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Title: The Greatest Thing In the World and Other Addresses
Author: Drummond, Henry, 1851-1897
Language: English
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The Greatest Thing
In the World
And Other Addresses



Fleming H. Revell Company

Copyrighted 1891 and 1898
By Fleming H. Revell Company.

Printed in the United States of America



LESSONS FROM THE ANGELUS                             35

PAX VOBISCUM                                         44

FIRST! AN ADDRESS TO BOYS                            70


DEALING WITH DOUBT                                  113


I was staying with a party of friends in a country house during my
visit to England in 1884. On Sunday evening as we sat around the fire,
they asked me to read and expound some portion of Scripture. Being
tired after the services of the day, I told them to ask Henry
Drummond, who was one of the party. After some urging he drew a small
Testament from his hip pocket, opened it at the 13th chapter of I
Corinthians, and began to speak on the subject of Love.

It seemed to me that I had never heard anything so beautiful, and I
determined not to rest until I brought Henry Drummond to Northfield to
deliver that address. Since then I have requested the principals of my
schools to have it read before the students every year. The one great
need in our Christian life is love, more love to God and to each
other. Would that we could all move into that Love chapter, and live

This volume contains, in addition to the address on Love, some other
addresses which I trust will bring help and blessing to many.

(signed) D.L. Moody.



Every one has asked himself the great question of antiquity as of the
modern world: What is the _summum bonum_--the supreme good? You have
life before you. Once only you can live it. What is the noblest object
of desire, the supreme gift to covet?

We have been accustomed to be told that the greatest thing in the
religious world is Faith. That great word has been the key-note for
centuries of the popular religion; and we have easily learned to look
upon it as the greatest thing in the world. Well, we are wrong. If we
have been told that, we may miss the mark. In the 13th chapter of I
Corinthians, Paul takes us to


and there we see, "The greatest of these is love."

It is not an oversight. Paul was speaking of faith just a moment
before. He says, "If I have all faith, so that I can remove mountains,
and have not love, I am nothing." So far from forgetting, he
deliberately contrasts them, "Now abideth Faith, Hope, Love," and
without a moment's hesitation the decision falls, "The greatest of
these is Love."

And it is not prejudice. A man is apt to recommend to others his own
strong point. Love was not Paul's strong point. The observing student
can detect a beautiful tenderness growing and ripening all through his
character as Paul gets old; but the hand that wrote, "The greatest of
these is love," when we meet it first, is stained with blood.

Nor is this letter to the Corinthians peculiar in singling out love as
the _summum bonum_. The masterpieces of Christianity are agreed about
it. Peter says, "Above all things have fervent love among yourselves."
_Above all things._ And John goes farther, "God is love."

You remember the profound remark which Paul makes elsewhere, "Love is
the fulfilling of the law." Did you ever think what he meant by that?
In those days men were working the passage to Heaven by keeping the
Ten Commandments, and the hundred and ten other commandments which
they had manufactured out of them. Christ came and said, "I will show
you a more simple way. If you do one thing, you will do these hundred
and ten things, without ever thinking about them. If you _love_, you
will unconsciously fulfill the whole law."

You can readily see for yourselves how that must be so. Take any of
the commandments. "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." If a man
love God, you will not require to tell him that. Love is the
fulfilling of that law. "Take not His name in vain." Would he ever
dream of taking His name in vain if he loved him? "Remember the
Sabbath day to keep it holy." Would he not be too glad to have one day
in seven to dedicate more exclusively to the object of his affection?
Love would fulfill all these laws regarding God.

And so, if he loved man, you would never think of telling him to honor
his father and mother. He could not do anything else. It would be
preposterous to tell him not to kill. You could only insult him if you
suggested that he should not steal--how could he steal from those he
loved? It would be superfluous to beg him not to bear false witness
against his neighbor. If he loved him it would be the last thing he
would do. And you would never dream of urging him not to covet what
his neighbors had. He would rather they possessed it than himself. In
this way "Love is the fulfilling of the law." It is the rule for
fulfilling all rules, the new commandment for keeping all the old
commandments, Christ's one


Now Paul has learned that; and in this noble eulogy he has given us
the most wonderful and original account extant of the _summum bonum_.
We may divide it into three parts. In the beginning of the short
chapter we have Love _contrasted_; in the heart of it, we have Love
_analyzed_; toward the end, we have Love _defended_ as the supreme


Paul begins by contrasting Love with other things that men in those
days thought much of. I shall not attempt to go over these things in
detail. Their inferiority is already obvious.

He contrasts it with _eloquence_. And what a noble gift it is, the
power of playing upon the souls and wills of men, and rousing them to
lofty purposes and holy deeds! Paul says, "If I speak with the tongues
of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become sounding brass,
or a tinkling cymbal." We all know why. We have all felt the
brazenness of words without emotion, the hollowness, the unaccountable
unpersuasiveness, of eloquence behind which lies no Love.

He contrasts it with _prophecy_. He contrasts it with _mysteries_. He
contrasts it with _faith_. He contrasts it with _charity_. Why is Love
greater than faith? Because the end is greater than the means. And why
is it greater than charity? Because the whole is greater than the

Love is greater than _faith_, because the end is greater than the
means. What is the use of having faith? It is to connect the soul with
God. And what is the object of connecting man with God? That he may
become like God. But God is Love. Hence Faith, the means, is in order
to Love, the end. Love, therefore, obviously is greater than faith.
"If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I
am nothing."

It is greater than _charity_, again, because the whole is greater than
a part. Charity is only a little bit of Love, one of the innumerable
avenues of Love, and there may even be, and there is, a great deal of
charity without Love. It is a very easy thing to toss a copper to a
beggar on the street; it is generally an easier thing than not to do
it. Yet Love is just as often in the withholding. We purchase relief
from the sympathetic feelings roused by the spectacle of misery, at
the copper's cost. It is too cheap--too cheap for us, and often too
dear for the beggar. If we really loved him we would either do more
for him, or less. Hence, "If I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,
but have not love it profiteth me nothing."

Then Paul contrasts it with _sacrifice_ and martyrdom: "If I give my
body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing."
Missionaries can take nothing greater to the heathen world than the
impress and reflection of the Love of God upon their own character.
That is the universal language. It will take them years to speak in
Chinese, or in the dialects of India. From the day they land, that
language of Love, understood by all, will be pouring forth its
unconscious eloquence.

It is the man who is the missionary, it is not his words. His
character is his message. In the heart of Africa, among the great
Lakes, I have come across black men and women who remembered the only
white man they ever saw before--David Livingstone; and as you cross
his footsteps in that dark continent,


as they speak of the kind doctor who passed there years ago. They
could not understand him; but they felt the love that beat in his
heart. They knew that it was love, although he spoke no word.

Take into your sphere of labor, where you also mean to lay down your
life, that simple charm, and your lifework must succeed. You can take
nothing greater, you need take nothing less. You may take every
accomplishment; you may be braced for every sacrifice; but if you give
your body to be burned, and have not Love, it will profit you and the
cause of Christ _nothing_.


After contrasting Love with these things, Paul, in three verses, very
short, gives us an amazing analysis of what this supreme thing is.

I ask you to look at it. It is a compound thing, he tells us. It is
like light. As you have seen a man of science take a beam of light and
pass it through a crystal prism, as you have seen it come out on the
other side of the prism broken up into its component colors--red, and
blue, and yellow, and violet, and orange, and all the colors of the
rainbow--so Paul passes this thing, Love, through the magnificent
prism of his inspired intellect, and it comes out on the other side
broken up into its elements.

In these few words we have what one might call


the analysis of Love. Will you observe what its elements are? Will you
notice that they have common names; that they are virtues which we
hear about every day; that they are things which can be practised by
every man in every place in life; and how, by a multitude of small
things and ordinary virtues, the supreme thing, the _summum bonum_, is
made up?

The Spectrum of Love has nine ingredients:

Patience            "Love suffereth long."
Kindness            "And is kind."
Generosity          "Love envieth not."
Humility            "Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up."
Courtesy            "Doth not behave itself unseemly."
Unselfishness       "Seeketh not its own."
Good temper         "Is not provoked."
Guilelessness       "Taketh not account of evil."
Sincerity           "Rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth
                     with the truth."

Patience; kindness; generosity; humility; courtesy; unselfishness;
good temper; guilelessness; sincerity--these make up the supreme
gift, the stature of the perfect man.

You will observe that all are in relation to men, in relation to life,
in relation to the known to-day and the near to-morrow, and not to the
unknown eternity. We hear much of love to God; Christ spoke much of
love to man. We make a great deal of peace with heaven; Christ made
much of peace on earth. Religion is not a strange or added thing, but
the inspiration of the secular life, the breathing of an eternal
spirit through this temporal world. The supreme thing, in short, is
not a thing at all, but the giving of a further finish to the
multitudinous words and acts which make up the sum of every common

_Patience_. This is the normal attitude of love; Love passive, Love
waiting to begin; not in a hurry; calm; ready to do its work when the
summons comes, but meantime wearing the ornament of a meek and quiet
spirit. Love suffers long; beareth all things; believeth all things;
hopeth all things. For Love understands, and therefore waits.

_Kindness_. Love active. Have you ever noticed how much of Christ's
life was spent in doing kind things--in _merely_ doing kind things?
Run over it with that in view, and you will find that He spent a great
proportion of His time simply in making people happy, in


to people. There is only one thing greater than happiness in the
world, and that is holiness; and it is not in our keeping; but what
God _has_ put in our power is the happiness of those about us, and
that is largely to be secured by our being kind to them.

"The greatest thing," says some one, "a man can do for his Heavenly
Father is to be kind to some of His other children." I wonder why it
is that we are not all kinder than we are? How much the world needs
it! How easily it is done! How instantaneously it acts! How infallibly
it is remembered! How superabundantly it pays itself back--for there
is no debtor in the world so honorable, so superbly honorable, as
Love. "Love never faileth." Love is success, Love is happiness, Love
is life. "Love," I say with Browning, "is energy of life."

    "For life, with all it yields of joy or woe
    And hope and fear,
    Is just our chance o' the prize of learning love,--
    How love might be, hath been indeed, and is."

Where Love is, God is. He that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God. God
is Love. Therefore _love_. Without distinction, without calculation,
without procrastination, love. Lavish it upon the poor, where it is
very easy; especially upon the rich, who often need it most; most of
all upon our equals, where it is very difficult, and for whom perhaps
we each do least of all. There is a difference between _trying to
please_ and _giving pleasure_. Give pleasure. Lose no chance of giving
pleasure; for that is the ceaseless and anonymous triumph of a truly
loving spirit. "I shall pass through this world but once. Any good
thing, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to
any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it,
for I shall not pass this way again."

_Generosity_. "Love envieth not." This is love in competition with
others. Whenever you attempt a good work you will find other men
doing the same kind of work, and probably doing it better. Envy them
not. Envy is a feeling of ill-will to those who are in the same line
as ourselves, a spirit of covetousness and detraction. How little
Christian work even is a protection against un-Christian feeling! That
most despicable of all the unworthy moods which cloud a Christian's
soul assuredly waits for us on the threshold of every work, unless we
are fortified with this grace of magnanimity. Only one thing truly
need the Christian envy--the large, rich, generous soul which "envieth

And then, after having learned all that, you have to learn this
further thing, _Humility_--to put a seal upon your lips and forget
what you have done. After you have been kind, after Love has stolen
forth into the world and done its beautiful work, go back into the
shade again and say nothing about it. Love hides even from itself.
Love waives even self-satisfaction. "Love vaunteth not itself, is not
puffed up." Humility--love hiding.

The fifth ingredient is a somewhat strange one to find in this _summum
bonum_: _Courtesy_. This is Love in society, Love in relation to
etiquette. "Love does not behave itself unseemly."

Politeness has been defined as love in trifles. Courtesy is said to be
love in little things. And the one secret of politeness is to love.

Love _cannot_ behave itself unseemly. You can put the most untutored
persons into the highest society, and if they have a reservoir of Love
in their heart they will not behave themselves unseemly. They simply
cannot do it. Carlisle said of Robert Burns that there was no truer
gentleman in Europe than the ploughman-poet. It was because he loved
everything--the mouse, and the daisy, and all the things, great and
small, that God had made. So with this simple passport he could mingle
with any society, and enter courts and palaces from his little cottage
on the banks of the Ayr.

You know the meaning of the word "gentleman." It means a gentle man--a
man who does things gently, with love. That is the whole art and
mystery of it. The gentle man cannot in the nature of things do an
ungentle, an ungentlemanly thing. The ungentle soul, the
inconsiderate, unsympathetic nature, cannot do anything else. "Love
doth not behave itself unseemly."

_Unselfishness._ "Love seeketh not her own." Observe: Seeketh not even
that which is her own. In Britain the Englishman is devoted, and
rightly, to his rights. But there come times when a man may exercise


of giving up his rights.

Yet Paul does not summon us to give up our rights. Love strikes much
deeper. It would have us not seek them at all, ignore them, eliminate
the personal element altogether from our calculations.

It is not hard to give up our rights. They are often eternal. The
difficult thing is to give up _ourselves_. The more difficult thing
still is not to seek things for ourselves at all. After we have sought
them, bought them, won them, deserved them, we have taken the cream
off them for ourselves already. Little cross then to give them up. But
not to seek them, to look every man not on his own things, but on the
things of others--that is the difficulty. "Seekest thou great things
for thyself?" said the prophet; "_seek them not_." Why? Because there
is no greatness in _things_. Things cannot be great. The only
greatness is unselfish love. Even self-denial in itself is nothing, is
almost a mistake. Only a great purpose or a mightier love can justify
the waste.

It is more difficult, I have said, not to seek our own at all than,
having sought it, to give it up. I must take that back. It is only
true of a partly selfish heart. Nothing is a hardship to Love, and
nothing is hard. I believe that Christ's "yoke" is easy. Christ's yoke
is just His way of taking life. And I believe it is an easier way than
any other. I believe it is a happier way than any other. The most
obvious lesson in Christ's teaching is that there is no happiness in
having and getting anything, but only in giving. I repeat, _there is
no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving_. Half the
world is on the wrong scent in pursuit of happiness. They think it
consists in having and getting, and in being served by others. It
consists in giving, and in serving others. "He that would be great
among you," said Christ, "let him serve." He that would be happy, let
him remember that there is but one way--"it is more blessed, it is
more happy, to give than to receive."

The next ingredient is a very remarkable one: _Good temper._ "Love is
not provoked."

Nothing could be more striking than to find this here. We are inclined
to look upon bad temper as a very harmless weakness. We speak of it as
a mere infirmity of nature, a family failing, a matter of temperament,
not a thing to take into very serious account in estimating a man's
character. And yet here, right in the heart of this analysis of love,
it finds a place; and the Bible again and again returns to condemn it
as one of the most destructive elements in human nature.

The peculiarity of ill temper is that it is the vice of the virtuous.
It is often the one blot on an otherwise noble character. You know men
who are all but perfect, and women who would be entirely perfect, but
for an easily ruffled, quick-tempered, or "touchy" disposition. This
compatibility of ill temper with high moral character is one of the
strangest and saddest problems of ethics. The truth is, there are two
great classes of sins--sins of the _Body_ and sins of the
_Disposition_. The Prodigal Son may be taken as a type of the first,
the Elder Brother of the second. Now, society has no doubt whatever as
to which of these is the worse. Its brand falls, without a challenge,
upon the Prodigal. But are we right? We have no balance to weigh one
another's sins, and coarser and finer are but human words; but faults
in the higher nature may be less venal than those in the lower, and to
the eye of Him who is Love, a sin against Love may seem a hundred
times more base. No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold,
not drunkenness itself, does more to un-Christianize society than evil
temper. For embittering life, for breaking up communities, for
destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for
withering up men and women, for taking the bloom of childhood, in


this influence stands alone.

Look at the Elder Brother--moral, hard-working, patient, dutiful--let
him get all credit for his virtues--look at this man, this baby,
sulking outside his own father's door. "He was angry," we read, "and
would not go in." Look at the effect upon the father, upon the
servants, upon the happiness of the guests. Judge of the effect upon
the Prodigal--and how many prodigals are kept out of the Kingdom of
God by the unlovely character of those who profess to be inside.
Analyze, as a study in Temper, the thunder-cloud itself as it gathers
upon the Elder Brother's brow. What is it made of? Jealousy, anger,
pride, uncharity, cruelty, self-righteousness, touchiness, doggedness,
sullenness--these are the ingredients of this dark and loveless soul.
In varying proportions, also, these are the ingredients of all ill
temper. Judge if such sins of the disposition are not worse to live
in, and for others to live with, than the sins of the body. Did Christ
indeed not answer the question Himself when He said, "I say unto you
that the publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of Heaven
before you"? There is really no place in heaven for a disposition like
this. A man with such a mood could only make heaven miserable for all
the people in it. Except, therefore, such a man be

          BORN AGAIN,

he cannot, simply _cannot_, enter the kingdom of heaven.

You will see then why Temper is significant. It is not in what it is
alone, but in what it reveals. This is why I speak of it with such
unusual plainness. It is a test for love, a symptom, a revelation of
an unloving nature at bottom. It is the intermittent fever which
bespeaks unintermittent disease within; the occasional bubble
escaping to the surface which betrays some rottenness underneath; a
sample of the most hidden products of the soul dropped involuntarily
when off one's guard; in a word, the lightning form of a hundred
hideous and un-Christian sins. A want of patience, a want of kindness,
a want of generosity, a want of courtesy, a want of unselfishness, are
all instantaneously symbolized in one flash of Temper.

