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Author Topic: George H. Morrison's Old And Beautiful Devotions  (Read 63902 times)
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« Reply #150 on: March 10, 2006, 03:07:37 PM »

The Timeliness of Christ - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


He Acted Always in Time

Again, one traces the same feature in the moments of His intervention. There is the story of the epileptic boy. The disciples were powerless with that boy—how they longed for the presence of the Lord! He could do what they had failed to do, but He was away on the Mount of Transfiguration. And just then, in their dire distress, they lifted up their eyes, and there was Jesus—and Mark tells us that the disciples marveled. Some have thought they marveled at His glory, as if traces of heaven still clung about His form. But if that were so, what would have been the use of telling the three that they were to be silent? I do not think it was at that they marveled; it was rather at the appearance of their Lord in the very moment when they needed Him. An hour before they had not learned their powerlessness. An hour after the boy would have been home. The marvelous thing was that the Lord appeared in the very nick of time. And I venture to think that there are multitudes who have found that this is just as true of them as it was of the disciples on that day.

Jesus Never Gave a Series of Lectures—He Spoke Freely to Meet Needs as He Saw Them

One feels, too, how true this is of the words which our Lord spake. One has only to read the Gospel narrative to discover that they were exquisitely timely. Our Lord never gave any course of lectures. He spoke freely, and for the moment's need. He answered questions, and met the scribes in argument, and gave His best to the solitary listener. And the marvel is that these free words of His, which have satisfied the needs of men, might seem to have had no one else in view than those who originally heard them. The words were timely, and yet they have proved timeless. They were occasional, and yet they are immortal. "Heaven and earth may pass away, but my words shall not pass away." They are so timely still, that many a man has felt as if they had been spoken to him alone, though centuries have gone since they were uttered.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

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« Reply #151 on: March 12, 2006, 01:49:20 AM »

March 11

Surrender and Service - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;…and ye shall find rest unto your souls— Mat_11:29

The Thought of Surrender

There are, I think, three thoughts that meet and mingle in this beautiful figure of the yoke. The first is the great thought of surrender. When the Romans conquered some rebellious tribe they made the vanquished pass under the yoke. It thus became a figure of common speech that the conquered were under the yoke of the victorious. And our Lord, who had seen the legions marching, and who was quite familiar with the figure, says "Take my yoke upon you." Nothing is more magnificent in Christ than the way in which He demands a full surrender. He does not claim a little bit of life. He claims life in its wholeness and entirety. And the strange thing is that whenever that is yielded, and never until that is yielded, the life is flooded with the sense of rest. Such a surrender to anybody else would mean the warping of the personality. But that it never means with Christ. It means the liberation of the personality. No man is ever really himself until he has fully surrendered to the Lord. "Take my yoke upon you.... and…find rest."

Not a Forced Surrender

This, you observe, is not a forced surrender. Our Lord says take My yoke upon you. Our Lord is very fond of the word must, but He never uses it in this connection. When the Roman legions smashed some savage tribe, that tribe was compelled to bear the yoke. Often, on that account, they hated Rome, and served her with rebellion in their hearts. But Christ wants nobody on terms like these. Such terms are not in the program of His conquest. Christ demands a surrender that is willing. You can compel the dog to do your bidding. You can force the slave to carry out your will. But Christ, that mighty protagonist of liberty, treats nobody as a dog or as a slave. We are the Father's children, made in the Father's image, with an inalienable heritage of freedom, and we may take or we may spurn the yoke. There are so many who are waiting for something irresistible to happen, something to sweep them off their feet to Christ, as the breaker sweeps the log on to the shore. That something is never going to happen. Now is the accepted time. The Master's word is "Take my yoke upon you."

Taking on a Yoke Means Service

The next suggestion of our text is that of service, for the yoke at once suggests the thought of service. Our Lord had coupled the two thoughts a hundred times as He wandered among the farms of Galilee. I love to watch the horses on a farm when the evening hour of their unyoking comes—the big, beautiful creatures free at last from the swinging and the straining of the day. So they pass to the water trough and to the stalls, till with the morning the yoke is on again: the yoke, the symbol and sacrament of service. Now all life is service, and perhaps "all service ranks the same with God," from that of the starveling in Sally Brass's kitchen to that of the Prime Minister of Britain. And then Christ comes to all who have to serve, no matter how high or how low their service be, and says, "Take my yoke upon you, and find rest." It is not of rest from service that He speaks. It is of rest in service. It is of rest that comes when care and worry vanish, and the burden no longer irritates and frets. For duty is different now, and God is near, and love is everywhere, and strength sufficient, when once the yoke of Christ is on the shoulders.

