A DARK CLOUD AND ITS SILVER LINING
John G Whittier
''I bring you good tidings of
which shall be unto all people." [Luke 2:10]
"There is one Mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due
time." [1 Tim. 2:5-6]
THE SILVER LINING OF THE DARK
He told of the primal fall,
And how, henceforth, the wrath of God
Rested on each and all;
And how, of His will and pleasure,
All souls, save a chosen few,
Were doomed to eternal torture,
And held in the way thereto.
Yet never, by Faith's unreason,
A saintlier soul was tried,
And never the harsh old lesson
A tenderer heart belied.
And after the painful service,
On that pleasant, bright first day,
He walked with his little daughter
Thro' the apple bloom of May.
Sweet in the fresh green meadow
Sparrow and blackbird sung;
Above him its tinted petals
The blossoming orchard hung.
Around, on the wonderful glory,
The minister looked and smiled:
"How good is the Lord, who gives us
These gifts from His hand, my child.
"Behold in the bloom of apples,
And violets in the sward,
A hint of the old lost beauty
Of the garden of the Lord."
Then upspake the little maiden,
Treading on snow and pink,
"O father! these pretty blossoms
Are very wicked I think.
"Had there been no Garden of Eden,
There never had been a fall;
And if never a tree had blossomed
God would have loved us all."
"Hush, child!" the Father answered,
"By His decree men fell;
His ways are in clouds and darkness,
But He doeth all things well.
"And whether by his ordaining
To us cometh good or ill,
Joy or pain, or light or shadow,
We must fear and love Him still."
"Oh, I fear Him!" said the daughter,
"And I try to love Him, too;
But I wish He were kind and gentle-
Kind and loving as you."
The minister groaned in spirit,
As the tremulous lips of pain,
And wide, wet eyes, uplifted,
Questioned his own in vain.
Bowing his head, he pondered
The words of his little one.
Had he erred in his life-long teachings,
And wrong to his Master done?
To what grim and dreadful idol
Had he lent the holiest name?
Did his own heart, loving and human,
The God of his worship shame?
And lot from the bloom and greenness,
From the tender skies above,
And the face of his little daughter,
He read a lesson of love.
And as when, in the clefts of Horeb,
Of old was his presence known,
The dread, ineffable glory
Was infinite goodness alone.
No more as the cloudy terror
Of Sinai's mount of law,
But as Christ in the Syrian lilies
The vision of God he saw.
Thereafter his hearers noted
In his prayers a tenderer strain,
And never the message of hatred
Burned on his lips again.
And the scoffing tongue was prayerful,
And the blinded eyes found sight,
And hearts, as flint aforetime,
Grew soft in his warmth and light.
The poet has graphically pictured the darkness
which has so long oppressed God's people; but the same God who is now lifting the curtain
and bringing to lightIn the Minister's morning sermon labor-saving conveniences,
preparatory to the great reign of righteousness, peace and blessing, called the
Millennium, is also bringing to light certain teachings in his Word bearing upon the same
period, showing that he has yet in store for that time great spiritual blessings for men.
And this is only what we should expect, according to God's promise (Dan. 12:4,9; 1 Thess.
5:4-6; Luke 8:10), and according to our prayer, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as in heaven."
In the light of this further unfolding of the
Scriptures it appears that we and many of God's people have been right in urging that
God's character would yet be cleared of the charges of injustice and cruelty so long urged
against him by scoffers, and supported not only by the creeds of Christendom, but
seemingly also by some dark looking passages in the Bible.
But we can only give you a mere hint of the blessing
and encouragement now obtainable by those who hunger and thirst after
righteousness--truth, etc. The light has come through studying God's plan dispensationally--
recognizing the various ages as connected in one great, good, loving plan which God
had purposed in himself before the creation of our race, which began to be accomplished
when Christ our Lord died for our sins, and which is to be fully accomplished by Christ
and his Church glorified, during an age just dawning, whose light is even now waking up
the world. The key to the understanding of God's gracious plan has long lain hidden in six
words in our text--"a ransom for all," and the assurance that this favor
for all shall reach them in God's "due time."
Thus we introduce to you a book which, in the name of
God and for the blessing of his Church, we are circulating everywhere, at the
unremunerative price of 25 cents, and loaning it freely to those too poor to purchase --
"The Plan of the Ages,"