Great Texts of the Bible
The Practice of Assurance
I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day.—2 Timothy 1:12.
1. These words are a splendid declaration of St. Paul’s unflinching confidence in the Redeemer. They were spoken in full view of his approaching end. Earth, with its manifold openings of an eternal purposefulness, with its trials and temptations, its long courses of anxiety and sorrow, of suffering and pain, was already a closed book to the Apostle. The fight for Christ and holiness had been fought, the end had come, the course was finished, the faith had been kept. And now he is ready to be “poured out a libation on God’s altar in agonies and energies for his fellow-men.” The flash of the gleaming axe would be the signal for his manumission from the bondage of corruption into the longed-for presence of his Beloved Lord. Suffering for such a man, aged, weak, solitary, was no doubt exquisite and acute, but it was also ecstatic. Through it all, and in spite of all, his soul was stayed by the solace of his Lord. His venture of faith had not been miscalculated. “I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
2. Of some things—Apostle though he was, Divinely inspired man though he was—St. Paul frankly confesses himself ignorant. “For we know in part,” he writes in that incomparable 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, “and we prophesy in part.” And a little farther on he repeats his confession of ignorance in slightly different words, saying, “Now we see in a glass darkly.” But it was not all ignorance with him. It was not all doubt, and perplexity, and mystery with him. There were certain things of which he was absolutely sure, of which he was as certain as he was of his own existence. And it was these certainties of the soul that made him the preacher he was. St. Paul never would have travelled as he did; he would never have toiled as he did; he would never have submitted to persecutions as he did, if all he had to give to men had been doubts, and criticisms and negations. There is nothing in negations to beget enthusiasm. Agnosticism breeds no missionaries or martyrs. St. Paul was impelled to preach, to travel from land to land to preach, to face any and every hardship in preaching, because he knew certain positive truths which it was of vital concern that all men should know. The “I know’s” of St. Paul make up a glorious list, and the “I know” of this text is one of the most glorious.
Archdeacon Farrar, it is said, once asked Robert Browning whether there were any lines in all the wide range of his poetry which most completely expressed what was fundamental in his thought and life. “Yes,” replied the poet, “and they are these:—
He at least believed in soul,
Was very sure of God.”
My father also was very sure of God, and was convinced that every man might enjoy a similar certainty if he really wanted to, and if he would tread the common road, beaten by the feet of generations of the pilgrims of faith, by which it may be reached.
This religious certainty, which I do not think was ever disturbed by intellectual doubt, was of course of inexpressible value to him in his ministry of the Gospel. Confirmed as it was by his own daily experience of the Grace and Power of God in Christ Jesus, it naturally imparted to his utterances that flaming intensity of conviction which so deeply impressed his hearers everywhere, and which was assuredly one great element in his evangelistic success. “Here is a man,” they felt, “who thoroughly believes every word he says. To him at least, the things he is speaking of are things that matter—matter supremely, matter infinitely. No other things compare with them for their practical importance. It is life and salvation to receive them; it is death and destruction to reject them.” There was never any hesitancy, or misgiving, or reserve, or qualification in his delivery of the momentous message given him to proclaim. He spoke as one entirely sure that he was telling men the absolute truth.1 [Note: Henry Varley’s Life-Story, 242.]
“Not ours,” say some, “the thought of Death to dread;
Asking no Heaven, we fear no fabled Hell:
Life is a feast, and we have banqueted,
Shall not the worms as well?”
Ah, but the Apparition—the dumb sign—
The beckoning finger bidding me forego
The fellowship, the converse, and the wine,
The songs, the festal glow!
And ah, to know not, while with friends I sit,
And while the purple joy is passed about,
Whether ’tis ampler day divinelier lit
Or homeless night without:
And whether, stepping forth, my soul shall see
New prospects, or fall sheer—a blinded thing!
There is, O grave, thy hourly victory,
And there, O death, thy sting.1 [Note: William Watson, Collected Poems, 81.]
