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is narrated of Diogenes, that when Alexander the Great asked him to request a favour, the only thing that poor man wished of the con
queror of the world was not to stand between him and the sun, whose genial light and warmth he was enjoying.
If Diogenes stands for the Christian, Alexander for the world, and the sun for Him who is the light and joy of His people, we may look upon this story as an allegory; all that the Christian really wishes is, that the world should not obstruct and intercept the rays of happiness which come to him from the heavenly sanctuary. If we are anxious always to look first to God, and to place Him between us and our circumstances, and the people we have to deal with, then we shall be able to exercise love and patience, and to be calm and peaceful at all times.
We have to deal with God on the one hand, and with our fellow-men and circumstances on the other. Now the great point is, how we place ourselves.
If we allow people and circumstances to come between us and God, then the smallest provocation, disappointment, and difficulty may obstruct to us the light of heaven, and intercept the supply of grace and strength. But if we place God between us and the men we have to deal with, and the work we have to do, we shall walk in light and in love; for God is light and love, a transparent and strengthening medium.
Look first at Him, and then at men and things. Have you to meet with trial? Do not look first at the trial, and then at God with the question : “Does God, who allows this sorrow, love me?” Look first at God, and with the renewed assurance of God's love, look at the trial, and say, “God chastens whom He loves."
When the servant, to whom his master had forgiven a great debt, met his fellow-servant who owed him
money, he forgot the mercy he had experienced; but if the kind and
merciful countenance of his benefactor had stood before him, between him and his debtor, could he have acted with such severity and cruelty ?
If we looked at all men through the medium of Christ crucified, we should possess that love which in all things endureth and helpeth ; we should treat all with patience and meekness. If we looked through Christ our strength at all duties and trials, we should be able to say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
DR. A. SAPHIR.
2 Glimpse of Eternity. MY
Y pilgrimage will soon be o'er :
O wearied heart, now faint no more
What good things then shall greet our sight.
The city of our God we there
We'll find the friends we knew below,
The hosts of angels will be there
Praise, honour in His kingdom be
One angel band will loudly sing,
Still more, we there the FRIEND shall find
Thou know'st, Lord, how it was with me,
The face of God, so bless'd and bright,
My heart! then turn from all away
" It is because you do not know Him." T is because you do not know him. If you knew
him you could not possibly entertain such a thought !”
How often we hear some such remark made ! How often our own indignation at some unjust accusation or suspicion finds expression in such words! And, as regards even human relations, how often are they true ! How often our censure, or harsh judgment one of another, arises from our ignorance of the character and motives of the suspected one! How frequently the unkind verdict would be repealed if we could see beneath the surface, and understand the inner life of the ones we are—alas, too often ! -disposed to distrust and criticise !
But, if the words are true in this sense, are they not incomparably more true of Him in whom our treacherous hearts are still more slow to confide? Of Him whom our presumptuous wills are so prone to misjudge ? To how many of those who profess to love the Lord might He appropriately address the searching, touching question which He put to His early disciple: "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me?” Is it not a sorrowful fact that our knowledge of the Lord is superficial ? and, sadder still, that we are too often content to have it so, instead of diligently seeking to “follow on to know the Lord”?? And yet, is it not true that our joy, our fruitfulness, our peace of mind, depend, far more than we suppose, upon this very thing? Does not our failure everywhere, in faith, in charity, in power, and in service, all arise from this ignorance of the Lord ? Especially does it not account for our distrust of Him—the distrust that is so grievous to Him, so sinful, so paralysing ?
It would almost seem as if every success in our Christian life hinged upon this knowledge of our Lord. As for the first step in the heavenward path, so for every subsequent one, this knowledge is all-important. Our blessed Master, in His high-priestly prayer for His redeemed ones, used these words. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." 3 This knowledge, which is “life eternal,” is undoubtedly something more and better than mere intellectual assent to doctrinal truth ; it is something stronger and deeper than a correct creed. It is nothing short of actual spiritual contact between the soul and Jesus. It is not until the soul comes really into the presence of God, bowed down with a sense of its own sinfulness, and yet pleading the merit of the Sinless One who bore sin's penalty, it is not until then that the true life begins-begins in a knowledge of the love and mercy of God in Christ. And, not less really, does every advancement in the Divine life spring from advanced intimacy with Him.
Jeremiah understood it when he was commissioned to pen those remarkable words : “ Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his · John xiv. 9. Hosea vi. 3.
John xvii. 3.