Saturday, October 30, 2010

to be a Christian...

Rufus Ellis has long and often graced this space.  These bits from his "Unpublished Sermons" on what it means to be a Christian...

1. To be a Christian one must have a very rich and positive religion. Christianity is belief in a God of perfect power and perfect goodness, in Divine Providence, and a very particular Divine Providence too, in the efficacy of prayer, and in the immortal life of the soul.

2. To be a Christian is to set a supreme value upon spiritual wealth, especially upon righteousness, to miss it when it is lacking as we miss bread and water when they fail, to have a very living conscience.

3. To be a Christian is to recognize the duty and to feel the desire of self-sacrifice for the good of others, to be born of God in being born into the love of man.

4. To be a Christian is to be of a gentle and merciful mind towards those whose works we disapprove and are earnestly striving to change, to be incapable of anything like retaliation, — not meeting strife with strife and railing with railing, but ever disarming opposition and seeking to change hatred and wrath into friendly feeling.

5. To be a Christian is to be able to count it a blessing when we are so true to our conviction and engaged in our purpose as to bring down upon ourselves loss and outward shame from those whom we are trying to help; a blessing even to lose a lower life for the sake of entering ourselves and carrying others with us into a higher life.

6. To be a Christian is to have a very solemn and settled regard for what is true, to rejoice only in the truth, to be unable to trifle with clear intellectual convictions, to have and hold our faith unto ourselves with absolute honesty, with persistent individuality, demanding and according intellectual freedom. Truth is a great word with the Christian. Truth is above opinions, as, if need be, against majorities.

7. To be a Christian is to find all these faiths and qualities gathered up and illustrated in One to whom we confess an ardent loyalty, One who guides, inspires, encourages, so that we are in the world as He was. "


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