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Seeing, Hearing, Seeing Nothing at All

The Puritans used to speak of “constancy,” a word that has largely fallen out of use since then. It speaks of faithfulness and endurance and dependability—character traits of the Christian. The Puritans admired those who were constant, those who endured through all the trials of this life. They cared less for extraordinary acts and more for a life of quiet, consistent faithfulness.

As I researched that word, I came across a wonderful little poem—a sad but hopeful one that has been translated from French to English. It is the poem of one who has seen constancy in others and has had his heart moved by it.

In this great fire, the great patience
Which in dying makes the soldier a conqueror,
Moves in me the eye, the ear, and the heart,
When I see , when I hear, when I think about it.

I see suffering with joy and constancy,
I hear loud singing in extreme pain,
I think then of the greatness of God,
Who shines in the darkness of human weakness.

If you want therefore to profit in hearing,
It is not enough to both see and to hear,
For in thought is the fullness of usefulness,
And whoever comes to this place.
To see, to hear, and not to think,
Seeing, hearing, he sees nothing at all.

From a book by Chandieu, entitled Persecution et martyrs de l’Eglise de Paris. Published in Lyon in 1563. (source)