Friday, February 4, 2011

These inner workmen...

The Rev. William Gaskell was an English Unitarian minister, social reformer, writer, and husband of Elizabeth Gaskell. This from "The Regulation of Thought," a sermon on my favorite passage of scripture.

Philippians iv. 8
" Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are venerable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, Think on these things."

There is one class of trees which are termed " endogenous for they grow from within. The same is it, to a greater degree than we often realize, with our own true selves. The trains of thought—the unexpressed, yet constantly rising ideas— which keep ever passing to and fro through the mind, are the builders up of the soul's dwelling, whether that be a calm palace of joy, or a dark prison-house of restless, angry, chafing passions. These inner workmen are at all times ceaselessly pursuing their unseen and silent labour, which will hereafter stand forth in glory, or remain a monument of shame.

Confidential and friendly as man may be with man, there is yet by far the larger portion of self that is completely hidden from human view.

"Each has his world of thought alone,
To one dread Watcher only known."

"We are all conscious of ideas and feelings which are too complex for repetition; of such as are often too frivolous and vain, occasionally too vicious, sometimes too sacred, to be revealed to another, even were there time enough for the communication, or sympathy enough to listen to it. Yet these inward movements are the sources of outward manifestation of character. A man who indulges habitually in low and earthly ideas, cannot perform high and heavenly actions. He whose thoughts all centre on the pivot of self, can no more cast away his precious treasures in the service of others, than a crawling reptile can take to itself wings and soar in freedom through the blue skies above.

2 comments:

David G. Markham said...

In this day and age Reverend Gaskell might have become a Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapist.

I am also struck by the importance of mindfulness which focuses on the observation of inner functioning both affective and cognitive.

I love your blog because it helps me deepen my UU faith. There is nothing else like it and it provides a true service.

Thank you for what you do in writing this.

Sincerely,

David Markham

boston unitarian said...

Hi David,
it is great to hear from you and good to see you back! I hope you and yours are well. Many blessings, BU