On the supreme night of history, when the Lord Jesus Christ went forth, at the bidding of a love which the floods could not drown, to embrace His bitter and yet glorious cross, He addressed two brief but most pregnant counsels to His eleven faithful friends. “Arise,” He said first, and then, a little later, “Abide.” The words seem contradictory. In reality, each supplies that which is lacking in the other, and both are necessary and vital.
“ARISE,” said He whom we greet both as Saviour and as Master. It was a word of swift alacrity. When He spoke it, He left the couch on which He had been reclining at the Supper. He set His face to the Garden of the Olives and the Hill of Reproach; for He had a baptism of tears and blood to be baptized with on our behalf, and He was straitened until it should be accomplished. Not less than for Himself, this imperative of His is for you and me, who love Him, and whose desire it is to lose our own will in His. We must arise. We have daily warfare to wage, because against us too, the Prince of this world comes. We have a daily cross to carry. We have the work of our Heavenly Father to finish. We have the goal of our own perfection to reach, and there are many adversaries.
But none of us will ever arise to good purpose, unless he recalls and fulfils the second injunction of our Lord, “ABIDE.” It brings us “the flower of peace” in the stress of conflict and cross-bearing and obedience.
This abiding, what is it? It is the perpetual recollection of Jesus — Healer, Teacher, Captain. It is the continuous surrender of our bodies and our souls to the grace of the Holy Spirit. But, just as certainly, it is the habitual study of the Word of Christ, written in the Holy Book.
What Christian men and women urgently need, in this hard-driven time, is to sit down in company with the Bible, and not only familiarize themselves with its contents, but hear through its verses the voice of their Redeemer and King speaking intimately to themselves. This will . . . rekindle faith, give wings to hope, and keep the flame of love aglow.
In the strength of such heavenly Bread, the Christian soldier girds himself anew for the long campaign, and the Christian traveller turns with an invigorated heart to the difficulties of the pilgrim-march on to the City of God. If only we will brood and meditate more on His Word — that divine Word will be, to these dull and uninspired souls of ours, spirit and life, wine and balm, wisdom and might!
To help towards an end so greatly to be wished, this book has been written.