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A RULE OF LIFE
By George H. Malone.
Although every day is a new beginning, and so
far as our personal experience is concerned a “new
year” may start any time, there is something about
the ending of December and the first week or so of
January that makes even the careless thoughtful.
The passing year has brought both joy and sorrow
—what may not the next have in store? Where
shall we be when the New Year bells fall on our ears
again? Who will be with us? Shall we be ill or
well? Disquieting questions that disturb our ease
and make us inclined to fear.
We have blundered sorely, it may be, in the old
year; some of its pages are blurred with regret, or
the sombre stains of remorse. And no matter what
happiness may have been ours, there is always some
thing we did or left undone which saddens us as we
remember. Shall we make the same blotted record?
Our hearts grow chill, and we turn away, disheart
ened on the New Year’s threshold.
This is quite the wrong spirit in which to face
the battle that lies before us. It is right that we
should look back to see where we failed, and how.
But this once recognized, with our plea for forgive
ness—a plea that will never be refused if we are
truly sorry—we must lift up our hearts again and
set out to slay our enemies. They are within us, not
without. Inside our citadel dwells that evil tempter,
that pride, that indolence, that greed or envy which
tempts us to desert our colors—to think that the
fight is hopeless. Each of us has his own special
■temptation, and, once we realize the form ours takes,
the way lies straight before us.
It’s the fashion to smile at New Year resolutions,
so often made only to be broken; but they are a
definite help if we make them firmly intending to
keep them! They will only weaken us if we throw
them to a troublesome conscience merely as a sop—
something to keep it quiet for the time, until it goes
to sleep again. Providing that they be suffificiently
elastic to change their form when there is reason
able cause, rules fence in duties that might be neg
lected and keep them in the forefront of our minds.
But to multiply rules is a big mistake, for there is
one which faithfully kept, will make us both bless
ing and blessed.
The Rule of Love. Just loving our neighbors as
we love ourselves; serving him, trusting him, hoping
for him. Refraining even under grave provocation
from saying what would sting if he said it to us;
forgiving him as we would be forgiven; con
sidering him as we would be considered; helping
him when he needs it with the thoughtful delicacy
which makes help acceptable instead of humbling;
respecting his weakness, his prejudice, his infirmity;
laughing with him instead of at him; and, should
there come a time when sincerity demands, we should
say what we know will not please him, taking care
to blend truth with charity.
All the “little” rules we make for ourselves come
into line with this one. The Rule of Order—or, how
many New Years have we not begun with the reso
lution that we would not leave our things about, nor
ELIZABETH CITY, N. C.
It Pleases Us
lose them, nor hide them away! For we cannot be
untidy all to ourselves any more than we can be ill-
tempered and not spoil someone else’s pleasure; and
nothing is more upsetting to already wearied brains
than the fuss and worry of hunting for things which
should be ready to hand.
And even if we often fail to keep, even fitfully,
the golden rule which enjoins us to love others as
ourselves, every effort we made in this direction
brings its own reward, here and now. As we grow
into the habit of thinking of people kindly we cease
to be annoyed at their peculiarities, and create an
atmosphere of good feeling in which they cease to
be annoyed at oui's. We must always remember that
the bearing and forbearing is not needed on our
side alone—as Thomas a Kempis said long ago,
when we find our neighbor difficult to put up with,
we may be sure that he finds it equally difficult to
put up with us. There will always be need for self-
control and patience; but when we reckon up gain
and loss on the eve of 1929, in the measure we have
kept the Rule of Love, so one will outweigh the other.
“We turn and look upon the valley of the past
year,” says Stopford Brooke. “There below are the
spots stained by our evil and our fear. But as we
look a glow of sunlight breaks upon the past, and
in the sunshine is a soft rain falling from heaven.
It washes away the stain, and from the purity of
the upper sky a voice seems to descend and enter
our sombered hearts. ‘My child, go forward, abiding
in faith, hope and love, for lo, I am with you al-
way’ . . .”
May the New Year bring us all near each other
as children of the same dear Father.