« 上一頁繼續 »
and five hundred asses, and a very great household, so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the East.” Satan was working with Job. This is a large part of Satan's work in the earth. To obliterate the light, and joy, and riches of other days. Blessed is the man who thaws the icicles of winter in the warm remembrance of the summer day.
This recognition of past deliverance is one of the greatest elements of comfort in present difficulty. The future is filled with hardship, and burden, and peril; yes, but if the train has carried you one thousand miles safely over bridges and around curves and through the darkness, undoubtedly the bridges will be solid and the conductor awake, and the managers competent. Have confidence for another hundred miles at least. God has a perfect system. Every signal is in order. Rest in the memory of past safety. These experiences of bygone days are the separate notes which make music in the soul. He is a master who gathers them into the bar and creates harmony.
Ole Bull, the great violinist, was a friend of John Erricson. They were both brought up in the same part of the world, and passed their boyhood days together, but their occupations had made a wide
divergence between their paths. Erricson's machinery had silenced the music of his early life, and he even now refused to listen to it. Ole Bull visited him and was determined to make him listen to his violin. The inventor did not invite him to come and play, and showed no interest whatever in that piece of wood and its strings. Ole Bull went into Mr. Erricson's shop and began to talk about woods, because wood, you know, is a very important part in a violin. He talked about the scientific properties of wood, and Erricson listened. He talked about the mechanism of a violin, and Erricson listened. Then Ole Bull put that violin to his shoulder and thumbed a few little strokes with his finger, and still Mr. Erricson listened. Then Ole Bull took his bow, that bow which had delighted so many people, and drew it carefully across the cords, and it seemed as if the angels were singing a long way off. All the workmen in the establishment stopped and listened; and Ole Bull drew the bow again, and in a few moments Erricson stopped and the tears began to come down his cheeks, and he turned to Ole Bull and said: "Go on, go on; all my life. I have missed something and I never knew what it was until just now; go on!" He had heard once more
the brook in the valley; the birds warbling upon the hillside; the old scenes all depicted and made to live again, and his own soul now began to sing for joy. It was a magnificent discovery. He who awakens a sweet memory is his fellow man's benefactor and offers some of the sweetest comfort and delight in the human heart. What bliss in the memory of the early days with their freedom, and health, and abundance of joy, if those hours are also marked with purity, and industry, and love, and holy ambition. A record without a moment misspent is the crown of old age. The very soil at the foot of the western side of life's hill which produces fragrance and fruit in abundance. A sweet memory that!
The opposite of this supreme satisfaction and joy is found in the mocking struggle to forget those days. The man has forgotten the worship in the old church and the early religious life, the peace of a soul in touch with God, and memory silently gathers all these precious hours and lays them upon his desk or bench, and the soul cries out, "O that I could know that experience again. This is the great void in my life. I am the guilty party. I must go back to the old well, and drink at that
fountain of highest living and noblest service." Some sermon of long ago suddenly, but vividly, comes back at the critical moment. A prayer which the wings of faith once carried to heaven's gate and left there was not lost. It returns to us as a bright angel of encouragement. Some word uttered in the long ago past comes with energy and pressure almost infinite. At mother's knee the child's prayer was repeated through those sacred days. Mother is dead. Fifty years have passed on. The whole world is changed. That prayer is lost in the increasing darkness of the past. What, lost? No, never lost! At some pivotal, strategic moment, at the call for sublimest service, memory forces its way through the darkness and the distance, and the child is once more at mother's knee. All the pledges and love of that hour push the man on now to do his best. Those days have infinite meaning in this day. The far-away past is sometimes buried, but under the almost divine force of memory, there is the power of resurrection. Memory will not permit death. The holy sabbaths of life stand out always as the chief joy and strength of the soul. They come as determined accessories of strength. The yesterday of life has everything to do with the value
of the service to-day. Recollection is a gigantic force. Rich indeed is the man who can say, "The Lord delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, and He will deliver me out of the hand of the uncircumsized Philistine."
Old trials, and temptations, and struggles, and battlefields, and victories are the bodyguard of the warrior in the new fight. Human experience is a costly but precious jewel. It should never be thrown carelessly away, but prized and held at its true value. It is stamped with eternity. The Czar of Russia summoned the world to a Peace Congress, but who shall say that there is not some connection between this initial step of his in this great world's movement and the single event of eight years ago in his own personal experience; the memory of that day in 1891 when the fanatical, halfinsane Japanese policeman smote him with his heavy Japanese sword. Providence made it to be a glancing blow and the Czar to wear a very hard hat. Trifling things-thick hair, tough hat, rapid movement-but they were in one side of the balance and life in the other. In the strange Providence about every life it was ordered that he should suffer just enough, by loss of blood, and cut of sword,