To this boldness of confession they should add knowledge, and follow on to know the Lord. Its terminal bud loses the power of throwing off its winter leaves, because no summer leaves form in its interior. Such practice, moreover, will be as charming as my neighbour's flute is intolerable.(C. Oh, is it not sad when the onward movement of the soul is forgotten! AS REGARDED HIS OWN IMPROVEMENT. We may all be trying to be like Jesus Christ, whatever may be the material at which we toil.(A. A. Alexander, D. D.)Progress unlimited for the ChristianA. Aren’t all of us like Roy Riegels? "Singleness of aim"Mr. A. often laughs at me," said Professor Henry once, in Princeton College Laboratory, "because I have but one idea. Such is only the case when a kind of sickness has come over human speculation. Every temptation to evil temper which can assail us today will be an opportunity to decide the question whether we shall gain the calmness and the rest of Christ, or whether we shall be tossed by the restlessness and agitation of the world. D.)Spiritual barbarismJ M. Whiton, Ph. If you are troubled with wandering thoughts in prayer or in Church, it is because your outer life is not concentrated. Cold is fatal to the summer leaves; warmth is fatal to the winter leaves. D. Hoge, D. D.Paul could not have meant that he literally forgot the past, for had he done so, both present and future would have been alike useless to him. "Omit some of your pursuits," replied Confucius, "and you will get on better. Absolute conformity to the Divine character and will as immediately and specifically exhibited in Christ.4. (Paxton Hood. Very many believers stop short at the very initial processes of grace, and imagine that these are the final ends — that nothing more can be desired or attained. And when the great crisis of his life came — the spring time of his conversion, a light exceeding the brightness of the noonday sun shone upon him; and in this warm genial atmosphere of grace, the germ of spiritual life unfolded itself within, and burst its wrappings. Yes, and you ate your dinner twenty years ago; will that serve to strengthen you for today? (a)Extirpation of sin;(b)Attainment of the Divine likeness.Sin may be extirpated, and yet the second process may be in its infancy. If there is no God, no future, let the atheist tell us what the meaning is. LET THAT BRIGHT, CERTAIN, INFINITE FUTURE DWARF FOR US THE NARROW AND STAINED PAST.1. Habits are like fences, very good to guard the soul from sudden incursions of trespassers, but very bad when the trunk has grown up and presses against their stubborn rings. A. Alexander, D. D.If the spark which grace has kindled had been left to itself, or to the feeble breath of mortals to preserve it, we might well suppose that nothing more than its continued existence was intended; but when we find an unbroken current of life-giving air from the breath of the Almighty brought to play upon that spark, we may conclude with safety that it was meant to glow and kindle to a flame, and that the flame was meant to rise and spread, and to become a conflagration; so that what at first was but a seed of fire, smothered in ashes, drenched in rain, or blown at random by the viewless winds, shall yet light up the whole horizon, and dye the very heavens with its crimson.(J. But just as in the unfolding buds of the lilac and horse chestnut tree, the covering leaves of winter, pass through intermediate changes — in the one into the blades of the leaf, and in the other into the leaf stalks — so the principles of the doctrine of Christ are to be carried on in the growth, and their substance is to be used up and modified, as it were, in the expansion of the soul. Oh, surely it is then time to forget what is past, and to bend forward to reach forth to that which is before.(J. That whatever shape self-satisfaction may assume it is a shirking of the hardships of Christian soldierhood. The affections, the adhesive powers of the soul, speak the same language. We are apt to say, "At such and such a time I was converted and growing in Christian attainments. In the trees of warm climates the buds have no winter leaves or protective scales, being simply formed of the ordinary leaves rolled up; consequently they expand in growth without losing anything. To win Christ was not to gain His favour simply, but to be conformed to His image.(E. His vision of Christ in the infinite attractiveness of His character, and in the glory and blessedness of His presence and reign in heaven, made him long to be like Him, and to have, not only a place in His kingdom, but a place hard by the throne of the Lamb. FROM THESE THOUGHTS WE MAY DRAW FRESH CONVICTIONS FOR THE REALIZATIONS OF THE SPIRITUAL CAPABILITIES OF OUR NATURE.1. Remembering always tends to become a substitute for doing. But the world moved on to "forget the things behind," etc. Difficulties and dangers: David thought he would one day fall by the hand of Saul.3. Supreme love to Christ and consecration to His service.2. Paul did not perplex himself with questions as to the meaning of life, or use of it. As long as you are in the world forget what you have done, and go forward — individuals, churches, denominations.III. The summer leaves that are cherished must drop off as well as the winter leaves that cherished them. — every muscle strained and every vein starting — the quick and short heaving of his chest — the big drops gathered on his brow — his body bending forward, as if with frantic gesture he already clutched the goal — his eye, now glancing aside with a momentary sparkle at objects so rapidly disappearing behind him, and then fixing itself on the garland in eager anticipation. "(Paxton Hood. (2) These attainments, like failures, do very often become the measure of our notion as to what we shall be able to do in the future, and so cripple us.2. The memory of things behind —I. We cannot forget our