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« Reply #152 on: March 12, 2006, 01:50:55 AM »

Surrender and Service - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Peace in the Heart while Serving with Christ's Yoke

That our Lord had full authority for speaking so is evident to every student of His life. He served with an intensity unparalleled, yet who would ever think to call Him restless? Busy and broken were His days, yet He had the heart at leisure from itself. The crowds thronged Him and the calls were overwhelming, yet He moved in the peace that passeth understanding. And now He says, "Take My yoke upon you. It is My passion to pass on My secret. Take My yoke upon you—and find rest." When a man flings himself into his toil without one word of prayer or thought of God, can you wonder if his nerves get jangled, or if he is tempted now and then to give things up? But we are not here to give things up, if the ordering of God be a reality. We are here just to give up ourselves. To take Christ's yoke upon us is to serve in the spirit that made all His service beautiful, with the same unfaltering trust that God was over Him, and that the everlasting arms were underneath Him. That gave Him peace when burdens grew intolerable. Sustained by that, He never gave things up. He gave Himself up upon the Cross.

A Double Yoke Means Christ Pulling with You

And then our text suggests another thought. It is the infinite comfort of society. The yoke is a double yoke (as Matthew Henry said), and we are going to draw along with Him. Farmers tell me they sometimes train a young beast by yoking it with an old experienced beast, one that is familiar with the plough, and has been out on many a raw and stormy morning. And Christ says, "I want you to pull with Me, and then you will learn to make a straighter furrow, and the farmer will be well contented in the evening." He has been over all the ground before. He knows it well, and all its inequalities. He has been tempted in all points like as we are. He has borne the heat and burden of the day. And then He comes to us, worrying and anxious and wondering how we shall ever carry on, and He says, "Child, let's do this thing together." It is the offer of partnership with God in the strain and stress of unillumined days. The question is, Have we accepted it? Is it a great reality to us? If not, why not accept it now?

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George H. Morrison Devotions

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« Reply #153 on: March 15, 2006, 01:37:05 AM »

March 12

Humility Interpreted by Christ - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


I am meek and lowly in heart— Mat_11:29

From Vice to Virtue

It has been said that the greatest of all differences between ancient and modern morality is not the introduction of new virtues, but the changing of the order of the old ones. In this sphere, as in other spheres, Christ has put down the mighty from their seats. He has taken the little one of ancient ethics, and made it as it were a thousand. And so it is said our Christian morality is not generically different from others; the difference is mainly one of emphasis. Now in this there is a large element of truth, and of very fruitful and suggestive truth. No one will ever understand the Savior who forgets how largely He wrought by rearranging. But there is one point at which it is not true, and that the most important point of all perhaps—it is not true in reference to humility. Humility was not a virtue in the old world. Humility in the old world was a vice. It was a thing abhorred and accursed, utterly unworthy of the gentleman. And the amazing thing is that in Christendom it has not merely ceased to be a vice, but has been given the primacy of virtues. To be humble was once to be contemptible: now to be humble is to be blessed. It was once rejected as a thing of shame: it is now sought for as a grace of heaven. In every communion of Christendom, however deep the cleavages between them, the queen of Christian graces is humility.

The Infinity and Eternity of Christianity Should Humble us

Now for this Christian glorying in humility there are two reasons which suggest themselves. The first is the expansion given to life by the revelation of our faith. Had you lived within a little room, and then been brought under the open heaven, can you not picture how your thought would change in that amazing moment of expansion? Seeing the sun and moon in all their beauty, and the azure heaven, and the myriad stars, you would be silent and wonder and adore. Feelings hitherto repressed would waken; thoughts would rise and soar into the infinite. In a world so high and wonderful and great there would be known the surge of aspiration. And that is exactly what our faith has done in giving life its infinite horizon: chords which were silent have begun to vibrate. Life is not less mysterious since Christ came; it is far more mysterious since Christ came. He has made it high as heaven and deep as hell, and touched it to the issues of eternity. And so has been born our Christian aspiration, which neither Greek nor Roman ever knew, and humility is the other side of aspiration. Make life a finite and measurable thing, and inevitably you foster self-complacency. Make it an infinite and eternal thing, and humility ceases to be a thing of scorn. It is the fitting attitude of mind and spirit for one who stands in the light of immortality, and whose true horizon is the eternal God.

And yet that reason, though a very real one, is after all but a secondary one. The primary reason is not our new horizon; it is the personality of Christ. When you meet a person for the first or second time you may receive from him varying impressions. But gradually, as acquaintance ripens, one clear and definite impression comes. And so as men meditated on the Lord, and came to know Him through such meditation, one feature took precedence of all. It was not His courage, although He was very brave; it was not the eloquence with which He spake. It was not even that mighty power of God with which He healed the sick and raised the dead. Clear and conspicuous above all other qualities, the crown and inspiration of them all, stood out the perfect humility of Jesus. Men found it in every action which He wrought; they lit on it in every word He uttered. They traced it in a thousand subtle touches that are more delicate than speech and action. And it was that large and overwhelming impress, forever deepening as they brooded over it, which altered the conception of mankind. All the humility of Christendom really runs back to that of Christ. If it is the distinguishing virtue of the saint, it was first the distinguishing virtue of the Savior. And that is why to understand humility we must study it in the Person of our Lord, which is what I propose to do. Let me use first the method of exclusion.

