« AnteriorContinuar »
Dead Sea valleys, from whence it is a long flight for any soul to rise to heaven.
How different is it in a home where every heart is in loving sympathy with what is great and good and noble !— where every member of the household is better by the intercourse of home !—where each contributes his share, and all become the gainers by whatever each discovers. Such a home is very near to heaven. God's angel-messengers, that come and go there daily, find that there is the shortest way from earth to heaven. And such a home is not only very near heaven, but very like it; for the Lamb is the light thereof, and they who dwell beneath its roof are of those that follow Him whithersoever He goeth.
The foundation of such a home as this can be laid only in the union of those that are like-minded in their faith, who love and trust the same Saviour. Whoever he be, who himself loving Jesus, yet forgets the command, "Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers," makes his own Christian life thereby full of difficulties and obstacles. But where the heads of the house are one in Christ, duty becomes easy, and the plants of God grow up and flourish there, amid the warm and kindly atmosphere of Christian love. Let yours be such a home as this, a home like that of Bethany, where no guest was so welcome as Jesus, and no friend so well beloved as He.
All shall perish, hearts be broken,
That thou lovedst fondly here,
That spake often words of cheer.
Oft supported, stiff shall be;
That once fondly watched o'er thee.
All shall die; the earthly findeth
In the earth a grave alway;
And the heart itself decay.
Flicker earthly flames and die.
Earthly blooms fade utterly.
On the wreck of all things earthly
God is standing, and doth say,
Hope, love, banish fears away.
Lasting treasure who can give.
In Him do thou ever live.
% mitt at Misoom.
BY THE REV. J. MARSHALL LANG, D.D.
"I love them that love me ; and those that seek me early shall find me."—Proverbs, viii. 17.
Jut has not this word a selfish sound? "I love them that love me." Does not Jesus say, "If ye love them that love you what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?" If you look at the beginning of the chapter you will see that the speaker is full of love for every one. I see her on the tops of high places, in street and thoroughfare, at the gates where the markets are held, at the doors whence men and women are pouring out and merry children run forth to play; wherever there is one whom her voice can reach. I see her, " Goddescended, beautiful, serene, with diadem on her brow, and blessing in her hands, and peace on her lips," crying, entreating all, for the love she bears to all, to hear and receive the right and excellent things which she has to bestow. Oh, yes; a most pitiful, long-suffering, kindly-affectioned wisdom; standing, often, through long days and weary nights, knocking at the door of human hearts, if they would but hear the voice and open the door, that she may come in and sup with them and they with her.
What is meant by the phrase, "I love them that love me," is, that there is a special delighting, answering love in wisdom to all that are filled with love to her. I want to speak to you about the two sides of this love—the love in you and me for wisdom, and the returning love in wisdom for us. "Now then, hearken unto me, O ye children."
I will tell you, first, how love for wisdom is shown. May God help you to see whether, by the marks I mention, the love is in you and abounding. Take three marks. It is shown in what the mind hates, what the mind seeks, what the mind has.
God hates nothing that He has made, but He hates what He has not made, what has been done by His enemy. "An enemy has done it."1 Look back to chapter vi. 16, we learn there what He hates. Six things, yea, seven are abominations to Him. He made the eyes, but not the proud look; so He hates it. He made the tongue, but not the lying tongue; so He hates it. He made the hands, but He did not mean them to shed blood; so He hates the hands that do it. He made the heart to devise good things, but He did not mean it to devise wicked things; so He hates the heart that devises them. He made feet to be swift on errands of truth and love, not to run to mischief; so He 1 Matt. xiii. 28.
hates the feet that run on such errands. He made our souls neighbourly, but not to speak lies; so He hates the false witness and the one who, telling lies, makes mischief between people.
I do want you to be good haters of pride and naughtiness, and the roads which lead to what is bad, and the mouth that speaks rudely and nastily.
"I hate half-measures and compromises," said the boy in the story to his companions with whom he was discussing the character of one who, while resolving to become a follower of God, wished permission to pay outward homage to his master's idol. The boy's impulse was right though his judgment of the case in point was harsh. It is a good thing, however, for young or old to hate all compromises with sin; all half-hearted devotion to what is right, and true, and good.
But the love of wisdom is shown in what the mind seeks as well as hates. What about seeking? I seek something I want, something which seems to be good to me. Think, for example, of all the Arctic explorations in which so many brave lives have been lost. ItVas not a mere love of adventure that led to them; the good thing wanted was a new passage, with all the advantages that it would bring. What do you in your heart desire as good? Some one says that he had discovered three hundred and twenty different things which people set before themselves as good. This Book says that all run into two: wisdom and folly. See now, here is a little girl who is playing with her doll when her mother says that she is to come to her lesson. She pouts and cries, and is naughty. She wants the doll; that is folly. Here is a boy who has got his lesson; he has a crib beside him: if he uses it he knows it is against the teacher's wish, and he will not learn the lesson; but it saves trouble, and he gets the task quickly, and has more time for the story-book. His good is his own indulgence, and it is folly. So it is all through life. Folly says, "What will please yourself? put happiness first, goodness second. Get as much as you can, give as little." Wisdom says, "What will please God? Happiness second, goodness first. Buy instruction, and not silver." Oh that in your heart of hearts, this wisdom may be the principal thing !" They that seek Me early," with the whole freshness and energy of the spirit, as the good wanted now! Like the soldier who had lain awake all night in concern about his soul, and in the morning went off to the chaplain, whom he met on horseback. "Will you pray for me?" "Yes." "But I mean now." "What, here on the road?" "Yes, chaplain, here, now."
And then, this hatred and this seeking that meet in the love of wisdom come through what the mind has. What is that? Read the 13th verse. Five little monosyllables to be written in your heart: "The fear of the Lord." Ah, yes! When you look some day into a lake the heavens reflected in it seem very shallow. When you look another day the heavens seem so deep. What is the difference? On the one day the clouds are low—the heaven is low: on the other day the clouds are gone—the heaven is high. So it is when the great high heaven of God's holiness is looking down into our hearts that we feel how deep His love is, and, feeling this, hate what is evil. Now when I say " The fear of the Lord," it is just another way of speaking of the love of God. The fear is the love recoiling from the bad; reverent, awful turning from the lie, not because it may bring punishment, but because it is against the Father. And then the love is the fear, with all that has torment cast out of it, not driving from but drawing to the Presence. I see the love and fear every morning when I awake. There is on the wall opposite me the little picture of a child kneeling, with eye and hand lifted up. That is wisdom. Where there is no kneeling, no prayer, no God in the heart, there is no wisdom. "The fool saith in his heart, There is no God."
Now, what about the returning, answering love of this Divine wisdom? I reply, It is a love that is loaded with