Good Words 1860
A Leaf from the Annals of a Hidden Life
OR, THE SECRET OF POSSESSING
A GOOD MEMORY.
To possess a good
memory—such was one of the most frequently recurring wishes of earlier
years. Whenever distressing circumstances, affecting either my own or
other people's happiness, reminded me sadly, and ofttimes provokingly and
painfully, of forgetfulness, the impatient exclamation of my lips, or the
sighing utterance of my heart, invariably was, "Oh, how I wish I had a
good memory! —how I envy those who can always remember the right thing and
the right time, and spare them selves and others the countless vexations
that fall to my lot!"
Do any of my young friends
re-echo this wish of my heart, and desire to become possessed of my
secret? I will tell them how they may make it theirs, and I can assure
them beforehand that they will find '' the desire accomplished sweet to
As Luther, the great
Reformer, was wont to say to the students who came to him complaining of
the difficulties which lay in the path to literary success, "To pray well
is to study well," so now, I say to you, To pray well is to remember well.
If you would remember well and wisely,—if you would remember all that is
essential to be remembered,—all that is calculated to add both to your own
happiness and usefulness and to that of those around you,—plead the
promise of the Saviour, "He (the Holy Ghost) shall bring all things to
your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John xiv. 26.) Plead
it daily and earnestly, asking that it may be fulfilled in your own
experience, and the forgetfulness you deplore will decrease, it may be
rapidly, as in my own case, but at any rate certainly, for "all the
promises of God" are yea and amen in Christ Jesus, and none ever pleaded
for their realisation in His name, and went away unsatisfied.
But do you say that such a
promise, though very precious to the Christian in its relation to
spiritual things, does not include the countless little things which you
are obliged daily to bear in mind in order to the satisfactory fulfilment
alike of the personal and relative duties of the life that now is? I
reply, You have never yet realised the fulness of that promise, or you
would not have to mourn its insufficiency to fulfil all your need. Shall I
endeavour to analyse it, and shew you its adaptation to the little as well
as the great things of life? Nay, you shall dissect it for yourselves,
that the joy of the discovery may be your own. I will only ask you one
question—a suggestive one—and then leave you to pursue the train of
thought it will awaken in a thinking-mind. Do you not believe that in the
''things which Christ hath said unto you" you have an all-sufficient rule
of faith and practice—a treasury of practical as well as of doctrinal
knowledge? If not, dear young friends, you have read your Bibles to very
little purpose. Every duty of life, from the least even to the greatest,
has been written, as with a sunbeam, in the pages of Revelation by the
finger of God. All, therefore, that the memory need retain for our present
and eternal blessedness is wrapped up in that brief but comprehensive
promise of our Lord—"He shall teach you all things, and bring all things
to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
The promise is, first, that
He shall teach you all things—all essential truth—all the things that
belong to your peace; and, secondly, that having taught you, He will also
keep you in remembrance of all that you need to know. What a casket of
treasures is here! A lifetime shall not suffice to put you in possession
of the whole, while yet the prayer of faith shall enrich you daily,
enabling you to draw from the springs of memory—if you first supply them
freely from the Fountain—waters as refreshing as they are inexhaustible.
A. pious and evangelical minister—a man greatly beloved for his works'
sake, as well as for his Christ-like spirit—once addressed a class of
young people, when speaking on the subject before us, as nearly as I can
remember in the following words, " Whatever we clearly understand, and
deeply feel, the memory retains and the life exhibits." Experience has
since taught me the truth of the first clause of that memorable sentence,
and the lesson has been one of great blessedness. Oh that the last clause
may be verified also, both in my own experience and in that of all who
shall read this memorial, making us become "living epistles of Christ,
known and read of all men!"
What a glorious hope is set
before us, dear young friends, when we are called upon to shine as lights
in the world!
But how shall we fulfil
this high and holy calling?
By revolving in an inner
circle (would it might be in the inmost circle!) around the "Sun of
righteousness," "the Light of the world." The closer we keep to Jesus, the
more brightly shall we reflect His image. And let us never forget that it
is by keeping His commandments that we can thus abide in and near Him. And
if we would keep His commandments, how needful it is that we should
habitually remember His words! Thus you perceive that to possess a good
memory—a memory full of good things—"things wherewith one may edify
another"—is to possess one great means of enabling our light so to shine
before men as to glorify our Father in heaven. It is also a great means to
enable us to sit with Christ in heavenly places, and to speak to ourselves
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, (Eph. v. 19,) thus filling the
otherwise dreary and depressing seasons of sickness and solitude with a
divine companionship—a joy with which a stranger cannot intermeddle—a
peace that passeth understanding.
Such a memory, like every
other good and perfect gift, cometh from above, and is freely given in
answer to the prayer of faith.
May it be yours, dear young
readers, to ask and receive it, and with it wisdom to use it aright, to
the glory of God, the edification of your fellow-men, and the present and
eternal welfare of your own souls—so shall your path be that of the
justified, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day!
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