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« Reply #154 on: March 15, 2006, 01:38:36 AM »

Humility Interpreted by Christ - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Christ's Humility Was That of Authority

To begin with, then, the humility of Jesus was certainly not a mean and groveling spirit. The bitterest enemy of the Redeemer has never taunted Him with that. In one of his pathetic letters the poet Keats says, "I hate humility." You have only to read the context of that letter to discover what he meant by that. He meant that groveling and cringing spirit which Heine called the virtue of a hound, and which is immortalized in English literature in the portrait of Uriah Heep. That is what Aristotle would have called humility. That is what Cicero would have called humility. And there are multitudes still who have a lurking feeling that if this is not the truth it is very near the truth. And I want you to learn how utterly astray are all such conceptions of humility, if the standard of humility be Christ. Christ never groveled before man or God. He never cringed to any living creature. There was a dignity about His bearing which never forsook Him in His darkest hour. It made itself felt among the hardened soldiery, cast its subduing power upon Pilate, touched the Roman centurion to reverence, and awed the clamorous rabble in Gethsemane. I therefore learn that true humility has nothing to do with cringing or with fawning. The moment you associate it with that, you dissociate it from the Person of the Lord. For He was a King, and had a royal bearing, and moved among His fellows with authority; and all the time His humility was perfect.

Christ's Humility Was Not Self-Depreciating

Going a little further, we must note that the humility of Christ was not self-depreciation. It was not the habit of belittling Himself, or the work which God had given Him to do. There were some things which Christ made very light of; things He refused to reckon as important. But there was one thing which He never once made light of, and that was the work which was given Him to do. On the contrary, He always magnified it, and used the loftiest terms in speaking of it, associating it forever with His glory. Other teachers call men to their message; Jesus called men to Himself. The self-assertion of our Savior is the most magnificent self-assertion in all history. And yet He tells us in this single glimpse which He gives us into the secret of His being, that He is meek and lowly in heart. Clearly, then, the humility of Christ was not any belittling of Himself. It was as far removed from pride on the one hand, as from self-depreciation on the other. And it is needful to remember this, for we are often tempted to think that we are humble, when all the time we are but doing dishonor to the faculties or the work which God has given us.

Christ's Humility Did Not Arise from a Sense of Sin

Going deeper still, there is one other thing which I beg you very carefully to note. It is that the humility of Christ did not arise from any sense of sin. In your experience and in mine, there is nothing so humbling as the power of sin. You have had seasons, and I have had seasons, when sin has humbled us into the very dust. And that experience, oftentimes repeated, and in a measure always present with us, has led us to connect the two together. Now most unquestionably God meant it so. It is a blessed hour of true humility when we cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner." But to understand the meaning of humility, in all the depth and compass of its glory, we must never forget that it was first exhibited in One who had no sense of sin at all. The one thing that you cannot find in Christ is any trace of a scar upon His conscience. There was not one single shadow of remorse. There was not one single whisper of regret. Many a cry of prayer was on His lips, and went ringing heavenward among the hills, yet the one prayer He never prayed was, "God be merciful to me a sinner." The point to note is that our Lord was sinless, and yet was the perfect exemplar of humility. Utterly untouched by moral evil, He was humbler than man has ever been. And that should teach us that this queenly grace is something nobler than the fruit of guilt, however the consciousness of guilt may deepen it.

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« Reply #155 on: March 15, 2006, 01:40:21 AM »

Humility Interpreted by Christ - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


The Humility of Christ Is as a Child's Trust

What, then, was the humility of Christ? Has He Himself thrown any light upon the matter? There are two incidents which at once suggest themselves as teaching us everything we want to know. On one occasion the disciples had been arguing as to who is greatest in the Kingdom. They came to Jesus with their difficulty, and the answer which they got was very beautiful. For Jesus beckoned to a little child, and set him down right in the midst of them, and said, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." There is the living example of humility as Jesus understood humility. And what is the spirit of a little child: is it not a spirit eminently trustful ? It trusts a father's wisdom without questioning; confides unfalteringly in a mother's care; rests in happy security on this, that there is someone arranging and providing. There is nothing mean or groveling in that. In that there is nothing of self-depreciation. A child is not humble because it knows its guilt. It is humble because it is a child. It is humble because it trusts so utterly, because it leans its weight upon a father, because it answers so unswervingly to every movement of another will.

Now that, I take it, in its essence, is the humility of Jesus Christ. It is not primarily a relationship to men; primarily it is a relationship to God. It has been noted that in the Gospels you do not read about the faith of Jesus; what you do read of in the Gospels is the humility of Jesus. And the reason for that is that our Lord's humility, when you come to understand its inner meaning, is just His faith in its most glorious exercise. Moment by moment He learned the will of God. Moment by moment He responded to it. The faintest whisper of His Father's voice was answered in unquestioning obedience. And this not only when that will was sweet, and reached Him amid the fields of Nazareth, but when it came to Him in the garden of Gethsemane. That was not courage, though it may look like courage. It was not heroism, though you may call it so. It was the perfected spirit of the child whom Jesus took and placed among them all. That was humility as Jesus understood it—loyal, loving, unquestioning submission, not only when submission was a happy thing, but when it led to the garden and the cross.

