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good land; and he tried to encourage Joshua to go forward and take possession of it.
we read that three times in one Joshua: "Be of good courage."
After Moses had gone,
chapter God said to God cheered his ser
vant; There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life." Soon after that Joshua took a walk around the walls of Jericho. As he walked around he saw a man stand before him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua was not afraid, but he said: "Art thou for us or for our adversaries. ?" His courage was rewarded, for the man replied: "As Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come." He had been sent to encourage him and to lead him on to victory.
So you will find all through the Scriptures that God uses those who have courage, and not those who are looking for defeat.
Another thought: I never knew a case where God used a discouraged man or woman to accomplish any great thing for Him. Let a minister go into the pulpit in a discouraged frame of mind and it becomes contagious. It will soon reach the pews, and the whole church will become discouraged. So with a Sabbathschool teacher; I never knew a worker of any kind who was full of discouragement and who met with success in the Lord's work. It seems as if God cannot make any use of such a man.
I remember a man telling me he preached for a number of years without any result. He used to say to his wife as they went to church that he knew the people would not believe anything he said; and there was no blessing. At last he saw his error; he asked God to
help him, and took courage, and then the blessing came. "According to your faith it shall be unto you." This man had expected nothing and he got just what he expected. Dear friends, let us expect that God is going to use us. Let us have courage and go forward, looking to God to do great things.
Elijah on Mount Carmel was one man; Elijah under the juniper tree was quite another man. In the one case he was a giant, and nothing could stand before him. When he lost heart and got terrified at Jezebel's message, and wished himself dead, God could not use him. The Lord had to go to him and say: "What doest thou here, Elijah?" I wish God would speak to many professing Christians who have their harps on the willows, and are out of communion with Him, so that they are of no use in His cause.
When Peter denied his Master he was a very different man from what he was on the day of Pentecost. He got out of communion with his Lord, and the word of a servant nearly frightened him out of his life. He denied his Master with oaths and cursing. How terribly a man falls when he loses faith and courage.
But he was restored; look at him on the day of Pentecost. If that maid whose question made him tremble had been present, and heard him preach the marvellous sermon recorded in the Acts, I can imagine she would be the most amazed person in all Jerusalem, "Why," she says, "I saw him a few days ago, and he was terribly alarmed at being called a disciple of Christ; now he stands up boldly for this same Christ; he has no shame now.' God used him mightily on the day of Pentecost, as he preached to that vast
congregation, some of whom were the very murderers of his Lord and Master. But he could not use Peter till he had repented of his cowardice and had been restored to faith and courage. So when any man who is working for Christ loses heart and gets discouraged, the Lord has to lay him aside.
I remember a number of years ago I got cast down for a good many weeks. One Sunday in particular I had preached and there did not seem to be any result. On the Monday I was very much cast down. I was sitting in my study and was looking at myself, brooding over my want of success. A young man called upon me, who had a Bible class of 100 adults in the Sabbathschool which I conducted. As he came in I could see he was away upon the mountain top, while I was down in the valley. Said he to me, "What kind of a day did you have yesterday?" "Very poor; I had no success, and I feel quite cast down. How did you get on?" "Oh, grandly; I never had a better day." "What was your subject?" "I had the life and character of Noah. Did you ever preach on Noah? Did you ever study up his life?" "Well, no; I do not know as ever I made it a special study." I thought I knew pretty well all there was about him in the Bible; you know all that is told us about him is contained in a few verses. "If you never studied it before, you had better do it now. It will do you good. Noah was a wonderful character."
When the young man went out I got my Bible and some other books, and read all I could find about Noah. I had not been reading long before the thought came stealing over me: Here was a man who toiled on for a hundred and twenty years and never had a single
convert outside of his own family. Yet he did not get discouraged. I closed up my Bible; the cloud had gone; I started out and went to the noon prayer-meeting. I had not been there long when a man got up and said he had come from a little town in Illinois. On the day before he had admitted a hundred young converts to Church membership. As he was speaking I said to myself: "I wonder what Noah would have given if he I could have heard that. He never had any such result as that to his labors."
Then in a little while a man who sat right behind me stood up. His hand was on the seat, and I felt it shake; I could realise that the man was trembling. He said: "I wish you would pray for me; I would like to become a Christian." Thought I to myself: "I wonder what Noah would have given if he had heard that. He never heard a single soul asking God for mercy, yet he did not get discouraged." I have never hung my harp on the willows since that day. Let us ask God to take away the clouds of fear and unbelief; let us get out of Doubting Castle; let us move forward courageously in the name of our God and expect to see results.
If you cannot engage in any active work yourselves you can do a good deal by cheering on others. Some people not only do nothing, but they are all the time throwing discouragement on others, in every forward step they take. If you meet with them they seem to chill you through and through. I think I would as soon face the east wind in Edinburgh in the month of March, as come in contact with some of these so-called Christians. Perhaps they are speaking about some
effort that has been made, and they say: "Well, yes, a good deal of work was done, but then many were not reached at all." Such and such a thing ought to have been done in a different way, and I know not what. They are all the time looking at the dark side.
Let us not give heed to these gloomy and discouraging remarks. In the name of our great Commander let us march on to battle and to victory. There are some generals whose name alone is worth more than a whole army of ten thousand men. In our army in the Civil War there were some whose presence sent a cheer all along the line. As they passed on cheer upon cheer went up. The men knew who was going to lead them, and they were sure of having success. "The boys liked to fight under such generals as that. Let us encourage ourselves in the Lord, and encourage each other; then we shall have good success.
We read in the book of First Chronicles that Joab cheered on those who were helping him in warfare. "Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people and for the cities of our God; and let the Lord do that which is good in His sight." Let us go forward in this spirit, and the Lord will make us to triumph over our foes. If we cannot be in the battle ourselves let us not seek to discourage others. A Highland chief of the M'Gregor clan fell wounded at the battle of Sheriff-Muir. Seeing their leader fall, the clan wavered, and gave the foe an advantage. The old chieftain, perceiving this, raised himself on his elbow, while the blood streamed from his wounds, and cried out, "I am not dead, my children; I am looking at you to see you do your duty." This roused them to