Hence it is not enough to deal with the Temper. We must go to the
source, and change the inmost nature, and the angry humors will die
away of themselves. Souls are made sweet not by taking the acid fluids
out, but by putting something in--a great Love, a new Spirit, the
Spirit of Christ. Christ, the Spirit of Christ, interpenetrating ours,
sweetens, purifies, transforms all. This only can eradicate what is
wrong, work a chemical change, renovate and regenerate, and
rehabilitate the inner man. Will-power does not change men. Time does
not change men.

          CHRIST DOES.

Therefore, "Let that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."

Some of us have not much time to lose. Remember, once more, that this
is a matter of life or death. I cannot help speaking urgently, for
myself, for yourselves. "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones,
which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were
hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the
sea." That is to say, it is the deliberate verdict of the Lord Jesus
that it is better not to live than not to love. _It is better not to
live than not to love._

_Guilelessness_ and _Sincerity_ may be dismissed almost without a
word. Guilelessness is the grace for suspicious people. The possession
of it is


You will find, if you think for a moment, that the people who
influence you are people who believe in you. In an atmosphere of
suspicion men shrivel up; but in that atmosphere they expand, and find
encouragement and educative fellowship.

It is a wonderful thing that here and there in this hard, uncharitable
world there should still be left a few rare souls who think no evil.
This is the great unworldliness. Love "thinketh no evil," imputes no
motive, sees the bright side, puts the best construction on every
action. What a delightful state of mind to live in! What a stimulus
and benediction even to meet with it for a day! To be trusted is to be
saved. And if we try to influence or elevate others, we shall soon see
that success is in proportion to their belief of our belief in them.
The respect of another is the first restoration of the self-respect a
man has lost; our ideal of what he is becomes to him the hope and
pattern of what he may become.

"Love rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth."
I have called this _Sincerity_ from the words rendered in the
Authorized Version by "rejoiceth in the truth." And, certainly, were
this the real translation, nothing could be more just; for he who
loves will love Truth not less than men. He will rejoice in the
Truth--rejoice not in what he has been taught to believe; not in this
church's doctrine or in that; not in this ism or in that ism; but "in
_the Truth_." He will accept only what is real; he will strive to get
at facts; he will search for _Truth_ with a humble and unbiased mind,
and cherish whatever he finds at any sacrifice. But the more literal
translation of the Revised Version calls for just such a sacrifice for
truth's sake here. For what Paul really meant is, as we there read,
"Rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth," a
quality which probably no one English word--and certainly not
_Sincerity_--adequately defines. It includes, perhaps more strictly,
the self-restraint which refuses to make capital out of others'
faults; the charity which delights not in exposing the weakness of
others, but "covereth all things"; the sincerity of purpose which
endeavors to see things as they are, and rejoices to find them better
than suspicion feared or calumny denounced.

So much for the analysis of Love. Now the business of our lives is to
have these things fitted into our characters. That is the supreme work
to which we need to address ourselves in this world, to learn Love. Is
life not full of opportunities for learning Love? Every man and woman
every day has a thousand of them. The world is not a playground; it is
a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education. And


for us all is _how better we can love_.

What makes a man a good cricketer? Practice. What makes a man a good
artist, a good sculptor, a good musician? Practice. What makes a man a
good linguist, a good stenographer? Practice. What makes a man a good
man? Practice. Nothing else. There is nothing capricious about
religion. We do not get the soul in different ways, under different
laws, from those in which we get the body and the mind. If a man does
not exercise his arm he develops no biceps muscle; and if a man does
not exercise his soul, he acquires no muscle in his soul, no strength
of character, no vigor of moral fibre, no beauty of spiritual growth.
Love is not a thing of enthusiastic emotion. It is a rich, strong,
manly, vigorous expression of the whole round Christian character--the
Christlike nature in its fullest development. And the constituents of
this great character are only to be built up by


What was Christ doing in the carpenter's shop? Practising. Though
perfect, we read that He _learned_ obedience, and grew in wisdom and
in favor with God. Do not quarrel, therefore, with your lot in life.
Do not complain of its never-ceasing cares, its petty environment, the
vexations you have to stand, the small and sordid souls you have to
live and work with. Above all, do not resent temptation; do not be
perplexed because it seems to thicken round you more and more, and
ceases neither for effort nor for agony nor prayer. That is your
practice. That is the practice which God appoints you; and it is
having its work in making you patient, and humble, and generous, and
unselfish, and kind, and courteous. Do not grudge the hand that is
moulding the still too shapeless image within you. It is growing more
beautiful, though you see it not; and every touch of temptation may
add to its perfection. Therefore keep in the midst of life. Do not
isolate yourself. Be among men and among things, and among troubles,
and difficulties, and obstacles. You remember Goethe's words: "Talent
develops itself in solitude; character in the stream of life." Talent
develops itself in solitude--the talent of prayer, of faith, of
meditation, of seeing the unseen; character grows in the stream of the
world's life. That chiefly is where men are to learn love.

How? Now, how? To make it easier, I have named a few of the elements
of love. But these are only elements. Love itself can never be
defined. Light is a something more than the sum of its ingredients--a
glowing, dazzling, tremulous ether. And love is something more than
all its elements--a palpitating, quivering, sensitive, living thing.
By synthesis of all the colors, men can make whiteness, they cannot
make light. By synthesis of all the virtues, men can make virtue, they
cannot make love. How then are we to have this transcendent living
whole conveyed into our souls? We brace our wills to secure it. We try
to copy those who have it. We lay down rules about it. We watch. We
pray. But these things alone will not bring love into our nature. Love
is an _effect_. And only as we fulfill the right condition can we have
the effect produced. Shall I tell you what the _cause_ is?

If you turn to the Revised Version of the First Epistle of John you
find these words: "We love because He first loved us." "We love," not
"We love _Him_." That is the way the old version has it, and it is
quite wrong. "_We love_--because He first loved us." Look at that word
"because." It is the _cause_ of which I have spoken. "_Because_ He
first loved us," the effect follows that we love, we love Him, we love
all men. We cannot help it. Because He loved us, we love, we love
everybody. Our heart is slowly changed. Contemplate the love of
Christ, and you will love. Stand before that mirror, reflect Christ's
character, and you will be changed into the same image from tenderness
to tenderness. There is no other way. You cannot love to order. You
can only look at the lovely object, and fall in love with it, and grow
into likeness to it. And so look at this Perfect Character, this
Perfect Life. Look at


as He laid down Himself, all through life, and upon the Cross of
Calvary; and you must love Him. And loving Him, you most become like
Him. Love begets love. It is a process of induction. Put a piece of
iron in the presence of an electrified body, and that piece of iron
for a time becomes electrified. It is changed into a temporary magnet
in the mere presence of a permanent magnet, and as long as you leave
the two side by side, they are both magnets alike. Remain side by side
with Him who loved us, and


and you, too, will become a permanent magnet, a permanently attractive
force; and like Him you will draw all men unto you, like Him you will
be drawn unto all men. That is the inevitable effect of Love. Any man
who fulfills that cause must have that effect produced in him.

Try to give up the idea that religion comes to us by chance, or by
mystery, or by caprice. It comes to us by natural law, or by
supernatural law, for all law is Divine.

Edward Irving went to see a dying boy once, and when he entered the
room he just put his hand on the sufferer's head, and said, "My boy,
God loves you," and went away. The boy started from his bed, and
called out to the people in the house,

"God loves me! God loves me!"

One word! It changed that boy. The sense that God loved him
overpowered him, melted him down, and began the creating of a new
heart in him. And that is how the love of God melts down the unlovely
heart in man, and begets in him the new creature, who is patient and
humble and gentle and unselfish. And there is no other way to get it.
There is no mystery about it. We love others, we love everybody, we
love our enemies, _because He first loved us_.


Now I have a closing sentence or two to add about Paul's reason for
singling out love as the supreme possession.

It is a very remarkable reason. In a single word it is this: _it
lasts._ "Love," urges Paul, "never faileth." Then he begins again one
of his marvelous lists of the great things of the day, and exposes
them one by one. He runs over the things that men thought were going
to last, and shows that they are all fleeting, temporary, passing

"Whether there be _prophecies_, they shall be done away." It was the
mother's ambition for her boy in those days that he should become a
prophet. For hundreds of years God had never spoken by means of any
prophet, and at that time the prophet was greater than the king. Men
waited wistfully for another messenger to come, and hung upon his lips
when he appeared, as upon the very voice of God. Paul says, "Whether
there be prophecies, they shall fail." The Bible is full of
prophecies. One by one they have "failed"; that is, having been
fulfilled, their work is finished; they have nothing more to do now in
the world except to feed a devout man's faith.

Then Paul talks about _tongues_. That was another thing that was
greatly coveted. "Whether there be tongues, they shall cease." As we
all know, many many centuries have passed since tongues have been
known in this world. They have ceased. Take it in any sense you like.
Take it, for illustration merely, as languages in general--a sense
which was not in Paul's mind at all, and which though it cannot give
us the specific lesson, will point the general truth. Consider the
words in which these chapters were written--Greek. It has gone. Take
the Latin--the other great tongue of those days. It ceased long ago.
Look at the Indian language. It is ceasing. The language of Wales, of
Ireland, of the Scottish Highlands is dying before our eyes. The most
popular book in the English tongue at the present time, except the
Bible, is one of Dickens' works, his _Pickwick Papers_. It is largely
written in the language of London street-life; and experts assure us
that in fifty years it will be unintelligible to the average English

Then Paul goes farther, and with even greater boldness adds, "Whether
there be _knowledge_, it shall be done away." The wisdom of the
ancients, where is it? It is wholly gone. A schoolboy to-day knows
more than Sir Isaac Newton knew; his knowledge has vanished away. You
put yesterday's newspaper in the fire: its knowledge has vanished
away. You buy the old editions of the great encyclopædias for a few
cents: their knowledge has vanished away. Look how the coach has been
superseded by the use of steam. Look how electricity has superseded
that, and swept a hundred almost new inventions into oblivion. One of
the greatest living authorities, Sir William Thompson, said in
Scotland, at a meeting at which I was present, "The steam-engine is
passing away." "Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." At
every workshop you will see, in the back yard, a heap of old iron, a
few wheels, a few levers, a few cranks, broken and eaten with rust.
Twenty years ago that was the pride of the city. Men flocked in from
the country to see the great invention; now it is superseded, its day
is done. And all the boasted science and philosophy of this day will
soon be old.

In my time, in the university of Edinburgh, the greatest figure in the
faculty was Sir James Simpson, the discoverer of chloroform. Recently
his successor and nephew, Professor Simpson, was asked by the
librarian of the University to go to the library and pick out the
books on his subject (midwifery) that were no longer needed. His reply
to the librarian was this:

"Take every text-book that is more than ten years old and put it down
in the cellar."

Sir James Simpson was a great authority only a few years ago: men came
from all parts of the earth to consult him; and almost the whole
teaching of that time is consigned by the science of to-day to
oblivion. And in every branch of science it is the same. "Now we know
in part. We see through a glass darkly." Knowledge does not last.

Can you tell me anything that is going to last? Many things Paul did
not condescend to name. He did not mention money, fortune, fame; but
he picked out the great things of his time, the things the best men
thought had something in them, and brushed them peremptorily aside.
Paul had no charge against these things in themselves. All he said
about them was that they would not last. They were great things, but
not supreme things. There were things beyond them. What we are
stretches past what we do, beyond what we possess. Many things that
men denounce as sins are not sins; but they are temporary. And that is
a favorite argument of the New Testament. John says of the world, not
that it is wrong, but simply that it "passeth away." There is a great
deal in the world that is delightful and beautiful; there is a great
deal in it that is great and engrossing; but

          IT WILL NOT LAST.

All that is in the world, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh,
and the pride of life, are but for a little while. Love not the world
therefore. Nothing that it contains is worth the life and consecration
of an immortal soul. The immortal soul must give itself to something
that is immortal. And the only immortal things are these: "Now abideth
faith, hope, love, but the greatest of these is love."

Some think the time may come when two of these three things will also
pass away--faith into sight, hope into fruition. Paul does not say so.
We know but little now about the conditions of the life that is to
come. But what is certain is that Love must last. God, the Eternal
God, is Love. Covet, therefore, that everlasting gift, that one thing
which it is certain is going to stand, that one coinage which will be
current in the Universe when all the other coinages of all the
nations of the world shall be useless and unhonored. You will give
yourselves to many things, give yourself first to Love. Hold things in
their proportion. _Hold things in their proportion._ Let at least the
first great object of our lives be to achieve the character defended
in these words, the character--and it is the character of
Christ--which is built round Love.

I have said this thing is eternal. Did you ever notice how continually
John associates love and faith with eternal life? I was not told when
I was a boy that "God so loved the world that He gave His
only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should have
everlasting life." What I was told, I remember, was, that God so loved
the world that, if I trusted in Him, I was to have a thing called
peace, or I was to have rest, or I was to have joy, or I was to have
safety. But I had to find out for myself that whosoever trusteth in
Him--that is, whosoever loveth Him, for trust is only the avenue to


The Gospel offers a man a life. Never offer a man a thimbleful of
Gospel. Do not offer them merely joy, or merely peace, or merely rest,
or merely safety; tell them how Christ came to give men a more
abundant life than they have, a life abundant in love, and therefore
abundant in salvation for themselves, and large in enterprise for the
alleviation and redemption of the world. Then only can the Gospel take
hold of the whole of a man, body, soul and spirit, and give to each
part of his nature its exercise and reward. Many of the current
Gospels are addressed only to a part of man's nature. They offer
peace, not life; faith, not Love; justification, not regeneration. And
men slip back again from such religion because it has never really
held them. Their nature was not all in it. It offered no deeper and
gladder life-current than the life that was lived before. Surely it
stands to reason that only a fuller love can compete with the love of
the world.

To love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love forever is to
live forever. Hence, eternal life is inextricably bound up with love.
We want to live forever for the same reason that we want to live
to-morrow. Why do we want to live to-morrow? Is it because there is
some one who loves you, and whom you want to see to-morrow, and be
with, and love back? There is no other reason why we should live on
than that we love and are beloved. It is when a man has no one to love
him that he commits suicide. So long as he has friends, those who love
him and whom he loves, he will live, because to live is to love. Be it
but the love of a dog, it will keep him in life; but let that go, he
has no contact with life, no reason to live. He dies by his own hand.

Eternal life also is to know God, and God is love. This is Christ's
own definition. Ponder it. "This is life eternal, that they might know
Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." Love
must be eternal. It is what God is. On the last analysis, then, love
is life. Love never faileth, and life never faileth, so long as there
is love. That is the philosophy of what Paul is showing us; the reason
why in the nature of things Love should be the supreme thing--because
it is going to last; because in the nature of things it is an Eternal
Life. It is a thing that we are living now, not that we get when we
die; that we shall have a poor chance of getting when we die unless we
are living now.

          NO WORSE FATE

can befall a man in this world than to live and grow old alone,
unloving and unloved. To be lost is to live in an unregenerate
condition, loveless and unloved; and to be saved is to love; and he
that dwelleth in love dwelleth already in God. For God is Love.

Now I have all but finished. How many of you will join me in reading
this chapter once a week for the next three months? A man did that
once and it changed his whole life. Will you do it? It is for the
greatest thing in the world. You might begin by reading it every day,
especially the verses which describe the perfect character. "Love
suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not
itself." Get these ingredients into your life. Then everything that
you do is eternal. It is worth doing. It is worth giving time to. No
man can become a saint in his sleep; and to fulfill the condition
required demands a certain amount of prayer and meditation and time,
just as improvement in any direction, bodily or mental, requires
preparation and care. Address yourselves to that one thing; at any
cost have this transcendent character exchanged for yours.

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments that
stand out, the moments when you have really lived, are the moments
when you have done things in a spirit of love. As memory scans the
past, above and beyond all the transitory pleasures of life, there
leap forward those supreme hours when you have been enabled to do
unnoticed kindnesses to those round about you, things too trifling to
speak about, but which you feel have entered into your eternal life. I
have seen almost all the beautiful things God has made; I have enjoyed
almost every pleasure that He has planned for man; and yet as I look
back I see standing out above all the life that has gone four or five
short experiences, when the love of God reflected itself in some poor
imitation, some small act of love of mine, and these seem to be the
things which alone of all one's life abide. Everything else in all our
lives is transitory. Every other good is visionary. But the acts of
love which no man knows about, or can ever know about--they never

In the Book of Matthew, where the Judgment Day is depicted for us in
the imagery of One seated upon a throne and dividing the sheep from
the goats, the test of a man then is not, "How have I believed?" but
"How have I loved?" The test of religion, the final test of religion,
is not religiousness, but Love. I say the final test of religion at
that great Day is not religiousness, but Love; not what I have done,
not what I have believed, not what I have achieved, but how I have
discharged the common charities of life. Sins of commission in that
awful indictment are not even referred to. By what we have not done,
_by sins of omission_, we are judged. It could not be otherwise. For
the withholding of love is the negation of the spirit of Christ, the
proof that we never knew Him, that for us He lived in vain. It means
that He suggested nothing in all our thoughts, that He inspired
nothing in all our lives, that we were not once near enough to Him,
to be seized with the spell of His compassion for the world. It means

    "I lived for myself, I thought for myself,
    For myself, and none beside--
    Just as if Jesus had never lived,
    As if He had never died."

