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less nights because of my grief, versal experience of humanity. but now I could not sleep for the There are various degrees of untumultuous joy that filled my rest; and there are times in the breast. I would not have given history of some of the saints of that experience for a hundred God when every trace of anxiety thousand fortunes.
is removed. But in greater or less All burdens we can thus roll degree, at some time or other in upon Christ, for Christ is by our their lives, all rational, human side. So perfect is the communion creatures have felt the gnawings between the believer and the of spiritual disquietude. Christian, that no
1. The consciousness of guilt. where the man ends and Christ Along with the knowledge of begins. It is a marriage of souls. Divine relationship and duty, there The Church is the bride. We con- is always a sense of shortcoming: verse with Christ as perfectly as “I am not what I ought be.' did Mary sitting at his feet. Christ And as an immediate result there will be with us in death, and is necessarily a feeling of unrest through death, blessed be His that depresses the soul. Peace name. Eternity will not be suffi- takes its flight from the heart that cient to unfold the full meaning of is oppressed with a sense of unforthe text, “I am the life”; that
given sin. our life is in Christ, on Christ, for 2. The consciousness of antagonism Christ, with Christ.
to God and holiness. This is more God grant that we may all ex- than guilt; it is a habit of thought, perience what the life is which and feeling, and action, which is Christ can give to man.
essentially evil and progressively J. A. M. CHAPMAN, D.D. vile. So long as a consciousness
of this disorder continues, there The Peace of the Saints. can be no peace in the soul. We ISAIAH xxvi. 3.
are so constituted that complete
satisfaction of heart can never be • Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee : because he
realized except through the knowtrusteth in Thee."
ledge that we are in harmony with
God and His unfallen universe. THE word keep
seems taine and suggestive. But it means in
Why this is so, we may not be able this passage to “keep as with a
to explain; but the fact itself is garrison.' The picture which the
perfectly clear. Unrest is born of word but dimly outlines is the
spiritual disease. human soul as a citadel with battle
3. The ordinary troubles of life. ments, towers, inhabitants. It is
All human experience is more or beleaguered by a hostile army. All
less characterized by unpleasant the force and skill of the enemy
circumstances and events. Childare directed to the demolition of
hood has its peculiar sorrows, the fortress and the destruction of
which, though short-lived, are real
and bitter to the childish heart. its occupants. But there is a powerful Ally, an omnipotent Friend,
Youth is not exempt from grief. who has come at the urgent call of
Pain and privation often becloud those in distress, and is, with con
the brow where the sunlight of summate skill and irresistible
young hope and joy is wont to strength, repelling every assault.
linger. Middle life is full of trial, Consider
and labour, and anguish. Poverty
is a well-known form of trouble. I. THE FOES THAT WAR AGAINST Sickness, in all its multifarious OUR PEACE.
forms and various degrees, is a Spiritual disquietude is a uni- common species of human trouble.
Bereavement is a sombre visitor Nor is this peace insensibility to whose knock has jarred at almost the ills of life. The faculty of every door, and whose coming feeling is not taken away. always bruises and lacerates the This peace comes in spite of past heart. Besides these forms of guilt and disorder; in spite of all trouble, there are hosts of others. weakness and temptations ; in spite Now, these troubles
of the grave; and in spite of the present and relentless foes to our keen sensitiveness of the soul to all peace of mind. They besiege the its surroundings. We speak of the citadel of the soul from morning wild and stormy ocean as if all its light to evening shade, and even secret depths were stirred by storms. our dreams bear the impress of We forget that it is only a surface their influence. At times they fill agitation. The great heart of the the heart with utter wretched- ocean is always calm and peaceful. ness ; and, even when our joyful So a believer's outer life may be full experiences predominate, still of trouble and distress, and yet the the shadow of evil is near at heart be full of comfort in the enhand, and soon it falls athwart joyment of that Divine peace which our path.
passeth all understanding. 4. The dread of Death.
" Some through fear of death are all their
III. THE DIVINE ALLY WHO GAR
RISONS OUR HEARTS. lifetime subject to bondage.” This fear fills more hearts than ever “ Thou wilt keep.”. Almighty quaked before Sesostris or Alex- God is called “ the God of peace.' ander, Charlemagne or Napoleon. Here the mystery is explained by For, whatever else may be un- the presence in the fortress of the certain, death is sure to come. Omnipotent God as an Ally. He Upon whatever other points men is not an indifferent spectator of our may be sceptical, they are firm struggles. He comes with all the believers in the dissolution of soul comforts of His love, and all the and body. What lies beyond it ? resources of His infinite power. As Death thus becomes a destroyer of light radiates from the sun, and our peace. That very fear is the delicious odoursexhale from flowers, opposite of peace, and the two are so sweet influences of peace flow incompatible with each other. out from the presence of God while
He abides as the welcome guest of II. THE POSSIBILITY OF PEACE IN
the heart. SPITE OF THESE FOES.