3. The very ordering of the phrasing of the text is suggestive of the truth it contains. The text breaks up into three distinctive and primary parts: “I know him” … “whom I have believed” … “and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day.” The middle term is explanatory of the two extremes; say rather that the middle term is the cause, of which the two extremes are the effects; that the middle is the germ, of which the extremes are the fruits. We begin with belief, and we pass to knowledge and persuasion: we begin with faith, and we advance to experience and assurance. “I know him” is a fruit: “I am persuaded” is a fruit: “whom I have believed” is the seed from which they have their birth.
St. Paul’s Faith
“Him whom I have believed.”
1. The Object of St. Paul’s faith was not a thing, but a Person. It was a belief, not in a religion, but in a Redeemer; a faith, not in Christianity, but in Christ; a trust, not in a plan of salvation, but in a Saviour; not in a creed, but in a Christ; and not a Christ only, but the Christ, the Christ of actual fact, the Christ of Scripture, the “God Man,” as set forth in the gospel, incarnate, atoning, risen, ascended, glorified. It was faith in Christ as a person; a trust of himself as a being to Christ as a Being. And hence he does not here say, “I know what I have believed,” but he says, “I know him whom I have believed.” And he does not even say as he might, “in whom,” but directly “whom.”
You may tear out the person of Mahomet from Mahometanism; and even from Buddhism—in spite of the great extent to which Buddhists have deified the master—you may tear out the person of the Buddha, and the religion remains intact; here the teaching is everything, the person of the teacher nothing, or next to nothing. But tear out the person of Christ from Christianity, and what have you left? Certainly nothing that we can recognize as Christianity. Christianity is not, like its rivals, a mere body of doctrine about God and human duty, which would be just the same whoever had first preached it, or if nothing were known as to the way in which it came into the world. Christian faith is the personal knowledge of a personal Saviour.1 [Note: N. E. Swann, New Lights on the Old Faith, 60.]
An anecdote I have heard of Bengel’s last hours, illustrating his microscopic way of observing the very words of his Greek Testament, makes one almost smile. When he was dying, he quoted those well-known words of the apostle, in the immediate prospect of his death by Nero, “I know whom I have believed,” etc., and then said to the bystanders, “The apostle (you see) wouldn’t let even a preposition come in between himself and his Lord; for he doesn’t say, ‘I know upon whom’ (εἰς ὃν), but ‘I know whom I have believed’ (οἶδα γὰρ ᾧ πεπίοτευκα)—the eye of his faith resting on the glorious object to whom he had ever trusted his all.”2 [Note: W. G. Blaikie, David Brown, D.D., LL.D., 147.]
I remember a simple story that twined its clinging tendril fingers about my heart. It was of a woman whose years had ripened her hair, and sapped her strength. She was a true saint in her long life of devotion to God. She knew the Bible by heart, and would repeat long passages from memory. But as the years came the strength went, and with it the memory gradually went too, to her grief. She seemed to have lost almost wholly the power to recall at will what had been stored away. But one precious bit still stayed. She would sit by the big sunny window of the sitting-room in her home, repeating over that one bit, as though chewing a delicious titbit, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” By and by part of that seemed to slip its hold, and she would quietly be repeating, “that which I have committed to him.” The last few weeks, as the ripened old saint hovered about the borderland between this and the spirit world, her feebleness increased. Her loved ones would notice her lips moving, and thinking she might be needing some creature comfort, they would go over and bend down to listen for her request. And time and again they found the old saint repeating over to herself one word, over and over again, the same one word, “Him—Him—Him.” She had lost the whole Bible but one word. But she had the whole Bible in that one word.1 [Note: S. D. Gordon, Quiet Talks on Service, 78.]
2. “Him whom I have believed,” says St. Paul. What is belief? What is it to believe Him? Christ Jesus makes certain claims. He claims to bring the secret key to every life. He claims that every life discovers itself in Him, and finds its completeness in Him. He claims that He supplies to every man the requisite light and atmosphere for the individual task. He claims that He reveals the face of the Eternal. He claims that He incarnates the love and goodness of the Godhead. He claims that by the love revealed in His humiliation He redeems from guilt and sin and moral impotence, and that He endows life with the strength and quietness of an immortal hope. These are the Master’s claims. What, then, is belief? Belief is just the willingness to receive the claims as a great hypothesis, and to subject them to the proof of actual life. Faith in religion is somewhat equivalent to experiment in science. Faith is not the heedless and thoughtless swallowing of dogma, but the reverent testing of a profession. Faith is not the blinding of the judgment, it is rather the application of the judgment to the superlative work of proving the “bona fides” of the Lord. Faith is not the laying of the powers to sleep; it is rather the arousing of the powers to the greatest task to which they can ever be addressed. Faith is not credulity; it is experiment. “Prove me now, saith the Lord.”
