AT THE MASTER'S FEET
Written by the man who once burned the Bible & ended
up preaching the Bible for the rest of his days.
SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
TRANSLATED FROM THE URDU BY
REV. ARTHUR AND MRS. PARKER
FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY
LONDON AND EDINBURGH
NOTE BY THE
This little book was
published in Urdu in India, where also an English translation was issued.
In the preparation of this translation we have been fortunate in having
the co-operation of the Sadhu himself, and in concert with him certain
alterations have been made with a view to remove obscurities and give added
point and clearness wherever possible. While striving to provide a careful
translation, a certain freedom of expression has been made use of wherever
necessary, at the same time care has been taken to preserve the true spirit
and meaning of the original.
To those who, like ourselves, have had the good fortune to see the
Sadhu at his work in India, the whole atmosphere of the book is familiar. In
true Oriental fashion one has seen him seated on the ground in the midst of
a large number of eager inquirers of both sexes and all classes. His bearing
on such occasions one can never forget. His simplicity and plain common
sense often lay open the very heart of a spiritual problem, and his quiet
humour raises an occasional ripple of amusement, which again subsides into a
feeling of reverence as the deeper significance of his answers makes itself
The man himself, in his own gracious and dignified personality, makes
an indelible impression on the mind. He becomes more than a charming memory;
he remains as a compelling force in the lives of many who have sat with him
at the Master's feet.
little book goes out as an emanation from a mind chastened and refined by
experience and prayerful meditation, and chosen by the Lord of love and
mercy to make Him known in life as well as in word.
Rebecca J. Parker
The words of Christ -
"Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am." (John
"Take my yoke upon you and learn of me . . . and ye shall find rest
unto your souls." (Matt. xi.29)
There is nothing so perfect in the world as to be quite above objection
and criticism. The very sun which gives us light and warmth is not free from
spots, yet notwithstanding these defects it does not desist from its regular
duty. It behooves us in like manner to carry on to the best of our ability
what has been entrusted to us, and strive constantly to make our lives
When the truths set forth in this book were revealed to me by the
Master they deeply affected my life, and some of them have been used by me
in my sermons and addresses in Europe, America, Africa, Australia, and Asia.
At the request of many friends I have now gathered them together in this
little book, and though it is possible that there are defects in setting
them forth, I am sure that those who read them with prayer and an
unprejudiced mind will benefit from them as I have.
It would be impossible for me to set forth these truths that have been
revealed to me except in parabolic language, but by the use of parables my
task has been made comparatively easy.
It is my prayer that as God by His grace and mercy has blessed me by
these truths, so also they may be a blessing to every reader.
Once on a dark night I went
alone into the forest to pray, and seating myself upon a rock I laid before
God my deep necessities, and besought His help. After a short time, seeing a
poor man coming towards me I thought he had come to ask me for some relief
because he was hungry and cold. I said to him, "I am a poor man, and except
this blanket I have nothing at all. You had better go to the village near by
and ask for help there." And lo! even whilst I was saying this he flashed
forth like lightning, and, showering drops of blessing, immediately
disappeared. Alas! Alas! it was now clear to me that this was my beloved
Master who came not to beg from a poor creature like me, but to bless and to
enrich me (2 Cor. viii.9), and so I was left weeping and lamenting my folly
and lack of insight.
On another day, my work being
finished, I again went into the forest to pray, and seated upon that same
rock began to consider for what blessings I should make petition. Whilst
thus engaged it seemed to me that another came and stood near me, who,
judged by his bearing and dress and manner of speech, appeared to be a
revered and devoted servant of God; but his eyes glittered with craft and
cunning, and as he spoke he seemed to breathe an odour of hell.
He thus addressed me, "Holy and Honoured Sir, pardon me for
interrupting your prayers and breaking in on your privacy; but is is one's
duty to seek to promote the advantage of others, and therefore I have come
to lay an important matter before you. Your pure and unselfish life has made
a deep impression not only on me, but upon a great number of devout persons.
But although in the Name of God you have sacrificed yourself body and soul
for others, you have never been truly appreciated. My meaning is that being
a Christian only a few thousand Christians have come under your influence,
and some even of these distrust you. How much better would it be if you
adopted another ‘religion’, and thus become a great leader indeed? People of
other ‘religions’ are in search of such a spiritual head. If you accept this
suggestion of mine, then three hundred and ten millions of people will
become your followers, and render you reverent homage."
As soon as I heard this there rushed from my lips these words, "Thou
Satan! get thee hence. I knew at once that thou wert a wolf in sheep's
clothing! Thy one wish is that I should give up the cross and the narrow
path that leads to life, and choose the broad road of death. My Master
Himself is my lot and my portion, who Himself gave His life for me, and it
behooves me to offer as a sacrifice my life and all I have to Him who is all
in all to me. Get you gone therefore, for with you I have nothing to do."
Hearing this he went off grumbling and growling in his rage. And I, in
tears, thus poured out my soul to God in prayer, "My Lord God, my all in
all, life of my life, and spirit of my spirit, look in mercy upon me and so
fill me with Thy Holy Spirit that my heart shall have no room for love of
aught but Thee. I seek from Thee no other gift but Thyself, who art the
Giver of life and all its blessings. From Thee I ask not for the world or
its treasures, nor yet for heaven even make request, but Thee alone do I
desire and long for, and where Thou art there is Heaven. The hunger and the
thirst of this heart of mine can be satisfied only with Thee who hast given
it birth. O Creator mine! Thou hast created my heart for Thyself alone, and
not for another, therefore this my heart can find no rest or ease save in
Thee, in Thee who hast both created it and set in it this very longing for
rest. Take away then from my heart all that is opposed to Thee, and enter
and abide and rule for ever. Amen."
When I rose up from this prayer I beheld a glowing Being, arrayed in
light and beauty, standing before me. Though He spoke not a word, and
because my eyes were suffused with tears I saw Him not too clearly, there
poured from Him lightning-like rays of life-giving love with such power that
they entered in and bathed my very soul. At once I knew that my dear Saviour
stood before me. I rose at once from the rock where I was seated and fell at
His feet. He held in His hand the key of my heart. Opening the inner chamber
of my heart with His key of love, He filled it with His presence, and
wherever I looked, inside or out, I saw but Him.
Then did I know that man's heart is the very throne and citadel of God,
and that when He enters there to abide, heaven begins. In these few seconds
He so filled my heart, and spoke such wonderful words, that even if I wrote
many books I could not tell them all. For these heavenly things can be
explained only in heavenly language, and earthly tongues are not sufficient
for them. Yet I will endeavour to set down a few of these heavenly things
that by way of vision came to me from the Master. Upon the rock on which
before I sat He seated Himself, and with myself at His feet there began
between Master and disciple the conversation that now follows.
I. THE MANIFESTATION
OF GOD'S PRESENCE
The Disciple,--O Master, Fountain of life!
Why dost Thou hide Thyself from those that adore Thee, and dost not rejoice
the eyes of them that long to gaze upon Thee?
The Master,--1. My true child, true happiness depends not upon
the sight of the eyes, but comes through spiritual vision, and depends upon
the heart. In Palestine thousands looked upon Me, but all of them did not
thus obtain true happiness. By mortal eyes only those things can be
perceived that are mortal, for eyes of flesh cannot behold an immortal God
and spiritual beings. For instance, you yourself cannot see your own spirit,
therefore how can you behold its Creator? But when the spiritual eyes are
opened, then you can surely see Him who is Spirit, (John iv.24), and that
which you now see of Me you see not with eyes of flesh, but with the eyes of
If, as you say, thousands of people saw Me in Palestine then were all
their spiritual eyes opened, or did I Myself become mortal? The answer is,
No! I took on a mortal body so that in it I might give a ransom for the sins
of the world; and when the work of salvation was completed for sinners (John
xix.30), then that which was immortal transfigured what was mortal into
glory. Therefore after the resurrection only those were able to see Me who
had received spiritual sight (Acts x. 40,41).
2. Many there are in this world who know about Me, but do not know Me;
that is they have no personal relationship with Me, therefore they have no
true apprehension of or faith in Me, and do not accept Me as their Saviour
Just as if one talks with a man born blind about different colors such
as red, blue, yellow, he remains absolutely unaware of their charm and
beauty, he cannot attach any value to them, because he only knows about
them, and is aware of their various names. But with regard to colors he can
have no true conception until his eyes are opened. In the same manner until
a man's spiritual eyes are opened, howsoever learned he may be, he cannot
know Me, he cannot behold My glory, and he cannot understand that I am God
3. There are many believers who are aware of My presence in their
hearts bringing to them spiritual life and peace, but cannot plainly see Me.
Just as the eye can see many things, yet when someone drops medicine into
the eye does not see it, but the presence of the medicine is felt cleansing
the inner eye and promoting the power of sight.
4. The true peace which is born of My presence in the hearts of true
believers they are unable to see, but, feeling its power, they become happy
in it. Nor can they see that happiness of mind or heart through which they
enjoy the peace of My presence. It is the same with the tongue and
sweetmeats. The faculty of taste which resides in the tongue and the
sweetness it perceives are both invisible. Thus also I give My children life
and joy by means of the hidden manna, which the world with all its wisdom
knows not nor can know (Rev. ii.7).
5. Sometimes during sickness the faculty of taste in the tongue is
interfered with, and during that time, however tasty the food given to the
sick person may be, it has an ill taste to him. In just the same way sin
interferes with the taste for spiritual things. Under such circumstances My
Word and service and My presence lost their attraction to the sinner, and
instead of profiting by them he begins to argue about and to criticize them.
6. Many believers again--like the man born blind, on receiving his
sight--are able to see Jesus as a prophet and the Son of Man, but do not
regard Him as the Christ and the Son of God (John ix.17, 35-37), until I am
revealed to them a second time in power.
7. A mother once hid herself in a garden amongst some densely growing
shrubs, and her little son went in search of her here and there, crying as
he went. Through the whole garden he went, but could not find her. A servant
said to him, "Sonny, don't cry! Look at the mangoes on this tree and all the
pretty, pretty flowers in the garden. Come, I am going to get some for you."
But the child cried out, "No! No! I want my mother. The food she gives me is
nicer than all the mangoes, and her love is sweeter far than all these
flowers, and indeed you know that all this garden is mine, for all that my
mother has is mine. No! I want my mother!" When the mother, hidden in the
bushes, heard this, she rushed out and, snatching her child to her breast,
smothered him with kisses, and that garden became a paradise to the child.
