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FAITHFULNESS

As Usual With Wesley

 A lady once asked John Wesley that suppose he were to know that he would die at 12:00 midnight tomorrow, how would he spend the intervening time. His reply: “Why madam, just as I intend to spend it now. I would preach this evening at Gloucester, and again at five tomorrow morning; after that I would ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon, and meet the societies in the evening. I would then go to Rev. Martin’s house, who expects to entertain me, talk and pray with the family as usual, retire to my room at 10 o’clock, commend myself to my heavenly Father, lie down to rest, and wake up in Glory.”

P. C. For Plough Corn

 A young man presented himself to the presiding elder of the Methodist Church and said he desired to become a preacher. On being questioned by his ecclesiastical superior, he replied that the night before he had seen in the sky, written in large characters of gold, the letters P. C.—“Preach Christ.” As the presiding elder knew the young man well as a person, very excitable, and otherwise utterly unfitted for the work of the ministry, he said to him, “But, my young brother, you are mistaken. P. C. does not mean, in your case, Preach Christ. It means Plough Corn. It will be your calling, and you will be doing God’s will most truly if you continue to help your father on the farm.

—Ethelbert Talbot

King Practices Obedience

 It is said of Henry of Bavaria that at one time, becoming weary of court life, he determined to enter a monastery. When he presented himself to Prior Richard, the faithful monk gave him the strict rules of the order. The king listened eagerly and enthusiastically expressed pleasure at the prospect of such complete consecration.

 Then the prior insisted that obedience, implicit and expressed was the first requisite of sainthood. The monarch promised to follow his will in every detail. “Then go back to your throne and do your duty in the station God assigned you,” was the prior’s word to him. The king took up his scepter again, and from then until he died, his people said of him, “King Henry has learned to govern by learning to obey.”

—The Treasury

Michelangelo’s Philosophy

 Michelangelo, painting the matchless frescoes on the high ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, spent countless hours on his back from high scaffolding, carefully perfecting the details of each figure. A friend asked him why he took such pains with figures which could be seen only at a distance by viewers. “After all,” said the friend, “who will know whether it is perfect or not?” “I will,” replied the artist.

—Sam M. Fleming

Faith Bell Ringer

 According to a 1974 newspaper item, Leo Fortier had rung the bell of his parish church in Three Rivers, Quebec, every Sunday for 52 years. Quite a record of faithfulness.

“Had You Tarried”

 An old legend tells of a monk in his cell who experienced a moment of ineffable joy when a vision of his Master appeared to him. Then someone rapped at the door and called for help; he hesitated, should he go or should he stay? He went, and when he returned the Vision was still there, saying “Had you tarried, I would have gone.”

—Eugene A. Hessel

Two Costliest Words

 King Joao V of Portugal paid almost one-fourth of a billion dollars during the 18th century for the two words “REI FIDELISSIMO” (Most Faithful King). In exchange for this exorbitant sum, the king won the right to display these two words in his title.

 This extravaganza however exhausted all the wealth Portugal had extracted from Brazil up to then. And when the king died, having no money in the treasury to bury him decently, a public collection had to be taken for his burial.

“Yellowstone’s Old Faithful”

 The “Old Faithful” in Yellowstone National Park gets its name from the fact that, unlike other geysers, it follows a dependable time schedule. Once every 65 minutes, it shoots a stream of boiling water over one hundred and seventy feet into the air.

Holding The Fort

 The hymn with chorus “Hold the fort, for I am coming!” written by P. P. Bliss, was suggested to him by an incident in the American Civil War. At Altoma Pass the fort being held by General Corse was besieged by the enemy under General Hood, who summoned it to surrender. Corse refused to surrender. Many were the casualties, but in spite of the hopeless situation the defenders remained faithful. Then a white signal flag across the valley, some twenty miles away, waved the message, “Hold the fort, for I am coming.” General Sherman was marching to the relief of the beleaguered and faithful defenders.

—A. Naismith

One Year To Live

 The Baltimore Sun conducted a contest, and the following poem received a prize for the best answer to the question, “What would you do if you had one more year to live?”

“If I had but one year to live;

One year to help; one year to give;

One year to love; one year to bless;

One year of better things to stress;

One year to sing; one year to smile;

To brighten earth a little while;

One year to sing my Maker’s praise;

One year to fill with work my days;

One year to strive for a reward

When I should stand before my Lord,

 

I think that I would spend each day,

In just the very self-same way

That I do now. For from afar

The call may come across the bar

At any time, and I must be

Prepared to meet eternity.

 

So if I have a year to live,

Or just one day in which to give

A pleasant smile, a helping hand,

A mind that tries to understand

A fellow-creature when in need;

’Tis one with me—I take no heed.

But try to live each day He sends

To serve my gracious Master’s ends.”

—Mary Davis Reed

Sallman’s “Last” Three Months

 Millions of copies of Warner Sallman’s “Head of Christ” painting hang in homes around the world. The picture presents Jesus as a man of strong personality, rugged health, with the marks of character and leadership. Here is the artist’s life that shaped his view of Jesus:

 In 1917, the young artist was told by his physician. “You have tuberculosis of the lymph glands. Without surgery I believe you have about three months to live!”

 Warner Sallman left the office in a daze. He was concerned for the young singer who had recently became his bride and for their baby that was soon to be born.

 Mrs. Sallman said, “We will pray and thank God for the three months. We will ask him to use us to the limit and if He will mercifully give us more time, we shall be grateful for it.” Together they knelt in trusting prayer.

 A marvelous healing took place. Warner Sallman never needed surgery. For many years he remained in robust health, an earnest Christian dedicated to Christ.

Epigram On Faithfulness

•Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my little apple tree and pay my debts.

—Martin Luther

•St. Francis of Assisi, hoeing his garden, was asked what he would do if he were suddenly to learn that he was to die at sunset that day. He said: “I would finish hoeing my garden.”

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