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THE MORNING STAR BOAT

in 2008/Living Faith by

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS ARE MESSAGE ORIENTED and mission driven. Rooted in the Great Second Advent Movement of the nineteenth century, their folk hero, William Miller, was a New England farmer who was first a Deist, then a Baptist lay preacher, and ultimately the leader of the great American religious awakening. Seventh-day Adventists were a coming together out of many denominations. They refused to be labeled, to be put in a box. They had something to share. One major text of Scripture was their magnificent obsession; it gave them focus and vision:

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Revelation 14:6,7).

They were a feisty, multicultural group who felt urged to get the message out in the face of ridicule and opposition. When their efforts seemed to flag, one of their number, a young woman whom they soon came to  regard as a prophet although she never made that claim, urged the group to stay on mission and message.

During the Reconstruction, the time after the Civil War when the federal government undertook the rebuilding of the South, Ellen White urged church leaders to go to work in that troubled area. “There is a great work to be done in the Southern field. This is one of the barren places of the earth to be worked” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 247).

After years of further urging and chiding by pen and voice, even from faraway Australia, her own son, Edson, heard the call. Ellen White gave her son counsel as he shared his vision of building a missionary boat: “I see no reason why a boat should not be utilized in bringing to those in darkness the light of Him who is `the bright and morning Star” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, p. 2.70).

Edson and his good friend, Will Palmer, supervised the building of the boat in Allegan, Michigan, on the banks of the Kalamazoo River. They hired a crew and sailed to Douglass, a port on the east side of Lake Michigan. They then set out for Chicago, assisted by a fruit steamer, the Bon Ami. It was a night’s journey, and they ran into a severe storm. They struggled for 14 hours, but were spared. The captain of the boat that assisted them said it was more than human power that bro

ught them through. The rest of the journey south was less perilous.

But these young missionaries did not know very much about the dangers that awaited. Ellen White, though insisting that it was the Lord’s will that they go, at the same time warned them of the difficulties they would have to face in the Deep South. They would be looked on as Yankees, carpetbaggers, and troublemakers. The local people did not want an invasion of do-gooders teaching Black people to read and write and thus making them more difficult to control. Also the Black clergy would become upset when the former slaves were taught that Saturday was the Sabbath. The establishment of churches and meetinghouses threatened their power and influence. These White people from

Michigan were bold enough to have Blacks as crew eating and sleeping on the same boat. Finally, they docked at Vicksburg, Mississippi, a town still bitter about General Grant’s merciless siege of their proud city during the war.

My interest in this is quite personal: my mother was a girl of about 14 at the time. Her family—mother, aunts, uncles, and cousins—came to see this strange sight—a boat that was a church, schoolhouse, occasional clinic, and dormitory. The ship’s deck was 105 feet long and 24 feet across. There was a boiler room and printing presses, two staterooms, and a dining room. The boat had two paddle wheels. The people flocked to see it. The presses were kept busy publishing tracts and schoolbooks. Some of the people became firm believers in the message of hope and salvation they heard and saw on the boat.

Of course, there were bumps in the road. At times the Morning Star people were forced to change their venue, once just to escape a dynamite threat. They did move to Yazoo City. I know there were converts there, because my aunt Lucy Kincaid and her daughter, Henrietta, were among them.

We cannot ignore the Oakwood School connection. Several of the first 16 students were Morning Star converts. Education was a priority. Edson White encouraged the young people to enroll at the Oakwood School. In fact, the Morning Star team started church schools in the Mississippi delta and throughout the South, and until this day, Oakwood College has supplied teachers for these schools.

A letter from Ellen White to her son is extremely insightful —even prophetic:

“Dear Son Edson: In answer to your question as to whether it would be well to fit up your steamer Morning Star, to be used for the conveyance of missionary workers to places that otherwise they could not reach, I will say that I have been shown how, when you first went to the Southern field, you used this boat as your home, and as a place on which to receive those interested in the truth. The novelty of the idea excited curiosity, and many came to see and hear. I know that, through the agency of this boat, places have been reached where till then the light of truth had never shone—places represented to me as ‘the hedges” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, p. 269).

Morning Star has been instrumental in sowing the seeds of truth in many hearts, and there are those who have first seen the light of truth while on this boat. On it angel feet have trodden” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, p.

