« AnteriorContinuar »
of Infinite power:
Cross is,—the arm of God. The gospel is the supreme manifestation
By this strong yet tender arm we are lifted from " the horrible pit” of guilt and placed on the Rock of ages. Ever should we remember that. If we attempt to do spiritual good, without reference to Calvary, we shall ignominiously fail. Here was trustful action.
None can fail to notice the frequent mention which David makes of God. He relies on Him. He uses the best means he has, but he also looks confidingly upward. “This day shall the Lord deliver thee into mine hand.” “I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts." " The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the
på W of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.”
In an age of notorious unbelief, it is well to mark carefully that all great achievements have been the fruit of faith. Both in the realm of things secular and things sacred this holds good.
" . They wrought in faith,' and not,' They wrought in doubt,'
Is the proud epitaph inscribed above
Belief, not doubt, will touch the secret spring.” Christian workers ! trust God. We have every reason to do so. Too frequently we despond in view of the giants of sin. We look at our sling and few stones and think them unequal to the strife. Let us remember the story of David. Our means may seem insignificant. It does not matter. "We may be mere dwarfs and striplings compared with Saul and Goliath: that is of no consequence. The Lord has promised, "In due season ye shall reap.” It has been said that a pebble thrown into the Thames at London Bridge causes a vibration in the water which is felt at New York. Scientific authorities assure us that even a child cannot move its finger without originating a force which reaches to the farthest stars. “Who hath despised the day of small things ?” They shall become large things if we only consecrate them with fervent prayer. The same good God who helped the son of Jesse will help every mother's son of us who tries to spread His kingdom. Let every preacher, Sunday-school teacher, tract distributor, visitor of the poor and sick, “ have faith in God.” II. SUFFERING; OR, STONES THROWN AT DAVID. When the king was exiled from Jerusalem, Shimei
, the son of Gera, came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David.” He was one of those pitiable cowards who add insult to injury. The sight of fallen greatness, instead of awakening silent
awe, only afforded opportunity for a display of mean malignity. How did this affect David, and what is its bearing upon him ?
It was merited suffering.
So the sufferer himself thought. Listen to his words : "Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him.” It was a Divine chastisement. In many ways David had done wrong; now he was punished. Are any disposed to carp at the mode in which Jehovah visited him for his transgressions ? They ought not. It is not for us to dictate to God. He has a right to choose His own method of inflicting penalties. Let us look at home. The course which we pursue in reference to our children is well known. If they offend, we feel that we have the prerogative of deciding the nature of the retribution. Whether they shall be subjected to solitary confinement, or have extra lessons imposed, or be denied some customary enjoyment, it is for the parent to determine. Nor is it otherwise with the Father of all.
It was appropriate suffering.
There was a marvellous agreement between the penalty and some of the sins on account of which it was inflicted. The exact spot on which Shimei appeared and hurled stones at him was connected with a bygone iniquity of the king's. “Did David remember," asks one,“ how the husband from whom he had torn Michal had followed her to this very place, and there had turned back weeping to his lonely home?”.
“Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” Ishmael's hand is against every man's; and, as an inevitable consequence, every man's hand is against him. Jacob deceived his parent by means of a ? kid's skin, and his children deceive him by a coat dipped in kid's blood. The Egyptians killed the children of the Israelites, and afterwards their children were destroyed by the great plague. To Agag it was said, “ As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother 4 be childless among women !" Joab, who slew Absalom, one of David's sons, was slain by another of his song. Jeroboam put forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, and his hand straightway withered. Saul of Tarsus, who consented to the stoning of Stephen, was himself stoned in the city of Lystra.
Similar illustrations of the same principle have occurred in all other lands and times. A statue having been erected to Theogenes, the victor at public games in Greece, a foe went one night to pull it to pieces. It fell, but he fell with it, for it crushed him. Jonathan Edwards the younger tells the story of a brutal wretch in New Haven who was abusing his father ; when the old man cried out, “Don't drag me any farther, for I didn't drag my father beyond this tree.” Thomas Fuller said: “ One complained that never father had so undutiful a child as he had. “Yes,' said his son, with less grace than truth, 'my grandfather had.'” Southey has put into characteristically charming verse the incident of the Inchcape Bell. On a dangerous rock in the sea a huge bell had been swung. In fog or in darkness the monotonous tolling of it, as it was tossed by the wild waves, was sweet music to sailors, for it warned them of danger. Many a mariner's life did it
save, and many a gallant ship protect from wreck. Some desperate pirates took their opportunity and cut it adrift. Thus they hoped to ruin others and enrich themselves by the cruel spoil of the ilì-fated vessels which should thereafter go to pieces there. But justice followed hard upon them. Their own barque foundered, and they were drowned in the exact place. William the Conqueror drove thousands of poor peasants from their huts, sending them forth without a shelter, in order that he might form the New Forest. In that same forest one of his own family was gored to death by a stag; nay, the monarch's own end was strikingly in unison with his barbaric cruelty. How came it to pass ? He had set fire to the vines, crops, fruits, and town of Mantes, when his horse trod upon a hot cinder, which threw the rider forward and inflicted a mortal wound.
Happy are we if our individual histories have not afforded parallel cases. The evil which we inflict often rebounds. Thank God! as much may be said of the opposite. Though there are sad and vexatious exceptions, yet goodness begets goodness. “We love Him because He first loved us” has a secondary application to us and our fellows. The merciful obtain mercy in this world. Kind deeds produce their like. "My prayer returned to mine own bosom,” declared the psalmist. We met with an incident the other day which well illustrates the fact to which we refer. A young man overtook a lady in the street. He accosted her thus: “How does the world use you?” “Very well,” she replied ; “ How does it use you ?” “The world uses me well enough,” was the response; “but the people who are in it don't." " Indeed! Do you use the people in it well?" This is the key to good usage.
