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tihrary of Che trheolojicd ^emmarjp 


The Estate of the 
Rev. John B. Wledinger 

BV 4501 .T75 1906 
Torrey, R. a. 1856-1928 
How to succeed in the 
Christian life 



Superintendent of the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago 

HoTW to Succeed in tKo CKristian Life. 

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TT O 111 V'lER 2 W^ 

How to Succeeaxin 
The Christian Li 


Juthor of" How to Bring Men to Christ,'' "What 
the Bible Teaches" " alks to Men" etc., etc. 

New York Chicago Toronto 

Fleming H. Revell Company 

London and Edinburgh 

Copyright, 1906, by 

New York: 158 Fifth Avenue 
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London: 21 Paternoster Square 
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Dedicated to 

the many thousands in many 

lands who have professed 

Christ in our meetings 



Beginning Right . 



The Open Confession of Christ 



Assurance of Salvation 



Receiving the Holy Spirit . 



Looking Unto Jesus 



Church Membership . 



Bible Study 



Difficulties in the Bible . 



Prayer .... 



Working for Christ . 



Foreign Missions . , 



Companions .... 




. 103 


Persecution .... 



Guidance .... 

. 113> 


I HAVE for years felt the need of a book to put 
in the hands of those beginning the Christian 
life that would tell them just how to make a 
complete success of this new life upon which 
they were entering. I could find no such book, 
so I have been driven to write one. This book 
aims to tell the young convert just what he most 
needs to know. I hope that pastors and evangel- 
ists and other Christian workers may find it a 
good book to put in the hands of young con- 
verts. I hope that it may also prove a helpful 
book to many who have long been Christians 
but have not made that headway in the Christian 
life that they long for. 

How to Succeed in the 
Christian Life 


f There is nothing more important in the Chris- 
tian hfe than beginning right. If we begin right 
we can go on right. If we begin wrong the 
whole Hfe that follows is likely to be wrong. If 
any one who reads these pages has begun wrong, 
it is a very simple matter to begin over again 
and begin right. What the right beginning in 
the Christian Hfe is we are told in John 1:12, 
" But as many as received Him, to them gave 
He power to become the sons of God, even to 
them that beHeve on His name." The right 
way to begin the Christian life is by receiving 
Jesus Christ. To any one who receives Him, 
He at once gives power to become a child of 
God. If the reader of this book should be the 
wickedest man on earth and should at this mo- 
ment receive Jesus Christ, that very instant he 
would become a child of God. God says so in 
the most unqualified way in the verse quoted 
above. No one can become a child of God in 

12 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

any other way. No man, no matter how carefully 
he has been reared, no matter how well he has been 
sheltered from the vices and evils of this world, 
is a child of God until he receives Jesus Christ. 
We are •' sons of God through faith in Christ 
Jesus " (Gal. 3 : 26, r. v.), and in no other way. 

What does it mean to receive Jesus Christ? 
It means to take Christ to be to yourself all 
that God offers Him to be to everybody. Jesus 
Christ is God's gift. " For God so loved the 
world that He gave His only begotten Son that 
whosoever believeth in Him should not perish 
but have everlasting Ufe " (John 3 : i6). Some 
accept this wondrous gift of God. Every one 
who does accept this gift becomes a child of 
God. Many others refuse this wondrous gift of 
God, and every one who refuses this gift of God 
perishes. He is condemned already. " He that 
believeth on the Son is not condemned, but he 
that believeth not is condemned already because 
he hath not believed in the name of the only be- 
gotten Son of God " (John 3 : 18). 

What does God offer His Son to be to us ? 

I. First of all, God offers Jesus to us to be our 
sin-bearer. We have all sinned. There is not a 
man or woman or a boy or a girl who has not 
sinned (Romans 3 : 22, 23). If any of us say 
that we have not sinned we are deceiving our- 
selves and giving the lie to God (i John i : 8, 10). 

Beginning Right 13 

Now we must each of us bear our own sin or 
some one else must bear it in our place. If we 
were to bear our own sins, it would mean we 
must be banished forever from the presence of 
God, for God is holy. " God is light and in Him 
is no darkness at all" (i John i : 5). But God 
Himself has provided another to bear our sins 
in our place so that we should not need to bear 
them ourselves. This sin-bearer is God's own 
Son, Jesus Christ, " For He hath made Him to 
be sin for us who knew no sin that we might 
be made the righteousness of God in Him " 
(2 Cor. 5 : 21). When Jesus Christ died upon 
the cross of Calvary He redeemed us from the 
curse of the law by being made a curse in our 
stead (Gal. 3 : 13). To receive Christ then is to 
believe this testimony of God about His Son, to 
believe that Jesus Christ did bear our sins in His 
own body on the cross (i Pet. 2: 24), and to 
trust God to forgive all our sins because Jesus 
Christ has borne them in our place. " All we 
like sheep have gone astray; we have turned 
every one to his own way; and the Lord hath 
laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Is. 53: 6). 
Our own good works, past, present or future have 
nothing to do with the forgiveness of our sins. 
Our sins are forgiven, not because of any good 
works that we do, they are forgiven because of 
the atoning work of Christ upon the cross of 

14 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

Calvary in our place. If we rest in this atoning 
work we shall do good works, but our good 
works will be the outcome of our being 
saved and the outcome of our beheving on 
Christ as our sin-bearer. Our good works will 
not be the ground of our salvation, but the re- 
sult of our salvation, and the proof of it. We 
must be very careful not to mix in our good 
works at all as the ground of salvation. We 
are not forgiven because of Christ's death and 
our good works, we are forgiven solely and en- 
tirely because of Christ's death. To see this 
clearly is the right beginning of the true Chris- 
tian life. 

2. God offers Jesus to us as our deliverer from 
the power of sin. Jesus not only died, He rose 
again. To-day He is a living Saviour, He has 
all power in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28 : 18). 
He has power to keep the weakest sinner from 
falling (Jude 24). He is able to save not only 
from the uttermost but " to the uttermost " all 
that come unto the Father through Him. 
(Wherefore He is able to save to the utter- 
most them that draw near unto God through 
Him, seeing that He ever liveth to make inter- 
cession for them. — Heb. 7 : 25, r. v.) " If the 
Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be 
free indeed" (John 8: 36). To receive Jesus is 
to believe this that God tells us in His Word 

Beginning Right 15 

about Him, to believe that He did rise from the 
dead, to believe that He does now live, to be- 
lieve that He has power to keep us from falling, 
to believe that He has power to keep us from 
the power of sin day by day, and just trust Him 
to do it. 

This is the secret of daily victory over sin. 
If we try to fight sin in our own strength, 
we are bound to fail. If we just look up to the 
risen Christ to keep us every day and every hour, 
He will keep us. Through the crucified Christ 
we get deliverance from the guilt of sin, our 
sins are all blotted out, we are free from all con- 
demnation ; but it is through the risen Christ 
that we get daily victory over the power of sin. 
Some receive Christ as a sin-bearer and thus find 
pardon, but do not get beyond that, and so their 
life is one of daily failure. Others receive Him 
as their risen Saviour also, and thus enter into 
an experience of victory over sin. To begin 
right we must take Him not only as our sin- 
bearer, and thus find pardon ; but we must also 
take Him as our risen Saviour, our Deliverer 
from the power of sin, our Keeper, and thus find 
daily victory over sin. 

3. But God offers Jesus to us, not only as our 
sm-bearer and our Deliverer from the power of si?t, 
but He also offers Him to us as our Lord and 
King. We read in Acts 2 : 36, " Let all the 

i6 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath 
made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, 
both Lord and Christ." Lord means Divine 
Master, and Christ means anointed King. To 
receive Jesus is to take Him as our Divine 
Master, as the One to whom we yield the absolute 
confidence of our intellects, the One whose word 
we beheve absolutely, the One whom we will 
believe though many of the wisest of men may 
question or deny the truth of His teachings ; and 
as our King to whom we gladly yield the ab- 
solute control of our lives, so that the question 
from this time on is never going to be, what 
would I like to do or what do others tell me to 
do, or what do others do, but the whole question 


right beginning involves an unconditional sur- 
render to the Lordship and Kingship of Jesus. 

The failure to realize that Jesus is Lord and 
King, as well as Saviour, has led to many a false 
start in the Christian life. We begin with Him 
as our Saviour, as our sin-bearer and our De- 
liverer from the power of sin, but we must not 
end with Him merely as Saviour, we must know 
Him as Lord and King. There is nothing more 
important in a right beginning of the Christian 
life than an unconditional surrender, both of the 
thoughts and the conduct to Jesus. Say from 
your heart and say it again and again, " All for 

Beginning Right 17 

Jesus." Many fail because they shrink back 
from this entire surrender. They wish to serve 
Jesus with half their heart, and part of them- 
selves and part of their possessions. To hold 
back anything from Jesus means a wretched life 
of stumbling and failure. 

The life of entire surrender is a joyous life all 
along the way. If you have never done it before, 
go alone with God to-day, get down on your 
knees and say, " All for Jesus," and mean it. 
Say it very earnestly ; say it from the bottom of 
your heart. Stay there until you realize what it 
means and what you are doing. It is a wondrous 
step forward when one really takes it. If you 
have taken it already, take it again, take it often. 
It always has fresh meaning and brings fresh 
blessedness. In this absolute surrender is found 
the key to the truth. Doubts rapidly disappear 
for one who surrenders all (John 7 : 17). In this 
absolute surrender is found the secret of power 
in prayer (i John 3: 22). In this absolute sur- 
render is found the supreme condition of receiv- 
ing the Holy Ghost (Acts 5 : 32). 

Taking Christ as your Lord and King involves 
obedience to His will as far as you know it in 
each smallest detail of life. There are those who 
tell us that they have taken Christ as their Lord 
and King who at the same time are disobeying 
Him daily in business, in domestic hfe, in social 

l8 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

life and in personal conduct. Such persons are 
deceiving themselves. You have not taken Jesus 
as your Lord and King if you are not striving to 
obey Him in everything each day. He Himself 
says, " Why call ye Me * Lord, Lord ! ' and do 
not the things that I say ? " (Luke 6 : 46). 

To sum it all up, the right way to begin the 
Christian life is to accept Jesus Christ as your 
sin-bearer and to trust God to forgive your sins 
because Jesus Christ died in your place; to 
accept Him as your risen Saviour who ever lives 
to make intercession for you, and who has all 
power to keep you, and to trust Him to keep 
you from day to day ; and to accept Him as your 
Lord and King to whom you surrender the 
absolute control of your thoughts and of your 
hfe. This is the right beginning, the only right 
beginning of the Christian Hfe, If you have 
made this beginning, all that follows will be com- 
paratively easy. If you have not made this 
beginning, make it now. 



Having begun the Christian Ufe right by 
taking the proper attitude towards Christ in a 
private transaction between Himself and your- 
self, the next step is an open confession of the 
relationship that now exists between yourself 
and Jesus Christ. Jesus says in Matt. lo: 32, 
" Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before 
men, him will I confess also before My Father 
which is in heaven." He demands a public con- 
fession. He demands it for your own sake. 
This is the path of blessing. Many attempt to 
be disciples of Jesus and not let the world know 
it. No one has ever succeeded in that attempt. 
To be a secret disciple means to be no disciple 
at all. If one really has received Christ he can- 
not keep it to himself. " For out of the abun- 
dance of the heart the mouth speaketh " (Matt. 
1 2 : 34). So important is the public confession 
of Christ that Paul puts it first in his statement 
of the conditions of salvation. He says, " If thou 
shalt confess with thy rnoiith the Lord Jesus and 
shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised 
Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For 

20 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

with the heart man believeth unto righteousness ; 
and with the mouth confession is made unto 
salvation " (Rom. lo : 9, 10). The hfe of con- 
fession is the life of full salvation. Indeed, the 
life of confession is the hfe of the only real 
salvation. When we confess Christ before men 
down here, He confesses us before the Father in 
heaven and the Father gives us the Holy Spirit 
as the seal of our salvation. 

It is not enough that we confess Christ just 
once, as, for example, when we are confirmed, or 
when we unite with the church, or when we 
come forward in a revival meeting. We should 
confess Christ constantly. We should not be 
ashamed of our Lord and King. We should let 
people know that we are on His side. In the 
home, in the church, at our work, and at our 
play, we should let others know where we stand. 
Of course, we should not parade our Christianity 
or our piety, but we should leave no one in 
doubt whether we belong to Christ. We should 
let it be seen that we glory in Him as our Lord 
and King. 

The failure to confess Christ is one of the most 
frequent causes of backsliding. Christians get 
into new relationships where they are not known 
as Christians and where they are tempted to con- 
ceal the fact ; they yield to the temptation and 
they soon find themselves drifting. The more 

The Open Confession of Christ 21 

you make of Jesus Christ, the more He will 
make of you. It will save you from many a 
temptation if the fact is clearly known that you 
are one who acknowledges Christ as Lord in all 



If one is to have the fullest measure of joy and 
power in Christian service, he must know that his 
sins are forgiven, that he is a child of God, and 
that he has eternal life. It is the believer's 
privilege to know that he has eternal life. John 
says in i John 5 : 13, r. v., " These things have 
I written unto you, that ye may kiiow that ye 
have eternal life, even unto you that believe on 
the name of the Son of God." John wrote this 
first epistle for the express purpose that any one 
who believes on the name of the Son of God 
might know that he has eternal life. 

There are those who tell us that no one can 
know that he has eternal life until he is dead and 
has been before the judgment seat of God, but God 
Himself tells us that we may know. To deny the 
possibility of the believer's knowing that he has 
eternal life is to say that the First Epistle of John 
was written in vain, and it is to insult the Holy 
Spirit who is its real author. Again Paul tells 
us in Acts 13: 39, R. v., " By Him (that is by 
Christ) every one that believeth is justified from 
all things." So every one that believeth in Jesus 

Assurance of Salvation 23 

may know that he is justified from all things. 
He may know it because the Word of God says 
so. Again John tells us in John i: 12, r. v., 
" But as many as received Him (that is Jesus 
Christ) to them gave He the right to become 
children of God, even to them that believe on 
His name." Here is a definite and unmistakable 
declaration that every one who receives Jesus 
becomes a child of God. Therefore every be- 
liever in Jesus may know that he is a child of 
God. He may know it on the surest of all 
grounds, /. e., because the Word of God asserts 
that he is a child of God. 

But how may any individual know that he has 
eternal life ? He may know it on the very best 
ground of knowledge, that is through the testi- 
mony of God Himself as given in the Bible. 
The testimony of Scripture is the testimony of 
God. What the Scriptures say is absolutely 
sure. What the Scriptures say God says. Now 
in John 3 : 36 the Scriptures say, " He that be- 
lieveth on the Son hath everlasting life." Any 
one of us may know whether we believe on the 
Son or not. Whether we have that real faith in 
Christ that leads us to receive Him. If we have 
this faith in Christ we have God's own written 
testimony that we have eternal life, that our sins 
are forgiven, that we are the children of God. 
We may feel forgiven, or we may not feel for- 

24 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

given, but that does not matter. It is not a ques- 
tion of what we feel but of what God says. God's 
Word is ahvays to be believed. Our own feel- 
ings are oftentimes to be doubted. There are 
many who are led to doubt their sins are for- 
given, to doubt that they have everlasting life, to 
doubt that they are saved, because they do not 
feel forgiven, or do not feel that they have ever- 
lasting life, or do not feel that they are saved. 
Because you do not feel it is no reason why you 
should doubt it. 

