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The Life Contemplative

The Life Contemplative

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
LUKE 10: 38-42.
LUKE 10: 38-42.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 09, 2012
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09/09/2012

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The Life Contemplative
BY CHARLES S. MACFARLADow it came to pass, as they went, that he enteredinto a certain village : and a certain woman namedMartha received him into her house.And she had a sister called Mary, which also satat Jesus' feet, and heard his word.But Martha was cumbered about much serving,and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not carethat my sister hath left me to serve alone ? bid hertherefore that she help me.And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha,Martha, thou art careful and troubled about manythings :But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosenthat good part, which shall not be taken away fromher. LUKE 10: 38-42.The Life ContemplativeTHE stress of daily life, the meeting of its many needs, obedience to its calls, andthe performance of its duties, are so multi-tudinous and great that living takes the soleform of action, and is in danger of losing inits depth and grace all that it gains in itsintensity and movement.Without the guidance of the mind in
 
 judgment, even our philanthropies and otherdeeds of goodness are meaningless ; withoutconsideration of the inner motive of theheart, the performance of our outward dutymay become a menace to the true growth of life. The inner self is lost in the environ-ment of outer things and without the grow-ing of the soul the springs of life mustultimately fail. "Without the life contem-plative the will is weakened, action becomesmere habit, the soul loses its identity, andwe become performers on a stage, only torepeat the lines we learn by rote.'314 THE SPIRIT CHRISTLIKEThe final value of the action of the outerman inheres not in the deed itself, but inthe deeper motive of the heart, and the truemeasure of a life is not the number of itsdeeds, nor their intensity, even in what out-wardly appears the moral realm of living.Actions are not the only things that blessand sanctify our human life.Some lives among us do no outward deedsof strength, and seem, to superficial souls,to be of little or no worth. But withoutthe mystics of the world, the actors wouldhave had no motive. They are not strongin execution, yet they have breathed forthand made an atmosphere which gives tolife its cast and meaning and supplies itsimpulse. Thus have the musing of thepoet, the profound thought of the philoso-pher, and prayer of saint, wrought for ourliberty, equality and charity no less than
 
flaming sword of honor, or the outwarddeed of love.Life must be more than the immediateact of impulse. It must have its meaningand interpretation. And if the greater bethe cause of things, and the lesser the effect ;THE LIFE COTEMPLATIVE 15if the creator is above the creature, becausecause and creator are essential to the actsand the creations, then it is true that inspi-ration is a greater thing than action, and thedreamer who first dreamed the goodness tobe done is of the higher order of ourbeing.With most of us plain common people, lifeis not thus determined on the one side or theother by the impelling force of a one-sidedgenius. But life for us is the epitome of allgreat lives, in miniature. In smaller meas-ure, each human life is called to meet bothneeds. ot many of us are set aside forlives either of incessant action or of unruf-fled meditation.We must not only do our duty, but wemust learn what our duty is. We must notonly see the issue of our action as it affectsourselves, and now, but as it influences othermen and as it bears on the eternal future. Wemust not only do, guided by the formal defi-nition of our duty, which contents a thought-less world whose vision is so dimmed, butwe must so do as to satisfy the spiritualsense within.

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