U N S E A R C H A B L E R I C H E S  
Being Meditations and Letters from the  
Chamber of a Suffering Saint.  
JOHN DICKIE, of Irvine  
Author of; "Songs of Faith, Hope, and Love"  
Words of Faith, Hope and Love" &  
More Words of Faith, Hope and Love"  
c., &c  
With Permission of ~  
P. O. Box 318 - Choteau, MT. 59422  
Phone /Fax (406) 466-2311  
Originally Published By:  
John Ritchie  
Kilmarnock, Scotland  
Praise For: “John Dickie's Writings"  
We very strongly commend to our readers a little book entitled,  
UNSEARCHABLE RICHES, by the late John Dickie. Those who were  
privileged to read these messages written from a bed of intense  
suffering, will be eager to procure the volume now before us. Rarely  
does one meet with writings so choice and eloquent in character. Each  
sentence is rounded with intense feeling underlying, which one is  
conscious of a spirit of sanctity, only secured by close and constant  
communion with Christ. Perhaps the nature of its contents can be best  
described by the following brief extracts:—  
"As we love God, just as much and no more, shall His love to us be our  
unspeakable delight. Just as we love God, shall all His Providential  
dealings, whether afflicting or comforting, bring a ceaseless joy to us,  
just as we love Him, shall duty be a pleasure, worship an exquisite  
enjoyment, and self-denial sweeter than any self-indulgence could be.  
Just as we love Him, shall earth become like heaven; this waste howling  
wilderness shall be lovelier to our vision than Eden was; it shall be a  
Holy 0f Holies, filled on all sides with the tokens of our Fathers Majestic  
Presence. Conversion has not changed it, (the heart); it has given him  
a new nature, and left the old as it was. He has two natures now, and it  
is this new man in him which is to rule, ay, and to crucify the sin-loving  
old man (Gal. v. 24). We need to use force against our own flesh, to  
knock down our opposing self, as it were, and striding over it, lay eager  
hold on Jesus. And this we are quite able to do; if we have faith  
enough to rise up to the resolution; Christ will give us strength.”  
"Footsteps of Truth" - 1897  
"Such letters as could only have been written by one 'chosen in the  
furnace of affliction'. Only the true spiritual will care for such a book.  
To me, they have been a drink from the brook by the way. As in water,  
face answereth unto face, so does our own experience answer to that of  
this gracious sufferer----though we blush when we mark his patience, and  
our own haste to escape from disease."  
Charles Haddon Spurgeon  
"A voice speaks from John Dickie's 'eight years' sick chamber, such as  
did from Elisha's sick chamber of old, to cheer on all God's bodily  
sufferers, and also all His active workers in their good fight against the  
world, the flesh, and the devil."  
Henry Dyer  
"Mr. Dickie's letters remind me of Samuel Rutherford's, in the depths of  
their personal acquaintance with, and joy in the Lord; and I can only  
desire that they may attain a wide circulation, and be greatly used of  
God in the edifying and sanctifying of His people. Their effect on me  
every time I take them up, is to humble me in the dust, and yet to draw  
me towards the One who is their theme throughout."  
John Robert Caldwell  
The following pages contain Short Meditations and Letters written by  
one who was called in the furnace of affliction. There, in seclusion from  
the outer world, he was led by the Spirit, through the Word, into a  
knowledge of "the deep things of God," and into a joyful possession of  
the "Unsearchable Riches of Christ," such as few in this day of bustle  
and occupation with the outward things of Christianity, attain to. They  
were written to friends and fellow-believers in the Lord, in varied  
circumstances, walking in different paths, for personal comfort and  
edification. But the needs of the Lord's flock, wherever they may be  
found, are very much the same, and the ministry of Christ's  
unsearchable riches through his tried and suffering servant, were felt to  
be so precious, and so well fitted to help and cheer the people of God,  
that those who originally received them, willingly consented to their  
publication, personal references excepted. The brief Memorial Sketch  
has been contributed by one who was personally acquainted with Mr.  
Dickie for many years. A former volume of letters written to his friend,  
Mr. James Todd, of Dublin, and entitled: "Words of Faith, Hope, and  
Love," (Now published by "Gospel Tract Publications" Glasgow,  
Scotland) has proved a channel of much blessing to the children of God.  
May the following pages from the same pen, mostly written in the same  
lone chamber, where the suffering saint communed with his God, and  
meditated with joyful spirit on the sacred pages of His holy Word, be to  
the pilgrim people of God as streams in the desert, and rills of refreshing  
making glad the heart, in the personal enjoyment of Christ's  
"Unsearchable Riches."  
A Brief Memorial Sketch of the Late  
Mr. John Dickie.  
John Dickie was born in the small seaport town of Irvine, Ayrshire, on  
9th of January, 1823. His mother died when he was twelve years old,  
having been for many years a sufferer from spinal disease. His father,  
who carried on business as a grocer, died three years later. Thus he and  
one sister were left orphans at an early age. John was a delicate boy, of  
a very sensitive temperament; modest and retiring, but always of a kind  
and warm-hearted disposition. While his mother lived, he often sat by  
her bed, and from her lips, he learned much precious, and  
never-to-be-forgotten truths. After she was called away, he was very  
lonely, and always observed the anniversary of her death with great  
solemnity. When his school days were over, he continued his studies,  
and prepared to enter Glasgow University, which he did in the year 1841  
at the age of eighteen. Here he came in contact with divers and strange  
doctrines, and his mind became tinged with infidel opinions, reading all  
the skeptical literature he could lay his hands on. But this only  
increased his distress, for it was evident that at this time, the Spirit of  
God was working deep conviction in his soul, showing him his need of a  
Saviour. The crisis was reached on the occasion of one of his visits to  
Irvine, which were made on foot. Coming along the road, musing on  
the many things he had read, the Spirit of God filled his mind with light,  
and he saw that the Gospel of God alone could meet his soul's deep  
need. Arriving in Irvine, he shut himself up in the little room that he  
occupied, and there, alone with God, the great transaction of his second  
birth was accomplished. In after years, he often pointed to the window  
of that little room, which was now to him the most sacred spot on earth,  
and said, "It was there that I passed from death unto life." His  
experience before, and at the time of his conversion, is touchingly  
related in one of his hymns, which here we give in full, in the hope that  
it may be blessed, as it has been to others, to lead the reader, if still  
unsaved, to rest in Jesus Christ the Saviour of sinners, who is just as able  
and willing now to save, as He was that day long ago when John Dickie  
came up to Him as a weary sinner and found rest to his soul.  
"I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matt. ix. 13.)  
Life was once to me like summer,  
With its glitter and its smile;  
I, as thoughtless as the insect,  
Trifled through the little while.  
All was buoyant life within me,  
All was jubilant around;  
Need of Jesus then I felt not,  
So I sought Him not, nor found.  
But the summer soon was ended,  
And the gloomy winter came;  
All my blooming joys were withered  
Into griefs of every name.  
Still, I hoped the change of season  
Would bring summer round again:  
But, instead, the gloom grew blacker---  
And I sought the Saviour then.  
Yes, I sought with cries and weeping,  
But no answer was returned,  
Echo flung me back my 'plainings,  
'Twas as if my cry was spurned.  
Sore distressed at the silence,  
I with fervour did entreat;  
Still the ear could catch no answer,  
Save the heart's distracted beat.  
Well I know 'twas but through Jesus  
That the sinner comes to God:  
But with what we come to Jesus?  
Ah! 'twas here I missed the road:  
I was bringing Him obedience,  
When I should have brought but sin;  
So my knocking, though half-frantic,  
No admittance thus could win.  
Then I studied to know better  
What already well I knew;  
And the good things that I practiced,  
Better still I strove to do:  
Yet the deeper grew the darkness,  
And the silence grew more dread,  
So I owned my case was hopeless,  
And my soul among the dead.  
Then I cast me, self-despairing,  
On the Saviour's boundless grace;  
Not a hope had I of blessing,  
If HE met not such a case.  
And I felt that need so urgent  
Scarce on earth could ever be:  
So I begged for one so ruined,  
Mercy instant, mercy free.  
Then at once the peace of pardon  
Did my sinking soul restore,  
And the love sprung up spontaneous,  
Which could not force before.  
When I took the place of sinner,  
And at Mercy's footstool lay,  
Jesus took His place as SAVIOUR,  
And at once put sin away.  
Ah! 'tis ruinous to cover  
Filthy sores with rags more foul:  
Strip them bare at once before Him,  
That His grace may make you whole.  
