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Beautiful Thoughts: 9 - September

By Henry Drummond


      September 1st. In reflecting the character of Christ, it is no real obstacle that we may never have been in visible contact with Himself. Many men know Dante better than their own fathers. He influences them more. As a spiritual presence he is more near to them, as a spiritual force more real. Is there any reason why a greater than . . . Dante should not also instruct, inspire, and mould the characters of men? The Changed Life, pp. 38, 52.

      September 2d. Mark this distinction. . . . Imitation is mechanical, reflection organic. The one is occasional, the other habitual. In the one case, man comes to God and imitates Him; in the other, God comes to man and imprints Himself upon him. It is quite true that there is an imitation of Christ which amounts to reflection. But Paul's term includes all that the other holds, and is open to no mistake. "Whom having not seen, I love." The Changed Life, p. 39.

      September 3d. In paraphrase: We all reflecting as a mirror the character of Christ are transformed into the same Image from character to character--from a poor character to a better one, from a better one to one a little better still, from that to one still more complete, until by slow degrees the Perfect Image is attained. Here the solution of the problem of sanctification is compressed into a sentence: Reflect the character of Christ and you will become like Christ. The Changed Life, p. 24.

      September 4th. Not more certain is it that it is something outside the thermometer that produces a change in the thermometer, than it is something outside the soul of man that produces a moral change upon him. That he must be susceptible to that change, that he must be a party to it, goes without saying; but that neither his aptitude nor his will can produce it is equally certain. The Changed Life, p. 20.

      September 5th. Just as in an organism we have these three things-- formative matter, formed matter, and the forming principle or life; so in the soul we have the old nature, the renewed nature, and. the transforming Life. Natural Law, p. 302.

      September 6th. Is it hopeless to point out that one of the most recognizable characteristics of life is its unrecognizableness, and that the very token of its spiritual nature lies in its being beyond the grossness of our eyes? Natural Law, p. 302.

      September 7th. According to the doctrine of Bio-genesis, life can only come from life. It was Christ's additional claim that His function in the world, was to give men Life. "I am come that ye might have Life, and that ye might have it more abundantly." This could, not refer to the natural life, for men had that already. He that hath the Son hath another Life. "Know ye not your own selves how that Jesus Christ is in you." Natural Law, p. 303.

      September 8th. The recognition of the Ideal is the first step in the direction of Conformity. But let it be clearly observed that it is but a step. There is no vital connection between merely seeing the Ideal and being conformed to it. Thousands admire Christ who never become Christians. Natural Law, p. 306.

      September 9th. For centuries men have striven to find out ways and means to conform themselves to the Christ Life. Impressive motives have been pictured, the proper circumstances arranged, the direction of effort defined, and men have toiled, struggled, and agonized to conform themselves to the Image of the Son. Can the protoplasm CONFORM ITSELF to its type? Can the embryo FASHION ITSELF? Is Conformity to Type produced by the matter OR BY THE LIFE, by the protoplasm or by the Type? Is organization the cause of life or the effect of it? It is the effect of it. Conformity to Type, therefore, is secured by the type. Christ makes the Christian. Natural Law, p. 307.

      September 10th. O preposterous and vain man, thou who couldest not make a fingernail of thy body, thinkest thou to fashion this wonderful, mysterious, subtle soul of thine after the ineffable Image? Wilt thou ever permit thyself TO BE conformed to the Image of the Son? Wilt thou, who canst not add a cubit to thy stature, submit TO BE raised by the Type-Life within thee to the perfect stature of Christ Natural Law, p. 308.

      September 11th. Men will still experiment "by works of righteousness which they have done" to earn the Ideal life. The doctrine of Human Inability, as the Church calls it, has always been objectionable to men who do not know themselves. Natural Law, p. 309.

      September 12th. Let man choose Life; let him daily nourish his soul; let him forever starve the old life; let him abide continuously as a living branch in the Vine, and the True-Vine Life will flow into his soul, assimilating, renewing, conforming to Type, till Christ, pledged by His own law, be formed in him. Natural Law, p. 312.

      September 13th. The work begun by Nature is finished by the Supernatural --as we are wont to call the higher natural. And as the veil is lifted by Christianity it strikes men dumb with wonder. For the goal of Evolution is Jesus Christ. Natural Law, p. 314.

      September 14th. The Christian life is the only life that will ever be completed. Apart from Christ the life of man is a broken pillar, the race of men an unfinished pyramid. One by one in sight of Eternity all human Ideals fall short, one by one before the open grave all human hopes dissolve. Natural Law, p. 314.

      September 15th. I do not think we ourselves are aware how much our religious life is made up of phrases; how much of what we call Christian experience is only a dialect of the Churches, a mere religious phraseology with almost nothing behind it in what we really feel and know. Pax Vobiscum, p. 12.

