Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Others May, You Cannot

I have an admission: I skip the long quotes featured in blog posts, articles, and books. I don't even bother to read texts that feature more quotes than original ideas.

I have analyzed and reanalyzed the psychology of this vice in an attempt to eradicate it, to no avail. I will continue to be a sheepish long-quote-skipper.

But I have no problem asking you, dear reader, to plow through a blog post that is almost entirely a quote from someone else.

My mom introduced me to this short essay last semester. I have revisited it over and over. I will probably continue to revisit it for the rest of my life.

I hope it encourages you like it encouraged me.

“Others May, You Cannot”
George Douglas Watson, 1845-1924
(Public Domain)
If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you to a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it; and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their success, of their writing, but the Holy Sprit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him, that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants you to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do a work for him and get the credit of it, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He may let others get the credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own.

He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with you. But if you absolutely sell yourself to be His…slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, bestow upon you many blessings which come only to those who are in the inner circle.

Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now when you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.

© by scj


  1. I'm a long quote skipper, too. I also have no patience for headings. Maybe it's a firstborn thing?

    But I'm very much blessed for having read this particular "long quote." Thank you, Sarah.

    (I know I'm always referencing Spurgeon, but this essay reminded me of his words, "We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten boughs of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ." Hope you don't mind reading a wee bit of a quote ;).)

  2. I, too, am prone to skipping long quotes. Except the ones in red. And then my soul soars. I do love this essay, and am putting it in my stash of good things to remember on my hard drive.

  3. Julianna,

    Hmmm, perhaps it is a firstborn thing. We should take a poll. ;)

    I'm thankful the essay was encouraging. Thank you for your Spurgeon quote (I love them all! Keep 'em coming). His imagery reminds me of David Crowder's song "Love like a hurricane." Fiercely merciful. Love it.

  4. Aunt Peg,

    Oh yes, the red quotes are the most life-giving! I love the image of your soul soaring...I hope, in heaven, whenever our souls soar our bodies can follow.

    Love you,