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A Castaway and other addresses
Copyrighted 1897, BY THE BIBLE INSTITUTE COLPORTAGE ASSOCIATION
addresses were delivered at the Carnegie Hall, New York, during an
ever-memorable week, & in part also, at the Tremont Temple Boston, and
In answer to many urgent demands they are fruited almost ast they were delivered, from the reporters' notes:
Therefore may lack in literary finish - but the truth is the main consideration. Now I believe that what is taught here will give a glimpse into those deeper aspects of Christianity, which are best adapted to nourish and guide the wiser life.
F .B. Meyer
I have left out of my addresses a great many themes, such as justification, and adoption, and inspiration, and the second premillenial advent, all of which I steadfastly hold. I have tried to hold up to you the doctrines of the inner life, not the objective, but the subjective, side of Christianity. But in expounding the latter you must not suppose that I do not with equal tenacity hold the objective, the former.
I hardly know how to finish this series, except by speaking upon the rest of God. If I can only be the Joshua to conduct you into rest, my work will be worthily finished; for the climax of the teaching of the inner life is always the perfect rest of the heart.
The voice that breathed o'er Eden spoke of rest. In Gen. 2: 3 we are told of the rest of God, and upon that day there fell no night, because the rest of God has no shadow in it, and never terminates. God has left open the door. It stands wide open, and every heart which He has made may share in it. A rest which is full of work; but like the cyclone, all the atoms of which revolve in turbulent motion around the central cavity of rest, so do all the activities of God revolve around His deepest heart which is tranquil and serene. And it is possible, if you and I learn the lesson, amid anxiety and sorrow and trial and pressure of work always to carry a heart so peaceful, so still, so serene as to be like the depth of the Atlantic which is not disturbed by the turbulent winds that sweep its surface.
Now this rest of God spoken of in Genesis was not exhausted by the Sabbath, or by Canaan; for after each of these had existed for many a century God still spoke of His rest as being unoccupied. And at last in Matt. 11; 28,29, a simple peasant (se He seemed.,) stood up amid a number of peasants and fisher folk and others, and said:
"On this breast of Mine is a pillow for every heavy heart. My breast is broad enough, My heart is deep enough. I offer Myself to all weary ones in every clime and age as Shiloh, the rest-giver"; for Shiloh in Him had come.
One feels that here is the accent of Deity. He says:
"I am meek and lowly in heart."
And yet He assumes to Himself the prerogative of giving rest to all that labor and are heavy laden. How can you possibly account for the meeting of humility so great with pretensions so enormous in this meekest of men unless He be more than man, the Son of God incarnate? You will notice that as He stands there upon some mountain slope, with Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum on the land locked lake of Galilee at His feet, He speaks of two kinds of rest, the rest He gives, and the deeper rest which He shows us how to find. "I will give you rest," He says, and then in a softer undertone He whispers: "Take My yoke and you shall find rest."
I will not speak now about the rest He gives - rest from the guilt of sin, rest from its penalty, rest from conviction, rest from an accusing conscience, rest from the dread and the wrath of God. That rest He gave you, beloved, when you knelt years ago at the crossfoot, and from those parched lips the dying Christ, your priest and intercessor, gave rest unto your soul, and being justified by faith you had peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I will not speak of this, but of something deeper, because I find that there are tens of thousands of Christians who have got the first rest, but have not got the second. They could look death in the face without wavering, but they cannot look panic, disaster, bereavement, pain or trial in the face without disquiet. "You shall find rest," but you must look for it. I want to show you where to find it, and how; in three ways, which are one, for they converge in one.
First. You must take His yoke.
Now, at first sight it appears ridiculous that those who labor and are heavy laden should find rest by having the imposition of a new yoke or burden, however light. He says: "My yoke is easy, My burden is light." But then, even an easy yoke with a light burden imposed on laboring and weary souls would surely not give them rest. How can it be? Ah, listen! It is not a yoke that Jesus imposes, but it is the yoke that He Himself carried, and a yoke by the very nature of it includes two. He says then - standing beneath a yoke - to you, weary soul:
"Come hither and share My yoke with me, and we will pull the plow together through the long furrow of life."