He delights in showing mercy  
To a soul that owns its sin;  
But the soul that thinks of earning,  
Not a smile shall ever win.  
He had many severe and lengthened conflicts---as all true believers  
have---after his conversion, and had to learn by bitter experience, as  
some of his letters show, the evil of his own heart. But these  
experiences gave character to his after life, and gave him, to more fully  
prove the grace and power of a present God.  
Being now the Lord's, he resolved to give himself wholly to His service.  
His ardent desire was to preach the glad tidings to others, and so having  
finished his University career, he entered the Divinity Hall, but after one  
brief season there, his health gave way, and he was obliged to return to  
Irvine, where he gradually became worse, until for over two years, his  
voice so completely failed, that he had to communicate with his sister by  
means of the Deaf and Dumb Alphabet.  
About this time, there was in London, a distinguished physician, who  
was skilled in chest diseases, and Mr. Dickie took the long journey to  
London to consult him. He had an interview with this physician, but  
got no help; in fact, he was told that his case was hopeless, and that he  
could not live for twelve months. Turning his back on the great city, he  
said to himself, "If it be the will of God, notwithstanding this verdict, I  
shall yet live; if otherwise, His will be done."  
Returning to Irvine, he began to study his trouble, and to adopt a system  
of very simple diet, living a life of extreme moderation, which under the  
blessing of God, was the means of prolonging his life, after human skill  
had failed, for over forty years.  
During these years of weakness, Mr. Dickie was not idle. He sought to  
redeem every opportunity of speaking a word for His Master. When  
able to walk in the country, he was in the habit of slipping tracts into the  
hedges and down by the wayside, each followed by earnest prayer that  
God would make them a message to the soul of the reader.  
For a brief period, he went to Cairnryan, in Wigtownshire, as a school  
teacher, but was unable to remain. Then he laboured as a missionary in  
Irvine for several years, chiefly among the lower classes, earnestly  
seeking their salvation.  
In 1858, Mr. Dickie removed to Kilmarnock, where for twenty years he  
served the Lord as his health permitted. Here he laboured among the  
sick and the poor, and often among the dissipated and openly ungodly.  
Many remarkable cases of conversion occurred during these years.  
Narratives of several of these have been published, such as "Philip  
Sharkey, the Kilmarnock Blacksmith"---"The Missing Receipt"---"The  
Story of William Cochrane"---"We'll get it if we be earnest enough" and  
others, which have been widely circulated, and greatly blessed to souls.  
In 1878, Mr. Dickie became very feeble, and was obliged to return to  
Irvine, where he remained, tenderly cared for by his sister, her husband,  
and family, until he was called home. For several years, he was able to  
move about, serving the Lord as he had opportunity, always rising at  
four a.m., for meditation and prayer. Later, irritation of the brain  
caused him much suffering, and produced great giddiness, by which he  
had some narrow escapes, repeatedly falling and bruising himself. Even  
then, he was by no means idle. By his pen and later, by the aid of a  
type-writing machine, he was able to communicate with friends and  
fellow-believers, and to send from his lonely chamber, those letters and  
meditations which have proved such a means of refreshing to the people  
of God.  
His diet consisted of, from one to two ounces of bread in milk, or milk  
and water, three times a day. His weight, dressed in overcoat and  
boots, was 87 1/2 pounds, and as may be guessed, he was like a skeleton.  
He would say laughing---"The worms will get a cheat with me some  
day." His lonely chamber was as the gate of heaven, yea, it was the  
dwelling-place of the Most High. He loved to say---"We must not think  
of heaven as being now inaccessible or even at a distance. It is, if we  
choose to have it so, as close to us as earth, nay, it is closer. For what is  
heaven? It is simply the dwelling-place of God, and that condition of a  
soul, by which God is known, and loved, and enjoyed. And this heaven  
can be entered, can be dwelt in, can be enjoyed now, in every place and  
under every set of circumstances. We can even now dwell in God (see  
John iv. 16), and that is heaven. God is nearer to His people's spirits,  
than their clothes are to their bodies, nay, than our bodies are to our  
souls. He dwells as in His chosen home, in the humble and the contrite  
heart." Such was the experience of the happy sufferer. Even amid  
trying sickness, with sleeplessness, he was most contented and always  
happy, with a strong sense of humour in his nature; very fond of  
children, and ever ready to have a hearty laugh at their childish tricks.  
His last eight years were spent in entire seclusion; few, very few having  
seen him, save those who nursed and ministered to him. But his  
consolations abounded. Often did he say and write to friends---"These  
are my best years." As the end drew near, he suffered from  
enlargement of the liver and edema. For twenty days, he could only  
take sips of water. He felt that his work was done, and his warfare was  
over. Nothing remained, but to die, and to him, it was no hard work.  
Words of love and streams of refreshing still flowed from his lips, as he  
drew near the gate of paradise, and on January 10th, 1891, at five o'clock  
in the morning of the Lord's Day, the ransomed and happy spirit of  
John Dickie left the frail tent to be "with Christ, which is far better."  
"God is Love" {John iv. 8}  
I have just been musing to my great refreshment, on the most beautiful  
words which have ever been presented to my mind: the words, "GOD IS  
LOVE." We need, of course, other and apparently incompatible words,  
else with these alone, our wicked hearts would be sure to pervert them.  
Still, we cannot afford to abate the joy which the whole-hearted faith in  
the love of God to ourselves is fitted to give.  
Amid the troubles of one's outward life, and the still more harassing  
perplexities of our outward life, how inexpressibly sweet to lie down,  
wearied and exhausted, on this confidence of the Heavenly Father's  
Infinite Love to us in Christ Jesus, as on a soft bed, and fall into a sound  
sleep of faith, with which God refreshes His beloved (Psa. cxxvii. 2; iv.  
God made us in his first creation, in holy, pure love, that He might find  
in us, objects of His love, and might enjoy the delight of expending on  
us the plentiful tokens of His love. Not to get out of us, but to give to  
us, was His end in making us at all. And though sin has come in  
between Him and us, and has completely broken up the original holy  
intercourse, which was so delightful to Him, and to His obedient  
creatures, yet sin, even an UTTER DEATH IN SIN, has not rooted out  
God's love to us the sinners; nay, it has not diminished in the slightest  
degree, the greatness of His unspeakable love to us. Oh, how delightful  
to have the deeply-convicted heart resting in sweetest peace, on the  
assured faith of this.  
Our sin itself He hates, with His WHOLE heart's WHOLE power of  
UNRELENTING HATRED, and He tells us this in plainest words; but  
ourselves the guilty sinners, He loves us tenderly as ever. In this aspect,  
His love takes the form of rescuing us from that which had destroyed us,  
and which He unspeakably abhors. In proceeding to carry out His holy  
and loving purpose in attaining this rescue, He has shown in an  
unspeakable way, both His infinite HATRED of our sin, and His infinite  
LOVE of ourselves. He has done this at a cost which it overpowers us to  
look at, when the Holy Spirit helps us to an adequate vision if it.  
And now the revelation of the glorious fact that "GOD IS LOVE,"  
which is made through the new creation, surpasses immeasurably all that  
had been seen of it in the old creation.  
It is "in Christ" that the "exceeding riches" of Divine Love are  
manifested, and when angels would expand their spirits with the  
enrapturing vision, it is to the marvels of human redemption that they  
turn (1 Peter i. 12; Eph. iii. 17, 19). And as the workings of Divine Grace  
are carried on in a soul, in every successive stage, is a fresh evidence that  
GOD IS LOVE. Oh, the unwearied patience! Oh, the inexhaustible  
And now, in the case of that soul, he being "in Christ" (Eph. i. 2), and  
the Holy Spirit in him (1 Cor. vi. 19), the man is more than ever Adam  
could have been, the object of God's unrestrained love. He ought to fill  
his heart with the joyous assurance of this. So condescending is the  
amazing love of the Father, that He now yearns for our love in return,  
and it is a joy to Him when we give Him that return. In truth, He has  
given us His WHOLE HEART, and He wants us to love Him so, that we  
shall give Him ours in return. And this is precisely what faith does. It  
both accepts the immense gift of God's infinite love, rejoicing  
unspeakably in the possession of it, while in delighted response, it gives  
back to God all its heart love again.  
"As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you"  
John xv. 9).  