And you see at once, taking that view, how it explains a great deal which was dark before. It helps us to see the humility of Christ where otherwise we might be blind to it. When a man is humble he is always humble. His humility makes itself evident in everything. You must be able to trace it through his whole activity, if it be a real and genuine humility. And yet there are moments in the life of Jesus when it would be difficult to call Him humble, in the usual interpretation of that word. Think of His withering anger at the Pharisees. Think of His driving the traders from the Temple. Is that humility—that withering anger; or has Christ forgotten to be humble now? No, He has not forgotten to be humble: it is you and I who have forgotten something; forgotten that the humility of Christ is His absolute fidelity to God. Do you think it was pleasant to Jesus to be angry so? Do you think He delighted to wither and to burn? A thousand times rather, we may say with reverence, He would have been seated in the home at Bethany. Had He consulted Self He would have been with Lazarus, or among the hills, or in the fields of Galilee; but He withered and burned, and drove the traders forth, because He consulted nobody but God. In other words, He was never more a Child than in those hours when He seemed least a Child. He was never humbler in His Father's eyes than in His awful and imperious majesty. For then you hear, clear as a trumpet note, "I come to do thy will, O God," and that was the humility of Jesus. Take that view, and it irradiates everything. It gives a unity we never felt before. Christ is no longer humble in His suffering, and something else in His denunciation. He is as humble when He scorns the Pharisee as when He talks with the woman by the well; as humble when He commands, "Take these things hence," as when He cries upon the cross, "Father, forgive them."

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« Reply #156 on: March 15, 2006, 01:41:55 AM »

Humility Interpreted by Christ - Page 4
by George H. Morrison


Christ's Humility Was That of a Servant

And then there is the second scene which is needed if our thought is to be adequate. It is that scene, forever memorable, in which Jesus washed the disciples' feet. Need I recall it? You all know it perfectly. You see it before you even as I speak: how Jesus laid aside His garments, and took a towel, and girded Himself and washed His disciples' feet. And He did it "because He was come from God, and because He was going home again to God"—that is to say, all filial life in God must issue in lowly and in loving service. First the child, you see, and then the servant. Take both together and you have humility. First the child, the filial trustful confidence; and then, as the fruit of that, the servant's office. And that is exactly what you find in Jesus, whom the prophet calls the Servant of the Lord, and yet says that a little Child shall lead them. Perfect loyalty to the Father's will issuing in lowliest service to the brethren—that was the humility of Christ, and that is the humility He wants in us. There is nothing cringing in it, nothing mean. It is trustful, active, eminently blessed. It is the crowning grace of every Christian character, and makes the wilderness blossom as the rose.

____________________

George H. Morrison Devotions

Dist. Worldwide in the Great Freeware Bible Study package called
e-Sword by Rick Meyer: http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
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(The goal of Rick Meyer is to distribute excellent Bible Study
Software to every country on earth in their own language FREE
of charge, and that goal gets closer by the day.)
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« Reply #157 on: March 15, 2006, 01:43:40 AM »

March 13

Christ's Teaching On Man - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


How much then is a man better than a sheep?— Mat_12:12

The Expression of Compassion Originates with Christ

Not very far away from where we sit there are gleaming the lights of our great city hospitals. We can see with the mind's eye the quiet wards, and the nurses moving in their gracious ministry. There the poorest citizens are treated with all the appliances that riches can command. There are they tended by night and day, with a skill that is as wise as it is kind. And if we ask ourselves, as thoughtful men, to what it is that we owe such institutions, the answer is not very far to seek. It is not enough to say we owe them to the generous support of a compassionate public. We want to find the source of that compassion, which is peculiar to the Christian era. And we find it, without any question, in the new conception of what man is, which we owe to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Christ Brought a New Estimate of Man

Indeed if one were asked the most distinctive feature of those ages which we call the Christian era, I do not think we should much err in answering that it was just that altered thought of man. We divide the history of the world into two parts, the one before Christ and the other after Christ. That in itself is an unequalled tribute to the centrality of the Redeemer. Well, among all the differences of these two eras, I say that none perhaps is so remarkable as the difference which is known to every student in the accepted estimate of man. It has breathed a new spirit into literature. It has created a passion for social service. It has built those splendid palaces of healing, where is the hand of science and the heart of mercy. All this, and a vast deal more than this, has been wrought by the new idea of man which Christendom owes to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Doctrine of Man Is Determined by Our Doctrine of God

There are one or two preliminary things I want to say, and the first of them is this, that the doctrine of man, whatever it may be, is always the other side of the doctrine of God. As is the thought of God in any faith, so is the thought of man in that same faith. The one controls and dominates the other, giving it its colour and its content. Tell me the kind of god a people worships—tell me their thought of the being in the heavens—and I shall tell you what they think of man in his value and his freedom and his destiny. Now we are not dealing with Christ's thought of God tonight, but we all know something of the wonder of it. We know how infinitely rich in personality was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And I throw out the hint that knowing it, we shall expect to find in Jesus' view of man a grandeur, a freedom, and a depth that are without parallel in any teaching. "For in him we live, and move, and have our being" (Act_17:28).