In this way My children cannot find in this great garden of a world, so full
of charming and beautiful things, any true joy until they find Me. I am
their Emmanuel, who is ever with them, and I make Myself known to them (John
8. Just as the sponge lies in the water, and the water fills the
sponge, but the water is not the sponge and the sponge is not the water, but
they ever remain different things, so children abide in Me and I in them.
This is not pantheism, but it is the kingdom of God, which is set up in the
hearts of those who abide in this world; and just as the water in the
sponge, I am in every place and in everything, but they are not I (Luke
9. Take a piece of charcoal, and however much you may wash it its
blackness will not disappear, but let the fire enter into it and its dark
colour vanishes. So also when the sinner receives the Holy Spirit (who is
from the Father and Myself, for the Father and I are one), which is the
baptism of fire, all the blackness of sin is driven away, and he is made a
light to the world (Matt. iii.11, v.14). As the fire in the charcoal, so I
abide in My children and they in Me, and through them I make Myself manifest
to the world.
The Disciple,--Master, if Thou wouldst make
a special manifestation of Thyself to the world, men would no longer doubt
the existence of God and Thy own divinity, but all would believe and enter
on the path of righteousness.
The Master,--1. My son, the inner state of every man I know
well, and to each heart in accordance with its needs I make Myself known;
and for bringing men into the way of righteousness there is no better means
than the manifestation of Myself. For man I became man that he might know
God, not as someone terrible and foreign, but as full of love and like to
himself, for he is like Him and made in His image.
Man also has a natural desire that he should see Him in whom he
believes and who loves him. But the Father cannot be seen, for He is by
nature incomprehensible, and he who would comprehend Him must have the same
nature. But man is a comprehensible creature, and being so cannot see God.
Since, however, God is Love and He has given to man that same faculty of
love, therefore, in order that that craving for love might be satisfied, He
adopted a form of existence that man could comprehend. Thus He became man,
and His children with all the holy angels may see Him and enjoy Him (Col.
i.15, ii.9). Therefore I said that he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father
(John xiv.9-10). And although while in the form of man I am called the Son,
I am the eternal and everlasting Father (Isa. ix.6).
2. I and the Father and the Holy Spirit are One. Just as in the sun
there are both heat and light, but the light is not heat, and the heat is
not light, but both are one, though in their manifestation they have
different forms, so I and the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father, bring
light and heat to the world. The Spirit, which is the baptismal fire, burns
to ashes in the hearts of believers all manner of sin and iniquity, making
them pure and holy. I who am the True Light (John i.9, viii.12), dissipate
all dark and evil desires, and leading them in the way of righteousness
bring them at last to their eternal home. Yet We are not three but One, just
as the sun is but one.
3. Whatever worth and power and high faculty God has endowed man with
must be brought into action, otherwise they gradually decay and die. In this
way faith, if it is not truly fixed on the living God, is shattered by the
shock of sin and transformed into doubt. Often one hears something like
this, "If this or that doubt of mine be removed I am ready to believe." That
is as though one with a broken limb should ask the doctor to take away the
pain before he sets the limb. Surely this is folly, for the pain comes from
the breaking of the limb, and when that is set the pain will of itself pass
away. Thus by the act of sin man's tie with God has been snapped, and
doubts, which are spiritual pains, have arisen. It needs must, therefore,
that the union with God be again renewed, then those doubts which have
arisen regarding My divinity and the existence of God will of themselves
disappear. Then in place of pain there will come that wonderful peace which
the world cannot give nor take away. Thus it was that I became flesh, that
between God and poor broken men there might be union, and they might be
happy with Him in heaven for evermore.
4. God is love, and in every living creature He has set this faculty of
love, but especially in man. It is therefore nothing but right that the
Lover who has given us life and reason and love itself should receive His
due tribute of love. His desire is to all He has created, and if this love
be not rightly used, and if we do not with all our heart and soul and mind
and strength love Him who has endowed us with love, then that love falls
from its high estate and becomes selfishness. Thus arises disaster both for
ourselves and for other creatures of God. Every selfish man, strangely
enough, becomes a self-slayer.
This also I have said, "Love thy neighbour as thyself." Now although in
a sense all men are neighbours one of another, yet the reference is
especially to those who habitually live near each other, for it is an easy
matter to live at peace with one who is near at hand for a few days only,
even though he be unfriendly; but in the case of one who has his dwelling
near you, and day by day is the cause of trouble to you, it is most
difficult to bear with him, and love him as yourself. But when you have
conquered in this great struggle it will be more easy to love all others as
When man with all his heart, mind, and soul loves God, and his
neighbour as himself there will be no room for doubts, but in him will be
established that Kingdom of God of which there should be no end, and he,
melted and moulded in the fire of love, will be made into the image of his
heavenly Father, who at the first made him like Himself.
5. Also I manifest Myself by means of My Word (the Bible) to those who
seek Me with a sincere heart. Just as for the salvation of men I took on a
human body, so My Word also, which is Spirit and Life (John vi.63) is
written in the language of men, that is, there are inspired and human
elements united in it. But just as men do not understand Me, so they do not
understand My Word. To understand it a knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek
tongues is not a necessity, but what is necessary is the fellowship of that
Holy Spirit, abiding in whom the prophets and apostles wrote it. Without
doubt the language of this Word is spiritual, and he who is born of the
Spirit is alone able fully to understand it, whether he be acquainted with
the criticism of the world or be only a child, for that spiritual language
is well understood by him since it is his mother tongue. But remember that
those whose wisdom is only of this world cannot understand it, for they have
no share in the Holy Spirit.
6. In the book of nature, of which I also am the Author, I freely
manifest Myself. But for the reading of this book also spiritual insight is
needed, that men may find Me, otherwise there is a danger lest instead of
finding Me they go astray.
Thus the blind man uses the tips of his fingers as eyes, and by means
of touch alone reads a book, but by touch alone can form no real estimate of
its truth. The investigations of agnostics and sceptics prove this, for in
place of perfection they see only defects. Fault finding critics ask, "If
there is an Almighty Creator of the world why are there defects in it, such
as hurricanes, earthquakes, eclipses, pain, suffering, death, and the like?"
The folly of this criticism is similar to that of an unlearned man who finds
fault with an unfinished building or an incomplete picture. After a time,
when he sees them fully finished, he is ashamed of his folly, and ends by
singing their praises. Thus too, God did not in one day give to this world
its present form, nor will it in one day reach perfection. The whole
creation moves onward to perfection, and if it were possible for the man of
this world to see from afar with the eyes of God the perfect world in which
no defect appears, he too would bow in praise before Him and say, "All is
very good" (Gen. i.31).
7. The human spirit abides in the body very much as the chicken in the
shell. If it were possible for the bird within the shell to be told that
outside of it was a great widespread world, with all kinds of fruit and
flowers, with rivers and grand mountains, that its mother also was there,
and that it would see all this when set free from its shell, it could not
understand or believe it. Even if anyone told it that its feathers and eyes,
ready now for use, would enable it to see and to fly, it would not believe
it, nor would any proof be possible till it came out of its shell.
In the same way there are many who are uncertain about the future life
and the existence of God, because they cannot see beyond this shell-like
body of flesh, and their thoughts, like delicate wings, cannot carry them
beyond the narrow confines of the brain. Their weak eyes cannot discover
those eternal and unfading treasures which God has prepared for those who
love Him (Isa. lxiv.4, lxv.17). The necessary condition for attaining to
this eternal life is this, that while still in this body we should receive
from the Holy Spirit by faith that life-giving warmth which the chicken
receives from its mother, otherwise there is danger of death and eternal
8. Again, many say that the thing, or the life, that has a beginning
must of necessity have an end. This is not true, for is not the Almighty who
is able at His will to make from naught a thing which is, also able by the
word of His power to confer immortality on that which He has made? If not He
cannot be called Almighty. Life in this world appears to be liable to decay
and destruction, because it is in subjection to those things which are
themselves the subject of change and decay. But if this life were set free
from these changeful and decaying influences, and brought under the care of
the eternal and unchanging God, who is the fountain and source of eternal
life, it would escape from the clutch of death and attain to eternity.
As for those who believe on Me, "I give unto them eternal life, and
they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand"
(John x.28). "I am the Lord God Almighty that is and was and is to come"
II. SIN AND SALVATION
The Disciple,--Master, it is clear to
almost everyone that to disobey God and to cease to worship Him is sin, and
the deadly result is seen in the present state of the world. But what sin
really is is not absolutely clear. In the very presence of Almighty God, and
in opposition to His will, and in His own world, how did sin come to be?
The Master,--1. Sin is to cast aside the will of God and to live
according to one's own will, deserting that which is true and lawful in
order to satisfy one's own desires, thinking thus to obtain happiness. Yet
in so doing one does not obtain real happiness or enjoy true pleasure. Sin
has no individuality, so that no one can say of it that someone created it.
It is simply the name of a state or condition. There is only one Creator and
He is good, and a good Creator could not have created a bad thing, for to do
so would be against His very nature. And apart from the one Creator there is
no other who could have created sin. Satan can only spoil that which has
already been created, but he has not the power of creating anything. So sin
is not a part of creation, nor has it independent existence such that it
could be created. It is simply a delusive and destructive state of being.
For instance, light is something which has real existence, but darkness
has not; it is only a state, the absence of light. Thus sin or evil is not a
self-existent thing, but simply the absence or nonexistence of good. This
dark state of evil is most terrible, for because of it many miss the right
course, and making shipwreck on the rocks of Satan fall into the darkness of
hell and are lost. For this reason I who am the Light of the world became
manifest in the flesh, so that those who put their trust in Me should not
perish, for I rescue them from the power of darkness and bring them safe to
that desired and heavenly haven, where there is neither name nor sign of
darkness (Rev. xxi.23, xxii.5).
2. You ask how this dark state of sin came to be in the very presence
of the Lord of creation. It arose because Satan and men, of their own motion
in an unlawful and wrong way, sought to carry out their own desires. And if
you ask why God did not make man in such a way that he could not fall into
such a state, the answer is that if he had been constructed like a machine
he could never have attained to that state of happiness which is reached
only by action in accordance with one's own choice. Adam and Eve fell into
the wiles and deceit of Satan because in their sinless state they did not
know there were such things as lies and deceit. Before this, Satan himself
did not know of the existence of that pride by reason of which he was cast
out of heaven, for before him no such thing as pride existed. And although
both in men and Satan this state of sin came to be, God by His almighty
power has given that state a new aspect, so that even from it He has brought
forth the noblest results.
First of all, the boundless love of God was made manifest in the
incarnation and redemption, which under other circumstances would have
remained hidden; and in the second place, the redeemed, after having tasted
the bitterness of sin, will more richly enjoy the happiness of heaven, just
as after a taste of bitterness the sweetness of honey gives greater delight.
