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How To Live A Holy Life by Charles Ebert Orr


How often you admire a tree for the loveliness of its green foliage and the profusion of its luscious fruit. You speak to your friend of the beauty of the tree and of the goodness of God in bestowing such a gift to men; but perhaps you do not speak nor even think of the coarse, unsightly roots hidden deep in the ground. But that tree owes its beauty and its life to roots. The foliage is bright and fresh and green because the roots are burrowing deep in a rich and well-watered soil. The flavoring of the fruit is generated by the roots down in the dark and silent chamber of the earth.

Perhaps there comes to your mind now some whose faces you always see lit up with a radiant glory. You can not fail to admire them. Their words contain a secret power and seem to awaken in you all that is noble. They seem to lift you into a higher life. From their words, their actions, and their countenances flows an influence that causes you to forget the things of earth and makes you feel as if you had joined the society of angels. Such ones have a secret hidden root-life that generates this peculiar charm in their visible life. Down in a closet is a secret laboratory where the fragrance and beauty and glory that flow out of their lives are compounded. There the roots of their inner life take hold upon the riches of heaven's grace and drink in of the waters that flow. In their oft and silent communion with God they take root downward, and then they go forth into life and bear fruit upward. While others are talking with their friends about the things of earth, they meet with God in the garden of graces, where the sweet spices flow out and the frankincense and myrrh scent the air, and there they become laden with a profusion of fruits and impregnated with a sweet odor, which they bear out into the world. They are like the tree planted by the rivers of water, whose leaf does not wither.

O beloved pilgrim, see that the roots of your inner being are well watered. Let them drink in the sparkling waters of life. Remember, effectual work for God consists more in being than in doing. Do not go about in your labor with an empty basket. It is only when you go out from deep and silent communion with God that your labor will be effectual. Never think that you have so much to do that you have not much time for prayer. An hour's work done in the quiet, secret power of the Spirit is worth more than a day of your own efforts. Keep the roots watered.

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