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The Christian's Horizon

The Christian's Horizon

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BY Rev. Louis Albert Banks, D.D.

''Thou hast set my feet in a large room." — Ps, .8.

BY Rev. Louis Albert Banks, D.D.

''Thou hast set my feet in a large room." — Ps, .8.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 10, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE CHRISTIA'S HORIZO BY Rev. Louis Albert Banks, D.D.''Thou hast set my feet in a large room." — Ps, .8. ME want room. It is one of the intuitions of our humanity. All history is full of illustrations. The American pioneers who pressed their way out from the settlements along the Atlantic coast, into the forests of Western Massachusetts and ew York, were seeking after room. The next generation that climbed the Alleghanies, peopled the Ohio River valley, followed Daniel Boone into Ken- tucky, was obedient to the same instinct. The young men who a little later listened to Horace Greeley, and crossed the Mississippi River, and began the work of civilization on the great plains, were in the same line of succession. Fremont climbing the Rocky Mountains, Kennan or Schwatka or Greely clambering over the ice- bergs of the Arctics, Stanley crawling through the dense forests of the "darkest Africa," all tell the same story, and ai*e indications of the THE christian's HORIZO 77 same restless spirit and unsatisfied demand of the soul. In a physical way, Joaquin Miller gives voice to this feeling in his song of the " Inland Empire : " — *^ Room! room to turn round in, to breathe and be free. And to grow to be a giant, to sail as at sea, Witli the speed of the wind — on a steed with his mane To the wind, without pathway, or a route or a rein. Room! room to be free, where the white bordered sea Blows a kiss to a brother as boundless as he.'* In a higher sense, the old Puritans were an illustration of this same spirit. Their whole history is the story of a struggle for room, —
room to think — room to believe. This drove them from England to Holland, and from Hol- land to the sea. " They could not live by king- made creeds or rules." Whittier, in his last poem, gives it as one of the chief attractions of the haven of eternal rest, that there — '' Every bark has sailing room." It is our purpose this morning to show the grand office of our Christianity in satisfying this demand of humanity in the highest and noblest sense ; to show that it broadens the horizon of our lives. 7d THE people's CHBISt L Christianity enlarges tlie horizon of the intel- lect. It awakens men to the grand possibilities of human thought. One of the most brilliant thinkers of this country, who has made himself an honorable name throughout the civilized world by his power of sustained and lofty thinking, says of himself, that twenty-five years ago he was driving a hack, without any concep- tion that he had a head worth using ; but he was converted to Christ, and that spiritual regenera- tion proved to be a regeneration of mind as well. l*erhaps no more apt illustration of the power of Christianity to enlarge and glorify the mental vision can be found, than in the history of art. The magnificent paintings that fill the art gal- leries of Italy had their birth in a revival of religion. Savonarola, St. Fi-ancis, and their heroic followers among the Italian monks of the Middle Ages, were the real founders of those splendid schools of art. The historian declares of Giotto that "he was no less remark- able as a Christian than as a painter." The Florentine associations laid great stress
on personal piety. The fraternities of painters held periodical meetings to render praise and thanksgiving to God. It was said of Era An- gelico that he never took up a pencil without THE OHBISTIA^S HOBIZO 79 first haying Tecourse to prayer, and that when- ever he painted a crucifixion the tears streamed down his face. The epitaph of this saintly- artist expresses the spirit of the highest art of the fifteenth century : " To me be it no glory that I was a second Apelles, but that all my gains I laid at thy feet, O Jesu." Michael Angelo's great themes, both in sculp- ture and painting, show that his genius was fired by the same mighty torch. There is something in the splendid concep- tion of humanity as set forth by Christianity, which gives breathing-room for the mind. U. It enlarges the horizon of the moral judg- ment. It gives a clearer, truer atmosphere in which to behold the relative values of temporal and spiritual things. Over on the Lake Shore Bailroad in Ohio there lived a rich old German, a large grain dealer. One night his elevators took fire, and something like a quarter of a million dollars went up in flames. The next morning the old German, with his friends, stood about the smoking pile of black dSbria^ looking gloomy enough. In the midst of the blackened mass there was still a considerable quantity of grain, which, though badly damaged, was not entirely de- 80 THE people's chbist

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