As Silver is Tried
At the Victorious Life Conference, Cedar Lake, June 30, 1917
“For Thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried” (Psalm 66:10).
Probably everyone here today is a Christian, and the great need of Christians in these days is the life of victory and the life of power and the life of devotion. The man-made religious formality creeping over the earth today is the enemy of the real fire of God. If you will notice when you start a meeting, you have to keep praying, and if you are not careful the devil will throw out a wet blanket every time and try to kill it, and if he cannot do that, he sends in a lot of wild-fire so folks will go to extremes of some kind. The devil does everything he can to keep the real fire, the glowing working joy of Jesus out of a heart, because that is the greatest exhibit in this world of the power of God.
Men labor and sweat and sit up nights planning their business and their ways of making money, and their methods and program, and they say, “When I get a thousand dollars I will do so-and-so, and when I get two thousand I will do so-and-so,” and they sit down and tell their wives, “I think there is a deal going through, and we will make so and so much, and then we will be happy,” but they are not a bit happier than before. The whole world is planning for joy and doesn’t get it.
The Lord wants us to know that the joy of our life is Jesus, and nothing in the world will make a man as hungry for God as joy exhibited in the lives of His saints. A little fellow lived across the street from us in a beautiful home, when I was a lad, and they had a cook. We had ten children in our family and mother didn’t have time to do much fancy cooking, and they only had that one boy. That little “rip” would come and stand in front of my gate and eat the stuff that cook would give him, and oh, how my mouth would water. I used to wonder if I couldn’t get a fishpole and reach over the gate and hook some of those good things. He would bring tarts and bread with fancy jam on it, and my mouth would water. I wanted those things so badly. Even a sinner looking around has somebody spotted and says, “When I get it, I want it like that.” He wants that brand, and you cannot cheat him if he has ever seen the kind that goes clear through—he wants that kind.
An incident I love to repeat happened near Pittsburgh. I was outside in a little country place, preaching, and a young fellow came home from the Spanish war filled with malaria and other disease. He was a great tall man, about six feet two, and he was skin and bones, and had not long for this world. His mother was a godly woman, and had washed over a washtub for a drunken husband and her little family, and the neighbors used to see her washing, but praising God over the tubs, and they called her “Sally of the Suds,” and marveled that anyone could shout with their hands in the suds. If the old man was drunk and the washing was hard, she had a shout the backache could not beat.
Her husband came home one day. She had the stove red hot, ready to put the boiler on, and he stumbled in and fell on that red hot stove, burning himself so severely that they had to handle him very carefully to keep his entrails from coming out into the world. They took him to the hospital, and when someone came in to see her she said “Hallelujah, God is working. God is working.” Friends, could you have done that? That is victory. In spite of hell, and the devil and circumstances, my Jesus is true, and He is working and answering prayer. God brought you down to Cedar Lake to get such a vision of His face that you would forget the trial and turmoil and look up and say “God, I don’t care whether I see a step ahead or not. I see You; You are enough.”
When “Sally of the Suds” shouted when her husband was burned the neighbors said she was crazy, but she had telescopes on both eyes and could see the smile of Jesus, looking down, and hear Him saying “I am for you, I am working.” They healed her husband up at the hospital, and he recovered and was wonderfully saved. He is a blacksmith there in the village. You may talk about the weather and he will stand with his old hands on that leather apron and look at you and have little to say, but you ask him about Jesus, and he will begin to curl his tongue and say, “When you mention that Name I tell you something is tender around my heart. I look into the fire and see Him there, and look into the clouds and see Him there.”
Prayer Changes Things—Minister Nervous
There was a minister in that town who had taken a church just until he could work up into something better. I was out there preaching, and he made all kinds of fun of my faith. Praise God, we had a good time anyhow. One of the boys in the village died, and they asked me to preach his funeral sermon. I had led him to Christ and he wanted me to tell the fellows how he found Jesus. We had to go around a hill from the church to the graveyard with the body, and the minister and the choir always walked over the hill.
“Sally of the Suds” boy had come back from war, filled with dirty low-down sin before God. He had come home yellow and gaunt, and he wouldn’t come into the church and sit down, but he was leaning against the window looking at me, and I said to myself, “Yes, Bud, I will be preaching your funeral sermon in a week or so.” My heart went out to the fellow, and God put him on my heart because the mother was praying. As I walked out of the house, he was going to go around me, and I grabbed him and put my arm through his. He hated me and knew what I was going to talk to him about, but I got hold of his arm and the preacher’s arm and said, “Listen, Harry, you want Jesus and you know you do. The next sermon that is preached here will be yours. You have got to get right, and you know what right is. You know the Gospel, and how Jesus can save you, and you ought to give up to Him, my boy.” The minister cracked a joke and started to push that stuff away, and to get nervous. Isn’t it funny how these moderns get nervous on old-time salvation, and avoid it?
