D Gibb Mitchell
An as He gaed on, they spreed their mantles in the wey. An as He wis drawin near, an wis come ti the doun-gaun o the Mount o Olives, the hale croud o the disciples begoud, in their joy, ti praise God wi a lood vyce, for aa the great warks they haed seen, sayin, "Blessed is the Ane that is comin--oor King--in the name o the Lord! In Heeven paece; an glory in the heighest hicht!" An a wheen Pharisees oot o the croud sayed ti Him, "Maister! reprove Thy disciples." An answerin, qo He ti them, "A say t'ye, that aiblins gin thir be silent, the vera stanes wad cry oot."
An whan he drew nar, He leukit at the city, an wis greetin ower it, sayin, "Haed thoo but taen tent--ay, e'en thoo, while there wis time--o the things that maks for paece! but as it is, they ar hidden frae yer een! For a time is comin for thee, whan thy faes sall big bulwarks roond thee, an steek thee in, an rink thee roond on ilka side; an will ding thee doun ti the grund, an thy bairns ithin thee; an winna leave ae stane lyin abuin anither; because ye wadna tak tent that God wis visitin thee."--Luke xix
The Greetin Christ
Jerusalem wis the centre o a muckle gaitherin o the clans. Frae ilka hill an vale an clachan, frae Galilee's lanely loch an the quait watters o Jordan, frae the hichts o Hermon, an the bonny braes o Bethlehem, twal tribes cam doun ti mak a Holy Fair--the weel kent tryst, the Passower. The toun yetts wis aa banged by. Chapman billies aa haed gane ti meet their neebor freends, that thranged frae ilka kintra side ti haud this holy fair.
It wis Dauvid's toun, but the haun o the alien grippit the sceptre. Herod sat monarch this day, an the priests wis busy makkin ready palavers for gowks ti glower at--an sin nae mair!
The prood city crestit the hill. Mony a sacred sun haed set ahint Mount Zion. In the thrang o auld-time lore, gowden days brak throu whaur gleams the lustre an the glory on mony a page. Prophets an kings haed come an gane, but yet a kintra's hope craves for something mair--the lood thud o a nation's wish still thrums the hert an winna wheesht! The folk wis tired waitin for God's tryst, an slippit Him by wi a wearisome grudge. They aye hankered back on the days that wis awa--the days that waukened auld memories o their kintra's glory. Their kintra's name wis nou a empty souch. Zion haed tint its spell. Hermon's dew forgot ti faa. Jordan's banks wis winter-cauld. The burn haed lost its happy lilt. The fields wis bleached an bare. The cedars hung their heids ootower the land an siecht in the moanin wind. Broken herts is sair ti mend!
God's Man haed come an lo'ed them weel. He haed trudged the road for three lang years. He haed been faur ben wi the Faither at the first o time, whan eternity wis quait in its silence, afore the mornin starnies sang thegither, or the sun sprang ower the brou o the hill. The Man o God haed a tryst ti mak. He haed freends ti meet an faes ti face.
Furth ti the lanely hill, Olivet, He haes gane ti brood ower the raivelt city. His disciples--twal trustit cronies--is aa there. The black sheep o the flock haedna yet gane his ain gate. Jesus is weel ower wi the feck o his life's wark. But the sairest bit is packit inti the comin few days. The warst is ti come,--the mirk dale, the mock trial, an the cross-tree!
Ilka great man haes ti meet the slow minds o ordnar mortals. In cairyin throu his plans he kens weel the price he haes ti pey--the haurd dunts frae common fists, bitin wirds frae ill-boders! The Saviour's life haedna been athoot hertenin frae the common folk; but it haed been weel mixed wi bad gree frae coonsellors an king's men. He kent the hinmaist tussle wi His angered faes wis comin. They wis closin in. The Hebrew hert wis haurd against HIm an the beuk-lairned haed cuisten oot wi His plain truith!
He haed draggit Himsel here, kennin the rogues wis in the toun sawin the beams for his nailin. The Guid-man haes been set by, an sair is his hert that claimed ti pit the warld richt. Ti draw back wad be the couard's chyce. He maun gang forrit. He haed traivelled the warld's ruchest roads, He haed seen its wrangs an its thrawartness. Never ance haed He lichtlied it, but aye held oot a haun. The city wis dear ti HIm. Mony haed cuist their een on't; but nane saw what He saw. Here wis the warld wi a new hert beatin in it--a hert that wis aye giein an thinkin on aa but itssel!
