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Title: The world's great sermons, Volume 08 - Talmage to Knox Little
Author: Kleiser, Grenville, 1868-1953 [Editor]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Formerly of Yale Divinity School Faculty; Author of "How to Speak in
Public," Etc.

With Assistance from Many of the Foremost Living Preachers and Other


Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology in Yale University





  TALMAGE (1832-1901).
  A Bloody Monster

  SPURGEON (1834-1892).
  Songs in the Night

  POTTER (1834-1908)
  Memorial Discourse on Phillips Brooks

  ABBOTT (Born in 1835).
  The Divinity in Humanity

  BROOKS (1835-1893).
  The Pride of Life

  GLADDEST (Born in 1836).
  The Prince of Life

  CLIFFORD (Born in 1836).
  The Forgiveness of Sins

  MOODY (1837-1899).
  What Think Ye of Christ?

  FOWLER (1837-1908).
  The Spirit of Christ

  WHYTE (Born in 1837).

  WATKINSON (Born in 1838).
  The Transfigured Sackcloth

  LORIMER (1838-1904).
  The Fall of Satan

  LITTLE (Born in 1839).
  Thirst Satisfied




Thomas De Witt Talmage was born at Bound Brook, N.J., in 1832. For
many years he preached to large and enthusiastic congregations at the
Brooklyn Tabernacle. At one time six hundred newspapers regularly
printed his sermons. He was a man of great vitality, optimistic by
nature, and particularly popular with young people. His voice
was rather high and unmusical, but his distinct enunciation and
earnestness of manner gave a peculiar attraction to his pulpit
oratory. His rhetoric has been criticized for floridness and
sensationalism, but his word pictures held multitudes of people
spellbound as in the presence of a master. He died in 1901.




[Footnote 1: Copyright, 1900, by Louis Klopsch, and reprinted by

_It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him._--Gen. xxxvii.,

Joseph's brethren dipt their brother's coat in goat's blood, and then
brought the dabbled garment to their father, cheating him with the
idea that a ferocious animal had slain him, and thus hiding their
infamous behavior. But there is no deception about that which we hold
up to your observation to-day. A monster such as never ranged African
thicket or Hindustan jungle hath tracked this land, and with bloody
maw hath strewn the continent with the mangled carcasses of whole
generations; and there are tens of thousands of fathers and mothers
who could hold up the garment of their slain boy, truthfully
exclaiming, "It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him."
There has, in all ages and climes, been a tendency to the improper use
of stimulants. Noah took to strong drink. By this vice, Alexander the
Conqueror was conquered. The Romans at their feasts fell off their
seats with intoxication. Four hundred millions of our race are
opium-eaters. India, Turkey, and China have groaned with the
desolation; and by it have been quenched such lights as Halley and De
Quincey. One hundred millions are the victims of the betelnut, which
has specially blasted the East Indies. Three hundred millions chew
hashish, and Persia, Brazil, and Africa suffer the delirium. The
Tartars employ murowa; the Mexicans, the agave; the people at Guarapo,
an intoxicating product taken from sugarcane; while a great multitude,
that no man can number, are the votaries of alcohol. To it they bow.
Under it they are trampled. In its trenches they fall. On its ghastly
holocaust they burn. Could the muster-roll of this great army be
called, and could they come up from the dead, what eye could endure
the reeking, festering putrefaction? What heart could endure the
groan of agony? Drunkenness! Does it not jingle the burglar's
key? Does it not whet the assassin's knife? Does it not cock the
highwayman's pistol? Does it not wave the incendiary's torch? Has it
not sent the physician reeling into the sick-room; and the minister
with his tongue thick into the pulpit? Did not an exquisite poet, from
the very top of his fame, fall a gibbering sot, into the gutter, on
his way to be married to one of the fairest daughters of New England,
and at the very hour the bride was decking herself for the altar; and
did he not die of delirium tremens, almost unattended, in a hospital?
Tamerlane asked for one hundred and sixty thousand skulls with which
to build a pyramid to his own honor. He got the skulls, and built the
pyramid. But if the bones of all those who have fallen as a prey to
dissipation could be piled up, it would make a vaster pyramid. Who
will gird himself for the journey and try with me to scale this
mountain of the dead--going up miles high on human carcasses to find
still other peaks far above, mountain above mountain white with the
bleached bones of drunkards?

The Sabbath has been sacrificed to the rum traffic. To many of our
people, the best day of the week is the worst. Bakers must keep their
shops closed on the Sabbath. It is dangerous to have loaves of bread
going out on Sunday. The shoe store is closed: severe penalty will
attack the man who sells boots on the Sabbath. But down with the
window-shutters of the grog-shops. Our laws shall confer particular
honor upon the rum-traffickers. All other trades must stand aside for
these. Let our citizens who have disgraced themselves by trading in
clothing and hosiery and hardware and lumber and coal take off their
hats to the rum-seller, elected to particular honor. It is unsafe for
any other class of men to be allowed license for Sunday work. But
swing out your signs, and open your doors, O ye traffickers in the
peace of families and in the souls of immortal men. Let the corks fly
and the beer foam and the rum go tearing down the half-consumed throat
of the inebriate. God does not see! Does He? Judgment will never come!
Will it?

It may be that God is determined to let drunkenness triumph, and the
husbands and sons of thousands of our best families be destroyed by
this vice, in order that our people, amazed and indignant, may rise up
and demand the extermination of this municipal crime. There is a way
of driving down the hoops of a barrel so tight that they break. We
have, in this country, at various times, tried to regulate this evil
by a tax on whisky. You might as well try to regulate the Asiatic
cholera or the smallpox by taxation. The men who distil liquors are,
for the most part, unscrupulous; and the higher the tax, the more
inducement to illicit distillation. Oh! the folly of trying to
restrain an evil by government tariff! If every gallon of whisky
made--if every flask of wine produced, should be taxed a thousand
dollars, it would not be enough to pay for the tears it has wrung from
the eyes of widows and orphans, nor for the blood it has dashed on
the Christian Church, nor for the catastrophe of the millions it has
destroyed for ever.

I sketch two houses in one street. The first is bright as home can be.
The father comes at nightfall, and the children run out to meet him.
Bountiful evening meal! Gratulation and sympathy and laughter! Music
in the parlor! Fine pictures on the wall! Costly books on the table!
Well-clad household! Plenty of everything to make home happy!

House the second! Piano sold, yesterday by the sheriff! Wife's furs at
pawnbroker's shop! Clock gone! Daughter's jewelry sold to get flour!
Carpets gone off the floor! Daughters in faded and patched dresses!
Wife sewing for the stores! Little child with an ugly wound on her
face, struck by an angry blow! Deep shadow of wretchedness falling in
every room! Doorbell rings! Little children hide! Daughters turn pale!
Wife holds her breath! Blundering step in the hall! Door opens! Fiend,
brandishing his fist, cries, "Out! out! What are you doing here?" Did
I call this house second? No; it is the same house. Rum transformed
it. Rum embruted the man. Rum sold the shawl. Rum tore up the carpets.
Rum shook his fist. Rum desolated the hearth. Rum changed that
paradise into a hell.

I sketch two men that you know very well. The first graduated from one
of our literary institutions. His father, mother, brothers and sisters
were present to see him graduate. They heard the applauding thunders
that greeted his speech. They saw the bouquets tossed to his feet.
They saw the degree conferred and the diploma given. He never looked
so well. Everybody said, "What a noble brow! What a fine eye! What
graceful manners! What brilliant prospects!"

Man the second: Lies in the station-house. The doctor has just been
sent for to bind up the gashes received in a fight. His hair is matted
and makes him look like a wild beast. His lip is bloody and cut. Who
is this battered and bruised wretch that was picked up by the police
and carried in drunk and foul and bleeding? Did I call him man the
second? He is man the first! Rum transformed him. Rum destroyed his
prospects. Rum disappointed parental expectation. Rum withered those
garlands of commencement day. Rum cut his lip. Rum dashed out his
manhood. Rum, accurst rum!

This foul thing gives one swing to its scythe, and our best merchants
fall; their stores are sold, and they sink into dishonored graves.
Again it swings its scythe, and some of our physicians fall into
suffering that their wisest prescriptions cannot cure. Again it swings
its scythe, and ministers of the gospel fall from the heights of
Zion, with long resounding crash of ruin and shame. Some of your own
households have already been shaken. Perhaps you can hardly admit it;
but where was your son last night? Where was he Friday night? Where
was he Thursday night? Wednesday night? Tuesday night? Monday night?
Nay, have not some of you in your own bodies felt the power of this
habit? You think that you could stop? Are you sure you could? Go on
a little further, and I am sure you cannot. I think, if some of you
should try to break away, you would find a chain on the right wrist,
and one on the left; one on the right foot, and another on the left.
This serpent does not begin to hurt until it has wound 'round and
'round. Then it begins to tighten and strangle and crush until the
bones crack and the blood trickles and the eyes start from their
sockets, and the mangled wretch cries. "O God! O God! help! help!" But
it is too late; and not even the fires of we can melt the chain when
once it is fully fastened.

I have shown you the evil beast. The question is, who will hunt him
down, and how shall we shoot him? I answer, first, by getting our
children right on this subject. Let them grow up with an utter
aversion to strong drink. Take care how you administer it even as
medicine. If you must give it to them and you find that they have a
natural love for it, as some have, put in a glass of it some horrid
stuff, and make it utterly nauseous. Teach, them, as faithfully as
you do the truths of the Bible, that rum is a fiend. Take them to the
almshouse, and show them the wreck and ruin it works. Walk with them
into the homes that have been scourged by it. If a drunkard hath
fallen into a ditch, take them right up where they can see his face,
bruised, savage, and swollen, and say, "Look, my son. Rum did that!"
Looking out of your window at some one who, intoxicated to madness,
goes through the street, brandishing his fist, blaspheming God, a
howling, defying, shouting, reeling, raving, and foaming maniac, say
to your son, "Look; that man was once a child like you." As you go by
the grog-shop let them know that that is the place where men are slain
and their wives made paupers and their children slaves. Hold out to
your children warnings, all rewards, all counsels, lest in afterdays
they break your heart and curse your gray hairs. A man laughed at my
father for his scrupulous temperance principles, and said: "I am more
liberal than you. I always give my children the sugar in the glass
after we have been taking a drink." Three of his sons have died
drunkards, and the fourth is imbecile through intemperate habits.

Again, we will grapple this evil by voting only for sober men. How
many men are there who can rise above the feelings of partizanship,
and demand that our officials shall be sober men? I maintain that the
question of sobriety is higher than the question of availability; and
that, however eminent a man's services may be, if he have habits of
intoxication, he is unfit for any office in the gift of a Christian
people. Our laws will be no better than the men who make them. Spend a
few days at Harrisburg or Albany or Washington and you will find
out why, upon these subjects, it is impossible to get righteous

Again, we will war upon this evil by organized societies. The friends
of the rum traffic have banded together; annually issue their
circulars; raise fabulous sums of money to advance their interests;
and by grips, passwords, signs, and strategems, set at defiance public
morals. Let us confront them with organizations just as secret,
and, if need be, with grips and pass-words and signs, maintain our
position. There is no need that our beneficent societies tell all
their plans. I am in favor of all lawful strategy in the carrying on
of this conflict. I wish to God we could lay under the wine-casks a
train which, once ignited, would shake the earth with the explosion of
this monstrous iniquity!

Again, we will try the power of the pledge. There are thousands of men
who have been saved by putting their names to such a document. I know
it is laughed at; but there are some men who, having once promised a
thing, do it. "Some have broken the pledge." Yes; they were liars. But
all men are not liars. I do not say that it is the duty of all persons
to make such signature; but I do say that it would be the salvation
of many of you. The glorious work of Theobald Mathew can never be
estimated. At this hand four millions of people took the pledge, and
multitudes in Ireland, England, Scotland, and America, have kept
it till this day. The pledge signed has been to thousands the
proclamation of emancipation.

Again, we expect great things from asylums for inebriates. They have
already done a glorious work. I think that we are coming at last to
treat inebriation as it ought to be treated, namely, as an awful
disease, self-inflicted, to be sure, but nevertheless a disease. Once
fastened upon a man, sermons will not cure him, temperance lectures
will not eradicate it; religious tracts will not remove it; the Gospel
of Christ will not arrest it. Once under the power of this awful
thirst, the man is bound to go on; and, if the foaming glass were on
the other side of perdition, he would wade through the fires of
hell to get it. A young man in prison had such a strong thirst for
intoxicating liquors that he had cut off his hand at the wrist, called
for a bowl of brandy in order to stop the bleeding, thrust his wrist
into the bowl, and then drank the contents. Stand not, when the thirst
is on him, between a man and his cups. Clear the track for him. Away
with the children! he would tread their life out. Away with the wife!
he would dash her to death. Away with the cross! he would run it down.
Away with the Bible! he would tear it up for the winds. Away with
heaven! he considers it worthless as a straw. "Give me the drink!
Give it to me! Tho the hands of blood pass up the bowl, and the soul
trembles over the pit--the drink! Give it to me! Tho it be pale with
tears; tho the froth of everlasting anguish float on the foam--give it
to me! I drink to my wife's wo to my children's rags; to my eternal
banishment from God and hope and heaven! Give it to me! the drink!"

Again, we will contend against these evils by trying to persuade
the respectable classes of society to the banishment of alcoholic
beverages. You who move in elegant and refined associations; you
who drink the best liquors; you who never drink until you lose your
balance, let us look at each other in the face on this subject. You
have, under God, in your power the redemption of this land from
drunkenness. Empty your cellars and wine-closets of the beverage, and
then come out and give us your hand, your vote, your prayers, your
sympathies. Do that, and I will promise three things: first, that you
will find unspeakable happiness in having done your duty; secondly,
you will probably save somebody--perhaps your own child; thirdly,
you will not, in your last hour, have a regret that you made
the sacrifice, if sacrifice it be. As long as you make drinking
respectable, drinking customs will prevail, and the plowshare of
death, drawn by terrible disasters, will go on turning up this whole
continent, from end to end, with the long, deep, awful furrow of
drunkards' graves.

This rum fiend would like to go and hang up a skeleton in your
beautiful house, so that, when you opened the front door to go in, you
would see it in the hall; and when you sat at your table you would see
it hanging from the wall; and, when you opened your bedroom you would
find it stretched upon your pillow; and, waking at night, you would
feel its cold hand passing over your face and pinching at your heart.
There is no home so beautiful but it may be devastated by the awful
curse. It throws its jargon into the sweetest harmony. What was it
that silenced Sheridan, the English orator, and shattered the golden
scepter with which he swayed parliaments and courts? What foul sprite
turned the sweet rhythm of Robert Burns into a tuneless babble? What
was it that swamped the noble spirit of one of the heroes of the last
war, until, in a drunken fit, he reeled from the deck of a Western
steamer, and was drowned. There was one whose voice we all loved to
hear. He was one of the most classic orators of the century. People
wondered why a man of so pure a heart and so excellent a life should
have such a sad countenance always. They knew not that his wife was a

I call upon those who are guilty of these indulgences to quit the path
of death! Oh! what a change it would make in your home! Do you see how
everything there is being desolated? Would you not like to bring back
joy to your wife's heart, and have your children come out to meet you
with as much confidence as once they showed? Would you not like to
rekindle the home-lights that long ago were extinguished? It is not
too late to change. It may not entirely obliterate from your soul the
memory of wasted years and a ruined reputation, nor smooth out from
your anxious brow the wrinkles which trouble has plowed. It may not
call back unkind words uttered or rough deeds done; for perhaps in
those awful moments you struck her! It may not take from your memory
the bitter thoughts connected with some little grave. But it is not
too late to save yourself, and secure for God and your family the
remainder of your fast-going life.

But perhaps you have not utterly gone astray. I may address one who
may not have quite made up his mind. Let your better nature speak out.
You take one side or other in war against drunkenness. Have you the
courage to put your foot down right, and say to your companions and
friends, "I will never drink intoxicating liquor in all my life; nor
will I countenance the habit in others"? Have nothing to do with
strong drink. It has turned the earth into a place of skulls, and has
stood opening the gate to a lost world to let in its victims; until
now the door swings no more upon its hinges, but, day and night,
stands wide open to let in the agonized procession of doomed men.

Do I address one whose regular work in life is to administer to
this appetite? For God's sake get out of that business! If a we be
pronounced upon the man who gives his neighbor drink, how many woes
must be hanging over the man who does this every day and every hour of
the day!

Do not think that because human government may license you that
therefore God licenses you. I am surprized to hear men say that they
respect the "original package" decision by which the Supreme Court
of the United States allows rum to be taken into States like Kansas,
which decided against the sale of intoxicants. I have no respect for
a wrong decision, I care not who makes it; the three judges of the
Supreme Court who gave minority report against that decision were
right, and the chief justice was wrong. The right of a State to defend
itself against the rum traffic will yet be demonstrated, the Supreme
Court notwithstanding. Higher than the judicial bench at Washington is
the throne of the Lord God Almighty. No enactment, national, State, or
municipal, can give you the right to carry on a business whose effect
is destruction.

God knows better than you do yourself the number of drinks you have
poured down. You keep a list; but a more accurate list has been kept
than yours. You may call it Burgundy, Bourbon, cognac, Heidsieck, sour
mash, or beer. God calls it "strong-drink." Whether you sell it in low
oyster-cellar or behind the polished counter of a first-class hotel,
the divine curse is upon you. I tell you plainly that you will meet
your customers one day when there will be no counter between you. When
your work is done on earth, and you enter the reward of your business,
all the souls of the men whom you have destroyed will crowd around
you, and pour their bitterness into your cup. They will show you their
wounds and say, "You made them"; and point to their unquenchable
thirst and say, "You kindled it"; and rattle their chain and say, "You
forged it." Then their united groans will smite your ear; and with the
hands out of which you once picked the sixpences and the dimes they
will push you off the verge of great precipices; while rolling up from
beneath, and breaking away among the crags of death, will thunder, "Wo
to him that giveth his neighbor drink!"




Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born at Kelvedon, Essex, England, in 1834.
He was one of the most powerful and popular preachers of his time,
and his extraordinary force of character and wonderful enthusiasm
attracted vast audiences. His voice was unusually powerful, clear and
melodious, and he used it with consummate skill. In the preparation of
his sermons he meditated much but wrote not a word, so that he was
in the truest sense a purely extemporaneous speaker. Sincerity,
intensity, imagination and humor, he had in preeminent degree, and
an English style that has been described as "a long bright river of
silver speech which unwound, evenly and endlessly, like a ribbon
from a revolving spool that could fill itself as fast as it emptied
itself." Thirty-eight volumes of his sermons were issued in his
lifetime and are still in increasing demand. Dr. Robertson Nicoll
says: "Our children will think more of these sermons than we do; and
as I get older I read them more and more." He died in 1892.




_But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the
night_?--Job xxxv., 10.

Elihu was a wise man, exceeding wise, tho not as wise as the all-wise
Jehovah, who sees light in the clouds, and finds order in confusion;
hence Elihu, being much puzzled at beholding Job thus afflicted, cast
about him to find the cause of it, and he very wisely hit upon one of
the most likely reasons, altho it did not happen to be the right one
in Job's case. He said within himself--"Surely, if men be tried and
troubled exceedingly, it is because, while they think about their
troubles and distress themselves about their fears, they do not say,
'Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night?'" Elihu's
reason was right in the majority of cases. The great cause of the
Christian's distress, the reason of the depths of sorrow into which
many believers are plunged, is this--that while they are looking
about, on the right hand and on the left, to see how they may escape
their troubles, they forget to look to the hills whence all real help
cometh; they do not say, "Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in
the night?" We shall, however, leave that inquiry, and dwell upon
those sweet words, "God my maker, who giveth songs in the night."

The world hath its night. It seemeth necessary that it should have
one. The sun shineth by day, and men go forth to their labors; but
they grow weary, and nightfall cometh on, like a sweet boon from
heaven. The darkness draweth the curtains, and shutteth out the light,
which might prevent our eyes from slumber; while the sweet, calm
stillness of the night permits us to rest upon the lap of ease, and
there forget awhile our cares, until the morning sun appeareth, and
an angel puts his hand upon the curtain, and undraws it once again,
touches our eyelids, and bids us rise, and proceed to the labors of
the day. Night is one of the greatest blessings men enjoy; we have
many reasons to thank God for it. Yet night is to many a gloomy
season. There is "the pestilence that walketh in darkness"; there
is "the terror by night"; there is the dread of robbers and of fell
disease, with all those fears that the timorous know, when they have
no light wherewith they can discern objects. It is then they fancy
that spiritual creatures walk the earth; tho, if they knew rightly,
they would find it to be true, that

  "Millions of spiritual creatures walk this earth,
  Unseen, both when we sleep and when we wake,"

and that at all times they are round about us--not more by night than
by day. Night is the season of terror and alarm to most men. Yet even
night hath its songs. Have you never stood by the seaside at night,
and heard the pebbles sing, and the waves chant God's glories? Or have
you never risen from your couch, and thrown up the window of your
chamber, and listened there? Listened to what? Silence--save now and
then a murmuring sound, which seems sweet music then. And have you not
fancied that you heard the harp of God playing in heaven? Did you not
conceive, that yon stars, that those eyes of God, looking down on you,
were also mouths of song--that every star was singing God's glory,
singing, as it shone, its mighty Maker, and His lawful, well-deserved
praise? Night hath its songs. We need not much poetry in our spirit,
to catch the song of night, and hear the spheres as they chant praises
which are loud to the heart, tho they be silent to the ear--the
praises of the mighty God, who bears up the unpillared arch of heaven,
and moves the stars in their courses....

If we are going to sing of the things of yesterday, let us begin with
what God did for us in past times. My beloved brethren, you will find
it a sweet subject for song at times, to begin to sing of electing
love and covenanted mercies. When thou thyself art low, it is well to
sing of the fountain-head of mercy; of that blest decree wherein thou
wast ordained to eternal life, and of that glorious Man who undertook
thy redemption; of that solemn covenant signed, and sealed, and
ratified, in all things ordered well; of that everlasting love which,
ere the hoary mountains were begotten, or ere the aged hills were
children, chose thee, loved thee firmly, loved thee fast, loved thee
well, loved thee eternally. I tell thee, believer, if thou canst go
back to the years of eternity; if thou canst in thy mind run back
to that period, or ere the everlasting hills were fashioned, or the
fountains of the great deep scooped out, and if thou canst see thy
God inscribing thy name in His eternal book; if thou canst see in His
loving heart eternal thoughts of love to thee, thou wilt find this a
charming means of giving thee songs in the night. No songs like those
which come from electing love; no sonnets like those that are dictated
by meditations on discriminating mercy. Some, indeed, cannot sing of
election: the Lord open their mouths a little wider! Some there are
that are afraid of the very term; but we only despise men who are
afraid of what they believe, afraid of what God has taught them in His
Bible. No, in our darker hours it is our joy to sing:

  "Sons we are through God's election,
    Who in Jesus Christ believe;
  By eternal destination,
    Sovereign grace we now receive.
  Lord, thy favor,
    Shall both grace and glory give."

Think, Christian, of the yesterday, I say, and thou wilt get a song
in the night. But if thou hast not a voice tuned to so high a key as
that, let me suggest some other mercies thou mayest sing of; and they
are the mercies thou hast experienced. What! man, canst thou not sing
a little of that blest hour when Jesus met thee; when, a blind slave,
thou wast sporting with death, and He saw thee, and said: "Come, poor
slave, come with me"? Canst thou not sing of that rapturous moment
when He snapt thy fetters, dashed thy chains to the earth, and said:
"I am the Breaker; I came to break thy chains, and set thee free"?
What tho thou art ever so gloomy now, canst thou forget that happy
morning, when in the house of God thy voice was loud, almost as a
seraph's voice, in praise? for thou couldst sing: "I am forgiven; I am

  "A monument of grace,
  A sinner saved by blood."

Go back, man; sing of that moment, and then thou wilt have a song in
the night? Or if thou hast almost forgotten that, then sure thou hast
some precious milestone along the road of life that is not quite grown
over with moss, on which thou canst read some happy inspiration of His
mercy toward thee! What! didst thou never have a sickness like that
which thou art suffering now, and did He not raise thee up from that?
Wast thou never poor before, and did He not supply thy wants? Wast
thou never in straits before, and did He not deliver thee? Come, man!
I beseech thee, go to the river of thine experience, and pull up a few
bulrushes, and weave them into an ark, wherein thy infant faith may
float safely on the stream. I bid thee not forget what God hath done.
What! hast thou buried thine own diary? I beseech thee, man, turn over
the book of thy remembrance. Canst thou not see some sweet hill Mizar?
Canst thou not think of some blest hour when the Lord met with thee at
Hermon? Hast thou never been on the Delectable Mountains? Hast thou
never been fetched from the den of lions? Hast thou never escaped the
jaw of the lion and the paw of the bear? Nay, O man, I know thou hast;
go back, then, a little way, and take the mercies of yesterday; and
tho it is dark now, light up the lamps of yesterday, and they shall
glitter through the darkness, and thou shalt find that God hath given
thee a song in the night.

But I think, beloved, there is never so dark a night, but there is
something to sing about, even concerning that night; for there is one
thing I am sure we can sing about, let the night be ever so dark, and
that is, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, and
because His compassions fail not." If we cannot sing very loud, yet we
can sing a little low tune, something like this--"He hath not dealt
with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities."

"Oh!" says one, "I do not know where to get my dinner from to-morrow.
I am a poor wretch." So you may be, my dear friend; but you are not so
poor as you deserve to be. Do not be mightily offended about that; if
you are, you are no child of God; for the child of God acknowledges
that he has no right to the least of God's mercies, but that they come
through the channel of grace alone. As long as I am out of hell, I
have no right to grumble; and if I were in hell I should have no right
to complain, for I feel, when convinced of sin, that never creature
deserved to go there more than I do. We have no cause to murmur;
we can lift up our hands, and say, "Night! thou art dark, but thou
mightst have been darker. I am poor, but, if I could not have been
poorer, I might have been sick. I am poor and sick--well, I have some
friend left, my lot cannot be so bad, but it might have been worse."
And therefore, Christian, you will always have one thing to sing
about--"Lord, I thank Thee, it is not all darkness!" Besides,
Christian, however dark the night is, there is always a star or moon.
There is scarce ever a night that we have, but there are just one or
two little lamps burning up there. However dark it may be, I think you
may find some little comfort, some little joy, some little mercy left,
and some little promise to cheer thy spirit. The stars are not put
out, are they? Nay, if thou canst not see them, they are there; but
methinks one or two must be shining on thee; therefore give God a song
in the night. If thou hast only one star, bless God for that one,
perhaps He will make it two; and if thou hast only two stars, bless
God for the two stars, and perhaps He will make them four. Try, then,
if thou canst not find a song in the night.

But, beloved, there is another thing of which we can sing yet more
sweetly; and that is, we can sing of the day that is to come. I am
preaching to-night for the poor weavers of Spitalfields. Perhaps there
are not to be found a class of men in London who are suffering
a darker night than they are; for while many classes have been
befriended and defended, there are few who speak up for them, and (if
I am rightly informed) they are generally ground down within an inch
of their lives. I suppose that their masters intend that their bread
shall be very sweet, on the principle, that the nearer the ground, the
sweeter the grass; for I should think that no people have their grass
so near the ground as the weavers of Spitalfields. In an inquiry by
the House of Commons last week, it was given in evidence that their
average wages amount to seven or eight shillings a week; and that
they have to furnish themselves with a room, and work at expensive
articles, which my friends and ladies are wearing now, and which they
buy as cheaply as possible; but perhaps they do not know that they are
made with the blood and bones and marrow of the Spitalfields weavers,
who, many of them, work for less than man ought to have to subsist
upon. Some of them waited upon me the other day; I was exceedingly
pleased with one of them. He said, "Well, sir, it is very hard, but I
hope there is better times coming for us." "Well, my friend," I said,
"I am afraid you cannot hope for much better times, unless the Lord
Jesus Christ comes a second time." "That is just what we hope for,"
said he. "We do not see there is any chance of deliverance, unless the
Lord Jesus Christ comes to establish His kingdom upon the earth; and
then He will judge the opprest, and break the oppressors in pieces
with an iron rod, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." I
was glad my friend had got a song in the night, and was singing about
the morning that was coming. Often do I cheer myself with the thought
of the coming of the Lord. We preach now, perhaps, with little
success; "the kingdoms of this world" are not "become the kingdoms of
our Lord and of his Christ"; we send out missionaries; they are for
the most part unsuccessful. We are laboring, but we do not see the
fruits of our labors. Well, what then? Try a little while; we shall
not always labor in vain, or spend our strength for naught. A day is
coming, and now is, when every minister of Christ shall speak with
unction, when all the servants of God shall preach with power, and
when colossal systems of heathenism shall be scattered to the winds.
The shout shall be heard, "Alleluia! Alleluia! the Lord God Omnipotent
reigneth." For that day do I look; it is to the bright horizon of that
second coming that I turn my eyes. My anxious expectation is, that the
sweet Sun of righteousness will arise with healing beneath His wings,
that the opprest shall be righted, that despotisms shall be cut down,
that liberty shall be established, that peace shall be made lasting,
and that the glorious liberty of the gospel shall be extended
throughout the known world. Christian! if thou art in a night, think
of the morrow; cheer up thy heart with the thought of the coming of
thy Lord.