Your parcel of most beautiful flowers, came safe to hand last week, and I  
beg now to thank you for them with all my heart. I got them put in  
water, and they shed their loveliness and their sweet odours around my  
corner for many days. But more delightful far, than the loveliness of  
the flowers, is your kindness and sympathy in thinking of me at all, and  
taking the trouble to send them. . . . I like exceedingly to hear from, or  
about, beloved friends, and whatever may be interesting them. My  
world is now become a very small and narrow one; and there is constant  
need for me to watch and pray, that I do not permit myself to become  
the centre of it, the great point of interest in it, to myself. That would  
simply be spiritual death, and I dread it; and so feel thankful for every  
little help I can get, to be occupied about others; to think of, and be  
concerned about, and pray for, beloved ones everywhere.  
SELF-ABSORPTION would be uttermost ruin.  
Indeed, I may say, my little world is the Bible; and increasingly I am  
finding in it everything that I can need. I have just been digging among  
the golden nuggets in Gal. ii. 20---a passage which I believe has given me  
many months (put all together) of the happiest enjoyment possible on  
earth. It seems to me to contain the concentrated essence of the entire  
Word of God. Oh, to have the anointed eye, to discover clearly the  
wonders comprehended in it. My last exercise on it, was taken up with  
the closing words---"Who loved ME, and gave Himself for me." What  
an exquisitely delightful subject for believing meditation, is this LOVE  
OF JESUS! And how fruitful is it! One hungering for a delicious apple  
or two, with which to comfort himself (Song ii. 3), no sooner attempts to  
pluck one, than the loaded branches half bury him under a pelting  
shower of mellow fruit. How wonderful is this love of Jesus! And how  
delightful when a hearty faith appropriates it, and enjoys it, and rests in  
it! It is wonderful in the fact of it; and that such a One would so love  
creatures like ourselves; and it is equally wonderful in the manner of it  
(1 John iii. 1). It is wonderful in what it has done, in what it is now  
doing, and in what it proposes to do for its blessed objects, for  
How inexpressibly sweet is love! I know nothing near so sweet as to be  
worthily beloved, except it be to the giver of the love, rather than the  
receiver, and this last is far the sweeter. In regard to faith's fellowship  
of love with Jesus, we have the twofold joy of both getting and giving.  
We get, up to Christ's uttermost capacity of loving us; and we give, up  
to our capacity of loving at all, when that capacity is enlarged by the  
Holy Ghost. What an incomparably happy life, then, is a life of true  
communion with the Son of God in love! Let Him grant me such a life  
(and indeed, He is doing it), and let those who prefer health, and riches,  
and outward comforts, have the whole of them for me. His love is not  
only incomparably sweet in itself, but it sweetens everything else to us.  
Trying providences cease to be bitter; and death loses every particle of  
repulsiveness. Were it not for His love, His very power, and wisdom,  
and holiness would be too terrible for us; but the omnipotence of LOVE,  
and the unerring wisdom of LOVE, and the perfect holiness of LOVE,  
constitute a vision which is most delightful to a sanctified and trusting  
heart. It sweetens this love to us to remember, that it is FREE. Nay, so  
far from finding anything in us to attract it to us, it found everything in  
us to repel it. His only reason for loving us, He finds in His own heart.  
The Lord loved us, because the Lord loved us; and that is all the  
explanation we can give of it (see Deut. vii, 7-8). Indeed, we no sooner  
saw Him, than we hated both Him and His Father (John xv. 24). So  
hated Him, that nothing would satisfy our hatred, but His death. And  
yet, the murdered Son of God, yearned in love unutterable, over His  
murderers. Even in accepting His murder from our hands (your hands  
and mine among the rest), He was dying in very love to us, to save us.  
How can we think calmly of a love like this? There is no love known, or  
knowable, by us, which we can compare with the love of the Son of  
God. Holy Scripture takes up every tender and loving relationship  
among us, in order to shadow it forth; but all these are rather contrasts  
than comparisons. It goes infinitely beyond them all. It can be  
compared with nothing, save with the love of the eternal Father for the  
Son. "As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you." Oh saint of  
Jesus! believest thou this? If so, how unseemly to be disturbed about  
trifles; how much more unseemly to squander the love which He prizes  
so highly, upon the poor trash of this world! Thou art thy Saviour's  
darling, weep no more! Let the joy of that, fill thy cup of joy to the  
brim. He withholds nothing from me; He could not keep it. He gives  
thee constantly; He gives thee His all; He gives thee HIMSELF. It is  
more a delight for Him to give, than for thee to receive. Indeed, at this  
moment, Jesus in heaven has nothing more than thou hast, who art still  
on earth. In pure love, He shares everything with thee; His Sonship  
(John i. 12); His Glory (John xvii. 22); His Throne (Rev. iii. 21); His  
EVERYTHING (Rom. viii. 11-17). Perfect love, is unable to keep  
anything back from its beloved. And thou art the object of His perfect  
love. Many circumstances in our earthly lot, will suggest to us the  
opposite of all this; but we must seek to walk by simple faith, and not at  
all by the inferences which our own beast-like, devilish wisdom, prompts  
us to draw from what we see ( James iii. 15). And he who looks with  
the eye of faith on the providences of God towards him, shall see  
nothing in them but PURE and PERFECT love.  
"We love, because He first loved us" (1 John iv. 19).  
God made us for love, and to find our happiness in it. We have fallen  
from this condition of love, down, down, down into a state of  
selfishness, and in this selfishness, lies our sin and misery. For all that  
selfishness does is sin; and all that selfishness can accomplish is misery.  
But now in recovering us, God has redeemed us for a life of pure love.  
He has regenerated us into a Divine nature (2 Pet. i. 4), which is LOVE,  
and He has given us His own Spirit to strengthen us, to walk as Christ  
walked, which is the Spirit of LOVE and of power (2 Tim. i. 7). Heaven  
is what it is, because it is the home of pure love, and hell is hell, because  
it is filled with ripened selfishness. For happiness can enter no heart,  
except through the doorway of LOVE.  
In connection with all this, I am greatly touched with the words in Eph.  
v. 2-3. We are called on to IMITATE God, and this, because we are  
beloved children, and as such, are partakers of His nature. We are  
called on further, to reproduce in our lives, the wonderful life of Christ,  
and this, in its manifestation of a love unto death. Oh, what a lofty  
mission! God is LOVE, infinite unutterable LOVE; and while the  
Christian is to consider himself the object of all this inconceivable  
wealth of love, he is equally to look on himself as its anointed  
instrument. God has set us, His beloved ones, down in the midst of  
sinful, miserable men and women, who are sinful and miserable, because  
they know not, believe not, realize not the love of God. And God has  
set us down among them, that we might be both witnesses to them of  
His love, and also its willing, its self-sacrificing organs. God wants us to  
pour out on them that love of His, through our hearts and hands, and  
lips and eyes. What a calling is this for dust and ashes like us! We are  
set apart and anointed, as really as Jesus was, though on a lower level, to  
manifest the holy love of God to sinful men; and to do this so clearly,  
that, though they may have no eyes that can see God, or His love, they  
may be able to catch a faint glimpse of it, by seeing in us and in our lives  
and ways, a Christ-like LOVE.  
"Whom have I in heaven but Thee" (Ps. lxxiii. 25)  
I feel that the one great lesson that God has been teaching me, through  
the sins and sorrows of my whole life is this; that Jesus must be  
EVERYTHING to me. I have been slow, slow to believe it, but He has  
patiently continued His precious lessons, and now I feel that the small  
measure in which I have been enabled to receive His teaching, is worth  
more to me than a million of worlds. No thought is so constantly in my  
mind, and I say to myself, hundreds, yea thousands of times, "Oh, my  
soul, see that thou make JESUS CHRIST THY EVERYTHING."  
God has given to us the matchless gift of His Beloved Son. Let us  
heartily receive the gift, and use it for the end for which God gives it;  
that is, let Christ be EVERYTHING. We need a whole Christ; but we  
need nothing else whatever!  
In saying, "Let Jesus Christ be  
EVERYTHING," I am using the word in its widest possible meaning. It  
is not enough that Christ be something to us. He is that to everybody.  
Nor is it enough that He be much, or VERY MUCH; or, that He be the  
CHIEF good to us, among a number of good things. He must be OUR  
EVERYTHING. The Blessed Lord has condescended too much (Oh how  
much!) for our sakes, but there is one thing He will never condescend  
to, and that is, that we place Him as one, among a number of objects of  
our delight, No, though we make Him the chief object. He will never  
stoop to that. He who does not for his sake, forsake ALL else, cannot  
be His disciple (Luke xiv. 33). But when by the illumination of the  
Holy Spirit, a soul has really tasted of His love, and seen the loveliness  
of Jesus, his ravished heart shall be constrained to cry out---"Whom have  
I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside  
Thee (Ps. lxxiii. 25). And what is this, but just to say in other  
words---"Oh, my Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, Thou art to me my  
Yes, God has given to us, out of His free love, the very Christ HIMSELF,  
the Christ in whom all the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth (Col. ii. 9).  