The Man haed haed a oor o praise an singin frae the folk! The bairns haed strinkled brainches on the road, clappit their hauns, an liltit ti their bonny King. It wis a blythesome soond! But nou it's by, an He stauns on the hill leukin doun. The tears trickles ower His cheeks. The hert is wae for the duil o His waled oot countrymen! What a sicht for the warld ti see--the God-Man greetin! The siechs bubbles up frae the sair hert: He canna haud them back: His frame wis tortured wi them.
What ails the Man? What gars him greet? Is He no pleased wi the warld He is bidin in? Is the blue o heeven no pure eneuch for His ee? Is the hue o the lily no saft eneuch? Dis the blush o the openin bud no please Him? Dis he no like the sangs o the birds? Dae the sunbeams on the hillside no blythen the Man?
Haes He mistaen the road o life? Haes He gane the wrang gate? Haes He failed? Is He leukin ower the past? Is it for a raivelt life He sabs? Is His thochts stingin?
Na, His life wis fair, athoot a flaw--wyteless. Like drivin snaw, His days wis pure an white. His tears didna faa for Himsel, or for what He haed duin. The rich, the braw, the beuk-lairned, the legal wits wis baet ti finnd a faut in aa the Man!
Come forrit an herken ti His spoken siechs. "An this is Mount Zion, Dauvid's toun--God's favoured spot on earth! Mony a angel's visit ye'd haed: they kent the road weel ti bonny Jerusalem; you abuin aa--bonny in yer settin on the braeside, the praise o aa lands; you that hae seen the tribes gaitherin ithin yer yetts frae lang back days! What mair could A hae duin for ye, ma Love, ma Bride--you abuin aa!"
But what wey is He no happy? What wey dis He greet whan His hert-strings micht twang wi hope? The folk haed taen His pairt an hurrahed His name. What dis the cheerin mean?--the wavin o the palm brainches? He is the people's Man, an they wad like ti wale Him ti the throne an croun Him King. What stupid tears! What ill grief ti show for their guidwill!
He kens hou suin it'll be ower; hou suin the wind will blae anither airt. Their hauzzas is like the souch o a brakkin wave on the shore, the splash o a stane on the watter, or the short straek o a faain star whan the nicht is dark!
This claiver wis a blink afore the storm. The same vyces that shouted, "Croun Him!" on Olivet's brae, wad roar, "Crucify Him, awa wi Him, awa wi Him!"
A scunnered set o men collogued thegither. They haed Him caukit wi the keel, like a lamb for slauchter. He haed wyled ower mony frae their kirks an burnt offerins. He haed gien ti ilka man a God o his ain, an made ilka man his ain temple. He haed garred them quit the warks o the haun for the warks o grace. He haed shiftit religion frae the offerin-stane ti the hert. He danged ti the grund the texts o the tongue, trampit them doun, an gied them the Scriptur o weel-daein an weel-thinkin for their licht. He kinnlt their sowel wi the lowe o love, an set faur ben in their herts the gleam o hope. He sent the Dou o paece ti brood ower their life!
He couldna gang back on His wark an dae it ower again. He didna need: it wis richt. Frae the wee cradle staa ti this greetin day He haed spylt nane o His Faither's wark, nor mislippent a meenit ti pit the richt in its place. An yet he is greetin, His hert is bleedin. He is dowie an wae wi a warld's care. The hale yirth wrangs Him wi cauldest scorn. He is the centre o a warld, an He is left alane. nane kens Him richt. His ain twal trustit men canna think Him oot. They hinna eneuch gumption ti rax ben til His spirit. The lanely Man greets ower a warld that winna be led bi His leal hert o guidness--no e'en bi love, an winna tak the pardon that's offered!
The Divine Man haes made up His mind that naething will save the warld but a cross. His een could see aathing: aa that wis by, an aa that wis ti come. The city o His love He saw hert-bad an heeven-cursed! He peered forrit inti ither years an saw nae bonny city, but ruins--heaps o stanes an dust! It wis the wrang hert that wis brokem. Jerusalem should hae been greetin. Her day haed come, an she wad ne'er get the same chance again. Ae nicht, ae oor,--could something no wauken her ti her danger? Lat her knuckle doun an blurt oot aa her wrang, an e'en yet she wad be spared. Lat her saften doun an show grief, tak tent an mend, an the past wad be dichtit awa--naething wad happen, an the scaith wad blaw by!
