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Title: The Discipline of War - Nine Addresses on the Lessons of the War in Connection with Lent
Author: Potter, John Hasloch, 1847-1935
Language: English
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_Nine Addresses on the Lessons of the War in Connection with Lent_






_Hon. Canon of Southwark and Vicar of St. Mark's, Surbiton, Surrey_

  34, Southampton Street, Strand, W.C.
  _Publishers to His Majesty the King_



The war has introduced into countless lives new conditions, and has
strangely modified, or emphasised, those already existing. These
Addresses, prepared under much stress of other work, are intended to
supply, in very simple fashion, hints for conduct and points for thought
along the lines of our fresh or deepened responsibilities. An Appendix
gives a suggested subject and a passage of Scripture for each day during
Lent. May God the Holy Ghost, without Whom man's best labours are in
vain, bless this little book to its purpose. Please say a prayer for the
writer, who, as much as any, needs grace that he may try to practise
what he preaches.


    The Conversion of St. Paul. 1915.


  Kingston House,
    Clapham Common.

  _January 19th, 1915._

My dear Canon,--

You have invited me to say a few words introductory to the little book
you are putting forth, and of which you have sent me the advance proofs.

From the great excellence of that which I have read, I am convinced
that your Lenten meditations on the Discipline of War, will be of
pre-eminently spiritual value in a time when publications on the
subject are multiplied. That the war is to leave us on a higher
plane of self-discipline, and with higher ideals of citizen life and
responsibility, every Christian must acknowledge. Your little Lenten
scheme is just that which is needed to give reality and action to what
might otherwise be left in the realm of theory. May the Holy Spirit make
use of your work to the benefit of us all and for the Glory of God.

  Your sincere friend,




  The Discipline of the Will              1


  The Discipline of the Body              9


  The Discipline of the Soul             18


  The Discipline of the Spirit           27


  Discipline through Obedience           35


  The Discipline of Sorrow               44


  Discipline through bereavement         52


  Discipline through Self-sacrifice      62


  Discipline through Victory             70

         *       *       *       *       *

  Appendix                               81



=The Discipline of the Will=


Isaiah lviii. 6

  "Is not this the fast that I have chosen?"

Discipline is the central idea of the observance of Lent. An
opportunity, rich in its splendid possibilities, comes before us this
year. Much of the discipline of this Lent is settled for us by those
tragic circumstances in which we find ourselves placed.

God seems to be saying to us, in no uncertain tones, "Is not this the
fast that I have chosen?"

Our amusements are already to a large extent curtailed, maybe by our own
individual sorrows or anxieties; maybe by the feeling of the incongruity
of enjoying ourselves while anguish and hardship reign supreme around

Our self-denials are already in operation, under the stress of
straitened means, or the vital necessity of helping others less favoured
than ourselves.

Our devotions have already been increased in frequency and in
earnestness, for the call upon our prayers has come with an insistence
and an imperiousness that brook no denial.

To this extent, and further in many directions, our Lent has been taken
out of our own hands; ordered and pre-arranged by that inscrutable, yet
loving, Providence which has permitted the War to come about.

Thus, at the very outset, we are brought into harmony with the central
idea of discipline--not my will, but God's will.

Broadly, discipline is defined as "Mental and moral training, under
one's own guidance or under that of another": the two necessarily
overlap, and therefore we shall speak of God's discipline, acting upon
us from outside, and of our own co-operation with divine purposes, which
is our discipline of self from within.

In the forefront of the subject, and including every aspect of it upon
which we shall touch, stands that tremendous word--_will_.

Have you ever attempted to gauge the mystery, to sound the depth of
meaning implied in the simple sentence "I will"?

First of all what is the significance of "I"? You are the only one who
can say it of yourself. Any other must speak of you as "he" or "she";
but "I" is your own inalienable possession.

This is the mystery of personality. That accumulation of experience,
that consciousness of identity which you possess as absolutely, uniquely
your own; which none other can share with you in the remotest degree. "A
thing we consider to be unconscious, an animal to be conscious, a person
to be self-conscious."

This leads on to a further mystery, alike concerned with so apparently
simple a matter that its real complexity escapes us.

"I _will_": I, the self-conscious person, have made up my mind what
I am going to do, and, physical obstacles excepted, I will do it.

The freedom of man's will has been the subject of endless dispute from
every point of view, theistic, atheistic, Christian and non-Christian.

Merely as a philosophic controversy it has but little bearing upon daily
life. The staunchest necessitarian, who argues _theoretically_ that
even when he says "I will" he is under the compulsion of external force,
yet acts _practically_ in exactly the same fashion as the rest of

When the freedom of the will is considered in relation to religion, then
it bears a totally different aspect. If the will be not free, religion,
as a personal matter, falls to the ground, for its very essence is man's
voluntary choice of God.

Here too those who deny the freedom of man's will doctrinally yet accept
it as a working fact. Calvin, whose theory of Predestination and
Irresistible Grace seems to exclude man from any co-operation in his own
salvation, yet preached a Gospel not to be distinguished from that of
John Wesley!

For us Christians the freedom of the will is absolutely settled by Him
Who says, "Whosoever will let him come."

If you are sometimes troubled by certain passages in Scripture which
seem to imply that God's predestination overrides man's will, remember,
that whenever we are considering any question which concerns both God's
nature and man's nature, difficulty must arise, from the very fact that
our finite mind can only comprehend, and that but imperfectly, man's
side of the transaction. Things which now seem incompatible, such as
prayer and law; miracle and, what we are pleased to call, nature; God's
foreknowledge and man's free-will in the light of eternity will be seen
as only complementary parts of one divine whole.

Remember too that you must take the general bearing of Scripture; not
isolated passages in which, for the necessity of the argument, one side
is strongly emphasised. The Apostle who, thinking of the boundless power
of God's grace, says, "So then it is not of him that willeth nor of him
that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy" (Rom. ix. 16) is the one
who says "He willeth that all men should be saved" (1 Tim. ii. 4).

The love by which the Father gave up His Son; the life and death of that
Son; the ministry of God the Holy Ghost; the whole dispensation of the
Catholic Church, form one great tender appeal to the free-will of man.
Your free-will, my free-will, before which is placed the tremendous
responsibility of choosing or rejecting.

And now from the broad thought of will, at its highest point, occupied
with eternal choices and spiritual decisions, we turn to will as the
governing power in our lives.

It is, to a certain extent, self in action, for before even the
slightest movement of any part of the body, there must have gone,
automatically and unconsciously, an act of will.

Before every deliberate action there takes place a discussion, which
ultimately decides the attitude of the will, that is your final purpose.
Put quite simply, the _motives_ determine the _will_, and are
themselves decided by the _principles_ at the back of them.

Let us make this plain by an illustration. It is pouring with rain, you
are sitting cosily over the fire with an interesting book. The thought
comes into your mind, I ought to go and see my sick friend. Then follows
the deliberation: the flesh says, "To-morrow will do just as well." The
spirit says, "No, it won't; you may both be dead to-morrow." The flesh
says, "Perhaps I shall catch a cold"; the spirit says, "That fear
wouldn't keep you from going to a Picture Palace." The flesh says,
"Perhaps he won't care to see me to-day"; the spirit replies, "It's a
dull, wet afternoon, and he's very likely to be alone."

Now notice that at the back of each set of motives is a vital principle.
In the one case the lower self, in the other the higher self, that is to
say "I" and "God."

The purely natural, human side of even the greatest saint would prefer
to sit over the fire; but then our nature is not left unassisted, and
even in a simple thing like this God the Holy Ghost comes to our aid
with His suggestions of the higher course, and illuminates the path of
duty. That is one of the most blessed features of the ministry of the
Spirit; He enlightens, He persuades, He never compels: if He did, your
will would not be free.

This explains what the discipline of the will really means. It is just
the laying of ourselves open to the voice of the living God, speaking
within us.

As we do this, day by day, the will itself becomes braced and
strengthened, so that the struggle against the lower nature grow less
and less fierce, the power of choosing the higher course more and more

Here is our first practical thought for this Lent.

Watch yourself and your life, especially in those particulars in which
you know that you have been getting out of hand. The prayers omitted,
curtailed, said carelessly, said or attempted in bed, instead of on your
knees: what a grievous failure, isn't it?

The carelessness about preparation before and thanksgiving after
Communion, the irregularity of your attendances; the habit of
Self-Examination, or of Confession, dropped--why? The Bible neglected.

Then the self-indulgences in the matter of sleep, food, drink, and
purely wasted hours.

All these things are sapping the manhood and dignity of the will.
Sometimes even more dangerously and insidiously than open sins, because
with regard to these conscience does speak; but when we are merely
drifting down the stream of time, the pleasant lapping of the ripples on
the side of the bark lulls conscience into fatal sleep.

Look at your life, ask yourself the question, boldly and honestly, what
is the principle upon which it is being lived, God or self? When the
answer comes you will see clearly the first steps to take in the
disciplining of the will.

Glorious examples of what can be done abound around you. Think you there
has been no struggle on the part of those tens of thousands who have
given up comforts, home, prospects, harmless pleasures, in exchange for
the ghastly miseries of the trenches, the appalling risks by land, on or
beneath the sea, in the air, all at the call of a stern, compelling
duty, which told them that the life really worth living was the one
spent, laid down if need be, for King and country?

Think too of the heroism of the wives, the mothers, the sweethearts, on
whose lips there must have trembled over and again, "I will not, I
cannot let you go." Yet the will was disciplined, the words remained
unspoken, the tears were shed in secret, and these brave hearts, even in
breaking, shall find their reward.

It was at Waterloo one afternoon, a young officer was being seen off for
the front by father, brother, and _fiancée_. The two former bravely
and cheerily said their good-bye, and withdrew a little to leave the
young couple for their farewell; a kiss, a close embrace, outward
smiles, but tears very near the eyes; and then as the officer got into
the carriage just this one remark: "It's precious hard upon the women."
What a world of meaning there was in that.

Above all, as your pattern and your power, look to Him Who said, "I came
down from Heaven not to do mine own will but the will of Him that sent

_For suggested meditations during the week, see Appendix._


=The Discipline of the Body=


1 Cor. ix. 27

  "I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage."

On Ash Wednesday we were considering some purely subjective realities,
such as principles, motives, will--things we could not see. To-day we
think about a very objective substance, ever present to our senses--our
body. A man may deny point blank the existence of his soul--using the
word in its ordinary acceptation--he cannot say, "I have not got a
body." Even if he should conceive of that body as a mere bundle of
ideas, an accumulation of sensations, yet there it is, making itself
felt in countless ways.

So intimately bound up is it with every part of our life, apparently so
infinitely the most real part of us, that we often think of it as being
our true self. Yet every cell and fibre of it changes in the course of
seven years. Therefore in itself it cannot maintain our identity. Have
you ever pinched your nail, right down at its base, and watched the dark
mass of congealed blood making its way to the tip of the finger, and
then dispersing? This gives you some idea of the pace at which the body
is being burned up and renewed.

All the while the personal "I" remains, deep-seated in the
self-conscious intellect, memory, will.

Of course the body plays an immensely important part in the complex
story of our existence. It is the machine by which the personal self
acts, speaks, loves, hates, chooses, refuses; therefore we can neither
ignore it nor despise it.

The popular notion concerning religion is that it is meant only for the
salvation of the soul. If this were so, then the coming of the Holy
Ghost would have sufficed for all needs.

