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Great Nights of the Bible (8 of 16)
The Night Angels Climbed a Ladder
Clarence E. Macartney
A lonely stretch on the Syrian desert. Bare wastes of
sand and tufts of grass amid the gaunt, naked hills.
Toward the west the sun has already sunk below the
horizon, and to the east the mountains are rapidly
sinking into gloom as the dark mantle of the oncoming
night covers them.
Along the desert highway comes a solitary traveler. He
is a young man in the vigor of life, but when he comes
nearer we can see in his face the look of guilt and
fear and dejection, as well as physical fatigue. Now
and then he looks back over his shoulder, as if to see
if anyone is in pursuit of him-and no wonder, for he
has cheated his old father and defrauded his brother
out of the blessing and now has had to flee for his
life. Sin always drives a man out. It drove our first
parents out of the Garden of Eden. It drove this man
out from his father's house and his father's country.
It drove Peter out into the night where he wept
bitterly and Judas out into the night where he hanged
himself. Always out, always away from God!
The solitary traveler selects the side of a hill
somewhat protected from the evening wind. He takes his
wallet from off his shoulder and lays it with his
staff on the ground. Then he places a stone for a
pillow, and, lying down and covering his face with his
mantle lest the moon should smite him by night, he
sinks into the deep sleep of sorrow and exhaustion.
But as he sleeps he dreams. And what a dream it is,
almost the loveliest thing in the Bible! And all the
more wonderful because the dreamer is a man who so
recently had committed so despicable a transgression.
In his dream the young man saw a ladder set up on
earth, the top of which reached to heaven, and the
angels of God were ascending and descending upon it.
At the top of the ladder stood the Lord who told the
youth that He was t ...
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