It is quite obvious that there was a time in the life of the Apostle Paul when he had not learned this lesson and when he was not content in whatsoever state he was. It would seem that many years must have passed in his life’s span before he learned this lesson. It was not a lesson that he easily learned and I am sure he did not learn this lesson in the great educational establishments of his age. There were great schools of philosophy in Paul’s time, and some of the ancient philosophers did teach the goodness of contentment, but though they taught the goodness of this they did not know the secret of its attainment. They looked upon it as something advisable and good, which would be beneficial if possessed but there was nothing in their teaching that clearly shewed others how they could attain the true spirit of contentment. Such teachers suggested that if men would exercise their will more strongly in this matter and with greater vigour of purpose then, instead of being discontented, they might reach a state of contentment. Yet in the philosophical axioms of the past ages, I have never heard a statement that is comparable to this of the Apostle. The philosophers would say, and this seems to be a fair summary of their teaching, “If you can be content, then you will be happy”. But Paul says, “I have that happiness, I am now content. In whatever state I am, I am contented there”. Notice particularly that he had LEARNED this.
True, there are some “Self taught” people who have taught themselves and achieved a high standard of attainment, but Paul here is not speaking of something that he had taught himself. He has sat down, if I may put it like this, in the lowest place of a certain ‘school’, and there he has been favoured to attend on a wise and gracious Teacher. That Teacher, even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, taught him and greatly blessed him in the teaching so that in whatsoever state he finds himself, there he is contented.
This is an all-embracing word. It is tremendously extensive, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content” There were many things of which Paul had a painful and solemn knowledge that he was certainly not contented with them. It would be blasphemous to suggest that the teaching of the Holy Spirit, in the heart of the Apostle, had made him willing to be contented with sin, content to be dominated by sin, or to know the power of sin in its dreadful evil in all his powers without any resistance to it, content to be completely subjugated to the power of the devil, the world and the flesh. Dreadful would be such a suggestion. The thing that is alien to God must of necessity be alien to the “New Heart” of those who are quickened and taught by the Lord. The things that are
dishonouring to Christ must be very objectionable to those who have the “Mind of Christ” and that which vexes and grieves the Holy Spirit shall be truly offensive and grievous to those who are taught by the Holy Spirit.
Paul does complain very solemnly, very bitterly, against the evil and dreadful power of sin, both as he knows it in himself and views it in others. In Romans 7 there is a statement in which this is clearly shewn. He writes, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man, but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with my flesh, the law of sin”.
It might be said, “Surely Paul would be glad to be delivered from the power and assault of sin and Satan, against which he was so constantly striving”. He tells us that when at last he shall be delivered from the “Body of sin and death” it will be “Far better” for him. It is as though he said to us, “If I should continue here to labour in the Lord’s Name with great blessing and abounding prosperity attending my labours, yet to be taken into the immediate presence of Jesus Christ will indeed be a great and blessed thing, far better than anything else I have known or ever could know”.
But notice, that the Apostle, plagued with indwelling sin and opposed by the fury of the Devil, can say before the Lord, “Because of the grace of God that is granted to me,Â—I thank God through Jesus Christ the Lord,Â—there is a way of overcoming, a way of victory. The effect of the sad and solemn lessons that I have had to learn concerning myself has been to deliver me from self righteousness, and has been beneficial in the teaching that I have been able to give to others. Therefore, though I know the nature and virulence of the plague, yet also I know the remedy, this grace of God. The Lord has wrought in me a sweet contentment with that great grace of God that has prevailed against the sin in me; and whilst this grace prevails, I am content to be in whatsoever state the Lord would have me to be in”.
Paul was a much tempted man. No one could write of the “Wiles of the devil” as he did, except he has known them in painful experience. There is no single child of God, whatever be their state of calling, who will be exempt from the temptations of the devil. It may be said, “Surely it would be a state of far greater happiness and peace if Paul should be taken completely from all assaults of the wicked one”. Yes, indeed it would be; to be with Christ, to be completely beyond the touch of the devil, would be “Far better”. But he knew that his God and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, was allowing these temptations, these furious assaults of Satan, that he should prove, and be able to preach to others of,
the Mighty Power of the Lord to hold and deliver, to give him the victory against these temptations. Although he knows the dreadful power of the devil and the grief that all this does occasion, yet he can say, “Because the Lord giveth the victory, I will be content in whatsoever state the Lord purposes for me to remain in whilst I am here. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”.
