Monday, April 22, 2013
By T. Austin-Sparks
"And he said unto them, It is not for you to know times or seasons, which the Father hath set within his own authority. But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:7-8).
"Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13).
"Not... times or seasons... But ye..." The Lord thus turns the whole question of the new dispensation into a matter of people. The old dispensation commenced with a man. He was God's key to everything in the creation. And here, in the book of the Acts, we have the commencement of the new dispensation and the new creation; and it is focused in a Man - the Son of man - and in men.
The key to everything is - "But ye..." The disciples were interested in something objective to themselves, and yet in which they would have a place - the kingdom of Israel. That meant they were interested in the interpretation and fulfilment of prophecy - one of a good many themes and subjects; they were interested in teachings. But the Lord said, 'No, it is not teachings, nor truths; not a movement, an enterprise, a kingdom.' All that was to be subsequent to getting the men, and getting the men inwardly in the position which was necessary.
Well, that is a very simple word, but it really goes to the heart of things. What are we waiting for? What are we expecting? Is it a change in our position, circumstances, conditions, location, association? Are we waiting to be precipitated into some movement, for the Church to take action where we are concerned, for others to take responsibility for us? What is it? Well, let us note this: the Lord says, "Not... but..." Not any things like that, in the first place, but you: the man, the woman, in right relationship with the Lord, under the full government of the Holy Spirit, filled with love for Christ and for others: the man, the woman, whose eyes have seen the King.
That is the key to everything. It may change the circumstances, it may change everything; but to change everything without that would not get us anywhere. The Lord says, 'It is you, everything waits for you'. It is not this and that which you can tabulate, something you may be either definitely or vaguely expecting in connection with a day when you will be in some other position and your job will change and you will be out in 'the work'. You will go on like that to the end of your life; you can have any number of changes but not be getting to the real goal. It is not this and that, but ye... The Lord gets us where He wants us and as He wants us.
It is quite clear that is exactly how it works out. We can see that. Here and there are such people, men and women in whom, because of their utterly selfless abandonment to the Lord and because they are so full of the Spirit, the thing is happening. All that we long to see happening is happening with them, the work is being done, there is movement.
So do not let us wait for things. Let us at once recognise the fact where we are. We may not be moved elsewhere. This is to hold good just where we are now, without waiting for some change of time or place or situation or set of circumstances. It is not the thing outside of us at all: we are the key to it all.
What is required is that both the Lord and others should be able to look on us and say 'They count, they express the Lord'. And, after all, it does not matter what we might get of official position and place in anything that is going. What is the value of that, however great it may seem to be, if it is not the expression of Christ? Let us ask the Lord to show us clearly just what has to be ruled out in our case - that of which He says, 'No, not that, but ye...'
We are apt to think that if and when the circumstances and conditions of our lives are changed and we are in another position than the one we now occupy, then something will happen, the purpose of God will begin to be fulfilled. The Lord would say, 'No; it is not circumstances, not conditions, at all; it is you.'
Some think that it is a matter of graduation and ordination and office, and that when they get into an official position, and have recognition there, then they will begin to fulfil the purpose of their lives. So they are waiting until they are either ordained or appointed to their work. The Lord says, 'No, it is not office, it is not ordination, it is not placing; it is you; you are the key.'
And alongside that, many are looking to the organization, the society, the mission, the church connection to which they are related, and expecting a new day for themselves to originate there, and that when the institution, whatever it may be, takes action, then the work of their life will begin. And the Lord says, 'It is not the church, the mission, the organization, the society, the institution; it is you.'
These men in Acts 1 were waiting for something to happen outside of themselves. They called it the restoring of the kingdom, the setting up of an order which would be a national - perhaps an international - movement: a new order outside of themselves in which they would find their place and probably be allocated, appointed or ordained to it. And the Lord simply swept the board of all those ideas and said. 'No, it is not that, it is you.' That is how it proved, how it worked out. We individually may be the key to everything in the purpose of God.
