Pilgrim's Path Daily

Friday, June 09, 2006

'SOUL FOOD' - an audio-book by G.D. Watson - Ch. 31 of 32

-- G.D. Watson lived in England, in the early part of the 1900's --

The act of crucifixion is one thing, but the Spirit in which the crucifixion is to be borne is another. In some respects, the act may be brief and finished; but the inward heart disposition that should pervade crucifixion is a continuous principle, extending through life, ever - widening its range over a multiplicity of applications, and growing in intensity to the end. This divinely beautiful spirit of self-immolation cannot be defined. It can only be faintly described. It is a heart - quality, a soul - essence, too fluid to be held in by words. If we could get a vision of the soul of Jesus, from the Last Supper to His death on the cross, and have a clear, spiritual discernment of all the thoughts and feelings and affections and sympathies, and every quality of disposition that was in His nature during those long hours, in such a spiritual vision we would see the full-sized mind appropriate to crucifixion.

Thousands have had, in greater or less degrees, a spiritual revelation into this history of the soul of Jesus. Such a vision can only be given by the Holy Ghost, for it is infinitely beyond the natural reason and imagination.

In the same proportion that we discern the inward spirit Christ had during those hours, in that proportion can we drink of that spirit, until we can suffer, bleed, and die in our measure, with the very same dispositions He had.

It is a silent spirit. It suffers without advertising the depth of its suffering. A dog or a pig will howl and squeal at the least pain or fright, but the lamb quivers and suffers in silence. It can weep until the fountains of tears are exhausted, and then it goes on weeping interior tears in the heart. Because the outward tears have ceased, its cruel critics think it has no pain, but God can see those hot, invisible tears of th spirit, and they fall upon His cheek and move His infinite compassion. It can be snubbed, scolded, criticised, misunderstood, misrepresented, and checked and hindered in a thousand ways without a groan, or a kick, or a trace of threatening or impudence.

It is sworn to eternal submissiveness. Out of a passion of Divine love, it has calmly signed the death-warrant of self. It can have a thousand little gifts and treasures, and harmless earthly pleasures, and pleasant hopes, and friendly ties snatched out of its hand, without clutching the fingers to hold on to them. It gently and sweetly lets everything go. It can obey God and be rushing at full speed on lines of service and duty for Him, and then, at the touch of God's providential air-brake, it can be brought to an instantaneous standstill, without shaking the train to pieces by a single jar or the least jostling of the will from its perfect repose in Jesus.

It is a flexible spirit, with no plan of its own. It can be turned by the finger of god in any direction without a moment's warning. It can walk into a dungeon or a throne, into a hut or a palace, with equal ease and freedom. It has lost its own will in union with God, and partakes of the movements of the Divine mind, as a floating cloud partakes of the movements of the air which encircles it. It can wear old, threadbare clothes, and live on plain food, with a thankful and sweet disposition, without even a thought of envy, or coveting the nice things of others. It looks with a quiet, secret, joyful contempt on all the honors and pleasures, and learning and culture, and the honorable splendors of earth. It inwardly despises what other people are longing to get hold of. This is because it sees into heaven, and is so fascinated with the magnitude of coming glories that even the pretty and honorable things of this world look ugly to it.

It embraces suffering as its natural food. The rugged cross, which frightens so many Christians, is embraced by this spirit with a sweet, subtle joy, because it knows that all suffering will enlarge and sweeten its love. It is love on fire, and seeks to pour itself out in avenues of self-abnegation. What other Christians shun as a hardship, it gladly accepts as an opportunity of sweeter union with God. It longs for nothing but more love. It likes to die over and over again for the sake of widening its ocean of love. It loves its enemies with a sweet, gentle, yearning affection, utterly beyond what they would be willing to believe. It can be bruised and trampled on, and turn with a quivering, speechless lip, and a tear-dimmed eye, and kiss and pray for the foot that, under the pretense of religious duty, is trampling it in the dust. This is no fancy sketch; I mean what I say. This spirit, like St. Paul, longs for the coming of Jesus, and yearns to be clothed upon with glorification. It would gladly never have any physical pleasure but for the legitimate needs and recreations of the body. In the language of the wise man, "It eats for strength, and not for the mere pleasure of appetite."

This spirit will not receive human honor into itself. If it is praised or honored by its fellows, instead of eating it as a sweet morsel, it offers it up instantly to the Lord, as the angel did with the good dinner which was presented to him by Manoah. Its highest delight is in sinking into God and being little. It loves to humble itself, both before God and man. It shuns debate and strife, and theological argument.

It is modest and retiring, and loves to get out of God's way, and see Him work. It would rather see the ark capsize, and the cherubim all broken, than to put forth its finger to meddle with God's authority. It does not make others wear its sackcloth. It would rather take other people's sufferings on itself than to take their joys. It has a deep, interior vision of the soul of Jesus, and is smitten with the Divine beauty of Christ's inner heart-life, and loves to repeat over again the feeling which Christ had. It has glimpses of the face of Jesus when He was dying. It sees the purple tint in His features as His head dropped upon His breast, and sees a glory in it which eclipses the splendor of the tall white angels.

When the soul enters sanctification, it is just the beginning of this spirit, which is to spread, intensify, and brighten until crucifixion becomes an all-consuming passion, a sweetly sorrowful, sadly beautiful flame of self-abnegation, which takes hold of all sorts of woes, and troubles, and mortifications, and pains, and poverties, and hardships, as a very hot fire takes hold on wet logs and makes out of them fresh fuel for more self-sacrificing love.

This is the spirit that opens the gate of heaven without touching it. This is the spirit that wears out the patience of persecutors, that softens the heart of stone, that in the long run converts enemies into friends, that touches the heart of sinners, that wins its way through a thousand obstacles, that outwits the genius of the devil, and that makes the soul that has it as precious to God as the apple of His eye.


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