Wednesday, February 19, 2014

“ The other day, in walking down the street, a little beggar boy, --- or one who might have begged, so ragged was he, --- having discovered that I loved flowers, came and put into my hand a faded little sprig which he had found somewhere. I did not look directly at the scrawny, withered branch, but beheld it through the medium of the boy’s heart, seeing what he would have given, not what he gave; and so looking, the shriveled stem was laden with blossoms of beauty and odor. And if I, who am cold, and selfish, and ignorant, receive so graciously the offering of a poor child, with what tender joy must our heavenly Father receive the sincere tributes of his creatures when he looks through the medium of his infinite love and compassion!
Christ does not say, “Take the noblest things of life, and bring them perfect to me, and I will receive them.” He says, “Take the lowest and most disagreeable thing; and if you bring it cheerfully, for my sake, it shall be to me a flower of remembrance, and I will press it in the book of life, and keep it forever.”
Go, then, search for flowers to bring Christ; and if you cannot find even road-side or pasture weeds, if there are but nettle and briers, and you are willing for his sake to thrust your hand into the thorn bush, and bring a branch from there, he will take it lovingly, and cherish it evermore.” H. W. Beecher. 

I like that.

Acrid sloe

  In my reading I often run across quaint sayings that, at first reading, are impossible to understand. The following is an example ---
“There must be an acrid sloe before a luscious peach, 
A boll of rotting flax before the bridal veil.”

With dictionary in hand I understood the “sloe” to be one of the smallest plumbs, about twice the size of the blueberry; with a sharp and bitter taste but with hybridizing and time, from it comes the peach.
I learned that flax; a reed like plant, comes the linen fabric. But first it must be harvested and aged until after a precise degree of rotting, or renting as it is called, the bacteria eats the pectin inside the stalk making the reed pliable and ready for spinning. During this process they soak the reeds in ponds, which begin to stink when the flax is ready to process. With that information the saying took meaning and then the application began to unfold. Through the process of bitterness and decay often emerges usefulness and beauty.

“Why should you carry troubles and sorrows unhealed? There is no bodily wound for which some herb does not grow for a remedy, and heavenly plants are more medicinal. Bind up your hearts in them, and they shall give you not only healing, but leave with you the perfume of the blessed gardens where they grew. Thus it may be that sorrows shall turn to riches; for heart troubles, in God’s husbandry, are not wounds, but the putting in of the spade before the planting of seeds. H. W. Beecher.
“There is no tyranny more intolerable than a conscience unrestrained by love. Like an ill-loaded gun, it recoils at the breech and kills at the muzzle. A conscience un-subdued by love torments the owner, and bruises those upon whom he lets it loose.” H. W. Beecher

“Take a sharp-cut young saint, just crystallized, as many-pointed and as clear as a diamond, and how good he is! How decided for the right, and how abhorrent of wrong! He abhors evil rather than loves good. He has not yet attained to the meekness and gentleness of Christ. But years will teach him that love is more just than justice; that compassion will cure more sins than condemnation; and that summer will do more, with silent warmth, to redeem the earth from barrenness, than winter can, with all the majesty of storms and the irresistible power of her icy hand.” H. W. Beecher.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

  “There are some men who are so outrageously cultivated, that they are miserable the moment they are away from all which is exquisite. It is a pity that such men were born into a rough world like this, where God forgot to finish up rocks, and to make tree-trunks smooth, and to slope the mountains down gently to the plains. That is true cultivation which gives us sympathy with every form of human life, and enables us to work most successfully for its advancement. Refinement that carries us away from our fellow men is not God’s refinement.
H. W. Beecher.

  “Love cannot clasp all it yearns for, in its bosom, without first suffering for it. The child lives upon its parent’s life. The child, who has no one to suffer for, is a miserable wretch. And, from this point onward, in every relation of life, one man suffers for another’s benefit. It is the law of social life, and I do not see why we should think it strange that Christ obeyed the same law, only in a grander way.” Beecher

 The first line in his quote is what struck me most. Would that relationships were deepened only by joyful times but this is not so in God's economy; we remember those who sacrificed for us and whether it be child-birth, or the countless sacrifices we make for those we love that truly broaden and deepen our relationships.