by John MacDuff, 1895

A treasury of godly wisdom, suitable
for personal or family devotions.

Building air-castle upon air-castle!

He who goes about whining all day long about some
imaginary drawbacks in the sphere which Providence
has assigned him—when all the while he is situated
so much better than thousands around—is a suicide
of his own happiness!
He is also impeaching the
faithfulness of the Supreme Ordainer and Disposer.

One half of life's enjoyment is eaten out by this sinful
craving after what cannot be obtained—the desire for
something supposed to be better
. Yes, but when "the
better" is reached, there is the yearning for an imagined
"better" still. This is building air-castle upon air-castle!

If in these days there be one household demon more
than another which needs to be exorcized—it is the
demon of discontent!

Oh, for the spirit of Paul—poor and lonely prisoner in
Rome as he was—an apparent bankrupt in all that the
world deems wealth and affluence—yet who could make
this entry in his letter to his Philippian friends—"I have
learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
At the moment I have all I need—more than I need!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

One throw of the dice and the great game of life is lost!

How many there are with whom the labor of long years is
a failure! They are engaged building some favorite edifice,
material or mental, literally or figuratively. They dream not
that it rests on shifting sands, or on the edge of a muffled

A teacher bestows his fondest assiduous care on a pupil
—a young life full of high intellectual promise. A sudden
illness comes and sweeps him away!

A parent lavishes his tenderest love and affections, thought
and time and money, in raising his child; but, by-and-by, the
life of his prodigal son, is to the parent, worse than death.

Yes, often are fondest hopes, best laid plans, glad aspirations,
thwarted; the glowing visions of success clouded with misfortune
—calamity—ruin—the grave! One throw of the dice and the
great game of life is lost!

Not so with imperishable riches—"the hope laid up for you
in heaven"—bliss beyond the accidents of capricious fortune,
bonds that can know no dissolution. "My flesh and my heart
may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion
forever!" Psalm 73:26

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The golden key that fits all locks!

"If I have not love, I am nothing." 1 Cor. 13:2

What a magic spell there is in love!—the absolute devotion
of a beautiful soul that loses itself in the hallowed mission
of radiating peace and joy and sympathy all around.

Many dull, unsusceptible ears, when other charmers have
failed to charm, have been arrested and won by the music
of kindness
. By it . . .
  old-age renews its youth,
  sick pillows are smoothed,
  burdens are eased,
  tears are turned into smiles,
  dirges are turned into songs.

Love is, of all magical charms, the most irresistible.

Love is the golden key that fits all locks!

"If I have not love, I am nothing." 1 Cor. 13:2

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

This most beautiful grace

"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility." 1 Peter 5:5

You who are young, with life's hopes and hazards, its
risks and failures before you, let the possession of this
most beautiful grace
be your habitual aspiration. It is
a garment beautiful for all, but whose folds droop with
a special propriety and loveliness on the youthful pilgrim
just entering on the great journey.

Beware of rash, self-assertive ways, petty jealousies,
sinister dealings; above all, tampering with servile
vices which may end in their tyrannical sway.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Don't grumble!

"Don't grumble against each other!" James 5:9

What an unhappy phase and condition of soul that of
the chronic grumbler!—moping over petty troubles,
magnifying worries; to use the common but expressive
figure, "making mountains of molehills"; seeing no
sunshine in existence, while, in reality, there are only
a few clouds floating on an otherwise clear horizon!

Poorly will such be able to grapple with life's real
and sterner troubles when they come.

"Don't grumble as some of them did, for that is why God
 sent his angel of death to destroy them. 1 Cor. 10:10

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Over-sensitiveness to supposed injury and wrong,
has wrecked many a fair life, and doomed it to
unsympathetic isolation.

"Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving
 one another
, just as God through Christ has
 forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

That heathen marksman

In vain had Ahab disguised himself. He was borne in his
chariot bleeding from the fray—for "an Aramean soldier
randomly shot an arrow at the Israelite troops, and the
arrow hit the king of Israel between the joints of his
armor!" 1 Kings 22:34

No, not in the true sense of the word "randomly."

That heathen marksman
was only an instrument in
accomplishing the fulfillment of "the word of the Lord
which He spoke by the mouth of Elijah the prophet."
A Greater had feathered the fatal shaft, and sent
it home!


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Grievously wounded in the spiritual battle

"A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering
 wick He will not snuff out." Matthew 12:20

 Never deal too harshly with those who, in some
unguarded, unsuspected moment, have fallen out
of the ranks, or by their own folly or cowardice have
been grievously wounded in the spiritual battle.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Encircled in the consciousness of His love

Eternal summer canopies the soul which is at peace
with God. Happy those who are thus encircled in the
consciousness of His love
. Even when there are passing
clouds and shadows, the sun is always behind them.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A parent's lip kisses all fear away

Trust—what is it?

Go to that child's couch when the storm is raging,
moaning among the tree-tops and strewing branches
on the lawn, the blackened sky echoing with the
artillery of heaven. A parent's hand draws the curtain
and smoothes the ruffled pillow; a parent's lip kisses
all fear away

Such is the trust and confidence of His children inspired
by their Heavenly Father in the hour of anxiety and dismay,
"In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence, and His
children shall have a place of refuge." Proverbs 14:26

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

As each part does its work

"From him the whole body, joined and held together by
 every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up
 in love, as each part does its work." Ephes. 4:16

In a gigantic piece of machinery the small wheels have
their place and purpose as well as the large ones. God
gives His weak ones work to do, for which even His
strong ones are unequal.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Troubles and perplexities

In the tumult and discord of human troubles and
, how blessed are the balm-words of
Christ, "Your heavenly Father knows that you have
need of all these things!" Matthew 6:32

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Vapid, superficial, selfish pleasure

Thousands live their whole life for vapid, superficial,
selfish pleasure
; a wanton and wasteful expenditure
of available strength and purpose. How far better to
work for God and for the good of men! Not the exacted
toil of the fretted and fettered slave, but the consecration
of the willing heart, the service which is perfect freedom
life, animated by the inspiring motto, "This world is
fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you
do the will of God, you will live forever!" 1 John 2:17

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A dirge of superhuman anguish

"Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered
 up prayers and supplications with strong crying and
 tears." Hebrews 5:7

There are three distinct pictures given us of the tears
of Jesus.

