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- How to Live a Holy Life - 19/22 -
THE GOLDEN RULE OF LIFE.
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them like wise." Luke 6:31. This is a good rule for every-day living. It is known throughout the Christian world as "The Golden Rule." It has great depths. It contains more no doubt than any of us comprehend. But let us study it for a moment. We might divide it into two rules: First, Do good to all; second, Do harm to none. We would that all men should do us good, and we would that none should do us harm. But if we would see the greater depths of this rule, we must look beyond the physical man. To do good to all and harm to none in a bodily or physical sense is indeed good, but to do good to all and harm to none in a moral sense is much better. We should do all we can to help others in a moral sense. Is not this what we would have all men do to us? We should do harm to none in a moral sense, because we would have none do us harm. This necessitates living a very holy life.
There are two ways in which we may do good to men morally: first, by strengthening the good that is in them; second, by suppressing and helping them to overcome any evil or fault that may be in them. Likewise, there are two ways in which we may do harm to men morally: first, by strengthening and encouraging the evil and fault that may be in them; second, by suppressing and destroying the good that may be in them.
We are all creatures of influence. We are being influenced, and we are having an influence. There never was a human life but that had some influence over some other human life. We influence more by example than by words. If we say one thing and act another, we shall find our actions speaking more loudly than our words. If we love God with all our hearts, that love will influence another to love him. Never was love lost. The love you have, O child of God, will find its way into some other life sometime, somewhere. The more of God's love is beaming out of our heart and life, the greater will be our influence upon others. Then may we love him with all the heart. We should be filled with the Spirit. If we are spiritual, we cause those we converse with to desire to be more spiritual. We should be full of faith that our strong faith may help others to have more faith. We should like for others to be such an example to us; and as we would that men should do to us, let us do to them.
It is a very great source of regret, indeed, to be so destitute of love, faith, and spirituality that we discourage and dampen the ardor of those into whose presence we may be for a time. Be your very best for God every day of your life and wield a holy influence over the hearts of men. The very greatest benefit we can be to man and the highest homage we can pay to God is to be filled with all the fulness of God.
TIMELINESS IN DOING GOOD.
To spend well this one brief life of ours, we must be active in doing good. This we have already learned. But not only should we be active in doing good, but we should do the good act when the act will be most helpful. Do the good deed when the good deed needs to be done. The kind word may be worth much and be greatly helpful to the fainting soul today, but may be too late tomorrow. "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men." Will you stop a moment and think over these words? Let no opportunity of doing good go by you unimproved. To neglect the present opportunity of doing good and then never be able to do it is a sad thing.
"Of all sad words of tongue or pen The saddest are these: 'It might have been.'"
Why do you keep all the kind thoughts and kind words for a man until he is dead? They do him no good then. It is while he is living that he needs them. He has burdens heavy to be borne; troubles gather thick over his head; he is neglected and even misrepresented. You can help him with a smile or a few kind words; but, no, you pass him by. Now he is brought to the grave. As the cold clods fall upon his plain coffin, you say, "Well, he was a good man, after all." Why did you not tell him that when he was living? It would have buoyed up his spirit then; it would have made him feel that life was not all in vain and that yet he might do a little good. But now he hears not your words. They return to you or float out into empty space a mere sound. The ear that was once eager for them and the heart that was aching for them is now cold in death. Your kind, cheering words are too late to give him encouragement; your flowers are too late to be appreciated. Once they would have brightened his life, but now his life is over. Once you could have chased away some clouds that were darkening his life, but you did not, and that day has gone into eternity as a day of darkness. You might have brightened it. This morning some kind hand placed a vase of beautiful flowers upon my desk. As I write, their fragrance reaches me and brings me tidings of some one's kind remembrance.
