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I have been thinking of you moving to a new place in the wilderness. I see that there is no real happiness here until we accept this world as really a vast howling desert -- a dry and thirsty land where no water is. When we truly accept it as a place where there is nothing for the new man, then we look to the Lord alone as our resource:

'Heavenly springs shall there restore thee,
Fresh from God's exhaustless tides.' (Hymn 76)

We are saved out of Egypt -- the world of judgment, by the death and resurrection of Christ, and we enter on His triumph, as we have walked through the Red Sea. His death -- the only way out of our own death, and thus not only are we in peace, but the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. You first know the happy terms on which the blessed God is with you; next -- thou there may be a long interval, that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made you free from the law of sin and death. You are not in liberty, but as you are in the life of Christ. Many have a sense of the love of God, and how He is towards them, who are not in liberty, that is, not living in the life of Christ. It is then you know Him in a new way, and you find your joys in that which ministers to His life. You are now peculiarly attached to Him; you were first drawn to Him by His work for you; now you know Him as your life, and you are so bound to Him in love that you can say, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Romans 8:35). Now the fact of living His life of itself reduces this world to a wilderness;

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there is nothing in it for the life of Christ. If you live His life, if He lives in you, you must live outside this scene; and as you do, you receive from Him the manna, that is, grace from Himself to live here as He lived here. But if you are not in His life, if Christ be not living in you, you could not live here as He lived here; you could not get the manna -- the life which He lived here. No one could have His resources in the wilderness but Himself, and you must be in His life, He must live in you, before He could lead you into the resource that He had when He was in the world -- which was a real wilderness to Him. If He lives in you, you are sure to get the manna:

'There unfold His hidden treasures,
There His love's exhaustless deep.' (Hymn 76)

I feel that we lose ground when we accept that which ministers to our natural life, and when we are not with constancy set in liberty from ourselves, in His life -- jealous lest anything should divert us from living in His order of things.

The Lord grant that your happiness may not be from anything around you, but that you may so enjoy Christ outside of everything, that Jordan may be a real privilege to you -- liberation in death with Christ from everything here. This doubtless is the happiest moment for any one who is truly in the wilderness.


I see great importance in the Lord leading His disciples apart to rest awhile: "and when they were alone, he ex-pounded all things to his disciples" (Mark 4:34). I am sure that the reading of the word and prayer are necessary, and that great help comes to us through ministry; yet there is another exercise which surpasses all the rest; indeed, the others are, I might say, invalid without it. I mean meditation. "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them" (1 Timothy 4:15). I believe that as your physical constitution requires

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rest, or all your power would become enfeebled, however you might eat and drink and act; so it is with the spiritual man. However much you may take in, and receive in an honest and good heart, there must be, like a grain of wheat, months underground, unseen by any mortal eye, a secret germination before there is the blade -- anything to be seen. The most valuable grain requires a longer time underground. I mean that the deeper the truth I receive, the longer the time of meditation before it characterises me. I think many do not habituate themselves to sitting before the Lord; one does not appear to be doing anything, and yet that is the very time in which the peculiar lines of His mind and pleasure for one are acquired. See the effect of His presence on the two disciples at Emmaus. They only saw Him, and the effect was so great that they started at once for Jerusalem -- the place He Himself was going to, though He said nothing to them about it. It is wonderful the unaffected correspondence to His own present mind there would be in us if we were more in His company. Being guided and decided by a text is legally right, but there is not about it the ease, the unction, the concert with Him, which a sight of Himself imparts. It will be deep joy to my heart if your coming seclusion through the Lord's grace should be a time of being 'beside' yourself, that His society may so conform you to Him that you will come forth able to comprehend all His words better, simply because you know Himself better.


I am indeed thankful for the way you write about the heavenly side of truth, I believe in your heart no other could please you. If you were dead you would be in unbroken enjoyment with Christ where He is. You are a new being with divine ability to enjoy Him, but the marvel of God's grace is, that we who are saved from the ruin and misery of the first man, are left down here where we were in misery, to be not only in abounding joy by the Spirit, but still more, to be here as members of His

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body -- descriptive of the heavenly Christ, where He is not. The calling is God's calling, and none but God could produce this in either you or me. The treasure is in an earthen vessel. The Spirit's ministry attaches me to Christ (Ephesians 4:13), and God's hand in discipline severs me from every obstruction, as it is felt to be an obstruction. These two actions are always going on. The Spirit attaches and discipline detaches.

.I believe many do not in their faith go beyond millennial saints. I am studying the difference between the saint now and the saint in the millennium. Forgiveness, absolute forgiveness of sins and earthly joys can go on together. To be subject to the Holy Ghost's control can be accepted in terms while seeking earthly things. The law as the rule of life can be accepted while seeking earthly things. Remembering the blood, its efficacy, and the benefit of Christ's work, in adoration and worship, can go on with earthly things.

The easy way of getting at truth through the Synopsis has injured many. The divine teaching is not one bit easier now than it ever was. There is no advance in occupation with Christ without a corresponding displacement in you. Christ is not magnified in my body but as the flesh is driven back. God only can do this.

As to the life of our Lord here in the flesh it was wholly consistent with eternal life. He was ever the expression of God. There was a divine beauty about each act, though He was a real man. He never learned anything from any one but God. But I do not like defining. Christ is my life now. He was here, He is in heaven, and He will never be here again as He was here. He lives unto God. I believe many imagine that Christ lived here as the saints will live in the millennium. I think the great teaching of the first three gospels is that Christ raises me above everything, not that He removes storms and troubles from me. He makes me superior to them, because He was in them; now He is not in them; He is quite out of them, and there I am called to enjoy Him.

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The question in your letter is a very important one -- 'How to keep clear of what hinders'. You write, 'I used to think that separation was more from things without, but now I see that it is an inward work accomplished with God'. You are quite right; but the more you are separated unto God, the more you are in His light, the more will you be separate from things without, because you will feel that they are incongruous and inconsistent. Every Christian has a measure of separation; he separates according to his conscience. Thus with many their separation is up to their consciences. The conscience is a good guard but not a guide. The Lord is the guide by the Spirit or through the light of the word. It is as you know the Lord -- "In thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9) -- that you learn separation. A separation which you saw was necessary and right last year would be no rule for you when the Lord is better known. I do not believe that you could have a sense of the moral disparity of things here until you first know the order of things which suits Him, and you cannot know this, but as you are in His presence. It is not merely reading nor praying in itself. I can describe it only by the Queen of Sheba in the presence of Solomon; she was so absorbed with Solomon and his things that there was "no more spirit in her". You get a sense in this nearness to Him of His holiness that you could not acquire anywhere else, and as you are transformed into moral correspondence to Him, you find that you have new tastes and new interests. You are not trying to have them, you have acquired them in His presence. Hence natural tastes and interests which previously had an acknowledged place are now superseded without any effort. You will get a good illustration of this in studying the difference between El-elohe-Israel and Bethel (Genesis 33, 35). Your altar, or morally your approach to God, indicates the measure of your relation to Him or His relation to you. Jacob was off the line at El-elohe-

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Israel -- he had bought a parcel of a field, he assumes that he is God's object. After much discipline there, God tells him to go to Bethel. It is twenty years since he had been there, but in remembrance of the character of the place, Jacob said to his household: "Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments" (Genesis 35:2). You must know holiness first, and be at home in it, before you can naturally carry it out. The great secret of all blessing is to come from the Lord. Every Christian goes to Him. You will be much interested in studying how the servant in the Old Testament was pre-pared for his service. The Lord draw your heart so to Himself that you may come from Him to do every service. Do not attempt to do too much. Let quality not quantity be the desire of your heart as to your service. A fruit tree grows fruit for its owner and his friends. This is your calling. The Lord bless you much.


It is a time of deep blessing when you realise, though it is always true, that there is but a step between this world of sin and sorrow and the presence and home of the Lord. Instead of taking that step continually in spirit, the tendency is to seek for alleviation and relief here. Of course, if we did not receive mercy we could not exist here, but the question with me is -- Do we really regard His home as our home, or are we wanting Him to make our natural home comfortable? I believe all the present contention arises from ignorance in some, and from reluctance in others, to accept that Christ, who is our life, is not here. He was here, but He will never be here again as He was here. We are here, and we, as His word works in us, find His sympathy and support here; but to find Himself, we must rise with Him, and thus leave morally all this scene to which we are naturally attached. My comfort is that Christ lives in me; hence in things down here He enables me to walk, and to behave here as He did, and as I am in communion with Him, I know -- "because I

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live, ye shall live also" (John 14:19). What He was comes to me from Him, and what He is is more naturally mine, because He is my life and I am united to Him there. What He was is necessary for my pilgrim journey and will terminate, the other never will.

Now study the epistles and you will find that the most part of them is taken up with telling you what Christ is to you here. In Romans you do not touch resurrection as to yourself. In 2 Corinthians you reach Christ in glory. 1 John is acquainting you with Christ who is not here. He is the eternal life.

As to new birth, as far as I understand, it is God's sovereign act before you have believed, and that it is thus stated in John 3. Where it is said "born of God", it is in connection with faith. I believe Mr. -------- said 'The Son quickeneth always'; but in my judgment the point of that passage (John 5:21) is that man is raised out of death; the Son as Man -- the last Adam "quickeneth whom he will". I quite agree with you, that the more heavenly the truth is, the more difficult it is to explain, and therefore to communicate. 'It is an out-of-the-world condition of things.' It is outside of the conception and the sensibility of the human mind.

I perfectly agree with the statement, 'Christ has to be tasted and known in the soul'. I may believe that I am united to Christ, but I do not understand it nor know it until I have tasted of that great fact.

I said to --------, 'If the Queen were to make two offers to you, one -- that she would make your concerns and interests her object, and the other -- that if you were really attached to her you might come and share all her concerns and interests, which would you choose?' The answer was, 'If we accept the second we should be diverted from or give up the first. When I am really interested in Christ's interests my own interests are merged in His'.

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The text I give you is, "Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her" (Genesis 24:67). The greatness of Christ's love is not known until union with Him is known. Then you know the love of Christ that passeth knowledge. I feel one has a very feeble conception of that love. Every believer loves Him for His work. That love likes to make much of Him, as the woman in Luke 7. Then comes the love of knowing that He is your life: you are in Him. You suffer now for Him and with Him. Next, you love Him as indispensable to you -- the Priest who bears you above every pressure while in His company, so that you are without a cloud before God. You are then drawn away from the earth. Next, you seek Him at His own side of things in the assembly. Many turn to the assembly to gain something for themselves. The assembly is the only place where you can find Christ on the earth according to His present interests. When in gladness of heart you have found Him there, you are sure to be interested in His interests on the earth. The queen of Sheba illustrates the greatness of your gain when you behold Christ's glory as He is in the assembly. The more you are with Him, the more you seek to be under His full control. Then you learn Him as Head. Now your cup is full, and you come out here in His sensibilities and qualities. One step more and you are brought to the consummation of bliss. You realise that you are united to Him in heaven, and now you are in perfect concert with His mind, and you share His ability to do His pleasure; and now His love that passeth knowledge becomes known to you, and your one thought is to be descriptive of Him here. At first, you see, it is all from Himto you, but as you are really at His side you receive from Him for Himself; He is paramount, which is the proof that you are in the consciousness of union. I hope that you may fully enter into the purpose of God for you. I see that it is not enough now to desire the fair beauty of the Lord. No! there cannot be any confidential

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service now but as it comes from love, and love is only known to us as we know His love for us, and you never can know it but near Him. The love in Canticles is for yourself. Even John leaning on His breast is for oneself. It is only when I realise that I am united to Him that I am, as it were, merged in Him. If you know this greatest blessing, you will find that everything which is not Christ is less and less attractive to you, and you will find much more alone with Him than in any company.


It is most profitable and interesting to review the past, to remember all the way the Lord has led us. There are epochs in our history. The gentle and blessed way by which He has led one from one step upwards to another. The surrender He has led one to make for Him, and the consequent gain. But when we review our history we see how slowly we have surrendered all of the old man, and through Gilgal -- the only entrance to the place where He is -- have found our all in Him. The progress is slow, but we know that it is real, not at first from the gain, but from the sense of relief in the removal of the obstacle, as a mote from the eye. If you are true to yourself you will find that there is some link to the earth, and by it that you are held back; the last link is the one most difficult to break. The one in the ascendant is the stone before the wheel; and when you are in the energy of the Spirit it shows itself in the removal of this obstruction. There is nothing more interesting than the way the stone is rolled away. Go back to your conversion and recall your exercises before the Saviour displaced the sinner to the joy of your heart. Then what a step, what a surrender, and how great a gain when you separated from the world and found yourself in company with His own gathered to His name. Well, many doubtless, have been the surrenders since. It is when you become "a young man", a strong, intelligent, capable man of God that the conflict begins from without. "Love not the world, neither the

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things that are in the world" (1 John 2:15). Surely it is a fine sight to see a saint refusing everything here which suits and attracts a man. Then you are a "father"; you have found compensation, or the "manifold more" in Christ. I might be in spirit at the door of heaven as at the door of a garden, with the key of it in my hand, when a picture or a worry might hinder me from entering. My title is unquestionable, but I am diverted from entering, and there will be no entering until the stone be removed; though there may be increased vigour, yet health is not re-established until the distraction, be it pleasure or pain, be removed. I do not think that improvement in spiritual health is the same as progress. I do not see how any one can really progress but inside the door of Gilgal. I may be gaining in health and in the enjoyment of life, but it is as the old man is put off that I grow in heavenly tastes and ways.

I daresay you have surrendered as much as any one, yet you might be detained or diverted as a Barnabas was, and even as Paul was. All I press upon you is, that surrender must go on "We which live are alway delivered unto death" (2 Corinthians 4:11). The most disappointing people possible are those who made a great surrender at first in the way of separation, and are so satisfied with their one great achievement that they think no more is necessary. They are like ancient towers, monuments of greatness in another day, covered with ivy, but neither capable nor fitted for the exigencies of the present hour. I do not say that you should be occupied with surrender, but sensibly in the Spirit inside Gilgal, where all the old is left behind; consequently, the more you are educated and imbued with the new-"Christ everything and in all", the more separate you must be from the old when you return to it.

The Lord I believe is always preparing the loving heart for some advancement, and this advancement cannot be without the surrender of the first man, which would neutralise it. Hence surrender is a prelude to advancement, "He, casting away his garment, arose, and came to Jesus" (Mark 10:50). Paul was in prison, John was in exile before either were sufficiently dissociated from earthly things to be fully occupied, one -- with the things in heaven, and the other -- with the Lord's ways on earth. I have written a long letter,

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and have indifferently expressed what I desire may characterise you. To advance to His stature be your one great thought -- going on to perfection; not merely happiness and usefulness, but increasing with the increase of God; and for this you must daily forget the things that are behind. May your divine stature greatly increase to the joy of the Lord.


... The truth with many is like the old cathedrals, the form correct, but the strength gradually declining. Even with the true-hearted the attempt and desire is too often to carry on Christian things by human means; and with nominal Christians, refinement and luxury, mentally and materially, are sought instead of religion. All this is to give man prominence.

Well, thank the Lord, He is still working. The divine path is an impossibility to man. Minister to, or suit the natural man, and you must diverge from the divine path. God could not propose any path to His own now but one impossible to man. Propose one possible for man, and you have departed from the path in which Christ walked, which is the only one pleasing to God.

As to the difference between "I will come to you" and "I ... will manifest myself to him" (John 14:18, 21), the first is to the assembly, the latter to the individual. The former is the fact that He would not leave them orphans; the latter, that He would make the faithful one sensible of His company. Paul knew the latter when he said, "The Lord stood with me, and strengthened me" (2 Timothy 4:17).

I believe the one great hindrance to our progress is the limited measure of our desire and preparation. We often think that we are wishing for and ready for much more than we are. We always get what we value; we may use any amount of adjectives in prayer, but God knows the mind of the Spirit. Christians in general never seek more of Christ than His support down here. You do not touch the old corn of the land until after Gilgal. How

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can any one be in the current of Christ's present interests unless he knows Him where He is? If you want to know any one as he is, you must be in his company. "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shew it unto you" (John 16:14).


I have had, through the Lord's goodness, a very happy time, though with occasional exercises. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5). At present I feel distressed at the imperfect way the truth is apprehended. From the gospel up, Satan's object is to deprive us of it as much as he can. A measure is accepted which meets man's need, but our relation to God is not reached. I ask myself, How is this lack to be corrected? It is very helpful to see in Ephesians 4, that if you were well grown you would not be "tossed to and fro". The higher you go the safer you are a fine principle, hence Satan would prevent us from going to the top!

I have been lately very much interested in the subject of intimacy with the Lord (John 10:14, 15), where it begins, and the height or measure to which it rises. I think it begins when I see Him risen from the dead, as Jonathan saw David after he had slain Goliath, and it rises to union; but I must leave it to you to trace it out for yourselves.

I am glad that you feel as you do about prayer. I feel that one has so little faith in one's prayers. Thank God one has sometimes, and it is very blessed.

The nearer we get to the Lord for one another the deeper the love, because it is more as He loves.

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The Lord has been very gracious to me. At each place I see a great advance in those who have been exercised as to the truth. When the truth in its divine immensity comes before me I have no relief but in prayer, casting myself on the Lord to lead me into the knowledge of it. I was struck the other day with the words "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him" (Ephesians 1:17). If you have not the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him you cannot apprehend God's calling. Christianity is more and more wonderful to me daily. John does not recognise as Christian any below the little ones -- those who know the Father, and have the unction of the Holy One. I do not see in many the knowledge of the Father. The one who knows the Father, knows that as His son he belongs to the divine circle. In that circle the interests of God are the subject of interest. The child wants many a thing in the nursery which are not in the drawing-room, and he is brought into the latter as fit for it. I am too conscious of the little knowledge I have of this circle. The nursery is properly on the earth, and many are satisfied if they can appropriate the psalms -- God's care and interest for you in your path here -- who seem never to apprehend that they are called to the drawing-room; but I must not run on.

I hope dear -------- is prospering at --------. The Ananias and Sapphira element is working still; namely, obtaining credit for a devotedness which is not deserved; but we have only to follow up the conflict in the Spirit of Him who is greater than Gideon. There is much loss when a victory is not followed up. The Lord help him to do good service at this critical time.

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I believe the defect in souls in general is the incompleteness of their conversion. It is pardon that is apprehended, and not acceptance. Acceptance embraces God's side -- how He feels, and this should be chief, for you as a sinner have offended Him. The offender has been removed from His eye by a Man -- the Lord Jesus Christ, and He can receive you on the ground of the Man who glorified Him in bearing your judgment. You do not enjoy acceptance but in the way in which it was acquired or effected for you, and if you are in the acceptance you know that no improvement of the flesh could commend you to God, and that you cannot be before Him but in Christ, and hence "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). If you are in any degree dark as to the crucifixion of the old man, you are not in acceptance, and your liberty by the Spirit can never go beyond your conscious acceptance.

I feel the Spirit of God does not get His place with us because we do not seek to be in consonance with our acceptance.


As to your new work, the class of women, if you confine it to the poor and ignorant, it may be useful. I believe the place of power for a woman is with the individual. I do not think she is intended to lead or guide a company. I believe women are the best visitors, and they are very helpful to individuals. The Lord will direct you. I have no doubt that where there is the simple desire to help souls, the desire will be granted, and the blessing you seek for others will be abundantly granted to yourself. I look to Him to keep you in the sense of His present favour. I think in these difficult days each step must be well considered before the Lord.

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It is a great cheer to me to see a home descriptive of the heavenly Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Some one speaking to me lately was saying how nice and attractive some Christians are, though they are not on the heavenly line, sometimes more so than those who are really set for it. Now I think I can explain this. The former study to suit man and to commend themselves to man's judgment. The latter study Christ more. I daresay many would consider Martha a very estimable woman, kindness and consideration personified, while they would regard Mary as reserved, absorbed and exclusive; but she was the real servant after all.

It is a day when you must have heavenly beauty or you will be carried away by earthly -- Babylonish beauty. Babylon is the present rival. If a saint be diverted from the heavenly it is by something earthly, and the more naturally beautiful it is, the more ensnaring. The effort of the enemy is to divert from the unseen and the heavenly, by occupying you with the visible which is in itself beautiful. The argument is that there is no harm in it, but however harmless in a natural point of view it diverts you from the heavenly, and that is harm indeed.

I do trust and desire that dear --------'s trial in his business may be a great gain to him. The highest order of discipline is to help us. Trial of circumstances is less trial than that of health or bereavement. May the Lord explain it all fully to him.

The Lord bless you much. You must rise to Christ in heaven (Ephesians 3:16) before you can descend with heavenly ability to act for Him here.


Your view of everything here ought to partake of that of Noah after the flood. The first thing, the altar of a sweet savour -- one unbroken offering of praise, the preciousness of Christ intensified to your heart. Nothing is so acceptable to the Lord, as you see in the case of Noah.

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So pleased was He with the expression of the fragrance of Christ from the hands and heart of His servant that thereon He makes new and most favourable terms with man, still as weak, and in nature as corrupt as ever. And herein we learn a principle of His way of acting with each of us individually. When we, after a night of storm or a time of exile in whatever form it may be, come to an end of all flesh, and each of us, believe me, has to come to it one day in some form or other; the flood must overtake every saint one way or another, and it never will be in an honouring way. If we after the flood, and when again on the land, occupy ourselves primarily and pre-eminently with the goodness of God, and His delight in us, not re-calling the past, or fearing the future, He will be so pleased that He will appoint new blessings and unbounded favour for us even in this scene; for "as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him" (Psalm 103:13). He loveth to be gracious. The altar of burnt-offering -- the presenting in one ever-continuing strain the fragrance and value of Christ is your work; mercy and favour are His answers to your work, and you will find it in everything as you delight yourself in Him. "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Psalm 37:4). Lazarus is not only raised out of the dark prison of death, but he is freed from the grave clothes which bar his liberty, and then he sits at the table with Christ.

The Lord lead you to see how much He values your heart. "My son, give me thine heart" (Proverbs 23:26), and the heart occupied with Christ commands every blessing from God, as it is said, "Because ye have loved me" (John 16:27). You are now to render to Him the fruit of your lips, giving thanks to His name, and "this also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs" (Psalm 69:31). With you the winter is over and gone, and now the singing time has come. The flood has passed, and the dove has the olive leaf in her mouth.

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No. 1

... I do not think that, as a rule, saints are enough impressed with the gravity of choosing a place to reside in. In Israel's time it was of so much importance that the ark went out of its place, and took three days journey in advance to find out a resting place for them, and in that place there were two things which could not be obtained in any other place. The one was the cloud, the other the manna -- guidance and food -- both now combined in the Lord. I do trust you may find both at --------. It is not always that there is much food, where there is much ministry. Food is that which feeds, and you know that often the Lord's crumb is more than a long discourse.

There is a great deal in the way in which you enter on a new path. In the type the manna was gathered before the day began. No doubt morning prayer is a relic of this solemn exercise. I am not slighting morning prayer, but I do not think it is enough. I understand gathering manna before the sun was up, to be this -- I have waited on the Lord until He assured me that He would be my continued support in this new path, even as manna for the day was obtained before the day began: it was, so to speak, in the cupboard. You can ever fall back to the way He revealed Himself to you then. You will have your troubles and your difficulties. You will see His wonders in the deep, but He will bring you to the desired haven....

The Lord be with you in this new path. The more He is to you, the better you will serve His own, and the happier you will be yourself. It is very interesting and helpful the difference between the act of the woman in Luke 7 and that of Mary in Mark 14. In Luke 7 the act of devotedness is to make much of Him here; many make sacrifices with this motive; some build a church, and the like. The act in Mark 14 is devotedness that sacrifices what would lend distinction to oneself, because He is no longer here. Deep was her grief because of the death of

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Lazarus, but the abnegation of that which claims acknowledgment with regard to herself, is the tribute of her heart to Him, rejected from the earth....


No. 2

The beginning gives a character to every history. When we begin with the Lord, we are sure in His grace to return to our start, which was the work of His grace. He remembers our brightest day, and restores us to it. See Jeremiah 2:2. The divine principle is that you are prepared for the step before you take it. The manna was given before the day began; you come from the Lord prepared for the new course which is before you; as you read in Psalm 23, you come from a scene of abundant resources into one of dearth and death. You are like a ship provisioned before the voyage is undertaken. My desire for you is, that you may be assured by Himself that He is with you: "Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me". I do not mean that there should be prayer that your house should be devoted to His service. I mean that as an Israelite was sure that he had gathered manna sufficient for the coming day, that you, in a far deeper and fuller way, should be assured that the Lord has ordered this course for you, and that as on the arm of His might you enter on it, you have His arm all the way.

May you begin with this confidence and be greatly blessed in doing His pleasure, and may many rejoice in you as channels of His grace. May you seek the prosperity of His own, not merely to please, but to please unto edification. Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. This is true service.

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I rejoice that you have happy remembrances of your little time in L--------. When we remember that Christ is our life, it is sad how much we can enjoy apart from Him. We do not intend to give Him up, but like the bride in Canticles 5, we "sleep" -- we are not in the activity of life!

Last Sunday morning a brother read from John 20:11, a few verses. It is very affecting the way Mary Magdalene learns the Lord. He does not resume association on natural grounds. To the natural eye He is not here; He is seen by the spiritual eye in the assembly. May we feel more fully and deeply that He is not here, and consequently know the deep joy of seeing Him in the Holiest. The more truly we accept that we are in the place of His rejection, the more shall we seek Him in the sphere of His exaltation. He was our Saviour on the earth; He is our Priest in heaven. Many never get beyond the Saviour; they do not enjoy association with Him in the blessedness of His nearness to God.

I feel I ought not to look for anything where Christ died and was rejected, but that I can look for everything where my Lord is in glory.

The great desire and satisfaction of affection is company. If your heart is really set on the Lord, nothing can satisfy you but His company. "They left all and followed him". How could I enjoy union if I did not value companionship? We must learn Hebrews before Ephesians.


My text for you is -- spiritual things are communicated by spiritual means. It is necessary in order that the conscience should be affected that you should understand the words addressed to you, hence the apostle says

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that he would rather say five words with his understanding that thereby he might teach others also. Though the truth is clearly presented to the understanding, yet there must be conscience (that is sense of the claim of God on you), or there will be no response. It is not merely that you see the truth proposed, but you see that you are to be an exponent of it as proposed. You are cast upon God, and then the Spirit works in you. The good seed sown on the rock is truth received with joy; there is not conscience work; where there is, there is no jubilant apprehension nor quick acknowledgment of the truth. When there is conscience, the truth works in the soul before it is confessed or expressed in words. It grows like a tree in the roots before the branches. Nurserymen transplant their young trees often, in order that there may be more roots than branches.

There is one unfailing mark of having received the word in your natural mind, and that is, you will be sure to rely on natural means for the accomplishment of it. Eve accepted the promise of God in her natural mind, and reckoned that it would be fulfilled in a natural way. Doubtless Lot accepted in his natural mind the word to Abram; he openly takes the path of faith, there was a good profession, the branches were there, but the roots were feeble. King Saul, in essaying to destroy Amalek according to God's command, illustrates the way the natural mind accepts and interprets the word of God; all that was vile and refuse he utterly destroyed, but spared the best of everything and the king! He had no sense of the divine meaning of the word. The defection of Barnabas is a solemn warning to us; we should have expected from his course and service that there was no flaw in the roots. The branches were good, but a serious imperfection in the roots was disclosed when he was carried away by the dissimulation of Peter.

It is a notable fact that the day of increased light and power is the day of testing to every saint. A bright day had dawned in the church at the conference at Jerusalem, and now, with the increase of light the contrariety to it is exposed. Many a one goes on fairly in the twilight, who is detected and alienated in the bright hour. I wish for

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you as well as for myself that the word of God may be not only understood as to its meaning, nor merely admired. I think admiration is very deceptive. May God's claim on us be so felt that the Spirit will be free to form the word in our souls. I believe as the sense of God's claim is on me, because of His word, my conscience is exercised; I pray, and then the Spirit engrafts the word in me, it becomes part of my being, I grow thereby. May you be thus richly blessed.


I think there would be something peculiar about one who had the Lord as his resource. I do not think that it could be known except as He is known, and then it would be the natural consequence. The eye finds naturally its resource in its head; there is no effort about it. If it sees anything the head is at once referred to concurrently with the seeing. If Christ is everything to me He must be my resource. As a rule Christians seek everything more than the true subjective. The true subjective is loving the Lord, and being in moral correspondence to Him. The church was to lose the candlestick because it had left first love, though the works were commendable. In reading the word or listening to it, according as I have capacity and true taste, I am delighted with it; but you will remark that the one who reads or hears the word with the sense that he is to correspond with it hears or reads as if he were depressed, because he is conscious at the time that if that word rules him he must come out in a new colour, and therefore he longs for prayer.

In my experience I have seen many start well surrendering for the Lord's sake, who did not continue to do so, and the consequence was that they were, in a way, like a fir tree, the top shoot broken off, therefore no increase of growth though still alive. The Spirit in me is always working to concentrate me on Christ, and if Christ were dwelling in my heart everything would be determined by Him; and the better He is known the more He will be loved.

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I am not trying to think of Him. I am not like -------- occupying myself with my great devotedness or my own death, or reaching heaven. The only thought is "Whither thou goest, I will go" (Ruth 1:16). I am controlled by Him. Many are attached to Him who are not controlled by Him.


I rejoice that I can most heartily greet you entering on another year. The word I give you for it is 'Ebenezer, hitherto hath the Lord helped us'. In order to know Him in this special grace, there must be -- first, separation from all that is false; secondly, dependence on Himself; and thirdly, contending earnestly, practically following up the rout of the enemy.

If you are not in absolute separation your heart is not prepared to serve the Lord only, and if you are not set on serving the Lord only, you will not have confidence in praying to Him. Samuel, in offering the burnt-offering, type of Christ's acceptance with God, is confirmed in his confidence, and the Lord heard him. He thunders, He routs the enemy, but you must follow it up; you must identify yourself with the Lord's battle; and thus there will be a notable, a never-to-be-forgotten, sense of His succour, for He will specially and manifestly appear on your behalf. Samson preceded Samuel. Samson had great strength and achieved great works; Samuel appeared to have no strength, prayer was his only resource, and he accomplished far more than Samson did, because he was cast wholly on the Lord.

May you enter on this new year in the most assured confidence in the Lord. You can say, "Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4), and as this is true, so will there be a "table" -- divine recompense for you in the very spot where you had suffered for the Lord; as Paul in the house of the jailor. The Lord bless you much, and make you a blessing. The more you are blessed the more I shall rejoice.

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I think it is very interesting to observe the way we are exercised under discipline of any kind. I am assured that our great lack is intimacy with the Lord. I am confounded when I read John 10:14, and see that I am brought into the same kind of intimacy as there is between the Father and the Son. If this intimacy were unbroken we could not doubt His love, and the more assured we are of His love, the more we confide in Him, if we believe that He is wisdom itself. If we confide or have confidingness in Him, we could not open our mind to Him and then accept counsel from any one else. He has our full mind and confidence, and we rest in His wisdom; we have committed ourselves to Him. You are always, so to speak, under the power of the one whom you fully confide in. This is true in a very special way with the Lord; He claims it, because of His great love and interest in you. No one can make the Lord his resource except as he knows Him as Solomon -- as wisdom.


Confidingness comes from nearness. I do not think that we know and confide in the Lord's love until we are near Him. I can only know love as I am near the one who loves me. I can know the greatest service at a distance, but I cannot understand love until I am near. It is in nearness that I discover the motive for the service. I may love for the service, as a babe loves its mother or nurse. Often an infant loves the nurse more than the mother, because of the service ministered to it; but afterwards the child learns the love that is in the mother's heart, as greater than any service she could render. Love serves while service is needed, but love is deepest when it can rejoice in the full satisfaction of its object. John knew doubtless that the love was there before he confided in it, but he

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learned to confide in it in nearness. Peter would have liked to be in John's place, but he had not the confidence in the love that John had. I may know that I am loved, but I only know the depth of the love when I am near, and as I know it, I confide in it.


In a day of knowledge without power, there is a danger of assuming to be where one is not really. With many, though there be the knowledge of truth, the first step is hardly entered on. It is done. David has the head of Goliath in his hand. Until that is apprehended, the second step cannot be known, and that is, the intimacy which subsists between my Saviour and me. This I illustrate by the link between Jonathan and David, and this blessed intimacy is set forth in John 10:14, 15. Everything else for me grows out of this intimacy -- not only the apprehension of all that He was on the earth, and how He can sympathise with me in my path here; but all that He is now, and that I am called into communion with Him there.

'And thus Thy deep perfections
Much better should I know,
And with adoring fervour
In this Thy nature grow.' (Hymn 51)

If we do not reach this intimacy, it is only His service for us, and not His interests, which occupies our hearts. All we look for is His succour in our trials here, as if we were not called to represent Him here on earth, as those united to Him in His exaltation.


It is very interesting to mark the invisible support we receive as we walk on with God, from another who is also walking with God. The judgment of a spiritual friend,

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even though unexpressed, has weight. I do not think we are sensible enough of the value and effect of moral influence, as I may term a body beaming and brilliant with moral light. Where there is a 'dark part' there is hindrance to the light shining out, and that dark part evidently is the thing most difficult in our nature to be suppressed, most impenetrable to the light. The light is acquired by beholding the Lord's glory, not by beholding the Lord simply, nor the glory simply, but by beholding the Lord's glory, because then I am gazing on the perfection of my acceptance, and then I grow. Growing is an exquisite time; the heart entranced with the perfection of divine beauty in which Christ is, and it is then the light permeates me; it is stopped by whatever is the greatest obstruction in me, and until I have been transformed there is a check to the bright shining. If there were no fear in any form, nor care in any form, supposing the heart thus relieved was enjoying Christ as its one treasure, the light would be burning. Fearlessness of man without the fear of God is simply recklessness; carelessness without faith in God is simply folly. Often the most naturally timid or the most anxious help us most, when their greatest stronghold has been captured, and is now under the sway of the light. The arsenal of the enemy has been turned into a tower of strength, just as Hebron, once the place of intimidation, became through faith the citadel, the centre of strength and support. Blessed be God (how amazing His grace!) He turns the dry land into water springs. He supplants the greatest defect by the greatest virtue. The thief is to become a giver. Peter the denier of his Lord is to strengthen his brethren, is to be the foremost in owning Him. How much more interesting a Christian's life is than we generally imagine; "Ye shine as lights in the world", and the light is all acquired from Him who is the one treasure of the heart. The more I enjoy Him, the more is my joy, for He is my joy, and the more I am in moral likeness to Him whom I enjoy.

May the Lord be increasingly more and more the joy of your heart, and as He is, the light is penetrating and taking possession of every part of your heart.

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This is a sifting time. The good grain is winnowed from the chaff by the sieve. The chaff has size but has not weight. The grain passes through the sieve, the chaff does not; it consorts with its own, as the grain does with its own sort: all solemn work.

I remark that there is a very marked difference between the student of the word, and the contemplater of Christ. The student of the word may be able to give you a text for everything; he is a good musician, he can play any piece. Now the contemplater of Christ may not always have a text at hand, but he has the manner and grace of Christ without being conscious of it; he is transformed. The student is enlightened; and in the darkness he seems to be much helped, and to help others; but though a good musician as I have said, he has not the ear that the contemplater has. Where the ear is good, the soul of music is there. Mary Magdalene was the contemplater and she surpassed Peter and John. I believe that often one gets more from praying, when near the Lord, than one is asking for. I mean that by being near, one acquires the "peace of God" though one has not asked for the peace of God. It is quite interesting to note the difference in every detail between the student and the contemplater. The one is rigid and correct, walking by line and rule, and often glad to be off parade, and able to relax. The other is transformed, and though he may not know the why or the wherefore, his taste is changed; he turns away from things which once attracted him, his ear is so sensitive that sounds which once amused him now grate on him, and even when the musician plays well he feels a lack. I do not think that the student, though he may be very sincere, has this delicacy of ear; he can notice an incorrect quotation. Of course the two should be combined, because it is as the Lord is in the vision of my soul that His word fully affects me; like the disciples going to Emmaus; they were not in the efficacy of the word until He was seen by them, and then, why and wherefore they could not tell, they go the same

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road as He went, and to the same place that He went to, though He did not tell them, and this I call communion. The student is thinking how he shall act. The contemplater is like the mariner at sea looking for the sun, looking for the Lord. When I see Him I shape my course with respect to Him, and then it is that I not only play, or act correctly, but the music or the act is only the echo of the divine note or thrill within.

May you be more and more the contemplater and thus your knowledge of the Lord will enable you to play skilfully of Him who dwells by faith in your heart. May thus the best of blessings abound to you.


To me the most significant mark of decline amongst us is the apparent inattention to communion. There is a certain measure of communion over a passage of scripture, but I do not consider that communion in the true sense. The word fellowship hardly conveys to me the meaning of communion, though there is only the one word in the original for both. Now what do you understand by communion? I consider that communion is to be in concert with the Lord in His present thoughts and interests. Peter had great affection for the Lord (in John 21) but he was not in communion with Him. Martha was not in communion; Mary sought it and found it.


... I quite echo your words -- 'How one's heart longs at times for more wholehearted devotedness'. I say to myself. What would produce a revival? What would you say? I find many godly, some devoted, but very few "virtuous". "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies" (Proverbs 31:10). Virtuous is having no heart for anything but Himself, what is of Himself. I enjoyed my

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retirement very much. I cannot tell you how death was rolled in on all that I hitherto was attracted to, and I had great enjoyment in my retreat. I never enjoyed contemplation more. I had no immediate claim on me, and when I was really riveted on the Lord's love and ways it was truly delightful, so real, so beautiful, so permanent.

I increasingly feel that the Lord would not have allowed us to be tested as we were by the -------- teaching if we had been holding the truth in integrity. No truth can be received in power without an excruciating effect. This saying attracted some of them in D--------. The new and eternal sensibly displaces the old and temporal. The more you are in Christ's life the less you are in natural life, though you have greater power in natural duties. I find everywhere that there is little interest about the church; where there is devotedness it is generally confined to the gospel. I think that there is a great lack in praying for servants individually. When I hear someone praying for the whole church I long to ask him -- 'Do you pray in particular for those known to yourself?' Surely if I do not pray for those whom I know I cannot truly pray for those I do not know. I feel differently to the person that I habitually pray for. I wonder what you would think of the little meetings in --------, I sometimes feel as if the testimony were dying out here. It cannot be maintained but in rigid separation from the world.

It quite cheered me your lamentation after more devotedness, because what I dread is activity without it. I believe the Lord in His love for my company in spirit and mind, would rather that I had one thought in concert with Himself, than if I had done every good work that was done in the town on that day. The Lord bless you much.


I am lecturing on the formation and calling of the bride. I began on the resurrection. Second, Christ formed in you. Third, "Part with Me". You cannot know Him as Priest except as you have part with Him. This is your

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side, and you cannot join Him in the assembly -- His side, except you have part with Him; and until this is known, you cannot apprehend His interests as they are to Himself; and if you do not understand them in some measure as they are to Him, you have not part with Him. I think He first draws you into company with Himself as to yourself -- sets you free from every pressure in His company; He liveth in you; and then He carries you on into the range and scope of His own interests, which you begin to learn in the assembly.

I find after all, that everything in your spiritual history depends on the gospel you have received. No one can know the liberty wherewith Christ hath made him free, who does not know first, that the blessed God has removed in the cross, to the fullest relief of His heart, and to His endless glory, all that man who was under His judgment, so that He can now receive the believer in the acceptance of the Beloved. As Christ is the glorified Man, your liberty is to be in moral keeping with this -- the greatest and unalterable acceptance. You know the first by faith, and you are in the second by the Spirit of God.


My text for you is, "But one thing is needful" (Luke 10:42). Very slowly we acknowledge this great fact. "But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her". The Lord was apparently the object of both sisters; Martha cared for Him with great assiduity and self-sacrifice, and yet Mary who sat at His feet and heard His word had chosen the good part. Very slowly it is that we learn to regard Mary's act as pre-eminently superior to Martha's. The excellence of Mary's lay in her preferring to ascertain the Lord's mind (to derive from Him) to ministering and giving to Him like Martha. It is a great blessing to see that the Lord prefers your patient desire to learn His mind to your zealous labour for Him. He prefers the servant who seeks communion with Him to the servant who without

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the communion devotedly works for Him. Communion is more to Him than any work. To be like Mary it is not enough to study the scriptures; you require to be so near Him that He may direct you to scripture and explain His mind to you by scripture. Though you may spend as much time in doing so as another would in working for Him, be assured that He will prefer you to be in concert with His mind. It is of course right to study scripture and to enjoy its unfoldings, but this may be mere knowledge, and will be misapplied if there be not concert with His mind. It is not what you can do, or how you can turn an opportunity to good account, but one thing absorbs your heart. There is often great interest in the scriptures without communion. In communion Christ is always paramount, and you will be more occupied with His pleasure than with the effect of His words on yourself.

May you be so His friend that He will tell you what He is doing (Proverbs 8. 14, 15). The Lord grant that you may begin this coming year in a renewed and special way set on communion with Him. I do not mean merely praying, but I mean in the transforming effect of His presence, so that you are controlled according to His pleasure.

And with adoring fervour,
In this Thy nature grow. (Hymn 51)


The text I give you is Hebrews 4:11. You will have to be diligent to enter into God's rest, lest you fall after the example of the Israelites, who hearkened not to the word. The word is -- "go up and possess the land". They heard the word but it "did not profit them not being mixed with faith". You have heard the word, that you are quickened with Christ, raised up, and made to sit in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. The word has been often 'preached' to you. Do you believe that it is a fact that in God's mind you have been elevated to this great height? It is true of you in God's grace but it is only true to you as you in

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faith apprehend what is God's mind for you. In faith you are assured of the fact, though you have not reached the fact, and by the Spirit you are in spirit there already. The Spirit of God is the power to carry you there, and as you are in faith as to God's purpose for you, He gives you already to taste of the joys which belong to the heavenly rest. The question is -- Have you faith in the word made known to you? Faith counts on the word of God outside and apart from everything here. When you are in faith you see nothing but God. The moment the heart is detained by anything here, faith is obstructed. The visible is antagonistic to the invisible. If you walk in the Spirit you will be sensible of this in a moment; the effects and influences of the visible are counter to the invisible. Eve had lost faith when she saw that the tree was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes. If she had kept the faith -- dependence on God -- she would not have looked, but she had parted with the faith which overcometh the world when she "saw". I see it in myself and in every one; the moment one gets occupied with the visible one has parted company from the invisible, and is apart from faith, whether in personal matters or in the assembly matters.

The Lord grant that your faith may grow this coming year. J.N.D. has said, 'To walk in faith you must be faithful', that is, you must walk with a good conscience.

May the word of God be daily more precious to you. Avoid all reading which would divert you from it, or the society of any who do not minister to you from it.


I agree with you 'that in the gospel we wait for heaven', but I am convinced that the slowness or delay in realising our union with Christ, is that the gospel, as of God, and from God, is not apprehended. You get heaven in the gospel. The blessed God has been so infinitely satisfied in the cross that all the distance on His side has gone; a Man has glorified Him, and that Man is in glory, and hence every one believing in Christ now, is accepted in the

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Beloved; his place is in glory, and the more he beholds the Lord's glory the more is he transformed into the same image. It is really his place. The Father according to His pleasure not only justifies the believer where once he was under judgment, but He compels him to come from the place of judgment and misery, unto His own place where neither sin nor misery has ever been.

You ask me about the sermon on the mount. I see no key to it but the nature of the new man. I do not think that it is the principles of the coming kingdom, I think the principles are those of the man of God. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48) is the highest standard.

I am much interested here, thank the Lord, and I am out every evening. You ask for my subjects. The gospel first, not only the service rendered by Him, but the second great step -- the knowledge of His love in doing the service; I consider that when this is known there is progress, and that there is no progress without it.


I was struck this morning with the sense that if I am in the place of Christ's rejection, as I am in heart loyal to Him, I am set to stand here for Him. Christ should be expressed by the church on the earth during His absence; and the more truly we are in the truth of the assembly, the house of God, the better qualified we are, because of the transforming effect of His presence, to represent Him. No reading nor praying could of itself effect this; nothing but the indescribable effect of His presence in glory, the antitype of the holiest of all. The greatest favour you can receive is to be shewn something more of the Father's things. The greatest mercy on the earth or from the earth can bear no comparison to the love of the Father, and if His love is not in you the love of the world -- visible things, will attract you.

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However exalted our standing is, and it could not be greater, I remark that the blessed God always deals with us according to our state. He looks upon the heart; he that asketh receiveth, he that seeketh findeth. He deals with us according to the way we deal with Him. He has satisfied His own heart in accepting us in the Beloved; we are always there in His eye, but as to our enjoyment of His wondrous grace, it is to him that hath shall more be given. It is striking the way the sentence -- Them that love him, occurs. I am persuaded that if there were more real prayer in private, God seeing in secret, there would be a large rewarding openly. It is not that there is not time spent avowedly in prayer, but I feel that one can repeat sentence after sentence and desire after desire, all right in themselves, without there being a sense in the soul that they are really spoken unto God and that He hears, that I have had, so to speak, an audience. A beggar gives me a great idea of prayer; he watches me to see the effect his appeal makes on me; he is not thinking of his words at all. "Watch and pray", that is, I watch what God will do.

I wish you had said a little on private prayer. Here I believe is the real defect. Every man was to build the wall opposite his own house. See Nehemiah. I do not believe that a man is fit to pray in the assembly until he has settled all his own affairs with the Lord. Nay more, I find that it is a great thing, however imperfectly I do it, to bring the interests of the Lord, and those used of Him in those interests, before Him, in the measure in which He has allowed me to be connected with them. I am assured that one is much helped by commanding personally to the Lord those whom we believe "have a good conscience, in all things desirous to walk rightly" (Hebrews 13:18).

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I think that there is often a measure of happiness derived from the reading of scripture which after all is not permanent. Often interesting communications gladden us, great and beautiful realities charm us, but this is not the renewal of the sense of His personal affection. Nothing really binds us to Him but the sense of His love which passeth knowledge, and it is thus only that we are filled unto the fulness of God. He is the fulness of God, and thus love is only known in conscious union with Him. It could not be known until then. Until Rebekah came to Isaac she could not know his love. One quarter of an hour sitting under His shadow with great delight effects more for the Christian than hours spent over the word. The word tells you what you are to get. It is Christ by the Spirit who gives us everything. The word addresses your conscience, then you pray, and then the Spirit works in you accordingly. Saints as a rule, know a great deal more of the Bible than they know of Christ. It is more the knowledge of the sayings of a Person than of the Person Himself, as one might read a biography. It is an immense difference when the Person is known; you value His sayings because Himself is everything to you. It is the Person that forms you and not His words, though the Person communicates His mind by His words.


I have been deeply interested in the resource there is in personal love to the Lord, when His death has removed everything between me and Him; my heart is welded to Him. If you could remove the air between two pieces of marble, you could not disunite them, so thoroughly would they be welded together. How blessed!

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I think I understand you as to the church apprehending the Lord's sense of its beauty to Him. You get the idea in the Canticles, "There is no spot in thee", as also, "I am my beloved's". The more I dwell on our relations to Christ, the more I am assured that there are three great stages in our history.

First, we love Him because of the service which He has rendered to us, as Jonathan loved David, and the mark of this stage is that we want to serve Him by giving.

The second is the love I have formed for Him personally, because I have found resource in His company. You could not love any one personally if you were not in that person's company, as Ruth to Naomi. Shewn in Canticles 3:4. Then it is not merely giving Him your property, but you give yourself to Him. You own you belong to Him. You follow Him.

Thirdly, you are united to Him. If you were not fit to be His companion, you could not be united to Him. This when known as a fact leads you (in the sense of an irrefragable bond) into concert with Him in all His interests, which you never can have until you are in the assured sense of being united to Him, and then you see you are far beyond espousal, if you understand me. The Lord lead You out boldly for Himself.


