“This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this is the place of repose” Isaiah 28:12
“You are my portion, O Lord.” Psalms 119:57
God is the only true and satisfying portion of the spirit. He is realized happiness, for which earthly schools and systems of philosophy hopelessly search. The soul, endowed with immortality, altogether fails to have its longings and aspirations satisfied with the seen and the temporal; as little as the Israelite, in the desert of the wandering, would have been satisfied with burning patches of unsheltered sand for his camping ground, as compared with the twelve refreshing springs of Elim with their seventy encircling palms.
Too truthful and suggestive is the symbolic truth conveyed by a painter in an allegorical picture of human life–children in a churchyard, sporting with soap bubbles by the side of an opened grave! The bubbles are beautiful–lustrous with rainbow tints. But, one by one, they burst, some in the air, others as they touch the fringing grass; the misty moisture of all falling into that dark hollow at their feet..
The world’s skeptic poet thus warbles in plaintive monotone:
“I fly like a bird of the air,
In search of a home to rest;
A balm for the sickness of care,
A bliss for a bosom unblest.”
Rest of the Soul
We repeat, the only rest of the soul is in God. You cannot detain the eagle in the forest. You may gather around him a chorus of choicest birds–you may give him a perch on the finest pine–you may charge winged messengers to bring him choicest dainties. But he will spurn them all. Spreading his lordly wings, and with his eye on the Alpine cliff, he will soar away to his own ancestral halls among the munitions of rocks and the wild music of tempest and waterfall!
The heart of man, in its eagle soarings, will rest with nothing short of the Rock of Ages.
Its ancestral halls are the halls of Heaven. Its munitions of rocks are the attributes of God. The sweep of its majestic flight is Eternity! “Lord, YOU have been our dwelling place in all generations!” (Watch: Rock of Ages by Fernando Ortega)
“Once,” says a gifted American writer, “I looked across a landscape in a season of great drought, and all the elms looked sickly and yellow, as if verging to decay. But one elm was fresh and green, as if spring showers were hourly falling upon it. Coming nearer to observe, behold! a silent river flowed at the foot of the tree; and its roots stretched far out into its living waters. So is he, in the drought and heat of this earth, whose soul is rooted in God.”
The world has its joys and its portions too, and we do not affirm that they are devoid of attractiveness. Had this been the case, they would not be so fondly and eagerly clung to as they are. But this we can affirm, that while they are certain, sooner or later to perish, they are fitful and inconstant even while they last. They are sand-built, not rock-built. They are, at best, but the passing gleam of the meteor; not like the Christian’s happiness, the steady luster of the true constellation. On a deathbed, one memory of triumph over sin and of successfully-resisted temptation will outbid and outmatch them all. Yes, the joys of the true believer survive all others.
True Religion is like a castle on a mountain summit, catching the earliest sunbeam, and gilded by the last evening ray. When low down in the world’s valleys, the shadows are falling and the lights are already in the windows, the radiance still tarries on these lofty peaks of gladness. That castle, moreover, is full of all kinds of furnishings. God has furnished it with every attractive blessing that can invite the weary wanderer in. He has crowded it with love-tokens, with which He may welcome back His long-absent children–just as a mother (to use again a recent illustration) decorates her room for the welcome of her absent boy. As every available nook is crowded with tokens of affection, so God has filled that castle with love-pledges. Its walls are tapestried with proofs and promises of His grace and love in Jesus.
About John MacDuff
John Ross MacDuff was born May 23, 1818 in Bonhard, Scotland and died in Chislehurst, Kent, England on April 30, 1895. He was a Presbyterian minister and Christian author of books with practical, poetic, and devotional content. MacDuff also wrote hymnr. He held Doctor of Divinity Degrees from the University of Glasgow and the University of New York and served as pastor in several churches, including the Church of Scotland.
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