Great Texts of the Bible by James Hastings - Psalms 27:14 - 27:14

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Great Texts of the Bible by James Hastings - Psalms 27:14 - 27:14


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Waiting Courageously

Wait on the Lord:

Be strong, and let thine heart take courage;

Yea, wait thou on the Lord.—Psa_27:14.

This is the concluding verse of a psalm which glows with lofty faith, and yet is clouded by a sense of depression. The magnificent opening, with its fulness of glad, exuberant energy, its high-hearted disclaimer of all fear in view of a host of enemies, and its fervid avowal of one supreme desire—to dwell in the Lord’s house and to gaze upon His beauty—is followed up by entreaties which represent a change of mood. It is one of those transitions so common in the Psalter, which make it so truly human a book. Acting on the invitation, “Seek ye my face,” the Psalmist begs his Lord not to cast him away, not to forsake him; he describes himself as an orphan whom God will adopt, and he glances tremblingly at a contingency which would surely have overwhelmed him—

What if no faith were mine, to see

Thy love in realms where life shall be?

But the psalm goes back to the major key at last, and in the closing verse prayer passes into self-encouragement. The heart that spoke to God now speaks to itself. Faith exhorts sense and soul to “wait on Jehovah.” The self-communing of the Psalmist, beginning with exultant confidence and merging into prayer thrilled with consciousness of need and of weakness, closes with bracing him up to courage, which is not presumption, because it is the fruit of waiting on the Lord. He who thus keeps his heart in touch with God will be able to obey the ancient command, which had rung so long before in the ears of Joshua and is never out of date, “Be strong and of a good courage”; and none but those who wait on the Lord will be at once conscious of weakness and filled with strength, aware of the foes and bold to meet them.

I

Waiting

The word “walk” describes almost the whole of Christian life, and so does this word “wait”; for, rightly understood, waiting is active as well as passive, energetic as well as patient, and to wait upon the Lord necessitates as much courage as warring and fighting with enemies. It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns only with years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God’s warriors than standing still. There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption? No, but simply wait.

The English Prayer-Book version of the Psalms gives a quaint but beautiful rendering of the phrase “Wait on the Lord.” It runs, “O tarry thou the Lord’s leisure.” This rendering brings out the exact meaning of the word “wait,” which we have interlarded and lost sight of by making it mean such things—and legitimately enough—as prayer. It just means “wait.” Wait for Him as you would wait at the trysting-place for a friend who does not come. Wait for Him, and wait, and wait until He does come.1 [Note: Hugh Black.]

When He appoints to meet thee, go thou forth.

It matters not

If south or north,

Bleak waste or sunny plot.

Nor think, if haply He thou seek’st be late,

He does thee wrong;

To stile or gate

Lean thou thy head, and long!

It may be that to spy thee He is mounting

Upon a tower,

Or in thy counting

Thou hast mista’en the hour.

But, if He come not, neither do thou go

Till Vesper chime;

Belike thou then shalt know

He hath been with thee all the time.1 [Note: T. E. Brown, Old John and Other Poems, 244]

1. Let us wait with faith. It is faith that secures the Divine blessing—persistent, expectant faith. He cannot be said to wait upon God who disbelieves that God will come to his aid, or who doubts whether He will. Loitering about to see if anything will turn up is not the same thing, by any means, as waiting for a particular person to appear, or a particular event to happen. Faith and expectation characterize the latter condition as distinct from the former. And these qualities belong to the very nature of the exercise of “waiting on God.” The more unwavering a man’s faith is, in fact, and the higher he stretches on tiptoe of expectation, the more accurately may he be described as a man waiting on God. “My soul,” cries the Psalmist, “waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning.” How eager he represents himself to be by that figure of the anxious watchers scanning the eastern skies for signs of daybreak! And how confident, too! For more surely than the sun shall climb up over the horizon and dispel the shadows of night, his God, he believes, shall cause His face to shine upon him. His God and our God—it is not to immensity or infinity, or some dimly comprehended and overwhelming attribute, precariously personified, that we look up for help and a response to our supplications. It is to the living, self-revealing God, who hath “of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets,” and who “hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son.”