IV. THE CONDITION UPON WHICH “Thou wilt keep him in perfect
GOD KEEPS THE peace.”
IN PERKeep whom ?
FECT PEACE. compassed about with infirmities, and subject naturally to all these It is the man “ whose mind is interruptions of peace. Not merely stayed” on God--who “ trusteth a transitory and half-developed in God—that He will keep in peace, but perfect, complete, abid- perfect peace. Faith, trust in God, ing, satisfying peace. In spite of is the one indispensable condition all the harassments of life,' the Spirit of Inspiration heartily and 1. Faith in a complete atonement constantly affirms that perfect brings perfect peace, as opposed to peace may be attained and en- that disquietude which arises from joyed.
a consciousness of guilt. This peace
does not come to the 2. Faith in the regenerating and child of God by any exemption sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit from the ordinary lot of human brings perfect peace, as opposed to beings.
that unrest which is born of a con
scious antagonism to God and holi- of death. A venerable Christian
woman, ninety years old, wrote to 3. Faith in the particular pro- a minister in Virginia:“I am walkvidence of God brings perfect peace, ing up and down on this side of the as opposed to the care and worry in- river, listening to the music on the cident to the ordinary troubles of life. other side, and looking for a good
4. Faith in a risen Christ brings place to cross." perfect peace, as opposed to the dread
J. T. WHITLEY.
Critical Notes on Difficult Texts.
ISAIAH xxvii. 8.
at the prophet. These men express
contempt for him as fit only to “He stayeth His rough wind in the
instruct children, thus : day of the east wind.' THIS not few consider
Whom will he teach knowledge,
And whom will he make to understand the equivalent to Sterne's famous apo
message? thegm, “God tempers the wind to Them that are weaned from the milk, the shorn lamb.” But most critics
And drawn from the breasts. give the whole verse a different ren- To these babes and sucklings his dering. The animated questions of works are adapted by their perverse 7 mean that God does not
petual repetition of elementary smite His people as He did their truths. (All the Hebrew words
otherwise, oppressors, but far
are monosyllables, and this fact Then, in the following verse, the should guide the translation.) moderation of His chastisements is positively set forth, thus :
PROVERBS ix, 7. In measure, when thou puttest her away, dost thou contend with her;
“He that reproveth a scorner getteth He removeth her with his rough wind in the to himself shame.'' day of the east wind.
THE word rendered scorner is That is, instead of a sweeping calamity, He sends one that is
better expressed according carefully measured, so as not to
modern usage by the term scoffer, exceed
i.e., one who not only feels conproper
bounds; and instead of a continuous course of correc
tempt for a person or thing, but tion, He takes advantage of a tem
expresses it by word or act. But a
more important correction is repestuous east wind to effect a removal, which, however, will be
quired in the case of the last word
of the sentence. One who reproves more permanent than is the direction of the wind.
on just cause never has occasion to
feel ashamed, no matter what may ISAIAH xxviii. 10.
be the result, for he has simply done his duty.
Nor does the “ Precept must be upon precept, line original text say so, for the word upon line, here a little and there a
translated shame is not the one little."
usually so rendered, but another, MANY readers understand this as signifying not what a man feels suggesting the abundance of divine himself, but what others do to him; revelations, and the persistency and the true rendering here is with which they should be en- dishonour or reproach. We all forced. But all later writers con- know that a reprover,
however sider this verse and the preceding wise, often gets only reviling for as the utterance of wicked scoffers
ISAIAH xxvi. 19.
conception of some such general awakening one day to befall all that sleep in the dust.
PROVERBS vi. 22.
This is a beautiful reference to the doctrine of the resurrection,
Thy dead men shall live : together with my dead body shall they arise.” But the words supplied in the Authorized Version, besides their gratuitous character, point a reference to a doctrine of the · New Testament, which there is no
to believe was in the prophet's mind. It is better to render literally: “Thy dead shall live, my dead bodies shall arise." The phrase, then, is a figurative statement of the return from exile. Just as Paul speaks of Israel's restoration to favour as life from the dead, so here Isaiah sets forth the deliverance from Babylon as a l'esurrection. The earth feels the dew of heaven and casts forth its dead because they are God's. Of course, the use of such a figure would imply a more or less vivid
SOLOMON sets forth very strongly the helplessness of the silly youth who is enticed by the fair speech of the strange woman :
“He goeth after her straightway as goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks.” But the last clause is made more forcible by a correct rendering, viz., “as a man in fetters to the correction of the fool.” The chained convict on his way to the place of punishment, and the ox driven by superior force to the shambles, are lively emblems of the slavish bondage in which the victim of sensuality is held. He has resigned the control of reason, and is handcuffed by vice.