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, March-April 1951, Vol 29-2
In keeping with T. Austin-Sparks' wishes that what was freely received should be freely given, his writings are not copyrighted. Therefore, we ask if you choose to share them with others, please respect his wishes and offer them freely - free of changes, free of charge and free of copyright.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
By Sabine Baring-Gould
12th Sunday after Trinity.
S. Mark vii., 37. "He hath done all things well."
INTRODUCTION.--It was said by an old heathen writer that God cares for Adverbs rather than for Substantives. That is to say, God had rather have things done well, than that the things should be merely done. He had rather have you pray earnestly than pray, communicate piously than merely communicate, forgive your enemies heartily than say you forgive, work diligently than spend so many hours at work, do your duty thoroughly than solely be content with discharging your duty.
Of Christ, observe what is said. It is not "He hath opened the eyes of the blind, He hath unstopped the ears of the deaf. He hath loosed the tongue of the dumb, He hath healed the sick," but--"He hath done all things well." The eyes do not become dull again, nor the ears again lose their power of hearing, nor the tongue stutter once more, nor the sick relapse into their sickness--what He hath done He hath done well and thoroughly.
SUBJECT.--This, then, is what God desires of you--whatever you undertake, to do it well. Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. If a thing is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well. It is not sufficient for us to coldly perform our duties, we must perform them with zeal and thoroughness.
The prophet Amos was one day shown a vision. "Behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in His hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel; I will not again pass by them any more."
In this vision we have the work of God, as carried out by the Israelites, represented under the form of a wall. God had given them certain duties to perform, so much work in this world to be done for Him, and He left them to themselves for a while. Then they thought, "God is not here, He is not a hard overseer, we will work as we like, and take it easy. So long as the thing is done, it does not matter very much how it is done." So they did every thing in a careless, slovenly manner. They neglected their duties or carried them out in a bare formal manner. If we come back to the comparison of a wall, it was just as though masons engaged on one put in any sort of stones, any how, and did not trouble whether they built it in line and upright, whether some of the stones stuck too far out, and some were too far in.
Then God appears to Amos and says, "I will not again pass by them any more; there has been too much of this sort of work. I will not overlook it, I will try it with the plumbline of My justice, and the bad work shall be pulled down, the jutting stones knocked away, and the crooked wall made straight."
This vision applies to you quite as much as to the Jews. You have got a set task: you have to build up the wall of the Lord, that is, day by day you have to work at your salvation, and put in at least one stone so as to raise the work, and what you build must be good, and upright, and in line. You have a prayer to say, say it well, say it with devotion. Then it is a stone put on the wall in its right place, and it is a good stone of the right quality.
You have quarrelled with a neighbour, you have made it up, heartily and bear no more malice, that is a good stone;--forgiveness of injuries--a capital stone that won't let the water through. Lay it level, and lay it upright. You have a chance of showing a kindness to someone who needs, do it quietly and without fuss or show. That will stand. It was otherwise with the Pharisees. When they did their alms, they made a noise and called attention to it.
That was like putting a stone in the wall that stuck a long way out, so that all might see it. When the Lord comes with His plumbline, He will knock it off with His trowel, and it will go all to pieces like a bit of slate, and be no good at all. You come to church, and you take my sermon home. What will you do with it? Toss it away on your road home, and make no use at all of it? I hope not; build the lesson I am giving you tight into your lives, and it will raise your wall, and you can lay other good lessons on top of it. What do you do with your Sunday? Is it wasted in lounging about, ferreting rabbits, idle talking? If it be so, then it will add nothing to the wall of your salvation. It will be like a mere lump of earth put in where there should have been a stone; it will wash out and leave a hole.
Now remember that our great architect, Jesus Christ, is the man with the plumbline, and He will go over all our work and try how it is done, and whether it is upright and likely to stand.
