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Title: Pax Vobiscum
Author: Drummond, Henry, 1851-1897
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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"PAX VOBISCUM," prepared for publication by the Author, is now published
for the first time, being the second of a series of which "The Greatest
Thing in the World" was the first.

Nov. 1, 1890. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am
meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my
yoke is easy, and my burden is light."








I heard the other morning a sermon by a distinguished preacher upon
"Rest." It was full of beautiful thoughts; but when I came to ask
myself, "How does he say I can get Rest?" there was no answer. The
sermon was sincerely meant to be practical, yet it contained no
experience that seemed to me to be tangible, nor any advice which
could help me to find the thing itself as I went about the world that
afternoon. Yet this omission of the only important problem was not the
fault of the preacher. The whole popular religion is in the twilight
here. And when pressed for really working specifics for the experiences
with which it deals, it falters, and seems to lose itself in mist.

The want of connection between the great words of religion and every-day
life has bewildered and discouraged all of us. Christianity possesses
the noblest words in the language; its literature overflows with terms
expressive of the greatest and happiest moods which can fill the soul of
man. Rest, Joy, Peace, Faith, Love, Light--these words occur with such
persistency in hymns and prayers that an observer might think they
formed the staple of Christian experience. But on coming to close
quarters with the actual life of most of us, how surely would he be
disenchanted. I do not think we ourselves are aware how much our
religious life is made up of phrases; how much of what we call Christian
experience is only a dialect of the Churches, a mere religious
phraseology with almost nothing behind it in what we really feel and

To some of us, indeed, the Christian experiences seem further away than
when we took the first steps in the Christian life. That life has not
opened out as we had hoped; we do not regret our religion, but we are
disappointed with it. There are times, perhaps, when wandering notes
from a diviner music stray into our spirits; but these experiences come
at few and fitful moments. We have no sense of possession in them. When
they visit us, it is a surprise. When they leave us, it is without
explanation. When we wish their return, we do not know how to secure
it. All which points to a religion without solid base, and a poor and
flickering life. It means a great bankruptcy in those experiences which
give Christianity its personal solace and make it attractive to the
world, and a great uncertainty as to any remedy. It is as if we knew
everything about health--except the way to get it.

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

The Address which follows is offered as a humble contribution to this
problem, and in the hope that it may help some who are "seeking Rest and
finding none" to a firmer footing on one great, solid, simple
principle which underlies not the Christian experiences alone, but all
experiences, and all life.

What Christian experience wants is _thread_, a vertebral column, method.
It is impossible to believe that there is no remedy for its unevenness
and dishevelment, or that the remedy is a secret. The idea, also, that
some few men, by happy chance or happier temperament, have been given
the secret--as if there were some sort of knack or trick of it--is
wholly incredible. Religion must ripen its fruit for every temperament;
and the way even into its highest heights must be by a gateway through
which the peoples of the world may pass.

I shall try to lead up to this gateway by a very familiar path. But as
that path is strangely unfrequented, and even unknown, where it passes
into the religious sphere, I must dwell for a moment on the commonest of


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

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

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

Take such a sentence as this: African explorers are subject to fevers
which cause restlessness and delirium. Note the expression, "cause
restlessness." _Restlessness has a cause_. Clearly, then, any one who
wished to get rid of restlessness would proceed at once to deal with
the cause. If that were not removed, a doctor might prescribe a hundred
things, and all might be taken in turn, without producing the least
effect. Things are so arranged in the original planning of the world
that certain effects must follow certain causes, and certain causes must
be abolished before certain effects can be removed. Certain parts of
Africa are inseparably linked with the physical experience called fever;
this fever is in turn infallibly linked with a mental experience called
restlessness and delirium. To abolish the mental experience the radical
method would be to abolish the physical experience, and the way of
abolishing the physical experience would be to abolish Africa, or
to cease to go there. Now this holds good for all other forms of
Restlessness. Every other form and kind of Restlessness in the world has
a definite cause, and the particular kind of Restlessness can only be
removed by removing the allotted cause.

All this is also true of Rest. Restlessness has a cause: must not _Rest_
have a cause? Necessarily. If it were a chance world we would not expect
this; but, being a methodical world, it cannot be otherwise. Rest,
physical rest, moral rest, spiritual rest, every kind of rest has a
cause, as certainly as restlessness. Now causes are discriminating.
There is one kind of cause for every particular effect, and no other;
and if one particular effect is desired, the corresponding cause must be
set in motion. It is no use proposing finely devised schemes, or going
through general pious exercises in the hope that somehow Rest will come.
The Christian life is not casual but causal. All nature is a standing
protest against the absurdity of expecting to secure spiritual effects,
or any effects, without the employment of appropriate causes. The Great
Teacher dealt what ought to have been the final blow to this infinite
irrelevancy by a single question, "Do men gather grapes of thorns or
figs of thistles?" Why, then, did the Great Teacher not educate His
followers fully? Why did He not tell us, for example, how such a thing
as Rest might be obtained? The answer is, that _He did_. But plainly,
explicitly, in so many words? Yes, plainly, explicitly, in so many
words. He assigned Rest to its cause, in words with which each of us has
been familiar from his earliest childhood.

