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nChrist
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« Reply #645 on: November 23, 2006, 11:55:55 PM »

The Sinlessness of Christ - Page 4
by George H. Morison


Christ's Sinlessness an Attainment

And the last thought that I would leave with you is that the sinlessness of Christ was not a gift to Him, but rather I should call it an attainment. "Why callest thou me good?" He said; "there is none good but one, that is, God." Christ never claimed and never had on earth an absolute and unconditioned goodness. His was the goodness that was always perfect because through every condition it was tested and never failed, even in hours of agony, in a perfect and filial response. The God who dwells in heaven cannot be tempted. He lives in absolute and unconditioned goodness. He dwells in heaven where there is no temptation above the smoke and stir of this dim planet. But Christ was human to the very depths and knew all the play of emotion and impulse, and felt every influence that breathed upon Him, crying to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan." From moment to moment He had to choose His course. From moment to moment He had to trust His Father. From moment to moment He had to resist, even though it was a mother who appealed. And we call Him sinless not as God is sinless, who cannot be tempted nor touched in the high heaven, but as one who never failed and never faltered in the fulfillment of His Father's will. To you and me the heavenly Father speaks as He spoke to the well-beloved Son. And you and I hearing Him misinterpret Him, and at the end of the day are sorry and ashamed. Christ caught the faintest syllable of heaven. Christ interpreted it all without a flaw. Christ bowed to it joyfully and without a murmur even when the will of God was Calvary. That is the sinlessness of Jesus Christ—not an unethical gift, but an achievement. It was wrought out from stage to stage in perfect obedience to the heavenly Father. And so I think there falls an added glory on the deep mystery of Jesus' sinlessness when we remember that right to the very end He was tempted in all points like as we are.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

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« Reply #646 on: November 23, 2006, 11:57:59 PM »

November 24

The Interceding Savior

He is able also to save them to the uttermost…seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them— Heb_7:25

The Strengthening Power of Prayer

There are times in life when it is very helpful to know that somebody is praying for us. It strengthens us when we are prone to faint. When some difficult duty lies ahead, when we have to undergo an operation or when death has taken away a loved one and we are overwhelmed with loneliness, the certainty that friends are praying for us is a mighty succor to our trembling hearts and often ministers quietness and confidence. I have often heard missionaries say that what sustained them was their assurance of the prayers at home. During the war many of our boys used to speak of the difference this made. It reinforced their hearts and kept them strong to know that folks at home were praying for them. Indeed, I have found that many who never pray are eager to have the prayers of others when facing a crisis in their lives.

"I Have Prayed for Thee"

Now our text tells us that somebody is praying for us, and the somebody is our risen Savior. That is the only meaning which our text can have, and with all its mystery we thankfully accept it. We light on the same truth again in the song of triumph in the eighth of Romans. John, too, in his old age, dwelt on the consolation of that thought (1Jo_2:1). And if we only let it sink into our hearts, we find it the good news of God. Others may forget us in their prayers; there is One in heaven who never does forget. Others may fail us when their lamp burns low; He ever liveth. We are engirdled by the prayers of One who loves us and has the ear of God and therefore is able to save unto the uttermost.

Nor was this ministry begun in heaven; it was carried over from the days on earth. Our Lord on earth was an interceding Savior. One remembers His words to Simon Peter recorded in the Gospel of St. Luke: "Simon, Satan hath desired to have thee, but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not." And if our Lord so prayed when He was here, why should it be thought a thing incredible that He would continue that ministry in heaven? Does not Satan desire to have us just as he desired to have Simon? And often when our foot has wellnigh slipped, have we not escaped out of the fowler's snare? And why should we be charged with being mystical because we adoringly ascribe our rescue to the intercession of the risen Lord? Did He not say, "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter"? Have we never experienced with an inward certainty that in the hour of need that Comforter has come? All fresh enduements of the Holy Spirit, whether for service or for suffering, are intimations of a praying Savior.

Again, we remember another intercession, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." And if He prayed that prayer when on the cross, we may be perfectly certain that forgiveness followed. Did not He say beside the grave of Lazarus, "I knew that thou hearest me always"? How little any of us know what we are doing! How often we say, "If I had only known!" Hence springs remorse and agony of conscience and thoughts which reproach us in the silent night. In such seasons, may we not lift our hearts to Him who ever lives to intercede and hear Him praying for our human ignorance as once He prayed upon the cross? So much of our sin is not deliberate. Evil is wrought by want of thought. We are such ignorant and foolish beings that we can rarely follow our actions to their issues. But He is praying for us just as He prayed on Calvary, and He is able to save unto the uttermost because He ever liveth to make intercession for us.

And then one thinks what this implies, for prayer is never an isolated thing. Whenever anybody prays for you, it means that he bears you on his heart. When a mother prays for her boy who is a prodigal, that is a token that she loves him still. When a sister prays for a brother who is careless, that means that he is very dear to her. If our Lord is praying for us in His ascension, that tells us He has not forgotten us but is eager to help us in our need. Prayers that do not lead to action are mockeries. True prayer issues in endeavor. Unless we are willing to help the man we pray for, our prayers are nothing else than empty breath. Thus do we find assurance of His help when the way is dark and the heart is very sore, in the good news with which the Gospel rings, that He ever liveth to make intercession for us.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

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« Reply #647 on: November 25, 2006, 08:43:17 PM »

November 25

Through the Eternal Spirit

Christ,...through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God— Heb_9:14

The Two Worlds

It is not likely, from the turn of the expression, that the writer is thinking of the Holy Spirit, and probably we shall get nearest to his meaning if we recall his outlook upon life. For him there were two worlds, one the visible world that lies around us with its fields and its oceans and its cities, with its splendors of the Jewish Temple; and then beyond that another world, invisible yet not necessarily distant, free from the relativities of space and time. To most of us the world we see is real, and the world we cannot see is but a shadow. To this writer the visible is shadow, and the unseen is the intense reality. Everything here that is bright and good and beautiful, even the ark, the altar and the Temple, are but copies of the realities beyond. John tells us he was in the isle that is called Patmos, and then he adds, "I was in the spirit." There were two environments for him, and there are two environments for everybody. And the worth of life rests on the possibility of piercing through the visible environment into the realities beyond. To the author of Hebrews, that is what Jesus did for the common man and woman in the street. He lifted their lives out of the shadow-world into what this writer calls the world to come. And by the world to come he does not mean a world that is to come when life is over, but is to come, by the saving grace of God, into the midst of our shadow-life today.

