Psalm 31:8
The young are eager for opportunities. Conscious of power, they fondly think that, if only a fair chance were to come, they would be sure to make a name for themselves. But they are often disappointed. Perhaps they say it is not their fault; but unprejudiced onlookers see that, through lack of insight, decision, or perseverance, they have failed. They have let the tide. which, taken at the flood, would have led on to fortune, pass by. Life is full of possibilities. It is our wisdom to watch, to be on the alert, to make the most of opportunities. We must be willing to begin where we are free to begin, and to do the duty, however humble, that lies nearest to us, as well as we are able. Honest work is the best training and preparation for advancement. Above all, we must have regard to the will and doings of God. If we ask of him, he will give us light. If we wait upon him, he will let us know his will. If we do with our might what he gives us to do, he win enlarge our opportunities. We may take the text to illustrate what God does for his servants in the way of opportunity. The "large room" may apply to -

I. CULTIVATION OF CHARACTER. There may be circumstances which are unfavourable. It is much more difficult for some, from their birth and surroundings, to be good and to do good, than for others. Let us acknowledge God's love in placing us where we have free play for our minds, and every help and inducement to follow the things which are good. We are not in the dark, but in the light; we are not confined and straitened, but in the enjoyment of freedom; we are not denied the use of air and food and exercise, but have the use of all that is good and fitted to nourish our strength and virtue, that we may grow up unto the stature of the perfect man in Christ Jesus.

II. EMPLOYMENT OF TALENT. There may be some, as the poet suggests, to whom opportunity has not come.

"Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll." But it is not so with us. God has not only given us talents, but also provided a sphere for their rightful and beneficent use. There are differences as regard natural ability; unto some it is one talent, unto others two or more. But there is no difference as to opportunity. The command is laid upon all to work; and God's commands imply opportunity to all who choose to obey. If we are willing, "the large room" will be given us.

III. INCREASING USEFULNESS. We are placed in such relationship to others that we cannot but influence them one way or another. Whether this influence be for good or for evil will mainly depend upon our character. God prepares his servants for the place and work he has for them to do. When the time comes, they find that difficulties give way - that "a large and effectual door" has been opened to them. But to every one, however humble, there is opportunity given of doing good and of being helpful to others. Never a day dawns but it brings its own duties. Woe to us if, like Dives, we fail to recognize the claims of the poor and needy! They who are at our gate to-day, so that we can do them good if we will, may be to-morrow in "Abraham's bosom," and oar opportunity gone for ever.

IV. HIGHER HONOURS. It has been said of the government of Napoleon that it was remarkable for opening a career to talent. In old France, society was so constituted that it was only the highborn and the rich, the classes and not the masses, that had any chance. Under Napoleon all this was changed. Not only could a man hope to rise by his merits, but he also knew that he served a master who would rigidly exact what was required in the way of duty, and reward only according to work done. Besides, he knew that what his master demanded of others he made a law to himself. Consequently, never did a sovereign inspire a greater enthusiasm of devotion. At the side of every soldier, from the highest to the lowest, seemed to stand the form of the emperor, ready to mark, ready to exact; but, above all, setting the example of his own immense activity, and stimulating all to do their part worthily in the great work in which they were engaged. If this was in a measure true of Napoleon and his soldiers, it is true in a far higher and nobler way of Christ and his soldiers. Take an example in Matthew. See what he was before Christ found him. See what he became when Christ called him away from his "seat at the receipt of custom," and all his selfish, narrow, degrading ways, and placed him in the "large room," where he had not only the noblest society and the means of living the purest life, but where there was opened up to him ever more increasing opportunities of usefulness and honour. It is said that in his first love and joy he "made a great feast" to his friends; and this was but an unconscious prophecy of the "great feast" which he has spread for all people in his glorious Gospel. But Levi was but a sample. "Such honour have all the saints" - W.F.

Thou hast set my feet in a large room.
I. THE CHRISTIAN CREED PLACES US IN A VERY EXTENDED REALM. Suppose the case of one puzzled by the mysteries of existence, learning the creed of the Christian Church. Such a man contrasts the narrow material ideas that had become familiar to his thoughts, the insoluble riddle that the great universe presented to his mind as he tried to reduce all its wonder and glory to modifications of blind matter; he contrasts all this with the rest he feels as he repeats to himself the articles of Christian belief. And as he thinks of the old unsatisfying guesses and the present blessed and well-attested creed, tie has to join in the inspired song — "Thou hast set my feet in a large room."

