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Up to Date (A Motto for the New Year)

Public Domain1

by
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”

by
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…]

“How They Grow”: Part 5

This entry is part 5 of 16 in the series How They Grow

 Growth, Not Mere Self-Assertion

“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” saith the Lord of hosts.
Zechariah 4:6

Which were born [begotten], not of blood, nor of the will of man,
nor of the will of the flesh, but of God.
John 1:33

The branch cannot bear fruit of itself.
John 15:4

“Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

G

rowth in grace must not be confounded with what may be termed the doctrine of “self-assertion of the human spirit.”  In certain prominent philosophical teachings of the day, there is that which would gladly “de-Chris­tian­ize” society; and in much of Auguste Comte’s teachings, 1 there is that which amounts to a deification, or a worship, of the human nature.  At least, to the human spirit is attributed latent forces by which, if allowed to arise and assert themselves, man can evolutionize and redeem himself, and as such needs no Redeemer and Savior. [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
by
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.

 


Endnotes:

The Passing of the Frost: An Easter Meditation

by
Rev. Isaiah Reid

Copyright © 20081

Article Title over a photo of crocuses emerging from the melting snow.What is the lesson? Life! Life!
New life! Life from the dead!2

We are at Eastertide. About this time we reach the spring frost line. Winter loses his grip and gives up the contest. The ice goes out of the river and streams. The sun shines warm. The fields are lined and seamed with the marks of the plow, and mellowed with the harrow. The lawns show the tender green of a new carpet. Already the maples have cast their blooms, and the wide world seems awake. New life is apparent everywhere. Things apparently dead for months are breaking the confines of their winter quarters, if not what actually was their graves. The sealed buds burst the encasement of their winter tombs. Life, life, echoes from every side. The clouds go sailing past and the sky seems deep and far away. We shall soon look for the early flowers blooming along the streams and in sheltered nooks, and later breaking in on the vision from every quarter. [continue reading…]

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series God's Ways and Man's Methods
A

great many people have denominational holiness.  They believe in it because it is “a doctrine of their church.”  Doctrinally, or in a theoretical way, they advocate it and may be said to favor it.  Practically, there is usually a great gap between this class and those who believe in it as an experience, and who hold special meetings for its promotion.

We have taught and do still that holiness is not denominational; that is, it is not the birthright or special heritage of any one denomination.  No church has any more right to be holy than another.  No one has been singled out by heaven’s order to be holier than the rest; no one has a right to claim it as their special doctrine to the setting aside of any other church order.  In this sense holiness is as undenominational as sunlight, or air, or water, or free grace.  For us Presbyterians to preach that it is our duty to be holy is right and our bounden duty.  But it is equally so for our Methodist brethren, or any other properly constituted church order.  Yet we have always thought it in bad taste to go over to some of our sister churches, whose people are not in the experience of holiness, and say to them, “You ought to be holy; it is a Presbyterian doctrine.”  We do not think this the right way to preach holiness to the people at large as we find them in our conventions and camp-meetings.  As we come in contact with their prejudices, they justly come to think that we seek to make Presbyterians out of them. [continue reading…]

“How They Grow”: Part 6

This entry is part 6 of 16 in the series How They Grow

What Doth Hinder?

Who did hinder you?
Galatians 5:7

Be ye also enlarged.
2 Corinthians 6:13

W

e usually hear it said that growth moves forward with great success after entire sanctification.  That is, after the seed of sin, that root of bitterness, the carnal mind, is destroyed, the great hindrance to growth is removed.  This is true in the main, and yet we find that many who certainly have that experience have not advanced very rapidly.  Yes, we find that hindrances have impeded our own progress in many directions even while we have evidence of full sanctification.  When we inquire into the cause of this, we see that probation is by no means ended.  The carnal mind being destroyed does not destroy or put an end to all things that hinder us.  There are real temptations; there are false teachings of various kinds; there are actual enemies in the field.  We find ourselves under pressure.  We feel the need of more power.  We find much in us that stands in the way of the greatness and richness our souls crave.  We see where we have failed.  We diagnose our moral tempers better, and see new difficulties.  We detect our preference of ourselves and our love of personal ease, and we find little eddies where life easily drops back into old ways unless watched and met with a resolute will and set faith in God.  This is not all; the very sources of the human spirit seem to fail at times, and drop into such dis­cour­age­ment, and weakness, and dryness, that we cry out of our very depth for more of God, more of sinking into His will, and less of our own ways. [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
by
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…]

