Safety, Certainty, and Enjoyment

      "WHICH CLASS ARE YOU TRAVELLING?"
     What an oft-repeated question!  Let me put it to you; for
travelling you most certainly are, travelling from time into
eternity; and who knows how very, very near you may be at this
moment to the GREAT TERMINUS?

     Let me ask you then in all kindness, "Which class are you
travelling?"  There are but three.  Let me describe them, that you
may put yourself to the test as in the presence of "Him with whom
we have to do."

     1st - Those who are saved and know it.
     2nd - Those who are not sure of salvation, but anxious to
be sure.
     3rd - Those who are not only unsaved, but totally
indifferent about it.

     Again I repeat my question, "Which class are you
travelling?"  Oh, the madness of indifference, when eternal issues
are at stake!

     A man came rushing into the railway station and, while
scarcely able to gasp for breath, took his seat in one of the
carriages just on the point of starting.

     "You've run it fine," said a fellow-passenger.

     "Yes," replied he, breathing heavily after every two or three
words, "but I've saved four hours, and that's well worth running
for."

     "Saved four hours!"  I couldn't help repeating to myself;
"four hours" well worth that earnest struggle!  What of eternity?
What of eternity? Yet are there not thousands of shrewd, far-seeing
men today, who look sharply enough after their own interests in
life, but who seem stone-blind to the eternity before them?  In spite
of the infinite love of God to helpless rebels, revealed at Calvary;
in spite of His pronounced hatred of sin; in spite of the known
brevity of man's history here; in spite of the terrors of judgement
after death, and of the solemn probability of waking up at last with
the unbearable remorse of being on Hell's side of a "fixed" gulf,
man hurries on to the bitter end; as careless as if there were no
God, no death, no judgement, no heaven, no Hell!  If the reader of
these pages be such an one, may God this very moment have
mercy upon you, and while you read these lines, open your eyes to
your most perilous position, standing as you may be on the
slippery brink of an endless woe!

     Oh, friend, believe it or not, your case is truly desperate!
Put off the thought of eternity no longer.  Remember, that
procrastination is like him who deceives you by it, not only a
"thief," but a "murderer." There is much truth in the Spanish
proverb which says, "The road of 'By-and-by' leads to the town of
'Never.'"  I beseech you, therefore, to travel that road no longer.
"Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of
salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

     "But," says one, "I am not indifferent as to the welfare of
my soul.  My deep trouble lies wrapped up in another word -

                 UNCERTAINTY.

     I am among the second-class passengers you speak of."

     Well, both indifference and uncertainty are the offspring of
one parent - unbelief.  The first results from unbelief as to the sin
and ruin of man, the other from unbelief as to God's sovereign
remedy for man.  It is especially for souls desiring before God to
be fully and unmistakably SURE of their salvation that these pages
are written. I can in a great measure understand your deep soul-trouble,
and am assured that the more you are in earnest about this
all-important matter, the greater will be your thirst, until you know
for certain that you are really and eternally saved.  "For what shall
it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own
soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark
8:36,37).  The only son of a devoted father is at sea.  News comes
that his ship has been wrecked on some foreign shore.  Who can
tell the anguish of suspense in that father's heart until, upon the
most reliable authority, he is assured that his boy is safe and
sound?

     Or, again, you are far from home.  The night is dark and
wintry, and your way is totally unknown.  Standing at a point
where two roads diverge, you ask a passer-by the way to the town
you desire to reach, and he tells you he thinks that such and such a
way is the right one, and hopes you will be all right if you take it.
Would "thinks", and "hopes," and "may be's" satisfy you?  Surely
not.  You must have certainty about it, or every step you take will
increase your anxiety.  What wonder, then, that men have
sometimes neither been able to eat nor sleep when the eternal
safety of the soul has been trembling in the balance!

