Copyright
Jeremiah B. J. Rhodes.

Thoughts for quiet hours through the year online

. (page 1 of 6)
Online LibraryJeremiah B. J. RhodesThoughts for quiet hours through the year → online text (page 1 of 6)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES



3 3433 07994766 3



)U01IT1



■'Oii



OTjifrr nojm5]



XiUicjuua eui^ Xi^,^:



^'






\



'RVoi



«&



V \ u




REV. |. B. j. RHODES



THOUGHTS

FOR

QUIET HOURS

THROUGH THE YEAR



By REV. J. B. J. RHODES

Member of the

New Jersey Annual Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church



INTRODUCTION

-bv-

Rev. L. W. Munhall. a. M.. D. D.

Evangelist and Author



'.••^ *•. »» .*. '

1 »* " . a'



1918
Long Branch, N. J.



I 'inn. i^EW YOKK

PUBLIC LIBRARY

ASTOR. LENOX AND
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS
R 1919 L



Copyright by Rev. J. B. J. Rhodes. 1918



*^>'






To My Wife
Fannie Ingalls Rhodes

this little volume
is affectionately dedicated



INTRODUCTION

This old sin-cursed, war-scarred world is heaving and yeasting
in the throes of the most horrible tragedy it has ever known, —
furious in the restlessness of unstable and unsatisfying things.
Thrones are crumbling, dynasties failing, hopes perishing, hearts
aching and breaking, while the fiends of earth and hell are running
riot. But in the darkest hour of the world's agony may be heard,
above the roar of battle, the voice of Him who has all power and
authority in heaven and upon earth saying — "My peace I give
unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you; let not your
heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." He "is our refuge and
strength, a very present help in trouble."

Apart from the confusion and horrors of national strife, is the
fact that this is a restless age. We are driving so fast and furiously
that one has but little chance or time to think calmly upon the
weighty and solemn problems of life and eternity. Many of our
people cannot find time to attend the regular services of the Church ;
and some of those who do attend find it difficult to concentrate and
keep their minds upon the v/orship of the house of prayer and the
things that make for righteousness and peace. Helping any one to
understand that "the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the
effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever," in these
dark, stormy and trying times ; and into the sweet experience of that
peace which passeth all understanding," is most surely a greatly
needed and God-appointed ministry, — and the author of this vol-
ume has certainly been guided and blessed of God in the work he
has done ; and without doubt, the volume will be a means of bless-
ing to all who will give attention to it. I pray God's favor to
accompany it on its mission of love.

L. W. MUNHALL.
Germantown, Phi la.. Pa.
October 10, 1918.



AUTHORS PREFACE

In sending forth this Httle volume, our chief desire has been to
present to the reader such thoughts for the "Quiet Hours" of life
as will strengthen his Faith in God, and in the "Hope that maketh
not ashamed".

We make no claim for it of literary excellence, or even of
definite originality. The Truths herein set forth are very ancient,
but nevertheless still remain as bulwarks to the common faith of
humanity. With the Psalmist, we may say:

"While I was musing the fire burned."

J. B. J. RHODES.
Simpson Memorial Parsonage^
Long Branch, N. J.
October 3 K 191 S.



JANUARY

Do not look at lifes long sorrow;

See horv small each moment's pain;
Cod Tvill help thee for tomorrow.

So each day begin again.

Every hour that fleets so slowly

Has its task to do or hear;
Luminous the crown, and holy.

When each gem is set with care.

Do not linger with regretting.
Or for passing hours despond;

Nor the daily toil forgetting.
Look too eagerly beyond.

Hours are golden links, God's token
Reaching heaven; but one by one

Take them, lest the chain be broken
Ere the pilgrimage be done.

— Adelaide A. Proctor.



First Sunday



A MOTTO FOR THE NEW YEAR

'Forgetting the things n>hich are behind, and stretching forward to
the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the
prize of the high calling of Cod in Christ Jesus/' — 5^ Paul.



UNQUESTIONABLY the key-note of human history has
been "Progress". We may certainly affirm that so far as
the teachings of the Bible are concerned, "progress" in the
kingdom of God is the one theme that is emphasized. What did
the patriarchs, prophets and leaders of Old Testament times say?
Did they not command Israel to "Go forward" and possess the
rich pasture lands of Canaan?

