ROMAN CATHOLIC MASS If the Catechism is to be believed, then each time the Mass is performed, Christ's work on the cross is made present and the work of our redemption is carried out: "In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner." Catechism page 344, #1367 "When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ's Passover, and it is made present. As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out." Catechism page 343, #1364 But the Bible reveals that the work of redemption was a one time act which was completed when Jesus died on the cross: "...but now once in the end of the world hath he (Jesus) appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Hebrews 9:26 "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrews 10:10 When Jesus shed His blood, that one time act purchased eternal redemption for all who would put their faith and trust in Christ alone: "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he (Jesus) entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Hebrews 9:12 The Bible specifically states that this sacrifice need not be done daily: "Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself." Hebrews 7:27 Yet the Catechism is adamant that: "Every time this mystery is celebrated, 'the work of our redemption is carried on'..." Page 354, #1405 But God's Word is equally adamant that Christ's death was a one time event: "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many..." Hebrews 9:28 "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;" Hebrews 10:12 Jesus did all the work necessary to procure man's salvation when He died on the cross. No further work has ever been needed. Who gets the credit? For the Catechism to claim that the Catholic church plays a part in the redemptive work of Christ is to steal from the Lord Jesus credit He alone deserves for the work He accomplished at Calvary. According to God's Word, Christ did it all, once and for all. His death was a divine act, the most wonderful sacrifice ever made. It occurred once, never to be repeated again. Still the Catechism insists: "The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice." Page 344 #1367 As lovingly as possible it must be said that this statement is purely sacrilegious. To suggest that a priest performing a religious ritual is a part of the torturous death Jesus endured is nothing short of blasphemy. To associate the rituals of the Catholic church with Christ's work on the cross is ludicrous. The Catholic church played no part in the work that made redemption possible and it deserves no credit. Once again, Catholicism tries to force Christ to share His glory with the Catholic church, while the Bible shows that Jesus alone deserves the glory. Conclusion Where will you place your trust? In the Word of God, or the traditions and teaching of the Catholic church?

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The Prayer God Loves to Answer Most God loves to answer the prayer “Show me your glory.” When your soul hungers, when your tank feels empty, when you’re running on fumes, when you open your Bible in the morning and ask for God’s help, a great go-to request is this simple, honest, humble plea: “Father, show me your glory.” God made the world to show and share his glory. He made us in his image to reflect him in the world. But we will not fully reflect him if we haven’t yet stood in awe of him and enjoyed his beauty in our hearts. And our hearts cannot look on him in awe if we haven’t yet seen him with the eyes of our souls. Changed lives (and a changed world) begin with seeing glory. “Beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). “God, show me your glory.” History hangs on him answering that request. And one great evidence of his work in a human soul is feeling, and then expressing, that longing. Two Memorable Models It’s not only a wise request to make for ourselves, but also for others. The apostle Paul prayed for Christians that “the eyes of your understanding [would be] enlightened” so they might know “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and . . . the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18–19). Instead of starting with your wife’s convenience, what if you prayed, “Show her your glory”? Along with your neighbor’s health, “God, show him your glory.” Even before your children’s safety, “Father, show them your glory.” But don’t miss the opportunity to begin with yourself and pray often for God to show you his majesty. When we make this sacred and powerful request today, we do well to consider the two biblical figures who asked the question most