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nChrist
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« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2009, 11:06:25 PM »

SHEPHERD PSALM
by F.B. Meyer
1847-1929


We, too, are anointed priests and kings. Blood and oil were, as we have seen, used in the act of consecration. Our Lord, therefore, having purchased us and washed us in His blood, hath anointed us to be kings and priests unto God and His Father by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, "which He shed on us abundantly.'' Hast thou experienced it, my reader? Or is this the bitter lack of thy life? Ah, there is no favouritism or partiality with our God! That anointing is thine in the mind and intention of God; it is for thee to seek it, to appropriate it, and to allow it to be the one blessed consciousness of thy life; so that thou mayst be able to adopt the apostle's unhesitating assurance: "He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."

Let us never attempt to perform the work of priests in offering the sacrifice of praise or prayer or devotion without having sought for and obtained a fresh anointing. And let us be sure that it will be impossible for us to exercise any kingly function, ruling over our inner nature, or sitting in conscious royalty with Christ on His throne, unless we are perpetually conscious of the anointing grace of the blessed Holy Spirit.

It is our privilege to be anointed with fresh all (Psalms 92:10). Such was the glad assurance of the man after God's own heart. There is nothing stale in God's household economy. We do not need to live on dried fruits because winter has stripped the trees. The power and joy of other days should be no subject for lingering regret; for our gracious Host is able and willing to do as much for us, and more also, on each succeeding day of our life as in any day of the past. Sigh not for the grace Of a day that is fled as if it will never come back. There are eternal stores and reservoirs of golden oil in God's olive-trees, which shall pour down the golden pipes of faith, ministering nutriment to the lamp of holy living; so that it shall not flicker throughout the long night, but even grow in brilliance and radiating glory (Zechariah 4:12). Claim each morning to be anew anointed,-and with fresh oil.

These anointings will make us glad. It is "the oil of gladness." "How great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids." "Oil to make the face to shine." "Let Asher be blessed, and let him dip his foot in oil." The need of the world is, shining faces; glad smiles; hopeful words; cheering toilers through the night; and feet elastic with joy, as if bathed in its very fullness. To be without these is to miss the seal of sonship, which shall most surely authenticate it before the eyes of all men, and to become a standing libel on the gospel of Christ. But if only we acquire them, as we most certainly shall when we are daily anointed by the Holy Ghost, our fellows will be attracted by something in our demeanour or looks which they cannot emulate or understand; and they will ask us to tell them the secret of a joy which the world can not touch because its springs are hidden in a land where winter's frost is unknown.

These anointings will teach us as no human teacher could. "Ye need not that any man teach you," wrote the beloved disciple to his little children: "but the same anointing teacheth you of all things." Fret and impatience are often connected with the attainment of earthly learning from the lips of human instructors; and often we miss the things we would most like to know. But there is nothing like this with our God. All His children are conscious that when He teaches them their peace is great. No one instructs as He does. And when He undertakes the tuition of the soul, there is no item in all the sacred lore of heavenly divinity which is omitted.

The effect of these anointings will be abiding. "The anointing which ye received of Him abideth in you." Food which we have eaten abides in us, and when we are quite unconscious of its presence it is doing its work in building up the fabric of our being. In some such way it must happen that the effect of a mighty spiritual blessing does not pass away with the moment of its first advent to the soul; but it abides. And amid the pressure of daily circumstance and toil and engagement, when the mind seems too set on its necessary work to have leisure for upward springing, then the Spirit will pursue His chosen office of ministering grace and strength within. In other words, we receive benefit from the anointing of the Holy Ghost long after the immediate moment of receiving it; the fragrance still clings about our garments, the mollifying softness still lingers on our face.

Let us never rest satisfied with anything less than that indefinable and sacred grace called "unction." We cannot analyze it or understand why it effects what learning and eloquence fail to accomplish. But we detect it when it is present, we miss it when absent. With this the slightest words strike home to the hearers' hearts as the message of God. Without it the most eloquent sentences are like unfeathered arrows, which fall useless at the archer's feet. Withhold what Thou wilt, O God, but give us the unction, i, e., the anointing,  of the Holy Spirit! "Thou anointest my head with oil." "Lord, not my head only, but also my hands and my feet!"


