AND WHAT TO DO WITH THEM.
dusky lane and wrangling mart,
their daily task with busier feet,
their secret souls a holy strain repeat."
strain borrowed from the eternal chords and harmonies of the life and being of
Secret of Sabbath keeping is in the absence of burden bearing. "Thus saith
the Lord, Take heed to yourselves and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor
bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. Neither carry forth a burden out of your
houses on the Sabbath day." And in the words that follow the continual
presence of a king is made to hinge on obedience about burdens (Jer.17:24, etc).
Nehemiah was so urgent in this matter that he set his servants at the city
gates, as they crowned the grey summit of Zion, "that there should be no
burden brought in on the Sabbath day" (Neh. 13: 19).
what was true in those bygone days is true always. There can be no true Sabbath
keeping when burdens are freely brought into the precincts of the soul. As well
try to sleep when a party of high spirited, healthy children are tearing up and
down the house, and playing hide and seek in all the rooms. Care will break the
rest of the soul as much as sin does. And there is no hope that we should know
the peace which passeth all understanding till we have learnt the art of
shutting the door against the long train of burden carrying thoughts which are
always coming up the hill from the world beneath to fill our spirit with the
ring of their feet and the clamour of their cries.
need not stay to describe the results which burden bearing
brings to the heavy laden. They are evident in the careworn look, the
weary eye, the heavy step. But deeper than these, there is no power in prayer,
no joy in God, no lying down in green pastures, no walking beside the waters of
rest. As snowflakes in the Arctic or sand grains in the tropics will build a
rampart before some lowly dwelling sufficient to exclude the light, so will
worries, each infinitesimal in itself, shut out the blessed light of God from
the soul and make midnight where God meant midday.
bearing sadly dishonours God. As men of the world look upon the faces of those
who profess to be God's children, and see them dark with the same shadows as are
flung athwart their own, they may well wonder what sort of a Father He is.
Whatever be a man's professions, we can not helping judging him by the faces of
his children. And if God be judged by the unconscious report made of Him by some
of His children, the hardest things ever said against Him by His foes are not
far off the truth.
such circumstances the unbeliever may fitly argue, "Either there is no God,
or He is powerless to help, or He does not really love, or He is careless of the
needs of His children. Of what good will religion be to me?"
are either libels or Bibles; harbour lights or warning signals; magnetic or
repellent; and which very much depends on how we treat our burdens.
course there is a difference between Care and Pain; between bearing the self
made burden of our anxieties, and suffering according to the will of God. We
must not make light of sufferings sent by our Father to teach lessons which
could only be learnt in the school on the forms of which our Lord has sat before
us to learn obedience. The chastened spirit must go softly, and withdraw itself
to suffer. But this is very different from burden bearing. There will be no
doubt as to the Father's care, no worry about the issues, no foreboding as to
the long future, which to the eye of faith gleams like the horizon rim of the
sea on which the sun is shining in splendour, though dark clouds brood
we are thoroughly awake in the morning we sometimes become conscious of a
feeling of depression, as if all were not right; and a voice seems to tell a
long tale of burdens to be carried, and difficulties to be met as the hours pass
says the voice, "a miserable day will this be."
so?" we inquire, fearfully.
there is that creditor to meet, that skein to disentangle, that irritation to
soothe, those violent tempers to confront. It is no use praying. Better linger
where you are, and then drag through the day as you can. You are like a martyr
being led to his death."
too often we have yielded to the suggestion, and have dragged ourselves wearily
through the hours, doing our daily task with hands engaged and strength spent by
the burdens which we have assumed. God is pledged to give strength for all
duties which He sets, but not for the burdens which we elect to take on as well.
one cure for burden bearing is to cast all burdens on the Lord. The margin of
the revised version of Psalm 55:22 reads thus: Cast that He hath given thee upon
the Lord. Whatever burden the Lord hath given thee, give it back to Him. Treat
the burden of care as once the burden of sin; kneel down and deliberately hand
it over to Jesus. Say to Him, "Lord, I entrust to thee this, and this, and
this. I can not carry them, they are crushing me; but I definitely commit them
all to thee to manage, and adjust, and arrange. Thou hast taken my sins. Take my
sorrows, and in exchange give me Thy Peace, Thy Rest". As George Herbert
says so quaintly, "We must put them all into Christ's bag."
not our Lord Jesus be at least as true and faithful as the best earthly friend
we have ever known? And have there not been times in all our lives we have been
too weary or helpless to help ourselves, and have thankfully handed some wearing
anxiety to a good, strong man, sure that when once it was entrusted to him, he
would not rest until he had finished it to his satisfaction? And surely He who
loved us enough to die for us may be trusted to arrange all the smaller matters
of our daily lives!
course there are one or two conditions which we must fullfill, before we shall
be able to hand over our burdens to the Lord Jesus and leave them with Him in
perfect confidence. We must have cast our sins on Him before we can cast our
cares. We must be at peace with God through the work of our Saviour before we
can have the peace of God through faith in His gracious interposition on our
behalf. We must also be living on God's plan, tarrying under the cloud, obeying
His laws and executing His plans so far as we know them. We must also feed faith
with promise, for this food is essential to make it thrive.