     Now, there are three things I desire, by the Holy Spirit's
help, to make clear to you; and, to put them into Scripture
language, they are these:

     THE WAY OF SALVATION. Acts 16:17
     THE KNOWLEDGE OF SALVATION. Luke 1:77
     THE JOY OF SALVATION. Psalm 51:12

     We shall, I think, see that, though intimately connected,
they each stand upon a separate basis; so that it is quite possible
for a soul to know the way of salvation without having the certain
knowledge that he himself is saved; or, again, to know that he is
saved, without possessing at all times the joy that ought to
accompany that knowledge.

     First, then, let me speak briefly of
 

             THE WAY OF SALVATION

     Please open your Bible, and read carefully the 13th verse of
the 13th chapter of Exodus; there you find these words from the
lips of Jehovah:  "Every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a
lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his
neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou
redeem."

     Now come back with me in thought to a supposed scene of
3,000 years ago.  Two men (a priest of God and a poor Israelite)
stand in earnest conversation.  Let us stand by, with their
permission, and listen.  The gestures of each bespeak deep
earnestness about some matter of importance and it is not difficult
to see that the subject of conversation is a little ass that stands
trembling beside them.

     "I am come to inquire," says the poor Israelite, "if there
cannot be a merciful exception made in my favour this once.  This
feeble little thing is the firstling of my ass, and though I know full
well what the law of God says about it, I am hoping that mercy
will be shown, and the ass's life spared.  I am but a poor man in
Israel, and can ill afford to lose the colt."

     "But," answers the priest firmly, "the law of the Lord is
plain and unmistakable: 'EVERY firstling of an ass thou shalt
redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt
break his neck.' Where is the lamb?

     "Ah, sir, no lamb do I possess!"

     "Then go, purchase one, and return, or the ass's neck must
surely be broken.  The lamb must die, or the ass must die."

     "Alas!  then all my hopes are crushed, " he cries, "for I am
far too poor to buy a lamb."

     While this conversation proceeds, a third person joins
them, and after hearing the poor man's tale of sorrow, he turns to
him, and says kindly, "Be of good cheer, I can meet your need,"
And thus he proceeds: "We have in our house, on the hill-top
yonder, one little lamb, brought up at our very hearthstone, which
is 'without spot or blemish.'  It has never once strayed from hoe,
and stands (and rightly so) in highest favour with all that are in the
house.  This lamb will I fetch." And away he hastens up the hill.
Presently you see him gently leading the fair little creature down
the slope, and very soon both lamb and ass are standing side by
side.

     Then the lamb is bound the altar, its blood is shed, and the
fire consumes it. The righteous priest now turns to the poor man,
and says, "You can freely take your little colt in safety; no broken
neck for it now.  The lamb had died in the ass's stead, and
consequently the ass goes righteously free.  Thanks to your friend."

     Now, poor troubled soul, can't you see in this, God's own
picture of a sinner's salvation?  His claims as to your sin demanded
"a broken neck", that is, righteous judgment upon your guilty head;
the only alternative being the death of a divinely-approved
substitute.  Now you could not find the provision to meet your
case; but in the person of His beloved Son, God Himself provided
the Lamb. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of
the world" (John 1:29).

     Onward to Calvary He went, "as a lamb to the slaughter,"
(Isaiah 53:7) and there and then He "once suffered for sins, the just
for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18).  He
"was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our
justification" (Romans 4:25).  So that God does not abate one jot
of His righteous, holy claims against sin when He justifies (i.e.,
clears from all charge of guilt) the ungodly sinner who believes in
Jesus (Romans 3:26).  Blessed be God for such a saviour, such a
salvation!

     "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?"

     "Well," you reply, "I have, as a condemned sinner, found in
Him one that I can safely trust.  I do believe in Him."

     Then I can tell you that the full value of His sacrifice and
death, as God estimates it, He makes as good to you as though you
had accomplished it all yourself.  Oh, what a wondrous way of
salvation is this! Is it not great, and grand, and Godlike, worthy of
God Himself - the gratification of His own heart of love, the glory
of His precious Son, and the salvation of a sinner, all bound up
together?  What a bundle of grace and glory!  Blessed be the God
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has so ordered it that His
own beloved Son should do all the work, and get all the praise, and
that you and I, poor, guilty things, believing on Him, should not
only get the blessing, but enjoy the blissful company of the Blessed
for ever and ever.  "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt
His name together" (Psalm 34:3).