II. S. Paul gives another help to us to understand the parable of the wall. He says that we are building the wall of our salvation on the cornerstone of Christ, and he goes on to say, "Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereon, he shall receive a reward."
S. Paul, you see, says that the wall will be proved with fire, that is, that God will try all men's work and see of what sort it is--good, moderate, or worthless. The worthless will disappear in the judgment, the moderate will be seen in its faulty condition, but the good will last for ever.
CONCLUSION.--Try, then, to look upon your life as a time of building up the work of your salvation, and at every day as contributing something towards it. Ask yourself each day, What have I done to-day towards this work set me? And if I have done anything towards it, how has it been done? Moreover, try to do all things well, to be zealous and thorough in every thing you undertake.
Also, offer all you do to God, and ask Him to prove it, and to cut off from it all that is faulty, and to enable you to do better in time to come.
When Nehemiah had rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem, and restored much that was cast down, and put right many abuses, he prayed, "Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done." Let this also be your prayer, that He may look on all you do for Him and bless it, and remember it for good, in the day when He tries every man's work of what sort it is.
By A.B. Simpson
Speech is one of the supreme distinctions between man and the lower animals. The power of expressing thought in articulation and written language is one of the high prerogatives of rational beings.
A man's conversation is the real test of his character and if any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain (James 1:26).
An unbridled tongue is a sure sign of an unsanctified spirit. On the other hand, if any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. It is a sign that he is under the government of his conscience, his will and the Holy Spirit.
This is a most heart-searching test.
It was a foolish word that lost Moses the Land of Promise. He would have taken it back if he could have, but it was too late.
Though he was taken to heaven, he could not lead Israel into the promised land. Many men and women of great potential ruin their whole lives by an uncontrolled tongue. It settles our character and influence here. How much more in the sight of Him who has said, By thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned (Matthew 12:37).
By J.B. Stoney
Revelation 3: 14-22
It is very important for us to understand what is the state of things in the church; and when I say "church" I mean the whole house of God, not the real thing, the body of Christ, but that which will be spued out of the Lord's mouth when He comes. It is very important for us who are on the verge of this, if not quite in it, to understand what will produce it.
We may say, thank God, we know we are of the true thing; but still it is a great thing for us to see what produces and conduces to this state of things that Christ will thus spue out of His mouth, so that we may not in any way be helping it on ourselves. In the beginning of Revelation 2 I find the church has lost her first love, and in the end of chapter 3 He will do without her as a witness.
In Laodicea the vessel of testimony is spued out of His mouth. And the terrible thing is that as soon as He thus rejects it, there is another power ready to pick it up - a power that rises and says, This just suits me! The church unfit for Christ is fit for the beast. As soon as Christ has done with the church, the beast will arise and say, I will carry it, as we get it in chapter 17. Now this is a terrible thing - a very serious thing, if we lay it to heart, to see how it is produced; and I think none of us can escape censure on the point, though we may escape judgment. For it is evident that Laodicea springs out of Philadelphia; it is evident that the state of the last of the churches is consequent upon the preceding one. What then is a Laodicean?
There are four phases of the church of God which run down to the end; these are Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea: Thyatira being Romanism; Sardis, the Reformed religion; Philadelphia, the last revival - the most of brilliant unfolding of the truth that had been lost; and after this, Laodicea, Latitudinarianism. I will explain first what a Laodicean is, and seek to apply it to our conscience afterwards.
A Laodicean, then is one who has got Philadelphian light and has not got Philadelphian power. You see a Laodicean is not in system; he is neither in Romanism nor in Protestantism, and you must be in either of these two to be in system. I trust this will come home very closely to every one of us. It is a very important thing to get light, and light does lead out of system; but light is not everything.
A Laodicean is one who has got light, but who has not that which the light should produce. Hence the Lord appears to Laodicea, saying, "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God". A Laodicean says what even a rich man would not say: "I ... have need of nothing". I would say to any such, You have got the light, but you have not got Christ in power.