X - THE OVERFLOWING CUP

"My cup runneth over."

GLAD and festal moments come to the saddest and most weary hearts. At the close of a prolonged strain of anxiety, when lying exhausted on the desert sand, sleep casts its spell over the tired nature; angels spread the refreshing banquet; and the soul awakes beneath the celestial touch, invigorated for new toils.

We cannot always tell whence such experiences come; this is all we know: that the step is more elastic, the heart swells with buoyant hope, songs break from the lips, and the whole being thrills, as nature does on some lovely day of spring. "When the Lord turns again our captivity, the mouth is filled with laughter, and the tongue with singing: then we say among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad."

At such hours life seems to us like a chalice mixed by the loving hand of God, and overflowing with His mercy and loving-kindness. And with tears struggling with smiles for the mastery, as rain and sunbeams on an April day, we lift the brimming cup to our lips and cry, "My cup runneth over."

A similar experience is unfolded in another psalm, which, like so many of its character, touches the lowest depths and springs, as well as the topmost heights of human experience. It begins with the plaintive notes of trouble, "the sorrows of death, and the pains of hell," and with rash imputations upon the truth of all men. It tells how in his need the psalmist called upon the name of the Lord. It recounts the glorious deliverance there was wrought on his behalf. And now, as he reviews his lot, it seems like a cup full of salvation, charged with the prompt, gentle, and sufficient deliverance wrought for him by the Almighty (Psalms 116:12-13).
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« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2009, 11:08:38 PM »

SHEPHERD PSALM
by F.B. Meyer
1847-1929


We have nothing to say now about the texture of life's cups. They may be of gold or silver or tin or alabaster or glass. There is an infinite variety in the raw material of which our lives are made. We have to deal only with ingredients, which will taste as sweet from the earthen mug as from the golden goblet. And, after all, the great differences that come to men's lives are much more in their contents than in their outward seeming. Cease looking disconsolately on the outside of thy cup and platter, but look thankfully on the contents, which may be sweeter and richer for thee, albeit that they are held in a cup of common texture, than are the contents of other lives which thou dost envy, not knowing how bitter is the draught contained within.

It becomes us to remember that "the cup of blessing" of which we drink was once filled with a bitter curse. We read ill Scripture of the cup of trembling and of the cup of God's wrath; and as we read the words we know that our lives might well have been filled with trembling and with wrath, as the just reward of our deeds; not that God is vindictive, or that He rejoices in the death of the sinner; but that His holy nature cannot but be roused into antagonism whenever He comes into contact with evil and impurity. If we had been left to drink the bitter results of our sin, it would have been as when Moses ground the calf to powder and strewed it upon the waters, and made the people drink. And if it be asked how it is that we have escaped so bitter an experience, the answer is given in His words who has pleaded the cause of His people: "Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again." And when He took it out of our hands, He poured its contents into the cup mixed for Himself, returning it to us emptied even to the dregs; nay, better, filled with the wine of His love and life; while He drank our potion of wrath and woe.

Remember His own words in the garden, when His agony had passed and the ruffian band was about to bind Him, and Peter impetuously and characteristically drew his sword: "Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"

Consider the ingredients of Christ's cup, the shame and spitting; the pain and anguish; the physical torture; and, above all, the bitterness of our sins, which were made to meet in Him; the guilt of our curse, which He voluntarily assumed; the equivalent of our punishment, which was imputed to Him. If we may so put it, the human race stood in one long line, each with a cup of hemlock in his hand; and Christ passed along, took from each his cup and poured its contents into the vast beaker which He carried; so that on the cross He "tasted death for every man." Thus our lives brim with salvation, because His brimmed with condemnation. Our cup is one of joy, because His cup was one of sorrow. Our cup is one of blessedness, because His was one of God-forsakenness.

Oh, that we might in our moments of gladness imitate the blessed in heaven, who, amid their greatest joys, ever associate their happiness with the death of Christ! Never forget the cost at which your brightest moments have been made possible.

