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facts, or stubborn material, or still more stubborn hearts and natures! Now we are all working to an end, consciously or unconsciously, good or bad. Which is it? Are we so working, that when the call comes, "Put away your books, your work, your activities, your doings, your spendings," we shall be able to say, "I have done my work, now I am going to have a little rest"?
Ah! who does his work? who does it as he would? who does it as he should? How often, when we come to the end of a piece of work or of a day's work, there is a feeling of dissatisfaction. How sadly often have we to look back and say, “That was not well done-not done in a right spirit, or with a right manner, or in a right way." How often, when a piece of work is finished, as we think, some flaw is detected by a practised eye. How seldom is it well finished, perfectly finished. How often-through carelessness in the commencement, perhaps, or hurry at the end-is an almost perfect piece of work spoiled.
And even if it merits and elicits praise, how seldom are we satisfied with it ourselves; or, if the general effect is good, we know there are many faults in it. In one way this is good, as we are kept from vanity and self-glorification; and it is well to be reaching out after something better than we have yet done-well to set before ourselves a higher standard of work and life than we have yet attained to.
How often we grow weary over our work, or impatient if we are copying something, or endeavouring to work out an idea, and are tempted to throw it up in disgust and say it will never be done. Ah, how true is the word, "Ye have need of patience" all through life, in whatever circumstances! All this is our daily life and work, and far more when we work for Jesus. How comforting then the thought that God is a God of patience, and in work for Him He looks at the motive rather than the work, and accepts it and looks at it under the covering of the Saviour's righteousness.
Oh, then the rest of feeling that He who superintends the
workmen and their work knows the ability of each, and that our success and our satisfaction depend not on ourselves, but on the satisfaction of His own Son our Lord, and that we may always go to Him to cover the defects of our performance by hiding us in Himself.
"To every man his work" is the appointment, so that none may say, "I have no work to do," but only seek to know what it is and how best to do it. And this is to be remembered, that work for God consists as much in being as in doing; and if we are what we seem and profess to be when we call ourselves by the name of Christ and make a profession of religion, we shall be doing our work, so that when the Master comes to inspect it or calls us to lay it aside, we shall not be ashamed before Him. How is that? "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever" by reflecting the image of Jesus, by walking in His footsteps, by striving to do even as He did who pleased not Himself, but said, "I do always those things that please Him"; by letting our light shine, by being followers, imitators of God as dear children.
If we are what we seem to be, in singleness of heart serving the Lord Christ, we must be abiding in Him, and so, faithful and wise servants (even it may be in a very little), bringing forth much fruit to His praise. We read of some in old time that "there they dwelt with the king for his work; the potters and those that dwelt among plants and hedges." Poor work that, do you say? No; not if they dwelt with the King for His work, for
"Nothing can be so mean
But with this tincture, For Thy sake,'
Will not grow bright and clean."
It is work for the King, and that ennobles lowly work; and it is dwelling with the King for His work that "makes drudgery divine."
"Abide in Me" are the Saviour's words to those whom He was sending forth to work for Him in the highways and
hedges, to whom He had said, "Let your light shine." "He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing."
"Jesus bids us shine with a pure, clear light,
Jesus bids us shine first of all for Him;
Well He sees and knows it if our light be dim.
You in your small corner, and I in mine."
Are we ready, as David's servants of old, to say in good or evil times, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint?" He will make us willing and wise-hearted and skilful, as He made the workers of old who were to aid in building up and beautifying the tabernacle and temple; and none of the regrets at our imperfect rendering of the pattern-the difficulties which attach to almost every work worth doing-the dissatisfaction which meets us on every hand-the slurs of others, will move us if but we may say, "I took my orders from the King; it is His work I am trying to do"; and daring to say, with the apostle of old, "We are labourers, workers together with God," may with him look forward to being able to say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness."
In this busy world one piece of work is no sooner finished than another claims our attention; the war is ever waging, although "the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong." There is no power of overtaking work, and the weary body and mind throb with the strain. There is One who knows how to "speak a word in season to him that is weary," and He says, "Be not weary in well doing, for in due season ye shall reap, if faint not." ye 66 He says, refresh you, I will give you rest," not only from sin, but from the intense weariness of an overwrought body or mind, and by-and-bye rest that shall never be disturbed, yet rest that
cloys not, nor means useless, senseless inaction, for they rest in the presence of Jesus; but they rest not day nor night praising Him, for "His servants shall serve Him, for they shall see His face, and His name shall be in their foreheads."
"And if Thy work on earth be sweet,
What must Thy glory be."
If the summons were to come to us as suddenly as to her of whom mention has been made, could we as truly say, have done my work, and now I am going to rest"?
"There remaineth therefore a rest.' "We which have believed do enter into rest : now, in the rest of peace in believing, the rest which Jesus gives to the weary souls that trust in Him-and then. God keep us all so living in simple faith on the Lord Jesus who is our life, resting on His finished work for us, that dying may be to us but the entering into that perfect rest, which will be perfect because, our own works being ceased from, iniquity being finished, and sin pardoned for ever, there can be no element of disturbance; "where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest."
And if the heart's longing breaks out at times,
"Oh to be over yonder,
To be free from pain and sorrow,
And the anxious dread to-morrow,
To rest in light and sunshine in the presence of the King,"
we must still the impatience with the thought, "Man is immortal till his work is done;" and ask for the needed grace and strength to work and hope and quietly wait till the appointed time of trial, of labour, of suffering is over, and we may say, "I will lay me down in peace and sleep, my flesh also shall rest in hope, for I shall be satisfied when I awake up after Thy likeness. What time I awake I am
still with Thee."
M. S. P.
AVING slept for thirty nights together, during a journey through Palestine, in a tent, I have a special interest in this patriarchal kind of dwelling, and there are so many allusions in the Bible to tent life that I have chosen it as the subject for this paper. The Arab word for tent is beit, which means a house, but this house is of a very unstable kind. It is simply a camel's or goat's hair awning stretched upon poles, and the ropes which hold the tent are fastened to short sticks or pins, driven into the ground with a mallet. It was with one of these pins that Jael killed Sisera, driving it into his temples as he slept.'
You will like to hear a little of my experience of tents. Our tents were first pitched at Jaffa, the ancient Joppa, where, you will remember, Peter once lived at the house of Simon, the tanner, the site of whose house is still shown to travellers.
When I first saw our little encampment near the shore of the Mediterranean, drawn up in beautiful array, with the clean white canvas walls, I thought of Balaam's words, "How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!" In these days of civilisation and refinement, we were not content to lie down, as the patriarchs of old probably did, in their loose outer cloak on the grassy floor, to which reference is made in Deuteronomy xxiv. 12, 13: "And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge in any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee." We had our comfortable iron bedsteads, and our good mattrasses, and our washing table and camp stool, and the superadded luxury of a strip of Outside our tents were tethered our horses and
1 Judges iv. 21.