There is another sweet to-morrow of which we hope to sing in the
night. Soon, beloved, you and I shall lie on our dying bed, and we
shall want a song in the night then; and I do not know where we shall
get it, if we do not get it from the to-morrow. Kneeling by the bed of
an apparently dying saint, last night, I said, "Well, sister, He has
been precious to you; you can rejoice in His covenant mercies, and His
past loving-kindnesses." She put out her hand, and said, "Ah! sir, do
not talk about them now; I want the sinner's Savior as much now as
ever; it is not a saint's I want; it is still a sinner's Savior that
I am in need of, for I am a sinner still." I found that I could not
comfort her with the past; so I reminded her of the golden streets, of
the gates of pearl, of the walls of jasper, of the harps of gold, of
the songs of bliss; and then her eyes glistened; she said, "Yes, I
shall be there soon; I shall meet them by-and-by;" and then she
seemed so glad! Ah! believer, you may always cheer yourself with that
thought. Thy head may be crowned with thorny troubles now, but it
shall wear a starry crown directly; thy hand may be filled with
cares--it shall grasp a harp soon, a harp full of music. Thy garments
may be soiled with dust now; they shall be white by-and-by. Wait a
little longer. Ah! beloved, how despicable our troubles and trials
will seem when we look back upon them! Looking at them here in the
prospect, they seem immense; but when we get to heaven, we shall then,

  "With transporting joys recount
  The labors of our feet."

Our trials will seem to us nothing at all. We shall talk to one
another about them in heaven, and find all the more to converse
about, according as we have suffered more here below. Let us go on,
therefore; and if the night be ever so dark, remember there is not a
night that shall not have a morning; and that morning is to come by
and by.

And now I want to tell you, very briefly, what are the excellences of
songs in the night above all other songs.

In the first place, when you hear a man singing a song in the night--I
mean in the night of trouble--you may be quite sure it is a hearty
one. Many of you sang very prettily just now, didn't you? I wonder
whether you would sing very prettily, if there was a stake or two in
Smithfield for all of you who dared to do it? If you sang under pain
and penalty, that would show your heart to be in your song. We can all
sing very nicely indeed when everybody else sings. It is the easiest
thing in the world to open your mouth, and let the words come out; but
when the devil puts his hand over your mouth, can you sing then? Can
you say, "Tho he slay me, yet will I trust in him"? That is hearty
singing; that is real song that springs up in the night. The
nightingale singeth most sweetly because she singeth in the night. We
know a poet has said that, if she sang by day, she might be thought to
sing no more sweetly than the wren. It is the stillness of the night
that makes her song sweet. And so doth a Christian's song become sweet
and hearty, because it is in the night.

Again: the songs we sing in the night will be lasting. Many songs we
hear our fellow-creatures singing in the streets will not do to sing
by-and-by; I guess they will sing a different kind of tune soon. They
can sing nowadays any rollicking, drinking songs; but they will not
sing them when they come to die; they are not exactly the songs with
which to cross Jordan's billows. It will not do to sing one of those
light songs when death and you are having the last tug. It will not do
to enter heaven singing one of those unchaste, unholy sonnets. No; but
the Christian who can sing in the night will not have to leave off
his song; he may keep on singing it forever. He may put his foot in
Jordan's stream, and continue his melody; he may wade through it, and
keep on singing still, and land himself safe in heaven; and when he is
there, there need not be a gap in his strain, but in a nobler, sweeter
strain he may still continue singing His power to save. There are a
great many of you that think Christian people are a very miserable
set, don't you? You say, "Let me sing my song." Ay, but, my dear
friends, we like to sing a song that will last; we don't like your
songs; they are all froth, like bubbles on the beaker, and they will
soon die away and be lost. Give me a song that will last; give me one
that will not melt. Oh, give me not the dreamster's gold! he hoards it
up, and says, "I'm rich"; and when he waketh, his gold is gone. But
give me songs in the night, for they are songs I sing forever.

Again: the songs we warble in the night are those that show we have
real faith in. God. Many men have just enough faith to trust God as
far as they can see Him, and they always sing as far as they can see
providence go right; but true faith can sing when its possessors
cannot see. It can take hold of God when they cannot discern Him.

Songs in the night, too, prove that we have true courage. Many sing by
day who are silent by night; they are afraid of thieves and robbers;
but the Christian who sings in the night proves himself to be a
courageous character. It is the bold Christian who can sing God's
sonnets in the darkness.

He who can sing songs in the night, too, proves that he has true love
to Christ. It is not love to Christ to praise Him while everybody else
praises Him; to walk arm in arm with Him when He has the crown on
His head is no great deed, I wot; to walk with Christ in rags is
something. To believe in Christ when He is shrouded in darkness, to
stick hard and fast by the Savior when all men speak ill of Him and
forsake Him--that is true faith. He who singeth a song to Christ in
the night, singeth the best song in all the world; for He singeth from
the heart.

I am afraid of wearying you; therefore I shall not dwell on the
excellences of night songs, but just, in the last place, show you
their use.

It is very useful to sing in the night of our troubles, first, because
it will cheer ourselves. When you were boys living in the country, and
had some distance to go alone at night, don't you remember how you
whistled and sang to keep your courage up? Well, what we do in the
natural world we ought to do in the spiritual. There is nothing like
singing to keep your spirits alive. When we have been in trouble,
we have often thought ourselves to be well-nigh overwhelmed with
difficulty; and we have said, "Let us have a song." We have begun to
sing; and Martin Luther says, "The devil cannot bear singing." That is
about the truth; he does not like music. It was so in Saul's days: an
evil spirit rested on Saul; but when David played on his harp, the
evil spirit went away from him. This is usually the case: if we can
begin to sing we shall remove our fears. I like to hear servants
sometimes humming a tune at their work; I love to hear a plowman in
the country singing as he goes along with his horses. Why not? You say
he has no time to praise God; but he can sing a song--surely he can
sing a Psalm, it will take no more time. Singing is the best thing to
purge ourselves of evil thoughts. Keep your mouth full of songs, and
you will often keep your heart full of praises; keep on singing as
long as you can; you will find it a good method of driving away your

Sing, again, for another reason: because it will cheer your
companions. If any of them are in the valley and in the darkness with
you, it will be a great help to comfort them. John Bunyan tells us,
that as Christian was going through the valley he found it a dreadful
dark place, and terrible demons and goblins were all about him, and
poor Christian thought he must perish for certain; but just when his
doubts were the strongest, he heard a sweet voice; he listened to it,
and he heard a man in front of him saying, "Yea, when I pass through
the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." Now, that man
did not know who was near him, but he was unwittingly singing to cheer
a man behind. Christian, when you are in trouble, sing; you do not
know who is near you. Sing, perhaps you will get a companion by it.
Sing! perhaps there will be many a heart cheered by your song. There
is some broken spirit, it may be, that will be bound up by your
sonnets. Sing! there is some poor distrest brother, perhaps, shut up
in the Castle of Despair, who, like King Richard, will hear your song
inside the walls, and sing to you again, and you may be the means of
getting him a ransom. Sing, Christian, wherever you go; try, if you
can, to wash your face every morning in a bath of praise. When you go
down from your chamber, never go to look on man till you have first
looked on your God; and when you have looked on Him, seek to come down
with a face beaming with joy; carry a smile, for you will cheer up
many a poor way-worn pilgrim by it.

One more reason; and I know it will be a good one for you. Try and
sing in the night, Christian, for that is one of the best arguments in
all the world in favor of your religion. Our divines nowadays spend a
great deal of time in trying to prove Christianity against those who
disbelieve it. I should like to have seen Paul trying that! Elymas the
sorcerer withstood him: how did our friend Paul treat him? He said,
"Oh, full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil,
thou enemy of the righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the
right ways of the Lord?" That is about the politeness such men ought
to have who deny God's truth. "We start with this assumption: we will
prove that the Bible is God's word, but we are not going to prove
God's word. If you do not like to believe it, we will shake hands, and
bid you good-by; we will not argue with you. The gospel has gained
little by discussion. The greatest piece of folly on earth has been
to send a man round the country, to follow another up who has been
lecturing on infidelity just to make himself notorious.

Why, let them lecture on; this is a free country; why should we
follow them about? The truth will win the day. Christianity need not
wish for controversy; it is strong enough for it, if it wishes it; but
that is not God's way.

God's direction is, "Preach, teach, dogmatize." Do not stand
disputing; claim a divine mission; tell men that God says it, and
there leave it. Say to them, "He that believeth shall be saved, and he
that believeth not shall be damned"; and when you have done that,
you have done enough. For what reason should our missionaries stand
disputing with Brahmins? Why should they be wasting their time
by attempting to refute first this dogma, and then another, of
heathenism? Why not just go and say, "The God whom ye ignorantly
worship, I declare unto you; believe me, and you will be saved;
believe me not, and the Bible says you are lost." And then, having
thus asserted God's word, say, "I leave it, I declare it unto you; it
is a thing for you to believe, not a thing for you to reason about."

Religion is not a thing merely for your intellect; a thing to prove
your own talent upon, by making a syllogism on it; it is a thing that
demands your faith. As a messenger of heaven, I demand that faith; if
you do not choose to give it, on your own head be the doom, if there
be such, if there be not, you are prepared to risk it. But I have done
my duty; I have told you the truth; that is enough, and there I leave
it. Oh, Christian, instead of disputing, let me tell thee how to prove
your religion. Live it out!

Live it out! Give the external as well as the internal evidence; give
the external evidence of your own life. You are sick; there is your
neighbor who laughs at religion; let him come into your house. When
he was sick, he said, "Oh, send for the doctor"; and there he was
fretting, and fuming, and whining, and making all manner of noises.
When you are sick, send for him, tell him that you are resigned to the
Lord's will; that you will kiss the chastening rod; that you will take
the cup, and drink it, because your Father gives it.

You do not need to make a boast of this, or it will lose all its
power; but do it because you cannot help doing it. Your neighbor will
say, "There is something in that." And when you come to the borders of
the grave--he was there once, and you heard how he shrieked, and how
frightened he was--give him your hand, and say to him, "Ah! I have a
Christ that will do to die by; I have a religion that will make me
sing in the night." Let me hear how you can sing, "Victory, victory,
victory!" through Him that loved you. I tell you, we may preach fifty
thousand sermons to prove the gospel, but we shall not prove it half
so well as you will through singing in the night. Keep a cheerful
frame; keep a happy heart; keep a contented spirit; keep your eye up,
and your heart aloft, and you prove Christianity better than all the
Butlers, and all the wise men that ever lived. Give them the analogy
of a holy life, and then you will prove religion to them; give them,
the evidence of internal piety, developed externally, and you will
give the best possible proof of Christianity.




Henry Codman Potter was born at Schenectady, New York, in 1834, and
was graduated from the Theological Seminary of Virginia in 1857. He
was appointed rector of Grace Protestant Episcopal Church, New York,
in 1868, and was coadjutor to his uncle, Horatio Potter, from 1883
to 1887, when he was made Bishop of the Diocese of New York. He won
considerable distinction as a clear-cut and eloquent speaker. He
dealt in pulpit and on platform, with many public questions, such as
temperance, capital and labor, civic righteousness, and the purifying
of East Side slum life. He advocated personal freedom, and invariably
spoke with authority. He was particularly happy as an after-dinner
speaker. He died in 1908.




[Footnote 1: Reprinted by permission of Bishop Henry C. Potter and The
Century Company, publishers of "The Scholar and the State."]

_It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the
words I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life_.--John
vi., 63.

He who stops over-long in the mere mechanism of religion is verily
missing that for which religion stands. Here, indeed, it must be owned
is, if not our greatest danger, one of the greatest. All life is full
of that strange want of intellectual and moral perspective which fails
to see how secondary, after all, are means to ends; and how he only
has truly apprehended the office of religion who has learned, when
undertaking in any wise to present it or represent it, to hold fast
to that which is the one central thought and fact of all: "It is the
spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I
speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

And this brings me--in how real and vivid a way I am sure you must
feel as keenly as I--face to face with him of whom I am set to speak

Never before in the history, not only of our communion, but of any or
all communions, has the departure of a religious teacher been more
widely noted and deplored than in the case of him of whom this
Commonwealth and this diocese have been bereaved. Never before,
surely, in case of any man whom we can recall, has the sense of loss
and bereavement been more distinctly a personal one,--extending to
multitudes in two hemispheres who did not know him, who had never seen
or heard him, and yet to whom he had revealed himself in such real and
helpful ways.

It has followed, inevitably, from this, that that strong tide of
profound feeling has found expression in many and most unusual
forms, and it will be among the most interesting tasks of the future
biographer of the late Bishop of Massachusetts to take note of these
various memorials and to trace in them the secret of his unique power
and influence.

But just because they have, so many of them, in such remarkable
variety and from sources so diverse, been written or spoken, and no
less because a memoir of Phillips Brooks is already undertaken by
hands preeminently designated for that purpose, I may wisely here
confine myself to another and very different task. I shall not
attempt, therefore, even the merest outline of a biographical review.
I shall not undertake to analyze, nor, save incidentally, even to
refer to, the influences and inheritances that wrought in the mind
and upon the life of your late friend and teacher. I shall still less
attempt to discover the open secret of his rare and unique charm and
attractiveness as a man; and I shall least of all endeavor to forecast
the place which history will give to him among the leaders and
builders of our age. Brief as was his ministry in his higher office,
and to our view all too soon ended, I shall be content to speak of him
as a bishop,--of his divine right, as I profoundly believe, to a place
in the episcopate, and of the preeminent value of his distinctive and
incomparable witness to the highest aim and purpose of that office.

And first of all let me say a word in regard to the way in which he
came to it. When chosen to the episcopate of this diocese, your late
bishop had already, at least once, as we all know, declined the
office. It was well known to those who knew him best that, as he had
viewed it for a large part of his ministry, it was a work for which
he had no especial sympathy either as to its tasks, or, as he had
understood them, its opportunities.

But the time undoubtedly came when, as to this, he modified his
earlier opinions; and the time came too, as I am most glad to think,
when he was led to feel that if he were called to such an office he
might find in it an opportunity for widening his own sympathies and
for estimating more justly those with whom previously he had believed
himself to have little in common.

It was the inevitable condition of his strong and deep convictions
that he should not always or easily understand or make due allowance
for men of different opinions. It was--God and you will bear me
witness that this is true!--one of the noblest characteristics of his
fifteen months' episcopate that, as a bishop, men's rightful liberty
of opinion found in him not only a large and generous tolerance, but
a most beautiful and gracious acceptance. He seized, instantly and
easily, that which will be forever the highest conception of the
episcopate in its relations whether to the clergy or the laity, its
paternal and fraternal character; and his "sweet reasonableness," both
as a father and as a brother, shone through all that he was and did.

For one, I greatly love to remember this,--that when the time came he
himself, with the simple naturalness which marked all that he did,
was brought to reconsider his earlier attitude toward the episcopal
office, and to express with characteristic candor his readiness to
take up its work if he should be chosen to it; he turned to his new,
and to him most strange, task with a supreme desire to do it in a
loving and whole-hearted way, and to make it helpful to every man,
woman, and child with whom he came in contact. What could have been
more like him than that, in that last address which he delivered to
the choir-boys at Newton, he should have said to them, "When you meet
me let me know that you know me." Another might easily have been
misunderstood in asking those whom he might by chance encounter to
salute him; but he knew, and the boys knew, what he had in mind,--how
he and they were all striving to serve one Master, and how each--he
most surely as much as they--was to gain strength and cheer from
mutual recognition in the spirit of a common brotherhood.

And thus it was always; and this it was that allied itself so
naturally to that which was his never-ceasing endeavor--to lift all
men everywhere to that which was, with him, the highest conception of
his office, whether as a preacher or as a bishop,--the conception of
God as a Father, and of the brotherhood of all men as mutually related
in Him.

In an address which he delivered during the last General Convention
in Baltimore to the students of Johns Hopkins University, he spoke
substantially these words:

    "In trying to win a man to a better life, show him not the
    evil but the nobleness of his nature. Lead him to enthusiastic
    contemplations of humanity;"

in its perfection, and when he asks, 'Why, if this is so, do not I
have this life?'--then project on the background of his enthusiasm his
own life; say to him, 'Because you are a liar, because you blind your
soul with licentiousness, shame is born,--but not a shame of despair.
It is soon changed to joy. Christianity becomes an opportunity, a high
privilege, the means of attaining to the most exalted ideal--and the
only means.'

"Herein must lie all real power; herein lay Christ's power, that he
appreciated the beauty and richness of humanity, that it is very near
the Infinite, very near to God. These two facts--we are the children
of God, and God is our Father--make us look very differently at
ourselves, very differently at our neighbors, very differently at God.
We should be surprized, not at our good deeds, but at our bad ones.
We should expect good as more likely to occur than evil; we should
believe that our best moments are our truest. I was once talking with
an acquaintance about whose religious position I knew nothing, and he
exprest a very hopeful opinion in regard to a matter about which I was
myself very doubtful.

"'Why, I said to him, 'You are an optimist.'

"'Of course I am an optimist,' he replied, because I am a Christian.'

"I felt that as a reproof. The Christian must be an optimist."

Men and brethren, I set these words over against those of his Master
with which I began, and the two in essence are one. "The words that I
speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." There is a life
nobler and diviner than any that we have dreamed of. To the poorest
and meanest of us, as to the best and most richly-dowered, it is alike
open. To turn toward it, to reach up after it, to believe in its
ever-recurring nearness, and to glorify God in attaining to it, this
is the calling of a human soul.

Now then, what, I ask you, is all the rest of religion worth in
comparison with this?--not what is it worth in itself, but what is its
place relatively to this? This, I maintain, is the supreme question
for the episcopate, as it ought to be the supreme question with the
ministry of any and every order. And therefore it is, I affirm, that,
in bringing into the episcopate with such unique vividness and power
this conception of his office, your bishop rendered to his order and
to the Church of God everywhere a service so transcendent. A most
gifted and sympathetic observer of our departed brother's character
and influence has said of him, contrasting him with the power of
institution, "His life will always suggest the importance of the
influence of the individual man as compared with institutional

In one sense, undoubtedly, this is true; but I should prefer to say
that his life-work will always show the large and helpful influence of
a great soul upon institutional Christianity. It is a superficial
and unphilosophical temperament that disparages institutions; for
institutions are only another name for that organized force and life
by which God rules the world. But it is undoubtedly and profoundly
true that you no sooner have an institution, whether in society, in
politics, or in religion, than you are threatened with the danger
that the institution may first exaggerate itself and then harden
and stiffen into a machine; and that in the realm of religion,
preeminently, those whose office it should be to quicken and infuse it
with new life should themselves come at last to "worship the net and
the drag." And just here you find in the history of religion in all
ages the place of the prophet and the seer. He is to pierce through
the fabric of the visible structure to that soul of things for which
it stands. When, in Isaiah, the Holy Ghost commands the prophet, "Lift
up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid: say unto the
cities of Judah, Behold your God!" it is not alone, you see, his voice
that lie is to lift up. No, no! It is the vision of the unseen and
divine. "Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!"

Over and over again that voice breaks in upon the slumbrous torpor of
Israel and smites the dead souls of priests and people alike. Now
it is a Balaam, now it is an Elijah, a David, an Isaiah, a John the
Baptist, a Paul the Apostle, a Peter the Hermit, a Savonarola, a Huss,
a Whitefield, a Wesley, a Frederick Maurice, a Frederick Robertson, a
Phillips Brooks.

Do not mistake me. I do not say that there were not many others. But
these names are typical, and that for which they stand cannot easily
be mistaken. I affirm without qualification that, in that gift of
vision and of exaltation for which they stand, they stand for the
highest and the best,--that one thing for which the Church of God most
of all stands, and of which so long as it is the Church Militant
it will most of all stand in need: to know that the end of all its
mechanisms and ministries is to impart life, and that nothing which
obscures or loses sight of the eternal source of life can regenerate
or quicken;--to teach men to cry out, with St. Augustine, "_Fecisti
nos ad te, Domine, et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in
te_": Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is unquiet
until its rests in Thee,--this however, as any one may be tempted to
fence and juggle with the fact, is the truth on which all the rest

Unfortunately it is a truth which there is much in the tasks and
engagements of the episcopate to obscure. A bishop is preeminently,
at any rate in the popular conception of him, an administrator; and
howsoever wide of the mark this popular conception may be from the
essential idea of the office, it must be owned that there is much in
a bishop's work in our day to limit his activities, and therefore his
influence, within such a sphere.

To recognize his prophetic office as giving expression to that mission
of the Holy Ghost of which he is preeminently the representative, to
illustrate it upon a wider instead of a narrower field, to recognize
and seize the greater opportunities for its exercise, to be indeed
"a leader and commander" to the people, not by means of the petty
mechanisms of officialism, but by the strong, strenuous, and unwearied
proclamation of the truth; under all conditions to make the occasion
somehow a stepping-stone to that mount of vision from which men may
see God and righteousness and become sensible of the nearness of both
to themselves,--this, I think you will agree with me, is no unworthy
use of the loftiest calling and the loftiest gifts.

And such a use was his. A bishop-elect, walking with him one day in
the country, was speaking, with not unnatural shrinking and hesitancy,
of the new work toward which he was soon to turn his face, and said
among other things, "I have a great dread, in the Episcopate, of
perfunctoriness. In the administration, especially, of confirmation,
it seems almost impossible, in connection with its constant
repetition, to avoid it."

He was silent a moment, and then said, "I do not think that it need be
so. The office indeed is the same. But every class is different; and
then--think what it is to them! It seems to me that that thought can
never cease to move one."

What a clear insight the answer gave to his own ministry. One turns
back to his first sermon, that evening when, with his fellow-student
in Virginia, he walked across the fields to the log-cabin where, not
yet in holy orders, he preached it, and where afterward he ministered
with such swiftly increasing power to a handful of negro servants.
"It was an utter failure," he said afterward. Yes, perhaps; but all
through the failure he struggled to give expression to that of which
his soul was full; and I do not doubt that even then they who heard
him somehow understood him. We pass from those first words to the
last,--those of which I spoke a moment ago,--the address to the
choir-boys at Newton,--was there ever such, an address to choir-boys
before? He knew little or nothing about the science of music, and with
characteristic candor he at once said so. But he passed quickly from
the music to those incomparable words of which the music was the mere
vehicle and vesture. He bade the lads to whom he spoke think of
those who, long ago and all the ages down, had sung that matchless
Psalter,--of the boys and men of other times, and what it had meant to
them. And then, as he looked into their fresh young faces and saw the
long vista of life stretching out before them, he bade them think of
that larger and fuller meaning which was to come into those Psalms of
David, when he,--was there some prophetic sense of how soon with him
the end would be?--when he and such as he had passed away,--what new
doors were to open, what deeper meanings were to be discerned, what
nobler opportunities were to dawn, as the years hastened swiftly on
toward their august and glorious consummation! How it all lifts us
up as we read it, and how like it was to that "one sermon" which he
forever preached!

And in saying so I do not forget what that was which some men said was
missing in it. His, they tell us--who hold some dry and formalized
statement of the truth so close to the eye that it obscures all larger
vision of it,--his, they tell us, was an "invertebrate theology." Of
what he was and spoke, such a criticism is as if one said of the wind,
that divinely appointed symbol of the Holy Ghost, "it has no spine nor

A spine and ribs are very necessary things; but we bury them as so
much chalk and lime when once the breath has gone out of them! In the
beginning we read, "And the Lord God breathed into his nostrils the
breath of life, and man became a living soul."

And all along since then there have been messengers of God into whom
the same divine breath has been, as it were, without measure breathed,
and who have been the quickeners and inspirers of their fellows.
Nothing less than this can explain that wholly exceptional and yet
consistent influence which he whom we mourn gave forth. It was not
confined or limited by merely personal or physical conditions, but
breathed with equal and quickening power through all that he taught
and wrote. There were multitudes who never saw or heard him, but by
whom nevertheless he was as intimately known and understood as if he
had been their daily companion.

Never was there an instance which more truly fulfilled the saying,
"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
They reached down to the inmost need of empty and aching hearts and
answered it. They spoke to that in the most sin-stained and wayward
soul which is, after all, the image of the invisible God,--spoke
to it, touched it, constrained it. "What has this fine-bred Boston
scholar," plain men asked, when he bade him come to us and preach in
our Trinity--"what has such an one to say to the business men of Wall
Street?" But when he came, straightway every man found out that he had
indeed something to say to him,--a word of power, a word of hope, a
word of enduring joy and strength!

A kindred thinker of large vision and rare insight, New England born
and nurtured like himself, speaking of him not long after his death,

    "There are three forms pertaining to the Christian truths: they
    are true as facts, they are true as doctrines intellectually
    apprehended, they are true as spiritual experiences to be
    realized. Bishop Brooks struck directly for the last. In the
    spirit he found the truth; and only as he could get it into a
    spiritual form did he conceive it to have power.

    "It was because he assumed the facts as true in the main, refusing
    to insist on petty accuracy, and passed by doctrinal forms
    concerning which there might be great divergence of opinion, and
    carried his thought on into the world of spirit, that he won so
    great a hearing and such conviction of belief. For it is the
    spirit that gives common standing-ground; it says substantially
    the same thing in all men. Speak as a spirit to the spiritual
    nature of men, and they will respond, because in the spirit they
    draw near to their common source and to the world to which all

    "It was because he dealt with this common factor of the human and
    the divine nature that he was too positive and practical. In the
    spirit it is all yea and amen; there is no negative; in the New
    Jerusalem there is no night. We can describe this feature of his
    ministry by words from, one of his own sermons: 'It has always
    been through men of belief, not unbelief, that power from God has
    poured into man. It is not the discriminating critic, but he whose
    beating, throbbing life offers itself a channel for the divine
    force,--he is the man through, whom the world grows rich, and whom
    it remembers, remembers with perpetual thanksgiving.'"

And shall not you who are here to-day thank God that such a man was,
tho for so brief a space, your bishop? Some there were, you remember,
who thought that those greater spiritual gifts of his would unfit him
for the business of practical affairs. "A bishop's daily round," they
said, "his endless correspondence, his hurried journeyings, his weight
of anxious cares, the misadventures of other men, ever returning to
plague him,--how can he bring himself to stoop and deal with these?"

But as in so much else that was transcendent in him, how little here,
too, his critics understood him! No more pathetic proof of this has
come to light than in that testimony of one among you who, as his
private secretary, stood in closest and most intimate relations
to him. What a story that is which he has given to us of a great
soul--faithful always in the greatest? Yes, but no less faithful in
the least. There seems a strange, almost grotesque impossibility in
the thought that such an one should ever have come to be regarded as
"a stickler for the canons."

But we look a little deeper than the surface, and all that is
incongruous straightway disappears. His was the realm of a divine
order,--his was the office of his Lord's servant. God had called him.
He had put him where he was. He had set his Church to be His witness
in the world, and in it, all His children, the greatest with the
least, to walk in ways of reverent appointment. Those ways might irk
and cramp him sometimes. They did: he might speak of them with sharp
impatience and seeming disesteem sometimes. He did that too, now and
then,--for he was human like the rest of us! But mark you this, my
brothers, for, in an age which, under one figment or another,
whether of more ancient or more modern license, is an age of much
self-will,--we shall do well to remember it,--his was a life of
orderly and consistent obedience to rule. He kept to the Church's
plain and stately ways: kept to them and prized them too.

But all the while he held his soul wide open to the vision of his
Lord! Up out of a routine that seemed to others that did not know or
could not understand him, and who vouchsafed to him much condescending
compassion for a bondage which he never felt, and of which in vain
they strove to persuade him to complain,--up out of the narrower round
in which so faithfully he walked, from time to time he climbed, and
came back bathed in a heavenly light, with lips aglow with heavenly
fire. The Spirit had spoken to him, and so he spoke to us. "The flesh
profiteth nothing: it is the spirit that quickeneth. The words that I
speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

And so we thank God not alone for his message, but that it was given
to him to speak it as a bishop in the Church of God. We thank God that
in a generation that so greatly needs to cry, as our _Te Deum_ teaches
us, "Govern us and lift us up!" he was given to the Church not alone
to rule but to uplift.

What bishop is there who may not wisely seek to be like him by drawing
forever on those fires of the Holy Ghost that set his lips aflame?
Nay, what soul among us all is there that may not wisely seek to
ascend up into that upper realm in which he walked, and by whose
mighty airs his soul was filled? Unto the almighty and ever-living God
we yield most high praise and hearty thanks for the wonderful grace
and virtue declared in all His saints who have been the chosen vessels
of His grace and the lights of the world in their several generations;
but here and to-day especially for his servant, Phillips Brooks, some
time of this Commonwealth and this diocese, true prophet, true priest,
true bishop, to the glory of God the Father.




