"'The eternal God is your dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.’"
(Deuteronomy 33:27 ESV)
Pichel, a bigoted popish magistrate, apprehended twenty-four Protestants, among whom was his daughter's husband. As they all owned they were of the reformed religion, he indiscriminately condemned them to be drowned in the river Abbis. On the day appointed for the execution, a great concourse of people attended, among whom was Pichel's daughter. This worthy wife threw herself at her father's feet, bedewed them with tears, and in the most pathetic manner, implored him to commisserate her sorrow, and pardon her husband. The obdurate magistrate sternly replied, "Intercede not for him, child, he is a heretic, a vile heretic." To which she nobly answered, "Whatever his faults may be, or however his opinions may differ from yours, he is still my husband, a name which, at a time like this, should alone employ my whole consideration." Pichel flew into a violent passion and said, "You are mad! cannot you, after the death of this, have a much worthier husband?" "No, sir, (replied she) my affections are fixed upon this, and death itself shall not dissolve my marriage vow."Pichel, however, continued inflexible, and ordered the prisoners to be tied with their hands and feet behind them, and in that manner be thrown into the river. As soon as this was put into execution, the young lady watched her opportunity, leaped into the waves, and embracing the body of her husband, both sank together into one watery grave. An uncommon instance of conjugal love in a wife, and of an inviolable attachment to, and personal affection for, her husband.
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16-17 ESV)
- Matthew Henry
BE sure that humility, frequent silence and recollection, will do you more good than any amount of anxiety and self-chosen austerities. Silence is, above all, important for you. Even when you cannot withdraw from society, you might often practise silence, and let others take the lead in conversation. There is no way by which you can so effectually subdue your haughty, disdainful, contemptuous spirit, as by bridling it with silence. Keep a strict watch upon your tongue. The presence of God, which restrains your words, will likewise keep all your thoughts and wishes in check. But this work must be accomplished gradually. Be patient with yourself, as well as with others.
I THINK, Madame, that you should try hard now to practise silence, so far as general courtesy will permit. Silence promotes the presence of God, prevents many harsh and proud words, and suppresses many dangers in the way of ridiculing or harshly judging our neighbor. Silence humbles the mind, and gradually weans it from the world; it makes a kind of solitude in the heart like that which you desire: it will supply all that you need under your present difficulties. If you retrenched all useless talk, you would have many available moments even in the midst of society, where you are obliged to stay against your will....Often lift up your heart to Him, without making any outward sign; talk only when it is necessary; and bear patiently with what crosses you. You have more need of self-denial than of light. If you are faithful in keeping silence when it is not necessary to speak, God will preserve you from evil when it is right for you to talk.
Your portion is to love, to be silent, to suffer, to sacrifice your inclinations, in order to fulfil the will of God, by moulding yourself to that of others. Happy indeed you are thus to bear a cross laid on you by God's own hands, in the order of His Providence. The discipline which we choose for ourselves does not destroy our self-love like that which God assigns us Himself each day. All we have to do is to give ourselves up to God day by day, without looking further. He carries us in His arms as a loving mother carries her child. Let us believe, hope, love, with all the simplicity of children. In every need let us look with love and trust to our Heavenly Father.
- Fenelon, Selections
"It's not as though we're deciding whether or not to have a baby. We're deciding what kind of baby we're willing to accept. If it's perfect in every way, we keep it. If it doesn't fit the right specifications, whoosh! Out it goes."...What do we live to do? If only they knew! This is why we share the gospel with people: they do not know what they were made to do -"to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever". To not know that God is our Maker, that sin destroys our ability fulfill our God-given purpose, that the cross and resurrection of Christ restores us to our God-glorifying destiny - to not know these things is an unspeakable tragedy. Without the gospel, life is meaningless. Without the gospel, we cannot see a hope or divine purpose in the gift of an abnormal child. Without the gospel, we will slaughter unwanted babies, and never know why it makes us feel bad. Without the gospel, we are in a wretched darkness that does not end when this life ends.
John was looking more and more confused. "Martha, why are you on this soapbox? What's your point?"
"My point is," I said, "that I'm trying to get you to tell me what you tink constitutes a 'defective' baby. What about...oh, I don't know, a hyperactive baby? Or an ugly one?"
"They can't test for those things and --"
"Well, what if they could?" I said. "Medicine can do all kinds of magical tricks these days. Pretty soon we're going to be aborting babies because they have the gene for alcoholism, or homosexuality, or manic depression...."
"Look," he said, "I know I can't always see things from your perspective. And I'm sorry about that. But the way I see it, if a baby is going to be deformed or something, abortion is a way to keep everyone from suffering - especially the baby. It's like shooting a horse that's broken its leg.... A lame horse dies slowly you know?...It dies in terrible pain. And it can't run anymore. So it can't enjoy life even if it doesn't die. Horses live to run; that's what they do. If a baby is born not being able to do what other people do, I think it's better not to prolong its suffering."
"And what is it," I said softly..."what is it that people do? What do we live to do, the way a horse lives to run?"
This morning I was listening to Sinclair Ferguson preach on the fear of the Lord, and heard him read this lovely poem by F. W. Faber:
My fear of Thee, O Lord, exults
Like life within my veins,
A fear which tightly claims to be
One of love's sacred pains.
There is no joy the soul can meet
Upon life's various road
Like the sweet fear that sits and shrinks
Under the eye of God.
Oh, Thou art greatly to be feared,
Thou art so prompt to bless!
The dread to miss such love as Thine
Makes fear but love's excess.
But fear is love, and love is fear,
And in and out they move;
But fear is an intenser joy
Than mere unfrightened love.
They love Thee little, if at all,—F. W. Faber
Who do not fear Thee much;
If love is Thine attraction, Lord!
Fear is Thy very touch.The Chaseur in the Forest
Caspar David Friedrich