Works of Grace—Trying or Trusting—Which?
In Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark and the largest city in Scandinavia, there is a very beautiful park on the edge of an arm of the sea.
In it is a very beautiful monument—the most striking of its kind in the world.
It consists of a group splendidly modelled in bronze depicting a woman sitting on and driving four immense bulls. Beneath it is a magnificent stone fountain of immense size, consisting of three cascades, the water flowing into a small lake below. The water is driven through the bodies of the bulls, coming out in very fine spray from their nostrils. The effect is most striking and beautiful.
This monument is intended to illustrate an ancient story. They say the land all belonged to Sweden once, and that some king had told a woman that she might own all the land she could plough in one day.
The story goes on to tell that she harnessed four powerful bulls to a big plough at break of day, and ploughed with them till it was dark. They say she ploughed that part of Denmark marked on your map as the island of Zeeland, and that the furrows were so deep that the land dropped in more and more, till it was separated from the mainland of Sweden and became an island. Of course this is what we call a legend, that is a sort of ancient fairy tale, which is not true.
Near by is an English building. It is formed of stone, and every stone of it came from England. At first this seems very curious, but it is explained by the fact that Denmark is a country without stone—all soil and sand—and all the building stone has to be imported, mostly from Sweden. Being for English purposes, and stone having to be got from another country, for the sentiment of the thing I suppose they procured it from England.
As I stood in the park I could see both the fountain, with the woman and the bulls in bronze, and the English edifice at the same time.
What a lesson they taught. The bronze statue of the woman and bulls seemed to say,
“ALL OF WORKS.”
The building seemed to say,
“ALL OF GRACE.”
Let me explain what I mean. The woman was to possess all she ploughed on a given day. Now she chose, according to the legend, four powerful bulls, and ploughed hard from the first streak of day till the last bit of light.
Now if God said to us that we might have all the heaven we worked for we should get none at all, for, unlike the powerful bulls, God tells us we are “without strength”—He tells us we cannot do anything at all for our salvation. How beautiful it is to read, “For when we were yet WITHOUT STRENGTH, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6).
So if salvation were “all of works” or even partly, of works, or even a little bit of works, we should never reach heaven. As well tell a bird with a broken wing to fly, as tell a strengthless sinner to earn his own salvation.
As to the building, if those who built it depended on the resources of the country in which it was built, it would never have been erected. The building is in Denmark, the stones all came from England.
Does this not illustrate “all of grace”? If God is to save us everything must be brought to us. We are in this world. No Saviour could be found belonging to this world, just as there was no stone to be found in Denmark, suitable for building purposes. So we read: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).
So if we are to be saved the Saviour must come from heaven, and in that way every stone in the edifice of our salvation comes from heaven—salvation, forgiveness, justification, eternal life—everything.
So salvation is
“NOT OF WORKS
lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:9), but is
ALL OF GRACE
so that God may have all the glory and we may have the blessing.
Dear young reader, will you not give up trying and take to trusting? Will you not give up “ALL OF WORKS” for “ALL OF GRACE”? Will you not give up yourself and your own doings and trust alone to the Saviour from heaven?
Scattered Seed 1916, p. 9