     But perhaps your eager inquiry may be, "How is it that
since I do really distrust self and self-work, and wholly rely upon
Christ and Christ's work, that I have not the full certainty of my
salvation?" You say, "If my feelings warrant my saying that I am
saved on day, they are pretty sure to blight every hope the next and
I am left like a ship storm-tossed, without any anchorage
whatever." Ah! there lies your mistake.  Did you ever hear of a
captain trying to find anchorage by fastening his anchor inside the
ship?  Never.  Always outside.

     It may be that you are quite clear that it is Christ's death
alone that gives SAFETY; but you think that it is what you feel
that gives you certainty.  Now, again, take your Bible, for I wish
you to see from God's Word how He gives a man

          THE KNOWLEDGE OF SALVATION

     Before you turn to the verse which I shall ask you very
carefully to look at, which speaks of how a believer is to know that
he has eternal life, let me quote it in the distorted way in which
man's imagination often puts it.  "These happy feelings have I
given unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye
may know that ye have eternal life."  Now open your Bible, and
while you compare this with God's blessed and unchanging Word,
may He give you from your very heart to say with David, "I hate
vain thoughts: but Thy law do I love" (Psalm 119:113).  The verse
just misquoted is found  in 1 John 5:13, "These things have I
written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that
ye may KNOW that ye HAVE eternal life."

     How did the firstborn sons of the thousands of Israel know
for certain that they were safe the night of Passover and of Egypt's
judgment?  Let us pay a visit to two of their houses, and hear what
they have to say.

     We have in the first house we enter that they are all
shivering with fear and suspense.  "What is the secret of all this
paleness and trembling?" We enquire, and the firstborn son
informs us that the angel of death is coming round the land, and
that he is not quite certain how matters will stand with him at that
solemn moment, "When the destroying angel has passed our
house,"  says he, "and the night of judgment is over, I shall then
know that I am safe; but I can't see how I can be quite sure of it
until then.  I hear they ARE sure of salvation next door, but we
think it VERY PRESUMPTUOUS.  All I can do is to spend the
long, dreary night HOPING for the best."

     "But," we ask, "has the God of Israel not provided a way of
safety for His people?"

     "True," he replies, "and we have availed ourselves of that
way of escape.  The blood of the spotless and unblemished
first-year lamb has been duly sprinkled with the bunch of hyssop
on the lintel and two side-posts, but still we are not fully assured of
shelter."

     Let us now leave these doubting, troubled ones, and enter
next door.  What a striking contrast meets our eye at once!  Peace
rests on every countenance.  There they stand, with girded loins,
and staff in hand, feeding on the roasted lamb.

     "What can be the meaning of all this tranquillity on such a
solemn night as this?"

     "Ah," say they all, "we are only waiting for Jehovah's
marching orders, and then we shall bid a last farewell to the
taskmaster's cruel lash and all the drudgery of Egypt!"

     "But hold!  Do you forget that this is the night of Egypt's
judgment?"

     "Right well we know it; but our firstborn son is safe. The
blood has been sprinkled according to the wish of our God."

     "But so it has been next door," we reply, "but they are all
unhappy, because all uncertain of safety."

     "Ah!" firmly responds the firstborn, "BUT WE HAVE
MORE THAN THE SPRINKLED BLOOD: WE HAVE THE
UNERRING WORD OF GOD ABOUT IT.  God has said: 'When I
see the blood, I will pass over you' (Exodus 12:13).  God rests
satisfied with the blood outside, and we rest satisfied with His
Word inside."

     The sprinkled blood makes us SAFE.  The spoken Word
makes us SURE.  Could anything make us more safe than the
sprinkled blood, or more sure that His spoken Word?  Nothing,
NOTHING.  Now, let me ask you a question.  "Which of these two
houses, think you, was the safer?" Do you say the second, where
all were so peaceful?  Nay, then, you are wrong.  Both are safe
alike.  Their safety depends upon what God thinks about the blood
outside, and not upon the state of their feelings inside.

