There be many that say, Who will show us any good? LORD, lift you up the light of your countenance on us.
I. THE WORLD'S CRY. With the question, as such, no fault is to be found, seeing it is natural to man. But the questioners are of varied type.
1. The unrestrained sensualist.
2. The orderly, selfish, even tempered, moral, prudential worldling, against whom society can bring no positive charge, but from whom it can expect no conscious benefit.
3. The striving and ambitious, whose ruling passion is acquisitiveness.
4. The recluse student, calculator, bookworm, who gives his ,life to the pursuit of knowledge. Many of them are martyrs of science. "Oh," cried one, "for a century to study a grain of sand, or a blade of grass!" "More light!" exclaimed the dying Goethe. But many and potent as are the charms of science, if pursued as a chief aim, it can only end in disappointment.
5. There is the agnostic, and the insatiable man of action, whose delight is in adventure, discovery, heroic achievement, social influence.
6. There is the type aesthetic, the worshipper of the beautiful in literature and art. But the beautiful alone can never satisfy.
II. HEAVEN'S ANSWER. It is the light of God's countenance that will fill our hearts with gladness and peace. This "good" is —
1. Universally accessible to the earnest seeker. A certain writer speaks of "youth as a blunder, manhood a labour, and old age a regret." God could not have meant that they should be so.
4. Without it nothing else can be of real use to us. Classical story, tells of a philosopher, who was admitted to a grand merrymaking of the Celestials. He was informed that, among the noble and majestic forms around him, there was one, and only one, earth born like himself. He was asked whether, looking at them in all the pomp of royalty, he could pick out his fellow mortal. Contrary to expectation, there was not the slightest difficulty. Though enthroned among gods, and though, like them, he carried a sceptre, and wore golden sandals, and a purple fillet, and talked and nodded as divinely, the man was instantly and unmistakably detected by the restlessness of his eye. That ,is a profoundly melancholy, and yet a triumphantly suggestive allegory. "Rest!" exclaimed Peter of Russia to his jaded soldiers; "you will have rest enough in the grave." Is that all? Have we no "parish rights" anywhere in the universe? Yes, there is a love if you will but accept it, a power which, if you yield to it, will make this earth the very gate of heaven.
(R. Griffith, F. G. S.)
Parallel VersesKJV: There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.