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XX

THE BLESSING AND DISCIPLINE OF RETIREMENT

“Come ye yourselves apart and rest for a while.”—Mark vi. 31.

AND thus the Saviour Himself took time to rest. He had only three years of public ministry, and yet He made time for rest. He regarded the rest as a vital element in His service. He sought “the calm of hills above” in order that He might be more fitted for the comings and goings in the busy vale below. He went aside into the green pastures so as to be braced for the next stage along the busy road. The retirement was a cordial and a restorative for body, mind, and soul. And if the Saviour of the world found time for the correctives of rest, surely His disciples must follow Him into the same refreshing fields.

John Ruskin has told us that whenever he visited some great gallery of art, he found, after a time, that the continual procession 80of changing colours irritated and confused his eyes, and he lost the accuracy and sanity of his artistic discernments. So he carried in his pocket a tablet of neutral hue, the restful colour of the meadows, and he would turn his bewildered vision upon it until the quietness of his perception was restored. In a certain very real way he went apart, and in the retirement he found a new competency for his work. And surely in our own day, when the rush of life is so fierce, when everything is so intense, when our besetting interests are so manifold, and often so glaring and bewildering, it is imperative that we get apart and correct our moral and spiritual vision. The strain impairs our powers and they need the rest of the neutral tints. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He restoreth my soul.”

“Drop Thy still dews of quietness

Till all our strivings cease.

Take from our souls the strain and stress,

And let our ordered lives confess

The beauty of Thy peace.”

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