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

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

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

The nature of this slow process Christ clearly defines when He says we
are to achieve Rest by _learning_. "Learn of Me," He says, "and ye shall
find rest to your souls." Now consider the extraordinary originality
of this utterance. How novel the connection between these two words,
"Learn" and "Rest"? How few of us have ever associated them--ever
thought that Rest was a thing to be learned; ever laid ourselves out
for it as we would to learn a language; ever practised it as we would
practise the violin? Does it not show how entirely new Christ's teaching
still is to the world, that so old and threadbare an aphorism should
still be so little applied? The last thing most of us would have thought
of would have been to associate _Rest_ with _Work_.

What must one work at? What is that which if duly learned will find the
soul of man in Rest? Christ answers without the least hesitation. He
specifies two things--Meekness and Lowliness. "Learn of Me," He says,
"for I am _meek_ and _lowly_ in heart." Now these two things are not
chosen at random. To these accomplishments, in a special way, Rest is
attached. Learn these, in short, and you have already found Rest. These
as they stand are direct causes of Rest; will produce it at once; cannot
but produce it at once. And if you think for a single moment, you will
see how this is necessarily so, for causes are never arbitrary, and the
connection between antecedent and consequent here and everywhere lies
deep in the nature of things.

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

Now it is obvious why Christ pointed out as the two chief objects for
attainment the exact opposites of these. To Meekness and Lowliness these
things simply do not exist. They cure unrest by making it impossible.
These remedies do not trifle with surface symptoms; they strike at once
at removing causes. The ceaseless chagrin of a self-centred life can
be removed at once by learning Meekness and Lowliness of heart. He who
learns them is forever proof against it. He lives henceforth a charmed
life. Christianity is a fine inoculation, a transfusion of healthy blood
into an anæmic or poisoned soul. No fever can attack a perfectly sound
body; no fever of unrest can disturb a soul which has breathed the air
or learned the ways of Christ. Men sigh for the wings of a dove that
they may fly away and be at Rest. But flying away will not help us. "The
Kingdom of God is _within you_." We aspire to the top to look for Rest;
it lies at the bottom. Water rests only when it gets to the lowest
place. So do men. Hence, be lowly. The man who has no opinion of himself
at all can never be hurt if others do not acknowledge him. Hence, be
meek. He who is without expectation cannot fret if nothing comes to him.
It is self-evident that these things are so. The lowly man and the
meek man are really above all other men, above all other things. They
dominate the world because they do not care for it. The miser does
not possess gold, gold possesses him. But the meek possess it. "The
meek," said Christ, "inherit the earth." They do not buy it; they do not
conquer it, but they inherit it.

There are people who go about the world looking out for slights,
and they are necessarily miserable, for they find them at every
turn--especially the imaginary ones. One has the same pity for such men
as for the very poor. They are the morally illiterate. They have had no
real education, for they have never learned how to live. Few men know
how to live. We grow up at random, carrying into mature life the merely
animal methods and motives which we had as little children. And it does
not occur to us that all this must be changed; that much of it must be
reversed, that life is the finest of the Fine Arts, that it has to be
learned with lifelong patience, and that the years of our pilgrimage are
all too short to master it triumphantly.

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

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

I do not say, remember, that the Christian life to every man, or to any
man, can be a bed of roses. No educational process can be this. And
perhaps if some men knew how much was involved in the simple "learn" of
Christ, they would not enter His school with so irresponsible a heart.
For there is not only much to learn, but much to unlearn. Many men never
go to this school at all till their disposition is already half ruined
and character has taken on its fatal set. To learn arithmetic is
difficult at fifty--much more to learn Christianity. To learn simply
what it is to be meek and lowly, in the case of one who has had no
lessons in that in childhood, may cost him half of what he values most
on earth. Do we realize, for instance, that the way of teaching humility
is generally by _humiliation_? There is probably no other school for it.
When a man enters himself as a pupil in such a school it means a very
great thing. There is much Rest there, but there is also much Work.

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

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

Such living, as mere living, is altogether unique. It is only when we
see what it was in Him that we can know what the word Rest means. It
lies not in emotions, nor in the absence of emotions. It is not a
hallowed feeling that comes over us in church. It is not something that
the preacher has in his voice. It is not in nature, or in poetry, or in
music--though in all these there is soothing. It is the mind at
leisure from itself. It is the perfect poise of the soul; the absolute
adjustment of the inward man to the stress of all outward things;
the preparedness against every emergency; the stability of assured
convictions; the eternal calm of an invulnerable faith; the repose of
a heart set deep in God. It is the mood of the man who says, with
Browning, "God's in His Heaven, all's well with the world."