One manifest purpose of the Incarnation was to give to the body the
possibility of holiness here, resurrection hereafter.

Very marvellous is the dignity conferred upon the body by the fact the
"Word was made flesh." From that flows forth the high position of the
Christian, whose body is a "temple of the Holy Ghost."

It is through the body that we receive the Sacraments, which are means
of grace to the soul.

Did time permit, it would be deeply interesting to trace out the use of
the word body in this connection--the natural body of our Lord, His
spiritual body after the Resurrection, His mystical body, the Church, in
which sense He Himself is called "the Saviour of the body" (Eph. v. 23),
His Sacramental Body, of which He says, "This is my body."

The discipline of the body.

The thought is prominently before us at the present moment, and first
let us look at it from its purely material side. Thousands of youths who
a few months ago were slouching, narrow-chested, feeble specimens of
underbred humanity, have now-expanded into well set up, hardened men.
The body has been disciplined by drill, exercises, route-marching, and
the like. Those who return from the war uninjured will, we may hope, be
in such improved condition as may somewhat compensate for the terrible
loss of vigorous life which is taking place.

Had there been universal military training of the youth of our land for
the past few generations, either the present war would never have taken
place; or the results of the first three weeks of it would have been
vastly different from what they were.

Now take another significant fact: letter after letter from the front
says, "We are all very fit." The average "fitness" in the trenches is,
broadly speaking, higher than that of training camps at home, especially
of those where little or no supervision is exercised as to strong drink.
How plainly this shows that hardness, even of an extreme character,
braces up the body; softness and self-indulgence enfeeble it.

S. Paul affords a wonderful illustration of this; obviously a man of
very delicate health, frequently ill (probably this was the thorn in the
flesh), yet accomplishing vast labours, and, in addition, buffeting his
own flesh lest it should get the upper hand.

Here, then, we reach the first great principle in the discipline of the
body. It must not have its own way, or it will infallibly assert its
sway over the man's real self.

That is what happens in the case of the habitual drunkard or the slave
of lust. That which at first is a temptation, perfectly capable of being
resisted, becomes at last what the doctors call a "physical" craving
that, humanly speaking, cannot be overcome. By constant yielding the
will has been weakened to such an extent that the personal "I" no longer
reigns; the usurping body has taken its place and rules supreme.

Let us take the main thought of self-control, which is the true
rendering of the word temperance, the state in which, as S. James says,
the man is "able to bridle the whole body" (S. James iii. 2), and test
ourselves by it this Lent. Am I retaining my dominion over my body, or
is it gradually pushing itself into my place?

Self-examination, honestly performed, will reveal this at once, for
conscience, unless blunted by neglect, will speak infallibly.

For instance, when you find some indulgence of the flesh concerning
which you say "I can't help it," there your body has vanquished you. It
is absorbing your personality, robbing you of your divine birthright, in
which you say, "I will," "I will not."

And now to go a step further--the disciplining of the body, care in
regard to eating, drinking, amusements, and the like; strictness as to
luxuries and things which, though lawful, may not be expedient, not only
tend to bodily strength and mere physical well-being, but brace up the
will power, because they entail the constant exercise of it.

Here is where the practical wisdom of the Church comes in as regards
fasting. One day in every week is set apart, beside other days and
seasons, as a reminder of the fact that fasting is a duty of the
Christian life, just as much as almsgiving and prayer--a duty sanctified
by the example enjoined by the precept of our Lord Himself.

True, no hard and fast rules are laid down, but a little sanctified
common sense will dictate to us how to make fast-days a reality, by some
simple acts of self-denial.

Our last thought is one of intense practical importance--our attitude at
the present moment towards strong drink.

Lord Kitchener and the Archbishop of Canterbury have both on several
occasions called the attention of the nation to the terrible evils
arising from the unhappy custom of treating soldiers to strong drink.

_Punch_, always on the side of morality and rightness, has dealt
with it in the following trenchant fashion:--


  He came obedient to the Call;
    He might have shirked, like half his mates
  Who, while their comrades fight and fall,
    Still go to swell the football gates.

  And you, a patriot in your prime,
    You waved a flag above his head,
  And hoped he'd have a high old time,
    And slapped him on the back, and said:

  "You'll show 'em what we British are!
    Give us your hand, old pal, to shake";
  And took him round from bar to bar
    And made him drunk--for England's sake.

  That's how you helped him. Yesterday
    Clear-eyed and earnest, keen and hard,
  He held himself the soldier's way--
    And now they've got him under guard.

  That doesn't hurt you; you're all right;
    Your easy conscience takes no blame;
  But he, poor boy, with morning's light,
    He eats his heart out, sick with shame.

  What's that to you? You understand
    Nothing of all his bitter pain;
  You have no regiment to brand;
    You have no uniform to stain;

  No vow of service to abuse;
    No pledge to King and country due;
  But he has something dear to lose,
    And he has lost it--thanks to you.[1]

[Footnote 1: O.S. in _Punch_, November 4th, 1914. By kind
permission of the Proprietors.]

A man who had so distinguished himself at the front as to be mentioned
in a despatch came home slightly wounded. In less than twenty-four hours
he was in a cell at a police station, and the next day fined forty
shillings. Oh! the pathetic pity of it. That man got into trouble
through the exhibition of one of the purest and best features of our
human nature, the desire to show kindness. In their well-intentioned
ignorance this man's friends--yes, they were real friends--knew of only
one way of displaying friendliness--they gave him liquor.

I am not going to blame them, nor him entirely; I am going to lay some
of the fault upon ourselves.

Since the beginning of the last century the habits of the upper classes,
to use a generic though unpleasant term, have improved immeasurably.
Then excess was more or less the rule among men of good position, was to
a certain extent expected and provided for; witness _The School for
Scandal_, or the leading novels of the period. Now, the man who
disgraces himself at a dinner-table is never invited again.

And even as we go down in the social scale much improvement is apparent.
Those who remember Bank Holidays on their first introduction will
recollect that the excess of the working classes was quite open and
shameless; but to-day some effort is generally made by the victims, or
their friends, to hide the disgrace, because Public Opinion is
improving. That is where we come in.

Many causes of intemperance in strong drink are matters for legislative
or municipal action; for example, overcrowding, insanitary dwellings or
surroundings, sweating, excessive hours of labour, adulteration of
liquors. But there are two factors upon which we can exercise direct
influence, because they are connected with that great corporate entity
called Public Opinion.

First let us take the one upon which we have already touched--the notion
that friendliness and good fellowship are essentially connected with
strong drink. This is at the bottom of those terrible scenes when troops
are leaving our great London railway stations. Scenes so inexpressibly
sad to all thinking people.

Everyone who abstains entirely, or who takes the khaki button--a pledge
not to treat nor be treated to strong drink during the continuance of
the war--is helping to knock a nail into the coffin of one of the
silliest and most fatal delusions that has ever wrought havoc to body,
soul, and spirit.

And then there is that other weird notion that you cannot be really
strong and healthy without stimulant. For you the glass of beer or wine
may be a mere harmless luxury, in the way in which you take it. I
purposely exclude spirits, which I am fanatic enough to think should
only be used medicinally. But every individual total abstainer helps to
swell the testimony not only to the non-necessity of alcohol, but to the
fact that, according to the view of a large part of the medical
profession, the human frame is better without it.

You may say, "What good will my abstinence do to people with whom I
never come in contact?" Tell me what influence really is; how it
spreads, by what unseen modes it ramifies and extends.

Tell me the real significance, the true spiritual value, of the fact
that "if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it: if one
member rejoice, all the members rejoice with it."

Then perhaps you can explain in some way, how your abstinence shall
spread to desolated homes, to stricken lives, in crowded slums or quiet
villages, in fire-raked trenches or storm-tossed ships.

No act of self-sacrifice for His sake, Who though He was rich yet for
our sakes became poor, ever went without its rich reward.

No tiny wave of influence ever yet sped forth from a Christian heart,
but what reached its mark and wrought its work of beneficent power.

_For suggested meditations during the week, see Appendix._


=The Discipline of the Soul=


St. John vi. 38

  "For I am come down from Heaven, not to do Mine own will, but
  the will of Him that sent Me."

To-day we are going to speak of the soul not in its popular sense, as
set over against the body, but in the scriptural meaning of the word as
the broad equivalent of life.

To enter upon a philosophical discussion might prove interesting from a
merely academic point of view, but would be eminently unpractical.
Suffice it to say that when S. Paul speaks of the "body, soul and
spirit" (1 Thess. v. 23), he takes the two latter as different faculties
of the invisible part of man.

Soul ([Greek: psychê]) is the lower attribute which man has in common
with the animals; spirit ([Greek: pneuma]) the higher one which they do
not possess, and which makes man capable of religion.

In this sense, then, the soul would mean the life the man or woman is
leading, in the home, the business, the pleasures, the relaxations, as
distinct from the definite exercise of devotion or worship.

Of course it is absolutely impossible to draw a hard and fast line
between sacred and secular. All secular affairs, rightly conducted, have
their sacred side; and conversely all sacred matters have their secular
side, for they form part of the life the man is living "in the age."

It is the neglect of this truth which is responsible for much of the
moral and religious failure of the day.

Business is secular, prayer is sacred, and so they have no practical
connection each with other.

Amusement is secular (often vastly too much so, in the very lowest sense
of the word); Holy Communion is sacred; therefore there is no link
between them. Whereas the prayer and the Communion should be the
ennobling and sanctifying power alike of work and play.

Bearing this caution in mind, we shall to-day look at certain features
of the so-called secular life of the day in which discipline needs to be
strongly exercised.

No doubt about it, the soul of the nation has been growing sick, sick
"nigh unto death."

Luxury has been increasing with giant strides; the mad race for pleasure
has helped to empty our Churches, to rob our Charities, to diminish the
number of our Candidates for Holy Orders, to make countless ears deaf to
the call which the country, through that magnificent Christian soldier,
Lord Roberts, and many others, has been making to manhood of the land.
Week-ending, meals in restaurants, turning night into day, have robbed
home-life of its grace and power, and produced a generation of young
folk _blasé_ and discontented before they are out of girlhood and

With this has come, inevitably, the loss of sense of responsibility. So
long as I can enjoy myself and get my own way, why should I vex myself
with the outworn question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" No! That has gone
into the limbo of effete superstition.

And further, loss of the sense of proportion. There are some to whom it
causes no moral shock to wear a dress costing a hundred guineas, while a
vast number of seamstresses, shirtmakers, artificial flower makers,
boot-closers, and the like, are working seventy hours for 5s. to 8s. a
week. One mantle-presser, in Dalston, receives 1/2_d._ per mantle;
she is most respectable, has four children, and earns from 5_s._
6_d._ to 7_s._ a week!

We do not grumble at the hundred guineas being spent upon the dress, or
a thousand guineas even, if the money went in due proportion all round
to supply the _full living wage to each one engaged in its production_:
and if the wearer interested herself keenly in social problems, and used
her means wisely and well to afford relief where it was needed. This,
alas! does not happen when the sense of proportion is lacking.

Take another case--alas! a fearfully common one. Men and women will
gamble recklessly at Bridge, lose heavily, pay up, at whatever cost,
because it is _a debt of honour_. All the while a hard-pressed
tailor, a famished dressmaker and her children are kept out of their
money, because it is only _a debt of commerce_. Could there be a
more ghastly parody on the word honour?