For in heaven they sin no more, but in meekness and obedient love they serve
their Father God, and abide with Him in joy for evermore.
3. Men are keen on discovering faults in the sun and moon, such as
spots and eclipses, but to the spots and eclipses of sin they give no heed.
From this you may measure how great that darkness in men is, when the very
light they have is darkness (Matt. vi.23). Just as the body of the leper by
reason of his disease becomes numb and insensible, so the heart and mind of
man by reason of sin become dull and insensate, and bring to him no sense of
disgust or pain. But the time will come when he will awake to its terrible
ravages, and then there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
4. Many who are immersed in sin are unaware of its load, just as one
who dives into the water may have tons of water upon him, but is wholly
unaware of its weight until he is choked in death. But he who emerges from
the water and seeks to carry some away soon finds its weight, however little
he takes up; and he who, finding the burden of his sin, comes to Me in
penitence will freely receive true rest, for it is such I come to seek and
to save (Matt. xi.28, Luke xix.10).
5. It is not necessary that every single member of the body should
become useless and weak before death occurs. A weakness of, or a blow upon,
the heart or the brain will suffice to bring an end to life, however strong
and healthy other parts of the body may be. Thus one sin by its poisonous
effect on the mind and heart is sufficient to ruin the spiritual life not of
one only, but of a whole family or nation, even of the whole race. Such was
the sin of Adam. But as one word from Me could bring Lazarus from the tomb,
even so it is sufficient to give eternal life to all.
6. Sometimes it happens that an animal or bird after long association
with man returns to its own kind, but they, instead of welcoming it, set
upon it and do it to death, the reason being that by its long residence and
familiarity with man, its habits and manner of life have entirely changed.
In the same way as animals do not admit to their society those of their kind
that have come under man's influence, how can the saint and angels in heaven
welcome those sinners who have lived in intimate relations with wicked men?
This does not mean that saints and angels have no love for sinful men, but
the holy atmosphere of heaven will itself be distasteful to such men. For
clearly, when in this world sinners dislike the company of good men, how can
they be happy in their company throughout eternity? To them a heaven of that
sort would be as distasteful as hell itself.
Do not suppose that God or His people will turn sinners out of heaven
and cast them into hell, for God who is Love, never cast anyone into hell,
nor ever will do so. It is the foul life of the sinner that will bring him
to hell. Long before the end of life brings heaven and hell near to us,
there has been set up in every man's heart, according to his good or evil
nature, his own heaven or hell. Therefore whosoever longs to be saved from
that eternal torment, let him truly repent of his sins and give his heart to
Me, that by My presence with him and the Holy Spirit's influence, he may
become for ever a child of the kingdom of God.
7. A rebel against a king or government in this world may save himself
by taking refuge in another country, but where shall a rebel against God
flee for safety? Wherever he goes, even in heaven or hell, he will find God
ever present. (Psa. cxxxix.7,8). He will find his safety only in repentance
and submission to his Lord.
8. For Adam and Eve the fig leaves were too scanty a covering, so God
gave them coats of skin. In this way, too, man's good deeds are as useless
as the fig leaves to save him from the wrath to come. Nothing will suffice
save My robe of righteousness.
9. The moth thinks not of the burning and destructive power of the
flame, but fascinated by its brilliancy rushes into it and perishes. So man,
regardless of the destructive and poisonous power of sin, and feeling only
its allurement, rushes in to his eternal destruction. But My light rescues
the sinner from death, and bestows upon him life and enduring happiness. Man
was so made as to be capable of appropriating the precious gift of My true
10. Sin is not an illusion or a thing of the imagination, but in this
state of spiritual darkness, by the exercise of the evil will of man, such
living seeds of evil have come into existence as will for ever infect his
spirit and finally destroy it--just as smallpox in quite a short time will
destroy the beauty of a man for all time, turning it to repulsive ugliness.
As God did not create wickedness, so also He did not create disease and
bodily pains. They are simply the natural issue of man's disobedience. Pain
and disease also are not things of the imagination, but are the outward and
visible fruits of the hidden unseen disease of sin, whether it be one's own
sin or that of the family of which one is a member. When all these members
repent and are united with Me, My health-giving blood circulates through
all, healing all their internal and unseen diseases and giving to them
health for all eternity. For such a state of health man was created, that he
might for ever dwell in happiness with his Lord and Master.
The Disciple,--Master, in these days some learned men and their
followers regard Thy atonement and the redemption by blood as meaningless
and futile, and say that Christ was only a great teacher and example for our
spiritual life, and that salvation and eternal happiness depend on our own
efforts and good deeds.
The Master,--1. Never forget that spiritual and religious ideas
are connected less with the head than with the heart, which is the temple of
God, and when the heart is filled with the presence of God the head also is
enlightened. For the mind and the eyes of the understanding are useless
without the true light, as the natural eyes are without daylight. In the
dark one may mistake a rope for a snake, just as the wise of this world
pervert spiritual truth and lead astray simple minds. So Satan when
beguiling Eve made use not of the sheep or the dove but of the serpent, the
most crafty of all the animals. So he takes the wisdom of the wise and the
skill of the learned, and of them makes instruments suited to his purpose.
But it is not enough to be learned and clever; one must also have the
innocence of the dove, therefore I have said, "Be ye wise as serpents and
harmless as doves" (Matt. x.16).
2. My cross and atonement do the same for believers as the serpent of
brass did for the Israelites, for whoever looked up to that with the eyes of
faith was saved (Num. xxi.9, John iii.14,15). There were some, however, who,
instead of believing, thought of it as brass only and began to criticize and
say, "If Moses had provided an antidote, or were to give us some powerful
drug or special medicine for these venomous serpents, that would be a proper
object of faith, but what power has this pole over poisonous venom?" They
all died. In these days too, those who cavil about the method of salvation
which God has appointed will perish in the poison of their own sin.
3. A young man fell down a precipice and was so much injured, and lost
so much blood that he was at the point of death. When his father took him to
the doctor he said, "The life is the blood, and the supply of this young
man's blood is exhausted; but if anyone is prepared to sacrifice his own
life he may recover, otherwise he will die." The father, whose heart was
overflowing with love for his son, offered his own blood, and this being
injected into the young man's veins he recovered. Man has fallen from the
mount of holiness and lies broken and wounded by his sins, and by reason of
those wounds his spiritual life has ebbed away and he is near to death. But
for those who believe in Me I pour forth my own everlasting and spiritual
blood, that they may be saved from death and obtain eternal life. For this
purpose have I come that they might have life and have it more abundantly
(John x.10), and thus live for evermore.
4. In ancient times men were forbidden to drink the blood of animals,
or to eat certain foods, in the belief that they would thus escape certain
diseases; and also lest, as a man has an animal body, his animal
propensities might be strengthened by eating flesh and drinking blood. But
now "My flesh is meat indeed and My blood is drink indeed" (John vi.55), for
they give spiritual life, and by them perfect health and heavenly happiness
and joy are received.
5. The forgiveness of sins does not mean full salvation, for that can
only come with perfect freedom from sin. For it is possible that a man
should die from the disease of his sin, though he has received full pardon
for it. For instance, a man had his brain affected owing to an illness of
long standing, and whilst thus affected he made an attack upon another man
and killed him. When sentence of death was pronounced upon him, his
relatives explained the circumstances and appealed for mercy for him, and he
was granted pardon for the sin of murder. But before his friends could reach
him with the good news, indeed while they were on the way, he had died of
the sickness by reason of which he had committed the murder.
What advantage was this pardon to the murderer? His real safety would
have been to be cured of his disease, and then he would have had real
happiness in his pardon. For this reason I became manifest in the flesh that
I might deliver penitent believers from the disease of sin, from its
punishment and from death; thus taking away both cause and effect. They will
not die in their sins, for I will save them (Matt. i.21), and they shall
pass from death to becomes heirs of eternal life.
6. To many people life is full of peril, and they are like that hunter
who caught sight of a honeycomb on the branch of a tree overhanging a
stream. Climbing up, he began to enjoy the honey, quite unaware of the fact
that he was in peril of death, for in the stream beneath him lay an
alligator with open jaws waiting to devour him, while around the foot of the
tree a pack of wolves had gathered waiting for him to descend. Worse still,
the tree on which he sat had been eaten away at the roots by an insect and
it was ready to fall. In a short time it did fall, and the unwary hunter
became the prey of the alligator. Thus, too, the human spirit, ensconced in
the body, enjoys for a short time the false and fleeting pleasures of sin
gathered in the honeycomb of the brain, without a thought that it is in the
midst of this fearsome jungle of the world. There Satan sits ready to tear
it to pieces, and hell like an alligator waits with open mouth to gulp it
down, while, worst of all, the tiny unseen insect of sin has eaten away the
very roots of the body and life. Soon the soul falls and becomes an
everlasting prey to hell. But the sinner who comes to Me I will deliver from
sin, from Satan, and from hell, and will give him eternal joy "which none
shall take away from him" (John xvi.22).
7. Satan with crafty speech and enticements draws men to him and
swallows them down just as a snake fascinates little birds by the magnetism
of its glittering eye, and makes a prey of them. But to those who believe on
Me I give deliverance from that old serpent and from the seductions of this
soul-destroying world. I set them free so that, as a bird, easily resisting
the force of gravity which is in the earth, flies freely through the open
heaven, they mount on the wings of prayer and reach at last the abode of
safety and their hearts dear home, drawn by the sweet attractions of My
8. Just as a man with jaundice sees everything yellow, so to the sinner
and the philosopher truth itself takes on the form and fashion of his sin or
his theories, and it is not a matter of much surprise if such people go a
step further and count Me a sinner like themselves. But My work, which is
the salvation of sinners, does not depend on the good opinion of the world,
but for ever moves on its undisturbed way in the lives of believers. Just as
Levi, being still in the loins of Abraham, paid tithe to Me though he was
not yet born, so all generations of believers have in Me, offered upon the
cross, the atonement and ransom for their sins, though they were not at that
time even born; for this salvation is for all races of men in the world.
9. This saying, that a man can by his own effort and good works acquire
salvation, is foolish and absurd so long as the man is not born again.
World-rulers and teachers of morality say, "Become good by doing good," but
this is what I say, "Become good yourself before doing good works." When
that new and good life has been entered upon, good deeds will be the natural
It is only a fool that will say that a bitter tree by constantly
bearing fruit will at last become sweet. As a matter of fact a bitter tree
can become sweet by being grafted on a sweet tree, so that the life and
qualities peculiar to the sweet tree will pass into the bitter one and its
natural bitterness will pass away. This is what we call a new creation. So
too the sinner may have the desire to do what is right, and yet the only
result is sin; but when he repents and by faith is grafted into Me the old
man in him dies, and he becomes a new creature. Then from this new life
which has its origin in salvation good deeds come forth as fruit, and this
fruit abides for ever.