Now when the writer thinks of the death of Christ, that eternal world was always in his view. All other sacrifices were in the shadow-world; this in the region of reality. When a lamb was offered upon a Jewish altar, that offered lamb was, as it were, a sacrament. It was a visible sign of something deeper. It was a hint of an invisible reality. But when Christ died, into this shadow-world there broke the great reality at last—the world to come came upon the cross. In this world are many different spirits. There are various spirits of selfishness and hate. In the eternal world one spirit reigns for ever—it is the spirit of self-forgetful love. And in the animating and triumphant spirit of the world that is ignorant of space and time our blessed Savior gave up His life on Calvary. All that inspires reality—all that constitutes its very heart, all that differentiates the world to come from the shadow-world of time and sense leapt into the light and shone into the eyes of lowly men when Christ offered Himself upon the cross.

Only in Christianity Does God Offer the Sacrifice

But even so we scarcely reach the depths of that most beautiful expression. For to the Oriental (however it be with us ) the word spirit was never an abstraction. Shining through the letters he saw God; it brought him into touch with the Divine; it was in God that there lay that innermost reality which we describe as the spirit of eternity. Now think again of the sacrifice of Christ. In every other religion that we know of it is man who gives the sacrifice. He goes to his herd and takes his bulls or goats, and in expiation he offers them to God. But the glory of our Christian faith is this, that there it is not man who gives the sacrifice. The giver of the offering is God. God so loved the world that He gave. Yes, dying upon the cross for us, Christ showed the reigning spirit of reality. But dying, He did even more than that—He showed that spirit in the heart of God. It was not to change that heart but to reveal it; not to gain but to display its love that our Lord died upon the tree. Through the eternal spirit, through that spirit which reigns where things are real, through that spirit which from all eternity has had its source and dwelling in the heart of God, our Lord offered Himself upon the cross.

The Freedom with Which Our Lord Died

Then blended with that, though it seem strange to us, is the thought of the freedom in which our Savior died. That great thought is never far away from the heart of this inspired writer. When we say that ours is a religion of the spirit, we do not only mean that it is spiritual. We mean that it moves in the region of the spirit, free from the chafing fetters of compulsion. And always, to New Testament writers, spirit conveys that atmosphere of liberty as of the wind that bloweth where it listeth. Now once again think of the death of Christ. Was it inevitable and compelled? Was our blessed Lord in the grip of cruel hands? Was He held in the resistless power of Rome? No, says our writer, and he says it passionately, returning again and again to the great thought, our Lord died in real and spiritual freedom. The cross was not repression. It was final, full, deliberate expression. It was not endured in the spirit of a slave—it was welcomed in the spirit of a Son. It was not borne in any grim necessity, but in the perfect freedom of a sonship that found its joy in doing the Father's will. Picture the struggling and resisting beast dragged to the sacrifice of Jewish altars. Through compulsion it was haled to death. The cords of bondage were upon its horns. But Christ offered Himself through the eternal spirit—the free glad spirit of an eternal sonship—and that made all the difference in the world.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

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(The goal of Rick Meyer is to distribute excellent Bible Study
Software to every country on earth in their own language FREE
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« Reply #648 on: November 25, 2006, 08:44:42 PM »

November 26

The Anguish of the Light - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions— Heb_10:32

Battle After Illumination

This is a very remarkable conclusion to a verse that suggests the blessings of the light: it is one of those suggestive anticlimaxes that are so familiar to students of the Scriptures. No blessing is nobler than illumination. It tells of the benediction of the light. It speaks of a life that has arisen from darkness and moved into the glorious shining of the sun. And yet, when we expect to hear of summer's gladness and to catch the sound of music in the blue heaven, we hear of battle with its blood and misery and the cry and agony of wounded men. After illumination a great joy? We should have looked for some conclusion such as that. After illumination a great sense of liberty and a peace that the world cannot take away? Scripture does not deny these blessed consequences, but in its splendid fidelity to all experience it says that after illumination may come battle.

Illumination of the Intellect

Think first then of the illumination of the intellect and of all that follows on the light of knowledge. That is not always liberty and power: sometimes a conflict which is very terrible ensues. When Eve in the virgin paradise of God ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, her eyes were opened and she was illuminated with the light that never was on sea or land; and yet that light did not bring peace to Eve, neither gladness nor any rest of heart, but only the sorrow of a weary struggle. The more we know, the more we want to know. The more we know, the more we cannot know. And doubts are born and speculations rise and much that once seemed certain grows unstable until at last, wearied and perplexed, not through the power of darkness but of light, a man begins to realize how grim is the struggle that succeeds illumination.

Nor is that consequence less notable in the lesser field of personal experience. There are those who can recall the struggle that followed the clear shining of the light. Take for instance a young man, a student, who has been trained in a pious home. There he accepted without serious questioning the faith of his father and mother. Their character commended it to him—he saw it lived and therefore felt it true—and in a faith that never had been shaken, he joined in worship and bowed his knee in prayer. There are many who never lose that childhood's faith. They grow as the lily and spread their roots as Lebanon. It is no necessary witness of superiority that a man should have come to his own by way of agony. But often, with ail that light of knowledge which the years bring to most of us today, there falls a different story to be written. Illumination comes by what we read; it flashes upon us in our college lectures. And the world is different and God and man are different from all that we cherished in our childhood's days. And then begins that time of stress and strain, so bitter and yet so infinitely blessed, through which a man must fight his way alone to faith and peace and character and God. There is a strife that is nobler than repose. There is a battle more blessed than quiescence. There is a stress and strain which comes when God arises and cries to a young heart "Let there be light." All which, so modern that it seems but yesterday, is yet so old that Scripture understands it, hinting not vaguely in our text of the struggle that succeeds illumination.

