If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? and if in the land of peace…
We condole with ourselves about troubles which are nothing but passing inconveniences; pin pricks are crucifixions. The fact is we bewail ourselves so continually and piercingly because we have little or no real trouble. Consider the sorrows of your neighbours, the misfortunes and crushing trials of your friends, and, in comparison, your troubles are absurd. Landsmen crossing the sea are full of anxiety and protest if only a slight breeze rock the ship; they are in anguish as if they suffered shipwreck; but the old salt, who has known the wrath of the ocean, smiles at their fretfulness and fear: and our neighbours and friends, who know what trouble is, listen with a compassionate smile to the glib recital of our toy tragedies. Our lamentations over this, that, or the other trifle, are convincing proof that we are well off; one genuine misfortune, one shattering thunderbolt, would hush our woeful tale. In the meantime we make more ado about a crumpled rose leaf than thousands of noble men and women do about a crown of thorns. The age in which we live tends to intensify sensitiveness, and we need to be on our guard against magnifying molehills into mountains and thistles into forests. We are taken care of on every side, our thousand artificial wants are promptly and ingeniously met, we have facilities and luxuries innumerable, until we become hypersensitive, and feel ourselves martyrs if the wind blows a little hot or cold, if we suffer toothache, or are overtaken by "the pleasant trouble of the rain." The habit of observing these shallow troubles, nursing them, talking about them, making fax more of them than we justly ought to make, is to be carefully watched. It tends to impair the largeness, strength, and heroism of the soul, and to leave us unfortified against the real trials which most likely await us a little farther on. If the footmen weary us, how shall we contend with horses? A calm, wise, reticent way of bearing ordinary irritations, annoyances, and misfortunes will discipline and brace us to play our part worthily when we must battle with the avalanche, earthquake, and flood.
(W. L. Watkinson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?