memorably. MOSES’S AUDACITY First is Moses. Before leading God’s people up to the Promised Land, Moses wants to know more about God. Will he handle his stiff-necked, unworthy people with grace, or is it just a matter of time before he breaks forth in righteous anger against his people’s sin? Who is God most deeply? So, Moses asks, “Please show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). God responds, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Exodus 33:19) God will show his glory to Moses by putting his goodness on display. Something stronger than wrath, and higher than mere power, drives the heart of God with his chosen people. Most deeply, he is a God of grace and mercy. The next morning God hides Moses in a cleft of the rock on the top of the mountain and draws near. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:5–7) Moses has his glimpse into the heart of God. He bows in worship. He asks God to draw near to his people, pardon their iniquity, and make them his own (Exodus 34:8–9). PHILIP’S FOLLY God meets Moses’s audacious request with favor, but some fifteen centuries later, one of the Twelve receives a different answer to a very similar plea. Philip said to [Jesus], “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” (John 14:8–10) Why does God honor Moses’s plea, while Jesus meets Philip’s with mild rebuke? Because now the glory of God is standing fully embodied in Philip’s presence, looking him in the eyes as he makes his misguided request. Does he not yet realize he already has seen more than Moses as he looks on the face of God himself and asks to see the Father? Jesus’s gracious rebuke comes not because Philip had a sinful longing. It was good that he wanted to see the Father. It was admirable that, like Moses, he asked to see the glory. But the kind correction he needed, standing in the very presence of God himself in the person of his Son, was that his search to see the very glory of God had come to an end when he came to Jesus. We Have Seen His Glory God had said to Moses, “You cannot see my face” (Exodus 33:20). But now Philip was seeing God. He was looking on the glory. As John 1:14–18 reveals, what glory God hid from Moses, he now shows us in the person of his Son. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:14, 16–18) Jesus has made the Father known. Period. The person of Christ so truly and fully reveals God that the Gospel writer can say — with no need to nuance, condition, or qualify — “he has made him known.” God’s Glory in Jesus’s Face Jesus is “the [visible] image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). Do you want to see God? Do you long to look upon his face? Where will we see “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God”? Answer: “in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Which means, the lowliest Christian already has seen more of God’s glory than Moses saw on the mountaintop. Soon we will see Jesus with our physical eyes. “When he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). But for now, we look on his beauty with the eyes of our hearts. One day God will remake this world, and in that new heavens and new earth, there will be “no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Revelation 21:22). And get this: “the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23). Lamp, singular. Jesus, the Lamb, is the singular lamp from which streams the glory of God that gives light to the world to come. Jesus is not one lamp among many. He is the singular source of the light of the glory that illumines the world to come. Where We Turn Next God loves to answer the prayer “Show me your glory,” and he doesn’t leave us in the dark as to where we should turn our soul’s gaze to have our prayer answered. Once we pray this audacious, wise, and necessary plea, we’re not left clueless as to where to focus next. When we ask God today to see his glory, he may answer our requests in countless ways. He may show us some attribute of his character we’ve missed or minimized. He may open our eyes to his smile behind a frowning providence. He may meet some temporal need in a way that warms our soul and fills us with gratitude. He may give a relational breakthrough that was so long-standing that reconciliation seemed humanly impossible. But the fullest response to our plea “Show me your glory” is to turn the eyes of our soul to Jesus. “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). And our knowing the fullness of his answer doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask. On the contrary, it inspires us to ask all the more.

