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September 19, 2012Permalink Leave a comment

US administration makes deal with Iran, despite prior promise to wife of imprisoned American

CBS News correspondent Major Garrett questioned the president [Obama] about the Iranian nuclear deal that left Americans in Iranian jails.

“As you well know, there are four Americans held in Iran, three held on trumped up charges, according to your administration, one whereabouts unknown. Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscience of this nation, the strength of this nation, unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?” Garrett asked.

The U.S. State Department condemned the sentencing of Saeed in 2013: “We condemn Iran’s continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini’s human rights and release him.”

So the US administration now wishes to make a nuclear deal with a country that violates human rights and is willing to jail and torture a US citizen who is one of our people.  It seems this administration has limited moral code, limited ethics, limited integrity, and is not willing to protect all of its people.

I call on the US Congress to decline this administrations’ inappropriate deal with Iran.  Don’t make deals with nations that violate human rights.

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds

To some extent, we can know the nature of any man or woman by what they do – and we don’t have to wait to see, we can look at whatever they have already done, to project the kind of things they will do next.

With our world seemingly spinning out of control, God is the only one who can properly save us.  Good leaders who follow God and have a good track record of actions are a distant second.  But each of us should follow God, so we do what is right.

Saint Basil said

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

Saint Basil was borrowing from Luke 6, which says

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from brambles. The good person out of the good treasury of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasury produces evil, for his mouth speaks from what fills his heart.”

What kind of “good things” would we look for in a person’s history?  Well, if our person honors God, we will see these things (Galatians 5:22):

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control

And remember David, “the man after God’s own heart” who got so upset when he came across the Philistines and Goliath, saying bad things about God’s people?  David loved God and was really devoted to him.  When Goliath said bad things about God and his people, David wanted to defend their honor and assure their safety!  My son once had a coach who said “Protect your house!”  Every good leader should be doing that.

A good leader develops a good plan.  What does God say?  (Jeremiah 29:11) ‘”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”‘  Those are important words – HOPE, and a FUTURE.  The future is wrapped up in our children, and our children’s children.  If our plans don’t “protect their house” too, a leader has failed.  Some examples:

  • protect our environment
  • protect our finances
  • protect our minds and spirits
  • protect us from outside threats
  • inspire us to exceed expectations and be full of meaningful life

As we live our own lives, and assess others who want to be leaders, I wonder how many of us are like clueless 3rd Graders jumping up and down yelling “Pick Me, Pick me!”, but who do not have good fruit in our own lives?  Do we really care about those around us – our future – or are we just chasing the stardom of leadership?

The proof of who we are is in our recent past.  Anyone can see it.  And the wonderful thing about recent pasts is that you can start building yours today.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:28

Give the fiery love of Christ to the cold wintery manger of those who are spiritually dead

[I] wonder why God chose the hardest time of the year to become flesh and why He came to the earth in the weakest human condition (as a baby). Why did God choose the hardest place to be born in the cold weather? Why did God choose to be born in a manger in a stable, which is very cold, filthy and unsanitary with an unpleasant smell? Why did the birth have to be in such a way that it was not only hard physically, but also socially? It must have brought such shame for Mary and her fiancé that she was pregnant before marriage in the religious society of that time.

Dear sisters and brothers, the fact of the Gospel is that it is not only the story of Jesus, but it is the key of how we are to live and serve like Jesus. Today we like Him should come out of our safe comfort zone in order to proclaim the Word of Life and Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and the penalty of sin that He paid on the cross and to proclaim His resurrection. We should be able to tolerate the cold, the difficulties and the shame in order to serve God. We should be able to enter into the pain of the cold dark world. Then we are able to give the fiery love of Christ to the cold wintery manger of those who are spiritually dead. It might be necessary to come out of the comfort of our lives and leave the loving embrace of our family to enter the manger of the lives of others, such as it has been for me for the third consecutive Christmas. It may be that we will be called fools and traitors and face many difficulties, but we should crucify our will and wishes even more until the world hears and tastes the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas means that God came so that He would enter your hearts today and transform your lives and to replace your pain with indescribable joy.

Christmas is the manifestation of the radiant brightness of the Glory of God in the birth of a child named Emmanuel, which means God is with us.

Christmas is the day that the heat of the life-giving fire of God’s love shone in the dark cold wintry frozen hearts and burst forth in this deadly wicked world.

The same way that the heat from the earth’s core melts the hard stones in itself and produces lava, the fiery love of God, Jesus Christ, through the virgin Mary’s womb came to earth on Christmas to melt the hard heart of sin and wickedness of the world and removes them from our life. In the same process, the work of the Holy Spirit is a fiery rain of God’s Holiness and Mercy that flows into our body, soul and spirit and brings the light of Christ into us and through us making this dark, cold, wintry world into radiant burning brightness. He is turning our world into a world full of peace, joy, and love that is so different than the dark, cold, and wintry world that we used to live in. Hallelujah!

So this Christmas let the lava-like love of Christ enter into the depth of your heart and make you fiery, ready to pay any cost in order to bring the same lava love to the cold world around you, transforming them with the true message of Christmas.

Pastor Saeed Abedini

December 19, 2014Permalink Leave a comment

Falling away from God

There’s an interesting article “How the Internet Is Taking Away America’s Religion” providing some details from the General Social Survey – a widely respected sociological survey carried out by the University of Chicago.

The study notes that 53% of the population spends two hours per week online and 25% surfed for more than 7 hours/wk.  And since 1990, there’s a 10% drop in religious affiliation in the United States.  Not all the causes have been determined.

I’d like to highlight some comments left on the article:

  1. Sure you can seek for answers in religion, but google is a lot easier and a lot more reliable.
    1. God says his word never returns empty results.  When it has truthful answers, the Internet is a great way to find them.  But some people are still looking for the truth among the evidence, and speak too soon about their conclusions.  That is the state of some scientists today, who promote their conclusions before really getting all the evidence rationalized.  An answer that only partially solves the challenge is not an adequate answer.  Jesus said he is the way, truth, and life.
  2. established religion … needs to be founded on something better than pure belief. It needs to offer an experience that anyone who is interested can experience for themselves.
    1. God isn’t a dog who does tricks on demand.  What he did do, is see our inability to save ourselves from self-destruction and provide a means for rescue, so we could be with him forever.  Even though Jesus did many visible miracles (high level experience for onlookers), some people still refused to believe.  God’s demonstrated love, in the form of Jesus was an expression of intense love that he still expresses to people individually (low-level) when they look for him.
    2. The assurance of forgiveness and salvation is an experience anyone can have.  But the Way Jesus demonstrated is a relationship with God (why spend forever with someone you don’t like?) and some people aren’t willing to lay aside their personal gods to be with God.
  3. multiculturalism is also a huge factor. … I started to see that these people had a very different faith from me, yet had just as much reason to believe it as I did.
    1. Jesus said “even the demons believe”.  Passion and dedication can be demonstrated by anyone for anything.  But until you have experienced God loving you so deeply, and personally, that he cares to remake your life and give you purpose and peace…nothing compares.
  4. Something that seems obvious but has been missed was the simple answer that maybe these people were not religious originally, but felt it was unacceptable to be so, so they simply lied about it.
    1. Jesus told a story about seed planted on shallow, rocky, and good soil.  How deep is your love for God?  When the world is brought into your room, are you able to handle the challenges by turning to Him for guidance as to where you surf, and how/who you engage?
  5. The rise of the internet is enabling such a rapid spread of ideas that religion is evolving faster than new religious societies can emerge, faster than old religious societies can organize their members.
    1. If religion has to evolve in response to the Internet, was it untruthful or misrepresenting something in the first place?  Or was it a shallow tradition with no depth of relationship with God, and people got more excited by socializing online than socializing in a church club?  God’s church isn’t supposed to be this way – but I think any church should consider reaching out to Internet crowds just as we should be with the neighbors we meet in person.
  6. …the traditional Christian “gospel” is now preached almost exclusively in churches, where only those who are raised in the church are likely to hear it.
    1. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Alone with your thoughts…

Science magazine reports on the results of several studies:

In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.

What is it about our own thoughts that could be so offensive?  We’ve built up so many distractions in our lives… is it a coping strategy to deal with our inability to handle the reality of who we (really) are and where our lives are heading?

God placed his Spirit in mankind when He created us.  He mentions that he has limited our lives to 120 years because He wanted a limit on how long his Spirit would contend with us.  One definition for “contend” is:  to strive in rivalry; compete

It’s not right that God should have to compete for our love.  It’s like asking how long you would tolerate living with a wife or husband who cheated on you.

So when we’re left alone with our thoughts, perhaps these are the moments when God’s Spirit begins to speak to us.  When Jesus went into the desert for 40 days, it was for that reason – to grow closer to God and establish his life direction.

I wonder what would happen if we bravely took time to talk with God for a period of time, to find out what we should do with our life?

Why can’t I find the right man or woman?

A few weeks ago, I was biking in a park.  I paused to let some other family member catch up, and overheard a small part of a discussion between a man and woman as they were walking on the same trail, and passed me where I waited.  The conversation went something like this:

(man) "You're a nice looking woman.  I'm sure the right man will come along."

(woman)  "The thing is, my generation is screwed up, and the next generation is f***** up."

That's quite an assessment of the past 2 generations – this woman was in her upper twenties.

The conversation reminded me of another one I heard years ago.  That woman was telling her friend that she was having a difficult time finding the right man.  I knew this woman a little, and that her search scope was pretty much limited to the bars she spent time at.  I like that the woman had the discernment to recognize a good man from a rotten one (or sadly, that she had experienced enough bad men to be discouraged).  But if you were shopping for an elegant mansion, would you usually start by looking in the slums?

But the twist on this article isn't that we're shopping for our man or woman in the wrong place – it's that our shopping location has already tagged us as the kind of people we are.  The places we find these bad candidates are OUR FAVORITE HAUNTS.  And worse, we're not content with someone who hangs out in these places – but that's what we're doing!  Really, we don't like who we are, nor what we're doing with our lives.

Poop draws flies.

So what are you going to do about yourself?

My personal experience is that I need help to turn my trajectory around.  I've been enduring who I am, and struggled with ME and progress isn't happening.  I've tried many tricks and techniques to fix myself, and it's not happening.  I need something incredibly powerful to fix this mess.

And that would be God.

Sometimes as you drive thru the slums, you come across a beautifully well-maintained home.  A lot of love and care is poured into that home, and it's striking how it contrasts with the homes around it.  This is like how God comes, when we ask, and moves into our beat-up life – showing us how much He loves us, and how he guides us to a better life – a better way.

Perhaps the man-hunt or woman-hunt can be put aside to let God reshape us, to become something other than the poop we now see.

What is pastoring in Africa like? The April report…

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Saviour
This week was another sad week for us, yet another Pastor committed suicide
- while he did not live in our area he was known to many through
the Church Family. His death has sent shock waves through the Church.
IF ONLY – are words that are been expressed.
The finances of the Church were under investigation and accusations
had been levelled against the Pastor. The Church income had fallen by 45%
and the Church could not meet Budget.
The Pastor committed suicide but if only he had opened his Laptop Computer
and read his e-mails he would have read that the Audit of the Church Books
and the investigation into all the allegations had been completed and
found to be false and that he had been cleared of any wrongdoing but it was too late!
He was dead!

We are all under tremendous pressure -
The Platinum Mining Strike is entering its fourth month -
and is causing hardships throughout the country.
Imagine having no income for 3 months!
The Gold Mines are also been affected.
Mines in our area have once again retrenched workers.
Intimidation is rife and all the companies who supply the mines
 also have to lay off staff. Many Service industries that depend on
those working for local mines are also failing.
Most Churches are reeling because incomes are falling and the drain
on resources needed to help those in need are been depleted!
Our Church – while our Outreach has expanded – our income
also continues to fall and we have not been able to meet
basic fixed expenses for some time now.
For many people the Bible is a mere collection of pebbles -
profound sayings to be uttered on special occasions or
to be used as mere words of comfort in trying times -
To me and many other Believers however the Bible is a Solid Rock!
It is not only a firm Rock under our feet but it is our Anchor
and Daily Guide. It sustains us on our daily path through this life.

It has been my privilege honour to have preached the Word of God
as an Ordained Pastor since 1973. My ministry started as a Missionary among the Indian
Hindu Community in Natal and I have had the privilege to minister the Word of God
in all the Provinces of South Africa and to most of the Language groups,
often with the aid of an Interpreter. While I pastored the Pentecostal Protestant Church
in Cape Town it was also my privilege to Pastor a Portuguese Assembly of God Church
at the same time with the aid of an Interpreter for more than a year.
The Number of Weddings that I have solemnised and number of Funerals that I have conducted
with the aid of an Interpreter are too numerous to mention.
Today I still regard myself as a Missionary – I pastor a small Afrikaans speaking Church -
My home language and that of my Family is English while I minister mostly in Afrikaans
which I speak as a second language. All my Bible Study and Preaching material is prepared
first in English and then translated into Afrikaans.
For many years my wife helped me with the translations.