It is very, very little, if we add, that this unspeakable gift of Christ to us,  
includes in it the same "All things" which He had already given to Jesus;  
for in giving His Son to us, He gives us ALL that Jesus is, and all that  
Jesus has.  
You will not mistake my meaning, if I venture to say, that in giving us  
Christ, God has, as it were, put it out of His power to give us anything  
additional. For, though Eternity shall be filled up with the endless  
givings of God to His redeemed children, these ceaseless givings will not  
be so much fresh gifts, but the opening up in detail of the infinite and  
all-comprehensive gift, He has already given to us in Christ, in which  
gift is "All the fulness of God" (Eph. iii. 19).  
I am overwhelmed at the thought of this. It fills me with awe and joy.  
It lifts me to the highest; it sinks me down to the lowest; and it calls me  
into vigorous exercise of every faculty, every emotion, and every  
affection of which I am capable. May our hearts be kept full of the  
humble joy which the appropriating faith of this infinite gift is sure to  
bring, and to live hour by hour, as those who have need of nothing,  
desire nothing, delight in nothing, but JESUS ONLY. And this we do,  
because Christ has now become our EVERYTHING.  
A man may profess what he pleases, and may believe all the orthodox  
doctrines, but if Jesus Christ is not EVERYTHING to Him, then He is  
nothing to him at all. Scripture is very clear about this, but few seem to  
know anything about it.  
God wants to have our hearts, and so does Satan. Both are bidders for  
them. The grand object of attraction with which God seeks to draw to  
Himself, is Christ. Satan's great attraction is the WORLD. But there is  
this difference between the two---while Satan will be quite content that  
we have Christ in part, if only we love the world too in part. God  
insists that we give the whole heart to Christ, else none of it will be  
accepted. He cannot endure a divided heart. His name is JEALOUS,  
for He is "The jealous God" (Exod. xxxiv. 14). He that is the world's  
friend, makes himself God's enemy (James iv. 4); and wherever love of  
the world is cherished, there is no love of the Father (1 John ii. 15-16).  
These are searching words, but they are the words of God, and by them,  
we shall all be judged.  
Turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness"  
Jude 4).  
A word or two of Andrew Fuller's, read some forty years ago, burnt  
itself into my very soul, and has given a colouring to my entire life ever  
since. It was this---"God's free grace through Christ, is the sinner's only  
hope, but the ABUSE OF THIS FREE GRACE, is the professing Christian's  
Yes, grace is free; this is a most glorious truth. But then we must not  
mistake wherein its freeness consists. It is perfectly free in the sense  
that it is given at every stage of it, without any merit, or deservingness  
whatever, of any kind on the part of the receiver. It is for any sinner  
just now, and just as he is. But it is not free in the sense that though it  
be readily given, it can be easily taken, and used for our fleshly, worldly,  
wicked hearts to make their own use of it. He who fancies the freeness  
of Divine Grace to be such as exempts him from the need of diligence,  
watchfulness, and continuous prayer, is soundly asleep in "The Devil's  
It is just here where so many are deceived. The Professing Church (as  
it seems to me) swarms with completely self-deluded professors. The  
perfect ease with which almost everybody takes for granted his own  
spiritual well-being, is, I think, one of the most astounding features of  
our time.  
"Now we are the sons of God" (1 John iii. 2).  
"God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts" (Gal. iv. 6).  
Last night, I had a wakeful night, with some sickness; but not enough to  
hinder a most delightful meditation. Generally at such seasons, my  
mind is wonderfully clear, and during these past six years, I have had in  
nights of pain and sleeplessness, the sweetest seasons I have ever  
enjoyed in life. "Thou wilt light my candle; the Lord my God will  
enlighten my darkness" (Psa. xviii. 28).  
I was occupied during the night with Eph. v. 1, and most humbling,  
stimulating, and consolatory were the holy words made to me. My  
numbed brain will not permit me to do more than try to set before you  
the mere bones and crusts, of what was truly a feast of fat things to  
myself. We have in the verse a condensed summary as it were, of the  
believer's privileges. He is a beloved child of God. And we have also  
a condensed summary of his entire duties; He is to imitate his Father.  
The true believer is actually a child of God, and every blessing  
conceivable, or possible, is summed up in this one verse (John i. 12).  
In bestowing upon us this matchless grace of sonship, God has given us  
more than He has given to an angel, to every angel, to ALL the angel  
host in heaven, and ALL creatures in all worlds, though the immense  
aggregate of the bounties to them ALL, were gathered into a single heap.  
He has given us so much, that no more remains for Him to give, or for  
us to receive. For though in Eternity, the God of love shall go on  
forever adding fresh glories to the glorified saints, yet these are not  
additions properly speaking, to the unspeakable gift of sonship, they are  
only the fuller, and more detailed expressions of it. The gift of Christ  
contains in it "all the fulness of God" (Col. ii. 9; Eph. iii. 19). Upon no  
angel has God bestowed such a gift; for to which of the angels said He  
at any time, "Thou art My Son" (Heb. i. 5). And our sonship arises, not  
from the fact that our Redeemer is Himself the only begotten Son---the  
Firstborn from the dead---and that through redemption, we are vitally,  
inseparably, and eternally one with Him. How can we be other than  
sons, when we are brought into the closest union with the Son of God?  
Angels are not so made one with the Son, and therefore, are not sons as  
we are.  
In Christ, the believer is as really a son of God, as Jesus Himself is,  
although on different grounds. It is far more than mere adoption, the  
bestowal of certain privileges, it is the communication of a DIVINE  
NATURE (2 Peter i. 4). It is an actual NEW CREATION (2 Cor. v. 17).  
We are God's very children, and we are meant, and fitted to imitate the  
ways of God our Father. Hence, because we are children, God has sent  
His Spirit into our hearts, to dwell abidingly in us (Gal. iv. 7), and to  
enable us ALWAYS to think, and feel, and speak, and act, as befits our  
relationship to Him. And this sonship is a present fact, not a something  
to be waited for, till we reach another world---"Now we are the sons of  
God" (1 John iii. 2). We are unspeakably nearer to God in our  
regeneration, than we are to our parents in nature. We are nearer to  
Christ in regeneration, than Mary was to Him in nature (Matt. xii. 50).  
Yea, Mary was nearer to Him as a believer, than she was as His mother.  
And in regeneration, every saint is more closely connected with every  
other saint, than with earthly father, mother, husband, wife, or child.  
Do you believe all this? Alas, very few do! and who among us is  
walking accordingly?  
"Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children" (Eph. v. 1)  
In this verse, we have a summary of all our duty. We have not a  
multitude of things to distract our attention; we have only one. As  
beloved children, we are to imitate in every act of life, our Heavenly  
Father. What a pattern we are set to copy! Not our own past; not the  
conventional style of living prevalent around us, not even the lives of the  
holy, but we are to IMITATE God, and our copy is to be worthy of the  
Divine pattern (1 Thess. ii. 12). We are to be perfect as our Father is  
(Matt. v. 48). Who would dare to hint such things, if God Himself had  
not spoken them? To enable us to live on such a pitch, the Holy Spirit  
has been given to every child of God, and every one of God's children is  
to make use of the Holy Spirit's help for this end (see 1 John iii. 3). The  
proverb says, "Noblesse` oblige. "What manner of spirit should ours  
ever be?  
Let us cast the briefest glance at the connection between the two things  
indicated by the word, "AS." "Be ye imitators of God AS beloved  
children." The imitation is to come out of the sonship, and the sonship  
is to secure the imitation. The two are inseparable, and where one is  
not present, equally absent is the other. Having received a nature akin  
to God, the saint, by the necessity of his new nature, walks accordingly.  
