Friday, September 2, 2011

close to the road...

This from James Freeman Clarke's sermon, "Faithful Over a Few Things"

"But what is the meaning of the word "integrity "? It means thoroughness, entireness; putting the same quality of soul into everything, great and small. No one is a man of integrity who does not do every thing with the same nndeviating honesty, the same unbending principle. The man of real integrity puts the whole energy of conscience, faith, love, into the smallest act as into the greatest. So the steam-engine in a factory exerts the same tremendous power to cut in two an iron bar, or to stick a pin into a card.

Christianity does not allow us to trifle with anything. There is nothing trivial to the illuminated eye and heart of faith. He who says to his brother, "Thou fool!" is in danger of hell-fire. He is, in fact, already in hell-fire; for the feeling of contempt for his brother, the scorn and disdain which can thus reject from its sympathy a fellow-man, is itself the spirit of the pit...

I once heard of a...preacher, who used this plain but striking image in a sermon: "You think, my brethren, that you can go a little way out of God's road into the devil's field, and not be caught, provided you do not go too far. But the devil is not such a fool, when he spreads his nets and sets his traps for you, to put them away in the middle of his field. No: he puts them close to the road: so, if you mean to go a great way or only a little way, he is sure to have you in either case." The illustration was homely; but the doctrine is sound."


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