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Cisterns and Fountains.

Cisterns and Fountains.

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Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the
rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from
another place be forsaken? " — Jer. xviii. 14.

Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the
rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from
another place be forsaken? " — Jer. xviii. 14.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 25, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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CISTERS AD FOUTAIS.BY JOSEPH PARKER Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from therock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come fromanother place be forsaken? " — Jer. xviii. 14.\Rcvised-" Shall the snow of Lebanon fail from the rock of thefield ? or shall the cold waters that flow down from afar be dried up ? "The Revised translation in no way changes the idea of the AuthorisedVersion.]u \\ TILL a man leave the snow of Lebanon whichVV cometh from the rock of the field?" Will aman make a fool of himself? Will he mistake his shallowcistern for God's ever-flowing fountain ? Will a man cuthimself off from the vital forces? Will a creature partwith the Creator ? He likes to do it ; he likes to tryto do it "The fool has said," in his withered heart,"there is no God." To that debased act may a mancome, though made in the image and likeness of God.The idea is that a man may cut himself from the main,that he may cut himself away from the eternal river, fedby the snow of Lebanon, and begin to make himself alittle cistern — a broken cistern that can hold no water.Think of the suicide of isolation, the madness of ampu-tating our life, of leaving the inexhaustible, the Eternaland the Infinite, and becoming self-devouring souls.You have seen on lower levels how this kind of con-duct is regarded. " Will a man leave the snow of Lebanonand the fountain that rises from the rock?" He wouldnot allow it in business. You can point out a man, andsay, " His is a very singular case ; that man is living onCISTERS AD FOUTAIS. 19his capital." I reply, "What harm is there in that?"You say, " He is eating himself up— consuming himself*He ought to have his capital so invested that it wouldbring him a revenue day by day and year by year ; and
the capital should be kept intact, and, if possible, theincome should be still growing." That is the very textitself from the secular point of view. This man isliving on his capital; he has cut himself off from vital,remunerative, compensative agencies and ministries ; andhe is eating up what he has. Take care how you sayso. Mayhap you are doing this selfsame thing — livingon your own inside, living on your own little miserableself, and cutting yourself away from the fountains thatrise out of the river of God, which is full of water. Takecare lest you be consuming yourself— actually eatingyour own vitals!What is about the worst thing that can occur in militaryoperations ? About the worst thing in military operationsis for the enemy to get behind and cut off the supplies.That is the horrible possibility and the dreadful mischief  — that the supplies may be cut off. Take care how youdwell on this as an instance of misfortune. I chargeyou, in the presence of God and of the holy angels, foolishman, that you are doing this very thing. You have cutoff the supply ; you have dismissed prayer ; you arctrying to live on your own miserable individuality andself-hood. Get back to the old supplies ; get back toGod ; get back to the fountain ; live, and move, and haveyour being in God, and then no man can impoverish youuntil he has impoverished God, It is God that will fail,and not you, if you be full of faith. And it is our joy,our song in the night-time, that God cannot fail ! Theriver of God is full of water; he giveth without being20 STUDIES I TEXTS.impoverished; and if he could withhold (which is theimpossibility of love), he would be little better than agraven image.Here is an instance which illustrates vividly what Imean : it is a man who has, to the best of his ability,hermetically sealed his house, and has thus excluded thefresh air of the sharp spring and the sun of the genialsummer. How he is going to live ? He has a pair of bellows, and is going to live at the nozzle of his bellows.Take care. You see the grotesque figure. Take carelest your soul should do this very selfsame thing, leaving
the breezes of God which blow from the seas of hislove and come over the mountains of his majesty andrighteousness. You have been trying to keep your soulin a poisoned and inadequate atmosphere. Do notlaugh in the market-place, when you are doing the self-same thing, with aggravation, in the church.This is the grand appeal of the gospel. It finds a man,wherever he may be, and builds its great faith on his ownacknowledged reason and his experience. Here is a manwho seems to be disappointed. What is he doing?Trying to light a gas jet ; and I have seen him strikeand exhaust a dozen lucifer matches, and no light comes.A voice inquires, " Are you sure that the gas is turned onat the meter?" It is not You laugh at the man. Donot laugh at him ; for you are laughing at your own souls,if you be not wise unto salvation. You are trying tolive without being connected with the main, with theLiving God, with the Redeeming Christ. The whole pleaof the Bible is in favour of union with inexhaustible sources.Very plaintive is the eternal voice, hushed into tearfulwhispers, as it says : " My people have committed twoevils ; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters,CISTERS AD FOUTAIS. 21and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can holdno water." God does not, so to say, like to be forsaken.We seem by our forsaking him to make him lonely. Hedoes not like us to endeavour to do without him, when heknows we cannot do so, and that we are engaged upona fool's business, and we will return soon with disappoint*ment and doubt, and bowed down by manifold disaster.He tells us, in a poignant tone, what he will do, if we willpersist in living selfish lives — isolated, amputated lives.He tells us in a moment of anger — ah ! his anger isbut for a moment ; he cannot relish what he says :u Because my people have forgotten me, they have burntincense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumblein their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, ina way not cast up ; to make their land desolate, and aperpetual hissing ; every one that passeth thereby shallbe astonished, and wag his head. I will scatter them aswith an east wind before the enemy ; I will show themthe back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity/ 9

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