Thank God the Christianity of today is coming nearer the world's need.
Live to help that on. Thank God men know better, by a hair's breadth,
what religion is, what God is, who Christ is, where Christ is. Who is
Christ? He who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick.
And where is Christ? Where?--"Whoso shall receive a little child in My
name receiveth Me." And who are Christ's? "Every one that loveth is
born of God."


God often speaks to men's souls through music; He also speaks to us
through art. Millet's famous painting entitled "The Angelus" is an
illuminated text, upon which I am going to say a few words to you

There are three things in this picture--a potato field, a country lad
and a country girl standing in the middle of it, and on the far
horizon the spire of a village church. That is all there is to it--no
great scenery and no picturesque people. In Roman Catholic countries
at the evening hour the church bell rings out to remind the people to
pray. Some go into the church, while those that are in the fields bow
their heads for a few moments in silent prayer.

That picture contains the three great elements which go to make up a
perfectly rounded Christian life. It is not enough to have the "root
of the matter" in us, but that we must be whole and entire, lacking
nothing. The Angelus may bring to us suggestions as to what
constitutes a complete life.


The first element in a symmetrical life is _work_.

Three-fourths of our time is probably spent in work. Of course the
meaning of it is that our work should be just as religious as our
worship, and unless we can work for the glory of God three-fourths of
life remains unsanctified.

The proof that work is religious is that most of Christ's life was
spent in work. During a large part of the first thirty years of His
life He worked with the hammer and the plane, making ploughs and yokes
and household furniture. Christ's public ministry occupied only about
two and a half years of His earthly life; the great bulk of His time
was simply spent in doing common everyday tasks, and ever since then
work has had a new meaning.

When Christ came into the world He was revealed to three deputations
who went to meet and worship Him. First came the shepherds, or working
class; second, the wise men, or student class; and third, the two old
people in the temple, Simeon and Anna; that is to say, Christ is
revealed to men at their work, He is revealed to men at their books,
and He is revealed to men at their worship. It was the old people who
found Christ at their worship, and as we grow older we will spend more
time exclusively in worship than we are able to do now. In the mean
time we must combine our worship with our work, and we may expect to
find Christ at our books and in our common task.

Why should God have provided that so many hours of every day should be
occupied with work? It is because

          WORK MAKES MEN.

A university is not merely a place for making scholars, it is a place
for making Christians. A farm is not a place for growing corn, it is a
place for growing character, and a man has no character except that
which is developed by his life and thought. God's Spirit does the
building through the acts which a man performs from day to day. A
student who cons out every word in his Latin and Greek instead of
consulting a translation finds that honesty is translated into his
character. If he works out his mathematical problems thoroughly, he
not only becomes a mathematician, but becomes a thorough man. It is by
constant and conscientious attention to daily duties that thoroughness
and conscientiousness and honorableness are imbedded in our beings.
Character is


and is developed by exercise. Active use of the power entrusted to us
is one of the chief means which God employs for producing the
Christian graces. Hence the religion of a student demands that he be
true to his work, and that he let his Christianity be shown to his
fellow students and to his professors by the integrity and the
conscientiousness of his academic life. A man who is not faithful in
that which is least will not be faithful in that which is great. I
have known men who struggled unsuccessfully for years to pass their
examinations who, when they became Christians, found a new motive for
work and thus were able to succeed where previously they had failed. A
man's Christianity comes out as much in his work as in his worship.

Our work is not only to be done thoroughly, but it is to be done
honestly. A man is not only to be honorable in his academic relations,
but he must be honest with himself and in his attitude toward the
truth. Students are not entitled to dodge difficulties, they must go
down to the foundation principles. Perhaps the truths which are dear
to us go down deeper even than we think, and we will get more out of
them if we dig down for the nuggets than we will if we only pick up
those that are on the surface. Other theories may perhaps be found to
have false bases; if so, we ought to know it. It is well to take our
soundings in every direction to see if there is deep water; if there
are shoals we ought to find out where they are. Therefore, when we
come to difficulties, let us not jump lightly over them, but let us be
honest as seekers after truth.

It may not be necessary for people in general to sift the doctrines of
Christianity for themselves, but a student is a man whose business it
is to think, to exercise the intellect which God has given him in
finding out the truth. Faith is never opposed to reason, though it is
sometimes supposed by Bible teachers that it is; but you will find it
is not. Faith is opposed to sight, but not to reason, though it is not
limited to reason. In employing his intellect in the search for truth
a student is drawing nearer to the Christ who said, "I am the way, the
truth and the life." We talk a great deal about Christ as the way and
Christ as the life, but there is a side of Christ especially for the
student: "I am the truth," and every student ought to be a truth-lover
and a truth-seeker for Christ's sake.


Another element in life, which of course is first in importance, is

The Angelus is perhaps the most religious picture painted this
century. You cannot look at it and see that young man standing in the
field with his hat off, and the girl opposite him with her hands
clasped and her head bowed on her breast, without feeling a sense of

Do we carry about with us the thought of God wherever we go? If not,
we have missed the greatest part of life. Do we have a conviction of
God's abiding presence wherever we are? There is nothing more needed
in this generation than a larger and more Scriptural idea of God. A
great American writer has told us that when he was a boy the
conception of God which he got from books and sermons was that of a
wise and very strict lawyer. I remember well the awful conception of
God which I had when a boy. I was given an illustrated edition of
Watts' hymns, in which God was represented as a great piercing eye in
the midst of a great black thunder cloud. The idea which that picture
gave to my young imagination was that of God as a great detective,
playing the spy upon my actions, as the hymn says:

    "Writing now the story of what little children do."

That was a very mistaken and harmful idea which it has taken me years
to obliterate. We think of God as "up there," or as one who made the
world six thousand years ago and then retired. We must learn that He
is not confined either to time or space. God is not to be thought of
as merely back there in time, or up there in space. If not, where is
He? "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth." The Kingdom of God is
within you, and God Himself is among men. When are we to exchange the
terrible, far-away, absentee God of our childhood for the everywhere
present God of the Bible? Too many of the old Christian writers seem
to have conceived of God as not much more than the greatest man--a
kind of divine emperor. He is infinitely more; He is a spirit, as
Jesus said to the woman at the well, and in Him we live and move and
have our being. Let us think of God as Immanuel--God with us--an
ever-present, omnipresent, eternal One. Long, long ago, God made
matter, then He made the flowers and trees and animals, then He made
man. Did He stop? Is God dead? If He lives and acts what is He doing?
He is


He it is that "worketh in you." The buds of our nature are not all out
yet; the sap to make them comes from the God who made us, from the
indwelling Christ. Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost, and
we must bear this in mind, because the sense of God is kept up, not by
logic, but by experience.

Until she was seven years of age the life of Helen Keller, the Boston
girl who was deaf and dumb and blind, was an absolute blank; nothing
could go into that mind because the ears and eyes were closed to the
outer world. Then by that great process which has been discovered, by
which the blind see, and the deaf hear, and the mute speak, that
girl's soul became opened, and they began to put in little bits of
knowledge, and bit by bit they began to educate her. They reserved her
religious instruction for Phillips Brooks. After some years, when she
was twelve years old, they took her to him and he began to talk to her
through the young lady who had been the means of opening her senses,
and who could communicate with her by the exceedingly delicate process
of touch. He began to tell her about God and what He had done, and how
He loved men, and what He is to us. The child listened very
intelligently, and finally said:

"Mr. Brooks, I knew all that before, but I didn't know His name."

How often we have felt something within us impelling us to do
something which we would not have conceived of by ourselves, or
enabling us to do something which we could not have done alone. "It is
God which worketh in you." This great simple fact


and takes away the fear which we would otherwise have in meeting the
difficulties which lie before us.

Two Americans who were crossing the Atlantic met on Sunday night to
sing hymns in the cabin. As they sang the hymn, "Jesus, Lover of my
Soul," one of the Americans heard an exceedingly rich and beautiful
voice behind him. He looked around, and although he did not know the
face he thought that he recognized the voice. So when the music ceased
he turned around and asked the man if he had not been in the Civil
war. The man replied that he had been a Confederate soldier. "Were you
at such a place on such a night?" asked the first. "Yes," he said,
"and a curious thing happened that night; this hymn recalled it to my
mind. I was on sentry duty on the edge of a wood. It was a dark night
and very cold, and I was a little frightened because the enemy were
supposed to be very near at hand. I felt very homesick and miserable,
and about midnight, when everything was very still, I was beginning to
feel very weary and thought that I would comfort myself by praying and
singing a hymn. I remember singing this hymn,

    'All my trust on Thee is stayed,
      All my help from Thee I bring,
    Cover my defenceless head
      With the shadow of Thy wing.'

After I had sung those words a strange peace came down upon me, and
through the long night I remember having felt no more fear."

"Now," said the other man, "listen to my story. I was a Union soldier,
and was in the wood that night with a party of scouts. I saw you
standing up, although I didn't see your face, and my men had their
rifles focused upon you waiting the word to fire, but when you sang

    'Cover my defenceless head
      With the shadow of Thy wing,'

I said, 'Boys, put down your rifles, we will go home.' I couldn't kill
you after that."

God was working in each of them, in His own way carrying out His will.
God keeps his people and guides them and without Him life is but a
living death.


The third element in life about which I wish to speak is _love_.

In this picture we notice the delicate sense of companionship, brought
out by the young man and the young woman. It matters not whether they
are brother and sister, or lover and loved; there you have the idea of
friendship, the final ingredient in our life, after the two I have
named. If the man or the woman had been standing in that field alone
it would have been incomplete.

Love is the divine element in life, because "God is love." "He that
loveth is born of God," therefore, as some one has said, let us "keep
our friendships in repair." Let us cultivate the spirit of friendship,
and let the love of Christ develop it into a great love, not only for
our friends, but for all humanity. Wherever you go and whatever you
do, your work will be a failure unless you have this element in your

These three things go far toward forming a well-rounded life. Some of
us may not have these ingredients in their right proportion, but if
you are lacking in one or the other of them, then pray for it and work
for it that your life may be rounded and complete as God intended it
should be.

PAX VOBISCUM. (Copyright, James Pott & Co. Used by permission.)

I once heard a sermon by a distinguished preacher upon "Rest." It was
full of beautiful thoughts; but when I came to ask myself, "How does
he say I can get Rest?" there was no answer. The sermon was sincerely
meant to be practical, yet it contained no experience that seemed to
me to be tangible, nor any advice that I could grasp--any advice, that
is to say, which could help me to find the thing itself as I went
about the world.

Yet this omission of what is, after all, the only important problem,
was not the fault of the preacher. The whole popular religion is in
the twilight here. And when pressed for really working specifics for
the experiences with which it deals, it falters, and seems to lose
itself in mist.

The want of connection between the great words of religion and
every-day life has bewildered and discouraged all of us. Christianity
possesses the noblest words in the language; its literature overflows
with terms expressive of the greatest and happiest moods which can
fill the soul of man. Rest, Joy, Peace, Faith, Love, Light--these
words occur with such persistency in hymns and prayers that an
observer might think they formed the staple of Christian experience.
But on coming to close quarters with the actual life of most of us,
how surely would he be disenchanted. I do not think we ourselves are
aware how much our religious life is


how much of what we call Christian Experience is only a dialect of the
Churches, a mere religious phraseology with almost nothing behind it
in what we really feel and know.

To some of us, indeed, the Christian experiences seem further away
than when we took the first steps in the Christian life. That life has
not opened out as we had hoped. We do not regret our religion, but we
are disappointed with it. There are times, perhaps, when wandering
notes from a diviner music stray into our spirits; but these
experiences come at few and fitful moments. We have no sense of
possession in them. When they visit us, it is a surprise. When they
leave us, it is without explanation. When we wish their return, we do
not know how to secure it.

All which means a religion without solid base, and a poor and
flickering life. It means a great bankruptcy in those experiences
which give Christianity its personal solace and make it attractive to
the world, and a great uncertainty as to any remedy. It is as if we
knew everything about health--except the way to get it.

I am quite sure that the difficulty does not lie in the fact that men
are not in earnest. This is simply not the fact. All around us
Christians are wearing themselves out in trying to be better. The
amount of spiritual longing in the world--in the hearts of unnumbered
thousands of men and women in whom we should never suspect it; among
the wise and thoughtful, among the young and gay, who seldom assuage
and never betray their thirst--this is one of the most wonderful and
touching facts of life. It is not more heat that is needed, but more
light; not more force, but a wiser direction to be given to very real
energies already there.

The usual advice when one asks for counsel on these questions is,
"Pray." But this advice is far from adequate. I shall qualify the
statement presently; but let me urge it here, with what you will
perhaps call daring emphasis, that to pray for these things is not the
way to get them. No one will get them without praying; but that men do
not get them by praying is the simple fact. We have all prayed, and
sincerely prayed, for such experiences as I have named; prayed,
believing that that was the way to get them. And yet have we got them?
The test is experience. I dare not limit prayer; still less the grace
of God. If you have got them in this way, it is well. I am speaking to
those, be they few or many, who have not got them; to ordinary men in
ordinary circumstances. But if we have not got them, it by no means
follows that prayer is useless. The correct conclusion is only that it
is useless, or inadequate rather, for this particular purpose. To make
prayer the sole resort, the universal panacea for every spiritual ill,
is as radical a mistake as to prescribe only one medicine for every
bodily trouble. The physician who does the last is a quack; the
spiritual adviser who does the first is


To do nothing but pray is a wrong done to prayer itself, and can only
end in disaster. It is as if one tried to live only with the lungs,
as if one assimilated only air and neglected solid food. The lungs are
a first essential; the air is a first essential; but the body has many
members, given for different purposes, secreting different things, and
each has a method of nutrition as special to itself as its own
activity. While prayer, then, is the characteristic sublimity of the
Christian life, it is by no means the only one. And those who make it
the sole alternative, and apply it to purposes for which it was never
meant, are really doing the greatest harm to prayer itself. To couple
the word "inadequate" with this mighty word is not to dethrone prayer,
but to exalt it.


is unanswered prayer. When men pray for things which do not come that
way--pray with sincere belief that prayer, unaided and alone, will
compass what they ask--then, not getting what they ask, they often
give up prayer.

This is the natural history of much atheism, not only an atheism of
atheists, but a more terrible atheism of Christians, an unconscious
atheism, whose roots have struck far into many souls whose last breath
would be spent in denying it. So, I repeat, it is a mistaken
Christianity which allow men to cherish a blind belief in the
omnipotence of prayer. Prayer, certainly, when the appropriate
conditions are fulfilled, is omnipotent, but not blind prayer. Blind
prayer is a superstition. Prayer, in its true sense, contains the sane
recognition that while man prays in faith, _God acts by law_. What
that means in the immediate connection we shall see presently.

What, then, is the remedy? It is impossible to doubt that there is a
remedy, and it is equally impossible to believe that it is a secret.
The idea that some few men, by happy chance or happier temperament,
have been given the secret--as if there were some sort of knack or
trick of it--is wholly incredible and wrong. Religion must be for all,
and the way into its loftiest heights must be by a gateway through
which the peoples of the world may pass.

I shall have to lead up to this gateway by a very familiar path. But
as this path is strangely unfrequented where it passes into the
religious sphere, I must ask your forbearance for dwelling for a
moment upon the commonest of commonplaces.


Nothing that happens in the world happens by chance. God is a God of
order. Everything is arranged upon definite principles, and never at
random. The world, even the religious world, is governed by law.
Character is governed by law. Happiness is governed by law. The
Christian experiences are governed by law. Men, forgetting this,
expect Rest, Joy, Peace, Faith to drop into their souls from the air
like snow or rain. But in point of fact they do not do so; and if they
did, they would no less have their origin in previous activities and
be controlled by natural laws. Rain and snow do drop from the air, but
not without a long previous history. They are the mature effects of
former causes. Equally so are Rest and Peace and Joy. They, too, have
each a previous history. Storms and winds and calms are not accidents,
but brought about by antecedent circumstances. Rest and Peace are but
calms in man's inward nature, and arise through causes as definite and
as inevitable.

Realize it thoroughly; it is a methodical, not an accidental world. If
a housewife turns out a good cake, it is the result of a sound
receipt, carefully applied. She cannot mix the assigned ingredients
and fire them for the appropriate time without producing the result.
It is not she who has made the cake; it is nature. She brings related
things together; sets causes at work; these causes bring about the
result. She is not a creator, but an intermediary. She does not expect
random causes to produce specific effects--random ingredients would
only produce random cakes. So it is in the making of Christian
experiences. Certain lines are followed; certain effects are the
result. These effects cannot but be the result. But the result can
never take place without the previous cause. To expect results without
antecedents is to expect cakes without ingredients. That impossibility
is precisely


Now what I mainly wish to do is to help you firmly to grasp this
simple principle of Cause and Effect in the spiritual world. And
instead of applying the principle generally to each of the Christian
experiences in turn, I shall examine its application to one in some
little detail. The one I shall select is Rest. And I think any one who
follows the application in this single instance will be able to apply
it for himself to all the others.

Take such a sentence as this: African explorers are subject to fevers
which cause restlessness and delirium.

Note the expression, "cause restlessness." _Restlessness has a cause._
Clearly, then, any one who wished to get rid of restlessness would
proceed at once to deal with the cause. If that were not removed, a
doctor might prescribe a hundred things, and all might be taken in
turn, without producing the least effect. Things are so arranged in
the original planning of the world that certain effects must follow
certain causes, and certain causes must be abolished before certain
effects can be removed. Certain parts of Africa are inseparably linked
with the physical experience called fever; this fever is in turn
infallibly linked with a mental experience called restlessness and
delirium. To abolish the mental experience the radical method would be
to abolish the physical experience, and the way of abolishing the
physical experience would be to abolish Africa, or to cease to go

Now this holds good for all other forms of Restlessness. Every other
form and kind of Restlessness in the world has a definite cause, and
the particular kind of Restlessness can only be removed by removing
the allotted cause.