Often I have wondered if my Ministry would not have been more successful
if I had rather preached the Gospel in English, my Home language.
My Afrikaans pronunciations are often faulty, as is my grammar
and often the target of ridicule.
Today I had every reason to be despondent – our attendance was even
worse than normal with only a handful of people attending the local Church.
Our income a mere R110 and it is month end and all the Bills must be paid!
Despite this I rejoiced – The Claassen family have their roots in the Dutch
Anabaptist History of the Church and were known as “Jumpers” because of their style
of Worship! Today I joined my Ancestors and jumped with Joy!
The reason – While I was preaching the Word on the Radio early this morning,
I received a Text message out of Mecca, Saudi Arabia the very heart of Islam
from a South African working there, listening to our Afrikaans Broadcast via the Internet
on his Laptop Computer! God is faithful and His Word will never return void!
Yes it is a privilege to proclaim His word but I am constantly aware of
the responsibility whenever I say: Thus says the Lord!
Please continue to pray for this Ministry and that it will continue to bear good fruit!

This Ministry would however never have been possible without the support
and prayers of Family and Friends – Thank you for your love and continued
Yours in HIS Service

Pastor CSJ Claassen
PO Box 99
South Africa

When I don’t love you enough

When I don't love you enough, family, I will take my work home with me, and spend almost all my time on it, instead of enjoying time with you.

When I don't love you enough, God, I will act like you want me to when I'm at church, but act like I want to the rest of the time.

When I don't love you enough, children, I will let my husband sexually or physically assault you, and pretend it didn't happen.

When I don't love you enough, wife, I will let my eyes and mind wander to other women, and not keep the vow I made before you, God, and others, to cherish you and forsake all others.

When I don't love you enough, God, I will pollute my eyes and mind with the interests and fantasies of this world, leaving it in such a useless state for You, that I am the flavorless salt and noisy gong you spoke about.

When I don't love you enough, fellow citizen, I will rule over you as your government leader, instead of representing you and your needs – and protecting you as God would have me do.

When I don't love you enough, future husband, I will give my body and affections to many others before you come along, hoping that one of them will be you – but knowing none of them are – because I've lowered my standards for them out of desperation.

When I don't love you enough, future wife, I won't follow God's guidance to restrain myself and treat each woman I meet as a sister and friend, preserving each one as a gift to their husband, until God presents you to me.

When I don't love myself enough, I will dislike those I encounter who are like me – even my own family. 

God, please teach me to love all that you have made, to set myself aside, and to love as you do!  I know you promise that Life will be much better if I do as you say.

October 13, 2013Permalink Leave a comment

Chapter 9: Gems of Thought from Northfield Mines.

Chapter 9


Best Thoughts of Various Conventions — Nuggets from the Addresses of Mr. Moody, Dr. Bonar, Dr. Gordon, Dr. Pentecost, Dr. Pierson, Major Whittle, and others.

PAUL says: “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Evidently he had in mind a contrast between the sensual effects of strong drink and that Divine intoxication which comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit. What are the effects of alcoholic inebriation? An expansion of vision, followed by blurring of sight; unnatural exhibitions before the brain; great hilarity, followed by moroseness; on the muscular system, in stimulating to efforts; upon the speech, in muddling language. How different the effects of the Holy Spirit!

What are they? The eyes see with truth and power; the mind is aroused to grand efforts of thought; the faculty of speech to most gracious and eloquent utterances; while the whole person is strengthened and the disposition attuned to the Spirit of Christ. The effects of drink in excess are disastrous; no man can ever be filled with the Holy Ghost to excess. — Pierson .

THE service of the Israelites was very similar to that of surrounding nations; but whereas the latter kindled the fires upon their altars, God distinguished His service by sending down fire from Heaven. That is the difference between true religion and its counterfeit. Natural religion depends on the energy of the flesh. Supernatural religion depends on the energy of the Spirit of God, which comes down from above. It is quite possible to be perfectly right in the forms of our service, and yet destitute of Divine power. — Pentecost .

WE need to realize more the personality of the Holy Ghost. A Brooklyn clergyman lately defined the Holy Spirit as a shadowy effluence proceeding from the Father and the Son. How would it sound if he should baptize a child “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the shadowy effluence,” etc.? Deny the personality of the Holy Ghost and you deny everything. — Pierson .

THE Divine energy, as finally manifested to the Church, was in the form of tongues of fire. But beware of strange fire! In Leviticus 16:12, Aaron was bidden to take a censer of live coals from off the altar of the Lord, and use it to offer up incense. He must not kindle the censer with any other fire but that which had come down from Heaven. It was the neglect and contempt of this commandment which constituted the sin of Nadab and Abihu. They dared to worship God with strange fire. Suppose the Apostles, who had been told to tarry at Jerusalem till fire was sent down from Heaven, had dared to disobey. Suppose Peter had said to John: “John, four or five days have passed, and how do we know the Spirit is coming? Perhaps it has come. We know the Gospel; we are witnesses of the crucifixion and resurrection; why not go and preach?” What would have happened? The message would have been an utter failure. We have the Gospel, we have right forms, but oh! let us beware of preaching in the energy of the flesh. We must have Holy Ghost power. Nadab and Abihu were slain at the very beginning of the Mosaic dispensation. Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead at the very beginning of the history of the Church. I sometimes tremble lest a strange fire have crept unawares into my own service. We need to watch. — Pentecost .

I’ M glad there are things in the Bible I don’t understand. If I could take that book up and read it as I would any other book, I might think I could write a book like that, or that you could. I am glad there are heights I haven’t been able to climb up to. I am glad there are depths I haven’t been able to fathom. It’s the best proof that the book came from God. I suppose there are a good many things in the prophecies concerning Christ that no one could understand till Christ came and fulfilled them. Just look at some of those prophecies. He was to be born in Bethlehem, and carried into Egypt. When that announcement was made, how strange it must have sounded! But when the time came, God put the whole world in motion to bring Mary to Bethlehem so that Jesus might be born there. Caesar issued a decree that the whole world should be taxed. All this was done just to bring that virgin up to Bethlehem. I believe that God would have created a world rather than that any prophecy should be unfulfilled. — Moody .

I BELIEVE the reason people won’t come more than they do into our churches is because we don’t feed them enough on the Word of God. They have been fed on sawdust long enough. For men who have nothing but essays it is hard to get pulpits, and it will be harder. The reason there are so many pulpits vacant is that there ain’t men enough willing to give the Word of God. Go into one of our city parks in winter to feed the birds and throw down a handful of sawdust. You may deceive them once, but you won’t a second time. But throw down crumbs, and they’ll sweep them up.

So in the churches, give people the Word of God and they will know the difference. A man once made an artificial bee, and thought no one could tell the difference between that and a real bee. But another man said he could show the difference. He put the two bees down on the table, and then put a drop of honey before them. The real bee went for the honey. There are a great many artificial Christians, and they don’t want the Word of God.