A Rationalist said, "I have got rid of the author of Christianity, but I have kept the morality of it", and that is just what the beast might say. What does he wants Christianity for?
He wants Christianity to so improve the man that he may be independent of God. The Christianity of the present day will issue in Babylon, that great city where there will be the aggregate of all that suits man upon earth, where everything that magnifies him will be brought together, where man will get on without God.
We are not Babylon, and, thank God, never shall be the harlot; but we are warned that we fall not into the state of things that will characterize her. I may say here, there are two great structures going on at this present moment - the new Jerusalem and Babylon; the one the bride of Christ, the magnificent display of all that He is; the other all that naturally suits man; every natural beauty will be found in it. The one, all of Christ, when there is nothing of Adam; and the other, where there is nothing of Christ. Just as the bridegroom forms the bride, so it is here: everything in the new Jerusalem will suit Christ.
She will come down from heaven, having the glory of God, to show out the beauty of Christ here upon earth, where we have all failed.
In Babylon, on the other hand, will be found all that gratifies man. People often say, What is the harm in this or in that? But that is not the way to put it.
The question, whether it be a bit of furniture or a bit of dress, is whether it suits Christ or whether it suits man. Is it meeting man in his natural tastes, or is it meeting Christ in the counsels of God? God tells us what things are coming to, in order that we should not in any wise contribute to them. What a sad thing it is to think that the light we have may only minister to our condemnation!
If you receive the light that comes out of Philadelphia, and do not have the same time refuse the human element, you are preparing for Laodicea. Suppose any one says to me, I know I have received the grace of Christ. I say, That is all very well; but what are you studying?
Are you trying to improve people's natures - trying to make a man good-tempered or temperate? Then you are working at the old creation. And you have got light from Christ, the beginning of the creation of God! It is a fearful thing in the sight of God to have light and not to walk according to it.
In all the great theological works you will not find the new creation taught; and yet the authors were true godly men. Why then was not the church spued out of Christ's mouth long ago? Because they had no light.
Now, when we have light, if it prove ineffectual to produce Christ, we are nauseous to Him. All through Scripture we find instances to prove what I am saying. I say, then, a Laodicean has light; but man in nature is his object, and not Christ.
The first example I find is that of Eve. She had light, but she did not act up to her light. The word of God told her not to eat of the tree, and she did. It was a very bad case I admit, but it is a case.
I give up the light in self-consideration; she had the pure light in a state of innocence; it was perfect light from God Himself; and what a power of sin was that in her when she said, I will give up the light and please myself.
That was Laodicean in principle; and when the church gets to that state the Lord says, It does not suit Me. It cannot be of any use. There are more examples of this in the word that I could possibly think of or put together now; but one or two will show you how the principle of the evil comes in. Who was it helped the children of Israel into idolatry? No one less than Aaron, the brother of Moses. Was there a want of light there? No; he had plenty on light, but he wanted to please the people. He was the one who was to carry out the words that Moses gave him from God, and this very man, whilst Moses was gone up the mountain to God, says: Give me your gold, and I will make a calf for you. People talk of light, and are boastful of it; but with the knowledge of that light, I say, take care that you keep out the human element.
If you are ministering to man in any way, no matter how - be it in your house, your furniture, your dress, anything - you are just paving the way for Laodicea, you are helping it on, for you have got light and are not walking in the practical power of it. It is a point that must be settled practically. The crisis is coming when people will say: There is plenty of light. They are trying to improve man by it, and Christ really is unthought of.
Can you say people are more for Christ now then they used to be? I know that years ago saints used to be far more for Christ with less light than they are now. I turn to another case, in 1 Samuel 15. The point to get hold of, and it is a difficult one if a person does not work it out in his own heart, is that we are the people who are to blame, because by giving a place to the human element in our preachings and teachings, we have produced a type of Christianity which is very human.