Lyman Abbott was born at Roxbury, Mass., in 1835. As successor to
Henry Ward Beecher, at Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, he ministered with
great spiritual power until 1898, when he resigned his pastorate to
devote his entire time to _The Outlook_, of which he was, and still
is, the editor. Dr. Abbott's conception of the minister's work is
briefly summed up in his own words:

"Whenever a minister forgets the splendid message of pardon, peace and
power based on faith in Jesus Christ as God manifest in the flesh,
whenever for this message he substitutes literary lectures, critical
essays, sociological disquisitions, theological controversies, or even
ethical interpretations of the universal conscience, whenever, in
other words, he ceases to be a Christian preacher and becomes a lyceum
or seminary lecturer, he divests himself of that which in all ages of
the world has been the power of the Christian ministry, and will be
its power so long as men have sins to be forgiven, temptations to
conquer, and sorrows to be assuaged."


BORN IN 1835


_Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are
gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and
the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath
sanctified, and sent into the world, thou blasphemest; because I said,
I am the Son of God_?--John X., 34-36.

The context and argument is this: Jesus Christ has declared that He
will give unto His sheep eternal life; and that no one can pluck them
out of His hand, because He and His Father are one; and the Father
who gives these sheep to His care and keeping is greater than all the
forces that are leagued against them. Thereat the Jews took up stones
against Him, saying: "Being a man thou makest thyself equal with God."
And Christ answers with our text. He refers them back to the Old
Testament, which, He says, declares of the judges of Israel, of the
men to whom the inspiration of God came, that they are divine. "Why,
then," He says, "do you accuse Me of blasphemy because I claim
divinity?" It is impossible to consider this a mere play upon the
word; that Christ uses the word God in one sense in one paragraph
and in another sense in the paragraph immediately following. It is
impossible to conceive that this is a kind of sacred pun. No, no; the
argument is clear and unmistakable. According to your Old Testament
scripture, He says, the men in whom and to whom and through whom the
power and grace of God are manifested are themselves the partakers
of the divine nature. If that is so, if the men of the olden
times, patriarchs and prophets, through whom the divine nature was
manifested--if they are divine, do not accuse me of blasphemy because
I claim for Myself divinity. If in this message, on the one hand,
Christ claims kinship with God, on the other He lifts the whole of
humanity up with Him and makes the claim for them. The religion of the
Old Testament and the New Testament, the religion of Christianity and
of Judaism, is a religion of faith in God. But it is not less truly a
religion of faith in man, and of faith in man because man is a child
of God. And the one faith would be utterly useless without the other.
For faith in God is effective because it is accompanied with faith in
man as the child of God.

And in this faith in man is the inspiration of all human progress.
_Faith_ in man, I say. Faith sees something which the eye does not
see. Faith sees something which the reason does not perceive. Faith
is not irrational, but it perceives a transcendent truth, over beyond
that which the sense perceives. Faith is always intermixed with hope
and with a great expectation, either with a hope because it sees
something which is not yet but will be, or else with a hope because it
sees something which is not yet seen but will be seen. Faith in a man
is not a belief that man is to-day a great, noble character, but it is
a perception in man of dormant possibilities of greatness and nobility
which time and God will develop. It is only the man who has faith in
man who can really interpret man. It is faith in man that gives us all
true human insight. The difference between a photograph and a portrait
is this: the photograph gives the outward feature, and stops there;
and most of us, when we stand in a photograph saloon to have our
picture taken, hide our soul away. The artist sees the soul behind the
man, knows him, understands something of his nature, and paints the
soul that looks out through the eyes. He sees in the man something
which the sun does not exhibit, and makes that something shine on
the canvas. The artist in literature sees an ideal humanity, and
interprets it. Realism in literature does not portray the real man.
Anthony Trollope pictures the Englishman as he is to-day, and society
as any man may take it with a kodak; but Dickens gives Toby Veck and
Tiny Tim; George Eliot, Adam Bede and Dinah Morris. Men say that no
such boy ever lived as MacDonald has portrayed in Sir Gibbie. In every
street Arab is a possible Sir Gibbie; and MacDonald has seen the
possible and shown us what Christianity may make out of a street
Arab. In this perception of a possible in man lies the spirit of all
progress in science. The man of practical science laughs at the notion
of an iron railway on which steam cars shall travel faster than
English coaches. But the man of faith in men, who believes that it is
in the power of men to dominate the powers of nature, builds the road.
The man of practical science laughs at the notion that we can reach up
our hands into the clouds and draw down the lightning. But Franklin
does it. The man of faith is sometimes mistaken, but he is always
experimenting, because he always believes that man to-morrow will
be more than man is to-day or was yesterday. And all progress in
civilization has its secret in this great faith in man as a being
that has a mastery, not yet interpreted, not yet understood, not yet
comprehended in its fulness, over all the powers of nature.

Now, is there any ground or basis for this faith in man? Have we a
right to believe that man is more than he seems to be, as we can see
him in the street to-day? Have we a right to build our institutions
and fabrics on this belief? Have we a right to think that man can
govern himself, or must we go back and say with Carlyle and Ruskin
and Voltaire that the great body of men are incompetent to govern
themselves, and a few wise rulers must govern them? Have we a right to
believe that all the progress that has thus far been made in
science is but an augury of progress far greater, reaching into the
illimitable? Have we a right to say that these portraits of a possible
humanity, this Portia, this Toby Veck, this Tiny Tim, this ideal man
and woman, are real men and real women in possibility, if not in
the actualities of life? Or are we to think of them as simply
phantasmagoria hung up for the delectation of a passing moment? The
Bible makes answer to that question,--the Bible preeminently, but
the great poets and the great prophets of all religions; the Bible,
because the poets and the prophets of the Bible transcend the poets
and the prophets of all other religions. And that declaration is that
man is made in the image of God, and that God dwells in man and
is coming to the manifestation of Himself in growing, developing,
redeemed humanity. Our Bible starts out with the declaration that God
made man in His own image. The poets take the idea up. MacDonald tells
us in that beautiful poem of his, that the babe came through the blue
sky and got the blue of his eyes as he came; Wordsworth, that the
child's imaginings are the recollected glory of a heavenly home; and
the author of the first chapter of Genesis, that God breathed his own
breath into the nostrils of man and made him in the image of God. All
fancy, all imaginings? But, my dear friends, there is a truth in fancy
as well as in science. We need not believe that this aspiration that
shows itself in the pure mind of a little child is a trailing glory
that he has brought with him from some pre-existent state. We need not
think that it is physiological fact that the sky colored the eyes of
the babe as the babe came through. Nor need we suppose that man was
a clay image into which God breathed a physical breath, so animating
him. But beyond all this imagery is the vision of the poet. God in
man; a divine life throbbing in humanity; man the offspring of God;
man coming forth from the eternal and going forth into the eternal.

This is the starting-point of the Bible. Starting with this, it goes
on with declaration after declaration based on this fundamental
doctrine that man and God in their essential moral attributes have the
same nature. It is human experience which is used to interpret divine
experience. According to pagan thought, God speaks to men through
movements of the stars, through all external phenomena, through even
entrails of animals. Seldom so in the Bible, save as when the wise men
followed the star, and then that they might come to a divine humanity.
In the Old Testament God speaks in human experience, through human
experience, about human experience, to typify and interpret and
explain Himself. God is like a shepherd that shepherds his flock.
God is like a king that rules in justice. He is like the father that
provides for his children. He is like the mother that comforts the
weeping child. All the experiences of humanity are taken in turn and
attributed to God. The hopes, the fears, the sorrows, the joys, the
very things which we call faults in men--so strong and courageous are
the old prophets in this fundamental faith of theirs that man and God
are alike--the very things we call faults in men are attributed to the
Almighty. He is declared to hate, to be wrathful, to be angry, to be
jealous; because, at the root, every fault is a virtue set amiss; and
the very faults of men have in them something that interprets the
power and will of God, as the very faults of a boy interpret the
virtues of his father. All through the Old Testament God manifests
Himself through human experience. He speaks in the hearts of men; He
dwells in the experience of men; He interprets Himself through the
life of men; and, finally, when this one selected nation which has a
genius for spiritual truth has been so far educated that there is no
danger that it will go back and worship man, that it will become a
mere hero-worshiper, when it has been so far educated that there is no
danger of that, then Jesus Christ comes into the world--God manifests
Himself in human life.

Who, then, is Jesus Christ? Let John tell us. The Oriental world was
puzzled about the question of the origin of evil. They said, in brief,
a good God cannot make a bad world. Out of a good God, therefore,
there have emanated other gods, and out of these gods other gods,
until at last there came to be imperfect gods or bad gods. And the
world was made, some of them said, partly by a good god and partly by
a bad one; and others by an imperfect god who was an emanation of the
perfect one. Of these emanations one was Life, another was Light,
another was the Word. And John, writing in the age of Oriental
philosophy, uses the phraseology of Oriental philosophy in order that
he might tell mankind who and what Jesus Christ is. "In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was God." God never was an abstraction;
from the very beginning He was a speaking God, a living God, a
manifesting God, a forth-putting God. "The same was in the beginning
with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not
anything made that was made. And this Word became flesh and dwelt
among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten
of the Father), full of grace and truth." Let me put this into
modern language. What is it but this? From eternity God has been a
manifesting God. When the fulness of time came, God, that He might
manifest Himself to His children, came into a human life and dwelt
in a human life. He that had spoken here through one prophet, there
through another prophet; He that had sent one message in this
direction and another in that; He that had spoken through signs and
tokens, as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says, in divers
manners and in fragmentary utterances--when the fulness of time had
come, He spoke in one perfect human life, taking entire possession of
it and making it His own, that He might manifest Himself in terms of
human experience to humanity. Or turn to Paul and let me read you this
declaration; "Let this mind be in you which was also in Jesus Christ;
who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with
God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of
a servant, and was made in the likeness of man, and being found in
fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross." What is this, again, but the same
declaration? God desiring to show Himself to humanity, entered into
one human life, became subject to human conditions, shared the
weakness, the wants, the ignorance of humanity, entered into and was
identified with one human life.

Do I say, then, that Jesus Christ was a man like other men? No. But I
do say that in their essential qualities God and man are identical,
and God entered into humanity that He might show to humanity what He
is. I do say, not that Jesus Christ was a man like other men, but that
other men may become like Jesus Christ. I hold a bulb in my one hand
and a tulip in my other. Will any man say to me, this beautiful flower
with all its rich coloring is like this bulb? Oh, no! But let the
sun of God shine long enough on this bulb, put it where it belongs,
subject it to the conditions of life, and this bulb will become like
this flower. Man is made in the image of God. All that is in man
that is not in God's image does not belong to man's nature. Natural
depravity? There is no natural depravity. Depravity is unnatural.
Depravity is contra-natural. It is against the whole law of man's
being. It is never wrong for any creature God has made to act out the
nature which God endowed him with. It is not wicked for a tiger to be
ravening. It is not wicked for a snake to be sinuous. It is wicked for
man to be ravening or sinuous, because it is against the divine nature
that God has put in man. He made man for better things.

God made man in His own image, God coming through successive stages,
manifesting Himself in successive relations of Himself in human
experience, God at last disclosing Himself in one pure, sinless,
typical man in order that man through that humanity might know who and
what God is--and is that the end? Oh, no! That is the beginning,
only the beginning. For what did God come in Christ? Simply to show
Himself? Here is a hospital--all manner of sick; the paralytic, the
fever-stricken, the consumptive. Is it good news to these hospital
bedridden ones if an athlete come in and show them his life, his
muscles, the purity of his lungs, the health of his constitution, and
then goes out? But if he comes in and says, "My friends, if you will
follow my directions I will put into you consumptive ones some of the
strength of my lungs, into you fever-stricken ones some of the purity
of my blood; into you paralytic ones some of the sinew and muscle
I possess--you can become like me," then there is good news in the
message. If God came into the world simply to tell us what God is and
what the ideal of humanity is, the gospel would be the saddest message
that could be conceived, as delivered to the human race. It would add
gloom to the gloom, darkness to the darkness, chains to the chains,
despair to despair. He comes not merely to show divinity to us, but to
impart divinity to us; rather, to evolve the latent divinity which He
first implanted in us. As God has entered into Christ, He will enter
into me. Christ says to me: As I am patient, you can become patient;
as I am strong, you can become strong; as I am pure, you can become
pure; as I am the Son of God, you can become the Son of God. Therefore
His message is the gospel that it is.

Christ is not a man like other men. I can find in the biography of
Jesus no trace of sin. In every other biography, oh, how many traces!
There is no trace of repentance. The Hebrew Psalmist laments his
iniquity. Paul confesses himself to be the chief of sinners. Luther,
Calvin, Melanchthon, Edwards--go where I will, in the biography of
all the saints there are signs of sin and iniquity. Never a trace of
repentance or confession in Christ. In all others we see a struggle
after God. "My heart panteth after thee, as the hart panteth after
water-brooks." "I count not myself to have attained, but, forgetting
those things that are behind, I press forward toward the mark." Never
in the written biography of Christ a trace of that aspiration after
something not yet reached. On the contrary, a great peace and a great
possession. He says: I have come full of life. I have come to give
life. This sinless Christ comes that He may give to us that which
He Himself possesses; that He may take the sin out of our lives and
sorrow out of our hearts, and for the yearning desire give a great,
great peace. I have come, He says, that you might have life. How much,
Lord and Master? Life more abundantly. What kind of life, Lord and
Master? Eternal life. Has He come with that great life of His to give
a little and then stop? Nay, to give all to every one that every one
will take.

I marvel to find Christian men denying that Christ is the type and
manifestation and revelation of the possible divinity in universal
humanity. It is written all over the Bible. What says Christ Himself?
I have come that you might have life, and that you might have it more
abundantly. As the Father has sent Me into the world, even so I send
you into the world. You shall be My disciples. You shall learn of Me.
You shall be My followers, and tread where I have trod. You shall take
up My cross, and suffer as I have suffered. The secret of My life
shall be the secret of your life. Ye shall be in Me. I will abide with
you. Ye shall be as a branch grafted on the vine, drawing the same
life as I have, as out of My very veins. As the Father was in Me, so
I and My Father will come and abide in you. He breathes upon the
disciples and tells them to receive the Spirit that was in Him; and in
His last prayer He prays that they may share His glory, that they may
be one with the Father, as He is one with the Father. Paul takes up
the same refrain and repeats it over and over again. Righteousness in
man is the righteousness of God, God's own righteousness coming out
of God's heart into human hearts. Ye shall be partakers of the divine
nature. Ye shall be joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ, inheriting
all that Christ inherited from His Father. Ye shall have the same
spirit that was in Christ. Metaphor and trope and figure are exhausted
in the endeavor of the apostle to set forth this sublime truth. Christ
is the servant of God. We are the servants of God. He is the Son of
God. We are the sons of God. He is the light of the world. We are
the lights of the world. He is a priest forever. We are priests
perpetually serving in His temple. He is the one eternal sacrifice. We
are to present our bodies a living sacrifice before God. He is dead.
We are to die with Him. He has risen. We are to rise with Him. Already
we sit in the heavenly place with Christ Jesus. We are changed from
glory to glory into His image. We are predestined to be conformed to
that image. We are bid to pray that we may be rooted and grounded in
Christ, and that with Him, we may be filled with all the fulness of

Do I say, then, that I am equal to Christ? Or that I shall ever become
equal to Christ? No! Let me try to make this plain to the child, and
then the rest will perhaps understand it. Here is a great man. He is
a great statesman. He is a great poet. He is a great orator. He is a
great philosopher. He is a great general. He is Bismarck and Gladstone
and Dante and Napoleon and Raphael and Plato all combined in one.
And he has children, and this boy is a statesman, and this boy is a
general, and this boy is an orator, and this boy is a poet, and this
boy is an artist. No one of them comprizes all the genius that was in
his father, but each one has one quality of that father, and all the
boys together reflect their father's nature. No, I shall never be
equal to Christ. But according to the measure of my own capacity,
I may reflect even here and now something of Christ and be really

Christ is my Master. I acknowledge no other Master than Him. I wish to
follow where He leads. I gladly believe whatever He says. And I have
no other ambition--oh, I wish it were true that I never had any other
ambition!--than to be like Him. But He is my Master because He bids me
follow where He leads, because He gives what I can take, because He
promised what He will yet fulfil. I believe in the divinity of our
Lord Jesus Christ. It is the center of my faith, as He is the center
and source of my life. But I do not believe in the medieval formula
that Jesus Christ is God and man mysteriously joined together, because
to believe that would be to leave me both without an ideal of man
which I might follow, and without a manifestation of God to which I
might cling. In my country home two Christians quarreled. An atheist
went to them and said to one of them, "Your Christ said, 'Forgive
all your enemies and love one another.'" "Yes," he said, "Christ was
divine. He could. I cannot." But there was nothing of moral virtue
that God wrought in Christ that He cannot work in you and me if we
give Him time enough. And, on the other hand, this separation of "God"
and "man" in Christ denies the real manifestation of God to man.
Jesus called His disciples to watch while He wrestled with agony in
Gethsemane, and Dean Alford, speaking on Gethsemane, says this was the
manifestation in Christ of human weakness. No! no! A thousand times,
No! It is the glorious manifestation of that sympathy in God which
wants the sympathy of the feeblest of His followers, as the mother
wants the sympathy and love of the babe on her lap. "Beloved, now are
we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be. Only
we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." There are two
things we do not know. Genius is always a mystery, spiritual genius
the greatest mystery of genius, and Christ the greatest mystery of
all. We do not know what we shall be, any more than one who never had
seen a garden could guess what the mold would be when the spring had
finished its work. Those are two things we do not know. But there are
two things we do know. We shall be like Him, and when we are like Him,
we shall see Him as He is. We shall be like no imagination of Him, no
deteriorated or imperfect conception of Him; but when we come to see
Him in all the regal splendor of His character, with all the love, all
the justice, all the purity, all the divine glory which is adumbrated
and shadowed here because our eyes could not look upon it and still
live--when we come to see Him in all the glory of that divine
character, we shall be like Him--_we shall be like Him_.




Phillips Brooks was born at Boston, Mass., in 1835, graduated at
Harvard in 1855 and studied theology at the P.E. Seminary, Alexandria,
Va. He was elected rector of the Church of the Advent, Philadelphia,
in 1859, and three years later to that of Holy Trinity in the same
city. In 1869 he became rector of Trinity Church, Boston, and was
consecrated Bishop of Massachusetts in 1891. He died in 1893. He was
in every sense a large man, large in simplicity and sympathy, large in
spiritual culture. In his lectures to the students at Yale he spoke of
the preparation for the ministry as being nothing less than the making
of a man. Said he:

"It cannot be the mere training to certain tricks. It cannot be even
the furnishing with abundant knowledge. It must be nothing less than
the kneading and tempering of a man's whole nature till it becomes of
such a consistency and quality as to be capable of transmission. This
is the largeness of the preacher's culture." Doctor Brastow describes
him thus: "The physical equipment was symbol of his soul; and the
rush of his speech was typical of those mental, moral, and spiritual
energies that were fused into unity and came forth in a stream of
fiery intensity."




[Footnote 1: Published for the first time by the kind permission of
William G. Brooks.]

_The pride of life_.--1 John ii., 16.

John is giving his disciples the old warning not to love the world,
that world which then and always is pressing on men's eyes and ears
and hearts with all its loveliness and claiming to be loved. "Love not
the world, neither the things that are in the world.... For all that
is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and
the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

What is the pride of life? Pride is one of those words which hover in
the middle region between virtue and vice. The materials which under
one set of circumstances and in one kind of character make up an
honorable self-respect, seem so often to be precisely the same as
those which under another set of circumstances and in another kind of
character make up arrogance and self-conceit. This last is the tone
evidently in which John speaks. So it is with most moral minglings.
All character is personal, determined by some force that blends the
qualities into a special personality. The same apparent qualities
unite into the most various results. It is like the delicate
manufacture of mosaics. The skilful workers of Rome or Venice put in
the same ingredients in nature and amount, and the composition comes
out at one time dull and muddy and at another time perfectly clear and
lustrous. Some subtle difference in the mixture of the constituents
or in the condition of the atmosphere or in the heat of the furnace
alters the whole result. So out of life we may say in its various
minglings there come various products in character, either humility or
thankfulness or contentment or self-respect, from some failure of the
qualities to meet in perfect union, from some fault in the shape or
misregulation of the temperature of the human furnace in which they
are fused, this degenerate and confused result of pride which yet
is often so near to, that we can see how it was only some slightest
cause, some stray and unguarded draft across the surface that hindered
it from being, one of the clear and lustrous combinations of the same
material. But that fact makes it no better. The muddy glass is no more
useful because it is made of the same components as the clear glass.
There is nothing still to be done with it but to throw it away.

What then is the pride of life which is bad, which "is not of the
Father, but is of the world"? Life itself we know is of the Father. In
whatever sense we take that much-meaning word, life is God's gift. The
mere physical being, if that be life, is the creation of His mighty
word. The continuance, the prolongation of the vital function, if
that be life, that too is the result of His never-sleeping care. The
surrounding circumstances, the scenery of our experience, if that be
life, is also of His arranging. The spiritual vitality, all the higher
powers as we call them, of thought and feeling and conscience, if they
be life, no hand but His strung and tuned their manifold and subtle
cords. Everywhere there is no life but what He gives. It is not of the
world. In no sense does any creative power of being issue either from
the material earth, or from the social system, or from the mass of
conventional laws and standards, each of which is sometimes, in
different uses of the word, characterized as "the world." They may all
influence and change and give character to life, but none of them can
create it.

And perhaps this brings us to what we want. The world may give a
certain character or shape to life, even altho it cannot create it.
Now pride is a certain character or shape of life. It is a term of
description not of the material of life but of a particular result of
that material fused into a particular furnace. In general the shape of
life which pride describes may be otherwise characterized as
arrogant self-reliance or self-sufficiency. We may reach more minute
definitions of it before we are done, but this seems to make the
meaning plain when it is said that the pride of life is not of the
Father, but of the world. Life comes from God. It is the world's
influence that shapes that life, which has no moral character in
itself, into arrogance and self-sufficiency, makes it up into pride
instead of into humility, and so leaves as the result the pride of
life. The pride of life, then, is God's gift which means dependence
changed and distorted into independence, revolt and disobedience.

Most necessary is it that in all we say we should keep clear in mind
that the first gift is God's. The substance of life is His. All evil
is misuse, otherwise repentance must be cursed with misanthropy and
hopelessness instead of being as it always ought to be, the very
birthplace of hope, the spring of a new life from the worn-out failure
of an old, back into the possibility of life that is older still, as
old as man's first creation.

Let us see where the pride of life shows itself. First of all
doubtless in the mere exuberance of animal strength. To be well and
strong, full of spirit and physical vitality, this is beyond all doubt
one of the most precious gifts of God. We never can forget the large
strong physical strain with which our Bible opens, the torrent of
health and full life that seems to pour down to us out of those early
days when the world was young, when the giants made the earth shake
under their mighty tread and the patriarchs outlived the forests with
their green old years. The fulness of physical vitality is of God, to
be accepted as His benefaction, to be cultivated and cared for with
the reverence that His gifts demand. And round the mere physical life
group a whole circle of tastes and enjoyments and exercises which
belong with the sensuous more than with the intellectual or moral part
of us, and whose full life seems to be dependent upon the fulness of
physical being, the mere perception of beauty, the love of comfort,
the delight in enterprise and adventure and prowess. The sum of all
these is what we call full physical life. It is what gives youth its
most generous charm and makes it always poetic with its suggested
powers and unaccomplished possibilities.

But yet this mere fulness of life as we all know has its dangers. Mere
health is overbearing by its very nature. There is a lack of sympathy
in it. Not knowing suffering itself, it is not respectful of suffering
in others. It is not careful of inflicting suffering. The full blood
sings of nothing but itself. It is careless of others. It is careless
of God, not malignantly cruel, nor deliberately atheistic, but selfish
with a sort of self-absorption which is often, very gracious in its
forms and infidel with a mere forgetfulness of God. Who of us does not
know, and who of us, wavering between his standards and his feelings,
has not very often found it hard to tell just how he ought to value
the enthusiastic and arrogant self-sufficiency of healthy youth?

It is this, I take it, that is described here as "the pride of life."
Wherever there is eager and full-blooded youth there it appears. It
breaks out in the wild and purposeless mob of lower city life, in the
impatience and insubordination of the country boy who longs to be free
from his father's farm, in the crude skepticism of college students'
first discussions of religion. It is jealous of slight, of insult,
of the least suspicion of restraint or leading. It belongs to strong
young nations as well as to strong young men. By it they flaunt
defiance in the face of the world and are afraid of the imputation of
prudence. It is what you can see in the faces of any group of eager
young men as you pass them on the street. Sometimes it makes them
attractive and sometimes it makes them detestable. It turns the noble
youth into a hero and the mean youth into a bully. A fine nature it
leads into the most exquisite tastes and encircles it with art and
music. A coarse nature it plunges into the vilest debauchery and vice.
In good fortune it makes the temper carelessly benignant. In bad
fortune it makes the temper recklessly defiant. It works these very
different effects but is always the one same spirit still,--the pride
of life. The gift of life which came from God, taken possession of by
the world and tamed into self-sufficiency, a thing not of the Father,
but of the world, who does not know in himself, or see in somebody
he watches, something of this pure pride in life? Just to live is so
attractive that the higher ends and responsibilities of living drift
away out of sight. This instinctive almost physical selfishness is the
philosophy of more than we think both of the good and of the bad that
is in young people.

I have seen too much of it to undervalue the sweet and sober piety of
old age. There is a beauty in it that is all its own. A softness and
tenderness and patience and repose in the western sky that the bolder
glories of the east where the morning breaks never can attain. Many
and many of the best men we have known have been old men, but no one
looks at men's progress without feeling that a great deal of what
passes for growth in goodness as men grow old is in reality only the
deadening of the pride of life from the dying-down of the life itself.
Many and many a man who passes for a sober, conscientious, religious
sort of man at fifty, if you put back into his cooled blood the hot
life he had at twenty-five would be the same reckless, profligate,
arrogant sinner that he was then. It is the life, not the pride, that
he has lost. Many and many a man thinks that he has saved his house
from conflagration because he, sees no flame, when really the flame
is hidden only because the house is burnt down and the fire is still
lurking among the ashes, hunting out any little prey that is left and
hungrily waiting for more fuel to light up the darkness again. One
thing at least is true, that the goodness of old age in what we may
call its passive forms, humility, submission, patience, faith, is
necessarily far more hard to recognize and be sure of than the same
goodness in a younger man. What you call piety may be only deadness.

And young men are often pointed just to this old age as the golden
time when they will be religious as they cannot be now. They look to
it themselves. "You are full of the pride of life," men say to them;
"Ah, wait! By and by the life will flag. The senses will grow dull,
the tastes will stupefy, the enterprise will flicker out, and the days
come in which your soul will say 'I have no pleasure in them.' Just
wait for that! Then your pride will go too, and then you will need and
seek your God." It is a poor taunt and a poorer warning. If you have
nothing better to say to make men use their powers rightly than to
tell them that they will lose their powers some day, the answer will
always be, "Well, I will wait until that losing day comes before
I worry." If you tell a young man that his life is short, the old
bacchanalian answer is the first one, "Live while we live." You must
somehow get hold of that, you must persuade him that the true life now
is the holy life, that life, this same life that he prizes, ought to
breed humility and faith, not arrogance and pride, or else you
must expect to talk to the winds. It surely is important that the
conversion of the pride of life must come not by the putting-out of
life but by making it a source of humility instead of pride.
The humbleness of life. How can it come? By clearer and deeper
truthfulness to let us see what the real facts of the case are, that
is all; but that is very hard, so hard that it can be brought about by
no other than the Almighty Holy Ghost. Let me see that this physical
life of mine, having no true character of its own, is made to be a
great machinery for simply conducting the knowledge and the love of
God into my life; let all my study of the exquisite adaptations of
the physical organs for their work be sanctified with this idea, this
ever-pervading consciousness that eye and ear and hand are doors for
the knowledge and the love of Him to enter by, and that all their
marvelous mechanism is only the perfecting of hinges and bolt that He
may enter more impressively and lovingly and entirely; let me learn
that every bright taste or fine instinct or noble appetite is a ray of
sunlight, not the sun, is the projection into my life of some force
above, outside of me, which I can find only by climbing back along the
ray that is projected, up to it; let me see all animal life a
study and preparation for this final life of man, sensations and
perceptions, growing clearer and clearer as we rise in the scale until
in man they are fit to convey this knowledge which man alone can have,
the knowledge of God; let me see this, and I must be ashamed to make
that life a thing of pride which might be the seat of such an exalted
and exalting dependence and humility. I am unwilling that those
well-built cisterns which ought to be so full of God should hold
nothing but myself, as if one crept into his aqueduct and closed it up
where the water came into it from the fountain and lived in it for a
house and found it very dry.

