My Dear Children, 


                                             I remember, as a child, being told to play a Piano-accompaniment for a celebrated violinist.  The piece was easy, but I was the merest stumbling beginner in music, and my previous attempts at accompaniment had been received with rebuke even harder to bear than the “raps on the knuckles” with ruler or scissors which had been my governess’ method of correction in earlier days!  Yet, as I tremblingly accompanied the great musician, a sense of comfort stole over my soul, and the music went smoothly, for the magnificently strong and steady notes of the violin supported my faltering piano.  I went un-reproved, and my effort was kindly accepted.  What had seemed so difficult to do in companionship with a less perfect partner, became possible when my meakness was linked on to supreme excellence.


At times, when brought into contact with those gifted with earthly genius, we can trace in them some attribute which dimly reflects an attribute of Him to Whom they owe all.  For instance, we find that the more skilful the workman, the more readily he is able to “make do” with imperfect tools.  I remember my mother being much amused because Sir Edward Burne‑Jones, the famous artist, had told her of the fine instruments (for ruling or measuring, I suppose) which his son ‑ at that time a beginner in the art of painting ‑ possessed to aid him in his work, adding that for his part he used no such tools, but managed with the edge of the newspaper!  Young Christian, deeming your talents too small to be worth consecrating to your Lord, listen :‑ If that which is itself of no account becomes useful as an instrument when held in the hand of genius how much more may the weakest redeemed sinner be used by the God of all Grace?  Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God bath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence (Cor. 1: 26-30).


We learn then, even in ordinary human experience, to associate gentleness and absence of scorn with strength and superior attainment.  Yet another memory‑picture:-  In girlhood, I had an uncle whom I dearly loved, but of whom I stood in affectionate awe, as of a kingly man of great and varied experience, and of, responsibilities which touched the lives of many people.  I was once walking in the country with him and another gentleman, and, whilst they talked business, I amused myself gathering a little posy of wild flowers which – presently ‑ I brought for them to see.  The impression created in my mind by the difference in the manner of each has remained with me through years.  My uncle’s companion, albeit kindly ‑intentioned, by his look seemed plainly to say that such trifles ‑ though well enough for young ladies ‑ were beneath the consideration of men.  But my uncle, with gentle courtesy and true condescension, turning his attention wholly from his business to the tiny bouquet, questioned as to the names of the flowers as seriously as though the information were of importance to him, and by his kindness not only relieved the feelings of his little niece, but also taught her a valuable lesson in courtesy.


If, from gentleness in the earthly great, we turn to consider the gentleness of God, what shall we say?  Between the greatest and least of human beings there is, after all, no more difference than between longer or shorter blades of grass in a field viewed from above, whence the whole is seen as level.  All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away” (1 Peter, 1: 24).  But how great the gulf between the creature and his Creator - between a worm of earth and the Maker and Upholder of the Universe ‑ a defiled sinner and the all-pure and Holy One!  In our fallen nature we have no access to God.  He is a consuming Fire.  But thanks be to God, a way has been opened into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, and every soul who avails himself of the atonement of that precious blood may say with David, ‑ “Thou hast given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy right hand hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness hath made me great” (Psalm 18: 35).


I once asked a dear friend, from whom I have long been parted, - why in Psalm 130, verse 4 ‑ we find the apparent contradiction: “there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.”  Perhaps, explained my friend, without the assurance of forgiveness, despair rather than reverential fear, would fill the heart.  To turn to God would seem useless. But His gentleness encourages us.  A child of God told me how at one time he was so convicted of unfaithfulness to God that he felt sure punishment must come, and he steeled his heart for the blow.  God sent - not punishment ‑ but a signal mercy, so that the steeled heart was melted, even to tears!  Truly, “THE LORD IS VERY PITIFUL, AND OF TENDER MERCY” (Jas. v, 11).


        Your affectionate friend,


                                                                    HELEN RAMSAY.