All this is also true of Rest. Restlessness has a cause: must not
_Rest_ have a cause? Necessarily. If it were a chance world we would
not expect this; but, being a methodical world, it cannot be
otherwise. Rest, physical rest, moral rest, spiritual rest, every kind
of rest has a cause, as certainly as restlessness. Now causes are
discriminating. There is one kind of cause for every particular effect
and no other, and if one particular effect is desired, the
corresponding cause must be set in motion. It is no use proposing
finely devised schemes, or going through general pious exercises in
the hope that somehow Rest will come. The Christian life is not
casual, but causal. All nature is a standing protest against the
absurdity of expecting to secure spiritual effects, or any effects,
without the employment of appropriate causes. The Great Teacher dealt
what ought to have been the final blow to this infinite irrelevancy by
a single question, "Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of

Why, then, did the Great Teacher not educate His followers fully? Why
did He not tell us, for example, how such a thing as Rest might be
obtained? The answer is that _He did_. But plainly, explicitly, in so
many words? Yes, plainly, explicitly, in so many words. He assigned
Rest to its cause, in words with which each of us has been familiar
from his earliest childhood.

He begins, you remember--for you at once know the passage I refer
to--almost as if Rest could be had without any cause; "Come unto me,"
He says, "and I will _give_ you Rest."

Rest, apparently, was a favor to be bestowed; men had but to come to
Him; He would give it to every applicant. But the next sentence takes
that all back. The qualification, indeed, is added instantaneously.
For what the first sentence seemed to give was next thing to an
impossibility. For how, in a literal sense, can Rest be _given_? One
could no more give away Rest than he could give away Laughter. We
speak of "causing" laughter, which we can do; but we can not give it
away. When we speak of "giving" pain, we know perfectly well we can
not give pain away. And when we aim at "giving" pleasure, all that we
do is to arrange a set of circumstances in such a way as that these
shall cause pleasure. Of course there is a sense, and a very wonderful
sense, in which a Great Personality breathes upon all who come within
its influence an abiding peace and trust. Men can be to other men as
the shadow of a great rock in a weary land; much more Christ; much
more Christ as Perfect Man; much more still as Savior of the world.
But it is not this of which I speak. When Christ said He would give
men Rest, He meant simply that He would put them in the way of it. By
no act of conveyance would or could He make over His own Rest to them.
He could give them

          HIS RECEIPT

for it. That was all. But He would not make it for them. For one thing
it was not in His plan to make it for them; for another thing, men
were not so planned that it could be made for them; and for yet
another thing, it was a thousand times better that they should make it
for themselves.

That this is the meaning becomes obvious from the wording of the
second sentence: "Learn of me, and ye shall _find_ Rest." Rest, (that
is to say), is not a thing that can be _given_, but a thing to be
_acquired_. It comes not by an act, but by a process. It is not to be
found in a happy hour, as one finds a treasure; but slowly, as one
finds knowledge. It could indeed be no more found in a moment than
could knowledge. A soil has to be prepared for it. Like a fine fruit,
it will grow in one climate, and not in another; at one altitude, and
not at another. Like all growth it will have an orderly development
and mature by slow degrees.

The nature of this slow process Christ clearly defines when He says
we are to achieve Rest by _learning_. "Learn of me," He says, "and ye
shall find rest to your souls."

Now consider the extraordinary


How novel the connection between these two words "Learn" and "Rest."
How few of us have ever associated them--ever thought that Rest was a
thing to be learned; ever laid ourselves out for it as we would to
learn a language; ever practised it as we would practice the violin?
Does it not show how entirely new Christ's teaching still is to the
world, that so old and threadbare an aphorism should still be so
little known? The last thing most of us would have thought of would
have been to associate _Rest_ with _Work_.

What must one work at? What is that which if duly learned will find
the soul of man in Rest? Christ answers without the least hesitation.
He specifies two things--Meekness and Lowliness. "Learn of me," He
says, "for I am _meek_ and _lowly_ in heart."

Now these two things are not chosen at random. To these
accomplishments, in a special way, Rest is attached. Learn these, in
short, and you have already found Rest. These as they stand are direct
causes of Rest; will produce it at once; cannot but produce it at
once. And if you think for a single moment, you will see how this is
necessarily so, for causes are never arbitrary, and the connection
between antecedent and consequent here and everywhere lies deep in the
nature of things.

What is the connection, then? I answer by a further question.


If you know yourself, you will answer--Pride; Selfishness, Ambition.
As you look back upon the past years of your life, is it not true that
its unhappiness has chiefly come from the succession of personal
mortifications and almost trivial disappointments which the
intercourse of life has brought you? Great trials come at lengthened
intervals, and we rise to breast them; but it is the petty friction of
our every-day life with one another, the jar of business or of work,
the discord of the domestic circle, the collapse of our ambition, the
crossing of our will or the taking down of our conceit, which make
inward peace impossible. Wounded vanity, then, disappointed hopes,
unsatisfied selfishness--these are the old, vulgar, universal


Now it is obvious why Christ pointed out as the two chief objects for
attainment the exact opposites of these. To meekness and lowliness
these things simply do not exist. They cure unrest by making it
impossible. These remedies do not trifle with surface symptoms; they
strike at once at removing causes. The ceaseless chagrin of a
self-centered life can be removed at once by learning meekness and
lowliness of heart. He who learns them is forever proof against it. He
lives henceforth a charmed life. Christianity is a fine inoculation, a
transfusion of healthy blood into an anæmic or poisoned soul. No fever
can attack a perfectly sound body; no fever of unrest can disturb a
soul which has breathed the air or learned the ways of Christ.

Men sigh for the wings of a dove that they may fly away and be at
Rest. But flying away will not help us. "The Kingdom of God is _within
you_." We aspire to the top to look for Rest; it lies at the bottom.
Water rests only when it gets to the lowest place. So do men. Hence,
_be lowly_. The man who has no opinion of himself at all can never be
hurt if others do not acknowledge him. Hence, _be meek_. He who is
without expectation cannot fret if nothing comes to him. It is
self-evident that these things are so. The lowly man and the meek man
are really above all other men, above all other things. They dominate
the world because they do not care for it. The miser does not possess
gold, gold possesses him. But the meek possess it. "The meek," said
Christ, "inherit the earth." They do not buy it; they do not conquer
it; but they inherit it.

There are people who go about the world looking out for slights, and
they are necessarily miserable, for they find them at every
turn--especially the imaginary ones. One has the same pity for such
men as for the very poor. They are the morally illiterate. They have
had no real education, for they have never learned

          HOW TO LIVE.

Few men know how to live. We grow up at random carrying into mature
life the merely animal methods and motives which we had as little
children. And it does not occur to us that all this must be changed;
that much of it must be reversed; that life is the finest of the Fine
Arts; that it has to be learned with lifelong patience, and that the
years of our pilgrimage are all too short to master it triumphantly.

Yet this is what Christianity is for--to teach men

          THE ART OF LIFE.

And its whole curriculum lies in one word--"Learn of me." Unlike most
education, this is almost purely personal; it is not to be had from
books, or lectures or creeds or doctrines. It is a study from the
life. Christ never said much in mere words about the Christian graces.
He lived them, He was them. Yet we do not merely copy Him. We learn
His art by living with Him, like the old apprentices with their

Now we understand it all? Christ's invitation to the weary and
heavy-laden is a call to begin life over again upon a new
principle--upon His own principle. "Watch my way of doing things," He
says; "Follow me. Take life as I take it. Be meek and lowly, and you
will find Rest."

I do not say, remember, that the Christian life to every man, or to
any man, can be a bed of roses. No educational process can be this.
And perhaps if some men knew how much was involved in the simple
"learn" of Christ, they would not enter His school with so
irresponsible a heart. For there is not only much to learn, but

          MUCH TO UNLEARN.

Many men never go to this school at all till their disposition is
already half ruined and character has taken on its fatal set. To learn
arithmetic is difficult at fifty--much more to learn Christianity. To
learn simply what it is to be meek and lowly, in the case of one who
has had no lessons in that in childhood, may cost him half of what he
values most on earth. Do we realize, for instance, that the way of
teaching humility is generally by _humiliation_? There is probably no
other school for it. When a man enters himself as a pupil in such a
school it means a very great thing. There is much Rest there, but
there is also much Work.

I should be wrong, even though my theme is the brighter side, to
ignore the cross and minimize the cost. Only it gives to the cross a
more definite meaning, and a rarer value, to connect it thus directly
and casually with the growth of the inner life. Our platitudes on the
"benefits of affliction" are usually about as vague as our theories of
Christian Experience. "Somehow" we believe affliction does us good.
But it is not a question of "Somehow." The result is definite,
calculable, necessary. It is under the strictest law of cause and
effect. The first effect of losing one's fortune, for instance, is
humiliation; and the effect of humiliation, as we have just seen, is
to make one humble; and the effect of being humble is to produce Rest.
It is a roundabout way, apparently, of producing Rest; but Nature
generally works by circular processes; and it is not certain that
there is any other way of becoming humble, or of finding Rest. If a
man could make himself humble to order, it might simplify matters; but
we do not find that this happens. Hence we must all go through the
mill. Hence death, death to the lower self, is the nearest gate and
the quickest road to life.

Yet this is only half the truth. Christ's life outwardly was one of
the most troubled lives that was ever lived: tempest and tumult,
tumult and tempest, the waves breaking over it all the time till the
worn body was laid in the grave. But the inner life was a sea of
glass. The great calm was always there. At any moment you might have
gone to Him and found Rest. Even when the blood-hounds were dogging
Him in the streets of Jerusalem, He turned to His disciples and
offered them, as a last legacy, "My peace." Nothing ever for a moment
broke the serenity of Christ's life on earth. Misfortune could not
reach Him; He had no fortune. Food, raiment, money--fountain-heads of
half the world's weariness--He simply did not care for; they played no
part in His life; He "took no thought" for them. It was impossible to
affect Him by lowering His reputation. He had already made Himself of
no reputation. He was dumb before insult. When he was reviled, He
reviled not again. In fact, there was


that could ruffle the surface of His spirit.

Such living, as mere living, is altogether unique. It is only when we
see what it was in Him that we can know what the word Rest means. It
lies not in emotions, or in the absence of emotions. It is not a
hallowed feeling that comes over us in church. It is not something
that the preacher has in his voice. It is not in nature, or in poetry,
or in music--though in all these there is soothing. It is the mind at
leisure from itself. It is the perfect poise of the soul; the absolute
adjustment of the inward man to the stress of all outward things; the
preparedness against every emergency; the stability of assured
convictions; the eternal calm of an invulnerable faith; the repose of
a heart set deep in God. It is the mood of the man who says, with
Browning, "God's in His Heaven, all's well with the world."

Two painters each painted a picture to illustrate his conception of
rest. The first chose for his scene a still, lone lake among the
far-off mountains. The second threw on his canvas a thundering
waterfall, with a fragile birch-tree bending over the foam; at the
fork of a branch, almost wet with the cataract's spray, a robin sat on
its nest. The first was only _Stagnation_; the last was _Rest_. For in
Rest there are always two elements--tranquillity and energy; silence
and turbulence; creation and destruction; fearlessness and
fearfulness. This it was in Christ.

It is quite plain from all this that whatever else He claimed to be or
to do, He at least

          KNEW HOW TO LIVE.

All this is the perfection of living, of living in the mere sense of
passing through the world in the best way. Hence His anxiety to
communicate His idea of life to others. He came, He said, to give men
life, true life, a more abundant life than they were living; "the
life," as the fine phase in the Revised Version has it, "that is life
indeed." This is what He Himself possessed, and it was this which He
offers to mankind. And hence His direct appeal for all to come to Him
who had not made much of life, who were weary and heavy-laden. These
He would teach His secret. They, also, should know "the life that is
life indeed."


There is still one doubt to clear up. After the statement, "Learn of
Me," Christ throws in the disconcerting qualification:

"_Take my yoke_ upon you, and learn of Me."

Why, if all this be true, does He call it a _yoke_? Why, while
professing to give Rest, does He with the next breath whisper
"_burden_"? Is the Christian life, after all, what its enemies take it
for--an additional weight to the already great woe of life, some
extra punctiliousness about duty, some painful devotion to
observances, some heavy restriction and trammeling of all that is
joyous and free in the world? Is life not hard and sorrowful enough
without being fettered with yet another yoke?

It is astounding how so glaring a misunderstanding of this plain
sentence should ever have passed into currency. Did you ever stop to
ask what a yoke is really for? Is it to be a burden to the animal
which wears it? It is just the opposite. It is to make its burden
light. Attached to the oxen in any other way than by a yoke, the
plough would be intolerable. Worked by means of a yoke, it is light. A
yoke is not an instrument of torture; it is


It is not a malicious contrivance for making work hard; it is a gentle
device to make hard labor light. It is not meant to give pain, but to
save pain. And yet men speak of the yoke of Christ as if it were
slavery, and look upon those who wear it as objects of compassion. For
generations we have had homilies on "The Yoke of Christ"--some
delighting in portraying its narrow exactions; some seeking in these
exactions the marks of its divinity; others apologizing for it, and
toning it down; still others assuring us that, although it be very
bad, it is not to be compared with the positive blessings of
Christianity. How many, especially among the young, has this one
mistaken phrase driven forever away from the kingdom of God? Instead
of making Christ attractive, it makes Him out a taskmaster, narrowing
life by petty restrictions, calling for self-denial where none is
necessary, making misery a virtue under the plea that it is the yoke
of Christ, and happiness criminal because it now and then evades it.
According to this conception, Christians are at best the victims of a
depressing fate; their life is a penance; and their hope for the next
world purchased by a slow martyrdom in this.

The mistake has arisen from taking the word "yoke" here in the same
sense as in the expressions "under the yoke," or "wear the yoke in his
youth." But in Christ's illustration it is not the _jugum_ of the
Roman soldier, but the simple "harness" or "ox-collar" of the Eastern
peasant. It is the literal wooden yoke which He, with His own hands in
the carpenter shop, had probably often made. He knew the difference
between a smooth yoke and a rough one, a bad fit and a good fit; the
difference also it made to the patient animal which had to wear it.
The rough yoke galled, and the burden was heavy; the smooth yoke
caused no pain, and the load was lightly drawn. The badly fitted
harness was a misery; the well-fitted collar was "easy."

And what was the "burden"? It was not some special burden laid upon
the Christian, some unique infliction that they alone must bear. It
was what all men bear. It was simply life, human life itself, the
general burden of life which all must carry with them from the cradle
to the grave. Christ saw that men took life painfully. To some it was
a weariness, to others a failure, to many a tragedy, to all a struggle
and a pain. How to carry this burden of life had been the whole
world's problem. It is still the whole world's problem. And here is
Christ's solution: "Carry it as I do. Take life as I take it. Look at
it from My point of view. Interpret it upon My principles. Take My
yoke and learn of Me, and you will find it easy. For My yoke is easy,
works easily, sits right upon the shoulders, and _therefore_ My burden
is light."

There is no suggestion here that religion will absolve any man from
bearing burdens. That would be to absolve him from living, since it is
life itself that is the burden. What Christianity does propose is to
make it tolerable.

          CHRIST'S YOKE

is simply His secret for the alleviation of human life, His
prescription for the best and happiest method of living. Men harness
themselves to the work and stress of the world in clumsy and unnatural
ways. The harness they put on is antiquated. A rough, ill-fitted
collar at the best, they make its strain and friction past enduring,
by placing it where the neck is most sensitive; and by mere continuous
irritation this sensitiveness increases until the whole nature is
quick and sore.

This is the origin, among other things, of a disease called
"touchiness"--a disease which, in spite of its innocent name, is one
of the gravest sources of restlessness in the world. Touchiness, when
it becomes chronic, is a morbid condition of the inward disposition.
It is self-love inflamed to the acute point; conceit, _with a
hair-trigger_. The cure is to shift the yoke to some other place; to
let men and things touch us through some new and perhaps as yet unused
part of our nature; to become meek and lowly in heart while the old
sensitiveness is becoming numb from want of use.

It is the beautiful work of Christianity everywhere to adjust the
burden of life to those who bear it, and them to it. It has a
perfectly miraculous gift of healing. Without doing any violence to
human nature it sets it right with life, harmonizing it with all
surrounding things, and restoring those who are jaded with the fatigue
and dust of the world to a new grace of living. In the mere matter of
altering the perspective of life and changing the proportions of
things, its function in lightening the care of man is altogether its

The weight of a load depends upon the attraction of the earth. Suppose
the attraction of the earth were removed? A ton on some other planet,
where the attraction of gravity is less, does not weigh half a ton.
Now Christianity removes the attraction of the earth; and this is one
way in which it diminishes man's burden. It makes them citizens of
another world. What was a ton yesterday is not half a ton today. So
without changing one's circumstances, merely by offering a wider
horizon and a different standard, it alters the whole aspect of the

Christianity as Christ taught is the truest philosophy of life ever
spoken. But let us be quite sure when we speak of Christianity that we
mean Christ's Christianity. Other versions are either caricatures, or
exaggerations, or misunderstandings, or shortsighted and surface
readings. For the most part their attainment is hopeless and the
results wretched. But I care not who the person is, or through what
vale of tears he has passed, or is about to pass, there is a new life
for him along this path.