Entering on another year, I give you Canticles 2, part of verse 3: "I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste". The better you know that which is divinely good and beautiful, the better can you discern any departure from it. Every Christian has some standard by which he discerns good and evil. Many a one lives in a good conscience because he is up to his

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standard. The higher the standard, the better you can separate the precious from the vile. The high moral standard of the law, man's relation to God and to man, suits the natural mind, and commends it, for it enables it to estimate every one on that level. But when you become in any degree acquainted with Christ in the light in which He is, where your heart not only learns to confide in Him, but He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness, you will be so entranced with the interview and the society you have been in, that the legal standard will not at all suit you; you discern everything now by quite a new standard. You will feel more a stranger here than ever, more like the man who was blind (John 9), now in the solitude of light, but there Christ satisfied his heart. You must be, as I may say, at home with Christ before you will know what suits Him, but once you do know what suits Him, you will find that it is not the legal standard, that is, man or his ways which you are discerning (which is the forte of the natural mind according to its vigour); but that the one commanding thought and purpose of your heart by the Spirit is to find out what suits Christ. As you walk in the Spirit your heart will be cheered, and through Him you mortify the deeds of the body. He interposes as the natural mind is ready to express itself; He blocks it, and leads you into concert with Christ's mind. This is walking by the Spirit, and He is more ready to lead you than you are to be led by Him. Unless you grieve Him by preferring the flesh He will lead you, and then you will rejoice that you have escaped, and that you can resume your place under Christ's shadow with great delight, and thus you will have joy unspeakable and full of glory.

The Lord lead you to come from Himself, and as blessed by Him, to enter on this new year, and thus to be a real help and comfort to His own and to all around you.


I am more and more convinced each day that the check to our prosperity is that the Spirit's work in us is not

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conscientiously submitted to. Everything has been accomplished for us; every desire of God for us has been fulfilled; but the Spirit's work -- God's work now -- is to make true to us what is true for us. Many Christians are like houses in the course of construction, with a pile of bricks or stones lying quite contiguous to each building, but the building making very little progress. I adduce the pile of bricks or stones as illustration of a knowledge of the word. Much is known by each of us which has not been appropriated. It is comparatively easy and pleasant work to procure the bricks or stones -- I mean to read the word, and learn the unsearchable riches of Christ, and yet with this there may be very little of the old house pulled down, and therefore very little of the new one built up. God only can pull down the old one, and God only can build up the new. I believe that if we were conscientiously walking with the Spirit, we should know the brick or stone -- the special truth which He is adding, the one which we next require for His work, in us. Until the needed brick has been built in, that is until we are really edified, no more progress in the building will be made, however much of the word we may learn.

I suppose many when dying make very rapid progress, but then the opportunity for the deep enjoyment and privilege of being here for Christ is over.

I think we all have to take it to heart how very little the Lord Himself is the resource of our hearts. Many devoted Christians make service their resource. Some make the word their resource, but how rarely one meets any one who enjoys Christ Himself as his entire resource. The acquisition of knowledge of divine property has marked us; but while the Lord has thus favoured us with light how very little there is of that alteration as to tastes and ways which marks soul progress. There may be plenty of bricks and stones, plenty of knowledge, but no advance in the building. Soul-work is the mason at work, and here the lack is.

A person's private prayers would tell the real object before the soul. According to the intensity of desire, so is the prayer. What you desire most is sure to be paramount, it is sure to find some vent: therefore, "he that seeketh findeth" (Matthew 7:8).

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I did look forward to happy seasons with you here -- seasons when something would be gained for our acquaintance in the eternal future, but it has been ordered otherwise, and because of the Lord, it cannot be without blessing.

It is very touching how the Lord waits on the afflicted one, and as He is recognised, how the heart is drawn out to Him. To Jacob (Genesis 28), bereaved and torn from his mother's side for the first time, a lonely, houseless wanderer, with only a pillow of stone to rest on, instead of all the care that a devoted mother expended on him, the Lord appears in a vision, and introduces him to the house of God, the gate of heaven, and in company with the angels. Then Jacob's heart is drawn out to God: thus true instincts are awakened; there he vows to the Lord, but he undergoes many trials and sufferings before he fulfils the self-same vows. He never fulfilled them until he came to Bethel in chapter 35. He had allowed many things to come in -- family interests, and present advantages to interfere with his return to Bethel, where only he could fulfil and satisfy the divine desires that had been awakened in his soul. We are never thoroughly happy until we satisfy the divine desires that have been awakened in us. A bird never sings until it flies; its true instinct has not been fulfilled until it flies. To hop is not enough for a bird; in fact, it only hops to fly, and if a wing be wounded there is no singing -- no true joy until there is recovery; the true instinct has been interrupted. I believe saints have sadly hindered themselves by not seeking to satisfy or comply with their divine instincts.

These instincts would make us at times appear very eccentric, but the Lord would vindicate us in the way He would satisfy the desire which He had awakened. Zacchaeus may have looked ridiculous to man climbing up a tree; he was ruled by his divine desire, and rewarded far and away beyond his expectations. The woman in Luke 7 would brave the reproaches of the Pharisee, and intrude

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into his house to see the One her heart clave to, and surely she was abundantly rewarded. But, like Jacob we go through many a trial and sorrow in order that we may give up and surrender everything, and be free to go to the spot where the heart can enjoy the Lord of whom it has tasted; like Caleb getting possession of the very land where he had gathered grapes 45 years before!

The word to us, as it was to Jacob, is, "Go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother" (Genesis 35:1). That was about 40 years before. Let us gratify the divine instincts which the Lord has given us, cost what it may.

Truest love to you, and prayers for your progress and joy in Christ, and may you delight yourself in the Lord where your heart knows there is only true delight.


I had a very interesting subject last evening: my illustration, the standard rose tree, will explain it to you. The rose needs sun, and its own climate to promote its bloom; the stem, the briar, must be kept down by the knife. As I behold the glory of the Lord I am transformed, that is the effect of beholding Him; the rose prospers; occupation with Christ where He is produces this. Next, by the hand of God everything in me which would obstruct the flourishing of the rose is cut off. "We which live are alway delivered unto death" (2 Corinthians 4:11). I gain through the attractiveness of Christ, and God severs me from everything which would distract. The power of Christ attracts and transforms, the hand of God delivers to death that which would distract. I am disencumbered in the presence of Christ by the brightness and bliss of Himself and His things; but I am actually severed from them as I find I have much better with Him who is greater than Solomon. I see, and am transformed; I delight in it; and then God helps me by rolling in death on that which

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would divert me. I was speaking on the twofold action of attaching us to Christ on the one hand, and being detached by God's hand from 'the stone before the wheel' on the other; an exotic in a soil (an adverse nature in me) and in a climate (the whole world) both of which are absolutely and relentlessly adverse to it, and yet it is here that by the power of God it is to flourish.

I have been interested in seeing that through the death of Christ, we are cleared of everything between us and the Father's house; as we walk in faith we realise it, but then we have to die; we are circumcised; and thus in armour we face Satan, and we walk in constant dependence on God.


It is a very solemn question -- What am I living for? Every one has an object, let him conceal it as he may. The smallest acts of his life betray him; he may be on his guard as to his momentous acts, but when he is off his guard he betrays himself. It is a saying in the world -- a man's character is betrayed by his involuntary acts. So with the believer. If the smallest acts spring from devotedness to Christ there is no fear but that the great ones will.

The next thing the soul learns after salvation is the great fact that Christ is not here, that He has been rejected in this world where we live. When this comes home to you in divine power everything here assumes another aspect to you. The very beauties of the creation wrought by His hand afford you but a melancholy pleasure in the thought that He should have come to His own creation, and His people would not have Him. No one can be here rightly who does not live in the deepening sense, 'I am in the place where my Lord, my all, has been rejected and refused'.

The next question is -- What am I doing there? The true answer is that my heart is not here, my heart is in heaven, but I seek to be here for Him, who is all my delight, in this scene of His rejection where His "treasure" is, for His heart is here, though He has left the place; and therefore

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the chief and real interest of a heart true to Him is the only place He comes to, that is, the midst of His own, His assembly. Approbation of a true object is not enough; there must be untiring, absolute devotion to Christ.


I do not see that any one could learn his mission but in nearness to the Lord. I see that in John 20:21, the Lord sent His disciples, they were sent by Him. I read in Ephesians 4:7, that "unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ". I am assured that there is a special grace given to each (as each Christian is a member of Christ's body), but I find that very few Christians have learned from Christ what his or her mission definitely is. I think many a Christian's history confirms this opinion; 'a wasted life' is the true title of many a history.

It is plain enough that every Christian is called of God to something definite. The real difficulty is to ascertain the speciality, and this I do not think can be ascertained but in nearness to the Lord, and when you are interested in His interests. We first learn that He is interested in us, and then we gradually become interested in His interests. It is then you ascertain your mission.

I am glad that you are so interested in --------; the great thing to bring before him is Jesus on the cross, "the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18), there is life in a look, he that looked lived. Marvellous truth! Christ was here for the sinner, and the sinner having received His grace is now to be here for Him. Could there be a greater favour or a greater privilege? The great work of grace in us is to transform us. The idea in the world is to improve, to effect an improvement. It is reformation, but the work of grace is transformation. You are the same person, but you are completely altered by having a new object, as the queen of Sheba was by seeing Solomon's glory. It is a wonderful process. As the flower acquires its radiant colours from the sun, so may you be transformed by the glory of a greater than Solomon.

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In beholding the Lord's glory you are "transformed according to the same image", and you have the power in you which is to effect this transformation, for it is "even as by the Lord the Spirit;" so that you see the work of grace is not to reform but to transform you, and the more obstructive the natural character the more evident is the transformation. I hope I am not writing too much, but I desire greatly that you should apprehend what a Christian should be as "a body of light".

May the Lord bless you.


Thank the Lord, I am very happy and encouraged. I am assured that He has taught us the right way. I do not deny that we are very feeble in it, but I can say, "The Lord of hosts is with us" (Psalm 46:7), and that is everything. I have been much interested in seeing the marks of the Lord being with His people. I could hardly explain all to you now. The first

  1. is the actual fact of His presence.
  2. Such a respect for His presence that every association would be avoided unsuited to His presence; in a word, holiness in discipline.
  3. Personal separation from all engagements and occupations which would unfit us for His presence.
  4. His chief interest my chief interest. The church paramount.
  5. A sense of the ruin around, but in the spirit and fidelity of the remnant adhering to the fundamental principles. The beginning insisted on.
  6. Truth in all its branches, not limited and curtailed, but gradually expanding into their full dimensions.
  7. Service according to His pleasure.

I daresay this summary will interest you, though it is very crude and undeveloped.

You ask me to tell you the effects of the glory. You are transformed there. In Philippians 4:6, 7, you are transformed from depression of one kind or, another into the

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most inconceivably blessed state -- you have the peace of God that passeth all understanding. See Paul in 2 Corinthians 12, how transformed he was -- taking pleasure in infirmities which had so greatly distressed him, and for the removal of which he had prayed three times!


... It is a great thing to have the word laid up in our hearts, and so vividly there, that it can declare itself. Its voice is heard when a demand for its light occurs. It is a great thing (as Mr. D. used to say) 'to think in scripture'. To be so in the mind of the Lord as revealed in scripture, that you are ever looking at everything in the light in which the word sets it. How different every way of it is to man's judgment! The more you seek light from the word for everything, the more it will come to you. He that honoureth me, I will honour. The Lord Himself is now our Urim and Thummim. He could say, "I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation" (Psalm 119:99). The Lord has ever but one judgment, we must exclude our own, which is no easy matter, before we can know His. This is one of the great gains in drawing near to Him, for I must disappear then. The Lord bless you much, and keep the light of His word ever fresh in your heart....

The marks of His presence when practically known are:

  1. Holiness -- separation from everything dishonouring to Him, and a maintenance of all that is due to Him.
  2. Personal devotedness and surrender, in order to suit Him.
  3. His chief interest mine -- the church paramount.
  4. A sense of the ruin all around, and therefore the more fully cleaving to Him who faileth not. The remnant in principle.
  5. Truth in all its branches more and more unfolded and developed.
  6. Service according to His pleasure.

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... I am sure that I am in my right place and that is a comfort. Every one here is naturally running counter to God. Providence is God ordering for man doing his own will, but when I am led of the Lord, I am no longer doing my own will, but I am in concert with Him in the midst of the universal contrariety here. He supports me because I coincide with Him. How happy for each of us to move along this scene in concert with the Lord and serving Him. A saint who truly serves is like a hound; he comes from his home and rest, where he is fresh and happy, to enter on the chase; he enters the plain or the forest of this world to follow the game. I mean, it is not some pre-conceived service or routine; he goes forth ready to capture whatever may arise; he finds his pleasure in implicitly pursuing, as he is directed. He delights in the chase, but he delights in his master more, and he returns in the evening whatever has been the day's success, in the simple enjoyment of being beside his master. This is just an illustration of the way we should live to serve. If we are not fresh and happy in secret with the Lord, as the home of the heart, we are not fit for the chase. The first and the greatest thing is my own restful condition with the Lord. This is a happiness entirely independent of service. I may know my duty is to hunt, but I am perfectly happy in my home, the home of my heart -- happy there par excellence. I enjoy service, but service over is over, but the love and nearness to my Master is not over; that I return to as paramount when the hunting is over. I enjoy the hunting or service, but it is not my home nor is it the solace of my heart. No; I am ready to drop it all and retire to the rest of my heart near my Master, from which rest I started. My happiness is not that I have hunted well, served well, but that I have a Master who delights and satisfies my heart.

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I have been much interested seeing the difference between Christ's service for us and our service for Himself.

If I do not know the first, I cannot know the second. We are left here to serve Him, and each of us has been given a speciality, I am not to copy any one. If we were in communion, that is, near enough to Him to know what He is thinking of (wonderful thought!) no two would act alike, though quite in unison; we should not tread on one another's heels. It would be very blessed.

No one understands the mind of Christ until he is personally attached to Christ; then Christ's things are his interest. There is great gain when this is entered on.


Through mercy I have quite recovered here. We have a reading at the room three times in the week. The work of the Spirit in us, is our subject. Romans is the first step. As the French say, 'It is the first step that costs'. The real difficulty is the first step. You are justified, and you prefer Christ to Adam; you are in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Then you are ready for Hebrews, which is the second step -- to be in Christ's company. Who can tell all we gain there! We like the company of those who, like a second self, help and encourage us in our heart's best desires; how infinitely more do we gain in His company, from the lowest infirmity up to the brightest glory.

I hope dear -------- will be kept by the Lord for His own service. The idea in Christendom that the clergyman is the only one in sacred orders, misleads many. Every member is necessary. The whole body suffers when any one member is dislocated.

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I am greatly impressed that the test question for everything is, 'Is it for Christ or for Adam?' I believe it is the happiest day here when you so prefer Christ to Adam that you heartily acknowledge His absolute title to you. When Isaac is in his place, Ishmael will not be tolerated, he will be cast out. I believe it is a most joyous moment when Christ is acknowledged in His place, and though you may swerve from this through temptation, yet you will never have a good conscience unless you give Him His rightful place. I do not believe any one can progress until he prefers Christ to Adam. The thing coveted most by the eye of Adam is unattractive to Christ. His tastes are altogether outside of man's most refined tastes. Man has made Christianity a lever to elevate himself, and now that he has, by means of the Bible, reached an elevation hitherto unknown, he seeks to arrive at independence of God. The secret thought of the typical man of the day is, that there is a great destiny for man on the earth, and to this end he is working. Babylon will be the consummation, even that man, independent of God, can possess the earth in unbroken satisfaction. The only way we can meet this terrible inroad is by persevering fidelity to Christ, because the heart prefers Him to Adam.

The first step consequent on justification is, you prefer Christ to Adam; the next, you have His company. That is Hebrews. Then you get the assembly -- the only place where He is to be found on earth. All is easy to you when you take the first step.


(Hosea 2:14)

"Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for

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a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt". It is very interesting and encouraging to remember all the way the blessed God has led you; so that eventually you shall sing in all the fervour of first love. I have learned this practically. For many years I asked the Lord that I might serve Him, at length I was brought into the wilderness. The world is a wilderness to you when you enjoy Christ in glory. Sorrow and disappointment do not make the world a wilderness to you.

''Tis the treasure I've found in His love
That has made me a pilgrim below.' (Hymn 139)

When I know Him in the holiest, as my resource in the presence of God, I am as one out of my element in this world, it is a dry and barren land to me, where no water is, but He sustains me to do His pleasure here. I may add for your encouragement, that now, through the unaccountable goodness of God, I have more joy of heart than in my brightest day. The sense of His favour is better than life itself. Be assured that the highest and brightest desire of your heart will be more than fulfilled, but it will be in the wilderness that He will "speak comfortably" to you, and then He will be more to you than your heart could ever have desired.

May this greatest blessing be yours, so that you may enjoy His favour with unhindered delight.


I do not know of anything that you should surrender, but I feel that the danger is, lest, when one has surrendered much, there should be the feeling that there is no occasion for any more. I remember once saying to J.N.D., with reference to the Lord's words, "For their sakes I sanctify myself" (John 17:19) -- 'Then sanctification is immeasurable'.

'Yes,' he replied, 'immeasurable'. You will see my thoughts fully in the next 'Voice''.

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I have been dwelling very much on the way in which every one's course is affected by his goal or aim; I mean, what he is running on to. In fact, you can tell any one's goal by his course. You cannot rise higher than your goal. I do not mean heaven at the end, but the daily ultimatum of your heart. Nothing is a goal that I do not see. I quite agree with you that it is life and its peculiar enjoyments which we so require to know more of. I believe many a one is hammering away at the old man and the flesh, who is not advancing one bit in spiritual life. It is like the Romish confessional, after every confession you can begin a new score! You may batter the old man to dust and then indulge him a bit! But when it is life and the joys of God that you are absorbed with, you may be sure that the old or the first man, who was shut out when you were in the joys of the life of Christ in His sphere, is not speedily relished when you return to man's sphere. There is nothing I long for more than to be more habitually 'beside' myself, 'no spirit left' in one through beholding His glory. Oh, it sets one so loose to everything here, for what entrances one is apart from everything here.

I have a subject much on my mind -- the difference between man's mind and Christ's mind. Man's mind, however beautiful, never rises higher than man. Christ's mind always thinks first of God. It is the lack of this which creates all our difficulty in judging of things. Man can have beautiful conceptions and sensibility, but it does not rise above man. The mind of Christ always begins with God, and this is "wisdom". "She openeth her mouth with wisdom". When one hears any one's speech, one ought to be able to tell whether he speaks from man's intellect or from Christ's mind, which has been given to us. As the apostle says -- "But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16).

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May you enter on this year with confidence of heart in the Lord. The children of Israel gathered the manna, and went on gathering until the sun melted it. I mean by this that you are to wait upon the Lord until you have received confidence in His sufficiency for all that may be before you in this coming year. I desire that you should not anticipate anything. It is often easier to bear up under great trials than under small, unexpected ones. The true way is to walk each day in faith. I know nothing of what is before me, but I know that the Lord is before me. This is the way to begin. This is the only way to be supported and kept. But being supported (for support refers to pressure and demand on you), there is still another blessing, and as I call the first confidence, I call the second confidingness. That is, that you open out your heart fully to the Lord, as the queen of Sheba did to Solomon. This will have a marvellous effect on you. It will not only impart great restfulness to you, but there will be a simplicity and genuineness about you because you have no idol, no reserve; you have opened out everything to the Lord, and you are resting in His wisdom as to everything; and at the same time, if you have truly confided in Him, you will be so entranced with Him in His own interests that there will be "no more spirit" in you. You will be (if only for a moment) led into such true deep joy apart from all self-consideration, that you will long for a renewal from it, convinced that there is a happiness where there is no self-consciousness nor thought of self-interest, and this will in a very marked way wean you from all of yourself, even what is gain to you, for Christ.

May you thus enter on this coming year to the Lord's pleasure and your own deep joy.

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May the great thing before your heart be that you are here for Christ. The more fixedly this is before you, the brighter and the happier you will be. No one can be here for the Lord until he knows the blessing that the Lord has accomplished for him. I do not mean that the assurance of salvation is known, but that through Christ's death you are not only cleared in God's sight of all that was under the judgment of God, but that you know that you have died with Christ, and thus are at the other side of death, and the man on whom death lay. Knowing this consciously you begin your new history here; you are the Lord's, your body is His, and as you are near Him, and led by His Spirit, you do not consult your own will or the mind of the flesh, but you consult Him, whose you are; and you are glad to do so, just because it is righteously His due. Secondly, you like to do the will of Him who has so loved you, and does so love you, and as you love Him you keep His commandments; that is, you do His will, and not your own, and thus you are always pleasing Him. May you so love Him that His will may be the control most pleasing to your heart. May He thus bless you much. He has been very gracious to you these many years, and, blessed be His name! He loves to the end.


When the Lord led His disciples into the "desert" (Matthew 14:13 - 32), they little expected the great things they would learn there. He feeds the poor of the flock with more than enough, from apparently insufficient means. This He can do for you now; and in addition to this, He takes His place in supremacy. When here He was superior

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in the storm; now He is supreme; and the heart that is set on Him leaves all human support to reach Him by His own power. There cannot be communion or company with Him now but at the other side where man is not; that is outside oneself, and all here. The judgment of God is on man. It has been removed for the believer in the death of Christ. You cannot reach Him in that condition on account of which He died (the flesh). It must disappear, as removed judicially, and it is removed in Christ's death. Hence it is at the other side of His death, and in His resurrection, that we are justified; and it is as we are dead with Him that we are where He is. We must cross the Jordan to eat of the corn of the land.


NO. 1

Without question, to depart to be with Christ is "far better". But to my mind it is a great triumph to His grace that He can make the greatest bereavement and loss to us naturally, of unspeakable gain to us, endearing Himself to us in a very special way, as He becomes the One to fill up, in His own blessed way, the blank which death had made. Mary of Bethany, if she mourned the loss of a brother (her only support here), learned when Jesus walked with her, that she had in Him One beyond a brother; for the Lord never hinted that He would raise up Lazarus. But when He had filled the blank in her heart with Himself, He gave back Lazarus to her, and so great was His place in her heart that in the next chapter, when she knew that He was about to die, she buried with Him the most costly property she possessed, and the thing that would have most contributed to her own distinction. I never saw any one severed from this scene by sorrow of itself. I see that when the heart, bowed with sorrow, finds compensation and solace in Him, it is weaned from the

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place where the sorrow is, and drawn away to Him where He is. Then I see that out of the eater comes forth meat, and out of the strong sweetness.

NO. 2

The darkness of sorrow is deep indeed, but I pray that the deepest joy may be known to you with Christ Himself. The deepest sorrow here, but the deepest joy with Him in company with Himself.... Surely when we are in spirit apart from this place, and with Christ at the other side of death, we taste of a joy and a solace which bears us above the deepest anguish here.... There is a blessed solace for the heart in sorrow when you are drawn to His side. Many who enjoy Christ's work as the Saviour do not really know Him as Priest. As Saviour He came down to us, but He who was down here, and died for us, is a great Priest for us in heaven itself, ever to maintain us in His own acceptance there.

... I quite sympathise with you as to --------. I believe that is the right feeling, a sense of desolation here, but I am comforted and greatly compensated for my loss as I am drawn to the Lord Himself at the other side of the waters of death. The people of this world boast of their heroism, etc., but the Lord wept with Mary! He groaned in spirit, and was troubled. The Lord was tenderness itself, He could say to His disciples, and He felt it -- Ye will leave me alone and yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. You may be full of feeling, but borne above it by the greatness and blessedness of His own company. May you know more of this. Through Him we have access by one Spirit unto the Father; you come near in Christ's blessedness. It is truly wonderful! Nothing mellows any one so much as sorrow does, when the heart has found sympathy in it from the Lord.

NO. 3

Your chief friend is the one who is found near you in sorrow. Any one can share in your joy, but there is really only One who can enter into the nature of your sorrow,

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and He, blessed be His name, is very near you in your sorrow. He proves to us that it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting. However prepared you may have been for the present blank, yet it is a blank, his place shall know him no more.

The silence of death is a terrible reality, though, through divine grace, you can anticipate the great day when we shall all surround our Lord, and be with Him for ever. I believe that the removal of a beloved one, especially a parent or a husband from the family circle, is a dispensation (though very sorrowful) fraught with much spiritual gain. The reality of death is first before the heart; then the reality of the Lord's sympathy, the only true reparation of the great blank; and finally, the question is how the bereaved ones will address themselves to the new and untrodden path that remains for them. It is in the latter that I see almost every one fail, and I conclude that it is because the Lord has not been known as having by His own company more than made up for the blank. The worldly claim consideration from others as a palliation for their grief. They proclaim their sorrow in every ostensible way; and Christians even often feed their sorrow instead of being relieved of it in the most touching way by Him who can more than make up to us for any loss entailed on us by man's sin.

May each of you, according to the measure of your sorrow, be consoled by the Lord Himself, and thus out of the eater shall come forth meat.

NO. 4

Your note greatly comforted me. Sorrow -- real sorrow -- masters us more (possibly) than anything. Illness you may survive, there is hope. Reverse of circumstances can be improved, but the sorrow because of bereavement tests one's resources in the Lord more than anything, especially as it is justifiable. Nothing commands so much respect as real sorrow. We read, "I have not eaten thereof in my mourning" (Deuteronomy 26:14). It is not intended that we should not feel death, and the nearer it comes to us the greater the

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wrench. I believe, like the standard rose tree, the more the rose flourishes the more the briar -- the stem, must be checked. In fact, the rose does not flourish if the briar is allowed to grow. The sun (Christ) for the rose, but the knife (God's discipline) for the briar. What blessed gain to find everything in heaven, and nothing at all here.

May the Lord comfort you fully, and make you a comfort to others. The dearest human heart which we could ever have, has died for us; and He now lives for us and sympathises with us.

I hope -------- is rejoicing under the shelter of a wing that will never fail in the coldest and roughest day.

NO. 5

It is ---- years this month since the Lord called away our son --------, then 18 years of age, to Himself. It seemed almost unaccountable to me that He should have deprived me of him when he was so thoroughly devoted to Him, and therefore could have been such a help and comfort to me. It is very easy to me to weep with you -- the sorrowing parents of your beloved child. I never realised the exit of a saint until I saw our dear -------- pass away. It then made a very decided mark on me. Stephen looking up stedfastly into heaven came before me in quite a new way. And, thank the Lord, it grows upon me: the distance seems shorter. The Spirit leads up to the brightest spot, and God allows the wave of death to overtake us here so that we may be partakers of His holiness. We could not do the one nor the other. It is all His doing. Surely, from the bottom of my heart, I desire and pray that this immeasurable sorrow may be only the night before your brightest day. The Lord comfort you both in His own most blessed way.

NO. 6

The Lord came to Bethany where the sisters were in the depth of their sorrow. That was the time for Him. They had the one and the self-same sorrow; death had taken away the stay and comfort of their hearts. He came to

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console them, but though they had the same bereavement they did not find in Him similar consolation. That is, He comforted Mary more than Martha. Martha in the house of mourning was like a dark, cold cellar, where there was no crevice for the light and heat of the sun; while Mary had every window open in the largest room of her heart to receive every ray of comfort, in such fulness shining on her.

Blessed Lord! He waited till things were at their worst. Elijah knew His mind in another day, he stayed in the widow's house until the death of her son. If the Lord had not waited until the worst had come, His ability to relieve from the worst would not have been known. He comes to you now, dear Mrs. --------, in this moment, to make you know that He can comfort you in this, the saddest and darkest hour; but you must be a Mary and not a Martha, you must receive the rays of His comfort; you must not dwell on your sorrow, and loss, and bereavement, you must simply turn to Him to make up the blank. Look to Him, as one would open a dark, cold room to the noonday sun, and surely if you do, you will receive a comfort from Him that will more than compensate you for your great loss and sorrow. May you and your dear daughters prove it to be as I say, is my heartfelt prayer.

NO. 7

There is no sorrow so great as the sorrow because of death, and this the more so as the one removed is near and dear to you. The loved one is gone -- the blank never to be filled up. There is a desolation about death that no one can understand who has not been in it. But your desolation is the Lord's opportunity of making known to you the deep interest He takes in you, not merely in your bright hours, but in the moment when you are well-nigh crushed with sorrow. It imparts the deepest sense of His interest that He should draw near to me when absorbed with my own sorrow, to so console me with Himself that He becomes more to me than my sorrow. This His sympathy effects. It is an effect never to be forgotten, or rather the

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impression He will give you of His love will never be forgotten, so that your deep affliction through His grace will be turned into the deepest blessing, the "dry ground into watersprings" (Psalm 107:35), "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (Isaiah 61:3). May thus great blessing accrue to you from this deep sorrow! May the Lord be more and more endeared to you, as He was to Mary of Bethany.


There are sorrows that the heart thinks that it only knows; and this is true, speaking naturally, and yet there is One who knows well the deepest, and far more than the deepest sorrow ever in our hearts. Sorrow is to me not only the deepest feeling known to the heart, but it is, I might say, the sublimest, because entirely one's own. No one else can have the same. How aptly it suits one in sorrow to "sit alone". How truly the heart can say, 'My sorrow lies too deep for human sympathy', and yet, as I have said, when the Lord joins you in this great solitude you will find in Him, as Mary did, that not only He knows your sorrow, but that His sorrow was deeper, beyond any comparison. This is hardly the time for you to get a clue to the meaning of the hurricane which seems to have spared nothing. In our moral world there is a needs-be for these violent gales. They may often precede greater mercies. It is only for you and for me to accept them, and be as assured of His love in the storm as in the mercy.


NO. 1

I was glad to get your letter before I left -------- telling me of your sorrow, not that I was glad of your sorrow, I need not say, but that you counted on my sympathy in

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your sorrow. It is far easier to tell of our joys than of our sorrows. The former elates you, the latter in a way diminishes you. "I was brought low, and he helped me" (Psalm 116:6). There is peculiar solace in confiding our sorrows to the Lord. We can do it to Him in a way and in a fulness that we cannot to any one else. A touching line in a hymn may have occurred to you, 'My sorrow lies too deep for human sympathy'. The one who has passed through the most sorrow is the one who feels every fresh sorrow the most....

... I preached to a very interesting company last evening. I was seeking to set forth that not only is all the misery and judgment on the sinner removed to God's glory, but God's love is satisfied in the nearness in which He sets us.

NO. 2

It is a relief to me that your present sorrow, though so near you, is not in your own immediate circle. It is not only that we suffer most where we feel most, but where there is most natural vitality there the death must come. I believe that in the end there is less suffering in surrendering than in losing by death. I am sure that if each sorrow here drove us to Christ for solace, and if His hand had drawn us from the sorrow, and this place -- the scene of it, to Himself where there is none, we should be gaining much. May this be your gain, thus out of the eater comes forth meat.


If when we are under pressure here we had any sense of being so near to the Lord that He absorbs us, how blessedly we should gain from the pressure. It is incomparable the sense that His presence not only relieves us from our pressure, but that near Him we become more attached to Him. They say love possesses its object, and surely there is great satisfaction of heart in loving one whose love so exceeds ours.

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It is, I am sure, very trying about --------, but you would not like the words said to Ephraim to be applied to you, "Let him alone". It is the continued and varied pressure which tests. "Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience" (James 1:2, 3). Generally, we are looking for relief, and not so much for endurance which is the result of the trying of your faith. To live ever in dependence on God is the great lesson here. This was the manner of our Lord's life here. "Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 8:3). It is a great thing to learn faith: that is, simple dependence on God. The more natural resources you have, the more difficult it is to be wholly dependent on God. Still it will comfort you much to be assured that the Lord is teaching you dependence on Himself, and it is very remarkable that faith is necessary in everything. "The just shall live by faith", not only in your circumstances, but in everything. I believe the Lord allows many things to happen on purpose to make us feel our need of Him. The more you find Him in your sorrows or wants the more you will be attached to Him and drawn away from this place where the sorrows are, to Him in the place where He is. The Lord comfort you, and give you to know His sympathy all the way down from heaven, so that your heart may be drawn up to Him by the very support which He vouchsafes to you.


The account of your sufferings has affected me much. I can only ask that you may be so near the Lord that you may taste of the great reality that He is outside of all the sorrows here, though, He was in them all, and can sympathise with you in all yours. He can bear you company in them, but He can do more: He can conduct you

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to His own side of things, where there is fulness of joy. The former is what your or my need requires where Christ was, the other is where Christ is, and as He is your life, this is more naturally+ or truly yours than the former, for the former will pass away, the latter remains for ever. We so often limit Him to our own side. Doubtless He allows us in illness to be where there is no footing, in order that we may reach Him and know Him as Peter did when he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

The difference is very marked when we are convalescent. If you have only learned the Lord at your own side, the tendency is to be occupied with yourself, or to seek to be an object of consideration, whereas if you have been led to His side, His interest and concerns will singularly occupy you.

The Lord bless you, and raise you up to be more and more for Him.


Surely the blessed Lord has kept noted down the many kind attentions which now for many years have cheered me with the love of Christ through you, and hence I should go even far out of my way to see you in your failing health. I have been struck lately with the distinctness in which the "inner man" comes out in the sickness or suffering of the "outer man". In health or prosperity this distinctness is not so clearly apprehended. In a way they seem one, but when sickness or affliction comes, then the new being becomes distinctly known, that it has nothing to do with the sickness or the affliction, though the body in which it is, suffers. On the contrary, if the link with Christ be simply maintained, it has a clearer and a fuller sense of how entirely free it is in its nature and life from the sufferings of the outer man, and of how it is really independent of the things which are so essential

+I mean by 'naturally' that where my life is that is the most natural place for me.

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and necessary to the outer man; and this is very helpful, because it imparts a strength and personality to the inner man, which enables the sufferer not only to bear his sufferings better, but even if his sufferings were removed to give a prominence to the inner man -- this new individuality, which he had not done before, nor was he so conscious of its great existence. Thus sickness and affliction in the Lord's discipline help to remove that which interferes with our spiritual growth; for as the outer man perisheth the inner man is renewed day by day. Hence we often find that the greatest sufferers have the most joy in the Lord, and, as dissolution approaches, a more decided sense and ability to dispense with that which is perishing, and thus an "abundant entrance" is ministered. How blessed to feel in oneself such positive link in life and nature to Christ, that to pass away from all here would only consummate that which is the source of real enjoyment here in the midst of suffering; and that the blessed Lord who is ministering help to us in our infirmities here, down from the highest heaven, is the One we shall be with for ever when there is no more need of this help. What a peculiar sense of rest and enjoyment it gives one to taste even a little of the happiness of being with Him, for then He sees of the travail of His soul and is satisfied. All enjoyment without a consciousness of His joy would be feeble and flickering, but when we can connect our joy with His, and as the fruit of His, as the moon borrows its light from the sun, we can always turn to His to brighten our own.

May He be so fully and vividly before your soul that your heart may make its boast in Him all the day long.


Though my sympathies are all active in concern for you, I am cheered in the assurance that you are an object of the deepest interest to our blessed Lord at this time. I feel that the Lord is leading you in a path now where no one can be any comfort to you but Himself. He is as it

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were insulating you to Himself. It is a most blessed experience when one is sensibly where there is nothing, nor no one but Himself, and that you lack nothing there. One comes out from such an experience in a way surprised that old and approved interests here are not now indispensable to me though they are better answered to. I believe after the experience I speak of you will feel that there is little here to interest you where there was once so much; but you will be so entranced with His delights that you will be ever rejoicing that they are through grace your own, and that you can always return to them while you discharge every duty and fill every relationship here in a finer way and after a divine fashion. There is a leading desire in the heart of our Lord for each of us, even that we may have part with Him -- be with Him in the new place where He is now. As we advance "we who live are alway delivered unto death"; we find more of death here as we find and enter on more of life with Him; we are saved by His life. This is a Mount Moriah to you both, and the great value of it to you is that you are accumulating in your heart confidence in God.


Is it not striking how the Lord leads one through death, in spirit, as Abraham, in offering up Isaac, and Jacob in the supposed death of Joseph, and yet the reality of it did not occur in either case? To enter into and accept the loss of what is most precious to one, and then be left here with the feeling 'I can do without it, because of what Christ is to me' is very blessed. I could not have learned the worth of Christ to me, and how He can fill the heart without the loss of the natural, but often in His mercy, when I have thus learned the value of Himself, the other is restored to me.

Oh, how little one is prepared for the tunnel! It is remarkable the way the Lord disciplines each, as a rule (when it is for deepening), after one has accepted the truth, which, if lived in, would enable one to be superior to the

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suffering, and thus prove the value of the truth. I remark that every saint is passed practically into the tunnel as soon as his heart is set on following the Lord, on being for Him here, during His rejection, a thought very little in the mind of His people as a ruling one. To do good and to be safe comprise all Christianity, even in the minds of many of the enlightened. To be like Christ here, which is John 17, is not considered as great as serving Him. John 15 is service, but it is His interests, not man's primarily, though man be the gainer, or the subject of it.

What a blessed testimony is ours, to 'live Christ'. Does not the heart delight in loving the One who has so loved us.

How various are the ways by which each one is taught death. Abraham learns it in surrendering his son, Jacob in losing his son, supposing him to be slain by wild beasts, after he had lost Rachel by death.


The Lord is "touched with the feeling (or sympathises with) our infirmities". Will is sin. Infirmity is not a sin, though it might lead to one -- as Sarah, when from fear she told a lie! Fear is not a sin in itself. I may be a timid nature. The Lord had more sensibility than any man but He never gave way to it unduly. He could say 'the floods of ungodliness made me afraid'. If I am weak or in pain He feels with me as to the suffering, but the gain to me is that I know how He feels for me, apart from my will, and how His grace would lead me to feel in the suffering. If He did not feel with me He could not help me; He does feel with me, but He meets it divinely; I meet it, as a rule, selfishly. He could say under great trial, "I thank thee, O Father" (Matthew 11:25). He says to me as it were, I feel it as much as you do, or a great deal more. When He was here He felt things far more deeply than the disciples did. He felt the storm, and the indifference of the Pharisee. He knows and understands my feelings, and when I am conscious of this I am not swayed by them. I can go through the

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sorrow divinely however weighed down by it, God is more before me than my feelings. I do not deprive Him of His due, "the tithes", in my sorrow. My very suffering, which the Lord enters into, leads me, when enjoying His sympathy to learn His way in them, and thus I have advanced in the knowledge of Himself in the trial. When I am relieved of the trial I may rejoice, but the sympathy which I have known in it increases and enhances my knowledge of Him.

There is one thing which one learns in constant company with the Lord that could not be learned any other way and that is sensibility. I see how He feels every incongruity, but I see how He treats it, not as it affects Himself, but as it affects God. This is the way Paul learned to treat the "thorn"; your trial is I doubt not of this order; you may be sure the more you feel it the more there is grace for you to bear it. Feeling is nothing without the grace. Feeling in our Lord drew out the grace that was in Him because there was nothing but good in Him. In me the feeling tends to draw out temper, etc., but when I have His sympathy I am sure to have His divine way of answering to the feeling.


How slowly one learns that His sympathy is not expressed in removing the affliction but in raising one above it to Himself, so that He becomes so endeared to the heart that He is more an object to the heart than oneself.


I am very thankful to hear that you are more relieved of the pressure of illness, and I trust that the relief has come after you had learned support under the pressure. Martha was relieved but not supported -- she did not find sympathy. I have been much interested in studying intimacy with Christ. He is known to us first as to our side of things; I think as we know Him sympathising with us we are not only supported, but we are in heart

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drawn away from things here to Himself; and as we enter upon His things, beginning with the holiest of all, we have "part" with Him. The translators of the New Testament did not understand John 10:14, 15; there should be no dividing of the verses; the correct translation is -- "... and I know those that are mine, and am known of those that are mine, as the Father knows me and I know the Father". The same kind of intimacy; How very blessed! May we know more of it.


Patience or endurance is a wonderful quality. I am convinced that the sense of the Lord's support under a pressure, not only attaches us to Him in a peculiar way, but nothing so weans us from this place. Relief makes this place more agreeable, but support detaches us from everything here, because we are supported by One who is not here, and He is increasingly endeared to us.


Hearing of the anxiety you have been passing through on account of the illness of your children, I must write you a little word of sympathy. The Lord not only knows our sorrows but He makes us know that He is, as it were, more interested in us than ever; just as the illness of your child makes you feel a deeper interest in that child. Your love and interest are not really greater, but the suffering of the child draws out your heart in a very special way to the child. Thus our Lord's heart has been drawn out the more to you. I remember one of my own children was almost pleased to be hurt because of the attention and interest awakened in our hearts for it. We do not always realise that our Lord's love (it passeth knowledge) is as great and as deep when we have no need, though it be better known to us when we are in some need, and more looked for. Doubtless for this reason He allows us to be in straits, that we may seek Him, and find Him in some new and fuller way. Exercise therefore yields blessing.

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It is not that I know the reason why I am afflicted but that in the affliction my heart seeks rest and relief from Him.


There is no subject of the same personal interest to us after our salvation as the discipline of the Lord. As well as I remember, the word translated "chastening" in the Old Testament is about forty times translated "correction", and this gives a better idea of the Lord's mind than chastening. There are two kinds of discipline: one to correct you, and the other to help you. I see that the good effect of discipline is to cast you on the Lord, not so much to find out the cause of it, as to draw you to Himself. It is then and there you are severed from the idol which was a mote in your eye. I think it is possible to see, though not near the Lord, the cause for a particular discipline, and others are very ready to see the cause for it. But there is one thing that you can never learn unless you are quite near the Lord, and that is, the way to get out of the wrong path, and to find the right one. If Lot had been near the Lord he would have found the right path; he adopted one of his own choosing. Jacob (Genesis 35) is told by the Lord to go up to Bethel; that was the right path. After a lapse of twenty years, he returns to it. The point of departure is the point of restoration, and, to me, that is the one thing essential. This Peter learns in John 21. In the discipline to help you, you will be continually touched by the minuteness of His interest in you. You are made low by some grief to prepare you for a season of blessing. G. V. W. used to say that if we are not brought low before we receive some new blessing, we shall be immediately afterwards. In principle no flesh can glory in His presence.

I believe Christians lose much because they are not in full confidence of heart with the Lord. If the hairs of my head are numbered by Him, why should I shrink from making known to Him all my requests? I surely should not, if I believed that He cares more for me than any one

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else in the world cares for me. May you more and more enjoy the blessed reality of sitting under His shadow with great delight. Prefer His company to any and every one's. Accustom yourself to seclusion with Him, and the more you do, the more you will cultivate it.


... Last week -------- gave a tea, and saints from -------- were invited. I spoke afterwards on growth and discipline. By the Holy Ghost you are assimilated to Christ, and at the same time God's hand in discipline removes the obstruction in you to the leading of the Spirit. The Spirit does not lead but in conjunction with the conscience: you never advance without a good conscience. As my conscience is enlightened I am cast upon God, and as I am, the Spirit leads me in correspondence with the light; and concurrently with this, the stone before the wheel, or the obstruction in my flesh, is removed by discipline. "We who live are alway delivered unto death". This is discipline to help, there is also discipline to correct. Jacob at Shalem suffers from the latter; at Bethel, from the former.

Do you see the difference between crossing the Jordan and circumcision which followed? I do not believe that we can see anything in doctrine or in practice aright, unless we are clear, through the Spirit, of the man of the earth; that is circumcision.


It is right to be exercised by discipline, but you should not be depressed. We are inclined to be buoyant when everything is naturally pleasing to us, though that is the very time that we require a check, and in the trial we often say, "Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest" (Psalm 55:6). If your physician were

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to tell you that a certain course of discipline was necessary for your health, you, as you were wise, would patiently endure it. This, to my mind, is the good of exercise. You are neither to despise the discipline nor faint under it. You are so largely favoured in your family circle, that I am not surprised that you should be constantly reminded by the illness of your family that this earth is the wilderness. The wilderness is the place, as with Israel, where there was nothing to be had, all must come from God.

The effect of exercise is that you become assured that the discipline is for your blessing. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8. 32). There are two kinds of discipline, one to correct you -- the other to help you. Jacob learns the first at Shalem, Genesis 34, and at Bethel he learns the second -- his mother's nurse dies, he was not ready for this excision until he was near God; "we who live are alway delivered unto death". It is a bad sign when you are overlooked. "Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone" (Hosea 4:17). The simple fact that God, who is your Father, is greatly interested in your welfare, and that you are a special object of His attention, will greatly comfort you when you are near Him; and besides this, the word of the Lord will be fitly spoken to you, so that you will be gaining in a two-fold way -- by discipline, and by the ministry of the word. Hence, the more you are exercised, the more will you see that the discipline which the Father sees necessary for you, prepares you, so to speak, for the ministry of the word -- the Lord's nourishing and cherishing.

May you be much cheered because of His constant interest in you. May you thus be greatly blessed.


I am thankful that you are better. The Lord seems to be much interested in you, for His discipline is so constant. We are subjected to a twofold discipline; one, to correct

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us, as with Jacob at Shalem; the other, to help us, as with Jacob at Bethel. The latter is, "we who live are alway delivered unto death". I see that in personal pressure from bad health or from sorrow we can look for His support, that is, He draws you to Himself in making known His sympathy, so that, though the suffering continues, you are borne above it with Himself. I think some mistake patience or bearing it well for this support. The latter is a very peculiar ministry. Patience has to do with the race and with difficulties. Support with infirmities. In difficulties I endure; in infirmities, personal sufferings, I seek His support -- and this is a ministry never to be forgotten! See Mary in John 11.


You are indeed subjected to divers trials. I hope you are learning to count it all joy when you are thus tried. I do not think that any one can tell us the intention of the Lord in the discipline we are subjected to. It is only when near to Himself that we can understand the nature of His loving interest in us. Hence, though often we cannot tell the cause for a particular trial, yet as we are exercised about it with Him, we get the end intended for us by it. It yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby.

I think we sometimes have the idea that if we were going on rightly things would be smoother here for us. This is not the case so as far as I see. There is a discipline to correct us and a discipline to help us. If you are in a wrong path, as you seek the Lord, you will be corrected, but on the other hand, the more you are set for Him here, the more you find that there is nothing for you here, though at the same time you are daily finding more in Him. "We who live are alway delivered unto death". The more you enjoy the Lord who has been refused here, the more you are practically severed from all here.

It is most interesting to be truly in concert with the Lord as to all His ways with you; and as you are, you are

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sure to become so restful about yourself, that His interests more and more command your attention. You cannot know His joy but as you are in communion with Him. You thus have come to His side where is unsullied light, and you are more assured than ever of your place with Him, though you are not seeking this, but seeking to be in concert with Himself. The Lord bless you much.

I find that the lack in many souls is liberty -- "the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free". There can be no progress until this is known and maintained.


I see many nowadays who are not entering the harbour fully freighted, and all because they are not walking in spiritual activities while in this death-period, for the ruling passion is strong in death. If you have not died with Christ, death is before you, and the greatest death must necessarily be where you most like to live, and there the ruling passion is. No one has really died with Christ where the ruling passion is fostered, because it is there that death must begin, for there the tenacity of life is greatest. Whatever of yourself you try most to spare, that is the stronghold of your natural will, and hence you will find in all God's ways with you that He cuts at the root of that particular taste or prepossession, and you can say, 'What I feared greatly has come upon me'. One is mortified, disappointed, or bereaved. Why? Because the working of the natural will was most active in the quarter in which it was checked, and there death is most felt. It is often admitted as a doctrine that we have died with Christ by those who are not at all willing to be so dead as to be only a vessel for Christ's use -- to accept death to everything of the natural will. This is bearing about in our body the dying of Jesus. If any one studies and reviews the history and manner of God's ways with him from the first, he will see that God has always been subjecting him to checks. Blisters rise most where they

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are most needed, and the blister is to draw the inflammation to the surface. What a life of disappointment Jacob had! But at last he worships God, leaning on the top of his staff, loosened in heart from all here, and thus he had an abundant entrance. If he had studied the ways of the Lord with him, he would have recalled the irritated feelings which he had indulged in when he was disappointed. Whenever you are vexed -- mortified, there your will is active. You may have sorrow at the same time, which is a very different exercise. If you are vexed, your self-love is touched. When you have sorrow, it is because you have lost what was dear to you. In the one case you are made little of, in the other you are bereaved. In the one, you are disappointed; in the other, you are in grief. The discipline or mode of dying in each is widely different, as well as its effect. The discipline in the first exercise is to reduce your self-importance, and thus the blister was necessary, it removes the inflammation. The vexation or disappointment arises from wounded pride; you thought you were entitled to favour. In the other case, it is sorrow, because you have lost what your heart valued. In this discipline you learn that Christ has not been enough for you, and hence is disclosed the obstacle to your progress, the stone before the wheel, in order that you may be more fully a vessel for Christ here. The end of the discipline in both is, that you may so accept death that every hindrance may be removed, and that you should be here wholly for Christ.


