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This ordinary life still lives in this great nation, not only in name but in reality.
The Divine Man was on His way to raise a ruler's daughter from the dead. A poor woman touched the hem of His garment, and was healed. His mission at that time was to save another and seemingly a more important person. This work, almost unconsciously done on His way, reveals the Christ best.
What we propose to do gives expression to our will and ambition. What we do unconsciously and on the way to the great act reveals our character. This tells the story of the virtue in us. Most of the best and purest work of life is done unconsciously and without plan or intent.
More than one hundred years ago, a young Moravian hastened with the message of the Gospel for the poor, stricken and enslaved people of Jamaica. What horror he was about to face he knew not himself. No one had ever been able to depict it, as blood-stained as it was. Our age cannot realize the existence of slavery like that. It was economy even to kill slaves when weakened by hardship and toil and purchase new ones, because they were so cheap. The markets and pens were like the places
of selling cattle without a mark of humanity upon them. The owner's lash was crimson with fresh life. The wrongs suffered by those negroes were so great that they would not listen to this young white man. They would not and could not believe him. He then had himself sold as a slave, and worked with them under the cruel whip. This was the conqueror. They now crowded about him, and listened to his story of freedom in Christ. They believed it, and lived it. It was to the least of them, but it was done unto Christ; yes, done by the very spirit of Christ. This heroic soul died in young life and as a slave, but years afterward the pathetic story reached the ears and heart of Wilberforce, and influenced him to surrender his life to the liberation of the slave. His magnificent work and courage against the awful traffic in flesh and blood was largely the result of the influence of the apparently buried life of an unknown Moravian boy.
Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation with a pen dipped in the blood of that boy. That is the mightiest force in the world. Who can measure it? In the upper world, Lincoln and Wilberforce may stand one on either side of the unknown
Moravian. Even that may be a misrepresentation. He may stand nearer the Christ.
The great teachers and educators have invariably been men of great personality. They are known not so much for their intellectual greatness as for the mighty impress of their character upon the lives of others.
Arnold of Ruby lived in thousands of boys and men, and some of the world's greatest and best, by virtue of the influence he exerted upon them in the classroom.
Some years after the eminent John Stuart Blackie became professor of Greek in the University of Edinburgh, at the opening of a college term, the students noticed that, under the pressure of cares and labors, their hot-tempered professor had become unusually sensitive and exacting. Students desiring admission were arranged in line before his desk for examination. "Show your papers," said the professor. As they obeyed, one lad awkwardly held up his papers in his left hand. "Hold them up properly, sir, in your right hand,” said the professor. The embarrassed pupil stammered out something indistinctly, but still kept his left hand raised. "The right hand, ye loon!" shouted the
professor. "Sir, I hae nae right hand," said the agitated lad, holding up his right arm, which ended at the wrist. A storm of indignant hisses burst from the boys, but the great man leaped down from the platform, flung his arm over the boy's shoulder, and drew him to his breast, and, breaking into the broad Scotch of his childhood, in a voice soft with emotion, yet audible in the hush that had fallen on the class, said: "Eh, laddie, forgive me that I was over-rough; I dinna mean to hurt you, lad. I dinna ken!"
And, turning with tearful eyes to the class, he said, "I thank God He has given me gentlemen. to teach, who can ca' me to account when I go astray." That honest word captured the boys forever, and their cheers were as hearty as their hisses had been indignant.
His fame and his power began from that day. His was the education of a righteous influence.
These men lived even more after they were dead than they did before. The greatest men of earth were not half alive while they were living. Sometimes they seemed useless while they moved about in the flesh, but a glance at the life they lived since reveals their true greatness.
Others tried to kill the best when they were upon earth and doing their duty, Elijah, and Jeremiah, and Isaiah, and all their royal following. They dragged Garrison through the streets. They murdered Lovejoy and cursed Philips, but afterward in the great tide of their increasing influence they erect monuments to their memory and point to them with pride. The very things which most concerned men in the past are all forgotten in the present,-position, power, money, food, and clothing,— but the seemingly most valueless and unreal things -principle, character, vision, etc., are everlastingly remembered and treasured. The ship is kept afloat and reaches port by what is above the surface and points toward heaven. It is the power of life in the future which increases its sanctity and creates its value.
Elihu Burritt, the learned blacksmith, used to thrill his audiences with his graphic description of a young man who, at perilous risk of his life, clung with his toes and one hand to a high point in the rocky wall of the Natural Bridge in Virginia, while with the other hand he gouged with his pocketknife a still higher notch for his foot, that he might be able to raise himself and mark his name above