Made up of a Multitude of Small Things

With many of us, the Christian life has not gone on to maturity. "Ye did run well; who did hinder you?" (Gal 5:7). It has been a work well begun, but left unfinished; a battle boldly entered on, but only half fought out; a book with but the preface written, no more. Is not thus Christ dishonoured? Is not His Gospel thus misrepresented, His Cross denied, His words slighted, His example set at naught?...Did a holy life consist of one or two noble deeds - some signal specimens of doing or enduring or suffering - we might account for the failure and reckon it a small dishonour to turn back in such a conflict. But a holy life is made up of a multitude of small things...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 avoidance of little evils, little sins, little inconsistencies, little weaknesses, little follies, little indiscretions and imprudences, little foibles, little indulgences of self and of the flesh, little acts of indolence or indecision or slovenliness or cowardice, little equivocations or aberrations from high integrity, little touches of shabbiness and meanness, little bits of covetousness and penuriousness, little exhibitions of worldliness and gaiety, little indifferences to the feelings or wishes of others, little outbreakes of temper, crossness, selfishness, vanity - the avoidance of such little things as these goes far to make up at least the negative beauty of a holy life.

And then attention to the little duties of the day and hour, in public transactions or private dealings or family arrangements; to little words, looks, and tones; little benevolences, forbearances, or tendernesses; little self-denials, self-restraints, and self-forgetfulness, little plans of quiet kindness and thoughtful considerations for others; to punctuality, method, and true aim in the ordering of each day - these are the active developments of a holy life, the rich and divine mosaics of which it is composed...It is of small things that a great life is made up; and he who will acknowledge no life as great save that which is built up of great things, will find little in Bible characters to admire or copy.
~ Horatius Bonar

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