105 views · Dec 25th, 2020

TENDERNESS OF SPIRIT It is much easier to convince a human soul of its natural impurity than to convince it of its natural hardness, and utter destitution of heavenly and divine tenderness of Spirit. The very essence of the Gospel is a divinely imparted tenderness and sweetness of Spirit. Without this, even the strongest religious life is a misrepresentation of the true Christ-life. Even among intensely religious people, nothing is more rare to find than a continuous, all-pervading spirit of tenderness. 1. Tenderness of spirit is preeminently divine. It is not the delicacy and soft sensibility of a mere gentle make-up of body and mind, which some persons naturally possess in a high degree. Neither is it the tenderness of mind and manner, which results from high culture and beautiful social training, though these are very valuable in life. But it is a supernatural work throughout the whole spiritual being. It is an exquisite interior fountain of God's own sweetness and tenderness of nature, opened up in the inner spirit to such a degree that it completely inundates the soul. It overflows all the mental faculties, saturating with its sweet waters the manners, expressions, words, and tones of the voice. Tenderness of spirit mellows the will, softening the judgments, melting the affections, refining the manners, and moulding the whole being after the image of Him Who was infinitely meek and lowly in heart. It cannot be borrowed, or put on for special occasions. It is emphatically supernatural, and must flow out incessantly from the inner fountains of the life, and resembles having every atom of our being soaked in sweet oil. 2. Deep tenderness of spirit is the very soul and marrow of the Christ-life. Without it, the most vigorous life of righteousness, and zeal, and good works, and rigid purity of morals, and missionary reform, and profuse liberality, and ascetic self-denial, and the most blameless conduct, utterly fail to measure up to the Christ-life unveiled in the New Testament. It is impossible to see the infinite excellence and necessity of real heavenly tenderness of spirit unless it is specially revealed to us by the Holy Ghost. It takes a direct revelation from God to enable us to discern what is the very marrow and fatness of Christ's character, the inexpressible tenderness and gentleness of His nature which is always the heart inside of the heart, the soul within the soul, of the Christ-life. What specific gravity is to the planet, what beauty is to the rainbow, what perfume is to the rose, what marrow is to the bone, what rhythm is to poetry, what sublimity is to the ocean, what the pulse is to the heart, what harmony is to music, what heat is to a human body, all this and much more is what tenderness of spirit is to religion. Without tenderness of spirit the most intensely righteous, religious life is like the image of God without His beauty and attractiveness. It is possible to be very religious, and staunch, and persevering in all Christian duties, even to be sanctified, and be a brave defender and preacher of holiness, to be mathematically orthodox, and blameless in outward life, and very zealous in good works, and yet to be greatly lacking in tenderness of spirit, that all-subduing, all melting love, which is the very cream and quintessence of Heaven, and which incessantly streamed out from the eyes and voice of the blessed Jesus. Many religious people seem loaded with good fruits, but the fruit tastes green; it lacks flavor and October mellowness. There is a touch of vinegar in their sanctity. Their very purity has an icy coldness to it. They seem to have a baptism on them, but it is not composed of those sweet spices of cinnamon, and calamus, and cassia, which God told Moses to compound, as a fragrant type of the real sweetness of the Holy Spirit. Their testimonies are straight and definite, but they lack the melting quality. Their prayers are intelligent and strong and pointed, but they lack the heart-piercing pathos of the dying Jesus. The summer heat in them is lacking. They preach eloquently and explain with utmost nicety what is actual and original sin, and what is pardon and purity, but they lack the burning flame, that interior furnace of throbbing love, that sighs and weeps, and breaks down under the shivering heat of all-consuming love. 3. This all-pervading tenderness of spirit is not a novitiate grace. It is not a product of April but of October. It is not the sap that flows up in the grape vine in early spring, but it is the sweet wine, the pure, unfermented juice of the grape, which is crushed out under the mighty squeeze of the winepress. Real tenderness