Chapter V

"Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."—Matt, xviii. 14.

/~\UR Lord Jesus here uses the words, " little ones,"

"both of the children of whom He spoke in verses 2 and 3, and also of the feeble and simple ones among His people: "The little ones who believe in Me" (verse 6). He says that just as surely as a man rejoices over one lost sheep, that he has found again, so the Father does not will that any one, even of the feeblest and most despised, should perish. When our Lord spoke elsewhere of His doing the Father's will, it was specially the will of God to save the lost that He meant: "I am come down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Sim that sent Me. And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that of all that which He giveth Me I should lose nothing. For this is the will of My Father, that every one that beholdeth the Son, and believeth on Him, should have eternal life." The will of the Father is the salvation of men. All the leadings of God's will, down to the minutest details of the life of every hour, have their root in this great fountain of redeeming love: that not even one of the little ones should perish. Christ's coming down from heaven, all His speaking and doing, His living and suffering and dying, it all had its unity in this: it was the revelation of God's will to save, and of Christ's surrender of Himself to do that will in saving all the Father had given Him.

When we yield ourselves to do the Father's will, must the will of God for the salvation of men be to us, as it was to Christ, the main object of our life, the one thing we do? It must indeed. The life that was in Christ is the same life that is in us. The glory of the Father; the blessedness of being the channels of the Father's love; the entire surrender to the one work the Father wants done in the world,—all these claim our devotion as much as they did that of Christ. There is an infinite difference in the part He took and the part we are to take in carrying out that will: but the will itself is to be as much the joy and the aim of our life as it was of His. The larger our apprehension of God's will, and the more complete our surrender to it in all its breadth, to be wholly possessed of it, the more surely will we grow to the stature of the perfect man in Christ Jesus, and reach our Christian maturity.

It is just here that so many Christians fail. They seek to know the will of God only in its minute details concerning themselves, and so they live practically under a law consisting in commandments and ordinances. Their own personal happiness is the first thing; obedience and sanctification are subordinate to these, as means to an end; the selfish element infects and enfeebles all their religion. They have no conception of the nobility, of the heavenly royalty of spirit, that comes to the man who forgets and loses himself, as he gives himself away to that will of God for the salvation of men. It was that will sent Christ into the world. It was that will animated Him during His whole life. It was for the breathing that will into our hearts and lives that the Holy Spirit came. It is in the being possessed by that will, even as Christ was possesed by it, yielding ourselves to the mastery of Divine Love, that the image of God is restored in us, so that we may live only to love and to bless, even as God does.

"It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." What inspiration these words have given to God's workers on behalf of orphans, of waifs and strays, of children in India perishing from famine, or in Africa from slavery! What courage to thousands of teachers for the little ones of whom they had charge! What patience and strength it has breathed into the hearts of those who have had to deal with the neglected and the outcast in every land! It was their joy and hope that they knew that they were doing the will of God. Yea, more, they knew that the mighty will of God was working itself out through them. These all have experienced how blessed it was at times to look away from their own little and limited interests and duties, and to cast themselves into that mighty stream of God's loving will, which is slowly but surely working out His blessed purpose. There they found themselves in fellowship with God's own son, and with the saints of all ages, whose one glory it had been that they had known and fulfilled the redeeming will of God.

What a change it would bring into the life of many a believer to know and love this will of the Father, to lose self, and sacrifice all in order to be mastered and consumed by its blessed fire! If you would thus know it, reader, and be possessed by it, you must make it a definite object of study and desire. Seek in meditation to get some right impression of its glory. Ask for the Holy Spirit's teaching to give you a spiritual vision of the infinite energy of the Divine Love, as it wills nothing but good to every one of its creatures. It needs time and thought and prayer; it needs the giving up of all our self-satisfaction with our limited views of God's will; it needs an opened, thirsty heart longing to be filled with the fulness of God and His will, if we are in our measure to have this will of love dwell in us and possess us. It needs above all, the indwelling of the Christ, in whom that will realised and manifested itself, to make us partakers of His own Spirit and disposition. We then can know something of that infinite will of love working itself out through us, filling the little vessel of our will out of its own living stream, and making the will of God indeed our will.

We have seen that it is doing the will of God that is the glory of heaven, the way to heaven, our likeness to the Elder Brother, and the food of our spiritual life. Let us begin doing the will of God in this aspect too, really giving ourselves to Him for this saving of the lost. It will waken within us the capacity of apprehending better the glory of the Divine will that none of the little ones should perish, and the Divine privilege of our being made partakers of it. There is no other way for us to the fellowship of God but to have one will with Him. And there is no way to this but through Christ and the participation of His Spirit. As we apprehend intelligently who and what the Christ is, and His true life, the Son come and given up to work out the Father's will and love, and accept none other but this Christ as our Lord and our life, the hope will arise that this redeeming will can master us too as its vessels and channels, that we too can go through the world filled with a Divine life, the Divine will inspiring and energising our will, and life passing out from us to those who are perishing.