There is a school of philosophy, much current in our day, which tells us that religious truth is relative to the individual; the way to test a religion is to live it. If the philosophy of the pragmatists be right, then few forms of religious creed can claim better witness to their truth than that wherein Florence Nightingale lived and moved and had her being. She had “remodelled her whole religious belief from beginning to end,” and had “learnt to know God” in the years immediately preceding her active work in the world. Her belief helped to sustain her natural courage amidst the horrors of Scutari, and the fever and the cold of Balaclava. It inspired the life of arduous labour to which she devoted herself on returning from the East. It informed her unceasing efforts for the health of the Army and the people, for the reformation of hospitals, for the creation of an art of nursing. Does some one doubt whether any vital force can have proceeded from a belief in Law as the Thought of God, and suggest that to herself as to others she was offering a stone instead of bread? It was not so. To her the religion which she found was as the body and blood of the Most High.1 [Note: Sir Edward Cook, The Life of Florence Nightingale, i. 488.]

In the early spring of 1881 Captain Catherine Booth and her intrepid lieutenants, Florence Soper, Adelaide Cox, and Ruth Patrick, began life in Paris. With her own hand Catherine raised the flag at Rue d’Angoulême 66, in Belleville. Here was a hall for six hundred, situated in a court approached by a narrow street. The bulk of the audience that gathered there night after night were of the artisan class. Some were young men of a lower type, and from these came what disturbance there was. The French sense of humour is keen, and there were many lively sallies at the expense of the speakers and singers on the platform. Meetings were held night after night, and for six months the Capitaine was never absent except on Saturdays. Those were days of fight, and she fought, to use her own phrase, like a tiger. She had to fight first her own heart. She knew her capacity, and God had done great things through her in England. The change from an audience of five thousand spellbound hearers in the circus of Leeds to a handful of gibing ouvriers in the Belleville quarter of Paris was indeed a clashing antithesis. A fortnight passed without a single penitent, and Catherine was all the time so ill that it was doubtful if she would be able to remain in the field. That fortnight was probably the supreme trial of her faith. The work appeared so hopeless! There was nothing to see. But for the Capitaine faith meant going on. It meant saying to her heart, “You may suffer, you may bleed, you may break, but you shall go on.” She went on, believing, praying, fighting, and at last the tide of battle turned.2 [Note: J. Strahan, The Maréchale (1913), 51.]

2. Let us wait with patience. Patience is just the other side and the practical side of faith. Faith is the breath of life to the religious man. Without faith he cannot live. But there may be, and there often is, a faith which is extremely lacking in patience, a faith which is even impatient, a faith which, in the name of God, almost rebukes God for His leisure with the world, and with the Church, and with ourselves. We know it to be a Christian duty to be patient with our fellow-men; have we ever thought of the necessity and the duty of being patient with God? Let us have patience with God. And this patience, about which the Bible is full, is not the sickly, complaining counterfeit of it which we often hear of under the name of patience; it is the power to suffer, the power to sacrifice, the power to endure, the power to die, and, if need be, sometimes harder as it is, to continue to live for His sake. Let us wait God’s time. If there were no other reason why we must wait God’s time, this is one, and one all-powerful—because He knows the whole, and because we know only a part. The Psalmist cries out, under protracted and aggravated trials,” Lord, how long?” but he never complains or murmurs, “Lord, this is too long!”

It is worthy of remark that Bishop King’s first Charge elicited warm commendation from the prelate who, of all the Bishops at that time on the Bench, possessed the acutest and most vigorous intellect. Bishop Magee, of Peterborough, wrote on November 28, 1886:—

“What I write specially to thank you for is simply one sentence in your Charge—a very pregnant one, and to me, I confess, a new one—it is, ‘The Soul is impatient of the Mediatorial Kingdom.’ This is a thought which runs out very far and very deep under all our Christian life. The ‘impatient,’ instead of the ‘patient, waiting for Christ,’ is seen, when we come to think of it, to be the source of no small part of our ecclesiastical and even our personal errors and troubles.”1 [Note: G. W. E. Russell, Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, 122.]