We see Him weeping in the family, with the sisters of
Bethany. We see Him weeping on the mount of Olivet
over a ruined city. We see Him, last of all, weeping in
the moonlit shades of Gethsemane—but now it is
"strong crying and tears"—a dirge of superhuman
, not over families or cites, but over mankind!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

But we see a more favored spot of grass

As the sheep of His pasture, He has allotted our portion
for us. But we see a more favored spot of grass on the
opposite valley. The sunbeams are playing upon it. We
imagine the herbage is greener and more luxuriant. We
cross to the other valley. The sun gets behind a cloud.
The bright patch is found to be in reality no better than
that which we had left!

What divine philosophy there is in the Apostle's injunction,
"Be content with such things as you have; for He has said,
I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The father's halls, and heart, and home

"The boy became so hungry that even the husks he
was feeding the pigs looked good to him." Luke 15:16

Garbage could not stop the rage of hunger in the "far
country." The father's halls, and heart, and home
the "bread enough and to spare"—alone could do that.

"I will go home to my father!" Luke 15:18

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The Infinite overcome by the finite

"You have struggled with God and with men and have
overcome." I know not a more wondrous incident in Bible
story—Omnipotence overcome with the pleadings of
; the Infinite overcome by the finite; a mortal
man wrestling with Deity in prayer, and that prayer
prevailing—"I will not let You go, unless You bless me!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Happiness is not dependent on place, or locality, or
social position—but on the state of the heart and its
relation to God.

As the bleakest field is ennobled by the sunshine, so,
in spite even of hampered circumstances and adverse
surroundings, that soul must be radiant, which enjoys
an habitual response to the prayer—"Lord, lift up the
light of Your countenance!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

There are no great things and small things with God

"He made all the stars—the Bear, Orion, the Pleiades,
 and the constellations of the southern sky." Job 9:9

There are no great things and small things with God.
He who guides the constellations in their magnificent
marchings, watches the sparrow's fall.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of
 them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your
 Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all
 numbered." Matthew 10:29-30

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Morbid, sullen, panic-stricken

"He will not break the bruised reed; He will not
 quench the smoking flax." Matthew 12:20

See the Prophet Elijah, so recently a hero of heroes,
confronting, unabashed, the savage yells of Ahab's
myrmidons and the crowd of Baal priests, now seated,
with moping countenance, under the desert juniper-tree
or amid the rocks of Horeb—away from duty; morbid,
sullen, panic-stricken
; oblivious of the encouragements
of Carmel and the miracles of Cherith—indulging in the
ungrateful soliloquy—"It is enough; take away my life;
God has forgotten me; I am no better than my fathers."

Does Jehovah take him at his word? Does He leave or
commission the desert whirlwind to extinguish the
expiring flame of former consecration? No! "What are
you doing here, Elijah? Go, anoint Jehu; go, anoint
Hazael. Back to your appointed work and labor. I will
yet make you a burning and shining light in Israel."

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The fall of a leaf—or the destruction of kingdoms

Whether it be the fall of a leaf—or the destruction
of kingdoms
, it is "God over all."

"You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.
 You alone created the heavens and the earth." 2 Kings 19:15

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What a magic, magnetic power

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
 patience, kindness." Galatians 5:22

What a magic, magnetic power there is in kindness!

How it smooths furrows from the brow!

How it raises the soiled blossoms of the battered flower!

How it carries music to the heart of the lonely and
sorrowful, and makes old age for the moment forget
its infirmities!

Many a little child has thus proved a seraph in human form!

"Be kind and compassionate to one another." Ephes. 4:32

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Found in the shady nooks of the valley

"Clothe yourselves with humility." 1 Peter 5:5

The greenest, tenderest, loveliest graces are
found in the shady nooks of the valley.

"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,
 humility, gentleness and patience." Col. 3:12

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Past faintings and falterings and failures

"But one thing I do: Forgetting the past, and
 straining toward what is ahead" Philippians 3:13

Let past faintings and falterings and failures
only stimulate to increased ardor in the race.
With the goal in view, press on!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

O dreamer of vain dreams

"Be content with such things as you have." Heb. 13:5

"My own vineyard I have neglected." Song 1:6

Let us accept the allotments of Divine Providence
our varied spheres in life—at the hands of Him who
fixes the bounds of our habitation.

How many there are who have a strange, perverse
satisfaction in looking out from their window, with
longing eyes, on one or other of the varied modern
shapes which Naboth's vineyard assumes! Their
soliloquy is—'Were it mine, what a vintage I would
have there! What oil and wine I would have from
these grapes and olive trees; and what a prudent
 and bountiful use I would make of them, which
their present possessor never does!'

God says to such—'No, O dreamer of vain dreams,
remain no longer gazing through a false and distorted
medium. Envy no longer your neighbor's choicer territory.
Go cheerfully down to your own assigned, though more
restricted, garden-plot. It may have neither vines nor
olives. It may be devoid of floral wealth. It may be
possessed of nothing but the commonest plants.
But there is your place! It may be "little among the
thousands of Judah." It is that, nevertheless, which I
have staked and fenced out for you. I have not made
you keeper of others' vineyards; see that your own
vineyard you do keep. You can serve Me and glorify Me
with the one entrusted talent, as well as with the ten.
On the Great Day there will be as ample a recognition
of faithfulness over the few things as over the many

By Him the mite is accepted; and the heart—when
there is no mite to give.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Beware of wasted moments!