Illumination of the Heart

Think next of the illumination of the heart. The illumination of the heart is love. Just as the light of the intellect is truth, so the light of every heart is love. Without love the heart is always dark, and with love the heart is always light. The commonest dwelling becomes a palace with it, and there is sunshine for the dreariest day. And all the wealth and joy of fame and whirl of fashion can never irradiate this heart of ours like love. He who dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and he who dwelleth in God is in the light. The luster of the heart is always there, but it is unlighted until love comes in. And now call to remembrance the former days in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions. Many years ago some of you mothers here gathered your firstborn child into your arms, and there was such gladness in those eyes of yours that every neighbor saw your life illuminated. And now as you look back upon it all and think of all that has come and gone since then, you know the sorrows that have followed love. What sleepless nights—what hours of weary watching—what seasons of agony when death was near! What struggle to do that which was hard to do when wills were rebellious and lips untruthful. All this has followed the illumination that came when the love of motherhood was born, and all this is the anguish of the light. Let a man love his work, and in that light he shall be led to many a weary wrestling. Let a man love his land, and in that light he shall take up burdens that are not easily borne. Let a man love his risen and living Savior, and in that light his life shall be a battlefield as he wrestles daily not with flesh and blood but with the principalities and powers of darkness. Love has its triumphs, but it has its tortures. Love has its paradise and it has its purgatory. Love has its mountains of transfiguration, and its olive gardens where the sweat is blood. Love is the secret of the sweetest song that ever was uttered by human lips, and love is the secret of the keenest suffering that ever pierced the heart.

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« Reply #649 on: November 25, 2006, 08:47:15 PM »

The Anguish of the Light - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Illumination of the Will

Then observe how true this is of the illumination of the will. For our will like our intellect has its great hours when in the light of heaven we see light. It may be we had been groping in the darkness not seeing clearly what our duty was. And choice was difficult, so much depended on it: there was so much to win, so much to lose. And then it may be in one radiant hour never to be forgotten through the years, we heard as it were a voice behind us saying, "This is the way: walk ye in it." Very probably we had prayed about it, for it is in such seasons that men learn to pray. We cried, "It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps: Lord, lead me, for I know not which way is best." And then, perhaps by some word from friendly lips or by some providence or disappointment, clear as the sun shining in the heavens we saw what for us must be the path of duty. Such hours of high and resolute decision are among the greatest hours of human life. There is not a power or faculty we have that is not illuminated by the glory of them. And yet the struggle and torment that preceded them when we were stumbling and groping towards a decision may not be half so terrible and searching as the struggle and the strain that follow after. Never are things renounced so sweet to man as in the season when they are renounced. Never is the alternative so winning as in the hour when it has been rejected. Never do things given up appeal to us so sweetly and so subtly and so secretly as in the season when we have turned our back upon them and set our faces bravely toward the dawn. The most difficult task in life is not to win; the most difficult task is to keep what we have won: never to falter from the verdict of our high and radiant hours when the shadows deepen, never to go back on our decisions, never to listen again to any voices which in our worthiest and purest moments we knew to be the voices of the enemy. That is the reason why all great decisions ought to be reinforced by prayer. There is no weapon on earth like prayer for helping us to keep what we have won. For prayer unites us to the living Christ, touches the vilest of us with the touch of heaven, and brings to our aid that power of perfect living which was witnessed long ago in Galilee. Tasks in hours of insight willed must be through days of gloom fulfilled, but in the gloomiest day a man may lift his heart up and draw for his need out of the grace of Jesus.

Illumination of Conscience

And in closing I want you to take our text in regard to the illumination of the conscience. Do you remember when conscience was illuminated what a great fight of afflictions you endured? That may have happened many years ago when you were young and ardent and impressionable, and yet so unsearchable are the ways of God that perhaps it is happening to some of you now, after many prayerless, careless, and hardening years. You recall how David after a great sin hardened his heart and justified himself. And then by the word of Nathan the prophet there flashed on his conscience the light of a holy God. Whereupon that mighty soul, after he was illuminated, broke out into that penitential agony which has come ringing down the ages and shall ring on forever: "Create within me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." That is not the crying of despair nor of the soul that has forfeited the everlasting mercy: it is the eternal crying of the human conscience that has been irradiated by the light of God. My brother and sister, if God has so come to you, He will never leave you nor forsake you. He has a purpose of peace towards your soul that has been destined from the bosom of eternity. He has begun His saving work in you which only awaits the fullness of response to result in the blessedness of power and in the rest and liberty of heaven.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

Dist. Worldwide in the Great Freeware Bible Study package called
e-Sword by Rick Meyer: http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
Full Featured - Outstanding - Completely FREE - No Strings Attached

(The goal of Rick Meyer is to distribute excellent Bible Study
Software to every country on earth in their own language FREE
of charge, and that goal gets closer by the day.)
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« Reply #650 on: November 27, 2006, 02:47:59 AM »

November 27

Patience - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


Ye have need of patience— Heb_10:36

Virtues of Necessity

There are some virtues which are exclusive virtues and are only demanded in peculiar circumstances. They have at the best a partial application. In certain emergencies they are obligatory or in certain social relationships; but that virtue of which we speak now can never be included among these. The child needs patience when he goes to school, for without it he will never learn. The boy needs patience on the football field, for without it he will never play. The mother needs it among her growing children: the father amid the anxieties of business: he who is in work needs it every day, and he who is out of work needs it even more.

Patience Against Impulsiveness

There are certain natures, it is true, more liable than others to impatience, and sometimes the finest natures are so tempted. There is a note of impulse and of eagerness in certain natures which are full of charm; a nimbleness of apprehension, a sudden flashing as of a swallow's wing; and often it is natures such as these which do so much to beautify society that are most sorely tempted to impatience. It is the fairest of our Highland lakes which are most liable to sudden storm. In a tamer country they would escape the squall; we could depend on them more in duller levels. But the very grandeur of the hills around them tosses them swiftly into wild commotion, and so is it with certain men and women. We think of Moses, meekest of God's servants, shattering the tables of the law. We think of Peter in impulsive loyalty cutting off the ear of the priest's servant. And we seem to see the Highland lake again with its silent hills forever reaching heavenward and its hollows which are the caverns of the wind.

