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William Morley Punshon.

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Daniel, in the den of lions ; John, in the
exile of Patmos ; Paul before Nero, and with
Satan's messenger busy with his buffetings
within, — look at the whole form of them,—
I 2



LIFE THOUGHTS.

dren at school, and S(
grim teacher of that reluctant education
which was to fit them for divine work in the
world. And then remember, oh, do not for-
get this part of the comfort, that in the
moment of the fiercest trial, it is trial^ it is
trial^ not destruction. The wrestler does
not faint beneath the discipline ; the soldier
is not deserted in the field ; the refiner
always sits by the furnace ; the pruner never
kills the tree. It is not anger, but love,
which chastens ; love which directs the
process and which brings about the result
of blessing ; love which clears the day for
the strength or distributes the strength for
the day ; love which adjusts the burden to
the back, or which strengthens the back for
the burden ; love which tempers the wind,
love which watches the fire ; love which
makes a way of escape out of every tempta-
tion ; love which opens doors of hope in
Achor's valley ; love which digs wells in the
midst of the desolate Baca ; love which
sweetens every Mara fountain in the heart's
wilderness ; love which bruises Satan under
the feet of God's people ; love which revives
the spirit of the contrite ones ; love v/hich



LIFE THOUGHTS. 203

offers to the weary a rest and a palm-branch
and a crown. It is love that does it all. Oh,
do not any of you murmur, then, because
you are in a bright succession of sufferings,
because you tread the thorny road the con-
fessors trod, because you are in the midst of
tribulation, and through that tribulation you
are endeavouring to enter the kingdom. It
IS God's high ordinance for usefulness, it is
G od's blessed baptism unto honour.

Then, secondly, we come to notice this
faith triumphing. It is tried, and it is
tried in the fire, but it triumphs in the midst
of the trial. It was a terrible trial, we have
seen, but the faith overcame. There was a
fierce struggle for obedience, doubtless it was
a very costly sacrifice that was required, but
it was freely offered, offered in heart and
in purpose upon the altar of the Lord. The
crisis came suddenly, but then the Christian
is not afraid of a crisis.



" Ye shall reap if ye faint iiotP

The harvest is certain, and it is nearing.
Every pulse approximates it ; every day



204 LIFE THOUGHTS.

hastens its approach ; every Sabbath when
you meet for worship you get nearer to the
sound of the joy-bells which, as for a bridal,
are ushering in the eternal Sabbath of the
sky. Surely you will not be weary now —
now when your salvation is so much nearer
than when you first believed. Does the pil-
grim halt when he is in sight of the shrine ?
Though the racer may be panting and breath-
less, surely he will press on when the goal
of his wishes is before him. Courage, my
flagging brothers ! A few more tossings of
the proud waters, and they shall roll their
last troubled wave ! A few more struggles
and temptations, and they shall cease to
worry thee for ever ! A few more battles,
briefly and patiently sustained, and the last
enemy shall be destroyed ! A few more
months and years of weariness and of toil,
and there shall be the opening gates of
heaven, and the vision of the King in His
beauty ! Oh ! weary not, then, in the dis-
charge of your duty and your voluntary
cross-bearing ; and in the glory which your
faith can glimpse even now you may see the
recompence that awaits you. " He that en-
dureth to the end, the same shall be saved."



LIFE THOUGHTS. 205

Think, then, of the happiness of reaping
this promise of the inspired Word ! How
it includes every possibiHty of satisfaction
which your highest ambition can desire ! If
earthly harvests are seasons of rejoicing —
and, when the last sheaf is gathered and the
last load housed, the husbandman rejoices
in thankfulness and revels in festivities, and
counts all the toil of the entire year as a for-
gotten trouble, because of that one blissful
hour — what must the heavenly harvest be ?
Salvation realised ; all the tormenting solici-
tudes of life over ; sin banished ; not a stain
of the accursed thing left ; the spirit dowered
with a richer portion than the first father lost ;
no limit to the capabihty ; no end to the en-
joyment ; mind going out always after God ;
and at His right hand pleasures that are for
evermore.