The marvels and triumphs of the printing-press have
now made accessible to peasant and laborer, the
wondrous blessing of Christian literature! Neither
Croesus nor Plato—the two old-world representatives
of wealth and thought—had a library to compare with
what is readily available to us.

Let the young especially prize this splendid inheritance,
making it alike a privilege and obligation to devote some
hours to reading and garnering mental stores. Let them
beware of wasted moments—golden ingots—too often
mortgaged to . . .
  voluptuous ease and
 degrading passion.

"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Eph. 5:16

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Eternal pleasures

"You have made known to me the path of life; You
 will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal
at Your right hand." Psalm 16:11

Why walk through life with an aspect of sadness, as
if religion and gloom are identical? Every true believer
should have in this world, his foretastes of coming bliss.

Sips, at the Fountain here.

There, "eternal pleasures."

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

My creation!

How the love of nature survives and lingers despite of
the decrepitude of age, growing indeed stronger as years
advance, and taking no heed of the dimming eye!

It recalls the testimony of a gentle poet—"It seems to
me, the world was never so beautiful as now, when I
am about to leave it."

"Be glad; rejoice forever in My creation!" Isaiah 65:18

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

That demon scramble for riches!

That demon scramble for riches! Generally
speaking, "Meaningless! Meaningless!" is the
disappointed confession when the hoarded
wealth is secured!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Little more than a creed of sanctified selfishness

It is a poor religion—little more than a creed of
sanctified selfishness
—which regards salvation mainly
as an escape from divine punishment, and the assured
getting into heaven at last.

True religion is an active, transforming principle. Salvation
is a present triumph over the forces of evil and powers of
temptation. It aspires after obedience to the divine will—
assimilation to the divine image and character in its truth
and purity and love.

Yes, that is a stinted utilitarian faith—the faith of the Koran
rather than of the Gospel—whose hopes and prospective
blessedness are all for an eternal sensual paradise.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Flaws on the sculptor's white marble

Listen to the bell, warning off submerged rocks and
perilous whirlpools. Beware of tampering with the fine
edge of conscience, and blunting moral perceptions.
These are like the flaws on the sculptor's white
—scars which cannot be easily erased.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The irreparable past

Do not mope with morbid spirit over the irreparable
, but gird yourself with heroic resolution for a
future in which lost hours and lost opportunities may
yet be redeemed.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A November drizzle

A November drizzle is often the cause of soul-depression.
Do not treat spiritually what, in a thousand cases, is purely
physical. Take the most brilliant of our flowers out of the
sunshine and set them to confront the east wind. They
will be certain to mope. There is an amazing harmony
and analogy between the natural and the spiritual.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Ignoble wounds in life's battle?

"I will forgive their wickedness and will remember
 their sins no more!" Hebrews 8:12

Who among us, in the retrospect of existence, have
not the memories of unworthy thought and unworthy
deed, it may even be of ignoble wounds, in life's
What of that? Are we for a moment to allow
these sins, grievous as they may be, to create an
insuperable, impassable gulf between us and the
Great Forgiver? Thoughts, far more merciful than
our own, are expressed and reiterated in the divine
words, "I will forgive their wickedness and will
remember their sins no more!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

An instinctive love of the beautiful

Happy those who have an instinctive love of the beautiful
—the beautiful in nature, the beautiful in grace; and far
transcending these, the beautiful in Him who was Himself
incarnated Beauty—the chief among ten thousand, the
Altogether Lovely one!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A chequered life

Each of our lives is a plan of God. Let us be thankful for
the thought that our own plans—crude, faulty, mistaken,
sometimes sinful—are not infrequently counteracted and
superseded by His. "For I know the thoughts that I think
toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of
evil, to give you an expected end" Jeremiah 29:11

Often in the retrospect of a chequered life is the glad
and grateful avowal made, and the Psalmist's experience
endorsed, "He led them forth also by the right way, that
they might go to a city of habitation." Psalm 107:7

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

If the golden prize has eluded our grasp

God is a God of equity. He will exact according to what
a man has, not according to what he has not. He will not
look for figs or grapes where He has only given common
herbs. He will not expect pounds where He has only given
pence—talents where He has only given mites. If we have
little—limited and restricted means and opportunities—let
us remember it is because He has withheld more. If the
golden prize has eluded our grasp
, it is because He saw
we would be better without it. His gifts and benefactions
are many and diversified. Let it be our endeavor to be
"good stewards" to the extent of our responsibilities.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The world's joys

"Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again." John 4:13

The world's joys are fitful, uncertain, precarious—brooks
which dry in their channels—their silver ripple ceases often
just when they are most needed.

Gospel streams provided for the refreshment of God's
pilgrims, are, on the other hand, fed from the eternal
glaciers—the hills of heaven. They are fullest when all
others are emptiest.

"He will refresh her as a river in the desert and as the cool
 shadow of a large rock in a hot and weary land." Isaiah 32:2

"I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs
 within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of
 water, and the parched ground into springs. I will even
 make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."
    Isaiah 41:18-19

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

An Infinite Friend

How it would, with us, hallow every season of
prosperity; how it would take the sting from every
season of sorrow, and the bitterness from every
trial, to have at all times the sublime consciousness
that an infinite Friend is with us who joys with us in
all our joys, and metes out for us all our woes!

"Be sure of this: I am with you always, even
 to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The sweetest of life's curfew chimes

The sweetest of life's curfew chimes is the
closing one—"To depart and to be with Christ."

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

It is a sad thing

It is a sad thing when lives and friendships once
in harmony become sundered—drifting from their
old sacred moorings—the little breach gradually,
but fatally, widening, until it is irreparable.

"Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving
 one another, just as God through Christ has
 forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The uncaging of the spirit

At death there is no interruption in the continuity
of life. It is simply the uncaging of the spirit to
permit its free, unhampered soarings. There is a
wonderful comfort and significance in the words
of Christ, "I assure you, anyone who obeys My
teaching will never die!" John 8:51

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The distinctive message of the Gospels

God's love of the loveless is the distinctive
message of the Gospels

"When we were still powerless, Christ died
 for the ungodly." Romans 5:6

"While we were still sinners, Christ died
 for us." Romans 5:8

"For if, when we were God's enemies, we were
 reconciled to him through the death of his Son."
 Romans 5:10

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Yes, you are in a mazy labyrinth

"My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of
 suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want
 your will, not mine." Matthew 26:39

Yes, you are in a mazy labyrinth. But keep
fast hold of the thread—the golden thread of
your Divine Father's love. Thus will you, in due
time, come forth to breathe again the fresh
air, and welcome the blue sky of heaven!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

He died fighting for His enemies!

What a contrast between the unselfish consecration
of Jesus in His great work and ministry on earth, an
the selfishness and self-seeking so often characteristic
of the race for whom He died!

There are many in this world, embarked in gigantic
enterprises. Stand in one of our busiest thoroughfares;
see the crowd hurrying past, each with deep-furrowed
lines of care on his brow. These are builders; not builders
in stone or steel, but figuratively rearing some huge
pyramid with unremitting labor.

One is toiling at the Pyramid of Riches—tier on tier
riveted with silver and golden clamps.

Another is engrossed with the Pyramid of Ambition
heedless of the intervening work that he may reach
more speedily the coveted summit, and crown it with
Fame blowing her bronze trumpet.

Another is busy at some Intellectual Pyramid (choicest
of all), raising piles of mental treasure—laborious thought.

How few among these could say with an honest heart,
"I have no ulterior motive in all my labors. I have no
selfish interests to subserve—I am doing it all, neither
for the good of myself nor my family, but for others."

It would be a happier world if the use and design of our
pyramids had not been like those of Egypt—built to glorify
himself while living, and to cover his dust after death.

Different, how different, was the retrospect of Jesus!
"Christ pleased not Himself." Unselfishness in its noblest
type and form was the characteristic of His Redemption.
>From the infancy in Bethlehem's cradle, to the expiring
prayer on the bitter tree, all was the purest unselfishness
of a loving heart
. "He saved others, Himself He would not
save!" On His cross was engraved, not the superscription
of earth's boasted heroes—"He died fighting for His friends";
but, "He died fighting for His enemies!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


may be biding its time for the unguarded
moment. Do with it as you would do with the place you
know to be haunted by ravenous beasts of prey—"Avoid
it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way."
    Proverbs 4:15

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Absolute and flawless perfection!

"One who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from
 sinners, exalted above the heavens." Hebrews 7:26

When one sees, so often and so painfully, the shortcomings
and imperfections of the best of people—how far they fall
beneath even their own aspirations—irresolution and
inconsistency, indolence, self-seeking, and vainglory in
some; lack of patience, lack of courtesy, lack of zeal, lack
of love and sympathy in others; in a word, the too evident
traces of fallible and fallen human nature—how it magnifies
the absolute and flawless perfection of the Great Master!

As we all thus mourn, too truly and self-consciously, our
defects and deficiencies, our blots and failures—what a
wonderfully inspiring thought is that given by John, that the
day is coming when perfection shall be attained! "Yes, dear
friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even
imagine what we will be like
when Christ returns. But we
do know that when He comes we will be like Him!" 1 John 3:2

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Personal tastes

How varied are the types and temperaments of the
human family—from the nervous to the lethargic!

Let us make ample allowances for those not cast
in the same mold as ourselves, and kindly recognize
those who may not share our personal tastes and

This lesson is embraced in the Apostle's widely
inclusive exhortation, "Finally, all of you, live in
harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love
as brothers, be compassionate and humble."
    1 Peter 3:8

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Fascinating dreams

Many of the world's old religions and philosophies
are fascinating dreams, brilliant coruscations, beautiful
webs of thought, which the best intellect and purest
devotion had laboriously spun. We dare not depreciate
them. But there is only one philosophy that is from God.
"The wisdom of God is wiser than men."

Greece had her Mysteries, with their esoteric doctrines.
But these could shed no real ray of light on the awful
problems of life and of the future. The longed-for
"mystery hidden from ages and generations" was fully
revealed and manifested in the person and words of
Incarnate Wisdom—"I came that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.":

"Don't let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy
and high-sounding nonsense that come from human
thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and
not from Christ." Colossians 2:8

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


God's words
are not bolts of volcanic fire, but
golden arrows—love-shafts from the quiver of
His promises.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What is the lesson?

Unexpected calamity, sudden death, as we have
seen this week within palace walls, comes often
like an lightening-bolt from the calm blue of the
heavens; or like the earthquake shock when all
is lapsed in security, when birds are singing and
fields are waving with plenty.

What is the lesson?

"Prepare to meet your God!" Amos 4:12

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I have no key to God's hieroglyphics

"There are secret things that belong to the
 Lord our God." Deut. 29:29

You say, "Interpret the mystery." I have no key
to God's hieroglyphics
now. Eternity will read
and decipher all.

"For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
 so are My ways higher than your ways and My
 thoughts higher than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Wounds from a friend

"Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but
 an enemy multiplies kisses." Proverbs 27:6

The true friend is not the honeyed flatterer. He
who possesses the hall-mark of that noblest of
relationships is rather the confidential adviser,
or, it may be, the faithful censor, who, with
delicate tact and yet bold freedom, can point out
the peril or shortcoming to which we ourselves are
blind—the undiscovered weak joint in the armor.

Inestimable is the worth of such outspoken,
unselfish, trusted sincerity; faithful the wounds
of such friends.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Serfdom and beggardom to Satan?

You have often seen, in the sky of opening summer,
the struggle between sun and cloud. One or other
comes off at last victorious. Is it to be sun or cloud
with you?
Is the higher or lower nature to conquer?
Is it to be the ground turned into a crop of noxious
weed—the thorn and the thistle? or that which gives
birth to fragrant flower and golden grain? Is the
future to be purity or passion, loyalty to God or
serfdom and beggardom to Satan?

