List Of Contents | Contents of The Heart-Cry of Jesus, by Byron J. Rees
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associated. How He bore with the dull and almost stupid disciples!
How He bears with us in our worse and more inexcusable
blockheadedness! And, if He is so charitable and patient with our
faults, how ought we to be with others? There comes a time in our
lives when we are simply astonished that people pay any attention
to us at all. We are so conscious of our short-comings, and so
keenly aware of our mistakes, that it seems to us that surely no
one is quite so blundering and fallible as we are. How easy it is
then to bear with one another!


We ought to work humility out into our lives. Jesus lived an
humble life--a life of the truest and deepest humility. Not a
humility conscious of itself and ever gazing at itself through the
fancied eyes of others, but a humility that was real and


The writer has in mind a man of deep and earnest piety, a scholar,
a successful preacher and author. With all his learning and
scholarship he is as humble as a child, and one can not look at
him without feeling, "There is a Christ-man." Often as the pen
flies quickly across the page, or as the lips are moving in the
delivery of a sermon, or as an altar service is in progress, the
slight, thin figure of that man flashes to the brain, and the eye
grows dim and the heart-prayer rises, "Lord, make me an humble
man." There are so many great men, eloquent men, learned men,
dignified men, but so few humble men. God, increase their number
in the land!


Another thing in Jesus' life which sanctified people ought to
learn to imitate was His activity. His days, and even His nights,
frequently, were filled with service. After long days of teaching
and preaching, He would seek out some quiet nook and spend the
still and lonely hours of night in prayer to the Father.


Men who come into close touch and communion with Christ are
impelled irresistibly to earnest and ceaseless service. They see
needs which no one else seems to see. They hear the plaintive
voices of dying men, and the tearful cries of despondent women,
and the helpless moans of unloved children. They have visions
which others never understand, and dream of things with which
their dearest friends can not sympathize. They have given their
all that they may know Christ, and He has rewarded them by
disclosing His heart to them. They know why His face is tearful,
and His voice is filled with sadness. They know why He is "a man
of sorrows and acquainted with grief." They are baptized into a
baptism of love for souls, and compassion for the sorrowing,
similar to that in which He is plunged. It is for this reason that
men hear the voice of God calling them away from the hearth-stone
out into the desolate earth.


St. Telemachus heard the voice of God, and straightway "followed
the sphere of westward wheeling stars," and journeyed on to Rome
muttering, "The call of God! The call of God!" Not on a foolish
errand did he go, for, after his visit to the Eternal City,
gladiatorial combats ceased.


Brethren, be true to Christ. Let not even those who love you best
draw you from a steadfast purpose to spend your life and all for
the Galilean. Flee ease and luxury and comfort, and impose hard
tasks upon yourselves. Your friends may seek to hinder you with
cries of, "Rest! Tarry!" but like Christian in Bunyan's dream stop
your ears and go quickly on your journey.


Some day your little service will be complete. Your sun will set.
The west will be filled with beauty, and the birds will twitter
softly in the trees as you trudge the last mile into the City; and
as the shades deepen, and the air grows chill, the Master Himself
will meet you, take you to His heart, wipe the tear from your
cheek, the dust of the road from your brow, and the sorrow from
your heart, and lead you to the court, where with those whom you
love, and those who love you, Eternity will be spent in the light
of His pure and shining face.



It has pleased God to place in our hands two weapons by which we
are to overcome Satan--"the blood of the Lamb, and the word of our
testimony." It was the narrated experiences of the people of God,
and the modest declarations of the saving power of Christ, which
convicted me of my need and led me to seek the grace of God. Very
briefly, therefore, I will sketch God's dealings with my own soul.


I was born September 30th, 1877, at Westfield, Indiana. My parents
were both ministers in the Society of Friends, and I can not
remember When I first began to pray, for my mother taught me to go
to God with everything, even when a very small child. When I was
five and a half years of age we moved to Walnut Ridge, Indiana,
where there was a Friends' meeting of more than ordinary size and
activity. It was here that my conversion took place. I remember
the event as distinctly as if it were yesterday.


I always prayed at the family altar, and that was an institution
which was never neglected for anything in our home, and I had
never omitted my evening devotions; but one summer day while
playing by myself under the trees in the front yard, a great fear
came upon me lest I had never had a change of heart. Though less
than six years old, I had sat in the "gallery" behind my father as
he preached too often to be ignorant of the necessity of the new
birth. It was a perfect day, but conviction settled upon me more
and more deeply, and a dark shadow seemed to take the brightness
from everything. Unable to endure the heartache any longer, I ran
into the house and sat down with my father and mother, waiting in
silence for some time. Finally I asked them if I had "ever been
converted," told them I "wanted to be," and immediately we knelt
in prayer. How I did weep, and how badly I felt! I can see the
back of that little sewing-rocker now swimming in my tears. (I
wonder where that rocking-chair is now! The last I knew it was in
California, having left us at an auction--an occasion not
unfamiliar to most of preacher-families.) They told me to pray,
and I prayed with all my heart. If ever there was a little boy who
felt that he was a great sinner, I was the boy. I remembered all
the things I ever did that I knew were wrong. My boyish
wickednesses, things that seem a rather absurd lot now in the
light of the sins of the average lad of six that I know to-day,
caused me great pain. Soon peace came, and what happiness! When I
went out doors again the very birds twittered with increased
gladness, and the sky seemed a far deeper blue, and the grass and
flowers rejoiced with me in my new-found experience.