I have been told that there are farms in the West so large that you may start a furrow in the morning, and pursue it all day, and only finish it at night, returning the next day. Whether that be true or not I am not here to say, but it will serve my purpose. One day when I was at Northfield, Mr. Moody took me to Mount Hermon school. He had a yoke of beautiful white oxen, and he told me that when one of these oxen was being yoked in, if the other happened to be on the far side of the farmstead it would come trotting up and stand beside the other until it was yoked also. Jesus stands today with the yoke upon His should, and He calls to each one, and says:
"Come and share My yoke, and let us plow together the long furrow of your life. I will be a true yoke fellow to you. The burden shall be on Me. Only keep step with Me, and you shall find rest to your soul.
AND WHAT WAS HIS YOKE?
Christ's yoke was His Father's will. "I delight to do Thy will O God." Now it is not to my purpose to discuss here the human and the divine side of Christ's character. But to me it is as though Christ curtained off His divine attributes, as we might allow the curtain of a theatre to drop from the roof and to shut off the whole of the apse behind. Any moment the curtain could be lifted, and I suppose you would still grant that apse to be a part of the building, but it would be curtained off for a definite purpose. So for the purposes of understanding our human life in all its aspects, our Lord voluntarily emptied Himself, laid aside the use of His divine attributes, and was content to live as Elijah, or John the Baptist, or as you and I have to live, a life of perpetual dependence upon God.
Directly a creature lives so, it has to take God's plan, and then to take God's power. Whenever God gives a plan, He gives the soul everything which is necessary for its completion. So when Moses on the mountain saw the plan of the tabernacle, every diamond and pearl and piece of gold and silver and wood and carved work and embroidery complete, painted by the rainbow upon the cloud or standing before him like a fair vision, he knew that down below amongst the people he could find a duplicate for everything that he had seen. So Jesus Christ was always looking at the Father's will, the Father's plan, and then seeking by faith the Father's power. That was His yoke.
It came into evidence so often. for instance, when He healed on the Sabbath day, and they accused Him, he said: "I could not help it. My Father worketh hiterto, and I could do no other than work out what My Father wrought in." He went across the lake to give His disciples a vacation. Five thousand hungry men broke in, and in their advent He saw the intrusion of His Father's plan, and adopted it. He started for the home of Jairus. A woman with a touch arrested Him, and in her slight touch He saw again His Father's will and plan, and waited to heal her. Then H moved leisurely forward, knowing that at the house of Jairus He would have sufficient power to raise his daughter. And in the garden it was His Father's will beneath which He bowed His meek soul, saying: "Not My will, but Thine!"
In the context also there is a most lovely illustration of this. He had been wrestling from the human side (so to speak) with the great problem - why God hides things from the wise and prudent, and reveals them unto babes; and He said: "even so, Father." The Revised version translates it: "Yea, Father," but it ought to have translated it: "Yes, Father." Christ's life was a perpetual "YES" TO God. And if you want to live a life of rest you must pace the weary furrow of your life with an upturned face, saying: "Yes, yes, yes." Always yes!
A gentleman went into a deaf and dumb institution in London to inspect it, and at the close the boys and girls were gathered at the foot of the platform. He wrote on the slate;
"Why did God make you deaf and dumb, and me able to hear and speak?"
A sob went through the audience. Then a little boy came down the aisle, and took the chalk and wrote the answer beneath:
"Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight."
That boy said "yes" to God.
Some one says to me: "If I always had to do with God, I would not mind. If it was disaster, shipwreck, fire, anything which I could trust to God, I hope I am Christian enough to bow to it. But what worries me, and makes me feverish and restless, is that things come to me from my fellow men. I cannot say 'yes' to those."
Ah, my friend, you must! You will never get rest if you do not. I tried that myself once, and I found that I had at last to come to this, and to make
NO DISTINCITON BETWEEN WHAT GOD APPOINTED AND WHAT GOD PERMITTED.
His permission and His appointments are equally His will. Job thought so, for though Satan blasted his prosperity he said: "The Lord hath taken away." Joseph thought so, for he said: "It was not you that sent me down here, but God." David thought so, because he said: "God hath let Shimei curse; let him curse." Jesus thought so, because when Judas came into the garden to arrest Him He said: "The cup that My Father giveth Me to drink, shall I not drink it?" Though it had been brought to His lip by a Judas, it had been mixed by His Father.
