List Of Contents | Contents of The Heart-Cry of Jesus, by Byron J. Rees
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concerning Socinianism"; does "not like the old idea of the
Atonement"; in fact, is in a state of fusion so far as his belief
and faith are concerned. Men do not give their life's blood for
matters in which they have only a half-faith. But when one is
convinced that men are dying in the dark and that their salvation
depends in a measure on one's activity and fidelity, then one is
hot with zeal and fire from hat to heel and set to working for God
and eternal souls.


This is the explanation of the zeal of men who are "burning for
Jesus." This is the reason men so frequently wear out in short
order after they are sanctified. They are dipped in fellowship
with Christ's sorrow, and beholding Him weeping over modern
Capernaums and Chorazins their hearts are melted at the sight, and
they speed away to preach the gospel of the lovely Son of God.


No wonder success comes to the sanctified man. Indwelt by the
Shekinah, filled witll the Holy Ghost, his whole being energized
with power and force, "whatsoever he doeth prospers."




The ninety-first Psalm is a painstaking description of the
blessings and benefits bestowed upon the man that "dwelleth in the
secret place of the Most High." Without doubt the entire chapter
should be taken as a photograph of the sanctified man. Among other
things, this fortunate and favored person is told that he is to
have angelic guards and ministers who will protect him and keep
him "in all his ways."


The sanctified are in a peculiar sense God's own, and all the
resources of heaven are pledged to their protection. All the fire
companies of the firmament will turn out to extinguish a fire if
it kindle on God's saints. If need be, Jehovah will empty His balm
jars but the wounds of warriors shall be healed. Angels are
detailed for our protection: heavenly visitants hover near us lest
the fires of affliction destroy us.


The moment the soul is sanctified, it begins to understand Christ
in a new and delightful sense. It is given unto it to not only sit
at His feet in the temple, but to groan with Him in Grethsemane.
It understands Him, and, in suffering, is "as He is in this


It was a dark, dark hour for the Master. He had been praying a
long while, perhaps for several hours. The place was one familiar
to Him. Many a night after a long, wearisome day of teaching in
the temple, He had labored painfully up the slope of the Mount of
Olives in search of the quiet of "the Garden." Here the Savior had
His oratory. Sometimes the disciples were with Him; at other times
He was alone.


But this night was a night of crisis. The old olive trees, in all
their centuries of life, had never witnessed so intense a struggle
as that which took place on the night of His passion. Alive to all
the pathos of the hour, awake to all the gravity of the situation,
sensitive to the slightest breath, He prays to "the Father" with
that desperation in which the flight of time and the doings of the
world are all forgotten.


There was much about the hour which made it a painful one. There
was, first of all, an uncertainty concerning the will of "the
Father." With a great cry the lonely Christ fell to the ground:
"If it be thy will let this cup pass, nevertheless" let thy will,
whatsoever it is, "be done." Evidently He was not at that time
really sure what the plan of "the Father" was in regard to Him.


Uncertainty is a fearful test, when it comes to the soul of a man
of great and energetic purpose. So long as there is no doubt about
the course to be taken, so long as the plan is plainly revealed,
it is easy for a courageous man to advance. But to such a one
uncertainty is like a shock to the body, palsying the form and
changing a strong arm into a nerveless, useless stick of bone and
tissue. A cup may be very bitter, salt with the brine of tears and
hot with the fire of vitriol, and yet, if all the ingredients in
that cup are known to him who drinks it, grief has not reached its
superlative. Socrates' duty was plain to him. Hemlock was in the
cup, and he knew it. But the liquor with which God fills the
tumblers of His people is brewed from a thousand elements.


To trust in the dark, to believe in a rayless midnight, to cling
to a thread well-nigh invisible, to say "Amen" to God when one has
no idea of the greatness of the meaning of "His will," that is the
supremest test of loyalty.


The night picket stationed far out from the camp has need of much
greater courage than the soldier in battle ranks rushing on toward
the enemy. The man at the lonely picket post, cloaked in darkness,
is guarding against uncertainty. He can not tell at once whether a
dark object is a dangerous spy or a browsing Brindle. Sounds must
be noted and sorted lest the enemy steal up to the slumbering army
and destroy it. The snapping of twigs, the low whistle of a bird,
the groan of the wind, the murmur of a waterfall must all be
listened to with care.