It wad be grand ti see a city in tears; grand ti see duilfu grief brakkin the toun's haurd hert, an garrin it greet for mislippenin her day; grand ti see folk boued doun wi wailin an groanin for no kennin whan their offer o paece haed come! Slow, slow ar we ti think that He greets ower a toun, that a village is giein Him concern, that a faimly worries Him, that a man gies Him pain! We blame Jerusalem, but we needna throw stanes at the folk o that day. Oor ain day haes come, an dae ye no hear Him greetin oot there alane on the lanely hillside? Dae ye no see Him waitin wi a Saviour's langin for the comin back o his folk?
There's a day whan the chance comes ti ilka door. There's the knuckle-rap o Time! Whiles it comes quaitly, whiles wi a lood thud, ti wauken us up, an tell us the new creed! We mey hunker in at the fireside o oor ain content an begrudge it a hearin; but it is the kindly caa o Providence brakkin in an tryin ti gie the warld a new settin--ti pit things in their place, ti gie us a road ti traivel bi, whaur there'll be nae flegs ti oor conscience an nae hopeless trudgin in wrang gates!
But we gangs oor ain gate an ower tracks o oor ain makkin. We ettle at pittin God's warld richt for Him athoot takkin Him inti the plan. Oor likins winna budge frae the past. What haes been maun be again. We blinnd oor een wi auld-time concerns, an ar in the mirk whan we think the sun is shinin!
A chance mey only come ance in a kintra's history. Lat it be gleg an tak in the meanin o the pyntin haun, an it'll gang forrit ti aa that's guid! But lat it be dour an thrawn, it'll tine its chance an dwindle back ti naething!
Hou lang haes a man ti mak up his mind? What time is gien us ti open oor een an see? God winna wait for aye! The Providence that owerhings success is movin forrit an canna wait! Gin we doitedly hing upo' the auld creed, the auld custom, the vyce o the New Man will hae nae caa for us! Gin the mind o Scotland, like that o Israel, is grooved bi habit--the ee seared an the hert haurdened--we canna hear the stap o the forrit fit! Gin aa the greatness an the guidness o oorsels is only in the past, we canna catch up the souch o Gods vyce, nor tak stap wi the time-baet that is set for the day, nor ken the richt road that leads ti the future!
Ilka mornin comes wi its ain Christ an wi its ain sign, an ilka man maun hear for himsel as the day gangs on. He maun plan his affairs bi the creed he hauds. It is the Ay an the Na that is makkin us!
Jesus is no aesy kent whiles. It's haurd ti keep sicht o Him an tak Him inti aa oor hert's employs. He's sae quait an sae wice. He disna brag nor mak a noise. The yammerin o the mercat-place drouns his vyce. The hustlin streets, the drivin trade-hooses, the rattlin mills, is no the neuks He's aesy fund in! He moves in amang the warld's affairs wi a calm wice grandness! He haes aa the wirkins an the mixin threids in His haun, an siccarly He hauds them, tho men rives them wrang!
Hou fast the day o salvation comes, hou fast it gangs! It whiechs by like a gliff o wind, like a gleam frae the sun, like the tramp o a man in the nicht!
We maun tak the Saviour whan He comes, at whatna day or whatna oor! Sanhendrims mun halt their incense, monarchs maun doff their crouns, an rulers lay doun their sceptres. The news-bringer, seer, an law-makar, maun stop an listen. The wirkman maun quat his tools. The raggit an the torn maun come. The thief maun leave his stealin, the ne'er-dae-weel his ill-gatedness an the rake frae the faur kintra. The sad, the weary--aa that's dowie an wae--will ken His fit an hear His rap; nane will be passed by!
A city mey stane Him frae its waas. He sits greetin there on the brou o the brae. The place disna ken Him, it winna hae His weys. He bides alane on the roadside a jiltit Lover, a Man in tears--disawned an rejeckit!
Hae we haed a haun in this jiltin? Hae we lichtlied His wird an gien Him the cauld shouther? Lat's be dounricht an say what oor life is. We gangs eneuch ti the kirk. We sings psalms enow, an lip unendin prayers. We cries huzzas aboot His name. We sets religion ti the tuin o the Sabbath day, an leuks wi lang faces ower oor offerin stanes an crosses; but the Man Himsel we winna hae. Oor show is braw eneuch ti leuk at, but herts is tuim!