When John the Baptist, and later Jesus, came, it was to
summon all true followers to the advance movement of the King-
dom toward the higher life of Christian love. In the above motto,
the Apostle Paul, after a life of unusual hardship and toil, feeling
the tides of material life ebbing from him, sounds the note of
Christian optimism. Progress in the Christian life. Here then is
our thought for the new year.

Paul uses the figure of the racers, who "when performing
their feats in competition, reach forward, in their rushing intensity,
with both body and arms, and think of nothing — neither that which
is in the present, nor that which is behind — but measuring the
distance before them, with their eyes fixed upon it, and are strain-
ing every nerve each to touch the goal first, and win the prize."
Grecian history relates that one Ladis, fell dov^ dead, as soon as



10



he had received the prize, showing what men will sometimes do to
win the fading honors and prizes of the present Hfe.

There may be a past from which we shrink, but the prize
is set before us. The Christian's prayer is

** Teach me to live and find mp life in Thee,
Looking from earth and earthl}) things arva^.
Lei me not falter, but uniiringl])

Press on and gain new strength and porver each day.'*




FIVE NEW YEAR RESOLVES

1. I will forgive all offenses.

2. I will pray every day for my Church, my neighbors and my

Country.

3. I will express appreciation for all blessings or favors received.

4. I will not drink, nor encourage the use of intoxicating liquors, as

a beverage.

5. I will not indulge in idle gossip, nor encourage it in others.



II



Second Sunday

THE TREASURIES OF THE SNOW

''Hast thou entered the treasuries of the snolpp" — Job.



THE beautiful snow is Winter's choicest gift. "The dews of
a thousand Summers wait in the womb of the snow." So
wrote Bayard Taylor. "Snowflakes are feathers dropped
from birds of Paradise in the ether blue. Sunbeams kiss them and
the tints of Paradise thus are born anew", declares Helen W.
Grove.

Truly from our Creator, falling snowflakes bring messages to
earth. They teach us a lesson of Purity. Their whiteness suggests
this. King David prayed: "Wash me and I shall be whiter than
snow". Describing his vision of Christ, St. John on Patmos wrote:
"His hair and his head were as white as snow". And does not
this universal whiteness of the snow remind us all of the purity of
heart that characterizes the true people of God? The world's
Redeemer said: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see
God".

Snowflakes also bring a message of Beauty. Scientists catch-
ing the falling flakes have classified them as crystals in a thousand
exquisite forms of star and cross and crown. Observing the frost-
work — the rainbows in icicles and jewels in silvery drapery falling
around us — are we not impressed with the finished character of the
architecture ?

Behold their message of Power. Emerson describes a snow
drift as "the north wind's masonry". A single snowflake will melt

12



on a baby's finger, but piled up on streets and railways it defies
the mightiest armies and engines.

''Over the country, the hills and the plains.
Piling up higher and blocking the trains;
Stopping the mails from far and near.
Shutting off nervs from friends so dear.
Even Cupid himself must hang up his horv.
Suspending his work, 'because of the snon>\'*

— M. W. GiFFORD.



SNOW FLAKES

Out of the bosom of the Air,

Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken
Over the woodlands brown and bare.
Over the harvest-fields forsaken.
Silent and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take

Suddenly shape in some divine expression.
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession.
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air.

Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair.

Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded.
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

— //. W. Longfellow,



13



Third Sunday

THE BOOK OF GOD

'5ee^ pe out of the Book of Jehovah and read.'' — Isaiah.



BOOKS are a mighty power for good or evil, according to
their character. In all ages the Bible, as compared with

other books, has held a conspicuous place. Sir Walter Scott
said: "There is only one book — the Bible". Charles A. Dana de-
clared "There is no book from which more valuable lessons can
be learned". Luther wrote: "The Scriptures are the legacy of the
early Church to universal humanity; they are the equal and treas-
ured inheritance of all nations, and tribes, and kindreds, upon the
face of the earth, and will be till the day of judgment".

The Bible has a wonderful history. It has met and overcome
all books foreign to its character. The greatest writers and mu-
sicians of the world have drawn from it their loftiest themes.
Artists have illustrated the precepts of the Book and became fa-
mous. Musical composers have blended in harmony and song the
spirit of the Book. During the Reformation it passed through a
long war, but was victorious. Its teachings, when obeyed, have
always proven beneficial to individuals and nations. Bishop Fowler
once said: "Marvelous book. Full of divine life and power. No
one can touch even the hem of its garment writhout being healed.
No one can come near enough even to stone it without being
blessed. It stands alone without a rival — even its enemies them-
selves being judges".



