Addresses by the right reverend Phillips Brooks eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 117 pages of information about Addresses by the right reverend Phillips Brooks.

It is one of the signs to me of how human words are constantly becoming perverted that it surprises us when we think of freedom as a condition in which a man is called upon to do, and is enabled to do, the duty that God has laid upon him.  Duty has become to us such a hard word, service has become to us a word so full of the spirit of bondage, that it surprises us at the first moment when we are called upon to realize that it is in itself a word of freedom.  And yet we constantly are lowering the whole thought of our being, we are bringing down the greatness and richness of that with which we have to deal, until we recognize that God does not call us to our fullest life simply for ourselves.  The spirit of selfishness is continually creeping in.  I think it may almost be said that there has been no selfishness in the history of man like that which has exhibited itself in man’s religious life, showing itself in the way in which man has seized upon spiritual privileges and rejoiced in the good things that are to come to him in the hereafter, because he had made himself the servant of God.  The whole subject of selfishness, and the way in which it loses itself and finds itself again, is a very interesting one, and I wish that we had time to dwell upon it.  It comes into a sort of general law which we are recognizing everywhere—­the way in which a man very often, in his pursuit of the higher form of a condition in which he has been living, seems to lose that condition for a little while and only to reach it a little farther on.  He seems to be abandoned by that power only that he may meet it by and by and enter more deeply into its heart and come more completely into its service.  So it is, I think, with the self-devotion, consecration, and self-forgetfulness in which men realize their life.  Very often in the lower stages of man’s life he forgets himself, with a slightly emphasized individual existence, not thinking very much of the purpose of his life, till he easily forgets himself among the things that are around him and forgets himself simply because there is so little of himself for him to forget; but do not you know perfectly well how very often when a man’s life becomes intensified and earnest, when he becomes completely possessed with some great passion and desire, it seems for the time to intensify his selfishness?  It does intensify his selfishness.  He is thinking so much in regard to himself that the thought of other persons and their interests is shut out of his life.  And so very often when a man has set before him the great passion of the divine life, when he is called by God to live the life of God, and to enter into the rewards of God, very often there seems to close around his life a certain bondage of selfishness, and he who gave himself freely to his fellow-men before now seems, by the very intensity, eagerness, and earnestness with which his mind is set upon the prize of the new life which is presented to him—­it seems as if everything

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Addresses by the right reverend Phillips Brooks from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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