Suppose that you were sentenced to impris- 
onment and that your friends secured a par- 
don for you. The legal document announcing 
your pardon is brought to you. You read it 
and know you are pardoned because the legal 
document says so, but the news is so good 
and so sudden that you are dazed by it. You 
do not realize that you are pardoned. Some one 
comes to you and says, " Are you pardoned ? " 
What would you reply ? You would say, " Yes, 
I am pardoned." Then he asks, " Do you feel 
pardoned ? " You reply, " No, I do not feel 
pardoned. It is so sudden, it is so wonderful, I 
cannot realize it." Then he says to you, " But 
how can you know that you are pardoned if you 
do not feel it?" You would hold out the docu- 
ment and you would say, " This says so." The 
time would come, after you had read the docu- 

Assurance of Salvation 25 

ment over and over again and believed it, when 
you would not only know you were pardoned 
because the document said so but you would 
feel it. Now the Bible is God's authoritative 
document declaring that every one that believeth 
in Jesus is justified; declaring that every one 
that believeth on the Son hath everlasting hfe; 
declaring that every one who receives Jesus is a 
child of God. If any one asks you if your sins 
are all forgiven, reply, " Yes, I know they are 
because God says so." If they ask you if you 
know that you are a child of God, reply, " Yes, 
I know I am a child of God because God says 
so." If they ask you if you have everlasting 
life, reply, " Yes, I know I have everlasting life 
because God says so. God says, ' He that be- 
lieveth on the Son hath everlasting life.' I know 
I believe on the Son, and therefore I know I 
have eternal hfe — because God says so." You 
may not feel it yet but if you will keep medi- 
tating upon God's statement and believing what 
God says, the time will come when you will 
feel it. 

For one who believes on the Son of God to 
doubt that he has eternal life is for him to make 
God a liar. " He that believeth on the Son of 
God hath the witness in him. He that believeth 
not God, hath made Him a liar because he hath 
not believed in the witness that God hath borne 

26 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

concerning His Son and the witness is this, that 
God gave unto us eternal Hfe, and this Hfe is in 
His Son. He that hath the Son hath the life : 
he that hath not the Son of God hath not the 
Hfe" (i John 5: 10-12, r. v.). Any one who 
does not believe God's testimony that He has 
given unto us eternal life and that this life is in 
His Son and that he that hath the Son hath the 
life, makes God a Har. 

It is sometimes said " it is presumption for any 
one to say that he knows he is saved, or to say 
that he knows that he has eternal life." But is it 
presumption to believe God? Is it not rather 
presumption not to believe God, to make God a 
liar ? When you who believe on the Son of God 
and yet doubt that you have eternal life, you make 
God a liar. When Jesus said to the woman who 
was a sinner, " Thy sins are forgiven " (Luke 
7 : 48), was it presumption for her to go out and 
say, " I know my sins are all forgiven " ? Would 
it not have been presumption for her to have 
doubted for a moment that her sins were all for- 
given ? Jesus had said that they were forgiven. 
For her to doubt it would have been for her to give 
the lie to Jesus. Is it then any more presump- 
tion for the believer to-day to say, " My sins are 
all forgiven, I have eternal life," when God says 
in His written testimony to every one that be- 
lieveth, " You are justified from all things " (Acts 

Assurance of Salvation 27 

13:39). "You have eternal life" (John 3:36; 
I John 5:13)? 

Be very sure first of all that you really do believe 
on the name of the Son of God ; that you really 
have received Jesus. If you are sure of this 
then never doubt for a moment that your sins 
are all forgiven, never doubt for a moment that 
you are a child of God, never doubt for a mo- 
ment that you have everlasting life. If Satan 
comes and whispers, " Your sins are not for- 
given," point Satan to the Word of God and say, 
" God says my sins are forgiven and I know 
they are." If Satan whispers, •' Well perhaps 
you don't believe on Him," then say, " Well if I 
never did before I will now." And then go out 
rejoicing, knowing that your sins are forgiven, 
knowing that you are a child of God, knowing 
that you have everlasting life. 

There are doubtless many who say they know 
they have eternal life who really do not believe 
on the name of the Son of God, who have not 
really received Jesus. This is not true assurance. 
It has no sure foundation in the Word of God 
who cannot lie. If we wish to get assurance of 
salvation we must first get saved. The reason 
why many have not the assurance that they are 
saved is because they are not saved. They 
ought not to have assurance. What they need 
first is salvation. But if you have received Jesus 

28 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

in the way described in the first chapter, you are 
SAVED, you are a child of God, your sins are 
forgiven, Beheve it, know it. Rejoice in it. 

Having settled it, let it remain settled. Never 
doubt it. You may make mistakes, you may 
stumble, you may fall, but even if you do, if you 
have really received Jesus, know that your sins 
are forgiven and rise from your fall and go for- 
ward in the glad assurance that there is nothing 
between you and God. 



When the Apostle Paul came to Ephesus, he 
found a little group of twelve disciples of Christ. 
There was something about these twelve disci- 
ples that struck Paul unfavourably. We are not 
told what it was. It may be that he did not find 
in them that overflowing joyfulness that one learns 
to expect in all Christians who have really en- 
tered into the fullness of blessing that there is for 
them in Christ. It may be that Paul was troub- 
led at the fact that there were only twelve of 
them, thinking that if these twelve were what 
they ought to be, there would certainly have been 
more than twelve of them by this time. What- 
ever it may have been that impressed Paul un- 
favourably, he went right to the root of the dif- 
ficulty at once by putting to them the question, 
" Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye be- 
lieved? " (Acts 19 : 2, R. v.). It came out at once 
that they had not 'received the Holy Ghost, that 
in fact they did not know that the Holy Ghost 
had been given. Then Paul told them that the 
Holy Ghost had been given, and also showed 
them just what they must do to receive the Holy 

30 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

Ghost then and there, and before that gathering 
was over the Holy Ghost came upon them. 
From that day on there was a different state of 
affairs in Ephesus. A great revival sprang up at 
once so that the whole city was shaken, " So 
mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed " 
(Acts 19 : 20). Paul's question to these young 
disciples in Ephesus should be put to young 
disciples everywhere, " Have ye received the 
Holy Ghost ? " In receiving the Holy Spirit is 
the great secret of joyfulness in our own hearts, 
of victory over sin, of power in prayer, and of 
effective service. 

Every one who has truly received Jesus must 
have the Holy Spirit dwelling in him in some 
sense ; but in many believers, though the Holy 
Spirit dwells in them, He dwells way back in 
some hidden sanctuary of their being, back of 
consciousness. It is something quite different, 
something far better than this, to receive the 
Holy Spirit in the sense that Paul meant in his 
question. To receive the Holy Spirit in such a 
sense that one knows experimentally that he has 
received the Holy Spirit, to receive the Holy 
Spirit in such a sense that we are conscious of 
the joy with which He fills our hearts different 
from any joy that we have ever known in the 
world ; to receive the Holy Spirit in such a sense 
that He rules our life and produces within us in 

Receiving the Holy Spirit 31 

ever increasing measure the fruit of the Spirit, 
love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, good- 
ness, faith, meekness, temperance ; to receive the 
Holy Spirit in such a sense that we are conscious 
of His drawing our hearts out in prayer in a way 
that is not of ourselves ; to receive the Holy 
Spirit in such a sense that we are conscious of 
His help when we witness for Christ, when we 
speak to others individually and try to lead them 
to accept Christ, or when we teach a Sunday- 
school class, or speak in public, or do any other 
work for the Master. Have you received the 
Holy Spirit ? If you have not, let me tell you 
how you may. 

1. First of all in order to receive the Holy 
Spirit, one must be resting in the death of Christ 
on the cross for us as the sole and all-sufficient 
ground upon which God pardons all our sins and 
forgives us. 

2. In order to receive the Holy Spirit we 
must put away every known sin. We should go 
to our heavenly Father and ask Him to search us 
through and through and bring to light anything 
in our life, our outward life or our inward life, 
that is wrong in His sight, and if He does bring 
anything to light that is displeasing to Him, we 
should put it away, no matter how dear it is to 
us. There must be a complete renunciation of 
all sin in order to receive the Holy Spirit. 

32 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

3. In the third place, in order to receive the 
Holy Spirit, there must be an open confession of 
Christ before the world. The Holy Spirit is not 
given to those who are trying to be disciples in 
secret, but to those who obey Christ and pubhcly 
confess Him before the world. 

4. In the fourth place, in order to receive the 
Holy Spirit, there must be an absolute surrender 
of our lives to God. You must go to Him and 
say, " Heavenly Father, here I am. Thou hast 
bought me with a price. I am Thy property. I 
renounce all claim to do my own will, all 
claim to govern my own life, all claim to have 
my own way. I give myself up unreservedly 
to Thee — all I am and all I have. Send 
me where Thou wilt, use me as Thou wilt, do 
with me what Thou wilt — I am Thine." If we 
hold anything back from God, no matter how 
small it may seem, that spoils it all. But if we 
surrender all to God, then God will give all that 
He has to us. There are some who shrink from 
this absolute surrender to God, but absolute sur- 
render to God is simply absolute surrender to in- 
finite love. Surrender to the Father, to the 
Father whose love is not only wiser than any 
earthly father's, but more tender than any earthly 

5. In order to receive the Holy Spirit there 
should be definite asking for the Holy Spirit. 

Receiving the Holy Spirit 33 

Our Lord Jesus says in Luke u : 13, "If ye 
then, being evil, know how to give good gifts 
unto your children : how much more shall your 
heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them 
that ask Him?" Just ask God to give you the 
Holy Spirit and expect Him to do it, because He 
says He will. 

6, Last of all, in order to receive the Holy 
Spirit, there must be faith, simply taking God at 
His Word. No matter how positive any promise 
of God's Word may be, we enjoy it personally 
only when we believe. Our Lord Jesus says, 
" All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, 
believe that ye have received them, and ye shall 
have them " (Mark 1 1 : 24, r. v.). When you 
pray for the Holy Spirit you have prayed for 
something according to God's will and therefore 
you may know that your prayer is heard and 
that you have what you asked of Him (i John 
5 : 14, 15), You may feel no different, but do not 
look at your feelings but at God's promise. 
Believe the prayer is heard, believe that God has 
given you the Holy Spirit and you will after- 
wards have in actual experience what you have 
received in simple faith on the bare promise of 
God's Word. 

It is well to go often alone and kneel down 
and look up to the Holy Spirit and put into His 
hands anew the entire control of your Hfe. Ask 

34 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

Him to take the control of your thoughts, the 
control of your imagination, the control of your 
affections, the control of your desires, the control 
of your ambitions, the control of your choices, 
the control of your purposes, the control of your 
words, the control of your actions, the control of 
everything, and just expect Him to do it. The 
whole secret of victory in the Christian life is 
letting the Holy Spirit who dwells within you, 
have undisputed right of way in the entire con- 
duct of your hfe. 


If we are to run with patience the race that is 
set before us, we must ahvays keep looking unto 
Jesus (Heb. 12: 1-3). One of the simplest and 
yet one of the mightiest secrets of abiding joy 
and victory is to never lose sight of Jesus. 

I. First of all we must keep looking at Jesus 
as the ground of our acceptance before God. 
Over and over again Satan will make an attempt 
to discourage us by bringing up our sins and 
failures and thus try to convince us that we are 
not children of God, or not saved. If he suc- 
ceeds in getting us to keep looking at and brood- 
ing over our sins, he will soon get us discouraged, 
and discouragement means failure. But if we 
will keep looking at what God looks at, the death 
of Jesus Christ in our place that completely 
atones for every sin that we ever committed, we 
will never be discouraged because of the great- 
ness of our sins. We shall see that while our 
sins are great, very great, that they have all been 
atoned for. Every time Satan brings up one of 
our sins, we shall see that Jesus Christ has re- 
deemed us from its curse by being made a curse 

36 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

in our place (Gal. 3 : 13). We shall see that 
while in ourselves we are full of unrighteousness, 
nevertheless in Christ we are made the righteous- 
ness of God, because Christ was made to be sin 
in our place (2 Cor. 5 : 21). We will see that 
every sin that Satan taunts us about has been 
borne and settled forever ( i Pet. 2 : 24 ; Is. 
53: 6). We shall always be able to sing, 

" Jesus paid my debt, 
All the debt I owe ; 
Sin had left a crimson stain. 
He washed it white as snow." 

If you are this moment troubled about any sin 
that you have ever committed, either in the past 
or in the present, just look at Jesus on the cross ; 
believe what God tells you about Him, that this 
sin which troubles you was laid upon Him 
(Is. 53: 6). Thank God that the sin is all 
settled ; be full of gratitude to Jesus who bore 
it in your place and trouble about it no more. 
It is an act of base ingratitude to God to brood 
over sins that He in His infinite love has can- 
celled. Keep looking at Christ on the cross and 
walk always in the sunlight of God's favour. 
This favour of God has been purchased for you 
at great cost. Gratitude demands that you 
should always believe in it and walk in the light 
of it. 

Looking Unto Jesus 37 

2. In the second place, we must keep look- 
ing at Jesus as our risen Saviotir, ivho has all 
pozver in heaven and on earth and is able to keep 
7is every day and every hour. Are you tempted 
to do some wrong at this moment ? If you are, 
remember that Jesus rose from the dead, re- 
member that at this moment He is living at the 
right hand of God in the glory ; remember that 
He has all power in heaven and on earth, and 
that, therefore. He can give you victory right 
now. Believe what God tells you in His Word 
that Jesus has power to save you this moment 
" to the uttermost " (Heb. 7 : 25). Believe that He 
has power to give you victory over this sin that 
now besets you. Ask Him to give you victory, 
expect Him to do it. In this way by looking 
unto the risen Christ for victory you may have 
victory over sin every day, every hour, every 
moment. " Remember Jesus Christ risen from 
the dead " (2 Tim. 2: 8, r. v.). 

God has called every one of us to a victorious 
life, and the secret of this victorious life is always 
looking to the risen Christ for victory. Through 
looking to Christ crucified we obtain pardon and 
enjoy peace. Through looking to the risen 
Christ we obtain present victory over the power 
of sin. If you have lost sight of the risen Christ 
and have yielded to temptation, confess your sin 
and know that it is forgiven because God says so 

38 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

(i John I : 9) and look to Jesus, the risen One, 
again to give you victory now and keep looking 
to Him. 

