THEORY AND PRACTICE, EXAMPLE AND EMULATION

Some time since, the idea of the divine sonship, as exemplified in the transfiguration, together with the sweet possibility of its attainment as portrayed in the vision of the Apocalypse, featured prominently in one of our Lesson-Sermons. It recalled the fact that instructors in mathematics frequently demonstrate difficult propositions for the benefit of their pupils, and sometimes ruthlessly erase the results of laborious effort, thus leaving each student to work out the problem for himself. A skilled musician will, in like manner, himself demonstrate classical selections, but will do so for the sole purpose of illustrating to the student the possibility of achievement. An artist may with a few strokes of his brush transform a commonplace drawing into a thing of beauty, while his pupils look on in wonder and admiration; some enthused and inspired, others merely awed and bewildered. As the next step the master may, with a single stroke, mar the picture and require its reproduction at the hand of each aspiring young painter. When this demand comes for individual effort in any case, that one who has felt the inspiration for achievement aroused in his breast, will struggle to emulate the teacher and approximate in a degree the desired end; while to the one who is a bewildered admirer only, there will be little of inspiration in the experience, and poor work will result. We find it so in all walks of life. It is not theory, nor example, nor aspiration alone that brings results; but these three taken together and coupled with honest effort, with practice and emulation, will always win the day.

On one occasion, the great Teacher chose three of his most advanced students and took them apart for a special and marked demonstration of the great Principle of being, an idea of sonship which he was striving to make plain to his disciples. Turning from earth to heaven, fixing his gaze upon the perfect ideal and clinging steadfastly to the truth of being, our Lord was able to produce in the presence of his disciples, and in a few brief moments, the reflection of the divine idea, immaculate man. The disciples, however, wondering and admiring indeed, awed but not inspired, failed to grasp the deep import and significance of the occasion and felt merely, "It is good for us to be here." Peter said to the Master, "Let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee [the Messiah], and one for Moses [the law], and one for Elias [the prophecy]." In other words, Let us enjoy here, forever, the sweet consciousness of the perfect example, of the letter, and of the glad promise of fruition.

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THE CHRISTIAN'S BANK
September 12, 1908
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