Hall Caine tells us that Rossetti was not an atheist, but simply one with a suspended judgment; in face of death his attitude was one of waiting, he did not know. Now the great work of Jesus Christ touching the doctrine of immortality was to convert it from a speculation into a certainty. The evidence for His resurrection, which carries with it the doctrine of our incorruptibility and immortality, is overwhelming; as one has said, it is the best authenticated fact in history. The Christian is one who knows. The Spirit of God has so opened up to our consciousness the truth of Christ’s teaching, the fact of His resurrection, that we are as satisfied of our continued and permanent existence as we are that we exist at all. The nearer we live to Christ, the more deeply we drink into His Spirit, the more the assurance of eternal life grows upon us.1 [Note: W. L. Watkinson.]
St. Paul’s Experience
“I know him whom I have believed.”
1. St. Paul has made and is making the experiment. He has confided, ventured, believed, and he has staked his all upon the test, “Whom I have believed.” And with what result? “I know him!” There emerges a certain experience. “I know him!” It is a wealthy word, “I know!” It implies, in the first place, a faint perception of the outlines of things; “men as trees walking.” The impenetrable mist begins to yield something, and we discern outlines, and movements, little glimpses of road, a suggestion of sky-line, and some sense of gracious law and order. “I have believed.” “I know.” “Now I know in part.” Ah, but it is much more than dim perception of outline, it is the recognition of a Person. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” That is it. The experiment which begins in trembling tests issues in a warm and loving companionship. Let the experiment be continued, and the recognition ripens into intimacy, into a holy and familiar friendship that nothing can dissolve.
Our knowledge of Christ is somewhat like climbing one of our Welsh mountains. When you are at the base you see but little; the mountain itself appears to be but one half as high as it really is. Confined in a little valley you discover scarcely anything but the rippling brooks as they descend into the stream at the base of the mountain. Climb the first rising knoll, and the valley lengthens and widens beneath your feet. Go up higher, and higher still, till you stand upon the summit of one of the great roots that start out as spurs from the sides of the mountain, you see the county, perhaps very many miles around, and you are delighted with the widening prospect. But go onward, and onward, and how the scene enlarges till at last when you are on the summit, and look east, west, north, and south, you see almost all England lying before you. Now, the Christian life is of the same order. When we first believe in Christ we see but little of Him. The higher we climb, the more we discover of His excellencies and His beauties.1 [Note: C. H. Spurgeon.]
2. Thus the ultimate ground of Christian certainty lies in the positive facts of Christian experience. We all know the value and authority of experience in other directions. No certainty is so absolute as that which comes in this way. The sights I have seen with my own eyes; the words I have heard with my own ears; the thoughts which have passed through my own brain; the pains and pleasures, the joys and sorrows which I have felt in my own heart—these facts to me are certain, as no other facts can be. And, in the realm of religion, experience brings with it the same certainty as it brings in any other sphere. There are some persons who try to disparage the value of experience in religious matters. They admit its importance in the ordinary regions of science, for ever since the days of Lord Bacon experiment has been the acknowledged test of truth. But, unlike Lord Bacon himself, they appear to think that it has no value, and no authority when we come to speak of spiritual things. And so, when a Christian appeals to his own experience, they smile at his childishness, as if he ought to know that experience really has nothing to do with the matter. But surely that is a very unscientific way of dealing with that great body of human experience which is furnished by the history of Christianity. The expert in chemistry or biology will not allow an outsider to criticize facts of which personally he knows nothing; and in like manner the man who knows nothing by experience of Jesus Christ and Christianity is really out of court—he has no proper claim to pronounce an opinion as to the facts. In the one case, as in the other, the principle holds good, Experto crede: Listen to the experts; let those speak who have had the experience. We claim, then, that Christian experience is an authentic fact; and that it is upon the solid ground of Christian experience that Christian certainty is built. How does a man know whom he has believed? How is he fully persuaded of Christ’s power to save him and to keep him? He knows, we answer, and is persuaded, by the experiences of his own heart and life.