early griefs and bereavements. Absolute assurance of forgiveness.3. Melvil, B. D.)The varied means of obtaining perfectionF. Nor herein was Paul's experience anomalous. (Paxton Hood. Demosthenes was the prince of all earth's orators, not because God gave him a splendid voice, and exquisite grace of motion, but because eloquence was his one idea. Again and again it would seem as if the men of Babylon, of Memphis, of Athens, and Rome must have said to themselves, "No more beyond." (Professor Hollard. THERE ARE THINGS BEFORE EVERY CHRISTIAN towards which he is proceeding. Life cannot break itself from the past. The Israelites fondly recollected the fleshpots of Egypt, and there are Christians who dispute with themselves whether in the sensitive jealousy of their first love they did not make too many sacrifices for their Master. And if you stand there looking backwards instead of making the best of your way out of evil, the evil will catch you up. D.)An indomitable purposeLord Macaulay.On one bright summer day the boy, then just seven years old, lay on the bank of the rivulet which flows through the old domain of his house to join the Isis. The memory of things behind —I. Before the Church, therefore, is — 1 The real, conscious, manifested unity of all its members. 7). The apostle's principle is the very one which makes the civilized man distinct from the barbarian. Paul speaks of the past as hurtful, a hindrance. D.1. H. Shallow streams brawl and bubble, but deep waters flow on in silence.2. Maclaren, D. D.No bounds can be set to that progress of growth. Former sins.3. There are dark days and bright faces that will never die away.2. (Lord Macaulay. (4) This grand future should draw our thoughts all the more to itself, because it is not only grand, but certain. )Singleness of aimConfucius' son once said to him, "I apply myself with diligence to every kind of study, and neglect nothing that could render me clever and ingenious; but still I do not advance." She looked back, and as she stood there gazing behind her, precious time was irrevocably lost, the fugitives swept on in front, and the swift-flying death that struck her with terror, as she saw it pressing close behind, caught her up. W. Robertson, M. A.The life of man is a vagrant, changeful, desultoriness; like that of children sporting on an enameled meadow, chasing now a painted butterfly, which loses its charm by being caught — now a wreath of mist, which falls damp upon the hand with disappointment — now a feather of thistledown, which is crushed in the grasp. Because he felt God had called him to it.3. He talks about everything, aims to excel in many things; but I have learned that if I ever make a breach, I must play my guns continually on one point. —I. Wadsworth. Falls and failures: no use trying any more.2. There is childhood, youth, manhood in Christian life. E. Jenkins, LL. And what is concentration? "First the blade," etc. D.)A life's purposeW. If you would live a braced life everywhere you would find fixedness of thought in your devotions.(J. (Paxton Hood. It is too often the case as life goes on to get contented with our characters such as they are.III. Vaughan, M. A.The secret of all moral force, of all spiritual success, of all reality, is concentration. The world's building was prospective. Past enjoyments.6. Oh, surely it is then time to forget what is past, and to bend forward to reach forth to that which is before.(J. How she throws aside the seaweed and the waves — how straight amidst the currents she holds her bow — how she strains upon her way, and goes resolutely to her point! D. Hoge, D. D.)Christian progress impelled by a single purposeJ. Maclaren, D. D.There may have been floating in the apostle's mind, combined with the image of the racer, some remembrance of the old story in the Book of Genesis about Lot's wife. So far as relates to our worldly condition, our constant endeavour for betterment as the necessity of an undecaying life. The memory of things behind —I. Habits are like fences, very good to guard the soul from sudden incursions of trespassers, but very bad when the trunk has grown up and presses against their stubborn rings. The bird must forget its nest, the seed its husk, the flower its bud. Phil. The labourer leaves his work undone when the spade is not in his hand, and he sits beneath the hedge to rest. But we must not suppose that the dropping was without effort or pain. The branch of a tree puts forth bud after bud in its gradual growth anal enlargement. THE PURPOSE OF PAUL: What is involved in it?1. D. Hoge, D. D.)The sense in which the past cannot be forgottenM. (1) Since the day when man first lighted a fire to boil his pot, and hollowed out his first canoe, up to the day when the latest development of these contrivances appears in the steamship which can sail three thousand miles a week, the world has never rested in its advance. Divided affection, and allegiance, half-hearted strivings, will end in disappointment and disaster. Their tone is self-depreciation, not self-content. God for His own sake, Goodness because it is good, Truth because it is lovely — are the Christian's aim. Jesus was a mine just opened; and he describes his prospects like a man almost bewildered by the sudden inheritance of wealth untold.2. Hubbard. E. Jenkins, LL. 2. But the world moved on to "forget the things behind," etc. (Archdeacon Farrar. It is vain to tell the believer to forget the things that are behind, to discard the preparatory means by which he advances in piety by a mere temporary effort of will. (3) What God works in the great whole, we are to work in our part. She looked back, and as she stood there gazing behind her, precious time was irrevocably lost, the fugitives swept on in front, and the swift-flying death that struck her with terror, as she saw it pressing close behind, caught her up. So it does. E. Jenkins, LL. The one are not