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Bowen's Daily Meditations
Devotional: September 24th
They that are Christ's are Abraham's seed, and we are among the posterity whose privileges are here foreshadowed. The people of God are those that are taught of God, and they that are taught of God, have great peace. The throne of God is the seat of a great teacher. The course of nature is a course of instruction. The universe is one vast school. God writes lessons for men on the firmament, on the sea, on the sands, on the mountains, on the forests; yea on every leaf. We tread on problems; tasks are set us in the air we breathe. If we shut up all our senses and bury ourselves in the recesses of our being, even there some question shall address us, some lesson shall meet us. But sin makes men insensible to all this. The firmament may declare the glory of God; but they will hear so much of the declaration as they list, and no more. Their minds are drugged with sin so that the instructions of creation and of providence are lost upon them. They are without God in a world where everything proclaims his presence, his perfections and his glory.
But some are taught of the Lord. They are taught concerning their own ignorance, their sinfulness, their danger. They are shown their need of something that is not in nature, even an Almighty Saviour, an All-wise Sanctifier. They are taught to behold all excellence in Christ, and to repose all confidence in him. They bring all their knowledge to God - all that they have been collecting since childhood - that he may look it over and cast away what he will. They want no opinions but the opinions of God; no wisdom but that which is from above.
Wonderful is the mystery of life. Creatures of clay, we are as gods in our liberty of choice, in our conscious freedom, and as devils in the abuse of that freedom. All the experiments carried on for the last six thousand years show that there is something fearfully amiss. One man uses his freedom in one way, another in another way; a thousand men in a thousand different ways; but it is manifest with respect to all, that they none of them hit upon a right theory and practice of life. They are perpetually coming in conflict with the machinery of the universe, getting entangled and bruised in the wheels of God's providence, and passing merely from one phase of confusion to another. " Why are we endowed with this liberty," say they, " but that we may use it? Why are we made voluntary beings but that we may carry out our volitions? We are permitted to act as we like, why is it not good to do so?"
Here is their mistake, their great and fatal mistake. Their liberty is given them in order that they may freely do the will of God. It would be derogatory to the character of God to make his intelligent creatures serve him by compulsion, by irresistible force. He disdains to be served otherwise than by choice and love. But the universe is so constituted that it is impossible for men to find true peace or solid advantage while they follow their own capricious wills. Everything repulses man, lacerates him, torments him. The wonder is that he is so slow to discover what is the true use to be made of his liberty. When at length he delights himself in the Lord, then does the Lord grant him the desires of his heart. When he chooses to do God's will, then he becomes as God in several most surprising respects. Apart from God, a worm; united to God, he is a temple of God, a throne of God.
'Daily Meditations' is a daily devotional written by a Baptist Missionary to India, Reverend George Bowen over 100 years ago. The book was published in 1865 by the Presbyterian Publication Committee and is in the public domain.
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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