The lesson of these uncertainties seems to be that Christ denies Himself to the man who seeks Him with the intellect only, but to those who search for Him with submissive wills and open hearts He grants spiritual illumination, and in the New Testament reveals Himself as the Saviour they need. Committing themselves to Him in utter obedience and trust, they find rest and peace, and in a bright experience have a clearer and more abiding evidence of the Risen Christ than the best attested document could give. “Even so, Father,” etc. Experience in the face of assaults from geology, biology, psychology, evolution—experience is and always will be the convincing evidence of Christianity. Amid the things that are shaken this remains.1 [Note: John Brash: Memorials and Correspondence, 261.]
Lift up thine eyes to seek the invisible:
Stir up thy heart to choose the still unseen:
Strain up thy hope in glad perpetual green
To scale the exceeding height where all saints dwell.
Saints, is it well with you?—Yea, it is well.—
Where they have reaped, by faith kneel thou to glean:
Because they stooped so low to reap, they lean
Now over golden harps unspeakable.—
But thou purblind and deafened, knowest thou
Those glorious beauties unexperienced
By ear or eye or by heart hitherto?—
I know Whom I have trusted: wherefore now
All amiable, accessible tho’ fenced,
Golden Jerusalem floats full in view.2 [Note: Christina G. Rossetti, Verses, 158.]
St. Paul’s Persuasion
“I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
1. What has St. Paul committed to God? The Greek word means my deposit—“I am persuaded that he is able to guard my deposit.” The figure is, of course, obvious—a deposit put into the hands of a depositary with what appears to be sufficient security, a trust placed with an absolutely trustworthy trustee. What has been committed which he is sure will be carefully and safely kept? Some give elaborate reasons why it should be interpreted to mean his soul, or faith in immortality, or salvation, or the care of the Churches, or his converts who were a burden of love on his heart, and suchlike particular precious things for which St. Paul trusts God. But it does not mean any of those things, though it includes them all. The phrase is vague, and it is meant to be vague. “My deposit”—it means that St. Paul had committed to Him everything, and was persuaded that He was able to keep it all. The emphasis is not on what the deposit was, but on the fact that the deposit is safe. If you want one word for the deposit, the one word is himself. The deposit includes all that St. Paul had trusted God for. He trusts God for his soul, but no more than he trusts Him for his body. He trusts God for salvation hereafter, but no more than he trusts Him for his life here. He trusts Him for the converts and Churches, as he trusts Him for all personal cares. The word has no definite limits, and was not meant to have limits—“my deposit,” that which I have committed unto Him. The force of the sentence is in the fact that the deposit is safe where it is. It is in the right hands, and he need be neither afraid nor ashamed. It is the Guarantor he is thinking of, not the special things that have been guaranteed; the Trustee, not the different items of the trust.
You and I have one treasure, whatever else we may have or not have; and that is ourselves. The most precious of our possessions is our own individual being. We cannot “keep” that. There are dangers all round us. We are like men laden with gold and precious stones, travelling in a land full of pickpockets and highwaymen. On every side there are enemies that seek to rob us of that which is our true treasure—our own souls. We cannot keep ourselves. Slippery paths and weak feet go ill together. The tow in our hearts and the fiery sparks of temptation that are flying all round about us are sure to come together and make a blaze. We shall certainly come to ruin if we seek to get through life, to do its work, to face its difficulties, to cope with its struggles, to master its temptations, in our own poor, puny strength. So we must look for trusty hands and lodge our treasure there, where it is safe.1 [Note: A. Maclaren.]
