The Disciple,--Master, some people say that the comfort and joy that believers experience are simply the outcome of their own thoughts and ideas. Is this true?
The Master,--1. That comfort and abiding peace which believers have within themselves is due to My presence in their hearts, and to the life-giving influence of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. As for those who say that this spiritual joy is the result only of the thoughts of the heart, they are like a foolish man who was blind from his birth, and who in the winter time used to sit out in the sunshine to warm himself. When they asked him what he thought of the sun's heat he stoutly denied that there was such a thing as the sun, and said, "This warmth which I am now feeling on the outside comes from within my own body, and is nothing more than the powerful effort of my own thoughts. This is utter nonsense that people tell me about something like a big ball of fire hanging up in the sky." Take heed, therefore, lest anyone captures you "with philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men and after the rudiments of the world." (Col. ii.8).
2. If true happiness depended on the thoughts of man, then all philosophers and deep thinkers would be filled to overflowing with it. But with the exception of such of them as believe in Me, those who are wise in the philosophy of this world are altogether devoid of happiness, except for a kind of fleeting pleasure which they derive from following out certain rules of their own.
But I have so created man that he has a natural fitness for the reception of the Holy Spirit by means of which alone is he able to receive this heavenly life and joy. As in charcoal there is a natural fitness to receive fire, but without oxygen the fire cannot enter it, so unless the oxygen of the Holy Spirit finds an entrance into a man's soul he will remain in darkness and will never enjoy this true and lasting peace (John iii. 8).
3. This fitness of heart and thoughts of man is like that of the strings of a guitar or violin. When these are tightened and made to harmonize, then by the touch of the plectrum or the bow the most charming music is produced; but if that is not done the touch of the bow only produces discords. And the production of sweet sounds when the strings all harmonize is again dependent on the air, by the force and motion of which sound is carried into the ear. In the same way, to harmonize the thoughts and imaginations of men the presence of the stimulating breath of the Holy Spirit is necessary. When that is present there will be produced heavenly airs and joyous harmonies in men's hearts, both in this life and in heaven.
The Disciple,--Master, sometimes I am conscious that my peace and happiness have departed. Is this because of some hidden sin of mine, or is there some other reason unknown to me?
The Master,--1. Yes, this is sometimes due to disobedience, but occasionally I appear to leave My children for a short time and then they become lonely and restless. Then while they are in that condition I am able to reveal to them their actual selves and their utter weakness, and teach them that apart from Me they are nothing but dry bones (Ezek. xxxvii.1-14); so that they may not in a constant state of rest and peace forget their essential condition, and, deeming themselves to be God, fall through pride into the punishment of hell (1 Tim. iii.6; Jude 6; Isa. xiv. 12-17). In this way they are trained and educated; and when they humbly and meekly abide in Me, who created them, they will enjoy eternal happiness in heaven.
2. Sometimes it happens that when I enter into My children and fill them with the fullness of the Spirit, they overflow with such divine happiness and joy that they are not able to endure the glory and blessing that is theirs, and so fall into a state of faintness or even unconsciousness. For flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor temporal things those which are eternal, until men are set free from the power of vain mortality and raised into glory (1 Cor. xv.50,53; Rom. viii. 19-22). Then shall My will be done on earth in every creature, even as it is done in heaven. Then shall pain and suffering, sorrow and sighing, woe and death be for ever done away, and all My children shall enter into the kingdom of My Father, which is joy in the Holy Ghost, and they shall reign for ever and ever (Rom. xiv. 17; Rev.
xxi. 4; xxii. 5).
Dear Master, Thy varied blessings and gifts have filled my heart to overflowing with gratitude and praise. But the praise of heart and tongue do not suffice me until I prove by my deeds that my life is devoted to Thy service. Thanks and praise be to Thee that Thou hast brought me, unworthy though I am, out of death into life and made me to rejoice in Thy fellowship and love. I know not as I ought either myself or my sore need, but Thou, O Father, knowest full well Thy creatures and their necessities. Nor can I love myself as Thou lovest me. To love myself truly is to love with heart and soul that boundless love which gave me being, and that love Thou art. Thou hast therefore given me but one heart, that it might be fixed on one only, on Thee, who didst create it.
Master, to be seated at Thy feet is better far than to sit upon the lordiest throne of earth, for it means to be enthroned for ever in the eternal kingdom. And now, on the altar of these sacred feet I offer myself as a burnt sacrifice. Graciously accept me, and wheresoever and howsoever Thou wilt, use me for Thy service. For Thou art mine, and I belong to Thee, who didst take this handful of dust and make me in Thine own image and didst grant me the right to become Thy son.
All honour and glory and praise and thanksgiving be unto Thee for ever and ever. Amen.