Were Rest my subject, there are other things I should wish to say
about it, and other kinds of Rest of which I should like to speak.
But that is not my subject. My theme is that the Christian experiences
are not the work of magic, but come under the law of Cause and Effect.
I have chosen Rest only as a single illustration of the working of
that principle. If there were time I might next run over all the
Christian experiences in turn, and show the same wide law applies to
each; but I think it may serve the better purpose if I leave this
further exercise to yourselves. I know no Bible study that you will
find more full of fruit, or which will take you nearer to the ways of
God, or make the Christian life itself more solid or more sure. I
shall add only a single other illustration of what I mean, before I

Where does Joy come from? I knew a Sunday scholar whose conception of
Joy was that it was a thing made in lumps and kept somewhere in
Heaven, and that when people prayed for it, pieces were somehow let
down and fitted into their souls. I am not sure that views as gross
and material are not often held by people who ought to be wiser. In
reality, Joy is as much a matter of Cause and Effect as pain. No one
can get Joy by merely asking for it. It is one of the ripest fruits of
the Christian life, and, like all fruits, must be grown. There is a
very clever trick in India called the mango trick. A seed is put in
the ground and covered up, and after diverse incantations a full-blown
mango-bush appears within five minutes. I never met any one who knew
how the thing was done, but I never met any one who believed it to be
anything else than a conjuring trick. The world is pretty unanimous
now in its belief in the orderliness of Nature. Men may not know how
fruits grow, but they do know that they cannot grow in an hour. Some
lives have not even a stalk on which fruits could hang, even if they
did grow in an hour. Some have never planted one sound seed of Joy in
all their lives; and others who may have planted a germ or two have
lived so little in sunshine that they never could come to maturity.

Whence, then, is joy? Christ put His teaching upon this subject into
one of the most exquisite of His parables. I should in any instance
have appealed to His teaching here, as in the case of Rest, for I do
not wish you to think I am speaking words of my own. But it so happens
that He has dealt with it in words of unusual fullness.

I need not recall the whole illustration. It is the parable of the
Vine. Did you ever think why Christ spoke that parable? He did not
merely throw it into space as a fine illustration of general truths.
It was not simply a statement of the mystical union, and the doctrine
of an indwelling Christ. It was that; but it was more. After He had
said it, He did what was not an unusual thing when He was teaching His
greatest lessons--He turned to the disciples and said He would tell
them why He had spoken it. It was to tell them

          HOW TO GET JOY.

"These things have I spoken unto you," He said, "that My Joy might
remain in you, and that your Joy might be full." It was a purposed and
deliberate communication of His


Go back over these verses, then, and you will find the Causes of this
Effect, the spring, and the only spring, out of which true Happiness
comes. I am not going to analyze them in detail. I ask you to enter
into the words for yourselves.

Remember, in the first place, that the Vine was the Eastern symbol of
Joy. It was its fruit that made glad the heart of man. Yet, however
innocent that gladness--for the expressed juice of the grape was the
common drink at every peasant's board--the gladness was only a gross
and passing thing. This was not true happiness, and the vine of the
Palestine vineyards was not the true vine. "_Christ_ was the _true_
Vine." Here, then, is the ultimate source of Joy. Through whatever
media it reaches us, all true Joy and Gladness find their source in

By this, of course, is not meant that the actual Joy experienced is
transferred from Christ's nature, or is something passed on from Him
to us. What is passed on is His method of getting it. There is,
indeed, a sense in which we can share another's joy or another's
sorrow. But that is another matter. Christ is the source of Joy to men
in the sense in which He is the source of Rest. His people share His
life, and therefore share its consequences, and one of these is Joy.
His method of living is one that in the nature of things produces Joy.
When He spoke of His Joy remaining with us He meant in part that the
causes which produced it should continue to act. His followers, (that
is to say), by _repeating_ His life would experience its
accompaniments. His Joy, His kind of Joy, would remain with them.

The medium through which this Joy comes is next explained: "He that
abideth in Me, the same bringeth forth much fruit." Fruit first, Joy
next; the one the cause or medium of the other. Fruit-bearing is the
necessary antecedent; Joy both the necessary consequent and the
necessary accompaniment. It lay partly in the bearing fruit, partly in
the fellowship which made that possible. Partly, that is to say, Joy
lay in mere constant living in Christ's presence, with all that that
implied of peace, of shelter, and of love; partly in the influence of
that Life upon mind and character and will; and partly in the
inspiration to live and work for others, with all that that brought of
self-riddance and joy in others' gain. All these, in different ways
and at different times, are


Even the simplest of them--to do good to other people--is an instant
and infallible specific. There is no mystery about Happiness whatever.
Put in the right ingredients and it must come out. He that abideth in
Him will bring forth much fruit; and bringing forth much fruit is
Happiness. The infallible receipt for Happiness, then, is to do good;
and the infallible receipt for doing good is to abide in Christ. The
surest proof that all this is a plain matter of Cause and Effect is
that men may try every other conceivable way of finding happiness, and
they will fail. Only the right cause in each case can produce the
right effect.

Then the Christian experiences are our own making? In the same sense
in which grapes are our own making and no more. All fruits
_grow_--whether they grow in the soil or in the soul; whether they are
the fruits of the wild grape or of the True Vine. No man can _make_
things grow. He can _get them to grow_ by arranging all the
circumstances and fulfilling all the conditions. But the growing is
done by God. Causes and effects are eternal arrangements, set in the
constitution of the world; fixed beyond man's ordering. What man can
do is to place himself in the midst of a chain of sequences. Thus he
can get things to grow: thus he himself can grow. But the power is the
Spirit of God.

What more need I add but this--test the method by experiment. Do not
imagine that you have got these things because you know how to get
them. As well try to feed upon a cookery book. But I think I can
promise that if you try in this simple and natural way, you will not
fail. Spend the time you have spent in sighing for fruits in
fulfilling the conditions of their growth. The fruits will come, must
come. We have hitherto paid immense attention to _effects_, to the
mere experiences themselves; we have described them, extolled them,
advised them, prayed for them--done everything but find out what
_caused_ them. Henceforth


"To be," says Lotze, "is to be in relations." About every other method
of living the Christian life there is an uncertainty. About every
other method of acquiring the Christian experiences there is a
"perhaps." But in so far as this method is the way of nature, it
cannot fail. Its guarantee is the laws of the universe--and these are
"the Hands of the Living God."

          THE TRUE VINE.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in
me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that
beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now
ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in
me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it
abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the
vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the
same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a
man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered;
and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in me, and my word abide in you, ye shall ask what ye
will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit; so ye shall be my disciples. As the Father
hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep
my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my
Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I
spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy
might be full."



I have three heads to give you. The first is "Geography," the second
is "Arithmetic," and the third is "Grammar."


First. Geography tells us where to find places.

Where is the Kingdom of God? It is said that when a Prussian officer
was killed in the Franco-Prussian war, a map of France was very often
found in his pocket. When we wish to occupy a country, we ought to
know its geography. Now, _where_ is the Kingdom of God? A boy over
there says, "It is in heaven." No; it is not in heaven. Another boy
says, "It is in the Bible." No; it is not in the Bible. Another boy
says, "It must be in the Church," No; it is not in the Church. Heaven
is only the capital of the Kingdom of God; the Bible is the guide-book
to it; the Church is the weekly parade of those who belong to it. If
you turn to the seventeenth chapter of Luke you will find out where
the Kingdom of God really is: "The Kingdom of God is within
you"--within _you_. The Kingdom of God is _inside people_.

I remember once taking a walk by the river near where the Falls of
Niagara are, and I noticed a remarkable figure walking along the river
bank. I had been some time in America. I had seen black men, and red
men, and yellow men, and white men; black men, the Negroes; red men,
the Indians; yellow men, the Chinese; white men, the Americans. But
this man looked quite different in his dress from anything I had ever
seen. When he came a little closer, I saw he was wearing a kilt; when
he came a little nearer still, I saw that he was dressed exactly like
a Highland soldier. When he came quiet near, I said to him:

"What are you doing here?"

"Why should I not be here?" he replied; "don't you know this is
British soil? When you cross the river you come into Canada."

This soldier was thousands of miles from England, and yet he was in
the Kingdom of England. Wherever there is an English heart beating
loyal to the Queen of Britain, there is England. Wherever there is a
boy whose heart is loyal to the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of God is
within him.

What is the Kingdom of God? Every Kingdom has its exports, its
products. Go down the river here and you will find ships coming in
with cotton; you know they come from America. You will find ships with
tea; you know they are from China. Ships with wool; you know they come
from Australia. Ships with sugar; you know they come from Java.

What comes from the Kingdom of God? Again we must refer to our
Guide-book. Turn to Romans, and we shall find what the Kingdom of God
is. I will read it: "The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace,
joy"--three things. "The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, joy."
Righteousness, of course, is just doing what is right. Any boy who
does what is _right_ has the Kingdom of God within him. Any boy who,
instead of being quarrelsome, lives at peace with the other boys, has
the Kingdom of God within him. Any boy whose heart is filled with joy
because he does what is right, has the Kingdom of God within him. The
Kingdom of God is not going to religious meetings, and hearing strange
religious experiences; the Kingdom of God is doing what is
right--living at peace with all men, being filled with joy in the Holy

Boys, if you are going to be Christians, be Christians as boys, and
not as your grandmothers. A grandmother has to be a Christian as a
grandmother, and that is the right and the beautiful thing for her;
but if you cannot read your Bible by the hour as your grandmother can,
or delight in meetings as she can, don't think you are necessarily a
bad boy. When you are your grandmother's age you will have your
grandmother's kind of religion. Meantime, be a Christian as a boy.
Live a boy's life. Do the straight thing; seek the kingdom of
righteousness and honor and truth. Keep the peace with the boys about
you, and be filled with the joy of being a loyal, and simple, and
natural, and boy-like servant of Christ.

You can very easily tell a house, or a workshop, or an office where
the Kingdom of God is _not_. The first thing you see in that place is
that the "straight thing" is not always done. Customers do not get
fair play. You are in danger of learning to cheat and to lie. Better a
thousand times to starve than to stay in a place where you cannot do
what is right.

Or, when you go into your workshop, you find everybody sulky, touchy,
and ill-tempered, everybody at daggers-drawn with everybody else, some
of the men not on speaking terms with some of the others, and the
whole _feel_ of the place miserable and unhappy. The Kingdom of God is
not there, for _it_ is peace. It is the Kingdom of the Devil that is
anger, and wrath and malice.

If you want to get the Kingdom of God into your workshop, or into your
home, let the quarreling be stopped. Live in peace and harmony and
brotherliness with everyone. For the Kingdom of God is a kingdom of
brothers. It is a great Society, founded by Jesus Christ, of all the
people who try to live like Him, and to make the world better and
sweeter and happier. Wherever a boy is trying to do that, in the house
or on the street, in the workshop or on the baseball field, there is
the Kingdom of God. And every boy, however small or obscure or poor,
who is seeking that, is a member of it. You see now, I hope, what the
Kingdom is.


I pass, therefore, to the second head; What was it? Arithmetic. Are
there any arithmetic words in this text? "Added." What other
arithmetic words? "First."

Now, don't you think you could not have anything better to seek
"first" than the things I have named to do what is right, to live at
peace, and be always making those about you happy? You see at once why
Christ tells us to seek these things first--because they are


Do you know anything better than these three things, anything happier,
purer, nobler? If you do, seek them first. But if you do not, seek
first the Kingdom of God. I do not tell you to be religious. You know
that. I do not tell you to seek the Kingdom of God. I tell you to seek
the Kingdom of God _first_. _First._ Not many people do that. They put
a little religion into their life--once a week, perhaps. They might
just as well let it alone. It is not worth seeking the Kingdom of God
unless we seek it _first_.

Suppose you take the helm out of a ship and hang it over the bow, and
send that ship to sea, will it ever reach the other side? Certainly
not. It will drift about anyhow. Keep religion in its place, and it
will take you straight through life and straight to your Father in
heaven when life is over. But if you do not put it in its place, you
may just as well have nothing to do with it. Religion out of its place
in a human life is the most miserable thing in the world. There is
nothing that requires so much to be kept in its place as religion, and
its place is what? second? third? "First." Boys, _first_ the Kingdom
of God; make it so that it will be natural to you to think about that
the very first thing.

There was a boy in Glasgow apprenticed to a gentleman who made
telegraphs. (The gentleman told me this himself.) One day this boy was
up on the top of a four-story house with a number of men fixing up a
telegraph wire. The work was all but done. It was getting late, and
the men said they were going away home, and the boy was to nip off the
ends of the wire himself. Before going down they told him to be sure
to go back to the workshop, when he was finished, with his master's

"Do not leave any of them lying about, whatever you do," said the

The boy climbed up the pole and began to nip off the ends of the wire.
It was a very cold winter night, and the dusk was gathering. He lost
his hold and fell upon the slates, slid down, and then over and over
to the ground below. A clothes-rope stretched across the "green" on to
which he was just about to fall, caught him on the chest and broke his
fall; but the shock was terrible, and he lay unconscious among some
clothes upon the green.

An old woman came out; seeing her rope broken and the clothes all
soiled, thought the boy was drunk, shook him, scolded him, and went
for the policeman. The boy with the shaking came back to
consciousness, rubbed his eyes, and got upon his feet. What do you
think he did? He staggered, half-blind, up the stairs. He climbed the
ladder. He got on to the roof of the house. He gathered up his tools,
put them into his basket, took them down, and when he got to the
ground again fainted dead away.

Just then the policeman came, saw there was something seriously wrong,
and carried him away to the hospital, where he lay for some time. I am
glad to say he got better.

What was his first thought at that terrible moment? His duty. He was
not thinking of himself; he was thinking about his master. First, the
Kingdom of God.

But there is another arithmetic word. What is it? "Added."

You know the difference between _addition_ and _subtraction_. Now,
that is


in religion, because--and it is a very strange thing--very few people
know the difference when they begin to talk about religion. They often
tell boys that if they seek the Kingdom of God, everything else is
going to be _subtracted_ from them. They tell them that they are going
to become gloomy, miserable, and will lose everything that makes a
boy's life worth living--that they will have to stop baseball and
story-books, and become little old men, and spend all their time in
going to meetings and in singing hymns.

Now, that is not true. Christ never said anything like that. Christ
said we are to "Seek first the Kingdom of God," and


is to be _added_ unto us. If there is anything I would like you to
remember, it is these two arithmetic words--"first" and "added."

I do not mean by "added" that if you become religious you are all
going to become _rich_. Here is a boy, who, in sweeping out the shop
tomorrow, finds a quarter lying among the orange boxes. Well, nobody
has missed it. He puts it in his pocket, and it begins to burn a hole
there. By breakfast time he wishes that money were in his master's
pocket. And by-and-by he goes to his master. He says (to _himself_,
and not to his master), "I was at the Boys' Brigade yesterday, and I
was told to seek _first_ that which was right." Then he says to his

"Please, sir, here is a quarter that I found upon the floor."

The master puts it in the till. What has the boy got in his pocket?
Nothing; _but he has got the Kingdom of God in his heart_. He has laid
up treasure in heaven, which is of infinitely more worth than the

Now, that boy does not find a dollar on his way home. I have known
that happen, but that is not what is meant by "adding." It does not
mean that God is going to pay him in his own coin, for He pays in
better coin.

Yet I remember once hearing of a boy who was paid in both ways. He was
very, very poor. He lived in a foreign country, and his mother said to
him one day that he must go into the great city and start in business,
and she took his coat and cut it open and sewed between the lining and
the coat forty golden dinars, which she had saved up for many years to
start him in life. She told him to take care of robbers as he went
across the desert; and as he was going out of the door she said:

"My boy, I have only two words for you--'Fear God, and never tell a

The boy started off, and towards evening he saw glittering in the
distance the minarets of the great city. But between the city and
himself he saw a cloud of dust. It came nearer. Presently he saw that
it was a band of robbers.

One of the robbers left the rest and rode toward him, and said:

"Boy, what have you got?"

The boy looked him in the face said:

"I have forty golden dinars sewed up in my coat."

The robber laughed and wheeled around his horse and went away back. He
would not believe the boy.

Presently another robber came and he said:

"Boy, what have you got?"

"Forty golden dinars sewed up in my coat."

The robber said: "The boy is a fool," and wheeled his horse and rode
away back.

By and by the robber captain came and he said:

"Boy, what have you got?"

"I have forty golden dinars sewed up in my coat."

The robber dismounted, and put his hand over the boy's breast, felt
something round, counted one, two, three, four, five, till he counted
out the forty golden coins. He looked the boy in the face and said:

"Why did you tell me that?

The boy said: "Because of God and my mother."

The robber leaned on his spear and thought and said:

"Wait a moment."

He mounted his horse, rode back to the rest of the robbers, and came
back in about five minutes with his dress changed. This time he looked
not like a robber, but like a merchant. He took the boy up on his
horse and said:

"My boy, I have long wanted to do something for my God and for my
mother, and I have this moment renounced my robber's life. I am also a
merchant. I have a large business house in the city. I want you to
come and live with me, to teach me about your God; and you will be
rich, and your mother some day will come and live with us."

And it all happened. By seeking first the Kingdom of God, all these
things were added unto him.

Boys, banish forever from your minds the idea that religion is
_subtraction_. It does not tell us to give things up, but rather gives
us something so much better that they give themselves up. When you see
a boy on the street whipping a top, you know, perhaps, that you could
not make that boy happier than by giving him a top, a whip, and half
an hour to whip it. But next birthday, when he looks back he says,

"What a goose I was last year to be delighted with a top. What I want
now is a baseball bat."