And when we have done all this we shall not find it so difficult
kneel, and cast our load,
while we pray upon our God,
rise with lightened cheer."
HAND OVER TO CHRIST THE BURDEN OF HOW TO GROW IN GRACE.
well might a child in the infant class fret because he is not entered in the
higher classes of the school. But why should he worry about his future progress?
His one business is to acquire the lessons set him by his teacher. When these
are learnt it will be for him to teach his pupil more, and advance him to
positions where quicker progress may be made. And it is for us to learn the
lessons which the Lord Jesus sets before us day by day, leaving Him to lead us
into the fuller knowledge and love of God.
was one of the dull pupils in our Master's school. He could not see what was
clear to all beside. But instead of chiding him, and leaving him to grope in the
dark, the Master paid him a special visit, and made the glad fact of His
resurrection so simple that the doubter was able to rejoice with the rest. Don't
worry about your dullness; it will only that the dear Master will give you
longer and more personal attention. Mothers give most pains to the sickly, weak,
and stupid among their children.
about so sacred a matter as this will hide the face of Christ, as the impalpable
vapour wreaths hide the majestic, snow capped peaks. And it is quite needless.
He who saved can uphold. As is His heart of love, so is His arm of might. He is
able to keep from stumbling, and present us faultless before the Presence of His
glory. But we shall never know the sufficiency of that keeping whilst we cling
to the boat, or even keep one hand upon its side. Only when we have stepped
right out on the water, relying utterly on the Master's power, shall we know how
blessedly and certainly He keeps what is committed to Him against that day.
must not carry even the burden of daily abiding in Him. Let us rather trust Him
to keep us trusting and abiding in Himself. He will not fall us if we do, and
will answer our faith by giving us an appetite for those exercises of prayer,
Bible study, and communion, which are the secrets of unbroken fellowship.
yet the responsibility of the work is not ours but our Master's. He is bearing
this world in His arms, as a mother her sick child. He is ministering to the
infinite need of man. He is carrying on His great redemptive scheme for the
glory of His Father. All He wants of us is a faithful performance of the daily
tasks He gives.
the sailor lad sleep soundly in his hammock; the captain knows exactly the
ship's course. Let the errand boy be content to fetch and carry, as he is
bidden; the heads of the firm know what they are about, and have plenty of
resources to meet all their needs. And let the Christian worker guard against
bearing burdens which the Lord alone can carry. The Lord would never have sent
us to His work without first calculating His ability to carry us through.
such times we should question ourselves, to see whether our lack of feeling is
due to conscious sin or worrying; and if not, we may hand over all further
anxiety in the matter to Him who knows our frame, and remembers that we are
dust. And as we pass down the dark staircase, let us hold fast to the handrail
of His will, willing still to do His will, though in the dark. "I am as
much Thine own, equally devoted to Thee now in the depths of my soul, as when I
felt happiest in Thy love."
one of these will break our rest, as one whelping dog may break our slumber in
the stillest night, and as one grain of dust in the eye will render it incapable
of enjoying the fairest prospect.
is nothing for us, then, but roll our burden, and indeed, ourselves, on God (Ps.
a little boy, trying to help his father move some books, fell on the stairs
beneath the weight of a heavy volume, the father ran to his aid and caught up
boy and burden both, and bore them in his arms to his own room. And will our
Father do worse? He must love us infinitely, and be ever at hand. "He
careth for you."
is a good way in dealing with God, and if you are not quite sure of His will, to
say that you will stay where you are, or go on doing what you have been doing,
until He makes quite clear what He wants and empowers you to do it. Roll the
responsibility of your way on God (Prov. 16: 3.), and expect that He will make
known to you any alteration which He desires in a way so unmistakable, that
though you are dull and stupid you may not mistake.
worry about dress, or ornaments, or doubtful things. Satan loves to turn the
soul's attention from Christ to itself. It is as if a girl should spend an hour
in her room wondering in what dress to meet her lover, who is waiting
impatiently below. Let her go to him, and if she desires it, he will soon enough
tell her clearly what he prefers. Get into the presence of Jesus, and you will
not be left to hazy questionings and doubtful disputations, but will be told
clearly and unmistakably His will, and always definitely about one point at a
Leighton sweetly says: "When thou art either to do or suffer anything, when
thou art about any purpose of business, go, tell God about it, and acquaint Him
with it yea, burden Him with it and thou hast done for matter of caring. No more
care, but sweet, quiet diligence in thy duty, and dependence on Him for the
carriage of thy matters. Roll over on God, make one bundle of all; roll thy
cares, and thyself with them, as one burden, all on thy God."
so, when no burdens are brought into the soul, but are handed immediately over
to the blessed Lord, the peace of God will fill the inner temple. And though
outside there may be the strife of tongues, and the chafe of this restless
world, like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, and the pressure of many
engagements, yet these things shall expand themselves on the battlements of the
life which is the environing presence of God; whilst, within, the soul keeps an
unbroken Sabbath, like the unruffled ocean depths, which are not stirred by the
hurricanes that churn the surface into foam and fury. "The Peace of God,
which passeth all understanding, shall garrison your hearts and minds through
Christ Jesus." (Phil: 4. 7.)