The imitation specially meant is love (see verse 2), love carried to its  
uttermost limits. God Himself is Love, and we are to imitate Him in  
our love (Matt. v. 44-48; 1 John iv. 11). And if we are to love men, so as  
to be ready to die for them, if called to it (1 John iii. 16), as Jesus did,  
much more must our hearts be filled to the brim with the holy love of  
God. He wants our service; He delights in it; but He will have us serve  
Him, not in the spirit of servants---the angels so serve (Heb. 1. 14)---but  
in the spirit of tenderly-beloved children. And so, while the Old  
Testament speaks of "the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty" (2  
Cor. vi. 18), and no service approaches in its sweetness, either to giver or  
receiver, the devoted service of a darling child. It is an exquisite joy to  
the other to whom it is rendered. A mere menial's service rendered for  
the sake of its hire, is a paltry thing compared with this. Sonship, when  
realized by a vigorous faith, always secures this service. The child  
cannot but imitate in measure the Father-God. He has received a new  
nature, which is a Divine nature, and a man's life is of necessity, shaped  
by his nature. I am not forgetting the immense hindrance which the  
saint experiences through his natural depravity, but in so far as he walks  
in the Spirit, he shall be enabled to overcome this (Gal. v. 16-17; 2 Cor.  
xii. 9-10). The very same things which the Divine Spirit has written on  
the inspired page, as precepts, He has written also in the regenerated  
soul as instincts---instincts which it is so delightful to yield to, and so  
distressing to resist. I feel the subject is a most solemn and also a most  
delightful one, but I have scarcely touched it. May your own prayerful  
and devout meditation upon it, make it very helpful to you.  
"Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth" (Heb. xii. 6).  
Those who have the most experience of the Fatherly rod, and who have  
been enabled to profit by it, will, I think, be found to be least afraid of  
it. For them, the prospect of affliction has no terrors. They cannot tell  
what may be awaiting them in heaven (1 Cor. ii. 9), but they know that  
the sweetest spot they have ever been in on earth, has been the heart of  
"the fiery furnace," kindled to seven-fold heat, when they had the seen  
and felt presence of the Son of God walking beside them in it. Such  
seasons can never be forgotten, scarcely even in eternity. Oh, may they  
be to you, and to me, a daily experience. It is only the sufferers bands  
that are burned; not the sufferer himself. For him, not a hair of his  
head is singed, nor is there even the smell of fire upon him. Yes, this  
miracle of matter, is repeated daily among ourselves; only on a far  
grander scale. Suffering, however severe, never diminishes by one  
grain-weight, the true happiness of any soul; that is when the sufferer  
accepts it in faith, and love, and unreserved resignation. It purifies the  
happiness, and increases it; but, in no case does it abridge it. I will take  
on me to affirm, that if an angel were sent, this day, to search the whole  
world for the happiest man in it, the man whose heart should be most  
filled with the joys of heaven, and his lips the warmest in the praises of  
his God, I will venture to say, that this blessed man would be found  
among the most heavily-afflicted. We need never bewail, then, the loss  
of our earthly Eden. Still less, may we try to gather a few sticks and  
stones from the ruin, and to build up some poor little Eden for  
ourselves. This is precisely what the highest wisdom of the natural man  
sets him on doing. No! let our lost Eden go; we can afford to part with  
it. The man or woman, who through grace, has been made eternally  
one with the Son of God, is infinitely better off, than he could be by the  
possession of a million Edens. One with Christ, and this forever! How  
easily the wonderful words are uttered! But who can tell the lengths  
and breadths, the depths and heights, which they contain. In Him is "all  
the FULNESS OF THE GODHEAD BODILY," and in Him it is all brought  
within reach of the appropriating hand of faith. And as an "Earnest"---a  
stipulating guarantee, that all the exceeding great and precious promises  
shall be fulfilled to the last jot and tittle,---we are already put into  
possession of the indwelling Holy Spirit. If God Himself be actually  
our Father (and we must be quite clear on this point), what follows?  
Why, these two things follow, at the very least; first, He shall be sure to  
take care of us, and to keep us, and to do for us, in every case, the  
absolute best thing possible; seeing He is such a being as He is; and  
seeing that He has assumed towards us, the relationship of Father, is it  
conceivable that such a Father could neglect His child? How monstrous  
then, how wicked, to fear it! Secondly, having such a Father, how  
should we conduct ourselves towards Him? What love, what confident  
trust, what obedience, what resignation? And when we fail so sadly in  
this respect as we do, what lowly confession, what penitential sorrow,  
and, most of all, what earnest prayer for help to enable us to live in the  
future as becomes the children of such a Father. And there is nothing  
so sure, as that every prayer shall be granted.  
"I will instruct thee and teach thee" (Ps. xxxii. 8).  
What a blessed thing it is to have God to teach us; and this He delights  
to do, to every teachable soul (Psa. xxv. 8-9). Christ, as Redeemer,  
executes three offices. He is our only Prophet, or Teacher; our only  
Priest, and our only King. Now, while we are all jealous of giving Him  
His full honour as Priest, I fear that most of us are very sadly careless  
about His equally indispensable offices of Teacher and Lord. We are  
no more permitted to accept any fellow-creature to be our teacher, than  
we are permitted to resort to a human priest, that he may offer an  
atonement for our sin. Jesus is the one and only Teacher, whom we  
must recognize, and He teaches by HIS WORD and SPIRIT. He may,  
indeed, use our fellow-believers to help our ignorance; but, in such cases,  
we must be careful to discern, that it is He who teaches through them.  
And we must cautiously try their words by the test-standard of His  
Word, and also by His Spirit enlightening our minds. I am sorry to  
think, that there is very little of this in the churches, but that men and  
women are sitting at the feet of human teachers, and not recognizing  
that only One is their Master, even Christ (Matt. xxiii. 8, 10).  
And all this knowledge which we get from one another, or which we  
gather from our own study, even of the Bible, has only one effect; it  
puffs up the soul (1 Cor. viii. 1). Jesus alone can teach us savingly and  
to profit, and He delights to do it. Let our cry be as in Psalm cxix.---  
"Teach me Thy statutes." He does not set before us mere words, or  
doctrines (this is all that man can do), but He sets before us the  
supernatural realities of the spiritual world; and along with this, He  
opens our sealed eyes to see them. This knowledge always deeply  
humbles. Oh, may the Lord grant us much of this teaching, whatever  
the cost.  
And for this kind of teaching, we need the Word of God, but we need  
equally the Holy Spirit in the heart. Just as the prophet or the apostle,  
would have been unable to write these Divinely-quickening words, save  
by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God so I, who now read them,  
am equally incapable of receiving any benefit at all from these inspired  
words, unless I read them by the help of the same Spirit of God.  
"I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit"  
Isaiah xlviii. 17).  
We are getting nearer and nearer to the end of earthly life. We are like  
railway travelers waiting on the platform, and although the train may  
not be quite in sight, the hour marked on the time-table is fully come.  
It were folly then for us to count on any future here. And why should we  
wish it?  
We are still in God's school, receiving the education which is to fit us for  
eternity; and that education is indispensable. To state it in a word, it is  
that we may be trained to walk by faith and not by sight. Of course our  
task is very hard, and we feel it to be so. And so does the child who  
went to school a week ago, find his lessons very hard. But we smile at  
him when he tells us about the heaviness of his burden, and how he  
would like to get rid of it. We shall someday smile at ourselves.  
There are dark clouds above us, very dark sometimes, and very  
threatening, and our Divine Teacher would train us to beautify the sky,  
with the rainbow of faith and hope, and how could we have a bright  
rainbow without a black cloud for its background? Only let us supply  
the needed faith and hope, then the blacker the cloud, the brighter the  
rainbow shall be. And then there are snares among our feet, snares as  
thickly planted as the stubble in a newly-reaped corn-field. By these  
our God would train us to watchfulness and prayer, to walk  
circumspectly, and to wean us from our mischievous trust in ourselves,  
or our fellows, or in anyone but Himself. In a world like ours, unless  
we walk by faith, recognizing the presence of God, we shall be unhappy  
enough, but if we walk WITH God, leaning on Him, we shall be happy  
as our faith is strong.  
I firmly believe that the great value of present life to any of us is, its  
furnishing the suitable, the indispensable education for eternity. This  
secured, a man has got out of life all that God ever puts into it, and this  
lost life is utterly lost. It is not so looked at in the world, where  
mammon is the actual God, and where time is everything and eternity is  
nothing. Nay, it is not so looked at in the church, where a man's  
DOING is regarded as of much greater importance than his BEING.  
But in God's estimate, the BEING is the main point, the DOING is  
nothing, except as an outcome of the being. So insignificant is the  
amount of work done, that I believe the smallest work of the smallest  
worker can scarcely be less than the greatest works of the most brilliant  
and successful labourer. This is not thought of any more than man  
would count the two mites of the poor widow, a richer gift than the  
golden donations of the wealthy. The great thing which God is aiming  
at is, the training of the worker, and the cultivation in him of a  
Christ-like spirit, in which he should come to do his whole life-work.  
