Sunday 2 November 2014


2014-44 Henry Drummond:  Lessons from the "Angelus"

   Henry Drummond [1851-1897]
Drummond was a scientist, a world traveller, and a great communicator of the Christian faith in five continents especially to students. Henry made his own personal commitment to Christ at an early age, and never wavered from it. His visiting the slums of the Edinburgh of those days might have given him his first experience of urban poverty and spiritual need of society. He burned to bring an answer, both to individuals and to society, for he was convinced that Christ is the answer on a world scale.

Lessons from the Angelus is taken from his book "The Greatest Thing in the World and Other Addresses."

                                    LESSONS FROM "THE ANGELUS"

God often speaks to men's souls through music; He also speaks to us through art. Millet's famous painting entitled "The Angelus" is an illuminated text, upon which I am going to say a few words to you to-night.
There are three things in this picture—a potato field, a country lad and a country girl standing in the middle of it, and on the far horizon the spire of a village church. That is all there is to it—no great scenery and no picturesque people. In Roman Catholic countries at the evening hour the church bell rings out to remind the people to pray. Some go into the church, while those that are in the fields bow their heads for a few moments in silent prayer. That picture contains the three great elements which go to make up a perfectly rounded Christian life. It is not enough to have the "root of the matter" in us, but that we must be whole and entire, lacking nothing. The Angelus may bring to us suggestions as to what constitutes a complete life.

"Angelus" by Jean Francois Millet [1859]

The first element in a symmetrical life is work.

Three-fourths of our time is probably spent in work. Of course the meaning of it is that our work should be just as religious as our worship, and unless we can work for the glory of God three-fourths of life remains unsanctified.
It is by constant and conscientious attention to daily duties that thoroughness and conscientiousness and honorableness are imbedded in our beings. Character is THE MUSIC OF THE SOUL, and is developed by exercise. 
Our work is not only to be done thoroughly, but it is to be done honestly. A man is not only to be honorable in his academic relations, but he must be honest with himself and in his attitude toward the truth. When we come to difficulties, let us not jump lightly over them, but let us be honest as seekers after truth.


Another element in life, which of course is first in importance, is God.
The Angelus is perhaps the most religious picture painted this century. You cannot look at it and see that young man standing in the field with his hat off, and the girl opposite him with her hands clasped and her head bowed on her breast, without feeling a sense of God.
Do we carry about with us the thought of God wherever we go? If not, we have missed the greatest part of life. Do we have a conviction of God's abiding presence wherever we are? There is nothing more needed in this generation than a larger and more Scriptural idea of God. 


The third element in life [about which I wish to speak] is love.
In this picture we notice the delicate sense of companionship, brought out by the young man and the young woman. It matters not whether they are brother and sister, or lover and loved; there you have the idea of friendship, the final ingredient in our life, after the two I have named. If the man or the woman had been standing in that field alone it would have been incomplete.
Love is the divine element in life, because "God is love." Let us cultivate the spirit of friendship, and let the love of Christ develop it into a great love, not only for our friends, but for all humanity. Wherever you go and whatever you do, your work will be a failure unless you have this element in your life.
These three things go far toward forming a well-rounded life. Some of us may not have these ingredients in their right proportion, but if you are lacking in one or the other of them, then pray for it and work for it that your life may be rounded and complete as God intended it should be.

Full text of Henry Drummond's "Lessons from the Angelus": [Click here]

Henry Drummond Online Books: [Click Here]

Jean Francois Millet - Complete Works: [Click Here]
Jean Francois Millet [1814-1875] Self Portrait

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