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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – April 14

Just For Today
April 14
A New Vision

“Do we really want to be rid of our resentments, our anger, our fear?”
Basic Text p. 33

Why do we call them “shortcomings?” Perhaps they should be called “long-goings” because that’s often what it takes for them to fade from our lives. Some of us feel that our shortcomings are the very characteristics that saved our lives when we used. If this is true, then it is little wonder that we sometimes cling to them like old, dear friends.

If we are having trouble with resentment, anger, or fear, we may want to envision what our lives could be like without these troubling defects. Asking ourselves why we react in a certain manner can sometimes root out the fear at the core of our conduct. “Why am I afraid to step beyond these aspects of my personality?” we ask ourselves. “Am I afraid of who I will be without these attributes?”

Once we have uncovered our fear, we are able to move beyond it. We try to imagine what our lives could be like without some of our more glaring shortcomings. This gives us a feeling for what lies past our fear, providing the motivation we need to push through it. Our Higher Power offers us a new vision for our lives, free of our defects. That vision is the essence of our own best, brightest dreams for ourselves. We need not fear that vision.

Just for today: I will imagine what my life would be like without my character defects. I will ask for the willingness to have God remove my shortcomings.

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Daily Reflections
April 14
THE “NUMBER ONE OFFENDER”

Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.
–ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 64

As I look at myself practicing the Fourth Step, it is easy to gloss over the wrong that I have done, because I can easily see it as a question of “getting even” for a wrong done to me. If I continue to relive my old hurt, it is a resentment and resentment bars the sunlight from my soul.

If I continue to relive hurts and hates, I will hurt and hate myself. After years in the dark of resentments, I have found the sunlight. I must let go of resentments; I cannot afford them.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
April 14
A.A. Thought For The Day

A police captain once told about certain cases he had come across in his police work. The cause of the tragedy in each case was drunkenness. He told his audience about a man who got into an argument with his wife while he was drunk and beat her to death. Then he went out and drank some more. The police captain also told about a woman who got too near the edge of an old quarry hole when she was drunk and fell one hundred and fifty feet to her death. When I read or hear these stories, do I think about our motto: “But for the grace of God”?

Meditation For The Day

I must keep balance by keeping spiritual things at the center of my life. God will give me this poise and balance if I pray for it. This poise will give me power in dealing with the lives of others. This balance will manifest itself more and more in my own life. I should keep material things in their proper place and keep spiritual things at the center of my life. Then I will be at peace amid the distractions of everyday living.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may dwell with God at the center of my life.  I pray that I may keep that inner peace at the center of my being.

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As Bill Sees It
April 14
Our New Employer, p. 104

We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well.

Established on such a footing, we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.

As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow, or the hereafter. We were reborn.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 63

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Walk in Dry Places
April 14
What causes a binge?
Understanding honesty.

In the foggy world of drinking, we were sometimes confused about cause and effect. A person might think of a binge as having been caused by a fight with his or her spouse. The real truth, however, is that he or she provoked the fight in order to get out of the house to launch a drinking spree. It was really the need to drink that caused the fight, and not the reverse, as the alcoholic believes.

We must always understand that the compulsion to drink is the root cause of every binge. We may blame certain things that seemed to trigger a drunk, but it is always our own compulsion that gives force to such an action. Nonalcoholics have the same human experiences we do, but such things do not cause them to have binges.

Seasoned AA members are trained by their experience to detect and defuse these false causes. “There are excuses but never good reasons for drinking,” they say. We always drink because we want to drink, not because another’s actions forced us into it.

Once we’ve established real sobriety, we also learn to identify the excuses and devices that helped us blame our binges on other people and conditions. We learn that we are always responsible for maintaining our own sobriety.

I intend to get along with everybody today and to meet all conditions and circumstances in a mature manner. Nothing can trigger a binge but my own desire to take a drink.

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Keep It Simple
April 14

It is enough that I am of value to somebody today.
–Hugh Prather

Even in recovery, we addicts often feel we are not enough. Maybe it’s leftover shame from our using days. But we are enough. We are of great value. We all need each other to stay sober.

Each of us needs other recovering people to help us remember the hell of addiction. We can forget how bad it was, but telling our stories makes us remember. When you feel you don’t want to stay sober for yourself, then stay sober for your brothers and sisters in the program. They need you.

You’re their recovery, as they’re yours. There may be days you don’t feel glad to be sober. But your friends in this fellowship are glad you’re sober. They thank-you for your sobriety

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, may Your will, not mine, be done.

