sings "Christ In Me"

Friday, November 24, 2017


All things are mine; to all things I belong:
I mingle in them--heeding bounds nor
Float in the cloud, melt in the river's song;
In the clear wave from rock to rock I
Widen away, and slowly onward creep;
I stretch forth glimmering hands beneath
the stars
And lose my little murmur in the deep.

Yea, more than that: whatever I behold--
Dark forest, mountain, the o'erarching
Of heaven's solemn turning, all the old
Immeasurable air and boundless sea--
Yields of its life, builds life and strength
in me
For tasks to come, while I but see and feel,
And merely am, and it is joy to be.

Lo, that small spark within us is not blind
To its beginning; struck from one vast 
Which, in the framework of the world, doth
All parts together; small, but still agree-
With That which molded us without our
Since God is all, and all in all--the Whole
In whom we live and move and have
our being.

Samuel V. Cole, The Critic.

Jesus is God following us up.

       You see, the heart of God had been breaking - is breaking over the ways things have been going  down on this planet. Folk fail to understand  Him. Worse yet, they misunderstand Him, and  feel free to criticize Him. Nobody has been so much slandered as God. Many are utterly ignorant of Him. Many others who are not ignorant yet ignore Him. They turn their faces and backs. Some give Him the cut direct. The great crowd in every part of the world is yearning after Him: piteously, pathetically, most often speechlessly yearning, blindly groping along, with an intense inner tug after Him. They know the yearning. They feel the inner, upward tug. They don't understand what it is for which they yearn, nor what will satisfy.
       For man was made to live in closest touch with God. That is his native air. Out of that air his lungs are badly affected. This other air is too heavy. It's malarial, and full of gases and germy dust. In it he chokes and gasps. Yet he knows not why. He gropes about in the night made by his own shut eyes. He doesn't seem to know enough to open them. And sometimes he will not open them. For the hinge of the eye-lid is in the will. And having shut the light out, he gets tangled up in his ideas as to what is light. He puts darkness for light, and light for darkness.
       Once man knew God well; close up. And that means loved, gladly, freely. For here to know is to love. But one day a bad choice was made. And the choice made an ugly kink in his will. The whole trouble began there. A man sees through his will. That is his medium for the transmission of light. If it be twisted, his seeing, his understanding, is twisted. The twist in the will regulates the twist in the eye. Both ways, too, for a good change in the will in turn changes the eyes back to seeing straight. He that is willing to do the right shall clearly see the light.
       But that first kink seems to have been getting worse kinked ever since. And so man does not see God as He is. Man is cross-eyed Godward, but doesn't know it. Man is color-blind toward God. The blue of God's truth is to him an arousing, angering red. The soft, soothing green of His love becomes a noisy, irritating yellow. Nobody has been so much misunderstood as God. He has suffered misrepresentation from two quarters: His enemies and His friends. More from - which? Hard to tell. Jesus is God trying to tell men plainly what He is really like.
       The world turned down the wrong lane, and has been going that way pell-mell ever since. Yet so close is the wrong lane to the right that a single step will change lanes. Though many results of being in the wrong lane will not be changed by the change of lanes. It takes time to rest up the feet made sore by the roughness of the wrong lane. And some of the scars, where men have measured their length, seem to stay.
       The result of that wrong turning has been pitiable. Separation from God, so far as man could make separation. There is no separation on God's part. He has never changed. He remains in the world, but because of man's turning his face away, He remains as a stranger, unrecognized. He remains just where man left Him. And any one going back to that point in the road will find Him standing waiting with an eager light glistening in His eyes. No! That's not accurate. He is a hit nearer than ever He was. He is following us up. He is only a step off. Jesus is God eagerly following us up. S. D. Gordon

Divine Discontent

An unidentified author writes thus of discontent:

When the world was formed and the morn-
ing stars
Upon their paths were sent,
The loftiest-browed of the angels was
The Angel of Discontent.

And he dwelt with man in the caves of the
Where the created serpent stings,
And the tiger tears and the she-wolf howls,
And he told of better things.

And he led man forth in the towered town,
And forth to fields of corn;
And he told of the ampler work ahead
For which the race was born.

And he whispers to men of those hills he sees
In the blush of the golden west;
And they look to the light of his lifted eye
And they hate the name of rest.

In the light of that eye doth the slave be-
A hope that is high and brave,
And the madness of war comes into his 
For he knows himself a slave.

