The Inner Spirit of the Cross

The following is from a pamphlet by G.D. Watson.

The act of crucifixion is one thing, but the spirit in which the crucifixion is to be borne is another. In some respects the act may be brief and finished, but the inward heart disposition that should pervade crucifixion is a continuous principle extending through life, ever widening its range over a multiplicity of applications, and growing in intensity to the end. This divinely beautiful spirit of self-immolation cannot be defined. It can only be faintly described. It is a heart quality, a soul essence too fluid to be held by words.

If we could get a vision of the soul of Jesus from the last supper to His death on the cross, and have a clear spiritual discernment of all the thoughts and feelings, and affections, and sympathies, and every quality of disposition that was in His nature during those long hours, in such a spiritual vision we should see the full-sized mind appropriate to crucifixion.

Thousands have had in greater or lesser degree a spiritual revelation in this history of the soul of Jesus. Such an insight can only be given by the Holy Ghost, for it is infinitely beyond the natural reason and imagination.

In the same proportion that we discern the inward spirit Christ had during those hours, in that proportion we can drink of that spirit, until we can suffer, bleed, and die in our measure, with the very same disposition He had.

The Quiet Spirit

It is a silent spirit. It suffers without advertising the depths of its suffering; it can be subdued, scolded, criticized, misunderstood, misrepresented, and checked and hindered in a thousand ways without a groan, or a kick, or a trace of threatening or imprudence (1 Peter 2:23).

It has calmly signed the death warrant of self. It can have a thousand little gifts and treasures, and harmless, earthly pleasures, and pleasant hopes and friendly ties snatched out of its hand, without clutching the fingers to hold on to them. […]

The Limber Spirit

It is a flexible spirit with no plans of its own. It can be turned by the finger of God in any direction without a moment’s warning. […]

It can wear old, threadbare clothes, and live on plain food from a thankful and sweet disposition, without even a thought of envy or coveting the nice things of others. it looks with a quiet, secret, joyful contempt on all the honors and pleasures, learning and culture, and the honorable splendors of earth. it inwardly despises what other people are longing to get hold of.

This is because it sees into heaven, and is so fascinated with the magnitude of coming glories, that even the pretty and honorable things of the world look ugly to it.

The rugged cross which frightens so many Christians is embraced by the spirit with a secret, subtle joy, because it knows that all suffering will enlarge and sweeten its love. What other Christians shun as hardship, it will gladly accept as an opportunity of sweeter union with God. it loves its enemies with a sweet, gentle, yearning affection utterly beyond what they would be willing to believe. It can be bruised and trampled on, and turn with a quivering, speechless lip and a tear-dimmed eye and kiss and pray for the foot that under the pretense of religious duty is trampling it in the dust.

It will not receive human honors upon itself. […] Its highest delight is in sinking into God and being little. It loves to humble itself both before God and man. It shuns debate and strife and theological argument.

It is modest and retiring and loves to get out of God’s way, and see Him work.

It does not make others wear its sackcloth.

When the soul enters sanctification it is just the beginning of the spirit which is to spread, intensify and brighten, until the crucifixion life becomes a beautiful flame of self-abnegation which takes hold of all sorts of woes and troubles, and mortifications and pains and poverties and hardship, as a very hot fire takes hold of wet logs and makes out of them fresh fuel for more self-sacrificing love. It opens the gate of heaven without touching it.

This is the spirit that wears out the patience of persecutors, that softens the hearts of stone, that in the long run converts enemies into friends, that touches the hearts of sinners, that wins its way through a thousand obstacles, that outwits the genius of the devil, and that makes the soul that has it as precious to God as the apple of His eye.

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