Sunday, January 18, 2009

Contentment (Talmage)

(taken from The Pathway of Life by T. Dewitt Talmage)

Sweet Content.
IF, in midsummer, I should ask some one, where are the
people of New York, Brooklyn, Boston or Philadelphia, the
answer would be: At Brighton Beach, East Hampton-,
Shelter Island, Long Branch, Cape May, Sulphur Springs
or Europe. But while many are at the pleasure resorts the
larger number are at home, detained by business or circumstances.
But the genuine American is not happy unless he is
going somewhere, and the passion is so great that there are
Christian people with their families detained in the city who come
not to the house of God, trying to give people the idea that they
are out of town; leaving the door-plate unscoured for the same
reason, and for two months keeping the front shutters closed while
they sit in the back part of the house, the thermometer at ninety!
My friends, if it is best for us to go, let us go and be happy. If
it is best for us to stay at home, let us stay at home and be happy.
There is a great deal of good common sense in Paul's advice to
the Hebrews: "Be content with such things as ye have." To be
content is to be in good humor with our circumstances, not picking
a quarrel with our obscurity, or our poverty, or our social position.
There are four or five grand reasons why we should be content
with such things as we have.
We make a great ado about our hardships, but how little we talk of our
blessings. Health of body, which is given in largest quantity to those who
have never been petted, and fondled, and spoiled by fortune, we take as a
matter of course. Rather have this luxury and have it alone, than, without it,
look out of a palace window upon parks of deer stalking between fountains
and statuary. These people sleep sounder on a straw mattress than fashionable
invalids on a couch of ivory and eagle's down. The dinner of herbs tastes
better to the appetite sharpened on a woodman's axe or a reaper's scythe than
wealthy indigestion experiences seated at a table covered with partridge, and
venison, and pineapple.
The grandest luxury God ever gave a man is health. He who trades
that off for all the palaces of the earth is infinitely cheated. We look back at
the glory of the last Napoleon, but who would have taken his Versailles and
his Tuileries if with them we had been obliged to take his gout? "Oh," says
some one, "it isn't the grosser pleasures I covet, but it is the gratification
of an artistic and intellectual taste." Why, my brother, you have the original
from which these pictures are copied.

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