The serfs of wrong in the light of that eye
March on with victorious songs;
For the strength of their right comes into
their hearts
When they behold their wrongs.

"Tis by the light of that lifted eye
That error's mists are rent--
A guide to the table-land of Truth
Is the Angel of Discontent.

And still he looks with his lifted eye,
And his glance is far away
On a light that shines on the glimmering
Of a diviner day.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Death Does Not Change Character

       When corn is cut down and is lying on the ground, and is afterward put into the granary, it is the very same corn as had grown up to full maturity in the earth. So also souls in the granary above are the very same souls as had grown up to maturity in heaven on earth. When they are transferred to heaven above, they are not tares which had been cut down on earth, and which somehow in the process of cutting had been transformed into corn or wheat. Unless wheat will grow up as wheat in the earth, and be harvested as wheat, it will not turn into wheat in the act of cutting, or while it is being removed to the granary. -- Alexander Miller, "Heaven and Hell Here."

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

God Spelling Himself Out in Jesus

       Jesus is God spelling Himself out in language that man can understand. God and man used to talk together freely. But one day man went away from God. And then he went farther away. He left home. He left his native land, Eden, where he lived with God. He emigrated from God. And through going away he lost his mother-tongue.
       A language always changes away from its native land. Through going away from his native land man lost his native speech. Through not hearing God speak he forgot the sounds of the words. His ears grew dull and then deaf. Through lack of use he lost the power of speaking the old words. His tongue grew thick. It lost its cunning. And so gradually almost all the old meanings were lost.
       God has always been eager to get to talking with man again. The silence is hard on Him. He is hungry to be on intimate terms again with his old friend. Of course he had to use a language that man could understand. Jesus is God spelling Himself out so man can understand. He is the A and the Z, and all between, of the Old Eden language of love.
       Naturally enough man had a good bit of bother in spelling Jesus out. This Jesus was something quite new. When His life spoke the simple language of Eden again, the human heart with selfishness ingrained said, "That sounds good, but of course He has some selfish scheme behind it all. This purity and simplicity and gentleness can't be genuine. "Nobody yet seems to have spelled Him out fully, though they're all trying: All on the spelling bench. That is, all that have heard. Great numbers haven't heard about Him yet. But many, ah! many could get enough, yes, can get enough to bring His purity into their lives and sweet peace into their hearts.
       But there were in His days upon earth some sticklers for the old spelling forms. Not the oldest, mind you. Jesus alone stands for that. This Jesus didn't observe the idioms that had grown up outside of Eden. These people had decided that these old forms were the only ones acceptable. And so they disliked Him from the beginning, and quarreled with Him. These idioms were dearer to them than life that is, than His life. So having quarreled, they did worse, and then-softly-worst. But even in their worst, Jesus was God spelling Himself out in the old simple language of Eden. His best came out in their worst.
       Some of the great nouns of the Eden tongue, the God tongue -He spelled out big. He spelled out purity, the natural life of Eden; and obedience, the rhythmic harmony of Eden; and peace, the sweet music of Eden; and power, the mastery and dominion of Eden; and love, the throbbing heart of Eden. It was in biggest, brightest letters that love was spelled out. He used the biggest capitals ever known, and traced each in a deep dripping red, with a new spelling, s-a-c-r-i-f-i-c-e. Gordon

 Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling.

Acquiescence to Providence

       Each branch of a vine is bound to a certain point of its wall or its conservatory. It is not growing just where and how it would spontaneously and naturally choose, but is affixt there contrary to its natural bent, in order that it may catch the sunbeams at that point and cover that spot with beautiful foliage and luscious fruit.
       Sorrow is like the nail that compels the branch to grow in that direction; inevitable circumstance is like the rough strip of fiber which bends the branch, and pain is like the restraint which is suffered by the branch which would have liked to wander at its own will. We are not to murmur or repine at our lot in life, but are to remember that God has appointed it and placed us there.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" Ecclesiastes 3:1 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Fruit And Soil

       A choice variety of plum was purchased and set out in a certain garden. When the tree came to maturity, to the keen disappointment of the owner, there was no fruit on its branches. Investigation showed that the fault was not in the tree. The land in which it was planted proved to be barren and lacking in proper nourishment.
       A tree growing in poor soil can not bear, because it requires all the strength it can extract from the soil to barely sustain its life. It takes all the virtue there is in the soil to support the head and foliage so that the fruit is literally starved out.

       There are church-members who branch into Christian profession but who are rooted in the world. Such will bring forth nothing but leaves. (Text)