Action For the Day: I’ll stop and think of all the people I’m glad for. I’ll start telling them today.

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Each Day a New Beginning
April 14

Only those who dare, truly live.
–Ruth P. Freedman

We receive from life, from every experience, from each interaction according to what we have given. When we commit ourselves fully to an experience, it will bless us. When we give ourselves wholly to any moment, our awareness of reality will be heightened. When we risk knowing someone else, truly knowing them, we will find ourselves.

How common, and how unfortunate, that so many of us “escape” life! We escape through hiding, hiding from ourselves and others. We fear self-disclosure, our own and someone else’s. Before choosing abstinence, our escape was easier. Now, the Steps make escape hard, fortunately.

Having a sponsor–and being one–helps. Taking a Fifth and working the Twelfth helps. Going to meetings and sharing helps. Our experiences today won’t come around again—in just the same way. The people in our lives won’t say again just what they’ll say today. We must not miss out on what life offers. We can risk feeling it all, hearing it all, seeing it all.

The riches of a full life are so easily mine, and so deservedly mine.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
April 14
LISTENING TO THE WIND

– It took an “angel” to introduce this Native American woman to A.A. and recovery.

My brother had gotten a very good job and moved to Hawaii. My son was born there, and on the day of his birth, I found my purpose in life: I was born to be a mom. He was beautiful. Straight black hair and dark eyes. I had never felt like this in my life. I could put my past behind me once again and move forward into a new life with my child.

pp. 460-461

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
April 14

Step Four – “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

If temperamentally we are on the depressive side, we are apt to be swamped with guilt and self-loathing. We wallow in this messy bog, often getting a misshapen and painful pleasure out of it. As we morbidly pursue this melancholy activity, we may sink to such a point of despair that nothing but oblivion looks possible as a solution. Here, of course, we have lost all perspective, and therefore all genuine humility. For this is pride in reverse. This is not a moral inventory at all; it is the very process by which the depressive has so often been led to the bottle and extinction.

p. 45

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Xtra Thoughts
April 14

May I sit comfortably in silence, so that I can hear Gods words.
–SweetyZee

Be thankful for each and every morning. Enjoy life and don’t worry about things that won’t matter in 10 years anyway.
–Unknown

When the solution is simple, God is answering.
–Albert Einstein

And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
–Abraham Lincoln

“One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of attention.”
–Jim Rohn

“Put duties aside at least an hour before bed and perform soothing, quiet activities that will help you relax.”
–Dianne Hales

“If you haven’t forgiven yourself something, how can you forgive others?”
–Dolores Huerta

“Minutes are worth more than money. Spend them wisely.”
–Thomas P. Murphy

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over and over again, but expecting a different result.”
–Albert Einstein

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
April 14
LIFE

“May you live all the days of your life.”
–Jonathan Swift

I heard a story that offers a key to the meaning of spirituality:  Two little fish were huddled together, afraid to move. A large fish swam by them, confident and strong. The big fish shouted out to the two little fish, “Why don’t you swim out and enjoy the beautiful ocean?” The two little fish looked at each other and asked, “Where is the ocean?” They were in it but they didn’t know it!

As an alcoholic I existed in life but I didn’t live: I missed vacations, people, friendships, feelings, nature, sunsets and God. Like so many addicts, I was numbered amongst the “walking dead”. Today I continue to make a spiritual choice that avoids alcohol and I am able to feel again. Today I am alive.

In You I live to love and love to live.

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Bible Scriptures
April 14

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”
–Psalms 118:8

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
–I Timothy 4:12

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
–John 8:32

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Daily Inspiration
April 14

Start the day with prayer and a commitment to conquer any difficulties that happen and a firmer commitment to not let them conquer you. Lord, bless me with all that I need to make the best of every situation.

Celebrate your creativity. You are a child of the Great Creator, created in His image. Lord, may I touch others because of the gifts with which you have blessed me.

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A Day At A Time
April 14

Reflection For The Day

Every man and woman who has joined The Program and intends to stick around has, without realizing it, made a beginning on Step Three.  Isn’t it true that, in all matters related to their addictions, each of them has decided to turn his or her life over to the care, protection, and guidance of The Program?  So already a willingness has been achieved to cast out one’s own will and one’s own ideas about the addiction in favor of those suggested by The Program.  If this isn’t turning one’s will and life over to a new-found “Providence,” then what is it?  Have I had  a spiritual awakening as the results of The Steps?