10. There are many who have learnt from experience that man's natural
goodness cannot give true peace of heart, nor can it give him a certainty of
salvation or eternal life. The young man who came to Me seeking eternal life
is a case in point. His first thought with regard to Me was wrong, as is
that of some worldly-wise men and their followers at the present day. He
thought Me to be one of those teachers who are like whited sepulchres, and
in whose lives there is not a particle of true goodness. Therefore I said to
him, "Why do you ask Me about goodness? There is none good but One." But he
failed to see in Me the one giver of goodness and life; and when I sought to
admit him to My companionship and make him a truly good man, and bestow life
upon him, he became sad and left Me. His life, however, makes one thing
perfectly clear, and that is that his keeping the commandments and his
goodness did not satisfy him or give him the assurance of eternal life. If
his good works had given him peace he would not have come to inquire of Me,
or had he come he would not have left Me in sorrow, but, believing My words,
would have gone away rejoicing.
Not long afterwards the young man Paul recognized Me, and the desire of
his heart was completely fulfilled. Instead of turning away in sadness he
gave up all that he had and followed Me (Phil. iii.6-15). So everyone who
ceases to trust in his own righteousness and follows Me shall receive from
Me true peace and everlasting life.
The Disciple,--Sometimes this question is
asked, "Since God is fully aware of our needs, and knows how to supply them
in the best way, not for the good only but for the evil, how should we pray
to Him about them? Whether our necessities be temporal or spiritual, can we
by our prayers alter the will of God?"
The Master,--1. Those who ask such a question show clearly that
they do not know what prayer is. They have not lived a prayerful life, or
they would know that prayer to God is not a form of begging. Prayer does not
consist in an effort to obtain from God the things which are necessary for
this life. Prayer is an effort to lay hold of God Himself, the Author of
life, and when we have found Him who is the source of life and have entered
into communion with Him, then the whole of life is ours and with Him all
that will make life is perfect. To evildoers God, out of love for them,
gives what is necessary for their life in this world, but their spiritual
necessities He does not even show to them, as they have no spiritual life.
Were He to bestow such spiritual blessings upon them, they would not be
able to appreciate them. But on those who believe gifts of both kinds are
bestowed, especially spiritual blessings, with the result that very soon
they pay little regard to temporal blessings, but fix their love on the
unseen and spiritual. We cannot alter the will of God, but the man of prayer
can discover the will of God with regard to himself. For to men of this kind
God makes Himself manifest in the hidden chamber of the heart, and holds
communion with them; and when His gracious purposes are shown to be for
their good, then the doubts and difficulties of which they complain pass
away for ever.
2. Prayer is, as it were, a breathing in of the Holy Spirit, and God so
pours His Holy Spirit into the life of the prayerful that they become
"living souls" (Gen. ii.7; John xx.22). They will never die, for the Holy
Spirit pours Himself by means of prayer into their spiritual lungs, and
fills their spirits with health and vigour and everlasting life.
God, who is Love, has freely bestowed on all men those things which are
necessary for both the spiritual and temporal life, but since He offers
salvation and His Holy Spirit to all as freely, they are lightly esteemed.
But prayer teaches us to value them, because they are as necessary as air
and water, heat and light, without which life is impossible. The things for
our spiritual life God has freely provided, but men so lightly regard them
that they offer no thanks to their Creator; but on the other hand, His gifts
of gold, silver, and precious jewels, which are scarce and obtained with
great difficulty, they highly esteem, though with such things the hunger and
thirst of the body cannot be assuaged, nor the longings of the heart be
satisfied. With such folly do men of the world act with regard to spiritual
things, but to the man of prayer are given true wisdom and eternal life.
3. This world is like a widespread ocean in which men sink and are
drowned, but marine animals carry on their life in the deepest water,
because they occasionally come to the surface and, opening their mouths,
take in a certain amount of air, which enables them to live in the depths.
So they who rise to the surface of this life-ocean, by means of private
prayer breathe in the life-giving Spirit of God, and find even in this world
life and safety.
4. Although fish spend their whole life in the salt water of the sea,
yet they do not themselves become salty, because they have life in them; so
the man of prayer, though he has to live in this sin-defiled world, remains
free of the sinful taint, because by means of prayer his life is maintained.
5. Just as the salt water of the sea is drawn upwards by the hot rays
of the sun, and gradually takes on the form of clouds, and, turned thus into
sweet and refreshing water, falls in showers on the earth (for the sea water
as it rises upwards leaves behind it its salt and bitterness), so when the
thoughts and desires of the man of prayer rise aloft like misty emanations
of the soul, the rays of the Sun of Righteousness purify them of all sinful
taint, and his prayers become a great cloud which descends from heaven in a
shower of blessing, bringing refreshment to many on the earth.
6. Just as the waterfowl spends its life swimming in the water, yet
when in flight its feathers are perfectly dry, so men of prayer have their
abode in this world, but when the time comes for them to fly aloft they pass
from this sin-polluted world and arrive without spot or stain at their
everlasting home of rest.
7. The ship, quite properly, has its place in the water, but for the
water to flow into the ship is both unsuitable and dangerous. So for a man
to have his abode in this world is right and good for himself and others,
for, keeping himself afloat, he will be able to help them to arrive along
with himself at the haven of life. But for the world to find its way into
his heart means death and destruction. Therefore the man of prayer ever
reserves his heart for Him who formed it to be His temple, and thus both in
this world and that which is to come he rests in peace and safely.
8. We all know that without water it is impossible to live; but if we
sink beneath it we choke and die. While we need to make use of and drink
water, we ought not to fall into and sink beneath it. Therefore the world
and worldly things must be used with discretion, for without them life is
not only difficult but impossible. For this very purpose God created the
world that men might make use of it, but men should not drown themselves in
it, for thus the breath of prayer is stopped and they perish.
9. If by ceasing to live the life of prayer the life of the spirit
begins to fail, then those worldly things which are intended to be useful
become hurtful and destructive. The sun by its light and heat makes all
vegetable things to live and flourish, and also causes them to wither and
die. The air also gives life and vigour to all living beings, but itself is
the cause of their decomposition. Therefore "Watch and Pray."
10. We ought so to live in this world that though we are in it we are
not of it, and then the things of this world instead of being hurtful will
be useful, and will help the growth of the spiritual life; but only on this
condition, that the spirit ever keeps its face turned towards the Sun of
Righteousness. Thus it sometimes happens that in a plot of unclean and
filthy ground flowers spring up and flourish, and the sweet scent of the
flowers overpowers the evil smell of the place. The plants, turning towards
the sun, receive from it light and heat, and the filth instead of being
hurtful to the plants fertilizes them and helps them to grow and flourish.
So, too, the man of prayer as he prays turns his heart to Me, and receives
from Me light and warmth, and amidst the ill odours of this evil world the
sweet scent of his new and holy life glorifies Me, and there is produced in
him not sweet odours only, but also fruit which shall abide for ever.
1. To pray does not imply that without prayer God
would not give us anything or that He would be unaware of our needs, but it
has this great advantage, that in the attitude of prayer the soul is best
fitted to receive the Giver of blessing as well as those blessings He
desires to bestow. Thus it was that the fullness of the Spirit was not
poured out upon the Apostles on the first day, but after ten days of special
If a blessing were conferred upon one without a special readiness for
it, he would neither value it sufficiently nor long retain it. For instance,
because Saul obtained the Holy Spirit and the kingship without seeking for
them he very soon lost them both, for he had set out from home not to obtain
the Holy Spirit but to look for his lost asses (1 Sam. ix.3; x.11; v.13-14;
2. The man of prayer alone can worship God in spirit and truth. Others
are like the sensitive plant; during worship, affected by the teaching and
presence of the Holy Spirit, they shrivel up, as it were, and bowing their
heads become serious, but scarcely have they left the church before they
brighten up and go on as before.
3. If we do not take care of a tree or a shrub which bears good fruit
or flowers, it will degenerate and go back to its wild state. In the same
way, if the believer, through the neglect of prayer and the spiritual life,
ceases to abide in Me, he will, because of this carelessness, fall from that
state of blessedness, and sinking again into his old sinful ways be lost.
4. When we see a crane standing motionless on the side of a tank or
lake, we may suppose from his attitude that he is musing on the glory of God
or the excellent quality of the water. But no such thing! He stand there
motionless for hours, but the moment he catches sight of a frog or small
fish he springs upon it and gulps it down. Just such is the attitude and
method of many with regard to prayer and religious meditation. Seated by the
shore of the boundless ocean of God, they give no thought to His majesty and
love, or to His divine nature that cleanses from sin and satisfies the
hungry soul, but are wrapped up in the thought of acquiring some specially
desired object, by means of which they may more fully indulge in the
delights of this fleeting world. Thus they turn away from the fountain of
true peace, and, immersing themselves in the fading joys of this world, with
them also die and pass away.
5. Water and petrol both come from the earth, and though they seem to
be alike and even the same, they are in nature and purpose exact opposites,
for the one extinguishes fire and the other adds fuel to it. So also the
world and its treasures, the heart and its thirst for God are alike His
creation. Now the result of the attempt to satisfy the heart with the wealth
and pride and honours of this world is the same as if one tried to put out a
fire with petrol, for the heart can only find ease and satisfaction in Him
who created both it and the longing desire of which it is conscious (Ps.
xlii.1,2). Therefore whoever now comes to Me I will give to him that living
water so that he will never again thirst, but it shall be in him a well of
water springing up into eternal life (John iv.14).
6. Men try in vain to find peace in the world and the things of the
world, for experience plainly shows that true peace and satisfaction are not
to be found in them. They are like the boy who found an onion and began
peeling off its skins in the hope of finding something inside it, just as
one finds in a box on taking the lid off. But his was an altogether futile
expectation, since he found nothing but the last skin, for an onion is
nothing but a collection of skins. And this world and all that belongs to it
has been proved to be vanity of vanities (Eccles. xii.8), until men discover
the true fountain of peace (Isa. lv.1; Jer. ii.13; Rev. xxii.17).
7. The world is like a mirage, and the truth seeker, hoping to find
something to satisfy his thirsty spirit, starts off in search of it but
meets with nothing but disappointment and despair. The water of life cannot
be found in man-made tanks or cracked cisterns; but those who approach Me in
prayer with a pure heart will find in Me, who am the source of the living
water, that from which they may obtain satisfaction, invigoration, and
eternal life (Isa. lv.1; Jer. ii.13; Rev. xxii.17).