Yet once more--the lack of seriousness. By seriousness we do not mean
gloominess, nor withdrawal from society, or anything of the kind. We
mean the flippant attitude towards life, the lack of serious, sustained
interest in literature, in music, in art, in the legitimate drama;
witness the theatres being turned into cinema shows, and the terrible
paucity of sound, strong plays. Everything must be scrappy, light, and
if a little (or more than a little) risky, so much the better.

We do not for a moment say that these evils are universal, God forbid,
but none can deny that they have eaten deep into a large part of
society, using the word in its broadest, not in its technical sense.

The soul of the nation needed discipline, and it has come suddenly,
sharply, but, who shall dare to say, not mercifully?

And even in its very coming it brought a tremendous opportunity, for we
were not compelled to make war, notice that!

We had an option. The temptation was subtle. You have no concern with
Servia, throw over Belgium, let France take care of itself.

For a time, probably a very short time, we should have avoided war and
its horrors. The bait was held out by some peddling politicians that we
should have stood in a magnificent position to obtain trade, to control
markets, to dictate prices to the rest of the world. Magnificent
prospect! We went to war, and, by a strange paradox, secured peace with
honour: peace of the national conscience. Had we forsaken Belgium we
could never again have held up our heads among civilised honourable
nations. Thus the very circumstances under which the War came about
formed an appeal to the soul of the nation as embodied in its
legislature; the Government rang true, and the nation, as one man,
endorsed its decision.

And now the discipline has commenced.

Who can be flippant and careless with our coast towns liable to
bombardment, and over a hundred lives already sacrificed in this little
island, which we have always deemed to be the one absolutely secure spot
in the whole world? Five months ago an earthquake in London would have
seemed a far more likely event than the bombardment of Hartlepool,
Scarborough, Whitby, and the dropping of shells on Yarmouth foreshore,
or of bombs at Dover and Southend.

Who can be unconcerned when our ships are liable at any moment, and
apparently in almost any place, to be sent headlong to the bottom of the
sea by torpedoes or mines; possibly sometimes by those very mines we
have been compelled to lay, and which happen to have broken loose?

This is one of the unavoidable hazards of war under modern conditions.
It does not make us ignore the magnificent work of our Fleet, nor
tremble for the ultimate issue.

Who can be giddy and careless with darkened streets, trains, trams, all
telling of the awful possibilities of the new development of aerial

Who, even among those not directly touched by anxiety or bereavement,
can go on just as usual in luxury, self-indulgence, and ease amid the
crushing mass of suffering around them on all sides?

Thank God that, though we may have erred very grievously through
softness of living, we are not a callous people, but we needed a strong,
stern discipline of the national soul; some stirring and trumpet-tongued
appeal to the national life, and in the righteous mercy of God it has

Some of the immediate effects are obvious; but what are the lasting
results to be?

The _Guardian_, of a few weeks back, thus soundly comments upon the

  "It is true that the outbreak of war put a sudden end to much that
  was thoughtless, stupid, and even base in contemporary life. 'Tango
  teas' and afternoon Bridge among women have receded almost as far
  into ancient history as dinners at Ranelagh or suppers at Cremorne.
  But human nature is easily frightened into propriety by a crisis;
  it is not so easy to maintain the new way of life when the fright
  is safely over. The things that are amiss in our national life, and
  above all that lack of seriousness which so many observers have
  lamented during the last few years, can be amended only by a clear
  conviction of the inherent unsoundness of our outlook, and a firm
  determination to rebuild it upon new and more stable foundations."

The soul of the nation needs discipline, and that can only come through
the effort of the individual to discipline his own life.

There is a ceaseless temptation to echo the cry of the disciples in
regard to the few loaves and fishes: "What are they among so many?"

Of what value or power is my feeble little life among the teeming
millions that go to make up the nation?

Put away the thought, for it is a direct temptation of the Devil.

It was just when, in the very depths of his human despair, Elijah cried
out, "I, I only am left," that God revealed to him the seven thousand
men who had not bowed the knee to Baal.

It was because Athanasius was content to stand _contra mundum_,
against the world, that the Catholic faith was preserved to the Church.

Let us very seriously examine ourselves as to the use we are making of
our life with regard to other people.

We have considered that life, in various details, in respect to
ourselves, and only incidentally as it affects others, but now let us
put away all thought of self.

Take the one absolute standard of life as set in the text, "I came down
from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me."

The result was a life entirely devoted, from the first moment to the
last, to one stupendous cause: the lifting up of humanity to the very
throne of God.

You and I cannot reach even a fraction of the way towards that perfect
standard; but it is our pattern, our plummet, our measuring-line.

Very practically, then, we must ask ourselves such questions as these:

What proportion of my time is spent for others?

Have I any method of employing time or any stated hours that I give to
philanthropic or religious work; or do I just, in a casual way, let
other people have odd moments, when I happen to think of it?

Similar questions should be asked as to money. Many people, especially
those who do not keep accounts (which everyone ought to do), would be
shocked if at the end of a year they could see the enormous
disproportion between the vast amount they have frittered away on self,
and the pitiful little doles they have handed out in the cause of

One man, who kept three cars for private use, reduced an already paltry
allowance made to a dependent because the price of petrol had gone up!

It is not that people cannot give; it is often only that they do not
think. Look at the vast sums being poured into the Relief Funds. Why has
not some proportion of it gone long ago to Hospitals obliged to close
their wards, Waifs and Strays Societies compelled to refuse poor little
outcasts? The money was there; it could have been spared then as well as
now, but it needed some great shock to wake its owners up to the sense
of proportion, the realisation of responsibilities.

And so in regard to such gifts as music, painting, acting, mechanics,
stitchery; even such simple things as reading and writing. Have you ever
read a book to, or written a letter for, anyone else? We might multiply
these questions indefinitely, but enough has been said to enable us
seriously to take in hand the disciplining of the soul, remembering that
this life of ours is a precious loan entrusted to us by God the Father,
redeemed for us by God the Son, sanctified in us by God the Holy Ghost,
to be used by us, in due proportion, for our neighbours and ourselves.

_For suggested meditations during the week, see Appendix_.


=The Discipline of the Spirit=


St. Luke vi. 12.

  "He continued all night in Prayer to God."

Last week we looked at the soul as that faculty of life which, to a
certain extent, we share with animals; to-day we pass on to consider,
under the title of spirit, the higher endowment by which man is enabled
to look up and, in the fullest exercise of his whole being, to say
"my God."

A man without religion is undeveloped in regard to the highest part of
his complex nature. In attaining to self-consciousness, and the special
powers it brings, he has gone one step further than the animal, but
has utterly failed of his true purpose. The supreme object of the
self-consciousness, which reveals to him his personality, is that it
should disclose its own origin in the personality of God.

One very striking effect of the War has been to produce a vast amount of
testimony to the fact that man is, broadly speaking, religious by

The services in the places of worship all over the land have been
multiplied, intercession is becoming a felt reality, congregations have

It is asserted, by those who have the best means of knowing, that by
far the majority of the letters from the front contain references to
religion, such as acknowledgments of God's providence, prayer for His
help, or requests for the prayers of others. Sometimes, in the strange
double-sidedness of human nature, accompanied by expletives obviously
profane. Mention is often made of the bowed heads, and the prayer, in
which both sides join, at the time of a joint burial during a temporary

All these things show that the deeps of the fountains of natural
religion have been broken up in wondrous fashion.

Our question to-day is: How shall we discipline that spirit which
enables us to realise religion as a fact?

Let us try to get to the root of the matter.

There are two chief derivations of the word religion. One comes from the
verb which means "to go through, or over again, in reading, speech, or
thought." Hence religion is the regular or constant habit of revering
the gods, and would be represented by the word devotion--an aspect most
important to bear in mind.

The other derivation, and the more usual, derives religion from the idea
of binding together, and tells of communion between man and God. For us
Christians this thought finds its highest ideal and fulfilment in the
Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The great characteristic action of religion is prayer; varying in its
methods and degrees from merely mechanical performances, like the
praying wheels of the Chinese up to the heart devotion of the Christian,
poured out when commemorating, in the Holy Communion, the death and
resurrection of His Lord.

The first essential of any prayer which is to be of value in the
discipline of the spirit is regularity. No words can exaggerate the
importance of morning prayer. Yet, alas! tens of thousands of professing
Christians are content with evening prayer alone. The one who goes forth
in the morning prayerless is just as ill-equipped to do his duty, and
meet his temptations, as the foodless man is to perform physical work.

The whole story of the saintly life, alike in the Old Testament, the New
Testament, and the Church, is that of diligence in prayer. It was to
promote that spirit that the Church of Christ, following on the lines of
the Jewish Church, from very early days adopted special hours for stated
devotions, with the daily offering of the Holy Eucharist linking the
whole system together.

The lowest standard to aim at is private prayer morning and evening,
midday too if possible, and regular attendances at God's House on
Sundays and Feast Days. The guiding principle, to be kept ever in mind,
is not what my own inclinations suggest, but what the glory of God
demands. Were this always the case, what magnificent congregations there
would be.

Prayer represents a real business of the spirit into which we put the
whole endowment of our being, intellect, memory, emotion, will.

Oh! those wandering thoughts, how they do distress us; and just in
proportion as we wish to pray and are learning to pray, so we feel our
deficiencies the more keenly.

A few moments before we commence our prayers spent in saying very
quietly, "Thou God seest me," or "In the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Ghost," coupled with a simple yet earnest act of the
realisation of God's presence, will be of infinite use.

The railway train coming into a station does not draw up with a jerk,
but gradually slows down. So with us; we cannot come out of our rushing
lives all in a moment into the quiet of God's presence; we need to slow

But much of the wandering in prayer is the direct result of the habit of
wandering in life. Flitting from one subject, one book, one occupation
to another; scrappy reading, talking, thinking; then, as a natural
consequence, scrappy praying. A great master of the spiritual life used
to say, "You will get far more help in your prayers by leading a more
useful life, than by making tremendous efforts after concentration when
you are actually at prayer."

The one who tries to keep alive the habitual sense of God's presence
makes his whole life a prayer, of which the stated devotions only form a
natural part. It is comparatively easy for such a one to concentrate his
thought and to keep his attention fixed when engaged in his prayers.

Just a word or two about books of devotion. They serve a most useful
purpose, especially in preparation and thanksgiving for Confession or
Communion, but should never be allowed to take the entire place of the
Christian's glorious privilege of pleading the "Abba Father," and
speaking to God in his own words, day by day.

Be careful not to use prayers which are manifestly beyond your own
standpoint or out of harmony with your own feeling. The mere repetition
of phrases that do not represent your inner attitude towards truth only
tends to formality; the effort to force a kind of artificial conformity,
because you think you ought to feel this or that, invariably ends in
unreality. Given these cautions, devotional books may be of great use,
even for regular daily prayer, and often help to call back the thoughts
which are flying off at a tangent.

To speak of discipline without touching upon Confession would be to omit
one of its most essential features. Nightly self-examination must be
performed, and that not perfunctorily, but with real intention of
repentance and strictness of living. Self-examination is nothing more
nor less than spiritual account-keeping; without it the man has no real
idea of how the business of his soul stands.