3. In the third place, we must keep looking 
to Jesus as the One whom zve should follow in 
our daily co7iduct. Our Lord Jesus says to us, 
His disciples to-day, as He said to His early dis- 
ciples, " Follow Me." The whole secret of true 
Christian conduct can be summed up in these two 
words « Follow Me." " He that saith he abideth 
in Him ought himself so to walk even as He 
walked" (i John 2: 6). One of the commonest 
causes of failure in Christian life is found in the 
attempt to follow some good man, whom we 
greatly admire. No man and no woman, no 
matter how good, can be safely followed. If we 
follow any man or woman, we are bound to go 
astray. There never has been but one abso- 
lutely perfect Man upon this earth — the Man 
Christ Jesus. If we try to follow any other man 
we are more sure to imitate his faults than his 
excellencies. Look at Jesus and Jesus only as 
your Guide. 

If at any time you are in any perplexity as to 
what to do, simply ask the question, What would 
Jesus do ? Ask God by His Holy Spirit to show 
you what Jesus v/ould do. Study your Bible to 
find out what Jesus did do and follow Jesus. 
Even though no one else seems to be following 

Looking Unto Jesus 39 

Jesus, be sure that you follow Him, Do not 
spend your time or thought in criticising others 
because they do not follow Jesus. See that you 
follow Him yourself. When you are wasting 
your time criticising others for not following 
Jesus, Jesus is always saying to you, " What is 
that to thee; follow thou Me" (John 21 : 22). 
The question for you is not what following Jesus 
may involve for other people. The question is 
what does following Jesus mean for you ? 

This is the really simple life, the hfe of simply 
following Jesus. Many perplexing questions will 
come to you, but the most perplexing question 
will soon become as clear as day if you determine 
with all your heart to follow Jesus in everything. 
Satan will always be ready to whisper to you, 
" Such and such a good man does it," but all 
you need to do is to answer, " It matters not to 
me what this or that man may do or not do. 
The only question to me is. What would Jesus 
do ? " There is wonderful freedom in this life 
of simply following Jesus. This path is straight 
and plain. But the path of the one who tries to 
shape his conduct by observing the conduct of 
others is full of twists and turns and pitfalls. 
Keep looking at Jesus. Follow on trustingly 
where He leads. This is the path of the just 
which shineth more and more unto the perfect 
day (Prov. 4 : 18). He is the Light of the World, 

4© How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

any one who follows Him shall not walk in dark- 
ness, but shall have the light of life all along the 
way (John 8 : 12). 



No young Christian and no old Christian can 
have real success in the Christian life without the 
fellowship of other believers. The church is a 
divine institution, built by Jesus Christ Himself. 
It is the one institution that abides. Other 
institutions come and go ; they do their work for 
their day and disappear, but the church will con- 
tinue to the end. " The gates of hell shall not 
prevail against it" (Matt. i6: i8). The church 
is made up of men and women, imperfect men 
and women, and consequently is an imperfect 
institution, but none the less it is of divine origin 
and God loves it, and every believer should 
realize that he belongs to it and should openly 
take his place in it and bear his responsibilities 
regarding it. 

The true church consists of all true believers, 
all who are united to Jesus Christ by a living 
faith in Himself. In its outward organization 
at the present time, it is divided into numberless 
sects and local congregations, but in spite of 
these divisions the true church is one. It has 
one Lord, Jesus Christ. It has one faith, faith 

42 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

in Him as Saviour, Divine Lord and only King ; 
one baptism, the baptism in the one Spirit into 
the one body (Eph. 4:4, 5; i Cor. 12: 13). 
But each individual Christian needs the fellow- 
ship of individual fellow believers. The outward 
expression of this fellowship is in membership in 
some organized body of believers. If we hold 
aloof from all organized churches, hoping thus 
to have a broader fellowship with all believers 
belonging to all the churches, we deceive our- 
selves. We will miss the helpfulness that comes 
from intimate union with some local congre- 
gation. I have known many well-meaning per- 
sons who have held aloof from membership in 
any specific organization, and I have never known 
a person who has done this, whose own spiritual 
life has not suffered by it. On the day of Pente- 
cost the three thousand who were converted were 
at once baptized and were added to the church 
(Acts 2:41, 47), and "They continued stead- 
fastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, 
and in breaking of bread and in prayers." Their 
example is the one to follow. If you have really 
received Jesus Christ, hunt up as soon as pos- 
sible some company of others who have received 
Jesus Christ and unite yourself with them. 

In many communities there may be no choice 
of churches, for there is only one. In other com- 
munities one will be faced with the question, 

Church Membership 43 

" With what body of believers shall I unite ? " 
Do not waste your time looking for a perfect 
church. There is no perfect church. If you 
wait until you find a perfect church before you 
unite with any, you will unite with none, and 
thus you will belong to a church in which you 
are the only member and that is the most im- 
perfect church of all. I would rather belong to 
the most imperfect Christian church I ever knew 
than not to belong to any church at all. The 
local churches in Paul's day were very imperfect 
institutions. Let one read the epistles to the 
Corinthians and see how imperfect was the 
church in Corinth, see how much there was 
that was evil in it, and yet Paul never thought 
of advising any believer in Corinth to get out of 
this imperfect church. He did tell them to come 
out of heathenism, to come out from fellowship 
with infidels (2 Cor. 6: 14-18), but not a word 
on coming out of the imperfect church in Cor- 
inth. He did tell the church in Corinth to sepa- 
rate from their membership certain persons whose 
hves were wrong (i Cor. 5:11, 12), but he did 
not tell the individual members of the church in 
Corinth to get out of the church because these 
persons had not yet been separated from their 

As you cannot find a perfect church, find the 
best church you can. Unite with a church where 

44 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

they believe in the Bible and where they preach 
the Bible. Avoid the churches where words are 
spoken open or veiled that have a tendency to 
undermine your faith in the Bible as a reliable 
revelation from God Himself, the all-sufficient 
rule of faith and practice. Unite with a church 
where there is a spirit of prayer, where the prayer- 
meetings are well kept up. Unite with a church 
that has a real active interest in the salvation of 
the lost, where young Christians are looked after 
and helped, where minister and people have a 
love for the poor and outcast, a church that 
regards its mission in this world to be the same 
as the mission of Christ, " to seek and to save 
the lost." , As to denominational differences, 
other things being equal, unite with that de- 
nomination whose ideas of doctrine and of gov- 
ernment and of the ordinances are most closely 
akin to your own. But it is better to unite 
with a live church of some other denomination 
than to unite with a dead church of your own. 
We live in a day when denominational differences 
are becoming ever less and less, and oftentimes 
they are of no practical consequence whatever ; 
and one will often feel more at home in a church 
of some other denomination than in any acces- 
sible church of his own denomination. The 
things that divide the denominations are insig- 

Church Membership 45 

nificant compared with the great fundamental 
truths and purposes and faith that unite them. 

If you cannot find the church that agrees 
with the pattern set forth above, find the church 
that comes nearest to it. Go into that church 
and by prayer and by work try to bring that 
church as nearly as you can to the pattern of 
what you think a church of Christ ought to be. 
But do not waste your strength in criticism 
against either church or minister. Seek for what 
is good in the church and in the minister and do 
your best to strengthen it. Hold aloof firmly, 
though unobtrusively, from what is wrong and 
seek to correct it. Do not be discouraged if 
you cannot correct it in a day or a week or a 
month or a year. Patient love and prayer and 
effort will tell in time. Drawing off by yourself 
and snarling and grumbling will do no good. 
They will simply make you and the truths for 
which you stand repulsive. 


There is nothing more important for the de- 
velopment of the spiritual life of the Christian 
than regular, systematic Bible study. It is as 
true in the spiritual life as it is in the physical 
life that health depends upon what we eat and 
how much we eat. The soul's proper food is 
found in one book, the Bible. Of course, a 
true minister of the gospel will feed us on the 
Word of God, but that is not enough. He feeds 
us but one or two days in the week and we need 
to be fed every day. Furthermore, it will not 
do to depend upon being fed by others. We 
must learn to feed ourselves. If we study the 
Bible for ourselves as we ought to study it, we 
shall be in a large measure independent of 
human teachers. Even if we are so unfortunate 
as to have for our minister a man who is himself 
ignorant of the truth of God we shall still be 
safe from harm. 

We live in a day in which false doctrine 

abounds on every hand and the only Christian 

who is safe from being led into error is the one 

who studies his Bible for himself daily. The 


Bible Study 47 

Apostle Paul warned the elders of the church in 
Ephesus that the time was soon coming when 
grievous wolves should enter in among them not 
sparing the flock and when of their own selves 
men should arise speaking perverse things to 
draw away the disciples after them, but he told 
them how to be safe even in such perilous times 
as these. He said, " I commend you to God and 
to the Word of His grace, which is able to build 
you up and to give you an inheritance among 
them which are sanctified." Through medita- 
tion on the Word of God's grace they would be 
safe even in the midst of abounding error on the 
part of the leaders in the church (Acts 20: 
29-32). Writing later to the Bishop of the 
church in Ephesus Paul said, " But evil men and 
impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving 
and being deceived (2 Tim. 3 : 1 3, R. v.) but he 
goes on to tell Bishop Timothy how he and his 
fellow believers could be safe even in such times of 
increasing peril as w^ere coming. That way was 
through the study of the Holy Scriptures, which 
are able to make wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 
3: 14, 15). "All Scripture," he adds, "is 
given by inspiration of God and is profitable for 
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruc- 
tion in righteousness that the man of God may 
be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good 
works." That is to say, through the study of 

48 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

the Bible one will be sound in doctrine, will be 
led to see his sins and put them away, will find 
discipline in the righteous life and attain unto 
complete equipment for all good works. Our 
spiritual health, our growth, our strength, our 
victory over sin, our soundness in doctrine, our 
joy and peace in Christ, our cleansing from 
inward and outward sin, our fitness for service, 
all depend upon the study of the Word of God. 
The one who neglects his Bible is bound to 
make a failure of the Christian life. The one 
who studies his Bible in the right spirit and by a 
true method is bound to make a success of the 
Christian life. 

This brings us face to face with the question, 
" What is the right way to study the Bible ? " 

I. First of all, we should study it daily 
(Acts 17: 11). This is of prime importance. 
No matter how good the methods of Bible study 
that one follows may be, no matter how much 
time one may put into Bible study now and then, 
the best results can only be secured when one 
makes it a matter of principle never to let a 
single day go by without earnest Bible study. 
This is the only safe course. Any day that is 
allowed to pass without faithful Bible study is a 
day thrown open to the advent into our hearts 
and lives of error or of sin. The writer has 
been a Christian for more than a quarter of a 

Bible Study 49 

century and yet to-day he would not dare to 
allow even a single day to pass over his head 
without listening to the voice of God as it speaks 
to him through the pages of His Book. It is at 
this point that many fall away. They grow 
careless and let a day pass, or even several days 
pass, without going alone with God and letting 
Him speak to them through His Word. Mr. 
Moody once wisely said, " In prayer we talk to 
God. In Bible study, God talks to us, and we 
had better let God do most of the talking." 

A regular time should be set apart each day 
for the study of the Bible. I do not think it is 
well as a rule to say that we shall study so many 
chapters in a day, for that leads to undue haste 
and skimming and thoughtlessness, but it is well 
to set apart a certain length of time each day for 
Bible study. Some can give more time to Bible 
study than others, but no one ought to give less 
than fifteen minutes a day. I set the time so low 
in order that no one may be discouraged at the 
outset. If a young Christian should set out to 
give an hour or two hours a day to Bible study, 
there is a strong probability that he would not 
keep to the resolution and he might become dis- 
couraged. Yet I know of many very busy people 
who have given the first hour of every day for 
years to Bible study and some who have given 
even two hours a day". The late Earl Cairns, 

50 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

Lord Chancellor of England, was one of the 
busiest men of his day, but Lady Cairns told 
me a few months ago that no matter how late 
he reached home at night he always arose 
at the same early hour for prayer and Bible 
study. She said, " We would sometimes get 
home from Parliament at two o'clock in the 
morning, but Lord Cairns would always arise 
at the same early hour to pray and study the 
Bible." Lord Cairns is reported as saying, 
" If I have had any success in life, I attribute 
it to the habit of giving the first two hours of 
each day to Bible study and prayer." 

It is important that one choose the right time 
for this study. Wherever it is possible, the best 
time for this study is immediately after arising in 
the morning. The worst time of all is the last 
thing at night. Of course, it is well to give a 
little while just before we retire to Bible reading, 
in order that God's voice may be the last to 
which we listen, but the bulk of our Bible study 
should be done at an hour when our minds are 
clearest and strongest. Whatever time is set 
apart for Bible study should be kept sacredly for 
that purpose. 

2. We should study the Bible systematically. 
Much time is frittered away in random study of 
the Bible. The same amount of time put into 
systematic study would yield far larger results. 

Bible Study 51 

Have a definite place where you are studying 
and have a definite plan of study. A good way 
for a young Christian to begin the study of the 
Bible is to read the Gospel of John. When you 
have read it through once, begin and read it again 
until you have gone over the Gospel five times. 
Then read the Gospel of Luke five times in the 
same way ; then read the Acts of the Apostles 
five times, then i Thessalonians five times, then 
I John five times, then Romans five times, then 
Ephesians five times. 

By this time you will be ready to take up a 
more thorough method of Bible study. A good 
method is to begin at Genesis and read the Bible 
through chapter by chapter. Read each chapter 
through several times and then answer the fol- 
lowing questions on the chapter : 

(i) What is the principal subject of the chap- 
ter ? (State the principal contents of the chapter 
in a single phrase or sentence.) 

(2) What is the truth most clearly taught and 
most emphasized in the chapter ? 

(3) What is the best lesson? 

(4) What is the best verse ? 

(5) Who are the principal people mentioned ? 

(6) What does the chapter teach about Jesus 
Christ? Go through the entire Bible in this 

Another and more thorough method of Bible 

52 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

chapter study, which cannot be applied to every 
chapter in the Bible, but which will yield excel- 
lent results when applied to some of the more 
important chapters of the Bible, is as follows : 

(i) Read the chapter for to-day's study five 
times, reading it aloud at least once. Each new 
reading will bring out some new point. 

(2) Divide the chapter into its natural divi- 
sions and find headings for each division that 
describes in the most striking way the contents 
of that division. For example, suppose the chap- 
ter studied is i John 5. You might divide it in 
this way : First division, verses 1-3, The Believ- 
er's Noble Parentage. Second division, verses 
4, 5, The Believer's Glorious Victory. Third 
division, verses 6-10, The Believer's Sure Ground 
of Faith. Fourth division, verses 11, 12, The 
Believer's Priceless Possession. Fifth division, 
verse 13, The Believer's Blessed Assurance. 
Sixth division, verses 14, 15, The Believer's Un- 
questioning Confidence. Seventh division, verses 
16, 17, The Believer's Great Power and Respon- 
sibihty. Eighth division, verses 18, 19, The Be- 
liever's Perfect Security. Ninth division, verse 
20, The Believer's Precious Knowledge. Tenth 
division, verse 21, The Believer's Constant 

(3) Note the important differences between the 
Authorized Version and the Revised. 