Paul had to live in the world. I know that the world, its spirit and its ways are a great offence to some of you. Wherever the Lord has given “Repentance and remission of sin”, working separation from sin and satan. He will also separate these children of His love from the world. The spirit of this world is satanic and the people of God, all true believers, will know a Divine work of separation from it. There is a distinctive mark upon them in that they are separated from worldliness. Where this is seen you may be sure that such persons will have to suffer much at the hand of worldlings. The Jews who had a very worldly spirit in their religious profession were Paul’s bitterest enemies, and the Pagans, essentially worldly, were his constant persecutors. Consequently, Paul had to suffer much at the hand of the “World” He could not agree with the world or its spirit, and was completely opposed to its ways and denied its glory. He was greatly afflicted by the world but yet he was in the place the Lord would have him to be, and where the Lord would demonstrate the wonders of His grace in preserving and delivering a poor, afflicted, persecuted man from the spirit, ways and evil of the world. So the dear man could write, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”.
Let us consider the meaning of Paul’s words in the earlier part of the verse, “Not that I speak in respect of wantÂ—”. Just a word or two concerning the condition of Paul at that time. He was a prisoner in Rome, and if we have any knowledge of the condition of ancient prisons we may be sure that the lot of Paul was far from comfortable. He would be on short commons and there could be little if anything that would be of any pleasure to him. Many people who previously had visited him, could not, or would not, now do so. We know there was a time during his imprisonment when he could receive visitors but such liberties were curtailed later. His condition must have been one of constant discomfort and frustration.
At this time the Church of Philippi had, shall we say, a Church Meeting; at least some gathering of the members of that local church must have taken place; to consider in what way they could help God’s servant. They could say, “God sent him to us, he was endued with the Holy Spirit, he stayed among us for some time and the Lord wonderfully blessed his ministry among us. We know that he was a willing sufferer for our sakes whilst he was
here. He was imprisoned here and the Lord wonderfully delivered him. Many of us owe to him, as the Lord’s instrument, all that we possess in our souls of a good hope through grace. This was the Lord’s gift to us through him”.
These Philippian Christians were not careless as to the welfare of Paul. He had ministered to them, as on another occasion he said, “In spiritual things”; and now they are concerned relative to his personal comfort and supply, they would minister to him in “Carnal things”. (1 Corinthians 9, 11). They purpose to send to him some provision for his need that he might have a few comforts in his distress; and they send it, not by the general courier of the Roman post, but by one of their own numberÂ—that he might not only deliver the gift but also be of personal and spiritual comfort to PaulÂ—by one who was highly esteemed by Paul and was very dear to the church at Philippi. They were willing to give and send the best that they had! In effect the Apostle writes, “I did not desire a gift from you. There was nothing that I said or even suggested, there was no message from me that caused you to think that I wanted a gift from you. It came spontaneously, out of your heart, in love to me for the Lord’s sake. The same Spirit that had used my ministry to your soul’s good, has wrought this good thing in your heart to me. I wish you to have in mind that I did not seek this gift and I am not speaking in respect of my want as an occasion of my gratitude. This is not the first gift of this nature that I have received, and in these things I find occasion for greater gratitude to the Lord. I did desire and pray that fruit may abound in you, gospel fruit to the glory of God. This I see so clearly now and am full, my heart is full, having received that which is an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. For this there is, in my heart, a spirit of great thanksgiving to God”.
Every true servant of God longs to know and see the work of the Lord in the hearts and lives of those to whom he ministers. It is this, when it is seen, that makes him really glad. If he cannot see this in those to whom he ministers the gospel he must of necessity be sad. “The peaceable fruits of righteousness” must ever be the occasion of gratitude to the Lord, both in the hearts of those in whom it is seen, and also in the minister and members of the church, who have been praying to the Lord for this blessing to be evidenced.