This is important beyond all conception. For that spirit shall be carried  
into a service which shall have Eternity for its term, and Infinity for its  
sphere. And this Christ-like spirit can be just as successfully cultivated  
amid any one set of circumstances, as amid any other. This is our  
Father's grand object in all His dealings with us. Are we seeking to  
have His will done in us perfectly, or, like the many, are we looking on  
the trifles as everything, and on this the everything, as nothing? How  
solemn is life, when we look at it in the light of the near presence of  
God! How clearly is it seen there, that we have ONE errand here; ONE  
and no other. Life is a grand and beautiful thing, but it is so only when  
it is lived TO GOD. When a life is not lived to God, however admired  
its circumstances may be by men,all whose judgments are false (Luke  
xvi. 15),it is not grand but despicable: it is not beautiful but hideous.  
That life alone is of any account in heaven, which has Christ as its  
object, and the will of God as its rule.  
"Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you." (1 Pet. v. 7).  
What a perfect rest do we get, when on coming to the Lord Jesus, we  
take His yoke upon us; the yoke which He Himself ever wore, and  
which He now lovingly imposes upon all His people. O, it is an easy  
yoke and a light burden. Love joyfully accepts what INFINITE LOVE  
imposes. We then are satisfied in knowing that every interest of ours is  
unspeakably precious to Him; that every hair is counted, every tear put  
into His bottle, and that every sigh is noted. Nothing can harm those  
whom He keeps as the apple of His eye. Our one and only danger is,  
that we begin to plan for ourselves, and thus virtually take ourselves out  
of His hands. He will bring us at whatever cost of suffering to us, to  
commit ourselves ABSOLUTELY to His loving and perfectly trusted  
"We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus" (Eph. ii. 10).  
I have been often positively thrilled, with musings suggested by a word  
in the Greek of Eph. ii. 10. Literally rendered, the apostle's statement  
is, "For we are His Poem," and the word opens up to me a whole world  
of delightful and profitable thought. John Milton once wrote, "He who  
would not be frustrate of his hope, to write well hereafter of laudable  
things, should himself to be a true poem." This seems to me to be a  
grand thought, and a true one. But how many miles it falls short of the  
apostle's word here. Think of oneself, and one's life, not only as being  
a grand poem, but as being "God's Poem." If there be any work of  
man's, in which beyond others, true genius is needed, and in the  
execution of which that genius is exercised up to its utmost capability, it  
is in the construction of some noble poem. And in this connection, just  
think of being "God's poem." For what really is a poem? A  
masterpiece of poetical genius? It consists of the selected grandest  
thoughts that the most gifted man can think, and these embodied and  
given forth, in words the sweetest, sublimest, and most affecting that  
man can utter. And to be "God's Poem" is to be the expression of the  
grand and worthy thoughts of God, enunciated, not in suitable words  
only, but in a vestment which sets the thoughts forth, far more  
impressively than any words could do; even in the acts of a life, which is  
worthy to be ascribed to God, as the Thinker and the Doer (Col. i. 10;  
Thess. ii. 12). And this divine poem may be, should be, must be, your  
daily LIFE and mine, if we are walking as Christians. It overwhelms one  
with a variety of feelings, which it is profitable to cherish, when one  
thinks of it. Could one aim at a nobler object, at any object a millionth  
part so noble, as to have one's life a divine poem? All that I have been  
saying is not, in the very smallest degree true of ant natural life, however  
amiable, useful, or religious that life might have been. Such a life, often  
enthusiastically admired by men, (men rarely admire any other; they  
crown all the "poems" of God with thorns), but it is not a poem of God.  
The man himself is the author of it; he, and the Devil between them.  
And this sweeping charge is quite as true of the very loveliest life lived  
on natural principles, as of the most loathsome. They that are in the  
flesh---in the unregenerated, fallen nature, however amiable and  
religious, "cannot please God" (Rom. viii. 8). Nothing human pleases  
Him, or is accepted by Him, that is not a genuine Divine Poem; in other  
words, that is not either Christ's work for us, or Christ's work in us.  
It is also a very striking word which is applied to the regenerated man in  
Eph. ii. 10. He is "created in Christ Jesus." "Created,"---that is called  
out of nothing previously existing. As human beings, we are God's  
creatures by the first creation; though we have ruined His originally  
lovely workmanship. But of all creatures in the universe, I suppose the  
true Christian to be emphatically, and pre-eminently, a creation of God,  
so much so, that his actual living is nothing else than a poem of God,  
that is, so far as it is Christian living. What less, what else than this, is  
taught us in Gal. ii. 20? This verse has been to me, for thirty years, the  
key-note of the Bible.  
The old English name for a poet was a "Makker," and there is nothing  
which man makes at all, that is so entirely his very own, as a genuine  
poem. The maker of other articles, merely takes up previously existing  
materials, and works them into other shapes, but the genuine poem is  
the work of the poet alone. He created His material as well as gave it  
its beautiful shape, and so with a true Christian life, to the fullest stretch  
of the meaning of the word, it is "God's Poem." The source of  
everything in a saint, as a saint, is divine grace (see Eph. ii. 8). This  
grace makes us, fits us for holy working, pours itself into us, and  
operates through us, our faith being the channel by which it enters and  
through which it works. Nay, so completely are we, in the new life,  
dependent creatures, that the very faith which receives the divine grace,  
is itself a mere grace; it is not from ourselves, it is of God. It is God  
who prepares the works for the worker (Eph. ii. 10), and the worker for  
the works; and He prepares also the most fitting sphere, in which the  
prepared worker may execute the prepared works. In all respects, the  
"man of God" is together with his Christ-like life, nothing less than a  
divine poem. How can such a life, truly lived in the Spirit, fail to be  
graciously accepted by God, since not the man, but Christ through the  
man, is the actual author of it (Gal. ii. 20). Let me add, that no other  
works whatever, however brilliant and admired they may seem to be,  
shall pass the scrutiny of that day, when it shall be seen for the first time  
to be believed, that what is "highly esteemed among men" is always  
ABOMINATION in the sight of God" (Luke xvi. 15). Hence we are  
solemnly reminded that "MANY" of the grand workers, shall be dealt  
with as working iniquity on a great scale (Matt. vii. 22-23), in that day.  
"If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him"  
Rom. vi. 8).  
In order to have our present life here on earth, a life which shall in  
reality be Christ living in us, it is needful for us to remember, that one of  
the main essentials is, for us to know what it is to be crucified with Him.  
We cannot possibly know what it is to live with Him, or have Him  
actually living in us, unless we first learn what it is to die with Him. We  
cannot possibly reach the last half of Gal. ii. 20, but through the first  
half, "I have ben crucified with Christ."  
Very notable are the almost universally unknown words of  
Tim. ii. 11-13, which are just a summary of half of the New Testament.  
It is a faithful saying, that if we be dead with Christ, we shall also live  
with him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him  
by refusing to suffer and to die with Him), He will also deny us." And  
this is just what He Himself had said previously---"He that taketh not his  
cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me" (Matt. x. 38).  
And what is this cross of ours, which we must each take up? We have  
long ago perverted the word, and have emptied it of all meaning, when  
we read it in the Word of God. We thoughtlessly call one and every  
trouble A CROSS, and speak of a Christian's many crosses. No, no;  
there are not many crosses; there is only ONE; the dread, appalling,  
hated cross, on which the sufferer is put to uttermost shame, agony and  
Jesus was "The Man of Sorrows." He endured many sorrows, and  
many temptations, but we never speak of His many Crosses. No; we  
reserve the word for the one awful, unique experience of extremest  
suffering, the near approach of which wrung from Him the bloody sweat  
of unequalled horror. He made little of His ordinary sufferings; He  
never made little of His cross. And though there may be to any of His  
people, any amount of suffering, there is NEVER more than ONE Cross.  
But there is ALWAYS one. And that one Cross involves a dreadful and  
dreaded experience; that is, dreadful to, and dreaded by the natural  
mind. It is in the sufferers case, the execution of God's curse for sin,  
and it brings about the final end of the man, as a part of the fallen and  
utterly ruined old creation.  