Then when he becomes an old man, he does not care in the least for a
baseball bat; he wants rest, and a snug fireside and a newspaper every
day. He wonders how he could ever have taken up his thoughts with
baseball bats and whipping-tops.

Now, when a boy becomes a Christian, he grows out of the evil things
one by one--that is to say, if they are really evil--which he used to
set his heart upon; (of course I do not mean baseball bats, for they
are not evils); and so instead of telling people to give up things, we
are safer to tell them to "seek first the Kingdom of God," and then
they will get new things and better things, and


of themselves. This is what is meant by the "new heart." It means that
God puts into us new thoughts and new wishes, and we become quite


Lastly, and very shortly. What was the third head? "Grammar." Right.

Now, I require a clever boy to answer the next question. What is the
verb? "Seek." Very good: "seek." What mood is it in? "Imperative
mood." What does that mean? "A command." What is the soldier's first
lesson? "Obedience." Have you obeyed this command? Remember the
imperative mood of these words, "_Seek_ first the Kingdom of God."

This is the command of your King. It _must_ be done. I have been
trying to show you what a splendid thing it is; what a reasonable
thing it is; what a happy thing it is; but beyond all these reasons,
it is a thing that _must_ be done, because we are _commanded_ to do it
by our Captain. Now, there is His command to seek _first_ the Kingdom
of God. Have you done it?

"Well," I know some boys will say, "we are going to have a good time,
enjoy life, and then we are going to seek--_last_--the Kingdom of

Now, that is mean; it is nothing else than mean for a boy to take all
the good gifts that God has given him, and then give him nothing back
in return but

          HIS WASTED LIFE.

God wants boys' _lives_, not only their souls. It is for active
service that soldiers are drilled, and trained, and fed, and armed.
That is why you and I are in the world at all--not to prepare to go
out of it some day, but to serve God actively in it _now_. It is
monstrous, and shameful, and cowardly to talk of seeking the Kingdom
_last_. It is shirking duty, abandoning one's rightful post, playing
into the enemy's hand by doing nothing to turn his flank. Every hour a
Kingdom is coming in your heart, in your home, in the world near you,
be it a Kingdom of Darkness or a Kingdom of Light. You are placed
where you are, in a particular business, in a particular street, to
help on there the Kingdom of God. You cannot do that when you are old
and ready to die. By that time your companions will have fought their
fight, and lost or won. If they lose, will you not be sorry that you
did not help them? Will you not regret that only at the last you
helped the Kingdom of God? Perhaps you will not be able to do it
then. And then your life has been lost indeed.

Very few people have the opportunity to seek the Kingdom of God at the
end. Christ, knowing all that, knowing that religion was a thing for
our life, not merely for our death-bed, has laid this command upon us
now: "Seek _first_ the Kingdom of God."

I am going to leave you with this text itself. Every boy in the world
should obey it.

Boys, before you go to work to-morrow, before you go to sleep
to-night, resolve that, God helping you, you are going to seek _first_
the Kingdom of God. Perhaps some boys here are deserters; they began
once before to serve Christ, and they deserted. Come back again, come
back again today! Others have never enlisted at all. Will you not do
it now? You are old enough to decide. The grandest moment of a boy's
life is that moment when he decides to "_Seek first the Kingdom of



God is all for quality; man is for quantity. The immediate need of the
world at this moment is not more of us, but, if I may use the
expression, a better brand of us. To secure ten men of an improved
type would be better than if we had ten thousand more of the average
Christians distributed all over the world. There is such a thing in
the evangelistic sense as winning the whole world and losing our own
soul. And the first consideration is our own life--our own spiritual
relations to God--our own likeness to Christ. And I am anxious,
briefly, to look at the right and the wrong way of becoming like
Christ--of becoming better men: the right and the wrong way of

Let me begin by naming, and in part discarding, some processes in
vogue already for producing better lives. These processes are far from
wrong; in their place they may even be essential. One ventures to
disparage them only because they do not turn out the most perfect
possible work.

I. The first imperfect method is to rely on


In will power, in mere spasms of earnestness, there is no salvation.
Struggle, effort, even agony, have their place in Christianity, as we
shall see; but this is not where they come in.

In mid-Atlantic the Etruria, in which I was sailing, suddenly stopped.
Something had gone wrong with the engines. There were five hundred
able-bodied men on board the ship. Do you think that if we had
gathered together and pushed against the mast we could have pushed it

When one attempts to sanctify himself by effort, he is trying to make
his boat go by pushing against the mast. He is like a drowning man
trying to lift himself out of the water by pulling at the hair of his
own head.

Christ held up this method almost to ridicule when He said, "Which of
you by taking thought can add a cubit to his stature?" Put down that
method forever as being futile.

The one redeeming feature of the self-sufficient method is this--that
those who try it find out almost at once that it will not gain the

2. Another experimenter says: "But that is not my method. I have seen
the folly of a mere wild struggle in the dark. I work on a principle.
My plan is not to waste power on random effort, but to concentrate on
a single sin. By taking

          ONE AT A TIME

and crucifying it steadily, I hope in the end to extirpate all."

To this, unfortunately, there are four objections: For one thing, life
is too short; the name of sin is legion. For another thing, to deal
with individual sins is to leave the rest of the nature for the time
untouched. In the third place, a single combat with a special sin does
not affect the root and spring of the disease. If you dam up a stream
at one place, it will simply overflow higher up. If only one of the
channels of sin be obstructed, experience points to an almost certain
overflow through some other part of the nature. Partial conversion is
almost always accompanied by such moral leakage, for the pent-up
energies accumulate to the bursting point, and the last state of that
soul may be worse than the first. In the last place, religion does not
consist in negatives, in stopping this sin and stopping that. The
perfect character can never be produced with a pruning knife.

3. But a third protests: "So be it. I make no attempt to stop sins one
by one. My method is just the opposite.


one by one."

The difficulty about the copying method is that it is apt to be
mechanical. One can always tell an engraving from a picture, an
artificial flower from a real flower. To copy virtues one by one has
somewhat the same effect as eradicating the vices one by one; the
temporary result is an overbalanced and incongruous character. Some
one defines a _prig_ as "a creature that is over-fed for its size."
One sometimes finds Christians of this species--over-fed on one side
of their nature, but dismally thin and starved looking on the other.
The result, for instance, of copying Humility, and adding it on to an
otherwise worldly life, is simply grotesque. A rabid temperance
advocate, for the same reason, is often the poorest of creatures,
flourishing on a single virtue, and quite oblivious that his
Temperance is making a worse man of him and not a better. These are
examples of fine virtues spoiled by association with mean companions.
Character is a unity, and all the virtues must advance together to
make the perfect man.

This method of sanctification, nevertheless, is in the true direction.
It is only in the details of execution that it fails.

4. A fourth method I need scarcely mention, for it is a variation on
those already named. It is


and the pure earnestness of it makes it almost desecration to touch
it. It is to keep a private note-book with columns for the days of the
week, and a list of virtues, with spaces against each for marks. This,
with many stern rules for preface, is stored away in a secret place,
and from time to time, at nightfall, the soul is arraigned before it
as before a private judgment bar.

This living by code was Franklin's method; and I suppose thousands
more could tell how they had hung up in their bedrooms, or hid in
locked-fast drawers, the rules which one solemn day they drew up to
shape their lives.

This method is not erroneous, only somehow its success is poor. You
bear me witness that it fails. And it fails generally for very
matter-of-fact reasons--most likely because one day we forget the

All these methods that have been named--the self-sufficient method,
the self-crucifixion method, the mimetic method, and the diary
method--are perfectly human, perfectly natural, perfectly ignorant,
and as they stand perfectly inadequate. It is not argued, I repeat,
that they must be abandoned. Their harm is rather that they distract
attention from the true working method, and secure a fair result at
the expense of the perfect one. What that perfect method is we shall
now go on to ask.


A formula, a receipt for Sanctification--can one seriously speak of
this mighty change as if the process were as definite as for the
production of so many volts of electricity?

It is impossible to doubt it. Shall a mechanical experiment succeed
infallibly, and the one vital experiment of humanity remain a chance?
Is corn to grow by method, and character by caprice? If we cannot
calculate to a certainty that the forces of religion will do their
work, then is religion vain. And if we cannot express the law of these
forces in simple words, then is Christianity not the world's religion,
but the world's conundrum.

Where, then, shall one look for such a formula? Where one would look
for any formula--among the text-books. And if we turn to the
text-books of Christianity we shall find a formula for this problem as
clear and precise as any in the mechanical sciences. If this simple
rule, moreover, be but followed fearlessly, it will yield the result
of a perfect character as surely as any result that is guaranteed by
the laws of nature.

The finest expression of this rule in Scripture, or indeed in any
literature, is probably one drawn up and condensed into a single verse
by Paul. You will find it in a letter--the second to the
Corinthians--written by him to some Christian people who, in a city
which was a byword for depravity and licentiousness, were seeking the
higher life. To see the point of the words we must take them from the
immensely improved rendering of the Revised translation, for the older
Version in this case greatly obscures the sense. They are these:

"We all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the
Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as
from the Lord, the Spirit."

Now observe at the outset the entire contradiction of all our previous
efforts, in the simple passive: "_We are transformed._"

We _are changed_, as the Old Version has it--we do not change
ourselves. No man can change himself. Throughout the New Testament you
will find that wherever these moral and spiritual transformations are
described the verbs are in the passive. Presently it will be pointed
out that there is a _rationale_ in this; but meantime do not toss
these words aside as if this passivity denied all human effort or
ignored intelligible law. What is implied for the soul here is no more
than is everywhere claimed for the body. In physiology the verbs
describing the processes of growth are in the passive. Growth is not
voluntary; it takes place, it happens, it is wrought upon matter. So
here. "Ye must be born again"--we cannot born ourselves. "Be not
conformed to this world, but _be ye transformed_"--we are subjects to
transforming influence, we do not transform ourselves. Not more
certain is it that it is something outside the thermometer that
produces a change in the thermometer, than it is


that produces a moral change upon him. That he must be susceptible to
that change, that he must be a party to it, goes without saying; but
that neither his aptitude nor his will can produce it, is equally

Obvious as it ought to seem, this may be to some an almost startling
revelation. The change we have been striving after is not to be
produced by any more striving. It is to be wrought upon us by the
moulding of hands beyond our own. As the branch ascends, and the bud
bursts, and the fruit reddens under the co-operation of influences
from the outside air, so man rises to the higher stature under
invisible pressures from without. The radical defect of all our former
methods of sanctification was the attempt to generate from within that
which can only be wrought upon us from without. According to the first
Law of Motion, every body continues in its state of rest, or of
uniform motion in a straight line, except in so far as it may be
compelled _by impressed forces_ to change that state. This is also a
first law of Christianity. Every man's character remains as it is, or
continues in the direction in which it is going, until it is compelled
_by impressed forces_ to change that state. Our failure has been the
failure to put ourselves in the way of the impressed forces. There is
a clay, and there is a Potter; we have tried to get the clay to mould
the clay.

Whence, then, these pressures, and where this Potter? The answer of
the formula is--"By reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord we
are changed." But this is not very clear. What is the "glory" of the
Lord, and how can mortal man reflect it, and how can that act as an
"impressed force" in moulding him to a nobler form? The word
"glory"--the word which has to bear the weight of holding those
"impressed forces"--is a stranger in current speech, and our first
duty is to seek out its equivalent in working English. It suggests at
first a radiance of some kind, something dazzling or glittering, some
halo such as the old masters loved to paint round the head of their
Ecce Homos. But that is paint, mere matter, the visible symbol of some
unseen thing. What is that unseen thing? It is that of all unseen
things the most radiant, the most beautiful, the most Divine, and that
is _Character_. On earth, in Heaven, there is nothing so great, so
glorious as this. The word has many meanings; in ethics it can have
but one. Glory is character, and nothing less, and it can be nothing
more. The earth is "full of the glory of the Lord," because it is full
of His character. The "Beauty of the Lord" is character. "The
effulgence of His Glory" is character. "The Glory of the Only
Begotten" is character, the character which is "fullness of grace and
truth." And when God told His people _His name_, He simply gave them
His character, His character which was Himself: "And the Lord
proclaimed the name of the Lord ... the Lord, the Lord God, merciful
and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth."
Glory then is not something intangible, or ghostly, or transcendental.
If it were this, how could Paul ask men to reflect it? Stripped of its
physical enswathement it is Beauty, moral and spiritual Beauty, Beauty
infinitely real, infinitely exalted, yet infinitely near and
infinitely communicable.

With this explanation read over the sentence once more in paraphrase:
We all reflecting as a mirror the character of Christ are transformed
into the same Image from character to character--from a poor character
to a better one, from a better one to a little better still, from that
to one still more complete, until by slow degrees the Perfect Image is
attained. Here


is compressed into a sentence: Reflect the character of Christ, and
you will become like Christ. You will be changed, in spite of yourself
and unknown to yourself, into the same image from character to

(1). All men are reflectors--that is

          THE FIRST LAW

on which this formula is based. One of the aptest descriptions of a
human being is that he is a mirror. As we sat at table to-night the
world in which each of us lived and moved throughout this day was
focused in the room. What we saw when we looked at one another was not
one another, but one another's world. We were an arrangement of
mirrors. The scenes we saw were all reproduced; the people we met
walked to and fro; they spoke, they bowed, they passed us by, did
everything over again as if it had been real. When we talked, we were
but looking at our own mirror and describing what flitted across it;
our listening was not hearing, but seeing--we but looked on our
neighbor's mirror.

All human intercourse is a seeing of reflections. I meet a stranger in
a railway carriage. The cadence of his first words tells me he is
English and comes from Yorkshire. Without knowing it he has reflected
his birthplace, his parents, and the long history of their race. Even
physiologically he is a mirror. His second sentence records that he is
a politician, and a faint inflection in the way he pronounces _The
Times_ reveals his party. In his next remarks I see reflected a whole
world of experiences. The books he has read, the people he has met,
the companions he keeps, the influences that have played upon him and
made him the man he is--these are all registered there by a pen which
lets nothing pass, and whose writing can


What I am reading in him meantime he also is reading in me; and before
the journey is over we could half write each other's lives. Whether we
like it or not, we live in glass houses. The mind, the memory, the
soul, is simply a vast chamber panelled with looking-glass. And upon
this miraculous arrangement and endowment depends the capacity of
mortal souls to "reflect the character of the Lord."

(2). But this is not all. If all these varied reflections from our
so-called secret life are patent to the world, how close the writing,
complete the record within the soul itself! For the influences we meet
are not simply held for a moment on the polished surface and thrown
off again into space. Each is retained where first it fell, and stored
up in the soul forever.


is the second, and by far the most impressive truth which underlies
the formula of sanctification--the truth that men are not only
mirrors, but that these mirrors, so far from being mere reflectors of
the fleeting things they see, transfer into their own inmost
substance, and hold in permanent preservation the things that they

No one knows how the soul can hold these things. No one knows how the
miracle is done. No phenomenon in nature, no process in chemistry, no
chapter in necromancy can ever help us to begin to understand this
amazing operation. For, think of it, the past is not only _focused_
there, in a man's soul, it _is_ there. How could it be reflected from
there if it were not there? All things that he has ever seen, known,
felt, believed of the surrounding world are now within him, have
become part of him, in part are him--he has been changed into their
image. He may deny it, he may resent it, but they are there. They do
not adhere to him, they are transfused through him. He cannot alter or
rub them out. They are not in his memory, they are in _him_. His soul
is as they have filled it, made it, left it. These things, these
books, these events, these influences are his makers. In their hands
are life and death, beauty and deformity. When once the image or
likeness of any of these is fairly presented to the soul, no power on
earth can hinder two things happening--it must be absorbed into the
soul and forever reflected back again from character.

Upon these astounding yet perfectly obvious psychological facts, Paul
bases his doctrine of sanctification. He sees that character is a
thing built up by slow degrees, that it is hourly changing for better
or for worse according to the images which flit across it. One step
further and the whole length and breadth of the application of these
ideas to the central problem of religion will stand before us.


If events change men, much more persons. No man can meet another on
the street without making some mark upon him. We say we exchange words
when we meet; what we exchange is souls. And when intercourse is very
close and very frequent, so complete is this exchange that
recognizable bits of the one soul begin to show in the other's
nature, and the second is conscious of a similar and growing debt to
the first.

Now, we become like those whom we habitually reflect. I could prove
from science that applies even to the physical framework of
animals--that they are influenced and organically changed by the
environment in which they live.

This mysterious approximating of two souls, who has not witnessed? Who
has not watched some old couple come down life's pilgrimage hand in
hand, with such gentle trust and joy in one another that their very
faces wore the self-same look? These were not two souls; it was a
composite soul. It did not matter to which of the two you spoke, you
would have said the same words to either. It was quite indifferent
which replied, each would have said the same. Half a century's
_reflecting_ had told upon them; they were changed into the same
image. It is the Law of Influence that _we become like those whom we
habitually reflect_: these had become like because they habitually
reflected. Through all the range of literature, of history, and
biography this law presides. Men are all mosaics of other men. There
was a savor of David about Jonathan, and a savor of Jonathan about
David. Metempsychosis is a fact. George Eliot's message to the world
was that men and women make men and women. The Family, the cradle of
mankind, has no meaning apart from this. Society itself is nothing but
a rallying point for these omnipotent forces to do their work. On the
doctrine of Influence, in short, the whole vast pyramid of humanity is

But it was reserved for Paul to make the supreme application of the
Law of Influence. It was a tremendous inference to make, but he never
hesitated. He himself was a changed man; he knew exactly what had done

          IT WAS CHRIST.