without remedy, the other not perfect. Napoleon was the most efficient man of his own time, not because gifted above his fellows, either physically or intellectually, but because universal empire was his single aim — he lived only to conquer! is it in the advance of agriculture or manufactures? Yet what does the "all" amount to.3. Every day is full of a most impressive experience. The exhibition of new phases of character is before him. The easiest way to give resurrection to old corruptions is to erect a trophy over their graves. II. 2. He speaks as a runner; perfect as regards equipment, consecration, aim; but not perfected as having attained the goal; he looks not behind him but hurries on. FROM THESE THOUGHTS WE MAY DRAW FRESH CONVICTIONS FOR THE REALIZATIONS OF THE SPIRITUAL CAPABILITIES OF OUR NATURE.1. So say the theologians today; but the world and the Church move on. Now, why all this? And so the beautiful blossoms of grace must be left behind. Maclaren, D. D.No bounds can be set to that progress of growth. Hubbard.We are as children taught as in a play; instructed by toys and pictures. Mark the confidence of his personal feelings when he finds occasion to impart them — "I know whom I have believed." )One point bestSir T. F. Buxton.I asked Sir James Scarlett what was the secret of his preeminent success as an advocate. Rich young ruler.1. The future is before you; the present is still yours.II. Oh, there is something more and higher than all this and these. Taking a comprehensive view of the universe, we find that everything has a special object to perform, and when that object is accomplished, the agency perishes. On every branch a series of these scars, in the shape of rings closely set together, may be seen, indicating the points where each growing shoot entered on the stage of rest. The everlasting kingdom.II. And evermore afterwards he journeyed towards that city. A conversation with an unbeliever, the perusal of a book, the pressure of a besetting sin, disturbs their assurance, and they go over the old ground. But we must not suppose that the dropping was without effort or pain. While certain things are before every Christian and every Church, PARTICULAR THINGS ARE BEFORE PARTICULAR CHRISTIANS AND CHURCHES. Melvil, B. D.)The varied means of obtaining perfectionF. Vaughan, M. While we derive inspirations of confidence from contemplating the grand law of the world's increasing progress, must we not see a stern rebuke upon every life not in harmony with this law?2. The type for us is the express image of God in Christ. Conversion, justification, and peace are the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. )Progress inevitable to the ChristianJ. "(Sir T. F. Inactivity renders useless the summer leaves; and growth supersedes the winter leaves.I. It is essential to do everything in order, and only grasp that which is within the reach of your arm; for otherwise you give yourself useless trouble. Moreover he saw the crown.(C. And if you stand there looking backwards instead of making the best of your way out of evil, the evil will catch you up. Not once merely at conversion, but often in his converted state, had he to form and to drop the winter leaves in the process of spiritual growth. The mark is reached by the runner's effort, the prize is the reward given for victory. What achievements has the world made and forgotten in achieving better. W. Robertson, M. A.Perfection is being, not doing — it is not to effect an act but to achieve a character. (Lord Macaulay. Smiles, LL. Maclaren, D. D.There may have been floating in the apostle's mind, combined with the image of the racer, some remembrance of the old story in the Book of Genesis about Lot's wife. It must mean something. Maclaren, D. D.)Christian perfectionH. A man cannot run with his eyes over his shoulder; he is sure to knock against somebody, and so be delayed and hindered. "Omit some of your pursuits," replied Confucius, "and you will get on better. And when the great crisis of his life came — the spring time of his conversion, a light exceeding the brightness of the noonday sun shone upon him; and in this warm genial atmosphere of grace, the germ of spiritual life unfolded itself within, and burst its wrappings. And so the beautiful blossoms of grace must be left behind. Budgett.The famous De Witt, one of the greatest statesmen of his age, being asked how he was able to dispatch the multitude of affairs in which he was engaged, replied that his" whole art consisted in doing one thing at a time.(S. MAY LEAD TO DISCOURAGEMENT.1. Remembered griefs are prophetic of coming joys. )Pressing forwardA. We live on food, the blood circulates through the frame; and all these motions return on themselves; but there is another motion in man, there is an onward movement — he is a being of religious instincts; and to foster and fan their flames is the end of all religious services and exercises. There is no growth before a hypocrite any more than there is in an artificial flower. A. A hundred processes may go to the manufacture of a pin. "If any man love father or mother more than Me," etc. Divided affection, and allegiance, half-hearted strivings, will end in disappointment and disaster. We have seen what Paul left behind: LET US NOW COME UP TO THE FRONT AND LOOK INTO THE DISTANCE FOR THE THINGS TOWARDS WHICH PAUL IS RUNNING, AND REACHING AS HE RUNS. His idea was an ark! There is childhood, youth, manhood in Christian life. As the season advances, the sap gradually ceases to flow to the summer leaves, which therefore ultimately fade and fall from the tree; and the last movements of it, at the end of autumn, are directed towards the buds, in order to prepare them for taking at the proper time the place of the generation of leaves that has just perished. Wrong places picking up in Philippians 3 ( page 981 ). ( S,. 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