Dead with Christ, Christ enters into the man and lives in him, as  
Gal. ii. 20, and 2 Cor. iv. 10-11 clearly show. And it is the dread, the  
horror of being CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST, that deters all but the elect  
few from a genuine discipleship. All that the natural man hath, will he  
give for this life of self (Job ii. 4); self-will, self-pleasing, self-satisfaction,  
and self-seeking. But the law is inflexible; "He that loveth his life shall  
lose it" (John xii. 25). Holy, blessed, awful, sorrowful, yet delightful  
Cross! The only gateway to life in Christ. The sight of it is intolerable  
to the natural man, therefore he draws up with some one of the many  
gospels which have no Cross in them.  
"Not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. ii. 20).  
Our redeemed lips are no longer our own, they are Christ's lips  
1 Cor. vi. 19). What manner of holy speech befits them now? Our  
hands are not now our hands, they are Christ's hands. Shall we dare  
to handle with them, or to work with them, what is unworthy of Him?  
Our heads, our hearts are not ours at all, they belong exclusively to the  
Lord. Shall we think any thought which he would abhor, or love any  
object which He could not love? No, let us seek to render unto God,  
the things which are God's, and this includes all that we are, and all that  
we have. Our time, our purse, our lives, our influence, our everything  
all belong to Christ. They no more belong to us, to use them for our  
own pleasing, than the wealth of the King of Siam belongs to us. And  
He has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in every true believer for two ends;  
first, to enable us to consecrate ourselves to Him in this whole-hearted  
way (Rom. xii. 1); and second, to take actual possession for Himself of  
what we have surrendered to Him, that He may control all our  
movements, our affections, enlighten our minds, direct our conduct, and  
in one word, enable us to live, that it shall not be we who live, but  
Christ who liveth in us (Gal. ii. 20). This wonderful verse (Gal. ii. 20),  
gives us a remarkably clear revelation of what a Christian's life is meant  
really to be. It was Paul's life, and yet it was not Paul's; it was Christ's.  
Men saw and heard Paul only; but the unseen Actor who lived and  
spoke through Paul was Christ. All that Paul did, it was Himself that  
did it, and yet it was not himself. "I live, yet not I, but CHRIST liveth in  
me." The two livesPaul's and Christ'swere not two, but one. They  
were not united so that certain acts were Paul's, and certain other acts  
were Christ's, but every act was Paul's act, yet it was also Christ's. Paul  
dearly loved the saints of God, but it was with the love of Christ  
(Phil. i. 8)for Paul had given himself up to Christ as His redeemed  
possession, and Christ had taken possession of Paulsoul and  
body,His will, His mind, and His affection, and so though the bodily  
organs, and the mental faculties were Paul's, the Spirit which dwelt  
within, and moved everything, was not Paul's natural spirit, but Christ.  
The old Paul was dead, and now, "to me to live is CHRIST" (Phil. i. 21).  
But they alone can understand all this, who have experience in it. It  
was indeed Paul's eyes which wept, as he pled with sinners, it was not  
the eyes of Christthe eyes which had once wept at the grave of  
Lazarusbut the grief and love which wrung these tears from Paul,  
were not the outcome of Paul's natural heart, they were wrought in him  
by the Spirit of the indwelling Christ. And the eloquent tongue which  
so pled with men, and the knees which were so often bent in prayer for  
men, were not the tongue, or the knees of Jesus, they were those of Paul,  
but the spirit which moved them was not Paul's own old self, it was the  
indwelling Christ. In one sense, it is the same Paul, in another, it is a  
different Paul altogether. Once everything that he did was done by his  
carnal self, in self-will, in self-righteousness, in self-pleasing, but all that  
is now past and done. The old Paul is dead and buried, and the man  
that is now in his place has the body and soul of Paul, but these are  
dwelt in, and moved wholly by the CHRIST who now dwells within him.  
And as it was with Paul, so is it also with all the true children of God.  
In how far can we truly say it is so with us?  
"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (Eph. iii. 17).  
I have just been reading Matthew i., and musing on the three names  
given there to the son of Mary. He is Christ; He is Jesus; He is  
Immanuel. He is "Christ," because anointed for His office by the  
Father; "Jesus," because that office was to save from sin; and  
"Immanuel," because in executing this office of Anointed Saviour from  
sin, He is Himself God beside us. Nay, we cannot be saved otherwise  
than by His becoming "God with us." or rather, within us, as we have it  
in Gal. ii. 20---"Christ liveth in me." In this aspect of His salvation  
work, He comes nearer to us, and abides closer with us, than the soul is  
to the body it inhabits. This surely is the very climax of Divine grace to  
ruined man; the highest height to which the love of God rises in His  
dealings with us, while we are still on earth. We often overlook all this,  
by our exclusive dwelling on the precious atoning death of Jesus;  
forgetting that that death, was only a means towards a higher and more  
glorious end than even itself; which end is, that Jesus might be to us our  
Immanuel; might be Christ in us, "The hope of glory" (compare John  
xii. 23). And in this respect, our individual experiences are in precise  
proportion to our faith. "Be it unto thee according to thy faith." I  
don't mean by faith, the mere intellectual belief of certain orthodox  
doctrines. If that be all, there is no true faith at all. By faith, I mean  
the direct exercise of the soul on Christ Himself. The mind, divinely  
enlightened, discerns the glories and loveliness of Christ; the heart, won  
by the astonishing vision, cleaves to Him in love; and the will, freely  
chooses to close with His invitation, and to receive Him as the Jesus, the  
Christ, and the Immanuel. And walking by this faith, this direct  
unshrinking, single-hearted trust in God, the path is one of perfect  
peace, and perfect safety. Of peace, for all fleshly fears and burdens are  
annihilated. Of safety, for God's faithfulness never fails to respond to  
the faith of His trusting child (Psa. lxxxiv. 12).  
There is a practical mistake made by many, which I think frequently  
cripples the believer, and which it were well to guard against.  
Conscious that his faith is feeble, (every true believer is this), he feels as  
if the imperfection of his faith abridged his right to look on God, as  
being, in Christ Jesus fully and without any reserve, his Father. He  
fears that his feebleness of faith diminishes his title to appropriate, and  
to enjoy all the exceeding riches of Divine grace, laid open to all in  
Christ. Now, this I think is an injurious mistake. Let it be clearly  
understood, that faith gives no title whatever to any spiritual blessing.  
Our sole and only title to anything in the new life, lies in the free gift of  
it to us, by God in Christ Jesus. What faith does, is to accept the gift,  
and to enter into the enjoyment of the grace given. But the title to do  
this, is prior to any faith, and is quite independent of any special degree  
of faith. Now, what is it that God has freely given to us? That is, what  
is it that we have already a title to accept, and to enjoy by God's free gift  
to us---a title on which faith founds, and which exists prior to the action  
that faith takes on it? It is CHRIST, with all His fulness, which fulness  
is "the fulness of God" (Col. ii. 9; Eph. iii. 19). Everything in the new  
life is ours already, so far as title to it goes, and this equally, whether we  
believe strongly or feebly; or even whether we do not believe at all.  
The feeblest believer in Christ on earth, has the same title to everything  
that John, or Paul, or the strongest believer that ever lived, can have.  
Faith does not make the title; it is the free gift of God to all; and faith  
acting on it, joyfully finds itself in the unhindered possession of as much  
of the immense gift as it is able to appropriate. For the law of the  
kingdom is this; "Be it unto thee according to thy faith." Little faith  
takes but little, and enjoys little; while strong, healthy faith, the faith  
that glorifies God, and girds the soul with superhuman strength, opens  
the mouth wide, and even wider; and God keeps it filled (Psa. lxxxi. 10).  
And Oh, we need this actual indwelling of Christ, as our Immanuel, for  
we are called to service which shall otherwise be far above us. The life  
of a faithful Christian, everywhere, and always, must needs be a martyr-  
life. We may not be called to end our days in the flames, or on the  
gibbet; but we are each called to spend our days in martyr-living, and we  
have been anointed with the Spirit of Jesus, to fit us for it. Such a life,  
nature shrinks from; and most avoid it by sheer unfaithfulness. But this  
is the height of folly and sin. Only they who suffer with Christ can  
reign with Him; only they who die with Him, shall also live with Him  
(2 Tim. ii. 11-12). We can hardly be living such a life without knowing  
very well that we are doing so; for this martyr-living needs fully more of  
the spirit of Christ-like self-denial, than martyr-dying does. But Christ  
never fails to make His grave sufficient to perfect His strength in our  
weakness, and, after all, this very life, the true martyr-life is the blessed  
life. Christ never manifests Himself, as He does to those who hang  
with Him upon the Cross, who have forsaken their all, that He may be  
everything to them. Oh may you and I, dear friend, know this more  
and more, in the blessed experience of it, and may He make our few  
remaining days here our best, because spent most closely with Him.  