We see clearly enough what the change is that is needed. It is
to substitute for self-consciousness as the result of life the
ever-abiding consciousness of God. Do you ask how it shall be done?
Ah, my dear friends, that is the very miracle of the gospel. I can
tell you only this about it, which the Lord has told us all before:
"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The
kingdom of God, that region of life in which God is the life's King.
And again: "If any man love me he will keep my words and my Father
will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him."
"We will come to him!" That is what we want, for that is the source of
all humility, the coming of God into us, and the condition is love and
obedience, the spiritual and the active forms of faith. That is all we
can say. And that is enough, for in that this at least is clear, that
such a conversion is a work that God has undertaken to do for us, that
He asks of us nothing but submission to His willing helpfulness, and
that being a transformation of life, it may, nay it must, be done
while life is in possession, it can be done best when life is in its
fullest. We have not to wait till movement is slow and color is dull.
We are not tempted to make a vacancy and call it piety; but when man's
life is so full that it tempts him daily to self-consciousness and
pride, then let him open it wide to the consciousness of God and
ennoble it with the full dignity of that humility whose first
condition is the presence of God in the soul that He built for His own

There is a condition possible where the life shall flow with God as
fully and freely as it ordinarily flows with self, where the greater
volume it acquires, it only bears the more of Him; where every joy
delights in Him, and every power depends on Him, and the whole man
lives in Him and knows it. It is not a constant effort. It is the
spontaneous direction of the whole nature. It is the new condition
of the Christian who has been exalted from the human pride into the
divine humility of life, out of self to God.

But I suggested at the outset that the word life was used in various
meanings, and in connection with one or two of them I should like to
develop a little what is meant by this phrase the "pride of
life." Life sometimes familiarly signifies what we otherwise call
circumstances. A man is said to "get on in life," not with reference
to his growing older or growing healthier, but as he grows more rich,
more prosperous. The pride of life in this sense would be the pride
of success, which we see wherever men are struggling in this world of
competition. Look at the young merchant who is making a living. Things
go well with him. He rises from stratum to stratum of that commercial
system whose geology is the ever-eluding study of the toilers of the
street. He grows rich. His store begins to spread with the pressure of
new enterprises. His house begins to blossom into the rich bloom
of luxury. He is greeted with a new respect. He is courted with an
eagerness he never knew before. Friends gather about him. His word has
weight. His name means money. He is successful. What is the result?
Those facts in themselves signify nothing, let us remember, but
material capable of being made into one thing or another wholly its
opposite. These are the gift of the Father, every one of them, all
that profusion of life. But there is a possible effect of them all in
character, a pride, which is not of the Father, but of the world. With
a morbid sympathy the man assimilates all that is poor and mean and
worldly out of his prosperity, and rejects, because he has no affinity
for it, all that is good and sweet and heavenly. He is chilled and
narrowed and embittered. All the old sweetness and humility fade out
of his nature. Need I tell you of it? Our streets are full of the
pride of life. Its types only, its outer types flash in the splendid
carriages and blaze in the fronts of gaudy houses and sweep the floors
of drawing-rooms and the aisles of churches. Those types, the mere
outward trappings of success, are not wherein the badness lies. The
reality is in the hard hearts and selfish tempers and undocile minds
which, in the splendor or the squalidness of wealth, show the sad ruin
of self-sufficient success, the pride of life.

The pride of life kills out the life itself. Is there a sadder picture
than you have in the life of a man, old or young, to whom God has
sent prosperity, who by his own act then turns that prosperity into a
failure by being proud of it? Christ Himself has told us how it is.
The life is more than meat. He has no tolerance for this little
meaning of a word that He made so large. The life is more than meat.
Yes, life is meat and man, and to lose the best manhood to get the
meat, to lose the soul to save the body, to fail of heaven above you
and before you that you may own the ground under your feet, that is
not success but failure. "In all time of our prosperity, Good Lord
deliver us!" May God help you who are prosperous.

I would speak again of what is called intellectual life, the life of
thought. It is "of the Father," indeed. We picture to ourselves
the pure joy of God in thought. Free from so many of our cumbrous
processes, free from the limitations of slow-moving time, free from
all imperfection, with an instantaneous thought as is His being, the
intellect that is the center of all reason revolves in its unfathomed
majesty. And man thinks too. God makes him think. God gives him powers
to think with, and then, as when you pour for your child a stream of
water out of your cisterns upon the wheels of the machinery that you
have first built for him, God gives man thoughts to exercise his power
of thinking upon. Can anything be more humble? The power was from God,
the thoughts by which the power moves were God's thoughts first. "Oh,
God, I think Thy thoughts after Thee," cried John Kepler, when he
caught sight of the great law of planetary motion. But mere thought,
self-satisfied, seeking no unity in God, owning no dependence,
boasting of itself, counting it hardship that it cannot know all where
it knows so much, this is the pride of thought, and this is not of the
Father, but is of the world. How arrogant it is! How it is jealous of
dictation, how it chafes under a hand that presses it down and a voice
that says to it, "Wait! what thou knowest not now thou shall; know
hereafter." How carefully it limits its kind of evidence, shutting out
everything that sounds like personal communication, revelation, in its
impatient independence; how studiously it orphans itself. And then
how, in some moods, orphaned by its arrogance, it suddenly becomes
intensely cognizant of its orphanage, and the child's hunger for a
Father takes possession of its heart and it is dreary and miserable!

I always know, when I speak thus of types of men, that you will think
that I am talking of those types in their extreme specimens. I am
not speaking to-day of the miracles of physical vitality, nor of the
over-successful men with their colossal fortunes, nor of the mighty
thinkers only. We all have our certain share in these various kinds of
life, and each of us may make his little share a seed of pride. We
are strangely ingenious here. We have an easy faculty of persuading
ourselves that ours is best of everything and growing arrogant,
unfilial and worldly over it. I speak to the men confident in their
youth and health, to the merchants strong in their business credit,
to the thoughtful brains at work over their problems of settling the
universe for themselves. I warn them all against the pride of life. I
would try to show them all that the same material which is capable of
being made into pride is capable also of being made into humility. I
would tell them therefore that they have not to be made old or sick or
poor or stupid before they can be made humble, that the best humility,
as well as the hardest, is that which can come to them here, right in
the midst of their strength and wealth and study!

Do you ask how that can be? It is time that I tried to tell you, tried
to tell how one may be full of life and yet be free from the pride of
life. That question must somehow be answered, or else the world will
be condemned to choose forever between an arrogant prosperity and a
salvation by misery, distress and disaster, by death. What do we need
for the salvation of a prosperous life? The answer in one word is
consecration. Consecration, that is what we need. There have been men
in whom life seemed complete who have yet walked very humbly. They had
no pride of life. And why? Because always before them and above them
there stood some great principle, some idea, some duty to which
their life belonged, not to themselves. All work is modest, all idle
self-contemplation is vain. And what the young man needs with his
vague aspirations and conceits is to make himself the servant of some
worthy purpose. And what the merchant needs with his growing business
is to count himself the steward of some worthy Master. And what the
student needs with his active mind is to trace the footsteps of the
God of wisdom in the path he walks and to count the reaching nearer to
Him, the true prize and object of all thinking. Consecration! We are
proud of life because we do so little with it. It is as if the bearer
of dispatches sat down calmly and boasted of the well-made box in
which they had been given to him, and never bore them to their
destination. Life is force, to be transmitted and delivered to a
purpose and an end. It loses its true nature and sweetness, it
corrupts into pride, when it is robbed of its true purpose and
cherished only for itself.

We can find our example of the consecrated man wherever we see true
lives lived in history or about us now, in the Bible or in common
life. Moses, David, Paul! But why look at the poor, imperfect copies
when in our Lord Himself we have the consummate human life clothed in
the wondrous humility of His appointed work. The life of lives! and
yet was ever any life so utterly free from the tawdry pride that makes
our poor achievements so wretched and unsatisfying. You say He cut
Himself off from all that men are proud of. Not so. He gave up house
and home, but he carried about with Him always the devotion of the
people, the mystery of unknown power and the consciousness of great
work and influence, the very things that have always seduced the best
men most and in their highest labors made them proud. You say He was
divine and so could not be humble. Yes, but He was profoundly human
also, and humility is not subserviency or meanness. It is a grace not
unworthy of, nay, necessary to, even the perfect humanity. But one
thing stands out always: His was the consecrated life. It was all
given to its purpose. "He was called Jesus because he should save his
people from their sins." "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's
business?" "Behold we go up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man shall be
betrayed." "To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the
world, that I should bear witness unto the truth." Everywhere the
consecration, a life appointed to an end, the face set to Jerusalem,
the hands and feet waiting for the cross! Meanwhile it was the fullest
life, but lived so high that the "pride of life" lay all below under
His feet and out of sight.

And our life must be consecrated even as His was. What shall the
consecration be? Far be it from me to undervalue the exaltation into
humility that comes to a man when he consecrates himself to any great
and noble cause. I believe that it helps to save any man from pride
when he gives himself to his family or his country or his fellow men,
to truth, to liberty, to purity, to anything outside of and above
himself, but there is a consecration higher and fuller and more saving
than any such can be. We go back to the Cross. Jesus is dying there
for us. He dies and we are saved. What then? When a soul "knows its
full salvation" and sees it all bought by, all wrapt up in, that
Redeemer, then in the outburst of a grateful love, he gives himself
to the Redeemer Christ. There is no hesitation, no keeping back of
anything. He is all offered up to Christ; and then to serve that
Christ, to follow Him, to do His will, to enter into Him, that is
the one great object of the whole consecrated life, and in that
consecration, the straining of the life toward that One Object, the
"pride of life" is swept down and drowned. Not merely the life then,
but the use of the life, comes from the Father. It is not of the
world. The soul is saved!

The salvation of the Cross! Its center is the forgiveness of sins
which the cross alone made possible; but is not its issue here, in the
lifting of the soul above the pride of life and consecrating it in the
profoundest gratitude to "Him who redeemed us and washed us from
sins in His own blood"? What humility! What self-forgetfulness! What
unworldliness! What utter childhood to the Father!

My friends, my people, would you be saved, saved from your sins, saved
from yourselves, saved from the pride of life? You must be His that
you may not be your own! He died for you that you might not henceforth
live to yourself but unto Him. You must be consecrated to your Savior.
If there is one soul in my church to-day who is weary and dissatisfied
with his self-slavery, I offer him Jesus for Savior, for Master! If
any man thirst let him come unto Him and drink. Turn unto Him and be
ye saved! You can, you must! His service is life, life in its fullest
because life in humility. Outside of His gospel and His service there
is the pride of life, and the pride of life is death.




Washington Gladden, Congregational divine, was born at Pottsgrove,
Pa., in 1836. After graduating at Williams College he was ordained
pastor, and occupied pulpits in Brooklyn, Morrisania, N.Y., and
Springfield, Mass., until 1882, when he assumed charge of the First
Congregational Church of Columbus, Ohio. He has also occupied
editorial positions, and has published many books on social and civil
reform and the practical application of Christian truth to popular and
common life. His style, whether he is writing or speaking, combines
vigor with grace.


BORN IN 1836


[Footnote 1: From Mr. Gladden's "The New Idolatry." By permission of
The McClure Co. Copyright, 1906, by McClure, Phillips & Co.]

_And killed the prince of life, whom God hath raised from the
dead._--Acts iii., 15.

This is the phrase with which Peter, in his great speech in the temple
porch, describes the Master whose disciple he had been for three years,
whose death he had witnessed on Calvary, and to whose resurrection from
the dead he is now bearing witness. "The prince of life!" It is one of
the many great titles conferred upon the Lord by those who loved Him.
Reverence and devotion fell from their lips in lyrical cadences whenever
they spoke of Him, and they wreathed for Him garlands of words with
which they loved to deck His memory. He was "the Prophet of the
Highest"; He was "the Great High Priest"; He was "the Shepherd of the
Sheep"; He was "the Captain of Salvation"; He was "the First Born of
Many Brethren"; He was "Redeemer," "Reconciler," "Savior." Gratitude and
affection shaped many a tender phrase in which to describe Him, but
there is none, perhaps, more luminous or more comprehensive than this
with which the impulsive Peter, facing the men who had put Him to death,
gave utterance to his loyalty. Its pertinence is confirmed by the word
of Jesus Himself, in one of the sayings in which He described His
mission: "I am come that ye might have life, and that ye might have it
abundantly." Author and Giver of life He was, and what He gave He gave
with princely munificence--freely, unstintedly.

The phrase seems to be one on which we may fitly dwell to-day, since
the day of the year which commemorates His birth occurs on the day of
the week which celebrates His resurrection. Both events proclaim Him
the Prince of Life. In the one He is the Bringer of new life, in
the other He is the Victor over death; and thus He becomes, in the
impassioned confessions of the apostle, the Alpha and the Omega, the
Author and the Finisher of Faith, the First and the Last and the
Living One.

Those who are familiar with the New Testament narration do not need to
have their attention called to the constant ministry of this Son of
Man to the vital needs of men. The impartation of life seems to
have been His main business. Somehow it came to be believed by the
multitude, at the very beginning of His public ministry, that He
possest some power of communicating life. The wonderful works ascribed
to Him are nearly all of this character. The healing of the sick, the
cleansing of the lepers, all resulted from the reenforcement of the
vital energies of the sufferers. When He laid His hand upon men, new
life seemed to speed through their veins. We have known some who
seemed to have, in some imperfect way, this quickening touch. It is
a physiological fact that warm blood from the veins of a thoroughly
healthy person, transfused through the veins of one who is emaciated
or exhausted, quickens the wavering pulse and brings life to the
dying. It may be that through the nerve tissues, as well as through
the veins, the same vitalizing force may be communicated, and that
those who are in perfect health, both of body and of mind, may have
the power of imparting life to those who are in need of it. The
miracles of healing ascribed to Jesus must have been miracles in the
literal sense; they were wonders, marvels--for that is what the word
miracle means; that they were interruptions or violations of natural
law is never intimated in the New Testament; they may have been purely
natural occurrences, taking place under the operation of natural
laws with which we are not familiar. We are far from knowing all the
secrets of this wonderful universe; the time may come when these words
of Jesus will have larger meaning than we have ever given them: "If ye
abide in me, the works that I do shall ye do also, and greater works
than these shall ye do, because I go unto my Father."

The fact to be noted is, however, that the people with whom Jesus was
brought into contact were made aware in many ways of the impartation
of His Life to them. "Of His fulness," said John, "we all received,
and grace for grace." There seemed to be in Him a plenitude of
vitality, from which health and vigor flowed into the lives of those
who came near to Him. Nor does this seem to have been any mere
physical magnetism; there is no intimation that His physical
endowments were exceptional; the restoring and invigorating influence
oftener flowed from a deeper source. The physical renewal came as the
result of a spiritual quickening. He reached the body through the
soul. The order was, first, "Thy sins be forgiven thee"; then, "Arise
and walk." If the spirit is thoroughly alive, the body more quickly
recovers its lost vigor. And it was mainly in giving peace to troubled
consciences and rest to weary souls that He conferred upon those who
received Him the great boon of life.

Thus Jesus proved Himself "the Prince of Life." In the early ages of
the Church the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, came to be described as
"the Lord and Giver of Life"; but that was because He was believed to
be the Continuator of the work of Jesus--the spiritual Christ.

There seems to be in this conception a great and beautiful revelation
of the essential nature of Christianity. There are many ways of
conceiving of this, but I am not sure that any one of them is more
significant than that which we are now considering. Those words of
Jesus to which I have before referred are wonderful words when we come
to think upon them. They occur in that discourse in which He describes
Himself first as the Good Shepherd, and contrasts Himself with the
thieves and robbers who have been ravaging the flock. "The thief
cometh not," He says, "but that he may steal and kill and destroy; I
came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly," Have we
not here the great fundamental distinction between men--the line that
separates the evil from the good, the just from the unjust, the sheep
from the goats--that distinction which Jesus marks so clearly in His
parable of judgment, and which must never, in our interpretations or
philosophizings, be blotted or blurred? Some are life-givers; some are
life-destroyers. "The thief cometh not but that he may steal and
kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and may have it

I do not suppose that Jesus meant in this to declare that there is a
large class of persons whose entire purpose it is to steal and kill
and destroy; probably there are none so malevolent that they do not
cherish some kindly impulses and perform some generous deeds. It is a
distinction between acts, or perhaps between tendencies of character,
that He is making. He speaks in the concrete, as He always does; but
He expects us to make the proper application of His words. The fact to
which He guides our thought is this--that there are ways of living,
forms of conduct, which are predatory and destructive of life, and
other ways that tend to make life increase and abound. When Jesus
contrasts His own conduct, as one who gives life and gives it
abundantly, with the thieves and robbers who kill and destroy, we must
interpret the conduct of those whom He describes as destructive of
life--as tending to the diminution of life. Indeed, it is a very deep
and awful truth that all our social action tends in one or other of
these directions. Life, in its proper relation, is the one supreme and
central good; the life of the body is the supreme good of the body;
the life of the spirit is the supreme good of the spirit. And you can
rightly estimate any act or habit or tendency of human conduct only by
determining whether it increases and invigorates the life of men, body
and spirit, or whether it reduces or diminishes their life. Good men
are adding to the life of those with whom they have to do; evil men
are debilitating and depleting the life of those with whom they have
to do.

Even in our economic relations the final effect of all our conduct
upon those with whom we deal is to replenish or diminish their life.
The wage question is at bottom a question of more or less life for the
wage-worker. Starvation wages are wages by which the hold upon life
of the wage-earner and his wife and children is weakened. Systems of
industry are good in proportion as they enlarge and invigorate the
life of the whole population; evil in proportion as they lessen and
weaken its life. So all industrial and national policies are to be
judged by the amount of life which they produce and maintain--life of
the body and of the spirit. Those strong words of John Ruskin are the
everlasting truth:

"There is no wealth but life--life including all its powers of love,
of joy and of admiration. That country is the richest which nourishes
the greatest number of noble and happy human beings; that man is
richest who, having perfected the functions of his own life to the
utmost, has also the widest helpful influence, both personal and by
means of his possessions, over the lives of others,"

We have here, as you see, the Christian conception--the very word of
the Prince of Life, of Him who came that we might have life, and that
we might have it abundantly. And when His kingdom has come, this will
be the end for which wealth is sought and used in every nation.

It is possible to use wealth so that it shall be productive of life;
so that the entire administration of it shall tend to the enlargement
and enrichment of the life of men; so that the labor which it employs
shall obtain an increasing share of the goods which it produces; so
that all the conditions under which that labor is performed shall be
favorable to health and life and happiness; so that the spiritual
life, also, of all who are employed shall be nourished by inspiring
them with good-will and kindness, with the confidence in man which
helps us to have faith in God. Such an administration of wealth is
perhaps the very best testimony to the reality of the truth of the
Christian religion which it is possible to bear in this day and
generation. One who handles capital with this clear purpose can do
more to establish in the earth the kingdom of heaven than any minister
or missionary can do.

But it is possible to use wealth in the opposite way, so that it shall
be destructive rather than productive of life. A man may manage his
industry in such a way that the last possible penny shall be taken
from wages and added to profit; in such a way that the health of his
employees shall be impaired and their happiness blighted and their
hope taken, away. He may do this while maintaining an outwardly
religious behavior and giving large sums to philanthropy. But such
a handling of wealth does more to make infidels than any heretical
teacher or lecturer ever did or can do.

The fact needs to be noted that all the predatory schemes by which
capital is successfully inflated and nefariously manipulated, and the
community is thus burdened, are deadly attacks upon the life of the
people. They filch away the earnings of the laboring classes. They
increase the cost of rent and transportation and all the necessaries
of life. They extort from the people contributions for which no
equivalent has been given, of commodity or service. Thus the burden of
toil is increased and the reward of industry is lessened for all who
work; the surplus out of which life would be replenished is consumed,
and the amount of life in the nation at large is lessened. Every one
of those schemes of frenzied finance about which we are reading
in these days is a gigantic bloodsucker, with ten million minute
tentacles which it stealthily fastens upon the people who do the
world's work, and each one of the victims must give up a little of his
life for the aggrandizement of our financial Titans. When such schemes
flourish, by which men's gains are suddenly swollen to enormous
proportions, somebody must be paying for it, and life is always the
final payment. It all comes out of the life of the people who are
producing the world's wealth. The plethora of the few is the depletion
of the millions. In every great aggregation of workers, the faces of
the underfed are a little paler and the pulses of the children beat a
little less joyously, and the feet are hastened on that journey to
the tomb--all because of those who come to steal and to kill and to

Such is the contrast between beneficent business and maleficent
business. The good business employs men, feeds them, clothes them,
shelters them, generously distributes among them the goods that
nourish life; the bad business contrives to levy tribute on the
resources out of which they are fed and clad and nourished, and thus
enriches itself by impoverishing the life of the multitude.

And I suppose that we should all find, whether we are engaged in what
is called business or not, that the work which we are doing, the way
in which we are spending our time and gaining our income, is tending
either to the enlargement and increase of the life of those with whom
we have to do or to the impoverishment and destruction of their life;
and that this is the final test by which we must be judged--are we
producers of life or destroyers of life? Is there more of life in the
world--more of physical and spiritual life--because of what we are and
what we do, or is the physical and spiritual vitality of men lessened
by what we are and what we do? Are we helping men to be stronger and
sounder in body and mind and soul for the work of life, or are we
making them feebler in muscle and will and moral stamina?

When Jesus Christ came into the world the civilization prevailing--if
such it could be called--was under the dominion of those who came
to steal and to kill and to destroy. Rome was the world, and the
civilization of Rome, with all its splendor, was at bottom a predatory
civilization. It overran all its neighbors that it might subjugate and
despoil them; its whole social system was based on a slavery in which
the enslaved were merely chattels; the life of its ruling class was
fed by the literal devouring of the lives of subject classes. Of
course, this civilization was decadent. That terrible decline and fall
which Gibbon has pictured was in full progress. It was in the midst of
this awful scene that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea. Can anyone
doubt that His heart was full of divine compassion for those who were
trampled on and preyed upon by the cruel and the strong, for those
whose lives were consumed by the avarice and greed of their fellows?
What did He mean when, at the beginning of His ministry in the synagog
where He had always worshiped, He took in his hand the roll of the
prophet Isaiah and read therefrom: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; he
hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight
to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to proclaim the
acceptable year of the Lord"--adding as He sat down, under the gaze of
the congregation, "To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your
ears"? What could He have meant but this, that it was His mission to
change the entire current and tendency of human life; to put an end to
the plunderers and devourers; to chain the wolfish passion in human
hearts which prompts men to steal and to kill and to destroy; to
inspire them with His own divine compassion; to give life and to give
it abundantly? And is it not true that so far as men do receive of His
fulness, so far as they are brought under the control of His spirit,
they do cease to be destroyers and devourers of the bodies and souls
of their fellows, and become helpers, saviors, life-bringers? And is
not this included in His meaning when He says: "I am come that they
may have life, and that they may have it abundantly"?

To-day, then, we hail Him as Prince of Life, the glorious Giver to men
of the one supreme and crowning good. And the manner of the giving is
not hard to understand. He gives life by kindling in our hearts the
flame of sacred love. Love is life. Love to God and man brings the
soul into unity with itself; it is obeying its own organic law, and
obedience to its law brings to any organism life and health and
peace. If the spirit of Christ has become the ruling principle of our
conduct, then we have entered into life, and it is a life that knows
no term; it is the immortal life. If the spirit of Christ has entered
into our lives, then in all our relations with others life is
increased; we are by nature givers of good; out of our lives are
forever flowing healing, restoring, saving, vitalizing influences; and
when all the members of the society in which we move have received
this spirit and manifest it, there are none to bite and devour, to
hurt and destroy; the predatory creatures have ceased their ravages,
and the world rejoices in the plenitude of life which He came to

We hail Him, then, to-day, as the Lord and Giver of life. We desire to
share with Him the unspeakable gift, and to share it, as best we may,
with all our fellow men. What we freely receive from Him, we would
freely give. What the whole world needs to-day is life, more life,
fuller life, larger life. We spend all our energies in heaping up the
means of life, and never really begin to live; our strength is wasted,
our health is broken, our intellects are impoverished, our affections
are withered, our peace is destroyed in our mad devotion to that
which is only an adjunct or appendage of life. Oh, if we could only
understand how good a thing it is to live, just to live, truly and
freely and largely and nobly, to live the life that is life indeed!

Shall we not draw to this Prince of Life and take from Him the gift
that He came to bring? Is not this the one thing needful? We are
reading and hearing much in these days of the simple life. What is it
but the life into which they are led who take the yoke of this Master
upon them and learn of Him? It is a most cheering omen that this
little book of Pastor Wagner's is falling into so many hands and
littering its ingenuous and persuasive plea before so many minds
and in so many homes. If we heed it, it must bring us back to the
simplicity of Christ. Pastor Wagner is only preaching over again the
Sermon on the Mount; it is nothing but the teaching of Jesus brought
down to this day and applied to the conditions of our complex
civilization. It is the true teaching; none of us can doubt it. And I
wish that we could all begin the new year with the earnest purpose to
put ourselves under the leadership of the Prince of Life. I know that
we should find His yoke easy and His burden light, and that there
would be rest for our souls in the paths into which He would lead us.
We should know, if we shared His life, that we were really living; and
we should know also that we wore helping others to live; that we were
doing what we could to put an end to the ravages of the destroyers and
the devourers, and to fill the earth with the abundance of peace.

Is not this, fellow men, the right way to live? Does not all that is
deepest and divinest in you consent to this way of life into which
Jesus Christ is calling us, as the right way, the royal way, the
blessed way? Choose it, then, with all the energy of your volition,
and walk in it with a glad heart and a hope that maketh not ashamed.




John Clifford, Baptist divine, was born at Lawley, Derbyshire,
in 1836. He was educated at the Baptist College, Nottingham, and
University College, London. He has had much editorial as well as
ministerial experience and has published a number of works upon
religious, educational and social questions. The Rev. William Durban,
the editor, writing from London of John Clifford in the _Homiletic
Review_, styles him "the renowned Baptist preacher, undoubtedly the
most conspicuous figure in his own denomination." He speaks of "the
profundity of thought," "simplicity and beauty of diction," the
"compactness of argument" and "instructive expository character" of
this preacher's discourses.


BORN IN 1836


_I believe in the forgiveness of sins_.--Apostles' Creed.

This is the first note of personal experience in the Apostles' Creed.
We here come into the society of men like John Bunyan and go with
them through the wicket-gate of repentance, through the Slough of
Despond, getting out on the right side of it, reaching at length the
cross, to find the burden fall from our backs as we look upon Him who
died for us; and then we travel on our way until we come to the River
of Death and cross it, discovering that it is not so deep after all,
and that on the other side is the fulness of the life everlasting.

It is a new note, and it is a little surprizing--is it not?--to most
students of this creed that we should have to travel through so many
clauses before we reach it. It scarcely seems to be in keeping with
the spirit and temper of the early Christian Church that we should
have all this analysis of thought, this statement of the facts of
Christian revelation, this testimony as to the power of the Holy
Spirit, before we get any utterance as to that individual faith by
which the Christian Church has been created, and owing to which there
has been the helpful and inspiring fellowship of the saints.

I say it is a new note, but it is fundamental. When the Creed does
touch the inward life, it goes straight to that which is central--to
that which is preeminently evangelical. Without the doctrine of the
forgiveness of sins you could have no good news for a sinful world;
but with the assertion of this faith as the actual faith of the man,
you have possibilities of service, the upspringing of altruism, the
conquest of self, the enthronement of Christ, the advancement of
humanity after the likeness of Jesus Christ.

A note it is which is not only fundamental but most musical,
harmonious and gladdening. In the ancient Psalms we hear it
oft--"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his
holy name, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy
diseases." It recurs in the prophets: "I, the Lord, am he that
blotteth out thy sins; yea, tho they be as a thick cloud, I will blot
them out." It is the highest note reached by the singers of the Old
Testament; but it comes to us with greater resonance and sweetness
from the lips of the men who have stood in the presence of Jesus
Christ, and who are able to say, as they look into the faces of their
fellows: "Be it known unto you that through this man is preached unto
you the forgiveness of sins from which you could not have been freed
by the law of Moses." With emphasis, with, strength, with fulness of
conviction, with gladdening rapture, these men proclaimed their faith
in the forgiveness of sins, and tho the Creed of the churches travels
slowly after the faith of the early Church, its last note sounds out
a note of triumph: "I believe in the forgiveness of sins, the
resurrection of the body, and life everlasting."

