A Christian lady recently illustrated this in a simple conversation by telling of a vision that had come to her while praying to God to give her power to understand His Word and teach it to others. She said that there suddenly appeared before her mind, so vividly that it almost seemed real, a naked and empty skull. It almost terrified her at first for it seemed to hint to her some message of death. It was immediately followed, however, by the picture of a flaming fire that seemed to enter the empty skull and fill it in every part. Then a thought was whispered to her heart, "This is the answer to your prayer. Your busy brain must become as dead and empty as that skull and then the Holy Spirit will fill it with His glowing fire and His quickened life; bringing His thoughts and feelings, and taking possession of it as His simple instrument and the organ of His working and His will." This is, perhaps, the most perfect figure by which we can express the thought of this message.
Shall we not, beloved, prostrate our proud intellects and lay our wisdom low at Jesus' feet, and, into brains emptied of their self-consciousness and self-sufficiency, receive the baptism of His fire? Shall we not with a new sense of His meaning breathe out the prayer: Refining fire go though my heart, illuminate my soul. scatter thy life through every part, and sanctify the whole.
Separate our tastes
Are the tastes separated? To this point we have spoken of the understanding and intellect, the thinking, reasoning faculties of the mind, but we have seen that there are other departments. There are the tastes that give direction to our mental faculties, bias to our choice, and zest to our employments.
Love of Music
Take, for example, the love of music. It is not necessary to show how it may be and frequently is perverted for worldliness, selfishness and sin. It is the very handmaid of vice and the fascination that allures the heedless world from God and all thought of eternity and salvation.
Yet it is a divine gift and may be wholly sanctified and gloriously used. But it must be separated from all earthly alloy and sinful defilement. The voice that sings for God must not be prostituted to the indulgence of worldliness and sensuality. How often the lips that lead the worship of Jehovah in the sanctuary of Sabbath are found ministering to an ungodly or even to the promiscuous crowd of the music hall or the nightclub before the next six days are ended!
One of Germany's greatest painters refused to use his brush, when offered a fortune by Napoleon, to paint a Venus for the Louvre. He said that he had just painted the face of Jesus and his art might never be desecrated again.
Well I remember the cloud of condemnation that fell upon my spirit when listening once in my own parlor to the leader of my choir singing the famous "Ave Maria." I could not imagine what had come over my spirit until I began to think of the words and remember that they were words addressed to a human being that belonged only to Jehovah, and I could find no peace until I kindly but firmly bore witness to my dear brother, and promised God that I would never again listen to such blasphemy without faithful protest. yet how often Christians allow their ears to be defiled by listening to unholy strains by their love of music, and their own voices to be prostituted by unholy performances in the concert or even the private living room.
This taste not only must be separated, but also it must be dedicated to God and used for His service and glory. Then He will fill it with His own anointing and use it to work most gloriously. What ministry today has been more honored than gospel song? How God has shown the honor He still will put on this simple taste to draw millions by the power of the consecrated melody of the gospel.
~A. B. Simpson~
(continued with # 8 - "Love of Art")