LET US ENUMERATE SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS OF OUR LIFE-CUP

    1. Good health is one of the chief.

A man might have everything calculated to promote human happiness, but if all were tinged with the pain and weariness of constant illness, what joy could he have? Our sad days, when all surrounding objects are draped in sombre hues, are, as often as not, due to bodily weakness; and the ecstasy of our glad days, when sunny light lies upon the lawn of life, is generally coincident with a sense of Vigorous health. If, then, your life-cup seems sweet and refreshing to your taste, you may calculate pretty shrewdly that good health is a main ingredient; though we can form no estimate of its importance until it is withdrawn.

    2. Then there are human friendships and affections,

The absence of which makes the greatest prosperity a dreary desert, so that even golden streets blister and weary the feet as if they were arid sands; but whose presence will gladden the meanest lot, so that even a garden of herbs will gleam with the glow of heaven.

    3 There are also the comforts of home life, to say nothing of the necessaries.

What a rich admixture of these do most of us enjoy! Soft pillows, carpeted floors, warm, weather-tight rooms, likewise furniture rich and plentiful; and variety of food, sufficient and comely garments, attendants who save us from harder and rougher toil. The Stoic may discipline himself to do without many of these things, and may even try to convince us that life is easier without than with them; but, nevertheless, it is undeniable that much of the enjoyment of our daily lives arises from the presence of these amenities to which we have become habituated by long custom and use.

    4. There are also the joys of the mind.

Each can draw up from the crypt of the past the treasure in which lies the learning of the' ancient and modern world; each can collect the thoughts of poets and philosophers flung upon the strand of time as driftwood on the beach, torn by storms from ocean depths; each can search out and drink in the wonders and beauties of nature from the wild-flowers of the forest glade.

"And those outlying worlds of many mooned spheres;
And that great store of stars more thickly strown in yonder sky
Than dust upon the pale leaves of the auricula."


    5. Now and again there is a dash of extra sweetness poured into life's cup,

Some special deliverance, some unlooked-for interposition, some undeserved and unusual benediction, sent apparently for no other object than to satisfy God's passion for giving. And here I must renounce my task,-no human pencil can describe all that God pours into the lot of our life; many of the constituents are too subtle for detection; many are too divine for comprehension; many are too numerous for computation. Besides, no life-cup is mixed in quite the same proportions. Our Father carefully studies our constitution, and then suits His preparation to our need; and since we are infinitely various in our make, there is an infinite diversity in the draughts which He sets before us on the table which He spreads.
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« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2009, 11:10:25 PM »

SHEPHERD PSALM
by F.B. Meyer
1847-1929


But whatever blessing is in our cup, it is sure to run over. With Him the calf is always the fatted calf; the robe is always the best robe; the joy is unspeakable; the peace passeth understanding; the grace is so abundant that the recipient has all-sufficiency for all things, and abounds in every good work. There is no grudging in God's benevolence He does not measure out His goodness as the apothecary counts his drops and measures his drams, slowly and exactly, drop by drop.

God's way is alway characterized by multitudinous and overflowing bounty; like that in nature, which is so profuse with beauty and life that every drop of the ocean, and every square inch of the forest glade, and every molecule of matter teems with marvels, and defies the research and investigation of man. Well may we each cry with the apostle, "I have all, and abound."

On the shore of one of the vast fresh water lakes of America stands a humble log-built cabin occupied by a family of settlers from the old country. A little child which has been playing around all the morning, and has become tired and thirsty, goes within to ask its mother for water; and the mother, taking a cup, goes with it down to the white sands on which the mimic breakers dash with musical cadence, dips it in, and lifts it, brim. ruing and dripping with a stream of crystal drops, to her darling's lips. That is the way in which God deals with us. He gives to all liberally, and does not upbraid. There is more in Him than we can ever need; and He gives us more than we really can use for ourselves. Let us see to it that we so hold our cups as that their overflowings may not run to waste, but may drop into other cups, the cups of those that have not so much as we have. Oh, that our paths might be like the paths of God, which, when they drop fatness, drop upon the parched pastures of the wilderness, so that the little hills are girded about with joy, and become at last covered with flocks! ,' They shout for joy, they also sing."