“I had been thinking,” Brownlow North says, “probably for hours, about the plainly revealed but unexplained mysteries of God, and was no wiser; they still remained unrevealed and still unexplained, and all the fruit of my thinking seemed a headache.” After a time he began to think again, and said aloud to himself, “Brownlow North, do you think by your own reason or deep thinking you can find out God or know Christ better than the Bible can teach you to know Him? If you do not, why are you perplexing your brains with worse than useless speculations? Why are you not learning and holding on by what you learn from the Scriptures? You are shut up to one of two things, you must either make a god and a religion for yourself, and stand or fall eternally by it, or you must take the religion of Jesus Christ as revealed to you in His Word. You cannot receive a little of God’s teaching and a little of your own, you cannot believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and the wisdom of your own heart at the same time. Choose, then, now and for ever, by which you stand or fall.” He then struck his hand forcibly upon his open Bible, and said, “God helping me, I will stand or fall by the Lord Jesus Christ. I will put my trust in His truth, and in His teaching as I find it in the written Word of God; and doing that, so sure as the Lord Jesus Christ is the truth, I must be forgiven and saved.” After that he tells us he ceased to try to reconcile apparently opposing doctrines of Scripture, or those that were above his reason, submitting his intellect like a little child to the teaching of God’s Word and Spirit.2 [Note: Moody Stuart, Brownlow North, 36.]
2. Now such a committal involves a definite act. Everything is handed over to the Lord. The body is presented to Him as a living sacrifice. Henceforth “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” All the keys of the life are handed over to Him; every room of the personality is at His disposal. A new sense of proprietorship is awakened. I am not my own, I am bought with a price; I am His poem—His workmanship; all my faculties, feelings, passions, powers, opportunities are not really mine; they are His, although entrusted to my care.
We can—within certain limits, at any rate—answer each one of us for himself the question, “What shall I do with my life?” And the many answers which are given to that question resolve themselves, in principle, into three. The first is something to this effect: “I will do nothing in particular with it. I will let matters drift. I have no distinct object; and all effort is unwelcome. If nothing is done, all may, after all, come right.” A second answer runs thus: “While I have it I will make the best of it. It gives me many opportunities of present enjoyment; I will turn them to account. I will extract from the moments as they pass as many pleasurable sensations as they can be made to yield. There will be an end to this, I know; pleasure soon palls, and time passes with relentless speed. But I will do as the old pagan bids; I will snatch joyfully the gifts which the present hour offers me, and will leave stern questions about the future to take care of themselves.” A third answer to the question, What shall I do with my life? is this: “I will give it to God.” This is the investment which a Christian makes. St. Paul made it at his conversion. St. Paul’s question, “What wilt thou have me to do?” addressed to our Lord Jesus Christ, marks the first step in this great change; and when St. Paul had begun, it was not the way of an intense and thorough character like his to do things by halves; he gave himself to God’s guidance and disposal without reserve. He felt that he was not his own; he was bought with a price. He felt that Christ had died for all, with this purpose among others, “that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them.”1 [Note: H. P. Liddon, Sermons on Some Words of St. Paul, 279.]
3. The first act of committal in the hour of awakened faith is only the blessed beginning of a still more blessed lifelong habit of never-failing trust. The truly believing soul goes on believing and committing, until that day when the final settlement takes place. And then, when that day has come, and every man receives his own at the hand of the Righteous Judge, it is that it may be laid again, with all the increase it has gained, at the feet of Jesus, to be kept by Him, and used by Him, and be His only and wholly—to whom all is due—for all eternity.
Madame Guyon, the author of A Short and Easy Method of Prayer, died in 1717, at the age of sixty-nine. Her long life had been one of unceasing trust and communion with God, through many vicissitudes and persecutions in the dark age of Louis xiv. In one of her poems she wrote—
Yield to the Lord with simple heart
All that thou hast, and all thou art;
Renounce all strength but strength Divine;
And peace shall be for ever thine;
Behold the path which I have trod—
My path till I go home to God.
A short time before her death she wrote a will, from which the following passage is an extract. It is an affecting evidence of the depth of her piety, and that she relied on Jesus Christ alone:—
“In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
“This is my last will and testament, which I request my executors, who are named within, to see executed.
“It is to Thee, O Lord God, that I owe all things; and it is to Thee, that I now surrender up all that I am. Do with me, O my God, whatsoever Thou pleasest. To Thee, in an act of irrevocable donation, I give up both my body and my soul to be disposed of according to Thy will. Thou seest my nakedness and misery without Thee. Thou knowest that there is nothing in heaven, or in earth, that I desire but Thee alone. Within Thy hands, O God, I leave my soul, not relying for my salvation on any good that is in me, but solely on Thy mercies, and the merits and sufferings of my Lord Jesus Christ.”1 [Note: T. C. Upham, Life of Madame Guyon, 498.]
