[ Selected ]
About 700 B.
C. the Lord spoke to Isaiah the prophet in a vision, and said,
"I will punish the world for their evil,...I will make a man
more precious than fine gold" (Isa. 13:11, 12). It's perfectly
natural and easy to live, but it's more difficult to live
well. The secret of a happy and useful life is wrapped up in
the human will. Individual life that's beautiful in reputation
and character, is beaten out like gold, or brass. There's a
law in the universe, in the visible and material and the moral
and spiritual, whether mind or matter, that all things useful
must show the marks of labor. By no bribery or stratagem can
we escape the universal law of labor. The unchiseled stone is
left behind, and the uncultivated fruit is left untasted.
"It matters not how wide the
How charged with punishment the scroll---
the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul."
Our human self, at the outset, is
simply a plain piece of rock, without figure or flower, and in
our comely forms we await the engraver's touch. We're ever
acting; but to be usefully employed every act should have the
thought of usefulness, or after the years shall have passed
our life will end as meaningless as it began. It's God's
design and our allotted work to add import to our existence by
making it deeply with labor. The marks of the hammer must
show. Too many in life have no purpose in particular, but are
like fishes, birds, and animals in our zoological gardens,
asleep and stupid until the keeper's footsteps are heard, and
then they wait impatiently for food, aroused from a sensation
that's without. Man is different from a beast; for he
possesses within himself capabilities of happiness and
usefulness not dependent entirely upon the outside. Man may be
attracted and amused by the pageant of this vain and deceitful
world; but he's not satisfied or complete until he's in touch
with two worlds, the physical and the spiritual.
The Eden Within...
One may be surprised when the
statement is made that there are capabilities of universal joy
and peace stored away in every human heart. There comes before
me the life of a certain lady who by awful calamity lost her
husband, family and home. The shock was so great it almost
reduced her to helplessness; yet a joy came streaming out of
her soul in the face of calamity and poverty---a joy not
shining like the reflected light of the moon, but like the sun
in its own outpourings.
There's an undeveloped Eden in
the soul of every living man and woman. The inner life must be
explored and developed before we can find the real riches that
are without. Man's so constituted that he may be happy wearing
wooden shoes in the outskirts of civilization, or wearing
purple robes upon a throne. A person may be almost entirely
cut off from the outside world by being deaf, dumb, and blind,
and even paralyzed, and yet be able to be happy and contented,
and to build a character that will shine on when the most
distant star shall have become a burnt-out ember. Until one
has discovered himself, and the real objectives in life---the
true worth and power of his inner self---he's loosing more
than half of his personal estate. Within every human mind and
soul there awaits a wealth of pure gold ready for the beating
of the hammer, and by a touch of the divine hand there may
spring forth a Luther, Wesley, or Warner.
History records the story of an
astronomer who was always smiling and happy. Some friends, in
apologizing for their own lack, rather chided the godly man.
They said they were limited in learning and in implements, and
suggested that if they possessed his advantages, they, too,
should be happy. They were surprized when he informed them
that the secret of his happiness came from another source. He
said he received a truer and deeper meaning of the value of
time and life within his closet upon his kness than he did
with his telescope sweeping the skies.
From these truths we conclude
that the keenest pleasures the heart can know and the greatest
services we can give come by the unfolding of our own inner
self as inspired by the Spirit of God. The pursuits of this
vain world won't satisfy. They only entice us away from the
pure gold within to the coarser gold that's without, and
possibly beyond our reach.
The Triumph of
God not only made the man, but
he'll stand by him as long as man is right. Right will
prevail. The universal law that merit will stand and demerit
will fail, and that love will outlive hate, keeps the world of
mankind from suicide. No one expects to win who's deceitful.
He can't compel his inner self to so believe. Only the utterly
depraved can really believe that truth will ever be dethroned.
We're in a world where the question of final success is always
a question of true merit. Character and true worth are slow in
their development, and in seeking a shorter route many are
tempted, yea, resort to artifice, pretense, and imitation.
Fraud may yeild quicker results than honest endeavor, but the
loss far exceeds the gain in the end.
