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away from the enemy who oppresses me. Do all Thyself. I know that Thou wilt do it. Thou wilt even do exceeding abundantly above all that I ask.'
"I was not disappointed: all my doubts were removed, my anguish quelled; and the Lord 'extended to me peace as a river.' Then I could comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. Then I was able to say, 'Return unto thy rest, O my soul! for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.'"
Here indeed was a most blessed experience; but not something strange and exceptional in religious biography. We can trace the same thing under different names through many saintly lives. The "inward death" of Mysticism; the "divine stillness of Quietism; the "rest of faith" of the brethren of the Higher Life-all these terms are readily translated back into the one idea of the peace of God ruling in the heart. It is, in a word, the perfect quiet which comes to the soul which is yielded up in perfect self-surrender to God. Tauler is constantly describing it as the fruition of that wonderful second life of his after his two years' retirement from the pulpit into the cell. a man truly loves God," he says, "and has no will but to do God's will, the whole force of the river Rhine may run at him and will not disturb him or break his peace." In another passage of exquisite beauty he describes at length the delights and richness of this experience. It is, as we must believe, the miniature of his own inner life, though
we might almost suppose it to be a leaf from some angel's biography. This is his language :
"Christ reveals Himself with an infinite love, sweetness, and richness, flowing forth from the power of the Holy Ghost, overflowing and streaming in a very flood of richness and sweetness into the heart that is waiting to receive it; and with this sweetness He not only reveals Himself to the soul, but unites Himself with her. Through this sweetness, the soul in its essence by grace flows out with power above all creatures, back into her first origin and fount. Then is the outward man obedient unto the inward man, even unto death, and liveth in constant peace in the service of God continually. That the Lord may thus come into our souls also, overthrowing and casting out all hindrances, bodily or spiritual, that we may become one here on earth and hereafter in the kingdom of heaven, may He help us evermore."
But let us pause to say that we should not dwell on such experiences merely to beget an appetite for religious luxury. Spiritual peace is of little value except as it can reinforce our strength for spiritual conflict. The rest of faith by all means; but let that rest constitute a centre of activity, not a centre of stagnation. And this surely is the reason why God calls us to be sharers in His peace, that we may be thereby armed for His warfare. Have we noted sufficiently the twofold rest to which we are invited in our Lord's oft-quoted invitation, "Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"? Release, Matt. xi. 28-30.
this means, from legal bondage, from fruitless efforts at self-help, from fretting anxieties, and from the burden of sin. It is rest from labour, even from our own profitless, fleshly endeavours to save ourselves and to glorify God. But our Lord immediately adds, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, . . . and ye shall find rest to your souls." Here is the promise of rest in labour, as the other was a call to rest from labour. The attainment of this is the first and very highest condition of power. And it comes from perfect oneness of will and heart with God. "In him we live and move," and just in proportion as we partake of the eternal repose of God by being centred in Him, shall we partake also of the divine motion of God, and become labourers together with Him. Quiet and not agitation is the source of the highest energy.*
He who entered into rest on the seventh day, having finished the work of creation, is He who "worketh hitherto" and is still accomplishing our redemption, "according to according to the working of His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead." So it comes to pass
* "As opposed to passion, changefulness, or laborious exertion, repose is the special and separating characteristic of the Eternal mind and power; it is the 'I am' of the Creator as opposed to the 'I become' of all creatures. It is the sign alike of the supreme knowledge which is incapable of surprise, the supreme power which is incapable of labour, and the supreme volition which is incapable of change." -Ruskin.
that Christians who are most calm in the conscious enduement of power, are those who have the greatest energy to stir others. We find an excellent illustration of this principle in the powerful ministry of William C. Burns, the eminent Scotch evangelist and missionary. The effects of his preaching were often as startling as those of Mr. Finney, referred to in another chapter. We give a single instance from his own record. It is the account of a sermon preached at Kilsyth, July 23rd, 1839:
"And just as I was speaking I felt my soul moved in a remarkable manner to plead with the unconverted before me, instantly to close with God's offers of mercy, and continued to do so until the power of the Lord's Spirit became so mighty upon their souls as to carry all before it, like the rushing mighty wind of Pentecost! During the whole time that I was speaking, the people listened with the most riveted and solemn attention, and with many silent tears and inward groanings of spirit; but at last their feelings became too strong for all ordinary restraints, and broke forth simultaneously in weeping and wailing, tears and groans, intermingled with shouts of joy and praise from the people of God. The appearance of a great part of the people from the pulpit gave me an awfully vivid picture of the state of the ungodly in the day of Christ's coming to judgment. Some were screaming in agony, others, and among them strong men, fell to the ground as if they had been dead. . . . To my own astonishment, during the progress of this wonderful scene, when almost all present were overpowered, it pleased the Lord to keep my soul perfectly calm."
Yes! and this is the demonstration of peace as the other fact was the demonstration of power. "Stand still, and see the salvation of God." And they that looked on wondered as much at the calmness of the preacher as at the commotion of the people. Ah! but there is a very significant prelude to this scene of spiritual upheaving. His peacefulness was a calm between two powerful agitations, one in the closet and one in the pews. A friend of his records how the evening before a great field-day, he found him lying on his face in an agony of prayer-" the source, doubtless, of that holy calm which so struck the hearers on the succeeding morning." Thus, once more, through the open closet door we discern secrets which no reasoning would have unfolded to us :—
"Mr. Burns went to his room, and whilst we waited for his coming downstairs to dinner we heard a heavy groan. Thinking he had been taken ill, Mrs. Thoms ran upstairs, and found him lying upon his face on the floor, groaning before the Lord. He had gotten such an overwhelming sense of his responsibility for the souls of that people, that he could then think of nothing else. In his absence of mind he had left his door partially open, which Mrs. Thoms shut, and we did not see him again till late in the evening, when he came for the family worship. prayer then was one continuous strain of self-loathing and pleading for mercy through the blood of the Lamb of God. It happened that his room was next to mine, and all that night I heard him still groaning in prayer.”
*Memoirs," p. 546.