Divine Love awakens in us in a very small way, as a very feeble flicker,
for we are very feeble and small creatures.
But God accepting the will as good as the deed,
the day eventually comes when we are filled with true love, as a gift.
This baptism of fire, is indeed the second baptism,
the baptism of the Holy Ghost with fire ;
This great wall which has hitherto divided our consciousness from God
now in its entirety, rises up dividing us from carnal to spiritual ,
and opening the way into Eden.
This is the mighty work of Jesus Christ.
Though this is not our work, still we have had the earnest will,
the longing desire;
we have made continually, and perseveringly,
tiny and so often futile efforts ,
to please and place Him first,
and though perhaps almost all were failures,
He has counted every effort to us for righteousness.
We may at all times be asking ourselves,
“But how shall I know the will of God, how shall I please Him,
how shall I know what Christ would wish me to do or to think?”
There is one test more sure than any other,
which is to ask oneself, “Would Jesus have done just this?”
and the answer will come from the inward of us instantaneously.
But before we can use this test
we must make a careful study of Scripture
and also have begun the habit of inward personal examination
through intimacy with Jesus Himself.
So immense is the treasure of God
to the creature that truly and persistently
wills and endeavors to please Him,
so great are the rewards of that child
for its tiny work ,
it’s as that child who should scratch bare ground with its little spade
and reap a harvest of sweet flowers as magic gifts.
The great initial difficulty that surely most of us feel
is how to come into personal contact with this Jesus Christ,
and to know , which are the first steps that we should take
to bring about this contact.
They are just those same steps that we use
to come to a nearer understanding of
and greater intimacy with
any persons we
re desirous of making friends with.
We begin by thinking about them,
by arranging to spend time in their companionship.
The more we think about them and the more time we spend with them
if they are to us very attractive people,
the more we feel in sympathy with them.
We form the habit of making for brief instants
a mental picture of the Savior.
Noticing the exquisite tenderness of His hands,
so instantly ready to save and heal;
taking note of the calm strength
and the great love in His countenance,
walking beside Him down the street,
joining His daily life,
learning to become familiar with Him as Jesus—
what would He do, how would He look, what would His thoughts be?
To feel sympathetically towards a person
is to take one of the most important steps towards friendship.
How many of us stop
in the rush of our daily amusements, interests, and work to sympathize with Christ?
Most probably, if we think of Christ at all,
it is to feel that He ought to sympathize with us!
Now Christ not only sympathizes with us ,
but He ardently loves us,
and our failure to receive the comfort and help of this love
is due to our failure in returning to Him
these same feelings of sympathy and love and friendship.
We do not reciprocate , but perpetually ask … and never give.
It is only by returning love to Christ that we are able to receive the benefits of His love for us.
His mighty power and help flows around us , but not through us
until we place ourselves in individual and direct contact with Him ,
until we make that mysterious inward and spiritual connection with Him
which can be achieved only through a personal love for Him.
Again and again we may cry out,
“But how can we love the invisible?”
Christ is invisible, but he is not unknown.
We all of us know Him.
But we do not give ourselves time or opportunity to know Him sufficiently well.
What hours, months, years, we devote to making and knowing our friends;
yet a few moments a day are more than enough for most of us to spend
in becoming more intimate with the only Friend whom it is worth our while to make.
“But life is so busy I have no time,” you say.
What of those hours spent in the car,
those moments spent waiting for an appointment,
that half−hour taken for a rest, but which is not a rest
because of the rushing turmoil of your thoughts?
No one is more restful to think of … than Jesus.
Every single quality that we most admire, trust, and love
is to be found in Jesus Christ.
The only reason of our failure
to love Him more passionately than any human being we know
is that we do not think enough about Him.
How greatly offended we would be if anyone dared to say to us,
“You are not a Christian.”
We all consider ourselves Christians as a matter of course; but why ? ,
what reason can we give?
Many would say,
“I keep the Commandments, and I am baptised in Christ’s name.”
But Christianity is not an act done by hands, it is a life,
for the Jews keep the Commandments even more strictly than we
and they are not Christians.
The mere fact of believing that Christ once lived and was crucified is not enough.
The Jews and the Mohammedans believe that He lived and was crucified.
What is then necessary?
That we believe that He is indeed the Son of God, the Messiah, the Saviour; f
or if He was no more than a holy man,
by what means has He power to save us .. more than Moses has power to save us?
The true inward knowledge that Christ Jesus is God comes not by nature to any man, but by gift of God—
which gift must be earnestly sought , prayed for , and desired:
this faith is the very coming to God by which we are saved.
If we are not yet in this faith that Jesus Christ is the Messiah,
then we are neither Jew, Mohammedan, nor Christian,
but wanderers without a fold, and without a Shepherd;
longing, and not yet comforted.
How do we come by this joy of the personal loving of God,
this Romance of the Soul brought to sensible fruition
while still in the flesh?
