Religious Items

In the Sermon on the Mount there is a Thanksgiving proclamation attributed to that Son of Man who laid bare the most precious secrets of the human heart. It is a wonderful proclamation; and it cuts squarely across all the selfish instincts and narrow purposes of the people who are just good and nothing else. It holds its place supreme in religious literature, with no second but Paul's matchless song of love. It makes all ordinary invitations to praise and prayer seem commonplace and trivial. To those who are on the heights of power and prosperity, it brings to view principles and treasures compared with which all their worldly gains are not worth the mention. At the same time, by a similar contrast, it makes those who have suffered much and long, forgetful of their anxieties, and even happy, as they see the beauty and grandeur of that which rises behind the vicissitudes of their fortunes, and gives human life its meaning.

The great preacher did not shut out the dreary routine of the common life nor forget its tragedies. He knew the shame, the sorrow, the terror, which afflicted the men and women about him. But he does not pity them, he does not complain of the wrongs they suffer. He does not even promise them present deliverance and redress, and the punishment of those who afflict them. But, as he is set before us in the simplicity of the narrative, he stands before them tender, cheerful, courageous, and tells them how blessed they are. "Happy are ye, sons and daughters of men; for yours is the kingdom of heaven. You shall see God. You shall be called His children. Rejoice and be exceeding glad." And the wonder of it is that poor, sick, suffering, sorrowful human creatures heard his word and believed him. They did not turn away in despair with the complaint that his optimism did not feed the hungry, nor bless the sorrowful, nor bind up the wounds of those who were persecuted for righteousness' sake; but in some wonderful way they accepted his statement of truth, and went away fed and healed and comforted, and full of the spirit of thanksgiving.—The Christian Register.

November 27, 1902

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