The Conflict of Duties
George H. Morrison
There has been very considerable discussion as to the precise import of this incident, but the moral significance of it is unmistakable. Here is a man whose difficulty lay in the pressure upon him of conflicting duties. On the one hand he felt the claims of home. He had his duties which he owed a father. On the other hand he heard the call of Christ, bidding him come away and follow Him. And all his difficulty in that great hour, when the windows were opened and the deeps were broken up, was how to reconcile in his own conscience these two competing and conflicting duties. He was not torn between the right and wrong. He was torn between the right and right. He hesitated between two rival claims, both of them stamped with the seal of the divine. For on the one hand there was his filial piety, and his passionate reverence for the honored dead; and on the other hand, imperious and urgent, there was the call of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now the primal and most bitter conflict of mankind is the conflict between what is good and what is evil. Into that heritage we are all born, and there is no escape from it to the last hour we live. "O wretched man," cries the apostle, "who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Paul knew, through all his fellowship with Christ, what it was to be clutched at by the beast. And there is no strife of any civil war, or of cross and crescent, or of east or west, that is so terrible and long as that. I had a young friend who came back from Keswick1 once as if it was going to be singing all the time, and full of his happiness and new-found ecstasy he went to see my venerable father, Dr. Whyte.2 And Dr. Whyte looked on him and laid his hand upon him, and said with all the intensity of love, "Sir, it will be a sair warstle to the end." My brother and sister, you may lay your reckoning that it will be a sair warstle3 to the end. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but agains ...
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