AM I WRONG?
must, however, remember that temperaments differ. Some seem born in the dark,
and carry with them through life an hereditary predisposition to melancholy.
Their nature is set to a minor key, and responds most easily and naturally to
depression. They look always on the dark side of things, and in the bluest of
skies discover the cloud no bigger than a man's hand. Theirs is a shadowed
pathway, where glints of sunshine strike feebly and with difficulty through the
dark foliage above.
a temperament may be thine; and if it be, thou never canst expect to obtain just
the same exuberant gladness which comes to others, nor must thou complain if it
is so. This is the burden which thy Saviour's hands shaped for thee, and thou
must carry it for Him, not complaining, or parading it to the gaze of others, or
allowing it to master thy steadfast and resolute spirit, but bearing it
silently, and glorifying God amid all. But though it may be impossible to win
the joyousness which comes to others, there may at least be rest, and victory,
and serenity Heaven's best gifts to man.
must remember, also, that emotion is no true test of our spiritual state.
Rightness of heart often shows itself in gladness of heart, just as bodily
health generally reveals itself in exuberant spirits. But it is not always so.
In other words, absence of joy does not always prove that the heart is wrong. It
may do so, but certainly not invariably. Perhaps the nervous system may have
been over taxed, as Elijah's was in the wilderness, when, after the long strain
of Carmel and his flight was over, he lay down upon the sand and asked to die a
request which God met, not with rebuke, but with food and sleep. Perhaps the
Lord has withdrawn the light from the landscape in order to see whether He was
loved for Himself or merely for His gifts. Perhaps the discipline of life has
culminated in a Gethsemane, where the bitter cup is being placed to the lips by
a Father's hand, though only a Judas can be seen; and in the momentary anguish
caused by the effort to renounce the will, it is only possible to lie upon the
ground, with strong crying and tears, which the night wind bears to God. Under
such circumstances as these, exuberant joy is out of place. Sombre colours
become the tried and suffering soul. High spirits would be as unbecoming here as
gaiety in the home shadowed by death. Patience, courage, faith are the suitable
graces to be manifested at such times.
when allowance is made for all these, it is certain that many of us are culpably
missing a blessedness which would make us radiant with the light of Paradise;
and the loss is attributable to some defect in our character which we shall do
well to detect and make right.
have not realized this, perhaps, but have thought that your standing in Jesus
was affected by your changeful moods. As well might the fortune of a ward in
chancery be diminished or increased by the amount of her spending money. Our
standing in Jesus is our invested capital. Our emotions at the best are but our
spending money, which is ever passing through our pocket or purse, never exactly
the same. Cease to consider how you feel, and build on the immovable rock of
what Jesus is, and has done, and is doing, and will do for you, world without
the Table of the Lord, the soul is often suffused with holy emotion, the tides
rise high, the tumultuous torrents of joy knock loudly against the floodgates as
if to beat them down, and every element in the nature joins in the choral hymn
of rapturous praise. But the morrow comes, and life has to be faced in the grimy
counting house, the dingy shop, the noisy factory, the godless workroom; and as
the soul compares the joy of yesterday with the difficulty experienced in
walking humbly with the Lord, it is inclined to question whether it is quite so
devoted and consecrated as it was. But, at such a time, how fair a thing it is
to remark that the will has not altered its position by a hair's breadth, and to
look up and say:
God, the springtide of emotion has passed away like a summer brook; but in my
heart of hearts, in my will, Thou knowest I am as devoted, as loyal, as desirous
to be only for Thee, as in the blessed moment of unbroken retirement at Thy
is an offering with which God is well pleased. And thus we may live a calm,
have no conscious joy, and have had but little for years."
you once have it?
for some time after my conversion to God."
you conscious of having refused obedience to some distinct command, which came
into your life, but from which you shrank?"
the face is cast down, and the eyes film with tears, and the answer comes with
years ago I used to think that God required a certain thing of me; but I felt I
could not do what He wished, was uneasy for some time about it, but after a
while it seemed to fade from my mind, and now it does not often trouble
soul, that is where thou hast gone wrong, and thou wilt never get right till
thou goest right back through the weary years to the point where thou didst drop
the thread of obedience, and performest that one thing which God demanded of
thee so long ago, but on account of which thou didst leave the narrow track of
not this the cause of depression to thousands of Christian people? They are
God's children, but they are disobedient children. The Bible rings with one long
demand for obedience. The keyword of the Book of Deuteronomy is, Observe and Do.