They’ll go somewhere else. Well, let them go. For every one that goes, five will take his place. What we want is to give people the Word of God in season and out of season. — Moody .

ISAIAH is divided in the original into three portions, each ending with a mournful refrain concerning the wicked. These refrains will be found at the end of the <234801> 48th chapter, of the <235701> 57th and of the whole book. When God divided the book into three portions He must have meant something; and so in the center of the middle portion we find that wonderful piece of poetry, the crown-jewel, the blood-red ruby — the <235301> 53rd chapter. In the British Navy there is a scarlet thread running through every line of cordage, and though a rope be cut into inch pieces, it can be recognized as belonging to the Government. So is there a scarlet thread running all through the Bible — the whole book points to Christ. In the promise made to Adam appears, as it were, the first twig of a tree. Twig after twig is added, till we can count not only 200 direct promises of the Messiah, but 1,500 direct and indirect. Then, as history comes to fulfill these predictions, each little twig in turn is set on fire, yet not consumed, till finally the whole tree becomes a great burning bush, and we take off our shoes and stand in awe, for it is holy ground. — Pierson .

UNDER the old dispensation a man was righteous at the end of works and sacrifices; under the new, Christ having done all, He is righteous at the beginning, and thence proceeds to work on. It is now possible to be righteous at the beginning of one’s life rather than at the end of it. — Gordon .

LET it be clearly understood that we can and do make it hard for Christ to confess us. For as the devil of old came into the presence of God accusing Job, so now the devil in a sense enters the courts of Heaven accusing us before the Father. Here is some poor trembling, faltering sinner who walks unworthy of the vocation whereunto he is called. The devil comes before God, and says: “Ah, yes; that is one of Yours — who promised to serve You and be faithful, and yet see how he is living.” Christ’s reply is: “Well, he has confessed Me before men, and I promised to confess him before My Father. Yes; he is one of Mine, and I am hoping that this and that will remove every trace of evil.” It is a hard thing for Christ to confess us in the face of our many inconsistencies, but He is faithful to His promise. — Gordon .

I THINK there can be little doubt that Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man, and that before his conversion he had a good deal of pride and ambition, which wealth so often gives to a man. And it was the fashion among the rich people of that day to have a tomb at Jerusalem. I suppose Joseph thought, “I would like to have a sepulcher too, to perpetuate my name.” It was not easy, however, getting sites; and all the good places had been taken. But at last he found a place for his tomb at a point you would never have expected him to fix upon — near Calvary. There was a spot to be bought there, and Joseph bought it; and being near the place of execution, he took care to have a garden round it. Little did he know, at that time, and less did he care, what was to come of this. God often has a plan in the lives of unconverted men which they know little of. — Bonar .

IT IS written, “Not many wise, not many rich, not many noble are called;” yet the Lord always has some wise, some rich, some noble, among His followers. When Joseph of Arimathea came to Christ and believed in Him, Christ did not tell him to give up his position in society, and become as a fisherman. No; Christ evidently intended him to remain where he was, as a counselor and witness for Him among those with whom he daily came in contact. You know it is far more difficult to speak to your own flesh and blood, and bear testimony for Christ, than to go to those who do not know you. When a young man is converted, he is almost always inclined at first to say: “I shall give up my position. I know I could do far more good if I was a preacher; so I’ll leave my business and become a preacher of the Gospel.” Now, before any one does a thing of that sort, he should be very careful that God wants him to do it. Very often mistakes are made just in this way. God may have given you some work to do in the position in which He has placed you, which no one could do if you were to leave it undone. — Bonar . “ I WILL go to Pilate,” says Joseph, “since I can do no more, and ask for the body; and I will bury my Master in my own tomb.” So he finds his way to Pilate’s house, and he seeks an interview. And here his well known good character stands him in good stead, for the answer comes from Pilate at once — “Yes, let him come in, by all means.” Then Joseph tells his errand. “Ah, is He dead already?” “Yes,” says Joseph. Well, Pilate would rather have the official testimony as well; so he calls upon the officers; and when he finds their report agrees with Joseph’s, he is quite ready to grant him what he asks. Then Nicodemus joins Joseph, and they two — two councilors, two rich men — bring with them spices and fine linen; and they come to the cross. They don’t care who is looking for them; nor how they are scorned. And in that hour the prophecy is fulfilled. There is not only one rich man, but two, at the cross. — Bonar . “GOD spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell.” The sin was one sin, and God spared them not. What was that one sin? They “kept not their first estate.” They “left their own habitation.” The idea seems to be that in pride of heart they were discontented with the position God had placed them in, and they left it. Like Adam taking the forbidden fruit, it was the simplest act possible, and we know what it entailed. The lesson for us is a very solemn one. How often we say, “Oh, this is only one sin.” You trifle with one sin. But we see here that one sin may bring eternal wretchedness — eternal wrath. Again, it was the first sin. As when Adam took the forbidden fruit, the moment they sinned their first sin, God spared them not. — Bonar .

NEVER trifle with one sin. It is like the little cloud, which, as a poet has said, may hold a hurricane in its grasp. The next sin you commit may have a mighty effect in the blighting of your life. You do not know the streams that may flow from that fountain; for sin is a fountain — not a mere act, but a fountain of evil. — Bonar .

GOD “spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell.”

Correctly this should be translated, “turned their faces hellward, and reserved them for chains of darkness.” They were not to have those chains put on till Christ should come to bind Satan with all his followers. They were, however, immediately turned hellward. God saw it just and righteous to visit them with this wrath. Anything less would have shaken the throne of His holiness. He must show His abhorrence of sin, and make the universe to know, and know forever, what sin is, and what sin deserves. Whenever we get a glimpse of these fallen spirits they never complain. Now and then in the Gospel history we find they crossed Christ’s path. They never say: “Thou hast dealt too severely with us.”

No; it is, “Thou Holy One of God.” — Bonar .

A GODLY priest in the Middle Ages preached the Gospel to a listless audience. A dark-looking stranger came up to him after the service — so goes the legend — and said: “Come down to hell, and make us one such offer.” But there is no such offer in hell. What will become of the sinner who does not accept the atoning blood? The Son was, for our sakes, put in the position of the angels whom “God spared not,” and we are eternally free if we choose to be so. No doubt the spirits below cry, “Oh, that we could recall the first spark that fired all that train of evil and wrath.” Then beware of the next sin. It may cause your eternal ruin. — Bonar .

