True Christian Character not Grown Overnight
Rev. Dr. Price Urges 100 Percent Consecration Meeting for Sick Tonight
The fashioning of a vessel of clay upon the potters wheel and its ultimate testing in the furnace to prove its strength was the simile chosen by the Rev. Dr. C. S. Price as the basis of his evangelistic address at the Metropolitan Church last evening. The evangelist chose as his text the words from Jeremiah:
“Then I went down to the potter’s house and behold he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.”
The Word As Light
Directing the attention of the audience to the recurrence throughout the Bible of the words:
“The word of the Lord came to…,” Dr. Price observed that God spoke to men of old through various manifestations and in divers ways. The Word of God was as precious today as in those early days of the world. It was still a light to lighten the darkness and in the final analysis the Bible would still prove to be the only safe guide and instructor, and the true belief in it was the great essential happiness.
“’And the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah,’ was but one of the many phrases in the Bible which served to prove that no man ever understood the fullness of God’s Word unless that man played a part in seeking understanding,” said the evangelist. “The key that unlocks your destiny is distinctly not in the hands of his satanic majesty neither is it in the hand of Almighty God. You are the sovereign in your choice. The pivot is your will. If you yourself choose to be lost, nothing in heaven can stop you, and if you choose to be saved, no power in hell can say ‘you nay.’”
In The Pottery
Reverting to his text Dr. Price asked his hearers to follow him through an imaginary tour through a potter’s house. First one came to the dirty piece of clay just as it had been taken from the soil, with grime and grit adhering to it. This clay lay on a bench, which the speaker compared to the mourners bench, awaiting the first process in the potter’s hands. The Masters Potter first cleared away the grit and grime of the iniquity at the mourner’s bench as the preliminary to the process which would result in the turning out of the finishing product of true Christianity. Those who felt they were not fit to come to Christ and deferred coming till they were better, never came at all, declared the preacher. “We church people should offer to this heart-broken, sin-cursed old world that panacea of all ills, the love of God.”
Continuing his theory of the potter Dr. Price went on to the next process, that of cleaning and softening the clay. Declaring against that type of salvation which had only an intellectual belief in God, he urged the necessity of not merely believing in God, but of acquiring his grace. “I deplore the superficial work at some of our altars. Those who are seeking Christ should remain on their knees until they receive the blessed assurance that ‘Jesus is thine, and thou art His.’”
Under the cleaning and softening process of salvation he has seen men of baser clay and hearts like rock weep their way to Jesus. The potter in his washing and softening process left something behind in the clay - a greater resilience and malleability. “The Lord never promised you immunity from temptation or freedom from trouble and heartache. But he has promised you grace and strength to withstand the temptation when it assails you and when you are in dire distress and the night seems dark, the Lord will sustain you if only you know the way to Him,” continued the speaker.
The Master Hand in manipulating the human clay found various impurities such as envy, malice and jealousy, and as He worked it He tested it with various trials. As the test of a soldier came not when he was on parade with the flags flying, but in the hour of battle, so the test of a true Christian came not when the sky was clear and the cry was heard “All’s Well,” but when sorrow came with hot scolding tears and when the devil assailed on all sides.
Bench of Christian Experience
“These tests were made at what you might be called the bench of Christian experience,” explained Dr. Price. Continuing his theme he illustrated the further shaping of clay, and emphasized the point that the clay did not choose the shape it was to take in the potter’s hands. “In the hands of the Master Potter some may be chosen for the mould of missionaries, some as mission workers, some as evangelists. Those who are chosen in assistance in grocery stores or as ploughmen may be just as much the choice of God as those chosen to be evangelists, and they may work in those vocations just as well to the Glory of God.”
When the clay finally became plastic and free of lumps it attained a state similar to the man who could truly say “Lord I am Thine, do with me what you will.” By prayer and waiting upon God, the clay rapidly assumed shape. Dr. Price in illustration, said: “I believe it is possible for God to talk to a man who is properly receptive so that he may hear the ‘still, small voice.’ When the Potter’s machinery is fully working and there are manifestations of such, read your Bible and spend your time in prayer. Don’t run off at a tangent. Be a well-rounded Christian. Fit the mould that God wants you to fit. Don’t look around and say ‘I want to be like sister Jones.’“
Proceeding, the evangelist liked the stopping of the potter’s wheel for hidden flaws to the Divine Hand which “at times reveals to us that there is something within us that should not be there.” There will be no holding of grace as long as that hidden trouble is there. Many a man has backslidden because he has not removed the grit of inquiry. Don’t think that you will get grace in a week or a month.” “The true Christian character is not grown overnight,” said Dr. Price.
He cited the case of Peter the apostle to show that three years in the hands of the Lord had only raised Peter to a state where “there was too much Peter and not enough of the Lord.” As clay must be hardened with fire to withstand rough treatment, so baptism in Christ is necessary to withstand those tests which prove the true Christian. Under its influences the vessels, represented by the people who had been moulded in the Master Potter’s hands and not produced by their own labors, became the medium through which the Water of Life could be taken to a thirsty world. In closing, Dr. Price urges his hearers to pray for “a hundred percent consecration.”
The evangelist announced that tonight he would hold a meeting of prayer for the sick.
“I will anoint with oil and pray the prayer of faith which will take away the cancer and tumor. I am not a ‘divine healer’ nor profess the gift of healing. If you are looking for peculiar manifestations from me you will be disappointed. But I claim to have some knowledge of the Word and faith in God. You and your faith in Jesus Christ alone can bring about the healing of your infirmities.”