Today I Pray

For myself, I pray for a God-centered life.  I think Him often for the spiritual awakening.   I have felt since I turned my awakening I have felt since I turned my life over to Him.  May the words “spiritual awakening” be a clue to others that there is a free fund of spiritual power within each person.  It must only be discovered.

Today I Will Remember

I will try to be God-centered.

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One More Day
April 14

You are the handicap you must face.  You are the one who must choose your place.
–  James Allen

Each of us carries a handicap, although some handicaps are more obvious than others.  They can be physical limitations, but they can also be emotions, feelings, or attitudes that impede the full enjoyment and promise of living.  A handicap may be an image problem or dismay at how we walk or talk, or it could be chronic illness.  And we certainly can have more than one handicap.

A full life depends on our ability to cope with our difficulties and to decide whether any of them are self-imposed.  We haven’t chosen all our limitations — physical or emotional — but we can choose to strip our lives of the ones we’ve created.  And we can choose how we will respond to the others.

I will define my special place in the world, and I will try to meet my own best expectations.

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One Day At A Time
April 14
FEARLESS

“As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter.”–The Big Book

I refuse to be frightened to the point of missing the opportunities my Higher Power has provided for me. I will no longer hurt myself by avoiding being hurt. When I avoid risks because I’m afraid the outcome will be painful, I am stuck – not safe.

By working my program I have discovered that many times when I’m engulfed in fear, I am not trusting my Higher Power. The more I practice the Serenity Prayer, the more serene I become. From my new perspective I can see numerous occasions in which my Higher Power did things for me which I could not do by myself. Possibly a doomed relationship I couldn’t end, and my Higher Power ended for me by having the other person walk away. Maybe a financial crisis that was suddenly alleviated from an unexpected source. How about the ability to detach from a loved one’s issues without feeling responsible for “fixing” everything or taking their struggles personally. In order to surrender my control over these things, I choose to be fearless in trusting my Higher Power.

Today I will be grateful even for the painful times because sometimes they are the lesser of two hurts: the easiest being when God steps in to protect me, and the hardest being when my will prevents me from letting go of something that isn’t good for me.

One day at a time…
I will trust my Higher Power and know that where I am today is right where I need to be. I don’t have to have all the answers.

~ Sandee S.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 14

“The base of all things is love, respect.”
–Vickie Downey, TEWA/Tesuque Pueblo

The greatest weapon of any Spiritual Warrior is love. Love will change minds; love will forgive; love will let go; love will cause good luck; love will heal; love will cry; love will get rid of resentments; love will overcome fear. Love loves love. Any human who is loving will be guaranteed respect. Respect loves love. We need to love and respect ourselves.

Grandmother, Grandfather, today, lead me on the path of love.

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Journey To The Heart
April 14
Relax

Too often out of sheer habit we tighten up, tense up, and then approach life from that stance. When we have something to do, our automatic response may be to tense up– shoulders and neck strained, back bent and cramped, breathing shallow. But anything that needs to be done can be done better if we’re relaxed.

Learn to relax. Program your body, each part of it, to let go and be at ease. Allow yourself to come into your natural posture and alignment. Learn to relax until moving, acting, speaking, being all come naturally from this relaxed place.

Find activities that help you do this. A hot bath. A massage. Sunning. Walking. Meditating. Teach yourself to become aware of how your body feels during these activities. Memorize that feeling. Practice relaxing until you can recall that memory and carry it throughout your day.

Periodically thoughout the day, take a few moments to check your tension level. If you find any part of your body tense, take a few more moments to consciously relax that part. Visualize warmth and ease flooding any part of your body that has become tight or is in pain. Let the tension, the stress, the blocks drain out from top to bottom. Your body wants to relax. It wants to become comfortable. It wants to heal itself.

Empty your mind of tense thoughts, and let it follow your body into relaxation and calm. Allow your mind to become still. Quietly accept each thought, then release it. Breathe in comforting, healing energy. Breathe it into your mind, into each cell of your body. Breathe out stress, strain, discomfort, and fear. Don’t resist what you are feeling or thinking. Accept it, then release it. Just as water cannot pass naturally through a pinched hose, your vital life force cannot flow freely through you if you are cramped and tense.

Honor the life force that is in you, that flows through you. Honor it by relaxing, opening to it, and inviting it to surge through your body.

The techniques of relaxation will refresh, restore, and recharge you, so that you can do all you need to do with more power and vigor than before. Anything that needs to be done can be done better if you’re relaxed.

