II Corinthians iii.18.
"From Glory To Glory”
The Closing Days of J. B. Stoney, 1895 – 1897.
by his daughter, A. M. S.
On the second of October, 1895, my dearest father was leaving Edinburgh after a fortnight's course of Scripture readings, and when about to start for the station he fell on the last step of the stairs and hurt his right knee. Dr. Wolston begged him to remain at his house to be nursed, but he pursued his journey to Carlisle. Once at the house of our kind friends, the Misses Blaylock, he received every kindness and attention.
On the 14th, I received a penciled note in his own dear writing, and again on the 20th he wrote to me accepting the room at No. 2 West Park Terrace. On the 26th, Dr. Wolston went to Carlisle to see him, and recommended his coming home at once in an invalid carriage. He arrived here on the 29th. I met him at the station, and as I went into the carriage and saw him, stretched and kissed that dear, tired face, my heart told me he had come home for the last time. The moment I heard of the fall, I had thought of Mr. Darby's last illness having begun with a fall, and I felt then it was only the beginning of the end. Still, he seemed so full of life and vigour, and the leg got well so nicely, that he was quite elated at being allowed to put it to the ground, and was counting on walking again, when he got an attack of coughing on the night of October 31st.
November 1st. Dr. Ross called and said the heart was weak and caused weakness of digestion. As I look back, I recollect that he has been subject to this for quite two years. This time he shook and trembled all over and turned blue and cold. On Sunday, the 3rd, dear father was terribly weary and exhausted, in bed all day, low and suffering. Talking very sweetly, he said, 'My comfort of the body is the Lord's', and, later, 'I think Dr. Wolston would understand what is the matter with me'. I said, 'Shall I write to him?' 'Oh, no', he replied, 'I would not turn to anyone but to the Lord. If He wishes to take me, I am perfectly happy, but if He wishes me to stay, I would like to stay'.
Wednesday, November 6th. Feels and is better today. He said, 'The only trial I have is that illness makes me so self-occupied instead of thinking of the Lord'.
Thursday, November 7th. 'I feel better today, and quite free to think of the Lord. Myself has not been before me at all today'. . . . 'Nothing acceptable to God now that is not of the Spirit'. I am reading to him from John 14, on through Acts, and often the publications and whatever chapters the brothers have before them at the readings.
Sunday, November 10th. I stayed with him and read John 14-17. Tremendous storm in the night, but we did not feel it in his room. It is a perfect little room for him . . . prison though it be.
Wednesday, November 13th. His nights are bad, but he is pretty well in the day and very cheerful and contented. He said today, 'As I lie here, it is such a comfort to think of the deliverance God has wrought; not only am I as clear in God's sight as Christ is, but I am entitled to SEE MYSELF as clear of everything as Christ is . . . gone from my own eye as I am gone from God's eye . . . not only the death of Christ, but my own death; in Christ by the Spirit, I am in deliverance. It is only by the Spirit that I am in Christ'.
Friday, November 15th. Tremendous storm, but it cleared up at noon, as it always does for him, so that he has got out every day for an hour.
November 17th. Lovely bright day. Read to him his favourite chapter, John 17, and in the afternoon, he dictated a letter to Arthur Pridham. He said today, 'The outer man is to perish . . . the inner man to be renewed. It is a wonderful thing to feel that one is delivered from all the folly and selfishness of one's past life. It is a new experience to me to lie here . . . now seven Sundays'.
Tuesday, November 19th. Lovely bright day . . . like summer. He said today, 'I am learning that even with one foot in Jordan . . . I mean appropriating Christ's death . . . everything here assumes its true colour as a dry and barren land where no water is, but the sphere of His life gleams before me on the other side, where there is perennial joy in His Presence. I have had a great sense of deliverance in reviewing my life, and various mistakes and follies, and with inexpressible fervour, I am able to say that I can thank God I am free of that man and that I am 'in Christ for ever'.
December 4th. Dear father went out in his chair and seems very well.
December 5th. Bad night; not so well.
December 6th. Dear father went out today, and this proved to be the last time of his going out, for he had a bad attack in the evening. He said to me, 'I am thinking so much of the Lord's sympathy. I have learned it in bereavement, in infirmity, and now I suppose I have to learn it in bodily weakness. He sympathizes with us in infirmity, but in bodily weakness, one is so self-concentrated. That is my greatest trial when I feel unable to think of the Lord'.
December 12th. A bad night, since Wednesday, he seems to be getting worse.
December 13th. His weakness is distressing, and all the doctor's restoratives of no avail. The real trouble is the heart, but he is so patient; not a word, but 'Oh, my', escaping his lips, and 'This body is the Lord's'.
Saturday, December 14th. In the early morning, I was awakened by his dear voice saying in loud, clear tones (see May 1st, 1897): 'To be found beside Him, that's what I look for'. I sprang to his side to listen but could only catch 'In His brightness (or likeness, it may have been) a glorious day is coming'. I said, 'All that you have ever taught us about the Lord gets truer and fuller, as you get nearer to His Presence'. 'Quite so', he answered, in that decided way in which he used to say it at the readings.
Sunday, December 15th. He is still with us, but more in Heaven than with us. Doctor looked very serious.
December 16th. Dr. Wolston arrived at 10 p.m. Knew the doctor was glad to see him. Dr. Wolston said, 'We shall see His face'. He opened his eyes, now so large and blue, and looked up at the big doctor with the most exquisite smile I ever saw, and said, 'Nothing can surpass that'.
December 20th. He said, 'My world now is very circumscribed; it circles round Himself'. He speaks of no one, but the Lord and takes no interest in anything else.
December 25th. From 6 a.m. a very weary day. I sat with him alone all day. He said to me, 'I ask the Lord what this delay means; if He wishes to take me the sooner the better, but if it is to be protracted, I desire to have patience'. He asked me to read him something while he was going to sleep, so I took up J. N. D.'s hymns and read 'Rest of the saints above'. I often repeat bits of J. N. D. to him, and I never felt them so deep and wonderful as they sound to me now, with my precious one on the very verge of it all, and the one who uttered them ACTUALLY in it! He repeated after me 'Father's love . . . eternal joy'. 'I am always looking to the Lord to keep me in His company, and not to let me get mixed up with other things'.
December 26th. When I drew back the curtain in the morning, he looked at me with the most exquisite smile in which love and sweetness seemed to light up those eyes with heavenly brightness, and, putting out his hand, he said, 'I am much better, thank God! Wonderful that I am so well after all I have gone through'. Mr. Raven saw him for a few minutes; he brightened up, and was interested in all he said, and gave a warm response to a few words of prayer, then said good-bye, promising to see him in the morning before he left. He said to me, 'I wonder why I am left here so long laid aside?' I said, 'Perhaps like Mr. Darby, you have to be weaned from work; you know he did not want to leave the harvest field'. 'Yes', he said, 'Mr. Darby had to learn that', and he turned away with his eyes shut as if to commune with the Lord. Later on, he said, 'I paid a visit to the heavenly regions; to see what I have seen is quite enough to keep one from sleeping. Corruption shall put on incorruption, but I got such a view of it . . . His own glorious body'.
December 27th. A very troubled night, yet he calls it a good night. Not a murmur ever escapes his lips. As Sarah says, 'It is all thanksgiving, whatever happens'. . . . He said, 'The Lord has been gracious to me that I should feel so well after all I have gone through'. As I read 1 Corinthians 15 to him, he said, 'How different to anything else the Scripture is . . . so few words, and so completely to the point;' and, reading his favourite chapter in John one day, he said, 'How wonderful every word is'.
December 29th. He slept a troubled sleep, opening his eyes now and again to say something, yet I could see his mind was still on 1 Corinthians 15. He has been the last two days and nights dwelling on that wonderful Scripture, and I heard 'Heavenly Man . . . mystery . . . that order'. In the afternoon, I sat by him, trying to catch the sound, as the lips were moving rapidly. The closed eyes were turned upward with a look of the most intense earnestness, and I caught distinctly 'of that order. I can't explain it. I can only bow'.
January 2nd, 1896. He slept softly till 4. Then I tried to feed him, but he said reproachfully, 'You are going to recall me. I was so happy. How wonderful is God's grace to make me able to enjoy His grace!'
