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Good Words 1860
Good Words for Every Day in the Year


April 12.

"My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God," —Ps. xlii. 2.

This is the cry of the living soul to a living God, from the midst of a dying and dead world. Sometimes we are peculiarly impressed with the sense of vanity in all around; with the feeling that there is nothing satisfying, nothing stable and enduring under the sun. But this is not of itself sufficient to make us long after-God ; the poet truly says,

"'Tis, by comparison, an easy task
Earth to despise; but to converse with Heaven,
This is not easy!"

It is not simply "not easy," it is even impossible, unless we follow God, who draws our hearts upwards, and reveals Himself to us as the light and life and salvation of our souls. And this is the Psalmist's experience; he knows God, therefore he thirsts for God; he thirsts not after religion merely, nor the ordinances of religion; these can only lead to God, they cannot satisfy the soul's deep thirst as the " living God" alone can do. Let me cherish and strive to have intense desires after God, not content unless I have every day something of the Psalmist's feeling of thirsting for the living God. They who so thirst shall assuredly be filled!

"I thirst, but not as once I did,
The vain delights of earth to share;
Thy wounds, Emmanuel, all forbid
That I should seek my pleasures there.
It was the sight of Thy dear cross
First wean'd my soul from earthly things,
And taught me to esteem as dross
The mirth of fools and pomp of kings."

April 13.

"But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me."—Isa. xlix. 14.

' How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever?"—Ps. xiii. 1.

''Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies?"—Ps. lxxvii. 9.

The wail of Zion, the complaint of David, may still be often heard among the people of God. Among the people of God, I say; for it is not the wicked who cry in such tones of bitter anguish, " How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord?" It is the child, not the stranger, who weeps when he cannot find his father, nor see his countenance of love. It is he who has known the goodness of the Lord that mourns the loss of His favour, as if the sun were quenched in the heavens. Deep and long afflictions may lead to this sad temptation, especially the affliction of bodily sufferings, for the body weighs down the mind in many a mysterious way; but whether produced by such means or not, the temptation is one of the sorest that can possibly beset the Christian, and calls for the tenderest sympathy and prayers of his happier brethren. One would think that the answer of the Lord to His afflicted Zion would be enough to silence for ever such a complaint, and to shew the mourner that he dishonours his God by even supposing that He can forget. "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee!" Lord, keep me from either forgetting Thee, or ever thinking myself forgotten by Thee! The sun clearly shines, though my eyes, dimmed by tears, may discern but a luminous mist. But with "the Father of lights is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

April 14.

"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do,"—Acts ix. 6.

If we are indeed sincere in asking this most important question, God will not leave us unanswered, though, perhaps, He may not at once reveal His will concerning us, but may give us, as a test of obedience, some duty to perform as simple as that which He gave first of all to the newly-awakened Saul of Tarsus—"Arise, and go into the city." How apt are we to think that we must do some great thing for Christ, while, perhaps, we are neglecting some very obvious though lowly duty which lies close to our feet. Again, how ready are we to look at our neighbours, and think what would be the right thing for them to do, instead of saying, " "What wilt thou have me to do?" Truly, there would be fewer doubts about the way if there were more sincerity in asking and following it; and there would be fewer falls in the Christian's journey if he would be content to perform it step by step, the nearest duty first, and all for the Lord's sake, so as to make of each in its turn a practical answer to the question here asked.

"Oh, that I were an orange tree,
That busie plant!
Then should I ever laden be,
And never want
Some fruit for Him that dressed me!"

April 15.

"And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you."—Luke xxiv. 36.