THERE is nothing the world so wants as holy men. The cause of Christ is paralyzed because of sin — sin in believers. The natural man will always take sides against God when you press him close, and say, “God isn’t going to punish sin. He wouldn’t do this or that.” But the new man ought always to justify God, and take sides with Him against sin. There ought to be that difference between God’s children and the children of the world; and when people say the punishment is severe and unjust, we should side with God, and say, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” God will do right. Everyone will say “Amen” when it comes to the punishment of sin. And we should all condemn sin as God condemns it, the moment we see it. It is in ourselves, though sometimes it is hid from us. It may be some hidden sin that keeps God from using us more. Let us be honest with God, and ask Him to search us and show us ourselves. Let David’s prayer be ours: “Search me, O my God” — not my neighbors, nor other people, but “Search me !” — Moody .

MY little boy, since taken to Heaven, once asked me: “Papa, how is it that one person, Christ, could atone for the sin of millions of men?” We were in a garden at the time. Said I to the boy: “Suppose there was on the ground there a handful of worms; don’t you think you would be more valuable than those worms?” “Yes.” “Suppose that wheelbarrow was full of worms; would you not be more valuable than them all?” “Yes.” “Suppose all the millions of worms in the earth were gathered together, would you not still be more valuable than they, no matter how many?” “Yes; I am sure I would.” “Then, is there not a far greater difference in the scale of being between Christ and man than between man and the worm?

We are creatures. God is the Creator. Had many other worlds sinned as well as ours, the blood of Christ would be more than sufficient to atone for them.” — R. C. Morgan .

IF YOU do not indulge in godly sorrow, is it not likely you are losing a good deal of sanctification? Have we nothing to repent of? No wasted hours? How little we have done for God! Ah, that we had prayed more! If we had prayed more we need not have worked so hard. We have too little praying face to face with God everyday. Looking back at the end I suspect there will be great grief for our sins of omission — omission to get from God what we might have got by praying. — Bonar .

IF we really believe that God loved us with His whole heart, what a help it would be to us in our daily lives! We would then feel that we could go at any moment into the presence of a loving Father, who cared as much for us as if He had nothing else to care for. A child may come into the presence of its earthly father, except when the parent is occupied. Our Heavenly Father is never so occupied. At all times He will bestow on us the same attention. A child likes to play in the presence of its earthly parents, even though they take no notice of it, and is happy simply because it is with them. How much more ought we to be joyous in our Heavenly Father’s presence. We need not be always singing. The heart has a silent language. There is too little of adoration — simple worship — at the present time. — Bonar .

WE have a seat at the King’s table, and that seat is kept waiting for us.

Sometimes God longs to see that seat filled, and so He removes His child from this world to a better. We wonder why such and such Christians are taken from among us; but God was weary without them. — Bonar .

WHATEVER may have been the faults of the Old Testament characters, no mention is made of them in the New Testament. There they are always referred to as saints without blemish. It seems that God delights to praise His saints. He keeps His promise that He will not only forgive but forget their iniquities, and He remembers only their good qualities. — Bonar .

AN infidel said to me: “In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews we see the Old Testament characters spoken of as saints of the very first order. Now, from what we read about them in the Old Testament, they must have been a nice lot of saints. Is that all your religion can do? “I told the objector he was going a little too fast; that the eleventh chapter came after the tenth, and that to understand the eleventh he must read the tenth. In that chapter God said: “Their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more.” Well, after He had said that, He couldn’t say anything about their sins, for He had forgotten them. — Pentecost .

ALTHOUGH God forgave the sins of Jacob and David, and the other Old Testament saints, yet there were certain consequences of their sins which those saints had to suffer after they were forgiven. If a man gets drunk and goes out and breaks his leg, so that it must be amputated, God will forgive him if he asks it, but he will have to hop around on one leg all his life. A man may sow thistle seed with grain seed in a moment of pique against his master, and the master may forgive him, but the man will have to reap the thistles with the grain. — Moody .

WE don’t thank and praise God half enough. That is one reason why so many of our churches are so dull and gloomy. When churches get into a backslidden state, they hire singers to stand away up in some organ loft and praise God for them. How can we expect God to give us further blessings if we don’t thank Him for what He has given us? There ought to be more of thanksgiving in our prayers, and there ought to be more of thanksgiving from the heart in our singing. One of the best ways to wake a church up and start a revival, is to hold a praise meeting. — Moody .

ONE Christmas morning my little boy awoke at about four o’clock, and got up to see what was in his stocking. He found a box of paints and a little book. Said he: “Santa Claus knew just what I wanted,” and went off contentedly to sleep. When he arose at the usual time, he was shown, in a lower room, a whole tree full of presents for him. He was satisfied with the trifles, which he thought were all he was to get; and what was the joy of the mother to lead him into the place where greater things were prepared for him. When Christians are grateful for what they have already received, the Lord delights to give them far greater blessings. — Sankey .

COMMUNION with God has the effect to make us joyous. The Lord does not like to see any of His disciples looking sad. If you cannot do anything else for the Master, then shine for Him. Some people you cannot drive from you any other way. There are those who seek to entice you to follow the world with them. They cannot be induced to see Christ as you do. Let your face shine with the brightness that comes from communion with God, and they will not trouble you. Christians can sometimes do more by shining for God than by speaking for Him. — Bonar .

THERE is no power like love. I loved my little boy long before he loved me. One night I heard him say to his mamma, when he thought me asleep, “I love papa.” What a thrill of joy that gave me! I had loved him from infancy, but now he was beginning to love me. A few weeks before, he might have seen me carried out of the house in a coffin, and perhaps, not knowing better, have thoughtlessly laughed about it. But now my love for him had found a response. Something like this is the feeling God has when a sinner melts under His love. Love produces love. What a power it might become in our pulpits and Sunday School classes and meetings! The reason we have so little love for Jesus Christ is that we are so little acquainted with Him. The more intimately we get acquainted with the Son of God, the more shall we love Him, and we may get acquainted with Him by reading about Him in the Word. — Moody .

ONE reason why we should be intensely interested in the coming of Christ is that we are enjoined so often to have regard to it. I don’t know that there is any one matter of duty — indeed, I am sure there is no matter of duty we are so often pointed to with the finger of God as this: to look forward to the coming of Christ. You will find fifty times, I am sure, the coming of Christ adduced and enjoined on us as a reason for the practice of special duties and the cultivation of special graces. Even that one word “Watch” the Lord uses 198 times. If you don’t let the thought of Christ’s coming interest you, in all the variety of ways in which it is presented to us in the Epistles, and by the Lord Himself, your holiness will suffer great loss. — Bonar .

IN EDINBURGH, when our Queen first came, the vessel that brought her landed in the evening. It was concluded — “Oh, she will not come ashore till nine in the morning,” and our Lord Provost had that idea. But what happened? The Queen was very famous — used to be when she was active — for taking people by surprise, and she landed between six and seven. The Chief Magistrate was sadly ashamed of himself. He didn’t lose his place; he was still what he was before; but he bitterly regretted that he had not been waiting for her, to welcome her when she set foot upon the shore. I think that will be the way with those who are not looking out for Christ’s kingdom. They will regret not having been waiting for Him, when they might have been there to give Him a hearty welcome. — Bonar .

