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The Call of the Hills

The Call of the Hills

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Published by glennpease

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills." PSALM oxxi. 1.

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills." PSALM oxxi. 1.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 04, 2014
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THE CALL OF THE HILLSBY THE REV. J. R. P. SCLATER "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills." PSALM oxxi. 1. HILLS have the power of forcing a man, if he has been among them, to think of them and to speak of them. They possess a faculty for the time be ing of ruling the mind. Their majesty, their un shaken stability, their seeming changelessness amidst the passage of the generations of men, the strange and apparently contradictory message of the mountain gloom and the mountain glory form themselves into a whole, which controls the spirits that come under its influence. It is not unjustifiable to think that the man who wrote the 121st Psalm was a hill-dweller on whom this quality of the mountains was having its effect. But whether he was a pilgrim approaching the Holy City, or a permanent dweller at the foot of its rocks, is of no great consequence. What is of con sequence is to mark him as a man resolutely turn ing from a moment of heaviness and unfaith to an attitude of high resolve and renewed trust, under the influence of the mountains about him. As we (3) 4 THE CALL OF THE HILLS read his poem, it is on the accent of resolve that our minds should be concentrated, that, with a pur pose lofty as his own was, we may say after him, I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills . 1. It is surely no exaggeration to say that the
extreme danger of our lives morally is the danger of the valley. At any given moment we may be free enough from inclination to any known sin, which is clearly against conscience. But, con stantly, we are faced with the danger and it is a cumulative one of contentment with the low levels. A most common condition is to be at peace among the little worths . To order our lives so as to escape manifest disaster ; to taste the pleasures of Egypt in reason ; to avoid sinking too low and to forget about rising too high ; these are the projects, which we are in constant danger of placing before ourselves. Moreover, if we observe closely, we may note a certain conspiracy formed against us to retain us in that attitude of unworthy satisfaction. Our con stitutions, the atmosphere in which we live, the conditions of moral achievement and ourselves as traitors to ourselves form a league to secure our neglect of the hills. In the first place, we have to take account of the fact that we are so made that we turn from the unpleasant to the pleasant, from the difficult to the easy. Particularly, we are inclined to fight shy THE CALL OF THE HILLS 5 of the difficulty of continuance. Most of us, if the contrast were not too great, would prefer to do a very difficult task for an hour rather than a some what difficult task for a week. Continuance, day in and day out, of effort and the long slow scaling of the giddy steep are not to our taste. But these are precisely the tasks to which the hills of God call us. Further, to our own instinctive contentment with the valleys is added the pressure of common prac
tice. A well-known mountaineer once said : Love of the valleys is everywhere ; it is the chosen who love the hills . That is a true word in its meta phorical, as well as in its literal, sense. If you take a candid view of society as you know it, would you honestly say that other than a very small proportion is making any serious endeavour to scale the heights of life ? I do not mean solely in the ethical and spiritual realms. I mean in any realm to which the term high could be applied. What proportion of persons are seeking mental development ? The returns of public libraries will tell you that it is slight ; while a glance at railway bookstalls will tell you that many are seeking instead mental de gradation. And of those who are trying to obtain a general culture, only a small fraction are attempt ing to gain a real mastery of knowledge. A few people are trying to know something of everything ; only a few of those few are trying to know every thing about something. What proportion of people are fired by a worthy ambition for rule and power, and are making the effort necessary to translate that ambition into a reality ? Strong ambitions are as rare as strong men. o, it may be said that as regards the things of the mind or the search for further influence, there is a pressure upon us of common practice to forget the hills. Our atmosphere is not any higher in the region of morals and of religion. The practical ethical ideals of most of us are dangerously low immeasurably below the ideals to which we give lip service. Who dares to say, as he has opportunity to observe various sorts and conditions of men, that the Cross is a serious object of search amongst large sections of the professing Christian community ? A certain easy generosity, an inexpensive geniality

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