Tuesday, October 21, 2014

  “Behold the fowls of the air; God feedeth them.” Do they, then, stay at home, and do nothing, expecting crumbs of manna to drop from rich table in the skies? Are they found, empty of all craving, regardless of the changing year, and hanging ever upon miracle? Why, their whole existence is a continued quest after that physical good which is their true and only end; and to pilfer the garden and the field, to skim and sip the stream, to dress their plumage with finer gloss, and sing the song of glad abundance, is their work from morn to night. What eager industry flutters in the spring around the skirts of the plantation, gathering the bits and brakes scattered for them by the winter’s storm! What busy preparation, at autumn’s first chill wind, wheels and musters overhead, for the long flight over Southern seas, the swift cheering on the slow, and the young wing supporting the old! What studious watch, under the semblance of flashing sport, does the home-loving swallow keep! And is not this truly called a feeding of the creatures by their Maker? Is it not his hand that is opened, when they are filled with good? Yes; only, “That which he giveth them, they gather”: he supplies their wants, not without activity of theirs, but by means of it; not by causal miracle, but by constant law; by putting his skill within them, as well as spreading his affluence without."
 James Martineau, photo by Vezon Thierry. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Moods of the Spirit

  “Who will venture to say that the highest insight of the spirit is even half as constant as the highest action of the mind? Ask the saintliest men and women of the world whether their holy watch was continuous, and their faith and love half as reliable as their thought; and they will tell you how long, even when they went up to be with the Savior on the Mount, have been the slumbers of unconsciousness, compared with the priceless moments when they were awake and beheld his glory.” James Martineau, photo by Somnath Chatterjee, "Peace of Soul." 

Weary lows of spiritual life

  “In every earnest life there are weary flats to tread, with the heavens out of sight – no sun, no moon, and not a tint of light upon the path below; when the only guidance is the faith of brighter hours, and the secret Hand we are too numb and dark to feel. But to the meek and faithful it is not always so. Now and then something touches the dull dream of sense and custom, and the desolation vanishes away; the spirit leaves its witness with us; the divine realities come up from the past and straightway enter the present; the ear into which we poured our prayer is not deaf; the infinite eye to which we turned is not blind, but looks in with answering mercy upon us."  James Martineau.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

  “To me, I confess, it seems a very considerable thing, just to believe in God; difficult indeed to avoid honestly, but not easy to accomplish worthily, and impossible to compass perfectly; -- a thing not lightly to be professed, but rather humbly to be sought; not to be found a the end of any syllogism, but in the inmost fountains of purity and affection; - not the sudden gift of intellect, but to be earned by a loving and brave life. It is indeed the greatest thing allowed to mankind, -- the germ of every lesser greatness; and he who can say, “I have faith in the Almighty,” makes a higher boast than if he could declare, “The Mediterranean is my garden, and mine is every branch that waves upon its shore, from the cedars of Lebanon to the pine upon the Alps. James Martineau.

  “High hearts are never long without hearing some new call, some distant clarion of God, even in their dreams; and soon they are observed to break up the camp of ease and start on some fresh march of faithful service. And, looking higher still, we find those who never wait till their moral work accumulates, and who reward resolution with no rest; who do the good only to see the better and see the better only to achieve it; who are too meek for transport, too faithful for remorse, too earnest for repose; whose worship is action, and whose action ceaseless aspiration.” James Martineau.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

There is a story of a young man that came up with a little handful of men to attack a king who had a great army of 3,000 men. The young man had only 500, and the king sent a messenger to the young man saying, that he need not fear to surrender, for he would treat him mercifully. The young man called up one of his soldiers and said: “Take this dagger and drive into your heart. And calling up another, he said to him, “Leap off that cliff,” and the man leaped to his death. The young man then said to the messenger, “Go back and tell your king I have got 500 men like these. We will die but we will never surrender. And tell your king another thing, that I will have him chained with my dog inside of half an hour.” And when the king heard that, he did not dare to meet them, and his army fled before them like chaff before the wind, and within twenty-four hours he had that king chained with his dog. Moody.
As Christians, we have the comfort of Angels, the very word of God to stand on, and the Spirit of the living Christ to strengthen us; shall we not face our failings, addictions, and foes with a courage displayed by those who have none of these helps? Moody.