Paul had seen many evidences of the Lord’s power and grace at Philippi whilst he was there, and had heard more since he left there, particularly from the account of Epaphoditus. His heart rejoiced to hear this, and his love to the people at Philippi grows stronger and his prayer for them increases (See Philippians 1, 4, 7, 8, 9/11). An objection may be raised here. “Surely”, some may say, “If Paul hears such a good report of the Philippians, what is the need for his continued prayers for them? Surely he has seen
his prayers answered and has the assurance that the work so blessedly begun will have a full end”. (Phil. 1, 6). Yes, these things have been granted, but Paul knows the weakness of the flesh, the seduction of the world and the powerful and deceptive designs of the devil, and would continue in prayer because of their dangers. But in addition to this he prays that that which has already been known of the Lord’s grace in the Philippians might “Abound yet more and more” in them.
What is the lesson here? Think not that if, by the grace of the Lord in you, some good things have found a place and some fruit in the service of the Lord and for His dear Name’s sake, that what you possess and have been enabled to do is the limit, and no more should be asked for or expected.
May we be delivered from a proud satisfaction with the things attained and, whilst thanking the Lord for the grace given thus far, beg of Him to give us all needed grace to abound yet more and more in the Lord, to the greater humbling of our spirit and the increase of His glory among men.
If the Lord sees fit to cut off some way of our abounding in the work and word of the Lord, He can readily and suitably open up some other way for this abounding. Think you that this “Abounding” must terminate if the Lord lays you on your back on your bed? No. The Lord grant when in that position, with all its pain and helplessness, you may abound more and more in confession, true repentance, spiritual desire to the Lord, in prayer for yourself and for those around you, in praise and thanksgiving, as not only opportunity is given, but the grace of our “Remembrancer” also, to meditate upon the “Way the Lord hath led” during the busy years when, alas, we have so often forgotten the mercies of the Lord.
The Apostle was virtually in that position. He was cut off from all that he had been engaged in to the glory of the Lord. But still he is “Content”. He has been a constantly travelling evangelist; now he is a prisoner. Previously he has been in close contact with the churches all over Asia Minor and South-Eastern Europe, now he can no longer visit them. The word that he had preached in so many places had been greatly blessed to many souls, now he can neither go to the Synagogue for that purpose nor preach in some school of Tyrannus. He had been active in every good work of practical relief of the brethren, in personally assisting the needy, afflicted and distressed Christians and ministering gospel succour to them; now these activities, that had been the great delight of this man of God, were almost completely cut off. Yet, the dear man still says, “I am content”. “I know both how to be abasedÂ—that is my present position,Â—but I know also how to abound”.
Behold the wonder of this word, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”. The Apostle could say, “The state in which I am now in is not of my choice. I did not
design or purpose to come here. Months ago, as I was travelling in Asia, the Lord shewed me that I must come to Rome as a prisoner (Acts 21, 10/12). He sent one of His prophets to shew me this and gave me of His grace that, in love and obedience to Him, I did not seek to avoid going to Jerusalem, where I should be apprehended, but was able to refuse all persuasion to the contrary. That which the Lord revealed to me has come to pass exactly and this is the will of the Lord for me. I am content”.
It is a very great blessing from the Lord when in our heart, mind and will this contentment is known. Do you ask how Paul learned this lesson? Let it be made quite clear that certain persons, such as Paul, do not possess great natural abilities by the use of which they learn spiritual lessons more easily and more perfectly than others. “Surely”, you may say, “Paul learned this lesson of contentment more perfectly than you have done”. Yes that is true, but that does not imply that Paul shall have the glory for the lesson he has learned. I must put it like that. Paul did indeed abound in that lesson because the Lord, in His sovereign grace, and in a very wonderful school, taught him lessons of wisdom, understanding and spiritual truth, giving him a gracious ability above many to learn and practise the lessons.
Now consider this wonderful school and these experiences of Divine instruction. To learn this lesson of contentment the Apostle Paul was taken into the “School” of the Lord Jesus Christ, that “Wonderful, Counsellor”, and taught by none other than the Holy Spirit. Many persons do not believe in the existence of the Holy Spirit, and many others only give lip service to Him. He does exist, the Third Person of the ever-blessed and all-glorious Trinity. He was all-powerful in the life and days of Paul and is still all-powerful today. He is one with the Father and with the Son. The glory of the Father in the gift of His eternal Son, Jesus Christ, and the glory of Christ in His great work of redemption, is one with the glory of the Holy Spirit in His great work of regeneration and sanctification.