In the beginning of his illness, Hebrews had been before him, and the desire to know more deeply the Lord's sympathy in his infirmity of bodily weakness. Then it was John 17, and chapters 14, 15, 16. Now he seemed filled with the Paul aspect of the Man out of Heaven. He revived a little at 6 a.m. It was hard to catch a whole sentence, 'The great High Priest', then, again, 'It was beautiful in the night, and you called me back for food . . . New order . . . New life . . . waiting for Him', and at another time, in a clear voice, 'It is a grand confirmation!'
I longed to know the train of deep and blessed exercise his soul was passing through, but I was only allowed to catch the fragments as if God would lure one on to seek for oneself the Spirit's revealing of the deep things of God. Later on he said, 'Rouse me, I want to talk of the work'. 'What work?' I said. 'The removing of all that was contrary to God, and the bringing in of everything that is according to His mind! Wonderful honour to the Christian to be introduced into that new thing now. It is the grand question of communion, not only with the members, but communion with the Lord above all the confusion and evil around'.
His mind was very clear, and he talked so cheerily to his doctor, who pronounced him much better, saying, as he left the room, 'He is a wonderful man, and as happy as a king!' The long sleep had been for a rally, and for the removing of all the most distressing symptoms of heart and lungs. As I sat silently beside him, I could see that his mind was wide awake and traversing the courts above. I listened while odd words and sentences dropped from his loved lips, fearful lest any words of mine should intrude upon the blessed intercourse that was going on between the Master and servant; the coming day alone will reveal what this time has been to him: but the calm brow, the smile of heavenly peace, makes me think of the vessel full of light . . . the light of God's satisfaction shining through the earthen vessel. While even down here, and on a bed of languishing, he is learning and finding what it is to dwell in a region of satisfied desire . . . in the enjoyment of eternal life in a risen and glorified Christ.
He said once, 'Let those who feel my loss live more for Christ down here'. He said to me, 'Has the Lord comforted you?' Then he spoke of parting for the first time; he said, 'The Lord knew what parting was . . . we had to share with the Lord . . . there were no partings where we share with Him. That is the new ground we are on'.
He said to my mother, 'You will find the Lord's sympathy better than any human support'. He said also that the Lord would take care of us when HE could not, and a great deal more that I could not catch. Later on he said to me, 'Accept the character of the separation, remember the new ground you are on'. All that night he talked about Corinthians, the new ground, how God had cleared everything away that was contrary to His mind, cleared away, not according to man's mind, but to God's mind . . . of the Lord's support in weakness . . . 'I'm learning a new road, . . . in dependence upon Thee all along the road, . . . Thou has fought the battle, we get the good of it, thank Thee, glorious Lord'. He kept on repeating 'Thou has done great things for us whereof we are glad'. In the night, he was saying, 'The Lord has triumphed gloriously', and he seemed absorbed in prayer, and longing to be gone.
Sunday, January 5th. Talked of the river of God, and I read several Psalms which he enjoyed. I read John 17, and the words never seemed so wonderful before. In the evening, he said, 'A sudden call awoke me, I did not moan or groan, I just went to sleep'. (Literally true, May 1st, 1897). Again, 'Outside of everything with the Lord . . . that is communion . . . the thing is, to stay in it'.
January 6th. Seems weaker, but very bright. 'I feel I can sit under His shadow with great delight until something here distracts me from it. I do seek to be with the Lord outside of everything here, and thus be superior to things here, but weakness is a great test, a very real test. I feel the Lord is not here, and I am longing to be with Him where He is. Read Hebrews to me'.
Tuesday, January 7th. Very weak and low today. I said, 'The Lord is a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief'. He said, 'Oh, but He is the all glorious One, I long to share in that, to go in with Him'. He looked perfectly radiant as he lay there silent and quiet, but RADIANT is the only word that conveys that never-to-be-forgotten look and expression. He said to the doctor, 'I am looking for a country where everything is beautiful. All is in Divine order there. All is in disorder and confusion here'. He had a suffering day and restless night.
Wednesday, January 8th. He said to me, 'I have been longing so this last hour that the Lord would take me. I have been sitting under His shadow with great delight'. The doctor, trying to tempt his appetite, said, 'Have you a fancy for anything?' 'Yes', he replied, with such a beaming look, 'I have a great fancy'. The doctor looked quite pleased. 'What is that?' 'To go to Heaven, that is what I want. I long to be there. My whole contention is as to WHAT GOES THERE . . . nothing of man can go there; everything that is of God will go there!' Later on, he said, 'I find when I am so happy with the Lord, I am dragged away to see what this poor body wants'. I said, 'You have to learn the ruin here as well as the glory there'. 'Oh, yes', he said, 'it has been a wonderful schooling to me'. I read him a note from Mrs. ———. He said afterwards, 'When I think of those who delight in the Lord, I always think of her. I have been favoured with the companionship in this world of many of His chosen ones . . . those dear to the heart of Christ'.
January 11th. Terrible night of suffering. About 6 o'clock, as I stood bathing and fanning his head, which was burning hot, he said, 'The more you follow One Person alone, the more simple your path will be. The reason Mrs. ——— and others find their path so difficult is, that they have not a single eye for a single Person'.
He said to me one day, 'I have learned to do without anything and anyone but the Lord, and HE is enough, without letters or friends or anything else'. To the doctor, he said he wanted nothing. The doctor said, 'You are beyond us all'. He replied, 'I could give you a couple of pages that would interest you on the subject of being above your circumstances, and satisfied with the Lord alone'.
As we were settling him for the night, he said, 'Now I am going home, all my power is gone. I am going to have a new power'. At another time, 'The hindrance in every soul, from the eldest to the youngest, is, that he is not set for the glory. You cannot reach the purpose of God any other way'.
January 17th. A lovely day; lying with window open. As I was sitting by him, he suddenly broke out, 'If man would only dwell on the Divine reality of God's world, he would see this is only man's world . . . in God's world all is Divinely beautiful. This is a beautiful world, but it is only like a laurel, or an evergreen, or a flower. In God's world, all is according to God. I am roaming in beautiful worlds, and I rouse up and find myself in this world'.
'Now I think I am entitled to my chapter: read 2 Corinthians 4. There, you see, that is just my thought; not new creation only, but display of what God is', and at verse 10, I said, 'You know something of that'. He smiled such a lovely smile, and said, 'In a practical way'.
January 23rd. In the afternoon, he asked for his chapter and enjoyed it (2 Corinthians 8). Afterwards, when I came to him, he said, 'Everything is getting so small in contrast to eternal things'. At another time, he said, 'Oh, if everyone could see the world as I have seen it these last few weeks, they would be afraid to touch it in any shape or form'.
January 24th. He said, 'I feel utterly weak, as if I could not stir'. He saw W. Moore, and spoke very sweetly to him of the chasm between God's things and man's . . . how he had begun with delight in the Lord, how it brought him to the end of all things here. A man might get a place in the Church, but unless he walked in the Spirit, he was not thoroughly for God: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord" (Zechariah 4:6). 'That is my text, and it is my whole exercise all these days. A man may get eminence in the Church, but it is no good unless he walks in the Spirit'.
January 25th. He said today, 'I see an open door, fullness of blessing, and power to carry one through the world in devotedness to the Lord, but when I look at anything of man, it is all confusion and failure. It is all bright there!'
'The difference between revelation and information is the wonderful difference between opening out the Word of God, and knowing the mind of God; that is the unique thing to know . . . what things are to Him, and what they are to us'. His breathing was so laboured, and it seemed such a strain on him to talk that I begged him to go to sleep. If there is one thing more than another that one has learned in this precious one's illness, it is the surpassing blessedness of having been wholly given to the one thing . . . occupied exclusively with Christ in glory . . . with His thoughts, desires, and interests.
January 29th. Much suffering . . . revived in the afternoon, and said, 'Great contrast between things outside this scene, and the things here; but no matter what they are, you must look up to the Lord for small matters as well as great. The rest is, I am not conscious of anything here until I open my eyes. I am above the things here in the sense of His power: that is rest, even in the night. I am in the light'. At 3 o'clock he said, 'Outside of everything with the Lord . . . that is communion. The great thing is to stay there'. At 5 o'clock he said, 'Make THE LORD your delight, and not any circumstances'. Talking in the evening of how he loved the work, I said, 'You are longing to be at work again?' He looked full at me with the most searching look as if he thought I did not give him credit for it, and said, 'I have given up WORK AND EVERYTHING'.