When it reveals the fact that sin is making headway and the spirit
losing ground, then the wise teaching of the Prayer Book should be
followed; "the grief"--for such it ought to be--opened in Confession to
God, before one of God's ministers, and the benefit of absolution

Much of the terrible prejudice felt against this practice arises from
the mistaken idea that the priest professes to forgive us our sins. The
words of the Absolution in the Visitation of the Sick, in our own Prayer
Book, put the matter on its true footing:--"Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who
hath left power to His Church to absolve, ... _forgive_ thee ... and
by His authority ... I _absolve_ thee." The source of all pardon and
the right to exercise it rest in God alone, but the message declaring
the fact is part of the "ministry of reconciliation," committed, in the
infinite condescension of God, to the "earthen vessels." An illustration
may be taken from the pardon of a criminal condemned to death; the Home
Secretary recommends it, but the King, on his sole authority, grants it,
and then the message, the _absolvo te_, which lets the man go free,
is delivered by the governor of the gaol.

Penitents, especially after a first confession at some crisis in mature
life, often bear witness to the fact that it seemed to bring them
straight into the presence of Jesus Christ; to make them feel the
reality of His pardoning blood in a way they never could have believed
possible. How strange that the very thing which by so many pious and
thoroughly honest souls is dreaded because it is supposed to bring a man
in between God and the soul, should yet so often be used by the Holy
Spirit to give a wondrous and precious vision of Christ the Saviour.

Thus far we have spoken only of that kind of occasional Confession which
is obviously contemplated by the Prayer Book; we have no time to dwell
on its habitual use.

Suffice it to quote some words from the first English Prayer Book:--

  "Requiring such as shall be satisfied with a general confession, not
  to be offended with them that do use, to their further satisfying,
  the auricular and secret confession to the priest; nor those which
  think needful or convenient to open their sins to the priest to be
  offended with them that are satisfied with their humble confession
  to God, and the general confession to the Church."

That staunch Evangelical Churchman, Bishop Thorold, who was strongly
opposed to habitual Confession in our Communion, once said, "We cannot
ignore the fact that the giants of old owed much of that saintliness,
which we of the present day can only wonder at but cannot reproduce, to
the practice of Confession."

If you should be in doubt about it for yourself, consult some
spiritually-minded person who possesses experience in the matter. Not,
on the one hand, the man who will tell you that it is the greatest curse
the Church has ever known; nor, on the other, the one who would have it
practised by everybody.

Surely for us sober Church folk there must be a loyal middle course,
which leaves absolute freedom, so long as the individual "follows and
keeps the rule of charity, and is satisfied with his own conscience."

Last, but most important of all, in the discipline of the spirit comes
the Holy Communion, about which we shall speak next week.

As our closing thought, let us go back to what we said just now. The
object of religion is God's glory, not man's enjoyment. See how this
puts feelings down into their right, and subordinate, place. They are
sometimes very delightful, sometimes very depressing, but always liable
to be misleading. A great saint of old used to say:--"If God never gave
me another moment of sensible devotion in prayer, I would go on praying,
because His glory demands it."

Religion has to do with facts: the facts of what God the Father, God the
Son, and God the Holy Ghost have done, and are doing, for us; the facts
of what we have to do, to make the finished work of Christ our own.

Here, as always, our Lord Himself gives us the highest illustration.
Neither as God, nor yet as perfect Man, was there an actual need for Him
to pray; yet His whole life was punctuated with prayer: first because
the glory of the Father required it, and next because His chosen
Apostles must be taught by example as well as precept.

Let the same mind dwell in us. It is for the glory of God that I should
have salvation; therefore by the help of God I will discipline my

_For suggested Meditations during the week see Appendix._


=Discipline through Obedience=


St. Luke xxii. 19

  "This do in remembrance of Me."

Our subject of to-day flows quite naturally out of what we said last
week. Religion rests on facts, and its object is God's glory, not merely
our profit. Our duty, therefore, is an absolute submission to those
facts--in other words, implicit obedience.

This is being illustrated on all sides in regard to the War.

The facts are indisputable. Lord Selborne put the matter in a nutshell
when he said: "The task in front of us is colossal. We are fighting for
nothing less than our lives, in circumstances which make it the duty of
every Englishman to put everything in the world he possesses, everything
that he values, into the scale to ensure success, and I am sure there is
not one of us, whatever his position, who would flinch in the slightest
from the duty he owes to his country and to his deepest self."

The response to the facts has been obedience, immediate and
unquestioning, on the part of a vast number. True, not all have yet been
reached who ought to come forward, and some are even now crying out for
that compulsory service which may yet prove inevitable. They forget that
the obedience of one free man is worth more than the forced submission
of many. Let us wait hopefully, energetically; losing no opportunity of
pressing the stern logic of facts wherever we may.

And those who have joined the services have come at once under a
discipline totally different from that of the sternest school or the
strictest house of business. The surrender has been made voluntarily,
and it has placed the whole life in each detail under the claim of an
absolute obedience.

The disposal of every moment of time belongs to the authorities. The
private in high social position must obey the orders of a young
lance-corporal just as exactly as he expected his own commands to be
carried out in his business or his household.

Who can estimate the immense development of moral fibre that surely must
take place in succeeding generations from the fact that so vast a
number, in all ranks of society, are now under obedience? Not because
they were driven to it, but because they embraced it by an initial act
of obedience.

    --Thus they answered,--hoping, fearing,
      Some in faith, and doubting some,
    Till a trumpet-voice proclaiming,
      Said, "My chosen people, come!"
          Then the drum,
          Lo! was dumb,
  For the great heart of the nation throbbing,
      Answered, "Lord we come."[2]

[Footnote 2: _The Reveille_, Bret Harte.]

Let us apply this thought to the command in our text, "Do this in
remembrance of Me." The facts are undisputed. Our Lord Jesus Christ, in
the tenderness of His compassion, instituted an ordinance by which we
might remember Him and feed upon Him.

Further than this we cannot go on the ground of universal consent.
Strangely enough, that rite which is the same in its central act,
whether celebrated by the nonconformist in his ordinary dress, or the
priest clad in costly vestments, whether in the humble room or the
stately cathedral, which is, on the one hand, the well-nigh universal
mark of all who profess and call themselves Christians, is yet the
battle-ground of fierce dispute and bitter disagreement.

The present crisis is undoubtedly deepening in our minds the exceeding
value of this blessed gift of Christ to His Church.

It is deeply suggestive of the spirit of our young officers that a group
of old public-school boys, just about to leave for the front, should
have begged their late schoolmaster--now a Bishop--to give them a
Celebration of Holy Communion in his own private Chapel on their last
Sunday in England. What a beautiful send-off!

Then, turning to the scene of operations itself, we find a touching
witness in the simple record sent by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe to his
brother at Southampton. "We spent our Christmas Day waiting for the
Germans, who did not appear. But we managed to find time for church and
for three celebrations of Holy Communion, although the whole time we
were cleared for action and the men were at their guns."

Who can contemplate unmoved that spectacle of the men, not gathered in
the peaceful security of the House of God, but out upon the ocean,
expecting attack, realising the possible nearness of the end, leaving
their guns but for the moment, then back again, strengthened for life or
death by the sacred Body and Blood.

Or take the witness of Rev. E.R. Day, one of our Senior Army Chaplains
serving with the Expeditionary Force. While home on a few days' leave he
preached at Lichfield Cathedral, and, touching upon the efficacy of
prayer, testified how enormously it was valued by our soldiers now
serving at the front. The Holy Communion was especially appreciated. On
Christmas Day there were no fewer than seven hundred communicants from
one regiment and four hundred from another, and the service was held in
a ploughed field with a packing-case for an altar. He had conducted
these services sometimes in the back-parlour of a public-house, in a
stable, in a loft, in a lean-to shed, and in the open; anywhere, in
fact, where room could be found. Out on the battlefield there was hardly
any need for a compulsory parade service; the men had only to hear that
a service was to be held and they would crowd to it.

Most of the reasons given by those who stop away from Communion centre
in self.

"I am not worthy." Of course not, nor is the priest who celebrates, nor
is any member of the congregation. We sadly misread that caution of S.
Paul about receiving "unworthily."

Let us take a homely illustration. Our good Queen Victoria was very fond
of visiting cottagers in the Highlands and reading the Scriptures to
them. You can imagine how one of them might say, "I am not worthy of
such an honour; this little place is so poor and mean." Quite true, yet
she could tidy up the home, mend her frock, make everything neat and
clean, so as to receive the Queen "worthily." Until you realise the

  "I am not worthy, gracious Lord,"

you will never receive Him worthily. No one who examines himself,
confesses his sins, and firmly purposes to amend, ever yet came to
Communion unworthily.

"I don't feel inclined to come." Because you have not realised in its
full meaning two facts: yourself as a great sinner, Christ as a great
Saviour. Feelings have nothing to do with duty. If they had, our army
would be about half the size it is. Do you suppose that all those who
are joining the Services like leaving home, wife, friends, comforts?
Feelings have been sacrificed to facts.

"I'm too great a sinner." Then you are not fit to die. Repent, turn to
the Saviour, and then in His holy ordinance you will find the very
strength you need to keep you from falling back.

"I have such terrible temptations." So we all have, priest and people
alike. Temptations are not sins; they are the enemies on the
battlefield, and if you never meet them, you--the Christian soldier
enlisted at your Baptism--will never have the chance of winning a
victory. The one who stays away from Communion because of temptations or
sins, which he is really trying to resist, is like the sick man who
looks at the bottle of medicine and says, "I will take it when I get

"So many communicants are hypocrites." That shows that you know enough
about the Christian life to be able to judge your fellow creatures. Are
you making things any better by neglecting your duty?

"I have got an enemy." Have you honestly tried to be reconciled; are you
willing to forgive and bury the past? "Yes, but he is not." All the more
need then for you to come to the Communion and pray for his heart to be

It was said of one great saint that some people might never have had the
blessing of his prayers for them but that they were his enemies.

All these excuses centre in self. They could not do otherwise, for no
one has ever yet found in Christ any reason why they should stay away
from Him.

Obedience forms so large a part of discipline--nay, is almost identical
with discipline--because it takes us out of self.

Our Lord Who has bidden us "do this" knows exactly what is best for us.
In putting aside feelings, fancies, unworthy scruples, and casting
ourselves unreservedly upon His boundless mercy, we shall taste of the
treasures of His grace and be satisfied.

One important part of the discipline of this obedience is making a
special and very careful preparation before, and thanksgiving after,
each Communion.

Preparation which consists first of all of real self-examination and
repentance, using fearlessly the "ministry of reconciliation" when
necessary, and then of special prayers which help to put us into the
attitude of hopeful, grateful anticipation.

Thanksgiving; definite prayers and praises, continued for a day or two,
unless we are very frequent communicants, so that we may lose none of
the preciousness of the blessing by our own forgetfulness or

In this, as we said last week, books can _help_, but that is all;
they cannot make the preparation or the thanksgiving for us.

Early Communion, quite apart from the doctrinal question of fasting
reception, is a useful feature of the discipline of obedience. It is a
custom which comes from primitive times, and is universal in the greater
part of the Catholic Church.

To give the early hours of the day to our Blessed Lord is surely more in
accordance with what His great love requires than to choose our own time
and come when it suits us best: that is when it requires less effort and
self-denial, and when our minds have been distracted by the cares of the
advancing day.

The coming on of old age or sickness may necessarily debar us from the
privilege and joy of early Communion, but, while we can, let us make the
most of the blessed morning hours, when in all the freshness of our
newly awakened life we draw near to Him Who ceaselessly watches over us.