It is suspense and a nameless dread and fear that sap many a mind
and heart. Moments of breathless expectancy of evil tidings are
like years in the life, bringing ashes to the hair, lines to the
cheek and listlessness to the eye.


"Be sure you are right, then go ahead," said Tennesseean Crockett;
but supposing that one can not "be sure" of anything except the
love of God, supposing that one looks out through the tangled
limbs of the olive trees of a Gethsemane to a sky studded with
pitiless stars, supposing that the future is obscure and the
present black as Styx, supposing that even the face of the Father
Himself is palled and curtained--then must one be content to trust
and only trust.


There was another cause for pain in "the Garden." The three
disciples, whom He had chosen to accompany Him in His dark and
lonely vigil, slept as He prayed. We can bring ourselves to
overlook the negligence and apathy of Nicodemus and Lazarus and
Simon the leper and Zaccheus and the crowds who had merely heard
Him preach. We are willing perhaps to excuse eight of the twelve
for their drowsiness--perchance they did not apprehend the full
meaning of the hour to the Master. But there were three disciples
to whom Christ had ever laid bare His heart. With Him they stood
in the death chamber in the house of Jairus. To them it was given
to behold "the vision splendid" on the mount of transfiguration,
and these alone Jesus chose to enter into the fellowship of his
Garden sufferings.


These men did not nod and sleep ignorant of Christ's need of them.
With that tender confidence with which a truly great and colossal
man sometimes honors his friends, He had said, "My soul is
exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." He had warned them with the
words, "Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation," and yet
they slept!


It must have been a keen disappointment to Jesus to find His most
trusted friends so indifferent to His needs. Is there anything in
life sadder than the discovery that our own affairs are really
only our own affairs? We had thought that they were our friends',
as well as our own. We had supposed that our griefs were theirs
also, but when Grethsemane comes into our lives, and we writhe and
twist among the gnarled and knotted roots, when we turn with
blanched, tear-sprinkled faces to our chosen James and trusted
Peter and beloved John to gasp in their ears the story of our
agony, we hear only the heavy breathing of sound sleepers.


If there is a sharper pang than this, man's heart has not found
it. We are by nature social beings. We crave fellowship and love
and sympathy, and it is so hard for us to realize that our
choicest friends are really "asleep" to our heart cries and heart
interests. The cold, harsh fact can be believed but slowly. Even
the Lord seemed to find it hard to convince His own heart that the
John who had leaned at supper upon His breast, was resting while
his Master was sweating blood. He prayed awhile and then, as if to
see whether it was indeed true that no one watched to help Him,
"He came and found them sleeping." Sad, cruel disappointment, and
yet is it so rare that any one of us has not felt its sadness and


But while men forgot the Nazarene and His troubles, Grod did not
forget. The Father was not negligent nor careless. "There appeared
an angel unto him from heaven strengthening him." The night was
not too dark for the angel to find Jesus, and the night of our
troubles is never too thick and black for the angels to find us.
The paths of "the Garden" may be grown up in weeds, the rough,
scabeous limbs of the trees may hang close to the ground, the
driving clouds may hide the moon and stars, but some celestial
messenger will search us out and find us.


God has many angels, and they come in many forms. Sometimes the
solitary sufferer sees only a tiny flower, but love is in the
flower, and he knows he is not utterly forgotten. It may be only
an hand clasp, but warmth and sympathy are in it, and behold it is
straightway "an angel strengthening him." Perchance it is a letter
with a foreign postmark, but in it is nectar and ambrosia for a
drooping spirit. Or the angel may come enveloped in a text of
Scripture or flying on the wings of the music of some old hymn,
such as:

    "Fear not! I am with thee.
      Oh, be not dismayed,
    For I am thy God!
      I will still give thee aid."

In whatever role the angel may come, God sent him, and his mission
is one of blessing and encouragement.


