(Alexander Smellie, “The Hour of Silence” 1899)
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved — put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12
“Put on a heart of compassion,” says the wise apostle.
Some elect and gracious souls seem, indeed, to have this compassionate heart from the very outset of their lives. Love is their vital breath and their native air. It comes to them naturally and spontaneously . . .
as the bird sings simply because it must,
as the flower unfolds and cannot help itself,
as the fountain bubbles up irresistibly to the surface.
But how good it is for me, who have no inborn faculty of loving, that I may put on a heart of compassion!
I can do it by asking God, day after day, to subdue my selfish, censorious, critical, untender, evil heart!
I can do it by perpetually recollecting Christ, who went about ever doing good, and who has left me an example that I should follow in His steps.
I can do it by begging, morning by morning, the grace of the Paraclete, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
I can do it by the endeavor to put myself in the place of others, and to comprehend their difficulties and temptations.
I can do it by watching always for opportunities of lifting up the bruised reed and of fanning thesmoking flax.
I can do it, as Robert Levett with his single talent did, by “little unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”
Thus the heart of compassion may grow and thrive, even within me! Thus my harsh and proud andcritical spirit may spread its black wings and fly away from me, never to return again!