The question is often asked: "How often ought I to receive the Holy
Communion?" The answer depends upon so large a number of considerations
that no general rules can possibly be given. Spiritual capacities vary

One broad principle we can lay down: Do not receive so often that you
begin to neglect preparation and thanksgiving. Better by far six
Communions a year, which have meant real, living intercourse between
yourself and your Saviour, than a weekly one which has degenerated into
a perfunctory form.

It is to be remembered that there is nothing to prevent your attending
the service whenever you wish, joining in the praises and prayers, even
though for some good reason you are not going to receive.

But, whatever your custom may be, have a rule about your times of
receiving, and keep to it strictly.

Aim at regularity for your own sake. One of the greatest causes of
many of the obscure modern complaints is the irregularity of meals,
consequent upon the exacting conditions of life. Precisely so, much
sickness of spirit springs from the careless way in which the chief
spiritual food is treated. People go to the Holy Communion when they
feel inclined, instead of according to a fixed rule, modifying the rule,
just as they would in the case of their meals, by circumstances which
may arise; spiritual sickness might dictate abstention from Communion
for a while, just as bodily disease might require a period of fasting.

Be regular for others' sake. The consistent example of the communicant
who lets neither weather nor inclination interfere with duty exercises
an influence far wider than he could imagine possible.

Be regular for Christ's sake, in grateful recognition of that tender
love which has given us the highest privilege of the Christian life.
Surely never is our Lord more satisfied in seeing of the travail of His
soul than when His faithful ones are gathered before His Holy Table,
worshipping Him in the tremendous reality of His spiritual presence,
feeding upon Him in the mystery of His Body and His Blood.

Thus out of our obedience to the great "Do this" comes discipline of the
highest kind. That discipline which is ever putting self in the
background, ever exalting the person and the work of Christ.

Then follows the reward, never attained by those who in self-interest
seek it, only poured forth upon such as are content to lose their life
in finding it, "He that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me."

_For suggested Meditations during the week see Appendix._


=The Discipline of Sorrow=


Revelations vii. 14

  "These are they who came out of great tribulation, and have washed
  their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

Two considerations only can throw any light on the dark mystery of
suffering, the problem which has baffled the intellect, the perplexity
which has torn the heart of mankind from the dawn of conscious life--"I
believe that Jesus Christ was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin
Mary, and was made man"; "I believe in the life of the world to come."

The two thoughts blend in our text with a harmony of illumination which,
though it does not solve the problem, renders it less dark.

Only in the light of another world, where the seed sown here shall bear
wondrous fruit, can we even begin to reconcile the existence of
suffering with the goodness of Almighty God. If there be no hereafter,
then indeed suffering must be the work of a vengeful tyrant rejoicing in
cruelty, or of a fatalistic machine grinding out its foreordained

What we require is some comprehensive plan which will knit together
past, present, future in one great purpose of progress towards ultimate
perfection, which will guarantee not only _an_ existence hereafter,
but will render that existence personal, conscious, capable of the
highest development.

We find this in the Incarnation, the eternal purpose of God the Father,
formed in the eternity of _the past_, that His Son should take our
human flesh.

This plan is working itself out in _the present_ by the power of
God the Holy Ghost, through the life of the great Church of Christ,
militant and expectant.

It stretches forth into the future, with regard to which we have
parables, promises, visions, warnings, all pointing to a continuously
progressive growth till the perfect manifestation of the Kingdom of
Christ be reached.

Thus the Incarnation supplies the unifying principle, and in its light
we catch some ray of hope on the dark problem of suffering.

In consequence of sin our Lord was a sufferer, even in some mysterious
sense was "made perfect through suffering" (Heb. ii. 10).

The climax came in the "full, perfect, and complete sacrifice, oblation,
and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world" made upon the Cross.

It is suggestive that these words should occur in the Consecration
Prayer of the Holy Communion Service, as if to remind us that our true
spiritual and commemorative sacrifice draws all its validity, power, and
preciousness from the one offering of Christ made by Himself in His

Thus we see that most essential act for our salvation was not one of
victory, triumph, or glory, as the world reckons these things. Oh, no!
It was one of absolute self-surrender, involving untold anguish of soul
and body. The results of the sufferings of our Lord have justified their
tremendous cost.

Its efficacy consisted not in the physical pains, but in the entire
yielding up of the will. Thus it represents for us that victory over
self which is the only path to eternal life.

But this victory, even now in these emphatically feather-bed days, is
always more or less painful. In the early times it meant persecution,
poverty, isolation, death, for the sake of Jesus Christ.

It is always so; the greatest deeds the world has ever known,
nationally, or individually, have been wrought out by suffering; because
suffering, more than any other agent, deepens character.

Look around among your friends and acquaintances. Who are the morally
strongest? To whom do you turn in your times of difficulty, doubt,
trouble? Not to those whose lives have been easy, to whom the lines have
fallen in pleasant places, to whom success has come without effort! No!
You turn to the one who has fought his way through the doubt, the
difficulty, the trouble, and you find a tower of strength. There is the
secret of Charles Kingsley's power as a counsellor; once he did not
believe that there was a God; he went through the agonies of doubt.

There is the secret of the wondrous force of Archbishop Temple. Rough,
rugged, almost discourteous at times; hating shams and penetrating
them with an unerring instinct, but tenderness itself to the really
distressed. He knew what it was as a lad to do field labour in poor
clothes and with insufficient food. In later years, when up at College,
he was wont to study by the light in the passage, because he could not
afford oil for his own lamp.

Yet another illustration, showing the directly spiritual influence
of suffering--those countless cases of bed-ridden invalids, often in
intense pain, who develop an intense, fervent, yet restful piety, seldom
attained even by the most devout in active life.

Those who have had experience in missions or dealing with individual
souls know how constantly suffering--especially in middle life--lays the
foundations of conversion. Ay, and lays them strong and deep. The soul
in trouble feels its need of God, turns to Him, and then gets to know
the fulness of His mercy, even in and through the affliction.

And now, how stands it in regard to the War? We need not repeat in
detail those various points on which we have already dwelt. Spite of
all the ghastly sufferings the War is bringing in its train, nay, in a
sense, because of them, it has linked together the Empire in the closest
bonds, allayed political and polemical strife, evoked a wealth of
heroism, self-sacrifice, prayer, and benevolence, and braced up the
moral fibre of countless lives.

Yet all this does not explain the existence of suffering, the why and
the wherefore still lie hidden in that region of the infinite which we,
finite beings, cannot penetrate. We can see, from its results, that
suffering is no more incompatible with the eternal love of God, than the
surgeon's knife is inconsistent with the tenderness of his heart. "Whom
the Lord loveth He chasteneth," "God dealeth with you as with sons"
(Heb. xii., 6, etc.). Our great mistake is to look upon trouble as
punishment, inflicted by an angry God, and to rebel under the chastening
hand. When God sees that His child, whether the nation or the
individual, needs discipline He sends it, and there is no more lack of
love than there is on the part of the wise earthly parent, when he
corrects his child and makes him suffer pain. Nay, it is the very love
that prompts the discipline.

Once more, let us look at suffering in its power of producing sympathy.

The Incarnation was the greatest act of sympathy the world has ever
known. The Word made flesh, our Saviour born as a babe, that He might
enter into all the experiences of our human nature; that He might not
simply feel _for_ us, but feel _with_ us.

Here is the essence of the word; take it in Latin, compassion; take it
in Greek, sympathy--alike it means feeling with. And in the wondrous
mystery of the Church, the spiritual body of Christ, the same great
principle is still working itself out.

Very strange, very mysterious, yet real with the essence of reality, is
the connection between the suffering Christ and the suffering Church,
"inasmuch as ye have ministered to one of the least of these My
brethren, ye have done it unto Me." And yet it is the Christ Who helps
and sustains us from on high. The same Christ Who was here upon earth,
suffering in His martyr Stephen was yet standing at the Father's right
hand to succour him.

The same Christ Who flashed the wondrous vision of Himself on the eyes
of S. Paul, was yet so intimately present in and with His infant Church
that he "thundered" forth the question, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest
thou Me?"

It is just this thought of Christ still present in the person of His
suffering children, that gives the glow of enthusiasm to philanthropic
work of a definitely Christian character. But may we not go a step
further and try to see Christ, in a measure, in all suffering, even that
of the animals? He came to redeem the world, and we in our little view
are apt to narrow down the purposes, and limit the possibilities within
very contracted lines.

The War is opening up to us opportunities boundless in their character
and scope. Probably to-day tens of thousands who have hitherto spent
aimless lives; whose time, means, gifts have gone in the shallow channel
of self, now know something at least of the joy of launching out on to
the broad stream of living, loving sympathy. This has been because,
though in some instances unconsciously to themselves, Christ, in the
power of His Holy Spirit, has touched their lives.

If anguish has come to our hearts let it work its discipline upon us in
and through Christ, by the opening out of ourselves to Him, that we may
take in the full measure of His priceless sympathy. Let us try to lose
ourselves in ministering to others, one of the surest anodynes for grief
and pain.

But if we have, as yet, passed unscathed, let us be all the more
diligent, tender, and loving in our care for others.

There is no need to go into details. Wherever your lot be cast you have
only just to look around and you will find there are individuals, wives
at home, soldiers at the front, whose lot you can brighten in very
simple yet very real ways; perhaps institutions, such as Red Cross
Homes, Hospitals, Belgian Hostels, to which you can render practical
service; Funds to which you can send your money; all these are means
through which you may enter into the glorious discipline of opportunity
that comes through suffering.

Have you ever thought how infinitely poorer the world would be in all
that is highest and purest in its life, were there no suffering to call
forth the tender ministry of sympathy?

And now let us summarise what we have been saying. Suffering is a
great mystery, but two facts throw light upon it--the hereafter, the
Incarnation; suffering does discipline character, therefore, judging by
results, it is not incompatible with the love of God, even though its
existence be still a problem; suffering presents us with the splendid
possibility of sympathy, to be exercised in the power of the loving

Can we close better than with the thought of the saints in Paradise?

On earth they lived in the always realised consciousness of a personal
Christ. When the Apostles were persecuted and beaten, they departed from
the Council "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for
His name." So it has been all down the long story of the ages. And the
saints are those "who have washed their robes and made them white in the
blood of the Lamb"; their sufferings sanctified by, and borne in, the
power of Him Who was made perfect by the things which He endured. Their
"light affliction, which was but for a moment, has worked out for them
the exceeding abundant and eternal weight of glory."

Thus the Incarnation, the eternal counsel of the past, that embraced
them while they were on earth, is still enfolding them, while they,
with us, wait and pray for its final consummation, in the coming of
the Kingdom.

Let us so use our opportunities for discipline now, that the uplifting
of character shall be permanent; not a mere spasm of passing enthusiasm,
but a real growth into the character and likeness of Him Who suffered
death upon the Cross, that all might live unto Him.

_For suggested Meditations during the week see Appendix._


=Discipline through Bereavement=


1 Thess. iv. 13

  "We would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall
  asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, which have no hope."

Of all kinds of sorrow, bereavement is in some senses the sternest,
the most irrevocable, and the one in which human compassion is of
least avail.

All that we said last week on the discipline of suffering applies here,
but with enhanced force. If suffering generally cannot be rationally
contemplated outside of the doctrine of a future existence, still less
can death be tolerated unless it lead to further life. If sorrow in the
bulk needs the Incarnation to throw upon it the light of God's love,
still more does this particular grief require the assurance that the
finished work of Christ operates within, as well as without, the vail.

Broadly speaking, all over the world there are torn and bleeding hearts
mourning the nearest, the dearest; in the vast majority of instances,
from the circumstances of the case, men in the beginning or the very
prime of life.