January 30th. Talking beside him, I asked, 'Did you always know Christ in glory or was it a later experience?' He said, 'I think I began on that line, though I knew very little about it'. I asked, 'What was the first thing made you love the Lord?' 'Finding that He loved me', he replied. 'I have often told you of my fear that I should die of cholera, but I found the Lord loved me and I could go to Him; I think that is what Peter felt. It was not Peter's love that made him go to the Lord so much as finding that the Lord loved him'. He dictated to me about glory in the afternoon.
January 31st. He said today, 'I should like to make a sketch of the first man, and the second. The first man who brought in all the ruin, coming to an end in the Cross, and the second man, starting not from the Cross, but from the glory, bringing in everything according to God. Think of a Man in glory; that is a Man according to all God's attributes; think of knowing Him there! And He is your Saviour! And you are united to Him. What a wonderful picture it would be if I could only portray it as I see it spread out before me. It is continually before me, as I lie here musing, so that I am never lonely'. He has been very bright both yesterday and today, full of joy and gladness of heart, though suffering much pain.
February 1st. Had almost a sleepless night. After his breakfast, when I wanted him to sleep, he said, 'I would rather have my chapter. I never enjoyed anything so much as going over my subject in the night; you might begin with Revelation 4'. At verse 3, he said, with such eagerness, as if he actually saw it all, 'Now you get the glorified Man! It is a very interesting point, Satan put out by the new Man on the Cross; now you will see by what follows that Satan is trying to put out the glorified Man. First, He is seen among the seven candlesticks, now in Heaven ready to come for us, and here as acknowledged in Heaven; the effort of Satan to set Him aside and bring in Antichrist. Revelation 2 and 3 show that Christ has an establishment on earth . . . the first man is set aside in the Cross; the effort is to set aside the second, that is the glorified Man, for Antichrist'.
My brother Bertie [Robert], who was leaving us at 5 o'clock, came to take leave; precious father asked him if he knew the purpose of God. After several wrong answers from us both, he said: 'To make members for Christ. If you are not working for that, you are not working with God, and are like young workmen in a carpenter's shop, hammering and planning away, but they don't know the Master's purpose or designs'.
In the evening, while he dozed, I read notes of his reading on the Priesthood in the February issue of 'A Voice to the Faithful'. It was deeply touching to see how his own words, almost his last words in public, are being made true to himself now. 'It is the time that you spend with the Lord that is everything to you'.
Sunday, February 2nd. Had a sleepless night, breathing troubled, yet this morning surpassing himself in brightness. He said, 'I had a wonderful night . . . the whole sky seemed lighted up . . . light circling round like that (waving his hand towards the ceiling), and the Lord in the midst immensely great, surveying the whole earth. I was there, too; it was as if He were showing it to me, or, at least, there it was for me to see at a distance from me, and I was but a speck upon the earth looking at it. Now let us read. Begin with John 17 and then Revelation 22; begin at verse 9. In 2 Corinthians 3, you have the gospel of the glory . . . the Church is to be united to the glorified Man, that is the purpose of God. There are two classes . . . those after the Man in glory, and those after the man not in glory. Stephen is refused, and gone to glory, and the Lord now sets up His Church on earth as being of that glorified Man. We see in Revelation 2, He is not accepted. There is an outward acknowledgment of Him, but it is not genuine, and instead of being according to Revelation 2, the Churches become the mustard tree. The candlestick is taken away, all that was characteristic of the glorified Man; then in the rest of Revelation, Satan is trying to supersede the Man in glory. In chapter 12, the rapture, the glorified Man is entirely refused on earth, intent to destroy Him, and chapter 13 brings in Antichrist. Now I have given you a sketch . . . fill it in, and tell me when you come to chapter 12, the glorified family caught up to Heaven'. Here he stopped this wonderful outburst, which was more like inspiration than anything else. He seemed beside himself, and in a kind of ecstasy! He slept a little in the afternoon, but when I regretted finding him awake, he said, 'I was not asleep, but I was very happy. I was in the Revelation'.
February 4th. Another wakeful night. I said, 'Have you slept?' 'Don't ask me how much I have slept, but how much I have been awake', he said. Percy [his son] saw him at 11 a.m. I gave him a hint to test the heart. The expression of his face told me all, for he could scarcely hear it, and was greatly shocked. Dear father said to him, 'Remember there are two men, the man of the earth, and the Man out of Heaven. Everything turns on which man you belong to'. Percy seemed much affected. Had a nice letter from Bertie saying his time here was too sacred to be commented on, but that the dear father's present state confirmed and emphasized his life and teaching as nothing else could. And for himself, he hoped to follow in the same steady path with the purpose of God before him.
February 5th. Dictated to me twice, but the effort to speak made his breathing more laboured. His subject was the assembly. 'If you know that you are accepted, you want deliverance to enjoy it, then you find that Christ, who is your life, is not here. He is rejected from and by everything in this world. You look about to find Him, and discover that He has a company, an assembly to whom He comes, and where you can meet Him! This separates the heart to Him, not only from system, but from everything here. You find that He is the Living Stone, and that you are of Him as the stone in the quarry was a part of Solomon's temple'.
Last night I knelt by him for a long time while he dropped little sentences about many things, and mentioned several brethren. He said, 'What a difference it would make if anyone was thoroughly set for the glorified Man! If you GIVE UP for the Lord, you get on! If the Glorified Man is your object, you cannot make anything of yourself'.
February 7th. He said to the doctor, 'I am wonderfully well after four months in bed!' Received several letters acknowledging his little books and saying many touching things about their grateful love to him for the blessing God has USED him to lead them into. I read them to him at different times as he was able to bear it. He listened but made no remark. Later on he said, 'It is such a great thing to colour your whole life, to know that you belong to a Man in glory'.
Sunday, February 9th. Awake a good part of the night, weak and tired today. I read to him John 17 as usual, which he greatly enjoyed. 'Wonderful words . . . to know the Father's love'. I said, 'How wonderful to think He will be glorified in us, perhaps like glow-worms round the sun'. 'Yes', he replied, 'I always think of it as a number of little candles round the great central luminary. Light gives me the best idea of fellowship that I know, because ALL CONTRIBUTE, you don't know from which the ray comes'.
Reading Ephesians 2: 5-7, he said, 'That is the calling; you cannot experience it unless you are in it practically; you are not in possession of the calling properly, though you may know it. There are seven points in it . . . quickened, that is new creation, new man, one body, one access, one Spirit, holy temple, assembly on earth'. Later on he said, 'It is a wonderful mercy that the Scriptures are so much more before me than anything else. When I think how one would have dreaded this long time, and it does not seem the least dreadful now, but full of interest to me: and it is curious that when I am half asleep, the view seems to open out to me more. I often wake myself up to test the reality of what is before me'.
February 10th. An absolutely sleepless night. I read him a letter complaining of the low state of a meeting. 'Tell ——— with my love, that the low state of others is your opportunity to show the right way. You can be the leader in lowliness and devotedness'.
February 11th. At 5 a.m., I said to him, 'You are not sleeping much'. He said, 'Oh, I am very happy. I've been in the courts of glory. What do you think is the first thing you learn when you get there? You find that glory is your destination'. Afterwards, I read Ephesians 4 to him, and in the afternoon, he was recalling it all, showing how he kept the passage before him. He sent a message to a young brother whom he loved much saying, 'Always have a definite aim before you in the Lord's work . . . a tower has to be battered down, an obstacle removed; keep at it until it is done, thus you will be useful and effective, and your hearers will be thankful'.
February 12th. Read Ephesians 5, and tucked him up for a rest. He called out, 'Make a mark in your Bible . . . the end of Acts 7. 1st, 'I see Him in glory'; 2nd, 'I am with Him in glory'; and 3rd, 'I can speak to Him in glory, not merely about things as I see them, but as He sees them. I think that is what worries me, looking at things as I see them. I ought to get into the glory to see things as He sees them; this was my education last night'.
