by David Newman, Clare Boothby and PG Distributed Proofreaders
THE THRESHOLD GRACE
_MEDITATIONS IN THE PSALMS_
PERCY C. AINSWORTH
AUTHOR OF 'THE PILGRIM CHURCH.' 'THE BLESSED LIFE,' ETC.
During his brief ministry Mr. Ainsworth published a series of meditations
in the columns of the _Methodist Times_, which are here reprinted by the
kind permission of the Editor, Dr. Scott Lidgett. The rare interest aroused
by the previous publication of Mr. Ainsworth's sermons encourages the hope
that the present volume may find a place in the devotional literature to
which many turn in the quiet hour.
I. THE THRESHOLD GRACE
II. THE HABIT OF FAITH
III. THE ONE THING DESIRABLE
IV. EYES AND FEET
V. THE SAFEGUARDED SOUL
VI. A PLEA FOR TEARS
VII. DELIVERANCE WITH HONOUR
VIII. PETITION AND COMMUNION
IX. HAUNTED HOURS
X. THE WINGS OF THE DOVE
XI. A NEW SONG
THE THRESHOLD GRACE
The Lord shall keep thy going out and thy coming
in, from this time forth and for evermore.
Ps. cxxi, 8.
Going out and coming in. That is a picture of life. Beneath this old Hebrew
phrase there lurks a symbolism that covers our whole experience. But let us
just now look at the most literal, and by no means the least true,
interpretation of these words. One of the great dividing-lines in human
life is the threshold-line. On one side of this line a man has his 'world
within the world,' the sanctuary of love, the sheltered place of peace, the
scene of life's most personal, sacred, and exclusive obligations. And on
the other side lies the larger life of mankind wherein also a man must take
his place and do his work. Life is spent in crossing this threshold-line,
going out to the many and coming in to the few, going out to answer the
call of labour and coming in to take the right to rest. And over us all
every hour there watches the Almighty Love. The division-lines in the life
of man have nothing that corresponds to them in the love of God. We may be
here or there, but He is everywhere.
_The Lord shall keep thy going out._ Life has always needed that promise.
There is a pledge of help for men as they fare forth to the world's work.
It was much for the folk of an early time to say that as they went forth
the Lord went with them, but it is more for men to say and know that same
thing to-day. The _going out_ has come to mean more age after age,
generation after generation. It was a simpler thing once than it is now.
'Thy going out'--the shepherd to his flocks, the farmer to his field, the
merchant to his merchandise. There are still flocks and fields and markets,
but where are the leisure, grace, and simplicity of life for him who has
any share in the world's work? Men go out to-day to face a life shadowed by
vast industrial, commercial, and social problems. Life has grown
complicated, involved, hard to understand, difficult to deal with. Tension,
conflict, subtlety, surprise, and amid it all, or over it all, a vast
brooding weariness that ever and again turns the heart sick. Oh the pains
and the perils of the going out! There are elements of danger in modern
life that threaten all the world's toilers, whatever their work may be and
wherever they may have to do it. There is the danger that always lurks in
_things_--a warped judgement, a confused reckoning, a narrowed outlook. It
is so easily possible for a man to be at close grips with the world and yet
to be ever more and more out of touch with its realities. The danger in the
places where men toil is not that God is denied with a vociferous atheism;
it is that He is ignored by an unvoiced indifference. It is not the babel
of the market-place that men need to fear; it is its silence. If we say
that we live only as we love, that we are strong only as we are pure, that
we are successful only as we become just and good, the world into which
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