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'This path of calm and solitude
'Yon rugged one, so rough for weary feet,
Hercules' Choice.—" When Hercules had grown up, he went out into a solitary place to muse over his future course of life. After a while he saw two female figures approaching: the one in white apparel, with a noble aspect, open and innocent; the other painted and bedizened, and looking to see if people looked at her. This last was the first to accost him: 'O Hercules, I see that you are perplexed about your path in life. If you will make a friend of me, I shall conduct you by the smoothest and most charming road. You will not be troubled with business, or battles, or tasks of any kind ; but your whole study shall be where to find the best wines and the nicest dishes, the newest scents and the most fashionable clothes, the merriest companions and the most exciting amusements.' 'And pray, madam,' said Hercules, 'what may be your name?' 'My name,' she replied,' is Pleasure, although my enemies have nicknamed me Vice.' Then said the other, ' Hercules, I am sure you are capable of noble deeds; but I must not deceive you with delusive promises. As the Higher Powers have arranged the world, you can hope for nothing good without labor. If you want the gods to be your friends, you must serve them; if you want to be loved, you must make yourself useful; if you want to be honored by Greece, you must do it some great service.' Then Hercules rose up to follow Virtue along the rugged path to immortality."
The Line Of Least Resistance.—" It is one of the great laws of the material universe that all movement must take place along the line of least resistance. One of the great thinkers of our day has set up the theory that this is equally applicable to human life, that A.D. 28.
Summer. SERMON ON THB MOUNT.
THE TWO WATS
all man's life has to be along the line of least resistance, and that it is right for it to be. This does not seem exactly the Master's counsel. 'Go in at the narrow gate,' he says, 'not at the wide one'; 'Take the hard way, not the easy one.' Which is right? It is worth a little looking into.
"Now, first of all, get a clear idea of what this great physical law is—of all movement having to be 'on the line of least resistance.' Watch the law in its very simplest illustrations. Pour a little water on the ground and notice what becomes of it. Its little streams move slowly in this or that direction as if feeling about. What are they feeling for? Simply for the lines of least resistance—the directions in which there is least to obstruct its flow. When a gun is fired the force of the charge is really equal all round, but is obliged to take action along the barrel because that is the line on which there is least resistance. So, when a steam boiler bursts, the direction of the explosion is settled by the same law. It seems a simple matter. But when you watch these things, you see in operation one of the mighty laws which have helped to mould, which is helping to develop the universe! These planets find their circling orbit through the illimitable world spaces not in a perfect circle, but just where the balancing and counteracting attractions of sun and stars leave the least resistance to that unknown force which impels them on. The great air currents, by which the signal service watchers can forecast a hot spell or a cold wave, move hither and thither guided by the same unerring law. The subterranean fires upheave and rend the earth into volcanoes at the point where the overlying crust offers least resistance.
"So, then, the question comes: Is this law of motion on the line of least resistance a law which man ought to set before himself? It seems curious that as soon as man comes to his own voluntary life he should have to break off from the law which has brought him so far, but so it is. From the moment man becomes a self-conscious being, thinking of his own actions, and thinking of the right and wrong of them—from that moment—no more life merely on the line of least resistance. From that moment all the further progress of life, and all the dignity and moral worth of life, may be almost said to depend on his living, not on the line of least resistance, but the very contrary, on the line of most resistance, in many cases."
—Rev. Brooke Hereford, D.D., Newspaper Report of Sermon.
15. H Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
15. False Prophets In Sheep's Clothing. — However the sheep and the wolf in sheep's clothing may seem alike, when they make a noise or run or eat, or express any of their likings, they show what they are.
"It is when 'the devil is dressed in his Sunday best,' not when he comes out with horns, tail, and hoofs in full sight, that you must look out for mischief."—Henry Clay Trumbull.
Library.—Ruskin's *' Sesame and Lilies," where he interprets the expression, "blind mouths," from Milton's "Comus." Tennyson's "Sea Dreams" has a picture of the false prophet. For many illustrative examples of animals simulating rocks, leaves, branches, etc., in order to deceive those on which they would prey, see Prof. Drummond's " Tropical Africa," "Mimicry: the Ways of African Insects."