THE MORNING STAR LEGACY Very recently I attended a celebration of iro years of continuous church school operation at the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which was founded by sons and daughters of slaves. What I found interesting is about nine people, representing five generations, were present for the celebration. They came from all parts of the United States. Their ancestors were Morning Star children. This family for more than a century has sent its sons and daughters to educational institutions that are indebted to the Morning Star for their very existence!

There is yet another reason for my personal connection with the Morning Star. Here it is: If a hand sketch of the Morning Star published in the Gospel Herald is to be trusted, the boat’s emblem, a large metal star, was suspended between the smokestacks at the bow. The star is now a cherished possession of Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama.

As an upperclassman at Oakwood College, I had the privilege with a few other ministerial students of making a little former schoolhouse our home. That big metal star hung over the front door of this mini dorm.

We cannot truly teach denominational history without giving recognition to Edson White’s boat and the rivers of blessings that ripple out from Vicksburg and Yazoo City and places unnamed. One of these ripples carried my mother, Etta Littlejohn Bradford, from Vicksburg to the Oakwood School—she was one of the first 16 students to enroll—on up to the Boston, Massachusetts, area where she received her nurses training at Melrose Sanitarium. It was here that she attended Ellen White as a student nurse, and had the rare privilege of observing Dr. J. H. Kellogg in surgery. Mother carried out the Morning Star tradition as she accompanied her preacher husband, Robert L. Bradford, in ministry in many places in the United States, always “bringing to those in darkness the light of Him who is ‘the bright and morning Star” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, p. z7o). Etta also started the nurses training course at Oakwood College.

The story is gripping, it is the stuff that legend is made of, but more than that it is a part of salvation history, a part of that noble effort by scores of young northern Christians of many denominations to bring hope and meaning to a people disfranchised and marginalized by the system. Please do not despise or overlook the day of small beginnings!

CHARLES E. BRADFORD, president retired, Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America; founder, Sabbath in Africa Study Group. He writes and fills speaking appointments from his home in Spring Hill, Florida.

*Texts credited to Clear Word are from The Clear Word, copyright

©1994, 2000, 2003, 2004 by Review and Herald Publishing

Association. All rights reserved.

DICK GREGORY PILGRIM IN SEARCH OF LIBERATION

in Health/Living Faith by

Twenty years ago Dick Gregory was a stand-up comic on the nightclub circuit. By his own account he smoked and drank heavily. Gregory had an eye that saw through the games people and institutions play. He had a wit that broke up huge audiences while making them see truths about themselves. But that eye and that wit were teamed with a heart that was being led to the more important issues of life. Gregory’s priorities shifted. His concerns became oppression, manipulation, racism, and war. He discovered that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and is not to be defiled. He became a prophet to the secular world about the evils of bodily abuse, particularly through diet. When Gregory yells Foul! about an oppressive institution or agency or group of people or life style, he doesn’t make a case like a lawyer with a long list of proofs. No, Gregory thinks analogically. He looks for parallels. He’s not hung up trying to prove cause and effect. If a window breaks each time a guy waves his arm, Gregory doesn’t have to see him throw the stone. But enough—Gregory can speak for himself.

MESSAGE: You say research indicating that the typical American diet has many harmful elements in it has not been made readily available to the masses. Instead, the interests of the rich and powerful are protected at almost any cost to the poor and the powerless. What does all this have to do with diet? And can you give us examples of manipulation of the masses?

GREGORY: You know, I do think much of the salvation of the planet is in diet. Another thing is how easy it is to get into it. You don’t have to change all of your eating habits. Here’s a little thing: just add bran to your diet in the morning and in the evening, and you can cancel out about 80 percent of the diseases in the lower digestive tract. And you know the way they got into that?

They got into Africa. They happened to meet this group of Africans whose systems were regular. They began checking and they found out that within 24 hours everything they had eaten had passed completely through their systems. From there it led to the roughage theory. This was already suspected, but for follow-up, researchers found some of this same group of Africans who had moved to Western society. This group was winding up with the same kinds of diseases as people in the West. So—when you cook string beans and take the strings off, your roughage is gone. The lesson for us: add some bran.

