Taught of God

John 6:45.---' It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.'

'It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.' It is like a prophet's thought---lofty, free, unfettered, spiritual, bearing the very seal and signature of heaven. It is not meant that any man shall be left without some witness or evidence of the Divine. If he cannot find it, it is not because it has not been provided; it is because he has not seen it, or, seeing it has not recognized it, or perhaps having some prejudice or preconception about such things, he has been looking in totally wrong places. If a man really wants some witness of the Divine he need not go far for it. He does not need to travel, to become a worshipper in sacred places, to make a pilgrimage to holy shrines. Let him find witness in a grass-blade. Let him find it in a little child. Let him look for it under humble roofs, where luxury has no chance to spoil and poverty no power to embitter. Let him look for it in himself, written in every throb of pure affection, in every aspiration after something better, in every unselfish thought, in every courageous and steady impulse of the will. These are the records to study, the voices to listen to, the witnesses to question and cross-examine until they yield up their secret. The great, deep, eternal principles of life---the striking, insistent, ever-present facts of experience---the love that is to be discovered beneath all contrary experiences, all perplexing inconsistencies and contradictions---the loyalty that endures even to the end---in these such as these are to be found the evidences of the present revelation. There is a way to God through the troubled heart of Man, just as surely as there is a way to Man through the manifested love of God.

It is in the pauses of my work, those little interludes when the rush of things is quiet, when I look out my window and realize the silent, steady power of Nature; or in the evening when I have a moment to look up into a measureless sky full of stars; or when I see an act of pure, disinterested goodness---such as the little angels must run up and whisper into the ears of God to make Him happy; it is at such times that I have a real sense of God.

There are certain convictions and ideals which are the holiest things I know. It is plain to me that to turn away from them would be to close the door to all higher life and power. If I should betray them, or give them up, my way would be utterly dark. When I realize this I cannot help thinking that these holiest elements of my nature, which are the stars in my inner sky, are a revelation of God, bringing Him near to me.

It is meant that Man shall be taught direct of God. here are no doubt many mediums through which Divine truth comes to us; under human conditions some kind of mediation is a necessity. There are human witnesses to whom many of us owe undying gratitude. Through their life and testimony has come to us that which we have now learned to value as our richest possession---the conviction, or rather the experience, of God, and the vast, rich, many-sided life that He makes possible. But no medium, whether it be Church, Book, or Man, is meant to stand between the soul and God. There is to be a direct line of communication open up between the Father and child. Jesus Himself does not come to stand between us and God; He comes to bring us to God, to reconcile us to Him, to hand us over to Him as willing captives, the trophies of His own redemption.

There are many reasons why it is necessary for us to come into direct and intimate touch with God.

For one thing, every man is capable of rendering a distinct witness of the Divine. A man's personal witness to truth will probably take shape and color from the manner of his own conversion, as well as from the complexion of his own mind and the mould of his own character. Is it not striking and suggestive to note the variety of testimony in the Scriptures? Every prophet has his own peculiar message. The truth taught by Isaiah comes in a different dress from that of Amos or Hosea or Jeremiah. The mystical John sends forth quite a different form of message from the intellectual Paul. Each man has his own key-note, and it has been tuned by his special and incommunicable experience.

Let every man and woman whose hearts God has touched bear their own testimony; let them say how God appears to them; let them not hesitate to declare what the Lord has done for their soul. The very humblest witness is needed; God misses it,and man loses something, if it is not given.

When Jesus was dining with Simon the Pharisee He said, contrasting His host's lack of courtesy with the outpouring affection of the sinful woman, 'Thou gavest me no water, . . . thou gavest me no kiss, . . . thou gavest me no oil,.. .'; the neglect struck a momentary chill to His sensitive heart. May it not be that God is dissappointed because some of us have not given Him the music of a dedicated life? The eye is placed where a certain ray of light may fall, in order that it may testify of that particular ray.

Another reason why it is needful for men to be taught direct of God is that the prescribed teachers of religion may themselves have lost the touch of inspiration. This is what had happened in Christ's day. The Scribes and Rabbis had become dry, tedious, technical; the well-spring had become choked with the dust of dead dogmas and the rubbish of accumulated legalisms and petty maxims. There was a form of godliness, but not the power. We may know when a religious teacher is in touch with living truth by his originality, his spiritual force; he compels men to listen. So the common people heard Christ gladly; they recognized a new note, they perceived a fresh touch. They had never heard God interpreted in so living, arresting, persuasive a fashion; and as St. Luke says strikingly, 'The people all hung upon him, listening.' To keep faith with God through Christ on the one hand, and in sympathetic touch with human life in all its richness, variety, and mystery on the other: this is what opens the well-spring of inspiration and keeps it flowing and pure.

A man must choose some way of life---if he be wise, let him choose the way that makes the best man of him, and creates him a source of richest inspiration to his fellow-men. And that which makes the best man of him, and an avenue of noblest and most helpful service, is belief in God through Jesus Christ, for he is 'the way, the truth, the life.'

In Christ, timothy. maranatha