When I came to his side in the afternoon, he said, 'I have one great desire, to know what is ‘joy unspeakable and full of glory'. I said, 'I am sure you do know it!' 'Oh, yes, but to know it fully', he said. 'Seeing Christ in glory takes you out of anything here. I have been pondering for many hours yesterday and today. My subject is that you are not only cleared from the old thing as you see in Romans, but that you are in the new (Colossians 1) and you use it (Colossians 3). You are not conscious that it is your own, and that you have it until you use it. I reproach myself much that I have not led others into it more. What a different man ——— would be if he had been led into it'. I said, 'What a blessed thing that you have set your affections there before this!' 'Blessed indeed', he replied. 'Everything looks so hollow here, and I look at the different pages in my life in such a different way'.
February 15th. He slept very little and was very weary. He said, 'tell Bertie it is a great thing to have ONE PERSON as our aim'. In the afternoon, he said out of his sleep, 'If you lost a person who was dear to you in one place, and you find Him in another place, it would alter the place to you. You could not be with a person without being in a place'.
At another time, he said, 'Is it the work of the Lord you are set for, or your own gratification?' He has been very full of Ephesians, asking me to repeat the verses about being "raised up together", "seated together", &c., and then about the power; and when he seemed to be asleep, would give out sentences like the following: 'You are first taken there . . . then you are educated as to what you are to be there; . . . the simplicity of the way it is done adds greatly to the immensity of it . . . even a child can understand THAT IT IS THE PLACE HE IS IN. If you leave the place, you lose the power; the favour that brings you nigh, gives you a sense of the love'. When I hoped he would sleep, he said, 'It is not sleep exactly that I want, it is to get into the serenity where I can enjoy love! Where the greatest grace is, there you have the greatest exercise . . . It is not the power, but the LOVE that assures you of the continuance'.
Sunday, February 16th. Very bright this morning. When I was leaning over him in the early morning to see if he slept, he opened his eyes, which had the most rapt expression, and said, 'I wish I could give you an illustration of what the Lord was, walking about down here, as if He had a garment all round Him, and was light within'. He was very full of the Cross . . . how it had terminated our side of things altogether . . . all flesh is as grass . . . oh, if we had each accepted the Cross all through our lives, how different they would be. He then referred to passages in his life that he regretted. Another time, when he seemed to be sleeping, he said suddenly, 'It is a wonderful salvation!' Another time, 'Union begins in Heaven'. Then he gave me four steps, as he called them, in union . . . the way the soul reaches it experimentally . . . the nearer you are to Christ, the more you know His love. You do not know his love unless you are near Him (Ephesians 3) and thus only are you above the power of Satan. The greatest grace has the simplest and shortest way to it. Our power is greater than our faith . . . how few believe that! The Gospel is presented all over the world, and yet how little have we come to the main point of Christianity . . . Union with Christ.
February 18th. Waking after 12, he said, 'I think I will get up', and then with such a lovely smile of submission and sweetness together, he said, 'Oh, I forgot; I thought it was old times, when I could get up when I liked'.
Reading Colossians 3 about setting your affection on things above, I said, 'That is when you know the glorified Man'. 'When you know that there is no other', he replied. 'I have had a good deal of helpful meditation upon the resource the Lord is, in the night when all is darkness, weariness, and temptation. The trial I have had in feeling myself in this place of soil and confusion! I thought, how can you talk of glory! But I found' . . . and he opened his eyes and looked up with a most exquisite look . . . 'that glory is the most separating thing possible! Not a bit of the soil of the place sticks to me. It is all perfectly new! When you know relief in this way, it establishes the power of the truth immensely'.
Another time I asked, 'What subject have you now?' He replied, 'The impossibility of diverting a soul from the smallest touch of Divine grace. If a soul is saved, it can't be lost! How much time have we all lost in seeking to establish the fact of our election instead of enjoying the bloom and freshness of it; seeking excuses for our unbelief when we might have been walking in the power of our calling. If ye do these things, ye shall never fall, &c. If we had spent the same time and anxiety that we have wasted in seeking corroboration of our salvation in seeking instead that there should be no soil or shade upon it, how different our walk would have been, and when we walk worthy of it, we have the corroboration of it'.
Hearing of someone who was longing to go to the Lord, he said, 'The Lord might want him here'. He used to count it a great honour to be left here to serve the Lord. I asked dearest father once if he thought the Lord was coming in his lifetime? He replied that he thought the Lord would tell him if He were coming. At another time, he said, 'I don't see the bridal character that I expect to see'. I think he always hoped that the Lord would let him lead souls to that; he seemed to be always looking out for those who loved the Lord, and it was touching to see how his heart was knit to any who did.
February 20th. Seems quite exhausted, and more lifeless than I have ever seen him, his hands icy cold. At noon, he seemed better, and said, 'Yes, certainly', when I offered to read to him, but we only got as far as the first four verses of Colossians 3. 'Wonderful verses if you understand the glorified Man . . . you know how He brings it all in . . . He has overcome in righteousness . . . He is glorified in the setting aside of every man'. When I thought he was asleep, he said suddenly: 'A man without faith is like an old man without spectacles . . . the thing is there, but he cannot see it. Faith is a timid thing, but strong WHEN IT SEES THE SHORE'.
February 21st. He asked us each the question, 'If you have failed, and want restoration, where would you begin?' and answered, 'The Nazarite had to begin all over again!' 'That won't do, it's improving the old thing . . . you must begin at the other side of the failure . . . get on another line . . . it's the line of the glorified Man'. Later in the day, he said, 'Well, where do you begin? With the good! and where do you go on? With the good. Well! that is where I am now'. I said, 'You have been there a long time?' 'Yes', he said, 'but it is a different thing to see a thing and to go the road to it. Ye have not gone this way heretofore'.
Truly the Lord is magnified before my eyes in His ways with my precious father . . . in the way He has won, controlled and filled his heart . . . the ineffable repose He has given him through these days and nights, and weeks and months of weariness, so that peace and patience seem perfected in a vessel of a most peculiarly sensitive nature. The one stay of his heart has been that this man is set aside by the all glorious One, and in Him he has found repose, resource, strength, and endurance for the severest moments of nature's distress.
I was kneeling beside him in the evening, when he said, 'Do you know a heavenly man?' Then we had a most affecting talk about the loved ones who are gone before: J. N. D., G. V. W., Mr. Bellett, Sir E. Denny.
Sunday, February 23rd. A quiet night. Looks well and bright this morning . . . read to him Philippians 2 and John 17. He is very full of what a true servant would be like. 'It is not so much what he does as what he is; a man here for God, like a star in the sky; he may have a peculiar mission besides and may help people. Nothing but what is of the Spirit of God will abide; as to man, all his thoughts perish, but every thought or desire he ever had by the Spirit will remain. That is my whole contention, as to how much remains? What is mere human cleverness, and what is the power of the Holy Ghost in the Lord's work? I see that I am of the glorified Man, and that whatever belongs to Him, remains'.
February 26th. Very bright today, dictating on the 'true servant', and bringing out a good deal about the course of a Christian here in this world who knows that he is united to a glorified Christ. 'As you love Him you are drawn nearer to Him, and you find out that you are united to Him, and thus you become of the Bride, who, with the Spirit, calls upon Him to come and rule here'.
February 27th. Awake nearly all night, dictated a little, also a letter on the Christian calling and the effect of having power to gratify oneself after a human manner instead of being like a poor man absolutely dependent upon God for everything . . . starting on one's Christian course as conscious of being an object with God. If we have not this, we become an object to ourselves.
March 2nd. Good night. Full of the resurrection . . . so full of it that he would not give attention to his food. He asked later on, at 7: 'When was Peter first in communion?' His answer is, 'When he said, Bid me come'. Talking also of the pearl and the mustard tree, 'Which are you going in for?' In Luke, the fig tree . . . nothing to be seen, but the WOMAN IS HEALED, the person made new, but Jerusalem and all is gone.
March 3rd. The first thing he said this morning was, 'How would you know a Laodicean?' 'By his appearance! he is blind and naked, he has not the gospel, for if he had the gospel, he would be rich, and could see'.
March 6th. Writing on communion, had great joy in the night on finding himself alone with the Lord. 'The sense of companionship with the Lord was a great delight to me', he said.