CHRIST says He will take us by surprise. Dr. Payson has a striking idea about it. He says: “Yon is a great city. It is a busy market day. They are all busy in the marketplace. Someone looks up, and is struck with an unusual appearance in the sky He keeps his eye on it. He touches his neighbor and says, ‘What is yon?’ As they are looking, a third and fourth join. The appearance seems getting redder and redder — brighter and brighter. A dozen or twenty join the group. As they are all gazing up, the hum of the market ceases. The whole market looks up, and cries, ‘What is this in the sky?’ The brightness is becoming an exceeding brightness — brighter than the sun at noon. The sun is darkened. The brightness becomes insufferable. ‘Look! Our shadows are all cast in an opposite direction from what they were a little while ago.’ A human form is seen. It is the coming of the Lord again. He has burst upon us in an hour when we were not thinking.” Well, I dare say something like that will occur in many a city of our world in that day. When He does appear, it will be a glorious appearing. — Bonar .

IN a town of Switzerland a few years ago, some working men going early to work, walking along the street, saw a white figure on the top of a high house. What was it? A lady in her nightdress; and she was sitting looking down, quite happy, smiling in perfect security. She was a somnambulist.

She had risen in her sleep without anyone in the house knowing it, and had taken her station, and was pleasantly looking about, and no doubt dreaming — dreaming pleasant dreams. Well; they didn’t know what they could do to save her from her peril. Just as they were talking together, the sun rose. A bright beam of the sun fell upon her eyes; she saw where she was; gazed one moment around, and then fell headlong — killed on the spot. It was an awful awakening. Fellow sinner, if you are out of Christ, and the day of His coming overtakes you — oh, what if the first beam of that bright day be the first moment of your awakening, and it is too late! — Bonar .

ALL believers have been set apart to Christ. But, when vessels are set aside, dust settles on them. Daily cleansing, therefore, is needed. Observe how careful and particular were the injunctions concerning the cleansing of vessels under the Levitical law. When any creeping thing touched a vessel after it was dead, the vessel had to be placed in water until the even. We are constantly touching the dead things of the world. We may be unconscious of it, but the touch contaminates us. Therefore we must make daily application to be cleansed from all defilement. — Needham .

A TELEGRAPH wire must be completely insulated before it can convey the electric communication. So we must be separated from the world before God’s message to sinners can have free course through us. When Saladin looked at the sword of Richard Coeur de Leon, he wondered that a blade so ordinary should have wrought such mighty deeds. The English king bared his arm, and said, “It was not the sword that did these things; it was the arm of Richard.” In like manner we should be instruments that the Lord can use, and when He has used us, the glory should all be His. — Pentecost .

IN the economy of redemption it was arranged by the three persons of the Godhead that the Spirit’s work was to be unseen and silent. He was to be like the wind. You cannot see it, but the effects of it you can see plainly.

The Spirit has all along, in the most wondrous kindness, consented — if I may use the expression — to be thus hid while doing His work. No jealousy of the Son; no jealousy of the Father. He delights to take of the things of Christ and show them to us — and because they are the things of the Father, too. But He does it all quietly — so silently and quietly that very generally a soul is brought to Christ without thinking very much about the Spirit, and it is only afterward that the soul says, “Well, I would never have known this but for the Spirit. It was He that took the seals from my eyes.” Isn’t there amazing love in this? — Bonar .

IN the last chapter of the Bible see how the Spirit is waiting for our complete joy — waiting along with us for the hour when we shall be glorified; for that is the meaning of the first clause of the seventeenth verse, “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come.” The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come, Lord.” And the Spirit and the Bride also say, “Whoever hears, take up the cry, Come, come, Lord Jesus,” and while you do this, look around upon a perishing world, and tell them to make haste and come to Christ. Tell them not to lose their opportunity of such blessedness. “Let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” These are the Spirit’s last words, and aren’t they full of love — full of grace? Do you not see His heart flowing out to us in every syllable? — Bonar .

GOD has a niche for every one of His children. Happy the man or woman who has found his or her place. A great many men want to do big things.

That is the mistake I made when I started out. I wanted to preach to intelligent people, but I found the people didn’t like to hear me. So I began with the children. They liked to hear me, and I got along very well — I grew right up along with them. But it was years before I could talk profitably to grown people. I talked to the children, and it was a grand school. It was the preparation I needed. That was my theological seminary. — Moody .

I REMEMBER preaching in Liverpool in a certain church, and the results were astonishing. In ten days that church took in 400 new members. I was amazed. But I learned that a poor old bedridden woman had been praying about it. When we get to the other world, and find out the secrets of Heaven, we will find that some people we never hear of now — some bedridden saint, some one living way up near the gates of paradise — will have accomplished a great deal more than some men who have been heralded through the press. — Moody .

A MAN asked me once: “Isn’t conscience a safer guide than the Holy Spirit?” I just took out my watch, and said: “ Isn’t my watch better than the sun?” Suppose I said to you: “I will tell you the hour by my watch, and you must always take the time from me.” That is conscience. But it is the sun that is to rule the time. Conscience is fallen and corrupt. If we had an unfallen conscience, like holy Adam, it would be as if my watch were always to agree with the sun. But now it is a most unsafe guide.

Sometimes we hear men say: “Oh, I don’t see any harm in this. My conscience doesn’t condemn me.” It isn’t your conscience, or your consciousness, that is the rule of right and wrong. The law is the standard.

By the law is the knowledge of sin. Sin is the transgression of the law; not of conscience. — Bonar .

A PERSON does not commit the unpardonable sin by any one act. It is by a course of resistance against God. God, by His Spirit, shows the man the way of life, and presses him to enter upon it, and he resists. How long the Spirit of God will wait upon that resisting man, it is not for us to say; but it is an awfully perilous thing for a man, even for another minute, to resist Him. For He may say: “I will strive no more. I withdraw.” And then the sin is never forgiven. The Spirit takes a final farewell of the man who has so resisted him; and then the man has no more care for pardon. He will not care about the coming judgment. He will never, I suppose, be troubled till the trump sounds and he is summoned into the presence of God, all unprepared. — Bonar .

IT is said that “Pharaoh hardened his heart,” and it is also said that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. The children of Israel, when in Egypt, had a great deal to do with bricks — working clay into bricks. Now, they say that if you want to harden blue clay, there is a very simple way to do it.

