"Come unto Me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest."
"Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you." Matt. 6:33
How many labor and are heavy laden because they reverse
the order of their Lord's exhortation; giving priority to the things of
earth, and making "the one thing needful" secondary and subordinate;
allowing daily worries, cares, perplexities, trifles, to dim and obscure
nobler verities! They are more concerned to rear gilded palaces on the
shifting sands of the present, than first to make sure of the Hospice with
its foundations drilled in the solid and enduring Rock. They allow the flare
of earthly torches and the glimmer of artificial lights to blur the stars of
heaven. How different existence would be were its first and chief object to
live under the inspiration of doing God's will and seeking to please Him!
The life of self-abnegation and self-consecration is the happy as well as
the heavenly one--the life lived by those who are in the world and
yet not of it, who walk and act as seeing Him who is invisible; their
thoughts, interests, occupations interpenetrated with the sense of the
Divine presence and love, conscious of unswerving fidelity to Truth and
"Come unto ME," says Christ, and seek first My kingdom.
Where religion, the law of His kingdom, in the best sense of the word, as an
active, living, energizing force, is our recognized guide, giving direction
to character and conduct, a wealth of happiness inevitably follows. When
love to God strikes the key-note, the varied harmonies of earth assume a
beautiful concord and cadence; the ordinary chords of life vibrate in sweet
unison. Religion intensifies the enjoyment of common mercies. Hers is the
heavenly chemistry which transmutes all things into gold.
The man who walks with God is like Moses in his descent
from the mount--his face shines with the reflected glory. The "rest" of
Christ takes shape and form. Not infrequently it is so literally--the very
outer lineaments are transfigured. We can most of us probably recall some
such sunny, radiant countenance bright with the smile of a foretasted
heaven--this in striking contrast with that which is scarred with
selfishness, debased with vice, gloomy with the tyranny of demon-passion.
"The purified righteous man," says Clement of Alexandria, "has become a coin
of the Lord, and has the impress of his king stamped upon him." The soul
itself becomes a Hospice, the home and haunt of peace, "filled
with all joy and peace in believing."
Hear the apostle's definition and description of the
heirs of the Kingdom and lovers of God's righteousness--"In everything by
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, (in other words, Let Religion
sway and dominate the actions, the life, the whole being); "and the
peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and
minds through Christ Jesus."
"All these things shall be added unto you." Added! It
seems like a promise of ever augmenting and augmented blessings--like the
mountain streamlet, tiny and inconspicuous at first, but deepening as it
hastens on its course to refresh and irrigate and beautify, at last
expanding into "peace like a river"--the full flood of God.
O You gracious Rest-Giver, prevent me forfeiting Your
promised peace by becoming a prey to the groveling cares or the absorbing
fascinations and pleasures of a present evil world! Let me listen to the
monitory voice, "The kingdom of God is not food and drink; but
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."
With this peace reigning and ruling within me, I can say
with Paul– "I have all, and abound."
"This is the resting place, let the weary rest. This is
the place of repose." Isaiah 28:12