It is the crown of the whole Creed. It is the flowering of the truths
that are contained in the Creed. Let a man understand God, and let him
have such a vision of the Eternal as Job had, and he is constrained to
say, "I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes." He desires first
and chiefly to know that the true relation between the human spirit
and God which has been broken by sin has at length been rearranged,
and that sin is no longer an obstacle to the soul's converse with a
holy God, but that the ideal relation of the human spirit with the
divine spirit is reestablished by the proclamation of forgiveness.
For, as you know, pardon is not the extinguishing of a man's past;
that cannot be done. What has been done by us of good or evil abides,
it endures; not God Himself can extinguish the deeds of the past. What
forgiveness does is this: it rearranges the relations between the
spirit of man and our Father, so that the sins of the past are no
longer an obstacle to us in our speech with Him, our trust in Him--our
using the energies of God for the accomplishment of His purposes. It
is the restoration of the human spirit to right relations with God.
Forgiveness of sins conies, therefore, at the very start of a right
life. It is the beginning. All else in the spiritual life succeeds
upon this.

I know there is a theory among us, and I am prepared to endorse it,
that, if we are trained by godly parents in godly homes, we may grow
into the spiritual life, pass into it, as it were, by stages which it
is impossible for us to register. We are largely unconscious of
these spiritual ascents; they are being made by the gracious use
of influences that are in our environment, that reach us through
sanctified folk, and we travel on from strength to strength, and,
then, perchance, in our young manhood or womanhood, there comes a
crisis of revelation, and we discover that we are in such relations
with God our Father, Redeemer, and Renewer as fill us with peace,
create hope and conscious strength. But I assure you that in addition
to this experience there will come, it may be early, it may be late,
some moment in the life when there is discovered to the individual
spirit making that ascent a sense of the awful heinousness of sin; and
tho we may not have such a unique experience of evil as the Apostle
Paul had, and become so conscious of it as to feel, as it were, that
it is a dead body that we have to carry about with us as we go through
life, interfering with the very motions of our spirit; yet we do
approximate to it, and it is through these approximations to
the Apostle Paul that we are lifted to the heights of spiritual
achievement, and are qualified for sympathy with a sin-stricken world,
and inspired by and nourished in a passionate enthusiasm to serve that
world by bringing it into right relations with God.

When, therefore, a man says, "I believe in God the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth," he is asserting that which, being turned
to its full and true use, carries him to this goal, "I believe in the
forgiveness of sins." For a full and true doctrine of God can only
be heartily welcomed when it is associated with the message of the
forgiveness of sins. Otherwise the visions of the eternal Power may
start in us the cry of Peter: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man,
O Lord," When a man asserts his faith in Jesus Christ, God's only Son,
our Lord, who was crucified, who suffered under Pontius Pilate, who
died on the cross; he is himself asserting his faith in the great
purpose for which God sent His Son; even to take away the sin of
the world, to make an end of iniquity, to bring in an everlasting
righteousness; and so out of that faith he prepared for the response
which the soul makes to the workings of the Spirit, the Holy Ghost
within him, and he is able to say from his own knowledge of what God
has been to him, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins."

Friends, you have said this again and again, some of you hundreds of
times. You have asserted it week by week. What did you mean by it?
What exactly was the thought in your heart as the words passed over
your lips, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins"? Was it simply the
recognition of a universal amnesty for a world of rebels? Was it
merely the assertion of your confidence in the goodness of God
irrespective of His holiness? Or when you uttered that faith of yours,
did it mean that you were able to say, "My sins, which were many,
are all forgiven. My sins are forgiven, not may be--that pardon is a
glorious possibility only--but are forgiven, not will be forgiven at
some future time. I am now at peace with God through faith, in our
Lord Jesus Christ"? Could you say that? Was that what it meant; or was
it simply the repetition of a phrase which has been handed down to
you by your predecessors, and which you took up as part of an ordered
service, without putting the slightest fiber of your soul into it?

Depend upon it, the mere recitation of a creed will not bring you
God's peace, it will not open your heart to the access of His infinite
calm. It will not secure you that emancipation from evil which will
mean immediate dedication of yourself to work for the emancipation
of the world. You must know of yourself, of your own heart and
consciousness, that God has forgiven you. And if you do get that
consciousness, that moment of your life will be marked indelibly upon
the tablet of your memory. The dint will go so deeply into your nature
that it will be impossible for you to forget it. Speaking for myself,
I can at this moment see the whole surroundings of the place and time
when to me there came the glad tidings, "God has forgiven you." "God
was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto
men their trespasses."

Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins? Then preach it. Tell it
to other people. Let your neighbors know about it. I do not mean
by preaching at the street corners, but by getting into such close
affectionate touch, with your friends as that you shall be able to
persuade them to disinter the thoughts of their own hearts, and show
the sorrows that are there--sorrows produced by sin. For, believe me,
behind all the bright seeming of human countenances there is a subtle
bitterness gnawing constantly at the heart, consequent upon the
consciousness of failure--the sense of having broken the law of God. I
know that hundreds of people go into the church and tell God that they
are miserable sinners. They do that in a crowd; it is saying nothing.
They no more think of saying it in such a way as to place themselves
apart from their fellows than they would of saying: "I am a thief!"

Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins? What, then, are you going
to do with your faith?

Prove your faith by your works. Every time you ask God for forgiveness
you should feel yourself pledged to a most strenuous and resolute
fight with the sin you ask God to forgive. The acceptance of pardon
pledges you to the pursuit of holiness, and yet we have to keep on
with this doctrine, because it is not only the very beginning of the
Christian life, but also the continuous need of that life.

We have to say night by night, "Forgive the ill that I this day have
done." And if we say it as we ought, as really believing that God
forgives us, so that we may not lose heart, may never encourage
despair of final victory, we shall get up next morning resolved to
make a fiercer fight than ever with the evil that sent us on our knees
last night. Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins? Let the joy of
it come to you, and as your own heart overflows with the fulness of
that joy, declare unto others God's salvation, and teach transgressors
His way. Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins? Then find in that
faith an impact to obedience to the law of Jesus: "Be ye perfect even
as your Father in heaven is perfect"; and do not forget that He who
begins the good work in you with His pardon will carry it on to the
day of Jesus Christ; so that you may add the last words of the
Creed: "I believe in the resurrection from the dead and in the life

It is not altogether a good sign that we have pushed eternity out of
our modern thought. Confronted as man is every moment by a sense of
the fragility and the brevity of human life, it is not surprizing
that we should welcome everybody who comes with a message concerning

Is there not, in truth, beauty in the old Anglo-Saxon story of the
bird that shot in at one open window of the large assembly hall and
out at another, where were gathered together a great company of thanes
and vassals; and when the missionary was asked to speak to them
concerning God and His salvation, the thane who was presiding rose
and said, recalling the bird's speedy flight from side to side of
the hall, "Such is our life, and if this man can tell us anything
concerning the place to which we are going, let him stand up and be
heard." Brothers, a few days may carry us into eternity. "Boast not
thyself of to-morrow, thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
Strong, hopeful, rich in promise of service is to-day; to-morrow
friends may be weeping, kith and kin full of sorrow for our
departure. This life does not end all; we are going to an eternity of
blessedness, to progress without limit, to an assimilation with God
that shall know no sudden break or failure, but shall be perfect, even
as He is perfect.




Dwight Lyman Moody, the evangelist, was born at Northfield,
Massachusetts, in 1837, and died in 1899. As a business man he brought
to his evangelistic work exceptional tact, initiative, and executive
ability, but the main source of his power lay in his knowledge of the
Bible, his constant companion. In preaching he largely disregarded
form, and thought little of the sermon as such. His one overwhelming
and undeviating purpose was to lead men to Christ. His speaking was in
a kind of monotone, but his straightforward plainness never failed to
be effective. He usually held the Bible in his hand while speaking,
so that there was little of gesture. His great sympathetic nature is
spoken of by Henry Drummond in these words:

"If eloquence is measured by its effect upon an audience, and not by
its balanced sentences and cumulative periods, then this is eloquence
of the highest sort. In sheer persuasiveness Mr. Moody has few equals,
and rugged as his preaching may seem to some, there is in it a pathos
of a quality which few orators have ever reached, and an appealing
tenderness which not only wholly redeems it, but raises it, not
unseldom, almost to sublimity."




[Footnote 1: By permission of the Fleming H. Revell Company, owners of

_What think ye of Christ_?--Matt, xxii., 42.

I suppose there is no one here who has not thought more or less about
Christ. You have heard about Him, and read about Him, and heard men
preach about Him. For eighteen hundred years men have been talking
about Him and thinking about Him; and some have their minds made up
about who He is, and doubtless some have not. And altho all these
years have rolled away, this question comes up, addresst to each of
us, to-day, "What think ye of Christ?"

I do not know why it should not be thought a proper question for one
man to put to another. If I were to ask you what you think of any of
your prominent men, you would already have your mind made up about
him. If I were to ask you what you thought of your noble queen, you
would speak right out and tell me your opinion in a minute.

If I were to ask about your prime minister, you would tell me freely
what you had for or against him. And why should not people make up
their minds about the Lord Jesus Christ, and take their stand for or
against Him? If you think well of Him, why not speak well of Him and
range yourselves on His side? And if you think ill of Him, and believe
Him to be an impostor, and that He did not die to save the world, why
not lift up your voice and say you are against Him? It would be a
happy day for Christianity if men would just take sides--if we could
know positively who is really for Him and who is against Him.

It is of very little importance what the world thinks of any one else.
The queen and the statesman, the peers and the princes, must soon be
gone. Yes; it matters little, comparatively, what we think of them.
Their lives can only interest a few; but every living soul on the face
of the earth is concerned with this Man. The question for the world
is, "What think ye of Christ?"

I do not ask you what you think of the Established Church, or of the
Presbyterians, or the Baptists, or the Roman Catholics; I do not ask
you what you think of this minister or that, of this doctrine or that;
but I want to ask you what you think of the living person of Christ?

I should like to ask, Was He really the Son of God--the great God-Man?
Did He leave heaven and come down to this world for a purpose? Was it
really to seek and to save? I should like to begin with the manger,
and to follow Him up through the thirty-three years He was here upon
earth. I should ask you what you think of His coming into this world
and being born in a manger when it might have been a palace; why He
left the grandeur and the glory of heaven, and the royal retinue of
angels; why He passed by palaces and crowns and dominion and came down
here alone.

I should like to ask you what you think of Him as a teacher. He spake
as never man spake. I should like to take Him up as a preacher. I
should like to bring you to that mountain-side, that we might listen
to the words as they fall from His gentle lips. Talk about the
preachers of the present day! I would rather a thousand times be five
minutes at the feet of Christ than listen a lifetime to all the wise
men in the world. He used just to hang truth upon anything. Yonder is
a sower, a fox, a bird, and He just gathers the truth around them, so
that you cannot see a fox, a sower, or a bird, without thinking what
Jesus said. Yonder is a lily of the valley; you cannot see it without
thinking of His words, "They toil not, neither do they spin."

He makes the little sparrow chirping in the air preach to us. How
fresh those wonderful sermons are, how they live to-day! How we love
to tell them to our children, how the children love to hear! "Tell me
a story about Jesus," how often we hear it; how the little ones love
His sermons! No story-book in the world will ever interest them like
the stories that He told. And yet how profound He was; how He puzzled
the wise men; how the scribes and the Pharisees would never fathom
Him! Oh, do you not think He was a wonderful preacher?

I should like to ask you what you think of Him as a physician. A man
would soon have a reputation as a doctor if he could cure as Christ
did. No case was ever brought to Him but what He was a match for. He
had but to speak the word, and disease fled before Him. Here comes a
man covered with leprosy.

"Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean," he cried.

"I will," says the Great Physician, and in an instant the leprosy is
gone. The world has hospitals for incurable diseases; but there were
no incurable diseases with Him.

Now, see Him in the little home at Bethany, binding up the wounded
hearts of Martha and Mary, and tell me what you think of Him as
a comforter. He is a husband to the widow and a father to the
fatherless. The weary may find a resting-place upon that breast, and
the friendless may reckon Him their friend. He never varies. He never
fails, He never dies. His sympathy is ever fresh, His love is ever
free. Oh, widow and orphans, oh, sorrowing and mourning, will you not
thank God for Christ the comforter?

But these are not the points I wish to take up. Let us go to those who
knew Christ, and ask what they thought of Him. If you want to find out
what a man is nowadays, you inquire about him from those who know him
best. I do not wish to be partial; we will go to His enemies, and to
His friends. We will ask them, What think ye of Christ? We will ask
His friends and His enemies. If we only went to those who liked Him,
you would say:

"Oh, he is so blind; he thinks so much of the man that he can't see
His faults. You can't get anything out of him unless it be in His
favor; it is a one-sided affair altogether."

So we shall go in the first place to His enemies, to those who hated
Him, persecuted Him, curst and slew Him. I shall put you in the
jury-box, and call upon them to tell us what they think of Him.

First, among the witnesses, let us call upon the Pharisees. We
know how they hated Him. Let us put a few questions to them. "Come,
Pharisees, tell us what you have against the Son of God, What do you
think of Christ?" Hear what they say! "This man receiveth sinners."
What an argument to bring against Him! Why, it is the very thing that
makes us love Him. It is the glory of the gospel. He receives sinners.
If He had not, what would have become of us? Have you nothing more
to bring against Him than this? Why, it is one of the greatest
compliments that was ever paid Him. Once more: when He was hanging on
the tree, you had this to say to Him, "He saved others, but He could
not save Himself and save us too." So He laid down His own life for
yours and mine. Yes, Pharisees, you have told the truth for once in
your lives! He saved others. He died for others. He was a ransom for
many; so it is quite true what you think of Him--He saved others,
Himself He cannot save.

Now, let us call upon Caiaphas. Let him stand up here in his flowing
robes; let us ask him for his evidence. "Caiaphas, you were chief
priest when Christ was tried; you were president of the Sanhedrin; you
were in the council-chamber when they found Him guilty; you yourself
condemned Him. Tell us; what did the witnesses say? On what grounds
did you judge Him? What testimony was brought against Him?" "He hath
spoken blasphemy," says Caiaphas. "He said, 'Hereafter you shall see
the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the
clouds of heaven.' When I heard that, I found Him guilty of blasphemy;
I rent my mantle and condemned Him to death." Yes, all that they had
against Him was that He was the Son of God; and they slew Him for the
promise of His coming for His bride!

Now let us summon Pilate. Let him enter the witness-box.

"Pilate, this man was brought before you; you examined Him; you talked
with Him face to face; what think you of Christ?"

"I find no fault in him," says Pilate. "He said he was the King of
the Jews [just as He wrote it over the cross]; but I find no fault in
him." Such is the testimony of the man who examined Him! And, as He
stands there, the center of a Jewish mob, there comes along a man
elbowing his way in haste. He rushes up to Pilate, and, thrusting out
his hand, gives him a message. He tears it open; his face turns pale
as he reads--"Have thou nothing to do with this just man, for I have
suffered many things this day in a dream because of him." It is from
Pilate's wife--her testimony to Christ. You want to know what His
enemies thought of Him? You want to know what a heathen, thought?
Well, here it is, "no fault in him"; and the wife of a heathen, "this
just man."

And now, look--in comes Judas. He ought to make a good witness. Let us
address him. "Come, tell us, Judas, what think ye of Christ? You
knew the Master well; you sold Him for thirty pieces of silver; you
betrayed Him with a kiss; you saw Him perform those miracles; you were
with Him in Jerusalem. In Bethany, when He summoned up Lazarus, you
were there. What think you of Him?" I can see him as he comes into the
presence of the chief priests; I can hear the money ring as he dashes
it upon the table, "I have betrayed innocent blood!" Here is the man
who betrayed Him, and this is what he thinks of Him! Yes, those who
were guilty of His death put their testimony on record that He was an
innocent man.

Let us take the centurion who was present at the execution. He had
charge of the Roman soldiers. He told them to make Him carry His
cross; he had given orders for the nails to be driven into His feet
and hands, for the spear to be thrust in His side. Let the centurion
come forward. "Centurion, you had charge of the executioners; you saw
that the order for His death was carried out; you saw Him die; you
heard Him speak upon the cross. Tell us, what think you of Christ?"
Hark! Look at him; he is smiting his breast as he cries, "Truly, this
was the son of God!"

I might go to the thief upon the cross, and ask what he thought of
Him. At first he railed upon Him and reviled Him. But then he thought
better of it: "This man hath done nothing amiss," he says.

I might go further. I might summon the very devils themselves and ask
them for their testimony. Have they anything to say of Him? Why, the
very devils called Him the Son of God! In Mark we have the unclean
spirit crying, "Jesus, thou Son of the most high God." Men say, "Oh,
I believe Christ to be the Son of God, and because I believe it
intellectually I shall be saved." I tell you the devils did that. And
they did more than that, they trembled.

Let us bring in His friends. We want you to hear their evidence. Let
us call that prince of preachers. Let us hear the forerunner; none
ever preached like this man--this man who drew all Jerusalem and all
Judea into the wilderness to hear him; this man who burst upon the
nations like the flash of a meteor. Let John the Baptist come with his
leathern girdle and his hairy coat, and let him tell us what he thinks
of Christ. His words, tho they were echoed in the wilderness of
Palestine, are written in the Book forever, "Behold the Lamb of God
which taketh away the sin of the world!" This is what John the Baptist
thought of him. "I bear record that He is the Son of God." No wonder
he drew all Jerusalem and Judea to him, because he preached Christ.
And whenever men preach Christ, they are sure to have plenty of

Let us bring in Peter, who was with Him on the mount of
transfiguration, who was with Him the night He was betrayed. Come,
Peter, tell us what you think of Christ. Stand in this witness-box and
testify of Him. You denied Him once. You said, with a curse, you did
not know Him. Was it true, Peter? Don't you know Him? "Know Him!" I
can imagine Peter saying: "It was a lie I told then. I did know
Him." Afterward I can hear him charging home their guilt upon these
Jerusalem sinners. He calls Him "both Lord and Christ." Such was the
testimony on the day of Pentecost. "God had made that same Jesus
both Lord and Christ." And tradition tells us that when they came to
execute Peter he felt he was not worthy to die in the way his Master
died, and he requested to be crucified with the head downward. So much
did Peter think of Him!

Now let us hear from the beloved disciple John. He knew more about
Christ than any other man. He had laid his head on his Savior's bosom.
He had heard the throbbing of that loving heart. Look into his Gospel
if you wish to know what he thought of Him.

Matthew writes of Him as the royal king come from His throne. Mark
writes of Him as the servant, and Luke of the Son of Man. John takes
up his pen, and, with one stroke, forever settles the question of
Unitarianism. He goes right back before the time of Adam. "In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
God." Look into Revelation. He calls him "the bright and the morning
star." So John thought well of Him--because he knew Him well.

We might bring in Thomas, the doubting disciple. You doubted Him,
Thomas? You would not believe He had risen, and you put your fingers
into the wound in His side. What do you think of Him?

"My Lord and my God!" says Thomas.

Then go over to Decapolis and you will find Christ has been there
casting out devils. Let us call the men of that country and ask what
they think of Him. "He hath done all things well," they say.

But we have other witnesses to bring in. Take the persecuting Saul,
once one of the worst of his enemies. Breathing out threatenings he
meets Him. "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" says Christ. He
might have added, "What have I done to you? Have I injured you in any
way? Did I not come to bless you? Why do you treat Me thus, Saul?" And
then Saul asks, "Who art thou, Lord?"

"I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest." You see, He was not
ashamed of His name, altho He had been in heaven; "I am Jesus of
Nazareth." What a change did that one interview make to Saul! A few
years afterward we hear him say, "I have suffered the loss of all
things, and do count them but dross that I may win Christ." Such a
testimony to the Savior!

But I shall go still further. I shall go away from earth into the
other world. I shall summon the angels and ask what they think of
Christ. They saw Him in the bosom of the Father before the world was.
Before the dawn of creation, before the morning stars sang together,
He was there. They saw Him leave the throne and come down to the
manger. What a scene for them to witness! Ask these heavenly beings
what they thought of Him then. For once they are permitted to speak;
for once the silence of heaven is broken. Listen to their song on the
plains of Bethlehem, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the
city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." He leaves the
throne to save the world. Is it a wonder the angels thought well of

Then there are the redeemed saints--they that see Him face to
face. Here on earth He was never known, no one seemed really to be
acquainted with Him; but He was known in that world where He had been
from the foundation. What do they think of Him there? If we could hear
from heaven we should hear a shout which would glorify and magnify His
name. We are told that when John was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day,
and being caught up, he heard a shout around him, ten thousand times
ten thousand, and thousands and thousands of voices, "Worthy is the
Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and
strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing!" Yes, He is worthy of
all this. Heaven cannot speak too well of Him. Oh, that earth would
take up the echo and join with heaven in singing, "Worthy to receive
power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and

But there is still another witness, a higher still. Some think that
the God of the Old Testament is the Christ of the New. But when Jesus
came out to Jordan, baptized by John, there came a voice from heaven.
God the Father spoke. It was His testimony to Christ: "This is my
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Ah, yes! God the Father
thinks well of the Son. And if God is well pleased with Him, so ought
we to be. If the sinner and God are well pleased with Christ, then the
sinner and God can meet. The moment you say, as the Father said, "I am
well pleased with Him," and accept Him, you are wedded to God. Will
you not believe the testimony? Will you not believe this witness, this
last of all, the Lord of hosts, the King of kings himself? Once more
he repeats it, so that all may know it. With Peter and James and John,
on the mount of transfiguration, He cries again, "This is my beloved
Son; hear him." And that voice went echoing and reechoing through
Palestine, through all the earth from sea to sea; yes, that voice is
echoing still, Hear Him! Hear Him!

My friend will you hear Him to-day? Hark! what is He saying to you?
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give
you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and
lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke
is easy, and my burden is light." Will you not think well of such a
Savior? Will you not believe in Him? Will you not trust in Him with
all your heart and mind? Will you not live for Him? If He laid down
His life for us, is it not the least we can do to lay down ours for
Him? If He bore the cross and died on it for me, ought I not to be
willing to take it up for Him? Oh, have we not reason to think well of
Him? Do you think it is right and noble to lift up your voice against
such a Savior? Do you think it is just to cry, "Crucify Him! crucify
Him!" Oh, may God help all of us to glorify the Father, by thinking
well of His only-begotten Son.




Charles H. Fowler, Methodist Episcopal divine, was born 1837 in
Burford, Ontario, Canada, was educated at Syracuse University and the
Garrett Biblical Institute, Evanston, Ill. He was ordained in 1861
and after filling pastorates in many places was made president of
the Northwestern University in 1872, but vacated this post to become
editor of the _Christian Advocate_; four years later he was appointed
missionary secretary and in 1884 was elected bishop. He was well-known
as an able preacher and administrator. He died in 1908.




_Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of
his_.--Rom. viii., 9.

I read that with the conviction that it is one of the most searching
passages that can be found in the Book of God. It takes hold of the
question of our salvation as a very substantial and thorough question.
It removes indefinitely, almost infinitely, from this problem of our
destiny, all shadow of uncertainty or of doubt. It brings us squarely
to the facts in our character. On the force of this Scripture we are
borne up on to a platform where we stand with our hearts uncovered and
naked before the eye of God.

This means that the saint must be great in the arduous greatness of
things achieved; that there is no chance for sainthood by any fixt,
imputed plan, but that our real selves shall test and make our real

I never read this Scripture in the presence of a Christian
congregation without feeling that I have in some way chopped down
through every heart with a great broadaxe. There is no whitewashing
this passage: "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none
of his." Not, "He will do tolerably well, but not quite as well as he
might do"; not that he will get on after a fashion, and have quite a
respectable entrance into the city of the great King, tho he may not
push quite as far toward the front as he might have done if he had had
the Spirit of the Lord Jesus. Not that at all; but, if any man have
not the Spirit of Christ, there is not the remotest shadow of a chance
for him: "he is none of his."

And so I put this at you, asking you, on account of the great fact
that you are going hence, to so apply this critical test to your
hearts and lives that you may see and feel your need, and that you may
take hold on the great supply, and have that actual transformation of
character that will justify you in believing that you have the Spirit
of Christ.

The success of the missionary cause turns upon exactly the spirit of
this text. I have no faith in the final triumph, of the missionary
cause based upon any other ground than that of the honest, deep-down
conviction of the people of God that the Lord God of Heaven wants this
work done. I am here as a believer in a supernatural gospel--not with
philosophy that may be framed out of the human life of Jesus, but with
a religion that is based upon the supernatural life of the divine
Christ. And I appeal to you on this subject of missions as to a
company of men who believe in the divine authority of the Book of God;
who believe in a blood atonement; who believe in salvation by faith
only; who believe in the pardon of sin and in the regeneration of your
natures; who believe in the power of the Holy Ghost; who believe, in
short, in the sum and substance of an old-fashioned orthodoxy. And I
put this cause upon you as such believers, knowing that, if such
is your position, you have at least the large part of the argument
wrought into the very fiber of your being, by which you cannot stop
short of the conviction that what you have need of for your salvation
other people will need for their salvation. You know that you need a
divine Redeemer; you know that you need the divine pardoning of your
sins; you know that you need the supernatural and divine cleansing of
your hearts; you know that you need the divine, unbreakable promises;
you know that you need this Word, and the way to salvation set forth
in this Book of God, by which you know that there is none other name
given under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved. And so I
come to you as to those who have had some experience in supernatural
matters, with the cause based upon this Book of God, asking that your
experience may be made possible for the multitudes beyond, who have
not yet had this opportunity.

Let us take some of the simpler and plainer things in this question,
that we may come up to it without any hesitation. Now, I do not need
to go into the question as to what God will do with the heathen. I
don't know what He will do with them. I know as much about it as you
do, or anybody else, because I know what the Book says about it. God
knows better about this than I do, and will find a way that I cannot
dream of. But, because the words are not uttered by divine authority,
I dare not stand here and utter any word of hope for any man beyond
the gospel committed to me to preach. This I know: That if the heathen
have the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, whether they ever saw the Lord
Jesus or not, they are of His. And this I know: That if this
congregation have not the spirit of the Lord Jesus, tho it may have
seen Him, they are not of His. And this I know: That He will save a
Jew and a Gentile on the same terms; that He will do no better for the
Gentile than He will for the Jew, and no better for the Jew than for
the Gentile. And if there was no other name given under heaven among
men by which an ancient Jew or an ancient Gentile might be saved, that
is true to-day. The Lord Jesus thought that these people needed the
gospel, and that they needed it so much that He actually came and
submitted Himself unto death that they might have the gospel. And
God seems so thoroughly to believe that they need the gospel that He
actually gives His only-begotten Son to die, that they may have the
gospel. He treats the case just exactly as if He thought, at least,
that they do really need this divine Redeemer. He has done, in every
step and process of this great work of world-saving, just exactly as
He would have done had He absolutely thought and believed that they
needed a divine Redeemer.

And then I understand another thing out of the Book: That the very
last and supreme utterance of the Master on earth grew out of His
conviction that we should do exactly this thing. And see how He comes
up to it, little by little! He does not rush suddenly upon it--He does
not, upon any truth. It is not in the divine plan to flash upon us
in anything. Truths grow; moral ideas grow. They come into the race
little, and hardly able to stand at all; we can barely find them
beneath us in the lower strata of our being. But they struggle into
power and strength until they fill the field of vision. Nearly every
great truth of Old and New Testament Scripture is to be found in
the Book of Genesis. In Genesis you will find the principle of the
atonement; you will find the division of animals into clean and
unclean, foreshadowing sacrifice; you will find the principle of the
acceptance of offerings that came out of the flock, and the rejection
of the offerings out of the field; you will find the pardon of sin and
the giving of covenants--all the essential parts of the New Testament
growing with their roots away back in Genesis. There is the first
declaration of the coming of this wondrous Redeemer. It was so dim and
uncertain that it was hard to tell what it meant; somehow, somewhere,
some time, "the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." It
was so dim that our first great mother, when she had gotten her first
son, cried out in her joy, "I have gotten a man from the Lord!" She
thought she had the Redeemer, but she had only a murderer. It was
many a century before the Redeemer would come. The truth was unfolded
little by little; a little brighter it shone on the altars of the
patriarchs; it was unfolded a little more in the visions of the
prophets; was exemplified in the ceremonials of the temple; and in the
fullness of time it came with the Master and His disciples and the
outpouring of the Holy Ghost.

And then see, when the Master comes, how He takes hold of us, knowing
that we are but little, and that we have to be lifted up and enlarged
before we can take in these great truths! He says: "I have more to
tell you: you cannot bear it to-day; I will tell you to-morrow." And
so He gives lesson and instruction, and parable and illustration, all
through. His life, teaching these disciples, chosen on account of
their particular adaptation for the reception of His truth; walking
with them day by day, trying to lift their thought toward the
spiritual and the eternal; teaching them that it is not His plan to
put them on His right hand and His left, and trying to lift them up
toward a spiritual and eternal kingdom. So He keeps on all the time,
lifting them out of their littleness, saying to them later: "You shall
be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and in the
uttermost parts of the earth." They did not know what to make of that.
He was lifting them out of their narrowness. And so He pushes on still
further with them, lifting them up, until, in the supreme hour of His
earthly history--after His agony, after the cross, after He had broken
asunder the bars of the sepulcher, after He had risen, and been
declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead--He
hovers over the Church, coming down to speak to them by the sea-side
and mountain-side; appearing to them suddenly, vanishing as quickly;
offering His hands to their touch, showing His body to their vision,
yet all the time lifting them up, until He brought them to the thought
and gave to the Church the idea of His ubiquity, saying: "Lo! I am
with you alway, even unto the end of the world"; and they appreciated
the feeling that He was within hand-reach, and that this was a
spiritual kingdom, and that they could take hold upon the great
spiritual forces. And thus He lifted them up and prepared them for
His great truth, until at last, in the supreme moment of His earthly
history, we see Him yonder on the summit of the mount--the earth
beneath Him, the angels gathered above Him--with His hands spread out
over His followers, with the summit of Olivet receding beneath His
feet. He cries out to them: "All power is given unto me in heaven and
in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo!
I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." And the
unspeakable glory took Him out of their sight.