March 8th. Wakeful night, but very happy meditations on the difference between the comfort you get in the Psalms here in this world, and the Priesthood of Christ, which carries you outside this world and the scene of your trouble to the One who is out of the trouble . . . reading John 13 and 14. Very bright about it.
March 10th. Little sound sleep. Full of thoughts today but breathing too bad to speak much. He says, 'Christianity cannot be known unless two great facts are apprehended; that God is become man, and that no part of the old man can attach to the new. Two great processes are going on . . . beholding . . . transformed and bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus. One you can have in private contemplation . . . the other comes into every movement of your daily life and is evident to others'.
March 12th. He said, alluding to his bad night, 'I found great refreshment in turning to the Lord. What should I do if I had to lie awake for hours in the night without Him?'
March 13th. The same heavy breathing and weary unrest, yet he says he had a refreshing night, and such a wonderful sense of being carried above everything by the Spirit of God.
Sunday, March 15th. Had a troubled night . . . better towards morning. He said, 'The Lord came to me and told me to be without anxiety', and then he had gone to sleep. I said to him, in the early part of the night, 'When He giveth quietness, who, then, can give trouble?' He said, 'Have you ever PROVED that? It takes time to come to it'. Reading John 15 and 16, the seven statements as to the Comforter. In 15, sent by the Father, 2nd, sent to you, 3rd, witnesses of ME in Heaven. In 16, 4th, demonstrates the character of the world. Verse 13, 5th, guides you into all truth; 6th, announces what is coming; 7th, glorifies Me. Speaking of No. 4, he said, 'No righteousness here, all power broken, a great desert without any power for the heavenly man, he can take no position here. If he takes the ground of the Holy Ghost, with Christ rejected here, he cannot take a place of rule'.
March 16th. Better night. Full of the subject of communion, tracing it from Eden: 'How we could have communion with God in His purposes for man from the beginning right on to the grand consummation of His glory'.
March 17th. I wrote for him twice, and read Hebrews 2, John 17. He said, 'I am like Sir Isaac Newton with the sun on his eye, for whatever I think of, I go back to eternal life! Eternal life' and his eyes were quite sparkling.
March 20th. Awake from 12 to 3 a.m. I said, 'You are not sleeping', 'No, I am studying the Bride come down out of Heaven;' and at 5 a.m., he wanted Revelation 22 read to him. He said, 'What is the difference between a Philadelphian now and the Bride in Revelation 21?' and since has been writing on it. 'The one faithful in rejection, the other expressive of glory'.
March 21st. Very disturbed night. He said, 'People think that sleep is greater than ministry; IT IS NOT. The Lord's ministry is a wonderful thing, and it is the GREATEST REST'.
Sunday, March 22nd. A good night. His first question was, 'When did you taste the feast in the Father's house?' 'What is the difference in the prodigal when he was kissed, and when he was feasted? In the last he got company!' He felt so well today that he wished to go to the meeting.
March 23rd. A good night. Very bright today, lovely weather, lying all day by open window in the sun, and dictating to me on the fullness of the gospel. 'The prodigal kissed, gets his own measure full; but the prodigal feasted, gets God's full measure, which is infinite! It is God who makes merry. Who lives in the joy of that?'
March 25th. He says he is enjoying the sense of being at the great supper . . . feasting on the fatted calf! If the prodigal is kissed, all judgment is gone, but when he is at the feast, he knows God's present feelings about him . . . joy at his return. Many get the kiss and rejoice in it who never go on to making merry with God. The fact that the prodigal IS THERE is what makes the joy! Asked today for end of Philippians, and is full of that verse, I can do all things through Him who gives me power.
March 26th. Awake all night! Twice I had to sit with a candle on the floor behind the screen and read John 17 to him. When he asked for it the third time, I tried to repeat it, and fell asleep in the middle of a verse. At 6 a.m. he was wanting his big Testament to look for the passage in Paul's writings that confirmed John 17 as applicable to the assembly now. Had to read John 17 to him again today, and he said, 'It never seemed so beautiful as when you read it to me in the night. I got a view of it that I had not before' . . . 'If you are not obedient, you do not abide in His love'.
March 27th. He slept well and his mind was refreshed. He said to me across the room at 4 a.m., 'Does your heart rejoice in the love that would draw you away from your own darkness into its own light? It is a joy to my heart to know that that is where my portion is'. And ever since he awoke, he has been so full of the subject, and writing on it in connection with Canticles: 'The bride made herself comfortable and went to sleep. We would like the Lord to show His love to us by giving us rest here, but He shows it in doing just the reverse, in making no rest here . . . that He may draw us into company with Himself'.
March 28th. He said to me at 4 a.m., 'What is the first step to POWER?', and later, was full of the wonderful proof of love when the Lord washes the disciples' feet that they may have part with Him, to remove every shade of distance or reserve.
March 29th. Did not sleep much, but was very fresh today, reading John 13. Saw Mr. T. H. Reynolds. He said, 'My great comfort lying here is that I sit under His shadow with great delight, and when the Lord is going to give me happy meditations, I don't care about sleep, and yet it comes'.
March 30th. A very wakeful night, and weary today. Thoughts full of 'the blessing of knowing a person in His own place! Many know of the place, but it is the PERSON who enhances and exceeds everything in the place'.
March 31st. Good night till 4, then full of lovely thoughts which I was too overcome with sleep to enter into and told him, 'I was a dumb dog loving to slumber!' He asked me 'Where does ministry culminate?' After two wrong answers, he said, 'In love! The prodigal gets kissed, he begins with love, and the saint is UNITED, that is the finish of love'.
April 2nd. He saw Mr. Reynolds, but was rather agitated, I think, about the departures for Rotherham; kept on asking about them and the trains. He said, 'They are arriving now about 5 o'clock, Mr. C. meeting them'. Long letter from Mr. Barker lamenting his absence. He dictated a reply to him, 'You would never have a cloud if you are beholding His glory! and if you keep up your intimacy with Him, your feet would be washed . . . THE LORD DOES IT'.
Good Friday, April 3rd. A good night but has been watching the time all day and following them at Rotherham.
April 4th. Had happy meditations in the night. At 4 a.m., he said, 'I am sitting under His shadow with great delight and am greatly cheered by the fact that I have a right to be there, and to stay there. I have been learning that the way to keep there is, "I am crucified with Christ". If I allow any consideration for myself, I am not saying "Not I, but Christ liveth in me".' And later he said, 'Everyone has to learn the relief by going THROUGH THE CIRCUMCISION. DON'T FORGET THAT!' Later on, talking of his happy night and saying how few really love the Lord: 'The sense I have known myself of having to rush off to my room to be alone with Him as if one could not tell anyone else; I so enjoy the feeling that it is my place to sit under His shadow. It is so secure, so true, so abiding', and as he said it, his eyes closed, and he looked as if in very deed his spirit had passed into the region of the unseen and eternal.
Sunday, April 5th. Asked for tidings of Rotherham and cheered to hear of their good meeting. Reading in John 13, 14, 17, full of the Lord's way with His own, and on what a wonderful path the Christian's would be if he went straight on from the first as IN CHRIST, and not in Adam. Talking of death, he said, 'A man might be enjoying the Lord more, he might think, than usual, and he might be really passing away, and find himself actually with the Lord'.
April 9th. Cheered by good accounts of Rotherham. Talking of prayer, he said, 'If you know that He hears you, you must be near Him to know it!' . . . 'Great thing to go back to your beginning with the Lord, to find that as He is the only one before God, so He is also YOUR ONLY ONE'. . . . 'Looking for happiness in things, instead of in a Person, will never find it'. Talking of servants having a special line or impressions given by God, I said, 'What is yours?' He replied, 'Oh, I think GLORY IS MY IMPRESSION!' And about going to the morning meeting, he said, 'Many things have cleared up to me in a special way since I lost the favour of being in the assembly' . . . 'No one is really proof against the world who does not know the love of the Father, and no one is proof against the flesh unless he is in Christ' . . . 'One going on in devotedness to the Lord is like a spring in the desert' . . . 'I am learning more every day that the more absolutely I am freed from the old man, the more I find that Christ can be more to me than ever' . . . 'How much I have lost by occupation with myself, and present things, and how much I now enjoy having only to do with eternal things'. Writing on where your treasure is, 'Very few cultivate the Lord's presence as a place to retire to, or make it a retreat'.
