Chapter 19 of Soul-Help Papers
as a man speaks unto his friend.”2
I found myself saying in my heart to Jesus early one morning, “Let me walk with You today.” The thought-reply was, “If you walk with Me you will have to go where I go,” and “Two cannot walk together unless they be agreed.”3 In the depths of my being I knew I wanted just this. It was in my heart to be in perfect accord, and only to go where He went in the ordinary conception of the word.
Yet in this deeper, sublimer selfhood, there seem to be so many currents not running parallel with the outward life, or rather in the outward trend of things where I have to live, that the deeper life and the common life appear to be in conflict. How is this? Going in the ordinary rounds of labor and duty today I shall both see and hear that of which Jesus does not approve. Yes, but the question is not so much whether He approves as whether I approve. If I disapprove these recognized things, then I agree with Him, and we walk together. He sees all; I don’t see anything in comparison. He disapproves all wrong so far as He sees it. I am like Him and “have his mind” when I disapprove all wrong so far as I see it. I cannot be like Him in the magnitude of His infinity; I am to be like Him in kind, and as far as I can go. The finite can only be like the infinite up to the verge of finite capacity. One can have goodness like His, or love like His, or purity like His, only in kind, but never in degree. He walks in realms beyond the circumference and compass of my thought, but even there I may still be like Him so long as I possess “His mind.”4 Love is not broken between two friends when one is in Des Moines and the other in Chicago. They have the same mind, and the at-one-ness remains the same. The infinity of Jesus does not necessarily make Him unlike me, or break fellowship. I can agree with Him in the wider ranges of His being, where the wings of my finite being cannot carry me. Out of my sight and hearing, and beyond my thought, He may do a thousand things I may not know, and yet I may be in perfect accord. “His mind” in Himself will nowhere and in no way do anything contrary to “His mind” in me.
I had not till now thought through here. It helps me. I am better satisfied. It is new to me that I can thus go with Jesus in oneness, in the outer ranges of His omnipotence, and not be out of harmony or agreement with Him. I am comforted. Our at-one-ness is greater than I supposed. Yes, Lord, more and more I want to walk with You this day.
“If we walk in the light we have fellowship.”5 “Come, now, let us reason together.”6 “And the Lord spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaks unto his friend.”7 How I have longed for that kind of fellowship, and in certain respects have not realized my ideal! “As a man speaks to his friend.” How real that must be! Jesus as real to me as my best friend on earth! He must mean it that way, and yet He does not talk to the sense-ear as man does. Is it not because we have lived in the sense-world so long and so constantly that it is so hard for us to believe in the supernatural? At any rate, I have been troubled in believing in, or rather recognizing, the spirit-voice of God as real as the voice “of my friend.” It has been hard for me to hear God when there was no audible utterance. I wanted the material sign, and have been very slow to reckon the whisper-thoughts as of God. Satan talks, too, you know, and the fear that the voice might be his, counterfeited as an angel of light, has perhaps often hindered me from more familiar intercourse and communion. But I am more and more coming to believe God is talking to us most, if not all, the time, and has been all these years. Like the child Samuel, most of us actually do not yet know the voice of God.8 We are, and have been all along, not sufficiently sensitized to discern the diction of the Infinite speech. There have been thought-waves, and suggestions many, and the thought within saying a thousand times, “You ought,” and yet I never fully realized that this ought was the actual voice of God. Had a legion of angels been sent to speak it with actual lips, its certainty could not have been greater than with this thought-voice. Is not this ever present? Is not this the omnipresent God? And this is not silence. It is spirit-speech. So it is the real, ever-present communicating God. Maeterlinck,9 in The Treasure of the Humble (page 179), says:
Never for an instant does God cease to speak; but no one thinks of opening the doors. And yet, with a little watchfulness, it were not difficult to hear the word that God must speak concerning every act.10
When we “come to ourselves,” we will be saying as Jacob did at Bethel, “Surely God was in this place and I knew it not.”11 One scarcely knows whether most to thrill at the thought of the ever-present God, or to lament over the fact of our inability to apprehend Him, as contained in Jacob’s statement. Is not God—if we believe at all in His omnipresence—in all places, circumstances, and conditions where we neither see nor recognize Him? It must be so. Moses seemed to have fully recognized this and learned to “see Him Who was invisible,” and so “endured.”12 The more we act our faith in regarding Him as always with us, the more we will find Him. Did you ever place a chair for Him at your table when you read? And do you think of Him as only a judge and sheriff or an inspector of conduct and writer of black marks? I was lately helped in reading these words from Isaiah:
For thus says the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. …For the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls which I have made.
This makes God not only present, but ever staying with the soul. He lives with it. Though He contends with it in the way of discipline, yet here is a marvelous thing—His love and pity transcend His contention, and He Himself comes and lives with the soul.
- The text itself is public domain. The original book, Soul-Help Papers, was transcribed by Jim Kerwin, biographer of Isaiah Reid, and co-edited and emended with Denise Kerwin. Annotations and emendations are copyright © 2008 by Jim Kerwin along with his other contributions to the online, print, and e-book versions of Isaiah Reid's Soul-Help Papers. ↩
- Title image created using a photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on https://unsplash.com/@eberhardgross. ↩
- Amos 3:3 ↩
- The reference is to 1 Corinthians 2:16. ↩
- 1 John 1:7 ↩
- Isaiah 1:18 ↩
- Exodus 33:11 ↩
- See 1 Samuel 3:7. ↩
- Maurice Maeterlinck (actually, Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard, Count Maeterlinck), a Belgian essayist, poet, and playwright, lived from 1862 to 1949. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature the same year Isaiah Reid died—1911. ↩
- Reid apparently read (and probably owned) Alfred Sutro’s translation of The Treasure of the Humble, published in 1899 by Dodd, Mead & Company, New York. (The original work in French was published in Europe in 1896.) The quote is from the chapter entitled, “The Deeper Life.” ↩
- Genesis 28:16-17 ↩
- Hebrews 11:27 ↩