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PUSILLANIMITY

PUSILLANIMITY

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY ANTHONY W. THOROLD, D.D.

Lord Bishop of Rochester


thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt '
Matthew xiv. 31.
BY ANTHONY W. THOROLD, D.D.

Lord Bishop of Rochester


thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt '
Matthew xiv. 31.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 14, 2013
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PUSILLAIMITYBY ATHOY W. THOROLD, D.D.Lord Bishop of Rochesterthou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt 'Matthew xiv. 31.TTIERE are all sorts and conditions of menin the world, with every possible variety of bigness in body and character and understand-ing. This is meant to be so, and within certainlimits we shall not be held responsible because weare not so big, or so strong, or so clever as ourneighbours. evertheless, there is such a thingas smallness of heart and mind, which goes b} rthe Latin word pusillanimity, a meanness of soul,which is preventable and remediable, which chillsenterprise, depresses courage, invents difficulties,and empties pails of water on the fires of zeal.Few of us are quite free from it. It is quitedistinct from the shrewdness which hesitates,from the prudence which balances, and from thesagacity which divines. It may be well to look into some of the varieties of it, and then toexplain how it can best be remedied.First, this meanness of spirit is quick to show244 QUESTIOS OF FAITH AD DUTYitself in questioning the necessity or advantage of some philanthropic or Christian enterprise thatmay be brought under our notice, as well as inproving the absolute impossibility of accomplishingit, whether needed or not. Such persons are likethe disciples who, when Christ pitied the hungrymultitudes, querulously objected that the wilder-ness was not the place in which to buy bread.These good people would never have startedthe Church Missionary Society, though theygladly help it now that it is started ; and they
 
would not have much encouraged William Wilber-force in suppressing the slave trade.Another variety is shown in a carping andungenerous and illiberal treatment of those whodiffer from them in important particulars, suchas those of Church government and ritual, whilesubstantially one with them in the faith of thecreeds and in zeal for the kingdom of Christ.Eccentricity of method, even though compen-sated by work which they could not do them-selves and which few other people could do,frightens them out of their wits, as well as outof their charity. For divergence of doctrinefrom their own standards they have neither justice nor mercy, while they are unable toexplain what voice from Heaven justifies themin assuming that they are always in the rightand their neighbours always in the wrong.o doubt such persons have their value inmaintaining the balance of opinion and in pro-SECRET FAULTS 245tecting the discipline of the Church. The pointis whether they would not effect these twoobjects much more completely, and with far lessfriction, if they were less careful to magnify themote in their brother's eye, and to observe thebeam in their own.Another variety is to be found in the use andgiving of money and of other material resourcesfor the grand and ever-expanding activities of theChurch and the world. There arc many peopleamply able to do it without any diminution of their personal comforts or any sort of injustice totheir own families, who, if you quietly askedthem to give a hundred or a thousand pounds tosome great cause worthy to stir them into joy,would be startled into a kind of fit. Suchpeople want windows opening into their souls.They need to learn as they have never learntyet, what they owe to Christ and to the souls for
 
which Christ died.They have to be taught the sweetest as wellas the noblest of all joys — the joy of givingaway. If rich Christian people would learn togive as poor Christian people give, if EnglishChurchmen would emulate their Wesleyan andPresbyterian brethren in the proportion of theirsystematic contributions to home and foreignChurch objects, a quick harvest would be reapedfor God.One more variety of this small-mindedness isto be found in the cold though intelligible sus-246 QUESTIOS OF FAITH AD DUTYpiciousness with which many sincere believers,who have never inquired, studied, or evendoubted about the graver difficulties of Christianbelief, regard those pioneers of truth who givetheir lives to what they feel to be the noblestcause on which their years can be spent, thecriticism and interpretation of the Bible. Therecan be no doubt whatever that we are nowpassing through a transition period of supremeimportance. The text, the antiquity, the author-ship, the mutual relations of the divine books arebeing rigorously examined by a body of scholarswhose competence for their task is in many caseselevated and transfigured by the beautiful joywith which they give themselves to it as a labourof love, and whose absolute intrepidity in com-municating the result of their inquiry is, at leastin some cases, equalled only by the reverenceand devoutness of their minds. We have al-ready profited by them, though not always inthe way that we expected or desired ; and weshall profit more if we can use their weaponsand meet their criticism with adequate scholar-ship of our own. Times and circumstancesdiffer. There will often be a fair occasion for astand-up honest fight, in which may truth pre-vail ! But if our objection to such researchessprings simply from the fact of their being

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