Spiritual Cultivation
Genesis 3:17
And to Adam he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying…

So it is in spiritual cultivation — you cannot grow a character in a week. There are some long thin stalks that you can buy in a garden market for about a shilling a dozen, and you put up these, and say, "Do grow, if you please; do get up, and do broaden yourselves and make something like a garden about us," and the long thin stalks, spindle shanks, look at you, and cannot be hastened, though you mock them with their leanness, and scourge them with your unruly tongue. Look at those grand old cedars and oaks and wide-spreading chestnuts. Why are they so noble? Because they are so old. They have been rocked by a hundred wintry nurses, blessed by a thousand summer visitants, and they express the result of the long processes. They have told their tale to fifty winters, caught the blessing of fifty summers, waved musically in the storm, guested the birds of the air, and all the while have been striking their roots deeper and deeper, farther and farther into the rich soil. So must it be with human character; you cannot extemporise moral greatness, it is a slow growth. Money cannot take the place of time; time is an element in the development and sublimising of character; time stands alone and cannot be compounded for by all the wealth in all the gold mines of creation. This spiritual cultivation not only cannot be hastened, but sometimes it is very hard. As a general rule, indeed, it is very difficult; it is not easy to grow in grace. Some of us live too near the smoke ever to be very great trees, or even very fruitful bushes. Circumstances are heavily against us; we are not placed in favourable localities or under very gracious conditions. The house is small, the income is little, the children are many and noisy, the demands upon time and attention and patience are incessant, health is not very good and cheerful, the temperament is a little despondent and very susceptible to injurious influences, and how to grow in Christ Jesus under such circumstances as these, the Saviour Himself only knows. Be thankful to God, therefore, that the bruised reed is not broken, that though you are faint, still you are pursuing, that though you are very weak in the limb and cannot run hard in this uphill race, your eyes are fixed in the right quarter; and the fixing and sparkling of your eye has a meaning which God's heart knows well.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

WEB: To Adam he said, "Because you have listened to your wife's voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.

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