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Dangerous Mindsets

By Arthur John Gossip


      "But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men...wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy"
      (Ezra 3:12).

      I don't think these weeping folk helped very much. The mood was natural enough, perhaps, but certainly not over-manly and little likely to do anything except dishearten those around them. And a mind that is perpetually looking back, and talking scornfully of all things present as a sad decadence, that is gloomy and pessimistic, that knows the reins have broken in God's hands, and that all things are hurtling hideously down to ruin, that keeps clutching the seat nervously, ready to jump when the disaster it is always forseeing comes--well, it's a rather miserable role to fill, and surely not a little blasphemous.

      But what about you who are young? Ah, well, you can be trying and exasperating too. That airy assumption of yours that all who went before you were incompetent bunglers, that you are the people and wisdom will die with you, or at least that suddenly the slow, dour thing has blossomed into full flower in your day, is less than just by far to that innumerable company of valiant souls who, with hard breathing, toil and pain and sheer dare-devil heroism, won for you with their bare hands nearly all you have inherited. Look again at your possessions, at the simplest of them; and, like David, with that water from the well at Bethlehem which valiant men had risked their lives to bring, you too will feel, in an awed and even ashamed way that these are vastly too valuable, have cost far too much, to make it seemly you should use them as if they were common nothings; will make you want rather to pour them out before God, who alone is worthy to receive them--these things how wonderful when you look at them closer, for has it not taken human blood and brains and lives to win each one of them? Don't forget that.

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