by Samuel Logan Brengle
As lilies of the valley pour forth perfume, so good hearts pour forth thanksgiving. No mercy is too small to provoke it, no trial too severe to restrain it. As Samson got honey from the carcass of the lion he slew, and as Moses got water from the flinty rock, so the pure in heart are possessed of a sort of heavenly alchemy, a divine secret by which they get blessing out of all things, and for which there is giving of thanks.
A jubilant old saint in Boston came down to hoary hairs in deepest poverty and had to live on the charity of such friends as God raised up, and He raised them up. Bless His name! He who fed Elijah in the wilderness by the brook and in the poverty-stricken home of the desolate widow, found a way to feed His child in Boston. God is not blind, nor deaf, nor indifferent, nor indigent. He is not "the silent God" that some people in their self-conceit and wayward unbelief suppose. He knows how to be silent, and how to hide Himself from the proud in heart. But He cannot hide Himself anywhere in His big universe from childlike faith and pure, obedient, long-suffering, patient love. Hallelujah!
This old saint believed,
obeyed and rejoiced in God, and He raised up friends to supply her needs.
Now, one day one of them went upstairs with a dinner for the old lady,
and as she came to the door, she heard a voice within, and thinking there
was a visitor present, and delicately wishing that her charity should not
be a cause of embarrassment, she stopped and listened. It was the voice
of the old Christian at her
To her thankful heart that crust was more than a feast and a well-filled cupboard and a fat bank-account to him who has not a trustful, thankful spirit.
I heard of a rich man the other day who killed himself because he feared he might become poor. He was poor. Jesus said, "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth," and no more does a man's real riches, but rather in the spirit with which he possesses them.
Heaven is not parceled off into lots and estates. The angels own nothing and yet they possess all things and are eternally rich. And so with the true saint that trusts God and loves and obeys and is thankful.
The stars in their courses fight for him. He is now in harmony with the elemental and heavenly forces and the eternal laws of the universe of God, and all things work together for his good. Not a hair of his head falls without God's notice. Not a desire rises in his heart but God's great heart throbs responsive to fulfil it, for does not the Psalmist say, "He will fulfil the desires of them that fear Him"? Not simply the fervent prayer, but the timid, secret desire that has not been voiced in prayer, shall be fulfilled. And how dare God do that? Because a holy fear will not allow a desire that is not in harmony with God's character and the interests of His Kingdom.
Napoleon gave blank checks on his bank to one of his marshals. One complained to the Emperor that the drafts made were enormous and should not be allowed. "Let him alone; he trusts and honors me, and I will trust him," said Napoleon. God puts all things at the command of His saints, and trusts them while He asks them to trust Him. Why, then, should we not be thankful?
Nothing will keep the heart so young and banish carking care so quickly, and smooth the wrinkles from the brow so certainly, and fill the life with such beauty, and make one's influence so fragrant and gracious, and shed abroad such peace and gladness, as this sweet spirit of thankfulness.
This spirit can and should be cultivated. There is much in the lot of each of us to be thankful for. We should thank him for personal liberty, and for the measure of health we have. There is a good old soul up the Hudson who for thirty years or thereabout has been lying in bed, while her bones have softened, and she is utterly helpless and always in pain, but she praises and praises and praises God.
We should thank Him that
we are not insane, that our poor minds are not unbalanced and rent and
torn by horrid nightmares and dreads and nameless terrors and deep despair
and wild and restless ravings. We should thank Him for the light and blessings
of civilization, past mercies, present comforts and future prospects, food,
with the appetite to eat it, and the power to digest it, raiment to wear,
books to read,
David said, "I will praise Thee." He put his will into it. Daniel "prayed and gave thanks" three times a day. David outdid Daniel, for he says, "Seven times a day do I praise Thee."
Know this, that if you are not thankful your heart is yet bad, your soul unclean, for good hearts and pure souls are thankful. So go to the root of the matter and get rid of sin and get filled with the Holy Spirit. Flee to Jesus for riddance from the unholy spirit, and the subtle selfishness that possesses you.
People who live in the midst
of foul odors and harsh sounds cease to smell and hear them, but if for
a while they could slip away to the sweet air and holy quiet of the woods
and fields, and then return to their noxious and noisy homes, their quickened
senses would be shocked by the noisome surroundings. And so selfish people
often live in themselves so long that they do not realize their selfishness
and sin, except as
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