Noble and Ignoble Patience

It is well also to remember constantly that there is a noble and an ignoble patience. Of this, as of all the other virtues, the devil always has his counterfeit. If we seek for the perfect pattern of patience, instinctively we turn to our Redeemer; yet of one thing Christ was utterly impatient, and that one thing was evil. Those fierce denunciations of the Pharisees, that groaning beside the grave of Lazarus, are all in the picture of the patient Christ. It is the duty of no one to be patient when evil can be checked or wrong be righted. All our liberties were won for us by heroic impatience of the wrong. There are times when patience is the badge of weakness and ruthlessly betrays the faithless heart; there are times when impatience is divine. Had Robert the Bruce been patient under tyranny, where would our liberty have been today? Had Knox been patient and borne the yoke in meekness, where would have been the Church of Christ in Scotland? And had we been patient in this present hour when the dearest human rights are being imperiled, when nations are being trampled underfoot, when the bond of honor is a scrap of paper, Christ would have said to us, "I never knew you; depart from me, ye cursed of my Father." So long as evil is avoidable, every follower of Christ must be impatient with it. It may be criminal to be a martyr when it is possible to be a soldier. No man is worthy to be a Christian citizen or to have a place within the Christian commonwealth who cannot be splendidly impatient sometimes with tyranny and cruelty and evil. My Christian friend, that is ignoble patience—shall I tell you what noble patience is? Noble patience is the cheerful bearing of what is inevitable and unavoidable. It is in the chastisements sent to you from God; it is in the sufferings which you have to bear; it is in the trials upon the line of duty, that "ye have need of patience." Ignoble patience is the child of cowardice. It is afraid "to lose with God." It is the fruitful mother of injustice, the perpetuator of social abuses. Noble patience welcomes what is sent, believes that behind everything is Goer, issues in a quiet which is victory. Matthew Arnold in one of his choicest poems calls patience "the neighbor of despair." But the patience of the Lord Jesus Christ is never the neighbor of despair. It is the neighbor of high and quenchless hope, of confidence that the best is yet to be, of trust in the providence which counts the stars and providently caters to the sparrow.

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« Reply #651 on: November 27, 2006, 02:49:51 AM »

Patience - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Patience Versus Endurance

Always, too, we should remember that patience is something different from endurance. It is possible to endure and not be patient. Endurance is a very noble virtue; nothing great was ever done without it. There is a world of meaning in our Scottish proverb, He that tholes, o'er comes. But patience in the fullness of its import is ethically finer than endurance: it is endurance with sunshine on its brow. Patience is endurance which is willing. It is endurance with gladness in its mien. It is the endurance which recognizes God and the infinite wisdom of His ordering. It is the endurance which is only possible when one is sure that love is at the helm and that all things work together for his good. A man may endure with curses in his heart. But patience has no curses in its heart. "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Patience is endurance in Christ's company, and it takes the cross up with a ready mind, for it leans upon the perfect love of God.

No Shortcuts

Patience is needed in peculiar measure for all development of human character. "In your patience possess ye your souls"—your selves. Every man, that is, has a true self hidden amid the ruins of his nature. And as a mother from a burning homestead saves her child, so man must win his life. And the only way to do it is the long way, the long and tedious and patient way—in your patience ye shall win your souls. Just as there are no shortcuts to heaven, so are there no shortcuts to character. If it takes long to grow a mustard seed, it will take longer still to grow a man. And therefore we have need of patience when we are tempted to what is swift and flashy; tempted to forget that of all lengthy ways there are none so lengthy as the ways of God. "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." It was the great temptation of Christ as He looked out upon His opening ministry. And then He chose the long and lowly way by the garden of Gethsemane and Calvary, and so came to His kingdom and His crown.

Once again, do we not need patience in regard to the plans and purposes of God? "The mills of God grind slowly." Beautiful is the patience of a nurse ministering to some restless invalid; beautiful the patience of a mother among her children who are never still; but in a world like this where night is loath to flee and the crimson morning is so slow in coming, it calls for a patience not less real than that if man is to believe in God. Think of the state of things today. Every hospital is full of wounded men; every city thronged with homeless fugitives; every field in Northern France today has been opened for the burial of the slain. And all this after the faith of centuries and the mystic communion of the Holy Supper and the praise unceasing from a million tongues to "Jesus, lover of my soul." My Christian hearer, that is hard to bear, and it is harder still to understand. It is as though He who sitteth in the heavens were making merry with the toil of ages. And what I say is that in this present hour, more than in any hour that we have lived—we have need of patience. Patience to believe that with the Lord a thousand years are as one day; to believe that He maketh the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder of His wrath He shall restrain; to believe that He is King of kings, that in His hand there is the heart of princes, that He seeth the end from the beginning. It is not enough, remember, to endure. About our endurance there is no debate. As Britons with a lineage of heroes we shall carry through the task we have begun. But we are more than Britons, we are Christians; we have made our peace with God through Jesus Christ, and as Christians we have need of patience. Endurance says, "I will carry this thing through." Patience says, "God reigneth." Endurance says, "Lord, increase my courage." Patience says, "Lord, increase my faith." Endurance says, "Give me the iron will that I may never falter in my calling": but patience, "Open mine eyes that I may see." That is why at such a time as this there is supreme need of spiritual patience. It is not that the issue may be victory; endurance might be adequate for that. It is that through all gathering of storm clouds which hang so dark around the throne in heaven, we may walk quietly as men who have a God.

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« Reply #652 on: November 27, 2006, 02:51:35 AM »

Patience - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


Love Begets Patience

In closing may I ask you to observe how the Gospel always has been the friend of patience? It has been so mainly in two ways, and the former is by making love supreme. What is it, tell me, that makes the mother patient amid the worries of her little family? What was it that made Jacob patient when for seven years he served for Rachel? Duty can touch the heart to stern endurance, to scorn delights and live laborious days; but for the finest patience you need love. And now I turn to the old Gospel story, and what do I find in the very center there? I find a love sealed in the cross of Christ, a love victorious which will not let us go. It is that love, in its infinite benediction falling with power on our fretting hearts, which helps us to the patience that we need.

Immortality Begets Patience

And then, the other secret? The other is the hope of immortality. For a thousand worries Christ has given patience by bringing immortality to light. There is a splendid saying of St. Augustine's which everyone of us should take to heart. "God is patient," says St. Augustine, "because He is eternal." With all eternity to work His works in, how could the Almighty worry or chafe; and Christ has brought immortality to light. We are no longer the creatures of a day. We do not cease our service at the grave. All we have striven to do and striven to be shall be carried over into the great forever. There is something very quieting in that; something which sheds a gleam on every failure; something which helps us wonderfully in those seasons when above everything we have need of patience.

