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HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.–Luke 15:28

Harder to Execute One’s Duties to Equals Than to Inferiors and Superiors

If then, that be a fact, and a fact I think that cannot be gainsaid, it is surely worth our while to ask what is the reason for a thing so strange.

  • One would have thought that, of all our duties, those to our equals would have been easiest.
  • One would have thought that our duties to inferiors would have been the hardest to perform.

And yet it is not so–it is the opposite–our hardest ethic is that of our equality, and the reason, I take it, is not far to seek. It is this, that in all our intercourse with inferiors, there is no place for jealousy or envy.

There is nothing to interfere with our self-love; there is no possibility of competition. And therefore in all intercourse with them, there is a sense of shelter and security; an utter absence of those irritations which are inevitable with our social equals.

  • We never dream of envying the poor when our Christian duty takes us among the poor.
  • We are never jealous of the weary sufferer when we go to visit him upon his sickbed.

Our health is an immeasurable asset and our social position gives us a certain standing–we are treated with certain deference and respect, which sometimes may be the deadliest flattery. Let no one think I am saying a word against the Christian duty of compassion. But what I do say is that as a means of discipline, as a means of searching and of bracing character, our duties to our equals are a far surer instrument than are our duties to inferiors.

  • In them, we are out upon the open.
  • In them, we get as surely as we give.
  • In them we are constantly tempted to be jealous–constantly tempted to assert ourselves.

And therefore are they very hard to do, and being hard is very blessed, giving to character a strong sincerity which no other duties can supply.

  • A man may be perfectly true to his superiors, and yet be a cringing and miserable creature.
  • A man may be wonderfully kind to his inferiors, and yet live all the time in a fool’s paradise.

But a man who moves like a man among his equals, and is just and generous and kind to them. is moving under the eye of day, and fighting his battle on the open field.




Author: Godfrey Gregg

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