     If you would be sure of your own blessing, listen not to the
unstable testimony of inward emotions, but to the infallible
witness of the Word of God.  "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He
that believeth on Me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47).

     Let me give you a simple illustration from everyday life.  A
certain farmer in the country, not having sufficient grass for his
cattle, applies for a nice piece of pasture land which he hears is to
be let near his own house.  For some time he gets no answer from
the landlord.  One day a neighbour comes in, and says, "I feel quite
sure you will get that field.  Don't you recollect how that last
Christmas he sent you a special present of game, and that he gave
you a kind nod of recognition the other day when he drove past in
the carriage?"  And with such like words the farmer's mind is filled
with sanguine hopes.

     Next day another neighbour meets him, and in course of
conversation he says, "I'm afraid you will stand no chance
whatever of getting that grass-field.  Mr. _____ has applied for it,
and you cannot but be aware what a favourite he is with the Squire
- occasionally visits him," and so on.  And the poor farmer's bright
hopes are dashed to the ground and burst like soap-bubbles.  One
day he is hoping, the next day full of perplexing doubts.

     Presently the postman calls, and the farmer's heart beats
fast as he breaks the seal of the letter, for he sees by the
handwriting that it is from the Squire himself.   See his
countenance change from anxious suspense to undisguised joy as
he reads and rereads that letter.

     "It's a settled thing now," exclaims he to his wife.  No more
doubts and fears about it; "hopes" and "ifs" are things of the past.
"The Squire says the field is mine as long as I require it, on the
most easy terms, and that's enough for me.  I care for no man's
opinion now.  His word settles all!"

     How many a poor soul is in a like condition to that of the
poor, troubled farmer - tossed and perplexed by the opinions of
men, or the thoughts and feelings of his own treacherous heart; and
it is only upon receiving the Word of God, that certainty takes the
place of doubts and peradventures.  When God speaks there must
be certainty, whether He pronounces the damnation of the
unbeliever, or the salvation of the believer.

     "For ever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven" (Psalm
119:89); and to the simple-hearted believer HIS WORD SETTLES
ALL.

     "Hath he said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken,
and shall He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19).

     "But how many I be sure that I have the right kind of
faith?"  Well, there can be but one answer to that question.  "Have
you placed your confidence in the right person, in the blessed Son
of God?"

     It is not question of the amount of your faith, but of the
trustworthiness of the person you repose your confidence in.  One
man takes hold of Christ, as it were, with a drowning man's grip.
Another but touches the hem of His garment; but the sinner who
does the former is not a bit safer than the one who does the latter.
They have both made the same discovery, namely, that while all of
self is totally untrustworthy, they may safely confide in Christ,
calmly rely on His Word, and confidently rest in the eternal
efficacy of His finished work.  That is what is meant by believing
on Him. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me
hath everlasting life" (John 6:47).

     Make sure of it then, that your confidence is not reposed in
your works of amendments, your religious observances, your pious
feelings when under religious influences, your moral training from
childhood, and the like.  You may have the strongest faith in any
or all of these, and perish everlastingly.  Don't deceive yourself by
any "fair show in the flesh."  The feeblest faith in Christ eternally
saves, while the strongest faith in aught beside is but the offspring
of a deceived heart - but the leafy twigs of your enemy's arranging
over the pitfall of eternal perdition.

     God, in the gospel, simply introduces to you the Lord Jesus
Christ, and says: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleased (Matthew 3:17)."  "You may," He says, "with all
confidence trust His heart, though you cannot with impunity trust
your own."

     Blessed, thrice blessed, Lord Jesus, who would not trust
Thee, and praise Thy Name?

     "I do really believe on Him," said a sad-looking soul to me
one day, "but yet, when asked if I am saved, I don't like to say 'yes',
for fear I should be telling a lie." This young woman was a
butcher's daughter in small town in the Midlands.  It happened to
be a market-day, and her father had not then returned from market.
So I said, "Now suppose when your father comes home you ask
him how many sheep he bought today, and he answers 'ten'.  After
a while a man comes to the shop, and says, 'How many sheep did
your father buy today?' and you reply, 'I don't like to say, for fear I
should be telling a lie."