But it is especially in connection with spiritual blessing that the cup most often seems to overflow. This has been the experience of many eminent saints. In one of his seasons of rapt communion John Welch, of Scotland, cried, "O Lord, hold Thy hand; it is enough. Thy servant is a clay vessel, and can contain no morel" And John Flavel tells us that once when he was alone on a journey his thoughts began to swell and rise higher and higher, till at last they became an overwhelming flood. Such was the attitude of his mind, such the refreshing taste of heavenly joys, and such the full assurance of his interest therein, that he truly lost the sight and sense of this world, and of the concerns thereof. Many years after he called that day one of the days of heaven, and professed that he understood more of the life of heaven by it than by all the books he ever read, or sermons he ever heard about it.

Certain it is that our Lord Jesus meant us to have a more abiding experience of such joys. He not only came to give us life, but life more abundantly. He spake unto us His inimitable words, that our joy might be full. He meant our hearts to delight themselves with fatness, and to be satisfied with the favour of the Lord. His ideal for us may be compared to those rocky basins hollowed out by a perpetual fall of water, and lined by an infinite variety of exquisite vegetation, into which the fullness of the river, fed from perennial springs, is ever overflowing; and from which the overflow is ever passing out in a constant stream to join the eddying currents, to fill some lesser bowl beneath, or to play some part in fertilizing the multitudinous flowers and plants which stretch out eager roots to its nourishing tide. Let us not hoard what we have got. Let us freely permit our cups to run over. Far from us be the niggardliness of the miser who dares not give because he fears he will not get. Let us be prodigal and spendthrift of our wealth; for we know that it is inexhaustible, being supplied from our Father's hand; and one of the laws of His kingdom is that we receive in the precise proportion with which we give.

One last word: be sure to take the cup of salvation. There can be no greater slight to a giver than to have his gifts neglected. Yet how many cups God sets before us which we refuse to taste! Some appear to think that God does not mean them to be thoroughly happy; and if they drink their cups of joy, it must be on the sly, or with words of apology. Some only drink half; or if they drink all they instill some bitter ingredient of their own, lest the draught should be too delicious. How often we forget that God has given us all things richly to enjoy! -And when we are sure that He has given us aught, let us not shrink from taking the cup from His hand. Sometimes we have not because we are too blind to see, or too slow to take the cups which God is preparing for us.

And as we drink, let us be sure to call upon the name of the Lord. Full often, if we dare to do so, we shall find that the bitter medicine which frightens us has been suddenly changed into the very wine of life. There is an old legend of an ancient cup filled with poison, and treacherously placed into the king's hand. He signed the sign of the cross, and named the name of God, and it shivered at his feet. So take the name of God as your test. Name it over the cups which allure you ere you raise them to your lips, be they friendships, schemes, plans, business. That name will either show the adder that lurks in their heart, as in the goblet of the old Egyptian feast, or it will transmute common things to sacramental use, and make ordinary cups like that which we use at the table of our Lord, when over it have been spoken those memorable words, "This do in remembrance of me."


XI - THE CELESTIAL ESCORT

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life."

"ALL the days." What days may not come? Spring days, when all the world shall be full of glad young life, frolicking in the fields; caroling in the skies; bursting into leaf and flower at our feet. Summer days, in which the year shall have reached its glorious prime, with golden light and long-drawn-out evenings and balmy nights. Autumn days, when the fields shall be filled with sheaves of corn, while busy hands tear from orchard boughs and trailing vines and towering hot-plants the rich produce of the year. Winter days, in which the foot shall tread down the crackling leaves that carpet the forest glade; days of mist and rain and sombre light, when we gather round the bier of the departed glory of the year, and lay it to the dust.

We sometimes stand, as it were, on the brow of an overhanging hill, peering wonderingly into the valley at our feet, and asking what kind of days lie there, enveloped in the impenetrable mists, which only part as we advance. What lies in the course of the years? Will the days be golden, lit by heaven's warm, sunny glow? Will they be red-letter, not only in the usual sense of the word, but because stained with the blood of suffering' and sacrifice? Will they be drab, attired in sombre tints, dark and sad? Birthdays; death-days; marriage-days; anniversaries of a dead past, which refuses to be forgotten; fast-days; feast-days; saint-days, because associated with some whom we have known and loved as the very elect of God. Only a few short hours,- like the flash of a revolving light seen far out at sea between two long pauses of black darkness; or like a diamond set in ebony, and yet how much of weal or woe, of bitter memory or eager foreboding, may be crowded into one brief space of time which we call a day!
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« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2009, 11:12:39 PM »

SHEPHERD PSALM
by F.B. Meyer
1847-1929


But there never will come a day throughout all the future in which we shall not have the two guardian angels, heavenly escorts, and God-sent messengers, Goodness and Mercy, who have been told off and commissioned to attend the believer during all the days of his earthly pilgrimage.