It costs but little to speak kind words, but oh! ofttimes they are worth so much! I know of nothing that costs so little to give that is so valuable to receive. But why keep all the flowers, the kind words, the tender feelings and thoughts, and the sympathetic tears until the one to whom they should be given passes away, and then come and let them fall so gently upon the casket? Do you know of one who is weary? do you know of one who is being misrepresented? do you know of one who is being trodden down by others, with scarcely any one to speak a word of comfort? Now, what would Jesus do? Look at poor Lazarus--turned away by the rich, neglected and rejected; watched over by angels ready to gather him to paradise when he passes beyond the need of aid from men. Why not be an angel and make a day of paradise for him here? Let us do some angel-work while here in life. The angels are ministering spirits. They whisper, "Be of good cheer," "Peace on earth." They come to gladden hearts; they come to close the lions' mouths; they come to open the prison doors and break the iron bands. Oh, let us do some angel-work!
Hast thou any flowers for me? Wilt thou kindly let them be Given ere death be-dews my brow? Wait not, give them to me now.
While in life's eventful day Tried, and weary grows the way, When in dark and lonely hour, Give me then the cheering flow'r.
Hast thou kind words to impart, Words that lift the fainting heart? Speak ere Death's hand on me lay; Speak those kind words now--today.
Kind words are but empty breath To the heart that's still in death; When life's load is hard to bear Let me then the kind word hear.
Hast thou sunlit smiles to give, Smiles that make us want to live? Ere I cross death's sullen stream, On me let those bright smiles beam.
Smiles, whate'er their power to save, Can not penetrate the grave. Ere I reach life's ending mile, Give to me the sunlit smile.
Prayer can stay the trembling knee: If thou hast but one for me, Let it offered be today, Ere the life-light fades away.
When my soul transcends the air, I no more shall need thy prayer: Let now, today, thy soul travail; 'Tis only now thy prayers avail.
"If I should die tonight, My friends would call to mind with loving thought Some kindly deed the icy hand had wrought, Some gentle word the frozen lips had said, Errands on which the willing feet had sped; The memory of my selfishness and pride, My hasty words, would all be put aside, And so I should be loved and mourned tonight."
THE WARFARE OF A CHRISTIAN LIFE.
It is blessed and glorious to be a Christian. No other life is so beautiful and pure; no other life is so tranquilly peaceful; no other is so full of rest, happiness, and satisfaction. The Christian, however, does not go to heaven on flowery beds of ease. His pathway is not strewn with roses all the way; there is now and then a thorn. It is not sunshine all the time; now and then a shadow falls. To win heaven he must fight. There are some things to oppose a Christian on his pilgrimage to the skies; these he must contend against. The contending against those things prepares him for his blissful home above.
"All things work together for good to them that love God." Heaven's blessings and hell's venom, angels' smiles and Satan's frowns, comforts of grace and spiritual wickedness, good and ill, love and hatred, all work good to those who have union with God. It is the battle that disciplines and makes strong and brave the warrior, and not the victory. We are exhorted to "endure hardness as a good soldier." There are some things to endure along the Christian way. James says, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation." Temptations are outward influences acting upon our natural emotions and passions to induce the will to act contrary to the law of grace to satisfy self. We need not expect to be free from temptations; therefore let us settle it that we will endure them. It is really a blessed thing to endure them. You may think it would be a blessed thing to be free from them, but such would not be the case. It is more blessed to endure them. Temptations will never cease to attack the soul as long as it inhabits this "muddy vesture of decay." Be brave, O soul, and endure temptations. Be brave and fight the good fight of faith. Do not faint because you have temptations. Do not fear because there are long and fierce battles to fight. Be strong and of good courage. It is a life-long struggle, and it is also a life-long victory, and in the end eternal victory. Strong and well-developed spiritual sinews are the result of resisted temptations.
It is not sinful to be tempted. We never lose any spirituality by being tempted. It is the slight yieldings that cause a leaking, a loss of grace. Clear up the vision of your faith a little and take a look at your beautiful glittering crown of life. It is not gold, neither crystal. Do not look at it as such, but see it a crown of life. Yes, you will be crowned with eternal life if you will but endure temptation. Think of this in the hour of thy sore trial. Fight on; heaven awaits to reward you.
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