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

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


There is still one doubt to clear up. After the statement, "Learn of
Me," Christ throws in the disconcerting qualification, "_Take My yoke_
upon you and learn of Me." Why, if all this be true, does He call it a
_yoke_? Why, while professing to give Rest, does He with the next breath
whisper "_burden_"? Is the Christian life, after all, what its enemies
take it for--an additional weight to the already great woe of life, some
extra punctiliousness about duty, some painful devotion to observances,
some heavy restriction and trammelling of all that is joyous and free in
the world? Is life not hard and sorrowful enough without being fettered
with yet another yoke?

It is astounding how so glaring a misunderstanding of this plain
sentence should ever have passed into currency. Did you ever stop to
ask what a yoke is really for? Is it to be a burden to the animal which
wears it? It is just the opposite. It is to make its burden light.
Attached to the oxen in any other way than by a yoke, the plough would
be intolerable. Worked by means of a yoke, it is light. A yoke is not
an instrument of torture; it is an instrument of mercy. It is not a
malicious contrivance for making work hard; it is a gentle device to
make hard labour light. It is not meant to give pain, but to save pain.
And yet men speak of the yoke of Christ as if it were a slavery, and
look upon those who wear it as objects of compassion. For generations we
have had homilies on "The Yoke of Christ," some delighting in portraying
its narrow exactions; some seeking in these exactions the marks of its
divinity; others apologising for it, and toning it down; still others
assuring us that, although it be very bad, it is not to be compared with
the positive blessings of Christianity. How many, especially among the
young, has this one mistaken phrase driven forever away from the
kingdom of God? Instead of making Christ attractive, it makes Him out
a taskmaster, narrowing life by petty restrictions, calling for
self-denial where none is necessary, making misery a virtue under the
plea that it is the yoke of Christ, and happiness criminal because it
now and then evades it. According to this conception, Christians are
at best the victims of a depressing fate; their life is a penance; and
their hope for the next world purchased by a slow martyrdom in this.

The mistake has arisen from taking the word "yoke" here in the same
sense as in the expressions "under the yoke," or "wear the yoke in his
youth." But in Christ's illustration it is not _jugum_ of the Roman
soldier, but the simple "harness" or "ox-collar" of the Eastern peasant.
It is the literal wooden yoke which He, with His own hands in the
carpenter shop, had probably often made. He knew the difference between
a smooth yoke and a rough one, a bad fit and a good fit; the difference
also it made to the patient animal which had to wear it. The rough yoke
galled, and the burden was heavy; the smooth yoke caused no pain, and
the load was lightly drawn. The badly fitted harness was a misery; the
well-fitted collar was "easy." And what was the "burden"? It was not
some special burden laid upon the Christian, some unique infliction that
they alone must bear. It was what all men bear. It was simply life,
human life itself, the general burden of life which all must carry
with them from the cradle to the grave. Christ saw that men took life
painfully. To some it was a weariness, to others a failure, to many a
tragedy, to all a struggle and a pain. How to carry this burden of
life had been the whole world's problem. It is still the whole world's
problem. And here is Christ's solution: "Carry it as I do. Take life
as I take it. Look at it from My point of view. Interpret it upon My
principles. Take My yoke and learn of Me, and you will find it easy.
For My yoke is easy, works easily, sits right upon the shoulders, and
_therefore_ My burden is light." There is no suggestion here that
religion will absolve any man from bearing burdens. That would be to
absolve him from living, since it is life itself that is the burden.
What Christianity does propose is to make it tolerable. Christ's yoke is
simply His secret for the alleviation of human life, His prescription
for the best and happiest method of living. Men harness themselves to
the work and stress of the world in clumsy and unnatural ways. The
harness they put on is antiquated. A rough, ill-fitted collar at the
best, they make its strain and friction past enduring, by placing it
where the neck is most sensitive; and by mere continuous irritation this
sensitiveness increases until the whole nature is quick and sore.