Bible Study 53 

(4) Write down the leading facts of the chap- 
ter in their proper order. 

(5) Make a note of the persons mentioned in 
the chapter and of any Hght thrown upon their 

(6) Note the principal lessons of the chapter. 
It would be well to classify these. For instance 
lessons about God ; lessons about Christ, lessons 
about the Holy Spirit, etc. 

(7) Find the central truth of the chapter. 

(8) The key verse of the chapter, if there is 

(9) The best verse in the chapter. Mark it 
and memorize it. 

(10) Write down what new truth you have 
learned from the chapter. 

(11) Write down what truth already known 
has come to you with new power. 

(12) What definite thing have you resolved to 
do as a result of studying this chapter. It would 
be well to study in this way, all the chapters in 
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts; the first 
eight chapters of Romans ; i Cor. 1 2, 1 3 and 1 5 ; 
first six chapters of 2 Corinthians ; all the chap- 
ters in Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, First 
Thessalonians and First Epistle of John. It 
would be well at times to vary this by taking up 
other methods of study for a time. 

Another profitable method of Bible study is the 

54 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

topical method. This was Mr. Moody's favour- 
ite method of study. Take up the great topics 
of which the Bible teaches such as, the Holy 
Spirit, Prayer, the Blood of Christ, Sin, Judg- 
ment, Grace, Justification, the New Birth, Sanc- 
tification, Faith, Repentance, the Character of 
Christ, the Resurrection of Christ, the Ascension 
of Christ, the Second Coming of Christ, Assur- 
ance, Love of God, Love (to God, to Christ, to 
Christians, to all men). Heaven, Hell. Get a Bible 
text-book and go through the Bible on each one 
of these topics. (Other methods of Bible study, 
and more thorough methods for the advanced 
student, will be found in the author's book " How 
TO Study the Bible for Greatest Profit.") 

3. We should study the Bible comprehen- 
sively — the whole Bible. Many who read their 
Bibles make the great mistake of confining all 
their reading to certain portions of the Bible that 
they enjoy, and in this way they get no knowl- 
edge of the Bible as a whole. They miss alto- 
gether many of the most important phases of 
Bible truth. Begin and go through the Bible 
again and again — a certain portion each day from 
the Old Testament and a portion from the New 
Testament. Read carefully at least one Psalm 
every day. 

It is well oftentimes to read a whole book of 
the Bible through at a single sitting. Of course, 

Bible Study 55 

with a few books of the Bible this would take 
one or two hours, but with most of the books of 
the Bible it can be done in a few minutes. With 
the shorter books of the Bible they should be 
read through again and again at a single sitting. 
4. Study the Bible attentively. Do not hurry. 
One of the worst faults in Bible study is haste 
and heedlessness. The Bible only docs good by 
the truth that it contains. It has no magic 
power. It is better to read one verse attentively 
than to read a dozen chapters thoughtlessly. 
Sometimes you will read a verse that takes hold 
of you. Don't hurry on. Linger and ponder 
that verse. As you read, mark in your Bible 
what impresses you most. One does not need 
an elaborate system of Bible marking, simply 
mark what impresses you. Meditate upon what 
you mark. God pronounces that man blessed 
who " meditates " in God's law day and night 
(Ps. 1 : 2). It is wonderful how a verse of 
Scripture will open if one reads it over and over 
again and again, paying attention to each word 
as he reads it, trying to get its exact meaning 
and its full meaning. Memorize the passages 
that impress you most (Ps. 119: 11, r. v.). 
When you memorize a passage of Scripture, 
memorize its location as well as its words. Fix 
in your mind chapter and verse where the words 
are found. A busy but spiritually-minded man 

56 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

who was hurrying to catch a train once said to 
me, " Tell me in a word how to study my 
Bible." I replied, " Thoughtfully." 

5. Study your Bible comparatively. That is 
compare Scripture with Scripture. The best 
commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. 
Wherever you find a difficult passage in the 
Bible, there is always some passage elsewhere 
that explains its meaning. The best book to 
use in this comparison of Scripture with Scrip- 
ture is " The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge." 
On every verse in the Bible this book gives a 
large number of references. It is well to take 
up some book of the Bible and go through that 
book verse by verse, looking up carefully and 
studying every reference given in " The Treasury 
of Scripture Knowledge." This is a very fruitful 
method of Bible study. It is also well in study- 
ing the Bible by chapters to look up the refer- 
ences on the more important verses in the chapter. 
One will get more light on passages of Scripture 
by looking up the references given in " The 
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge," than in any 
other way I know. 

6. Study your Bible believingly. The Apostle 
Paul in writing to the Christians in Thessalonica 
says, " For this cause also thank we God without 
ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of 
God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as 

Bible Study 57 

the Word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word 
of God, which effectually worketh also in you that 
believe" (i Thess. 2: 13). Happy is the one 
who receives the Word of God as these believers 
in Thessalonica received it, who receives it as 
what it really is, the Word of God. In such a 
one it " works effectually." The Bible is the 
Word of God and we get the most out of any 
book by studying it as what it really is. It is 
often said that we should study the Bible just as 
we study any other book. That principle con 
tains a truth, but it also contains a great error. 
The Bible, it is true, is a book as other books are 
books, the same laws of grammatical and literary 
construction hold here as in other books, but the 
Bible is a unique book. It is what no other 
book is, the Word of God. This can be easily 
proven to any candid man.^ The Bible ought then 
to be studied as no other book is. It should be 
studied as the Word of God. This involves five 
things : 

(i) A greater eagerness and more careful and 
candid study to find out just what it teaches than 
is bestowed upon all other books. It is impor- 
tant to know the mind of man. It is absolutely 
essential to know the mind of God. The place 

• The author has given some of the proofs that the Bible is 
the Word of God in his book, " Talks to Men." 

58 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

to discover the mind of God is the Bible. This 
is the book in which God reveals His mind. 

(2) A prompt and unquestioning acceptance 
of, and submission to its teachings when definitely 
ascertained. These teachings may appear to us 
unreasonable or impossible, nevertheless we should 
accept them. If this book is the Word of God, 
how foolish it is to submit its teachings to the 
criticism of our finite reasoning. A httle boy 
who discredits his wise father's statements simply 
because to his infant mind they appear unreason- 
able, is not a philosopher, but a fool. But the 
greatest of human thinkers is only an infant com- 
pared with the infinite God. And to discredit 
God's statements found in His Word because 
they appear unreasonable to our infantile minds 
is not to act the part of the philosopher, but the 
part of a fool. When we are once satisfied that 
the Bible is the Word of God, its clear teachings 
must be for us the end of all controversy and 

(3) Absolute reliance upon all its promises in 
all their length and breadth and depth and height. 
The one who studies the Bible as the Word of 
God will say of any promise, no matter how vast 
and beyond belief it appears, " God who cannot 
lie has promised this, so I will claim it for my- 
self." Mark the promise you thus claim. Look 
each day for some new promise from your 

Bible Study 59 

infinite Father. He has put " His riches in 
glory "at your disposal (Phil. 4: 19). I know 
of no better way to grow rich spiritually than to 
search daily for promises, and when you find 
them appropriate them to yourself. 

(4) Obedience. Be a doer of the Word and 
not a hearer only deceiving your own soul 
(James i : 22). Nothing goes farther to help 
one understand the Bible than the purpose to 
obey it. Jesus said, " If any man willeth to do 
His will, he shall know of the teaching " (John 
7 : 17 R. v.). The surrendered will means the clear 
eye. If our eye is single (that is, our will is abso- 
lutely surrendered to God) our whole body shall 
be full of light. But if our eye be evil (that is, 
if we are trying to serve two masters and are not 
absolutely surrendered to one Master, God) our 
whole body shall be full of darkness (Matt. 
6 : 22-24). Many a passage that looks obscure 
to you now would become as clear as day if you 
were willing to obey in all things what the Bible 
teaches. Each commandment discovered in the 
Bible that is really intended as a commandment 
to us should be obeyed instantly. It is remark- 
able how soon one loses his relish for the Bible 
and how soon the mind becomes obscured to its 
teachings when we disobey the Bible at any 
point. Many a time I have known persons who 
have loved their Bibles and have been useful in 

6o How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

God's service and clear in their views of the 
truth who have come to something in the Bible 
that they were unwilling to obey, some sacrifice 
was demanded that they were unwilling to make, 
and their love for the Bible has rapidly waned, 
their faith in the Bible began to weaken, and 
soon they were drifting farther and farther away 
from clear views of the truth. Nothing clears 
the mind like obedience; nothing darkens the 
mind like disobedience. To obey a truth you 
see prepares you to see other truths. To dis- 
obey a truth you see darkens your mind to all 

Cultivate prompt, exact, unquestioning, joyous 
obedience to every command that it is evident 
from its context applies to you. Be on the look- 
out for new orders from your King. Blessing 
lies in the direction of obedience to them. God's 
commands are but sign-boards that mark the road 
to present success and blessedness and to eternal 

(5) Studying the Bible as the Word of God 
involves studying it as His own voice speaking 
directly to you. When you open the Bible to 
study realize that you have come into the very 
presence of God and that now He is going to 
speak to you. Realize that it is God who is 
talking to you as much as if you saw Him stand- 
ing there. Say to yourself, " God is now going 

Bible Study 6i 

to speak to me." Nothing goes farther to give 
a freshness and gladness to Bible study than the 
realization that as you read God is actually talk- 
ing to you. In this way Bible study becomes 
personal companionship with God Himself. That 
was a wonderful privilege that Mary had one day, 
of sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His 
voice, but if we will study the Bible as the Word 
of God and as if we were in God's very pres- 
ence, then we shall enjoy the privilege of sitting 
at the feet of God and having Him talk to us 
every day. How often what would otherwise be 
a mere mechanical performance of a duty would 
become a wonderfully joyous privilege if one 
would say as he opens the Bible, " Now God, 
my Father, is going to speak to me." Often- 
times it helps us to a realization of the presence 
of God to read the Bible on our knees. The 
Bible became in some measure a new book to 
me when I took to reading it on my knees. 

7. Study the Bible prayerfully. God, who is 
the author of the Bible, is willing to act as inter- 
preter of it. He does so when you ask Him to. 
The one who prays with earnestness and faith 
the Psalmist's prayer, " Open Thou mine eyes 
that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy 
law" (Ps. 119: 18) will get his eyes opened to 
see new beauties and wonders in the Word of 
God that he never dreamed of before. Be very 

62 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

definite about this. Each time you open the 
Bible to study it, even though it is but for a few 
minutes, ask God to give you an open and dis- 
cerning eye, and expect Him to do it. Every 
time you come to a difficulty in the Bible, lay it 
before God and ask an explanation and expect 
it. How often we think as we puzzle over hard 
passages, " Oh, if I only had some great Bible 
teacher here to explain this to me ! " God is 
always present. He understands the Bible better 
than any human teacher. Take your difficulty 
to Him and ask Him to explain it. Jesus said, 
" When He the Spirit of Truth is come. He shall 
guide you into all the truth " (John i6 : 13, r. v.). 
It is the privilege of the humblest beUever in 
Christ to have the Holy Spirit for his guide in 
his study of the Word. I have known many 
very humble people, people with almost no edu- 
cation, who got more out of their Bible study 
than most of the great theological teachers that 
I have known ; simply because they had learned 
that it was their privilege to have the Holy Spirit 
for their teacher as they studied the Bible. Com- 
mentaries on the Bible are oftentimes of great 
value, but one will learn more of real value from 
the Bible by having the Holy Spirit for his 
teacher when he studies his Bible than he will 
from all the commentaries that were ever pub- 

Bible Study 63 

8. Improve spare moments for Bible study. 
In almost every man's life many minutes each 
day are lost, while waiting for meals, riding on 
trains, going from place to place in street-cars 
and so forth. Carry a pocket Bible or Testa- 
ment w^ith you and save these golden moments 
by putting them to the very best use, listening 
to the voice of God. 

9. Store aivay the Scripture in your mind and 
heart. It will keep you from sin (Ps. 119: 11, 
R. V.) ; from false doctrine (Acts 20 : 29, 30, 32 ; 
2 Tim. 3 : 13-15). It will fill your, heart with joy 
(Jer. 15 : 16) ; and peace (Ps. 85 : 8). It will give 
you victory over the evil one (i John 2: 14); it 
will give you power in prayer (John 15:7); it 
will make you wiser than the aged and your 
enemies (Ps. 1 19 : 98, 100, 1 30) ; it will make you 
•' complete, furnished completely unto every good 
work" (2 Tim. 3:16, 17, r. v.). Try it. Do 
not memorize at random but memorize Scripture 
in a connected way ; memorize texts bearing on 
various subjects in proper order; memorize by 
chapter and verse that you may know where to 
put your finger on the text if any one disputes it. 
You should have a good Bible for your study. 
One of the best is " The Oxford Two Version 
Bible, Workers' Edition." 



Sooner or later every young Christian comes 
across passages in the Bible which are hard to 
understand and difficult to believe. To many a 
young Christian, these difficulties become a 
serious hindrance in the development of their 
Christian life. For days and weeks and months 
oftentimes faith suffers partial or total eclipse. 
At just this point wise counsel is needed. We 
have no desire to conceal the fact that these 
difficulties exist. We rather desire to frankly 
face and consider them. What shall we do con- 
cerning these difficulties that every thoughtful 
student of the Bible will sooner or later en- 

I . The first thing we have to say about these 
difficulties is that from the very nature of the case 
difficulties are to be expected. Some people are 
surprised and staggered because there are diffi- 
culties in the Bible. I would be more surprised 
and more staggered if there were not. What is 
the Bible? It is a revelation of the mind and 
will and character and being of the infinitely 
great, perfectly wise, and absolutely holy God. 

Difficulties in the Bible 65 

But to whom is this revelation made ? To men 
and women Hke you and me, to finite beings. 
To men who are imperfect in intellectual de- 
velopment and consequently in knowledge, and 
in character and consequently in spiritual dis- 

There must, from the very necessities of the 
case, be difficulties in such a revelation made to 
such persons. When the finite tries to under- 
stand the infinite there is bound to be difficulty. 
When the ignorant contemplate the utterances 
of one perfect in knowledge there must be many 
things hard to be understood and some things 
which to their immature and inaccurate minds 
appear absurd. When sinful beings listen to the 
demands of an absolutely holy being they are 
bound to be staggered at some of His demands, 
and when they consider His dealings they are 
bound to be staggered at some of His dealings. 
These dealings will necessarily appear too severe, 
stern, harsh, terrific. It is plain that there must 
be difficulties for us in such a revelation as the 
Bible is proven to be. If some one should hand 
me a book that was as simple as the multiplica- 
tion table and say, " This is the Word of God, in 
which He has revealed His whole will and wis- 
dom," I would shake my head and say, " I can- 
not believe it. That is too easy to be a perfect 
revelation of infinite wisdom." There must be 

66 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

in any complete revelation of God's mind and 
will and character and being, things hard for a 
beginner to understand, and the wisest and best 
of us are but beginners. 

