Friday, November 28, 2008

Save us from a thankless heart. (Ephraim Peabody, RIP)

Ephraim Peabody (see posts Nov. 16th, 17th and 19th) has been my devotional companion for the past couple of weeks or so and this morning I note that it was on this day in 1856 that he passed. Samuel Eliot said of Peabody:

"His life was his best preaching. His sermons were but the explanation and enforcing to others of the rules exemplified in his daily intercourse with those around him. It was plain he thought that a sermon should not be merely a dissertation to instruct, nor an oration to surprise and excite, but an earnest, thoughtful, and moving exhortation, addressed to those who, by self-examination, as well as by observation of others, were capable of being stimulated to improvement."


So has he been such a stimulation for me and I am grateful. An excerpt from Peabody's sermon "Confidence in God"


"When I look back over the past, I am compelled to acknowledge, however little I may feel it, that my life has been loaded with undeserved blessings. From the time that the child is laid in the cradle, till the aged man is borne on the bier to his grave, the sunshine and the air are not more constant than those blessings which come, not through casual, but fixed arrangements of Providence,...A mercy most patient and most pitiful, which would reclaim all who go astray, which blesses man on the earth almost in spite of himself, and reveals a higher and holier world, which, little as the best may deserve to enter it, is promised to the weakest and the humblest who strive in their place to walk in the paths of duty...for this, what shall we render unto God? We can render nothing; and all that he asks is, that we shall not be insensible to it. Let our morning and our nightly prayer then be. 'Save us, O God, from the sin of the thankless heart; save us from the guilt of remembering everything else and forgetting thee.' We can return nothing to Him who giveth all. May we at last, when life draws to a close, be able to feel that in the midst of our blessings we were mindful of their magnitude and of their source; and may we be able also to remember that these blessings were not all used for selfish ends, but were the source of happiness and of good to those who knew more of the deprivations and less of the enjoyments of life that we."


A fitting benediction for Rev. Peabody and a timely reminder this "Black Friday", the day after Thanksgiving, to maintain a thankful heart each and all of our days. Blessings

2 comments:

ogre said...

His life was his best preaching.

An epitaph that any preacher might envy or aspire to.

boston unitarian said...

Indeed! Thanks ogre
blessings