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V

THE PEACE OF THE LARGER LIFE

“Ye shall find rest unto your souls.”—Matt. xi. 29.

CHRIST’S call is always a call to a larger life. It may not be a call to a larger field, but it is always a call to a larger life, which is independent of the size of its sphere. He calls us from small interests to universal interests. He calls us from imprisoning narrowness to the freedom of a saving magnanimity. In the realm of the Spirit all enlargement means the enrichment of our securities. In rising into the rarer air of Alpine heights we leave behind the germs and microbes which desolate the plains below. The sanatorium is always in the mountains. And in accepting the call of Christ to the larger life we are lifted above the enemies which infest the smaller life. The very bigness of our new communion makes us insensible to their threats and allurements, and we discover 26that many of the struggles and irritations of our previous life are ended. The drop of vinegar which adds a tang of bitterness to a cup of water is entirely lost when it is dropped in a lake. We escape a horde of small miseries by just becoming bigger men.

I very much like the illumining word that was written of Lady Ripon when she passed away a year ago. It was written by one of her intimate friends: “The war seemed to bring peace to her spirit, as to so many; a great call that stilled the troubling of the world.” When the war came her life was captured in a marvellously large absorption, and all meaner distractions lost their power. All the faculties of her spirit were engaged in a larger orbit, and she had no energy of attention to spare for the things which had hitherto drunk her blood.

And this is how God purposes to save us continually. We escape from the wretched discontent which fills our spirits when we are under the juniper tree by going forth to “stand upon the mount before the Lord.” We are delivered from the petty tyranny of our complainings when we go out to give 27liberty to the captives and to open the prison to them that are bound. We find God’s peace when we respond to His great call, and accept His commission, and shed our blood in the service of His children. “Ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

And therefore it is very true that there are many fretful and much troubled people whose burden would be immediately lightened if they would take an additional load by sharing the burdens of others. That is the miracle which has been accomplished in countless numbers during the past four years. The war has opened many prison doors. It has broken down the walls of a coddling selfishness in many a life, and it has led the astonished spirit into treasures of undreamed-of freedom. It is not that the old irritabilities have been vanquished. They have simply been left behind. They have dropped away like old leaves which fall from the trees as the driving force of a new sap rises in their hearts in the early days of the spring. “Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” They have taken their places on God’s great highway, and they have begun to live.

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