I usually tell people to go to a health-food store and get the pure bran. But it’s different in dealing with the masses, you know, because the minute you say that—”Go to the health food store”—it turns them off.” You mean you’re asking me to change my diet, and then what I’ve got to find is hidden somewhere? Plus, you know, I’m not all that upset bout the way I’m eatin’. I’m just trying this change out of respect and knowing where you’re coming from.” So I tell them to get bran or whole wheat cereal. Now I hate to send people to that commercial scene, but bran is bran. Some commercial preparations have sugar, but I’m saying that once they start on it, in about a two-week period, eating a bowl in the morning and a bowl in the evening will have a fantastic effect. I say eat a bowl of bran because people are not likely to believe it would only take a teaspoonful. They can’t see a teaspoon doin’ nothin’. They’d just say, “Later for the whole idea. I’ll just forget about it.”

James E. White and the Morning Star

in 1970/Living Faith by

Reaching Blacks in the Deep South

THIS IS the story of an intrepid pioneer, of a river­boat named Morning Star, and of the remarkable min­istry of James E. White and his associates among black people in the South. BY NORMAN G. SIMONS

A bout the turn of the century a man decided that God’s mission for him in life was to evangelize Negroes in Mississippi. A bearded dreamer, carpenter, printer, riverboat captain, organizer, author, artist, teacher, and preacher, he chose a steamboat as an evangelistic instru­ment and black Mississippi as his parish. Before his work ended, he had established scores of churches and schools, a publishing house, a missionary society, and a hospital as monuments to his dedicated enterprise. His name was James Edson White, “J.E.” to his friends.

Following the traumatic years of the Civil War and Reconstruction, blacks found themselves destitute, with­out educational opportunities, ostracized, and segregated. It was a bleak outlook. At this time James Edson White’s mother, Ellen G. White, issued a series of papers calling upon Christians to do something about the situation. In her efforts to stir her contemporaries she related the “church-colored” relationship to the Jewish churchman’s attitude toward the unfortunate on the Jericho road.

J.E. had engaged in early life in a number of enter­prises-some of them unsuccessful-until in 1893 he dis­covered a soiled copy of his mother’s manuscript dealing with the needs of the colored people in the Southern states. In a few days he had inflamed his soul with the conviction this was his God-given calling, and he began to dream how he might play his part. He thought of a steamboat.

The Morning Star was built for stress out of heavy white oak timbers and planking obtained in trade for a lot in the spring of 1893. It was painted white, with a large star just above the pilothouse. Rooms were designed for living quarters for workers, a print shop provided, and a chapel arranged by hanging an awning over a section of the deck.

When it was completed, Edson White, his wife, and several workers set forth under tow by the steamer Bon Ami to cross Lake Michigan. A gale developed; and heavy waves battered the Morning Star, at times making them despair of completing the crossing. The stormy Michigan voyage was a forecast of the turbulent years ahead as the determined Edson White and his little band sought to lead ex-slaves to Jesus Christ.

In The Gospel Herald, May, 1905, he summed up the trip south by saying, “After various experiences and vicis­situdes, the boat reached its destination at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on the tenth of January [1895].”

Vicksburg still bore the scars of war. The open trenches and fortifications were still raw. Cannonballs and the debris of war still littered the ground. The population was still sensitive to “outsiders” and foreign doctrines, but there God had sent J. E., and there he went.

The evangelistic formula was this: They would visit the churches and invite the members to attend religious services on the Morning Star. A church on a steamboat was different, and it attracted all classes. Well-attended meetings were conducted at every community where the boat could dock: Vicksburg, Bruce’s Landing, Calmar, Joe’s Walk, Palo Alto, and Yazoo City all heard the gospel.

As soon as baptisms occurred, a need for church buildings developed. Using funds derived from the sale of his books and money contributed by sympathetic Chris­tians in the North, the little band led by J. E. White and F. W. Halladay helped members build simple chapels.

One of the most potent instruments in J.E.’s arsenal was his gifted pen. He wrote The Gospel Primer, which sold for twenty-five cents. One half of this amount went to the book salesman. Thousands of the little volumes were sold and became in the early years Pastor White’s primary source of income. Later he authored The Coming King, which was a best seller of religious literature.

The printshop featured two steam presses, and with them he produced The Gospel Herald. Regularly The Gos­pel Herald told of the advances of the Mississippi steam­boat mission, advertised White’s books, and appealed for funds. The boat also served as the first headquarters of the Southern Missionary Society.

The Morning Star pioneered in many phases of social service. During the heavy floods that plagued the Missis­sippi Valley the big steamboat volunteered for rescue operations, bringing in refugees and animals from flooded lowlands and buildings.

