Why I will yet plead with you, said the LORD, and with your children's children will I plead.…
Parents of olden time were wont to tell their eager children of seven wonders:
(1) The Pyramids.
(2) The Temple of the great Diana of the Ephesians.
(3) The Statue of Jupiter at Olympia.
(4) The Tomb of Mausolus. What a satire on immortality! Who was Mausolus? We know not, but the mausoleum is with us. He gave his name and glory to his tomb.
(5) The Colossus at Rhodes.
(6) The Pharos at Alexandria.
(7) The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.We have to do, however, at this moment with marvels in the province of the spiritual life. There are some things here touching our relations with the spiritual world whereat heaven must wonder. A thoughtful man will find it impossible to explain them.
I. AN UNCLAIMED CROWN. God made man in His likeness, with a splendid birthright and glorious possibilities before him. He was of the line royal, the blood of the King of kings flowing in his veins. Where is the man to whom God extends this crown? See him yonder chasing butterflies, pursuing thistle down. He calls this pleasure. See him toiling with a muck rake, his eyes downcast, plucking coins out of the garbage and loading himself with them. He calls this wealth. See him climbing laboriously the rocky side of yonder cliff that he may carve his initials upon its face — and fall. And this is fame! All the while the windows of heaven are open above him and the glory of the celestial realms is unveiled before him. He gives no heed.
II. A SECRET SIN. Here we touch the lowest part of our nature. A dog with a bone sneaks off to a corner of the garden and buries it, watching meanwhile out of the corners of his eyes that none may know his secret. So we bury our darling sins; so we flatter ourselves that none shall ever find us out. An Egyptian princess died four thousand years ago, and her body was committed to a company of priests for embalming. They said, "Let us save ourselves the trouble; it will never be known." So they dipped the body of a common Egyptian into bitumen and placed it in the princess' casket. It was a clever trick; but a few years ago, before a company of scientists at Tremont Temple, gathered together to witness the unswathing of the royal mummy, the bands of byssus were unwound, and the fraud perpetrated by those priests, now forty centuries dead and turned to dust, was detected. There is, indeed, nothing hidden that shall not be brought to light, and that which is done in a corner shall be proclaimed on the housetop.
III. A REPROBATE'S LAUGH. Not long ago I heard the merry laughter of a girl and looked that way. A carriage was passing by. Through the open window I saw two women, the one old, haggard, bedizened — it was easy to discern her vocation — the other a sweet-faced girl late from some country home, going garlanded to death. God help her! How dare they laugh who are hurrying on unprepared to the judgment bar? Yet they are making merry everywhere. O men and women, let us De safe and then be merry.
IV. A CHRISTIAN'S GROAN. We profess to believe that the past is forgiven, all gone like a nightmare, and that heaven is open before us and that Christ walks with us, an ever-present and helpful friend. If a man believes these things, how can he ever hang his head like a bulrush? Surely something is wrong. One night in Newgate prison a man sang cheerily and swung like a boy on the post of his bed. "Fine shining shall we have tomorrow!" Who is this, and what "shining" shall there be? This is John Bradford, and tomorrow he is to die at. the stake. But what matter, if the day after tomorrow he shall be in the midst of the merry making of heaven? Why, shall he not with gladsome heart be praising God?
V. A TATTERED LIVERY. Our Lord tells of a marriage feast whereat a certain one was found who had not on the wedding gown. His host remonstrated with him, "Friend, how earnest thou in hither in this garb?" And the man was silent. We are going to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Our heavenly Host has provided for us fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints. To appear in that heavenly presence clad in our own righteous. ness is to be found arrayed in rags and tatters, for all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
VI. AN AVERTED FACE. A few days ago, at a hanging in a neighbouring State, it is said that twenty thousand people left town and tramped four miles along a country road to see a poor wretch swung from the gallows tree. There is, indeed, something brutal in our human nature. When our Lord was dying on the accursed tree it is written, "The people stood beholding." Is it strange that men should look on anguish with a calm delight? Was it strange that men could look at Jesus dying and feel no responsive thrill of sympathy? Ah! a thousand times stranger is it that some of us should refuse to look upon Him! We hide, as it were, our faces from Him; He is despised and we esteem Him not.
VII. A WAITING GOD. "Behold, I stand at the door," etc. Wonderful patience! Love that passeth knowledge! His arms are loaded with the dainties of the kingdom, apples and pomegranates from the King's gardens, and bread of life. Oh, let us draw the bolts that He may come in and sup with us!
(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children's children will I plead.