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157

XLV

LIVING WORDS

“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”—John vi. 63.

THIS passage is extraordinarily interesting. Here is our Lord speaking about His words, and He claims that His words are spirit and life. They are mystic incarnations of Himself. They carry the divine essence. They are the expressions of vital secrets. They come to the doors of our minds as living presences, instinct with the very life of God. His words are alive.

Let us contrast the Master’s claim about His words with anything we can say about our own words. Sometimes our words have no content at all. They are empty. They are like envelopes which have lost their living secret in the post, and they come to us carrying nothing. Sometimes our words are delusive. They seem to carry one thing 158when they are really carrying another. They are like Sacramental cups which carry anything but wine. And sometimes the contents of our words are deadening. There is nothing really vital or vitalising in them. They are ministers of heaviness and depression. They have no quickening power. They carry no life, no light, no flame. And over and against all our perverse and impoverishing speech, we have the claim of our Lord that His words are spirit and life. When we receive His words it is like taking angel-presences into our tent. We are entertaining spirit, and we are offering hospitality to life. His word is alive, and it makes alive, for it works in the soul like the quickening air of the spring.

And the words of the disciple can be like the words of the Master. It is His holy will that, when we speak about Him, when we proclaim His mind and will, our words should be spirit and life. He is waiting to hallow our words with His own indwelling, and our speech may be the tabernacle of the living God. When God uses our words, and fills them with His Spirit, our speech becomes sacramental, and even the indifferent 159will be conscious of a mystic but most real Presence which the cynic and the worldling cannot explain away. If Christ abide in us our words will be like overflowing cups, and our treasure will be rich in divine authority and grace.

A great critic has recently said of Mr. John Masefield that his phrases carry no cargoes of wonder. I do not know what may be the value of this criticism; but I do know that no one ought to be able to say it with truth about any ambassador of the Lord. Imagine a man speaking about the unsearchable riches of Christ, and using words which carry no cargoes of wonder! Every time we speak of the Lord our words should be laden with cargoes of wonder, and so they will be if we are in central and vital fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Then shall it be said of us that our words are spirit and they are life.

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