3 My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
"Earnest conviction of the volcanic type" is what is wanted, said our late brother Roberts. These are true and inspiring words. Is our conviction of this kind! Not if we are idlers, content to stand by whilst others work for God. Not if we handle the truth as a plaything.
Where this conviction exists, the possessors are burning to do something for the truth. They are as serious, and as engrossed with the truth, as Dumont is with his air-ship. They are enterprising-they try to push God's affairs as an ambitious trader does his business.
They may not always have courage enough to hold forth at the street corner, or open out in tram, bus, and train, but their thoughts are ever at work to devise ways to forward and uphold the truth, and to check the doings of those who would injure or destroy it.
The conviction also shows itself in the utterances of those who have it. They speak as if they knew and meant what they were talking about. With them it is "I know," not "I think." But such conviction is rare. It is not born with men. It only comes as the result of painstaking, thoughtful, and not always agreeable effort.
How does it come? Look at the lives of those who have exhibited it-Moses, Joshua, David, Jeremiah, Paul. These worthies had eyes always open for upbuilding evidence, and an ever-determination to unceremoniously push aside things which would mislead and blind them in regard to that evidence. They had also a readiness to receive from God's hand such experiences as He might providentially send to make strong their conviction.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Sept 1902
4 Yahweh, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
This measuring of our days - this endeavouring to withstand the deceptive impressions of sense and to penetrate through all the appearances and the feelings of life to the naked fact that we are all the time on the brink of existence, as it were, and may at any moment disappear from the land of the living and the realm of being, as completely as the collapsing bubble on the water, is certainly calculated to lead us to
"apply our hearts unto wisdom."
The people around us are busy applying their hearts-but not to wisdom. They apply them to everything but this. Wisdom is with them either a matter of aversion or a matter of scorn. We are liable to be carried away with the prevailing taste. It is a broad stream on which the world is drifting to destruction. We are here to resist the flood so far as we are concerned.
...In the whole of the Scriptures-in every part-in Genesis as in the Prophets-in the Psalms as in the Apocalypse-we are in contact with the authorised expression of the mind of God in some phase or other. Consequently, as we listen, whatever part is being read, we are "applying our hearts" to that wisdom which purifies the present, gives stability and comfort to the remainder of our mortal days, few or many; and enriches for us the future with an exhaustless inheritance of well-being and joy.
Exhort 176 TC 03/1887
5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
All is vanity and vexation of spirit
The finest intellect grows dim and twinkles out at last; the sublimest moral powers wane before the decay of years. The most splendid honour shrivels in the presence of death.
Friends with their pleasantness and favours, avail nothing to avert the unalterable doom. Riches, with all their surroundings of ease and elegance, are powerless to stay the hand of the Destroyer that sweeps all, at last, into the pitiless abyss of oblivion.
The dread consummation hurries. Death walks in the noon day, and the thousands fall before him. Every soul is ultimately included; every good destroyed. The finest estate has to be left; the fondest desire surrendered; the largest fortune given to others.
"Every man, at his best estate is altogether vanity."
The coffin is the goal: the fret and the sweat, the anxiety and the effort, the hopes and the achievements, the laughter and tears of life, as lived by the unjustified sons of Adam, end in the quietness of the grave.
But there is a better lot for man, if he would but put forth the hand. We behold not in the earth, as we see it now, the consummation of the divine purpose therewith. A poor outcome it would be of the stupendous power and wisdom we see at work on sea and land, if there were to be nothing higher than the incessant coming and going of countless perishing races and the highest of these, an abortion.
No, no! A destiny commensurate with the marvellous power put forth in its creation and maintenance, is in store for this beautiful world. A habitation of joy will it be when the work is finished-a sparkling gem of the imperishable universe.
All wisdom and righteousness and excellence, and love and favour, and goodness, and strength and beauty will crown the blessed heads and swell with praise the hearts of the redeemed multitude that will be revealed with the rising of the sun, at the end of this dismal night of darkness and nightmare. This is the sum of the great and precious promises, made sure by transactions of unimpeachable historic record.
The Christadelphian, Sept 1871
6 Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
There is no promise in natural directions except such as are destined to be broken. The young man steps upon the scene with much promise in his own eyes and the eyes of spectators: healthful and graceful and strong, and gifted and ardent - (let him also have plenty in his hands) - he thinks himself an exception to the vanity of which perchance he has heard much.
He thinks the vanity a fact as regards the past and the old people around him: he thinks it in some way due to a want of enlightened views and wise practical application of scientific principles: in his own case, he is persuaded, as he hurries with buoyant step and bounding spirit along the bustling highway of active life, that he will be able to extract a different result from what appear to him the noble energies of life and the lofty aspirations of "heaven-born humanity."
Ah! give him time enough. Give him sixty years more. Follow him, and ask, "Where is he now?" Perhaps he is still in the land of the living. He has not yet descended to the silent abode of past generations.
Let us have a look at him. There he is crouching by a fireside corner, a shivering old man, elbowed out of the race by the rising generation, who are kind to him perhaps, but patronisingly kind, and only waiting to see him, with relief, breathe his last breath, and take his place among the countless myriads who have lived and died before him.
7 And now, Yahweh, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.
God has called all who have ears to hear, experience the deprivation; though I admit that after a while, the deprivation is felt in a different direction.
What I mean by that is this: they do not feel the deprivation of present gratifications such as they are called upon to leave, for they learn to hate these, seeing that they are built on the wrong foundation.
The world disregards God; they follow pleasure for its own behoof, and a saint learns to have no pleasure in anything from which God is absent, so that if he could, he would not take part; but he feels the deprivation in another way. He learns not only to hate those things, but to love another set of things, and the things he loves are not present to him except by faith...the deprivation, therefore, relates to our being cut off, for the time being, from the things that are to come.
Bro Roberts - Present suffering, Seasons 1.32.