Continuing Henry Drummond’s words from last week about the power of influence…
“There is something almost melting in the way [Jesus’] contemporaries, and John especially, speak of the Influence of Christ. John lived himself in daily wonder at Him….To his mind it was impossible for any one to come under this influence and ever be the same again. ‘Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not,’ he said. It was inconceivable that he should sin, as inconceivable as that ice should live in a burning sun, or darkness co-exist with noon. If any one did [continue in] sin, it was to John the simple proof that he could never have [really known] Christ. ‘Whosoever [continueth in sin],’ he exclaims, ‘hath not seen Him, neither known Him.’ Sin was abashed in this Presence. Its roots withered. Its sway [was] for ever at an end.
“But these were His contemporaries. It was easy for them to be influenced by Him, for they were every day and all the day together. But how can we mirror that which we have never seen? How can all this stupendous result be produced by a Memory, by the scantiest of all Biographies, by One who lived and left this earth [two thousand] years ago? How can modern men today make Christ, the absent Christ, their most constant companion still? The answer is that Friendship is a spiritual thing. It is independent of Matter, or Space, or Time. That which I love in my friend is not that which I see. What influences me in my friend is not his body but his spirit.
“….All friendship, all love, human and Divine, is purely spiritual….Hence in reflecting the character of Christ it is no real obstacle that we may never have been in visible contact with [Christ].
“There lived once a young girl whose perfect grace of character was the wonder of those who knew her. She wore on her neck a gold locket, which no one was ever allowed to open. One day, in a moment of unusual confidence, one of her companions was allowed to touch its spring and learn its secret. She saw written these words—‘Whom having not seen, I love.’ That was the secret of her beautiful life. She had been changed into the Same Image.
“Now this is not imitation, but a much deeper thing. Mark this distinction….Imitation is mechanical, [but] reflection [is] organic….In the one case, man comes to God and imitates Him; in the other, God comes to man and imprints Himself upon him….
“‘Make Christ your most constant companion’—this is what it practically means for us. Be more under His influence than under any other influence. Ten minutes spent in His society every day, aye, two minutes if it be face to face, and heart to heart, will make the whole day different….[Now let’s pretend that] yesterday you got a certain [unkind] letter. You sat down and wrote a reply which almost scorched the paper. You picked the cruelest adjectives you knew and sent it forth, without a pang, to do its ruthless work. You did that because your life was set in the wrong key. You began the day with the mirror placed at the wrong angle. Tomorrow, at daybreak, turn it towards Him, and even to your enemy the fashion of your countenance will be changed. Whatever you then do, one thing you will find you could not do—you could not write that letter. Your first impulse may be the same, your judgment may be unchanged, but if you try it the ink will dry on your pen, and you will rise from your desk an unavenged but a greater and more Christian [person]. Throughout the whole day your actions, down to the last detail, will do homage to that early vision. Yesterday you thought mostly about yourself. Today the poor will meet you, and you will feed them. The helpless, the tempted, the sad, will throng about you, and each you will befriend. Where were all these people yesterday? Where they are today, but you did not see them. It is in reflected light that the poor are seen. But your soul today is not at the ordinary angle….For a few short hours you live the Eternal Life. The eternal life, the life of faith, is simply the life of the higher vision. Faith is an attitude—a mirror set at the right angle.
“When tomorrow is over, and in the evening you review it, you will wonder how you did it. You will not be conscious that you strove for anything, or imitated anything, or crucified anything [within yourself]. You will be conscious of Christ; that He was with you, that without compulsion you were yet compelled….You do not congratulate yourself as one who has done a mighty deed, or achieved a personal success, or stored up a fund of ‘Christian experience’ to ensure the same result again. What you are conscious of is ‘the glory of the Lord.’ And what the world is conscious of, if the result be a true one, is also ‘the glory of the Lord.’ In looking at a mirror one does not see the mirror, or think of it, but only of what it reflects. For a mirror never calls attention to itself—except when there are flaws in it.
“That this is a real experience and not a vision, that this life is possible to men, [and] is being lived by men today, is simple biographical fact….
“[And] till we have lived like this we have never lived at all.”