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ness, much more moral and spiritual greatness, is never attained but as the result of much that is concealed from the world—of many a lonely and meditative hour. Thoughtfulness, self-knowledge, self-control, a chastened wisdom and piety, are the fruit of habitual meditation and prayer. In these exercises heaven is brought near, and our exaggerated estimate of earthly things corrected. By these our spiritual energies, shattered and worn by the friction of worldly work, are repaired. In the recurring seasons of devotion the cares and anxieties of worldly business cease to vex us; exhausted with its toils, we have, in daily communion with God, “meat to eat which the world knoweth not of;' and even when its calamities and losses fall upon us, and our portion of worldly good may be withdrawn, we may be able to show, like those holy ones of old at the heathen court, by the fair serene countenance of the spirit, that we have something better than the world's pulse to feed upon.
But, further, in availing yourself of this divine resource amidst the daily exigencies of life, why should you wait always for the periodic season and the formal attitude of prayer? The heavens are not open to the believer's call only at intervals. The grace of God's Holy Spirit falls not like the fertilizing shower, only now and then ; or like the dew on the earth's face, only at morning and night.
At all times on the uplifted face of the believer's spirit the gracious element is ready to descend. Pray always; pray without ceasing. When difficulties arise, delay not to seek and obtain at once the succor you need. Swifter than by the subtle electric agent is thought borne from earth to heaven. The Great Spirit on high is in constant sympathy with the believing spirit beneath, and in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the thrill of aspiration flashes from the heart of man to God. Whenever anything vexes you—whenever, from the rude and selfish ways of men, any trials of temper cross your path-when your spirits are ruffled, or your Christian forbearance put to the test, be this your instant resource! Haste away, if only for a moment, to the serene and peace-breathing presence of Jesus, and you will not fail to return with a spirit soothed and calmed. Or when the impure and low-minded surround you—when, in the path of duty, the high tone of your Christian purity is apt to suffer from baser contacts, oh, what a relief to lift the heart to Christ !—to rise on the wings of faith
even for one instant to breathe the air of that region where the Infinite Purity dwells, and then return with a mind steeled against temptation, ready to recoil, with the instinctive abhorrence of a spirit that has been beside the throne, from all that is impure and vile. Say not, then, with such aid at your command,
that religion can not be brought down to common life!
In conclusion, let me once more urge upon you the great lesson on which we have been insisting Carry religious principle into everyday life. Principle elevates whatever it touches. Facts lose all their littleness to the mind which brings principle and law to bear upon them. The chemist's or geologist's soiled hands are no sign of base work; the coarsest operations of the laboratory, the breaking of stones with a hammer, cease to be mechanical when intellectual thought and principle govern the mind and guide the hands. And religious principle is the noblest of all. Bring it to bear on common actions and coarse cares, and infinitely nobler even than the philosophic or scientific, becomes the Christian life. Live for Christ in common things, and all your work will become priestly work. As in the temple of old, it was holy work to hew wood or mix oil, because it was done for the altarsacrifice or the sacred lamps; so all your coarse and common work will receive a consecration when done for God's glory, by one who is a true priest to His temple.
Carry religion into common life, and your life will be rendered useful as well as noble. There are many men who listen incredulously to the high-toned exhortations of the pulpit; the religious life there depicted is much too seraphic, they think, for this plain and prosaic
world of ours. Show these men that the picture is not a fancy one. Make it a reality. Bring religion down from the clouds. Apply to it the infallible test of experiment; and, by suffusing your daily actions with holy principles, prove that love to God, superiority to worldly pleasure, spirituality, holiness, heavenly-mindedness, are something more than the stock ideas of sermons.
Carry religious principle into common life, and common life will lose its transitoriness. “The world passeth away!” “The things that are seen are temporal.” Soon business with all its cares and anxieties—the whole “unprofitable stir and fever of the world” -will be to us a thing of the past. But religion does something better than sigh and
over the perishableness of earthly things; it finds in them the seed of immortality. No work done for Christ perishes. No action that helps to mold the deathless mind of a saint of God is ever lost. Live for Christ in the world, and you carry with you into eternity all of the results of the world's business that are worth the keeping. The river of life sweeps on, but the gold grains it held in solution are left behind deposited in the holy heart. “The world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Every other result of our “diligence in business” will soon be gone. You cannot invent any mode of exchange
between the visible and invisible worlds, so that the balance at your credit in the one can be transferred, when you migrate from it, to your account in the other. Worldly sharpness, acuteness, versatility, are not the qualities in request in the world to come. The capacious intellect, stored with knowledge, and disciplined into admirable perspicacity, tact, worldly wisdom, by a lifetime devoted to politics or business, is not, by such attainments, fitted to take a higher place among the sons of immortality. The honor, fame, respect, obsequious homage that attend worldly greatness up to the grave's brink, will not follow it one step beyond. These advantages are not to be despised; but if these be all that, by the toil of our hand, or the sweat of our brow, we have gained, the hour is fast coming when we shall discover that we have labored in vain and spent our strength for naught. But while these pass, there are other things that remain. The world's gains and losses may soon cease to affect us, but not the gratitude or the patience, the kindness or the resignation, they drew forth from our hearts. The world's scenes of business may fade on our sight, the noise of its restless pursuits may fall no more upon our ear, when we pass to meet our God; but not one unselfish thought, not one kind and gentle word, not one act of self-sacrificing love done for Jesus' sake, in the midst of our common work, but will have