Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Truly liberal...

John Emery Abbot was a very young man when he died, and his sickness had been longstanding. Yet in the time he had, he made a deep and lasting impact on those whose lives he touched. Henry Ware Jr. writes of his character thus: "Habitual and fervent piety was his ruling principle. It was this which gave its complexion to his whole character...I do not believe that he had a particle of asperity in him. He indulged no ill will; he would not willingly hurt the feelings of the meanest, and never allowed himself to feel uncharitably towards those who differed from him. He was truly liberal." This from JEA's sermon:


"Devotion is not a distinct and single quality, but a general state of mind and heart...Devotion is often supposed to consist entirely in the performance of secret and retired duties of meditation and prayer ; whereas it is an all pervading spirit, which warms at the heart, directing all its desires, and feelings, and hopes, and whose influence is felt through the whole conduct. It does not require the knees to be always bowed, and the voice to be always ascending ; it waits not for stated periods, and is not confined to the closet or the temple. God will be acceptably worshipped wherever the heart rises to him, whether it be from amidst the activity of business, or in silence and solitude.

...the influence of the spirit of devotion is felt on prayer as well as on other parts of the christian life; for to the devout man, prayer is not merely a means and a duty, but a privilege and a delight. He rejoices in approaching to God, as the being in whom he lives, and moves, and enjoys, the healer of his infirmities, and the forgiver of his sins—in casting himself on his care, and in pouring out at his feet the overflowing expressions of a heart too full to be restrained.

The spirit of devotion opens "a new heaven and a new earth," to the soul it has touched and sanctified. It purges the eye that it may see the divinity in all the grandeur and beauty of his works; it opens the dull ear that it may hear the endless voices of thanksgiving and praise, which ascend from the wide creation his hand sustains and his bounty blesses; and with consoling, prophetic hope, it calls him to look forward to the world where he shall see God as he is, and be the object and the witness of mightier displays of his wisdom and mercy.

Devotion regards the principles as well as the feelings; is a powerful motive and rule of conduct. A devout man carries his pious feelings and views to the ordinary scenes and labors of life...In this view, no action, however trifling, is insignificant, and the daily concerns of life acquire a new interest and higher importance. And those actions and calls of ordinary life which others leave to accident and chance, become the means and opportunities of religious service...This is that worship of the spirit, which our Saviour enjoins. This is the life to which the apostle exhorts—" Whether ye eat, or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
To "purge the eye" and "open the dull ear" to the "divinity in all." Truly liberal indeed. Blessings

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