On the Damascus road they met, and from that hour his life was
absorbed in His. The effect could not but follow--on words, on deeds,
on career, on creed. The "impressed forces" did their vital work. He
became like Him Whom he habitually loved. "So we all," he writes,
"reflecting as a mirror the glory of Christ, are changed into the same

Nothing could be more simple, more intelligible, more natural, more
supernatural. It is an analogy from an every-day fact. Since we are
what we are by the impacts of those who surround us, those who
surround themselves with the highest will be those who change into the
highest. There are some men and some women in whose company we are


While with them we cannot think mean thoughts or speak ungenerous
words. Their mere presence is elevation, purification, sanctity. All
the best stops in our nature are drawn out by their intercourse, and
we find a music in our souls that was never there before. Suppose even
_that_ influence prolonged through a month, a year, a lifetime, and
what could not life become? Here, even on the common plane of life,
talking our language, walking our streets, working side by side, are
sanctifiers of souls; here, breathing through common clay, is Heaven;
here, energies charged even through a temporal medium with the virtue
of regeneration. If to live with men, diluted to the millionth degree
with the virtue of the Highest, can exalt and purify the nature, what
bounds can be set to the influence of Christ? To live with
Socrates--with unveiled face--must have made one wise; with Aristides,
just. Francis Assisi must have made one gentle; Savonarola, strong.
But to have lived with Christ must have made one like Christ: that is
to say, _A Christian_.

As a matter of fact, to live with Christ did produce this effect. It
produced it in the case of Paul. And during Christ's lifetime the
experiment was tried in an even more startling form. A few raw,
unspiritual, uninspiring men, were admitted to the inner circle of His
friendship. The change began at once. Day by day we can almost see the
first disciple grow. First there steals over them the faintest
possible adumbration of His character, and occasionally, very
occasionally, they do a thing or say a thing that they could not have
done or said had they not been living there. Slowly the spell of His
Life deepens. Reach after reach of their nature is overtaken, thawed,
subjugated, sanctified. Their manner softens, their words become more
gentle, their conduct more unselfish. As swallows who have found a
summer, as frozen buds the spring, their starved humanity bursts into
a fuller life. They do not know how it is, but they are different men.

One day they find themselves like their Master, going about and doing
good. To themselves it is unaccountable, but they cannot do otherwise.
They were not told to do it, it came to them to do it. But the people
who watch them know well how to account for it--"They have been," they
whisper, "with Jesus." Already even, the mark and seal of His
character is upon them--"They have been with Jesus." Unparalleled
phenomenon, that these poor fishermen should remind other men of
Christ! Stupendous victory and mystery of


that mortal men should suggest _God_ to the world!

There is something almost melting in the way His contemporaries, and
John especially, speak of the influence of Christ. John lived himself
in daily wonder at Him; he was overpowered, over-awed, entranced,
transfigured. To his mind it was impossible for any one to come under
this influence and ever be the same again. "Whosoever abideth in Him
sinneth not," he said. It was inconceivable that he should sin, as
inconceivable as that ice should live in a burning sun, or darkness
coexist with noon. If any one did sin, it was to John the simple proof
that he could never have met Christ. "Whosoever sinneth," he exclaims,
"hath not seen _Him_, neither known _Him_." Sin was abashed in this
Presence. Its roots withered. Its sway and victory were forever at an

But these were His contemporaries. It was easy for _them_ to be
influenced by Him, for they were every day and all the day together.
But how can we mirror that which we have never seen? How can all this
stupendous result be produced by a Memory, by the scantiest of all
Biographies, by One who lived and left this earth eighteen hundred
years ago? How can modern men to-day make Christ, the absent Christ,
their most constant companion still?

The answer is that


It is independent of Matter, or Space, or Time. That which I love in
my friend is not that which I see. What influences me in my friend is
not his body but his spirit. He influences me about as much in his
absence as in his presence. It would have been an ineffable experience
truly to have lived at that time--

    "I think when I read the sweet story of old,
      How when Jesus was here among men,
    He took little children like lambs to His fold,
      I should like to have been with Him then.

    "I wish that His hand had been laid on my head,
      That His arms had been thrown around me,
    And that I had seen His kind look when he said,
      'Let the little ones come unto me.'"

And yet, if Christ were to come into the world again, few of us
probably would ever have a chance of seeing Him. Millions of her
subjects in the little country of England have never seen their own
Queen. And there would be millions of the subjects of Christ who could
never get within speaking distance of Him if He were here. We remember
He said: "It is expedient for you (not _for Me_) that I go away";
because by going away He could really be nearer to us than He would
have been if He had stayed here. It would be geographically and
physically impossible for most of us to be influenced by His person
had He remained. And so our communion with Him is a spiritual
companionship; but not different from most companionships, which, when
you press them down to the roots, you will find to be essentially

All friendship, all love, human and Divine, is purely spiritual. It
was after He was risen that He influenced even the disciples most.
Hence, in reflecting the character of Christ, it is no real obstacle
that we may never have been in visible contact with Himself.

There lived once a young girl whose perfect grace of character was the
wonder of those who knew her. She wore on her neck a gold locket which
no one was ever allowed to open. One day, in a moment of unusual
confidence, one of her companions was allowed to touch its spring and
learn its secret. She saw written these words--

"_Whom having not seen I love_."

That was the secret of her beautiful life. She had been changed into
the Same Image.

Now this is not imitation, but a much deeper thing. Mark this
distinction, for the difference in the process, as well as in the
result, may be as great as that between a photograph secured by the
infallible pencil of the sun, and the rude outline from a school-boy's
chalk. Imitation is mechanical, reflection organic. The one is
occasional, the other habitual. In the one case, man comes to God and
imitates him; in the other, God comes to man and imprints Himself upon
him. It is quite true that there is an imitation of Christ which
amounts to reflection. But Paul's term includes all that the other
holds, and is open to no mistake.

What, then, is the practical lesson? It is obvious. "Make Christ your
most constant companion"--this is what it practically means for us. Be
more under His influence than under any other influence. Ten minutes
spent in His society every day, ay, two minutes if it be face to face,
and heart to heart, will make the whole day different. Every character
has an inward spring,--let Christ be it. Every action has a
key-note,--let Christ set it.

Yesterday you got a certain letter. You sat down and wrote a reply
which almost scorched the paper. You picked the cruelest adjectives
you knew and sent it forth, without a pang to do its ruthless work.
You did that because your life was set in the wrong key. You began the
day with the mirror placed at the wrong angle.

Tomorrow at day-break, turn it towards Him, and even to your enemy the
fashion of your countenance will be changed. Whatever you then do, one
thing you will find you could not do--you could not write that letter.
Your first impulse may be the same, your judgment may be unchanged,
but if you try it the ink will dry on your pen, and you will rise from
your desk an unavenged, but a greater and more Christian man.
Throughout the whole day your actions, down to the last detail, will
do homage to that early vision.

Yesterday you thought mostly about yourself. Today the poor will meet
you, and you will feed them. The helpless, the tempted, the sad, will
throng about you, and each you will befriend. Where were all these
people yesterday? Where they are today, but you did not see them. It
is in reflected light that the poor are seen. But your soul today is


"Things which are not seen" are visible. For a few short hours you
live the Eternal Life. The eternal life, the life of faith, is simply
the life of a higher vision. Faith is an attitude--a mirror set at the
right angle.

When tomorrow is over, and in the evening you review it, you will
wonder how you did it. You will not be conscious that you strove for
anything, or imitated anything, or crucified anything. You will be
conscious of Christ; that He was with you, that without compulsion you
were yet compelled; that without force, or noise, or proclamation, the
revolution was accomplished. You do not congratulate yourself as one
who has done a mighty deed, or achieved a personal success, or stored
up a fund of "Christian experience" to ensure the same result again.
What you are conscious of is "the glory of the Lord." And what the
world is conscious of, if the result be a true one, is also "the glory
of the Lord." In looking at a mirror one does not see the mirror, or
think of it, but only of what it reflects. For a mirror never calls
the attention to itself--except when there are flaws in it.

Let me say a word or two more about the effects which necessarily must
follow from this contact, or fellowship, with Christ. I need not quote
the texts upon the subject--the texts about abiding in Christ. "He
that abideth in Him sinneth not." You cannot sin when you are standing
in front of Christ. You simply cannot do it. Again: "If ye abide in
Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall
be done unto you." Think of that! That is another inevitable
consequence. And there is yet another: "He that abideth in Me, the
same bringeth forth much fruit." Sinlessness--answered prayer--much

But in addition to these things, see how many of the highest Christian
virtues and experiences necessarily flow from the assumption of that
attitude toward Christ. For instance, the moment you assume that
relation to Christ you begin to know what the _child-spirit_ is. You
stand before Christ, and He becomes your Teacher, and you
instinctively become docile. Then you learn also to become
_charitable_ and _tolerant_; because you are learning of Him, and He
is "meek and lowly in heart," and you catch that spirit. That is a bit
of His character being reflected into yours. Instead of being critical
and self-asserting, you become humble and have the mind of a little

I think, further, the only way of learning what _faith_ is is to know
Christ and be in His company. You hear sermons about the nine
different kinds of faith--distinctions drawn between the right kind of
faith and the wrong--and sermons telling you how to get faith. So far
as I can see, there is

          ONLY ONE WAY

in which faith is got, and it is the same in the religious world as it
is in the world of men and women. I learn to trust you, my brother,
just as I get to know you, and neither more nor less; and you get to
trust me just as you get to know me. I do not trust you as a stranger,
but as I come into contact with you, and watch you, and live with you,
I find out that you are trustworthy, and I come to trust myself to
you, and to lean upon you. But I do not do that to a stranger.

The way to trust Christ is to know Christ. You cannot help trusting
Him then. You are changed. By knowing Him faith is begotten in you, as
cause and effect. To trust Him without knowing Him as thousands do, is
not faith, but credulity. I believe a great deal of prayer for faith
is thrown away. What we should pray for is that we may be able to
fulfill the condition, and when we have fulfilled the condition, the
faith necessarily follows. The way, therefore, to increase our faith
is to increase our intimacy with Christ. We trust Him more and more
the better we know Him.

And then another immediate effect of this way of sanctifying the
character is the tranquillity that it brings over the Christian life.
How disturbed and distressed and anxious Christian people are about
their growth in grace! Now, the moment you give that over into
Christ's care--the moment you see that you are _being_ changed--that
anxiety passes away. You see that it must follow by an inevitable
process and by a natural law if you fulfill the simple condition; so
that peace is the reward of that life and fellowship with Christ.

Many other things follow. A man's usefulness depends to a large extent
upon his fellowship with Christ. That is obvious. Only Christ can
influence the world; but all that the world sees of Christ is what it
sees of you and me. Christ said: "The world seeth Me no more, but ye
see Me." You see Him, and standing in front of Him reflect Him, and
the world sees the reflection. It cannot see Him. So that a
Christian's usefulness depends solely upon that relationship.

Now, I have only pointed out a few of the things that follow from the
standing before Christ--from the abiding in Christ. You will find, if
you run over the texts about abiding in Christ, many other things will
suggest themselves in the same relations. Almost everything in
Christian experience and character follows, and follows necessarily,
from standing before Christ and reflecting his character. But the
supreme consummation is that we are changed into _the same image_,
"even as by the Lord the Spirit." That is to say, that in some way,
unknown to us, but possibly not more mysterious than the doctrine of
personal influence, we are changed into the image of Christ.

This method cannot fail. I am not setting before you an opinion or a
theory, but this is


of sanctification. "We all, with unveiled face, reflecting in a mirror
the glory of Christ (the character of Christ) assuredly--without any
miscarriage--without any possibility of miscarriage--are changed into
the same image." It is an immense thing to be anchored in some great
principle like that. Emerson says: "The hero is the man who is
immovably centered." Get immovably centered in that doctrine of
sanctification. Do not be carried away by the hundred and one theories
of sanctification that are floating about in religious literature of
the country at the present time; but go to the bottom of the thing for
yourself, and see the _rationale_ of it for yourself, and you will
come to see that it is a matter of cause and effect, and that if you
will fulfill the condition laid down by Christ, the effect must follow
by a natural law.

What a prospect! To be changed into the same image. Think of that!
That is what we are here for. That is what we are elected for. Not to
be saved, in the common acceptation, but "whom He did foreknow He also
did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son." Not merely
to be saved, but _to be conformed to the image of His Son_. Conserve
that principle. And as we must spend time in cultivating our earthly
friendships if we are to have their blessings, so we must

          SPEND TIME

in cultivating the fellowship and companionship of Christ. And there
is nothing so much worth taking into our lives as a profounder sense
of what is to be had by living in communion with Christ, and by
getting nearer to Him. It will matter much if we take away with us
some of the thoughts about theology, and some of the new light that
has been shed upon the text of Scripture; it will matter infinitely
more if our fellowship with the Lord Jesus become a little closer, and
our theory of holy living a little more rational. And then as we go
forth, men will take knowledge of us, that we have been with Jesus,
and as we reflect Him upon them, they will begin to be changed into
the same image.

It seems to me the preaching is of infinitely smaller account than the
life which mirrors Christ. That is bound to tell; without speech or
language--like the voices of the stars. It throws out its impressions
on every side. The one simple thing we have to do is to be there--in
the right relation; to go through life hand in hand with Him; to have
Him in the room with us, and keeping us company wherever we go; to
depend upon Him and lean upon Him, and so have His life reflected in
the fullness of its beauty and perfection into ours.


Then you reduce religion to a common Friendship? A common
Friendship--who talks of a _common_ Friendship? There is no such thing
in the world.

On earth no word is more sublime. Friendship is the nearest thing we
know to what religion is. God is love. And to make religion akin to
Friendship is simply to give it the highest expression conceivable by
man. But if by demurring to "a common friendship" is meant a protest
against the greatest and the holiest in religion being spoken of in
intelligible terms, then I am afraid the objection is all too real.
Men always look for a mystery when one talks of sanctification, some
mystery apart from that which must ever be mysterious wherever Spirit
works. It is thought some peculiar secret lies behind it, some occult
experience which only the initiated know. Thousands of persons go to
church every Sunday hoping to solve this mystery. At meetings, at
conferences, many a time they have reached what they thought was the
very brink of it, but somehow no further revelation came. Poring over
religious books, how often were they not within a paragraph of it; the
next page, the next sentence, would discover all, and they would be
borne on a flowing tide forever. But nothing happened. The next
sentence and the next page were read, and still it eluded them; and
though the promise of its coming kept faithfully up to the end, the
last chapter found them still pursuing.

Why did nothing happen? Because there was nothing to happen--nothing
of the kind they were looking for. Why did it elude them? Because
there was no "it." When shall we learn that the pursuit of holiness is


When shall we substitute for the "it" of a fictitious aspiration, the
approach to a Living Friend? Sanctity is in character and not in
moods; Divinity in our own plain calm humanity, and in no mystic
rapture of the soul.

And yet there are others who, for exactly a contrary reason, will find
scant satisfaction here. Their complaint is not that a religion
expressed in terms of Friendship is too homely, but that it is still
too mystical. To "abide" in Christ, to "make Christ our most constant
companion," is to them the purest mysticism. They want something
absolutely tangible and absolutely direct. These are not the poetical
souls who seek a sign, a mysticism in excess, but the prosaic natures
whose want is mathematical definition in details. Yet it is perhaps
not possible to reduce this problem to much more rigid elements. The
beauty of Friendship is its infinity. One can never evacuate life of
mysticism. Home is full of it, love is full of it, religion is full of
it. Why stumble at that in the relation of man to Christ which is
natural in the relation of man to man?

If any one cannot conceive or realize a mystical relation with Christ,
perhaps all that can be done is to help him to step on to it by still
plainer analogies from common life. How do I know Shakspere or Dante?
By communing with their words and thoughts. Many men know Dante better
than their own fathers. He influences them more. As a spiritual
presence he is more near to them, as a spiritual force more real. Is
there any reason why a greater than Shakspere or Dante, who also
walked this earth, who left great words behind Him, who has greater
works everywhere in the world now, should not also instruct, inspire
and mould the characters of men? I do not limit Christ's influence to
this: it is this, and it is more. But Christ, so far from resenting
or discouraging this relation of Friendship, Himself proposed it.
"Abide in me" was almost His last word to the world. And He partly met
the difficulty of those who feel its intangibleness by adding the
practical clause, "If ye abide in Me, _and My words abide in you_."

Begin with His words. Words can scarcely ever be long impersonal.
Christ himself was a Word, a word made Flesh. Make His words flesh; do
them, live them, and you must live Christ. "_He that keepeth My
Commandments_, he it is that loveth Me." Obey Him and you must love
Him. Abide in Him, and you must obey Him. _Cultivate_ His Friendship.
Live after Christ, in His Spirit, as in His Presence, and it is
difficult to think what more you can do. Take this at least as a first
lesson, as introduction.