4. A quiet committal of ourselves to God is the only thing that will give us quiet hearts amidst the dangers and disappointments and difficulties and conflicts which we have all to encounter in this world. That trust in Him will bring, in the measure of its own depth and constancy, a proportionately deep and constant calm in our hearts.
We boarded a liner at Liverpool and were soon in the midst of a throng of strangers. We were travelling steerage and our bunks and belongings were open to all below, and this gave us some anxiety as we had no safe place to keep what little money we had—when we came on deck we were continually worried thinking that it might be stolen. The wide open sea and the pleasures of the deck we could not enjoy, and every now and again one of us would be going down below to see that all was safe. This anxiety continued for four days, and then we heard that the purser took care of valuables left with him, so we decided to ask him to take charge of our money. He told us we were late, and that people usually came to him at the start of the voyage. We said we were sorry to be late, but we thought better now than not at all. So he took our money and locked it in the great safe, telling us to come to him and get it again before we landed. He spoke kindly and sent us away with light hearts. The rest of the voyage we were able to enjoy to the full, entering into everything with never a care or worry. Life was altogether different, its joy had returned again, and all because we had confidence in the purser. We knew whom we had trusted, and were persuaded that he was able to keep that which we had committed unto him against the day of our landing in the new country at the port of Quebec.1 [Note: James Whillans.]
5. “I am persuaded.” The original word is stronger than “persuaded” has come to be with us. It implies an irrefragable conviction. “I am absolutely certain that He is able to keep my deposit”—what I have put into His hands—“and to keep it against that day.” “I am persuaded!” The experiment has succeeded, and the initial trembling has passed into final calm. The loose uncertainty has consolidated into firm assurance, and the Apostle now quietly confronts the massed and mighty antagonists of the night with unflinching courage and cheer. “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” “I am persuaded!” The quiet, fruitful, glorious confidence of it! The Apostle had risked his all upon the venture; he had committed everything to the proof! “I am persuaded that he is able to guard my deposit,” “that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
Her soul was enveloped in thick darkness, and her temptations against Faith, ever conquered but ever returning, were there to rob her of all feeling of happiness at the thought of her approaching death. “Were it not for this trial, which is impossible to understand,” she would say, “I think I should die of joy at the prospect of soon leaving this earth.” By this trial the Divine Master wished to put the finishing touches to her purification, and thus enable her not only to walk with rapid steps, but to run in her little way of confidence and abandonment. Her words repeatedly proved this. “I desire neither death, nor life. Were Our Lord to offer me my choice, I would not choose. I only will what He wills; it is what He does that I love. I do not fear the last struggle, nor any pains—however great—my illness may bring. God has always been my help. He has led me by the hand from my earliest childhood, and on Him I rely. My agony may reach the furthest limits, but I am convinced He will never forsake me.”1 [Note: Sœur Thérèse of Lisieux, 204.]
6. And of what is he persuaded? That “he is able to guard (A.V. keep) that which I have committed unto him against that day.” The word rendered in the A.V. to keep is often used for guarding as armed men do. God, as it were, mounts guard on what we put into His hands. He comes to us in no mere metaphor, but in the deepest reality of the spiritual life, to guard us, to deliver us from our own evil and from outward evils, to be a wall of fire around us, and to keep us “against that day,” with all its mysteries and terrors. Our hearts and anticipations go beyond the dark end of life; and we think of all the mysteries which, though they be magnificences, strike a chill of strangeness into our hearts, and we wonder what is to befall us out yonder in the darkness where we have never been before and about which we know little except that the throne is to be set, and the books opened. St. Paul says to us, “He is able to keep against that day.” So guarded in life, shielded from all real evil, preserved from temptation and from snares, brought unharmed through the hurtling of the pitiless storm of death, and shepherded in the fold beyond the flood, the soul that is committed to Him is safe. In that act of giving ourselves utterly up to God, lie the secret of blessedness and the guarantee of immortality. He is not going to lose the treasures committed to His charge. He prizes them too much. His hand will not let the deposit entrusted to Him slip, and He will say at the last what Christ said in the Upper Room, only with a diverse application, “That which thou hast given me I have kept, and none of it is lost,” and our souls will be safe in His hands.
