Trusting to Demonstration

How much reluctance there is among men who dwell in pride of power, to acknowledge "that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men"! Let the monarch think it is he who rules over men, and he will arrogate to himself what they accomplish. Nebuchadnezzar is a noted historic example. Unwarned by the dream of the spreading tree,—"whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much,"—which at the heavenly watcher's bidding was hewn down, the leaves shaken off, and the fruit scattered, he continued to develop the insanity of pride, until his self-glorification broke forth in the boast, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?"

But who had builded the city? Were not the builders the legions of men who knew the art of making bricks; those who had learned the secrets of the potter's oven, who knew how to temper bitumen aright, who could carve stone and swing the slabs and monoliths into exact place? A host of carpenters and builders, gardeners and farmers, importers and merchants, artificers and jewelers, dyemakers and weavers, through obedience to the law and order of their trades, had contributed to the making of the city. A host unseen—in ships on the sea, with caravans in the desert, in mulberry groves where the silkworms fed, on snow-clad heights and sunny plains—were also at work contributing to the city's glory and honor. The very slaves by their ceaseless toil were maintainers of the city's order. How absurd, then, was the boast of him who said he had built "this great Babylon"! Ungrateful for the labors to which his greatness was largely due, uncognizant of the fidelity with which the laborers had wrought, he was disposed to arrogate to himself all the credit for the demonstrations of unnumbered others. No wonder that "his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses ... till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men."

The Talmud gives credit to Solomon for having deeper discernment, for the story is told that when the temple was finished, he provided a feast for the craftsmen within its court. At his right hand there was placed an empty chair. At this place was to sit the worker who had contributed most to the beauty of the structure. Now when the guests gathered and the throng in long procession came to the throne seat, they saw at its right hand the seat already occupied, and by an iron-worker, or smith, whom none of them had seen at work upon the walls or engaged in carving the pillars. Cries of indignation were therefore heard; but the king called for silence, and bade the smith justify himself. He claimed the seat to be his by right, since he had made all the tools for the other crafts, and without him the workmen could have done nothing. "And Solomon spake his judgment on the matter, The seat is his by right. All honor to the ironworker."

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Praying Aright
February 27, 1915

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.