Parish Papers eBook

Norman Macleod
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about Parish Papers.

But while God has planted in every breast this passion for congenial society, and has supplied to so great an extent its want by the family institution into which we are born in our early years, and by the “troops of friends” who accompany us during our pilgrimage, and by the fellowship of the Christian Church, in proportion as that fellowship is not a mere name, but expresses the intention of Christ in gathering His people into a society,—­there are, nevertheless, innumerable drawbacks here to anything like its full gratification.  Take away the time consumed in the necessary and often absorbing labour of life, and during the unavoidable separations and partings from those we know and love, how little is left for the cultivation here of the truest friendships.  We are, moreover, severed as yet by death from all congenial minds among past generations, and from those who are yet to come.  Of the many now alive whose hearts would beat to ours, could we only meet and know them, how few can stand together on the small space allotted to us on the earth’s surface.  Then, again, of those whom we know best and love best on earth, and who know and love us best too, oh, what mutual ignorance must necessarily exist of innumerable thoughts and feelings lying deep clown in our inner man, half hidden, half revealed, even to ourselves, but altogether incommunicable and unutterable by word or sign to others!  We may at times be conscious that we stand with them on the same lofty summit, and gaze on the same prospect, but the atmosphere is too rare to permit of any heard communication between us.  And thus in no case can there be, not the meeting, but that blending of soul with soul by which one being, without losing his individuality, seems completed in the being of another.  Add to all this the granite walls that rise up between us during our wanderings in this desert—­the differences, not only from intellect, pursuits, rank, education, but also from character, and those sins and infirmities of which all more or less partake, such as pride, vanity, prejudice, envy,—­one and all making sad drawbacks from the fulness of joy which we are capable of deriving even now from intelligent and holy society.  We are made to realise this fact in reading the history of the holiest society that ever was on earth, that of Jesus Christ and His apostles.  Only three years together, often separated during this brief period by dark nights, stormy seas, long journeys, and the sin and ignorance OR their part which made Him exclaim, “Nevertheless I am not alone, for the Father is with me,” intimating that, without this Divine sympathy, He was indeed alone in His joys and in His sorrows amidst His brethren.  After His departure, how soon were the apostles scattered, and how seldom did they meet!  For years Paul was not acquainted with any of them, and possibly never met them all, while he was quite unknown by face to many of those Christian churches who read his letters, and revered

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Parish Papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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