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gree a pure life as the basis of the service rendered. It proved to mean a lions' den, and the power of God overcoming the instincts of ravenous beasts. But clear beyond these it meant that God could reach His world with His message to an unusual extent.
Daniel's three companions helped God by means of a most thrilling experience, a really terrible experience. God had been pleading with the great Nebuchadnezzar through Daniel's message. Now He wants to speak again in a way that will compel attention. He needs these three young men. They consent to be His messengers. It meant going through a terrible ordeal. They simply remained true in their personal devotion to God. This was the thing God needed, and used. Everything of use to God roots down in the life. The personal plea of the great king, and the prospect of a horrible death fail alike to move them. They probably had quite resigned themselves to the fate of being burned alive for the truth. But God had a different purpose. He was thinking about this ruler with whom He dealt so personally and unusually, time and again.
The three men, walking quietly up and down in the seven-times heated furnace in company with a glorious looking person “like a son of the gods ”—this was the message God wanted spoken to the ruler He was pleading with. His strangely marvellous power, and His personal regard for His faithful followers—this was what God was trying to say to Nebuchadnezzar. He asked the
use of these three young men. Their personal loyalty to Himself even unto death-this was what He wanted. Through this He reached the heart of the man He was after.
The experience of these men is an intensely interesting study. It was a fearful ordeal that they went through. Yet it was wholly mental, and of the spirit. They suffered no pain of body, nor inconvenience. The fire only made them free, burned up the bonds that held them. It took great strength of will, of decision, to stay steady through all the fearful test. Yet nothing happened to their bodies except to help them. God took care of that. They gave Him what He asked. He gave them more than they expected. They probably expected death and were willing. God had a deeper plan He was working out. How glad they must have been that they followed fully, that they didn't disappoint God.
Following meant simply being true, even though the road led through a furnace. God would attend to the furnace. Their part was simply to follow where He led. And our God is needing just such acted messages to-day. He is longing for just such opportunities to reveal His power and love, not merely to us, but through us to His world.
Let us take time for one more of these faithful followers. This time it is a young woman. It is at the most critical juncture of God's plan, thus far. He needed a woman whom He could use to bring His Son, and could use further to
mother that Son's early years. All unconsciously Mary of Nazareth and of Bethlehem was fitting into His plan in her life, her simple, pure, godly, personal life. We can understand that God wooed her especially to such a life of heart devotion as a preparation for the after part. And she said “Yes” to all His wooings, never suspecting what was to come of it. You never know how much a simple “Yes” to God may mean, or a “No." You never know how much of service may grow out of the true life. Yet all true service is something coming out of the life.
Then the plan of God was made known to her, —the marvellous plan, yet so simple to Him. And again she said a simple, awed “Yes.” She waits only long enough to ask the natural, woman's question as to method. There was no questioning of God's power, what He could do, and would do. It came to mean hurting suspicion, peculiarly hurting to as pure and gentle a soul as she. Apparently this was unavoidable. It speaks volumes for her openness of both mind and heart to God, that she instantly took in Gabriel's meaning, and could take it in that such an unprecedented thing was possible. It would have saved her the cruel suspicion if Joseph had been told beforehand, but the whole probability is that he could not have taken it in that such a thing was possible.
Following meant the glad “ Yes" to the early wooing up to a pure devoted life. It meant saying a further “Yes” to the plan of God even
though something so unusual, and with it the misunderstanding and cruel suspicion, on the one point most sensitive to a woman, and by the one nearest her. But she said “Yes” both times. She let God have the use of her life for His plan. That was all He asked. That is all He asks. But that is what He asks.
These are a few of the glorious company of followers, the goodly fellowship of those who have helped God in His passionate plan for His world, the noble army of willing ones. But the number is incomplete. The plan is not yet fully worked out. The need is not yet wholly met. It was never more urgent. To-day the insistent voice still comes as of old, asking you and me to follow.
And no one can tell how much his following may mean to God in reaching His world.
THE GLORY OF THE GOAL,
FACE TO FACE
“With You Always."
Have you ever seen Christ? No, I don't mean have you been to some uplifting convention, and been tremendously caught by some talented, earnest speaker, and been swayed by the atmosphere of the hour and place, and felt that all was not just as it should be with you; and then you prayed more, and made some new resolves, or re-made some old ones, and left off some things, and put on some things; I don't mean that, but this—have you ever seen Christ?
No, of course, you don't see Him with these outer eyes. Well, then just what do I mean practically? This—has there come to you a real sense of Himself? of His presence? of the tremendous plea His presence makes? and, possibly, you don't know just how to answer. You say, “ I'm not just sure,”
How can I know? Well, you'll never say it that way, nor ask that question again after the experience has come.
May I tell you a little bit about it? Yet, mark you, only a little bit.” You can never tell another one what it means to see Him. When once the sight has come, every word you'utter