THE SILENT WITNESS.
That Bible reading! I wish I could make it appear to you as it did to Flossy; Shipley. Not that either, because I trust that the sound of the Bible verses is not so utterly new to you as it was to her—rather, that it might sound to you as it did to the earnest-souled young man who sat beside her, taking in ever; word with as much eagerness as if some of the verses had not been his dear and long-cherished friends; nay, with more eagerness on that account.
Do you know Dr. Parsons, of Boston? It was he who conducted that reading, and his theme was, “The Coming of the Lord.”
Let me give you just a few of the groupings as he called them forth from his congregation under the trees, and which he called “the Lord’s own testimonies to his coming:”
“Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” “Therefore, be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.”
Four solemn warnings from the Head of the vineyard. They reached to Flossy’s very soul, and she had that old well-known thrill of feeling that almost every Christian has some time experienced.
“If I had only been there; if He had spoken such words to me, I could never, never have forgotten, or been neglectful. If I could only have heard Him speak!” And as if in answer to this longing cry Dr. Parsons himself read the next solemn sentence, read it in such a way that it almost seemed as if this might be the sacred garden, and Himself standing among the olive-trees speaking even to her:
“And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” Here, then, was her direction from His own lips. Though centuries had passed since He spoke them they echoed down to her. She was not overwhelmed; she was not crushed by the new and solemn sense of her calling that flowed over her. The Lord himself was there in every deed, and whispered in her ear, “It is I, be not afraid.” And her heart responded solemnly, “Aye, Lord, I feel thy presence; I have been sleeping, but I am awake, and from henceforth I will watch.”
That Bible reading was like a whole week of theological study to Flossy. It was not that she learned simply about the blessed assurance, the weight of testimony amounting to an absolute certainty, concerning the coming of the Lord. But there were so many truths growing out from that, so many incentives to be up and doing; for she found before the reading closed that one must not only watch, but in the watching work; and there were so many reasons why she should, and so many hints as to the way and the time. Then there was, also, the most blessed discovery that the Bible was not a book to treat like an arithmetic.