A Syrian ready to perish was my father.Isaiah 51:1). The connection between acceptable thanksgiving and profound humiliation is a fact which none but a Pharisee would dare to disregard, and which it behoves the Christian to bear in mind in all his devout meditations and religious exercises. Should pride ever rise within his bosom — "Who maketh thee to differ?" is a consideration which may suffice to put it down: nor will he, if walking in the fear of God, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, when, by virtue of his "royal priesthood," he has "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus," forget to say there — "A Syrian ready to perish was my father." The natural philosopher may rejoice that he is not a brute, and a pagan may glory in the attributes peculiar to man, but the devout student learns some very humbling facts concerning the position of our race. Among the rest is this, that, of intelligent beings, man is probably the lowest in the scale. That angels excel us in strength is obvious from everything we know concerning them; and that devils have far greater intellectual power than belongs to man, none acquainted with their devices will be disposed to question. To boast of our mental superiority, then, is but to mingle ignorance with pride. The humiliation which these considerations may be supposed to engender is deepened by the recollection, that our case is not one of poverty alone, but of degradation. Whatever may have been man's original glory, that glory has long since departed. His boast of heraldry is vain; traced back to its earliest antiquity, it bespeaks his ruin. His crest is an inverted crown. And this is his motto — "Man that was in honour abode not." The grace of God works wonders. It copes with depravity, and subdues it. It rescues the sinner from his degradation, and renders him meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. But it also teaches him never to forget, even amidst the splendours of the heavenly temple, to which it ultimately introduces him, the ancient acknowledgment of the adoring Israelite — "A Syrian ready to perish was my father."
(D. E. Ford.)
Thou shalt rejoice in every good thing.
I. NEVER TURN, IN YOUR BITTERNESS OF SPIRIT, FROM ANY MINISTRY OF TEMPORAL ENJOYMENT THAT MAY INTERVENE; NEVER BE SO WEDDED TO YOUR WOES, SO SHUT UP AND SUNK DOWN IN THEM, THAT YOU CANNOT ISSUE FORTH TO ACCEPT SUCH MINISTRY. For, remember, we want to be made joyful for our education quite as much as we need to be tried and troubled. To laugh, to luxuriate, to ripple and glow with delight, at times is just as essential for us as it is at times to weep and suffer.
II. AT TIMES SOME OF US MAY HAVE HAD THE FEELING THAT THERE IS SO MUCH MISERY IN THE WORLD THAT IT IS HARDLY RIGHT TO IGNORE AND FORGET IT FOR A MOMENT IN REJOICING. But let us reflect that, since God is our Father and we His children, we are justified in losing sight of trouble for a time when He gives us a joy to taste. Being only a child, however, I must feel about His world, and share in His travail concerning it; I need not be afraid at intervals to cast the entire load upon Him and let Him carry it alone. Souls must turn aside at times to bask in what sunshine they. can find, and be mellowed, and warmed, and raised with it, in order to be of service in the darkness and to help to soften and relieve.
(S. A. Tipple.)