Now it seems to me as if you and I are enclosed in God. An arrow comes from the enemy's bow. A man that hates me writes an anonymous letter. Some one defrauds me. Some woman sets an unkind story afloat about me. The evil travels towards me. If God like, He could let the arrow pass this way or that. But if my God opens and permits the evil to pass through His encompassing power to my heart, by the time it has passed through God to me, it has become God's will for me. He permits it, and that is His will for my life. I do not say that that man will escape his just doom. God will deal with him. I am not going to worry myself about him. In early days I would have taken infinite pains to avert the evil that men wished to do me, or perhaps to repay them, or to show that the evil was perfectly unwarranted. I confess that I have ceased to worry about it. If you silence one man you will start twenty more. It is ever so much better for peace of mind to accept the will of God, to accept His permission and His appointment, to look up into His face, and say: "Eve so, Father."
Someone says: "Sir, before you go on, I want you to answer this question. Five months ago I had the loveliest little baby boy that ever mother fondled. My husband and I perfectly doted upon that little fellow. He took sickly, and we hung over him and prayed for him, and did everything we could for him. He closed his eyes one day in death, and I have never been able to feel resigned since then. Am I very wicked?"
"What do you mean by 'not feeling resigned?"
"Well, I shed floods of tears when I am alone."
"My dear woman, that is al right. Jesus wept. He gave you power to weep, and tears relieve the over tired, over wrought system. Cry on till God shall wipe every tear away."
Do you say: "Sir, I do not quite mean that; I feel as though I cannot forgive God about it. I cannot feel as though I can say yes."
"No, because you are beginning in the wrong part of your nature. God asks you to will submission, and the emotions will follow suit. You cannot begin by feeling resigned, but you can begin by willing resignation. Say to Him: 'I will Thy will.'"
"Never mind! Say it a hundred times a day: 'I will Thy will,' and within a week you will change your note, and instead you will say; 'I choose Thy will.' By saying that a hundred times a day for a week, you will change your note again: 'I delight in Thy will.'"
We begin by willing it, we come to choose it, and we end by delighting in it. And that is
THE SECRET OF REST
Will you take the yoke of God today? God's will comes to us (first) by His Spirit, (second) by His Word, and (thirdly) by circumstances. And I think it is in circumstances that we are most tested. It is just there that we have to meet God, and just as in some electric light the two points have to come very close together before the light shines between them, so the point of your will and the point of God's will have to touch, and then the light of acquiescence and peace flashes out.
You know of course what a corn on the foot is - the boot rubs it, and nature throws a shield of hard skin, which we call a corn; and the tender flesh is under the corn. There have been things in my life that fretted and worried me, and I seemed to throw out a little corn, and was strong and hard and bore up like a martyr, like a hero. But I learned that that was not the sweetest way. I was running away from God's will whenever I had a chance, and evaded it. I have learned better lately - just quietly day by day to let God's will play upon my heart, not running from it, not hiding from it, but taking it. I take His yoke.
There are some people who bear the yoke because they cannot help it; there are other people who take it. Have you taken it? Take it now by your will. You have lost your dear husband or wife, or you have lost your money, or you have lost your lover. Now it is no use running away into society. I meet with many girls who have been disappointed in love, and they have gone into society, and made themselves hard, and steeled themselves against love in every way, while they have been running away from themselves, from God. You will live to come to an end at last. You will learn to look up into the face of the Crucified, and say:
"Jesus, I take the yoke."
Why, you know when you are driving a young horse, if that horse frets and kicks, it simply gets itself into a lather, but it has to go your way after all. Much better for the young horse if, instead of plunging and kicking and fretting, it would only take the collar and the bit right away.
That is what your are - a young colt; and you are foaming and fretting and working yourself into a fury. You will never get right in that way. Come back, and quietly take what God permits, and understand that in that there is the secret of rest; and a new tranquility will come. You will have your floods of tears, but you will say: "I take the will of God."
"Anoint your head and wash your face." I am so very fond of that verse. We go about whining: "O dear! my suffering!" And so we give people the conception that God is very hard, and everybody pities us, and it is rather comfortable to be pitied. You feel that you are somebody if you excite somebody else's pity, and in that you get your reward. But if you anoint your head, and wash your face, and put on your sweetest look and dress your nicest, and live your sweet orderly self, hiding your pain in your heart, God who seeth in secret will reward you openly, and you shall live to see what you thought absolutely necessary to your life to be a handful of withered leaves. I thank God for my dis appointments, because I see not that they were His appointments.