If you cannot at once and always feel the play of His life upon yours,
watch for it also indirectly. "The whole earth is full of the
character of the Lord." Christ is the Light of the world, and much of
his Light is reflected from things in the world--even from clouds.
Sunlight is stored in every leaf, from leaf through coal, and it
comforts us thence when days are dark and we cannot see the sun.
Christ shines through men, through books, through history, through
nature, music, art. Look for Him there. "Every day one should either
look at a beautiful picture, or hear beautiful music, or read a
beautiful poem." The real danger of mysticism is not making it broad

Do not think that nothing is happening because you do not see yourself
grow, or hear the whir of the machinery. All great things grow
noiselessly. You can see a mushroom grow, but never a child. Paul said
for the comforting of all slowly perfecting souls that they grew
"from character to character." "The inward man," he says elsewhere,
"is renewed from day to day." All thorough work is slow; all true
development by minute, slight and insensible metamorphoses. The higher
the structure, moreover, the slower the progress. As the biologist
runs his eye over the long Ascent of Life, he sees the lowest forms of
animals develop in an hour; the next above these reach maturity in a
day; those higher still take weeks or months to perfect; but the few
at the top demand the long experiment of years. If a child and an ape
are born on the same day, the last will be in full possession of its
faculties and doing the active work of life before the child has left
its cradle. Life is the cradle of eternity. As the man is to the
animal in the slowness of his evolution, so is the spiritual man to
the natural man. Foundations which have to bear the weight of an
eternal life must be surely laid. Character is to wear forever; who
will wonder or grudge that it cannot be developed in a day?

To await the growing of a soul, nevertheless, is an almost Divine act
of faith. How pardonable, surely, the impatience of deformity with
itself, of a consciously despicable character standing before Christ,
wondering, yearning, hungering to be like that! Yet must one trust the
process fearlessly and without misgiving. "The Lord the Spirit" will
do His part. The tempting expedient is, in haste for abrupt or visible
progress, to try some method less spiritual, or to defeat the end by
watching for effects instead of keeping the eye on the Cause. A
photograph prints from the negative only while exposed to the sun.
While the artist is looking to see how it is getting on he simply
stops the getting on. Whatever of wise supervision the soul may need,
it is certain it can never be over-exposed, or that, being exposed,
anything else in the world can improve the result or quicken it. The
creation of a new heart, the renewing of a right spirit, is an
omnipotent work of God. Leave it to the Creator. "He which hath begun
a good work in you will perfect it unto that day."

No man, nevertheless, who feels the worth and solemnity of what is at
stake will be careless as to his progress. To become

          LIKE CHRIST

is the only thing in the world worth caring for, the thing before
which every ambition of man is folly, and all lower achievement vain.

Those only who make this quest the supreme desire and passion of their
lives can ever begin to hope to reach it. If, therefore, it has seemed
up to this point as if all depended on passivity, let me now assert,
with conviction more intense, that all depends on activity. A religion
of effortless adoration may be a religion for an angel, but never for
a man. Not in the contemplative, but in the active, lies true hope;
not in rapture, but in reality, lies true life; not in the realm of
ideals, but among tangible things, is man's sanctification wrought.
Resolution, effort, pain, self-crucifixion, agony--all the things
already dismissed as futile in themselves, must now be restored to
office, and a tenfold responsibility laid upon them. For what is their
office? Nothing less than to move the vast inertia of the soul, and
place it, and keep it where the spiritual forces will act upon it. It
is to rally the forces of the will, and keep the surface of the mirror
bright and ever in position. It is to uncover the face which is to
look at Christ, and draw down the veil when unhallowed sights are

You have, perhaps, gone with an astronomer to watch him photograph the
spectrum of a star. As you enter the dark vault of the observatory you
saw him begin by lighting a candle. To see the star with? No; but to
adjust the instrument to see the star with. It was the star that was
going to take the photograph; it was, also, the astronomer. For a long
time he worked in the dimness, screwing tubes and polishing lenses and
adjusting reflectors, and only after much labor the finely focused
instrument was brought to bear. Then he blew out the light, and left
the star to do its work upon the plate alone.

The day's task for the Christian is to bring his instrument to bear.
Having done that he may blow out his candle. All the evidences of
Christianity which have brought him there, all aids to Faith, all acts
of worship, all the leverages of the Church, all Prayer and
Meditation, all girding of the Will--these lesser processes, these
candle-light activities for that supreme hour, may be set aside. But,
remember, it is but for an hour. The wise man will be he who quickest
lights his candle, the wisest he who never lets it out. Tomorrow, the
next moment, he, a poor, darkened, blurred soul, may need it again to
focus the Image better, to take a mote off the lens, to clear the
mirror from a breath with which the world has dulled it.

No readjustment is ever required on behalf of the Star. That is one
great fixed point in this shifting universe. But _the world moves_.
And each day, each hour, demands a further motion and readjustment for
the soul. A telescope in an observatory follows a star by clockwork,
but the clockwork of the soul is called _the Will_. Hence, while the
soul in passivity reflects the Image of the Lord, the Will in intense
activity holds the mirror in position lest the drifting motion of the
world bear it beyond the line of vision. To "follow Christ" is largely
to keep the soul in such position as will allow for the motion of the
earth. And this calculated counteracting of the movements of the
world, this holding of the mirror exactly opposite to the Mirrored,
this steadying of the faculties unerringly through cloud and
earthquake, fire and sword, is the stupendous co-operating labor of
the Will. It is all man's work. It is all Christ's work. In practice
it is both; in theory it is both. But the wise man will say in
practice, "It depends upon myself."

In the Gallerie des Beaux Arts in Paris there stands a famous statue.
It was the last work of a great genius, who, like many a genius, was
very poor and lived in a garret, which served as a studio and
sleeping-room alike. When the statue was all but finished, one
midnight a sudden frost fell upon Paris. The sculptor lay awake in the
fireless room and thought of the still moist clay, thought how the
water would freeze in the pores and destroy in an hour the dream of
his life. So the old man rose from his couch and heaped the
bed-clothes reverently round his work. In the morning when the
neighbors entered the room the sculptor was dead, but the statue was

The Image of Christ that is forming within us--that is life's one
charge. Let every project stand aside for that. The spirit of God who
brooded upon the waters thousands of years ago, is busy now creating
men, within these commonplace lives of ours, in the image of God.
"Till Christ be formed," no man's work is finished, no religion
crowned, no life has fulfilled its end. Is the infinite task begun?
When, how, are we to be different? Time cannot change men. Death
cannot change men. Christ can. Wherefore _put on Christ_.


There is a subject which I think workers amongst young men cannot
afford to keep out of sight--I mean the subject of "Doubt." We are
forced to face that subject. We have no choice. I would rather let it
alone; but every day of my life I meet men who doubt, and I am quite
sure that most Christian workers among men have innumerable interviews
every year with men who raise skeptical difficulties about religion.

Now it becomes a matter of great practical importance that we should
know how to deal wisely with these. Upon the whole, I think these are
the best men in the country. I speak of my own country. I speak of the
universities with which I am familiar, and I say that the men who are
perplexed,--the men who come to you with serious and honest
difficulties,--are the best men. They are men of intellectual honesty,
and cannot allow themselves to be put to rest by words, or phrases, or
traditions, or theologies, but who must get to the bottom of things
for themselves. And if I am not mistaken,


of these men. The outsiders always interested Him, and touched Him.
The orthodox people--the Pharisees--He was much less interested in. He
went with publicans and sinners--with people who were in revolt
against the respectability, intellectual and religious, of the day.
And following Him, we are entitled to give sympathetic consideration
to those whom He loved and took trouble with.

First, let me speak for a moment or two about


In the first place, _we are born questioners_. Look at the wonderment
of a little child in its eyes before it can speak. The child's great
word when it begins to speak is, "Why?" Every child is full of every
kind of question, about every kind of thing, that moves, and shines,
and changes, in the little world in which it lives.

That is the incipient doubt in the nature of man. Respect doubt for
its origin. It is an inevitable thing. It is not a thing to be
crushed. It is a part of man as God made him. Heresy is truth in the
making, and doubt is the prelude of knowledge.

Secondly: _The world is a Sphinx._ It is a vast riddle--an
unfathomable mystery; and on every side there is temptation to
questioning. In every leaf, in every cell of every leaf, there are a
hundred problems. There are ten good years of a man's life in
investigating what is in a leaf, and there are five good years more in
investigating the things that are in the things that are in the leaf.
God has planned the world to incite men to intellectual activity.

Thirdly: _The instrument with which we attempt to investigate truth is
impaired._ Some say it fell, and the glass is broken. Some say
prejudice, heredity, or sin, have spoiled its sight, and have blinded
our eyes and deadened our ears. In any case the instruments with
which we work upon truth, even in the strongest men, are feeble and
inadequate to their tremendous task.

And in the fourth place, _all religious truths are doubtable_. There
is no absolute truth for any one of them. Even that fundamental
truth--the existence of a God--no man can prove by reason. The
ordinary proof for the existence of God involves either an assumption,
argument in a circle, or a contradiction. The impression of God is
kept up by experience, not by logic. And hence, when the experimental
religion of a man, of a community, or of a nation wanes, religion
wanes--their idea of God grows indistinct, and that man, community or
nation becomes infidel.

Bear in mind, then, that all religious truths are doubtable--even
those which we hold most strongly.

What does this brief account of the origin of doubt teach us? It
teaches us


It teaches us sympathy and toleration with all men who venture upon
the ocean of truth to find out a path through it for themselves. Do
you sometimes feel yourself thinking unkind things about your
fellow-students who have intellectual difficulty? I know how hard it
is always to feel sympathy and toleration for them; but we must
address ourselves to that most carefully and most religiously. If my
brother is shortsighted I must not abuse him or speak against him; I
must pity him, and if possible try to improve his sight, or to make
things that he is to look at so bright that he cannot help seeing. But
never let us think evil of men who do not see as we do. From the
bottom of our hearts let us pity them, and let us take them by the
hand and spend time and thought over them, and try to lead them to the
true light.

What has been


in the past? It has been very simple. "There is a heretic. Burn him!"
That is all. "There is a man who has gone off the road. Bring him back
and torture him!"

We have got past that physically; have we got past it morally? What
does the modern Church say to a man who is skeptical? Not "Burn him!"
but "Brand him!" "Brand him!"--call him a bad name. And in many
countries at the present time, a man who is branded as a heretic is
despised, tabooed and put out of religious society, much more than if
he had gone wrong in morals. I think I am speaking within the facts
when I say that a man who is unsound is looked upon in many
communities with more suspicion and with more pious horror than a man
who now and then gets drunk. "Burn him!" "Brand him!" "Excommunicate
him!" That has been the Church's treatment of doubt, and that is
perhaps to some extent the treatment which we ourselves are inclined
to give to the men who cannot see the truths of Christianity as we see



of doubt. I have spoken already of His strange partiality for the
outsiders--for the scattered heretics up and down the country; of the
care with which He loved to deal with them, and of the respect in
which He held their intellectual difficulties. Christ never failed to
distinguish between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is "_can't believe_";
unbelief is "_won't believe_." Doubt is honesty; unbelief is
obstinacy. Doubt is looking for light; unbelief is content with
darkness. Loving darkness rather than light--that is what Christ
attacked, and attacked unsparingly. But for the intellectual
questioning of Thomas, and Philip, and Nicodemus, and the many others
who came to Him to have their great problems solved, He was respectful
and generous and tolerant.

And how did He meet their doubts? The Church, as I have said, says,
"Brand him!" Christ said, "Teach him." He destroyed by fulfilling.
When Thomas came to Him and denied His very resurrection, and stood
before Him waiting for the scathing words and lashing for his
unbelief, they never came. They never came! Christ gave him
facts--facts! No man can go around facts. Christ said, "Behold My
hands and My feet." The great god of science at the present time is a
fact. It works with facts. Its cry is, "Give me facts. Found anything
you like upon facts and we will believe it." The spirit of Christ was
the scientific spirit. He founded His religion upon facts; and He
asked all men to found their religion upon facts.

Now, get up the facts of Christianity, and take men to the facts.
Theologies--and I am not speaking disrespectfully of theology;
theology is as scientific a thing as any other science of facts--but
theologies are


of Divine truths, and hence the varieties of the versions and the
inconsistencies of them. I would allow a man to select whichever
version of this truth he liked _afterwards_; but I would ask him to
begin with no version, but go back to the facts and base his Christian
life upon these.

That is the great lesson of the New Testament way of looking at
doubt--of Christ's treatment of doubt. It is not "Brand him!"--but
lovingly, wisely and tenderly to teach him. Faith is never opposed to
reason in the New Testament; it is opposed to sight. You will find
that a principle worth thinking over. _Faith is never opposed to
reason in the New Testament, but to sight._

With these principles in mind as to the origin of doubt, and as to
Christ's treatment of it, how are we ourselves to deal with those who
are in intellectual difficulty?

In the first place, I think _we must make all the concessions to them
that we conscientiously can_.

When a doubter first encounters you, he pours out a deluge of abuse of
churches, and ministers, and creeds, and Christians. Nine-tenths of
what he says is probably true. Make concessions. Agree with him. It
does him good to unburden himself of these things. He has been
cherishing them for years--laying them up against Christians, against
the Church, and against Christianity; and now he is startled to find
the first Christian with whom he has talked over the thing almost
entirely agrees with him. We are, of course, not responsible for
everything that is said in the name of Christianity; but a man does
not give up medicine because there are quack doctors, and no man has a
right to give up his Christianity because there are spurious or
inconsistent Christians. Then, as I already said, creeds are human
versions of Divine truths; and we do not ask a man to accept all the
creeds, any more than we ask him to accept all the Christians. We ask
him to accept Christ, and the facts about Christ and the words of
Christ. You will find the battle is half won when you have endorsed
the man's objections, and possibly added a great many more to the
charges which he has against ourselves. These men are

          IN REVOLT

against the kind of religion which we exhibit to the world--against
the cant that is taught in the name of Christianity. And if the men
that have never seen the real thing--if you could show them that, they
would receive it as eagerly as you do. They are merely in revolt
against the imperfections and inconsistencies of those who represent
Christ to the world.

Second: _Beg them to set aside, by an act of will, all unsolved
problems_: such as the problem of the origin of evil, the problem of
the Trinity, the problem of the relation of human will and
predestination, and so on--problems which have been investigated for
thousands of years without result--ask them to set those problems
aside as insoluble. In the meantime, just as a man who is studying
mathematics may be asked to set aside the problem of squaring the
circle, let him go on with what can be done, and what has been done,
and leave out of sight the impossible.

You will find that will relieve the skeptic's mind of a great deal of


that has been in his way.

Thirdly: _Talking about difficulties, as a rule, only aggravates

Entire satisfaction to the intellect is unattainable about any of the
greater problems, and if you try to get to the bottom of them by
argument, there is no bottom there; and therefore you make the matter
worse. But I would say what is known, and what can be honestly and
philosophically and scientifically said about one or two of the
difficulties that the doubter raises, just to show him that you can do
it--to show him that you are not a fool--that you are not merely
groping in the dark yourself, but you have found whatever basis is
possible. But I would not go around all the doctrines. I would simply
do that with one or two; because the moment you cut off one, a hundred
other heads will grow in its place. It would be a pity if all these
problems could be solved. The joy of the intellectual life would be
largely gone. I would not rob a man of his problems, nor would I have
another man rob me of my problems. They are the delight of life, and
the whole intellectual world would be stale and unprofitable if we
knew everything.

Fourthly--and this is the great point: _Turn away from the reason and
go into the man's moral life._

I don't mean, go into his moral life and see if the man is living in
conscious sin, which is the great blinder of the eyes--I am speaking
now of honest doubt; but open a new door into


Entreat him not to postpone life and his life's usefulness until he
has settled the problems of the universe. Tell him those problems will
never all be settled; that his life will be done before he has begun
to settle them; and ask him what he is doing with his life meantime.
Charge him with wasting his life and his usefulness; and invite him to
deal with the moral and practical difficulties of the world, and leave
the intellectual difficulties as he goes along. To spend time upon
these is proving the less important before the more important; and, as
the French say, "The good is the enemy of the best." It is a good
thing to think; it is a better thing to work--it is a better thing to
do good. And you have him there, you see. He can't get beyond that.
You have to tell him, in fact, that there are two organs of knowledge:
the one reason, the other obedience. And now tell him, as he has tried
the first and found the little in it, just for a moment or two to join
you in trying the second. And when he asks whom he is to obey, you
tell him there is but One, and lead him to the great historical figure
who calls all men to Him: the one perfect life--the one Savior of
mankind--the one Light of the world. Ask him to begin to

          OBEY CHRIST;

and, doing His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of

That, I think, is about the only thing you can do with a man: to get
him into practical contact with the needs of the world, and to let him
lose his intellectual difficulties meantime. Don't ask him to give
them up altogether. Tell him to solve them afterward one by one if he
can, but meantime to give his life to Christ and his time to the
kingdom of God. You fetch him completely around when you do that. You
have taken him away from the false side of his nature, and to the
practical and moral side of his nature; and for the first time in his
life, perhaps, he puts things in their true place. He puts his nature
in the relations in which it ought to be, and he then only begins to
live. And by obedience he will soon become a learner and pupil for
himself, and Christ will teach him things, and he will find whatever
problems are solvable gradually solved as he goes along the path of
practical duty.

Now, let me, in closing, give an instance of how to deal with specific

The question of miracles is thrown at my head every second day:

"What do you say to a man when he says to you, 'Why do you believe in

I say, "Because I have seen them."

He asks, "When?"

I say, "Yesterday."


"Down such-and-such a street I saw a man who was a drunkard redeemed
by the power of an unseen Christ and saved from sin. That is a

The best apologetic for Christianity is a Christian. That is a fact
which the man cannot get over. There are fifty other arguments for
miracles, but none so good as that you have seen them. Perhaps you are
one yourself. But take a man and show him a miracle with his own eyes.
Then he will believe.

       *       *       *       *       *

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