Jesus' View of Man Was a Spiritual One

Again it is well that we should bear in mind that Jesus laid down nothing about man's origin. His view of man is a spiritual view; it is in no sense a scientific one. That man as such was a child of God, and that he owed his being to the Creator's hand is a truth which Christ never stays to prove—He assumes it, taking it for granted. (Editor's note: The word child is used with the connotation of creature needing redemption.) But beyond that, practising a silence which is as wonderful as any speech, He leaves the utmost freedom for inquiry. His view of man is not bound up with any theory of man's physical origin. It can be held by the most advanced of scientists as fully as by the humblest peasant. The one man by whom it cannot be held is the man who makes a jest of human nature, and who, so scorning it, sets a stumbling block before the feet of one of these little ones. That Christ in His infinite humiliation may have shared in the current beliefs of His own day, is not only possible, but as it seems to me, adds to the wonder and depth of His abasement. But that He should have thought to lay on us these limitations which He assumed in mercy, must be something wholly and forever alien from the spirit and mind of Him who is the Truth. Christ has involved us in no theory here. He has not barred the door on scientific progress. He has left it open to every earnest seeker to follow the truth wherever it may lead.

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« Reply #158 on: March 15, 2006, 01:45:19 AM »

Christ's Teaching On Man - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Christ's View of Man Was Based on Observation

And another thing it is well to remark is that Christ's view is based on observation. It was not the dreaming of a doctrinaire; it was fashioned in closest contact with humanity. I have read some learned books dealing with children, and been entirely humbled with their learning. But the strongest impression made on me by some of them was that the writer had never known a child. So are there certain theories of man that are entirely admirable and excellent, save for the one unfortunate detail that the man they analyse is nonexistent. There are people who are enamoured of humanity. They will talk to you by the hour about humanity. Christ did not care one farthing for humanity; He cared with all His heart for men and women. And the great glory of His view is this, that it is not elaborated in any solitude, hut is wrought out in daily loving contact with actual sinning men and sinning women. He did not come to them with any creed, determined to find that creed in every bosom. He came with a single eye, and with a heart of love, to find what was there, and only what was there. And so He saw in man such height and depth, such light and shadow, such infinite variety, as never had been seen on earth before. He knew that the eye might be so evil that the whole body might be full of darkness; and yet He knew there was a cry for home in the soul of the prodigal among the swine. He knew that out of the heart there spring adulteries, and all the lust that dwells so hard by hate, and yet He knew that we who are so vile can give good gifts unto our children. Now the real worth of any viewpoint depends on the range of facts that it interprets. If it be broad enough to embrace all contrarieties, the chances are it is the view of God. And the view of man that Jesus Christ has given us shall ever stand conspicuous in this, that it was wrought out, not in dreams of solitude, but in daily loving contact with His kind.

Christ Made the Individual the Object of Divine Regard

Coming now to the teaching in itself, the first thing to be said is this, that in His thought, as in His love, Christ made the individual the unit. He did not regard men as on the scale of fifty. He did not think of them as on the scale of ten. He thought of men, and lived for them, and died for them, upon the scale of one. Now to you and me, brethren, that is such a commonplace that we can scarcely conceive of any other reckoning. But one of the primary lessons of all history is that our commonplaces were once incredibilities. And though of course there never was a time in which men did not live their individual lives, yet it is no exaggeration to declare, as one has done, that Jesus Christ discovered the individual. To the ancient Jews, among whom Christ was born, in relation to God the nation was the unit. At an earlier period we have a time when it was the family who took the eye of heaven. But Christ as it were disrobed the individual, disengaged him out of all relationships, and revealed forever the truth that in Himself man was the object of divine regard. There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; it is not God's will that one of them should perish. It was for one coin the woman swept the house; for one sheep the shepherd left the flock; for one son, and him a sorry prodigal, the father in the home was broken-hearted. If you go back into the ancient world I shall tell you the kind of feeling you discover. You discover men claiming divine protection because they were members of a tribe or family. And the wonderful thing in Jesus Christ is this, that from such relationships He disengaged the soul, and, never despising the family or the state, flashed all the light of heaven upon the one. That is what is meant when it is said that Christ discovered the individual. It does not mean that there ever was an age when the separate heart had not its separate sorrow. But it means that Jesus, out of all societies, disentangled the individual being, putting a crown of glory on its head, and the staff of the Good Shepherd in its hand. In what innumerable ways that has affected Christendom I have not time to dwell upon. It has given a new note to literature. It has breathed a new spirit upon art. It has shown itself in the ward of the infirmary where there may be fifty patients under one surgeon, yet each of them, as an individual being, is tended with an individual care.