A woman was traveling along a mountain track, carrying her child in her
arms, when the child, catching sight of a pretty flower, made such a spring
out of its mother's arms that it fell headlong down the mountain side,
struck its head upon a rock, and died on the spot. Now it is perfectly clear
that the safety and sustenance of the child were to be found in its mother's
bosom, and not in those fascinating flowers which were the cause of its
death. So acts the believer whose life is not a life of prayer. When he
catches sight of the fleeting and fascinating pleasures of the world he
forgets My love and care which are far greater than those of the mother,
and, neglecting that spiritual milk which I provide for him, leaps out of My
arms and is lost.
9. The sustenance which the mother provides is so arranged that it
cannot be obtained without some effort on the part of the infant. So also My
children whom I bear in My bosom cannot obtain without seeking, the
spiritual milk which is able to save their souls. And as the child does not
need to be taught, but knows by instinct where and how to obtain its food,
so those who are born of the Spirit know by a spiritual instinct, and not
from worldly philosophy or wisdom, how to pray and to obtain from Me, their
spiritual Mother, the milk of eternal life.
10. I have infused into man's nature hunger and thirst, that he may not
in sheer heedlessness regard himself as God, but that day by day he may be
reminded of his needs and that his life is bound up with the life and
existence of Someone who created him. Thus being made aware of his defects
and necessities, he may abide in Me and I in him, and then he will ever find
in Me his happiness and joy.
1. To pray is as it were to be on speaking terms
with Me, and so by being in communion with and abiding in Me to become like
Me. There is a kind of insect which feeds upon and lives among grass and
green leaves and becomes like them in colour. Also the polar bear dwelling
among the white snows has the same snowy whiteness, and the tiger of Bengal
bears upon its skin the marks of the reeds among which it lives. So those,
who by means of prayer abide in communion with Me partake, with the saints
and angels, of My Nature, and being formed in My image become like Me.
2. When for but a short time I drew Peter, James, and John into
communion with Me upon the Mount, I showed them somewhat of My glory, and of
all the saints two only, Moses and Elias, appeared to them; they were so
captivated with that brief glimpse of heavenly glory that they wished to
erect three tabernacles in order to live there (Matt. xvii.1-5). How
wonderful, then, will be the happiness of those who abide in Me, and with
saints and angels innumerable enter into their longed-for heaven, and share
with Me My full glory which knows no loss nor shadow of change (John
xvii.24; James i.17). The man of prayer shall never be alone, but he shall
abide with Me and My holy ones for ever (Matt. xxviii.20; Zach. iii.7-8).
3. It is not a great thing to control and make use of wild animals,
lightning, the wind, and light, and other powers of nature, but to gain the
mastery over the world and Satan and self, with all its passions, is of a
truth a most momentous and necessary thing. Upon those only who live a life
of prayer do I bestow the power to overcome all the might of the enemy (Luke
x.17,20), so that even while they live in this world they abide with Me in
the heavenly places (Eph. ii.6), and Satan being below and they above he is
never able to reach them, but they abide for ever with Me in safety and
without a tremor of fear.
Although men have now obtained control over the powers of nature they
are not to travel beyond the bounds of the air, while the man of prayer,
having mastered Satan and self, can range at will the everlasting heavens.
4. Just as the bee collects the sweet juice of the flowers and turns it
into honey without injuring their colour or fragrance, so the man of prayer
gathers happiness and profit from all God's creation without doing any
violence to it. As bees also gather their honey from flowers in all sorts of
different places and store it in the honeycomb, so the man of God gathers
sweet thoughts and feelings from every part of creation, and in communion
with his Creator collects in his heart the honey of truth, and in enduring
peace with Him at all times and in all places, tastes with delight the sweet
honey of God.
5. Now is the time to obtain and keep in the vessels of our hearts the
oil of the Holy Spirit, as the five wise virgins did (Matt. xxv.1-13);
otherwise like the five foolish ones we shall meet with nothing but grief
and despair. Now also you must collect the manna for the true Sabbath,
otherwise there will be nothing left you but sorrow and woe (Ex. xvi.15,27).
"Pray, therefore, that your flight may not be in the winter," that is, in
time of great distress or the last days, "or on the Sabbath day," that is,
the reign of a thousand years of eternal rest, for such an opportunity will
never occur again (Matt. xxiv.20).
In the same way as climate produces a change in form, colour, and the
habits of growth in plants and flowers, so those who maintain communion with
Me undergo a development of their spiritual nature in habit, appearance, and
disposition; and putting off the old man they are transformed into My own
glorious and incorruptible image.
With my finger I wrote upon the ground the sinful state of each of
those who, regardless of their inner vileness, brought the woman taken in
adultery for condemnation, so that they left her one by one and went away
abashed and ashamed. With My finger, too, I point out in secret to My
servants their wounds of sin, and when they repent, with a touch of the same
finger I heal them; and in the same way as a child grasps his father's
finger and by it help walks along with him, so I with My finger lead My
children along the road from this world to their home of rest and
everlasting peace (John xiv.2,3).
7. Oftentimes men pray to the Father in My name, but do not abide in
Me, that is, they take My name into their mouths and on their lips, but not
into their hearts and lives. That is the reason why they do not obtain what
they pray for. But when I abide in them and they in Me, then whatever they
ask from the Father they receive, because they pray under the direction of
the Holy Spirit in that condition. The Holy Spirit shows them what will
glorify the Father and be best for themselves and for others. Otherwise they
will get such an answer as a bad son got from a governor whom his father had
served with great courage and honour. When the son presented a petition in
his father's name and asked for some employment and favour, the governor
pointed out to him his evil life and habits, and said, "Do not petition me
in your father's name, but first go and act according to his example. Let
his high worth be not on your lips only, but carry it into your life, and
then your petition will be accepted."
8. Between the prayers of those who worship and praise Me with their
lips only and of those who do so from their heart there is a very great
difference. For instance, one who was a true worshipper was constantly
praying for another that his eyes might be opened and that he might accept
the truth, while the other was a worshipper in name only often prayed in his
enmity against My true worshipper that he might be struck blind. Finally the
prayers of the true worshipper were heard by the loving will of God, and he
who was formerly only a hypocrite received spiritual sight. With his heart
full of joy this man became a true believer, and a sincere and lasting
brother of My true servant.
9. Prayer makes things possible for men which they find impossible by
other means, and they experience such wonderful things in life as are not
only opposed to the rules and opinions of worldly wisdom, but are held to be
impossible altogether. Scientific men do not recognize that He who set all
created things in order and made laws for them, cannot be imprisoned behind
the bars of his own laws. The ways of the great Lawgiver are inscrutable,
because His eternal will and purpose is the blessing and prosperity of all
His creatures, and the reason the natural man cannot grasp this fact is
because spiritual things are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. ii.14).
The greatest of all miracles is the new birth in man, and to the man
who has experienced this miracle all others become possible. Now in very
cold countries a bridge of water is a common sight, because when the surface
of a river is frozen hard the water beneath still flows freely on, but men
cross over the icy bridge with ease and safety. But if one were to speak of
a bridge of water spanning a flowing river to people who are constantly
perspiring in the heat of a tropical clime, they would at once say that such
a thing was impossible and against the laws of nature. There is the same
great difference between those who have been born again and by prayer
maintain their spiritual life, and those who live worldly lives and value
only material things, and so are utterly ignorant of the life of the soul.
10. He who desires by prayer to obtain from God the blessing of a
spiritual life must believe and obey without questioning. The man who came
to Me with a withered hand, when I commanded him to stretch out his hand
instantly obeyed, and so his hand became whole as the other (Matt.
xii.10-13). But suppose instead of that instant obedience he had begun to
argue and say, "How can I stretch out my hand? If I had been able to do
that, why should I have come to Thee? First of all heal my hand, and then I
shall be able to stretch it out." All this would have been considered very
reasonable and to the point, but his hand would never have been healed.
He who prays must believe and be obedient, and stretch out to Me in
prayer his weak and withered hands, and then it will be for Me to give him
spiritual life, and according to his need it shall be granted to him (Matt.
The Disciple,--Master, what is the real
meaning of service? Is it that we serve the Creator and then His creatures
for His sake? Is the help of man, who is after all but a mere worm, of any
value to God in caring for His great family, or does God stand in need of
the help of man in protecting or preserving any of His creatures?
The Master,--1. Service means the activity of the spiritual life
and is the natural offering prompted by love. God, who is Love, is ever
active in the care of His creation, and His desire is that His creatures and
especially man, whom He formed in His own image and likeness, should never
be idle. In the care and preservation of His creatures God needs the help of
none, for He created them in such a way that without His help they could not
continue to exist, and He it is who has provided all that is required to
satisfy their desires. In true service of others there is this great
advantage that it helps him who serves--just as it happened to you in Tibet.
When you were in fear of death on account of the bitter cold, you saw one
lying buried in the snow and at the point of death, you went to him and
lifting him on to your shoulders carried him forward, and the efforts you
made produced heat in your body which also passed into his, and both he and
you were saved, so that in rescuing him you saved your own life. This is the
true end of service. No one can live alone and deprived of the help of
others. Should anyone receive help from another, and be unwilling to return
such assistance as he can, such an ungrateful fellow would have no right to
expect any help from any one at all.
2. Until a man brings into the service of God and man faculties and
powers with which God has endowed him, he will not receive from God the help
He alone can bestow. As soon as man does his part God will complete it. For
instance, the removal of the stone from the grave of Lazarus was man's work,
and it was not necessary for God to put forth His power to do that; but when
the people had rolled away the stone, then God, that is Myself, did that
which was beyond the power and skill of man, for I gave life to the dead.
Even after that there was work for man to do in releasing Lazarus from the
grave-clothes that he might be perfectly free (John xi.39,41,44).
So with regard to those who are dead in sin. It is the work of My
disciples to roll away the gravestones of hindrance and difficulty, but to
bestow life is My work. Often, too, some who have received spiritual life
still remain in bondage to their old bad habits and evil associations, and
it is the duty of My children to lead them into perfect freedom; and to
render this great service they should ever be alert in heart and soul.
