Psalm 144:14
It is only a narrow and one-sided religion that can see anything out of place in this beatitude of plenty and peace. "As plants: this figure marks the native strength and vigor and freedom of the youth of the land. As corner-pillars: marks the polished gracefulness, the quiet beauty, of the maidens; who are like exquisitely sculptured forms (Caryatides) which adorned the corner of some magnificent hall or chamber of a palace." (It does not, however, seem probable that at any time sculptured figures were allowed in Hebrew houses or palaces.) Ornamentation and various coloring of pillars may be referred to. Three things make up temporal prosperity. Family joys; business success; social security. The sense of God's gracious relations sanctifies all three.

I. FAMILY JOYS. From Eastern points of view, large families were desirable; but usually in the East daughters are despised. Two things are noticeable in these verses.

1. Daughters are spoken of as honorably as sons.

2. It is the growing up, developing character of children, that is the chief source of family joy.

II. BUSINESS SUCCESS. Dealt with in the psalm from the strictly agricultural point of view. The figures employed all belong to farm-life. This may give indication of the date of the psalm; but we may take it as illustrative of all the ways in which men work for their living. Harvest is the key to the prosperity of the year, and that is in God's hand. Times of confidence and enterprise bring national prosperity.

III. SOCIAL SECURITY. This is suggested by the sentence, "That there be no breaking in nor going out." Security is the condition of business enterprise. Men will not work for what they have no hope of keeping when it is gained. Social security is imperiled by fear of attack from national foes, and also by the restlessness of sections within the nation (nihilists, and extravagant socialists, etc.). But family joys, business success, and social security are, in a way, merely material things. Back of them all there must be this secret of happiness - the "nation's God is the Lord." - R.T.







That there be no complaining in our streets.
English pauperism is a peculiar product of this island. You see nothing like it anywhere else. Those who have heard me speak on this topic know what an essential difference I draw between pauperism and poverty. Poverty is a relative term. Man may be poor, and yet may be healthy and very happy, and may not need your sympathy. But pauperism describes the conditions of those unhappy fellow-citizens of ours in such wretched circumstances that it is absolutely impossible for them to maintain themselves and their families in health and decency. Now, this kind of extreme poverty or pauperism is quite different from anything that you witness anywhere else. As a distinguished minister of my own church, Dr. Rigg, said a quarter of a century, ago, in a book which he published on the subject of Education, English pauperism is "a national institution, a legacy from mediaeval times and dregs of an outworn feudalism." In other words, the peculiar pauperism which exists in this country arises from the fact that the people have been divorced from the soil.

(H. P. Hughes, M. A.)

Many who have no sympathy with abstract committees would be delighted to help particular cases. If any such committee were able to put affluent men and women into direct relations with some starving families, it would be a great gain every way. This suggestion is not novel. It was made five years ago by a gentleman at the second conference we ever held. Suppose we could get every household represented here to look after one destitute household. Instead of giving their charity here and there, suppose I could introduce you to one family — husband, wife, and children — all in great need of work. You could in various ways assist with practical sympathy and advice as well as with money. I do not know how many families there are likely to be out of work. Suppose 20,000 or 30,000 are in this condition, and suppose I could get 20,000 or 30,000 men and women to undertake to be a real friend to one family each, it would not be a great strain upon their purse or time, and it would be an untold blessing. Oh, that we could do something to bring together into direct personal contact the unprivileged and the privileged! Their separation is the root of the want of social sympathy between them. But let me say that many of those who seem to be the most remote from the poor are deeply touched by their condition, and are extremely anxious to help them. And I think the way suggested by Mr. Arnold White is one of the most effectual. Further, it will be found that if we could only prevent the pauperism occasioned by intemperance, there would scarcely be any pauperism left.

(H. P. Hughes, M. A.)

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