2. The second thing to be said about these 
difficulties is that a difficulty in a doctrine, 
or a grave objection to a doctrine, does not in 
any wise prove the doctrine to be untrue. Many- 
thoughtless people fancy that it does. If they 
come across some difficulty in the way of 
believing in the divine origin and absolute 
inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible, they at 
once conclude that the doctrine is exploded. 
That is very illogical. Stop a moment and 
think and learn to be reasonable and fair. 
There is scarcely a doctrine in science commonly 
believed to-day that has not had some great 
difficulty in the way of its acceptance. When 
the Copernican theory, now so universally ac- 
cepted, was first proclaimed, it encountered a 
very grave difficulty. If this theory were true 
the planet Venus should have phases as the 
moon has. But no phases could be discovered 
by the best glass then in existence. But the 
positive argument for the theory was so strong 
that it was accepted in spite of this apparently 
unanswerable objection. When a more powerful 
glass was made, it was discovered that Venus had 
phases after all. The whole difficulty arose, as 

Difficulties in the Bible 67 

all those in the Bible arise, from man's ignorance 
of some of the facts in the case. According to 
the common sense logic recognized in every de- 
partment of science, if the positive proof of a 
theory is conclusive, it is believed by rational 
men, in spite of any number of difficulties in 
minor details. Now the positive proof that the 
Bible is the Word of God, that it is an absolutely 
trustworthy revelation from God Himself of 
Himself, His purposes and His will, of man's 
duty and destiny, of spiritual and eternal real- 
ities, is absolutely conclusive. Therefore every 
rational man and woman must believe it in spite 
of any number of difficulties in minor details. 
He is a shallow thinker who gives up a well- 
attested truth because of some facts which he 
cannot reconcile with that truth. And he is a 
very shallow Bible scholar who gives up the 
divine origin and inerrancy of the Bible because 
there are some supposed facts that he cannot 
reconcile with that doctrine. 

3. Tlie third thing to be said about the diffi- 
culties in the Bible is that there are many more 
and much greater difficulties in the way of a 
doctrine that holds the Bible to be of hutnan 
origin, a?id hence fallible, than are in the way of 
the doctrine that holds the Bible to be of divine 
ongin and hence altogether trustworthy. A man 
may bring you some difficulty and say, " How 

68 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

do you explain that if the Bible is the Word of 
God ? " and perhaps you may not be able to an- 
swer him satisfactorily. Then he thinks he has 
you, but not at all. Turn on him and ask him 
how do you account for the fulfilled prophecies 
of the Bible if it is of human origin ? How do 
you account for the marvellous unity of the 
Book ? How do you account for its inexhausti- 
ble depth ? How do you account for its unique 
power in lifting men up to God ? How do you 
account for the history of the Book, its victory 
over all men's attacks, etc., etc., etc. For every 
insignificant objection he can bring to your view, 
you can bring many deeply significant objections 
to his view, and no candid man will have any 
difficulty in deciding between the two views. 
The difficulties that confront one who denies 
that the Bible is of divine origin and authority 
are far more numerous and weighty than those 
that confront the ones who believes it is of 
divine origin and authority. 

4. The fourth thing to be said about the diffi- 
culties in the Bible is the fact that you cannot 
solve a difficulty does not prove that it cannot be 
solved, and the fact that you canjiot answer an 
objection does not prove at all that it caniiot be 
answered. It is passing strange how often we 
overlook this very evident fact. There are many 
who, when they meet a difficulty in the Bible and 

DlfTiculties in the Bible 69 

give it a little thought and can see no possible 
solution, at once jump at the conckision that a 
solution is impossible by any one, and so throw 
up their faith in the reliability of the Bible and in 
its divine origin. A little more of that modesty 
that is becoming in beings so limited in knowl- 
edge as we all are would have led them to say, 
" Though I see no possible solution to this diffi- 
culty, some one a little wiser than I might easily 
find one." Oh ! if we would only bear in mind 
that we do not know everything, and that there 
are a great many things that we cannot solve now 
that we could easily solve if we only knew a little 
more. Above all, we ought never to forget that 
there may be a very easy solution to infinite 
wisdom of that which to our finite wisdom — or 
ignorance — appears absolutely insoluble. What 
would we think of a beginner in algebra who, 
having tried in vain for half an hour to solve a 
difficult problem, declared that there was no pos- 
sible solution to the problem because he could 
find none? A man of much experience and 
ability once left his work and came a long dis- 
tance to see me in great perturbation of spirit 
because he had discovered what seemed to him a 
flat contradiction in the Bible. It had defied all 
his attempts at reconciliation, but in a few mo- 
ments he was shown a very simple and satisfactory 
solution of the difficulty. 

yo How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

5. The fifth thing to be said about the difficul- 
ties in the Bible' is that the seeming defects in the 
book are exceedingly insignificant when put in 
comparison zvith its many and marvellous ex- 
cellencies. It certainly reveals great perv^ersity 
of both mind and heart that men spend so much 
time expatiating on the insignificant points that 
they consider defects in the Bible, and pass by 
absolutely unnoticed the incomparable beauties 
and wonders that adorn and glorify almost every 
page. What would we think of any man, who 
in studying some great masterpiece of art, con- 
centrated his entire attention upon what looked 
to him like a fly-speck in the corner. A large 
proportion of what is vaunted as " critical study 
of the Bible " is a laborious and scholarly investi- 
gation of supposed fly- specks and an entire ne- 
glect of the countless glories of the book. 

6. The sixth thing to be said about the diffi- 
culties in the Bible is that the difficulties in the 
Bible have far more weight with supejficial read- 
ers of it than with profoiind students. Take a 
man who is totally ignorant of the real contents 
and meaning of the Bible and devotes his whole 
strength to discovering apparent inconsistencies 
in it, to such superficial students of the Bible 
these difificulties seem of immense importance ; 
but to the one who has learned to meditate on 
the Word of God day and night they have scarce 

Difficulties in the Bible 71 

any weight at all. That mighty man of God, 
George Miiller, who had carefully studied the 
Bible from beginning to end more than a hun- 
dred times, was not disturbed by any difficulties 
he encountered. But to the one who is reading 
it through carefully for the first or second time 
there are many things that perplex and stagger. 

7. TJie seventh thing to be said about the diffi- 
culties in the Bible is that tlicy rapidly disappear 
upoTi carefid and prayerful study. How many 
things there are in the Bible that once puzzled 
us and staggered us that have been perfectly 
cleared up, and no longer present any difficulty 
at all ! Is it not reasonable to suppose that the 
difficulties that still remain will also disappear 
upon further study ? 

How shall we deal with the difficulties which 
we do find in the Bible ? 

1. First of all, honestly. Whenever you find 
a difficulty in the Bible, frankly acknowledge it. 
If you cannot give a good honest explanation, 
do not attempt as yet to give any at all. 

2. Humbly. Recognize the limitations of 
your own mind and knowledge, and do not 
imagine there is no solution just because you 
have found none. There is in all probability a 
very simple solution. You will find it some 
day, though at present you can find no solution 
at all. 

72 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

3. Determinedly. Make up your mind that 
you will find the solution if you can by any 
amount of study and hard thinking. The diffi- 
culties in the Bible are your heavenly Father's 
challenge to you to set your brains to work. 

4. Fearlessly. Do not be frightened when 
you find a difficulty, no matter how unanswerable 
it appears upon first glance. Thousands have 
found such before you. They were seen hun- 
dreds of years ago and still the Old Book stands. 
You are not likely to discover any difficulty that 
was not discovered and probably settled long be- 
fore you were born, though you do not know 
just where to lay your hand upon the solution. 
The Bible which has stood eighteen centuries of 
rigid examination and incessant and awful assault, 
is not going under before any discoveries that 
you make or any attacks of modern infidels. 
All modern infidel attacks upon the Bible are 
simply a revamping of old objections that have 
been disposed of a hundred times in the past. 
These old objections will prove no more effective 
in their new clothes than they did in the cast-off 
garments of the past. 

5. Patiently. Do not be discouraged because 
you do not solve every problem in a day. If 
some difficulty defies your best effort, lay it aside 
for awhile. Very likely when you come back to 
it, it will have disappeared and you will wonder 

Difficulties in the Bible 73 

how you were ever perplexed by it. The writer 
often has to smile to-day when he thinks how 
sorely he was perplexed in the past over ques- 
tions which are now as clear as day. 

6. Scripturally . If you find a difficulty in 
one part of the Bible, look for other Scripture to 
throw light upon it and dissolve it. Nothing 
explains Scripture like Scripture. Never let 
apparently obscure passages of Scripture darken 
the light that comes from clear passages, rather 
let the light that comes from the clear passage 
illuminate the darkness that seems to surround 
the obscure passage. 

7. Prayerfully. It is wonderful how difficul- 
ties dissolve when one looks at them on his 
knees. One great reason why some modern 
scholars have learned to be destructive critics is 
because they have forgotten how to pray. 



The one who would succeed in the Christian 
life must lead a life of prayer. Very much of 
the failure in Christian living to-day, and in 
Christian work, results from neglect of prayer. 
Very few Christians spend as much time in 
prayer as they ought. The Apostle James told 
believers in his day that the secret of the poverty 
and powerlessness of their lives and service was 
neglect of prayer. " Ye have not," says God 
through the Apostle James, " because ye ask 
not." So it is to-day. Why is it, many a Chris- 
tian is asking, that I make such poor headway in 
my Christian life ? Why do I have so little vic- 
tory over sin ? Why do I accomplish so little by 
my effort ? and God answers, " You have not be- 
cause you ask not." 

It is easy enough to lead a life of prayer if one 
only sets about it. Set apart some time each day 
for prayer. The rule of David and of Daniel is 
a good one ; three times a day. " Evening and 
morning and at noon," says David, " will I pray 
and cry aloud and He shall hear my voice" 
(Ps. 55 : 17). Of Daniel we read, "Now when 

Prayer 75 

Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he 
went into his house ; and his windows being 
open in his chamber towards Jerusalem, he 
kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and 
prayed, and gave thanks before his God as he did 
aforetime" (Dan. 6 : 10). Of course, one can 
pray while walking the street, or riding in the 
car, or sitting at his desk, and one should learn 
to lift his heart to God right in the busiest mo- 
ments of his life, but we need set times of prayer, 
times when we go alone with God, shut to the 
door and talk to our Father in the secret place 
(Matt. 6 : 6). God is in the secret place and will 
meet with us there and listen to our petitions. 

Prayer is a wonderful privilege. It is an au- 
dience with the King. It is talking to our Father. 
How strange it is that people should ask the 
question, '♦ How much time ought I to spend in 
prayer?" When a subject is summoned to an 
audience with his king, he never asks, •' How 
much time must I spend with the king ? " His 
question is rather, " How much time will the king 
give me?" And with any true child of God 
who realizes what prayer really is, that it is an 
audience with the King of Kings, the question 
will never be, " How much time must I spend in 
prayer," but " How much time may I spend in 
prayer with a due regard to other duties and 

76 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

Begin the day with thanksgiving and prayer. 
Thanksgiving for the definite mercies of the past, 
prayer for the definite needs of the present day. 
Think of the temptations that you are hkely to 
meet during the day ; ask God to show you the 
temptations that you are Hkely to meet and get 
from God strength for victory over these tempta- 
tions before the temptations come. The reason 
why many fail in the battle is because they wait 
until the hour of battle. The reason why-others 
succeed is because they have gained their victory 
on their knees long before the battle came. Jesus 
conquered in the awful battles of Pilate's judg- 
ment hall and of the cross because He had the 
night before in prayer anticipated the battle and 
gained the victory before the struggle really 
came. He had told His disciples to do the same. 
He had bidden them " Pray that ye enter not 
into temptation " (Luke 22 : 40), but they had 
slept when they ought to have prayed, and when 
the hour of temptation came they fell. Antici- 
pate your battles, fight them on your knees be- 
fore temptation comes and you will always have 
victory. At the very outset of the day, get 
counsel and strength from God Himself for the 
duties of the day. 

Never let the rush of business crowd out 
prayer. The more work that any day has to do, 
the more time must be spent in prayer in prep- 

Prayer 77 

aration for that work. You will not lose time by 
it, you will save time by it. Prayer is the great- 
est time saver known to man. The more the 
work crowds you the more time take for 

Stop in the midst of the bustle and hurry and 
temptation of the day for thanksgiving and 
prayer. A few minutes spent alone with God at 
midday will go far to keep you calm in the midst 
of the worries and anxieties of modern life. 

Close the day with thanksgiving and prayer. 
Review all the blessings of the day and thank 
God in detail for them. Nothing goes farther to 
increase faith in God and in His Word than a 
calm review at the close of each day of what God 
has done for you that day. Nothing goes further 
towards bringing new and larger blessings from 
God than intelligent thanksgiving for blessings 
already granted. 

The last thing you do each day ask God to 
show you if there has been anything in the day 
that has been displeasing in His sight. Then 
wait quietly before God and give God an oppor- 
tunity to speak to you. Listen. Do not be in 
a hurry. If God shows you anything in the day 
that has been displeasing in His sight, confess it 
fully and frankly as to a holy and loving Father. 
Believe that God forgives it all, for He says He 
does (i John i : 9). Thus at the close of each 

yS How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

day all your accounts with God will be straight- 
ened out. You can lie down and sleep in the 
glad consciousness that there is not a cloud be- 
tween you and God. You can arise the next 
day to begin Hfe anew with a clean balance sheet. 
Do this and you can never backslide for more 
than twenty-four hours. Indeed, you will not 
backslide at all. It is very hard to straighten out 
accounts in business that have been allowed to 
get crooked through a prolonged period. No 
bank ever closes its business day until its balance 
is found to be absolutely correct. And no Chris- 
tian should close a single day until his accounts 
with God for that day have been perfectly ad- 
justed alone with Him. 

There should be special prayer in special 
temptation — that is when we see the temptation 
approaching. If you possibly can, get at once 
alone somewhere with God and fight your battle 
out. Keep looking to God. " Pray without ceas- 
ing " (i Thess. 5 : 17). It is not needful to be 
on your knees all the time but the heart should 
be on its knees all the time. We should be 
often on our knees or on our faces literally. This 
is a joyous life, free from worry and care. " In 
nothing be anxious ; but in everything by 
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let 
your request be made known unto God, and the 
peace of God which passeth all understanding 

Prayer 79 

shall guard your hearts and thoughts in Christ 
Jesus " (Phil. 4 : 6, 7, r. v.). 