The heroism of the women has been as magnificent as that of the
men--nay, in a sense, more so. For those who go forth there is the
novelty, the excitement, the nerving sense of duty. Their time is so
ceaselessly occupied that but little space remains for brooding or for
anxious thought, on behalf of themselves or those at home. The men who
remain behind, the fathers, brothers, friends, have the priceless boon
of daily occupation, often vastly increased in amount. There is no such
infallible anodyne of care as plenty of honest work.

But the women--theirs is the harder task, the fiercer trial, of keeping
up the brave appearance, the show of cheerfulness, whilst all the time
the load of apprehension and fear lies heavy on their hearts. None will
ever know the crushing reality of the offering the women are making to
their country, in one great stream of self-sacrifice.

Nor can we forecast the end, nor estimate the claims that are yet to be
made in the cause of patriotism. The nations engaged, at least the chief
of them, are fixed irrevocably in their determination that peace, when
it comes, shall be no temporary patching up of hostilities and arranging
of indemnities, but a solid, lasting settlement, which shall, as far as
possible, place another vast European war out of the range of practical

To tens of thousands there has come the ceaseless yearning for

  The touch of a vanished hand,
  The sound of a voice that is still.

Now notice how S. Paul deals with the matter. "That ye sorrow not as
others which have no hope." There is no injunction here not to sorrow
at all; that would be contrary to human nature, and would bespeak
callousness rather than resignation. Our Blessed Lord wept at the grave
of Lazarus, and in so doing sanctified human grief. The keenest faith,
to which the other world is an absolute reality; the fullest hope of the
sure and certain resurrection for the dear one; the most disciplined and
submissive will which accepts unquestioningly the dispensations of the
Father; all these are not proof against the natural grief at the removal
of a loved one from this sphere of tender intimacies, into another,
where we can only commune with him in thought and prayer.

How often this is illustrated at the death of a chronic invalid who has
suffered much. With tears streaming down the cheeks, the mourner will
say, "I am so thankful he is at rest." No selfish, rebellious side of
grief is exhibited by those tears; only human sorrow, blending in loving
harmony with perfect resignation.

Now notice carefully the ground on which S. Paul bases the Christian's
hope for the departed; first, faith in the death and resurrection of
Christ; "if we believe that Jesus died and rose again." It is a mere
platitude to say that the whole of S. Paul's teaching is founded on the
actuality of the resurrection. "If Christ hath not been raised, your
faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen
asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in
Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (1 Cor. xv. 17). Then out of
this fact of the resurrection flows a consequence: the dead, as we call
them, "sleep in Jesus," and will be His immediate companions at the last
day. We cannot enter into a discussion as to the exact conditions of
what is called "Hades" or the "intermediate state"; suffice it to say
that one great feature of it is nearness to Jesus, "having a desire to
depart and be with Christ" (Phil. i. 23); "absent from the body, present
with the Lord" (2 Cor. v. 8). Herein consists the blessed hope set
before us in regard to the faithful departed; the crucified, risen,
ascended Jesus has them in His keeping; we and they alike are parts of
the one great Church, knit into the "Communion of Saints" by the mystic
bond of the sacred bread, linked each to the other by mutual prayer;
they for us and we for them.

Very beautifully and tenderly does the Archbishop of Canterbury deal
with this thought in one of his late sermons:--

  "As with bowed head and quivering lip we commend their souls into
  the hands of a faithful Creator and most merciful Saviour we feel
  how the very passing of those brave and buoyant lives into the
  world beyond pierces the flimsy barrier between the things which
  are seen and temporal and the things which are unseen and eternal,
  and again we can and do give thanks. God is not the God of the dead,
  but of the living:--

  "Nor dare to sorrow with increase of grief
  When they who go before
  Go furnished, or because their span was brief.
  For doubt not but that in the worlds above
  There must be other offices of love,
  That other tasks and ministries there are,
  Since it is promised that His servants there
  Shall serve him still. Therefore be strong, be strong,
  Ye that remain, nor fruitlessly revolve,
  Darkling, the riddles which ye cannot solve,
  But do the works that unto you belong."

Here is the magnificent prospect of hope for those who mourn: that
the Incarnation of our Lord is still working itself out in all its
beneficent purposes. By the power of the Holy Ghost, in the Church
expectant as in the Church militant, the answer to the constant prayer,
"Thy Kingdom come," is being ceaselessly given; and the fulness thereof
will be realised in the Church triumphant. The saints on earth and those
in Paradise are equally in the hands of the Lord, though the latter have
clearer vision and nearer sense of the fact than the former. By some
this is used as an argument against the practice of prayer for the
departed, but surely this thought of the unity of the whole body leads
in exactly the opposite direction. No argument can be adduced against
this most ancient and primitive custom, observed by the Jews long before
the coming of Christ, but what equally applies to any petition for an
absent friend still on earth. In each case they are in the keeping of
Him Who knows best and will do right, yet for those still here we pray,
believing that in His own way God will take account of our prayers and
knit them up into His own dealings, so that they become part of His
eternal purposes. When commending the departed to Him, naturally our
words will be chastened and restrained because we know somewhat less of
the conditions of the "intermediate state" than we do of those of our
own dispensation. Somewhat less; for how little do we really understand
of the circumstances around us now in all their bearings as they lie
open beneath the eye of God. Therefore it is that whenever we pray we
must ask in full submission to our own limitations and in the spirit of
the Master, "Nevertheless not my will, but Thine be done."

Thank God this matter is not one of argument; no, it lies in another
plane: the innate feeling of one who really knows what prayer means and
who has grasped in some degree the doctrine of the "Communion of

A pious evangelical, well fortified with arguments against prayer for
the departed, had been nursing her sick sister and taking care of the
little daughter of the house. The sister died, and the same evening
the motherless girl knelt down at her aunt's side to say her prayers.
"Auntie, may I say God bless dear mother?" The whole drift of the aunt's
training and theology would have led her to say "No" point blank. There
was no time for argument or explanation, for facing the inevitable "If
not, why not?" The instincts of natural religion prevailed; the aunt
replied, "Yes, dear"; and from that day onward never failed herself to
say, when remembering her dear ones, "God bless my sister."

Whatever the effect of such prayers in the other world, there is no
shade of doubt that to the bereaved they bring an infinite sense of
nearness to their beloved, and of the reality of the life of the world
to come.

Thus far we have been speaking of those who may fairly be called the
faithful departed, the cases in which hope may be reasonable and assured
almost to certainty.

Now let us go a step further. The mind staggers as it contemplates the
tens of thousands being hurried into eternity who, either according to
the teaching of the Catholic Church or the notions of popular theology,
would be deemed unprepared.

We trust, in a dim sort of way, that the all-embracing mercy of God
will accept their sacrifice of themselves for their country, and in
some fashion place it to the credit side of their account. No doubt
He will. But can we not get a more evangelical, and at the same time
more catholic, view of the matter? We find it in an extension of our
conception of the possibilities of the intermediate state, the condition
of souls between death and judgment. Evangelical to the backbone,
because it is the work of Christ which we conceive of as being there
carried on. Catholic, because the Church from very early times has
recognised the idea of the discipline of souls as being a process
continued after death. The authority of S. Paul has been appealed to on
account of his words to the Philippians (i. 6), "being confident of this
very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until
the day of Jesus Christ"; and to the Corinthians in that mysterious
passage concerning "the fire which shall try every man's work" (1 Cor.
iii. 13). The doctrine was developed and materialised till it resulted
in those corruptions which were so largely responsible for the
Reformation. In their zeal to root out error, the Reformers fell into
the opposite extreme and abolished the idea of the intermediate state
altogether. Hence arose the popular notion, unknown to the Catholic
Church till then, of Heaven or Hell as the immediate issue of death.

Of course, the Church's teaching had regard to the condition of its own
members after death, and we cannot press it into an argument as to those
not dying, technically, in a state of grace; but at least this much we
may say: Surely no intelligent person can contemplate the thought of
these vast hosts being hurried off into eternal perdition, and at the
same time retain his reason or his faith in a God of love. Whatever the
possibilities of the world to come, they are but the extension of the
boundless love of God in Christ, and hold out no promise for us if we
wilfully neglect our day of grace.

But now to pass on to one further source of consolation which comes
in its measure to all the bereaved alike; the chastened joy from the
thought of the splendid sacrifice the dear one has been privileged
to make.

Take an illustration--a letter from Major-General Allenby to Lady de
Crespigny on the death of her son:--

  "Dear Lady de Crespigny,--I and the whole of the Cavalry
  Division sympathise with you, and we feel deeply for Norman's loss.
  But I must tell you that he died a hero's death. The brigade was hotly
  engaged, and on the Bays fell the brunt of the fighting on September
  1st. Norman, with a few men, was holding an important tactical point,
  and he held it till every man was killed or wounded. No man could have
  done more, few would have done so much.

  "With deepest sympathy, yours sincerely,

  "E.H.H. Allenby."

How the bereaved hearts in the midst of crushing grief must have lit up
with gladness at such a record as that!

But to close. The discipline of bereavement consists essentially in the
trial of faith, yet at the same time brings with it the power of faith.
In bereavement, above all other forms of sorrow, comes the felt need of
God; it has been so with countless souls. The answer to the need is the
revelation that God makes of Himself in Christ; then comes the peace of
God, which passeth all understanding, which dries the tears and heals
the broken heart.

_Note_.--The question of prayer in connection with God's foreknowledge
is so admirably treated in "Some Elements of Religion" (Liddon) that we
append an extract:--

  "What if prayers and actions, to us at the moment perfectly spontaneous,
  are eternally foreseen and included within the all-embracing
  Predestination of God, as factors and causes, working out that final
  result which, beyond all dispute, is the product of His Good Pleasure?

  "Whether I open my mouth or lift my hand is, before my doing it,
  strictly within the jurisdiction and power of my personal will: but
  however I may decide, my decision, so absolutely free to me, will have
  been already incorporated by the All-seeing, All-controlling Being as an
  integral part, however insignificant, of His one all-embracing purpose,
  leading on to effects and causes beyond itself. Prayer, too, is only a
  foreseen action of man which, together with its results, is embraced in
  the eternal Predestination of God. To us this or that blessing may be
  strictly contingent on our praying for it; but our prayer is
  nevertheless so far from necessarily introducing change into the purpose
  of the Unchangeable, that it has been all along taken, so to speak, into
  account by Him. If, then, with 'the Father of Lights' there is in this
  sense 'no variableness, neither shadow of turning,' it is not therefore
  irrational to pray for specific blessings, as we do in the Litany,
  because God works out His plans not merely in us but by us; and we may
  dare to say that that which is to us a free self-determination, may be
  not other than a foreseen element of His work."

_For suggested Meditations during the week see Appendix._


=Discipline through Self-sacrifice=


1 Tim. ii. 6

  "Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all."

To-day we reach the solemn climax which embraces in itself the whole
idea of discipline under each of those aspects upon which we have
touched. Will, body, soul, spirit, obedience, suffering, death, all
summed up in the tremendous self-sacrifice declared by the Cross of

The principle of sacrifice is one of those deep mysteries which seem,
as it were, to be rooted in the very nature of our being. It begins
in the initial fact by which man's existence is maintained upon
earth--motherhood, a vast vicarious sacrifice. Yet borne with gratitude,
readiness, ay, even with joy because of the dignity, the love, the
delights it brings with it. One of the surest signs of the decadence
of a nation is when its women, through desire of merely living for
themselves, begin to rebel against the high privilege of motherhood, or
to neglect the duties it should entail. This attitude of mind poisons
life at its fountain-head.