Friday, May 1st. He alluded to his life with Mr. Darby in 1835, and his having at that time written some lines of a hymn, 'This world to us is vile and dross, Whate'er was gain we count but loss, For Heaven is our home'. His comment on it is, as he lies here reflecting on his life since, is that it is a great thing to get hold definitely of Christ's PLACE; he did not then know the way to it as he does now, and can now more truly say, 'This world is a wilderness wide, we have nothing to seek or to choose'.
Talking of those he prays for, he says: 'I begin at Dublin every morning, and travel round to all the places by Belfast to Scotland, Edinburgh, and London'. . . . 'The first step in Christian experience is crucified with Christ'. He is thinking much of being over Jordan, and the effect for those who have to renew their links here. As for himself, he need never do so. 'What joy to find that the old man was crucified with Christ' . . . to himself as one practically apart from this scene, a source of unspeakable joy and comfort.
May 13th. Thinking much of his birthday . . . 82 today . . . reviewing past years. I gave him the text ending: "Where I am, there shall also my servant be" (John 12: 26). He said, 'I like that text . . . in our journey to the Lord, a day must come when we experimentally cross the Jordan to go to Him now'.
May 17th. 'I have had such a sweet meditation on John 17. Read it to me'. As I did so, he looked up with the most intense brightness in his eyes and said, 'Oh, I have had such a splendid view of the gospel! that God should have totally disposed of the man under judgment and brought in a man after His own pleasure! . . . the totality . . . the completeness of it, not an atom of the old man to be seen'. Then he asked for John 14, the Lord's side of it, 'As we could not be in the assembly today, we could be with Him in spirit according to John 14'. Another time: 'If you have crossed the Jordan, you are in Christ's life . . . you are not always crossing the Jordan, but you cannot lose the sense that you have been in His life . . . that is the state for it, as the best robe is the state for the enjoyment of the great supper'.
Lying awake at 3 a.m. he said, 'I have had such a beautiful meditation. I saw the old man so completely set aside by God in judgment, and the Holy Ghost setting up Christ here on earth. I got such a view of it . . . but you must ponder it to see its immensity' . . . 'It is the favour of the Lord to keep one here for His pleasure, but when I think the Lord knows so well the difference between this place and His place, He could only continue here, one who wanted to go to Him for His own pleasure and for their benefit'.
June 7th. Reading Acts 7 and John 14. 'What He is inside with His own. Now we know Him if we are of His company. We go out to express Him in the 15th. Abide in Him, that is tantamount, I think, to holding the Head'. I then read chapter 17, 'What we are formed of . . . nothing in this world to add to us. Wonderful thing if we were all formed of it . . . the unity would be perfect, and the power complete. If only two or three brethren were fully united in the truth, what strength it would give, all spake the same thing'. Another time, 'Without Me ye can do nothing . . . a very sweeping statement, but very encouraging'.
July 10th. Talking of the difference between the love of God and love of the Father . . . 'the former comes down to our human affairs; the latter is only known in reference to what I am in Christ'.
August 14th. I asked, 'how he felt as to being shut out from the assembly?' He said, 'I think we get in John 14 what the Lord is INSIDE WITH HIS OWN . . . in the holiest. The great point, as far as I see, in 1 Corinthians 14, is edification, so that the more we are with the Lord in the assembly, the more we are edified, and the more fitted we are to show forth the praises of Him who has called us. At the same time, every individual servant receives instruction from Him as the Head with regard to His interests here, so that he knows what the Lord would have him do, even though he be debarred from the assembly where, in company with others, he would be enabled to testify of Him, therefore I read John 14. I get a deeper acquaintance of what He is to His own inside, though I am not permitted to be within His assembly on earth'. He said to me, 'You ought to go to the meeting . . . the assembly is for those who are staying in the world, to learn the mind of the Lord, and to go out for Him . . . not for those who, like me, are going out of the world . . . THEY ARE GOING TO HIM!'
August 30th. Read Psalm 63 and 73 to show the contrast between individual blessing from the Lord's presence, when there was only a cloud of glory, and what it should be now, that we know a Person, as in John 14. This day last year was the last time he ever stood up to preach on 'The Gospel of the Glory' (Acts 7).
September 1st. Alluding again to our reading, 'If David in the wilderness far away from the tabernacle could get such comfort in his remembrance of the glory of God in the sanctuary and be able to say, 'My soul followeth hard after Thee', how much more ought I to be able to say it in remembrance of the Lord in the midst of His own? . . . so in Psalm 73, it is my own individual difficulties that get solved in the sanctuary . . . how much more now in the presence of the Lord Himself'.
September 2nd. (His last reading at the room here in 1895, was on Consecration . . . Leviticus 8 and Hebrews. He was so tired that night, he went straight up to his room from the cab). Thinking about the work of the Spirit . . . Divine love makes you its object, but never makes you self-centred, as natural love does, and in Divine sympathy, you are drawn away from your weakness or sorrow to a scene of imperishable bliss, to where He is Himself.
Talking of the effect of truth, he said, 'What really produces a "brother" is that he believes on a risen Christ, and has received the Holy Ghost, then he cannot listen to ordained ministry. How rarely you meet anyone who has learned not only that he has received the Spirit, but to walk in the Spirit . . . I was thinking this morning that what souls want is, to know the Lord in glory. It not only attracts to Him, but it separates from earth. May you be more drawn to Christ in glory!' I asked, 'Why is there so little worship?' He said, 'The Lord must be present for worship. A dog would not fawn on his master if his master were not present'.
Reading John as usual and talking of 'Divine seclusion, no place for Christ on earth, but there, where in Divine seclusion, He gathers His own around Himself, and even then, He is only known as present by those whose feet are washed, and who are in communion with Him' . . . 'Christians love to hear, read, think, and speak of the Lord who yet lack one great thing, viz., to be alone with Him. It is an unspeakable blessing that God has given us a Person to be the comfort and solace of our hearts, so that at times we can truly say: "Never less alone than when alone".'
Talking about the beginnings of evil, he said of Judas, 'Satan first put it into his heart, but there was a moment when Satan entered into him'. 'Keep Christ in glory as your polar star, and you will be kept right . . . It is a great thing now that each one can be a living stone, contributing to God's assembly' . . . 'It is very blessed to feel that the Lord is better to us than thousands of gold and silver. I do not mean what He does, but what He is. What a shake I got as to everything here when I first saw that the Lord had bought the world for the sake of the treasure in it. He has nothing else in it now, and how can I receive position or status from it! Nothing ought to affect us like the Lord's rejection if we entered into it deeply'.
October 30th. Sent a message to one, 'It is a great thing for us to learn death in three aspects: 1st, as typified in the waters of The Red Sea . . . the judgment of death . . . a way opened through the death and resurrection of Christ; next, in the wilderness there is nothing but Marah . . . death is our portion here . . . but Christ having passed through it sweetens it for us. Then Jordan is our death WITH Him, and the moment we touch it, we find all judgment is passed, sorrow is gone, and we have to do with Him at the other side of death. We are in the life of Christ . . . He is our life'.
November 6th. 'I am quite full of the magnificence of my subject' was my first greeting this morning. 'The Lord as Creator becoming Man, answering to God in every trait of manhood, through weakness and trial . . . from Heaven, declared to be as Man the Father's delight. He first answered to God as Man, and then declares God to man'. He dictated for nearly an hour, and said at the end, 'I don't know whether I have brought it out, but I feel quite full of the magnificence of it'. Talking of C. H. M., he said, 'He is now where love is satisfied. My idea of the burial of a saint is to set forth the transcendent blessedness of being with the Lord. Everyone knows something of the blessing of His being with us, but no one tastes the fullness of His love unless He is with Him outside everything here. Human feeling is right in connection with human affection, but Divine love seeks nothing but company and concert'.
