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“Be Not Silent to Me”

Public Domain (with exceptions)1

Unto You will I cry, O Lord my rock;
be not silent to me:
lest, if You be silent to me,
I become like them that go down into the pit.

—Psalm 28:1 kjv

PHoto of Isaiah Reid, circa 1905Isaiah Reid

Have you not gone oftentimes to the post office or waited anxiously for the postman, and failed to get the letter you anticipated? Your heart could not quit its sighing for hours. Perhaps this has lengthened out into weeks, till hope dropped exhausted, and the heart grew dazed and dead. Unexpected, undesired silence is awful. We can bear many other grievances better than silence where we expected speech. “She would not speak to me!” My! How the very thought wrenches the heart strings! How the very feet drag along the way, and the hands forget their skill2—so quickly does the physical respond to the spiritual.

The cold lips in [continue reading…]

Mother’s Legacy

Copyright © 20071

chapter 10 from the book
Boyhood Memories & Lessons
Isaiah Reid

Title image, text surrounded by a floral wreathA Mother’s Day Tribute2

Mother had a catechism which was called The Child’s Catechism. She used it for teaching us before we could read. She asked questions, and answered them either according to the book or with her own “Notes” and personal explanations and illustrations. The first question in the book was “Who created you?” The answer was in a monosyllable, “God.”

I have never been able to get away from that teaching. It was in harmony with the Lord’s Prayer she taught me a little later, beginning with the same Person, only the name was changed to “Our Father.” From that day I always believed that God was my Father in the creation sense, and that He was the Creator of all souls, and ruler of this world. I could never believe that I was a “child of the devil.” In sin I acted like a child of the devil, and was on his side, but all this while I was a prodigal from home. While in sin, and I read from the Bible, “All souls [continue reading…]

Up to Date (A Motto for the New Year)

Public Domain1

Isaiah Reid

Article banner showing a beautiful mountain-lake sceneIf you want a happy New Year,
be up to date!2

The word for the closing and opening years should be “Up to Date.” We need not sit down in tears over the past which is gone. We had better be on our feet for a move forward. We must some way bring our past up to date, settled, canceled, cleared up to the present, or we will not have a fair start for the New Year. The sooner we actually get our whole past under the blood, certainly, and surely, and have witness to the same, the sooner we will be ready for our tomorrow. We need to be paid up to date and prayed up, and forgiven up, and cleansed up to date, and consecrated up to the [continue reading…]

God’s Bounties Should Make Us Bountiful

Copyright 2007, 2019 by Jim Kerwin1

A chapter from the book
Sunnyside Papers: Inspirational Sketches
from God’s “Book of Nature”

Isaiah Reid

Title image with the words 'God's Bounties Should Make Us Bountiful' overlaid on a photo of many colorful vegetables.Bountiful, yes — and thankful!2

It is November.3 We have had an old-time Iowa fall. The charming weather has been just like a northern Florida winter, save the softness and balminess of the air. But doubtless for Iowa, the atmosphere we have had is better for us than that in Florida would have been. What is all right for one part of the country is not always the best thing for the other. Certainly, our fall has charmed everyone; and could it last, no one would care to go to California or to [continue reading…]

As to Vision

This entry is part 14 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers (Isaiah Reid)

Public Domain1

Chapter 13 of Soul-Help Papers
Isaiah Reid

“The earth is full of heaven,
And every common bush afire with God.”2

“True spirituality is to see the divinity in common things.”
— Drummond3

Chapter title overlaid on a rayed-sunrise-behind-a-cloud image, a photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash.comHow we can reach and retain the seasons
of “open vision,” is a matter to which we give
far too little attention. 4

Power to look, not at, but through, the things that are seen, is the “vision sight.” Have you found days when your soul seemed to have power to transform almost everything about you, and the commonplace was shown in a new light, and the ordinary was all transfigured? Well, have you ever been able to explain how this was? Have you found any way to bring about and retain this vision condition of the soul? [continue reading…]

Tarshish Ships: Permission, or Approval of God?

This entry is part 2 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers (Isaiah Reid)

Public Domain1

Chapter 1 of Soul-Help Papers
Isaiah Reid

He gave them their request;
but sent leanness unto their souls.
— Psalm 106:15 —And he found a ship going to Tarshish.
— Jonah 1:3 —
Chapter title overlaid on a rayed-sunrise-behind-a-cloud image, a photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash.comPerhaps you should re-think
that ship ride you just arranged…2

The Lord evidently permitted these uncertain, backsliding Israelites to do certain things He did not endorse. When we will go our way and will not go His way, the Lord often makes our wrath, or disobedience, to praise Him,3 by making our own way result in such defeat and disaster that it brings us to see where we are. Leanness or defeat of soul is the medicine that we find brings us to see where we are and what we are. [continue reading…]

Discouraged States

This entry is part 13 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers (Isaiah Reid)

Public Domain1

Chapter 12 of Soul-Help Papers
Isaiah Reid

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul?
And why art thou disquieted in me?”
— Psalm 42:5 —
Chapter title overlaid on a rayed-sunrise-behind-a-cloud image, a photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash.com…there are discouragements
that seem to fall on us
for which we feel in no way responsible.2

We may not desire discouraged days. We cannot wholly control them, but we may limit their duration. Their spell may be broken. In them we are never at our best. They interfere with progress of all things desirable, at least for the time. We may get out from under them as good as we went in; or we may be worsted by their oppression; or we may learn in their school a new road to new victories. Just now we do not desire to inquire how we came into them, so much as how to get out of them or get on through them. [continue reading…]

Affliction and Growth

This entry is part 12 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers (Isaiah Reid)

Public Domain1

Chapter 11 of Soul-Help Papers
Isaiah Reid

“But the more they afflicted them
the more they multiplied and grew.”
— Exodus 1:12 —

Chapter title overlaid on a rayed-sunrise-behind-a-cloud image, a photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash.com“The throes of the new life are at the expense
of the life that now is.”2

There is a certain cost to all growth. It cannot be ours except we pay the price. He who “will not plow by reason of the cold shall beg in harvest, and have nothing,” said the writer of Proverbs.3 Pain is a very essential part of our advance. The “growing pains” of aching limbs in early school days are only prophecies of that which is to be in all later life wherever the soul keeps the upward path. In those days, my crying before mother was because of aching knees in early boyhood in the old home among the hills;4 the crying has not ceased, though mother is here no more, the old hills are out of sight, and the pain is no longer so much physical. I cry yet as I go. I cannot get on without painful cost. There is nothing without toil. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.”5

The dreams of youth, where are they? How came they to go? How we cried! How the heart ached! How dark and hopeless the world looked for a time! And yet it was well that this should be. The joyous school days, how bright they were! With the end of formal education came the breaking dawn of life’s conflicts, only adding to our pain and driving the halcyon dreams of earlier study-life back into the land of memory with a heart cry. The pain of toil became ours. The loss of the past cost us tears; and yet we could not afford to exchange that to which we were brought for that which we had before. Our affliction brought us growth.

Then came the love-life, wholly eclipsing anything young life had ever known. New light came over all material things. The cloud-tinted sky, the silver thread of the streams among the hills, the charm of the moonlight, the springtide, the summer glow, the gorgeous tints of autumn, the rustle of the leaves under the feet, the jingle of sleigh-bells, the cold sheen of the frozen river just right for skating—how everything was transformed, as if in a new world! Yet no period heretofore had ever had such testing of heart as this. No set of experiences ever prepared for suffering like that which comes with love. No disappointments ever so crushed us. No success ever before so empowered us. If love is most blissful, yet its disturbance is followed by the sharpest pain. At the same time, nothing brings one into the fullness of life like love. Nothing awakens to life’s realities like the union of hearts. Though the cost of the going is great, yet in its surrenders, its beginning the life for another, its cares and development of the real altruistic spirit, its life of service and sacrifice, the soul itself comes to a life so much greater than all former living that the pains of the going are small cost for so great gain. Here, also, the more the afflictions, the greater the growth.

