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THE WAY THE SAIL IS SET
I stood beside the open sea;
The ships went sailing by;
The wind blew softly o'er the lea;
The sun had cloudless sky.
Some ships sailed eastward, some sailed west,
Some north, some southward trend.
How can ships sail this way and that?
But one way blows the wind.
An old sea-captain made reply
(His locks with salt-spray wet):
"'Tis not the wind decides the course;
'Tis way the sails are set."
* * * * *
I stand beside the sea of life;
The ships go sailing by;
The winds blow fair from heaven's land;
No clouds bedim the sky.
But one sails eastward, one sails west,
One north, one southward goes:
How can ships sail this way and that
With selfsame wind that blows?
A voice made answer to my soul:
"'Tis not how blows the gale;
Each voyager decides the goal
By way he sets the sail."—Selected.
How to Live a Holy Life
THE MODEL LIFE.
In doing anything, it is always well to have a model by which to fashion our work. In fact, nothing is done without a pattern, either real or imaginary. The little boy making a toy has in in his mind a model by which he is framing his work. Likewise, the sculptor has in his mind a model, and as the "marble wastes, the image grows" into the likeness of the vision in his soul.
To live this one life of ours as it should be lived, we must have a perfect model after which to pattern. Thank God, this perfect model of life can be found. Of all the vast number of lives that have been lived since Adam down to this present day, there has been only one that we can take as a model. This one is the life of Jesus. He says, "I am the life." To live this life of ours well, to live it to the highest degree of perfection, we must fashion it according to the glorious life of Christ. The life of Jesus is the model life for every other human life. He invites us, yea, commands us, to follow him, to step in his steps, to walk as he walked.
There have been many good men in the world, but none of them afford us a true pattern of life. There was a man who said, "Be ye followers of me," but he immediately added, "even as I also am of Christ." Man may so live as to reveal to us the life of Christ. We can then follow, not them, but the Christ-life they manifested through them.
Let me here say a word on a subject on which we may have more to say hereafter. The grandest, noblest work man has ever done is by his life to reveal the life of Christ to another, thereby helping that person to be fashioned more after the image of Jesus. A little flower grew in a place so shaded that no ray from the sun could fall directly upon it. A window was so situated that at a certain time in the afternoon it refracted the sun's rays and threw them upon the flower, thus giving it color and beauty, and aiding it to bloom. Some people are living in the dense shade. No light from Christ has ever shined upon them. If you so live as to refract the life of Christ and turn it upon them and thus stamp upon them a holier life, you have not lived in vain. To set the life of Christ in its purity and beauty before some one and influence him, though only a little, to live better and love Jesus more, is a work the worth of which can never be computed. He who helps another to a better way of living does more than he who gains great worldly honor and riches. Blessed indeed is that life which causes some other life to be more like Christ. Oh, may this thought seize upon our hearts and fill us with a greater passion to live the life of God.
We are told by the voice of Scripture to be "followers of God as dear children." When children are dear to the heart of the parent, he loves to have them obey him. God's children are dear to him, and he would have them follow him. To follow God is to imitate him, or be like him. This is the true way of life.
A text of Scripture as rendered by the Revised Version is very appropriate here: "Like as he which has called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living." 1 Pet. 1:15. Only those who live godly in their entire manner of life are spending the days of their pilgrimage as they should. Jesus has walked the true way of life; we are told to walk in his steps. If we will step each day just where Jesus stepped, then on looking back, we can not see a footprint of our own; but if we take a single misstep, our footprint will show our departure from the true way of life. How deep and awful are the words of Scripture wherein we are commanded to walk even as "Jesus walked"! Jesus says, "I am the way." There is no other right and perfect way. If we will walk as Jesus walked, then we shall walk in the true path of life. This only is the pathway that leads up to the golden gates of glory and the sweet fields of heaven. That bright world of bliss encourages us on. If we will follow Jesus and live as he lived, God's approval will be upon us, and his outstretched hand will help us along life's way and finally over the turbulent river of death to the sunlit shore of eternal rest.
Many times we may become wearied and think the toils of the way almost too heavy; but when we remember that it is the way that Jesus trod, then the heavens open to our view, we look forward to the mansion prepared for us, and the toils of the way grow lighter.
See that aged pilgrim journeying down the western slope of life. The sun is nearing the setting. Long and toilsome has been his pilgrimage, but he has walked in the path his Savior trod. For many years his life has been hid with Christ in God. In Him he has lived and moved and had his being. Now he is making his last step on the shore of time; he passes out of our sight through the gates into that land where toils are ended and the sun never sets. But his life was the life of Jesus. He was holy as God is holy; he walked as Jesus walked. This is how to live. This is the true way of life and the only way to life eternal. He who does not live with Christ on earth can not live with him in heaven, and he who does not live as Jesus lived does not live as he should. The life of Christ was the perfect life. Ours is perfect to the degree that we imitate him.
Take my life, O Christ divine,
Make it holy, just like thine;
Every act and thought and word
Be an outflow from my God.
Guide my feet and keep my heart;
Let me not from thee depart;
Let me breathe thy warming love,
That my soul be drawn above.
Draw me, Jesus, closer draw;
Thy strong arm around me throw;
Draw me to thy pierced side;
In thy bosom let me hide.
Teach me all thy will and word,
That my life be filled with God;
Teach me, Lamb of Calvary,
How to live this life for thee.
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