J.E. was appalled by the tremendous human need. Most of the people in the delta lived in primitive shacks. One could see the ground through cracks in the floor or the stars through openings in the wall. Battered shutters served for windows. Hunger and poverty were a common lot. He appealed to churches and individuals in the North for food and clothing for the destitute, and the response came in the form of barrels of clothing, meal, flour, and molasses. These were distributed to the needy.

Mississippi was a part of the “Cotton Belt,” which was dedicated to one-crop farming. Through the pages of The Gospel Herald, J. E. White urged diversified farming and insisted on the development of large gardens to pro­vide for much of the family food needs.

He brought in seed-beans, potatoes, and corn. He provided in some communities for the first time straw­berry, cherry, and grape plants, and suggested keeping a hive or two of bees. Often revenues from his book were held up or not forthcoming, and J.E. and his family shared the poverty of the area. In later years he developed pellagra, a nutri­tional condition that produces dark scales on the hands. On one of his itineraries to the churches he wore gloves constantly, fearful lest his illness be contagious.

White saw the need for schools, and before he left the South, more than fifty had been established. In the early years he recruited many concerned white teachers. Later, as he encountered racial difficulties, he sought Negro teachers. Some of the latter group who began as teachers later became pastors and evangelists, as Frank Bryant, T. Murphy, M. C. Strachan, and F. Warnick.

In recent weeks, two persons who were converted un­der the ministry of the Morning Star met in Nashville: Mrs. Cynthia Gertrude Johnson Millet (the mother of the editor of THE MESSAGE MAGAZINE)’ now eighty-two years of age, and Mrs. Naomi Emily Warnick Simons, seventy eight, the mother of the writer of this article, the adminis­trator of Riverside Hospital. Both vividly recall the per­sonalities, sacrifices, and triumphs of those pioneer days.

Mrs. Naomi Warnick Simons, a daughter of one of the early teacher-pastors, Franklin Warnick, was baptized by the Morning Star ministers in the Cumberland River at the foot of Broadway Street in Nashville, in 1903.

As churches already established began to resent the evangelistic efforts of the Morning Star team, rumors were circulated to raise racial alarm in the white community. The Edson White group was accused of being Northern­ers and agitators who advocated social reform. Nor was his cause made more popular by his preaching the Seventh-­day Adventist doctrines. From that time the work was done under the cloud of duress and persecution.

Mrs. Cynthia Johnson Millet was one of two Negro schoolgirls who lived for a time in the Vicksburg home of Pastor and Mrs. Fred R. Rogers. Because of this, Pastor and Mrs. Rogers were labeled as opponents of segregation. They suffered indignities and threats for their kindnesses to their black parishioners.

Ultimately the Rogers family moved on, after provid­ing black ministers, such as Pastors Dancer and F. War­nick, to carry on the Morning Star ministry. They too worked under adverse circumstances, but they were faith­ful in their tasks in spite of a rising tide of resentment.

Pastors Dancer and Warnick built a chapel in Lintonia, a black suburb of Yazoo City. The church was built sec­tion by section on the Morning Star landing; then it was taken to the site and bolted together, without the sound of nail or hammer, a forerunner of the “prefab” building.

It was soon decided that, because of the opposition, White and his associates should leave the Vicksburg Yazoo City area and take the Morning Star to a city with a more favorable social climate. Nashville, Tennessee, was chosen; and in a few weeks the steamer was brought up the Cumberland River and anchored at Edgefield Junction. There in a fine farming community, Morning Star’s ministry was continued.

Not too long after the arrival in Tennessee, a leak developed; and in thirty-six hours the boat sank in ten feet of water. A diver from Cincinnati was obtained, and at a cost recalled as $300 or $400 the boat was raised.

One of its last major trips was on June 8, 1904, when the Morning Star steamed proudly up the Cumberland with a passenger group consisting of Ellen G. White, P. T. Magan, E. A. Sutherland, and James Edson White. On this trip they located the property for Madison College [now Madison Academy] and Madison Hospital. In 1905, the Morning Star, after an illustrious career in public ser­vice and evangelism, caught fire on a bend of the river near the Bordeaux bridge on Clarksville Highway and burned to the waterline. The boiler was salvaged and used in the Rock City Sanitarium.

