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The Times of Silence

The Times of Silence

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D.


"And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them,
saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again
from the dead." MATT. xvii. 9.
BY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D.


"And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them,
saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again
from the dead." MATT. xvii. 9.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 31, 2013
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THE TIMES OF SILECEBY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D."And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them,saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen againfrom the dead." MATT. xvii. 9.THIS charge to tell the vision to no man comesupon us with a measure of surprise. Twice whileat Csesarea Philippi, Jesus laid the seal of reticenceupon His disciples. We do not wonder that Heforbade them speak of Him as " the Christ," for Hishour was not yet come. But we have some surprisethat these three disciples should have been forbiddento speak to any man of what they had seen andheard on the mount. They had beheld Christ sglory. An adoring faith and a new consecrationhad been given them. It would have seemed tobe their duty to tell the wondrous tale. If theyhad been cautioned against speaking to the multitude, at least they might have been permitted towhisper the secret in low, quiet tones, as theevening hours passed away, to Andrew, or toPhilip, or to Thomas. But the words of Christ aredistinct and peremptory, " Tell the vision to no man."242THE TIMES OF SILECE 243There is a well-known proverb, " Speech issilvern, but silence is golden," which has hadbut little force in the Christian life. To speak about God, and to speak for God, to be alwaysready with a word for Christ, has been set down
 
as a gift to be coveted and a pre-eminent grace.There is a time to speak. Christ has called uponus to confess Him before men. Christian fellowshipis one of the singularly powerful modes of lightand strength. It was a vital moment in the lifeof that profane young tinker of Bedford when heheard the godly women speaking together of God sdealings with them as they sat in the afternoonsun. He was given his first glance in throughthe gate of the city of his dream. Open testimonyhas a well-marked blessing. For a man to publiclydeclare what God has done for his soul sets hiswill, nerves his courage, and roots his faith moredeeply in his heart. For one man to make apublic confession of Christ s name helps another,more timid and diffident, to stand by his side. Theeffect of a baptism of God s Spirit is often to opena man s lips. " Out of the abundance of the heartthe mouth speaketh." Speech has a high placein Christian service.But most men feel that this is not the whole truth.There are shy and shrinking souls who are baptizedby God s Spirit, and they remain shy and shrinkingsouls to the end. They cannot wear their hearts upontheir sleeve, either in the love of man or love of God.244 THE SECRET OF THE LORDTo these men and women, whose lives are oftenpathways of sacrifice, all speech is difficult, andreligious conversation is almost pain. There areothers who can be fluent and eloquent in theirtestimony, yet their lives are not free from gravefaults. They are often found to be untruthful,and they sometimes slip into sins of which it isa shame even to speak. They are frequentlycoarsened and vulgarised by the exposure of their
 
religious experience. It stands true that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.But that speech is not always speech to men. Itmay be that daring soliloquy of which the Book of Psalms is full. It may be that speech withGod while a man is musing and the fire burns.In the religious life, as elsewhere, speech may besilvern and silence golden. Again and again Christsays to us, " Tell no man."Let us mark two points in this subject. In thefirst place, the times of silence in a Christian life.In the second place, the times of speech.I. In the first place : the times of silence in aChristian life.In the conduct of our daily lives silence is oftena high, and a difficult, and a most praiseworthyduty. To begin with, there are those things of which it is a shame to speak. There are worksof darknesss which it may be a preacher s dutyto rebuke with frankness and delicacy, and aTHE TIMES OF SILECE 245 judge s office to prove and to punish. But theseshould not be once named in ordinary conversation.That foul scandal, that gross story, that suggestiveillusion, that indecent jest, that bit of maliciousgossip, whatever imperils purity or truth or kindness, should be left unmentioned. The scribesand Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman theyhad taken in adultery. They dwelt with a coarseemphasis on the details of her sin. Jesus stoopeddown and wrote upon the ground. He had morepurposes than one in this mode of silent rebuke.But one purpose most certainly was to bring shame

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