And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
You are too apt to feel that your religious experience must be the same as others have; but where will you find analogies for this? Certainly not in nature. God's works do not come from His hand like coin from the mint. It seems as if it were a necessity that each one should be, in some sort, distinct from every other. No two leaves on the same tree are precisely alike; no two buds on one bush have the same unfolding, nor do they seek to have. What if God should command the flowers to appear before Him, and the sunflower should come bending low with shame because it was not a violet; and the violet should come striving to lift itself up to be like a sunflower; and the lily should seek to gain the bloom of the rose; and the rose, the whiteness of the lily: and so each one, disdaining itself, should seek to grow into the likeness of the other? God would say, "Stop, foolish flowers! I gave you your own forms and hues and odours; and I wish you to bring what you have received. O sunflower! come as a sunflower; and you, sweet violet, come as a violet; and let the rose bring the rose's bloom; and the lily the lily's whiteness." Perceiving their folly, and ceasing to long for what they had not, violet and rose, lily and geranium, mignonette and anemone, and all the floral train, would come, each in its own loveliness, to send up its fragrance as incense, and all wreathe themselves in a garland of beauty about the throne of God. Now, God speaks to you as to the flowers, and says, "Come with the form and nature that I gave you. If you are made a violet, come as a violet; if you are a rose, come as a rose; it you are a shrub, do not desire to be a tree; let everything abide in the nature which I gave it, and grow to the full excellence that is contained in that nature."
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And patience, experience; and experience, hope: