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the little things

Does a holy life consist of one or two noble deeds, 
some remarkable specimens of doing or enduring or suffering?

A holy life is made up of a multitude of small things.  

It's the little things of the hour, 
and not the great things of the age, 
that fill up a holy life. 

Little words, not eloquent speeches or sermons, 
little deeds, not miracles, nor battles, 
nor one great heroic act or mighty martyrdom, 
make up the true Christian life.  

The constant sunbeam, not the lightning --  
the gentle waters which bring refreshment, 
not the noisy torrent of a flood -- 
are true symbols of a holy life (Isa 8:6, 8). 

It is the avoidance of little evils...  

-- little sins, little inconsistencies, 
-- little indiscretions and foibles, 
-- little indulgences of self and of the flesh, 
-- little acts of indolence or indecision or cowardice, 
-- little departures from high integrity, 
-- little bits of covetousness and worldliness, 
-- little indifferences to the feelings or wishes of others, 
-- little outbreaks of temper or selfishness.

The avoidance of such little things as these goes far 
to make up at least the negative beauty of a holy life. 


Adapted from God's Way of Holiness, by Horatius Bonar (1808--1889) 
Taken from chapter 8: "The True Creed & the True Life"


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