Very Mysterious!


(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)

“Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters–though Your footprints were not seen!” Psalm 77:19

Just so, God deals mysteriously with me. His footsteps, His judgments, His methods, are often untrackable, like the untried sea. What though I cannot comprehend all His winding mazes? It is enough that He comprehends. I rest in His wise-heartedness and love.

I know that if He surrounds me with change, He gives me a hold on what is permanent and stable. Every breath of wind, every passing shadow, every ray of sun, alters the sea. And, meanwhile, by God’s will, nothing in my life continues unchangeable. The very mutableness of things, drives me into closer communion with Himself. Standing on the Rock of Ages, I am rooted in an element that is indestructible.

I know that if He permits me to be assailed by storm, He can keep my heart in peace. It is His decree that I am driven hither and thither over moonless waters by contrary winds. But the certainty is mine, that He makes all things to work together for my good.

He is my holy Father, my unerring Father, my Father of immeasurable grace. He makes no mistakes now, and, by and by He will bring me to His house not made with hands, where I will sing with everlasting joy!


Following in His Footsteps


(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)

“Leaving an example for you to follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21

How shall I follow in His steps?

The first requisite is a personal relationship to Him. I cannot wear the loveliness of Jesus–until I drink deep of the forgiveness of Jesus. From the Cross where He has saved me–I set out on the pilgrim-road of imitation.

It is necessary, also, that love for Him leaps and flames in my soul. No amount of intellectual comprehension is enough. The heart must enthrone Him, must adore Him, must turn to Him with the inevitableness and the trust of the sunflower turning to the sun. I can only resemble Him, if my affection for Him is profound, controlling, and pervasive.

And there must be intimacy with my Lord. I am to share His thoughts, His temper, His motives, His decisions.

I must dwell much with Himself in prayer.

I must often meditate on the story of His life and death.

These are some of the modes in which I shall touch and grasp and imitate the grace and the wisdom and the loveliness and the gentleness and the splendor of Jesus Christ.

“Whoever says he abides in Him, ought to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself.” 1 John 2:6 (Amplified Bible)

We have published Charles Naylor’s practical short article, “Singing in Adversity“.
Naylor has been peculiarly qualified for his task by the training of his soul in the school of suffering. As a young evangelist, Naylor was severely injured in an accident. For forty-one years as an invalid, he lay day and night on a bed of pain as a constant sufferer.

Holy Ground?


(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)

“Do not come any closer! Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground!” Exodus 3:5

I have no need to go to the loneliness of Sinai to meet with God. I find holy ground much nearer home. But I wonder whether I take my sandals off of my feet.

God reveals Himself to me in His written Word. It is His sanctuary. By its agency, my deepest life is created, quickened, sustained. Listening to it, the saints have heard the very voice of their Lord. But do I reverence God by my frivolous use of the words of Scripture? And, whenever I open the Book, do I remember that God has breathed the Spirit of Life into its chapters and verses? Mine is culpable levity.

He reveals Himself in my history, as truly as ever He did in the history of Israel. In it, the devout heart will trace . . .
His perfect providence,
His power,
His wisdom,
His stern hatred of sin,
His overflowing goodness.

Best of all, He reveals Himself in Christ. But if Christ brings Him close to me, He teaches me fresh reasons for standing in awe of Him.

His life shows me what God is–spotless, righteous, faithful, unflinchingly holy.

And His Cross has a more impressive message still. Here are God’s infinite gentleness and shoreless mercy. Side by side with these are God’s  abhorrence of my iniquity, and His unconquerable justice. He is holy, holy, holy–even in the brightest and sweetest manifestation of His grace. Yet I do not always worship Him “with trembling hope and penitential tears.”

Not a day passes, that I am not standing in the courts of His house. Not a place can I visit, where the Spirit of glory and of God may not overshadow me. I pray for tenfold more thoughtfulness and adoration and humility.

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For further reading: J.R. Miller’s helpful short article, “The Hallowing of Our Burden“.