Say, did impatience first impel

The heaven-sent bond to break?

Or, couldst thou bear its hindrance well,

Loitering for Jesu’s sake?

Oh, might we know! for sore we feel

The languor of delay,

When sickness lets our fainter zeal,

Or foes block up our way.

Lord! who Thy thousand years dost wait

To work the thousandth part

Of Thy vast plan, for us create

With zeal a patient heart.2 [Note: J. H. Newman, Verses on Various Occasions.]

3. Let us wait with assurance. According to our English Versions, the 62nd Psalm begins with the words, “Truly my soul waiteth,” or “My soul waiteth only upon God.” The adverbs do not matter at present, but the verb does. What the Psalmist actually wrote, as we can see from the word which he used, was, “My soul is silent unto God.” The same expression occurs elsewhere in the Old Testament. It is a very striking one. The condition of silence before God, inward silence, with every fret and murmur and disturbing thought hushed, was recognized as the condition suitable for hearing the still small voice of the Eternal One. Those that achieved it were rewarded. And have we no experiences of our own to corroborate the testimony of these Old Testament writers? Matthew Arnold tells us that—

From the soul’s subterranean depth upborne

As from an infinitely distant land,

Come airs and floating echoes and convey

A melancholy into all our day.

But other airs and other echoes as well are upborne from the depths of the soul. There is conveyed into the day of the soul that waits upon God and is silent unto Him a peace and a quiet sense of assurance that passes all understanding. Language cannot describe the source and nature of these inward ministries of strength and consolation, but the soul knows that God has responded to its waiting.

“Does it hurt you severely?” one asked of a friend who lay with a broken arm. “Not when I keep still,” was the answer. This is the secret of much of the victoriousness we see in rejoicing Christians. They conquer the pain and the bitterness by keeping still. They do not ask questions, or demand to know why they have trials. They believe in God, and are so sure of His love and wisdom that they are pained by no doubt, no fear, no uncertainty. Peace is their pillow, because they have learned just to be still. Their quietness robs trial of its sharpness, sorrow of its bitterness, death of its sting, and the grave of its victory.1 [Note: J. R. Miller.]

4. Let us wait with prayer. Let us call upon God and spread our case before Him; tell Him our difficulty, and plead His promise of aid. In dilemmas between one duty and another, it is sweet to be humble as a child, and to wait with simplicity of soul upon the Lord. It is sure to be well with us when we feel and know our own folly, and are heartily willing to be guided by the will of God. Let us remember that God has always loved intervals. Intervals there are generally, if not always, in His best dealings with His children—intervals before He bestows His greatest blessings, intervals before He answers prayer. And a great part of man’s education lies in these intervals. The intellect is humbled, the heart is curbed, faith is trained, hopes are pointed, promises are sweetened, God is magnified. And are they not the growing times of mercies—the darkness brought in for no other end than that the light may be seen in it?

By prayer we link ourselves on to the inexhaustible riches of God. How it comes that, when I pull a switch down in my study, the room is flooded with light no man can say, save that by doing so I have linked my need on to the great centre of light energy in the town. So, all that we can say about those who keep their hearts open towards God and in the love of Christ is that by this means they link their weakness on to the grace and strength of the Eternal. But, mark you, the electric current does not break into my room of itself when my need arises. I have to make a way for it, and more, I have to keep that way open.1 [Note: Archibald Alexander.]

Prayer was the white flame at the very centre of his life. To the throne of Grace, with unfailing mindfulness and with childlike simplicity, he would bring, day by day, his friends, his people, those in special sorrow, sickness, or sin; so filling his petitions with engrossed and concentrated intercession for them in their needs that he became wholly forgetful of his own. Once, when I had been ill, he said to me, “I have prayed for you night and morning for five months.” And I knew that it was true. In his long life it was true of thousands of others. And he believed, with such intensity and simplicity of conviction as no man can ever have surpassed, that every word of intercession that he uttered went straight to a heavenly Father’s ear, and found an answering chord in a heavenly Father’s heart.2 [Note: Frances Balfour, Dr. MacGregor of St. Cuthberts, 532.]

