Guide Strength for the Christian Experience

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There are a great many things in the experience of Christians, which traced out on while health continues--all the time developing the strength of this class of.
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Better admit it all, and most freely, although it wounds his heart more than all his former sins. Mark his agony of spirit!

His tears of repentance were never before so bitter! He feels disappointed, and it almost seems to him that this failure must blast all his plans and hopes of leading a Christian life. It does not work as he thought it would.

Is Spiritual Insight a Product of Thinking or Praying?

He feels shy of God; for he says, how can God ever trust me again after such developments of unfaithfulness. He can hardly get himself to say a word to God or to Christ. He is almost sure that be has been deceived. But finally he bethinks himself of the Cross of Calvary, and catches a faint ray of light--a beam of the light of love. He says, there may be mercy for me yet! I will at least go to Jesus and see. Again he goes, and again he falls into those arms of love and is made consciously welcome.

The light of God shines on his soul again, and he find himself once more an accepted son in his Father's presence.


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  • Lektüreschlüssel. Heinrich Böll: Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum: Reclam Lektüreschlüssel (German Edition).
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  • But here a new form of desire is awakened. He has learned something of his own weakness and has tasted the bitterness of sin. With an agony of interest never known before, he asks, Can I ever become established in holiness? Can I have righteousness enough to make me stand in the evil day? This is a new form of spiritual desire, such as our text expresses in the words "hunger and thirst after righteousness.

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    These extended remarks are only an introduction to my general subject, designed to get before your mind the true idea of hungering and thirsting after righteousness. This state of mind is not merely conviction; it is not remorse, nor sorrow, nor a struggle to obtain a hope or to get out of danger. All these feelings may have preceded, but the hungering after righteousness is none of these. It is a longing desire to realize the idea of spiritual and moral purity.

    He has in some measure appreciated the purity of heaven, and the necessity of being himself as pure as the holy there, in order to enjoy their bliss and breathe freely in their atmosphere. This state of mind is not often developed by writers, and it seems rarely to have engaged the attention of the Church as its importance demands. When the mind gets a right view of the atmosphere of heaven, it sees plainly it can not breathe there, but must be suffocated, unless its own spirit is congenial to the purity of that world.

    I remember the case of a man, who after living a Christian life for a season, relapsed into sin. At length God reclaimed his wandering child. When I next saw him, and heard him speak of his state of relapse, he turned suddenly away and burst into tears, saying, "I have been living in sin, almost choked to death in its atmosphere; it seemed as if I could not breathe in it.

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    It almost choked the breath of spiritual life from my system. Have not some of you known what this means? You could not bear the infernal atmosphere of sin--so like the very smoke of the pit! After you get out of it, you say, Let me never be there again! Your soul agonizes and struggles to find some refuge against this awful relapsing into sin.

    O, you long for a pure atmosphere and a pure heart, that will never hold fellowship with darkness or its works again. The young convert, like the infant child, may not at first distinctly apprehend its own condition and wants; but such experience as I have been detailing develops the idea of perfect purity, and then the soul longs for it with longings irrepressible. I must, says the now enlightened convert, I must be drawn into living union with God as revealed in Jesus Christ.

    I can not rest till I find God, and have him revealed to me as my everlasting refuge and strength. Some years since, I preached a sermon for the purpose of developing the idea of the spiritual life. The minister for whom I preached said to me, I want to show you a letter written many years ago by a lady now in advanced age, and detailing her remarkable experience on this subject. After her conversion she found herself exceedingly weak, and often wondered if this was all the stability and strength she could hope for from Christ in his gospel.

    Is this, said she, all that God can do for me? Long time and with much prayer she examined her Bible. At last she found, that below what she had ever read and examined before, there lay a class of passages which revealed the real gospel--salvation from sinning. She saw the provisions of the gospel in full relief.

    Then she shut herself up, determined to seek this blessing till she should find. Her soul went forth after God, seeking communion with him, and the great blessing which she so deeply felt that she needed. She had found the needed promises in God's Word, and now she held on upon them as if she could not let them go until they had all been fulfilled in her own joyful experience.

    She cried mightily to God. She said, "if thou dost not give me this blessing, I can never believe thee again. In fact it was plainly the case the Spirit of the Lord was pressing the blessing upon her acceptance, so that she had only to believe--to open wide her mouth that it might be filled. She saw and obeyed: then she became firm and strong. Christ had made her free. She was no longer in bondage; her Lord had absolutely enlarged her soul in faith and love, and triumphantly she could exclaim: Glory be to God! Christ hath made me free. The state of mind expressed by hungering and thirsting is a real hunger and thirst, and terminates for its object upon the bread and water of life.

    These figures if indeed they are to be regarded as figures at all are kept up fully throughout the Bible, and all true Christians can testify to the fitness of the language to express the idea. I have said that this state of mind implies conversion; for although the awakened sinner may have agonies and convictions, yet he has no clear conceptions of what this union with Christ is, nor does he clearly apprehend the need of a perfectly cleansed heart.

    He needs some experience of what holiness is, and often he seems also to need to have tasted some of the exceeding bitterness of sin as felt by one who has been near the Lord, before he shall fully apprehend this great spiritual want of being made a partaker indeed of Christ's own perfect righteousness.

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    By righteousness here, we are not to understand something imputed, but something real. It is imparted, not imputed. Christ draws the souls of his people into such union with himself, that they become "partakers of the divine nature," or as elsewhere expressed, "partakers of his holiness. Having had a little taste of it, and then having tasted the bitterness of a relapse into sin, his soul is roused to most intense struggles to realize this blessed union with Christ. Worldly men incessantly hunger and thirst after worldly good.

    But attainment never outstrips desire. Hence they are never filled. There is always a conscious want which no acquisition of this sort of good can satisfy. It is most remarkable that worldly men can never be filled with the things they seek. Well do the Scriptures say, this desire enlarges itself as hell, and is never satisfied. They really hunger and thirst the more by how much the more they obtain.

    The Source of True Strength

    Let it be especially remarked that this being filled with righteousness is not perfection, in the highest sense of this term. Men often use the term perfection, of that which is absolutely complete, a state which precludes improvement and beyond which there can be no progress. There can be no such perfection among Christians in any world--earth or heaven. It can pertain to no being but God. He, and He alone, is perfect beyond possibility of progress.

    All else, but God, are making progress--the wicked from bad to worse, the righteous from good to better. Instead of making no more progress in heaven, as some suppose, probably the law of progress is in a geometrical ratio; the more they have, the farther they will advance.

    I have often queried whether this law which seems to prevail here will operate there, viz: of what I may call impulsive progression. Here we notice that the mind from time to time gives itself to most intense exertion to make attainments in holiness. The attainment having been made, the mind for a season reposes, as if it had taken its meal and awaited the natural return of appetite before it should put forth its next great effort.

    May it not be that the same law of progress obtains even in heaven? Here we see the operations of this law in the usual Christian progress. Intense longing and desire beget great struggling and earnest prayer; at length the special blessing sought is found, and for the time the soul seems to be filled to overflowing. It seems to be fully satisfied and to have received all it supposed possible and perhaps even more than was ever asked or thought. The soul cries out before the Lord, I did not know there was such fullness in store for thy people. How wonderful that God should grant it to such an one as myself!

    The soul finds itself swallowed up and lost in the great depths and riches of such a blessing. O, how the heart pours itself out in the one most expressive petition, "Thy will be done on earth as in heaven!