3. A certain king on his deathbed spoke to a faithful servant of his as
follows: "It has been my custom when setting out on a journey to send you
before me to announce me and make preparations for my reception. I am going
to the land of the dead. Go, therefore, and inform them that I am about to
join them." At first the honest servant did not understand what his lord
meant, but as soon as he saw that his meaning was that he should die and
thus precede him to the land of the dead, the faithful fellow, without a
moment's hesitation or doubt, plunged a sword into his heart, and thus
entered the country of the dead, there to await his lord. Thus it is the
duty of those who serve Me, who am the Lord of Life and the King of kings
(Acts iii.15; Rev. xix.16), to carry the gospel of salvation to those who
are dead in sin, and to be ready even to give their lives for Me, who came
to earth for their salvation and will come yet once more (Rev. ii.10).
4. A rebellious son once left his father's house and joined a band of
robbers and became in time as bold and ruthless as the rest. The father
called his servants and ordered them to go to his son and tell him that if
he would repent and return home all would be forgiven, and he would receive
him into his home. But the servants, in dread of the wild country and fierce
robbers, refused to go. Then the elder brother of the young man, who loved
him as his father did, set off to carry the message of forgiveness. But soon
after he had entered the jungle a band of robbers set upon him and mortally
wounded him. The younger brother was one of the band, and when he recognized
his elder brother he was filled with grief and remorse. The elder brother
managed to give the message of forgiveness and then, saying that the purpose
of his life was fulfilled and love's duty done, he gave up the ghost. This
sacrifice of the elder brother made so deep an impression on the rebellious
youth that he went back in penitence to his father and from that day forward
lived a new life. Is it not right, therefore, that My sons should be
prepared to sacrifice their lives in order to bring the message of mercy to
those of their brethren who have gone astray and are ruined in sin, just as
I also gave My life for the salvation of all?
5. My children are like salt in the world (Matt. v.13). If the salt
crystals are not dissolved they cannot transmit their flavour. So with My
children. If they are not melted in the fire of love and the Holy Spirit,
and made into a living sacrifice, they will not be able to bring a single
soul that spiritual and heavenly life by which they may be saved. They will
be no better than Lot's wife who became a pillar of salt (Gen. xix.26). But
just as for your sakes I was melted in Gethesemane (Luke xxii.44), and on
the cross gave up My life that I might save the lives of men, for life must
be paid for with life, so you also are called upon to give up your lives and
thus bring the savour of spiritual life to others and deliver them from
6. A certain murderer, instead of being hanged, was sent into battle,
and there he fought for his king and country with such dauntless courage
that although he was severely wounded he came back a conqueror. After the
victory he was brought into the court again to be sentenced. The king,
seeing on his body the marks of his wounds, cancelled the sentence of death,
and not only forgave his crime, but also highly rewarded him and raised him
to a post of honour. So those who on My side fight in the Holy War against
Satan with courage and boldness that they may save their brethren and
sisters, shall not only receive from Me the forgiveness of their sins, but
in the kingdom of God I will bestow on them a crown and a kingdom (James
v.20; Rev. iii.21).
7. As the pipe that is used to convey clean water is itself kept clean
by the water which passes through it, so those, who through the Holy Spirit
carry the Water of Life to others, are themselves purified and become heirs
to the kingdom of God.
8. The best way for the believer to be fitted for the reception of the
Holy Spirit and for service is to be obedient to the heavenly voice and
immediately, as far as ability goes, to begin to serve. As to become a good
swimmer it is useless to receive instruction unless one enters the water and
strikes out for oneself, and only by constantly practising, first in shallow
water and then in deep, can one become an adept in the art, so, in order to
learn how to save the souls of those who are sinking in the dark waters of
sin, the best way is to enter the only real and practical school of
divinity, which is union with Myself (Acts iv.13).
9. There are some who are kept back from serving by the thought of
their lack of ability, and do not remember that My strength gives power in
weakness (2 Cor. xii.9). They are like invalids who, though they have
recovered from their disease and are taking nourishing food, yet remain weak
because they do no work and take no proper exercise. What such believers
need is that they should put their trust in Me and set out to save sinners
1. Love is the touchstone by which the reality of
truth is perceived, and by it shall all men know that ye are My disciples
(John xiii.35). I also make use of the sword of justice, so that at first
sight some are inclined to think that, like Solomon, I intend to finish My
work without mercy (1 Kings iii.16-28), but My object, like his, is to apply
the touchstone of love which will bring out the truth, and show that you are
the children of that God of Love who gave His life to save yours. You ought
therefore to abide in that love and serve one another, and even give your
lives to serve others, as I also gave My life for you. Then as I live ye
shall live also (John xiv.19).
2. If ye are My disciples indeed your service of love will bear much
fruit (John xv.8). And if men speak evil of you and pelt you with
reproaches, pray for them, and instead of reproaching them let them taste
the sweet fruit of your love.
Mischievous boys, when they catch sight of sweet fruit on a tree, pelt
it with stones, and the tree without a murmur drops upon them, instead of
stones, its charming fruit. For the tree has no stones to throw, but what
God has given it, it gives without complaining. Be not cast down by ill
treatment, for the fact that men fling abuse at you is full proof that yours
is a fruitful life. Though they treat you thus from envy and spite, yet by
that means the glory of your heavenly Father is made manifest. Do not
suppose that God hungers after glory, or that there is anything lacking in
His glory that man can supply. By no means! The object of His love is to
lift that mean creature man out of the sinful state into which he has fallen
and bear him upwards to His heaven of glory. Thus He gives not glory to
Himself but to man by cleansing and purifying him, and in this the wonder
and majesty of His love is made manifest.
3. To those who by their labours have enabled many to turn from sin and
find righteousness in Me, I will grant such glory that they shall first of
all shine like the stars, and then being made perfect shall shine like the
sun in the kingdom of their Father. The stars fade and disappear at the
rising of the Sun of Righteousness, but the wish of My Father is that His
sons should be made perfect like Himself and shine with Him in everlasting
glory, rejoicing for ever in His boundless and eternal love.
4. There are little creatures far inferior to man, like the firefly,
with its flickering light, and certain small plants among the vegetation in
the Himalayas, which by their faint phosphorescent radiance illuminate as
far as they can the dark jungle where they live. Tiny fish also that swim in
the deep waters of the ocean give forth a glimmering light which guides
other fish and helps them to elude their enemies. How much more ought My
children to be lights in the world (Matt. v.14) and be eager in
self-sacrifice to bring into the way of truth, by means of their God-given
light, those who by reason of darkness are liable to become the prey of
5. If they do not use these heaven-sent powers in the service of God
and His creatures they are in danger of losing for ever those heavenly
gifts. This is what has happened to certain fish that live in the deep
waters of dark caves, also to some hermits in Tibet, for both have lived so
long in darkness that they have entirely lost their sight. In like manner
the ostrich, through not using its wings, has lost altogether the power of
flight. Take heed, therefore, not to neglect whatever gifts or talents have
been entrusted to you, but make use of them that you may share in the bliss
and glory of your Master (Matt. xxv.14-30).
6. Sometimes when there is some great act of service to be done, I
choose for My purpose those who are little esteemed in the eyes of the
world, for they make no boast of their own power or wisdom, but putting
their entire trust in Me, and accounting what little ability they possess as
of no great value, they devote all they have and are to My work for men (1
Cor. i.26-30). For instance, when I fed in the wilderness five thousand men
with five loaves and two fishes, you will remember that I did not perform
this miracle by the agency of My disciples, for they were full of doubt and
perplexity and wished to send the multitude away hungry (John vi.9). My
servant on that occasion was a little lad whom I had cured of the palsy.
Filled with a desire to hear My words he determined to follow Me. His poor
mother wrapped up in his clothes some barley cakes and dried fish, enough
for two or three days journey, so when inquiry was made for food for the
multitude this faithful little lad at once brought all that he had and laid
it at the disciples feet. Though there were wealthy people there who had
with them much better food, such as wheaten cakes, they were not prepared to
give them up; so it was from the barley cakes of this boy, My namesake, that
by My blessing the multitude was fed with the choicest food.
7. There are many who are so wanting in gratitude that whatever
blessings are bestowed upon them, even to the extent of miracles being
performed for their benefit, they still remain dissatisfied and ungrateful.
Such people can never be used for the service and blessing of others, but
are like the man whom I healed after he had suffered for thirty-eight years
from an incurable disease, for instead of being grateful and believing on Me
he did not even trouble to remember My name (John v.12-13). From such people
the world can hope for no blessing; it comes only from those who, like the
poor widow, are ready to give up all they have, even all their living (Luke
8. For true service and the performance of duty My servants must be
ready to offer even life itself--like that faithful soldier who remained at
his post in the bitter cold and falling snow till he froze to death, and
like a statue still kept his place, though the others of the watch went off
to warm themselves at the fire. When the king came and saw him standing
fixed and faithful still in death, he took off his crown and placed it for a
space upon his head, saying: "Such a faithful soldier and servant is worthy
of the honour and glory of my diadem. Would that he had lived, for then I
would have made him the head of my kingdom!" Such must my faithful servants
be in the service to which I have appointed them, and to those who finish
their work with like faith and courage I will grant a fadeless crown of
eternal kingship (2 Tim. iv.4, 5-8).
9. Many there are who have wasted the precious time given to them for
My service, but even now there is an opportunity for them to rouse
themselves and make the best use of the time that remains to them. They are
like a hunter who, while wandering in the jungle, picked up some pretty
stones on the bank of a stream. Unaware of their value he used them one by
one in his sling to shoot at the birds seated on the trees near the river,
and so one by one they fell into the water and were lost. With one still in
his hand he returned to the city, and as he passed along the bazaar a
jeweller caught sight of it, and told the silly fellow that it was a
valuable diamond for which he could get thousands of rupees. When he heard
this he began to bewail himself and say, "Woe is me! I didn't know their
value, and have been using many of these diamonds to shoot at birds by the
riverside, and they have fallen into the river and are lost, otherwise I
should have been a millionaire. Still I have saved this one, and that is
something gained." Every day is like a precious diamond, and though many
priceless days have been wasted in the pursuit of fleeting pleasures, and
are for ever sunk in the depths of the past, you should awake to the value
of what remains, and bringing it into the best possible use gather for
yourself spiritual riches. Use it in My service, who have given to you life
and all its priceless blessings, and by using them to save others from sin
and death you will obtain an everlasting and heavenly reward.
V. THE CROSS AND THE
MYSTERY OF SUFFERING
The Disciple,--What is the meaning and
purpose of the cross, and why do pain and suffering exist in the world?
The Master,--1. The cross is the key to heaven. At the moment
when by My baptism I took the cross upon My shoulders for the sake of
sinners, heaven was opened, and by means of My thirty-three years bearing of
the cross and by death upon it, heaven, which by reason of sin was closed to
believers, was for ever opened to them.
