Devotional: May 28th
Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. - Ecclesiastes 12:13
GOD: God’s universe; God’s messenger, Death,- these are facts with which we stand in relation, and if our relations with Him are out of gear, then He, and all of these, are legitimate objects of dread to us.
But there is something else that casts out fear than perfect love, and that is - perfect levity. For it is the explanation of the fact that so many of us know nothing about what I am saying, and fancy that I am exaggerating or putting forward false views. There is a type of men who are below both Fear and Love, directed towards God; for they never think about Him, or trouble their heads concerning either Him or their relations to Him, or anything that flows therefrom. It is a strange faculty that we all have, of forgetting unwelcome thoughts and shutting our eyes to the things that we do not want to see, like Nelson when he put the telescope to his blind eye at Copenhagen, because he would not obey the signal of recall. But surely it is an ignoble thing that men should ignore or shuffle out of sight with inconsiderateness the real facts of their condition, like boys whistling in a churchyard, to keep their spirits up, and saying, "Who’s afraid?" just because they are so very much afraid. Ah! dear friend, do not rest until you face the facts, and, having faced them, have found the way to reverse them! Surely, surely, it is not worthy of men to turn away from anything so certain as that between a sin-loving man and God there must exist such a relation as will bring evil and sorrow to that man, as surely as God is! And He is. I beseech you, take to heart these things, and do not turn away from them with a shake of your shoulders, and say, " He is preaching the narrow, old-fashioned doctrine of a religion of fear." No! I am not. But I am preaching this plain fact, that a man who is in discord with God has reason to be afraid, and I come to you with the old exhortation of the prophet, "Be troubled, ye careless ones." For there is nothing more ignoble or irrational than security which is only possible by covering over unwelcome facts. " Be troubled! " and let the trouble lead you to the Refuge.
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