This is the origin, among other things, of a disease called "touchiness
"--a disease which, in spite of its innocent name, is one of the gravest
sources of restlessness in the world. Touchiness, when it becomes
chronic, is a morbid condition of the inward disposition. It is
self-love inflamed to the acute point; conceit, _with a hair-trigger._
The cure is to shift the yoke to some other place; to let men and things
touch us through some new and perhaps as yet unused part of our nature;
to become meek and lowly in heart while the old nature is becoming numb
from want of use. It is the beautiful work of Christianity everywhere to
adjust the burden of life to those who bear it, and them to it. It has
a perfectly miraculous gift of healing. Without doing any violence
to human nature it sets it right with life, harmonizing it with all
surrounding things, and restoring those who are jaded with the fatigue
and dust of the world to a new grace of living. In the mere matter of
altering the perspective of life and changing the proportions of things,
its function in lightening the care of man is altogether its own. The
weight of a load depends upon the attraction of the earth. But suppose
the attraction of the earth were removed? A ton on some other planet,
where the attraction of gravity is less, does not weigh half a ton. Now
Christianity removes the attraction of the earth; and this is one way
in which it diminishes men's burden. It makes them citizens of another
world. What was a ton yesterday is not half a ton to-day. So without
changing one's circumstances, merely by offering a wider horizon and a
different standard, it alters the whole aspect of the world.

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


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

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

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

I need not recall the whole illustration. It is the parable of the Vine.
Did you ever think why Christ spoke that parable? He did not merely
throw it into space as a fine illustration of general truths. It was
not simply a statement of the mystical union, and the doctrine of an
indwelling Christ. It was that; but it was more. After He had said it,
He did what was not an unusual thing when He was teaching His greatest
lessons. He turned to the disciples and said He would tell them why He
had spoken it. It was to tell them how to get Joy. "These things have
I spoken unto you," He said, "that My Joy might remain in you and that
your Joy might be full." It was a purposed and deliberate communication
of His secret of Happiness.

Go back over these verses, then, and you will find the Causes of this
Effect, the spring, and the only spring, out of which true Happiness
comes. I am not going to analyse them in detail. I ask you to enter into
the words for yourselves. Remember, in the first place, that the Vine
was the Eastern symbol of Joy. It was its fruit that made glad the heart
of man. Yet, however innocent that gladness--for the expressed juice of
the grape was the common drink at every peasant's board--the gladness
was only a gross and passing thing. This was not true happiness, and the
vine of the Palestine vineyards was not the true vine. _Christ_ was
"the _true_ Vine." Here, then, is the ultimate source of Joy. Through
whatever media it reaches us, all true Joy and Gladness find their
source in Christ. By this, of course, is not meant that the actual Joy
experienced is transferred from Christ's nature, or is something passed
on from Him to us. What is passed on is His method of getting it. There
is, indeed, a sense in which we can share another's joy or another's
sorrow. But that is another matter. Christ is the source of Joy to men
in the sense in which He is the source of Rest. His people share His
life, and therefore share its consequences, and one of these is Joy. His
method of living is one that in the nature of things produces Joy. When
He spoke of His Joy remaining with us He meant in part that the causes
which produced it should continue to act. His followers, that is to say,
by _repeating_ His life would experience its accompaniments. His Joy,
His kind of Joy, would remain with them.

The medium through which this Joy comes is next explained: "He that
abideth in Me, the same bringeth forth much fruit." Fruit first, Joy
next; the one the cause or medium of the other. Fruit-bearing is
the necessary antecedent; Joy both the necessary consequent and the
necessary accompaniment. It lay partly in the bearing fruit, partly in
the fellowship which made that possible. Partly, that is to say, Joy lay
in mere constant living in Christ's presence, with all that that implied
of peace, of shelter, and of love; partly in the influence of that Life
upon mind and character and will; and partly in the inspiration to live
and work for others, with all that that brings of self-riddance and Joy
in others' gain. All these, in different ways and at different times,
are sources of pure Happiness. Even the simplest of them--to do good to
other people--is an instant and infallible specific. There is no mystery
about Happiness whatever. Put in the right ingredients and it must come
out. He that abideth in Him will bring forth much fruit; and bringing
forth much fruit is Happiness. The infallible receipt for Happiness,
then, is to do good; and the infallible receipt for doing good is to
abide in Christ. The surest proof that all this is a plain matter of
Cause and Effect is that men may try every other conceivable way of
finding Happiness, and they will fail. Only the right cause in each case
can produce the right effect.

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

What more need I add but this--test the method by experiment. Do not
imagine that you have got these things because you know how to get them.
As well try to feed upon a cookery book. But I think I can promise that
if you try in this simple and natural way, you will not fail. Spend the
time you have spent in sighing for fruits in fulfilling the conditions
of their growth. The fruits will come, must come. We have hitherto paid
immense attention to _effects_, to the mere experiences themselves; we
have described them, extolled them, advised them, prayed for them--done
everything but find out what _caused_ them. Henceforth let us deal with
causes. "To be," says Lotze, "is to be in relations." About every other
method of living the Christian life there is an uncertainty. About
every other method of acquiring the Christian experiences there is a
"perhaps." But in so far as this method is the way of nature, it cannot
fail. Its guarantee is the laws of the universe, and these are "the
Hands of the Living God."


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


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