UNFINISHED BUILDINGSBY George T. Purves 1852-1901.
" For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not downfirst, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lesthaply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, allthat behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build,and was not able to finish So likewise, whosoever he be of you that fjrsakcth not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." ùLuke xiv., 28- jo, 33.We naturally dislike failures. We hate to failourselves. Some men would rather do wrong thanfail ; so lofty is our pride and so sensitive are weto the criticism of the world. We look with somederision and contempt on the failures of others. Un-finished labors and disappointed ambitions are oftenthought fit subjects for scorn. Our Lord was quitetrue to life when He described the mockery whichfailures meet with. He Himself was to feel the scorn-ful dart. Hanging on the cross, an apparent failure inthe eyes of the exulting priests. He was to hear thecry : " He saved others ; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down fromthe cross."More or less poignantly, we all feel the sting of suchremarks : and yet are only too apt to make them. It159l6o FAITH AND LIFEis true that often men are not to be blamed for theirfailures. Sometimes these cannot be helped. Some-times, too, they are our best friends, though they meetus with grim visages and though their embrace berough. But wherever we see presumptuous ambitionfalling from the too dizzy height to which it hasclimbed ; or reckless extravagance ending in rapidbankruptcy ; or any attempt, especially if we do notsympathize with it, evaporating into smoke ; we quicklyput upon it the stigma of our derision and say, notalways kindly and yet not without reason. This manbegan to build and was not able to finish.Against all such failures in religion and in Christianlife our watchful Lord has warned us. His warningis needed: for it is not hard to begin a good work;and many start to run who never reach the goal.Does not the adage say that "The way to hell ispaved with good intentions " ? A little child may