Our Mount Sinais

Isaiah Reid, founder<br/>of the Iowa Holiness Association

Isaiah Reid

P

erhaps we have read the old account as something in the past only.  It was for the past, and is for the past, but there is a present sense in which it is more true to us than the mere historical record.  We too much read the Bible as an old book.  If people would try to read it as a present message, having special reference to the individual life and needs, the “higher criticism” business would largely go out of fashion.  Just as a present Christ removes all fear about the second coming of Christ as a Savior, a life in which the world has ended never has trouble about the end of the world.  A soul who has found out that the deserts of which the Bible speaks are not so much studies of physical geography as lessons on the inward spiritual soul is not much entertained with mementos of the holy land and bottles of sand from her deserts.  In the same way, while one may be properly curious as to the real location of Sinai, the greater question is, Have I ascended my Sinai? [continue reading…]

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

dear brother and schoolmate, who is not in the experience of holiness, wrote not long since, inquiring if I “believed in ‘sinless perfection.’ ”  As I understand him, he means by this term just what thousands of other misinformed people mean by it, namely, “You claim to get to a place where you can’t sin.”  This is what a great many have charged us and others with holding and teaching, and yet scarcely a month has passed since we began to publish, in which it has been declared and shown that we do not.  Now we hardly know how to tell any more plainly than we have in the past four years in our publication that we NEVER HAVE and WE DO NOT NOW teach such a thing; and yet, since so many are dull of hearing, 1 it seems needful to restate this matter again. [continue reading…]

“How They Grow”: Part 7

This entry is part 7 of 16 in the series How They Grow

An Unexpected Source of Hindrance “If the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched and would not have suffered his house to have been broken up.” Matthew 24:43

So the Master taught.  There is a long list of things that are of such nature that they cannot be prepared for or provided against, for the reason that we do not know of their approach.  It is the same way with things that we do not understand or see into.

“If we had known!”  How much lies behind these words?  In so many things we are called to go out like Abraham, “not knowing.”  How many places in life I see now, as I look back, that I started out “not knowing,” and yet thinking I did.  There have been many times when I have been brought into incomprehensible places, but not, as I now see, for the sake of these places themselves so much, nor for the sake of being puzzled as to what was to come in the future.  This experience is a common feature of all our trials, or testing times.  We had never gone that way before, and of course could not understand it.  Because we do not understand the trial, it seems all the harder.  We cannot have the experience of a journey till we make the journey, however.  The mission of trial and suffering necessarily appears hidden, its “peaceable fruits of righteousness” only being discoverable after it has passed.  It is this “not knowing” element that hinders us, perhaps, from discovering a very important law of God’s administration in things spiritual.  It is this: [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
by
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…]

“How They Grow”: Part 8

This entry is part 8 of 16 in the series How They Grow

Concerning Waiting

“Waiting” is no uncommon experience, and yet it is not always easy to wait.  It is easier far to go, than to wait.  To be laid aside, and stay inactive, and hampered at home by an aching, worn-out body, or by a lingering sickness, requires a measure of grace unknown in the rush of life’s battle and the stirring swing of a glorious campaign.  Soldiers say the severest test is courage to stand under fire.  May it not be, then, that we much need waiting hours, even if there should be in them a measure of real trial?  While to want to go, and yet not be able, may be harder than the going, it is not certain that the easiest thing is the best. [continue reading…]

Soul Fire

This entry is part 15 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers (Isaiah Reid)

Public Domain1

Chapter 14 of Soul-Help Papers
by
Isaiah Reid

“And I went in the heat of my spirit.”
— Ezekiel 3:14 —

“My heart was hot within me;
while I was musing the fire burned.
Then spake I with my tongue…”
— Psalm 39:3 —

“But His word was in my heart
as a burning fire shut up in my bones,
and I was weary with forbearing,
and I could not stay.”
— Jeremiah 20:9 —

Chapter title overlaid on a rayed-sunrise-behind-a-cloud image, a photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash.com“If you want ‘heat of spirit,’
learn to desire God.”2

I have found that inward tone and temper of spirit is much more precious than the condition of the outside weather. A sensitive spirit is a heritage indeed, if only it is sensitive to spiritual things. But woe to that soul whose nature is at the call of every outside annoyance. What an easy time Satan has in keeping such in hot water! If untoward environment meets inward distractions, and tumult of feelings, and unsettled disputes between right and wrong in the home of conscience, peace does not come to rest. On the other hand, if outside disturbances find at the front door of entrance the blessed quiet that the peace of God brings, the battle is all but won. Satan flees at the sight of real inward joy and present consciousness of the applied atoning blood. The peace of a fully saved soul abiding in the light furnishes Satan no ground of entrance. The “way in the way”3 has no ground upon which Satan can place his feet for any advantage. It is rather in the midst of tumult and inward commotion, when the very floodtide is in by reason of outward commotion and storm-beat, that the tempter seeks occasion to come in on some unsuspected and unrecognized driftwood. [continue reading…]