Thursday, April 23, 2009

sympathetic and reproducing power...

Moral example was important to the Boston Unitarians. They both sought to emulate great and good people and to be worthy of being emulated as great and good people, hence their love of writers like Plutarch. Their greatest model for living was, of course, Jesus, and Cyrus Bartol's take on what that means follows in excerpts from his sermon, "Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ."

"Rom. xiii-But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ"

There are two methods of moral improvement: first, acting from ourselves according to an abstract principle; and, secondly, living over again the example of actual excellence...

The lofty worth we steadily hold up before our emulous soul, like the landscape through the daguerreotyper's lens, leaves a more indelible print. The justice we admire, the charity we love, the holy zeal and endurance we revere, the fervent adoration and self-devotion which makes our hearts burn,-all these we possess and become, 'growing in grace' and translated out of the poor limitations of our individual or merely private nature, 'from glory to glory';blessing God, as we advance, for this privilege of increase which he has given us...

'Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.' The whole gospel is preached and summed up in that single exhortation...not a conceit of speculation...not a figment of the theological brain...but a practical, vital assimilation of him, of his mind and spirit and undying love, according to the simple laws of our being...This, verily, is Christs life and example, Christ's cup and cross...all dependent for their virtue and efficacy upon the exercise of this sympathetic and reproducing power, through which his majesty and lowliness, his submission and self-sacrifice, his sinless virtue and everlasting love, melt like the expressive traits of some grand and pathetic picture into our souls.

Thus, coming to the point of our whole meditation, this impersonating, reproducing energy of the soul which may be abused or used to trivial ends, we devote to its highest and most precious purpose...let us dwell in the sight of those matchless features, and 'put on the Lord Jesus Christ."


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