”And Isaac prayed to Jehovah.” Genesis xxv. 21.
We incline naturally to the thought that there is nothing in common between rationality and the Divinity. But we owe that thought rather to the French Revolution than to the Word of God, for it distinctly states that “Isaac prays to Jehovah,” that is, that there is communication between the rational of man and the Divine,
”In the days of Herod the king.” Matthew ii. i.
In that state of the mind when self-love holds sway.
“And he [Ishmael] died in the presence of all his brethren.” Genesis xxv. 18.
When after all the struggle of regenerating life man has finally gained control of his own reason, and his wild days of unreason, of unguided reason, are over, every faculty in his character will know of the fact.
‘‘And there came a certain poor widow ; and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.” Mark xii. 42.
How many are the obscure lives of men and women that contribute but a poor mite of word and deed to the grand sum total of the giant life of humanity ; and yet how the kind Master recognizes the little insignificant deeds and words that are done and said from the treasure chamber of the heart !
“There was a man sent from God whose name was John. ” John i. 6.
There is a human story, a revelation of the Divine Truth, the story of the birth, growth, and final salvation of the human soul, set forth in a literal garb which is called the literal sense of the Word.
”And behold, a woman which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years came behind Him. ” Matthew ix. 20.
The issues raised in the church hitherto have been decided by merciless hatred. They have been issues of blood indeed, and the records are written in the sands of the Arena as in the vaults of the Inquisition and on the pyres of Salem. But the church can return to the simple, plain teaching of the literal sense. She is even now doing so. Men are crying, “Let us throw away the creeds of old, and put in their place the Sermon on the Mount.” Thus does “the woman touch the hem of His garment, and the woman was made whole from that hour.”
‘‘But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. ” Genesis xix. 26.
If retrospect there be, let it be a retrospect of useful and helpful points along life’s pathway. To grieve upon past injuries and the losses and sorrows of yesterday makes bitter the cup of life, it paralyzes man into a crystallized form of bitterness.
”She took a veil and covered herself .”Genesis xxiv. 65.
Man can see the affection that leads him to do things or to leave them undone, but obscurely.
“And Peter followed Him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest ; and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the light. ” Mark xiv. 54.
Faith cannot always closely follow the Lord. It does not always understand Him. It is confused sometimes by the stupendous systems of philosophy (false in themselves) built by men ; it cannot be distinguished from the imagination, the theorizing, the fancy, the ratiocination, and other servants of the highest industrial standards ; and it is dazzled by the brilliancy of them. (Peter is said in the original to “warm himself by the light,” as here translated.)
“And Abraham bowed himself before the people of the land.” Genesis xxiii. 12.
The inmost regions of the mind always adapt themselves to the external habits of thought.
”And he (John) was in the desert till the day of his showing unto Israel.” Luke i. 80.
The mind is in a state of doubt and uncertainty (hence temptation) in regard to the literal sense of the Word, until it has obtained a fair insight into the spiritual sense. Then is all that doubt set at rest.
”On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. ” Genesis xxii. 4.
When all preparatory conditions are completed man’s intelligence is ready to grasp the truths of a higher plane (“lift up eyes”), and the state he is striving to reach takes shape before him.
“Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” Genesis xiii. 2.
Even before regeneration the mind inclined heavenward is rich in natural affection, in spiritual truth, and in the love of heavenly possibilities.
“And Abraham was an hundred years old (a son of one hundred years) when his son Isaac was born unto him.” Genesis xxi. 5.
It is not until all the fundamentals of the celestial man are securely established that the rational is born.
Author: A. Roeder (1900)