Unanswered yet, the prayer your lips have pleaded,

In agony of heart these many years?

Does faith begin to fail? Is hope departing,

And think you all in vain those falling tears?

Say not the Father hath not heard your prayer;

You shall have your desire sometime, somewhere.



Unanswered yet, though when you first presented

This one petition at the Father’s Throne,

It seemed you could not wait the time of asking,

So urgent was your heart to have it known?

Though years have passed since then, do not despair;

The Lord will answer you sometime, somewhere.



Unanswered yet? Nay, do not say ungranted;

Perhaps your part is not yet wholly done;

The work began when first your prayer was uttered,

And God will finish what He has begun.

If you will keep the incense burning there,

His glory you will see sometime, somewhere.



Unanswered yet? Faith cannot be unanswered,

Her feet are firmly planted on the rock;

Amid the wildest storms she stands undaunted,

Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.

She knows Omnipotence has heard her prayer,

And cries, It shall be done—sometime, somewhere.

5. Let us wait with regularity. The most prominent feature of our waiting is too often its spasmodic character. Now and then we draw near to God, but by fits and starts, with long intervals of indifference and prayerlessness between. And that is just about as hopeless as it would be to expect to keep ourselves clean by bathing once a week. Daily our strength drains away, both physical and spiritual, and as the one must constantly be replenished, so must the other. Even earnest bursts of effort at intervals do not count for anything like so much as the quiet, constant keeping in the love of God. Volcanic eruptions have done something to transform the earth’s surface, but not nearly so much, geologists tell us, as the quiet, constant forces, the sun, the rain, frost, heat, and wind. And it is by the regular daily waiting, far more than by the infrequent upheaval of desire, that the power of God and the likeness of Christ pass slowly but visibly into the lives of His people. It is the daily meeting with God in spirit, the daily thought of one’s humble task as God’s call to us to serve Him, the daily sense that we are His children, destined and called in Christ to fellowship with Him, the sense that we are not alone in our little corner, but that He is all about us, so that we live and move and have our being in Him, like islands in some great sea—it is that, repeated and continued till it becomes the habit of the spirit, that transfigures life and lifts it to blessedness and power.

It is related of Schwabe the German astronomer that, wishing to determine the relation between sun-spots and earth-magnetism, he gave himself to the recording of the varying appearances of the sun’s surface. For forty-two years the sun never rose a single morning free of clouds above the flat horizon of the plain at Dessau where Schwabe lived but his patient telescope was there to confront it! The man of science believes in Nature. He waits for it, in the faith that it is, and that it is the rewarder of those that diligently seek it. If only Christian people would realize that it is infinitely more worth their while to wait thus patiently upon God, what wonders of Spirit-filled lives we should see!1 [Note: Archibald Alexander.]

The other day I stumbled across a little book in which he wrote the names of those for whom he prayed, and the day of the week on which he interceded for them. It was a revelation—for one would have thought that many of those names had been forgotten by him years before. There is a great unity in the list; they all sorely needed the Divine help. He also prayed daily by name for the members of his family, and each worker of our Church on the Foreign Field was remembered by him. With the map before him he interceded for the many nations of the world.2 [Note: Love and Life: The Story of J. Denholm Brash, 65.]

II

Courage

As many as are the conflicts and perils and hardships of life, so many are the uses and the forms of courage. Courage is necessary, indeed, as the protector and defender of all the other virtues. Courage is the standing army of the soul, which keeps it from conquest, pillage, and slavery. Unless we are brave we can hardly be truthful, or generous, or just, or pure, or kind, or loyal. “Few persons,” says a wise observer, “have the courage to appear as good as they really are.” You must be brave in order to fulfil your own possibilities of virtue. Courage is essential to guard the best qualities of the soul, and to clear the way for their action, and make them move with freedom and vigour.

Courage, an independent spark from Heaven’s throne,

By which the soul stands raised, triumphant, high, alone;

The spring of all true acts is seated here,

As falsehoods draw their sordid birth from fear.

