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at last, overcome by this disease of the brain, which she had so long struggled to bear.
If all things work together for good to them that love God, then even her mistakes, and all this suffering of hers, must work together for good, for there is no doubt that she loved God. Goodness, supreme and perfect goodness, was all that she did love. All her other loves were fed from this fountain. She loved her own, and loved them to the end, but always in the highest way, and for their best good.
This story is another warning against the dangers of too introspective a life. It is true that the most of us are not in any danger of this; we live too much in the world, not too little; we look inwardly too little, not too much. And yet there are a great many people who do not put themselves heartily into their work; who do their daily duties mechanically ; who are inwardly thinking about something else, and so leading a double life, which is not healthy, and which tends at last to despondency and disease. Let us remember that we are here each day to do each day's duties with our whole mind, heart, soul and strength. Let us live in the whole, not in the half. Then, when we go inward to reflect, we put ourselves wholly in that, and find God's love and truth within the soul; and when we go outward to work, or to social intercourse, we put ourselves wholly in that, and find God's presence and inspiration also there. So the inward world and the outward world may be equally filled and animated with the presence and the smile of our heavenly Father.
MAKING ALL THINGS NEW.
“AND HE THAT SAT UPON THE THRONE SAID, BEHOLD! I MAKE
ALL THINGS NEW.”
HE love of new things is natural to man, but the love of old things is equally
natural. How to reconcile these two instincts without doing wrong to either is a perpetual problem, both for the individual and for society. In society it is usually solved, in a somewhat rude way, by the antagonism of reformers and conservatives-reformers pulling one way, conservatives pulling another way, and society taking the diagonal between these two forces. When radicals request us to give up the past, and conservatives ask us not to move a single step towards the future, the common sense of mankind takes a middle course, holding on to what is good which they already have, but looking to see if there may not be something better to come.
But to reconcile these two tendencies in the individual is not so easy. Still I think it may be done.
The love of what is new takes three principal forms.
First there are those who are always looking for something new. This is its lowest form. It is a perpetual demand for novelty, for new things simply as new. Those who are possessed by this passion feed on the stimulus of perpetual variety. They tire of everything directly, and demand a change. They wish for something different from what they have. They cannot keep to any one thing long enough to
understand it, to appreciate it, or to enjoy it. They can read nothing but newspapers, and what they read in the morning's paper they forget before they get the journal of the evening. In such a mind thought is disorganized, and becomes a heap of sand. Interest in life fades
for the heart is anchored to nothing. The soul drifts before every wind of accident. The power of attention is lost; many things are taken in, nothing retained. The type of this character was the Athenian public in the first century; so degenerate from the genius of their ancestors that they could fix their minds permanently on nothing. They were always asking for something new; and when the newest thing in human history was sent to them, in the Apostle Paul and his gospel, they had not force of mind to take it in, but asked for something newer still. Originality of thought had ended in dissipation of thought. This is the danger of intellectual activity when not ballasted by moral activity. Perpetual inquiry needs to be directed towards an end ; study should be study in a definite direction, and for a purpose, else you
have the disease which consists in "ever learning, and never coming to the knowledge of the truth.” The satire on this tendency is to be found in the habitual expression of the newspapers, which, when they have narrated any new thing very wonderful and extraordinary, add, by way of comment, “What next?”
Secondly, there are those who are always contending for new things. These are the reformers, and ardent advocates for all newness, who to the love of novelty add a practical tendency, and a desire to see their new ideas carried out and established. They advocate new theories with enthusiasm, and grow zealous in defence of them. The danger here is in narrowness and bigotry, for a man may be as bigoted to a new creed as to an old one, and as ready to persecute the conservatives as they are to persecute him.
Nevertheless, by the help of this class the world moves forward.
Thirdly, there are those who make all things new. And this is the highest and best style of reform, for it reforms the world by putting new life into it. It does not aim at novelty, but at renewal, and so it is both conservative and radical, keeping all that is good in the past, but animating it all with new life.
The type of this sort of newness which makes the old things new by means of a new life, is shown to us every year in the regeneration of all nature around us. Every Spring God says, “ Behold I make all things new.” The old types remain unchanged, the forms of the familiar landscape continue the same, the grass grows green in the valleys, the trees cover themselves with leaves, exactly as they have done ten thousand times. It is not a new form, but the inpouring of a new soul, which makes the perennial charm of Spring-time and of June days. It is not novelty but renewal.
And so the best things which can come to our lives are not novelties, but new inspirations of the one eternal life. The old truths which have moved human hearts during twenty centuries move our hearts as deeply to-day. Our soul is stirred by the tale of Marathon as when the swift heralds, with flying feet, first bore the news to Athens. By the side of the dying Socrates we sympathize with the grief, and unite in the reverent homage of Plato and Xenophon. The great events, the great characters of history, are new with undying life. No moth and no rust can corrupt the song of Homer or the Psalms of David. Thus heroism, poetry, genius, make all things new. The glens and mountains of Scotland take on new wonder and beauty in the songs of Burns and Scott.
The prosaic streets of Salem acquire a mysterious charm in the page of Hawthorn. The
patriotism and courage which gave themselves to save the nation will make the unromantic field of Gettysburg full of a solemn inspiration forever.. Wherever the human soul manifests itself in its more vital aspects of truth, love, honor, generosity, fidelity, it makes all nature new around it. By this high ministry everything becomes holy ground.
Life, in all its forms, makes all things new, and makes the world new. Events which have happened a million times before are nevertheless always new with each recurrence. What can be older than birth, childhood, love, marriage, death?
But what can be more new, more full of fresh influence, bringing a sudden influx of joy and mystery, awakening the soul to a new life, than these? Children are common enough, but every child is a new wonder just dropped from the skies. It seems to have come fresh from God, overflowing with the life of the spheres. What knock is that at our portal? What step is that in our chamber? What solemn figure with veiled face stands by our bedside? It is the holy angel of death. He is always in the world. But still, wherever he comes, he brings an overwhelming sense of strangeness and surprise. Thus, to the attentive thoughtful mind, all things are new. To this newness of spirit everything grows wonderful, and a mysterious meaning looks at us out of the commonest forms of nature and the commonest events of life. Such a spirit is the very opposite to that of the Athenians - to the discontented curiosity seeking always to hear some new thing, and the complaining skepticism which murmurs because there is no new thing under the sun.
A new truth makes all things new. I have often talked with men who were brought up on some dead creed, who were taught to go through certain forms of worship and call it religion, taught to look on God as a sovereign jealous of his rights, and only willing to save sinners on