It was into this “School” of the Lord Jesus Christ that Paul was admitted and there he was taught most valuable lessons. A great primal lesson which was truly contributory to this “Contentment”, was the lesson of his own sinfulness. A lesson was taught on the Damascus road, where the Lord said to him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me”, but it did not end there. There and then this rebellious hateful sinner, determined in his trespasses and sins, particularly in the persecution of the followers of Christ even to death, was brought to know that he was a wretched sinner in the sight of God and he never forgot that lesson.
That is the wonder of it. We send our children to school and at great cost they are taught their lessons and, in many cases, they forget them! The loss of memory is a very sad thing. We do
so easily forget, yes, even lessons that the Lord taught us in past days but the Lord does not intend that all shall be forgotten. Even when it is forgotten He still can renew it in the memory and very often does so with blessed effect. Be assured that if the Lord takes you into His own “School”, if he places you in this lowly class that Paul was brought into, you will have cause, and be enabled, to remember the solemn lessons the Lord has taught you there concerning yourself. We shall have renewed cause to remember this early lesson, that we are sinners in the sight of God and that we are dependant upon the Lord Jesus Christ absolutely for “Every grace and every favour”. All the adjectives we may add to that word, “Sinner”, can never fully describe the awfulness and destitution of the word.
There is a deep solemnity and yet great blessedness in the learning of such lessons. The tuition goes on right through life and, as the Lord shall reveal His Son and His grace to the soul in the midst of soul affliction and sorrow, the student in this “School” will be able to declare later on, “This is one of the lessons that I have been taught and have been made wise to learn, and it is connected with every moment of real contentment that I have ever known”.
That the Lord should grant the added favour of afflictive suffering for Christ’s sake to such a sinner, that they should ever be able, or willing to suffer shame or affliction of any kind for His Name, this, indeed, is an honour to be truly valued and not despised. Where this is the honoured position of such sinners, though they may be so sorely beset by sin, satan, and the world, with much adversity in their “Narrow way” and a multitude of personal afflictions, yet they have learned a lesson which will lead to the place where they shall be able to say, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”.
There is another valuable lesson which is taught in the same “School”, and this is the great grace of God towards them through His dear Son, Jesus Christ. Have you seen something of the wonders of Divine grace in Jesus Christ? The height and depth and length and breadth, which can only be known in limited degree in this life, of the love of God in the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, who came from heaven, the Eternal Son of God? This dear Saviour lived that life of righteousness that there might be hope for all those who believe on Him, and died a dreadful death under the curse of an outraged justice, for sins not His own, thereby putting away the sin and guilt of His believing people by the offering of Himself and the shedding of His blood. Is it not there, in the Garden and at the Cross by faith, that these spiritual “Students” gaze with sorrow and yet with a humbled thankful heart, and say, “Surely He, this lovely one, is too wise to err and too good to be unkind”. I would drop into His arms outright and believe that what He designs for me must be for the best! In that
“School”, by the manifestation of the Glory and Grace of Christ, by the wonder of His Wisdom, the touch of His Love to my heart, and the blessed application of His Word to the soul of a wretched sinner, unworthy of the slightest token of Divine Mercy, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”.
You may reply, and be troubled in the reply, “I have not learned that lesson to anything like the degree that the Apostle Paul had done”. Honesty requires the confession that I have not learned the lesson to anything like that degree. I am quite sure that I should not speak, act or think as I do if I had learned this lesson more perfectly. But I feel to be in the position of a dear man of God who, when he was reminded of the extensive nature of the precepts of the Gospel, said with such feeling, “These things, alas, are not yet my full attainment, but the Lord knows that they are my desire”. Is it so with you? Or are you so wrapped up with your own will and purposes, and so sure of your ability to accomplish that which you are seeking for the gratification of conceit and, perhaps, self righteousness, that you have forgotten, if you ever had the experience, when you went alone and bowed before the Lord saying, “Lord, thou seest where I am. I know not what to do or where to go or what path to take. I am as a foolish ignorant child. I need Thee to open the path for me, to put me where thou wilt have me to be, and work in me a spirit of obedience to Thy will”. What a difference there is here! Is not the condition of a truly humbled soul that which the Lord will use to bring them to the place of contentment? Perhaps there may be in your path at the present time something that is so contradictory to your wishes, even to your requests in prayer to the Lord, that it is evident that you are not content with where you are nor of what is happening to you. How sad this is, and what need there is for us, in such a state, to be taken again into the “School” of the Ever-Wise Teacher and taught some further valuable lessons of contentment with the Lord’s will. Surely there is no more embracing summary of true prayer than “Lord, Thy will be done”.