     "But," said the mother (who was standing by at the time),
with righteous indignation, "that would be making your father the
liar."

     Now, don't you see that this well-meaning young woman
was virtually making Christ out to be a liar, saying, "I do believe
on the Son of God, and He says I have everlasting life, but I don't
like to say I have it, lest I should be telling a lie." What daring
presumption!

     "But," says another, "how may I be sure that I really do
believe?  I have tried often enough to believe, and looked within to
see if I had got it, but the more I look at my faith, the less I seem to
have."

     Ah, friend, you are looking in the wrong direction to find
that out, and your trying to believe but plainly shows that you are
on the wrong track.  Let me give you another illustration to explain
what I want to convey to you.

     You are sitting at your quiet fireside one evening, when a
man comes in and tells you that the station-master has been killed
that night on the railway.  Now it so happens that this man had
long borne the character in the place for being a very dishonest
man, and the most daring, notorious liar in the neighbourhood.  Do
you believe, or even try to believe, that man?

     "Of course not," you exclaim.

     "Pray, why?"

     "Oh, I know him too well for that!"

     "But tell me how you know that you don't believe him.  Is it
by looking within at your faith or feelings?"

     "No," you reply, "I think of the man that brings me the
message."

     Presently a neighbour drops in, and says, "The station-master
has been run over by a goods train tonight, and killed upon the spot."

     After he has left, I hear you cautiously say, "Well, I partly
believe it now; for to my recollection this man only once in his life
deceived me, though I have known him from boyhood."

     But again I ask, "Is it by looking at your faith this time that
you know you partly believe it?"

     "No," you repeat, "I am thinking of the character of my
informant."

     Well, this man has scarcely left your room before a third
person enters and brings you the same sad news as the first.  But
this time you say, "NOW, John, I believe it.  Since YOU tell me, I
can believe it." Again I press my question (which is, remember)
but the re-echo of your own), "How do you KNOW that you so
confidently believe your friend John?"

     "Because of who and what John is," you reply. "He never
has deceived me, and I don't think he ever will."

     Well, then, just in the same way, I know that I believe the
Gospel because  of the One who brings me the news.  "If we
receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is
the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son.  He that
believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that
BELIEVETH NOT GOT HATH MADE HIM A LIAR: because he
believeth not the record that God gave of His Son" (1 John 5:9,10).
"Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for
righteousness" (Romans 4:3).

     And anxious soul once said to a servant of Christ, "Oh, sir,
I can't believe!" To which the servant wisely and quietly made
reply, "Indeed, WHO is it that you can't believe?" This broke the
spell.  He had been looking at faith as an indescribable something
he must feel within himself in order to be sure he was all right for
Heaven; whereas faith ever looks outside to a living Person, and
His finished work, and quietly listens to the testimony of a faithful
God about both.

     It is the outside look that brings the inside peace.  When a
man turns his face towards the sun his own shadow is behind him.
You cannot look at self and a glorified Christ in Heaven at the
same moment.

     Thus we have seen that the blessed Person of God's Son
wins my confidence.  His FINISHED WORK makes me eternally
safe.  GOD'S WORD about those who believe on Him makes me
unalterably sure.  I find in Christ and His work the way of
salvation, and in the Word of God the knowledge of salvation.

     "But, if saved," you may say, "how is it that I have such a
fluctuating experience, so often losing all my joy and comfort, and
getting as wretched and downcast as I was before my conversion?"
Well, this brings us to our third point;

             THE JOY OF SALVATION

     You will find, in the teaching of Scripture, that while you
are saved by Christ's work and assured by God's Word, you are
maintained in comfort and joy by the Holy Ghost, who has come to
indwell every true believer.