What was it that Duncan Mathieson once proposed that they should write upon his tombstone when he died? It was the one word “Kept.” When the grey hairs came on him, and he looked backward over the road he had trod, it was not his prayers, his tears, his toils, that shone conspicuous, though all were there; it was the keeping power of God. There had been fears within and fightings without; there had been war unceasing with principalities and powers; dark foes unseen had thronged him and had tempted him, and had sought his overthrow. But he was more than conqueror in Christ who loved him. When a young man he had given himself to Christ. Right onward from that hour he had been kept.1 [Note: G. H. Morrison, The Oldest Trade in the World, 56.]
Now wilt me take for Jesus’ sake,
Nor cast me out at all;
I shall not fear the foe awake,
Saved by Thy City wall;
But in the night with no affright
Shall hear him steal without,
Who may not scale Thy wall of might,
Thy Bastion, nor redoubt.
Full well I know that to the foe
Wilt yield me not for aye,
Unless mine own hand should undo
The gates that are my stay;
My folly and pride should open wide
Thy doors and set me free
’Mid tigers striped and panthers pied
Far from Thy liberty.
Unless by debt myself I set
Outside Thy loving ken,
And yield myself by weight of debt
Unto my fellow-men.
Deal with my guilt Thou as Thou wilt,
And “hold” I shall not cry,
So I be Thine in storm and shine,
Thine only till I die.2 [Note: Katharine Tynan.]
The Practice of Assurance
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Black (H.), Christ’s Service of Love, 75.
Boyd (A. K. H.), Changed Aspects of Unchanged Truths, 216.
Britton (J. N.), in The Weekly Pulpit, i. 225.
Butcher (C. H.), Sermons Preached in the East, 51.
Fleming (S. H.), Fifteen-Minute Sermons for the People, 194.
Gotwald (L. A.), Joy in the Divine Government, 168.
Greenhough (J. G.), The Cross in Modern Life, 178.
Hoare (E.), Fruitful or Fruitless, 91.
Home (C. S.), in Sermons and Addresses, 133.
Jenkins (E. E.), Addresses and Sermons, 84.
Jones (J. D.), Elims of Life, 220.
Lambert (J. C.), The Omnipotent Cross, 79.
Liddon (H. P.), Sermons on Some Words of St. Paul, 276.
Maclaren (A.), Expositions: 2 Timothy, etc., 16.
Maclaren (A.), Leaves from the Tree of Life, 50.
Morgan (G. H.), Modern Knights-Errant, 60.
Morrison (G. H.), The Oldest Trade in the World, 54.
Moule (H. C. G.), The Second Epistle to Timothy, 53.
Newman (J. H.), Sermons Bearing on Subjects of the Day, 324.
Parkhurst (C. H.), Three Gates on a Side, 113.
Purves (P. C.), The Divine Cure for Heart Trouble, 247.
Riddle (T. W.), The Pathway of Victory, 22.
Swann (N. E.), New Lights on the Old Faith, 58.
Thomson (E. A.), Memorials of a Ministry, 283.
Watson (J.), The Inspiration of our Faith, 214.
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Christian World Pulpit, xxxviii. 263 (J. F. Hurst); xlii. 212 (J. G. Rogers); lvi. 171 (J. Stalker); lix. 299 (J. Watson); lxv. 156 (R. Thomas); lxvi. 193 (J. D. Jones); lxx. 328 (A. W. Hutton); lxxiii. 394 (E. J. Padfield); lxxv. 371 (A. E. Garvie).
Church of England Pulpit, lxii. 5 (A. W. Hutton).
Churchman’s Pulpit: General Advent Season, i. 209 (J. Stalker).
Examiner, May 18, 1905 (J. H. Jowett).
Homiletic Review, xxxvii. 134 (C. W. Townsend); lxiii. 156 (H. W. O. Millington).