14



Whittier truthfully sings:

'*JVe search the world for truth: xve cull
The good, the pure, the beautiful.
From graven stone and written scroll.
From the old flower-fields of the soul.
And, wear]) seeders for the best.
We come hack laden from the quest.
To find that all the sages said
Is in the hook our Mothers read.''

This Book of books should be prized by all. It is the word
of Truth. Let not the dust gather upon its cover; nor its precepts
go unheeded in your life.



GOD'S MESSAGE

The Bible is God's message to us. But to many of us it is
not much more than an inscription is to the roving shepherds of the
plain. Even the precepts of Jesus, so clear and so easily applied
to Hfe in any age and circumstances, are read by us and heard
with little thought that they are God's direct call down the cen-
turies to us to heed and do what they say.

Is the Bible God's message to you? That depends, not on
what you say you believe about the Bible, but on what you do
with the word that God through the Bible is this day bringing to
you. The Bible is a wonder, and a monument; but it is not a mes-
sage until it has reached a heart and come forth in holiness and
service.

— Alexander McCall.



15



Fourth Sunday



THE PERFECT RULE FOR LIFE

"All things therefore ivhatsoever \je Tvould that men should do unto
})ou, even so do \;e also unto them; for this is the /an? and the
prophets.'' — Jesus.



HEREIN is found the Golden Rule, so-called because of its
antiquity, its lofty ideal and its general acceptance by man-
kind. It is the perfect rule for every life. Christ lived by it
and commends it to all men — rich, poor, savage, citizen, king and
peasant. Its standard of action tow^ard others is self; its standard
of relations is the rights of others.

Is it practicable? Try it. Do you want your neighbor to
hate you? Hate him. Respect you? Respect him. Forgive you?
Forgive him. To love you? Love him. Echo always gives back
the same word that is spoken. Jesus said: "Love your enemies;
bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray
for them which despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye
may be the children of your Father which is in heaven".

Here is the rule for the laborer and the capitalist; the em-
ploye and the employer; the ruler and the subject; the master and
the servant ; the cultured and the ignorant ; the saint and the sinner.
This is the rule that not only works, but never fails to work
when men apply it. "This is the law and the prophets."

The golden rule will also be the rule of the Golden age —
yet to be. So sings Walt Whitman :

"r/je song is to the singer and comes hack ^ost to him;
The love is to the lover and comes back '"os/ to him;
The gift is to the giver and comes back ^ost to him —
// cannot fail."

16



FEBRUARY

**lVe shall wake up and find that the frost-spirit has been at
work all night building Gothic cathedrals on our windows. * * *
The silent falling of the snow is to ,me one of the most solemn
things in Nature. The fall of autumnal leaves does not so much
affect me. * * * And ever faster fell the snow, a roaring torrent
from those mountainous clouds. * * * Thus the evening set in; and
Winter stood at the gate wagging his white and shaggy beard, like
an old harper chanting an old rh\)me: 'How cold it is! How cold
it is!

— H. W. Longfellow in ''Hyperion.'*



Fifth Sunday

THE QUIET HOUR

'Be still and kf^ojv that I am Cod,*' — Psalmist



THE quiet of a shadow haunted pool
Where light breaks through in glorious tenderness.
Where the hushed pilgrim in the shadow cool
Forgets the way's distress —
Such is this hour, this silent hour with Thee.

The trouble of the restless heart is still;
And every swaying wish breathes reverently
The whisper of Thy will."

Not sorrow's hour ; nor the quiet of indifference ; nor of stifled
emotions. But the quiet hour of reflection; of prayer; of submis-
sion to the call of the Divine; the hour of worship; of spiritual
relaxation.

It is needful. The times are strenuous. The demands are in-
cessant. The nervous strain exhausting. The quiet hour provides
the remedy for over-taxed, anxious-hearted souls. Emerson de-
clared that "Great deeds are born in solitude". The Man of
Galilee frequently entered into the solitary place and prayed.

The hour of quietness yields many blessed fruits. It is the
secret of inward strength. By it is furnished power to endure and
serve upon the battlefields of life. General Grant was knov^ as
the "silent man," but there was none greater on the field of conflict.

It is the secret of inward peace. The world seems full of
discord, strife, misery and trouble. There is a solace in silence.

