Imágenes de páginas

approaching sun. A chorus of a thousand birds welcomes his coming, as, rising above the horizon, he shoots parallel to the earth his dewy and level ray. On the lake, the water-lilies all open at once as by the same impulse. A mystical influence touches every bud. The morningglories on each cottage trellis open wide their lovely corollas. Little children run out barefoot to play in the dew, and kick diamonds from the grass as they run.

The man comes from his house, looks around, breathes in the wholesome air. The long morning advances ; the blue sky becomes more full of sunshine ; men at work in the distant meadows, and women singing about their household tasks, complete the scene of peaceful life. But the sky becomes shaded, mists gather, ugly rack hides the celestial face of the sun, the tempest arises, the black cloud rolls up fringed with torn white mists ; hail and rain, lightning and thunder come; the trees break, the fruit is blown down, the corn levelled, the garden washed away. The frightened children stand at the window staring into the storm. But the sturdy farmer is already thinking how he shall repair his losses, for his long prosperity has given him strength with which to meet his trial.

God usually sends to children a few years of spontaneous joy with which to meet after sorrow. He sends to each of us some spontaneous goodness of disposition as a stock to draw upon when we need the goodness of effort. As, in the seed, a stock of nourishment is put near the germ for the young plant, so are these derived, inherited virtues given us, a small stock in trade with which to begin our business.

And so, on the other hand, I remember an old man whose soul seemed the abode of all at was most serene and most gentle; a man so generous that his entire life was given to the interest of others; so cheerful that he made

“ Be ye per

sunlight around him by his presence. He was a man of the most equable temper, whose solid purpose no temptation could shake, and of whom the single word which characterized him seemed to be equanimity. And yet this man had gone through hard struggles in his youth. He had by nature an irritable per, which it took him a long time to subdue ; he was naturally impatient, fiery, impetuous. But the discipline of years at last ripened his life into this entire serenity, as the fruit on your tree, so hard and sour at first, becomes at last mellow and full of delicious juice as summer passes slowly into the declining year.

We are made to inherit or attain both kinds of goodness; we are intended to grow up in all things into him who is our head, even Jesus. If he was perfect, he has said to us that we may also become perfect. fect even as your heavenly Father is perfect.” If Jesus is thus far the exception, and if imperfection is thus far the rule, he came to reverse the law and to make that which is now the rule to become the exception. All the New Testament is full of calls and invitations to become like Jesus; to be grafted in him, and so to produce much fruit; to grow up as he grew up, and to struggle manfully as he struggled, and so to inherit all his life and power ; to be heirs with God and joint heirs with Christ, in this, and in all the worlds which are to come. Those who are born gifted with any kind of goodness — and all are born with some kind — have it in order that others may see how good it is, and so pursue it. Goodness which is only effort, which has not yet flowered into beauty, which is only an intention, a struggle, is not attractive. We respect it, but we do not love it. So that each has some natural goodness which attracts its opposite. Some men are born truthful. Others are born sympathetic. Some are born with natural refinement of feeling, others with a natural

strength of purpose. Those who have these qualities have them in order that others may see their beauty and be attracted. So Wisdom is justified of all her children. Meantime, the goodness which struggles and battles, and goes down deep, and soars high, is the stuff of which heroism is made, by which the world is salted and kept pure. It is the seed which bears fruit in martyrs, and makes men nobler than their nature — the demi-gods and the prophets of a better tinie.






IFE is made up of command and invitation. Like the

Roman Centurion, it says to us, “Go," and we are obliged to go; and again it says, “Come," and we gladly



The difference between “Go” and “ Come" is very great, and may be illustrated by many examples.

Let us suppose, for instance, that there is a little child in school, whose sum in arithmetic puzzles him. He has • tried to do it, and failed. He comes up to recite, and he cannot do the sum. Now, the teacher may say,

“ You are a stupid little boy,” or, “You are a lazy child ; go, immediately, and do not leave it until you have done the sum." The child takes its slate, and begins to puzzle over it again as hopelessly as before.

Or, the teacher might say, “Cannot you do the sum ? Come here, then, and let us look over it together. Tell me where your difficulty is.” The child then takes courage, and by this sympathy from its teacher its mind is · animated with new hope. I think it makes a great deal of difference in schools whether a teacher is in the habit of saying “Go," or "Come."

As with work, so with play. Much as a child loves play, he always wants some one to play with. You say to your child, “Go out, my dear, and play out of doors." He says, “Mamma, I have nobody to play with.” But if a companion enters, and says, “ Come, Johnny, and let us go out and drive hoop," the child cordially accepts that invitation.

As with work and play, so with doing right or doing wrong. Tell a man to go and do his duty, go and resist temptation, go by himself and conquer his evil habits of temper and character, and it is hard for him to do so. To stand alone for truth and right is not easy. But say to him, “Come, and let us help each other do right, help each other resist temptation ; let us make it a common work,” and that which was hard before grows easy.

But the word “Come" means more than society or companionship; it means invitation. “Go” means command; “ Come” means attraction. One stands for authority; the other for friendship. “Go" drives, but

Come" leads. “ Come” is the Good Shepherd who goes before the flock, and they follow him.

Now, life is made up of go and come, of command and invitation, of stern and difficult duty enforced by irresistible necessity, and delightful occupation made interesting by hope and joy. But the true art of life consists in transmuting, as far as we can, Go into Come; making a pleasure of duty; making a joy of work. We then cease to be repelled by the fear of evil, and are attracted by the desire for good. In this process we pass through that change by which love takes the place of conscience, by which attraction is substituted for repulsion, and hard duties change into glad satisfactions.

The word “ Come" is a very Christian word. It has in it the sense of the gospel. Outside of Christianity, you

« AnteriorContinuar »