"The heights by great men reached
Were not obtained by sudden flight,
while their companions slept
Were toiling upward through
It pays to be true and honest in
every act, for when the balance is struck at the end of the
day, or of life, true merit will win against that competitor
of pretense and sham. To attempt to gain in a single day what
's supposed to take months to obtain is an insult against the
slower processes of nature, and penalties are following close
behind. Character is formed within the inner self, and woven
upon that noiseless, unseen loom of our choices. Like as a
photographer develops the negative in a dark room, so
character is formed by our own decisions within the darkness
of our own self-life.
External vs. Internal
Even our sisters join in
insurrection against the laws of the universe when they
believe and act as though the years of their own personal
worth were those years covered by their personal beauty.
Personal beauty is only one of the charms the Lord has seen
fit to bestow upon the daughters of earth; for there are many
admirable qualities in her that may never be noticed until
after the wild rose bloom has left her cheeks forever. We
should remember that merit and true worth never desert the
soul, and thus the loss of personal beauty will be made up in
loveliness of some other form. God made no mistakes in the
departments of human life. "Pretty is as pretty does" is a
maxim that's true in childhood, middle life, and in old age.
When physical beauty is made the objective, it pays the
penalty of a shorter life. Merit stands ready to beautify its
possessor at every age and in every department of human
endeavor. Merit stands ready to open every legitimate door in
life, and by it alone can the door be kept open indefinitely.
Honesty is more than a single honest act; it's a lifetime of
honest acts. There's no question outside of salvation that'll
ever surpass that of true worth. It's not a matter of quality
of years that merit desires, but the quality of life's acts.
Sometimes when we see so much fraud, graft, the getting of
things together in haste, diplomas won in a year, exalted
position given to the unfitted, men leaping suddenly into
prominence by virtue of a pull, we wonder if that law of
growth and the functioning of merit have been revoked and
annulled. But we need wait only a short season, for all such
subterfuges will come to naught. Earthly minds may trifle with
beauty, riches, fame, and power; but merit comprehends true
worth, and it gathers up from time to time only that
excellence which no years or ages can efface.
At the Crossroads...
Man is indeed a strange
combination, a wonderful assemblage of peculiar
attributes---taste, reason, love, faith, hope, moral sense,
power of choice, etc. A creature like man, having so many
passions, interests, fears, and hopes, possessing enormous
powers, doesn't contain all the problems of his life in the
question of his coming into the world; his staying here and
the choices he makes contain their share of his life's
problems. If man came simply from the dust and will return to
dust, then he's simply a beast; but if he comes from God and
will return to God, then he must choose the right at the
crossroads. When a gold coin comes from the mint (I've watched
the process), it's carefully weighed, and if it doesn't move
the balances in the proper manner it's degraded, and is sent
back to be remelted and made over again. There's only two
paths across the world---a path of right, and a path of
infinite wrong. Man's a compound being---in touch with two
worlds. This duality declares a duality of destiny. One stream
of water starts northward and empties into the North Sea, and
another starts south and empties into a sea which for ages has
received its floods, and yet isn't full. Standing upon the
great moral divide, we can behold two great streams of human
souls going in opposite directions. One moves toward the
celestial skes, to a perpetual and eternal day. In the
opposite direction, a stream moves onward toward the hell of a
neglected life. Both the Bible and logic teach us that heaven
and hell have their beginning for us here, and this beginning
is formed by our choices. There's a divine something within us
that warns us, and we don't travel the wrong pathway far until
our feet will bleed, and become sore. We're in a world of
choice. Before us are the two pathways, one leading upward and
the other leading downward. We may select from the garden of
earth the deadly intoxicant that dulls the mind and destroys
the noblest part of our being; or from the same garden we may
choose that which gives health, clearness of mind, and purity
of heart, and which will make for a better life and the better
The Results of
If it were possible for me to
stand upon the mountain-top on that day when the balance of
life is struck, the sight I should see would beggar
description. I see sweeping through the skies a long
procession of whitewinged souls, and oh, how peaceful, happy,
and contented! I ask, "Who are these, and whence came they?"