There are three things for which one who 
would succeed in the Christian life must espe- 
cially pray. i. For wisdom. " If any of you 
lack wisdom (and we all do) let him ask of God " 
(James i : 5). 2. For strength. " For they 
that wait upon the Lord shall renew their 
strength " (Is. 40: 31). 3. For the Holy Spirit. 
" Your heavenly Father shall give the Holy 
Spirit to them that ask Him " (Luke 11: 13). 
Even if you have received the Holy Spirit, 
you should constantly pray for a new filling 
with the Holy Spirit and definitely expect to 
receive it. We need a new filHng with the 
Spirit for every new emergency of Christian life 
and Christian service. The Apostle Peter was 
baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit on the 
Day of Pentecost (Acts 2 : 1-4) but he was filled 
anew in Acts 4: 8 and Acts 4: 31, There are 
many Christians in the world who once had a 
very definite baptism with the Holy Spirit and 
had great joy and were wonderfully used, but 
who have tried to go ever since in the power of 
that baptism received years ago, and to-day their 
lives are comparatively joyless and powerless. 
We need constantly to get new supplies of oil 
for our lamps. We get these new supplies of 
oil by asking for them. 

8o How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

It is not enough that we have our times of 
secret prayer to God alone with Him, we also 
need fellowship with others in prayer. If they 
have a prayer-meeting in your church attend it 
regularly. Attend it for your own sake ; attend 
it for the sake of the church. If it is a prayer- 
meeting only in name and not in fact, use your 
influence quietly and constantly (not obtrusively) 
to make it a real prayer-meeting. Keep the 
prayer-meeting night sacredly for that purpose. 
Refuse all social engagements for that night. A 
major-general in the United States army once 
took command of the forces in a new district. 
A reception was arranged for him for a certain 
night in the week. When he was informed of 
this public reception he replied that that was 
prayer-meeting night and everything else had to 
give way for prayer-meeting, that he could not 
attend the reception on that night. That gen- 
eral had proved himself a man that can be de- 
pended upon. The Church of Christ in America 
owes more to him than to almost any other 
officer in the American army. Ministers learn 
to depend upon their prayer-meeting members. 
The prayer-meeting is the most important meet- 
ing in the church. If your church has no 
prayer-meeting, use your influence to have one. 
It does not take many members to make a good 

Prayer 8l 

prayer-meeting. You can start with two but 
work for many. 

It is well to have a httle company of Christian 
friends with whom you are in real sympathy and 
with whom you meet regularly every week 
simply for prayer. There has been nothing of 
more importance in the development of my own 
spiritual life of recent years than a little prayer- 
meeting of less than a dozen friends who have 
met every Saturday night for years. We met 
and together we waited upon God. If my life 
has been of any use to the Master, I attribute it 
largely to that prayer-meeting. Happy is the 
young Christian that has a little band of friends 
like that that meet together regularly for prayer.^ 

^ If any reader desires more full and definite instruction on 
the subject of prayer he is referred to the author's book, " How 
to Pray." 



One of the important conditions of growth 
and strength in the Christian life is work. No 
man can keep up his physical strength without 
exercise and no man can keep up his spiritual 
strength without spiritual exercise, /. ^., without 
working for his Master. The working Christian is 
the happy Christian. The working Christian is 
the strong Christian. Some Christians never 
backslide because they are too busy about their 
Master's business to backslide. Many professed 
Christians do backslide because they are too idle 
to do anything but backslide. Jesus said to the 
first disciples, " Follow Me and I will make you 
fishers of men " (Matt. 4: 19). Any one who is 
not a fisher of men is not following Christ. 
Bearing fruit in bringing others to the Saviour 
is the purpose for which Jesus has chosen us and 
is one of the most important conditions of power 
in prayer. Jesus says in John 15 : 16, " Ye have 
not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and or- 
dained you that ye should go and bring forth 
fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that 
whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My 

Working for Christ 83 

name He may give it you!' These words of 
Jesus are very plain. They tell us that the one 
who is bearing fruit is the one who can pray in 
the name of Christ and get what he asks in that 
name. In the same chapter Jesus tells us that 
bearing fruit in His strength is the condition of 
fullness of joy. He says, " These things have I 
spoken unto you (that is, the things about abid- 
ing in Him and bearing fruit in His strength) 
that My joy might remain in you and that your 
joy might be full" (John 15 : 11). Experience 
abundantly proves the truth of these words of 
our Master. Those who are full of activity in 
winning others to Christ are those who are full 
of joy in Christ Himself. 

If you wish to be a happy Christian ; if you 
wish to be a strong Christian, if you wish to be 
a Christian who is mighty in prayer, begin at 
once to work for the Master and never let a day 
pass without doing some definite work for Him. 
But how can a young Christian work for Him ? 
How can a young Christian bear fruit? The 
answer is very simple and very easy to follow. 
You can bear fruit for your Master by going to 
others and telling them what your Saviour has 
done for you, and by urging them to accept this 
same Saviour and showing them how to do it. 
There is no other work in the world that is so 
easy to do, so joyous, and so abundant in its 

84 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

fruitfulness, as personal hand to hand work. The 
youngest Christian can do personal work. Of 
course, he cannot do it so well as he will do it 
later, after he has had more practice. But the 
way to learn how to do it is by doing it. I have 
known thousands of Christians all around the 
world who have begun to work for Christ, and 
to bring others to Christ, the very day that they 
were converted. How often young men and 
young women, yes, and old men and old women 
too, have come to me and said, " I accepted Jesus 
Christ last night as my Saviour, my Lord and 
my King, and to-night I have led a friend to 
Christ." Then the next day they would come 
and tell me of some one else they had led to 
Christ. When we were in Sheffield, a young 
man working in a warehouse accepted Christ. 
Before the month's mission in Sheffield was over 
he had led thirty others to Christ, many of them 
in the same warehouse where he himself worked. 
This is but one instance among many. There 
are many books that tell how to do personal 

But one does not need to wait until they have 
read some book on the subject before they begin. 
One of the commonest and greatest mistakes that 

' The author has written a little book on this line named 
" How to Bring Men to Christ " that has proved helpful to 

Working for Christ 85 

is made is that of frittering one's life away in 
getting ready to get ready to get ready. Some 
never do get ready. The way to get ready is to 
begin at once. Make up your mind that you 
will speak about accepting Christ to at least one 
person every day. Early in his Christian life 
Mr. Moody made this resolution that he would 
never let a day pass over his head without speak- 
ing to at least one person about Christ. One 
night he was returning late from his work. As 
he got near home it occurred to him that he had 
not spoken to any one that day. He said to 
himself, " It is too late now. I will not get an 
opportunity. Here will be one day gone with- 
out my speaking to any one about Christ." But 
a little ways ahead of him he saw a man standing 
under a lamp-post. He said, " Here is my last 
opportunity." The man was a stranger to him, 
though he knew who Mr. Moody was. Mr. 
Moody hurried up to him and asked him, " Are 
you a Christian ? " The man replied, " That is 
none of your business. If you were not a sort 
of a preacher I would knock you into the gutter." 
But Mr. Moody spoke a kw faithful words to 
him and passed on. The next day this man 
called on one of Mr. Moody's business friends in 
Chicago in great indignation. He said, " That 
man Moody of yours over on the Northside is 
doing more harm than he is good. He has zeal 

86 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

without knowledge. He came up to me last 
night, a perfect stranger, and asked me if I was 
a Christian. He insulted me. I told him if 
he had not been a sort of preacher I would have 
knocked him into the gutter." Mr. Moody's 
friend called him in and said to him, " Moody, 
you are doing more harm than good. You have 
zeal without knowledge. You insulted a friend 
of mine on the street last night." Mr. Moody 
went out somewhat crestfallen, feeling that per- 
haps he was doing more harm than good, that 
perhaps he did have zeal without knowledge. 
But some weeks after, late at night, there was a 
great pounding on his door. Mr. Moody got 
out of bed and rushed to the door supposing 
that the house was on fire. That same man 
stood at the door. He said, " Mr. Moody, I 
have not had a night's rest since you spoke to 
me that night under the lamp-post and I have 
come around for you to tell me what to do to be 
saved." Mr. Moody had the joy that night of 
leading that man to Christ. It is better to have 
zeal without knowledge than to have knowledge 
without zeal, but it is better yet to have zeal 
with knowledge, and any one may have this. 
The way to get knowledge is by experience, and 
the way to get experience is by doing the work. 
The man who is so afraid of making blunders 
that he never does anything, never learns any- 

Working for Christ 87 

thing. The man who goes ahead and does his 
best and is wilHng to risk the blunders, is the 
man who learns to avoid the blunders in the 
future. Some of the most gifted men I have 
ever known have never really accomplished any- 
thing, they were so fearful of making blunders. 
Some of the most useful men I have ever known 
were men who at the outset were the least prom- 
ising, but who had a real love for souls and went 
on, at first in a blundering way, but they blun- 
dered on until they learned by experience to do 
things well. Do not be discouraged by your 
blunders. Pitch in and keep pegging away. 
Every honest mistake is but a stepping-stone to 
future success. Try every day to lead some one 
else to Christ. Of course, you will not succeed 
every day, but the work will do you good any 
way, and years after you will often find that 
where you thought you have made the greatest 
blunders, you have accomplished the best results. 
The man who gets angriest at you, will often 
turn out in the end the man who is most grate- 
ful to you. Be patient and hope on. Never be 

Make a prayer list. Go alone with God. 
Write down at the top of a sheet of paper, 
" God helping me, I promise to pray daily and 
to work persistently for the conversion of the fol- 
lowing persons." Then kneel down and ask 

88 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

God to show you who to put on that list. Do 
not make the list so long that your prayer and 
work become mechanical and superficial. After 
you have made the list keep your covenant, 
really pray for them every day. Watch for op- 
portunities to speak to them — improve these 
opportunities. You may have to watch long for 
your opportunities with some of them, and you 
may have to speak often, but never give up. I 
prayed about fifteen years for one man, one of 
the most discouraging men I ever met, but I saw 
that man converted at last, and I saw him a 
preacher of the gospel, and many others were 
converted through his preaching, and now he is 
in the Glory. 

Learn to use tracts. Get a few good tracts 
that are fitted to meet the needs of different 
kinds of people. Then hand these tracts out to 
the people whose needs they are adapted to meet. 
Follow your tracts up with prayer and with per- 
spnal effort. 

Go to your pastor and ask him if there is some 
work he would like to have you do for him in 
the church. Be a person that your pastor can 
depend upon. We live in a day in which there 
are many kinds of work going on outside the 
church, and many of these kinds of work are 
good and you should take part in them as you 
are able, but never forget that your first duty is 

Working for Christ 89 

to the church of which you arc a member. Be a 
person that your pastor can count on. It may 
be that your pastor may not want to use you, 
but at least give him the chance of refusing you. 
If he does refuse you, don't be discouraged, but 
find work somewhere else. There is plenty to 
do and few to do it. It is as true to-day as it was 
in the days of our Saviour, " The harvest truly is 
plenteous but the labourers are few " (Matt. 9 : 37), 
•' Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest that He 
will send forth labourers into His harvest," and 
pray that He will send you (Matt. 9 : 38). The 
right kind of men are needed in the ministry. The 
right kind of men and women are needed for foreign 
mission work, but you may not be the right kind 
of a man or woman for foreign missionary work, 
but none the less there is work for you to do just 
as important in its place as the work of the min- 
ister or the missionary is. See that you fill your 
place and fill it well.^ 

1 The author's book, " How to Work for Christ," is a large 
work describing at length many ways of working for our 



In order to have the largest success in the 
Christian Hfe one must be interested in foreign 
missions. The last command of our Lord before 
leaving this earth was, " Go ye therefore, and 
make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them 
into the name of the Father, and of the Son and 
of the Holy Ghost : teaching them to observe all 
things whatsoever I have commanded you : and 
lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the 
world " (Matt 28 : 19, 20, r. v.). Here is a com- 
mand and a promise. It is one of the sweetest 
promises in the Bible. But the enjoyment of the 
promise is conditioned upon obedience to the 
command. Our Lord commands every one of 
His disciples to go and " make disciples " of all 
the nations. This command was not given to the 
apostles alone, but to every member of Christ's 
church in all ages. If we go, then Christ will be 
with us even unto the end of the age ; but, if we 
do not go, we have no right to count upon His 
companionship. Are you going ? How can we 
go ? There are three ways in which we can go, 
and in at least two of these ways we must go if 

Foreign Missions 91 

we are to enjoy the wonderful privilege of the 
personal companionship of Jesus Christ every 
day unto the end of the age. 

I . First, inany of us can go in our ozvn per- 
sons. Many of us ought to go. God does not 
call every one of us to go as foreign missionaries, 
but He does call many of us to go who are not 
responding to the call. Every Christian should 
offer himself for the foreign field and leave the 
responsibility of choosing him or refusing him 
to the all-wise One, God Himself. No Christian 
has a right to stay at home until he has gone and 
offered himself definitely to God for the foreign 
field. If you have not done it before, do it to- 
day. Go alone with God and say, " Heavenly 
Father, here I am. Thy property, purchased by 
the precious blood of Christ. I belong to Thee. 
If Thou dost wish me in the foreign field, make 
it clear to me and I will go.' Then keep watch- 
ing for the leading of God. God's leading is 
clear leading. He is light and in Him is no 
darkness at all (i John i : 5). If you are really 
Avilling to be led, He will make it clear as day. 
Until He does make it clear as day, you need 
have no morbid anxiety that perhaps you are 
sta}'ing at home when you ought to go to the 
foreign field. If He wants you. He will make it 
clear as day in His own way and time. If He 
does make it clear, then prepare to go step by 

92 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

step as He leads you. And when His hour 
comes, go, no matter what it costs. If He does 
not make it clear that you ought to go in your 
own person, stay at home and do your duty at 
home and go in the other ways that will now be 

2. We all can go, and all ought to go to the 
foreign field by our gifts. There are many who 
would like to go to the foreign field in their own 
person, but whom God providentially prevents, 
but who are still going in the missionaries they 
support or help to support. It is possible for 
you to preach the Gospel in the remotest corners 
of the earth by supporting or helping to support 
a foreign missionary or a native worker in that 
place. Many who read this book are able finan- 
cially to support a foreign missionary out of their 
own pocket. If you are able to do it, do it. If 
you are not able to support a foreign missionary, 
you may be able to support a native helper — do 
it. You may be able to support one missionary 
in Japan and another in China, and another in 
India and another in Africa and another some- 
where else — do it. Oh ! the joy of preaching the 
Gospel in lands that we shall never see with our 
own eyes. How few in the church of Christ to- 
day realize their privilege of preaching the Gospel 
and saving men and women and children in dis- 
tant lands by sending substitute missionaries to 

Foreign Missions 93 

them, that is, by sending some one that goes 
for you where you cannot go yourself. They 
could not go but for your gifts by which they 
are supported and you could not go but for them, 
by their going in your place. You may be able 
to give but very little to foreign missions, but 
every little counts. Many insignificant streams 
together make a mighty river. If you cannot be 
a river, at least be a stream. 