Then it shall be no grief to us to go when our Father calls. Let us aim  
at living in that perfect preparedness of spirit, so that when the Lord  
cometh and knocketh, we may open to Him immediately. Nay, let us  
more than aim at it, let us SECURE it. No other style of living is worth  
counting life. It is the unpreparedness of spirit, the unfinished spiritual  
work left undone, which plants the believer's dying pillow oftimes with  
thorns. But what a happy life, when the habitual frame of spirit is---"I  
have had the joy of my Father's presence with me all this day on earth.  
Perhaps I may be beside Him in heaven to-morrow."  
"What manner of persons ought ye to be, in all holy living and godliness"  
2 Peter iii. 11).  
I am greatly grieved at the indifference which prevails in the church in  
regard to the matter of holy living. Indeed, it is almost my only grief,  
but it is a very heavy burden to me. We have all been redeemed; we  
are all regenerated for holiness. Nothing is so pressed on us in the New  
Testament as holiness, and the frequency and urgency of the appeals  
show us how God's hearth is set on the holiness of His children, while  
they equally show us how averse we are to being holy. Seeing we need  
such continual incitement; I feel sure of a few things, as I feel sure of  
this, that the common degrees of faith and of holiness, will save nobody.  
Most seem to be quite satisfied with them, but a frightful awakening  
awaits them soon. The faith commonly rested in, is not faith; and the  
holiness that satisfies most, is not holiness at all, but miserable imitations  
which suffice to deceive the self-deceived (Jer. xvii. 9), but could never  
delude any soul which is truly under Divine teaching.  
In all ages, the great majority have been more or less religious, but only  
a few have been holy; and it is those few holy ones who alone are the  
saved. If any man be truly a child of God, he is now made a partaker of  
his Heavenly Father's very nature. That nature is Divine (2 Pet. i. 4),  
and it is incapable of sinning (1 John iii. 9). The very Christ Himself  
lives in him (Gal. ii. 20), and not only constrains to, but strengthens him  
for holy living. Yet still, with all this, I have a strong conviction that  
perfect holiness is unattainable here. I frequently desire a something  
infinitely better, than that we should ever be able to dream that we have  
attained it. To give you my reasons for this conviction is impossible, for  
I am writing only a short letter, and not a volume; and so I can merely  
glance at a few thoughts, as they occur to my mind.  
When we speak of Sin, Holiness, and Perfection, our words have no  
meaning, except as referring to a certain standard, whereby we judge.  
Whatever fails to come up to that standard is sin; whatever comes up to  
it is holy; and whatever perfectly agrees with the standard is perfect  
holiness. Now we must see, that the standard by which we judge  
ourselves is everything, and I feel convinced that no man who tries  
himself by God's standard, ever judges himself to be perfectly holy.  
And what standard dare we use, except God's, if we would not deceive  
If any one were to go through the town, and get into the secrets of every  
heart, it would be found that (except a wonderfully small minority), the  
whole were pretty well satisfied with their spiritual condition. From the  
drunken thrasher of his wife, up, up, UP to the most zealous religionist,  
each will be found on good terms with himself. Only a few will be  
found who feel very differently. To say that these "loathe" themselves,  
and "abhor" themselves, and are stricken dumb, when they look at  
themselves in the light of God's forgiving love, would be to say too little.  
Their feelings of utter self-abhorrence go far beyond the power of even  
divine words to express, inasmuch as divine realities are inexpressible.  
In this small company whose hearts have been both sorely broken and  
also sweetly healed, may my soul be found.  
Now, how comes it, that those few lowly souls, while exulting in the free  
grace of God, to save sinners, can find nothing whatever in themselves,  
which gives them any comfort, and this, while all the others---especially  
the very religious---are so satisfied with themselves? It is simple these  
lowly ones, try themselves by God's standard; while all the rest try  
themselves by one or other of the ten thousand human standards which  
abound. In regard to our finding about ourselves, all depends on this.  
And what is this lofty, Divine standard, which humbles in the dust  
everyone who honestly applies it, constraining him to say with Paul---not,  
"I am one of the perfectly holy"---but I am "the chief of sinners"  
(1 Tim. i. 15). Well, we shall find this standard in THE WORD OF GOD,  
and we shall not fail to find it if the Holy Spirit is our Teacher.  
Having received, in regeneration, a divine nature, we are now to walk in  
that nature alone. The possession of this nature is our one peerless  
privilege; the walking exclusively in it is our one peerless duty  
(Eph. v. 1). We are set to imitate our Father; and let it be noted, that  
our copy is to be as perfect as the divine original (Matt. v. 48). Our  
lives are to be worthy, worthy, WORTHY of that God who has made us  
partakers of a sinless nature (1 Thess. ii. 12). I feel the warmest  
sympathy with all who aim at this, and who out of deep depths of  
sorrow, confess how unspeakably they come short. But I only wonder  
when men, with the Bible in their hands, speak words, which seem to  
imply that they are holy as God is holy; perfect as the ONLY PERFECT  
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked"  
Jer. xvii. 9).  
I have been reading in the Prophet Jeremiah. I often do, as I feel very  
specially drawn to him. There is, I think, some peculiar affinity of  
natural character between him and me, which strongly attracts me to  
him, and which helps me perhaps, to understand him better than any  
other of the old prophets. And then some of his words have been such  
powerful forces in my life. I know not how to thank God suitably for  
warning, instruction, and encouragement granted me through the words  
of the faithful Jeremiah. I venture to think, that nothing is better fitted  
to meet the dreadful evils abounding among ourselves, at this day, than  
the Book of Jeremiah, and the Epistle of James.  
In very early life, a word from Jeremiah laid firm hold on me, in a way  
no Scripture had done before, and it has never slackened its grip in the  
least. It was this word, "The heart is DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS,  
AND DESPERATELY WICKED" (Jer. xvii. 9) with the preceding verse.  
That utterance has given distinct shape to all my subsequent life.  
Whose heart does the prophet describe? Of course it is my own, and it  
is an alarming thing to find, that in dealing with God, one is not even  
moderately honest. A deceiver, a self-deceiver, and so deceitful that  
there is NOTHING in existence to match it. "He that trusteth in his  
own heart is a fool."  
Ah, the need to flee to the Lord Jesus, not only from external enemies,  
but from our very own selves. And yet how few, how very few, have  
the slightest appearance of doing this. Looking back over a fairly long  
life, and this life spent among unusual opportunities for becoming  
acquainted with the workings of the religious mind in general, I am  
greatly struck with the smallness of the number, even among professing  
Christians, who seem to have any suspicion of the awful deceitfulness of  
their own hearts, or any adequate consciousness of their actual condition  
before God.  
They sadly recall the awfully solemn warning of our blessed Lord in  
Luke vi. 46-49. Instead of digging deep and DEEPER, until they get  
down to the living Rock, and laying their foundation on that, they begin  
at once, without any deep digging whatever, yea, even without a  
foundation, to build their edifice on the surface, to their eternal ruin.  
And this is precisely what Jeremiah bewailed in his day (see chapter vi.  
3-14; viii. 11), though I think the evil could not well have been more  
prevalent then, than it is now among us. The words in chapter vi.,  
strike one dumb. On the eve of threatened judgments, the prophet is  
charged to search Jerusalem with care, and if he shall find a man, ONLY  
ONE, among the crowds of zealous religionists, who was a SINCERE  
FEARER OF GOD, for the sake of this unit, the doomed city would be  
spared. But it seems there was not one. And all this is the more  
striking, when it is recollected, that Jerusalem was at this time zealously  
religious, and that a great revival had not long before taken place,  
during the reign of King Josiah. And as a spectator of all this, what a  
model Jeremiah furnishes to any who may be cognizant of similar evils  
among themselves (see chapter ix. 1). No doubt, it was in part for the  
same evils in His day, that Jesus was "A Man of Sorrows." His general  
aspect reminded the people of "The weeping Prophet," so that some  
thought He must be Jeremiah himself come back again  
(see Matt. xvi. 14).  
What a heart-breaking thought it is, that there are more, far more, of our  
fellow-men---many of them the professed disciples of Christ---on the way  
to the bottomless pit, than to the Father's house.  
Why did the Jews so scornfully reject Jesus? Because He was not the  
sort of Deliverer they wished; neither was the salvation He offered  
them, the kind of salvation which they ardently longed for. They would  
not have it, or Him, on any terms. "We will not have this Man to reign  
over us," was their settled decision. So they hurried Him to the Cross.