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THE BLOSSOMING OF THE THORN.pdf

THE BLOSSOMING OF THE THORN.pdf

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Published by glennpease

BY J. R. MILLER



A BIT of autobiography tells
the story of St. Paul's
thorn in the flesh. What
this was, we do not know.
It was given to him, how-
ever, that he should not
be exalted overmuch. He had been caught up
to the third heaven, where he heard unspeak-
able words. A man who had had such an in-
comparable privilege was in danger of glory-
ing in it. Some people cannot stand much
honor. A little promotion turns their heads.
And spiritual pride is a withering experience.
It makes a man forget his own nothingness
and unworthiness. It cuts him off from God
and from dependence upon God. It unfits him
for being of use to men. Anything is a bless-
ing, whatever it may cost, that keeps a man
humble.

BY J. R. MILLER



A BIT of autobiography tells
the story of St. Paul's
thorn in the flesh. What
this was, we do not know.
It was given to him, how-
ever, that he should not
be exalted overmuch. He had been caught up
to the third heaven, where he heard unspeak-
able words. A man who had had such an in-
comparable privilege was in danger of glory-
ing in it. Some people cannot stand much
honor. A little promotion turns their heads.
And spiritual pride is a withering experience.
It makes a man forget his own nothingness
and unworthiness. It cuts him off from God
and from dependence upon God. It unfits him
for being of use to men. Anything is a bless-
ing, whatever it may cost, that keeps a man
humble.

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Published by: glennpease on Oct 28, 2013
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THE BLOSSOMING OF THE THORNBY J. R. MILLER A BIT of autobiography tellsthe story of St. Paul'sthorn in the flesh. Whatthis was, we do not know.It was given to him, how-ever, that he should notbe exalted overmuch. He had been caught upto the third heaven, where he heard unspeak-able words. A man who had had such an in-comparable privilege was in danger of glory-ing in it. Some people cannot stand muchhonor. A little promotion turns their heads.And spiritual pride is a withering experience.It makes a man forget his own nothingnessand unworthiness. It cuts him off from Godand from dependence upon God. It unfits himfor being of use to men. Anything is a bless-ing, whatever it may cost, that keeps a manhumble.We do not know how much of St. Paul's rich,[31]beautiful life, his deep interest in divinethings, and his noble work for his Master heowed to his thorn. We do not know how muchwe are indebted to the sufferings and sorrowsof good men and women. The best thoughts,the richest lessons, the sweetest songs thathave come down to us from the past, are thefruit of pain, of weakness, of sorrow. We can-
 
not forget that human redemption comes tous from the cross of the Son of God. Thefruit of earth's thorns may seem bitter to thetaste, but it is the wholesome food of humansouls. The old legend tells how all throughPassion Week the crown of thorns lay upon thealtar, but upon Easter morning was foundchanged to fragrant roses, every thorn arose. So earth's sorrow-crowns become gar-lands of heavenly roses in the warmth of di-vine love.There is not one of us who has not his ownthorn. With one it may be a bodily infirmityor weakness. With another it is some disfig-urement which cannot be removed. It may besome uncongeniality in circumstances, some-[32]Ctye Blossoming of flDirc C^ontgthing which makes it hard to live beautifully.One young man finds his place of work unen-durable. The men with whom he is associatedare almost as bad as they can be. He is theonly Christian among them, and they make itvery hard for him to retain his integrity andto go on faithfully. But it may be that Godwants him just where he is, that the man needs just this uncongeniality in his surroundingsto bring out the best that is in him. Or itmay be that Christ needs his witness in justthat place. The consciousness that he is theonly one the Master has there, puts uponhim a grave responsibility. It may not be hisprivilege to leave his place; it may be hisduty to stay where he is, to endure his thorn,
 
whether it be for the purifying of his ownlife or for the witness he may bear for hisLord.The Master told St. Paul that his thorn wasnecessary to him, to save him from becomingproud. We may think of our thorn, too, assomething we need. In place of allowing it toirritate us or to spoil our life, its mission is[33]Wfym tyz ^>ong beginsto make us sweet, patient, loving. Many peo-ple beseech the Lord to take away their thorn.Yet it may be that the prayer is not answered,will not be answered, should not be answered.It may be that the thorn is necessary to keepthem low at God's feet. One writes:U I knew a youth of large and lofty soul,A soul aflame with heavenly purpose high ;hike a young eagle's, his clear, earnest eye,Fixed on the sun, could choose no lesser goal.For truth he lived; and love, a burning coalFrom God's high altar did the fire supplyThat flushed his cheeks as morning tints thesky,And kept him pure by its divine control." Lately I saw him, smooth and prosperous,Of portly presence and distinguished air.The cynic's smile of self -content was there,The very air about him breathed success.Yet by the eyes of love, too plainly seen,Appeared the wreck of what he might have

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