When, benumbed with cold and bewildered with the mist which has suddenly settled down upon his track, the traveler across the highland moor sinks down exhausted on the drenched herbage, what an infinite comfort it is, through a momentary rent in the mist, to get a glimpse of the plaided figure of a shepherd close beside him; or to discover two servants from the distant paternal home, sent out to scour the hills in search of the missing one, and to bring him safely to its shelter and warmth! But it is in some such way as this that the eye of the believer may detect, in moments of weariness and solitude, the presence of those twin angels of God, GOODNESS and MERCY.

We have never seen angels like the two that came to Sodom; nor even their effigies, like the two angelic forms which bent over the ark in the inner shrine of the holy tent. But we can imagine their pure faces, their ethereal forms, their gentle ways. But here is something better than angel help: the personified attributes of God, His goodness, His mercy; that is, Himself, in all the tenderest manifestations of His love and pity towards men.

Goodness AND Mercy. Not goodness alone, for we are sinners needing forgiveness. Not mercy alone, for we need many things besides forgiveness. But each with the other linked.

Goodness to supply every want, mercy to forgive every sin; goodness to provide, mercy to pardon. David often links these two together, as when he says, "The Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting." What shall we say of these blessed attributes? Take Goodness. It is laid up in vast reservoirs in the nature of God; prepared for the poor, the food of the hungry, the lodge of the righteous, the crown of the year, the very sun of life. "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good."

"How great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty!"

Take Mercy. She is the daughter of God: His delight, "He delighteth in mercy;" His wealth, "He is rich in mercy;" His throne, "I will commune with thee from off the mercy seat." Who shall count the rays that sparkle from this jewel! Tender, plenteous, sure, everlasting. Truly our Lord might say, "Your Father is merciful."

And they shall follow. In the East the shepherd always goes in front. And our Good Shepherd never puts us forth to the work or warfare of any day without going before us. But His shepherd dogs bring up the rear. We have a rear-guard against the attack of our treacherous foes. We have two strong helpers to lift us from tier to tier of the pyramid of life, keeping us from falling backward, whispering words of comfort, and placing strong hands under our arms in circumstances of difficulty and stumbling.

In that word "follow" is it possible that there is a suggestion that we are going away from God, and that He sends His goodness and mercy after us to call us back? It may be so. If a prodigal leaves a widowed mother for the sea, she never forgets him; her prayers and tears and loving thoughts follow him; and to win him back she sends out only the tenderest yearnings of a heart almost crushed. Even so with God and His own; they may wander from Him, but He follows them, He sets Goodness and Mercy on their track. Sometimes it seems as if disaster on disaster, stroke on stroke, pursues them; but it is not really so. Things are not always as they seem. And these are but the disguises which Goodness and Mercy assume; their outer garb, protecting the delicate woolen garments which are prepared for the weary head and tired limbs of the wearied, wandering, starved, and ragged prodigal. He will not break off His kindness, nor suffer His faithfulness to fail, nor forsake the works of His hands, for "His mercy endureth for ever."

You have only to turn round, or to swoon backward, and you will find yourself caught in the arms of God's goodness and mercy, which are following you always. You may ' not realize that they are near; you may feel lonely and sad and desolate; it may be one of your bad days, sunless and dreary, without a ray of comfort or a flash of hope, surrounded by objects and forms of dread. Yet there, close by you, evident to God's angels, though veiled from your faithless sight, stand the glorious, loving, pitying forms of God's infinite goodness, which cannot fail, and His tender mercy. They will spread you a table in the desert as they did for Elijah; or they will flash through the storm and stand beside you, bidding you fear not, as they did for Paul.

"Though unperceived by mortal sense,
Faith sees them always near,
A Guide, a Glory, a Defence:
Then what have you to fear?"


And in such hopes there need be no element of doubt. "Surely,'' says the psalmist. Why so sure? Because God is God, unchangeable and everlasting; He cannot withdraw what He has once given. If we believe not, He abideth faithful; He cannot deny Himself. His gifts are without repentance.