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Child of sickness and pain!

Child of sickness and pain! whose eyes for long
weeks have been unable to endure the garish
sunlight, by whose sleepless pillow the dim lamp
has been flickering with weary monotony, be still!

God has His own methods of mysterious dealing
and discipline. He can make that chamber of
suffering a Bethel. A ladder is ofttimes there
set between earth and heaven, traversed by the
angels Faith, Resignation, Hope, and Peace.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A lurking assassin

Envy is the basest of human passions. It might well
be impersonated as a lurking assassin, dagger in hand,
haunting the darkest chambers of the soul; disguised,
too, with iron mask, to conceal, as best it may, its own
vile features and malignant thoughts.

The Bible speaks of envy as one of a dastard, unlovely
triad—"envyings, murders, drunkenness."

It is a miniature hell wherever the foul fiend of envy has
been allowed to intrude. Hence no nobler moral victory,
yet no more difficult one can there be, than exorcizing
this demon of the abyss, tortured and maddened by the
sight of goodness it cannot reach, its impotence to tear
the wreath honorably won from brows better and worthier
than its own, and turn it into ashes.

"From envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness,
Lord, deliver us!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Foul fiends or beneficent angels?

Words are impalpable couriers of good or evil.
They may be foul fiends or beneficent angels.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The prayer of Agur

There is a true and deep philosophy in the prayer
of Agur
—"Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give
me just enough to satisfy my needs." Proverbs 30:8

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The soul's best music

"From the depths of despair, O Lord, I call for
 your help." Psalm 130:1

It seems contradiction and paradox, but the soul's
best music
often comes from a broken harp, its best
incense from the broken vase of alabaster.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Every turn in the pilgrimage path!

"Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord;
  point out the right road for me to follow." Ps. 25:4

Unfold and interpret for me every turn in the
pilgrimage path!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Running out like the grains in a sand-glass

What! these hours of a limited, vanishing existence
running out like the grains in a sand-glass, and nothing
yet done for Christ or those for whom Christ died!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

There are many loveless things in the world

There are many loveless things in the world
, but few
more so than that of unkindness—the gall and wormwood
of injured and unrequited friendship, a cold cynicism the
recompense of beneficent deed or generous gift.

How easy, how gracious, on the other hand, is "that most
excellent gift of love!" While it "seeks not its own," it is
a deposit paid back in compound interest. No other forces
of the soul can compensate for the lack of love. Amiability
and courtesy, benevolence and sympathy, outlive the more
heroic virtues.

"In her tongue is the law of kindness." Proverbs 31:26

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The soul's hardest lesson

"Not my will, but Your will," is the soul's
hardest lesson
; and, when learned, it is
its highest achievement.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Kind words and holy deeds

I like to think of the perpetuity of moral and spiritual
influences. Kind words and holy deeds cannot perish.
Goodness is indestructible. That man you speak of died
twenty years ago. No! he still lives in the hearts of
those his character brightened and refined!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Nothing but a gentle, sympathetic soul

Let none say, "There is no work for me to do, in my
limited and restricted sphere. I cannot aspire to a
position of conspicuous usefulness. I am no Asahel,
swift-footed in the race. I am dwarfed in means,
destitute of all claims to intellect. I am but a
common soldier in the great army—a mere hewer
of wood and drawer of water."

Accept the assigned position. Never despise nor
minimize "the power of littles." Do what you can.
God asks no more, and expects no more. With Him,
lowly work is worship. Only, what you do, do it
heartily, cheerfully. Be not repelled by the smallness
and insignificance of the mite you cast into the treasury.

You can teach a child its letters. You can read to a poor
invalid. You can carry a ray of sunshine with you into the
hospital ward. You can send a posy of violets or rosebuds
to the bedside of the invalid. You can give a word of heart
cheer to the struggling youth, and aid him in entering the
stern battle of life. You can indite a letter of wise counsel
and warning to the tempted child of poverty, and help to
fetch back the prodigal from his or her wanderings.

You can do the most Godlike and Christlike thing in the
world—that which needs neither purse nor learning—
nothing but a gentle, sympathetic soul. In ministering
to the broken and lacerated heart, torn, it may be, with
bereavement too deep for tears, you can give "beauty
for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment
of praise for a spirit of heaviness."

"Who has despised the day of small things?"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

True, genuine friendship

"A friend loves at all times." Proverbs 17:17

You cannot force a half-hearted friendship into life.
Where there is incongruity of character, feeling, and
ways, let it simply lapse into acquaintanceship; and
if even this be an effort, let it, without either violence
or discourtesy, die a natural death.

True, genuine friendship must not only be spontaneous,
but, to be lasting, it must be based on congeniality of
tastes, pursuits, interests, as well as on affection.

"There is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother."
    Proverbs 18:24

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

You hypocrites!

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you
You clean the outside of the cup and dish,
 but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and
 dish, and then the outside also will be clean."
     Matthew 23:25-26

The Jerusalem Pharisee is not extinct.
He has his
true representative and descendant in our time. He
still in spirit makes broad his phylactery. He has his
trumpet sounded before him. He has his unctuous
shibboleths. He is punctilious in creed and tradition.
He refuses to speak to a Samaritan.

Yet that man's inner life and home, as was the case
with his ancient prototype, confute and confound his
pretensions. There, he is often cold, cynical, selfish,
moody, morose, imperious
. He would keep all the
world right, but he is himself like the sepulchers he
whitewashes. It is outer garnish and no more. God
save the Church, from such a travesty as this!
for genuine, transparent, unmistakable reality!

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you
You are like whitewashed tombs, which
 look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are
 full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.
 In the same way, on the outside you appear to
 people as righteous but on the inside you are full
 of hypocrisy and wickedness." Matthew 23:27-28

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Truth that leads to godliness

"The knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness."
     Titus 1:1

Doctrine is nothing, dissociated from deed.