Reference. See xxiii. 13, "On Hypocrites."
Ravening Wolves.—apnayt^, those who snatch by force, who plunder, hunger greedily after sheep, not to feed, but to destroy. The Harpies of Greek mythology are named from this word.
16. Ye Shall Know Them By Their Fruits—This is the infallible test. In the Parliament of Religion the theories of religion were presented and seemed so beautiful, but the real test of their value would have been in bringing together the people made by the religion, the practical results. When some one said to Wendell Phillips that Hindooism was as good as Christianity, he replied, " India is the answer."
The Test Of Fruit.—"The infallible test of all religious teaching is its practical result in the lives of those that receive it. The answer to modern eulogists of Buddhism and Confucianism is India and China; the answer to the papal claim of infallibility is Spain and Italy; the answer to the eulogists of' pure reason' and a Bible overthrown, is Paris during the Revolution and Paris during the Cum.
17. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
THE TREE AND
mune. New England Is the best refutation of those that sneer at Puritanism; and Christendom, contrasted with the heathen world, is a short but conclusive reply to all advocates of a universal and eclectic religion.—Abbott.
Reference. See on Matt xi. 2-6.
17. Every Good Tree Bringeth Forth Good Fruit.—It is a very strange fact that from the same soil, by means of the same sunshine and rain, under the same culture, different fruit will be produced by different trees. So that, as they well knew, the only way to have good fruit was to have a tree which Different naturally produced good fruit. The only way to have Yhe'sameTM good fruit in our lives is to have good hearts and princi- soil. ples of righteousness. All changes in government, in society, in circumstances, may aid good hearts to bring forth more fruit and better fruit, as is often seen by experiments in fields and gardens. Grapes grown in certain sunny positions are much more luscious than others. But no soil or sunshine can make grapes grow on bramble bushes. There is no hope of reformation in the world by any means that does not include new hearts.
Good Tree, Corrupt Tree.—" As to the good tree and the corrupt tree, there is a wild olive and a wild orange, and also a wild tree to represent almost every one of the good fruit-trees of Palestine. If grafted when young, a good tree will result; but if by mistake or ignorance one is left to the fruiting time before being found out, it has to suffer the axe, and most welcome is it to the fire in a country where good fuel is scarce."—Prof. Isaac Hall.
Note the difference in trees as to the time when the fruit appears; in some trees very early, in others after a long time. The fruit when green is very different from the same fruit when ripe. The blossoms, however fragrant and beautiful, are not fruit. We must
19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21. H Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
often wait a whole generation before we can see the real results of certain teachings.
19. Is Hewn Down.—Every tree in Palestine is taxed, and if any fails to bear fruit it becomes an expense, and is cut down.
31. Not Every One That Saith .... But He That Doeth.— "Yesterday we visited a famous art gallery, the Museum of Amsterdam. Among the many pictures we particularly noticed two or three large paintings of old Dutch Burgomasters who had distinguished themselves in some way, I know not how.
"In each picture were as many as a dozen faces, and of each burgomaster the artist took pains to show not only the face, but the hands. One would be gesturing, another pointing, anHand» other holding out his hands as if to shake hands. Each Picturei? one assurne^ a different posture"; and though the canvas was very much crowded, and the artist had little more than room to paint the heads, he was always careful to give each head a pair of hands, though no other part of the body appeared.
"His idea evidently was that for the portrayal of character the hands must be seen; that the fingers and palms were no less significant than eyes and nose and mouth.
"I am inclined to agree with that Dutch artist. Before knowing a person we must ask about his hands. What does he do?"
—Rev. F. E. Clark, D.D., in Golden Rule.
22. In Thy Name Done Many Wonderful Works.
Library.—The tract, " Noah's Carpenters," who helped to build the ark but did not enter it; "The Choir Invisible," by James Lane Allen, has some excellent illustrations about doing, pp. 76, 77.