On Close Friendship with Jesus
When Jesus is with us, all is well, and nothing seems hard but when Jesus is absent, everything is difficult. When Jesus does not speak to the heart, all other comfort is unavailing; but if Jesus speaks but a single word, we are greatly comforted. Did not Mary Magdalene rise at once from the place where she wept, when Martha said, `The Master is come, and is asking for you' (John 11:28)? Oh, happy the hour when Jesus calls us from tears to joy of spirit! How arid and hard of heart you are without Jesus! How foolish and empty if you desire anything but Jesus! Surely, this is a greater injury to you than the loss of the whole world!
What can the world offer you, without Jesus? To be without Jesus is hell most grievous; to be with Jesus is to know the sweetness of Heaven. If Jesus is with you, no enemy can harm you. Whoever finds Jesus finds a rich treasure, and a good above every good. He who loses Jesus, loses much indeed, and more than the whole world. Poorest of all men is he who lives without Jesus, and richest of all is he who stands in favor with Jesus.
It is a great art to know how to hold converse with Jesus, and to know how to keep Jesus is wisdom indeed. Be humble and a man of peace, and Jesus will abide with you. But if you turn aside to worldly things, you will soon cause Jesus to leave you, and you will lose His grace. And if you drive Him away and lose Him, with whom may you take refuge, and whom will you seek for your friend? Without a friend, you cannot live happily, and if Jesus is not your best friend, you will be exceedingly sad and lonely; so it is foolish to trust or delight in any other. It is better to have the whole world as your enemy, than offend Jesus. Therefore, of all dear friends, let Jesus be loved first and above all.
Love all men for Jesus' sake, but Jesus for Himself. Jesus Christ alone is to be loved with an especial love, for He alone is the best and most faithful of friends. In Him and for His sake love both friend and foe, and pray to Him for all of them, that all may know and love Him. Do not wish to become the object of especial praise or love, for this belongs to God alone, who has none like Himself. Do not desire that the heart of anyone be given wholly to yourself, and do not yield yourself wholly to the love of anyone; rather, let Jesus abide in you, and in every good person.
Be pure and free of heart, untrammeled by any created thing. Offer to God a pure and spotless heart, if you wish to be at liberty, and see how gracious the Lord is. Unless His grace draw and guide you, you will never attain this; but once you have cast aside and forsaken all else, you may be united to Him alone. When the grace of God comes to a man, he is strong in all things; but when it departs, he is left poor and weak, and feels abandoned to punishment and sorrow. When this happens to you, do not despair or be discouraged, but accept God's will calmly, bearing all that befalls you for the glory of Christ; for after winter comes summer, night turns to day, and after a storm comes fair weather (Ps.107:29; Matt.8:26).
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