That is the supreme utterance of the Master after many a century of
preparation, opening our hearts, bringing us to this great truth, and
that this one thing He wants done is His final charge to believers: Go
everywhere; teach, preach, baptize, agonize, give, sacrifice--out to
the very ends of the earth. And lo! I am with you alway, and you shall
lack no good thing. Surely, there can be no doubt that the Master, at
least, thinks that these people have a great need for this gospel.

There are some who have an idea that salvation is to be the sum and
substance of what we are. Well, I think that way myself: that, if you
find heaven on the other side of death, you will take it over with
you; if there is any condition of peace, you will take that condition
of peace with you. Death will be no more than going over a seam in
this carpet. The moment after death will differ from the moment before
death in your essential character no more than any two consecutive
moments in your life. If you are a mean, narrow, selfish, ugly, cross
man the moment before death, you will be a mean, narrow, selfish,
ugly, cross man the moment after death. If you find a good character
over yonder, you will take it over with you. If you have a good
character to take over with you, you will have it in the Lord Jesus
Christ here. If you live on that basis, I think this is pretty safe
that those millions out yonder in the darkness, plunged in ignorance
and superstition, knowing nothing about morality and nothing about
heaven--those millions want a chance, that the same law that governs
our lives will govern theirs. I surround my boy with the best possible
opportunities; I watch every book that comes in his hands; I watch
every playmate that I possibly can that comes in his path; I see to
it, as my highest business on this footstool--higher than my call to
this pulpit--that that boy has a fair chance for heaven. If I push him
out into the alley to herd with criminals, and be dandled in the lap
of vice, and be familiar with all corruption, I have no moral right to
expect to meet him in heaven. But if I multiply advantages about him,
give him the best possible books and surroundings, make him at home
with the Lord Jesus, so that he talks about his salvation and life
eternal as he does about matters in the home, I have a good right to
expect that the King will give me His eternal peace.

Now, I think that the law that holds over my boy holds over all boys
in China and Japan and Hindustan; that, just in proportion as we
multiply the light and the favorable circumstances about them, then in
that proportion we increase their fair chance for heaven. I think it
is sound in philosophy. I believe that, just in proportion as we act
by it, we will be safe.

Now, they are plunged in darkness. They know nothing about our way
of salvation, nothing about the pardon of sin, nothing about purity,
nothing about righteousness, nothing about heaven. We want to multiply
their chances to rid themselves of sin, and to take hold upon life,
and make their way in the path of peace. And the Master seems to so
think it that He says: "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations." And
if they will believe it, as I read, they will be saved. "But how can
they believe if they have not heard? And how can they hear without a
preacher? And how can they preach except they be sent?" So the Master
says, Go, send quick, everywhere. That I take to be the teaching of
the Book concerning their needs.

But there is another side of it, and that is the side that swings in
under the passage I have read this morning, and that is our side of
it, our relation to the cause: "If any man have not the Spirit of the
Lord Jesus, he is none of his."

Now, what is the spirit of Christ? I will tell you: He came not to be
ministered unto. Please remember that. Not to see how much He could
gather into His own bosom out of the lives of others. Not to be
ministered unto; not to be petted, and dandled, and lifted along and
fed all the way, with no burden and no care and no work--not that. He
came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister; to pour out of His
life into the lives of others; to see what He could do to make others
blest; and "to give his life a ransom for many." Not merely to give
the little pittance that He could spare and not know it any more than
one would miss the farthing with which he would buy his ride on the
street car, but to give His life a ransom for many. And if any man
have not that spirit, he is none of His.

Now I preach you a doctrine of salvation by faith only, and I put the
emphasis on the word only. That is exactly what I need as a sinner: I
want some sort of release from my past transgressions that will give
me a new start. I have gotten behind; I am borrowing money to
pay interest with, and I see no way out. I must have a spiritual
bankruptcy law. Somebody must come in to my relief, or I am
everlastingly undone. And so I preach this blest doctrine of the
Book of God: "By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of
yourselves: it (the salvation) is the gift of God." I take salvation
as a divine gift, and take it with a glad heart. It gives me a new
chance; it unhinges my present struggle for heaven from the past
transgressions of my life, and gives me an open door to heaven that I
could not reach on any other platform. And so I preach this doctrine
to sinners, knowing that it is exactly what they need.

There is another part of it that covers the question of our pardon;
that takes all my past sins and wipes them out; that gives me a new
chance for righteousness. Now mind: That pardon, that new life, that
new chance works out all the time necessarily from my finger-ends; it
shows itself in my life, absolutely, as certainly as it is there; and
if I cannot find the fruit of it in the fruits of the Spirit, in the
interest in God's cause, in patience and teachableness, in gentleness
and love, I have the absolute demonstration that I have not the thing
itself. Saved by faith, kept alive, kept saved by work, in work, by
grace in work. Let me touch that theology just a little. If you
are pardoned, you are pardoned by the Lord in a second, through
faith--when you believe, that is. Pardon is an operation in God's mind
concerning myself; you cannot pardon yourself. God pardons. If we are
pardoned He can do it in a second, when we believe.

The next step in the case is, that there is not anything in the Book
of God that gives us any ground to believe that in that same faith, or
believing, or pardon, we will be instantly lifted up into the stature
of a man in Christ Jesus. What I mean to say is this: That there is
not one word in this Book that will justify any man in believing that
he may be brought by any process to the stature of a man in Christ
Jesus in a minute. But some good brother will say: "Oh! now I am just
a little afraid that you are striking against that blest old Methodist
doctrine of sanctification." No, I am not. I haven't said anything
about sanctification. But I will. If you are sanctified, or cleansed,
that is God's work, through faith, and He can do it in a second. Now,
understand me definitely, you cannot cleanse yourself. God cleanses
you through faith in the cleansing blood of His Son. It is His work.
You cannot grow into it. You can grow in it, but if you don't grow in
it you may know you are not in it--you are in something else. But you
can grow in it, because it is God's work, and He will do it when you
believe. But what of that? What are you after you are cleansed? I will
tell you. You are a clean baby: that is all. You are not a man in
Christ Jesus; you are only a babe--cleansed, indeed, and greatly
improved by the process, too, but you are not matured. Do not miss,
now, the broad distinction between purity and maturity. You are
purified, through faith, in a second; you are matured through many a
struggle and many a year. God cannot make a twenty-one-year-old saint
in one second less than twenty-one years. There is no platform marked
over with faith upon which a man may step and be lifted up into the
perfect stature of a man in Christ Jesus in a minute. It is not the
teaching of the Book. But all the year, loving, and giving, and
fighting, and praying, and walking in righteousness, you will mature
characters, and by and by you will grow into the manhood in Christ
Jesus that is set before us in the gospel. Now, if you come in here
and tell me that there is a baby over yonder in the next square, that
is three weeks old, and can talk Greek and Latin, and Spanish and
Italian, and solve all the problems in mathematics, I will tell you
that that is a monstrosity, and you don't want that kind of babies in
your house: they will turn you out in a few days. So, if you come
in here and tell me that you have, down in your prayer-meeting, a
spiritual baby three or four weeks old, that can teach all the old
saints, and can tell them all about God, and heaven, and faith, and
theology, and all about everything in the Church, I will tell you
that that is a monstrosity. And you don't want that kind in your
prayer-meeting; they will turn you out before a great while. St. Paul
says: "Ye are born babes, and ye are fed on milk"; and the trouble
with too many of us is that we keep on that diet when we ought to be
eating meat. The Master says: "First the blade, then the ear; after
that, the full corn in the ear." So I am free to say that God's plan
of making saints is to give them the divine germ--if you please, the
supernatural principle; or, as our scientists would say, with proper
environments, "That have the divine initial impulse," but as our
fathers would have said, "They got through at the altar"; born of God,
and then cleansed of God in the true process of education and faith,
they matured at the harvest. God gives us the start and the cleansing,
and we have to do all the rest of it. He will give us opportunity for
growth by loading and goading us, by setting on our track every sort
of force to test us--to "polish us," as the old Hebrew word means.
When Abraham was tested he was "polished." He will put us on such
lines that, if we stand true to our convictions and walk according to
the light we have, He will bring us on to manhood.

See how wonderfully the Word of God fits down upon this? Take that
remarkable passage that, to me, is as beautiful as anything can be,
where He says: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor"--I know what
that means in the struggle under sin--"all ye that labor and are
heavy-laden, and I will give"--I will give: it is mine. You cannot
earn it: you cannot buy it; you cannot find it; you cannot dig it out.
It is mine--"I will give you rest"--the blest pardon that only God can
give. Then, in the very next second and breath, He says: "Take my yoke
upon you"--that means work--"and learn of me"--that is more work--and,
"For I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find"--that is yours;
I do not give that to you; that is not mine to give; that is yours.
"Ye shall find rest to your souls." That is the rest that comes from
the crystallization of the character in righteousness; that comes from
the habit of believing, and the habit of obeying, and the habit of
praying; from the habit of righteousness, until the old saint is ready
for any struggle, and never expects to be turned aside. That, I take
it, is God's plan of building up saints, and for fitting them for the
rest that is in God, that abides.




Alexander Whyte, senior minister of St. George's Free Church,
Edinburgh, was born at Kirriemuir (Thrums), Scotland, in 1837. He was
educated at Aberdeen University (M.A., 1862), and at New College,
Edinburgh (1862-66), and after being assistant minister of Free
St. John's, Glasgow, from 1866 to 1870, became at first assistant
minister, and later (1873) minister, of Free St. George's, Edinburgh,
a position which be still retains, having had there an uninterrupted
success. He is the author of a number of biographies, his most recent
work being "An Appreciation of Newman."


BORN IN 1837


_And patience; experience; and experience, hope_.--Romans v., 4.

The deeper we search into the Holy Scriptures the more experimental
matter do we discover in that divine Book. Both in the Old Testament
and in the New Testament the spiritual experiences of godly men form a
large part of the sacred record. And it gives a very fresh and a very
impressive interest to many parts of the heavenly Book when we see how
much of its contents are made up of God's ways with His people as well
as of their ways with Him. In other words, when we see how much of
purely experimental matter is gathered up into the Word of God. In a
brilliant treatise published the other year, entitled, "The Gospel in
the Gospels," the author applies this experimental test even to our
Lord's teaching and preaching. Writing of the beatitudes in our Lord's
Sermon on the Mount that fresh and penetrating writer says: "When our
Savior speaks to us concerning what constitutes our true blessedness
He is simply describing His own experience. The beatitudes are not the
immediate revelation of His Godhead, they are much more the impressive
testimony of His manhood. He knew the truth of what He was saying
because He had verified it all in Himself for thirty experimental
years." Now if that is so demonstrably true of so many of our Lord's
contributions to Holy Scripture, in the nature of things, how much
more must it be true of the experimental contributions that David and
Paul have made to the same sacred record. And we ourselves are but
imitating them in their great experimental methods when we give our
very closest attention to personal and spiritual religion, both
in ourselves and in all our predecessors and in all our own
contemporaries in the life of grace in all lands and in all languages.

Now by far the deepest and by far the most personal experience of
every spiritually minded man is his experience of his own inward
sinfulness. The sinfulness of his sin; the malignity of his sin; the
ungodliness and the inhumanity of his sin; the dominion that his sin
still has over him; the simply indescribable evil of his sin in every
way: all that is a matter, not of any man's doctrine and authority;
all that is the personal experience and the scientific certainty, as
we say, of every spiritually minded man; every man, that is, who takes
any true observation of what goes on in his own heart. The simply
unspeakable sinfulness of our own hearts is not the doctrine of David,
and of Christ, and of Paul, and of Luther, and of Calvin, and of
Bunyan, and of Edwards, and of Shepard only. It is their universal
doctrine, indeed, it could not be otherwise; but it is also the
every-day experience and the every-day agony of every man among
ourselves whose eyes are open upon his own heart.

And then, if you are that spiritually enlightened man, from the day
when you begin to have that heart-sore experience of yourself you
will begin to search for and to discover those great passages of Holy
Scripture that contain the recorded experiences of men like yourself.
"I am but dust and ashes," said the first father of all penitent and
believing and praying men. "I am vile," sobs Job. "Behold, I am vile,
and I will lay my hand upon my mouth. I have heard of thee by the
hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor
myself and repent in dust and ashes." And David has scarcely heart or
a pen for anything else. "There is no soundness in my flesh because of
thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.
My loins are filled with a loathsome disease. For, behold, I was
shapen in iniquity." And Daniel, the most blameless of men and a man
greatly beloved in heaven and on earth: "I was left alone and
there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned to
corruption, and I retained no strength." And every truly spiritually
minded man has Paul's great experimental passage by heart; that great
experimental and autobiographic passage which has kept so many of
God's most experienced saints from absolute despair, as so many of
them have testified. Yes! There were experimental minds long before
Bacon and there was a great experimental literature long before the
Essays and the "Advancement" and the "_Instauratio Magna_."

And then among many other alterations of intellectual insight and
spiritual taste that will come to you with your open eyes, there will
be your new taste, not only for your Bible, but also for spiritual
and experimental preaching. The spiritual preachers of our day are
constantly being blamed for not tuning their pulpits to the new themes
of our so progressive day. Scientific themes are prest upon them
and critical themes and social themes and such like. But your new
experience of your own sinfulness and of God's salvation: your new
need and your new taste for spiritual and experimental truth will not
lead you to join in that stupid demand. As intelligent men you will
know where to find all the new themes of your new day and you will be
diligent students of them all, so far as your duty lies that way, and
so far as your ability and your opportunity go; but not on the Lord's
Day and not in His house of prayer and praise. The more inward, and
the more spiritual, and the more experimental, your own religion
becomes, the more will you value inward, and spiritual, and
experimental preaching. And the more will you resent the intrusion
into the evangelical pulpit of those secular matters that so much
absorb unspiritual men. There is another equally impertinent advice
that our preachers are continually having thrust upon them from the
same secular quarter. And that is that they ought entirely to drop
the old language of the Scriptures, and the creeds, and the classical
preachers, and ought to substitute for it the scientific and the
journalistic jargon of the passing day. But with your ever-deepening
knowledge of yourselves and with the disciplined and refined taste
that will accompany such knowledge you will rather demand of your
preachers more and more depth of spiritual preaching and more and more
purity of spiritual style. And then more and more your estimates of
preaching and your appreciations of preachers will have real insight
and real value and real weight with us. "The natural man receiveth
not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him:
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." But
he that is spiritual discerneth spiritual things and spiritual persons
and he has the true authority to speak and to write about them.

And then, for all doubting and skeptically disposed persons among
you, your own experience of your evil heart, if you will receive that
experience and will seriously attend to it, that will prove to you
the true apologetic for the theism of the Holy Scriptures and for the
soul-saving faith of Jesus Christ. What is it about which you are
in such debate and doubt? Is it about the most fundamental of
all facts--the existence, and the nature, and the grace, and the
government of Almighty God? Well, if you are really in earnest to know
the truth, take this way of it: this way that has brought light and
peace of mind to so many men. Turn away at once and forever from all
your unbecoming debates about your Maker and Preserver and turn to
what is beyond all debate, your own experience of yourselves. There is
nothing else of which you can be so sure and certain as of the sin and
the misery of your own evil hearts, your own evil hearts so full
of self-seeking, and envy, and malice, and pride, and hatred, and
revenge, and lust. And on the other hand, there is nothing of which
you can be so convinced as that love, and humility, and meekness,
and purity, and benevolence, and brotherly kindness, are your true
happiness, or would be, if you could only attain to all these
beatitudes. Well, Jesus Christ has attained to them all. And Jesus
Christ came into this world at first, and He still comes into it by
His Word and by His Spirit in order that you may attain to all His
goodness and all His truth and may thus escape forever from all your
own ignorance and evil. As William Law, the prince of apologists,
has it: "Atheism is not the denial of a first omnipotent cause. Real
atheism is not that at all. Real atheism is purely and solely nothing
else but the disowning, and the forsaking, and the renouncing of the
goodness, and the virtue, and the benevolence and the meekness, of
the divine nature: that divine nature which has made itself so
experimental and so self-evident in us all. And as this experimental
and self-evident knowledge is the only sure knowledge you can have of
God; even so, it is such a knowledge that cannot be doubted or
debated away. For it is as sure and as self-evident as is your own
experience." And so is it through all the succeeding doctrines of
grace and truth: The incarnation of the divine Son: His life, His
death, His resurrection, and His intercession: and then your own life
of faith, and prayer, and holy obedience: and then your death, "dear
in God's sight." Beginning with this continually experienced need of
God, all these things will follow, with an intellectual, and a moral,
and a spiritual demonstration, that will soon place them beyond all
debate or doubt to you. Only know thyself and admit the knowledge:
and all else will follow as sure as the morning sun follows the dark

And then in all these ways, you will attain to a religious experience
of your own, that will be wholly and exclusively your own. It will not
be David's experience, nor Paul's, nor Luther's, nor Bunyan's; much as
you will study their experiences, comparing them all with your own. As
you go deeper and ever deeper, into your own spiritual experience,
you will gradually gather a select and an invaluable library of such
experiences, and you will less and less read anything else with very
much interest or delight. But your own unwritten experience will, all
the time, be your own, and in your own spiritual experience you will
have no exact fellow. For your tribulations, which work in you your
experience,--as the text has it,--your tribulations are such that in
all your experimental reading in the Bible, in spiritual biography, in
spiritual autobiography, you have never met the like of them. Either
the writers have been afraid to speak out the whole truth about their
tribulations; or, what is far more likely, they had no tribulations
for a moment to match with yours. There has not been another so weak
and so evil heart as yours since weak and evil hearts began to be;
nor an evil life quite like yours; nor surrounding circumstances
so cross-bearing as yours; nor a sinner, beset with all manner of
temptations and trials, behind and before, like you. So much are you
alone that, if your fifty-first Psalm, or your seventh of the Romans,
or your "Confessions," or your "Private Devotions," or your "Grace
Abounding," could ever venture to be all honestly and wholly written
and published, your name would, far and away, eclipse them all. You do
not know what a singular and what an original and what an unheard-of
experience your experience is destined to be; if only you do not break
down under it; as you must not and will not do.

Begin, then, to make some new experiments upon a new life of faith,
and of the obedience of faith. And begin to-day. If in anything you
have been following a false and an unphilosophical and an unscriptural
way of life, leave that wrong and evil way at once. Be true Baconians,
at once, as all the true men of science will tell you to be. "If we
were religious men like you," they will all say to you, "we would do,
and at once, what you are now being told to do. We would not debate,
or doubt, but we would make experiment, and would follow out the
experience": so all the scientifically minded men will say to you.
Come away then, and make some new experiments from this morning. For
one thing, make a new experiment on secret prayer. And then come forth
from your place of secret prayer and make immediate experiment on more
love, and more patience, and more consideration for other men,
and, especially, for the men of your own household. Be more
generous-minded, and more open-handed, as God has been so
generous-minded, and so open-handed toward you: if that has indeed
been so. Make experiment upon the poor and the needy and help them
according to your ability and opportunity and watch the result of the
experiment upon yourself; and so on, as your awakened conscience, and
as the regenerate part of your own heart, will prompt you and will
encourage you to do.

Make such experiments as these and see if a new peace of conscience
and a new happiness of heart does not begin to come to you, according
to that great experimental psalm,--"Oh, that my people had hearkened
unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued
their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. He should
have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of
the rock should I have satisfied thee."




William L. Watkinson, Wesleyan minister, was born at Hull, 1838, was
educated privately and rose to eminence as a preacher and writer.
The Rev. William Durban calls him "The classic preacher of British
Methodism." "He ranks," says Dr. Durban, "with Dr. Dallinger and the
Rev. Thomas Gunn Selby as the three most learned and refined of living
preachers in the English Methodist pulpit. Dr. Watkinson is famous for
the glittering illustrations which adorn his style. These are for the
most part gathered from biography, the classics, and science, and
of late years Dr. Watkinson has become more and more addicted to
spiritualizing the aspects of modern scientific discovery. Dr.
Watkinson never reads his utterances from a manuscript. Nor does
he preach memoriter, as far as the language of his addresses is
concerned. They are always carefully thought out and are never
characterized by florid diction. His simple, strong Anglo-Saxon
endears him to the people, for he is never guilty of an obscure
sentence. He is in the habit of saying, 'I have always been aware that
I have no power of voice for declamation, and therefore I can only
hope for success in the pulpit by originality of thought.'" He was
president of the Wesleyan Conference, 1897-1898, and editor of the
_Wesleyan Church_, 1893-1890. He has published several volumes of


BORN IN 1838


[Footnote: Printed by permission of B.P. Button & Company from "The
Transfigured Sackcloth and Other Sermons," by W.L. Watkinson.]

_For none might enter into the king's gate clothed with
sackcloth_.--Esther iv., 2.

The sign of affliction was thus excluded from the Persian court in
order that royalty might not be discomposed. The monarch was to see
bright raiment, flowers, pageantry, smiling faces only; to hear
only the voices of singing men and singing women; no smatch of the
abounding wormwood of life was to touch his lip, no glimpse of its we
to disturb his serenity. The master of an empire spreading from India
to Ethiopia was not to be annoyed by a passing shadow of mortality.
Now, this disposition to place an interdict on disagreeable and
painful things still survives. Men of all ranks and conditions
ingeniously hide from themselves the dark facts of life--putting these
aside, ignoring, disguising, forgetting, denying them. Revelation,
however, lends no sanction to this habit of passing by the tragedy
of life with averted face; and in this discourse we wish to show the
entire reasonableness of revelation in its frank recognition of the
dark aspects of existence. Christianity is sometimes scouted as "the
religion of sorrow," and many amongst us are ready to avow that the
Persian forbidding the sackcloth is more to their taste than the
Egyptian or the Christian dragging the corpse through the banquet; but
we confidently contend that the recognition by Christ of the morbid
phases of human life is altogether wise and gracious.

I. We consider, first, the recognition by revelation of sin. Sackcloth
is the outward and visible sign of sin, guilt, and misery. How men
shut their eyes to this most terrible reality--coolly ignoring,
skilfully veiling, emphatically denying it! "The heart from the moment
of its first beat instinctively longs for the beautiful...." We strive
for the right and the true: it is circumstance that thrusts wrong
upon us. What is popularly called sin these philosophers call error,
accident, inexperience, indecision, misdirection, imperfection,
disharmony; but they will not allow the presence in the human heart of
a malign force which asserts itself against God, and against the
order of His universe. That principle which is darkness in the mind,
perverseness in the will, idolatry in the affections, "every passion's
wild excess, anger, lust, and pride,"--the existence of any such
principle they absolutely and scornfully deny. There is no evil in the
universe, all is good, and where everything is good human nature is
still the best. A single substance comprises all that is, and no place
is left for that profoundly decisive and destructive element called
sin; all that we have to do is to descant on the marvelous loveliness
of the world, the serene harmony of the universe, man's love of the
true, the beautiful, and the good. Intellectual masters like Emerson
and Renan. ignore conscience; they refuse to acknowledge the
selfishness, the baseness, the cruelty of society; they are deaf to
the groans of creation; they smile, and expect us to smile, whilst
they clap a purple patch of rhetoric on the running sores of humanity.
No sackcloth must pass their gate, and no craftsman of Ind ever wove
gossamer half so delicate and delightful as the verbal veil with which
these literary artists attempt to conceal the leprosy of our nature.

And men generally are willing to dupe themselves touching the fact
and power of sin; they are strongly disinclined to look directly and
honestly at that inner confusion of which we are all more or less
conscious. We willingly acknowledge our transgression of the higher
law, that we do the things we ought not to do, and leave undone the
things that we ought to do; we have an unpleasant feeling that all is
not right, nay, indeed, that something is seriously wrong; but we do
not unshrinkingly acquaint ourselves with the malady of the spirit as
we should at once acquaint ourselves with any malady hinting itself in
the flesh. The sackcloth must not mar our shallow happiness. Great is
the power of self-deception, but in no other direction do we permit
ourselves to be more profoundly cheated than we do in this. In the
vision of beautiful things we forget the troubles of conscience,
as the first sinners hid themselves amid the leaves and flowers of
Paradise; in fashion and splendor we forget our guilty sorrow, as
medieval mourners sometimes concealed their cerements with raiment of
purple and gold; in the noises of the world we become oblivious of the
interior discords, as soldiers forget their wounds amid the stir and
trumpets of the battle. With a busy life, a gay life, we manage to
forget the skeleton of the heart, rarely permitting ourselves to look
upon the ominous specter which some way or other has entrenched itself
within us, and which is the bane of our existence.

Nevertheless, sin thrusts itself upon our attention. The greatest
thinkers in all ages have been constrained to recognize its presence
and power. The creeds of all nations declare the fact that men
everywhere feel the bitter working and intolerable burden of
conscience. And, however we may strive to forget our personal
sinfulness, the cry is ever being wrung from us in the deepest moments
of life, "O wretched man that I am! who can deliver me from the body
of this death?" The sense of sin has persisted through changing
generations; it is the burden of experience and philosophy, and
the genius of the race has exhausted itself in devising schemes of

Aeschylus, Dante, Shakespeare, knew of truth, justice, purity, and
love, of the supreme and eternal law of righteousness; they knew that
man alone of all this lower creation is subject to this transcendental
rule; they knew also that the violation of this highest law lay at the
root of the world's mysterious and complex suffering--in other words,
that sin was the secret of the tragedy of life. The beasts are happy
because they are beasts; they do not lie awake in the dark weeping
over their sins, because they have no sins to weep over; they do not
discuss their duty to God, they do it; whilst, on the contrary, men
are unhappy because being subject to the highest law of all, and
competent to fulfil that law in its utmost requirements, they have
consciously fallen short of it, wilfully contradicted it. We cannot
accept the coat of many colors, whatever the flatterers may say; the
sackcloth is ours, and it eats our spirit like fire.

Most fully does Christ recognize the great catastrophe. Some modern
theologians may dismiss sin as "a mysterious incident" in the
development of humanity, as a grain of sand that has unluckily blown
into the eye, as a thorn that has accidentally pierced our heel,
but the greatest of ethical teachers regarded sin as a profound
contradiction of that eternal will which is altogether wise and good.
More than any other teacher Jesus Christ emphasized the actuality and
awfulness of sin; more than any other has He intensified the world's
consciousness of sin. He never attempted to relieve us of the
sackcloth by asserting our comparative innocence; He never attempted
to work into that melancholy robe one thread of color, to relieve it
with one solitary spangle of rhetoric. Sin was the burden of the life
of Christ because it is the burden of our life. Christ has done more
than insisted on the reality, the odiousness, the ominousness, of
sin--He has laid bare its principle and essence. The New Testament
discovers to us the mystery of iniquity as ungodliness; its inmost
essence being unbelief in God's truth, the denial of His justice,
the rejection of His love, the violation of His law. The South Sea
islanders have a singular tradition to account for the existence of
the dew. The legend relates that in the beginning the earth touched
the sky, that being the golden age when all was beautiful and glad;
then some dreadful tragedy occurred, the primal unity was broken up,
the earth and the sky were torn asunder as we see them now, and the
dewdrops of the morning are the tears that nature sheds over the sad
divorce. This wild fable is a metaphor of the truth; the beginning of
all evil lies in the alienation of the spirit of man from God, in the
divorce of earth from heaven; here is the final reason why the face
of humanity is wet with tears. How vividly Christ taught that all our
fear and we arise out of this false relation of our spirit to the
living God! Above and beyond all, Christ recognizes the sackcloth that
He may take it away. In the anguish of his soul Job cried, "I
have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou Preserver of men?"
Christianity is God's full and final answer to that appeal. In Christ
we have the revelation of God's ceaseless, immeasurable, eternal love.
In Him we have the satisfaction of God's sovereign justice. Our own
awakened conscience feels the difficulty of absolution; it demands
that sin shall not be lightly passed over; it wearies itself to find
an availing sacrifice and atonement. "Behold the Lamb of God, that
taketh away the sin of the world!" In Him, too, we have that grace
which brings us into accord with the mind and government of God.
Christ reveals to us the divine ideal life; He awakens in us a passion
for that life; He leads us into the power and privilege, the liberty
and gladness, of that life. He fills our imagination with the vision
of His own divine loveliness; He refreshes our will from founts of
unfathomable power; He fills us with courage and hope; He crowns us
with victory. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,
not imputing their trespasses unto them." Sin is ungodliness; Christ
makes us to see light in God's light, fills us with His love, attunes
our spirit to the infinite music of His perfection. Instead of
shutting out the signs of wo, Christ followed an infinitely deeper
philosophy; He arrayed Himself in the sackcloth, becoming sin for us
who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
We have redemption in His blood, even the forgiveness of sins; he
established us in a true relation to the holy God; He restores in
us the image of God; He fills us with the peace of God that passeth

Not in the spirit of a barren cynicism does Christ lay bare the
ghastly wound of our nature, but as a noble physician who can purge
the mortal virus which destroys us. He has done this for thousands; He
is doing it now; in these very moments He can give sweet release to
all who are burdened and beaten by the dire confusion of nature.
Sin is a reality; absolution, sanctification, peace, are not less
realities. Christ's gate is not shut to the penitent, neither does
He send him empty away. We go to Him in sackcloth, but we leave His
presence in purity's robe of snow, in honor's stainless purple, in the
heavenly blue of the holiness of truth. The Spirit of the Lord God is
upon Him, that He may give to the mourners in Zion beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of

II. We consider the recognition by revelation of sorrow. Sackcloth is
the raiment of sorrow, and as such it was interdicted by the Persian
monarch. We still follow the insane course, minimizing, despising,
masking, denying suffering. Society sometimes attempts this. The
affluent entrench themselves within belts of beauty and fashion,
excluding the sights and sounds of a suffering world. "Ye that put far
away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; that
lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and
eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the
stall, that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves
instruments of music, like David; that drink wine in bowls, and anoint
themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the
affliction of Joseph." So do opulent and selfish men still seek "to
hide their heart in a nest of roses." Literature sometimes follows
the same cue. Goethe made it one of the rules of his life to avoid
everything that could suggest painful ideas, and the taint of his
egotism is on a considerable class of current literature which
serenely ignores the morbid aspects of life. Art has yielded to the
same temptation. The artist has felt that he was concerned only with
strength, beauty, and grace; that he had nothing to do with weakness,
agony, wretchedness, and death. Why should sorrow find perpetual
remembrance in art? Pain will tear our bodies, but we will have no
wrinkles on our statues; suffering will rend our heart, but we will
have no shadows on our pictures. None clothed in sackcloth might enter
the gate that is called Beautiful.

