Some sayings of the missionary CT Studd
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The wisdom and humour of someone who spent his life as a missionary in China, India, and Africa.First published on the 20th of September 2018 — Last updated on the 28th of February 2021
Who was C.T. Studd?
C.T. Studd was an outstanding County and All-England Cricketer. He was a freshman at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1879-1880, and took a degree in law. By that time he had been challenged to a missionary career and, forsaking his cricketing fame and the family fortune, he followed Hudson Taylor to China.
He returned 21 years later, broken in health, after serving in China and India. Unexpectedly he received a new and very distinct call to the heart of Africa. At 53, leaving his invalid wife in England, he set out in utter reliance on God's promises. His answer to all who questioned the wisdom of his action was found on a postcard on his desk:
If Jesus Christ be God, and died for me,
then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.
The best training for a soldier of Christ is not merely a theological college. They always seem to turn out sausages of varying lengths, tied at each end, without the glorious freedom a Christian ought to abound and rejoice in. You see, when in hand-to-hand conflict with the world and the devil, neat little biblical confectionery is like shooting lions with a pea-shooter: one needs a man who will let himself go and deliver blows right and left as hard as he can hit, trusting in the Holy Ghost. It's experience, not preaching that hurts the devil and confounds the world. The training is not that of the schools but of the market: it's the hot, free heart and not the balanced head that knocks the devil out. Nothing but forked-lightning Christians will count. A lost reputation is the best degree for Christ's service. It is not so much the degree of arts that is needed, but that of hearts, loyal and true, that love not their lives to the death: large and loving hearts which seek to save the lost multitudes, rather than guard the ninety-nine well-fed sheep in the British pen.
True religion is a very practical thing if we do not adulterate it.
Funds are low again, hallelujah! That means God trusts us and is willing to leave His reputation in our hands.
The best cure for discouragement or qualms is another daring plunge of faith.
If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.
Our recruits come out from home vastly raw and are largely parrots. They have been crammed with religion as though for an examination, and seem to come out to carry on their education rather than finish it. So many are just taught doctrines without ever having thought them out or searched the Scriptures for themselves. They come out like infants with pop guns. They need to be trained into soldiers with real devil-defying weapons. Some arrive thinking they are the last thing in high-class Christianity and have to find out they know little. That is why I keep the newcomers here at base for a time till I can make them really think out things and settle questions, not from hearsay but from Bible-say.
Last June at the mouth of the Congo there awaited a thousand prospectors, traders, merchants and gold seekers, waiting to rush into these regions as soon as the government opened the door to them, for rumour declared that there is an abundance of gold. If such men hear so loudly the call of gold and obey it, can it be that the ears of Christ's soldiers are deaf to the call of God? Are gamblers for gold so many, and gamblers for God so few?
How could I spend the best years of my life in living for the honours of this world, when thousands of souls are perishing every day?
Spirituality is much needed here; there is a great lack of it, too much laughing and scoffing, not a real deep spiritual power. And why? Because they are afraid of it. Fancy! They are afraid of getting strained, and so instead of giving them fewer meetings, they dilute with the ditchwater of nonsense too often.
I don't tell these fellows to volunteer, I tell them to surrender to God and to go away rejoicing in Him, and He will in His own way make all plain. Here's my final advice to them:
- If you don't desire to meet the Devil during the day, meet Jesus before dawn.
- If you don't want the Devil to hit you, hit him first, and hit him with all your might, so that he may be too crippled to hit back. Preach the Word is the rod the Devil fears and hates.
- If you don't want to fall -- walk, and walk straight and walk fast!
- Three of the Devil's dogs with which he hunts us are:
- Swelled head.
We have to tell the people the truth, viz.:
- They are bad and going to the bad place to live in torment for ever and ever because they are bad.
- If they don't change and become good, they cannot go to the good place.
- Are they willing to become good, viz., to forsake all evil?
- If so, there is a way through the love of God, by which way God is willing to hold back the operation of His just wrath against sin and sinners. Two things have to be done:
- Past sins cleansed away.
- Power given to live a holy life.
- By the blood of Christ.
- By the Spirit of Christ.
- Now the main thing is to get the eyes of the people open. They need to see hell as the result of their sin, and that produces fear, the fear of God which is the beginning of wisdom. Once get this fear and all will be comparatively easy; but if this fear does not lay hold of a man, his so-called conversion is a sham. True love wakens a man to reality; sham love soaps him down to hell, greases his trail, in fact, to hell. Very many are half asleep or deluded, and make up fancy doctrines of their own, which practically mean that an unholy man can get to heaven without being holy. But remember, Christ did not die to whitewash us, He died to re-create us, and none but His re-creations enter heaven.
Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time of waiting is past! The hour of God has struck! War is declared! In God's Holy Name let us arise and build! The God of Heaven, He will fight for us, as we for Him. We will not build on the sand, but on the bedrock of the sayings of Christ, and the gates and minions of hell shall not prevail against us. Should such men as we fear? Before the world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God, we will venture our all for Him, we will live and we will die for Him, and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts. We will a thousand times sooner die trusting only our God, than live trusting in man. And when we come to this position the battle is already won, and the end of the glorious campaign in sight. We will
have the real Holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring faith and works for Jesus Christ.
Difficulties, dangers, disease, death, or divisions don't deter any but Chocolate Soldiers from executing God's Will. When
someone says there is a lion in the way, the real Christian promptly replies, "That's hardly enough inducement for me; I want a bear or two besides to make it worth my while to go."
We now use the word "hallelujah" instead of "amen" at the conclusion of a prayer. "Amen" was a very sleepy affair, something like the last moans of a dying cow. I fancy even the angels must have screwed up their faces. Our "hallelujah" lends itself to enthusiasm and is something like the triumphant shout of a herd of hefty bulls of Bashan. Nobody can remain asleep long, for he is obliged to wake up at the end of each prayer. We have also adopted an improved form of finale after the benediction. I ask the people, "Is it not true that Jesus is coming again?" Reply, "Jesus is coming." Then we all say "Hallelujah." Well, it is a regular raising-the-roof affair. I sometimes wish some of our dear old staid Christians at home could hear it. The shock would produce enough energy and enthusiasm to milk a whole herd of goats and make them give a double quantity.
Here's a pretty decent prayer, "Lord, You know as well as I do what I want; what I the use of my saying more? I want to see Jesus running about in thousands of black bodies and purified hearts. In the Name of Jesus. Amen. Hallelujah!"
If God who sits in the heavens can laugh, His children on earth should be loyal enough to do exactly as their Father does.
Don't go into the study to prepare a sermon -- that's nonsense. Go into your study to God and get so fiery that your tongue is like a burning coal and you have got to speak.
The "romance" of a missionary is often made up of monotony and drudgery; there often is no glamour in it; it doesn't stir a man's spirit or blood. So don't come out to be a missionary as an experiment, it is useless and dangerous. Only come if you feel you would rather die than not come. Lord Wolsey was right: "A missionary ought to be a fanatic or he encumbers the ground." There are many trials and hardships. Disappointments are numerous and the time of learning the language is especially trying. Don't come if you want to make a great name or want to live long. Come if you feel there is no greater honour, after living for Christ, than to die for Him. That does the trick in the end. It's not the flash in the pan but the steady giving forth of light, it's shining on and on that we need out here. Our job is to make all hear the Word. God's job is to give penetration to His Word.
There was a depth of wisdom in our Lord's command to turn the other cheek, but I say when you do, be sure to keep your tongue in it.
It is good to have the laugh of faith. When doubt whines and cries, faith laughs.
Certainly we should not be at all surprised if God does work miracles of all kinds and we should not limit His power, should He bestow the gift of speaking in other tongues as on the apostles at Pentecost. We should be delighted, for such would mean the speedy spreading of the Gospel. There are so many different tribes and languages that it would be most desirable.
Marriage can be a great blessing or a great curse, depending on where you place the Cross.
Some wish to live within the sound
Of Church or Chapel Bell.
I want to run a rescue shop
within a yard of Hell.
I can easily see why the folks at home want to eliminate Hell from their theology, preaching and thought. Hell is indeed awful unless its preaching is joined to a life laid down by the preacher. How can a man believe in Hell unless he throws away his life to rescue others from its torment? If there is no Hell, the Bible is a lie. If we are willing to go to Hell on earth for others, we cannot preach it.
I am getting desperately afraid of going to heaven for I have had the vision of the shame I shall suffer as I get my first glimpse of the Lord Jesus; His majesty, power and marvellous love for me, who treated Him so meanly and shabbily on earth, and acted as though I did Him a favour in serving Him! No wonder God shall have to wipe away the tears off all faces, for we shall be broken-hearted when we see the depth of His love and the shallowness of ours.
Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.