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Grace is always sufficient, provided we are ready to cooperate with it. If we fail to do our share, but rather choose to rely on self-will and self-direction, we shall not only get no help from the graces bestowed on us, we shall actually make it impossible for further graces to be given.
These two states which it is necessary to know together in order to see the whole truth, being known separately, lead necessarily to one of these two vices, pride or indolence, in which all men are invariably led before grace, since if they do not remain in their disorders through laxity, they forsake them through vanity, so true is that which you have just repeated to me from St. Augustine, and which I find to a great extent; for in fact homage is rendered to them in many ways.
Editor's Preface In this book, originating in the year 1848, the requirement for being a Christian is forced up by the pseudonymous author to the supreme ideality. Yet the requirement should indeed be stated, presented, and heard. From the Christian point of view, there ought to be no scaling down of the requirement, nor suppression of it-instead of a personal admission and confession. The requirement should be heard-and I understand what is said as spoken to me alone—so that I might learn not only to resort to grace but to resort to it in relation to the use of grace. S. K.
But hospitality must be for service, and not for show, or it pulls down the host. The brave soul rates itself too high to value itself by the splendor of its table and draperies. It gives what it hath, and all it hath, but its own majesty can lend a better grace to bannocks and fair water than belong to city feasts.
…Stevens himself hating horses even more than dogs, rating the horse an unassailable first in loathing since though both were parasites, the dog at least had the grace to be a sycophant too; it at least fawned on you and so kept you healthily ashamed of the human race. But the real reason was, though neither the horse nor the dog ever forgot anything, the dog at least forgave you; and his, Stevens's, thought was that what the world needed was more forgiving.
These philosophers of the world place contrarieties in the same subject; for the one attributed greatness to nature and the other weakness to this same nature, which could not subsist; whilst faith teaches us to place them in different subjects: all that is infirm belonging to nature, all that is powerful belonging to grace. Such is the marvelous and novel union which God alone could teach, and which he alone could make, and which is only a type and an effect of the ineffable union of two natures in the single person of a Man-God.
But the mark of American merit in painting, in sculpture, in poetry, in fiction, in eloquence, seems to be a certain grace withoutgrandeur, and itself not new but derivative; a vase of fair outline, but empty,--which whoso sees, may fill with what wit and character is in him, but which does not, like the charged cloud, overflow with terrible beauty, and emit lightnings on all beholders.