Asaph was a man who was wonderfully blessed by the Lord. There is no doubt about that. He was a sweet singer of Israel, an inspired Psalmist. God employed him in that wonderful way, causing him to write under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so that through so many years his words have been read with profit, instruction and delight by a multitude of sinners. In Psalm 73 he tells of a certain condition of spirit that he was in. At that time, he was looking upon a rich man, or considering the state of many rich men, and envied their prosperity though they were very wicked men. They had no real thought of God and not the slightest compunction with regard to their violent and sinful actions. Sharp practices seemed to be their constant action and they had no fear of God or man before their eyes. They went their own way, seemed to accomplish everything they purposed, gathering their “Gains”, everything they did prospered. But Asaph tells us that it was not
so with him. He did not prosper as the wicked men did and began to be very envious. He could not understand why he, a servant of God, a child of God, and one who hoped that he had found favour with the Lord, should be in the trouble and loss that he experienced at that time, whilst persons who were so determined in their wickedness should prosper as they did. So it was, until one day he went into the Sanctuary. Whilst Asaph may have gone to Shiloh at that time, it is not just going to a Tabernacle or Temple which automatically brings about what he experienced then. To go into the sanctuary, in the sense in which Asaph speaks, is to be brought into the presence of the Lord with true knowledge of the One into whose presence we are brought.
You may go again and again to chapels and churches, listen to the forms of service that are conducted there; you may join in the parts of the service in which the congregation joins, but you will never learn the lesson that Paul learnt, by the natural observation of such activities. If, however, you are brought sensibly and by the Holy Spirit into the presence of the Holy God, beholding His awesome Glory and the great grace of that God in Christ Jesus;Â—if you are truly brought into that “Sanctuary”, to see the true nature of the Sacrifice for sinÂ—your sin and my sinÂ—you will then be able to rightly put these perplexing things into the balances of the Sanctuary, to know the awful end of the wicked as opposed to the blessed end of the afflicted godly man.
It is then that we shall truly know the self abasing experience of Asaph, “I was as a beast before thee”. To think that I should be the subject of such favour as this, even in His withholding things from me which He knew would be harmful and dangerous to me did I possess them, and that I should envy the wicked and despise His sovereign grace and providence. Shame upon me. In His loving care He has withholden such things, but what has He given? Hope! Hope towards God through Jesus Christ. Hope for eternity through Jesus Christ. Hope of sins forgiven and righteousness provided for the guilty. Hope, even in death, through the same blessed Jesus. Hope of Resurrection at last by Jesus Christ. “I was as a beast before thee”, said Asaph, and it was there that he learned another lesson concerning spiritual contentment, content now to suffer loss and affliction even whilst the wicked seemed to prosper for a time. May the Lord grant to all of us an entrance into this “Sanctuary” so that, although the wicked prosper and “There are no bands in their death” whilst some of the people of God are long troubled with the fear of death, we may be brought to that blessed place of the contentment of faith.
How great is the blessedness of poverty with Christ, how sad is the possession of great riches without Him. A short time ago visiting a very dear friend she told me of the difficulties which had arisen concerning her pension and of how troubled she was about this. After speaking for some time and reading of the Scriptures
and prayer, she said, “Well, despite it all, I am perfectly sure of this, that if everything I have got should go before I die, the Lord will not fail in His promise”. Here was a case of having learned in whatsoever state she was therewith to be content.