Is it a gift?
Is it a gift because of some merit of goodness on our part
beyond the goodness of other persons
who are without it, even though striving?
Is it because of some work for God that we do in this world,
charitable or social?
Is it, then, nothing but an arbitrary favoritism on His part?
Is it a wisdom or cleverness,
or a height of learning, or a result of close study?
It is simply and solely
a certain and particular obedient attitude of heart and mind towards God
a grateful outgoing thinking towards Him,
and a heart invitation to … and a receiving of … Jesus Christ into ourselves.
Our part is to maintain this obedient … tender waiting … giving and receiving attitude …
under all and through all the circumstances of daily life .
Christ then with the Holy Ghost will work the miracle in us.
But so difficult is this attitude to maintain
that we are totally unable to do it without another gift upon His part
Enabling Grace or Empowerment …
The whole process from first to last is gift upon gift,
and that because first of our belief and desire,
and then of our continually remembering that to receive these gifts
we have a part to play which God will not dispense with.
For an illustration let us turn to the artist and his sitter.
The sitter does not produce the work of art,
but must maintain his attitude:
if he refuses to do this, the work of the artist is marred and even altogether foiled.
So with Christ and His Divine Art in bringing us to our Father
by not endeavoring to maintain our right attitude we foil His work.
God would seem to give us that which we seek and ask for, and no more.
Great ecclesiastics, theologians, philosophers
who sought and desired Him with the intelligence,
seeking knowledge for the sake of knowledge,
and for preeminence of spiritual wisdom,
were not given as an addition to their learning
this exquisite fire and balm of love.
Those who desired of Christ the healing of the body received that healing
and we are not told they received anything further.
So also with the woman at the well:
“If thou hadst asked , I would have given thee of the water of Life.” Christ said to her,
Without our asking for and receiving this gift of Love
we hold to God by Faith only.
What is true religion, what is that religion by which we shall feel wholly satisfied?
It is to have Christ recognized , known , adored , and living in the soul.
This is the New Life within us, this is the New Birth.
The first proofs of the power of this New Life in us
is the victory over all the lower passions,
victory over the animal “that once was ourself”!
A victory so complete that not only do we cease to desire those former things
or be troubled by them
but we no longer “respond” to that which is base,
even though we be brought into contact with such things
as would formerly have inevitably excited at least a passing response in us.
Can any man free himself in such a manner from his own nature?
It is the Living Power of Christ within us,
slowly transforming us to higher levels,
from the fleshly to the spiritual,
and shaping us to meet the purity of God.
And such is the tender consideration of Christ for our weakness …
that while we are learning to give up these baser pleasures …
He teaches us the higher pleasures of the soul and we are not left comfortless.
So in our earlier stages we may have many very wonderful ecstasies
which later may be altogether dispensed with .
eventually not desired by the soul, or the more greedy heart and mind,
butl now ask and desire one favor only …
which is to be on earth in continual fellowship with Christ Jesus
and be ever able to enter into the love of God.
The great and only fear of the soul now ?
Being without this glorious power of the Responsive Love of God,
to be cut off from this, is the fear which holds the soul and the creature towards God
both day and night …
lest by the least forgetfulness or wrongful attitude they should lose Him or grieve Him.
All these changes no man can bring about for himself
they are accomplished for him by the Holy Spirit
but this he can and must do for himself,
invite Sweet Jesus into his heart and enthrone Him there as Ruler.
This once enthronement being accomplished,
that mysterious monitor within us commonly known as “Conscience”
grows until it attains an excessive sensitiveness
which penetrates the minutest acts of life and the deepest recesses of heart and mind.
This enthroned conscience demands instant and complete obedience.
Because of our relations with other persons undergoing a drastic change.
Complete, instant, entire forgiveness for every offense is demanded,
and at last even a momentary annoyance must be removed;
no matter how great the cause of annoyance,
it must be removed in the same instant as that in which it crosses the mind,
for a single adverse thought eventually
proves as injurious to the Spirit … as a grain of sand is to the eyes.
The petty human aims,
the smallness of all our former standards,
the instinct for “retaliation” must all be overcome,
laid aside …
a slow task with much humiliation to the child,
revealing to it … its own smallness and vanity
and its own extraordinary ineffectiveness of self−control,
and puny powers over itself .
Nothing short of an absolute self−conquest is aimed at
and demanded by this inward monitor the enthroned conscience of the Soul.
With profound veneration for
and recognition of … the power of God
the regenerated child thinks of those alterations in its own nature
which after long strivings,
are eventually given to it by God,
and of those alterations not yet stabilised
not yet gifts, but on the way to perhaps becoming gifts …
Still yet , under the power of the creature itself
elevated only to the height
the child is able to raise them:
for of these it must be said that …
today we feel serene security and tomorrow fall and fail
and this in the very common or meanest way!
Continue on to Chapter 4