J.R. Miller on Strength and Beauty

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tomkellyphoto compfight cc

“Strength alone is not always lovely: it may be stern, oppressive, unjust, cruel or selfish…Beauty alone may not be pleasing, being weak, lacking in firmness and truth…but when the two qualities, strength and beauty, are united–we have a character which wins the approval of God and the commendation of men.”

Strength and beauty are not incompatible; they are compliments of each other. Perfect strength is always beautiful; and perfect beauty is always strong. In every Christian life and character, the two qualities should be combined. Yet not always is it so. We find sometimes the sturdy elements—integrity, justice, courage—without the beauty of grace and tenderness. Then sometimes we find the gentle qualities—sympathy, love, compassion, kindness—without the rugged virtues which are so necessary in a complete character. In both cases there is a lack. Neither strength nor beauty without the other, is complete; each is but a fragment. Only when the two are united—is the life really Christ-like.

“Sometimes there is a tendency to exalt the gentle qualities—but, if there is not strength as well, the life can only be wrecked in the world’s temptations. The key to all noble character is masterly self control. Not to be master of one’s self, is to be a captive. “He that has no rule over his own spirit—is like a city that is broken down, and without walls,” wrote the wise man.”

J.R. Miller, Strength and Beauty,1899

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