We finished the funeral service, and I walked away to the foot of the hill with the minister, and he said, “Rader, I don’t believe in that kind of a way of dealing with a boy. That fellow is all right, a pretty good fellow, and I have been talking to him about the Church.” I replied, “Bosh about the Church. That fellow knows the difference between the church and salvation.” “Let me tell you,” he said, “if his mother would just stop that shouting and talking to him that boy would be all right, and I could have gotten him into the Church long ago; but that mother of his just ‘gets his goat,’ and he doesn’t like that kind of thing. I have told him he doesn’t have to do that—just come into the Church.” I said to him, “I am a younger man than you, but let me tell you, you are dead wrong. Whenever Harry gets it he wants what his mother has.” He said, “Not on your life.” I said, “If Harry is saved I will prove it to you that he will get what his mother has or nothing. He is laughing up his sleeve at you, and if he is lost he will curse you, if he dies and slips into hell, because you didn’t bring him to Jesus. Tell him the truth in spite of your wisdom.”
Old Fashioned Salvation
He was laid upon my heart, by the prayers of his mother, and one day I said to Mrs. Rader, “the folks were talking about apple-butter, so I guess I’ll drive around past his house.” I knew he didn’t want to see me, but I was going to help him somehow and try and grab him by the nape of the neck and shake him up and let Jesus save him.
He was sitting on the front porch as I drove by, and I called out to him, “I’ll be back in a minute,” and he answered, “All right, come back.” I went on to the next home and helped make apple-butter for about five rounds, and then came back as quickly as I could for fear he would get away. I said, “What about it, Harry?” He said, “I am awfully glad you came. I have got to settle this thing. I know what I ought to do.” I said, “Let’s do it now, will you?” He said, “yes.”
We knelt there on the little porch outside, and the buggies and people were going right by and folks could see us, but that didn’t make any difference, and Harry bawled it out to God, and he said, “Jesus, save me good. Save me like You saved Dad and like You saved Ma. Jesus, I want to shout while I am dying.” He wanted the kind his mother had; and the minute we got up I opened the screen door and there she was with her old blue apron covered with suds, wiping the tears out of her eyes; and she grabbed him. She had been down by the couch praying while we were out there, and she said, “Jesus it is all answered now.” At the last he couldn’t shout much, but he kept opening and shutting his hand, saying, “You know what I mean, I am opening my mouth for Jesus.”
As Silver is Tried
If you expect to have this life of victory you must take the criticism of the world. You mustn’t expect them to understand you. They may not understand you, but they cannot get over your joy in the hard places. You have to be tried, and when you say “Jesus do you love me?” the answer comes back, “Sure, but I have got to try you as silver is tried.”
Now what are we tried for? I never could see that until I found out why silver was tried. It is because they don’t want anything in the boiling mass but silver; and He doesn’t want anything in us but the Spirit, and He says, “I am burning you all the time to get ashes out of the flesh.” You have turned it over to Him in order that you might be all silver and all gold; and to get the alloy out is all He wants, so He puts us in the furnace and tries us through but He is in the fire with us.
You know the three children of Israel that were thrown into the fiery furnace didn’t get burned, but something about them was burned—the bands with which they had tied them. They had bound them and thrown them in, but they were walking around in the furnace, and One in the midst. He never lets you burn alone. You cannot, you would burn up. He wants the life that is Christ to be all and in all to you; and you let Him burn everything else away. When He touches anything of dross you have to go right down before God and let Him humble you in spite of what men and women or people say, you have to let Him do it, and you will come out good silver.
