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This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series God's Ways and Man's Methods

In order to understand the material in the following chapters, it behooves us to define for the reader the basic terms which we will be using.

DEPRAVITY: The depraved nature.  The inward, indwelling bias to do wrong in which men are born.  The inward “don’t want to” obey God’s law when known; that internal crookedness which prompts to bad acts, sometimes called “indwelling sin,” when the word refers to a state of the heart as distinct from an act.

It is natural or native, in that it is inherited or derived from Adam’s apostasy.  It involves no guilt till known and approved.  We are not responsible for inherited depravity, though we are responsible for its approval, intensification and continuance.  It is a state of the soul, and its remedy, cleansing. [continue reading…]

“How They Grow”: Part 13

This entry is part 13 of 16 in the series How They Grow

Advance by Disappointment Do not say, “What is the cause the former days were better than these?” for you do not enquire wisely concerning this. Ecclesiastes 7:10

He takes away the first that He may establish the second. Hebrews 9:19

The path of the just is as a shining light which shines more and more unto the perfect day. Proverbs 4:18

Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end. Isaiah 9:7

The things which happened to me have fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel. Philippians 1:12

Forgetting the things that are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before. Philippians 3:13

The wild, bone-chilling January winter howls outside the window pane and drives its powdered snow through the key hole in the door and through the smallest opening about the window sash.  It is the dead of midwinter.  The glow of the furnace below keeps me in June atmosphere within, however, and I am thinking of the past, of the long years that are gone into the deep irrevocable past—the past that is not wanted back, when my heart was fully set on a very different line of life than that which I have followed.  My mind ran after and my hands took after the workers in wood.  I longed for the shop, and to learn how to work with wood; and I pictured to myself how I would some day do and how I would enjoy doing it.  [continue reading…]

Concerning Taking All As From God

This entry is part 4 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers

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s I sat down for my morning lesson, I said, “Now, Lord, I want to read for myself.  I read for study and to speak to others; but now talk to me, not what to say to others so much, as talk to me especially.”  So I opened the book, and the first thing He said was, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” Proverbs 27:1.

At first I feared some bad accident, or bad news, or some ill; and then it seemed as if He really could not mean to frighten me about tomorrow, but rather to teach me to make ready for it, and how best to come to its threshold.  Adam Clarke 2 says his old manuscript Bible reads, “Glory not thou in one dwelling.” 3  That is, don’t build too much on the continuance of the present; it does not abide.  Then I remembered what James had said about the treasures of this world and its “grace and fashion passing away.” 4 [continue reading…]

Concerning the Undesired and Unexpected in Life

This entry is part 21 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers

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f we notice the story of the lives about us, not to say much of our own, we see there enters therein much of the unwelcome and unsought.  Life goes not in the expected, but in the unexpected channel.  The road seems to turn almost directly from the route mapped out for it.  All predictions and prophecies seem to have miscarried.  Expectations have not been realized.  Life has not brought or fulfilled expected prophecies.  The soul is thrust out—all unprepared for its surroundings—into what appears to be a barren land, and all roads run crosswise and contrary to every expectation. [continue reading…]

This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series God's Ways and Man's Methods

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n the closing paragraphs of the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul charges the custodians of that letter to read it unto “all the holy brethren” (1 Thessalonians 5:27).  From the same epistle we have from the author himself his own gauge of the meaning of the word “holy.”  In chapter 3:13, he prays that the church in general may be established “unblamable in holiness before God.”  In 4:3, Paul declares that their sanctification “is the will of God.”  In 5:23, his prayer is that “the very God of peace sanctify you wholly,” and that this sanctification reach to “body, soul and spirit.”  So then, we understand that sanctification was for this life, and that some of the Thessalonian church were “holy.”  But how came they to be so?  Various answers are given; let us note them in order. [continue reading…]

“How They Grow”: Part 14

This entry is part 14 of 16 in the series How They Grow

Advance as Effected by Habit

Over and over again,
No matter which way I may turn,
I always find in the book of life
Some lesson I have to learn.
One doing will not suffice,
Though doing is not in vain,
And a blessing failing me once or twice
May come if I try again.

The path that has once been trod
Is never so rough to the feet,
And the lesson we once have learned
Is never so hard to repeat.
Though sorrowful tears may fall,
And the heart to its depths be riven
By storms and tempest, we need them all,
To render us fit for heaven. 1 [continue reading…]

We Make and Carry the Light We See By

This entry is part 5 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Matthew 5:43

With the merciful Thou wilt show Thyself merciful;
with the pure Thou wilt show Thyself pure;
and with the perverse Thou wilt show Thyself froward.

Psalm 13:25, 26

We must bring to all facts the light in which we see them.

— Coleridge 1

I swear the earth shall surely be complete
to him or her who shall be complete;
The earth remains jagged and broken
only to him or her who remains jagged and broken.