The Giver of every good and perfect gift is also the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow cast by turning. And when once He has begun to follow us in goodness and mercy, we may wander from His paths and neglect His love and do despite to His Spirit, ignore the presence of His messengers, and bid them begone; and yet they will not remove. They may follow at a greater distance, but they will follow still, never satisfied till they have won us back to Himself.

Surely, because God has never failed in the past. Surely, because it would not become Him to take in hand and not complete. Surely, because He has pledged Himself by exceeding great and precious promises. Surely, because the united testimony of all His saints attests that He never fails or forsakes. Surely, because if He has set His love on us in eternity, He is not likely to forget us in time. So surely shall never a day come in our earthly pilgrimage in which God shall not be at our side in goodness and mercy.

Instead of surely, some commentators make it only. "Only goodness and mercy shall follow me." Just as in the Seventy-third Psalm they read, "God is good, and only good," nothing but good, "to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart." It may be so; and it is certainly a fact that God's dealings with us are never anything less than good and merciful. They may not seem so; but it is sometimes a greater test of love to withhold than to give; to deny than to consent; to take away than to crowd the bosom full of overflowing benefits.

Fearful and fainting hearts, dreading the dark way alone, take heart; gird yourselves with new courage; lift up the hands which hang down, and confirm the feeble knees! God knows how many days of life remain; He knows their needs, their temptations, and their sorrows; and He pledges Himself that as the day, so shall be the strength; that the day shall never come which shall be unblessed with His goodness and mercy; and that He Himself, in the person of the blessed Lord, will be with us all the days, "even unto the end of the age."
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« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2009, 11:14:31 PM »

SHEPHERD PSALM
by F.B. Meyer
1847-1929



XII - "THE HOUSE OF THE LORD FOR EVER"

THE passing of the years awakens in our hearts the cry permanence. Our nature is keyed, .not to the temporal, but to the eternal. And as we see the leaves falling before the autumn winds or littering the forest glade down which we walk in the short winter days, as the changes of the natural world compel us to remember the still greater ones which are ever carrying us out of the familiar world of our past into one as strange and undiscovered as the new world to which Columbus sailed, there arises up within us a passionate desire for a home which death cannot invade; friendships which time cannot impair; chaplets of never-withering flowers; and a condition of existence which is impervious to change.

This permanence for which we wait seems promised in the words with which the shepherd minstrel closes the psalm, which are simple as the words "home" and, "mother," and quite as full of meaning. The course of the psalm is as full of change as life itself. Every sentence is a word-picture, painting in strong and vivid outlines some new scene in our earthly pilgrimage. But here the troubled stream, broken over many a stone, driven to and fro in many a sinuous bend, seems to fall into the great deep of the ocean, eternity, the music of whose waves, as they break on the shores of time, is always in the same sweet monotone, "For ever."

No doubt the changes of our mortal life are all needed to fit us for the changeless. Time is the necessary vestibule or robing-room for eternity. Earth is the training-house for the real life which awaits us when the last lesson is learned and the school-bell rings. But all that is, and has been, and shall be, is just completing our character, adding finishing touches to our symmetry; and all shall be forgotten, as a dream of the night, when once we have entered on that eternity, which is permanent in the sense of never taking from us any of our true possessions, except to complete them; or in the same way that the seed is taken away, when from it is developed a higher and ever higher growth.

But better than the thought of permanence is the thought that heaven is a HOME, it is "the house of the Lord," which is the nearest approach possible in the Old Testament to the words of Jesus: "In my Father's house are many mansions."

What a magic power there is in that word "home!" It will draw the wanderer from the ends of the earth. It will nerve sailor and soldier and explorer to heroic endurance.

It will melt with its dear memories the hardened criminal. It will bring a film of tears over the eyes of the man of the world. What will not a charwoman do or bear if only she can keep her little home together?

"Be it ever so humble,
There's no place like home."


And what is our great Christmas festival but the festival of home? Homes which have sprung into existence at the summons of One who was homeless fitly celebrate their anniversary on His natal day.

