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CHAPTER X.

NERVES, CONTINUED.


Just a few words on how "nerves" will manifest themselves in the outward deportment. The answers to this question would be as numerous as the numberless individuals concerned and the infinite variety of circumstances with which they might come in contact. At times the nervous person may feel over-exuberant, and a few moments after be prostrated. He may laugh or cry as the particular circumstances with which he is faced seems to demand, — or, rather, he will do one or the other without any seeming reason for so doing. One person declared that at times he must either laugh or cry, and wondered which would be the most consistent with holiness. We do not know, but, perhaps, it would be more pleasant to others if he would laugh. A few questions:

How will or should I behave myself when my children are disobedient and boisterous? One things is sure, as far as possible, they should be made to obey. If soft means fail harsher means should be used. The tone of the voice may not always be modulated to conform with the ideas of the critic, possibly it may not always be modulated according to the strict requirements of the case. Wesley says, "But is it not proof, if he is surprised or fluttered by a noise, a fall, or some sudden danger, that he is not sanctified?" Then he answers, "It is not; for one may start, tremble, change color, or be otherwise disordered in body, while the soul is calmly stayed on God, and re mains in perfect peace." Carnality may be revealed by the modulation of the voice, and it may not; some cases may demand severe, it may be harsh treatment, others more gentle, and it is inconsistent to say that the actions in each case will be the same. One will produce pleasure, the other pain. Paul says, "Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction" (2 Cor. 13:10.) See also verse 2; Cor. 4:21; 2 Cor. 2:3; 12:20 and Matt. 23.

May we add as a foot note to the above: The softness, fawnishness, and delicacy of the average modern minister of the gospel, and even some in the holiness ranks, in their dealing with sin and sinners, is the curse of the church and a sure sign of her downfall. Oh, for sons of thunder who will fearlessly storm the gates of sin and worldliness, and not weakly yield and slobber their apologies when they are opposed and mistreated! Take off your gloves, as our fathers did, and do not be afraid to defile your hands. Some men do not even make the devil mad; everybody wants them! We have denaturized Luke 6:26.

How will I behave under trying circumstances? One answers, "You will always sing and shout, no matter how severe the trial." Perhaps you will, but, it may be, you will not. I have known a hard working, nervous, little woman, after toiling all the morning over the wash tub, and meeting various disagreeable circumstances, to sit down and cry like a child when the clothes line broke and let the clothes in the mud. This was just one straw too much for those over-wrought nerves. Now you big, strong men, who never knew what a nerve is, stand back and call her foolish and accuse her of a lack of grace if you wish, but in so doing you are wounding one whom God would have you comfort.

How will I behave when opposed? First and always, you will be free from a spirit of retaliation or revenge. After that the manifestations may be various. Whenever I see a man under pressure loudly declaring, "I don't care, let them do as they please," I must confess that it is hard to suppress a suspicion that that man needs grace. But some, under the strain of persecution, especially if these misunderstandings come from their brethren, have been known to collapse entirely, and some have even died as a result of the strain. "But," says one, "he should have thrown all his cares on the Lord," etc. To be sure, and doubtless in his soul he does; but his nerves are gone, and his power of physical resistance is a thing of the past. To those who would accuse such men it might be well to repeat the words of Job: "If your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you."

Poor, tired, weary one; Jesus cares. Draw close to Him until you feel the pressure of His hands as He soothes your weary heart and brow. Amen. I am impressed that the following poem will help .some weary one on his pilgrim journey:

"God never would send you the darkness
If He thought you could bear the light,
But you would not cling to His guiding hand,
If the way was always bright;
And you would not care to walk by faith
Could you always walk by sight.

"'Tis true He has many an anguish
For your sorrowing heart to bear,
And many a cruel thorn crown
For your tired head to wear;
He knows how few would reach heaven at all
If pain did not guide them there.

"So He sends the blinding darkness,
And the furnace of sevenfold heat;
'Tis the only way, believe me,
To keep you close to His feet;
For 'tis always so easy to wander
When our lives are glad and sweet.

"Then nestle your hand in your Father's,
And sing if you can, as you go.
Your song may cheer some one behind you,
Whose courage is sinking low;
And, well, well if your lips do quiver
God will love you better so."