Learn to give largely. The large giver is the 
happy Christian. " The liberal soul shall be 
made fat" (Prov. 11 : 25). "He which soweth 
sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which 
soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully," 
and " God is able to make all grace abound towards 
you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all 
things may abound to every good work " (2 Cor. 
9 : 8, 9). Success and growth in the Christian life 
depend upon few things more than upon liberal 
giving. The stingy Christian cannot be a grow- 
ing Christian. It is wonderful how a Christian 
man begins to grow when he begins to give. 
Power in prayer depends on liberality in giving. 
One of the most wonderful statements about 
prayer and its answers is i John 3 : 22. John 
says there that, whatsoever he asked of God he 
received ; and he tells us why, because he on his 
part, kept God's commandments and did those 
things which were pleasing in His sight, and the 

94 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

immediate context shows that the special com- 
mandments he was keeping were the command- 
ments about giving. He tells us in the twenty- 
first verse that when our heart condemns us not 
in the matter of giving then have we confidence 
in our prayers to God. God's answers to our 
prayers come in through the same door that our 
gifts go out to others, and some of us open the 
door such a little ways by our small giving that 
God is not able to pass in to us any large answers 
to our prayers. One of the most remarkable 
promises in the Bible is that found in Phil. 4:19, 
" My God shall supply (r. v., fulfill, that is fill 
full) all your need according to His riches in glory 
by Christ Jesus," but this promise was made to 
believers who had distinguished themselves above 
their fellows by the largeness and the frequency 
of their giving (Cf. vs. 14-18). Of course, we 
should not confine our giving to foreign missions. 
We should give to the work of the home church : 
we should give to rescue work in our large cities. 
We should do good to all men as we have oppor- 
tunity, especially to those who are of the house- 
hold of faith (Gal. 6 : lo). But foreign missions 
should have a large part in our gifts. 

Give systematically. Set aside for Christ a 
fixed proportion of all the money or goods you 
get. Be exact and honest about it. Don't use 
that part of your income for yourself under any 

Foreign Missions 95 

circumstances. The Christian is not under law, 
and there is no law binding on the Christian that 
he should give a tenth of his income, but as a 
matter of free choice and glad gratitude a tenth 
is a good proportion to begin with. Don't let 
it be less than a tenth. God required that of the 
Jews and the Christian ought not to be more 
selfish than a Jew. After you have given your 
tenth, you will soon learn the joy of giving free 
will offerings in addition to the tenth. 

3. But there is another way in which we can 
go to the foreign field, that is by our prayers. 
We can all go in this way. Any hour of the day 
or night you can reach any corner of the earth 
by your prayers. I go to Japan, to China and 
to Australia and to Tasmania and to New Zealand 
and to India and to Africa and to other parts of 
the earth every day, by my prayers. And prayer 
really brings things to pass where you go. Do 
not make prayer an excuse for not going in your 
own person if God wishes you, and do not make 
prayer an excuse for small giving. There is no 
power in that kind of prayer. If you are ready 
to go yourself if God wishes you, and if you are 
actually going by your gifts as God gives you 
ability, then you can go effectually by your 
prayers also. The greatest need of the work of 
Jesus Christ to-day is prayer. The greatest need 
of foreign missions to-day is prayer. Foreign 

96 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

missions are a success, but they are no such suc- 
cess as they ought to be and might be. They 
are no such success as they would be if Christians 
at home, as well as abroad, were living up to the 
full measure of their opportunity in prayer. 

Be definite in your prayers for foreign missions. 
Pray first of all that God will send forth labourers 
into His harvest, the right sort of labourers. 
There are many men and women in the foreign 
field that ought never to have gone there. There 
was not enough prayer about it. More foreign 
missionaries are greatly needed, but only more 
of the right kind of missionaries. Pray to God 
daily and believingly to send forth labourers into 
the harvest. 

Pray for the labourers who are already on the 
field. No class of men and women need our 
prayers more than foreign missionaries. No 
class of men and women are objects of more 
bitter hatred from Satan than they. Satan de- 
lights to attack the reputation and the character 
of the brave men and women who have gone 
to the front in the battle for Christ and the 
Truth. No persons are subjected to so numer- 
ous and to such subtle and awful temptations as 
foreign missionaries. We owe it to them to 
support them by our prayers. Do not merely 
pray for foreign missionaries in general. Have 
a few special missionaries of whose work you 

Foreign Missions 97 

make a study that you may pray intelligently 
for them. 

Pray for the native converts. We Christians 
at home think we have difficulties and trials and 
temptations and persecutions, but the burdens 
that we have to bear are nothing to what the 
converts in heathen lands have to bear. The 
obstacles oftentimes are enormous and dis 
couragements crushing. Christ alone can make 
them stand, but He works in answer to the 
prayers of His people. Pray often, pray ear- 
nestly, pray intensely and pray believingly for 
native converts. How wonderfully God has 
answered prayer for native converts we are 
beginning to learn from missionary literature. 
It is well to be definite here again and to have 
some definite field about whose needs you keep 
yourself informed and pray for the converts of 
that field. Do not have so many that you be- 
come confused and mechanical. Pray for con- 
versions in the foreign field. Pray for revivals 
in definite fields. The last (qw years have been 
years of special prayer for special revival in 
foreign fields and from every corner of the earth 
tidings have come of how amazingly God is an- 
swering these prayers. But the great things that 
God is beginning to do are small indeed in com- 
parison with what He will do if there is more 



Our companions have a great deal to do with 
determining our character. The companionships 
that we form create an intellectual, moral and 
spiritual atmosphere that we are constantly 
breathing, and our spiritual health is helped or 
hindered by it. Every young Christian should 
have a few wisely chosen friends, intimate friends, 
with whom he can talk freely. Search out for 
yourself a few persons of about your own age 
with whom you can associate intimately. Be 
sure that they are spiritual persons in the best 
sense. Persons who love to study the Bible, 
persons who love to converse on spiritual themes, 
persons who know how to pray and do pray, 
persons who are really working to bring others 
to Christ. 

Do not be at all uneasy about the fact that 
some Christian people are more agreeable to you 
than others. God has made us in that way. 
Some are attracted to some persons and some 
to others, and it proves nothing against the 
others and nothing against yourself that you are 
not attracted to them as you are to some people. 

Companions 99 

Cultivate the friendship of those whose friend- 
ship you find helpful to your own spiritual life. 

On the other hand avoid the companionships 
that you find spiritually and morally hurtful. Of 
course, we are not to withdraw ourselves utterly 
from unconverted people, or even of very bad 
people. We are to cultivate oftentimes the 
acquaintance of unspiritual people, and even of 
very bad people, in order that we may win them 
for Christ ; but we must always be on our guard 
in such companionships to bear always in mind 
to seek to lift them up or else they will be sure 
to drag us down. If you find in spite of all your 
best effort that any companionship is doing harm 
to your own spiritual Hfe, then give it up. Some 
people are surrounded with such an atmosphere 
of unbelief or cynicism or censoriousness or im- 
purity or greed or some other evil thing that it 
is impossible to associate with them to any large 
extent without being contaminated. In such a 
case, the path of wisdom is plain ; stop associating 
with them to any large extent. Stop associating 
with them at all except in so far as there is 
some prospect of helping them. 

But there are other companionships that 
mould our lives besides the companionships of 
living persons. The books that we read are our 
companions. They exert a tremendous influ- 
ence for good or for evil. There is nothing that 

loo How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

will help us more than a good book, and there is 
nothing that will hurt us more than a bad book. 
Among the most helpful books are the biog- 
raphies of good men. Read again and again 
the lives of such good and truly great men as 
Wesley and Finney and Moody. We live in a 
day in which good biographies abound. Read 
them. Well written histories are good com- 
panions. No study is more practical and in- 
structive than the study of history, and it is not 
only instructive but spiritually helpful if we only 
watch to see the hand of God in history, to see 
the inevitable triumph of right and the inevitable 
punishment of wrong in individuals and in na- 

Some few books of fiction are helpful, but here 
one needs to be very much on his guard. A 
large portion of modern fiction is positively per- 
nicious morally. Books of fiction that are not 
positively bad, at least give false views of life and 
unfit one for life as it really is. Much reading 
of fiction is mentally injurious. The inveterate 
novel reader ruins his powers of close and clear 
thinking. Fiction is so fascinating that it always 
tends to drive out other reading that is more 
helpful mentally and morally. We should be on 
our guard in even reading good literature, that 
the good does not crowd out the best ; that is 
that the best of man's literature does not crowd 

Companions loi 

out the very best of all — God's Book. God's 
Book, the Bible, must always have the first place. 
Then there is another kind of companionship 
that has a tremendous influence over our lives, 
that is the companionship of pictures. The 
pictures that we see every day of our lives, and 
the pictures that we see only occasionally, have 
a tremendous power in the shaping of our lives. 
A mother had two dearly loved sons. It was 
her dream and ambition that these sons should 
enter the ministry, but both of them went to sea. 
She could not understand it until a friend one 
day called her attention to the picture of a mag- 
nificent ship in full sail careening through the 
ocean that hung above the mantel in the dining- 
room. Every day of their lives her boys had 
gazed upon that picture, had been thrilled by it, 
and an unconquerable love for the sea and long- 
ing for it had thus been created and this had 
determined their lives. How many a picture 
that is a masterpiece of art, but in which there is 
an evil suggestion, has sent some young men on 
the road to ruin. Many of our art collections 
are so polluted with improper pictures that it is 
not safe for a young man or a young woman to 
visit them. The evil thought that they suggest 
may be but for a moment, and yet Satan will 
know how to bring that picture back again and 
again and work injury by it. Don't look for a 

102 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

moment at any picture, no matter how praised by 
art critics, that taints your imagination with evil 
suggestion. Avoid as you would poison every 
painting, or engraving, every etching, every 
photograph that leaves a spot of impurity on 
your mind, but feast your soul upon the pictures 
that make you holier, kinder, more sympathetic 
and more tender. 



Young people need recreation. Our Saviour 
does not frown upon wholesome recreation. He 
was interested in the games of the children when 
He was here upon earth. He watched the 
children at their play (Matt. 12: 16-19), and He 
watches the children at their play to-day, and de- 
lights in their play when it is wholesome and 
elevating. In the stress and strain of modern life 
older people too need recreation if they are to do 
their very best work. But there are recreations 
that are wholesome, and there are amusements 
that are pernicious. It is impossible to take up 
amusements one by one, and it is unnecessary. 
A few principles can be laid down. 

I. Do not indulge in any form of amusejnent 
about whose propriety you have a7iy doubts. 
Whenever you are in doubt, always give God 
the benefit of the doubt. There are plenty of 
recreations about which there can be no question. 
" He that doubteth is condemned : for whatsoever 
is not of faith is sin " (Rom. 14 : 32, r. v.). Many 
a young Christian will say, " I am not sure that 

104 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

this amusement is wrong." Are you sure it is 
right ? If not, leave it alone. 

2. Do not indulge in any amusement that you 
cannot engage in to the glory of God. " Whether 
therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do 
all to the glory of God " (i Cor. lo : 31). When- 
ever you are in doubt as to whether you should 
engage in any amusement ask yourself, Can I do 
this at this time to the glory of God ? 

3. Do 7iot engage in any amusement that will 
hurt your influefice with anybody. There are 
amusements, which perhaps are all right in them- 
selves, but which we cannot engage in without 
losing our influence with some one. Now every 
true Christian wishes his life to tell with every- 
body to the utmost. There is so much to be 
done and so few to do it that every Christian 
desires every last ounce of power for good that 
he can have with everybody, and, if any amuse- 
ment will injure your influence for good with 
any one, the price is too great. Do not engage 
in it. A Christian young lady had a great 
desire to lead others to Christ. She made up 
her mind that she would speak to a young friend 
of hers about coming to Christ, and while resting 
between the figures of a dance she said to the 
young man who was her companion in the 
dance, " George, are you a Christian ? " " No," 
he said, " I am not, are you ? " " Yes," she 

Amusements 105 

replied, " I am." '< Then," he said, " what are 
you doing here ? " Whether justly or unjustly 
the world discounts the professions of those 
Christians who indulge in certain forms of the 
world's own amusements. We cannot afford to 
have our professions thus discounted. 

4. Do not engage in any amusement that yon 
cafmot make a matter of prayer, that you caimot 
ask God's blessing upon. Pray before your play 
just as much as you would pray before your 

5. Do 7tot go to a7iy place of amusement 
where you cannot take Christ with yon, afid 
where you do not think Christ would feel at home. 
Christ went to places of mirth when He was here 
upon earth. He went to the marriage feast in 
Cana (John 2), and contributed to the joy of the 
occasion, but there are many modern places of 
amusement where Christ would not be at home. 
Would the atmosphere of the modern stage be 
congenial to that holy One whom we call 
" Lord " ? If it would not, don't you go. 

6. Don't engage in any amusement that you 
zvould not like to be found enjoying if the Lord 
should come. He may come at any moment. 
Blessed is that one whom when He cometh. He 
shall find watching and ready, and glad to open 
to Him immediately (Luke 12: 36, 40). I have 
a friend who was one day walking down the 

Jo6 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

street thinking upon the return of his Lord. As 
he. thought he was smoking a cigar. The 
thought came to him, " Would you Hke to meet 
Christ now with that cigar in your mouth ? " He 
answered honestly, " No, I would not." He 
threw that cigar away and never lighted another. 
7. Do not engage in any amusement, no mat- 
ter how harmless it would be for yourself, that 
might harm some one else. Take for example 
card playing. It is probable that thousands have 
played cards moderately all their lives and never 
suffered any direct moral injury from it, but every 
one who has studied the matter knows that cards 
are the gamblers' chosen tools. He also knows 
that most, if not all, gamblers took their first 
lessons in card playing at the quiet family card 
table. He knows that if a young man goes out 
into the world knowing how to play cards and 
indulging at all in this amusement that before 
long he is going to be put into a place where he 
is going to be asked to play cards for money, 
and if he does not consent he will get into seri- 
ous trouble. Card playing is a dangerous amuse- 
ment for the average young man. It is pretty 
sure to lead to gambling on a larger or a smaller 
scale, and one of the most crying social evils of 
our time is the evil of gambling. Some young 
man may be encouraged to play cards by your 
playing who will afterwards become a gambler 

Amusements 107 

and part of the responsibility will lie at your 
door. If I could repeat all the stories that have 
come to me from broken-hearted men whose 
lives have been shipwrecked at the gaming table ; 
if I could tell of all the broken-hearted mothers 
who have come to me, some of them in high 
position, whose sons have committed suicide at 
Monte Carlo and other places, ruined by the 
cards, I think that all thoughtful and true Chris- 
tians would give them up forever. 

For most of us the recreations that are most 
helpful are those that demand a considerable out- 
lay of physical energy. Recreations that take 
us into the open air, recreations that leave us 
refreshed in body and invigorated in mind. 
Physical exercises of the strenuous kind, but 
not over-exercise, is one of the great safeguards 
of the moral conduct of boys and young men. 
There is very little recreation in watching others 
play the most vigorous game of football but 
there is real health for the body and for the soul 
in a due amount of physical exercise for yourself. 



