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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Instead of nobody taking this view


'I

have been studying it,' said Pitt, with an earnest gravity of manner which gave his mother yet more trouble than his words. 'I have gone to the Greek for it; and there the word rendered "forsake" is one that means to "take leave of"--"bid farewell." And if we go to history for the explanation, we do find that that was the attitude of mind which those must needs assume in that day who were disposed to follow Christ. The chances were that they would be called upon to give up all--even life--as the cost of their following. They would begin by a secret taking leave, don't you see?'

'But the times are not such now,' Miss Frere ventured.

Pitt did not answer. He sat looking at the open page of his Bible, evidently at work with the problem suggested there. The two women looked at him; and his mother got rid as unobtrusively as possible of a vexed and hot tear that would come.

'Mr. Dallas,' Miss Frere urged again, 'these are not times of persecution any more. We can be Christians--disciples--and retain all our friends and possessions; can we not?'

'Can we without "taking leave" of them?'

'Certainly. I think so.'

'I do not see it!' he said, after another pause. 'Do you think anybody will be content to put self nowhere, as Christ did, giving up his whole life and strength--and means--to

the help and service of his fellow men, _unless_ he has come to that mental attitude we were speaking of? No, it seems to me, and the more I think of it the more it seems to me, that to follow Christ means to give up seeking honour or riches or pleasure, except so far as they may be sought and used in His service. I mean _for_ His service. All I read in the Bible is in harmony with that view.'

'But how comes it then that nobody takes it,' said Miss Frere uneasily.

'I suppose,' said Pitt slowly, 'for the same reason that has kept me for years from accepting it;--because it was so difficult.'

'But religion cannot be a difficult thing, my dear son,' said Mrs. Dallas.

He looked up at her and smiled, an affectionate, very expressive, wistful smile.

'Can it not, mother? What mean Christ's words here,--"Whosoever doth not _take up his cross_ and follow me, he cannot be my disciple"? The cross meant shame, torture, and death, in those days; and I think in a modified way, it means the same thing now. It means something.'

'But Mr. Pitt, you do not answer my argument,' Miss Frere repeated. 'If this view is correct, how comes it that nobody takes it but you?'

'Your argument is where the dew is after a hot sun,--nowhere. Instead of nobody taking this view, it has been held by hundreds of thousands, who, like the first disciples, _have_ forsaken all and followed Him. Rather than be false to it they have endured the loss of all things, they have given up father and mother, they have borne torture and faced the lions. In later days, they have been chased and worried from hiding-place to hiding-place, they have been cut down by the sword, buried alive, thrown from the tops of rocks, and burned at the stake. And in peacefuller times they have left their homes and countries and gone to the ends of the earth to tell the gospel. They have done what was given them to do, without regarding the cost of it.'


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