« AnteriorContinuar »
The Psalmist asks: "Who shall ascend into heaven?" that is, bring the Christ down from heaven; "Who shall descend into the deep?" that is, bring the Christ up from below. What does this mean? The world is here, the opportunities for living are here. We must take up the cause of the oppressed to-day; go out in the name and spirit of Christ now. Here, if anywhere, in these humble things, so often despised, so often downtrodden and thrust rudely aside, lies the hope of our life. It is in the greeting of friends, in the word spoken, or the little act of kindness. Here we find that in these common and so often disregarded and perhaps despised opportunities lies the great secret of a happy and successful life.
Every day, I suppose, some brakeman or some engineer is killed or wounded. It is not a common thing. Those are not common messages that come over the wire. What messages there are of home and happiness, of sorrow and misery, of shame and disgrace!
Out of common things is woven this daily life which has mingled in its gladness strange dark threads of sorrow. It is not common. Nothing is common for God has cleansed it.
"The common people heard him gladly," it was said of Jesus. His words were full of gladness and reality. Cornelius, the centurion, is not common now though a Roman, and it may be even a Pagan. God hath cleansed him. His own aspiration and endeavor to lead the higher life have made him not common and not unclean.
This doctrine that everything is cleansed and worthy was a strong blow struck at social caste. Every throne there was in the world shook at that time. All social prejudices trembled, they knew not why, when from the lips of the new faith there sounded out like a trumpet note: "God does not respect persons or
places; God has no favorites; God is not partial; but in every nation and in every condition, he that doeth righteousness is accepted of him." Hear it ring through the centuries; hear it ring through Europe and America. It says to every one: "God is no respecter of persons; he looks at the heart, the intent, the will, and the disposition of the spirit." That announcement shook all countries and conditions. All social prejudices melted before that thought, as when the warm south wind blows across the snow drift. All caste disappeared. The down-trodden of the world everywhere heard it and lifted up their faces and said: "I too, then, am thought of by God."
Thus there takes the place of the old exclusiveness in religion, this broad and universal invitation to every one to come to the feast of life; come as you can; come lame; come halting in the way; come creeping if you will; come and take of the offer of life freely-the common blessing of God.
Common men? There are no common men. Low men? There are none low. Every one in his place; every one in his time; every one in his thought-God has placed him there and he is working out his prob lem of civilization through him. Let none look down upon this occupation or that, and say it is common or unclean. The very usefulness of it is its sacredness and cleansing. All occupations take an equal stand before God. I would not take to myself any privilege or pleasure to which the poorest, meanest man is not as much entitled.
If it were given to me to-day to know that I should be the one of a thousand, or the one of a hundred, or one of twenty, who alone should enter the gate of the heavenly city, I would take my chances with those who are left behind, rather than with the few that should
enter; I would join the common people-the vast majority.
Sorrow is common enough, God knows. Grief is common, so is kindly sympathy and the same common fatherly love and the same common supper of the brotherhood.
IT IS COMMON.
"So are the stars and the arching skies,
"Common the grass in its growing green;
"Common the fragrance of rosy June:
'Common the beautiful tints of the fall:
So is the sea in its wild unrest,
"Common to all are the promises' given;
Blessed be God, all are common!"