Time would fail us, nor indeed would it be profitable, to enter upon a
discussion as to the exact theological bearing of the death of Christ
upon the forgiveness of sins. This is a matter which may rightly occupy
the attention of theologians and scholars who endeavour, so far as
infinite verities can be expressed in finite language, to give a reason
for the hope that is in them. Such books as Liddon's Bampton Lectures,
Dale on the Atonement, or Illingworth on Personality, will be found most
valuable by those who have the time and the capacity for studying them.
It is a good thing, especially in these days, that the intellect of the
Christian should be well-equipped, so that he may silence the taunts of
those who say Christianity is purely a matter of emotion.

The personal acceptance of Christ as a personal Saviour rests, not so
much on arguments, as on a sense of need; when this is accompanied by
strong intellectual grip of truth then the influence of the Christian
upon others becomes a great missionary factor. The beauty of the Gospel
story lies in its wonderful adaptability. It is the same in its power to
a Pascal, a Butler, a Liddon, as it is to the unlettered peasant, who
can neither read nor write.

Scripture declares quite plainly that the death of Christ was "for us";
how far this may be pressed to mean "instead of us" is a very grave
question. The words will bear that interpretation, no doubt, but we must
remember that they do not necessarily involve any more than "in our
behalf," that is, for our benefit.

It has been the forcing of the words into an unnatural and immoral
theory of substitution, the notion of an angry God claiming a victim,
that has done such terrible harm to the cause of Christianity, and has
led many thoughtful minds to give it up in disgust or despair. Probably
in a wise commingling of the two lines of thought we shall arrive most
nearly at the truth. We all agree that our Blessed Lord's death was "in
behalf of us"; that is for our everlasting welfare; in a very real sense
this was "instead of us," since His sufferings were endured so that we
might not lose the blessing of salvation.

Very beautifully is the matter summed up by a modern writer: "In the
death of the Lord Jesus Christ as a Sacrifice and Propitiation for the
sins of the world, the moral perfections of God find their highest
expression, and the deepest necessities of man's moral and spiritual
life their only complete satisfaction."[3]

[Footnote 3: Dale on the Atonement.]

The death of Christ was not only typically but, in a certain sense,
actually the offering up of our bodies on the Cross. Notice very
carefully the words of St. Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ"
(Gal. ii., 20 R.V.). Not simply, as in the old Authorised Version,
"I am crucified with Christ," but something much more definite and exact.
When Christ ascended the Cross He took up with Him our human nature
collectively, as bound up in Himself by virtue of His Incarnation. Hence
it follows that you, the individual, have been crucified with Him; just
as you, the individual, have been buried with Him, and raised with Him
in your Baptism (Rom. vi., 4). How completely this takes the sting out
of the reproach brought against Christianity, on the ground of the
immorality of the Crucifixion! It is no longer the Innocent one
suffering instead of the guilty, but it is the sinless One taking upon
Himself human nature, with all its guilt and consequent punishment, and
"in His own body on the tree," offering that human nature up to God. He
in us, we in Him, that the redemption of human nature may be complete.
Canon Liddon thus puts it in one of his University sermons, "The
substitution of the suffering Christ arose directly out of the terms of
the Incarnation. The human nature which our Lord assumed was none other
than the very nature of the sinner, only without its sin. Therefore He
becomes the Redeemer of our several persons, because He is already the
Redeemer of this our common nature, which He has made for ever His own."

We have already noticed that it was not the sufferings of Christ which
were acceptable to God the Father. To think this would be to fall back
into the very crudest and most repulsive idea of substitution. No, it
was the offering up of the will of Christ that formed the essence of the
sacrifice. If we may presume to attempt a mere earthly illustration of
so tremendous a matter, let us take the case of a General whose son
meets with a terrible death while leading a forlorn hope. The father's
heart is torn with anguish both for the death and the circumstances of
it; but at the same time the father's heart swells with pride, ay, even
with joy, that his son should have been true to the highest thing in the

He Who said, "I come not to do mine own will but the will of Him that
sent Me," also said, "I lay My life down of Myself, no man taketh it
from Me." Herein is the discipline of sacrifice complete by the using
of one's own will to surrender it absolutely to the will of another.

We have spoken so fully of the surrenders of will being made on all
sides that we need say no more now on that point, but for further
illustration let us turn our thoughts in a somewhat fresh direction.

The example of Belgium is a living witness of the power of

G.K. Chesterton has put forth a striking pamphlet entitled "The
Martyrdom of Belgium"; in it he says:

  "There are certain quite unique and arresting features about the case
  of Belgium. To begin with, it cannot be too much considered what a
  daring stroke of statesmanship--far-sighted, perhaps, but of frightful
  courage--the King of the Belgians ventured in resisting at all. Of
  that statesmanship we had the whole advantage, and Belgium the whole
  disadvantage: she saved France, she saved England--herself she could
  not save."

Had Belgium yielded instead of standing out, then, humanly speaking,
nothing could have averted the immediate success of the German dash
for Paris.

Now think for one moment of the solemn obligation this lays upon us in
regard to that gallant, struggling, yet temporarily dismembered little
nation. We must look after the refugees. There are those who say, "The
Government have brought the Belgians over here, let the Government make
their support a State matter."

One almost blushes to have to deal with such a sentiment. Could
1_s._ in the £ income-tax take the place, morally, spiritually, or
ethically, of the rich profusion of voluntary aid now being poured
forth? The loss to the nation, of that which is purest and noblest in
its life, would be simply unspeakable. It is suffering that provides
opportunity for the exercise of the highest duty known to man, "Bear ye
one another's burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ." Try to picture
to yourself, quietly yet resolutely, what it would mean to you to-morrow
morning, to find suddenly that you had to leave your house, not in a
motor-car for a railway train; no! but to turn out at once, without time
to put together any belongings; to tramp, perhaps in pouring rain, along
miles of road, foodless, cold, exhausted; seeing those around you
dropping out to faint or die by the wayside; not knowing where or how
the journey should end. This is what has happened to tens of thousands
of Belgians; many, cultured and refined, coming forth penniless from
homes of comfort and plenty!

In ministering to the needs of the Belgians you find a glorious
privilege, a priceless opportunity. Again, to quote G.K. Chesterton:

  "In a sense Belgium could still have saved her face; but she preferred
  to save Europe. This, it seems to me, gives her a claim on something
  beyond pity or even gratitude--a claim on our intellectual honour beyond
  anything that even suffering could extort."

Our Lent is nearly over. With all its opportunities, its calls,
its privileges, it is now behind us. Some perhaps began it with high
resolves and brave hopes, and are disappointed at the apparently small
results. None, we trust, are wholly satisfied with themselves, for that
would point to a condition far worse than despair. There is such a thing
as divine discontent, and every true Christian should know something of
it. For all the conscious failures ask pardon, but do not give up

Standing under the Cross of Christ, as we do to-day, we have a standard
for the measuring of ourselves which makes our little efforts at
discipline look very poor indeed. Yet He remembers our frame, He knows
whereof we are made; He can and will accept the feeblest struggles of
our will towards His. Perhaps some progress in the life of grace may
have been made, then thank Him and take courage.

Let us just cast our minds back. The discipline of the will means,
laying ourselves open to listen to the voice of the living God. The
discipline of the body means, never letting it get the upper hand of the
real self. The discipline of the soul means the taking a very serious
view of the responsibility of life. The discipline of the spirit means,
a close approach to God by every channel of worship. The discipline of
obedience means, that we put self in the background, so that we may
exalt the person of Christ. The discipline of sorrow means, that Christ
is still present in His suffering ones, and there is our opportunity.
The discipline of bereavement means, the trial of our faith that it may
enter into the realities of the spiritual kingdom.

Then comes the crown and climax, the discipline of self-sacrifice.
Place steadily before you the thought of Christ crucified, see there the
culmination of all possibility of the offering up of self for others.
No element of completeness was wanting. The sacrifice was voluntary,
was made for enemies, brought no return to self.

Strong in His strength go forth ready to spend and be spent, if only by
the discipline of self-sacrifice you can lighten the load borne by any
one of your fellow-creatures.

  What hast Thou done for me, O
    Mighty Friend,
    Who lovest to the end?
  Reveal Thyself that I may now behold
    Thy love unknown, untold,
  Bearing the curse and made a curse for me
    That blessed and made a blessing I might be.

  Wounded for my transgressions, stricken sore,
    That I might sin no more,
  Weak, that I might be always strong in Thee:
    Bound, that I might be free;
  Acquaint with grief that I might only know
    Fulness of joy, in everlasting flow.

       *       *       *       *       *

_For suggested Meditations during the week see Appendix._


=Discipline through Victory=


Romans vi. 9

  "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more."

To couple the word discipline with victory may seem incongruous almost
to the point of impossibility. Yet, if we look below the surface, we
shall see that never is the connection more strong and the need for
realising it more urgent.

Lent is over, its special discipline has passed, and now the danger
begins. The danger is lest any progress made, any victory won, should
lead to that self-confidence which can only end in disaster. Success is
often a discipline far more fatal in its results than failure.

We celebrate to-day the grandest victory the world has ever known: a
victory which sprang out of the depths of an apparently complete defeat.
"We trusted that it was He which should have redeemed Israel." Vain
confidence, for how could One Who had died as a malefactor, Who could
not save Himself, rescue His nation from the tyranny of the Roman power?
And then He, this stranger Whom they knew not, opened to them the
Scriptures; showed them the necessity of the sufferings, and the great
climax, in the Resurrection. The ears were dull, the hearts unconvinced,
as they generally are by mere argument, till he revealed Himself in "the
breaking of bread." The eyes of love could not be deceived and sorrow
gave place to joy.

Some dispute has arisen as to whether we ought to pray for victory in
this War. The matter is well put by an anonymous writer: "If we are only
to pray in matters wherein there is no difference of opinion our prayers
will be few, and if we cannot pray for the triumph of honour over
falsehood, of respect for treaties over unscrupulousness, of order
over cruelty and outrage, for what are we ever to pray? We must pray
according to the light we have. And if we end our prayers with the truly
Christian supplement 'Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt,'
we cannot be doing anything contrary to the principles of the highest
religion. Surely prayer is, or should be, merely the expression of our
best hopes and wishes submitted to a Divine tribunal."

Putting aside the question of prayer, let us consider for a moment what
should be our attitude as we look into the future. First and foremost
one of confidence and hopefulness. Without arrogance we can say that we
believe firmly and strongly in the absolute righteousness of our cause.
In violating the neutrality of Belgium, Germany itself confesses that
a wrong was done. A wrong which necessity compelled, as they say. What
necessity? That of getting to Paris at the earliest possible moment. And
so when Germany prays for victory, as of course it does, and ought, at
the same time it has to confess to an initial wrong, which was certainly
not made right by the fact that it was the quickest way of accomplishing
an end.

We have purposely abstained in these Addresses from fanning flames, or
appealing to passions. But here is a broad ground upon which, by the
very confession of our enemies, we stand on a higher platform. We went
to war because we would not break a treaty, nor forsake a friend too
weak for self-defence; Germany commenced the war by a treacherous act.
Therefore, strong in the belief that the God of righteousness will cause
the right to triumph, we can calmly look forward to ultimate victory,

  To doubt would be disloyalty,
    To falter would be sin.

