In speaking of Jesus, Luke says, "The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him;" and John tells us, "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ;" while the psalmist in referring to the Christ writes: "Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever." From this it may readily be seen that the divine quality of grace is indispensable to the expression of man as the image and likeness of God.

Grace is a term of large and varied meaning. Shakespeare defines it as embracing: "Justice, verity, temperance, stableness, bounty, perseverance, mercy, loveliness, devotion, patience, courage, fortitude." What could present a longer list of virtues? And surely each one of most desirable nature. In spite of this, mortals are not quick to prize or cultivate this heavenly quality. Indeed, on the contrary, many seem to disregard it, especially in its relation to the finer amenities of living. We sometimes even find mankind so blind to its beauty that they pride themselves on their carelessness to all the greater tendernesses and refinements of true loving-kindness, to the extent of believing that roughness and sometimes coarseness itself are greater proofs of honesty than are thoughtfulness for others and the gentleness of demeanor which result therefrom and always tend to greater loveliness of character.

Perhaps no single divine quality is capable of unfolding with richer blessing in the teaching of all that is exquisite and beautiful as well as strong and holy. The Bible is always talking of the graciousness of God, and one cannot contemplate this without instantly being consciousness of a larger sense of spiritual love, of the beauty of holiness, of the perfection of being. With one's thought opened to grace, everything takes on a new meaning. Each thought, word, and deed becomes invested with a fresher and larger significance. Whatever it is one's duty to do,—if the act is accompanied with grace,—can be accomplished in such a manner as to enrich not only the act, but the actor and all who are in any way associated therewith.

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Among the Churches
November 29, 1919

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