If we desire to be good, we must first of all desire to be brave, that against all opposition, scorn, and danger we may move straight onward to do the right.

The Rev. Henry Parnaby, M.A., writes: “Only six days ago I had a long talk with the surgeon who attended Principal Simon in Liverpool—Dr. Armour—and he told me something very characteristic of the old Principal. When his trouble had reached a certain stage, Dr. Armour suggested to Dr. Simon that by a very delicate and difficult operation he could be cured. The operation, however, was attended with very great risk, and possibly Dr. Simon would not survive. The decision was left to him, and he took a week to think over it. He went off and consulted his family, and returned a week later to announce that he had decided not to undergo the operation. His reason was this. He was in such dreadful and continuous pain that he felt he would go into the operation with eagerness, because it promised an end of his trouble either by cure or death. He felt that he would welcome this as an end of his pain, and that therefore he would be displaying an unwillingness to endure the purifying pain which he accepted as a means of spiritual discipline from God. Dr. Armour assures me that never in all his wide experience has he found another patient who could give so courageous and honourable a reason for declining to undergo an operation.1 [Note: F. J. Powicke, David Worthington Simon, 297.]

One winter night the Maréchale and two young comrades, Blanche Young and Kate Patrick, went out with shawls on their heads, and made their way to one of the boulevard cafés. The leader passed the door, and passed it again. She turned to her lieutenants and said, “You have never known your Maréchale till now; you see what a coward she is!”

“No, no, no!” they both protested.

At last she put her hand on the door, pushed it open, and went in. A man in a white apron was selling drink. Going up to him, she said, “May I sing something?”

He stared open-mouthed.

Trembling from head to foot, she repeated, “I should like to sing something,”

“Very well!”

She began:

Le ciel est ma belle patrie,

Les anges y font leur séjour;

Le soldat qui lutte et qui prie

Y sera bientôt à son tour.

While she sang, Blanche chimed in with her guitar and her second voice. As they proceeded, the smoking, drinking, and card-playing ceased, and every face was turned towards them. They sang on:

En marche, en marche,

Soldats, vers la patrie!

En marche, en marche,

Soldats, vers la patrie!

When they had finished the hymn, the Maréchale thanked her audience, adding that they could hear her again at Rue Auber Hall; and that she knew a Friend, of whom she wished to tell them. As she and her comrades turned to walk out, the man in the white apron bowed, as if they had done him a service.

“May I come another time?” said the Maréchale.

“Certainly, Mademoiselle!”1 [Note: J. Strahan, The Maréchale (1913), 114.]

1. What is the source of courage? It is waiting on the Lord. That is the truest and deepest source of courage. To believe that He is, and that He has made us for Himself; to love Him, and give ourselves up to Him, because He is holy and true and wise and good and brave beyond all human thought; to lean upon Him and trust Him and rest in Him, with confidence that He will never leave us nor forsake us: to work for Him, and suffer for His sake, and be faithful to His service—that is the way to learn courage. Without God what can we do? We are frail, weak, tempted, mortal. The burdens of life will crush us, the evils of sin will destroy us, the tempests of trouble will overwhelm us, the darkness of death will engulf us. But if we are joined to God, we can resist and endure and fight and conquer in His strength. This is what the Psalmist means in the text, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart.”

Had we the strength!—Have we perhaps the strength,

Who have all else beside? Are we not men?

Is not the Universe our dwelling-place?

And therefore perfectly in truth for us

Is not the utmost wholly possible?…

O, with the baffled and the resolute

Vanguard of liberal humanity,—

O to so purge our lives of the mild hours,

Our hearts of humble longings and meek hopes,

Our minds of customs and credulities,

That we may find the days wholly fulfilled

And lightened of the Spirit—all the days

And all things and ourselves, rich and revealed

In the majestic meanings and the might

And passion and pure purpose of the soul!1 [Note: G. C. Lodge, Poems and Dramas, ii. 137.]