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« Reply #653 on: November 28, 2006, 09:16:02 AM »

November 28

The Tent and the City - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


By faith he [Abraham] sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations— Heb_11:9-10

The Unfaltering Faith of Abraham

In this great chapter, the roll call of the heroes, Abraham occupies a very honorable place. His life was so pre-eminently one of faith in God that in this muster of the faithful that was inevitable. There have been men who in some great hour of life or death have risen to a sublime heroism of trust. There have been others whose faith has been most notable in the quiet tenor of uneventful days. But the faith of Abraham did not fail nor falter when he was commanded to sacrifice his son; it rarely deserted him in the days which had no history as he rose and toiled and slumbered in his tent; and it is this inclusiveness—this reach from the least to the greatest—which makes the faith of Abraham unique. Never forget that the faith which we profess should dominate us as Abraham was dominated. That man is not to be reckoned a religious man whose religion is seen only in a few shining hours. Like the glow of health which spreads through a man's whole being, it must show itself in every deed and every day. The temple may manifest it, but so must the tent.

The Tent and the City

Abraham, then, was a dweller in a tent: that fact had made a deep impression on the writer, and immediately he tells us the secret of that tent-life—he looked for a city whose builder and maker is God. The tent and the city, then: that is my theme. What thought does that sharp antithesis suggest? I shall group what I wish to say under these heads. First, it is the tent which makes the city precious. Second, it is the city which explains the tent.

The Tent Makes the City Precious

First, then, it is the tent which makes the city precious. We see at a glance that it was so with Abraham. It was the very insecurity of that tent-life, the isolation of it and its thousand perils, that made the dream of a city so infinitely sweet. Had Abraham spent ail his days within strong wails he would never have known the power of that ideal. Mingling with other men in crowded thoroughfares and sharing in the security of numbers, life would have been too rich, too full, too safe, to leave any place or power for this vision. But life in the tent left room and verge enough. What could be frailer than that covering of skin which shook and flapped at every wandering breeze? How it strained when the blast from the hills swept down on it! How the lashing rain in the dark night would soak it! It is in such surroundings, perilous, lonely, comfortless, that men begin to dream about a city. That is the meaning of God's treatment of Abraham. That is why God housed him in a tent. It was not to harden him nor yet to crush his pride; it was to waken him to the worth of the ideal. It took the tent so fragile and unstable, so lightly rooted, so easily overswept, to make God's promise and prospect of a city a very precious thing to Abraham.

I cannot help but think that as God dealt with Abraham, so does He deal in providence with us all. There is a flood of light poured on life's darker aspects for me when I remember the city and the tent. After all, the important thing is not what we live in; the supremely important thing is what we look for. It is not my actual achievement which is vital; it is the purpose, the aim, the direction of my life. If life is to be redeemed from sense and time and brought under the powers that are eternal, the eyes must be opened somehow to God's city. And how shall I open them? says the Almighty. How shall I make the unseen city precious? The answer to that lies in the tent of Abraham—so insecure, so perilous and so frail. From which I learn that much of life's harder discipline, and many a dark hour that men are called to, is given to humanity by Abraham's God that hearts may begin to hunger for the city.

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« Reply #654 on: November 28, 2006, 09:17:58 AM »

The Tent and the City - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Sickness

For example think of sickness in that light. Is it not often the tent that makes the city precious? A man must be freely endowed and finely strung if perfect health does not dull his vision a little. When morning by morning through unbroken years a man has no pain, no sufferings, no frailty—it is strange if there are not some stars across the sky to which the perpetual sunshine does not blind him. But sooner or later to most men there comes sickness; they are sent out like Abraham into the lonely tent. They waken at night to feel their insecurity: another blast and the tent may be in ruins. And who does not know when such hours have come and gone how the eyes have been opened to a thousand things? Springtime is sweeter and the joys of each day; there is not a bird in the tree that does not sing with richer music. Home is more precious, and the play of children, and the love we leaned on far too little once. There is not a promise of God that does not have new meaning; there is not a prayer that is not somehow more real. We did not want that tent-life of the sickroom: we did not choose it; it seemed an interruption. We thought it hard that in the midst of activity should come "the blind fury with the abhorred shears." But for us as for Abraham, it was purposed after ail; and somehow the tent has made the city precious.

Death

In the same light also we may look on death. For we must never forget that death is more than a tragedy. It is shrouded in unutterable loss, yet in the midst of the loss God has implanted gain. There is nothing in the world so cruel as death, nothing so pitiless or so remorseless. It fills the heart with a loneliness far deeper than that of the solitary tent of Abraham. Yet how many homes have been purified by death! How many hearts that once were utterly worldly have been taught to think of heaven through bereavement! There are some things that are never seen so clearly as when they are seen through the sad veil of tears. Death has made tender every human tie; death has made possible the sweetest memories; like the darkened glass through which we can look at the sun, the shadow of death has given us the power of vision. It is impossible to say how self-centered we had been, how selfish, how blind to the unseen and eternal, had the world never known the mystery of death. It is the tent, then, which has made the city precious. It is the frailty, the insecurity, the loneliness that have turned men's hearts to the abiding things. Like Abraham we are led out to a strange land with only a few frail cords to hold our dwellings until the city of God, deep-founded and eternal, never to be shaken and never overthrown, becomes infinitely attractive to the heart.

Sin

Nor can I leave this subject without pointing out to you how it bears evangelically upon the fact of sin. Many a man is brought to see his need of Christ by the same experience as was vouchsafed to Abraham. God has a hundred ways of making Christ Jesus precious. The avenues to the feet of the Savior are innumerable. There is nothing more dangerous than to teach that in coming to Christ all men must have the same uniform experience. Often it is to all that is best in us that Christ appeals; it is on our highest and best side that Christ approaches: we look for a Savior and we recognize Him because we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness. But often —remember—it is the very opposite; it is not our best but our worst that makes the Savior precious. God leads us to Christ not by our brightest hopes, but by deepening in our hearts the sense of sin. Never did David so feel his need of God as when he cried, "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned." Convicted of his guilt and conscious of his wickedness, God in that hour became most precious. And so in us when the old satisfaction goes, when we feel our unworthiness and when we cry "Unclean, unclean "—in that very moment are we ready to see Christ as infinitely fairer than we ever dreamed. We are made lonely that we may need His fellowship. We are shown our helplessness that we may see His power. We are taught by the Spirit of God how worthless is our righteousness that our eyes may be opened to the righteousness of Christ. Like Abraham, we are made to dwell in tents—ragged, unsightly, insecure, and lonely—but it is the tent which makes the city precious.

