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Man-Sinner and Saint.
Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.—Psalm
O doubt, we are sinners, all of us, yet only because
we are saints also ; nay, it may be said in sober truth that the first pang of conscience, in the child or the child-man, is the first pulse-beat of the awakening saint; the first blush of shame, mantling his face is the streak of dawn of the new day. It reveals to us what we ought to be and might be; and what in part we are already ; the ever-deepening sense of our unworthiness is caused only by our growing worthiness and the unfolding of the saint within us. This is the precious fruit of repentance and this the reasonableness of what, otherwise, would be without reason, since no amount of castigation can undo the done. Every true confession of sin is an homage to virtue, and also to Him who wrought that ideal into our nature. No doubt, our Creator meant us for sinners of the saintly kind, else would He have made us“ but little lower than angels” ? The Psalmist adds " and crowned him with glory and honor ;" what is this glory, this honor? His imperfections, over which he mourns, and changes into perfections, whilst yet he is sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
G. G. O the path of life to win us,
Thou, O God, didst plant within us
Till all mists shall melt in light.
the two matures in Man.
Who can know his errors ? Cleanse Thou me, O God, from secret faults! Keep back Thy servant from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright altogether, and innocent of great transgressions.—Psalm xix. 12, 13.
THE divine mind dwells with the man of humble
spirit, and he who keepeth himself lowly doth as much, as though he offered up all the burnt-sacrifices that ever were enjoined.
It is because man is half angel, half brute, that his inner life witnesses such bitter war between such unlike natures. The brute in him clamors for sensual joy and things in which there is only vanity; but the angel resists and strives to make him know that meat, drink, sleep, are but means whereby the body may be made sufficient for the study of the truths and the doing of the will of God. Not until the very hour of death can it be certain or known to what measure the victory has been won.
He who is but a novice in the fear of God will do well to say audibly each day, as he rises: This day will I be a faithful servant of the Almighty; will be on my guard against wrath, falsehood, hatred and quarrelsomeness, and will forgive those who wound me. For whoso forgives is forgiven in his turn: hard-heartedness and a temper that will not make up quarrels are a heavy burden of sin, and unworthy of an Israelite.
MOSES BEN JACOB of Coucy,
(XIII, Century). OW, Lord, what wait I for?
On Thee alone
Lord, seal me Thine own!
Thine, with each day begun,
Fellowmen - Fellow-Sinners.
There is not a just man on earth that doeth good always and sinneth not.—Eccl. vii. 20.
HE Pharisees taught: Judge not thy neighbor be
fore thou hast placed thyself in his stead; after
that, try to justify and defend rather than to condemn him. They point to Eli, the priest, as an impressive warning, since he mistook for a drunken woman one who had come to pour out the bitterness of her heart before the Lord, simply because “her lips only moved, but her voice was not heard.” In her defence she used the phrase: “Not so, my lord;” words which the rabbis construed into a bitter rebuke, reading it in this way: Thou art not a true lord and master in Israel, since thou didst rashly condemn me instead of judging me on the side of innocence. Strange and passing strange it is that whilst men insist upon the utter sinfulness of man as the cornerstone of the kingdom of the grace of heaven, the same fact so rarely avails to open the gates of man's own kingdom of mercy towards his fallen brother! In a sinking ship or a burning house or a pest-stricken city we stop not to ask who, amongst the imperilled, is an adopted child of God, and who is notwe save whom we can. We are all surrounded by the same dangers whilst we dwell on earth, and travel towards “the unknown and yet well-known gate.” Why does not the same generous impulse, which wakes up only sometimes, dominate our hearts always and make us merciful towards our fellow-sinners ?
RAIL creatures are we all! To be the best
Is but the fewest faults to bave :-
To God, thy conscience, and the grave.