(Alexander Smellie, "The Hour of Silence" 1899)
"I did not come to bring peace, but a sword!" Matthew 10:34
Not peace, but a sword! Lord Jesus, this is a hard saying! Teach me to believe it, and to submit to the ordeal — sharp and piercing and painful though it may be.
Between me and my world, Christ's sword may pierce with its remorseless edge. He separates me . . .
from old sinful habits,
from old sinful employments,
from old sinful pleasures,
from old sinful friendships.
He divides me from the society in which I was accustomed to move. "Your home is no longer there!" He says. And I go out from the familiar surroundings, into an untrodden region and realm.
Between me and my nearest and dearest — Christ's sword may pierce pitilessly. Perhaps the loved ones of my own house will have nothing to do with my Redeemer and Lord. Perhaps they see no beauty in Him, that they should desire Him. Then, in the deepest and noblest things, they and I will stand apart — a sundering tide rolling between us. And how immeasurably sad that will be!
Between me and myself — Christ's sword is sure to pierce with a blade that does not spare! The I, the self — which used to be so vain, so confident, so proud — must be slain outright! Its days of pride, pleasure and selfishness must end — until I can say, "It is no more I who live — but He — my Prophet, my Priest, my King — who lives in me!" What a change that is! What a martyrdom!
It is painful, this stroke of Christ's sword. But the old confessor was right: "The nearer the sword — the nearer Heaven!" If I am victim — I am victor too. Smitten down by Jesus — I am not destroyed, but crowned!