We can well afford to suffer in the darkness, alone and
uncomforted, if angels will but visit us. John Bunyan can well be
content in Bedford gaol, if God but puts a dream in his head and
heart that will last in the memories and characters of men, when
the sun is a burned-out cinder and the stars are dying ash heaps.
We can well be satisfied to have sorrows unutterable and griefs
inexpressible, if heavenly visitants will but come to us.




One may have a clean, pure heart and yet be far from possessing a
matured Christian character. A man may love God with all his
heart, and yet not be wise in his selection of the things that
will always please God. Frequently the preacher may come down from
the pulpit having made a horrible botch of his attempt to serve
God in the ministry. He may feel the fact keenly, and be even more
conscious of it than any of his hearers. And yet that preacher may
have a heart as white as Gabriel's wing and a soul full of love to
God and man. But as time goes on, and he lingers repeatedly at the
feet of Christ in prayer, God will show him how he can serve Him
more effectively and without the objectionable features.


The fact that purity is not maturity has given rise to
misapprehension on the part of many people. Indeed, many of God's
dear children have been misjudged and condemned because they did
not have in addition to pure hearts sound and solid judgment. As
soon as a man professes the blessing of perfect love, the sharp-
eyed critics of the neighborhood look out for "perfect sense," and
"perfect manners," and "perfect life," and when the subject of
observation fails to meet the expectation of the aforesaid
critics, there is a great hue and cry that "Sister A. or Brother
B. has not got what is professed," when God knows they HAVE got
JUST what they profess--namely, perfect love, full salvation. The
Lord has never guaranteed a perfect head to any man that breathes.
We will make mistakes as long as we hang around this old world,
and it is injustice to exalted spirits who have this precious
grace, and an insult to the God who gave the grace, to condemn
sanctification because those who profess it are not angels, but
simply men and women cleansed and filled with the Spirit.


But while God makes allowance for our weakness and our frailty, we
ought not to expect Him to indulge us in avoidable and needless
errors. We made a mistake. Very well. We knew no better than to
make it. But now that we do know better, we have no business
repeating it. And right along here comes a great expanse of
territory which holiness people need to cover. Here there is
infinite room for advancement and progress.


Thomas A'Kempis wrote a wonderful book on "The Imitation of
Christ." The failure in so many quarters in becoming Christlike is
due to the false method pursued. First, get a Christlike heart,
and then let that heart govern your life and actions. "Work OUT
your own salvation," said Paul, "for it is God that worketh IN
you." Precisely! God puts a holy heart into a man's breast, and
his business from thence on is to bring his life into line with
the heart. The old life-habits may cling to him for a time, but it
is the business of the sanctified soul to free itself from all
that Jesus would not do were He on earth. Imitation of Christ
comes after sanctification, and not before. You simply can not
imitate Jesus if you have a reptile heart in you. If you have a
filthy mind you will talk "smut" and think "smut" in spite of
yourself. You may hide your bad self from the world, but your
wife, or your husband, or your family, those who are acquainted
with you intimately, know that you are base and coarse.


A glutton may stand and look at the thin, austere, ascetic face of
Dante and say within himself, "I will be a Dante," but all the
world knows that in a few hours he will be gourmandizing as
swinishly as before. And men look at the beautiful Jesus held up
in Unitarian pulpits and resolve to act like Him, and go right on
being selfish, and proud, and deceitful, and devilish. There must
be a moral miracle, there must be a spiritual upsetting and
overturning, before a carnal heart can begin to imitate the pure
and spotless Son of God.


After we are sanctified, we ought to imitate Christ in kindness.
How kind He was! Where did He abuse anyone? He preached the truth,
but He never maligned any of His auditors.


It is the "little things" that make up the mosaic of life. Our
friends know us, not by the speeches we deliver, nor the sermons
we preach, nor the books we write, but by the tones of our voices,
and the letters we pen, and the words we use in daily life.
Introduce kindness into a discordant family and how Eden-like the
home becomes! Why are we not as considerate and polite to those
who are all the world to us as we are to strangers and neighbors?
Christlike kindness would fill our hearts with thoughtfulness for
those about us. It would bid us carry a torch to many a darkened
life, and incite us to share the burden pressing upon many an
aching shoulder.


Christ had great charity for the faults of those with whom He was

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