That we from now on be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men…
In Christian character, it may be, relatively speaking, that the moral functions — faith, hope, conscience, and love — stand higher on the scale than social affection, taste, and the lower forms of human reason; but if Christian character is to be complete, it must include them all. Suppose a painter, in painting a man's face, should omit the hair and the eyebrows, saying, "A man can live without hair, and I paint only the important features," and should represent simply the mouth, the eyes, and the nose; what sort of a picture would he make? Absurd as such a thing would be in art, how much more glaring would be the absurdity, in drawing the portrait of the soul, of leaving out any part of it! Religious culture carries with it everything. All the parts are required to make the whole on this ideal — Christ Jesus. I have around my little cabin in the country a dozen or so of rhododendrons. Broad-leaved fellows they are. I love them in blossom, and I love them out of blossom. They make me think of many Christians. They are like some that are in this Church. Usually they come up in the spring and blossom the first thing, just as many persons come into Christian life. The whole growth of the plants is crowded into two or three weeks, and they develop with wonderful rapidity; but after that they will not grow another inch during the whole summer. What do they do? I do not know, exactly; they never told me; but I suspect that they are organizing inwardly, and rendering permanent that which they have gained. What they have added to growth in the spring they take the rest of the season to solidify, to consolidate, to perfect, by chemical evolutions; and when autumn comes, the year's increase is so tough that, when the tender plants that laughed at these, and chided them, and accused them of being lazy, are laid low by the frost, there stand my rhododendrons, holding out their green leaves, and saying to November and December, "I am here as well as you." And they are as green today as they were before the winter set in. Now, I like Christians that grow fast this spring, and hold on through the summer, and next spring grow again. I like Christians that, having grown for a time, stop and organize what they have gained, and then start again. I like periodicity in Christian growth.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;