November 16th. 'When the past is in power, the present is known, but unless the present is in power the future is not known' . . . Delighting in the thought that 'The end of the Church on earth will be like its beginning when the Lord Himself was the one absorbing object to the disciples. Their desire to be with Him, and to have His company with them. The candlestick, and everything gone, but the faithful one clings to Himself with little power, but keeping His Word, and not denying His Name' . . . Writing on the righteousness of God, he describes it as that which suits God; and of deliverance through the Spirit, the old man superseded in me by Christ, the new I. Not I, but Christ. Talking of the crown in Philadelphia, Revelation 3, he thinks it is the Lord Himself.
November 29th. Reading Psalm 84, 'How little we know of that great longing'. Talking also of the departed, 'Whether we wake or sleep we LIVE together with Him' . . . 'Abram setting out for the place appointed to him by God. Faith has to do directly with God. Providence or human wisdom will only divert you from faith' . . . 'It took me a long time to get to the top of Mount Moriah! When there, you find that it is all darkness on your side, but you have the light of God in the resurrection of Christ. Wonderful history! All the exercises he went through. How long I have taken to learn every step of that road'.
Reading the gospel of Mark with much enjoyment: 'The good of reading the gospels is that you get the manner of His grace in beautiful touches, as with the blind man and feeding the multitude, &c'.
December 5th. Delighting in the history of Moses: 'His faith carries him over every obstacle and difficulty in the path into the land in company with the Heavenly One. His witness down here . . . I enjoyed it much . . . I could not sleep for thinking of it'.
December 20th. Reading Psalm 73, 'What a little sight of Him gives blessing . . . not a cloud of glory now, but a Person. I often think what mercy that I never was debarred by illness from going to the assembly'.
December 24th. His desire for one in sorrow, 'that you may find such a retreat in the presence of Christ in glory as to be able to face all the difficulties here in the freshness and vigour that His Presence affords'. Talked very sweetly of the mercies of the past year.
Friday, January 1st, 1897. Awoke early and did not sleep again. I said, 'I am afraid you are thinking of the New Year?' 'Yes', he said, 'though I do not look forward to it, or expect to see it out. I do not know the moment I may be gone'. Sending and giving texts to us all. He was sent a New Year's card with his own lines on it, written while in college, at the age of 20. He was asked about breaking bread with an invalid in his own room? He replied, 'My thought is that we remember the Lord's death, because we are living in the place where He died. It is our proper start instead of seeking something to exalt ourselves. We begin our week by the remembrance of His death, and if we know Him in glory, it only draws our hearts more to Him, and severs us from all human expectation here. I think it is quite different with an invalid who is about to pass out of the world. I am afraid it is often done as a sort of consolation, and in Christendom as a means of grace' . . . 'A devoted man is like a spruce fir tree, one shoot striking upwards, not detracting but encouraging all the other branches to follow' . . . 'Stick to what you get' . . . 'My prayer for —— is that she may be permanent' . . . 'Nothing so difficult as to get people to cultivate seclusion with the Lord. They will read or pray or visit, but are slow to seek solitude with Him' . . . 'I often contemplate my departure, but it is the Lord's pleasure to keep me here'.
February 1st. Talking very sweetly about 'praying for the crooked and insignificant ones, that the fact that there is love in the heart of God for them is such an encouragement to him to pray for them that he can plead 'the love wherewith he loves Christ' to bless them'. Praying very touchingly that we might know the Lord in His place of greatness, and splendour, and remember Him here in death . . . 'that His Presence might be our desire, not looking for anything here, but for His Presence where is fullness of joy . . . and for others that they might SEEK HIS FACE' continuously.
Reading Psalm 24 and 118, Revelation 21 and John 14, and prayed that 'our hearts might be drawn to the Lord in glory, not only as a future hope, but for present joy and blessing'. Thinks we are all more or less defective in two things . . . 'in not having deliverance and in not having come to the Living Stone; all God's purposes to be enjoyed by and bye, but it is only as we experience them step by step in Divine order that we have part in His purpose now'.
February 27th. 'I feel it such a favour to be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world. I am only just beginning to realize it fully for myself . . . when I think of how much trees and fields used to interest me!'
March 7th. Reading Numbers: 'The Divine path to Canaan . . . no other road to Heaven but through the wilderness'. He spoke of 'the difference between knowing the Lord's love and knowing Him as the Wisdom of God. The first gives confidence, the second confidingness, the One who can solve everything for me so that myself is lost . . . like the Queen of Sheba . . . no more spirit left in her'. He asked for Colossians 1:5: The hope laid up in Heaven. Had a bad turn at 9 p.m., coughed till 2 a.m., when he got relief.
March 8th. Began his paper on 'As is the Heavenly' . . . said he did not think his time here could be long . . . talked of this day 33 years ago . . . of Abney Park, Mr. G. V. Wigram, at Mr. Elwood's grave side, 'Death is ours'.
March 9th. 'I have had a refreshing night, thank God'.
March 10th. 'It has been such a comfort to me to see the great grace in connecting the Lord's death with Marah. Fellowship with His death sweetens death to us. I had long ago seen our side to it'. Reading in our chapter in Numbers, he said, 'We leave the path to Heaven when we seek anything to enjoy down here, and lose our anchorage within the veil, and drift on the shore of this world. We are idolaters if we enjoy ourselves where Christ has died'. Delighting in that verse: 'As I have seen Thee in the sanctuary', Psalm 63: 2 . . . 'See how they looked for Him in the wilderness. If we did that in the assembly, what it would be. That is what makes that Psalm so sweet to me'.
March 16th. 'How the sense of Marah here is relieved by fellowship with Christ's death. If our hearts are set upon the place where Christ is, we have our anchorage there . . . within the veil'.
March 17th. The great service of His Priesthood is to bear us above the weakness of humanity . . . a blessed moment when one weighed down with bereavement is drawn so near to Himself that the bereaved one is consoled by His company.
March 19th. Writing on 'the power connected with our walk in grace'.
March 21st. Reading 1 Corinthians 10 and 11, and John 14. 'You must have your feet washed to be in John 14. You cannot really remember the Lord if you are not in communion with Him. He had not gone to Heaven yet, but in Divine seclusion, He prepares them for the journey here'. Prayed 'that we might have fellowship with His death while associated with Him in glory' . . . 'journeying on to Him . . . remembering His death in the place where He died while passing through this scene'.
March 23rd. Feeling so well after a nice sleep, he said, 'I felt a clear man, that I had shaken off everything'.
March 26th. Enjoying Luke 22 and John 20 and 14. 'How little the Lord is known as the Forerunner. I am trying to realize what over Jordan is'. He then became so absorbed in prayer, that I stood for ever so long beside him, with his food in my hand, not liking to disturb the look of rapt absorption as if his spirit were really beyond it all. His eyes opened with a look of intense brightness as he saw me waiting for him. When reading John 14: 'We know not where Thou goest', he said, 'The first failure was in not knowing WHERE HE IS'.
March 27th. Hopes to be gone by his birthday (May 13th).
April 4th. Reading in 1 Corinthians and John 14, and praying about 'having fellowship with His death, and knowing Him as forerunner'.
April 7th. Awoke with the thought 'that it is as much God's grace to put us over Jordan as to save us'. Someone wrote of Lord Plunkett (just dead): 'God buries His workmen but carries on His work'. He said, 'Read that again!'
April 8th. He said, 'I awoke this morning with it very freshly before me that Christ is rejected here, and therefore He could use nothing of this world for His own'. Had a weary night but dictating his paper with more than usual vigour.
April 11th. He asked for the passages in Exodus about Priesthood . . . also Luke 22 and John 14. Speaking of 'the contrast between Luke and John . . . the blessed unique Man . . . and the Divine power of God bringing us to share with Him'.
April 12th. Dreamed that his friends were pressing round him . . . asked me not to summon anyone to him if he got worse.
Good Friday. A quiet day. He said, 'My prayer for people, is that they might seek Him. Seek ye my face'.
April 18th. 'Let us read Psalm 18, the resurrection Psalm, also Luke 21. Wonderful scene! How little we remember that we are in the place where it happened. How slowly we get to the right idea of truth'. Reading John 14 at verse 6, he said, 'That came with such comfort to me a few days ago . . . "I am the way". If we have HIM, we have everything'. He asked me to look out the word 'heresy' 'opinion among you', going to write on it. Thanking the Lord for the good accounts from Rotherham . . . 'Lord lead us to see Thee in glory outside everything here'.