18



Secret sins and hidden tragedies must be confessed. The quiet hour
brings the sinner to the altar of penitence. Peace comes when war
ceases.

"Study to be quiet" is the Apostolic injunction. Make a
place for the quiet hour in your daily program. "He who dwells
much in the temple of silence learns to know himself. He who
knows himself is close to God."



THE POWER OF QUIETNESS

Forget not the unmeasured ministry of these rarest souls who
have modestly shrunk from public gaze, yet who have created an
atmosphere on which the nurture of our nobler self so much de-
pends. Flowers may bloom in the hidden recess of the forest; the
nightingale may send forth his worthiest note upon the silent, un-
responding night, but shaping the very heart of things, and guard-
ing the common weal, are those unobtrusive souls who give their
largess to the world's great work. Quiet are the stars. Asleep the
magic forces of nature seem. Silent are the souls of some men, yet
how beneficent in worth ! Underrated by reason of their obscurity,
yet easier is it "to bind the sweet influences of Pleiades or loose the
bands of Orion" than to restrain the salutary effect of a quiet,
reverent life.

— John Humphrey, in Methodist Review.



19



Sixth Sunday

THE OPPORTUNITY OF YOUTH

**Let no man despise thy y^outh.** — Saint Paul.



WHEN David presented himself to King Saul as a volunteer
to fight the giant Goliath, the king looked at his ruddy
face and said: "Thou art but a youth, and he is a man
of war from his youth". But David was not frightened by this
fact. The consent of the king was finally given; David went up
to battle in the name of the Lord and the giant was slain. Do we
not learn from this incident that no man is able to estimate the
power of the youth who has God on his side. It is so of every
youth who goes to battle against the enemies of life. With God
on his side, victory is certain.

Those familiar with the writings of Paul cannot fail to notice
his deep interest in young men. The age in which we are now
living has seen a marked awakening in the estimate which Pau/
has placed upon the power of consecrated youth. We believe these
utterances estimate in general terms the opportunity placed before
the youth in all periods of time.

Paul declares that it is within the power of every youth to
live in honor and beyond reproach. He shows that a pure life is
the strongest recommendation. A reputation for boldness, unrefined
conduct, lewdness and many other undesirable habits in the life of
the youth is usually the result of causes of like nature. Paul's word
of counsel to youth is, that they may so order their lives that none
shall have honest occasion to speak of them in dishonor or re-
proach.

20



The ideal then is a pure life; not for the sake merely of repu-
tation — though this is commendable — but purity of life because
God hath said: "Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel
of the wicked, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the
seat of scoffers".

*7s the ^oung man safe?'* the heart-wrung cry
Has an age-long ring that brings it nigh.
'Tis the nameless dread at the father s heart.
As he sees his son from the home depart;
Tis the burden of man^ a mother's prater
For the bo^ who wanders she knows not where;
'Tis the harrowing fear that will not sleep
Till it plows in the forehead its furrows deep.

— Record of Christian Work.



H



IMPROVEMENT OF OPPORTUNITY

You do well to improve your opportunity; to speak in the
rural phrase, this is your sowing time, and the sheaves you look for
can never be yours, unless you make that use of it. The color of
our whole life is generally such as the three or four first years in
which we are our own masters, make it. Then it is that we may
be said to shape our destiny, and to treasure up for ourselves a
series of future successes or disappointments.

— Cowper.



2\



Seventh Sunday

THE WELL-SPRING OF EVERLAST-
ING LIFE

*Tke water I shall give shall become Tvithin a well of water
springing up unto eternal life.*' — Jesus.



H



O! every one that thirsts draw nigh:
'Tis God invites the fallen race:
Mercy and free salvation buy;
Buy wine, and milk, and gospel grace.
Come to the living waters, come !
Sinners, obey your Maker's call.
Return ye weary wanderers, home,
And find my grace is free for all."

— Charles Wesley.

By the side of Jacob's well Jesus taught an erring soul the
secret of the Christian's enlarging life. The point of contact was a
drink of water — one of the most common of God's free gifts. Pure
water from an earthly spring possesses a cleansing, refreshing, beau-
tifying and fruit-giving power. All physical life is sustained by it,
and v^thout it, death in a most horrible form ensues.

