During the Age of Grace, Jesus uttered some words and carried out one stage of work. There was a context to all of them, and they were all appropriate for the states of the people of that time; Jesus spoke and worked as befitted the context at the time. He also spoke some prophecies. He prophesied that the Spirit of truth would come during the last days and 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, the work brought by God incarnate is limited. Thus, He only does the work of the age He is in and does not do other work that has no connection to Him. At that time, Jesus did not work according to feelings or visions, but as befitted the time and context. There was not a single person who led or guided Him. The entirety of His work was His own being, that is, the work that ought to be carried out by the incarnate Spirit of God—it was all of the work ushered in by the incarnation. Jesus worked only according to what He Himself saw and heard. In other words, the Spirit worked directly; there was no need 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 accomplished things with ease, working and speaking according to His own ideas and what He saw with His own eyes, providing immediate sustenance 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, and He does the work that He Himself ought to do. He does not provide sustenance 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 the work people do. 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, and you should know that the work of God incarnate is never based on feelings. At the time, after Jesus had completed His work of being crucified, once the disciples who followed Jesus had reached a certain point in their experience, they felt that God’s day was coming and that they would meet with the Lord soon. 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. They felt that perhaps they were about to reach the end of the road, or that all they did and suffered was ordained by God. Paul also said that he had finished his course, he had fought the fight, and there was laid up for him a crown of righteousness. That was how he felt, and he wrote this 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. At the time, when Paul said that, he had no sense of unease, nor did he feel reproached, so he believed it to be very normal and quite right, and that it had come from the Holy Spirit. But looking at it today, it did not come from the Holy Spirit at all. It was nothing but the illusion of a man. There are many illusions within men; God does not pay attention to them or express any opinions when they occur. The majority of the Holy Spirit’s work is not carried out through people’s feelings—the Holy Spirit does not work within people’s feelings aside from the arduous, dark times before God becomes flesh, or the period when there are no apostles or workers. During that stage the work of the Holy Spirit gives people some special feelings. For example: When people are without the guidance of God’s words, when they pray they have an indescribable sense of happiness; they have a feeling of enjoyment in their hearts, and they are at peace and at ease. Once they have the guidance of words, people feel a brightening in their spirits, they have a path of practice in their actions, and naturally, they also have feelings of peacefulness and being at ease without exception. When people encounter danger, or God stops them from doing certain things, in their hearts they feel disquieted and ill at ease. These are entirely the feelings given to man by the Holy Spirit. However, if a hostile environment gives rise to an atmosphere of fear, causing people to become exceptionally anxious and timid, that is a normal expression of humanity and is unrelated to the work of 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 is the will of God. (In fact, it is something that ought to have gone very smoothly, this being the natural law of things.) When things do not go smoothly, they think that[b] it is not God’s will. When they encounter something that doesn’t go smoothly, they don’t do it anymore. These feelings people have are not accurate; if things are done according to people’s feelings quite a lot of things will be held up. For example, there will certainly be difficulties in putting the truth into practice and even more in doing God’s will. Many positive things will be difficult to realize. Just as the saying goes, “The road to happiness is strewn with setbacks.” People have too many feelings in their practical lives, leaving them constantly at a loss and unsure about many things. Without understanding the truth, people can’t understand anything. But in general, when they act or speak according to their feelings, as long as it’s not something that violates the primary principles, the Holy Spirit does not react at all. 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, reactions that come from their brains. Different feelings are produced according to different environments and different matters. Much of the time, people make inferences with human logic through which to get a set of formulas, which results in the formation of many human feelings. Without realizing it, people enter into their own logical inferences, and in this way, these feelings become what people rely on in their lives; they become an emotional crutch in their lives, such as Paul’s “crown of righteousness” 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 as they will. Today, I’ve spoken to you plainly on various aspects of the truth. 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?[c] And what will you ultimately gain?
All the work done by God incarnate today 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 come upon you. Sometimes, even when they do, you still can’t see clearly, and people will not understand until God personally acts to bring great clarity to the true facts of what’s occurring. At that time, there were many illusions among the disciples following Jesus. They believed that the day of God was about to arrive and they would soon die for the Lord and be able to meet with the Lord Jesus. Peter waited seven whole years because of this feeling, but it still hadn’t arrived. They felt that their lives had matured; the feelings within them 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 cerebral thoughts and their own ideas, they create a wealth of associations based on the context and states at the time. In particular, when something happens to people whose cerebral thoughts are healthy, they become overexcited and can’t help but create a wealth of associations. This especially applies to “experts” with lofty knowledge and theories, whose associations become even more abundant after many years of dealing with the world; without them realizing it, they take over their hearts and become their extremely powerful feelings, and they are satisfied with them. When people want to do something, feelings and imaginings will appear within them and they will 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.
It is unavoidable that all people have feelings. During the Age of Law many people also had certain feelings, but the errors in their feelings were fewer than the people of today. That’s because before, people were able to behold the appearance of Jehovah; they could see messengers and they had dreams. The people of today are unable to see visions or messengers, and thus the errors in their feelings have multiplied. When the people of today feel something is particularly right and go put it into practice, the Holy Spirit doesn’t reproach them. They are very much at peace inside, and after the fact, it is only through communion or reading the words of God that they discover they were wrong. One aspect of this is that there are no messengers appearing to people, dreams are very scarce, and people see nothing of the visions in the sky. Another aspect is that the Holy Spirit does not increase His reproaches and discipline within people; there is hardly any of the work of the Holy Spirit within people. Thus, if people do not eat and drink the words of God, do not seek the truth in a practical way, and do not understand the path of practice, 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 absolutely never meddles or 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 in the work of man. Instead, He gives the world of man a wide berth, and does the work which He ought to. You will not be reproached if you do something wrong today, nor will you be rewarded if you do something good tomorrow. These are human matters, and have not the slightest connection to the work of the Holy Spirit—this is not at all within the scope of My work.
At the time that Peter was working, he 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 essences were not the same. Even though Peter was sent forth by the Holy Spirit in his work, not all that he did came from the Holy Spirit, for he was, after all, a man. Paul also spoke many words and wrote quite a few epistles to the churches, some of which are collected in the Bible. The Holy Spirit didn’t express any opinions, for that was the time he was being used by the Holy Spirit. He gained some experience and knowledge, and he wrote them down and passed them on to his brothers and sisters in the Lord. Jesus did not have any reaction. Why didn’t the Holy Spirit stop him at the time? It was because there are some impurities that arise from people’s normal thoughts; it is unavoidable. In addition, his actions did not reach the point of being an interference or disturbance. When there is some of this kind of work of humanity, people find it easier to accept. Provided that the impurities of man’s normal thoughts do not interfere in anything, they count as normal. 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 weeding these out. However, after experiencing God’s work for a while and understanding some truths, there will be fewer of these thoughts in people’s brains. When they have experienced more things, they will be able to see clearly and will thus interrupt things less. In other words, when people’s imaginations and logical inferences are refuted, their abnormal feelings will lessen. Those who live in the flesh all have their own thoughts, but in the end, God will work them to a point that their thoughts will not be able to disturb them, they will no longer rely on feelings in their lives, their actual stature will grow, and they will be able to live by God’s words within reality, and will no longer do things that are vague or empty, and then they will not do things that cause interruptions. In this way, their illusions will be no more, and from this time onward their actions will be their actual stature.
a. The original text does not contain the phrase “they think that.”
b. The original text does not contain the phrase “they think that.”
c. “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.