2. Again, there has ever been, in the unenlightened mind, a love of idleness; a tendency to regard it as a stamp of aristocracy; a desire to delegate labour to the lower and weaker, and to brand it with the stigma of inferiority and contempt. But our Lord wished to show that labour is a pure and a noble thing; it is the salt of life; it is the girdle of manliness; it saves the body from effeminate languor, and the soul from polluting thoughts. And therefore Christ laboured, working with His own hands, and fashioned ploughs and yokes for those who needed them. The very scoff of Celsus against the possibility that He should have been a carpenter who came to save the world, shows how vastly the world has gained from this very circumstance—how gracious and how fitting was the example of such humility in One whose work it was to regenerate society, and to make all things new.

        3. Once more, from this long silence, from this deep obscurity, from this monotonous routine of an unrecorded and uneventful life, we were meant to learn that our real existence in the sight of God consists in the inner and not in the outer life. The world hardly attaches any significance to any life except those of its heroes and benefactors, its mighty intellects, or its splendid conquerors. But these are, and must ever be, the few. One raindrop of myriads falling on moor or desert or mountain—one snowflake out of myriads melting into the immeasurable sea—is, and must be, for most men the symbol of their ordinary lives. They die, and barely have they died, when they are forgotten; a few years pass, and the creeping lichens eat away the letters of their names upon the churchyard stone; but even if those crumbling letters were still decipherable, they would recall no memory to those who stand upon their graves. Even common and ordinary men are very apt to think themselves of much importance; but, on the contrary, not even the greatest man is in any degree necessary, and after a very short space of time—

"His place, in all the pomp that fills
The circuit of the summer hills,
Is that his grave is green."

 

from chapter 7, Life of Christ