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Tuning From The Bass
by [?]

I know, of course, that all this may be misconstrued. But the wise will understand. The naturalist will not blame me, for fear is the life of the forest. The humanitarian can say no word of censure, for fear is intensely human. But the preacher who strikes this deep bass note must strike it very soulfully. No man should be able to speak on such things except with a sob in his throat and tears in his eyes. We must warn men to flee from the wrath to come; but that wrath is the wrath of a Lamb. Andrew Bonar one day told Murray McCheyne that he had just preached a sermon on hell. ‘And were you able to preach it with tenderness?’ McCheyne wistfully inquired. Fear is part of that wondrous instrument on all the chords of which the minister is called at times to play; but this chord must be struck with trembling fingers.

No mistake can be more fatal than to set off this aspect of things against more attractive themes. All truth is related. Some years ago in Scotland an express train stopped abruptly on a curve in the time of a great flood. Just in front of the train was a roaring chasm from which the viaduct had been swept away. Just behind the train was the mangled frame of the girl who had warned the driver. It is impossible to understand that sacrifice lying just behind the guard’s van unless you have seen the yawning chasm just in front of the engine!

‘No fears, no grace!’ said James.

‘And this I took very great notice of,’ said Mr. Greatheart, ‘that the Valley of the Shadow of Death was as quiet while Mr. Fearing went through it as ever I knew it before or since; and when he came to the river without a bridge, I took notice of what was very remarkable; the water of that river was lower at this time than ever I saw it in all my life. So he went over at last, not much above wet shod.’

Fear had done its work, and done it well. The bass notes had proved the foundation of a music that blended at last with the very harmonies of heaven. Fear, even with White Fang, led on to love; and perfect love casteth out fear.