Taking Care of the Stone

What’s all this talk of taking care of stones? Is that like a pet rock?

Well, actually, no.

While in seminary I had read that Charles Simeon (minister of Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge) exhorted his students to “mind the three-mile marker.” I lost the exact quote years ago. However, “minding the three-mile marker” became a rallying cry of sorts to not neglect exercise. Simeon, an exercise enthusiast himself, often swam in the Cam River (which could not have been very clean) and was regularly seen walking the countryside of Cambridgeshire — in particular the three-mile walk to the stone and back. For the Christian and the “reading man,” one must remember that we are embodied souls. To neglect the care of the body and to deny one’s physicality (that the physical world is real) is to fall into pseudo-Gnostic error.

Thinking of stones and weighty matters moved me to locate the quote of Charles Simeon which has provided such help over the last 15 years. I am please to provide it in its entirety here.

“It is your duty to God to work hard at the studies which belong to the University. Hard regular study is the best discipline which your minds can have, and the most likely to fit your characters to usefulness in the ministry, if you are called to that office. But act wisely. Remember to give your hearts to God in the way of this duty. Use common wisdom also. Your success in the Senate House [picture to the left] depends much on the care you take of the three mile stone out of Cambridge. If you go every day and see no one has taken it away, and go quite round it to watch lest any one has damaged its farthest side, you will be best able to read steadily all the time you are at Cambridge. If you neglect it, woe betide your degree. Exercise, constant, regular, and ample, is absolutely essential to a reading man’s success.”

May 15, 1829
Charles Simeon

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