"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."
These words were spoken by Christ just before his crucifixion, and were among his last to the disciples. He is not at this time thinking of the sufferings that lie before him, but of his disciples. How will they stand when they have not his personal presence with them? He comforts them with the assurance of his return: "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
Very simple are the words of the Saviour. They can not be misunderstood or misinterpreted. "And if I go and prepare a place for you," he continues, "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." For three years Christ had been educating his disciples in that way; yet Thomas said to him: "Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
O that we all might understand these words for ourselves, and know that Christ is for us the way, the truth, and the life! Only through the Son of God can any soul make his way to the Father. Only he can remedy the injury that was wrought for man by the fall. "If ye had known me," he declared, "ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him."
"Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake."
Christ came as the representative of the Father, and the works of the Father he was constantly doing. Had not the disciples for three years been beholding these works? Had they not seen the sick brought to him to receive healing, and had he not restored them to health? The needy of all classes had flocked to him in crowds, and he had ministered to all. They had seen him feed a multitude with a few small loaves and fishes, and as the food was passed from hand to hand, they had watched it multiply until there was more than enough for all. After five thousand men, besides women and children, had been fed, the Saviour gave the command, "Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost;" and they gathered up of that which was left twelve baskets full.
This is an object-lesson of the work that the Saviour desires to do through his followers. He wants us to take the blessed Word, to study it, and then to teach it in its simplicity. How simple Christ's lessons were! Even the children could understand them. The people of his own nation, those who professed to believe in God, were greatly incensed against him because by the simplicity of his daily teachings he was removing the rubbish that was hiding the truth from the comprehension of the people. Even the most ignorant could take in the truths he taught, and be comforted and blessed thereby.
Mothers, hearing and seeing his words and works, desired that their children might come to him to be blessed. On one occasion one mother with her children left their home to find the Saviour. On the way they told others of their desire; and as they pursued their journey, mother after mother, with their little ones, joined the company, until, when they reached the place where the Saviour was, there was a little army of women and children who sought to reach his side. He was ministering the word to the people, and healing the sick; and when the women made known their errand, the disciples told them that the Master must not be disturbed. But Christ had heard the petition of the mothers, and at once his heart responded to their desire. He said, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
I am so thankful that the message of salvation was brought in such simplicity to us. The Son of God laid aside his royal robe and crown and his high command, and came to earth to take his place among humanity as a little child, to bear the test of temptation and trial from childhood to manhood. Greater than that of any other were the sufferings and trials he endured. Satan and his host were determined that Christ should not carry out his plan of sacrifice. If they could discourage Christ, and cause him to sin, the world would perish in its iniquity, and the cause of righteousness be lost. But Christ was working out the salvation of the human race, and he would not fail on a single point. He would make it possible for humanity to lay hold upon his divinity, and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Man does not need to be corrupted. May God help us to accept by faith the victory that has been won in our behalf, and make it ours.
The Saviour continued: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." It was a path of suffering and temptation by which the Saviour went to his Father, and we may rejoice that he consented to travel such a path. Had he not, how could the world have been saved? By this he made it possible for us to be accepted with God. When we are in doubt and perplexity and difficulty, let us consider what the Son of God passed through that he might prepare for us a home in the kingdom of heaven. And to-day he stands by his Father's throne to minister help to every soul who seeks him in sincerity for strength to overcome. He waits to bestow on all the power to do his will.
He will accept the little children, blessing them as he blessed the children in the days of his earthly ministry. Shall we not bring them to him? These little ones are to learn the lessons of God's Word, and be captivated by the simplicity of his truth. Let the labors of those who work for Christ's little ones be marked with the simplicity that was revealed in the words that fell from the Saviour's lips.
"If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever." Here is the test of our love for God. Parents are to teach their children what these commandments are. We need missionary fervor in our homes, that we may bring the word of life before the members of our families, and lead them to seek a home in the kingdom of God. There will be no sickness there, no sorrow, no death. A life that measures with the life of God will be the reward of all who win that eternal home.
In view of all that lies before the believer, his piety should be "always abounding." He should labor for souls with all his intelligence and powers. Not for eloquence and honor is he to strive, but for simplicity of life and simplicity of speech. Christ had no need to explain any word that he made use of. All were simple, and all were understood by the most simple. We need to let our faith take hold of Christ; we need to listen to his words, to seek to do his works. We need to take hold of the hope of immortality that will give us life everlasting in the kingdom of glory. To us the promise is, "The works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world can not receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." To the worldling the truth is too simple; he deems it unworthy of his attention. He does not see Christ in it. But how thankful should the believer be for these promises! I am thankful for the faith I have in God's Word. I claim his promises, saying, "You said it, Lord. You asked me to come to you. I come expecting you to help me and bless me." And he proves the truth and the preciousness of his words: "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. . . . He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."
"If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." Consider the familiar relation Christ here brings to view as existing between the Father and his children. His presence and guardianship is an abiding thing. While we trust in Christ's saving power, all the arts and wiles of the fallen host can do nothing to harm us. Heavenly angels are constantly with us, guiding and protecting. God has ordained that we shall have his saving power with us, to enable us to do all his will.
Let us grasp the promises, and cherish them moment by moment. Let us believe that God means just what he says. If we will accept his word with the simplicity of little children, believing that he has given his life that we might have everlasting life, we shall receive power to overcome.
"He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. . . . Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do."
I am very thankful for the privilege of speaking these words to you. I was present at the establishment of this institution. At that time I spoke to the workers here, presenting before them the way in which they might carry on their work intelligently. I spoke also to the patients, and I know that Jesus was present on these occasions. His blessing rested upon those assembled. I want to say to you to-day, There is a battle before each one of us; but as long as we hide self in Christ, we shall not be defeated. When you are provoked, and tempted to make a sharp reply, keep silent. At such times, silence is eloquence. Remember that you are God's property. When circumstances arise that irritate and annoy, conquer your feelings. We need to look constantly to Jesus. If we will walk in the fear of God, he will not fail us.
If we will seek to teach the truth in its simplicity, the Lord will let his blessing rest upon us. He will impart his Spirit to us, giving us comfort and strength and hope. I appeal to you to do all you possibly can for the help and comfort of others. Show to men and women who is the mighty Healer. He will bless the means you use. If you will do his work, you may expect his blessing. In your efforts for the sick, show them how they may improve their health by forming right habits.
I have said that if we seek to help and bless others, the Lord will let his blessing rest upon us, and I know that what I say is truth; for I have proved the Lord for many, many years. How long the Lord will permit me to speak and to labor for him I can not tell; but I have given my life to do his work, to study the blessed Word of God, and to pass it on to the people as the bread of life. It is possible that we shall never meet again on this earth; but let us remember that there is a grand meeting to take place erelong. Everlasting life is before us, and the city of God. Angels of God will be there. They will bid us welcome to the joys of heaven because we have kept the commandments of God. There there will be no more death, no sorrow, no sin. Let us do all we can to help one another to gain the eternal joys that are awaiting the redeemed. May God's blessing rest upon his people in large measure, is my prayer.