In this chapter king Saul is sent to destroy Amalek. There is no mistake about what he is to do; he is not in the least ignorant; yet he keeps what suits himself, while he destroys the vile and refuse.
He could not say he was not able to walk up to the light; but he spared the best, that which ministered most to man, what most pleased himself. Again, in 2 Kings 5, Gehazi is sent to communicate the truth to Naaman. Gehazi has the truth; but, when the prophet will not take anything from Naaman, he will.
This is the principle. "Went not mine heart with thee", says the prophet, "when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and men servants, and maid servants?" - all to suit himself. Then he adds: "The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow".
That is a Laodicean. He had light, but he considered for himself; he had not self-control, not self-mortification enough, to keep himself from coveting things that belong to Naaman. I turn out to the New Testament, to Matthew 16. Here the Lord says to Peter: "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven".
The greatest light is shown to Peter; nothing could have been more wonderful than the Father giving such a revelation to him; it was light of the highest order. He had been given this light about the church. And, would you believe it, that this very man, in this very same chapter, foreshadows what a Laodicean is! He has the light about the church, but he will not have the cross.
Read farther on: "Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall from not be unto Thee. But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art an offence unto Me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men".
Thus it is possible that the person who has the greatest light may make the greatest mistake. Peter wants to spare the man. How differently the apostle Paul uses the cross! "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world".
If this be so, what is left of you? Why, the new creation, and nothing else. That is what is left - a new creation, not only a new creature.The same Person who was going to build this wonderful structure, the church, is the One who will set aside man in His cross.
Oh, says Peter, I do not like that! Then, says the Lord, you are Satan. That is exactly the principle of the thing, and this is where we have to judge ourselves. The light is here, and the question is whether I am bringing out that upon earth which will shine out in the new Jerusalem. It was thus that the Lord left His disciples here. He could say of them: "All mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, and I am glorified in them".
Truly we have failed in this; but He turns round in the book of Revelation and says: You are the Bride to Me, though you have failed in everything else. I make only one more remark. The apostle says in 2 Timothy 1: "All they which are in Asia be turned away from me".
It was not that they had turned away from Christianity, but that they would not have Paul's teaching; they would not have Christ instead of the man here.
And when you leave Christ out of Christianity it is Laodicean, and sinks into Babylon; when you leave Christ out of Christianity Christ does not want the church. I would warn you to see to it, that the more light you have, the more you exclude the human element.
People have gone on for 1800 years, knowing but little and with but little light; and till the light came, the Lord, as it were, says, I tolerate it all.
But now all is changed. We can no more speak of the ignorance: the light has been given us. If the light increase, be careful to see that the light produces Christ in you practically. And now, having shown you what a Laodicean is, I will show you the remedy for it, how the Lord can keep you from being one, and how He can deliver you if you now are one.
He says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with Me".
It is not any particular truth He brings in; He brings in Himself. He says: I will make you know Me in the intimacies of daily life; I will come and sup with you and then you shall learn what it is to sup with Me. I will throw Myself into all your circumstances, and then you will come to Mine. We get the practical illustration of it in John 11 and 12.
First, the Lord walks beside Mary to the grave of Lazarus, and weeps with her there. And then she says, anointing Him for His burial: This world, with all its beauty, is nothing to me! He is gone out of it, and I have buried it all with Him in His grave.
The day we live in is a critical one. I am sure it ought to be a solemn thought that we are a corrupting instead of a sanctifying people, when we propound light without promoting and manifesting Christ, the new creation. The Lord lead our hearts to understand how we may thus only injure souls instead of being a blessing to them.
The apostle tells us in Timothy that unless we have conscience about what we believe, we shall make shipwreck. May we take the subject to heart for His name's sake!
By Favell Lee Mortimer, 1802-1878.
