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Music For the Soul
Devotional: May 10th
This is an allusion not only, as I think, to the Temple, but also to the Oriental habit of giving a man who took refuge in the tent of the shield of guest-rites of protection and provision and friendship. The habit exists to this day, and travelers among the Bedouin tell us lovely stories of how even an enemy with the blood of the closest relative of the owner of the tent on his hands, if he can once get in there and partake of the salt of the host, is safe, and the first obligation of the owner of the tent is to watch over the life of the fugitive as over his own.
So the Psalmist says in one place, " I desire to have guest-rites in Thy tent; to lift up its fold, and shelter there from the heat of the desert. And although I be dark, and stained with many evils and transgressions against Thee, yet I come to claim the hospitality and provision and protection and friendship which the laws of the house do bestow upon a guest." Carrying out substantially the same idea, Paul tells the Ephesians, as if it were the very highest privilege that the Gospel brought to the Gentiles: "Ye are no more strangers, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God''''; incorporated into His household, and dwelling safely in His pavilion as their home. That is to say, the blessedness of keeping up such a continual consciousness of touch with God is, first and foremost, the certainty of infallible protection. Oh! how it minimizes all trouble, and brightens all joys, and calms amidst all distractions, and steadies and sobers in all circumstances, to feel ever the hand of God upon us! He who goes through life finding that, when he has trouble to meet, it throws him back on God, and that, when bright mornings of joy drive away nights of weeping, these wake morning songs of praise and are brightest because they shine with the light of a Father's love, will never be unduly moved by any vicissitudes of fortune. Like some inland and sheltered valley, with great mountains shutting it in, that "heareth not the loud winds when they call" beyond the barriers that enclose it, our lives may be tranquilly free from distraction, and may be full of peace, of nobleness, and of strength, on condition of our keeping in God's house all the days of our lives.
Trust brings rest, because it casts all our burdens on another. Every act of reliance, though it does not deliver from responsibility, delivers from anxiety. We see that even when the object of our trust is but a poor creature like ourselves. Husbands and wives who find settled peace in one another, parents and children, patrons and protected, and a whole series of other relationships in life, are witnesses to the fact that the attitude of reliance brings the actuality of repose. A little child goes to sleep beneath its mother's eye, and is tranquil, not only because it is ignorant, but because it is trustful. So, if we will only get behind the shelter, the blast will not blow about us, but we shall be in what they call on the opposite side of the Tweed - in a word that is music in the ears of some of us - a " lown place," where we hear not the loud winds when they call. Trust is rest; even when we lean upon an arm of flesh, though that trust is often disappointed. "What is the depth of the repose that comes not from trust that leans against something supposed to be a steadfast oak, that proves to be a broken reed, but against the Rock of Ages! We which have "believed do enter into rest."
'Music For The Soul' daily readings for a year from the writings of the Rev. Alexander Maclaren, D.D., selected and arranged by the Rev. Geo. Coates, published by A.C. Armstrong and Son, 51 East Tenth Street, (1897). The original text is in the Public Domain and this electronic version is free for anyone without cost or obligation. This a year long daily devotional was written by the Rev. Alexander Maclaren over 100 years ago. This Scottish pastor had a heart to follow Jesus and a love for souls.
the Sixth Week after Easter
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