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Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
Religious Life: Not Mere Imitation
'At one of the late grand reviews in Eastern Prussia, says a German paper, a brigade of artillery was ordered to pass at full gallop over a piece of uneven ground, intersected by a ditch full of water. One of the guns, from the horses not making a sufficient spring, got stuck in the ditch. The first gunner, a man of great strength, jumped down into the water and, setting his shoulders to one of the wheels, lifted it out of the mud, and, resuming his seat, the gun crossed the ditch. Prince Augustus, of Prussia, who came up at the moment, cried, 'Bravo, my lad,' and tearing off a strip from his sash, gave it to the artilleryman, telling him to fasten it to his sword-belt in remembrance. In the evening, the soldier, when in his barracks, was surprised by receiving a gratuity of 150 golden crowns. A short time afterwards, another artilleryman having heard this anecdote, wished in his turn to display his strength. Prince Augustus, when one day at the arsenal of Berlin, ordered a 24-pounder to be mounted on its carriage. The man in question immediately raised the piece from the ground, and, unassisted, put it on its carriage. The prince, however, said, 'This man is a fool: he has risked his limbs, and wasted his strength without any necessity. Let him be under arrest for three days.'
Thus, Galignarn's Messenger furnishes us with a warning against being mere copyists. An action may from the tim e and circumstances be noble and praiseworthy in one man, but another would render himself ridiculous who, forgetting the surrounding circumstances, should merely repeat the action itself. True grace, like a truly soldierly spirit, guides its possessor as emergencies arise, but that mimicry of religion which only follows precedents is to be despised.
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Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'Religious Life: Not Mere Imitation'. Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fff/r/religious-life-not-mere-imitation.html. 1870.
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27