During the Age of Grace, Jesus spoke some words and carried out one stage of work. There was a context to them, and they were appropriate for the states of the people at the time; Jesus spoke and worked as befit the context at the time. He also spoke some prophecies. He prophesied that the Spirit of truth would come during the last days, during which the Spirit of truth would carry out a stage of work. Which is to say, outside of the work He Himself was to do during that age, He was not clear about anything else; that is, there were limits to the work brought by God incarnate. Thus, He only did the work of that age, and did not do other work that had no connection to Him. At that time, He worked not according to feelings or visions, but as befit the time and context. No one led or guided Him. The entirety of His work was what He was, which was the work that ought to be carried out by the incarnate Spirit of God—it was the entire work ushered in by the incarnation. Perhaps, the grace and peace of the Age of Grace have caused your experiences to contain much that relates to feelings or human sensitivity. Jesus worked only according to what He Himself saw and heard. In other words, the Spirit worked directly; there was no use for messengers to appear to Him and give Him dreams, nor for any great light to shine upon Him and allow Him to see. He worked freely and casually, which was because His work was not based on feelings. In other words, when He worked He did not grope and guess, but did things with ease, working and speaking according to His own ideas and what He saw with His own eyes, which He immediately provided to each of the disciples who followed Him. This is the difference between the work of God and the work of people: When people work, they seek and grope about, always imitating and deliberating based on the foundation laid by others to achieve deeper entry. God’s work is the provision of what He is, He does the work that He Himself ought to do, and does not provide to the church using knowledge that came from the work of any man; instead, He does the present work based on people’s states. Thus, working in this way is thousands of times freer than when people work. To people, it even appears that God does not abide by His duty and works however He pleases. But all the work He does is new work, and you should know that the work of God incarnate is never based on feelings.
When the disciples who followed Jesus at that time had experienced to a certain point, they felt that God’s day had come, and they would meet with the Lord straight away. That was the feeling they had, and to them, this feeling was of the utmost importance. But in fact, the feelings within people are not dependable. Inside, the disciples felt that perhaps they have almost come to the end of their journey, or that all they did and suffered was ordained by God. And Paul said that he had finished his course, he had fought the fight, and there was laid up for him a crown of righteousness. Those were the feelings he had, and he wrote them in the epistles and sent them to the churches. Such actions came from the burden he bore for the churches, and thus the Holy Spirit paid no heed to this work. At the time, when he said, “there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,” he felt no reproach within himself—he had no sense of unease, nor was he reproached, so he believed this feeling to be very normal and quite right. He believed that it came from the Holy Spirit. But looked at today, it did not come from the Holy Spirit. It was nothing but the illusion of a man. There were many illusions within men. At the time, God did not acknowledge them or express any opinion. Most of the Holy Spirit’s work is not carried out through people’s feelings—the Holy Spirit does not work in people’s feelings. That’s except for the hard, dark times before God became flesh, or the period when there were no apostles or workers; during that stage the work of the Holy Spirit gave people some special feelings. For example: When people were without the guidance of God’s words, when they prayed they would have an indescribable sense of happiness, in their hearts was a feeling of enjoyment, and they were at peace, and at ease. When they had the guidance of words, people’s spirits became clear, and their actions were enlightened by words. Naturally, they also had feelings of peacefulness and being at ease. When people were in danger, or God stopped them from doing certain things, in their hearts they felt disquieted and ill at ease, but it was not as if their throat was constricted and they couldn’t breathe. When people had this feeling it could be because the environment was too fearful or hostile, which created a feeling of dread in them, and thus they were extremely anxious. But it was not the Holy Spirit who made them timid to such an extent. At such times, half of this feeling came from people’s mental reactions, and not all of it came from the Holy Spirit. People always live amid their own feelings, and have done so for many years. When they are at peace within their hearts, they act (believing their willingness to be a feeling of peace), and when they are not at peace within their hearts, they do not act (believing their disinclination or dislike to be a feeling of unease). If things go smoothly, they think that[a] it was the will of God. (In fact, it was something that ought to have gone very smoothly, this being the natural law of things.) When things do not go smoothly, they think[b] it was not God’s will, and they hurriedly go back on themselves. But most of the time, when people encounter such happenings, it is the natural law of things. If you had put more effort in, you would surely have handled the matter properly, and it would have gone more and more smoothly. Take when you go out to buy cabbage, for example. The market price is two jiao[c] for one jin,[d] but you feel that it should be one jiao for one jin. In fact, this is just what you think in your heart, and when you try and buy for this price, you’re never successful, and you believe that God does not wish you to buy cabbage.
People’s lives contain too many feelings. In particular, from when they start believing in God, people’s feelings increase by the day, leaving them confused and bewildered all the time. They don’t know where to start, and are unsure about many things—but under most circumstances, when they act or speak according to their feelings, as long as it’s not something that violates the great principles, the Holy Spirit does not react. It’s like the crown of righteousness felt by Paul: For many years, no one believed that his feelings were wrong, nor did Paul himself ever feel that his feelings were in error. Where do people’s feelings come from? They are, of course, the reaction of their brains. Different feelings are produced according to different environments and different matters. Much of the time, people infer by human logic and get a set of formulas, which results in the formation of many human feelings. Without realizing it, people enter their own logical inference, and in this way, these feelings become what people rely on in their lives, they become an emotional crutch in their lives (like Paul’s crown, or Witness Lee’s “meeting the Lord in the air”). God has almost no way of interceding in these feelings of man, and has to allow them to develop of their own accord. Today, I speak to you plainly, and if you keep going by your feelings, do you not still live in vagueness? You don’t accept the words that have clearly been set out for you, and always rely on your personal feelings. In this, are you not like a blind man feeling an elephant?[e] And what will you ultimately gain?