Matthew 12:43-45. The parable of the unclean spirit
It was in this alarming manner that our Savior concluded his rebukes to the wicked Pharisees. We can scarcely call this short history a parable, because it appears to be a literal account of an event that has taken place.
Still it is a parable, because it is partly figurative—the heart of a man is likened to a house. And is it really true that unclean spirits make the hearts of men their habitation? How can we doubt what our Savior has so plainly declared?
Sometimes an evil spirit forsakes his habitation. This devil having left his house, traveled far through dry, or desert places, but found no rest. It seems probable that in the course of his wanderings he found no opportunity of injuring souls.
Our enemy, we know, walks about seeking whom he may devour. Sometimes there is a restraint laid upon him, and he cannot perpetrate the evil that he desires; for he can do nothing without the permission of God. Perhaps this devil had left the man, hoping to make new conquests, and to increase the number of his victims; but when disappointed, he thinks of returning to his old abode.
He says, "I will return unto my house, whence I came out." He claims the heart as his own property; he says, "My house." He returns and finds no obstacle to regaining possession of the soul he once inhabited. The house is not the less acceptable to him, because it is swept and garnished, or adorned.
Nothing pleases Satan more than a show of piety in a wicked heart. The unclean spirit is not satisfied to dwell alone, but finds seven of his fellows to share his spoil. He selects some more wicked than himself, as his associates. There are degrees of wickedness even among devils, and no doubt pre-eminence in wickedness is their glory. It had been better for this miserable man, if the first inhabitant of his heart had never left it.
But O! how infinitely better would it have been for him, if, when the devil had left him, he had opened his heart to the gracious Savior! Jesus is willing to come whenever he is invited; often he stands and knocks, and no man opens the door, and at length he withdraws, no more to return. Then the wretched soul must become the prey of demons.
Even as a house forsaken by man soon becomes the habitation of beasts and birds, so does the heart, when Jesus is absent, become the habitation of the spirits of hell.
The greater part of the Pharisees did not profit from the warning Jesus gave them; they grew more and more wicked; they crucified the Lord of glory, and persecuted his apostles. But let us profit from it, and never count ourselves safe, except Jesus reign in our hearts.
Saul, the King of Israel, appears to have been such a man as our Savior described in this parable. The evil spirit that once tormented him, departed for a season, but soon returned and rendered him more wicked than before. All the evening of his days was spent in malicious persecutions of the innocent David, until he filled up the measure of his iniquity by consulting the witch of Endor.
Real conversion of the heart is the only preservative from Satan's malice. True believers alone are secure. There are evil days, days of peculiar temptation that come upon them, but neither seven wicked spirits, nor seventy times seven, can harm the heart fortified by the towers and bulwarks of faith.
It is written, "He who is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not," (1 John 5:18.) And how does he keep himself? He remembers his Lord's command, "Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation."
| DAILY WALKING WITH GOD|
"This is my infirmity." Psalm 77:10.
The infirmities of the believer are as varied as they are numerous.
Some are weak in faith, and are always questioning their interest in Christ.
Some, superficial in knowledge, and shallow in experience, are ever exposed to the crudities of error and to the assaults of temptation.
Some are slow travelers in the divine life, and are always in the rear; while yet others are often ready to halt altogether.
Then there are others who groan beneath the burden of bodily infirmity, exerting a morbid influence upon their spiritual experience.
A nervous temperament- a state of perpetual depression and despondency- the constant corrodings of mental disquietude- physical ailment- imaginary forebodings- a facile yielding to temptation- petulance of spirit- unguardedness of speech- gloomy interpretations of providence- an eye that only views the dark hues of the cloud, the somber shadings of the picture.
Ah! from this dismal catalogue how many, making their selection, may exclaim, "This is my infirmity."
But be that infirmity what it may, let it endear to our hearts the grace and sympathy of Him who for our sake was encompassed with infirmity, that He might have compassion upon those who are alike begirt. All the fulness of grace that is in Jesus is for that single infirmity over which you sigh.