A Love Gem

Except from “The Unselfishness of God and How I Discoverd It” by Hannah Whitall Smith, published by Fleming H. Revell Company, 1903.

“On the fly leaf of my Bible I find the following words, taken from I know not where: This generation has rediscovered the unselfishness of God. If I were called upon to state in one sentence the sum and substance of my religious experience, it is this sentence I would choose. And no words could express my thankfulness for having been born into a generation where this discovery has been comparatively easy. If I am not mistaken, the generation before mine knew very little of the unselfishness of God; and, even of my own generation, there are I fear many good and earnest Christians who do not know it yet. Without putting it into such words as to shock themselves or others, many Christians still at bottom look upon God as one of the most selfish, self-absorbed Beings in the universe, far more selfish than they could think it right to be themselves,intent only upon His own honor and glory, looking out continually that His own rights are never trampled on; and so absorbed in thoughts of Himself and of His own righteousness, as to have no love or pity to spare for the poor sinners who have offended Him. I grew up believing God was like this. I have discovered that He is exactly the opposite. And it is of this discovery I want to tell.” (Hannah Whithall Smith, The unselfishness of God and how I discovered it. )

It is difficult to explain just what I mean by this acquaintance with God. We are so accus­tomed to think that knowing things about Him is sufficient—what He has done, what He has said, what His plans are, and what are the doctrines concerning Him,—that we stop short of that knowledge of what He really is in nature and character, which is the only satisfactory knowl­edge.

In human relations we may know a great deal about a person without at all necessarily coming into any actual acquaintance with that person; and it is the same in our relations with God. We may blunder on for years thinking we know a great deal about Him, but never quite sure of what sort of a Being He actually is, and conse­quently never finding any permanent rest or sat­isfaction. And then, perhaps suddenly, we catch a sight of Him as He is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ, and we discover the real God, as He is, behind, and beneath, and within, all the other conceptions of Him which may have here­tofore puzzled us; and from that moment our peace flows like a river, and in everything and through everything, when perhaps we can rejoice in nothing else, we can always and everywhere “ rejoice in God, and joy in the God of our Sal­vation.” We no longer need His promises; we have found Him, and he is enough for every need.

My own experience has been something like this. My knowledge of God, beginning on a very low plane, and in the midst of the greatest darkness and ignorance, advanced slowly through many stages, and with a vast amount of useless conflict and wrestling, to the place where I learned at last that Christ was the “express image” of God, and where I became therefore in a measure acquainted with Him, and discovered to my amazement and delight His utter unselfish­ness, and saw that it was safe to trust Him. And from this time all my doubts and questionings have been slowly but surely disappearing in the blaze of this magnificent knowledge.

It is of the processes leading to this discovery by my own soul that I want to tell.

(This book is one of the most precious writings a seeker of truth can ever read. It is most unfortunately that many Christian publishers who have reprinted her book since her death, actually edited the heart of her discoveries right out of her own book. This kind of unscrupulous behavior is not only found among Christian book publishers but among Christian Bible publishers as well. For more information regarding this disturbing fact, click the contact button and request the information. Gary Amirault)

Submitted by M.D.


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