On Taking Things up Again
George H. Morrison
That seems a very simple thing to do, and yet it had the seeds of heroism in it. It was one of those quiet and unillumined actions which are greater than they seem. It was an arduous and stupendous business, that business of building again these ruined walls. Even if all the conditions had been favorable, it would have been a Herculean task. But the difficulties were enormously augmented by the fact that there were enemies on every hand, watching the builders with intense malevolence. The kind of atmosphere that we are working in makes a vast difference to our work. Tasks that would be comparatively light if there were sympathy become insupportable among suspicions. And that is how we can all help each other in bearing the burdens of the common day-by showing that we understand and can appreciate.
To do one's duty quietly and serenely when tongues are scurrilous and eyes suspicious, never to lose one's purpose or one's peace though everything that one does is misinterpreted-it may be that in the eye of heaven there is as great a fortitude in that as in any gallant action of the battlefield. Now that is what strikes one about Nehemiah. He had very preeminently that kind of courage. He was not in any respect a brilliant man; but he was undoubtedly a dogged man. And nowhere in this interesting little book do we see that doggedness of his more useful than in the incident recorded in our text.
It happened, too, just at that very time when discouragements are apt to multiply. It happened, as an earlier verse informs us, when the building of the walls was half completed. With all the enthusiasm of newborn fervor they had laid the foundation a certain time before. And after a season when the last course was laid, there came all the rejoicings of the cope-stone. But now, the enthusiasm of the start had died away; the gladness of the end was yet unborn; the work of building was in that middle stage which i ...
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