Much more might be said in the same direction, but let the broad thought

The war has produced a type of pessimism which, in some instances, runs
almost to disturbance of mental balance. Every reverse is exaggerated,
and accepted with a kind of confident despondency; every success
discounted and treated with half-hearted incredulity: "The Germans have
destroyed another ship; what is our Navy doing?" "Oh, but that's only
one little hill; the Germans will have it back soon enough." Surely
this kind of pessimism, except where the victim of it is not really
responsible, must be as offensive to God as it is exasperating to man.

But now to turn to our chief thought for the day, that is, the
permanence of the victory of Easter Day, "Christ dieth no more." That
is why He is called "The first fruits of them that are asleep." Several
resurrections are recorded both in the Old and New Testaments, but these
are cases of those who were raised by others, and then died again.
Christ raised Himself and death hath no more dominion over Him. The
resurrection is permanent and keeps on perpetuating and extending itself
in the life of the whole universal Church. It was not an isolated act,
but part of a wondrous plan. Not only does it possess doctrinal
significance in that plan, but vital force for the carrying of it out.
"He died for our sins," but "He was raised for our justification."

  Yes, death's last hope, his strongest fort and prison,
    Is shattered, never to be built again;
  And He, the mighty Captive, He is risen,
    Leaving behind the gate, the bar, the chain.

We are praying constantly, earnestly, that we "may be brought through
strife to a lasting peace"; and that "the nations of the world may be
united in a firmer fellowship for the promotion of Thy glory and the
good of all mankind." No conditions of peace are worth accepting unless
they will, humanly speaking, secure this result. Germany on the one
side, and the Allies on the other, both realise that this is a "fight to
a finish." Singularly enough the object of both sides is similar--to
render another great European war impossible: but the ideals in respect
to its attainment are by no means the same; one looks to the setting up
of a world dominion; the other, to the establishment of a state of
balanced power and mutual interests among European nations. We are
fighting essentially for the principle of "live and let live," and
therefore have to face unflinchingly all the sacrifice that still lies
before us. When peace is concluded it must be upon terms which will make
results permanent! Should Germany, in the mysterious providence of God,
be allowed to become supreme, there will be peace, but, alas! only the
peace of desolation and the numbness of despair. But, as we have already
said, it seems disloyal to all our deepest instincts, all our truest
feelings, even to contemplate such a possibility.

But when the Allies triumph, what then?--the discipline of victory.
Think for one moment of what the victory of Christ meant, as the
ratification of the treaty signed upon the Cross, in the very hour of
apparent defeat. It meant for you and me all that is included in the
words "the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; the means
of grace and the hope of glory." The resurrection puts the seal to the
great charter, commenced at Bethlehem, indited page by page through the
wondrous life of three and thirty years, closed, as to its earthly side,
on Calvary, sealed, signed and delivered on Easter morning. In the power
of that treaty of peace you and I live, day by day; secure except for
our own carelessness; beyond all possibility of hurt from spiritual
enemies, unless by our own traitorous dealings with them. The victory
was complete! "He hath put all enemies under His feet"; the victory is
permanent, for, "death hath no more dominion over Him."

In these Addresses we have said much about those large results which God
is allowing us already to see as obviously coming out of the war; on our
Day of "Humble Prayer to Almighty God" we solemnly thanked Him:

  For the laying aside of controversies at home, and for the unity of
  the Nation and Empire;

  For the loyal and loving response of our fellow-subjects beyond the

  For the full harmony between our Allies and ourselves, and for the
  success which has already been granted to our common efforts;

  For the devotion of those who have laid down their lives for their

  For the revelation in danger, in suffering, and in death, of the power
  of the Cross and the benefits of the Lord's Passion.

Now remains the question, Are the results to be permanent? That entirely
depends upon our attitude towards the discipline of victory; or how we
are going to behave ourselves in the hour of success. It is written
concerning Israel, "The Lord saved them from the hand of them that hated
them: and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. Then believed they
His words, they sang His praise. They soon forgat His works: they waited
not for His counsel." God willing we shall ere long be singing our Te
Deum; oh! yes, we shall do it with all our heart and soul; but how are
we to fix the emotions, to render permanent that thankfulness which we
shall really feel. The Israelites "waited not for His counsel." They
failed, that is, under the discipline of success. Victory is given that
it may be used for good, just as much as failure is sent that we may
rise on "stepping-stones of our dead-selves" to fresh endeavour.

As a nation we have been single-minded and honourable in our entry upon
and our waging of the War; when it is over we are to be just the same in
our use of the fruits of the War. Victory will not come to us simply for
our own sakes and that it may be selfishly exploited for our own needs.
No, assuredly not: it will come for the mutual benefit of all concerned,
and unless the very first fruits of it be dedicated to the cause of
heroic Belgium, to her re-instatement in something of her former
condition, it will have come in vain. The time of distress and disaster
has knit together the Empire in a wondrous unity of brotherhood. There
will be debts to be repaid to India and our Colonies, debts which can
never be discharged in money, but in those higher acts of fellowship,
justice, endeavour, which will knit yet closer the bonds that have been
formed. There will remain a large heritage of disablement and
unemployment to cope with which will require wise counsel, comprehensive
measures, real self-sacrifice. It is computed that should the war last
another eighteen months there will be nearly a quarter of a million men
more or less unfitted to resume their ordinary callings.

All this, you say, is the concern of the State; certainly, but what is
the State? Only another term for you and me. Therefore the seriousness
of attitude, the sense of proportion, the realisation of brotherhood,
that by the mercy of God we have gained, must be retained for the facing
of the new problems that will lie before us.

Turning to the more purely personal aspect of it, there will be the
temptation to grow slack and cold in intercessions and communions, when
the immediate occasion that prompted them has passed. To be forewarned
is to be forearmed, let us look out for this, expect it, then we shall
not be afraid to meet it. "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no
more"; think what the permanency of that victory has meant all down the
ages of the past in the triumphs of the saints, in the deaths of the
martyrs, in the splendid story of the Church of Christ. Think what it
means to-day in the lives of millions of the faithful; in all the deeds
of charity which are brightening homes, cheering hearts, giving hope to
the hopeless, healing to the sick, and soundness to the maimed: think of
all it means in rest and refreshment to the souls in Paradise; think of
all it still will mean in the growth of the Church of Christ up to the
fulness of its destined and glorious completion; think of all it may
mean for you in your individual life, right up to the day when you shall
be like Him, for you shall see Him as He is.

In the permanence of the victory of Christ, may we each one of us so use
the discipline of victory that it may redound to the glory of Him, in
Whom we live, and move, and have our being.





_N.B.--You will find it useful to look up references in a reference

Ash Wednesday: God wishes that we should be saved.--1 Tim. ii. 3, 4; 2
Pet. iii. 9.

Thursday: Our natural will is in conflict with God's will.--Rom. vii.

Friday: God the Holy Ghost assists us by illuminating the will.--S. John
xvi. 13-15.

Saturday: What is the guiding principles of our lives?--Ps. xxxix. 7; S.
Matt. vi. 19-24.

1st Sunday in Lent: The Incarnation the mission of Christ to the
body.--S. John i. 1-14; Eph. v. 23.

Monday: The body in its physical aspect wonderfully suited to its
purposes.--Gen. i. 26-28; ii., 7; Ps. cxxxix. 14.

Tuesday: The body the external means by which we receive the
Sacraments.--Heb. x. 22; Acts viii. 14-17; 1 Cor. xi. 26.

Wednesday: The body in its ultimate destiny.--1 Cor. xv. 42-49; 1 John
iii. 2, 3.

Thursday: Disciplining the body braces the will.--2 Tim. ii. 3; Heb. xi.

Friday: The corporate life of the Church in its bearing on influence and
conduct.--1 Cor. xii. 12-27.

Saturday: The duty of example in respect of the temperance question.--1
Cor. viii. 7-13; 2 Cor. viii. 9.

2nd Sunday in Lent: The inner value of our life.--S. Mark viii. 34-38.

Monday: The deadening effect of prosperity.--S. James v. 1-6.

Tuesday: Our Lord's example of single-mindedness.--S. Mark vii. 37; S.
Matt. xxvi. 39-44.

Wednesday: The need for seriousness in thought.--S. Matt. xv. 10-20;
Phil. iv. 8.

Thursday: The need for seriousness in word.--S. James iii. 1-11.

Friday: The need for seriousness in deed.--S. James iii. 13-18; 1 Pet.
v. 8.

Saturday: The need for perseverance, lest we forfeit our blessings.--Rom
ii. 4-7; Rev. ii. 18-29.

3rd Sunday in Lent: Man seeking after God.--Ps. xlii.

Monday: The Incarnation the means by which the union between God and man
is brought about.--S. John xvii. 17-26.

Tuesday: Prayer the characteristic act of religion.--S. Matt. vii. 7-12;
Eph. vi. 18.

Wednesday: The importance of self-examination as leading to
self-knowledge.--Gal. vi. 3-5.

Thursday: Confession of sins to God the only condition of
forgiveness.--1 John i. 5-10.

Friday: Forgiveness of sins comes from God through the blood of
Christ.--Eph. i. 3-12.

Saturday: The ministry of reconciliation committed to the ministers, as
Christ's ambassadors.--2 Cor. v. 18; S. John xx. 22, 23.

4th Sunday in Lent: The natural body of Christ the source of
healings.--S. Matt. xiv. 34-36.

Monday: The spiritual body of Christ found in His Church.--Eph. i.

Tuesday: The sacramental body of Christ, given to us in the Holy
Communion.--1 Cor. x., 14-21.

Wednesday: Obedience the test of religion.--Rom. vi. 16-23.

Thursday: Self-indulgence the great obstacle to obedience.--S. Luke xvi.

Friday: Self-renunciation the condition of service.--Acts xx. 17-24.

Saturday: Our Lord's example of obedience.--Phil. ii. 1-11; Heb. xii.

5th Sunday in Lent: Suffering in the light of eternity.--Rev. vii. 9-17;
2 Cor. iv. 17, 18.

Monday: Suffering in the light of the Incarnation.--S. Matt. viii. 16,
17; Heb. iv. 14-16.

Tuesday: Christ still suffering in His people.--S. Matt. xxv. 34-46;
Acts ix. 4.

Wednesday: Devotion to Christ the power of endurance.--Acts v. 40-42;
Rom. viii. 35-39.

Thursday: Christ succouring those who suffer for Him.--Acts vii. 54-60;
xxvii. 21-26.

Friday: Character disciplined by suffering.--Heb. x. 32-36; xii. 4-11.

Saturday: Suffering giving opportunity for sympathy.--Heb. xii. 12, 13;
S. James i. 27; ii. 14-16.

6th Sunday in Lent: The resurrection of Christ, the basis of hope.--1
Thess. iv. 13-18.

Monday: The Holy Spirit the power of the risen life, here and
hereafter.--Rom. viii. 5-11.

Tuesday: The communion of Saints in the one body of Christ.--Heb. xii.
1, 2, and 22-24.

Wednesday: The departed remembering us.--S. Luke xvi. 19-31; esp. v. 24;
Rev. vi. 9.

Thursday: The glorious reward of faithful service.--S. Matt. xxv. 14-23.

Good Friday: What does the death of Christ mean to me?--S. John xix.

Easter Eve: Am I showing the fruits of my Baptism by leading a risen
life?--Rom. vi. 1-11.

       *       *       *       *       *


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