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      Horatius Bonar        

April 2011

 from Horatius Bonar

Horatius Bonar (1808-89), older brother of Andrew, was a gospel minister whose name  is particularly associated with Kelso, in the Scottish borders, where he ministered.

Rejoice and be glad! The Redeemer hath come;
Go, look on his cradle, his cross and his tomb.
Sound his praises, tell the story of him who was slain;
Sound his praises, tell with gladness he liveth again.

It is said of Arabian airs that they are all plaintive. They all touch some melancholy chord, as if the wail of the desert echo were the keynote of each melody. It is in some measure thus with the children of the kingdom, while sojourning in this wilderness of earth. ‘Their voice is ever soft, gentle, and low’. Sorrow has smoothed away its harshness, and breathed gentler feeling into its tones. True, it is the voice of gladness, for it is the voice of the forgiven; but still it is sorrowing gladness, calm and serious joy. Their peculiar lot as followers of a hated Lord and their peculiar circumstances, as standing in the midst of a doomed and dying world, have wrought into their spirit a deep though serene solemnity of expression, alike in look and voice.

It is not by doubting but by believing that we overcome. Faith leads us first of all to Abel’s ‘more excellent sacrifice’. By faith we quit Ur and Egypt and Babylon, setting our face to the eternal city. By faith we offer up our Isaacs, and worship ‘leaning on the top of our staff’, and ‘give commandment concerning our bones’. By faith we choose affliction with the people of God, and despise Egypt’s treasures. By faith we keep the Passover; pass through the Red Sea; overthrow Jerichos; subdue kingdoms; work righteousness; stop the mouth of lions; quench the violence of fire; turn to flight the armies of aliens, and refuse deliverance in the day of trial, that we may obtain a better resurrection.

No blood, no altar now;
The sacrifice is o’er;
No flame, no smoke ascends on high,
The lamb is slain no more.
But richer blood has flowed from nobler veins,
To purge the soul from guilt and cleanse the reddest stains.

The world is still sleeping its ‘sleep of death’ … Yet God has not left it to sleep on unwarned. He has spoken in a voice that might reach the dullest ears and quicken the coldest heart … Yet in one sense the world’s sleep has never been universal. Never has there been an age when it could be said that there is not one awake. The multitude has always slept, but there has always been a little flock awake.

Come, Lord, and tarry not; Bring the long-looked for day;
O why these years of waiting here, These ages of delay?
Come, for thy saints still wait; Daily ascends their sigh;
The Spirit and the bride say, Come; Wilt thou not hear the cry?