Now as soon as believers take up their cross and follow Me they enter
heaven through Me (John x.9) and begin the enjoyment of that unbounded bliss
which the world cannot understand, for heaven is closed to unbelief. Hope
and experience will teach the unbeliever that joy follows pain, but that
that joy does not endure. But I give to My children ease in pain, and
perfect happiness and peace. Those who joyfully take up My cross are
themselves upborne by it, and ever supported by that cross they enter heaven
2. Pain arises out of man's perverse and rebellious nature, just as
tropical heat is irksome and painful to those who live in cold lands, and
bitter cold to those who live in tropic climes. Heat and cold depend on the
relation of the earth to the sun. So man, by the exercise of his own free
will, enters into a state of agreement or disagreement with God, and
inasmuch as the laws of God are intended for the spiritual health and
happiness of man, opposition to them brings about spiritual pain and
suffering. Now God, instead of altogether removing these states of
opposition and rebellion to His will, makes use of them to make clear to man
that this world was not created to be his home, but is to him a foreign land
(2 Cor. v.1,2,6).
This world is but to prepare him for a perfect and eternal home, and
the oft-repeated blows of ill-fortune are intended to keep his spirit awake,
lest he should become careless, and falling away from the truth share in the
ruin of this unstable world. He is meant to come into communion with his
Maker and, after being freed from the suffering and misery of this fleeting
life, to enter into His heaven of eternal happiness and peace.
3. Pain and suffering are bitter as poison, but it is also well known
that sometimes the antidote of a poison is itself a poison. And thus I
sometimes employ pain and suffering as bitter medicines in order to promote
the spiritual health and vigour of My believers. As soon as their perfect
health is secured there will be an end of all suffering. Their pain is no
pleasure to Me, for My one object is their eternal well-being (Lam.
4. Just as after a shock of earthquake springs of sweet water sometimes
emerge in desert places, and the arid wastes are irrigated and become
fruitful, so in certain cases the shock of suffering opens up within the
heart of a man hidden springs of living water, and in place of murmurings
and complainings there issue from him streams of gratitude and joy (Ps.
5. As soon as a child enters the world it is most necessary that it
should begin to cry and scream, so that its breath may have free play and
its lungs be brought into full use; and if for some reason it does not cry
out it must be slapped till it does so. Just so with perfect love. I
sometimes cause My children to cry out by the blows and stings of pain and
suffering, that the breath of prayer may have free course through the lungs
of their spirit and they may thus gain fresh vigour and abide in endless
6. The cross is like a walnut whose outer rind is bitter, but the inner
kernel is pleasant and invigorating. So the cross does not offer any charm
of outward appearance, but to the cross-bearer its true character is
revealed, and he finds in it the choicest sweets of spiritual peace.
7. When I became incarnate, I bore the cruel cross for man's salvation,
not for the six hours of My crucifixion only, or even for the three and a
half years of My ministry, but for the whole thirty-three and a half years
of My life, in order that man might be delivered from the bitterness of
death. Just as it is painful to a cleanly man to stay for even a few minutes
in a filthy and unclean place, so those who abide in Me find it most
distasteful to have to live among vicious people; and this is the reason why
some men of prayer, distressed by the foulness of sin, have abandoned the
world and gone to live as hermits in deserts and caves. Consider this, then,
when men who have been sinners themselves feel the presence of sin so hard
to bear that they cannot endure the company of their own kind, so much that
they leave them, and never wish to return to them again, how extremely
painful and hard a cross must Mine have been, that I, the Fountain of
Holiness, should have had to live for more than thirty-three years
constantly among men defiled with sin. To understand this and rightly to
appreciate it is beyond the powers of man's mind, and even the angels desire
to look into it (1 Pet. i.12). For before the creation they knew that God is
Love, and yet it was to them a most wonderful and amazing thing that the
love of God should be such that, in order to save His creatures and to bring
to them eternal life, He should become incarnate and bear the cruel cross.
8. In this life even I share the cross of those who abide in Me, and
enter into their sufferings (Acts ix.4). Though they are creatures and I am
their Creator, yet, just as the body and the spirit, though separate
entities, are yet so intermingled that if even the smallest part of the body
feels pain the spirit immediately becomes conscious of it; so I am the life
and spirit of My children, and they are, as it were, My body and members. I
share their every pain and grief, and at the right moment give them relief.
9. As I Myself bore the cross I am able to deliver and keep in perfect
safety those who are crossbearers, even while they walk amid fires of
persecution. I was with the three young men in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace,
which with all its raging had no power to hurt them (Dan. iii.23-5; 1 Peter
iv.12-13). So those who by the baptism of the Holy Spirit have received the
new life will never feel the fires of persecution nor any hurtful thing, for
they ever abide in Me in eternal peace and safety.
1. In the bitter cold of winter the trees stand
bare of leaves, and it seems as if their life, too, had departed for ever,
yet in the spring time they put forth new leaves and beautiful flowers, and
the fruit begins to show itself. So was it with Me in My crucifixion and
resurrection, and so it is with my faithful cross-bearers (2 Cor. iv.8-11;
vi.4-10). Though they seem to be crushed and dead beneath their cross they
still put forth the beautiful flowers and glorious fruits of eternal life
which abide for ever.
2. In grafting a sweet tree on to a bitter one, both feel the knife and
both are called upon to suffer in order that the bitter may bear sweet
fruit. So, too, in order to introduce good into man's evil nature, it was
necessary that first of all I Myself and afterwards believers also should
suffer the agonies of the cross, that they might in future for ever bear
good fruit, and thus the glorious love of God be made manifest.
3. If in this world men persecute and slander you do not let this
surprise or distress you, for this is for you no place of rest, but a
battlefield. Woe to you when men of the world praise you (Luke vi.26), for
this proves that you have taken on their perverse ways and habits. It is
against their very nature and temper to praise My children, for light and
darkness cannot exist together. If for the sake of appearances evil men act
contrary to their nature and cease to persecute you, yours is the greater
injury, for their influence enters into your spiritual life, and your
spiritual progress is hindered.
Further, to put your trust in the world or in worldly men is to build
your house upon the sand, for today they will raise you aloft and tomorrow
will so cast you down that there will be no trace left of you, for they are
in all things unstable. When I went up to Jerusalem at the Passover, they
all with one voice began to cry out, "Hosanna! Hosanna!" (Matt. xxi.9), and
only three days after, when they saw that what I said was against their life
of sin and self-seeking, they at once changed over and began to cry,
"Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" (Luke xxiii.21).
4. If through some misunderstanding some, or even all, believers turn
against you and cause you pain, you must not count it a misfortune, for if
in all honesty and faithfulness under the guidance of the Holy Spirit you
continue to do your duty, remember that God Himself and all the hosts of
heaven are on your side.
Do not allow yourself to be discouraged, for the time is at hand when
all your good designs and purposes and all your unselfish love will be made
known to the whole world, and, in the presence of all, honour will be done
to you for your labours and faithful service.
I, too, for the salvation of men, had to renounce all things, and was
Myself renounced by all, yet at the last I regained all and everything.
Neither be surprised if the world desert you, for it has deserted God
Himself, so that in this you are seen to be a true son of your Father.
5. Do not suppose that those who live in luxury and seem to be always
successful in worldly affairs are all true worshippers of God, for the
opposite is often the case. It is possible for sheep to wander away from the
fold and the shepherd, and find in the jungle good pasturage, but they are
all the time in danger of being torn to pieces by wild beasts, which will
indeed be their fate in the end. But those who abide in the fold with the
shepherd, though they may appear to be sick and feeble, are certainly free
from danger and in the shepherd's care. This is the difference between
believers and unbelievers.
6. The life of the believer and that of the unbeliever show great
similarity in their beginning, but when their end comes, they are as diverse
as the snake and the silkworm. The snake, however many times he casts his
skin, remains a snake and nothing else, but the silkworm, when it casts off
its unsightly cocoon, becomes a new creature, and as a dainty pretty moth
flies about in the air. So the believer, casting aside this body, enters
into a state of spiritual glory and flies about for ever in heaven, while
the sinner after death is but a sinner still.
Though the silkworm, cramped within the cocoon, is in a state of
depression and struggle as though upon a cross, yet this very condition of
strife and difficulty gives strength to its wings, and fits it for the life
that is to be. So My children, while in the body, are in a state of
spiritual struggle and conflict, and look forward to their release with
sighs and longing, but through the bearing of the cross I give them
strength, and they become fully prepared and fitted for that state of
endless life (Rom. viii.23).
In the midst of this spiritual warfare, and even while they are bearing
their cross, I give them a truly wonderful peace of heart, that their
courage may not fail. For instance, when a faithful martyr of Mine had borne
witness to Me in word and deed, his enemies took him and hung him up to a
tree head downwards. In this condition such was his peace of mind that he
was utterly unconscious of the pain and disgrace to which he was subjected,
and turning to his persecutors said, "The way you have treated me does not
distress or dismay me, for I can expect nothing else in a world where
everything is upside down, and where one can see nothing upright. In
accordance with your own nature you have turned me as you think upside down,
but in reality I am right side up. Just as when a slide is put into a magic
lantern wrong way up it shows the picture correctly, so though now in the
eyes of the world I am upside down, I am for ever right side up before God
and the heavenly world, and I praise Him for this glorious cross."
8. For believers it would sometimes be an easy thing to become a martyr
to My Name, but I also need living witnesses who will daily offer
themselves as living sacrifices for the salvation of others (1 Cor. xv.31).
For death is easy, but it is hard to live, for a believer's life is a daily
dying. But those who are thus ready to lay down their lives for My sake
shall share My glory and live with Me for ever in fullness of joy.
9. Should pain and suffering, sorrow, and grief, rise up like clouds
and overshadow for a time the Sun of Righteousness and hide Him from your
view, do not be dismayed, for in the end this cloud of woe will descend in
showers of blessing on your head, and the Sun of Righteousness rise upon you
to set no more for ever (John xvi.20-22).
VI. HEAVEN AND HELL
The Disciple,--Master, what are heaven and
hell, and where are they?
The Master,--1. Heaven and hell are the two opposite states in
the spiritual realm. They have their origin in the heart of man and it is in
this world that their foundations are laid. Since man cannot see his own
spirit, so neither can he see these two states of the soul. But he has
experience of them within him, just as he feels pain from a blow and
perceives sweetness from eating sweetmeats. The wound caused by the blow may
increase until it caused the greatest pain and finally ends in death and
decay, as on the other hand the sweetmeats may by digestion promote
strength. In the same way the pain of a sinful act and the happiness of a
good deed may to some extent be apparent immediately, yet the full penalty
or reward for them will be perceived only on entry into the spiritual realm.