of spirit can never be known except through great suffering. Nothing but the winepress of sorrow can yield it, and it matters not what shape the trial may be, whether an unutterable sorrow for sin, or extreme poverty, or great physical pain, or relentless persecution, or the wear and tear of a thousand daily annoyances, or the agony of unrequited love, or life-long loneliness, or heart-breaking disappointment. These or any other forms of sorrow only constitute the shape of the wine-press, but the result may be the same, and that is the sweetness of heavenly wine from the grapes of crushed, red hearts. There is no saintly character recorded in the Bible or outside of it who did not pass through the wine-press to reach universal tenderness and sweetness of spirit. It is in connection with Job's manifold and strange sufferings that he says, "God had made his heart soft." It is said that the illustrious Jenny Lind never could melt the hearts of her hearers with her inimitable singing, until her own heart had been crushed with sorrow. While we are purified from sin by the blood of Jesus yet the attributes and constitution of our nature must be utterly broken under the manifold cross of suffering, to render us divine-like in our feelings and sympathies. And Paul says the weight of glory that will weigh us down, depends on the afflictions through which we pass to work out that result. We often come across Christians who are bright and clever, and strong, and righteous; in fact a little too bright, and a little too clever, like preternatural brilliance in a black eye, which precedes insanity. There seems so much of self in their strength, and their very righteousness is severe and critical. They have everything to make them saints, except the crushing weight of an unspeakable crucifixion, which would grind them into a supernatural tenderness and limitless charity for others. But if they are of the real elect, God has a winepress prepared for them, through which they will some day pass, which will turn the metallic hardness of their nature into gentle love which Christ always brings forth at the last of the feast. 4. Divine tenderness of spirit has a behavior to it which is superhuman and heavenly. It instinctively avoids wounding the feelings of others by talking on unpleasant things, wrangling in an argumentative way, by referring to painful and mortifying subjects. It carries its point by ceasing to contend, and wins its opponent by seeming to let him have his way. It cannot scold, or scowl, or threaten; it has lost the power of quarreling. It instinctively buries and forgets all bad things. People who live in hot climates bury their dead very soon after death; in like manner tenderness of spirit lives in the torrid zone of God's love, and quickly buries all putrid things out of its sight. No scene in the Bible opens up a greater vista into the tenderness of the spirit of Jesus, than where He stooped and wrote on the ground, as if His modest and loving heart did not want to hear the horrible account of evil. As we gaze on the soul of Jesus at that time, we see infinite politeness, both toward the accused and accusers; not a trace of unkindness, or severity to either party. His whole manner and speech and disposition filled the whole air, as with a very sea of refinement, gentleness and inexpressible sweetness of spirit. This and similar acts of Jesus are like an opening between mountains, through which we look far off on an outspreading silver sea of love, whose every undulation presents a new phase of unspeakable tenderness toward the poor sinner He came to save. Tenderness of spirit makes its home in the bosom of Jesus; and from that holy castle looks out upon all other creatures, good and bad, through the hopeful, pleading medium of the heart that was pierced on the cross. Tenderness of spirit is in divine sympathy with the poor and down-trodden and unfortunate and hated classes of mankind. It feels for the poor Chinaman and the African, or any that are the common butt of worldly scorn. Whenever it hears any of these spoken of in a harsh and bitter way, it feels a dagger pierce its own heart and a tear of sympathy comes to its eye, and a piercing silent prayer ascends from it to that God Who hears the sighing of the prisoner, and the cries of the unfortunate. It feels all things from God's standpoint, and lives but to receive and transmit the spotless sympathies and affections of Jesus. It understand the words of the Holy Ghost, "Be ye tender hearted forgiving one another." Tenderness must be in the very nature, and forgiveness is but the behavior of that nature. All worked in us by the "living Holy Spirit."

