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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

XIII THE INCIDENTAL

Luke xvii.5-15.

|As they went, they were healed.| The cure of these sick men was not only remarkable in itself, but still more remarkable because of the way in which it happened. They came to Jesus crying: |Master, have mercy on us,| and He sends them to the priest that they might show themselves to him and get his official guarantee that they were no longer lepers. So they must have expected that the cure, if it was to come at all, would happen either under the hands of Jesus before they started, or under the hands of the high priest after they arrived. But it did not come in either of these ways. As they went, they were cleansed. Not in the moment of Christ's benediction, nor yet in the moment of ecclesiastical recognition, but just between the two they were healed.

There is something like this very often in any man's deliverance from his temptations {36} or cares or fears. A man, for instance, sets himself to his intellectual task, but as he studies it is all dark about him, and his mind seems dull and heavy, and no light shines upon his work, and he goes away from it discouraged. But then, by some miracle of the mind's working, such as each one of us in his own way has experienced, his task gets solved for him, not as he works at it, but as he turns to other things. Suddenly and mysteriously, sometimes between the night's task and the morning's waking, his problem clears up before him, and as he goes, his mind is cleansed. So a man goes out into his life of duty-doing. He tries to do right, and he makes mistakes; he does his best, and he fails. But then his life goes on and other duties meet it, and out of his old mistakes comes new success, and out of the discipline of his conscience brought about by his failures comes the power of his conscience, and by degrees -- he hardly knows how -- his will grows strong. So perhaps it happens that a man some morning kneels down and says his prayer, and then rises and goes out into the world, the same man with the same cares and fears on his shoulder, as though {37} there had been no blessing from his prayer. He passes out into the day's life all unchanged. But then, as it sometimes happens through God's grace, as he goes, life seems soberer and plainer, and, by the very prayer he thought unanswered, he is healed. Not in the great hour of his petition, but as he trudges along the dusty road of life the cleansing comes to him, and the burden which he prayed might be taken from him, and which seemed to be left to bear, drops unnoticed by the way.

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