(Harvey Newcomb, "The
Young Lady's Guide to the
Harmonious Development of Christian Character" 1843)
There is, perhaps, a peculiar tendency to lopsided
religion in our age of excitement and activity.
Nothing delights the senses like harmony. The eye rests
with pleasure on the edifice which is complete in all its
parts, according to the laws of architecture. And the
sensation of delight is still more exquisite, on viewing
the harmonious combination of colors, as exhibited in
the rainbow, or the flowers of the field. The ear, also,
is ravished with the harmony of musical sounds; and
the palate is delighted with savory dishes.
The beauty and loveliness of Christian character depend
on the harmonious culture of all the Christian
in due proportion. If
one is deficient, and another too
prominent, the idea of deformity strikes the mind with
painful sensations; like harsh, discordant musical sounds;
or like the disproportionate combination of colors.
Where all the graces exist in due proportion, they will
form a lovely character, harmonious and beautiful as
the colors of the rainbow.
The beauty of the Christian character greatly depends
on its symmetrical proportions. A person may be very
zealous in some things, and yet quite defective in his
Christian character; and the probability is, that he has
no more true religion than shows itself in its consistent
The new energy imparted by the regenerating grace
of God may unite itself with the strong points of his
character, and produce a very prominent development;
while, in regard to those traits of character which are
naturally weak in his constitutional temperament,
grace may be scarcely perceptible. The error lies in
cultivating, almost exclusively, those graces which are
most agreeable with our prominent traits of character.
We should bend our energies, by the grace of God,
chiefly to the development of those points of character
which are naturally weak; while we discipline, repress,
and bring under control, those which are too prominent.
This will prevent deformity, and promote a uniform
consistency of character.
The perfection of Christian character consists in the
harmonious development of the Christian graces.