Death is not merely an end that hovers over us, with which someday we shall have to reckon. The breath of corruption taints life now. The life most of us live now is lived at ‘a poor dying rate’. It is not by any means complete or satisfactory life. It hasn’t enough depth, enough happiness, enough sanity, enough power. It may be respectable. It may even be ethically good (like St. Paul’s as a Pharisee), but that is not enough. I often pass a butcher’s shop in Leeds as I ride on the train. I can only see the front part of the window. I read every time the words —‘Civility—Courtesy—Cleanliness’. But—I have never seen any meat. Our contemporary English life is like that. There is plenty of civility, courtesy, and cleanliness, but there is precious little meat. We are like the wall which Ezekiel talks about; nicely whitewashed, but ready to fall down at any time. C.K. Barrett
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