Abstract truth is poor, compared to living principle.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The tiny glowworm and the shining star

The eye of the Almighty takes in at a glance—
  the tiny glowworm and the shining star,
  the blade of grass and the towering Alp.

"He covers the heavens with clouds, provides
 rain for the earth, and makes the green grass
 grow in mountain pastures." Psalm 147:8

"He determines the number of the stars
 and calls them each by name." Psalm 147:4

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Remove the Bible from school and university

God help this nation if it be drifting to secularism! Our
people may be made giants in intellect; but severed
from the religious element, divorced from religious training,
the chances are they may become demons in depravity!

Where, moreover, are remedy and panacea to be found
for the anguished heart in its time of sorrow?

Philosophy and science, noble factors as they are, can
never heal the wounds of humanity, erase the furrows
from the woe-worn brow, or light up the shadows of the
final valley. They can never curb the madness of the
nations, subjugate the demon of war, and "ring in the
thousand years of peace."

Remove the Bible from school and university
, and
in that saddest of battles, the struggle of conflicting
principles, where the godless and Christless creed is
the triumphant one, there can be nothing but the

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

This spirit from the pit

How SELF in its protean shapes—
leaves its dents and stains on the shield of faith!
Happy the day when this spirit from the pit shall
be exorcized forever!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Old Testament history

Taking the Old Testament history alone, how suggestive
are its names and memories of the Christian's varied and
chequered experience!

Here is his Bethel—the rough, stony pillow of hardship
and suffering; but it is at the base of a heavenly ladder,
passing up and down which are angels of consolation.

Here is a Marah—the bitter pool of sorrow,
but wherein the divine healing Tree is cast.

Here are Palms and Wells of Elim, symbolic
both of shadow and refreshment in pursuing
life's wilderness march.

Here he has reached Rephidim, also with its double
emblem and significance; the combination of the two
factors in the believer's life—the active and the passive
—work and prayer—Joshua fighting in the valley; Moses,
Aaron, and Hur in supplication on the mountain summit.

Here is the gloomy border-river; but through its flood
the true Ark of the Covenant precedes the hosts of Israel,
conducting in safety to the land of promise.

We can write over all, "They shall abundantly utter the
memory of Your great goodness." The last of these
memories is sung in heaven—"They went through the
flood on foot—there did we rejoice in Him!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Living sacrifices

The Christian's heart should be a holy altar, and his
life a living sacrifice.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy,
 to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing
 to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The house collapsed, and all your children are dead!

"Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the desert and
 hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all
 your children are dead!
" Job 1:19

The wind is often contrary, and God means it to be so.

"He let loose the east wind from the heavens and
 led forth the south wind by His power." Psalm 78:26

"He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He
 sends the lightning with the rain and releases
 the wind from His storehouses." Psalm 135:7

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The grandest picture in the Gospels

The grandest picture in the Gospels—let us hang it up
on our deathbeds—is the father clasping the prodigal
and welcoming him home.

"And while he was still a long distance away, his father
 saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran
 to his son, embraced him, and kissed him." Luke 15:20

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The loveliest plants of the Gospel

The loveliest plants of the Gospel grow in the valley
of humility.

"Be completely humble and gentle." Ephesians 4:2

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Little sympathies and little kindnesses

We need not always be on the outlook to do great
services. Little sympathies and little kindnesses are
always possible.

"Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He
 loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted
 mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."
     Col. 3:12

"Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of
 sympathy toward each other, loving one another
 with tender hearts and humble minds." 1 Peter 3:8

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Amid the discords and disharmonies of life

Amid the discords and disharmonies of life,
the fitfulness of human friendships,
the wreck of fond hopes,
the havoc of death and the grave,
we can cling with unfaltering confidence to
the fidelity of God. Here is safe anchorage
that defies all storms.

"All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful."
     Psalm 25:10

"Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the
 heavens; Your faithfulness reaches beyond
 the clouds." Psalm 36:5

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The gauntest of all gaunt spectres

The gauntest of all gaunt spectres is that of cold
and unrequited love—sacred altars of
friendship turned into a pile of dead ashes.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A series of strange surprises

"Why, you do not even know what will happen
 tomorrow!"  James 4:14

Life consists of a series of strange surprises—a
constantly shifting complex succession changes.
Nothing so sure as the unexpected.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What is earth's greatest joy and privilege?

"Comfort, comfort my people," says your God. "Speak
tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are
gone and that her sins are pardoned." Isaiah 40:1-2

What is earth's greatest joy and privilege?
It is to
bring a ray of comfort to the broken heart.

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort
others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give
them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Cor. 1:4

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The old, the weak, the decrepit, the bedridden

How prone we are presumptuously to calculate on the
continuance of life! "My pulse is vigorous. My eye is
undimmed. My natural strength is unabated. The race
is to the swift—I am one of them. The battle is to the
strong—I am one of them. The old, the weak, the
decrepit, the bedridden
, will and must before long
be swept down like the seared leaves of autumn. But
I am as a green fir tree. The spring's verdure is only
now clothing me. The summer's zephyrs have yet to
fan me. The autumn skies have yet to canopy me. The
axe may be laid to the root of others, but I shall bring
forth fruit in old age—I shall be fat and flourishing. The
morrow shall be as today, and much more abundant!"

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go
to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business
and make money." Why, you do not even know what will
happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that
appears for a little while and then vanishes! 
James 4:13-14

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I will go home to my Father

"I will go home to my Father." Luke 15:18

In your moments of deepest darkness and alienation,
never lose sight of the truth that God is your Father.
The prodigal, in his season of dejection and despair,
speaks of his "Father" still.

"I will go home to my Father." Luke 15:18

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Trust God in little things

Those who trust God in little things are often answered
by Him in great things. "Trust in the Lord with all your
heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek
His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths."
     Proverbs 3:5-6

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Praise Him, all you twinkling stars!