And what is it that makes the idea of home so fond? Not the mere locality, or the bricks and mortar; the gardens where childhood used to hide; the furniture which is associated with tender memories,- any of which the sight of it will immediately educe. No; it is not these that make home. These, without the beloved forms which used to occupy them, would be a solitude in which the survivor would find it impossible to remain. We find our home where father, mother, brothers, and sisters, the wife, and children are; where the presence of the stranger throws no shadow over the unrestrained play of family life.

Now let us turn our thoughts to that heaven of which we know comparatively so little, except that our Good Shepherd is gone thither; and see what light is thrown upon it by the comparison instituted here between it and home. It is surely home in the sense of its happy social life. We shall be as free in the presence of God as children are in the presence of the father and mother whom they tenderly love. We shall know each other as well, and converse with each other as freely, as we have done with the merry throng of bright young hearts with whom we have sauntered in the woodlands gathering wild-flowers; or have gathered around the blazing fire, when the Yule log crackled and the Christmas glee was at its height. Think of the large family of noble children of all ages, from the little child of six up to the young man just beginning his professional or city life in the great metropolis, all gathering to spend a time together in the ancestral hall, standing amid its far-reaching grounds; and you will have some faint conception of what the home-going will be, when, amid the welcoming shouts and songs of angel harps, the last child reaches the Father's house, and the whole family in heaven and earth is gathered in the Father's house for ever and for ever. Never again to part! Never again to go out! Never again to break up the long, happy, and glorious home festival!

These words may be read by lonely ones in all parts of the world, over whom there steals at times a strange homesickness:

"Oh for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!"


"Oh, to be little children again, and to have others providing for our comfort and our joy, instead of having to fend for ourselves, and to be the source of all to others!" And mingling with such natural back-yearnings there may be the tears of recent bereavement; the thought of graves so new that the flowers have not had time to root themselves in the fresh soil.

Come, it will not do for us to indulge thoughts like these! They unfit us for the stern realities of life. They unnerve us. Let us not dwell on them. If the paradise of the past is lost, so that an angel stands with drawn sword forbidding our return, there is another and a better paradise before us, at whose gates beckoning angels stand, the paradise of our Father's home. Let us not think of separation, but of reunion. In olden days the crews of outgoing vessels, till they reached the line, used to toast Friends behind,' but as soon as they had passed it, they began to toast Friends before. Let Us set our thoughts on the friends before us, who, thank God, are those whom "we have loved long since and lost awhile."

Blessed are the homesick, for they shall reach home.

There is great certainty in these words. The psalmist has no doubt that he will be there. Yet he had been a wandering sheep; his record by no means stainless; his temper rather that of a man of war and blood than that of peace and gentleness and love, which would befit the meek denizen of heaven. How should he come there? And what made him so sure? He doubtless felt that the Good Shepherd could not be there while the sheep was bleating piteously without. "Where I am, there ye shall be also." And we have a yet more sure word of promise to which we may joyfully take heed as to a light which shines in a dark place.

Because we have trusted Christ and are one with Him; because we have received into our hearts the germ of eternal life, which carries with it heaven in embryo; because we have the earnest of our inheritance already in the presence and witness of the Holy Ghost; because God's promise and oath assure us of our eternal blessedness, two things which make disappointment impossible, for all these reasons and others the humblest, most timid, and weakest believer that reads these lines may dare affirm, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."
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« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2009, 11:16:23 PM »

SHEPHERD PSALM
by F.B. Meyer
1847-1929


There seems to have been a sense in which David enjoyed heaven before he got there. To him the Lord's house was not simply a thing in the future, but a possibility for the present. In another psalm he talks of dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, and in yet another he employs the noble words, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple." The French version of Dr. Segond is so beautiful that I am compelled to quote it also: "Je demande a l'Eternel une chose, que je desire ardernment. Je voudrais habiter route ma vie dans la mai-san de' l'Eternel, pour contempler la magnificence de, l' Eternel et pour admirer son temple" (Psalms 27:4). But this man was full of royal business; he could not literally dwell in the sacred courts, for which he pined more than hart ever panted for water brooks, or doves for their cotes.