Jesus taught the Samaritan woman that as water is essential
to the sustenance of all physical life, so the water from spiritual
fountains is essential to the life of the Christian. He said: "The
water I shall give shall become within a well of water springing up
unto eternal life". The figure used must not be contrasted to the
reservoir, the cistern or even a canal. These are but receptacles for

22



water. The Saviour promises to put within the soul of all who
teek from Him the water, a well-spring of life. It will spring forth
as a cleansing, refreshing, regenerating and healing power.

Fellow Christian, have you drunk this living water from the
cup which the Master offers you> Of Israel it was once said:
"They have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of Hving waters, and
hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
But to Abram Jehovah said: "I will bless thee and be thou a bless-
ing." Shall the request of this penitent Samaritan woman be yours:
"Lord, give me this water, that I thirst not."



AN OPEN FOUNTAIN

It is related of a benevolent man, that he lived in a village
poorly supplied with water. Dry seasons exhausted the wells, and
reduced the citizens to great straits. About a mile distant was a
never-failing spring. The waters from this he conducted by pipes
to the heart of the village, and so furnished a supply at all seasons
to the inhabitants. This act of generosity touched the people ; and,
when he was dead, they erected a monument to his memory by
the fountain that he had opened for their benefit. Such a fountain
has Jesus opened to assauge the thirst and save the lives of perishing
men. It rises as the river of the water of life out of the throne of
God and of the Lamb; and the Spirit and the Bride call to the
thirsting multitudes lining its banks to approach, and partake freely
of its healing virtue. — Selected.



23



Eighth Sunday



GATHERED LILIES

'A/i; beloved is gone down to his garden to gather lilies." — Song
of Solomon,



HOW fitting is the comparison between lilies and children. In
nature's garden no sweeter or more beautiful flower grows
than the lily. In God's great garden of humanity none arc
purer or sweeter than the child.

Our children — how pure, delicate and beautiful are they.
Richter wisely says: "The smallest children are nearest to God, as
the smallest planets are nearest the sun." Because of their inherent
innocence heaven claims all the children. Jesus said: "To suck
belongeth the kingdom of heaven."

But the lilies are easily sulHed and soon fade, so delicate and
tender are they. So are the children. The physical organism may
seem perfect but it is often so easily overpowered by the ravages of
disease.

''The air is full of farewells for the dyeing
And mourning for the dead;
The heart of Rachel, for her children cr\)ing.

Will not be comforted.'* LoNGFELLOW.

There is a garnering time and it is the Beloved Christ who
walks with quiet step and plucks these choice lilies from his family
garden. He gathers his own. If only the sorrowing heart can say
"My beloved", this is the victory. We shall see again these garden
flowers blooming in a fairer land.

*'And the mother gave in tears and pain
The flowers she most did love.
She knew she should find them all again.
In the fields of light above.*'

24



MARCH

Slater of winter, art thou here again?
O welcome, thou that bringest the summer nigh!
The hitter wind makes not ih^ victory vain.
Nor will we mock thee for th}) faint blue sky.
Welcome, O March! whose kindly days and dr^
Make April ready for the throstle's song.
Thou first redresser of the winter's wrong!

— William Morris.



Ninth Sunday



THE PATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS

The path of the righteous is as the dawning light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect da^." — Solomon.



W



'ALK in the light! and thou shalt own
Thy darkness passed away.
Because that Hght hath on thee shone
In which is perfect day."

— Bernard Barton.

After all, righteousness is the only beauty to be desired and
sought for in this life. Such is unfading and universally admired.
In all ages the righteous have blazed a trail of light through this
dark world. What a glorious array of character portraits is pre-
sented to us in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. To refresh our
faith we need only to consider the quality of character thus re-
vealed. Each is a luminary in the midst of his own generation. Be-
ginning with Enoch, "who walked with God, and he was not for
God took him", to Moses, who "accounted the reproach of Christ
greater riches than the treasures of Egypt", do we not behold the
dawning light of righteousness in the midst of heathen darkness?

In a most positive sense this path of the righteous has a
starting point, a direction and a goal. It begins in the positive
acknowledgment of the Divine sovereignty, in the direction of a
godly life, continuing toward the perfect day of eternal bliss. This
path is frequently illuminated by definite spiritual experiences. As
there is a sunrise every day upon the earth in the journey of the

26



great luminary which brightens the whole earth, so there are sun-
rise experiences in the soul's journey from earth to heaven.


1 3 4 5 6

Online LibraryJeremiah B. J. RhodesThoughts for quiet hours through the year → online text (page 1 of 6)