The first thought of every true soul is -- what saith the Lord?

The cause of the failure of every one springs from disregard of the simple meaning of God's word. God supplies enough of His mind to secure us from the dangers of the scene in which we are. God gave His word to establish His people against the dangers to which they were exposed, and had it written in order to ensure His

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mind being known, and that souls might judge themselves by it. The word to Eve was enough to guide her, but she departed from it. The word to Cain was enough, and he would not hear it. The word to Noah was enough, but his descendants departed from it and built a city and a tower. God's visible token was not enough for them. The word to Abram was enough; he failed first in not answering to it fully, and afterwards in going down to Egypt. God has always said enough to supply us with plenty of counsel for our circumstances, and there is no failure that is not traceable to a departure from the word given. Isaac was not in God's mind about Jacob and Esau because he forgot the word of God. Israel forfeited the land because they would not accept the word of God. If they had obeyed it, which faith always does, they would have succeeded like Caleb. Moses lost the land because he exceeded the word of God, the word given to him was enough, but he went beyond it. The failure before Ai was because the word of God had been transgressed, and Joshua showed his weakness in crying to God about it instead of examining whether they had departed from the counsel of God. This is always the cause of failure, therefore we should always seek to ascertain where the departure from His word has been, for until that is rectified there is no use in attempting anything else. Israel did not attend to the word of the Lord in driving out the inhabitants of the land, and consequently, as the Judges show us, they suffered from this contempt of His counsel. Had they adopted His counsel, how differently they would have fared.

Saul did not attend to the word of the Lord, and he forfeited the kingdom. The word tested him and proved his incompetency for God's service. Alas! how often it is so with us! David is humiliated in divine things in the midst of and at the height of his achievements, because he overlooked the counsel of God respecting the Levites carrying the ark. David suffers from the sword in his own house because he disobeyed the word of God. How self-indulgence is requited by a never-ending sorrow, more so in a king than in a menial!

Israel is a captive in Babylon for seventy years to fulfil

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the seventy sabbatical years, which they refused to accord to God as His word enjoined. The Jew is condemned because Christ's words had no place in them. "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin" (John 15:22). "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God" (John 8:47). If Peter had attended to the word of Christ, he would not have denied Him; and yet that very word convicted him afterwards. There is the double value of the word; it would preserve us from danger, and convict us when we fall into the danger, so that we may accord with its dictation.

In a very small way, but with serious mistakes, we may misunderstand the words of the Lord from interpreting them with the natural mind. The great point for me is to clearly understand a person's mind. Fear, love or gain may so influence as to hinder one from getting a true apprehension of another's mind. I only know any one's mind as it has transpired, or as he in some way has disclosed it. So as to God's mind; I can only know His mind as He has revealed it, and it is only by the Spirit that I can understand and act upon it.


I was thinking yesterday of the difference between knowing a person by hearsay, and knowing such an one by companionship. I think there is a great deal of opinion, if I may so say, of our Lord, which one cannot aver from actual acquaintance. I mean that the word is the authority for the opinion and not personal knowledge of Him. I do not in any way lessen the value of the word. The word describes to me what He is, but when I come to know Him, my knowledge of Him confirms what I have read of Him in the word. If there were no word, there would be no definite or defined idea of what my knowledge personally would come up to, and if there were no personal knowledge there would be a 'hearsay', which had

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never been proved or confirmed. When what I read of Him in the word is confirmed by my personal knowledge of Him, through divine teaching I have a sense of what suits Him, so that I do not need the word for every act. Moses breaks the tables of stone without any word to that effect. Divine instinct told him to do so. He had knowledge of God and knew what was suitable to Him. There would be no acting contrary to the word, on the contrary, all would be in keeping with it, but then there would not be waiting for positive orders. If I know Him only by the word I am afraid to act without a text -- to do anything without an express injunction. If I know Him well by the Spirit, His word gives me authority for all that my knowledge of Him reaches to. It defines what my knowledge apprehends. The word explains to me the One whom I know, but I act for Him not so much in obedience to a given word, though that could not be over-looked, but because I know and am authorised by the force and bearing of the word to adopt the course which would suit Him.

Do you understand the force of the saying, "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:5). If your faith reaches to the Son of God it puts you apart from and above all that is not of God.


May you enter on this another year in confidence in the Lord, that He will enable you to be according to His pleasure in the duties and services to which He has called you. Your duties and services are well defined, and you are in every way competent to discharge them. The Lord fits us for the duty or mission to which He has called us. But however fit as to natural qualities, you are to answer to His mind. There are two things absolutely required in order that you may accomplish His pleasure: one is unqualified obedience to His word, and the other is His

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own sympathies while executing it. If you have not unqualified obedience you are not subject, you are not reliable as a servant; and if you do not work in His compassions, you misrepresent Him. To render unqualified obedience we must have no will of our own. You must not exercise your own judgment as to whether it is wise or right; if really subject, you obey to the letter. If like Jonah you swerve from it, and in unbelief evade it, you are sure to fall into greater difficulties than you would have encountered if you were obedient. You as a rule have perception or light enough to see what you are called to. Your danger is that you would evade it, because you yield too much to your own idea of prudence; but surely the greater your light or perception, the more you require to be obedient to the word of the Lord. "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). True love is always controlled by its object. Where you would naturally least like to serve, there the Lord will be most honoured, if you serve fully and in His compassions. May you not avoid difficulties, but be able to say, "By my God have I leaped over a wall" (Psalm 18:29).


I am glad that you are proving in your solitude the eternal resources which are in Christ. If He be risen out from among the dead where are we? Are we among that from which He has risen, or are we with Him who has risen out of it? It is very clear, nothing can be more marked and definite, than that I cannot enjoy that which God has given me in His Son, and go on with that for which He was judged in the cross. If I do not see the fulness and nature of that which God gives, I cannot see the extent and completeness of my separation from that which was under judgment, and which has been judged in the cross of Christ. It is in the greatness of the one, that I am morally superior to the other. The effort to hook on the one with the other is simply because God's gift in His Son is not enjoyed. If it were enjoyed the incompatibility

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of the two going on together would be plain enough. If I know what the "great supper" is, and have an appetite for it, I should not like or allow natural things to come in and divert my time and attention from it. There can be no reviving of that which was under judgment. Christ died under the judgment of it, and rose out of it, and we are in Him.


I am growing in desire of heart to learn, outside of this scene, how to act in it. Our practice generally is to go from the things here to Christ to learn how to deal with them; we have things here before us, as it were, when we are conferring with Him. I do not say that we are not to make known all our requests, we are told to do so in Philippians 4, but this in moral order, and for moral greatness comes after chapter 3, where Christ is the object and the goal. First, He is preferred to everything in myself; and secondly, He is preferred to everything on the earth; so that both, in me, and around me, He surpasses everything. It is from this circumcision that I enter on things here; and I let men know how yielding I am, how I can give up, because God is my resource, and to Him I do more than let my requests be known; I make them known (one word in the original). To man I let it be known that I can give up, but I turn to God, and make known to Him my requests; and the peace of God -- His own state, is the portion of my heart in a world of evil and opposition. I think we ought to seek to act here as an angel would, who knew nothing of what was passing here, but who knew well what was according to God, and what God would have him do in the place, because his knowledge is exclusively from God, and not from man. In addition to this we have before us the Blessed One, now in glory, who did everything according to God when He was here, and who is still a Man. We shall always be baffled and hindered here unless our eye

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is on that perfect and glorious Man. When we are not led and controlled by Him we fall into the ways of the natural man; and then when in distress, we turn to God to deliver us, rather than to strengthen us in Christ; and hence deliverance is more the theme of our song than Himself. To be able to say, "I laid me down and slept; I awaked for the Lord sustained me" (Psalm 3:5) is evidence of perfect calm in the midst of pressure; but when the soul is in the strength of Christ it sings of the Lord -- "He hath triumphed gloriously". If I am occupied with myself, and things here, the most I can arrive at is repose -- like the frigate-bird; but if I am in company with the Lord I am in a way His harbinger from the heavens; He is my support and stay on earth, but I am His carrier-pigeon as it were from heaven, bearing His message here as He would send me. He comes down to me and makes me a frigate-bird, enables me to rise above the pressure here, and I can then come down from Him and be His carrier-pigeon. Few are restful enough to ascend from earth to heaven, and therefore there are so few who can descend from heaven to earth to express Christ and to declare His mind and thoughts as regards things here. When I wish you to be the carrier-pigeon I do not overlook your being a frigate-bird, because you could not be truly and happily the former without being the latter.


As to --------'s remark about 'high truth' (as they call it) depressing one, of course it would, if Christ were not my life, and if He were not sitting where I am seeking to be in spirit. Caleb, as you have been hearing, sets forth how a mere man was sustained by God in an unknown and untravelled path, but the case with us is that we follow Him who is our life and strength in the path where He has gone before, having overcome all that lies between; there is nothing to depress now, as there might have been to a Caleb; for all has been perfectly overcome, all is perfectly

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assured to me in the One who is set down at the right hand of God, and it is really not the question whether I can get there, but whether He is there. Is the greater than Caleb in the land of promise? Yes. Then Caleb's daughter is surely there, nay, she has more, for she has both the upper springs and the nether springs -- association with Christ there, and the Holy Ghost here. --------'s speech is simply a misconception of the fulness of Christ's work and the completeness of our identification with Him. I find that no one, who is really in Christ, consciously a new creation, thinks anything too high which puts him closer to Christ. Love could never be too near to its object. Nearness to Christ is the instinct of divine life, as we see in the first question of the two disciples who followed Jesus (John 1), "Where dwellest thou?" Why is not this the first question now? Because there is not simple devotedness of heart to Christ.

-------- has written a book on communion, in which the nearest and dearest thought in the heart of Christ is never alluded to. Levelling down is what he terms communion; to me it is a very sad book. I feel the true servant as he knows the mind of Christ, as he is in communion with Him, will have conflict in spirit for the saints who are so dear to Him; but though the more I am in His mind, the deeper will be my conflict, because I cannot be satisfied with anything short of His mind, yet the more shall I be in all the grace and patience that is in Him, for as I am with Him, I receive of Himself as a whole, if I may use the expression, and not merely virtues from Him; and though I suffer more because of the state of things around me, I am at the same time better able to bear up and to overcome than when I was suffering less, so that the deeper the sense one has of the need of the saints the more one is like Shammah in the field of lentils (2 Samuel 23:11, 12).

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... I hope you are better in every way now. The jewel is in the casket, or, in other words the bird is in the cage. The bird is the new being, and it sings to the glory of God; the cage is the body. There are many alterations and improved modes effected in the cage, in order that the bird may be more truly happy and gratifying to the owner. So the body of the saint is dealt with by the Lord in order that what is precious to Him may be more truly for His glory. How blessed (as the old woman in Shetland said) to feel that 'because of Christ I am a revenue of glory to God'.

I have remarked lately that the commonest defect in us, however inoffensive, is the one that needs not only to be most corrected, but, as it is corrected, the good effect appears in every detail of one's life. I was writing to a person the other day who is constitutionally inert, and I went on to remark that if she could overcome this, the dilatoriness which it causes, unpunctuality, &c., the result would be that an animation would be imparted to her whole being. It is not easy to find out always your commonest fault. I find out mine by the way the Lord speaks to me, and by the way the Father disciplines me. I believe whatever balks my communion with the Lord is my commonest failing. One must, of course, know what communion is first before one can lose it. There can be no communion until I am sensibly clean. It is the feet of clean people which are washed, not those of unclean people. I am 'clean', suited to His eye, first; and if I get soiled it is to the trouble of my own conscience; it does not change or affect the Father's heart towards me, because Christ has set me outside of everything, to the eternal satisfaction of His heart, but my conscience is soiled when I am out of communion, or rather the soil throws me out of communion, and I am unable to take my true place near Him, because I have contracted what is unsuited to the light. You will always find the truer you are, that the

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thing you confess first on retiring to your own room is the plague of your heart; and if you do not feel it, you are not really in the light, and you are not restored. If you are restored you are sensible of two things -- one, that he that trusteth in his own heart is a fool, and the other blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord.


I have had, through the Lord's goodness, very interesting times in several places. The subject of union with Christ and the effect consequent on the consciousness of this relationship (identity of interest with Him) laid hold of souls remarkably. It is plain that all of God's people at any time are not in the line of His interest -- what I call the 'trade winds'. The snare in the present day is to be more occupied with the battle on this side Jordan than on the other side. There was visible fighting against Og and Sihon, every one could see the battle, and the success of Israel. This is the battle that the ardent labourers wage against the unconverted world; but in the battle on the other side Jordan, not a blow was struck, but there was a greater battle and a greater conquest. Fighting for man's benefit is always a more visible thing than fighting for Christ's glory. Who saw the great conflict that Paul had? What can be more blessed and privileged than to be called and enabled to make space here for Christ -- the only Man ever on this earth who was fully up to the mind of God, and the One who is in every way dearest to us.

May the Lord lead you both more deeply and fully into His confidence that you may be more and more for Him.


I think that there is a true desire to avoid any sin, but I do not believe that many see that the old man has been

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judicially terminated in the eye of God in the cross, so that it is never revived to Him with respect to any believer in Jesus. Alas, we revive it; but He could not, because it has been removed from His eye for ever, and He has been glorified by the Son of man at the moment that it was removed. Hence, when we are in the Spirit we are free from the law of sin and death, and if we walk in the Spirit we do not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. It is by faith we see that we have died with Christ but if we were as much set upon walking in the Spirit as we are on avoiding sin, we should be free from the law of sin and death; the latter secures credit to ourselves, the former magnifies the Spirit of God.

I do not believe union with Christ (not merely association) can be realised unless we are consciously in the nature of Christ. Then it is not merely that we are kept from sin, but that we are in a nature which does not sin.


It is always in the strait that the real measure of one's faith in God comes out. We like faith in itself, but faith is always tested. It is the test that proves its reality and works endurance; you can bear up. It is here that many fail. They see a truth, they think they have faith, but if it be really grasped in the power of the Spirit, there will come a time for the proving of the faith. So with Abraham, he believed about 40 years before he was tested. Paul writes of the first -- the faith; James of the second -- the testing. It is here where all the misconception as to the objective and subjective has occurred.


I enjoyed my time at --------. I think there is exercise of soul there, and where there is exercise there is sure to be

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progress. Generally you will find that saints are exercised about their service. There is no fear but that the service will be right if you come from the Lord, and in this you must seek Him and be exercised before Him. When you are exercised before Him you are sure to get something from Him. When you are exercised about service, you are trying to impart something. You never can impart beyond what you have received....

The first effect of grace in the heart is surrender for Christ; the second is to suffer with Him; the third, to have part with Him; the fourth, to come from Him, for Him here; the fifth, to derive from Him -- the Head; the sixth, because united to Him, to be wholly in His interests. A wonderful path!


When I know the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour, I am to Him as Jonathan was to David, when Goliath was slain, and his head in David's hand. I strip myself to make much of Him. I love much because I am forgiven much. This is the alabaster box in Luke 7.

When I know my Saviour as the One whose "left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me" (Song of Songs 2: 6), when He is the life and cheer of my heart, I long for association with Him, I would fain leave the earth, where He is not, for the place (heaven) where He is. Like Ruth, my heart says, "Where thou goest I will go". I not only spend my property to honour Him, but I long to leave the place where the property is for His place. It is then that I am prepared for the great truth that I am united to Him in heaven. I could have no greater solace, no greater satisfaction to the love that He has awakened in my heart than the consciousness that I am united to Him. This is the climax; this crowns all. I am now in company with all His own -- the bride; for ever indissolubly joined to Him in a scene entirely suited to Him, where nothing could occur to mar my happiness. And now I am so restful, so assured of the fulness of my relationship that I

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am found down here in the spirit of a faithful wife, doing His pleasure in the smallest details in His house.


I have been enjoying the first and the second steps. The first is when you prefer Christ to Adam -- a grand step. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20). I am personally attached to Him, and can echo the close of Romans 8. I love Him, I know He loves me. This is the first step as to separation. "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh" (2 Corinthians 5:16), though we are still in flesh. Now the second step is that not only do I prefer Christ to the most beautiful traits of Adam, but that I am so dependent on the company of Christ, who is not here, that I am drawn away from this place to Him who daily is more indispensable to me. I am weaned from the things here (not only from the man here), not because I have received other things, but because I am in company with a Person -- with Him who is not here. I am drawn away from this place to Him. In His company I receive, not only sympathy in my infirmities -- an immense favour -- but I am so borne above them that I am led by Him into the holiest. This I call the second step. There are many more.


One trait of the heavenly man is that he is entirely occupied with Christ's interests. They are now his paramount interest. The first trait I make out is the simple acceptance and sense that he belongs to heaven. As a nobleman would feel as to the House of Lords, he would know that he belonged to the House of Lords and not to the House of Commons. The second is, that he does not belong to the man here, he repudiates it, because he belongs to

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Christ. The third -- Christ's mind is his, the unity of the Spirit in all His members, not merely having Christ's mind for his own guidance and help, but in every member of Christ's body here, and that is the unity of the Spirit. Fourth, all his practical life exceeds that of a saint in the wilderness, even to a slave. See Ephesians 6. Fifth, the opposition is of a most subtle character; it is not now the roaring lion so much as an unceasing effort to spoil the desire of his heart, which is to set forth Christ in heaven. That is Satan's effort, to induce you to deny the testimony. Sixth, you must be in Christ's power practically to be able to stand. You cannot excuse yourself under the plea that you are doing a right thing, though doing it in a wrong way. Satan would soon expose you, and show that the heavenly man is not maintained in your ways, even as to your temper. The feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace must characterise your walk. Seventh, your portion and place is with Christ in heaven, while you wait for Him here.


We have had an interesting reading on the wilderness. The general thought is that afflictions make this world a wilderness. I do not think that is true. I see that many who are afflicted seek for something to make amends for their affliction, to balance it, as they say. I do not see that any one can be in the wilderness until he has liberty, until he is free from the law of sin and death. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free" (Romans 8:2). When you are walking in liberty, in the life of Christ, you find that nothing here ministers to your life. In the type there was nothing to minister to man naturally; he was sustained by manna, and no one can touch the manna but as he is in liberty.

What is the difference of effect between knowing the love of Christ and knowing Him as the wisdom of God? Love makes you an object, you are attracted to Him -- His wisdom so entrances and absorbs you that there is no

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spirit left in you. Many know something of His love, which compels them to follow Him, who do not know Him as wisdom -- as the greater than Solomon.


As to guidance, the only way to get it is to be so near Himself, that your own mind is in abeyance because His mind rules, as the queen of Sheba found in the presence of Solomon. I used to study this passage and that passage to obtain light. I see now that if I were really near Him beholding His glory (2 Corinthians 3:18), I should be transformed, should come from Him so impressed with Himself that His interests would, as it were, naturally control me, and the better I know the transcendent blessedness of being near Him, the more shall I bear about in my body the dying of Jesus, and seek to be free of any hindrance in myself.

As to communion, it is deeply interesting the line of things which interest the Lord at any given time. To be in concert with Him touching them I should call communion. A child likes to come into his father's study often to be near his father; but by degrees he becomes interested in what the father speaks of. The great hindrance with us is that the works of God in the first creation (the seen things), so invite our (as we think) legitimate attention that we are not ready for the things that are unseen.


I am greatly interested in seeing the absolute importance of having a new place, whether as in the gospel, in which it is a hope only, from which all your present joys are furnished; or in the mystery -- a seat there now in the heavenlies, as a member of Christ. If I have not the first, I have hopes and prospects here. The leeks and the onions come up before me, or the piece of land, or the oxen;

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but if I am abounding in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost, I am racing on to it, tasting of it in the sanctuary; while as a member of Christ I am 'in spirit there already', the goodly land is known to me. The effect from these two would be very marked. I should by the first -- the hope -- be diverted from the world, or rather from earthly things by the great supper; while in the second I should be strengthened by the might of His power to act for Him in heavenly beauty down here. The power that takes me up is the power that enables me to stand for Christ here. If it has taken me up in spite of all opposition and hindrance here, of course it will enable me to be superior to them when down here.

I dwelt chiefly on the fact that we have a place in heaven where Christ is, that we cannot be right in any way, or reach the finish of the gospel if we do not maintain that our place is in heaven, though we are still on earth; and the power of heaven, the Holy Ghost is in us here, and the more we are in the fellowship of the Holy Ghost the more we know and feel the opposition of the world....

In the gospel, I was saying, how seldom the sinner seeks more than escape from perishing, like the prodigal. To recover one's first position with God is little thought of. Secondly, that it is not enough to say that God delights in saving, though that be perfectly true. The truth is that God delights in having; His heart must have the prodigal with Himself.


Very gladly I address myself to the subject of your letter, and trust that I may make my reply satisfactory to you. Christ is in glory; that is our link to glory. He is there, we are not there personally, but we are united to Him where He is by the Holy Ghost, and hence He in us is the hope of glory. "Glorify thou me". "Received up into glory" -- "Glorified his Son Jesus" are testimonies enough to the fact that Christ is glorified, which no saint would deny. But if He be glorified, and if I am united to Him

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where He is (and this is by the Spirit of God), when He appears I shall appear with Him in glory. Now seeing Him in glory I am transformed into likeness to Himself, as He is there; not as He was here merely, though if my eye is on Him in glory, my walk down here would be practically similar to His. When the Lord says on the going out of Judas (John 13:31, 32), "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall glorify him immediately [or straightway]", He presents to us the new state of man before God, consequent on His suffering and death. The Son of man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him, hence He straightway is glorified. The man here, the first Adam, even in God's chosen people, had chosen the glory from men instead of the glory from God (John 12:43), and the blessed One had proved after thirty-three years' sojourn among men here, that there was no possibility of raising any to His own unique condition before God, unless He died, unless He in Himself bore the judgment resting on the life of the first Adam (John 12:24). Now if He has to die in order to reinstate man before God, it is plain that the life for which He died cannot be any longer tolerated. Hence in verse 25, as a parenthesis, He adds: "He that loveth his life shall lose it; but he that hateth his life", etc. The life of the first Adam is no longer to be cherished, but on the contrary, as a moral existence it is to be hated. Thus not only am I freed from the old man ( ) in the cross of Christ (Romans 6:6), but I am thankful to be delivered from the body of this death (Romans 7:24). Well, then, here I am, surrounded on all sides by the first man, but I am a new creature in Christ Jesus, who is not here, but who is in glory. The Man who glorified God here is in the glory of God, and I am through the grace of God united to that blessed One where He is, and, through the self-same Spirit, I am instructed in the things (the fatted calf) which God hath prepared for them that love Him. He reveals them to me by His Spirit; consequently when Christ was definitely rejected from the earth, we find in the end of Acts 7, that the present action of the Holy Ghost is then declared or inaugurated. Stephen being full of the Holy

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Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God and Jesus. The Spirit shews him Jesus and connects him with Jesus in glory. This is the first time that any one was able to survey the glory without fear, or shrinking from it. And why? Because Jesus is the link to it, and the saint here is linked to Him there by the Holy Ghost. Now this is the only true place for the saint today. Christ being rejected from the earth, the grace of God does not cease, as Philip states in Acts 8:33, "His life is taken from the earth", which is tantamount to this, your Saviour has no life connected with earth, He is not alive here, but where He is alive is not there added. That link the conversion of Saul of Tarsus supplies. Jesus in the glory is revealed to the chief of sinners. In the case of Stephen the Holy Ghost had connected the saint with the Son in glory; but now the grace of God reveals His Son in glory to the chief of sinners. Man -- the first Adam, in his state and condition was repelled by the glory of God. It demanded righteousness, and he had none. But now that the Son of man is glorified, it is the ministry of righteousness and the ministry of the Spirit. Every room of the glory is thrown open to us. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty, and instead of the glory repelling, it now claims us as its own, and transforms us into the image of the glorified Man there.

We are quickened together with Him, and raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ, which is our proper home, and where our life is. Hence it is: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1). I am here still to carry about in my body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be made manifest in my mortal body; I am on earth to live Christ, the heavenly Man, who is not here.

In the millennium the saint will live the earthly man, he will enjoy the earth, and rightly, because Christ will then be here reigning and no longer the rejected One. To live the earthly man now is the snare and tendency of the saints in the present day of His rejection. If I am connected with the Man in glory -- the Son of God -- I must retire from everything that is of the man here, for

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whom He was crucified; hence the more I live in company with Christ glorified the more am I down here conversant in walk and ways with Christ crucified. If it is a question of my going to God, it is the resurrection of Christ which is the grand point presented, as in Romans. If it is my walk here (as in 1 Corinthians), it is Christ crucified, ending in chapter 15, with my resurrection! The answer to your question is -- I am united to Christ in glory by the Spirit, and as I behold Him there, I am transformed into the same image. As He is there so am I in the glory with Him and the power of the glory is in me through Him by the Spirit.


I hope you had a prosperous journey, after leaving those dear people yesterday. It is a great thing to keep the best company in divine things; the most blessed effect is the consequence. "While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof" (Song of Songs 1:12). Well, I trust that we both feel that our blessed Lord has had us at His banqueting house, and that He has prepared us for increased devotedness to His interests here. I find it a very testing question when anything has to be decided on -- which course would be for His interest -- the paramount thing before the mind being His interests. I desire that we should be in company as to this, and I am persuaded that the more separate we are the more we promote the interests of the Lord.

I have been writing on 'How to promote the unity of all saints', and as I study the subject I am increasingly convinced that the more we are apart from everything here for God, the more we are able to help others, and the more influence -- spiritual influence -- we shall have with them. There is a great moral difference between the acceptance accorded to one who is a great donor in temporal things and the acceptance inspired by, and rendered to, the "virtuous woman", I mean the saint

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who is absolutely devoted to the Lord. I can tell the Lord, what I desire for you, and He knows it exactly. Every one is a friend to him that giveth gifts, but every spiritual person honours and delights in the one who is most spiritual. May this honour and delight be more yours day by day. May you advance more and more, and may we be increasingly in company with the Lord's present interests.

NO. 2

The more I think of being interested in the Lord's interests the more vast and amazing does it seem to me that we should be allowed and invited by Him into so great a privilege. First, I find that He is near me, and so fully interested about all that concerns me, and then in nearness to Him, I regard every one whom I meet, or am connected with, as He would desire, and I seek for them what would suit His interests and pleasure. I meet with people that you do not, and you meet with and are connected with people in a way that I am not; each one we meet and are connected with would evoke a distinct notice and attention from Him if He were in our places. Now, if we were really near Him, this distinct notice and attention is what we, in our measure, should render through His grace acting in us: and it is just here that I feel one fails, some-times giving the notice and attention suited for A to B, not having Him sufficiently before the soul. There can be no rule on the subject, but if one were really near Him one would act to relations and to all others as would suit Him, and the interests which He has at heart; we should not give one too much attention and another too little. We should not allow one claim to divert us from others, for however great and incumbent any one's claim might be, it is after all His interests in the place, or in our circle that are to be paramount, and if I am not able to take an interest in all that with which He connects me, there must be weakness somewhere; I must have lost my balance somewhere. The point with me is -- How can I take in all His interests in the circle in which He sets me according to His own mind? I must not overlook

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any of them. The lamp is not for every room in the house, but it is feeble and imperfect if it does not cast light on every object in the room where it is placed, though the one nearest to it, or needing most of it, may necessarily take in most of its light, and that is quite right; but nothing in the room, the sphere to which it is appointed, must be unprovided with a suited share of the light.

It is in their extent and variety that the magnitude of the Lord's interests press on me; if I am not able to enter into them it is plain that I am not in concert with Him; but as I am, how occupied, how engrossed, how filled up is my time, and my heart; nay, everything assumes a weight and an importance which I cannot explain to any other, and then even hearing about His interests would awaken prayer and remembrance in me. I should feel that I had not the mind of a man but the mind of Christ.

The Lord lead you to be so near to Himself that you may have great skill, as well as enjoyment of heart, in casting the suited ray on every object in the circle in which He has placed you, and so enter increasingly into the magnificence of His grace.


What a wondrously blessed thing it is to know that we have our Lord's sympathy in the trials we pass through. I am sure when we know that we have it we are not eager or impatient for deliverance, but alas! with some of us, our trials are so often the fruits of our own unsubduedness, that we cannot look for His sympathy in the things themselves, though of course we may and should know His sympathy, the moment we accept His way for us in them.

In the sorrows of unfaithfulness we cannot expect His sympathy except as we retrace our steps. The Lord could sympathise with Lot leaving Sodom, but not as to his loss and trials in it.

I think the reason why Mary (John 11) knew more of the Lord's sympathy was because she leaned on Him

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more -- leaned, if I may so say, on His love more than on His power.

It is quite true that we are made in different ways, and at different times to realise the wilderness. I have been thinking what is the law of discipline, I mean what is the unerring and unvarying rule by which it is administered, and with this I have a thought in my mind (though it is not yet matured into a meditation), that holiness is the only refuge for widowhood though it leads to widowhood. I think the widow, who gave all she had for the temple (Luke 21), God's testimony on the earth, is a striking and lovely example for us. She was not seeking to amend her own condition, though to a Jewess her condition was the most sad one, but to expend her last to maintain what remained for God on the earth. If we realised our place as sent into the world for Him we should not only be above the world in spirit, but we should carry such joy in our hearts, because of our nearness to God, that we should not be detained by anything here. A real blank cannot be filled up, and doubtless it ought to remain as the witness to the heart here of what this life is, but the more so, the more there ought to arise out of the dreariness of the blank, the beacon-light to the day of reunion and glory.

I have been much helped by seeing that the true way to assure one's heart of any desired or promised condition is seeing our Head in it first; then there is nourishment ministered.

Those chapters in Numbers which you refer to are all very instructive and magnificent. What a spirit was Balaam's, willing to compromise truth in order to meet the carnal mind, and this for his own gain! What real relief and strength to the heart there is in looking by faith to that wondrous moment when our Lord shall present us to Himself.

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(Judges 7)

We had an interesting reading here a few evenings since. We had Judges 7, and we were considering what characterised the 300. The "water" represents temporal mercies. Prosperity tries a man more than adversity, for the former gives an opportunity for your weakness to indulge itself, the latter summons up all your strength. Well, if my heart is truly set on the Lord's glory and His battle, I do not bow down on my knees to enjoy passing mercies, while on the other hand I do not despise them, I taste and refresh myself with them, but as one intent on something greater. I do not think that we ought to refuse any of the 32,000, but I think we ought to be prepared to be sifted down to the 300. The Lord in mercy empower us to be among those devoted to Himself, and keep us true.

I see no escape from the present widespreading confusion but contending "earnestly for the faith once delivered". Those in the foremost rank will suffer most, but will in the end come off best....

As to what you say of Paul's ministry. In Ephesians he calls it the mystery of the gospel, and in Colossians the mystery of Christ. The gospel and the church comprised his ministry. I hope to be able to send you a meditation by which you will see in outline the practical effect which the hope of the gospel and being dead with Christ produces in various lines, according to the line of truth apprehended. If the truth, though only received in terms, be really delighted in, surely when made real to us by the Spirit we shall the more delight in it.

I have been cheered by the simple thought of the Father desiring to make merry with the lost son. Love only enjoys itself after it has satisfied itself. It works for itself until it satisfies itself. This was God's wondrous way in Christ, but His love waits to enjoy itself with me in the very top circle of nearness and communion. If I do not reach that circle, I do not reach God's joy in having satisfied

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His love in providing it for me. If I walk through this world with the sense of this love for me in my heart, I am necessarily the giver to every man as man, because I am greater than man as man; my life and not merely my lips testify to my independence of men, and of the joy of my heart in God. The living waters flow out.

As to the passage, "Magnified thy word above all thy name" (Psalm 138:2), I understand it as setting forth the honour and inviolability which God attaches to His word. What reliance ought we to place in His word and what reverence ought we to preserve for it. I feel for your dear mother especially in being shut out by suffering from the morning meeting. May she make sure of and count up her treasures. They say a sailor's pleasure and pastime at sea is overhauling his box. Can we ever ascertain all the treasure in our box?


I do not think that a soul learns differently in much light to what it did in little light. Every one has to grow: and where there is growing there must be a beginning, and a beginning is always small. "Whereunto ye have already attained" belongs to every stage of the new history. The calling now is immensely higher, and the power to raise us to it is the Holy Ghost given to us; yet I believe that we have to learn as deeply as the saints learned when their calling was lower and the light much less. I think it a mistake to suppose that because greater light has come in there is an easier way, or an offhand way of learning now. I believe Saul of Tarsus saw the finish, and where grace in its fulness set him: but I am certain that he learned as deeply as Peter did (Luke 5), if not more so, that he dared not face the holiness of God's presence but through Jesus; nay, that his learning was just as true and as deep as any saint in the Old Testament times, only (and that was a great deal) that they were not able to see the bright finish as he was. They were like birds in a fog, wishing

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to reach the pure light of heaven, but not able to do so; while he saw that when his wings were matured, the full expanse of heaven was before him. Learning is very real work, and there is no maturing without it, and I do not believe that any one matures brilliantly, who does not learn sufferingly. Easily got, easily gone, was never so corroborated as in the highest things. I believe, therefore, that though the Spirit is in us and with us now, there is not an ignorant state presented to us in scripture of any saint that we have not to get clear of experimentally, and that the education vouchsafed to the disciples going to Emmaus is as necessary for us as for them; indeed, when it has not been learned there is always a lack in the soul of divine revelation about Christ.

Of course, if one is not keeping His word He could not manifest Himself. Love keeps His word, but the heart that has tasted of His company in heaven loves to observe His commandments as the guide to its affections, and the acme of its delight is for Him to manifest Himself. I do not think that many know what this manifestation means. Mr. -------- asked me why I declined speaking of it at R--------. I replied, because I considered it such a deep subject, and I know so little of it, though I value it extremely. The disciples who had known Him on earth followed Him by faith to heaven, but their hearts were not comforted until He manifested Himself to them on earth.

I should like to see more earnestness in souls in seeking to know the Lord. I am afraid of their being satisfied with seeing truth about Him. I am quite sure that if there were more breaking of heart to know more of the Lord, wondrous disclosures would be made to us. I never feel that I have prayed truly without the sense more or less of agony in my desire to get clear of everything which hinders me from apprehending more of what He has apprehended me for.

-------- said high truth was not practical. I reply -- The highest truth produces a practice least visible to the eye of man, and the more one seeks to be practically heavenly, the more will Satan try to cast a cloud or a tarnish on everything connected with one; but the Lord knows all, and there I have learnt to rest.

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I believe there is much conveyed in the Lord's words to Peter "Lovest thou Me", to promote devotedness. As loving is the highest and most enjoyable activity in God, so must it be in us. And in loving the Lord we are loving One who first loved us, in fact there could not be love otherwise, because if we love God we must know Him. How could we love one whom we do not know? In loving the Lord we love One who in no way checks our love, but who on the contrary draws it out and increases it, for He has Himself produced it in us by revealing His own love. It is said that love must have an ideal; that is, it has a standard to which, when it is true, its objects, in order to satisfy it, must come up; though among men, it is only that they fancy it. Love is an activity which cannot view with indifference the state of its object. With man therefore it is an advantage that love is blind. But with God, the activity of His love puts away in the cross of His Son the entire offending thing in judgment. That is, He righteously gets rid of our condition which is painful to His love, and hence, having "graced" us in the Beloved, His love has nothing to check it. It is not that He loves us in spite of our faults, but He can rest in His love, for there is nothing in us (as we are in Christ, entirely new before Him) any more to offend Him.

What a complete satisfaction to His love! The very exactitude and inexorability of His righteousness subserve His love. Lessen the righteousness and you lessen the love. The love cannot allow anything in me that would be below the divine standard, for the standard of divine love is perfect in His eyes, and therefore God's standard must be what answers to Himself. We, in our love, are obliged to tolerate and excuse, because even in our ideas of perfection, we must make allowance for imperfection, or we must condemn ourselves, or be dishonest. God commends his love to us while we were yet sinners. He from His own side removes every atom of the offending thing,

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so that we now, in the life of His Son, may make our boast in God through Him by whom we have received the reconciliation. Everything has been removed by His love that we may have full access to Him and make our boast in Him, that we may be with Him on the happiest terms, and then His love dwells in us and surrounds us, and nothing can separate us from it. See Romans 8, end. In my flesh there is plenty to pain His love, but He has judged it from His side for ever, and I am called to do so, and as I love Him I do. "All things work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28). If I love Him, I love what suits Him. I am not surprised to see judgment on everything that is unsuited to Him. See the opening of Deuteronomy 11, "If thou love", etc., and in 1 Corinthians 2:9, "Which God hath prepared for them that love him". If I love Him, I love His perfection, for after all, the thing that satisfies love is that the object is according to its standard of perfection. Hence the Lord shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied, and He will present us to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without blemish. Now the more we love the Lord the more are our souls filled with His perfection, and the less we can bear that which is unsuited to Him, and the more do we seek to be conformable in every thing to His mind, and to seek His pleasure. This activity, the spring of love, imparts the greatest charm to, and is the reward of devotedness. The eagle delights to lead her offspring into the same power as herself; this is a feeble type of divine love, which will have its objects like in nature, and in ability. That is the nature of Christ's love for us, and eventually we shall be perfectly like Him. Hence as we love Him, we seek that all who belong to Him should be here like Him. If we have learned in any little measure to fly, we take the place of the eagle mother, and encourage the young brood to fly. This is the delight of love, and this devotedness is of the highest order. The satisfaction of love is that there should be nothing in its object to check it, but that it should be according to its own standard of perfection, and this delight and satisfaction Christ will have in the church when He presents her to Himself glorious, without spot or blemish or any such thing.

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I was glad to hear from you, and I lose no time in trying to answer your questions. I think our place in glory will be determined by our walk and course here. The new being is formed here, its capacities are satisfied in glory, and in the glorified body. Each of us will fill a particular place in the kingdom, a stone in the temple. The stone is quarried here, and in view of its destined place; and in glory it is set in the place fit for it; and this is explained and confirmed at the 'Bema of Christ'. I do not think it will be a question of the intelligence of saints: the eyelid has as much intelligence as the eye, but the eye has a more distinguished place -- though not more necessary. So in a building, though there is a positional difference between foundation and corner stones, and ordinary ones, the latter are as much part of the building as the former. You see in the circle which surrounds a great potentate just what I mean -- men with full intelligence in every capacity, and each with his appointed duties; but some are nearer the sovereign and are more largely used by him than others. They all know the sovereign, their intelligence is, in one sense, alike. They compose the royal circle, but there is difference as to position, and as to the qualities which are required for a true discharge of the duties attached to each; and yet all are quite intelligent as to the mind and feelings of the sovereign personally: the lower officer is acquainted with the heart of his sovereign as well as the higher one, though in a different degree; it is not a question of intelligence but of position. The babe in Christ will be as intelligent about Christ's love to him, and will enjoy Him as much as Paul -- we shall all know as we are known. But a babe does not understand the grace of Christ as Paul does: he has not been practised in the ways of Christ on earth as Paul has been. The man with one pound, and who by faithful service had increased it to

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ten pounds, is evidently better qualified to rule over ten cities than the one with five pounds, as the product of his one pound. I think that our qualities for position are acquired now; there will be no opportunity for learning grace by-and-by, and it is in learning the grace of Christ, and growing up to Him now, that one is qualified for higher positions in His service by-and-by. The intelligence and the enjoyment will be alike, though the position will be different, because the qualities for the position will be different. The babe will see and enjoy everything quite as much as the father; but a babe would not be qualified to administer the grace of Christ in service, as a father would. They are all in royal garments, and all at the royal table, but each in a different position of trust and service, in keeping with the spiritual growth in this scene, where man has been set of God; for in some way, we shall, I suppose, ever have some connection with the earth. Nothing of the new man can be lost, but by exercises here in the ways of God we grow into conformity to Christ, and into knowledge of God in His ways; and this growth qualifies and capacitates for position in the glorious company hereafter. These are my thoughts, I have never, that I remember, written before on the subject, and therefore I timidly put them forth for your reflection. See Luke 22:28 - 30.


I regard you as one of the women who strive together with me [the right reading] in the gospel. Very blessed place for a woman to be found in, that is, in fellowship with the apostle's testimony. Many work who do not strive together with the apostle in the gospel. There is a remarkable connection between a soul's enjoyment of a truth, and the purpose and zeal in the propagation of it, The latter indicate the measure and nature of the former. If it be the benefit of the gospel which occupies me, my zeal, at best, will be but to make known the benefit of it, and there will be a great deal of effort with this.

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But as one gets into the counsel of God in the gospel, there will be, with increased sense of its greatness, a corresponding sense of the opposition to it, and therefore a girding up of one's loins to resist. The one is more aggressive, the other more unyielding: one is a meteor, the other a star. When your heart is settled in the purpose of God, there will be an evenness.

You must take care not to live on your enjoyment of divine things; enjoyment is not creative; it is the counsel and love of God which sets you where there is fulness of joy. You must not seek the joy, but rest in the place where He has set you and in Him by whom you are entitled to this great joy. If you seek joy you are, even if you reach it, only like a meteor, a brilliant light for a time, but the star possesses light and imparts it. I do not think that joy of itself is the highest state, though I think that enjoying the Lord, He Himself filling my cup, is perfect bliss. I find I am joyful when I am conscious that Christ is sufficient -- "no bread" but Jesus only (see Matthew 16:1 - 10), and I do not believe any joy can surpass this. Prayer, ministry of the word, everything which contributes to supplant any rivals to Him, and to give Him the throne of my heart undisturbedly, help on my joy; but, if these things are not ministering to me, I do not lose my joy, though I may grieve that souls are not helped, but I have not lost my own portion, though there be nothing around to add to me. The darker the night, and the less I receive from others, the more am I called upon to render to all. Should I become dark, or depressed, because the darkness is great and oppressive? No, this is the very time for the true heart to "strive together with me in the gospel", as the apostle says, and when he wrote that he was in prison! If you only seek enjoyment for yourself, you will be at best but a meteor, which vanishes in the darkness, but if you rest in the fact that Christ can and does fill your cup, you will, like the bee, gather honey in the summer time; and like her too, have it in store in the winter. I might be oppressed and grieved by trying meetings, for instance, but if I were thereby to lose my joy I should only add to the general disorder. I am most thankful for the fellowship of meetings, but I am not dependent on

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them: I come to help them and to receive, but if my help be not accepted, my joy in the Lord does not leave me, but remains with me. I think you judge yourself, or rather your state by the amount of your joy, this, I believe, is unwise. I judge myself as to whether Christ is enough for me, and I do not raise the question of my joy at all; but I find that when He is enough my joy is full, I am rejoicing in the Lord, for He fills my cup. If my heart be full of life I must be warm and healthy.


As to your question about communion, I think I should distinguish between communion, and walking in communion. I think it is quite possible to have had communion with God as to a certain part of His purpose and grace, and to have made no advance from that part; and yet it was true communion as far as it went, and one might even revert to it, as a known moment of power and enjoyment. I think, for instance, a soul may have a true sense of the value of the blood in the sight of God, and can always refer to that moment with delight and assured blessing; but he has to revert, which in itself proves that he is not in communion as a present thing, for if he were, he would connect the past with the present, and be conscious that the stream, small at the source, only widens and deepens as it proceeds, the first drop swelling by every fresh acquisition, but the present part of the stream imparting a force and sense of power and blessing which the first drop could not alone. If I have to revert to the first drop in order to prove that I have tasted of water in the desert, it proves that I am not now in full concert with the mind and thought of God in my course and journey, or in company with His interests and counsels, and thus through grace shaping myself in keeping with them. In the latter case I am walking in the light and have communion with Him. In the former case I only revert to a time when I was true to my calling, and had a sense in my soul of enjoying a certain blessing. That blessing

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was according to God's mind, and in that mind I was for the moment, and so far I had common mind with Him, and such was the impression it made on me, that I always can revert to it; but the fact of my reverting to it thus proves that I have never known any like it since. I quite believe that there may be and is a great distinctness about the first drop to a parched soul in a weary land; but then this great era (begun with this distinct taste) is to be continued. It is only the beginning of a stream of endless blessing which communion with God necessarily is, for in all His counsels and interests I find strength and cheer. It is, I admit, a great thing to have had a taste of it, but I fear that there are many who comfort themselves by the past taste (remaining in its value) instead of being daily invigorated in the deep, full stream of His love and purposes, and which necessarily cannot be known but in His own region, namely, the light, which is also our only region. Hence, if we walk in it, we have fellowship with one another.


(Psalm 116:6)

I hope you are now quite convalescent, and that you have written, not with pen, but in your heart, a psalm; that is, a record of the way the Lord has led you: "I was brought low, and he helped me". A psalm is very much like what I think our feeling at the judgment-seat of Christ will be: we are brought into remembrance of all the way which the Lord thy God hath led thee. However great our crookedness and failure, the psalm will be -- Goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life. I think often a severe illness has been a great crisis in one's life; we may not know the cause for it, but it is the exercise in consequence of it which yields so much blessing. It is a great thing to be practically conscious that all on this side is death -- like Abraham going up Mount Moriah. I am much attracted by his moral dignity, because of his faith in God, as he ascended that mount. He was prepared

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to put out all natural light with his own hand. "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy" (Psalm 126:5). Oh! our lack is that we do not accept death on our side because so assured of life -- of Himself in resurrection on His own side. Abraham could never forget that journey. I dare say there has been much in your illness as to the exercises of your soul that you will never forget. It is true that in the mind of God we are always over Jordan, but though in the wilderness the joys of heaven are ours, like the grapes of Eschol, the reality of being over is never known until by faith we accept it as having died with Christ, and that therefore heaven is our place, and we know it to be our place, and that this side is not our place, and we know that it is not. The more you are with the Lord on the other side, the less disappointed you will be here, for when you are there you import new joys and new hopes into this old world, from an entirely new one, and you therefore in every way surpass the inhabitants of this old world. May this be more and more your happy song.


I hope you and -------- will soon go to the seaside, and that while you continue to enjoy one another's company, you will be jealous lest the Lord should lose any of your company; and that you will seek that you only prepare one another the more for seclusion with Him. I was asked once what was the most desirable thing on earth; and my answer was, 'A congenial companion -- or counterpart'; but now I am afraid of any one or any thing which might supplant the Lord, even for a moment. Not that I do not enjoy the company of some, but I feel I must deny myself when I have the opportunity of gratifying myself. Denying oneself, when one has nothing to deny, is easy; but when one has, then the real acquired power is declared.

I was showing them on Sunday that power, however latent, indicates itself by the height at which it aspires.

You know I rejoice in your aspirations, because they

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indicate exercise and taste within; and I am cheered in my own heart at the deepening interest that I am made conscious of, for some at least, that they might be in full suitability for Christ, all glorious within, clothing of wrought gold. It is such an interest, that at times the poor heart would almost like to be freed of it; and yet nothing so really delights and invigorates the heart, even of man, as the depth and purity of the affection which controls it. For -------- it has grown from year to year, and though it is not so matured for you, yet I am sure that it is of the same divine order, because it is your prosperity which gratifies it, not what you are to me. I mean that when the interest in another is of that order, it is gratified, not by the return it gets, but by the progress and gain of the object of it.