II. Contrast the sphere of interest Of one who lives for mere natural objects, with THE WIDENED HORIZON OF ONE WHO HAS RECEIVED "THE SPIRIT OF ADOPTION, WHEREBY WE CRY, ABBA, FATHER!" Gradually or suddenly you are made ashamed of your self-seeking life. The Spirit's holy strivings with your spirit are felt, and prevail; you are drawn as a penitent to the Cross of Christ. The knowledge of His pardon gladdens your heart. Longings for goodness, for purity, for holiness, for usefulness, swell within you. Then what a grand extension takes place in your mental horizon. How dull, petty, and narrow that world-centred life now seems I What a number of new interests, new objects for endeavour, hope and aspiration, rise before you! Little pleasures and innocent amusements and pleasant laughter are still enjoyed — enjoyed with a much fresher kind of enjoyment than before. But they have taken their place now as little things. Life has become to you a much broader, more varied, more intensely interesting drama than it used to be; for you are taken out of self. You are longing to please the Divine Friend. You are a member of a great community, a great company of dear brethren and sisters. Every one with whom you have intercourse is one for whom Christ died, and whom you want to help upwards.

III. TAKE ONE MORE MENTAL STEP, AND ANTICIPATE THE TIME WHEN THERE WILL BE A STILL FURTHER ENLARGEMENT. During its larva life the caterpillar seems to have all its powers busied in creeping from leaf to leaf, and gathering in its monotonous nourishment. But there are growing within it all the while organs foreign to its present environment — strange powers, prophecies of an entirely different sphere of existence for which they prepare. In due time the environment changes. The chrysalis shell is broken; the great coloured wings shake themselves free. The "image," the ideal being, rises up into the air, glittering and palpitating, a beautiful butterfly, gleaming in the sunshine, and winging its way from flower to flower. This is an old illustration of a fact ere long to be new in the experience of each of us. Here, as we try to do our duty, to bear our cross, to run our race, "looking unto Jesus," spiritual powers are developing within us; heavenly capacities are gradually growing. In God's good time the bodily organization will be broken up. A new departure in life will be taken. Then, when we come to be with Christ, when we join in the great company whom no man can number, when we serve in the holy temple of which God Himself and the Lamb are the Light, when we follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, then in the freedom of that heavenly life, in the wide domains opened for our energies by that heavenly service, we shall know the full meaning of the song of thanksgiving, "Thou hast set my feet in a large room."

(Canon Wynne.)

They are not shut up within narrow limits, or indeed within any boundary line; their sphere is immeasurable.

I. Their sphere affords ample play for their INTELLECTUAL FACULTIES.

1. Look at Nature. There is an ever-growing universe to study. There are volumes of truth in the smallest plant and the tiniest animalcule.

2. Look at the Bible. The Bible indeed is a "large room," its area of eternal principles transcends the limits of creation, and widens into the immensities.

II. Their sphere affords ample play for their SOCIAL SYMPATHIES. The human heart was made, like the sun, to encompass the world with its genial and beneficient influences.

III. Their sphere affords ample play for their VARIED ACTIVITIES. Activity is essential to our well-being; inaction is. death. In the "large room" in which Providence has placed us all, there is work enough to engage all our activities in such a way as to yield us perfect satisfaction.

1. This "room" contains work adapted to draw out all our faculties. Our happiness, — nay, our very existence, — would be incomplete were one of our faculties undeveloped.(1) In this "room" there is work for our intellectual natures. There is a universe to study.(2) In this "room" there is work for our social natures. We are all members of a social system numbering thousands, — some to draw out our compassions, some to excite our esteem, some to inspire our admiration, some to fill us with delight and joy.(3) In this "room" there is work for our religious natures. We are made be worship; and in this "room" there is unfolded, in ten thousand aspects of loveliness, an infinitely perfect God to worship.

2. This "room" contains work in which there is a perpetual freshness. We are so formed that monotony is not only distasteful to us, but distressing and saddening. But in this "room" there is fresh work for every fresh day.

3. This "room" contains work to which there is a perpetual promise. Man is an anticipating being. Work that does not terminate at death, because its grand purpose, the glory of God, runs into eternity.


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