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Today’s Gift
April 14

There the penitents took off their shoes And walked barefoot the remaining mile.
—Robert Lowell

Some people have to have pain. If dirt doesn’t fall on their heads from the sky, they sulk in corners and hope their flesh turns to dust. They do everything the hard way, even when they know better, and often complain and accuse others for their pain. For people like this, even the song of a bird is a bother. It’s better to smile when people like that accuse. It’s better to wear shoes when walking on stones, better to take the shortest way. There is weeping and wailing enough in the world, dumps full of worn-out guilt and remorse. When the bird sings, it’s better to look up and see that it beats its wings not to punish itself, but to fly.

Do I pity myself when I could be flying?

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The Language of Letting Go
April 14
Perfectionism

Recovery from codependency is an individual process that necessitates making mistakes, struggling through problems, and facing tough issues.

Expecting ourselves to be perfect slows this process; it puts us in a guilty and anxious state. Expecting others to be perfect is equally destructive; it makes others feel ashamed and may interfere with their growth.

People are human and vulnerable, and that is wonderful. We can accept and cherish that idea. Expecting others to be perfect puts us in that codependent state of moral superiority. Expecting ourselves to be perfect makes us feel rigid and inferior.

We can let go of both ideas.

We do not need to go to the other extreme; tolerating anything people throw our way. We can still expect appropriate, responsible behavior from ourselves. But most of us can afford to loosen up a bit. And when we stop expecting others to be perfect, we may discover that they’re doing much better than we thought. When we stop expecting ourselves to be perfect, we’ll discover the beauty in ourselves.

Today, I will practice tolerance, acceptance, and love of others as they are, and myself as I am. I will strive for that balance between expecting too much and expecting too little from others and myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
April 14
What do you want?

“I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things,” a friend said. “I stood in front of the condiments section, staring at the pickles and olives. What I really wanted was the olives. What I bought was the pickles. It wasn’t about the cost,” he said. “It was about deliberately depriving myself of what I want.”

Sometimes things happen in life. We’ve talked about that before. We start out with good intentions about what we want: a family, health, a modicum of success in our career. Then something unforeseen rips it away. Maybe our family life as a child was destroyed when someone in the family got sick or died. Maybe this happened later in life– when we were betrayed by a spouse.

We may not be able to have everything we want in life. And we may sometimes get things we thought we wanted, then change our mind. But we still don’t have to torture ourselves by telling ourselves that we can’t have what we want.

What do you want? Do you know? Or have you shut that part of yourself down? Yes, we all have times of discipline. And there’s much to be learned by denying ourselves, at certain times, of certain pleasures. It’s not good to want something or someone so much that desire runs and rules our lives. And sometimes wanting what we can’t have can make life more interesting.

But it’s okay to open our hearts to ourselves and be clear about what we want in our small and larger choices. Learn to master desire.

Open your heart to what you want. Then say it. Pickles or olives, which will it be?

God, teach me to master my desires. Grant me the wisdom to know when something needs to be off-limits for me, and when I am unnecessarily depriving myself of the pleasures and joys here on earth.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
April 14

A person who is looking for something doesn’t travel very fast.
—E. B. White

What do men really want? What are we seeking? Many of us have felt driven and still feel restless or compulsive at times. We frantically followed our impulses to self-destructive extremes. Even those painful actions of our past were motivated, at the bottom line, by a spiritual search. What did we really seek in the bottle, or in the passionate bed, or in our work? Slowing down enough every day to let ourselves know what we are looking for gives us a much better chance of finding it.

Today we can slow down by taking twenty minutes for solitude and quiet, for meditation or prayer. We can call a friend simply for a moment of contact. We might read something to give ourselves some ideas to ponder, or we can listen to music, which will transport us to another world. Perhaps we can simply walk more slowly from our cars or the bus stop to our homes. Often it is not the events in our lives that bring change but the space between events.

Today, I will try to remember that slowing down may help me find what I am seeking.

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Daily TAO
April 14
READINESS

A knife keeps its edge
Only with honing and proper cutting.
A warrior’s virtue is readiness.
A sage’s virtue is awareness.

This life is so competitive and challenging that one must remain in constant readiness for the problems and conflicts that come with each day. That is why followers of Tao meld the way of the warrior and the sage. They want the courage and preparedness of the fighter, the luminous perception of the wise. Each day, they dedicate themselves to maintaining their characters and perpetuating their development. But how does one maintain one’s edge without blunting?