It is very interesting to bear in mind that the body is the Lord's. David even had some idea of this truth when he preferred pestilence to any other suffering. To be under the hand of One who so perfectly loves us and owns us. "The body is the Lord's". One can speak to Him so easily about it; much more so than about one's circumstances. They (circumstances) are more in the Father's hand, and I suppose discipline in the way of bodily suffering is from Him. Bodily suffering from the Lord is, I think, on account of laxity; we are judged of the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:32). I conclude there must be a sense of reserve between the Lord and me when He chastens me through the body. Whereas when I suffer in my body as the Father's discipline, I am sensible, and the more so as I am near Him, that it is to make me partaker of his holiness to detach me from some hindering influence. For instance, if I were passionately fond of singing, He might send me hoarseness, and this would be a proof that I was progressing ("we who live are always delivered unto death");

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whereas if I were not progressing -- not seeking to get on -- He might let me fall into some snare through my singing -- meet with company that would injure me in some way.

How delightful to be near enough to Him to understand His love! He likes our company, and it is His work that has made us fit to be His companions. He fits us for Himself first, as the steward ornamented Rebekah before she came to Isaac; but it was with Isaac's ornaments. It is interesting to see that in the type she is in nature the same as Isaac; so Christ makes us of His nature, before we are united to Him, or rather to fit us for union with Him. How little we enter into this union! What restfulness it would give, what peculiar interest in all that is His it would lead to! May we truly grow into it.

I wrote to --------, 'I should rejoice to see you in the forefront for separation.'...

The Lord bless you much. You are very dear to us, and may He keep you for His own service.


It is very interesting to note the difference between "milk" and "solid food" (Hebrews 5:13, 14). Every one gets milk, but "solid food belongs to full-grown men, who, on account of habit, have their senses exercised for distinguishing both good and evil". It is the exercise that is so profitable, for in it God is before me. It is not only that I have the faith, but I must keep a good conscience -- that is, I must walk with God in connection with faith. The great failure of the church was being satisfied with faith, or a creed, and putting away conscience, and consequently it made shipwreck. I believe in the full grace of God, but I am exercised before God for every step, that there may be consistency with His grace. It is not that I seek to gain anything, for everything has been given to me, but to walk with an uncondemning heart before Him (1 John 3:21). It is the personal intercourse which subsists with the Lord, and the more that I distinguish things that differ, the better am I fitted to enjoy Himself,

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for He is the "solid food". He brings you to His banqueting house. The more you are exercised, the more you are apart from what is unsuited to Him. You enjoy the company of our Melchizedek, not only to bear you above every infirmity, but to delight your heart with His company in the holiest.

May you thus be richly blest. May you daily enjoy not only His sympathy, that is His countenance and help on your own side, but may you be so free of heart from your own things, that in spirit you are at home with Him where He is, lost in wonder, love and praise!


Subjection to His will is everything. The path of wisdom is pleasantness and peace, and surely we could not have more than that. We very slowly get to wisdom -- His wisdom in each arrangement for us. Paul prayed three times before he got to the wisdom of his suffering; and when he got to it, he could say: "I take pleasure" in the very thing he had desired so earnestly to have removed. Love is God's motive in everything, but "in wisdom hath he made them all". Wisdom therefore "is the principal thing; ... and with all thy getting, get understanding" (Proverbs 4:7). We are often tried now, because we do not see the wisdom of God's ordering for us.

I am allowed in His grace to be out at meetings almost every evening. I have been deeply interested in setting forth what our blessed Lord is to the church -- the Head. I think I used to dwell more on what we are to Him. Both are very interesting, but what He is to us is the greatest. The Lord cheer your heart much in deepening acquaintance with Himself. Be like Ruth -- "Where thou goest, I will go". You cannot do without Him or be without Him. Oh, for more personal attachment to Him! And then how settled and assured the heart is when we know that we are united to Him where He is.

In the early mornings it is a privilege to speak of you and others before the Lord.

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Is it not a wonderful thing that we can go to God about everything? It is not only to get answers to our requests, but to learn His mind about them. In Jewish times they turned to the priest with the Urim and the Thummim, but how much better for us to turn to the love of the One who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He is, blessed be His name, ever in the aspect to suit us. If He is thinking of you, He must present Himself to you as your need requires. I believe there is more gained in His presence than we generally admit. How could I have the peace of God if I had not been impressed with it in His presence? My difficulties might remain the same, but I am not the same. I have been impressed in my interview with Him with His peace. I really have no light about anything but from Him, and hence the importance of being in His presence, as the sanctuary typified. I believe we cannot speak of anything but as we learn from Him. I must come to Him to learn His mind. I may get a favourable or an unfavourable answer, but I cannot tell which it may be until I am near Him. He impresses me by Himself also, which I consider of great value. In the storm with the disciples in the ship He was asleep; if they had been near Him in spirit -- really identified with Him, they would have been as calm as He was. But they were unbelieving; they awoke Him, and He only brought about what He had indicated in His own Person -- there was a "great calm".

As to the use of means, I see that our blessed Lord never made little of any means present; He considered the present means adequate for the emergency.

I am very glad to hear of dear -------- being at --------. In watering others one is watered oneself. This is certainly most true in praying for others.

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How a parent's heart is drawn out in interest and care for the child that is most dependent on it, and most needing or counting on the parent's care. And as this is true of man in the simply natural state, how much more of Him from whom cometh down every good and perfect gift. Surely each of us has learned that the more we have depended and counted on our Father's care, the more He had proved it to us, and thus made us still more dependent on Him. As, or in proportion as, we need Him, so we find Him. To the one He has shewn most He will shew more. The largest tree gets most of the sun; as it spreads itself out, so it receives. "He that seeketh, findeth" (Matthew 7:8). I can rejoice in the increase of your confidence in Him, learned as it is in your need of Him and in turning to Him. How differently and yet how truly He leads each of His children to find "our springs are in thee" -- one in one way, and one in another.

We had a good reading on Acts 27. Faith in God will carry us safely over every difficulty and opposition. The opposition there came mainly froth the very best intentions and human prudence!


I wish you could have told me something more hopeful about --------, but I believe the true way is to follow the example of the Israelites in patiently walking round Jericho. It is sure evidence of faith in God when we can wait quietly on Him. It is not only "continuing in prayer", but "watching thereunto". The more quietly one walks on waiting upon God, the more surely and evidently will the work be of God. When we are waiting on God we are made sensible of the mind of Christ so that we are not unfeeling, though we be apparently inactive.

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... I felt how you were learning to cast your care on Him who careth for you. Sorrow knits the hearts of friends nearer together than joy does. Blessed be God, He is the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. He knows the sort of pressure which will keep our hearts from wandering to broken cisterns which hold no water. May you both draw richly and abundantly from Him -- the fountain of living waters.


It is amazing to me the way our blessed Lord carries on His purpose with each of us, step by step and chapter by chapter. The more we sit and muse on His ways, and even His words to us, the more we are comforted with His minute assiduous attentions, perfectly holy, yet perfectly tender. The queen of Sheba learned Solomon in His glory, and thus we know Him now. This knowledge connects us with and introduces us into His things, while the way He has with Mary in John 11 unfolds to us how we learn Him in our own sorrows down here. As I learn Him in the latter, I feel that the One most necessary to me here is no longer here; and as I know Him in glory, I am beside myself -- "no more spirit" in me, and I am filled with praise and worship on account of His greatness and blessedness. May these two lines of knowledge of Him abound to you both.


I thank you for your kind solicitude about my health.... I quite feel that the Lord taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man, and I think I have learned that I must not attempt too much. I think I should give my attention more to readings, and not so much to lectures. It is a great moment when one is made to feel that a mere thread holds one to all here, if at the same time, Stephen-like,

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one is conscious of the increasing might of the bond to our Lord Jesus Christ. That is real weaning! ...

I rejoice greatly in the Lord's gracious ways with you on every side. Blessed Lord! He does not omit any side. Such a cheer to you and your beloved husband to see your dear sons openly on the Lord's side, and the dear girls also built in. How often we find that the night is before the day! This is the divine way -- the evening before the morning; we are prepared in adversity for prosperity. David has to pass through the sorrow of Ziklag to the throne; humility before honour.

May every blessing abound to you. The Lord prosper you in every good word and work.


The Lord is wonderful in His skill with each of us. He nourishes and cherishes. I think He does the first (the nourishing) to every one, but the cherishing is a very peculiar ministry. A nurse cherisheth her children. When He cherishes me I sit under His shadow with great delight, as the beloved disciple. Every believer knows something of the great services of Christ to us, as Jonathan knew the service of David, when he slew Goliath. The next great step is that His company is necessary to me, like Ruth with Naomi. This is most enjoyable and prepares for the climax, even that as of the bride I am united to Him. This bond is eternal. It is not only that I am in the full efficacy of His work for me, but I know that I am for ever united to Him.

I often turn over in my thoughts the magnitude of being united to a heavenly Man in glory. How entirely unknown that is to us naturally! The Spirit of God alone can give us any idea of it, or of the effect of such a union. The Lord grant that each of us may grow more into the blessedness of it. And may He make you very sensible of His cherishing, and if it be His will may He graciously restore you to that measure of health which will enable you to be here more than ever for His pleasure.

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We are being taught that there is no rest here. I think we do not apprehend the full efficacy of the cross. For the Christian all is cleared away in the death of Christ for him, and all that is contrary to God in him. There is a reluctance to accept in faith all that the death of Christ has effected for us -- where it has placed us -- for to faith it has really placed us on the other side of Jordan (where there is no death) to enjoy Him our life for evermore, in His own place.

I am often struck with the way we have limited our blessing to our needs here. We see in Psalm 63, though God is looked for there in a very wonderful way, it is all with reference to man's circumstances down here. How little one knows of the things which eye hath not seen nor ear heard! How little is known of joy in the Holy Ghost! The heavenly family instead of seeking and appropriating their own heavenly blessing, have lost sight of it, while coveting the blessings of the earthly family.

I was speaking on Matthew 8 and 14. Unless we are superior to our own circumstances in the grace of Christ, we are not ready to leave all here, to rise above everything and join Him where He is. I think the manna is not appropriated but as we are freed from ourselves by death with Christ, and then it is we join Him with the consecrated company where He is, and feed on Him as the "old corn of the land".

There is no progress until you reach heavenly ground. The gospel puts you over Jordan. This is full deliverance because you are set in an entirely new place; but after this (as Joshua 5 typifies), there is preparation to enter on possession, and this Colossians 3 sets forth. There we have the progress after you have crossed the Jordan.

The more I think of Christianity the more wonderful it seems to me. We have the natural mind and the mind of Christ; the former thinks only of man; the latter thinks first of God.

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How simple all is if we accept the course of the Spirit! It comes more and more before me the entire newness of the man in Christ. I find I have but a very small idea of the great difference between the earthly man and the heavenly. In the festive day Isaac got his right place, and the rival was now an intruder and cast out. I believe the practical difficulty with us all is to say -- not Adam, in any form or quality, but Christ liveth in me! How blessed! I find here, and everywhere, there is not an idea of changing from Adam to Christ; and with regard to Christ there is little or no conception of the spiritual magnitude of His house, where His honour dwelleth.... Every believer likes to advance himself spiritually, but hardly any one likes to exchange himself for another Man. The first man, with his tastes and abilities all must go, and a new man comes in his place. It is in the second Man that we shall know one another by-and-by, and not in the first man.

I have been bringing before them the Christian's charter. It dates from Christ going away rejected by man. All your privileges are derived from Christ at the right hand of God.

  1. Sins gone -- He has sat down.
  2. The Holy Ghost come -- He is exalted to God's right hand.
  3. He is our Priest in heaven.
  4. Heavenly blessings are ours; He is the Forerunner.
  5. The assembly is His only spot on the earth, and as we understand the mystery, His body is owned on the earth.
  6. The rapture.
  7. We shall reign with Him.


The tidings in your letter are very sad. His way indeed is in the sea, and His footsteps are not known, and yet, "Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron" (Psalm 77:20). I feel much for the bereaved

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parents. They were so attached to that boy, and he seemed so to requite them for all their care. How death rolls in on us here! Surely the more our hearts are in remembrance of the death of Christ the better are we prepared for any wave of death here. It is a land of death. There has been much illness in this house. What appears so afflicting is an occasion and opportunity for the Lord to make Himself known in a deeper and fuller way than when one is not so conscious of one's need of Him. You have learned this, I am sure. The proud natural man tries to bear his sorrows alone. How our hearts are mellowed when we find the Lord bearing us company which He could not do if we were not subject to His word. Martha seems to have gained but little by her sorrow; but Mary, oh, how much! ... With regard to your dear suffering child, I can only lay the matter before the Father of our Saviour, and our Father. There is great rest in this because we are then assured that He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will He not with Him freely give us all things? I feel we are continually brought to face death in one way or another.... But His heart is full of tenderness for you, and if there be sorrow on one side there will be a great compensation for it on some other side, so that you can say, "Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life" (Psalm 23:6). The sorrow is only the evening before the morning. May your hearts be enriched in this trying moment in the knowledge of His sympathy. What a support and cheer to the poor heart to know that He feels and enters into, and supplies suited succour to us in these times of sorrow.

I have been interested in seeing that the greatest gain from sorrow or suffering is the nearness we are drawn into with the Lord thereby. It is only near Him that we acquire divine sensibility, that is, we learn what suits Him. Mary of Bethany learned from His love that He would appreciate a tribute of her love. How blessedly we should move on and act if we had more divine sensibility.

With love and committing you to Him who cares infinitely for you....

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I trust you are learning each day to be more fitted for His pleasure. What a comfort to be here for His pleasure! He was here for us. When we have learned the blessing of His work for us, then we are to enter on a new path -- which is to be here for Him. We may not be able to tell how we are here for Him. The stars shine, they fulfil His pleasure. Enoch walked with God, and he had the testimony that he pleased God. Blessed be His name, walking with Him pleases Him! As my Father hath sent me so send I you. We are all sent by Christ into this world -- each a member of His body to express Him according to our measure. How very interesting it is to be here for Him -- to grow up unto Him in all things who is the Head, even the Christ. To be even a little feather in a beautiful bird is something; but what an honour to be the smallest part of Christ where He is not. We know we are but a poor expression of Him, even though the part allotted to us be a very small one; but the great thing is -- What is our aim? Is it the Head we are thinking of or ourselves? If it be the Head we are ever turning to Him, not forecasting difficulties. He is equal for any emergency that may come. Thus Stephen was prepared. The heart has but the one object -- the member has but the one source of life, joy and strength; the Head is everything to fit, to order, and to delight the member. Service when seen in this light is very interesting.

There is no effort about it, but there is plenty of life and also of power. While I am learning what Christ was for me, I am necessarily occupied with myself and the gain from it. But when I am here for Him He is my object, and the more He is so the more am I in every way conformed to His pleasure, even without seeking it in any particular way.

The Lord cheer your heart with His own company.

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The Lord has two reasons for keeping us here: One is to fit us for the place which He has appointed for us in the future spiritual temple. All the hammering is done now. As the flesh is broken down, and set aside by the Spirit, we are according to our growth in grace fit material for His temple.

No one, it is plain, gets rid of the flesh as a whole, but as it is practically set aside, and grace in the power of Christ's life supersedes it, we are accordingly of that measure and size, and thus one stone differs from another stone, but the preparation goes on now. That only will remain which is of Christ. The other reason for our being kept here is that we may serve Him. He has been rejected here, and we are members of His body, and we are never truly happy in divine joy but as we are true to this most intimate relationship to Him. The more I am, through the Spirit, in the sense of this relationship, the better I do everything, and fulfil every duty. The nearer I am to the Lord (see Ephesians) the more truly do I behave myself in every ordinance of God, because it is of God. Once the heart is convinced of the great reality of this relationship, there is a growing readiness to part company with everything which would interfere with it. Though . 'no infant's changing pleasure is like my wandering mind', God's Spirit in my heart keeps it assured of the blessedness of my great relationship to Him to whom I owe everything; and thus the two reasons for my remaining on the earth mutually help one another. One's Christian life here is therefore most instructive, and incomparably beautiful, for it is all of God, in the midst of the greatest incongruities. The Lord keep us more simply subject to Him in everything; and thus we shall find that the ways of wisdom are ways of "pleasantness and peace".

I need hardly say how pleased and cheered I am at the prospect, if the Lord will, of seeing you this coming autumn in your old quarters. May each of us be more

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devoted to His interests, and the more we are the more we shall find that He is occupied with ours.


How very little the natural heart can solace itself about absent friends, while we have (may we use it better) the deepest consolation in speaking to the Lord for one another, according as we are bound to, or interested in one another.

I was speaking on Matthew 14, the Lord walking on the water -- above all the power of evil here -- entirely new ground. Peter, from affection to the Lord, desires to join Him there, he says, "Bid me come", and Jesus replies, "Come", and he walks on the water to go to Jesus. He is in figure a pattern for us. Jesus is above everything, as Stephen in reality found. We have the power to go to Him there through the Spirit, but we often lack the affection which would make us eager to use our power. When a young bird is fully fledged and has never used its wings, the parent bird rises a little distance from it, and the young bird, in its desire to reach the parent bird, makes an effort to rise too, and then it finds out for the first time that it has wings. We have the power -- the Spirit of God, but we often lack the longing to join Him, and hence we do not know the power and blessedness of being with Him and united to Him. It is entirely new ground, and where faith alone can keep us.

I find in seeking the Lord's sympathy that it is not the way I feel in the trial but the way He would feel in it, that does me the real good. The care of the Father comforts you and binds you to Him. The sympathy of Christ mellows you; for it imparts to you His own feelings and nature.

As to your questions -- I have always considered that it was the same woman in Matthew, Mark and John, who anointed our Lord. There are some differences in the account of it in each, but this is necessary because the Spirit used the incident to convey a distinct and different

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truth in each; as has been said -- there is no repetition in scripture; each gospel is perfect according to its own subject, and in giving the woman's act, the way and connection in which it is given is to enforce and support the subject of each. It is important to see this in reading scripture....

As to those who came out of the graves after Christ's resurrection, I believe they were to testify to the people of the reality of His resurrection, and it may be, as you say, that there will be a public testimony of a like kind -- when the Lord comes for the church....

I understand that the saints will be all gathered to the Lord in the air, and that the world will not know what has become of them, no more than they knew what had become of Elijah in another day.


I feel how little one enters into what the church is to Christ. How one uses words and scarcely seizes the meaning of them. Such as 'members of the body, of his flesh, and of his bones'; and to think that the bond which unites us is the Holy Spirit!

If we were bound together by only a rope we could tolerate many things which the exquisite nature of our bond cannot endure. What is that which has the greatest unity and yet a unity which is most easily disturbed, and in which distances most easily occur?

We little know what is before us each day, and therefore we should go forth stored with manna -- the grace of Christ, which is adequate for every contingency of the day -- the provision before the need, for 'prevention is better than cure', and, this, blessed be His name! is the manner of His grace to us.

Dependence in some form is the great lesson of our wilderness life.

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Many and varied have been the mercies of the past year to each of us. When we take our place simply as children before the Father, it is amazing and most affecting the way He unfolds to us His interest and love for us. Many believers lose or waste much time in becoming assured that they are children. It is necessary and right to be assured, and there is great gain in the steps to this assurance; but there cannot be a cheerful, easy consideration and a laying up in one's heart of all His ways with us, until we are with Him in the peaceful consciousness of children. We all accept this relationship in terms, and yet how little do we restfully sit before Him in the blessed calm, unvarying verity of it. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17).

I enjoyed my time with you much. The Lord was very good to me. Of course, beloved --------'s illness, etc., were reminders that we must be ever dependent on Him who loves our dependence, and rewards us for it. John, when -- or before -- he expressed his desire to the Lord, came nearer to Him than he was before; he then lying on Jesus' breast. The more we know His love the more we like to receive from Him.

There is a time to work and a time to rest.

May the Lord greatly cheer your heart with the fulness of joy of His presence. I believe nothing pleases Him more than that we should be near Himself in perfect happiness of spirit -- happiness which cannot be lost by the losing of any mercy here.


I am glad to hear of the Lord's special favour to you all as a family. When He declares His right to one of our

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children, it is one of the greatest favours He can confer on us, and I have for some time felt that if we had been more truthful in our returning them to the Lord and regarding them as His, as entirely as Hannah did with Samuel, there would be less delay to His declaring before all -- in converting them -- that they are His for all eternity.

... I enjoyed Mr. Darby's speaking very much. He said we ought to have revelations of things in heaven now; we are told to set our affections on things above, how could we (he said) unless we know what they are?

I believe the Lord orders and cares for us, so that we may individually learn how necessary He is to us -- even for quietness and rest. He gives us His peace, and this keeps us unruffled in our troubles.

Each day brings its own trials -- lessons for faith. We are placed in some circumstance where God only can make a way for us. We are not only saved by faith, but if we are true, we live each day by faith.

Faith is seeing God and being sustained, though I see no providences. What a rest to the soul to feel I have God, though I have nothing else. Nature does not like this, but it is the deepest blessing. The wilderness is to teach us dependence. What a real and most blessed thing it is to depend on One -- not only all-powerful, which He surely is, but who loves us perfectly. Oh, how much we lose even now! The Lord keep your heart cheerful in the fresh sense of His favour and thought for you.

How interesting about poor --------! What one faithful man or woman can do!


I find I am not yet up to count it all joy when ye fall into divers trials, though I find the daily trials, when I am fully cast on God, occasions of real blessing. It has been said that a saint can trust God for his salvation and yet not trust Him for temporal things. I do not think this

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is quite true. I believe if I were in simple and sure enjoyment of my place before Him in the unclouded light and unfailing joy of His presence, I could not but be assured in heart that He who had, to the delight of His own heart, procured for me such perfect and eternal blessing would fully provide for me all the lesser things. I apprehend that where there is any lack of confidence in God as to temporal things, there is but a very feeble sense of the love of His heart. If you welcome me to your sitting-room, I may rest assured that the best fare in the house will be tendered to me. If I am enjoying the greatest of God's favours, surely I can count on all lesser ones.

It is marvellous to contemplate the varied and peculiar interest there is in the heart of the Father of mercies and God of all comfort for each of His numerous children.

The Lord greatly and fully bless you both.


Love is always satisfied if its object is served, even though the service be not rendered by oneself. I judge of a person's love by his attention to my smallest wants. I judge of his character by his mode and manner of executing the smallest acts. A person who would assay to air my gloves and through thoughtlessness would let them be burnt, I should set down as having a thought of affection, but not being ruled by it. You see this constantly in Christians with regard to the Lord; there is good intention, a hopeful commencement, but indifferent accomplishment. The Lord said, "I have not found thy works perfect before God" (Revelation 3:2). Nothing tests every principle of execution like the finishing of it. If you are ruled by the principle, you must finish; you must bring your work to perfection. For discernment watch the little acts. For love attend to the little acts, for love has great discernment. For the truth's sake do not let what you have taken in hunting be unprofitable, because you are too slothful to roast it; that is to finish it. After taking pains to air the gloves do not forget to preserve them from too much of the fire. If

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you mind the moral pence the pounds will take care of themselves. You will be wise, you will be loving in truth, and you will be useful.


In consequence of the misapprehension of what I said last Friday week, I trust I may trouble you with a short explanation. My simple intention was to lead souls to see and find the divine sphere which Canaan represents for their rest and occupation, and not the wilderness and its necessities, to which we would too much confine God's love and care for us. Once we are really through the Red Sea -- the death of Christ, we must be in dependence on God here -- and this we are taught in the wilderness. But as a Christian I have much more; I am dead with Christ, this is Jordan; and I am quickened and raised up with Him and made to sit together with Him in heavenly places, and that is Canaan.

Now the question is, and the point of my teaching -- Where do I best learn the goodness and love of God? In the wilderness, from His care, thought and provision for me here, or in Canaan where cities I did not build and vineyards I did not plant are given to me, where the whole heart of God is in its own proper circle and sphere?

I say, if I learn Him even a little in Canaan, I can easily reckon on Him in the wilderness. If I know Him at all in the wide field of His love as it has secured a portion for me in the riches of the glory of His inheritance, I can easily and simply see how comparatively small it is for Him to care for me in my little field in the wilderness. If I am delivered from my enemies and out of myself, I must be in dependence, and nowhere else; but dependence is often lauded because of the gain which accrues from it in the wilderness, and this I said was not the highest thing, nay, that on the contrary it often makes a soul dry, for he is thinking of nothing else but of bringing God into his circumstances, and then rejoicing as he finds Him acting in them, instead

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of rising up and seeing God, as I may say, in His own circumstances, making known His love to me, so that in the knowledge of Him the eyes of my heart are enlightened to know the hope of His calling and the riches of the glory of His inheritance in His saints. Of course, there can be nothing but dependence here, but I find dependence is made the greatest good because of the present gain derived from it in the wilderness, and not because it leads me into the wide domain of my Father's house and glory, certifying to me the depth and fulness of His love; so that people talk of their gains from dependence in the wilderness as if that were the utmost of God's love for us. It is plain that in God's own sphere we shall ever be, and that all we learn of it now is for eternity. The wilderness which teaches me dependence must pass away.


... It is very interesting and helpful to remember all the way which the Lord thy God hath led thee. The initiative is with Him. What have we that we have not received? -- as the Lord says, I will show you plainly of the Father. He shows me. Paul was to be a minister and a witness of the things that he had seen. He shews them to me as He shewed the stars in the sky to Abraham. I am given grace to believe what He reveals to me of His favour to me, and as I believe, I act accordingly. The faith comes before the work of faith, as the revelation of His grace comes before faith; as faith comes before works, so works follow faith, or it would be dead, being alone. Faith carries you safe, then you are assured of what grace has made you, and then works are the results; you must have eyes before you can use them; you must have wings before you can fly. You must be over Jordan yourself, over death in the power of life, before you can consign everything here to death, before you can drive out the Canaanite.

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As you advance on the up-line, so you do on the down-line. If you understand me, it is as you by faith apprehend, where His grace has set you, the more you ascend, the more power you have to descend. The more you are enriched and captivated with His things, the more will you be loosened from natural attractions, and so be of the heavenly colour, expressive of your heavenly taste -- increasing in the high and spiritual things, while correspondingly relinquishing, or dying to, the natural or earthly things.


You will have completed another year in the wilderness when this reaches you.... You have had a suffering time. I picture you to myself a ship moored in harbour. You are not yet on shore, though near enough to see it, like Moses from Mount Pisgah. You are still exposed to storms and the surging of the waves, but not to the same extent as if you were at sea. At sea the ship is on service. You are moored in harbour, waiting for the summons, 'Come away'. The Lord keeps many a ship in harbour after a life at sea. Every ship, whether its cargo be gold or sand, has to endure the rough sea and the boisterous winds, and it is often years before the ship is hauled on shore or put out of commission. It is moored in harbour -- a witness to many spectators of toils and dangers past. It has its own tale of mercy during its time at sea. You can recount a history of manifold mercies, through many rough seas and contrary winds. Now you are in harbour swinging your cable -- your bond to Christ, the anchor of your soul, both sure and steadfast, and entering within the veil. The winds and the waves are still fierce enough to strain the timbers of the outer man; but this is to deepen in your soul the consciousness of the inner man.

It is a blessed experience when the sufferings of the body can be met with the cheerfulness of the new being, and though it be checked in its expression by the pressure on the outer man, yet it learns, in contrast, how entirely free from suffering and sickness the inner man is. I am

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sure it is an immense gain to be conscious of this. It is true there may be a weight on the spirit because of the suffering body, but even then the inner strength may be proved. When there is an unruffled sea, the ship floats along gracefully; but when the storm comes, its strength is proved. I am afraid there is often too much effort to alleviate the sufferings of the body. I do not say that we are not to do so, but promoting the vigour and joy of the inner man would tend in an amazing way to effect this. While we look not on the things that are seen, for they are temporary, but on the things unseen, for they are eternal. You must fix your eyes on the shore, and as the delights there come before your soul, the inner man is renewed day by day. Thus Moses was consoled in spirit, though his heart was sad, as he strained his eyes over the land of Canaan.

The Lord keep you, dear --------, learning how the light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory -- while you look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are unseen. This is the one grand recipe. May you abundantly know the virtue of it, and while you are in harbour be a witness of the grace which has brought you safely so near the shore, and has given you mile-marks all along your course, Ebenezers of His unfailing care and mercy through many a dreary day and stormy night.


We are but passing from a very imperfect state into a perfect and entirely beautiful one. We are but going a long voyage, often rough, but we are to land on the shore of endless rest and unfading blessedness, of which we get glimpses as one does of lights on shore, and the better the telescope, the more earnest the eye, the more distinctly and vividly are the distant lights brought near. It is not the rough waters or the dark sky which occupy the mind, but the lights on shore, which attract you, bid you welcome and encourage you. Stephen saw those

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lights, and Jesus in the midst of them! preparing and strengthening his heart for the last narrow strait before entering harbour. It is so natural and real, and it is a great help to us to see what the Spirit of God has done in one like ourselves. But the eye must be turned to the shore. "He, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven" (Acts 7:55). The Spirit is the telescope, but the telescope is for the eye (the eyes of our heart), and as the eye is in it, the distant shore with its boundless light and the Person of our Saviour are brought nigh to us.

The Lord give you to be ever in the Spirit using the telescope. We should be able to ask one another day by day -- how do you see, and what do you see? Are the lights on shore becoming more visible? I cannot but rejoice in your blessing. Honour to my Lord in you and your own happiness comprise the desires of my heart for you, and I look to Him to give me the desires of my heart for you, for His name's sake.


All our circumstances are intended to call forth the grace we require, whether pleasing or painful. In Christ we live outside of them all, while the life that we live in the flesh we "live by the faith of the Son of God". We often require more grace in pleasant circumstances than in painful ones, because we look for it less. In every circumstance we have to live by the faith of the Son of God. The real exercise is, how would He live in the very circumstance in which I am? This can only be found out as we are in communion with Him. I suppose in a spiritual sense we all pass through a winter as well as a summer. The winter is the dying away of the natural growth, though then there is also the real strengthening of the new, we pass through a testing time -- "the trying of your faith". As the outer man perisheth, the inner man is renewed day by day. The crossing over Jordan is a real thing. It is the realisation that I have died with Christ, and that in

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His life -- the life of Him with whom I have died -- I part company with all that is of man, and that it is a real relief to be apart from the first man. Though I am not to be burdened with its sin, I am never free from the burden of its infirmity; and the more we accept our place with Christ in life, the more the sense of infirmity or death will bear down upon us here.

I was speaking last night on John 14, the place in heaven and the power from heaven. Though we are not yet actually in our place, Christ's death has set us free from the place and state of judgment, and has set us in the place and state of favour -- His own place with God.


The defect of some is trying to kill the old man before they have learned what it is to be outside of oneself in His presence, and the more you are there, the more you will hail the cross where you are dead with Christ. Beholding the Lord's glory you are assimilated to Him. 'In this thy nature grow' is true of you. There is no effort, there is simply a continuance, and thus you become a body of light. You are transformed into a state that you did not ask for or think of. The righteousness of the glory makes us at home in it.


The Lord is one and His name one. He only can fully satisfy my heart. He knows what suits it, and He only has enough, and more than enough to meet it. Do I want strength? Who can surpass His? Love and care? Whose can surpass His? Wisdom? He is the wisdom of God. There is nothing that the human heart (made by Himself) requires, that it cannot find abundantly in Him. The more we visit the poor and suffering in this world, the less we think of our own sorrows, and the more we are touched with the way the Lord supports His own in the greatest sufferings.... I had a taste of what it is to part company with all here, and to find in the Lord enough. What

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gracious ways He uses to teach us the complete emptiness of everything here, and not the mere emptiness, but supplanting it by the most blessed reality -- the Lord Himself. He remaineth; and He leads us into experiences of desolation here in order that we may not only see how little we know Him as the source of all joy, but in order that we may turn to Him and find not only relief but full resource in Himself. It is only in solitude that you realise this.

I am much interested in the subject of sanctification. If there is anything that I am naturally proud of, any accomplishment or quality, it will sink into death as a progress in Christ; but I get what is so infinitely better that I feel I have not lost but gained.

The discipline we receive in this world is to separate us from it. By grace we are not of it. We should naturally like to find everything pleasant here. The Father's discipline is that we should be "partakers of his holiness"; that is, to be as completely separate from everything that is not of God as He is. We belong to Christ in heaven, and He has sent us into this world for Himself. We are often thinking of going out of it to Him, instead of apprehending and owning that we do not belong to the world, but we belong to Him who has been rejected by the world, and that we are only in the world because He has sent us into it. He would not say that He sends us into the world if we were not through His grace morally out of it.

It is very interesting and encouraging to see how every one in the long run reaches the top desire of his heart. "He that seeketh findeth". Devotedness is what we most need. May we be more in prayer for it.


In Philippians 3:8 the apostle counts all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge, not of salvation, but of Christ as He is now in glory, the Solomon. The queen of Sheba instructs us in the steps by which we come to this. First seeking the place where He is; second, confiding

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all our inmost heart to Him; and third, enraptured with all His things, which ends in her having no spirit in her -- she is entranced, and I believe it is here that worship flows out.... I feel we know very little of the gain from having a Saviour in glory, and it is not easy to distinguish the measure of blessing which comes from Christ dead and risen, and from Christ glorified. For instance, the Holy Ghost comes from Christ glorified, and yet the knowledge of remission of sins ensures the sealing of the Holy Ghost. Again, the hope of glory is assured on justification, and yet there is much more. Another thing has come very strongly before me, and that is that we do not apprehend fully the complete sweeping away of man -- the Adam, in the death of Christ, so that there is nothing left to us but Christ our life, and He is in heaven. May we know this better -- very blessed even to know that it is so.

I was speaking on Hebrews 13:10 and Matthew 27:51. It was all bright for us inside with God, when Jesus died, the veil was rent. There is man crucified on the earth where the judgment is -- where man is; but there is a Man glorified in heaven where God is. You must keep these two together in order to understand the gospel. Each acts and reacts on the other. Inside I am as the glorified Man. On the earth I am as the crucified One, able to say with Paul, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14).

The Lord bless you much.


I trust there will be a more decided waiting on the Lord with you, now that the chief support is being removed. It is often the Lord's way, as with children; the nurse is removed when the children are old enough to walk. The testing brings the real measure of the faith into view, and this works endurance. It is a great thing to be assured that I am dependent on God, and that I know the good of the dependence. There must be exercises and difficulties, or the blessedness of dependence would not be known....

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How little we realise the magnitude of the fact that God is our Father! If a man had an emperor for his father he would not go to a peasant to ask for help. We cannot naturally bear the delay and suspense to which we are subjected in turning to God. But the delay is simply to test our faith. He that believeth shall not make haste. I find many rum to God for help, and some have faith in God, who do not understand what it is to have faith in Christ. Faith in God is dependence on Him for help and blessing. Faith in Christ is the practical abandonment of man's ways and hopes for Christ. Blessed work -- to press on souls to have faith in Christ. How blessed that it is in His place we find repose. May you have much of this repose.


It is a good sign on all sides when children prefer their home to any other place. How blessed if this were true of each of us with respect to our home in the Father's house. The reason of our not doing so is that we do not sufficiently know the joys of it.


He that believeth shall not make haste. I suppose the more truly we are walking with the Lord, the more consciously dependent we are; we come in contact with things we do not venture to alter ourselves, but we wait on God to see what He will do. I think we are more ready to look for the care of the Father than for the sympathy of Christ. If we were not kept waiting there would be no need for sympathy, that is the sense of how He feels the trial. How beautiful was the Lord's dependence! As a rule we never think of dependence when we have the means to do anything that we wish. The blessed Lord had all means and yet He was ever dependent. His means were God's means, and He only used them as God desired. A great lesson for us. I feel as to the present time, "To whom much is given of him much is required". Things that would have been suffered in other Christians will not be suffered in us.

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It is so much with us in this day like the two and a half tribes, accepting the heavenly truth, and even suffering for it, but not enjoying it, because the heart is engrossed with our natural interests on this side Jordan. We some-times expect that a thing which has begun badly will end well, but that which is crooked cannot be made straight. We must begin over again like the Nazarite.

May we live each day as if it were our last day down here. I mean in a two-fold way -- on the one hand knowing the sufficiency of Christ as if He were at the door, and on the other, in simple readiness for Him.


It is a wonderful thing to be part of the bride of Christ where the man of this day has rejected Him. The weak thing in man's eye confounds that which is mighty. May each of us be so true to Him that He can confide His present mind to us, not only for our benefit but for His pleasure. It is a great thing even to have such a purpose before our hearts.


I believe very decided blessing will be the result of our waiting on the Lord. We have learned afresh and in a very touching way "they that seek me early shall find me" (Proverbs 8:17). I believe that if brethren were faithful the Lord would greatly help them. It is very evident that every one who has been standing in any degree for the truth is greatly invigorated. He, blessed be His name, assures me more and more that if I would depend on Him I should not be disappointed. As the sufferings of Christ abound in us so is our consolation by Christ. I am confounded when I dwell on His sufferings.

... I trust the Lord has been with us, and where He is there must be progress. I long to hear where the ark has found out a place for you. I think the ark is the type of Christ in glory....

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The Lord bless your going out and your coming in. The divine path is an impossible one to man. God cannot prosper any other. From Abram down to us it has been increasingly divine.

I have been pondering with great delight on the love of Christ. How it advances from conversion. I have been trying to grasp or rather to apprehend the love as it is known in certain stages of our spiritual history -- conversion, liberty, company, union, and communion. Where are you?

I have written a paper on 'For Christ'. It sounds severe to say so, but what we all lack is 'virtue'. "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies" (Proverbs 31:10). That is perfect fidelity to Christ. I am often distressed that the word seems to be received, and yet it is not effectual. I am sure we do not contemplate enough. I am writing on the four stages of Christian life. First -- Relief through His blood, this is marked by the soul ever dwelling on it. Second -- Personal acquaintance with Christ, marked by surrender for Him. Third -- Companionship with Him, marked by turning away from everything where He is not. Fourth -- Union, marked by being "virtuous" -- entirely devoted to His interests. There are many brothers here, but there is no one who has power to give a colour to others. I do not mean merely gift, because I sometimes find a saint with little gift exercising a great deal of moral influence in a place.... May heavenly joys abound to you -- I think joy is connected with the Lord personally.


I believe we have admired the thoughts and counsels of God too much as simply His, as communications from Him, rather than as the revelation of Himself to us. We have seen them as beautiful pictures which we were permitted to look at, rather than as what we have to appropriate and adopt, and the reason of this is that we have not realised our identification with Christ when surveying

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these divine treasures. If I am of Christ, I see and admire everything that is of Him, not as it were apart from myself; I admire it with all the consciousness that it is mine, because I am of Him and that I have to adopt and appropriate it. Hence everything which ministers to my divine taste announces to me what belongs to me as of Christ and what I have to take possession of. The beautiful thing that I see is mine. What I admire I acquire, where my foot rests that is my possession for ever. You must not rest satisfied with having the taste, however accurate, you must see that you acquire practically what you admire. It is yours if you see yourself in Christ in that new and divine order in which God in His grace has set you before Himself. But to appropriate it involves and demands the refusal and renunciation of that old state in which we were at a distance from God, and where we could never find it possible to appropriate anything divine, though glad to receive mercies from God's hand. There never can be appropriation unless the distance and that which caused it, are consciously gone, because when they are gone we are consciously in Christ and therefore near Him. Without the sense of nearness to Christ, and according to God's mind, there never can be appropriation or the sense of having a right to appropriate. You may admire truth like little children who are taken into a museum, but not allowed to touch anything, much less to take anything away. How different when we are introduced to the treasures that are in Christ, as heirs, with the full assurance that they are ours. We can admire truth, but it is in appropriating and adopting it that we really possess it. You will say -- how is one to begin? By seeking sedulously -- breaking your heart over it -- to appropriate what you admire. I find I have to do so, but it is always with the deep and blessed assurance of my right and title to it, and the more I acquire the more I deepen in my desires, and in my taste for what is revealed to me.

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How little we like to learn death! "We who live are alway delivered unto death"; but prior to this there is a purpose to bear about in my body the dying of Jesus. I believe as the Spirit of God works in me, so have I power to refuse the old man, that Christ may appear in me. I think we behold the Lord's glory first. Like the queen of Sheba, we are entranced, and as we are supremely happy, apart, and morally severed from our own sensualities, we can readily bear about in our bodies the dying of Jesus. The old man, who had no place in the presence of our Solomon, where our happiness was unbounded, is positively refused as we walk here in the Spirit; and then God helps us; we are delivered unto death; the things that would hold us are actually cut off, like Jerusalem to Paul. I mean that the measure of our power is the extent in which the old man is refused, as having been terminated in the death of Christ. It is not power merely to see our calling, or to apprehend the meaning of it in scripture; but power is shown in the removal of obstacles, the overcoming of obstructions, conquering and to conquer. The Spirit would manifest Christ fully if there were no hindrances in us, and therefore He removes the hindrances. When we accept death with Christ, the Spirit has a fair field for the display of Christ in us. Thus a servant's power is in proportion to the extent of his bearing about in his body the dying of Jesus.


... While the outer man is perishing the inner man is being renewed; this is quite contrary to all human judgment. One is failing, and to man's eye, all is going; while, on the contrary, the new, the inner man is coming out day by day in a fuller way. I have no doubt, though we do not see it, that the close is the most advanced

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moment, the ruin in Eden all removed, and in its stead man clothed in the most superb way.... We all admire roses growing on a briar, and we like to see and eat the apples from the graft on a crab tree; but the greatest living wonder is to see Christ displayed in our bodies, where the briar or the crab tree still exists. It is not dead, but to be treated as dead while it is alive. If it were really dead there would be an end of exercise, and an end to the daily marvel of the life of Christ manifested in the mortal body....

I am seeking to press that it is as we are in heaven -- Christ's place -- that the unfitness of the old man is exposed, and the necessity and fitness of the new man is known.


I was dwelling this morning on Christ as the Solomon or wisdom. I read Proverbs 8, drawing attention to the little company at Bethany, how they were occupied with the Lord in glory. They had known Him in His life down here, and after His death here an entirely new thing engrossed them -- the Lord in heaven -- with the certainty that they were as dear to Him there as they had been when He was here, and as fit for Him there as here. In the evening I spoke on Isaiah 6, where the prophet was cleared before the throne, connecting it with 2 Corinthians 3:18, where it is not that we are cleared but assimilated to the glory of the Lord our Saviour. Peter in Luke 5 was not only cleared but made fit to be a companion for his Saviour here. We are still more, we are made fit to be His companions in glory. In Isaiah's time the Person who finished the work had not come, the excess of grace could not be known; now we are not only cleared but we are fit to be companions of the One who cleared us in the highest glory to which we are assimilated -- all glorious within. It is very fine!

What are the marks of being heavenly? There are marks of being in health, you cannot mistake them, they speak for themselves.

Farewell! Rejoice in the Lord always.

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Do you believe that the highest, greatest and best desire of your heart is yours, you have only to enjoy it? The highest, greatest and best desire of your new affections is to be in conscious union with Christ, no higher position could be given to you; but though it is yours, you do not enjoy it but as you realise it in His presence. Rebekah came to Isaac.

Without nearness to Him, you can never apprehend union with Him. Grace has accomplished everything, but while many are clear about grace, they are not clear that the Spirit in me is the measure of my knowledge and acceptance of the grace; and He makes no mistake. He never passes me from one form to another until He has made me fit for it. The flesh cannot help. The effect of beholding Christ's glory is like the moon reflecting the sun, partial at times because the earth intervenes. The great effect of being near the Lord in glory is that your self is in abeyance. This it is that causes the natural reluctance to be near. We must part with ourselves, but we rejoice in it when we really desire to be influenced by Him. If there were no self there would be a body of light, not by reading or praying, but by being near Him. There would be transformation. Until one is at home with Christ where He is, one cannot appreciate union, for when union is known, individuality is merged; I am my Beloveds -- I belong to Another....

Love is only known as you are near. Love lives on reciprocities. See Canticles. It is by His dwelling in my heart by faith that I know His love.

I trust each of you can thank the Lord for some special communication from Himself during the meetings. I should like to hear your thanksgiving to the Lord; I do not ask you to tell me. It is a great blessing when one can own to Him any grace which one has received from Him. "She fell down before him and told him all the truth".

The Lord grant that each of His own may have received

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something from Himself. He likes the heart to be conscious of His gift and of His voice. In Canticles 2:8, it is the voice of my Beloved; and then in chapter 2:10, "My beloved spake". May you sit under His shadow with great delight, and may His fruit be sweet to your taste. Wonderful to know that the love in Christ which we taste of now, we shall live in for ever with one another by-and-by. May the Lord greatly bless each of you.


For a saint to have solitude is of the deepest importance, because it is then the heart renews its acquaintance with Him who only has entrance into our most solitary retreats. When we are thoroughly alone and apart, He loves to be our visitor: it is, so to speak, the time for Him to come, like the ray of light which penetrates into the dark cavern wherever it can; and to the inmate of the cavern never was light more prized. I believe there are two things learned in solitude that cannot be learned otherwise -- one, that I see myself apart from every one and every thing, a very necessary matter; and the other, that I see the Lord in quite a peculiar light, in a singular and unique way, apart from everything and every one. His individuality, blessed be His name, comes out to me in solitude in a way it never does in a crowd. Canticles gives you very much the idea of this: what one is oneself when quite alone, and what He is to one thus alone. When I am alone with Him He obtains His singularly pre-eminent place, not as a Saviour, though He is that to faith; but He is known to the heart as the sun. He "rules the day", so that when all other objects are visible, He is still entirely pre-eminent, and the sense of His pre-eminence, well-known and well-sustained, is the most effectual resource for the heart all the day long, and abides with it through its most anxious engagements. In solitude with Him the value and resource He is to the heart are learned, and when busied in duties it turns to Him as the needle to the pole, or as the flower to the sun. Where the soul has

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acquired the sense of His pre-eminence in its solitude, when it has to return to others and to duties everything falls in relation to Him. He is first, and things and people assume and derive importance, not as to whether they are pleasing or otherwise, but as they relate to Him. You make the claims on you the sun of your system, instead of Christ; hence, whatever seems to come short throws your day into darkness, because the claims are not answered to as you desire them to be, and there is the sense of an eclipse. If the Lord were the distinct, known magnet to you, every duty would be less anxious, and you would fulfil each better, and instead of being saddened and disappointed, you would feel Him saying, "She hath done what she could", and with this you would have a weight that would render whatever you did more appreciated.

It is not the amount one does, nor the consciousness of one's own usefulness which makes one happy in serving, but the assurance that one would be called on and used in case of need. Love never likes to see its object needing. It serves because it loves; you are trying to arrange your world with only a lamp in your hand; why, if you had a sun all would be easy enough. It is in solitude with the Lord that one learns to find Him as the Sun. When the heart has found its rest and satisfaction in Him, it can turn to Him naturally and continually in every circumstance.


I fear for you being overweighted with usefulness.... True usefulness is the result of capacity before the usefulness was attempted; hence the usefulness bears the mark of the capacity which renders it of quality, not quantity! I do not object to usefulness, I rejoice in it, if it be well maintained in keeping with an inner supply giving your capacity for it, but the roots must increase if the branches increase. You would not be a flower which is only sustained in bloom in water; you must give yourself to more prayer and reading than ever because of the outward

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demand; the roots must be more active in deepening because the branches are so extending and exercised; you cannot force fruit trees two seasons in succession, and if you are forced for fruit this time you must retire the next season and do only a little.