     Now you must bear in mind that every saved one has still
"the flesh" within him, that is, the evil nature he was born with and
which, perhaps, showed itself while still a helpless infant on his
mother's lap.  The Holy Ghost in the believer resists the flesh and
is grieved by every activity of it, in motive, word or deed.  When
he is walking "worthy of the Lord," the Holy Ghost will be
producing in his soul His blessed fruits - "love, joy, peace ..." (see
Galatians 5:22).  When he is walking in a carnal, worldly way the
Spirit is grieved, and these fruits are wanting in greater or less
measure.

     Let me put it thus for you who do believe on God's Son:

          Christ's Work and your salvation stand or fall together
 
          Your Walk and your enjoyment stand or fall together
 

     When Christ's work breaks down (and, blessed by God, it
never, never will), your salvation will break down with it.  When
your walk breaks down (and be watchful, for it may), your
enjoyment will break down with it.

     Thus it is said of the early disciples (Acts 9:31), that they
were "walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the
Holy Ghost."  And again in Acts 13:52: "And the disciples were
filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost."  My spiritual joy will be
in proportion to the spiritual character of my walk after I am
saved.

     Now do you see your mistake?  You have been mixing up
enjoyment and your safety, two widely-different things.  When,
through self-indulgence, loss of temper, worldliness, etc., you
grieved the Holy Spirit, and lost your joy, you thought your safety
was undermined.  But again I repeat it -

     Your safety hangs upon Christ's work FOR you.
     Your assurance upon God's Word TO you.
     Your enjoyment upon not grieving the Holy Spirit IN you.

     When, as a believer, you do anything to grieve the Holy
Spirit of God, your communion with the Father and the Son is, for
the time, practically suspended; and it is only when you judge
yourself, and confess your sins, that the joy of communion is
restore.

     Your child has been guilty of some misdemeanour.  He
shows upon his countenance the evident mark that something is
wrong with him.  Half-an-hour before this he was enjoying a walk
with you round the garden, admiring what you admired, enjoying
what you enjoyed.  In other words, he was in communion with
you; his feelings and sympathies were in common with yours.

     But now all this is changed, and as a naughty, disobedient
child he stands in the corner, the very picture of misery.  Upon
penitent confession of his wrong-doing you have assured him of
forgiveness; but his pride and selfwill keep him sobbing there.

     Where is now the joy of half-an-hour ago?  All gone.
Why?  Because communion between you and him has been
interrupted.

     What is become of the relationship that existed between
you and your son half-an-hour ago?  Is that gone too?  Is that
severed or interrupted?  Surely not.

     His relationship depends upon his birth.
     His communion depends upon his behaviour.

     But presently he comes out of the corner with broken will
and broken heart confessing the whole thing from first to last, so
that you see he hates the disobedience and naughtiness as much as
you do, and you take him in your arms and cover him with kisses.
His joy is restored because communion is restored.

     When David sinned so grievously in the matter of Uriah's
wife, he did not say, "Restore unto me Thy salvation," but "Restore
unto me the joy of Thy salvation" (Psalm 51:12).

     But to carry our illustration a little farther.  Supposing
while your child is in the corner there should be a cry of "house on
fire" throughout your dwelling, what would become of him then?
Left in the corner to be consumed with the burning, falling house?
Impossible!  Very probably he would be the very first person you
would carry out.  Ah, yes, you know right well that the love of
relationship is one thing, and the joy of communion quite another.

     Now, when the believer sins, communion for the time is
interrupted, and joy is lost until, with a broken heart, he comes to
the Father and confesses his sins.  Then, taking God at His Word,
he knows he is again forgiven; for His Word plainly declares that
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

     Oh, then, fellow-believer, ever bear in mind these two
things:  There is nothing so strong as the link of relationship; and
nothing so tender as the link of communion.

     All the combined power and counsel of earth and Hell
cannot sever the former, while an impure motive or an idle word
will snap the latter.  If you are troubled with a cloudy half-hour,
get low before God, consider your ways.  And when the thief that
has robbed you of your joy has been detected, drag him at once to
the light, confess your sin to God your Father, and judge yourself
most unsparingly for the unwatchful careless state of soul that
allowed the thief to enter unchallenged.  But never, never,
NEVER, confound your safety with your joy.

