Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"I was common clay till roses were planted in me."

I've been reading a chapter called The Inspiration of Goodness, by Samuel Smiles; I have included part of the chapter here. It is an inspirational chapter for me, to hear of good people that have influenced others by their investment into other's lives. I like hearing about it, it encourages me and motivates me to give more. As I look at this picture of a girl named Naw Paw Blu, with what is obviously a heavy load for her, I know there have been loving people in her life that have mentored her, and taught her the grace of loving. Here is an 'onward Christian soldier, marching as off to war'. It reminds me of the lyrics of a song from the '70s; "He aint heavy, he's my brother".

“Dr. Arnold’s own example was an inspiration, as is that of every great teacher. In his presence, young men learned to respect themselves, and out of the root of self-respect there grew up the manly virtues. “His very presence,” says his biographer, “seemed to create a new spring of health and vigor within them, and to give to life an interest and elevation which remained with them long after they had left him; and dwelt so habitually in their thoughts as a living image, that, when death had taken him away, the bond appeared to be still unbroken, and the sense of separation almost lost in the still deeper sense of a life and a union indestructible.”
“Hence it is that the life of every man is a daily inculcation of good or bad example to others. The life of a good man is at the same time the most eloquent lesson of virtue and the most severe reproof of vice.
Dr. Hooker describes the life of a pious clergyman of his acquaintance as “visible rhetoric,” convincing even the most godless of the beauty of goodness. And so the good George Herbert said, on entering upon the duties of his parish: “Above all I will be sure to live well, because the virtuous life of a clergyman is the most powerful eloquence, to persuade all who see it to reverence and love, and at least to desire to live like him. And this I will do,” he added, “because I know we live in an age that hath more need of good examples than precepts.”
It was a fine saying of the same good priest, when reproached with doing an act of kindness to a poor man considered beneath the dignity of his office --- that the thought of such actions “would prove music to him at midnight.”

Izaak Walton speaks of a letter written by George Herbert to Bishop Andrews about a holy life, which the latter “put into his bosom,” and, after showing it to his scholars, “did always return to the place where he first lodged it, and continued it so, near his heart, till the last day of his life.”

Great is the power of goodness to charm and to command. The man inspired by it is the true kind of man, drawing all hearts after him. When General Nicholson lay wounded on his death bed before Delhi, he dictated this last message to his equally noble and gallant friend, Sir Herbert Edwards: “Tell him,” he said, “I should have been a better man if I had continued to live with him, and our heavy public duties had not prevented my seeing more of him privately. I was always the better for a residence with him and his wife, however short. Give my love to them both.”
There are men in whose presence we feel as if we breathed a spiritual ozone, refreshing and invigorating, like inhaling mountain air, or enjoying a bath of sunshine. The power of Sir Thomas More’s gentle nature was so great that it subdued the bad at the same time that it inspired the good.
Lord Brooke said of his deceased friend, Sir Philip Sidney, that “his wit and understanding beat upon his heart, to make himself and others, not in word or opinion, but in life and action, good and great.”

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