SATURDAY READING: The Silence of Angels, by David P. McAstocker

From Speaking of Angels

The various kingdoms which God brought into being silently speak to us of his greatness and omnipotence.  There are sermons in stones for anyone who desires to read them.  A snow-crowned mountaintop reminds us of a majestic cathedral, pointing always toward the skies.  And the planets lose not one precious moment in speaking of God.  Their works proclaim the creator’s worth.  “The heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declares the work of his hands.” (Psalms 18:2)

The vegetable kingdom, which is like to God in being and in life, presents a similar lesson of silence and repose.  Without noise or commotion the sheaves of grain develop and grow to full maturity.  Without blare of trumpet the cohorts of spring appear in the land; countless blossoms foretell the rich harvest of fruit and of flowers which soon become a reality.  Silently innumerable petals of roses, of violets, and of various other flowers are crushed, and from these are distilled different essences of exquisite perfume.  Nature indeed loves silence.

The same is true of many an instrument made by the ingenuity of man.  In perfect repose the sundial goes about its allotted task of informing people of the time of day.  Noiselessly the sextant performs its task; the same is true of the blackboards we used at school, of the telescope, the microscope, and hundreds of other inventions.

But ascend a step higher.  Consider man, the ruler of this terrestrial paradise.  There are those who indite learned volumes and expect thereby to have their names emblazoned on Fame’s perishable scroll.  But there are a select few who belong to the elite of the universe.  They shock the world into sanity by being books rather than by writing them.

Now the influence of a book – either for good or ill – is primarily a silent one.  Though dumb, a book continues to speak; and the greater number of copies struck from the press and placed in circulation multiplies likewise the volume in question.  We have had in this vale of tears many a noble and heroic person who chose rather to be a book.  He had no desire to write one.  Such souls, though some were obliged to mingle constantly with poor, suffering humanity, had nevertheless a far-off, dreamy look in their eyes.  Always they realized that they had not here a lasting city and that the words of the poet of the South were poignantly true.

Hearts that are great beat never loud,
They muffle their music when they come;
They hurry away from the thronging crowd
With bended brows and lips half dumb,

And the world looks on and mutters—“Proud.”
But when great hearts have passed away
Men gather in awe and kiss their shroud,
And in love they kneel around their clay.

Hearts that are great are always lone,
They never will manifest their best;
Their greatest greatness is unknown—
Earth knows a little—God the rest.

Our divine Lord never wrote a book, but his life was one.  A perfect symphony it was, a masterpiece, a fountain of living water quenching the quenchless yearnings of mankind until the sundial of life ceases to perform.

Christ’s life was the acme of perfection; because he is divine as well as human, more words have been written about Jesus of Nazareth than about any other individual.  There is some hope for the human race as long as the Bible remains a best setter in the land.

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