"Praise Him, all you twinkling stars!" Psalm 148:3

These myriad stars in their luster, have been spoken
of in poetry as "sparks from God's anvil." There is a
defect in the figure. Sparks, brilliant as they are, are
momentary, evanescent scintillations—a flash of atoms,
which die in the darkness and are seen no more.

The starry host of heaven are glorious worlds, which move,
not capriciously, but in obedience to great cosmic laws—
tenants of a realm, not of confusion, but of design and
order. Let science speak of this as "laws of nature." Call,
rather, these thronged illimitable spaces—the domain of
a thinking, living, intelligent Creator and Sustainer; replete
with evidences of His sovereignty and omnipotence.

No modern speculations, be what they may, can ever dim
the brilliancy of those gems in the Almighty's diadem!

"Praise Him, all you twinkling stars!" Psalm 148:3

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

And he went outside and wept bitterly!

"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very night,
before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."

"No!" Peter insisted. "Not even if I have to die with
you! I will never deny you!" Matthew 26:34-35

Look at Peter! Who stronger than he? the honored and
trusted Companion of Incarnate Love, filled with sincere
loyalty to the gracious Master. "What! others may deny
You, but I—never! Never shall 'traitor' be branded on
my brow
, or the guilty denial tremble on my lips!"

See, before long, the presumptuous boaster in an
anguish of remorseful tears
, a moral and spiritual
shipwreck. "How the mighty have fallen!"

"And he went outside and wept bitterly!"
Luke 22:62

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What will heaven be

What will heaven be, but the development of present
character? "He who is righteous let him be righteous
still" Revelation 22:11

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Helping struggling souls in the battle of life

We wish that ministers of Christ, who wield the marvelous
power of the pulpit, instead of pursuing, Sunday after Sunday,
the round of purely doctrinal sermons, would understand the
necessity of sympathetically helping struggling souls in the
battle of life
; teaching them how to fight the good fight of
faith when the hour of conflict comes. The Sunday discourse
ought to impart strength and heart-cheer to the combatants,
young and old, in the spiritual arena.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Like a bird parting with its wings

To neglect prayer is like a bird parting with its wings.

"Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and
 a thankful heart." Colossians 4:2

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The gates of death

To the true Christian, the gates of death
open up the magnificent vistas of eternity.

"Write this down: Blessed are those who die
in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit,
they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from
all their toils and trials!" Revelation 14:13

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Commonplace, everyday experiences

"The Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who
 trusts in Him." Psalm 32:10

God is with His people, not only in the crisis-hours
and great emergencies of life, but in its commonplace,
everyday experiences

"Just as the mountains surround and protect Jerusalem,
 so the Lord surrounds and protects His people, both now
 and forever." Psalm 125:2

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end
 of the age." Matthew 28:20

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

It is not the cuckoo-cry of alarmists

It is not the cuckoo-cry of alarmists when we say
that our age seems to emphasize the warning words,
"In the last days perilous times shall come."

We are walking on a muffled volcano—faint mutterings
are heard in the hollow beneath our feet. Happy those
patriots, philanthropists, governments, that can wisely
read the signs of the times, help to open safety-valves
to prevent the sudden and, when it comes, uncontrollable
outburst—maddened forces direr than Nature's direst.

Strange that the jets of sulphurous smoke here and there
polluting the moral atmosphere carry with them so little
premonition. We seem to have no eye but for the green
grass, the enamel of flowers; smothering prophecies of
disaster. Other words of Scripture have a political as well
as a spiritual meaning—"When they are saying, Peace,
—then sudden destruction comes!"

Helpless seafarers! indulging in mirth and song, when
their ears should be open to the roar of the breakers!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

That man only begins to live

That man only begins to live
, in whom self dies.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Orthodoxy "falsely so called"

Let us beware of an orthodoxy "falsely so called";
verbose and often pretentious—the orthodoxy of
upturned eye, and conventional phrase, and dead
dogma—the orthodoxy which is at no pains to be
authenticated by . . .
  living faith,
  loving word,
  gentle deed,
  generous service.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Home and rest in the ocean of Infinite Love!

That mountain rivulet, released from the iron shackles
with which winter has bound it, goes onward, singing
in concord of sweet sounds, to the sea—its final goal
of rest. It owes its emancipation to the beams of the
sun of early spring.

Picture of the Sun of Righteousness, shining on frigid
hearts, waking up slumbering forces, melting icy
indifference, reviving generous impulses, transforming
life into a joyous, beneficent stream, whose waters
find at last their haven—home and rest in the ocean
of Infinite Love!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Undying music

Posthumous influence! There can surely be nothing
more solemnizing than this—that a man may continue
to live on—no, does live on—asfter death, either as a
curse or a blessing! Happy those who survive to make
undying music in the world.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Through the agonies of great trial

"You, O God, have purified us like silver
 melted in a crucible." Psalm 66:10

As the olives must be crushed for the oil to flow;
as the grapes must be bruised in the wine-press
that the vats may be filled; as the gold comes out
refined from the furnace—so, through the agonies
of great trial
, the best Christian graces are

"I have refined you in the furnace of suffering."
    Isaiah 48:10

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The Great Craftsman

God is permitting us to work the shuttles of life
apparently as we may. But He, the Great Craftsman,
in His own calm world, is supervising all.

"He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven
 and the peoples of the earth." Daniel 4:35

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The sob of universal humanity

"I am the Lord who heals you." Exodus 15:26

Christ was the true Jehovah Rophi. What diverse
crowds flocked to this Divine Physician of old, and
"He healed them all"! No numbers baffled Him; no
variety bewildered Him. The inquiring Nicodemus;
the rash Peter, boisterous as the waves of the sea;
the loving and meditative, yet impulsive John; the
strong-willed, skeptic Thomas—each had a niche in
the Great Living Temple.

crept abashed to His feet, and wept out
their shame and sorrow. Blind men on the wayside
called aloud for help. Lepers in piteous tones—outcasts,
spurned and evaded by all others—claimed Him, and
found in Him a brother. Hearts crushed and broken with
bereavement were in His presence conscious of a
combined sympathy and power which dried their tears
and restored their "loved and lost."

