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XVII

THE DOMINANT PASSION

“And as Jesus passed by, He saw Levi . . . and said unto him, Follow Me.”—Mark ii. 14.

“And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up, and saw him, and said, Zaccheus, come down, for to-day I must abide at thy house.”—Luke xix. 5.

I THINK these two incidents reveal the influence of a dominant passion. What was the primary constraint in the life of Jesus? What was it that controlled His eyes? What was He looking for as He went along the road? He was looking for disciples who should incarnate His gospel and be citizens of His spiritual kingdom. His eyes were eager scouts for followers and evangelists. His passion determined His vision. No one but Jesus saw Levi, the son of Alpheus. No one but Jesus saw Zaccheus. Nobody wanted to see them. Nobody cared about 70them. They were seen, and yet not seen; they were mere ciphers, empty of all significance. But Jesus cared, and He cared with burning eagerness, and He made His quest as with searchlights which sought out every nook and corner, prying even among obscurities for treasures for His kingdom. Yes, His eyes were the servants of His passion, always and everywhere. “As Jesus passed by, He saw Levi, and said, Follow Me.”

It is very interesting and instructive to watch the influence of the dominant passion among meaner interests than these. I went into a room the other day which I have visited scores of times, but this time in the company of a friend who had never been before. He cast his eyes around the room, and he immediately made for a small table, and began to draw his hand over its surface as gently as though he were touching the breast of a dove. “Oh, how lovely!” he said, as he brought a small hand-glass out of his pocket to examine the grain. “What a lovely piece!” There was part of a magnificent library in the room, but he never saw it! He had a particular passion, and the passion controlled his sight.

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But let us return to the higher plane. I was once walking with Hugh Price Hughes along Piccadilly on the way to Holborn. He had hold of my arm, and I both heard and felt the man’s intensity. I do not remember what we were talking about, but when we reached Leicester Square, and were passing the Empire Music Hall, he suddenly stopped, and, pointing to the Empire, he said, “I must have that place for Christ. What a glorious centre for the Gospel!” It was the influence of the dominant passion. His eyes were scouring London for strategical points for the warfare of the Lord. He lived to win souls, and his life was consecrated to one campaign. He looked at everything with the eyes of a soldier of Christ, and as he passed along he was ceaselessly watching for opportunity of battle. Colonel Repington has recently told us that he once asked Kitchener how it occurred to him to bring the white divisions from India to France in the early days of the war, and he quietly answered, “It came to me in the night!” Kitchener was thinking armies, thinking, thinking all the time. He awoke in the night, and 72thought warfare. And so it was with Hugh Price Hughes. He thought Christ and Christ only. “Thou, O Christ, art all I want.”

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