Incidents and Illustrations

It Passeth Knowledge

We were talking together, a young man in deep soul trouble and I, and I quoted to him the wonderful words from Isaiah 53: "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." He said, "I haven't cared anything about Him, I've thought a great deal more about — — (mentioning the name of a public man) than I have about Jesus, and I can't understand why He should have been so interested in me as to die for me." I had to tell him that this was outside the range of our understanding entirely, and so the Scripture spoke of it as "the love of Christ which passes knowledge." That helped him, and he believed what he could not understand.

The Power of Sin

I heard a story the other day, a story that is told at the hearth-stone of the Boer homesteads. It ran as follows: A certain part of the South African veldt is said to be haunted by a strange demon from whose power some have barely escaped with their lives, and others have actually fallen victims to its malignity. A horseman rode, as the daylight declined, through the haunted area, when he heard what seemed to be a child's cry. He reined in his horse and saw in the dim light a small child lying by the bridle-road. It looked so helpless and yet so attractive that he dismounted and taking it in his arms placed it in his saddle and rode on. As he travelled homeward, he was alarmed to find that this thing that he had taken to his heart, began to grow, nor could he cast it off; it grew and grew until at last with the hands of a giant it seized him at the throat and strangled him.

A strange story and altogether incredible to our less romantic minds, and yet tragedies, which this story does but faintly figure, are being enacted a thousand times over and that daily, and not in one part of the world only but wherever men are found.

SIN appears small, a little thing, and so attractive, men take it to their bosoms, youths and maidens embrace it and hug it to their hearts, and it grows in strength, imperceptibly at first, perhaps. Yet it grows and grows, until at last with a vice-like grip it holds its victims and strangles their souls. It is the smiling child at the start, it is the giant at the end, binding its dupes with thongs of steel when they would escape from its power, and casting them down at last to everlasting destruction.

There is one Deliverer from its power, and one only. His Name is JESUS. "He shall save His people from their sins."

Why We Should Sing

"I have walked up and down my house many a time and wept because I do not belong to Jesus." I rejoiced as I heard those words from the lips of one who had many earthly things to make her happy. I rejoiced because I knew that her tears proved that she longed to know the Saviour, and He always satisfies the longing soul. He did it for her that very day. But I reasoned about it afterwards in this way: If one wept because she did not belong to Jesus, how much those ought to rejoice who do; if one sorrowed because she did not know His saving grace, what songs of thanksgiving should ring through the homes of those who do. No wonder that we are exhorted to speak to ourselves "in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

If in spiritual health we shall be doing this, for the magnificence of the blessing of belonging to the Lord and being loved by Him is beyond all human thought.

The Way of the Critics

Textile experts have a process by which they can discover the amount of cotton woven into a piece of cloth. A sample of it is taken and boiled with a solution of caustic soda, the animal fibre (the wool) is all destroyed thereby, leaving a skeleton of vegetable fibre (the cotton) behind.

There are those who cannot bear the whole web of Divine truth. They would like to take its ethical teachings according to their own notions of them, and clothe themselves with these, for they imagine that, because of their moral excellence, they may by them make themselves more satisfactory to themselves and others, and so increase their self-complacency. But the doctrines of free grace, the Deity of Christ, the atoning blood shed for guilty men, and the glorious resurrection of the crucified Saviour are not compatible with their pride and they cannot away with them.

So they submit God's Revelation to their own criticism arid tests, destroying these great verities which glorify God and make nothing of men — only for themselves be it said, for the truth of God is indestructible, it lives and abides for ever. But for themselves they make the word of God of none effect by their impious criticisms of it and refusing that which would be as a covering for them for ever, they clothe themselves in the cotton skeleton of their own conception of Christian ethics.

What dismay will fill them, poor, proud critics of Almighty God, when they discover, in the day of God's judgment, that their boasted garment is a thread skeleton indeed, and cannot cover their unwashed and naked souls.