There is a fable about a king who was watching his butcher. He was amazed that the man could dismember a whole ox without much effort and without dulling his knife. Seeking to learn, the king questioned his servant, who said that his secret was to insert his knife only in the spaces between muscles, thus parting the body along its natural lines.  In this way, where an ordinary butcher had to grind his blade daily, he only had to sharpen his knife once a year.

From this we can learn that we must first hone ourselves to a sharp edge, but the proper use of our talents is equally essential. We must remember to take action along the basic lines and seams of the day. If we do this, we can never be opposed for long.

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DailyZen
April 14

Disentangling oneself
From desire and evil ways
Requires both vision and wisdom.
Disentangling oneself from the world
And discovering inner joy
Is the start of meditation.

– Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom

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Food for Thought
April 14
Gluttony

In the Middle Ages, gluttony was considered one of the seven deadly sins. Now that sin has become an unpopular concept, we are inclined to overlook gluttony. It is still listed in the dictionary and defined as “eating to excess.” Every compulsive overeater knows only too well what that means.

OA says that gluttony begins with one bite too much. When we give in to that first compulsive bite, we walk from the protection of our Higher Power into the snare of self-indulgence. Sometimes we are lucky enough to escape before the consequences are disastrous, but usually we are caught in our own trap.

There is no cure for gluttony, but we can stop practicing it. We can refuse to take the first extra bite. We can so strengthen our minds and hearts with the gifts of the Spirit that we do not need to eat to excess. The time we spend each day working the steps of our program is our insurance against gluttony.

By Thy grace, protect me from gluttony.

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Faith’s Check Book
April 14
My Choice Is His Choice

He shall choose our inheritance for us. (Psalm 47:4)

Our enemies would allot us a very dreary portion, but we are not left in their hands. The Lord will cause us to stand in our lot, and our place is appointed by His infinite wisdom. A wiser mind than our own arranges our destiny, The ordaining of all things is with God, and we are glad to have it so; we choose that God should choose for us. If we might have our own way we would wish to let all things go in God’s way.

Being conscious of our own folly, we would not desire to rule our own destinies. We feel safer and more at ease when the Lord steers our vessel than we could possibly be if we could direct it according to our own judgment. Joyfully we leave the painful present and the unknown future with our Father, our Savior, our Comforter.

O my soul, this day lay down thy wishes at Jesus’ feet! If thou hast of late been somewhat wayward and willful, eager to be and to do after thine own mind, now dismiss thy foolish self, and place the reins in the Lord’s hands. Say, “He shall choose.” If others dispute the sovereignty of the Lord and glory in the free will of man, do thou answer them, “He shall choose for me.” It is my freest choice to let Him choose. As a free agent, I elect that He should have absolute sway.

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This Morning’s Meditation
April 14

“All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head.”—Psalm 22:7.

MOCKERY was a great ingredient in our Lord’s woe. Judas mocked Him in the garden; the chief priests and scribes laughed Him to scorn; Herod set Him at nought; the servants and the soldiers jeered at Him, and brutally insulted Him; Pilate and his guards ridiculed His royalty; and on the tree all sorts of horrid jests and hideous taunts were hurled at Him. Ridicule is always hard to bear, but when we are in intense pain it is so heartless, so cruel, that it cuts us to the quick. Imagine the Saviour crucified, racked with anguish far beyond all mortal guess, and then picture that motley multitude, all wagging their heads or thrusting out the lip in bitterest contempt of one poor suffering victim! Surely there must have been something more in the crucified One than they could see, or else such a great and mingled crowd would not unanimously have honoured Him with such contempt. Was it not evil confessing, in the very moment of its greatest apparent triumph, that after all it could do no more than mock at that victorious goodness which was then reigning on the cross? O Jesus, “despised and rejected of men,” how couldst Thou die for men who treated Thee so ill? Herein is love amazing, love divine, yea, love beyond degree. We, too, have despised Thee in the days of our unregeneracy, and even since our new birth we have set the world on high in our hearts, and yet Thou bleedest to heal our wounds, and diest to give us life. O that we could set Thee on a glorious high throne in all men’s hearts! We would ring out Thy praises over land and sea till men should as universally adore as once they did unanimously reject.

Thy creatures wrong Thee, O Thou sovereign Good! Thou art not loved, because not understood: This grieves me most, that vain pursuits beguile Ungrateful men, regardless of Thy smile.

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