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Progress.

Progress.

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Published by glennpease
BY THE REV. CANON LIDDON.
Preached in St. Paul's Cathedral, April 26, 18!


Philippians iii. 13, 14. "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
BY THE REV. CANON LIDDON.
Preached in St. Paul's Cathedral, April 26, 18!


Philippians iii. 13, 14. "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 14, 2014
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PROGRESS. BY THE REV. CANON LIDDON. Preached in St. Paul's Cathedral, April 26, 18! Philippians iii. 13, 14. "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." This is one of the passages in which St. Paul takes his readers into his confidence and allows them to see how his public teaching was related to his own life and experience. This habit of his was due partly to an instinct-ive sympathy" with the difficulties felt by others in understanding him, which was his characteristic, and partly to the directness and simplicity of a noble character, which is unreserved and frank where lesser men would have an eye to appearances. It was, of course, very delightful for his hearers or his readers. We all like to be allowed by a painter to see him in his studio, or to be admitted to inspect the library, the manu-scripts, the notebooks of a great writer. St. Paul, in his generous way, again and again invites his readers to come before the scenes, to survey his own spiritual life. Other confidences of the same kind are his allusion to the management of his conscience, in the speech before Felix ; or to his "thorn in the flesh," in his second letter to the Corinthians ; or to the marks of the Lord Jesus which He bore in His body, in the Epistle to the Galatians. In the present case he had just been describing the complete-ness of his self-surrender to our Lord Jesus Christ: "For whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may
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win Christ." Would it not be natural for his Philippian readers here to think that their great master in spiritual truth must surely have already secured all that he had in view? They, no doubt, were still striving to make a few short steps in the Christian life ; but the apostle who could say, "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain," must surely, although 58 Progress. here on earth, have attained the goal, have entered on the secure possession •of all they, his converts, were still trying to make their own. Now, it is to •correct this mistake that St. Paul states expressively that he, too, is still "looking forward," still struggling, still in the position of any one of his .flock which he had taught and fed — that effort and not attainment is and must be still the motto of his life : " Not as though I had already attained, •or were already perfect ; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended ; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of 'God in Jesus Christ." " Forgetting those things that are behind, reaching forward to those things that are before." In these, as in other phrases of the apostle, we •seem to be listening not to the language of eighteen centuries ago, but to
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the watchwords of our busy modern world. The modern idea of progress  — in politics, in social science, in the world of thought, of art, of educa-tion — may be properly described as a forgetting those things that are behind, a reaching forward to those things that are before. What •does this or that social or political reformer constantly impress upon us? "Forget," he says, "the things that are behind, the ideas which formed, which cramped the minds of your ancestors ; forget the institutions under which you grow up, the centuries which stretch back to the dawn of your civilization, and look forward to the age which is about to open. Before you is a land of promise in which all will govern as well as be governed, in which wealth and education will be equally distributed, in which the diminished privilege of the few will secure their new birth-right for the many." And what says the apostle of intellectual progress ? " Forget," he, too, says, "the things that are hehind, the beliefs in which you were brought up, the traditional atmosphere of thought that you had breathed into your childhood, that you have inherited from the past — forget the philosophies of history, the mental furniture of past years, and look forward. We are entering on a new world of speculation, where all is aglow with unwonted light ; and the human mind which has done so much to understand itself, and to understand the universe in the days gone by, is on the eve of conquests which will throw its past achievements utterly into the shade. " Indeed, my brethren, it is quite impossible to Progress. 5 9
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