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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody


Acts xxvi.19.

The great transformation in St. Paul from a persecutor to an apostle of Christianity was a sudden revelation. He saw a heavenly vision and was not disobedient unto it. But this is not the common way of life. It does not often happen that character is transformed and the great decision irrevocably made in an instant. It is not as a rule true that: --

|Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide, In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side.|

Most lives proceed more evenly, without any such catastrophic change. And yet, it is none the less true that in a very large proportion of lives there come, now and then, in the midst of routine and uniformity, certain flashes of clearer vision, disclosing the aims and ideals of life, as though one should be traveling in a fog along a hillside, and now and then the breeze should sweep the mist away, and the road and its end be clear. {28} Now, loyalty to such a vision is the chief source of strength and satisfaction in a man's life. Sometimes a young man comes to an old one for counsel about his calling in life, and the young man sums up his gifts and capacities and defects. He will be a lawyer because he has a turn for disputation, or an engineer because he is good at figures, or a minister because he likes the higher literature. All such considerations have, of course, their place. But by no such intellectual analysis is the fundamental question met. Many men fail in their lives in spite of great gifts, and many men succeed in spite of great defects. The fundamental question is: |Has this young man had a vision of what he wants to do? Has a great desire disclosed itself to his heart? Has the breeze of God blown away the mists of his confusion and shown him his ideal, very far away perhaps, yet unmistakable and clear?| Then, with all reasonable allowance for gifts and faults, the straighter he heads toward that ideal the happier and the more effective he is likely to be. When he thus follows his heart, he is working along the line of least resistance; and when his little work is done, however meagre {29} and unimportant it may be, he can at least give it back to God, who gave it to him to do, and say: |I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.|

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