Are You in a Tide Pool?

6 Dec

“The more carnal a Christian is, the more sectarian he will be; and the more spiritual he is, the more loving and forebearing and self-renouncing are you sure to find him. And it is with Christian communities as with individual Christians. When the tide is out, you may have noticed, as you rambled along the rocks, little pools with little fishes in them. To the shrimp in such a pool his footdepth of salt water is all the ocean for the time being. He has no dealings with his neighbor shrimp in the adjacent pool, though it may be only a few inches of sand that divide them . . . . When the tide is out — when religion is low — the faithful are to be found insulated, here a few and there a few, in the little pools of water that stud the beach, having no dealings with their neighbors of the adjoining pools, calling them Samaritans, and fancying that their own little communion includes all that are precious in God’s sight. They forget for a time that there is a vast and expansive ocean.”

William Arnot, quoting James Hamilton, 19th century Presbyterian minister, in Life of James Hamilton, pp. 246-247.

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