Yet can we doubt that his fervent prayer was answered, and that the fixed purpose of his heart reached its ideal? There was, no doubt, a sense in which, whether at home in the palace of Mount Zion, or away in the desolate wastes beyond Jordan, he did dwell in the house of the Lord, beholding His beauty and inquiring His will. What is. the house of God but the presence of God, habitually recognized by the loving and believing spirit; all-encompassing, all enveloping, all-pervasive, like the genial atmosphere of spring?

Why should not we also begin to live in the house of God, in this hallowed and blessed sense? Our heaven may thus date, not from the moment in which we first "enter the gates of the city," but from that in which we first wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. Always and everywhere we may find our dwelling-place in God,. who has been the home and refuge and abiding place of His people in all generations. Always and everywhere we may retreat into Him from the windy storm and tempest. Always and everywhere we may make His nature not only our fortress and strong tower, but our oratory, our temple. May the Holy Spirit make real to each of us this possibility of living in the house of the Lord hourly and daily; where all tears are wiped as soon as shed; whither cares cannot invade; and where the Good Shepherd leads His flocks ever into green pastures, so that they cannot hunger; and beside still waters, so that they cannot thirst; and in cool, deep glens, so that the sun cannot smite by day, nor the moon by night! Heaven before we reach heaven!

Let us see to it that we live on this heavenly level. There are many possible levels on which we may elect to live. That, for instance, of the church to which we belong, or the Christian society in which we mix. The conventional level of doing what others do, and being content with an average mediocrity. This, however, ill becomes those who follow on to apprehend that for which Jesus Christ once apprehended them.

But there are two other levels which especially claim our thought, and between which we must make our choice: there is the level of our standing in Jesus Christ, and there is the level of our experience or emotional life. According to the first we have already passed through death to the resurrection and ascension side, and are already seated in the golden light which beats around the throne of Jesus. According to the other, which fluctuates with every' atmospheric or physical change, we are now lifted on the crest of the billow into the sunny air, and anon flung, weary and broken, on the sand, from which the waves have ebbed, leaving us beyond their reach.

The one is the level on which God means us to live. The other is that which we have selected for ourselves, and a sorry change it is! What wonder that we are so disappointed and disheartened! We have put the bitter for the sweet; the temporal for the eternal; the fluctuating and transient for God's unmoved and unmovable foundation, which is changeless as His love.

It is a serious question for each one to ask, "What is the level of my life? Is it mine, or my neighbour's, or God's? Am I living as a risen and ascended one, behind whom is sin and death, while above is the uncreated light of eternity?" Alas! so many of us are leveling our appreciation of our standing down to the lowness of our experience, instead of seeking to level our experience and practice up to the height of our standing in Jesus!

Now faith, when in proper exercise, does two things. First, it reckons that a position belongs to it which we do not feel, but which it dares to claim on the warrant of God's Word. Second, it lays hold on the power of God to make that position a reality in daily and hourly experience.

We do not always feel that we are where the burning words of the apostle declare us to be. In Romans 6., Ephesians 2., and Colossians 3., he affirms that we are risen and enthroned, regnant with Jesus, while His foes and ours are beneath our feet.   But faith lays hold of these clear teachings of the Word of God and dares to call feeling a liar, while it holds God's Word as truth. Yea, and faith goes further. Constantly it lays hold on the almighty power of God, the power that raised Jesus from the grave of Joseph to set Him at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. And in the might of that power it walks across the unstable wave and climbs the steeps of air, and holds its own, its position as on the throne, against all the assaults of hell. It is impossible to live the ascension or heavenly life, which is certainly ours, without ascension and divine power. But that is within the reach of an appropriating faith (Ephesians 1:19).

It is very needful for us to invoke the aid of the Holy Spirit to maintain us ever in this attitude of surrender and faith, drawing down into our lives God's constant grace. He is the Spirit of memory, who preserves us in a continual state of recollection, and who prompts us at the hour of temptation, "bringing all things to our remembrance."

And if only we live thus, life will pass on happily and usefully. Its stay will shape itself into a psalm, like that which David, the shepherd and king, sang centuries ago. It may begin with the tale of the shepherd's care for a lost and truant sheep. But it will not stay ever on that level; it will mount and soar and sing near heaven's gate; it will spend its days on the level of those shining table lands where God Himself is Sun; and it will finally pass into that holy and glorious home circle, each inhabitant of which may affirm, without the least shadow of presumption or of fear, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

THE END
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