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« Reply #159 on: March 15, 2006, 01:46:53 AM »

Christ's Teaching On Man - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


Christ Taught That the Individual Was of Infinite Value to God

But there is something deeper still in Jesus' view, for Christ did not only discover the individual; He taught us also that the individual was of infinite value in the eyes of God. There are some secrets for which men have toiled, and when they have found them they have been broken-hearted. What they discovered has proved itself so tragical that they have prayed to heaven to make them blind again. But Christ, discovering the individual, found in that secret such a wealth of glory that the name He chose for Himself was Son of Man. They say that a diamond which today is blazing upon the crown of a European monarch lay for weeks upon a stall in Rome, labelled "Rock crystal, one franc." And may we not reverently say that Jesus Christ, purchasing the rock crystal for His own, has found something more precious than a diamond. For it is not man as rich that Jesus thinks of. It is not man as learned or as powerful. The ancient world was quick to recognise the value of the learned or the powerful man. The differential of Christ is this, that He stands up and faces that old world, and says that the thing of infinite worth to God is not man as powerful but man as man. Strip him of all the art of Greece. Take from him all the might of Rome. Call him a prodigal, and let him feed the swine; call him a sunken creature of the street. Yet even then, disrobed of every grace, sunken into the mire and trampled on, even then, says Christ, in God's eyes man is a being of a worth unspeakable. There is a great deal of talk today about the mystery of personality. Men are giving their deepest thought to that, and already there are signs of a rich harvest. But the deepest mystery of personality, if you will only sit down and think about it, is just that at its shallowest and worst, it should be of infinite value in the eyes of heaven. I tell you it is an overwhelming thought. It is enough to make one thrill to realise it—that the sorriest wretch whose every breath is vile, is precious because he is a man. And that is the great truth which Christ hath taught us, and which is so inwrought into our scheme of life, that not only in the church but in the world today it has the accent of the commonplace.

Jesus' Concept of God as Father

Now I said at the beginning that the thought of man is always relative to the thought of God. And I said it because I was looking forward to the point of the argument we have now reached. You know—all of you know perfectly—what was Jesus' controlling thought of God. From first to last our Saviour thought of God under the deep and tender name of Father. And you see at a glance, do you not, how this new doctrine of the infinite preciousness of every man springs from the thought of the Fatherhood in heaven? Does a father wait to love his children till they have come to discretion or maturity? Does he wait until one son has risen to honour, and another has become a prosperous citizen? On the contrary, he never loves them more than in the happy and helpless days of childhood, when there is never a scrap of learning in the brain, and never a jingle of money in the purse. Nay, if among that little family there be one that is sickly or weakly or deformed—one with a twisted limb, or with a shrunken arm, or with an intelligence arrested strangely—is not that the very child the father loves with an ineffable and yearning tenderness, so that he often prays for it, and sometimes quietly weeps, in the long silent watches of the night? That is the mystery of human fatherhood, and Christ has taught us when we pray to say, Our Father. And we lift our eyes at the command of Jesus, and lo, there is a Father on the throne. And so do we learn that man as man, simply and solely because he is a child, is infinitely and forever precious in the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. For remember that the son is still a son, though he have wandered away to the far country. He may be a prodigal—he may be lost—but he has never ceased to be a child. And just because, through all his degradation, nothing can cancel that filial relationship, there is a welcome for him in the father's home, and a yearning in the father's heart.

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« Reply #160 on: March 15, 2006, 01:48:34 AM »

Christ's Teaching On Man - Page 4
by George H. Morrison


Worth of Man Strengthened by the Incarnation

May I say, too, that this thought of the worth of man is enormously strengthened by the incarnation? Christ took on Him not the nature of angels, but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. If there is one truth to which all thinking leads me it is the pre-existence of Christ Jesus. To me the Bible is an unmeaning riddle if Christ began to be when He was born. But if He came from heaven—the eternal Logos—to tabernacle with us for a little season, then in the circumstances of His coming I learn the infinite worth of man as man. One of the most curious books that was ever written has been lately translated by one of our professors here. It is the life of one Apollonius of Tyana, who was for long regarded as a kind of rival Christ. For he too healed the sick as Jesus did, and he too raised the dead as Jesus did, and he too, as the people of Tyana had it, was the son not of a mortal but of God. But there is one difference which is overwhelming. For Apollonius was the child of a vast wealth and the scion of a very noble family. But Jesus was the Son of a poor mother, for whom there was no room in Bethlehem, and who, where the dumb beasts were in their stalls, brought her firstborn Child into the world. That does not mean that God entering humanity was bringing down the mighty from their seats. But it does mean that the incarnate God was showing forth the worth of man as man. Not manhood in any might or splendour, but manhood at its lowliest and its least, was the tabernacle of the eternal Son.