106 views · Dec 25th, 2020

COLOSSIANS 3:12-17 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

88 views · Dec 25th, 2020

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The Prayer God Loves to Answer Most God loves to answer the prayer “Show me your glory.” When your soul hungers, when your tank feels empty, when you’re running on fumes, when you open your Bible in the morning and ask for God’s help, a great go-to request is this simple, honest, humble plea: “Father, show me your glory.” God made the world to show and share his glory. He made us in his image to reflect him in the world. But we will not fully reflect him if we haven’t yet stood in awe of him and enjoyed his beauty in our hearts. And our hearts cannot look on him in awe if we haven’t yet seen him with the eyes of our souls. Changed lives (and a changed world) begin with seeing glory. “Beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). “God, show me your glory.” History hangs on him answering that request. And one great evidence of his work in a human soul is feeling, and then expressing, that longing. Two Memorable Models It’s not only a wise request to make for ourselves, but also for others. The apostle Paul prayed for Christians that “the eyes of your understanding [would be] enlightened” so they might know “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and . . . the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18–19). Instead of starting with your wife’s convenience, what if you prayed, “Show her your glory”? Along with your neighbor’s health, “God, show him your glory.” Even before your children’s safety, “Father, show them your glory.” But don’t miss the opportunity to begin with yourself and pray often for God to show you his majesty. When we make this sacred and powerful request today, we do well to consider the two biblical figures who asked the question most memorably. MOSES’S AUDACITY First is Moses. Before leading God’s people up to the Promised Land, Moses wants to know more about God. Will he handle his stiff-necked, unworthy people with grace, or is it just a matter of time before he breaks forth in righteous anger against his people’s sin? Who is God most deeply? So, Moses asks, “Please show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). God responds, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Exodus 33:19) God will show his glory to Moses by putting his goodness on display. Something stronger than wrath, and higher than mere power, drives the heart of God with his chosen people. Most deeply, he is a God of grace and mercy. The next morning God hides Moses in a cleft of the rock on the top of the mountain and draws near. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:5–7) Moses has his glimpse into the heart of God. He bows in worship. He asks God to draw near to his people, pardon their iniquity, and make them his own (Exodus 34:8–9). PHILIP’S FOLLY God meets Moses’s audacious request with favor, but some fifteen centuries later, one of the Twelve receives a different answer to a very similar plea. Philip said to [Jesus], “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” (John 14:8–10) Why does God honor Moses’s plea, while Jesus meets Philip’s with mild rebuke? Because now the glory of God is standing fully embodied in Philip’s presence, looking him in the eyes as he makes his misguided request. Does he not yet realize he already has seen more than Moses as he looks on the face of God himself and asks to see the Father? Jesus’s gracious rebuke comes not because Philip had a sinful longing. It was good that he wanted to see the Father. It was admirable that, like Moses, he asked to see the glory. But the kind correction he needed, standing in the very presence of God himself in the person of his Son, was that his search to see the very glory of God had come to an end when he came to Jesus. We Have Seen His Glory God had said to Moses, “You cannot see my face” (Exodus 33:20). But now Philip was seeing God. He was looking on the glory. As John 1:14–18 reveals, what glory God hid from Moses, he now shows us in the person of his Son. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:14, 16–18) Jesus has made the Father known. Period. The person of Christ so truly and fully reveals God that the Gospel writer can say — with no need to nuance, condition, or qualify — “he has made him known.” God’s Glory in Jesus’s Face Jesus is “the [visible] image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). Do you want to see God? Do you long to look upon his face? Where will we see “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God”? Answer: “in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Which means, the lowliest Christian already has seen more of God’s glory than Moses saw on the mountaintop. Soon we will see Jesus with our physical eyes. “When he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). But for now, we look on his beauty with the eyes of our hearts. One day God will remake this world, and in that new heavens and new earth, there will be “no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Revelation 21:22). And get this: “the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23). Lamp, singular. Jesus, the Lamb, is the singular lamp from which streams the glory of God that gives light to the world to come. Jesus is not one lamp among many. He is the singular source of the light of the glory that illumines the world to come. Where We Turn Next God loves to answer the prayer “Show me your glory,” and he doesn’t leave us in the dark as to where we should turn our soul’s gaze to have our prayer answered. Once we pray this audacious, wise, and necessary plea, we’re not left clueless as to where to focus next. When we ask God today to see his glory, he may answer our requests in countless ways. He may show us some attribute of his character we’ve missed or minimized. He may open our eyes to his smile behind a frowning providence. He may meet some temporal need in a way that warms our soul and fills us with gratitude. He may give a relational breakthrough that was so long-standing that reconciliation seemed humanly impossible. But the fullest response to our plea “Show me your glory” is to turn the eyes of our soul to Jesus. “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). And our knowing the fullness of his answer doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask. On the contrary, it inspires us to ask all the more.

