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More wisdom from Dr Morrison

July 4, 2009

On this Fourth of July holiday, here is what Dr Morrison says in a sermon entitled “The Religious Use of Holidays” (and remember, he means “vacations” in American English.)

“The sense of wholeness which is the boon of holidays is not generally won by conscious effort. It is far oftener won by practising the quiet grace of kindly receptivity. There is a sentence in one of Benjamin Jowett’s letters to Miss Elliott, which many people might do well to lay to heart. ‘I hope that you and your sister enjoy Rome,’ he says, ‘and don’t try to improve yourselves more than is absolutely necessary.’ There is a whole philosophy of holidays in that – a philosophy that is greatly needed now, when men are so apt to import into vacation the strenuousness of their working-days.

“It was a shrewd if somewhat dangerous remark of Tillier, Le temps le mieux employe est celui qu’on perd – the best employed time is that which one loses. What he meant to teach was how many of the best things come to us without our seeking. That is true in every sphere of life, and every earnest worker knows its truth, but of holidays it is pre-eminently true. It is a great thing to improve ourselves; it is also a great thing to let God improve us. It is a noble virtue to be active; it is no less shining a virtue to be passive. Effort is noble, and it is divine, but he has made a tragical mistake who thinks that the universe will yield its best to the life which is nothing else than effort. ‘They that wait upon the Lord renew their strength.’ We need passivity for strength as well as action. We need a heart that is open and responsive to the inflow of a thousand mystic influences.

“And so our holidays would do far more for us, if sometimes we did in them a little less, and simply ‘opened the windows towards Jerusalem,’ which in the city and in winter days were closed.”

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