The Greatest Thing in the World
How much do I want to read more? 9/10
That was powerful. It really comes to what is worth living. What is transitory. What will be reminded. What is transcendent.
How to live rightfully.
This should be reminded, and is worth reading everyday as suggested to be reminded and live by it.
“Love is the fulfilling of the law.” It is the rule for ful- filling all rules, the new commandment for keeping all the old commandments.
We have all felt the brazenness of words without emotion, the hollowness, the unaccountable unpersuasiveness, of eloquence behind which lies no Love.
Why is Love greater than faith? Because the end is greater than the means. And why is it greater than charity? Because the whole is greater than the part.
You may take every accomplishment; you may be braced for every sacrifice; but if you give your body to be burned, and have not Love, it will profit you and the cause of Christ nothing.
It is a compound thing, he tells us. It is like light.
Paul passes this thing, Love, through the magnificent prism of his inspired intel- lect, and it comes out on the other side broken up into its elements.
they are virtues which we hear about every day; that they are things which can be practised by every man in every place in life; and how, by a multitude of small things and ordinary virtues:
- Patience . . . . . . “Love suffereth long.”
- Kindness . . . . . .“And is kind.”
- Generosity . . . . “Love envieth not.”
- Humility . . . . . .“Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”
- Courtesy . . . . . . “Doth not behave itself unseemly.”
- Unselfishness . . “Seeketh not her own.”
- Good Temper . . “Is not easily provoked.”
- Guilelessness . . “Thinketh no evil.”
- Sincerity . . . . . . “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.”
these make up the supreme gift, the stature of the perfect man.
The supreme thing, in short, is not a thing at all, but the giving of a further finish to the multitudinous words and acts which make up the sum of every common day.
Love is Patience. This is the normal attitude of Love; Love passive, Love waiting to begin; not in a hurry; calm; ready to do its work when the summons comes
Kindness. Love active. Christ spent a great proportion of His time simply in making people happy, in doing good turns to people. There is only one thing greater than happiness in the world, and that is holiness; and it is not in our keeping.
The greatest thing a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children.
why it is that we are not all kinder than we are?
How much the world needs it. How easily it is done. How instantaneously it acts. How infallibly it is remembered. How superabundantly it pays itself back.
Love is success, Love is happiness, Love is life.
There is a difference between trying to please and giving pleasure. Give pleasure. Lose no chance of giving pleasure. For that is the ceaseless and anonymous triumph of a truly loving spirit.
you will find other men probably doing it better. Envy them not. Envy is a feeling of ill-will.
to put a seal upon your lips and forget what you have done.
go back into the shade again and say nothing about it Love hides even from itself.
This is Love in society, Love in relation to etiquette. Politeness. love in little things.
You can put the most untutored person into the highest society, and if they have a reservoir of love in their heart, they will not be- have themselves unseemly. They simply cannot do it.
The difficult thing is to give up ourselves. The more difficult thing still is not to seek things for ourselves at all.
there is no greatness in things. Things cannot be great. The only greatness is unselfish love.
there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving.
And half the world is on the wrong scent in the pursuit of happiness. They think it consists in having and getting, and in being served by others. It consists in giv- ing, and in serving others.
a man’s character.
You know men who are all but perfect, and women who would be entirely perfect, but for an easily ruffled, quick-tempered, or “touchy” disposition.
Jealousy, anger, pride, uncharity, cruelty, self-righteousness, touchiness, doggedness, sullenness—these are the ingredients of this dark and loveless soul.
A man with such a mood could only make Heaven miserable for all the people in it. Except, therefore, such a man be born again.
For it is perfectly certain— and you will not misunderstand me—that to enter Heaven a man must take it with him.
For a want of patience, a want of kindness, a want of generosity, a want of courtesy, a want of unselfishness, are all instantaneously symbolised in one flash of Temper.
Hence it is not enough to deal with the temper. We must go to the source, and change the inmost nature.
Souls are made sweet not by taking the acid fluids out, but by putting something in—a great Love, a new Spirit.
Will-power does not change men. Time does not change men.
It is better not to live than not to love.
Guilelessness is the grace for suspicious people. And the possession of it is the great secret of personal influence. You will find, if you think for a moment, that the people who influence you are people who believe in you. In an atmosphere of suspicion men shrivel up; but in that atmosphere they expand, and find encouragement and educative fellowship.
Love “thinketh no evil,” imputes no motive, sees the bright side, puts the best construction on every action. What a delightful state of mind to live in! What a stimulus and benediction even to meet with it for a day! To be trusted is to be saved. And if we try to influence or elevate others, we shall soon see that success is in proportion to their belief of our belief in them. For the respect of another is the first restoration of the self-respect a man has lost; our ideal of what he is becomes to him the hope and pattern of what he may become.
He will accept only what is real; he will strive to get at facts; he will search for Truth with a humble and unbiased mind, and cherish whatever he finds at any sacrifice.
Now the business of our lives is to have these things fitted into our characters. That is the supreme work to which we need to address ourselves in this world, to learn Love. Is life not full of opportunities for learning Love? Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them.
The world is not a play-ground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education.
And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better we can love.
What makes a man a good artist, a good sculp- tor, a good musician? Practice. What makes a man a good man? Practice. Nothing else.
If a man does not exercise his arm he develops no biceps muscle; and if a man does not exercise his soul, he acquires no muscle in his soul, no strength of character, no vigour of moral fibre, nor beauty of spiritual growth.
Do not grudge the hand that is moulding the still too shapeless image within you. It is growing more beautiful though you see it not.