What a blessed salutation! Peace from Him who alone can give it. Peace purchased by Him with His own blood. Peace for time and for eternity. What a depth of peace lies in these words! He had won the victory; the agony, the bitter cross, the dark, cold grave were all behind Him now. He had risen and conquered, and the first pledge of His triumph bestowed on His Church lay in His first greeting, "Peace!" Yes, those whose sins are nailed to the cross, who have died with Him unto sin, have peace; a peace that the world knows not of, and can neither give nor take away. O Jesus, cause me to hear Thy peace-speaking voice! Suffer me not to disregard its gentle accents amidst the turmoil of this world's vanities. Enable me to meditate on Thy peace, and on all that Thou hast done to bestow it; and may my whole soul expand with love to Thee, who hast so loved our guilty world as to make thine own self an offering, that we might possess peace with God.

"Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,
Which before the Cross I spend,
Life and death and peace possessing,
From the sinner's dying Friend."

April 16.

"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching." —Luke xii. 35-37.

Love is the best watcher : love will keep the heart awake and the light burning for the Lord; but if we suffer the love of the world, and that spirit of indifference which so surely accompanies it, to take possession of us, there will be no watching, no longing for His appearing. When we think of all that our Lord has done for us, and of all the ties by which He has bound us to Himself, it seems strange that we should need such a warning as this: it seems as if it should be impossible for us to forget Him, and cease to watch for Him "more than they that watch for the morning." But, alas! our hearts are so prone to turn aside, that not only is the warning constantly needed, but it is also constantly disregarded, and we require to pray earnestly for a watchful and tender spirit, ready to take alarm at the least trace of coldness and carelessness. He will come, however long He may delay! He will come suddenly, however marked the signs of the times may be! Oh, that I may be found among those blessed ones whom, in that day, He shall find watching! I know that my spirit is willing, but let me never forget that my flesh is weak!

"Waiting for the Lord's returning,
Be it ours His word to keep;
Let our lamps be always burning,
Let us watch while others sleep.
We 're no longer of the night;
We are children of the light."

April 17.

"And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts."—Mark iii. 5.

"And, looking up to heaven, He sighed."—Mark vii. 34.

"And He sighed deeply in His spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign?" —Mark viii. 12.

How affecting are these glimpses of the feelings of the Holy Jesus in our unholy world ! They reveal one of the deepest sorrows of the Man of Sorrows, the sorrow of beholding sin, of seeing his Father's name dishonoured among His brethren whom He loved. We can, in some sense, enter into this, by knowing how painful it is to a child of God to he cast among sinners, and these his own brothers and sisters in the flesh! But what are our feelings, poor sinners as we ourselves are, compared to those which affected the pure soul of Jesus! He could look into the hearts of those around Him, which we cannot do. And, oh, what revelations of sin must He have seen there! What unbelief among His own disciples! What godlessness among even the most seeming virtuous of the Pharisees by whom He was surrounded! I marvel at the patience of the Lord; at the long-suffering which endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself; and at the tender pity which healed all, even of that evil generation, who came to Him. What an example is here for us! O Lord, make me to learn patience from Thee, by learning Thy love!

"If He the scorn of wicked men
With patience did sustain,
Becomes it those for whom
He died To murmur and complain?"

April 18.

"For the transgression of my people was He stricken."—Isa. liii. 8.

"Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above."—John xix. 11.

It was not Pilate nor Herod, the Jews nor the Romans, that caused His cruel death,—" for the transgression of my people was He stricken;" centuries before had these words been uttered, which the fulness of time at last brought to pass. The Holy One who stood before that guilty, trembling, vacillating judge, knew that His hour was come, and met it in all its agonies, going like a lamb to the slaughter—going willingly, meekly, unresistingly, to be made a ransom for us. 0 Redeemer of the world, teach us aright to meditate on Thy wondrous work of redemption; teach us to follow Thee, in thought, to the garden, to the judgment-hall, and, lastly, to the hitter cross; trying to bring these dark hours before our minds, so that we may know something of the might of that love that bore Thee through them all. Then shall we see something of the exceeding evil of sin, when we consider it in the light of the sufferings it caused to Thee!

"All ye that pass by,
To Jesus draw nigh;
To yon is it nothing that Jesus should die?
Your ransom and peace,
Your surety He is;
Come, see if there ever was sorrow like His!"


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