Most of us are inclined to the sorry trick of gilding over painful
things. We resolutely put from us sober signs, serious thoughts, and
sometimes are really angry with those who exhibit life as it is,
and who urge us to seek reconciliation with it. When the physician
prescribed blisters to Marie Bashkirtseff to check her consumptive
tendency, the vain, cynical girl wrote, "I will put on as many
blisters as thee like. I shall be able to hide the mark by bodices
brimmed with flowers and lace and tulle, and a thousand other
delightful things that are worn, without being required; it may even
look pretty. Ah! I am comforted." Yes, by a thousand artifices do we
dissemble our ugly scars, sometimes even pressing our deep misfortunes
into the service of our pride. Many of the fashions and the diversions
of the world much sought after have little positive attractiveness,
but the real secret of their power is found in the fact that they
hide disagreeable things, and render men for a while oblivious of the
mystery and weight of an unintelligible world.

Nevertheless suffering is a stern fact that will not long permit us to
sleep. Some have taught the unreality of pain, but the logic of life
has spoiled their plausible philosophizing. A man may carry many
hallucinations with him to the grave, but a belief in the unreality of
pain is hardly likely to be one of them. The laughing philosopher is
quite invincible on his midsummer's day, but ere long fatality makes
him sad. There is no screen to shut off permanently the spectacle of
suffering. When Marie Antoinette passed to her bridal in Paris, the
halt, the lame, and the blind were sedulously kept out of her way,
lest their appearance should mar the joyousness of her reception; but,
ere long, the poor queen had a very close view of misery's children,
and she drank to the dregs the cup of life's bitterness. Reason as we
may, suppress the disagreeable truths of life as we may, suffering
will find us out, and pierce us to the heart. Indeed, despite our
dissimulations, we know that life is not a matter of lutes, doves, and
sunflowers, and at last we have little patience with those who thus
seek to represent it. We will not have the philosophy which ignores
suffering; witness the popularity of Schopenhauer. We resent the art
which ignores sorrow. True art has no pleasure in sin and suffering,
in torture, horror, and death; but on its palette must lie the sober
colorings of human life, and so to-day the most popular picture of the
world is the "Angelus" of Millet. We will not have the literature that
ignores suffering. "Humanity will look upon nothing else but its old
sufferings. It loves to see and touch its wounds, even at the risk of
reopening them. We are not satisfied with poetry unless we find tears
in it." We will not have the theology which ignores sin and suffering.
The preacher who confines his discourses to pleasant themes has a
meager following; the people swiftly and logically conclude that if
life is as flowery as the discourse, the preacher is superfluous.
Foolish we may often be, yet we cannot accept this Gethsemane for a
garden of the gods; the most wilful lotus-eater must perforce see the
streaming tears, the stain of blood, the shadow of death. Nature in
the full swing of her pageantry soon forgets the wild shriek of the
bird in the red talons of the hawk, and all other sad and tragic
things, but humanity is compelled to note the blood and tears which
flow everywhere, and to lay these things to heart.

Christ giveth us the noblest example of suffering. So far from
shutting His gate on the sackcloth, once more He adopted it,
and showed how it might become a robe of glory. He Himself was
preeminently a Man of sorrows; He exhausted all forms of suffering;
touching life at every point, at every point He bled; and in Him we
learn how to sustain our burden and to triumph throughout all the
tragedy. In His absolute rectitude, in His confidence in His Father,
in His hours of prayer, in His self-sacrificing regard for His
fellow-sufferers, in His charity, and patience, we see how the
heaviest cross may be borne in the spirit of victory. We learn from
Him how divine grace can mysteriously make the sufferer equal to the
bitterest martyrdom; not putting to our lips some anodyne cup to
paralyze life, but giving us conquest through the strength and
bravery of reason in its noblest mood, through faith in its sublimest
exercise, through a love that many waters cannot quench nor the
floods drown. Poison is said to be extracted from the rattlesnake for
medicinal purposes; but infinitely more wonderful is the fact that the
suffering which comes out of sin counterworks sin, and brings to pass
the transfiguration of the sufferer.

Christ teaches us how, under the redemptive government of God,
suffering has become a subtle and magnificent process for the full
and final perfecting of human character. Science tells us how the
bird-music, which is one of nature's foremost charms, has risen out of
the bird's cry of distress in the morning of time; how originally the
music of field and forest was nothing more than an exclamation caused
by the bird's bodily pain and fear, and how through the ages the
primal note of anguish has been evolved and differentiated until it
has risen into the ecstasy of the lark, melted into the silver note of
the dove, swelled into the rapture of the nightingale, unfolded into
the vast and varied music of the sky and the summer. So Christ shows
us that out of the personal sorrow which now rends the believer's
heart he shall arise in moral and infinite perfection; that out of the
cry of anguish wrung from us by the present distress shall spring the
supreme music of the future.

The Persian monarch forbidding sackcloth had forgotten that
consolation is a royal prerogative; but the King of kings has not
forgotten this, and very sweet and availing is His sovereign sympathy.
Scherer recommends "amusement as a comfortable deceit by which we
avoid a permanent _tête-à-tête_ with realities that are too heavy for
us." Is there not a more excellent way than this? Let us carry our
sorrows to Christ, and we shall find that in Him they have lost their
sting. It is a clumsy mistake to call Christianity a religion of
sorrow--it is a religion _for_ sorrow. Christ finds us stricken and
afflicted, and His words go down to the depths of our sorrowful heart,
healing, strengthening, rejoicing with joy unspeakable. He finds us
in sackcloth; He clothes us with singing-robes, and crowns us with
everlasting joy.

III. We consider the recognition by revelation of death. We have,
again, adroit ways of shutting the gate upon that sackcloth which is
the sign of death. A recent writer allows that Shakespeare, Raleigh,
Bacon, and all the Elizabethans shuddered at the horror and mystery
of death; the sunniest spirits of the English Renaissance quailed to
think of it. He then goes on to observe that there was something in
this fear of the child's vast and unreasoned dread of darkness and
mystery, and such a way of viewing death has become obsolete through
the scientific and philosophic developments of the later centuries.
Walt Whitman also tells us "that nothing can happen more beautiful
than death," and he has exprest the humanist view of mortality in
a hymn which his admirers regard as the high-water mark of modern
poetry. But will this rhapsody bear thinking about? Is death
"delicate, lovely and soothing," "delicious," coming to us with
"serenades"? Does death "lave us in a flood of bliss"? Does "the body
gratefully nestle close to death"? Do we go forth to meet death "with
dances and chants of fullest welcome"? It is vain to attempt to hide
the direst fact of all under plausible metaphors and rhetorical
artifice. It is in defiance of all history that man so write. It is in
contradiction of the universal instinct. It is mockery to the dying.
It is an outrage upon the mourners. The Elizabethan masters were far
truer to the fact; so is the modern skeptic who shrinks at "the black
and horrible grave." Men never speak of delicious blindness, of
delicious dumbness, of delicious deafness, of delicious paralysis; and
death is all these disasters in one, all these disasters without hope.
No, no, the morgue is the last place that lends itself to decoration.
Death is the crowning evil, the absolute bankruptcy, the final defeat,
the endless exile. Let us not shut our eyes to this. The skeptic
often tells us that he will have no "make-believe." Let us have no
"make-believe" about death. Let us candidly apprehend death for all
that it is of mystery and bitterness, and reconcile ourselves to it,
if reconciliation be possible. If we are foolish enough to shut the
gate on the thought of death, by no stratagem can we shut the gate
upon death itself.

Without evasion or euphony Christ recognizes the somber mystery. The
fact, the power, the terror of death are displayed by Him without
reserve or softening. And He goes to the root of the dire and dismal
matter. He shows us that death as we know it is an unnatural thing,
that it is the fruit of disobedience, and by giving us purity and
peace He gives us eternal life. The words of Luther, so full of power,
were called "half-battles"; but the words of Christ in their depth and
majesty are complete battles, in which sin, suffering, and death
are finally routed. He attempts no logical proof of immortality; He
supplies no chemical formula for the resurrection; He demonstrates
immortality by raising us from the death of sin to the life of
righteousness, by filling our soul with infinite aspirations and
delights. Here is the proof supreme of immortality. "Verily, verily, I
say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do
also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto
my Father." The moral works are the greater works. Wonderful is the
stilling of the sea, the healing of the blind, the raising of the
dead, but the moral miracles of our Lord express a still diviner power
and carry with them a more absolute demonstration. If, therefore, we
have known the power of Christ delivering our soul from the blindness,
the paralysis, the death of sin, lifting it above the dust and causing
it to exult in the liberties and delights of the heavenlies, why
should we think it a thing incredible that God should raise the
dead? If He has wrought the greater, He will not fail with the less.
Christianity opens our eyes to splendid visions, makes us heirs of
mighty hopes, and for all its prospects and promises it demands our
confidence on the ground of its present magnificent and undeniable
moral achievements. Its predictions are credible in the light of its
spiritual efficacy. "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because
of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the
Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that
raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies
by his Spirit that dwelleth in you," Being one with Christ in the
power of purity, we are one with Him in the power of an endless
life. Death has its temporary conquest, but grace reigning through
righteousness shall finally purge the last taint of mortality. Not
through the scientific and philosophic developments of later centuries
has the somber way of viewing death become obsolete; Christ bringing
life and immortality to life has brought about the great change in the
point of view from which we regard death, the point of view which
is full of consolation and hope. In Christ alone the crowning evil
becomes a coronation of glory; the absolute bankruptcy, the condition
of an incorruptible inheritance; the final defeat, an everlasting
victory; the endless exile, home, home at last. Once more, by boldly
adopting the sackcloth Christ has changed it into a robe of light.
"That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death,
that is, the devil"

We cannot escape the evils of life; they are inevitable and
inexorable. We may hide from our eyes the signs and sights of
mourning; but in royal splendor our hearts will still bleed; wearing
wreaths of roses, our heads will still ache. A preacher who complains
that Christianity is "the religion of sorrow" goes on to predict
that the woes of the world are fast coming to an end, and then the
sorrowful religion of Jesus Christ will give place to some purer
faith. "Through the chinks we can see the light. The condition of man
becomes more comfortable, more easy; the hope of man is more visible;
the endeavor of man is more often crowned with success; the attempt
to solve the darkest life-problems is not desperate as it was. The
reformer meets with fewer rebuffs; the philanthropist does not despair
as he did. The light is dawning. The great teachers of knowledge
multiply, bear their burdens more and more steadily; the traditions
of truth and knowledge are becoming established in the intellectual
world. It is so; and those of us who have caught a vision of the
better times coming through reason, through knowledge, through manly
and womanly endeavor, have caught a sight of a Christendom passing
away, of a religion of sorrow declining, of a gospel preached for the
poor no longer useful to a world that is mastering its own problems of
poverty and lifting itself out of disabling misery into wealth without
angelic assistance. This is our consolation; and while we admit,
clearly and frankly, the real power of the popular faith, we also see
the pillars on which a new faith rests, which shall be a faith, not
of sorrow, but of joy." Now, the deepest sorrow of the race is not
physical, neither is it bound up with material and social conditions.
As the Scotch say, "The king sighs as often as the peasant"; and this
proverb anticipates the fact that those who participate in the richest
civilization that will ever flower will sigh as men sigh now. When the
problem of poverty is mastered, when disease is extirpated, when a
period is put to all disorganization of industry and misgovernment,
social and political, it will be found by the emancipated and enriched
community what is now found by opulent individuals and privileged
classes, that the secret of our discontent is internal and mysterious,
that it springs from the ungodliness, the egotism, the sensuality,
which theology calls sin. But whatever the future may reveal, all the
sorrows of life are upon us here and now; we cannot deny them, we
have constantly to struggle with them, we are often overwhelmed by
irreparable misfortune. Esther "sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and
to take his sackcloth from him; but he received it not." In vain do
men offer us robes of beauty, chiding us for wearing the color of the
night; we cannot be deceived by flattering words; we must give place
to all the sad thoughts of our mortality until haply we find a
salvation that goes to the root of our suffering, that dries up the
fount of our tears.

In a very different spirit and for very different ends do men
contemplate the dark side of human life. The cynic expatiates on
painful things--the blot on life's beauty, the shadow on its glory,
the pitiful ending of its brave shows--only to gibe and mock. The
realist lingers in the dissecting chamber for very delight in
revolting themes. The pessimist enlarges on the power of melancholy
that lie may justify despair. The poet touches the pathetic string
that he may flutter the heart. Fiction dramatizes the tragic sentiment
for the sake of literary effect. Cultured wickedness drinks wine
out of a skull, that by sharp contrast it may heighten its sensuous
delight; whilst estheticism dallies with the sad experiences of life
to the end of intellectual pleasure, as in ornamental gardening, dead
leaves are left on ferns and palms in the service of the picturesque.
But Christianity gives such large recognition to the pathetic element
of life, not that it may mock with the cynic, or trifle with the
artist; not because with the realist it has a ghoulish delight in
horror, or because with the refined sensualist it cunningly aims to
give poignancy to pleasure by the memory of pain; but because it
divines the secret of our mighty misfortune, and brings with it the
sovereign antidote. The critics declare that Rubens had an absolute
delight in representing pain, and they refer us to that artist's
picture of the "Brazen Serpent" in the National Gallery. The canvas is
full of the pain, the fever, the contortions of the wounded and dying;
the writhing, gasping crowd is everything, and the supreme instrument
of cure, the brazen serpent itself, is small and obscure, no
conspicuous feature whatever of the picture. The manner of the great
artist is so far out of keeping with the spirit of the gospel.
Revelation brings out broadly and impressively the darkness of the
world, the malady of life, the terror of death, only that it may
evermore make conspicuous the uplifted Cross, which, once seen, is
death to ever vice, a consolation in every sorrow, a victory over
every fear.




George C. Lorimer was born at Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1838. He was
brought up by his stepfather who was associated with the theater,
and in this relation he received a dramatic education and had some
experience on the stage. In 1855 he came to the United States, where
he joined the Baptist Church and abandoned the theatrical profession.
Later he studied for the Baptist ministry, being ordained in 1859. He
died in 1904. His direct and dramatic, pulpit style brought him into
great popularity in Boston, Chicago, and New York. At Tremont Temple,
Boston, he frequently spoke to overflowing congregations. He is the
author of several well-known books, from one of which the sermon here
given is taken as indicating his familiarity with and liking for
dramatic literature. His pulpit manner always retained a flavor of
dramatic style that contributed to his popularity.




[Footnote 1: Copyright, 1882, by "The Homiletic Monthly," New York.]

_I beheld Satan, as lightning, fall from heaven_.--Luke x., 18.

Whether the "glorious darkness" denoted by the name Satan is an actual
personage or a maleficent influence, is of secondary moment as far
as the aim and moral of this discourse are concerned. If the ominous
title applies to an abstraction, and if the event so vividly
introduced is but a dramatical representation of some phase in the
mystery of iniquity, the spiritual inferences are just what they would
be were the words respectively descriptive of an angel of sin, and of
his utter and terrible overthrow. I shall not, therefore, tax your
patience with discussions on these points, but shall assume as true
that literal reading of the text which has commended itself to the
ripest among our evangelical scholars.

The Scriptures obscurely hint at a catastrophe in heaven among
immortal intelligences, by which many of them were smitten down from
their radiant emerald thrones. Their communications on the subject
are not specific and unambiguous, and neither can they escape the
suspicion of being designedly figurative; intended, probably, as much
to veil as to reveal. One of the clearest statements is made by Jude,
where he says: "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but
left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains,
under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day"; and Peter, in
like manner, speaks of God sparing not the angels that sinned, "but
cast them down to hell"; and yet these comparatively lucid passages
suggest a world of mist and shadow, which becomes filled with strange
images when we confront the picture, presented by John, of war in
heaven, with Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon, "that
old serpent called the devil." Back of them there doubtless lies a
history whose tragic significance is not easily measured. The sad,
imperishable annals of our race prove that sin is a contingency
of freedom. Wherever creatures are endowed with moral liberty,
transgression is impliedly possible. It is, consequently, inherently
probable that celestial beings, as well as man, may have revolted from
the law of their Maker; and a fall accomplished among the inhabitants
of heaven should no more surprize us than the fall of mortals on
earth. Perhaps, after all, there is as much truth as poetry in
Milton's conception of the rebellion, and of the fearful defeat that
overtook its leader:--

                   "Him the almighty Power
  Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky,
  With hideous ruin and combustion, down
  To bottomless perdition: there to dwell
  In adamantine chains and penal fire,
  Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms."

An apostle, admonishing a novice, bids him beware of pride, "lest he
fall into the condemnation of the devil." Here presumptuous arrogance
and haughtiness of spirit are specified as the root and source of the
great transgression. Shakespeare takes up this thought:--

  "Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition.
  By that sin fell the angels: how can man, then,
  The image of his Maker, hope to win by't?"

And Milton repeats it in the magnificent lines:--

                      "What time his pride
  Had cast him out of heaven, with all his host
  Of rebel angels; by whose aid, aspiring
  To set himself in glory above his peers,
  He trusted to have equalled the Most High,
  If He opposed; and, with ambitious aim,
  Against the throne and monarchy of God
  Raised impious war in heaven, and battle proud,
  With vain attempt."

Our Savior, also, sanctions this idea in the text. Joining His
disciples again, after their brief separation, He finds them elated
and exultant. They rejoiced, and, apparently, not with modesty, that
devils were subject unto them, and that they could exorcize them at
their pleasure. While they acknowledged that their power was due to
the influence of His name, they evidently thought more of
themselves than of Him. They were given to unseemly glorifying and
self-satisfaction, and were met by the Master's words--half warning,
half rebuke--"I beheld Satan, as lightning, fall from heaven." He thus
identifies their pride with that evil spirit which led to angelic
ruin, and seeks to banish it from their hearts: "Rejoice not that the
demons are subject unto you, but, rather, rejoice because your names
are written in heaven." Rejoice not on account of privilege and
power, but on account of grace; for the memory of grace must promote
humility, as it will recall the guilt of which it is the remedy.

We have, here, a lesson for all ages and for all classes of society--a
lesson continually enforced by Scripture, and illustrated by history.
It deals with the insanity of pride and the senselessness of
egotism. It reminds us, by repeated examples, of the temptations to
self-inflation, and of the perils which assail its indulgence. "Ye
shall be as gods," was the smiling, sarcastic allurement which
beguiled our first parents to their ruin. They thought that before
them rose an eminence which the foot of creaturehood had never
trodden; that from its height the adventurous climber would rival
Deity in the sweep of his knowledge and the depth of his joy. Elated
and dazzled by the prospect, they dared tread through sin to its
attainment, vainly dreaming that wrong-doing would lead to a purer
paradise and to a loftier throne. One step, and only one, in the
gratification of their desires, converted their enchanting mountain
into a yawning gulf, and in its horrid wastes of darkness and of
sorrow their high-blown pride was shamed and smothered. The haughty
king walked on the terrace heights of Babylon, and, beneath the calm
splendor of an Assyrian sky, voiced the complacent feeling which
dulled his sense of dependence upon God--as the perfumes of the East
lull into waking-slumber the faculties of the soul. Thus ran his
self-glorifying soliloquy: "Is not this great Babylon that I have
built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for
the honor of my majesty?" Alas for the weakness of the royal egotist!
In an hour his boasting was at an end, and, reduced by the chastening
judgment of the Almighty to the level of the brute creation, he was
compelled to learn that "those who walk in pride the King of heaven
is able to abase." Similar the lesson taught us by the overthrow
of Belshazzar when, congratulating himself on the stability of his
throne, and in his excess of arrogance, he insulted the sacred vessels
which his father had plundered from the temple at Jerusalem. I say
taught us, for the foolhardy braggart was past learning anything
himself. Like the yet more silly Herod, who drank in the adulation of
the mob as he sat shimmering in his silver robe and slimed his speech
from his serpent-tongue, he was too inflated and bloated with vanity
to be corrected by wholesome discipline. Both of these rulers were too
self-satisfied to be reproved, and God's exterminating indignation
overtook them. Like empty bubbles, nothing could be done with them,
and hence the breath of the Almighty burst and dispersed their
glittering worthlessness. Pope John XXI., according to Dean Milman, is
another conspicuous monument of this folly. "Contemplating," writes
the historian, "with too much pride the work of his own hands"--the
splendid palace of Viterbo--"at that instant the avenging roof came
down, on his head." And Shakespeare has immortalized the pathetic doom
which awaits the proud man, who, confident in his own importance and
in the magnitude of his destiny, is swallowed up in schemes and plans
for his personal aggrandizement and power. Wolsey goes too far in his
self-seeking, is betrayed by his excess of statecraft, and, being
publicly disgraced, laments, when too late, his selfish folly:--

                             "I have ventured,
  Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
  These many summers on a sea of glory,
  But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
  At length broke under me; and now has left me,
  Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
  Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me."

It is not difficult to discern the fatal effects of this spirit in
the lives of the great and mighty; but we are frequently blind to its
pernicious influence on the lowly and weak. We do not realize, as we
ought, that the differences between men lie mainly in their position,
not in their experiences and dangers. The leaders of society are
merely actors, exhibiting on the public stage of history what is
common to mankind at large. However insignificant we may be, and
however obscure our station, our inner life is not far removed from
that of the exalted personages who draw to themselves the attention of
the world. The poorest man has his ambitions, his struggles and his
reverses; and the first may take as deep a hold upon his heart, and
the second call forth as much cunning or wisdom to confront, and the
last as much bitterness to endure, as are found in the vicissitudes
of a Richelieu or a Napoleon. The peasant's daughter, in her narrow
circle, feels as keenly the disappointment of her hopes, and mourns as
intensely the betrayal of her confidence, or the rude ending of her
day-dreams, as either queen or princess, as either Katharine of
England or Josephine of France. We do wrong to separate, as widely as
we do in our thoughts, ranks and conditions of society. The palace and
the hovel are nearer to each other than we usually think; and what
passes beneath the fretted ceiling of the one, and the thatched roof
of the other, is divided by the shadowy line of mere externalities.
And so it happens that the fall of an angel may be pertinent to the
state of a fisherman-disciple, and the fall of a prime minister or
ruler have its message of warning for the tradesman and mechanic.

Indeed, it will generally be found that the failures of life, and the
worse than failures, are mainly due to the same cause which emptied
heavenly thrones of their angelic occupants. What is it, let me ask,
that comes into clearer prominence as the Washington tragedy[1] is
being investigated and scrutinized? Is it not that a diseased egotism,
or perhaps it would be more correct to say, a stalwart egotism, robbed
this country of its ruler, committed "most sacrilegious murder," and
"broke ope"

  "The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence
  The life o' the building."

[Footnote 1: The assassination of President Garfield.]

Like bloody Macbeth, who greedily drank in the prognostications of the
weird sisters, tho he feared that the "supernatural soliciting" could
not be good, because they pandered to his monstrous self-infatuation,
Guiteau, having wrought himself up through many years of
self-complacency, claims to have believed that the divine Being had
chosen him to do a deed which has filled the earth with horror. Thus
the growth of self-conceit into mammoth proportions tends to obscure
the rights of others, and to darken with its gigantic shadow the
light of conscience. If we are to admit the prisoner's story, as the
expression of his real condition prior to the assassination, we look
on one so intoxicated with the sense of his own importance that he
would "spurn the sea, if it could roar at him," and hesitate not to
perform any deed of darkness that would render him more conspicuous.
Others, less heinous offenders than this garrulous murderer, have,
from similar weakness, wrought indescribable mischief to themselves.
The man, for instance, who frets against providence because his
standing is not higher and his influence greater, has evidently
a better opinion of his deservings than is wholesome for him. He
imagines he is being wronged by the Creator--that his merits are not
recognized as they should be--never, for a moment, remembering that,
as a sinner, he has no claims on the extraordinary bounty of his
heavenly Father. From murmuring he easily glides into open rebellion,
and from whispered reproaches to loud denunciations. There are people
in every community whose pride leads them into shameful transactions.
They would not condescend to mingle with their social inferiors, but
they will subsist on the earnings of their friends, and consider it no
disgrace to borrow money which they have no intention of returning.
Their vanity, at times, commits them to extravagances which they have
no means of supporting. They ought to have carriages and horses,
mansions and pictures, with all the luxuries of affluence--at least
so they think--and, being destitute of the resources requisite to
maintain such state, they become adepts in those arts which qualify
for the penitentiary. Others have such confidence in the strength of
their virtue, such commanding arrogance of integrity, that, like a
captain who underestimates the force of an enemy and overrates his
own, they neglect to place a picket-guard on the outskirts of their
moral camp, and in such an hour as they think not they are surprized
and lost. Even possessors of religion are not always clear of this
folly, or safe from its perils. They "think more highly of themselves
than they ought to think"; they come to regard themselves as specially
favored of heaven; they talk of the Almighty in a free and easy
manner, and of Jesus Christ as tho He were not the Judge at all. When
they pray, it is with a familiarity bordering on irreverence, and
when they deal with sacred themes it is with a lightness that breeds
contempt. When they recount the marvels which they have wrought in
the name of Christ, it is hardly-possible for them to hide their
self-complacency; for, while they profess to give Him the glory, the
manner of their speech shows that they are taking it to themselves.
They are like the disciples, who were as proud of their prowess in
casting out devils as children are with their beautiful toys, and
they are as much in need of the Savior's warning: "I beheld Satan, as
lightning, fall from heaven." And because they have failed to give
heed unto it, they have oftentimes followed the Evil One in his
downward course, and in a moment have made shipwreck of their faith.

  "As sails, full spread, and bellying with the wind,
  Drop, suddenly collapsed, if the mast split;
  So to the ground down dropped the cruel fiend";

and earthward have the unsaintly saints of God as swiftly sped, when
they have fostered the pride which changed angels into demons.

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" What
more pitiable spectacle than the ruin of an angel! We have seen the
forsaken halls of time-worn and dilapidated castles, have stood in
the unroofed palaces of ancient princes, and have gazed on the
moss-covered and ivy-decked towers of perishing churches, and the
sight of them has tilled our hearts with melancholy, as we thought
of what had been, and of the changes that had swept over the fair,
valiant and pious throngs whose laughter, bravery and prayers once
made these scenes so gay and vocal. All is hushed now, and the silence
is broken only by the hoot and screech of the owl, or by the rustle of
the nightbat's leathern wing. But how much sadder is the form of the
mighty spirit, who once sat regnant among the sons of light, emptied
of his innocence, filled with foul, creeping, venomous thoughts and
feelings, uncrowned, dethroned only with malignity and throned in
evil! The Bible calls him the prince and the god of this world; and
everywhere we are surrounded with evidences of his despotic sway.
Unlike earthly rulers, whose exhausted natures exact repose, he
is ever sleepless, and his plotting never ends. Enter his somber
presence-chamber, and commotion, bustle, activity will confront and
amaze you. He is continually sending his emissaries forth in every
direction. The perpetual wranglings, ceaseless distractions,
irreconcilable contradictions, disquieting doubts, discouraging
outlooks, inharmonious and jangling opinions, unaccountable delusions,
clashing and crashing dissonances, cruel hatreds, bitter enmities and
stormful convulsions, which so largely enter and deface the course of
human history, proceed mainly from his influence. We know that "the
heart of a lost angel is in the earth," and as we know its throbbings
carry misery and despair to millions of our fellow-beings, we can
surmise the intensity of we wherewith it afflicts himself. Mrs.
Browning's Adam thus addresses Lucifer:--

                          "The prodigy
  Of thy vast brows and melancholy eyes,
  Which comprehend the heights of some great fall.
  I think that thou hast one day worn a crown
  Under the eyes of God."

