The Beauty of Jesus—George Elliot


A few years ago, a family member gave me a book called, The Beauty of Jesus (published in 1904).  It is a compilation of sermons preached by Reverend George Elliott in the Central Methodist Episcopal Church, Detroit, Michigan.  Since receiving the book, it has sat on a bookshelf.  But I found that the title caught my eye every time I walked in the room.

Last month, I couldn’t ignore the draw to this book any longer and started reading it.  The reward was immediate.  Elliott had a real sense of what makes Jesus beautiful—“This is the beauty of the glorified Lord, who, having been made ‘perfect through suffering,’ has now shined in human hearts through the effusion of the Spirit.”  He is focused on the beauty of Christ’s suffering love and our participation in Him.

Below are a few quotes that I’ve enjoyed so far.  I pray they will bless you as well.


We are called to be ‘crucified with Christ,’ called to the ‘fellowship of His sufferings.’  He has set up His cross in the pathway of our dearest longings and most ardent desires; our selfishness turns away from His sad features to the smiling welcome of the god of this world.

Even those who profess discipleship are lukewarm in His service and shirk His utmost demands.  He asks so much, and seems to promise so little.  He asserts His right, and offers no pleasures in return.  The Church too often tries to hide the cross.  It has tampered with the Gospel, and painted a meretricious and sensuous heaven; it has glossed over the hard sayings of the Master, and explained away the mountain teaching and the cross example.

We can not save the man next to us, unless we can bring him a gospel great enough to save a world.  There is no salvation from sin that is not salvation from selfishness.

To know Jesus by faith is to enter a life actually lived, and yet one which transcends all earth lines; it is an eternal life.  It is found at its highest in sacrifice.  The patriot, parent, and lover, all have known it.  In that one transcendent moment, when self was lost in the passion of a great devotion and self-surrender, the soul lived a life higher than all beating pulses or gladest sensation.  Life was found in its loss.

He who is in Christ does not so much go to heaven as live there already.  We may be now in the heavenly places; the risen life is ‘hid with Christ in God.’ […] It is not more time that we need, but more life.  More days of the same poor earthly kind would be but misery.  Mere immortality in the sense of duration would be a doubtful good.  We need not a longer but a larger life.

Regeneration is true resurrection.  Conversion leads to a new creation.  It is no patchwork of repair, but a renewal.  It is not written, ‘You hath He reformed,’ but ‘You hath He quickened.’  Nor is it culture that we need; that only makes of man a handsomer corpse.  Death calls not for instruction, but deliverance.  We need not to be taught again, but to be ‘born again.’  For flying we must have not a fatter caterpillar feeding on its cabbage-leaf, but a brilliant butterfly among the burning roses.  Nor is it correctness of outward conduct, which is sometimes called morality, which is implied in the new life.  That is the cold-storage, embalmed-beef idea, applied to character.  It preserves from spoiling, but it is the fixity of death.  No formalism can simulate life; no orthodoxy can be a substitute for it.  ‘They talk of morals, O Thou bleeding Lamb!  The true morality is love of Thee.’

4 Comments Add yours

  1. People of previous generations had a wonderful vocabulary and knew how to use it to inspire. Today’s society speaks with symbols and abbreviations and is destroying our beautiful language and what it can impart. Thank you for passing this on.

    1. mrteague says:

      I absolutely agree. Elliott’s sermons are full of poetry. He frequently uses images that are as striking as they are accurate. It is truly a pleasure to read. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  2. Steve says:

    I too have this book and treasure it dearly. Such a wordsmith with the imagery his words provides such a profound feeling that I frequently read this book.

    1. mrteague says:

      Wordsmith is right! His writing is as poetic as true. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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