James Edson White died in 1929. Some said he was an eccentric, a dreamer, hard to get along with, and a generator of too many projects; but he was also a chosen instrument of God to pioneer gospel ministry among a then despised and neglected minority. He was a forerunner of a religious movement which now involves more than 70,000 black American members in approximately 440 Seventh-day Adventist churches across the land. God signally blessed his ministry, and scores of churches and schools, The Southern Missionary Society, the Southern Publishing Association, and the Rock City Sanitarium, as well as thousands won to Christ, owe a tremendous debt to the courage, vision, and determination of this valiant man of God.

How To Stay Married

in 1958/Living Faith by

IT WAS a golden wedding anniversary reception to which members of the family had come as well as many neighbors, friends, and well-wishers. This elderly couple achieving fifty years of married life were generously congratulated, and at the moment of the formal presentation of numerous gifts and cards a voice from those who gathered around admiringly called forth, “Tell us how you stayed together so long.” There was a moment of silence, and as all eyes focused upon the happy celebrants, the wife reflectively replied, “Our marriage has had its ups and its downs, but we just kept working at it, and here we are.” The veiled humor of this remark evoked a restrained laughter, yet it must have been that many of the guests went home deeply stirred by the quick but truthful summary of staying married.

Students of contemporary life are acutely aware of what can be termed “the crisis of the family.” In the year 1900 one in twelve marriages ended in divorce. In the year 1912, one in eight; and today it can roughly be put at one in four. It is this widespread breakdown in the family and the mounting divorce rate which is causing people everywhere, married and single, to become concerned with this most profound question of our age.

There are many attempted answers, and there is a growing wealth of literature and subject matter becoming available. It shall be the effort of these words to point out some of the many ways in which some people seemingly are making marriage work for the wrong reason, though it is hoped that the conclusion will point to what is frequently overlooked as desperate people struggle with the afflictions of marital discord.

THERE ARE many marriages that when confronted with marital problems hang together with force of will attached to the marital vows. In hours of crisis their strength is in the remembered phrase “till death do us part.” There is amazing vitality in a vow when it is properly made, and many make vows as a unilateral pledge, not to each other but to God Himself, in whose presence they repeated the solemn vow. Such a concept of marriage will under the greatest strain and stress preserve the outward unity of marriage. In this sense marriage is a contract unrelated to the actions of either marriage partner. Yet when the inner health of marriage is considered, too frequently just vow-keeping seems to have lost all hope or interest in regaining marital health. It becomes resignation or a test of endurance. It must not be taken that every marriage does not need the strength and power which vow-keeping offers. The common fault is, however, the tendency to be more engrossed with the vow than the marriage. In true perspective it ought to be “the life more than meat,” the life of the marriage more than stoical duty to a vow.

A woman who was resigned to what she termed an unhappy marriage said, “I’d pack up and leave him now if it were not for the children.” There are many marriages experiencing discord which have reached this bitter conclusion. The life of the marriage is gone, but the shell of it remains as a shelter for the children. The tragedy of many divorces is the children, who, broken from normal moorings of childhood, drift into those disturbances of being which destroy personality. It is also common knowledge that the broken home is much in evidence as a major contributing factor to crime among children and youth. To face the problems of staying married, a basic consideration must be given to children. Yet, whereas it is noble to continue a marriage because of hardships incurred upon the children, even this does not  come to grips with the neglected life of the marriage. As it has been said, “Our good intentions sometimes keep us from fulfilling our best efforts.”

Others when tempted to break a marriage have clung to economic security which a marriage can afford. Complaining one day, a disturbed wife ended her story of an unhappy marriage by saying, “Well, my husband is a good provider, so I guess I have no kick coming as to what he does otherwise.” Here is another wrong answer in staying married. In most instances this is the wife’s attitude when all other  interest in marriage is gone. The need of economic security is a worldwide problem facing not just individuals and families but communities and nations. Certainly one of the functions of the family is to acquire subsistence for economic needs for the present and future; but when economic security becomes the sole factor for marriage, it too misses the words of Jesus, “Is not the life more than meat?” A hard-working husband is a blessing, especially when we consider the growing number of fathers across the nation who are wanted by the courts of law for failure to provide. Yet the security of a steady pay envelope must not be the first concern when faced with the problem of how to stay married.

Other homes are held together by the fear of loneliness. A lonely widow said one day, “It’s too late for me to marry for love; I just want a companion to spend these last years with.” The problem of loneliness is real, and to some people it is the greatest problem. Many marriages today are held together for no other reason than the fear of loneliness. Such homes are mere dwellings, and very little communication exists.