But now the vast brow must wear a heavier gloom, and the eyes betray a
deeper sorrow, as in his ruin he has sought to bury the hopes and joys
of a weaker race. How different his dealings with the race from those
which mark the ministry of Christ! Immortal hate on the one side of
humanity; immortal love on the other; both struggling for supremacy.
One sweeping across the soul with pinions of dark doubts and fears;
the other, with the strong wing of hope and fair anticipations. One
seeking to plunge the earth-spirit into the abysmal depths of eternal
darkness; the other seeking to bear it to the apex of light, where
reigns eternal day. And of the two, Christ alone is called "the
blest." In the agony and anguish of His sufferings He yet can exclaim,
"My joy I leave with thee"; and in the lowest vale of His shame can
calmly discourse on peace. The reason? Do you ask the question? It
is found in His goodness. He is good, and seeks the good of all; and
goodness crowns His lacerated brow with joy. This Satan sacrificed
in his fall; this he antagonizes with, in his dreary career, and so
remains in the eyes of all ages the monument of melancholy gloom.
Thus, also, is it with man, whose haughtiness thrusts him into evil.
He is morose and wretched, crusht beneath a burden of we, which weighs
the eyelids down with weariness and the heart with care, and
which constrains him to curse the hour of his birth. Next to the
grief-crowned angel, there is no more pitiable object in all God's
fair creation than a human soul tumbled by its own besotted pride into
sin and shame. "How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold
changed!" aye, changed to dross, which the foot spurns, and which the
whirlwind scatters to the midnight region of eternity.

In view of these reflections, we can understand the stress laid by the
inspired writers on the grace of humility. We are exhorted to be like
Jesus, who was meek and lowly in heart; and we are commanded to esteem
others better than ourselves. These admonitions are not designed to
cultivate a servile or an abject spirit, but to promote a wholesome
sense of our own limitations, weaknesses and dependence. They would
foster such a state of mind as will receive instruction, as will lean
on the Almighty, and recognize the worthiness and rights of all. Just
as the flower has to pass its season entombed in the darkness of its
calyx before it spreads forth its radiant colors and breathes its
perfume, so the soul must veil itself in the consciousness of its own
ignorance and sinfulness before it will be able to expand in true
greatness, or shed around it the aroma of pure goodness. Crossing the
prairies recently between this city and St. Louis, I noticed that the
trees were nearly all bowed in the direction of the northeast. As our
strongest winds blow from that quarter, it was natural to inquire why
they were not bent to the southwest. The explanation given was, that
the south winds prevail in the time of sap, when the trees are supple
with life and heavy with foliage, and consequently, that they yield
before them. But when the winter comes they are hard and firm, rigid
and stiff, and even the fury of the tempest affects them not. Thus
is it with human souls. When humility fills the heart, when its
gentleness renders susceptible its thoughts and feelings, the softest
breath of God's Spirit can bend it earthward to help the needy, and
downward to supplicate and welcome heaven's grace. But when it is
frozen through and through with pride, it coldly resists the overtures
of mercy, and in its deadness is apathetic even, to the storm of
wrath. Nothing remains but for the wild hurricane to uproot it and
level it to the ground. Such is the moral of my brief discourse. God
grant we may have the wisdom of humility to receive it!




William John Knox Little, English preacher, was born 1839 and educated
at Cambridge University. He has filled many parochial cures, and in
1881 was appointed canon of Worcester, and sub-dean in 1902. He also
holds the vicarage of Hoar Cross (1885). He is of high repute as a
preacher and is in much request all over England. He belongs to the
High Church school and has printed, besides his sermons, many works of
educational character, such as the "Treasury of Meditation," "Manual
of Devotion for Lent," and "Confirmation and Holy Communion."


BORN IN 1839


[Footnote 1: Reprinted by permission of Hodder & Stoughton, London.]

_My soul is athirst for God, for the living God; when shall I come and
appear before the presence of God?_--Psalm xlii., 2.

The verse, dear friends, which I have read to you for a text is one
of those verses which justify in the highest degree the action of the
Christian Church in selecting the Hebrew Psalter as, in fact, her
prayer-book. There are many passages, as you will feel with me, in the
Hebrew psalter that express in a very high degree the wants of the
human soul; but perhaps there is no passage more telling, more
touching, more searching, more expressive than that solemn and that
exalted sentiment which is spoken in the text, "My soul is athirst
for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before the
presence of God?" The passage is a justification, then, of the action
of the Christian Church. People sometimes ask why in the daily
service, why on Sundays, you rehearse the Psalms, which have about
them so much that is incomprehensible, so much that requires
explanation; why there are those tremendous denunciations of enemies,
why there are those prayers that seem at first sight to touch
wants that we modern people scarcely know; but if you want a real
justification and a handy answer you may fall back upon the general
texture of the psalter as exprest by such solemn words as those of the
text. If you would find any document, any volume that will speak your
thoughts best about and towards eternity, you cannot select a better
than the Hebrew psalter, for the general tone and temper of its
teaching is the cry of the soul for God.

And then there is another thought upon the threshold of such a subject
that demands our attention. This verse of the text, being a sort of
example or representative verse of the psalter, expresses to us--does
it not?--the attitude and the mission of the Christian Church. The
attitude. For what is the position, dear friends, of the Christian
Church? What are the struggles of Christian souls except, in the midst
of a world that is quite complicated with difficulties, in the midst
of a world that is overwhelmed with sorrow, in the midst of a time of
severe temptation, to constantly rise and gaze high above the thought
of evil, and gaze towards the sun of brightness, and cry for God? And
what is the mission of the Christian Church? Is it not to help men and
women in their struggle and their sorrow to forget at least at times
their pettinesses and degradation to rise to better standards and
loftier ideals, and cry for God? And if that be the mission of the
Christian Church, then I hold--and that is my point this morning--that
that is the justification of such noble efforts as have been made in
your church to enable so great, so sinful a city as London to have at
least moments of relaxation from its world-wide weariness, moments of
pause in the pursuit of its sin, and to call it back from that
which is overpowering tho transient--to ask it to pass them in the
ministrations of religion. What is the object of such a church as
this? Why, buried among your buildings, in the midst of this great,
powerful, sinful city,--why has it a mission for eternity? Why is
it good that you should do your best? Why is it praiseworthy and
beautiful that your rector and churchwardens should have exerted
themselves to the utmost to make this church what it ought to be?
Why? Because there is not a man or woman in London, not one in this
bustling crowd, not one in this confusion of commerce, not one in this
sink of sin, but might say "Yes"--ought to say, and must ultimately
feel, and should now be taught to realize that the soul has one
satisfaction, one only--"My soul is athirst for God, for the living
God." Well, if that be so, can we be wrong, dear friends, can we waste
our time, if we ask ourselves this morning something quite practical
about this thirst of the soul?

And, first of all, I submit that in such a verse as this, and in such
a work as this, we are face to face with one of those great governed
contrasts that are found throughout Scripture and throughout human
life. I may say, _par parenthèse_, that that is one of the great
proofs of sacred Scripture. When your shallow thinker, when your wild
and profound philosopher, kicks the sacred Book with the toe of his
boot, and denounces it because he does not like the measure of Noah's
Ark or the exact activity of Jonah's whale, the moment you begin
to think beneath those mere sharpnesses of speech and those mere
quicknesses of the thought, you say this: "There may be this or that
about the surface of Scripture which I do not and cannot explain, and
cannot entirely understand; but at least there is no book--no, not
excepting Milton; no, not even excepting Dante; no, for us English
people, making no reserve for Shakespeare--there is no book that,
after all, expresses that deep, inner, serious fact of my being, of
my soul, of myself; the fact that lives when our facts are dying; the
fact that persists in asserting itself when the noise of the world is
still; the fact that does not care about daylight only, but comes up
in the dark; the fact that whispers low when I am in the crowd, but
speaks loud in the darkest night, when the clock is ticking on the
stairs, and conscience has stalked out and stood before me, asserting
facts that I cannot contradict--there is no look that can speak that
fact of facts, that thirst, that longing, that desolation, that
desire, that hope, that activity, that possibility of supreme
contention and final victory, there is nothing like the Bible that
does that." And so wise men, while they admit difficulties, thoughtful
men, while they do not controvert the fact that that which is divine
needs larger explanation, fall back upon such great governed truths as
that text to support the Bible. The Bible says, asserts, determines,
and insists upon the truth which the Church is insisting upon, which
you and I, in our better moments, emphasize and say "Amen" to--the
soul is athirst for God. The Bible brings home the great contrast that
is present to us all.

Let us dwell, that we may realize this thirst of the soul, upon the
contrast. There are, at least, four forms of attraction which are
presented, as I suppose, to your soul, certainly to mine. First of
all, there is the attraction of natural beauty. If you stand on a fair
August afternoon on the terrace, for instance, at Berne, or on the
heights of Chaumont; if you gaze at the distant Alps, crowned with
snow which was generated in winter, but which takes the brightness and
glory of diamonds in the summer sun; if, coming from the noise and
heat of England, you first gaze at that line of strange pointed
mountains crowned with that whiteness, struck with the sunlight, you
are moved by natural beauty. If you stand in America on the upper
reaches of the St. Lawrence, and watch the river as it hurries to its
destiny at Niagara; if you see the tossing water writhing almost like
living creatures anticipating a dreadful destiny and passing over the
fall; or if, rising out of what is tragic in nature, you come to what
is homely--if, for instance, you see the chestnut woods of spring with
an inspiration of quiet joy, or if you see the elms at Worcester or
Hereford in our common England in the autumn time with an inspiration
of sorrow; wherever you turn with eye or head, with a feeling in your
heart, a thought in your mind, nature demands her recognition; and you
London men, in the toil of your struggle, in the noise of your work,
in the dust of your confusion of life, when you get your holiday in
spring or autumn,--unless, indeed, you have passed into the mere
condition of brutes,--while you still keep the hearts of men, you feel
there is something in the apostles of culture, in the teachers of
esthetics, in persons who say that beauty is everything to satisfy the
soul. Nature, you say--and you say it justly--says, "Beauty." You
find a delight as you gaze upon nature. Yes, dear friends, you are
stimulated, you are delighted, you are consoled; there is one thing
which you are not--you are not satisfied.

Or, quite possibly, you turn to that which seems to English natures
more practical and less poetical--you turn to the attraction of
activity. You say the poets, or the preachers, or the dreamers may
gaze upon nature; but Englishmen have something else to do--we have to
work. You look at the result of activity, and it is splendid. Imagine,
picture for a moment, political achievement; picture to yourselves the
power not only of a mind, but of a personality, of a character
which can attract vast millions who have never gazed upon the human
expression in the human face--can attract them to great love or to
great hatred, can mold the destinies of an empire, can change the
current of the time--think of such men as Richelieu or Cavour, or more
modern instances, and you understand what is the greatness and the
power of the attraction of political activity. Or, to come nearer
home, go into your London city, and watch the working of your London
mart. What have you before you there? The activity of the hearts and
minds of Englishmen, sending out the force of the life that is in them
from the heart that is beating in those tremendous centers to the
distances that are only stopt by the most distant frontiers of the
world. Your sayings and thoughts are quoted throughout the markets of
Europe--yes, throughout the markets of other continents; your actions
and decisions make the difference between the decisions and the
actions of men that you have never seen, that you shall never see. The
Medici were a power in Florence, first as bankers, then as governors.
There are men in London who have power throughout the world, not only
in Florence, not as profest governors, but as practical governors
through the activity of commercial instinct. Certainly, it seems to me
quite possible that there may be minds carried away by such a great
activity; but that great activity I submit to your deeper, quieter
English Sunday thought--that activity will stimulate, will delight,
will attract, will intoxicate; one thing it will not do--I am bold to
say it will never satisfy.

And if I may take another instance for a moment, there is this pure
intellect, bidding good-by to the political arena, to the commercial
strife, saying farewell to the dreams of beauty, and falling back
upon the cells of the brain, traversing the corridors of thought, and
entering first here and there into that labyrinth of instinct, or
association, or accumulative learning. Certainly, there is a power of
a delight that the world can never realize outside the region of the
brain. If that needs proof you have only, dear friends, to meditate
upon such lives as Newton, or Shakespeare, or Kepler, or if you turn
to the region of meditative thought, to such lives as our own George
Eliot--yes, there is that in the mere exercise of intellect which
is intoxicating, which is consoling even to the highest degree. But
intellect, after all, finds its frontier. I may say of it what I
have said of the esthetic sentiment, what I have said of the active
sentiment in man: it attracts, it delights--what is more, I think
it even consoles; but the one thing I find about it that to me is
perfectly appalling is that it does not satisfy.

There are many of you perhaps to-day who will demand that I should
take my fourth instance, and will ask that that at least may do its
duty. Will it? There is the region of the affections--that region
wherein we stray in early spring days as pickers of the spring-flowers
of our opening life, where suns are always glorious and sunsets only
speak of brighter dawn, where poetry is in all ordinary conversation
and hope springs to higher heights from hour to hour, where Mays
are always Mays and Junes are always Junes, where flowers are ever
bursting, and there seems no end to our nosegays, no limit to our
imaginations, no fetter to our fancies, no restraint to our desires.
There is the world, the vast, powerful world, of the passions,
purified by exhaustive cultivation into what we call the affections
of a higher life. By them we deal with our fellow-creatures; by them,
when we are young, we form great friendships; by them, as we grow
older, we form around us certain associations that we intend to
support us as life goes off. We have all known it. There is the
friend, there is the sweetheart, there is the wife, there is the
child, there are the dear expressions of the strong heart that after
all beats in Englishmen. But as life goes on, first in one object and
then by anticipation and terror perhaps in others, we watch those who
have been dear to us pass in dim procession to the grave, and we find,
after all, that in the world of affections that old strange law that
pervades one branch of the contrast prevails; it can stimulate, it can
support, it can console, it can delight, it can lead to delirium
at moments, but it does not satisfy. And, my brothers and sisters,
because you and I are born not for a moment, but for infinite moments;
not for the struggle of time, but for the great platform and career of
eternity--because that is so, never, never, never, if we are true to
ourselves, shall we pause in the midst of our mortal pilgrimage until
we find, and grasp, and embrace, and love that which satisfies. When
you awaken up a young heart to that truth, then that heart, as I hold
it, is on the path of conversion. When amidst the struggle of sin you
have determined the soul to strive after that truth, then that soul is
in progress of solid conversion and final perfectibility. But, at any
rate, all human nature joins that cry of the Christian, and the Bible
speaks of it as it always does--its ultimate truth expressing what we
need. No; there are many things given, there are many attractions to
draw; they will stimulate, they will help, they will console, they
will give pleasure; there is one thing that satisfies the immortal,
there is one life that meets your need: "My soul is athirst for God,
for the living God; when shall I come to appear before the presence of

Why, dear friends, why is it that these things do not satisfy? There
lies a city in the Volscian Hills, fair and beautiful, climbing in its
peaks and pinnacles up little ledges of the rocks, and down into the
depths of the valleys. And if you wander some two days from Rome, and
gaze upon those mountains, historic in their memories and splendid in
their beauty, you are struck by the tenderness and the attraction of
that city. It is a city of flowers. The flowers stream up its streets
in grave procession; they climb up the pillars of churches, embracing
them and holding on with arms of deep affection; they laugh in the
sunshine, they weep in the shadow, they are shrouded in the clouds of
night, but they blaze again in the blaze of the morning. There is
the dim funereal ivy, there is the brightness and glow of the purple
convolvulus, there is the wild-rose clustering round the windows. They
are lying asleep on the doorsteps, they gather themselves into
knots as if to gossip and to talk in the language of flowers by the
doorways--utterly beautiful! You look at the city with wonder and
astonishment--with desire. How wonderful, you say, that church tower
covered with its flowers; that altar covered with flowers not gathered
and placed in vases, but with Nature's own hand arranging an offering
to the living God. These streets that sound no footfall of an angry
multitude, but that listen to the footfall of a quiet nature--yes,
it is beautiful in the early morning. But stay there until the later
afternoon, when the fog begins to gather; stay there until night-time,
when the miasma begins to rise; stay there until morning, and you
are in danger of destruction from poison. It is a land of flowery
expression; but it is not a land of real life.

My friends, the activity of man, the poetic faculty of man, all the
gifts and all the capacities of man--they are beautiful, they are
touching, they are attractive; but if they are all, if they express
all that you have to offer, and all that is in you to feel, then they
are hollow, or they-are poisonous, and like that city of flowers. Why?
Because there is in you and me a soul that lies behind our thought,
altho there is more than feeling there--a soul that supports our will,
and is more than our volition. It thinks, but is not thought; it
feels, but is not feeling; it wills, but is not volition. There
is something deeper in man than his esthetic desire or his active
practise, something deeper beneath us all than anything that finds
expression, certainly than anything that finds satisfaction. There is
the self; there is myself, yourself; there is that strange, mysterious
life of loneliness which stands, and thinks, and judges, and
appraises. When, by divine grace, we escape from the voice of the
crowd, and from the cry of custom, from the delirium of desire, that
poor lonely self within us pleads to us in a cry like the call of
the starveling crying to the rich man that passes by, "Oh, will you
gratify desire? Oh, will you gratify pleasure? Oh, will you stimulate
activity, and will you leave me alone? I, yourself, your very self,
the foundation of your life, the permanent expression of your
immortality--I must be satisfied, and being infinite and immortal, I
know but one satisfaction: 'My soul is athirst for God, for the living
God; when shall I come, and appear before the presence of God?'"

If that be true, or if it be approximately true, dear friends, let us
ask ourselves this morning these questions. Let us be quite practical.
What do you mean, you may say for a moment, by the thirst for God? I
remember long ago in Paris, in conversation with one whom I deem
one of the greatest modern statesmen, tho not one of the most
successful--I remember, when a mere boy, talking to that thoughtful
man just at the moment when he was standing amidst the ruins of his
activity, and gazing with the placid spirit with which a good man
gazes when he feels that he has done his duty, tho the world can see
that he has failed--I remember talking to him on such questions as
these, and what he said, among other things, was this: "In dealing
with mankind and in dealing with yourself you must rise by degrees,
you must advance from point to point; there is a point of achievement,
but you cannot reach the point of achievement unless you have gone
up the ladder of progress." I follow his advice. What do we mean by
thirsting for God? My friends, on the lower round of that ladder, I
mean thirsting for and desiring moral truth. I mean that the soul
within you is thirsting and imploring for the satisfaction of its
moral instincts. Turn for an instant to the ten commandments; they are
trite, they are ordinary, they are placed before you in the east end
of your church, after the old custom of your practical, unaesthetic,
and undreaming England. Ask what they mean. Turn to the second table.
You are to reverence your father and mother. Why? Because they are
the instruments of life that God gives. You are to reverence life in
others in the sixth commandment. Why? Because life is the deepest
mystery that God can possibly exhibit to you. In the seventh
commandment--I scarcely like to say, but yet it is wise to repeat, it
is necessary to assert it--we are to remember, you and I, when we
are young, when we are active, when we are passionate, the great
responsibility of man; you are not to trifle with that awful mystery,
the transmission of life, life which unites itself with eternal love.
You are to remember respect for property, for that which divine
providence has placed by wise laws in the hands of others. You are to
remember that the best of properties is a good character. Finally, in
the tenth commandment, you are not to forget that divine providence
guides you, and you are not to murmur and be angry when He guides you
who knows the best for you, and when you have done your best. And
rising from the second table and coming to the first, you are not to
forget that there is one object for every soul, as the text asserts.
You are not to forget that a jealousy may be created, ought to be
created, if you put anything before God. You are not to grudge God the
restraint of speech, and--thank God, still it is possible to appeal to
the wise instincts of England--you are not to grudge on your Sunday
the gift of your time. These are the outlines of the grave moral law
that runs deep into the heart of the Christian; and I answer, the
thirst for God means the thirst within me to fulfil that grave moral

But, my friends, pause for a moment. After all, that would only be a
skeleton. After all, simply to draw out the outlines of a picture is
not the work of an artist. Suppose you ask a master in music, "How am
I to produce the real result of stately sound?" He will tell you about
the common cord; he will tell you about the result of its changes and
its affinities, and will speak of those results as harmony; or he will
tell you about the gamut of sounds--sounds found in the wind upon the
mountains, found in the surging sea, found in the voice of childhood,
found in the whisper of your dreams--sound that is everywhere, sound
that wanders up and down this wild, wild universe. He will tell you
all that, and explain how in proper steps, in wise modulations, that
is melody, as the union of sounds is harmony. Is that enough? Would
that produce "The Last Judgment" of Spohr, that made you dissolve in
tears? Would that produce the chorus of Handel that made you almost
rise and march in majesty? Would that fill you with deep thoughts in
Beethoven, or fire you into joy in Mendelssohn? Oh, no! You have your
skeleton, but you have not one thing, the deepest; genius has to touch
with its fire the fact that is before you; you want the mystery of
life. And then suppose you turn to an artist and ask him to guide you
in painting, and he talks to you about light and shadow, about the
laying of the color, about the drawing of lines, about the exact
expression of the distant and the present, of the foreground and the
background, and having learned it all, you produce what seems an
abortion; you ask yourself, "What is the meaning of this?" Is this
enough to make you quiver, in Dresden, before the San Sisto, carried
away by those divine eyes of the "Mother of Eternity," or rent with
sorrow before the solemn eyes of the Child? Is this enough to fill you
with tears of delight when you enter the Sistine Chapel and see St.
John as he kneels with his unshed tears about the dead Christ? What is
there wanting in the touch of your artist? There is wanting genius;
there is wanting life. Or to take one instance more. You ask somebody
to teach you sculpture, to tell you how to make yourself master in the
treatment of stone. He will tell you wise things about the plastic
material that you have to mold with thumb and finger, and then about
the use of the chisel and the hammer to produce the result in the
stone, following the treatment of that plastic material. But when you
have learned it all, can you really believe that you will produce the
effect of that majestic manhood that you see in the David of Angelo
in the Piazza of Florence, or that wise, determined progress that is
exprest in Donatello's St. George? What is the difference between your
failure and the results of those men? Genius--life. And when you turn
to the moral law, and when you ask yourself, "How can I learn to
be athirst for God?" the preachers say, "Accept the moral law; act
exactly in distinct duty to your parents; say, 'Corban, it is a gift
by whatsoever thou mayest be profited thereby'; do your duty strictly
to the letter and nothing more; be conservative about your property;
restrain yourself from desire of change; do not stimulate and do not
satisfy your passions beyond what is exactly exprest in the moral
law." But then, if you speak the truth, you say, "And in the end what
am I? Why, after all, most commonplace, and, in truth, most sinful."
What is the difference? This difference: there wants here the touch of
genius; there wants the touch of life divine, grace that illuminates
the moral law; there wants, my friends, the enthusiasm for goodness,
the science of sciences, the art of arts, the delight and the desire
of doing right because it is right, the great and splendid spirit that
belongs to all of us; and yet it is the highest when the thirst of
your soul is real. Certainly it is to know God's guidance in law; but
what is law? It is to grasp that atmosphere of life and reality which
comes out of the moral law to those who seek it in a living person
first--the desire of goodness, the desire, the love, the enthusiasm,
the ambition, cost what it may, of doing right because it is
right. Oh, my friends, I submit--and I submit it without fear of
contradiction--that is an ambition worthy of Englishmen. Certainly
we are not dreamers; certainly God has given us practical activity;
certainly, whatever we misunderstand, this we can understand, the
thirst of the soul for God is the thirst to love goodness because it
is right.

And then hastily to conclude, I would say that that thirst is exprest,
that that thirst is satisfied, not only in moral law and in its
atmosphere, but in one thing more that I think we can all understand.
When we read the New Testament, so simple, so straightforward, so
true, so beautiful, with some difficulties, but no difficulties that a
true heart can find insuperable--when we read the New Testament we are
brought face to face with the teachings of Christ. And there is this,
my friends, more about these teachings, that if you are to follow them
out you have not time enough in time; the teachings of our Master
demand eternity--there is something about them infinite, so simple, so
beautiful, and yet we feel that we are insufficient to fulfil them in
this sphere of time. If my soul is athirst for God, it is athirst for
the fulfilment of those great, splendid, practical teachings which
remind me that I am to begin to learn my lesson in this narrow school,
but that I shall fulfil my achievement in that great land beyond the
grave. Is that enough? No; no, when the heart is lonely; no, when the
sun is setting; no, when the clouds are gathering round us; no, when
the storm is coming up. It is useless for the preacher, if he tries to
be real, to talk about law, or the result of law, or the splendor of
teaching; if we know the human heart in its width and its activity, if
it is to find satisfaction it must find it in a personal life. You
may say you cannot know God. That is the ordinary answer of the human
sinning heart, which in modern times calls itself agnostic. Know God!
Well, of course it is truly said that it is by mere license of speech
when you talk of knowledge about human perceptions--it is wisely said.
You perceive a fact, my friend; you must perceive it in itself, and as
it is, and by an intellect that can infallibly state that it is so
and in that manner. Knowledge like that is impossible, I grant; but
between that scientific knowledge and utter unbelief there are shades,
first of all of assent that shuts out doubt, and at last, at the other
pole, of a doubt that almost shuts out assent. Between the two there
are activities of life, and if you are to say, "I cannot know the
personal God with scientific knowledge," I grant it; but you cannot
know anything, not only in theology, but in politics, or social life,
or moral conduct, or conduct that is not moral--you can know nothing,
you can never act at all, because all our action is not on knowledge,
but on belief, and therefore when we turn to a personal life that is
not perceived by the activity of the senses we only demand that you
are to accept that which it is possible to accept in any sphere of
activity, and which you do accept. It is possible for you, according
to the laws of your being, to accept a personal Christ. "But," you
say--and I must remind you of it as I close--"a personal Christ,
but still clothed in human lineaments, a personal Christ who is
mysterious--how can you accept that?" How can you not? My friends, the
human intellect is so framed that it acts habitually upon ideas that
are true yet indistinct. You act on space, you act on time, you have
infinity, you have in your mouth the word "cause." What do you know
exactly about infinity, or space, or time, or cause? The human
intellect, it is truly said, first by the greatest of the fathers,
then repeated by modern thinkers--the human intellect is so great,
first, that it can take exact ideas, and then, because it is infinite,
that it can act instantly upon ideas that are real but indistinct.
Christ--yes, first He is indistinct yet most real--real because He
entered into history, real because He exprest the idea that is in the
brain and heart of us all; indistinct because these little twenty
centuries have separated us from His actual historic life; but a fact
to those who seek Him, because His power is to make Himself an inward
gift to the human soul, because His activity is such that He meets us
on the altar of His sacred sacrament, that He meets us in the divine
Word to express His thoughts, that He meets us in consolation, that He
meets us in absolution, in moments of sorrow and of prayer. Oh, you
are not driven to a distant infinity! Oh, you are not asked to rest
upon a shadow I Oh, you are not besought to play the dreamer or
the sentimentalist, when you think about God! Oh, you are asked to
remember that fair, sweet vision--the vision of a Man so devoid of
vulgarity, that whilst He loved the people He did not despise the
great--the vision of a Man so strong that He could face a multitude,
so tender that He could raise the lost woman, so gentle that the
little children gathered their arms about His neck; the vision of
a Man at home with fishermen, and at home with the high-born, with
thoughts so deep that they permeate modern Christendom, with thoughts
so simple that they taught truth to ancient Galilee; the vision of a
Man who encouraged youth, the One on whom we rest, by whom we hang, in
whom we hope, who sympathizes with all our best desires, who does not
denounce us, but only intercedes and pities; the Man who never places
Himself upon a Pharisaic pedestal, but feels with the child, with the
boy, with the man, with the woman,--the Man of men, the crown of our
humanity, the God in Man, the Man in God, the power of the sacraments,
the force of prayer, the sweet, dear Friend who never misunderstands
us, never forsakes us, never is hard upon us. My friends, it is your
privilege, it is mine, beyond the privilege of the psalmist, to know
in the gospel, to know in the Church, Christ, God exprest in humanity.
Is your soul athirst for the highest? You may find it if you could
come in repentance, if you come in desire, if you come in quiet
determination to do your duty; you may find it satisfied--yes, now
satisfied--in Christ.

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