... If you do not keep the sabbatical year, you will, like Israel, be carried into captivity that the land may enjoy her sabbaths; repeated cropping wears out the best land; and the good of fallow is that the soil is exposed to the atmosphere, and thus prepared for fruitfulness. Israel lost the brightest period of favour and blessing when they overlooked the sabbatical year. In that year they were made conscious that they were the objects of God's favour, and though they toiled not they were partaking of the fruits of the earth with a sense of divine favour that was incomparable. Great assiduity is no evidence of high quality. When Peter went a fishing he was hard at work, yet it was all a mistake. The great assiduity was only to conceal the lack of Christ's presence and leading. I am only anxious lest you should suffer spiritually, because you do not observe the rest which is the great moment for your soul to receive from the Lord the virtues which would enable you to do works of the first quality.

My soul blesses the dear men who go out ready to lay down their lives in the Lord's service. I encourage them and commend them to the Lord fully and heartily. If you go to minister to them as John (they had John for their minister), it is the peculiar province of women. Women ministered to the Lord. See Luke 8:3.


It is one thing to be silent and passive under suffering, and quite another to be conscious of its needs be, and (though at first it may be only in a very partial way) to derive such real good and help from it, that instead of lamenting, one is owning to God His wisdom and thoughtfulness in putting one through such necessary discipline. Now this latter can never be reached but through exercise

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of soul. The trial one feels much ought to exercise one much before God. If I am assured that His love is as great as His power, and neither knows measure nor end, then must I not be exercised before Him as to why in His love He should allow me to be so afflicted? The very exercise engages and connects my soul with Him, and this nearness acquires for me help and instruction about many other things. The waiting of the soul on God in the time of affliction, or because of affliction, is requited with a growth and strength in the knowledge of God which tends to relieve one of the suffering that was the original cause of waiting on Him; and the soul once truly habituated to wait on God learns so to value it that it never can again do without it. And then it learns to say, "All my springs are in thee" (Psalm 87:7). The fact of the desolation which one feels here when a beloved one has been removed, and the hesitancy with which one refuses to submit to it proves that the heart required the trial in order to discover to itself that it had rested and hoped in something outside of God. And the exercise of soul consequent on the affliction leads to that nearness and waiting on God which supplies what was before unknown. Most blessed when it has this, its true and intended effect. I do hope, dear --------, that all this sorrow may lead your soul to the solid rest and resources which can only be found near the Lord, and from Him. Beware of being sentimental in divine things; I mean by sentimental, your thoughts of Christ centring in yourself. The tendency is to make oneself the centre of everything passing, how it pains or cheers oneself, ever musing on oneself as if one were the one solitary object for the sunshine or the cloud to rest on, watching every alternation as it falls on or visits oneself. Jacob was of this order of mind at Shalem. A soul in the strength of Christ regards everything as He would regard it, and therefore he regards it with reference to God, and not to man. This throws one out of self into the wise and grand purpose of His present counsel and work. My interests and concerns fit in, in the great circle of His interests and concerns, and I see my own in connection and relation with all His. When affliction occurs I accept it as a call to me, and as an aid from Him, to be more separate

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from self -- a check, a breaking-off of some unknown or unperceived growth of self, and hence redounding to a deeper and fuller abiding altogether in Him. If I am a hero to myself, or a martyr, I am sentimental. My thoughts are occupied about myself, and I look at and regard divine things as they suit my thinkings about myself, and not as answering to what He is thinking of me. I am confining the Lord to myself instead of rising up and seeing myself lost in Him, and then following Him in all the greatness and blessedness of His work and ways down here.


The more one is with the Lord and the nearer one is to Him the more one is comforted in the assurance of the constancy and perfection of His care and provision for the loved ones from whom we are separated in this passing scene. We may have minuteness of thought for them, but He not only has that, but He proves it perfectly and continually by minuteness of attention. What a place the angels have under Him! One is almost ready to envy their place and service for our absent friends, and yet when we understand the gracious way in which He bends His ear to our prayers for one another, our service to them is higher than that of the angels.

Acquaintance with the sorrows and dreariness of this world does not wean one from it. I think those who have no knowledge of the scene where partings are unknown, and have never tasted of the truth and depth of divine love, are more easily naturalised to this scene of sorrow and separation. We are unfitted for it by knowing and belonging to a scene in every way perfect, and yet we are better fitted to bear with it because we are learning to expect nothing from it, assured that we have everything outside of it. I can only say to you as I say to myself, Keep your eye on the One gone up. That is the line now opened up for us by the Spirit of God. "He, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and

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saw the glory of God, and Jesus" (Acts 7:55). That is the line, the only line for suffering, serving ones down here. When the failure on earth is complete this line is opened up, and as you feel the dearth and weariness here, simply turn your eye upward; all power and comfort must now come from above. As your eye becomes educated in the exaltation of Jesus, so will your heart be invigorated to endure for Him down here in everything, like the first martyr, though in comparison it may be in a very small measure. You have learned what it is to turn to the Lord, and to find Him a very present help in trouble, a most useful step for a life of true service down here. I think this step may be reached apart from any decided course of service, but there cannot be any continued service until this step, this blessed knowledge, has been attained. You know the entrée, so to speak, and have used it; and once you have really used it, unless the soul becomes muddy through carelessness, the resource thus learned can never be forgotten. On the contrary, even in perplexity one can say, "I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High" (Psalm 77:10).

You can say, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1). This is blessed, but it does not put your soul into a knowledge of God greater than your wants; there is another step, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters" (verse 2). Then it is His abundance that occupies you, and not only His ability to meet your wants. I desire for you the restfulness that this confers, and from it flows everything suited for the exigencies of your journey here below. It is the variety of your circumstances which gives occasion for the beautiful tints which will cover your table here in the wilderness.

May you be kept studiously seeking the rest which He gives. Do not let other objects turn you aside so that when the demand comes you may be found unprepared. Your line of service is plainly marked for you; rejoice in it, and serve with Christ's grace in it, pleasing Him, and a comfort and cheer to one who can hardly fail to pray for you.

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I believe some Christians think they have nearness to the Lord and spiritual happiness who very little understand either the one or the other. It is quite possible for a soul to rest satisfied with a certain quietude, and to be in a degree devoted and devotional, who is not near the Lord. It is quite possible for a Christian to go on in great darkness with a good conscience, their good works and good reputation stand them in good stead, and they go on without exercise, save now and again they are distressed when they have fallen below their own standard. I daresay Peter did not feel any disturbance from his conscience when he was fishing, nor Paul when he went into the temple at the instigation of James, but I need hardly say that if either had been walking very near the Lord, he would not have done so. The conscience is no criterion unless it is daily enlightened by the word of God. The power and wonders of God never touch you like the still small voice. Your feet are washed by Christ's words to your soul, and the soul that trembleth at His word is the one that is really near Him, walking in the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. You will always find that there is more reverence and fear of the Lord in a soul that is walking near Him than in one who feels less the evil within and without, and therefore assumes to be happy and in a place of nearness which in truth he is not. Reverence and value for the word of God is an external test as to whether one is walking with Him. The word is regarded not merely as a marvellous revelation, but in relation to himself individually. Not a word he quotes of it -- if he is before the Lord -- but sends its ring to my soul of its quality and metal.

But there is also an internal test, if I may say so. If you tell me what your soul is occupied with I can tell you where you are, and I believe a person is often very well satisfied with himself for a good long prayer (do not smile, we have deceitful hearts); again for visiting some needy one, and again, because we have acquitted ourselves

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to the approbation of others. And a still more insidious state is that of occupation with our own failures. How often does one think well of his state because he has raked up its evil (and even that is only the kind that he feels most)! True, most true, you must see the evil when entering into the light; but you cannot enjoy the Lord until the clouds have been removed by His word declaring His grace to the confessing soul.

I have noticed what would prove that the soul was not near the Lord. I must just add that the one great expressive mark that a soul is near the Lord is that he is receiving light and instruction from Him, and such a soul could never be statu quo, or even only improved, or good, as men say. You may find Christians very good and proper who are really thinking more of themselves than of the Lord, exacting love and consideration instead of truly in the fear of the Lord labouring to confer it. Whenever a soul makes itself the object the Lord is far from it.


I think we all would like to have our David where we are, as Jonathan did, but affection for Him, like that of Ruth for Naomi, would leave all our own surroundings to be with Him where He is, as Peter did when he left the ship and walked on the water to go to Jesus. We can know His services His attentions, and support from Him, from where He is, but we cannot join Him, that is be with Him, without crossing the Jordan, seeking the things which are above where Christ sitteth.

I was very glad to get your letter and to get good tidings of you all. I wish you had told me the part of my word on Hebrews which particularly interested you. I believe when we are near the Lord, He gives us first what He sees we need most, as He declared forgiveness to the palsied man before He relieved him of the palsy. It is very cheering to be assured that many hearts were drawn nearer to the Lord during the meetings in --------. The more I ponder and hear the more I am conscious that the Lord

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greatly favoured us. I long to see some who have been drawn away restored, and that vitality might so increase in the sound members that the unsound ones might be re-animated in such true divine vigour as to be set free from their surroundings.

Whenever you have good tidings, "snow in summer", you might share with me. My love to --------. May she sit under His shadow with great delight and may His fruit be sweet to her taste.


How blessed that we are to remember all the way by which He has led us, and it is an immense cheer to our hearts that He who was down here and made the path of life up to glory where He is, is the same as He was down here. The result of His work is that, "As he is, so are we in this world" (1 John 4:17), a statement which unfolds the countless blessings at this present time, for it is in this world.

We do not see Him alone in His greatness as angels do, but as we see Him, we see what is ours in Him, so that I am not occupied with what I may feel I have, but whenever I see Him I know that I have what He has as Man. It is from the sun that all light comes; I can never keep the light of it (except artificially) after it has set; but if every time I had received light from the sun, that light remained in me as my own, this would in a feeble way explain the effect of my seeing Christ by the Spirit. When I see Him, I see that He is not only everything in Himself, but that I am complete in Him, and I enjoy this in the measure that I see Him, not as I find it in myself. With the sun, the light and heat are gone from me as soon as the sun disappears, but with Christ every sight I have of Him is true in me for ever, for it was true for me in Him before I had enjoyed it. This has a most wonderful effect because I am not looking in to see what I possess, but I am looking full at my treasure -- Christ, and as I behold Him I comprehend what I possess in Him, and I receive what I see in Him without in any way lessening what is in Him. The

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light of the sun is not lessened by all that I appropriate of it, but it does not remain with me as the grace of Christ does. Beholding Him by the Spirit, I am formed in Him. Wondrous grace! and that I should be conformed into the same image. It is not only that He makes me at ease in His company, but He assimilates me to Himself!

He gives not as the world but shares
All He possesses with His loved co-heirs. (Hymn 249)

It is very interesting to trace how we learn, that wherever we see Him, determines our portion at the moment and for ever, from the first dawn of the soul's eternal day, when the eye is opened, to see Him as the Saviour, like the thief on the cross. Jonathan beheld David when he slew Goliath. He death in death laid low. But our David -- the greater than David -- not only has borne my judgment, but I see Him risen from the dead, and alive for ever more. He is the joy of my heart and I am as He is; not only is the judgment gone in the place of judgment, as with Israel in the night of death (Exodus 12) when sheltered by the blood of the lamb, but I see Him raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. And that as He has risen out of judgment I am not only safe from judgment, but I am on entirely new ground, the ground of righteousness which He is on. I see Him there and therefore I am there. He has rescued me from the man under judgment and now I am the righteousness of God in Him who bore the judgment. When I see Him, I see where His infinite grace has set me, and I see His acceptance and I share it. Next, I am in liberty because He is; the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death, and as to my path here my power for everything through the Spirit is in keeping with the place in which I see Christ. If I see Him on a pillow in the ship in a storm the effect of it is that I am restful -- as He is. If I see Him walking on the water, I can walk there too, for His power is mine. Hence, as I see Him ascended, I see that I am in the same relationship to His God and Father as He is, as He said to Mary Magdalene, "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17).

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Again, as I see Him as Head of His body the church, I fall into my place in His body because I hold the Head; I know myself to be a component part of His body; and lastly, the same power that set Him on high now "worketh in us"; and when He appears "we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).


You are brought through winters morally in order to prove the real amount of your resources, and what you have stored up in the summer. You are only aware of your acquisitions as they are required. I am not to be measuring my height or weighing myself in order to ascertain my progress.

As your day, so shall your strength be. "My grace is sufficient for thee" (2 Corinthians 12:9), is the answer to faith. It is not how I have grown. When I am really growing I have not the sense of growing, but I have an increased sense of demand from all around and of supply from Christ. I am feeding more on His death, and I need it more. This entails death on myself as a man, while it introduces me the more fully into His life. The more I grow, the more I require sap for an increased number of branches and buds, leaves, flowers and fruit. Look at an old tree, see the numberless demands and the vast supplies which that tree requires, though its growth is not so visible as that of a young tree. It is easy to mark growth in a very young tree; young trees require to be very often transplanted to prevent their heads growing beyond their roots. The roots should increase before the branches. It is as I increase in divine growth that I the more need Christ and find Christ for everything. The more I grow, the more I seek Him, because I feel I want more; and the more I find, the more I seek; hence seeking Him is the real mark of growth.

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The effect of knowing the Lord's priestly service in the lowest or weakest place at our own side, and the highest and brightest place with God, is to draw our hearts to Him. It is not the good of heaven, as the spies could tell of the good of Canaan, but that the object of the heart is there, and therefore to that place we repair. When Mary of Bethany lost Lazarus, the Lord consoled her by His sympathy, but though Lazarus was restored and her sorrow removed, yet when it came to Christ's own death, she does not think of her gain as to Lazarus, for she now had a greater loss. She avows that the One man -- the chief -- the One whom man rejects, is the first to her.... When Lazarus died her wants were increased; the little that remained was doubly valuable. But when Christ died she did not want anything here; and so the best and most valuable thing that she had she consecrates to Him. At any rate His death is more to her than the death of Lazarus. The real proof of love to Christ is that you leave the place that suits you for the place that suits Him, and where He is. It is Himself who draws you. No one else will detach us from earth.

Many would anoint the Lord as the woman in Luke 7 did, who would not bury their dignity with Him as did the one in John 12. There are few who can happily consecrate everything that would tend to give them distinction here to Christ in His death.


... In how many and various ways are we weaned from all here! One line of trial would not be sufficient; that would only make us bend to one side, as a tree does when it is exposed continually to the wind in one direction. The trying and testing must come from every side, so

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that there can be no space but upwards. So with Stephen, "He, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven" (Acts 7:55). "Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations" (James 1:2). If the trial is only from one side, one may seek refuge in the shelter on another side: hence the trials are divers, that we may not seek for shelter on any side here, but find it all above with Christ. We often see a bird when it sees that there is danger, and that it must not continue pecking about, it takes to wing and flies off, and then its proper strength comes out; and so with us, the trying of our faith worketh endurance. When we say that any one stands the cold well, or stands heat well, we mean that such an one has constitutional strength to resist those untoward influences, and this constitutional strength is proved, and in fact disclosed, by the very trying of it. The strength would never have been known if it had not been subjected to the trial, but being known, there is the consciousness of possessing power to endure. If I have the power of Christ, I can endure, and the trial discloses that I have the power.

May you in spirit realise and enjoy the light streaming out of heaven from Christ; though all be dark and sorrowful around, there is a vista for the soul into the presence of Christ, so direct and so bright, that everything else is dull and insipid.


Christ is everything in John 10:1-- 16. Mark the word "He". 1, He entered into the fold. 2, He led His own sheep out of it. 3, He goeth before them. 4, He is the door. 5, He gives eternal life. 6, He is the Good Shepherd. In death He removes all against us, we are in the same intimacy with Him as He is with the Father. This is the climax. 7, is that we are preserved by Him. This is His side (John). In Hebrews it is our side (Paul), leading us into the blessedness of our position on the earth. 1, God

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speaks by His Son. 2, He is in the midst of His brethren. 3, He is Apostle and High Priest. 4, Son over His own house. 5, When, like Israel, we are discouraged with a sense of our weakness, He sympathises with us; His grace is sufficient for us. 6, He is the Minister of the sanctuary; we enter the Holiest as the consecrated company. We are His companions. 7, In His power we run the race on to Him where He is. My impression is that the Holiest on our side answers to the intimacy on His side. You can go no higher -- a wonderful position on the earth!


I see John's holy zeal to secure for God His place on the earth. The most grievous failure in Christendom is the church -- God's object; the seat of His mind and interests. We are confronted on every side with huge material imitation of the house of God. Where is the spiritual one, the real one to expose the counterfeit? We may see glaring defects in the imitation, but the divine way of correcting the false is by setting forth and maintaining the true. John would have the church on the earth up to John 17. He cannot have it so until by Paul's ministry the church has gone to heaven, and thus he can from there bring her down to be fully for God on the earth as the heavenly city.


I was saying this morning that in order to enjoy and use the power given to us we must be dependent on Christ, as Elisha was on Elijah. One must have the sense -- I cannot do without Thee; thy Spirit only can sustain me here in Thine absence, and nothing can satisfy me but Thy company.

In the afternoon I spoke from 2 Corinthians 3:18 -- our right through grace to the glory, and the effect of it. Jonah typifies Christ's sufferings, Solomon, His glory. His sufferings obtain relief for us from all our misery, but His glory satisfies us. Many are relieved who are not satisfied. Is not that true? Do you think that you know much of

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the effect of the glory -- how from being there you are transformed from natural prepossessions to God's mind, as in Psalm 73, or Paul with respect to the thorn in the flesh -- changed entirely from the judgment of things which we had formed from our own feelings into His judgment of things?

The queen of Sheba was not transformed. I am only in the new place as I am transformed. I have a right through grace to all. I do not obtain right as I set my foot on the place, like Joshua; I have the right before I set my foot on it, but I do not know the good of it, and I cannot speak of it as mine until I have the good of it. I think much harm has been done by accepting J.N.D.'s abstract statements of God's grace to us as equivalent to our conscious knowledge of the new place they would set us in. I believe there is a great deal of practical infidelity even with regard to what we openly avow to accept. Faith is more than believing what I read; I have an inward conviction wrought by the Spirit of a divine reality.

I have been meditating here on what would characterise one for Christ. Thank the Lord, we all know something of the full and blessed way He has been for us; but I feel how little one is so satisfied, I might say replete with Him-self, that now His interests absolutely command my attention. "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her" (Proverbs 31:11). How wondrous to know that we are in this relation to our blessed Lord.


I am convinced that we must continue in the things we have learned and been assured of. -------- has an acquaintance with the interpretation of scripture, but this I consider a dangerous thing unless a man's soul is in some measure in keeping with his knowledge. I think I can say truly that I shrink from speaking on any scripture that I have not in my conscience bowed to, and that my soul has not tasted of.

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In John 13 the Lord is the new Minister fitting each for the new ministry of chapter 14. I read Psalm 84 and pressed two things. First to be with the Lord in His own house, and then coming forth to be a help and edification to His people.... I grieve to feel how little we can present a haven of rest to the many distressed souls now in system. But it is a wonderful thing to have the Lord's ear; may we be more in His confidence....

Your worship indicates the measure of your apprehension of God, and you cannot be in any moral power with man beyond what you are with God. Many, though pious, go no further than being useful to man; their idea of worship is happiness with God; their service -- making a well in the valley of Baca. Now, in Ephesians your vocation is from the heavenlies (Ephesians 2) down to the habitation of God through the Spirit; hence with man, Christ's chief interest -- the church, is your interest.... In Ephesians 3 the higher the Spirit raises us, until Christ is at home in our hearts, the more power we have to face all opposition here, and to act for Him. The worldling is looking at his resources; our power is as we rise above all here; then we are enabled to overcome all here.


I fear there is very little apprehension of union with Christ. The union has taken place when the Spirit has been received, but how few enter into the great fact of being united to the exalted Man in heaven! I have been meditating on the consequences of such a union. As a rule, Christians speak of and seek the Lord as if He were here on earth: that is, they so identify Him with themselves on earth, that they only look for Him to help and minister to them down here, as if they were united to Him on earth instead of in heaven. If I am united to Him in heaven, and if I truly believe it, I seek to enter into and enjoy the consequences of so great a union.... The great object in Rebekah's heart in that long journey

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was Isaac; though she could never get a glimpse of him along the road, as we are privileged to have of Christ when we are gathered together in His name.

... I have been speaking on what I call the 'new start', and I connect 2 Kings 2:9 with Acts 7:55. The power has come to us. Stephen is over Jordan, his spirit reaches to where Jesus is; here he is divested of everything as Elisha rent his own clothes, but he comes out in the beauty and fashion of Christ. This is vastly beyond "the mantle of Elijah". Unless we learn the new start, we never can comprehend what the present time is in the mind of God. Until the gospel of the glory is known I do not believe the church as the mystery can be apprehended.... It is of great moment and interest that His presence in heaven prepares a place for us there.


The subject before my mind is where we have failed, and the remedy. The Corinthians failed by giving their natural mind a place. The Galatians, by attempting to correct the flesh. The Colossians' danger was seeking to make the natural man a help to Christ. No one is really right, however much he may know, or however little he may know, when his heart is not set on Christ -- when Christ is not paramount.

I trust it is of the Lord when I say that I expect a great revival now. Surely, when we enter in any degree in faith by the Spirit into the fact that we are the sons of God, and that in the life of the Son we know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, we may expect to be arrayed in beautiful garments. May we receive more of the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him.... I am much interested in John's gospel. The first man altogether ignored, religious or otherwise. The most degraded, religiously and morally (chapter 4), is set up in the most magnificent condition on the earth by a gift from God. Nothing from the man, but all to man from God. The most helpless of men (chapter 5),

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by divine power made superior to his infirmity on the earth, with the grand consummation (chapter 9) of being in the resurrection of life.... I have been enjoying much, that as risen, and in His life, we find Him as "Head" -- everything; and then in the Spirit's power we are borne up to the place where He is. Then the new and heavenly scene opens out before us, and the counsels of God.

In the evening I spoke on Matthew 27:50.... I greatly enjoyed it. When Christ died God threw open all His secrets.


Some try to make the end justify the means -- but I am sure the use of any means except the Holy Ghost weakens the testimony, and where the Holy Ghost is sovereign the world opposes, but Christ is glorified, and heavenly things are shewn in compensation for the loss of the world. Read the early part of John 16, and you will see what I say. How could any one be descriptive here of the heavenly Man unless he were in spirit in heaven? The testimony is not that I am saved from hell, but that I am of the heavenly Man, though, of course, I could not be of the heavenly Man unless I were saved from hell.... In John 4 the Lord presents the greatness of God's gift, but the conscience must be set free before it can be apprehended and enjoyed; that is Paul's side. The gift cannot be enjoyed until the conscience is at rest through the work. Faith and conscience must go together. The word addresses my conscience; I am made sensible of my responsibility; I believe and own it, and the Spirit enables me to be according to my responsibility. When the conscience of the woman at the well was awakened God is thought of; religion is before her; she says, "I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped", etc. (John 4:19, 20). Then the Lord opens out the immensity of our new relation to God, not only the greatness of our new condition, but that we are to worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is not on earth, He does not come down; we go

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to Him as sons, and in the life of the Son. No one could be heavenly if he were never in heaven in spirit. The work which secures me a place there has been accomplished to the infinite satisfaction of the blessed God. But I have to appropriate the death of Christ in order to be free from sin and the world; death alone frees me. In Christ's life I am free; as I accept death with Him I am over death. I am in His life. May your heart enter richly into it, and may you thus delight yourself in the heavenly Man.


I am persuaded that we do not realise that we are on the earth where Christ was rejected. The desire of many and the tendency of all is to connect Christ with ourselves on this earth, instead of accepting that we are connected with Him in heaven.... The Lord give us to apprehend the reality of our true position; that we are outside this scene when we are in our true place. We are thankful that Christ was here, and that He made a pathway through this scene, but we have properly to come from Him in glory to learn that path and to find His succour in it.

I spoke on Acts 7:55 -- the new start; our new Centre -- Jesus in the glory of God. I dwelt first on Stephen's own position, then on the testimony, and then the suffering of the witness.... I try to realise more and more the fact of being with the Lord. We are so ready to look for and confine Him to our need, instead of being His friends, and thus knowing what our Lord doeth. The Lord grant that you may enter on this new year with a sense of nearness and confidence in Himself, so that you may be not only sustained by Him, but that you may know more and more what it is to be His friend.

We are given a Person. Better than everything else. Almighty power could not give me anything greater.

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You desire 'to see what sin is in its depths without committing it', but even if you did commit it you would not see it in its depths except as you stood in the light; nothing can give you a true estimate of what sin is except seeing that the death of the Son of God could alone remove it out of the way of the course of God's love. His love remained checked and could find no outlet towards man until Christ died. The sin and the man who did the sin was to be terminated in the death of Christ -- the righteous One -- He bearing the judgment on the first Adam, not to reinstate the first Adam, but that God might be at liberty in His love and grace to begin anew in the beings who had been under His judgment, and who were judicially terminated by the righteous One in death. A sin may be measured either by the injury it inflicts on man, myself included, or by the estrangement of heart and wilfulness of intention with regard to God. But I believe everything of mere nature when seen in the light of the cross, how it works, how it asserts and assumes and cloaks itself, even in the commonest evil, gives me a deeper, or as deep a sense of the evil of sin as would come of the more heinous crimes. If you revive what is of the old man you revive what has been judged in the cross. The mind gets coloured by whatever you occupy it with, therefore it is said, "Have your mind on the things that are above" (Colossians 3:2).


I assure you I have no confidence in transplanting. Single trees suit the park; but isolation does not suit the saints in this world. As to their spiritual progress I am all for solid squares. I date all my sorrows and failures from transplanting, and living at a distance from the basin and the towel of my brethren. We belong to the body of

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Christ, and for happiness, usefulness and strength, the more we keep together corporately the better. "I dwell among mine own people" (2 Kings 4:13) is my advice to every saint. I think you are too ready to go into the water, and I feel the anxiety of the hen-mother about you. As to -------- God has one way for you and quite another way for her. You must not go into the water in order to know something of her real life, and I think you have quite enough of real life to teach you all that is required for the harder scenes of real life. If people learn to swim in shallow water they can swim in the deepest, and as is well known better in the deepest!

You do not go to Egypt, but you go to the Philistines; they were strangers and stragglers who settled in Canaan, and like Isaac you never get on rightly or happily until you get free of them again. You have two troublesome things to manage, mind and conscience. Men the mind rules there is 'a calm' and in a calm a collision; when the conscience rules there is a storm and you are disquieted. When your mind is engaged the conscience is becalmed, the mind acts and baffles the conscience until there is a collision, then the conscience is up, and there is a storm, and you are unable to act as your conscience suggests because you have allowed your mind in the shape of taste or something to be your master, and it will not be master and servant at the same moment. You must walk with your conscience, fearing, as any good mariner does, a .calm, a lull. Insist on your mind being servant to your conscience. Speak what you know you ought, though you speak only like a foreigner, betraying that it is not your native tongue, but practice will improve you. Peace, rest, and strength through His grace be yours.


I am sure you are quite right in desiring to have a suitable occupation. The higher one is conventionally, the more ought one to prove that he or she is high morally, and therefore to set an example of ability to support yourself

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is commendable. It is the highest duty of man or woman, nothing so small as to eat the bread of idleness. If a man work not neither shall be eat. I entirely commend your desire and purpose to seek employment and not to be a trespass upon others when you can support yourself. This purpose is unquestionably right. The next thing is, What is the employment you are fit for? This comprehends a great deal. A tradesman can tell what he is fit for because he has served his time to it. I admit a genius may pick up a trade, etc, but the true and sober way of ascertaining what you are fit for is by serving your time, being first an apprentice, really learning your trade. If you cannot submit to the drudgery of learning the trade you will never succeed in it. The good apprentice will be the good tradesman. I believe that in a large family like yours, taking all the circumstances into account, that, were you to wait simply on the Lord, without any suggestion of your own, He would prepare you for the post which would meet your true desire and purpose. He has each of us at some apprenticeship or another, and as I have said, we prove whether we are fit or not for the line He is educating us for, by the way we behave in the time of probation. David little knew that he was being prepared to feed Jacob, his people, and Israel, his inheritance, when he was following the ewes great with young. Had he shewn himself then a negligent, unfeeling herdsman, he would have been disqualified and unfit for the post for which the Lord was preparing him. It is the way we behave in the circumstances in which we are, which proves whether we are qualified for a definite position of service. The Lord tests our ability by the way we endure. It is the patience which I have in the probationary period which in His eye qualifies me for rule, etc. I believe many a one with a very sincere purpose is detained in the school because he has not patience enough for the place of authority or leadership. Joseph's patience was tested in the prison, David's finally at Ziklag. Neither knew the eminence that was before him. Each had a good purpose, but the Lord prepared them, not by making trial of them in a small way, but by subjecting them to great pressure in their surroundings and then deciding from the way

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they comported themselves, their fitness for distinct official position. The Lord knows what you are fit for, and He is preparing you for it, but the way He judges of your fitness, is not by your ability to teach or to rule, but by the measure of patience you have under the most trying circumstances. Do you think you are qualified? Are you out of your apprenticeship?


A saint is like a plant, he has to pass through every season, winter as well as summer, and the winter precedes spring. The plant does not wither because it is winter. The one with soft leaves loses them, but the sap remains in it, and in the largest tree it remains up to the topmost shoot. The winter is the time when the sap is concentrated, and thus the branch is invigorated for the coming growth in spring. "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" (1 Peter 4:12). You must not think winter a strange time for you. If the whole year, the whole circle of your stay on earth, was only summer you would be unnatural in a world of evil like this. People in their folly wish for nothing but sunshine here, and when they have had much of it, they are ill prepared for the severity of winter. "Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; ... the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work" (James 1:2 - 4). The exercise of soul -- the effect of the winter is to make you more certified of the power which sustains life in spite of all the checks, the very atmosphere morally not only not helping you, but tending to cloud and enervate you. If you understand how necessary it is for you to pass through this winter in order that the young and succulent shoots may be established in your soul, you will apply yourself steadily to gain the full advantage that is to be gained from the exaction of the winter. If not, you will be distracted by the strangeness of it, and the time will be lost and no real gain secured.

I am glad to have such an interest in you, for I am sure that the Lord has, and His desire is to separate you from

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everything contrary to God, and to lead you into everything belonging to Himself. What an exchange! Show a person a beautiful thing, and he will drop the common things. Look up first, and then look down. The flowers look up for the sun, and then they give out their beautiful colours. Keep the Lord before you, judging of everything by Him, and though you fail, you will find you are becoming not only habituated to keep Him before you, but that you are growing in ability to do so, and deriving gain in joy and strength to your own soul, even though it separates you from many a thing which you once took an interest in; but instead of being a loser you will find new and divine interests.


Do you find joy and strength of heart in discovering how much you need the grace and sympathy of Christ each day? It is what sportsmen call 'schooling'. This is riding across country, taking every fence in the proposed line. What is ahead is not known, but being well mounted, you are prepared to jump or get over every one of them, some of them doubtless testing the mettle of both rider and horse very much. Many enjoy schooling, they enter on it voluntarily. I give this as an illustration of our day's exercise here. Do you enter on it cheerfully? It is your duty, and you are set on "his own beast" (see Luke 10:34), and you ought to welcome your schooling. "The trying of your faith worketh patience" (James 1:3). We glory in tribulation also. Add to your faith virtue.

With us it is necessary that we should taste death on the vanity of our natural joys and expectations before we can appreciate divine ones. The natural heart seeks for the joys that suit itself, and the joys of God have really no charm for it so long as it thinks it can secure its own. Hence in the Lord's education of us we have to be weaned; one after the other of the things we thought so much of withers away, or its inability to satisfy our hearts is discovered; and then, like Jacob, the sun gone down, and a

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stone for his pillow, homeless and friendless, the vision of the ladder and the gate of heaven are presented to him! Christ can never appear in the daytime now -- I mean in the sphere of earthly brightness. We must find Him now in a new sphere. He died out of this one, and He does not contribute to this one, but He conducts us into His own sphere.


I hear some have been speaking on power, a most interesting subject; but possibly there is nothing more slowly acquired. It may be desired, but as a sluggard desireth and hath nothing, it is not reached, because its first action is not accepted. The first action of power is always on yourself. People like power which will control others, as knowledge or position or authority would; but divine power is quite different, for the moment you touch it, it lays its mark on you, and that before you can in any way display it. Hence the apostle could say, Not their speech, but their power. Why are we so deficient in divine power? Simply because we do not like the way it begins, and if there is not a beginning there cannot be a finish. Its beginning is to hate one's own life, and this is an awful start; but there is no tower built without it. You must refuse human material, or you cannot build a true structure. Power enabled Elisha to take hold of his own clothes and tear them into two pieces. I hold this is where power begins. Your clothes -- your circumstances -- are first affected by it. It begins with self-abnegation. This explains the reason why there is so little power. Very often one lingers over his losses like an exile, but he must rise out of it; he must bury his dead out of his sight; it is a great day when that comes to pass, and then he can be useful to others.

May we all be really and truly in the power of Christ.


I was greatly struck lately with the words, "dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world" (Colossians 2:20). It is such an

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absolute and complete excision; but it is with Him out of one place in order to be with Him in another place, and to be there as fully as He is. The more I am with Him where He is now, the better shall I receive Him if He were to come. Very often when one is not fully for Him there, there is a relief to the conscience in wishing Him to come, for then everything would be settled. If I am in real affection desiring Him to come, I am doing everything in my power to have myself and others ready to greet Him.


I feel sometimes that I am like one at sea, leaving everything and every one I know here, and that it is not until I get very near the new shore that I shall become weaned from all on the land I have left. I often think of the great happiness of being with the Lord in a perfect scene, but yet the heart has many a link to the old shore, and there is many a remembrance of it. You will find it, however, a great cheer that we are not waiting to be satisfied, like the voyager, until we reach the shore; because, like Stephen, we can have gleams of the heavenly sunshine long before, and many a time before we reach the shore. If the ark of the covenant was the travelling companion of Israel, how much greater is ours -- the great antitype. Thus it is that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.


It may seem strange to say it, but as far as I know, not many are in the wilderness, that is, the world is not a wilderness to them; they are disappointed when they find Marah here, instead of expecting nothing to minister to the man after the flesh, of which we are freed in the death of Christ. Some think that afflictions and sorrow make this world a wilderness. I do not think that is true. I

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do not see that this world ever becomes a wilderness to any one until he is enjoying his freedom from sin and death in the life of Christ. I think that the great lack in souls is liberty, that is, freedom from the law of sin and death; they think they have this liberty by faith, no, it could not be but by the Spirit through whom I reap everlasting life. I cannot be free of death but in life. I have found a way out of death in Christ's death, and hence in Christ's life I am free of sin and death, but then it is by the Spirit of God. I believe that if I were enjoying Christ living in me, I should find that this world was a moral desert, nothing for me in it; but then I should live here in the grace of Christ. "The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).


How much true devotedness to the Lord there may be, and yet great insubjection to His ways. Peter could leave the ship -- give up everything naturally suited to the element he was on, and walk on the water to go to Jesus, and yet he rebuked the Lord when He said He should be killed and be raised again on the third day. Peter could surrender all earthly things to join the Lord, but he could not submit to this great truth, that the corn of wheat must fall into the ground, and die, in order that He might have brethren. The great proof of thorough heart-devotedness to Christ is the minuteness in which we study His mind. The more minute the attention, if constant, the greater the love. Any one can do a great act, build a synagogue, or do some great work, but to sit at His feet and hear His word, only a Mary of Bethany will do. May you be such an one!

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I like your remarks about 'constraining and ecstasy'. I enjoyed (I was going to say) the effect of ecstasy -- the sense of being transformed in the presence of One where there is no weakness, no worry, no discontent, no evil. The effect of being where everything is good is very great; you return to this poor world no longer looking for better things in the midst of all the bad, but certain that you have been where all is good....

I wonder that -------- does not see the place which feeling occupies in the moral economy of a man. The Spirit is feeling before power. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, each a feeling in a different way. Love is a feeling produced in respect to another, an engrossing feeling because of another outside of yourself. Joy, a feeling produced in yourself because of some great satisfaction rendered to you. Peace, the feeling that every element of disturbance which had existed has been destroyed. All I say is, the feeling is before the action; the motive before the execution. A man might have the best utterance, have all knowledge, all faith, work miracles, suffer extremely, give all his goods to feed the poor, and be nothing because he had not the right motive -- love. Love is obedient, because if I am really absorbed with another, to do his will must be my first pleasure. Great love always controls, and under its influence you are not an independent being, you are under the control of another. There has been too much attention to the appearance and too little to the motive which should produce the right appearance. Make the tree good and the fruit will be good. There is more doing than loving. "Son, give me thine heart" (Proverbs 23:26). "If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned" (Song of Songs 8:7). Amiability and benevolence imitate the works of love, but always leave off when love would most persist. Love seeks my perfection, not merely my alleviation. Love is never satisfied but in the perfection of its object. Some invest their ideals with perfection;

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the Lord makes sure of our perfection, it is His own motive which is His measure.

As to the Red Sea and Jordan, we must go over the Red Sea for our own peace, and we must go over Jordan to enjoy union with Christ. Every one sealed is united, but there is a moment when by the work of the Spirit one apprehends the blessed fact. The Prince of Wales was born a prince before he was one, and it was still longer before he knew how to behave as one. It is not the high position which distinguishes a man, but the measure in which the man lives up to the high position.


I am much cast down about --------. What sorrow there is here because of love. Every new sorrow awakens up all the old or possible ones. I am thankful that she is so dear to the Lord. I was saying at the meeting after the Lord's supper, that if every one dear to us had died here, we accept it, for death is on us all. But for the Son of God to die for us! How then could there be anything bright for us here! Alas! how often do His people try to deck His tomb with flowers! I enjoyed the morning, I spoke from John 14 (high Dutch I fear to some) yet it is right that they should hear the great difference between individual blessing and collective blessing. Verses 18-- -23 is collective (plural). You see in the gospel He speaks to the sinner alone; great indeed are all the blessings belonging to us individually, children of God enjoying the Father's house, but there is much more in companionship with the One who is in heaven. The gospel comes to the sinner on the earth. See Romans. The moment you are in the assembly you are in His presence, and thus, though the gospel makes me suitable for His company, it is with the consecrated company, that I know its highest blessedness. John 14:23 is for the individual, but that is not the same as company with Him in the holiest; we have then come to His side, while individually He comes to our side. Heaven is opened to you, He dwells in your heart by faith,

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and the result is you have His power in you, and you are here in heavenly colours descriptive of Him.

There is no love really true but God's love, but as I have the love of Christ for you, or for another, I seek that you should be suitable to Him, that whatever is not of the light, whatever would hinder real fellowship in the Spirit should be removed. You never see two in the world much united unless they have common interests and study to avoid everything which would cause a jar. So divine love seeks to remove all that hinders.

The gospel makes us suitable for companionship, but we enter upon a new and great world the moment we are companions. Then it is not His company confined to me, but I am as His companion in the region of all His interests.


I was happy myself at the meeting. I tried to bring out the difference between the effect on us of the sufferings of Christ and His glory. The one divests us of our misery, the other invests us with all that He is and does. I dwelt much on "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures", etc. (Psalm 23:2). It is thus that I am formed. I come from a scene where all is divinely beautiful, to combat what is all contrariety. Oh! I see it better than I can express it. I come from the perfectly beautiful to a painful contrast. I know what is beautiful, and I cannot accept anything less.

I was reading for myself this morning, the practice in Ephesians. Read it. It is not as Christ lived here, blessed as that was, that is the measure of anything that we are to do now; but as He lives at God's right hand. First, we are to keep the unity of the Spirit; that could not have been until He was at God's right hand. Secondly, we are to grow up unto Him in all things who is the Head; that could not be when He was down here. Thirdly, we are to put off the old man and put on the new, which after God is created, etc. This could not be while Christ lived

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here. Fourthly, we are to love one another as Christ loved us, not only as He was walking down here, but as He hath given Himself an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling sacrifice. Surely this could not be during His lifetime here.

Again, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church" (Ephesians 5:25); not as He was down here, but in giving Himself for it, "that he might sanctify and cleanse it", etc. Surely all this shews that we are now, as united with a glorified Man at God's right hand, empowered to act here in a way quite outside the range of the man in the flesh.


It has occurred to me that I might through the Lord's blessing be able to help you with reference to the subject of our conversation the other day. I think you have a very simple and earnest purpose to follow the Lord, and you seek to have more unbroken enjoyment in His presence. This is so true and real with you, that you think you would give up anything which would check or hinder it, were you convinced that it was a check or a hindrance. The fact is, in my judgment, that you, as is the case with many others, conclude that the true desire is enough, and you are disappointed that the desire is not fully gratified, because you are quite sure that it is of God. Of course the true desire is the chief thing; the heart cries out for the living God. This is the growth of the new being in you by the work of the Spirit, and were you without a will of your own and had no other tastes but the new ones, the presence of the new ones would be quite sufficient to ensure your being entirely led by them. But you are not, nor are any of us, without a will of your own and old tastes, and hence it is not enough to be assured that you have new tastes, or even to long for their gratification, you must with equal step deny and refuse the old tastes. If not, you grieve the Spirit and you open a door to the flesh; the barricade to keep it out is broken down, and

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if it gets in at all, it will, like water, run into the valleys, and the nicest parts are the most spoiled. As it is the most spiritual sentiment which feels most the incongruity of the carnal mind, so it is your most cherished delight in Christ which is most checked by intercourse with the worldly. The tender leaves or blossoms of a plant wither in uncongenial atmosphere, while the stem or root remains alive. The more spiritual you are, the more you must avoid the society of those who are not spiritual. The plant always assimilates its like, and though the most spiritual is the best qualified to encounter uncongenial people in order to serve them, it must always be from the pedestal of separation, while in every way stooping to serve. I believe you will find that the society of your relatives hinders and checks your progress, though you do not feel it at the time. None of us would be deceived if we felt hindrances at the time. To be deceived is to imagine that all is right at the very time that the harm is inflicted, and while feeling you are safe, you are overcome. The sum of the matter is this -- Be zealous in your desires for the Lord's presence, but be prepared also to refuse everything which would mar, hinder or be uncongenial to the Spirit of Christ. This watchfulness would not be necessary if you were not in the flesh. But as we are in the flesh, when the new, and as the new -- Christ -- is formed in us, so must the old -- the flesh -- be displaced, and this cannot be without breaking with tastes and associations once cultivated and acknowledged, however nice and good they may seem naturally.


I am rejoiced that your dear husband has found a suited sphere for service. Surely every true heart will soon find its mission. We are sent into this world. Poor dear Mrs. --------, what sorrow she has had! If Jordan were more readily accepted by us, we should die even practically in a much easier way. The joys at the other side would not only compensate for any loss here, but the death that we

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should be delivered to would be in the Lord's service. It was doubtless persecution in Paul's day. With us it may be crippling in some form, as it was with Jacob. The Lord blesses those who care to be blessed.

We had a very good day's meeting at -------- about a fortnight since. I lectured in the evening on the difference between the man in heaven and the man in the wilderness. In 1 Peter and Hebrews you get the traits of the latter, and in Ephesians and Colossians those of the former. I did not set it forth to my satisfaction, yet I felt it was very interesting. Nothing is said about the bringing up of children in the epistles which relate to the wilderness. It is only in Ephesians that you are told how to bring them up. In the wilderness you are in your own circumstances, and Christ helps you through them according to God, but in heaven you are in Christ's circumstances, and He enables you to stand for Him in spite of and in superiority to your own circumstances.

Did you ever remark the discriminative way in which the apostle Paul prays in his epistles for the saints? For some he does not pray at all.


You have been much on my heart before the Lord since last Wednesday. I am comforted with the assurance that He will lead your heart into the full vigour of life outside this scene of death. Stephen was led into this before a single stone reached him. This is the manner of God's ways with us -- to provide us with suited strength before the demand on us has come. Surely He will give you faith as to this. Now I do not like to speak of my faith, but He comforts me in this way with regard to you. Your suffering is not confined to yourself, your dear husband and others are in their degree fellow-sufferers. It is, I believe, His way with you to make sure in your soul the truth He has taught you, and though in a different yet certainly not in a less suffering way, it is so with your dear husband. Surely the blessed Lord is much taken up

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with you both at this time and for deep blessing. I am so glad I went to see you, though I had no idea that there was so much of sorrow before me. It did me great good. Where is there real rest but on the other side of Jordan?

Though it is but little one knows of the love of Christ, yet what an interest it gives one for those of His own whom one is closely bound up with.


I cannot tell you how it weighs on me the Mount Moriah, the Lord is leading you both to. I have sought Him for you, and I was assured from the first that He would interfere for you. The faith of yesterday will not do for the trials of today. I am comforted by hearing that you have been exercised before Him seeking His will. When I remember that He cares for you infinitely more than I do, though it is He who has taught me to care for you, I am confounded, and it is an immense comfort to me that you both are sensibly and consciously supported by Him. I believe that His object in this discipline is to lead you more into the knowledge of His support. I think that to young Christians He vouchsafes relief, the pressure is removed, as the storm was stilled for the disciples in Matthew 8; but when Peter would join Him, as we see in chapter 14, no circumstance is changed; Peter is made superior to everything; the Lord's support could alone enable him to leave the ship (which suited him naturally) and undertake to walk on the water, which humanly speaking would have been instant death to him. There is a depth of love which we cannot easily take in in the Lord's desire that we should know His support. Blessed be His name! He likes to be indispensable to us. This is the first part of His priestly service; you cannot understand Christ as Priest until after you have known Him as your Saviour. It is a marvellous time (though it is little I know of it) when one has nothing to cling to, no support but His mighty hand reaching down from "higher than

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the heavens". I can compare it to nothing except the support which the martyrs found when they went to the stake. Who can tell their great gain from the realisation of His own support -- a sense of His favour and interest in one never to be forgotten. I feel that it is as I see this that I am consoled about you both -- the great, the unspeakable gain which will accrue to you when you reach "Jehovah Jireh".


There is a great difference between Abraham going up Mount Moriah and Stephen transported in spirit from earth to heaven where Christ is. We have to learn both. In the one, it is counting on God who raiseth the dead, no hope but in God. In the other, it is leaving everything here to join the Lord, as Peter did when he left the ship. You have seen the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep. I expect much from you.


I can find no comfort but in looking to the Lord. The affliction is not to remove her from testimony here, as is the case with some; it is, I believe, to make her and us who are attached to her more for Him here. "We which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake" (2 Corinthians 4:11) -- is the word before my mind. If you would have suffered yourself to save her from suffering, how much more may you and I count on the Lord's love for her, for it is vastly greater than ours. Here we must rest. The Lord only can pull down and displace the old man, as He only can erect and establish the new. Blessed Lord! "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5). I have been lately interested in the power of the Holy Spirit in us, making us superior to suffering in the body. May the Lord make this good now to each of you.

I am thankful that you both are so much on my heart at this time. The Lord was in far deeper suffering. He bare our sicknesses. My desire for you is, that you may

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be so sustained by Him, or rather by His personal nearness to you in sympathy, that you may be in real repose in the storm.

If your suffering has made you such an object of solicitude to me, how infinitely more to our blessed Lord. What a comfort! Thank God and take courage.


It is very nice that dear -------- should be with you. It is a moment of much exercise for her, but the more thoroughly she is cast on the Lord as to where her tent should be, the more she will rejoice that He had searched out the right place for her. I can offer no advice only that the cloud and manna went together; both are combined in the Lord. If she has simple faith she will enjoy the Lord most living alone.

The sense of the Lord's death here, and that His death was for me, necessarily affects my heart more than any other death; though the one dearest to me may die, yet that one has not died for me. The more His death is before me the more I feel every death. The deepest blank because of death is revived in the heart by every fresh bereavement. The one who has felt His death most feels every death connected with oneself more. The bright side for the heart here is that we are united to Him in heaven, and as we answer to our union with Him we answer to His pleasure; and the more are our hearts assured that though He died where we are, we live where He is, so that the more His death is felt, the more is the heart unspeakably comforted in being conscious of union with Him in heaven.