Be assured of this that the resources of the “Bank of Faith” are far greater than that of any national bank or all of them put together. The security of the kingdom of heaven is absolute, so different from all the schemes of national security. Paul could say with complete assurance, “The Lord took me, admitted even me, into His ‘School of true learning’. He shewed me myself, which with all my studies elsewhere I had never known. He shewed Himself to me in Christ Jesus, and I was able to believe in Him despite all my previous sinful antipathy towards Him. How great was His mercy! He gave me a sure interest in the Promises which are Yea and Amen in Him, and unfolded to me, in a most wonderful way, the secrets and unalterable nature of the Covenant of Grace. He assured my heart of an interest in this glorious Covenant and I have, in this graciously provided and wonderful School, learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content”.
A closing word concerning death itself. A dear man of God, Ellis Warboys, who for many years was a deacon of the Strict Baptist Church at Oakington, Cambridgeshire, had a great fear of death. Not that he had been left in uncertainty as to his portion after death itself, but he had a great fear of the article of death itself. In this he was not dissimilar to many others. How wonderfully the Lord taught him in this school! Some fifteen years before he died, his doctor told him that he could not live very long as he was suffering from an incurable disease. He was in great trouble about this, and I think it would be a correct description of his distress to say that, like Hezekiah, he turned his face to the wall and wept. He did not really want to see anyone, his only hope was in the Lord Himself. The Lord gave him many years of life as He did to Hezekiah, in which to learn fresh lessons in the “School” of grace, though he was an elderly man at the time. At the end he could peacefully declare, “I have learned in whatsoever state I amÂ—as weakness comes to my body and death cannot be far awayÂ—therewith to be content”. At last the Lord took him to Himself just after speaking in prayer one Monday evening in the Chapel Schoolroom.
Oh, to have a blessed hope in the soul, sealed by the Holy Spirit, that when the time comes that the Lord shall call our soul from our body, it will be far better. Do you say, “If I had that assurance of faith I would be content”? May the Lord grant this to you. But do not think that, if the Lord gave you that sacred assurance today, you would then be able to dispense with all lessons in the Lord’s “School”. Go to Him alone day by day with confession of every movement of discontent in your spirit and plead for pardon and restoration. Seek the blessed aid of the Holy
Spirit that, as this may assault you, there may be an overcoming through Him that hath loved you. He is able. He is willing.
What occasion I have, and with increasing frequency as I get older, to reason with my soul and say, “O soul, go to the Lord n the midst of all that which would occasion discontent and beg of Him that He would teach you more, and yet more valuable lessons about yourself, about Himself, of the riches of His grace, of His fidelity. His eternal purposes of love, about the promises hat He has given. Lean upon Him alone and trust Him for all hat may be needed”.
“I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”. This statement is a most humbling one. This dear man as to say, “The Lord took me away from all that I was conceited bout, from all trust in myself and my own righteousness. He shewed me the falsity of my own will and the inveterate sinfulness of my nature. He took me into His own ‘School’, He stripped me and humbled me by shewing me what I am, unworthy, wretched and hell-deserving. He made me truly dependent upon His grace and now I would depend upon no other. There, in His ‘School’ He so drew my heart to Him that I was able to commit all my way unto the Lord and trust in Him that He would bring to pass all that, in the good purpose of His grace, did concern me and my true welfare. Where I am, what I am by His grace, and what is appointed me to endure, is His plan for me; it is the unfolding of the purpose of His love and the demonstration of His abiding and unchanging grace. He has not forsaken me, blessed be His Name. I have learned there, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”.
Let me relate an incident that concerned a dear man of God who lived in East Anglia. If ever there was a man among the members of the church there who was subject to affliction and distress, he was the man. I need not enter upon the nature of His troubles but he was sorely tried in faith. However, on one occasion he was called upon to pray publicly. At that time he could see, by faith, that all these things had come upon him by Divine appointment and were in the Lord’s covenant love to him. He could then see that the Lord had some good purpose in the afflictions that had come upon him. He turned to the Lord and, in a very artless way, said, “Lord, thou wilt never say to me, ‘I never knew thee’, for Thou hast had so much to do with me”.
“I have learned in whatsover state I am, therewith to be content”. His Hand has been upon me. His lessons have been taught me. He has taken me into His own “School” and like Mary I have sat at His feet. He has taught me invaluable lessons and, blessed be His Name, He has so impressed them in my heart that the effect of them is still with me. I truly desire to be more contented with my lot than I have ever been before”.