God’s Stamp Mill
Up in the Rockies in the gold region you get gold in the rocks. God put it into the rocks. He opened them up and put the gold in veins or layers, so that it is all sprinkled in mixed with the quartz. They find this vein of gold, but when they get it out it is in great big chunks of white quartz—mighty hard stuff. They take the rock out in big chunks, and then they have a stamp mill close to the mine. There they have great big pieces of iron that are lifted by machinery, and the rock goes under and they drop the ore chunks with gold in them or silver down, a chute, and the stamp keeps dropping and the stuff is just ground to powdered silver, dirt and gold. There it hammers all day long, and after it is hammered a long while it is turned over and keeps on being hammered until it goes out just dust and dirt. Then they put it through another stamp mill, and the poor old stuff says, “Aren’t we hammered enough?” “No,” comes the answer, “I am going to hammer you some more.” Then it goes out into the riffle, and the water runs over it and the silver and gold drop down in the washboard part, and the water washes off the dirt and grit and then they put it through some more water and wash it some more, and near by you will see a pile of white stuff which looks like white mud; but back here you see the silver and the gold, and they stop the mills and clean it up and you can reach your finger in one of the grooves like a washboard has and take a handful of gold—the prettiest stuff you ever saw.
That is all God is after. He is not going to take any of the granite to heaven. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God,” not carnality—the Adam stuff has all got to be left down here; and now He is trying to refine me and get me to live in the Spirit, to walk in this new life of gold that He has put in my heart. He says, “I have put that life into an earthen vessel, and there is pride all around about it, and selfishness,” and you know He has given you a new heart, when you were converted, and you are so proud of your gold, and say, “I know I have the gold in my heart,” and people see it in you; but sometimes you say, “Lord, I don’t seem to show the gold to the world. You are the gold and I don’t exhibit you to the world.” He answers, “I am going to try you like silver is tried.” Therefore He has to break and humble us and then cleanse us.
So I just ask Him to keep putting me through the stamp mill all the time, and to bring me to the place where God can get out of my life what He wants, the real ministry, the Spirit, the Life of Jesus Christ, so that others may see Him and glorify Him.
Grieving the Spirit
How often you grieve Him, and that grieving hardens you. God may have told you to testify tonight, and you didn’t do it, and grieved Him or quenched Him. If He didn’t tell you to, it is all right. Now He says, “Don’t grieve the Holy Ghost, or quench the Spirit.” The Spirit will put you in the place where the hammer will hit you if you let Him take you where He wants to; but if you don’t mind the Spirit you go back into your coldness, and resist His best for you. You say, “You folks seem to have a deep settled peace, but I don’t have it. Why?” You didn’t mind God. His Spirit calling now wants to conduct you into your inheritance in Christ, which is in victory.
If he is shining and glowing within, He is all you need. They tell the story of a fellow who was up on the witness stand and the lawyer said, “Look here, Sambo, you tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You tell all you know about the wreck.” “But I am scared to death,” Sambo replied. “Well, what are you scared for if you tell the truth?” “That’s all right, but I’m scared to death.” When he got on the stand the lawyer asked him, “Did you have a red lantern?” “Yes, sir,” came the answer. “When the train stopped did you go to the rear and walk back with the lantern so many feet?” “Yes, sir, I walked back with that lantern.” “After you got on the train then the wreck occurred?” “Yes, sir.” “That is all.” As he came down off the witness stand the old man exclaimed, “My, but I am glad!” “What are you so nervous about?” “Boss, I was afraid he was going to ask me if I had that lantern lit.”
Shining for Jesus
Some folks are afraid the world will look in and ask them if they have their lantern lit in the dark wreck time. You are in the Church, and take part in meetings, but you haven’t the lamp lit, and if the lamp isn’t shining, what is the good of it? Our character may shine, but we get credit for that, and listen, friends, it is my business to praise God, because if I don’t I am a cheat. If the world looks at me and says, “Rader is getting along nicely, he is a happy man,” they are giving Rader the credit he doesn’t deserve. Jesus made him happy and he must live in such a way that Jesus gets all the praise or Rader is a cheat and a robber, taking credit for something that doesn’t belong to him. When someone asks, “How are you feeling this morning?” and you say “Feeling fine” and pass it up at that, you grieve the Spirit. He has given you an opening.
A boot-black gave me a lesson. I said to him, “How are you feeling?” and he said, “I am feeling kind of poor, but one more shoe shine would make me feel powerful good.” He was looking for business. And when somebody says, “How are you feeling?” and you say “pretty good,” but you don’t tell them why, you miss such a nice little chance to slip something in for Jesus. That is the life that is Jesus, and you know it. You cannot live it, He lives it. It is Himself, and whenever that other stuff of the old nature gets anywhere near it, it only mars His blessed face, and His tender, sweet, pathetic Spirit that you know is within your heart, it mars it and spoils your testimony. It is all in Him and it is a gift that is a life, that life will live itself out in you if you will let it. Will you let go and let Him live His life in you?