Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
Life: the Power of an Earnest
The upper galleries at Versailles are filled with portraits, many of them extremely valuable and ancient. These are the likenesses of the greatest men of all lands and ages, drawn by the ablest artists. Yet most visitors wander through the rooms with little or no interest; in fact, after noticing one or two of the more prominent pictures, they hasten through the suite of chambers and descend to the other floors. Notice the change when the sight-seers come to fine paintings like those of Horace Vernet, where the men and women are not inactive portraits but are actively engaged. There the warrior who was passed by without notice upstairs, is seen hewing his way to glory over heaps of slain, or the statesman is observed delivering himself of weighty words before an assembly of princes and peers. Not the men but their actions engross attention. Portraits have no charm when scenes of stirring interest are set in rivalry with them. After all, then, let us be who or what we may, we must bestir ourselves or be mere nobodies, chips in the porridge, forgotten shells of the shore. If we would impress we must act. The dignity of standing still will never win the prize, we must run for it. Our influence over our times will arise mainly from our doing and suffering the will of God, not from our office or person. Life, life in earnest, life for God, this will tell on the age; but mere orderliness and propriety, inactive and passionless, will be utterly inoperative.
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Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'Life: the Power of an Earnest'. Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fff/l/life-the-power-of-an-earnest.html. 1870.