T h e K i n g ' s B u s i n e s s
and to our Lord, while those living creatures hard by speak their tribute about Him. Here we see a long step upward, for redeemed sinners’ praises. Here it is that weeping turns to singing, and singing to our Lord—not only about Him but to Him. Here the tribute rises to “ the Lamb that was slain.” (And forget not that these living creatures, too, give glory and honor and thanksgiving to the Lord God almighty.) Neither can the tribute of redeemed sinners to “ the Lamb,” nor that of the “ living creatures,” be told out without the words “ for ever and ever.” Ages on ages can not exhaust the thankfulness either of the high defenders of God’s throne or of redeemed sinners. Then, surely then, having entered upon that life with Him, wonder will be heightened and deepened and broad ened, until thanksgiving will come forth, an overflowing from pure hearts whose murmuring and fretting have been banished never to return. The fact that God’s “ unspeakable gift” means God’s gift not fully expounded, and that this gift is a special prompt ing to thanksgiving calls us on to the further and eternal expounding of that gift. If now we give special thanks for it, when could we ever exhaust the thanksgiving ? When the gift is further expounded, the thanksgiving must be fur ther expressed. And if the gift forever reveals its added richness, then surely the thanksgiving will forever increase. A ll of Us Need Friends B y R oy T almage B rumbaugh man lived nearer to God than Paul. He had grasped the hand of his Bosom Friend in eternal grip. The apostle of the Gentiles leaned heavily on God, yet he felt the need of human sympathy and succor. Aged, in prison, be reft of friends, he sent this call to Timothy, the young preacher: “ Give diligence to come shortly unto me” (2 Tim. 4 :9 ). The greatest sometimes collapse in weakness. The weakest have oft, by strong affection, made fainting giants herculean. Every ear searches the ether for love’s wave- notes. Every hand eagerly awaits the friendly grip. Every shoulder longs for affection’s pat. Every heart yearns for fellow feeling. The recluse is less than a man. David and Jonathan together are stronger than one hundred men indi vidualized. Mutual burden bearing is the fulfillment of the law of God. Real friendship has a spiritual foundation. Vital union can not be manipulated. Social and political leagues soon strike the rocks unless the Spirit of God throbs through them. Worldly friendships, like leaves in autumn, fall away as winter approaches. In times of drought, like the bed of a frivolous brook, from earthly alliances' flow no re freshment. Friendship in Christ Jesus is ever green. Its leaf does not wither. Like a stream fed by inexhaustible springs, it is full to the brim and overflowing in drought as well as in time of freshet. Gentle as a mother, strong as the arm o f the law, vigilant as a nurse, pure as tried silver, zealous as a furnace heated over seventy times seven is the relationship possible through Christ Jesus our Lord. Take the “ friend that sticketh closer than a brother,” even Jesus Christ, into your heart by faith. Be friendly with those who are friends of the Friend. Oh, men and women, why seek ye elsewhere for that which can be found only in the church and in the service of Christ ? Seek ye first Christ and His people, and everlast ing friendships shall be added unto you.
C hristian T hanksgiving is an E xaltation Thanksgiving cannot be born, and it will not condescend to live, on the dead level. Its realm is the realm of the ex alted. Wonder, display, boast, psalmody, singing, harping — these are words which have to be articulated when we un dertake to describe thanksgiving: harping and singing be cause, when the soul cannot be content by lifting the tribute in cupfuls of saying, it calls for and demands the artesian- ism of singing and reaches for whatever added pressure may be found in harping. It is this way, “ I said it, but let me sing it; I said it, but let me employ melody to wing it.” Display and boast—not display of ourselves, or boast ing of ourselves—how befitting is the use of the word “ display” when applied to the goodness of God to His creatures! Few mysteries in all the field of man’s earthly existence can equal the mystery of music and fragrance and flavor and a mother’s love left in a world of sin. Combined, what a display they constitute! Yet all the outreachings and downreachings of grace are to be added before we reach even a rudimentary estimate of the-goodness of God. And » it is thus that the boast begins. “ Cast not away therefore your boasting [Sp. Trans.] which hath great recompence of reward.” It is not pride, not pomposity, not the flow of character dropsy; rather, it is stepping into that Wonder realm where we undertake to appreciate the goodness of God. Appreciate! That is a word we need just here in our subject; for thanksgiving would suffocate without it. Appreciation furnishes the lungs of which thanksgiving is the song. Appreciative peo ple see more than those who lack it. They see deeper and higher and brighter. As friends, they are exalted and ex alting. Among acquaintances or in the family, the appre ciative become specially dear. The/reader may have often observed this. ’ Moreover, to all this exalting quality of thanksgiving there is a “ why.” Why such goodness to me ? Why should God remember even me ? Why should He trust such as me with tokens of love? Why should He seek a lost sinner such as I to glorify Him forever? Truly, pride puffeth up -—but this is lifted up. C hristian T hanksgiving has D uration No holy pages tell, in the least degree, of thanksgiving among lost souls. When our Lord gives the account of Lazarus and the rich man, there is the request of the rich man that his brothers be prevented from coming to the place of torment. Whether he means to spare them the awfulness of the suffering there, or whether he imagines that they might disclose further deeds of his own guilt which would increase his own distresses, the record does not state, but neither does it disclose the first note of thanksgiving. If we could find it at all among,the lost, we should have found it in this incident. But the saved! They are set forth to view almost as an embodiment of never-exhausted thanksgiving. They are set forth with exultation and praise, remarkable, superla tive. Behold, for instance, the description o f the New Jeru salem accompanied with the statement that “ nothing com mon shall enter there.” Is this a reason why so much is made of melody there? Speech might fairly be classified as common (and sometimes grossly common), but adoration set to music is something above the common. These de scriptions in Revelation 19, in the first six verses, contain four “ hallelujahs,” suggesting an antiphony to the last five psalms of the fifth book of Psalms, for they each end in “ hallelujah.” Observe how priestly saints from earth are seen enthroned around our enthroned Lord. Note how they break forth into singing, and how they sing both o f
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