« ForrigeFortsett »
floor above, where the superintendent's office was, and said, “I don't care anything about being popular with this crowd ; all I care for is to be popular with the man up there." I thought it was a great lesson for us. Sometimes we are deflected in this direction or that, and sometimes we tone down a truth, or adjust it for some particular friend, and sometimes we wait for the good opinion of our friends, and shrink from the criticism of those who are not friendly. We preach, but one great hindrance is that we do our work in the eyes of man. A single eye to the Master up there is one of the fundamental conditions of power, one of the secrets of power.
It follows out of this that we cannot have power any more than we can have faith, if we are receiving honour one from anotber. This also has come to be one of the crippling devices of the enemy to break the power of God—the honour which we are according and steadily receiving, or desiring to receive, or are bestowing one upon another. If we go on receiving honour one from another, either courting or giving, we are certain to cut off one of the sources of supply of power. Another practical condition is this, that we are not to desire this power for selfish use. I desire to be a successful minis er, and we are all tainted more or less with a personal greed of power like Simon Magus, though we may not desire it to get money. Perliaps we desire it for applause, for position, to build up our church and that our ministry may be successful, I wonder if we work as hard for the Master as we do for our ministry, our parish, our denomination. We must learn carefully to distinguish between a mission for success which is personal and a mission for success which is consecrated before God. It needs a great deal of waiting before God to keep ourselves free from these snares that beset
If we want to know how to avoid them and get the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ, who never did anything for Himself, we must learn of Him.
Last of all, we want to lay aside every known thing from our lives, habits, and associations that interferes with the single work to which every Christian is, by the very terms of his union with Christ, called. I speak not to ministers, but to Christians. So many questions on doubtful points come up.
People ask, Do you think it wrong to do this or inconsistent to do that? We ought never to approach such questions with reference to our personal salvation, but all these questions are to be settled with reference to our being used by the Master. Whatever hinders my highest holiness and interferes with the divine flow of power from God out to the world is a thing to be put away. Not because it is abstractly wrong or may be abstractly right. There are many things which in themselves are not wrong, that we find we must lay aside, and many things that are perfectly right in themselves, which, in view of our work, we have no place for in our lives.
There are many weights as well as sins that break up the Christian lise and choke up the channels of power. I read an incident of a man who had a grudge against a railway company, and he put a bar of soap into one of the watertanks from which the engine drew its water. It is a wellknown fact that you cannot generate steam out of soapy water; and after the engine had taken its supply, and gone some distance, the engine stopped. Now, we want to keep the soap out of our lives, because, if we do not, God cannot
He cannot make anything out of our talents, our natural gifts, our opportunities, if we allow the enemy to come and put in a bar of soap and spoil the whole matter.
We are not to measure power by results. Our work often seems to depend upon our success. If we are successful we are stimulated to more work; if we are unsuccesstul, we are discouraged. We often hear it said that if we were only filled with the Holy Ghost, men and women would be converted by hundreds. You remember that Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost, and he preached his sermon on the day of Pentecost, and secured 3,000 souls. Men say if we were only filled with the Holy Ghost people would run and cry, What shall we do? But Stephen was filled with the Holy Ghost just as really as Peter, and all he got was 3,000 stones. One man got 3,000 souls, and another 3,000 stones. But Stephen did not live to see what he got. He got the stones, but, soon after, he got Saul of Tarsus, who really found the beginning of his Christian life in those words of Stephen which cut him to the heart, and which sent him thoughtful and troubled down to Damascus ; and out of
Stephen came Paul, or, in another sense, we may say that out of the grave of Stephen rose the Apostle Paul. Let us not be discouraged or overmuch encouraged by the immediate results of our work.
At the conclusion of this address the Rev. HENRY EDWARDS presented prayer, and the proceedings concluded with the singing of the Doxology.
The knowledge of God:
Rev. E. A. STUART. JAMES STEPHENS, M.A.
Thursday Evening, June 26th, 1884.
HE proceedings were opened by prayer by Mr. C.
“ Low in the grave He lay
Jesus, my Saviour !" The Rev. H, W. WEBB-PEPLOE, M.A., presented prayer, after which the first address was delivered by the
REV. E. A. STUART, M.A. Our subject yesterday, dear friends, was the knowledge of God as it is revealed by the Son through the Spirit, and our subject to-morrow will be the revelation of that knowledge to a dark and ignorant world that knows not God. And our subject to-day is the blessings which flow to us from that marvellous knowledge which is here revealed in the Word of God. You notice in the programme which has been drawn up for our meditation through these three days that the blessings which flow from that knowledge of God are enumerated as follows:-The knowledge of God as the essence of eternal life; the knowledge of God as the ground of faith, the source of peace, and the secret of power. No wonder, then, that the
conveners of this Conference added as the closing subject for to-day's meditation that the knowledge of God ought therefore to be the object of the believer's pursuit. Now, I have been asked to leave the last part of this subject to the speaker who shall follow me, and here you will perceive at once that I am placed in rather a difficulty, for the other four subdivisions of our subject were so amply dealt with this morning in our morning's Conference. I suppose, therefore, my duty, as I have only received negative instructions, is rather to gather up the fragments that remain, that so our brother who follows me may have a grand foundation for the remarks which he may make to us, as he would urge us forward in our pursuit after this knowledge. And yet I remember that the fragments that remained when the blessed Lord brake the loaves filled more than twelve baskets full. God grant, then, that some of the fragments which we may be enabled to gather up to-day, that I believe have been so plentifully broken for us by the pierced hand of our Lord Himself, may fill alike all our hearts to-night!
Now we heard from our first morning's Conference that all men, in the present day more especially, are seeking for the knowledge of God; and I do not wonder at it. Our wise men are beginning to find out that quantity cannot satisfy : there must be quality. They are beginning to find that, good as this world is, so far as it goes, it does not go far enough; but that there is something in man—nay, rather, that everything which makes man really man is unsatisfied in this present world. The fact of the matter is, as it has been so clearly laid down, that there are three things which more especially differentiate us from the rest of creation, and these three things cannot be satisfied in this present world. There is, first of all, the intellect. We may amuse the intellect; we may amuse the intellect by dissecting beetles, by classifying fronds, by engaging in all kinds of curious speculations ; but the intellect cannot be satisfied without an answer to this great question. What is truth? What is truth? And then there is conscience. Somehow or other there is within each one of us a certain knowledge of what is right and what is wrong; and yet, somehow or other, we do not see our judgment as to right and wrong corroborated in the world, and corroborated round about
We see the wicked prospering; we see the righteous suffering; and conscience looks forward into the unseen, and