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much folly as light-heartedness. This man's conceit has been taken out of him by hard knocks; that man's egotism softened by the growth of some generous affections. A true friendship has elevated your ideas and purposes. My dear brother, the life of your friend has gone into your own soul and purified it. I see before me a group of men and women whom I knew as boys and girls. Then, they had about them much that was false, shallow, disagreeable. They were wilful, they were sharp and reckless in speech, they were dangerously self-indulgent; they seemed devoid of reverence for good things. But here they are, to day, scattered abroad, serious people, kind-hearted people, honorable and upright, pillars of society in different places, as their fathers and mothers were before them. What great conversion has thus regenerated them? They cannot tell you when or where they were changed. But life has changed them. It has balanced their excesses, softened their hardness, restrained their wilfulness, rounded the corners, and infused into their hearts a sweeter and better temper. It has not destroyed their nature, but fulfilled it. All that they can say of themselves is that which Paul said of himself, “When I was a child, I spake as a child. But now I am a man I have put away childish things.”
The best way to cure our faults is not to fight against them, but to cure them by taking interest in the opposite good. The best way to cure intemperance is to give the intemperate man some higher interests; to interest him in better things than meat and drink. To cure a man of the love of money, interest him in giving money to good things; make him take pleasure in giving as well as getting. To cure a man or boy of cruelty to animals, make them interested in the life of animals, by teaching them natural history. And to cure men of all evil, make them love the supreme goodness. This was the method of Jesus. So
he filled men with the fulness of God; so he vitalized the world with a higher faith and hope. You cannot cast out demons by the help of demons, but only by the finger of God.
The best cure for bodily disease or ill-health is to quicken the life of the body, put more vitality into it; fill it full of bodily life. The cure for intellectual disease or error is to vitalize the mind, quicken its interest in truth, fill the mind with mental life. The cure for moral disease, or vicious habits, is to vitalize the moral nature, awaken the conscience, rouse the sense of responsibility, make goodness attractive and lovable. The cure for spiritual disease, or sin, is to vitalize the soul, and fill it full of spiritual life by making God lovable. This is what Jesus came to do and did. “I have come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." He did not come to teach a stricter law of duty, but to make law and desire one in making us love what is good. To “love is the fulfilling of the law.”
So it is that Christianity, as the highest truth, is not negative, but positive ; not destructive, but creative. It fulfils all by love. Love is the fulfilling of the law.
It takes us from a low past, to a better future ; not by dropping the past, but by carrying it forward into something nobler. We forget things behind, but we do not lose them when we are in the right way. We seem to leave them behind, but we take them with us in higher forms. We seem to leave and lose our youth, but the best part of youth, the youth of the heart, we need never LOSE. We think we forget what we once knew, but deep down in the mind it is there still. All the substantial knowledge is there, “consolidate in mind and frame" - all the experience of the past goes forward into the future. Friendship and love appear to pass away. But not so ; whatever
is true in them is permanent, and will remain an everlasting possession.
Life passes ! Immortality comes ! Our friends go away, they pass on through the low portal of death into an unseen world. But as Christ came nearer to his disciples after death than he was when he lived, so they often come near to us, and help us most when we no longer see them near. Nothing good, nothing real, can ever wholly go. Nature passes, youth passes, opinions pass, time passes, but the solid part of each stays, and will stay always.
VOLUNTARY AND AUTOMATIC MORALITY; OR,
HOW PROGRESS IS POSSIBLE.
“FOR UNTO EVERY ONE THAT HATH SHALL BE GIVEN, AND HE SHALL
HAVE ABUNDANCE; BUT FROM HIM THAT HATH NOT SHALL BE TAKEN AWAY EVEN THAT WHICH HE HATH.”
'HIS seems rather hard it seems hard that a man
who has only a little should have that little taken from him, and it does not seem fair that because another man has already a great deal, that more should be bestowed on him. If this were something arbitrary, it would be very unintelligible ; but I think we can understand the meaning of it, and see why it is right and good, if we consider it to be a law of human nature and human society. The law is a very beneficial one, for human progress depends on it. The working of this law makes men better, and the world better. In ict, there could be no such thing as human civilization without it.
The law laid down in the parable is this : that when we use our powers and faculties we gain more power and more faculty; that when we neglect to use them, they decrease, and at last perish. We cannot possess anything except by using it. If we do not use our. powers they are either taken away entirely, or else cease to be of any advantage
Such is the case with bodily organs, but such is still more the case with mental organs. Practice makes perfect, it is said. But notice this, it is not undirected practice, or
the random use of any power, but it is the carefully arranged practice which improves it. In other words, it is practice directed towards an end.
If, for instance, one wished to improve his memory, he would not do it by committing to memory at random a vast variety of facts or words. He must arrange a list of what he is most apt to forget, and not go to anything else till he has mastered that list and fixed it firmly in his mind. Then he can go on to something else. In order to improve our powers, we must work for a definite purpose, and with a carefully arranged method.
Robert Houdon, the celebrated French juggler, tells us how he acquired one element of his power, an extreme quickness and accuracy of observation. His father took him through one of the boulevards of Paris, crowded with people, and led him slowly past a shop window in which were exhibited a great multitude of different articles, and then made him tell how many he had been able to notice and recollect. This practice so strengthened and quickened the perceptive powers, that, at last, he became able to recollect every article in a large shop window by only walking past it a single time. The more he exercised the faculty, the easier it became. The more he had of this quickness of observation, the more was given to him.
A friend of mine, President Thomas Hill, told me that when he was on the School Committee at Waltham, he endeavored to learn how far the perceptive power of the primary school children might be improved. For this end he would take a handful of beans, and throw a few of them on the table, and instantly cover them with his other hand, and then make the children watch and
there were under his hand. He told me that they improved until they could count them accurately up to ten or twelve, during the moment that they lay uncovered on the table.