I hope that you will not be distracted from lying down in the repose above by the details of the house of mourning; sorrow on the human side is bitter indeed; but sorrow where the sympathy of Christ is known raises you to the

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Supporter. Mary of Bethany knew the latter, and had ever to be thankful that she was plunged in the deepest sorrow because she then became acquainted with Christ's support, and how He filled the blank. She never could forget this. The more sorrow any one has the more such an one feels every new sorrow. Sorrow with Christ's sympathy always mellows us. My special love in the Lord to all the bereaved ones.


The Lord be praised for His loving kindness in continuing you here with us. The Lord bless you both that you may be more and more for Him here and in every way a greater help and comfort to each of His own. I can quite sympathise with you in the feeling that it is easier to go to Him than to stay here and glorify Him. It is a consolation that as we feel our weakness the more truly dependent we are. The very helplessness of the child obtains the security of the mother's arms. When we are weak then are we strong.

The more He endears Himself to our hearts the more drawn are we to Him where He is and the more detached from this place where He is not. It is very marked the way the heart is weaned from a place when the object of it has left it, but it is much more weaned when it truly follows Him to the place where He is. His absence detaches you from this place while His presence in heaven attaches you to heaven because He is there.

I was preaching last evening from Matthew 12:38. Jonah and Solomon. Christ went down into the depth of the judgment on us. He has risen out of it and is greater than Solomon. When by faith we apprehend that He has opened out the way of life for us through His death, and that we are clear of all on our own side, we then know Him on His own side in glory, the greater than Solomon, and as we do, there is no spirit left in us. He was in the lowest place for us; as we through faith in His death pass out of death, we are in His life, and we

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learn the great truth that as he is so are we in this world; but we must be out of the one before we can be in the other.

The Lord bless you much, may your heart enjoy communion with Him; and for this you must be outside of old things.


I am deeply thankful that you are both so well, and that your heart is set on the first characteristic of union with Christ, namely, identification with His interests. How deeply interesting, and what a privilege! Rebekah must have come to Isaac before her individuality could be merged in him. When you meet a sinner or a saint you are interested in him or her, not merely for his or her own sake, but for the sake of the One to whom you are united, and whom you love to see honoured. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her. I enjoyed the readings at Belfast much -- Colossians in the morning and Hebrews in the evening. The difference between crucifixion and circumcision came out well -- the putting off of the old man for you have Another to take his place. Many would like to acquire a new trait of character or mind, but no one would naturally like to exchange himself for Another, old tastes and abilities all gone and new ones superseding them.

I have been much interested in seeing the perfection of His salvation without any contribution from the body, as in the case of the thief who is so perfectly cleared in the sight of God that he is to go that day to Paradise, but his body thus cleared is the Lord's, and if he had remained here it would be the temple of the Holy Ghost. Marvellous grace to enable us to glorify the Redeemer here. It is grandly beautiful.

Best love to you both. Do you know the nature of God's love? He confers the greatest thing at the greatest cost. He sent His Son that we might have life -- the greatest

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thing, and He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins -- the greatest cost.

When we act in love we know what love is because it has led us to do so and so. Hence the importance of loving the brethren (1 John 4:12). It is a great thing to know that I am using the love which He has for me to others, and therefore the more I use it the more I know the love He has for me.


Thank the Lord He cheers me much. I find that the more I know of His society the easier it would be for me to leave earth for heaven. I do not believe any one is glad that the old man has come to a judicial termination in the cross until he is disgusted with himself, and I do not believe that any one prefers heaven to earth until he knows the joy and blessedness of heaven, and this is only to be known now by association with Him who is there (Ephesians 3:14 - 20). The highest thing is that He has a home in my heart by faith and that I am to know His love which passeth knowledge. I am sure many love the Lord for His services like the woman who loved much because she was forgiven much. The question with me is -- Do I know the love that did the services? When I do, then love is perfected with me.

I very willingly suffer with you in your suffering and I am glad that you can have a sympathy greater than I could render, from Him who not only supports you under the suffering but raises the sufferer to His own side -- to His own company. This to me is the force of "For such an high priest became as ... made higher than the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26). He lifts me to Himself. His arm comes down to me, but it lifts me up to Himself... Very often what we most desire to feel, the Lord helps us to feel by allowing a loss to occur which would foster it. Paul learns by the loss of Jerusalem that there was no hope for anything there; and thus he attains to the desire of his heart -- to live Christ more entirely. He purgeth us that we may bring forth more fruit.

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... The word for brethren now I feel is: "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Revelation 3:11). It is evident from this that there will be an attempt to deprive us of the joy, the crown. The way to foil the enemy is to "hold that fast which thou hast". We are told here of the nature of the enemy's attack, and we are told the way that we shall be able to overcome him. The highest and best bit of truth, hold fast to that; you will always find that when declension sets in, the first mark is that the highest truth is as it were nipped, as if by frost, whereas when you are progressing -- really prospering in soul -- the highest truth is the very one you are looking to the Lord to help you on in! May you both find it so, for that is real growth.

As to intercession in Hebrews -- intercession is the normal ministry of our Lord. Advocacy has to do with sins; we always require intercession, for we are weak, and grace is ever flowing to us, for we cannot be for Christ here until in the power of the Spirit we are superior to every obstacle here in our own circumstances. There is often, I believe, more power required to raise us above our own circumstances, than to conduct us into co-operation with His. I think that you are on the line for all blessing when you maintain intimacy with Him. No one can do this merely in service, or merely in reading the word. It is soul-work, you must go to "the mountains of myrrh". It is most blessed when we know anything of that intimacy which He can promote between Himself and us, and it proves very distinctly the difference between the church and the saints in the kingdom. How touching the words, And now, children, abide in him. Children there includes fathers.


In Hebrews, through the effect of Christ's company known here, we are running on to heaven; and as to our position here, we are outside the camp bearing His reproach,

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while in Ephesians, being united to Christ in heaven, we are descriptive of Him here in every detail, and able through His power to maintain our heavenly position in moral superiority to all the wiles of the devil. In the one we are running on to heaven, in His reproach here; in the other, we are coming from heaven superior to the opposition here. As to man, we bear His reproach here. As to the devil, we stand for the heavenly Man in spite of the devil. As on the earth, we are bearing His reproach; as from heaven, we are descriptive of the exalted Man in the scene of His rejection. Who is sufficient for these things?


It is wonderful how the sunshine of His favour affects the heart after a time of pressure. It is sun after rain, and you may remark that the sun is sure to follow the rain. Many have come into fellowship from imitation. I am sure they are in the right place, but they must fall away if they do not learn to be there in faith. There is no power otherwise.

-------- has had many trials. My kind love to her with this text, "My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me" (Psalm 63:8) ... It is always connected with exercise that we advance. When I am in the Lord's presence I am beside myself. The more I know of this, the more I am ready to be practically free from myself when there is an opportunity for myself. There is no opportunity for my will in His presence; the more I am in the power of this, the more I like to be free of self when it has an opportunity, and this is true sanctification. We must begin inside; legality is paring away the flesh -- concision. Make the tree good, and the fruit shall be good. No one can be outside with man beyond what he is inside with God. The power that carries you over Jordan is the self-same power, and in the same measure too, which makes you

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superior to all opposition here. Elisha crosses Jordan before he enters on service. Paul, I apprehend, was in the third heaven before he went to Jerusalem or saw Peter.... It is a favour to be able to remember one another to the Lord. It suits His heart and interest in us. May your hearts rejoice in the Lord ever more, and may all blessings abound to you.


Both at -------- and at ---------- the Lord helped us, and we had a very good time at both places. I trust that there is a growing desire to know Him better. That is a remarkable word: "This is the eternal life, that they should know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ" (John 17:3). We could not know Him in any other way. Acquaintance with Him not only satisfies the heart, but eclipses all other kind of acquaintance. As His companions, we have His oil of gladness. One will be better and more useful in natural acquaintanceship, but once the heart knows the satisfaction of being acquainted with Him, its sensibility is so increased that like the anointing oil, there cannot be anything like it. Communion is concert with Christ in His own thoughts, and this is real companionship. If we have it not with Him, we cannot have it with one another. In the family circle there may be plenty of affection, but little real company. When we descend to the natural, we are really like the bride in Canticles 5:2, "I sleep, but my heart waketh". Inactive in heart with reference to the Lord though the affection is there. Alas! how ready one is to leave His company even after knowing it. This was the case in Canticles 5.

I think it is a great help to see that if you are in communion you are in concert with the mind of God. You are looking at everything as He sees it. Very often in the study of scripture we are occupied with the meaning of it (right enough in itself), but when you would apprehend God's mind in the passage you must be near enough to Him to see as He sees it. "In thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).

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What is the difference between service, fruit-bearing and testimony? Which requires the greater grace, or rather what is the nature of the grace required or necessary for each?


It is very cheering that you are sensible of receiving from the Lord the very portion of help which you feel you needed. It is very interesting the way He supplies the word, and then makes us sensible that it is the very word that we need, though before we had received it we could not have stated what we needed, and if we had, we should probably have stated something else. I am sure a direct consciousness of holding the Head will be a great help to one of your energetic nature. To be under the direction of Himself as the source of all wisdom and power will be a great gain to you.

The energy may not be less, but it will be subject to Him, and not called out merely by the opportunity or case of need.

And not this only, but the more you grow in acquaintance with the resource you have in the use of it, the more you will like to use it, and the very use of it will be more to you than the gain from the use of it. I mean that you will enjoy more turning to the Lord in the relation of Head, because of the nearness and intimacy with Him which it entails, than even the help which you obtain from Him. So that though you want help and counsel, you turn to Him more for the favour of having such a bond to Him than for the gain which you acquire from it. And as this goes on you will before long be more a priest than a Levite; not that you will lose the latter service; on the contrary, the Levitical service will be of a deeper character as you enter more profoundly on the priestly.

A great deal of truth may be known and yet the mystery of God may not be known as a reality to oneself. I have been writing on being united to Christ. What an immensity there is in that wondrous fact! How well one could retire, like your dear husband, from all sounds

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here, and be rapt in deep thankfulness while meditating on it.


One is in great retirement here, but I look to the Lord that He may accomplish His pleasure in having me here.

The more I see the more assured I am that you must be apart from the man in the flesh to apprehend and enjoy your own blessings, and you must be apart from this place (the earth) to be truly for Christ here. All the darkness in souls as to eternal life arises from not seeing the first; you must go outside of man to enjoy it in Christ where it is for you.

The readings at ----------, thank the Lord, were very good. They were chiefly on the Spirit's work in us. Many suppose because they see more in the scriptures that they have grown. You never get beyond the measure of the Spirit's work in you, and you cannot be behind His work unless you are under a cloud.

I am sure many mistake fresh light for the work of the Spirit in them. I think the light comes first, and then as the conscience is exercised and the heart attracted, the Spirit makes the light good in our souls. The light is then in us. The first and continual mark of divine favour is, "I will be with thee". The second or additional one, and which is infinitely greater, is, "Part with me".

There is much good material at --------, but they have to accept the wilderness more definitely. It is very important to bear in mind that no one can be conducted to heaven morally, but through the wilderness. You must accept this world as a 'wilderness wide' before you can pass from it into heaven. Rebekah had to be conducted to Isaac through the wilderness. What I mean is that to be conducted to Christ in heaven you must accept that this world is a wilderness where death is, and that life is only with Him.

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I was very glad of the subject you touched on in your letter. I am sure everything depends on our personal association with Christ; you must make a difference between your affection for Him and your association with Him. In your affection you are occupied with what you feel about Him, and this is gratifying as something found in oneself. I do not say this as condemning it; I think this affection ought to be in my heart, but when I first begin to know that it is there I like to find it. I know it is right, and I am rightly pleased, but if affection does not lead me to seek association with Him, it will not continue fresh. It springs up, but its true effect is springing up to Him, making me seek association with Him who is the object of my affection. If the association be obtained, the affection is satisfied, and then it is not so much the affection that is before me as the result of association with Him, which is regarding everything as it is regarded by Him; Himself and what suits Him becoming the standard and measure of everything. This is the result of association with Him. The more you are with Him the less you like anything which is not of Him and like Him. The man of this world, the ways of the world become, you hardly know how, daily more distasteful to you because He Himself in His blessed superiority is each day more the company of your heart. The affection is deepened and satisfied, though it is not so prominent as it once was, and there is no less interest in Him personally; on the contrary, there is the sense that one can never get enough of Him. The affection will decline or remain inactive if you do not seek association with Him. Every grace seeks its own result; and if its result or practice is not reached, it is sure to drop, or be inactive. You must see that your affection is active, and this is done by seeking association with Him, and the result of that, as I have said, will be a withdrawing from every thing that is not like Him and of Him. The Lord bless you abundantly, as I judge He will when He

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leads you to see where there has been any check to the desires of your heart. His showing it to you is proof how He is interested about you.


I liked your meditation on Enoch. It is everything to please the Lord. Giving Him credit for His nature pleases Him. He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him out. In the gospel you are presenting grace. In the church you are expressing grace; which do you think is the most to the Lord's heart? You must be walking in the Spirit to express grace. Many a one can offer grace who does not express it much. You could not be expressing grace without at the time being able to offer it. It is a great thing to offer Christ as a Saviour to sinful man, but it is still greater to express Christ in a world where He is rejected.

Do you agree with my paper on the difference between the grace peculiar to the gospel, and that which is peculiar to the church. I was very glad that it came out clearly to some, though not to all -- the weight that is on every child of Adam. If the nature and measure of the weight is not seen you cannot say that it has been removed. Some understood the judgment of God on the sinner to mean the eternal judgment; that is future. I did not mean that; I meant the weight that is at this moment on every unbeliever -- not his sins only -- not the mortgage on the building only, but that the building itself must come down; it is to be dissolved, and no one is free of the weight now, who does not by faith pass through the death of Christ to the other side (like Israel going through the Red Sea), the side which His resurrection sets you on.


In John 4, 5, 6, 7 we have the grace of God which in a fourfold way turns you into a new being; new mind, new

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powers and new enjoyments: I am not an improved man but I have a new state. Instead of craving I am satisfied, chapter 4. Instead of impotence, I am in power, chapter 5. Instead of labouring for the meat that perisheth, I am living by Christ, chapter 6; and instead of wanting or seeking anything here, I am a giver of living water, chapter 7. It seems transcendently great -- the portion outside of the earth, and outside of man. Chapters 4 and 5 relate to yourself. Chapters 6 and 7 relate to your journey through this world. Chapter 4 the heart satisfied. Chapter 5 out of death, never to come into judgment. Now your own state is complete; but how do you journey through this world? Here is the test. If you would enjoy the out-of-the-world condition of things which belongs to you, you must not only have eaten of His flesh and blood, but you must eat of it -- you must bear about in your body the dying of Jesus. You must so appropriate Christ's death, that there would be an end to everything that would minister to the flesh, and then you would be alive unto God in Jesus Christ. And furthermore, the brightest surroundings here would be eclipsed. You would have a portion infinitely superior. Out of your belly would flow rivers of living water.


I am glad that you are interested in John 13 and 14. There is much in those chapters not yet known.

I feel that the great thing there is the new place into which Christ has entered. If you love Him, that is, if so you love Him, that nothing can satisfy you but His company, you have then I judge "first love". This love I have when I know His love for me, that His desire is towards me.

It is very sad the way some read scripture. They read that Christ may dwell in your heart by faith, and they do not seem to care whether they know it or not. The scripture tells me the thing, the Spirit leads me into it. The scripture says, as it were, "be ye warmed and filled", but the Spirit then gives to the awakened conscience the things that are needful. The scripture tells me what God gives, but the scripture has to be mixed with faith. I

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hope you understand me. You see from scripture that Peter walked upon the water, but you have to learn what walking on the water means. Scripture cannot do that for you. The Spirit leads you into it by faith.


I have been greatly interested in seeing that the sure mark of justification and deliverance is that the Spirit is your one continual resource. It is only in the Spirit that you can be clear of the flesh, and if you are clear, you cleave to Him who makes you clear, and the next thing is you are in the fellowship of the Spirit who is here in Christ's name.

I feel it is very important to press 1 John 5:13, which shows that the object of the epistle is that you may know; that is, have conscious knowledge of eternal life. Where would things here be to us if we were truly and consciously in it? How varied are the ways which the Lord employs to effect the end He desires for His own! Oh, how we can justify Him and thank Him when the trial is over!

It is striking that those who are obscure about eternal life are dark on every point of truth, whether it is the gospel or deliverance, or the Spirit, or being over Jordan, or any other part of truth. As to the testimony, Christ's present interest, they seem to ignore it, or rather to know nothing about it.

We see in Haggai that we cannot be in company with the Spirit unless the interest of God at the time is our paramount interest. How few there are with whom it is paramount, and where it is not we are neither ready for the communications of the Spirit, nor able to apprehend them. How ready was Anna the prophetess! She could see in the child Jesus what many could not.... How could the Lord's chief interest be over until He comes?

We are reading 2 Timothy for our morning reading and are interested and encouraged at the way Paul was upheld in a more trying time than ours. The Lord keep you in concert with Himself. "Shall I hide front Abraham the thing which I do?" (Genesis 18:17).

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Our subject was "my assembly" (Matthew 16:18). I trust many are awaking to the fact that it is the only place the Lord has on the earth, seeing that He has been rejected from the earth. He is risen, and unless He is known as the risen One He cannot be known in the assembly. The church is called to be the candlestick. The imitation of this is the steeple, pointing to heaven; it is the company who should point to heaven. I feel that one ought to take it to heart that there is so little for the soul, so little edification in the assembly meetings. I am sure we are not careful enough to exclude everything from the assembly which is unsuited to the Lord. Warn the unruly. It is very humbling that it is disclosed continually how little sense there is of the Lord's presence in the assembly. To me it is evidence that there is no apprehension by faith of the house of God, or of the Lord there, as Son over God's house.

---------- is elated with conversions; I told him the next step for him should be, "I endure all things for the elect's sake" (2 Timothy 2:10). How little really are the saints cared for as being part of Christ, His own, all that He has here as to possession....

There are four things which are little upon the earth but they are exceeding wise. See Proverbs 30:24. It is in details that divine wisdom shows itself -- in the little things. The Lord raise you up to be more and more devoted to Him and a cheer and helper to His servants.


The rose long in bud has burst into full bloom! As I have in measure watered it and watched it with a gardener's care, surely I can rejoice in its prosperity with a peculiar joy. "I am glorified in them" (John 17:10) was the greatest satisfaction to our blessed Lord as to His own.

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I have compared a saint prospering to a standard rose-tree, the stem nothing but a briar from the hedge, but grafted with Christ, and when in blossom, that is fully for Him here, it necessarily sheds forth the fragrance of His name.

It is a wonderful thing to be left here to be entirely for Him, and that He should be pleased seeing Himself truly represented on the earth when He is absent. The bride will be the full portraiture of all His blessed ways as a Man.

It is no easy thing when one has been enveloped with human niceness in religion to get quite clear of the net. You must have much patience with dear --------.

The friends are peculiarly nice in a human sense, and there is nothing which entraps the feet, and clogs the heart like human niceness, what scripture calls "honey". The only way to get clear of honey is by learning Christ, His superiority. No rule or doctrine will supersede Adam, it must be Christ. Nothing but the Solomon beauty of Christ will eclipse what is of man. Until He is known as the wisdom of God the soul cannot be proof to what is of man. Many a one knows and enjoys the grace of God in Christ Jesus, who has never yet seen Jesus in the glory of the Father's throne, and until he does, he has not seen One who is in everything superior to the best exhibition of a man on earth. When you are sensibly united to Christ in glory, you begin to see a beauty in Him and in His things which throws all of man here into the shade. All human niceness is superseded by divine beauty.

It is impossible to turn away your eye from what is to your natural sense beautiful. You can only be diverted from it by the surpassing beauty of Christ. When you see that, all of man is lost sight of without a struggle.


Trials not a few nor small have tested you, and yet today you may raise your Ebenezer, rejoicing that there is more purpose of heart in you to follow Gideon wholly. The halting places of Israel are carefully recorded. Some

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distinct lesson I suppose was finished at each, and from thence the march began again. I hope you are getting ready for a fresh stage in the journey with increased confidence in God, and with the patience acquired in the several tryings of your faith. Properly the same stage ought never to have to be traversed again. The way one ends one stage in a great measure foretells how the new one will be entered on. A clear brisk evening foretells a good bright morning; and a morning of sombre conflict, neither too bright nor too clouded, is generally the harbinger of a good day. The morning that takes into account the opposing elements and encounters them at the start, generally clears up into a bright and useful day. When the obstacles are not encountered but overlooked there is an unnatural brightness, and one may then always forecast that there will be cloud and storm. G. V. W. has said, 'If you have had exercise before you enter on a new course, you will have no need for it when you do enter on it, but if you have not had it before, you must have it after'.


I am trying to write a letter addressed to all Christians, entitled, 'Is the Church the Body of Christ on the Earth?' If answered in the affirmative great are our privileges, and great are our responsibilities. If any one dared to answer in the negative he would disparage the Lord in asserting that His body had ceased to be here, and assume that he himself could remain here where his Lord was refused. The servant is not greater than his Lord.

I am sure you are so right in saying that the value of our service depends on our dependence, or coming direct from the Lord. I think one can do a service acceptably at one period in one's history, which is not approved of when you are better acquainted with Christ's interests. I was saying yesterday that there is a tendency to make the reading of the Bible communion. I submit that the

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right order is sitting at His feet hearing His word. The disciples knew more of Himself than of the Bible, but the better you know Him the better will you understand His words. I like to hear your words, but I should prefer to be near enough to hear you utter them, and it is the Person who forms you. His words unfold His mind. I think you will see my meaning. Souls have very little idea of being alone with the Lord, sitting under his shadow with great delight. I quite coincide with you as to your remarks about knowing the Head. Wonderful, truly, would our meetings be if each one held the Head.


It is one thing to stand up unto death for a great One who has won your heart and in whom your heart rests, and quite another thing to go in and co-operate with an admiring heart in full unison with Him when all His greatness is laid aside. David dances before the ark as one with the people, and Michal, who had rescued him in the hour of danger at her own peril, despises him in her heart; he is doubtless before her in quite another aspect; her heart is subjected to a terrible test and she fails; and one feels -- at least, I do -- sorry for her. I believe it is a great test to every one of us, some may be prepared for it -- forewarned, but I think others are rather surprised at this test to the full devotion of their heart to Christ. You would die for Him and defend Him against all comers, yet you find it trying beyond measure to you to give up every royal thing here, and assume the motto of being 'viler still' -- to rejoice with Christ in the commonality, humanly speaking, in which the fellowship and joy of the Spirit places us, as an outré company, outside of everything humanly great and interesting -- outside everything befitting the king in the eyes of the king's daughter!

If you could in your heart accept and delight in the social, unworldly David as you do in the royal, heroic David, you would be not only brilliant as a saint, but

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your own brightness would be a cheer to yourself and a testimony to others; and you would reach it if you would press your heart to what is due to personal affection, namely, to delight in David wherever or in whatever position He may be. It betrays a strange trait in the heart to love the mighty in danger unto death, and yet to despise that self-same one when socially making himself first and foremost in divine joy with his fellows -- identifying himself with his people. This is just what the Lord Jesus has done, and what we in His footsteps must do, if our hearts be fully given to Him. They must cross the barrier of nature, and flow only in the channels in which His heart flows. The Lord lead you to it is the prayer of one who earnestly seeks your welfare.


I was speaking at ---------- last evening on Jacob, that he had reached the right place in the land, yet that he must go through a night of wrestling, he must be subdued before God, crippled and powerless, and then at his wit's end he exclaims: "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me" (Genesis 32:26). There must be this exercise with God, this breaking down of one's own will and strength in the presence of God, before there is simple dependence on Him or confidence. The more thoroughly I am shattered and made nothing before Him, the more confidence have I in Him that He must and will bless me. Here the soul learns the state which suits the place in which God in His grace has set one. The loss with many souls in this day of knowledge is, that while they readily accept the place where grace has set us, they think little of the state which must accompany it, and they are almost confounded when they are brought into the night of wrestling. This night is to introduce you into a new day with a new name -- Christ's day really, and Christ's name. It is quite right to see and accept the place in which God in His grace sets us, but the higher it is, the truer to it your state must be, and the more you must be broken down to enter on it, as practically suited for it.

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I have no doubt the night of wrestling takes many a one by surprise; they have rested much more on the truth of their position than on Him who sets us there, and makes us like Himself because we are there. Hence, that Christ may dwell in our hearts (Ephesians 3) is the prayer after we have been set in Him in heaven (Ephesians 2). If I have learned in the dreary night of wrestling that God can break me down, and that my confidence is in Him, which He answers by assuring my heart of the name and power of Christ, I am in a new name and in a new power. I must not only see my place in Christ, but I must come near to the One who sets me there. The danger with us is resting short of increased nearness to Christ, because of the high position in which through Him we are set, and which we see. In the night of wrestling my flesh is broken down, and my confidence in Him is so answered that I enter on a new day with a new name -- Christ. I have no doubt that many are disappointed that after hearing with delight and receiving the truth of God, they are not more affected by it. The reason of this is, I apprehend, that they rest too much in the standing and have not gathered the first-fruits and put it into a basket; they have not occupied themselves increasingly with Christ, have not drawn nearer to Him, and recognised Him as the only One who can make it true to them, and the only One who can keep them in it. There is a felt want with the acceptance of the truth because the soul is no nearer to Christ through it; if it were, it would find that no flesh could glory there, and then it would have acquired a fresh vigour from Himself adequate to sustain one in the truth which had been revealed. The open firmament is the true element of a bird, but what use would that be if it had not wings; but wings must grow. The prodigal son is not told to come to the feast until he had the new clothes on -- until he is given a state to suit the father's house. The kiss does not give him a state; it tells of the father's heart, but he replies, "I am not worthy"; he is near enough to feel this, and then it is that he receives the new clothes fit for his father's presence -- the very highest blessing, and higher than he could have prescribed for himself. What is the good of a man being ennobled -- made a

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prince of -- if he feels he has gained no moral or suitable acquisition by it? This is the disappointment with souls, without being able to account for it, and the Lord in His gracious ways subjects them to nights of wrestling, because they have rested in their grand titles, and have overlooked the means of supporting their titles.


What a moment for David when he went in and sat before the Lord -- sitting there in the full consciousness of the Lord's mind about him! He does not go there to obtain anything from the Lord. He had heard from Nathan how the Lord purposed concerning him and the Lord's thoughts of him, and now he goes in and sits before Him to enjoy the Lord's thoughts about him in the Lord's own presence, and he tells us that it is because of this he has found it in his heart to pray this prayer. He expatiates before the Lord on the purposes and intentions of the Lord, he knows the place he occupies in the Lord's thoughts, and this gives him confidence. I have confidence in the Lord when I know how He feels about me. No amount of desire or gift from Him in itself could give me this confidence, but as I know His feelings about me I have confidence; and as I have confidence I draw near and sit before Him. I cannot conceive anything more satisfying or cheering to the heart than the consciousness that I may not only draw near, but that I draw near in answer to the thought and interest that the Lord has about me, and that I draw near to enjoy myself in His presence where there is so much thought and interest about me. Then my heart goes out in acknowledgment to Him in answer to His deep, gracious, and everlasting love. What a retreat for one it is! It is the effect that reading the word ought always to have on us. I believe the account He gives me of His love, and then in spirit I draw near and sit before Him; I go over all His gracious purposes, making them sure to myself in His presence,

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and having them confirmed the more to myself, in connection with the Author of them. This latter is of great importance because it promotes and establishes the dependence which is the joy and strength of the new man, by which and in which the dependence subsists.


I see very clearly that we have an earthen vessel, but we have a heavenly treasure in it, and while we have to take every care of the vessel as such, the vessel is not the treasure; and the vessel may be subjected to much discipline to render it fit for holding the treasure. Thus every position and relationship in which we are set here, should be with reference to this end -- to render the vessel more fitted for the treasure: therefore the rule should be -- nothing for the vessel but what is necessary to it as a vessel, but everything I can lay hold of for the treasure!

I have been writing about the two deaths we have morally to pass through -- the one our own death, like Jonah in the sea, where he is saved through the intervention and life of another. Death with Christ if truly entered into is a very absolute thing, nothing is left to me but His life which is divinely everything. But after this he has to experience the death of everything down here that would detain his heart from God; the gourd dies. The only way to be preserved from being like Lot's wife (see Luke 18) is by dependence on God, and by surrendering every impediment to following the Lord; and then you are well compensated. I believe the real loss with every believer is that he does not start as (by grace) a heavenly being; an immensity of disappointment and failure would be avoided if one were to regard this place as the place of discipline and service, but that by calling, nature, and taste, we are heavenly and belong wholly to another country.

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We see in John 4 the wonderful new style in which the desolate sinner was to come out in the very place of all her sorrow and disgrace as to herself; and to God -- worshipping the Father; therefore it is in advance of the prodigal son. It is the divine advancement in man from chapter 2, which is man's best -- there was a marriage feast, and also the best for God -- the temple at Jerusalem; both a sad failure. How wonderful and blessed is grace!

I have been much interested in seeing the effect the goal has on our course. You cannot rise higher than your goal. In fact if you were spiritually observant you might tell every one's goal by his walk or course. You cannot alter your course unless you alter your goal.... I was speaking on Luke 14; there we get something beyond the forgiveness of sins, there is our new place with God. I am sure the great lack in souls, and what hinders progress, is that they confine their attention to deliverance from guilt, and do not comprehend the new place for the man once lost, but now found, and fitted for the new place. I sometimes feel as if one had not a full conception of what a Christian is.


It is happy to remember that every divine link we have with one another will be maintained in power for ever. I spoke from Luke 14:15, 16, the superiority of our present portion while on the earth over anything that ever has been or will be from the earth; and secondly, that in the worst state here, as in chapter 17 you can be more prosperous here (see chapter 18) through dependence and surrender. Some are like birds on a sunshiny day when the snow covers the ground. They see that there is something shrouding the green thing, and they are like the birds unprepared for it, and are evidently in search of some of

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the old or former enjoyments; they have not learned to look up and to receive manna from heaven, and still less to go there and feed on the corn of the land. That is the great difference between the manna and the corn of the land; the one came down to this place; for the other we have to go up to get it.

Here they are satisfied with the three 'G's' -- gospel, good conduct, good works. I say I want besides these the three 'H's' -- Himself, holiness, and heaven! What I feel most is the lack of earnestness, so little desire to advance. Thank the Lord He would have us to pray always and not to faint.


Your letter reached me this morning. I hope I shall be able to make my meaning plain to you. You admit that as you walk in the Spirit, Christ is the object of your heart; no one can have two objects at the same time; an object is that which has the ascendancy. Christ should ever be your object, that is, first and supreme; if He be, then every relationship, every responsibility ordained of God will be divinely fulfilled. Now Christ is not your object if a relation, however near, is your object, because if Christ be superseded from His rightful place, everything must go wrong. The sun in the sky rules the day, but if you, in your mind, were to put one of the stars in the place of the sun, every one who would hear of it would say you were foolish. Christians are worse than foolish when they supersede Christ by any of His gifts. When Christ is your object you are rejoiced to know that your body is His. If you read the end of 1 Corinthians 6 you will see that this great fact is the prelude to the exhortations of chapter 7 to which you refer. If all I am is the Lord's, I am His slave, and glad to be. If He approves of my being married it is right to marry, but it must be "in the Lord". Marriage is not to divert my heart from Him, but to enable me to be a better servant. If Christ is your object you think of

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Him first. Whether you marry or enter on any business you are the Lord's bondsman, and you have no right to do, or to enter into anything except as subject to Him. He knows the training, the bridle, in fact, which you require, and the more you are in concert with Him (in conscious union with Him) the better you will fill every relationship ordained of God. You do not turn to the law to learn your responsibility, but to the Lord. You are to love your wife as Christ loved the church; you are to bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. As a Christian you come out in a wonderful way in your home circle; you act according as you are made according to God in every relationship which He has ordained.

I trust that now you see I do not in any way overlook or set aside natural relationships. On the contrary, I insist that if Christ is your object you will maintain all the natural relationships, not only up to the law, or up to Adam, but in the grace of Christ. I hope you will be much helped in dwelling on this subject.


"He would have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee" (Psalm 81:16). Here are two things -- firstly, the best food, indicating strength, and secondly, personal affection of the highest order. The more restful you are in companionship with the Lord Jesus the more you will receive of the one and enjoy the other. The great thing we need for progress is restfulness of heart. I do not believe that there is simple restfulness of heart until union with Christ is known, not merely as a doctrine, but as the unalterable bond of affection. You are not only assured of His grace in saving you, but you have found Him so necessary to you that you cannot live without Him; then to find out that you are united to Him is absolute solace and divine restfulness. If He had not made you fit to enjoy His company, if you were not really His companion, there could be no readiness of heart for

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union with Him. Now, when the heart is in the restfulness of union, there is a manner of life consequent on it, and there are two great acquisitions, namely, food and personal affection, the finest of the wheat, and honey out of the rock. The more you enter into the blessedness of being united, the more will you seek to feed on Him in order that in everything you may be in keeping with Him. It is not now that you want to be assured that you can be near Him, but you want to be better able to comprehend Him to whom you are so near. There is a great difference between trying to be fit to be near Him, and being in conscious nearness to Him, seeking to be more in communion with Him, and to take part with Him in His interests in the knowledge of His will. Here John's gospel comes in, and hence life and nature are there brought out more than union. You are like a wife studying her husband's business in order that she may be in company with him therein, and in order to do this, exercising her mind in things that would increase her ability. You seek to grow up into Him in all things, and now with this ability there is His personal affection, not merely His love as God, but that individuality of affection that honey typifies. You will learn this in a twofold way -- the descending affection in which He enters into all your cares and difficulties here, as a husband would to His wife, and the ascending affection when He conducts you into the things in which He is interested. His heart will then safely trust in you. May you know more and more of this perfect satisfaction, this honey which alone satisfies. There are peculiar marks or evidences of this heart satisfaction. First, the solitude of your own room will be preferred to the most attractive company. You have been satisfied by the most perfect, unique love, and hence every other is inferior to it. You value ministry, but it is ministry that unfolds Him more and more to you. The ministry that shows Him to you is what you value, whether it be in connection with your wilderness path, or in heaven, and not mere interpretations or thrilling discourses. The "watchmen" (see Canticles 3) know that you seek but One. You have no real anxiety but the Lord's interests. This is wonderful experience, but the satisfied heart knows it.

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Like Eli of old, you only care for the ark of the Lord. You do not forecast, or provide against contingencies. Finally, you are like a candle in full light, not from reputation, but from inherent satisfaction of heart derived from the Lord Himself. May you have more and more of this divine satisfaction.


My text for you entering on another year is, "Thus saith the Lord; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown" (Jeremiah 2:2). The blessed God keeps in memory the brightest and best note in our hearts, even though it be silent now, the harp hung on the willows. The best note is the finest apprehension of God that the Spirit of Christ has generated in the heart. He will remember it even though you may forget it. The evidence and effect of the work of Christ living in you must ever remain before Him. The best fruit which the tree has borne, secured a name with Him for that tree. The tree may suffer from blights, but it has obtained a name with Him because once at the start it had borne fruit of the best quality. This is exceedingly encouraging. The thing that has been is the thing that shall be. It is not possible to return to a lower quality after having reached a higher. You must come up to your highest apprehension. When there is real fruitfulness it must be of that order. You must come back to it, you must sing as in the days of your youth. It is not that you will sing well merely, but you will sing in the way you have sung in your most vigorous day. The Lord must have His memory renewed with gladness. It may take time to put us back to our highest note, the one that in His tender love we are remembered of by Him, but to it, though it take forty years, we shall return. I remember at my marriage feeling so distressed because at the meeting there was no prayer for me as a servant of the Lord that

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I left the whole company and went straight to my own room! Surely many years elapsed and many sorrows were inflicted before I was able to sing as in the days of my youth, but the Lord remembered the best note in my heart all that time. There is, however, a very interesting fact in connection with this, and it is that we have to return to the point of departure -- to the first wrong step. In a way there can really be no advance from the first wrong step. The wrong step occurs when self, in any form, is paramount to the Lord. It is very solemn, while very interesting, to note the various influences which succeed in diverting men of God from His interests to seek their own interests first. Now, when this is the case there must be a wrong step, however good the object desired. As far as I can see no one advances, however lengthened the interval -- that is, no one ever really grows -- until the first wrong step is retraced, and thence starts afresh. Thus it was with Israel. Though forty years had elapsed, they had really made no advance to the land. In the wilderness they learned what God was in His gracious care of them, and they learned themselves; but they were no nearer the land at the end of forty years than at the beginning. The young generation, detached from their fathers, were then prepared to enter the land. It is very important to see that though they were learning themselves in the wilderness and the daily care of God, yet they had made no advance in the song that filled their hearts when they crossed the Red Sea. This explains the state of many. They have taken a wrong step, and, until it is retraced, they are as exiles, they have no enjoyment of their own country, though cared for by God in the most perfect way, and have real gain in increased dependence on God. Thus there are two things to interest you -- one of unspeakable cheer, that the Lord ever remembers your highest note of love and delight in Himself; and the other, that if you are not advancing according to that note, you have taken a wrong step which you will one day retrace, but in the interval you are learning because of the trials of the wilderness to be more dependent on God.

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... I did not require your bountiful gift to be assured of your love. I believe in it! The greatest gift would be very small without it! No gift can exhaust divine love. Divine love rejoices when we do not want anything, as we read, I will rest in my love; I will rejoice over thee with singing. I am learning that divine love is beyond -- infinitely beyond human love. This we seek, even your perfection. Divine love ensures perfect suitability to itself, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, and this, in order that we might live together (or in co-partnership) with Him, everything to ensure having "part with me". As His love is assured to our hearts, we love Him. If we love little, it is because we are not assured that we are loved much. The only way to increase your love for Him is to be more fully assured of His for you. When His love controls us we follow Him, as Ruth followed Naomi. Then the heart rejoices in union with Him, and in union your individuality is merged in Him. His interests are now your interests. This is the effect of realising union with Him in heaven. If you were asked your destination -- what are you destined for on the earth by God? -- what answer would you give? You are destined to be a Rebekah to be brought to a greater than Isaac. Rebekah was ready to be conducted to Isaac -- a wonderful calling or destiny, even while down here. This is the teaching of Ephesians. Had ever any one such a prospect here as a Christian? Great are the joys which are only known in union with Christ. An entirely new circle of interest is opened out to you, as there was to Rebekah when she joined Isaac. Who can conceive the joy and blessedness of realising union with Christ? You then begin to live for His interests. We first learn His interest in us -- -how He loved us and gave Himself for us; but when we realise our union with Him by the Spirit, we know His love that passeth knowledge. As a member of His body you are here only for Him. I can

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understand the apostle's desire (Ephesians 3) that all men might see the mystery. It is inconceivably grand that Christ's body should be on this earth, and that you and I should be really members of His body -- of His order, life and nature. I should like to talk of these great things with you. To think that Christ's interest should be our interest, and that it is really our interest because we are part of Him!


There are three great chapters in Mary of Bethany's history. The first, She sat at his feet, and heard his word. In that she is alone. The good part is new and unprecedented. She departed from the ordinary and approved course which Martha diligently pursued. She adopted a part which was singular and unknown. To be near Him, and to understand Him, is the good part -- the soul of love -- a blessed beginning; she could never lose it; it was the result of a divine work in her soul. The second chapter recorded for us in her history tells of her deep sorrow because of the death of Lazarus, and her disappointment at the Lord not coming at once, for she had counted on His love. But the moment she heard, "The Master is come, and calleth for thee" (John 11:28), she was reassured; she had no doubt as to His power and greatness, and when she saw Him she fell at His feet. Now she learns His deep interest in her. The blank caused by the death of Lazarus is filled by Himself. Next, she learns His sympathy and His love in a new way; and lastly, in a circle of friends, she avows such devotion to Him, that that which would have given great distinction to herself she buries with Him. As He is about to die, what is of any value to her where He is not? I admire much her isolated path, because her affection for Him carried her outside and apart from every one here, and as far as I see, it is in this connection she should be spoken of in the gospel. As the Lord says, "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of

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her" (Matthew 26:13). It is the memorial that our blessed Lord not only so loved a sinner, but could make a sinner love Him so much.


I suppose if we were here like Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, hearing His word, we should be able to interpret rightly every occurrence of the day. I do not say that we should be able to tell the intention of each occurrence; but this I am sure of, that as each drives us to Him, we should receive from Himself the blessing intended for us by it. Where we resist death most, there death comes most, if we are set for knowing the Lord better. The death of Lazarus tried Mary deeply. She, I might say, was disappointed with the Lord. She was reassured when Martha said -- He calleth for thee; and this deep sorrow led to her knowing Him in the closest and happiest way. Before Lazarus was raised she had found in Christ a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Until Christ is more to us than every natural tie, though there may be a good deal of nice, useful service, we have not come to Christ, as "everything and in all" (Colossians 3:11). He may indeed be chief, but He is not everything. When He is, He then is known as Head.

I can understand (would that I knew it better!) that He then so commands the heart and satisfies it, that one could carry out every natural tie with grace and unselfish interest, seeking to impart instead of to receive. The more Christ is to us, the better we are in every natural tie. It may seem hard and unnatural to say, If a man forsake not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple, and yet it is the one who does so, who, because of the grace of Christ, can best answer to and serve the natural ties.


I am glad that you are relieved as to ----------. How varied are the demands on each of us, and the very variety, as

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we walk with the Lord, makes known the greatness of His resources, as dear Mr. Wigram used to say -- It is not habit which we are learning but life; and the life of Christ is equal to everything!

It is a wonderful thing to be in the Lord's hands, and still greater to know Him as Head. I think holding Him as Head is the first sense of union. I wish you both would be so interested in the treasures of the Lord's house that you would search for them in the word, and thus not only gain much yourselves but be able to help many. I feel much how little we have learned of the house of God -- what it is to the Lord, and what it is to us. My impression is, that if I were in the truth of the house of God, I should come from it like Psalm 84; and that if I were in the knowledge of the mystery, as in Ephesians, I should bring His heavenly grace into every circle ordered of God here on the earth, withstanding all the power and opposition of Satan. Thus the house and the body would be the centre of practical blessing to me.

The Spirit's work now is in us, leading us into all that has been done for us; and the more truly any one is a servant of Christ the more is he in company with the Spirit, seeking and labouring and praying that saints may grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Go where one will in this dark scene there is but one bright spot, as it is expressed in Ezekiel 1:4, "And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind ... out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber". As one in a dark night watches for the moon, there is a great moral difference as to whether one is dwelling on the clouds that intercept the light, which "rules the night", or whether the eye is simply and entirely watching for the light, though it may often be obscured. If you are occupied with the clouds, that is with the interruptions, you will feel tortured; everything will seem against you, and you will feel as one crushed and deserted; but if you are occupied with

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the "amber" spot, though there be a great whirlwind and a great cloud, you will be assured of heart, in the consciousness that you are waiting for a display of a well-known power which will disperse all the clouds, and afford you a full bright view of Himself in a cloudless sky even in your journey here. Trials and clouds and vexations you will have; we need them in order to convince us that it is all night here, but then our business is not with the clouds, but with the One who is the light in the midst of darkness. Apparently there would be little difference between two travellers journeying along in a dark and stormy night; there is apparently no more light to one than to the other, yet the one taken up with his sufferings because of the storm and the darkness would be crushed and distressed in a way that the one whose eye was fixed on the moon, or on a star, to cheer and alleviate the trials, would be quite superior to; the latter counts on the efficacy of a well-known resource, one which is known to exist, and which every now and again is displayed with such distinct help, such complete victory over the interruptions that the very value and charm of the light is enhanced by the temporary obstructions, and a deeper sense of its worth is obtained to impart greater courage and more hope when clouds would again prevail.

Thus one thinks of the light and not of the clouds; and clouds, like wants to a rich man, only afford an opportunity for making a good investment, feeling how rich one is when the want is presented. The moment of need and misery to a poor man is the moment of complacency to a rich man because he has resources to meet it. The one with his eye on the clouds I compare to the poor man; the one with his eye on the blessed light and cheer of our hearts is the rich man -- the man rich in Christ.

May you, my dear Mrs. --------, be always the one rich in Christ.

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The sense, though it be but for a moment, that Christ is enough for you -- that is Jordan. You have had a spiritual death-bed. Then at Gilgal the flesh must be absolutely refused -- put to death.

I gave two words yesterday -- the sum of our wilderness learning, complete in Christ, and the body of sin annulled. These two things were abstractedly true of me the moment I was converted. I do not improve them one bit; but they are only true to me as I walk with God.

I was saying also that the two must be concurrent. A man might be taken up with one only, and thus make no progress. You may see one denouncing the old man, but that does not rid him of the old man. You may see another full of nice feelings respecting Christ, and yet there is no progress. Why? Because Christ as He is is not grasped or interviewed by the soul. If He were, He would gain place in me, and the old man would concurrently retire, and lose his hold on me in everything down here.

There is no real interviewing with the Lord in glory. When there is, Christ monopolises the heart, and everything else is displaced.

The height of your exaltation does not discourage you, if you are advancing to it, in the smallest way. Our exaltation is assured to us by the work of Christ, and yet many are discouraged because they are not experimentally moving on to it.


I know something of the tornado which sweeps away the whole of one's nest! I have fancied a bird surveying after the storm the place where its nest once was, but it is gone

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The more simply you are cast on the Lord the better you will know that they who sow in tears shall reap in joy. This is true of every event in our lives, the evening before the morning.

How much of the faith once delivered to the saints (and within this century recovered) will they retain who, while accepting the calling of a Christian, sanction or permit an amount of worldliness? Isaiah 3 describes the present state of things. In order to escape from self-occupation, they make standing everything, and have lost or overlooked the divine state. Ephesians 3:16 you will not require hereafter. It is the state given of God now for the one who is in heavenly association. If you do not know that prayer now you never will know it, because in glory you will be far beyond it. There cannot be walk beyond your state. You must make the tree good, and the fruit will be good. A great deal of walk is commendable to man because it is towards man, but there is more of "Martha" in it than of "Mary", and in many things what is highly esteemed among men is not acceptable with God.... The beginning, and the kernel of all mischief amongst us is Balaam -- sociality in some form with the Moabites. The hall-door is closed against the world, but worldly relations are admitted by the side door, and this and that is retained in order to be agreeable to one's company. If you trace any departure to its source, you are sure to find it originated with the Moabite. It is simply a question whether I am fashioned by the world or by Christ. I cannot adopt the latter, but as I am in His presence; then I am transformed. I -- 'With adoring fervour, in this Thy nature grow.'

I need not write all this to you, but I am so impressed with the state of things that I cannot conceal it.


We should all flourish if we had our eyes on our Sun. The flowers on the earth teach me, they are so affected by the

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sun. Their colours are bright when they have plenty of the sun, and their fragrance is in proportion. So should we have both beauty and fragrance if the eyes of our hearts were fixed on Christ. We are generally thinking of something to do, it is work of some kind which is before us. We are looking to the work to commend us, and not to the One whom Enoch studied to please. He pleased God by giving Him credit for His nature! Paul speaks of union -- John of communion. I think these two words are good samples of the two lines: If you are in communion you know the good of union; and union would be nothing without communion.

I am much interested in the way John by the Spirit revives the teaching of Paul, when it had been almost lost in the huge system called by man the church. As a rule you do not restore or revive by repeating the truth that has been lapsed from, but by presenting it more distinctly in another form, more God's side of it.

It is a great thing to secure food for the people (2 Samuel 23:12). There is much to be learned from the fable of the lion in a net; he could not extricate himself, but the little mouse outside nibbled the knots, and thus he was eventually released!


The more I see and the more I learn, the more I am assured that hardly any one is up to the full Christian state; you are either of the man who rejected Christ, or you are of Christ. If you try to effect a compromise you are anti-Christian, and that is the religion of Christendom, sad to say. False Christianity and the world must both be surmounted before you are in the realisation of eternal life. It is an out-of-the-world condition of things.

I spoke from 2 Timothy 3:10 -- The resource in difficult days. When everything is ruined in the hands of man, our only resource is to rise to the height of the Lord's mind, and learn directly from Himself through the word His mind and pleasure for the period.