The worker in the brick has just to withhold water, and leave the clay where it is in the sunshine. If he leaves it there without pouring water on it, it becomes as hard as a stone; whereas, if he wishes to soften it, he takes care to water it, and to water it often, and the clay keeps soft, and can be molded into any shape. Now, when God by His Spirit works upon the soul, He is just pouring water upon the clay; but when He must leave the soul, what He does is just to withdraw the water and the soul hardens.

When the sinner reaches that state, sermons affect him no longer. God just says of him: “Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone.” — Whittle .

A GENTLEMAN once came to my friend, Dr. Somerville, and said: “My son is going away to South America. He will not be within reach of the ordinances of religion. I know he will have no Sabbath; and he is to be away three years. Now, I want you to pray for him, that he may not lose all the good disposition he seems to feel.” Dr. Somerville looked at him and said: “Ay; you are going to put your son’s head into the mouth of a lion, and then going to stand and pray, ‘May the lion not crush him!’” — Bonar .

JOHN the Baptist was only six months a preacher. No more. Thirty years’ preparation for six months’ preaching! But those were months of mighty blessing. The effect of it was of this nature: It shook the whole of Judea; it shook Jerusalem; it shook the Temple. Men came out to him. He never went to them; they went out to him — there was such an amazing power in his preaching and character. And you know the effects to this day.

Some of the things said about the effects of his preaching are very interesting. “Since John began to preach,” says Christ, “the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” That is to say, men are determined not to lose their opportunity; they snatch at the offer when it is within their reach. It must have been a mighty uprising. I wish we had such days again. When we get men of such fellowship with God, I think we may expect days like those to dawn. Men will be coming to us from every side, and saying, “What must we do to be saved?” — Bonar .

ONE of my elders said in prayer meeting: “As I was corning along Argyle Street” (one of our busiest streets in Glasgow), “I saw a crowd at a shop door, and I had the curiosity to look in. There I saw an auctioneer holding up a grand picture so that all could see it; and when he got it in position, he stayed behind and said to the crowd, “Now, look at this side of the picture, and now at this other side,” and so on, describing each part of it. “Now,” said this good man, “the whole time I never saw the speaker; it was just the picture he was showing;” and turning to us he said, “That is the way to work for Christ.” He must increase, but we must be out of sight. — Bonar .

IT sometimes seems hard to find out any reason for God’s dealings with His children. We may not be able to find out what it is, and think that perhaps it is because of some undiscovered sin; but I don’t think God often acts in that way. He generally likes to let His people know their faults, when He chastises them. You remember when Absalom could not get Joab to come and talk with him, he burnt up his cornfields, and then he came. Now, the Lord often sends sore afflictions upon His children in order that they may come and talk with Him more. You know Christ took away Lazarus in order that the sisters might send for Him, and that the people through all ages might get a wondrous discovery of Him as the Resurrection and the Life. And you remember how John the Baptist was taken away from his disciples in order that they might rather go to Christ. — Bonar .

A GREAT many object to the noise of revivals — the unhealthy excitement. Why, there is more excitement in a race course in one day than you will see in a church in fifty days. Get into a political campaign, and you will see more excitement than in a hundred religious meetings. “Undue excitement!” they say. “Some people will get out of their minds.” The fact is, the world is out of its mind, anyway. Again, some object to revivals because, they say, they are “not in the regular order.” Remember that it was church dignity that crucified Christ. The Sanhedrim were very careful of church dignity, and so they had to put Christ out of the way. He didn’t come in the “regular” order. You never find a single prophet that comes in the regular line. God will always work in His own way. He will mark out channels for Himself. We need to learn this lesson, and just stand aside and let Him work — work as He pleases. — Moody .

WHENEVER we see troubles in congregations, it is a sign that those congregations have not been doing their full duty in presenting Christ to a lost world. I will not say without exception, but as a rule, the troubles are not found in congregations that are busy with revival work. They get so busy in the work of God that they give no more attention than is needful to minor matters, and everything goes on harmoniously. — Bonar .

REVIVAL work must come home to the individual believer. I suppose you have read of the raintree in Mexico. It is a very remarkable tree. Travelers tell us about it. It grows to a height of sixty feet, and it will be, perhaps, about three feet in diameter at the root. Well, that tree has a singular quality. It imbibes and condenses moisture from the atmosphere as no other tree does. On that account it is called the raintree. Generally the bark of the tree is dripping wet. It is very remarkable that this raintree not only takes in moisture in the damp season; but in the midst of summer, when the rivers run low, and the brooks round about are nearly dry, then it is that it imbibes the most moisture, and is dripping the most with it. So you see we have here a picture for believers. You may be lamenting the want of life in your congregation or neighborhood. Will you be a raintree? Will you imbibe moisture? The Holy Spirit through the Word is giving it to you.

Will you take it in? The drier others are around you, will you take in the more for their sake? But another thing. It is a good thing to see a dozen raintrees together. If we had that in every neighborhood, if those trees would pour out their streams together upon this country, we would soon see an altered countryside. — Bonar .

THE father’s and mother’s example has a very great deal to do with the whole tone of the family; so much so, that I think before there can be a blessing in the family upon the children, we may lay it down as essential that the parents be cheerful and happy people. It is the duty of the parents to be cheerful and happy — to let the children see what they have got that carries them through all the cares and difficulties of life. Let the children see this without their being told it. — Bonar .

TO parents let me say that you are to be all along expecting the conversion of your children from their very earliest years. I believe in early conversion. I cannot tell how soon it may appear. I think there are conversions from the womb. Indeed, we have one instance of this in the case of John the Baptist. But we are to do our part. We are to let our children see Christ reflected in us, and lead them to love Him. Parents, would it not be a dreadful thing if you should be taken away and leave behind your children who cannot tell whither you have gone? You don’t live a happy Christian life. You don’t fill your household with the light of rejoicing. And when you are gone — oh, they like to think you are in Heaven; but you can make it unmistakably sure that you are. If you can do that, you may expect that they will all meet you there. — Bonar .

THE accidental miracles of our Lord are among the most remarkable — those that, as it were, He spilled over by the way. While He was on His way to do one miracle He dropped another, almost as if He didn’t intend it. He was going to heal the daughter of Jairus, when the woman with an issue of blood reached out her hand, touched the hem of His garment, and was healed. When an electric jar is filled, only a touch will unload it. So it might be in the experience of every believer. I think I know some Christians who have done good without knowing it — without intending it. I don’t know but that, if we were fully the Lord’s, the greater part of the good we did would be that of which we were not cognizant. Service would overflow from us. — Gordon .