About this time one begins to see the mission and catch the idea: the pains of youth prophesied the coming of manhood; the pains of the schoolhouse prepared the future scholar; the surrender of youth introduced the maturity of adulthood; and the pain of living prophesies immortality. The cost of giving up a desirable past is always painful. The cost of getting the “better on before”6 is the surrender of the best in the present to the better in the future. As the vision of the immortal comes in its superior glories, the consciousness that the greater sacrifice will be demanded breaks on the conception, and again the old truth crushes down on the soul that the more the affliction, the more the advance.

The truth we feared, that the way of true life is the way of the cross, is clearing in our vision and throwing its shadow across every Gethsemane we have. Connected with it is the realization that every perception of the higher pathway involves the loss of the lower. We cannot get on without cost. The travel involves the pain of going, and the cost of fare besides. The throes of the new life are at the expense of the life that now is. Sacrifice becomes the law of advance. The immortal grows on us as the mortal is made its servant. The formation of all higher spiritual ties implies the breaking of earthly ones, or their subjection to the higher ministry and service.

This only follows a natural law, and explains why there is pain in advance and growth. All change in that which we love is full of pain. When we come to surrender our Isaacs,7 and to part with “the dearest idol we have known,”8 we are at the high point of the test of our spirit. The hardest battle is on. The pain is intense. The Gethsemane is flooding our soul with its bitter cup. The old is contesting with the new for the victory. It is the real sweating of the heart’s blood9 that gives the acme of pain in the soul’s affliction. But, as it was with the Master, so it must be with us. If the law of life is the cross, then the other side of our sorrow and surrender is still the cross, but the nearer side of this is Gethsemane. The bitterness of death is not always past when we think it is. Calvary lies beyond the Mount of Olives.

Another point of consideration is that we think we can reach a place of perfect satisfaction in every respect. It is a mistake. We can reach satisfaction of relationship, but not of soul advance, for we are born for the road and not for certain stations by the way. There is no other end of the journey. There is no cessation of learning. Our Jesus is unsearchable. Forever will we be finding new beauties in Him. So there is to be a sense of continued dissatisfaction: while we are sure we are God’s children, and justified, sanctified, and Spirit-possessed up to our measure, and possess this as a “satisfying portion,”10 at the same time there is “the want to go on” in us, and the desire for more and more, so that really we possess the apparent paradox of having an unsatisfied satisfaction. This is natural, for all spiritual possession acquired, in that it is beyond what we have and is therefore nobler and better, involves a new sense of its value, and a realization of new moral obligations. So we cannot stay where we are. The awakening of the new possibilities dissatisfies us with the present, and we feel the stir of breaking camp and pushing forward.

It will ever be thus. By and by we will say with David, “It was good for me that I was afflicted.”11 Like Israel of old, we will find out the secret of the brick-kilns and the mortar.12 Growth in use is worth more to the Master than is toil. Not what we do, but that which we are becoming, is the object of apparent trend in life’s current, if the Divine will is consulted. Discipline leads to the larger life. Seeking to be excused from the taxing and the trying is to shun the cross. Hunting for ease and comfort is to seek for the lesser degree of glory in the future.

Coming to life’s last crossing, I can see how the inward craving is not backward, but forward. How the vistas of the glowing “is to be” perfectly eclipse that which was, and is now. The past and present are not lost to either memory or affection, but the “is to be” is so pervaded with the exceeding and eternal weight13 of that which is just at hand, that the triumphant soul is glad to say even a painful “goodbye,” and seal in death an essential law of life, that “to die is gain.”14 One must endure the pain of growth to have growth.



Out of the Good Into the Better

This entry is part 11 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers (Isaiah Reid)

Public Domain1

Chapter 10 of Soul-Help Papers
Isaiah Reid

“The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart;
and merciful men are taken away, none considering
that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”
— Isaiah 57:1 —
Chapter title overlaid on a rayed-sunrise-behind-a-cloud image, a photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash.comLet the step into the beyond be held in the thinking
not as a compulsion, but a release.2

Looking at life as we do, and clinging to it as we must while we stay, we fail to catch this cheer and comfort, that a righteous and merciful man in dying does not meet a calamity, but has a release from further continuance in the school of adversity, and from contact with the evils and all the sorrows of life. God has said, “To the merciful Thou will show Thyself merciful,”3 and good as His word, the Lord, out of His loving and tender mercy, excuses some from further service where even after “threescore years and ten,” the strength of life is but “labor and sorrow.”4 [continue reading…]