2. In this world man is never satisfied for long with one thing, but is
ever in search of a change of circumstances or surroundings; for which it is
clear that the fleeting things of this world never can satisfy him, for he
wants something that is stable and unchanging and always agreeable to his
tastes and desires. When in his search he finds this reality in Me, the
desire for all further change comes to an end, because one does not grow
wearied of perfect society and complete happiness, for this is the one
demand of both body and spirit. In truth, to obtain a true peace is the one
object of the human soul. Sometimes there comes to the heart of man, without
any thought or desire of his own, a sudden sensation of pleasure or pain
which is an emanation from the spiritual world of heaven or hell. These come
to him again and again, gradually one or other of these prevails, according
to his spiritual habit, and by steadily appropriating one of these he makes
a final choice. In this way the foundation of heaven or hell is built up in
a man's heart while still in this world, and after death he enters into that
state which, in this life, his desires or passions have prepared him for.
3. Some say that desire is the root of all pain and sorrow, therefore
it is not right to desire happiness in heaven or in communion with God, for
salvation consists in killing all desire. To say this is as great a folly as
to tell a thirsty man to kill his thirst instead of giving him water to
drink, for thirst or desire is part of life itself. To take away desire or
thirst without satisfying them is to destroy life, and this is not salvation
but death. Just as thirst implies water, and water is intended to remove
thirst, so the existence of desire in the soul implies the existence of true
happiness and peace. When the soul finds Him who planted within it that
desire, it receives far greater satisfaction than the thirsty man does from
water, and this satisfaction of the soul's desire we call heaven.
4. There are many in this world who are like the man who died from
thirst although he was in the midst of the boundless waters of the ocean,
for sea water could not quench his thirst or save his life. Just so there
are men who are living in the boundless ocean of love, and yet because the
fresh water of God's grace is bitterness to them in their disobedience and
sin, they perish with thirst. But for those who repent of their sin and turn
to Me fountains of living water gush up from that sea of love, and they find
in Him who loves them satisfaction and enduring peace. This, too, we call
5. There are many who have conceived such a love and devotion to the
world that though by the example and teaching of My children their hearts
are often lifted heavenwards, yet drawn down by the force of gravity, like
stones that have been thrown upwards, they fall back into the world and
finally slip into hell. But when man turns his heart to Me in true
repentance, I cleanse the temple of his heart with the whips of love and
make it a heavenly abode for the King of kings. This earthly life is such
that the glory and pomp of kings are seen but today, and tomorrow are
mingled with the dust. But those who become sons of the kingdom of God have
glory and honour, thrones and crowns, and of their kingdom, which is heaven,
there is no end.
6. Sinners in order to increase their pleasures steal the good things
of others, and that is why men, good as well as bad, lock up their houses
when they go abroad. And this locking up of goods must go on as long as
men's hearts are locked against their Lord and Maker. When, however, the
lock of the heart is open to Him whoever stands knocking at the door (Rev.
iii.20), the desires and longings of the heart will be fulfilled. Then there
will be no further need for the locking up of houses, for instead of
stealing each other's goods and doing each other mischief all will serve one
another in love. For when men give to God what is due to Him they will seek
only what is good. Thus they enter into His wondrous joy and peace; and this
7. When I gave My life upon the cross for the sons of men that I might
save sinners from hell and lead them into heaven, two thieves, one on each
side of Me, met death at the same time. Although to all appearance we all
three suffered a like fate, from a spiritual point of view there was a vast
difference. One of them shut up his heart against Me and met his death
unrepentant, but the other opened his heart to Me in true repentance, and in
communion with Me found life, and that very day entered Paradise with Me
(Luke xxiii.39-43). This Paradise exists not only beyond the grave, but
begins in the hearts of men now, though it is hidden from the eyes of the
world (Luke xvii.21). A faithful martyr of Mine was at the point of death
after suffering untold agonies at the hands of his persecutors, and was so
filled with the joy of heaven that he turned to them and said, "O that I
could open my heart to you, and show you the wonderful peace I have, which
the world can neither give nor take away! Then you would be convinced of its
truth, but it is the hidden manna which is unseen and unseeable."
After his death those foolish folk tore out his heart, hoping to find
something precious in it, but they found nothing, for the reality of that
heaven is known only to those who accept it and find in it their joy.
8. The womb of Mary, where in a fleshly form I had My abode for a few
months, was not a place so blessed as the heart of the believer in which for
all time I have My home and make it a heaven (Luke ix.27,28).
9. There are many who long for heaven yet miss it altogether through
their own folly. A poor begger sat for twenty-one years on the top of a
hidden treasure chamber, and was so consumed with the desire to be rich that
he horded up all the coppers that he received. Yet he died in a miserable
state of poverty, utterly unaware of the treasure over which he had been
sitting for years. Because he sat so long on the same spot a suspicion arose
that he had something valuable buried there. So the Governor had the place
dug up and discovered a hoard of valuables, which afterwards found its way
into the royal treasury. My word is nigh thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart
10. Those who know nothing of the spiritual life declare that it is
impossible to experience real peace and heavenly joy in this grief-stricken
world. But those who have experience of the spiritual life know that just as
one finds here and there in the midst of the ice fields of the polar regions
flowing streams of hot water, so in the midst of this cold and sorrow-laden
world there are to be found flowing in the hearts of believers restful
streams of heavenly peace, for the hidden fire of the Holy Spirit glows
11. Although God made all men of one blood and created all in His own
form and likeness, He has made them to differ in character, temperament, and
powers. For if all the flowers in the world were of the same colour and
scent, then the very face of the earth would lose its charm. The sun's rays
as they pass through coloured glass do not change the colours, but only
bring out their varied beauty and charm. In the same way the Sun of
Righteousness, both in this world and in heaven, through the God-given
virtues of believers and saints continually makes manifest His unbounded
glory and love. Thus I abide in them and they in Me, and they will have joy
The Disciple,--Master, some people say that
the comfort and joy that believers experience are simply the outcome of
their own thoughts and ideas. Is this true?
The Master,--1. That comfort and abiding peace which believers
have within themselves is due to My presence in their hearts, and to the
life-giving influence of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. As for those who
say that this spiritual joy is the result only of the thoughts of the heart,
they are like a foolish man who was blind from his birth, and who in the
winter time used to sit out in the sunshine to warm himself. When they asked
him what he thought of the sun's heat he stoutly denied that there was such
a thing as the sun, and said, "This warmth which I am now feeling on the
outside comes from within my own body, and is nothing more than the powerful
effort of my own thoughts. This is utter nonsense that people tell me about
something like a big ball of fire hanging up in the sky." Take heed,
therefore, lest anyone captures you "with philosophy and vain deceit, after
the traditions of men and after the rudiments of the world." (Col. ii.8).
2. If true happiness depended on the thoughts of man, then all
philosophers and deep thinkers would be filled to overflowing with it. But
with the exception of such of them as believe in Me, those who are wise in
the philosophy of this world are altogether devoid of happiness, except for
a kind of fleeting pleasure which they derive from following out certain
rules of their own.
But I have so created man that he has a natural fitness for the
reception of the Holy Spirit by means of which alone is he able to receive
this heavenly life and joy. As in charcoal there is a natural fitness to
receive fire, but without oxygen the fire cannot enter it, so unless the
oxygen of the Holy Spirit finds an entrance into a man's soul he will remain
in darkness and will never enjoy this true and lasting peace (John iii.8).
3. This fitness of heart and thoughts of man is like that of the
strings of a guitar or violin. When these are tightened and made to
harmonize, then by the touch of the plectrum or the bow the most charming
music is produced; but if that is not done the touch of the bow only
produces discords. And the production of sweet sounds when the strings all
harmonize is again dependent on the air, by the force and motion of which
sound is carried into the ear. In the same way, to harmonize the thoughts
and imaginations of men the presence of the stimulating breath of the Holy
Spirit is necessary. When that is present there will be produced heavenly
airs and joyous harmonies in men's hearts, both in this life and in heaven.
The Disciple,--Master, sometimes I am conscious that my peace
and happiness have departed. Is this because of some hidden sin of mine, or
is there some other reason unknown to me?
The Master,--1. Yes, this is sometimes due to disobedience, but
occasionally I appear to leave My children for a short time and then they
become lonely and restless. Then while they are in that condition I am able
to reveal to them their actual selves and their utter weakness, and teach
them that apart from Me they are nothing but dry bones (Ezek. xxxvii.1-14);
so that they may not in a constant state of rest and peace forget their
essential condition, and, deeming themselves to be God, fall through pride
into the punishment of hell (1 Tim. iii.6; Jude 6; Isa. xiv.12-17). In this
way they are trained and educated; and when they humbly and meekly abide in
Me, who created them, they will enjoy eternal happiness in heaven.
2. Sometimes it happens that when I enter into My children and fill
them with the fullness of the Spirit, they overflow with such divine
happiness and joy that they are not able to endure the glory and blessing
that is theirs, and so fall into a state of faintness or even
unconsciousness. For flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor
temporal things those which are eternal, until men are set free from the
power of vain mortality and raised into glory (1 Cor. xv.50,53; Rom.
viii.19-22). Then shall My will be done on earth in every creature, even as
it is done in heaven. Then shall pain and suffering, sorrow and sighing, woe
and death be for ever done away, and all My children shall enter into the
kingdom of My Father, which is joy in the Holy Ghost, and they shall reign
for ever and ever (Rom. xiv.17; Rev. xxi.4; xxii.5).
Dear Master, Thy
varied blessings and gifts have filled my heart to overflowing with
gratitude and praise. But the praise of heart and tongue do not suffice me
until I prove by my deeds that my life is devoted to Thy service. Thanks and
praise be to Thee that Thou hast brought me, unworthy though I am, out of
death into life and made me to rejoice in Thy fellowship and love. I know
not as I ought either myself or my sore need, but Thou, O Father, knowest
full well Thy creatures and their necessities. Nor can I love myself as Thou
lovest me. To love myself truly is to love with heart and soul that
boundless love which gave me being, and that love Thou art. Thou hast
therefore given me but one heart, that it might be fixed on one only, on
Thee, who didst create it.
Master, to be seated at Thy feet is better far than to sit upon the
lordiest throne of earth, for it means to be enthroned for ever in the
eternal kingdom. And now, on the altar of these sacred feet I offer myself
as a burnt sacrifice. Graciously accept me, and wheresoever and howsoever
Thou wilt, use me for Thy service. For Thou art mine, and I belong to Thee,
who didst take this handful of dust and make me in Thine own image and didst
grant me the right to become Thy son.
All honour and glory and praise and thanksgiving be unto Thee for ever
and ever. Amen.