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« Reply #655 on: November 28, 2006, 09:20:18 AM »

The Tent and the City - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


The City Explains the Tent

But I pass on now, and in the second place: it is the city which explains the tent. We could never have understood the life of Abraham, never have rightly appreciated his behavior, if the Bible had not told us-the hope that was in his heart—he looked for a city whose builder and maker is God. Abraham was a very wealthy man and there was nothing to prevent him building a home in Canaan. Had he raised a palace for himself there and had he fortified it, it would have seemed a perfectly natural thing to do. He had been bred in the country of Chaldaea where walls were mighty and castles were magnificent; towers, fortresses, buttresses, castellations—on such things had he feasted his boyish eyes. Doubtless he hoped as many a boy has done for the day when he should build a castle for himself. But the day comes when he is free to do it, and yet never one stone is laid upon another. He is rich and powerful, let him build his fortress now. But he doesn't give it a thought; he dwells in tents. And you will never understand that tent, never know why Abraham chose it, until you are told the secret of his heart. Others might dwell in tents because they were lazy. Others might dwell in tents because they were misers. Others might dwell in tents because they were restless and had the spirit of wandering in their blood. But the conduct of Abraham is not to be explained so: it is his vision which interprets it. You learn the secret of the tent when you remember that he looked for a city whose builder and maker is God.

Now doesn't this suggest to us a caution when we are tempted to be rash in judgment? I am amazed at the rash and foolish way in which we pass judgments on each other. Of our brother's hidden life we know so little, of the ideals that are haunting him we are so ignorant—yet we look at the tent he lives in and we judge him by it as if we could read the meaning of the thing. But you may depend upon it that you will never know a man until you know the hopes which animate him. You may think that the tent proclaims the man a sluggard, but in the sight of God it may seal him as a saint. And it is because we are ignorant of the secret of our brother and of all that is stirring and calling in his heart that so often we judge him falsely.

Visions

Here for example is a young man with what we call a strong artistic temperament. And nothing will satisfy him but to be an artist; by night and by day he dreams of little else. Everyone tries to dissuade him from that calling: it is painted to him in the blackest colors; he is warned of the disappointment he will meet with; but it is all useless, he will not give it up. Then come long years of hardship—perhaps starvation—and men smile at him and say, "What a fool he was! If he had only become a partner in his father's business, how very comfortable he might have been!" But the heaven-born artist is looking for a city, he is haunted by the vision of ideal beauty: the world is a palace to him, it is full of joy, he can see all the stars from the door of his poor tent. Men pity him and count up what he has forfeited, but he is a thousand times richer than the men who pity him. They cannot understand why he is radiant, for it takes the city to explain the tent.

Or here is a young woman who instead of living idly, resolves to be of some service while she can. She has been eating her heart out with having nothing to do, but now she has been awakened by the grace of God. Once the puzzle was how to kill time; now the problem is how to expand it. There is so much to do, so many lives to help, so many services of all kinds to render. Deliberately she forsakes much that was sweet, dwelling in tabernacles with the heirs of the same promise. She is often weary visiting the poor for life is a sterner thing than she had dreamed. And her old friends, perhaps her own sisters and brothers, cannot understand this change at all. But her eyes have been opened—that is the reason—she is looking for a city that hath foundations now. She has felt the constraining power of the love of Christ. That has become her secret and her song. It is the Spirit of Jesus, welcomed to her heart, which interprets the lowly service of the life. It takes the city to explain the tent.

Brethren and sisters, it makes all the difference in the world what you and I are looking for. It is by what our hearts are set on and by what our thoughts are given to that the tent we dwell in is glorified or cursed. In the roomiest mansion a man may still be miserable if there is nothing but that dwelling in his heart. In the poorest tent a man may still be happy if he looks for a city where is the love of God. I earnestly entreat of you to look to God, to fix your gaze on the Lord Jesus Christ, to lift up your hearts to Him continually, to say, "O Lamb of God, I come." That was the secret of the peace of Abraham. That will make any tent become a temple. We can do much, bear more, and be amazingly happy when our life is hid with Christ in God.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

Dist. Worldwide in the Great Freeware Bible Study package called
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(The goal of Rick Meyer is to distribute excellent Bible Study
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« Reply #656 on: November 29, 2006, 10:29:27 AM »

November 29

Faith Refusing Deliverance - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


He hath sent me... to preach deliverance to the captives— Luk_4:18
Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance— Heb_11:35

Faith Leads to Deliverance

Among the blessings which we connect with faith, one of the most conspicuous is deliverance. The Bible is a great record of deliverance effected through the agency of faith. Abraham was delivered from idolatry. Joseph was delivered from his brethren. David was delivered from Goliath, and Peter from the prison at Jerusalem. And most notable of all, there was the Exodus, when Israel was delivered from its bondage—drawn out of Egypt, by the might of God, into the peril and the prize of liberty. All these are instances of deliverance, wrought in the power of a living faith. Men trusted God, and in the joy of trust were freed from darkness and captivity. And so the Bible, as we read its pages, grows into a great argument for this, that God is able and willing, if we trust Him, to set the feet in a large room.

The same issue of faith also arrests us when we come into the company of Jesus. Here, too, as in the rest of Scriptures, faith is a mighty power to deliver. We see the maniac released from legion, and sitting clothed and in his right mind. We see the withered arm restored again; the eye that had been blind regaining sight. We see a woman delivered from infirmity, and a loved brother delivered from the grave, and a great company whose eyes are glad because they have been delivered from their sin. Christ was the great enemy of bonds. He was the lover and the light of liberty. He came to preach deliverance to the captives, and to bestow the gift which was His message. And so again we learn this happy lesson, that faith is a mighty power to redeem; and that in every sphere where faith is active, one of its blessed fruits is liberty.

