Chapter 28 – The Tenderness of Faith

“And they gathered it morning by morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed us hot, it melted.” Ex. 16: 21.

In the silence and coolness and secrecy of the night God gave the manna: in the freshness and quickening of the morning hour the people had to go out to gather it. It was thus the first work of every day to receive bread from God’s hand; for, when the sun waxed hot, it melted, and was no longer to be found. Not in the glow of the midday sun, nor in the press and bustle of the day, did they receive this hidden manna, but in the charming coolness of the morning, ere the mind was ensnared by the seductions of the world.

Lovely and instructive image of the way in which God still ministers to faith its nutriment. And I remain convinced that there are many that seem to be sincerely longing for confirmation of faith, while they have not become partakers of it, because they do not go in search of it betimes. How many are there, pray, by whom the reading of the Bible is continued only in the evening? After the freshness of the morning hour and the strength of the day have been devoted to the world, they come in the evening, in weariness of mind and body, to serve the Lord with the remnant of their energies. No wonder that there is no blessing enjoyed: the heart is weary, the tenderness of the spirit and its receptiveness for the word is dulled. On the other hand, are there not many who are often content in the morning with the general reading of the word in the household, apart from private searching of the Scriptures, or reflection or meditation with prayer? This still yields little blessing. The reading of a chapter once a day is, as a rule, not sufficient. No: let all that truly desire to increase in faith, see to it that they endeavor in the morning hour to gather for the day manna on which they can ruminate throughout its course. He that goes out in the morning without partaking of a portion of this nutriment comes home weary in the evening, with but little desire to eat. And he who does not in the morning first lay up the word in his heart is not to be surprised if the world assumes the first and chief place in his heart, for he has neglected the only means of being in advance of the world. No: as the Lord gives us the night in order to throw off again the weariness of the day, and in the morning hour to make a new beginning with fresh spirit and energy, so must the believer take and devote to the Lord his first fresh and undiminished forces, and gather his manna while the blessing of the night’s rest is upon him, and before the corruption of the world has again banished its lovely dew; for when the sun waxes hot, it melts. When the heat of the day has come, and temptation has first passed over the soul, all the gladness and trustfulness of the morning hour have also passed away. The life of grace will not endure the heat of the sun unless it be first strengthened by food.

“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning.” “O Lord, in the morning shalt Thou hear my voice; in the morning will I order my prayer unto Thee, and keep watch.” (Ps. 143: 8; 5: 3.) Such words point out to us what will be the attitude of the soul in him who is in earnest first and chiefly and with the whole heart to serve the Lord. With every morning hour he will taste the delightful experience of the word: “His going forth is prepared as the daybreak.” (Hosea 6: 3.)

Reader, why do you not believe? Pray be faithful towards yourself and towards God. There is no piety in mourning over unbelief, unless you also lay aside everything that stands in the way of faith. If the irregular, superficial use of the word, if the giving of the first, the fresh, the best hours of the day and energies of the soul to the world and its service is the cause, then come, make a change in these points: morning by morning go and seek your God: He will not keep Himself hidden from you.