The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, April 01, 1922, Page 10, Image 10
JSmytwf''-' The Commoner VOL. 22, NO. 4 10 ffi raised in tho court of Pharaoh and was pre pared by tho oppressor of his race for the task of securing their release. Those who believe in providential caro And much encouragement in Joseph, Moses and Joash. 1 THE HOUR AND THE MAN MEET Every great lifo that fits into and molds a period is made up of a multitude of circum stances, jtho absence, of any oue of which would have changed tho result. In many of these cases the individual is ignorant of the work for which- his life is being shaped. His preparation has no seeming connection with a life p!an or with the needs of some great emergency. But tho hour and tho man meet. When somo Goliath appears, David nppcara also, with just the skill that the occasion re quires. When a new nation is to be launched in a now world, a Jefferson appears to wrlto tho Declaration of Independence and a Washington is at hand with the military skli necessary for a commander, with tho executive ability nec essary for a first president, and with the poise and discretion necessary to bring tho antagonistic elements of his day into harmonious co-operation. When tho Union was threatened there - was one man (he seomed to be the only one) whose life was a mixture of the North and Sou in, whoso sympathies were broad enough to include tho whole country, and whoso calmness and soronity enabled him to look beyond the con flict to a nation preserved. r If wo can see tho hand of Providence shap ing history through lives that are unconscious of the part for which they aro being prepared, how much easier it is to understand the cur rents that are sot in operation by prayer. If every human being is a part of God's plan, as ho must be if there be a God, it is not un reasonable to believe that the Hoavonly Father , is willing to direct those who seek to know His Will in order that they may oljpy. It is Impos sible that a Heavenly Father such as the Bible describes should be deaf to tho entreaties oe His children. And of all the gifts which we may assume Him willing to give, what would 'He give more gladly than, guidance to those whose hearts are open to. divine suggestion? WHEN HEARTS APPEAL TO GOD If we cannot doubt God's willingness to an swer prayer, wo need only be sure that there aro means of communication to be certain that the means will be employed. Without attempting to enumerate these means or to show preference betweeipossible means, attention can be called to one very obvious avenue for communication between the human and the divine. Every human act is the result of a decision and the decision though instantaneous, ex ercise a vital influence, the temptation comes to steal, the decision determines whether one will remain honest or become a thief; and so With tl.e temptation to kill or to commit any other sin. The power that re strains one at this critical moment may be an emanation from God. Is it unreasonable to be lieve that this power will respond to an appeal from the heart? And so with the decision as to whether a good act shall be performed or aid exteuded. There was a moment when Reuben decided to plead for tho life of Joseph and a moment when the others yielded to the plea. Thero was a moment when the Ishmaelitish merchants de cided to come that way and a moment when the plans of Joseph's brothars were changed. There was a moment "when Joseph decided to risk im prisonment rather than yield to sin, and there was a dream that flitted through the mind of tho butler, tho dream that brought Joseph to tho attention of Pharaoh. There was a moment when a suggestion came to the mother of Moses a suggestion that did not seem to come to any other of the afflicted mothers of that day. And these suggestions con tinued to como at each turning point in' the life of the great law-giver. GOD STILL LOVES AND GUIDES There was a moment in the life of Jehosheba when she decided to rescue the threatened child Joash. During the six years that followed there may have been moments when a similar decision was made in regard to him. It is not unreason able to believe that the God who needed Joash could and did turn tho purpose of the aunt in favor of the welfare of His ward. Is it unreasonable to believe that God still lives, still loves and still guides? God needs servants to do His work today as in the days gone by, and servants need direction as much as they ever did in tho past. The childxWhom wo can succor or save may be as important a part of God's plan as Joseph, or Moses, or Joash. As we ourselves have been the recipients of a care as affectionate and as tender as that which Jehoshoba lavished upon her nephew, so our de voted interest may be as necessary to some of God's little ones as the care of others has. been necessary to us. , , . We see but a small part of God's plan, but we have faith in the power and wisdom and love of the Heavenly Father who fits events together in the mosaic of life. AN EASTERTIDE MESSAGE By WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN BIBLE TEXT LESSON FOR APRIL 16 (Sec John 20: 19-31) Then the same day at evening, being the first day oC the week, when the doors were shut whoro the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews came Jesus and stood In the midst, and saith unto tliom, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and. his side. Then were the dlsciplca glad, when they saw the Lord. But Thomas, ono of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him. We have seen tho Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see In his hands the print of the nails, ana put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, X will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in tho midst, and said. Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither my finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed aro they that have not seen, and yet have believed. My Talk today is based on two passages from the Scriptures one from the Old Testament, the the other containing one of the New Testament's most beautiful Easter lessons. The Old Testament passage, from the 12th chapter of Second Kings deals with the love manifested by Judah's King Joash for tho house of Jehovah. It is not -unnatural that he 'should have been attached to the once splendid temple that Solomon had built. It had been, his hiding place in his childhood when his idolatrous grandmoth er Athaliah reigned a usurper in Jerusalem after having slaughtered all the seed royal but him. His aunt, at risk of her own life, had saved him from-the fate of his brothers and smuggled him, a babe in arms, into the sacred place and given him into the protection of his uncle, the high priest, who doubtless lost no opportunity to cul tivate in the heart of his royal charge a love for God's house. And in the temple, at the tender ago of 7, with the support of the high priest and the army, he had been brought before the peo ple, crowned, and accepted by them as their rightful king THE FIRST CONTRIBUTION x BOX Now, in the 23d year of his reign, finding that the temple was not being put in repair, he di rected that all the voluntary offerings of the people should bo saved up for that purpose. So Jehoiada, the high priest, "took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and sot it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into house of the Lord" in all likelihood the orig inal contribution box. And when the chest was filled with money it was counted into bags and paid out to them that wrought upon the house of the Lord. The details of the collection and disburse ment of this repair money are not the import ant lesson taught by this bit of.Old Testament history, although there is one significant state ment that should not be overlooked. In distri buting tho money for work done, no accounts were kept, which indicates a confidence in those wha had charge of the expenditures. Indeed, the historian, plainly states that the men who faUhfulIethe mney t0 Pay thG workmen "dealt It is not always wise, however, to ignore the matter of account, for even good men have sometimes been made careless .by the suspen sion of the ordinary rules of business in hand ling church funds. Careful expenditure and ac counting according to the rules of good business often mean the difference between a successfui and a struggling church. REGARD FOR GOD'S HOUSE But tho main impression gained from JoaRh'a wTilfip0' thG temPl ,8 reEard f0r thQ SSi If one visits the great churches and cathedrals of Europe, be cannot fall to be impressed by the lofty conception that planned them and by the deep corisecration of those who sunnily .t. money. God's temples lowered above th, D . liest mansions of those who designed and ere t the placed of worship and used themJ trast nificence of these temples dedicated to Tiw?" Whfin one thinks of th nroMfAn i.T ,,e 10val. gious assembly. There was a strikw ?L?i' between the poverty of tho nnnnio ,i f. Uiurast innAA -u.r. tA.t ,.-,.. . u lie When one thinks of the architects mm',Ia11: in the building and of the unrecorded multif,, , who joined their labor in erecting them l reminded of the words of John Boyle O'IIphi . "The dreamer lives forever, while the toiler X in a day." uie8 It does not speak well for the religious ait tude of Christians of the present day when tho interest is shifted from "the temple of the Ai mighty to tho dwelling place of the individual We have now magnificent estates and'eostiv palaces in which the rich dwell, while places of worship are less pretentious. If the money worn being spent in the extension of God's kingdom and in the carrying of His Gospel to those who know it not, no criticism could be offered, but in most cases that is not the reason for the re lative difference in the amount expended on per sonal comfort and religious worship, it is too often a proof of selfish indulgence that not enly bespeaks decreased reverence for God but pro duces demoralization in those reared in luxury. Churches should not be so extravagantly built or so exquisitely adorned as to make the poor feel out of place in them, but the temple of wor ship should be proof of profound respect for God and of a deep interest in His house. If the tithing system were employed by all Christians, there would be enough to keep all of God's temples in repair and to supply the funds necessary for the enlightenment of all who sit in darkness. Joash, King of Judah, sets the Christians of today an example of devotion to the house of God which may well be imitated. THE ANGEL AT EVERY GRAVE And to those today who are devoted to the house of the Lord, what comfort and joy the re turn of the Easter season brings! Easter compels a spirit of optimism. The tomb is deserted; a risen Lord gives proof con clusive of a life beyond. Nature, with her myriad tongues, declares that man is immortal; each atom of matter, by its' indestructibility, raises a presumption in favor of an inextinguish able soul. If matter cannot die, much less the spirit that "molds matters according to its wish. Christ has made death but a narrow, star light strip between the companionship of yester day and the reunion of tomorrow. Since Christ has put death, man's last enemy, under His - feet, an angel can be seen at every grave, speak ing comfort to those who mourn. The Easter lesson for this year turns the light on the doubter Thomas, and we discover how great a service he rendered, even though wo feel ashamed that one in the presence of the Master should have questioned His return to life. We learn, too, that ther9 are two kinds of doubt, a -doubt of the mind and a doubt of the heart. On that first Easter, 1900 years ago, when Christ appeared to the disciples, they wero "glad when they saw the Lord." But -Thomas was not with them when He came, and when the other disciples reported to him, "We have seen the Lord," his 'mind annswered: "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." THE POWER OF THE STEADFAST HEART All of Thomas' doubts were mental. His heart was as trustful as the hearts of the other disciples, but his reason was not convinced. Christ deigned to furnish proof by appearing again before the disciples when Thomas was prosent, and then the doubter's heart brought his mind into harmony. "My Lord, and my God," Thomas' heart and mind cried out in unison when Christ showed him His wounded hands and side, and admonished him "Be not faithless, but believing." The mind cannot wreck the life so long as the heart is steadfast, as was Tho'mas'. In this day when there is so much of mind-worship, it is nocessary that the heart should assert and dofeud its right to the throne. An arrogant mind has made many a life barren of faith and of joy because the heart has abdicated in" its favor. It is the business of the church to assert the supremacy of the heart, out of which aro the issues of life. The mind cannot find God, it has no spiritual vision. But tho mind can approve of the heart's dico.veries and can defend that which has brought light into the soul. "I be lieve," is the voice of tho heart; "help thou mine unbelief" is the plea that the heart, filled with adoration, makes for the mind that doubts. The world never needed Christ more than to day; and it needs a full statured Christ. No mere h' i.-. ,tlii ZiA fit i "ja yfotf-MgLflg.. jj.