April 19th. He said to his doctor: 'Do you know what 'Cead mille failthe' means? . . . 10,000 welcomes! It is written over the door of Heaven for every believer: go and tell people that!' Asked me to find 'The commandment of the Lord is pure!' Psalm 19: 8. The whole afternoon lying with his eyes shut, 'going his rounds', as he calls it. I often peep behind the curtain at him, and say to myself, 'In spirit, there already;' such a look of heavenly peace and unearthly contentment. His mind far away in deep contemplation and communion.
April 25th. Had a bad fit of coughing at 4 a.m., did not get any rest till after breakfast; reading Isaiah 53, Luke 22, and John 14, saying, 'How little we realize what the Lord actually went through here;' prayed 'that we may know how God has made us to share with His own Son, not only in glory by-and-bye, but in our path down here . . . that we might understand that our little sufferings here are for discipline, and as necessary in the place where Christ died and where He is rejected' . . . too tired to dictate today.
April 27th. I was standing by him today feeding him when he shut his eyes and kept me waiting for some minutes. At last, I said, 'Are you in pain?' He opened his eyes with that exquisitely beaming look so peculiar to him now, and said, 'Oh, no, only thinking'. 'Of what?' 'Of C. E. S. and the New Creation', and then went on with his luncheon.
April 29th. Had to tell him about Mr. Chrimes. He took it calmly, but said, 'Oh, my, oh, my, to think he should be taken before me? I have lost a true friend'. Thinking much of Mrs. Chrimes, dictated a letter to her, saying how he rejoiced 'to think of his dear friend's delight in His Saviour's presence'.
April 30th. Well and bright today . . . had a great many letters; dictated replies to several. Alluding to Mr. Chrimes, he said, 'It was not so much his kindness to me, great as it was, that bound me to him, but the way he stood by me for the Lord's sake when the truth was assailed'. In the evening, he asked me to read the 'Voice to the Faithful' to him. To his own paper, he said, 'It reads better than I expected, but I wonder who will care to study it'. At 10 p.m. he was turned as usual.
May 1st, 1897. He had an unusually good sleep till 2 a.m. I heard him cough and went to him; he made light of it, but it went on, and got worse, and though we gave him all the usual remedies, the breathing became loud and rapid; but about 3 o'clock it gradually got better. He said to me, 'That will do, child'. We then arranged his pillows on what he called the sleeping side, that is, on the right side, with his face resting against a slanting hair pillow. I said, 'I think you, will go to sleep now'. 'Yes, I am just dropping off', and he closed his eyes. He always settled to sleep 'sitting under His shadow', AND HE NEVER MOVED AGAIN!
I stood beside him thanking the Lord, as I had so often done before, for putting him to sleep! and as I did so, a feeling came over me that I cannot describe but shall never forget, of the Lord's DEEP LOVE FOR HIM. [He had entered into the Lord’s presence at the precise moment!] It was not His love to myself or anything else . . . but just as if He came close beside us, to assure me how dear he was to Him. He seemed to say to me, 'He is mine!' I had no thought of his being taken then, but sat down on my couch to meditate on what had passed.
Sarah soon came back . . . she had gone downstairs for some milk . . . it was daylight, but we had drawn the curtain, and had only a dim night light burning, but we could just see the dear face laid against the pillow with a look of the most perfect rest. It was usual for Sarah to go away to bed at this hour, but in her care for me she said, 'You lie down; I will stay till he awakes'.
Another gracious ordering that I was not alone. We looked at him, and said how sweetly he was sleeping, but it never occurred to us that the beloved spirit had actually taken flight. She turned to the fireplace and I to my couch, when we heard a little movement, and she was beside him in a second. Holding the dear head in both her hands, she laid it back upon the pillow, and he still looked in peaceful sleep. 'He is gone', she said . . . 'gone from us' . . . I could not believe it . . . only a few moments since his beloved lips were speaking to me. It could not be. I took the precious hand to press it to my lips . . . it was warm and life-like. The face also quite warm and natural. For long, I knelt beside him thinking he must move again, and trying to take it in that this indeed was death . . . that dreaded moment could not come so quietly . . . so quickly. It was but the twinkling of an eye, and all was over. Could it be really so? When the first shock was over and I could hear the Lord's voice, He said to me, 'that He had come for His own, and He had really called him away at that moment when He condescended to give me such a sense of His love to him'. The words came to my mind, 'All mine are Thine and thine are Mine, and I am glorified in them', and, oh, the flood of glory that lighted up my heart as I thought of my precious one with Him . . . with Him where He is 'found beside Him', that is what he looked for (see December 14th, 1895). How like the Lord to do it all so tenderly! What but Divine love could act so graciously! I watched him long and silently without a tear as I kissed that most beloved face, now still and silent to me. When I had dressed and came back to look at him, the calm sweet face expressed victory and peace.
A Meditation—(Luke 9:28, 36) It is very important that we should apprehend the Lord's Presence. He is now in glory. When we behold His glory, He is exclusively before us. As set forth in Scripture, 'it is Jesus only'. So, when we are in His Presence, when He is in our midst, He exclusively absorbs us. You must be in His Presence to understand the peculiar blessing of being completely apart from yourself or anyone else but rejoicing that you are with Him. I turn to 1 Kings 10: 4, where we get in type our present portion. The Queen of Sheba is introduced into Solomon's private circle. She was not occupied with his great work but with his home circle, and thus his wisdom is seen in detail. It is in that circle we properly learn everything. All on our own side is in abeyance and the greater than Solomon commands the homage of our hearts. It is very blessed to see that to the end in the darkest day . . . the Lord's presence is still the light and joy of the assembly. As the remnant of Israel in their darkest day looked for and found the house of God, as we learn from the fifteen steps . . . Psalms 120 to 134.
The Lord is our resource, as we see in Revelation 3:7. The two or three who have come to Him . . . the Living Stone . . . will surely find Him in their midst, and the darker the day, the more will He be to them, as at the close: "I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star" (Revelation 22:16). Not only the Morning Star . . . but He is bright, so that the Spirit and the bride say "Come". He is exclusively the resource and attraction of His own, and they KNOW that He is. J. B. S.
September 1895. J. B. S. Extract from a Letter:
I have been dwelling much upon the marks of a man who had learned that he is in Christ, and not in Adam. This has led me with deep interest to the subject of God's purpose for the church, suggested to me by the words, "Take heed therefore how ye hear" (Luke 8: 18). I see that there are seven steps or stages in the range of God's purpose for us . . . beginning with salvation and ending with union.
First . . . Salvation is appropriated as well as apprehended by faith, because it is God's grace transferring you from Adam to Christ. In Christ, you are on new ground. If you do not accept this, you make no advance because it is in the life of Christ you have deliverance. Many who want to make the other steps appropriated by faith, are greatly deceived, they can learn very clearly from Scripture the other steps, and speak of them very accurately and interestingly . . . as one would write poetry, which is really carrying you in imagination beyond your experience . . . but if you have learned the first step, you are in Christ . . . in His life . . . you know His love; you know something in addition to salvation.
Next . . . When you reach the Living Stone in the assembly, your heart will rejoice, and your joy no man shall take from you. You gain immensely because you are led into the blessedness of His acceptance before God, in the Holiest of all.
Then . . . According as you are led, you can serve Him here; quite a new day for you.
Fourthly . . . When you enter into the great fact that you are dead with Him from the rudiments of the world, you have reached Him in His own sphere; and,
Fifthly . . . You are there, serving Him according to His direction.
Sixthly . . . Now is made known to you that you are united to Him in Heaven, making known to you the wonderful blessedness of being so near Him, knowing His love, and in His perfect confidence; and,
Finally . . . You come out as a new man in heavenly power to maintain for Him, in face of all opposition in this present scene, waiting for His appearing.
How many only know the first . . . salvation . . . and they have no joy beyond the joy of salvation. They can speak correctly of all the other stages, but are never in the enjoyment of them, and do not give you the impression of having acquired anything GREAT. It is mental acquisition instead of experimental . . . I think it accounts for many who are happy in their salvation, who do not seem to have acquired anything but their salvation, and all the immense blessings which would follow are unknown to them.
J. B. S.