Do not isolate yourself. Be among men, and among things, and among troubles, and difficulties, and obstacles.
remember Goethe’s words: “Talent develops itself in solitude; character in the stream of life.”
Talent develops itself in solitude—the talent of prayer, of faith, of meditation, of seeing the unseen; Character grows in the stream of the world’s life. That chiefly is where men are to learn love.
these are only elements. Love itself can never be defined. Light is a something more than the sum of its ingredients—a glowing, dazzling, tremulous ether. And love is something more than all its elements— a palpitating, quivering, sensitive, living thing. By synthesis of all the colours, men can make whiteness, they can- not make light. By synthesis of all the virtues, men can make virtue, they cannot make love.
How then are we to have this transcendent living whole conveyed into our souls?
We try to copy those who have it. We watch. We pray. But these things alone will not bring Love into our nature. Love is an effect.
We cannot help it. Because He loved us, we love, we love everybody. Our heart is slowly changed. Contemplate the love of Christ, and you will love. Stand before that mirror, reflect Christ’s character, and you will be changed into the same image from tenderness to tenderness. There is no other way. You cannot love to order. You can only look at the lovely object, and fall in love with it, and grow into likeness to it And so look at this Perfect Character, this Perfect Life.
Look at the great Sacrifice as He laid down Himself, all through life, and upon the Cross of Calvary; and you must love Him. And loving Him, you must become like Him. Love begets love. It is a process of induction. Put a piece of iron in the presence of a magnetised body, and that piece of iron for a time becomes mag- netised. It is charged with an attractive force in the mere presence of the original force, and as long as you leave the two side by side, they are both magnets alike.
Remain side by side with Him who loved us, and gave Himself for us, and you too will become a centre of power, a permanently attractive force; and like Him you will draw all men unto you, like Him you will be drawn unto all men. That is the inevitable effect of Love. Any man who fulfils that cause must have that effect produced in him.
Try to give up the idea that religion comes to us by chance, or by mystery, or by caprice. It comes to us by natural law, or by supernatural law, for all law is Divine.
There is no mystery about it We love others, we love everybody, we love our enemies, because He first loved us.
In a single word it is this: it lasts. “Love,” urges Paul, “never faileth.”
He runs over the things that men thought were going to last, and shows that they are all fleeting, temporary, passing away.
“Whether there be tongues, they shall cease.” As we all know, many, many centu- ries have passed since tongues have been known in this world. They have ceased.
Greek. It has gone. Take the Latin—the other great tongue of those days. It ceased long ago. Look at the Indian language. It is ceas- ing.
Then Paul goes farther, and with even greater boldness adds, “Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”
A schoolboy to-day knows more than Sir Isaac Newton knew.
You put yesterday’s newspaper in the fire.
You buy the old editions of the great encyclopae- dias for a few pence. Their knowledge has vanished away.
Sir William Thomson, said the other day, “The steam-engine is passing away.” “Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”
And all the boasted science and philosophy of this day will soon be old.
Can you tell me anything that is going to last?
He did not mention money, fortune, fame; but he picked out the great things of his time, the things the best men thought had something in them, and brushed them peremptorily aside.
All he said about them was that they would not last They were great things, but not supreme things. There were things beyond them. What we are stretches past what we do, beyond what we possess.
Many things that men denounce as sins are not sins; but they are temporary.
John says of the world, not that it is wrong, but simply that it “passeth away.” There is a great deal in the world that is delightful and beautiful; there is a great deal in it that is great and engrossing; but it will not last.
All that is in the world, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, are but for a little while. Love not the world therefore. Nothing that it contains is worth the life and consecration of an immortal soul. The immortal soul must give itself to something that is immortal. And the only immortal things are these: “Now abideth faith, hope, love, but the greatest of these is love.”
We know but little now about the conditions of the life that is to come. But what is certain is that Love must last.
To love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love for ever is to live for ever.
We want to live for ever for the same reason that we want to live tomorrow. Why do you want to live tomor- row? It is because there is some one who loves you, and whom you want to see to- morrow, and be with, and love back. There is no other reason why we should live on than that we love and are beloved. It is when a man has no one to love him that he commits suicide.
So long as he has friends, those who love him and whom he loves, he will live; because to live is to love.
Life is a thing that we are living now, not that we get when we die;
No worse fate can befall a man in this world than to live and grow old alone, unlov- ing, and unloved. To be lost is to live in an unregenerate condition, loveless and unloved; and to be saved is to love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth already in God. For God is love.
How many of you will join me in reading this chapter once a week for the next three months? A man did that once and it changed his whole life. Will you do it?
You might begin by reading it every day, especially the verses which describe the perfect character.
Get these ingredients into your life. Then everything that you do is eternal. It is worth doing. It is worth giving time to. No man can become a saint in his sleep; and to fulfil the condition required demands a certain amount of prayer and meditation and time, just as improvement in any direction, bodily or mental, requires prepa- ration and care.
Address yourselves to that one thing; at any cost have this tran- scendent character exchanged for yours.
You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments that stand out, the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love.
As memory scans the past, above and beyond all the transitory pleasures of life, there leap forward those supreme hours when you have been enabled to do unnoticed kindnesses to those round about you, things too trifling to speak about, but which you feel have entered into your eternal life.
Everything else in all our lives is transitory. Every other good is vision- ary. But the acts of love which no man knows about, or can ever know about—they never fail.
the test of a man then is not, “How have I believed?” but “How have I loved?”
not what I have done, not what I have believed, not what I have achieved, but how I have discharged the common charities of life.
“I lived for myself, I thought for myself, For myself, and none beside—
Just as if Jesus had never lived,
As if He had never died.”