Eh, Scotia! Ye hae kent yer God fou weel at times. Ye hinna mislippent Him in bygane days. Whan the wrang wis whaur the richt should be, ye wis brave. Ye stuid bi Him, e'en till the reid bluid ran as a offerin on yer fearsome battlefields! Ye wisna feart ti gang ti the faggot's bleezin pile! Ye wis bund ti the stake, an sang throu the lowin fire the psalms o the covenant o yer faithers!
God haes lowst us frae oor thirldom mony times afore nou. Ance mair His Son greets ower the kintra's ills, an fain wad wait ti wyle her back afore the sun gangs doun for the hinmaist time. Scotland, ye'r in the lowrin mirk! Douts is ower thrang wi yer hert. The strings o yer sowel is duin. It's a dreich an raivelt sang ye sing. The pegs o yer sacred herp is slack an the thrums is lowss!
Ryce up yet again an mend yer herp. A bigger sang an a grander will win up frae yer haun. He's waitin for't. He's fain ti hear the new notes flung oot frae the comin sang, circlin roond the warld, taen pairt in bi aa!
Tak tent, this is aiblins your day; dinna mislippent. Mey nane be sae senseless as ti lat his day gang by, whan the Man o man comes wi His offer o grace. Waitna ower lang; His day canna be faur aye!
Mibbie yer on yer hinmaist go! Leuk at the time o day--the nicht's at haun! It is late in the gloamin, an aathing is still! The wastlin hill is fringed wi the reid sun's licht, the wrinklin leaf hings sear in the wid, the wanin muin waits ower the lift! Mirk an eerie is the leme o the gloamin faa!
Faither Abuin,--We, yer strayin flock, wad gaither aroond yer fitstool. WE come wi herts liltin wi joy. Mony a guid thing frae Yer luif haes come oor gait. That luif is aye fou, an it's aye giein. There's nae stintin whan ye rax oot oor share. Oor hauns is tuim, an aa we caa oor ain haes faan frae Yer love. Ye hae cled an fed us, gien us hames an freends. Ye hae herdit us aa wi eident care. Naething haes fleggit us, for we kent we haed a freend in God. We laud an lo'e oor Makar wi brimmin herts. Oor thankfu mirth dirls the air an ryces in a sang ti oor Faither abuin.
What be we that Ye tak sae kindly ti us? What gars Ye cruin ower wafflins like us? Hou can Ye thole oor thrawnness an thochtless life? We'r aye fechtin for the tap, for the clap o the croud, for siller an gowd. We grabs the fleetin oor o plaesur an fidges fain for the fause lichts that lures us awa like a will-o-the-wisp. We can say naething for oorsels. We ken we'r wrang. We canna hap a single thocht frae Thee. Throu it aa Yer love never divaulds, never rins dry. There's rowth o guid likin--nane can dout it--in the Faither's breist.
There's ae gift we reeze Ye for abuin aa: the Man o holy mind an tender hert--oor Saviour. He cam faur an socht lang ti finnd us. He sparedna Himsel! but wrocht throu clood an sunshine, ower stanes an fludes He cam, ti win us frae ill an wyle us ti guid. We hae leukit on His face, an herkened ti His vyce, an taen haud o the hem o His goun. We caa Him Maister, an we'll stap blythely His gate tho the road be ruch an staney.
We hae come wi willin fit ti the hoose o prayer. We saet oorsel's ane bi the ither an sing alood wi hertsome note. We turns ti the Beuk for guidance an licht, for an upliftin o the sowel, for paece, for glints o Heeven. Mak this day a swaet memory, an send us oot ti the warld girdlt wi strength an harnessed for the fecht. Mey the muisic o this day's forgaitherin gang wi us throu the week's darg.
Rax Yer Haun ti the weary an the sair-forfochen. Come doun an herten the sad, an neebor siccan anes as is greetin ower their ain best lo'ed, that they'v haed ti hap aneath the sod. Be guid ti the seek, an lat them ken that them Ye lo'e Ye chasten. Kinnle a lowe in the hertless. Bring throu their straits the haurd-besteed. Lat Yer blessin faa upon auld an young, sillered folk an puir alike. Tell the ne'er-dae-weel--faur-wandert, tashed an torn--ti come hame, for ye lo'e him yet. AMEN.