105 views · Dec 25th, 2020

TENDERNESS OF SPIRIT It is much easier to convince a human soul of its natural impurity than to convince it of its natural hardness, and utter destitution of heavenly and divine tenderness of Spirit. The very essence of the Gospel is a divinely imparted tenderness and sweetness of Spirit. Without this, even the strongest religious life is a misrepresentation of the true Christ-life. Even among intensely religious people, nothing is more rare to find than a continuous, all-pervading spirit of tenderness. 1. Tenderness of spirit is preeminently divine. It is not the delicacy and soft sensibility of a mere gentle make-up of body and mind, which some persons naturally possess in a high degree. Neither is it the tenderness of mind and manner, which results from high culture and beautiful social training, though these are very valuable in life. But it is a supernatural work throughout the whole spiritual being. It is an exquisite interior fountain of God's own sweetness and tenderness of nature, opened up in the inner spirit to such a degree that it completely inundates the soul. It overflows all the mental faculties, saturating with its sweet waters the manners, expressions, words, and tones of the voice. Tenderness of spirit mellows the will, softening the judgments, melting the affections, refining the manners, and moulding the whole being after the image of Him Who was infinitely meek and lowly in heart. It cannot be borrowed, or put on for special occasions. It is emphatically supernatural, and must flow out incessantly from the inner fountains of the life, and resembles having every atom of our being soaked in sweet oil. 2. Deep tenderness of spirit is the very soul and marrow of the Christ-life. Without it, the most vigorous life of righteousness, and zeal, and good works, and rigid purity of morals, and missionary reform, and profuse liberality, and ascetic self-denial, and the most blameless conduct, utterly fail to measure up to the Christ-life unveiled in the New Testament. It is impossible to see the infinite excellence and necessity of real heavenly tenderness of spirit unless it is specially revealed to us by the Holy Ghost. It takes a direct revelation from God to enable us to discern what is the very marrow and fatness of Christ's character, the inexpressible tenderness and gentleness of His nature which is always the heart inside of the heart, the soul within the soul, of the Christ-life. What specific gravity is to the planet, what beauty is to the rainbow, what perfume is to the rose, what marrow is to the bone, what rhythm is to poetry, what sublimity is to the ocean, what the pulse is to the heart, what harmony is to music, what heat is to a human body, all this and much more is what tenderness of spirit is to religion. Without tenderness of spirit the most intensely righteous, religious life is like the image of God without His beauty and attractiveness. It is possible to be very religious, and staunch, and persevering in all Christian duties, even to be sanctified, and be a brave defender and preacher of holiness, to be mathematically orthodox, and blameless in outward life, and very zealous in good works, and yet to be greatly lacking in tenderness of spirit, that all-subduing, all melting love, which is the very cream and quintessence of Heaven, and which incessantly streamed out from the eyes and voice of the blessed Jesus. Many religious people seem loaded with good fruits, but the fruit tastes green; it lacks flavor and October mellowness. There is a touch of vinegar in their sanctity. Their very purity has an icy coldness to it. They seem to have a baptism on them, but it is not composed of those sweet spices of cinnamon, and calamus, and cassia, which God told Moses to compound, as a fragrant type of the real sweetness of the Holy Spirit. Their testimonies are straight and definite, but they lack the melting quality. Their prayers are intelligent and strong and pointed, but they lack the heart-piercing pathos of the dying Jesus. The summer heat in them is lacking. They preach eloquently and explain with utmost nicety what is actual and original sin, and what is pardon and purity, but they lack the burning flame, that interior furnace of throbbing love, that sighs and weeps, and breaks down under the shivering heat of all-consuming love. 3. This all-pervading tenderness of spirit is not a novitiate grace. It is not a product of April but of October. It is not the sap that flows up in the grape vine in early spring, but it is the sweet wine, the pure, unfermented juice of the grape, which is crushed out under the mighty squeeze of the winepress. Real tenderness of spirit can never be known except through great suffering. Nothing