There are the two other methods by which you can find rest in your soul. The one is by faith. "We which have believed do enter into rest." Hebrews 4:3.
The point there is that faith has two hands. With one hand faith is always handing over, and with the other she is always reaching down; the up and the down life. The angels went up on the ladder carrying Jacob's worries, and they came down the ladder bringing God's help. Mind you have the two directions in your life. Send them up, and let them come down.
Do you know what it is when you are worried to kneel down and say to God: "Father, take this," and by one definite act to hand over the worry to God and leave it there? I heard a lady say that she had been in the habit of kneeling by her bedside and handing things over to God, and then jumping into her bed and by a strong pull pulling in all the things after her. Now that is not the best way. When you really trust God, you put a thing into His hands, and then you do not worry yourself or Him. If there is one thing that annoys me more than another, it is for a man to say to me: "Will you do this?" And I say: "Certainly," and then he keeps sending postcards and letters to me all the time to work me up. I say: "That man does not trust me."
So when I have really handed a thing over to God I leave it there, and I dare not worry for fear it would seem as if I mistrusted Him. But I keep looking up to Him, - I cannot help doing that, - and say:
"Father, I am trusting."
Like my dog at home: he used to worry me very much to be fed at dinner, but he never got any food that way. But lately he has adopted something which always conquers me: he sits under the table, and puts one paw on my knee. He never barks, never leaps around, never worries me, but he sits under the table with that one paw on my knee, and that conquers me; I cannot resist the appeal. Although my wife says I never must do it, I keep putting morsels under the table.
Soul, do you know what I am talking about? That is the way to live - with your hand on God's knee. Say:
"My God, I am not going to worry; I am not going to fre; but there is my hand, and I wait until the time comes, and Thou shalt give me the desire of my heart."
Take His yoke, and trust Him.
And then lastly reckon on God's faithfulness. I remember so well Hudson Taylor coming to my church the first time I ever met him. He stepped on the platform and opened the Bible to give an address, and said: "Friends, I will give you the motto of my life," and he turned to Mark 11:22: "Have faith in God." The margin says: "Have the faith of God," but Hudson Taylor said it meant: "Reckon on God's faith to you." He continued: "All my life ahs been so fickle. Sometimes I could trust, sometimes I could not, but when I could not trust then I reckoned that God would be faithful." There is a text that says: "If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful, He cannot deny Himself." And I sometimes go to God about a thing, and say: "My God, I really cannot trust Thee about this, I cannot trust Thee to pull me through this expenditure of money with my means, but I reckon on Thy faithfulness." And when you cease to think about your faith, and, like Sarah, reckon on Him faithful, your faith comes without your knowing it, and you are strong.
MY PARTING TEXT
This is my parting text: "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord." 1 Cor. 1:9.
Fellowship! The same Greek word occurs in Luke 5. When Jesus was in Peter's boat on the lake, and the net was breaking with the big haul of fish, then Peter beckoned to his partner. So that we might read the text thus: "God is faithful, by whom ye were called into partnership with His Son." Wonderful conception - that Jesus Christ came to share my guilt and sorrow, that I might be lifted into partnership with Him forever!
If a New York business man wanted to start his son in business in London, he would call some old and confidential clerk into fellowship with his son, and send them over together. Suppose the old clerk should take one of the most expensive sites in the city of London, put his name down for an immense rent, and open a big business, a man might come to him and say:
"You have launched out?"
"Yes," he says, "I was sent to do it."
"Have you any money? Are you worth much?"
"Have you no money to fall back on?"
"Then, how do you dare to enter upon this amazing expenditure?"
"Because I have been sent by the head of our house to open this place. He told me to go ahead, and that he from New York would meet all the outlay. I have worked for him for thirty years, and he has never failed me yet. He is faithful, and he will stand at my back to the end."
Now, brothers, you and I and every Christian worker have been called to rest and work in Christ. Behind you is your faithful God, and He cannot fail. If you will take the yoke of Christ, if you will hand things over to Christ, and if you will count upon God at your back, I do not mind what happens, - your heart will be at rest. Like the shell which, taken from the ocean, repeats the murmur that she learned in the ocean depths, so your heart will repeat the deep sweet music of the heart of God, out of which you have come.