Christ pitied because He loved, because He saw through all the wretchedness, and darkness, and bondage of evil; that there was in every human soul a possibility of repentance, of restoration; a germ of good, which, however stifled and overlaid, yet was capable of recovery, of health, of freedom, of perfection.
Christianity is, above all other religions ever known, a religion of sacrifice. It is a religion founded on the greatest of all sacrifices, the sacrifice of the incarnation, culminating in the sacrifice on Calvary.
Everyone of us knows how painful it is to be called by malicious names, to have his character undermined by false insinuations, to be overreached in a bargain, to be neglected by those who rise in life, to be thrust on one side by those who have stronger wills and stouter hearts. Everyone knows, also, the pleasure of receiving a kind look, a warm greeting, a hand held out to help in distress, a difficulty solved, a higher hope revealed for this world or the next. By that pain and by that pleasure let us judge what we should do to others.
Give us a man, young or old, high or low, on whom we know we can thoroughly dependwho will stand firm when others failthe friend faithful and true, the adviser honest and fearless, the adversary just and chivalrous; in such an one there is a fragment of the Rock of Agesa sign that there has been a prophet amongst us.
High above all earthly lower happiness the blessedness of the eight Beatitudes towers into the heaven itself. They are white with the snows of eternity; they give a space, a meaning, a dignity to all the rest of the earth over which they brood.
In the true, original, catholic, evangelical religion of Jesus Christ, and in this alone, all the divided religions of Christendom find their union, their repose, their support. Find out His mind, His character, His will; and in His greatness we shall rise above our littleness; in His strength we shall lose our weakness; in His peace we shall forget our discord.
Is there no reconciliation of some ancient quarrel, no payment of some long outstanding debt, no courtesy or love or honor to be rendered to those to whom it has long been due; no charitable, humble, kind, useful deed, by which you can promote the glory of God, or good will among men, or peace upon earth? If there be any such, I beseech you, in Gods name, in Christs name, go and do it.
Putting the soul into trifles. Let us remember that greatness of action depends on two other kinds of greatness; on our appreciation of the greatness of the occasion when it can be done. It has been well said, by an eminent French writer, that the true calling of a Christian is not to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way. The most trivial tasks can be accomplished in a noble, gentle, regal spirit, which overrides and puts aside all petty, paltry feelings, and which elevates all little things.
Speak, Lord, our souls are hushed to hear what Thou hast to say to us. Great is the stake, overwhelming may be the risksmost glorious are the opportunities. Speak, Lord, and show us what our duty ishow high, how difficult, yet how happy, how blessedshow us what our duty is, and, O great God and Father, give us strength to do it.
That is a true sentiment which makes us feel that we do not love our country less, but more, because we have laid up in our minds the knowledge of other lands and other institutions and other races, and have had enkindled afresh within us the instinct of a common humanity, and of the universal beneficence of the Creator.
The best antidote against evils of all kinds, against the evil thoughts that haunt the soul, against the needless perplexities which distract the conscience, is to keep hold of the good we have. Impure thoughts will not stand against pure words and prayers and deeds. Little doubts will not avail against great certainties. Fix your affections on things above, and then you will less and less be troubled by the cares, the temptations, the troubles of things on earth.
The more we can be raised above the petty vexations and pleasures of this world into the eternal life to come, the more shall we be prepared to enter into that eternal life whenever God shall please to call us hence.
The true religion of Jesus Christ our Saviour is that which penetrates, and which receives all the warmth of the heart, and all the elevation of the soul, and all the energies of the understanding, and all the strength of the will.
Would that our harsh judgments could be restrained, our impatience checked, our selfishness broken down, our passions controlled, our waste of time and life in worthless or unworthy objects corrected, by the thought that there is One in whose hands we are, who cares for us with a parents love, who will judge us hereafter without the slightest tinge of human infirmity, the All-Merciful and the All-Just.
You never get to the end of Christs words. There is something in them always behind. They pass into proverbsthey pass into lawsthey pass into doctrinesthey pass into consolations; but they never pass away, and, after all the use that is made of them, they are still not exhausted.