There Is a Faith That Refuses Deliverance

Yet while that is true, and gloriously true, in a way I trust we all know something of, there is a suggestion in our second text that it is fitting we should not forget. "They were tortured, not accepting deliverance," and the whole chapter is a song of faith. The chapter is a magnificent review of all that faith is powerful to achieve. So this is also a result of faith, not that it brings deliverance to a man, but that sometimes, when deliverance is offered, it gives him a fine courage to refuse it. There are seasons when faith shows itself in taking. There are seasons when it is witnessed in refusing. There is a deliverance that faith embraces. There is a deliverance that faith rejects. They were tortured, not accepting deliverance—that was the sign and seal that they were faithful. There are hours when the strongest proof of faith is the swift rejection of the larger room.

Better to Be Faithful Than Free

Think in the first place of the martyrs, to whom our text immediately applies. When a man was charged with being a Christian, deliverance was always at his hand. He had only to blaspheme the name of Christ—a word or two of cursing—that was all. He had only to spit upon the name of Christ, when the Roman centurion scratched it on the wall. He had only to put his hand into a box, and take a grain or two of incense from the box, and sprinkle it without a single word before the beautiful statue of Diana. On the one hand was life, and life was sweet. On the other hand was death, and death was terrible. On the one hand was liberty and home. On the other hand was torture and the grave. And they were tortured, not accepting deliverance. They might have had it by a single word. It was their faith that led them to the scaffold. It was better to be faithful than be free.

It Takes Faith to Refuse to Be Liberated from the Troubles Entailed in the Performance of Needed Common Tasks

The same issue of faith is seen again amid the troubles of our common life. in precisely the same manner it is witnessed in the pettier martyrdoms of every day. Each of us has got his cross to carry. There is no escaping from the law. Each of us has got his secret bitterness, and his burden, and his travail or his fear. For one the trouble may be in business matters; for another, the cross may be at home; while for a third, perhaps, it is the body that wakes the heart to trembling in the night. Now I believe that whatever be the trouble, Jesus Christ has come to preach deliverance. There is peace in Him, and quietness of soul, and conquest over death and all its terrors. But remember that there are other outlets which sometimes loom upon our gaze invitingly, and promise us the release that we are craving—if only we are untrue to our best selves. I think that all of us are tempted so, though these are temptations of which we seldom speak. Sometimes indeed we hardly understand them, they are so subtly hidden and disguised. But always there is a tampering with conscience in them, and a certain lowering of the flag of youth, and a sinking clown upon a lower level than we know to be worthy in our hearts. it is when a man or woman is so tempted that faith in God is needed to be true. To choose the drudgery and spurn the liberty is the sign-manual of faith in him. "They were tortured, not accepting deliverance." They let the laughter and the sunshine go. And sometimes in the quiet of our obscurity, you and I may be called to be their children.

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« Reply #657 on: November 29, 2006, 10:31:06 AM »

Faith Refusing Deliverance - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Don't Miss the Best by Choosing the Easier and More Remunerative in Disregard of Conscience

Now I might illustrate how to beware of choosing the easier in disregard of conscience by many instances. For example, the case of a young man. His work is hard and irksome and ill-paid, and he has a father who is dependent on him. From morning till evening it is a weary grind. There is no encouragement. There are scarce any prospects. And when evening comes he is so fagged that he can hardly follow a good book. And then there comes to him the glittering chance of work that is easier, and pay that is far better, on the condition that he shuts his eyes, and does not trouble about a tender conscience. Many a man accepts that swift deliverance. He offers the grain of incense to Diana. And then he prospers, and is kind at home, and there are comforts for the aged father. But nothing on earth can alter the old fact that such an act was faithless and untrue, and that a man forever from that moment has left the company of saints and martyrs. He has been tortured and accepted deliverance, and the world and the devil are exacting creditors. Somehow, as the years unroll themselves, he will discover he has missed the best. And if my words have any weight on young men who are starting out on life, they will write upon their hearts this text of Hebrews, and avoid that tragic mistake.

Faithfulness Is Better Than Happiness When Happiness Is Brought On by What Is False

Or I might take the case of a young woman who is set amid uncongenial surroundings. She is not happy. Perhaps she has to work, and probably her health is very far from good. I shall not paint the picture at its blackest, though I have seen it at its blackest for myself. I shall not touch on that most awful freedom that lurks on every street of every Babylon. But I shall say that she gets the offer of marriage from someone to whom God has never led her, and to whom in her woman's heart there is no drawing, as of those cords which have been knit in heaven. There is the chance of freedom, if you like. There is deliverance from all the drudgery. But, O my sister, at what an awful cost of all that is most womanly and delicate! A thousand times better to be tortured daily than to accept deliverance like that—and it is there, you see, that faith comes in. Faith that God can uphold you in the darkness, and give you music in the weariest mile. Faith that there are better things than happiness, when happiness is bought by being false. Faith that the best in life is ,ever lost when you are true to what is high and beautiful; and always lost when you have played the traitor to the sweet sincerities of womanhood.

Sometimes Deliverance Can Be Failure or Treachery

The same issue of faith is also seen in public and in Christian service. I suppose there is no one engaged in that who does not feel at times a longing for release. It may be that enthusiasm has vanished. It may be that we are disappointed. It may be that those whom we are called to labor with are irritating and interfering people. So sooner or later comes to us the day when we are tempted to have done with it; to take our armour off, and hang it up, and pass into the oblivion of peace. Now I am far from saying that that is always wrong. Sometimes it may be right and necessary. A man may be forced to it by doctor's orders, and if he be wise he will attend to these. A man may be led to it by the appeal of conscience telling him he should be more at home, and that no service can have heaven's blessing if wife and children are neglected. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. That is a matter for heart and God. All that I want to do here is this: it is to warn you that all release is not like that. There may be times when deliverance is treachery; when to seek for freedom is to fail; when a man's first duty is to continue serving, even though his service may be torture. "They were tortured, not accepting deliverance," and sometimes we are called with that vocation. If we trust God we shall refuse relief, and stick to the service we have put our hand to. God has no pleasure in these sorry workers who are always threatening to send in resignations. No man having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

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« Reply #658 on: November 29, 2006, 10:32:58 AM »

Faith Refusing Deliverance - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


Beware of False Deliverance from Moral and Intellectual Doubt

I am impressed again by the same truth in regard to our spiritual and intellectual difficulties. I may be speaking to some here who have great difficulties about faith and God. They would fain believe, and yet they find it hard. They would fain trust, and yet they cannot trust. They cannot feel their need of a Redeemer. They cannot grasp the power of the cross. Or it may be that, having grasped it once, they have been thrown into darkness by their reading, and cannot reconcile the facts of science with the old message of the love of heaven. My brother, I want to say to you that Christ has got deliverance for you. He has come to preach deliverance to the captive, and there is no captivity so dark as doubt. But there are times of darkness and perplexity when other methods of release will face you, and if you are a man you will reject them, and face the torture which rejection brings. You will not take shallow answers to great questions. You will ,or yield up moral questions in despair. You will not fall back upon a life of sense, as if in sensuality were rest. But you will be true to all the light you have, and you will cling to all the good you know, and you will trust that, when the night is past, the singing of the birds is sure to come. To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. It is sometimes better to be tossed and tortured, than to be sleeping on a couch of ease. This is one mark of every earnest soul that has come at last to liberty and light, it has been too faithful to the Highest to accept deliverance upon unworthy terms. "Not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection."

