‘Cause me to hear’; make a reverent, responsive, receptive silence in my heart, take me out beyond my pleadings into the limitless visions and the fathomless satisfactions of communion with Thyself. Speak to me. That is true prayer.
In the quietness of life,
When the flowers have shut their eye,
And a stainless breadth of sky
Bends above the hill of strife,
Then, my God, my chiefest Good,
Breathe upon my lonelihood:
Let the shining silence be
Filled with Thee, my God, with Thee.
Wherefore should I fear in the days of
when iniquity at my heels compasseth me about?
Ps. xlix. 5.
Iniquity at my heels. Temptation is very often indirect. It is compact of wiles and subtleties and stratagems. It is adept at taking cover. It does not make a frontal attack unless the obvious state of the soul’s defences justifies such a method of attempting a conquest. The stronger a man is, the more subtle and difficult are the ways of sin, as it seeks to enter and to master his life. There are many temptations that never face us, and never give us a chance of facing them. They follow us. We can hear their light footfall and their soft whisperings, but the moment we turn round upon them they vanish. If they disappeared for good, they would be the easiest to deal with of all the ill things that beset our lives. But they do not. The moment we relax our bold, stern search for the face of the enemy, there the evil thing is again—the light footfall and the soft voice. It is terrible work fighting a suggestion. There are the thoughts that a man will not cherish and cannot slay. They may never enter the programme of his life, but there they are, haunting him, waiting, so to speak, at the back of his brain, till he gets used to them. When he seeks to grapple with these enemies his hands close on emptiness. One straight blow, one decisive denial, one stern rebuke, one defiant confession of faith will not suffice for these things.