Torstensohn was one of the generals formed in the school of Gustavus Adolphus. To him that great commander transmitted the prosecution of the Thirty Years’ War. Physically, he was so shattered and dislocated by disease and deformity that he could neither walk nor ride on horseback. He had to be carried at the head of his forces in a litter. Yet no commander of his age was so resistless and terrible in his onset and so invariably victorious. Let us be loath to accept infirmity as an excuse for uselessness. A naturalist asks: “How is it that the golden-crested wren, apparently so weak and helpless, can fly right across the North Sea from Norway?” Because God knows how to fix strange energy within delicate organisms. Our very infirmities through resolution and grace may give us special efficacy.2 [Note: W. L. Watkinson.]

2. How does waiting on God sustain our courage?

(1) Our heart is strengthened by waiting upon God, because we receive a mysterious strength through the incoming of the Eternal Spirit into our souls. No man can explain this, but many of us know what it is. How wonderfully do the secret springs of omnipotence break into the feeble soul and fill it with might in the inner man. Through the sacred anointing of the Holy Ghost we have been made to shout for joy. He that made us has put His hand a second time to the work, and restored to us the joy of His salvation, filled our emptiness, removed our weakness, and triumphed in us gloriously.

That these days at the Keswick Convention in 1889 were a turning-point in Mr. Macgregor’s life, there is not the smallest doubt. That they made his later ministry what it was, is equally certain. To say that he sometimes appeared to claim for this experience and its effects more than the facts altogether warranted, is only to say that, though remarkably enlightened and strengthened by God’s Spirit, he remained a fallible human being. But no one who knew George Macgregor, either as a man or a minister, before that crisis and after it, could question that he found then a new secret of strength both for his own life and for his work.1 [Note: Duncan C. Macgregor, George H. C. Macgregor, 111.]

(2) Waiting upon God makes men grow small, and dwarfs the world and all its affairs, till we see their real littleness. Set your great troubles before the infinite God, and they will dwarf into such little things that you will never notice them again. “He taketh up the isles as a very little thing,” and “the nations are as a drop of a bucket”; and this great God teaches us to look at earthly things in the same light as He does, till, though the whole world should be against us, we can smile at its rage. Our worst ills are utterly despised when we learn to measure them by the line of the Eternal.

Sometimes in the country on a night in early summer you may shut the cottage door to step out into an immense darkness which palls heaven and earth. Going forward into the embrace of the great gloom, you are as a babe swaddled by the hands of night into helpless acquiescence. Your feet tread an unseen path, your hands grasp at a void, or shrink from the contact they cannot realize; your eyes are holden; your voice would die in your throat did you seek to rend the veil of that impenetrable silence.

Shut in by the intangible dark, we are brought up against those worlds within worlds blotted out by our concrete daily life. The working of the great microcosm at which we peer dimly through the little window of science; the wonderful, breathing earth; the pulsing, throbbing sap; the growing fragrance shut in the calyx of to-morrow’s flower; the heart-beat of a sleeping world that we dream that we know; and around, above, and interpenetrating all, the world of dreams, of angels and of spirits.

It was this world which Jacob saw on the first night of his exile, and again when he wrestled in Peniel until the break of day. It was this world which Elisha saw with open eyes; which Job knew when darkness fell on him; which Ezekiel gazed into from his place among the captives; which Daniel beheld as he stood alone by the great river, the river Hiddekel.

For the moment we have left behind the realm of question and explanation, of power over matter and the exercise of bodily faculties; and passed into darkness alight with visions we cannot see, into silence alive with voices we cannot hear. Like helpless men we set our all on the one thing left us, and lift up our hearts, knowing that we are but a mere speck among a myriad worlds, yet greater than the sum of them; having our roots in the dark places of the earth, but our branches in the sweet airs of heaven.1 [Note: Michael Fairless, The Roadmender, 86.]

(3) Nothing can give us greater courage than a sincere affection for our Lord and His work. Courage is sure to abound where love is fervent. Look among the mild and gentle creatures of the brute creation and see how bold they are when once they become mothers and have to defend their offspring. A hen will fight for her chicks, though at another time she is one of the most timid of birds. Gilbert White, in his Natural History of Selborne, tells of a raven that was hatching her young in a tree. The woodman began to fell it, but there she sat; the blows of the axe shook the tree, but she never moved, and when it fell she was still upon her nest. Love will make the most timid creature strong; and if you love Christ you will defy all fear, and count all hazards undergone for Him to be your joy. In this sense, too, perfect love casteth out fear; it “hopeth all things, endureth all things,” and continues still to wait upon the Lord.

