The King And The Ant Hill
( Originally Published 1902 )
IN the poem of Whittier, " King Solomon and the Ants," we have the picture of the Queen of Sheba and the wise King of Israel, riding in state through the realm. In the path of the company was an ant-hill, peopled with the little insects. The king, by his knowledge of the languages of all, heard the ants complaining that the one whom men called good and great, was coming to crush them under his feet. The king repeated this to the queen, who exclaimed, that such a fate was a happy one, and that no better one need be expected. But Solomon turned his horse aside, and the entire train followed in the path of the leader, curved around the ant-hill and left it untouched. The queen saw the secret of Solomon's greatness in this, and said:
" Happy must be the state Whose ruler heedeth more The murmurs of the poor Than flatteries of the great."
In earlier centuries it used to be thought that the common people were good for little else than to become the slaves of royalty, the conveniences of wealth and the targets of war; that the poor were only ants in their hills over which the wheels of the king's chariot might pass. Jesus Christ effected a wonderful change in the sentiment of the world on the subject. Time was when the object of government was to minister to the rulers, now it is to minister to the happiness and prosperity of those ruled. He is counted the greatest king, who has at heart the welfare of the humblest of his people, who will turn his chariot wheel lest it crush the weakest or smallest of the subjects of his realm.
He is most like his Master, who has the badge of the only real royalty, whose heart is in sympathy with God's dumb creatures and with his poor.