“And he was gathered to his people. ” Genesis xxv. 8.
When the Lord opens the door of man’s clay prison house, and he steps forth into the light of His face, the Lord gathers from all the multitude of chaotic recollections and ambitions all that is really the man himself, and builds it into such a soul as the man shall wish to be when he comes to be himself.
“But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. “ Mark iv. 29.
When the character is fully builded, when the fruit is ripe in the garden of souls, then comes the Gardener, and thrusts in the sickle. And men call the harvest Death ; the angels call it Resurrection ; the Lord calls it Life.
”Our fathers died in the wilderness.” Numb. xxvii. 3.
All my inherited traits have I lost in the struggle of life.
“None remained save the poorest sort of the people of the land. ” 2 Kings xxiv. 14.
When the pride of spiritual rule and the lust of that rule, and the deeply stupid and despicably inane self-consciousness of pomp and ecclesiasticism seize upon the Church and carry it away captive, none are saved from the utter wreck of it all except those who are in the simplest of simple good.
“Bid the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land for vinedressers and husbandmen.”’ 2 Kings xxv. 12.
When time comes for the distressing catastrophe in which the unregenerate life becomes sufficiently pronounced for self-assertion, and all traits of spirituality are made “captives of the flesh,” then does the mercy of the Lord conceal some despised and poor fancies of childhood, ideals of youth, hopes and ambitions of young manhood and womanhood, in the very centre of the land. For upon them as “vinedressers and husbandmen ” does more depend than upon all else, when it comes time for the sleeping manhood of man presently to awake and grow.
”Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel; all the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen every man his share and his coulter, his axe and his mattock.”’ 1 Samuel xiii. 19, 20.
The spiritual mind of man sees things intuitively. It produces no line of arguments for the proof of its theses. There is no forging of chains, no riveting of links. But if arguments be needed the rational mind will supply them ; it will sharpen the wits and the comparative faculties, logic and the analytical powers.
” Ye shall utterly destroy all the places wherein the nations which ye shall inherit (possess) served their gods ; upon the high mountains and upon the hills, and under every green tree.” Deut. xii. 2.
The mystery of regeneration solves into an easily intelligible process when it is understood that it really consists in the elimination of evil loves and ruling passions ; in their dispossession from the natural mind, and from its three degrees, its love, its intellect, and its knowledges.
”And then shall He send His angels, and shall gather together His cleft from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. ” Mark xiii. 27.
And thus it is that when the tired soul of men steps forth out of his clay-framed prison-house, then the Lord’s searching Truth sinks deep into his faith and knowledge, into his love and affection (“the four winds that blow upon his earth”) and it will select thence whatever there is with the stamp of eternity upon it. From the earth of man’s natural life and from the heaven of his spiritual life will these fragments of eternity be gathered together, and from the farthest corners of his childhood and from the dimmest recesses of his old age will they be gathered, all the choicest and best of his deeds and thoughts, of volitions and desires, will be gathered and woven into an eternal soul.
Author: A. Roeder (1900)