Praise.

Praise is the only part of duty in which we
at present engage which is lasting. We
pray, but there shall be a time when prayer
shall offer its last Litany ; we believe, but
there shall be a time when faith shall be lost



2o6 LIFE THOUGHTS.

in sight ; we hope, and hope maketh not
ashamed, but there shall be a time when
hope lies down and dies, lost in the splen-
dour of the fruition that God shall reveal :
but praise goes singing into heaven, and is
ready without a teacher to strike the harp
that is waiting for it, to transmit along the
echoes of eternity the song of the Lamb. In
the party-coloured world in which we live,
there are days of various sorts and experi-
ences, making up the aggregate of the Chris-
tian's life. There are waiting days, in which,
because Providence fences us round, and it
seems as it we cannot march, we cannot
move, as though we must just wait to see
what the Lord is about to do in us and for
us ; and there are watching days, when it be-
hoves us never to slumber, bat to be always
ready for the attacks of our spiritual enemy :
and there are warring days, when, with nod-
ding plume, and with ample armour, we
must go forth to do battle for the truth ; and
there are weeping days, when it seems as if
the fountains of the great deep within us
were broken up, and as though, through
much tribulation, wo had to pass to heaven
in tears. But these shall all pass away by



LIFE THOUGHTS. 207

and by— waiting days all be passed, warring
days all be passed, watching days all be
passed; but

" Our days of praise shall ne'er be pass'd.
While life, and thought, and being last.
And immortality endures."



Preparation for Heaven.

It is perfectly possible for you to dwell with
enkindled imagination upon the happiness of
heaven ; Fancy may lend her brightest col-
ours in warm and vivid picturings of its
realities and joys, while you are not ad-
vanced in the very humblest degree of pre-
paration for the real, true heaven ot the Bible.
Perhaps you have just passed through some
sad bereavement, you have stood by some
freshly-opened grave, and at the time of your
softening, and when sorrow was busy at your
heart-strings, you have felt a sort of consola-
tion as you dwelt upon the thought of heaven
— heaven, where parted hands should clasp
again — heaven, where friends should neither
weep nor change in the unintermittent recog-
nitions of Paradise ; or, perhaps, it was in the



2o8 LIFE THOUGHTS.

time of your reverie, and, as you thought pain-
fully upon human frailty, you reposed upon
the thought of a material heaven — a heaven
that should have all earth's beauty, but un-
chequered by earth's vicissitudes, and un-
stained by earth's defilements. Some such
picture perhaps flashed before you as that
which the daring painter has embodied in his
picture of the Plains of Heaven — waters which
storm never ruffles, skies which clouds never
shadow, trees of perpetual greenness, flowers
of unfading bloom, air laden with sweet
strains of song from the ever young inhabi-
tants — each a crowned harper unto God,
abiding in tranquil security for ever ; and
as the voluptuous vision has dazzled you,
you have sighed and said, " Oh that I had
wings like a dove ! for then would I flee away
and be at rest." Or perhaps that was not
your case ; perhaps what attracted you most
was the surpassing benevolence of heaven,
the warm, congenial cordiality which obtains
there — no looks sinister, no purposes un-
friendly ; and as you thought of that atmos-
phere of love, you longed to be away from
earth, the land of crime, and grief, and sel-
fishness, and to dwell in those blest abodes



LIFE THOUGHTS. 209

for ever. These perhaps have been your
pictures, your visions in the time of bereave-
ment, or in the time of reverie, or in the time
of enkindled benevolence. You have thought
about heaven, you have longed — oh ! how
longed — to be there ! It is possible, brethren
— do you not see it ? — that you may be con-
cerned in any or all of these aspects of heaven
which may have been the object of your most
vehement desires, and yet there may be within
you all the while not one particle of prepara-
tion for the real heaven of the Bible. You
sought either a paradise of friendship or a
paradise of poetry ; but there has been no
endeavour to mortify the deeds of the body,
and to cultivate those affections which are
the very essence of the recompence of reward.