In February 1894 she had two of the finest campaigns of her life—at Havre and Rouen. The turbulent beginning at Havre was graphically described by her friend the Princess Malsoff, who accompanied the Maréchale in order to have a taste of the vie apostolique. “There was a great tumult in the ‘Lyre Havraise.’ The Maréchale had come to publish the word of love and salvation. An immense crowd forced itself into the hall, and who would have dared believe that they had all come simply to present the world with the most scandalous, the most vulgar and odious spectacle that one can imagine? When the Maréchale rose with great dignity and calm … she could not make herself heard. Every word was interrupted; one could see that it was a prepared stroke. One might imagine oneself to be in an asylum. But she did not let herself be discouraged; she persevered; she walked straight into the midst of the infuriated crowd. She did not tame these wild beasts, but she came out victorious all the same. Tall, beautiful, calm, sustained by her divine conviction and with the strength of a great heart, she came back again and again—our admirable Maréchale!… In the midst of this infernal and ridiculous tumult a few élite souls felt a noble enthusiasm for this young woman who battled alone against a hostile and wicked crowd. They came to grasp her hand, to express their admiration for her and their shame for those who had broken the simplest laws of hospitality, politeness, and civilization. Blessed be our Maréchale; in her the whole Armée du Salut was personified that night in its strength, its faith, its persevering love.”1 [Note: J. Strahan, The Maréchale (1913), 62.]

The Master knows; He can but see

How willingly, how joyfully

I would within His vineyard stay

To bear the burden of the day,

And yet He bids me stand apart

With folded hands and longing heart.

I see at morn the happy throng

Pass by my door with jest and song.

They seem so glad, they seem so gay,

So ready for the busy day.



And when at eve they homeward go

Sometimes with weary steps and slow,

But laden with the sweet new wine,

And purple clusters of the vine,

And precious sheaves of golden grain

To recompense their toil and pain;

But that the Lord doth choose for me,

I fain within their ranks would be.



Yet though I can but hope and wait,

I am not sad or desolate.

For every day with bounty free

The Master bringeth gifts to me.

From out His life there seems to shine

A wondrous glory into mine.

My life! how dark and how unclean,

How poor and fruitless has it been.

But sure the seed He planted there

That should have grown so tall and fair

Must now, at last, begin to spring

Beneath such heavenly nourishing.



And if, perchance, I fail to see

The thought of God concerning me,

I leave in peace my fallow field

Till love divine shall make it yield.

And when at last the corn and wine

Of all His harvests shall be mine,

Then shall I know, or soon, or late,

They also serve who stand and wait.

Literature

Bright (W.), Morality in Doctrine, 115.

Craig (R.), Rock Plants with Gospel Roots, 27.

Dyke (H. van), Manhood, Faith and Courage, 53.

Jowett (J. H.), From Strength to Strength, 65.

Maclaren (A.), Creed and Conduct, 15.

Newman (J. H.), Sermons on Subjects of the Day, 47.

Spurgeon (C. H.), Morning by Morning, 243.

Spurgeon (C. H.), Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, xxiii. (1877), No. 1371.

Steel (T. H.), Sermons in Harrow Chapel, 315.

Vaughan (J.), Sermons in Christ Church, Brighton, 2nd Ser., 51.

Wynne (G. R.), In Quietness and Confidence, 50.

Christian World Pulpit, xliv. 321 (C. S. Horne); liii. 136 (H. Black); lvii. 27 (J. G. Rogers); lviii. 401 (J. H. Jowett).

Church of England Magazine, xxxiv. 168 (R. W. Dale).

Church of England Pulpit, lx. 286 (C. Wordsworth).

Churchman’s Pulpit: Sermons to the Young, xvi. 406 (R. G. Soans).

Twentieth Century Pastor, xxx. 20 (A. B. Macaulay).