“Fear not! I am
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.
Growth in Christliness of life.
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.