One of the discouragements that meets every 
true Christian before he has gone very far in the 
Christian hfe is persecution. God tells us in His 
Word that "All that will live godly in Christ 
Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12). 
Sooner or later every one who surrenders abso- 
lutely to God and seeks to follow Jesus Christ in 
everything will find that this verse is true. We 
live in a God-hating world and in a compro- 
mising age. The world's hatred of God in our 
day is veiled. It does not express itself in our 
land in the same way that it expressed itself in 
Palestine in the days of Jesus Christ, but the 
world hates God to-day as much as it ever did, 
and it hates the one who is loyal to Christ. It 
may not imprison him or kill him but in some 
way it will persecute him. Persecution is inevi- 
table for a loyal follower of Jesus Christ. Many 
a young Christian when he meets with persecu- 
tion is surprised and discouraged and not a few 
fall away. Many a one seems to run well for a 
few days but hke those of whom Jesus spoke, 
" They have no root in themselves, but endure 

Persecution 1 09 

for a while ; then when tribulation or persecution 
ariseth because of the Word straightway they 
stumble" (Mark 4: 17). I have seen many an 
apparently promising Christian life brought to 
an end in this way. But if persecution is rightly 
received, it is no longer a hindrance to the Chris- 
tian life but a help to it. 

Do not be discouraged when you are perse- 
cuted. No matter how fierce and hard the per- 
secution may be, be thankful for it. Jesus says, 
" Blessed are they which are persecuted for 
righteousness' sake : for theirs is the kingdom of 
heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile 
you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner 
of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, 
and be exceeding glad : for great is your reward 
in heaven : for so persecuted they the prophets 
which were before you" (Matt. 5 : 10-12). It is 
a great privilege to be persecuted for Christ and 
for the truth. Peter found this out and wrote to 
the Christians of his day : " Beloved, think it not 
strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try 
you, as though some strange thing happened 
unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch, as ye are par- 
takers of Christ's suffering ; that, when His glory 
shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with ex- 
ceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name 
of Christ, happy are ye ; for the spirit of glory 
and of God resteth upon you: on their part He 

1 10 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glori- 
fied" (i Peter 4: 12-14), Be very sure that the 
persecution is really for Christ's sake and not 
because of some eccentricity of your own, or 
because of your stubbornness. There are many 
who bring upon themselves the displeasure of 
others because they are stubborn and cranky 
and then flatter themselves that they are being 
persecuted for Christ's sake and for righteous- 
ness' sake. Be considerate of the opinions of 
others and be considerate of the conduct of 
others. Be sure that you do not push your 
opinions upon others in an unwarrantable way, 
or make your conscience a rule of life for other 
people. But never yield a jot of principle. Stand 
for what you believe to be the truth. Do it in 
love, but do it at any cost. And if when you 
are standing for conviction and principle you are 
disliked for it and slandered for it and treated 
with all manner of unkindness because of it, do 
not be sad but rejoice. Do not speak evil of 
those who speak evil of you, " because Christ 
also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that 
ye should follow His steps : who, when He was 
reviled, reviled not again, when He suffered. He 
threatened not; but committed Himself to Him 
that judgeth righteously" (i Peter 2: 21, 23). 

At this point many a Christian makes a mis- 
take. He stands loyally for the truth, but he re- 

Persecution 1 1 1 

ceives the persecution that comes for the truth 
with harshness, he grows bitter, he gets to con- 
demning every one but himself. There is no 
blessing in bearing persecution in that way. 
Persecution should be borne meekly, lovingly, 
serenely. Don't talk about your own persecu- 
tions. Rejoice in them. Thank God for them, 
and go on obeying God. And don't forget to 
love and pray for them who persecute you 
(Matt. 5 : 44)- 

If at any time the persecution seems harder 
than you can bear, remember how abundant the 
reward is, " If we suffer, we shall also reign with 
Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us " 
(2 Tim. 2 : 12). Every one must enter into the 
kingdom of God through much tribulation (Acts 
14 : 22), but do not go back on that account. 
Remember always however fiercely the fire of 
persecution may burn, " That the sufferings of 
this present time are not worthy to be compared 
with the glory which shall be revealed in us " 
(Rom. 8:18). Remember too that your light 
affliction is but for the moment, and that it work- 
eth out for you " a far more exceeding and eternal 
weight of glory " (2 Cor. 4 : 17). Keep looking, 
not at the things which are seen, but at the things 
which are not seen, for the things which are seen 
are but for a time, but the things which are not 
seen are for eternity (2 Cor. 4 : 18). When the 

112 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

apostles were persecuted, even unto imprison- 
ment and stripes, they departed from the pres- 
ence of the council that had ordered their terrible 
punishment, rejoicing that they were counted 
worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus, and 
they continued daily in the temple and every 
house teaching and preaching Jesus Christ (Acts 
5 : 40-42). 

The time may come when you think that you 
are being persecuted more than others, but you 
do not know what others may have to endure. 
Even if it were true, — that you were being per- 
secuted more than any one else, you ought not 
to complain but to humbly thank God that He 
has bestowed upon you such an honour. Keep 
your eyes fixed upon " Jesus, the Author and Fin- 
isher of our faith ; who for the joy that was set 
before Him endured the cross, despising the 
shame, and is set down at the right hand of the 
throne of God. For consider Him that en- 
dured such contradiction of sinners against Him- 
self, lest ye be wearied and faint in your mind " 
(Heb. 12 : 2, 3). I was once talking with an old 
coloured man who in the slave days had found 
his Saviour. The cruel master had him flogged 
again and again for his loyalty to Christ but he 
said to me, " I simply thought of my Saviour 
dying on the cross in my place, and I rejoiced to 
suffer persecution for Him." 



I HAVE met a great many who are trying to 
lead a Christian life who are much troubled over 
the question of guidance. They wish to do the 
will of God in all things, but what puzzles them 
is to tell what the will of God may be in every 
case. When any one starts out with the de- 
termination to obey God in everything and to be 
led by the Holy Spirit, Satan seeks to trouble 
him by perplexing him as to what the will of God 
is. Satan comes and suggests that something is 
the will of God that is probably not the will of 
God at all, and then when he does not do it, Satan 
says, " There you disobeyed God." In this way, 
many a conscientious young Christian gets into 
a very morbid and unhappy state of mind, fear- 
ing that he has disobeyed God and has lost His 
favour. This is one of the most frequent devices 
of the devil to keep Christians from being 

How may we know the will of God ? 

First of all let me say that a true Christian life 
is not a life governed by a whole lot of rules about 
what one shall eat, and what one shall drink, and 

1 14 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

what one shall do, and what one shall not do. 
A life governed by a lot of rules is a life of bond- 
age. One is sure sooner or later to break some 
of these man-made rules and to get into con- 
demnation. Paul tells us in Rom. 8: 15, "Ye 
have not received the spirit of bondage again to 
fear ; but ye have received the spirit of adoption 
(placing us a son), whereby we cry, Abba, 
Father." The true Christian life is the hfe of a 
trusting, glad, fear-free child ; not led by rules, 
but led by the personal guidance of the Holy 
Spirit who dwells within us. " As many as are 
led by the Spirit of God these are sons of God " 
(Rom. 8 : 14, r. v.). If you have received the 
Holy Spirit, He dwells within you and is ready 
to lead you at every turn of life. A life gov- 
erned by a multitude of rules is a life of bondage 
and anxiety. A life surrendered to the control 
of the Holy Spirit is a life of joy and peace and 
freedom. There is no anxiety in such a life, 
there is no fear in the presence of God. We 
trust God and rejoice in His presence just as a 
true child trusts his earthly father and rejoices in 
his presence. If we make a mistake at any point, 
even if we disobey God, we go and tell Him all 
about it as trustfully as a child and know that He 
forgives us and that we are restored at once to 
His full favour (i John i 19). 

But how can we tell the Holy Spirit's guidance 

Guidance llj; 

that we may obey Him and thus have God's 
favour at every turn of life ? This question is 
answered in James i : 5-7, r, v., " But if any of 
you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who 
giveth to all hberally and upbraideth not ; and it 
shall be given him, but let him ask in faith, noth- 
ing doubting : for he that doubteth is like the 
surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. 
For let not that man think that he shall receive 
anything of the Lord." This is very simple. It 
includes five points. 

(i) That you recognize your own ignorance 
and your own inability to guide your own life — 
that you lack wisdom. 

(2) The surrender of your will to God, and a 
real desire to be led by Him. 

(3) Definite prayer to Him for guidance. 

(4) Confident expectation that God will guide 
you. You " ask in faith, nothing doubting." 

(5) That you follow step by step as He 
guides. God may only show you a step at a 
time. That is enough. All you need to know 
is the next step. It is here that many make a 
mistake. They wish God to show them the 
whole way before they take the first step. A 
university student once came to me over the 
question of guidance. He said, " I cannot find 
out the will of God. I have been praying but 
God does not show me His will." This was in 

1 16 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

the month of July. I said, " About what is it 
that you are seeking to know the will of God ? " 
" About what I should do next summer." I 
said, " Do you know what you ought to do to- 
morrow ? " " Yes." " Do you not know what 
you ought to do next autumn ? " " Yes, finish 
my course. But what I want to know is what I 
ought to do when my university course is over." 
He was soon led to see that all he needed to 
know for the present was what God had already 
shown him. That when he did that, God 
would show him the next step. Do not worry 
about what you ought to do next week. Do 
what God shows you you ought to do to-day. 
Next week will take care of itself. Indeed, to- 
morrow will take care of itself. Obey the Spirit 
of God for to-day. " Be not therefore anxious 
for the morrow ; for the morrow will be anxious 
for the things of itself. Sufificient unto the day 
is the evil thereof" (Matt. 6: 34, r. v.). It is 
enough to live a day at a time, if we do our 
very best for that day. 

God's guidance is clear guidance, " God is light 
and in Him is no darkness at all " (i John i : 5). 
Do not be anxious over obscure leadings. Do 
not let your soul be ruffled by the thought, 
" Perhaps this obscure leading is what God wants 
me to do." Obscure leadings are not divine 
leadings. God's path is as clear as day. Satan's 

Guidance 117 

path is full of obscurity and uncertainty and 
anxiety and questioning. If there comes some 
leading of which you are not quite sure whether 
it is the will of God or not, simply go to your 
Heavenly Father and say, " Heavenly Father, I 
desire to know Thy will. I will do Thy will if 
Thou wilt make it clear. But Thou art light 
and in Thee is no darkness at all. If this is Thy 
will make it clear as day and I will do it." Then 
wait quietly upon God and do not act until God 
makes it clear, but the moment it is made clear, 
act at once. 

The whole secret of guidance is an absolutely 
surrendered will, a will that is given up to God 
and ready to obey Him at any cost. Many of 
our uncertainties about God's guidance are 
simply because we are not really willing to do 
what God is really guiding us to do. We are 
tempted to say, " I cannot find out what God's 
will is," when the real trouble is we have found 
out His will and it is something we do not wish 
to do and we are trying to make ourselves think 
that God wants us to do something else. 

All supposed leadings of God should be tested 
by the Word of God. The Bible is God's 
revealed will. Any leading that contradicts the 
plain teaching of the Bible is certainly not the 
leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit 
does not contradict Himself. A man once came 

1 18 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

to me and said that God was leading him to 
marry a certain woman. He said that she was 
a very devoted Christian woman and they had 
been greatly drawn towards one another and they 
felt that God was leading them to be married. 
But I said to the man, " You already have a 
wife." " Yes," he said, " but we have never 
lived happily and we have not lived together for 
years." " But," I replied, " that does not alter 
the case. God in His Word has told us dis- 
tinctly the duty of the husband to the wife and 
how wrong it is in His sight for a husband to 
divorce his wife and marry another." " Yes," 
said the man, " but the Holy Spirit is leading us 
to one another." I indignantly replied that 
" Whatever spirit is leading you to marry one 
another, it is certainly not the Holy Spirit but 
the spirit of the evil one. The Holy Spirit 
never leads any one to disobey the Word of 

In seeking to know the guidance of the Spirit 
always search the Scriptures, study them prayer- 
fully. Do not make a book of magic out of the 
Bible. Do not ask God to show you His will 
and then open your Bible at random and put 
your finger upon some text and take it out of 
its connection without any relation to its real 
meaning and decide the will of God in that way. 
This is an irreverent and improper use of Scrip- 

Guidance 119 

ture. You may open your Bible at just the 
right place to find right guidance, but if you do, 
it will not be by some fanciful interpretation of 
the passage you tind. It will be by taking the 
passage in its context and interpreting it to mean 
just what it says as seen in its context. All sorts 
of mischief has arisen from using the Bible in 
this perverse way. I knew an earnest Christian 
woman once who was somewhat concerned 
about the predictions made by a false prophetess 
that Chicago was to be destroyed on a certain 
day. She opened her Bible at random. It 
opened to the twelfth chapter of Ezekiel, " Son 
of man, eat thy bread with quaking, and drink 
thy water with trembling and with careful- 
ness. . . . And the cities that are inhabited 
shall be laid waste, and the land shall be deso- 
late " (Ezek. 12: 18, 20). Now this seemed to 
exactly fit the case and the woman was consider- 
ably impressed, but if the verses had been studied 
in their connection, it would have been evident 
at once that God was not speaking about Chicago 
and that they were not applicable to Chicago. 
It was not an intelligent study of the Word of 
God and therefore led to a false conclusion. 

To sum up, lead a life not led by rules but by 
the personal guidance of the Holy Spirit. Sur- 
render your will absolutely to God. Whenever 
you are in doubt as to His guidance, go to Him 

1 20 How to Succeed in the Christian Life 

and ask Him to show you His will, expect Him 
to do it, follow step by step as He leads. Test 
all the leadings by the plain and simple teachings 
of the Bible. Live free from anxiety and worry 
lest in some unguarded moment you have not 
done the right thing. 

After you have done what you think God led 
you to do, do not be always going back and 
wondering whether you did the right thing. 
You will get into a morbid state if you do. If 
you really wished to do God's will and sought 
His guidance, and did what you thought He 
guided you to do, you may rest assured you did 
the right thing, no matter what the outcome has 
been. Satan is bound that we shall not be 
happy, cheerful Christians if he can prevent it, 
but God wishes us to be happy, cheerful, bright 
Christians every day and every hour. He does 
not wish us to brood but to rejoice (Phil. 4 : 4). 
A most excellent Christian man came to me 
one Monday morning in great gloom over the 
failures of the work of the preceding day. He 
said to me, " I made wretched work of teaching 
my Sunday-school class yesterday." I said, 
" Did you honestly seek wisdom from God before 
you went to your class ? " He said, " I did." I 
said, " Did you expect to receive it ? " He said, 
" I did." " Then," I said, " in the face of God's 
promise what right have you to doubt that God 

Guidance 121 

did give you wisdom ? " (James i : 5-7). His 
gloom disappeared and he looked up with a 
smile and said, "I had no right to doubt." Let 
us learn to trust God. Let us remember that if 
our wills are surrendered to Him He is ever 
more wiUing to guide us than we are to be guided. 
Let us trust that He does guide us at every step 
and even though what we do does not turn out 
as we expected, let us never brood over it but 
trust God. Let us walk in the light of simple 
trust in God. In this way we shall be glad and 
peaceful and strong and useful at every turn of 


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