Today, all the work done by God incarnate is real. This is not something you can feel, or something that you can imagine, much less is it something you can infer—it is only something you will be able to understand when the facts happen to you. Sometimes, even when they do, you still can’t see clearly, and only when God does things in person, bringing great clarity to the true facts of what’s occurring, can people then understand. At that time, there were many illusions among Jesus’ disciples. They believed that the day of God was about to arrive and they would soon die for Jesus and be able to meet with the Lord Jesus—yet such a time still did not arrive. Peter was very sensitive to this feeling. He waited seven whole years, always feeling that the time had come—but it still hadn’t arrived. They felt that their lives had matured, and their feelings multiplied and these feelings became sensitive—but they experienced many failures and were unable to succeed. They themselves didn’t know what was going on. Could that which truly came from the Holy Spirit not be fulfilled? People’s feelings are not dependable. Because people have brains, thoughts, and their own ideas, based on the context and states at the time, they create their own fertile mental associations. In particular, when something happens to people of healthy mental rationality, they become overexcited, and can’t help but create fertile mental associations. This especially applies to “experts” with lofty knowledge and theories, whose mental associations become even more abundant after many years of dealing with the world; without them realizing it, they take over their thoughts, becoming extremely powerful feelings—and through this the experts are satisfied. When people want to do something, feelings and imaginings appear, and people think that they are right. Later on, when they see that they have not been fulfilled, people can’t work out what went wrong. Perhaps they believe God has changed His plan.
Among the people of the Age of Law, many people also had certain feelings, but the errors in their feelings were less than the people of today. That’s because, before, people were able to behold the appearance of Jehovah, and could see messengers, and they had dreams. The people of today are unable to see visions or messengers, and thus there are more errors in their feelings. It is unavoidable that people have feelings. The people of the Old Testament also had feelings, and believed that these feelings were quite right, but messengers would often appear among them, which lessens the errors of their feelings. When the people of today feel something is particularly right, and go and put it into practice, the Holy Spirit doesn’t reproach them. Inside, they have no feelings whatsoever, and they are at peace. After they have finished, it is only through communion or reading the words of God that they discover they were wrong. In one regard, there are no messengers appearing to people, dreams are scarce, and people see nothing of the visions in the sky. In another regard, the Holy Spirit does not increase His reproach and discipline in people; there is hardly any of the work of the Holy Spirit in people. Thus, if people do not eat and drink the words of God,[f] do not understand the path to practice, and do not actually seek, then they will reap nothing. The principles of the work of the Holy Spirit are as follows: He pays no attention to that which does not involve His work; if something is not within the scope of His jurisdiction, He never intercedes, allowing people to make whatever trouble they wish. You can act however you want, but the day will come when you don’t know what to do. God only works single-mindedly in His own flesh, never interfering or involving Himself in the work and the little world of men; instead, God gives your world a wide berth, and does the work which He ought to. Today, you are not reproached if you overspend by five mao, nor rewarded if you save five mao. These are human matters, and have not the slightest connection to the work of the Holy Spirit—your actions in this regard are not within the scope of My work.
At that time, Peter spoke many words and did much work. Is it possible that none of it came from human ideas? For it to have come entirely from the Holy Spirit is impossible. Peter was merely a creature of God, he was a follower, he was Peter, not Jesus, and their substances were not the same. Even though Peter was sent forth by the Holy Spirit, not all that he did and said[g] came from the Holy Spirit, for he was, after all, a man. Paul spoke many words and wrote copious epistles to the churches, which are collected in the Bible. The Holy Spirit didn’t express any opinion, for the time he was writing the epistles was when he was being used by the Holy Spirit. He saw visions, and wrote them down and passed them on to the brothers and sisters who were in the Lord. Jesus expressed no opinions, and had no reaction. Why did the Holy Spirit act thus? Why did the Holy Spirit not stop him? Because some impurities come from people’s normal thoughts, and are unavoidable. In addition, his actions did not stem from interruption, and did not interfere with people’s normal states; when there is some such work of humanity, people find it easier to accept. It is normal for people’s normal thoughts to be mixed within, provided that these impurities do not interfere in anything. In other words, people with normal thoughts are all capable of thinking in that way. When people live in the flesh, they have their own thoughts—but there is no way of expelling these normal thoughts. If you have a brain, then you must have thoughts. However, after experiencing God’s work for a while, there will be less thoughts in people’s brain. When they have experienced more things, they will be able to see clearly, and so will interrupt less; in other words, when people’s imagination and logical inference are refuted, their abnormal feelings will lessen. Those who live in the flesh all have their own thoughts, but in the end, God’s work in them will reach the point that their thoughts will not be able to disturb them, they will no longer rely on feelings to live, their actual stature will grow, and they will be able to live by God’s words in reality, and will no longer do things that are vague and empty, and then they will be incapable of doing things that cause interruptions. In this way, they will cease to have illusions, and from this time onward their actions will be their real stature.
a. The original text omits “they think that.”
b. The original text omits “they think.”
c. The “jiao” (also known as “mao”) is a monetary unit of Chinese currency. In China, the basic unit of money is the yuan. There are ten jiao in one yuan.
d. The “jin” is a Chinese weight measurement, one jin is 500 grams.
e. “A blind man feeling an elephant” is from the parable of the blind men and an elephant. It tells of several blind men who all feel an elephant, each believing that the part he is touching represents the entirety of the animal. This parable is a metaphor for how people mistake partial observations or judgments as the whole truth.
f. The original text omits “the words of God.”
g. The original text omits “that he did and said.”