Be an observer of providence; for God is showing you ever, by the way in which He leads you, whither He means to lead. Study your trials, your talents, the worlds wants, and stand ready to serve God now, in whatever He brings to your hand.
Be sure that Christ is not behind you, but before, calling and drawing you on. This is the liberty, the beautiful liberty of Christ. Claim your glorious privilege in the name of a disciple; be no more a servant, when Christ will own you as a friend.
Christ is known only by them that receive Him into their love, their faith, their deep want; known only as He is enshrined within, felt as a divine force, breathed in the inspirations of the secret life.
Christ is redemption only as He actually redeems and delivers our nature from sin. If He is not the law and spring of a new spirit of life, He is nothing. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,as many, no more.
Christs sacrifice stands in glorious proportions with the work to be done. Nothing else or less would suffice. It is a work supernatural, transacted in the plane of nature; and what but such a work could restore the broken order of the soul under evil?
Christianity is no mere scheme of doctrine or of ethical practice, but is instead a kind of miracle, a power out of nature and above, descending into it; a historically supernatural movement on the world, that is visibly entered into it, and organized to be an institution in the person of Jesus Christ.
Feeble are we? Yes, without God we are nothing. But what, by faith, every man may be, God requires him to be. This is the only Christian idea of duty. Measure obligation by inherent ability! No, my brethren, Christian obligation has a very different measure. It is measured by the power that God will give us, measured by the gifts and possible increments of faith. And what a reckoning will it be for many of us, when Christ summons us to answer before Him under the law, not for what we are, but for what we might have been.
Go to your duty, every man, and trust yourself to Christ; for He will give you all supply just as fast as you need it. You will have just as much power as you believe you can have. Be a Christian; throw yourself upon Gods work; and get the ability you want in it.
God made sin possible just as he made all lying wonders possible, but he never made it a fact, never set anything in his plan to harmonize with it. Therefore it enters the world as a forbidden fact against everything that God has ordained.
Great occasions rally great principles, and brace the mind to a lofty bearing, a bearing that is even above itself. But trials that make no occasion at all, leave it to show the goodness and beauty it has in its own disposition. And here precisely is the superhuman glory of Christ as a character, that He is just as perfect, exhibits just as great a spirit in little trials as in great ones.
However dark our lot may be, there is light enough on the other side of the cloud, in that pure empyrean where God dwells, to irradiate every darkness of this world; light enough to clear every difficult question, remove every ground of obscurity, conquer every atheistic suspicion, silence every hard judgment, light enough to satisfy, nay, to ravish the mind forever.
In the sacred fact of obligation you touch the immutable, and lay hold, as it were, on the eternities. At the very center of your being, there is a fixed element, and that of a kind or degree essentially sovereign. A standard is set up in your very thought, by which a great part of your questions are determined, and about which your otherwise random thoughts may settle into order and law.
It doth not yet appear what we shall be. We lie here in our nest, unfledged and weak, guessing dimly at our future, and scarce believing what even now appears. But the power is in us, and that power is finally to be revealed. And what a revelation will that be!
It is the grandeur of Christs character which constitutes the chief power of His ministry, not His miracles or teachings apart from His character. The greatest triumph of the Gospel is Christ Himselfa human body become the organ of the Divine nature, and revealing, under the conditions of an earthly life, the glory of God.
Jesus does not drive His followers on before, as a herd of unwilling disciples, but goes before Himself, leading them into paths that He has trod, and dangers He has met, and sacrifices He has borne Himself, calling them after Him and to be only followers.
My own experience is that the Bible is dull when I am dull. When I am really alive, and set in upon the text with a tidal pressure of living affinities, it opens, it multiplies discoveries, and reveals depths even faster than I can note them. The worldly spirit shuts the Bible; the Spirit of God makes it a fire, flaming out all meanings and glorious truths.
Take your duty, and be strong in it, as God will make you strong. The harder it is, the stronger in fact you will be. Understand, also, that the great question here is, not what you will get, but what you will become. The greatest wealth you can ever get will be in yourself. Take your burdens and troubles and losses and wrongs, if come they must and will, as your opportunity, knowing that God has girded you for greater things than these.
The moment you can make a very simple discovery, viz., that obligation to God is your privilege, and is not imposed as a burden, your experience will teach you many thingsthat duty is liberty, that repentance is a release from sorrow, that sacrifice is gain, that humility is dignity, that the truth from which you hide is a healing element that bathes your disordered life, and that even the penalties and terrors of God are the artillery only of protection to His realm.
The resurrection morning is a true sun-rising, the inbursting of a cloudless sky on all the righteous dead. They wake transfigured, at their Makers call, with the fashion of their countenance altered and shining like His own.
True conviction of sinhow difficult it is, when its appearances and modes of life are so fair, when it twines itself so cunningly about, or creeps so insidiously into, our amiable qualities, and sets off its internal disorders by so many outward charms and attractions.
We come, in our trust, unto God, and the moment we so embrace Him, by committing our total being and eternity to Him, we find every thing is transformed. There is life in us from God; a kind of Christ-consciousness is opened in us, testifying with the apostle,Christ liveth in me.
When has the world seen a phenomenon like this?a lonely uninstructed youth, coming from amid the moral darkness of Galilee, even more distinct from His age, and from every thing around Him, than a Plato would be rising up in some wild tribe in Oregon, assuming thus a position at the head of the world and maintaining it, for eighteen centuries, by the pure self-evidence of His life and doctrine.