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Saturday, June 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bowen's Daily Meditations
Devotional: June 15th

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"In the world ye shall have tribulation." - John 16:33.

There was a new and wondrous trial of mankind, when Christ dwelt on the earth. The world is always saying, "If we had been in Eden, we would not have brought ruin on ourselves." By the coming of Christ the earth was, as it were, made into a new Eden for the occasion, and men were tried over again. It was no longer the question, " Will they sin?" But, " Will they receive God manifest in the form of man? How will they treat the most glorious and admirable being in existence, infinitely humbling himself for their salvation?" The trial was made as easy for them as it could be. The Jews were specially prepared for his coming. They were educated to feel their need of an almighty Saviour. He came in the most propitiating guise conceivable. Yet he was rejected, abhorred, killed. Let the world now forever be silent about its love of goodness, its noble aspirations, its heavenward tendencies. He that made the world, the fountain of all excellence, came into the world, into the elect and well-tutored part of it, yet encountered from first to last nothing but opposition; and it was only by special efforts of divine power that his life was prolonged sufficiently for him to make a complete manifestation of the divine nature, and accomplish all that was requisite for the salvation of men.

As it is settled that the world has no sympathy with true goodness, so there can be no question what kind of reception it will give to those who come in the name of Christ, bearing the image of Christ. The world passes through many phases, puts on many aspects; but it has its own particular orbit, from which it never breaks away. Its changes are always within certain well-defined limits. It is true to itself, true to its own rebellious will; and under no felicity of circumstances, does it ever find itself sitting quietly and humbly on the steps of God’s throne.

Expect, therefore, that the lion and the tiger will give a gentle and amicable reception to the lamb; but do not expect that the world will provide accommodation for those who travel along the narrow path that leadeth unto everlasting life; or busy itself to take up the stones out of that path. The world, indeed, has a great deal of wisdom, and has manifested it in these latter days by carefully studying how to treat the Church so as to make the Church as little a source of discomfort as possible. Formerly it committed some blunders, by proceeding against it with fire and sword; the faith, the joy, the dying hymns of those whom it burnt at the stake kept irritating the memory and making the ears to tingle, for a long time. But now the world parries the testimony of the Church by force of courtesy. It professes to be occupying itself with the subject of religion, and to have almost made up its mind to embrace Christianity; begging meanwhile that it may not be disturbed in its meditations. And then again, alas! it has got many unsuspected victories over the Church, and its banner is flying from many a fortress where it should never have been planted. But he that will live godly in Christ Jesus, will find the world very decidedly opposed to him. It will seek at first to bind him perhaps with ribands, and not with iron chains; but bind him it will, if it can.


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