Death Universal.

" There is one kind of flesh of men, another
flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another
of birds." "All flesh is grass." No sex is
spared, na age exempt. The majestic and
courtly road which monarchs pass over, the
way that men of letters tread, the path the



2IO LIFE THOUGHTS,

warrior traverses, the short and simple annals
of the poor, all lead to the same place ; all
terminate, however varied in their routes, in
that one enormous house which is appointed
for all living. One short sentence closes the
biography of every man, as if in mockery of
the unsubstantial pretensions of human pride.
" The days of the years of Methuselah were
969 years ; and he died." There is the end
of it, "And he died." Such is the frailty of
this boasted man. " It is appointed unto
men" — unto all men — " once to die."

This universal mortality proves, as a col-
lateral and subsidiary argument, the scriptural
account of the fall of man. It is dissonant
to our ideas of a just and holy God to suppose
that He, in whose hands are the issues of hfe
and of death, would willingly afflict His
creatures, and afflict them without a cause.
He cannot be a perfect being who delights
in suffering. It is not by chance that the
lightning strikes the palace, not by chance
that the husband and the father, the earner
of the daily bread, is suddenly smitten from
the cottage ; there is a purpose in it all, and
Faith, meekly adoring as she waits by the
sepulchre, says, " What we know not now



LIFE THOUGHTS. 211

we shall know hereafter." But when we take
the scriptural account of the matter, when we
remember that man has sinned, sinned under
such aggravating circumstances as are de-
tailed here, w^e do not wonder at the sweeping
sentence of death that has been brought upon
the human family. We rather wonder and
are astonished at the condescension of God,
who has so impressively proved that He loves
the sinner, while He hates and would exter-
minate the sin.



THE END.



INDEX.



PACE

•• Strength and Peace," 7

"He is not dead, but sleepeth," 8

" It doth not yet appear what we shall be," q

The Apostle Peter, lo

The Greatness of Trifles, lo

"Our sufficiency is of God," ii

The Ministerial Call, ii

" He upholdeth all things by the word of His power," 12

Human Eloquence, 14

"The perfect law of liberty," 15

The Accelerating Progress of Evil," 16

Death, 19

God in History 20

Unity, 21

" Many are the sorrows of the righteous," 21

The Widow of Nain, 22

The Adaptation of Scripture, 23

Christ the Theme of Scripture, 24

Scenes in the Life of Joshua, 27

The Power of Memorj'-, 28

The Human Heart, 29

Self-knowledge, 3°



INDEX, 213



PAGE

Conscience, 31

Dr Newton, 32

"This one thing I do," 32

Mount Moriah, 34

Life the Gift of God, 35

Natural Life the Gift of God, 37

Intellectual Life the Gift of God, 38

Spiritual Life the Gift of God, 39

Rest, 40

The Power of Association, 41

The Gospel Trumpet, 43

The Common Salvation, 44

Spiritual Worship, 45

The Love of Jesus, 47

The Cottage at Bethany, 49

The Recognition of Friends in Heaven, 51

Childhood, 55

The Poor Man's Home, 56

"Ye are not your own," 59

Trust in God, 62

The Christian's Life-Purpose, 64

The Use of Means, 65

Influence, 63

Let your Light Shine, 69

The Universal Law of Adaptation, 70

Universal Brotherhood, 73

The Influence of the Spirit, , 77

The Dispensations of Providence, 79

What is Man? go

Simple Means, 83

*' One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I

see," 87



214 INDEX.

PAGE

God's Witnesses, gi

An Appeal to the B!ind,


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Online LibraryWilliam Morley PunshonLife thoughts → online text (page 10 of 11)