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By Rev. Wallace MacMullen, D. D

"Take heed to thyself." — i Tim. iv, 16.
By Rev. Wallace MacMullen, D. D

"Take heed to thyself." — i Tim. iv, 16.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 13, 2013
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SELF-CARE. By Rev. Wallace MacMullen, D. D "Take heed to thyself." — i Tim. iv, 16. "Thyself." How large is the word? Does it mean body ? That food and shelter may be thought about? That so, this marvelously skillful machine may be fed with the power it needs for endurance and achievement? This faithful reporter be kept sensitive and responsive to the appeal of every won- der, every force, every danger outside itself? "Give attention to thy body, to its strength, its grace, its beauty." Is this the apostle's meaning? This, in- deed, in part, since this is involved. But the world needs not to have any great emphasis put on this duty. There are some neglects, indeed, in this realm, neglects which demand warnings. There are some failures to remember the sacredness of the body and the greatness of its needs. But when we consider the vast energies given to body-service, we feel that no very powerful exhortation on behalf of the body 48 ShxF-Care. 49 is needed. Alas! that so many have been content with this narrow definition of "self." Absorption in trade, devotion to fashion, declare that with some the care of the body, the decoration of the body are supremely important. Alas 1 that with so many oth- ers, sad, hard, bitter circumstances almost compel the belief that the body is the "self." That hunger
and thirst and nakedness make the body a despot, and to feed and clothe and shelter it the supreme duty of man. The social state which compels so many people to accept this lie for the truth is wrong somewhere. Does the word "thyself" mean intellect? So a smaller circle believe. Emerson says : "Water dis- solves wood, iron, and salt; air dissolves water; electric fire dissolves air; but the intellect dissolves fire, gravity, laws, method, and the subtlest un- named relations of nature in its resistless men- struum." And those who exalt the intellect to the place of supreme importance, provide as the needs of self, books, which, as Carlyle has said, "Though but poor bits of rag-paper with black ink on them," are nevertheless the most wonderful and worthy things we make ; and time for meditation and train- ing. And attention to body and mind is partial obe- dience to this command, for these are elements of 4 50 The Captain of Our Faith. the complete life. Food and raiment, house and school, commerce and literature, are answers to this apostolic demand that self shall be attended to. But they are not complete answers. To eat and drink and toil with hand and brain, to think and learn and speak, these are not the whole round of hu- man duties. We are not loyal to "self" if we stop with these. We have not measured "self" if we ex- plore no further. Who does not know that there is something finer than bone and muscle, fairer than feature or form, no matter what the grace of these may be ; something with clearer, further vision than keen-eyed intellect; something mightier than deter- mined will; something larger than either, larger
than all? Intangible, mysterious, immeasurable, call it what you will — soul, spirit — it gives to the body its rarest beauty, it makes the intellect radiant with the fires of genius, it inspires the will to its noblest achievements. That which is in all and through all and over all, deeper, greater, grander than body and mind which serve it, is the real self. It is this that relates us to God; that makes us capable of receiv- ing the inspiration of the Almighty, and with that inspiration understanding; that makes men and women candles of the Lord, able to catch and hold and give the fire of God's own life. Self-Care. 51 "Take heed to thyself!" To the deepest self; to that which underlies all that is visible; to that which gives meaning and value to all achievement; which gives a man weight among his fellows, and brings him homage and trust, even though his deeds may not seem great. "Take heed." Make this in- nermost, uttermost self pure, clean, strong. Con- duct will then take care of itself, for this "I," this radiant, Godlike self will think in all thought, and move in all action. What are its needs? I. Xeeds. I. Vision. First, we must have our ideal You might say, "Better first see what the self is before thinking of what it should be but is not." But, no ; the ideal must always be first. Thorwaldsen sat one day before his completed statue of Christ, and as he looked at it he burst into tears. He is satisfied at last; he has attained his ideal, reached the summit of his ambition. He expects no further progress in his art. The ideal was first. Through all the long years of toil it had dwelt within him. The almost-

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