Departing Ravens and Drying Brooks

This entry is part 10 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers (Isaiah Reid)

Public Domain1

Chapter 9 of Soul-Help Papers
Isaiah Reid

When the gloomy shadows gather ‘round your way,
And the clouds of sorrow hide the sun’s bright ray,
Keep your faith unshaken, tho’ all ills combine;
When the days are darkest, That’s the time to shine.2
Chapter title overlaid on a rayed-sunrise-behind-a-cloud image, a photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash.comHow often He finds it needful to “stir up our nest”
and make us try our wings for a new experience
and wider field of usefulness!3

Poor Elijah! The hot sun lay on all the plain burning with an oven-like heat. The grass was withered and dust covered. The fig-tree had cast her fruit. Animals and men hunted the springs for a few drops of water. The children cried piteously. The little lambs lay dead on the hills. The prophet’s retreat by the Cherith brook became besieged with thirsty men and furious animals, fighting for its fast-failing waters. The prophet’s refuge was being taken away. The famine was everywhere. That morning the ravens came no more with the miraculous supply of bread for the man of God. He went for a drink and lo! the waters had ceased to flow. In despairing mood he knelt at his accustomed place of prayer and looked to the hills. The early twilight diffused the cloudless sky, and all nature seemed again to be holding a prayer meeting in which petition was voiced in one word, “Rain, Rain, Rain.” As the rim of the red sun shone first over the east Jordanic hills, the mulberry trees above his head changed their usual “going” as they murmured their petition, and a voice clearly said, “Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there; behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.”4 [continue reading…]

The Danger of Standing Still

This entry is part 9 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers (Isaiah Reid)

Public Domain1

Chapter 8 of Soul-Help Papers
Isaiah Reid

“Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.”

— Exodus 14:15 —

Chapter title overlaid on a rayed-sunrise-behind-a-cloud image, a photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash.comWe are not to pitch our tent
where we did last night,
but rather a day’s march nearer home.2

Go forward.” Death was behind Israel in the shape of the flower3 of the Egyptian army; or if not death, then slavery. They could not stand still.

The three disciples could not remain on the mountain of transfiguration;4 there was need for them at the foot, where the throngs of needy men were congregated.5

The eleven on the slopes of Olivet stood looking into the vacant heavens, where their blessed Lord had just swept through the clouds to His home at the throne. But they could not stay there, even while trying to retain the sweet memory of that wonderful vision. Jesus sent his angel to say to them, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”6 Nothing wrong in the loving gaze so far as that is concerned. But neither could they stay there. [continue reading…]

Character, Decree, Destiny

This entry is part 8 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers (Isaiah Reid)

Public Domain1

Chapter 7 of Soul-Help Papers
Isaiah Reid

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

Chapter title overlaid on a rayed-sunrise-behind-a-cloud image, a photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash.com“It appeared to men
as if God had changed His mind…”2

An 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 thing3 to repent of or an unwise thing to change. All His attitudes towards wrongdoing and right doing are fixed and settled. He changes not,4 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…]

“As Thy Day”

This entry is part 7 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers (Isaiah Reid)

Public Domain1

Chapter 6 of Soul-Help Papers
Isaiah Reid

“…as thy day, so shall thy strength be.”
— Deuteronomy 33:25 —

Chapter title overlaid on a rayed-sunrise-behind-a-cloud image, a photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash.com“What pains He has taken to secure us
from anxious fretting, forethought and worry!
Just one day at a time.”2

As 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 “now-ness” is a perpetual characteristic which forever keeps it from being tired of itself. [continue reading…]

We Make and Carry the Light We See By

This entry is part 6 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers (Isaiah Reid)

Public Domain1

Chapter 5 of Soul-Help Papers
Isaiah Reid

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8

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.
— Coleridge2

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.
— Whitman3

Title image, showing a lantern shining a heart shape on a wall“The inside joy shines out
with attractive power.”4

What 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 admeasurement5 of our view. “In thy light shall we see light.”6 “And cannot see afar off,” says the Word.7 Why? Some did. “If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”8 Christ’s “beam pulling”9 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. But 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…]