Jesus' Thought of Man Explains His Thought of Sin

Is it not true also that this thought of man sheds a great light on Jesus' thought of sin? It helps us to fathom that intense abhorrence with which our Saviour contemplated sin. There were things that Jesus took no notice of, and there were others He treated as supremely petty. But there was one thing which always stirred Him to the deeps, and that was the spectacle of sin. And He abhorred it in its guilt and power not merely because it was a grief to God, but because it wrought such irreparable havoc on a being who was so infinitely precious. If I spill the ink bottle on some cheap novel, that is a matter of very small concern. But if I spill it on some priceless manuscript, then the pity of that blot is great. And it is just because man is precious in Christ's eyes—more precious than any priceless manuscript—that He felt the infinite pity of it all, when He looked on the disfigurements of sin. Whenever you have low thoughts of personality, you have low conceptions of the power of evil. Whenever you have lofty views of man, sin stands out there positive and terrible. And if you want to understand Christ's thought of sin, and all the passion of His abhorrence of it, I say you must bear in mind that in His eyes the poorest wretch was of a worth unspeakable. He was always pitiful towards the sinner; He was always pitiless towards the sin. He hated it with all the hate of heaven, which is far more terrible than all the hate of hell. And He hated it because it spoiled the beauty, and marred the strength, and slew the joy and peace of the most wonderful and precious thing in the whole universe of God.

Jesus' Thought of Man Involved His View of Man's Immortality

Then the third point I wish to note is this, that such a view involves man's immortality. The immortality of man in Jesus' eyes rests on the fact that he is the child of God. In one of the most exquisite of all his dialogues Plato handles the theme of immortality. And he discusses it and argues for it, and builds up lofty reasons for its certainty. But Jesus never discusses immortality for Him it is a thing to be assumed—He cannot conceive of any other destiny for a being so infinitely dear to God. If man were a trifle in the eyes of heaven, then like a trifle he might cease to be. But if man is infinitely dear to God, then it is impossible that he should cease to be. Girt with a love so mighty in its tenderness, able to look up and say My Father, it was simply impossible for Christ to think that the coffin and the grave should be the end. If one of your little children lay dying, and looked up at you and smiled, and said My Father, would you not barter everything you had for the power to bring that child to life again? And God in heaven always has that power, and He is our Father with a father's heart, and we, even the sorriest of us all, have never ceased at our worst to be the object of His fatherly love. It is that filial relationship, in Christ's eyes, which makes the thought of extinction quite impossible. To be what we are within the heart of God, must mean and can only mean to be forever. For love is loath to lose what it holds dear, and wants it not for an hour but forever, and only says farewell when forced to do it, which forcing has no place in the divine.

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« Reply #161 on: March 15, 2006, 01:50:09 AM »

Christ's Teaching On Man - Page 5
by George H. Morrison


All Doctrine Has an Influence upon Conduct

Such then is the teaching of Jesus about man, and now in closing let me say this to you. All doctrine has an influence upon conduct, and we see this perfectly in our Redeemer. Holding such a view of man as that, He was always reverent and always courteous. If the meanest life was of an infinite value it was not likely that Christ would be contemptuous. And so you find Him reverent and courteous, quite independent of any social station, and you find Him kindly when other men were harsh, and hopeful sometimes when all the world despaired. And it all sprang from His undying faith in the infinite preciousness of man as man. He never could scorn the most degraded creature, when He thought of what that creature meant for God. So you and I who name the name of Christ, must see to it as we take our journey, that we are looking out on men and women with somewhat of the look of our Redeemer. We are not called upon for any easy tolerance, as if moral distinctions were to be obliterated. We are not called upon to think of evil lightly. But we are called upon to think that every man, however lost, is still the Father's child, and is so precious to the heart of God that He will never leave him nor forsake him. Remembering that, we also shall be reverent, and always pitiful, and always hopeful. Remembering that, we shall delight to serve and count it a glad thing that we are brothers.

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« Reply #162 on: March 15, 2006, 01:51:59 AM »

March 14

The Lure of the Impossible - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


Stretch forth thine hand— Mat_12:13

No Challenge to Handling That Which Is Easy

Few things are so attractive as those which seem impossible. The passion to achieve what seems impossible is one of the deepest passions of mankind. One might have thought that man, being a reasonable creature, would have averted his gaze from the impossible. It would seem natural that he should give his energies to things within the compass of his powers. But there is that within the human heart which is always suspicious of the easy thing, and yearns for victories beyond its grasp. Tell men that a certain hill presents no difficulties, and for the climber it loses half its charm. Men do not dream of it by night, nor resolve to gain the summit in the morning. But tell them (as climbers once were told) that it is impossible to scale the Matterhorn, and they never rest till the Matterhorn is conquered.

The Daring of Childhood

We see that curious element in childhood, and the child is father of the man. The nearer anything approaches the impossible, the stronger its attraction for the child. Children have a way of daring one another. It is the childish challenge of the perilous. The parapet that looks impossible to walk on is more attractive to the boy than any highway. That is the real charm of fairy tales, with their seven-league boots, and fairy godmothers, and palaces erected in a night. If the heart of childhood could rest in easy things, fairy tales would lose their charm tomorrow. But that is what the childish heart can never do, in the dullest surroundings and most prosaic street. And fairy tales, where things impossible are common as berries on the rowan tree, are a refuge, in imagination, for the cravings of the childish heart.