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I was pleased to see ---------- so calm and restful in the presence of the shadow of death; for, however sure we are of the gain of the loved one who is gone to the Lord, yet there is a blank here which never can be filled up, though through the Lord's sympathy we may be fully borne above it, and the nearer the tie the greater the wrench. Death in itself is a terrible thing -- the creature after that order gone! We should gain much if we were more conscious of the blank here because of the absence of our Lord, for if we felt it rightly we should avail ourselves of the mode by which He relieves us, which we find in John 14, His provision for us during His absence. I divide John's gospel into two parts. From chapter 3 to 10 that which relates to us, from chapter 13 to 17 how we are to be here for Christ during His absence. Study them.


I think we do not sufficiently observe how easily an untoward influence is imbibed from our acquaintances in nature. They always address our nature whenever they at all please us, and when our nature is pleased we are injured. This really takes place when we are off our guard, and few like to continue what a soldier calls doing duty, ever braced in armour, no relaxation or remission; and we always displease our natural acquaintances when we are true to our new and proper nature in Christ, when we feel our distance and separation from them and are fully happy in it. We are always either cultivating the new nature or reviving the old. In the latter case we are injuring ourselves, and we are useless to those around us. In the former, we are alone in happy separation and acquiring ability to be useful. Faith must act above all influences, and therefore when any influence is admitted, faith is superseded. An unhealthy moral atmosphere does not immediately and distinctly impress us with the injury we sustain from it, but we always find that it affects first our weak point, whatever that may be. On the contrary, in a divine atmosphere our weak point is

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the first thing corrected. I am sure saints often suffer from an injurious moral atmosphere without being able to detect the cause of it.


It is a great lesson to submit to difficulties which you have brought upon yourself without trying to extricate yourself from the difficulties, while judging that which brought you into them. If we cannot overcome where we are, we could not overcome anywhere. If we look simply to the Lord there is no fear but that we can overcome unless we are in a false position, and in that case overcoming would be to get out of it.

When there is true faith, God answers it independently of the walk, though He chastens for failure in the walk after He answers the faith. The nearer I am to the Lord the more plainly will He chide with me for failure; but what brings me near Him is my confidence in His love to receive and to succour me. It was faith in Peter after his failure to gird his fisher's coat about him and cast himself into the sea to go to Jesus (John 21). He could depend on the Lord's love, for He had often succoured him, and while the Lord answers his faith in meeting and receiving His disciple, He afterwards deals with his heart and conscience, and restores him fully.


I think that when a soul is occupied with its need, it does not dwell on the love which has done the service. The service is the one thing before it, as with the woman who touched the hem of His garment. The woman in Luke 7 loved much because she was forgiven much, but she seeks acquaintance with Him. Jonathan had this feeling for David, but this I submit is love for the service

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and not love for the Person. In Canticles we get love for the Person. When the fear is taken away by love, I believe the love occupies us. When Jonathan's fear was removed, he loves. That is first love. First love likes to give. The advance on this is like Peter, Luke 5, he left all and followed him. The woman in Luke 7 was determined to make His acquaintance, she was relieved so fully. Jesus had been to her soul more than any one else had ever been. This acquaintance is the desire of my heart, when I know that He has not only relieved me, but that I can turn to Him as the One whom my heart can rest in. First love is gratified in meeting Him first in the solitude of one's own room; then I find that He knows me. Secondly, I meet Him in the assembly. Thirdly, in heaven at His coming. I think the last is in one sense the most desired, because it is unchangeable, though there is this great check to it, in that, while it is possible to know something of the first two here, the last is future.

We had a very nice meeting, I spoke from 2 Corinthians 3:18. -- How we are transformed by "beholding", and then so absorbed that we are not thinking of giving up, but we are filled with our gain. Like Moses, his face shining and unknown to himself. Then the things here which had deepest place in your heart, and which you thought indispensable to you, you are released from; you are so happy without your idol or attraction, whatever it may have been, that it is displaced. I read the last verse of Habakkuk. He could rejoice in the Lord amid the ruin here, but with him it was contrast, not, as it may be with us, absorption, in which the brightest things here as well as the darkest are displaced.


If I were near you, I could tell you some of my musings. I see every blessing in John is heavenly. See John 4, 5, 6, 7. It is from the Man, who came down from heaven. No ordinance of God can be truly fulfilled but by the Man of His pleasure, or as we derive from Him.

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The subject before me for -------- is, Firstly, Your reception is in the Father's house. Secondly, All your support in the wilderness is from your High Priest, "made higher than the heavens". That which comes from heaven must be heavenly though it be for support here (this is Hebrews). Thirdly, When you know union, you know that Christ is your Head in heaven. Your Head is not here though you are here. This is a great day for you. Fourthly, You are by the Spirit associated with Him where He is; and now you are satisfied with favour, full of the blessing of the Lord. Possess thou the west and the south!

... The meeting, I trust, was helpful. I read Revelation 3:7, pointing out, that in a day of ruin, it is a great cheer that the Lord will manifest Himself as the Holy, and the True, having the key of David. That is really the power of the rejected King. I referred to 1 Samuel 30, the darkest hour was before the greatest manifestation of God's power on David's behalf. He counted only on God. Power is the ability to rise over every obstruction, but we must be holy and true to be helped by the Holy and True. I do not think the open door refers to conversions, I think it is more the power to rise up to our divine portion and rights.


I like the way you comment on Psalm 18 (I have just read it over) and that one is more relieved by the effect of His company than if the pressure were removed. That opens out much to me. I used to be saying to myself relieved out of it, but not relieved from it; but now I enjoy the effect of association with Him being better to me than any measure of relief. O how wonderfully blessed we are. If we only lived in it!

My subject last evening was the Spirit. I began at John 3 and traced the course of the Spirit on to chapter 16 -- the greatness of the Spirit!

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I quite agree with -------- that the breaking of bread is introductory. It is like saluting the Lord, and then we go in with Him. I often say I come to remember Him and to listen to Him. And after being in company with Him as He is, when I turn back to the wilderness path my first act will be like Him as He was here.

We had a happy meeting this morning. I so enjoyed the fact at the supper that Christ in death changed death to a spot of our deepest gain and interest, and hence now we have His death as our companion.

I should go anywhere to see a company who were breaking their hearts after the Lord. "As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks" (Psalm 42:1), etc. "My soul followeth hard after thee". Answer -- "Thy right hand upholdeth me" (Psalm 63:8).


I lectured from Psalm 23 last evening -- the wilderness, the same in principle for us as for the remnant. The wilderness (Psalm 23) comes between the sufferings (Psalm 22) and the glory (Psalm 24). The wilderness is -- there is nothing here for the man of God, neither bread nor water. You must begin by saying, "I shall not want". No saint ever wanted here that he did not expose himself to Satan. Thus you come prepared from the best place, and one that you know. In the gospel it is from the joys of the Father's house. When Christ is known as Priest you come from Him as such; and when He is known in heaven you come from the best and highest to face this dark world. Thus invigorated, you are led into the paths of righteousness. You must be prepared for the journey here; you must resume your journey every day prepared by wisdom's feast. See Proverbs 9. Wisdom gives you bread and wine first, and then in divine vigour you are separate from what is not of God. Then what cheer He gives! a table -- some distinct mark of favour -- in the presence of your enemies; like Melchisedec bringing out bread and wine to Abraham. Your head anointed with

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oil, your countenance is bright, and within you have joys unspeakable.

I was speaking of one who acquired the greatest nearness to the Lord, the brightest light, and the greatest service. How did she acquire it? By her love to Him! There is the active love and the restful love. Peter is an example of one and John of the other.


... Surely goodness and mercy have followed you. And you have learned that the more you have sought the more you have found. Accustom yourself to refer everything to the Lord. Do not think that you can do anything without Him. The habit of soul of looking up is of great value, because you are sensible of your dependence, and the more you depend the more the blessedness of depending will be known. You learn thus His sympathy and His power on your behalf, and though you may not utter a prayer, yet you renew and confirm the link between Him and you. It is the life of dependence that is really dependence. It is not depending when you are much pressed, but always, just as a bird always has its wings. A wise man is not one who is sometimes wise, but one who is never foolish. Thus a godly man is a man habitually so, not one who is only occasionally so. When we are not habitually cast on the Lord we are sure to miss Him when a pressure comes. John was leaning on Jesus when Peter beckoned to Him to ask Him the question. The matter of moment for you is -- what is your element? If dependence on the Lord is your element, you will be out of your element, and you will feel it when you are doing your own will. The sense of dependence necessarily conveys to you the greatness of the One on whom you depend, and the imperfection and weakness of yourself. May your coming year be marked by a true life of dependence, and may it be your brightest in heavenly light, and may you seek the things which are above where Christ sitteth. It is a painful evidence of the reluctance

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that is in us to the things of God that though we have the assurance that "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit" (1 Corinthians 2:9, 10), yet that we know so very little of them. But you must seek them. The queen of Sheba went to Jerusalem to seek Solomon's wisdom. They that seek me early shall find me.


May you remember that this is not your rest. And may you not weary in the race. We taste of the joys of the Father's house when we reach the finish of the gospel, and though we know that we are placed in the heavenlies as united to Christ, we are not absolutely in heaven yet, we are running on to it. It is really a steeplechase. Every kind of obstruction is thrown in our way. But as we walk in faith we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. The great thing for you entering on this new year is faith. Faith is seeing Him that is invisible. When a mariner, however tossed about on the sea, can see the sun he can take the bearings of his ship. Your great object must be to set the Lord always before you. Be not satisfied with praying, or with reading scripture, seek that you see Him, that the eye of your soul may rest on Him whom not having seen we love, in whom though now we see Him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Look for Him as the mariner looks for the sun in the hour of difficulty. Every hour is an hour of difficulty with us while we are here, and if we do not keep our eye on Him in the little difficulties we shall not be able to find Him in the great ones.

There are two things you must ever be in the sense of, and the fuller your sense of them is, the better you will get on. One is the sufficiency of Christ for the one who seeks Him. My soul followeth hard after thee, thy right hand upholdeth me. This is all you could desire; but there is another sense you must have, and that is the

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violence of the power that is against you. Satan is the God of this world, the prince of the power of the air, so that you should feel -- I am encompassed with enemies, and I am only safe when near the Lord. He is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe. In most cases failure occurs not because souls are not reading and praying, but because they are not watching. They are caught when they did not fear any harm. Blessed is the man that feareth always. Be a little child holding tight to its mother's hand when it sees a big dog. Be always assured that more than a mother's hand is now beside you, and be also assured that a terrible dog is near you. Thus that you may be greatly blessed is my true desire for you.

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I am rejoiced that you have of yourself seen the inconsistency of your act at --------. One has sometimes to learn that the fire burns by putting one's fingers into it! And the children of brethren are liable to this; in fact, they need it. They properly take their place as saints -- their true place -- in company with their parents; but when they find other saints, meeting in other ways, they are either exercised and practically assured that they themselves are in the right path, or they are indifferent; so that it would be no trial to them to leave the path they are in for another path. Spiritually they are much on a par. Those converted amongst us, unless the Lord has specially exercised them, have no clear idea or sense why they should be separate from the systems around, and thus the new converts enfeeble the testimony as to our church position. I do not say it ought to be so, I am stating a fact. I think this fact betrays a deficiency in the gospel that is preached by brethren, that is, the Person of Christ is not sufficiently kept before the soul. If Christ were really the Centre, the true ground would be known from the start.

Where restoration is genuine you are stronger in that point than in any other. The power of grace is so deepened in the soul that ever after you are stronger there than at the points where you have not yielded. A broken bone when knit again is stronger in the broken place. Doubtless after his restoration Peter was stronger as to confessing the Lord than in anything else; so that though one is positionally lowered by one's declension, one is morally higher when through grace one is fully restored. It will be a great cheer to me to find you brighter than ever. The Lord uses those whom He restores.

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If you would be perfectly happy you must live entirely for Christ here. Delight thyself in the Lord.


I am sure you will have manifold more for the self-surrender and sacrifice entailed on you, and so cheerfully accepted by you. It is the sure way to obtain marked favour from the Lord. May He lead each of us into continued self-sacrifice that we may enjoy His "manifold more". To win you must lose. When health is feeble and one is required to think of oneself the habit of self-sacrifice is often overlooked, and the tendency is to drop into self-care, and self-indulgence, and then there is no progress. One who made a great surrender at the first, and gained greatly on account of it, has since remained almost stationary in divine stature because surrender had not continued. The manifold more is the reward of the surrender, and in proportion to it; whatever a man may think, he does not get the manifold more except as he surrenders. Do you not think I should like to see you with an increased manifold more? Before now when you surrendered you did receive it! I was rejoiced to see you so well and happy in the Lord, lending yourself with true self-sacrifice to the service of His people. Any one can do big things, but it is only the full heart that can think of the smallest things -- the hairs of one's head!

I think what we all reed is a greater taste or longing for heaven. I do not believe that any one seeks heaven until he knows the joys of it; and he cannot on earth know the joys of heaven except as he enjoys company with the Lord. There he tastes of it, and thus he is led to know the power which wrought in Christ, as Stephen being full of the Holy Ghost looked up. I believe that if we were more attached to the Lord, we should long to be with Him where He, is. We often look for Him to help us in our circumstances down here; that is quite right if we do not stop there; but having learned His help down here, we should seek Him in His own place --

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dwell in heart with Him there. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus. Did you ever go that wonderful road?


I hope that the truth you have gained has become so a part of your life that everything you do bears the mark of it. It is not doing some things right, and in a right spirit, which is the "life of Jesus", but doing everything, even the least thing, as He would do it. To resist the flesh and its likings in everything, and to manifest Christ in everything is the work of grace in our hearts, so that a saint is never idle; he is never without employment. Like a plant, the roots beneath are always at work, and outwardly, the leaves are always green. People in the world, especially young people, often say they have nothing particular to do. The saint has always something to do, because he has to keep out the intruder, the flesh, and to manifest in his body the life of Jesus. I hope you will find yourself well occupied, and that you have more than you can do.

... I rejoice with you in the step that -------- has been led to take -- to leave all and follow the Lord. It is a wonderful step when fully apprehended. It is in one way a greater step than learning the doctrine of justification by faith which was brought to light in Luther's day. One might say that justification was more important, as teaching the only true way of salvation, which is so far true; but unless a soul learns that the Holy Ghost is here, and that the church is the body of Christ who is the Head in heaven, he has not settled peace, nor can he walk in the Spirit, nor does he know Christ as Head. If he is ignorant of the latter truth (the truth which has come out in these late days) he may be safe, but he is nothing but a dwarf, he never grows beyond the merest babe....

The Christian is a child of war from his birth, making for the great battle in the land -- the heavenly places -- where the contention is to reproduce or exhibit Christ as the One exalted by God, though refused by man. We spend

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many a day fighting to get there, but we have to fight to maintain the position we are set in by God; and there it is that the greatest power is against us, but it is concealed in "wiles". Where are you in this scene of conflict?


It is not wickedness to be harassed by bad thoughts if you resist them. It is Satan's effort to get you to adopt them, and thus you are sifted. You will find, if you keep near the Lord, that you are more established after an assault of the kind than you were before; and the only way to combat Satan's attacks is by the word; therefore you must not trust to some one passage only, but you must keep reading the scriptures, and the word which helps you will strike home. If Satan can get you to become indifferent to these assaults, then they will lead you to great damage; but if, on the contrary, they urge you to be more dependent on the Lord Himself and on His word, they will eventually cease, and you will be settled. "After that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you" (1 Peter 5:10).

I give you an interesting study: the 'law of the war'. Those who went to battle had to divide with those who remained at home -- share and share alike. See 1 Samuel 30:24. Was that fair? But those who went to battle gave of their acquisitions, one out of five hundred to the priests; while those who were at home had to give one out of fifty (ten times more!) to the Levites. The truth you acquire in battle -- in conflict, you must share with others, but your share will carry you to the priest, while the share of the non-combatant will only carry him to the Levite.

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"Wisdom is better than strength" (Ecclesiastes 9:16). In a world of trial, because of the opposition of evil, and the snares to which we are exposed, because of our weakness, there must be strength for growth and advance. I write unto you young men because ye are strong. There can be no testimony until the soul has reached this stage. The power of Christ is then not only known to be for you, but you have used it. If I were with the Lord I should be in the enjoyment of His glory, but while I am down here, where everything is against Him, and where evil is reigning, I must either yield, or by His power triumph over it; nay, the more conversant I am with Him in glory, and consequently with that which suits Him, the more shall I feel and suffer from the antagonism of Satan here, as Paul experienced when he had returned from the third heaven. Then he had no resource but the power of Christ. Everything would be right if He were ruling here, but He is not; and everything is out of course. Satan is the god of this world; hence as a Christian I do not seek to alter the course of things, but so to use the power of Christ that I may be superior to all adverse influences. The power of Christ practically sets me above Satan's power, because in the power of Christ I am master of myself. If I follow Christ, bearing about in my body the dying of Jesus, there is no landing-place for Satan, no place of assault. I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might; hence strength is the great evidence of growth and manhood in Christ. There is a sense of what is needed, and the practical use of it. Solomon prayed for wisdom that he might be able to discern between good and evil. "Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14). There is a sense of the way things should be done because of God. Hence the fear of the Lord is the beginning -- the head -- of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. What

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God requires is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of what suits Him is understanding. This is the path which the vulture's eye hath not seen; the keenest eye in nature cannot see this path. God only understands the way thereof, and He knoweth the place thereof. It surpassed the gold of Ophir, and the precious onyx and the sapphire. The price of wisdom is above rubies; and surely in a world of self-will, when God says, Your ways are not my ways, etc., it is unspeakably blessed to be able to steer one's way in wisdom, doing the thing which is suited to God -- the right thing at the right time, knowing and doing what He in His nature (holiness and love) requires.

What a tree of beauty and excellence such an one would be on the earth! yielding fruit and fragrance, according to the mind of God, in a scene where He is refused and unknown! Thus the strength is not confined to what it has to overcome, but everything of the world is refused and disallowed, for it is not of the Father. One's course and manner in everything is marked by wisdom -- that peculiar line which is in accordance with the mind of God; not only strong to reach a place, a position superior to every opposition, but owning God in everything, doing and maintaining everything in happy and known reference to Him, one walks in our measure through this evil world as Christ walked.


Running the race is maintaining what is characteristic of or due to Christ down here; studying Him is learning Him; you must be with Him to study Him. But if you are in the race, really running on to Him, He is more attractive to you than anything else. Do you see Him as your mark? Then things here are superseded for you. If you study Him you set aside yourself, and if you see Him as the mark, you feel He commands your heart, and things here are left behind. Be armed, going round the city, sound the trumpets -- pray unto God -- and the wall of the city will fall down. See Joshua 6.

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I am afraid that real self-denial is too much overlooked. With the knowledge that we have nothing to do to secure the safety of our souls, I fear we are too ready to carry this into everything. We really are delivered from the old man, and the judgment on him, in order that we should refuse him at every turn; and live the new man, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is one continued struggle, a thrusting out of the old leaf -- by the force of the new leaf supplanting it. Hence it is that he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin. This is to be your daily study -- cultivating the new leaf which will thrust out the old leaf. The new is the Lord Jesus Christ and this can only be effected by constantly having the eye of your heart on Him. This is a great and increasing occupation! Better is he that ruleth his own spirit than he that taketh a city. Self-surrender is, after all, the greatest work, as well as the greatest service. See 1 Corinthians 13. The man who has charity -- love, is the greatest benefactor because he is rid of himself!


It is not in a moment, after a period of no restraint, that one can, however great and true one's desires and conviction, attain to habitual self-restraint. You must not think that because you are enlightened, and have tasted of what is of God, that you can act according to it, except as you are dependent on His Spirit. Taste is not power, though it makes one desire the power and the privilege of maintaining and enjoying it. I am glad your taste has been awakened and deepened, but you must now avoid what will be unsuited to it, and you must walk in dependence on the Lord, or the old influences will have their way. We often suppose that because we have a true desire, we express the nature of it in our ways; the very desiring a good thing deceives one, as if that were enough. I am not objecting to good desires, but the sluggard desireth and hath nothing. There must be known power from the Lord to give effect and expression to the desires.

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It is not enough that you have secured a piece of land where there is a gold mine; you secure it because you like the gold and desire it; but now, in order to make the gold fit for use, you must get rid of the soil and the rock in yourself which prevents the gold becoming current coin. Now that you know what gold is, you refuse and put away everything that is not gold; and the more really you desire it, the more carefully and earnestly do you set yourself to remove everything that is not gold. You have thought that because you had a taste for what is divine that there was no more soil or rock to encumber it; but, on the contrary, your work must now be to clear away that which you have spared heretofore, and to cultivate in your heart the vein of light and truth which the Lord has caused to be there; and as you do, you will be enabled to meet all demands in pure grace, and not in the mere tinsel of educated civility.

The Lord teach you to depend on Him, cleaving to Him with purpose of heart, and you will find, what the rich man of this world never knows, that the more true gold you use, the more you will possess.


I sympathise with you in the exercise of patience that you are subjected to, and to which it is plainly your duty to submit. If you are really dependent on the Lord and truly ready to do His will, and it only, you can commit all to Him and wait for His time. He that believeth shall not make haste. Why need you hurry if you reckon on Him? He cannot fail, and nothing can be lost if it be His will, though it may not be seized at the moment. The proof that you really confide in the Lord, and realise His care, is the restful subjection with which you wait for His pleasure. If a thing be His will for you, He will make it plain and remove all the obstacles. If you are truly ready to condescend to things of low estate, He will not allow mere means to stand in the way, because He may see it good for you to prove your faith in what at present

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you know so little about. I do not think you, or any young person used to comforts, have any idea of the trials and fears which afflict one with small means and with daily increasing demands. Of course, if I am in the path the Lord would have me in, He will take care to supply my need. But it is far harder to reduce oneself to greatly diminished means than to add to small means in order to meet increased demands. You would have to do the first before you would be able to attempt the second. The Lord's will for you must solve the whole question, not merely what you would like. If you are really confiding in the Lord you will be quite patient and restful, and if it be of Him you will be stedfast, so that in every way you will be a gainer. The Lord keep you looking to Himself and learning His sufficiency, so that with Him you could do without any one else here -- as it will be in heaven.


I trust the Lord will send a word of help to you. Like many others, you are like Abram, quite sure of the promised Seed -- Christ -- but, like him, Christ has been in your heart a good while before the day of weaning -- that is, before He is recognised as ruling, acting for Himself -- there is no feast, no acknowledgment of His title as Heir. He is through grace in your heart, but He is not sufficient for you, you have not set Him on the throne, so that Ishmael is cast out, and He occupies every place in your heart! When this is so, you can keep high festival in joyous testimony to the fact. Till then you are like a young bird, you can hop from branch to branch, but you are not ready to take the wide expanse of the firmament, satisfied and safe in the power within you: He that "drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; ... shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14). That is a great word -- "in him"!

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I was highly favoured in being used to lead you into such happiness; once a peculiar happiness is tasted of -- and none so great or so peculiar as that of satisfaction in Christ -- sitting under His shadow with great delight: no inferior happiness can be tolerated, especially if it would attempt to be a substitute for the other. As the little hymn says:

'Where Christ is only heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.'


I can often fancy myself in your midst. May the Lord give you and your dear husband to move on, not only with the solid tread of those who feel their responsibilities, but of those also who are consciously receiving grace and strength to discharge them. There is a path here and there is a place in heaven. We must never in spirit dissolve the link between the two. In the path here I ought to exhibit the resources of my place in heaven, but I must not make my path the exclusive thing before me. A Christian ought to draw from the whole range of heaven, from Him through whom he is filled with all divine teaching. Every heavenly virtue is ministered to him to cheer and sustain him on his path here. If he is not drawing from the heavenly treasure thus he is not living in heart luxury! He is occupied with his path and how he can provide support in it, instead of having the seas crowded with fleets of heavenly spices and goods to fill and strengthen his heart! The path here and the place -- our place with Christ in heaven -- cannot be separated without positive loss. You may be too exclusively occupied with your path, or too exclusively occupied with your place; but I would there were more of the latter, for it is easier for one who is occupied with his place alone to find the true path here than for one occupied solely with his path to find his place in heaven, because the path passes away, while the place never will pass away, and the use of the

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path is, the demand that is on you to draw from your place in Christ, to get His wisdom and strength to walk in it. The path, in fact, ought to be the mould, the opportunity, for the expression and virtue of Christ's life. Saints use Christ rather in order to get through their circumstances, instead of seeing in the circumstances the mould (as one makes a mould of clay for gold or iron) in which they are to be taught the strength and power of Christ. May neither the depth nor the breadth of the mould terrify you, dear --------, but may you and your dear husband grow in Christ, knowing Him, not only as helping you through circumstances, but using the circumstances which He puts you through as opportunities for enlarging your souls in Himself.


As to our travelling out of the path divinely marked for us, it is, alas! too true that we do oftentimes; but in the Lord's gracious care it seems to me that when we travel out of it we are disciplined in our wanderings, so as to make us more fit and faithful in our true path when through grace we return to it, having acquired a knowledge of ourselves and of God's grace that, perhaps, could not be learned otherwise. If we had been simple and true to God we should not have wandered, and we could have gone on doing His will and learning more of Him in unbroken nearness to Him; but often obliquities in our nature do not come out until we reach a certain part in the divine path. Now if we do not judge the nature of which those obliquities are the root, it follows that we are led by them, and thus, alas! we wander; but even in the wandering God in His grace corrects and restores us. If Abram had walked in simple faith he would not have gone down to Egypt, but he is corrected there and returns to the land. Jacob delays to go to Bethel, and he is corrected at Shalem. Jonah refuses to go to Nineveh, and he is corrected in the depths of the sea whither he had wandered. Peter wanders into the high priest's house, and Paul

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wanders when he persists in going to Jerusalem; but our God is faithful and He uses the very events in the wandering to correct and to break down that self in us which led to the wandering. No one can be truly happy or certain of his course when he is outside God's path for him. In the path you may and will meet with tribulation but never with trouble of heart, unless when there is an effort to lead you out of it. There cannot be the joy of the Holy Ghost when I am not in the line of His leading, for there alone He can be, answering as He ever does unto the mind of Christ. I am certain that if we were walking in the path which the Lord appoints for us we should have such light and joy in our hearts that the difficulties would be as nothing, and when walking according to His mind, in the strength and favour of His presence, you see everything in such a different way that you can turn from, and cast aside much that you otherwise would not have seen necessary to turn from. The very high place which you have with God requires you to be suited to it in all your ways.

May the Lord give us grace to keep in the path which He Himself has made for us, not turned aside by difficulties in it, but knowing His joy therein may we walk steadily on trusting in Him and reckoning that He will surely make an opening for us through the most (apparently) terrible difficulty.

The loss of His presence alone need trouble us, and if His presence be with us we may easily meet any difficulty, for He is above all difficulties. Your unbelief may be corrected, and assuredly it is of His grace to correct us, but while you are being corrected for unbelief you are losing all the precious benefits of walking in faith. You may be made stronger for the path of faith while undergoing correction for your unbelief, but certainly you are for that time shut out from the progress and disclosures which faith leads to. You may return to the path with your lesson better learned, but in the time of correction there is no advance beyond the step in which you failed.

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Shall I give you my idea of true married life in the Lord? It surpasses everything human in grace, as it did in nature before the fall. The trials are peculiar, but they are the trials of humanity; but then the married have this advantage, if they really reciprocate their feelings before the Lord, that as they are together in the trial, they are together in His deliverance and help. A trial becomes secondary if you have such sympathy in it as will feed the heart with affection, while the Lord's deliverance from the trial will be enjoyed together. I admit that in married life you will meet with more trials, because you are more in the casualties of humanity; but when marriage is in the Lord -- if you meet the trials as Christians united together in communion with His mind -- I believe the trials will afford fresh occasions for binding you together, as well as for establishing you together in the sense of His mercy and love and discipline. What can be so grateful as to know the depth and power of a heart that loves you? Where can you know it better, or better prove your own love or another's, than in passing through trials and difficulties together? Love does not like to see me in sorrow, but in sorrow it summons all its resources, and proves its strength, until I am relieved. I believe all this is within the compass of married life if only both seek the Lord together, and have communion and interchange of spiritual exercises together.

Seek communion with one another, your very failures will then, like Samson's lion, be yielding honey; you will find what is of Christ in one another in spite of the failures, for nothing gives us such a sense that another is having to do with God as the simple confession of faults, and this sense will invigorate and give deep reality to your mutual affection. The one who knows me best, and who seeks out of real affection to correct my nature, gains a place in my heart, in my divine nature, that no flatterer could in any degree attain to. Be as two souls unreserved before God as to all that His Spirit is doing with you.

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Every confession you make to Him, every praise you render to Him, shrink not from communicating it to one another. If either of you feel that you cannot do this, the greatest bond between you, and the spring of it, is gone! You may retain a unity derived from identity of interests, but it is not one established and confirmed by union in the Spirit. If two Christians are by marriage closer in earthly things and not closer in spiritual things, they are like Nazarites who have lost their hair!

My one word to you both is, cultivate spiritual intimacy, do not be satisfied with as much Christianity as will ease your consciences; seek to respect and to wait for one another's judgment and feeling as to things before the Lord; in a word, seek to maintain communion whether it be in humiliation or in praise. Believe me, if you cannot tell one another of your humblings, you will never celebrate together your thanksgivings. What delight it will be to my heart to see you both in fervent love, honestly confiding in one another before the Lord, learning the grace of the Lord in your mutual trials, and deepening in affection as you draw on that grace for one another.


I hope you have returned to your duties in every way invigorated. May you study to come from the Lord to the smallest detail. I seek for you that you may be so near Him, that when you address yourself to the common things here, He may be even then paramount. I have been much helped lately in seeing that if you come from Him that everything you do is in relation to Him, He is paramount. When we are tried and reduced we go to Him, but when we come from Him everything is done heartily as unto the Lord.

When your leisure comes you can find real rest in visiting, say, one a day; a change of work is often rest. I daresay you find the morning the best time for reading and prayer. It is a great encouragement that it is not to the one who

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works most, nor to the one who reads most, that the Lord confides His mind, but to the one who loves Him most (as Mary Magdalene). It is only near Himself that the human mind is so in abeyance that His mind is in the ascendant. The Lord bless you much and keep you for Himself.


You will, I suppose, return to your own home today, everyway helped and invigorated. The more cheerfully we submit to the claims of duty after a time of recreation, the more we have gained spiritually.

I rejoice that you received nurture from the Lord during my lectures. He not only nurtures but He cherishes; the latter is more the sense of His own presence, like a little bird under the wing of the parent bird. May you daily know both, and thus be much blessed.

I am much afraid that -------- does not distinguish between self-occupation and earnestness. In the former, I have my eye on my own advance. In the latter, I am seeking from Christ.


I am glad that you are led to think of being here for the Lord. The first three traits of the new company (Luke 10 - 17) express how we are here for Him. I do not think that it is at the Supper that we are drawn into His service. I see that it is there we are severed from this place, and then that no other path would suit us here but identification with His death, which is our pleasing responsibility if we have been truly at the Supper. I believe it is consequent on our enjoying Christ, like the man who was blind, in John 9:35, that we begin to be here for Him. The heart is so drawn to Him outside everything of man that it could have no interest here but for Him. I think that is the effect of the gospel of the glory of Christ. Not only has the queen of Sheba found herself entranced in Solomon's home circle but she praises his servants. When

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you are in spirit with Christ in glory your heart is so affected by His interests that you are transformed into practical concert with Him as to them; and your daily toil here really contributes to make you a more efficient servant for Him.

The more you seek to be here for Him, the more difficulties there will be within and without, but difficulties are only the opportunities for faith. Do not look at them, a bad horse looks back at his load! Mary of Bethany had a beautiful path of service.

As to --------, I knew her when she first came out. I think it is a great help in a controversy like the present to insist on that which cannot be denied -- the difference between the earthly man and the heavenly. I know the blessed Lord is of a new order, and though I may not know much about the new order, I know that it is not in any way like the old order, which I do know.


I was glad to get your letter. It is a very peculiar and interesting service and education which you are called to in watching beside dear --------'s bed during the silent hours of night. What a time for your heart to hear the voice of the Lord! all the many and various things He wishes to say to you. It is really a desert place, but it is also to "rest awhile". By night I sought him whom my soul loveth. It is a great thing when the heart is conscious of a line of communication between it and the Lord. Like a telegraphic wire, the slightest touch or motion is a symbol that conveys much meaning. To another it is but as the motion of a hand, and yet to the one who understands the cypher it speaks with deep import. What nights of blessing those otherwise arduous times will be to you, if you use them for learning the sound and meaning of His words to you, and if your heart really listens to every communication which He will make to you. The Lord grant that while you are so truly and devotedly serving

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your brother you may be supremely served yourself by Him, the natural care you render to your brother compensated for by the untold blessings vouchsafed to you from the converse of the Lord with your heart, so that in a way you may return to your ordinary duties here like Moses, who had been with the Lord many days and many nights, not pluming yourself because you had done your duty, but so impressed and formed in taste in His presence that your one desire henceforward will be to be here for Him until He comes to receive us all unto Himself.


I was very glad to get your letter. To follow the word of God, not knowing where it would lead to, was the faith of Abram. His only comfort and sustainment was that he was following the word of One in whom he had perfect confidence, and as he followed he had strength and encouragement to follow on. A hound in the chase pursues in great zest, but he tires. No amount of taste or desire can sustain one in following any natural pursuit; but in following the Lord you are following a Person, one who not only attracts you, but who imparts to His followers power to follow, so that in following Him they gratify their taste or desire given to them by Himself; and instead of tiring they become more and more energetic and vigorous in following Him; the more they follow Him, the more does energy increase instead of flagging. To him that hath, shall more be given.


Have you been near enough to the Lord to have learned of Him the way He would have you to serve Him here. It is in the least things put into your hands that you may best learn His way if you truly seek it. It is not in looking

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out for some very great thing to do, but what "thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). The great thing is to do it heartily, "as unto the Lord". Any one who serves me cheerfully I like to employ, and surely the Lord likes to employ those who take a pleasure in being employed by Him. Be what you are, doing what you can. If you are a lily, do not try to be a rose or a carnation, but to excel as a lily -- glad if by your fragrance and modest bloom you suit the eye and hand of Him who has set you in the valley to grow there for Him.


You must not measure my interest by my slowness in replying to your letter. I have been almost each day on the move.

I was showing one morning at -------- how patient dependence on God indicates the quality for promotion (as I might say) in service. Joseph in prison, for example. This applies very much to young people in the daily round of home duties. There is nothing very salient or exciting, but the one beaten course, though no day is exactly like any preceding day, and no past experience will help in the present. It is your state at the moment which determines your capacity for action; that is, when you are called to act you will always discover what your state is, whether you are with the Lord or have lost the sense of His presence. When Moses' hands were up, Joshua prevailed. I think we should often be too self-satisfied were we not made conscious of our dereliction by our failures in action. The great good of daily duties is that they expose our frailty. It is not so much that we are always incompetent, but that at times we are found unequal for the demand upon us, even where we might have excelled at a former time, and this is allowed in order to show us that we have lost ground within, and the act without has betrayed the true state. I believe the manner of the act always indicates the state within, as the leaf indicates the state of a tree. The leaves tell how the roots

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are. It is the force of vitality that constitutes the evergreen. So is it with the soul that lives on Christ. "His leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Psalm 1:3). "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses?" (Jeremiah 12:5). If you do not keep green in the shade, what would you be in the great desert....

I like to count up each year those whom the Lord consigns in any special way to my care, and I trust I may say this has been a good year. It is curious how some take so many seasons before I get real interest in them or feel charged in a special manner with them.


It cheered me to see you so eagerly entering into the truth I was seeking to present. The more one knows of the separate place in which the truth sets one, the more is one able to comprehend the truth. The difficulty of understanding arises more from the incongruities with which we are associated than from the truth itself. If one were always in the separation in which Christ is, which is 'exclusiveness', in its true sense, there would not be more difficulty in understanding the truth than in understanding the commonest things, for then the truth would be with us the commonest thing -- the thing we most live in, and everything outside of it would be incongruous and incomprehensible.


Many among us are like Isaac, inheriting all that his father had acquired through faith, but with very little faith himself. There is more acquaintance with the word than with the Lord. They should go together. The word should not be apart from the Person. I feel that many have begun wrongly. To get peace and to break bread seems the aim before them, and not to be outside the world, because of having found the Lord in glory, and

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their calling being heavenly. I believe the real difficulty is that there is a deep-seated reluctance to accept all that the death of Christ includes. Man in his perfect state in the Person of Christ has died. If now I live here by Christ, I live here by a Man who is not living here as a Man in the flesh. He was here, and as I live by Him I live here as He lived here; but He is not living here now. We through grace, by faith, are the reproduction of the Man of God who was here. It is our unwillingness to part with the old man that really hinders our entering into the new. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" (John 6:53).

Death must be entered into in one way or another. If we had truly died with Christ we should be morally severed from everything here; yet we should carry out every duty better than ever, because we should be solely dependent on Christ.

No one can understand eternal life until he is in it, I mean, until he is enjoying it. With most Christians what is sought is not to live with Christ where He is, but to obtain His help where we are. Both are ours, but while the greater leads to the lesser, the lesser does not include the greater.

I remark that some do not accept in faith the death of Christ. They speak of His sufferings; suffering is not in itself death; death is the termination of the being. "Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more" (2 Corinthians 5:16). One who dwells on the 'passion' of Christ does not really apprehend the great consequence of His death.


It is deeply interesting and affecting to notice the different ways by which the Lord leads His people into death. Yet it is to disclose to the heart the light of the resurrection morning. Of ourselves we are entitled to nothing but death hence everything else is pure favour. We are to be always praising. In Christ we are set up again, even here, in an entirely new way. While entitled to nothing on Adam's side, we are in Christ in the full favour of God, and have therefore the promise of this life, and that which is to come. Eternal life is for us in

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a new sphere and has new joys, and hence the fulness of it is future, but now we "lay hold" on it, and it is ours because we are in Christ and He is in us.

I am in many ways indebted to you, but I like to be indebted to those who love me for the Lord's sake. I know that your services, however great, do not exhaust your love, but in a way express it.


I wish I could say a word which would help and comfort you in this hour of sorrow. When I recall your very bright beginning, I am truly encouraged that the Lord keeps it in remembrance. See Jeremiah 2:2. Surely He would now draw your heart more to Himself. We learn from Hebrews that the effectual way to detach the heart from this place is, not the sorrow we find here, but the sympathy which the Lord vouchsafes to us in the sorrow, so that your heart is drawn away from the sorrow because of the solace you find in the company of Christ, who is not here. The sorrow leads us to turn to Him, and we cannot reach Him but at the other side of death; but when we are in company with Him we are borne above our sorrows. He is so much to us that we are more occupied with our gain in Him than with our loss here; and thus we become weaned from this place because He who is not here is our only solace in our weaknesses here. May you, in a very full way, know this solace, and thus be much blessed.

NO. 2

As I know that nothing can console you in this the hour of your deepest sorrow but the sympathy of Christ, my one desire for you is that you may know it. When through His work you are free from all distance between Him and you, you are His companion, and He is so interested

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in you that He comes near to you in your deepest pressure, where no one else could come He, as High Priest, Jesus the Son of God, has passed through the heavens, and He sympathises with you. He uses the terrible blank, the Mount Moriah to your heart, as an opportunity of making known to you the depth of His interest in you, and if your heart is conscious of His nearness, you will be not only borne above your sorrow, but He will be endeared to you beyond all you have known before, and in a way never to be forgotten, so that it is not your great irreparable loss that will be before you, but the unspeakable solace you have found in Christ Himself....

As for myself, I must ever remember how ready the beloved absent one was to serve me; and, above all, the great service which he rendered to many through the readings at his house -- a time never to be forgotten.


I hardly know how to write to you. I could wish that I were beside you. May the Lord comfort you, my dear child. He will make up to you for your loss, great indeed as the loss is, if you will accept it from Him. I am prepared to hear that the dear one is no longer with us. I never knew any one who prized any word about the Lord or any divine sentiment as he did. It was the joy and rejoicing of his heart. If one wanted to gain his attention the way to it was to say something about the Lord. But my heart now turns to you, and dear --------, I need not add more. Make the Lord the confidant of your deep sorrow, and He will do wonders for you. I can only turn to Him for you.


My advice to you, and that is the advice the most paternal that I could give you, is to lay your case simply and fully before the Lord. I believe the Lord is hindered from

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helping us, because we are not absolutely dependent on Him, and when He helps it is not only that we are relieved, but we are blessed. It may seem unfeeling to say so, but I am sure of it, that if you seek to be helped by any one, it will not be a permanent help. It will only help you for a moment, and will be succeeded by a greater distress than the former one; whereas if you plead with the Lord, as the man with his friend (Luke 11), you will be permanently as well as fully relieved. The Lord allows these straits on purpose to lead us to find the reality of His care, and the great blessing of dependence. The real measure of our strength divinely is the strait which we pass through with God. I feel for you much, but I know this is the only course divinely open to you, and the only help I can offer you is asking the Lord to lead you into it.

I know you are in a very trying position, but again I say, do not ask any one but the Lord to help you out of it, and then you will he helped in the very best way. I should rejoice to see you helped by Him, because I know that then there would be great spiritual gain to you from this trial.


I have been intending to send you a little word in this time of your sorrow. It is in the valley of the shadow of death that the child of God practically learns the consolation of Christ -- how "thy rod and thy staff they comfort me". It is then that the full nature of the judgment on man -- death -- is before one, and the dearest affections are wrenched because of it. But it is then, also, that one learns in a distinct way that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. When death has removed the nearest and the dearest, and the heart feels a dreary blank, He comes in and ministers to the heart the comforts of the resurrection, when already the purifying effect of it has been known to the conscience. From man's scene your sorrow has come, but your comfort is now to come in a very special way from the Lord Jesus Christ who is risen from the

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dead, and who brings it to you from His own scene. It is a very instructive moment to the soul, and almost unequalled. You have entered the valley, and the sense of it is doubtless crushing, but as you traverse it you are met by the Lord Himself, who comes to you in resurrection, and He takes you out of the valley into the glorious mount where life reigns and there is no more death.

Look for the risen One and you will come out of the dark valley deeply and richly taught in the virtues of the "rod" which works for you, and the "staff" which you lean on, the very personal experience of the bitterness of death which you pass through being made by Him an occasion for acquainting your heart with His love, His sympathy and His power; so that in company with Him you will be in the power of life out of death -- a wonderful and blessed experience. The Lord bless and comfort you in the full sense of His love and of His fostering care for you at this time.


I believe that all divine progress begins with separation. When one can, because of change of circumstances, increase in the things of this world, the beginning is lost, and there must be decline, however demonstrative one may be in works or ways as to service; you have no power beyond the measure of your separation. "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17). The truest love is that which seeks to remove whatever interferes with your communion with Christ, whatever hinders you from knowing what it is to have "part with me". You might be in every way commendable to your fellow Christians, and all the time not in unclouded communion with Christ in His circle of things, and if you are not, however apparently useful you are, you are not truly for Him. You may be greatly valued by your fellows, but you are not absolutely for Him, because you are not in communion with Him. You may, like Peter, go a-fishing -- seek a service; but it will be one which is not in the current of

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the Lord's mind. I say this not in any wise to check your prayerful interest in others, but my desire is that your interest may be in the current of the Spirit. The Lord give you to be of real use to His people, but your power to influence any one never goes beyond the measure in which you are yourself a body of light; so that it is not all that you see and appreciate that affects another, but what you are personally. With true desires for your blessing.


The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 works very hard, but it is not herself but "her husband" -- Christ -- who "is known in the gates". It is not an easy thing to work on and never to be noticed. To do it so entirely and secretly to Him that no one knows anything about it but Himself, and to this service women are especially called. They ministered unto him, we read in Luke's gospel. Remember, one does not become handy or skilful in execution all in a moment. The vessel must be educated and habituated to answer to the new power, the power of Christ, and there will be for a time awkwardness, even where there is a true desire to succeed. You must not think that because your aim and desires are good that you are qualified at once to accomplish all you desire; if you have a sense of your inability to reach so good and so high an aim, there will be a treading softly, a quiet waiting on the Lord for wisdom and skill. I would not repress the aim, or the desire to succeed, all I condemn is the thought, that because your purpose and intentions are right you must therefore be able to accomplish them.

Conception is one thing, and execution is quite another. Grace may have furnished you with a true conception, but you must wait on God to carry it out. It was fourteen years from the time Paul was in the third heaven until he was fitted to bring out the truth revealed to him there. The working out of a true conception is the real discipline. Caleb had tasted of the grapes of Eshcol forty years before

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he was called to occupy and possess the ground where they grew.

You have to learn from the salmon. It wants to surmount the weir, but after repeated ineffectual attempts, at last it has recourse to self-contraction. It takes its tail in its mouth and makes another dash at the weir, and succeeds! There may be desire and purpose to ascend, but there can be no success until self-denial is practically learned.


I trust that in the daily routine of your new life you are kept in the consciousness that it is not the goodness of man, nor the skill of human education which you seek in order to discharge your duties, but the manna, the grace of Him who filled every place here in favour with God and men, so thoroughly dutiful and so unselfishly serving. This was His private life. When He came forth as God's servant men hated Him because He was serving God and testifying for Him, and not simply their servant, though if they had seen truly they would have seen that it was the best and only true service for themselves. To walk even as He walked, wonderful as it is, is what we are called to. Where every one is in need, the greatest servant is the one who is most able and willing to relieve others. Are you a Joseph? The book of Genesis begins with a man in Eden, head over all, and closes with a man in Egypt -- servant of all. I hope you are really learning in whatsoever state you are to be satisfied in yourself. That is to say in the resources that you have in God. This is the testimony which would tell most on those around.


If you were more occupied with the Lord than with your own benefit, you would be wiser in your true desires to honour Him. When the Lord is really and happily before

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me He is everything to me, and myself nothing, and I can have nothing better. When anything devolves on me I do it, thinking of Him in relation to others, and not merely as it will interest and suit myself, and this is real charity. The more simply you make Christ your object, not for yourself but for Himself, the more will every manner, and every attitude, display the grace of the One who occupies and controls your heart. You must not seek to trace your imperfections to any failure in education or habits. You must let everything be submitted to Him for fresh moulding. Supposing your failure to arise from defective training, or the exposure, like a tree, to one prevailing wind or influence, that is but an excuse for its existence, it does not remove it. It is Christ in you which will displace and supersede all the imperfections, and set you forth as His member in the light and manner which He desires.

It is a wonder to me that this body, so easily disorganised, and thus betraying its fall, can be turned by grace to express "bowels of mercies", etc. Neither the fruit nor the leaves of the old crab-tree are to appear. Not only are the members on the earth to be mortified, but the old man is to be put off; all the leaves are to go.

We have to do with the holy Man in the holy place. The more our hearts are kept by the Spirit of God, the more we are enjoying that side, and practically separated from our own side. I hope this will find you restful and happy in the Lord, and delighting in His sufficiency. The Lord keep you steadily pursuing.


Everything which helps self here increases one's difficulty as a saint; the "weights" become more numerous, or they return to me more easily as well as the "sin [or self] which so easily besets us". You will not believe me, but your position with reference to the schools fosters the darkness which clouds your spirit. I have no doubt that if you were clear of all the responsibilities which earthly

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position entails on you, you would be far brighter in heart and in testimony. I believe with the knowledge of Christ which you have, and your aspiration to enjoy Him where He is, that you must find that the contingencies of an earthly position are like the Philistines filling the wells as fast as they are opened in your heart. I have gone over it all. I have hesitated to speak my mind, but no person understanding and appreciating what you do could live happily for the Lord at -------- as a principal, though you could as a simple subject -- subject to your husband; and then, believe me, all would take a very different place in your mind. I know that you do see with me as to our calling, and therefore you are acting below your light. How can you in spirit enjoy association with Christ in heaven when you must be recognised in an earthly position. Were you simply a subject, like Mrs. --------, for instance, it would be quite different. To be consciously and consistently in the truth of your union with Christ in heaven, you must not, you cannot, break from it on earth. If you are as He is in heaven you must be as He was on earth. And how can you be as He was when you admit and accept worldly position?

