Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Every period and every place have their peculiar obstructions to the Christian life. The mistake committed by theologians is in making the Devil but one, when his name is Legion. The great inductive philosopher assigned four kinds of prejudices to man. The devils might have a similar classification, and there is one of those which come from the market, or from intercourse and association with mankind, that might without slander be called the Devil of Haste. We live in an age of hurry. Life, that was formerly likened to a journey, a voyage, or a pilgrimage, has become a race, a chase, in which not bit and bridle, but spurs and whip, are deemed the rider's best equipment. A late writer has said that "a railway train should be the emblem on our shield, with the motto, Hurrah!" In short, the devil of Haste has entered in and possessed us. He hurries us so fast that we have no time to "be still and know God," no place quiet enough to read our Bibles and say our prayers. Or, if he should put his hand upon religion, he wishes, to use the vulgar phrase, to "put it through quick," and he has therefore a high estimation of camp-meetings and revivals, and the whole enginery of fear and excitement, as speedy labour-saving machines to accomplish a work which, in the slower times of prophets, apostles, martyrs and saints, it was thought could only he effected by a lifetime of prayer and charity and self-denial. This style of Christianity will be perishable, we apprehend, as it is rapid. Character is not a blow struck once, but a growth. And we see this same forcing method employed in education: everything must be done rapidly. We have short, twelve-lesson modes of learning, forcing processes of prizes, and embittering emulation to stuff the youthful memory with the largest amount of studies, whether understood and digested or not. Hence tender plants are watered so much that they are drowned. The fuel is heaped so abundantly on the fire that every spark goes out. But this hot and impatient mode of life leaves a host of duties not done, a multitude of truths not meditated, a world of pleasures not enjoyed, and a constellation of graces and virtues not cultivated and assimilated. Who indeed can doubt that, if men would oftener stop in their hurried life and recur to the First Great Cause, and cast a look to heaven while toiling and worrying themselves among their earthly cares, they would be far better armed against temptation, and that fountains of unfading happiness would be opened to the thirsting soul? Who is weak when the thought of God is in his mind? Who is wretched when he consciously rests on an Almighty arm? Alas! how much of the time we call life is really the death, the deadness, of the living part! We vacate the ample palace of the soul, to take up mean and miserable quarters in the hut of coarse and brutish worldliness. How much we need to do what we were told when children to do in reading, mind our stops! Did a day never pass when close and absorbing business so steeped your senses in forgetfulness, that even the thought of God, much less a calm and conscious leaning upon Him, a felt uplifting and grateful opening of the heart to Him, as the Fountain of light and love, never for one blessed instant visited you from twilight to twilight? The prisoner of worldliness is sunk in a subterranean dungeon, whose solid darkness is not pierced by a solitary ray. Let us know that quicksilver is not the only metal, nor lightning the only clement. Instead of this feverish and eager rushing across the stage of life, as of the horse plunging into the battle, we will lift up serene brows to the calm heavens, and we will repeat in a low tone that beautiful strain, which has been chanted for two thousand years, to quiet the restless bosom of humanity, never more restless than here and now — "Be still, and know that I am God."
(A. A. Livermore.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.