Christ Refused False Deliverance

In closing, may I just remind you how true this was of our Lord Jesus Christ? He is our Savior not because He refused deliverance. "All these kingdoms will I give thee," said the Tempter, "if thou wilt fall down and worship me." Was not that a road to power and princedom which would have escaped the torture of the cross? But He was tortured, not accepting deliverance. He chose the bitter way that led by Calvary. He scorned deliverance by that compliance, and so He has won deliverance for the captive. Then think again, when He approached the cross, how the women offered Him the opiate. And had He but drunk it, His senses had been numbed, and the agony of crucifixion had been deadened. But having tasted it, He put it from Him. He could not and He would not drink it. And He was tortured, not accepting deliverance, that He might be the Savior of mankind. Now He preaches freedom to the captive. Do you know it? Have you experienced it? Can you this minute bear witness in your heart that you are a freed man in Jesus Christ? if so, to you may come those darksome hours when voices call you to some mean escape, and just because you are a man in Christ, with all the saints and martyrs you will scorn it.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

Dist. Worldwide in the Great Freeware Bible Study package called
e-Sword by Rick Meyer: http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
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« Reply #659 on: November 30, 2006, 05:01:54 AM »

November 30

The Cloud of Witnesses

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses…let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus— Heb_12:1-2

The Eyes of the Witnesses upon us

While the word witness in the New Testament generally has the sense of testifier, there can be little question that in this striking figure it bears the common meaning of spectator. The writer is thinking of a Roman racecourse on some day of national festivity. There is the runner straining every nerve. There is the emperor within his purple curtains. And around the course, tier above tier, till the uppermost figures are as a haze of cloud, is the vast multitude who are looking on. Every eye is fixed upon the runners. When the race is in progress every breath is held. There is an intentness we can scarce conceive today, for then the issues might be life or death. Thus though witness in other parts of Scripture generally signifies a testifier, there can be little doubt that here it means spectator. We must beware of forcing Scripture words into one unalterable meaning. Words are plastic things; they are responsive; they alter with the urgencies of thought. Our Lord would take some great and simple word, like bread or life or water, and in the compass or a sentence would pass from one meaning to another.

So I take it that the writer means there are innumerable spectators of our human life. As we toil and struggle a thousand eyes are on us as eager as any at a Roman racecourse. These witnesses are not angelic beings. The writer here is not thinking of the angels. They are not the denizens of earth still with us in the fellowship of home. The key to the interpretation of these witnesses is found in the preceding chapter where we hear the roll call of the faithful. They are great saints, like Abraham and Noah, the spirits of just men made perfect, the child you lost in the first bloom of innocence, the dear boy who laid down his life in the war, the father who feared God, the mother or sister who was a saint, all watching us with the absorbed attention of the spectators on a Roman racecourse. He calls them a cloud because of their vast number. We still speak of a cloud of flying things. He calls them so because a cloud is far above resting on the bosom of the sky. And he says, "Children, when tempted to give up in the great race and to be overcome by some besetting sin, take a quiet moment and remember that you are encompassed by a great cloud of witnesses."

To Know Our Loved Ones Watch Us Is an Encouragement

Now this thought when we let it play its part is rich in very real encouragement. Think how it 0reanimates our hopes. Professor Henry Drummond used to tell us of a student sitting for his examination. Every once in a while out of his pocket he took something and gazed at it a moment. The examiner, naturally suspicious, stole up to see what he was looking at and found it was the portrait of the girl he hoped to marry. It inspired him just to see her face. It heartened him to feel that she was watching. He worked better when he thought that he was working under the loving gaze of those dear eyes. And to know that eyes like that are watching us from the other side, within the veil, is one of the secret encouragement's of life. If you have to undergo an operation, no one so inspires you as the man who has been through it. If you have to make your dwelling in a deadly climate, it is the man who has lived there who makes you hopeful. "Why," he says, "I lived there for years, and look at me"—the picture of good health—and so he reanimates your hopes. Now I remember that our writer's witnesses are not angelic nor celestial beings. They have lived our life and fought our battles and known our suffering and temptation. And if now they rejoice in the light and love of God, liberated from sin and pain forever, what a new hope stirs within the heart! There steals on the ear the distant triumphant song. We are watched by those who have arrived—the saints of old, the children we have lost, the dear ones who have gone before. We are like swimmers battling in an angry sea when suddenly we hear voices on the shore, and, hearing them, we pluck up heart again.

Our Loved Ones May Pray for Us

Nor can we reasonably doubt that we are helped by the prayers of that great cloud of witnesses. Let us return to the figure for a moment. If in the tiers of the old amphitheater there was seated the wife or mother of the runner, would she not pray to all the gods she knew that her beloved might carry off the crown? And if our loved ones lean from the galleries of heaven while we are running the race of life and death, is it not conceivable they are praying also? If the child every night at bedtime here prayed for its father and its mother, if the wife every quiet morning here prayed for her husband and her children, I cannot conceive that in a better world where being is not altered but expanded, these beautiful activities should cease. The souls under the altar cry for vengeance. Is the cry for vengeance the only prayer in heaven? Are there not golden bowls there full of odors which are the prayers of the saints? I think we shall never know how much we owe when we are weary, suffering, tempted, overwhelmed, to the prayers offered within the veil by those we have loved long since and lost awhile. We are encompassed by a cloud of witnesses. They watch us, they love us, and they pray for us. Wherefore let us run with patience the race that is set before us. And when we remember that we owe all this to Him who brought life and immortality to light, let us run looking unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of faith.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

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