but the winepress of sorrow can yield it, and it matters not what shape the trial may be, whether an unutterable sorrow for sin, or extreme poverty, or great physical pain, or relentless persecution, or the wear and tear of a thousand daily annoyances, or the agony of unrequited love, or life-long loneliness, or heart-breaking disappointment. These or any other forms of sorrow only constitute the shape of the wine-press, but the result may be the same, and that is the sweetness of heavenly wine from the grapes of crushed, red hearts. There is no saintly character recorded in the Bible or outside of it who did not pass through the wine-press to reach universal tenderness and sweetness of spirit. It is in connection with Job's manifold and strange sufferings that he says, "God had made his heart soft." It is said that the illustrious Jenny Lind never could melt the hearts of her hearers with her inimitable singing, until her own heart had been crushed with sorrow. While we are purified from sin by the blood of Jesus yet the attributes and constitution of our nature must be utterly broken under the manifold cross of suffering, to render us divine-like in our feelings and sympathies. And Paul says the weight of glory that will weigh us down, depends on the afflictions through which we pass to work out that result. We often come across Christians who are bright and clever, and strong, and righteous; in fact a little too bright, and a little too clever, like preternatural brilliance in a black eye, which precedes insanity. There seems so much of self in their strength, and their very righteousness is severe and critical. They have everything to make them saints, except the crushing weight of an unspeakable crucifixion, which would grind them into a supernatural tenderness and limitless charity for others. But if they are of the real elect, God has a winepress prepared for them, through which they will some day pass, which will turn the metallic hardness of their nature into gentle love which Christ always brings forth at the last of the feast. 4. Divine tenderness of spirit has a behavior to it which is superhuman and heavenly. It instinctively avoids wounding the feelings of others by talking on unpleasant things, wrangling in an argumentative way, by referring to painful and mortifying subjects. It carries its point by ceasing to contend, and wins its opponent by seeming to let him have his way. It cannot scold, or scowl, or threaten; it has lost the power of quarreling. It instinctively buries and forgets all bad things. People who live in hot climates bury their dead very soon after death; in like manner tenderness of spirit lives in the torrid zone of God's love, and quickly buries all putrid things out of its sight. No scene in the Bible opens up a greater vista into the tenderness of the spirit of Jesus, than where He stooped and wrote on the ground, as if His modest and loving heart did not want to hear the horrible account of evil. As we gaze on the soul of Jesus at that time, we see infinite politeness, both toward the accused and accusers; not a trace of unkindness, or severity to either party. His whole manner and speech and disposition filled the whole air, as with a very sea of refinement, gentleness and inexpressible sweetness of spirit. This and similar acts of Jesus are like an opening between mountains, through which we look far off on an outspreading silver sea of love, whose every undulation presents a new phase of unspeakable tenderness toward the poor sinner He came to save. Tenderness of spirit makes its home in the bosom of Jesus; and from that holy castle looks out upon all other creatures, good and bad, through the hopeful, pleading medium of the heart that was pierced on the cross. Tenderness of spirit is in divine sympathy with the poor and down-trodden and unfortunate and hated classes of mankind. It feels for the poor Chinaman and the African, or any that are the common butt of worldly scorn. Whenever it hears any of these spoken of in a harsh and bitter way, it feels a dagger pierce its own heart and a tear of sympathy comes to its eye, and a piercing silent prayer ascends from it to that God Who hears the sighing of the prisoner, and the cries of the unfortunate. It feels all things from God's standpoint, and lives but to receive and transmit the spotless sympathies and affections of Jesus. It understand the words of the Holy Ghost, "Be ye tender hearted forgiving one another." Tenderness must be in the very nature, and forgiveness is but the behavior of that nature. All worked in us by the "living Holy Spirit."

106 views · Dec 25th, 2020

COLOSSIANS 3:12-17 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

88 views · Dec 25th, 2020