HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not..” —Genesis 28:16.
A wise man once said that reverence is the beginning of all education. God educated Jacob by teaching him, first of all, the lesson of his presence. That is a lesson that every one of you who want to lead a manly, noble life must learn. Feel God’s presence in your everyday life, and learn to be reverent in the face of it. Your leadership depends on your reverence with God.
What is reverence? It is just looking up to someone whom we feel to be better, and purer, and wiser than ourselves… A reverent spirit is the first step in God’s ladder to heaven. I want you to set your foot upon that ladder and climb it day by day. Did you hear me well? I said I want you to set your foot on the ladder with reverence.
Besides the reverence that we owe to God, as the all-good, the all-wise, there is another kind of reverence that we owe to our fellow-men…Nowadays it is too much the fashion for young men to look down on everybody and everything, to think themselves quite good enough, and to be so satisfied with their own ways as not to care to mend them. We just have to look in the church and maybe someone sitting next to us who feels they are better than you. Yet, they look to you as their father and are willing to learn without any form of reverence.
Once get into that spirit of contemptuous conceit, and you will go steadily backwards all your life in true manliness, instead of going forwards. You are like a man in prison who one by one blocks up all his windows which open towards the light and sun till he leaves himself in blind darkness. It is a sorrowful life which sees nothing good, nothing pure, nothing trustworthy in anyone; but it is what all men come too, who are always looking down on their fellow-men, and seeking for what is bad in them, instead of trying to see their good qualities, and reverence what is best in them.
There is hardly anyone, if you look at them truly, who is not far better than you are in something, or from whose life you may not learn a pure, holy lesson, only we are so blind and selfish, it comes easier to us to scorn and despise others, than it does to love and admire them.
There is one more kind of reverence that I want you to learn, and that is, reverence for yourself—in other words, self-respect. As the child of God, as the temple of the Holy Ghost, you will then feel that a dirty action, an unclean thought is a blot on your soul; you will try to keep clean hands and a pure heart, because all sin will lower you in your own eyes, and make you despise yourself. It is the highest kind of manliness when a man has learnt to dread no one so much as his own conscience, to fear nothing so much as doing wrong and getting worse.
So, brethren let us learn to have self-respect and that will teach us how to live a holy life before God and man. I know your parents have taught you well and you should let the world see it and give honour to your ancestors. Before everything slips away from you here are the things you should always remember.
- Reverence for God,
- reverence for your fellow-men,
- reverence for yourself;
that is the alphabet of religion. Begin learning it today.