Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The following quote is about the lifelessness that can overtake the soul and reduce the works of charity or religion to nothing more than good habits, lacking the life of the Spirit. In that state we may produce good works by a cold exactitude, but have removed ourselves from the life and struggle of the living  soul, ours or others, where instead of spiritual passion and the heart needs of others as our motive, we become automatic in our doing, devoid of the life of God and love of man.

  "A faithful and reliable man is a priceless and wholesome blessing in this world: but this cold exactitude is not faithfulness. Springing from no life of conscience and graced by no varieties of love, it is neither a sacrifice to God, nor a heart-offering to man, but only that absence of disturbance which arises from an unimpassioned and plodding nature. The human piecework that is got through by those who are content to do much and be nothing is doubtless great. But it is only negative: the moment it ceases to be the expression and outcoming of a living soul, its very copiousness is dearth (an inadequate supply) and its success is failure.

When the regularities of habit and the perseverance of will become simply automatic: however they may pace with the heavier grist (anything that can be turned to profit or advantage) the mill of wealth, they have ever less to offer at the shrine of worship: the windows are darkened through which gleams of divine and solemn light once entered and enriched the soul; the voice loses its mellow tones, and is no longer flexible enough to sing a song of hope to the heavy hearts of sorrowing men. No withered unconcern, no dead exactitude, is fitted for a life like ours, -- a life full of free elements, related not merely to the punctualities of material nature, but to the heaving passions of living men; -- a life strewed with various sorrows and full of struggling nobleness, where no open ear is ever far from the curse, the sigh, the prayer; -- a life of outward heats and inward thirst, that no sleeping millpond can keep clear and fresh, but only the running waters of the pure soul descending from the upland wilds. Neither in the human nor in the Divine existence does the most faultless uniformity in itself constitute perfection."
James Martineau, photo by William Jobes.

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