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active, free, large, vigorous, helps us to do well the smallest matters. Give your children all the education you can, no matter what they are to be. No real knowledge, no real thinking, ever comes amiss. It helps us to do things with all our might, and that is the only way to do them well.
A thing not done with our might is not worth doing at all. Slovenly work is bad for the doer and the thing done. But to do things with our might, we must have might to do them with. Therefore we must cultivate might. And to do things mightily, we must do them thoughtfully, do them heartily, and do them prayerfully. Thought, heart, and prayer feed the roots of the soul, and give it strength. Thought put into work makes it interesting, turns it into art, gives to it the joy of accomplishment. We can work heartily when we see the meaning of our work, the value of it, the good of it. When we do our work not for ourselves only, selfishly, but for others also, then we do it cheerfully and happily. But to do work with our might we should do it prayerfully. I do not mean that we should say formal prayers over it. But to have the conviction that God is with us - that we are working for him when we work for ourselves or others — and so to keep the channel of communication open upward, for inspiration to come to us--this gives great might and efficiency to work. Usually men have sought this divine inspiration only for what is called religious work, and have supposed that it came by some miraculous answer or special intervention. But we need inspiration just as much for the commonest duties of life as for preaching the gospel. To have the right spirit in our common talk we need some inspiration to have the right spirit in our daily dealings with our fellow-men we need it. We need this spirit in the parlor, the kitchen *and the shop just as much as in the church and we can
have it in all of them. For just as the river flows and flows unceasingly, when there is an open channel, so the spirit of God flows into human hearts by a continuous unending current, when we have the channel open. Trust in God and a desire to do what is right — this makes the channel from the soul up to heaven. But, at all events, let us all do something, and do it with our might. Let us not think any honest work degrading. The lowest work done in a good spirit elevates us — the highest work done in a bad spirit degrades us. I call the preacher's work degrading when he preaches from vanity, or without truth and love in his words. I call the work of a President or a member of. Congress degrading, when either of them is the slave of a party. If one is eloquent as an angel, and has no love in his voice, the sound is as hollow as that of a drum, and he degrades himself by his speech. A man may be a popular poet or novelist — and his books reach twenty editions but if he panders to low appetites, prejudices and passions, his work is degrading. But let one sweep a room for the love of God, or cook a dinner for the love of man, then his work is heavenly work, and raises him towards God.
From scheme and creed the light goes out
The saintly fact survives;
Revealed in saintly lives.
HOW TO CHANGE TIME INTO LIFE.
"I AM CUME THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE LIFE; AND THAT THEY MIGHT
HAVE IT MORE ABUNDANTLY.”
'HE purpose for which we exist is to turn time into life.
A regular allowance of time is given to men the same ration, every day, of twenty-four hours to each of us ; then we are to see what we can make of it. How much can we get of real life out of each day, so that when the day is gone it will leave us so much more alive than we were before. Some men continue to increase in the amount they have of mental, moral, spiritual life and energy, as long as they remain here. While the body is growing old, mind and heart are growing young ; while the outward man perishes, the inward man is being renewed day by day.
This is the real alchemy, the true philosopher's stone which can turn baser metals into gold. Time has no value in itself ; it is a base metal ; its only value is in our ability to transmute it into something valuable. Time cannot be kept; it slips through our fingers forever ; but while it is passing through them we may be able to change it into something which will last always, that is, immortal or undying life — or what the Scriptures call eternal life. For immortal life, eternal life, simply means that kind of life which does not decay and change ; not future existence,
but present fulness of being. Bodily life decays with years; physical life is liable to disease ; our bodies grow old and die ; but all of immortal life we have within us will last unchanged, never growing old, never wearing out, never losing its first freshness, light and power. Our business is to change the bodily existence, measured by time, into spiritual existence, belonging to eternity.
For there are some conditions and states of soul which take us directly out of time into eternity. There are often moments in life when time disappears, moments in which a whole world of thought, love, purpose are concentrated, so that we live a great deal in a few seconds. There is no telling, therefore, how much existence may be collected into a few such burning moments, when the light of years is collected into a luminous focus, and the picture of a large existence is brought to a point. Add together all such experiences in our past days, and they would occupy, perhaps, only half a dozen hours of time; but, then, these hours would have more real life in them than all our barren years of routine, languor, inertia, doubt, fear, all put together. I say, therefore, again, that the great object of existence is to change time into life ; to transform bodily existence, measured by the clock, into spiritual existence, measured by experiences of soul.
How, then, is this to be done? It is by taking interest in things, in nature, in events, in persons, in truth. Those who are interested in anything live ; those who are interested in important things have the most life — have it abundantly; those who are not interested in anything are virtually dead ; those who are interested only in superficial things, in vanity and temporary affairs, are only half alive. As the apostle says, “She who liveth for pleasure is dead while she liveth.”
We all of us have our dead hours ; hours in which
we are really dead ; in which nothing interests us; in which we turn languidly from work to play, and return languidly from play to work; in which “man delights not us, nor woman neither;" morbid, sickly, wretched hours, in which time passes and brings no life with it. We may be working, but we do our work mechanically, with the hand, putting no heart into it; we may be reading, but what we read passes before our brain, leaving no impression ; we may be talking with our friends, but we do not enter into their thoughts, nor they into ours. Nothing real enters into us from God's universe; nothing real goes out of us into God's universe. This condition is death in life.
And yet, as vanity is a weed which grows everywhere, people are sometimes found who are vain of this condition, proud of their emptiness, taking a certain satisfaction in being tired of the world, bored with everything which is. These little insects which have just begun their ephemeral existence are already fatigued by it. Everything is tedious, they say.
God's universe does not come up to their expectations; they confess that they have exhausted the world. “ Omnia fui, nihil expedit," said the Roman Emperor. "I have been everything, and it amounts to nothing.” No, Roman Emperor, you have not been everything ; you have not been anything. In many and many a home in your vast empire, loving fathers and mothers have seen more of real life than
seen, for to love is to live. Many an earnest patriot, loving his country; many a serious thinker, in love with truth ; many a loyal worker, doing his work not to be seen of men, but to be seen of God, has been living. But
O Emperor, have only seemed to live in your great position. You say “ you have been everything ;” you have not been anything, for you have not been seeking realities, but vanities, and we only live when we take interest in what is real.