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THE YOUNG RICH RULER.
FAILURE IN CONVERSION.
BY THE REV. A. H. DRYSDALE, M.A.
but instruc- most promising of all, this strong, though
A noble by Very sorrowful indeed. Yes; all that birth, a ruler by office, he breaks through go away from Christ, refusing His grace the trammels of class and caste. He and guidance, have bitter occasion to go scruples not to kneel with reverence away sorrowful. Of all the sorrowful before Jesus on the public highway. steps a man can take in life, surely the Everything seems to favour a happy re- most sorrowful is that of turning the back sult. The young man has maintained on Christ, mortified and disappointed. a blameless reputation. His great riches Ah! why did so eager an enquiry lead to have not proved a snare, as they often so “lame and impotent a conclusion ?” do, on the sensual side of life. Nor have How did not Christ become to him, there they made him haughty and overbear- and then, what he had fondly called him, ing toward others. On the contrary, his Good Master ? he has many admirable and amiable Oh! it needs but one idol only qualities that awaken a kindly interest. one misplaced devotion of the soul-to
Jesus, looking on him, loved him.” render all better wishes ineffectual or Moreover, the young man is not without transient. If this young man had only spiritual thought and yearnings. See possessed his wealth; but the misfortune him coming to Christ, not as many sup- was, it possessed him. And no man can
he about his soul. He has anxieties about heart, and we cannot act as if we had two his eternal safety. How serious and to dispose of. He lacked but one thing, urgent the question on his lips, "Good the Lord said, in order to enjoy eternal Master, what shall I do that I may in life, a single-minded aim and purpose herit eternal life?" He is neither à after its blessings. hard-shell Pharisee, nor a scoffing Sad- This was the fatal defect, a wholeducee. For he has felt in some measure hearted devotion to its interests and the unsatisfactoriness of a mere religious claims. The gallant and stately, ship profession however respectable. And he may have many things lacking in its has become conscious of an aching void equipment, and yet be safe at sea ; but within, that neither his wealth nor his permit a gaping leak under the water
Iine, then all is lost. So this interesting
1 Mark x. 17-27.
and hopeful young man begins to sink any son, the voice from heaven proclaing away down from Christ, because he would “It is enough : stay now thine hand,” maintain a free inlet to his heart for that and Isaac is restored. Yes; the Lord covetousness which is idolatry. And yet, never exacts beyond what is fit in any how profound his unconsciousness of all case. He here aims at the possessions this ! For how gross is his self-ignorance and at the whole of them—that he may and self-deception! He actually thought the better reveal the covetousness that is he had been keeping all the command- idolatry lurking in the young man's heart. ments of God. What, therefore, must Alas! how many flutter fondly about the Lord in mercy do at the very outset, Christ, like this young man: they feel, but reveal the young man to himself ? they kneel, they wish, but get no farther. For with all his sense of something lack- Some secret idol is keeping them in ing, he thinks to eke out his past short- thrall. “I have read of many a bad comings if Jesus would suggest a few pope," says John Newton, “but the worst things he might easily do. Hence the tone I ever m met with is Pope SELF." of challenge in his question, "Good Master, most difficult thing I have found in pracwhat must I do to inherit eternal life?” tical religion,” said James Hervey," is to
To keep the commandments had been crucify sinful self.” “Nay, rather, righta simple task from his youth. Why not eous self” replied a more experienced disseek to have a surplus of goodness, and ciple of Dr. Doddridge. The worship of get a step or two in advance of all God's self is the last and most dangerous strongordinary and reasonable claims, and hold of idolatry. thereby make his own position perfectly If the young ruler got a new insight secure? No wonder our Lord replies, into himself, the disciples got a new “Why callest thou Me good ? None is insight into salvation. They were asgood but one-God.” He is the supreme, tonished out of measure, saying “Who the absolute good; entitled to the un- then can be saved ?" If a single idol reserved and undivided devotion of the cherished in the heart may sink a soul'; heart. Thou then who keepest the if to be converted means to be set free commandments, listen to the very first. from the bondage of the idols of self-will, Thou who dost'“ love the Lord thy God self-seeking, self-sufficiency, self-rightwith all thy heart and with all thy soul,” eousness, and if, when we carry our appeal Go, I say, in the name of the Lord thy to Christ himself
, He confronts us with a God, sell what thou hast and give to the demand extremely distasteful, and meets poor. Ah! what an opening of his eyes! us with a proposal that mortifies our A painful, but, probably in the end, a pride, and irritates our spirit of opposisalutary disenchantment. Not that it tion; what is to subdue our rebellious was necessary, as an absolute rule, to will — to dispose us to be rid of the part with one's possessions; only to show might and mastery of all idols together? how he stood to them, and if he could No human power can do it; but God's part with them at the divine call. It is power can. the old familiar case of God trying us, Has not His creative power become as we try the links of a chain, at the saving and converting power for us? weakest point. Thus when God would Take hold of this offered help in a prove Abraham, he uses no test of money Diving Redeemer's outstretched hand. or wealth. It is the father's affection Seek His promised aid. Plead His for the only and well - beloved Isaac, pledged word. And "In the Lord you that forms the decisive test in his case. will find everlasting strength: the saving But when the patriarch had shewn that strength of the right-hand of the Most God was a higher good to him than High.
MILE from Kir- David, naturally of almost feminine kintilloch, and sensitiveness, and of exceedingly highsome eight miles strung temperament, had awakened to from Glasgow, see the world with the eyes of a poet, at a place called and his dream was to be a great poet. Makland, and His father and mother perceived the hard by a small change in him, but could not understand stream called the it. They were disappointed, and their Luggie, that sober practical minds failed to see how trots away to there could be any desirable or even the west to join possible career open to their boy in the the Kelvin, direction in which all his energies were which in now struggling forward. Something turn flows to the like misunderstanding arose
between Clyde, David father and son, at any rate a barrier of Gray was born silence came between them, not from on the 29th of want of mutual love or esteem, but beJanuary, 1838. cause their minds moved in spheres so His parents were different that there could be little honest, upright, common ground of thought or sympathy God-fearing between them. The hardworking father
country folks, grieved over the want of practical wisdom occupying a lowly station in society, his in his son; the son, hardworking, also in father being a handloom weaver. David, his own way, had his whole soul filled the first-born of a family consisting of with dreams of poesy and fame. But all five sons and three daughters, from this was to change, and the change was his childhood gave indications of talent not far distant. and cleverness. His parents, who had There was great perplexity in the themselves received but an indifferent home at Makland, when, on the 5th of education, were fully sensible of the May, 1860, the message came from David value of a good education for their boy; in Glasgow : “I start off to-night at five and by-and-by, when his mental capacity o'clock by the Edinburgh and Glasgow showed itself, it became their fond desire Railway, right on to London, in good and dream that some day he would preach health and spirits." the everlasting Gospel of the Lord Jesus. He had made up his mind that London
There were no unsurmountable diffi- was the place where his talents would be culties in his way. In due time he recognised, and where he would find a became a pupil-teacher, then was trans- fitting field for his abilities. ferred to the Normal School in Glasgow, A companion and friend to whom he and for four sessions attended the univer- was most deeply attached, Robert Buchsity there, managing to live by teaching, anan (now a well-known and successful with such help as the old folks at Mak- literary man), consented to go with him, land could afford to give him from their if only he could find the means. They scanty means. An obstacle, however, parted, agreeing to meet at the railway had before this arisen in the way of the station. As it happened, nothing was realisation of his parents' wish that he said as to which of the two stations, should be a minister of the Gospel. whence different lines start for London,