What is Man?
Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion?
If we are inclined to boast of our abilities, the grandeur of nature will quickly show us how puny we are. We cannot move the least of all the twinkling stars or quench so much as one of the sunbeams of the morning. We speak of power, but the heavens laugh us to scorn. When the stars shine forth in spring-like joy, we cannot restrain their influences; and when Orion reigns above, and the year is bound in winter’s chains, we cannot relax the icy grip. The seasons arrive by divine appointment, and it is impossible for men to change the cycle. Lord, what is man?
In the spiritual, as in the natural, world, man’s power is limited on all hands. When the Holy Spirit sheds abroad His delights in the soul, none can disturb; all the cunning and malice of men are unable to prevent the genial, quickening power of the Comforter. When He deigns to visit a church and revive it, the most inveterate enemies cannot resist the good work; they may ridicule it, but they can no more restrain it than they can push back the spring when the Pleiades rule the hour. God wills it, and so it must be.
On the other hand, if the Lord in sovereignty, or in justice, binds up a man so that his soul is in bondage, who can give him liberty? He alone can remove the winter of spiritual death from an individual or a people. He looses the bands of Orion, and none but He. What a blessing it is that He can do it. O that He would perform the wonder tonight. Lord, end my winter, and let my spring begin. I cannot with all my longings raise my soul out of her death and dullness, but all things are possible with You. I need heavenly influences, the clear shinings of Your love, the beams of Your grace, the light of Your countenance—these are as summer suns to me. I suffer greatly from sin and temptation; these are my terrible wintry signs. Lord, work wonders in me, and for me. Amen.
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