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in the experience of all human souls; poetry and pathos that look out through dull grey eyes, and that speak in a voice of quite ordinary tones.” We might know something of this if we would only think. And such knowledge would inevitably give birth to sympathy.
But though reflection will do much to develop in us a loving spirit, attachment to Christ Himself will do infinitely more. This was why Christ so strongly insisted upon the necessity of His disciples loving Him. As the author of ' Ecce Homo’truly says, “ Christ required personal devotion from His followers so vehemently, that they often, in describing their relation to Him, overleap the bounds of ordinary figurative language. They speak of hating father and mother for the sake of Christ,—that is, their love for their earthly relations seemed but as hatred when compared with their passionate love for Him. St Paul speaks of Christ being his life, his very self. It is this intense personal devotion, this habitual feeding on the character of Christ, so that the essential nature of the Master seems to pass into and become the essential nature of the servant, that is expressed in the words, ‘eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of man.?” Christ insisted upon this
essential to Self-development. 171 devotion, because He knew the invaluable effect it would have upon the lives of His disciples. Just as a ray of light, when examined by the spectroscope, reveals the nature of the medium through which it has travelled, so our lives will undoubtedly show whether or not we have been influenced by the teaching and the example of the Nazarene. If we are genuine disciples, men will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus. If we are genuine disciples, we shall manifest something of His sublime spirit of self-abnegation, something of His passionate enthusiasm for the wellbeing of the race. If we are genuine disciples, we shall go about constantly, not so much getting as doing good; seeking to minister rather than to be ministered unto; finding our supreme happiness in contributing to the happiness of others. Passing from the society of those who are utterly destitute of Christ's spirit into the company of those who are somewhat imbued with it, is like migrating from the cutting east winds of our English climate to the gentle, sweet-scented breezes of the South. Nay, it is like going into another and a grander world. Christ's kingdom, as He said, is not of this world. It is the Kingdom of God! It is the Kingdom of Heaven !
The Connection between Self-denial
SELF-DEVELOPMENT IS SALVATION.
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is
God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” –PHILIPPIANS ii. 12, 13.
A MONG all the spurious forms of Christianity
1 there is nothing worse than the doctrine that we are saved if we are saved, and lost if we are lost, according to the will of God and not according to our own. The theory of fatalism has sometimes unhappily been adopted by Christian theologians, who have maintained that men were not free agents, but necessitated, irresistibly compelled to work out the will of a higher Power. If that were really the case, we might say mournfully and indignantly with the poet,
“ We are no better than a moving row
Of tragic shadow-shapes, that come and go
If the salvation of Christ were a benefit conferred only upon a few arbitrarily selected individuals; if God forced some men into the kingdom of heaven and only some, leaving the rest bad and wretched, when He might have made them good and happy; if He ordained that they should be heirs of eternal life when He wanted them in heaven, but allowed them to remain heirs of death when He preferred their going to hell,-if this were the character of the strongest Power in the universe, then the human race would be merely a collection of puppets—helpless, hapless puppets—played with according to the caprice of a Being the very opposite of love,—a Being in comparison with whom the cruellest tyrant of history or fiction appears kind-hearted, amiable, and beneficent.1
1 The impossibility of worshipping Power as such, I have endeavoured to show in the 'Basis of Religion,' passim. The fundamental objection to Mr Drummond's ‘Natural Law in the Spiritual World' is, that it supposes spiritual life to come There is another almost equally gross caricature of Christianity, which represents salvation as being merely a rescue from the punishment of sin. This is a theology worthy only of a savage. Many barbarians believe that religion consists in appeasing the anger of the gods, which accordingly they attempt to do by the grateful savour of barley, wine, or blood. They are firmly convinced that if their spiteful deities can be propitiated, they themselves will be able to do what they please with impunity. They are not more in error than those who imagine that Christ lived and died merely to save men from the punishment of sin. His aim was to save us from sin itself. Unless we are saved from that, it is impossible, even for Omnipotence, to save us from its punishment. Sin is not something which God has chosen capriciously to forbid and to punish, but something which, by its own essential nature, must inevitably be productive of misery and degradation. So long as the cause continues in operation, the effect must necessarily follow. Heaven and hell are not spheres to which men are arbitrarily consigned. The place a man goes to in the future, as in the present, must be