     Don't imagine, however, that the judgement of God falls a
white more leniently on the believer's sin than on the unbeliever's.
He has not two ways of dealing judicially with sin, and He could
no more pass by the believer's sin without judging it, than He could
pass by the sins of a rejecter of His precious Son. But there is this
great difference between the two, namely, that the believer's sins
were all known to God, and all laid upon His own provided Lamb
when He hung upon the cross at Calvary, and that there and then,
once and for ever, the great "criminal question" of his guilt was
raised and settled, judgment falling upon the blessed Substitute in
the believer's stead, "who His own self bare our sins in His own
body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24).

     The Christ-rejecter must bear his own sins in his own
person in the lake of fire for ever.  But, when a genuine believer
fails, the "criminal question" of sin cannot be raised against him,
the Judge Himself having settled that once for all on the cross; but
the communion question is raised within him by the Holy Ghost as
often as he grieves the Spirit.

     Allow me, in conclusion, to give you another illustration.
It is a beautiful moonlight night.  The moon is at full, and shining
in more than ordinary silver brightness.  A man is gazing intently
down a deep, still well, where he sees the moon reflected, and thus
remarks to a friendly bystander, "How beautifully fair and round
she is tonight!  How quietly and majestically she rides along!"  He
has just finished speaking when suddenly his friend drops a small
pebble into the well, and he now exclaims, "Why, the moon is all
broken to pieces, and the fragments are shaken together in the
greatest disorder!"

     "What gross absurdity!"  is the astonished rejoinder of his
companion.  "Look up, man!  The moon hasn't changed one jot or
tittle.  It is the condition of the well that reflects the moon that has
changed."

     Apply the simple figure yourself.  Your heart is the well.
When there is no allowance of evil the blessed Spirit of God takes
of the glories and preciousness of Christ, and reveals them to you
for your comfort and joy.  But the moment a wrong motive is
cherished in the heart, or an idle word escapes the lips unjudged,
the Holy Ghost begins to disturb the well, your happy experiences
are smashed to pieces, and you are all restless and disturbed
within, until in brokenness of spirit before God you confess your
sin (the disturbing thing)  and thus get restored once more to the
calm, sweet joy of communion.

     But when your heart is thus all unrest, need I ask, Has
Christ's work changed?  No, no.  Then your salvation is not altered.
Has God's Word changed?  Surely not.  Then the certainty of your
salvation has received no shock.  Then, what has changed?  Why,
the action of the Holy Ghost in you has changed, and instead of
taking of the glories of Christ, and filling your heart with the sense
of His worthiness, He is grieved at having to turn aside from this
delightful office to fill you with the sense of your sin and
unworthiness.  He takes from you your present comfort and joy
until you judge and resist the evil thing that He judges and resists.
When this is done communion with God is again restored.

     The Lord make us to be increasingly jealous over ourselves
lest we grieve "the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto
the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30).  However weak your
faith may be, rest assured of this, that the blessed One who has
won your confidence will never change.  "Jesus Christ the same
yesterday, and to day, and FOR EVER" (Hebrews 13:8).  The work
He has accomplished will never change.  "Whatsoever God doeth,
it shall be FOR EVER: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken
from it" (Ecclessiastes 3:13).  The word He has spoken will never
change. "The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
But the word of the Lord endureth FOR EVER" (1 Peter 1:24,25).
Thus the object of my trust, the foundation of my safety, and the
ground of my certainly, are alike ETERNALLY UNALTERABLE.

     Once more, let me ask, "WHICH CLASS ARE YOU
TRAVELLING?"  Turn your heart to God, I pray you, and answer
that question to Him.  "Let God be true, and every man a liar"
(Romans 3:4).  "He that hath received His testimony hath set to his
seal that God is true" (John 3:33).

     May the joyful assurance of possessing this "great
salvation" be yours, no and "till He come."

                                        -by George Cutting
 



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