The answer comes, "These are the faithful ones who believed
and worshiped God before the flood," and they pass on. Still
another long procession comes on apace. I ask, "Who are these,
and whence came they?" The answer is, "These are the faithful
ones who lived and worshiped God during the law period," and
so with bright faces and with songs of joy they pass on to
their great reward.
Another long procession now comes
sweeping through the sky. Oh, how happy they appear! They're
dressed in white robes and holy palms in their hands. How
beautiful! how expectant! They're flying high, and I can see
in the distance the great doors of that heavenly country
standing ajar. I ask of the angel who stands by my side, "Who
are these arrayed in white robes, and whence came they?" And
he answers me, "These are they which came out of great
tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white
in the blood of the Lamb. They shall hunger no more, neither
thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any
heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall
feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of
waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes (Re.
7:14, 16, 17).
Reader, if you choose the right
at the crossroads, you'll join this last procession of souls,
those who accepted Christ in this last great day of
mercy---the gospel day---and the doors of that long-sought
country will swing wide open for you, and with the redeemed
and bloodwashed you may enjoy the grandeur of that heavenly
country forevermore. If we could only stop here and close this
chapter without doing injustice to truth, we'd be so glad; but
there's another scene before our eyes.
Another long procession of souls
comes sweeping along, they're dejected, and are flying low. I
ask: "Who are these, and whence came they?" I'm told, "These
are they who chose the wrong path in the days before the
flood," and on they go to impending doom. I'm amazed. Soon
another longer procession comes into view and are hours in
passing. How sad they look. No hope is ahead for them. They
chose the valley during life and now they go down, down, down.
I ask, "Who are these poor wretched souls?" "These are they
who rejected God during the law period," I'm told, and they
disappear below and are lost in the darkness down beside the
river of eternal death. I think, My God! how can I endure the
Suddenly another procession comes
into view. The angel informs me that this is the closing
scene---the final act in the drama of human life. As they draw
nearer I'm surprised beyond expression, for I recognize among
that saddened throng, familiar faces. There's a young man with
whom I labored in San Francisco---lost. Another I recognize is
an uncle of mine who died without Christ. My God! there's my
only brother, and there---is that my own son? No! no! Thank
God! Oh, how sad they look! Most of them are weeping. They
just said good-by to the loved ones of earth, for they were
assembled at the judgment and sentenced a few moments ago. The
angel doesn't need to tell me who they were, or from whence
they came, for I know too well. They're of the earth. They'd
lived in the grandest age of mercy ever known to the world,
and had of their own will chosen the wrong road. The day of
mercy is past, and they go on out into a night that has no
stars, to a country where no friend shall ever greet them,
while eternal ages roll on and on. Lost! lost! LOST!
Sinner of a Christian country, it
would be more tolerable for you in the judgment day had you
been born in distant India, and had been fed to a crocodile in
the Anges river, than for you to go out from this land of
Bibles and opportunities unprepared to meet thy God. You may
be at the crossroads now. If so, choose life...and begin to
work for God and humanity today.
The End of Death...
On yonder hillside where I look
Loom high great monuments of stone;
shadows lengthen, and they seem to say,
"This is the place
where Death has made his home."
In awe I gaze upon these
With all the pomp and splendor art can
And wonder if Time's hoary hand will harm,
will their pride through enless ages live?
Methinks of pyramids on Egypt's
Where granite rocks so boldly lift their head;
Shall these crumble back to the earth again,
as level as the millions dead?
O tell me! marble slabs, tell me,
Must I return to cold and lifeless dust?
I be wrapped in folds of putrid clay?
They answer back: "O
man of earth, thou must."
When God shall speak from out the
And Gabriel's trump shall shake this frail
The millions wrapped today in mortal shrouds
Shall rise to shame and woe and endless mirth.
Know thou proud Death, thy reign
shall have an end;
The barriers thou hast built be rent in
Yea, thou shalt bow before a mightier hand,
we, instead of thee shall ever reign.
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