The burden of Christ's Farewell Discourse is, If ye love me, keep My
commandments. We must not question or reply or excuse ourselves. We must not
pick and choose our way. We must not take some commands and reject others. We
must not think that obedience in other directions will compensate for
disobedience in some one particular. God gives one command at a time, borne in
upon us, not in one way only, but in many; by this He tests us. If we obey in
this, He will flood our soul with blessing, and lead us forward into new paths
and pastures. But if we refuse in this we shall remain stagnant and waterlogged,
make no progress in Christian experience, and lack both power and joy.
your will refuse to relinquish a practice or habit which is alien to the will of
you permit some secret sin to have its unhindered way in the house of your life?
your affections roam unrestrained after forbidden objects?
you cherish any resentment or hatred towards another, to whom you refuse to be
there some injustice which you refuse to forgive, some charge which you refuse
to pay, some wrong which you refuse to confess?
you allowing something yourself which you would be the first to condemn in
others, but which you argue may be permitted in your own case because of certain
reasons with which you attempt to smother the remonstrances of conscience?
some cases the hindrance to conscious blessedness lies not in sins, but in
weights which hang around the soul. Sin is that which is always and everywhere
wrong; but a weight is anything which may hinder or impede the Christian life,
without being positively sin. And thus a thing may be a weight to one which is
not so to another. Each must be fully persuaded in his own mind. And wherever
the soul is aware of its life being hindered by the presence of any one thing,
then, however harmless in itself, and however innocently permitted by others,
there can be no alternative, but it must be cast aside as the garments of the
lads when, on the village green, they compete for the prize of the wrestle or
must not spend all our lives in cleaning our windows, or in considering whether
they are clean, but in sunning ourselves in God's blessed light. That light will
soon show us what still needs to be cleansed away, and will enable us to cleanse
it with unerring accuracy. Our Lord Jesus is a perfect reservoir of everything
the soul of man requires for a blessed and holy life. To make much of Him, to
abide in Him, to draw from Him, to receive each moment from His fullness, is
therefore the only condition of soul health. But to be more concerned with self
than with Him is like spending much time and thought over the senses of the
body, and never using them for the purpose of receiving impressions from the
world outside. Look off unto Jesus. Delight thyself in the Lord. My soul, wait
thou only upon God!
PERHAPS YOU SPEND TOO LITTLE TIME IN COMMUNION WITH GOD THROUGH HIS WORD.
you feel least inclined for it, there is most need to make for your closet with
the shut door. Do for duty's sake what you cannot do as a pleasure, and you will
find it become delightful. You can better thrive without nourishment than become
happy or strong in Christian life without fellowship with God.
you cannot pray for yourself, begin to pray for others. When your desires flag,
take the Bible in hand, and begin to turn each text into petition; or take up
the tale of your mercies, and begin to translate each of them into praise. When
the Bible itself becomes irksome, inquire whether you have not been spoiling
your appetite by sweetmeats and renounce them; and believe that the Word is the
wire along which the voice of God will certainly come to you if the heart is
hushed and the attention fixed. "I will hear what God the Lord shall
Christians than we can count are suffering from a lack of prayer and Bible
study, and no revival is more to be desired than that of systematic private
Bible study. There is no short and easy method of godliness which can dispense
the sun in its central throne, and all the motions of the planets assume a
beautiful order. Put Jesus on the throne of the life, and all things fall into
harmony and peace. Seek first the kingdom of God, and all things are yours.
Consecration is the indispensable condition of blessedness.
shall light break on thy path, such as has not shone there for many days. Yea,
"thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw herself;
but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and the days of thy
mourning shall be ended."