      September 16th. The ceaseless chagrin of a self-centred life can be removed at once by learning Meekness and Lowliness of heart. He who learns them is forever proof against it. He lives henceforth a charmed life. Pax Vobiscum, p. 29.

      September 17th. Great trials come at lengthened intervals, and we rise to breast them; but it is the petty friction of our everyday life with one another, the jar of business or of work, the discord of the domestic circle, the collapse of our ambition, the crossing of our will or the taking down of our conceit, which makes inward peace impossible. Pax Vobiscum, p. 28.

      September 18th. There are people who go about the world looking out for slights, and they are necessarily miserable, for they find them at every turn--especially the imaginary ones. One has the same pity for such men as for the very poor. They are the morally illiterate. They have had no real education, for they have never learned how to live. Pax Vobiscum, p. 31.

      September 19th. Christ never said much in mere words about the Christian graces. He lived them, He was them. Yet we do not merely copy Him. We learn His art by living with Him. Pax Vobiscum, p. 32.

      September 20th. Christ's invitation to the weary and heavy-laden is a call to begin life over again upon a new principle--upon His own principle. "Watch My way of doing things," He says. "Follow Me. Take life as I take it. Be meek and lowly, and you will find Rest." Pax Vobiscum, p. 32.

      September 21st. If a man could make himself humble to order, it might simplify matters, but we do not find that this happens. Hence we must all go through the mill. Hence death, death to the lower self, is the nearest gate and the quickest road to life. Pax Vobiscum, p. 35.

      September 22d. Whatever rest is provided by Christianity for the children of God, it is certainly never contemplated that it should supersede personal effort. And any rest which ministers to indifference is immoral and unreal--it makes parasites and not men. Natural Law, p. 335.

      September 23d. Just because God worketh in him, as the evidence and triumph of it, the true child of God works out his own salvation--works it out having really received it--not as a light thing, a superfluous labour, but with fear and trembling as a reasonable and indispensable service. Natural Law, p. 335.

      September 24th. Christianity, as Christ taught, is the truest philosophy of life ever spoken. But let us be quite sure when we speak of Christianity, that we mean Christ's Christianity. Pax Vobiscum, p. 47.

      September 25th. So far from ministering to growth, parasitism ministers to decay. So far from ministering to holiness, that is to wholeness, parasitism ministers to exactly the opposite. One by one the spiritual faculties droop and die, one by one from lack of exercise the muscles of the soul grow weak and flaccid, one by one the moral activities cease. So from him that hath not, is taken away that which he hath, and after a few years of parasitism there is nothing left to save. Natural Law, p. 336.

      September 26th. The natural life, not less than the eternal, is the gift of God. But life in either case is the beginning of growth and not the end of grace. To pause where we should begin, to retrograde where we should advance, to seek a mechanical security that we may cover inertia and find a wholesale salvation in which there is no personal sanctification--this is Parasitism. Natural Law, p. 336.

      September 27th. Could we investigate the spirit as a living organism, or study the soul of the backslider on principles of comparative anatomy, we should have a revelation of the organic effects of sin, even of the mere sin of carelessness as to growth and work, which must revolutionize our ideas of practical religion. There is no room for the doubt even that what goes on in the body does not with equal certainty take place in the spirit under the corresponding conditions. Natural Law, p. 345.

      September 28th. It is the beautiful work of Christianity everywhere to adjust the burden of life to those who bear it, and them to it. It has a perfectly miraculous gift of healing. Without doing any violence to human nature it sets it right with life, harmonizing it with all surrounding things, and restoring those who are jaded with the fatigue and dust of the world to a new grace of living. Pax Vobiscum, p. 46.

      September 29th. The penalty of backsliding is not something unreal and vague, some unknown quantity which may be measured out to us disproportionately, or which, perchance, since God is good, we may altogether evade. The consequences are already marked within the structure of the soul. So to speak, they are physiological. The thing effected by our in difference or by our indulgence is not the book of final judgment, but the present fabric of the soul. Natural Law, p. 346.

      September 30th. The punishment of degeneration is simply degeneration-- the loss of functions, the decay of organs, the atrophy of the spiritual nature. It is well known that the recovery of the backslider is one of the hardest problems in spiritual work. To reinvigorate an old organ seems more difficult and hopeless than to develop a new one; and the backslider's terrible lot is to have to retrace with enfeebled feet each step of the way along which he strayed; to make up inch by inch the leeway he has lost, carrying with him a dead-weight of acquired reluctance, and scarce knowing whether to be stimulated or discouraged by the oppressive memory of the previous fall. Natural Law, p. 346.

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   1 - January
   2 - February
   3 - March
   4 - April
   5 - May
   6 - June
   7 - July
   8 - August
   9 - September
   10 - October
   11 - November
   12 - December

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