Still other marriages are held together by sex, others on family name or prestige. Others are afraid of what others will think. In each of these reasons are found aspects for staying together, but where any of these or others become the prime motivation in marriage, they are but second-best answers in facing the problem.

TO ACTUALLY come to grips with the realities of making marriage work, a wider frame of reference is essential. It is the life of the marriage and what diagnosis must be made not to keep it alive in any one part but to keep it alive in its entirety. Any shorter view will miss the mark, and hence it will miss the true answer. It is not enough to stake the permanence of marriage upon vows which must be kept, or for the sake of the children, or for economic security, or for any other one reason. The wholesome marriages which abound in our day and in days past are those which have been tended in every area. It is the whole life of the marriage, a life which is at once complicated and intricate; but those who with courage will face up to each discord as mature persons in the face of every threat will and do stay married.

The little bride of fifty years had the right answer: “We just kept working  at it, and here we are.” To stay married successfully is a matter of working and re-working the problems which occur. There is too much of the senseless illusion that all there is to marriage is falling in love, having vows solemnized, and after the honeymoon somehow it will continue on its own momentum. It cannot be said too strongly that just as there is preparation for marriage there must also be preparation to stay married. No one expects to learn to play a musical instrument in ten easy lessons, and then to play with feeling the great works of the masters. Behind any great musician there are hours of work, hard work; whenever the habit of practice or preparation stops, the touch of skill automatically decreases. If this is true of all other great disciplines, why should it not be true in marriage?

N0 MATTER how loving two people in marriage may seem to be, there are continuing adjustments to be made. Sometimes, as is quite common, there are financial problems which do and will arise. There are a multitude of misunderstandings which can plague the most determined husband and wife. Yet it is only by patient working at the problem, a willingness to give and take, to overcome pride and false estimates of a husband’s rights or the prerogatives of a wife. These are but a few of the daily threats which like weeds in a garden can overtake a marriage if there is no working for right marital cultivation. Too often partners in marriage run instead of putting up a good fight. In a premarital conference with his minister, a young man said, “Well, if my marriage doesn’t work, I can always get a divorce.” Unfortunately this is the view of many who already are married. Why take time to make a marriage work when it is so easy to divorce?

A husband whose family life is exemplary before his community was asked the secret of his marriage. Said he thoughtfully, “My wife and I have thought of our marriage relations in terms of building bridges rather than walls.” In such a view it is the accessibility by a bridge of openness which in every area encourages communication and hence understanding. Where there are walls between a marriage, it makes for isolation, and eventually if not destroyed it tends toward spiritual if not actual physical separation.

For a successful marriage there must be a regular and systematic nourishment. Any love relationship will surely die if it is not properly nourished. Street-corner philosophers may advise, “Why chase a streetcar after catching it?” This may be true of streetcars, but in no sense does it compare with marriage. A husband of two years said to his wife after some disputes over finances, “You had better realize, darling, the honeymoon is over and we must settle down to the long grind.” There are stages through which a marriage must pass, but a marriage which has lost all sense of the honeymoon is a marriage in danger. There are many small and inexpensive ways to feed a marriage the necessary vitamins which it needs. This erases the taking for granted of each other, and keeps alive in husband and wife a daily appreciation of love for each other. It is the life of the marriage that is of greater concern than anything else.

Finally, it is observed that the life of any marriage is seen in the character of that marriage. It is fitting that at the end of the vows for marriage there is this wise admonition, the words of Jesus,

What . . . God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

This is the matrix of the whole matter. If God has truly joined together a man and his wife, only a sense of God’s character can keep that marriage joined! “I am the . . . life.” It is precisely the life, the life of marriage, which is the key to staying married. The family is the foundation of human society, and God, the maker of all things, imparts His life into the family as nowhere else. A family which shares together God’s knowledge of Himself is a family which is tied together by more than vows or all else.

HOW TO stay married? Work at it within your own heart, searching out every error, the plank in your own eye. Work at it with your marriage partner. Ezekiel by the river Chebar said, “And I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished.” Remember the joy of this work, a work at which we must just keep on working, ten years, twenty-five years, or as the little lady said, fifty years. In all this know that your work is not in vain, that there are resources greater than yours at hand, and there is an eternal love which will never divorce you!

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