I look to the Lord to show you these things in His own light.


As to Canticles 5, I think that the bride enjoyed the Bridegroom in verse 1 in a public way, but that in verse 2 she declines what we may call soul work, and loses the sense of His presence. We ourselves can often be at ease with one another in public when we should feel, if there was any cause for reserve, embarrassed when alone, though, of course, it is when alone, if there is no reserve, that the true measure of nearness is known. So it is with the Lord. It is when we get alone with Him that we are sensible of reserve, if there be cause for it, and if not, we

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are deepened in the sense of the blessedness of nearness to Him.

I was speaking on Luke 10:30. The law was proved to be inadequate to meet the ruin of man, hence the new company is brought out. It starts there (chapter 10: 38) and runs on to chapter 18. There are seven traits of the new company. What are they? Study it. The word and prayer are the great traits. Mary sitting at Jesus' feet sets forth one, and the widow (chapter 18) the other. My friend has what I want, and I cannot get it anywhere else. I am sure, were I in such circumstances, that you would help me, even though it put you to great inconvenience. But God tests us in order to ascertain whether we are exclusively dependent on Him.


The more I know the position in which God has set me in Christ, the more my heart, led by the Spirit, longs to be in practical accordance with it. I am empowered to be what I am; but that is death to my selfishness. If self is not displaced the song may be lovely to my ear, but I cannot dance to it. The most learned church lost its first love. Love is never satisfied unless it answers to the heart of the loved one. He has made us everything to suit Himself, as we see in Ephesians 1; but down here, if we are true to Him, we walk worthy of our vocation. As I learn His purpose I long to know more of "the exceeding greatness of his power to usward".

We cannot know anything of Christ's present mind but as we are in concert with Him where He is. Manna is our food where He was. The old corn is our food where He is. Love values much the manna where He was; but love is only satisfied in knowing its object where He is, and at the present moment. And this is communion.


There is a great difference between our being widowed here because of Christ's death, and our being dead with Him. The one is that my heart is dead to everything here because its one object is gone; the other, that having died with Him, everything here is ended for me, and I have

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passed morally into another scene where He is, but this is only true to faith, and as I am in faith I reckon myself dead.


I hope you are really stronger for your little time at --------, but this will little avail unless you submit to watchfulness -- not to overtax your strength. There is a voice to you in this check; your activities must be determined by your bodily ability, and not by inclination, and there is a great principle in this for everything. It is said to David, It is well that it was in thine heart. The intention is commended, but he is not permitted to carry it into effect. Hence we see that an inclination even for a service to the Lord, however commendable, is no index of my fitness or ability for executing it. Nathan is also corrected; he had said to David at first, Do all that is in thine heart, and this is what a true heart might naturally suppose to be the right thing, but the word of the Lord comes in and decides otherwise; David must not act according to the inclination of his heart, he is directed not to do so, though at the same time his inclination is commended. It is necessary to be subject to the Lord even when one is assured of having the very best desires, otherwise the desires would guide us and not the Lord. We should all agree that mere inclinations were no guide, but I think each of us would find it difficult to refuse the course that really approved desires as to service to the Lord define for us. We are not to be governed by them. There must be entire dependence on the Lord even where the desire to serve Him is all right, and one is made to feel the weakness in oneself on purpose that there may be full dependence on Him. Thus Paul, with the best desire to use his abilities for the Lord on his return from Paradise, found out that there was a check to him in his own flesh, and that he could not make it co-operate with him in his new acquisitions. He learns this great lesson that the Lord can do His own work even through a human channel without the abilities of the vessel, and therefore while he is unable to lend his

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abilities in commending the truth, the Lord teaches him that His grace is sufficient, and the apostle is content to be crippled that the power of Christ may be more known. This is a long story, but I want you to see the difference between good inclinations being your guide for activity and the Lord's voice to you. I think the body is often allowed to limit our activity, in order that we may count more on the power of Christ. There is a constantly recurring sense of the weakness and incompetence of the body which sin has entailed, and while overweening anxiety about one's body is much to be deprecated, yet we must remember that the Lord "taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man" (Psalm 147:10), and that true humility and subjection to Him would not attempt to act as if one were dependent on one's own power or exertions. I have no doubt that submission to the Lord in this way, as David learned, and as Paul learned, produces and promotes a tone and a colour in our whole lives; one inward, the other outward. That the Lord rules and that His grace is sufficient is the hourly experience. The sense of weakness or incompetence only enhances to the soul His sufficiency. "She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple" (Proverbs 31:22). Every stitch is a distinct one, and while independence or even good inclinations had previously threaded the needle, now, on the contrary, dependence on God is the thread of silk and purple of which eventually the clothing is formed. The clothing figuratively sets forth the body as wholly and distinctly for the Lord, in other words, a body full of light. How blessed when, even here in this body of humiliation, the clothing can be beautiful, and costly in the Lord's eye, because entirely of and for Him. "She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework" (Psalm 45:14), "her clothing is of wrought gold" (verse 13); stitch after stitch in dependence on Him and for His pleasure. Now do you not see that even in the small matter of submitting to your bodily weakness you will have such practical constant dependence on the Lord that everything you do and say will bear the mark of it; the clothing will be precious to His eye; whereas if you are unsubject, the leaven of it will creep into everything that you are engaged in. You will attempt more than you

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are equal for, and be always made conscious of failure and disappointment, while, on the other hand, if you accept your inability in subjection to the Lord, you will be cheered by His marked interference on your behalf.


I long to see you enjoying the fulness of joy that is in His presence. I do not see any gain in mere surrender, but my heart would rejoice if you were so entranced with Christ where He is, the greater than Solomon, that you would not only be outside the camp in practice, but also bearing His reproach. There the blessed One hung on a cross for God's glory and man's blessing. We have to accept the place with Him. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, etc. I am indeed thankful that you are so far on as you are, but I desire much more for you. You may retort, Who bears His reproach? Alas! I cannot deny the justness of that retort. But as we enjoy Him where He is now, we are sure to like to be as He was here -- Where thou diest, there I will die, says the heart that He has drawn to Himself. Every believer has the benefits of His death, but no one can enjoy Christ in His own life who is earthly and self-occupied. Two things mark the world -- She glorified herself, and lived deliciously. One is maintaining position on the earth, and the other is making oneself an object. The man of the world contends that Providence has given him the right and the ability to do so; but the one who is made a member of Christ where Christ has been rejected, is bound to go forth unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. I heartily desire your blessing, and this assuredly would be followed by a corresponding testimony for Him (here in the scene of His rejection) who has so blessed you. The object of faith is the power of life. Tie Lord bless you much.

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I believe that all effective testimony is in proportion to the effect of the word on oneself. No matter what I say, or what is the greatness of my services, the moral weight or testimony is determined by my own manner of life. I might give half my goods to feed the poor. I might give my body to be burned, and yet be deficient in love. It is a busy day, and it is possible to be seen of men, but this is not "light". If thine eye is single, thy whole body shall be full of light, or -- thy whole body is luminous! I think you will find everywhere that the tendency is to effect a testimony by works rather than by individual manner of life. "One thing is needful". Mary sitting at the Lord's feet was learning of Him. She is unseen except to her Lord, and when she acts the house is filled with the odour of the ointment. Be assured that the greater the outward display, the less is the inward power. The former is often rested in to make up for the latter. Men may be deceived by it, but the Lord is not. I believe that in preaching the gospel, and in everything, the less ostentatious we are the better. The Holy Ghost is invisible to the world; God could not make any one conspicuous in the world where His Son was rejected. I see -- and I dread it -- the way in which individual devotedness is supplanted by display of collective activity.

May you be exemplary from your personal devotedness; your great testimony has been in your individual path, and the more personally devoted you are the greater will be your testimony.


The great thing we require to know is, how we are loved. We use any one easily as we know we may. It is not my need, nor your power to relieve me which leads me

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to use you; it is the knowledge of your mind and feelings towards me. It is as I am acquainted with Christ's heart and His interest in me that I feel I am rich in His love, and that I can use it; it is not only in using it that I feel the riches of it, though I do use it, but I feel I am rich in it whether I use it or not, because I know it! Nay, more, my own character and bearing become moulded and shaped by that acquaintance. I become the reflex of the intelligence which I have as to God's thoughts about me....

God always seeks my benefit even when I do not recognise Him, and He never forgoes it for my momentary gratification. He knows that when I find out what His love is I must worship Him and admire His ways. When I know what God is -- that He is love -- I know that love rejoices in the opportunity to express itself, and this I count on as to everything. Love reaches down to my necessities, but it does not rest there, it brings me up to its own height. God could do nothing imperfect or unsuited to the object of His love. I seem to be daily more surprised at mercies than expecting them. Thank God, I do find daily that Christ is able

'The heart and mind to fill.' (Hymn 174)

This does not lead me to underrate the Elims by the way, but, on the contrary, to appreciate them more. When you know the love you measure the gift by the love. If you do not know the love you measure the love by the gift. If I coursed with the sun I should find that it did not neglect my garden! May God's hand be so around you that you may praise Him with joyful lips.


You cannot know the love and favour of God to you and be ignorant of the place to which God has called you. The prodigal did not know the climax of the father's love to him until he was feasting with his father. If he does

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not answer to the love he does not partake of the feast, and if he is not in the place where God would set him he cannot know or taste or enjoy the love that sets him there; he cannot say -- I know the love, but I do not sit and eat; neither can he say -- I sit and eat, but I do not know the love. As he sits and eats, so he knows the utmost that love would do, and there it is enjoyed. Love is always working for its utmost purpose, not at Shalem, but at Bethel; there Jacob knows the interest that God has in him. It is not in the well-watered plain, but from Melchisedek that Abraham learns the heart of God towards him. It is not in going back into Egypt, but in going into the land that Caleb knows the delight that God had in him. It is not saying, The time is not come to build the house of the Lord, but in building it that you get the word -- From this day will I bless you. Instead of being occupied with present things, "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, ... I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13, 14). The knowledge of God's love draws me into the place where His love enjoys to have me, and where I can enjoy it in its fulness. If I keep to a lower place (while owning the love) I am seeking that the love should display itself to me in the lower place; this it cannot do. It cares for me thus truly, but it can only display itself in the place which is in itself the expression and display of the love. Hence according as God is known to me, so am I in relation to Him. If I see God, that is my Father, as revealed in Christ, I say, "our Father"; but if I know that I am a child through Christ Jesus it is a different and an exceeding greater thing. In the one case I see a Father, in the other I myself say -- Father, because I know it in the Spirit of Christ and in association with Him --

'As sons like Him with Him to be.' (Hymn 88)

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It is one thing to renounce or to drop certain old things, and quite another to be engrossed with the new things. Nuns renounce the world, but they are not engrossed with Christ. It must be not only forgetting the things that are behind, but also a reaching out unto the things that are before. It is what I give myself to that colours me and imparts a character to me; not the fact of having abandoned other things. People often dwell unduly on what they have renounced, and are too indifferent to that which they should pursue, forgetting that it is the latter that will form them, and this is either more or less in proportion to their engrossment with them.

I often feel that we do not duly prize the place we are set in by God. The full sense of His satisfaction in it we can never know here, but what I feel is that we do not occupy ourselves with it as if it were worthy of the deepest engagement of our souls and inexhaustible in its treasures. We make a morning call, or perhaps a daily visit to the mansion, instead of living there and exploring all the chambers and orderings of it.

In natural studies and interests the more we are engrossed, the more we are exhausting our power to be engrossed; it is true that by habit we learn to like engrossment, but at length we can study no more, and the more engrossed you are, the sooner you wear out, like the race-horse. Now in divine engrossment it is the other way: the more engrossed you are, the more power you acquire to be still more so. The more you search into the treasures given you, the more you acquire strength and ability to search on. The higher the eagle goes, the nearer to the sun he gets, and the larger the sphere of objects presented to his strengthened vision. Here indeed is the elixir of life -- the more used, the more it can be used. May we diligently use it!

I was greatly interested in a thought on Psalm 23. The green pastures and still waters do not properly give the idea of feeding, but of abundance of supply The soul

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is not restored, or more properly refreshed, until it finds itself at rest in the abundance of God's resources. Many a soul feeds and is full that is not revived, so as to be able to walk in the paths of righteousness.


I have been pondering with much interest that in all times a defection begins with a surrender of the glory of the position. Adam did so. Abraham did so. Israel did so. The church has done so. The glory of our position, inaugurated by Stephen, is that we belong to a heavenly Christ. And when the truth was first revived in this century, the desire was to get rid of everything earthly as much as possible. We were really full of the glory of our position in Christ. Everything attractive here was to be surrendered. This you may say was all on the negative side, but surely if we knew more of the positive now -- that is, of Christ in glory -- we should be better able to dispense with earthly attractions. Saints, alas! are more inclined to return to earthly things than to surrender more of them. I do not believe "first love" can be retained unless we adhere to Christ in heaven; that is the glory of our position. There are two organisations here -- the world, or man's, and God's, which is the saint's. I am cheered by the assurance that the Lord is drawing us all nearer to Himself. I mean that He draws us, and that we are running after Him. I believe that to draw us into personal attachment to Himself is the great aim of the Spirit's work amongst us now.

There are two great effects of being near Him, one is that oneself is in abeyance; the other, that one is transformed. How blessed!

... May you so enjoy the Lord's priestly service that you may rise superior to every infirmity, and join Him in the sanctuary, and there have such a sense of heaven that you may run the race set before you more vigorously than ever.

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The surest proof of progress and the deepest cheer to the heart go hand in hand. They are simultaneous in the word, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). There is always progress in proportion as I am conscious that apart from Him I can do nothing, that I have no power for anything apart from Him. The most beautiful flower will fail and come to nothing apart from the parent stem; now the more you have this conviction and act on it, the more you are confirmed in the new creation, not only "rooted" but "built up in him". Every blossom is not fruit. If the blossom, however developed, be detached from the tree there is no fruit. The heart, deeply sensible that nothing can be done apart from Christ, testifies of its growth in not resting on any success, however promising, but simply on the Lord Himself. You might have had the most appropriate conversation with one deeply interested, or a very good time beside a sick bed, but the more you advance in the knowledge of Christ, the less will you think of the effect produced, but you will simply and entirely depend on Him who only can make it fruitful. It is the same in any service. The blossom may be fragrant and encouraging, but the heart that knows Christ clings to Him as the source and spring of all power to bring the blossom to perfection. In this way growth is measured, for as the vigour of a branch is measured by the extent in which it draws from the parent stem, so the measure of my strength is the extent of my drawing on the Lord. There can be no strength nor progress apart from Him, and what a delight and satisfaction to my heart to be assured that I am powerless apart from the One who has so entirely bound my heart to Himself. No word could more fully gratify a true heart than -- "Without me ye can do nothing". Because if I am really bound to Him I should feel distanced if I could do anything independently of Him, and as dependence on Him increases so does the heart become better acquainted with Him. May you be like the green branch that cannot do without Him --

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rejoicing daily that the bond is greater and greater, and though the blossom be ever so promising and fragrant that your eye rests not on anything produced, but on Him who produces it.

The Lord bless you greatly.


... If there be progress upward there must be progress in life and ways down here; you cannot see the demand for a change in your ways here until you are transformed by the influence of nearness to Him. You thus gradually find things here are not suitable for the order and nature of the things which are so attractive to the renewed heart up there.


I believe that the new man in me is fostered and enlarged as I behold the Lord's glory, that there is a divine state as well as a divine standing, and that the practice flows from the state. If you are in a natural state you will have a natural walk, or practice. You are either a Martha or a Mary. The former is natural, the latter is divinely acquired. The mind of Christ is mine, but this mind is only at home in His things. It has no scope in man's things. The new man "is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Colossians 3:10). Therefore "Christ in you" is the highest state. Then His tastes and feelings form your ways. God looks upon the heart. The graft -- the rose is cultivated by beholding His glory, and concurrently with this there is the death of the briar, always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus.

It is quite true that you must come from the scene of light and perfection, but it is only as you enter into death on your own side, not judicially but circumstantially, and find the Lord's earthly footsteps beside you in it, that you can, as relieved by Him, pass to His side in death, and step with Him, or, in other words, suffer with Him.

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There are four stages -- first, Jesus relieving you from impending fear in the widow's house, as Elijah to the widow of Sarepta; secondly, power out of death, as the widow's son raised up, or Jonah in the whale's belly; thirdly the gourd gone, death not now on yourself (which is the second), but death on everything, leaving you no shelter but Jesus -- a wondrous experience! And, lastly, you have fellowship with Him in His sufferings as a consequence.


I ask myself, what do I most desire for you? I desire that you may so know Christ as to hold Him as your Head. Though I know so little of it myself, yet through the Lord's favour to me I know enough to be assured of its magnitude. I think it is possible to behold the Lord in glory and realise the effect, and yet not to know Him as Head. Isaac may have superseded Ishmael in your heart, and yet you might not know Christ as your Head. I can hardly convey the immensity of this knowledge. If I knew it better I should convey it better; but I know that in order to derive from Him as my Head I must be outside of everything human, I must be where there is neither Jew nor Greek, etc., but where Christ is everything. How little there is a continuous living in the consciousness of His dictation where there is no human voice to be heard, but once you enter on your right, through grace, the more you will cultivate it. I do not mean that one has to leave this world actually, but one has to be morally outside of it, "dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world". I do not believe that you can realise what it is for the Spirit to conduct you to Christ where He is until you know Him outside of everything human as the source and fountain of everything to you; in a word, that He is your Head, and that He who is your Head is the Head of every saint. He is indeed Head of every man, but it is only the saints who have accepted Him as such; and, alas! very

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few know it. I am sure, though one may know very little of this great grace, that there is fresh and constant blessing to us from even seeking it. Once it is known in the Spirit it can never be lost, though you may not always be in the virtue of it. I desire it for you as I do for myself, because I am assured nothing can have the same effect in satisfying the heart which is attached to the Lord. Beholding Christ in glory you are transformed. When Christ is formed in you, Christ lives in you. Wonderful grace! but when you know Him as Head it is not merely that everything that is not of Him is given up or surrendered, but that you see everything in an entirely new way, as if -you were not your old self at all; you see everything as Christ sees it, and this not by merely seeing it in scripture, but He directs you to scripture in corroboration of His mind. In one word, you derive from Him. May this great grace be well known to you.

My subject last night was -- Heaven is our place. If this were realised now the earth and all that suits earth would lose its hold on us.

The Lord bless you much.


I feel we all have to be weaned from the thoughts and expectations connected with earth. The only thing that can place the soul in the sense of deliverance from pressure is the knowledge of the Lord's love. If His love is satisfied in your deliverance from this evil world, that settles and sustains the soul more than any prospect of rest or joy. It is not His power that we lose sight of so much as of His love. To know that the Lord, who revealed the Father, is always nearest to you when you are most needing Him (though probably His nearness is unknown, as with the disciples on the sea) is a truth which, when rested in, develops its own light and heat, and generates true health and vigour to the soul and reliance on the Lord. He was beside the ship where the disciples were, unknown and unlooked for; no prayer brought

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Him there, but His own affection for them; prayer arises when He is known to be there, but He is there by His own love. My necessity was the appeal to His love, my trouble leads Him to be beside me in the direst moment; and when I recognise Him in His anxious, tender interest for me, then I receive Him into "the ship" -- into my circumstances; He enters into them Himself; and when His love is recognised, or rather when He Himself in His love is recognised, He enters into my circumstances with me, and the effect is wondrous -- there is a great calm! May my beloved brother delight himself in this love, and then be assured you will find the strength and deliverance of His presence.


... How the Lord permits things to happen to us, and then gets us out of them when no one else could help us! He exercises our faith. It is the "trying" of our faith.... All believers must eventually be overcomers, but it is said, "Work out your own salvation", which in its fulness is future, and is assuredly ours, so we should be now practically overcoming.


May you enter on another year in the deepest thankfulness and joy of heart, that the sum and end of your calling is to live Christ. May your heart be so drawn to Him that you may realise that the more you know His love for you, and the more you love Him, the greater your satisfaction of heart, and this you can get in no other way but living in His life.

Our blessed Lord removed in Himself all the weight of judgment that rested on the body, and now the body is His to glorify Him here by the Spirit. It is marvellously grand; and, further, it is in order that we might reign with Him, because our righteousness determines our relation to Him in His kingdom. I think it is an evidence of the Lord's leading when His servants in different places are occupied with the same line of truth. You must

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overcome the world, that is, be dead with Christ in it, before you could know the next step, even that you have entered the heavenly door. May every blessing surround you both.


... I know how hard it is to thank the Lord for taking a beloved one home to Himself, and yet I feel that He expects and waits for us to do so. Nay more, we shall not have communion with Him regarding His ways unless we enter into the wisdom of it. Why is it that we are so slow to see that He must rejoice that the time is come to release His beloved one from the discipline of this evil scene? And we ought to rejoice that there is one more tie and attraction to lead us to where He is. It is happy for Him, and even apart from the thought of His happiness it ought to be happy for us. And for you, dearest --------, the many waves of sorrow which have gone over you will only usher you to that cloudless shore, and to the whole circle of your own children, who learned from you the first lispings of that song, which they, and you, and we shall sing for ever. Do not give way to grief, show us all that you are satisfied with the Lord's way, and that you are cheerfully going after her -- only a day's march behind.


I was speaking last evening on the Lord's chief interest, and I think many of them felt that there is now something worth living for.

It sometimes comes over me that I may not be long here, I mean in this world, and I say to myself at times -- Suppose you were never allowed to speak on this subject again in this room.

It seems to me there is such a lack of men who count not their lives dear unto themselves. When J.N.D. was

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a young man, and exposing the defects of others, his father said to him: 'I say, John, improve the world by one man.' This is just what you and I have to do with regard to the church.

It is instructive to mark where the servant is himself in his speaking. I see it in a very marked way in --------, so occupied with the work of Christ on the cross, while -------- is more taken up with Christ's work in himself. Practice must follow from the latter. I spoke on the effects of the Lord's presence. First, in unclouded light. Second, you are heavenly, because He comes in altogether in heavenly order. I enjoyed this much. Third, is ecstasy. Fourth, worship. Fifth, edification. If I add -- in the Spirit and relationship there would be seven. I hope in future to give myself more to the servants or to the places where the servants are.


We are prepared for departure from this world by learning the true condition of earth which is death. A widow is one from whom all has been torn by death. But we learn also that life is with God; so that for preparation we must not only learn that death is on all here, but in the joy of our hearts we must know that it is all light and love above. Thus to go is joy without any intermingling of regret. The sorrows of the world are teaching us the one, and communion with the Lord teaches us the other. I am glad to hear that you feel so cheerfully about trusting in God. In any little measure it is most blessed. The Lord be with you and keep you very happy in your reliance on Him.

Dwelling on Acts 7:54 I had a sense of the great breach between the religious man under the law and the blessed Man in glory, and of how, if He were known, one would be morally distanced from the man here and be prepared for the breach. I think Stephen had in heart accepted Christ's rejection here before he saw Him in glory, but then, or consequent on seeing Him, he was

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ready to suffer for Him here. This is true fellowship with His sufferings.


It is often a great pleasure to me to recall your earliest days, at least when I was first acquainted with you. You were walking then up to the tip-top of your light. Except one does, one's conscience is not happy, nor is the Spirit ungrieved; one is asleep, like the bride in Canticles 5, not lifeless, but inactive in the right direction. Sleep is self-composedness. I can notice in myself when I was asleep. There is an activity, but not the activity of progress; it is to regain the spot where divine light had set one. I think one may go on for years asleep in this spiritual sense. If the top shoot is nipped there can be no progress until a new growth surmounts the blight. His heart never changed, but He does change His manner when my condition or association obliges Him to do so.

I hope that you are better; you seem to have suffered much. It is most interesting to me to see the Father's discipline. I do not speak of His discipline because of unfaithfulness, but the discipline to help us on; we who live are always delivered unto death. It works in this way: your heart has been occupied with Christ -- attracted divinely to Him. Now corresponding to this attraction God (you could not do it, a monk thinks he can) removes something in you naturally which would impede the full vigour of this divine gain -- the vigour of the new -- the inner man....

The fact of there being a rejected but victorious Man in heaven, the source of everything to His own on the earth, is a wonderful reality. This comes out with Stephen, while in John's gospel all that He is on the earth, and while He is on the earth, is recounted to us, but all from Himself; John never touches, like Paul, my home circle as in Ephesians, or my manner of life among men as in Romans; he never, as far as I see, goes outside of my divine relation to Him and to His own here.

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I feel that if we were truly alive to the grievous fact of the Lord's rejection from the earth, we should see that the man here and the place where that man is must be abandoned. I have been tracing how we are drawn away step by step from everything here, until we are conscious of our union with Him where He is.... If you begin with the Lord He assures your heart that He will maintain you to the end. The preparation is not merely to undertake, but for the entire history of the work. The manna was given for the entire day. The provision of His grace is for the end of the undertaking as well as for the beginning. If one undertakes anything without the Lord, the sooner it is discontinued the better.

How little we can foresee the trials which are often at hand! ... The more our hearts are drawn to another scene, the more are we prepared to find nothing here to attract us. We are attracted first to the heavenly scene, and then the thing -- or the one -- that would make this world less of a desert is removed. Your life is indeed a lonely one, but surely the more lonely you are here, the less hindered you are in enjoying Him whose presence is fulness of joy: Never less alone than when alone. May you be drawn into it more and more. We know the Lord first in the place of our misery, and we can say, "My beloved is mine and I am his". Then we know Him in the glory where all is of God, an entirely new order of things; then we are transformed into moral correspondence to His glory. Many never reach the second because they do not in faith reach to God's side -- to see that He was glorified by a Man -- His own Son bearing the judgment on man, so that it is God's satisfaction and glory by faith apprehended, and not merely the relief of one's own conscience.

The Lord comfort you much. Death prepares us for the deep things of God.

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It is evident that answers to prayer are not limited to promises, because it is written, "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him" (1 John 3:22), and, "If we know that he hear us, ... we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him" (1 John 5:15). We must first accept that "we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us ... And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit" (Romans 8:26, 27). No Christian who is walking in the Spirit would like to get what is not the mind of the Spirit. Now if I know myself as a child of God saying Abba, Father by the Spirit of the Son, I am entitled to make known everything concerning myself unto God, who numbers the hairs of my head. Then, again, if I know that He hears me I know that I have the petitions that I desired of Him. If I am spiritually led -- that is, if I have the Spirit's mind -- I ask what is according to His will, and I know that He, so to speak, gives attention to my expressed desire, and am assured that He will comply with it. Now in regard to prayer, there are two conditions of soul for a Christian -- one who has the Spirit of adoption -- which necessarily are above the condition of soul of those to whom the words "After this manner pray ye" were used. At that time the Spirit had not descended to indwell believers. Jesus had not risen. But the two conditions of soul after the descent of the Holy Ghost, and the ascension of Jesus, I find spoken of in the epistles -- one is Philippians 4, where without any reservation I am told to make known all my requests, and having done so, I am to rest in peace. My Father knows all now, not only from His own omniscience, but He has heard all from myself. The second is in 1 John 5, 14, 15 "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, ... we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him". In the first condition I know nothing of results, but the fact of my making

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known my anxieties to Him has been effective in garrisoning my heart and thoughts (not mind) in surpassing peace. In the second it is, If I know a something of God, namely, that He heard me, and if I know that He hears me, I know as the consequence that I have the petitions I desired of Him. But the answer may not be what I expected. I may not get exactly what I think I asked for. And here it is I believe that we remarkably fulfil that word, "We know not what we should pray for as we ought". For instance, Paul, when in the shipwreck, might have asked the Lord to let him serve Him in His church more extensively than ever, and even if he knew that God heard him, would he, I ask, have thought that his prayer was to be answered by his being imprisoned at Rome? And yet that was how "the mind of the Spirit" was answered. As spiritual, Paul would understand it, though naturally he would have thought that extended missionary apostolic labours would be the answer. Now we know that his imprisonment led to his most extensive service to the church reaching down to this very time, seeing that it was during it he wrote the most of the epistles. Take another case. Habakkuk, in chapter 3, prays for the revival of Jerusalem. God heard him, but if you had asked the prophet what revival do you count on? doubtless he would have answered -- a present one. But what says the Spirit of God? Your prayer is answered, but the revival will be in the day of glory. When we really depend on God about anything, He gives us the very best. He does not give a stone for a fish. On the contrary, He gives, if I may so, say a salmon when only a trout is asked for. I mean that He always surpasses our suggestion or conception when we depend on Him. We never had any gift from God yet which we had asked Him for, and waited on Him for, but it exceeded our own idea of it. We may mourn for quails, and they may be given to teach us our folly, but if we simply look to the Lord, and to Him only for anything, we shall know Him in either of the two ways that I have adduced.


Can you say I love the Lord because He hath heard the voice of my supplications? I think we sometimes pray

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but do not watch to see what God's answer is. The knowledge of His mind is the real gain in praying. As we grow in affection to the Lord we grow in dependence on Him. This is true in every relationship; we are increasingly dependent in one way or another on those we love. The Lord promotes our love by seeking our interest, making us feel how deeply interested He is in our welfare, showing His interest for us in the minutest things.


I am very much interested in the subject of prayer -- the way God answers now -- often not using oneself in bringing about the thing that one most prays about and is most concerned with. His way of answering one's prayers is often in some unexpected way, and apart from any co-operation or agency on our part. He thundered in answer to Samuel's prayer, that was no human agency, but the thing, was done. Paul only I suppose could see the hand of God in saving all on board (Acts 27). There was nothing signal, and Paul had no hand at all in it himself. Are you content to pray and pray on and never to be used in any way in bringing about what you so much desire and righteously desire? If you are really with God about it, all you want is to see Him effecting that which will redound to the glory of Christ and clear the road for your feet.


You say -- 'To do nothing without a word from God seems stupendous, and to paralyse all action'. You seem to have the impression that a being governed by the mind of God -- literally what our Lord Jesus Christ was here in this world -- would be something unnatural and uninteresting. Is there not a beauty and a grace exquisitely adapted in that which is divine, and which cannot be equalled in any measure in a lower order of being? Did you ever think that a good deal of the familiar ways of saints derives its attractiveness from the divine mind, and

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that which we sometimes dislike in one another is the working of an uncorrected self? I believe the more we were used to the habits and ways of one simply governed by the mind of Christ, the more we should lose taste for any other company, and wherever we went we should seek the high, moral, elevated tone which lends such a charm to the smallest conventionalities of life. Was it not so pre-eminently in our blessed Lord? the true, decided, faithful, affectionate way He walked familiarly with His disciples must have been most charming, and must have imparted to His society an attraction superior to any other. But I also believe that it was exquisitely natural and simple. It is the spurious thing that is unnatural, that affects to be Utopian, when there is an effort to imitate without any principle of life to produce the action. With a man who is governed by divine principle everything would be done at the right time and in the right way. To live the reality of the being I am is the end of creation. I am now a new creation in Christ Jesus, and as I live in Him and act according to His Spirit I must be well pleasing to God, enjoying communion with Him; but also I must be as a man the truest -- most reliable because true -- truly intelligent because I have the mind of Christ, unselfish, and once I am fully set to disallow in myself all the order of existence that is not of Christ I seek and value and grow in the company where His mind and Spirit rule. I contribute to it and it contributes to me. The mistake is in thinking that we can keep up the two -- Christ's nature and our own. The first great thing is to learn the immense superiority in every way of the former and that it must displace the latter, so that we cultivate the one and stand apart from the other, and the more you seek this, the more empowered you will be by His Spirit to do so, and the more assured that if you have done anything in nature, that in Christ you would have done it better in every way. Until you are really happy and assured as to this, you are not set to renounce and disallow your own nature and will. Then you find that what is of Christ is the true metal and all else, however good it may appear, is valueless, it has the true ring and nothing can surpass or equal it; however similar what is of nature

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may appear it is not the true metal. Children mistake farthings for sovereigns; one who had never seen the latter could hardly determine the difference, but one who knows the value of the sovereign easily enough and quickly enough distinguishes them.


A sailor expects to reach a direction that is in keeping with his steering. A very slight movement of the helm, a very small deviation at first, if adhered to, will lead to a port very remote indeed from the one which you would have reached if that first slight movement of the helm had been obviated. One point of the compass may seem as nothing, but the farther you proceed according to it, the more definitely are you departing from the port you are bound for. Because it appears little at the inception one is induced to overlook it, and therefore the scripture calls deceivings of this kind "wiles", that is, by-paths, which deviate so little at the beginning from the true course that to raise an objection to it might seem fastidious. If the great divergence which will eventually ensue were seen at first no one with heart or conscience would have submitted to it. Hence it is at the point where the divergence is smallest that the spiritual man, who judgeth all things, proves his knowledge, and refuses to submit to that which in the eyes of the mass seems most trivial. The more the conscience is confined to the exclusive range of the Spirit of God, the less will it meet with support from the general company of saints; but one simple question tests everything -- If I pursue this course where will it lead to?

You do not fear the fly which spoils the apothecary's ointment; as in the voyage it is the little wrong turn of the helm which diverts the ship from its course, so does the fly, a thing small in itself, destroy a crop of fairest promise, though it may only attack the leaf. For this there is no remedy but to be preserved from atmospheric influence, and blessed indeed will this year be to you, if you, having

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found perfect atmosphere in the sanctuary, come forth to act here in everything according to God.


There is nothing like reading the scriptures before breakfast. I believe it is a great thing to begin the day with God. There is a reason for it. The mind retains what engages it first. I know you have a constitutional difficulty in getting up early; the way I should recommend to compensate for this would be -- to devote your last moments before retiring to meditation. What has arrested my attention, as I lie down, speaks to my heart and conscience, and as I awake in the morning, if I recall it, it freshly engages my heart and mind, and places me on a level above the carnal influences with which contact with things here must leaven my mind unless I am garrisoned against it. It is far happier to pass from a high level to a lower one than to seek to rise from the lower one to the higher. The level from which your mind starts lends it a character for a long time and period of the day, and even if it drops to a lower key, small supplies will easily restore it to its first and better key. It is almost proverbial that if you begin the day badly, or as you begin it, so will it generally continue. Render unto the Lord the firstfruits of thine increase gives us the principle for the rule. They say if you want to bear cold well go out warm, and surely the more braced and endued with spiritual caloric the soul is, before encountering the battle and the breeze of this evil world, the better. In keeping with our illustration, it is easier to accumulate heat when there is no expenditure of it than when our greatest supply will soon be sorely taxed. Incipium belli dimidium facti, the beginning of the battle is half the deed.

In prayer God can remove from our hearts certain current influences which, being destroyed, leave room for certain spiritual influences to take their place in the soul.

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The text I give you on entering another year is -- "He satisfieth the longing soul" (Psalm 107:9). Your aspiration indicates your coming acquisition. It is remarkable, even in natural things, that if in your youth you have some special taste -- say, music, or learning, or any particular distinction -- that, as a rule, your aspiration indicates your future acquisition. The reason of this in natural things is that you use all the means at your disposal to attain to the zenith of your ambition. When any one is governed by his special taste, study and application are not grievous to him because of his aspiration to succeed in his aim. If this be true in natural things, where there are only human means at your disposal, how much more in divine things, where your power is the Spirit of God. Many will tell you that they desire to follow the Lord, but if He be not the ruling desire of their hearts they will not succeed. A pointer that is not set on the game only is badly taught and practically useless. If he be well taught he will not be diverted by a hare or any bird but the game (the grouse or the partridge). "My son, give me thine heart" (Proverbs 23:26). "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Psalm 37:4). "If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned" (Song of Songs 8:7). The Lord prefers your love to any work. Love soon finds out the acceptable work.

We never can be rightly or truly interested in the things of Christ until we are near Him, and nearness to Him is reached by finding out how much He is for us. The Lord bless you much.


It is a great comfort that failure in the thing which you most desire is no proof that you do not truly and genuinely desire it, and that there is in you the nature that desires it.

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The failure is caused by the flesh -- the evil will refusing to let you be personally the exponent of what in heart you desire, and you will find that though for the moment your acts deny your desire, yet that your desires do not go with your acts, but condemn them. I make a distinction between light and desire. Light is the reception of any truth; but desire is more the heart set on maintaining it. Now circumstances test both. With the former, there is no power against a deliberate assault. You act in nature, and your excuse is that no other way was open to you. The other is, you are victorious when the attack is open and palpable, but you often lose ground when you least expect it; you are, as we say, 'taken unawares'. No open or deliberate attack could subdue Samson, his heart was right. Lot gave way before the first great attraction. The failure contrary to your desire only shows that you have not been drilled enough, you are not broken enough, and therefore the breakdown occurs in order to show you where your weak point is, and the truer your desire, the more will you watch and guard against it. It is the readiness of your body (of which the tongue is the index) to bow to the divine desire, which proves, like a horse well-mouthed, that you are under complete control. If it be only light that you have received, and there is a departure from it, the conscience even may not be troubled if there be a good excuse for the departure. When there is a real love of the truth, one is always pained if one's acts do not declare plainly the ruling desire of the heart. In the former case, temptations are allowed to occur in order to expose to oneself how little really the love of the truth possesses one. In the other, to show one where the danger lies.

It is a wondrous and beautiful thing to see our bodies made to be accompaniments to the divine nature as a harp to the voice. Sanctified in spirit, soul and body.

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There are two ways of relief for the sorrowing one here. One is present nearness to Christ, where whatever the heart needs is found in Him. The want indicates the supply, but there must be nearness to Him for this. Take the priest that offered the blood of the peace offerings, the right shoulder shall be his part; that is, something over and above what the offering itself conferred. It is touching Christ that draws out the needed virtue, and this, while it places me superior to the pressure of the hour, enables me to be, though sorrowful yet always rejoicing, able to serve without being incommoded by the strait-waistcoat of circumstances here. There are songs in the night.

Then there is another mode of relief, and the one I apprehend which you look for, and that is the immediate coming of our Lord. Surely this will be a perfect relief, but I fear that you are looking for the termination of incongruities more than seeking present succour -- which would make you like a giant refreshed with wine -- making moral space for Christ here in the midst of the most elaborate opposition, or like a rose breaking through the dense jungle to shed its fragrance when there was no one apparently to appreciate it. In the one, you are made superior to the thorns and briars of the wilderness by the succour of His presence, who will speedily quash them in the day of His coming, and perpetuate to you the joy without a check which has sustained you in the dreariest hour here. The other is simply the termination of everything adverse in the brightness and joy of a day when all shadows will be dispersed for ever. Is it the termination of the incongruous and sorrowful that you look for, or is it the present succour of Christ enabling you to be superior to all the sorrow and incongruity now, knowing that if we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him? I fear that you are more a captive, waiting for and expecting the coming Deliverer, than the one in whom His heart doth safely

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trust, delighting in His love and succour and thinking of the joy and welcome that He will have at His return.


As to --------, if her heart has been broken here, that is, if she has had a full cup and it has been upset, then I could understand her saying that she does not fear; and again, if she could say that Christ had fully satisfied her heart I could understand her saying so. In my experience I find the two go together. One has lost by some means or another that which would brighten this scene to one; but besides this, one has found Christ, who satisfies beyond expression one's heart in the scene where He has prepared a place for us. I fully believe that one may be so satisfied by the superior things in Christ and in association with Him, that everything here would lose its charm for one.

I think when we see any one specially in the Lord's hand with the purpose of leading such an one on, we ought to be found near the bell to do anything He might suggest to further the same.


I am thankful to find that you have derived real benefit from the air of --------. I think -------- makes you exert yourself without overtaxing your strength, and this is the way the grace of God deals with us. It requires action in keeping with the given power, and not beyond it; but the aim of divine discipline is to keep us up to the measure of the light and truth imparted, and hence discipline changes according to progress. The nature of the discipline to Abraham is very different from that to Jacob. The former is called to surrender his son by his own hand; the latter was bereaved of his sons. The discipline in each case is to keep or to lead the saint up to the measure of the light and truth committed to him, and thus in Jacob's history it varies, and is characteristic of his progress. While he was in Laban's house it was mainly retributive,

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he suffered from Laban what he had rendered to Esau, and was thus taught the bitterness of the artfulness in which he had indulged; but when he returns to the land, and is on the true ground again, the discipline is to keep him according to the position in which grace had set him. First, the "wrestling", that God may have His true place, out of which he comes "lame", but with the name of Israel. Next, when he would settle at Shalem, and in principle and fact depart from his position in the land as a pilgrim (even though pious enough), yet he suffers sorely from the inhabitants of the land, and though he is Israel, he utters the bitter words: 'I shall one day be destroyed, I and my father's house'. God tells him to go to Bethel, and now that he is in the true place, Rebecca's nurse dies, and they call the place Allon-bachuth; the last link to his mother who had led him into artfulness is wrenched. When he has fully come near unto God there must be nothing to mar the holy joy of nearness. He must be in keeping with the position in which grace has set him. To whom much is given, of him much is required. God does not require from us but as He imparts to and confers on us, but He does require as He imparts and confers. The Lord requires His own with usury; and hence He helps every soul that seeks to act up to the measure of His grace, by removing every hindrance to there being an answer to His demand. But this is different from the discipline with which He severs one from the things which check one. In the one case it is helping one on by removing hindrances, as the thorn to Paul; but in the other it is, as with Jacob at Shalem, making our surroundings so intolerable that we drop them as one would drop a hot iron. I suppose naturally and spiritually the way of true health is to act up to the measure of our strength, and not beyond it. To him that hath shall more be given; but if the talent be unused, in any case spiritual health is impaired, and we suffer loss. May you go on day by day proving His gracious discipline as you progress. Your prosperity, as you know, is of great interest to me, and therefore great joy.

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I am reading Job. Nature cannot understand God's discipline, but the inner man, through faith, clings to God in spite of human perverseness and insubjection. The books of Job, the Psalms, Canticles, are the soul, conscience and heart in exercise, reaching unto the fulness of joy in Christ, but not in it. There is delight in the law of God after the inward man, but no sure deliverance from the body of the flesh which makes us "wretched". It is only in Christ that the soul, the conscience, and the heart all find, not only relief, but resource, and are thus set free from all natural entanglements. You might relieve my heart of great anguish, and yet you might not be a resource to me. The Lord does both. He relieves and then becomes the full resource and object of the heart. The exercises are good and cannot be dispensed with, but they ought to find their issue in Christ, and are always most blessed to us when they issue from our assured place with Him. To see earth and all its prospects fading away from one's view as the 'seared leaves of autumn', is solemn, but for the eternal scene with Christ as the centre to arise before us and fill our vision is most blessed. Would you prefer to die to everything here or to outlive everything -- everything to die to you? Hezekiah was offered the first, his life was spared to expect the latter! Are you heavenly expectant or earthly disappointed?

Progress entails exercise and earnestness. Exercise is when you desire to possess a thing. Earnestness is when you seek to turn to account what you do possess.


I feel that separation from systems has been regarded as the testimony to which we are called instead of the introduction in marked lines and colours of the life and ways

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of the blessed One, rejected from this scene where His body continues to express and maintain His name. We have become too Pharisaic; while adhering to the services and the usefulness which commends us to men, we have disregarded too much the weightier matters of unworldliness and devotedness. There has been often a convulsive activity without a vigorous constitution. I feel we must be sifted. The Lord cannot continue His light to be useless. In order to use it the laxity must be repudiated.

I was speaking at -------- last night on the characteristics of the remnant -- unswerving devotedness to the chief interest of Christ. The colours, as it were, for the time. I was giving as examples Anna the prophetess, who departed not from the temple; she greeted Him on His first entry into it; and the widow who giving the two mites, was in heart in company with Him as He for the last time was in the temple. Usefulness has usurped the place of devotedness. Man can recognise and commend the former, but the heart of Christ values the latter above everything. Separation from systems is only the first step to the testimony. The testimony is the maintenance by the Holy Ghost, through Christ's body, of the beauty and ways and works of Christ here on the earth in spite of every adverse influence. This is most wonderful, the grandest morally, and the most entirely unique, exceeding anything seen or expected among men, and therefore outside and apart from the politics and judgment of man as to education, fashion and everything.

The Lord give us to find Him a strong tower into which the righteous run and are safe.


As to your difficulty between the little children knowing the Father, and the fathers knowing "Him that is from the beginning", it is at once solved when you apprehend the difference between the knowledge of the Father and the knowledge of Christ from His beginning on earth. The

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former is the knowledge of relationship; "because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Galatians 4:6). The Christian state is that of a son in the Son's life. This is the true and proper position of every believer. The knowledge of Christ from the beginning is more extensive and comprehensive. You cannot exceed it. It includes everything revealed of God, and excludes everything that is not of God. A wonderful range of knowledge, you cannot add to it, though you may and will ever deepen in it, for it is infinite. It is not merely the knowledge of relationship, great indeed as that is, it is the knowledge of God revealed by the Son. This is as I understand it. If I do not make it plain to you, kindly write again. There is a great difference between knowing the relationship into which Christ has brought me, and knowing Himself. Paul, to the end of his course, was pressing on to "know him". You were very young when you knew that Mr. -------- was your father, and you knew his affection and delighted in it, and this for many years before you knew the range of his interests morally, and what his life as to its scope and power embraced. The latter includes the former, though the former does not embrace the latter, yet through divine grace one may pass on from the lesser to the greater, for we know each in the same life and the same Spirit.


... It is a great hindrance to souls to be occupied exclusively with the gospel, that is, to be occupied only with the great benefits of grace; they thus confine Christ to His meeting their own need, and do not see that it is the purpose of God to unite them to Christ in heaven; just as one might dilate very largely on Matthew 8, Christ in the ship, and not venture to say a word about Christ walking on the water, Matthew 14, and leading us to join Him there. In Paul's gospel he brings you to glory; he begins with Christ in glory. If souls understood this

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better they would understand and accept from their start that this world is a wilderness, and would learn more and more every day that there is nothing for Christ here, and that the heart that seeks Christ must seek Him where He is. This is the great teaching of the book of Hebrews; you are drawn away by Him who is not here, first by His meeting your infirmities, but it is eventually to find yourself with Christ in the cloudless light of God. In the book of Hebrews nothing is conferred on us here. Everything is conferred with Christ outside of the world, so the great result is that we are inside the veil and outside the camp. There is no other road to heaven now but through the wilderness and over Jordan. You get no taste of what Christ is to you, but as you are really in heart over Jordan with Him. For any special light or power, such as knowing Him as Head, you must be over Jordan if only for a moment; and I believe, besides this, there is an actual sense that you have crossed the Jordan with Him, so that you are severed from every link here, and find unspeakable happiness in being with Him. A great day for the heart, and a journey which you must take one day, for there is only one way to heaven.


It is only a wonder to me that we have so little suffering in the world where our Lord has been refused a place. The more we are attached to Him, the less can we like to be anything where He was refused. It grieves one even to think of being prominent where He was cast out.

It is interesting to see that in Luke 24 He was known to them in breaking of bread, not that I think that was the Lord's supper, but that the act which represented His death should be the occasion of making Himself known to them as alive from the dead is very touching. The more I enter into His death here, the more do I know Him as alive from the dead. His own presence fashions us.

Your hearts might burn within you, in hearing His word, and still there might be no practical concert with

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Him; but let Him be near you, and how readily you are led and enabled to do the very thing that He is doing at the time.

You ask me, What do I gain or what is the answer to my urging my heart to long after Him? Well, I find that in proportion as I do, He assures my heart that there is full resource for it. But this is not once and for ever, it must be continually kept up. I have still to count all things dung that I may win Christ. I think it is a very happy exercise or fruition to be able to look forward to nothing but the Lord's presence. One is so ready naturally to see whether there is anything pleasant in expectation, and to this, of every shade and degree, I study to answer -- the Lord's presence. May you know the light and presence of His glory.