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Strange Texts but Grand Truths (16 of 17)
The Laughter of Earth and Heaven
Clarence E. Macartney
Why did Sarah laugh? Laughter is one of God's greatest
gifts to man. At least two great gifts of God to man
have survived the wreck and ruin of the fall:
laughter, which for the moment, at least, causes man
to forget his sorrow and his care; and beautiful,
incomparable, invincible hope, which paints with the
iridescent colors of the rainbow the horizon of man's
ofttimes stormy and clouded life. We all like to hear
a man laugh, and we all enjoy a good laugh ourselves.
As the wise man said in the book of Proverbs, "A merry
heart doeth good like a medicine."
There are many kinds of laughter. There is the
innocent laughter at the ridiculous and absurd, the
scornful laughter, a secret laughter as when one
"laughs up his sleeve"; the laughter of delirium, the
laughter of the maniac, the laughter at the obscene
and vile. Whether laughter is good for the soul or not
depends upon the kind of laughter. The Bible describes
at least four different kinds of laughter: the
laughter of incredulity and unbelief, the laughter of
the fool, God's laughter, and the laughter of heaven.
The Laughter of Incredulity and Unbelief
It was the early afternoon, and at the encampment of
Abraham at Hebron, as was-and still is-the custom in
those countries, all life was at a standstill.
Ishmael, the child of Hagar, was asleep. The sheep and
the goats were huddled together under the oaks at
Mamre. Abraham was sitting in the shadows before his
black tent. Suddenly, although he had been looking
along the road that led to Hebron from the north and
had seen no travelers, he was aware of the presence of
three men. There was something very mysterious about
the presence of those three men. Christian thought and
worship have often seen in their visit to the tent of
Abraham an early manifestation of the doctrine of the
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