"Fear not, little flock, for it is your father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32
Is it not stated in the covenant which we have established with the Lord Jesus, my dearly beloved, that he shall give us the kingdom in the same manner as his father gave it to him --- that is, that through much inward and outward tribulation, we must enter with him into the glorious incorruptible, and eternal kingdom of God; but everything according to the all wise arrangement of our heavenly father, without whose will not even a hair shall fall from our heads. Ought we then to wonder, and not rather to rejoice, when that befalls us which our Lord has previously announced to us? Yes verily, we have now much more reason to lift up our heads, with filial confidence, that our affairs go on prosperously, and that the Lord is in the midst of us with his blessing, because the adversary is so much enraged at us. If, at our first connection with Jesus, we have proclaimed war against the kingdom of darkness, it cannot be otherwise; we must expect from it in return, every species of hostility. Only let the eye of faith be steadily fixed upon him that hath loved us, and we shall be able to come off more than conquerors, for his sake, in all things, and boldly to say with that hero who had all these enemies before him with which we have at present daily to struggle,"if God be for us, who can be against us?"
Through divine goodness, much good seed has been for some time sown in and amongst us. A sifting, purification, and confirmation must now take place. The 13th chapter of Matthew must now be experimentally expounded, in order that everyone may perceive how and where he stands. For we must by no means suppose that we are to have nothing but intellectual consolation and sweetness in the company of Jesus. For although we feel it unmistakably blissful to be with him, yet all that is good must be tried, to prevent it from being lost or spoilt. The cross is therefore pure grace and goodness. No, my dear brethren, we have not entered the vessel with Jesus for the purposes of diversion and amusement. A little storm already arises, and a greater one may follow. The vessel feels the gale. Let us possess our hearts, therefore, in common and unshaken confidence in him who is in the vessel with us, who can command both the wind and the sea, in order that he need not shame us by saying, "Oh ye of little faith, wherefore did you doubt?"
And what is that it should move us? If sufferings overtake us, we shall not suffer --- God be praised --- as evildoers. We have always shown due respect, obedience, and duty towards the constituted authorities, even as we have been taught. We have not aimed at fomenting disturbances or divisions in church government; neither have we formed new sects, or intend to do so. Our consciences are at ease both upon these and upon other suspicious points which might be falsely laid to our charge. Our assembling together has been according to the apostles admonition, to provoke unto love and to good works --- to learn how we, who have put on Christ might, might also walk in him and be more and more established in him. These meetings of ours have not been privately held, but so that anyone who might have been present, gladly wishing others to enjoy those blessings which we have found and hope to find in Jesus. In short, our only aim has been how each one ought to walk in his state and vocation as a true Christian and Christian citizen. He that suspects us of anything else is either misinformed or maliciously inclined. "Who is he that will harm us, if we be followers of that which is good?" And, if we suffer notwithstanding, we suffer as Christians, and need not be ashamed of it, but glorifying God under these circumstances, by highly esteeming his reproach and by filial confidence in his faithfulness, which endures forever. Be of good courage, therefore; the cause is the Lord's --- he will bring it to pass --- his is the kingdom!
Nevertheless, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual. All the victory lies in a peaceful, passive, believing, and praying state of mind. The harsh and impetuous force of nature must be nailed to the cross of Christ, and be broken and softened by a believing descent into his meek and conciliating mind of love; so that nothing may be cherished but compassionate charity, benevolence, and in beneficence, even towards our adversaries. In this way, Christ triumphed over all the powers of hell. If we walk at the same time, worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, even those shall be added unto us who now oppose us, when they behold the beauty of truth and what blessedness we enjoy with Jesus.
Much consideration, consultation, and acting according to human prudence, is of little avail in this matter. As long as innocence remains in its native nakedness, no one can lay hold of it. All our strength, peace, and salvation must be sought in thus inwardly abiding, with a childlike spirit in Jesus. Everything is then given us at the hour and the moment when it is wanted. Let us therefore not be drawn out of our fortress nor distract ourselves with the necessary apprehensions, human forethought, and endless conversation on present circumstances, but continue so much the more within with Christ, by faith and prayer, in order to wait upon the enemy at our posts.
Let us likewise not weaken ourselves by an unbelieving view of an abiding with ourselves. We must venture ourselves on God --- he will not desert us. He pays us the cost of all we have to do and suffer for him. We ought therefore not to take our weakness or inability into account. If we only abide with filial confidence in him, we can do all things through him that strenghtheneth us. And although the Lord often lets us feel our weakness in the season of trial yet this ought not to make us afraid; it is for our good, in order that we may be no self-made heroes, but create the more helplessly into strength and he be all things and alone for us.
We have only to do with the Lord. The world acts its part. Let it do so. The Lord will carry on and complete his work in our hearts, by means and in spite of everything. Be this our only care. To this every foe must secretly contribute, although they propose the contrary. Let us then remain resigned to him, unconcerned for the future, looking solely unto him, within an inturned eye, and boldly pursue our course, forsaking more and more entirely all created things, and all we are, that Jesus alone may possess and rule in us. Oh my dear brethren let us forsake ourselves! In us there is nothing but perdition, mystery, and weakness. In Jesus there is real life and salvation. Let everyone seek and expereince it for himself. We must be found actively in him. The doors is open in his blood and near in spirit even to the greatest sinners. Ah, if they did but know it, how would they hasten to it!
Now, my brethren, receive these lines with which I have felt induced to greet you, in the simplicity of love. Be strong in the Lord. The Lord of hosts is with us with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge! Selah!"—Quoted by H. E. Govan, Gerhard Tersteegen: Life and Words, pp.93-98
Quotations of Gerhard Tersteegen