Would God I had retained my simple faith in Jesus! But it was not
long before I wandered away from Christ, and the life of
prayerfulness and obedience. For years my religious experience was
most unsatisfactory. I was under frequent convictions, and knew
that the Spirit was striving with me persistently, but I hardened
my heart and would not yield completely to God. As I look back at
those years of restlessness and rebellion, I recall with gratitude
the forbearance and long-suffering of a now sainted mother. How
she carried her proud, stubborn boy on her heart, and how she held
onto God's skirt and tugged away until He answered.


During the winter of 1891-1892 I became almost wretched on account
of conviction. The Holy Ghost fairly dogged my steps and whispered
in my ear at every turn. There were many things which He used to
convict me of--my unfaithfulness and aridity of soul and life. My
junior year at Oak Grove Seminary is distinctly remembered as a
time of continuous conviction and unrest. Now and then I would
find peace and comfort for a time, but they remained only for a
time. I kept up secret devotions very carefully. I never missed my
daily prayers, but my life was inconsistent and God-dishonoring.
The lives of real Christians rebuked me, and the mockery of my
empty profession haunted me like a spectre.


In the summer of 1892 I began to seek God earnestly, and was not
long in finding pardon and reclamation. No sooner was I at peace
with God than I began to hunger for holiness. O, how my heart
longed for full salvation! I saw much about me that was an
indication that there was an experience enjoyed by some of which I
was not possessed. My mother's calm, victorious life, and her
constant unwavering Christian faith, convicted me. I was proud and
selfish, and hypersensitive and ambitious. She was restful,
contented, loving, meek. How frequently I gave way to some
temptation, and how mortified I was to be so humiliated by the


Many of the members of my father's church at Portsmouth had an
experience of freedom and liberty which I craved. In July my
father, my mother, and I spent a couple of days at Douglas camp-
meeting. I remember so well every incident of the trip--my deep
unrest as we entered the grounds, my aversion to certain
"boisterous persons" who said "Bless the Lord" so frequently, my
disrelish for food, my dislike of taking a front seat in the
audience. Two old sisters sat facing the preacher one evening.
Their faces were full of joy, and they seemed to overflow with joy
and spiritual exhilaration. I inwardly said, "I wish I had an
experience like they seem to have." I made up my mind I would
seek. I can not recall a word of the sermon. I do not think I
heard it at the time--my mind was so full of an inward struggle.


When the call was made, I went forward and consecrated myself and
all my hopes and desires and longings and all to God. How in the
world I had ever acquired so low a desire I do not know, but my
chief ambition had been to be a professor of science in some
college. But the Lord put me through a series of questions:

"Will you be my property henceforth?"

"Yes, Lord."

"Are you willing that people should call you a 'holiness crank'?"

"Yes, Lord."

"Supposing I should ask you to shout, would you?"

"I would do my best at it."

"Will you give up all your plans and be a one-horse preacher of
holiness if I want you to?"

Ah, here was a rub, indeed. Preaching was precisely what I did not
relish. Anything rather than that. I had visions of small
salaries, and country churches, and long, cold rides. I had seen
the life of the preacher ever since I could remember. I debated
the question. Then I answered, "Yes." The audience was singing:

    "Here I give my all to Thee--
      Friends and time and earthly store.
    Soul and body then to be
      Wholly Thine forever more."

They told us seekers to raise our hands if we meant it. I meant
it, so up went a hand. Instantly faith got an answer, and the
witness came, and I knew that I was sanctified wholly.


But I was a dull scholar, and had to learn many lessons after my
Jordan-crossing. Owing to my failure in definite testimony, my
experience suffered partial eclipse, and my last year at Oak Grove
was more or less dark and unhappy. I was much helped, however, by
the reading of holiness books sent me by a sanctified music-
teacher, who had interest enough in me to write me real Fenelon
letters and keep me supplied with holiness reading. During the
summer of 1893 I was more fully established in the grace, and in
the autumn began to preach.


I have frequently erred in judgment, and made most stupid
blunders, but the perpetual spring experience of full salvation
has been my greatest comfort and blessing. The abiding Christ
gives zest and spice to life, and makes the ministry of holiness
delightful and joyous.


God has blessed my ministry, and given me success. It is all of
Him. What a wonderful God we have! He never leaves us. I have
called upon Him when preaching, and He has always answered. I have
cried to Him in hours of loneliness and discouragement, and He has
replied like a flash. I stood by a cot and watched a saintly
mother slip away to the "undiscovered bourn," and He did not fail
me. Hallelujah! He can not only sanctify, but He can preserve,
sustain and keep. Whatever may come to us, Christ will not forsake
us. As we look down the vista of years to come, and remember that
life is swift and serious, we can only lean hard on the Son of God
and push on, confident that His promise, "Lo, I am with you
alway," can not fail. Praise the Lord!


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