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The Activity of Service.

The Activity of Service.

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Published by glennpease

Matt. xxiv. 37-39.

Matt. xxiv. 37-39.

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 17, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE ACTIVITY OF SERVICE.BY REV, H. S. HOLLAD, M.A.Matt. xxiv. 37-39.The text speaks of an experience which comes to allof us in our turn, as life gradually builds us round.At first, in our childhood, it is otherwise. This earthseems, then, to have no fixed hardness; the spot onwhich we stand melts off indefinitely into a dreamlikedistance, which is hazy and vague, and peopled withwe know not what possibilities, holding within its raysstrange fairy worlds which rumours may fill as theywill, and everything seems possible, and anythingmight happen, and no relentless law of undeviatingexistence has imprisoned our expectations and experi-ence, and the world of our hopes mingles with theworld of our senses, and earth and Heaven are notafraid of each other ; their lines cross without a shock.But, as we grow up, we know how solid and how hardthe whole thing becomes. The earth takes its stiff limits and its exact rules ; it is seen, and known, andmeasured — a round ball, rolling in space, compact,314 The Christian Life here on Earth.and massive, and blind, and entire, — a round, rollingball, and we roll round with it. We are things in it,embedded in it ; we belong to it ; we have a fixedspot and lot on its surface. To it we are tied ; we arebound to definite purposes which we never dream of disputing. So we travel with the moving earth ; andour days are settled for us ; occupations and holidaysrepeat themselves, year after year, with stolid regularity,against which gradually we give up protesting; wemake up our minds to live out our own parts; andall the emotions that beat against this even tenour of uneventful days — dreams, impulses, alarms, hopes,aspirations — cease to be more than empty visions.The common day closes in upon us, settled andfamiliar ; the common world is about us, with intereststhat ever increase, with work and play, with rule andhabit; and the steady block of endless business fills
in our allotted space of action, fills it in down to everycranny, thick and solid and unyielding. We areoccupied with the routine of waking and sleeping, andthe mere necessities of social contact. It takes us allour time to get through what must be done ; pleasures,meetings, professions, these keep us busy ; how can westop the round world turning ? We eat and drink,marry and are given in marriage, and it is to us as inthe days of oe, as if the world were going to lastalways. How firm it all is ! how confident of its ownsolidity ! Who can resist its supremacy ? As we look out on the busy scene, at the ordinary movements of a large city, at the men of business as they hurryalong with anxious countenances, or stop and talk withThe Activity of Service. 3 1 5serious and important faces — at all the toiling cartsslowly making for somewhere, and the ships that loadand unload, and the turmoil and rush of the streets — everything conspires to build up an unbroken toil, theinterruption of which it is impossible to fancy or credit.And it is idle work to consider what would best haveto be done if a flood were to come and destroy it all.If we are to do anything here we must leave thesethings out of account. We must go on as the worldasks of us, eating, drinking, marrying and giving inmarriage. We must do it, for it is the natural andinevitable way of the flesh. We cannot remain youngand romantic; we cannot pretend to be young whenwe are old. We are not permitted to indulge apleasant, easy, and irresponsible imagination. Surely,we are intended to settle down, to confine ourselvesto a very narrow hope, to a life of prose and work andbusiness, very practical, very occupied, very pressing,very absorbing. To say we do all this, is simply tosay we grow older and undertake responsibilities.Middle life is meant to be one of active and incessantoccupation, and that cannot be wrong and unnatural.But, if so, what are we to say ? Has the faith of Christ no message to those who find themselves in thethick of the world's work ? Is it only adapted for theaspirations of youth ? Is it to fade out of our life likepoetry, or are we to wait to pick it up in old age, when
the busy world of service is at last done with and thestrong years are dropping behind us, and we can atlast afibrd to detach ourselves from the great businessof marrying and giving in marriage, and eating and3i6 The Christian Life here on Earth,drinking? Must we wait till then before we can atlast begin to heed the warnings of the Lord, Whocried as He left us, " Behold, I come quickly, watchand pray ; let your lamps be ever lighted and yourloins ever girt, and yourselves like unto men who waitfor the Lord when He shall come back from thewedding."Ah ! those high words ! how strangely they stir us,as now and again they speak to us out of some even-ing lesson! And how bitterly that familiar tauntsmites us, "Do you, then, sitting in your churches,listening to those strong words in some brief pauseof your swarming interests and pressing enterprises,do you call yourselves disciples of Christ Who spokethem? Why are you not praying with your eyesstrained, on the watch for Him Who cometh ? Whathave you to do with all this eating and drinking, andmarrying and giving in marriage? Surely, if youhad one jot of sincerity, you^would be as those earlyChristians in Jerusalem who sold all they had, andwere content to live waiting for the Lord, gazing intothe dark, and crying, ' Even so : come. Lord Jesus ! ' "That taunt hits us hard; but what are we to do?How are we to alter this life of ours ? It is practicallyimpossible. And then some of us come to a conclusionwhich is sure to demoralise. We let the taunt stand,imagining it is true ; and we suppose we cannot beall Christ meant us to be. We have no time to think it all out ; we must make concessions to necessity ; wemust to some degree take the world as we find it ; andso, without ever laying the ghost that has troubled us,The Activity of Service. 317

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