bright clearing
There may be true grace in the heart, real faith and hope and love, even where there is much ignorance in the understanding. I have no doubt that there are many, whose judgments are weak and whose minds are on many points undisciplined, who yet possess the fear of God and believe in His Son.

By nature, man knows nothing of the purity and perfection of God — or the deep sinfulness and corruption of the soul. There is a veil over man’s heart — a veil of ignorance; a veil of delusion; a veil of self-deception as regards the nature of our fallen soul.

We, my friends, all of us, who claim the Lord, must be cleansed from this slag of our own wisdom; our own strength; and our own righteousness, that Christ may become all in all. But Oh what stripping do we need to pull away the rags of self-righteousness which cleave so tightly to us. What hard labor it is, to wear us out of all our own strength, and to exhaust us of our own wisdom. What purging of the soul is needed to bring us down to that spot of helplessness and ruin, staggered, and humbled, before the Living god.

For nothing so detaches us from the clutter of life;
The love of self; or the dross that abides;
As does a season of anguish.

Have you never groaned
In bleeding lamentations?
Has the iron never
Seared your breast?
The lamb comes to Truth,
Only through a bitter draft;
He arrives at the banquet,
Weathered by the pangs of hunger;
He lays hold of the
Robe of Righteousness,
While yet chilled
In his own nakedness.

But when the Lord the Spirit takes a man really and vitally in hand — and He truly begins His sovereign work of grace upon the soul — He commences by opening up his astonished eyes to something approaching the real nature of sin. And, until we are all brought here, we really can know nothing of the rich provisions of loving grace, almighty power, and eternal mercy that are lodged within the fullness of Christ.

From a thousand heights,
The streams of life
Are ever rushing down:
The jutting rock,
The broken bough,
The crooked bank,
Even the rounded pebble;
Each, and all,
In their personal murmurs,
Are enough to trouble
These shallow waters,
And obstruct
Their narrow course.

Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow it away…….

This play of life,
Is a snowflake
On the pond:
A moment white,
Then gone forever;
Yea, without the Wine,
There is but
The empty cup.

Tears, falling
On the icy brow
Of death,
Can not redeem
The years:
Flowers on the grave,
Cast no
Backward fragrance
Over weary days.

Each small fragment:
Cupfulls of time;
In which our years
Come upon us;
Are buds of being:
Seed times, of a sort,
Unto Eternity:
A serene apocalypse,
In the hands
Of a loving God.

The many afflictions that the Lord’s people must pass through, often causes their souls to feel cast down. And the Lord intends these things to cast them down. The Lord, in sending afflictions means them to do a certain work. We exult ourselves — afflictions are sent to bring us low. We are proud — afflictions are meant to humble. We are worldly — afflictions come to purge. Often, the Lord sends afflictions for just this purpose — to cast down the soul — that He, Himself may have the glory of raising it up.

The world passes away:
Change covers our horizon,
As the edge of oblivion.
Our life seems a fleeting dream;
As a leaf, lost in the rapids;
Or the fading tail of a shooting star.
Like the stormy winter’s day,
We are the fitful breeze that sighs;
And the waning flame that dies:
Darting, dazzling to the eye;
As we fade into eternity.

A wisp of smoke,
A silken thread,
A passing shadow,
Or an ebbing wave:
Expressive emblems;
That fill our days,
Like a spider’s web;
That binds, then blows away.
Like the loved ones,
Who once, encircled our hearts,
Or the friends of early years;
All now departed.

The sunny days of youth,
And the life that was so sweet;
Now kiss the earth,
Beclouded, and bittered,
As midwinter’s gloom.
Yet amidst this drought;
Does He satisfy the soul,
And make fat the bones:
He brings Life, as a watered garden;
Like a living spring,
Whose waters fail not.

So, at last we seem brought to this point — to have no wisdom of our own to see the Way — and to have no strength to walk in the Way when seen — but that we must be guided every step by the Lord Himself.

For…….In Him; we find that…….

There are softer seasons,
Sprinkled among the years:
Times when the springs
Of life are unsealed,
And heavenly purposes
Come into birth.
We speak of being refreshed,
As though the rain had fallen;
As indeed it has:
Turning the hard ground,
Into forcing beds,
Of luxuriant growth.
“I will come down as the rain”
Says the Lord of Hosts;
And like the mist He comes.
Creating softer moods
In the old stony ground;
Causing it to be fragrant,
With His budding fruit

Behold…….My Friends…….

When the fields are clothed
With fruitfulness,
And the flowers
Bloom in beauty,
We know that the
Rains have come,
And the dews
Have descended …….

And here, in the Garden of the Lord, growing within your heart…….

The branches;
Wondrous and intricate,
In their multitude;
Are united,
And made one
In the Vine:
That Blood,
Which ascends
From the Root;
Refreshes every leaf,
And freely brings
Bloom, and savor,
Into every cluster.

Now do we feel the Spirit of God alive within our bosoms…….

Oh sing out,
My soul! …//…. The plea
Of the penitent;
The cry of the wounded;
The adoration
Of the reverent;
And the song
Of the victor;
Are alike …/….
Welcome to His ear.

Heavenly Father, let me dwell
In unbroken contact with Thee,
Let Thy tides of divine Energy
Flow freely into and through
My halting, yet eager spirit,
Awaken my slumbering soul,
And pierce my willing heart.

Draw me, we will run after thee:
The king hath brought me into his chambers:
We will be glad and rejoice in thee,
We will remember thy love
More than wine: (for)
The upright love thee.

This is not the voice of nature, but the voice of grace; a mature grace, nurtured within His garden — it has — a quickening influence — a penetrating energy — a driving force — which carries it into the inmost depths of the soul — it comes from God — it leads to God — it is the love and labor of the Spirit of God — preparing us for that Eternal Home of Promise with God — it is the jewel among His gifts.

Praise Almighty God…….Amen.