by Alexander Smellie
“The Hour of Silence” 1899
“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus!” Philippians 3:13-14
1. Mine be the Pauline oblivion of the past. It is well to forget the things which are behind. If I remember too vividly former failures–the recollection will depress my soul and hamper my movements. If I remember too often former attainments–I shall grow contented and make no further progress. There is a tyranny of success–as hurtful as the tyranny of defeat. And if I remember too constantly the modes of my religion hitherto, I shall look simply for a repetition of old experiences, instead of desiring greater achievements. Yes, let me forget.
2. And mine be the Pauline aspiration towards the future. Like the runner in the chariot race, I should stretch forward to the things which are before me. In front of me lie . . . a fuller holiness, a larger likeness to Christ, a deeper humility, a more wide-reaching usefulness, victory over sin and death, abundant entrance into Heaven, and eternal glory yet to be revealed.
These things I must seek with the intensity which . . . the man of the world carries into his business, the scholar into his studies, the explorer into his journeys and toils.
3. And mine be the Pauline endeavor in the present. Always let me be pressing toward the mark for the prize. Some sin I ought to put off every day; some Christian grace or virtue I ought daily to put on. I must open my soul more absolutely to the Holy Spirit. Each hour must bring . . . its work and its battle, its duty to be done, its prize to be gained.
Ah, life is too solemn, too momentous, too earnest!
By forgetfulness, by expectation, by effort . . . I grow in Christlikeness, I make progress in the pilgrim march, I climb nearer and nearer the summits of God’s snow-white Alps of purity and holiness.
by Alexander Smellie