THE first thing said of the disciples after Pentecost was that they were “filled with the Holy Ghost.” Whenever there was anything important to be done, it says, for example, “Paul, being filled with the Spirit,” spake thus; “Peter, being filled with the Spirit,” did this. It was characteristic of the Apostolic Church that they were men full of the Holy Ghost. Is that our privilege? It is not only our privilege; it is our duty. “Be filled with the Spirit” is a command. “Be not drunken with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking unto one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs.” If a man is drunk with wine, he will speak out. He won’t have to be educated before he will let loose his tongue. If a man is filled with the Holy Spirit, he won’t have to learn much before he can deliver his message — it will come spontaneously. In Germany a man was once so holy that the neighbors called him the “God-intoxicated man.” We want a God-intoxicated Church. — Gordon .

I WONDER how many have read the life of James Brainerd Taylor. He was a graduate of Princeton, and only twenty-eight when he died; yet he did a work that any man might envy. He got hold of the idea that there was something in this doctrine of the endowment of the Spirit. Studying the subject, he became perfectly sure that the Holy Ghost might come upon him as upon the disciples. So he prayed, and his prayers were answered.

Whenever he went out he stirred all with whom he came in contact.

Sinners used to fall before his preaching as grass before the scythe. He couldn’t help speaking to men, and his words were mighty. One day he was out driving, and he drew his horse up to a watering trough. It so happened that another young man was doing the same thing. While the two horses’ heads met in the trough, he turned to the young man and said: “I hope you love the Lord. If you don’t, I want to commend Him to you as your best friend. Seek Him with all your heart.” That was all; they turned and went their ways. But what was the result? The young man thus spoken to was converted, was educated for the ministry, and went as a missionary to Africa. — Gordon . “WHERE the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Some people think that means liberty for them to do just about as they please. The real meaning is very different. The Spirit is to do just as he pleases. I never shall forget how I was startled when a young man — a stranger, but a very good Christian man — asked me this question: “Do you always have a program made out for the Holy Ghost in your church?” That was all he asked; but it stuck to me. Everything was fixed very exactly — a voluntary here, a response here, a sermon here, and so on — all fixed from beginning to end. I don’t think the Spirit of God has anything to do with that. Let us have more liberty. It is the lack of this liberty that causes so much deadness in the pulpit, and deadness in the pew. Oh, for the liberty of the Spirit! — Gordon .

WHEN the people of a church become thoroughly consecrated, a revival is sure to follow. Once the great Athenian General, Themistocles, was about to fight a naval battle. All were ready when the sun rose, but the order to advance did not come. Hour after hour passed — no command to advance.

Some of the officers murmured, saying: “Is Themistocles afraid?” “Is he a traitor? or is he going to fight, that battle?” But Themistocles knew what he was about. According to the geography of that country, at nine o’clock a land breeze sweeps down from the mountain. He thought: “Now if I wait till nine o’clock, instead of having half of my men at the oars and the other half at the spears, I can let the wind do the business.” So he waited; the wind filled the sails; and he won the battle, because every man was a warrior. In our churches there are too many men at the oars. There is a committee on music — three or four men to attend to the music, and that is all they have to do year in and year out. Then we have a committee on credentials, and a committee on finance, and a committee to attend to the social wants of the young people. Thus our churches are all divided up into committees, so that when we come to the great work to be done — the conversion of souls — our men are all engaged at the oars. Oh, that we might understand that it is possible to have this heavenly breeze, to fill our sails, and release us from the oars. Let our motto be, “Every man a warrior!” — Gordon .

I BELIEVE a man who is full of the Holy Ghost will have liberty. What we want in our churches more than anything else is this liberty. Why, look at the stiffness in most of our churches. Put a man in an audience where men and women are going to criticize, and he won’t have much liberty — much freedom. In the day of Pentecost, how many do you suppose criticized? I don’t believe Peter would have preached near as well as he did if people had been criticizing him. But while he was preaching the people were listening in a proper frame of mind, and they helped him right on. He just had liberty that day — great liberty. When you see a minister in the pulpit who doesn’t have liberty, pray for him. You will find he will get on much better than if you were to sit there and criticize him. When a man has the Spirit in him, he will have liberty. It won’t be hard for him to speak and testify. There’s many a man toiling hard in the pulpit, with no liberty — bound hand and foot. Oh, my friends, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there will be liberty. — Moody .

YOU MAY be as dry as Gideon’s fleece — all dried up — no power at all; but it is the privilege of each one of us to have the dew of Heaven resting upon us all the while. That is what God wants. Are you thirsty? I sometimes wish we had in every church a meeting for hungry and thirsty Christians. I would put a man at the door so as not to let anyone else in.

Let him ask everyone: “Are you hungry? Are you thirsty?” They wouldn’t know what you meant, some of them. Lots of people go to prayer meeting because it is customary. They go year after year — go for nothing, and get nothing. They are not in earnest about anything. Now, it seems to me that if we could have a meeting in all our churches of two, three, four, or five Christians, dead in earnest — wanting the power of the Spirit, and the power of God resting upon them — there would be a wonderful difference. If they were really in earnest in asking for the gift of the Holy Ghost, they would get it. — Moody .

I HAVE heard a great many people say we should empty our hearts so as to let the Holy Spirit come in. Well; I know I can’t empty my heart. I can’t get pride out of my heart. I can’t get jealousy out of my heart. I wish I could. I haven’t got the power. But if a man desires above everything else that he may grow smaller and smaller as John the Baptist did — if it is his desire that he shall decrease and Christ increase; then I believe the Lord will pour the water down so that it will crowd out those things.

Sometimes in trying to make a pump work I used to see if I could pump all the air out so as to get all the water up. After trying a while that way, I would get some water and pour it in from the top, and that would crowd the air out. When a man finds that he can’t empty his heart, what he wants is just to let the water in from above. Get under the fountain. — Moody .

ELIJAH says to Elisha: “Is there anything you want? Don’t be afraid to ask. You seem to be very timid.” Elisha says: “Yes; there is something I want.” “Well; don’t be afraid to ask. You shall have whatever you want.”

A blank check! Well; what did he ask? Did he ask for as much of the Spirit as Elijah had? That would have been a great thing. Talk about kings! Elijah had power over kings. Kings are in the habit of ordering their subjects around. Here was a subject who was in the habit of ordering kings around.

Talk about the power of Caesar, Napoleon, Alexander — the great generals and warriors of this earth. Why, it is nothing to the power of the man who is in communion with God. Elisha isn’t going to ask for a small thing. He says: “I want a double portion of thy spirit.” I can see Elijah turn round to him in surprise, and say: “You have asked me a hard thing.” But he says: “If you see me when I am taken from you, you shall have it.” “Then,” says Elisha, “you’ll not get away without my seeing you.” He wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and he was determined to get it. So he took good care to see him in the chariot, and he did see him. Elisha performed just twice the number of miracles that Elijah did. Jesus Christ has come down from Heaven since then, and is it so wonderful to ask for the influence of the Spirit? We ought to have a hundred times more power than Elijah and Elisha had. — Moody .