Ripening Character
 From an early issue of Herald of His Coming

    There is no mistake more common among Christians than as to what are the real hindrances to growth. Most of Godís people are perpetually locating their spiritual hindrances outside of themselves.

    If a mysterious yet mighty voice should pierce the heart of every Christian on earth and propound the question, "Why are you not cheerful, and peaceful, and contented in spirit? Why are you not gentle, sweet and victorious, in a daily fellowship with your heavenly Father?" not one in ten thousand but what would begin instantly to lay the blame on somebody, or something, or some circumstance outside of their own hearts. It is so hard to believe, and so mortifying to be convinced, that all our spiritual obstructions lie within our own natures. Yet such is emphatically true.

    Mr. Wesley found that all usages, crosses, disappointments, etc., were the best agencies to growth in humility, patience and love. The history of piety will show that thousands who have seemed to suffer most directly from the hand of God have been the very ones that loved God with a surpassing flame of devotion. Those saints who have been called to endure the greatest abuse, treachery and persecution from their fellow beings, are the very ones that have exhibited the most amazing forbearance, charity and zeal in blessing their fellow creatures.

    This proves that when the inner heart conditions are all pure and right, nothing can hinder the growth in true holiness and happiness.

    If the heart is right, every disappointment will cause us to lean harder on the unwavering Arm. Every shock will make us sink deeper into the unshakable Rock. Every conflict with temptation will make us hate sin more deeply. Every unkind blow from our fellow men will render us more lowly and intent on doing the world good. Every pound we lose will spur us to lay up treasure in heaven. Every criticism of our spirit or conduct will drive us to scrutinize our inner being before God, to see if we are indeed washed in the blood of the Lamb.

    Abuse only humbles us, and flattery and praise sink us to still deeper self-abasement. The death of loved ones only trims our lamps for the coming of the Bridegroom, and every teardrop adds another lens to the telescope of heavenly vision.