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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody


John xvii.22.

This was the glory which Jesus Christ claimed for himself -- to take the glory of God and glorify with it the life of man. |The glory that thou hast given me I have given them.| It was not a glory of possession, but a glory of transmission. It was not his capacity to receive which glorified him, it was his capacity to give. In most of the great pictures of the glorified Christ there is a halo of light encircling and illuminating his face. That is the fictitious glory, the glory of possession. In a few such paintings the light streams from the Master's face to illuminate the other figures of the scene. That is the real glory, the glory of transmission.

And such is the only glory in life. A man looks at learning or power or refinement or wealth and says: |This is glory; this is success; this is the pride of life.| But there is really nothing glorious about possession. It may be most inglorious and mean, -- as {8} mean when the possession is brains or power as when it is bonds or wheat. Indeed, there is rarely much that is glorious or great about so slight or evanescent a thing as a human life. The glory of it lies in its being able to say, |The glory that thou hast given me I give to them.| The worth of life is in its transmissive capacity. In the wonderful system of the telephone with its miracle of intercommunication there is, as you know, at each instrument that little film of metal which we call the transmitter, into which the message is delivered, and whose vibrations are repeated scores of miles away. Each human life is a transmitter. Take it away from its transmissive purpose, and what a poor insignificant film a human life may be. But set it where it belongs, in the great system where it has its part, and that insignificant film is dignified with a new significance. It is as if it said to its God: |The message which Thou givest me I give to them,| and every word of God that is spoken into it is delivered through it to the lives that are wearily waiting for the message as though it were far away.

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