There was thus response in His bosom to the sob
of universal humanity
. Every bird of weary wing and
wailing cry, abroad on earth's waste wilderness of
waters, "seeking rest and finding none," had shelter
and safety and peace in this Ark of God!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A wonderful satisfaction

There is a wonderful satisfaction in the consciousness
of one good deed done. How happily do you close your
eyes at night when you have helped during the day to
lift a load of sorrow, calm a palpitating heart, or heal
a wounded spirit! Such deeds are their own recompense
and their own reward.

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least
 of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me." Matthew 25:40

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The epitome of the Christian life

"Enoch walked with God"—the epitome of the
Christian life.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Desolating bereavement

At the first moment of desolating bereavement,
the eye is too dimmed to see either God's wisdom
or love in the chastening. But the ear of faith in due
time is enabled to catch the word and to cleave to
it—"Be still, and know that I am God!" Psalm 46:10

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The raft of God's promises

Lashed, like the drowning mariner, to the raft
of God's promises
, you will ride out the storm.

"Hold me up, and I shall be safe!" Ps. 119:117

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Gold, silver, jewels

Now anyone who builds on that foundation may
 use gold, silver, jewels." 1 Cor. 3:12

There is a variety of work, and of capacity for work,
in the Christian Church.

"Gold"—pure, noble-hearted and open-handed men,
of position and influence, who use that influence for
the highest ends; holy in thought, word, and deed.

"Silver"—True men, not so talented, or wealthy, or
influential, but who do their part faithfully and

"Jewels"—Those of special gifts, brilliant attainments,
whose endowments of nature and grace are consecrated
to their great Lord.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The choicest of the Gospel's crown jewels!

"My Father!" That is the choicest of the Gospel's
crown jewels!


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The first deflection

The first deflection from the path of virtue, or honor,
or duty—how prophetic of further doom and disaster!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What a temple for adoration and praise!

Who does not esteem the manifold teachings of Nature?

Who does not love . . .
  her forest haunts, tremulous with music;
  her flowers, swinging their censers of incense;
  the brooks and streams and birds her choristers;
  the blue dome of heaven her magnificent canopy?

What a sanctuary of holy thought!

What a temple for adoration and praise!

"The heavens tell of the glory of God.
 The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship.
 Day after day they continue to speak;
 night after night they make Him known."
 Psalm 19:1-2

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The inheritance of the believer

The inheritance of the believer
"All things are yours!" 1 Cor. 3:21

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The angels of affliction

From that dull, dead block of marble, there is evoked
by the artist's tools a form radiant with beauty.

The angels of affliction are often God's best sculptors.
By their sharp chiselings, stroke after stroke, loveless
lives have been made lovely, common people have
become great, dead lives have been quickened into
the likeness of Christ—transformed into His image.

No! not, as we have said, "angels." The Lord of angels
delegates this work to no subordinates. And when the
shaping and molding and fashioning are completed, the
legend is inscribed—"Made perfect through suffering!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Our life-ministries

"Each with his assigned task." Mark 13:34

Never let us quarrel at the lowliness of our tasks or
the limitations of our life-ministries. The still pond
does not complain because it has not the music and
ripple of the stream or the swell and surge of ocean.
It is content, in its simple way, to supply the needs
of the cottage home, or refresh the weary toiler in
the field, or give drink to the thirsty beggar.

The violet blushing unseen in the woods does not
envy the cedar with its evergreen foliage or the oak
with its giant limbs and mighty shadow. It is content
to occupy its assigned place, away, it may be, amid
the loneliness of forest aisles.

God has given to each of us our positions and appointed
our tasks—humble as well as conspicuous, lowly as well
as mighty. Little-hearts as well as Great-hearts are
"ministers of His to do His pleasure."

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Habitually to realize

How it would soothe in trouble, nerve for duty, make
difficulties easy and crosses light, elevate above the
fretting anxieties of life and lead to calm unmurmuring
submission, were we able habitually to realize, in all
its fullness, the assurance, "God is my Father, and I
am His child."

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Happy the nations who are exempt from "the grievousness of
"—its inherent cruelty, its often demon selfishness; who
are delivered from the tyranny of those who make the crouching
nations a perch for their ambition—dragging the innocent from
their ploughs and vineyards, their peaceful employments of life,
their intellectual avocations, their homes of affection, in order
to reap a misnamed "glory" they seldom or never share, set in
deadly array against those towards whom they feel no hostility.

Never is responsibility greater than that of rulers who, in
wanton recklessness, nurture the war-spirit. "The roll of
conquering drum" is no music in the ears of the widow and
the orphan. Well may the cry ascend to heaven to exorcize
the foul fiend—the direst curse that can visit a country or
afflict humanity.

"Give peace in our time, O Lord!" The day will surely come
when, with sheathed sword and reversed spear, the prayer
will no longer be heard, because no longer needed, "Scatter
the nations who delight in war!" Psalm 68:30

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Demon or angel?

We are all sculptors, with the soft, pliant, formative clay
molding into shape our own futures—demon or angel.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

In the great game of existence

Sad the case
of those who had the possibilities
of a good and useful existence, but have lived
fatally and hopelessly given up to . . .
  sloth, or
  flippant pleasure, or
  engrossing selfishness.

Those fugitive, precious moments we are
forgetting and wasting, cannot be recovered.

In the great game of existence many are staking
all and losing all—drifting to hopeless, irremediable
bankruptcy. That is a solemn word—a dreadful
truth—the irreparable past!

Death will dissolve many a 'fairy vision' that has lured
and charmed us. Death will sweep down many 'flimsy
cobwebs of earth' that we have laboriously weaved—
poor tawdry things we have so often clung to and

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God's dealings

God's dealings are . . .
  sometimes penal,
  sometimes disciplinary,
  most often remedial,
  always loving.