It was blessed suffering. Mark another of David's utterances in connection with it. “It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.” No doubt good was requited. Indeed, the very way in which the trial was endured showed that already it was a boon as well as a chastisement. Insult and injury are robbed of more than half their sting when they can be borne as the king now bore them. They become sanctified afflictions.
To say that sorrow is frequently our best friend would be merely to repeat what has been spoken, sung, and written thousands of times. The point on which we would rather fasten the reader's attention is this,—that even gigantic trials, huge and crushing calamities, like those of poor David, may become such. The truth is, that in the present world great goodness is not attained without great suffering. The purer the gold, the hotter the furnace. Forcibly has a popular writer remarked: "I recollect being strongly impressed on reading the account of an old castle in Germany, with two towers that stood up mighty and far apart, between which a baron stretched large wires, thus making a huge Æolian harp. There were the wires suspended, and the summer breezes played through them; but there was no vibration. Common winds not having power enough to move them, split and went through them without a whistle. But when there came along great tempest-winds, and the heaven was black, and the air resounded, then these winds, with giant touch, swept through the wires, which began to sing and roar and pour out sublime melodies. So God stretches the chords in the human soul which ordinary influences do not vibrate; but now and then great tempests sweep through them, and men are conscious that tones are produced in them which could not have been produced except by some such storm-handling.". Let us try to remember this when huge and unexpected disasters befal us. They do not come without God's permission. If we ask for patience and trust while they last, we shall be nobler and better for them when they have left us.
“ Through long days of anguish,
And sad nights, did Pain
Bright and free from stain.
Without hope or rest,
Patience, on my breast.
Ignorant of her charms,
Smiling in my arms. Finally. Be it never forgotten that the True Consoler in every woe and Saviour from every evil is "great David's greater Son." Reader, look to Him. Obtain His forgiveness. Secure the influences which He offers for our renewal. No matter how imperfectly you may apply to Him, He will hear you. None are turned back because of their frailties. Thus is it written: “He that is feeble among them shall be as David.”
Poor lame Jennie sat at her window looking out upon the dismal narrow street, with a look of pain and weariness on her face.
“Oh, dear,” she said with a sigh, o what a great long day this is going to be!" and she looked wistfully up the street.
Suddenly she leaned forward and pressed her little pale face against the glass, as a rosy-cheeked boy came racing down the street, swinging his school books by the strap. Looking up to the window, he took off his hat and bowed with a bright pleasant smile.
“What a nice boy he is,” said Jennie to herself, as he ran out of sight. “I am glad he goes by here when he goes to school, he looks so happy, and when he smiles it seems like having the sunshine. I wish everybody
who goes by would look up and smile."
“ Mamma,” said George West, as he came home from school, “I can't help thinking about that poor little girl that always sits
in the window. She looks so tired. To-day, when I went by, I pitied her so that I took off my hat and bowed to her, and she smiled and watched me away down
the street. I wish I could do some
you have to sit here all day? thing for her," he continued, looking asked Georgie, glancingaround at the up into his mother's face.
bare room, and out into the dismal “You did do something for her to street. to-day, if you made her smile,” said “Yes,” said Jennie, “because I his mother. “But suppose you
am lame; but I would not mind that, should carry her a handful of flowers if I could only help mamma.' sometime when you go to school.” “I declare, it's too bad,” said
“I'll do that to-morrow morning," Georgie, who dreaded nothing so said George, “if I can ever find the much as being obliged to stay in the way into that rickety old house." house.
The next morning, as Jennie sat “Oh no, it isn't,” said Jennie leaning her head wearily against the pleasantly, “Mamma says, may be window, watching the raindrops we should forget Jesus if we had chasing each other down the glass, everything we wanted, and He'never and the little dirty brooks running forgets us, you know. Just 'think down the street, she spied George how good it was for Him to send me carefully picking his way across the these beautiful flowers to-day,” she street with a handful of such beau- continued, laying them against her tiful flowers, it almost took away her face. breath. He stopped in front of her “How do you make that out," window, and smiling pleasantly, said:
tly, said: said Georgie, looking very much "How shall I find the way to your surprised, "when I brought them room?"
myself" Jennie pointed to an alley near by, “Oh, He made you think of it,” where he turned in, and with some answered Jennie, “because it is such difficulty found his way up the dingy a dark day, and He thought I'd want
Opening the door to something to look at." Jennie's gentle “Come in,” he said : “Well, I must run to school,”
"I have brought you a little hand- said Georgie, not knowing exactly ful of flowers to look at this rainy what to say next; and taking two day.”
or three stairs at a bound, he was Are they for me p" exclaimed soon out of Jennie's sight, but had Jennie, clasping her hands in delight. a happy little corner in his heart be* How kind you are!” she continued,
cause he had tried to do a kind act. as Georgie laid them in her lap. I He did not know how much good he have not had a flower since we lived had done in making a pleasant day
out of a dreary one for a little sick "Did you use to live in the coun- girl. try?” said George.
“Mamma,” said Georgie that "Oh, yes," answered Jennie. “We evening, after he had told her what used to live in a beautiful cottage,
papa must give them and there were trees, and flowers, some money, so they can go back to
green grass, and the air was so their home." sweet."
No," said his mother, “he could "Well, what made you move not do that, and they would not wish here?” asked Georgie, growing in
him to do so; but perhaps he can terested.
help us contrive some way to help "Oh,” said Jennie softly, " papa
them, so they can live in a pleasanter died, and mamma was sick so long, place.” and the money was all gone, and “I am going to carry
Jennie mamma had to sell the cottage, and of the grapes grandpa sent to me, toshe moved here to try to get work morrow," said Georgie, turning over to do."
in the city.”