— Whitman 2

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hat does this mean?  This: the seeing power is in us, not in that which is to be seen.  Like a coal miner, I carry the light I see by.  Wanting a book the other evening, I carried a lamp into the dark room and by the lamp found the book.  The light I found the book by was not in the book, but with me; though the book had light in it.  Our lamp of comprehension gives the admeasurement of our view.  “In thy light shall we see light.” 3   “And cannot see afar off,” says the Word. 4  Why?  Some did.  “If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”  5 Christ’s “beam pulling” 6 furnishes the answer.  The “evil eye” cannot see what other eyes see.  Many have eyes, but not all see.  There is a man in Southern Iowa who can’t see any good in holiness.  His wife and daughter see in it what they would not give in exchange for a whole world.  Why?  All have good natural eyes.  All have a very good degree of intelligence.  All know the rudiments of salvation. [continue reading…]

The Perils of Postmeridian Life

This entry is part 22 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers

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oah, David, and Solomon are fair samples of a dangerous period of the latter half our earthly years—postmeridian life.  Each of these men seemed to have a fair record from the early part of his life.  There was not an early period of “sowing wild oats,” and then a break as a consequence.  Yet breaks came.  As to both David and Solomon, we have early records of Divinely attested character.  In early life they were men “after God’s own heart.” 1  It was in later life when the falls came which marred character.  The only break that came in Moses’ life was not in youth, nor in his forty years of schooling in Egypt, or his term in God’s Wilderness University, but in the heat of the battle in the last section of his remarkable years. [continue reading…]

This entry is part 4 of 11 in the series God's Ways and Man's Methods

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e do not deny that sanctification at conversion is divinely possible.  But not all things which are divinely possible happen at conversion, and sanctification at conversion is one of those things which usually does not happen then.  If it ever does so occur, several things will be true concerning it; it will be the same in kind and fruitage as sanctification after conversion. [continue reading…]

“How They Grow”: Part 15

This entry is part 15 of 16 in the series How They Grow

The Attrition of One Soul on Another

And you shall be a blessing.

Zechariah 8:13

If you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory to My name, says the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings.

Malachi 2:2

The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

1 Samuel 18:1

And David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me; and blessed be your advice, and blessed are you, who have kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with my own hand.”

1 Samuel 25:32-33

But there was none like Ahab, who sold himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.

1 Kings 21:25

I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for your sake.

Genesis 30:27

And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian”s house for Joseph”s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house and in the field.

Genesis 39:5

I can’t tell you everything, even some things that I would like very much to say to you.  You are aware, doubtless, that there are some things upon which, though we do not quite understand them ourselves, light comes as we try to tell them to others.  I found this the case the other day when in conversation with a sister.  I was led to say some things upon which my mind had been turning, and found that in trying to give her some of these passing thoughts, new light on them seemed to come in with the voicing of them for her.  The fact is, there are many questions that I long to have someone who has comprehension that way come and sit down by me and read and talk over.  There is a helpfulness of this kind which comes from God directly, though it is delivered through the medium of some human soul.  In fact, human souls are nearest and the easiest way that God has to reach us, save by his Spirit directly.  Humanity is His chosen agency to reach humanity.  Not even angels could be well substituted.  God chose man to be His medium of redemption, and made no mistake.  Even now, communication with angels would not be so beneficial. [continue reading…]

“As Thy Day”

This entry is part 7 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers

“…as thy day, so shall thy strength be.”

Deuteronomy 33:25

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s thy day, so shall thy strength be.”  Not as my day or the day of someone else.  Not as yesterday.  Not as tomorrow.  Each day for itself.  Each individual for himself.  Life is not a repetition, nor a return to its past self.  Life is a continuity, and yet ever new—coming out of the past, and yet always going on into a future unlike that which has been.  Life’s “nowness” is a perpetual characteristic which forever keeps it from being tired of itself. [continue reading…]

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series God's Ways and Man's Methods

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his is a favorite theory many people.  It is to be noted that it contra­dicts the two methods already spoken of, for if people expect “to grow into it,” it is a plain confession that they neither received it by being “born so,” or at their “conversion.”  It is hardly worthwhile to take space here to show the large percent of professed Christians who hold to this theory, when they can be met almost anywhere, if one commences talking about full salvation.  Properly speaking, this theory should be defined as gradualism. [continue reading…]

This entry is part 16 of 16 in the series How They Grow

Tarrying for the Shine And patience, experience.

Romans 5:4

And hope does not make ashamed.

Romans 5:3

The path of the just is as a shining light.

Proverbs 4:18

And oil to make his face to shine.

Psalm 104:15

A man’s wisdom makes his face to shine.

Ecclesiastes 8:1

I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for your sake.

Genesis 30:27

Arise and shine, for your light has come.

Isaiah 60:1

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6

Heart purity—sanctification—is one of the means to the great end.  It is not a finality in the soul’s advance; heart purity only ends carnality.  As entire forgiveness, which is the only kind the Holy Spirit can witness to, is the end of all actual transgressions, so entire sanctification is the end of all uncleanness.  But God is by no means done with us when He has sanctified us, as many mistaken souls think. [continue reading…]

Character, Decree, Destiny

This entry is part 8 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers

And God saw their work [the Ninevites’ repentance
in sackcloth and ashes, and fasting], that they turned
from their evil way; and God repented Him of the evil,
that He said he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Jonah 3:10

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n infinite mind must needs adapt His language to the comprehension of a finite mind, since the finite cannot fully comprehend the infinite.  God speaks to us in the language of men.  He puts things as we see them.  He cannot repent of a thing as we do, for the God of all the earth cannot do either a wrong thing 1 to repent of or an unwise thing to change.  All His attitudes towards wrongdoing and right doing are fixed and settled.  He changes not, 2 for He needs not.  When He speaks of changing and of doing what He said He would do, the language is from the human point of view; that is, looking at it as we see it. [continue reading…]