C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.
From the moment of His self-dedication, when He threw His cares away, and went forth not knowing where to lay His head, the whole energy which others spend on interests of their own was poured into His human and Divine affections, and filled His life with an enthusiasm resistless and unique. However quiet His words, it is impossible not to feel the tender depths from which they come.
God is infinite; and the laws of nature, like nature itself, are finite. These methods of working, therefore,which correspond to the physical element in us,do not exhaust His agency. There is a boundless residue of disengaged energy beyond.
Heaven and God are best discerned through tears; scarcely perhaps are discerned at all without them. The constant association of prayer with the hour of bereavement and the scenes of death suffice to show this.
High hearts are never long without hearing some new call, some distant clarion of God, even in their dreams; and soon they are observed to break up the camp of ease, and start on some fresh march of faithful service.
However constant the visitations of sickness and bereavement, the fall of the year is most thickly strewn with the fall of human life. Everywhere the spirit of some sad power seems to direct the time; it hides from us the blue heavens, it makes the green wave turbid; it walks through the fields, and lays the damp ungathered harvest low; it cries out in the night wind and the shrill hail; it steals the summer bloom from the infant cheek; it makes old age shiver to the heart; it goes to the churchyard, and chooses many a grave.
Human character is never found to enter into its glory, except through the ordeal of affliction. Its force cannot come forth without the offer of resistance, nor can the grandeur of its free will declare itself, except in the battle of fierce temptation.
If we listen to our self-love, we shall estimate our lot less by what it is than by what it is not; shall dwell upon its hindrances and be blind to its possibilities; and, comparing it only with imaginary lives, shall indulge in flattering dreams of what we should do if we had but power, and give if we had but wealth, and be if we had no temptations.
It was in His parting sorrowthat Jesus asked His disciples to remember Him; and never was entreaty of affection answered so; for ever since has His name been breathed in morning and evening prayers that none can count, and has brought down some gift of sanctity and peace on the anguish of bereavement, and the remorse of sin.
The first party of painted savages who raised a few huts upon the Thames did not dream of the London they were creating, or know that in lighting the fire on their hearth they were kindling one of the great foci of Time. * * * All the grand agencies which the progress of mankind evolves are formed in the same unconscious way. They are the aggregate result of countless single wills, each of which, thinking merely of its own end, and perhaps fully gaining it, is at the same time enlisted by Providence in the secret service of the world.
There is no surer mark of a low and unregenerate nature than this tendency of power to loudness and wantonness instead of quietness and reverence. To souls baptized in Christian nobleness the largest sphere of command is but a wider empire of obedience, calling them, not to escape from holy rule, but to its full impersonation.
This it is that gives a majesty so pure and touching to the historic figure of Christ; self-abandonment to God, uttermost surrender, without reserve or stipulation, to the guidance of the Holy Spirit from the Soul of souls; pause in no darkness, hesitation in no perplexity, recoil in no extremity of anguish, but a gentle unfaltering hold of the invisible Hand, of the Only Holy and All Goodthese are the features that have made Jesus of Nazareth the dearest and most sacred image to the heart of so many ages.