“When I was at Venice in 1876—it is about the only thing that makes me now content in having gone there—two English ladies, mother and daughter, were staying at the same hotel, the “Europa.” One day the mother sent me a pretty little note asking if I would look at the young lady’s drawings.
On my somewhat sulky permission, a few were sent, in which I saw there was extremely right-minded and careful work, almost totally without knowledge. I sent back a request that the young lady might be allowed to come out sketching with me. She seemed to learn everything the instant she was shown it, and ever so much more than she was taught.”
Ruskin did not believe that ladies could paint before he met Trotter. He changed his mind after he met her, and believed that if she would give her life to painting she could become the greatest painter of the nineteenth century. Ruskin believed that if she would devote herself to art “she would be the greatest living painter and do things that would be immortal.” He was unhappy that she was spending so much time on the streets of London, helping with the YWCA when he thought she ought to be painting.
Trotter, however, decided to give up her career in art in order to serve God. She always remained a good friend of Ruskin’s though, and they wrote many letters when she was in Algeria.
About this decision Trotter wrote many years later:
“Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen good harmless worlds at once—art, music, social science, games, motoring, the following of some profession, and so on. And between them we run the risk of drifting about, the “good” hiding the “best.”
It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Dare to have it out with God. . . and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His glory.”
Act or Process?
is it an act, or a gradual process, this “putting off the old man”? It is both. It is a resolve taken once for all, but carried out in detail day by day. From the first hour that the layer of separation begins to form in the leaf-stalk, the leaf’s fate is sealed: there is never a moment’s reversal of the decision. Each day that follows is a steady carrying out of the plant purpose: “this old leaf shall die, and the new leaf shall live.” So with your soul. Come to the decision once for all: “Every known sin shall go–if there is a deliverance to be had, I will have it.” Put the Cross of Christ, in its mysterious delivering power, irrevocably between you and sinning, and hold on there. That is your part, and you must do it.”
“The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:10-11 (1)