Life Lessons in the Acts of the Apostles.
Altogether a Christian.
ACTS xxvi, 29.
“And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds."
KING AGRIPPA, in his scornful outburst-rejecting the idea that he should be thought of as a believer. --- used the term “ a Christian.” “Lightly and easily thou art persuading thyself to make me Christian." The apostle here neither accepts nor uses such a phrase. The king indeed had forgotten himself, as much even Festus, when he condescended to
were a hated class, following a detestable superstition, upholding the honour of the Carpenter who had made such an impression upon the poor, and outcast, and suffering in Judea and Galilee, and who had been crucified. They had no learning, no ritual, no philosophy, no sweet or honied speech, no voluptuous charms; and Rome, with her haughty insolence and her pride of power; and Greece, with ħer mysteries, and philosophic speculations, and moralisings, and decorated lusts, and beautiful impiety; and Judaism, with its pride of patriarchal descent, and its strength of blind prejudice, and its priestly hate, were delighted to be able to cast their ineffable contempt upon the new religion and its professors by the use of a new-coined piece of “slang," so smart, and clever, and expressive
" Christians ! ” The word of
opprobrium has been strangely tive power, and some are merely glorified in the most marvellous con- commonplace and humdrum. Some quests ever achieved since the world march like an army to conflict
The reproach of Christ” they are the forces which deterhas become more honourable than mine national and immortal desthe brightest diadem which adorns tinies; and some are songs without the brow of any earthly potentate. words, sweet, and shallow, and Christian, is greater, and mightier, meaningless, and uninfluential. Paul and more noble than Greek, Roman, was a mighty creative force in the Jew, or the proudest name of honour world of men. Amid the thoughts on the roll of fame.
and passions out of which come to But if Paul did not accept the
be welded into new forms molten name of contempt, even from the masses of living metal, he was king, he knew what innermost supreme. His mark is cut most meaning might be couched beneath deeply into the very heart of the the phrase. He was not ashamed of world's new life. He is more to us the Master he served; he was not than imperial Cæsar, than Alexafraid to confess the Christ he loved. ander, than Plato, than Zoroaster, He would not for a moment shirk than Mahomet, than any other the full avowal of his identity with teacher who has ever touched those who were thus scorned and
the problems of human history, or gibed. His soul was stirred with lighted up the darkness of its ignorthe mightiest emotion which can ance and its sin. He speaks the lanthrob the heart of humanity; and, guage of the common human heart, rising to a height of majestic passion, and yet has heights of knowledge such as no other religion ever did or to which only a few adventurous could inspire, with the pathos of a spirits can approach, and depths so divine love, yearning for human profound that but few lines can salvation, he exclaimed, as he lifted reach so far. He has interpreted the right arm to which hung the man; he has interpreted the heart of chain which attached him to theleft God in Christ; the passion of the arm of the soldier who had him in cross, divine and human; the whole charge, “I would pray to God that, wonder of incarnate love-as none whether with little effort, or with other ever did, as none other can. great, not only thou, but all who This life ennobles not one nation, hear me to-day, might become such but humanity. The Apostle of the as I am, except these bonds.”
Gentiles, he is the Apostle of the “ Such as I am is no expression world, unlimited in his influence of over-developed self conscious- | by any narrow nationalities or secness ; is no egotistic boast; is no tarianisms; and here, absorbed in over-weening vanity. It is a reproof the passion in which he ever lost addressed to the king for the use himself, and great in Him whose of the term of opprobrium ; but it
lustre irradiates and beautifies his is an avowal of the apostle's iden- own and all other life, he points us tity of sentiment, and feeling, and to thenew character he hadattained, life with those whom he had thus the new experience he had felt; and, designated. We do not press the with whatever ease or with whatwords unduly when we use them, ever difficulty, he prays to the most therefore, to help to a full and high God that we may become what adequate conception of what is he already was. involved in the designation “alto- Altogether a Christian.”
The gether a Christian.”
question is an important one: “Some human lives are all poetry, What does this designation really and some all prose.” Some flash cover, and what does it imply and with the lights of genius and crea- express?