Science Is Mastered by the Lure of the Impossible

It is very largely to this lure that we owe the conquests of our science. Great discoverers and inventors are like children, and are mastered by the lure of the impossible. When Stephenson proposed to run a train at thirty or forty miles an hour, men laughed at him as an unbalanced visionary, and assured him it was quite impossible. Had they only known the human heart, with its strange and undecipherable questings, they would have known that their jeering was encouragement. It is impossible things that captivate the child, and every man of genius is a child. He dreams at night, not of the safe bridge, but of crossing the foaming torrent on the parapet. Every train running across the world, and the telegraph and the radio and the airplane, spring from the deep passion of humanity to achieve what duller people call impossible. It is this lure which at last discovers continents, and reaches the Pole, and finds the source of rivers. It keeps men eager, in spite of every argument, to get in touch with Mars. I fancy we all love the conjurer, though we know quite well he is deceiving us, because his nightly business is doing the impossible.

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« Reply #163 on: March 15, 2006, 01:53:32 AM »

The Lure of the Impossible - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Christ Used the Lure of the Impossible

It shows how perfectly our Lord knew the human heart that He loved to employ the lure of the impossible. One thinks, for instance, of the man with the withered hand. That the man had often tried to stretch his hand we may take for granted from all we know of life. His wife would say to him: "Husband, you're looking better; don't you think you could stretch out your arm today?" And always, though he made a thousand efforts, there was no response in that withered hand of his. The thing was found to be utterly impossible. Jesus was perfectly aware of that. He read the life of that sufferer like a book. He did not sympathise with him in words. He challenged him on the line of the impossible. And the wonderful thing is that whenever Christ does that, a faith is kindled equal to accomplishment, and things that yesterday were quite impossible become perfectly possible today.

The Lure of the Impossible Is One of Christianity's Strengths

This lure of the impossible is one of the great powers of Christianity. It is one of the things that sets a gulf, for instance, between Christianity and Mohammedanism. Mohammed says, "Brother, all that I ask of you is perfectly within your power. I shall give you definite rules that you must practise, and, practising them, you will be perfected." Christ gives men an infinite ideal, beyond the grasp of any human hand, and lures them on with the lure of the impossible. That is why Mohammedanism is stagnant—it has no infinite and unattained ideals. That is why Christendom thrills and throbs with life, and has "the rapture of the forward view." Beyond every peak there is another peak, and though nobody wins the highest summit here, he gets higher than if he were never called to climb. The lure of the impossible, transformed by Christ, has given its zest and urge to Christendom. The more we trust and toil, the more we feel that the ideal for which we strive is unattainable. But then, thanks to that same Lord, we believe that we have forever, and there the impossible that lured us on will be ours in the perfect vision of the Father.

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« Reply #164 on: March 15, 2006, 05:50:41 PM »

March 15

The Intolerance of Jesus- Page 1
by George H. Morrison


He that is not with me is against me— Mat_12:30

Christ Rejects Accusations Made against Him

Our Lord had just performed a notable miracle healing a man who was possessed of a devil. It had made a profound impression on the people, and had forced the conviction that this was indeed Messiah. Unable to dispute the miracle itself, the Pharisees tried to impugn the power behind it, and in their cowardly and treacherous way they suggested there was something demoniac about Christ. With a readiness of resource which never failed Him, Christ showed in a flash the weakness of that argument. If He was the friend of the demons, was He likely to make a brother-demon homeless? Then moved to righteous anger by these slanders, He said, "He that is not with me is against me."

You Cannot Understand Christ if You Fail to Notice His Intolerance

I want to speak on the intolerance of Jesus Christ. However startling the subject may appear, and however the sound of it may jar upon us, I am convinced we shall never understand our Lord if we fail to take account of His intolerance. We have heard much of the geniality of Jesus, and of the depth and range of His compassion; nor can we ever exaggerate, in warmest language, the genial and generous aspect of His character. But it is well that the listening ear should be attuned to catch the sterner music of that life, lest, missing it, we miss the fine severity which goes to the perfecting of moral beauty. Wherever the spirit of Jesus is at work, there is found a sweet and masterful intolerance. The one thing that the Gospel cannot do, is to look with easy good nature on the world. And if this passionate urgency of claim has ever marked the activities of Christendom, we must try to trace it to the fountainhead and find it in the character of Christ.

Intolerance Must Be Knowledgeable

Of course there is an intolerance so cold and hard that it must always be alien from the Master's Spirit. All that is best in us condemns the temper which lacks the redeeming touch of comprehension. When the poet Shelley was a lad still in his teens, he fell violently in love with his cousin Harriet Grove. Shelley was a sceptic even then, and on account of his scepticism his cousin was removed from him. And those of you who have read his letters of that period will remember how they throb with the great hope that he might live to do battle with intolerance. Now Shelley was a poet, with all a poet's ardour, yet I think that most young men have had that feeling. Nor is it one of those feelings that pass away with youth; it generally strengthens with the tale of years. "One has only to grow old," says Goethe, "to become tolerant." As life advances, if we live it well, we commonly grow less rigid in our judgment. By all we have seen and suffered, all we have tried and failed in, our sympathies grow broader with the years. We learn how precious is the grace of charity; how near akin may be the fiercest combatants; how great is the allowance we must make for those of whose hidden life we know so little.

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